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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Overnight music video - I Am a Rock - Simon & Garfunkel

From the wow dept - European Parliament Official In Charge Of ACTA Quits, And Denounces The 'Masquerade' Behind ACTA.

From the wow dept - European Parliament Official In Charge Of ACTA Quits, And Denounces The 'Masquerade' Behind ACTA.(LaQuadrature).
This is interesting. Kader Arif, the "rapporteur" for ACTA, has quit that role in disgust over the process behind getting the EU to sign onto ACTA. A rapporteur is a person "appointed by a deliberative body to investigate an issue." However, it appears his investigation of ACTA didn't make him very pleased:

I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement: no inclusion of civil society organisations, a lack of transparency from the start of the negotiations, repeated postponing of the signature of the text without an explanation being ever given, exclusion of the EU Parliament's demands that were expressed on several occasions in our assembly. As rapporteur of this text, I have faced never-before-seen manoeuvres from the right wing of this Parliament to impose a rushed calendar before public opinion could be alerted, thus depriving the Parliament of its right to expression and of the tools at its disposal to convey citizens' legitimate demands.” Everyone knows the ACTA agreement is problematic, whether it is its impact on civil liberties, the way it makes Internet access providers liable, its consequences on generic drugs manufacturing, or how little protection it gives to our geographical indications. This agreement might have major consequences on citizens' lives, and still, everything is being done to prevent the European Parliament from having its say in this matter. That is why today, as I release this report for which I was in charge, I want to send a strong signal and alert the public opinion about this unacceptable situation. I will not take part in this masquerade.

Pretty rare to find such direct honesty in political circles. That's quite a direct and clear condemnation of the entire process. In terms of process, it will be interesting to see if this has an impact. While the EU did sign on to ACTA today, it still needs to be ratified by the European Parliament (more on that in a little while). Having Arif quit makes a pretty big statement, and hopefully makes it easier for Parliament Members to speak out loudly against ACTA... Still, this is an uphill battle. The supporters of ACTA have been working to get ACTA approved for years. To them, this is basically a done deal.Read the full story here.

Where or on what were $3.4 Billion American Tax Dollars spent?

                                                   Biblical Israel map full seize map here.

Where were $3.4 Billion American Tax Dollars spent?(INN).BY.DavidWilder.
Where are American Tax Dollars being spent?According to ForeignPolicy , in an article titled: Hard times in Hebron the United States:has spent $3.4 billion in development funds in the Palestinian territories of West Bank and Gaza.So, it appears that this poor, oppressed, underdeveloped Arab city has doubled the number of building permits issued since 2006, and is preparing to solicit bids for a road to a new $13 million water treatment facility -- financed, of course, by USAID.
Not everyone is happy about spending so much money in the PA.Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: By providing the Palestinians with $2.5 billion over the last five years, the U.S. has only rewarded and reinforced their bad behavior.The US State Department disagrees: We think it is money that is not only in the interest of the Palestinians; it's in U.S. interest and it's also in Israeli interest.
What is this money used for?Daoud Kuttab: New schools were built to teach incitment: "The Zionist gangs stole Palestine ... and established the state of Israel" ... and judges were trained, to sentence Arabs selling property to Jews, to death: PA affirms death penalty for land sales to Israelis.
What about accountability? Where is the money really going? Where are hundreds of millions of dollars that went missing under Yasser Arafat ?
Ghassan Khatib, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority: This money is going mainly to development and humanitarian projects. There is no justified reason for holding it. It's important for stabilization.”Development and humanitarian projects:From the objectives of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee : counter and limit Israeli settlements inside the Old city [of Hebron] by surrounding settlements with inhabited buildings to prevent their horizontal expansion; and to avert the urban interconnection of these settlements by increasing Arab demographic density between them.
There are others who believe and act otherwise. South Carolina State Representative Allan Clemmons initiated a resolution , passed unanimously, declaring:
"Whereas, Israel has been granted her lands under and through the oldest recorded deed as reported in the Old Testament, a tome of scripture held sacred and reverenced by Jew and Christian, alike, as the acts and words of God; and
Whereas, as the Grantor of said lands, God stated to the Jewish people in the Old Testament; in Leviticus, Chapter 20, Verse 24: "Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey"; and
Whereas, God has never rescinded his grant of said lands;"
This resolution was used as a model for a similar resolution passed in Florida, called Florida Stands with Israel. And most recently, the Republican National Committee adopted a similar policy, with a resolution stating: BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the members of this body support Israel in their natural and God-given right of self-governance and self-defense upon their own lands, recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others; and that peace can be afforded the region only through a united Israel governed under one law for all people.
Presently, USAID to Arab Hebron is in jeopardy as a result of Abu Mazen’s attempt to unilaterally declare a ‘palestinian state’ in the United Nations as reported in the
article quoted above. This ‘threat’ to stop USAID to Arab Hebron must be finalized and and the flow of millions and billions of American taxpayers money ended.
I have no doubt that when such people as Rep. Allan Clemmons, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and others, like Rep. Louis Gohmert from Texas, (who introduced a similar resolution in the US House of Representatives, saying: Whereas archaeological evidence exists confirming Israel's existence as a nation over 3,000 years ago in the area in which it currently exists, despite assertions of its opponents;
Whereas with the dawn of modern Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, some 150 years ago, the Jewish people determined to return to their homeland in the Land of Israel from the lands of their dispersion;
Whereas in 1922, the League of Nations mandated that the Jewish people were the legal sovereigns over the Land of Israel and that legal mandate has never been superseded;)
and other like-minded US politicians continue in major leadership positions in the United States, they will insure that US tax dollars are utilized properly, rather than in the best interests of their enemies, and our enemies, in the worst interests of the State of Israel, and ultimately, in the worst interests of the United States.Read the full story here.

