Sunday, January 29, 2012

Overnight Music video - Bloody Sunday - 30 Years ago! U2



Today 30 Years Ago: Bloody Sunday, sometimes called the Bogside Massacre — was an incident on 30 January 1972 in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland, in which 26 unarmed civil-rights protesters and bystanders were shot by soldiers of the British Army. Thirteen males, seven of whom were teenagers, died immediately or soon after, while the death of another man four-and-a-half months later was attributed to the injuries he received on that day. Two protesters were also injured when they were run down by army vehicles. Five of those wounded were shot in the back. The incident occurred during a Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association march; the soldiers involved were members of the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment (1 Para).
The Provisional Irish Republican Army's (IRA) campaign against the partition of Ireland had begun in the two years prior to Bloody Sunday, but public perceptions of the day boosted the status of, and recruitment into, the organisation enormously. Bloody Sunday remains among the most significant events in the Troubles of Northern Ireland, chiefly because it was carried out by the army and not paramilitaries, in full view of the public and the press.
Two investigations have been held by the British government. The Widgery Tribunal, held in the immediate aftermath of the event, largely cleared the soldiers and British authorities of blame—Widgery described the soldiers' shooting as "bordering on the reckless"—but was criticised as a "whitewash", including by Jonathan Powell. The Saville Inquiry, chaired by Lord Saville of Newdigate, was established in 1998 to reinvestigate the events.
Following a 12-year inquiry, Saville's report was made public on 15 June 2010, and contained findings of fault that could re-open the controversy, and potentially lead to criminal investigations for some soldiers involved in the killings. The report found that all of those shot were unarmed, and that the killings were both "unjustified and unjustifiable." On the publication of the Saville report the British prime minister, David Cameron, made a formal apology on behalf of the United Kingdom.Source.

U.S. Jewish leaders visit Pollard in prison, call for speedy release, Obama more inclined to release Taliban jihadists from Guantanamo.


U.S. Jewish leaders visit Pollard in prison, call for speedy release.(Imra).Richard Stone and Malcolm Hoenlein, the chairman and the executive vice  chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, recently visited convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard at Butner prison in North Carolina.The two U.S. Jewish leaders talked with Pollard for two hours.Following the meeting, the two expressed concern about Pollard's deteriorating health condition."We've returned with a renewed commitment to work for Pollard's release," the two wrote in a statement after the visit. "We see this as a serious humanitarian issue and as a matter of justice.""Mr. Pollard suffers from multiple health challenges, which we believe add urgency for his release," the statement read.Stone and Hoenlein noted that Pollard reiterated to them that he regretted his actions and that he expressed the desire to be released from prison, build a family and be an active citizen.
Activists for Pollard's release said that the visit was the first of a series of planned visits by American Jewish community leaders intended to express to importance and urgency they see in having Pollard released from incarceration by U.S. President Barack Obama.Recently, calls for Pollard's release have increased amongst current and former U.S. officials as well as leaders of the American Jewish community.Pollard was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1986 after being convicted of
spying for Israel.Hmmmm.......The Obama administration is considering releasing five top Taliban jihadists from custody at Guantanamo Bay.But yes "the Taliban per se is not our enemy."Then who is?Read the full story here.

"The Gloves are off" - Copyright Industry Calls for Broad Search Engine Censorship.


Copyright Industry Calls for Broad Search Engine Censorship.(TF).At a behind-closed-doors meeting facilitated by the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport, copyright holders have handed out a list of demands to Google, Bing and Yahoo. To curb the growing piracy problem, Hollywood and the major music labels want the search engines to de-list popular filesharing sites such as The Pirate Bay, and give higher ranking to authorized sites.It’s no secret that the entertainment industries believe search engines are not delivering enough when it comes to protecting copyright works. Just last month, the RIAA and IFPI accused Google of massively profiting from piracy, while putting up barriers to make life difficult for rightsholders.
If the copyright industry had their way, Google and other search engines would no longer link to sites such as The Pirate Bay and isoHunt. In a detailed proposal handed out during a meeting with Google, Yahoo and Bing, various copyright holders made their demands clear.
The document, which describes a government-overlooked “Voluntary Code of Practice” for search engines, was not intended for public consumption but the Open Rights Group obtained it through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
In short, the rightsholders want the search engines to make substantial changes so that pirated content becomes harder to find, or is de-listed entirely. In addition, they want to boost the rankings of licensed content. Below are the three new measures they propose.
  • Assign lower rankings to sites that repeatedly make available unlicensed content in breach of copyright
  • Stop indexing websites that are subject to court orders while establishing suitable procedures to de-index substantially infringing sites
  • In the document rightsholders explain that they find it inexcusable that some websites – Pirate Bay and Isohunt in particular – are still indexed by all major search engines even though courts have ruled they facilitate copyright infringementPrioritize websites that obtain certification as a licensed site under a recognised scheme.
Hmmmm.......“We would propose that prioritisation be enabled for searches that contain any of the following key search terms: “mp3″, “flac”, “wma”, “aac”, “torrent”, “download”, “rip”, “stream” or “listen”, “free”, when combined with an artist name, song or album title contained on a list to be regularly updated and provided to a search engine by a recognised and properly mandated agency representing rights holders for a particular sector, such as BPI.”Read the full story here.

    Iran Sends Toy Drone to Obama, "We made it in pink as it is Mr Obama's favorite color".

    Hmmmm.......Quote:"We made it in pink as it is Mr Obama's favorite color".

    Breaking - Canada - Shafia murder trial verdict : All three guilty of first degree murder !

                                                                  The four murdered victims
    All 3 guilty in Shafia murder trial.Judge condems twisted concept of honor killings.(Yahoo).KINGSTON, Ont. - Three members of an Afghanistan-born Montreal family have been found guilty of killing three daughters and a co-wife in what the judge describes as "cold-blooded, shameful murders" resulting from a "twisted concept of honour."
    A jury took 15 hours to find Mohammad Shafia, 58, his wife Tooba Yahya, 42, and their son Hamed, 21, each guilty of four counts of first-degree murder in a case so shocking it has riveted Canadians from coast to coast.
    Even after the verdict was read, the three denied killing sisters Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13, Shafia as well as Rona Amir Mohammad, 52, their father's childless first wife in a polygamous marriage.
    Their bodies were found June 30, 2009, in a car submerged in a canal in Kingston, Ont., in a multiple murder the Crown asserted was to avenge the family's outrage because the girls sought teenage freedoms agianst the will of their controlling father and brother.
    As the verdicts were being read, Hamed put his head in his hands and hunched over while standing.Soon, his mother Tooba started to cry.When the judge asked if they each wanted to say anything, they one by one declared their innocence.
    "We are not criminal, we are not murderer, we didn't commit the murder and this is unjust," Mohammad said through a translater.
    His wife, Tooba, responded: "Your honourable justice, this is not just. I am not a murderer, and I am a mother, a mother."
    Their son said in English: "Sir, I did not drown my sisters anywhere."
    But the judge was unmoved, and spoke directly to the cultural cloud that has hung over the case since it began."You have each been convicted of the planned and deliberate murder of four members of your family...(A verdict) clearly supported by the evidence presented at this trial," said Judge Robert Maranger."It is difficult to conceive of a more despicable, more heinous crime...the apparent reason behind these cold-blooded, shameful murders was that the four completely innocent victims offended your completely twisted concept of honour...that has absolutely no place in any civilized society."
    Throughout the judge's statement, Hamed put his head in his hands, while at one point both his mother and father rubbed his back to console him.
    By the time Shafia, Yahya and Hamed were arrested on July 22, 2009, the case against them included intercepted conversations secretly recorded by police.
    Comments mostly made by Shafia on those wiretaps provided the foundation for the Crown's "honour killing" theory.
    "I say to myself, 'Would they come back to life a hundred times, for you to do the same again,'" Shafia says on one. "That is how hurt I am. Tooba, they betrayed us immensely. They violated us immensely. There can be no betrayal, no treachery, no violation more than this."
    "Even if they hoist me up onto the gallows...nothing is more dear to me than my honour," Shafia.First-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
    Justice Minister Rob Nicholson called honor killings “barbaric and unacceptable in Canada” in a statement issued after the court handed down its verdict.
    Read the full story here.

