Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Posted by Will at 8:08 PM
Arresting Zainab Al-Khawaja Bahrain women activists - Protests and Clashes Across the Kingdom Tonight
DUBAI: Two Bahraini female activists were released from jail on Tuesday, but the two women refused to leave, saying they would not exit the jail until another woman imprisoned since September, was also set free..
Shiite blogger Zainab al-Khawaja, whose violent arrest went viral on global social networking sites, and Maasuma al-Sayed, were released pending trial on charges of “taking part in (illegal) assemblies on Budaiya highway and assaulting a female police officer,” BNA state news agency said.
The report said a case was being made to bring the two female activists to criminal court.According to Mohamed al-Maskati, the head of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, the women will not leave prison until Fathia Abdali Hayat is released with them.Hayat was arrested in September and is accused by the government of giving shelter to protesters. The blogers found the woman inside the Issa Town police station.One of several video clips showing Khawaja’s arrest generated nearly 173,000 hits since Thursday.It showed the Shiite activist refusing to stand up and leave a roundabout following a sit-in that was dispersed by police.The footage showed her being handcuffed by a policewoman.Another female member of the security forces appears to grab Khawaja’s face violently, before both then dragged her to a police vehicle.One of the policewomen can be seen punching Khawaja in the chest as she lay on her back on the pavement.The mother of a one-year-old child and whose husband Wafi al-Majed is in prison along with her father, leading opponent Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, Zainab al-Khawaja is known on the social network Twitter as “Angry Arabiya.”
She tweeted from the roundabout before her arrest, saying she was chanting “Down, down (King) Hamad” and that a “few girls” have joined her while “riot police don’t seem to know what to do.”
Shiite youth groups had called for a series of consecutive protests on the highway which links Shiite villages with Manama’s former Pearl Square, the focal point of a month-long pro-democracy uprising that was crushed in March.Source BkiyaMasr.
Related - Bahrain Feature: Protests and Clashes Across the Kingdom Tonight.(EAWorldview).
More protests were reported from Bahrain today, mainly concentrated in several villages around the capital Manama and in Sitra, to the southeast. In almost all cases, protesters were suppressed by security forces.
In Sitra, several hundred protesters gathered tonight to demand the freedom of detained protesters and to call for the downfall of King Hamad bin Isa AlKhalifa. The protest, with the significant participation of women, carried banners and Bahraini flags. Eyewitnesses from the scene reported that protesters were chanting, "Peaceful, Peaceful" and "We want freedom"
When protesters approached the line of security forces, the police fired tear gas and other non-lethal weapons to disperse the crowds. The video shows the moment of a sudden attack :
Eyewitnesses described the scene in the area of the protest as "raining tear gas". Protesters tried to remain in the area, but were driven out by continuous firing of tear gas fire; they were forced to run and hide in homes. The police continued to pursue some of the demonstrators and indiscriminately fired tear gas at houses which they suspected were sheltering protesters. Read and see the full story here.
In Egypt, Christians endure their ‘Kristallnacht’.(BigPeace).By Charles Jacobs.
Recently Jews in synagogues around the world heard an ancient prophesy about a time of tribulation for the Christians. In the haftarah, the Prophet Obadiah hears G-d warning the Edomites (traditionally a Jewish term for the people who eventually made up the Christian world): “Behold on that day… Your mighty ones to the South will be broken… every man will be cut off by the slaughter…”
How eerily reflective of the moment: Within just the last couple of weeks, the Washington-based Christian Solidarity International (CSI) issued a “Genocide Warning” for Christians and other religious minorities across the Middle East, and launched a petition urging President Barack Obama to speak up.
The “Arab Spring” seems to be rapidly springing shut on Middle East Christians, most clearly in Egypt where Islamists scored a landslide victory in the first of a three-stage parliamentary election there. The Muslim Brotherhood – whose goals include world conquest in the name of Allah, and whose motto is “Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope” – gained 40 percent of the vote, and the Salafists – who are said to be even more radical – garnered 25 percent. And that’s just in the big cities. As Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick surmises, the results will only get worse as results trickle in from the more religious hinterland.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s yuppies – the grand hope of dreamy Westerners – Twittered and Facebooked themselves a pathetic 15 percent of the vote. They will likely fade away, be absorbed or be wiped out.
While Israel fears for its peace treaty with the Arab world’s biggest country, Egypt’s Copts face a more immediate crisis. This Christian minority, which numbers some 11 million, was established in the land of the pharaohs long before the Islamic conquests. For the Copts, the “Arab Spring” is already a deep, deep, cold winter – and Obadiah’s words might seem a contemporary foreboding.
On December 7, Cynthia Farahat, a Coptic writer and human rights activist, testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission about the plight of her people. Farahat’s colleague Michael Mosad was one of the Christian men crushed by a military vehicle during the October 9 Maspero massacre, triggered by Copts protesting the burning of their churches by Islamist thugs. Farahat told the commission:
His legs were nearly severed from his body. As [Michael’s fiancée] sat next to him …soldiers gathered … brutally beating and kicking his motionless body. Vivian threw her body over his to protect him … but military officers beat and cursed her; they called her an infidel, ‘Christian sons of dogs,’ and worse–
Bothaina Kamel, a Muslim TV personality who hid inside a television station during the protests, heard the soldiers and the policemen yelling “Allahu Akbar” as they brutally beat the protestors.
Kamel told the commission she was able to get out of the building only by claiming she was a believing Muslim. She said that she had been warned that the military was inspecting people’s hands, as many Copts had tattoos of crosses. She said to leave the building, she had to trudge through the blood of Christians whom the soldiers had beaten to death.
Gordon College is a Christian school between Salem and Rockport. A few weeks ago I spoke there at a commemoration of Kristallnacht, Germany’s night of broken glass, the first mass assault on Europe’s Jews and the harbinger of the Shoah. I told the Christian audience how good it was to feel Christian support for Jews in these times, and that even some of the most stubborn of my people were now appreciating Evangelical support for Israel. I also said that we felt this blessed support came from a spirit of Christian altruism. But given the news from the Middle East, concern for others is surely not the only reason Christians need to support Israel.
I asked how many in the audience of 250 knew of Anne Frank. Almost every hand shot up. Then I asked how many had heard of Ayman Labib. I got a mass blank stare. Ayman was a 17-year-old Egyptian Christian who just weeks ago was beaten to death by his Muslim classmates as teachers watched because he refused their demand to remove his cross necklace.
I asked how many knew about the Maspero massacre, which had left at least 24 Copts dead and 270 injured. And whether they knew that since January, there had been more than 70 attacks on Christian churches or institutions in Egypt.
While tonight you commemorate a Jewish pogrom, I told them, Christianity has just suffered its own “Kristallnacht” … and I have yet to see much of a Christian response.
Christian persecution is spread throughout the Middle East, I told them. Christians are under siege in Iraq. In Syria, they are clasping tight to Bashir al Assad as a sort of protector, and will be completely vulnerable if – or when – he falls. The Lebanese Christians are threatened by Hezbollah, and the Sudanese Christians lost millions to the Jihad over the last two decades. Christians (and Jews) have been thoroughly “cleansed” from Saudi Arabia already.
