Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Overnight Music Video - My Girl - The Temptations

Video - Prime Minister Netanyahu: 'We know what Iran is doing'



More here @ IsraelMatzav.

Russia's military leadership Concedes Iran, N. Korea Nuclear Threat.



Russia's military leadership Concedes Iran, N. Korea Nuclear Threat.(RN).Moscow  - Russia's military leadership has for the first time acknowledged a nuclear threat from Iran and North Korea. “The threat is always there, so we closely monitor the nuclear program developments of many countries," Army General Nikolai Makarov, the chief of the General Staff, told RT television. "The analysis that we conducted together with the Americans confirms that, yes, there is a probability that the threat exists. And we agreed that it is necessary to create a missile defense system,” Makarov said. The Russian Defense Ministry has previously held that there is no nuclear threat to Europe and Russia from Iran and North Korea, because they do not have the capacity to build nuclear weapons or deliver them. “Many countries that claim not to possess nuclear weapons do in fact have them,” Makarov said. “Certainly, if it gets into the hands of extremists, it represents a threat to international security,” Makarov said. He added that in order to counter these threats, Russia is ready to work together with other countries. “Let's solve this problem. Let us work together to get rid of the threats that may arise, not only for Europe but for Russia because we too are part of Europe,” the general said. North Korea has conducted two underground nuclear weapon tests, in 2006 and 2009. Earlier in April South Korean media reported that intelligence indicated North Korea was preparing a third in a row underground nuclear test. The information was based on satellite photographs of North Korean test site, where underground nuclear test had been previously conducted. U.S. and other Western countries suspect Iran of developing nuclear weapons under the guise of peaceful nuclear energy program. Tehran denies the charges, saying its nuclear program is aimed at meeting the country's electricity needs.Read the full story here.

Obama Justice Department Tries To Seize Control Of Public Records Arbitration







Obama INJustice Department Tries To Seize Control Of Public Records Arbitration.(JW).In a dangerous power grab that will jeopardize government transparency, the Obama Justice Department wants to redefine federal public record law so that it becomes the sole arbiter in disputes between agencies and individuals who submit requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The unprecedented move would give the Department of Justice (DOJ), an extension of the executive branch, scary authority to determine if and how public records are disseminated throughout government. It would also strip those duties from the agency— Office of Government Information Services (OGIS)—that was created by Congress as a neutral party to mediate FOIA disputes and assure compliance among all federal agencies.
This is not the sort of story you’ll see in the mainstream media since, not surprisingly, the Obama Administration is keeping it under the radar. However, Judicial Watch has obtained an inside congressional document outlining the DOJ’s unscrupulous plot to become FOIA ombudsman. It comes from one of the most influential and powerful chambers in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
In a letter addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder, the California congressman who chairs the Oversight and Government Reform Committee (Darrell Issa) says the proposed modification will have a negative impact on government transparency. The letter also requests documents involving efforts to modify OGIS’s statutorily established FOIA dispute resolution authority by shifting the duties to the DOJ. Holder has until this week to comply with the committee’s request.
The House investigative committee also reminds Holder that the DOJ’s proposal to become the referee for public records disputes clearly contradicts Congress’s intent and is an apparent contravention of FOIA law. “DOJ has important but limited statutory responsibilities concerning the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA),” the letter says.
“These responsibilities include making information about agency FOIA programs publicly available; issuing recommendations and guidelines to agency FOIA offices, and encouraging agency FOIA compliance. DOJ’s responsibilities under FOIA, however, do not include offering dispute resolution services between agencies and FOIA requesters.”
Congress created the OGIS more than four years ago as a crucial neutral party that offers a range of mediation services to resolve public records disputes and to assure government-wide compliance. The agency, which is headquartered at the U.S. National Archives, has had tremendous success, directly helping resolve more than 1,200 FOIA disputes from virtually every state. No wonder Issa asks Holder to “reconsider the proposed modification and comply with current law.”Hmmmm..........“Withholding information is the essence of tyranny. Control of the flow of information is the tool of the dictatorship.” ~ Bruce Coville.Read the full story here.

German state says will republish Hitler's 'Mein Kampf'



German state says will republish Hitler's 'Mein Kampf'.(HD).The German state which owns the rights to Adolf Hitler's manifesto "Mein Kampf" said Tuesday it would release an annotated version 70 years after the Nazi dictator's suicide. After winning a court battle last month against a British publisher who planned to publish parts of the anti-Semitic book alongside commentary from historians, Bavaria said it would put out its own edition by 2015. State Finance Minister Markus Soeder told German news agency DPA the decision was taken after round-table talks with advocates and opponents of the move, and said it was aimed at "demystifying" the pages drenched in hatred and paranoid fantasy. "We want to make clear what nonsense is in there, however with catastrophic consequences," Soeder said of the book on which much of the Nazis' genocidal policies were based. He said the state aimed with the release to already make future publication as "commercially unattractive" as possible. In addition to the annotated book, the state also plans to put out an edition for schools that encourages a critical approach to the work. Holocaust survivors and their families have expressed fears that neo-Nazis could seize upon the book as propaganda.A court in the state capital Munich ruled in March that British publisher Peter McGee would violate Bavaria's copyright on the work if he went ahead with plans to sell excerpts with explanations and commentary on German newsstands. McGee has vowed to appeal the decision. Hitler wrote "Mein Kampf" ("My Struggle"), in 1924 while languishing in a Bavarian prison, and combined elements of autobiography with his views on Aryan "racial purity", his hatred of Jews and his opposition to communism. Millions of copies were distributed before his death in 1945. It is not banned as such in Germany but since the end of World War II, Bavaria -- which holds the rights until the end of 2015 -- has not permitted reprints. From 2016, third parties will be able to release copies of the work without obtaining permission from the state "unless it is used to incite racial hatred," Soeder said.Read the full story here.

Obama's "responsibility to protect" doctrine gives birth to the 'Atrocities Prevention Board'.



Obama's "responsibility to protect" doctrine gives birth to the 'Atrocities Prevention Board'.(GC).   For Immediate Release 20 April 2012.
GLOBAL CENTRE FOR R2P APPLAUDS PRES. OBAMA’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF ATROCITIES PREVENTION BOARD

On Monday, April 23, President Obama is expected to announce the official launch of the Atrocities Prevention Board (APB), which stems from the President’s 2011 study directive on mass atrocity prevention. The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect welcomes this announcement as a key step in strengthening the U.S. government’s capacity to respond to genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing. “With mass atrocity crimes occurring in Syria, Sudan, DR Congo and elsewhere, President Obama has displayed that the U.S. is prepared to be a global leader when it comes to upholding the Responsibility to Protect,” said Dr. Simon Adams, Executive Director. “The APB should be an institutional antidote to inaction and indifference in the face of conscience shocking crimes, wherever they may occur in the world.” “The formation of the APB sends a strong signal that preventing mass atrocity crimes is a core commitment for the United States government. We believe that the APB, working with the international community, can save lives. This is a historic moment in the struggle against mass atrocity crimes.” The Global Centre anticipates that the recommendations laid out by the APB will encourage other states to implement similar measures to strengthen their capacities to respond to the world’s mass atrocity crimes. In particular it calls upon states to appoint a high-level government official as a Focal Point representative, an initiative launched by the Global Centre in partnership with the governments of Denmark, Ghana, Costa Rica and Australia in an effort to institutionalize the Responsibility to Protect at the national level. Thirteen states have named Focal Points to date.Read the full story here.

