Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Classified CIA Docs Found In Gitmo Prison Cells.(JW).By Irene.Classified U.S. government information was found in the cells of high-value detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military prison that houses the world’s most dangerous terrorists, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The alarming revelation comes just days after lawyers for an al-Qaeda operative—USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri—jailed at the facility tried convincing a military judge that monitoring detainees’ mail violates attorney-client privilege. Judicial Watch covered the pretrial hearing at the U.S. Naval station in Cuba last week.
Ironically, a large portion of the two-day proceedings involved security measures put in place to ensure that contraband does not make it into the facility that houses 171 prisoners. Attorneys for al-Nashiri argued at length to convince the military tribunal judge hearing the case, Army Colonel James Pohl, that al-Nashiri’s mail not be monitored. The admiral (David Woods) who runs the prison took the stand to explain that detainees’ legal mail is promptly marked after being identified and not read to preserve attorney-client privilege.
Supporting the argument is this week’s DOJ announcement that an agent with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been criminally charged for repeatedly leaking classified information, including the identities of covert agency operatives involved in the capture and interrogation of terrorists. Some of the materials were actually seized from the cells of Guantanamo detainees, according to the DOJ.
The disgraced CIA officer (John Kiriakou) divulged the classified information to journalists who, in turn, disclosed it to an investigator working for the taxpayer-funded defense team of an incarcerated terrorist. Authorities subsequently found some of the files, including photographs of certain government employees and contractors, in the cells of high-value detainees at the military prison.Hmmmm.....Probably receiving the latest 'info' before being released by Obama?Read the full story here.
Why The President Should Speak Out Against Religious Persecution.(MEForum).By Raymond Ibrahim.Christian Solidarity International
January 23, 2012
On January 24, during his State of the Union Address, the president of the United States has a chance to expose the plight of religious minorities living in Muslim majority nations. Doing so would not merely shed light on one of the most ignored humanitarian crises of the 21st century; it would help alleviate it.
Why should the president speak up on the oppression of religious minorities? For starters, because it is the right thing to do, and reflects American values and principles.
He should speak up because religious cleansing is currently underway in nations like Nigeria, where Boko Haram—"Western Education is Forbidden"—and other Islamic groups have declared jihad on the Christian minorities of the north, killing and displacing thousands, burning and bombing hundreds of churches, most notoriously this last Christmas, where over forty people were killed while celebrating Christmas mass. Likewise, since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, about half of Iraq's one million Christians have been forced by targeted violence to flee their homeland, the most notorious incident, again, being a church attack, where some 60 worshippers were killed.
He should speak up because churches are constantly being attacked, burned, or forced into closure, not just in Nigeria and Iraq, but in Afghanistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Iran, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia (click on country-links for the most recent examples). In Egypt alone, after several churches were burned, thousands of Christian Copts gathered to demonstrate—only to be slaughtered by the military, including by being run-over by armored vehicles.
He should speak up because Muslim converts to Christianity are regularly ostracized, beat, killed, or imprisoned—recent examples coming from Algeria, Eritrea, Kashmir, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, and even Western nations. Iran's Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, whose plight actually made it to the mainstream media, is but one of many people imprisoned and tortured for simply following their conscience and converting to Christianity. Uganda offers a typical example: there, a Muslim father locked his 14-year-old daughter for several months without food or water, simply because she embraced Christianity. She weighed 44 pounds when rescued.
He should speak up because Christian girls are being abducted, raped, and forced to convert to Islam—recent examples coming from Egypt, India, Pakistan, and Sudan. In Pakistan alone, "a 12 year-old Christian [was] gang raped for eight months, forcibly converted and then 'married' to her Muslim attacker." Now that she has escaped, instead of seeing justice done, "the Christian family is in hiding from the rapists and the police." Earlier in Pakistan, a 2-year-old Christian girl was savagely raped and damaged for life because her father refused to convert to Islam.
The U.S. president should speak up because such persecution is not merely performed at the hands of "outraged Muslim mobs," but is institutionalized in many Muslim governments, including those deemed "U.S. friends and allies"—such as Afghanistan, where the last church was recently razed; Egypt, where Islamists, supported by the U.S., openly speak of returning Copts into second-class dhimmis; and Saudi Arabia, where churches are not permitted, and Bibles and crucifies are confiscated and destroyed.
He should speak up because there is a pattern, one that is becoming increasingly harder to ignore—one that demonstrates great continuity over the centuries. Past and present, from Morocco in the west, to India in the east—in countries that do not share race, culture, or language, only a culture permeated with the spirit of Islamic supremacism—non-Muslims suffer.
He should speak out because calling out bullies and cutting out their financial aid is the most effective way to curb their bullying, even as giving in to bullies—or worse, pretending they are not bullies and forcing others to go along—is a sure way to guarantee they continue bullying their minorities.
Perhaps most importantly, the president of the United States should speak up because we live in a day and age where the reality of religious persecution under Islam is so well documented—unlike in the days of former U.S. presidents who may be excused—that to continue ignoring it is tantamount to abetting it. Just as history has recorded the great sufferings of non-Muslims under Islam, so too will it record the complacency or complicity of those who are in a great position to end the persecution, but refuse to do so.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.Source : MEForum.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Philipines 5.2!More info here.
- Obama administration gives $1.6 Mil To Restore Chicano Murals With Communist Images.(JW).In its push to help the increasingly powerful La Raza movement the Obama Administration is dedicating over a million and a half dollars to restore Chicano murals—some featuring renowned communists—in one state and cancelling more than 1,600 deportations in two others. It’s part of the administration’s ongoing effort to cater to the influential open borders lobby, which has benefitted handsomely since one of its top officials (National Council of La Raza Vice President Cecilia Muñoz) got a job in the Obama White House. Earlier this month the president elevated Muñoz from White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs to the more powerful and prestigious post of Domestic Policy Director.A Judicial Watch investigation revealed last year that federal funding for the NCLR, which promotes itself as the nation’s largest Latino civil rights group, skyrocketed—from $4.1 million to $11 million—since Muñoz got her White House job in 2009. A big chunk of the money (60%) came from the Department of Labor, which is headed by a former California congresswoman (Hilda Solis) with close ties to the La Raza movement. The administration is catering to the movement in other ways, according to a pair of recently published news reports. The first tells of a $1.6 million federal government allocation to restore more than a dozen anti-American, Chicano murals in San Diego. Among them are images of communists Fidel Castro and Che Guevara and a map of Aztlan, a delusional Mexican nation that Chicano folklore says is made up of California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and parts of Colorado and Texas. Pictures were recently posted by an Arizona group dedicated to fighting illegal immigration.A separate news report reveals that the administration has recommended canceling deportation proceedings for more than 1,600 illegal immigrants in Colorado and Maryland. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has determined that that these illegal aliens are not a national security or public safety threat because they’ve never been jailed for local crimes. All of the cases in this particular situation come from Denver and Baltimore. This appears to be part of the administration’s backdoor amnesty plan, which halts the removal of certain classes of illegal immigrants absent congressional action on the matter. It officially started a few months ago when DHS launched a nationwide “training program” to assure that enforcement agents and prosecuting attorneys don’t remove illegal immigrants who haven’t been convicted of crimes. Hmmmm.........Read the full story here.