In discussions that followed at Gordon, the Christians lamented that they lacked the sense of family that the Jewish people have. “Look at what you did for one Jew, Gilad Shalit. We don’t feel that way about other Christians.” The global jihad, I said, might change that.
Meanwhile, the group Children of Holocaust Survivors, I’m proud to report, is ringing the alarm bells – on Facebook and Twitter – echoing the Christian Solidarity International genocide warning. And I am hearing rumblings of Christians coming awake.
I urge my readers to respond to this real, mounting humanitarian crisis by visiting www.csi-usa.org. Source
Top Legal Expert: “President Obama … Says That He Can Kill [Any American Citizen Without Any Charge and] On His Own Discretion. He Can Jail You Indefinitely On His Own Discretion”
Source: Washington's Blog
Government Says It Can Assassinate or Indefinitely Detain Americans on American Soil Without Any Due Process of Law
I’ve previously noted that Obama says that he can assassinate American citizens living on U.S. soil.
This admittedly sounds over-the-top. But one of the nation’s top constitutional and military law experts – Jonathan Turley – agrees.
- Is the second most cited law professor in the country
- Has worked as both the CBS and NBC legal analyst during national controversies
- Ranks 38th in the top 100 most cited ‘public intellectuals’ in a recent study by a well-known judge
- Is one of the top 10 lawyers handling military cases
- Has served as a consultant on homeland security and constitutional issues
- Is a frequent witness before the House and Senate on constitutional and statutory issues
President Obama has just stated a policy that he can have any American citizen killed without any charge, without any review, except his own. If he’s satisfied that you are a terrorist, he says that he can kill you anywhere in the world including in the United States.
Two of his aides just … reaffirmed they believe that American citizens can be killed on the order of the President anywhere including the United States.
You’ve now got a president who says that he can kill you on his own discretion. He can jail you indefinitely on his own discretion
I don’t think the the Framers ever anticipated that [the American people would be so apathetic]. They assumed that people would hold their liberties close, and that they wouldn’t relax …
The Government Has Never Given a Rationale for Assassination
While one might assume that the government has given a valid justification for the claim that it can assassinate anyone anywhere, the Washington Post noted yesterday:
In outlining its legal reasoning, the administration has cited broad congressional authorizations and presidential approvals, the international laws of war and the right to self-defense. But it has not offered the American public, uneasy allies or international authorities any specifics that would make it possible to judge how it is applying those laws.And see this.
“They’ve based it on the personal legitimacy of [President] Obama — the ‘trust me’ concept,” [American University law professor Kenneth Anderson] said. “That’s not a viable concept for a president going forward.”
Under domestic law, the administration considers [assassinations] to be covered by the Authorization for Use of Military Force that Congress passed days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. In two key sentences that have no expiration date, the AUMF gives the president sole power to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against nations, groups or persons who committed or aided the attacks, and to prevent future attacks. [But the government just broadened the authorization for use of military force from those who attacked us on 9/11 to include the Taliban and the vague category of "associated forces".]
The authorization did not address targets’ nationality or set geographical boundaries, and there was “nothing about the permission of the government” of any country where a terrorist might be found, the former official said.
Almost Any American Could Be Arbitrarily Labeled a “Terrorist”
As I’ve previously noted, this is especially concerning when almost any American could be labeled a “terrorist” if the government doesn’t happen to like them:
It is dangerous in a climate where you can be labeled as or suspected of being a terrorist simply for questioning war, protesting anything, asking questions about pollution or about Wall Street shenanigans, supporting Ron Paul, being a libertarian, holding gold, or stocking up on more than 7 days of food. [And the FBI says that activists who investigate factory farms can be prosecuted as terrorists.] And see this.
And it is problematic in a period in which FBI agents and CIA intelligence officials, constitutional law expert professor Jonathan Turley, Time Magazine, Keith Olbermann and the Washington Post have all said that U.S. government officials “were trying to create an atmosphere of fear in which the American people would give them more power”, and even former Secretary of Homeland Security – Tom Ridge – admitst hat he was pressured to raise terror alerts to help Bush win reelection.
And it is counter-productive in an age when the government – instead of doing the things which could actually make us safer – are doing things which increasethe risk of terrorism.
And it is insane in a time of perpetual war. See this, this, this and this.
And when the “War on Terror” in the Middle East and North Africa which is being used to justify the attack on Americans was planned long before 9/11.
And when Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser told the Senate in 2007 that the war on terror is “a mythical historical narrative”. And 9/11 was entirely foreseeable, but wasn’t stopped. Indeed, no one in Washington even wants to hear how 9/11 happened, even though that is necessary to stop future terrorist attacks. And the military has bombed a bunch of oil-rich countries when it could have instead taken out Bin Laden years ago.
And – given that U.S. soldiers admit that if they accidentally kill innocent Iraqis and Afghanis, they then “drop” automatic weapons near their body so they can pretend they were militants – it is unlikely that the government would ever admit that an American citizen it assassinated was an innocent civilian who has nothing at all to do with terrorism.Source :BlacklistedNews
Warning extremely graphic images.
Young Egyptian boy latest to be killed in military violence.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: Islam Abdel Hafeez Hamaza is the latest victim of Egyptian police brutality after he died early on Tuesday at a field hospital after being shot directly in the heart with live bullets in Tahrir Square.Hamza’s age has not yet been confirmed, but he appears to be around 11-years-old.He is the youngest person to die yet in the violence. A 14-year-old boy was also killed by police on Qasr al-Aini street over the weekend.His last moments were captured on video, while doctors were trying to save his life but were unable to do so.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Japan 5.2 - 5.1 !More info here.
