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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Overnight music video - Beggin'

2012 Guinness world record holders have ceremony

Stakelbeck on Terror: The Truth about the Koran (Pt.1) + (PT2)

Ex-Muslim Author: Koran Demands ‘Jihad’ and Teaches Believers to ‘Hate’ Christians and Jews.(TheBlaze).Al Fadi, a Saudi native now living in America, is setting out to educate the West about his former religion — Islam. His message, rooted in what he says are deep convictions and personal truth, is sure to inspire controversy.
Al Fadi converted to Christianity after coming to the United States for college. While he claims that he initially planned to convert everyone he met to Islam, something completely unexpected happened. After meeting Christians for the first time in his life, al Fadi became enamored. He explained his conversion to CBN’s Erick Stakelbeck:
Basically, the more I met people who follow Christ, the more I realized that they are distinct and unique in their character. They’re kind, they’re patient, they’re loving, they have moral values, they don’t look at others with hatred.”
Before long, he abandoned Islam, leaving him to embrace Jesus Christ. His conversion, alone, would have led to a death sentence in his homeland. Even now, danger isn’t an impossibility (al Fadi is actually a pseudonym). But regardless of the dangers he faces for sharing his truth, he says that it’s worth it.
Now, al Fadi is making it a mission to correct what he says are the West’s misconceptions about Islam. In an interview with CBN, he explained, in detail, his interpretation of Islam and those who are not Muslims:
When I lived in Saudi Arabia, not only did I look at non-Muslims as second class, you would look at non-devout Muslims as second class citizens.
If Islam has to prosper, be the superior religion, then certain steps must be taken by its followers, including spreading Islam at any cost, including the sword and killing any opposition.So you learn all of these things and then of course you learn that the Koran tells you to hate the Christians and the Jews.”It is these messages that al Fadi desperately wants Americans, among other Westerners, to better understand. To address these issues, he has written a book called ‘The Qur’an Dilemma.”
In particular, he believes that the West has been fed a more favorable, less volatile picture of Islam in its entirety. One subject he covers in-depth is the Koran’s call for jihad, or “holy” war, against non-believers.Read the full story here.

Egyptian Author and Journalist Muhammad Abbas: "If You Tell Me that Ten Million Egyptians Will Be Martyred in Return for the Destruction of Israel - I Am All For It"

Muhammad Abbas: If the Egyptian army were capable of wiping Israel out, I wish it would. I demand that the army do the most that it can, but these are not the appropriate circumstances. We do not yet have the necessary array of systems, politicians, and intellectuals, who represent the nation and fear for it. Today, everybody is trying to get the army into trouble. I am afraid that the army will get into trouble. Oh army, do what you can. If you are capable of killing 70 of them in retaliation for each of our martyrs – do so. I demand that the army do its best, but it should not go too far, so that they do not destroy us. Remember the defeat of 1967.

I wish we had the ability to take revenge. If we do, we should destroy them completely, and not leave a single one of them alive. Anyone who immigrated to Israel without the legal authorization of the Muslims must return to his country or be annihilated. "And the stone shall say: There is a Jew behind me"… But I fear that our enthusiasm might be detrimental to us. I have been against Israel all the way, and I am certain that it will come to an end. Indeed, it will. If you tell me that 10 million Egyptians will be martyred in return for the destruction of Israel – I am all for it. but having 10 million Egyptians martyrs, and then having Israel occupy Sinai and Cairo – absolutely not. We must plan properly. Source.

Egyptian Cleric Wagdi Ghoneim: Democracy Is Founded on Principles of Heresy; Don't Tell Me Christians in Egypt Should Have Equal Rights

There is no such thing as democracy. Democracy is founded on principles of heresy. The ten principles of democracy constitute utter heresy: the freedom of religion, the freedom of belief – we have a punishment for apostasy – the rule of the people by the people and not by Allah, the capital belongs to the people.

In Egypt, there are 80 million citizens, only five million of whom are Crusaders – if you feel like it, you can say that there are seven million. Fine, I don't care. They are a minority. A minority in a Muslim country has a certain status. Don’t say everyone is equal. Don't tell me that every citizen enjoys equal and complete rights. Says who?! How can you possibly draw a parallel between the majority and a minority?

Let's say, just for the sake of argument, that there are 7 million of them – and by God, there are less… There are 70 million of us! So how can you talk to me about equal rights? Whenever I build a mosque, he deserves to build a church?! Says who? I've never seen a Christian pray outside his church because it's too crowded. Look how we Muslims have to pray in the streets. I swear by God that the Christians get more rights than us.Source.

MFS - The Other News

                        Morning Posting.

  • Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in New zealand 6.0 , Japan 6.0 and Cuba 5.2 ! More info here.

  • Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.

  • US hikers to be freed by Oman, Iraq help.(HurriyetDaily).Oman has sent a private jet to Iran for two U.S. hikers convicted of spying even as the Islamic republic’s judiciary said Wednesday that it was still reviewing the pair’s bail conditions, challenging earlier comments by the president.An apparent deal to release Shane Bauer, 28, and Josh Fattal, 29, on $1 million bail was thrown into doubt earlier Wednesday when Iran’s judiciary said the matter still needed review. The statement by the hard-line judiciary appeared to be a message that only its officials, and not the president, could set the terms of any possible release. President Mahmud Ahmadinejad is locked in a bitter power struggle with Iran’s ruling clerics, who control the courts.Just hours after the judiciary’s declaration, however, the Gulf state of Oman dispatched a private plane to Tehran for the hikers, according to an official at Oman’s Foreign Ministry. The Omani official gave no further details on any possible timetable for the release of the Americans, who were detained along the Iran-Iraq border in July 2009 along with a friend, Sarah Shourd. The present situation mirrors the circumstances surrounding Shourd’s release least year. Iran’s courts sidelined Ahmadinejad after his announcement of a $500,000 bail deal for her release and then set the ground rules for her to eventually fly out on an Omani royal jet just as Ahmadinejad was heading to New York.Oman has close ties with both Tehran and Washington and plays a strategic role in the region by sharing control with Iran of the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani was also negotiating for the release of Bauer and Fattal with Iranian officials, an Iranian daily quoted an Iraqi envoy to Tehran as saying. “The Iraqi president contacted top Iranian officials after the pair’s families asked for his mediation ... They will be handed over to the Swiss embassy in Tehran early next week,” the Thursday edition of Sharq daily quoted Nazem Dabbagh as saying.Read the full story here.

  • Video- Netanyahu says he'll address UN ahead of PA state vote.(JPost).After weeks of deliberation, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced Thursday that he would go to a United Nations General Assembly meeting next week to discuss the Palestinian statehood bid. Speaking at a press conference with visiting Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas, Netanyahu said he will "speak the truth to those who want to hear it" at the UN General Assembly.Netanyahu said that the General Assembly is not "the place where Israel generally gets reasonable hearing," but it was nonetheless important to present Israel's position. For weeks there was internal debate inside the Prime Minister's Office whether he should go, or whether Israel should be represented by President Shimon Peres. One government official said only this week that the decision would be based on whether Netanyahu felt he could have any impact on the European countries whose position on the matter has yet to be decided. The prime minister also called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas not to bring the matter to the UN, but rather to return to peace negotiations with Israel. When asked how his country planned to vote on the statehood bid, Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas said, "I would like to emphasis that at this moment I am unfamiliar with the format and context of the request." The press conference came after Netanyahu held late-night meetings Wednesday with US envoys Dennis Ross and David Hale, and with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, in an effort to head off what one diplomatic official termed a “diplomatic train wreck” at the UN.The focus of last-minute diplomatic fury, according to the official, was to prevent a “one-sided anti-Israeli resolution from being adopted by the UN.”None of the parties involved in the talks are being specific about what is being discussed, and it is not even clear whether the goal is to prevent the PA from going to the UN and asking for any type of statehood recognition, or whether the aim is to convince the Palestinians to bring to the UN a resolution that Israel could live with and that would form the basis for future negotiations.Abbas is due to speak to the General Assembly on September 23.An aide to Netanyahu said the prime minister also would address the forum that day and that efforts were under way to try to arrange meetings with US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.Opposition leader Tzipi Livni on Thursday expressed doubt as to the effectiveness of Netanyahu's decision to speak at the General Assembly."I am fine with him going, but he will not affect any real change," Livni stated in an interview with Israel Radio. "To change things you must act and not just give a speech," she added, reiterating her position that the government must act to renew negotiations with the Palestinians and the failure to do so has led to the Palestinian UN bid.Read the full story here.

  • Communities Get Smart about CAIR.(IP).Communities in Washington state and Ohio recently questioned the appropriateness of CAIR's involvement in community programs.In Puyallup, Wash., a school district is considering whether it should allow CAIR to teach about Islam in the classroom."For America's sake, we don't think that it's fair that Islam gets a pass and the other religions don't, but also because CAIR is a front for the Muslim brotherhood," said a member of a local ACT! For America chapter."We have a real problem with organizations with ties to terrorism that come into the public schools."One parent said that school is not the time or place to learn about religion. Dozens said that they did not believe that CAIR should teach Islam in the classroom while other religions went unrepresented.In August, an Ohio Catholic school cancelled an interfaith event with CAIR after the school received a flood of emails advising against the partnership. School president Kirsten MacDougal said the emails were from those who follow news about CAIR's national office."We share the concern over safety, but it is sad that this had distracted from our positive intent on both sides," said MacDougal.CAIR was incorporated in 1994 by three members of the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a propaganda outlet for a U.S.-based Hamas support network. The FBI severed relations with the group three years ago after reviewing evidence from a terrorism-financing prosecution which showed CAIR's founders were part of the Hamas support network. Prosecutors cast CAIR as "a participant in an ongoing and ultimately unlawful conspiracy to support a designated terrorist organization, a conspiracy from which CAIR never withdrew."CAIR's petition to be removed from a list of unindicted co-conspirators in the case failed. A district court judge ruled that "the government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR…with Hamas.Hmmmm.............."By their fruits you will know them".Read the full story here.

