Tuesday, April 10, 2012
'Iran imposes oil counter-sanctions on EU states'.(JPost).DUBAI - Iran has cut oil exports to Spain and may halt sales to Germany and Italy, Iran's English-language state television reported on Tuesday, in an apparent move to strengthen its position ahead of crucial talks with world powers later this week. But in an indication that Tehran's "counter-sanctions" were of little impact, Spain's biggest refiner said it had already replaced its Iranian crude with oil from Saudi Arabia several months ago. Iran has played a tit-for-tat game over crude shipments since the European Union agreed in January that it would stop all Iranian oil imports as of July. EU states have since sought alternative supplies before that deadline, with Iran threatening to cut exports before then. "Tehran has cut oil supply to Spain after stopping crude export to Greece as part of its counter-sanctions," Press TV said, citing unidentified sources, adding that a similar move was being considered for Germany and Italy. A spokesman for Spanish refiner Repsol said it had not been buying Iranian oil for months. "No crude out of Iran for us since January," he said. Repsol's imports of Iranian crude were estimated at around 65,000 barrels per day last year, making it one of Tehran's medium-sized European customers. The EU was the second biggest buyer of Iranian oil after China before the embargo which is a direct strike on the OPEC member's biggest source of export income. Most European buyers have already reduced or halted their purchases from Iran in anticipation of the July 1 deadline and because of increasing difficulties in paying for the crude after tough new sanctions were imposed on Iranian banks. In a sign Tehran hoped to pressure other important EU customers, the semi-official Mehr news agency said the National Iranian Oil Company had been in contact with Italian buyers about signing long-term oil contacts in recent days. "It has been said that if Italian oil refineries do not agree to sign long-term contracts, oil sales to this European country will be stopped," Mehr reported. The reports followed confirmation from Iranian Foreign Minister Rostam Qasemi that oil sales to Greece had stopped. "We must say to them (the West) that we have that much (money) saved that even if we did not sell oil for two to three years, the country would manage easily," the semi-official Fars news agency quoted him as saying. But Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast, speaking to reporters in Bosnia, took a softer tone and played down reports of a cut in supplies. "Our country has decided to revise its relations with France and Great Britain when it comes to oil exports," Mehmanparast said when asked about the reported oil export cuts to Spain and plans for Germany and
Italy.Hmmm.......Meanwhile the British army is training to operate petrol tankers spark fear of a looming fuel strike. Read the full story here.
Wait a minute i see i still have another 3 months to appeal yet again this decision to an even higher EU court. There really is no end to this idiocy.
Mysterious Obama Envoys Consort With Indonesian Islamist Extremist – Names, Please!(RRA).We’ve all enjoyed the latest rantings of Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs, Suryadharma Ali, his dynamic plan to preserve the nation’s moral fibre by banning women wearing skirts that display their knees. But as I noted this weekend, our mirth should be circumscribed by the genuine threat that such nonsense could all too easily come to pass. Indonesians are in general very agreeable folks, and do not share the narrow self-righteous attitudes of this strange man. But the fact remains that Ali still holds a key position in President SBY’s Government, and has been appointed to run the new Task Force Against Pornography, which, to his way of thinking, encompasses those menacing knees that all women possess.
He is of course not just a fanatic Islamist but also out and out sexist, for there’s ne’er a peep of protest out of him about us guys who wear shorts in this wonderful hot climate whenever we get the chance. It’s pretty gals who are the source of sin, clearly. But scanning the web for my next post material, what should I find but a new claim from Mr. Ali, that Barack Obama has had envoys here, who were most taken with what the Minister refers to somewhat comically – how ‘conditions among religions in Indonesia today are much better than other countries.’
Of course that all depends on one’s perspective. Indonesian Protestant Church Union (PGI) - In 2010, the PGI recorded 30 acts of violence and other violations against Christians in Indonesia. This year, the PGI’s Jeirry Sumampow said, there were 54 violations across the archipelago. He said that in many of those cases the government was actively involved, including in the worst and most high-profile one, that of the GKI Yasmin church. And that’s from a 2011 statement by Indonesians, the brave Setara Institute, which also included this - “Cases of intolerance have intensified this year, numbering more than last year, and at the core of the problem is the poor law enforcement by the government,” Setara deputy chairman Bonar Tigor Naipospos told the Jakarta Globe.
