Monday, December 26, 2011
Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul’s foreign policy outlook isn’t so dissimilar to that of President Obama’s long-time pastor and mentor the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, says Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lane.
On “Fox News Sunday,” Lane made the ideological connection between Paul and Wright, who claimed after the 9/11 attacks that “America’s chickens” had come home to roost.
“Well, I think one of the amazing things that this all shows that this is the Republican Party might be about to crown the winner of the Iowa caucuses, somebody with the foreign policy views of Jeremiah Wright,” Lane said. “Remember that? I mean, Ron Paul goes around blaming the United States for 9/11, etc., etc. So it is obvious he’s not going to be the nominee.”Read the full story here.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Tonga 5.8 - 5.9 ; Fiji 5.3 !More info here.
- "Merry Christmas" - Obama rewrites rules for online gambling (and announces it at Christmas so no one notices).(DailyMail).The Obama administration cleared the way for states to legalize Internet poker and certain other online betting in a switch that may help them reap billions in tax revenue and spur web-based gambling.A Justice Department opinion dated September and made public on Friday reversed decades of previous policy that included civil and criminal charges against operators of some of the most popular online poker sites.Until now, the department held that online gambling in all forms was illegal under the Wire Act of 1961, which bars wagers via telecommunications that cross state lines or international borders.The new interpretation, by the department's Office of Legal Counsel, said the Wire Act applies only to bets on a 'sporting event or contest,' not to a state's use of the Internet to sell lottery tickets to adults within its borders or abroad, Reuters reports.'The United States Department of Justice has given the online gaming community a big, big present,' said I. Nelson Rose, a gaming law expert at Whittier Law School who consults for governments and the industry.The question at issue was whether proposals by Illinois and New York to use the Internet and out-of-state transaction processors to sell lottery tickets to in-state adults violated the Wire Act.But the department's conclusion would eliminate 'almost every federal anti-gambling law that could apply to gaming that is legal under state laws,' Rose wrote on his blog at www.gamblingandthelaw.com.If a state legalized intra-state games such as poker, as Nevada and the District of Columbia have done, 'there is simply no federal law that could apply' against their operators, he said.The department's opinion, written by Assistant Attorney General Virginia Seitz, said the law's legislative history showed that Congress's overriding goal had been to halt wire communications for sports gambling, notably off-track betting on horse races.Congress also had been concerned about rapid transmission of betting information on baseball, basketball, football and boxing among other sports-related events or contests, she summarized the legislative history as showing.'The ordinary meaning of the phrase "sporting event or contest" does not encompass lotteries,' Seitz wrote. 'Accordingly, we conclude that the proposed lotteries are not within the prohibitions of the Wire Act.'The department expressed no opinion about a provision in the law that lets prosecutors shut down phone lines where interstate or foreign gambling is taking place.Many of the 50 U.S. states may be interested in creating online lotteries to boost tax revenues and help offset the ripple effect of a federal deficit-reduction push.Hmmm.....Thugocracy in it's natural habitat.Read the full story here.
- Obama Administration discovers the Constitution.(OAATL).By David Hardy.Apparently they have a version that allows the Executive to spend unappropriated money if it serves his "constitutional responsibility" to wield power and hire friends.I can't find that clause in my own copy. I just find "No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law." Maybe I've got an outdated version. But I'm sure my copy of the anti deficiency act is up to date. So is the provision making violation a felony.Hmmmm....The following'Comment' says it all: "I believe your analysis of spending without authorization of the House is unconstitutional, or even illegal, but how would these laws be enforced? By the "Justice" Department."Read the full story here.
- Obama trimmed with red - Why does he hate the rich but lives like a billionaire in the White House?(CFP).By David Lawrence. When Obama started running for President there was a photo of him where he looked like Lenin. It was even trimmed with red. He morphed with a dictator while he spoke like a pacifistic lamb—baa, humbug.In the early seventies I was in Hungary and saw tanks and portraits of leaders. Obama’s face is a caricature of those cold war icons.Why does Obama always have such ferocious portraits of himself? Why is his chin always up in the air so that his nose angles its disdain at his mere followers? Why does he hate the rich but live like a billionaire in the White House? It’s not his fault. Narcissists try to get away with what they can. And they do when their idiot supporters applaud their bullying indiscretions and support their flirtations with dictatorship.Obama is nothing like Hitler or Lenin. However, strangely, like them he pushed through national health care. Physician heal thyself. President, don’t nationalize health care when the country is against it and it can easily be fused into a destructive instrument to ration care against the elderly and the infirm and the less than perfect. It can also bankrupt the economy.This man has a lot of czars. He doesn’t call himself a czar or he might frighten the people. He’s slippery. He has applied snake oil salesmanship to the future of America. He has greased us up with his urgent need for meaningless change.Obama uses agencies like the EPA to get around congress. He has stolen the balancing power of the other branches of government to reframe the constitution. He has replaced law with executive order. Obama raises taxes on the rich in order to please the desperate middle class. How far has he pushed laborers towards attacking the rich in their homes and stealing their property? How does he dare to raise the taxes on the rich when the government has done nothing but fritter away their money on ludicrous green projects like Solyndra? The government should instead reduce the taxes on businesses so that small businessmen can energize and grow their businesses while hiring new people. Kennedy and Regan improved the economy by lowering taxes.Obama went to war with Libya without Congressional approval. The dictator strikes again. And he let Egypt fall into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood. In both cases the balance of power has shifted and Israel, our ally, is endangered. Any Jew who supports Obama is a traitor. Or a fool. Or a coward. Or someone I don’t want to know.Obama intends to give amnesty to illegal aliens. I suppose, as usual, he is trying to garner votes. A country without borders is not a country. It is a pawn of the dictatorial powers that bully it. If you can’t keep foreign elements out you can’t develop the nationality of the citizens that are within. Obama has the emotional temperament of a dictator. Whether he ultimately becomes a monstrous leader remains to be seen. It depends on the people’s resistance. Unfortunately, up until now Obama has been using the Republican Party and the successful as scapegoats. They are his Jews. Don’t forget he was born into the anti-Semitic Moslem religion and that he listened to Reverend Wright’s anti-Jewish lectures for twenty years. Some of this hatred must have washed off on him.I pray to God in abstentia that Obama does not succeed in his big government, totalitarian quest. Or has he already? At least in part.Hmmmm........."Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty". ~ Plato.
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- Muslim Woman Jameela Barnette Shot and Killed after Attacking Georgia Police.(AM).Georgia--A Muslim woman who had been charged with sending fake weapons and a pig’s foot to two New York lawmakers was killed during a struggle with a cop in Georgia on Sunday, authorities said.Jameela Barnette, 53, of Marietta, was slapped with federal charges last month for sending New York State Sen. Greg Ball (R,C-Patterson) a vial of perfume, a hate-filled letter and a doll of the monkey Curious George wearing two Stars of David.She had also mailed a pig’s foot to Rep. Peter King (R-L.I.) in response to controversial hearings he held in March on the purported radicalization of American Muslims, Politico has reported.A spokesman for Cobb County Police said an armed Barnette was shot to death after officers responded to a panic alarm she activated at her apartment at 11 a.m. Christmas Day.When the cops arrived, Barnette opened the door while wielding a knife and a handgun and assaulted an officer with the blade, the spokesman said.The unnamed officer shot her, killing Barnette at the scene, police said."Despite receiving injuries to his arm, the officer was able to use his service weapon to stop the assault," the spokesman said.The cop was treated for minor injuries to his arm and placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.Police said they did not know why Barnette triggered the alarm.Barnette railed to several media outlets against what she called anti-Muslim congressional hearings last spring. She told a local TV station she sent Ball, who represents Putnam County and parts of Westchester and Dutchess counties, the threatening package because he’s racist toward her faith and supported King’s hearings.“I knew the Jews were behind the hearings,” she told Politico. “A monkey is a representation of who the Jews are.”A judge released Barnette without bail after her arrest in November.Both Ball and King are Catholic.Hmmmmm.......A case of "Jihad bells"?Read the full story here.
- World’s Second And Third Largest Economies To Bypass Dollar, Engage In Direct Currency Trade.(ZeroHedge).To all who still think that in the war of attrition between the USD and the EUR (because contrary to what some have “discovered” only recently, currency wars have been going on for a long, long time and will continue to do so, before morphing into trade and real wars), in which both currencies are doomed, and where the winner takes it all, if only for a few minutes, we bring to your attention the following most recent update out of the Pacific Rim (where incidentally the Shanghai Composite has resumed its relentless track lower with the obvious intention of closing 2011 at its 52 week low) in which we find i) that the dollar’s hegemonic control over the world is ending, and ii) that the mercantilist relationship so long sustained between China and the US, may be shifting and reversing, and in its next metamorphosis will see Japan buying the bonds of… China (although probably not for long – see next post). As Bloomberg reports, “Japan and China will promote direct trading of yen and yuan without using dollars and will encourage the development of a market for the exchange, to cut costs for companies, the Japanese government said. Japan will also apply to buy Chinese bonds next year, the Japanese government said in a statement after a meeting between Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing yesterday.” And before someone blows it off as merely more foreign relations posturing, ““Given the huge size of the trade volume between the Asia’s two biggest economies, this agreement is much more significant than any other pacts China has signed with other nations,” said Ren Xianfang, a Beijing-based economist with IHS Global Insight Ltd.” As for China’s reverse mercantilist move, one which will stun anyone who believes that Yuan is still undervalued, “Finance Minister Jun Azumi said Dec. 20 buying of Chinese bonds would be beneficial for Japan because it would help reveal more information about financial markets in China, the world’s largest holder of foreign currency reserves.” Speaking of, has Albert Edwards gloated yet that given enough time, he always ends up being proven right, in this case about the CNY’s upcoming devaluation?Read the full story here.