- Homeland Security Wants to Spy on 4 Square Miles at Once.(Wired).It’s not just for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars anymore. The Department of Homeland Security is interested in a camera package that can peek in on almost four square miles of (constitutionally protected) American territory for long, long stretches of time.Homeland Security doesn’t have a particular system in mind. Right now, it’s just soliciting “industry feedback” on what a formal call for such a “Wide Area Surveillance System” might look like. But it’s the latest indication of how powerful military surveillance technology, developed to find foreign insurgents and terrorists, is migrating to the home front.The Department of Homeland Security says it’s interested in a system that can see between five to 10 square kilometers — that’s between two and four square miles, roughly the size of Brooklyn, New York’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood — in its “persistent mode.” By “persistent,” it means the cameras should stare at the area in question for an unspecified number of hours to collect what the military likes to call “pattern of life” data — that is, what “normal” activity looks like for a given area. Persistence typically depends on how long the vehicle carrying the camera suite can stay aloft; DHS wants something that can fit into a manned P-3 Orion spy plane or a Predator drone — of which it has a couple. When not in “persistent mode,” the cameras ought to be able to see much, much further: “long linear areas, tens to hundreds of kilometers in extent, such as open, remote borders.”If it’s starting to sound reminiscent of the spy tools the military has used in Iraq and Afghanistan, it should. Homeland Security wants the video collected by the system to beam down in “near real time” — 12 seconds or quicker — to a “control room (T) or to a control room and beyond line of sight (BLOS) ruggedized mobile receiver on the ground,” just as military spy gear does. The camera should shift to infrared mode for nighttime snooping, and contain “automated, real time, motion detection capability that cues a spotter imager for target identification.” Tests for the system will take place in Nogales, Arizona.Hmmmmm........."Policestate" - a political unit characterized by repressive governmental control of political, economic, and social life usually by an arbitrary exercise of power by police and especially secret police in place of regular operation of administrative and judicial organs of the government according to publicly known legal procedures.Read the full story here.
- France passes ‘genocide’ bill.(EN).After a debate lasting more than seven hours, the French Senate voted to back a controversial new law making it illegal to refer to the killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as anything other than genocide. Anyone breaking the law could be fined or imprisoned. With 127 votes in favour and 86 against, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has 15 days to approve the bill.Deputy for the UMP party and the person who proposed the bill, Valérie Boyer, said it was a tremendous step: “It’s a very important moment, a great moment for human rights and human dignity. I’m very glad that parliament has adopted the law today, and I hope that this law move forward peacefully.” However, President for the Commission of the Senate and Socialist Party member Jean-Pierre Sueur was less pleased with the outcome: “We are quite sure in the commission of the law of the senate that this text is unconstitutional. Sooner or later, we will see so. But the question is whether this discussion has eased the pain on both sides? Has this discussion made the history clearer? Was it beneficial for diplomatic relations? I’m not sure and I don’t believe that this matter is closed,” he said.Read the full story here.
- Related - 'Genocide' bill 'null and void for us': Erdoğan.(HD).Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said today that Turkey regarded the French Senate's Jan. 23 approval of a bill criminalizing the denial of Armenian genocide claims as “null and void.” Erdoğan said Turkey had previously warned France against the “mistake” of passing the bill and added that the government hoped France would make amends for the mistake. The Turkish prime minister called on "right-minded" members of the French Parliament and French intellectuals to oppose the bill and said the approval of the law was outright racism and destroyed free speech. It is up to citizens of France to judge French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his associates, Erdoğan said. "Those who fall silent against such measures [such as the approval of this law] will be turning a deaf ear to the footsteps of approaching fascism in Europe," Erdoğan said. Erdoğan said the Turkish government was waiting patiently for the legal process in France to run its course before it would share its plan of action against the law with the public.Read the full story here.
- Carney Asked if ‘Saul Alinsky Portrait’ Is Hanging in the White House.(TheBlaze).During a White House press briefing on Monday, Fox News’ Ed Henry asked Press Secretary Jay Carney if the White House displays a portrait of Saul Alinsky for its staff to look up to. Carney’s answer was less than direct, and would seem to hint that there just might be something to the Alinsky portrait rumors.“I wonder if you could clear something up,” Henry began.“Newt Gingrich keeps saying on the campaign trail that the President’s vision comes from Saul Alinsky, the community organizer. I haven’t heard you asked about him but… Is there some kind of portrait of him hanging up in the White House that people look up to or is this BS?”“Look,” Carney said. “The President’s background as a community organizer is well documented in his own books. His experience in that field contributed to who he is today. But his experiences abroad also included alot of other areas in his life. So I’ll just leave it at that.”He added, “Have I said how much frun I had as a reporter covering Congress from 1996 to 1998? There was a certain bombast to it at the time. Lots of colorful things to cover".Hmmmmmm.........But his experiences abroad also included alot of other areas in his life......Indonesia,.........Pakistan?Read and see (Video) the full story here.
- Supreme Court says no to debate over Elena Kagan health care role.(Politico).By Jennifer Haberkorn.The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request for debate over whether Justice Elena Kagan should recuse herself from the health care reform case due to be argued in March.Freedom Watch, a group led by Larry Klayman, asked the court for permission to file a brief on Kagan's participation in the case. The court on Monday denied the request without comment, though it did note that Kagan did not participate in the discussion.Both Kagan and Justice Clarence Thomas have faced calls for their recusals from the case. Opponents of the law argue Kagan should not participate because she was solicitor general during the passage of the law.The law's supporters want Thomas off the case because his wife is actively trying to repeal the law.But in December, Chief Justice John Roberts asked both sides to stop their demands.“I have complete confidence in the capability of my colleagues to determine when recusal is warranted,” Roberts wrote in his year-end report. “They are jurists of exceptional integrity and experience whose character and fitness have been examined through a rigorous appointment and confirmation process.”Read the full story here.
- Top U.S. Catholic Cardinal Blasts Obama For Being “On Wrong Side Of The Constitution Again”.(CNSNews).By Terence P. Jeffrey.Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has recorded a video message bluntly stating that the Obama administration has a habit of advancing policies that violate the U.S. Constitution.“But I am afraid the administration is on the wrong side of the Constitution again,” Dolan said in the video.The new video message is the latest step in an escalating and historically unprecedented confrontation between the Roman Catholic Church and an American president.It centers around what the American Catholic bishops see as the Obama administration’s efforts to restrict the right of Catholic citizens and institutions to freely exercise their religion as guaranteed by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.This time, Dolan said, the administration is moving to violate the 1stAmendment by forcing Catholics to purchase health insurance plans that cover sterilizations and artificial contraceptives, including abortifacients. The church teaches that sterilization, artificial contraception and abortion violate the natural law and that Catholics cannot be involved in them. Dolan called on Americans to contact elected officials and call for the administration’s health-insurance regulation to be rescinded.Read the full story here.
