Sunday, March 18, 2012
Belarus executions draw anger against Lukashenko.(HD).Two men convicted of carrying out a deadly subway bombing last year in Belarus’ capital have been executed, drawing strong condemnation from activists and the European Union.
State television reported late on March17 that both Vladislav Kovalyov and Dmitry Konovalov had been put to death, which in Belarus is done with a shot to the back of the head. Human rights activists condemned the hasty executions, saying they deprived society of the opportunity to learn the truth.
The men were convicted in November of planting a bomb in Minsk’s busiest subway station that killed 15 people and wounded more than 300 in April.
Konovalov had acknowledged his guilt. Investigators said Kovalyov was aware of the plans to bomb the subway, but he insisted he did not take part and pleaded not guilty. Their defense lawyers said the evidence presented in court was circumstantial and inconclusive.
Critics of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko accused his government of staging the bombing to divert attention from the worst economic crisis in the country’s post-Soviet history.
Belarusians angered by the executions came to lay flowers or light candles outside the subway station on yesterday.Flowers also were laid outside Belarus’ embassy in Moscow, where someone had placed a sign with photographs of the two men and the words: “They were killed on Lukashenko’s whim.” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is “aware of the terrible crimes that these two men were accused of and her thoughts are with the victims and their families,” her spokesman said in a statement.”At the same time, the high representative notes that the two accused were not accorded due process, including the right to defend themselves.” Lukashenko last week ignored appeals from Ashton and others for clemency.Hmmmm.......From Kolchoz director to President for life.The Devil does take care of his own.Is this why they love the uniform look?Read the full story here.
‘SWIFT’ Reaction: Iran May Block Oil Exports.(INN).By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu.Iran may impose a blockade on oil exports that threaten the world’s economies as a reaction to new unprecedented sanctions, says its former intelligence minister Ali Fallahian.
Belgium’s Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), which handles most international bank transfers, has eliminated Iran from its services.
The move is a “direct result of international and multilateral action to intensify financial sanctions against Iran," said SWIFT CEO Lazaro Campos. The embargo on Iran took effect Saturday and reduces Iran’s ability to use a secure network to receive payments.
It also will affect Iranians wanting to receive money from relatives outside the country. SWIFT’s decision is the harshest sanction placed on Iran in efforts to force the Islamic Republic to cooperate with United Nations nuclear inspectors and open up its nuclear facilities for surveillance to make sure it is not trying to build a nuclear weapon.The Western sanctions against companies dealing with Iran has not spread to China and India, but the SWIFT sanctions will make it harder for them to pay Iran, which has resorted to the barter system for some purchases.
“If the United States or Europe considers it its right to ignore international laws to meet its own interests, Iran may also decide to respond in kind wherever possible,” Fallahian told the government-controlled PRESS TV.
He said that the West should not underestimate Iran’s ability to close the Strait of Hormuz, the shipping channel between Iran and Oman that carries almost all of Iran’s oil exports, which provides a large amount of the world’s oil.Economists have said that closing the channel could result in doubling the price of oil and cause an international recession.
Two factors working against a blockade are the United States and Saudi Arabia. American officials have said they could remove the blockade in a matter of weeks, and Saudi Arabia has declared it will pump more oil to make up for any loss in oil supply resulting from a blockade.
Saudi Arabia, like Israel and the United States, is adamantly opposed to Iran’s reaching nuclear capability and fears Iran’s declared intentions to dominate the entire Muslim world with an Islamic empire.Hmmmm....."May you live in interesting times,........ it seems we are".Read the full story here.
Megaupload Seizure Order “Null and Void” Says High Court.(TorrentFreak).In another astonishing development in the Megaupload saga, a judge in New Zealand’s High Court has declared the order used to seize Kim Dotcom’s assets as “null and void”. The blunder, which occurred because the police applied for the wrong type of court order, means that the Megaupload founder could have his property returned.
Just when it seemed that the handling of the Megaupload case couldn’t get any more controversial, a development from New Zealand has taken things to the next level.
Following the raids on Kim Dotcom’s mansion in January, police seized millions of dollars worth of property belong to the Megaupload founder. But thanks to a police blunder, he could now see all of those assets returned.
