Sunday, January 22, 2012
"Humanitarian" Geneva convention observing Taliban video shows execution of 15 Pakistani soldiers.(TheStar).Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan —Fifteen Pakistani soldiers stood blindfolded, handcuffed to each other, as one of their Taliban captors held an AK-47 rifle and spoke with fury about revenge.
He left no doubt what would come at any second.Pakistan’s Taliban abducted the paramilitary troops on Dec. 23 from near the country’s lawless tribal areas to avenge military operations. Now they have released a video showing their execution as a warning to Pakistan’s 600,000-member army, which has failed to break the back of the insurgents despite superior firepower and a series of offensives against their strongholds in the mountains.“Twelve of our comrades were besieged and mercilessly martyred,” said the militant. “To avenge those comrades, we will kill these men. We warn the government of Pakistan that if the killing of our friends is not halted, this will be the fate of you all.” Before death, one of the men described how dozens of Taliban fighters stormed their fort in the northwestern Tank district and kidnapped the soldiers.“They attacked us with rockets, killed a sentry. One ran away. The Taliban entered the fort and captured us with our weapons,” he said. “They tied our hands, put us in a Datsun and took us away.”The video then shows the fighters taking turns shooting the soldiers.The Taliban and Pakistan’s military, one of the largest in the world, have entered exploratory peace talks that raised hopes that their conflict, which has killed thousands of people, could ease. But the talks have faltered, a senior Pakistani security official said, and the video is likely to enrage the army.Hmmmm......No word if they burried them or left for the vultures?Read the full story here.
Israel to blame for talks ‘fiasco’ - Abbas.(RN).
The responsibility for a failure to restart stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks will lie solely with Tel Aviv and its refusal to halt settlement construction, Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas said on Sunday in Moscow.“If Palestinian-Israeli negotiations end in a fiasco, the blame for this will be Israel’s alone,” Abbas told journalists at a brief news conference after a meeting with Russia’s chief mufti, Rawil Gaynetdin.“We are committed to a continuation of talks…but the settlement policies of Israel prevent this,” Abaas said, adding that settler violence was continuing. “Five mosques were recently burnt down in the West Bank.”
Abbas arrived on Thursday on a six-day visit to Russia, one of the members of the so-called Quartet on Middle East peace. The other members are the United States, the United Nations and the European Union.
The visit is part of a European tour to drum up more support for the Palestinians’ stance on settlements as attempts to revive full talks flounder. Exploratory discussions in Jordan on January 14 ended unsuccessfully.
President Dmitry Medvedev reconfirmed Russia’s support for an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital during a meeting with Abbas on Friday.“Our relations remain on an excellent level,” Medvedev said. “Russian-Palestinian friendship…stretches back not decades but centuries.”Russia has consistently called for a freeze on new settlement construction by Israel.
The Kremlin’s commitment to an independent Palestinian state dates back to the Soviet era, although its influence in the region has waned considerably since then. But Moscow also enjoys both political and cultural ties with Israel, which is home to a massive Russian-speaking diaspora.
The Palestinian leader has enjoyed a warm welcome in Russia. On Saturday, he was honored by the head of Russia’s Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, as a “guardian of Christian values in the Middle East”Hmmmmm............A “guardian of Christian values in the Middle East”. “In the last 40 years, the Christian population in the West Bank has slumped from about 20 percent of the total to less than two percent today.” Read the full story here.
‘Israel to Give Obama no more than 12 Hours Notice on Attacking Iran’.(INN).HT: IsraelMatzav.Israeli officials told visiting USS Chief Joint of Staffs Martin Dempsey that it would give President Barack Obama no more than 12 hours notice if and when it attacks Iran, The London Times reported Sunday.The Netanyahu government also will not coordinate with the United States an attack on the Islamic Republic, according to the report, the latest in a number of suposed scenarios concerning cooperation or lack of it between Jerusalem and Washington.
It is left to speculation whether the rumors are based on facts or are leaked by officials to mask the possibility of secret military coordination.The London Times said its sources explained that that Israel fears that President Obama would try to torpedo an Israel attack if more notice were given because he is concerned that Iran will respond by blocking the Strait of Hormuz, sparking a rise in the price of oil that could cripple Western economies. If the attack were to occur in the next 10 months, it would put President Obama in a tight spot on the eve of his bid for re-election.President Shimon Peres told Dempsey, "I am sure that in this fight [against Iran] we will emerge victorious. It is a fight that does not belong exclusively to the United States or Israel, but a global struggle to create a safe world for all peoples.”Hmmmm.......Would you warn Obama.....given his track record of throwing allies under the bus?Read the full story here.
Barack Obama What Are You Up To Now?
I began filming this after a dozen or so train cars went by on a stretch of track south of Santa Cruz California. Where are the military vehicles going? Why are they being shipped? What could this possibly be for? Barack Obama, what are you up to?There are 3 more videos here.HT:BeforeitisNews.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands 6.2 - 5.7 - 5.4 - 5.1 ; Chile 5.0 !More info here.
