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Saturday, December 17, 2011

MFS - The Other News

                    Morning Posting.

  • Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Chile 5.2   !More info here.

  • Obama Administration gives up on detained American journalist Joseph Mayton in Egypt.(Bikyamasr).CAIRO: US Embassy officials refuse to assist detained American journalist, citing security and diplomatic concerns.The American Embassy in Cairo, in communication with detained American journalist and Bikya Masr Editor-in-Chief Joseph Mayton, reported that they cannot help in retrieving Mayton from Egyptian military detention, citing security and diplomatic concerns.“The military has spoke on two specific times to embassy officials, telling them that I can leave when the come and get me,” said Mayton, speaking to staff on Saturday evening.“For two reasons they will not send someone to come get me. First, they say that there is a security situation in the area. Second, they told me that there is a tense diplomatic situation between the US government and the Egyptian security forces,” Mayton explained.“They said they will not send someone until a US security officer gives them the ok. They told me that they are looking at other solutions,” he continued.Meanwhile, the Hungarian embassy has sent a representative to retrieve Mark Fodor, a Hungarian citizen who was also detained today in the Cabinet building.Mayton, who was covering the ongoing violence in Cairo, was assaulted by the military police around 9:30 AM on Saturday morning after a group of citizens surrounded him, questioning why he was there.He was brought to the Cabinet building, where he has been detained for the past 11 hours.American embassy officials say that they will try to arrange for Mayton’s release on Sunday morning.Hmmm.......In Obama's world American citizens don't seem to count much?Read the full story here.

  • Bail-out Bombshell: Fed "Emergency" Bank Rescue Totaled $29 Trillion Over Three Years.(BlacklistedNews).Source:Alternet.While the 99% suffered hardship, a new study shows that the Fed propped up buddies in the banking industry and a vast shadow banking system far beyond what anyone has guessed.Speculation about the the Fed’s actions during the financial crisis has made headlines on and off again over the last several years. The latest drama occurred on November 27 when Bloomberg published an article, “Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks $13 Billion Undisclosed to Congress," which gives an account of the news agency’s struggle to bring to light the details of the Fed’s emergency programs. Bloomberg throws out some very large numbers, revealing that as of March 2009, the Fed lent, spent, or committed $7.77 trillion worth of aid to the financial system and that banks used the low interest rates charged on these loans to make an estimated $13 billion in income. On December 6, the Fed struck back, issuing a four page unsigned memo intended to correct recent “egregious errors and mistakes” found in various reports of its emergency lending facilities. The Fed argues that the “total credit outstanding under liquidity programs was never more than about $1.5 trillion.” While Bloomberg wasn’t mentioned explicitly in the Fed memo, it was fairly clear to whom the response was directed. The following day Bloomberg defended its reporting, and the Wall Street Journal’s David Wessel came to the Fed’s defense, characterizing Bloomberg’s methodology as a “great story,” but ultimately not “true.” All this may sound like controversy, but it’s little more than a tempest in a teacup.Here’s the hurricane: In reality, no less than $29.616 trillion is the total emergency assistance provided by the Fed to foreign and domestic entities during the Global Financial Crisis. Let’s repeat that: $29 trillion. This astounding number is over twice U.S. gross domestic product, the nominal value of all goods and services produced for the year 2010. This is the total of the bailout as calculated by Nicola Matthews and myself as part of the Ford Foundation project, A Research And Policy Dialogue Project On Improving Governance Of The Government Safety Net In Financial Crisis. We will be presenting the results of our analysis in a series of papers published by the Levy Economics Institute, the first of which, “29,000,000,000,000: A Detailed Look at the Fed’s Bailout by Funding Facility and Recipient,” is already available here. The results we have calculated are presented below, and it is important to note that the totals are cumulative and in billions of U.S. dollars. (The numbers in parentheses indicate amounts still outstanding as of November 10, 2011).Read the full story here.