Ali of course was not involved in that horrific mayhem. But as the same Time Magazine article reports, Suryadharma Ali ‘defended regulations that ban Ahmadis from proselytizing or openly practicing their faith.’
Indeed he has openly called for total suppression of the inoffensive minority’s constitutional rights. I quote from the Jakarta Globe, 28/2/11 – To shouts of “Disband Ahmadiyah” from an audience that included the heads of about 500 Islamic boarding schools and the leaders of at least nine Islamic organizations, the minister seemed to urge religious leaders to take the lead in pushing for the minority Islamic sect to be disbanded. “We [the government] do not have the right to disband Ahmadiyah,” he said. “That right lies in the hands of you esteemed ulema. We, the government, only have the right to regulate and control, not to disband or excommunicate.” Suryadharma told the audience in Mataram, Lombok, which included leaders from the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI), Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Muhammadiyah and Hizbut Tahrir, that MUI branches across the country had declared Ahmadiyah a deviant sect. On those grounds, he said, any request by religious leaders to have the sect disbanded was reasonable and had his approval.
So the man panders to the most bigoted elements in the country (not dishonestly, for he shares their rabid prejudice) and he has also made known his distaste for those persecuted Christians of West Java, the Protestants of Yasmin Church mentioned by the PGI leader above. Ali thinks they should knuckle under to the Islamist bigot Mayor of Bogor and give up their Supreme Court-sanctioned right to worship in their own church. But now he tells us that White House representatives have been to see him! Not long ago I received envoys of President Obama, and also representatives from other countries, to ask about inter-religious harmony in Indonesia. They were also very impressed with the condition of the people of Indonesia. Harmony among the diverse people in Indonesia is the best in the world….” http://www.jpnn.com/read/2012/03/31/122698/SDA:-Waspadai-Provokator-Berbau-SARA-
Who were these envoys of Obama? They need to be named and shamed! Can ourAmerican readers shed any light on this?
It would certainly come as a surprise to good Indonesians like the Wahid Institute, which after the Cikeusik Pogrom declared that“Violence against Ahmadis is an almost daily occurrence, yet the President does nothing to address this.”‘ And presumably the US Commission on International Religious Freedom would also be amazed, for after Cikeusik it ‘renewed its call on Indonesia to review the blasphemy law saying this is “more deadly evidence that blasphemy laws are the cause of sectarian violence, not the solution.” Astonishingly, Suryadharma’s revelation on Obama’s mysterious delegates forms part of a story in which he tries to blame ‘provocateurs’ for disturbing religious harmony. Suryadharma Ali urged the public to beware of provocateurs who fuel conflict in inter-religious life. According to him, provocateurs today are increasingly rampant and deliberately making the country unsafe. Jakarta Post 30/8/10 “The sect does not believe that Muhammad SAW was the last Prophet, which is against Islam. If such understanding is considered religious freedom, then I call it excessive freedom,” Suryadharma said.Hmmmm......Who are these 'Presidential envoys'?Read the full story here.
Rick Santorum ends presidential campaign after conceding to Mitt Romney in phone call.(Yahoo).After calling Mitt Romney to say he is ending his presidential campaign, Rick Santorum announced the end of his presidential campaign Tuesday during a press conference in Pennsylvania, his home state. "We will suspend our campaign effective today," Santorum said surrounded by members of his family in Gettysburg. Santorum spent the weekend off the campaign trail with his three-year-old daughter, Bella, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder, after she was rushed to the hospital Friday. "We made a decision over the weekend that, while this presidential race for us is over, for me, and we will suspend our campaign effective today, we are not done fighting," he said. Few thought Santorum would make it this far.Read the full story here.
From the Canadian Halal Slaughterhouse to the Hamas bank vaults.(CJR).The accompanying article at Pointe de Bascule is lengthy and rich in detail. Here’s the introductory section:
Muslim Association of Canada: a contributor to Hamas fund collector controls halal certification in Quebec
Part 1 — Presentation and General Conclusions
In her March 13 report broadcast on Dumont le midi TV show, journalist Caroline Lacroix revealed that Olymel pays thousands of dollars to the “Association des viandes halal that is controlled by Abou-Baker-Assedique mosque” located at 371 Jean-Talon E. in Montreal for the halal certification of its chickens.
