Friday, March 30, 2012
Turkey cuts Iran oil purchases by 20 percent.(HD).Turkey's national oil company Tupras said on Friday it had cut its purchases of oil from neighbouring Iran by 20 percent as western nations tighten sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear programme. "Given the situation, it was decided following an evaluation to reduce by 20 percent crude purchases from Iran," the company said in a statement. Turkey, which imports a third of its oil from Iran, is seeking to obtain an exemption from new US sanctions against Iran. Under a new law aimed at pressing Iran over its controversial nuclear programme, the United States will penalise foreign financial institutions over transactions with Iran's central bank, which handles sales of the country's key export. Earlier this month Washington granted financial institutions from Japan and 10 EU nations exemptions, praising the countries for reducing dependency on oil from the Islamic republic. Turkish officials said they would seek a similar exemption.Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildaz said the country would try to make up for lower imports from Iran by buying more crude from Libya, Anatolya news agency reported.Read the full story here.
MEPs regret Turkey’s remarks to freeze relations with Cyprus’ EU Presidency.(FamagustaGazette).The European Parliament adopted today a resolution on the progress report on Turkey, pointing out that further progress of its accession course is closely related with reforms and keeping the promises it has undertaken as a candidate state. MEPs regret Ankara’s statements that it will freeze relations with Cyprus’ EU Presidency if the Cyprus problem is not resolved by mid-2012. The Parliament expressed support for the ongoing UN-led reunification negotiations and asked Turkey to begin withdrawing its forces from Cyprus.
It “strongly supports the ongoing negotiations on the reunification of Cyprus under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations” and “stresses that a fair and viable settlement of the Cyprus issue must now be reached as a matter of urgency and calls on Turkey and all the parties concerned to work intensively and with good will for a comprehensive agreement”. In addition, it calls on the Government of Turkey to begin withdrawing its forces from Cyprus and to transfer Famagusta to the United Nations in accordance with Resolution 550 (1984) of the United Nations Security Council. At the same time, it “calls, in parallel, on the Republic of Cyprus to open the port of Famagusta under EU customs supervision in order to promote a positive climate for the successful solution of the ongoing reunification negotiations and allow Turkish Cypriots to trade directly in a legal manner that is acceptable to all”. The resolution further “encourages Turkey to intensify its support for the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus”. It also calls on Turkey “to refrain from any new settlement of Turkish citizens on Cyprus, as this would continue to change the demographic balance and reduce the allegiance of its citizens on the island to a future common state based on its common past”. Moreover, “it regrets Turkey’s statements that it will freeze relations with the Presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2012 if a solution to the Cyprus issue is not found by then” and “recalls that the European Union is based on the principles of sincere cooperation and mutual solidarity amongst all its Member States and that as a candidate country Turkey must commit to serene relations with the European Union and all its Member States; further recalls that the Presidency of the Council of the European Union is provided for in the Treaty on European Union”.Read the full story here.
Voice of Terror: Mushir al -Masri - Our Women's Blood is a Sacrifice for Al-Aqsa Mosque. On March 25, 2012, Hamas Member of Parliament, Mushir al-Masri, speaks during a women's procession in Gaza as part of the Global March to Jerusalem activities.
Mohamed Merah had officially no longer a valid French passport since April 2008.(Liberte).Apparantly Mohamed Merah, the alleged assassin of the Jewish school in Toulouse and three soldiers,is a French national but also Algerian. This was stated by those close to the case and at liberty to disclose the matter. The day he died, on 22 March, Mohamed Merah had no valid French passport. It had expired nearly four years before.The same sources state that a single French passport was issued to Mohamed Merah. Born October 10, 1988 in Toulouse, there was only one application at the town hall. His French passport was issued April 22, 1998 (he was then 09 years, 5 months and 12 days) in Toulouse and it was never renewed. The French document is valid for 10 years, Mohamed Merah could no longer travel abroad with his French passport since April 22, 2008.
But his Algerian passport was still valid. On 20 July 2005 he obtained the official document at the Algerian Consulate in Toulouse. It was renewed March 20, 2010, always in the same consulate.Thus, since April 22, 2008, Mohamed Merah was only able to travel (legally) outside of France with an Algerian passport "The Israeli authorities, through the Shin Bet (internal security) confirmed that Mohamed Merah visited the Jewish state in 2010, for 3 days. He arrived in Israel from Jordan, crossing the Allenby Bridge, which forms the border between the two nations. Was he using an "Algerian Passport"?