- Jewish leaders in Belgium split over libel suit.(JPost).BRUSSELS – A former leader of Belgian Jewry resigned last week from the country’s Jewish board in protest of the board’s decision to honor a prominent politician who has equated Israel with Nazism, and is suing the same Jewish board for libel.Joël Rubinfeld, ex-president of the Umbrella Organization of Jewish Institutions of Belgium (CCOJB), says his resignation was in response to the organization’s decision to host André Flahaut, president of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives, as a guest of honor at a gala dinner in September."Honoring Flahaut was inappropriate and absurd in light of his statement and the lawsuit he filed against the CCOJB,” Rubinfeld told The Jerusalem Post.Rubinfeld stepped down as president last year but remained on the board.Rubinfeld’s successor as president, Prof. Maurice Sosnowski, defended the invitation as a means of keeping dialogue open and ending Flahaut’s lawsuit in a compromise.Flahaut sued both the CCOJB and Rubinfeld individually in 2008 for libel, claiming they called him “an anti-Semite.” Rubinfeld had publicly accused Flahaut of “making statements which can encourage anti-Semitism,” in the context of a pro- Palestinian demonstration in Nivelles.Flahaut – a former defense minister and senior Socialist Party official – was filmed there, saying: “I’m determined to fight all extremism, all Nazism, all fascism wherever, whenever they occur. That’s why I’m here.”The demonstration was held in commemoration of Israel’s creation 60 years earlier and featured actors dressed as Israeli soldiers, shouting and loading other actors dressed in Arab garb onto a truck.Rubinfeld had filmed the event and Flahaut’s speech and posted the footage online.According to Sosnowski, the gala invitation was “natural” since Flahaut and the CCOJB are in contact over an end to the lawsuit. Early last year a first circuit court ruled in favour of Flahaut; Rubinfeld and the organization have appealed to the second circuit.Sosnowski told the Post that Flahaut and the organization arrived at an out-of-court compromise, but that Rubinfeld rejected the deal, making it “impossible.”Sosnowski added: “Rubinfeld was right to accuse Flahaut and right to appeal the first circuit’s sentence, but a reasonable compromise is better than a long and uncertain procedure.”The compromise would have Flahaut drop the lawsuit and declare that equating Israel to Nazism is illegitimate and amounts to anti- Semitism.Flahaut has insisted that he had never made such a link – thereby suggesting that Rubinfeld had manipulated the video. The first circuit court ruled the video had indeed been doctored, though all board members reject this.“It’s a good compromise for the Jewish community and an achievement but it’s being blocked by Rubinfeld,” Sosnowski said, adding that a majority of the board supports the settlement. “Rubinfeld wants to turn this affair into a Dreyfus trial that would drag on for a decade and drain the community’s resources.”René de Lathouwer, a board member, said Rubinfeld “was holding the CCOJB hostage.”Rubinfeld, however, insisted on appealing the first circuit ruling “because the issue has become Belgian jurisprudence and free speech. The court must now determine that equating Israel and Nazism is illegitimate. A statement by Flahaut is worthless.”Rubinfeld added that he wanted to resign immediately after the September gala, but stayed on the board “to work out the follow-up in the trial against Flahaut.”Flahaut – who did not respond to requests for a reaction – was documented leading another anti-Israel demonstration in Brussels on January 11, 2009, where some protestors waved signs reading “Jew Nazi,” “Gaza worse than Auschwitz” and “Protocols of Zion, final stage?” Also present were two other Belgian parliamentarians – Isabelle Durant of the Green Party and Françoise Dupuis of the Socialist Party – who both attended the gala along with Flahaut.CCOJB represents some 20,000 French-speaking Belgian Jews. (The Forum of Jewish Organizations – an independent body – represents the equally-sized Flemish Jewish community.) “I have no great sympathy for André Flahaut but there’s little chance of beating him in court. It will make other politicians close ranks with him,” Eli Ringer, honorary FJO chairman, said. “As a youngster Rubinfeld had good intentions to make some changes in the Brussels community but not too much could be achieved by always using force instead of dialogue.”He added: “At the same time, inviting Flahaut to the CCOJB gala while he’s suing the CCOJB wasn’t a good idea. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”Read the full story here.
- Canada fears rise of forces ‘worse than Mubarak’ in Egypt.(AlArabiya).Canada is concerned that forces worse than deposed strongman Hosni Mubarak could rise to power in a newly democratic Egypt, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in an interview.“There are obviously forces who want democracy and progressive change (in Egypt), but there are clearly some forces that would want something that's probably worse than what we had before,” he said in a taped interview with CTV News to be aired Monday.“So we’ve always been a little bit hesitant on Egypt,” he said, according to AFP.Harper was not specific about which forces concerned him.But liberals have warned about the rise of groups that advocate a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam that could lead to a more conservative and overtly religious new parliament.Liberals and Islamists have also united to condemn the military’s handling of the transition to democracy that lead deadly clashes.Mubarak is currently facing a murder trial before an Egyptian court and may get the death sentence if found complicit in the killings of some 850 people who died during 18 days of protest that ousted him from power in February.Harper said he has spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Israel’s security amid the sweeping changes shaping its ally and neighbor.“I’ve spoken to Prime Minister Netanyahu and yes, we are concerned,” Harper said.“The peace between Israel and Egypt for the past several decades has been of immense benefit to both countries and to the region. And anything that I think threatens that would not be good.”The Canadian prime minister went on to say that the first free elections in Egypt held this year was a “pretty positive thing.”“But at the same time, there’s been riots, there’s been persecution of minorities, in particular Coptic Christians and others, and this is a big concern,” he concluded.Many Egyptians believe the army is no longer fit to manage security on the ground and carry out difficult reforms at a time of political and economic crisis.On Friday, thousands rallied in Cairo and other cities to demand the army give up power and to vent anger after 17 people were killed in recent protests where troops beat and clubbed women and men even as they lay on the ground, according to Reuters.Protests continue daily in Tahrir Square. Several hundred protesters have set up camp there. Some are demanding the army bring forward the presidential vote to as early as Jan. 25, the first anniversary of the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak.Others, worrying that 10 months after Mubarak’s downfall Egypt remains in disarray, protested on Friday to end protests so order can be restored and the economy revitalized.Analysts say a speedy transfer could play into the hands of military by boosting the chances of presidential candidates with close ties to the army.Read the full story here.
- MKs call for state to recognize Armenian genocide.(JPost).Knesset members from all sides of the political spectrum called for the government to officially recognize the Armenian genocide, marking the first time the issue was discussed in an open Knesset meeting.The Knesset Education Committee meeting was initiated after MK Arye Eldad (National Union) proposed a bill to mark the Armenian genocide annually, which was then turned into a motion for the agenda after Eldad realized the coalition would not allow the legislation to pass. The meeting also addressed a similar motion put forward by MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz), making Armenian genocide one of the few topics agreed upon by the Knesset factions farthest to the political left and right.The discussion took place a week after France’s lower house of parliament moved to criminalize Armenian-genocide denial, leading to a diplomatic crisis between Paris and Ankara.Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said that those who fight Holocaust denial must not ignore the tragedies of other nations, and it is a moral imperative that Israel remember the Armenian genocide. Rivlin said that he made a motion to the agenda on the matter in 1989, but until Monday, it was not discussed openly in the Knesset, due to political and diplomatic reasons. He added that the issue was moved from the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, where it was discussed behind closed doors, to the Education Committee, with the press present, so that “morals and values” could be discussed.Gal-On said the meeting was an “exciting moment,” bringing to fruition the efforts of many former and current Meretz MKs over the years.She called for government ministries to stop using the Armenian genocide as a tool in Israeli foreign policy. Although Gal-On said that Israel must not allow “tense” relations with Turkey to deteriorate, she added that relations with Turkey should be separate from this issue.“This is the first time we can really discuss this and not sweep it under the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s rug: A million and a half Armenians were murdered in the beginning of World War I,” Eldad said. “Who remembers them today? We must talk about it, so no one in the world thinks [genocide] can be committed again.”Eldad accused the government of hypocrisy, saying that at first, the matter wasn’t publicly addressed because relations with Turkey were strong, and now the same policy stands for the opposite reason.Coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) said that he is embarrassed that the Knesset has yet to fulfill its “basic responsibility” in recognizing the Armenian genocide.He said “a wall has been broken” in that the Education Committee discussion was taking place openly, but that progress still needs to be made.Elkin also mentioned that in 1939, Hitler cited the fact that Europe ignored the Armenian genocide to justify his actions.At the same time, Foreign Ministry representatives in the meeting said that it would be irresponsible to make any official declarations on the matter.The ministry never denied the Armenian genocide, the representatives explained, but the issue has become political, and Israel prefers not to be involved, especially because Turkey and Armenia have been holding an open dialog on the facts and opinions surrounding it.In addition, only 21 countries have officially recognized the Armenian genocide, according to the Foreign Ministry, and it would be unfair to declare all those who haven’t immoral.“We can’t disconnect ourselves from reality. The Islamic world is getting more and more extreme,” MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) said, echoing the Foreign Ministry’s stance. “We have to improve our relationship with Turkey; it’s a matter of survival, even if it has a painful price.”Schneller suggested that the Knesset declare that according to human and Jewish morality, genocide is unacceptable no matter where it takes place, be it Armenia, Rwanda or Cambodia. He added that specific discussion of the Armenian genocide would be irresponsible.In addition, two representatives of the Israel-Azerbaijan International Association (AZIZ), denied that genocide took place, saying that Armenians took the side of Turkey’s enemies and were a “fifth column” in Turkey.In addition, AZIZ spokesman Arye Gut said that thousands of Azerbaijanis were killed in war with Armenia, and that Armenia occupies land Azerbaijan’s land. The two countries fought a war following World War I, and another war from 1988-1994.Gut told the committee to keep in mind that Turkey helped Jews after the Spanish Inquisition and during the Holocaust, and that there are only 300 Jews in Armenia, while 30,000 live in Azerbaijan.He called for the government not to make any official statements, and wait for decisions to be made in an international, academic forum.No vote took place at the end of the meeting, and Knesset Education Committee chairman Alex Miller (Israel Beiteinu) said that more open discussions of the Armenian genocide will take place.Read the full story here.