Obama’s initiative grew out of a presidential directive last year that the US consider prevention of mass atrocities and genocide “a core national security interest and core moral responsibility” of the 21st century, Rice said.


The new board will be chaired by Samantha Powers, the National Security Council senior director for multilateral and humanitarian affairs and another interventionist hawk.Who proposed invading Israel!


And some experts say Obama’s directive targeting the perpetrators of mass atrocities who use new technologies – as well as the suppliers of those technologies to the violators – has particular promise.Hmmmm............Expect a lot of "Kinetic Military Action"......Goodbye Congress let the GLOBAL CENTRE FOR R2P and the Atrocities Prevention Board decide where to send the drones and declare War!Read the full story here.



video - Canuck Builds Beautiful (Outlaw) Treehouse on Crown land.





I'm just going to come out and say it. I tried to retire at the age of 26 and failed. What does this have to do with the treehouse? Well, my attempt at retirement seems to be the critical link between my former career as a software developer, and my new career as a carpenter.So there I was, a bourgeoning carpenter, living out of my car, and heading off in an exciting new direction.Read the Full story here.

Muslim sub-sect known as the Dawoodi Bohra continues to believe that the removal of the clitoris is the will of God.

Muslim women from Bohra community walks past a shop selling pictures of their religious leaders,
       outside a mosque in Mumbai - AFP

Muslim sub-sect known as the Dawoodi Bohra continues to believe that the removal of the clitoris is the will of God.(Yahoo).Eleven years ago, Farida Bano was circumcised by an aunt on a bunk bed in her family home at the end of her 10th birthday party. The mutilation occurred not in Africa, where the practice is most prevalent, but in India where a small Muslim sub-sect known as the Dawoodi Bohra continues to believe that the removal of the clitoris is the will of God. "We claim to be modern and different from other Muslim sects. We are different but not modern," Bano, a 21-year-old law graduate who is angry about what was done to her, told AFP in New Delhi.
She vividly remembers the moment in the party when the aunt pounced with a razor blade and a pack of cotton wool. The Bohra brand of Islam is followed by 1.2 million people worldwide and is a sect of Shia Islam that originated in Yemen. While the sect bars other Muslims from its mosques, it sees itself as more liberal, treating men and women equally in matters of education and marriage. The community's insistence on "Khatna" (the excision of the clitoris) also sets it apart from others on the subcontinent. "If other Muslims are not doing it then why are we following it?" Bano says. For generations, few women in the tightly-knit community have spoken out in opposition, fearing that to air their grievances would be seen as an act of revolt frowned upon by their elders.
But an online campaign is now encouraging them to join hands to bury the custom. The anti-Khatna movement gained momentum after Tasneem, a Bohra woman who goes by one name, posted an online petition at the social action platform Change.org in November last year. She requested their religious leader, the 101-year-old Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, ban female genital mutilation, the consequences of which afflict 140 million women worldwide according to the World Health Organisation. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin is the 52nd Dai-al Mutalaq (absolute missionary) of the community and has sole authority to decide on all spiritual and temporal matters. Every member of the sect takes an oath of allegiance to the leader, who lives in western city of Mumbai.
When contacted by AFP, Burhanuddin's spokesman, Qureshi Raghib, ruled out any change and said he had no interest in talking about the issue. "I have heard about the online campaign but Bohra women should understand that our religion advocates the procedure and they should follow it without any argument," he said. But over 1,600 Bohra Muslim women have since signed the online petition. Many describe the pain they experienced after the procedure and urge their leader to impose a ban. "The main motive behind Khatna is that women should never enjoy sexual intercourse. We are supposed to be like dolls for men," 34-year-old Tabassum Murtaza, who lives in the western city of Surat, told AFP by telephone.
The World Health Organisation has campaigned against the practice, saying it exposes millions of girls to dangers ranging from infections, hemorrhaging, complicated child-birth, or hepatitis from unsterilised tools. In the Middle East, it is still practised in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan and Syria. "It is an atrocity committed under the cloak of religion," says Murtaza, who along with her husband was asked to leave their family home when they refused to get their daughter circumcised.
"My mother-in-law said there was no room for religious disobedience and we should move out if we cannot respect the custom," she explained. "It is better to live on the street than humiliate your daughter's body."
Asghar Ali Engineer, a Bohra Muslim and expert on Islamic jurisprudence, has known the dangers of fighting for reform. He has authored over 40 books proposing changes, particularly around the status of women, and has been attacked by hardliners inside a mosque in Egypt and had his house trashed by opponents. While both France and the United States have laws enabling the prosecution of immigrants who perform female circumcisions, the practice remains legal in India and Engineer expects this to remain the case. "Female circumcision is clearly a violation of human rights, the Indian government refuses to recognise it as a crime because the practice has full-fledged religious backing," he said. "No government has the courage to touch a religious issue in India even if the practice is a crime against humanity." He says many fathers are simply unaware of the damage they are doing by following the custom. "I prevented my wife from getting our daughters circumcised but in many cases even fathers are not aware of the pain their daughters experience," he says.Read the full story here.

"There She Blows!" - The Muslim Brotherhood in America comes online.

"There She Blows!" - The Muslim Brotherhood in America comes online.(MuslimbrotherhoodInAmerica).A Course in 10 Parts by Frank Gaffney.





Muslim Brotherhood in America, Part 1: The Threat Doctrine of Shariah and the Muslim Brotherhood.See the full serie here.



Russia to Draft New Defense Industry Concept by Year end



Russia to Draft New Defense Industry Concept by Year end.(RN).Russia will draft a new concept for the development of its defense industry that reflects existing and potential threats to its national security by the end of 2012, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Tuesday. His satement was earlier misinterpreted by reporters as an announcement of plans to draft a new military doctrine. “It will be a document on strategic planning for 30-40 years ahead,” Rogozin clarified in his Twitter blog. The new concept will take into account “the analysis of potential threats, internal and external, and the preparation of a military-technical response to localize and neutralize these threats.” “Work on the new concept will start in mid-May,” Rogozin said. The announcement comes at a time when Moscow is searching for ways to counter the so-called European missile shield, NATO’s expansion toward Russia’s borders, terrorism and drug-trafficking. It has been only two years since Russian President Dmitry Medvedev approved the country's new military doctrine, which allows preventive nuclear strikes against potential aggressors and the use of military force to protect the lives and interests of Russian citizens abroad. The Russian military has insisted on the strengthening of Russia’s nuclear deterrent as the cornerstone of strategic stability, while maintaining highly-efficient, mobile conventional forces. The Russian government has allocated 22 trillion rubles ($730 billion) on the state arms procurement program until 2020.Read the full story here.More here.


