Thursday, January 19, 2012
Turkish Jew participating in Eurovision for Turkey, radical right-wing papers accused Bonomo of being a tool of Zionists and Freemasons.
Turkish Jews celebrate country’s Eurovision pick, but singer would prefer quiet about his religion.(JTA).Turkey’s Jews are pleased as can be that for the first time, a Jew will be representing their country at the Eurovision song contest.But the singer, Can Bonomo, isn’t exactly trumpeting his accomplishment -- at least not the Jewish part.“We would like to inform that Mr. Can Bonomo is bound to refuse answering all the questions about his religious beliefs, anti-Semitism and political subjects,” Bonomo’s spokesman, Ece Kahraman, wrote in a statement to JTA.Bonomo has taken pains to tell fans that he will be participating in Eurovision as a Turk, not as a Jew.“My family came from Spain 540 years ago,” Bonomo said in an interview on the "Aksam" news show in a video posted Jan. 11 that has gone viral. “I am Turkish and I am representing Turkey, I will go out there with the Turkish flag and represent Turkey. I am an artist, a musician. That’s all that everybody needs to know.”Prior to his appearance on "Aksam," radical right-wing papers had accused Bonomo of being a tool of Zionists and Freemasons.The way in which the anchor framed her question in the interview probably didn’t put him at ease.It is true that Bonomo’s selection for the contest, which is being held in May in Baku, Azerbaijan, has sparked a glint of hope among Turkey’s 20,000 Jews, who have watched anxiously as their country’s historically strong relations with Israel have deteriorated.
“It is the first time in history that a talented young Turkish Jewish singer will represent Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest,” Derya Agis, a scholar of Turkish Jewish culture and history at Brandeis University, wrote on her Facebook page. “Turkey will show the importance of diversity in Europe where anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia have been problems since centuries.”
Or, put a little less academically by Denise Saporta, a spokeswoman for Turkey’s Jewish community: “A Jewish boy is going to represent Turkey!” she told JTA. “We’re all very proud.”Should Bonomo, who was born in the coastal city of Izmir, decide one day to shuck off his hesitancy about his Jewish roots, he might discover how they informed his music.Jewish cafe singers drew crowds in the 1920s and 1930s with their modernized versions of their parents’ aching and ancient Ladino love ballads. A number of their modern Israeli interpreters, including Hadass Pal-Yarden and Yasmin Levy, have taken their acts to Turkey and won acclaim.Read the full story here.
- Complete Civil War submarine unveiled for first time.(AD).Confederate Civil War vessel H.L. Hunley, the world's first successful combat submarine, was unveiled in full and unobstructed for the first time on Thursday, capping a decade of careful preservation. "No one alive has ever seen the Hunley complete. We're going to see it today," engineer John King said as a crane at a Charleston conservation laboratory slowly lifted a massive steel truss covering the top of the submarine.About 20 engineers and scientists applauded as they caught the first glimpse of the intact 42-foot-long (13-meter-long) narrow iron cylinder, which was raised from the ocean floor near Charleston more than a decade ago. The public will see the same view, but in a water tank to keep it from rusting.PhotoBlog: More images of the H.L. Hunley."It's like looking at the sub for the first time. It's like the end of a long night," said Paul Mardikian, senior conservator since 1999 of the project to raise, excavate and conserve the Hunley.In the summer of 2000, an expedition led by adventurer Clive Cussler raised the Hunley and delivered it to the conservatory on Charleston's old Navy base, where it sat in a 90,000-gallon tank of fresh water to leach salt out of its iron hull.On weekdays, scientists drain the tank and work on the sub. On weekends, tourists who before this week could only see an obstructed view of the vessel in the water tank, now will be able to see it unimpeded.
Larger size diagram here.
Considered the Confederacy's stealth weapon, the Hunley sank the Union warship Housatonic in the winter of 1864, and then disappeared with all eight Confederate sailors inside.The narrow, top-secret "torpedo fish," built in Mobile, Ala., by Horace Hunley from cast iron and wrought iron with a hand-cranked propeller, arrived in Charleston in 1863 while the city was under siege by Union troops and ships.In the ensuing few months, it sank twice after sea trial accidents, killing 13 crew members, including Horace Hunley, who was steering."There are historical references that the bodies of one crew had to be cut into pieces to remove them from the submarine," Mardikian told Reuters. "There was forensic evidence when they found the bones (between 1993 and 2004 in a Confederate graveyard beneath a football stadium in Charleston) that that was true."The Confederate Navy hauled the sub up twice, recovered the bodies of the crew, and planned a winter attack.
What scientists have found:
Mardikian has the lantern, which archaeologists found in the submarine more than a century later, in his laboratory.
Scientists removed 10 tons of sediment from the submarine, along with the bones, skulls and even brain matter of the crew members, Mardikian told Reuters. They also found fabric and sailors' personal belongings.
Facial reconstructions were made of each member of the third and final crew. They are displayed along with other artifacts in a museum near the submarine. In a nearby vault is a bent gold coin that archaeologists also found in the submarine. It was carried by the sub's captain, Lieutenant George Dixon, for good luck after it stopped a bullet from entering his leg during the Battle of Shiloh in 1862.
"The submarine was a perfect time capsule of everything inside," said Ben Rennison, one of three maritime archaeologists on the project.Read the full story here.
Israel and U.S.: No-Kidding Red Lines Setting Strategic Limits.(DocsTalk).By Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.“Don’t do it.” That is the message American officials, from President Obama on down, are delivering to their Israeli counterparts in the hope of dissuading the Jewish State from taking a fateful step: attacking Iran to prevent the mullahs’ imminent acquisition of nuclear weapons.
This week, the nation’s top military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, will visit Israel to convey the same message in person. If recent reports of other U.S. demarches are any guide, the General will deliver an insistent warning that Israel must give sanctions more time to work and refrain from acting unilaterally. Such warnings have become more shrill as evidence accumulates that Israel is getting ready to move beyond what is widely believed to be a series of successful – but insufficient – covert actions against the Iranian nuclear program, missile forces and associated personnel.Some U.S. officials reportedly think the Israelis are just posturing. As one put it, they are playing out a “hold me back” gambit – perhaps hoping the Americans will do the job themselves, or at least to be rewarded for their restraint.
Others point, however, to evidence that the Israelis are concealing key military movements from our intelligence assets as an indicator that they are going for it – and want to keep us from interfering. At a minimum, Jerusalem would have to worry that an American administration that is holding secret negotiations with Tehran in Turkey at the level of Deputy Secretary of State William Burns would seek to curry favor with the mullahs by compromising any information it obtains about Israel’s intentions.
At the end of the day, the fundamental difference between the U.S. and Israel is that the Israelis have laid down “red lines” with respect to the Iranian nuclear enterprise. One of them was crossed two weeks ago when the Iranians announced that they had started enriching uranium in a hardened, and heavily defended, underground facility near the city of Qom. Even the International Atomic Energy Agency – an organization that, under its previous management, incessantly obscured the true weapons purpose and steady progress of the Iranian nuclear program – views this step as ominous.(
The maximum of 3,000 centrifuges that Fodow can contain will never produce enough to supply the fuel needed for a nuclear reactor.However, their performance is perfect for making nuclear bombs.)By contrast, we know that at least some Obama administration officials are persuaded the United States can live with a nuclear Iran. They are said to be working up plans to contain, or at least, accommodate themselves to such a prospect.
It is less clear whether Team Obama actually thinks it can tolerate the mullahs’ closure of the Strait. After all, the oil and natural gas that flows through it from much of the Gulf’s littoral states would be severely affected. The effect would be dire for energy prices, U.S. allies and the world economy.
So far, though, in what may be seen from Tehran – whether rightly or wrongly – as submission to the new, Iranian-dictated order of things, we have chosen to remove all carrier battle groups from the Gulf. We have also yet to challenge Iranian assertions that our capital ships will be attacked if they try to return without Tehran’s permission.Thus, the Israelis could reasonably view the United States as less-than-serious about the threats posed by Iran and as wholly unreliable when it comes to keepingthem from metastasizing further. Under such circumstances, if the Jewish State feels it has no choice but to be deadly serious with respect to its red-lines, its leaders must be expected to act as Iran violates them.The likelihood for such action can only have grown as a result of the contempt with which President Obama has treated Israel, our most important regional ally. Dissing its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is one thing. Allowing our own red-lines to be flouted with impunity, signals that Israel is on its own and must proceed accordingly.
If we are going to stop the nightmare of a messianic regime armed with nuclear missiles, somebody better do it soon – and with something more effective than sanctions. America should take the lead. But, if the Obama administration won’t, it should get out of the Israelis’ way.Read the full story here.
Vermont Democrat Rep. Peter Welch reported that he was astonished to find
that the Suadi Ministry of Defense has no women's restrooms.
Visiting US lawmakers find that Saudi Ministry of Defense has no bathrooms for women. (BikyaMasr).CAIRO: Vermont Democrat Rep. Peter Welch says he got an “astonishing” look at gender segregation in Saudi Arabia during a visit to the kingdom last week, when he and his colleagues discovered that there is no women’s restroom at the Saudi Defense Ministry.