- U.S. has incurred about $400 million in annual costs, or about $1 million a day, assisting Turkey in its fight against terrorism.(HurriyetDaily).Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu says a high-level agreement was reached between Turkey and the United States in 2007 on intelligence services.The United States is covering the cost of intelligence-sharing in Turkey’s fight against terror, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said over the weekend.A high-level agreement was reached between the two countries in 2007, and the flow of intelligence has been uninterrupted and instantaneous ever since, said Davutoğlu. “Turkey does not have any economic responsibilities in this support provided by the United States,” said Davutoğlu in response to a question submitted to Parliament by Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Secretary-General İsmet Büyükataman.“These capabilities from the United States’ own inventory assigned exclusively to the fight against the PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] are significant, and the intelligence provided by the unmanned aerial vehicle’s are valuable to our fight,” said Davutoğlu.U.S. Ambassador to Ankara Francis J. Ricciardone said last May that the U.S. had incurred about $400 million in annual costs, or about $1 million a day, assisting Turkey in its fight against terrorism.Real-time intelligence sharing between the U.S. and Turkey in order to supply critical information about terrorist movements to the Turkish military was formally agreed upon by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and then-U.S. President George W. Bush in 2007.The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.Hmmmm....What's $ 400 Million among friends?Read the full story here.
- Iran extends oil deal with Turkey for 2012 despite sanctions.(TodaysZaman).Iran said on Saturday it has extended its crude export contract with Turkey for 2012, state-run English Language Press TV reported, suggesting it aims to trade via Turkey to circumvent tight sanctions imposed over its disputed nuclear program.Turkey has said it is complying with the sanctions, after trying unsuccessfully to mediate between Iran and the international community."The National Iranian Oil Co. has renewed its crude export contracts with a number of Turkish oil companies ... by the end of 2012," Press TV said in the report.The report said Turkey was a potential market for the export of Iranian crude to Europe, and predicted the Islamic state's crude exports to Turkey would rise by a third in 2012."In 2011, Turkey's oil purchases from Iran was 150,000 barrels per day which is expected to rise to 200,000 barrels in 2012."The European Union is considering a ban - already in place in the United States - on imports of Iranian oil, although diplomats and traders say awareness is growing in the EU that such a ban could damage the bloc's economy without doing much to undercut Iran.Iran warned that any move to block its oil exports would more than double crude prices.The West suspects Iran's nuclear programme might be aimed at making atomic bombs, while Tehran denies this and says its nuclear development is entirely for peaceful ends.Many foreign companies with capital and modern technology have been forced to pull out from the country's lucrative energy sector because of the international sanctions.Hmmmm.....Sanctions that
'bite'benefit Obama buddy Turkey, can NATO trust Turkey......?Read the full story here.
- Netherlands party challenges Turkey's NATO membership: report.(Hurriyetdaily).The Netherlands' third largest political party urged the country's Foreign Affairs and Defense ministries last week to reconsider Turkey's NATO membership, the Jerusalem Post reported.Head of the Dutch Party for Freedom, Geert Wilders, and the party's Middle East expert, MP Wim Kortenoeven, accused Turkey of abandoning its allies Israel and France, the report said. The Turkish government had implemented sanctions on France immediately after the French Parliament voted Dec. 22 in favor of a bill penalizing the denial of the events in 1915 as genocide.France and Holland were regarded as being among the leading countries in the NATO military alliance by the Jerusalem Post. Kortenoeven reportedly told the Jerusalem Post that "Turkey had a short but disturbing history of abandoning its allies" and "it could be a lethal mistake to entrust them with the custody of a crucial element of new Western/European defence system against nuclear rogue states such as Iran and Pakistan."The party's military spokesperson also posed questions to the ministries regarding Turkey's reliability as a NATO partner, the article said.The article mentioned a statement by Radio Netherlands Worldwide in which it said that it was unlikely for Netherlands or Germany to follow the French example and pass resolutions against Turkey.“Both countries have large Turkish communities. No one will be keen to offend them with a ban. But it would be good to put a bit more pressure on Turkey. It’s always good to take an honest look at your history,” Lariss van den Heri, professor of international law at Leiden University was quoted as saying.Hmmmm.....Hear, hear!Read the full story here.
- PM Netanyahu: Israel won't negotiate with PA if Hamas joins gov't.(JPost).Netanyahu says Israel won't let Palestinian state become launching ground for rockets like Gaza, Lebanon; repeats that he's willing to meet Palestinians "anytime, anyplace. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made clear Sunday night that Israel will not engage in any negotiations with the Palestinian Authority if it enters into a unity government with Hamas.Speaking at the annual conference of the heads of Israel's delegations abroad, meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, Netanyahu stated that the turmoil in the Middle East must be taken into consideration in any future negotiation with the Palestinians."Progress in the diplomatic process is dependent on Israel preserving and guarding its security needs which are much more difficult given the changes in the region," Netanyahu said.The prime minister said that Israel is "not prepared to allow a Palestinian state to turn into Gaza or Lebanon," meaning a territory from which thousands of rockets are launched into Israel.He stated that although it was not a pre-condition for peace talks, Palestinians would eventually "have to accept Israel as the national home of the Jewish people."Netanyahu repeated his refrain that he is "willing to meet with the Palestinians anyplace anytime."Speaking at the conference earlier on Sunday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that, with the Middle East in turmoil, now is not the time to think that a peace agreement with the Palestinians can be reached any time soon.Hmmmm.....Perhaps "when crows wear stiletto heels"?Read the full story here.
- Arab League monitor reported injured in Syria, Calls what is happening A "Genocide" as 25 killed.(BikyaMasr).Beirut (dpa) – A member of the Arab League observer mission to Syria was reported injured Monday in shelling in the central Homs province, activists said, as 25 people were killed in the ongoing conflict.Mustashar Mahgoub was injured in an attack in Baba Amr neighborhood, according to a prominent Syrian activist, who requested anonymity.However, an official at the Arab League denied that any member of the mission in Syria was injured.“Our people managed to take four observers from their Damascus Hotel (Sham Hotel) without the notification of the Syrian government on Sunday night to show them the reality of what is happening inside the neighborhoods of Baba Amr and Khailidyeh,” the activist told dpa.“While we were touring the area the shelling started and he was wounded by the fire of the Syrian security forces,” he added.Mahgoub, in a phone interview with broadcaster Al Arabiya, refused to say how and where he was wounded and it was also not clear whether he was in the restive city of Homs or in Damascus during the call.But he did call the violent clampdown on protests – which the United Nations estimate have killed at least 5,000 people this year – a “genocide.”“This is a regime is taking revenge on its people,” Mahgoub told the channel, adding: “what’s happening in Syria is a genocide.”Around 50 Arab League monitors, headed by Sudanese General Mohammed al-Dabi, began arriving in Syria to start inspecting areas gripped by violence, according to activists.According to an Arab diplomat based in Beirut “preparations were being made for the observers to go to Homs on Tuesday, but due to the current situation, intensive contacts are being made to speed the visit.”Homs, in central Syria, has been a focal point of the government crackdown on anti-government demonstrations.A nine-member advance Arab team arrived in Damascus last week, to prepare for the monitors.The arrival of the observers in Syria is part of a deal agreed to by President Bashar al-Assad’s government with the Arab League last week. It calls for the withdrawal of the Syrian army and militias as well as rebel forces from the streets, the release of detainees and an end to all forms of violence.A total of 150 Arab monitors are due to arrive in Damascus by the end of the month.During the Monday shelling in Homs, at least 25 people were killed, Homs-based activist Omar Homsi told dpa by phone.He said that 21 of them are from the Baba Amr neighborhood, where 20 houses were destroyed.Some 40 others were wounded, most them women and children, he said, adding that most of the injured could not be taken to the hospitals due to the intensity of the shelling.“The situation is frightening and the shelling is the most intense of the last three days,” the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement.“The observers must head immediately to the martyrs’ district of Baba Amr to stop the assassinations and meet with the people so that they witness the crimes being perpetrated by the Syrian regime,” the group said.Activists posted gruesome pictures of human remains on the streets inside the Baba Amr neighborhood on their websites.Footage posted online showed the aftermath of the shelling, with bleeding corpses of at least four young men and a woman screaming for help from the international community.Omar Idlibi, a prominent Syrian activist in exile, expressed dismay over the mission of the observers and blamed the Arab League for the delay in their mission.”“Scores of people are being killed in the streets and the Syrian government is still stalling and the Arab League is still not doing anything,” Idlibi said.Read the full story here.