    In order to save America and Israel, "We have to get Obama elected out" - Jewish Left & Right - agree !

    Euro Needs 'Lebensraum'? German Economy Minister Demands Surrender Of Greek Budget Policy, Says It Is First Of Many Such Sovereign "Requests"


    Euro Needs 'Lebensraum'? German Economy Minister Demands Surrender Of Greek Budget Policy, Says It Is First Of Many Such Sovereign "Requests".(ZeroHedge).While over the past 2 days there may have been some confusion as to who, what, how or where is demanding that Greece abdicate fiscal sovereignty (with some of our German readers supposedly insulted by the suggestion that this idea originated in Berlin, and specifically with politicians elected by a majority of the German population), today's quotefest from German Economy Minister Philipp Roesler appearing in Germany's Bild should put any such questions to bed.
    And from this point on, Greece would be advised to not play dumb anymore vis-a-vis German annexation demands. So from Reuters, "Greece must surrender control of its budget policy to outside institutions if it cannot implement reforms attached to euro zone rescue measures, the German economy minister was quoted as saying on Sunday.
    Philipp Roesler became the first German cabinet member to openly endorse a proposal for Greece to surrender budget control after Reuters quoted a European source on Friday as saying Berlin wants Athens to give up budget control." And some bad news for our Portuguese (and then Spanish) readers: you are next.And by the way, this is just the beginning:
    A government source in Berlin said Germany's proposal was aimed not just at Greece but also at other struggling euro zone members that receive aid and are unable to make good on their obligations.So yes, it is true, and Germany is dead serious. Ball is in the Greek court now: just how far will the new technocrat PM go to sell its people in exchange for a few banker smiles?Read the full story here.

    MFS -The Other News - What the main papers don't say.



                        Morning Posting.

    • Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Turkey 4.9 !More info here.

    • Fast and Furious Bombshell: Holder Toast; Damning E-mails released.(BN).Looks like there has been another Friday night document dump from the White House on Fast and Furious and the e-mails included in that dump show that Attorney General Eric Holder was informed about Brian Terry's death within 24 hours AND that Fast and Furious guns were found at the scene.
      The most damaging email exchange for Holder appears to be one between then Arizona US Attorney, Dennis Burke and Holder Deputy Chief of Staff, Monty Wilkinson.NPR has the emails. I've posted screen shots of the two exchanges that point to Holder committing perjury when he said on May 3rd that he'd first learned about Fast and Furious a "few weeks" earlier. He later had to concede that he knew about the operation approximately two months earlier and tried to argue that eight weeks could still be classified as "a few."First, the email in which Burke notified Wilkinson that Border Patrol Agent, Brian Terry had died after being shot near the Mexican border. Note Wilkinson's response. He says that he has alerted the Attorney General. This shows that Holder was informed of Terry's death within hours.Holder is in deep, deep trouble here. This all comes out just days before Holder is set to appear in front of the committee that Rep. Darrell Issa chairs. On February 2nd, Holder will be in front of the Oversight Committee.As Sipsey Street points out, these emails are the ones that the White House voluntarily released, which indicates they may be willing to throw Holder under the bus now. That leads to another very interesting question.What is the level of White House involvement?Hmmmm........A "black sheep, a black sheep for my presidency"?Read the full story here.

    • Catholic Church: tell Sebelius you will not obey.(NWV).By: Devvy.The Department of Health and Human Services is unconstitutional. It's nothing more than a trillion dollar a year rape of the American people's labor to fund more welfare and programs that financially support sin and the death culture.Last week, under the administration of the impostor president squatting in the White House, a new regulation was announced which would "require virtually all employers to offer insurance coverage of sterilization, abortifacients and contraceptives without deductibles or co-pays in their employee plans by Aug. 1. Churches are exempt, but not religiously inspired hospitals, schools and other charities that hire outside their faith tradition."Exempt: houses of worship and their employees, as well as other institutions whose primary purpose is to promote religious belief. Where this unconstitutional "order" will hit hard are religious-affiliated hospitals, colleges and social service agencies. DHS is headed up by yet another female who oozes evil: Kathleen Sebelius. She joins the ranks of Hillary Clinton, Condelezza Rice, Janet Butch Reno and Jan 'the man' Napolitano. Sebelius never misses an opportunity to advocate and fund the killing of unborn babies, which is why Obama/Soetoro selected her for that position. Of course, the U.S. Senate confirmed her appointment including phony conservatives like former Sen. Sam Brownback. What a hypocrite. Here is the roll call vote back in 2009. Sebelius claims to be Catholic. She is not. She should be denied entrance to any Catholic church because you cannot support killing unborn babies and claim to be Catholic.But then again, 54% of Catholics allegedly voted for the other champion of killing babies: Obama/Soetoro in 2008. They slapped God right in the face for false promises of "hope and change".Read the full story here.



    • The Silent Anschluss: Germany Formally Requests That Greece Hand Over Its Fiscal Independence.(ZeroHedge).It was tried previously (several times) under "slightly different" circumstances, and failed. Yet when it comes to taking over a country without spilling even one drop of blood, and converting its citizens into debt slaves, Germany's Merkel may have just succeeded where so many of her predecessors failed. According to a Reuters exclusive, "Germany is pushing for Greece to relinquish control over its budget policy to European institutions as part of discussions over a second rescue package, a European source told Reuters on Friday." Reuters add: "There are internal discussions within the Euro group and proposals, one of which comes from Germany, on how to constructively treat country aid programs that are continuously off track, whether this can simply be ignored or whether we say that's enough," the source said.' So while the great distraction that is the Charles Dallara "negotiation" with Hedge Funds continues (as its outcome is irrelevant: a Greece default is assured at this point), the real development once again was behind the scenes where Germany was cleanly and clinically taking over Greece. Because while today it is the fiscal apparatus, tomorrow it is the legislative. As for the executive: who cares. At that point Goldman will merely appoint one of its retired partners as Greek president and Greece will become the first 21st century German, pardon, European colony. But at least it will have its precious euro.Hmmmm.......Der Euro muss Lebensraum haben?Read the full story here.


    • Sharm el-Sheikh - French tourist killed, German injured in Egypt resort town.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: A French tourist was shot dead in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh on Saturday, Egyptian officials said. A German tourist was also injured in the shooting.The German man is receiving medical care at the Southern Sinai hospital and his condition is stable, said Khaled Fouda, governor of South Sinai.Fouda said that two out of the three attackers were killed in an exchange of fire with the police already present at a local market. The third man was arrested.Officials in the coastal tourist destination confirmed to Bikyamasr.com an Associated Press report saying that the 42-year-old man was shot in the stomach and thigh, although AP reported numerous differing accounts of the incident.The official, and a police officer speaking to AP, both said that the shooting occurred in the Old Souk in the town as a revenge shooting of a tribesman who had been shot dead by police earlier in the day.The men were caught in the crossfire.However, military officials reported to AP that the man was caught in the crossfire of a bank robbery in the town.Residents of the city say this is the second attempt to raid the same currency exchange.Read the full story here.

