Saturday, February 11, 2012
U.S. State department:"Americans should avoid all but essential travel to all or parts of 14 Mexican states".
U.S. State department:"Americans should avoid all but essential travel to all or parts of 14 Mexican states".(TB).Gee, and to think Obama, Holder and the rest of that vile gang continue to defend those 2000 guns they sent to the drug cartels. It’s amazing that only now do we get this serious travel warning when more people have been murdered every year in Mexico than in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s absolutely shameful that we’ve been propping up that government (remember that $2 billion we sent over last year?) and sending guns in while tens of thousands get murdered. Horrible.
Yep, no reason to build that wall. None at all.Hmmmm.....Obama: "All the Choices We've Made Have Been the Right Ones"That was before he 'confesses' 'I make a mistake, every hour, every day'. Read the full story here.
Germany delays signing ACTA treaty as opposition mounts.(RS).
Opposition has been mounting worldwide to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which would creative a new set of international standards for enforcing so-called “intellectual property” rights. Many opponents see the provisions of the agreement as threatening the integrity of the Internet by promoting censorship and criminalizing everyday online activities.
It was reported on Friday that Germany has delayed its signing of the agreement, joining Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Latvia in displaying doubts about the measure. The Polish government’s decision was particularly noteworthy for having been prompted in part by street protests and online attacks by Anonymous.
The treaty has been gaining increasing attention since a recent wave of online protests in the U.S. against the Stop Online Piracy Act, to which ACTA has many similarities. An additional source of outrage against ACTA, however, is that it was negotiated in secret. The current focus of the protests in in Europe, where the European Parliament is due to vote on the measure in June. Even in the United States, however, an anti-ACTA petition at whitehouse.gov currently has over 42,000 signatures.
In signing ACTA, President Barack Obama has again leapfrogged over the U.S. Constitution, critics charge. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was signed by the United States and several other countries on October 1 with little fanfare.But even if we let Obama bask in his delusion of signing an “executive agreement,” Constitutional experts say that he still does not have a right to sign it in the matter of copyright and patent laws. In fact, U.S. Constitutional scholars Jack Goldsmith and Larry Lessig said: The president has no independent constitutional authority over intellectual property or communications policy, and there is no long historical practice of making sole executive agreements in this area. To the contrary, the Constitution gives primary authority over these matters to Congress, which it charges with making laws that regulate foreign commerce and intellectual property.
Using this same argument, Senator Ron Wyden (D) from Oregon has been hammering the Obama administration for months for an explanation as to why he bypassed Congress. Finally, the administration issued a response saying, essentially, that the President could sign this treaty because it would not change U.S. law.Wyden then requested a Congressional Research Service’s Analysis of ACTA and found that it may change U.S.law. (What a surprise). The problem with ACTA, like so many bills Obama signs, is that is is so riddled with vague language that its meaning hinges on one's interpretation. As it stands now, I’m convinced that Obama knowingly bypassed Congress and the United States Constitution to sign a treaty that will help to destroy our First Amendment right of free speech. (Thus his "concern" over the problems with SOPA, earlier this month, was just a charade). How long are we going to let him get away with this?Read the full story here and here.
" Egyptian Witch hunt starts "?Australian journalist, Egyptian translator arrested by military, charged with incitement.
"Egyptian Witch hunt starts"?Australian journalist, Egyptian translator arrested by military, charged with incitement.(BM).CAIRO: An Australian journalist and his Egyptian translator have been arrested in the Nile Delta city of Mahallah on Saturday. As of Saturday evening, the two had been charged with “incitement” and had been transferred to the prosecutor’s office.
Austin Mackell and Aliya Alwi had been covering the protests taking place in the northern Egyptian town – the flashpoint of protests in 2008 – as part of the general strike that began on Saturday in Egypt when the military police arrested them.Alwi reported at 7 PM local time that they had been transferred to the military prosecution in Tanta, about an hour north of Cairo. Many online referred to this change as “worrying.”Mackell, an Australian national and journalist based in Egypt has written extensively from Egypt, having been published in major international newspapers and publications including The Guardian UK. The pair have worked together regularly in Egypt.Alwi, still able to send messages on her Twitter account as of early Saturday evening, wrote “Report against us, filed now. Many witnesses saw us ‘offering money to youth to vandalize and cause chaos’.”Their situation is being monitored closely by fellow media professionals and activists in the country, who have condemned the military’s use of violence and intimidation against media personnel in recent months.Shortly before their arrest, the vehicle they were riding in was attacked, glass broken and Alwi was called a “whore,” she wrote on Twitter.Hmmm....Aren't you glad Obama demanded that Mubarak leaves, and deals with this 'moderate' Muslim Brotherhood?Read the full story here.
Related - Egypt bans British woman from leaving country over NGO row.(BM).CAIRO: Egyptian authorities barred a British woman from leaving Egypt on Friday, saying her name was on a list of foreigners working for NGOs in Egypt currently under investigation over receiving foreign funds and “interference in internal political affairs.”The British trainer at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) was stopped from the London-bound plane, however, she was not arrested, bit notified she is barred from traveling pending investigations.The Egyptian authorities barred another 6 Americans from traveling over the past two weeks for the same reason.Tensions have risen between the US, Europe and Egypt after an Egyptian investigation referred 43 NGO workers including 19 Americans and 27 others (European and Egyptian) to trial on charges of “illegally receiving foreign funds for political motives.”The 48-year-old woman is currently under investigation for the same case, and her travel ban was ordered by the Attorney General Abdel Maguid Mahmoud.On Saturday, the state-owned MENA news agency reported that the British Foreign Secretary announced that it is providing assistance to the British woman, which was charged of using illegal funds to stir unrest in Egypt.Read the full story here.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Indonesia 5.7 - 5.5 ; Solomon Islands 5.2 !More info here.
- Andrew Breitbart At CPAC, “I Have Videos” of Obama From His College Day.(TT).Andrew Breitbart took the podium at CPAC Friday afternoon, introduced to the stage with Rage Against The Machine’s Guerilla Radio, and revealed to the audience he had “videos” of Barack Obama from his college days. “I have videos, this election we’re going to vet him,” Breitbart disclosed to raucous applause. “We are going to vet him from his college days to show you why racial division and class warfare are central to what hope and change was sold in 2008.”Read the full story here.
- Voices of Opposition Speak Out Against Obama’s Contraception Mandate ‘Accommodation’.(Heritage).That’s the near-unanimous response to President Obama’s supposed “accommodation” offered to those who objected to Obamacare’s mandate that religious institutions pay for contraceptive products and services—including abortion-inducing drugs.That mandate — which tramples heavily on religious liberties — drew tremendous fire across the board, from Christians and Jews alike, drowning the President in a political maelstrom of his own design. And though today the President sought to calm that storm with a “compromise,” the voices of opposition are as strong as ever because, quite simply, it doesn’t remedy the moral and religious liberty objections to this mandate, and as a practical matter, it simply doesn’t work.Here’s a roundup of the reactions:Former Vatican Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon, Princeton Prof. Robert George, Notre Dame Law Prof. Carter Snead, Catholic University of America President John Garvey, and EPPC Fellow Yuval Levin wrote: This so-called “accommodation” changes nothing of moral substance and fails to remove the assault on religious liberty and the rights of conscience which gave rise to the controversy. It is certainly no compromise. The reason for the original bipartisan uproar was the administration’s insistence that religious employers, be they institutions or individuals, provide insurance that covered services they regard as gravely immoral and unjust. Under the new rule, the government still coerces religious institutions and individuals to purchase insurance policies that include the very same services…It is morally obtuse for the administration to suggest (as it does) that this is a meaningful accommodation of religious liberty because the insurance company will be the one to inform the employee that she is entitled to the embryo-destroying “five day after pill” pursuant to the insurance contract purchased by the religious employer. It does not matter who explains the terms of the policy purchased by the religiously affiliated or observant employer. What matters is what services the policy covers.The Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty noted: It’s not like President Obama has seen the light and is now committed to protecting conscience; he’s trying to, as the New York Times puts it, “shore up support among wavering Democrats, who have also expressed doubt about the rule, along with more liberal religious organizations and charities, who oppose the rule but not as vehemently as the Catholic leadership.”Pro-Life Caucus Chairman Chris Smith weighed in:The so-called new policy is the discredited old policy, dressed up to look like something else. It remains a serious violation of religious freedom. Only the most naïve or gullible would accept this as a change in policy.The newest iteration of Obama’s coercion rule utterly fails because it still forces religious employers and employees who have moral objections to paying for abortion inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception to pay for these things, because it is still the employers who buy the coverage for their employees.Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan said: This ObamaCare rule still tramples on Americans’ First Amendment right to freedom of religion. It’s a fig leaf, not a compromise. Whether they are affiliated with a church or not, employers will still be forced to pay an insurance company for coverage that includes abortion-inducing drugs.This is not just a problem for church-affiliated hospitals and charities. Under these rules, a small business owner with religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs and contraception must either violate his religious beliefs or violate the law.”And the Alliance Defense Fund wrote:The Obama administration’s rule change doesn’t change anything. Employees will still pay for this coverage. Through this sleight of hand, the administration is forcing indirectly what it can’t do directly. It is still forcing people of faith to subsidize practices and treatments that violate their values, their morals, and their religious beliefs. What’s next? Will the administration force Jewish schools to serve pork because it’s ‘good’ for Jewish students? When you take religious liberty from a few, you take religious liberty from all.The responses go on and on, but perhaps words laid down before the President even made his announcement sum it up best. Archbishop Donald Wuerl, Chuck Colson, and Meir Soloveichik joined forces in the Wall Street Journal this morning to warn of the common peril posed by Obamacare’s mandate for their faith communities: Stories involving a Catholic, a Protestant and a Jew typically end with a punch line. We wish that were the case here, but what brings us together is no laughing matter: the threat now posed by government policy to that basic human freedom, religious liberty.…[U]nder no circumstances should people of faith violate their consciences and discard their most cherished religious beliefs in order to comply with a gravely unjust law.”.Hmmmm......An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. Read the full story here.