  • The Gospel According To Wright.(AmericanSpectator).By Charles C. Johnson.In 2008 America elected a president whose pastor for 20 years preached anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, advocated bizarre pseudo-scientific racial ideas, opposed interracial marriage, praised communist dictatorships, denounced black "assimilation," and taught Afrocentric feel-good nonsense to schoolchildren. When Americans discovered the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's views during the 2008 campaign, they rightly wondered if Barack Obama, like his pastor, really believed that HIV/AIDS was created by the American government to kill black people. Even to this day, no one knows for sure whether Obama shares the views of Wright, whom the Chicago Sun-Times once described as Obama's "close confidant."Candidate Obama tried to dismiss his support for Wright, telling Charlie Gibson of ABC News, "It's as if we took the five dumbest things that I ever said or you ever said…in our lives and compressed them, and put them out there, you know, I think that people's reaction, would be understandably upset." And rightly so. In sermon after sermon, Wright's radical black nationalist ideas were clearly and emphatically stated. They were not an aberration, but the focal point of Pastor Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, where Obama was an active member for 20 years.Nor has Wright renounced any of his anti-Americanism. In a sermon last September 16 marking the 10th anniversary of 9/11 entitled, "The Day of Jerusalem's Fall," Wright seemed to celebrate white America's comeuppance. "We bombed Hiroshima. We bombed Nagasaki. And we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon--and we never batted an eye!" Wright preached. "We supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black south Africans and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yards." He closed, invoking Malcolm X's statement about the assassination of J.F.K, "America's chickens! Coming home! To roost!" White America, he was saying, had gotten its just deserts.Candidate Obama tried to distance himself from Wright's more damning comments. But, crucially, he didn't disown the pastor himself. In fact, in his rise to political fame, he had made Wright's sermons his own, drawing on Wright's "Audacity to Hope" sermon and appropriating its theme for his political coming-out speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004. He even borrowed the sermon's title for his second autobiography, The Audacity of Hope, in a bid to get Wright and other black churches to support his candidacy.The question is why Barack Obama, raised without any faith at all, chose one of the most incendiary preachers in Black America to preach the word of God to him. Wright became, in Obama's words, "like family to me. [Wright] strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children." Obama told a group of ministers in June 2007 that Wright helped "introduce me to my Christian faith." But what, exactly, is Barack Obama's faith? Just as important, what is Jeremiah Wright's?Read the full story here.

  • Outrage over West's Goebbels remark (Obama likening the U.S. to Nazi Germany on NPR remains in memory hole, however).(DougRoss).Please consider this report from The Hill: Dems call on Rep. West to apologize for Joseph Goebbels comparison. Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) landed in hot water on Friday for his remarks the previous day comparing the Democrats’ proficiency in getting out their message to the notorious head of the Nazi Party’s propaganda department under Hitler.“If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat Party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine,” West said Thursday... “Shame on him,” tweeted Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.). “Rep. West needs to apologize now for insulting the memories of the millions who lost their lives during the Holocaust.”Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) also called on West to apologize.Curiously, these Democrat hacks were utterly silent when then-candidate Barack Obama was revealed to have compared the United States to Nazi Germany during an NPR interview.None other than Charles (or the "Chuckster", as he prefers to be known) Johnson of LGF -- then in the patriotic phase of his career -- discovered Obama tarring America as a fascist regime.The audio recording of Barack Obama espousing his socialist philosophy of “redistribution of wealth” is all over the internet and Fox News today (although the other media outlets are ignoring it), but there’s another disturbing section on that tape that has so far escaped notice.The link to the audio is here: Chicago Public Radio - Audio Library: Odyssey.At about 15:30, Obama compares what was going on in the United States during the time of Brown vs. the Board of Education to ... Nazi Germany. Yes, really. Here’s the quote:“...just to take a, sort of a realist perspective...there’s a lot of change going on outside of the Court, um, that, that judges essentially have to take judicial notice of. I mean you’ve got World War II, you’ve got uh, uh, uh, the doctrines of Nazism, that, that we are fighting against, that start looking uncomfortably similar to what we have going on, back here at home.”There you have it. America is close to electing a President that compares his own country to Nazi Germany.Countdown to media analysis of Obama's egregious statements in: 3... 2... never.Read the full story here.