    • 1000s Islamists hold anti-US demo in Karachi.(PT).Thousands of supporters of Pakistan's Jamiat Ulema-e Islam party have gathered in Karachi to condemn US assassination drone attacks in the northwestern border regions.About 100,000 JUI supporters held a demonstration organized by Jamiat Ulema-e Islam in front of the mausoleum of the founding father of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, on Friday.JUI leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman said the United States will face an “imminent defeat” in Afghanistan.Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas have been hit by several airstrikes carried out by US assassination drones since the beginning of 2012. On Monday, Pakistani officials said at least five people were killed in a US drone attack in the North Waziristan tribal area, close to the Afghan border.The demonstrators in Karachi also demanded that the Pakistani government continue the blockade on the NATO supply route to Afghanistan.Read the full story here.


    • Egypt gets dumped by its Washington lobbyists.(FP).By Josh Rogin.All three of the lobbying firms representing the Egyptian government in Washington, D.C., dropped Egypt as a client late Friday amid widespread criticism of the ruling military council's raid of U.S. NGOs in Cairo and its refusal to let American NGO workers leave the country.The Livingston Group, run by former Rep. Bob Livingston (R-LA), the Moffett Group, run by former Rep. Toby Moffett (D-CT), and the Podesta Group, run by Tony Podesta, unanimously severed their combined $90,000 per month contract with the Egyptian government, Politico reported late Friday, quoting Livingston directly. The three firms had formed what is known as the PLM Group, a lobbying entity created to advocate on behalf of the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak, who was deposed in February 2011 after 18 days of massive street protests. According to the disclosure filings, Egypt has paid PLM more than $4 million since 2007.The trio came under fire last week for circulating talking points defending Egypt's Dec. 29 raid of several NGOs working to train political parties in Egypt, including three organizations partially funded by the U.S. government. The groups had been working in Egypt for years without being technically registered with the government, but now stand accused of fomenting unrest against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which has been ruling the country since Mubarak's ouster."It is bad enough when the actions of American lobbyists conflict with U.S. national interests. It is far worse when their influence-peddling undermines American values, as the Egyptian government's lobbyists in Washington are doing in this instance," said Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) in a Jan. 24 statement. McCain is the chairman of the board of the International Republican Institute (IRI), one of the groups that had their Cairo offices raided. The other two groups were the National Democratic Institute, whose board is chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and Freedom House.Read the full story here.

    • Egypt says it ended US lobbyists' contract.(DS).CAIRO: Egypt's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday that it has ended a contract with three Washington lobbying firms to cut expenses, denying reports that the firms were the ones to have terminated the contract.The rupture occurred as Cairo comes under criticism in Washington for banning at least 10 Americans and Europeans from leaving the country as part of an investigation into foreign-funded civil society organizations.Among those barred was Sam LaHood of the U.S.-based International Republican Institute, who is the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.The Egyptian Foreign Ministry's statement was issued two days after Politico reported that former Republican Rep. Bob Livingston, former Democratic Rep. Toby Moffett and longtime lobbyist Tony Podesta ended their contract with the Egyptian government.The lobbying firms could not be reached immediately for comment.Meanwhile, a delegation from Egypt's Defense Ministry has arrived in New York, Cairo's state news agency reported.Read the full story here.


    • U.N. resolution on Syria to be redrafted as Ban Ki-moon calls for end to bloodshed.(AlArabiya).U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said Sunday that President Bashar al-Assad, whose regime had absolute control over Syria until a sustained and increasingly violent challenge to its rule, must end the killings in his country.“First and foremost, he must stop immediately the bloodshed,” Ban told reporters. “The Syrian leadership should take a decisive action at this time to stop this violence. All the violence must stop.”Assad’s opponents have sought to ramp up pressure on the international community for UN action after the Arab League withdrew its observers amid mounting violence.Ban called directly on Assad, saying that as leader he had an “important responsibility (to) resolve this situation (and) engage in political dialogue.”According to an AFP tally taken from reports by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and state media, at least 232 people − among them 147 civilians − have been killed since last Tuesday.European and Arab U.N. members early Sunday started rewriting a proposed Security Council resolution condemning Syria’s deadly crackdown on dissent after the Arab League suspended its monitoring mission in Syria.The Arab League took the decision on Saturday days after calling on Assad to step down and make way for a government of national unity. It will take an Arab peace plan to the U.N. Security Council next week.Read the full story here.


    • Islamic Scholars speak out in favor of “electronic Jihad” against the enemy.(AlArabiya).In light of the increasing support of “the electronic Jihad” and the divergence of views regarding this subject, Islamic scholars have underlined their support for this new phenomenon, arguing that “any attempt to spite the enemy and endorse religion is legitimate”. They consider that Muslim youth involved in this phenomenon are in fact leading a jihad”. But what do those who refuse to support this phenomenon have to say? They believe that “bringing down the enemy’s electronic devices could help in realizing certain objectives in some instances, but it can also be harmful if done at the wrong time.”They noted that there is “a large number of people in the world who sympathize with Israel and might get involved in this battle, which would widen the circle of damage.”On the other hand, Sheikh Fahd Bin Saad Al Jahni, a professor of sharia graduate studies, says that “in Islam, the Jihad is a broad concept that could be defined according to the interpretation of the and texts that cite the jihad. There are many types of jihad: the personal jihad, the jihad by money, and verbal Jihad. The last type includes the intellectual jihad, jihad by composition and by the call to God”.Al Jahni added that “any attempt to spite the enemy and empower the religion must be conducted by legitimate means and according to Muslim rules. Therefore, religion could be widely empowered through electronic websites. This is what some people call “the electronic Jihad”. Thus, the terminology is correct, but it is the definition that matters as well as the extent to which the concept respects the legitimate procedure.” “Therefore, I believe that the young Muslims who are striving to take advantage of this wide electronic window and fight the perverted ideology or shut down obscene websites and the websites of those who offended and dishonored the people of Islam and put hand on their holy sites like the Zionist aggressors, are using all legitimate means and are indeed leading a jihad provided they don’t exceed the limit of God in their rivalry,” Al Jahni said. Moreover, Abdullah Al Aalwit, a Muslim law researcher, pointed to the fact that electronic jihad means “destroying the enemy’s electronic devices or surreptitiously taking valuable information from these devices.” He confirmed that “the electronic jihad, like any other type of ihad, is legitimate in determined instances and might be harmful if used at the wrong time and in the wrong circumstances.” “However, it is clear that the nation’s condition does not allow any type of Jihad against any of its enemies because our enemies are way more advanced than we are in all kinds of fields. If an electronic war shall erupt, it is expected to have serious repercussions due to the big number of those who sympathize with Israel in the world and who might enter this battle, which would widen the circle of damage,” he added.Dr. Mustafa Mourad, professor at Al Azhar University, said that “the electronic jihad is a type of jihad because jihad is not limited to military weapons or any other type of painful means. Under jihad, it is possible to use any tool that might fulfill the goal behind the attack against the enemies of God in response to their attempts to violate our rights and seize our holy sites.”Hmmmmm........US reaction lets crack down on copyright infraction.Read the full story here.


    • Mexican Swine Flu Outbreak Kills 29, Infects Nearly 1,500.(Fox).Bringing back memories from three years ago, when the swine flu closed Mexico City and caused an international scare, the media is now warning of an alarming increase in cases of the flu virus, while the government insists there is no cause for alarm. Federal and state health officials agree there is an increase, but they say the number of cases is within the range of a normal flu season.The Mexican health ministry, however, has listed confusing numbers on its website and it hasn't specified the rise in cases despite repeated requests from The Associated Press.Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that while Mexico is seeing more cases of the H1N1 virus, the U.S. is seeing more cases of a different strain, H3N2. Antibodies for both are part of this year's flu vaccine. H1N1 is now considered a seasonal flu.
      The health ministry on Sunday reported 637 cases of confirmed flu cases so far in 2012 along with 10 deaths — nine of them associated with 573 cases of H1N1.On Jan. 15, it reported far lower numbers: 181 confirmed cases for all strains of flu and five deaths for 2012, meaning cases would have increased 250 percent in just one week.Read the full story here.