- Egypt bans British woman from leaving country over NGO row.(BM).CAIRO: Egyptian authorities barred a British woman from leaving Egypt on Friday, saying her name was on a list of foreigners working for NGOs in Egypt currently under investigation over receiving foreign funds and “interference in internal political affairs.”The British trainer at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) was stopped from the London-bound plane, however, she was not arrested, bit notified she is barred from traveling pending investigations.The Egyptian authorities barred another 6 Americans from traveling over the past two weeks for the same reason.Tensions have risen between the US, Europe and Egypt after an Egyptian investigation referred 43 NGO workers including 19 Americans and 27 others (European and Egyptian) to trial on charges of “illegally receiving foreign funds for political motives.”The 48-year-old woman is currently under investigation for the same case, and her travel ban was ordered by the Attorney General Abdel Maguid Mahmoud.On Saturday, the state-owned MENA news agency reported that the British Foreign Secretary announced that it is providing assistance to the British woman, which was charged of using illegal funds to stir unrest in Egypt.Read the full story here.
- Obama Gets Hit with Another Religious Freedom Lawsuit.(Heritage).The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has already filed two lawsuits challenging the Obamacare regulation that requires many religious employers to provide health insurance coverage for sterilization, contraception, and what many people believe are abortion-inducing drugs.Those lawsuits are on behalf of Belmont Abbey College (a Benedictine Catholic college in North Carolina) and Colorado Christian University (a nondenominational Christian university in Colorado).This morning, the Becket Fund sued the Obama Administration again, this time on behalf of Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the Catholic television network that was started nearly 30 years ago by a cloistered nun named Mother Angelica in her monastery garage.According to its press release, the network objects to paying for—and refuses to pay for—“contraceptive services and for drugs that destroy human life”:“The federal government cannot force people to violate their religion like this,” said Mark Rienzi, Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund and a constitutional law professor at the Catholic University of America. “Mother Angelica founded EWTN to spread the teachings of the Catholic Church—not to betray them.”EWTN claims it is “the largest religious media network in the world” and transmits programming “24 hours a day to more than 148 million homes in 144 countries and territories.” If EWTN wasn’t already covering the Obama Administration’s “unprecedented” assault on religious freedom before, it seems likely that viewers will be provided ample coverage in the days to come.The Heritage Foundation has repeatedly criticized the Obamacare contraception mandate as a violation of religious freedom. Heritage has also pointed out that the Obama Administration’s actions, though entirely counter to the freedom of religion, “should not be surprising given the nature of the President’s health care law.” Religious freedom goes hand in hand with limited government and with freedom more generally. With intrusions of freedom as broad as those made by the Obamacare legislation, burdens on freedom of religious and moral conscience are likely to follow. Indeed, they have.Read the full story here.
- Southern Baptist leader: Christians should go to jail rather than comply with the Obama administration’s mandate.(BB).(LifeSiteNews.com) — One of the most influential evangelical leaders in the United States says Christians should go to jail rather than comply with the Obama administration’s mandate to provide all contraception, including abortion-inducing drugs, in their health care plans.Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), told LifeSiteNews.com "we will not comply" with the Dept. of Health and Human Services’ mandate requiring religious institutions to cover abortifacient products such as Plan B, Ella, and the IUD."We want the law changed, or else we’re going to write our letters from the Nashville jail, just like Dr. King wrote his from the Birmingham jail," Dr. Land said.Dr. Land wrote an op-ed on Tuesday with Barrett Duke, vice president for public policy and research at ERLC, calling his fellow Southern Baptists and evangelical Christians throughout America to oppose any infringement on the First Amendment. "The Obama administration has declared war on religion and freedom of conscience," they wrote. "We consider this callous requirement by the Obama administration to be a clear violation of our nation's commitment to liberty of conscience and a flagrant violation of our constitutional protection to freedom of religion."Dr. Land told LifeSiteNews he hopes Baptist ministers will "preach from the pulpit just how serious and dangerous this initiative by the Obama administration is," and "encourage their parishioners to contact their congressmen and their senators and the president and let them know how deeply unhappy they are with this decision, and they want…legislation guaranteeing that it won’t happen again.""It is now in the providence of God," Dr. Land said. "Our responsibility is to stand and say, ‘We will not comply with this. We want the law changed, or else we’re going to write our letters from the Nashville jail, just like Dr. King wrote his from the Birmingham jail.’ We will not comply."Dr. Land, who earned a Doctorate of Philosophy from Oxford University, has been named by Time magazine as one of .The Twenty-five Most Influential Evangelicals in America."President Obama’s recess appointment of Chai Feldblum to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provided an insight to the president’s views, Dr. Land said. Feldblum has said whenever religious rights come into conflict with sexual rights, that sexual rights must prevail. .That’s exactly what’s happening in the Health and Human Services contraceptive and abortifacient directive,. he said. .They are saying that a woman’s right to have free contraceptive services and free abortifacients trumps the deeply held religious convictions of Catholics and Baptists and others. That’s a war on religion.Read the full story here.
- Obama’s Big Non-Concession on Birth Control.(TWHD).By Keith koffler.As far as I can tell, and I admit it’s an early read, the administration’s “compromise” on its policy of forcing Catholic Institutions to provide free birth control is meaningless. Because while it may disconnect the institution’s money from the requirement, it does not disconnect the institution from it.Here’s what Obama did in his announcement today at the White House.The original Obama administration regulation said that Catholic institutions, like Catholic hospitals and others similar concerns, must provide health insurance for their employees that covers birth control for free. Today, Obama said that the Catholic institutions no longer have to pay the insurance plans that provide this coverage, but that the insurers the instituions are using will be forced to reach out separately to employees and offer it the birth control coverage directly to them.The employees could then effectively contract directly with the insurer to get the contraceptives for free.Here’s the problem. It’s all still part of the package being offered by the institution. Catholic groups are offering a plan that gives employees a chance to get free birth control coverage. They get it as a result of their insurance from their Catholic employer. They don’t get it if they work for an employer who does not provide insurance.Let me put it this way. Say the Obama administration originally mandated that you must invite a drug dealer into your home and required that you must pay him to provide your family with free heroin. But then say he changed the mandate and said, okay, you still have to invite the drug dealer into your home, but instead of you paying him, your individual family members can freely choose to have him give them free heroin.You see? You’re still being forced to have a drug dealer in your home handing out heroin.Obama is not providing a concession. He’s providing a fig leaf. The Catholic Bishops will never take it, nor should they.Hmmm.....When Pres. Obama says, "Everyone plays by the same set of rules," it means they conform to his rules. Read the full story here.
- US Disarmament Expert, 'The Risk that Nuclear Weapons Will Be Used Is Growing'.(Spiegel).Anxieties are mounting as nuclear weapons make their way into unstable regions. In a SPIEGEL ONLINE interview, US disarmament expert Richard Burt discusses the growing risk of their use, why allowing Iran to get the bomb could trigger a Sunni-Shiite arms race and how an attack could make citizens demand a police state.Read the full story here.
- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Iran to Unveil New Achievements in Nuclear Technology Soon.(FNA).TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced on Saturday that the country plans to unveil a series of big new achievements in nuclear technology in coming days."The world will witness inauguration of a number of big achievements in the field of nuclear (technology) in coming days," Ahmadinejad said, addressing millions of enthusiastic demonstrators in Tehran who had flocked to the streets to celebrate the 33rd anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. He also underlined that the country's progress and advancement in the field of nuclear technology was achieved despite the pressures of the world arrogant powers, and added all needs of the Iranian nation to the nuclear technology will be met by Iran's talented scientists in the near future. Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry. Despite the rules enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entitling every member state, including Iran, to the right of uranium enrichment, Tehran is now under three rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West's illegitimate calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment.A crowd of an estimated 30,000 people in central Tehran cheered Ahmadinejad’s words. Many held aloft placards declaring “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.In pointed messages aimed at those two arch-foes, Iranian officials planted a full-scale model of a captured U.S. spy drone in front of the president’s stage, and hosted on the stage the Hamas prime minister of Gaza.Prominent MP Gholam Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam has lashed out at the President's supporters, saying that he believes in a "deviant current" which aspires to win 180 seats, almost two-thirds of the Majlis. He also warned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, "I hope the President attend the interrogation session in parliament if not serious actions will be taken."
Hojatoleslam Sayyed Hamid Rohani, went farther, accusing those around the President of pursuing an "Anjoman Hujjatieh” ideology to increase corruption, accelerating the return of Shi'a's 12th Imam, equated in their eyes to Ahmadinejad: "They want to make a kingdom for themselves and negotiate with enemies behind the scene. They claim they are standing for justice but in reality they have gathered around themselves the thieves of nation money. They are trying to negotiate and a start relationship with the Great Satan through promotion of American Islam in the name of Iranian Islam or Iranian school." Read the full story here.
- Turks torpedo Israel Navy participation in NATO op.(JPost).Turkey has torpedoed an Israeli plan to contribute an Israel Navy missile ship to a NATO mission in the Mediterranean Sea, in what would have been the first time Israel actively participated in one of the Western military alliance’s operations.Diplomatic and defense officials told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that Turkey had decided to prevent Israeli participation in the long-term operation – called Active Endeavor – following the Israel Navy raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010 in which nine Turkish nationals were killed.Diplomatic officials said that ever since its success, Turkey had been seeking to scuttle greater Israeli participation in the alliance.NATO launched Operation Active Endeavor in the wake of 9/11 and has succeeded in bringing together a number of countries to patrol the Mediterranean and share information concerning terrorism and suspicious ships.In 2008, Israel sent a navy officer to sit at the operation’s headquarters in Naples and in late 2009, Defense Minister Ehud Barak submitted an official request to NATO to contribute a missile ship to the mission. In 2010, Israel and NATO signed an agreement that was supposed to pave the way for the ship’s participation.“Israel’s navy anyhow patrols the Mediterranean and since we were interested in upgrading our ties with NATO, it made sense to offer to actively participate in the operation,” a senior government official said. “The Turks, though, torpedoed the move and refused to allow one of our ships to join.”While Israel has participated in numerous NATO activities over the past decade, it has never sent troops or navy ships to play an operational role in the military alliance’s operations.While Turkey succeeded in thwarting the navy’s participation in Active Endeavor, it has, however, failed to prevent Israel from upgrading its ties with NATO. Defense officials said this week that the sides were on the verge of signing a new cooperation agreement that would lead to a significant upgrade in relations.As a member of the Mediterranean Dialogue, which was created in 1994 to foster ties with Middle Eastern countries, Israel is frequently invited to participate in NATO workshops and exercises.The senior government official said, though, that the new agreement would enable Israel to participate in top NATO forums even though it is not a full-fledged member of the alliance.Israel is also considering a request by NATO to open an office at its headquarters in Brussels. Defense officials said that the offer was still open and that it was being “positively considered” by the government.Hmmm....NATO should kick out Turkey and replace them with Israel at least they can count on them, unlike Turkey who lately objects to most actions demanded by NATO or the U.S.They refuse actions against Iran but would drag NATO in a war with Syria.Read the full story here.
- Syrian Armored Forces Move Nearer to Israel.(VOC).According to reports from the Free Syria Army, the Syrian military has moved forces stationed in the southern part of the Syrian Golan Heights closer to Israel.The Syrian military did not come close to the border with Israel. However, armored forces that were stationed along the Syria-Jordan border, which were recently reinforced, were moved and are now closer to Israel, according to the report.The Free Syria Army is the largest opposition group in Syria and is partly made up of defectors from the official Syrian Army.Israel has been concerned that Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad, whose regime is on the verge of collapse, may try to defuse the uprising against him by starting a conflict with Israel.A Lebanese newspaper, The People’s Army, claimed Thursday in its news website that the IDF has been making an extra effort in the past few days to place landmines all along its border with Syria.Hundreds of Israeli soldiers are reportedly working at lining the border with mines. Israel had already placed mines along some stretches of the border with Syria after the Nakba Day events last year, in which hundreds of Syrians broke into Israel virtually unimpeded. The action had been orchestrated by the Syrian government, later reports showed.Hmmmm......30 Th of March the day of assault on Israel.Read the full story here.
- Hamas will never acknowledge Israel, says Haniyeh.(BM).Tehran (dpa) – Hamas would never acknowledge the Israeli state, said Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of the Palestinian movement in Gaza, on Friday in Tehran.“They (West) want from us to stop resistance and acknowledge Israel but I herewith announce that this will never happen,” Haniyeh said though an interpreter at a ceremony marking the 33rd anniversary of the 1979 Iranian revolution.“Our message and the message of all those who lost their blood in the Palestinian lands is that all occupied lands will eventually be liberated from Israeli occupation,” Haniyeh said.He thanked Iran for its constant support for Palestinian resistance groups and called on maintaining unity in the Islamic world.Haniyeh arrived in Tehran on Friday and is to meet President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.Iran, which does not recognize the state of Israel, is a supporter of Hamas but has constantly denied providing any financial and military aid to the movement.Read the full story here.
- Top Pentagon general meets with Egypt’s army rulers; strike fails to attract protesters.(AlArabiya).Egypt’s state news agency says the Pentagon’s top general is visiting the country for security talks with the country’s military rulers, amid tensions between the two allies over charges filed against 16 American civil society workers accused of fomenting unrest.MENA reported Saturday that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey has met with Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and several members of the country’s ruling military council, including his Egyptian counterpart Lt. Gen. Sami Anan.The report says that they discussed “the depth of the strategic relationship between Washington and Cairo.”A Pentagon official had said prior to Dempsey’s visit to Cairo that the nonprofit dispute would be raised in the meeting and that he would talk with Egypt’s leaders about “choices and consequences.”On Friday, Egypt’s military rulers warned in statement that the country faces conspiracies that seek to topple the state and spread chaos.“Never will we bow to threats, nor succumb to pressures, nor accept ultimatums,” it said.Hmmmm.......As i said yesterday:"Come to think of it....How about the U.S. sale of 125 - M1A1 Abrams tanks to Egypt?".Read the full story here.
- I am not Anonymous!(AM).CIA website hacked by "Anonymous".The website of the Central Intelligence Agency was unresponsive on Friday after the hacker group Anonymous claimed to have knocked it offline."CIA Tango down," a member of Anonymous said on @YourAnonNews, a Twitter feed used by the group. "Tango down" is an expression used by the US Special Forces when they have eliminated an enemy.Attempts to access the CIA website at cia.gov were unsuccessful.A CIA spokesman had no immediate comment.Anonymous last month briefly knocked the websites of the US Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation offline.Those attacks were in retaliation for the US shutdown of file-sharing site Megaupload.There was no immediate explanation from Anonymous for the targeting of the CIA site.Most Anonymous cyberattacks are distributed denial of service attacks in which a large number of computers are commanded to simultaneously visit a website, overwhelming its servers.Read the full story here.
- UK - Muslim fanatics who called for execution of gays and wanted to set up a 'medieval state' under Sharia law in Derby are jailed for up to two years.(DM).Three Muslim extremists who handed out leaflets calling for homosexuals to be hanged, stoned and burned to death have been jailed.The group handed out the material in the street as well as posting it through letterboxes in a hate-filled campaign calling for the execution of gay people who they claimed were at the root of society’s problems.Ihjaz Ali, Kabir Ahmed and Razwan Javed are the first to be prosecuted under new laws against inciting hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation. Ali was jailed for two years and Ahmed and Javed for 15 months each.Sentencing the men today, Judge John Burgess, Recorder of Derby, told them: 'You have been convicted of intending to stir up hatred.'It follows that your intention was to do great harm in a peaceful community.'He went on: 'Much has been said during the course of this trial about freedom of expression, and the freedom to preach strongly held beliefs; beliefs, which may have some foundation in scripture.'Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of democracy and a basic ingredient of any free society. Parliament clearly had this very much in mind when this legislation was passed.'Last month the trio were found guilty at Derby Crown Court. Residents had told of how the three fundamentalists wanted to transform their small area of Derby into a 'medieval state' under Sharia law.Anyone who dared to question their extreme agenda was branded an 'M15 agent' or a 'sell-out,' they said.It emerged that:
- Muslim fanatic and hate preacher Anjem Choudary was secretly invited by the group's ringleader, Ihjaz Ali, for a series of meetings in Derby;
- The group had links with the extremist organisation Al-Muhajiroun, which is banned under UK anti-terror laws;
- Moderate Muslim leaders who spoke out against the group's activities were targeted in a hate campaign in which their faces were printed on 'wanted' posters;
- Police had to be called during local elections because the group's supporters were standing guard at polling stations, ordering Muslims not to vote.One gay resident summed up the atmosphere in the area.‘It used to be lovely round here,’ he said. ‘Now, because of these people, you don’t feel safe. I don’t have any problems with Muslims. But these lot need to realise we live in England, not some Islamic state.’Read and see (Video) the full story here.