- Related - Head of monitors to Syria says access ‘good so far’; videos show Homs carnage.Tunesian Pres:"Assad has one month to leave peacefully".(AlArabiya).The head of the Arab League’s monitoring mission seeking an end to violent repression in Syria said on Monday he met several government officials who have been cooperative and said access had been unfettered “so far”.Sudanese General Mustafa Daby, who arrived in Damascus on Saturday, is leading a team of observers that will check whether Syria is implementing part of an Arab peace plan requiring it to pull out of civilian areas and put an end to bloodshed.“We are in Damascus now and have started our mission and will head to other cities faster than you think,” Daby told Reuters by telephone. “Our Syrian brothers are cooperating very well and without any restrictions so far.”Daby said the Syrians would be providing transportation for the monitoring mission, a move which may rile the Syrian opposition and spark accusations of censorship.Arab League delegates have said they will try to maintain an element of surprise by only announcing the specific areas they would visit on the same day of their departure.The general said he had already met the foreign minister and his deputy, as well as several officials from the armed forces.He warned those watching the mission not to jump to conclusions about the results of the monitoring mission.“Give us some time, we just got here.”Heavy gunfire killed 23 people in the besieged city of Homs on Monday as newly arriving Arab League observers were urged to head immediately to one of the country’s most serious hot spots.An initial group of 50 observers was to land in Syria later Monday to oversee a deal aimed at ending a bloody crackdown on anti-regime dissent, which has showed no signs of abating since erupting in March.“Rocket fire and heavy machineguns in the Baba Amro quarter killed at least 14 people and wounded dozens,” the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement received by AFP in Nicosia.“The situation is frightening and the shelling is the most intense of the past three days,” it said.Six civilians died in other parts of the central Syrian city, while another three, including a 14-year-old boy, were shot dead when security forces opened fire on a demonstration in Khattab in neighbouring Hama province.A first group of Arab League observers are due in Syria Monday to monitor a deal to end nine months of deadly violence as activists report new deaths in the government’s crackdown on a nine-month uprising. Intensive shelling was reported on Bab Amro in Syria on Monday and as many as 23 people have been killed mostly in Homs, Al Arabiya reported citing Syrian activists.Five days of shelling Bab Amro left 45 people dead and 250 others injured, Syrian activists said.A source at the mission told Reuters that the team will start its mission in Syria by visiting the turbulent city of Homs on Tuesday. “It also will visit the capital Damascus, Hama and Idlib on Tuesday,” the source said.Amateur video shot by anti-government Syrian activists showed carnage in a Homs city street, and locals said they were afraid to leave their homes on Monday as army tanks appeared to fire machineguns and mortars into residential areas.Four bodies of what appeared to be male civilians lay bloodied under fallen power lines in a narrow alleyway of the Bab Amr district, their limbs twisted, heads gashed and brains spilling out.Baba Amr has been one of the hardest hit areas of Homs, a hotbed of revolt since the government began its crackdown on a nine-month-old protest movement seeking President Bashar al-Assad’s removal.“This is Baba Amr, December 26, 2011, and the random shelling is still falling on the neighborhood,” a voice shouted over women’s screams according to a report by Reuters. “These are the martyrs thrown in the streets,” the man’s voice shouted.A third day of heavy gunfire in Syria’s flashpoint city killed at least 20 people, the day before an Arab League monitoring mission is expected there, activists said.The people of Homs are awaiting the arrival of the monitors, who are supposed to determine if Assad is keeping his word by withdrawing the army from civilian areas. “Where are the Arabs? Where is the international community? This is what happened after mortar rockets fell on our neighborhood,” yelled the voice in the video as it panned over a row of crumbling buildings.“These are the destroyed homes. Allahu akbar, allahu akbar! The martyrs are in the streets! We can’t get an ambulance in.”Residents said they were too terrified to venture outside. One described to Reuters a state of siege.“They’ve been doing a few surprise rounds of firing every few hours since early morning,” construction worker Tamir told Reuters by telephone. “I don’t feel hopeful that the Arab League monitors can do anything, they won’t help us at all.”“Every time the firing starts, we run down to the basement and wait for it to stop ... I swear to God that we are all cold and hungry here. There’s not enough food, there's not enough fuel for heating any more. The area is surrounded by soldiers.”Three other video segments said to have been filmed in Homs on Monday morning showed two tanks facing in opposite directions next to an apartment block. One was firing a heavy weapon, possibly a tank-mounted mortar.A third tank, its commander standing up in the sand-bagged turret, maneuvered along the street. There were constant bursts of heavy machinegun fire and the sound of sniper rifles.A third video showing a tank recorded a loud explosion, like the sound of its main gun firing. Finally, after a flash and a loud blast, the screen went white.“If we go out, we have to stay in the alley our house is on. If we move past there we might get shot at,” construction worker Tamir said. "Two people in the neighborhood were just wounded by machineguns.”“We can’t rely on the Arab League. The only one we can turn to is God. We’ve been bearing this for 10 months and they keep giving the government extensions and now finally they brought monitors and then what? More extensions? Until we all die?”The Arab mission is headed by Maj. Gen. Mohammed Mustapha al-Daby. The is scheduled to tour Syrian cities in order to prepare a report, to be referred to the Arab League Secretariat as well as the Syrian government, according to Al Arabiya. The mission is part of an Arab plan endorsed by Syria on Nov. 2 that also calls for the withdrawal of the military from towns and residential districts, a halt to violence against civilians and the release of detainees.But since signing the agreement, the Assad regime has been accused of pressing on with its crackdown on dissent.Meanwhile, Tunisian President Moncef al-Marzouqi called on the Syrian opposition to give the chance for President Bashar al-Assad to leave the country peacefully.In an interview with the London-based Asharq al-Awsat daily, Marzouqi said “they shouldn’t encircle the wounded tiger for the four sides….he should have a way out. He should be frankly told that he has only one month to leave power peacefully.”Marzouqi also said that in case of Assad’s departure, he should not be referred to the International Criminal Court.Read the full story here.
- Imran Khan: "If elected, we’ll create an Islamic welfare state".(DailyTimes).By Asad Farooq. Karachi: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, on Sunday, pledged to make Pakistan an Islamic welfare state if his party came to power, and promised a state where justice would be ensured on grass roots level. Addressing a big convention at a ground adjacent to the Mazar-e-Quaid, the PTI chairman told the crowd he was forming a team to formulate policies, notably aimed at alleiviating poverty “We want to break the begging bowl once and for all”, he said, and make Pakistan a “true Islamic welfare state”. He hit out at President Asif Ali Zardari, claiming his days were numbered and accusing him of policies that encouraged corruption.He said his party would solidify judiciary on priority basis, and promised free of cost justice on people’s doorsteps, adding that all the systems in government departments would be computerised to check corruption. Khan said that he would introduce an exemplary team, which would be honest and capable. He said that party ticket would be granted on merit to only those candidates who will declare their assets. Later, if someone’s assets grow, he/she would be asked to make a declaration. That mechanism, he said, would prevent legislators from getting involved in corruption. The PTI chief further said that corruption prevalent in the country would be eliminated within 90 days of his party’s coming to power, and said it was not a tough task for him. He said that in present situation, the country bears a loss of Rs 3000 million every day. He announced that his party would form a free and fair accountability cell, free of political pressure, and vowed to end political interference in police department. All roads in Karachi near the rally venue were jammed for more than ten hours, an AFP reporter said, and hundreds of thousands of people waved party flags when the former Pakistan cricket captain arrived. “I promised to all you people that we’ll make a new and respectable Pakistan. Join me to achieve this goal,” he told the crowds, full of people waving the green and red flags of his opposition Movement for Justice Party.“I have been an honest cricketer who never fixed a match. I promise you that I’ll never fixed a match either during my political career,” he said, brushing aside speculation his rise had tacit support from the military establishment. Imran Khan said that he will do everything which Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah would have done, and would never beg from foreigners. He said his team would present outstanding and revolutionary policies on all subjects, including local government, foreign, transport, economy, agriculture, and particularly education. He said that a unified educational system was his dream.Hmmmm......."CHANGE"......where have we heard this before?Read the full story here.