He took a long, long, journey. This led him to Afghanistan, in late 2010 and then to Pakistan, the following year. In an interview with Le Monde, Bernard Squarcini, head of the Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence (DCRI), describes this journey that would have occurred off the marked trails of international jihadism. He received contacts from his older brother Abdelkader, considered a fundamentalist? Mohammed spend some time in Cairo at his brother after going to Turkey, Syria, Lybia, Jordania and Israel.The "tourist" was even briefly arrested, in Jerusalem, Israel, carrying a knife.Questionned briefly at a police station, he was released.
Mohamed Merah's brother was investigated by the Belgian police in 2007-2008 for recruiting Jihadists.(LaMeuse).In 2007-2008, the Belgian Federal Judicial Police has taken a close interest in Merah Abdelkader, Mohamed's brother. But the evidence was not sufficient to press charges. However, Abdelkader could be the brain, the instigator of the murders committed in Toulouse by the younger brother, shot by men of the Raid. Abdelkader was not the focus of research. It would rather appear "on the edge" of a 'gang', or more specifically a recruitment network jhadiste based in Belgium. A network that was suspected of sending young Belgian and French activists to Cairo before joining the fighters in Afghanistan and Pakistan. "But the evidence was not sufficient, either in France or Belgium. This case then could not succeed in court, "says the source.Read the full story here.(GoogleTranslate).
March 31: Operation Global Blackout: Anonymous Hackers Intend to Shut Down the Internet by Disabling Core DNS Servers.
March 31: Operation Global Blackout: Anonymous Hackers Intend to Shut Down the Internet by Disabling Core DNS Servers.(SHTF).By Dan Graziano.The hacking group known as Anonymous intends to attack the core servers that control the routing of all internet traffic. DNS, or Domain Name Servers, are a critical backbone of the web and make it possible for internet surfers to reach web site destinations by typing in a domain name in their browsers. Once a particular web site is requested, a query is sent to a domain name server, which then redirects that web address to a specific IP address on the web. Without these servers, access to web sites through traditional means (typing in a ‘dot com’) becomes impossible, because there is no way to direct the traffic to the appropriate web site destination.
According to a statement released by Anonymous, it is these servers that will come under fire on Saturday, March 31. Anonymous says they do not intend to ‘kill’ the internet completely, but rather, the end game of Operation Blackout 2012 is a temporary take down of the internet where “it hurts most.” According to the group, the operation is being carried out to protest SOPA, Wallstreet, our irresponsible leaders and the beloved bankers who are starving the world for their own selfish needs out of sheer sadistic fun, on March 31, anonymous will shut the Internet down,” the group stated last month. “Remember, this is a protest, we are not trying to ‘kill’ the Internet we are only temporarily shutting it down where it hurts the most.” Read the full story here.
Live Twitter stream: Marching to Jerusalem.(JPost).The Jerusalem Post will provide live coverage including tweets, pictures and video clips as worldwide demonstrations take place to mark the 36th anniversary of Land Day, when Israeli Arabs and Palestinians hold a general strike and protest Israeli government policies they say infringe on their land rights.Land Day demonstrations have historically seen Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and elsewhere rallying in solidarity. This year's Land Day coincides with the Global March to Jerusalem, a planned multi-pronged rush on Israel's frontiers with Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan as well as marches in the Palestinian Authority, Gaza and east Jerusalem. Worldwide demonstrations are also planned in a range of countries from the US to Greece.See the full story developing here.
French Police arrest 19 people in Toulouse and other cities in raids aimed at "Radical Islam".(AlJazeera).French police have arrested 19 people in dawn raids across a number of cities in what President Nicolas Sarkozy described as a crackdown on "radical Islam". Several of the arrests on Friday occured in the southwestern city of Toulouse, where an al-Qaeda inspired gunman carried out a series of attacks earlier this month that left seven people dead.
Agents from France's DCRI domestic intelligence agency working with anti-terror and elite police units carried out the dawn raids in Toulouse, Nantes, Marseille, Lyon, Nice, Le Mans, Paris and other areas. Speaking on Europe 1 radio, Sarkozy confirmed the arrests and said that weapons had been seized. He said the operation was "linked with a form of radical Islam" and suggested that further raids would occur. "We have some extremely precise questions to ask a certain number of people and what happened this morning will continue," he said. "There will be other operations that will continue and will also allow us to expel from our national territory a certain number of people." Police said Kalashnikov assault rifles and other weapons were seized during the raids. Among those arrested was Mohammed Achamlane, the head of a suspected extremist group called Forsane Alizza, the sources said, with three Kalashnikovs, a Glock pistol and a grenade seized from his home.Read the full story here.