Dr. Sowell on the occupiers."It is an America where, ultimately, great suffering will come to the American people".

Dr. Sowell on the occupiers."It is an America where, ultimately, great suffering will come to the American people".(HT: DocsTalk).Thomas Sowell (born June 30, 1930) is an American economist, social theorist, political philosopher, and author. A National Humanities Medal winner, he advocates laissez-faire economics and writes from a libertarian perspective. He is currently a Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Sowell was born in North Carolina, but grew up in Harlem, New York City. He dropped out of high school, and served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War. He had received a bachelor's degree from Harvard University in 1958 and a master's degree from Columbia University in 1959. In 1968, he earned his doctorate degree in economics from the University of Chicago. Dr. Sowell has served on the faculties of several universities, including Cornell and University of California, Los Angeles, and worked for "think tanks" such as the Urban Institute. Since 1980 he has worked at the Hoover Institution. He is the author of more than 30 books.

The following is written by Dr. Sowell, and I quote:

"The current Occupy Wall Street movement is the best illustration to date of what President Barack Obama's America looks like. It is an America where the lawless, unaccomplished, ignorant and incompetent rule. It is an America where those who have sacrificed nothing pillage and destroy the lives of those who have sacrificed greatly.
"It is an America where history is rewritten to honor dictators, murderers and thieves. It is an America where violence, racism, hatred, class warfare and murder are all promoted as acceptable means of overturning the American civil society. "It is an America where humans have been degraded to the level of animals: defecating in public, having sex in public, devoid of basic hygiene. It is an America where the basic tenets of a civil society, including faith, family, a free press and individual rights, have been rejected. It is an America where our founding documents have been shredded and, with them, every person's guaranteed liberties.
"It is an America where, ultimately, great suffering will come to the American people, but the rulers like Obama, Michelle Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, liberal college professors, union bosses and other loyal liberal/Communist Party members will live in opulent splendor.
"It is the America that Obama and the Democratic Party have created with the willing assistance of the American media, Hollywood, unions, universities, the Communist Party of America, the Black Panthers and numerous anti-American foreign entities. "Barack Obama has brought more destruction upon this country in four years than any other event in the history of our nation, but it is just the beginning of what he and his comrades are capable of.
"The Occupy Wall Street movement is just another step in their plan for the annihilation of America. "Socialism, in general, has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it."" ~ Thomas Sowell.

U.S. Embassy Refuge in Egypt?