- Iranian woman Sakineh Ashtiani to face death by stoning or hanging.(YNet).Authorities in Iran said Sunday they are again moving ahead with plans to execute a woman sentenced to death by stoning on an adultery conviction in a case that sparked an international outcry, but are considering whether to carry out the punishment by hanging instead. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is already behind bars, serving a 10-year sentence on a separate conviction in the murder of her husband. Amid the international outrage her case generated, Iran in July 2010 suspended plans to carry out her death sentence on the adultery conviction.On Sunday, a senior judiciary official said experts were studying whether the punishment of stoning could be changed to hanging."There is no haste. ... We are waiting to see whether we can carry out the execution of a person sentenced to stoning by hanging or not," said Malek Ajdar Sharifi, the head of justice department of East Azerbaijan province, where Ashtiani is jailed."As soon as the result (of the investigation) is obtained, we will carry out the sentence," he said, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.The charge of a married woman having an illicit relationship requires a punishment of stoning, he said.He said judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani ordered a halt to stoning in order to allow Islamic experts to investigate whether the punishment can be altered in Ashtiani's case.Ashtiani was convicted of adultery in 2006 after the murder of her husband.She was later convicted of being an accessory to her husband's murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison.Read the full story here.
Hizbullah and Al-Manar TV: Another State Department-Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations Using Twitter. The Lebanese-based Hizbullah terrorist organization has killed more Americans than any other terrorist organization except for Al-Qaeda; most recently, Hizbullah made headlines on December 16, 2011, when Ali Musa Daqduq, a Hizbullah commander, was handed over from U.S. custody to the Iraqi government. In January 2007, Daqduq orchestrated a raid on American troops, in which Shi'ite militants, in American-style uniforms and carrying forged identity cards, killed five American soldiers in Karbala. One soldier was killed in the raid, and four others were kidnapped and their bodies were later found dumped by a roadside.The U.S. State Department designated Hizbullah a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 11, 2005. The group was previously designated an FTO in 1999, but the designation was rescinded in 2001 after it denounced the 9/11 attacks. Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV was designated a terrorist entity in December 2004 by the U.S. State Department. In 2006, Al-Manar was named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity by the U.S., which declared that it was "owned or controlled by the Iran-funded Hizbullah terrorist network."On March 23, 2006, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that pursuant to Executive Order 13224, Al-Manar was designated a global terrorist entity. The announcement cited earlier U.S. laws against Al-Manar which it called "the media arm of Hizbullah."In response to the U.S. designation, Al-Manar vowed to continue broadcasting even though its assets were now frozen by the U.S. government. A spokesman insisted that there was "nothing new" and added, "It doesn't change anything, and we will continue our work and will remain broadcasting everywhere in the world, including the U.S."Hmmmm.......Twitter - Terrorists - Taliban all start with T.Read the full story here.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
British Islamist Anjem Choudary in Christmas Message: Jesus Was a Muslim; If He Were Alive Today, He Would Be Fighting to Liberate Muslim Land and Implement Divine Law
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." ~ Matthew 7:15
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." ~ Matthew 7:15
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation China 4.9 !More info here.
- Obama to ignore 20 policy riders in omnibus funding bill.(AT).Obama in 2008 on Bush signing statements:
"That's not part of his power, but this is part of the whole theory of George Bush that he can make laws as he goes along. I disagree with that. I taught the Constitution for 10 years. I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. We're not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end-run around Congress," then-Senator Obama said as a presidential candidate in 2008.
This is the Obama White House today on signing statements:
President Obama said Friday he will not be bound by at least 20 policy riders in the 2012 omnibus funding the government, including provisions pertaining to Guantanamo Bay and gun control.I agree with the Obama of 2008. Just because presidents are incompetent and can't get what they want from congress doesn't mean they can run off and decide which laws to enforce and which to ignore. "Gridlock" is not an excuse. And I would say to the president the same thing I say to my conservative fellows who pronounce this or that law "unconstitutional": The president (or conservative activists) doesn't get to decide that question. The constitutionality of a law is determined by the Supreme Court and no one else. If the president (or activists) want to challenge the constitutionality of a bill, or provision in a bill, take it to the courts.
After he signed the omnibus into law Friday, the White House released a concurrent signing statement saying Obama will object to portions of the legislation on constitutional grounds.
Signing statements are highly controversial, and their legality is disputed.
"I have advised the Congress that I will not construe these provisions as preventing me from fulfilling my constitutional responsibility to recommend to the Congress's consideration such measures as I shall judge necessary and expedient," Obama said in a statement as he signed the bill into law.
The signing statement says that on the issue of accused terrorist detainees, Obama will interpret and apply provisions that bar the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "in a manner that avoids constitutional conflicts."
Obama also objected to Defense provisions in the bill that limit the president's ability to put troops under foreign command and require 30 days advance notice to Congress for any use of the military which would involve more than $100,000 in construction costs.
That's a slow, painstaking process - as it was designed to be. Making law is not a partisan exercise subject to the emotions and bias of factions, but rather a deliberative process that requires prudence, thought, and an eye for unintended consequences. Signing statements are, as the president noted in 2008, an "end-run around congress." Someone should challenge the president's ability to issue these daggars aimed at the heart of representative democracy and get them banned once and for all.Hmmm.........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.
- Happy Holidays. Exactly Which Holidays?(WHD).By Keith Koffler.President Obama and Michelle recorded this video to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.Which holidays, please?Let’s see, we’ve got Christmas and, um . . . Hanukkah! So where’s my Hanukkah greeting?Is there some kind of holiday in late December celebrated by the people of Manchuria that I’m missing?I’m going to smack the next person who politely wishes me a Happy Holidays. I’m Jewish. Go ahead, wish me a Merry Christmas. I’d much prefer it, and I do plan to have a merry day.Read and see the full story here.Hmmm....
- He has no problem uttering happy Eid Al-Adha .”The rituals of Hajj and Eid Al-Adha both serve as reminders of the shared Abrahamic roots of three of the world s major religions,” he added.
- Obama CONGRATULATES Muslims on EID-UL-FITR.
- Obama congratulates Muslims on Ramadan month.
Hmmm….“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion’ but perhaps a 'President' will?
- Silent Night!By Mark Steyn.On this Christmas, one of the great unreported stories throughout what we used to call Christendom is the persecution of Christians around the world. In Egypt, the “Arab Spring” is going so swimmingly that Copts are already fleeing Egypt and, for those Christians that remain, Midnight Mass has to be held in the daylight for security reasons. In Iraq, midnight services have been canceled entirely for fear of bloodshed, part of the remorseless de-Christianizing that has been going on, quite shamefully, under an American imperium.Not merely the media but Christian leaders in the west seem to be embarrassed by behavior that doesn’t conform to their dimwitted sappiness about “Facebook Revolutions”. It took a Jew to deliver this line:When Lord Sacks, chief rabbi in England, rose in the House of Lords to speak about the persecution of Christians, he quoted Martin Luther King. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”Read the full story here.
- Domain registrar Go Daddy lost over 21,000 domains yesterday.(Cnet).Domain registrar Go Daddy lost over 21,000 domains yesterday. It could be a coincidence--or it could be the result of the company's p.r. debacle over its support for the Stop Online Piracy Act. Yesterday, Go Daddy actually reversed course and dropped its support for the controversial legislation. "Go Daddy will support it when and if the Internet community supports it," Go Daddy CEO Warren Adelman announced in a statement.SOPA, introduced in Congress this fall, would make it easier for the Justice Department to shut down sites allegedly dedicated to piracy.An anti-Go Daddy thread on social site Reddit led to the creation of Godaddyboycott.org, a site set up to let people amass their disapproval with the company's support of SOPA.While 21,054 domains transferred out Friday of Domaincontrol.com--which is managed by Go Daddy--it is only fair to note that 20,034 transferred in the same day, according to domain tracker Dailychanges.comAccording to techie site TheNextWeb.com, though, the transfers-out have been building over the course of the week, with 8,800 reported on Monday and 14,500 on Wednesday.Hmmmm......Go,go ,go , going?Read the full story here.
- Updated - Go Daddy loses over 37,000 domains due to SOPA stance.Read the full story here.
- Christianity Remains Dominant Religion in the United States.(Gallup).PRINCETON, NJ -- This Christmas season, 78% of American adults identify with some form of Christian religion. Less than 2% are Jewish, less than 1% are Muslim, and 15% do not have a religious identity. This means that 95% of all Americans who have a religious identity are Christians.
These results are based on a compilation of 327,244 interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking from January-November 2011. The detailed breakdown shows that about a third of American Christians are Catholics, while two-thirds identify as Protestants or some other non-Catholic Christian religion. All in all, 82.5% of Americans have some form of religious identity.Gallup's methods of measuring religious identity have changed over the decades, but one major trend that is clear from Gallup's and other organizations' surveys is the increase in the percentage of Americans who do not have a formal religious identity. Some 60 years ago, in 1951, for example, just 1% of Americans in Gallup surveys said they didn't have a religious identity. At that time, Gallup classified 68% of Americans as identifying with a non-Catholic Christian faith, and 24% who were Catholic.Separate Gallup questioning earlier this year shows that 92% of Americans say they believe in God. This suggests that the lack of a religious identity is not in and of itself a sign of the total absence of religiosity.Additionally, in two separate surveys conducted in May and in late November/early December of this year, an average of 55% of Americans said religion is very important in their lives, another 26% said it is fairly important, and 19% said it is not very important.Read the full story here.