- Obama Banana Republic.(WHD).By KeithKoffler.Are we living in a Banana Republic? A place where laws are passed for fun and broken for sport?That’s what Wall Street Journal Latin American affairs columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady, who covers Banana Republics for the newspaper, wants to know.In a column published today, O’Grady accuses Obama of UNMITIGATED CYNICISM AND ABUSE OF POWER in his handling of the Keystone XL pipeline, suggesting his behavior is worthy of the Chavistas and likely to chill future investors in U.S. infrastructure.Like all Banana Republic satraps, this one is claiming perfect adherence to the laws of the land, even as he bends them for his own political ends.The White House has been piously intoning that the decision to reject the pipeline arises from nothing less than its fanatical devotion to proper procedure, preaching the line that the State Department must perform its due diligence and analyze the environmental impact of a new route for the project through Nebraska.But . . .well . . . the State Department is only analyzing the new route because it decided it didn’t want to accept the results of its own three year analysis of the old route, which determined that it wouldn’t ugly up Nebraska a single bit.This is exactly what happens in Banana Republics, where they say things like, “I don’t like the results of this election! Let’s have a new election!”As O’Grady puts it: State had already issued three environmental impact statements over three years finding that there would be “no significant impact” on the environment from the pipeline. But as it prepared to issue its final ruling, the environmental lobby descended on the White House with protests.Within days, State announced that a rerouting in Nebraska was necessary, which implied yet another round of environmental impact studies.Obama said well, we’ll just have to wait until the new studies are in before I make a decision. That would put the possible disappointing of Obama’s peevish environmental allies and the deep pocketed Prius crowd until after the election.So Congress passed a law, A LAW, MIND YOU, requiring Obama to make a decision a little sooner, since State had already spent three years on the taxpayers’ dime a thinkin’ and a thinkin’ and it was time, you know, to move your bowels or remove yourself from the commode.Now the law, THE LAW, MIND YOU, required Obama to base his decision not on whether State should keep considering the matter until after Obama’s political problems were behind him, but to decide on the merits of the project. Not on its impact on the ozone layer, the temperature of the earth, rare species of mollusks, or any other issues related to The Great Outdoors.The three bullet points that cover this point in the rider couldn’t be much clearer: First, “the final environmental impact statement issued by the Secretary of State on August 26, 2011, satisfies all requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 . . . and section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.” Second, “any [my emphasis] modification” to the route “shall not require supplementation of the final environmental impact statement . . .” Third, “no further Federal environmental review shall be required.”Congress anticipated that Mr. Obama would try to use the complex process of environmental study as a fig leaf for further delaying the pipeline.And the Commandante – I mean, the president – decided to ignore all of this and reject the pipeline because, in his own words, 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.Waiiiiit a second el Presidente. Are you rewriting laws by executive order? Like in Havana? You can’t decide this on the environment. According to the law, if you fail to make a “national interest” determination and instead make an “Obama interest” determination, the pipeline goes ahead as planned.And so, mi amigos, we’ll see whether Mssrs. Boehner and McConnell have the cojones to have the law enforced.Read the full story here.
- Two House Hearings Scheduled on Illegal Non-Recess Appointments.(Heritage).Two House committees have scheduled hearings on President Obama’s unconstitutional appointments of four federal officials earlier this month.On Tuesday, the financial services panel of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee will examine the role that Richard Cordray will play at the helm of the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The hearing will be streamed live at http://oversight.house.gov.Subcommittee chairman Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) called Cordray’s appointment an “apparent contravention of constitutional requirements for a recess appointment” in a Jan. 4 statement. The panel, McHenry added, “is deeply interested in how you will implement and enforce the unparalleled powers of your new office.”Next month, the House Judiciary Committee will take a closer look at the more general constitutional issues that have dogged the non-recess appointments. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) called the appointments “unprecedented and possibly unconstitutional” in a release announcing the hearing.“The Constitution gives the Senate the authority to determine the rules of its proceedings,” Smith explained. “The President cannot unilaterally decide to rush through ‘recess appointments’ while the Senate is not in recess.”The constitutional case against the appointments has been detailed by Heritage legal experts Ed Meese, a former U.S. Attorney General, and Todd Gaziano, who worked in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in three different administrations.The Judiciary Committee has not yet said who will testify at its hearing.Read the full story here.
- Obama Administration Knifes Britain 'again' in the Back, now over Falklands.(Heritage).In yet another display of disdain for the Anglo-American Special Relationship, the Obama administration has weighed in on the mounting tensions between Great Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands. Just two days after Prime Minister David Cameron issued a robust statement in the House of Commons vowing to defend the sovereignty of the Falklands, the US State Department has undercut Britain yet again with a deeply unhelpful statement that plays into Argentina’s hands.In response to a question on the Falklands at Thursday’s State Department press briefing, a US government spokesman supported direct negotiations between Buenos Aires and London over the sovereignty of the Falklands, something that Argentina has been pressing for aggressively, and which Britain sees as completely unacceptable.As far is London is concerned, the sovereignty of the Falklands was decisively settled in the 1982 war when British forces retook the Islands after Argentina’s brutal military junta invaded them. The Falklands’ 3,000 inhabitants are 90 per cent British (according to the 2006 census), and 0.1 percent Argentine, and have no desire to live under the boot of Buenos Aires. There is nothing whatsoever to be negotiated over regarding the future of the Falklands, a position the British government has reiterated on numerous occasions.Here is the official State Department press release on the Falklands issue published today – note the insulting use of the Argentine term for the Islands, “Malvinas”, a de facto declaration by the Obama presidency that it recognises Argentina has a legitimate claim over the Islands.This latest statement follows an Organisation of American States declaration in June last year, where the Obama administration backed Argentina’s calls for negotiations over the Falklands, as well as a press conference given by Hillary Clinton and Cristina Kirchner in Buenos Aires in March 2010 where the Secretary of State again sided with Argentina.This latest intervention by the current US administration is both hugely counterproductive as well as grossly insensitive. It will encourage and embolden Kirchner’s regime in its aggressive international campaign over the Falklands, with its ludicrous claim that the Islanders are “hostages” held by Britain against their will. Hillary Clinton and her officials would do well to remember that Britain lost more than 250 brave servicemen and women in restoring British sovereignty to the Islands, and their sacrifice will never be forgotten by the British people.Hmmmm.......I Wish Margaret Tacher was still PM.Read the full story here.
- Obama the "Vulture Socialist".(WND).Obama took money from Americans by force (did you think the IRS was voluntary?) and borrowed money from the Chinese when taxation did not yield enough money. Obama then applied the money to create/subsidize companies to make products he knew people didn’t want at prices they could not afford....Afraid that Americans are catching on to his “vulture socialism,” Obama is already running TV ads for his re-election touting the creation of “2.7 million jobs” from “America’s clean energy industry.” Many of those jobs were already in place before Obama took office, and many more are now endangered by the fact that the market is not buying what Obama is selling. As happened in Spain, for every green job created, 2.5 jobs in existing manufacturing have been lost....In a final irony, the same TV ad also brags that America’s foreign oil dependence has declined to below 50 percent of our daily need. That is true and has nothing to do with Obama’s force-fed green-energy program. The recession made worse by Obama’s policies has reduced consumer gasoline demand.Using government force, Obama spends $10 billion per day (and borrows more than $4 billion of that per day) to keep the federal Leviathan on course to “utterly transform” our economy and erode American freedoms.And Mitt Romney, the guy who specializes in turning around failing enterprises and would apply that expertise to the failing federal government, is the bad guy?Hmmmmm......“2.7 million jobs” at a $6 Trillion investment comes to $ a bit above $ 2.3 million a head, it would be a lot cheaper to keep giving them unemployment benefits.Read the full story here.
