Thursday, February 2, 2012
Report: Obama Administration Iran’s best 'defence' team?(Shoebat).It was known at the time; it has been known since. Hezbollah was behind and at the very least, involved, in the 1983 Marine barracks attack. In 2007, a federal judge even ruled that Tehran was on the hook for $2.65 Billion in damages for the deaths of US Marines who were murdered in Lebanon when a suicide bomber blew past a checkpoint and exploded his vehicle outside. Hezbollah is an arm of Iran, which makes this report from the World Tribune all the more disturbing.
President Barack Obama, in a bid to reconcile with the Teheran regime, has blocked legislation that would hold Iran accountable for the Hizbullah bombing that killed 241 U.S. Marines in 1983.
A survivors group has asserted that the administration is pressuring Democrats in Congress not to support a bill that would enforce massive judgements against Iran by the families of the Marines. In 2007, a U.S. federal district court judge found Iran liable for the Beirut bombing and ordered Teheran to pay $2.65 billion in damages.“This administration talks a lot about sanctions, but we know Iran is watching this case closely and, astonishingly, Obama’s people are taking Iran’s side,” Lynn Smith Derbyshire, a lobbyist for the legislation, said.These revelations come at an extremely peculiar time. As we reported just last month, Iran and Hezbollah were found guilty – by another federal US district Judge – of being behind the September 11th attacks.
One of Iran’s henchmen – Hadi al-Ameri – was even given the red carpet treatment by the Oval Office in December. Again, here is al-Ameri bowing to and kissing the hand of the Ayatollah.Hmmmm..............I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes. ~ Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776.Read and see the full story here.
Reporter (dressed in black ninja garb): So I've come here to unlock the mysteries of these fighters - famous from Japan.
They are commonly known as ninjas - the legendary commandoes of feudal Japan. But I didn't have to travel all the way to the other end of the world. Instead, a small school in the heart of Iran is where I learned about the vast array of skills that they use - namely, ninjutsu.
Muso No Kamae is the name of this position that I'm taking right now. In this practice, the purpose is to avoid the bow, which is the primary weapon in ninjutsu, as Sensei tries to hit me. I don't know whether it works of not, but I certainly did dodge the bow. After the bow, the sword, and the nunchucks, ninjutsu instructor Rahima Mohiti showed me an essential weapon that can definitely not be mistaken for a toy.
Rahima Mohiti: Shuriken, bo-shuriken. A ninja can use these after training for two years.
Reporter: This is the most iconic weapon in ninjutsu, but of course, I'm not going to try this one. This is what I'm going to use. I learned that there's more to the bow than meets the eye. It can actually be used as a shield against the shurikens. This is all thanks to Sensei Akbar Faraji, who established ninjutsu in Iran about 22 years ago.
Sensei Akbar Faraji: In ninjutsu, we call men ninjas, while females are called kunoichi. There are over 24,000 official members in Iran's ninjutsu club. They have been practicing since 1989.
Being a ninja is about patience, tolerance, and fortitude. Literally it means: the art of becoming invisible.
Ninjutsu, or martial arts in general, can be described as a medicine. Just like snake poison, despite the fact that it can be very dangerous, it can be a good antidote as well.
Reporter: What is known to the world as the deadliest martial art has proven to be quite popular in Iran, especially among women. There are currently 3,500 female ninjas officially training. They say the world of ninjutsu has actually taught them how to maintain mental and physical balance.
In order to develop the skill to use those deadly weapons, students need to learn how to be quick and focused. This is the object of all their indoor practices.
Ninjutsu instructor Fatima Muamer told me that it's more important to learn how to think like a ninja than fight like one.
Fatima Muamer: The most important lesson in ninjutsu is respect and humility. They learn to respect themselves - first to respect their existence and then the art that they are mastering. Calmness is the most important lesson they learn.
Reporter: The secret of these mysterious warriors lies within the spirit of ninjutsu, which begins with respect and ends with humility. Source: Memri .
Is the Harper government’s policy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the right one?(Yahoo).By Andy Radia.
Speaking at the opening of the 12th annual Herzliya Conference on Monday, Foreign Minister John Baird blasted the Palestinian leadership calling on them to return to peace negotiations without conditions, to give up on their bid for recognition as a sovereign state by the UN, and accept Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.
Baird added that, "whether it is rockets raining down on Israeli schools, or the constant barrage of rhetorical demonization, double standards and delegitimization, Israel is under attack."
"Clearly, Baird is working to entrench Canada as one of the world's most unbending supporters of the Israeli government," noted MacLeans Magazine's Alex Ballingall.
According to poll results published in the Globe and Mail, nearly half of all Canadians agree with the Harper government's policy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The poll, conducted by Environics Research Group, found that 48 per cent of those surveyed said the government has struck "the right balance," while only 23 per cent said Canada's policy was "too pro-Israel."There are some dissenting voices.Journalist Michael Harris says the government's decision to pick a side in this dispute means Canada will be left on the sidelines in future peace negotiations.
"The Harper government's policy on the Middle East is uninformed and crassly political," he wrote for iPolitics.Hmmmm........The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Read the full story here.
Former Hizbullah Secretary-General Subhi Al-Tufeili: "The Worst Dictatorships Do Not Do What Is Being Done Today in Tehran"; The Rule of the Jurisprudent Is a "Heretical Doctrine"
Subhi Al-Tufeili: Since 1993, I have been saying that the Iranian policy will cause great harm to the Shiites especially, and that Iran must reexamine all its policies. Iran should unite the Muslim peoples rather than tear them apart, in an effort to bring about their annihilation.