  • Obama Administration, evidently to appease Muslims May Free Hezbollah Terrorist.(JW).A renowned Hezbollah terrorist in U.S. military custody for murdering five American soldiers in Iraq may soon be released by the Obama Administration, evidently to appease Muslims.The perplexing story was reported recently by a mainstream newspaper that portrays the case as a “dilemma” for the president as American troops prepare to exit Iraq. The Lebanese militant, Ali Mussa Daqduq, has been in U.S. military custody in Iraq since 2007 for his involvement in a carefully orchestrated plot that killed, kidnapped and tortured American military officers.The incident took place in a city called Karbala, south of Baghdad in early 2007. Around a dozen terrorists dressed in U.S. military uniforms opened fire on Americans after approaching a camp in five sports utility vehicles resembling U.S. transports. One U.S. soldier died at the scene and four others were kidnapped, tortured and executed. Daqduq, a Hezbollah commander, was the mastermind.But the Obama Administration can’t decide what to do with him. The president doesn’t want to violate Iraq’s sovereignty by removing Daqduq from the country when the U.S. withdraws at the end of the month. If Iraq is gracious enough to grant the U.S. permission to remove the terrorist so that he can be tried, this presents yet another huge dilemma for Obama.Taking Daqduq to the U.S. Naval base in Guantanamo Cuba, which houses other high-value terrorists, is out of the question because the facility is an anathema in the Middle East, according to the newspaper that broke the story. Furthermore, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki would not approve the “unacceptable” Guantanamo option.What to do with this Islamic terrorist who murdered members of our military? Incredibly, releasing him seems to be a very realistic option, according to various news reports. One mainstream outlet says that Daqduq may soon go free,without facing trial. This has outraged some members of Congress who offer the administration a reasonable solution.During a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, one senator insisted Daqduq should go to Guantanamo to be tried before a military commission. Releasing him to the Iraqis would be like letting him go and trying him in a U.S. civilian court would be disastrous, the lawmaker pointed out. The administration already tested that brilliant idea when it proposed trying 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Manhattan.The Guantanamo option is clearly the most sensible. Last month Judicial Watch was approved by the Department of Defense (DOD) to observe the arraignment of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the al-Qaeda terrorist charged with orchestrating the 2000 attack on the Navy destroyer USS Cole. JW witnessed a deep commitment to justice by military lawyers as well as al-Nashiri’s topnotch capital defense attorney. Read JW’s Guantanamo coverage here.Hmmmm..........Read the full story here.

  • US turns over Hezbollah prisoner to Iraqi government.(TheHill).The U.S. handed over a Hezbollah prisoner suspected of being involved in the deaths of five U.S. soldiers to the Iraqi government Friday, as U.S. troops prepare to leave the country, the White House said.The Obama administration had been pushing Iraq to allow the U.S. to keep Ali Musa Daqduq in U.S. custody, and President Obama discussed it with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki when he visited the White House Monday, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said.But the Iraqi government wouldn’t agree to let the U.S. taking Daqduq out of Iraq, and the U.S. legally had to transfer him to Iraqi custody under the security agreement negotiated by the Bush administration in 2008, Vietor said.The decision to hand the last prisoner in U.S. custody over to the Iraqis was blasted by Republicans and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) Friday, who had wanted him transferred to Guantánamo Bay for a military tribunal.A statement from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Lieberman and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called the move “disgraceful.” “Coming on the heels of the Administration's failure to maintain a small American military presence in Iraq to support the fragile peace there, this failure to keep a committed murderer of Americans in U.S. custody sends exactly the wrong message to our allies and enemies in the region,” the statement said.Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said: “Given Iraq’s history of releasing detainees, I expect it is only a matter of time before this terrorist will be back on the battlefield.”Vietor said that the administration did not want to send any more detainees to Guantanamo, and the U.S. had discussed transferring him to a U.S. military commission.“The president has been clear that he believes it’s in our national security interest to close the detention facility of Guantanamo Bay, not add to the population,” Vietor said.Vietor said the Iraqis have given assurances to the administration that Daqduq will be tried for his crimes.Daqduq is accused of organizing a 2007 raid in Karbala, Iraq, where five U.S. soldiers were killed. Under the security agreement with Iraq, the U.S. must return all prisoners to Iraqi custody as it leaves the country. The U.S. marked the end of the Iraq war Thursday and is in the process of withdrawing the final troops from the country by the end of the month.Hmmmmm.....Anyone still doubting why an ex Iranian guard commander was at the WhiteHouse?Iran.....Hezbollah....Hellooooooo?Read the full story here.