On Friday, Justice Judith Potter in the High Court declared the order used to seize Dotcom’s property “null and void” after it was discovered that the police had acted under a court order that should have never been granted.Although the correct order was eventually granted albeit on a temporary basis, Potter said she will soon rule on whether the “procedural error” will result in Dotcom having his property returned.Read the full story here.
Expert: ‘Israel Could Target Eight Sites In Iran With 100 Warplanes’.(Israelhayom).In a possible military attack on Iran, Israel would not only target nuclear facilities but likely also missile and military bases to prevent retaliatory attacks by the Iranians, international experts told CNN in a report published Wednesday.
Israel would have eight potential targets if it moved forward with an attack on Iran, according to the CNN report, which cited Emily Chorley, a nuclear expert at the London-based defense analysis firm Jane’s.
The primary targets, according to Chorley, would include the Natanz and Fordo nuclear enrichment facilities, the Isfahan uranium conversion site, and the Arak nuclear compound.
The nuclear expert told CNN that the Israelis would also seek to target two secondary sites, the Tabriz and Imam Ali missile bases, “to prevent a retaliatory missile attack” on Israel.
The Parchin military base, east of Tehran, which became controversial after the Iranian regime denied International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors entry into the base, could also be a possible target for Israel.
Lastly, Israel might also target the Bidganeh military base, which suffered a mysterious blast in November that left 17 people dead including Gen. Hasan Moghaddam, considered to be the architect of Iran’s missile program.
Experts told CNN that the fact that there were several targets, that they were dispersed and that most of them were heavily fortified would make an attack on Iran much more complicated for Israel than the strike on the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 or Israel’s suspected attack on a Syrian reactor five years ago.
The experts say an Israeli attack on Iran would involve more than 100 planes, ranging from fighter aircraft to refueling tankers, that would need to fly hundreds of miles to bomb the intended targets.
The IAF would most likely need to attack Iran with fighters jets — the F-15I and the F-16I — instead of firing missiles from submarines, Ephraim Kam, deputy director of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, told CNN.“In order to create proper damage to the nuclear plants, you need extremely accurate weapons,” Kam said. “I don’t know that the missiles are accurate enough.”
The Israeli fighter planes lack the range to be able to reach most of the potential targets, so Israel would also need to use a tanker aircraft, of which it has at least seven, Douglas Barrie of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London told CNN.The fighter aircraft would be loaded with bunker-busting, 5,000-pound bombs to “go after hardened and buried sites,” Barrie said.
Chorley told CNN that Isfahan and Arak were above ground and “relatively vulnerable to aerial attack.” However, she said Natanz was buried deep underground, under six feet of concrete, making it “very hard to penetrate.”
The expert said Fordo, near Qom, was “even more difficult” because it was deep inside a mountain, and dropping a bunker-busting bomb on the site might only further protect it if it destroyed the entrance without destroying the facility.“It’s questionable whether Israel is capable of destroying it in an air-launched attack,” Chorley told CNN.Since Fordo is believed to be enriching uranium to higher levels than the other facilities, “just getting Natanz and Arak without getting Fordo wouldn’t be worth the risk,” she said.All four nuclear facilities are protected by S-200 and Hawk surface-to-air missile batteries, Jim O’Halloran, another expert at Jane’s, said.In an interview with Danish television station TV2 on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that if Israel decided to strike nuclear facilities in Iran, his country would respond forcefully.“If Israel ever makes this mistake, this will be its end. The Israeli are well aware of this,” Salehi said.
Echoing what Israeli and U.S. officials have said in recent months about possible military action against Iran, Mohammad Javad Larijani, an adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told CNN on Thursday, that when it came to an Iranian counter-attack, “every possibility is on the table,” including a missile strike on Israel and the closing of the Strait of Hormuz.