The Iranian leadership adopted the wrong approach not only here, but in Tehran as well. The worst dictatorships do not do what is being done today in Tehran. They prevent people from speaking, they attack people. They do the worst things. I am very sad to say that this is in violation of the shari'a.
The Rule of the Jurisprudent is not part of the shari'a. It is a heretical doctrine that has been developed by some Muslim jurisprudents from the Safavid era to this day.
Most of the Shiite jurisprudents - more than 95% - know that this is a heretical doctrine with no foundation in the shari’a.Source: Memri
US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Egyptians: Look to the Constitutions of South Africa or Canada, Not to the US Constitution
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: It is a very inspiring time - that you have overthrown a dictator, and that you are striving to achieve a genuine democracy. So I think people in the United States are hoping that this transition will work, and that there will genuinely be a government of, by, and for the people.
I met with the head of the elections commission. I think that the first step has gone well, and that elections have been held for the lower house that everyone has considered to be free and fair. So that's one milestone, and the next will be the drafting of a constitution.
I can't speak about what the Egyptian experience should be, because I'm operating under a rather old constitution. The United States, in comparison to Egypt, is a very new nation, and yet we have the oldest written constitution still in force in the world.
Let me say first that a constitution, as important as it is, will mean nothing unless the people are yearning for liberty and freedom. If the people don't care, then the best constitution in the world won't make any difference. So the spirit of liberty has to be in the population, and then the constitution - first, it should safeguard basic fundamental human rights, like our First Amendment, the right to speak freely, and to publish freely, without the government as a censor.
You should certainly be aided by all the constitution-writing that has gone one since the end of World War II. I would not look to the US constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the constitution of South Africa. That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, had an independent judiciary... It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done. Much more recent than the US constitution - Canada has a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It dates from 1982. You would almost certainly look at the European Convention on Human Rights. Yes, why not take advantage of what there is elsewhere in the world? Source : Memri .
American Airlines Set to Fire Some 13,000 Employees.(PTv).The third-largest American carrier has reportedly planned to fire nearly 13,000 employees to radically cut its costs in order to stay afloat.
Senior officials of the American Airlines have met with union representatives to detail the plans for the layoffs which are aimed at cutting costs by 20 percent.
American Airlines and its parent company, AMR Corporation, filed for bankruptcy protection back in November, 2011.“All workgroups will have total costs reduced by 20 percent, including management," AMR Chief Executive Tom Horton said in a letter to the corporation's employees Wednesday."While the savings from each work group will be achieved somewhat differently, each will experience the same percentage reduction,” he added.Reports say the AMR will cut 1,400 management and support staff, 400 pilots, 2,300 flight attendants, 4,600 maintenance workers and 4,200 fleet service employees.Horton said that the airline needed to save $1.25 billion a year from employee-related costs.Read the full story here.
Google to Censor Blogger Blogs on a ‘Per Country Basis’.(Wired).Google has quietly announced changes to its Blogger free-blogging platform that will enable the blocking of content only in countries where censorship is required.Twitter announced technology last week addressing the same topic. It said it had acquired the ability to censor tweets in the countries only where it was ordered removed, instead of on an internet-wide basis.
Twitter’s announcement via its blog sparked a huge online backlash. The microblogging service was accused of becoming a censoring agent.Yet Google’s announcement three weeks ago — buried in a Blogger help page — went unnoticed until it was highlighted by TechDows on Tuesday.
Google wrote Jan. 9 it would begin redirecting Blogger traffic to country-specific URLs, meaning whatever country you’re in, you’ll get that country’s domain for Blogger-hosted blogs.
TechDows reports that this is now happening in India, for example. So when you’re there and click on a Blogger blog, the URL will end .in.Doing that, Google wrote, means content can be removed “on a per country basis.”Read the full story here.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Papua new Guinea 5.5 - 5.4 !More info here.
- DHS Report Compares Terrorism To “Ordinary Crime,” Omits Islamists.(JW).A new Homeland Security report compares terrorism to “ordinary crime” in metropolitan U.S. cities and omits the radical Islamic factor, instead finding “significant variability in the ideologies motivating terrorist attacks across decades.”This appears to be part of the Obama Administration’s Muslim outreach effort, which includes hiring a special Homeland Security adviser (Mohamed Elibiary) who supports a radical Islamist theologian and renowned jihadist ideologue. The Obama Justice Department also created a special Muslim Engagement Advisory Group to foster greater communication, collaboration and a new level of respect between law enforcement and Muslim and Arab-American communities.And, in 2010, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano held secret meetings with radical Arab, Muslim, Sikh and South Asian “community leaders.” Judicial Watch uncovered documents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that includes a list of the individuals who participated, including radical leaders such as Hezbollah supporter Imad Hamad and extremist Salam Al-Marayati, founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.Considering this cozy relationship, the new DHS terrorism report should come as no surprise. It compares terrorist attacks to “ordinary crime” in large, metropolitan areas which is why the nation’s terrorism “hot spots” are Manhattan, Los Angeles County, Miami-Dade County Florida, San Francisco County and Washington, D.C. As if to downplay the distinct difference between crashing a plane into a high-rise and a mugging, the DHS says “terrorism and ordinary crime occur in many of the same areas.”It stresses that the “Ideological motivation” for terrorist attacks varies greatly. For instance, the brilliant DHS minds found that certain counties are prone to a particular type of terrorist attack, including extreme right-wing, ethno-nationalist/separatist and “religiously motivated,” though no specific religion is mentioned. The report does point out however, that “religiously motivated attacks occurred predominately in the 1980s.”Terrorism is also linked to social economic status, poverty, residential instability and “ethnic heterogeneity,” a dramatic change in the urban landscape caused by massive numbers of immigrants. Because neighborhoods were “rapidly transformed into centers of diversity,” the result was not immediately positive and some turned to terrorism, the DHS report seems to indicate.The only mention of Islam is buried deep in the 36-page document as an example of “those who seek to politicize religion” along with “Christian Reconstructionists” and those who seek to bring about Armageddon, such as Jewish Direct Action and Mormon extremists. The study was conducted by the DHS’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a team of social scientists that research the causes and human consequences of terrorism in the U.S.Hmmmm..........."I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."Read the full story here.