- Saudi Arabia withdraws its monitors from Syria, urges more international pressure.(AlArabiya).Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said on Sunday Riyadh was pulling its monitors from the Arab League’s heavily criticized observer's mission in Syria, which has been extended for another month, because Damascus had not kept its promises.“My country will withdraw its monitors because the Syrian government did not execute any of the elements of the Arab resolution plan," Prince Saud al-Faisal told Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo. The statement was obtained by Reuters after he spoke.“We are calling on the international community to bear its responsibility, and that includes our brothers in Islamic states and our friends in Russia, China, Europe and the United States,” Prince Saud said, calling for “all possible pressure” to push Syria to adhere to the Arab peace plan.Prince Saud’s stamen followed a decision to extend the Arab League’s observer mission Syria for another month during a meeting by Arab foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital, where they decided to add more members to the mission and provide them with more resources.An officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to the media, said the U.N. would train the observers.The move had been widely expected after the troubled mission technically expired on Thursday. Many in Syria's opposition movement have complained that the observers have failed to curb the bloodshed in the country as the regime cracks down on a 10-month-old uprising against it.A League panel held closed-doors talks to hear a report on the mission that blames both sides, the government and opposition, for the bloodshed, according to an Arab diplomatic source. It recommends an extension while cautioning that its observers would not be deployed indefinitely.At a meeting of foreign ministers in Cairo, the Arab League looks set to extend and expand its observer mission, despite strong criticism that it has failed to stem 10 months of deadly violence.Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi was at the Cairo talks and due to chair a broader meeting of foreign ministers from the 22-member bloc to decide the future of the mission launched a month ago.Sunday's report was being delivered by the mission's chief, General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi of Sudan, who wants his mandate to be strengthened, not scrapped, a League official said.In a statement late Saturday, Dabi said the mission's mandate was “to verify that the Syrian government has implemented the terms of an Arab League plan to solve the crisis, not to stop the bloodshed and violence.”But the opposition Syrian National Council has been lobbying for UN intervention and said it would reveal “a counter-report” later on Sunday to try to discredit Dabi's account.The SNC said it also plans to send a delegation to the United Nations to press the Security Council for intervention.Neighboring Turkey, which has called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, said on Sunday that it was ready to work with the United Nations if a humanitarian crisis developed in Syria.“We hope that before the situation reaches that stage, the Syrian administration will halt the unjust war it has waged against its own people and find ways to make peace with its people,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.“But if a humanitarian tragedy unfolds before our eyes, and if the U.N. steps in, we are ready to work with the United Nations,” he added.Read the full story here.
- US to send the oldest US aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise to Persian Gulf.(PTV). US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has vowed to maintain a fleet of eleven warships despite budget pressures, mostly to project sea power against Iran.On board of the oldest US aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, Panetta told the crowd of 1,700 sailors that the 50-year-old ship is heading to the Persian Gulf region in a direct message to Tehran.“The reason we maintain a presence in the Middle East ... We want them to know that we are fully prepared to deal with any contingency and it's better for them to try to deal with us through diplomacy," Panetta said.The USS Enterprise is the oldest active duty ship in the American naval fleet and its mission dates back to the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 and the Vietnam War.The decision to maintain 11 warships comes at a time when the US economy is facing a national debt of more than USD 15 trillion after a decade of costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and is preparing for 487 billion dollars in defense cuts over the next 10 years.On January 5, US President Barack Obama announced the shift in Washington's defense strategy to reduce the expenses. The eight-page document contained no details about how broad concepts for reshaping the military - such as focusing more on Asia and less on Europe - will translate into troop or weapons cuts.Iran has warned the West of the possible closure of the Strait of Hormuz, where one-fifth of the world's oil shipments pass.Read the full story here.
- US aircraft carrier enters Gulf without incident.(Jpost).WASHINGTON - A US aircraft carrier sailed through the Strait of Hormuz and into the Gulf without incident on Sunday, a day after Iran backed away from an earlier threat to take action if an American carrier returned to the strategic waterway.The carrier USS Abraham Lincoln completed a "regular and routine" passage through the strait, a critical gateway for the region's oil exports, "as previously scheduled and without incident," said Lieutenant Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the US Fifth Fleet.Read the full story here.