Larijani said if the West wanted more transparency from his country over its contentious nuclear program, than Iran expected to receive more cooperation.“The equation is simple. The Western community can ask us for more transparency. What we want in place of that is cooperation,” Larijani told CNN. “I mean, this is two parallel lines. One step transparency from us, one step cooperation from (the) West. Because we have full total suspicion of the American and Western intentions.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department on Thursday denied reports published earlier this week that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had issued an ultimatum to Iran, through the Russians, saying it had one final chance to resolve its nuclear crisis through diplomatic means before facing possible military action.According to a report in the Russian daily Kommersant, Russian diplomats were quoted as saying that Clinton asked Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday to inform Iran that it had a last chance to engage in talks with the P5+1 group — comprising the U.S., Britain, Russia, China, France and Germany — to end the conflict over its nuclear program. If this fails to happen, Iran can expect to suffer an attack on its nuclear facilities within months, the diplomats told the Russian newspaper.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, meanwhile, set out Thursday night on a visit to the U.S. and Canada. Gantz is expected to hold meetings with government and defense officials in his host countries during which regional developments, including a possible attack on Iran, will be discussed.
In related news, U.S. Admiral Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, said on Thursday that the navy was doubling the number of minesweeping ships and helicopters in the Persian Gulf. The move was made in preparation for the possibility that Iran may close the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a key route through which a fifth of the world’s traded oil travels.Read the full story here.
Some 30 LGBT arrested from Dubai hotel, reports indicate. (BM).The United Arab Emirates Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender group has received reports that 30 people who are believed may be gay were arrested in private ‘after’ party last at 5 AM, last Friday (March 9) in the Shangri La Hotel, Dubai.
It was said the party was ambushed and all present were taken for questioning. Some of the men are reported to be from prominent Emirati families.
It is unclear at this point if the men are still in detention or have been freed, nor if any charges have been brought against them. Neither UAE LGBT nor Gay Middle East have not been able to verify the details and hotel staff were cagey when questioned about the incident by us.
The United Arab Emirates has strict federal laws regarding homosexuality and each emirate has their own specific laws. While the Emirate of Dubai has technically severe laws they are usually not strictly enforced.“It was a private party in a private hired space where people were behaving and not even engaging in any public display of affection, so I can’t imagine why they got arrested,” said Adilah, a lesbian member of UAE LGBT to GME.
“The CID [police] don’t just bust private parties, either someone ratted the party out or some hotels guests or staff complained about the noise in the middle of the night, I am just shocked that this happened!” she protested.“We waited a few days,” she continued, “to see if it would get a note in the press. It didn’t as the authorities knew it would create uproar. We only knew that they were kept in detention for a few days, but have no idea if they are still locked up.“Plus some of the boys are from prominent Emirati families, so something may have been arranged with the police and the press to silence this story, its very difficult to find out accurate details.
“My heart goes out to the boys, who must be feeling humiliated and in terror have sat or even still sitting in a cell. No one deserves to be incarcerated for being who they are, especially when it doesn’t hurt anyone around them.“This was a private party, one amongst hundreds if not thousands taking place in the UAE on a Friday night. The boys risk huge consequences and discriminations in their future careers if their names get out, not to mention the lives of some of them are at risk if their families are conservatives, as it may lead to so called ‘honor killings’.”
Abdulla, the chair of UAE LGBT told GME: “As an activist This is disheartening, the government’s actions towards our community are horrid and deplorable especially at a time where the public has expressed willingness to engage in a debate about the issues our community faces, just for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender!”Hmmmm........."The religion of peace".Read the full story here.
Author Salman Rushdie calls Pakistan’s Imran Khan a “dictator in waiting”.(BM).
New Delhi (dpa) – British author Salman Rushdie lashed out at Pakistani cricket captain-turned-politician Imran Khan, describing him as a “dictator in waiting,” media reports said Sunday.
Rushdie was speaking at a conference in New Delhi from which Khan, founder of the popular Pakistan Movement for Justice (PTI) party withdrew, saying “he did not dream of being seen with Rushdie for the immeasurable hurt he has caused to Muslims.”
Rushdie attacked Khan for skipping the India Today Conclave, organized by the India Today news magazine, and said the neophyte politician was not a liberal.“I’m not sure Imran Khan has liberal points of view and I think if he ever gets in the seat, we might see the consequences,” he said.
“He has made deals with both the army and the mullahs. I think that’s pretty clear, in order to be where he is,” he said in comments broadcast on CNN-IBN network.Pakistani observers speculated that Khan, known for his close links to religious parties, decided to stay away from the event for fear of backlash from conservative circles in Pakistan.Rushdie denied causing harm to Muslims through his writing.“Fanatics cause biggest harm to Islam. Immeasurable harm has been caused to Muslims by terrorists,” he said.Rushdie’s 1988 novel, The Satanic Verses, created a storm in the Muslim world and Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a death edict, forcing the writer to spend the next 10 years in hiding.The book is banned in Pakistan and India. Two months ago, Rushdie withdrew from the Jaipur literary festival after threats by Muslim groups.