- Constitutional Showdown: DOJ Threatens to Defy Congressional Demands for Fast and Furious Documents.(DougRoss).Yesterday the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued yet another demand for documents, this time going to the unprecedented step of threatening Attorney General Eric Holder with Contempt charges should he again defy Congress (PDF). The highlights of the Committee's demands revolve around the Justice Department's fabrications, delays and denials, many of which appear to involve false testimony. In short, Holder has until 4 February 2012 to avoid a Contempt of Congress charge.CNN reports this evening that the DOJ is ignoring those threats and claiming it can't produce any documents in time (this, after literally years of requests) ...the Justice Department late Wednesday sent a sharp letter to Issa rejecting his demands from a day earlier for documents by a next-week deadline... Issa is threatening the attorney general with contempt of Congress if DOJ fails to deliver.The exchange of stinging letters the past two days caps weeks of maneuvering by both sides in advance of the anticipated Holder appearance Thursday before Issa's House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
The Justice Department [claimed] Issa's letter showed "significant misunderstanding both of the documents we recently produced and of the Department's position on the issues you raise."
The Justice Department response Wednesday rejected Issa's February 9, 2012, deadline to produce all demanded documents. Cole called the deadline "impossible" to meet because of the broad scope of the request... He did not directly refer to the threat of a contempt charge by Issa.The political battle has been raging for more than a year, following the discovery that two of the "fast and furious" weapons that had gone missing in Mexico in the botched sting were discovered at the scene of the killing of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in Arizona.
This, my friends, could precipitate a true Constitutional crisis. The DOJ's lawless behavior is unacceptable no matter which political party is in power.Liberals who ignore this flagrant criminality do so at their own peril. Because Democrats will not always control the Executive Branch.Hmmmmm.......Thugocracy init's natural habitat.Read the full story here.
- U.S. novelist Paul Auster tells Turkish PM "At least free speech exists in Israel".(HurriyetDaily).U.S. novelist Paul Auster released a statement today following Turkish Prime Minister's comments on the author's earlier critism of freedom of speech in Turkey, New York Times reported.The statement reads: "Whatever the Prime Minister might think about the state of Israel, the fact is that free speech exists there and no writers or journalists are in jail. According to the latest numbers gathered by International PEN, there are nearly one hundred writers imprisoned in Turkey, not to speak of independent publishers such as Ragip Zarakolu, whose case is being closely watched by PEN Centers around the world. All countries are flawed and beset by myriad problems, Mr. Prime Minister, including my United States, including your Turkey, and it is my firm conviction that in order to improve conditions in our countries, in every country, the freedom to speak and publish without censorship or the threat of imprisonment is a sacred right for all men and women." "Author Paul Auster gave an interview to a Turkish newspaper recently. He said he will not come to Turkey as he finds it anti-democratic and because of arrested journalists. Oh! We were much in need of you! What if you come or not?" Erdoğan said during a party meeting yesterday. Recalling that Auster joined a book fair in 2010 in Israel where he described Israel as a "secular, democratic country," Erdoğan slammed the American writer for being unaware of the fact Israel was a non-secular state and had killed thousands of innocent people in the Gaza Strip. "I am sure Kılıçdaroğlu and Auster will join together for this year’s book fair in Israel," he added. Read the full story here.
- Free Speech - For Some.(FSM).By Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.According to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), there is a grave threat to America that must be suppressed at all costs. The threat is that Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin might be allowed to exercise his constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech.This proposition is bizarre on multiple levels. For one, General Boykin, who is a friend and greatly admired colleague of mine, is one of the United States’ most accomplished and decorated military heroes. He served in and led our most elite special forces units for decades, including in many of our most dangerous recent combat operations. He also held a number of senior positions in the intelligence community, including as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. For another, Jerry Boykin is also an ordained minister. And the sorts of events CAIR has lately insisted he must not address include prayer sessions convened by the mayor of Ocean City, Maryland and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.What makes the suppression of General Boykin’s right to express himself – and, for that matter, to enjoy freedom of religion – all the more outrageous is the nature of the organization demanding that he be silenced. Four federal judges have affirmed that CAIR is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood and was spawned by one of its American affiliates – the Islamic Association for Palestine. Indeed, we know from wiretapped conversations at the time of its founding that CAIR was established by Muslim Brotherhood operatives as a political arm and fundraising mechanism for Hamas, a designated terrorist organization and the Brotherhood’s franchise in “Palestine.”Unfortunately, CAIR and its fellow Muslim Brotherhood fronts are not simply trying to muzzle Jerry Boykin. They have gone after a number of other truth-tellers about the doctrine the Brothers seek to insinuate into this country – the totalitarian, supremacist politico-military-legal program the Islamists call shariah.Of particular concern is the fact that the U.S. government is now effectively encouraging what amounts to free speech for some – and abetting it. Team Obama has begun according Islamophobia the status of a serious problem. Worse yet, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has joined forces with the OIC in trying to find ways to suppress this fictitious problem by treating instances of what should be protected free speech as prosecutable “incitement.”To paraphrase the famous German pastor, Martin Niemöller, first they are coming for the “Islamophobes” and for Muslims who oppose shariah’s political agenda. How soon will they decide that you have no right to speak freely, either?Read the full story here.