- Indian Court sets Feb 6 deadline for social networking sites to remove objectionable content case by FatwaOnlineorg Mufti .(TOI).New Delhi: A trial court on Saturday set a deadline for 22 social networking sites including Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to remove "anti-religious" or "anti-social" content from their websites and directed the companies to file compliance reports by February 6. Additional Civil Judge Mukesh Kumar, who had on December 20 in an ex-parte order issued summons to the social networking websites, granted around one and half month for compliance of his order. The court was hearing a petition filed by Mufti Aijaz Arshad Qasmi through advocate Santosh Pandey who had also submitted the printouts of the contents and the court asked the websites to remove the content which has been found objectionable by the petitioner. During the hearing, the representatives of two websites, Yahoo India Pvt Ltd and Microsoft, Out of the 22 websites summoned appeared in court on Saturday and submitted that they have not got the copies of court order and complaint against them and pleaded the judge to provide the same. Pandey assured the court that he would provide the companies with the copy of complaint and other related documents.Pandey, after the court proceedings, told the reporters that the websites have to submit a compliance report to the court by February 6 detailing what action they have taken to remove the objectionable and derogatory contents from the websites. The court had on December 20 asked the social networking websites to remove the objectionable content in the form of photographs, videos or text which might hurt religious sentiments. On the last day of hearing on December 20, the court after going through the several printouts of the objectionable contents, CD and other documents, found them defamatory and derogatory and ordered to take them off from the sites. "I have gone through the record carefully wherein the plaintiff has also filed a CD containing all the defamatory articles and photographs. In my considered opinion, the photographs shown by the plaintiff having content of defamation and derogation against the sentiments of every community. "Moreover, if the defendant will not be directed to remove the defamatory articles and contents from the social networking websites, not only the plaintiff but every individual who is having religious sentiments would suffer irreparable loss and injury and cannot be compensated in terms of money," the judge had said. 'The websites who have been asked to remove objectionable contents includes Facebook India, Facebook, Google India Pvt Ltd, Google Orkut, Youtube, Blogspot, Microsoft India Pvt Ltd, Microsoft, Zombie Time, Exboii, Boardreader, IMC India, My Lot, Shyni Blog and Topix. Hmmmm......Read the full story here.
- Canada: Muslim 'honor killing' heats up national debate.(Ynet).On a summer morning in 2009, in canal locks east of Toronto, police made a grisly discovery: In a submerged Nissan car were the bodies of three teenage sisters and a 52-year-old woman.A joyride gone tragically wrong, claimed the father, Mohammad Shafia, 58, who reported the disappearance. An "honor killing," prosecutors allege. A murder trial is under way, heating up a national debate about how to better absorb immigrants into the Canadian cultural mainstream.The prosecution accuses Afghan-born Shafia, his wife, and their 20-year-old son of killing the daughters because they dishonored the family by defying its disciplinarian rules on dress, dating, socializing and going online. The older victim was Shafia's first wife, Rona Amir Mohammad, who was living with him and his second wife, Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 41, in Montreal. It was a polygamous relationship, the court has been told, and if revealed, could have resulted in their deportation. The parents and son, Hamed, have pleaded not guilty to four counts of murder. The family had left Afghanistan in 1992 and lived in Pakistan, Australia and Dubai before settling in Canada in 2007. Shafia, a wealthy businessman, married Yahya because his first wife could not have children. The second marriage produced seven children. The months leading up to the deaths were not happy ones in the Shafia household, the court has heard. Zainab, the oldest at 19, was forbidden to attend school for a year because she had a young Pakistani-Canadian boyfriend, and she fled to a shelter, terrified of her father, the court was told. The jury heard testimony that Zainab's sisters, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13, were hounded and trailed by their brothers because the parents suspected them of dating boys; that Sahar repeatedly said her father would kill her if he found out she had a boyfriend; that she had bruises on her arms; that Mohammad, the first wife who was helping to raise the children, also was brutally treated. Zainab ran away from home for a couple of weeks and her sisters contacted authorities, saying they wanted to be removed from the home because of violence and their father's strict parenting, the prosecution said. Prosecutor Laurie Lacelle presented wire taps and cell phone records from the Shafia family in court. In one phone conversation, the father says his daughters "betrayed us immensely." Fazil Javad, Shafia's brother-in-law, said Shafia tried to enlist him in a plan to drown Zainab. "Even if they hoist me up to the gallows, nothing is more dear to me than my honor. There is nothing more valuable than our honor," Lacelle quoted Shafia as saying in an intercept transcript. 'Domestic violence stems across cultural groups'Taking the stand and speaking in his native Dari through an interpreter, Shafia portrayed himself as a loving father with his daughters' best interests at heart. He repeated his contention that the famil members were returning from a Niagara Falls holiday, were in two cars, and were overnighting at a motel when Zainab took one of the cars. The daughters met an accidental but "rightful" death for their disobedience, he said. "You believe there's no value in life without honor, don't you?" asked Lacelle in cross-examination. "My honor is important to me," Shafia replied. "But you can't regain your honor with murder, respected lady, you must know that. "I'm a strict Muslim, but I'm not a killer." Other relatives - two of the children and a brother-in-law of Shafia - testified in support of the joyride scenario and portrayed the family as loving and caring. The trial then adjourned for the holidays and will resume on Jan. 9. Canada takes in 250,000 immigrants a year, more per capita than anywhere save Australia, and in recent years a number of so-called honor killings have prompted debate about absorbing immigrants into the mainstream and dealing with culture clashes between immigrant parents and their children. Even before the trial, Rona Ambrose, the women's affairs minister, had said the federal government was considering making such killings a separate category in the criminal code. Her office has not replied to recent questions about whether the change is going through, and the debate continues about the larger issues the Shafia case has raised about assimilating immigrants. More than 80 Canadian Muslim organizations, imams and community leaders have signed a call for action against "the reality of domestic violence within our own communities, compounded by abhorrent and yet persistent pre-Islamic practices rooted in the misguided notion of restoring family honor." On the other hand, statistically, nonimmigrant Canadians have a higher rate of murdering spouses and children, in some instances, also over family dishonor. Jeffrey Reitz, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in immigration issues, warns against using the term honor killings and equating it with any specific culture. "If you label it an honor killing, the tendency is to say, `Oh, what a terrible culture that is,' and the problem (of domestic violence) stems across cultural groups," he said.The United Nations reports 5,000 females a year are victims of honor killings around the world. In Canada, social worker Aruna Papp says she has counted 15 cases since 2002, while psychiatrist Amin Muhammad, commissioned to write a report for the government about honor killings in Canada, predicts there will be more as immigrant communities grow, bringing in some newcomers with militant cultural beliefs. "Immigrants who come here can't bring their own mindsets with them. They can't practice their own cultural ideologies if they go against the grain," he said. The government must do more, and offer services that are more visible and accessible, especially to non-English-speakers, he said. Tarek Fatah, the Pakistani-born founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, is a fierce opponent of Islamic militancy. He says it is shocking that honor killings are happening in Canada, calling them "a slap in the face of our fundamental value of what it is to be a human being." Papp, the social worker who wrote a report on honor killings for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, a privately funded conservative think tank, worries that domestic violence rooted in family honor has spread to second-generation families. She argues for tougher background checks on would-be immigrants, as well as teaching immigrants Canadian rights and values. Papp, who is of Indian descent, speaks from experience. "I came here when I was 21, with a third-grade education. I had children when I was young. I didn't know how to properly parent," she said. "I did and said things I didn't know at the time were wrong, things my parents did and said to me growing up that were acceptable within the Indian culture. It's a learning process. Parents, especially immigrant parents, need to be taught parenting skills and what's acceptable behavior here." Read the full story here.