Rushdie also criticized the Indian government and some of its political leaders of “cowardice” over their failure to defend the freedom of expression amid protests by Muslim and Hindu radicals.
“In India, religious fanaticism and political opportunism and, I have to say, public apathy is damaging the freedom on what all freedoms depend, freedom of expression,” he said.
“Freedom is not absolute, if you don’t defend it, you will lose it.”Hmmmm....Love the following comment on this story in 'Pakistantoday':"We are moderate Muslims...Imran Khan is face of Moderate Islam...we hate Rushdie...Taslima and Rushdie should be tried for blasphemy..."........if you had any doubts this was 'Moderate Islam'.Read the full story here.
"See the Pyramides, get the full works?" Bedouins abduct 2 Brazilian tourists in Egypt Sinai.(BM).CAIRO: Bedouin tribesmen are reported to have kidnapped two Brazilian tourists along with their Egyptian tour guide and a policeman in Egypt’s Sinai desert, a security official told Bikyamasr.com on the condition of anonymity.
The kidnappers abducted them from a bus, the official said.Egypt’s security forces claim to be in contact with Bedouin tribal leaders to secure the release of the two Brazilian women and the two Egyptians.
The tourists were returning from the historic monastery of St Catherine in southern Sinai when the tribesmen seized them, according to the officials.
Bikyamasr.com cannot independently confirm circulating reports that the tourists were teenage girls.
It was the latest in a series of abductions by tribesmen in the Sinai Peninsula to demand the release of relatives detained by the police. In February, two US tourists were abducted and released hours later.
The Bedouin tribes of the Sinai have been largely marginalized by the Egyptian government long before Mubarak came to power in 1981, and they exist almost outside of regular Egyptian society—Bedouins are not allowed to enlist in the police force, for example.Egypt is heavily reliant on tourism, and these periodic reports of abductions have done nothing to assuage the concern in the safety of foreign tourists.
Tourism has seen at least a 30 per cent drop since the 2011 popular uprising that ousted the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak.The Sinai is immensely popular with high-end, five-star hotels and resorts, and too, budget-inclined backpackers.The scuba diving that is available on the Red Sea coast is considered world class.Hmmm.........Visit Egypt 'experiance' a whole new world?Read the full story here.
Israeli leftist activists: We are being raped by Arabs in the West Bank.(Haaretz).By Avi Issacharoff.
Female activists accuse leftist organizations of belittling cases of harassment by Palestinians for the sake of the struggle against the occupation; Palestinian activist: It is unacceptable that Israeli or foreign women that come to protest in solidarity with us be harassed.
"Hi everyone, I'm writing this here because I'm not really sure when the next meeting will be. At the demonstration today (February 10, 2012) in Kfar a-Dik, I noticed looks and finger pointing from the shabab (nickname for young Palestinians) that made me feel some discomfort. They talked amongst themselves, and not with me, but the word that came up quite a lot was ‘slut,’ with glances directed toward me. When I met A. and H. (two men), I told them about this, and H. stayed by my side. Despite this, there was some ‘accidental’ touching, and some incidents in which people called me a ‘slut.’ In the end of the day, it was a very unpleasant experience.”
This letter, written by an Israeli leftist activist, is only one of the causes for the stormy debate that has been taking place online among leftist and human rights activists in Israel.
The activist sent the letter to her friends at Anarchists Against the Wall, in which she wrote of the incidents of sexual harassment she had experienced in Kfar a-Dik, a West Bank village where the organization holds protests in support of the Palestinians from time to time.
This correspondence, along with other testimonies obtained by Haaretz, tells of a wider phenomenon of sexual harassment and assault of Israeli and foreign protesters in the West Bank. In the past two years, at least six incidents were recorded in the West Bank and East Jerusalem: two in Sheikh Jarrah, four more in the Mount Hebron area, in Masra, in Kfar a-Dik, and an alleged case of attempted rape in Umm Salmona, near Bethlehem, that was revealed in Haaretz.