- Protesters throw shoes, pebbles, sand at U.N. chief upon his arrival in Gaza.(AlArabiya).Protesters threw shoes, sand and small stones at the convoy of U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon as he entered the Gaza Strip for a visit on Thursday.An AFP correspondent on the Gaza side of the Erez crossing from Israel said a crowd of around 50 people, many of them relatives of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, threw objects at Ban’s car as he drove past them.No one was injured during the hostile welcome and the vehicles, which crossed into the Hamas-ruled territory from southern Israel, pushed through the crowd and sped away.Many of those who protested as the U.N. convoy passed were family members of Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons. They hit the vehicles with signs bearing slogans accusing Ban of bias towards Israel and of refusing to meet the relatives of Palestinian prisoners.About 5,000 Palestinians are held in Israeli jails and securing their release is a highly emotive issue in Palestinian society.Ban is visiting the region to try to restart long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.Earlier, the U.N. chief was to enter Gaza, hours after a barrage of eight rockets was fired from the Palestinian territory into southern Israel.The visit comes a day after the U.N. chief urged Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ease his country’s restrictions on the coastal territory.U.N. security decided to go ahead with the trip despite the rocket attacks, which often prompt Israel to respond to with air strikes on suspected militant strongholds in Gaza.Ban’s schedule is expected to include stops at a school and a Japanese-funded housing project, both in Khan Yunis in the center of the Gaza Strip.He is not scheduled to meet with any member of the Hamas-run government.Ban’s visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories comes as he tries to kickstart preliminary talks sponsored by the peacemaking Quartet in a bid to get the parties back to direct negotiations.On Wednesday, he met with Netanyahu in Jerusalem, and urged Israel to offer “goodwill gestures” to the Palestinians.He also condemned rocket attacks from Gaza as “unacceptable” and said he had discussed the delicate informal truce between Israel and militants in the territory.Read the full story here.
- 47 Signs That China Is Absolutely Destroying America On The Global Economic Stage.(TheEconomicCollaps).Have you ever watched a football game or a basketball game where one team dominates the other team so badly that calling it a "blowout" would be a huge understatement? Well, that is what China is doing to the United States. China is absolutely destroying America on the global economic stage. Once upon a time, the Chinese economy was a joke and the U.S. economy was the most powerful the world had ever seen. But over the past couple of decades the U.S. economy has decayed and declined while the Chinese economy has skyrocketed. Today, China makes more steel, more automobiles, more beer, more cotton, more coal and more solar panels than we do. China has the fastest train in the world, the fastest computer in the world and they export twice as much high-tech equipment as we do. In 2011, our trade deficit with China was the largest trade deficit that one nation has had with another nation in the history of the world, and China has now accumulated more than 3 trillion dollars in foreign currency reserves. Every single day, we lose more jobs, more businesses and more of our national wealth to China. In technical economic terms, China has "taken us out behind the woodshed" and has beaten the living daylights out of us. Unfortunately, most Americans are so addicted to entertainment that they don't even realize what is happening. If you do not believe that China is wiping the floor with America in front of the rest of the world, just keep reading. The following are 47 signs that China is absolutely destroying America on the global economic stage....
- Back in 1998, the United States had 25 percent of the world’s high-tech export market and China had just 10 percent. Today, China's high-tech exports are more than twice the size of U.S. high-tech exports.
- America has lost more than a quarter of all of its high-tech manufacturing jobs over the past ten years.
- The Chinese economy has grown 7 times faster than the U.S. economy has over the past decade.
- In 2010, China produced more than twice as many automobiles as the United States did.
- In 2010, China produced 627 million metric tons of steel. The United States only produced 80 million metric tons of steel.
- In 2010, China produced 7.3 million metric tons of cotton. The United States only produced 3.4 million metric tons of cotton.Read the full story here.
- Gantz: Iran atom program must be disrupted.(Ynet).IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz said Wednesday that "determined action" on the part of the international community could compel Iran to abandon its nuclear program."There is no doubt that Iran is striving to develop nuclear capabilities for military purposes," Gantz said at the Herzliya Conference on security, adding that the Islamic Republic's atom ambitions "must be disrupted." The general noted that Iran is seeking to obtain nuclear weapons to bolster its deterrence, and warned it could cross the nuclear threshold within a year."This immunity that (Iran) seeks will be used to influence the surrounding Gulf states, and to further its interests in countries worldwide," he said."I am sure that if we tune in to what's going on in the Gulf nations, we will find them no less concerned than we are. But we can't forget that the State of Israel is the only country that has become the target of another state's threats of destruction... This is not something that can be ignored."Gantz added that the arms race in the region poses a risk for the Jewish state more than any other."Some of the largest arms caches are found in Gaza and Lebanon, which are supplied by Iran, Syria and Russia, which continues to send weapons to Syria without knowing who will rule it next," he said. "(…) the bad news is that the target of all this armament is Israel." Read the full story here.