During his March 23 TV show that took place after the halal issue was addressed at the Quebec National Assembly, Mario Dumont highlighted that all political parties in Quebec City had been very careful not to bring up the financial aspect of the issue:
Mario Dumont — video 04:19: Nobody discussed the money issue. What does it fund? Where does the money go? Are we financing mosques without knowing it? It seems that this issue is even more taboo. Everybody is very careful not to talk about it.
Point de Bascule spent the last few days at finding an answer to Mario Dumont’s legitimate question. Who is pulling the strings behind this Aboubakerseddik Mosque on Jean-Talon Street that receives commissions from companies like Olymel, that get their chickens halal certified, as we have learned on March 13?
Here are the main conclusions that we can draw at this time:
Before having been able to analyse all legal implications related to the halal issue, Point de Bascule would like to make two proposals as a starter:
1. The mosque is part of a cultural centre. The centre also acts as an organization providing halal certification under a different name. We are dealing with one enterprise involved in two activities: management of recreation and culture and meat inspection. 2. The certification agency is controlled by the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC), the main Muslim Brotherhood organization in Canada. MAC owns the building where the certification agency and the cultural centre are based and the administrators of the certification agency are former MAC directors or they have publicly endorsed MAC’s positions in the past. 3. For the last ten years, MAC has been an important contributor to IRFAN-Canada, the Hamas fund collector in the country. Hamas is involved in a program aiming not only at the elimination of the state of Israel but also at the destruction of Western civilization. In a speech given on October 2011, its leader Mahmoud Al-Zahhar stated that “This (Western) civilization will not be able to withstand the great and glorious Islam.” The Canada Revenue Agency revoked IRFAN-Canada’s charity status in April 2011 after having concluded that it financed the terrorist organization Hamas. 4. MAC’s halal program is part of a global Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy. In 2010 in Islamabad, a leader of the Islamist organization, the mufti of Bosnia, Mustafa Ceric, urged Muslims “to conquer the world through Halal movement.”
It would be beneficial that private certification agencies be set up to guaranty that the products that they approve come from animals who have been desensitized before being slaughtered and that no profit coming from the sale of their certified products will go to the financing of Islamic jihad…Hmmm......Turkey wants to become the World Center for Halal food .Read the full story here.
1. All products for which commissions are being paid to imams for halal certification should be properly identified. 2. No public money should be spent to buy products that will be served in schools, in daycare centres, in military bases, in prisons and in other public institutions if these products have been certified by imams who belong to organizations that received money or gave money to terrorist organizations’ fund collectors or if they are involved in a project aiming at destroying Western civilization from within.
Topless Femen Protesters Climb St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev.(RaiNovosti).Activists from the Ukrainian feminist group Femen brought their barebreasted protest movement back to Kiev by occupying the Bell Tower of the St. Sophia Cathedral in order to denounce a draft law banning abortion. Once the five protesters climbed to the top of the tower, they stripped to the waist, unfurled a seven-meter black banner with a one-word message - "STOP" - and rang the bell. “The ringing is an alarm to this eternal city of the gangster conspiracy of church and state that aims to impose government control over the sacred feminine gift of procreation," Femen said on Twitter. The Ukrainian feminists last held a topless demonstration earlier this winter in Moscow outside the Christ the Savior Cathedral. Their demand at that protest was: “God, get rid of the Tsar!”Read and see (Video) the full story here.
Iran claims arrest of Israel-linked ‘terror and sabotage’ group.(AlArabiya).Iran’s intelligence ministry said it has broken an Israeli-linked “terror and sabotage” network which had its headquarters in an unspecified nearby country, media reports said on Tuesday. “One of the Zionist regime’s biggest terror and sabotage networks and some of its agents have been identified. A group of criminal terrorists and mercenaries cooperating with them has been arrested,” the ministry said in a statement picked up by the Iranian outlets. “A number of the operatives were arrested as they were preparing to carry out a terrorist operation,” it said. “Heavy bombs,” machineguns, pistols, silencers, military communications gear and “other terrorist equipment” were seized in operations “in border and central provinces” inside Iran, the ministry said without being specific. The operations led to “identifying the Zionists’ regional headquarters in one of the regional countries,” it said, without naming the country concerned. The semi-official Fars news agency said the suspects were arrested “while preparing to carry out terrorist acts”, adding that a considerable number of bombs, machine guns, military and communication equipment were seized.Read the full story here.