  • "Strike Three" - GE Decides to Dump Offshore Wind-Power Plans Despite Collecting Millions in Stimulus Funds for Wind Projects.(GatewayPundit).GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt, the head of Barack Obama’s Economic Advisory Panel, was invited to sit with the First Lady during the president’s speech to Congress this past week. He’s been a strong supporter of the president since he took over the White House and his companies have received plenty of government funds as well.GE was awarded 44 contracts totaling over $46,000,000 and 44 grants totaling more than $79,000,000 from the Obama-Pelosi $757 billion dollar stimulus package. Millions of dollars in stimulus funds were used by GE in green energy projects.Today GE announced that it was going to gut its offshore wind-power plans.Forbes reported:
General Electric, the U.S.-based industrial giant and leading manufacturer of wind-power turbines, is scaling back efforts to expand its presence in the offshore wind power market.
The rationale: there is no meaningful offshore wind market to speak of – at least not yet.Given slower-than-expected industry growth, the offshore market may not mature as rapidly as many wind boosters once believed.In 2009, GE moved into the offshore market by acquiring Norway’s ScanWind, a developer of direct-drive turbines, based in the city of Trondheim.GE is considering laying off about 40 employees in Norway as it scales-back its offshore operations there, according to reports in Recharge. The company has also suspended plans to construct a manufacturing facility in the United Kingdom indefinitely.Immelt also said the stimulus would work way back in April 2009.Hmmmm.....Now what if all these 'Alternative energy projects' fundings were a cover to make Taxpayer money flow back to the re-election fund for Obama?Read the full story here.

  • Solyndra employee: “Everyone knew the plant wouldn’t work”(TheRightscoop).This is a must listen. While we were focused on the debate last Wednesday night, Mark Levin got a call from someone who worked at the Solyndra plant, who gave some revealing details about this Solyndra scandal.This is one of the more interesting things the caller said:
While we were out there, while we were building it – cause it is a half a billion dollar plant – everyone already knew that China had developed a more inexpensive way to manufacture these solar panels. Everyone knew that the plant wouldn’t work. But they still did it. They still built it. She then emphasized that she isn’t even that high on the totem pole and she knew this stuff. So there’s no doubt in her mind that Obama and the White House knew that it wasn’t feasible.Levin replayed the call tonight. Here is the full call.

  • Dictatorship Rising?Should Faking a Name on Facebook Be a Felony?Congress contemplates Obama regime draconian punishment for Internet lies.(WSJ).By Orin S. Kerr.Imagine that President Obama could order the arrest of anyone who broke a promise on the Internet. So you could be jailed for lying about your age or weight on an Internet dating site. Or you could be sent to federal prison if your boss told you to work but you used the company's computer to check sports scores online. Imagine that Eric Holder's Justice Department urged Congress to raise penalties for violations, making them felonies allowing three years in jail for each broken promise. Fanciful, right?Think again. Congress is now poised to grant the Obama administration's wishes in the name of "cybersecurity."The little-known law at issue is called the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. It was enacted in 1986 to punish computer hacking. But Congress has broadened the law every few years, and today it extends far beyond hacking. The law now criminalizes computer use that "exceeds authorized access" to any computer. Today that violation is a misdemeanor, but the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to meet this morning to vote on making it a felony. The problem is that a lot of routine computer use can exceed "authorized access." Courts are still struggling to interpret this language. But the Justice Department believes that it applies incredibly broadly to include "terms of use" violations and breaches of workplace computer-use policies.Until now, the critical limit on the government's power has been that federal prosecutors rarely charge misdemeanors. They prefer to bring more serious felony charges. That's why the administration's proposal is so dangerous. If exceeding authorized access becomes a felony, prosecutors will become eager to charge it. Abuses are inevitable. Real threats to cybersecurity must be prosecuted. Penalties should be stiff. But Congress must narrow the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act before enhancing its penalties. There's no reason to make breaching a promise a federal case, and certainly not a felony crime.Hmmmm....The good old days with the 'Gestapo, Stasi and KGB'?Read the full story here.

  • Erdoğan to hold talks with Obama in NY.(HurriyetDaily).Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Barack Obama will meet in New York next week, with Iraq expected to be high on their agenda, a senior Turkish official said Wednesday.The meeting, which will occur on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, was requested by Washington and is likely to be a “lengthy” one, Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay said on CNNTürk. He added that Turkey’s efforts to curb Kurdish militants based in northern Iraq and possible complications in Iraq in the wake of the U.S. military’s looming pullout would be discussed in detail. Atalay said there was “nothing more natural” than for Turkey to assume a more active role in neighboring Iraq after the withdrawal of U.S. troops.“We may have some demands from the United States as they are pulling out, and they may have assessments concerning Turkey,” the minister said, adding that Ankara had no plans “at the moment” to set up a buffer zone inside northern Iraq to thwart the infiltration of members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.Erdoğan and Obama are also likely to discuss the simmering crisis between Turkey and Israel, the unrest in the Arab world and a Palestinian plan to seek statehood recognition at the U.N. General Assembly.Hmmmm......Since when is Turkey dictating US foreign policy?Once again it seems that Israel has nothing to fear but Obama and Erdogan?Read the full story here.

  • FBI Teaches Agents: ‘Mainstream’ Muslims Are ‘Violent, Radical’.(Wired).The FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.”At the Bureau’s training ground in Quantico, Virginia, agents are shown a chart contending that the more “devout” a Muslim, the more likely he is to be “violent.” Those destructive tendencies cannot be reversed, an FBI instructional presentation adds: “Any war against non-believers is justified” under Muslim law; a “moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.”
The FBI’s Islam Training Documents
           Militancy Considerations
Strategic Themes and Drivers in Islamic Law
Doctrinal Basis for Jihad
Chart: Violence and Adherence to the Torah, Bible and Koran
These are excerpts from dozens of pages of recent FBI training material on Islam that Danger Room has acquired. In them, the Constitutionally protected religious faith of millions of Americans is portrayed as an indicator of terrorist activity.“There may not be a ‘radical’ threat as much as it is simply a normal assertion of the orthodox ideology,” one FBI presentation notes. “The strategic themes animating these Islamic values are not fringe; they are main stream.”The FBI isn’t just treading on thin legal ice by portraying ordinary, observant Americans as terrorists-in-waiting, former counterterrorism agents say. It’s also playing into al-Qaida’s hands. Focusing on the religious behavior of American citizens instead of proven indicators of criminal activity like stockpiling guns or using shady financing makes it more likely that the FBI will miss the real warning signs of terrorism. And depicting Islam as inseparable from political violence is exactly the narrative al-Qaida spins — as is the related idea that America and Islam are necessarily in conflict. That’s why FBI whistleblowers provided Danger Room with these materials.Over the past few years, American Muslim civil rights groups have raised alarm about increased FBI and police presence in Islamic community centers and mosques, fearing that their lawful behavior is being targeted under the broad brush of counterterrorism. The documents may help explain the heavy scrutiny.
They certainly aren’t the first time the FBI has portrayed Muslims in a negative light during Bureau training sessions. As Danger Room reported in July, the FBI’s Training Division has included anti-Islam books, and materials that claim Islam “transforms [a] country’s culture into 7th-century Arabian ways.” When Danger Room confronted the FBI with that material, an official statement issued to us claimed, “The presentation in question was a rudimentary version used for a limited time that has since been replaced.”But these documents aren’t relics from an earlier era. One of these briefings, titled “Strategic Themes and Drivers in Islamic Law,” took place on March 21.The Islam briefings are elective, not mandatory. “A disclaimer accompanied the presentation stating that the views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. government,” FBI spokesman Christopher Allen tells Danger Room.“The training materials in question were delivered as Stage Two training to counterterrorism-designated agents,” Allen adds. “This training was largely derived from a variety of open source publications and includes the opinion of the analyst that developed the lesson block.”Not all counterterrorism veterans consider the briefings so benign. “Teaching counterterrorism operatives about obscure aspects of Islam,” says Robert McFadden, who recently retired as one of the Navy Criminal Investigative Service’s al-Qaida-hunters, “without context, without objectivity, and without covering other non-religious drivers of dangerous behavior is no way to stop actual terrorists.”Hmmm........"The Untouchables'. Read the full story here.

  • French Interior Minister Bans Street Prayers in France.(IslamVersuseurope).Muslim community leaders reached an agreement with police on Wednesday to open a mosque in the north of Paris, aimed at bringing to an end prayers in the street in the Goutte d'Or quarter of the city.The agreement was reached just before an official ban on prayers in the street is implemented across the country.In an interview with Le Figaro, interior minister Claude Guéant confirmed the agreement had been signed on Wednesday evening and said he would remain "vigilant without fail" about ending street prayers."Praying in the street is not dignified as a religious practice," he said. "It contravenes our principle of secularism."He said the new mosque would provide "an area of 2,000 square metres" and would be "rented for €30,000 a year."A former fire station will be used for the mosque, which can receive up to 2,700 people. On Wednesday, there were signs that the mosque might not be ready for prayers on Friday. Magazine Le Point reported that work was running late. "We are not cattle," it quoted one Imam as saying.Prayers in the street became a national issue when Front National leader Marine Le Pen provoked outrage by comparing street prayers to the Second World War, likening them to an "occupation.""There may not be armoured vehicles or soldiers, but it's an occupation all the same and it's hard for the locals," she said in December 2010.The national ban on prayers in the street comes into force on Friday.Read the full story here.

  • Erdogan's beloved IHH Delivers Aid to Somali Terrorist Group al-Shabaab.(IP).Two Turkish aid workers were arrested Monday near the Somalia capital of Mogadishu after meeting with a U.S.-designated terrorist organization during a humanitarian aid mission to the region."The Turkish aid workers were arrested because they did not coordinate with our national security. They met with al Shabaab without clearance or approval from government security," a government humanitarian coordinator told Reuters.The pair was released following talks between Turkey's ambassador to Somalia, President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and the Horn of Africa country's chief of intelligence. One of the workers is an emergency aid official working with the Hamas-tied Turkish charity IHH.An IHH official who declined to be named dismissed the incident as "normal, because of the security situation there."The Turks were arrested after delivering food and supplies to an area outside Mogadishu known as KM 50, where thousands of Somalis are living in refugee camps. KM 50 is controlled by al-Shabaab, the Somali militant group tied to al-Qaida and fighting to overthrow the Somali government.This was the first aid group to visit the region controlled by al-Shabaab, which has banned aid agencies from operating in areas they control. The group arrived at the refugee camp on Monday, and a Turkish delegate said they were warmly welcomed by al-Shabaab officials in the region. The official added that the group will deliver aid to other regions controlled by the terrorist group.Sheikh Hassan Abu Ayman, a member of al-Shabaab's committee for drought, said the Turkish men reached them to deliver humanitarian aid and food to the famine-hit Somalis.An IHH-sponsored humanitarian aid ship named "Gazze" arrived in Mogadishu on Monday, and was welcomed by the IHH aid teams in the region. IHH also intends to dispatch the Mavi Marmara ship, the site of the controversial May 2010 Gaza flotilla clash, on a humanitarian mission to Somalia.Hmmmmm......."By their fruits you will know them"?Read the full story here.