       
    • Iranian Religious Leader: We're Already Nuclear.(INN).Senior Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said on Friday that Iran is already a nuclear state and that Americans have not realized that.“The United States says it will not allow Iran to be nuclear, but it is so blind that it hasn’t noticed that Iran has already become a nuclear state,” Khatami was quoted by Channel 10 News as having said. He added that the U.S. has become isolated in the region, after its four “slaves” were removed from power. He was referring to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, former Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi, former Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.Khatami also addressed the EU’s embargo on Iranian oil imports, which was announced this week, and said that the Europeans decided to wait with the implementation of the sanctions until July because their economic situation is no better than Iran’s.“Why did the Europeans decide to wait half a year before implementing the sanctions? The answer is simple - the Europeans have their own serious trouble - they were hit by the financial crisis,” he said.Khatami added the embargo will hurt Europe more than it will hurt Iran, because Saudi Arabia will not be able to provide the required amount of oil to Europe, while the sanctions will only hurt 18 percent of Iran’s oil exports. Read the full story here.

    • Norway: Two Iranian converts attacked bymasked men, called 'kuffar'.(IIE).Two Iranians who converted from Islam to Christianity were stabbed by masked me in Haugesund last week. The attacker shouted 'Kuffar' (Arabic for non-believer) during the attack.The attack happened Tuesday evening, when both Christian Iranians were out walking in Haugesund. They were suddenly attacked by three masked men armed with knives, who shouted 'kuffar' while they stabbed the two.A nurse passing by gave first aid and then an ambulance brought them to hospital, reports Haugesunds Avis.According to the police, one of the victims was stabbed twice in the back and the other was stabbed in his side. No perpetrators have been caught.The two victims want to remain anonymous and have not spoken of the assault. They've lived in Norway for many years. One of them converted in Norway, the other did so in Iran and managed to flee to Norway after he was abused and imprisoned for his faith.They're both active in a local evangelical church.Read the full story here.


    • Saudi grand mufti: Twitter is full of lies.(JPost).The Saudi grand mufti on Friday called social-networking website Twitter full of lies, a day after the site announced that it would begin restricting Tweets in specific countries.The news from the social media platform is renewing questions over how it will handle issues of free speech as it rapidly expands its global user base.Until now, Twitter had to remove a tweet from its global network if it received a takedown request from a government.But the company said in a blog post published on Thursday that it now has the ability to selectively block a Tweet from appearing to users in one country.“Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country while keeping it available in the rest of the world,” the Twitter blog said.Twitter gave as examples of restrictions it might cooperate with, such as pro-Nazi content in France and Germany, where it is banned. It said that even with the possibility of such restrictions, Twitter would not be able to operate with some countries.“Some differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there,” it said.“As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression.”Saudi Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh said in his Friday sermon in Riyadh that Muslims should avoid being a “source or feeding” Twitter, the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported.Twitter was a place “in which people are invited to throw charges between them, and to lie in a manner that brings fame to some,” he said.The 71-year-old cleric called on those present to warn people about such sites, adding that positive sites do exist on the Internet concerning science, business and God.Despite the grand mufti’s caution over the website, Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Company announced in December that it would invest $300 million in the social-media site.“Our investment in Twitter reaffirms our ability in identifying suitable opportunities to invest in promising, high-growth businesses with a global impact,” Alwaleed said, according to BBC.Hmmmm.....Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s investment has nothing to do with the new ristrictions of free speech.Ooooooh look a Unicorn.Read the full story here.


    • Oldest case of prostate cancer in ancient Egypt uncovered.(BM).CAIRO: An international research team in Lisbon has diagnosed the oldest case of prostate cancer in ancient Egypt and the second oldest case in the world.Using high-resolution computerized tomography (CT) scanners, the researchers identified the cancer in a mummy subject known as M1.“Cancer is such a hot topic these days; experts are constantly trying to probe in hopes of answering the one question- when and how did the ailment really evolve?” said Salima Ikram; member of the research team and professor of Egyptology at The American University in Cairo (AUC).“Findings such as these bring us one step closer to finding the cause of cancer, and, ultimately, the cure to a disease that has besieged mankind for so long.”The study, published in the International Journal of Paleopathology used CT scans with pixel resolution of 0.33 millimeters on three Egyptian mummies from the collection of the National Archaeological Museum in Lisbon.The images revealed several small, round, dense bone lesions located mainly in M1’s pelvis, spine and proximal limbs, indicative of metastatic prostate cancer.Until recently, researchers have believed the widespread occurrence of carcinogens in food and in the environment were the main causes of cancer in the modern industrial age.However, according to Ikram, “We’re starting to see that the causes of cancer seem to be less environmental, more genetic. Living conditions in ancient times were very different; there were no pollutants or modified foods, which leads us to believe that the disease is not necessarily only linked to industrial factors.”Read the full story here.



    • Video: Divers find large, unexplained object at bottom of Baltic Sea.(Yahoo).A team of salvage divers has discovered an unexplained object resting at the bottom of the Baltic Sea near Sweden.“This thing turned up. My first reaction was to tell the guys that we have a UFO here on the bottom,” said Peter Lindberg, the leader of the treasure hunters.Sonar readings show that the mysterious object is about 60 meters across, or, about the size of a jumbo jet. And it’s not alone. Nearby on the sea floor is another, smaller object with a similar shape. Even more fascinating, both objects have “drag marks” behind them on the sea floor, stretching back more than 400 feet.But Lindberg says the ship theory doesn't really hold up because of the unusually large size of the objects. "Of course it would be something from another ship but it's quite big," he told CNN. Lindberg notes that some observers have speculated that the objects may be Russian warships built around the end of the 1800's. However, Lindberg points out that not only were those ships much smaller, they were not patrolling the Baltic during that era.The Ocean Explorer team first made their find back in August and had no plans to return to the scene. For now, Lindberg is waiting for calmer waters in the Baltic, possibly in May, before taking his salvage team to the bottom for a closer look at the mysterious objects. They originally had no plans to return to the spot, but the spike in interest from the public has led them to begin planning a return trip.Read and see the full story here.

    Taliban negotiators meet with U.S. officials in Qatar to discuss initial steps: report


    ({{Information |Description={{en|1=Obama Taliban}} |Source=http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_LYYPIMTpiD0/SZ-vveN4s3I/AAAAAAAAA_4/QCH-qPGMAuo/s1600-h/Obama+Taliban.jpg |Author=Carlos Latuff |Date=2009 |Permission= |other_versions= }} )

    Taliban negotiators meet with U.S. officials in Qatar to discuss initial steps: report.(AlArabiya).Taliban negotiators have begun meeting with U.S. officials in Qatar, where they are discussing preliminary trust-building measures aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan, The New York Times reported Sunday. Citing several former Taliban officials, the newspaper said these measures included a possible prisoner transfer.The Afghan government is expecting a delegation from the Qatar government to visit Kabul to explain its role in the talks, said High Peace Council secretary Aminundin Muzaffari.The former officials said that four to eight Taliban representatives had traveled to Qatar from Pakistan to set up a political office for the exiled Afghan insurgent group, the report said.The comments suggested that the Taliban, who have not publicly said they would engage in peace talks to end the war in Afghanistan, were gearing up for preliminary discussions, the paper said.U.S. officials would not deny that meetings had taken place, and the discussions seemed to have at least the tacit approval of Pakistan, which has thwarted previous efforts by the Taliban to engage in talks, The Times noted.Khar told Reuters on January 19 that Pakistan’s ties with the United States remain on hold after a NATO cross-border air attack and that Washington should not push Islamabad to go after militant groups or bring them to the Afghan peace process.Hmmmmmm.......U.S. May Release Senior Taliban Terrorists, i don't need Congress to rule.
    Keep in mind Obama gave Ramadan a visa when he was banned from the U.S. and is using Qaradawi as his Taliban negotiator. These are Obama’s 'contacts. Read the full story here.