Iran plans to unplug the Internet, launch its own "Halal" alternative.(AT).Iran topped a recent list of repressive regimes that most aggressively restrict Internet freedom. The list, published by Reporters Without Borders, is a part of the 2012 edition of the organization’s Enemies of the Internet report. One of the details addressed in that report is the Iranian government’s bizarre plan to create its own “clean” Internet. The proposed system, an insular nation-wide intranet that is reportedly isolated from the regular Internet, would be heavily regulated by the government. Reporters Without Borders drew attention to Iran’s national Internet plan when it was first proposed in 2011. The organization says that the system "consists of an Intranet designed ultimately to replace the international Internet and to discriminate between ordinary citizens and the 'elite' (banks, ministries and big companies), which will continue to have access to the international Internet." In addition to developing its own Intranet system, Reporters Without Borders says that the Iranian government is also creating its own custom electronic mail service and a national search engine called Ya Haq (Oh Just One) that is intended to replace Google. In order to obtain an account on the state-approved mail service, users will have to register their identity with the government. According to an article published by Fast Company in February, Iran's national Internet system represents one of the "most ambitious effort[s] yet by any government to censor the Internet." The content available over the national network will be tightly controlled. It will block access to foreign websites and services for communicating with the outside world. The Iranian government has steadily increased the intensity of its Internet censorship efforts. It's a response to the increasingly important role that the Internet has played in enabling political dissent and unencumbered communication. The supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, recently established a Supreme Council of Cyberspace to regulate Iran’s new Internet. Cleric Hamid Shahriari, who is a member of the council, said the group was “worried about a portion of cyberspace that is used for exchanging information and conducting espionage,” according to an article published last month by the Wall Street Journal.Recent reports that claimed the Iranian government will deploy the network within five months are said to be inaccurate. According to AFP, reports of an August launch date were likely based on a hoax and have since been denied by government officials. The actual timeline for the launch is still unknown.Read the full story here.
Woman in burqa and two accomplices kill 10 in suicide attack in Afghanistan.(DailyMail).A suicide bomber led police on a chase in the middle of rush-hour traffic before blowing the vehicle up outside a government building in Afghanistan this morning. The blast outside a government office, in Herat province, has killed at least 10 people and wounded nearly 30 others. The explosion seemed aimed at killing people waiting at the gate of a district headquarters building, as people were waiting to go inside to see government officials about various business matters. Two men and a woman wearing a burqa were found dead inside the vehicle, but officials could not say which of the three occupants detonated the explosives.Raouf Ahmedi, a spokesman for the police commander of the western region of Afghanistan, said police in the area had received a tip that the black four-wheel-drive vehicle was loaded with explosives. Ahmedi said: 'They were chasing the car and tried to stop it. 'The vehicle then turned toward the district headquarters building and tried to pass the checkpoint, but police stopped them to be searched and asked where they were going.' Moments later the vehicle exploded, causing a loud boom that could be heard a few miles away. Ahmedi said 10 people were killed - three policemen who were guarding the district building and seven civilians. He said twenty-seven others were wounded, including children.Nasar Ahmad Popul, the chief of the province's Guzara district who was inside the headquarters at the time of the blast, said: 'The explosion was so strong - there are casualties among police and civilians.' The Afghan Ministry of Interior said 11 people were killed and 22 were wounded. Different casualty tolls are common in the immediate aftermath of big bombings. Barriers at the blast site were blackened and investigators examined charred remains of what was left of the vehicle. Read the full story here, warning contains graphic images.
Video - Inside the prison 'home' where Osama bin Laden's wives, children and grandchildren are hidden away .