  • Canadian Imam Compares Canada to Nazi Germany.(Zaman).Calgary - A local Muslim leader who came under fire for comparing the situation Jews faced in Nazi Germany with that of Muslims in Canada today is hoping to meet the Calgary Jewish Community Council to clear the air.“I have asked for a meeting, and after the meeting, I’m going to comment,” said Imam Syed Soharwardy. “I just don’t want any misunderstanding that people are trying to create.”Imam Soharwardy, president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, was sounding off on Ottawa’s new policy barring individuals from donning niqabs or face veils while taking their oath of citizenship.“Muslims are going through that situation right now where the Jews faced before the Holocaust,” hey told CTV earlier this week.Related - Niqab is not an issue.Barbara Kay: New niqab law puts Canadian values first.“Because intimidation of their faith, badmouthing about their faith, badmouthing about their book, badmouthing about their beliefs - that was going on in Germany before the Holocaust. The same thing is happening now about Muslims,” he said.Judy Shapiro, community relations director with the Calgary Jewish Community Council, said she understood that the Imam was disagreeing with federal government policy.“But there is no comparison between what Canadian Muslims are facing today and what the Jews faced in Germany before the Holocaust,” Ms. Shapiro said.“Not only is such a statement factually wrong, but it’s insensitive, at the very least, not only to the Jewish community, but to all Canadians. To equate Canadians to Nazis is totally unwarranted.”Ms. Shapiro said no meeting has been set up, but if it does happen, it will be private.Read the full story here.

  • US Clears Iraqi Airspace For Israeli Strike On Iran.(Matzav).The U.S. military’s fast-approaching Dec. 31 exit from Iraq, which has no way to defend its airspace, puts Israel in a better place strategically to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.Iraq has yet to assemble a force of jet fighters, and since the shortest route for Israeli strike fighters to Iran is through Iraqi airspace, observers conclude that the U.S. exit makes the Jewish state’s mission planning a lot easier.Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said the Iraqi military will maintain radars to monitor the country’s airspace, but it has not taken possession of American F-16s to guard that space.“The country has a capable and improving capability to see the airspace, a viable system to provide command and control, but no system to defeat incoming air threats until it gets either the F-16s or ground-based systems or, optimally, some of both,” Gen. Buchanan told The Washington Times.Iraq made the first payment in September for 18 F-16s that will not arrive until next fall at the earliest. This means Israel would have a theoretical window of about 12 months if it wants to fly over Iraq unimpeded by theIraqi air force.Retired Air ForceGen. Thomas McInerney, who advocates a U.S. strategic bombing raid to destroy Iran’s nuclear sites, agreed that Iraq’s open airspace would make it easier for an Israeli mission.“Yes, it will be,” he said. “However, it will be much easier for Iranian forces to get to Israel through Iraq via land and air.”Gen. McInerney said he thinks there is a good chance that Iran, stretched economically by Western sanctions and fearing threats from Israel, will launch a war against the Jewish state through Iraq.“Our departing Iraq will be a huge strategic mistake,” he said of the Dec. 31 deadline for all U.S. forces to leave.Iraq’s ruling Shiite majority has historic ties to Iran’s dominant Shiite society, but Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has warned Tehran against meddling in his country’s politics.Unknown is the role of U.S. jet fighters stationed outside Iraq but within striking distance from Navy carriers in the Persian Gulf, or possibly Kuwait.“I would hope we would jump to defend Iraqi airspace,” said James Carafano, a military analyst at the Heritage Foundation. “These are the kinds of contingency plans that ought to be put in place.”Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, like his predecessor, Robert M. Gates, has downplayed the impact that an airstrike might have on Iran’s quest for an atomic bomb. The Islamic republic has denied that it is trying to make a nuclear weapon.Read the full story here.