U.S. Embassy Refuge in Egypt?(PressurePoints).By Eliott Abrams.
There is no better summary of how U.S.-Egyptian relations have changed than news stories reporting that “a number of Americans whom Egyptian authorities have been barred from leaving the country have sought refuge at the American Embassy in Cairo.” They need refuge because they may well be arrested without this protection.
Barred from leaving the country? Refuge in a U.S. embassy, behind the Marine guards? Rather odd for a country that receives $1.3 billion a year in military aid. While Hosni Mubarak and his regime hated the American NGOs–principally Freedom House, the International Republican Institute for International Affairs, and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs–for promoting human rights and democracy, under Mubarak matters never reached this point.
Two comments seem in order. The first is that the authorities, meaning the Foreign Ministry and Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), should have been given a deadline for resolving this problem when it arose on December 29. It has been over a month now, which is too long. Aid to Egypt should be frozen until these Americans can leave the country, and it should not be resumed until the materials taken from their offices are returned.
The second comment is that the person behind all these problems is clearly identifiable–and has been identified in the press. She is Fayza Aboul Naga, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation. She was appointed to this post by President Mubarak and has miraculously managed to hold on to it throughout Egypt’s year of turmoil. She is a one-woman wrecking crew when it comes to U.S.-Egypt relations, and the democracy NGOs have long been a particular obsession of hers.
If Egypt gets away with banning our democracy NGOs and threatening to jail their staff, if officials who lead such actions are later given warm official receptions in Washington, those NGOs may as well close up show: every undemocratic regime will start treating them the same way. We need to stand up for them strongly–and now.Read the full story here.

'Father' and 'Son' Ousted from the Trinity in New Bible Translations, because these terms are offensive to Muslims.

'Father' and 'Son' Ousted from the Trinity in New Bible Translations, because these terms are offensive to Muslims.(Yahoo).A controversy is brewing over three reputable Christian organizations, which are based in North America, whose efforts have ousted the words "Father" and "Son" from new Bibles. Wycliffe Bible Translators, Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) and Frontiers are under fire for "producing Bibles that remove "Father," "Son" and "Son of God" because these terms are offensive to Muslims."
Concerned Christian missionaries, Bible translators, pastors, and national church leaders have come together with a public petition to stop these organizations. They claim a public petition is their last recourse because meetings with these organizations' leaders, staff resignations over this issue and criticism and appeals from native national Christians concerned about the translations "have failed to persuade these agencies to retain "Father" and "Son" in the text of all their translations."
Biblical Missiology, a ministry of Boulder, Colorado-based Horizon International, is sponsoring the petition.The main issues of this controversy surround new Arabic and Turkish translations. Here are three examples native speakers give:
First, Wycliffe and SIL have produced Stories of the Prophets, an Arabic Bible that uses an Arabic equivalent of "Lord" instead of "Father" and "Messiah" instead of "Son."Second, Frontiers and SIL have produced Meaning of the Gospel of Christ , an Arabic translation which removes "Father" in reference to God and replaces it with "Allah," and removes or redefines "Son." For example, the verse which Christians use to justify going all over the world to make disciples, thus fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19) reads, "Cleanse them by water in the name of Allah, his Messiahand his Holy Spirit" instead of "baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Rev. Bassam Madany, an Arab American who runs Middle East Resources, terms these organization's efforts as "a western imperialistic attempt that's inspired by cultural anthropology, and not by biblical theology."
Third, Frontiers and SIL have produced a new Turkish translation of the Gospel of Matthew that uses Turkish equivalents of "guardian" for "Father" and "representative" or "proxy" for "Son." To Turkish church leader Rev. Fikret Böcek, "This translation is 'an all-American idea' with absolutely no respect for the 'sacredness' of Scripture, or even of the growing Turkish church."
SIL has issued a public response stating "all personnel subscribe to a statement of faith which affirms the Trinity, Christ's deity, and the inspiration of Scripture." However, in the same statement, which is similar to Wycliffe's, it claims "word-for-word translation of these titles would communicate an incorrect meaning (i.e. that God had physical, sexual relationships with Mary) [sic]," thus justifying substituting "Father" and "Son" in new translations. Calls and emails to Wycliffe and SIL to clarify their positions were not returned. Frontiers responded to calls with articles that critics have already dismissed as skirting omissions of "Father" and "Son" in new Bible translations.Hmmm.....Time for the Pope to speak up about this 'dangerous' heretic precedent.Read the full story here.