  • Lieberman takes on PLO's 'Judenrein Palestine' remarks.(Ynet).Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday directed Foreign Ministry officials to submit an formal protest to the EU and US over the remarks made by the PLO's ambassador to the US Maen Areikat in which he said that the future Palestinian state would be "free of Jews". In an announcement distributed by Lieberman, he said that the statements correlate with similar statements made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and prove that the Palestinian leadership has adopted the "Judenrein" ideology."It is advisable for the world's nations to take these statements into account when discussing the Palestinian request to establish an independent state," Lieberman said.Meanwhile, it has been reported that the Foreign Ministry is considering whether to cancel Israel's participation in the Donors Conference in New York next week. As the Palestinians continue to prepare for their unilateral declaration of statehood, in Israel, the foreign minister warned that "while there is no room for threats" should the Palestinian Authority's recognition efforts prevail, the move will have "dire consequences."Lieberman stressed that Israel will not simply abide a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood: "I hope common sense will prevail and we reach a point of modus Vivendi, which will also allow for negotiations."On Wednesday the Palestinian Liberation Organization's Ambassador to the US Maen Areikat said that any future Palestinian state must be free of Jews. Speaking to reporters in the US he said, "After the experience of the last 44 years of military occupation and all the conflict and friction, I think it would be in the best interest of the two people to be separated." Read the full story here.

  • At Least Four Dead in Muslim-Hindu Clashes.(Vinienco).At least four people have been killed when police fired into groups of Hindus and Muslims clashing over disputed village land in western India.Dozens more were injured as authorities imposed an indefinite curfew to restore peace in half a dozen villages hit by the violence in Rajasthan state.The simmering land dispute erupted on Wednesday when mobs of Hindus and Muslims attacked each other with stones and clubs in Gopalgarh, a village nearly 95 miles north of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan.The violence soon spread to neighboring areas that have a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims. Police have recovered four bodies from the area. Five villagers sustained serious bullet injuries and have been admitted to hospital. Three policemen were injured in the clashes.The Muslim community has been using the disputed land in Gopalgarh as a burial ground for several years. The Hindu community of shepherds and farmers has also staked claim to the land in a local court, which is yet to rule on the dispute.Hindus make up more than 80% of India’s population, and Muslims comprise nearly 14%.Tensions remain between Hindus and Muslims since the partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan after independence from Britain in 1947. Although small clashes often break out in villages, India has not seen large-scale religious violence since 2002 when the neighboring Gujarat state was hit by a wave of anti-Muslim riots. It started after 59 Hindus were burnt to death in a train in Godhra. Local people accused Muslims of setting fire to the train and more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the subsequent riots.Read the full story here.

  • Belarus ruble plummets against the US dollar.(HurriyetDaily).The Belarus ruble lost nearly 40 percent of its value on Wednesday as the crisis-hit republic floated its currency for the second time in a year, under pressure from rapidly dwindling cash reserves.The valuation followed a 36-percent easing in May and came despite earlier promises by President Alexander Lukashenko to keep the Belarus ruble stable at any cost.The National Bank of Belarus said the ruble lost about 38 percent of its value against the dollar and 40 percent against the euro - in line with a 30-50 percent devaluation predicted by the Moody’s rating agency this week.The new rates put the Belarus ruble at 5,347 against the dollar and 12,100 against the single European currency.The bank’s deputy chairman Taras Nadolny told reporters that demand exceeded supply by a factor of five. “The National Bank is satisfied with how the trading proceeded,” said Nadolny.Lukashenko’s government has already appealed to the International Monetary Fund for an $8-billion (4.4-billion-euro) lifeline that could fill a yawning budget deficit.Hmmmmm.......A country with a stockpile of Radioactive material.....'Dirtybomb' for sale......Anyone?Read the full story here.

  • Saudi Arabia - Wife commits suicide, asks brother to avenge her.(Emirates24/7).A Saudi woman committed a suicide nearly four months after marriage, leaving a letter asking her father to forgive her and her brother to revenge for her from her cruel husband, a newspaper reported on Thursday.The unnamed woman from the western town of Taif had fled her home many times because of mistreatment by her husband but had to return under pressure from her father, the Arabic language daily Sabq said.“She finally left home and went to her uncle’s house after she was beaten by her husband…her uncle told her she can stay at his house,” the paper said.“When she felt that this will cause trouble between her uncle and her father, she decided to end her life by shooting herself in the head…she left a letter asking her father to forgive her and her brother to revenge from her cruel husband.Read the full story here.

  • Saudi Women Protest Against Beautiful Moroccan Maids, Concerned Over ‘Husband Stealing’.(Vinienco).Saudi Arabian women are protesting against plans by the Gulf nation to replace Indonesian domestic workers with Moroccan maids, believing the North African women “are beautiful and could snatch their husbands off them,” a report said on Wednesday.Emirates 24/7 reported that after failing in their efforts to overturn a ban on driving, Saudi Arabian women had been “swift and decisive” in their opposition to Moroccan maids.The news portal reported that the Gulf kingdom’s appointed parliament had been “deluged” by women demanding it veto the plans to use Moroccans to replace Indonesian and Filipino domestic helpers.“Many Saudi woman have objected to plans to import domestic workers from Morocco … they say the Moroccan women are beautiful and this will cause continuous anxiety and concern in Saudi families,” Emirates 24/7 reported the Sharq daily as saying.“Some of them said Moroccan women are so attractive that their husbands could easily fall for them … others said Moroccans are good at magic and sorcery and that this could enable them to lure their husbands.“Some women threatened to resign their job and stay at home so their husbands will not be left alone with the Moroccan maid.”Hmmmm.....Sigh...Forgive me lord ...'Women'.Read the full story here.

  • U.S. Puts Indian Militant Group on Terror List.(IP).The State Department designated an Indian militant group as a foreign terrorist organization Thursday. The Indian Mujahideen (IM) is an India-based terrorist group whose ultimate aim is to impose an Islamic-style caliphate in South Asia. The group is suspected of being behind the serial bombings in Mumbai on July 13 that killed more than 20 people and injured at least 100 others.The IM is believed to be part of the Karachi Project, sponsored by Pakistan's powerful military spy agency, the Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate (ISI). The Project that includes Pakistan-based terrorist groups, the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) and the Harkat ul-Jihad-Islami (HuJI), seeks to train Indian jihadists to wage terrorist attacks against key metropolitan cities in India.The IM has been responsible for a number of attacks on Indian cities in recent years. In 2010, the group attacked a German Bakery in Pune, which is frequented by Western tourists, killing nine people, including two foreigners. In 2008, the IM launched attacks in Delhi and Ahmedabad that killed more than 60 people. The IM has also played a "facilitative role" in the November 2008 terrorist siege on Mumbai that killed 166 people, including six Americans."These designations highlight the threat posed by IM not only to Western interests but to India, a close U.S. partner. The Indian populace has borne the brunt of IM's wanton violence and today's actions illustrate our solidarity with the Indian government," Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, the State Department's Coordinator for Counterterrorism, said in a statement.Read the full story here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Overnight Music video - Scatterlings of Africa Johnny Clegg, a.k.a. The White Zulu.

Israel Palestinian Conflict: The Truth About the Peace Process

MFS - The Other News

                        Morning Posting.

  • Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Chile 5.3 ! More info here.

  • Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.

  • Israel evacuates embassy in Jordan ahead of protests.(JPost).Israel evacuated its embassy in Jordan Wednesday evening, hours before a Facebook organized march under the banner (in Arabic) of "No Zionist embassy on Jordanian territory."Unlike in Egypt, where diplomats lived with their families, in Amman the Israeli delegation serves without their families, and comes home for weekends. The decision came just days after the 13-hour rampage at the Israeli embassy in Cairo, during which six security guards locked themselves behind a steel door while mobs ransacked the embassy.Egyptian commandos rescued those six security guards from the Cairo embassy, as protesters broke into archives and threw documents from the building's windows into the street below where demonstrators were celebrating.The government has said that Israel would respect the peace treaty with Egypt, and was determined to return its envoy as soon as possible.Read the full story here.

  • Erdogan's beloved IHH Delivers Aid to Somali Terrorist Group.(IP).Two Turkish aid workers were arrested Monday near the Somalia capital of Mogadishu after meeting with a U.S.-designated terrorist organization during a humanitarian aid mission to the region."The Turkish aid workers were arrested because they did not coordinate with our national security. They met with al Shabaab without clearance or approval from government security," a government humanitarian coordinator told Reuters.The pair was released following talks between Turkey's ambassador to Somalia, President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and the Horn of Africa country's chief of intelligence. One of the workers is an emergency aid official working with the Hamas-tied Turkish charity IHH.An IHH official who declined to be named dismissed the incident as "normal, because of the security situation there."The Turks were arrested after delivering food and supplies to an area outside Mogadishu known as KM 50, where thousands of Somalis are living in refugee camps. KM 50 is controlled by al-Shabaab, the Somali militant group tied to al-Qaida and fighting to overthrow the Somali government.This was the first aid group to visit the region controlled by al-Shabaab, which has banned aid agencies from operating in areas they control. The group arrived at the refugee camp on Monday, and a Turkish delegate said they were warmly welcomed by al-Shabaab officials in the region. The official added that the group will deliver aid to other regions controlled by the terrorist group.Sheikh Hassan Abu Ayman, a member of al-Shabaab's committee for drought, said the Turkish men reached them to deliver humanitarian aid and food to the famine-hit Somalis.An IHH-sponsored humanitarian aid ship named "Gazze" arrived in Mogadishu on Monday, and was welcomed by the IHH aid teams in the region. IHH also intends to dispatch the Mavi Marmara ship, the site of the controversial May 2010 Gaza flotilla clash, on a humanitarian mission to Somalia.Hmmmmm......."By their fruits you will know them"?Read the full story here.