- Muslim sect Boko Haram claims Nigeria church attacks; 25 dead.(AlArabiya).An explosion ripped through a Catholic church during Christmas Mass near Nigeria’s capital Sunday, killing at least 25 people, officials said. A radical Muslim sect waging an increasingly sophisticated sectarian fight claimed the attack and another bombing in the restive city of Jos, as explosions also struck the nation's northeast.The Christmas Day attacks show the growing national ambition of the sect known as Boko Haram, which is responsible for at least 491 killings this year alone, according to an Associated Press count. The assaults come a year after a series of Christmas Eve bombings in Jos claimed by the militants left at least 32 dead and 74 wounded.The first explosion on Sunday struck St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, a town in Niger state close to the capital, Abuja, authorities said. Rescue workers recovered at least 25 bodies from the church and officials continued to tally those wounded in various hospitals, said Slaku Luguard, a coordinator with Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency.His agency already has acknowledged it didn't have enough ambulances immediately on hand to help the wounded. Luguard also said an angry crowd that gathered at the blast site hampered rescue efforts as they refused to allow workers inside.“We’re trying to calm the situation,” Luguard said. “There are some angry people around trying to cause problems.”In Jos, a second explosion struck near a Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church, government spokesman Pam Ayuba said. Ayuba said gunmen later opened fire on police guarding the area, killing one police officer. Two other locally made explosives were found in a nearby building and disarmed, he said.“The military are here on ground and have taken control over the entire place,” Ayuba said.The city of Jos is located on the dividing line between Nigeria’s predominantly Christian south and Muslim north. Thousands have died in communal clashes there over the last decade.After the bombings, a Boko Haram spokesman using the nom de guerre Abul-Qaqa claimed responsibility for the attacks in an interview with The Daily Trust, the newspaper of record across Nigeria’s Muslim north. The sect has used the newspaper in the past to communicate with public.The U.S. Embassy in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja had issued a warning Friday to citizens to be “particularly vigilant” around churches, large crowds and areas where foreigners congregate.Several days of fighting in and around the northeastern city of Damaturu between the sect and security forces already had killed at least 61 people, authorities said. On Sunday, local police commissioner Tanko Lawan said two explosions struck Damaturu, including a blast near government offices. He declined to comment further, saying police had begun an operation to attack suspected Boko Haram sect members.In the last year, Boko Haram has carried out increasingly bloody attacks in its campaign to implement strict Shariah law across Nigeria, a nation of more than 160 million people.Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a Nov. 4 attack on Damaturu, Yobe state’s capital, that killed more than 100 people. The group also claimed the Aug. 24 suicide car bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Nigeria's capital that killed 24 people and wounded 116 others.The sect came to national prominence in 2009, when its members rioted and burned police stations near its base of Maiduguri, a dusty northeastern city on the cusp of the Sahara Desert. Nigeria’s military violently put down the attack, crushing the sect’s mosque into shards as its leader was arrested and died in police custody. About 700 people died during the violence.While initially targeting enemies via hit-and-run assassinations from the back of motorbikes after the 2009 riot, violence by Boko Haram now has a new sophistication and apparent planning that includes high-profile attacks with greater casualties.Boko Haram has splintered into three factions, with one wing increasingly willing to kill as it maintains contact with terror groups in North Africa and Somalia, diplomats and security sources say.Sect members are scattered throughout northern Nigeria and nearby Cameroon, Chad and Niger.Read the full story here.
- Report: Israel bombed Sudan targets.(Ynet).Sudanese newspaper al-Intibaha reported last week that the Israeli Air Force attacked vehicles in South Sudan, Ynet learned on Sunday. The report speculated on whether the targeted vehicles had been serving arms smugglers. The newspaper claimed that the first of two attacks was carried out on December 15. The IAF allegedly bombed two land cruiser vehicles killing four passengers. The second attack was reportedly carried out on December 18. A car had been bombed and all its passengers killed. It was also reported that an Israeli apache plane landed in an area where South Sudanese army radar stations are located.The report could not be verified and was denied by official Sudanese elements. South Sudan's army spokesman said he could not confirm the report.The past two years have seen two similar reports on alleged Israeli strikes against terrorists and arms smuggling convoys in Sudan. In January 2009, foreign media reported that IAF jets attacked an arms smuggling convoy transporting weapons to Hamas. According to the report, 119 were killed in the attack. Last April, it was reported that two unknown individuals were killed when their car was bombed near an airport in Port Sudan. Police initially claimed that the two had been hit by a missile fired at them from the Red Sea. Later on, Sudanese officials said that a foreign aircraft attacked the car. Foreign media linked Israel to the incident.Sudan has been known to serve terrorist groups as a route for arms smuggling. Last March, Egyptian security forces claimed they had seized five vehicles transporting weapons from Sudan en route to Gaza.Ynet's security and defense analyst Ron Ben-Yishai said that Israel had neither confirmed nor denied previous reports on activity in Sudan. In this case too, the Sudanese sources could not be sure whether the alleged attack was carried out from the sea or from the air.Read the full story here.
- Mideast Christians Are the Litmus Test of Arab Spring.(JPost).By David Parsons. During last year's Christmas holiday season, it seemed a pair of brutal terror assaults on Christian congregations in Egypt and Iraq had finally brought the plight of the Middle East's embattled Christian minorities to the fore, at least to the point where Western leaders could no longer ignore this abysmal problem.An al-Qaida cell's shocking raid on a Baghdad cathedral in late October, 2010 resulted in the murder of 44 Christian worshipers, two priests and seven Iraqi security personnel. Then, on New Year's Day 2011, a powerful car bomb targeted a Coptic church in Alexandria, killing 25 parishioners and wounding nearly 100 just as they were finishing midnight Mass.As a long-time observer of the Middle East, I held out hope at the time that these tragedies would prove to be a tipping point, and that the West would finally come to the rescue of the dwindling and battered Christian communities of the region. But then the Arab Spring erupted and realpolitik took over. Sadly, there was no time to deal with radical Muslim attacks on Christians when the entire Middle East was convulsing with unprecedented mass protests.Still, the vicious slaughter in Alexandria had left the Copts with an uneasy sense that the Mubarak regime was no longer able to protect them. As a result, many withdrew their traditional support for the government and joined the mass demonstrations in Tahrir Square.Yet now that the Muslim Brotherhood and an even more militant Salafist faction are poised to take over the new parliament, many Copts are having second thoughts. Already facing discrimination and harassment from a secular regime, they realize things could actually get a lot worse under the Islamists.AN ANCIENT Christian community that according to tradition was introduced to Egypt by Saint Mark in 42 CE, the Copts today comprise nearly 10 percent of Egypt's 80 million people. They are a proud faith community -- proud that they have survived centuries of Muslim persecution and repeated attempts at forced conversions to Islam. This pride goes even to the point that many have small green crosses tattooed on their wrists.Yet they are faced with a dilemma under the emerging new order in Egypt. The nation's laws require everyone over the age of 16 to carry an identity card containing their personal details, including their religion.The card in necessary for employment, education, access to public services, even to be married and buried. Thus, there are good reasons that Copts want to be identified as Christians, but holding such a card means facing certain discrimination in job opportunities, education and other pursuits in life.As a result, the Copts are anxious to see whether the new constitution being drawn up for the country will guarantee them both equal rights as citizens and full religious freedoms as a distinct faith community.They also are fearful the army and courts will no longer be there to shield them from Muslim agitators and terrorists. Some have serious doubts on both accounts and Western embassies in Cairo are already reporting an increase in Coptic Christians seeking to apply for emigration abroad.AS THE Arab Spring runs its course, the litmus test of whether democracy truly is taking root in Egypt and elsewhere in the region will be if the emerging rulers respect the rights of their Christian minorities.I have serious doubts this will come about naturally.It is totally dependent on Western leaders expressing their outrage -- loudly and clearly -- at any manifestation of Christian persecution. There must be a determined diplomatic campaign to ensure the rights and safety of the Middle East's indigenous Christians, including political intervention when necessary.There is clear historic precedent for such outside intervention in the Arab/Muslim world to protect Christian communities. As Ottoman rule over the Middle East began to wane, the Great Powers moved into the region, each concluding deals with the Sultanate in Istanbul to provide protection to various imperiled Christian denominations. British envoys arrived to safeguard Protestant interests, France the Lebanese Christians, Russia the Orthodox folds. The Vatican also stepped in to aid certain sects, producing the unique hybrids of the Maronite and Greek Melkite churches which are loyal to the papacy but retain some Eastern Orthodox beliefs and practices.These Western interlocutors all brought with them schools, hospitals and other modern institutions, thus vastly improving the education, health and job opportunities of the local Christians. With this benevolent influx also came advances for all peoples of the region.Some locals are sure to object to any renewed Western intervention on behalf of Middle East Christians as a form of neo-colonialism. But no one has territorial designs here anymore. It is just a matter of plain human decency.No coddling of Islamist regimes! Sanctions if necessary! Someone has to do something to help stop the endless bleeding of Eastern Christianity.When Christ was born in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, an angel warned Joseph in a dream to flee with his family to Egypt to protect the child from the maniacal Herod the Great. Today, every warning sign says Egypt is no longer a place of refuge for his humble followers.Read the full story here.
- Iran says ready to expand military links with Iraq.(AlArabiya).Iran stands ready to expand its military and security ties with Iraq, its armed forces chief of staff said Sunday, a week after the exit of U.S. forces from the neighboring Arab country. General Hassan Firouzabadi hailed the “forced departure” of the U.S. and allied forces that he said “was due to the resistance and determination of the Iraqi people and government,” the state Islamic Republic News Agency reported.The statements were made in messages Firouzabadi sent to his Iraqi counterpart, Lieutenant General Babaker Zebari, and to Iraq's acting defense minister, Saadun al-Dulaimi, IRNA said.The departure of the U.S. troops “was due to the resistance and determination of the Iraqi people and government,” he said.“I hope the humiliating failure of the United States after nine years of occupying Iraq will serve as a lesson for them to never think of attacking another country,” he said.Firouzabadi added that Iran was now “ready to expand its military and security ties with Iraq.”Zebari led a delegation of Iraqi military chiefs to Iran last month to explore greater cooperation between the two defense forces.U.S. analysts have expressed concern that Iran could exploit the vacuum left by the U.S. withdrawal to bolster links with Iraq's Shiite-led government.The United States frequently accused Iran of arming Iraqi militias that attacked U.S. forces when they were deployed there.U.S. President Barack Obama said on December 14 that, while the situation left behind in Iraq was not perfect, “we are leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq.”His administration has warned Iran against trying to interfere in Iraq.Hmmmm......Obama: If We Work Hard, Afghanistan Could Be a Success...Like Iraq!Read the full story here.