- U.N. Adopts ‘Religious Intolerance’ Resolution Championed by Obama Administration.(CNSNews).The U.N. General Assembly on Monday adopted a resolution condemning the stereotyping, negative profiling and stigmatization of people based on their religion, and urging countries to take effective steps “to address and combat such incidents.”No member state called for a recorded vote on the text, which was as a result adopted “by consensus.”The resolution, an initiative of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), is based on one passed by the U.N.’s Human Rights Council in Geneva last spring. The State Department last week hosted a meeting to discuss ways of “implementing” it.Every year since 1999 the OIC has steered through the U.N.’s human rights apparatus a resolution condemning the “defamation of religion,” which for the bloc of 56 Muslim states covered incidents ranging from satirizing Mohammed in a newspaper cartoon to criticism of shari’a and post-9/11 security check profiling.Critics regard the measure as an attempt to outlaw valid and critical scrutiny of Islamic teachings, as some OIC states do through controversial blasphemy laws at home.Strongly opposed by mostly Western democracies, the divisive “defamation” resolution received a dwindling number of votes each year, with the margin of success falling from 57 votes in 2007 to 19 in 2009 and just 12 last year.This year’s text was a departure, in that it dropped the “defamation” language and included a paragraph that reaffirms “the positive role that the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the full respect for the freedom to seek, receive and impart information can play in strengthening democracy and combating religious intolerance.”The nod to freedom of expression won the resolution the support of the U.S. and other democracies, with the Obama administration and others hailing it as a breakthrough after years of acrimonious debate.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took the opportunity of the State Department-hosted talks with foreign governments, the OIC and other international bodies last week to stress the importance of freedom of speech in the U.S. She argued that “the best way to treat offensive speech is by people either ignoring it or combating it with good arguments and good speech that overwhelms it.”Nonetheless, the resolution adopted in New York on Monday does contain elements that concern some free speech and religious freedom advocates.It calls on states “to take effective measures to ensure that public functionaries in the conduct of their public duties do not discriminate against an individual on the basis of religion or belief.”Governments also are expected to make “a strong effort to counter religious profiling, which is understood to be the invidious use of religion as a criterion in conducting questionings, searches and other law enforcement investigative procedures.”“Effective measures” to counter cases of religious stereotyping and stigmatization include education, interfaith dialogue and “training of government officials.”And in the worst cases, those of “incitement to imminent violence” based on religion, the resolution calls on countries to implement “measures to criminalize” such behavior.Also of note is the fact that the resolution singles out for praise only one interfaith initiative – and that initiative was established by Saudi Arabia, a leading OIC member-state with a long history of enforcing blasphemy laws.The resolution commends the establishment of the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, “acknowledging the important role that the Centre is expected to play as a platform for the enhancement of interreligious and intercultural dialogue.”(Another clause welcomes “all international, regional and national initiatives aimed at promoting interreligious, intercultural and interfaith harmony and combating discrimination against individuals on the basis of religion or belief,” but the Saudi one alone is recognized specifically.)Monday’s adoption of the text took place without a debate. Earlier, when a General Assembly committee considered the draft resolution, a delegate of Poland – speaking on behalf of the European Union – raised concern about the fact it mentioned by name only one center for interreligious dialogue, even though there were numerous such facilities around the world.The E.U. was also concerned that the resolution considered the world as “monolithic religious blocs,” while religious hatred was primarily a threat to individual freedoms, he said.Despite those concerns, the E.U. was prepared to join consensus and support the resolution.The U.S. representative, John Sammis, said the United States was pleased to join the consensus.It had been unable to support previous resolutions of this type because they sought to restrict expression and were “counterproductive,” he said, but the new one upholds respect for universal human rights.“The United States welcomes all international, national, and regional initiatives that respect universal human rights and that recommend these types of measures to promote interfaith harmony and combating discrimination against individuals on the basis of religion or belief,” Sammis said. “Such initiatives can promote respect for religious diversity in a manner that respects universal human rights.”Hmmmm......Goodbye First Amendment:"I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."Read the full story here.
- EDITORIAL: Biden’s Taliban buddies.Why are we killing them if they’re not our enemy?(WT).Vice President Joe Biden said the Taliban are not our enemy. If so, it makes one wonder what all the killing is about.“Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy,” Mr. Biden stated in an interview last week. “That’s critical.” White House spokesman Jay Carney, in his customary role as clarifier of Mr. Biden’s statements, explained, “It is a simple fact that we went into Afghanistan because of the attack on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. We are there now to ultimately defeat al Qaeda, to stabilize Afghanistan and stabilize it in part so that al Qaeda or other terrorists who have as their aim attacks on the United States cannot establish a foothold again in that country.”This rhetorical dance is true so far as it goes, but the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force defines the enemy as “those nations, organizations or persons [the president] determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations.” The Taliban were given an opportunity to hand over the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks but refused. That’s the simple fact of why America overthrew the regime, and that’s the root of the current spat with Taliban leader Mullah Omar.The official line from the Taliban is as nuanced as Mr. Biden‘s. America is not their enemy; the “occupation” is. According to a 2009 official statement, the Taliban “had and have no plan of harming countries of the world, including those in Europe. … Our goal is the independence of the country and the building of an Islamic state.” To the extent the coalition stands in the way of that goal, the insurgents will continue to fight.This highlights the irreconcilable differences that properly define the Taliban as an enemy. Mr. Biden said if “the Taliban is able to collapse the existing government, which is cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us, then that becomes a problem for us.” However, collapsing the existing government and re-creating the barbaric “Islamic emirate” are the only goals the Taliban have in this war. Mr. Biden cannot separate this objective from Mullah Omar’s followers by referring to them as the “Taliban per se” as though they represent an abstract philosophy or alternate-lifestyle concept. The Taliban are committed, ideologically motivated insurgents seeking to eliminate the current Afghan government and seize absolute power. Any approach to negotiating with them that doesn’t recognize that fact is doomed to fail.Mr. Biden may claim the Taliban aren’t our enemy, but America most definitely is the Taliban’s enemy. Ten years of bloodshed have seen to that. It’s a strange U.S. conceit to believe Washington can loose bombs, missiles and other forms of violent death on a foe with the belief that they won’t take it seriously. Memories are long in Afghanistan, and people tend to respond personally when their family members and friends are killed. The tradition of the blood feud is well-developed in Pashtun culture, and the requirement to seek revenge (or justice) can last for generations.In Obama administration terms, the United States is engaged in a war that is not to be called a war, against an enemy that is not an enemy per se, in pursuit of something it refuses to call victory. It’s no wonder record numbers of Americans have turned against the war effort on President Obama’s watch.Hmmm......"I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."Read the full story here.
- Chevy Volt Costing Taxpayers Up to $250K Per Vehicle.(MCC).By Tom Gantert.Analyst: 'This might be the most government-supported car since the Trabant'.Each Chevy Volt sold thus far may have as much as $250,000 in state and federal dollars in incentives behind it – a total of $3 billion altogether, according to an analysis by James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.Hohman looked at total state and federal assistance offered for the development and production of the Chevy Volt, General Motors’ plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. His analysis included 18 government deals that included loans, rebates, grants and tax credits. The amount of government assistance does not include the fact that General Motors is currently 26 percent owned by the federal government.The Volt subsidies flow through multiple companies involved in production. The analysis includes adding up the amount of government subsidies via tax credits and direct funding for not only General Motors, but other companies supplying parts for the vehicle. For example, the Department of Energy awarded a $105.9 million grant to the GM Brownstown plant that assembles the batteries. The company was also awarded approximately $106 million for its Hamtramck assembly plant in state credits to retain jobs. The company that supplies the Volt’s batteries, Compact Power, was awarded up to $100 million in refundable battery credits (combination tax breaks and cash subsidies). These are among many of the subsidies and tax credits for the vehicle.It’s unlikely that all the companies involved in Volt production will ever receive all the $3 billion in incentives, Hohman said, because many of them are linked to meeting various employment and other milestones. But the analysis looks at the total value that has been offered to the Volt in different aspects of production – from the assembly line to the dealerships to the battery manufacturers. Some tax credits and subsidies are offered for periods up to 20 years, though most have a much shorter time frame.GM has estimated they’ve sold 6,000 Volts so far. That would mean each of the 6,000 Volts sold would be subsidized between $50,000 and $250,000, depending on how many government subsidy milestones are realized.If battery manufacturers awarded incentives to produce batteries the Volt may use are included in the analysis, the potential government subsidy per Volt increases to $256,824. For example, A123 Systems has received extensive state and federal support, and bid to be a supplier to the Volt, but the deal instead went to Compact Power. The $256,824 figure includes adding up the subsidies to both companies.The $3 billion total subsidy figure includes $690.4 million offered by the state of Michigan and $2.3 billion in federal money. That’s enough to purchase 75,222 Volts with a sticker price of $39,828.Additional state and local support provided to Volt suppliers was not included in the analysis, Hohman said, and could increase the level of government aid. For instance, the Volt is being assembled at the Poletown plant in Detroit/Hamtramck, which was built on land acquired by General Motors through eminent domain. “It just goes to show there are certain folks that will spend anything to get their vision of what people should do,” said State Representative Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills. “It’s a glaring example of the failure of central planning trying to force citizens to purchase something they may not want. … They should let the free market make those decisions.”“This might be the most government-supported car since the Trabant,” said Hohman, referring to the car produced by the former Communist state of East Germany.According to GM CEO Dan Akerson, the average Volt owner makes $170,000 per year.Read the full story here.