Eight Republican House members, including four women, accompanied Welch on the trip. Though the male US representatives present offered to stand outside of the men’s restroom to guard it while the female lawmakers used it, Saudi officials disapproved.“’Why would you need it?’ That was sort of their attitude,” Welch told the press on Tuesday. “No Saudi women work there but you would think that they were accustomed to having delegations from Western countries that included women.”
According to Welch, the women “had to wait and endure it.”“It was a pretty astonishing experience for me and for them too, I think,” Welch said. “These are strong independent women and they’re used to being treated equally and treating others equally and you’re in a society where there’s strict segregation and it’s pretty stunning.”Welch, a member of the House Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations, had never before been to Saudi Arabia.The trip was made in order to meet with government officials in the Middle East in order to assess the threat of a nuclear Iran.According to Welch, many officials support sanctions against Iran amid concerns over the country’s nuclear ambitions.“There was a universal view that the Middle East would be a safer place if Iran did not have a nuclear weapon,” said Welch.Hmmmm.....They might try hiding it in the women restrooms?Read the full story here.
Far Left/Global Muslim Brotherhood Coalition Announces Global March On Jerusalem.(FSM).A far-left European website has posted an invitation to a “global march on Jerusalem.” According to the announcement on the website of the Anti-Imperalist Camp:
Jerusalem has been a centre of the three monotheistic world religions for more than 1,000 years. This plurality has been threatened since the creation of the state of Israel and more so with the occupation of east Jerusalem and its annexation, in violation of international law. Jerusalem’s Palestinian inhabitants are subjected to a continuous process of expulsion from the city.
85% of its territory has been robbed by foreign settlers, while the Israeli state systematically destroys the livelihood of Palestinians. Every day, the Apartheid state of Israel demolishes Palestinian homes. Armed Israeli gangs, supported by the state, terrorise the old city’s inhabitants demanding, “Arabs out, Jerusalem is Jewish!” Jewish religious fanatics even attack Jewish women if they don’t abide by the rules emanating from their extremist interpretation of religion. All this is happening while the people of the Arab world are clamouring for democracy and self-determination.
After decades of submission to a world order dominated by NATO and Israel, the Arab masses have begun to rid themselves of their dependent and dictatorial regimes. People have taken to the streets in unprecedented numbers; demanding democracy and an end to the squander of their countries’ resources. For decades, these corrupt dictatorships have collaborated with Israel to safeguard Western interests in the region. The clearest testimony of this is the comprehensive blockade that has been imposed on the Gaza Strip; destroying the future of 1.5 million Palestinians.We will meet before Land Day on March 30, 2012, in Cairo, Amman, Beirut and Damascus to start our common march to Jerusalem. In all these capitals, we would be joined by local preparatory committees.
Concomitantly, there will be mobilisations throughout historic Palestine: in the West Bank, in the Gaza Strip, in Israel (by Muslims, Christians and Jews) and first and foremost, in Jerusalem also….We say no to Zionism; and to an exclusive Jewish colonial state, which reacts to the legitimate struggle of the indigenous Palestinian people with the expansion of its Apartheid rule.
Six of the twelve individuals listed as sponsoring/endorsing the initiative are either leaders in or closely tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood:
•Zaher Birawi, leading Palestine activist, Britain (director of the Palestine Return Center in the U.K).
•Gretta Duisenberg, Chair Foundation “Stop the Occupation”, Board member Free Gaza Movement, Netherlands (widow of former European Bank president; works closely with Muslim Brotherhood leaders in the Netherlands).
•Dr. Hafiz al Karmi, Chairman Palestinian Forum in Britain (The PFB works closely with Muslim Brotherhood groups in the U.K.).
•Mohammad Kozber, British Muslim Initiative (The BMI is part of the U.K Muslim Brotherhood).
•Mikalis Lukianos, Ship to Gaza, Greece (The Gaza Flotilla movement is closely tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood).
•Ismael Patel, Chairman Friends of Al Aqsa, Britain (FOA and Patel work closely with the U.K. Muslim Brotherhood).Read the full story here.
UN nuclear watchdog Amano: My duty is to warn of Iran nuclear danger.(Jpost).VIENNA - The UN nuclear watchdog chief said it was his duty to warn the world about suspected Iranian activities that point to plans to develop atomic bomb, maintaining pressure on Tehran ahead of rare talks between Iran and his agency expected this month.
Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, made clear in an interview with Financial Times Deutschland that the UN body would press for full cooperation in meetings with Iranian officials in Tehran."What we know suggests the development of nuclear weapons," he was quoted as saying in comments published in German on Thursday, adding Iran had so far failed to clarify allegations of possible military links to its nuclear program."We want to check over everything that could have a military dimension."An IAEA delegation, to be headed by Deputy Director General Herman Nackaerts, is expected to seek explanations for intelligence information that indicates Iran has engaged in research and development relevant for nuclear weapons."I have absolutely no reason to soften my report. It is my responsibility to alarm the world," Amano said. "The overall pattern led me to the decision to alarm the world. The more pieces (of information), the clearer the pattern become."Amano rejected Iranian media suggestions that his agency may have been partly responsible for the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist last week.Iran has in the past accused the IAEA of leaking the names of nuclear scientists, making them potential targets for the security services of Iran's foes in the West and Israel."That is wrong. We did not publish his name. I did not know him," Amano said about the Jan 11 killing of Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan in a car bomb attack in Tehran. Iran has blamed Israel."I don't believe in violence. I believe in dialogue and conversation. I only expect from Iran that it cooperates."Read the full story here.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation New Zealand 6.1 - 5.8 - 5.5 - 5.2 ; Solomon Islands 5.6 !More info here.
- Boehner: Obama approved Solyndra, but not Keystone.(BC).By Joel Gehrke.House Speaker John Boehner said that President Obama has put politics ahead of job creation, and faulted the president for approving the high-risk Solyndra loan guarantee, but then denying a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline to be built."President Obama expedited approval of the Solyndra loan project, but won't approve a project that's been under review for over three years," House Speaker John Boehner said in a press conference today on Obama's decision not to grant a permit for the Keystone pipeline. He declared that "President Obama is destroying tens of thousands of American jobs and shipping American energy security to the Chinese." He argued that "the President is selling out American jobs for politics," and declared that Obama's promise to work to create jobs "was broken" today.President Obama said he was "disappointed" in the Republicans for forcing a Keystone decision ahead of the environmental studies timetable. "The rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment," Obama said in his statement on the Keystone rejection. "I’m disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision, but it does not change my Administration’s commitment to American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on oil." Hmmmm.......Yup that's why Under Obama, Oil and Gas Production on Federal Lands Is Down 40% !Read the full story here.
- "Job-Killers, 2; American Workers, 0".(PNW).LIUNA – the Laborers' International Union of North America – called the reported decision by the Obama Administration today to block permitting for Keystone XL pipeline "politics at its worst."Last fall the Administration delayed consideration of a permit for the pipeline until after the 2012 elections. Today, in response to Congressional legislation requiring a 60-day decision, the Administration reportedly denied a permit."The score is Job-Killers, two; American workers, zero. We are completely and totally disappointed. This is politics at its worst," LIUNA General President Terry O'Sullivan said. "Once again the President has sided with environmentalists instead of blue collar construction workers – even though environmental concerns were more than adequately addressed. Blue collar construction workers across the U.S. will not forget this."The project would create thousands of good jobs at a time when unemployment in the construction industry is 16 percent with 1.3 million men and women jobless.Environmental groups have used the Keystone XL as a disingenuous proxy for arguments about global warming. The pipeline would carry up to 900,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada's Tar Sands to the U.S., reducing reliance on oil from hostile nations. While environmental groups decry Tar Sands development, the Canadian government and Trans-Canada, the company developing the Tar Sands, have made clear the oil will be developed – and possibly sold to China – regardless of whether Keystone XL is built.In addition, experts believe the project would be the safest ever constructed. Design included 21,000 sensors, monitored by satellites to immediately detect leaks and automatically stop the flow of oil. In addition, a revised route alleviated concerns in Nebraska over the project crossing water resources. Overall, the pipeline has undergone more than 1,100 days of governmental review. "The Administration and environmentalists have blown the whistle on workers trying to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads," said O'Sullivan. "Instead of celebrating their victory by hugging a tree they should hug a jobless construction worker because they're the ones who are going to need it."Read the full story here.