Patent awarded for “behavioral recognition” surveillance software system.(BLN).By Madison Ruppert.The American surveillance state is becoming increasingly advanced, expansive and capable of processing huge amounts of data at blinding speeds.
Now Behavioral Recognition Systems, Inc., also known as BRS Labs, has developed an artificial intelligence-based system which supposedly can automatically recognize human behavior.
Technology which seems similar on the surface already exists and is being used on surveillance platforms like the “Intellistreets” street lights. These street lights, which are outfitted with a great deal of surveillance equipment, are reportedly capable of monitoring activity and telling the difference between certain behaviors while also being able to tell the difference between humans and animals. This technology could be used to enforce curfews, track the movement of individuals, and supposedly spot fights and other crimes.
However, BRS Labs’ technology, which was awarded U.S. patent number 8,131,012 (go here if link doesn’t open properly) by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to Government Security News, seems to blow that older system out of the water. This is because previous technologies relied on specific rules put in place by human operators, whereas the new system relies on “reason-based video surveillance behavior recognition software.”
This patent is actually part of over 60 related U.S. patents which are currently either pending approval, in process or already granted, all of which are part of the “AISight 3.0” video surveillance software system.
“The video surveillance technology we have invented is distinctly and materially different from the simple recognition capabilities found in video analytics solutions currently available from a number of vendors in the physical security market,” president of BRS Labs, John Frazzini, said in a news release.
“Generally speaking, video analytics software receives video data from cameras and issues alerts based on very specific and narrowly defined human programmed rules that have failed to provide operational value in the video surveillance market,” Frazzini said. “In strong contrast to those limited and deteriorating solutions, the patented technology of BRS Labs does not require any human pre-programmed rules, thereby providing an inherently scalable enterprise class software platform to the video surveillance market.”
Indeed, if this technology works as it is supposed to, this is a major step up from previous software, and it could increase the ability to accurately monitor and track the activity of individuals.
Coupling this system with incredibly powerful facial recognition technology could represent a significant leap forward for Big Brother technology.
The major difference in this new technology is that it can actually allow computers to autonomously learn behavioral patterns, thus being able to determine what behaviors could be considered unusual.
The system can then warn security personnel about the allegedly unusual or suspicious behavior.
BRS Labs’ system uses standard streams from surveillance cameras, which means that the cost to roll out such systems would be relatively minimal.
The behavioral recognition system takes the video stream then detects and tracks subjects, characterizes their appearances and other properties, then classifies them and automatically learns their behavioral patterns.
The system then stores those patterns and thus can recognize behaviors which differ from the established behavior patterns. When the system detects a divergence, it alerts the user of those events in real time.BRS Labs reportedly has many other patents in the works which seem to focus on artificial intelligence as applied to surveillance.
While companies might see this as a great cost-saving measure since it could reduce the number of people who have to sit and physically watch the surveillance monitors, if it is used in law enforcement I see many potential problems.
Much like so-called threat assessment technology, or malintent detection technology, this could erroneously flag behaviors as unusual or suspicious, thus resulting in individuals being treated as if they are criminals when they very well might not be.
All of this serves to erode the entire concept of innocent until proven guilty as people are marked as suspicious persons or displaying unusual behavior without any proof of wrongdoing.
After one is labeled as such, they are often treated like they did something wrong, even if there is absolutely no evidence of any illegal activities.
Personally, I see this as a dangerous trend which hopefully will be reversed, however, the growth of the surveillance industry does not show any sign of slowing down any time soon, so I’m not holding my breath just yet.Read the full story here.
Get married or baptized in a church adjacent to Jesus' birthplace, and it won't be recognized by the law.