Recently, a special forum was started by a group of women from leftist groups for the purpose of dealing and monitoring such incidents. “The objective is to learn the subject,” says one of the group’s members. “We want to develop tools and guidelines for creating an environment with fewer cases of harassment.”
The heated debate intensified lately after the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement posted a poster on its Facebook page. The poster, protesting the deal legitimizing the outpost Migron, features a jar of Vaseline with the caption reading ‘Deep Migron,’ a pun playing on the title of the pornographic film Deep Throat (‘garon’ is Hebrew for throat). The poster angered activists, almost as much as the incidents of sexual harassment.
One activist commented on the poster in her blog: “There will be more noise, they will take down the campaign, apologize again without understanding what they did wrong. As long as we continue coming on Fridays. Damn it, solidarity isn’t just with the Arabs. I can find places where no one cares what I think or feel even without going to East Jerusalem.”
“Honestly, I don’t care what you are doing to fight the occupation and how fast you bring about peace. I just don’t care.” The poster was removed following the criticism.Read the full story here.
Russia Condemns Waffen SS March in Latvia.(RN).Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Friday condemned the controversial commemoration of Latvian troops who fought on the side of Nazi Germany during World War II, which took place earlier on Friday in the Latvian capital Riga.
“Odious demonstrations by soldiers on whose conscience are numerous crimes were held against the backdrop of a mass propaganda campaign organized by the Latvian authorities to whitewash these so-called ‘fighters for Latvia’s freedom,’” the ministry said in a statement.“A flagrant attempt to revise the truth about Nazi atrocities, to review the rulings of the Nuremberg Tribunal that condemned SS members cannot but cause indignation,” it said.
The ministry called on the international community to react to the attempts of the Latvian authorities to “rewrite history.”
Hundreds of Waffen SS veterans and their supporters held a march in the Latvian capital Riga on Friday to mark Legionnaires’ Day, which commemorates Latvians who fought for the Germans during World War II.
Anti-fascist organizations all over the world decry the controversial event but the annual holiday has its defenders, including Latvian President Andris Berzins, who has argued it is foolish to assume that Waffen SS veterans were criminals and that they deserve the public's respect.
A group of people, some dressed as Nazi concentration camp prisoners, gathered at Freedom Monument to protest the march.
Riga’s Duma had voted to ban the event, which honors veterans of the SS Latvian Legion but a court overturned the ban.The Latvian Legion, formed by the Nazis in 1943, comprised two Waffen SS divisions.Hmmmm.......The 'old Hatred.....Joining the new hatred'.Read the full story here.
Israel’s Legal Case Presented To Congress. Settlements are legal.(Israpundit).Recently, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) sponsored a lecture by Professor Eugene Kontorovich to Congressional staff aides in the Cannon House Office building on Capitol Hill. The lecture was titled “One State, 2 States, 3 States- 4?” Mr. Kontorovich is a Professor of Law at the Northwestern University School of Law, and is currently a member of the renowned Institute for Advanced Study, in the School of Social Sciences, in Princeton, NJ. The talk centered on the efforts of Palestinian Arabs to defeat Israel in international forums and gain legitimacy at Israel’s expense.
Professor Kontorovich, who is an expert in International Law and is currently writing a book on maritime piracy, pointed out that the Palestinian Arabs are complaining about Israeli “occupation” at the very same time that they claim the sovereign privileges of a state. To be a state, they must, of course, have a territory that they control.
According to Kontorovich, much of the rhetoric about ‘apartheid’ in Israel is precisely backward, as it is the Palestinians who deny the right of Jews to be treated equally under Palestinian Authority (PA) laws. Professor Kontorovich also discussed the strategy of the PLO to achieve a unilateral declaration of independence under international law. He also made a strong, detailed and compelling argument for the legality of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.
Professor Kontorovich is the winner of the Federalist Society’s 2012 Bator Award, given to leading scholars under 40. He also served as clerk for Judge Richard Posner on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He has been published in leading academic journals, as well as the Wall Street Journal, Jerusalem Post, and other publications. He has been consulted by the Israeli Military Advocate General’s International Law Department, foreign consular missions and other organizations.