  • Leftists Delay Justice, Cop-Killer Gets Death Reprieve.(JW).Pliant courts and a powerful leftist movement delayed justice long enough to get a convicted cop-murderer a death-penalty reprieve more than a decade after his lengthy appeals process had already been exhausted.The outrageous case involves a member of the radical Black Panthers, Mumia Abu-Jamal, who murdered a police officer (Daniel Faulkner) in Philadelphia three decades ago. Abu-Jamal, who claims to be the victim of a racist legal system, was sentenced to death by the jury that convicted him in 1982. After losing multiple appeals and being rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court twice, Abu-Jamal finally got his official reprieve this week.Prosecutors in Philadelphia officially abandoned their decades-long pursuit of execution for the cop-killer, leaving him to rot in jail for the rest of his life. In 2001, two years after Abu-Jamal had exhausted a lengthy appeals process, a Philadelphia federal judge (William Yohn) threw out the death sentence citing problems with the jury instructions and verdict form in the trial.Judge Yohn, appointed by the first President Bush in 1991, said jurors should have been able to consider mitigating circumstances during sentencing even if they did not unanimously agree that those circumstances even existed. Then he ordered prosecutors to, either conduct a new sentencing hearing, or instead sentence Abu-Jamal to life imprisonment since the conviction itself was never questioned.Decades have passed, many of the witnesses are either dead or unreachable so Philadelphia’s District Attorney decided not to proceed with a new sentencing hearing. “There has never been a doubt in my mind that Mumia Abu-Jamal shot and killed Officer Faulkner, and I believe the appropriate sentence was handed down in 1982,” said Philly D.A. Seth Williams, who happens to be black.He points out that every reviewing court has ruled that Abu-Jamal’s trial was fair and the verdict of guilt sound. The evidence was overwhelming and the mixed-race jury didn’t take long to reach a verdict for the 1981 murder. Three credible eyewitnesses testified that Abu Jamal was the killer. The bullet in the officer’s brain came from Abu Jamal’s gun, which had five empty cartridges when investigators found it. Court documents, testimony and other relevant facts about the case are available on a website created in the officer’s memory.From prison Abu-Jamal has been a hero to a powerful leftwing movement—including journalists— that has fought for his release. His backers include famous Hollywood celebrities and well-known activists and civil rights groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Amnesty International. President Obama’s ousted “Green Czar” (Van Jones) is also among the vocal Abu-Jamal supporters.Reacting to this week’s reprieve, a San Francisco-based group (appropriately called Prison Radio) that claims Abu-Jamal is a political prisoner insists he be freed, asserting that he’s innocent. To make its case the group includes a statement from the great South African activist (Desmond Tutu) who earned international accolades for opposing apartheid. Because life in prison is yet another form of death sentence, Tutu says, justice will not be served. “Based on even a minimal following of international human rights standards, Mumia must now be released,” Tutu said.Read the full story here.  

  • House Passes Spending Bill That Bans White House “Czars”.(DetNews).WASHINGTON — The U.S. House approved a $1 trillion spending bill on a 296-121 vote to fund the federal government’s operations through Sept. 30. As part of a compromise struck late Thursday, the funding bill specifically prohibits “czars” related to health care, climate change, the auto industry and urban affairs.The Senate is expected to pass the measure on Saturday.Michigan’s House delegation split 10-5 in favor of the resolution.Opposing the measure were Reps. Thad McCotter, R-Livonia; Justin Amash, R-Cascade Township; Hansen Clarke, D-Detroit; Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland; and Tim Walberg, R-Tipton.But Democrats and Republicans are still debating whether to extend a cut in payroll taxes set to expire Dec. 31, extend emergency unemployment insurance and increase Medicare reimbursement payments to doctors. Republicans are insisting on a provision aimed at speeding approval of a controversial energy pipeline from Canada.House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, praised the vote.“Recognizing the danger our spending-driven debt poses to long-term economic growth, this bill cuts discretionary spending for the second year in a row — a first in modern history — and eliminates several excessive government regulations that threaten job creators,” he said.Read the full story here.

  • Unreal: Congressmen Told They Can’t Say “Merry Christmas” In Mail To Constituents.(Washington Examiner).Looks like the PC police have threatened members of the House of Representatives against wishing constituents a “Merry Christmas,” if they want to do so in a mailing paid for with tax dollars.Members who submit official mailings for review by the congressional franking commission that reviews all congressional mail to determine if it can be “franked,” or paid for with tax dollars, are being told that no holiday greetings, including “Merry Christmas,” can be sent in official mail.“I called the commission to ask for clarification and was told no ‘Merry Christmas.’ Also told cannot say ‘Happy New Year’ but can say ‘have a happy new year’ — referencing the time period of a new year, but not the holiday,” said a Hill staffer who requested anonymity.Another Hill staffer told The Washington Examiner that “we were given that advice after submitting” a draft mailing.Read the full story here.