- Obama’s “Forced” Keystone Decision Rejects Jobs, Energy, and Logic.(Heritage).By Nicolas Loris.President Obama’s politically intoned decision to reject TransCanada’s permit application to construct a 1,700-mile pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to Texas refineries sent a clear message that special interest demands are of more importance than more energy and much-needed job creation.Building the pipeline would bring over 700,000 barrels of oil per day and directly create 20,000 truly shovel-ready jobs. The Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates that current pipeline operations and the addition of the Keystone XL pipeline would create 179,000 American jobs by 2035.Since TransCanada and Nebraska politicians have agreed to reroute the pipeline, the focus should now be on completing the reroute design and beginning construction. Congress should recognize the findings in the State Department’s “Final Environmental Impact Statement” and authorize the application submitted by TransCanada in September 2008.Given the need for jobs and more oil on the global market to offset high prices, the permit application had been moving along positively with bipartisan support without much attention until environmental activists made blocking the Keystone XL pipeline their issue to rally around for 2011. Although President Obama and the Department of State (DOS) said they’d make a decision at the end of 2011, they ultimately catered to a narrow set of special interests, punting the decision until after the 2012 elections.The payroll tax holiday legislation signed at the end of 2011 moved that decision date up to February 21. Today, however, the President rejected the permit, claiming, “This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people.” President Obama initially delayed the decision because he claimed that additional environmental review from the DOS was necessary.This is a stunning (though not unexpected) decision. At a time when unemployment remains unacceptably high, Iran is threatening the Strait of Hormuz, and Canada is looking to take this oil elsewhere, it is difficult to understand how the President could say no to thousands of jobs and an increase in energy supply from our ally.Hmmmm....Perhaps he wants the U.S. depending on Arab oil?Or in
FantasyObamaland every one drives electric cars?Read the full story here.
- Taqiyya vs. Our President.(FM).Posted by David Meir-Levi.In a previous essay, the present writer exposed the concept of “taqiyya” as a traditional Muslim form of deceit employed by , , and other leaders of the Arab terror war against Israel. El-Qaeda and the also are using taqiyya against the USA and other western countries, and with frightening success.While the Qur’an encourages honesty between believers (Sura 40:28), deception directed at non-Muslims, generally known in Arabic as taqiyya, has full Qur’anic support. Is Obama unaware of the intentions of the Brotherhood? Even if he had no Arabists on his staff, no one to translate the works of Sayd Qtub or Mustafa Mashhur or Yusuf el-Qaradhawi, much has been written about them in English. Have his advisors never read Front Page Magazine?Obama cannot not know that his backing of the Muslim Brotherhood is nothing less than support for the regimes that seek our demise. So one must ask the uncomfortable question: “whose side is he on?”Read the full story here.
- U.S. May Release Senior Taliban Terrorists.(IPT).The Obama administration is considering releasing five top Taliban jihadists from custody at Guantanamo Bay in hopes of negotiating a peace agreement with the Afghan terrorist movement. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week that administration is in "the preliminary stages" of testing whether talks with the Taliban can succeed.President Obama plans to withdraw virtually all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by 2014. Last month, Vice President Joe Biden told an interviewer that "the Taliban per se is not our enemy."Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney blasted Obama's approach to the Taliban, declaring that "The right course for America is not to negotiate with the Taliban while the Taliban are killing our soldiers." Yet one of Romney's top foreign policy aides has reportedly advocated a negotiating approach that is similar to Obama's.According to a recent report in The Hindu, radical Islamist cleric and Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guide Yusuf al-Qaradawi has served as a "key mediator" in U.S.-Taliban negotiations.The Taliban's recent announcement that it plans to open a political office in Qatar meets a longstanding U.S./NATO condition for discussing Afghanistan's future with the terror group. Earlier this month, reports indicated that Washington had agreed to transfer the five Taliban leaders from U.S. custody to Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government.At some point, they could be set free.Another report indicated the jihadists would be transferred to Qatar, a nation with a poor record on combating terrorism and a suspected link to the 9/11 attacks.The strategy is fraught with peril as previous experience has shown. Still, the State Department has made finding a negotiating address for the Taliban a top priority.Read the full story here.
- Muslim Brotherhood to US Ambassador in Egypt: Sharia Law ensures personal freedoms.(BM).CAIRO: A statement issued by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said that US Ambassador to Cairo Anne Patterson met with the group’s Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie on Wednesday, and reportedly told her that Sharia law, or Islamic law, “ensures personal freedoms for all.”The MB’s statement explained that Patterson expressed her gratitude for the meeting and congratulated the group for their political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), victory in the recent parliamentary elections, and stressed that the United States is looking forward to cooperate with “whoever is chosen by the Egyptian people and a democratic government.”The statement pointed out that Badie also thanked the ambassador for her congratulations, and said the elections “made Egyptians proud,” adding that the results of elections are a “victory” for the democratic alliance led by FJP, which includes a number of other parties.The Supreme Guide criticized the successive US administrations and accused them of “controlling people through their support to the dictators,” which made the popularity of the United States decline across the region.“The current era is the era of the people and we want to see deeds not words by the United States to recover its credibility among Arabs and Muslims, and in particular with regard to the Palestinian issue, which is the most important cause for Arabs and Muslims.”Badie explained that the principles of Islamic Sharia law is the m”ain source of legislation and the biggest guarantee of public and private freedoms, as it ensures the freedom of belief, religion and personal rights to all citizens equally.”For her part, Ambassador Patterson admitted that US administrations have committed some mistakes, but called for overcoming them and to “learn from them to avoid their recurrence in the future.”She pointed out that democracy always brings stable partners.Read the full story here.
- Leftists Sink to Nazi Propaganda in 'Bibi Uber Alles' Video Clip.(INN).Israelis of all political stripes are aghast over a Youtube video showing Nazi propagandist Josef Goebbels endorsing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The video, titled “Bibi Uber Alles,” clearly violates pending and existing laws against using Nazi imagery and inciting hatred, wrote commenters on the video site's page, and called for police prosecution of the individual who posted the video.In the video, called “one of the worst examples of leftist hate ever on the internet” by one commenter on the video's YouTube page, Goebbels is seen speaking to a mass audience of Germans in archival footage from a Nazi rally in the 1930s. However, interspersed in the video (obviously edited in) are shots of “settler” types, including what appears to be a woman wearing a head scarf – and oddly, one who bears a striking resemblance to former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert – along with the archival footage of Nazi-supporting masses.The video's author is listed as “Christian101,” and on Wednesday night it appeared on the Facebook page of an individual who calls himself Meir Mendelson, who wrote in a comment that “the cult of personality encouraged by Bibi the megalomaniac will lead to a catastrophe.”Commenters who identified themselves as both leftists and rightists condemned the video on its home page, with rightwing activists saying that the video shows not just the left's frustrated hatred of the right – but also its hypocrisy; weeks after the hareidi-religious use of Nazi imagery to protest arrests in Mea Shearim and Beit Shemesh was roundly condemned by everyone, not one public voice from leftists who “fear for Israeli democracy” has been raised in the several weeks since the video has been posted. Dozens of Israelis posting to the page called for viewers to demand that YouTube remove the video, and that police investigate and seek out the person behind the video and arrest him.Read the full story here.
- Islam's OIC: The World's Thought Police.(StonegateI).By Mudar Zahran.On December 19, 2011, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning the negative stereotyping and stigmatization of people based on their religion, and urged member states to take effective measures towards addressing and combating "such incidents." This resolution, based on an initiative from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), was supported by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who hosted a closed-door three-day meeting – apparently one of many in a series called the "Istanbul Process"-- in Washington D.C. with OIC representatives to discuss ways to implement the resolution.What might sound like a step toward "tolerance," however, is in reality an assault on freedom of speech: a UN-endorsed violation of human rights, co-sponsored by the US, and prompted by the OIC, an organization of 57 Muslim nations, most of which hold the world's worst records on freedom of speech.The OIC initiative for a UN resolution against "defamation of religion" is not new; the OIC has been promoting it for the last 13 years despite earlier opposition from Western countries. What changed recently was dropping the word "defamation of religion" and stressing "freedom of speech"-- something about which Secretary of State Clinton seems to be enthusiastic.What resulted, however, from this new "Resolution 16/18," as it is called, is a US-endorsed UN proposal that urges the restriction of freedom of speech by using a vague terms, such as combating "religious profiling" – a term that can be interpreted by anyone any way he likes.Placing such language into an international legal context forces people to have to think twice before practicing their constitutionally-secured right of free speech – in the US, at least -- when it comes to discussing religion.What is also alarming, even to me as a practicing Muslim, is the fact that the resolution seems to revolve around just one religion: Islam. But will the OIC countries implement any resolution for themselves, taking measures against their government-sponsored demonization of the Jewish faith and the systematic proliferation of anti-Semitism?Does Resolution 16/18 mean that Muslims will still be free in their textbooks to call Jews the sons of swine and monkeys -- perhaps on some trumped-up excuse that that a such a remark is not religious but "only" racial?Will the Palestinians' highest religious authority, the Mufti, Muhammad Hussein, still be able to say, as he did in early January at a Fatah (not Hamas) event to celebrate the 47th anniversary of its founding, that the destiny of Muslims is to kill Jews [sic], and, quoting a Hadith [a saying attributed to the prophet Mohammad] that "The Hour [of Resurrection] will not come until you fight the Jews… come and kill [them]" – and then have Palestinian TV repeat it?The values of Islam, for example, encourage the military conquest of non-Muslim nations. Although this value is within my religion, as a Muslim, I would like to see it being dropped—Now, is that a defamation of my own religion?Is Obama's, Clinton's and the US's current message that some religions are "more sacred" than others?Unfortunately without ever investigating the United Nations, perhaps the biggest international human rights violator of all, Human Rights Watch, in one of its reports, says that the OIC, at least, has been relentless protecting states that violate human rights from criticism.Human Rights Watch also states it has concerns over the OIC's definition of terrorism, which includes "imperilling people's honour;" "threatening political unity," which sounds like an enshrinement of "one man, one vote, one time;" and "threatening territorial integrity." Would the OIC label the people of Quebec who want separation from Canada terrorists for threatening Canada's "territorial integrity"? Would the OIC recognize the Tea Party as a terrorist organization for "threatening political unity" in the US?Funny? Not really. The OIC could easily try to market those definitions of "terrorism" that Human Rights Watch describes as "vague," and label genuinely "peaceful acts of expression" as terrorism.Revealingly, the OIC excludes all real acts of terrorism – carried out by terrorist organizations, such as Hamas – calling them "legitimate struggle".Read the full story here.