- Iran - Ahmadinejad wants to double Iran defense budget.(JPost).TEHRAN - Iran's defense spending would more than double under plans set out by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday, but critics said his overall draft budget took too little account of economic pressures posed by mounting international sanctions.Ahmadinejad presented to parliament a budget based on a 20 percent rise in tax revenues, but some analysts thought this unrealistic as Iran struggles with threats to key oil revenues from sanctions linked to its disputed nuclear ambitions.The president said the public budget for 2012-13 was worth around $90 billion, with an increase of 127 percent in the defense budget. The public budget covers items like wages, subsidies and development projects."The total budget is around 510 trillion tomans (around $415 billion), of which 400 trillion tomans covers state firms and entities," Ahmadinejad told lawmakers in a speech broadcast live by state radio.Tension with the West rose last month when Washington and the European Union imposed the toughest sanctions yet in a drive to force Tehran to curb its nuclear work. The measures target the ability of OPEC's second biggest Oil producer to sell its crude.Iran has suggested it will fight sanctions with sanctions, with the oil minister saying the Islamic state would soon stop exporting crude to "some" countries."The submitted budget is too optimistic. It is not compatible with the realities of our economy," lawmaker Ali Akbar Olia told Reuters.Analyst Hamid Farahvashian agreed."The government has adopted a contractionary policy for next Iranian year. It is unfeasible for the government to meet its spending needs with such a budget ... Parliamentarians will challenge the budget," Farahvashian said.Critics say international sanctions and the government's economic policies are hurting many and economic growth has fallen below targets. MPs can amend the budget bill."The economic problems in Iran arise from the government's wrong economic policies rather than imposed sanctions," reformist politician Majid Ansari was quoted as saying by the Arman daily on Wednesday.Read the full story here.
- 'Begin military plans to thwart Iran nukes'.(Jpost).By Oren Kessler.Iran is working to obtain a nuclear weapon, a former CIA chief said Wednesday while visiting Israel, and the US should begin military preparations to block the Islamic Republic from reaching that goal.“To believe anything other than that Iran is working to get a nuclear weapon is hopelessly naive,” James Woolsey said in an interview on the sidelines of the Herzliya Conference.“At some point someone is going to have to decide to use force to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. I’d argue that those who say we can deal adequately with Iran through deterrence are quite naive.“National survival is at issue. In the near term that’s the case for Israel, but in the somewhat longer term it is [the case] for the US, which from Iran’s point of view, is the ‘Great Satan,’” he continued. “This is a world-class problem, not an eastern Mediterranean or Persian Gulf problem. The politics of the world will change if this regime gets the bomb.”Woolsey said Iran’s theocratic leadership promotes an aggressive, totalitarian ideology akin to Nazi Germany and Fidel Castro’s Cuba.“During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Castro knew Cuba would be destroyed, but he didn’t care. He felt that if the United States were destroyed, he’d be carrying out his life’s mission,” he said. “As for Hitler, he had a two-part plan: Kill the Jews and take over Europe. Iran’s President Ahmadinejad says he’s got a plan as well: Kill the Jews and take over the Middle East.“There’s no basis for the proposition that if you’re so intemperate as to decide to use a nuclear weapon you are a blithering, incoherent fool. You might be a shrewd, nasty fool.”Containing the Iranian threat, he said, will require a credible show of military force aimed at Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.“They’re at the heart of this regime – they’re the instrument of oppression, and they run the Basij militia. They control the nuclear, space and ballistic- missiles program, as well as the Quds Force,” he said, referring to the Guards branch responsible for overseas operations.“They’re at the heart of everything repressive internally, or aggressive externally.”Read the full story here.
- Director of Military Intelligence Major General: Iran can produce 4 bombs.(YNet)."Iran has enough nuclear material for four bombs," Director of Military Intelligence Major General Aviv Kochavi warned Thursday. Kochavi made a rare appearance at the 2012 Herzliya Conference, where he reviewed regional changes, the effects of the Arab Spring and the Iranian threat. "Iran is vigorously pursing military nuclear capabilities and today the intelligence community agrees with Israel on that. Iran has over four tons of enriched materials and nearly 100kg of 20% enriched uranium – that's enough for four bombs," he said.According to Kochavi, Iran's motivation stems from three reasons: Regional hegemony, deterrence and its desire to be a key regional player and while Iran still maintains that its nuclear program is for civilian, peaceful purposes, "We have conclusive evidence that they are after nuclear weapons." Still, according to the MI chief, the final decision whether or pursue nuclear weapons has little to do with technical capabilities and much to do with one man's decision: "When Khamenei gives the order to produce the first nuclear weapon – it will be done, we believe, within one year."But Iran is not the only threat to Israel: "Israel's enemies possess more rockets than ever before," Kochavi said. "Our enemies have 200,000 rockets and missiles capable of hitting every pary of Israel. "The missiles' warheads are more accurate and more lethal, the array is sporadic – hidden in urban areas. The quantity has become a strategic dimension the IDF has to deal with."We're also witnessing the disappearance of the enemy off the classic battlefield. The battlefield is now in urban terrain, which harbors large quantities of modern weapons. That forces intelligence gathering to change as well," he said.Read the full story here.