On Armenian Remembrance Day, Obama Again Avoids the Word ‘Genocide’ Can't upset BFF Erdogan ...can't we?





On Armenian Remembrance Day, Obama Again Avoids the Word ‘Genocide’ Can't upset BFF Erdogan ...can't we?(ABC).By Jake Tapper.On the fourth Armenian Remembrance Day of his presidency, President Obama has for the fourth time in a row broken his promise to the Armenian community to use the word “genocide” in describing what happened at the hands of the Turks roughly a century ago. As a senator, and then as a presidential candidate, Barack Obama often talked about how bold he was to call the slaughter of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire just what it was: a genocide. “America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides,” he said. “I intend to be that president.” In a January 2008 letter to the Armenian Reporter, Mr. Obama said he shared “with Armenian Americans — so many of whom are descended from genocide survivors — a principled commitment to commemorating and ending genocide. That starts with acknowledging the tragic instances of genocide in world history.”
In a statement, Ken Hachikian, the chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America said, “President Obama today completed his surrender to Turkey, shamefully outsourcing U.S. human rights policy to a foreign state, and tightening Ankara’s gag on American recognition of the Armenian Genocide. The President’s capitulation to Turkey – on this, the last April 24th of his term – represents the very opposite of the principled and honest change he promised to Armenian Americans and to all the citizens of our nation. President Obama’s pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide stands today as a stark lie, a painful promise etched on the hearts of all who had hoped and worked for change, but who, today, have been betrayed by a politician who failed to live up to his own words.” In 2006, Mr. Obama noted, “I criticized the secretary of state [Condoleezza Rice] for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, after he properly used the term ‘genocide’ to describe Turkey’s slaughter of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915. I shared with Secretary Rice my firmly held conviction that the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence.” Asserted Mr. Obama, back then: “The facts are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy.” That was then, this is now. As previous presidents have concluded, Mr. Obama has decided that distorting the historical facts is better than alienating ally Turkey, which disputes that term. And that policy has been, at least in the short term, quite tenable.Hmmmm.......Erdogan: "Muslims don't commit Genocide" - Obama: "“We will hold sacred the beliefs held sacred by others.”.Read the full story here.

President Obama tries to re-seduce youth vote.



President Obama tries to re-seduce youth vote.(TheHill).President Obama is making a concerted effort to recapture the support of young voters who have grown skeptical of his administration. Obama will visit three college campuses in swing states this week, where he’ll try to appeal to young voters by urging Congress to pass legislation to prevent interest rates on subsidized student loans from doubling to 6.8 percent this summer. He’ll appear at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Iowa, where he’ll make his student loan pitch before large audiences of the country’s youngest voters. All three states were in Obama’s column in 2008. Before leaving Chapel Hill on Tuesday, the president will aim for an even larger audience of young voters when he appears on NBC’s “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.” Obama’s campus tour comes as recent polls indicate that he might have lost some of the “magic dust” one former administration official says he carried in 2008. The campaign “needs the youth vote now more than ever,” said one former senior administration official. “While we know support is still strong, we’re not taking anything for granted.” Senior administration officials backed that premise on Monday by saying that winning over younger voters, in what they think will be a close election, is going to be difficult. At the same time, the officials said they believed they will have the winning recipe when voters hit the polls in November — especially because of their economic message. The falling poll numbers come as data compiled by The Associated Press show that 53 percent of college graduates are unemployed or currently have a job that doesn’t meet their qualifications. Romney trumpeted those figures Monday during a campaign stop, saying that young people are “questioning” the support they gave Obama in 2008. “I saw a report this morning that just about half of all the kids coming out of college can’t find work or are underemployed,” he said in Pennsylvania. “Can you imagine?” Obama, who missed two votes on the legislation when he was a senator in 2007, wants to use the prospect of higher student loans as a wedge issue against Romney. Under existing law, legislation that keeps interest rates on federally subsidized student loans at 3.4 percent will expire in July, causing interest rates to double for 7 million students. Obama is urging Congress to extend the low rates by way of legislation.Hmmmm.........You can fool some of the people......You know the rest.Read the full story here.

Iran Planning to Create "Persian Gulf" Province.

                                                           Enlarged view here.

Iran Planning to Create "Persian Gulf" Province.(Fars).Tehran - Iranian parliamentarians plan to introduce a bill for the creation of a new province and tourist resort to be called the "Persian Gulf" province with Abu Musa Island as its capital. "A decision has been made to create the tourism and culture province of the Persian Gulf with Abu Musa as its capital," member of the parliament's Councils and Interior Policy Commission Vali Esmayeeli told FNA on Monday. He said that based on the bill, the fake name of the Iranian island, Abu Musa, will be changed to "Bu Musa" because "Boum" (in Persian) means Place and "Musa" is the name of that region. Esmayeeli underlined that the decision to prepare the bill was taken after the UAE officials uttered some "gibberish words" on the ownership of the Iranian Island of Abu Musa in the Persian Gulf. The UAE which says it does not accept international treaties and agreements about the ownership of Abu Musa Island, recently called its ambassador from Tehran after Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited the Island earlier this month. Also, on April 13, the foreign ministers of the six-nation Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) held an emergency meeting in Doha and issued a statement against the Iranian President's visit to the Iranian island. In reply, Iran said that the visit was an internal issue only related to Iran's state sovereignty. International documents clearly show that the three islands of the Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa which were historically owned by Iran, temporarily fell to British control in 1903. The islands were returned to Iran based on an agreement in 1971 before the UAE was born. Iran has repeatedly declared that its ownership of the three islands is unquestionable. Under international law, no state can defy any agreement, which came into being before its establishment.Read the full story here.

Thanks to Obama's policies Saudis Profit on US Refining.