Dan Pollak and Josh London, Co-Directors of Government Relations for the ZOA said: “Professor Kontorovich was very effective in his talk about current attempts by the Palestinian Arabs to shift the discussion to the moral legitimacy of Israel. The Congressional Staffers who attended the lecture asked very good questions, and it was great to hear a scholar who can clearly explain to Congress that Israel actually has International Law very much on its side as it takes appropriate action to provide for its defense and security. Furthermore, he placed everything in its proper context, explaining that the wordings of international agreements are subject to the actual conduct of other states when similar situations arise.”
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “The issues raised by Professor Kontorovich need to be addressed by Congress as they decide on continuing to fund the Palestinian Authority with US taxpayer dollars (over $600 million last year). If there is any “apartheid” in the region, it is being perpetrated by the Palestinian Arabs against Jews. Whereas Israel has a large Arab and Muslim minority, the Palestinians openly demand that their territory be judenrein. Recall the statement last fall by the PLO ambassador to the United States, Maen Areikat, saying that the future Palestinian state he is working to establish, with help from the United Nations, should be free of Jews. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas also stated in 2010 that a Palestinian Arab state would have no Israelis in it.
“The ZOA has repeatedly urged the Israeli and U.S. governments to cut support to the PA until it makes good on signed commitments to arrest terrorists, outlaw terrorist groups and end the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps. Just over a week ago, PA President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a speech in Doha, Qatar, in which he accused Israel of inventing a Jewish historical connection to Jerusalem, working to undermine the foundations of the Al-Aqsa mosque atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, and harming freedom of religious worship in Jerusalem. It is important for Congress to hear from experts like Professor Kontorovich.
“The ZOA was pleased to provide Professor Kontorovich this important congressional platform, helping to offset the propaganda spewed by hostile anti-Israel critics who present their own distorted versions of Mideast history to Congress.”Read the full story here.
"Understanding Palestinian Poverty" - Former PA Interior Minister, all the funds donated to the PA ‘have gone down the drain, and we don’t know to where.’
Flashback 2004 - Former PA Interior Minister, all the funds donated to the PA ‘have gone down the drain, and we don’t know to where.’(HonestReporting).On Sept. 7, Agence France-Presse released an article entitled ‘Most Palestinians live in poverty, on two dollars a day.’ Why are most Palestinians so tragically poor? The AFP reporter turns to a U.N. representative who blames Palestinian poverty on four sources:
Israel’s blockade of the territories, destruction of assets [in Palestinian areas], expansion of Jewish settlements and the separation barrier.
Israel is thereby accused of complete responsibility for the unfortunate state of the Palestinian economy. The AFP report provides no dissenting voices, and Israel is not granted the right of response to any one of these serious allegations.
This article is not merely anti-Israel ? it’s sloppy journalism at its worst.
AFP fails to acknowledge the mounds of evidence that while Israeli anti-terror policies have created some hardships, the primary reason for Palestinian poverty is irresponsible Palestinian leadership, whose embezzlement, diversion of funds to terror, and failure to invest in infrastructure have left the average Palestinian destitute.
HonestReporting encourages subscribers to write to AFP (email@example.com), using the documentation below.
MASSIVE AID DIVERTED TO TERRORISTS
Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the international community has shown unprecedented generosity toward Palestinians, donating approximately $5 billion to the Palestinian Authority. The World Banknoted recently that ‘donor disbursements to the Palestinians currently amount to approximately $1 billion per year or $310 per person ? one of the highest per capita rates in the history of foreign assistance.’ (By comparison, the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II provided $68 per year, in today’s dollars, to Europeans.)
So where’s all the money going? A recent, in-depth study from the independent Funding for Peace Coalition(FPC) found overwhelming evidence that ‘European aid has not reached its intended target ? the Palestinian people. It has been diverted towards graft, terrorism and incitement to hatred.’
While direct PA payments to terror gangs (with Yassir Arafat’s own signature as authorization) have been documented since 2002, the FPC continues to find a ‘compelling connection’ between EU aid and funding of Palestinian terror. Just one point of evidence cited by the FPC: An interview with PA officials and Fatah leaders on the BBC in November 2003 revealed that the PA had reimbursed $50,000 of monthly expenses to one of the deadliest terror groups, the Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades.