- Fallout On Obama’s Killing Of Keystone Jobs Continues As “Repulsed” Laborers’ Union Quits Alliance.(LUR).The fallout over Barack Obama’s decision to kill 20,000 (mostly) union jobs on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project continues as the Laborers International Union of North America left the BlueGreen Alliance Friday afternoon.Founded in 2006, the BlueGreen Alliance is a political pairing of left-wing unions and environmental groups whose mission (so to speak) is to ensure that America’s conversion to a green economy results in union jobs as jobs in industries like coal are destroyed.Included among its stated goals are passage of cap and trade legislation, as well as the Employee Free Choice Act (aka card-check unionization).According to the Laborers’ union press release announcing the union’s departure from the BlueGreen Alliance on Friday afternoon, at least Laborers’ president Terry O’Sullivan seems to be understanding the Devil’s pact union bosses have made by sacrificing their members’ jobs in exchange for an economically-unrealistic “green” economy:
“AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka recently said there was a divide in the labor movement over this project,” LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan said. “That is an understatement. That divide is as deep and wide as the Grand Canyon. We’re repulsed by some of our supposed brothers and sisters lining up with job killers like the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council to destroy the lives of working men and women.” [Emphasis added.]Specifically, O’Sullivan was referencing the CWA, SEIU, UAW, Transport Workers Union, United Steelworkers Union and Amalgamated Transit Union who had sold their souls (and union jobs) to the environmentalists and praised Obama’s decision to side with the green activists by killing the pipeline, as well as destroying the hopes of unemployed union members.O’Sullivan said Keystone is only the beginning of what will likely be a protracted struggle over major projects to build and strengthen America’s energy infrastructure. “LIUNA plans to unite with the support of the strong and proud unions of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department to fight for good jobs that build America and strengthen our energy resources,” he said. “We will not stand idly by, nor will the Building Trades.”“Their real target wasn’t the pipeline, but the oil sands. They missed that target – the oil sands will be developed whether Keystone XL is built or not – but hit tens of thousands of working men and women,” O’Sullivan said. “It is impossible for LIUNA to stand side-by-side with these groups. Construction workers are struggling with 16 percent unemployment and 1.3 million of them are jobless. The Keystone XL was not just a pipeline to them, it was a lifeline.” [Emphasis added.]As was noted in the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama’s plan replace jobs destroyed with his “green agenda” was faulty at best. In fact, the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign has already destroyed up to 1.24 million jobs in 36 states—with more surely to come.For the sake of jobs (union and union-free), let us hope that more union bosses—and, if not them, their members—wake up from their delusion that Barack Obama is actually interested in creating jobs, as opposed to his agenda to “transform America.”Hmmmm....."Et Tu Trumka"?Read the full story here.
- Awesome: U.S. Catholic Bishops Slam Obama’s “Direct Attack On Religion” As “Literally Unconscionable”.(PRNW).The Catholic Bishops of the United States called “literally unconscionable” a decision by the Obama Administration to continue to demand that sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be included in virtually all health plans. Today’s announcement means that this mandate and its very narrow exemption will not change at all; instead there will only be a delay in enforcement against some employers.“In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” said Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.The cardinal-designate continued, “To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable. It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom. Historically this represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty.”The HHS rule requires that sterilization and contraception — including controversial abortifacients — be included among “preventive services” coverage in almost every healthcare plan available to Americans. “The government should not force Americans to act as if pregnancy is a disease to be prevented at all costs,” added Cardinal-designate Dolan.At issue, the U.S. bishops and other religious leaders insist, is the survival of a cornerstone constitutionally protected freedom that ensures respect for the conscience of Catholics and all other Americans.“This is nothing less than a direct attack on religion and First Amendment rights,” said Franciscan Sister Jane Marie Klein, chairperson of the board at Franciscan Alliance, Inc., a system of 13 Catholic hospitals. “I have hundreds of employees who will be upset and confused by this edict. I cannot understand it at all.”“The Obama administration has now drawn an unprecedented line in the sand,” he said. “The Catholic bishops are committed to working with our fellow Americans to reform the law and change this unjust regulation. We will continue to study all the implications of this troubling decision.”Hmmmm........Obama Tells High School Students: "I Don't Think Ethics Was My Favorite Subject".Read the full story here.
- The Barack Obama administration is rigging US Census by counting Illegal Aliens.(NWV).By Chuck Baldwin.The Barack Obama administration is quietly in the process of rigging use of the US Census of 2010, which deliberately counted millions of illegal aliens, for the purpose of restructuring the apportionment of the US House of Representatives. Accordingly, as candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor of one of the negatively affected states (Montana), Mr. Bob Fanning and I have joined with several others in becoming amici curiae in a pending federal lawsuit brought by the State of Louisiana against the US Secretary of Commerce, et al., which was filed January, 13, 2012 in the United States Supreme Court.What has happened is, the US Census Bureau erroneously claims that it “‘is required by the U.S. Constitution count everyone living in this country, regardless of immigration or citizenship status.’” Accordingly, they have counted millions of illegal aliens in the 2010 Census and are using those figures to apportion the US House of Representatives. If this egregious misinterpretation of the US Constitution is allowed to stand, five states (Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, and Ohio) will lose representation in the US Congress to which they are lawfully entitled, while three states (California, Texas, and Florida) will be awarded additional representation in the US Congress to which they are not lawfully entitled. And, of course, this will also directly impact the makeup of the Electoral College, which ultimately elects the President of the United States.Of course, this manipulation of the 2010 US Census also impacts the election of the US President, as those states that are granted more seats in the US Congress are also granted more votes in the Electoral College as the Electoral College is composed of a “Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.Read the full story here.