For nearly a year they have been locked up from the world, their lives and fates a mystery to the world. Since Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy Seals last May, his widows, children and grandchildren have been kept in a secure home while Pakistan decides their fate. Now the Al Arabiya television network has obtained footage from inside their 'guest house' in Islamabad. Inside, we see domestic scenes, as toddlers and children play with teddy bears and cricket bats, while the three widows of the former terrorist leader look on or read the Koran. But the boarded-up windows and a heavy armed presence outside indicate that while the place may serve as a home for the occupants, it is certainly a prison.Read and see the full story here.
Terror suspect, Abu Hamza, can be extradited to the U.S.(AlArabiya).Europe’s human rights court has ruled that it would be legal for Britain to extradite an Egyptian-born radical Islamist cleric and five other terror suspects to the United States. The European Court of Human Rights ruling Tuesday in the cases of Mustafa Kamal Mustafa — also known as Abu Hamza al-Masri — and five others centered on tough U.S. detention policies. The court found “there would be no violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights” if the six were extradited, but allowed a three-month stay for an appeal. Masri, a one-eyed, hook-handed hardliner, is wanted in the United States for a raft of alleged terrorist offenses, including trying to set up an al-Qaeda training camp in rural Oregon. He is currently serving seven years in prison at Britain’s Belmarsh prison. The hook-handed preacher Abu Hamza and the other suspects could be sent to the U.S. to face trial after they lost today their appeals against extradition. Egyptian-born Abu Hamza is wanted in America on 11 charges including taking 16 hostages in Yemen in 1998, promoting violent jihad in Afghanistan in 2001 and conspiring to set up a jihad training camp. Hamza was jailed for seven years in February 2006 for preaching hate and inciting murder at Finsbury Park Mosque in North London. His sentence has now been served but he could face life sentence behind bars in the U.S.. Abu Hamza was granted British citizenship in 1986. The American authorities have described him as a “terrorist facilitator with a global reach”. Read the full story here.
Israel braces for another 'flytilla'.(YNet).Is a second fly-in underway? Hundreds, possibly thousands, of foreign pro-Palestinian activists are set to arrive in Israel via the Ben Gurion International Airport on Sunday ahead of trip to Palestinian Authority. The measure is perceived as having volatile potential, and police sources said Monday that security forces are gearing to stop the activists at the airport should they cause a public disturbance – something authorities believe is very likely.The "flytilla," titled the "Welcome to Palestine 2012" campaign, is expected to consist of activists from the United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand who plan to go to Bethlehem, before travelling to other Palestinian cities.
Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, who will coordinate the government's efforts vis-à-vis the fly-in, has already held several meetings on the matter, as well as a survey of the airport.Aharonovitch's team consists of officials from the police, the Immigration authority, the Israel Aviation Authority and various other branches in the defense establishment. Sunday, which will see the end of the Passover break in Israel, is considered one of the busiest days in Ben Gurion Airport. Aharonovitch stressed that airport security, which will be reinforced, has been instructed to exercise restraint while maintaining order.
Israel's efforts to stop the first "flytilla," in July 2011, were somewhat successful, as many European nations stopped the activists from boarding their flights. Jerusalem sources said that those who will arrive in Israel will not be granted entry and will be deported.The fly-in's organizers said that unlike last year, European airlines are not expected to blacklist activists. Dr. Mazin Qumsieh, one of the organizers, said that some 1,500 people are expected to arrive in Israel as part of the "flytilla," adding that some may arrive before Sunday."The airlines won't obey an Israeli demand to blacklist activists this time… After last year's events, some groups sued the airlines.
"I don't know how Israel plans to deal with this, but what would it look like of it deports 1,500 people?" he said. Qumsieh stressed that the activists have been instructed to tell the truth about their reason for traveling to Israel. The Palestinian Authority, he added, is aware that even if the activists arrive in Israel – they will be promptly deported. The Palestinians are aware of the fact the regardless of the fly-in's end result, they are likely to have the upper hand – PR wise.But Qumsieh insisted that is not the "flytilla's" goal: "We're not trying to make Israel look bad. I want Israel to let them in. "Israel shouldn’t isolate us from the international community," he concluded. "I hope Israel does the right thing." Hmmm.....Israel should let them in and then put them promtly on a no - fly list, let them enjoy Palestinian 'hospitality'.Read the full story here.