- Bengal hospital horror: Mamata blames the Left for 40,000 infant deaths each year.(NDTV).Malda: In just 48 hours, 15 babies have died in a government hospital in Malda, West Bengal. The government quibbles that it is 11 deaths in two days, not 15, a number no less shocking.Four of the babies died in a span of eight hours last night. Health authorities claim each of these infants were brought to the hospital, the Malda Medical College Hopsital, in very serious condition and insist there has been no negligence. Last November, 26 infants had died at the same hospital over a period of six days; an average 40,000 infants die every year in West Bengal. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has vowed today to bring that rate down by 25 per cent. But when the health department sent a task force to the Malda hospital recently to investigate infant deaths, members of the team said no senior staff was present to answer queries. They were reportedly informed that the superintendent and vice principal of the college were in Kolkata and the principal was in Hyderabad for some official work. The task force reported that the hospital needs more doctors, nurses and infrastructure. "The hospital needs more doctors, nurses and group D staff. There is a lot of pressure at this hospital. The Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) needs to be expanded. Negligence, if found, will be punished," said Tridib Bhattacharya, a member of the task force.The Malda infant deaths bring into sharp focus the disarray that healthcare is in in West Bengal.Hmmmm......What is obviously missing in this story is the gender of the babies.....what leads one to stray to the thought of "gendercide".Read the full story here.
- 'Radioactive material stolen from Egypt plant'.(JPost).CAIRO - Radioactive material has been stolen from a nuclear power station on Egypt's Mediterranean coast that was the site of violent protests last week, state-run Al-Ahram newspaper reported on Thursday.A safe containing radioactive material at the Dabaa nuclear power plant was seized while another safe containing radioactive material was broken open and part of its contents taken, the newspaper said.The government has alerted security authorities and asked that specialised teams help in the search for the stolen material, Al-Ahram reported.More than a dozen people were wounded last week when military police tried to disperse hundreds of Egyptian protesters demanding the relocation of the Dabaa plant, which is still under construction.Plant staff have refused to go to the site because of the deterioration in the security situation there, Al-Ahram said.About 500 Egyptians rallied in front of the plant last week to demand that the project be terminated, with some saying they had lost their land on the plant's site.Soldiers and the protesters hurled stones at each other and exchanged gunfire after the protesters demolished a wall surrounding the site, a security source and witnesses said.Hmmmm.....Repeat after me "Dirty bomb".Read the full story here.
- UN: Gaza blockade – collective punishment.(YNet). The United Nations' submitted its annual report on the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories on Wednesday, painting a grim picture that includes food insecurity, isolation, violence and failing health and education services – all courtesy of the Israeli "occupation."The report, which was presented during a Security Council session upon the Palestinians' request, asserted that the number of civilian casualties rose by more than 30% in Gaza and the West Bank compared to 2010."Serious protection and human rights issues, limited access to essential services and entrenched levels of food insecurity continue to characterize the day-to-day lives of many Palestinians," the report stated. "Israeli authorities continued to impose a blockade on Gaza, amounting to collective punishment of the population and affecting every aspect of life in the Gaza Strip," it adds.The report maintains that the policies that restrict the Gazans' access to areas with viable agriculture and fishing prospects constrain their livelihoods. Moreover, restrictions on the movement of goods and people into Gaza compromise the region's health, education and sanitation services. The UN also addressed the situation in east Jerusalem, arguing that the Palestinian population there is growing isolated from the rest of the West Bank. Furthermore, the residents of Area C – which makes up 60% of the West Bank and is under Israeli control – have been facing escalating rates of home demolitions, settler violence and restricted travel. "The threat to lives and livelihoods became too great for many, coping strategies were overwhelmed and an increasing number of Palestinians were displaced from their homes and their land," the report claims.The global body called on organizations and policy makers to work towards alleviating the suffering and demand respect for the Palestinians' human rights. "Progress in the peace process is desperately needed – the coping strategies of Palestinian communities are being eroded with each year that passes," the report said.Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor slammed the Security Council for "wasting time on an issue that does not pose a humanitarian crisis." He noted that while Gaza saw a 28% growth in its Gross Domestic Product, 4 million Somalis are starving and people in Haiti, Sudan and Afghanistan don't have access to water.Prosor later told reporters that a humanitarian crisis can be found in southern Israel, where kids have 15 seconds to take cover when a rocket is about to explode.Read the full story here.
- Two Catholic priests kidnapped in Sudan.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: Fears in the minority Christian community in Sudan have intensified after the kidnapping of two Catholic priests last Sunday.Father Joseph Makwey and Father Sylvester Mogga were kidnapped on January 15 by a militia who broke into their compound in Rabak, south of Khartoum.The men scoured the compound, kidnapping the men and stealing computers and other valuables.The militia reportedly targeted the church because it was rumored that the priests had granted refuge to a former member of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army, who fought successfully for the independence of South Sudan.The identity of the armed men is now yet known, however police believe that they are militiamen from South Sudan.Bishop Daniel Adwok of the Khartoum archdiocese said that the government had failed to protect citizens from the violence, and explained that the kidnapping does not come as an isolated incident, but part of a larger problem within the Christian community in Sudan.“I do not believe this was a random crime. This kidnapping seems deliberate. They must have known that the two individuals kidnapped were priests,” said the Bishop.Christians in Sudan have reported an increase in violence and intimidation, as hostilities have heightened since the secession of South Sudan.Read the full story here.
- Tunisian students launch hunger strike to protest ban on veils.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: Five Tunisian students went on a hunger strike on Wednesday to protest a ban on the niqab at a University of Manouba, just west of Tunis.The students are reportedly under medical monitoring, and will continue the hunger strike indefinitely.The dispute over the niqab ban began last November, with the university banning the garment due to security concerns.A group of Salafist Muslim students held a series of sit-ins to protest the ban, shutting down the university for a month and a half.The sit-ins will continue as the students launch their hunger strike, however university officials want to disperse the protests before exams start on January 24.“I don’t wear the niqab or the veil, but I believe that any woman should have the right to dress as she believes is appropriate. That is freedom,” university student Hend Mohamed told Bikyamasr.com via email on Thursday.Read the full story here.
- Iran’s nude actress Golshifteh Farahani sparks anger,Iranian government, calling her “anti-Islam” and demanding that she be put to death for “blasphemy.”(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: An Iranian actress who posted nude photos of herself on Facebook has been attacked by the Iranian government, calling her “anti-Islam” and demanding that she be put to death for “blasphemy.”Golshifteh Farahani came to stardom at the age of 14 when she appeared in the film Pearl Tree, but jumped to international fame in 2008 when she starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie Body of Lies.Her dabbling in women’s issues began when she appeared in France’s Madame Le Figaro and protested against the ultra-conservative nature of her home country, which she said in the interview, was “restricting the ability for Iran’s film industry to push forward.”This month, however, she again sparked controversy by posting her bare chest image on her personal Facebook page.“I think it is disgusting and she should be put to jail or worse for this crazy idea. Women here are treated with utmost respect,” said an Iranian government official in Cairo, the birthplace of the nude photo revolutionary in the region.Back in Iran, the semi-official Fars news agency said “publishing of photographs of the deplorable Golshifteh Farahani on the Internet shows the ugly face of cinemas behind the scenes.”But women in Iran are not as disturbed by the image and told Bikyamasr.com that the idea that a woman can demand her rights through “the shock of nudity” is not new to the world.“We have long had nudity in our history, and this concept and act of protest by Farahani is the next evolution in the battle for women to become equal and have full rights in the country,” said one professor, Nadia, who said speaking on the topic could make her face disciplinary action.“It is really easy to condemn and call her ridiculous, but the reality is men are all logging on to see her naked body, just like they did in Egypt. At least now we can talk about women’s issues in this country and push empowerment forward,” the professor told Bikyamasr.com via telephone.In Egypt, upon hearing of Farahani’s actions, activist Manal said that “if she is going to be banned from Iran, maybe more women should follow her lead and take off their clothes. At least this way we can leave our countries and live in peace.”Read the full story here.