- Iran denies harboring man U.S. accuses of being al-Qaeda financier.(Alarabiya).Iran said on Sunday it is not harboring an alleged al-Qaeda fundraiser who has a $10-million U.S. bounty on his head, with the foreign ministry calling the claim “utterly baseless.” The U.S. charge that Iran was protecting Syrian-born Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil was part of an “inept” attempt to implicate Iran in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, according to the website of the state broadcaster IRIB.The U.S. State Department on Thursday said it was offering a $10-million reward for information leading to the arrest of Khalil, whom it described as a “terrorist financier.”Khalil, also known as Yacine al-Suri, was put on a U.S. Treasury Department blacklist in July, when he was described as a high-level al-Qaeda “facilitator” who operated from inside Iran since 2005 “under an agreement between al-Qaeda and the Iranian government.”Tehran has previously denied harboring al-Qaeda members, and has announced the arrest of at least nine people linked to the terrorist group since December 2010.Read the full story here.
- Gaza’s Hamas leader launches Muslim world trip.(AlArabia).Gaza’s prime minister left the territory Sunday on his first trip abroad since his militant Hamas movement seized power in June 2007, hoping to improve ties with Muslim countries swept up in the uprisings convulsing the Arab world. Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh’s deputy, Mohammed Awwad, said the Gaza leader would visit Egypt, Sudan, Qatar, Bahrain, Tunisia and Turkey.Awwad said Haniyeh would discuss possible development projects for Gaza and the West Bank, as well as progress toward reconciling the dueling governments of the two Palestinian territories and Israeli construction in disputed Jerusalem.“We hope that with this visit we can turn a new page in Palestinian-Arab relations," he said before Haniyeh left for neighboring Egypt through Gaza’s Rafah crossing.His departure was confirmed by border official Maher Abu Sabha.Awwad said the Gaza prime minister would meet with uprising leaders as well as official decision-makers.Haniyeh plans to be abroad at least two weeks and possibly more if he receives invitations to visit from other Muslim countries, Awwad said.Haniyeh had been confined to Gaza, mostly because of tensions with Egypt and fighting with Israel. But Egypt’s new rulers have warmed up to Hamas since longtime President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February.Read the full story here.
- Related - Gaza's Hamas leader to visit Turkey in first trip abroad.(TodaysZaman).Gaza's prime minister is leaving on his first official trip outside the territory since his Hamas movement overran the coastal strip in June 2007.Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's deputy, Mohammed Awwad, said on Sunday the Gaza leader will visit Egypt, Sudan, Qatar, Bahrain, Tunisia and Turkey - all countries that have been affected by the upheavals sweeping the Arab world.Awwad says Haniyeh's objective is to discuss development projects. He didn't say how long the trip would last.Haniyeh has been confined to Gaza, in part because of tensions with Egypt.Hmmmm.....Picking up the promised $ 300 Million?Read the full story here.
- 2012 Promises to be an Especially Difficult Year for Israel.(DocsTalk).By Neil Snyder.Muslim persecution of Christians is a growing problem in the Middle East: "When the major media reported a few months ago that Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was set to be executed for leaving Islam, many Western people were shocked, finding it hard to believe that in the 21st century people are still being persecuted -- by their governments no less -- simply for being Christian.The fact is, Muslim persecution of Christians in the modern era has been consistently growing worse. Yet, because only one out of every few hundred or so cases ever receives major attention, few in the West have any idea that it exists." The problem is so disconcerting that Christian Solidarity International has started a petition drive hoping to force President Obama to raise the issue at the global level: "We urge you, Mr. President, to present during the forthcoming State of the Union Address your administration's policy to prevent the eradication of the endangered Christian communities and other religious minorities of the Islamic Middle East."French President Nicolas Sarkozy has voiced his concern already: "We cannot accept and thereby facilitate what looks more and more like a particularly perverse program of religious cleansing in the Middle East."To date, President Obama has not seen fit to inject himself and his office into the debate. His reluctance to speak publically about Muslim persecution of any sort is probably motivated by his desire to create an America that is tolerant of Islam. In the process, he has thrown Christians under the bus:"Christians in the Middle East and other parts of the world encounter an Obama administration that seems utterly indifferent to their fate. One of the most important but mostly neglected stories in recent years is the severe persecution of Christians in the Middle East and other parts of the world. Words such as 'religious cleansing,' 'mass murder' and 'authentic martyrdom' have been used by those who know the situation best to describe this persecution."As appalling as Muslim persecution of Christians is, Muslims of different persuasions hate each other even more than they hate Christians. From Thailand to Pakistan to Egypt, sectarian violence is erupting into conflicts that border on civil war. This problem is especially prevalent today in Iraq, and with the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, it is a growing concern. On Friday, thousands of Iraqi Sunni Muslims took to the streets to protest against Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki:"Friday's protests took place a day after at least 69 people were killed in a wave of bombings across Baghdad. The demonstrations have also come on the heels of a growing political crisis involving Mr. Maliki and Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi."The situation in Iraq is rapidly spinning out of control with Maliki and al-Hashemi accusing each other of stirring up sectarian trouble for political purposes: "The Sunni vice president wanted for allegedly running a hit squad in Iraq on Friday accused Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of waging a campaign against Sunnis and pushing the country toward sectarian war."Peter Wehner writing for Commentary calls what's happening in Iraq a "March Backwards Into the Sun":"Yesterday, a barrage of at least 15 bombs were set off in Baghdad, which according to press reports rocked almost every major neighborhood in the Iraqi capital. Dozens of people were killed. We're seeing a dramatic resurgence of sectarian and ethnic divisions."Concerning Iraq, The Economist went so far as say, "[T]he American neo-con dream of a post-Saddam Iraq spreading democracy throughout the Middle East was always a delusional fantasy. The risk, now that there is no American presence to hold the ring, is that Iraq will fall into sectarian chaos (just as neighbouring Syria may). That in turn will strengthen the argument that in the absence of a Saddam-like strongman Iraq, with its Sunni and Shia Arabs and Sunni Kurds, can never be a coherent state and must, at best, become a loose federation."Although the Arab Spring began as a movement for liberalism and human rights, it has morphed into sectarian strife throughout the Middle East and North Africa: "Many pundits and government officials have praised the 'Arab Spring' as a prelude to the rise of a new and more democratic Middle East. But it is difficult to reconcile this notion with the images of growing intersectarian violence within the region, such as the recent anti-Shiite attacks perpetrated in the course of the celebration of the Shiite Ashura festival on December 5 and 6. The event, a traditional catalyst for intersectarian violence, served as a powerful reminder that identity politics continue to play a major role in the region.Indeed, these Arab uprisings, while fueled by widespread desires for more freedom at the grassroots level, demonstrate that preexisting religious identities were never abandoned in favor of new national ones and that Middle Eastern politics are still very much based on group affiliation and identity politics."As 2011 draws to a close, 2012 promises to be the year of sectarian strife in the Middle East, and no one knows for sure what it portends. This much is certain, though: when Arab Muslim political leaders are confronted with internal difficulties, they unite by blaming the Jews. Israel is a bastion of freedom and democracy in the Middle East, and she is a ready target for Muslims of every persuasion because they hate Israel more than they hate each other. Therefore, 2012 promises to be an especially difficult year for Israel.Neil Snyder is a chaired professor emeritus at the University of Virginia. His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily. His latest book is titled If You Voted for Obama in 2008 to Prove You're Not a Racist, You Need to Vote for Someone Else in 2012 to Prove You're Not an Idiot.Hmmmm......Obama : "I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."
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- The story of Aurora Mardiganian, Armenian genocide survival.(Firat).Aurora (Arshaluys) Mardiganian (January 12, 1901, Çemişgezek, Mamuret-ül Aziz, Ottoman Empire - February 6, 1994, Los Angeles, California, USA) was an Armenian American actress and a survivor of the Armenian Genocide.Aurora Mardiganian was the daughter of a prosperous Armenian family living in Çemişgezek, twenty miles north of Harput, in Ottoman Turkey. Witnessing the deaths of her family members and being forced to march over 1,400 miles, during which she was kidnapped and sold into the slave markets of Anatolia, Mardiganian escaped to Tiflis (modern Tbilisi, Georgia), then to St. Petersburg, from where she traveled to Oslo and finally, with the help of Near East Relief, to New York. Here she was approached by Harvey Gates, a young screenwriter, who helped her write and publish a narrative that is often described as a memoir titled Ravished Armenia; the Story of Aurora Mardiganian, the Christian Girl, Who Lived Through the Great Massacres (1918). The narrative was used for writing a film script that was produced in 1919, Mardiganian playing herself, and first screened in London as "Auction of Souls." The first New York performance of the silent film under the title "Ravished Armenia" took place on February 16, 1919, in the ballroom of the Plaza Hotel, with society leaders, Mrs. Oliver Harriman and Mrs. George W. Vanderbilt, serving as co-hostesses on behalf of the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief. Mardiganian was referred to in the press as the Joan of Arc of Armenia, describing her role as the spokesperson for the victims of the horrors that were then taking place in Turkey and the catalyst for the humanist movement in America. In the 1920s Mardiganian married and lived in Los Angeles until her death on February 6, 1994.Read and see the full story here.