- Egypt:Italian Minister for Cooperation and Integration:" More Copts coming to Italy".(AnsaMed).ROME, Feb 01 - In Italy and especially in the Puglia region there has been an increase in Copts coming from Egypt after the violence against the community over the past few months. This was said by Minister for Cooperation and Integration Andrea Riccardi in a hearing before the Chamber and Senate Foreign Affairs Commissions today in the parliament, reiterating that ''the Italian government is very attentive to the protection of religious minorities.'' The minister also underscored that development aid to Arab Spring countries is meant as support not only for economic development but also for their transition to a democracy.Read the full story here.
- Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood says won’t require veil, to uphold freedoms.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and its political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) said on Tuesday that it would not impose a higab, or veil, requirement on Egyptian women and added that it would adhere to upholding personal freedoms for all citizens.The head of the FJP Mohamed Morsy reiterated his party’s adherence, respect and commitment to the personal freedoms of all people in Egypt at a meeting with Egyptian diplomats at the country’s foreign ministry.“The Muslim Brotherhood and its party respect personal freedoms,” said Morsy.The meeting was the first of its kind to be held with an official from the Muslim Brotherhood since their FJP party won nearly half of all seats in the new parliament.He continued to say that personal freedoms in Egypt “will remain untouched on the condition of not harming the society.”His remarks came as a response to a question on the Muslim Brotherhood’s position towards the veil. Unlike their more conservative al-Nour counterparts in parliament, who have called for a banning of bikinis, alcohol and have pushed for the veil to be worn, the Brotherhood and the FJP have repeatedly said they would not implement any such program.Morsy said the Brotherhood’s concept of obedience “is confusing for many, and that it’s a part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s internal regulations.”He added that obedience “means that it is to the rules and not the person and I am a member of the Muslim Brotherhood,” in response to questions of a split within the group that has already seen a number of members forced out in recent months.Hmmmm....... Muslim Broterhood Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi recommends gradualism in the implementation of Shari’ah.Read the full story here.
- Famous actor sentenced to three months in jail for defaming Islam.(AlArabiya).The Egyptian film star and the Arab world’s most famous comedian, Adel Imam, received a three-month jail term with hard labor for his portrayal of Muslim characters on stage and screen, a newspaper reported on Thursday.Al-Ahram online reported that Imam has been given the sentence in addition to a fine of approximately $166 for “defaming Islam” in some of the roles he has played.Imam, who is considered to be one of the Arab world’s biggest film stars, with 40 years of box office hits in and plays under his belt, was sentenced in absentia.Egyptian telecommunications and construction tycoon Naguib Sawiris, a founder of the liberal Free Egyptians political party, is facing similar charges of defaming Islam after he posted pictures of Mickey and Minnie Mouse wearing Islamic clothing on Twitter.Read the full story here.
- Egypt Christian youth to protest village elders’ “justice” near Alexandria.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: Egypt’s Maspero Youth Union organization plans to organize a protest outside the press syndicate building on Thursday in the Egyptian capital Cairo in condemnation of the recent events in the al-Ameriya village on the outskirts of Alexandria, Egypt’s second largest city.Al-Ameriya village came into the limelight recently after a tailor residing in the village was accused of taping himself having sex with a married women from the village.The 35-year-old man is a Coptic Christian who lives with his family in the town and the woman mentioned in the events is a Muslim.After news of the story broke in the town, angry mobs of men attempted to attack the man’s house on Friday and demanded that the man and his family leave immediately. The video, the group claims, has not been seen or shown anywhere, “only talked about.”The violence started when a number of nearby Coptic homes were attacked and gun shots were fired into the air. The Coptic residents in the town say five homes have been set ablaze and one shop was also torched.Soon after the outbreak of violence, a number of unofficial dialogue sessions between the town elders to resolve the situation took place and to bring the clashes to an end.The group talks concluded that in order to bring peace back into the town, the Coptic man and his family must relocate and have their home sold. A selected number of residents were put in charge of the sales operation.The women involved in the story will be handled by their families in private, according to the talks.Such unofficial talks are common in closed communities such as this one and aim to keep the government outside their affairs.“The forced relocation of citizens based on their religion or race is a human catastrophe,” commented the Maspero Youth Union concerning the Amreiya events.“If a person has committed an actual mistake then the appropriate authorities must step in to investigate and hand out punishment and not the residents of some town,” the statement argued.“The state is obliged to protect these citizens,” they said in declaring their intention to protest on Thursday.Read the full story here.
- Turkey - Father sells 12-year-old daughter in southern Turkey.(HurriyetDaily).A father in the southern Antalya province allegedly sold his pre-teen daughter after signing a contract with a businessmen 40 years her elder, daily Hürriyet reported today. The father received 5,000 Turkish Liras after signing the contract which stated clearly that he had sold his daughter and was paid the money “in advance." The contract also read that both the father and the daughter consented to the transaction. The scandal was revealed when the daughter informed her teacher at school that she had been taken to a hotel and raped by the man who had “bought” her from her father. The teacher immediately passed the information onto local police. A judicial case, however, did not begin until yesterday because police had been unable to locate the businessman for six years. The father said the 54-year-old man was a “known businessman” and had taken his daughter simply to educate her and give her a job in state institutions in which the businessman was allegedly employed.The businessman rejected the claims, saying the father sold him the girl willingly and agreed to the contract in the event that the incident would cause further trouble for him. The businessman also said the father was in need of money and threatened to kill the girl if he refused to buy her. "I didn't do anything to her," the suspect reportedly said at yesterday’s hearing. "I didn't take her anywhere. Let them prove that."Read the full story here.