St. Thomas (II-II:11:1) defines heresy: "a species of infidelity in men who, having professed the faith of Christ, corrupt its dogmas". "The right Christian faith consists in giving one's voluntary assent to Christ in all that truly belongs to His teaching. There are, therefore, two ways of deviating from Christianity: the one by refusing to believe in Christ Himself, which is the way of infidelity, common to Pagans and Jews; the other by restricting belief to certain points of Christ's doctrine selected and fashioned at pleasure, which is the way of heretics. The subject-matter of both faith and heresy is, therefore, the deposit of the faith, that is, the sum total of truths revealed in Scripture and Tradition as proposed to our belief by the Church. The believer accepts the whole deposit as proposed by the Church; the heretic accepts only such parts of it as commend themselves to his own approval. The heretical tenets may be ignorance of the true creed, erroneous judgment, imperfect apprehension and comprehension of dogmas: in none of these does the will play an appreciable part, wherefore one of the necessary conditions of sinfulness--free choice--is wanting and such heresy is merely objective, or material. On the other hand the will may freely incline the intellect to adhere to tenets declared false by the Divine teaching authority of the Church. The impelling motives are many: intellectual pride or exaggerated reliance on one's own insight; the illusions of religious zeal; the allurements of political or ecclesiastical power; the ties of material interests and personal status; and perhaps others more dishonourable. Heresy thus willed is imputable to the subject and carries with it a varying degree of guilt; it is called formal, because to the material error it adds the informative element of "freely willed".Source: Catholic Encyclopedia

MFS -The Other News - What the main papers don't say.

                    Morning Posting.

  • Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Indonesia 4.9 !More info here.

  • Assad may start regional war if UN tells him to step down – Gulf sources.(Debka).In confidential conversations with his advisers, Syrian President Bashar Assad is reported by Persian Gulf sources Tuesday, Jan. 31 to have threatened to start up armed hostilities in the region if the UN Security Council Tuesday night endorses the Arab League proposal for him to step down and hand power to his deputy.Those sources told debkafile that the heads of the Syrian armed forces and intelligence have been given their orders and some units are on the ready. Other Middle East sources reported that the Lebanese Hizballah has also shown signs of military preparations in the last few hours. And the Russian flotilla berthed at the Syrian port of Tartus, led by the Admiral Kutznetsov aircraft carrier, also appears to be on the alert for ructions in the wake of the Security Council Syria session.During the day, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov warned that pushing the Arab League's UN resolution was "the path to civil war." debkafile reports that the military flurry in advance of the critical Security Council session included US naval movements. Sunday, Jan. 29, the nuclear submarine USS Annapolis, escorted by the guided missile destroyer USS Momsen sailed through the Suez Canal to the Red Sea. This looked like a Washington warning for Tehran to keep its military fingers out of Syria if the confrontation there escalates.It was not the first time Assad has threatened Syria's neighbors. On Aug. 9, 2011, four months into his savage crackdown against protesters, he warned Turkey that, six hours after the first shot was fired against Syria, he would "destroy Tel Aviv and set the entire Middle East on fire."Earlier still on May 10, one of Assad's close kinsmen, the international tycoon Rami Makhlouf, warned: "If there is no stability in Syria, there will be none in Israel. No one can be sure what will happens after that. God help us if anything befalls this regime."Read the full story here.

  • No More Leading from Behind for America.(RCW).By Rick Santorum.Much like Ronald Reagan called out for freedom in the symbolic heart of communism, I will call upon the Muslim world to tear down the walls of oppression that oppose freedom of conscience and religion, equality of women, the security of Israel and support violence and Jihadism, which inverts the concept of martyrdom from one who dies for his or her faith to one who kills for his or her faith. I will not coddle those who want to kill and destroy. I will seek peace with those who treasure freedom for all.Christianity struggled with these issues of freedom of conscience and violence largely hundreds of years ago; Islam is struggling with them now. We will stand with the true advocates of freedom who define freedom not just by a ballot box, but also by meaningful protections for minorities. This is the message of freedom that should be proclaimed and practiced from Cairo to Tehran. This is consistent with universal human dignity, our values and our national security interests.Informed Americans are opposed to those who want to kill and destroy, not to those who want to make peace and treasure freedom for all. I supported America's security and freeing Muslims and others from oppression in Iraq and Afghanistan. I stood for the Green Movement in Iran when President Obama sat down. I support freedom of religion - for Muslims and other religious minorities - but believe they should provide the same.Read the full story here.