Thanks to Obama's policies Saudis Profit on US Refining.(Minyanville).Within a Month, joint venture of Saudi Refining, Inc. and Shell Will Be the Largest in the US.While US Northeast refineries such as ConocoPhillips’ (COP) Trainer as well as Sunoco’s (SUN) Girard Point and Marcus Hook are on the verge of shutting down if a buyer is not found, the historic Port Arthur refinery near Sabine Lake in East Texas is about to complete a massive expansion. Continually improving exploration and production technology will allow for significantly greater oil recovery from the Eagle Ford shale and Permian Basin in Texas – aggregate flow from these regions is expected to multiply several times over within the next few years. Increased flow from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and Athabasca Oil Sands near Alberta, along with the reversal of Enbridge (ENB) and Enterprise Products Partners’ (EPD) Seaway Pipeline, will also add to the vast quantity of oil moving toward Gulf Coast refineries such as Port Arthur. After the Port Arthur project is completed within the next month, the 110-year-old facility’s throughput capacity is expected to more than double to 600,000 barrels per day (“bpd”). It will rank as the largest in the United States (measured by operable capacity) and among the top 10 in the world. Following expansion, it will surpass the largest US refinery, ExxonMobil’s (XOM) Baytown, by approximately 40,000 barrels. The Port Arthur refinery currently handles 285,000 bpd and is the 15th largest in the country. For the sake of scale, the world’s largest is Reliance Industry’s 1.24 million bpd facility located in Jamnagar, Gujarat, India. The operation is owned by Motiva Enterprises, a joint venture of Saudi Refining, Inc. and Shell (RDS.A). Each entity owns a 50% share of the JV. Saudi Refining is a subsidiary of the Saudi Arabian national oil company, Saudi Aramco.Hmmmm.......Obama: "All the Choices We've Made Have Been the Right Ones".Read the full story here.

Video - North Korea issues "special action" threat against South Korea.







North Korea issues "special action" threat against South Korea.(Yahoo).North Korea's military vowed a new and unusually specific threat to its neighbors, saying it would reduce South Korea "to ashes" in less than four minutes.
The statement, released Monday when programming was interrupted on North Korea's state TV by a special report, comes amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Earlier this month, North Korea was unsuccessful in a long-range missile launch, prompting worries that North Korea may conduct another nuclear test. South Korean officials say new satellite images show that North Korea has been digging a tunnel in what appears to be preparation for a third atomic test.
According to the Associated Press, the statement from North Korea was unusual in promising something soon and in describing a specific period of time.
The North Korean military threatened to "reduce all the rat-like groups and the bases for provocations to ashes in three or four minutes, (or) in much shorter time, by unprecedented peculiar means and methods of our own style."
For months the North has castigated South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and the conservative administration for insulting their leadership and criticizing a new cruise missile capable of striking anywhere in the south.
South Korean officials responded, urging North Korea to end the threats. "We urge North Korea to immediately stop this practice," Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk said, according to the Associated Press. "We express deep concern that the North's threats and accusations have worsened inter-Korean ties and heightened tensions."
Meanwhile, in a meeting Sunday with a North Korean delegation in Beijing, China's senior official on foreign policy praised the leadership shown by North Korea's new young leader, Kim Jong Un.
The meeting follows the April 13 launch of what the United States called a disguised ballistic missile test by North Korea. The rocket disintegrated minutes after launch.Read the full story here.

Saudi Arabia - Girls ready for marriage at 12 - Saudi Grand Mufti.



Saudi Arabia - Girls ready for marriage at 12 - Saudi Grand Mufti.(AB).The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has reportedly voiced his support for the marriage of under-age females in the kingdom, while condemning those who seek to raise the legal marriage age. A girl is ready to marry at 10 or 12 years of age according to Islam, London-based Al Hayat reported Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al Sheikh as saying, adding that Islamic law is not repressive to women. "Those who call for raising the age of marriage to 25 are absolutely mistaken,"Al Sheikh said in a lecture at the faculty of Imam Mohamed bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh. He added: "Our mothers and grandmothers got married when they were barely 12. Good upbringing makes a girl ready to perform all marital duties at that age." The Grand Mufti’s statement came following discussions by the Justice Ministry to set a minimum age for marriage. The conservative Kingdom is facing strong pressure to raise the minimum age for marriage, following international criticism of cases involving children forced into wedlock with older men. In 2010, for instance, the Saudi Human Rights Commission, a government affiliated group, hired a lawyer to help a 12-year old girl divorce her 80-year old husband.Hmmmm.......Perhaps call "Apostasy Amnesty International"?Read the full story here.

Armenia Marks Genocide Day.



Armenia Marks Genocide Day.(RN).Armenians paid tribute on Tuesday to some 1.5 million victims of the genocide by the Ottoman Empire in 1915-23. Tens of thousands of people made their annual pilgrimage to the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan in commemoration of the innocent victims of mass killings and deportations, the ArmeniaNow portal reported. Representatives of Armenian political forces took a break from the ongoing parliamentary election race to join in the national day of mourning for the 97th annual commemoration of what was the first Genocide of the 20th century. “Today we, just as many, many others all over the world, bow to the memory of the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide,” President Serzh Sargsyan said in his address to the nation. The Turkish genocide in Armenia was first recognized by Uruguay in 1965. Many countries, including Russia, have since followed suit. The Ottoman Empire persecuted Armenians in the late 19th-early 20th centuries, allegedly massacring 1.5 million of them in 1915. Turkey, which has sought EU membership, denies the genocide accusations and bristles at any Western criticism on the issue. Russia passed a resolution condemning the Armenian genocide in 1995.Hmmm......Erdogan:"Muslims don't commit Genocide".Read the full story here, more on the Armenian genocide here.

Video - “Dog Eater”.






 HT: MerryPoppins.

Obama's come-uppance from Elie Wiesel during self-serving visit to Holocaust Museum



Obama's come-uppance from Elie Wiesel during self-serving visit to Holocaust Museum.(AT).During the last three years, President Obama did not visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. But today, he did; and promptly gave a self-serving campaign speech for Jewish votes. "I will always be there for Israel," he told the audience at a Holocaust Memorial Remembrance Day event. Invoking "Never Again" several times, he recalled how he also stood with survivors in the Warsaw Ghetto, then added: "So when efforts are made to equate Zionism to racism, we reject them. When international fora single out Israel with unfair resolutions, we vote against them. When attempts are made to delegitimize the State of Israel, we oppose them. When faced with a regime that threatens global security and denies the Holocaust and threatens to destroy Israel, the United States will do everything in our power to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon." The president had with him as escort and introducer Elie Wiesel and lavishly praised the Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor for his unrelenting campaign to keep the memory of the Holocaust front and center. But Wiesel did not reciprocate. Instead, determined to tell truth to power, he admonished Obama for not doing nearly enough to confront Assad's atrocities in Syria and Iranian President Ahmadinejad's development of nuclear weapons and threats to wipe Israel off the map. In introducing Obama, Wiesel asked why "world leaders," presumably including Obama, have not "learned anything" from the Holocaust. "How is it that Assad is still in power?" Wiesel asked. "How is it that the Holocaust's No. 1 denier is still a president? He who threatens to use nuclear weapons - to use nuclear weapons - to destroy the Jewish state. We must know that when evil has power, it is almost too late." Directly addressing Obama, Wiesel declared: "Mr. President, we are here in this place of memory. Israel cannot not remember. And because it remembers, it must be strong, just to defend its own survival and its own destiny." Clearly, Wiesel was not exactly encouraged by Obama's remarks.Hmmm....Actions speak louder than words:"Obama Selects Woman Who Wanted to Invade Israel As Chair of Genocide Panel".Read the full story here.


Iran Cmdr: "Persian Gulf missile will spoil enemy tactics."