- Iran Using Gold and Oil to Surpass U.S. Sanctions.(BigPeace).Since U.S. sanctions have dramatically cut the Islamic Republic’s ability to obtain financing via the dollar and euro, Tehran is aiming to use gold to deal in the world market. The republic is seeking to evade sanctions imposed by the United States, which were implemented earlier this year as a deterrent to continue building its nuclear program.According to a Thursday Reuters report, Iran has also used yen to buy large volumes of wheat and has already purchased a minimum of 200,000 tons of wheat on the soft market, mostly from Australia.According to a Christian Science Monitor Report: Iran, which is still in the market to buy additional wheat supplies, is also considering barter deals to feed its 74 million people weeks before a presidential election, they said.Grain ships are stuck outside Iranian ports and exports of staples to Iran such as maize, sugar, palm oil and rice are being hindered as collecting payment from buyers gets harder.“Grain deals are being paid for in gold bullion and barter deals involving oil are being offered,” one trader said. “Some of the major trading houses are involved,” he added.Traders said details of how barter deals work were still unclear as the problem had developed so quickly.Iranian buyers have in the past side-stepped sanctions by booking business through third countries, especially Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, traders said. But this option had been suddenly closed as the UAE was not allowing sanction-breaking finance, they said.“As the shipments of grain are so large, barter or gold payments are the quickest option,” another trader said.Friday morning the Associated Press reported that despite US pressure to comply with American sanctions, the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh was insisting that diplomacy was the best way to deal with Iran.Hmmm.......Notice how not a single paper points out Turkey's role in this.Read the full story here.
- Russians Rally for Kuril Islands.(RN).More than 4,000 people rallied in Russia’s Far East on Saturday in support of the country’s claim to the disputed Kuril islands in the Pacific Ocean, police said.Demonstrators in the port town of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk called for Russia to take a tougher stance in the decades-long dispute with Japan over the four islands, which were occupied by Soviet troops at the end of World War II. The dispute has stopped the two countries from signing a peace treaty.On Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Japan was determined to “move ahead with negotiations.”He was speaking during a protest rally was held in Tokyo to demand the return of the islands, known as the Northern Territories in Japan. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sparked a diplomatic row with Tokyo in November 2010 by making the first ever visit by a Russian leader to the islands.He later said Russia would increase its military presence there. Japan’s then prime minister Naoto Kan called Medvedev’s visit an “inexcusable rudeness.”Read the full story here.
- Iranian Navy Receives 2 Light Submarines.(RN).The Iranian Navy has commissioned two Ghadir class diesel-electric submarines to boost Iran’s naval capability, official IRNA news agency reported.IRNA cited Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari as saying that the submarines were built and equipped by domestic manufacturers.The 120-ton Ghadir class submarines are highly maneuverable and best suited for missions in shallow waters. They are equipped with at least two torpedo tubes and feature elements of "stealth" technology.With the addition of two new subs, the number of Ghadir vessels in the Iranian Navy has reached 16. The first submarine of this class was commissioned in 2007.Ghadir class subs have been reportedly designed by Iran on the basis of North Korean Yono class vessels.In addition to Ghadirs, the Iranian Navy has three Soviet-built Kilo class submarines and a domestically-built Nahang sub.Read the full story here.
Islamist-Motivated Violence - Life sentence for Murder of Two US Servicemen in Frankfurt.(Spiegel).It was just under one year ago that an Islamic extremist calmly boarded a bus at the Frankfurt airport before shooting to death two US servicemen and severely wounding two others. On Friday, a Frankfurt court sentenced the man, Arid U., to life in prison. As requested by the prosecution, the court also found that the attacker bears "particularly severe guilt," meaning that he won't be eligible for parole after 15 years as is standard in Germany.
The shootings, which took place on March 2, 2011, represented the first Islamist attack in Germany that authorities were unable to prevent. The court also found U. guilty of three counts of attempted murder and serious bodily harm.
The attack occurred soon after the US troops landed in Frankfurt from a base in the United Kingdom and were preparing to be bused to the US Air Force Base at Ramstein before flying out to Afghanistan. Particularly incriminating was the patience that U. exhibited during the crime assault. He asked a soldier for a light and inquired if they were indeed heading for Afghanistan.
Upon receiving an affirmative answer, he opened fire, killing Senior Airman Nicholas J. Alden of South Carolina and Airman 1st Class Zachary R. Cuddeback from Virginia. He also shot Staff Sgt. Kristoffer Schneider, who has had extensive facial reconstruction surgery and who still suffers significant after-effects, and Senior Airman Edgar Veguilla, who was hit in the jaw and arm. U.'s gun jammed as he aimed at the head of a fifth soldier.
Periodically during the trial, Judge Thomas Sagebiel expressed frustration at U.'s apparent unwillingness to cooperate, and the accused refused to reveal how he had obtained the 9 mm pistol used in the attack. In August, U. told the court: "Looking back, I don't understand myself."
As Sagebiel read out the sentence on Friday, U. sat motionless, his arms crossed in front of him. "Yes, this is indeed the first Islamic-motivated terror attack to have happened in Germany," the judge intoned.Read the full story here.
Successful US-Israel radar test launches US missile shield's operational phase.(Debka).A successful joint exercise carried out Friday, Feb. 10, demonstrated the interoperability of the US Aegis and Israel's Arrow 4 ballistic missile defense systems and, most importantly, of their two radars, the US AN/TPY-2 X-band and Israel's EL/M-2080 Super Green Pine, debkafile's military sources report.
It was a key milestone in the development of the US missile shield's Middle East capabilities ahead of a potential war with Iran and the fourth significant preparatory step taken in the last ten days.
On the East Coast of the United States, the large-scale Bold Alligator 2012 exercise is drilling amphibian landings on a fictitious Iranian shore; in the Middle East, an American airlift this week ferried reinforcements to the Persian Gulf over Sinai; the Iranian army is in the middle of a major war game "under war conditions" opposite the Strait of Hormuz; and Israel is putting the finishing touches to its new Depth Command set up for operations behind enemy lines.The joint US-Israel radar exercise Friday was a target-only tracking test over the Mediterranean. An attack on Israel was simulated by a Rafael Blue Sparrow 2 target missile launched from an F-15 fighter jet coming in from the east – the presumed direction of Iranian and Syrian missile strikes. The incoming missile was detected and tracked by two US AN/TPY-2 X-band stations and Israel's Super Green Pine radar.One of the American stations is located on Mount Keren opposite the Egyptian border in southern Israel; the other at a Turkish air base in the southeastern town of Kurecik.US and Israeli officials said the joint test was successful but offered no further information about the order in which the three stations sighted the attacking "missile" or how they shared the data.The successful collaboration of these systems has elevated the US missile shield to its operational phase.debkafile's military and Washington sources report that the test went ahead after Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu arrived in Washington Thursday, Feb. 9 to discuss urgent international action for Syria and at the same time notified US officials that his government had withdrawn its objections to the Israel-based US x-band radar station taking part in a joint exercise against a potential Iranian or Syrian missile attack.This notification was awaited before the test went ahead. It gave the Turkish foreign minister a handle for promoting his mission to gain Obama administration assent to his government's initiative on Syria.Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is pushing for joint Turkish-Arab military intervention to be launched against Bashar Assad's brutal crackdown under cover of a humanitarian operation. He offered to meet the Americans halfway on the radar station issue to win support for this anti-Assad intervention.A high-ranking US official stated "The radar is exclusively operated by US personnel, exactly as it is here. We will control the data and fuse it with data from other radars in the region to generate the most comprehensive and effective missile defense picture."This assurance was effectively demonstrated by the joint US-Israel detection and tracking test carried out Friday.Hmmmm......"Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is pushing for joint Turkish-Arab military intervention to be launched against Bashar Assad".Read the full story here.