  • Why won't Obama say 'victory' to mark end of Iraq war?(WashingtonExaminer).President Obama delivered an important speech yesterday concerning the conclusion of the American war effort in Iraq. He spoke at Fort Bragg, N.C., before an assembly of America's finest military men and women, not a few of whom carried with them wounds suffered in the war. Every American should carefully read and study this Obama speech. Those who do will look in vain for the most important word that can be said about this or any other war.U.S. troops invaded Saddam Hussein's Iraq in 2003. By all accounts, the turning point in the war was the surge, the rapid increase in 2006 of American troop strength and the systematic application of their courage and firepower in an unprecedented strategy of localized engagement that began with the Anbar Awakening.Of the surge, Obama said this yesterday: "We remember the surge and we remember the Awakening -- when the abyss of chaos turned toward the promise of reconciliation. By battling and building block by block in Baghdad, by bringing tribes into the fold and partnering with the Iraqi army and police, you helped turn the tide toward peace."A little further on in his address, Obama observed: "It's harder to end a war than begin one. Indeed, everything that American troops have done in Iraq -- all the fighting and all the dying, the bleeding and the building, and the training and the partnering -- all of it has led to this moment of success. Now, Iraq is not a perfect place. It has many challenges ahead. But we're leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people. We're building a new partnership between our nations. And we are ending a war not with a final battle, but with a final march toward home."Those are fine and inspiring words to be sure. But what is more notable is the one word America's commander in chief could not bring himself to say to the assembled troops: Victory. He called the end of the American sacrifice in Iraq a "moment of success." And he called it an "extraordinary achievement." He even called it the fullest "expression of America's support for self-determination than our leaving Iraq to its people."But he didn't call it a victory, even though by his own description, Iraq was, before the arrival of American troops, a land of intense suffering under one of the most cruel and ruthless dictators in history. Today, the people of Iraq are no longer terrorized by their own government; they are instead its masters. If that result does not deserve to be called a victory for America, Obama owes an explanation to the families of the 4,500 Americans who gave their lives to bring it about.Read the full story here.

  • Coming Soon: Retroactive Surveillance on Anyone.(NetworkWorld) .As the price of digital storage drops and the technology to tap electronic communication improves, authoritarian governments will soon be able to perform retroactive surveillance on anyone within their borders, according to a Brookings Institute report.These regimes will store every phone call, instant message, email, social media interaction, text message, movements of people and vehicles and public surveillance video and mine it at their leisure, according to “Recording Everything: Digital Storage as an Enabler of Authoritarian Government,” written by John Villaseno, a senior fellow at Brookings and a professor of electrical engineering at UCLA.That will enable shadowing people’s movements and communications that took place before the individuals became suspects, he says.“For example, if an anti-regime demonstrator previously unknown to security services is arrested, it will be possible to go back in time to scrutinize the demonstrator’s phone conversations, automobile travels, and the people he or she met in the months and even years leading up to the arrest,” the report says.“These enormous databases of captured information will create what amounts to a surveillance time machine. … This will fundamentally change the dynamics of dissent, insurgency and revolution,” the report says.Villaseno draws on knowledge gained from recent overthrows of such authoritarian regimes to support his argument that such a scenario is not just possible but likely. He notes that when the government of Libya fell, insurgents found equipment that had captured 30 million to 40 million minutes of phone conversations per month and enabled the government to read activist emails. There have been reports that the government of Syria wants to build communications intercepts as well, he says.In 2015 the cost of storing all the phone calls made in a year by an average person will be less than 2 cents, the report says. By 2020, the cost to store all the phone calls made by everyone over the age of 14 in Iran will be about $100,000, the report says.Hmmmm.....Welcome to the police state.Read the full story here.

  • Britain should not be afraid of standing up for Christian values to counter ‘moral collapse’: Cameron.(Alarabiya).Britain is a Christian nation and should not be afraid of standing up for Christian values to help counter the country’s “moral collapse”, Prime Minister David Cameron said Friday.In a rare foray into religion by a British premier, Cameron said “live and let live” had too often become “do what you please” in Britain.The “passive tolerance” of immoral behavior had helped fuel the August riots, excess in the banking industry and home-grown Islamist terror, he said.“We are a Christian country. And we should not be afraid to say so,” Cameron said at an event in Oxford, southern England, to mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.The Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today. Values and morals we should actively stand up and defend.The alternative of moral neutrality should not be an option.”Cameron described himself as a committed but only “vaguely practicing” member of the Church of England, who was “full of doubts” about big theological issues.“We’ve got stand up for our values if we are to confront the slow-motion moral collapse that has taken place in parts of our country these past few generations,” he said.“Moral neutrality or passive tolerance just isn’t going to cut it anymore.“Shying away from speaking the truth about behavior, about morality has actually helped to cause some of the social problems.”Cameron said that along with the works of William Shakespeare, the King James Bible was a “high point of the English language”.“The Bible has helped to shape the values which define our country,” he said.“Responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility, self-sacrifice, love, pride in working for the common good and honoring the social obligations we have to one another, to our families and our communities – these are the values we treasure.“Yes, they are Christian values. And we should not be afraid to acknowledge that.“But they are also values that speak to us all – to people of every faith and none. And I believe we should all stand up and defend them.”People who say that would be “doing down other faiths” were “profoundly wrong”.Hmmmm........Jesus said " shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." ~ John 8:32 .Read the full story here.