Iran Cmdr: "Persian Gulf missile will spoil enemy tactics."(PTV).Iran’s indigenous Persian Gulf missile enjoys a unique design which is capable of rendering enemy tactics ineffective, says the naval commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). “The Persian Gulf missile functions differently compared to the common trend and can alter the equations that the enemy counts on,” Fars news agency quoted Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi as saying on Monday. In early 2011, Iran started the mass-production of the anti-ship missile which is designed to destroy targets and hostile forces at sea. The supersonic projectile, which carries a 650-kilogram warhead, is immune to interception and features high-precision systems. Rear Admiral Fadavi made a reference to the expertise of the IRGC specialists in overhauling missile systems and vessels, and pointed out that the force’s ‘extensive’ technical know-how has enabled Iran to manufacture such systems domestically. He also noted that Iran possesses the technology to launch superfast anti-submarine rockets which can travel at the speed of 100 meters per second under water, making the country second only to Russia in possessing the technology. The Iranian commander added that the US has not developed such subsonic underwater weapons despite spending more than USD 20 billion over 15 years to achieve the know-how. The remarks came two days after the IRGC added the domestically-designed and manufactured Tondar-class vessel to its naval fleet in Persian Gulf.Read the full story here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Overnight Music video - Box Tops - The Letter

Egypt’s military leader Field Marshal Muhammad Hussein Tantawi responds to Lieberman with threat of violence.


                                                                   "NUTS"

Egypt’s military leader Field Marshal Muhammad Hussein Tantawi responds to Lieberman with threat of violence.(ToI).n remarks apparently directed at Israel, Field Marshal Muhammad Hussein Tantawi, the head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) and the country’s de facto leader, threatened on Monday to thwart any foreign aggression against Egypt. He was speaking in the wake of reports, widely covered in the Egyptian media, that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has warned of an imminent military threat emanating from Egypt.
“Our borders are constantly burning, but we do not attack any neighboring country but only protect our borders,” Tantawi told Egyptian press during a live ammunition maneuver in the Sinai Peninsula titled “Nasr 7.” “If anyone comes close to Egypt’s border, we will break their leg. Therefore, our forces must be in a perpetual state of alert.”
A second senior military figure, Major General Muhammad Higazi, commander of Egypt’s Second Field Army, also issued a tacit threat, warning that potential aggressors should “reconsider before thinking of attacking any part of Egypt’s territory.”
In Jerusalem, the Foreign Ministry sought to calm the dispute. “The foreign minister was interviewed today on two Israeli radio stations,” a spokesman said on Monday evening, “and he made it very clear that both sides have a clear interest in keeping the peace agreement.”
On Sunday, the Hebrew daily Maariv reported that Lieberman recently sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, warning him about a potential threat from Egypt and requesting that Israel’s southern command be reinforced by three military divisions. “The Egyptian issue is much more disturbing than the Iranian problem,” Lieberman was reported to have said during closed discussions on the topic.Egypt’s Foreign Ministry asked the Israeli government on Monday to clarify the statements attributed to Lieberman.
Foreign Minister Muhammad Amr asked his ambassador in Tel Aviv to inquire about statements comparing the Egyptian threat to that of Iran, establishment daily Al-Ahram reported Monday.
“[The Egyptian ambassador] will convey Egypt’s bewilderment at the publication of such words, attributed to a senior official in the Israeli government,” read a statement issued by Egypt’s Foreign Ministry.
According to Maariv, Lieberman also criticized the fighting capabilities of the seven battalions Egypt sent to the Sinai recently to combat al-Qaeda operatives in the peninsula. The minister could not rule out the possibility that Egypt will divert more substantial military forces to the Sinai following the election of a new president in June, in violation of the 1979 peace treaty with Israel, Maariv reported.In addition to Tantawi, another senior Egyptian officer retorted with a tacit threat of his own toward Israel.
“The Egyptian fighter will secure the eastern borders of the country,” said Major General Muhammad Higazi, commander of Egypt’s Second Field Army, during the Sinai maneuver. “The ongoing training is a clear message for all to reconsider before thinking of attacking any part of Egypt’s territory,” he told Al-Ahram.
The daily quoted Higazi as saying that Egypt’s armed forces sent troops to the northern Sinai city of Al-Arish, near the border with the Gaza Strip, “without asking permission from anyone.”
We act based on what influences us, not according to what the other side [Israel] imposes on us,” Higazi added.Hmmmm......As i said from day one"Don't give them a bridgehead in the Sinai!"To defeat them, gentlemen, we need audacity, more audacity and always audacity and the Homeland will be saved! ~ Danton.Read the full story here

Video - Two UN observers set up base in Homs, a day after video footage showed residents pleading with them to stay.







Video - Two UN observers set up base in Homs, a day after video footage showed residents pleading with them to stay.(Emirates24/7).Two UN observers set up base on Sunday in Homs, their spokesman said, a day after video footage showed residents pleading with them to stay and ensure an end to bloodshed in the Syrian city. The spokesman, Neeraj Singh, said other members of the eight-member advance UN team of observers mandated to monitor the April 12 ceasefire were pursuing field visits elsewhere in the country. "Yesterday (Saturday), the UN advance team visited Homs where they met with the local authorities and all the parties," Singh told AFP. "The team drove or walked around the city of Homs and stopped at different locations to talk to the people. "Following the visit, two UN military observers have now been stationed at Homs since yesterday evening." On Saturday, their visit to Homs included a stop in Baba Amr, a rebel stronghold battered by a month-long army bombardment that killed hundreds, according to monitors, before it was retaken on March 1. Video activists uploaded to YouTube showed at least four of them meeting with residents who begged them to stay in the central city. Its authenticity could not immediately be verified. "Today is the first day since two months, exactly since 5 February... in Homs without shelling... without killing, without fire," one unidentified man said in the footage. "Because of that, we want you to stay. Please stay. This is what we want. When you come, shelling stops. When you come, killing stops," he told the observers, who sat around a table displaying the tail ends of mortars and wore blue helmets and bullet-proof vests marked "UN".On Saturday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted to dispatch 300 unarmed observers to monitor the truce in Syria. "Today (Sunday), the advance team is continuing its field visit and further updates will be provided when available," Singh said. Under UN Resolution 2043, the 300 military observers will be sent to Syria for an initial period of 90 days if UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon determines it is safe for them to go.Read the full story here.

Video - Saudi Sports Commentator Fahd Al-Raoughui: I'd Rather Have Allah Slaughter Me Than See Saudi Women at the Olympic Games.



Interviewer: Do you support the participation of women in the Olympic Games?

Fahd Al-Raoughui: Are you talking about Saudi women?

Interviewer: Of course.

Fahd Al-Raoughui: No. Woe betide whoever supports this. 

Interviewer: And what if they abide by the religious restrictions?