So the EU, now the single largest donor to the PA, literally contributes to keeping bands of terrorists on the PA payroll. Precious funds intended to ease Palestinian poverty are used instead for suicide bombs targeting Israeli civilians.
But checks to terrorists are small change compared to Yassir Arafat’s record of personal theft. Over the course of his ‘revolutionary’ career, Arafat has siphoned off hundreds of millions of dollars of international aid money intended to reach the Palestinian people.
Estimates of the degree of Arafat’s wealth differ, but are all staggering. Last year, Forbes magazine listed Arafat in its annual list of the wealthiest ‘Kings, Queens and Despots,’ with a fortune of ‘at least $300 million.’Israeli and US officials estimate Arafat’s personal holdings between $1-3 billion. Rachel Ehrenfeld, Director of the American Center for Democracy, arrives at a figure of $1.3 billion and laments:
This money is enough to
a) feed 3 million Palestinians for 1 year,
b) buy 1,000 mobile intensive care units,
c) fund 10 hospitals for a decade, and
d) would still leave $585 million to fund other social projects.
And while the average Palestinian barely subsists, Arafat’s wife Suha (at left) in Paris receives $100,000 a month from PA sources, as reported on CBS’ 60 Minutes. That CBS report also noted that Arafat maintains secret investments in a Ramallah-based Coca Cola plant, a Tunisian cellphone company, and venture capital funds in the U.S. and the Cayman Islands.
Arafat also uses foreign aid funds to pay off cronies who bolster his autocracy: A recent International Monetary Fund report indicates that upwards of 8% ($135 million) of the PA’s annual budget is handed out by Arafat ‘at his sole discretion.’ The 2003 budget for Arafat’s office, which totaled $734 million, was missing $34 million that Arafat had transferred to pay unidentified ‘organizations’ and ‘individuals.’ And Ehrenfeld notes that this IMF report ‘did not take into account Arafat’s control of 60 percent of the security apparatus budget, which leaves him with at least an additional $360 million per year to spend as he chooses.’
FAILURE TO INVEST IN INFRASTRUCTURE
Bringing the Palestinian people out of poverty would require building an infrastructure
that is no longer utterly PA budget has been directed to this end. The situation is best summarized by Mohammad Dahlan, former PA Interior Minister, who recently told The Guardian that of all the funds donated to the Palestinian Authority, a total of $5 billion ‘have gone down the drain, and we don’t know to where.’
Education is one key to building a robust Palestinian economy. But Palestinian schools and universities are infested with terrorist ideology and incitement. This was the scene (at right) at a West Bank university’s back-to-school day, earlier this week ? huge portraits of terrorist ‘heros’ hovered over students perusing new schoolbooks.Why doesn’t the PA allow foreign aid to promote a sustainable Palestinian future by removing such incitement and educating toward peace?
Other highly symbolic episodes: When an American convoy traveled to Gaza last year to interview potential Palestinian Fulbright scholars, it was blown up by local terrorists. And as documented by Palestinian Media Watch, $500,000 of USAid funds was used recently to build ‘Martyr Salakh Khalaf Stadium.’ Salakh Khalaf, better known as Abu Iyad, was head of the Black September terrorist organization, and was responsible for the murder of two American diplomats in Sudan in 1973, and the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
Yet Agence France-Presse ignores all of these points, relying instead on one dubious source to blame Palestinian poverty solely upon Israeli strictures. In truth, the primary reason for Palestinian poverty is the criminal failure of the Palestinian leadership to serve its own constituency ? despite massive international aid intended to promote precisely that goal.Hmmm........Obama's "PeacePartners".Source : HonestReporting.
President Obama signs Executive Order allowing for control over all US resources.(Examiner).HT:InfidelBloggers.On March 16th, President Obama signed a new Executive Order which expands upon a prior order issued in 1950 for Disaster Preparedness, and gives the office of the President complete control over all the resources in the United States in times of war or emergency.
The National Defense Resources Preparedness order gives the Executive Branch the power to control and allocate energy, production, transportation, food, and even water resources by decree under the auspices of national defense and national security. The order is not limited to wartime implementation, as one of the order's functions includes the command and control of resources in peacetime determinations.