Uzbek man pleads guilty to plotting to kill President Obama.(AlArabiya).A man from Uzbekistan living illegally in the United States pleaded guilty on Friday to terrorism and weapons charges involving a plot to kill President Barack Obama.According to court evidence, defendant Ulugbek Kodirov believed he was acting on behalf of an Islamist militant group in his homeland and was plotting to shoot Obama while the president campaigned for re-election this year.Kodirov 22, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Birmingham, Alabama, to three charges as part of an agreement that spares him from a potential life sentence.
He still faced up to 30 years in prison and $750,000 in fines for providing material support for terrorist activity, being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm and threatening to assassinate the president.
Four other charges against him were dropped, and mainly involved additional threats to kill Obama.
U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon set sentencing for May 17.Kodirov came to the United States in 2009 to study medicine and his student visa was revoked in April 2010 after he failed to enroll in school, investigators said.He “self-radicalized” through Internet research and sought like-minded individuals, U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance said.
Kodirov met a mentor he called “Emir,” whom he believed to be a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, an Islamist militant group the United States has designated as a foreign terrorist organization.Kodirov conversed with the man and decided to kill the president, according to court evidence.
He determined that the upcoming 2012 campaign would be an opportune time to either shoot the president with a sniper’s rifle or shoot him up close, according to evidence read by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Whisonant.“He did not care if he got shot and killed as long as he killed the president,” Whisonant said.Kodirov was arrested in July at an Alabama motel where he had obtained a fully automatic machine gun and four hand grenades from an undercover agent. “He was attempting to obtain weapons and explosives that he intended to use to kill the President of the United States,” Vance said.Read the full story here.
U.S. envoy arrives in Maldives as political crisis deepens.(AlArabiya).A top U.S. diplomat arrived in the Maldives on Saturday seeking to help resolve a deepening political crisis sparked by the ousting of the Indian Ocean nation’s first democratically elected president.Mohamed Nasheed, who came to power in 2008, says he was forced to resign on Tuesday in a coup d’état led by mutinous army and police officers who threatened him with violence unless he stepped down.He was replaced as head of state by his vice president Mohamed Waheed, whom Nasheed accuses of being party to the conspiracy to topple him.
The U.S. assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, Robert Blake, will seek to clarify how power was transferred during a visit to the crowded capital of the famous holiday islands, the state department announced.“Ambassador Blake will meet the president as well as the opposition during his 12-hour visit,” a U.S. official in the capital island Male told AFP.
Since stepping down, Nasheed has called for fresh elections and has threatened protests if the police continue targeting his party members and figures in his former administration.At least 18 police stations were torched and dozens of vehicles, court houses and government buildings were destroyed some of the remote islets of the archipelago, police say.“We are losing a country as we speak,” he said, describing the attack as retaliation. Police said his supporters razed at least 20 government buildings on Wednesday night.
The Maldivian police confirmed they were carrying out mass arrests of troublemakers while Nasheed said 350 people linked to his administration had been detained within three days of his resignation.New President Waheed has rejected Nasheed’s demand for elections.“Simply because an ex-president wants an election we can’t have one just like that,” Waheed’s spokesman Masood Imad told AFP. “There is a constitutional process.”
Nasheed’s efforts to force Waheed to step down suffered a major blow Thursday when Washington announced it recognized his successor’s administration as legitimate.Nasheed, a former political prisoner and climate change campaigner, voiced disappointment at the announcement and the U.S. later appeared to step back from its earlier declaration.“We will work with the government of the Maldives, but believe that the circumstances surrounding the transfer of power need to be clarified,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters in Washington.
The Maldives, for almost nine centuries a sultanate before it became a British protectorate, held its first fully democratic elections in 2008. Nasheed defeated Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, who at 30 years in power was then Asia’s longest-serving leader and accused of running the country as a dictator.
Security forces, a group of whom Nasheed accused of conspiring with political rivals to usurp him under the guise of a constitutional handover to his vice president, took no chances during Friday prayers.An Indian government official said Indian ships were close by and monitoring the situation and could help with the evacuation of tourists if the situation worsened.
India saw the events in the Maldives as its internal affair, the official said, adding that India hoped elections would be held at the earliest date to the satisfaction of all political parties.Read and see (Video) the full story here.
TEHRAN (FNA)- Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich in a meeting with Iranian Vice-President Ali Saeedlou underlined his country's enthusiasm for the further bolstering of all-out relations and cooperation with Tehran.The Belarusian premier called for increasing the current level of mutual and international cooperation in line with the interests of both nations. During the meeting on Friday the two officials discussed the issues of mutual interest, as well as regional and global developments. Saeedlou, for his part, highlighted the grounds for expansion of economic cooperation between the two countries. The trade between Tehran and Minsk has significantly expanded in the recent years as the two countries have been cooperating in many areas, including engineering, and construction projects. In June, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a phone conversation with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko underlined that expansion of relations between the two countries benefits both nations. Iranian and Belarus presidents stressed the need to accelerate the implementation of the agreements signed by the two sides and activation of capacities for economic cooperation. "Iran always stands by Belarus," President Ahmadinejad said, noting that regular consultations between the two states on regional and international issues would serve the global peace and security. Lukashenko, for his part, expressed pleasure over the development of economic cooperation, and said that his country attaches special importance to promoting ties with Iran.
Introducing President for life Lukashenko a.k.a. "The Last Sovjet era Dictator". Lukashenko quote:“Trade between Belarus and Iran is much lower than it could be. It is absolutely inadmissible to leave it at the current level.”The announcement that the former Soviet republic of Belarus still has a stockpile of weapons-grade uranium it has apparently kept since it was part of the Soviet Union was made on Wednesday, April 14 - 2010, during Lukashenko’s working visit to Gomel Region.
“I will tell you the truth: We have kept highly enriched uranium – hundreds of kilograms of what is basically weapons-grade and lower-enriched uranium,” “I’ve been told by some: Move this uranium [out of the country]. To America, if you like. We’ll pay you. Or to Russia. I say, first off, why are you dictating us [what to do]? This is our commodity. We are keeping it under the control of the [International Atomic Energy Agency]. We are not going to make dirty bombs and we are not going to sell it to anybody. We’re using it for research purposes, is all.”If one were to believe Lukashenko’s say-so and assume that Belarus is in fact in possession of some 100 to 200 kilograms of weapons-grade uranium, one would have to admit this would be enough to produce a number of nuclear weapons. Making a more precise estimate would be a challenge since there is no information on the level of enrichment. Weapons-grade uranium with an enrichment level of 85 percent has a critical mass of around 50 kilograms. The “Little Boy” bomb dropped by the US on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, contained 64 kilograms of uranium enriched to a degree of 80 percent.
If, indeed, what Belarus has is weapons-grade Uranium-235 with an enrichment level of over 80 percent, then Minsk could start assembling nuclear bombs any time it wanted. The so-called “gun assembly” method for achieving supercriticality in a nuclear weapon – one piece of fissile uranium is fired at a fissile uranium target at the end of the weapon, similar to firing a bullet down a gun barrel – is simpler than the “implosion” technology, where a fissile mass of either Uranium-235 or Plutonium-239, or a combination, is surrounded by high explosives that compress the mass, resulting in criticality. If Belarus has the fissile material to stuff a bomb with, making the weapon will not be too difficult a challenge. One hopes, therefore, that the Belarusian leader will not fail to respect the Constitution of his country, which states that Belarus is a non-nuclear state.Then there’s matter of the uranium’s value, which deserves a separate discussion. One could take as a starting point the price of Russian highly enriched uranium, which, judging by information from various sources, was around $24,000 per one kilogram at the time the HEU- LEU (low-enriched uranium) agreement was signed between Russia and the United States.
The HEU-LEU agreement – or “Megatons to Megawatts,” as it is also known – is a programme via which the United States purchases highly enriched weapons-grade uranium that has been down-blended to low-enriched uranium for use in US commercial reactors. The 20-year programme was founded in 1994 between Russia and the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC), the country’s primary nuclear fuel producer. The programme’s total value will be about $12 billion by the time it is completed in 2013
Based on these estimates, Belarus could get $2.4 million for a hundred kilograms of its highly enriched uranium. Black market prices could obviously be several times as high.
Lukashenko’s reference to Belarusian HEU as a “commodity” was therefore not an accident. If it is indeed fresh, not spent, nuclear fuel and it is suitable for use in research or experimental reactor models, then the material has substantial commercial value attached to it.Source.
Last year on very short interval both Belarus and Iran visited Quatar and declared more 'cooperation' between each other.
At the fall of the sovjet union the in Belarus stationed nuclear weapons were removed by Russia shortly after Lukashenko threathened to use them against the West.