- 72-year-old Nepali man claims to be world's shortest man.(Emirates24/7).Guinness World Records experts said Thursday they are to travel to a remote valley in southwestern Nepal to measure a 72-year-old claiming to be the world's shortest man.Chandra Bahadur Dangi is 56 centimetres (22 inches) tall and weighs 12 kilos (26 pounds), he told a media conference broadcast by Nepali state television."We intend to travel to Mr Dangi's village to officially measure him and are currently making provisions for medical professionals to assist us in the verification," Guinness World Records editor-in-chief Craig Glenday told AFP by email.Nepal Television broadcast images on Wednesday of Dangi jumping off a park bench and taking a short walk in front of journalists.Members of his family were quoted by local media as saying Dangi was in excellent health and had never taken medicine or been to hospital.The record is held by Filipino Junrey Balawing, who measures 59.93 centimetres and took the title last year from another Nepali, Khagendra Thapa Magar, who was measured in 2010 at 67 centimetres.Read and see the full story here.
Jimmy Carter Does It Again.(Jpost).When it comes to the Middle East, the former president never ceases to amaze.In an interview published in Time, he was asked: "What do you think it means that Iran seems to have its first nuclear fuel rod?"
His complete answer: "Well, of course, the religious leaders of Iran have sworn on their word of honor that they're not going to manufacture nuclear weapons. If they are lying, then I don't see that as a major catastrophe because they'll only have one or two military weapons. Israel probably has 300 or so."
There you have it. In 51 words, Carter demonstrates convincingly why he should stay out of the business of Iran analysis.Not that he was much better at it while in the White House.
Remember his famous expression of confidence in the Shah -- "an island of stability" -- when one year later the Iranian leader was ousted and had to flee the country?
And the catastrophic U.S. attempt, under Carter, to free the 52 American hostages taken by the Shah's successors, that failed for the lack of a working helicopter?
And the fact that those hostages languished in Iranian hands for 444 days, only to be released the very first day Carter's successor, Ronald Reagan, took office?
Carter did not understand Iran then. Judging by the Time interview, he still doesn't.First, how could any serious observer begin a response by mentioning that "the religious leaders of Iran have sworn on their word of honor that they're not going to manufacture nuclear weapons"?
Of what possible relevance is such a comment, other than to suggest that Carter may actually give it credence?
A regime that has been found to lie about everything else -- its leaders claimed there were no nuclear enrichment facilities, that there were no homosexuals in the country, that its women were the freest in the world, that the Holocaust never took place, and that its 2009 elections were transparent -- is actually given the benefit of the doubt by the former president.He begins the next sentence with the phrase, "If they are lying."Again, he himself isn't sure.
Perhaps he thinks, in contradistinction to the International Atomic Energy Agency, UN Security Council, Obama administration, European and Gulf leaders, and Israel, that all the Iranian leaders really want is peaceful nuclear energy, nothing more.
And then comes the clincher. Even if the Iranians by some chance are lying, he said, "then I don't see that as a major catastrophe because they'll only have one or two military weapons."
How could anyone possibly know how many bombs Iran might build, if left unchecked? This year, it might be one or two; next year, ten or twenty; and so on.
Second, at the end of the day, the real issue is not how many bombs Iran would have, but the very fact that it possessed the weapon.That would change everything in its relations with its neighbors and beyond.Of one thing we can be certain: Israel will not place its trust in Carter's reading of Iran. Nor should anyone else.Read the full story here.
US confirms possible release of Taliban from Gitmo as 'arranged' with Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guide Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
23 Jan 2012 – The Taliban execute 15 Pakistani Army soldiers.
Flashback Jan 18 th- The Obama administration is considering releasing five top Taliban jihadists from custody at Guantanamo Bay in hopes of negotiating a peace agreement with the Afghan terrorist movement. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week that administration is in "the preliminary stages" of testing whether talks with the Taliban can succeed.Hmmmm........Huma Abedin has a brother named Hassan Abedin who works at Oxford University.What is significant is that Oxford University, which has long been infiltrated by Islamists who founded the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS), has Huma's brother listed as a fellow and partners with a number of Muslim Brotherhood memberson the Board, including al-Qaeda associate, Omar Naseef and the notorious Muslim Brotherhood leader Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi; both have been listed as OCIS Trustees.
According to a recent report in The Hindu, radical Islamist cleric and Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guide Yusuf al-Qaradawi has served as a "key mediator" in U.S.-Taliban negotiations.Earlier this month, reports indicated that Washington had agreed to transfer the five Taliban leaders from U.S. custody to Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government.
At some point, they could be set free.
Another report indicated the jihadists would be transferred to Qatar, a nation with a poor record on combating terrorism and a suspected link to the 9/11 attacks.
Earlier this month, the sources said, Mr. al-Qaradawi helped draw a road map for a deal between the Taliban and the United States, aimed at giving the superpower a face-saving political settlement ahead of its planned withdrawal from Afghanistan which is due to begin in 2014.
In return for the release of prisoners still held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay, the lifting of United Nations sanctions on its leadership and its recognition as a legitimate political group, the Taliban was expected to agree to sever its links to transnational organisations like al-Qaeda, end violence and eventually share power with the Afghan government.Egyptian-born Mr. al-Qaradawi is seen by both the United States and the Taliban traditionalists as an ally in the battle against the growing influence of this new generation of commanders. Expelled from his homeland for his Islamist views, he has emerged over the last year as ideological pole star of the Muslim Brotherhood — now West Asia's most influential political movement.Thanks to whom?