- For Obama’s Navy Policy, “Talk Is Cheap”.(Heritage).By Brian Slattery.As President Obama has hastily drawn down forces in Iraq and Afghanistan to meet arbitrary timelines, he has taken the opportunity to ramp up rhetoric on a strategic military shift to the Asia–Pacific region. He recently made it clear in the new defense strategy guidance that military focus will be directed toward emerging threats in the region and stressed that security needs will drive the budget, contrary to recent concerns that fiscal constraints have directed miserly defense spending. In spite of this rhetoric, the defense budget has been cut dramatically during Obama’s presidency. As an editorial in The Washington Times recently commented, “Talk is cheap. An emerging debate over the Navy’s future reveals the price America will pay for slashing defense.”A shrinking U.S. Navy contradicts the Administration’s pledges for increased presence in the Asia–Pacific region. No one is debating that American naval presence in the region is a key component of both U.S. and global security. This is particularly evident in China’s increasing efforts to assert its “indisputable sovereignty” over the South China Sea. Yet Obama has failed to address these concerns through the budget process. In fact, the need for a more robust navy will only increase if his guidance is implemented. The U.S. fleet, amidst a host of defense issues in need of attention, cannot atrophy any further.The aircraft carrier fleet is an asset that should be of particular concern. There is a possibility that soon the fleet may fall to nine ships—below the congressionally mandated requirement of 11. Meanwhile, China has recently begun sea trials on its first aircraft carrier, and its officials have expressed a requirement of at least three carriers “so we can defend our rights and our maritime interests effectively.” While China has claimed in the past that it intends to float a navy only to protect its own territorial waters, an aircraft carrier program signifies only one thing: power projection. Taking this into account with the disputed waters in the South China Sea, one can assume that China has higher aspirations than merely a coastal security fleet. This reinforces the need for a strong U.S. carrier fleet in the years to come.For all the talk of an increased focus on East Asia and the Pacific, there appears to be a divide between national security aspirations and what the U.S. Navy can afford. If President Obama wishes to follow through on pledges of a greater Pacific presence, he must either somehow overturn much of the defense slashing he has implemented or attempt to loot other Defense accounts to fund a sustainable blue-water Navy. Instead of continuing to cut defense to give the illusion of fiscal responsibility, perhaps Obama should consider matching rhetoric to reality.Hmmmm.....Or stop investing in "Solyndra like "projects?Read the full story here.
- "Arizona strikes back": State investigates feds over gun-running.(WT).Arizona's state legislature will open its own investigation into the Obama administration's disgraced gun-running program, known as "Fast and Furious," the speaker of the state House said Friday.Speaker Andy Tobin created the committee, and charged it with looking at whether the program broke any state laws — raising the possibility of state penalties against those responsible for the operation.It's a turnaround from the rest of the immigration issue, where the federal government has sued to block the state's own set of laws.A law requiring businesses to check new workers' legal status was upheld by the Supreme Court last year, and the court has agreed to hear the case of Arizona's crackdown law that makes being an illegal immigrant a state crime and gives state and local police the power to enforce that law.Fast and Furious was a straw-purchase program run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The goal was to try to trace guns sold in Arizona shops and then trafficked across the Mexican border, where they landed in the hands of drug cartels.As part of the operation, however, agents let the guns "walk" — meaning they lost track of them. At least two of the guns ended up at the scene where Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in a shootout with Mexican bandits along a smuggling corridor in Arizona.Mr. Tobin will announce the committee's jurisdiction at a press conference in Phoenix on Monday. The committee is charged with looking into the facts about the program, what impact it had on Arizona and whether any of the state's laws were broken.A report is due back by March 30.Hmmmm.......GunWalker - "These boots will keep on walking, one of these days they'll walk all over you?"Read the full story here.
- UK - Pilot with terror links deemed a security risk accuses airline of racism after losing his job.(Dailymail).A British airline pilot arrested over an alleged terrorist plot is claiming racial and religious discrimination after losing his job.The pilot, a Muslim, was judged a security risk because of his close links to two alleged extremists suspected of ‘planning to use an aircraft as part of a hostile or terrorist act’. Because of draconian reporting restrictions imposed last week by an employment tribunal, the man cannot be identified and neither can his employer.Despite this, a well-known British carrier said in a letter that the pilot was ‘in a position to cause considerable harm’ and added that it was in the ‘national interest’ to ensure he never flew commercial aircraft again. Concerns about the two suspected extremists – one is a business partner of the pilot’s brother – were first raised when they paid for flying lessons and a light aircraft in cash.During a raid on the London home of one of the pair, detectives found documents relating to the operation of aircraft, a flight map of the UK and literature from an Islamic extremist group banned in many countries.The pilot, who lives in South-East England and was based at Heathrow, has known the men for ten years and rented a flat from one of them. In October 2007 the pilot himself was arrested – and immediately suspended by the airline – but was never charged. Both his landlord and the other man were prosecuted under the Terrorism Act. Charges against one of the men were later dropped and the other was cleared by a jury.It was at this point that the airline began an internal investigation into the pilot’s conduct, having been passed information about him by Scotland Yard’s SO15 anti-terrorism command at the time of his arrest.The investigation heard claims, denied by the pilot, that he had suggested the September 11 attacks were ‘comparable to the United States’ wars in Afghanistan and Iraq’.On another occasion, while returning to the UK, it was alleged he had read a book on the flight deck which, he explained to the colleague who was captaining the plane, put a ‘different perspective on 9/11’.Details of the extraordinary case have never previously been disclosed.The pilot’s discrimination claim began last week at a tribunal in Havant, Hampshire, where he claimed his employers had effectively ruled that he was ‘guilty by association’.He told the hearing that it was ‘inconceivable that the treatment that I have received . . . would have happened to a non-Muslim or to someone of a different race’.Although the pilot’s case is likely to attract the support of human-rights campaigners, there will be considerable sympathy too for the airline, which said yesterday in a statement that ‘the safety and security of our customers, aircraft and employees is always our number one priority and we will never compromise this area of our business’.The airline added that following information from the police ‘we carried out a thorough investigation and risk analysis and concluded that the claimant was not suitable for work in his role’.Before the hearing began on Thursday, the pilot’s legal team successfully obtained a temporary restricted reporting order preventing him being identified. The reasons for the order, which is being challenged by lawyers for The Mail on Sunday, were not given, although they are understood to relate to illness.Read the full story here.