Fahd Al-Raoughui: What religious restrictions?! These women will mix with strangers... A woman’s beauty lies in her chastity, and in how she raises her children in the private kingdom of her home

Fahd Al-Raoughui: Women may practice sports in accordance with the religious restrictions. However, if a woman goes to the West, wears pants, mixes with strangers, practices sports, and exposes her nakedness... we may turn ourselves into laughing stocks, but I personally would much rather have Allah slaughter me before I see that day.Source: Memri.

The pro-Obama Jewish group received a $200,000 donation from the son of billionaire George Soros.



The pro-Obama Jewish group received a $200,000 donation from the son of billionaire George Soros.(JTA).NEW YORK  -- The pro-Obama Jewish group that was behind "The Great Schlep" four years ago received a $200,000 donation from the son of billionaire George Soros. Alexander Soros, the 26-year-old son of the hedge fund magnate and progressive philanthropist, gave the donation to the group known officially as the Jewish Council for Education and Research. With Soros' gift the group, which is now a super PAC, or political action committee, has raised nearly as much this cycle as it did in the entire 2008 campaign. The high-profile drive for Obama's first presidential run was best known for a viral video featuring Sarah Silverman imploring young Jews to talk their grandparents into voting for the then-Illinois senator. “We were able to do a lot last time,” said Mik Moore, the group's treasurer, told the Forward. “But there was a lot we didn’t do, and we’re starting a lot earlier.” Moore said the group hoped to raise $1 million by the end of the election cycle. He also said he's been in touch with Silverman. “If Barack Obama doesn’t become the next president of the United States, I’m going to blame the Jews,” Silverman had threatened jokingly in the '08 video. Obama received 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008. Republican groups have committed major resources to winning away some of the support, especially in key swing states such as Florida. Moore’s group is part of the Democrats’ effort to push back. Ari Wallach, the strategist behind the 2008 effort, announced that his frim, Synthesis Corp., will be playing a lead role this time around.Read the full story here.

Egypt rejects licenses to eight US NGOs, among them "The Carter Center"



Egypt rejects licenses to eight US NGOs, among them "The Carter Center".(BM).CAIRO: The Egyptian Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs rejected granting eight US non-governmental organizations (NGOs) a license to operate in Egypt.
An official source in the ministry said in statements to the state-owned news agency MENA, that “This rejection is due to reasons unrelated to slogans and activities of the organizations that it announced they wished to implement in Egypt, but it comes after reviewing the mechanism of the implementation of these activities.”He added that one of these organizations, whose request for a license has been rejected, is the Carter Center, which aims at employing observers to monitor the presidential elections.
There was intense controversy after several US NGOs were raided, earlier this year, and it was found that many of the employees were working without proper documentation.
The funding of the NGOs was also viewed with great suspicion in the Egypt popular media.
International attention forced the release of the NGO workers, whom, had been held pending a trial.
The US government is said to have paid a 2 million bond each on the employees who were detained – one was the US Transportation Secretary’s son – after which the employees promptly fled the country.
For some analysts, it appeared the Ministry of Interior, who carried out the raids, was acting independently of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, who is the custodial government of Egypt in the transitional period since the fall of Mubarak.
It was a public relations disaster for everyone involved, and the fallout is continuing, as Egypt finds its way to independence and democracy.Hmmmm.......Perhaps the Obama admin can throw in a few more F-16's on top of the Billions already pledged to the Muslim Brotherhood?Read the full story here.

Obama 'buddies' the UN to investigate plight of US Native Americans for first time.



Obama 'buddies' the UN to investigate plight of US Native Americans for first time.(Guardian).The UN is to conduct an investigation into the plight of US Native Americans, the first such mission in its history.
The human rights inquiry led by James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on indigenous peoples, is scheduled to begin on Monday.
Many of the country's estimated 2.7 million Native Americans live in federally recognised tribal areas which are plagued with unemployment, alcoholism, high suicide rates, incest and other social problems.
The UN mission is potentially contentious, with some US conservatives likely to object to international interference in domestic matters. Since being appointed as rapporteur in 2008, Anaya has focused on natives of Central and South America.
A UN statement said: "This will be the first mission to the US by an independent expert designated by the UN human rights council to report on the rights of the indigenous peoples."
Anaya, a University of Arizona professor of human rights, said: "I will examine the situation of the American Indian/Native American, Alaska Native and Hawaiian peoples against the background of the United States' endorsement of the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples."
The US signed up in 2010 to the declaration, which establishes minimum basic rights for indigenous people globally.
Anaya said: "My visit aims at assessing how the standards of the declaration are reflected in US law and policy, and identifying needed reforms and good practices."Anaya's past record shows a deep sympathy with Native Americans' plight. In one development dispute, he told the council that the desecration of sacred sites was an urgent human rights issue.
The Tucson Sentinel reported in 2011 that he had testified to Congress on the need for the US to pass legislation that abides by the declaration.Hmmmm.......President Obama Acknowledges Need for Native American Apology.These cases serve as a reminder of the importance of not glossing over the past or ignoring the past, even as we work together to forge a brighter future. That’s why, last year, I signed a resolution, passed by both parties in Congress, finally recognizing the sad and painful chapters in our shared history—a history too often marred by broken promises and grave injustices against the First Americans.“ The President continued, “It’s a resolution I fully supported—recognizing that no statement can undo the damage that was done; what it can do is help reaffirm the principles that should guide our future. It’s only by heeding the lessons of our history that we can move forward.
The Apology to Native Peoples of the United States (Public Law 111-118, Section 8113) states that “the United States, acting through Congress: 
• Recognizes that there have been years of official depredations, ill-conceived policies, and the breaking of covenants by the Federal Government regarding Indian tribes;
• Apologizes on behalf of the people of the United States to all Native Peoples for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on Native Peoples by the citizens of the United States; and
Urges the President to acknowledge the wrongs of the United States against Indian tribes in the history of the United States in order to bring healing to this land….”Read the full story here.

Twitter lynch mob "Could have been Daughters and Sons": George Zimmerman is out on bail? Let’s kill him!

Twitter lynch mob "Could have been Daughters and Sons": George Zimmerman is out on bail? Let’s kill him!(Twitchy).


George Zimmerman was released on $150,000 bail late Sunday night in what the Associated Press called a “low-key event.” Threats of death from the Twitter lynch mob are anything but low-key.
Note the Twitter Rules:
Violence and Threats: You may not publish or post direct, specific threats of violence against others.
Zimmerman’s location is being kept secret as he awaits trial for the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin.Hmmmm....Real 'geniuses' calling Zimmerman a 'nigga'?Read and see the full story here.

Price of “Kurdistan’s” independence – oil agreement for 50 years?