  • Palestinians back off UN Security Council statehood bid.(Debka).The tempest which Israel had tensely anticipated for September in the wake of a Palestinian bid for unilateral UN recognition of their state looks like fizzling out before it begins as a result of a massive US campaign to avert it, backed by Saudi Arabia, Europe and Egypt.Early Wednesday, Sept. 14, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas decided crucially not to submit his application to the UN Security Council. He also notified Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal and European Union foreign executive Catherine Ashton in Cairo that he was considering watering down his application to the UN General Assembly – possibly by dropping the "state within 1967 borders" provision from the text.Abbas said he would make his final decision known in a public address from Ramallah Friday, Sept 16 before flying to New York to join world leaders at the UN General Assembly's 66th session which began Tuesday.But first, he meets Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair in Amman for a conversation which debkafile's exclusive sources term critical, because Blair will hand him a document termed by senior Washington sources "an outline" of a new format designed to oil Palestinian wheels into unlocking the long-stalled Palestinian dialogue with Israel.This outline has been endorsed by Washington, the EU and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. It is now subject to acceptance by Israel and the Palestinians. Moscow has not yet indicated whether it approves the document or wants changes.By Wednesday morning, the Israeli government had not yet received a copy. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has no doubt that he will be called upon for concessions extreme enough to lure the Palestinian leader back to the table. Blair is expected to deliver the document to Netanyahu some time Thursday after Abbas has seen it. To tie up the ends, senior White House envoys, Dennis Ross and David Hale, are due back in Jerusalem and Ramallah Wednesday.During his visit to Cairo, Mahmoud Abbas was sternly warned by Saud al Faisal, Ashton and Egyptian leaders of the grave consequences awaiting the Palestinians if he forced the UN to exercise its veto against their statehood at the UN Security Council. US President Barack Obama Tuesday made it crystal clear that he "objects very strongly" to the Palestinian statehood motion as "counterproductive" and "a distraction from solving problems that can only be addressed through negotiations."US sources report that the US President has refused to talk to Abbas for the past eight months owing to his refusal to join Israel for direct peace talks. He was advised by the Europeans, the Saudis and Egyptians this week that the US presidential boycott would almost certainly extend to fellow Palestinian leaders and US financial aid. The Palestinian Authority would thus be placed under American sanctions. However, if he withdrew his statehood bid from the Security Council and accepted the new position paper, Obama would consider restoring communications.Tuesday, Sept. 13, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: "The path to creating an independent Palestinian state lies through direct talks between Ramallah and Jerusalem – not New York," she said. Early Wednesday, the General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of Qatar reported that the Palestinians had not yet submitted their request to the General Assembly. It would therefore not come up for debate before October.debkafile's sources report that while Mahmoud Abbas appears to have been hassled into a partial climb-down from his original plan to bypass talks with Israel by gaining UN approval of Palestinian statehood, he may not have caved in completely. Neither is it clear whether Netanyahu will swallow the new blueprint Tony Blair is about to dish up.Hmmmm.....Considering the source is Debka there's a possibility that the 'news' is not completely trustworthy, still i posted it seeing that the independent posted it also.Read the full story here.

  • Erdogan's 'Dangerous Macho Posturing'.EU Politicians Slam Turkey's Anti-Israel Course.(Spiegel).Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not only using his tour of several Arab states for self-promotion, but for verbal attacks against Israel as well. "No one can play with Turkey or Turkish honor," Erdogan said in Cairo on Tuesday. Israel lost Turkey as a strategic partner after the Israeli military attack on the humanitarian aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip in May 2010.During the Arab Spring, Erdogan has presented himself as a new power, a model leader and a "rising star" with "near pop-star status" in the region, as the New York Times has described the Turkish leader. His multi-day trip to Egypt, Tunisia and Libya is meant to strengthen his role in the region.However, Erdogan has also linked his solidarity with the Arab world to a strident anti-Israel foreign policy. Indeed, the political battle lines between Turkey and Israel have been intensifying in recent weeks:
■Erdogan expelled senior Israeli diplomats in early September. If the tension between the two countries wasn't thick enough already, this step only served to escalate the dispute between them.
■Ankara halted its military cooperation with Israel and announced an increased Turkish military presence in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. All trade ties with Israel are currently frozen and Erdogan is threatening "further sanctions."
■At the same time, Erdogan is presenting himself more and more as an advocate for the Palestinians. More than once, he has vociferously considered visiting the Gaza Strip, a move Israel would regard as an affront.
■Erdogan doesn't shy away from verbal attacks, either. On Monday, he said Israel had behaved like a "spoiled child" and accused Israel of supporting "state terror." He described Israel's military action against last year's flotilla to Gaza as a "cause for war."
The conflict could also put Ankara's relationship with the European Union to the test. The dispute over the deadly military raid on the Gaza flotilla, which left nine Turkish activists dead, could grow into a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the EU. Indeed, among high-profile politicians in the European Parliament, criticism of Erdogan is growing.Elmar Brok, the foreign policy spokesman for the parliamentary group of the conservative Christian Democrats in the European Parliament, said he is skeptical of Turkey's efforts to establish itself as a regional power within the Arab world. He said Erdogan is seeking to transform it into a regional power similar to the status it held "earlier with the Ottoman Empire." He said Ankara isn't pursuing the goal of EU membership and that "it is using the conflict with Israel in order to gain credibility in the region," Brok told SPIEGEL ONLINE.Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, a member of the European Parliament with the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) said he also viewed the shift in foreign policy course by the Turkish government as a sign that Ankara's EU ambitions are waning. Turkey, as a secular democracy, may be a role model for the countries currently undergoing a phase of transformation, the FDP party group leader in Brussels told SPIEGEL ONLINE, "but Ankara can in no way be allowed to link the reorientation of its foreign policy with anti-Western sentiment." Lamsbdorff has accused the Erdogan government of using "gunboat rhetoric" in its statements about Israel. The Turkish government's aggressive policy course against Israel, he said, shows that the country currently has "no interest" in pushing forward EU accession talks. "With a strident anti-Israel course, it isn't making any friends in Europe" right now, Lambsdorff said. Hmmmm......Keep Turkey out of the European union and get them out of NATO.Read the full story here.

  • ‘Jew Or Not Jew’ I-Phone App Provokes Outrage In France.(BigPeace).The app available in France is called “Juif ou pas Juif” (Jew or not Jew) and promises to reveal who is Jewish. ”All the information is already available online,” says creator Johann Levy, who lives in Marseille and is himself, Jewish. ”I’m just compiling it all.” The app costs 79 euro cents and has provoked outrage.“I don’t know if its irresponsible, but it’s incredibly dangerous,” said Alain Jakubowicz, president of Licra, a French anti-semitism group.Hmmmm......what's next?Tattooed numbers?Read the full story here.

  • Beijing as the Euro's Savior -Europe and China Bound by Mutual Fears.(Spiegel).By Stefan Schultz. A few years ago, critics from the United States and Europe gave their trading partner China a less-than-favorable name: In an insulting bit of latent racism, they dubbed the emerging superpower a "yellow peril." They warned of an army of Chinese minimum wage laborers, who would destroy entire industries in the West -- and with them millions of jobs. They also warned of growing political influence from the East, which could ultimately even lead to an erosion of human rights.In recent months, the critics have gone quiet -- because they have far more important problems to worry about. Problems with many zeros on the end. At around $15.2 trillion (€11.1 trillion), the US government's debt at the end of 2012 could be as high as the amount of money the country generates in a year.In Europe, the debt prognosis is hardly any better. Italy: €1.9 trillion (approximately 120 percent of annual economic output); Greece: €472 billion (150 percent). The debt clocks of America and the euro countries are ticking relentlessly, and the slogan "Money rules the world" is being given a new meaning. In record time, it seems the current global balance of power is shifting -- in favor of China.On Monday, the US government fired an urgent warning towards Europe. The euro crisis threatens global growth, President Barack Obama said. "As long as this crisis is not solved, we will continue to see weaknesses in the global economy." But America itself is alarmingly high in debt; Obama's exhortation seems like cheap campaign rhetoric, a maneuver to divert attention away from his own serious problems.China currently appears in quite a different light: The country has foreign exchange reserves of $3.2 trillion. The government is holding around a quarter of that in euro securities, mostly government bonds, said Daniel Gros of the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels. According to the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper, China has more than tripled its financial commitment in Europe since 2007, and this trend is growing. His country was ready to "extend a helping hand" and to invest more in European countries and the US, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Wednesday. China has already bought Greek and Portuguese government bonds, and, according to a report by London's Financial Times this week, debt-ridden Italy has recently wooed Chinese sovereign wealth fund CIC for money. America can only warn, while China promises salvation: This is the new creed of the global debt crisis. The supposed "yellow peril" has positioned itself as a "white knight" which promises not to leave its trading partners in Europe and America in the lurch.In return, however, Beijing is demanding a high price -- the Chinese government wants more political prestige and more political power:
■Prime Minister Wen has called for more access to American markets, saying the US should be more open for Chinese investors. If China invests more in US companies, new jobs would also be created, he argues. As conciliatory as that sounds, however, the words are poison for President Obama given that high unemployement in the US could ultimately scupper his chances for re-election.
■Wen is also demanding that the US lift restrictions on the export of high technology products to China. This would allow America to increase exports and improve its trade deficit. So far, US companies have held back from such a policy for fear their technology would be copied by potential Chinese competiters.
■Far-reaching demands have also been made of Europe by Wen: European Union countries, he argues, should at last recognize the world's second largest economy as a market economy. He is hoping for a "breakthrough" to happen as soon as the next EU-China Summit on Oct. 25 in the Chinese city of Tianjin.
The demands are not all new -- but China is pushing them with increasing intensity. This is especially shown by the discussion about the recognition of China as a market economy. This would happen automatically in 2016, but for China that is not fast enough, as such a recognition would at a stroke reduce many barriers to trade. In particular, direct investment in Europe would become much easier.Until now, the debate has been going in just one direction: To recognize China as a market economy sooner, Europe has demanded major concessions on human rights and the protection of intellectual property. China is now turning the tables: Much-needed support during the euro crisis will be available, it says -- if Europeans recognize China as having a market economy.Europe must not be intimidated, however, because it is China's most important trading partner after the US. "The crisis in the euro zone is also hurting China," said Eberhard Sandschneider of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). "Not only because Beijing is holding a large amount of European debt securities, but also because the country wants to expand into Europe." In addition, Beijing has consistently stressed that the US dollar should be replaced as the key currency by a triumvirate of dollar, euro and Chinese yuan -- and therefore China wants to support Europe.Thus, Europe's negotiating position is not all that terrible; it has more political leverage than it would appear at first. Not the least of which is the fact that the continent's ominous weaknesses act as a means of putting pressure on China; it might not be an over-exaggeration to say there is a certain balance of horror. If one fails, both fail. Nevertheless, Europe will have to get used to the fact that China will be increasingly negotiating using the methods of the industrialized Western nations; that is to say, it will use its growing economic clout more and more as a political weapon."The behavior of the Chinese government in the euro crisis has become a whole lot more confident," said Sandschneider. "This is the new reality with which Europe and America must deal with constructively."Read the full story here.