Executive Orders created for national defense and national preparedness are not new in American history, but in each instance they brought about a Constitutional crisis that nearly led standing Presidents to hold dictatorial power over the citizenry. During the Civil War, President Lincoln halted freedom of speech and freedom of the press, while at the same time revoking Habeas Corpus and the right to a fair trial under the sixth amendment. During World War I, when Congress refused to grant Woodrow Wilson extended power over resources to help the war effort, he invoked an Executive Order which allowed him complete control over businesses, industry, transportation, food, and other economic policies.
In both cases, it was only after the death of each President that full Constitutional powers were restored to the citizens of the United States.
The economy of the United States is based on the free flow of resources, energy, and the rights of consumers to buy and sell as they see fit. Any interference in this economic process quickly leads to shortages, rising prices, and civil unrest. The purpose of President Obama signing this new Executive Order is yet unclear, however, it may coincide with information coming out of Israel yesterday that plans for a tactical or strategic strike on Iran are accelerating. Oil prices in Europe rose over $3 a barrel for Brent crude after the Israeli actions, and US oil prices rose $2 for WTI.
The Obama administration appears to be preparing for a long drawn out war in the Middle East, or at the very least, an expected crisis that will require the need to override Constitutional authority and claim dominion over all resources in the United States under the guise of national defense. With the rise in Disaster Preparedness growing for both individuals and states leading up to yesterday's Executive Order, the mood of the nation points strongly towards some event or disaster that will require massive preparations on a national as well as local scale.Hmmmm.......The one word missing in the order: "Congress".He's planning to stay for a very, very long time.....elections or not.Read the full story here.
IMF warns Palestinians may face cuts without more aid........on the other hand their GDP might rise?
Note in this overview of donated US Aid to Palestine that the more money they recieve the lower their GDP becomes!
IMF warns Palestinians may face cuts without more aid........on the other hand their GDP might rise? (AlArabiya).The International Monetary Fund on Saturday urged donors to meet their aid pledges to the Palestinian Authority, warning that unless funding was forthcoming it would be forced to cut public wages and social benefits to address a deepening fiscal crisis.
The IMF said the aid-dependent Palestinian economy had entered a “difficult phase” with a severe liquidity crunch worsening since last year due to a drop in aid from Western backers and wealthy Gulf States and Israeli restrictions on trade.
An IMF report released on Saturday, prepared for a donor meeting on Palestinian aid in Brussels next week, estimated a financing gap of about $500 million. The Palestinian authority is relying on donor aid to cover its 2012 budget deficit projected to reach $1.1 billion.
Most Palestinian aid comes from the United States, the European Union and Arab nations, allowing the Palestinian Authority to pay the salaries of public workers and benefits.
But the United States, which is trying to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, cut off funding last year when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas defied calls from Washington and made a unilateral bid for statehood recognition at the United Nations.Palestinian officials say more than $150 million of U.S. aid is frozen.The IMF said just $800 million of $1 billion in promised budget support was disbursed in 2011. In addition, development aid was only $169 million compared with $370 million committed by donors.IMF mission chief to the West Bank and Gaza, Oussama Kanaan, said it would be very difficult for the Palestinian Authority to cover the 2012 financing gap without donors making good on existing pledges and providing additional aid.
He said steady declines in foreign assistance had led to a large increase in domestic payment arrears of about $500 million to private businesses, and increased government debt to commercial banks to around $1.1 billion.“The stock of indebtedness has increased to such an extent that the PA is no longer able to postpone payments to the private sector and to banks,” Kanaan said. “If money from the donors isn’t forthcoming ... the only way it can cut expenditures is to cut wages or social benefits.”
“The deficit is very large and it cannot compensate anymore for the shortfall by accumulating debt because the private sector will not allow them and banks will not lend them much more,” he added.
The IMF said the Palestinian Authority should immediately prepare a contingency plan to cover the financing gap given the uncertainty of international aid flows. It should start cutting expenditures, increasing tax revenue and ensuring that the wage bill, which represents more than half of total expenditures, is contained.
“This will prevent a situation where the PA is forced by continued aid shortfalls to take drastic measures at short notice, such as a sudden curtailment of social transfers or payment of only a portion of the wage bill,” the report said.
The IMF said while the size of the wage bill had declined in recent years, at about 18 percent it was still significantly higher than the 10-15 percent typically found in countries of similar stature.Read the full story here.