Price of “Kurdistan’s” independence – oil agreement for 50 years?(SR).During a visit of the head of the Kurdish regional government (KRG) in northern Iraq, Massoud Barzani, to Turkey the sides discussed a number of issues, including measures against terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which turned into a headache for both sides. Most of the Kurdish leader’s meetings with officials from Turkey and a meeting with former Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi were held behind closed doors. On the second day of his visit to Ankara after talks with Turkish President Abdullah Gul Barzani made not new, but this time more important statement. Barzani said he would not allow the terrorist PKK to dominate the territory controlled by the KRG in northern Iraq. However he noted that weapons can not solve the problem of the PKK, more effective option is needed. He said he will continue to exert pressure on the terrorist organization. Of course, Barzani statements do not mean that the PKK, which poses itself as the defender of the Kurds, will soon abandon armed resistance. However, if we look at political changes happening in the region, especially in recent years, it can be noticed that the PKK’s armed resistance is not in the interests of the KRG in northern Iraq, because it can lead to instability in northern Iraq, achieved thanks to the policy of Barzani. That could pose a serious threat to the future of at least partially independent Kurdish administration in Iraq. At the same time we can not exclude that during the talks in Turkey, Barzani discussed the establishment of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq. In this connection it is worth recalling that previously Barzani announced the imminent appearance on a map of the region of an independent Kurdish state. Many political analysts even argue that the establishment of a Kurdish state is not contrary to the interests of Ankara.
However, without a doubt, in exchange, Turkey will put forward specific requirements to the KRG. One of these requirements is a joint action to eliminate the PKK. However, Ankara realizes that this requirement will not be as effective and for this reason, in exchange for a “green light” put forward more serious requirement. There is a reason to believe that this requirement is related to oil, located in the KRG-controlled territory, and that this issue was discussed during a meeting of Barzani with the Turkish officials. Some Turkish media, citing diplomatic sources, reported that in exchange for recognition of “independence” of Kurdistan Turkey requires 50 percent of oil produced in the territory controlled by the KRG, and for a period of 50 years. But, according to sources, Barzani has not accepted this offer.
This is not surprising, because it is very important for new “independent Kurdistan” state to have economic power. For this it needs to retain control over its oil fields. The Ankara’s offer does not suit Barzani also because there is a suitable alternative – Syria, which has access to the sea, and therefore to the world market. In this situation, the KRG is unlikely to share its wealth with Turkey. Even if the KRG in northern Iraq cooperates with Ankara for its future security, it will not agree on such serious concessions in the oil issue. The issue of why until now the Kurdish administration has not declared independence is not due to KRG fears of Ankara and Baghdad. The KRG is waiting for the end of the Syrian crisis, because not only the Gulf’s Arab states, but also the KRG are interested in the change of government in Damascus. 
There is a strong likelihood that after the regime change in Syria Kurds, who live compactly in the north of the country, will make efforts to gain autonomy or independence within Syria.Even the Turkish opposition leader, chairman of the Republican People’s Party, Kamal Kilicdaroglu in his last statement noted that in the case of military intervention in Syria, as the United States wants it, the Kurdish region in the country will gain sovereignty.To highlight the timing and importance of his F-16 statement, Barzani raised his voice on the next day he returned his hometown from Turkey, when al-Maliki was still in Iran. If that was not alarming enough for the future of Iraq, a few more sentences could be quoted from what Barzani said. Recalling his oil deal with the American giant Exxon, to which al-Maliki has reacted, Barzani said: “If ExxonMobil comes it will be equal to 10 American military divisions. They will defend the area if their interests are there.” It should not be a surprise to anyone if things get worse in Iraq in the coming days and weeks. Hmmmm.......Perhaps Israel should support an independent Kurdistan?Read the full story here.


Obama's 'peace partners' - Clampdown on Palestinian media spreads to the Web.



Obama's 'peace partners' - Clampdown on Palestinian media spreads to the Web.(Ma'an).
BETHLEHEM -- The Palestinian Authority has quietly instructed Internet providers to block access to news websites whose reporting is critical of President Mahmoud Abbas, according to senior government officials and data analyzed by network security experts. As many as eight news outlets have been rendered unavailable to many Internet users in the West Bank, after technicians at the Palestinian Telecommunications Company, or PalTel, tweaked a US-developed software called Squid to return error pages, a detailed technical analysis indicates. Several small companies are using a similar setup. The decision to begin blocking websites marks a major expansion of the government's online powers. Experts say it is the biggest shift toward routine Internet censorship in the Palestinian Authority’s history. Aside from one incident in 2008, Palestinians have generally been free to read whatever they wanted. "This is unprecedented for them," says Jillian York, director for international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a US digital rights group. "It is troubling because they had done a relatively good job at keeping the Internet open until now." The affected websites are Amad, Fatah Voice, Firas Press, In Light Press, Karama Press, Kofia Press, Milad News and Palestine Beituna. With their focus on internal Fatah issues, none are among the most popular outlets in Palestine. But they all report on daily news. Many of the sites have been described as loyal to Muhammad Dahlan, a former Fatah leader and critic of Abbas. A feud between them took on new urgency last summer, when Fatah sought to expel the former strongman and security forces raided his home. As far back as June 2011, the Palestinian Authority was complaining about its inability to shut down alleged Dahlan media based abroad, the al-Hayat newspaper reported at the time. Four of those sites are now being blocked. Several Palestinian officials have expressed reservations about the decision, calling it embarrassing and counterproductive. One of them, a member of Salam Fayyad's cabinet, agreed to speak on the record for this story. Other officials who spoke to Ma’an in recent weeks were not authorized by the Palestinian Authority or PalTel to discuss either the blocking decision or the technology being used to enforce it. Officials familiar with the order say it came from Ahmad al-Mughni, the Palestinian attorney general. They say he delivered it in person to the CEO of at least one of the service providers being forced to prevent access. Al-Mughni dismissed these claims and refused to take questions from Ma'an. "I am not the court," he said Tuesday without elaborating.
According to a Palestinian official with first-hand knowledge of the decision, the attorney general was acting on instructions from higher up in the government -- either from the president's office or an intelligence director. Still, there is no indication a judge approved any element of the censorship program, suggesting al-Mughni issued the decree under his own perceived authority, the official said. Other Palestinian officials more readily pointed a finger at al-Mughni. "The attorney general is responsible," communications minister Mashour Abu Daka told Ma'an. He said al-Mughni submitted the order to PalTel over his objections and despite concerns it could be illegal. There is no Palestinian law that permits Web censorship and the attorney general knows it, Abu Daka charged. "He made up his own laws to justify what was solely his decision," the minister said. "Blocking websites is against the public interest. I oppose it without exception.” The attorney general is already facing criticism from journalists and human rights groups for ordering the arrest in March of a newspaper reporter accused of defaming the foreign minister. He also signed off on the recent arrests of two bloggers after they criticized Abbas on Facebook. Palestinian journalists have held a number of demonstrations protesting the clampdown. By contrast, the blocking has gone largely unnoticed.
Mada, a press freedom group, raised the issue of Milad and Amad, while US blogger "Challah Hu Akbar" reported extensively about In Light Press, but many Palestinians remain unaware the Internet is censored. This is partly because providers have not acknowledged their cooperation nor have subscribers been told any websites are off limits. Even at private Internet companies, employees fear losing their jobs or worse if they discuss the program. “Sorry, but I’m not going to jail,” said one PalTel technician when asked for a list of the websites. PalTel representatives refused to answer basic questions such as when they received the order or who signed it, but extensive testing shows its Internet provider Hadara has blocked as many as eight websites at a time. A PalTel spokeswoman said in an email that "we only implement government decisions and we do not get involved in the decisions they make as long as they are backed by the existing laws." The testing was conducted over four weeks by Ma'an and the Open Observatory of Network Interference, a new project by Web security experts Arturo Filasto and Jacob Appelbaum to track censorship around the world. Using a tool called an OONI probe, they scanned 1.1 million websites for a specific type of blocking. "The technique being used to restrict access is a transparent HTTP proxy," Filasto said, meaning the company is intercepting attempts to reach blocked websites and returning a different page. Testing a connection in Bethlehem demonstrated that Hadara was blocking access to eight websites, while others blocked between four and six. The method being employed by Hadara is relatively basic, Filasto said. Experts who have analyzed the data say the company configured an open-source software called Squid to detect the blocked sites and redirect users. Squid was originally developed with funding from two US government agencies, but neither one has any control over its distribution today. Syria and Lebanon also use Squid for Web blocking, according to experts. Its appearance now indicates that while the Palestinian Authority may be more determined than before to censor the Internet, it is less willing to spend much time or money doing it, they said. The software is free and easy to alter for censorship. "It’s a pretty common approach," says Danny O'Brien, Internet advocacy director at the Committee to Protect Journalists, a US press freedom group. “Instructing ISPs to block a few websites can be so tempting, and it's usually how a government’s Web censorship program begins," O'Brien says."The big problem is no one willingly hands over the list. It would provide a map of places the government doesn’t want to you to see. When you can’t see the list, there’s no accountability from the public." The new program's timing may also embarrass the Palestinian Authority's financial backers in the United States and European Union, both of which are considering legislation to curb the export of Western technologies used to censor political speech in the Middle East. In Washington, a spokeswoman said the State Department was "concerned about any reports regarding the use of technologies to restrict access to information. The United States advocates Internet freedom." She pointed to a December 2011 speech in which US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed for stronger efforts on behalf of those "who are blocked from accessing entire categories of Internet content."Hmmmm........Perhaps she should give another $ 1,4 Million taxpayer money to them, against Congress orders?Read the full story here.More on this story here @ IsraelMatzav.