  • Congressional Investigator: More Solar Bankruptcies to Come.(Heritage).A top congressional investigator said on Tuesday that he believes more companies that benefitted from the stimulus bill’s renewable energy loan guarantee program will go bankrupt before all allotted funds are spent.The program, which guaranteed a $535 million loan to Solyndra before the company declared bankruptcy last week, still has $8-10 billion in authorized funding that has yet to be spent. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said he had called on the administration to hold off on awarding more loan guarantees from the program.“The question is: how many Solyndras are out there?” Stearns said. “I’m convinced based upon what I’ve seen on this kind of industry and solar panel, that there’s more that are going to go bankrupt, and I think the president’s unwise to continue this idea of funding through taxpayer money industries that are not viable.”Stearns would not reveal which companies he thought are at risk, saying he would save that information for his panel’s Wednesday hearing on the Solyndra bankruptcy. “I’ve called upon the president not to award any more money for this kind of venture, and to return the money to the Treasury rather than put it out the door,” he added.Stearns’s hearing will examine two aspects of alleged corruption in Solyndra’s loan guarantee award, he said. The panel will examine both the possibility that political factors played a p[art in the award – a major investor in the company is also a large Obama donor – and the apparent lack of oversight by the White House Office of Management and Budget and other federal officials.OMB’s director will testify at the hearing Wednesday, as will the Energy Department official who supervised the loan program. Stearns said the committee had agreed to postpone the testimony of Solyndra’s CEO and CFO in exchange for agreements that they would not “plead the fifth” and refuse to answer questions when they eventually do appear before the committee.Hmmmm.....Can we start impeachment procedures now?Read the full story here.

  • Because Solyndra Was Such a Smashing Success, Obama Hands Out a $1.2 Billion Taxpayer Loan To Another Solar Company.(LA Times) — The U.S. Energy Department hopes that a new solar energy project will result in about 900 construction and permanent operations jobs.Energy Secretary Steven Chu said today that his department had finalized a $1.2-billion loan guarantee to Mojave Solar for the development of the Mojave Solar Project. When complete, the 250-megawatt solar generation project in San Bernardino County will increase the nation’s currently installed concentrating solar power capacity by approximately 50%.Abengoa Solar Inc., the project sponsor, is the source of the estimate on construction and permanent operations jobs.“Investments in solar generation facilities like the Mojave Solar Project are critical to our effort to create good, clean energy jobs in America and compete with countries like China in the global clean energy race,” Chu said. “This project will supply local utilities with energy, help drive down the cost of solar power and fund more than 900 American jobs, all at minimal risk to the taxpayer.”. . . Federal agents recently executed a search warrant at the Northern California headquarters of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra Inc., which filed for bankruptcy protection last week despite receiving $535 million in federal stimulus loan guarantees.Hmmmm.........Congressional Investigator: "I’ve called upon the president not to award any more money for this kind of venture, and to return the money to the Treasury rather than put it out the door."Read the full story here.

  • Gore-Backed “Green” Car Company Gets $529 Million Taxpayer Loan From Obama Administration.(WSJ).Washington — A tiny car company backed by former Vice President Al Gore has just gotten a $529 million U.S. government loan to help build a hybrid sports car in Finland that will sell for about $89,000. The award this week to California startup Fisker Automotive Inc. follows a $465 million government loan to Tesla Motors Inc., purveyors of a $109,000 British-built electric Roadster. Tesla is a California startup focusing on all-electric vehicles, with a number of celebrity endorsements that is backed by investors that have contributed to Democratic campaigns.The awards to Fisker and Tesla have prompted concern from companies that have had their bids for loans rejected, and criticism from groups that question why vehicles aimed at the wealthiest customers are getting loans subsidized by taxpayers.“This is not for average Americans,” said Leslie Paige, a spokeswoman for Citizens Against Government Waste, an anti-tax group in Washington. “This is for people to put something in their driveway that is a conversation piece. It’s status symbol thing.”DOE officials spent months working with Fisker on its application, touring its Irvine, Calif., and Pontiac, Mich., facilities and test-driving prototypes.Matt Rogers, who oversees the department’s loan programs as a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, said Fisker was awarded the loan after a “detailed technical review” that concluded the company could eventually deliver a highly fuel-efficient hybrid car to a mass audience. Fisker said most of its DOE loan will be used to finance U.S. production of a $40,000 family sedan that has yet to be designed.Hmmm.....Thugocracy in it's natural habitat?Read the full story here.

  • Obama's Israel policy seen as factor that cost him House seat.(YNet).Did President Obama's positions on Israel cost him a seat in the House? The Republicans have scored an upset victory in a House race that started as a contest to replace New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, who was forced to step down following a sex-texting scandal, but became a referendum on US President Barack Obama's policies.Retired media executive and political novice Bob Turner defeated Democratic state Assemblyman David Weprin on Tuesday in the special election to fill the seat vacated by Weiner, a seven-term Democrat who resigned in June. With more than 80% of precincts reporting, Turner had 54% of the vote to Weprin's 46% in unofficial results.According to the New York Times, Turner took advantage of the discontent among the Jewish community with Obama’s policy toward Israel and his handling of the Middle East peace process. Former Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat, endorsed Turner in July as a way to "send a message" to Obama on his policies toward Israel. And Weprin was challenged on his support of a proposed Islamic center and mosque near the World Trade Center site, in lower Manhattan.The heavily Democratic district, which spans parts of Queens and Brooklyn and is 40% Jewish, had never sent a Republican to the House. The race was supposed to be an easy win for Democrats, who have a 3-1 ratio registration advantage in the district.Several voters who spoke to the New York Times said that the Israel issue was a major factor in their decision to support Turner, who repeatedly criticized Obama on Israel. Turner, a 70-year-old Catholic, vowed to push back on Obama's policies if elected. He received help from prominent Republicans including former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose much-praised stewardship of the city after the September 11 terror attacks was recalled during their 10th anniversary, last weekend.The emergence of Israel as an issue was a surprise, the Times reported, because Weprin is an observant Jew and strong supporter of Israel.Orthodox Jews, who tend to be conservative on social issues, expressed anger over Weprin's vote in the state Assembly to legalize gay marriage. In July, New York became one of six states to recognize same-sex nuptials.Read the full story here.

  • Ignorance Or Malice? Why Are Obama and Union Bosses Working to Destroy Companies and Jobs?(BigGovernment).The question needs to be asked: Is it ignorance or malice? There was a time after the subprime mortgage meltdown when, if sound decisions on policy and financial initiatives had occurred, the American economy may not have been hobbled as badly, its credit rating might not have been downgraded, the recession might have been curtailed and so many Americans might not have been so negatively affected. However, rather than helping a recovery by letting the quasi-free market adjust, contract and expand again, at almost every turn, Barack Obama and the union appointees and crony capitalists within his administration are, whether out of malice or ignorance, seemingly doing everything they can to destroy an already fragile economy. It’s really no longer a question of ”if,” but “why.”
In 2008, Barack Obama was caught on camera explaining his redistributionist desire to spread the wealth around. At the time, in classic Saul Alinsky fashion, Obama’s union pushers tried deflecting the issue by the stomping on the reputation of ‘Joe the Plumber,’ the man who asked Obama an innocent question.
Now, 18 months after his first stimulus failed, Barack Obama has cynically proposed spending another one-half a trillion dollars (paid for by redistributing the wealth of the not-so -wealthy. Even pundits realize it is a “nakedly political” plan to paint his political opponents as ‘radical.’ However, even with the politicization apparent, policies of Obama and his union cronies go beyond the typical ‘tax and spend’ stereotype afforded to Keynesian liberals.
Unfortunately, from coast to coast, the Obama Misery Index (OMI) is leaving almost no sector untouched. From the seemingly politically-motivated raid in Nashville on legendary (and non-union) guitar-maker Gibson to the EPA killing 500 jobs in Texas, the attacks on America’s job creators are not only disturbing, they are alarming. Is it ignorance or malice?
In addition to the union appointees at Obama’s National Labor Relations Board attacking Boeing (and the potential long-term spillover effects across the economy), as well as its assault on Right-to-Work States, the NLRB’s new mandate to require all private-sector employers with two or more workers to post union notices, coupled with its proposal for ambush elections and the recent micro-union ruling, is causing more and more businesses to spend resources in preparing to be attacked by unions than creating jobs. Is it ignorance or malice?
In another example, in June, the Department of Labor issued a stunning ruling that a private construction project must pay “prevailing wages” (i.e., union wages) on a $700 million project under the Davis Bacon Act because it is on land leased by the federal government.According to the Washington Post, this could raise the project by $20 million or more.Whatever the law’s merits, it has been pretty well settled that Davis-Bacon applies only to structures funded, owned or occupied by the U.S. or District governments, as its plain language suggests.Now, with the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen, that understanding has been upset. A Labor Department regulator has ruled that Davis-Bacon covers the CityCenter DC project, a $700 million private-sector complex under construction downtown at the site of the former convention center. The decision is astonishing, both because it is such a stretch legally and because of its implications — which range from a financial hit for the District to higher costs for development across the country.While the bureacrat at the Department of Labor expects the District of Columbia to pick up the tab for the increased costs, that may not be of any comfort since, ultimately, it is the taxpayers who will pay the price.Never mind that the District’s actual control over construction amounts to little more than the usual regulatory oversight, or that long-term leasing of municipal land is a common economic development tool not previously thought to convert office-retail complexes into public works. Never mind that Ms. Leppink’s expansive reasoning could apply to all future commercial redevelopment of land belonging to the District or to the federal government anywhere.From the the beginning, Barack Obama had claimed he wanted to transform America. His primary pushers—union bosses—have long wanted to change the America’s economy to more of a statist nation. Unfortunately, while many voters hoped Mr. Obama’s election would change things for the better, it is quite clear that the opposite has occurred. As a result, America will be poorer for generations as a result while union cronies control large portions of the federal government.While it is true Mr. Obama inherited a mess, he and his administration are making it exponentially worse.The question is: Is it ignorance or malice?Hmmmm....“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776.Read the full story here.