- 'Previously hidden mass graves found at Treblinka'.(DailyMail).A British forensic archaeologist has unearthed fresh evidence to prove the existence of mass graves at the Nazi death camp Treblinka - scuppering the claims of Holocaust deniers who say it was merely a transit camp.Some 800,000 Jews were killed at the site, in north east Poland, during the Second World War but a lack of physical evidence in the area has been exploited by Holocaust deniers.Forensic archaeologist Caroline Sturdy Colls has now undertaken the first co-ordinated scientific attempt to locate the graves.As Jewish religious law forbids disturbing burial sites, she and her team from the University of Birmingham have used 'ground-penetrating radar'.Her work at the site, where the Nazis tried to destroy all traces of industrial-scale killing, is being followed in forthcoming Radio 4 documentary The Hidden Graves Of The Holocaust.Sturdy Colls said: 'All the history books state that Treblinka was destroyed by the Nazis but the survey has demonstrated that simply isn’t the case.'I’ve identified a number of buried pits using geophysical techniques. These are considerable in size, and very deep, one in particular is 26 by 17 metres.'The programme’s presenter says that the pits contain the burnt remains of thousands of bodies.Read the full story here.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Churchill on Chamberlain :"In the depths of that dusty soul there is nothing but abject surrender."
Pres. Obama meets his inner Mr. Chamberlain: Details of Obama’s letter to Iran released.(Mehr).MP Ali Motahhari said on Wednesday, “In the letter, it has been stated that ‘closing the Strait of Hormuz is our red line’ and they have requested direct negotiations.” “In the letter, Obama has announced readiness for negotiation and the resolution of mutual disagreements,” he added. He went on to say that Obama uttered threats in the first part of the letter and talked about friendship and negotiation in the second part. MP Hojjatoleslam Hossein Ebrahimi said on Wednesday, “Obama’s letter has several parts. Part of it is about this, (namely) that using international waterways is the right of all countries and all should benefit from them. And in this letter, he has described it as the United States’ red line.” “In the letter, Obama has mentioned cooperation and negotiation based on the interests of the two countries,” Ebrahimi, who is the deputy chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, told the Nasimonline news website.
“He has stated in the letter that they will not take any hostile action against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he added.
Ebrahimi also said, “This is not the first time that Obama has sent a message and letter to the Islamic Republic of Iran. He has repeatedly spoken in a soft tone about the Islamic Republic of Iran, but, in practice, he has not acted accordingly.”
“Obama’s letter indicates that the United States has become afraid of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s might and has realized the point that an arrogant spirit is of no use, and therefore, he has softened his tone when speaking about the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he stated.
He added, “The important issue is that without the Islamic Republic of Iran’s permission, no country can benefit from the Persian Gulf.” Hmmmm.....“We should seek by all means in our power to avoid war, by analyzing possible causes, by trying to remove them, by discussion in a spirit of collaboration and good will. I cannot believe that such a program would be rejected by the people of this country, even if it does mean the establishment of personal contact with the dictators.” ~ Neville Chamberlain.Read the full story here.
Obama 'demands talks' with Iran as it threatens to shut strategic Strait of Hormuz over West sanctions .
A shot across the bows?
Obama 'demands talks' with Iran as it threatens to shut strategic Strait of Hormuz over West sanctions .(DailyMail).President Obama has called for direct talks with Iran in a 'secret letter' to the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warning Tehran against closing the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a conservative Iranian lawmaker claimed.
Iran has threatened to close the waterway, the crucial route connecting the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, where about one-sixth of the global oil flows through, because of new U.S. sanctions over its nuclear program.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard, the country's most powerful military force, says Tehran's leadership has decided to order the closure of the oil route if Iran's oil exports are blocked.
U.S. military officials have made it clear that the country is preparing itself for a possible naval clash if the route is blocked.Today conservative lawmaker Ali Motahari revealed the content of the letter days after the Obama administration said it was warning Iran through public and private channels against any action that threatens the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf.
'In the letter, Obama called for direct talks with Iran,' Fars news agency reported.
'The letter also said that closing the Strait of Hormuz is (Washington's) red line.'
'The first part of the letter contains threats and the second part contains an offer for dialogue,' he added.
As the West made the military threat against Iran, Russia refused to back it, warning that it would trigger a 'chain reaction' that could destabilise the world.
Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov insisted that his country was 'seriously worried' about the sanctions against Tehran over its disputed nuclear program.And he also warned that stifling the country's economy could hurt the Iranian people.Lavrov said: 'The consequences will be extremely grave," he said. "It's not going to be an easy walk. It will trigger a chain reaction and I don't know where it will stop.'Lavrov, however, said sanctions on Iranian oil exports have 'nothing to do with a desire to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation.''It's aimed at stifling the Iranian economy and the population in an apparent hope to provoke discontent,' the Russian foreign minister said.
Russia believes that 'all conceivable sanctions already have been applied' and that new penalties could derail hopes for continuing six-way negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program, provoking Iranian intransigence, Lavrov said.He noted that the EU's consideration of new sanctions comes as Iran plans to host a delegation from the U.N. nuclear watchdog.'We believe that there is every chance to resume talks between the six powers and Iran, and we are concerned about obstacles being put to them.'The sanctions could hardly help make the talks productive,' he said. Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said upon arrival in the Turkish capital that Istanbul is the likely venue for further talks with world powers on his country's nuclear program. He did not give a date for the negotiations, but said Turkey is in touch with Iranian and EU officials.Meanwhile, Iran's official IRNA news agency said a senior security official, Ali Bagheri, headed to Moscow for talks with Lavrov and other Russian officials.Read the full story here.
Related - Iranian Submarines' Ambush for US Aircraft Carriers in Persian Gulf.(Fars).
Speaking to FNA on Wednesday, Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Army's Self-Sufficiency Jihad Rear Admiral Farhad Amiri said that Iran has the best electronic diesel submarines of the world, adding that enemies, the US in particular, are most focused on Iran's astonishing subsurface capabilities. Amiri underlined that significance of submarines are not just indebted to their arms and equipment, "rather the tactical issues are very important", given the geographical specifications of the waters surrounding the county. "For example," he stated, "if an ordinary submarines can sit in the Persian Gulf's bed it would be the worst threat to the enemy." "That is one of the US concerns since Iranian submarines are noiseless and can easily evade detection as they are equipped with the sonar-evading technology" and can fire missiles and torpedoes simultaneously, he added.
"When the submarine sits on the seabed it can easily target and hit an aircraft carrier traversing in the nearby regions," Amiri reiterated. Speaking on the sidelines of the naval parades in the Sea of Oman at the end of Velayat 90 massive naval drills, Salehi said that the US brought the aircraft carrier out of the Persian Gulf and the vessel passed through the Strait of Hormoz and stationed in the Sea of Oman before the start of Iran's naval drills. As regards Iran's reaction to the vessel's redeployment, Salehi stated, "We advise, warn and recommend them (US Navy) not to return this carrier to its previous location in the Persian Gulf." "We are not in the habit of repeating the warning and we warn only once," Salehi reiterated, without mentioning the name of the US aircraft carrier. The aircraft carrier Salehi was referring to was the USS John C. Stennis, one of the US navy's biggest vessels. Read the full story here.
Report: Obama Set to Reject Keystone Pipeline.(BI).The Obama administration is expected to reject the controversial Keystone Pipeline this afternoon, according to Fox News.The State Department is expected to vote against the pipeline this afternoon. Transcanada will however be allowed to reapply with an alternate route going through Nebraska.The administration will be unlikely to approve the pipeline under the timeline for the payroll tax cut extension law which requires a decision by February 21.
Hmmmm..........No real surprise there, PM Harper isn't waiting for the OK from the Obama Admin he's already selling parts of the Alberta sands to the Chinese .As he pointed out : "But just because certain people in the United States would like to see Canada be one giant national park for the northern half of North America, I don't think that's part of what our review process is all about".
The $5.5-billion Enbridge pipeline project is all about sending Alberta bitumen in huge oil tankers to China. Beijing’s own state enterprises are among the project’s major backers, and Beijing has been buying up Alberta’s oilpatch at such a dizzying pace lately it’s hard to keep up.
- In the spring of 2010, China’s state-owned Sinopec Corp. took a $4.65-billion piece of Syncrude.
- Then the China Investment Corporation, which is run by the Chinese Communist Party, took possession of a $1.25-billion share of Penn West Petroleum.
- Last summer, the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation gobbled up Opti Canada for $2.34 billion. And so on.
- then last month, Sinopec spent $2.2-billion to take over Daylight Energy Ltd.,
- and last week, Petro-China, with the final push of $1.9 billion, became the owner and manager of the MacKay River oilsands project.
Apparently PM Harper knows he can't rely on Pres Obama, he knows where the money is and what creates jobs. Read the full story here.More Under Obama, Oil and Gas Production on Federal Lands Is Down 40% here.
Syria - Zabadani - The First Liberated Syrian City?(EAWorldview).
Day Six : Shelling has resumed in the city of Zabadani for a 6th day, as the cease-fire has apparently broken. Please see today's live coverage for the latest details.
The broken cease-fire, however, does not erase the significance of this event. The Free Syrian Army did win a military victory, if only for a day. Even more evidence is surfacing that testifies to that fact.This video reportedly shows a burned-out hull of a tank, allegedly destroyed by the FSA yesterday.While we will continue to monitor this situation, what we know now is that a small number of FSA have been able to hold of the Syrian regular army, and many more have defected from the Assad regime in the last 24 hours in Zabadani.
Day Five: The Syrian town of Zabadani, at the bottom of a valley only 30 kilometres (19 miles) from Damascus, has declared that it is now independent from the Assad regime.Al-Ayyam adds that residents are preparing to announce today that Zabadani is, officially, "the first liberated city in Syria."