- Netanyahu urges attorney general to Probe Jerusalem mufti who encouraged killing of Jews.(YNet).Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called on Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to order an investigation against the top Muslim cleric in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority who quoted a religious text that includes passages about killing Jews.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." Netanyahu condemned the mufti's comments, which were posted on YouTube by an Israeli watchdog group, as "heinous." Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) told Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting, "What's frightening is the fact that the mufti's comments were aired on the Palestinian Authority's official television station and website and have been backed by all the Palestinian officials. "If this isn’t anti-Semitism, I don't know what is," he said. Minister Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beiteinu) said the mufti should be investigated and prosecuted, adding that the "extremist Muslim imam who spoke of a final solution gets his inspiration from Nazi Germany." Read the full story here.
- Anti-nuclear group blasts J. Lo and her car for alleged Fiat ties to Iran.(AlArabiya).American singer Jennifer Lopez has come under fire from an unexpected source: United Against Nuclear Iran. The group has, in an open letter, asked the “American Idol” judge to renounce her relationship with Italian car manufacturer Fiat.UANI is a New-York based group that lobbies for a tough international response to Iran’s alleged nuclear program.The group has targeted Lopez for a TV ad she appears in for the car company that UANI says is associated with the Iranian regime’s transgressions.UANI has even created a parody of the ad, in which the narrator imitating Lopez says: “.. Fiat sells cars, truck and other equipment on the streets of Iran, where the brutal Iranian regime represses its own people, hangs homosexuals, support terrorists including al-Qaeda and builds a nuclear weapon. “I would never want that on my block, but Fiat does pay me millions. “Fiat and the brutal Iranian regime ...or the people of Iran. I hope concerned citizens don’t make me choose.”Fiat sells and distributes trucks in Iran through its subsidiary Iveco. Some of those truck have reportedly been used to transport ballistic missiles and to “stage gruesome public executions” according to UANI. UANI sent an open letter to the singer, demanding the international star ends her endorsements of Fiat products if the company does not renounce all business dealing with the Islamic Republic.“By endorsing Fiat, you are serving as a spokesperson for a company that freely does business with a regime that is developing an illegal nuclear weapons program, financing and sponsoring terrorist groups including al-Qaeda, has killed American and NATO soldiers and is recognized as one of the world’s leading human rights violators,” wrote UANI President Mark Wallace.Wallace served under the George W. Bush administration as the U.S. representative to the United Nations for the agency’s management and reform.The group sent a similar letter to the CEO of Fiat, Sergio Marchionne, asking the company to cut ties with the regime in Tehran and pointing out that other car manufacturers such as KIA and Toyota have already done so.Read the full story here.
- Bibi featured in Obama campaign ad.(IsraelMatzav).Prime Minister Netanyahu is featured in a campaign ad for Barack Hussein Obama that targets American Jews. So are President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak (of course, the latter two are less of a surprise, particularly Peres). But then, what do you expect them to say? We're the ones who need to get the word out that this is a lie.But Danny Ayalon (who is persona non grata in Washington)? I don't get that one.Read and see the full story here.
- Iranian trucks carrying chemical missile materials intercepted en route to Syria.(TZ).Four Iranian trucks were stopped two weeks ago in Turkey's Kilis province on the border with Syria and were found to be carrying raw materials used in the making of ballistic missiles, Turkish daily Taraf has reported.Four trucks with Iranian license plates were intercepted by Turkish authorities two weeks ago at the Öncüpınar Border Gate in Kilis province, which lies to the north of Syria, a country to which Turkey has been blocking the delivery of arms shipments since pro-democracy protests turned bloody in the Arab country.Although the contents of the trucks were not publicized by customs officials, Taraf stated that on Friday it obtained reports confirming the trucks' dangerous load. According to the daily, one of the trucks was carrying four six-meter-long cylindrical tanks and heat-resistant materials, while the other three were carrying 66 tons of sodium sulfate, all of which were on their way to Syria possibly to be used in the making of chemical missiles.Turkey has dispatched a scientific team to study the materials and the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has also requested to be informed of the contents of the trucks' loads, Taraf noted. Diplomatic sources confirmed that the trucks carried a load that was in violation of a UN embargo on Syria, but that the responsibility of finding out where the trucks originated from was Iran's.The Iranian Embassy in Ankara denied that the four trucks still being held in Turkey were carrying military equipment from Iran to Syria. The drivers of the trucks also denied allegations that they were carrying arms, stating that their cargo consisted of raw materials used in the leather industry, water pipes and iron.Read the full story here.