  • Record Number Americans, Or 46.3 Million, Lived In Poverty Last Year; 49.9 Million Without Health Insurance.(BlacklistedNews).Source: Zero Hedge. The US Census Bureau has released its annual Income (not so much), Poverty (much) and Health Insurance Coverage report for 2010. The full thing is below but the highlights are as follows: i) Real median household income in the United States in 2010 was $49,445, a 2.3 percent decline from the 2009 median. ii) The nation's official poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1 percent, up from 14.3 percent in 2009 ? the third consecutive annual increase in the poverty rate. There were 46.2 million people in poverty in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009 ? the fourth consecutive annual increase and the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published; and iii) The number of people without health insurance coverage rose from 49.0 million in 2009 to 49.9 million in 2010, while the percentage without coverage ?16.3 percent - was not statistically different from the rate in 2009. Breaking it down by ethnicity, living in poverty were 27.4% of all blacks, and 26.6% of all Hispanics. White, non Hispanics and Asians were doing better at 9.9% and 12.1% respectively.Read the full story here.

  • John Esposito’s Deceptions on ‘Islamophobia’.(FrontPageMag).By Hasan Mahmud.In most cases, a patient won’t even realize, let alone resist, when a doctor betrays him.I am a Muslim. I believe that accepting our (Muslims’) share in creating “Islamophobia” in the West will help eliminate it. Dr. John Esposito’s recent article in the Huffington Post, “Islamophobia: A threat to American Values?” puts the entire blame on Western “media commentators, hard-line Christian Zionists and politicians.” He even neglects to mention the huge contribution Muslim societies have had on the issue. Esposito ignores that in our global village the West is regularly flooded by violence coming from Muslim societies; violence which is perpetrated in the name of Islam while citing Quranic verses and the Prophet’s examples. The list is long. Here are some examples:
  1. A Sharia court stoned to death a gang-raped girl, who was a minor at the time.
  2. A Sharia court flogged another girl to death for having an affair.
  3. Punishing raped girls/women by Sharia courts is continuing.
  4. Wife-beating is openly preached.
  5. Child-marriage is openly preached.
  6. “No rape in marriage” is openly preached.
  7. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is supported by many clergics including some of Al Azhar University.
  8. Women are instantly divorced – there is no maintenance in such cases.
  9. A woman appealed to a Sharia court to order her husband to beat her not every day but once a week.
  10. Sharia-police (Hisba) are invading people’s lives.
  11. The persecution of Muslims with different ideas is reaching a frightening level.
  12. Non-Muslims are arrested for carrying their holy books.
  13. The persecution of non-Muslims is continuous and reaching a disturbing level.
  14. Hate preaching against non-Muslims in media is common.
  15. Indoctrination of children with such hate is open and alarming.
  16. School syllabi are full of hatred directed at “The Other.”
  17. Non-Muslim places of worship are destroyed regularly.
  18. Lying and deceiving are supported.
  19. Civil rights are violently suppressed by “Islamic” governments — often by hanging.
With such phenomena and experience, what else does Dr. Esposito expect from the West except “Islamophobia”? He also blames the West for resisting the Ground Zero Mosque. I wish he knew how many Muslims around the world are opposed to the proposed Islamic center, not because we don’t want mosques, but because before its construction, the notion of the center created “fitna” (division) and violently divided the whole nation.Esposito is also utterly wrong to state: “Today, opposition to mosque construction with claims that all mosques are ‘monuments to terrorism’ and ‘house embedded cells’ in locations from NYC and Staten Island, to Tennessee and California, has become not just a local but a national political issue.” I wish he knew that only last month a new mosque, Baitul Gaffar, was constructed in New York without a shadow of resistance, or how many euros European governments are pouring into the construct of new mosques. By the way, women were barred from attending the opening ceremony of Baitul Gaffar (House of Creator) in New York.Throughout his article, Esposito, a respected scholar, uses mini-exceptions as general examples. Despite overwhelming support for Muslims among politicians, he cites a few bad apples. For instance, Esposito says, “Politicians use fear of Islam as a political football.” He also states that “Justice Kagan is being accused of being ‘Justice Sharia.’” Accused? Knowing about widespread violence sanctioned by Sharia law, as the dean of Harvard Law School, Justice Kagan tried “to promote a deep appreciation of Islamic law” with the blessing of Saudi money. If such a person is not “Justice Sharia,” who is? Aren’t there Islamists trying to establish Sharia courts in the USA? Yes, the blueprint of American Sharia courts was created as early as 1993 by TAM, The American Muslims. Plus, who is breeding the home grown terrorists? Are they Western media commentators, hard-line Christian Zionists and politicians?I wish Esposito mentioned the hate-tsunami against Jews and the West that roars in the media and throughout the pulpits of the Muslim world, constantly in Himalayan magnitude. One cartoon against our Prophet (SA) caused chaos to break loose, but during my long years in the Middle East, I saw many dozens of worse cartoons in the media about Jews and their holy book. No government contained that, nor was there a sane Muslim voice against these cartoons.Esposito also states that “all Muslims have been reduced to stereotypes of Islam against the West, Islam’s war with modernity, and Muslim rage, extremism, fanaticism, and terrorism” and “all leaders of that [American] society look at all Muslims with suspicion and prejudice.” These are hyperbolic overstatements. I am a Muslim; I live in Canada and often travel to the US – there is a general sense of concern, but in general, Muslims are doing well, living well and are treated well. The overwhelming support and protection of Muslims by common North Americans and churches after 9/11 is on record, but is sadly overlooked.Yes, “We all [governments, policymakers, the media, educational institutions, religious and corporate leaders] have a critical role to play in countering the voices of hate, the exclusionary theologies and ideologies.” Esposito should give the same advice to the leaders of Muslims world.Once again, in our global village, the West is continuously bombarded by the news of serious violence from the Muslim world against women, non-Muslims and Muslims of different Islamic ideas, in the name of Islam.This is the main reason for “Islamophobia” — and a logical one.About Hasan Mahmud :Hasan Mahmud is a member of the advisory board of the World Muslims Congress.Read the full story here.

  • Cuba to drill six oil wells off Florida coast.(DocsTalk).By Mark Tapscott.President Obama and his Interior Secretary Ken Salazar have all but shut down the U.S. oil and natural gas industry drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, but foreign powers like China, Cuba and Venezuela aren't hesitating to move in to take advantage of America's bureaucratic paralysis.Global Post reports preparations are moving forward for six wells in an area off the Florida coast in which U.S. experts have estimated could contain five billion barrels of oil. The Cubans are moving to tap into this potential energy bonanza with extensive aid from China, which built the massive drilling rig, and Hugo Chavez' Venezuela, which is providing drilling and production expertise.A Spanish firm, Repsol, with partners in Norway's Statoil and Italy's Saipem, will oversee the operation. Not by coincidence, the latest data on U.S. drilling activity shows a continuing decline in the number of rigs in operation. The Washington Post reports this morning that another 10 units stopped operating, leaving a total of 1,958. Most of the newly idled rigs are in Texas.HAVANA, Cuba — Somewhere between here and China, a hulking, hungry oil rig dubbed “Scarabeo 9” is making its way across the oceans, preparing to put a very controversial hole deep in the Gulf of Mexico.To nervous Floridians, even its name suggests “scare,” or “scar.” It will puncture the sea floor in Cuban-controlled waters just 60 miles off the Florida Keys, not far from a protected coastline where offshore drilling is banned under U.S. law.Having conducted test wells in the area before, Spanish energy company Repsol and its partners are now bringing the Chinese-built Scarabeo 9 to a site off Cuba’s northwest coast, where it aims to drill as soon as November at a depth of more than 5,500 feet, deeper than the blown-out well that spewed 5 million barrels of crude into the Gulf last summer.That disaster has added to anxiety about Cuba’s exploration efforts, but it has also intensified calls for U.S. officials to engage the Castro government on spill prevention and contingency plans.A high-level delegation of U.S. oil-spill experts traveled to Havana this week to meet with Cuban officials. It has urged the Obama administration to cooperate with the Castro government on a joint-response plan that could avert environmental catastrophe for both countries.The delegation included William Reilly, co-chair of the presidential commission that investigated last year’s spill at the Deepwater Horizon rig, at the well known as Macondo.“The fact that Cuba is about to drill six wells in the next two years, some of them very deep, deeper than Macondo, in places we wouldn’t allow it if it were in our waters … you better believe that the United States has an important interest in that,” Reilly said.“The Cubans have never regulated this industry, they don’t have familiarity with it, but they are doing things to get ready for it,” he added. “We want to make sure the Cubans have got the lessons we learned, and get a sense of what they do need — that the U.S., in its own interest — would help them get.”Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), a long-time Castro foe, criticized the delegation’s visit, saying it gave “credibility” to Cuba’s attempt to become “the oil tycoons of the Caribbean.” Other lawmakers have also urged retaliatory measures against Repsol.But experts say with Cuba moving forward, the U.S. should help them do so as safely as possible. Some of the industry’s leading safety-equipment providers and cleanup contractors are nearby along the Gulf Coast, but the U.S. trade embargo bars them from doing business with the island.In recent months, Cuban authorities have given minimal information about their drilling plans, but the U.S. delegation gave new details into the project.The fact that the drilling rig was built in China should not raise concerns, said delegation member Lee Hunt, president of the Houston-based International Association of Drilling Contractors, a trade group. As many six other rigs already working safely in the Gulf of Mexico were built in the same Chinese shipyard, Hunt said.“It has the latest generation of equipment,” said Hunt.American trade sanctions against Cuba prohibited the use of more than 10 percent U.S. technology in the rig’s construction, but Hunt said the Norwegian-designed platform will have an American-made blowout-prevention system that is more advanced than the one which failed on the Deepwater Horizon.While Cuban oil officials will manage and regulate the operations, the engineers and crews doing the actually drilling will be composed of experienced international oil workers, said Hunt. An Italian firm, Saipem, will be operating the rig, and Repsol’s partners include Statoil, a Norwegian company that he and others praise as a world leader in safe deepwater drilling.When asked how closely U.S. oil companies were following Cuba’s drilling plans — and if they might be angling behind the scenes for access to its waters — members of the delegation said it would depend on the size of the find.If the deposits hold close to 20 billion barrels, as Cuban geologists claim, that would probably attract some interest, said delegation member Richard Sears, a former vice president and deepwater drilling specialist at Royal Dutch Shell.For now, though, Sears said, U.S. firms will likely prefer to work in parts of the world with proven hydrocarbon reserves and fewer political hurdles than Cuba. “The challenge for any company is how you allocate resources,” he said.“Do I want to fight political and public-relations battles?” said Sears. “Or do I put my resources into other parts of the Gulf of Mexico where I have well-established leases?”Hmmmm.....If he really wanted to destroy America's economy would he do anything different?Read the full story here.