For five days the town of 40,000 was under constant attack, but video surfaced showing a large contingent of soldiers belonging to the Free Syrian Army, consisting of defectors from the regular army and members of the opposition, who had taken up arms. Several videos indicated that, despite the regime assault, the defectors were scoring hits on Assad's tanks.
Now members of the opposition, including some of its leaders, are reporting that the Assad military has agreed to a cease-fire.This is huge news, and the clearest sign yet that the Assad regime is losing control of parts of the country. A major military defeat this close to the capital Damascus will help establish a foothold for the Free Syrian Army in the Rif Dimashq governorate, and a victory for the FSA could be used as evidence that there is a viable military resistance in Syria around which foreign nations could build a safe haven.
Tanks burning in a field in Madaya, near Zabadani, after being destroyed by soldiers from the Free Syrian Army.
Beyond the reports of the presence of the FSA in the city before the attacks, and beyond the video at the top of the blog showing a burning field of Assad-loyal tanks (and another, similar video we posted yesterday), reports of widespread defection were also rampant. This video also reportedly shows a group of "shabiha" captured by the defectors.Read the full story here.
Indonesia - State railway company KAI Finds Concrete Solution for Rooftop Riders. (JG).After numerous failed attempts to persuade people to stop riding on the roofs of train cars, state railway company Kereta Api Indonesia is hoping the threat of injury, or even death, will put a stop to the already dangerous practice. The company announced on Wednesday that it planned to install hanging deterrents in the form of rows of concrete balls that will stop anything — living or dead — in its tracks.
Mateta Rizalulhaq, a spokesman for KAI, said the concrete balls would be hung at rooftop height at several stations, such as Bekasi, Tambun and Cikarang, and at train crossings.
“With this method, we hope the passengers will no longer sit on the train roof, as it is dangerous,” Mateta told the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday.
He declined to give a specific start date for the new scheme but said that it would be implemented soon. Last year, KAI installed paint guns at various points that would spray those riding on rooftops. That plan merely resulted in angry, paint-spattered riders. Seventeen-year-old Adit said he liked roof riding with friends just for the fun of it. “There’s a rush when you get on top of the train, plus the view is great and you don’t have to pay,” he said.Read the full story here.
Pakistan rejects US envoy's visit request.(Al-Jazeera).Islamabad has rejected a request by Marc Grossman, the US special representative tofd Pakistan and Afghanistan, to visit the country, a senior official told the Reuters news agency."Ambassador Grossman asked to visit Pakistan but we conveyed to him that it was not possible at the moment," a senior Pakistani government official, who declined to be named, said on Wednesday.
Relations between Islamabad and Washington are at the lowest point in years after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed on November 26 in a NATO air strike in the region bordering Afghanistan.
The growing tension threatens to set back peace efforts in neighbouring Afghanistan, from where the US and NATO plan to gradually withdraw troops after a decade of war.President Barack Obama’s special envoy will also visit Afghanistan and Qatar as part of the US strategy to involve the Taliban in talks for a durable peace, as the international forces led by the US are likely to pull out of Afghanistan by 2014.Pakistan's co-operation is regarded as crucial because of its long history of association with armed groups.Hmmmm........Total US aid to Pakistan to more than $18 billion post 9/11.
Read the full story here.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Indonesia 5.2 - 5.3 ; Argentina 5.0 !More info here.
- "There She Blows!" - Lamar Smith Says SOPA Markup To Resume In February.(TD).For all the talk from some that SOPA was "dead," it appears it's alive and well and getting ready for its big re-entrance. Lamar Smith has just sent out a press release saying that he intends to resume the markup in February: Stop Online Piracy Act Markup to Resume in February. Washington, D.C. - House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today said that he expects the Committee to continue its markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act in February.Chairman Smith: "To enact legislation that protects consumers, businesses and jobs from foreign thieves who steal America's intellectual property, we will continue to bring together industry representatives and Members to find ways to combat online piracy."Due to the Republican and Democratic retreats taking place over the next two weeks, markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act is expected to resume in February."I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to send a bipartisan bill to the White House that saves American jobs and protects intellectual property." Read the full story here.
- Related - The Internet Goes to Washington on January 18.(EFF).Security Experts and Tech Investors Scheduled to Testify; Worldwide Internet Protest GatheringThere’s some good news in the efforts to stop the Internet blacklist bills (SOPA/PIPA): Representative Darrell Issa, an outspoken SOPA critic and the author of alternative legislation called the OPEN Act, has announced that the Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on January 18 to hear from actual technical experts, technology job creators, Internet investors and legal scholars.EFF’s activists will be providing live coverage of the event through our EFFLive Twitter account. A number of online activists are strategizing plans for a “SOPABlackout” — “censoring” websites and logos to draw attention to the hearing and showcase the widespread opposition to the censorship bills. We’re glad to see lots of sites participating and we’re urging folks to use social networks on January 18 to help spread the word.The Oversight Committee hearing will address the topic of Domain Name Service (DNS) and search engine blocks generally, and explore ways for the government to avoid legislation that would hamper economic growth. Of course, as active and controversial legislation, SOPA and its evil twin in the Senate, the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) are certain to be discussed at length.Here’s a look at the witnesses scheduled to speak.Read the full story here.
- IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz tells NATO world needs to 'prepare for the worst'.(JPost).The world needs to “prepare for the worst” in wake of the ongoing upheaval in the Middle East due to the proliferation of weaponry throughout the world and into the hands of terrorist organizations, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz warned on Wednesday.Addressing a meeting of NATO military commanders at the western military alliance in Brussels, Gantz said that the world needed to “strengthen moderate elements and weaken the radicals.”“Only through joint work combining tough and soft power can we deter and in the long term overcome these radical elements,” Gantz said. Earlier in the day, Gantz met with the Canadian and Italian chiefs of staff.Gantz said that NATO’s decision to establish a missile defense system throughout Europe was a demonstration of the severity non-conventional weapons pose to the world.“Ballistic missile defense systems need to be the last line of defense and the initiative needs to come earlier by exhausting all of the available means to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” he said.Read the full story here.
- Iranian Revolutionary Guard/Quds Force could be planning attack in Turkey.(TZ).Intelligence units have warned that the Quds Force, a special unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, plans to send a group to Turkey to carry out a series of demonstrations that may include a bomb attack on the Embassy or Consulate General of the United States.The Turkish Security General Directorate (EGM) has warned police departments in all 81 Turkish provinces that they must be vigilant and remain alert to the existence of such a threat. The intelligence pertaining to the possibility of such an attack was delivered in a secret letter to the information department at Turkey's General Directorate of Security. The written statement indicates that a team linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guard will be sent to Turkey and that it may be planning to bomb the US embassy or consulate general in the country. The Quds Force is infamous for its role in attempting to export Iran's revolution to other countries through the instigation of chaos and by acting as the overseas branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp.A number of Iranian officials pledged revenge on Turkey last year after the country approved the establishment of the NATO defense system on its soil, with prominent military and political figures saying that Turkey would be sorry for siding with the US. Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has also frequently expressed his concern over such “provocations” that may try to see the brotherhood of Iran and Turkey, which spans centuries, fall apart.Read the full story here.
- The West is losing its battle with Islam.(VC).By Popov Veniamin.In the late 20th and early 21st century the concept of “the clash of civilizations” advanced in 1993 by Prof. Samuel Huntington, an American scholar, became one of the most broadly and emotionally discussed ideas in political and academic circles in the West and East. Huntington maintained that in the 21st century the main line of conflict will run between the West and Islam, and later between the West and the rest of the world. The Western media launched a large-scale propaganda campaign to support this theory by attempting to prove that all problems in the modern world are rooted primarily in “militant Islam,” because this religion “projects violence and terror” by its very nature and goals.After the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the United States launched wars against two Islamic states, drawing in other Western countries in its wake. This Afghan campaign is a real record-breaker, in terms of its duration (10 years), the number of troops involved (150,000) and their equipment.Officially, it was proclaimed a struggle against terrorism, primarily al-Qaeda, which had been blamed for the attack on the Twin Towers and other places on 9/11. Recently the Al-Ahram weekly called this war an “Afghan tragedy.” What was the result?Even according to the obviously underrated UN data, more than 11,000 civilians have died in the last five years of the war alone. After several years of hunting bin Laden, a powerful task force of U.S. Marines located and killed this feeble 60 year-old who had been dubbed “terrorist number one.” Al-Qaeda is far from being defeated, and it is even strengthening its positions in Yemen and Northern Africa. Meanwhile, the Taliban not only continues to control Afghanistan’s vast provinces, making inroads and staging acts of terror in its central regions and even Kabul - it is even expanding their zone of operation. This movement has been dubbed a “shadow government,” that is waiting for its time to come. Read the full story here.