- Three female American activists denied entry to Egypt, deported from Cairo Airport.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: Security authorities at Cairo International Airport denied entry to three female American activists on Sunday morning for security reasons.Officials added their names on a list of those banned from entering the country under the classification “Very Confidential,” according to security sources, who spoke under the cover of anonymity to the state-run MENA news agency.The airport security authorities inspected the three American’s iPad devices, handed them back to the women, and deported them back to the United States.The three American activists arrived on a plane coming from Bahrain, intending to participate in demonstrations and celebrations on the anniversary of the January 25 uprisings that toppled the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak last February.Hmmmm.........Democrats?Read the full story here.
- Will No-Interest Banking Undo Turkey's Economy?(DanielPipes).That's the thesis implicit to David Goldman's analysis at "Recall notice for the Turkish model." After dubbing the Turkish economy a bubble that "is bursting, starting with the stock market and national currency," he makes this observation about the prime minister: Erdoğan has the weirdest economic views of any serving head of government. He justified the credit bubble on religious grounds, pledging repeatedly to cut the "real" interest rate (the cost of interest minus the inflation rate) to zero. "We aim to cut the real interest rate in the long run, so people will increase their incomes through working, not through interest," he said last April. "Eventually we aim to equalize the interest rate and inflation rate." Erdoğan believes that this would fulfill the Islamic injunction against lending for interest; if the real interest rate is zero, he seems to think, the sharia ban on interest is fulfilled de facto.In other words, Erdoğan's wacky financial ideas, which are likely to doom his country's economy, follow directly from his Islamist dream of eliminating riba (usury). More generally put, the Islamist economic program undermines itself. Read the full story here.
- India: Muslims slaughter pregnant cow in Hindu temple compound.(POS).A tense atmosphere has prevailed in Perumbavoor, a satellite town of Kochi city and a municipality in the Indian state of Kerala, after a group of Muslims slaughtered a pregnant cow inside the compound of the Sree Dharma Sastha late Tuesday afternoon. The perpetrators slit the cow's throat.Cows are considered sacred in Hinduism, and killing them is prohibited. The killing of the pregnant cow inside the temple compound was a deliberate act of sacrilege designed to provoke local Hindus.A member of the Sree Dharma Sastha temple committee is reported to have said, “If they wanted the cow for meat they could have simply stolen it. That they committed the heinous act right in front of the temple has only one explanation – their intention was perhaps to create trouble.""As per police reports, Perumbavoor and the surrounding areas have witnessed a rise in Islamist operations recently." The Hindu website says.Read the full story here.
- Video - Keystone Calamity.(CS).Obama chooses Saudi oil over Canadian oil with his rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline.Read and see the full story here.
- Growing Islamic fundamentalism in Bosnia-Herzegovina.(AlexanderMunch).Christians and moderate Muslims are trying to stem the tide of Islamo-fascism in the heart of the former Yugoslavia. by John Newton and Eva-Marie Kolman.The rise of radical Islam in Bosnia-Herzegovina is going unchallenged by the authorities, the country’s leading bishop has warned. Cardinal Vinko Puljic, the Archbishop of Sarajevo, highlighted the growth of extremism in the country during a visit to the international headquarters of Aid to the Church in Need.The 66-year-old cardinal said that the growing process of Islamisation in Bosnia-Herzegovina is being funded by radicals in the Middle East. He said: “Muslim centres and mosques have been built in many places with petrodollars from Saudi Arabia.”During the interview with ACN in Königstein, Germany, the cardinal stressed the spread of Wahhabism, an Islamic reform movement, which is the official religion of Saudi Arabia. Many commentators have linked Wahhabism to terrorist movements such as al-Qaeda.The Archbishop of Sarajevo said that there are already 3-5,000 Wahhabis in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the group is seeking to gain influence in society. Cardinal Puljic said: “Nobody in the government has the courage to do anything to prevent this development.” According to Aid to the Church in Need’s report on the oppression of Christians, Persecuted and Forgotten?, more than 100,000 young Bosnian Muslims have encountered Wahhabi Islam through organisations such as Active Islamic Youth, Furqan, and the Muslim Youth Council. Cardinal Puljic added: “In recent years, at least 70 new mosques have been built in Sarajevo alone.”Read the full story here.