- 11 stunning revelations from Larry Summers’s secret economics memo to Barack Obama.(American).By James Pethokoukis.A lengthy piece in The New Yorker looks at policymaking in the Obama White House. A key source for writer Ryan Lizza is a 57-page, “Sensitive & Confidential” memo written by economist Larry Summers—eventually to be head of Obama’s National Economic Council—to Obama in December 2008. Here’s some of what I learned about Team Obama’s thinking as the financial crisis was exploding, followed by quotes from the memo itself:
- The stimulus was about implementing the Obama agenda.The stimulus package is a key tool for advancing clean energy goals and fulfilling a number of campaign commitments.
- Team Obama knows these deficits are dangerous (although it has offered no long-term plan to deal with them).
- Obamanomics was pricier than advertised .
- Even Washington can only spend so much money so fast.Obamanomics was pricier than advertised.Liberals can complain about the stimulus having too many tax cuts, but even Team Obama thought more spending was unrealistic.
- Liberals can complain about the stimulus having too many tax cuts, but even Team Obama thought more spending was unrealistic.
- Team Obama wanted to use courts to force massive mortgage principal writedowns.The next step in the housing plan is responsible bankruptcy reform along the lines of the Durbin bill you cosponsored. This would allow bankruptcy courts to write down the principal of primary residences to the current market value. We recommend announcing this reform to begin immediately following the close of the enhanced Hope for Homeowners period.Read the full story here.More here.
- Perry was right on Turkey and Islamic terror.(JPost).By NitsanaDarshan-Leitner.Those who befriend Iran and finance Hamas have made it clear that they are with the terrorists.In the wake of Gov. Rick Perry’s withdrawal from the Republican presidential race, pundits will argue over the reasons for his rise and fall. But one thing is for certain: Perry was the only candidate who told the truth about Turkey’s support for anti-Israel Islamic terrorists.Perry was roundly criticized after he remarked, in the January 17 candidates’ debate, that Turkey “is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists.” The State Department called Turkey “a stalwart ally” of the United States that “plays a very positive and constructive role in the region.” The New York Times, in what was supposed to be an objective news report, asserted flat-out that Perry’s statement was “inaccurate” and characterized Turkey’s governing party as “moderate.” Huffington Post columnist Dorian de Wind mocked Perry as an “uninformed Texas cowboy.”But within hours, Gov. Perry’s critics were left with more than a little egg on their faces as the foreign minister of Iran, the world’s leading terrorist state, arrived in Turkey for a visit aimed at further strengthening the already-friendly relations between the two countries. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi announced in Ankara that trade between his terrorist regime and Turkey, which had been just $5 billion annually in the past, hit $15 b. in 2010 and will reach $30 b. by 2015. Salehi, by the way, has met his Turkish counterpart, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, no less than 11 times in the past 12 months. How is that “positive and constructive”? The truth about Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government is that they have become experts at playing both sides of the fence – making “moderate” noises when Western ears are listening, while collaborating with Islamic terrorists and terrorist regimes whenever they can get away with it.Thus while the United States has been struggling to find ways to stop Iran’s nuclear development, Erdogan has been defending the Iranians. During his visit to Tehran, the terror capitol of the world, in October 2009, he denounced Western sanctions against Iran as “arrogant.” He declared that anyone who criticizes Iran’s nukes should first give up their own nuclear arms. “We shared this opinion with our Iranian friends, our brothers,” Erdogan told reporters. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad reciprocated by praising Erdogan for his “clear stance against” Israel.In December 2010, Erdogan traveled to Libya – Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya – to receive the “Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights.” Erdogan was not the least bit embarrassed to accept such an award from one of the world’s worst human rights abusers and terror sponsors. He told reporters that relations between Turkey and Libya were “growing,” and that there was “much Turkish investment” in Gadaffi’s Libya. Three months later, the US was leading the NATO assault on Turkey’s Libyan friends.He told PBS’s Charlie Rose last May: “I don’t see Hamas as a terror organization.Hamas is a political party. And it is an organization. It is a resistance movement trying to protect its country under occupation.” Presumably the massacre of elderly Israelis attending a Passover seder at the Netanya hotel was a political statement, and the firing of a rocket into a kindergarten in Sderot helps resist attempts by Israeli five-year-olds to “occupy” Gaza.According to media reports last month, Turkey intends to give Hamas $300 million in aid. And just two weeks ago, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh received the red carpet treatment on an official state visit to Turkey.In his famous address to a joint session of Congress in the wake of the September 11 attacks, President George W. Bush declared: “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” Those who befriend Iran and finance Hamas have made it clear that they are with the terrorists. Just like Rick Perry said.The writer is an Israeli attorney and the executive director of Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center.Read the full story here.
- Jimmy Carter Puts Foot in Mouth Again Blaming Israel.(Camera).Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter misrepresented a key Middle East issue yet again, this time in a CNN appearance. He has done this often in the past regarding Israel (examples – here and here). This time the ex-President erroneously blamed Israel for the flight of Palestinian Arab Christians from “Palestine.” Carter told CNN interviewer Piers Morgan on Jan. 18. 2012: When I first went to Israel, about 15 percent of the Palestinians were Christians and they were my friends and they were my soul mates in the worship of the same god in the same way. Now they've almost been removed from Palestine because of some pressures and encouragement from the Israelis.Carter, unchallenged by Morgan, offers no substantiation for this allegation. But in blaming Israel for the flight of Palestinian Arab Christians, he is wrong again about Israel and the Middle East.A Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) report, Christians Flee Growing Islamic Fundamentalism in the Holy Land, documents the central cause of the flight. Muslim intimidation of Christian Arabs includes assaults by Muslim men upon Christian women, demands for “protection” money and illegitimate land seizures. Carter’s false claim is also contradicted by the facts about Israel's growing Christian population (in absolute numbers). Morgan could have shed light on Carter's persistent Israel-bashing by asking him about his connections to Arab oil money. But Carter, like so many other severe critics of Israel, once again sailed through with a free pass from the mainstream media.Read the full story here.