    Mordechai Kedar: How to Speak to Muslims

    Petulant, Thin-skinned President?You decide.



    Music: Symphony No. 9, Op.95 in E Minor, "New World Symphony": Antonín Dvořák by Arturo Toscanini. HT: InfidelBloggers.

    Boko Haram vows to fight until Nigeria establishes sharia law



    Boko Haram vows to fight until Nigeria establishes sharia law.(Guardian).By Monica Mark in Abuja. The Islamist group Boko Haram, which has killed almost 1,000 people in Nigeria, will continue its campaign of violence until the country is ruled by sharia law, a senior member has told the Guardian.
    "We will consider negotiation only when we have brought the government to their knees," the spokesman, Abu Qaqa, said in the group's first major interview with a western newspaper. "Once we see that things are being done according to the dictates of Allah, and our members are released [from prison], we will only put aside our arms – but we will not lay them down. You don't put down your arms in Islam, you only put them aside."
    Qaqa, whose name is a pseudonym, said the group's members were spiritual followers of al-Qaida, and claimed they had met senior figures in the network founded by Osama bin Laden during visits to Saudia Arabia.
    Qaqa said Shekau and others had travelled to Saudi Arabia for training and funding. "Al-Qaida are our elder brothers. During the lesser Hajj [last August], our leader travelled to Saudi Arabia and met al-Qaida there. We enjoy financial and technical support from them. Anything we want from them we ask them."
    He said recruits from neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger had joined the group. A recent UN report said weapons from Libya may have been smuggled to Boko Haram and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb via Chad, Niger and Nigeria.
    Security officials and diplomats in Abuja said they had no evidence of a link with al-Qaida in Saudi Arabia, but an official confirmed that "elements of Boko Haram have made contact with external groups". The extent and frequency of that contact was unknown, the official said.But Qaqa said the rights of the country's 70 million Christians, who represent half of Nigeria's population, "would be protected" under the group's envisioned Islamic state. "Even the prophet Mohammed lived with non-Muslims and he gave them their dues." But he said everyone must abide by sharia law: "There are no exceptions. Even if you are a Muslim and you don't abide by sharia, we will kill you. Even if you are my own father, we will kill you.""Poor people are tired of the injustice, people are crying for saviours and they know the messiahs are Boko Haram.
    "People were singing songs in [northern cities] Kano and Kaduna saying: 'We want Boko Haram'," Qaqa said, describing how the group can blend into the communities in which it operates. "If the masses don't like us they would have exposed us by now. When Islam comes everyone would be happy," he said.Read the full story here.

    Russia- Ural - Huge ice blocks found shattered in the Ural River residents stunned



    Huge ice blocks found shattered in the Ural River residents stunned.(KTkz).
    Unbelievable but true - superhuman size lumps found in the Ural River by local residents. Eyewitnesses say that this is nothing more than tricks of the aliens. How else to explain that the huge blocks of ice, as children's toys are scattered within a radius of 20 meters.
    Paul Singilevtsev, huntsman Rubezhinskogo Forestry:
    - I walked away from there, I saw, I thought they were trees, poles lie far away it seemed like logs. And when he came close he noticed - the ice. This I have not seen in my life for 50 years for the first time.
    The Hunter, not a little frightened, immediately called emergency services on site. The only thing that could tell experts: the chemical composition of the river old and radiation, either. According to one version, the ice was exploded to allow poachers to fish. But, according to foresters, they don't fish in this place. Meanwhile, in the Uralsk today persistently rumored that in the vicinity of the river fell a svyatyaschiysya object. It is true that the witnesses of this event, however, as aliens, to find it was not possible.Nikolai Sitnikov, Mayor Rubezhinskogo rural district:
    - No sound or anything of the incident, nor the explosion of the residents have not heard anyone, not specific to say. The place is pretty dull.
    Hmmmm.......Besides the suggestion of a UFO, other possibilities may be a meteor or satellite crash.

    Saturday, January 28, 2012

    "Pre election fever" - US and Israel revive largest joint anti-missile drills


    US and Israel revive largest joint anti-missile drills.(RT).Israeli and American officials put plans for a massive missile drill mysteriously on this month, but now the exercise, originally slated for this spring, will be scheduled for October 2012.The drill, which will also signal a surge of American troops to Israel by the thousands, will mark the biggest test of its type for both nations. As tensions worsen between the US and Iran — as well as Israel and its Islamic Republic neighbor — Tehran authorities fear that the exercise will try out more than just the missile capabilities of the allies. Also being put to the test is Iran’s patience.The United States has already equipped almost every nation surrounding Iran with weaponry and mobilized a fleet in the adjacent Strait of Hormuz. The postponement of the exercise, which RT reported last week, was viewed by some to be a response from Israel over America’s lack of initiative in actually putting the heat on Iran. Overseas news outlet Debka, which has close connections with the Jewish state’s intelligence community, suggested that the snag in the plans occurred after Israel grew irritated at America’s hesitance to bite, instead only barking at Iran.
    Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon called the Obama administration "hesitant" earlier this month, which was followed by a warning only a day later by the nation’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in which he urged the US to "move from words to deeds.”Parts of the program involve a troop surge in the thousands as well as the deployment of America’s Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system and the ship-based Aegis system overseas.
    Israel’s own Arrow, Patriot and Iron Dome missile systems will work in cooperation with their US counterparts. The US troops, estimated to be at a tally of 3,000, could arrive in Israel as early as next week. They will join forces with around 2,000 Israeli’s involved in the country’s own missile program.Earlier this month, the US deployed 15,000 troops to the nearby nation of Kuwait. Israel has also in recent weeks increased its defense budget to the tune of $700
    million.Hmmmm........."Postponed for electoral reasons".Read the full story here.

    Overnight music video - The Coasters - Down in Mexico

    Penn State Hosts Conference Promoting Campaign to ‘Boycott, Divest, and Sanction’ Israel


    Penn State Hosts Conference Promoting Campaign to ‘Boycott, Divest, and Sanction’ Israel.(BigPeace).Penn State University is the home of the 2012 "National Conference of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement" (BDS), whose origins lie in the actions of nations and groups including Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah. The three-day event will take place on the Penn State campus February 3-5 and feature a variety of speakers with antisemitic, extreme views, such as Ali Abunimah, who has stated, "none of the European and American leaders who constantly lecture about Holocaust denial will dare to admonish Netanyahu for his bald lies and omissions about Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians."Hmmmm.......The legal penalties of supporting the BDS action against Israel.The antiboycott laws were adopted to encourage, and in specified cases, require U.S. firms to refuse to participate in foreign boycotts that the United States does not sanction. The law prohibits U.S. persons from taking certain actions in support of an unsanctioned foreign boycott against a country that is friendly to the United States.Read the full story here.

    Susan Daniels Testifies in Atlanta: Obama's Social Security Number is Fraudulent

    MFS -The Other News - What the main papers don't say.

                          Picture THE BATTLE OF COPYRIGHT 2011 By Christopher Dombres.
                        Morning Posting.

    • Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Greece 5.3 - 5.2 ; Indonesia 5.2 !More info here.

    • Iranian Parliament Finalizes Draft Bill on Cutting Oil Supplies to Europe.(Fars).TEHRAN (FNA)- Members of the Iranian parliament finalized a draft bill on cutting the country's oil exports to the European states in retaliation for the EU's oil ban against Tehran, a senior legislator said on Saturday. "The bill has 4 articles, including one which states that the Islamic Republic of Iran will cut all oil exports to the European states until they end their oil sanctions against the country," Vice-Chairman of the parliament's Energy Commission Nasser Soudani told FNA. Elaborating on the other parts of the draft bill, he said another article requires the government to stop imports of goods from those countries which are a party to these sanctions against Iran.The statement continued that since just 18 percent of oil produced by Iran is exported to European countries, Islamic Republic can easily replace new markets with the European market. Read the full story here.

    • Washington Should Reject ‘No Missiles, No Meeting’ Russian Blackmail.(Heritage).By Ariel Cohen.Recently, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that there may be no summit between NATO and the Russian Federation if no agreement on missile defense is reached.This is understandable: Moscow has so far refused all Western entreaties to sign a workable missile defense arrangement and threatened that the NATO–Russia summit may be cancelled. If so, the loss will be all the Kremlin’s.NATO should not feel under any pressure to finalize a missile defense agreement, as Moscow is only trying to constrain the development of the U.S. missile defense system that could be used for the protection of Europe against Iran or another rogue power.Russia’s efforts to squeeze unreasonable concessions, such as sharing U.S. missile defense technology for free, are a poke in the eye of President Obama’s “reset” policy. So far, the policy has required large payoffs for small results. Highly significantly, President Obama decided not to talk about the reset policy’s achievements in his State of the Union speech—because there is little to be proud of.In December, Putin accused U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of “giving the signal” for mass protests in Moscow—after the ruling United Russia party brazenly stole parliamentary elections.The putative missile defense agreement presupposes that the foxes will guard the henhouse: Putin recently promoted the loudmouth nationalist Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s former envoy to NATO, to head Russia’s hugely corrupt defense industry as a Vice Premier. This is a big step for Rogozin, which may signal bigger and better things in the future, like a coveted Defense Minister’s job.Rogozin has been leading the anti-American and anti-missile-defense campaigns in Russia and internationally. Recently, he attemptedto link Russia’s opposition to the NATO missile defense in Europe to the future of the NATO supply line to Afghanistan. This complex logistics operation, known as the Northern Distribution Network, is responsible for 60 percent of NATO supplies to Afghanistan; the other 40 percent goes through Pakistan.Congress and the Administration should not tolerate Russian mischief, such as on missile defense. The U.S. should not shy away from protecting its vital security interests, including keeping vital military technology close to its chest. Washington should articulate its priorities and values to its Russian partners—and play hardball when necessary.It is clearly time to reset the “reset.”Hmmmm.......Closing the NATO supply line to Afghanistan, would mean US soldiers caught in a trap with not enough Food, Petrol and Ammo.......Obama's 'Stalingrad'.Read the full story here.

    • Is President Obama Creating A Nation Of Dependents?(ID).By John Merline.If the Republican primaries are any indication, one big debate in the upcoming election will be whether President Obama is pushing the country toward a European-style welfare culture.Mitt Romney, for example, argues that "over the past three years, Barack Obama has been replacing our merit-based society with an entitlement society."Newt Gingrich has taken to calling Obama "the best food-stamp president in American history."Obama, in contrast, says the government must play an increasing role — what he likes to call "shared responsibility" — to ensure a society that is fairer.So is Obama turning the country into a welfare society and away from one focused on opportunity?While it's true that the country has been headed in this direction for many years — with the explosion in entitlements since the 1960s and the aging of the population — Obama has, in fact, greatly accelerated the trend.Read the full story here.