Obama toying with Medicare to 'influence' elections , An $8 billion trick?







Obama toying with Medicare to 'influence' elections , An $8 billion trick?(NYPost).Call it President Obama’s Committee for the Re-Election of the President — a political slush fund at the Health and Human Services Department. Only this isn’t some little fund from shadowy private sources; this is taxpayer money, redirected to help Obama win another term. A massive amount of it, too — $8.3 billion. Yes, that’s billion, with a B. Here is how it works.
The most oppressive aspects of the ObamaCare law don’t kick in until after the 2012 election, when the president will no longer be answerable to voters. More “flexibility,” he recently explained to the Russians.But certain voters would surely notice one highly painful part of the law before then — namely, the way it guts the popular Medicare Advantage program. For years, 12 million seniors have relied on these policies, a more market-oriented alternative to traditional Medicare, without the aggravating gaps in coverage. But as part of its hundreds of billions in Medicare cuts, the Obama one-size-fits-all plan slashes reimbursement rates for Medicare Advantage starting next year — herding many seniors back into the government-run program. Under federal “open-enrollment” guidelines, seniors must pick their Medicare coverage program for next year by the end of this year — which means they should be finding out before Election Day. Nothing is more politically volatile than monkeying with the health insurance of seniors, who aren’t too keen on confusing upheavals in their health care and are the most diligent voters in the land. This could make the Tea Party look like a tea party. Making matters even more politically dangerous for Obama is that open enrollment begins Oct. 15, less than three weeks before voters go to the polls. It’s hard to imagine a bigger electoral disaster for a president than seniors in crucial states like Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio discovering that he’s taken away their beloved Medicare Advantage just weeks before an election. This political ticking time bomb could become the biggest “October Surprise” in US political history. But the administration’s devised a way to postpone the pain one more year, getting Obama past his last election; it plans to spend $8 billion to temporarily restore Medicare Advantage funds so that seniors in key markets don’t lose their trusted insurance program in the middle of Obama’s re-election bid.Hmmmm.....The most corrupt admin evah.Read the full story here.

Turkey: Great ambitions but lacking resources, study.







Turkey: Great ambitions but lacking resources, study.(Ansa).Ankara - Despite the fact that the country has started to play a much more important role in the Middle East over the past decade, Turkey still has to close a wide gap between its ambitions and its possibilities to become a real ''regional power." This claim is made in a study carried out by the Turkish think tank USAK that was published today. The report underlines that Turkey only has superficial influence because of its reduced diplomatic corps, its low level of exports and scarce use of the Arabic language. The report of the International Strategic Research Organization, as USAK writes on its website, examines Turkey's power in the diplomatic, economic and ''soft power'' areas, the ability of a country to convince other countries through its intangible resources like culture, values and political institutions.
The report calls for a comprehensive joint efforts by the state, the private sector and civic society in all three fields (diplomacy, economy and soft power) as ''a great disparity exists between the role that Turkey wants to play and the capacity it has" to do so. USAK also warned that Turkey's newly-found regional influence could be short-lived. ''We cannot say that regional actors, be them small or big, are following Turkey's lead,'' the report claims. ''The current attention accorded to Turkey is at the level of just sympathy. Any mistakes or Arab misunderstanding of certain rhetoric or policies hold the potential of quickly eroding the favourable attitudes that Turkey enjoys." The Turkish Foreign Ministry, according to the study, was severely underfunded and understaffed when compared to those of leading nations. Its budget of 436 million euros is the lowest among several countries, including both global heavyweights and emerging powers, such as India and Brazil. With 5,533 employees, Turkey's ministry is better staffed than Brazil and India, but lags well behind Britain and France, who employ 17,100 and 15,008 people respectively. Only 26 diplomats spoke Arabic, USAK point out, which hampers the ''penetration of local information resources." In the economic field, trade with countries in the region is booming, but Turkish exports are easily-replaceable with other, cheaper goods, with high-technology products making up only 3.5 percent of the total. USAK claims that Turkey had failed to determine any ''centre of gravity'' for trade, which could turn into a major disadvantage in the future. Focusing on soft power, Turkish soap operas enjoy vast popularity in the region and tourism is flourishing. The Turkish media, however, is almost absent from the Arab-language realm and Turkey has little power in influencing the regional news agenda, USAK continues, adding that TRT's Arab-language channel lagged behind competitors from Iran, France, Germany, China and the United States.Hmmmm....."Empty barrels make the loudest noise"?Read the full story here.