Get married or baptized in a church adjacent to Jesus' birthplace, and it won't be recognized by the law.(DocsTalk).This just in: Get married or baptized in a church adjacent to Jesus' birthplace, and it won't be recognized by the law. You can't make this up. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has just declared that it deems the First Baptist Church of Bethlehem to be illegitimate. No sooner had 600 mostly American evangelicals departed from the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference (CATC) in Bethlehem, then the PA made its startling pronouncement. No reason was given, but people who know the church's pastor, Rev. Naim Khoury, suspect that it has plenty to do with the fact that he has been unflaggingly even-handed in dealing with Christians, Muslims, and Jews. What does the PA move portend about the future of Christian holy sites and churches in a future Palestinian state? As President Mahmoud Abbas continues to pursue a unity government with Hamas, no one knows whose template for treating religious minorities will be followed. We know the track record of Hamas in Gaza. We know of the attack on the only Christian bookstore in Gaza, now shut down. We know of the increasing frequency of neighbors in Bethlehem, jeering at the shrunken Christian population, calling upon them to convert to Islam.
We have seen how the PA, which is responsible to guarantee the site of Joseph's Tomb, stood by and allowed it to be destroyed – and then destroyed again, after it was rebuilt. We've watched the trucks of the Waqf, entrusted with the sanctity of the Temple Mount, remove tons of earth from one of the most important archeological sites in the world, with the goal of physically erasing all traces of the Jewish First and Second Temples. We've heard the PA's imams declare that there never was a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and seen its Muslim allies go to UNESCO to have Rachel's Tomb declared a mosque. CATC participants and others committed to interfaith progress should ask themselves if they feel more optimistic after their stay in Bethlehem about the prospects for a secure Christian future in the Holy Land? We are all witness to a broader challenge to historic Christian communities: there is immediate danger to lives, not only buildings. Some of the oldest Christian communities in the world have already been decimated in the Assyrian Triangle of Iraq. Its churches burned, clergy assassinated, many have tried fleeing to Iraq's north – only to find poor prospects for rebuilding shattered lives.
While they wait in limbo, a convert to Christianity sits on Iran's death row, awaiting execution for the crime of becoming Christian. In Saudi Arabia, Christians aren't in any danger of dying because it won't tolerate any Christian presence, except foreign workers and VIPs. How bad is it? Reacting to proposed legislation by a Kuwaiti Minister of Parliament to ban all church construction in his nation, Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti and highest-ranking cleric Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah offered his ruling about the entire Arabian Peninsula: it is "necessary," he said, "to destroy all the churches of the region."
In Pakistan, Christians literally live in fear for their lives. And in Egypt, the brutal Maspero massacre of almost thirty Copts, belies the larger problem: intimidation of millions of Egyptian citizens – at least ten percent of the Arab world's largest nation – is so severe and widespread, that some Coptic community leaders have advised those who can leave the country to do so. Who is pounding on the doors of world leaders about the majority of those Christians who cannot leave? Where is the outrage? Over many years of conversation with our Christian friends, we have learned much – and admired – the Christian compulsion to speak out against injustice. But we remain puzzled by the anemic response from so many circles when it is Christians themselves who are imperiled. Jews are often criticized for being overly protective of their own. And there is some truth to that. But why do Christian leaders seem so unmoved by mortal threats to their spiritual brothers and sisters? Does the universal embrace of Christian love preclude any special affinity for and responsibility towards other Christians? To be sure, we have proudly drawn closer to some who work assiduously to protect the lives of Christians. But why are there so few? We, as an American Jewish (proudly Zionist) NGO raise the issue of the persecution of Christians at the UN, at the White House, and in the halls of Congress. When we report to law enforcement agencies on our Digital Terrorism and Hate Project, the targeting of Christians is high on our list of greatest concern. Why? Not only because in a democracy it is the right thing to do, but also because as Jews we know, that if Coptic Christians cannot live in peace, there will be no peace for anyone in the Holy Land, and if Christian minorities under siege from Pakistan to Nigeria are abandoned, there can be no talk of an era of global peace and tolerance.Hmmmm........Waiting to hear the outrage of the President.....Oh yes forgot "“We will hold sacred the beliefs held sacred by others.”Read the full story here.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein is the Wiesenthal Center's Director of Interfaith Affairs.