- Report Lists Over $6.5 Bil In Wasteful Govt. Spending.(JW).A U.S. Senator just released a report featuring enraging examples of how the government blew billions of dollars on wasteful things like a $10 million remake of a popular American kids show for Pakistan and $35 million for political party conventions in 2012.This type of frivolous spending is the last thing Americans need to hear just as the federal debt tops a whopping $15 trillion. Already, public opinion of Congress is at an all-time low and this report, appropriately called “Wastebook 2011” will only add to the fury and mistrust of those running the country. In all, the Wastebook highlights more than $6.5 billion in “unnecessary, duplicative and low-priority” government projects in the last year alone. It illustrates that Washington is on a shopping binge, spending money it doesn’t have on things that are absolutely not necessary, says the Oklahoma Senator (Tom Coburn) behind the report. He points out that nearly $2.5 billion was added to the national debt each day in 2011. Here are a few examples of the government’s manic spending spree this year. It wasted $12 million on a failed energy-saving project in Pakistan, according to the report, and gave China $18 million for social services and environmental programs even though its economy is doing much better than ours.Two million dollars helped pay for a wine exhibition and culinary center in Washington State and $765,000 were blown on a pancake franchise that was supposed to get built in an underserved community of Washington D.C. but instead went to an upscale neighborhood known as a shopping hotspot for well-to-do yuppies. A video game preservation center in New York got $113,000 and $550,000 financed a documentary about how rock music contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union.The list goes on and on with too many examples to list here, though one more expenditure merits mentioning. Nearly $200,000 went to a university study involving how cocaine enhances the sex drive of Japanese quail. You can’t make this stuff up. Just check out Senator Coburn’s 98-page report, which is linked above.Read the full story here.
- OccupyChicago Eyes Headquarters in Striking Distance of G-8/ NATO Summits.(BigGovernment).Occupy Chicago’s presence in the financial district may seem to have quieted down a bit from the circus show it was earlier this fall, but organizers in the group are just beginning to put the pieces in place to continue their assault on America. The revolutionaries have identified a desirable piece of real estate for their new headquarters where the movement leaders will be able to thrive during the cold months ahead as they finalize plans to disrupt the G-8/NATO summits in Chicago this spring.The property is located at 500 W. Cermak on Chicago’s near-south side. It also happens to be conveniently nestled in the middle of a heavy industry zone under union cover, and sits just across a bridge over the Chicago River from one of their friendly allies, the International Union of Operating Engineers-Local 399. OccupyChi.org’s housing page reveals that the proposed location will serve as a “Winter Base of Operations.” Rental prices for the units in consideration range from $2,400- $3,100 per month, and include kitchens and bathrooms–one of which even has a Jacuzzi tub! (Hopefully the Jacuzzi gets some use, along with some soap, of course.) The “grassroots” group plans to “occupy” two lofts in the building to start off, covering the $5,500-a-month rent with a portion of the $25,000 cash they raised in addition to the $3,000-a-month housing contribution scored from an unnamed, nonpolitical/celebrity donor they refer to as “Benefactor X.”So why would a movement that has dwindled down to a couple handfuls of people, at best, in the daily protest of the financial district, need a giant warehouse loft for $5,500-a-month–with room to grow–as a “base for operations?”If you take a look at a map, it’s not that hard to figure out. The proposed location is just about a fifteen-minute walk through Chinatown to the McCormick Place Convention Center–home of the 2012 G-8/NATO Summits.The G-8/NATO Summits now appear to be the Occupiers’ prime target. As we have reported in the past, Chicago’s top anti-war organizers began planning massive demonstrations against the upcoming G-8/NATO Summits as early as last spring, when Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced he was bringing them to the Windy City in May 2012.“Coincidently” Andy Thayer and Joe Iosbaker, two key figures in the planning of these upcoming demonstrations, led an invasionof City Hall in October with a parade of Occupiers to demand protest permits for the summits. (Video of Occupy City Hall) Thayer is the founder of the Gay Liberation Network and a longtime radical anti-war activist, and Iosbaker is currently under investigation by the FBI after his home was raided by the Joint Terrorism Task Force in September 2010. Suspected of providing materiel support to foreign terror networks such as HAMAS and the Colombian F.A.R.C guerillas, Iosbaker is currently facing up to fifteen years in prison.Top level radical-organizer Lisa Fithian, who played a significant roll in the violent chaos at the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, Washington, has also been intimately involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially in Chicago. In October she was a key player in organizing five large protest marches, which fed into one massive protest outside a Mortgage Bankers’ Association dinner at the Art Institute of Chicago. Fithian is a specialist in bringing together massive groups of useful idiots and coordinating chaos to show mass solidarity between different groups of left-wing radicals. She was also responsible for producing the “arrestables” (the useful idiots pre-designated for arrest during a protest) from the Teachers’ Union on the day of the Chicago marches. (Video here)Now that the Occupy Wall Street movement has gone through its training runs in multiple cities and had its lessons in “nonviolent-direct action” from the likes of Bill Ayers and other radicals–the stage is set. We covered Ayers leading a “teach-in” at Occupy Chicago, a radical curriculum he has exported to Occupy groups around the country. Ayers acknowledged–in his own words at his Occupy Chicago teach-in–that October’s interactions between the Chicago police and the Occupiers were in fact dry-runs in preparation for May. It is no leap, then, to conclude from Ayers’s comments that the protests were a dry run for the overall movement itself.While a smattering of Occupy protests are cropping up in random cities across the country, there is an eerie quiet from the protesters in Chicago, the heart of the progressive America. While they protested the shutting down of their tent city on Michigan Avenue and the so-called “unjust” arrests of their comrades in October, they certainly did not put up the same fight seen elsewhere in the country. Now that their numbers have dwindled outside the Federal Reserve on LaSalle and Jackson, the public has been lulled into a false confidence that the Occupy momentum is gone and their movement is dying.But while all is quiet under the gray sky of Chicago’s bitter cold winter, there is movement in their ranks. As the Occupiers themselves said in October, “that was only the beginning.” This is a movement led by cunning radicals and professional organizers, skilled in their ability to divert attention from the real picture, with a clear understanding that this is their moment to seize.Creating a massive new headquarters couldn’t be a clearer sign of much grander plans quietly underway in Chicago, “the belly of the beast.”Hmmm.......Obama's 'Reelection Base'...Chicago.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 and see the full story here.