  • AP Poll: Majority of Americans Want Obama Voted Out of Office.(The Hill) — The majority of Americans believe that President Obama should not win reelection and his job approval stands at a new low, throwing into doubt his chances to earn reelection according to a new AP/GfK poll.More than half of Americans — 52 percent — said that President Obama should be voted out of office, a record high. Only 43 percent says he deserves a second term. Only 44 percent of voters approve of the job Obama has done as president, with 54 percent disapproving.Those numbers are a sharp decline from May, when 53 percent said Obama should be reelected. Only 38 percent of independents are approve of the job the president is doing, and only 39 percent of all voters approve of the job Obama is doing on the economy.Only 26 percent said the United States was headed in the right direction, and less than a third of respondents said they supported the president’s signature health care reform legislation.Read the full story here.

  • Update: Nine dead in Cairo as clashes between army and protesters escalate.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: Egyptian soldiers clashed with protesters for the second consecutive day in downtown Cairo, in an ongoing, violent crackdown on anti-government protests in the area.According estimates from the Egyptian Ministry of Health, at least nine protesters have been killed and 354 have been injured since the violence began in the early hours of Friday morning.Eyewitnesses reported that the army stormed flats surrounding the square where news stations had set up cameras. The army reportedly confiscated the video equipment, destroying it or throwing it down to the street below.In a press statement on Saturday afternoon, Egypt’s newly appointed Prime Minister, Kamal Ganzouri, said that the military did not initiate the attack and only worked to defend itself.He called his government “the revolution’s salvation government,” denying media reports that the army had used live ammunition on protesters.Hundreds of protesters have remained in the square on Saturday afternoon as the army’s violence intensifies.“We are waiting to see what happens next. When people wake up today, they will come and we will not stop this in the face of military,” Amr, a protester with rock in hand, told Bikyamasr.comThe violence began around two in the morning on Friday after an Ultra – a hardcore football fan – was allegedly abducted by security near the nearly three-week old sit-in in front of the Egyptian cabinet building.Rock throwing and clashes ensued and spread through the downtown Cairo area to Tahrir Square, Talaat Harb and Qasr el-Nil.Egypt’s army took power after popular uprisings ousted former President Hosni Mubarak in February.Since, they have become growingly unpopular, as protesters call upon them to immediately transfer power to a civilian-led government.Read the full story here.

  • Related - Editor-in-Chief Joseph Mayton detained by Egyptian military.(BikyaMasr).Breaking from Cairo:’s Editor-in-Chief, Joseph Mayton, was detained this morning while covering the escalating clashes between protesters and military personnel outside of Egypt’s Cabinet building.As of the time of writing, staff were in communication with US Embassy officials who are working to obtain Mayton’s immediate release.The clashes between demonstrators and military forces, which began in the early morning of Friday, December 17, have escalated rapidly in the past 12 hours. At least 8 have been confirmed dead, with reports of over 300 injured.Amongst the dead is cleric Emad Effat, a member of the Dar Al-Ifta religious authority. Al-Ahram reports that a funeral march for Effat has begun at Al-Azhar mosque, one the most important religious authorities in Sunni Islam.Egyptian State TV cut its live broadcast of the confrontation around noon on Saturday, as military forces escalated the situation, using lethal force and large numbers to repel staff will continue to monitor this breaking story while working to assure the release of editor Joseph Mayton.Read the full story here.