- SOPA protest nears zero hour.(Politico).Internet companies and activists are hoping to join the Arab Spring and other online democracy movements by taking an estimated 7,000 websites offline Wednesday to send a message to Washington: Don’t pass a pair of anti-piracy bills.The websites that have announced plans to go dark include Wikipedia, Mozilla, Reddit and Wordpress, but some of the most visited websites are conspicuous in their absence.Google announced Tuesday that it will stop short of a blackout and instead the company plans to post a link on its iconic homepage explaining its opposition to the two arcane copyright bills that are suddenly fodder for the evening news: the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act."Like many businesses, entrepreneurs and Web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet,” a Google spokeswoman said in a statement. “So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our U.S. homepage."Read the full story here.
- Recess appointments might not hold.(TheHill).By Alexander Bolton.Some legal experts, including those who have sided with President Obama on other constitutional issues, think there is a good chance the courts could overturn his recent recess appointments.Legal experts said courts could invalidate Obama’s appointments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) because there is scant precedent on the issue.“It’s untested ground. If I were a judge, I could write out an opinion either way. There’s no clear precedent,” said Charles Fried, a constitutional expert at Harvard Law School who served as solicitor general under former President Reagan.Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, said waiting until Cordray or the new NLRB appointees act would make for “a much stronger case than the one they moved last week.”“I don’t think the substitution of new labor board members vitiates the earlier action,” Tobias said. “If there’s fresh regulation adopted by Cordray as director, there’s a plausible argument that he doesn’t have the authority.”A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the House is mulling whether to pursue legal action against Cordray and the other appointees. “We’re examining our options,” said Michael Steel. Boehner said earlier this month that he expects courts to invalidate the president’s move.“This action goes beyond the president’s authority, and I expect the courts will find the appointment to be illegitimate,” he said in a statement.Read the full story here.
- Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion Violates Federalism.(Cato).By Ilya Shapiro.Today Cato filed its second Supreme Court amicus brief in the Obamacare litigation, on the issue of whether the health care law’s Medicaid expansion is a proper exercise of the Constitution’s Spending Clause.That is, states must now accept a comprehensive reorganization of Medicaid or forfeit all federal Medicaid funding—even though the spending power is circumscribed to preserve a distinction between what is local and what is national. If Congress is allowed to attach conditions to spending that the states cannot refuse in order to achieve an objective it could not outright mandate, the local/national distinction that is so central to federalism will be erased.Joining the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, Pacific Legal Foundation, Rep. Denny Rehberg (chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies), and Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeffrey Colyer (also a practicing physician) we argue that, in requiring states to accept onerous conditions on federal funds that it could not impose directly, the government has exceeded its enumerated powers and violated basic principles of federalism.California is at risk of losing $25.6 billion in annual federal funding, for example, and together the states stand to lose more than a quarter trillion dollars annually. On average, states would have to increase their general revenue budgets by almost 40% in order to maintain their current level of Medicaid funding.In short, if Obamacare does not cross the line from valid “inducement” to unconstitutional “coercion,” nothing ever will. Just as the Commerce Clause is not an open-ended grant of power, the Spending Clause too has limits that must be enforced.Read the full story here.
- Solyndra Update: Friday Document Dump Raises More Questions.(Heritage).The White House’s Friday evening Solyndra document dump revealed a pair of interesting facts that should not be lost in the news cycle’s three-day-weekend lull. Neither is a smoking gun, but both will likely fuel the fire of an investigation the administration would rather see die out.According to internal emails released on Friday, the White House was informed that Solyndra planned on announcing layoffs mere days before the 2010 midterm elections. “No es bueno” – not good – exclaimed a White House staffer on October 27, two days after Solyndra informed the Energy Department of the layoff announcement.DOE “push[ed] very hard for us to hold our announcement” on the layoffs until the day after the election, a Solyndra staffer wrote on October 30. That email was released last November. The latest batch does not show that the White House exerted pressure to delay the announcement, but the timing of the emails is likely to raise more questions than it answers.The emails also reveal that the administration was planning the president’s visit to Solyndra’s Fremont, Calif., headquarters even before a pair of DOE panels approved the company’s loan guarantee. Neither the Credit Committee nor the Credit Review Board had met on March 6, 2009, when a DOE memo noted: “Serious consideration being given to having the president announce on March 19th during his California trip that DOE is offering a loan guarantee to Solyndra.”During the latter days of the George W. Bush administration, the Credit Committee voted unanimously “not to engage in further discussions with Solyndra at this time.” Less than three months later, after Bush’s successor took office, the loan guarantee was approved.While the March 2009 DOE memo does not clearly show wrongdoing by the administration, it does suggest that it was forging ahead with the loan guarantee even before properly assessing its merits.Read the full story here.
- PM Harper: Canada not 'giant national park' for U.S.(CBC).Any decision on developments such as the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline should be left to Canadians, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says."It's one thing in terms of whether Canadians, you know, want jobs, to what degree Canadians want environmental protection. These are all valid questions," Harper said in an exclusive interview Monday with CBC chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge."But just because certain people in the United States would like to see Canada be one giant national park for the northern half of North America, I don't think that's part of what our review process is all about."The $5.5-billion Northern Gateway project is a proposal by Canadian oil and gas company Enbridge to build two pipelines stretching 1,177 kilometres between the Alberta oilsands and the West Coast. The Northern Gateway would have the capacity to transport 525,000 barrels of oil per day."I don’t object to foreigners expressing their opinion," Harper told CBC News. "But I don’t want them to be able to hijack the process so that we don’t make a decision that's timely or in the interests of Canadians.""We're really the only supplier that is secure and is increasing its production. So I think [being market-driven has] served the country well. It's served government revenues well. It's served creation of jobs well. But it is fundamentally a market-based decision. We don't dictate pipelines go here or there."Read and see (Video) the full story here.
- Cutting Edge Technology: Showcasing Israeli Unmanned Naval Vessel.(IDFS).The Protector unmanned surface vehicle (USV) is an Israeli-developed unmanned vessel using cutting edge technology. Nine meter long, weighting about 4,000 Kg (8,800 lbs) and reaching a speed of up to 92 Kph (57 mph), the Protector USV is based on former models of unmanned, autonomous, remotely controlled unmanned surface vehicles.Highly maneuverable and stealthy, the Protector can conduct a wide spectrum of critical missions, without exposing personnel and capital assets to unnecessary risk. Though autonomous, the device can easily be controlled from a shore several miles from the Protector.Read and see the full story here.
- Tourists killed in Ethiopia attack.(AlJazeera).German, Belgian, Austrian, Italian, Hungarian nationals among victims of shootings by gunmen, Ethiopia's communication minister says.Four people, including two foreign tourists, have been kidnapped by gunmen who also killed five foreigners in Ethiopia's Afar region, a government spokesman has said."The attack occurred at 5am local time on Tuesday, in which Eritrean-trained groups also kidnapped four. Two of them are foreigners, one is a driver and the other a policeman," Bereket Simon told Reuters news agency.Ethiopia's foreign ministry however, said it didn't have any further details about the attack or the victims' nationalities.Ethiopean state television [ETV], which first reported about the killings, also suggested that the attackers were rebels with ties to Ethiopia's archrival Eritrea, which hosts the exiled Oromo Liberation Front, a rebel group listed as a terrorist organisation by the Ethiopian government.ETV said two tourists were injured severely and were brought to a health clinic by defence forces. They are in critical condition, the television said. Another tourist survived the attack unharmed.Eritrea has rejected the accusation that it trained and armed the gunmen responsible for the attack in remote northeastern Afar region bordering Eritrea.In Berlin, a spokesman at the German foreign ministry, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, said it has received "reports of an attack on a tour group with Germans in Ethiopia" and that the ministry is trying to determine what had happened.In Vienna, a spokesman at the Austrian foreign ministry said as many as 22 tourists of several European nationalities may have been attacked, including two Austrians.Read the full story here.
- Did Iran target and assassinate Iranian grad student, activist in Houston?(KSat).HOUSTON - A woman whom Houston police described as an activist on behalf of Iranian women's civil rights was found shot dead at the wheel of her car after it crashed into a townhouse garage.Houston police said the shooting happened around 12:30 a.m. Monday in a posh development near the Galleria.According to investigators, someone walked up to the passenger's side of 30-year-old Gelareh Bagherzadeh's car and shot her in the head.Bagherzadeh's body was found inside her running car, detectives said."When the officer arrived, the car's tires were still spinning," Officer J.C. Padilla said. "He had to reach in and turn off the motor."Bagherzadeh's car was found at the back of the town home complex, and police said she had driven past her parents' home near the front of the complex."We don't know if she was being followed at the time," Sgt. Richard Bolton said.Officers said Bagherzadeh's ex-boyfriend was on the phone with her when he heard what may have been the crash and gunshots."He said she screamed for her life," said Lorena Lopez, one of Bagherzadeh's close friends. "He heard screeching and he assumed it was a car accident."Bagherzadeh was part of Sabaz Houston, a local Iranian organization that supports the green movement against the current Iranian government..Hmmmm..............Read the full story here.