  • Martin Luther King’s Family Halts Occupy Event at Atlanta Memorial Center.(BigGovernment).Martin Luther King’s family asked US Park Police to eject a group of 32 Occupy Wall Street protestors from an Atlanta based memorial center that was named after the civil rights leader on Sunday.The OWS protestors, who left New York City November 9 to march roughly 880 miles to Atlanta through Washington, and through the south, planned on holding a press conference at the Atlanta based Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change “to honor Dr. King.” The press conference was scheduled for 2 p.m., but within minutes, private security for the center asked the demonstrators to leave the outside area that was part of the MLK center.According to the center’s online page, it was established in 1968 by Coretta Scott King, and is the “official, living memorial dedicated to advancing the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Our programs and partnerships educate the world about his life and his philosophy of nonviolence, inspiring new generations to further his work.”Hmmmm....They showed more 'Character' then the White House occupants.Read the full story here.

  • Obama-Funded “Green” Energy Company Amonix Lays Off Two-Thirds Of Its Workforce.(Las Vegas Sun) — Just seven months after California-based solar power company Amonix Inc. opened its largest manufacturing plant, in North Las Vegas, the company’s contractor has laid off nearly two-thirds of its workforce. Flextronics Industrial, the Singapore solar panel manufacturer that partnered with Amonix to staff the new $18 million, 214,000-square-foot plant, laid off about 200 of its 300-plus employees Tuesday.Amonix’s director of manufacturing operations, Eric Culberson, said the layoffs are part of “retooling” the factory as the company prepares to roll out its next-generation product.“The new 8700 utility-scale CPV solar power system is a higher efficiency and lower cost,” Culberson said. “Once it is ready, we will ramp back up to meet the demands of the industry.”Culberson said the job cuts are temporary and expects to begin hiring more people in the second half of the year to meet demand.The company scaled down at all levels of employment at the plant — which was hiring as recently as three months ago — from entry level assemblers, process engineers, production supervisors and quality-control techs, according to one employee who was laid off.Culberson said layoffs were made across the board.Amonix received a $5.9 million investment tax credit through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act in 2010, and another $12 million in private capital helped finance the plant.Hmmmmm.....Obama: "All the Choices We've Made Have Been the Right Ones".Read the full story here.

  • GOP wants Sen. Baucus to go rogue on Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.(TheHill).Republicans are pressing Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) to buck his leadership and use his authority in the payroll tax conference to green-light the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.Baucus has told business leaders in Montana that winning authorization for the transnational pipeline is one of his highest priorities for 2012.Republicans say Baucus, as co-chairman of the payroll tax conference, has the power to include Keystone language in must-pass legislation and will pressure him to act.“The quickest and surest way to get the pipeline going is for the Democratic chairman of the conference committee to put it into a must-do piece of legislation, the payroll tax package,” said a senior Senate Republican aide.Senate Democrats think Baucus will stick with the caucus and oppose the inclusion of language to force President Obama’s hand on Keystone but they acknowledge the senior Montana lawmaker could go rogue, as he has in the past. A Baucus aide said the lawmaker would try to get the Keystone project started using whatever tools or legislative vehicles are at his disposal, including the payroll tax bill, available.“Senator Baucus will be looking for every opportunity to get Keystone done, whether now or through any other appropriate vehicle,” said the aide.Some Democrats say that Keystone is not as potent a political issue as Republicans claim and voice confidence Baucus will not defy Obama and the Democratic leadership by attaching Keystone language to the payroll tax deal.“The king president is pretty definitive on this,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (Md.), one of the conferees in the payroll tax negotiations with the House.Read the full story here.