- "Mele Kalikimaka"? - President Obama's Hawaii Christmas vacation dilemma.(TheHill).President Obama faces a most difficult decision with the payroll tax extension up in the air, and it isn't whether to compromise with Republicans.The toughest call for the president this holiday season could be whether to join his family for Christmas in Hawaii or stay in lonely Washington. The White House won't say whether the president is heading west for the holidays — or even if he’s making an abbreviated appearance.Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said Tuesday that Obama “intends to stay and work with Congress to ensure that Americans don’t have their taxes go up.” Even if there’s no ideal time for a presidential vacation, this one comes at a particularly inopportune moment. For weeks, Obama has insisted that lawmakers stay in town to pass the tax extension. Otherwise, as he said earlier this month, “we can all spend Christmas here together.” Now, with the payroll tax extension compromise unsettled, and members of Congress already back at home, does Obama up and leave, too? Or will the president be forced to spend the holidays at an empty White House with the Yule Log on TV, listening to Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas”? “If he stays, he could be seen as the only adult in the room,” said Susan MacManus, a professor of political science at the University of South Florida. “If he leaves, it could hurt him.” The question of whether Obama would stay in Washington was posed to Carney a couple of times during Tuesday’s briefing at the White House. “Are you saying there’s a scenario that’s possible, on Dec. 25, where the president wakes up and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is on, and he puts on his Christmas sweater in the White House, and he’s all alone and his family is in Hawaii?” Ed Henry, the senior White House correspondent for Fox News, wondered. “I’m reluctant to say where he’s going to be on which day because I don’t want to make this about him,” Carney responded after jokingly asking Henry if he’s available to spend time with the president on Christmas. “It is a very fluid situation. It’s hard to know what tomorrow is going to look like, what the next day is going to look like, as this saga continues.” It’s unclear how the payroll tax extension fight will play out and whether or not a compromise will be reached before the Christmas weekend. But if the measure isn’t passed and Obama does go to Hawaii, the imagery of the president in paradise amid the payroll tax extension debate could give Republicans campaign fodder well into the election year, observers say. “Without any question, it will be used against him,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. “You can see the Republican ads now, about why he’s in Hawaii.”It's not as if a Hawaiian Christmas is some exotic vacation for the president. Hawaii is where the president grew up, and he's visited the state each year for the holidays since his election.First lady Michelle Obama and their two daughters are already in Hawaii, and staying in Washington would deprive the president of Christmas with his family.Yet just as when Obama traveled to Martha’s Vineyard this summer in the wake of the nation’s first credit downgrade and a sagging economy, it will be hard for him to escape criticism if he goes to Honolulu without a tax deal. Some Republicans sound a bit sympathetic, even as they are signal their readiness to pounce.“He has every right to celebrate the holidays with his family,” said Sean Spicer, the communications director for the Republican National Committee. But if negotiators are in Washington working on a compromise, Spicer said, “I think that speaks volumes about the lack of leadership. He can’t chide Congress about going on vacation and then go on vacation."Tony Fratto, who served as a White House spokesman to George W. Bush, a president frequently criticized by the left for his vacation time, agreed. “He’s been the one challenging [lawmakers] — it’s the standard he’s set for Washington officials, so he should stay here and make sure he’s helpful,” Fratto said. At the same time, Democrats say Obama should make the trip regardless. Democratic consultant Karen Finney, a columnist for The Hill, said having Obama remain in Washington “symbolically” is not the answer. “Americans are very clear on who’s raising their taxes,” Finney said. “And it isn’t the president.” Mike McCurry, who served as White House press secretary under Bill Clinton, said Obama “should go on vacation, and Hawaii is perfect.”“It’s dumb not to give our presidents some down time, and he has a long slog ahead next year,” McCurry said. “It also gives his hard-working staff a break, and they need it more than he does. I think most Americans would prefer that Obama and Congress take a long vacation wherever and then come back to do some real work.”Hmmmmm.....Meanwhile I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas.Read the full story here.
- EPA’s “Sustainability” Agenda: Vast Power Grab.(Heritage).The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is on a mission to further unilaterally expand its already vast regulatory powers in the name of “sustainable development.” Congress should take action to rein in the agency before it’s too late.An EPA-requested report issued in August by the National Research Council (NRC), a private nonprofit, lays out “an operational framework for integrating sustainability as one of the key drivers within the regulatory responsibilities of EPA.” The NRC and the EPA held a meeting on the report just last week.The exact meaning of the environmental buzzword in the context of the EPA’s agenda is vague. The report refers to a broad definition from President Obama’s Executive Order 13514: Sustainability: “to create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations.”The EPA would carry out this broad agenda without congressional approval by claiming authority under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). According to the NRC Committee: The 1969 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) declared that the “continuing policy of the Federal Government” is to “create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations” (42 U.S.C. 4331(a)). That policy expresses what is now described as sustainable development.It is important to note that the committee quotes selectively from the act and omits a crucial component of the federal government’s responsibility to work in cooperation with state, local, and other private and public constituents: it is the continuing policy of the Federal Government, in cooperation with State and local governments, and other concerned public and private organizations, to use all practicable means and measures, including financial and technical assistance, in a manner calculated to foster and promote the general welfare, to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony, and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans. The NRC report places the EPA’s sustainability agenda in the context of Agenda 21, which, according to Heritage’s Wendell Cox, Ronald Utt, and Brett Schaefer: would significantly expand the role of government in economic decision-making, impede development and economic growth, and undermine individual choice and policy flexibility for local communities. Opponents should be concerned about efforts by the U.S. government to implement these policies, both nationally and locally.It is entirely unclear what limits, if any, would keep the EPA in check, and that is the biggest threat. And based on EPA’s insatiable hunger to extend its regulatory reach—from regulating CO2 emissions to its expansive Boiler MACT rules—the agency has time and time again demonstrated its willingness to circumvent Congress.If the EPA were to succeed in this latest power grab, it could undermine economic growth and prosperity. “Sustainable development” or “smart-growth” policies have already had negative impacts on economic growth, competitiveness, and our standard of living.Beyond the economic effects of “sustainability,” the agency should not be allowed to unilaterally rewrite the law. That is the prerogative of Congress, not the Executive Branch. Congress should rein in the EPA in its efforts to appropriate vast and sweeping new powers.Hmmmm.........I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes. ~ Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776.Read the full story here.