  • Arab League considers taking its Syria plan to the U.N. but rules out military action.(AlArabiya).An Arab ministerial committee ruled out taking military action against Syria but proposed on Saturday to take an Arab League plan to end the crisis in Syria to the U.N. Security Council, Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani said.The bloc’s foreign ministers will meet in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss the proposal, he said, a day after Russia proposed a surprise draft resolution to the council.“As Russia has gone to the Security Council, a proposal will be presented in the (Arab ministers’) meeting on December 21 that the Arab League goes to the (U.N.) Security Council to present the Arab initiative,” the Qatari premier said.In the same time Syria said that it will delay signing the agreement that will allow an Arab mission of military and civilian observers in the country as part of an Arab League proposal to end the bloodshed there. Meanwhile, an Iraqi team held “positive” talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday in a bid to end the deadlock over an Arab League plan to end nine months of bloodshed, its leader told AFP.“I am on my way to Cairo for a meeting with the Arab League after holding positive talks with President Assad,” National Security Adviser Falah al-Fayadh said.The Iraqi initiative is aimed at opening a dialogue between the opposition and the Syrian government to reach a result that satisfies both sides, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said in an interview with AFP on Thursday.“America and Europe are afraid of the phase after Bashar al-Assad. That is why they understand the initiative” from Iraq, Maliki said.The United Nations this week estimated that more than 5,000 people have been killed in the Syrian government’s crackdown on dissent, now in its 10th month.According to the Syrian Revolution Council, about 14 people were killed on Saturday across the country by the fire of the security forces. Shiite-led Iraq has so far shied away from punitive measures against Assad’s Alawite Shiite regime, abstaining from both a vote to suspend Syria from the Arab League, and another to impose sanctions on Damascus.There are fears among officials in Iraq, which has a substantial Sunni minority, that instability in neighboring Sunni-majority Syria could spill over the border.Read the full story here.

  • Report: Iran 'blinded' CIA spy satellite.(Ynet).Is Iran in possession of satellite jamming technology? A European intelligence source claimed Iran stunned Western intelligence agencies when it managed to "blind a CIA spy satellite by aiming a laser burst quite accurately," in a never before reported incident.According to an article in The Christian Science Monitor, this unreported incident might suggest that the Iranians have successively gained access to jamming technology, allowing them to track unmanned aerial vehicle navigation capabilities.Former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told Fox News on Sunday that such an option is possible."Some reports have said Russia sold (Iran) a very sophisticated jamming system a short time ago. Now, our military says that is not true, it came down because of a malfunction. I certainly hope that's right because if the Russians have provided Iran with sophisticated jamming equipment it means a lot else is at risk too," said Bolton. He added that Congress should be quite concerned if Iran is in possession of jamming technology that can bring down missiles, planes and communications and guidance systems "for a whole range of our weapon systems."An Iranian engineer, trying to decipher the secrets of the CIA drone that was flying over Iranian territory earlier this month, claimed Iranians managed to the craft's frequency, causing it to switch into autopilot mode and land on Iranian territory. The engineer maintained that the drone's Achilles' heel is its global positioning system (GPS). He explained that by jamming the communication the UAV is forced to switch to autopilot, causing it to lose control. According to the engineer, Iran was able to jam communication after accumulating data on other US drones which were shot down in Afganistan. Iranian experts were then able to reprogram the GPS data supposedly directing the US craft to land in Iran.Meanwhile, Iran's foreign minister said on Saturday that his country deliberately delayed its announcement of the capture of an American surveillance drone to test US reaction.Ali Akbar Salehi is quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying Saturday that Iran's armed forces intercepted and brought down the pilotless aircraft without any foreign assistance.On Friday US offcials said they believe the American stealth drone displayed in Iran had crashed and broke into pieces and was put back together by Iranians to make it seem it was not damaged by the crash, reported The Wall Street Journal.Iranian military officials were appeared surveying the unmanned aerial vehicle in video clips published last week, which Tehran claimed was shot down or remotely skyjacked before managing to land the drone intact. However US officials maintained the pilots of the UAV, which was developed by the Air Force but used by the Central Intelligence Agency at the time of the incident, lost control of the drone last week.The officials claimed the drone broke into three pieces, and added the UAV in question is one the most-sophisticated US spy planes available. Now the American intelligence officials are hard at work trying to asses how badly this incident hurt their capabilities in the region. American officials believe the Iranians have managed to reassemble the drone and display it, stirring up a heated discussion among Washington lawmakers who are outraged the sophisticated UAV cannot self destruct in the event that it falls into unwanted hands. Officials also maintained the drone was repainted by Iran in an attempt to hide the damage caused to the UAV. According to them, the actual color of the drone is charcoal-gray and not white, as it appears to be in the video. Tehran's claim that the pilot had lost control of the craft has raised suspicion among US officials. "They did not commandeer it and steer it to the ground," a Washington official stated. "It crashed, and they put it back together to make it look whole, like a puzzle being put back together."Meanwhile, Google CEO Eric Schmidt asserted that Iran has been developing cyber warfare which might endanger the US in the future. “The Iranians are unusually talented in cyber war for some reason we don't fully understand,” Schmidt said in an interview with CNN on Thursday. Read the full story here.

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