  • The Obama administration Is Giving Out Free Cell Phones And Free Cell Phone Minutes To Welfare Recipients.(TEC).Did you know that the federal government is giving out free cell phones and free cell phone minutes to welfare recipients? It may be hard to believe, but it is true. Right now, there are companies that are running advertisements specifically targeted at low income Americans informing them of the fact that all they have to do is sign up and they can get a free cell phone and hundreds of free cell phone minutes every single month and it will all be paid for by the federal government. Some have referred to this as "The Obama Phone", but that is not exactly accurate. The outrageous federal programs that are paying for this were initiated before Barack Obama entered the White House. But the fact that welfare recipients have been receiving free cell phones and free cell phone minutes under both the Bush and Obama administrations has been confirmed as being true by Snopes. All of this is paid for by "the federal Universal Service Fund". That is one of those annoying little taxes that you may have noticed on your phone bill. So what is essentially happening is the federal government is taking money from all of us so that they can provide free cell phone service for welfare recipients every single month. When some of my readers informed me of this free cell phone scheme, I decided that I better go to the source. So I went over to the FCC website, and it turns out that there are two federal programs involved. "Link Up" provides a one-time connection discount on phone service, and it can be applied to the cost of a cell phone. So this is where the free cell phone comes from. "Lifeline" provides a monthly discount on telephone service. So this is where the free cell phone minutes each month come from. The following is a description of these programs from the FCC website....Read the full story here.

  • Birthright Citizenship - Is Mitt Romney a “natural born citizen”?(TheCaptainsQuarters).It is absolutely clear that Mitt Romney is NOT a Natural Born Citizen unless he can prove that George Romney gained citizenship from naturalization prior to Mitt’s birth in 1947.Having the Status of Birthright Citizenship Is Not Sufficient to Make One an. Article II “Natural Born citizen”.Mitt Romney / Not Eligable to hold the office of {POTUS}.Call upon Mitt Romney now to either post Gaskell Romney’s US naturaliztion documents (or repatriated record) or George Romney‘s US naturaliztion documents that he would have filled out and signed when he was 21 years of age, or withdraw from the presidential race as Constitutionally unqualified to take the oath of office of the presidency of the United States. Was George Romney (father of Mitt Romney) a U.S. citizen?Not according to the historical records.b. Colonia Dublán, Galeana, Chihuahua, México, 8 July 1907, d. Bloomfield Hills, Mich., 26 July 1995 [SSDI 577-10-6742], bur. Fairview Cemetery, Brighton, Mich. m. Salt Lake City, Utah, 2 July 1931.George Romney was born in Mexico to expatriated Mormon parents. George’s father is named Gaskell Romney.If George Romney was not a “U.S. citizen” or became naturalized BEFORE Mitt was born, then neither can Mitt Romeny (his son) be natural born.Read the full story here.

  • Catholic Church Rejects Surrender Terms from Obama.(NewZeal).By: Cliff Kincaid.(Accuracy in Media).My Catholic priest, Father Larry Swink, delivered a homily on Sunday that I told him would make headlines. In the toughest sermon I have ever heard from a pulpit, he attacked the Obama Administration as evil, even demonic, and warned of religious persecution ahead. What was also newsworthy about the sermon was that he cited The Washington Post in agreement—not on the subject of the Obama Administration being evil, but on the matter of its abridgment of the constitutional right to freedom of religion.What is happening is extraordinary and unprecedented. The Catholic Church is in open revolt against the Obama Administration, with Fr. Swink noting from the pulpit that priests across the archdiocese were joining the call on Sunday to rally Catholics to resistance against the U.S. Government. He said we are entering a time of religious persecution and that Catholics and others will have to make a final decision about which side they are on.The issue is what the Catholic Bishops have called a “literally unconscionable” edict by the Obama Administration demanding that sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be included in virtually all health plans.At a time when the media are full of reports about who is ahead and behind in the polls, and who will win the next Republican presidential primary, this incredible uprising in the Catholic Church is something that could not only overshadow the political campaign season, but also may have a major impact on the ultimate outcome—if Republicans know how to handle it. This matter goes beyond partisan politics to the growing perception of an unconstitutional Obama Administration assault on religious freedom. To hear the Catholic Bishops and Priests describe it, our constitutional republic and our freedoms hang in the balance.The bishops go on, “Now that the Administration has refused to recognize the Constitutional conscience rights of organizations and individuals who oppose the mandate, the bishops are now urging Catholics and others of good will to fight this unprecedented attack on conscience rights and religious liberty.”Interestingly, The Washington Post, as Father Swink indicated, agrees with the bishops. The paper said, “In this circumstance, requiring a religiously affiliated employer to spend its own money in a way that violates its religious principles does not make an adequate accommodation for those deeply held views. Having recognized the principle of a religious exemption, the administration should have expanded it.”So why would the administration pick a major fight with the Catholic Church? There are two main reasons. (1) The administration wants to please its progressive and feminist, secular pro-abortion base. (2) The administration believes Catholics are divided on the issue and will ignore their leaders and follow Obama.Father Larry Swink of Jesus The Divine Word Catholic Church in Huntingtown, Maryland opened his discussion of what he described as the evil nature of the Obama Administration by reading from scripture about Jesus casting out demons. He saw the order on health care coverage as the start of religious persecution. The congregation joined him in calls of “Amen” when he challenged them to stand tall with the church.Hmmmm........Read the full story here.