Iran Displays Model of RQ-170 US Spy Drone in Feb.11 Rallies.(FNA).TEHRAN - The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) displayed a model of the United States' RQ-170 spy plane, that was downed by the country's Armed Forces in December after violating the Iranian airspce, during the February 11 rallies - marking the 33rd anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.The model has been built by the aerospace unit of the IRGC and was displayed during the pro-government rallies in Tehran on Saturday. The Iranian ralliers took photos with the model RQ-170 spy drone, showing the enthusiasm for the country's power in downing alien stealth aircraft.
Iran announced on December 4 that its defense forces had downed the aircraft through a sophisticated cyber attack. Hmmmm........Thanks Barry.Read the full story here.
Obama’s Decline Among Catholics and Everyone Else.(R)This has been a tough week for President Obama. He picked a fight with the Catholic Church, the largest charity in the world, and his poll numbers took a nose dive. And when he called for a compromise, most Catholics and Americans heard “uncle.” Today, Rasmussen released a poll showing that just 26% of the nation’s voters approve of Obama’s performance. Thirty-nine percent strongly disapprove.
The Obama administration recently ruled that all insurance policies must offer contraceptive services with no co-payments required. In and of itself, that decision is neither positive nor negative. Forty-three percent of voters favor it, while 46 percent are opposed. Among Catholics, though, according to Scott Rasmussen, only 28% believe religious organizations should be required to implement rules that violate church teachings. Sixty-five percent are opposed, which is true even though many Catholics disagree with the Pope on this matter. The only Catholics that agree with Obama are those that already voted for him. Only 39% of Catholic voters approve of Obama’s job performance today, compared to 54% in November 2008.
The person most helped by all of this is Rick Santorum, who now trails the president nationwide by only four points, 46% to 42%. In Ohio, Santorum is even with Obama, while Romney trails by four points.Read the full story here.
Interpol "Sharia Law enforcer"?Saudis Use Interpol to Have Journalist Arrested for Criticizing Muhammad.
Interpol "Sharia Law enforcer"?Saudis Use Interpol to Have Journalist Arrested for Criticizing Muhammad.(Guardian).Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization) is a worldwide network of police departments established to help countries capture criminals who cross borders. Saudi Arabia recently used an Interpol alert to have Hamza Kashgari arrested in Malaysia, where he fled for his life after Saudis began calling for his death. By helping the Saudis capture Kashgari, Interpol has become an international Sharia enforcement unit. People who flee the Muslim world to escape punishment can now be rounded up by Interpol and returned to their countries to face Islamic penalties for apostasy, criticizing Muhammad, etc.
Interpol has been accused of abusing its powers after Saudi Arabia used the organisation's red notice system to get a journalist arrested in Malaysia for insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
Police in Kuala Lumpur said Hamza Kashgari, 23, was detained at the airport "following a request made to us by Interpol" the international police cooperation agency, on behalf of the Saudi authorities.
Kashgari, a newspaper columnist, fled Saudi Arabia after posting a tweet on the prophet's birthday that sparked more than 30,000 responses and several death threats. The posting, which was later deleted, read: "I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don't understand about you … I will not pray for you."
More than 13,000 people joined a Facebook page titled "The Saudi People Demand the Execution of Hamza Kashgari".
Kashgari's detention has triggered criticism by human rights groups of Malaysia's decision to arrest the journalist and of Interpol's cooperation in the process.
Jago Russell, the chief executive of the British charity Fair Trials International, which has campaigned against the blanket enforcement of Interpol red notices, said: "Interpol should be playing no part in Saudi Arabia's pursuit of Hamza Kashgari, however unwise his comments on Twitter.
"If an Interpol red notice is the reason for his arrest and detention it would be a serious abuse of this powerful international body that is supposed to respect basic human rights (including to peaceful free speech) and to be barred from any involvement in religious or political cases."
He called on Interpol to stand by its obligations to fundamental human rights and "to comply with its obligation not to play any part in this case, which is clearly of a religious nature".Read the full story here.
Video: Why we must fight for our online rights—before they’re sold, legislated, and programmed away.
Egyptian social activist Wael Ghonim said, "If you want to liberate a society just give them the Internet."
While the Internet certainly played a major role in the Arab Spring uprisings, access alone does not guarantee availability of all the information and opportunities the Web has to offer.
Rebecca MacKinnon, whose new book, Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom, was released last week, addressed the issue of Internet freedom at a TED Talk in Edinburgh last year. She spoke of the Internet's "border busting" potential, as well as how that potential is being stifled by censorship—and not just in the places you would expect.
There is, according to MacKinnon, a "Magna Carta moment" coming when the people will demand that "government and technology serve the world's people and not the other way around."Read the full story here.
Egyptian social activist Wael Ghonim said, "If you want to liberate a society just give them the Internet."
While the Internet certainly played a major role in the Arab Spring uprisings, access alone does not guarantee availability of all the information and opportunities the Web has to offer.
Rebecca MacKinnon, whose new book, Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom, was released last week, addressed the issue of Internet freedom at a TED Talk in Edinburgh last year. She spoke of the Internet's "border busting" potential, as well as how that potential is being stifled by censorship—and not just in the places you would expect.
There is, according to MacKinnon, a "Magna Carta moment" coming when the people will demand that "government and technology serve the world's people and not the other way around."Read the full story here.
Friday, February 10, 2012
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Indonesia 5.8 - 5.6 ; New zealand 5.2 !More info here.
- 'We're throwing Israel under the bus'; Santorum blasts Obama's Iran policy, "Obama Wants Iran to Have a Nuke".(WJD).In what may be the harshest attack yet leveled against President Barack Obama's Iran policy, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum all but accused Obama of deliberately selling out Israel and the United States.Speaking on Thursday after a string of surprising primary victories over front runner Mitt Romney, Santorum - who may now be laying the groundwork for a general election run - opened up on the Obama administration in no uncertain terms.We're throwing Israel under the bus because we know we're going to be dependent upon OPEC. We're going to say, "Oh, Iran, we don't want you to get a nuclear weapon — wink, wink, nod, nod — go ahead, just give us your oil." Folks, the president of the United States is selling the economic security of the United States down the river right now.His attack is particularly interesting in that it appropriates one of the far-left's main talking points, that U.S. foreign policy is controlled by oil interests, and flips it on its head into a rightwing attack on dovish attitudes toward Iran.Read the full story here.
- Archbishop Dolan Betrayed by Obama.(NR).Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, head of the Archdiocese of New York, has now publicly criticized the Obama administration’s new HHS mandate. Specifically, he has stated that the President Obama betrayed a commitment made to him weeks ago in a personal meeting. CBS reports: Dolan said he met with the president weeks ago in the Oval Office to talk about the law. Dolan said the president gave his promise the provision would go away, but it hasn’t. “It seems to be at odds with very sincere assurances that he gave me, that he wanted to continue to work with the church in these endeavors and views and projects he shared a passionate interest in, so I can’t figure it out,” Dolan said.“When I left the Oval Office, where I was very grateful for his invitation to be there, I left with high hopes. That nothing his administration would do would impede the good work that he admitted and acknowledged in the church,” Dolan said. “And I’m afraid I don’t have those sentiments of hope now.”Hmmmm........Perhaps the scriptures have the answer?"O generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." ~ Matthew 12:34.Read the full story here.
- Obama to Announce Compromise (With Himself) Over Contraceptive Rule at Religious Institutions.(BigGovernment).The Washington Post, citing anonymous White House Sources, reports that President Barack Obama will announce a “compromise” today on the contraceptive rule for religious institutions that has outraged Americans across the political spectrum as a violation of religious freedom: President Barack Obama will announce a plan to accommodate religious employers outraged by a rule that would require them to cover birth control for women free of charge, according to a person familiar with the decision.Obama was expected to make the announcement at the White House Friday.The shift is aimed at containing the political firestorm that erupted after Obama announced in January that religious-affiliated employers had to cover birth control as preventative care for women. Churches and houses of worship were exempt, but all other affiliated organizations were ordered to comply by Aug. 2013.It is not clear with whom Obama has negotiated a “compromise”; it would appear he has simply compromised with himself, modifying his rule in a way he believes he can sell politically.The outrage is as much about the fact that the Obama administration tried to define what is, and is not, a religious institution as it is about the fact that it tried to impose its own dogmatic beliefs–in population control, among other things–on Catholics and other religious groups.Earlier this week, administration officials had signaled that the president might “compromise,” a prospect that was greeted with skepticism by religious leaders, who struggled to imagine a halfway point between religious freedom and state dictates on religious faith.The last, best word belongs to Charles Krauthammer, who writes today: To flatter his faith-breakfast guests and justify his tax policies, Obama declares good works to be the essence of religiosity. Yet he turns around and, through Sebelius, tells the faithful who engage in good works that what they’re doing is not religion at all. You want to do religion? Get thee to a nunnery. You want shelter from the power of the state? Get out of your soup kitchen and back to your pews. Outside, Leviathan rules.Hmmm......When Pres Obama says, "Everyone plays by the same set of rules," it means they conform to his rules. Read the full story here.