  • Obama’s New Anti-Terrorist Group: Islamist and Pro-Terrorist Turkish Regime Annointed as Co-Leader; Israel, Left Out.(BarryRubin).Every time I strongly criticize the Obama Administration’s foreign policy, there are those who think calling this president’s policy incredibly disastrous is an exaggeration. Within a few hours, however, this government proves my criticism to be accurate by still another astonishingly damaging, wrong-headed action . Here is the latest example.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced the establishment of a new Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). According to the statement, this initiative is the main activity in the administration’s effort to organize a framework for the international counterterrorism effort. In other words, it is very important.But when I read the announcement, I can’t help but think: there goes another several hundred million dollars. Is this group actually going to do something that cannot be done by existing organizations? Is the best way to fight terrorism to create new bureaucracies with office space, high-paid staff, international travel, more useless documents, and expensive conferences?The statement explains the purpose of this new organization:“To address the evolving terrorist threat…by helping frontline countries and affected regions acquire the means to deal with threats they face. It is based on a recognition that the U.S. alone cannot eliminate every terrorist or terrorist organization. Rather, the international community must come together to assist countries as they work to confront the terrorist threat.”The language is, of course, that of Obama Administration multilateralism. Yet what is the motive of a country to help eliminate terrorists? Self-interest because those countries or their interests are being attacked by those groups. And when do they not do so? When they support the terrorists’ aims. Thus, Turkey, Egypt, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan are not going to be allies in the battle against Hamas, Hizballah, and radical Islamist groups generally. Will more American-sponsored training increase Pakistan’s effectiveness when corruption and political policy makes its military protect, even help, al-Qaida?In as much as the plan for the group expresses any real-world purpose, it is to help the countries most targeted by terrorism. There are 30 founding members. Most of them—I’d say two-thirds—face no serious terrorist threat today. The Middle East members include Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.Switzerland is a member; Pakistan and India, despite the former’s sponsoring terrorism against the latter, are members; Israel is not. Remember that not only is the country in the world most threatened by terrorism but also the one with the most experience and greatest expertise in fighting terrorism. Of course, the eight Arab states—along with founders Indonesia and Pakistan—would not participate in programs alongside Israel. But this problem could easily have been managed in a number of ways, as it has been done before in many such groups, for example by creating regional sub-sections. Finally, among the new organization’s plans is the “first-ever multilateral training and research center focused on countering violent extremism, which would be based in the Gulf region.” Note that by siting it in the Gulf region, as opposed to all of the other places it could have been done, ensures that no Israeli will ever be an instructor or a student there. The center easily could have been put in the territory of more than twenty other non-Arab members. But there’s more. The United States is not leading this new organization alone. It has a co-director. That co-director is Turkey.Certainly, Turkey has faced terrorism in the past. While one has great sympathy for it in that battle, the Turkish government has also used methods involving death squads and human rights’ violations far worse than those methods condemned loudly by the United States when done by other countries.Unfortunately, too, the Turkish regime is now is a major supporter of such terrorist groups as Hamas and Hizballah. In addition, the Turkish government is closely aligned with the IHH, an Islamist terrorist group which the Turkish government backed in the Gaza Flotilla in order to create an international crisis.At the very moment when the U.S. government is making the Turkish government its partner in fighting terrorism, that same government is turning Turkey into a dictatorship. Every day, military officers are being arrested on ridiculous charges. Freedom is steadily contracting.On the international level, the Obama Administration is rewarding a government that opposed U.S.-backed sanctions on Iran and stabbed the U.S. government in the back by trying to push a separate deal with Iran to subvert the sanctions effort. And it is also rewarding the Ankara government by making it the U.S.-appointed mediator over the future of Syria, despite the fact that the Turkish regime is favoring a future Islamist government in Damascus, as Syrian oppositionists complain bitterly.The “Turkish model,” which the U.S. government often champions for the Arabic-speaking world, means in reality the creation of Islamist, anti-Western, regimes that at home seek to transform their societies at home into Islamist dictatorships and their foreign policies into supporting terrorist groups, fighting Israel, and undermining other U.S. allies. This is not, to say the least, a brilliant idea.But what transforms this from the absurd and bizarre to the truly dangerous is the fact that the U.S. government is once again raising the status of Turkey at a time when its prime minister is openly talking of war with Israel and acting in a more reckless, shortsighted manner than any Turkish government has since 1914.As a matter of history, that government mistakenly entered World War One on the German side. Within four years the result was the Armenian massacres, total defeat, the loss of the country’s empire, horrendous disease and death that wiped out twenty percent of Anatolia’s population, and the occupation by foreign armies of large parts of Turkey.Reacting to this experience, Kemal Ataturk, who founded the republic, wisely expounded the dictum that directed Turkey’s foreign policy for eight decades: peace at home; peace abroad. That is no longer the guiding concept of the Islamist regime’s foreign policy.Hmmmm......"By their fruits you will know them".Read the full story here.

  • Iranian judiciary denies decision taken on freeing U.S. hikers.(AlArabiya).Iran’s judiciary said on Wednesday that no decision has been taken on releasing two US hikers convicted of spying, a day after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the duo would be released soon.“While denying ... release of two Americans accused of espionage, the public relations of the judiciary announces that the request of the lawyer to post bail and free them is being studied by the case’s judge,” a statement posted on the judiciary website said. “Any information in this regard will be issued by the judiciary and any release of information from other sources is not valid,” it added.Ahmadinejad told The Washington Post on Tuesday that Tehran would soon release Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, convicted of spying but who claimed to have accidentally strayed into the country, “in a couple of days so they will be able to return home.”“The two Americans are going to stay in prison for a bit longer. Reports of their imminent release are wrong, “Iran’s English-language Press TV quoted a judiciary official as saying.In a separate interview with U.S. network NBC News, Ahmadinejad said the duo -- whose jailing has further strained already difficult relations between Washington and Tehran -- would be released “in two days.”However, their lawyer Masoud Shafii told AFP on Wednesday that he was waiting for a judge authorizing the posting of bail for the two hikers.“Nothing has changed since I was informed by the court (on Tuesday) of their decision to change the detention to posting bail of the 5$00,000,” Shafii said.“There are two judges who have to sign the decision for me to start the process of actually posting bail. I am waiting for one the judges who has still not signed ... if he does not sign the decision by the end the working day, 3:00 pm (1130 GMT) it will postponed to Saturday,” the lawyer said.“I have already informed the families and the Swiss embassy,” he added. The Swiss embassy deals with U.S.-related affairs as Washington and Tehran have had no diplomatic relations since the aftermath of the Islamic revolution of 1979.Ahmadinejad’s comments drew an optimistic response from the families of the hikers, who were each sentenced to eight years in jail last month on charges of espionage and illegal entry.“While we do not have further details at this time, we are overjoyed by the positive news reports from Iran,” said a statement issued by the families.“Shane and Josh’s freedom means more to us than anything and it’s a huge relief to read that they are going to be released,” the statement said.“We’re grateful to everyone who has supported us and looking forward to our reunion with Shane and Josh. We hope to say more when they are finally back in our arms.”A guarded U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “We have followed this very closely and we are encouraged by what the Iranian government has said today.” She added: “We obviously hope that we will see a positive outcome from what appears to be a decision by the government.”The pair were arrested in July 2009 near Iran’s border with Iraq, where they say they were hiking in the mountains as tourists, along with a third American, Sarah Shourd.Bauer and Fattal were convicted last month and share a cell in Tehran’s Evin prison. Shourd was allowed to go home after being freed on $500,000 bail in September 2010, paid through Oman, a U.S. Gulf ally that maintains relations with Iran.Read the full story here.

  • Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood criticizes Erdogan’s call for a secular state.(AlArabiya).Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s call on Egyptians to adopt a secular constitution has created a kind of controversy, just hours before his scheduled meeting with the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest political group, on Wednesday. Erdogan noted that secularism does not mean renouncing religion. “A secular state respects all religions,” Erdogan said in an interview with an Egyptian private satellite TV channel prior to his visit to Egypt.“Do not be wary of secularism. I hope there will be a secular state in Egypt,” Erdogan said. He stressed that people have the right to choose whether or not to be religious, adding that he is a Muslim prime minister for a secular state.Dr Mahmoud Ghuzlan, the spokesman of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, considered Erdogan’s comments as interference in Egypt’s local affairs. Ghuzlan was quoted by an Egyptian newspaper as saying that the experiments of other countries should not be cloned. “Turkey’s conditions imposed on it to deal with the secular concept,” he said.Erdogan said Egypt needs to meet some requirements for establishing a modern state, including better management of human resources, more attention to education, improved management of financial resources and eliminating corruption.The idea of adopting a secular system for Egypt has fueled controversy between the country’s liberal and Islamist powers since the Jan. 25 revolution.Liberal and secular groups fear an Islamist takeover of the parliament through the upcoming elections scheduled for November. They fear such a takeover would give Islamists control over the drafting of the constitution.Read the full story here.