- AG orders probe against Jerusalem mufti.(Ynet).Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein on Tuesday asked Israel Police to launch an investigation against the top Muslim cleric of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority over comments he made during a recent rally in Ramallah.Deputy Attorney General Shai Nitzan sent Israel Police a letter asking that it launch a criminal investigation against Grand Mufti Mohammed Hussein on suspicion of incitement to violence and racism.During an event celebrating the 47th anniversary of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement last week, Mufti Mohammed Hussein cited a hadith (saying attributed to the Prophet Muhammad) claiming that the Earth's end of days will not happen until Muslims kill Jews in a religious battle: "The Hour (of Resurrection) will not come until you fight the Jews. The Jew will hide behind stones or trees. Then the stones or trees will call: 'Oh Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'" The moderator who introduced the mufti at the Fatah event said, "Our war with the descendants of the apes and pigs (i.e., Jews) is a war of religion and faith." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the mufti's comments, which were posted on YouTube by an Israeli watchdog group, as "heinous." He called for an investigation against the Muslim cleric.The mufti said the accusations were part of what he called Israel's incitement campaign against senior officials in east Jerusalem. Ahmad Rwaidy, an advisor on Jerusalem affairs in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' office, told the Ramallah-based The Voice of Palestine radio station that Netanyahu's call for an investigation against Sheikh Hussein constitutes an attack on the Palestinian nation's religious and national symbols. Hmmmmm.......Jerusalem Mufti and Anti semitism is nothing new.Read the full story here.
- Algeria foils Qaeda attempt to attack foreign ships sailing in the Mediterranean.(AlArabiya).(HT:Ibloga).Algerian security foiled a terrorist al-Qaeda plot to carry out suicidal attacks on U.S. and European ships in the Mediterranean from the eastern costs of Algeria. The aborted plan, which was to be implemented by al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb, aimed at destabilizing Algerian national economy as well as attracting expansive media coverage, sources told the Algerian newspaper Echorouk.According to the sources, a cell working under the leadership of the spokesman of al-Qaeda’s wing in the Maghreb Qassemi Salah al-Din, also known as Mohamed Abu Salah, is behind he plot.The cell, sources add, purchased a boat with a powerful engine and was planning to load it with explosives. A suicidal operative was to sail with the boat towards the targeted foreign ships. The terrorist who was to carry out the operation was granted the right to choose the target.Available information denote that one of the suspects, called H. Rabeh and currently detained by Algerian authorities, got in touch with a man nicknamed Abbie, wanted by authorities, and who is known for his activities in illegal immigration. Abbie provided Rabeh with detailed information about prices of boats and locations from which they can carry out the operation and which are basically centered around the Algerian east coast.The abortion of the terrorist plot dealt a severe blow to al-Qaeda in the Maghreb especially that the suspects’ confessions confirmed that they dealt directly with Abu Mohamed Salah, judicial sources told Echorouk.Investigations revealed that the three cell members used to frequent internet cafes and browse Jihadist websites and used fake names. After arousing suspicion with their strange behavior, electronic crime authorities started tracking them down.Read the full story here.
- Turkey talks with S Arabia over Iran oil, counts on Waiver from Obama says professional.(HD).By Gökhan Kurtaran.Turkey has already started looking at Saudi Arabian oil to ensure its economic stability and compensate imports from Iran due to United States pressure to cut its links with its eastern neighbor, said Turkey’s top energy experts yesterday.“Turkey could not resist the pressure from U.S. for a long time,” Necdet Pamir, board member at World Energy Council Turkish National Committee, told the Hürriyet Daily News in a phone interview.Turkey imports nearly 30.6 percent of its crude oil from Iran which rose to 217,000 barrels per day in last year. However, if all the countries rush for Saudi oil at the same time, Turkey might face some sourcing problems, he said. “A one dollar jump in price-per-barrel adds $170 million to Turkey’s bill,” said Pamir. “If Iran closes Strait of Hormuz as it threatens, the prices per barrel might reach $180,” said Hasan Selim Özerden, Eurasian expert from International Strategic Research Organization (USAK). He said Turkey, which recently accepted an early warning radar system deployed at a military base near Malatya in eastern Turkey, might be exempted from joining western alliance sanctions on Iran.Hmmmm.........The biggest customers of Iran don't participate in the sanctions.Read the full story here.
- India to pay gold instead of dollars for Iranian oil. Oil and gold markets stunned.(Debka).India is the first buyer of Iranian oil to agree to pay for its purchases in gold instead of the US dollar, debkafile's intelligence and Iranian sources report exclusively. Those sources expect China to follow suit. India and China take about one million barrels per day, or 40 percent of Iran's total exports of 2.5 million bpd. Both are superpowers in terms of gold assets.By trading in gold, New Delhi and Beijing enable Tehran to bypass the upcoming freeze on its central bank's assets and the oil embargo which the European Union's foreign ministers agreed to impose Monday, Jan. 23. The EU currently buys around 20 percent of Iran's oil exports.The vast sums involved in these transactions are expected, furthermore, to boost the price of gold and depress the value of the dollar on world markets.Iran's second largest customer after China, India purchases around $12 billion a year's worth of Iranian crude, or about 12 percent of its consumption. Delhi is to execute its transactions, according to our sources, through two state-owned banks: the Calcutta-based UCO Bank, whose board of directors is made up of Indian government and Reserve Bank of India representatives; and Halk Bankasi (Peoples Bank), Turkey's seventh largest bank which is owned by the government.Turkey announced publicly last week that it would not adhere to any sanctions against Iran's nuclear program unless they were imposed by the United Nations Security Council.However, the damage those sanctions cause the Iranian economy will be substantially cushioned by the oil deals to be channeled through Turkish and Indian state banks. China for its part has declared its opposition to sanctions against Iran.debkafile's intelligence sources disclose that Tehran has set up alternative financial mechanisms with China and Russia for getting paid for its oil in currencies other than US dollars. Both Beijing and Moscow are keeping the workings of those mechanisms top secret.Read the full story here.
- Canadian Muslim group asks government to expand burka ban.(YN).A little more than a month ago, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney took a political risk.On December 12 the Alberta MP, rumoured to have leadership aspirations, issued a ban that prohibits Muslim women from wearing the burka and niqab while taking the oath of citizenship.By doing so, Kenney risked insulting the Muslim community and alienating his party's 'ethnic supporters' which he worked so hard to attract.But alas, it seems Kenney's risk was a calculated one.According to reports in the National Post and the Toronto Sun, a prominent grassroots Muslim organization paid tribute to Kenney, Sunday at an event at a Toronto Hotel.The Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC) hosted the shindig and threw praise at the Minister."You have taken a very courageous step in banning the burka from citizenship ceremonies," Farzana Khan, former MCC president, told the minister.She then asked the minister to go a step further and introduce legislation similar to Quebec's Bill - 94 which essentially bars Muslim women from receiving or delivering public services while wearing a niqab."Invoking religious freedoms to conceal one's identity and promote political ideology is disingenuous," she said.After listening to the appeal, Kenney said the idea sounds good in principle but he'll need to take a closer look at it.Kenney said that banning the burka at swearing-in ceremonies was based on a "simple principle" adding that polling shows eight out of 10 Canadians agreed with the decision."It is only a sign of respect for your fellow citizens," he said, "when you are pledging to them your commitment to live in a community with them, to show your face and who you are and that your pledge is heartfelt and authentic."Hmmmmm.........Hear, hear!Read the full story here.