- Young Egyptian boy latest to be killed in military violence.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: Islam Abdel Hafeez Hamaza is the latest victim of Egyptian police brutality after he died early on Tuesday at a field hospital after being shot directly in the heart with live bullets in Tahrir Square.Hamza’s age has not yet been confirmed, but he appears to be around 11-years-old.He is the youngest person to die yet in the violence. A 14-year-old boy was also killed by police on Qasr al-Aini street over the weekend.His last moments were captured on video, while doctors were trying to save his life but were unable to do so.Since Friday, the violence has left at least 14 people dead and over 700 injured after police used force and live ammunition against protesters.Activists say the death toll is likely higher.It is not clear why Hamza was present at the protests, but he was shot at and taken to the field hospital at the Omar Makram mosque, just off Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square.Human rights violations and the assaulting women and elderly people have marked the recent violent wave as the worst since the outbreak of the Egyptian revolution 11 month ago.Women and girls have beaten, stripped of their clothes, groped and threatened with rape. Elderly women were beaten and slapped and detained for hours inside the Egyptian cabinet building.The military seems to have escalated its violence, counting on Egyptians’ support, yet those who woke to the the image of the “Tahrir Girl,” whose dress snapped open revealing her bra, while being dragged and beaten by soldiers, angered almost all Egyptians and has seen activists galvanized to push forward against the military rule of the country.Another video shows soldiers beating and slapping an elderly woman in the street when she returned to Tahrir square, despite her cries for mercy.Many other serious and criminal violations committed by the country’s once beloved military is being documented and shared by activists on social networks such as Facebook or Twitter.Read the full story here, video here Warning extremely graphic images.
- Greece - Family Give Four Children to State Institution Because It Can’t Feed Them.(KTG).The number of families living in conditions of extreme poverty is increasing in austerity-ridden Greece even thought there ar eno statistics about it. From time to time we hear of cases that families hand their children to state institution because they simply cannot feed them. The latest incident occurred in Patras, western Greece, and shocked the society. The jobless father of a large family decided to give four out of his ten children to a state institution to have at least a warm meal.Dimitris Gasparinatos, 45, has no income since his contract at a hospital where he was working as security guard expired one year ago. The family lives in one room house, and an empty refrigerator. The mother is of poor health, the chidlren permanent hungry. The father had to take the hardest decision in his life. “We are in a deperate situation,” Dimitris told daily Espresso. ” I give my children to have a better life” he said, noting “I’m not lazy.” But he can’t find a work.“Everybody is awaiting Christmas with joyful anticipation, my family starves.When I hear my children crying because they’re hungry I want to die” he said.The desperate father knocked the door of the social services of the Patras municipality. The responsible official helped him to overcome bureaucratic obstacles and now the four children aged 6-10 will find shelter in a children’s institution in Kefalonia.The society in Patras got shocked by the impoverished family and some charity organisations are going to give a helping hand to the remaining six children and the parents.This is only one of the many cases of families and households facing serious survival problems. The number of those who can’t afford even one single meal during the day is increasing. Greek media report even of people who pretend to be sick and seek hospital admission even for one day in order to get a meal and a warm place to sleep.That was Greece in the 1950′s, that is Greece in the 2011. Well Done, guys!Hmmm.....The 'Greek Oracle' of what's in store for Europe?Read the full story here.
- Dozens killed in Syria as Arab League peace team is due.(AlArabiya).At least 100 Syrian army deserters were killed or wounded in clashes on Tuesday as Damascus faced new demands to halt its bloody nine-month crackdown on dissent.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which provided the casualty figures, also said 36 civilians were killed around the country, 23 of them in the northwestern province of Idlib where the deserters lost their lives.“After clashes that broke out this morning with the regular army, 100 deserters were besieged then killed or wounded between the villages of Kafruwed and Al-Fatira” in the Idlib district of Jabal al-Zawia, the Britain-based rights group said.“Dozens of civilians, including many activists, are also surrounded by the Syrian army in Kafruwed,” it said in a statement received in Nicosia, quoting activists on the ground.It also said 14 members of the security forces were killed in southern Daraa province, where the protests broke out in mid-March.The Observatory reported on Monday that up to 70 deserters were gunned down as they tried to flee their military posts in the Idlib towns of Kansafra and Kafruwed.The organization, which said 40 civilians were killed on Monday, urged Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi to “intervene immediately to end this eventual massacre.”Arabi meanwhile told Reuters in Cairo that an advance team would go to Syria on Thursday, with the 150 monitors due to arrive by end-December.“It’s a completely new mission ... and it depends on implementation in good faith,” he said.Syria stalled for weeks before signing a protocol on Monday to accept the monitors who will check its compliance with an Arab plan for an end to violence, withdrawal of troops from the streets, release of prisoners and dialogue with the opposition.“In a week’s time, from the start of the operation, we will know (if Syria is complying),” Elaraby said.The team would include security, legal and administrative observers, with human rights experts expected to follow.General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi, former head of Sudanese military intelligence and state minister for security arrangements, was named to head the mission.Dabi, who coordinated between the Sudanese government and the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping troops in the western Sudanese region of Darfur, is expected in Cairo soon to get his marching orders from Arabi.The observer mission is part of an Arab peace plan endorsed by Syria on November 2, which also calls for a halt to violence, releasing detainees and the withdrawal of the military from towns and residential districts.Despite signing the accord, Syria has failed to convince either the opposition or Western governments pushing for tough U.N. action that it is willing to follow up its words with deeds.Some opposition leaders have called for foreign military intervention to protect civilians from Assad’s forces.France said it hoped the monitors could carry out their mission quickly. But it also said Assad had a record of broken pledges and that Monday’s violence showed there “isn’t a moment to lose”.“For months we have seen Bashar al-Assad not keep to commitments he made to his people and he has increased his efforts to play for time in the face of the international community,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.In recent months, peaceful protests have increasingly given way to armed confrontations often led by army deserters.Rulers of the Gulf Cooperation Council urged Syria on Tuesday to immediately halt its “killing machine” as well as end the bloodshed and “lift all signs of armed conflict.”The United States also expressed doubt that Syria was genuine in its promise.“A signature on a piece of paper from a regime like this, that has broken promise after promise after promise, means relatively little to us,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday.And Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said the Arab League needs to show that its observers are “independent and able to work effectively” to dispel “well-founded fears of yet another Syrian stalling tactic.”“Violence must immediately end, the military withdraw, political prisoners be released and unhindered humanitarian access be granted,” said German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.“We will therefore judge the agreement of the Syrian leadership with the Arab League not by its words but only by actions, namely their immediate implementation,” he added.Chancellor Angela Merkel was “deeply worried” about the violation of human rights and has called on Damascus to stop violence against civilians as well as against army deserters, the German government said.The opposition Syrian National Council charged that Damascus’s acceptance of observers was merely a “ploy” to head off a threat by the pan-Arab bloc to go to the U.N. Security Council.“It’s all about implementation,” said Britain’s U.N. ambassador Mark Lyall Grant.Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem pledged his government’s full cooperation with the observer mission and expressed hope the bloc would lift sweeping sanctions it imposed on Damascus last month.“Signing the protocol is the start of cooperation with the Arab League and we will welcome the observers’ mission from the Arab League,” Muallem said on Monday.Syria blames the unrest on “armed terrorist groups” – not peaceful protesters as maintained by Western powers and rights groups – and Muallem said he expected the observer mission to vindicate that position.On Monday the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning human rights abuses in Syria, where the U.N. estimates more than 5,000 people have been killed in the crackdown since mid-March.Syria meanwhile introduced a law imposing the death penalty on anyone arming “terrorists,” state media reported on Tuesday.However in a show of military power, state television said on Tuesday the air force and navy both held live-fire exercises aimed at deterring any attack on Syria by land or sea.The Syrian authorities have made it hard for anyone to know what is going on in their troubled country. They have barred most foreign journalists and imposed tight curbs on local ones.Hmmmm.....Assad still busy 'reforming'. Read the full story here.