  • Turkish PM sets out on mission to become leader of Arab world.(Independent).The Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan, arrived in Egypt yesterday at the start of a three-nation tour as Turkey toughens its stance towards Israel and seeks to become the predominant power among Muslim states in the Middle East and North Africa.After Egypt, Mr Erdogan will visit Tunisia and Libya to show Turkey's support for both countries after the overthrow of long-standing police states in the Arab Spring. Turkey's strong, democratic and mildly Islamic regime makes it a model for new governments in all three countries.Mr Erdogan's assertive and critical attitude towards Israel, until recently a close ally of Turkey, makes him attractive to the Arab world. In Cairo, the burning down of the Israeli embassy last weekend was the latest incident marking the hostility at street level between post-Mubarak Egyptians and Israel.At the same time, the perception among Arab states that President Barack Obama has failed to help the Palestinians, while lending Israel his total support, has diminished US popularity and influence in the region. Mr Erdogan said in an interview before leaving for Cairo that he had seen "grounds for war" against Israel last year after nine Turks had been killed by Israeli commandos on the Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara bound for Gaza, but had "decided to act with patience". He hinted that in future the Turkish navy would protect any Turkish aid flotilla going to Gaza."Turkey will get most of what it wants if it does not overplay its hand," said one commentator. Turkey has already imposed sanctions on Israel in retaliation for the aid-boat raid, but according to his aides Mr Erdogan appears to have abandoned, for the moment, his declared long-term intention to visit Gaza.Turkey has benefited from the Arab Spring because it is likely to be in tune with new democratic governments, even when it had good relations with their predecessors. The country can also move to fill a vacuum since most of the more powerful Arab states, such as Egypt and Syria, are weaker than they were before their governments were overthrown. Iraq has never recovered from the rule of Saddam Hussein and the violence that followed. In sharp contrast to Iran, Turkey has few serious enemies. It has sought to mediate over Iran's nuclear programme between the Iranian government, which it regards with suspicion, and the US and Europeans. The two countries also have a common foe in the shape of festering Kurdish insurgencies which engage in persistent guerrilla attacks. An attack by Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas in Hakkani Province in eastern Turkey overnight killed five people, including two security men.The PKK has killed about 50 Turkish security personnel in recent weeks since it ended its ceasefire earlier in the year. Although Mr Erdogan has brought the Turkish army under Islamic civilian control, his government does not want to look weak in any confrontation with the PKK. It is putting pressure on the Iraqi Kurdish President, Massoud Barzani, to isolate the PKK from its mountain strongholds inside Iraq. Mr Barzani, who would like Turkey as a counter-balance to Baghdad, has demanded in recent days that the PKK and the Kurdish guerrilla movement in Iran give up armed resistance. Turkey has been playing an increasingly influential role in Iraqi politics because it is able to mediate between different parties, sects and ethnic groups. It also plays a growing commercial role: Turkish companies have even won contracts to collect the rubbish in Baghdad and Basra. In Syria, Mr Erdogan has criticised President Bashar al-Assad's repression of protests, probably calculating that his regime is not going to survive, at least in its present form. Similarly in Libya, Turkey was at first slow to break with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, but when it did so, it advanced $300m to the rebels at a time when they were short of money. Turkey was heavily involved in construction in Libya.Overall, the isolation of Israel, the democratic uprisings in the Arab world, the weakness of the Arab states, and the diminished strength of the US in the region have all worked to Turkey's advantage. Its influence is growing throughout the region but it is a long way from being in control of events.Hmmmm......Caliph Erdogan versus Caliph Ahmadinejad?Can't decide which is worse.Read the full story here.

  • No US drones for Turkey until armed threat on Israel lifted.(Debka).The Obama administration has turned down a Turkish request for drones or for the deployment of US Predators at Turkish bases until Ankara stops threatening Israel with armed attack, debkafile's military and Washington sources report. Turkey has no functioning unmanned aerial vehicles at present. The "technical problems" grounding the Herons Israel sold Ankara have crippled the Turkish army's campaign against the Kurdish PKK rebels – both in northern Iraq and in southeast Turkey.In recent days, therefore, the rebels have stepped up their raids on Turkish territory, killing nine people including army and police personnel.Israeli officialdom and military chiefs are doing their utmost to keep the lid on the spiraling Turkish-Israel confrontation, claiming that a military clash is not imminent because the US, NATO and Europe won't let it happen. Turkey is after all a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. However, debkafile's military sources report, the confrontation has already broken surface. Despite Western efforts to contain the rising tension, the armed conflict has quietly begun.Our sources confirm that the Ankara press report of three Turkish frigates bound for the eastern Mediteranean to challenge and disarm Israel warships outside its 12-mile territorial waters was deliberately leaked by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's office to coincide with his trip to Cairo.Israeli officials are making every effort to conceal the arrival of the frigates opposite Israeli waters, while Washington, the NATO command in Brussels try to dissuade Turkey from carrying out its threat to disable the weapons of Israel naval vessels.They fear that a firefight would drive the Israel-Turkish crisis into uncharted waters.Since Saturday, Sept. 10, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has been in direct touch with Erdogan and warned him that a military clash by a NATO member with the Israeli Navy would have grave consequences for Turkey's future military ties with the US and the alliance. Our sources explain that the denial of advanced US intelligence technology on the heels of its cutoff from Israel would present the Turkish army with serious operational, intelligence and high-tech difficulties.These difficulties are already hobbling Ankara's counterinsurgency campaign against the PKK at a critical juncture.Read the full story here.

  • Palestinian Ambassador To U.S. Reiterates Call For a Jew-Free Palestinian State.(TheDC) — During a breakfast briefing hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Tuesday, Palestinian Ambassador to the United States Maen Rashid Areikat reiterated his call to create a Jew-free Palestinian state.“Well, I personally still believe that as a first step we need to be totally separated, and we can contemplate these issues in the future,” he said when asked by The Daily Caller if he could imagine a Jew being elected mayor of the Palestinian city of Ramallah in a future independent Palestinian state. “But after the experience of 44 years of military occupation and all the conflict and friction, I think it will be in the best interests of the two peoples to be separated first.”Last year, Areikat made a similar statement during an interview with Tablet magazine. Asked whether it would be neccessary to transfer and remove “every Jew” from a future Palestinian state, Areikat responded “absolutely.”“I’m not saying to transfer every Jew, I’m saying transfer Jews who, after an agreement with Israel, fall under the jurisdiction of a Palestinian state,” he said then. “I think this is a very necessary step, before we can allow the two states to somehow develop their separate national identities, and then maybe open up the doors for all kinds of cultural, social, political, economic exchanges, that freedom of movement of both citizens of Israelis and Palestinians from one area to another. You know you have to think of the day after.”Hmmmm....."JudenFrei" yup sound like good old Nazi Germany.Read the full story here.

  • Greek Cyprus vows to block Turkey-EU energy talks in gas row.(TodaysZaman).EU member Greek Cyprus vowed on Wednesday to keep Turkey's entry talks on hold as long as Ankara challenges the island's rights to launch offshore gas drilling, in an escalating row among east Mediterranean neighbours over hydrocarbon reserves. Rhetoric over ownership of speculated oil and gas deposits has sharpened after a deterioration of relations between Turkey and Israel, the discovery of massive gas fields by Israel and plans by Greek Cyprus to drill as early as next month.Greek Cyprus, an EU member since 2004, has blocked the opening of several negotiating chapters in Turkey-EU entry talks. One of those is energy."The position of Cyprus has not changed. Turkey must make a formal commitment to the EU that it will end its provocations towards the Republic of Cyprus and stop obstructing Cypriot efforts in the field of energy," said Stefanos Stefanou, the Greek Cypriot government spokesman.Stefanou’s remarks came the EU Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s executive arm, has urged the member states for progress in accession talks with Turkey on energy chapter. In a document outlining the EU’s energy policy, the Commission said progress in this area will help advance Turkish-EU cooperation and create a solid legal framework for the transfer of natural gas from eastern suppliers to European markets, Turkey’s semi-official Anatolia news agency reported on Tuesday.Timing of the drilling itself, however, is unrelated to the Cyprus talks and stipulated in contractual obligations between Greek Cyprus and Noble, the US company poised to launch an exploratory drill in one offshore sector southeast of Cyprus around the beginning of October.Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias on Tuesday denounced what he said were Turkish threats and said the island would press ahead with drilling as its sovereign right.Hmmmm......Read the full story here.

  • Russia says terrorism will rise if Syrian president falls; E.U. asks Assad to step down.(AlArabiya).Russia warned on Wednesday that “terrorist organizations” may arise in Syria should President Bashar al-Assad’s regime fall under pressure from ongoing protests.“If the Syrian government is unable to hold on to power, there is a high probability that radicals and representatives of terrorist organizations will become entrenched,” AFP reported Interfax quoting a top foreign ministry official as saying.Contrary to the Russian reaction, the European Union on Wednesday asked Assad to resign, an Al Arabiya correspondent reported.Russia has been attracting increasing international anger over its continued support for Syria despite a government crackdown on protests that the United Nations estimates have killed around 2,600 people.Moscow has refused to support Western sanctions against its Soviet-era ally and argues that equal pressure should also be placed on protesters who refuse to engage Assad in direct talks.President Dmitry Medvedev last week also said that some of those taking part in the Syrian demonstration had links to “terrorists.”The foreign ministry’s new challenges and threats department chief Ilya Rogachyov said that Libya could become another safe haven for extremist groups following the fall of Moamer Kadhafi.“Strange things are happening in Libya,” Interfax quoted Rogachyov as saying during a lecture in Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg.“Weapons storages have been burgled and no one knows what happened,” he said. “We can say with a high degree of probability that the weapons fell into the hands of the regional department of Al-Qaeda.”Russia heavily criticized the NATO-led campaign against Qaddafi’s forces after abstaining on a UN vote that authorized the action.Arab League states on Tuesday called for “immediate change” in Syria and an end to the violence after months of a government crackdown on pro-democracy protesters opposed to Assad’s rule. Meanwhile, Syria rejected the league’s statement and described it as "hostile." Read the full story here.

  • Maccabi Tel Aviv playing in Turkey.(IsraelMatzav).A lot of people are worried - really worried - about Maccabi Tel Aviv's soccer match (they insist on calling it 'football') in the Istanbul suburb of Besiktas on Thursday evening. The players were met at the airport by 2,500 policemen, the team has hired an additional security company and has asked UEFA - the European Football Federation - to send a representative, and Israeli fans who insisted violating the National Security Council directive by going to the game have been told not to wear the Maccabi yellow and blue to the stadium. Hmmmmm......I think it's a really bad idea to have such a soccer match in Turkey,it might turn out worse than the Israeli Embassy in Cairo.Read the full story here.
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