- Cold War Redux: Russia’s Kaliningrad buildup causes NATO chief concern.(SR).Vilnius: NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen Thursday urged Russia to refrain from building up its military near the alliance’s borders, saying it was a concern for the 28-nation organization.Rasmussen questioned Russian moves to bolster its forces in its Kaliningrad territory, which borders NATO members Lithuania and Poland, both part of Moscow’s Cold War-era stamping ground.“These Russian statements are of course a matter of concern for NATO allies,” he told reporters in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius. “It is a complete waste of Russian financial resources, because it is a buildup of offensive military capacities directed against an artificial enemy, an enemy that doesn’t exist,” he said.“NATO has no intention whatsoever to attack Russia,” he added, speaking alongside Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaite.Moscow has warned that it plans to deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, and earlier this month, Russian media reported that an S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft missile system would go into service there in April.Russia repeatedly has said it will be forced to take additional measures if it fails to agree with NATO on a missile defense shield.NATO powerhouse the United States insists a shield is needed against potential threats from Iran, but Russia counters that anti-missile facilities planned in Poland would undermine its own security.Rasmussen said it was time for a reality check.“It doesn’t make sense to build up offensive military capacities in the Kaliningrad region. I would encourage the Russians to face a new reality, we are not enemies, we are not adversaries, we should be partners and it would be of mutual benefit if we develop peaceful cooperation,” he said.Lithuania and fellow Baltic states Estonia and Latvia – where Rasmussen was due later Thursday and Friday – are nervous about Russian military moves.They won independence in 1991 after five decades of Soviet rule, joined NATO and the EU in 2004, and have strained relations with Moscow.“Russian actions do not increase trust between NATO and Russia,” Grybauskaite said. “We invite Russia to be open for dialogue, to see new threats and realities and to seek smart defense,” she added.With a total population of 6.3 million and professional forces of 20,500, the Baltic states lack enough fighter planes to police their skies. Other NATO members therefore take turns doing so, from a base in Lithuania.The trio wants to extend the air patrol accord, which expires in 2014.Read the full story here.
- The Palestinian Josef Fritzl?Palestinian man jails daughter in bathroom for 9 years.(YNet).The Palestinian Josef Fritzl? The Qalqilya Police on Saturday freed a 20-year-old woman who was locked in a bathroom for over nine years.The woman's father admitted to locking up his daughter since she was 11-years-old, citing a "family dispute" as the reason behind her prolonged imprisonment. When police officers arrived at the house, they discovered a locked door. The owner of the house refused the officers' demands to unlock the door, claiming his daughter was using the bathroom. The woman heard the commotion and started screaming for help. She told police officers that her father had the key to the door. After finally unlocking the door, the officers were surprised to discover a young woman sprawled on the floor, next to a pillow and a blanket.The officers took the woman, who has not seen daylight for almost a decade, to the local police station, where she was given food, clothing and a social worker. The father was taken into custody. The rescue operation was made possible by intelligence obtained by the police. The officers of the West bank city noted the woman thanked them for saving her after long years in captivity.Hmmmmm........How many more are there like her?Read the full story here.
- HMS Victory to be raised from sea.(AD).The remains of the first HMS Victory are to be raised from the sea bed nearly 300 years after it sank, it has been reported.The vessel, predecessor of Nelson's famous flagship, went down in a storm off the Channel Islands in 1744, taking more than 1,000 soldiers to their deaths.Along with a bronze cannon collection, some believe the ship was carrying a large quantity of gold coins from Lisbon to Britain, which would now be worth a reported £500 million.According to the Sunday Times, the wreck is to be handed over to the Maritime Heritage Foundation, which is expected to employ Odyssey Marine Exploration to carry out the recovery. The American company found the ship four years ago.A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: "Efforts to protect key parts of British Naval history such as the wreck of HMS Victory 1744 are very welcome and we hope to make an announcement shortly."The guns and other artefacts will be displayed in British museums, while Odyssey is likely to receive the bulk of any treasure under the laws of salvage, the newspaper reported.The Maritime Heritage Foundation was set up by Lord Lingfield, the Tory peer formerly known as Sir Robert Balchin.He is a relative of Admiral Sir John Balchin who was on board the Victory when it sank, although he stressed he would not profit personally from the ship's cargo.Lord Lingfield told the Sunday Times: "The foundation seeks to prevent damage to this historically important site and maximise its archaeological, scientific and educational value."We hope it will give a unique insight into the world of the mid-18th century Royal Navy."Read the full story here.
What Happens The Day After Iran Tests the Bomb?(BPB).Iran will become an atomic weapons state because it already has the raw materials, technology, the ambition, and no single or group of nations is willing to do what is necessary to deny that outcome. Atomic weapons in the hands of the radical Islamic Republic of Iran has been “unacceptable” to both the Bush and Obama Administrations and most of our allies, especially Israel which considers the proposition an existential threat.
Our “unacceptable” policy translated into half measures—weak sanctions, covert action, and military threats—to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions. But only two alternatives will stop Iran’s atomic weapons program: a popular uprising that installs a government which abandons atomic arms and foreign invasion. Neither alternative is likely which is why it is time to prepare for the day after Iran tests the bomb.
Before considering the “day after” it is helpful to appreciate Tehran’s bizarre motivation for atomic weapons, its hurried-up nuclear arms program, and why our half measures will inevitably fail.
First, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ruled by clerics and devout Shi’ites who hate the West and is driven by an apocalyptic branch of Islam that believes its duty is to begin world war that brings the return of their Mahdi (messiah)—an Imam so powerful he will bring the world under Islamic rule. An atomic bomb is Iran’s war trigger.
Second, the regime is making rapid progress acquiring an atomic weapons capability. Last fall the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), announced evidence of Iran’s accelerating atomic weapons program. The agency’s report states Iran created computer models of nuclear explosions, conducted experiments on triggering a fissile reaction and completed advanced research on a miniaturized nuclear warhead that could be delivered by a medium-range missile.
Last week the IAEA confirmed Iran’s nuclear material enrichment program took a dangerous turn. The regime shifted its 20% uranium enrichment activities to the underground site at Fordow near the holy city of Qom, which offers protection against air strikes. By the end of this year Iran is expected to have more than enough 20% enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb which could quickly be turned into weapons-grade material (90%) in a month or less.
Finally, the West’s efforts to deny Tehran atomic weapons are doomed. Tehran’s opponents have been attempting for years to use a combination of diplomacy, sanctions, and covert action to persuade the mullahs to abandon the bomb. And now there is talk of limited military action which will also fail.
Years of increasingly tough economic sanctions failed to persuade Iran to abandon its atomic weapons program. Now the Obama administration is hosting the strongest sanctions yet which target the Central Bank of Iran, the main conduit of oil revenues. Those sanctions also target companies like China-based Zhuhai Zhenrong Co., the largest supplier of refined petroleum products to Iran.
But these sanctions which enjoy international support are doomed because Russia and China refuse to fully cooperate. Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov accused the West of imposing sanctions “which go far beyond the boundaries of achieving nonproliferation objectives.” China, a major consumer of Iranian oil, threw cold water on the tougher sanctions as well.
A Chinese ministry of commerce spokesman said China will not heed the U.S.’s request to sanction Iran because it “will do serious damage to China’s domestic economy.” Iran is China’s third-biggest source of oil, supplying more than 5% of total needs.
Covert operations are part of the West’s failing campaign to persuade Iran to abandon atomic arms as well. An American diplomatic cable disclosed by WikiLeaks listed “covert measure” as one of the pillars of Israel’s approach to Iran.
Iran alleges foreign covert operatives are responsible for assassinating five Iranian nuclear scientists, planting the Stuxnet computer worm to destroy enrichment centrifuges, and sabotaging a missile-testing site, near the nuclear facility at Isfahan. But such covert activities are not enough to stop Iran’s atomic program because it includes hundreds of people across many widely scattered facilities.
Military options are gaining attention especially now that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said in mid-December that Iran can assemble a bomb within or year or even less. But those options are ultimately doomed as well.
Three military options are likely under consideration: target Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities; target the weapons facilities and regime assets; and launch a 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq-like operation. We should immediately disabuse ourselves of the third option because the U.S. has no appetite for another land war in the Mideast.
A limited strike option to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities could have unintended consequences and only stall, not end, the Iranian nuclear drive. After all, America’s bombing effectiveness, the best in the world, is rapidly deteriorating because Iran is burying its atomic facilities out of reach for even our biggest conventional bombs like Boeing’s 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator.
The second option would also target regime assets such as command centers to reduce Iran’s ability to retaliate. The goal would be to trigger an uprising that would topple the regime, an unlikely outcome.
But both options will earn quick retaliation. The mullahs will close the Strait of Hormuz through which 35% of the world’s seaborne oil passes daily, launch ballistic missiles at allied strategic facilities, conduct preplanned covert actions, and unleash its terrorist proxies like Hezbollah.
Therefore, because sanctions, covert action, and limited military options are likely to fail we must prepare for the inevitable atomic Iran.
So what should we do? Last week, the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), an Israeli think-tank that enjoys a particularly close relationship with the top echelons in Israel, conducted a simulation exercise to consider the “day after” scenario. It concludes that an Iranian nuclear test would radically shift the whole power balance of the Middle East. The INSS outlined what might occur the “day after.”
The US would try to restrain Israel from military retaliation by proposing a formal defense pact, according to the INSS report. Then Russia would propose a defense pact with the U.S. to arrest regional nuclear proliferation in part to try specifically to prevent the Saudis from developing their own atomic arsenal. Meanwhile, the newly minted atomic Iran will demand new borders with Iraq and sovereignty over Bahrain.
But in an interesting twist, even though the simulation showed that Iran will not forgo nuclear weapons, Tehran “will attempt to use them to reach an agreement with the major powers that will improve its position.” That conclusion parallels an emerging perspective shared by some Israeli elite.Last year, Meir Dagan, the former head of Mossad (Israel’s intelligence organization), objected to an Israeli strike on Iran because it would engulf the region in war. Then last month he added that a nuclear Iran “did not necessarily threaten Israel.”
Two things are becoming obvious regarding Iran’s atomic quest. The U.S. has neither the will nor the international support to topple the regime and an Arab Spring-like Iranian revolution doesn’t appear likely either. What does appear likely is the grudging acceptance of an atomic armed Tehran, and a radically changed Middle East.Hmmmm.......Source BPB.