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. intelligence officials acknowledged Tuesday that the United States may release several Afghan Taliban prisoners from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as an incentive to bring the Taliban to peace talks.
Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper told Congress Tuesday that no decision had been made on whether to trade the five Taliban prisoners, now held at Guantanamo Bay as part of nascent peace talks with the Taliban. He and CIA Director David Petraeus did not dispute that the Obama administration is considering transferring the five to a third country.
U.S. officials and others had previously spoken only vaguely, and usually anonymously, about the proposal to send the prisoners to Qatar, a Persian Gulf country that has asserted a central role in framing talks that might end the 10-year war in Afghanistan. The lead U.S. negotiator trying to coax the Taliban into talks had also publicly acknowledged the possibility of a release, but said there was no final decision.
The prisoners proposed for transfer include some of the detainees brought to Guantanamo during the initial days and weeks of the U.S. invasion that toppled the Taliban government in Afghanistan in 2001. At least one has been accused in the massacre of thousands of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan, according to U.S. and other assessments, but none are accused of directly killing Americans.Read the full story here.
Top Obama administration officials briefed eight senior Senate leaders Tuesday on a pending deal to transfer as many as five Taliban prisoners from the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to Qatar.
The Cable staked out the classified briefing in the basement of the Capitol building Tuesday afternoon. The eight senators who attended the briefing were Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Intelligence Committee heads Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Senate Armed Services chiefs Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ), and Senate Foreign Relations Committee leaders John Kerry (D-MA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN).
The identities of the administration briefers were not shared, but we were told it was a high-level interagency briefing team.
U.S. officials have pledged to consult with Congress about any release, which was not enough to persuade Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga."I want to state publicly as strong as I can that we should not transfer these detainees from Guantanamo," Chambliss told the intelligence agency heads.
Hmmmm..............I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes. ~ Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776.
Hezbollah men marching in Beirout
Israel warns against Syrian WMD transfer to Hezbollah.(DocsTalk).Source: Yoav Limor, Yoni Hirsch, Daniel Siryoti and News Agencies. Defense official says Israel concerned that Syrian President Bashar Assad will transfer unconventional weapons, long-range missiles and advanced anti-aircraft weapons to Hezbollah .
The transfer of chemical weapons from Syria to Hezbollah would be tantamount to a declaration of war, a senior defense official said on Tuesday, adding that Israel would not accept such a move and would act to prevent it. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been facing a nearly 11-month-long popular uprising in which more than 5,000 Syrians have been killed, according to U.N. estimates. Rebel forces briefly gained control of the eastern suburbs of the capital, Damascus, in a startling advance last week but Syrian government forces launched a swift offensive Monday and Tuesday to crush the remaining resistance. Yet the fact that rebels made it to the doorstep of Damascus, the seat of Assad's power, was a dangerous development for the regime.
The bloodshed in Syria has increased in recent days as Western and Arab countries have stepped up pressure on Russia over action at the U.N. Security Council. A draft resolution submitted demands that Assad halt the crackdown and implement an Arab League peace plan that calls on him to transfer power to his vice president, and allow creation of a unity government to clear the way for elections. If Assad fails to comply within 15 days, the council would consider "further measures," a reference to a possible move to impose economic or other sanctions. In light of the recent events unfolding in Syria, Israeli officials are concerned the regime may try to transfer its advanced weapons – including non-conventional weapons – to the Lebanese-based terrorist organization Hezbollah.
Syria has transferred advanced weapons to Hezbollah control in recent years, but the weapons have remained on Syrian soil in accordance with Assad's instructions, to avoid their possible destruction by Israel. With the increasing belief that Assad's rule is expected to end in the near future, some analysts have warned he may decide to transfer arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon. The delivery could include a large number of long-range missiles, advanced anti-aircraft systems that could threaten Israel Air Force flights in the north, and chemical weapons. Syria is believed to possess the world's largest stockpile of chemical weapons, including some of the deadliest chemical agents known, such as sarin and the nerve agent VX. Their chemical agents have already been integrated in warheads mounted on advanced Scud missiles.
The weapons are currently under the tight supervision of military forces loyal to Assad, but may be transferred to Hezbollah – possibly even at Iran's behest – because Lebanon is currently perceived as more stable than Syria. "We are seeing a paradoxical process unfold, in which Syria is undergoing a process of 'Lebanonization' and vice versa," said the senior Israeli defense official. "Syria, which was an island of stability in the past is now being torn apart by military clashes. Lebanon is now perceived as being the more stable of the two," the official added.
For Israel, the transfer of such weapons – and especially chemical weapons – to Hezbollah would be crossing a red line. The senior official said such a situation would be tantamount to "a declaration of war." Unlike Syria, whose weapons are mainly a deterrent, "Hezbollah is a terrorist organization that is much less predictable and cannot be allowed to entertain itself with unconventional weapons," the official said.
The subject of a possible weapons transfer from Syria to Hezbollah has been the subject of much discussion in security and defense-related forums both in Israel and abroad. The West shares Israel's concerns, and some officials have warned Damascus not to succumb to the temptation to move weapons into Lebanon. Israel Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Ido Nechushtan last week warned that the current instability in Syria could lead to conflict on Israel's northern front and insisted that Israel must prepare for such an eventuality.
Speaking to reporters last Wednesday, Nechushtan reiterated, "Everything that is happening [in Syria] every day is reason for us to reexamine the situation, closely follow the developments and make decisions as necessary."Read the full story here.