- Putin: Multiculturalism has Failed.(RT).The Russian Prime Minister, a top contender for upcoming presidential elections, is providing voters with more food for thought as he promotes his plan for uniting Russia’s multi-ethnic society.Coming one week after the release of an article that addressed the development of Russian civilization, Vladimir Putin is setting his sights on another penetrating subject, this one involving the importance of uniting Russia’s various ethnic communities together under the banner of Russian culture and values. “For Russia – with its wide range of languages, traditions, ethnicities, and cultures – the national question is, without exaggeration, of fundamental value,” Putin wrote in an article for Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily on Monday. “Any responsible politician, public figure, must recognize that one of the main conditions of our country’s very existence is civil and interethnic harmony.”Putin draws attention to the modern problem of “colossal immigration flows” representing millions of people worldwide who are “in search of a better life.” These surging numbers of emigrants and refugees, who are fleeing from “hunger and chronic conflicts, poverty and social unrest” are forcing even the most developed and tolerant nations to address the “national question.”In the midst of this great global experiment, unprecedented in its scope, Putin notes that the “melting pot” of assimilation is…unable to “digest” the growing migration flow.He also criticizes the move toward multiculturalism, which he says “rejects the notion of integration through assimilation.”Multiculturalism “elevates the (idea of the) ‘right of minorities to be different’ to the absolute and, at the same time, insufficiently balances this right with civil, behavioral, and cultural obligations in regard to the indigenous population and society as a whole,” Putin argues.What multiculturalism is leading to in many countries, according to the Prime Minister, is the formation of “closed national and religious communities…which not only refuse to assimilate, but [do not] even adapt.” Putin expressed his astonishment that “neighborhoods and entire cities where generations of immigrants are living on welfare…do not speak the language of the host country.”There can be just one outcome for such a social model: xenophobia on the part of the indigenous population, which understandably seeks to “protect its interests, jobs, and social benefits from the ‘foreign competitors.’”Read the full story here.
- Isma'il Haniya's First Regional Tour Transforms Him From Hamas PM in Gaza to Regional Palestinian Leader.(Memri).In late December 2011, Hamas prime minister in Gaza Isma'il Haniya made an official tour of the region that included visits to Egypt, Sudan, Turkey and finally Tunisia. This was his first official trip abroad since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip five years ago. Especially noteworthy was his five-day visit to Tunisia, on which Haniya was accompanied by 20 of his government officials, and which came in response to an invitation by the new Tunisian government, headed by Hamadi Al-Jabali of the Islamist Al-Nahda party. Haniya was the first leader to visit Tunisia after the establishment of the new government there. He was greeted at the airport by Tunisian Prime Minister Al-Jabali, government ministers, and Al-Nahda party chairman Rached Al-Ghannouchi, and was received by an honor guard and a band playing the Palestinian and Tunisian anthems – honors usually reserved for visiting heads of state.During his visit, Haniya met with Prime Minister Al-Jabali, President Munsif Al-Marzouqi, government ministers, Constituent Assembly Chairman Mustafa bin Ja'far, and senior Al-Nahda officials, including Al-Ghannouchi. In his meeting with the president, Haniya invited him to visit Gaza and the latter accepted the invitation. Haniya toured several cities and visited a number of mosques, and delivered a Friday sermon to an audience of thousands at a mosque in Kairouan. In the capital Tunis, he was granted the special honor of attending the conversion ceremony of a Frenchwoman converting to Islam.Haniya's Tunisian hosts expressed their belief in the legitimacy of the Hamas government and Haniya as its head. Hamas, for its part, indeed regards the visit to Tunisia, and the entire regional tour, as an indication of its growing acceptance in the Arab and Muslim world. Haniya stressed that the tour broke the political and economic siege on Gaza, and emphasized the connection between the Tunisian and Palestinian revolutions. He promised to continue on the path of jihad and resistance, and to refrain from recognizing Israel or relinquishing a single inch of Palestinian soil.The visit was criticized by elements in the PA, who complained that the Tunisian authorities had disregarded them and failed to inform them about it in advance. It was also criticized by Tunisian opposition circles, which claimed that it constituted rapprochement with one Palestinian side only, and also a crossing of boundaries between the Al-Nahda party and the new Tunisian government. The tour elevated Haniya's status from a local leader concerned mostly with Gaza affairs to a central Hamas figure capable of enlisting political and economic support in the Arab and Muslim world. Indeed, Haniya may be poised for promotion within the movement. In mid-January 2012, shortly after his return from his tour, Hamas announced that the head of its political bureau, Khaled Mash'al, had asked not to run again for this post in the elections slated for the middle of the year. Haniya has been mentioned as one of the figures who might replace him (as well as Mash'al's deputy Moussa Abu Marzouq, based outside of Gaza, and senior Hamas official in Gaza Mahmoud Al-Zahhar). If Haniya is appointed to this post, i.e. if he becomes Hamas' political leader, the main weight of the movement leadership may shift to Gaza, which is likely to impact its status as a movement that purports to represent all the Palestinians - in the Palestinian territories, inside Israel and in the diaspora. It is also likely to impact the power balance between Hamas-Gaza and Hamas-Damascus, the latter of which, according to reports, is seeking an alternative location in light of the instability in Syria. Haniya was received warmly not only by the Tunisian authorities but also by the Tunisian public. Upon his arrival he was greeted by thousands who expressed their support for Hamas and its way, calling out slogans like "the people want to liberate Palestine" and holding up placards of Haniya and of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmad Yassin. According to the London daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, dozens of Al-Nahda supporters called out "Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the Prophet's Army shall return" (a reference to the battle of Khaybar, in which Muhammad's army killed a hundred of the Jews of the city and forced the rest to surrender). According to a representative of the Hamas media bureau, Haniya's Friday sermon at the Kairouan mosque drew tens of thousands of worshipers, for the first time in years; they gathered in and around the mosque calling "With spirit and blood, we shall liberate you, Al-Aqsa." After Haniya visited the city of Sfax, a local radio station reported that tens of thousands had heeded the call of the local Al-Nahda branch to come out and welcome "the Palestinian mujahid leader Isma'il Haniya." Senior officials in the Tunisian government and the Al-Nahda party stressed that the Hamas government is a legitimate elected government, and called for strengthening ties with it. They expressed support for the Palestinian cause, which they described as a concern of the entire nation. An Al-Nahda official said that Tunisia would be happy to mediate between Hamas and the West, if asked to do so. At a meeting in Tunis, Haniya stated: "The Arab Spring... and the awakening of the free Arab peoples, have prompted the Palestinians to continue their struggle to liberate all the Palestinian lands."A week after his return from Tunisia, Haniya said that the goals of the Palestinian people now transcend [the borders of] Gaza and encompass all the Palestinian lands, and added: "We shall see the army of Palestine and Islam upon the walls of Jerusalem, and conquer the holy city as Constantine conquered it."In a column titled "Isma'il Haniya, the Palestinian President," Faiz Abu Shamala wrote in Falastin that the visit to Tunisia had proved that Haniya represents all Palestinians and that he is spokesman for the entire nation: "Sheikh Isma'il Haniya has become the first Palestinian figure to command honor and respect and to represent the full spectrum of the Palestinian people. In fact, he has transcended the Palestinian [arena] and has become a spokesman for the nation at large, spurring the [younger] generations to wage war on Israel... He has broken the Israeli siege... He, who was a target for Israeli planes, has become a prayer Imam [for the Tunisians], telling them straight out: 'We will not recognize Israel. Resistance is our way to liberate Palestine, [so] come join the Army of Jerusalem in order to liberate the holy places and put an end to the Israeli age." Abu Shamala added that the Palestinian Authority had failed to read the changing political map and had thus lost the support of the North African countries: "Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and all [the lands of] the Arab Maghreb have adopted the path of Hamas, leaving not even a single drop of water or piece of bread for the PA."Haniya's next visit, to Turkey, also lasted four days. He met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and was received with great enthusiasm at the Turkish parliament. In fact, the prime minister stopped in mid-speech to greet Haniya as he entered the assembly hall. At their meeting, Erdogan said that Hamas was no terrorist organization but a movement that the Palestinians had elected, and that their decision should be respected. He added that the Palestinian problem and the conflict with Israel could not be resolved without Hamas' involvement, and that lifting the Gaza siege was one of the conditions for reaching a settlement with Israel. He declared that his country had a work plan for rehabilitating Gaza.Hmmmmm.....NATO 'ally' Erdogan "Hamas is no terrorist organization".One of the few men with whom Obama has a relation of 'trust' with?Read the full story here.