Turkish Jewish leaders speak of fear, concern after attacks.(HD).Turkey’s Jewish minority has lived in fear ever since the first attack against a synagogue in Istanbul in 1986, community leader Sami Herman said yesterday in remarks given to a parliamentary sub-commission investigating terrorist attacks and violent incidents in recent years. “Terror creates a wave of fear that continues despite the passing years,” Herman said, emphasizing that Jews were still gripped by unease while visiting their places of worship. A gunman killed 22 people in a synagogue in 1986, while suicide bombers detonated explosive-laden trucks at two synagogues in 2003, claiming 23 lives. Herman praised Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for being the first Turkish Prime Minister to visit a synagogue, and thanked him for the government’s financial and moral support to the victims, as well as for reconstruction after the 2003 attacks, which were blamed on al-Qaeda. Herman also said “words are not innocent” and urged the government to draw up legislation to punish hate crimes. The community’s deputy leader, İshak İbrahimzadeh, told the panel that Jews had increased security so much that they were virtually injecting fear into the subconscious’ of children, by having them to go through two security doors while entering synagogues. Commission member Mehmet Metiner of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) extended an apology to the Jewish community. “We weren’t able to protect you. I don’t know if we can look you in the eye. I know that we marginalized you. I apologize to you as a deputy of Turkey,” he said. Turkey’s Jewish community was most recently disturbed by a shampoo T.V. advertisement that featured Adolf Hitler. The ad was eventually taken off air earlier this week after a public outcry.Hmmm............Erdogan: "Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb were not and never will be Jewish sites.(2010), quoted in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Wattan.Read the full story here.
Israel - Clashes break out at Kalandiya in Land Day protests.(JPost).The IDF and Israel Police went on high alert Friday, imposing a full closure on the West Bank, limiting access to the Temple Mount and setting up checkpoints on roads near the Lebanese border ahead of expected protests marking Land Day and the Global March to Jerusalem. Palestinian protesters were clashing with Israeli forces at the Kalandiya checkpoint, throwing rocks, firebombs and burning tires.
Security forces were using large amounts of tear gas, stun grenades, sound weapons and foul-smelling water to disperse the protesters. A large number of protesters arrived at the checkpoint from Ramallah. At least one was injured on his arm by a rubber bullet and taken to the hospital. Preparations took place along all of Israel’s fronts. The IDF announced that Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered West Bank crossings closed for a 24-hour period.
In Bethlehem, dozens of protesters were throwing stones at an IDF checkpoint after breaking through a line of Palestinian police. Earlier, PA security forces had blocked the protesters from approaching the checkpoint. The protesters stopped in front of the Palestinian police and sat in the road, chanting: "To Jerusalem, we will march." Israel Police deployed large numbers of police and border police forces in and around Moshav Avivim near the Lebanese border Friday morning, ahead of the expected demonstrations. Security forces set up checkpoints to prevent protesters from encroaching on the Lebanese border, where at least 10 people were killed in clashes that erupted during last years Nakba Day commemorations. A chief superintendent in the police's Northern District said the preparations were designed with lessons learned from the deadly events last year. Police were prepared for crow control, armed with tear gas and riot gear.
In addition, police came armed with a general's order that gives them the authority to prevent people from reaching the border in the case that clashes break out. Police did not begin stopping movement in the border area but said they were prepared to do so. On the northern side of the border, the Lebanese Armed Forces and police were also out in force along the border and at the Beaufort castle, where some 4,000 protesters are expected later in the day, Lebanese daily an-Nahar reported. UNIFIL was also said to be conducting patrols and monitoring activity along the northern side of the border. IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz toured the West Bank and Syrian border Friday morning ahead of the planned protests.Read the full story here.More here.
Again, Anti-Semitism: This Time, Jewish Day School in Chicago.(INN).Anti-Semitic graffiti was found spray-painted on a North Side synagogue and Jewish day school, in Chicago, on Wednesday, police said. A Surveillance video shows a female spray-painting the words “Kill & Rape Jews” on two buildings and on the sidewalks, NBC news reported. “This is evil,” said Rabbi Michael Siegel of Anshe Emet Synagogue. “Words lead to actions. Words do matter,” he affirmed. "We'll walk tall but be more weary, we are not going to cower in fear." "The kids have had a normal day in school, and they have been protected from this," he continued. "Certainly we're not going to let any one person or any group interrupt the important things we do here." Dan Elbaum, Director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Chicago said, “The words 'Jews murder' and 'Jews kill' are particularly galling given last week’s murder of four French Jews by an attacker claiming to be motivated by events in the Middle East." “All words have consequences, and we should keep that in mind as we call upon all people of good faith to speak out against the vandalism,” he continued. The AJC called the vandalism, that occurred just prior to the Passover holiday "a sad reminder of the persistence of anti-Semitism." "All words have consequences, and we should keep that in mind as we call upon all people of good faith to speak out against the vandalism," said Elbaum.Read the full story here.