- Update: President Obama will speak today at 12:15 pm ET at the White House, likely to announce changes to his policy requiring Catholic institutions to provide free birth control to employees. I will try to live stream it for you.Update: sorry, I’m not able to live steam this event. No Carney briefing today.Source White house dossier.
- Obama Wants to Ban Guns in U.S. to Reduce Crime…in Mexico.(TGWP).By Andrea Ryan.In his latest Fast and Furious stonewalling before Congress, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder revealed Obama’s desire to sacrifice our Second Amendment rights…”to improve our relationship with Mexico and reduce their crime situation”.According to The Daily Caller, Last Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to answer questions about his role in the deadly “Fast and Furious” gun-running scandal. However, instead of answers, Congress got more defiance, more arrogance, and more wasted time with an attorney general who clearly feels no sense of obligation to the American people or our rule of law. …In a rash attempt to deflect attention away from himself and his own irresponsibility, Holder let Congress know that the Obama administration is still working toward the day when it can reinstate former President Bill Clinton’s so-called “assault weapons” ban. According to Holder:“This administration has consistently favored the reinstitution of the assault weapons ban. It is something that we think was useful in the past with regard to the reduction that we’ve seen in crime, and certainly would have a positive impact on our relationship and the crime situation in Mexico.”It’s difficult to follow Holder’s logic here, but it goes something like this …The Obama administration — particularly Eric Holder’s Justice Department — oversaw an epic scandal whereby our own federal government illegally funneled thousands of firearms into the hands of Mexican drug lords. This contributed to the death of one U.S. Border Patrol agent and hundreds of Mexicans.Despite being head of the Justice Department and our nation’s chief law enforcement officer, Eric Holder claims he doesn’t know how or why this scandal occurred, or even who under his charge may have authorized it. He also refuses to turn over critical documents to congressional investigators that could help prevent something this tragic and corrupt from ever happening again.Therefore, Obama and Holder are confident that if they can ban a large number of the legal firearms that law-abiding Americans use every day for self-defense, hunting, and recreational and competitive target shooting, it will help solve Mexico’s crime problem.With Obama’s history of contempt for gun ownership why would this be a surprise? America’s 1st Freedom lists a few examples.Hmmm......Obama Blames “Founding Fathers” For Making It Difficult For Him To “Bring Change”But..."I will keep plotting"Read the full story here.
- ‘A Devil’s Triangle’ Author: Obama Contradicted on Iran by His Intelligence Directors.(BigPeace).Is the president trying to ignore global events in order to mask the fact he does not want America to be involved, therefore taking away Americans’ chance to be informed and cultivate their own opinion as to whether or not America needs to be involved in global events? The United States has global responsibilities and must keep an eye on the entire world; therefore, when the administration says America will pivot towards Asia, what are we pivoting away from? Author of “A Devil’s Triangle,” Peter Brooks, highlights the fact that the president claims Iran does not have the capability to attack the US yet his intelligence directors claim Iran is looking to and can attack homeland America. Is he misleading Americans or just clueless?You can hear Peter’s interview and today’s entire show at Secure Freedom Radio here.
- Book: Obama Tells Radical Community Organizer (and Former Boss) ‘I’m Still Organizing’.(BigGovernment).New York Times columnist Jodi Kantor’s book, The Obamas, tries very, very hard to paint a sympathetic picture of her eponymous subject matter–she gets her digs in against the supposedly racist tea party everywhere she can–but every once and a while the truth cracks through. Take this interview at the Texas Book Festival for example: The Obamas often don’t mingle freely – they often just stand behind the rope and reach out to shake hands but he sees Jerry Kellman, his old community organizing boss, and he’s so happy to see him he reaches across and pulls him in. And Obama says, “I’m still organizing.” It was a stunning moment and when [Kellman] told me the story, it had echoes of what Valerie Jarrett had told me once – “The senator still thinks of himself as a community organizer.” How fully has this guy resolved himself to what he’s really doing? On the one hand, he’s passing these backroom deals to pass health care reform, but on the other he’s telling his old boss he’s still a community organizer. I think that plays into what will happen in the 2012 race.Jerry Kellman was Barack Obama’s former boss, a student of Saul Alinsky’s in the 1970s, and a permanent fixture of the progressive left in Chicago.While some have downplayed Obama’s connections to Saul Alinsky, Kellman’s link is pretty easy to discern.Here he is talking about his relationship with left-wing activism, Alinksy and Obama in Illinois Issues, a student magazine, for example.Kellman drew a lot from Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation, including methods to analyze how power is obtained, and used this knowledge while taking on the mortgage banking industry on Chicago’s west side, in addition to other endeavors.Not surprisingly, Kellman has a signed copy of Barack Obama’s Dreams of My Father on his desk, with the message, “To Jerry, a friend and a mentor.”Some of us wish Obama had different friends and mentors.Hmmm...HAD or HAS?Read the full story here.
- Radioactive Leak at California Nuclear Plant: Almost Caused a Melt Down.(GR).The San Onofre nuclear power plant leaked radioactive gas last week when steam generating tubes ruptured. Indeed, hundreds of tubes at the San Onofre nuclear plant are experiencing problems. (To add insult to injury, a worker also fell into a nuclear refueling pool at San Onofre. He may have swallowed fuel particles in radioactive water.)James Chambers – a licensed nuclear reactor operator and whistleblower from San Onofre – says that the tube rupture was very significant. Nuclear activist Kevin Kamps says that there were a number of tube ruptures at San Onofre, which could have led to a cascade failure and a meltdown. He also said that the nuclear plants in the U.S. are getting old and breaking down, and that we’re in the “breakdown phase” of nuclear power in this country. But regulators are letting nuclear owners re-start nuclear power plants before really inspecting what went wrong or whether problems have been fixed.Hmmmm......It never 'blows' in California?Read the full story here.
- Obama decries ‘outrageous bloodshed’ in Syria as offensive on Homs kills hundreds.(AlArabiya).U.S. President Barack Obama has decried the “outrageous bloodshed” in Syria as government forces bombarded the city of Homs for the fifth day on Friday and residents expected a major push to subdue the center of revolt against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.Government troops trying to crush opponents of President Assad have killed at least 400 people in a relentless onslaught on Homs, opposition activists say. Rights groups estimate that more than 6,000 people have died in the nationwide crackdown since mid-March.In comments after White House talks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, President Obama also reiterated calls for Syrian President Assad to leave power.“We both have a great interest in ending the outrageous bloodshed that we’ve seen and see a transition from the current government that has been assaulting its people,” President Obama said.Assad, bolstered by Russian support, ignored appeals from world leaders to halt the carnage.In Homs, activist Mohammad Hassan said a brief respite in the shelling had allowed him to leave his basement and survey the extent of the damage.“There isn’t one street without two buildings or more that are badly damaged from the shelling,” he said by satellite phone.“We are hearing from ‘al-thouwar’ (revolutionaries) that a big attack could occur as early as Saturday,” he added.He said artillery barrages had been directed at Bab Amro, Inshaat, Khalidya and other districts of the city where rebels have been lying low while mounting hit-and-run guerrilla attacks on the rear of Assad’s troops.“Four tanks or armored vehicles were destroyed today on the edge of Bab Amro and some bread and medical supplies were delivered there for the first time in days by activists who crossed from Brazil Street,” Hassan said.Walid Abdallah, another activist in the city, said Alawite militiamen were playing a crucial support role for the attacking troops.“Districts such as al-Waer on the edge of the city have mostly been spared the shelling but it is now unsafe because the ‘shabbiha’ have begun raiding daily,” he said.“Homs has become the capital of the uprising. I am afraid the regime will continue shelling it to bits and turn it into another Hama,” he said, referring to the many thousands killed in the bombardment and subsequent overrunning of the city of Hama in 1982, under the rule of Assad’s late father, President Hafez al-Assad.“The Free Syrian Army has been preparing for an onslaught with booby traps and what have you,” Abdallah said.“A high level of social solidarity has also spread during the uprising in neighborhoods such as Bab Amro, al-Khalidya and beyond, and people have vowed to resist what they see as a sectarian onslaught.”Read the full story here.