- New US ambassador sparks Russia's fury.(HD).A top Russian lawmaker called Tuesday for a parliamentary probe after the new US ambassador met the leaders of current protests against strongman Vladimir Putin.President Barack Obama's chief Russia adviser Michael McFaul, who arrived as US ambassador on January 16, prompted fury in the state media by holding the private talks within his first 48 hours on the job.McFaul -- author of the so-called "reset" in US-Russia relations and a veteran Kremlin watcher who once worked in Moscow as an analyst -- described his decision as a part of Washington's "dual track engagement" of Moscow."Just as President Obama did when he visited Moscow in July 2009, all senior US officials visiting Russia make a point of meeting with both government officials and civil society leaders," McFaul wrote on his blog last week.But a commentator on Russia's main Channel One television immediately suggested that McFaul -- who once penned a book called "Russia's Unfinished Revolution" -- was now on a mission to "finish the revolution".Read the full story here.
- North Korea, New Land of Opportunity?Foreign investment, especially from China, is rising in spite of the hassles.(BW).As chairman of Wanxiang Group, a Chinese auto parts and mining conglomerate, Lu Guanqiu knows the headaches of doing business in diverse environments. He controls dozens of factories in the U.S. that serve the troubled auto industry and mines in Indonesia, remote western China, and North Korea. “North Korea is like China was 30-plus years ago,” the onetime farmer says in a chilly reception room at Wanxiang’s headquarters in Hangzhou, 100 miles southwest of Shanghai. “Through our contact, we are certain they will become more open and more liberated.”Despite its guiding doctrine of Juche, or self-reliance, and its reputation as a rogue nuclear state and the last bastion of personality-cult totalitarianism, North Korea is attracting foreign companies with an appetite for risk and a tolerance for government meddling. Chinese, South Korean, and about 30 European companies have invested in copper and gold mines, factories producing medications and blue jeans, and even Internet service. (Americans and Canadians are largely barred from doing business there.)In Pyongyang, Egypt’s Orascom Telecom is building a 3G mobile-phone network and DHL delivers packages. Two Hong Kong-listed companies operate casinos for tourists (locals aren’t allowed in). France’s Lafarge owns 30 percent of a cement plant that employs 3,000 workers. German-backed outsourcer Nosotek offers North Korean programming help to Western companies developing cell-phone games. A Swedish group markets Noko Jeans, made in the North.Total accumulated foreign investment in North Korea reached $1.475 billion in 2010, up from $1.437 billion the previous year, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Some $6.5 billion more is in the works as Chinese infrastructure companies plan new ports, highways, and power plants, according to the Samsung Economic Research Institute, a think tank in Seoul.With mineral reserves valued at more than $6 trillion, according to South Korean state-owned mining company Korea Resources, the North has become a magnet for Chinese enterprises. Of the 138 Chinese companies registered as doing business in North Korea in 2010, 41 percent extract coal, iron, zinc, nickel, gold, and other minerals, according to the U.S. Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University. China’s investment in the North’s mineral sector since 2004 has reached $500 million, the Samsung Institute estimates. China accounted for 57 percent, or $3.5 billion, of the North’s foreign trade in 2010, up from 53 percent the previous year, according to South Korea’s statistical office. “The Chinese are storming in there and taking all the opportunities,” says Roger Barrett, managing director of Korea Business Consultants, a Beijing company that advises foreign investors in North Korea.Read the full story here.
- Kuwait arrests women for........ being naked under abaya.(BikyaMasr).DUBAI: Kuwaiti police have reportedly arrested three women for not wearing any clothes underneath their abayas at a cafe in the Salmiya commercial complex, the al-Rai daily newspaper reported.Two of the women were from Gulf countries and are not Kuwaiti, police sources said.The report said that a local boy told his mother that he had seen one of their naked bodies. The mother then called the police and they were arrested.The newspaper added that the women, one of whom was a minor – allegedly told police that they had just had sex in an apartment, consumed alcohol and “had become drunk.” They had then gone to the cafe afterwards.Police reported to have phone the father of the two GCC girls, but he said he could not come to Kuwait as he was busy. The girls have been referred to the Criminal Investigations Department.According to Marwa Tarek, a women’s rights activist and blogger in Kuwait, the women could face a number of criminal charges, especially if they are accused of being lesbians.“The crime and penalty for being gay is not a nice one here and they could be facing years in prison if the accusations they had consensual sex are proven true,” she told Bikyamasr.com.Tarek said that she questions how the boy saw any of them naked, as the abaya usually covers the entirety of the body and is difficult to see through.“The boy was probably peeking underneath and then told his mother. It is the boy who should be in trouble, not the three women who did nothing wrong except be in public. I know a lot of women who often wear nothing underneath their abaya because it is so hot and nobody can see,” she added.Read the full story here.
- Planes expected to reroute following massive solar eruption.(Fox).A powerful solar eruption is expected to blast a stream of charged particles toward Earth tomorrow (Jan. 24), as the strongest radiation storm since 2005 rages on the sun.Early this morning (0359 GMT Jan. 23, which corresponds to late Sunday, Jan. 22 at 10:59 p.m. EST), NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught an extreme ultraviolet flash from a huge eruption on the sun, according to the skywatching website Spaceweather.com.According to NOAA, this is the strongest solar radiation storm since May 2005, and as a precaution, polar flights on Earth are expected to be re-routed within the next few hours, Kathy Sullivan, deputy administrator of NOAA, said today at the 92nd annual American Meteorological Society meeting in New Orleans, La.The solar flare spewed from sunspot 1402, a region of the sun that has become increasingly active lately. Several NASA satellites, including the Solar Dynamics Observatory, the Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), and the Stereo spacecraft observed the massive sun storm.A barrage of charged particles triggered by this morning's solar flare is expected to hit Earth tomorrow at around 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT), according to experts at the Space Weather Prediction Center, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. [Video & photos of the huge solar flare]. In addition to generating stronger than normal displays of Earth's auroras (also known as the northern and southern lights), geomagnetic storms aimed directly at our planet can also disrupt satellites in orbit, cause widespread communications interference and damage other electronic infrastructures."There is little doubt that the cloud is heading in the general direction of Earth," Spaceweather.com announced in an alert. "A preliminary inspection of SOHO/STEREO imagery suggests that the CME will deliver a strong glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 24-25 as it sails mostly north of our planet."Sunday's solar flare was rated an M9-class eruption, which placed it just on the verge of being an X-class flare, the most powerful type of solar storm. M-class sun storms are powerful but mid-range, while C-class flares are weaker.Read the full story here.