- Top US general: Military options achievable.(Ynet).US General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says in an interview with CNN published Wednesday, that preparations are being made for a possible strike in Iran, while warning the Tehran regime against "miscalculating" the American intentions and playing a dangerous game that could lead to a disaster. "I am satisfied that the options that we are developing are evolving to a point that they would be executable if necessary," Dempsey said during a visit to Afghanistan, adding that there was no guarantee Israel would give the United States warning if it decided to attack Iran."We are trying to establish some confidence on the part of the Israelis that we recognize their concerns and are collaborating with them on addressing them," said the top general. Dempsey has been touring the globe in the past few days, CNN reported. From Iraq to Afghanistan, Kuwait to Saudi Arabia, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff heard about growing concerns over Iran's ambitions. "My biggest worry is they will miscalculate our resolve," he said. "Any miscalculation could mean that we are drawn into conflict, and that would be a tragedy for the region and the world."Washington suffered a heavy blow in its secret war against Tehran with the recent loss of a US spy drone over Iran. Asked about the issue, Dempsey told CNN that the loss of the drone was not the end of American efforts to figure out what Iran was doing. "If you are asking, 'Are we gathering intelligence against Iran in a variety of means?' the answer is of course," he said. "It would be rather imprudent of us not to try to understand what a nation who has declared itself to be an adversary of the United States is doing." Behind the scenes, CNN said, Dempsey is quietly leading the ongoing military planning for an attack against Iran's nuclear weapons in the event the president gives the order to do so. "We are examining a range of options," he said, echoing the "all options on the table" line used by administration officials. Dempsey's comments come on the backdrop of Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's declaration that the US believes Iran is capable of developing a nuclear weapon within a year's time, if it chooses to do so. Panetta guaranteed that this was a "red line" for the US, which would take any possible step to prevent it. According to CNN, the Pentagon is pushing back against suggestions that Panetta has speeded up the US prediction of when Iran could have a nuclear weapon."Nothing has changed about the views he has expressed - repeatedly - of the concerns about where Iran is headed and about the approach the United States and the international community need to continue to take," Pentagon spokesman Captain John Kirby said Tuesday. "I think what he meant in general was they could have the nuclear weapons capability in a year, I think was how he captured that," Kirby said. "We all recognize that is a difficult process - could be that fast, might not be that fast."Hmmmm.....Reelection speech daily?Read the full story here.
- Iraq's Maliki urges Kurds to hand over VP.(AlJazeera).Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister, has called on authorities in the autonomous Kurdish region to hand over Tariq al-Hashimi, the country's vice president who is wanted on allegations of running a death squad."We call for the government of the Kurdistan region to take its responsibility and hand over Hashimi to the justice system," Maliki told a news conference in Baghdad on Wednesday. "We do not accept any interference in Iraqi justice."Maliki also rejected Hashimi's calls for Arab League representatives to observe the investigation and any questioning, telling reporters: "This is a criminal case, and there is no need for the Arab League and the world to have a role in this."Officials issued the warrant for Hashimi's arrest on Monday, after earlier banning him from leaving the country. The accusations date back to the height of the war in 2006 and 2007, when neighbours turned on neighbours and whole sections of Baghdad were divided along sectarian lines.Hashimi has rejected the charges against him, while the US has urged calm in a row that has raised questions about the stability of the country and reignited sectarian tensions just days after the final withdrawal of US troops.Joe Biden, the US vice president, who visited Iraq earlier this month ahead of the pullout, said the US was monitoring conditions in Iraq closely and remained committed to a long-term strategic partnership."The vice president also stressed the urgent need for the prime minister and the leaders of the other major blocs to meet and work through their differences together," the White House said in a statement.The latest intrigue has raised suspicions that Maliki, a Shia, ordered the arrest of the vice president as part of a campaign to consolidate his hold on power.Kurdish leaders have been trying to work out a solution, sheltering Hashimi from arrest in their semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq.It is unlikely they will agree to hand over the vice president, said Al Jazeera's Omar al-Saleh, reporting from the Iraqi capital Baghdad."Kurdish officials in the region said that they will never hand the vice president back to Baghdad because as things stand now he is a suspect and he's not convicted of any crime; and he came in his capacity as vice president of this country, so he is a guest in other words," our correspondent said.Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Hashimi said: "I swear to God that Hashimi didn't commit any sin or do anything wrong against any Iraqi either now or in the future and this is my pledge to God." He spoke from the Kurdish city of Erbil, where he travelled on Sunday after learning that authorities were preparing to arrest him.He described the confessions of his bodyguards that aired on Iraqi state TV as "fabricated" and the charges as a campaign to "embarrass" him."Maliki is behind the whole issue. The country is in the hands of Maliki. All the efforts that have been exerted to reach national reconciliation and to unite Iraq are now gone. So yes, I blame Maliki," he said.On Monday, state-run television aired what it characterised as confessions by men said to be bodyguards for Hashimi.The men said they killed officials working in the health ministry and foreign ministry as well as Baghdad police officers, and that they received $3,000 from Hashimi for each attack.Maliki effectively runs the interior ministry, where the charges originated.Read the full story here.
- Canada - When green bananas go bad.(DailyBayonet).Chiquita bananas has a PR headache in Canada, because they tried to be cute with green PR.The idea that a company with a checkered human rights record would try to take the moral high ground is, well, to be honest, bananas. Chiquita Brands International Inc. has committed to stop filling its trucks with fuel made from Canadian bitumen, a position that has prompted pro-oilsands groups to urge their own boycott on the banana producer.Chiquita figured it could follow Avon and Lush to polish it’s green credentials by dumping Canadian oilsands fuel. But this time, Canadians are fighting back and the net result is that everyone is reminded of what a scumbag outfit Chiquita is:
In 2007, Chiquita was fined $25 million for giving protection money to South American terrorist paramilitaries, including the notorious FARC. If it sounds shocking to you that a fruit company would be financing terrorist groups, then you don’t know the history of Chiquita — or the United Fruit Company, as it was known for most of the last century.
It was such a corrupt company that the countries in which it operated literally became “banana republics” – they were undermined democratically and became mere arms of the company itself. The rule of law, treatment of workers, civil rights all were subverted to the will of the United Fruit Company. We don’t call them pineapple republics; we don’t call them tomato republics. We call them banana republics, because of Chiquita banana.The pro-Canada lobby has spawned an anti-Chiquita Facebook page, and although the firm is scrubbing negative comments from its regular Facebook page, news is spreading fast.A full list of products offered by Chiquita is here, should you wish to join the boycott fun. Also, for more Chiquita chortles, insert your favorite ‘slipping on their own skin’ joke here. To peels of laughter, of course.The banana firm was encouraged to drop Canadian oil by ForestEthics, the same hippies who talked Avon and Lush into being anti-Canadian. After the bruising Chiquita bananas are taking, ForestEthics might have a hard time persuading other firms that Canada-bashing is good for business.Hmmmm..........Canuks gone 'Bananas'?Read the full story here.