- Report: Saudi Arabia to buy nukes if Iran tests A-bomb.(BLN).Source: MSNBC
Saudia Arabia would move quickly to acquire nuclear weapons if Iran successfully tests an atomic bomb, according to a report.Citing an unidentified Saudi Arabian source, the Times newspaper in the U.K. (which operates behind a paywall) said that the kingdom would seek to buy ready-made warheads and also begin its own program to enrich weapons-grade uranium.The paper suggested that Pakistan was the country most likely to supply Saudi Arabia with weapons, saying Western officials were convinced there was an understanding between the countries to do so if the security situation in the Persian Gulf gets worse. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have denied such an arrangement exists.Iran, which follows the Shiite branch of Islam, and Sunni Saudi Arabia are major regional rivals.The Times described its source for the story as a “senior Saudi,” but gave no other details.Read the full story here.
- Egypt Coptic Christian priests charged with incitement in Maspero violence.(BM).CAIRO: Egyptian prosecutors announced they are investigating Coptic Priest Flopetair Gameel, Priest Metias Nasr and activist Ramy Kamel on Thursday for their alleged involvement in the violence outside the State TV building last October 9 that killed 27 people and left hundreds injured.The three accused arrived early Thursday morning for a full day of investigation and interrogation that ended around 7 PM local time.The three arrived with a defense team to face the charges that included “inciting violence against the armed forces, inciting violence and death against solders in the armed forces, participating with others in stealing armored military vehicles, promoting and inciting chaos, carrying weapons, inciting breaking into a governmental building (Maspero) and destabilizing public order.”The defendants denied all charges, pleading innocent. They are not being held during the investigation process.The case was initially going to be tried by a military court, but responding to appeals it was transferred to a civil court.The defendants called for the surveillance tapes from the state TV building to be included in the investigation as it shows they are innocent of any wrongdoing, they argued.The defendants also called for the summoning of army general Hamdy Bedeen and accused him of having a hand in the events.The defendants also called for lifting their names off of the no travel list as they are cooperating in the investigations.On October 9 in the early evening a march of mostly Coptic Christians calling for rights arrived at the state TV building and soon after police and military forces guarding the building used violence against the protesters thinking they planned to break into the building, which looks like a fortress with meters of barb wire, cameras and guards.The armed forces opened fire and ran over protesters with armored vehicles in the bloody violence.The Copts were protesting the burning of Church a week earlier in Aswan and demanded the removal of the governor.The Maspero events left a scare in the national psyche as tens of residents responded to the military after it claimed it was under attack and created street clashes that left more dead and injured.Hmmmm.....Anyone really thought they would NOT charge a Christian?Read the full story here.
- US calls on Saudi to release Ethiopian Christians.(BM).CAIRO: A United States congressional watchdog for global religious freedom has urged Saudi Arabia to release 35 Ethiopian Christians who were arrested while conducting a prayer meeting late last year in the ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom.They have been detained an held for more than two months.The bipartisan American Commission on International Religious Freedom demanded the Ethiopians be released.“Unless and until the Saudi government demonstrates some valid legal basis for imprisoning these individuals, they should immediately be set free and Saudi authorities should investigate allegations of physical abuse and degrading treatment by prison officials,” USCIRF Chairman Leonard Leo said in a written statement.Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that 29 of those arrested are women and were subjected to “arbitrary body cavity searches” while in custody.The Christians had gathered together to pray on December 15 at a private home of one of the Ethiopians, but police responded by raiding the house and arresting the group of Ethiopians, three of those jailed told HRW.“While King Abdullah sets up an international interfaith dialogue center, his police are trampling on the rights of believers of others faiths,” said Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch. “The Saudi government needs to change its own intolerant ways before it can promote religious dialogue abroad.”In October, Saudi Arabia, together with Austria and Spain, founded the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, located in Vienna, and funded by Saudi Arabia.The Ethiopian men spent two days at al-Nuzha police station in Jeddah, after which the police transferred them to Buraiman prison. The women had already been transferred to Buraiman prison. Two of the women said that officials there forced the women to strip, and then an officer inserted her finger into each of the women’s genitals, under the pretext of searching for illegal substances hidden inside their bodies. She wore a plastic glove that she did not change, the women told the New York-based human rights organization.Officers also kicked and beat the men in Buraiman prison, and insulted them as “unbelievers,” the jailed Ethiopian man said.Both men and women complained of inadequate medical care and unsanitary conditions at Buraiman prison. There were too few toilets, they said. In the men’s wing, 6 of 12 toilets were reserved for Saudi inmates, while hundreds of foreign inmates were forced to share the remaining 6 toilets. One female detainee said she suffers from diabetes and was given an injection in the prison clinic that caused swelling, and has received no further medical attention.The Ethiopians, speaking via telephone from prison, said that about 10 days after being arrested, some in the group were taken to court, where they were forced to affix their fingerprints to a document without being allowed to read it. Officials told the group that they were being charged with “illicit mingling” of unmarried persons of the opposite sex.Some of the Ethiopians have been living in the kingdom for 16 years, while others are newer arrivals. Some of the women and men did not have valid residency papers, but all faced deportation, including those with valid papers, the jailed Ethiopian man said.In July 2006, the Saudi government promised that it would stop interfering with private worship by non-Muslims. In a “Confirmation of Policies,” a written document the Saudi government sent to the US government, Saudi Arabia said it would “guarantee and protect the right to private worship for all, including non-Muslims who gather in homes for religious practice,” and “ensure that members of the [religious police] do not detain or conduct investigations of suspects, implement punishment, [or] violate the sanctity of private homes.”In this document, the government also said it would investigate any infringements of these policies. Public worship of any religion other than Islam remains prohibited in the kingdom.“Saudi authorities have broken their promises to respect other faiths,” Wilcke said. “Men and women of other faiths have nowhere to worship in Saudi Arabia if even their private homes are no longer safe.”The Arab Charter of Human Rights, to which Saudi Arabia is a state party, guarantees “[t]he freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs or to perform religious observances, either alone or in community with others,” and prohibits “arbitrary arrest.”Saudi Arabia has no codified criminal law or other law that defines “illicit mingling.” In 2006, Shaikh Ibrahim al-Ghaith, the president of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, the religious police, told Human Rights Watch in an interview in Riyadh, “Mingling of the sexes is prohibited in public, and permitted in private unless it is for the purpose of corruption.”Human Rights Watch called on the Saudi authorities to release the 35 Ethiopian men and women immediately if there is no evidence to charge them with offenses that are recognizably criminal under international norms. Saudi authorities should also investigate their allegations of physical and sexual abuse and, if warranted, compensate them for arbitrary arrest and any mistreatment they endured, and to hold accountable any officials found to be responsible for these acts.Hmmmm........"Islamophobia".....Anyone?Read the full story here.
- Video - Ayman al-Zawahiri says Somali militant group al-Shabaab joins al-Qaeda ranks.(AlArabiya).Somalia’s militant group al-Shabaab have joined ranks with al-Qaeda, the terror network’s chief Ayman al-Zawahiri announced in a video message posted on jihadist forums on Thursday.“Today, I have glad tidings for the Muslim ummah (nation) that will please the believers and disturb the disbelievers, which is the joining of the al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen Movement in Somalia to Qaedat al-Jihad to support the jihadi unity against the Zionist-Crusader campaign and their assistants amongst the treacherous agent rulers,” said a bespectacled Zawahri in the video.“The jihadist movement is with the grace of Allah, growing and spreading within its Muslim nation despite facing the fiercest crusade campaign in history by the West,” said Zawahiri in the video released by al-Qaeda’s media arm As-Sahab.The video also featured al-Shabaab’s leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubair. He addressed Zawahiri, saying: “We will move along with you as faithful soldiers.”“In the name of my mujahedeen brothers, leaders and soldiers... I pledge obedience,” Zubair said.“Lead us on the road of jihad and martyrdom, in the footsteps that our martyr Osama bin Laden had drawn for us,” he added, referring to al-Qaeda’s former leader who was killed last year in a covert U.S. raid on his hide-out in Pakistan.“Our brothers in the al-Shabaab al-Mujahedeen, were the rock... that stood in the face of the joint American-Ethiopian-Kenyan-crusade attack on Islam and Muslims in Somalia,” said Zawahiri.“It stamps Zawahiri’s authority on al-Qaeda and allows him to reinforce al-Qaeda’s preeminence at a time when it has been waning. Al-Shabaab’s acceptance under the al-Qaeda umbrella probably came with permission from Zawahiri for the group to launch external operations against the West,” he added.A new wave of recruitment in the Somali group could also be inspired by al-Shabaab’s new association with al-Qaeda.Zawahiri urged the al-Shabaab to treat Somalis with “leniency” and “humility” and to help them “solve their problems and fulfill their demands, especially those in need such as widows, orphans, the ill, the elderly and the poor” and to “spread justice.”He also appealed to the Islamist group “not to forget their imprisoned brothers and sisters held in the jails of the corrupt and oppressive crusaders and to capture crusaders and Zionists wherever they can to exchange them with Muslim prisoners.”Hmmmm.....the 'people' the Turkish IHH helps.Read the full story here.