    • Obama vows to remember Holocaust, fight anti-Semitism.(JPost).US President Barak Obama pledged to remember the Holocaust and to fight anti-Semitism, in a statement released on International Holocaust Remembrance day. "Michelle and I join people in the United States, in Israel, and across the globe as we remember the six million Jews and millions of others who were murdered at the hands of the Nazis," Obama said in a statement issued by the White House Friday."Together with the State of Israel, and all our friends around the world, we dedicate ourselves to giving meaning to those powerful words: 'Never Forget. Never Again,'" he said.Obama pledged to keep the memories of the Holocaust alive, "not only in our thoughts, but through our actions."The US president also vowed to fight Holocaust deniers. "We pledge to stand strong against all those who would commit atrocities, against the resurgence of anti-Semitism, and against hatred in all its forms," he said.Hmmmm.....While 'embracing' the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt that calls for the extermination of the Jews?Read the full story here.
    • Court Awards Attorneys’ Fees Against the City of Dearborn, Michigan for Violating a Christian Pastor’s Right to Freedom of Speech.(AM).AFLC--Today, a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Detroit, Michigan recommended that Robert J. Muise, the attorney for Christian Pastor George Saieg, be awarded $103,401.96 in fees and costs for successfully challenging the City of Dearborn’s restriction on the Christian’s right to freedom of speech at the 2009 Arab Festival held in the City. The City, not wanting to offend its large Muslim population, would not allow the Christian to hand out religious literature at the Festival.In the order, the federal judge stated, “In this case, the Plaintiff received the full relief he sought — an invalidation of the leafleting restriction and a permanent injunction barring its enforcement. . . . Because this result ‘cannot fairly be labeled as anything short of excellent, [Plaintiff] is entitled to a fully compensatory fee.’” AFLC Senior Counsel Robert J. Muise represented Pastor Saieg in this successful free speech case. At the time, Muise was Senior Trial Counsel for the Thomas More Law Center. The City has 14 days to appeal. [Read order here]“The award of attorney fees in this case,” noted Muise, “is critical in the lawfare against Civilization Jihad and dhimmitization, or subjugation, of an entire municipality in Michigan. Dearborn has a long record of this kind of illegal, heavy-handed treatment of Christians as an attempt to placate Dearborn’s sharia-faithful. The court’s ruling today demonstrates that this kind of behavior will come at great cost.”Muise recently won acquittals for charges of “disturbing the peace” brought by the Dearborn prosecutor against a group of Christians following their arrests by Dearborn police in 2010 for the same kind of peaceful free speech activities. Muise and David Yerushalmi of the American Freedom Law Center, along with attorneys from the Thomas More Law Center, currently represent these Christians in a civil action arising from these arrests.
      The American Freedom Law Center is a Judeo-Christian law firm that fights for faith and freedom. It accomplishes its mission through litigation, public policy initiatives, and related activities. It does not charge for its services. The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization. Visit us at www.americanfreedomlawcenter.org.Read the full story here.
    • UN wants end to West Bank demolitions.(YNET).The United Nations on Friday called on Israel to immediately halt the destruction of Palestinian homes in the West Bank after reporting a dramatic rise in demolitions in the past year.Israeli forces destroyed 622 Palestinian homes in the West Bank in 2011, "forcibly displacing" almost 1,100 people, over half of them children, according to a UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs report."The current policy and practice of demolitions cause extensive human suffering and should end," said UN humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territories, Maxwell Gaylard. Gaylard said the demolition figures represent a "dramatic" increase on previous years and that tens of thousands of people remain under threat of dispossession, demolition and displacement. Israel says it only demolishes structures that have been built without required permission. Palestinians say they are rarely granted permits.Gaylard said he went on Thursday to the village of Anata near Jerusalem where seven Palestinian homes were demolished this week. "He was informed that bulldozers and troops had arrived in the middle of the night of 23 January and that 52 people, including 29 children, had been forced from their homes, which were then completely destroyed," said a UN statement. The operation was carried out Monday night. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) said Israeli forces demolished Beit Arabiya, a family home and "peace centre" at Anata, that has now been destroyed five times since 1994. Israel's administration for the West Bank said the homes had no permit.Read the full story here.
    • The Risk of Islamist Coups.(HurriyetDaily).By Gwynne Dyer.The eastern half of what used to be Pakistan narrowly escaped a military coup last month. Brigadier Masud Razzak, the spokesman of the Bangladeshi army, announced on Thursday (19 January) that “A band of fanatic officers has been trying to oust the politically established government. Their attempt has been foiled.”They had “extreme religious views,” he said, and revealed that some of the sixteen conspirators, all of them current or former military officers, will soon appear before a military court. For a country with a dismalry with a dismal history of military coups, some of them very violent, it was a heartening outcome. But it was also a reminder of where the real danger lies in the subcontinent.A coup by Islamist officers in Bangladesh would be seen by most foreigners as deeply regrettable but mostly of only local interest. A coup by Islamist officers in Pakistan would unleash the Mother of All Panics.An Indian strategist once told me, off the record, what he thought would happen about six hours after news of an Islamist coup in Pakistan reached the rest of the world. There would be a huge “traffic jam” over Kahuta and other major Pakistani nuclear weapons facilities as the Indian, Iranian, American and Israeli air forces all tried to keep the nuclear weapons out of the hands of the fanatics by destroying them.So how likely is an Islamist military coup in Pakistan? About as likely as it is in Bangladesh, which is to say unlikely, but not unimaginable. In this one thing, the two armies are alike – and quite different from those of most other Muslim countries.In almost all other Muslim countries, the armies take great care to ensure that Islamist officers do not rise very high in rank: they may make captain, but they won’t make colonel. This is because the generals know that they can’t be trusted. The generals themselves are mostly faithful Muslims, but they must protect the integrity of the military institution they serve, and that means no Islamists in positions of real power.All previous military interventions in politics in Pakistan have been done by the army as an institution, acting in obedience to its lawful commanders. That kind of thing would not radically change Pakistan’s policies towards the rest of the world. But if middle-ranking Islamist officers were to break the chain of command and seize power, like their comrades in Bangladesh intended to do, then all bets would be off. Read the full story here.
    • Arab League suspends observer mission in Syria as killing spikes.(Alarabiya).The Arab League on Thursday suspended its monitoring mission in Syria because of the upsurge of violence a day after the monitors’ chief said killing had spiked this week, with the death toll approaching 200.“Given the critical deterioration of the situation in Syria and the continued use of violence ... it has been decided to immediately stop the work of the Arab League’s mission to Syria pending prevention of the issue to the league’s council,” the league’s secretary-general said in a statement.“The secretary-general has also asked the head of the mission to take all the necessary procedures to ensure the safety and well-being of the mission’s members.”The mission would remain in Syria, a source at the league had earlier told Reuters, but would temporarily halt its work.The announcement came as the opposition Syrian National Council said its leader would travel to New York to appeal to the U.N. Security Council for protection from the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.According to a tally by AFP taken from reports by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and official Syrian media, 193 people have been killed since Tuesday.That compares with the figure of more than 5,400 given by the United Nations last month since anti-regime protests erupted in March.On Thursday, the bodies of 17 men arrested by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces during an armored assault this week on the city of Hama were found dumped in the streets after being shot in the head, activists said on Saturday. “They were killed execution style, mostly with one bullet to the head. Iron chains that had tied them were left on their legs as a message to the people to stop resisting,” Abu al-Walid, an activist in the city, told Reuters by telephone.Another activist said the bodies, their hands tied by plastic wire and some with their legs chained, were dumped in the streets of five Hama neighborhoods on Thursday evening. “They are of mixed ages. One was in his 60s, another in his 40s and several were in their 20s,” he said, adding that only three had been identified, one of whom was a police deserter.Asked whether the bodies could be those of Assad loyalists killed by rebels, the activist said this was not possible.“Hama is a military zone full of armored vehicles and troops,” he said. “Roadblocks and tanks have isolated districts from each other. The streets are empty and no one dares to drive a car unless he wants to be shot, let alone to move between different neighborhoods and dump bodies.”A YouTube video, which could not be independently verified, showed six bodies of mostly young men in a street described as being in the Bab Qabli district of Hama. Their hands were tied and their legs were chained. They appeared to have died from gunshot wounds to the head or neck. Other bodies were found in the Basateen, Hamidiya, Arbaeen and Masbah neighborhoods, activists said.Read the full story here.
    • Largest conventional U.S. bomb not powerful against Iran: report.(AlArabiya).The U.S. military has concluded that its largest conventional bomb is not capable of destroying Iran’s most heavily fortified underground facilities suspected to be used for building nuclear weapons, The Wall Street Journal reported late Friday. But citing unnamed U.S. officials, the newspaper said the military was stepping up efforts to make it more powerful.The 13.6-ton “bunker-buster” bomb, known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, was specifically designed to take out the hardened fortifications built by Iran and North Korea, the report said.But initial tests indicated that the bomb, as currently configured, would not be capable of destroying some of Iran’s facilities, either because of their depth or because Tehran has added new fortifications to protect them, the paper noted. In a report issued in November, the International Atomic Energy Agency said intelligence from more than 10 countries and its own sources “indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device.”It detailed 12 suspicious areas such as testing explosives in a steel container at a military base and studies on Shahab-3 ballistic missile warheads that the IAEA said were “highly relevant to a nuclear weapon program.Meanwhile, doubts about its bomb’s effectiveness prompted the Pentagon this month to secretly submit a request to Congress for funding to enhance the bomb’s ability to penetrate deeper into rock, concrete and steel before exploding, The Journal noted. The Defense Department has spent about $330 million so far to develop about 20 of the bombs, which are built by Boeing Co., the report pointed out. The Pentagon is seeking about $82 million more to make the bomb more effective, The Journal said. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in an interview with The Journal Thursday, acknowledged the bomb’s shortcomings against some of Iran’s deepest bunkers. He said more development work would be done and that he expected the bomb to be ready to take on the deepest bunkers soon.“We’re still trying to develop them,” Panetta said.Meanwhile the Washington Post reported Saturday that the U.S. military plans to send a large floating base for commando teams to the Middle East amid rising tensions with Iran and intensifying fighting in Yemen, Citing unspecified procurement documents, the newspaper said the Navy is converting an aging warship it had planned to decommission into a makeshift staging base for the commandos in response to requests from the U.S. Central Command. Unofficially dubbed a “mothership,” the floating base could accommodate smaller high-speed boats and helicopters commonly used by Navy SEALs, the report said.Hmmmm.........The bomb will be 'ready' just before the elections?Read the full story here.