- Muslim Extremists Strike at Christians in East African Isles.(ODUSA).Few people in the Western world could even locate Zanzibar and Comoros on a map. Sequestered from the world media’s gaze on these tiny islands off the eastern coast of Africa, embattled believers in these remote areas go largely unnoticed as their church buildings are razed and Christian converts are ostracized and imprisoned for their faith.Zanzibar is an island off the coast of Tanzania. With a population estimated at 700,000, there are only 60 Christian congregations on the archipelago, according to Operation World. In a single week last month, Christian leaders reported that Muslim extremists destroyed two church buildings on the Zanzibar archipelago. The extremists torched the building of the 80-member Pentecostal Evangelical Fellowship of Africa in Mtufani Mwera, about seven miles from Zanzibar town, on December 3, said Pastor Julius Makoho to Compass Direct News. Damages were estimated at 1.5 million Tanzania shillings (US$9,350). "When I arrived at the scene of incident Sunday morning, I found that the church had been reduced to ashes, with bottles seen close by that could have been filled with petrol or paraffin and used for the burning of the church building." As the assailants fled, said one church member, "I heard them shouting, ‘We do not want a church in this area!’" To date, no arrests have been made. Church leaders report that authorities on the predominantly Muslim archipelago tend to take no action in crimes against Christians. The previous week in Kianga, about six miles from Zanzibar town, a throng of Islamic extremists demolished the Siloam Church building. Pastor Boniface Kaliabukama said that more than 100 Muslim extremists arrived at the church compound on November 26 chanting "Allahu Akbar [God is greater]." The security guard fled for his life, and the assailants entered the church building with clubs, hammers, torches and swords, tearing it down in about three hours. The arrival of police did not stop them; they kept slamming the structure even as police tried to frighten them off by firing into the air. Officers did manage to arrest group leader.Bishop Obedi said that a neighbor called him the night of the incident to tell him that he had heard a Muslim saying, "We are not comfortable with the existence of the Siloam Church – this church is growing very fast, and it is taking some of our Muslim brethren."Damages to the brick structure with its sheet-iron roof, completed in August 2011 with government permission, were estimated at 25 million Tanzanian shillings (US$15,570). The 200-member congregation is now without a building in which to worship.Further south, in Comoros – three tiny islands between Mozambique and Madagascar that declared independence from France in 1975 – a convert from Islam who was rejected by his family, is suffering from a skin disease contracted in prison.The ordeal of Musta Kim, an active member of the underground church in Comoros, began in March 2010 when he returned from an overnight prayer meeting to find that someone had broken into his house in Mdjwayezi village. Little did Kim suspect that simply reporting a burglary would start a chain of events leading to him being cast out by his family. When police stumbled onto Christian materials while looking for evidence in his home, the course of inquiry changed from pursuing thieves to asking why Kim was practicing a forbidden faith.According to Kim, the Muslim youth who broke into his home was suspicious that Kim had left Islam. Police investigations following the March 4 ransacking lasted three months, during which officers found Christian materials such as the "Jesus Film," a translation of the Gospel of Luke in the local Ngazidja language and a French Bible in Kim’s possession. With the help of Kim’s family, police arrested and severely beat him, injuring his right eye, before throwing him into a jail cell, he said. He was forced to sleep on a moist, thin mattress in the filthy jail cell, leaving him with a skin disease that has affected his whole body. Kim was taken to the Roman Catholic Hospital in Mboeni, but his condition, that resembled scabies, worsened. He then made an appeal in the high court regarding his eight months of incarceration without trial, and he was released on Feb. 29, 2011. His family, however, completely rejected him, and Kim did not know who to turn to for shelter, medicine and food. Though the Comorian constitution provides for freedom of religion, that right is routinely violated. Islam is the legal religion, and anyone found practicing another faith faces opposition. According to Operation World, evangelism is forbidden, and converts to Christianity can expect severe reprisals in a country that is 98.84 percent Muslim and 0.93 percent Christian.Hmmmm........ Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him. ~ Proverbs 14:31.Read the full story here.
- And now for something completely different."Fair Use" - How porn parodies avoid copyright restrictions.(Yahoo)(MaCleans). Wednesday, January 18, 2012 marked an intriguing confluence of events. No, it’s not some sort of Mayan end-of-the-world situation, but it is the day on which Wikipedia, Google and a number of other big websites posted the Stop Online Piracy Act. It was also the day on which the Adult Entertainment Expo kicked off in Las Vegas.How on Earth are the two related? Bear with me.I’ve written before about how SOPA has the potential to kick off the equivalent of an Internet Cold War. If enacted, the legislation would give U.S. authorities power to block certain websites. The target would be file-sharing enablers such as the Pirate Bay, but could also encompass other undesirable websites, which historically has meant porn. But that’s not the tree I’m barking up today.At this year’s AEE, porn titan Vivid is going to be touting its latest big-budget production, a triple-X “parody” of Star Wars that is being released this month. Watch this trailer–which is perfectly safe for work, given that it’s completely devoid of even suggested sex or nudity–and you’ll see why I put the word parody in quotes.On a related note, if you Google search “superhero porn parody,” my blog shows up on the first page of results. Needless to say, my mother is proud. Somehow, I’ve become an authority on superhero porn parodies. And just like anyone who shoulders a dubious distinction, I guess there is a certain pride in it.As such, I decided to put some effort into answering the one burning question I still have when it comes to porn parodies: How do they get away with it? It’s a question that rampaged back into consciousness after watching that Star Wars parody trailer. If the film copies the original shot for shot and has some identical dialogue, isn’t it more of a copy and not a parody?I put the question of parodies to Pink Visual, a producer of adult content that threw a party during the Consumer Electronics Show last week, and got an answer from general counsel Jessica Pena-Sackett. She said parodies are tricky but, if executed properly, can be defended on the principle of fair use: To date, there has not been a bright line rule with regards to parodies in the adult context. A bright line rule would be difficult to establish since every case/parody is different. On the one hand, the argument could be made that due to the nature of our content, a parody could tarnish the name of a rights holder. However, on the other hand, the argument could be made that parodies in the adult context would qualify for a fair use defense, as with other parodies.More intriguing, however, was her suggestion that some parodies may actually be the product of deals made between involved parties. Marvel and its superheroes were the basis of our conversation, but this could also apply to Star Wars and other parodies.Something to be aware of is that, although one suspects a company such as Marvel has not entered into a private agreement regarding parodies of their content, one never knows the substance of private agreements.Could Marvel and its owner Disney or even George Lucas have signed agreements with porn companies that allow parodies of their intellectual property? I could ask them–and I will–but as Pena-Sackett points out, they’re unlikely to acknowledge any such deals.Read the full story here.