- Report: Turkish intelligence claims Israel aiding the PKK.(JPost).Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles that have been spotted in the Hatay and Adana provinces have gathered intelligence for the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), Turkey's Today's Zaman reported Tuesday according to Turkish intelligence agencies.The report claims that Israeli Heron drones helped the PKK gather information on the Hatay province, bordering Syria, that helped the group determine the locations for establishing training bases. Today's Zaman failed to say whether the Turkish report implicated Israel in aiding the PKK in any specific attack.It did say, however, that Kenan Yıldızbakan, a PKK member that organized an assault on a naval base in 2010, has visited Israel a number of times, lending to suspicions of collusion. The PKK is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. Turkey has engaged in an ongoing conflict with Kurdish separatist groups, and at least 32,000 PKK militants and more than 10,000 Turkish soldiers and police have been killed by Turkey according to official Turkish numbers. Hmmmm.......Now that Obama has partnered with Turkey in the fight against terrorism, and conveniently left Israel out of the group.Has the time arrived to 'accuse' Israel of 'terrorist activities?Read the full story here.
- Black Widow attempted New Year Moscow attack but blew herself up by mistake.(CA).A "Black Widow" suicide bomber planned a terrorist attack in central Moscow on New Year's Eve but was killed when an unexpected text message set off her bomb too early, according to Russian security sources. The unnamed woman, who is thought to be part of the same group that struck Moscow's Domodedovo airport on Monday, intended to detonate a suicide belt on a busy square near Red Square on New Year's Eve in an attack that could have killed hundreds.Security sources believe a spam message from her mobile phone operator wishing her a happy new year received just hours before the planned attack triggered her suicide belt, killing her but nobody else.She was at her Moscow safe house at the time getting ready with two accomplices, both of whom survived and were seen fleeing the scene.Hmmmm........"From Russia with Spam"?Read the full story here.
- Former Saudi intelligence chief says all options open against Iranian ‘threats’.(AlArabiya).Saudi Arabia will use “all available options” to defend itself against Iranian “threats” that might trigger “unwanted military confrontation,” its former intelligence chief told a Gulf security conference.Prince Turki al-Faisal’s comments to the conference in Bahrain late on Tuesday came after Tehran demanded Riyadh rethink its offer to make up for any oil lost to world markets as a result of threatened curbs on Iranian exports.“Any threat to our interests or security will force us to use all available options to defend our interests, and national and regional security,” Faisal said in remarks carried by Al Arabiya news channel.“The mounting escalation and persistent tensions might end up in an adventure with unpredictable consequences or in an unwanted military confrontation.”Iran has warned Western governments that it will close the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf, a strategic choke point for much of the Middle East’s oil, if they press ahead with sanctions against its key crude exports.“Iran must not fuel this conflict and must not threaten us when we commit to international decisions,” Faisal said.“It must neutralise the security of the Strait of Hormuz and that of the world energy supply,” said Faisal, who is also a former Saudi ambassador in both London and Washington.Read the full story here.
- Iran - Death sentence for Canadian netizen confirmed, new arrests.(Trust).Reporters Without Borders is shocked to learn that the supreme court has confirmed website designer Saeed Malekpour's death sentence. His family said the court took the decision under pressure from the Revolutionary Guards. A Canadian resident who was arrested on 4 October 2008 while visiting his family, Malekpour, 35, was sentenced to death in January 2011 on chargesof anti-government agitation and insulting Islam.Arrests of netizens are meanwhile continuing. Simien Nematollahi, a contributer to the pro-Sufi website Majzooban (www.majzooban.org), was arrested at her Tehran home by intelligence ministry officials on 11 January on a charge of anti-government propaganda. Several members of the website's staff were arrested on 7 and 8 September and were freed on bail on 4 October pending trial.Mohammad Solimaninya, the head of u24, a social networking website for Iranian professionals, was arrested on 20 January after being summoned before a revolutionary tribunal in Karaj, a town 20 km north of Tehran, on 10 January. Plainclothes intelligence ministry officials searched his home the same day, confiscating his computer, hard disks and CDs.His family still does not know why he was arrested or where he is being held. As well as running u24, Solimaninya has created and hosts the websites of many civil society organizations, NGOs and Iranian intellectuals.Reporters Without Borders is also concerned about Mohammad Reza Pourshajari, a blogger who has been held since 12 September 2010. He was tried by a revolutionary court in Karaj on 21 December 2011 on a charge of insulting the Prophet in articles posted on his blog and in letters sent to government officials while he was in prison.His daughter said the trial lasted a quarter of an hour and took place without his lawyer being present. The charge of insulting the Prophet is very vaguely defined but it carries a possible death sentence and is often used by the authorities to silence critics who try to defy the government.Read the full story here.
- Some 11 metric tons of lethal mustard gas Remain Undestroyed in Libya.(RN).Some 11 metric tons of lethal mustard gas, also known as sulfur mustard or yperite, remain in existence in Libya, Belgian media reported on Wednesday citing Defense Minister Pieter de Crem.Under ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya joined the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in 2004. The country declared it had 1.4 metric tons of raw materials to produce chemical weapons and 25 metric tons of mustard gas.As of March 2011, Libya had destroyed 55 percent of its chemical weapons stockpile.However, the country still had to eliminate 11.25 tons of mustard gas, which can form large blisters or chemical burns on exposed skin and eyes and cause bleeding and blistering within the respiratory system.The disposal process was disrupted when an uprising to oust Gaddafi evolved into an armed conflict and resulted in the death of Libya’s longtime ruler, with the help of NATO and other international forces.According to earlier media reports, mustard gas was produced at a chemical plant in Rabta about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Tripoli and stockpiles were located in Rabta and Al-Jufra, south of Sirte.Read the full story here.
- Muslim Party Seeks Power In Dutch Parliament.(Forbes).By Abigail R. Esman.The Dutch Muslim Party has announced plans to seek seats in the Dutch Parliament. The party already has a hold in regional governments in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and other Dutch cities.The Partij Voor Moslim Nederland (Party for Muslim Netherlands), as it calls itself when it is not referring to itself as The Dutch Muslim Party (note the strong differences in meaning), campaigns on an anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, and anti-discrimination platform. It hopes to take part in Parliamentary elections in 2015. Among its principles:
- Criminalization of blasphemy.
- Free speech within limitations: speech that can be seen as insulting or offensive on religious grounds will be prosecuted.
- Damage or destruction of holy texts for any religion to be criminalized by law.
- Members of the party can also be non-Muslims.
- Women and men are to be seen as equal under the law.
- The party is to be based on the Islamic principle of Shura.
- All troops must be withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Turkey must immediately be made a member of the EU.
- Support to Israel must be stopped.
- Zero-tolerance for all drugs, including marijuana (currently tolerated under Dutch law).
- No bans shall be set against the current practice of importing poorly-educated women as brides for Dutch Muslim men.A new pamphlet outlining the party’s vision is to be published by the end of this month.Read the full story here.
- IDF Kills Two Terrorists near Gaza Belt Kibbutz.(INN).Israeli aircraft and tanks struck a terrorist cell attempting to bury bombs at the Gaza security fence near a kibbutz Wednesday morning, killing at least two terrorists.Hamas confiremd the kill. Aircraft fired four missiles on the cell, while tanks fired artillery shells. One of the cell's bombs exploded, and no Israeli soldiers were injured. Hamas claimed that other terroists at the scene are engaged in a gunfight with IDF soldiers, but there has been no confirmation from the army, and Hamas information often is propaganda without substantiation.Terrorists in Hamas-ruled Gaza have been staging almost daily attempts to attack Israeli soldiers and civilians, but their failure has kept the incidents out of mainstream media headlines.Read the full story here.
- Holocaust scholars to Obama: Condemn Libya for Bashir visit.(Jpost).Eighty Holocaust and genocide scholars signed a petition calling on US President Barack Obama to condemn Libya's new government for hosting a visit by Sudanese President Omar Bashir.Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for his role in the Darfur genocide."Especially in view of the role the United States played in bringing about the overthrow of the Gadhafi regime," the petition says, "the US has a right, and a moral obligation, to demand that the new Libya join us in treating perpetrators of genocide as pariahs."The petition urges Obama to "speak out publicly against Libya's embrace of Bashir and to make it clear to the international community that the US regards the hosting of visits by Bashir as unacceptable." Its signatories -- from the United States, Europe and Israel -- call for "a firmer policy by the US toward perpetrators of genocide and those who coddle them."Read the full story here.
- India says continuing to buy oil from Iran.(HD).Energy-hungry India said Tuesday it was continuing to buy oil from Iran, despite an intensifying US campaign to smother Tehran's vital oil exports until it abandons its nuclear programme."We have accepted sanctions which were made by the United Nations. Other sanctions do not apply to individual countries," Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told a news conference. "We continue to buy oil from Iran." Iran is India's second-largest oil supplier after Saudi Arabia, providing around 12 percent of the fast-growing country's needs at an annual cost of around $12 billion.The law provides waivers to firms in countries that significantly reduce crude supplies from Iran. Under Washington's measures, foreign firms must choose between doing business with the Islamic republic or the United States.Mathai said India would not seek a waiver from the United States.Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar told reporters on Monday the delegation would "work out what (could be done) in terms of the new sanctions under section 1245 of the US Act".The governments of the two countries would work on financial mechanisms for India to continue to import Iranian crude as well as to promote Indian exports, he added.New Delhi at present pays Iran $1 billion every month through Turkey.Hmmmm.....And Obama wouldn't want to upset buddy Erdogan...would he?Read the full story here.