    • Dutch plan Muslim face veil ban next year.(TS).One million out of 17 million people are Muslim in the Netherlands.AMSTERDAM - The Dutch minority government plans to ban Muslim face veils such as burqas and other forms of clothing that cover the face from next year.The ban would make the Netherlands, where 1 million out of 17 million people are Muslim, the second European Union country to ban the burqa after France, and would apply to face-covering veils if they were worn in public."People should be able to look at each other's faces and recognize each other when they meet," the interior affairs ministry said in a statement Friday.The ban will also apply to balaclavas and motorcycle helmets when worn in inappropriate places, such as inside a store, Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen told reporters, denying that this was a ban on religious clothing.Geert Wilders' anti-Islam Freedom Party (PVV), which helps give the Liberal-Christian Democrat coalition a majority in parliament, has set considerable political store on getting the so-called burqa ban passed into law.Few Muslim women in the Netherlands wear the Arabic-style niqabs which leave the eyes uncovered and Afghan-style burqas that cover the face with a cloth grid. Academics estimate the numbers at between 100 and 400, whereas Muslim headscarves which leave the face exposed are far more common.The face-veil law, which still needs to win approval in both houses of parliament, excludes clothing worn for security reasons such as that worn by firemen and hockey players, as well as party clothing such as Santa Claus or Halloween costumes.The ban does not apply to religious places, such as churches and mosques, nor to passengers on airplanes or en route via a Dutch airport, the interior ministry said.Read the full story here.
    • Growing Number of Child Brides Among Muslims ... in London.(Islingtontribune).By PavanAmara.AN alarming number of under-age girls – some as young as nine – are being forced into marriage in Islington, according to a leading campaign group.The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO) claim that at least 30 girls in the borough were forced into marriage in 2010.The practice was condemned by the Imam of Finsbury Park Mosque, who said such marriages were against Islam and “unacceptable”.He pledged to invalidate any marriage which he said were carried out by “back-street Imams”.IKWRO, which made headlines last month when they revealed there had been almost 3,000 “honour-based” violence cases in 2010, has shown the Tribune records which revealed at least three 11-year-old girls and two nine-year-olds had been forced into marriage with older men within Islington. The oldest girls involved were 16.They have warned that hundreds of Islington girls could be suffering sexual, emotional and physical scars as a result of the child marriages every year and are calling for teachers, social workers and police to be better trained to spot and manage the abuse.Information from the Ministry of Justice, following a Freedom of Information request, revealed that 32 Forced Marriage Protection Order applications were made for children under 16 in Britain last year.Six of these were made for under-16s within Islington at the Royal Courts of Justice, although these were not necessarily made for Islington residents.At the Islington court, “five or fewer” orders were made to protect children between the ages of 9-11.The orders are a form of injunction that threaten legal punishment if marriage takes place due to emotional or physical force.In most cases, the children fear they will be killed if they reveal the truth to anybody, while others believe they will be separated from their families and taken into social services’ care.Dianna Nammi, director of IKWRO, explained that the girls are married in a mosque’s sharia court. This means they are not legally married according to British law, rendering the Home Office unable to recognise or prove the abuse.“They are still expected to carry out their wifely duties, though, and that includes sleeping with their husband,” she said.“They have to cook for them, wash their clothes, everything. They are still attending schools in Islington, struggling to do their primary school homework, and at the same time being practically raped by a middle-aged man regularly and being abused by their families. So they are a wife, but in a primary school uniform.“The reason it doesn’t get out is because they are too terrified to speak out, and also the control their families have over them is impossible to imagine if you’re not going through it. The way it is covered up is so precise, almost unspeakable.”Ms Nammi said that one 13-year-old had to sneak out of a maths lesson to contact the group, because she was being monitored so closely by her family.“Her teacher didn’t notice because she said she’d gone to the toilet, but when she got home that day she was beaten,” she said. Imam Saad explained that Sharia law stated an individual can marry when they begin puberty, with the most important stipulation being that they are “rushd”, or mature enough to understand marriage.A spokesman for the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) said he was “unsure” whether the lack of legal status of the marriages affected whether the they could intervene or not, but directed the Tribune to government practice guidelines on dealing with forced marriage.The spokesman added that due to the lack of legal status the marriages may be a “criminal matter that only the police can deal with”, but admitted to it being "”a very grey area”.Read the full story here.
    • New US military strategy and Turkey.(HD).As the details of the new U.S. defense budget for 2013 become clear, the outline of the new American military strategy becomes clear, too.the WSJ story also said that in some critical parts of the world – critical to the U.S. interests – the Pentagon considers establishing land bases for special units.The Darwin base in Australia was named among the bases to be used in the Pacific area control. The expansion of the Philippines base was another consideration. And the WSJ reported that the Pentagon was looking into ways to establish bases near the Iraqi border area of Jordan and Turkey.It is not clear from the WSJ story whether the U.S. official meant an additional use of the İncirlik Air Force Base of Turkey which is in NATO use, also hosting U.S. troops, or an additional base in the country that is not very likely considering the huge dimension of the İncirlik Base and the already high anti-American social climate in the country.Later on Pentagon officials denied there were plans to escalate presence in Turkey. Yet there are still a number of issues around Turkey, from energy routes to the consequences of the Arab Spring, including Iran-Israel tension, the sectarian civil war risk in Iraq and the Kurdish problem in a lesser scale.The Turkish proverb goes, “There is no smoke without fire,” and Turks are likely to assess the developments through a different lens from now on. Hmmmm......Obama has a 'relation of trust' with Erdogan?Read the full story here.
    • Source: Hamas' Meshaal Sets Sights on Brotherhood Post.(IPT).Hamas' out-going politburo chairman is leaving the Palestinian terrorist group to take a "high position in the Muslim Brotherhood movement," a "well-informed source in Hamas" told the Nazareth-based Arabic-language Al-Sinnara last week.The move would see Khaled Meshaal—the longtime Damascus-based leader of Hamas—transition to a new, more international role, as head of the "Supreme Council of the [Brotherhood] movement." The Council is said to be "responsible for political issues," according to the report. It remains to be seen whether the article is referring to the group's Guidance Bureau, which largely deals with the movement's political affairs, or with another body altogether.If true, the news would help explain why Meshaal has been so adamant about not seeking re-election. Earlier reports noted that the group made an official plea for Meshaal "to reconsider" his stance.It has been speculated that if Meshaal exits, the post could go to Hamas' Gaza-based Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, or Hamas' original political bureau chief, Mousa Abu Marzook.Meshaal's purported move appears to have the blessing of higher-ups in the Brotherhood. According to the Al-Sinnara source, longtime Brotherhood spiritual advisor, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, is in support of the leadership jump.Read the full story here.
    • Viking mass grave linked to elite killers of the medieval world, they faced their own beheading sword blow standing tall.(AD). A mass grave found in Dorset could belong to a crew of Viking mercenaries who terrorised Europe in the 11th century according to a new documentary on National Geographic which pieces together the story behind the burial. Their burial pit, at Ridgeway Hill, Dorset, was found in 2009 while archaeologists were working in the area ahead of the construction of a new road. In it, researchers made the gruesome discovery of the decapitated bodies of 54 young men. All had been dumped in the shallow grave, and their heads had been piled up on the far side.Radiocarbon dating revealed that the remains belonged to men murdered at some point around the year 1000.While historians will probably never agree conclusively about who the men were, Baillie's analysis draws her to the conclusion that they may have been Viking mercenaries who modelled themselves on, or behaved in a similar way to the legendary Jomsvikings a brotherhood of elite killers whose strict military code involved never showing fear, and never fleeing in the face of the enemy unless totally outnumbered. Allegedly founded by Harald Bluetooth, the Jomsvikings are thought to have been based at a stronghold called Jomsborg on the Baltic coast. At a time when Vikings were feared across Europe, they were known as perhaps the fiercest of them all a reputation which even earned them their own saga.Yet the remains in Dorset also suggest that these men were something unique. Researchers have found that one of the men's teeth had incisions. This rare feature could, it is believed, be the result of the victim filing his teeth deliberately to demonstrate his bravery and status.Further analysis then reveals that the St. Brice's day massacre victims in Oxford were killed in a frenzied mob attack. However, the Ridgeway Hill individuals were systematically executed. They were beheaded from the front just like the warriors in the Jomsviking saga. In the saga, one captured Viking says: "I am content to die as are all our comrades. But I will not let myself be slaughtered like a sheep. I would rather face the blow. Strike straight at my face and watch carefully if I pale at all."Read the full story here.