- Turkey - Freedom of hypocrisy.(HurriyetDaily)By Yusuf Kanli.Yesterday morning the police and prosecutors were busy again. They were rounding up some alleged criminals disguised as journalists.Was not the prime minister right in his declarations that there are no journalists behind bars in this country? All those journalists behind bars – the number might have reached 80, 90 or more depending on the “ability” of the police which launched yet another “operation detain all” yesterday – are in prison not because they have some hazardous ideas or wrote some hazardous articles, but because they were involved in some common crime. Indeed, being a journalist cannot provide anyone with immunity similar to that enjoyed by parliamentarians who managed to get into Parliament before being arrested for some reason.A friend wrote me yesterday that probably an era will come in this country one day when police will undertake operations against members of the media from the Muslim Brotherhood. As is often said, if one can wait long enough on the banks of a river, he can watch the remains of his enemies pass by. I wrote back to my friend: “I hope if such a day comes we will be able to stand up and declare our solidarity with the oppressed members of the profession with the full force of our lungs.”The tall, angry, bold, bald and ill man appears to be determined to wipe away the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist gang. No one can say anything against a prime minister or government taking action against a major security risk provided everything remains within the scope of the law and illegality is not fought with some illegal undertakings.Silencing its propaganda machine, disrupting its organization in cities, curtailing its recruitment capabilities and cutting its funds are all requirements of a successful fight against the PKK. It’s not just the current government – all Turkish governments since the 1984 start of the PKK’s separatist terrorist campaign have been trying to take such measures. This, however, is the first time the government appears to be ready to set the entire forest on fire with the “honest” and “applaudable” intention of getting rid of some beasts.Pınar Öğünç wrote in daily Radikal this week. Excluding those colleagues detained yesterday under the disguise of the so-called Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) case, 43 of the 72 journalists in prison were of ethnic Kurdish background. Is it not sad to see signs of repression of a section of the society in a country where the prime minister just very recently “sincerely” apologized to the people of Tunceli for the state crime unleashed on the province in the late 1930s in a discriminative and racist manner?Can there be freedom of expression if in reality that freedom is limited with praise for the government and the almighty sole executive and those who dare to engage in criticism or express some ideas unwelcome to the absolute rulers are banished behind bars? Can such a country turn to France and say criminalizing objections to an alleged genocide is a curb on freedom of expression? Perhaps it is better to forget our crimes and condemn the French ones, very much like the French have been trying to do.Hmmmmm.......The test of democracy is freedom of criticism. ~ David Ben-Gurion.Read the full story here.
- Turkey - Fighting genocide calls for radical steps.(HurriyetDaily).By MehmetAliBiran.The “genocide” resolution in France is only a signal flare. It is the tip of the iceberg that will hit Turkey in 2015. Why 2015? It is the 100th anniversary of the Armenians’ genocide claims. Note this date. You will see that a major storm will break. The French vote is only a prelude. They are preparing to blow like a hurricane in coming years. France’s stance is very much domestic politics. Sarkozy is planning to win the Armenian votes in 2012 presidential elections. This stance is in accordance with the French President’s policy to exclude Turkey from Europe. In other words, it is not a surprise development.
What do we do?
As always, we are trying to prevent what is coming by harsh warning letters and threat-filled statements. We are sending delegations to France trying to influence every segment. Next, we will temporarily withdraw our ambassador and maybe there will be calls to boycott French goods. We will bring forward our significance for Europe, our strategic value, but nothing will change.These methods do not serve their purpose anymore. Moreover, they will be more useless toward 2015.
We are underestimating 2015
Turkey has lost its struggle against the genocide. For almost 100 years, first it buried its head in the sand, did not discuss it, it has even left its own society ignorant. For all those years, it was not able make the international community believe that “there was no genocide.” It did not go beyond a total denial. We have missed that train. The international conscience has accepted the genocide and believed the Armenians. Armenians on the other hand are preparing to drop the final curtain in 2015. Starting from the United States Congress, they plan to act in every direction to tag the genocide on Turkey. If Turkey is to fight with traditional and far from convincing methods as it did in the past, then it will not be able to prevent this tsunami. These reactions are not effective. Extreme reactions cause our country to be isolated and also cause economic and political damage. Only bold steps can save us from this accusation. The way to disperse the genocide wind passes through launching of new “initiatives” that will surprise the world public. By publicly apologizing for mutual losses and taking those steps to activate relations with Yerevan, we can only hold on to the edge of the genocide cliff. Otherwise, 2015 will very much batter Turkey.
Who is doing what in Ankara?
A question I am very curious to hear the answer is this: “Is there a planned operation in Ankara to mitigate the losses of the coming 2015 earthquake?”If not, be sure that we will feel the pain immensely. Actually, we are already late, but again, some things can be done. Let’s not forget, the more we postpone taking precautions, the more it will become expensive and cause risky decisions for us to escape from the trap. For once, let’s act like a European, not like a Turk. Read the full story here.
- Report: 675 Honor Killings In Pakistan During Nine-Month Period.(The Australian) — At least 675 Pakistani women and girls were murdered during the first nine months of the year for allegedly defaming their family’s honour, a leading human rights group said today.The statistics highlight the scale of violence suffered by many women in conservative Muslim Pakistan, where they are frequently treated as second-class citizens and there is no law against domestic violence.Despite some progress on better protecting women’s rights, activists say the government needs to do far more to prosecute murderers in cases largely dismissed by police as private, family affairs.“A total of 675 women and girls were killed in the name of honour across Pakistan from January to September,” a senior official in the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said.They included at least 71 victims under the age of 18.The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is unauthorised to speak to the media, said figures were still being compiled for the period covering October to December, and that a full report would be released in February.Read the full story here.
- Three activists from feminist group 'Femen' claim they were arrested and left naked in forest after topless protest in Minsk.(DailyMail).Police left three Ukrainian feminists naked in a forest after they engaged in a topless protest, the women allege.The women were protesting in the Belorussian capital of Minsk when they were blindfolded, taken to a forest, covered in oil and forced to strip, the feminist group said. They were then threatened with being set on fire and their hair was cut with a knife.The nightmare was filmed, and the women were then abandoned naked in the forest, with no documents. They traveled on foot to a small town to seek refuge, the BBC reported.The women had been protesting the first anniversary of President Alexander Lukashenko's disputed re-election.The group regularly stages topless protests.According to it's website, it aims to 'unite young women basing on the principles of social awareness and activism, intellectual and cultural development.'The Ukrainian embassy in Minsk has refused to confirm Femen's claims but told the BBC a diplomat was going to investigate.A spokesman for Belarussian security services refused to comment but said the women's behaviour was 'a provocation'.The women were demanding freedom for political prisoners.The event sparks another in recent controversies surrounding the regime's treatment of opposition.With demonstrations rare, at least six journalists were arrested for covering the protest, according to AFP news agency.In fact, in December 2010, authorities silenced protests against alleged vote-rigging in the general election.Many international monitoring groups said the vote - of which Mr Lukashenko won 80% - was very biased.Read the full story here.More here.