  • GOP Rep. Chris Smith Holds Congressional Hearing On “Explosively” Anti-Semitic, Anti-American Palestinian Textbooks Used In UN-Run Camps.(CNSNews).The textbooks used to educate Palestinian children who live in refugee camps came under fire at a briefing on Wednesday on Capitol Hill where experts said lessons of intolerance and hatred toward Jews and Israel fill the books’ pages.Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), chairman of the House subcommittee on Human Rights and co-chairman of the Bi-Partisan Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism, told that U.S. donations to the United Nations Refugee and Works Agency (UNRWA) make the federal government accountable for what is in the books.“We are responsible for the content and the content has been, year in and year out, explosively anti-Semitic, anti-American and anti-Israeli,” Smith said, at the event he hosted with the Center for Near-East Policy Research, which is based in Jerusalem and which has studied the topic extensively.Since the UNRWA began operations in 1950 in the wake of the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, the United States has been the largest contributor to the agency. The UNRWA oversees the health, education, and social services of some 5 million registered Palestinian refugees, including those in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.The CRS reports that U.S. contributions to the UNRWA have steadily increased over the past decade, with nearly $228 million given in [fiscal year] 2010.Read the full story here.

  • Special Ops ‘Mothership’ Heads to Persian Gulf.(StratRisks).Recent U.S. and European sanctions against Iran have gotten tougher, but that hasn’t stopped the Islamic regime’s quest for nuclear weapons.Now, the United States is ready for a new military show of force. The Pentagon is sending the USS Ponce to the Persian Gulf, where it will become a floating base for U.S. Navy SEALs.The ship was scheduled to be retired weeks ago, but now has a new mission — to search for mines and enemy activity.“What it’s going to be is the mother ship for special operations forces that will allow the U.S. to covertly deploy our special operations warriors to really difficult parts of the world,” explained ABC News consultant and retired Col. Stephen Ganyard.The Ponce will be equipped with cranes to extract mines. Twelve small boats can dock on the ship and there is room for four helicopters, as well as an operations command center.In addition to deploying the Ponce, the Defense Department will ask Congress for more money to retool the military’s bunker busting bombs. Experts are concerned that the 30,000- pound bombs may not have enough explosive power to destroy Iran’s underground nuclear facilities.Ganyard says the military moves aren’t just window dressing.“It’s true preparation. The message is also getting through to the Mullahs and to Iran,” he said.Read the full story here.

  • Iraqi bill to ban travels to Israel.(YNet).The Iraqi parliament is planning to pass a new bill banning Iraqis from traveling to Israel, Al Jazeera online reported Monday. The bill was proposed following a number of incidents at the Bagdad airport. A local security officer working there said the passport had caught a number of Iraqi officials carrying passports with Israeli entry visas. The officer, speaking on a condition of anonymity, reported that the passports of some nine high-profile Iraqi politicians were clearly marked with Ben-Gurion Airport stamps as well.According to the source, the politicians made their first trips to Israel after the Iraqi elections, held on January 2010, until around October that same year. The officer claimed that during questioning of the Iraqis, it was discovered that they were operating as envoys to Israel on behalf of Iraqi politicians.In response to the report, Iraqi Parliament Member from the National Iraqi Alliance Mohammad Redha al-Khafaji declared that some 50 parliament members have already put their John Hancock to a bill proposing to ban such trips to Israel. Khafaji emphasized that in the past, Iraqi senior officials had visited Israel secretly.Forbidding a citizen from traveling is against the Iraqis' right to freedom, as written in the constitution. However banning travel to Israel has nothing to do with politics, she told Al Jazeera, explaining that Iraq has never had any diplomatic or political relations with Israel, nor has it acknowledged the State of Israel. Israel classifies Iraq, as well as most Arab countries, as an "enemy state." However, over the years senior Israeli officials have hinted on numerous occasions that despite having no official diplomatic relations with such countries, many times there are economical and security ties. Hmmmmm........Obama: If We Work Hard, Afghanistan Could Be a Success...Like Iraq!Read the full story here.

  • Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood gear up to challenge the army.(Alarabiya).The Muslim Brotherhood is devising a blueprint for a parliamentary democracy that would overturn Egypt’s tradition of strong heads of state, flexing its muscles after emerging as the country’s dominant political force.The plan has emerged since the Islamist movement took the biggest share of seats in parliament, allowing it to challenge the generals ruling Egypt since the overthrow last February of Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising.For now the Brotherhood has avoided a power struggle with the army, saying that would delay a return to political stability, bolstering the widely held belief that the two have a tacit understanding so their interests do not collide.The Brotherhood has decided not to field a candidate for the presidency but was free to deploy its formidable grassroots campaign machine unhindered in the parliamentary vote and won almost half of the seats on offer in the lower house.It appears, for now, to accept the idea of a strong president who enjoys the army’s backing.But under a plan outlined by senior officials in the movement, the presidency would be downgraded to a largely ceremonial role within four years and parliament would gradually take control of defense and foreign affairs from the military.“We want a system where the prime minister liaises with parliament to pick the cabinet,” said Mohamed Saad al-Katatni, secretary-general of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP). The current constitution gives the president powers to pick the cabinet.“The prime minister will have most powers of government, relating to both internal and foreign affairs. The president’s powers would be limited,” he added.“The army will not allow anyone to meddle in its defense affairs,” said an official close to the army establishment.“The president will ensure that the army’s interests and position in the civilian state remain secure. The army in turn will back the president in managing the country’s sovereign affairs.”But retaining a role in national security issues could give the army a broad remit to intervene when it deemed necessary.Until a new president arrives, the Brotherhood wants to use its parliamentary presence to pressure the army-backed interim cabinet led by Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri to govern in the country’s long-term interests.“Ganzouri is driving the economy into the ground,” said Beltagy. “We do not understand how he could allocate 200 million Egyptian pounds to passing out free school meals when the country is facing a balance of payment crisis and turning to the IMF for help.Read the full story here.

  • Iranian man arrested after attack on crew in Turkish plane.(HurriyetDaily).Turkish police arrested an Iranian passenger on a domestic flight after he attacked cabin crew because he was angered by a six-hour delay, the Anatolia news agency reported on Tuesday.The passenger, identified only as S.R.I., was scheduled to fly from Istanbul to Antalya in southern Turkey on Monday evening on an Onur Air plane, but heavy snowfall in Istanbul caused long delays.Turkish authorities cancelled almost 200 flights Monday in Istanbul.Angered by a three-hour delay before boarding and another three-hour wait inside the plane, the Iranian passenger broke one of the plane's window protectors and attacked cabin crew, Anatolia reported.He also stole food being served and attempted to force his way into the cockpit, leading the pilot to call police and an ambulance. Police arrested the passenger and the flight was cancelled.Read the full story here.

  • Audit: U.S. Defense Department can't account for billions for Iraq.(CNN).By Josh Levs.The U.S. Defense Department cannot account for about $2 billion it was given to cover Iraq-related expenses and is not providing Iraq with a complete list of U.S.-funded reconstruction projects, according to two new government audits.The reports come from the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.The Iraqi government in 2004 gave the Department of Defense access to about $3 billion to pay bills for certain contracts, and the department can only show what happened to about a third of that, the inspector general says in an audit published Friday.Although the Department of Defense (DoD) had "internal processes and controls" to track payments, the "bulk of the records are missing," the report says, adding that the department is searching for them.Other documents are missing as well, including monthly reports documenting expenses, the audit says."From July 2004 through December 2007, DoD should have provided 42 monthly reports. However, it can locate only the first four reports."Read the full story here.

  • Third Aircraft Carrier Group Coming To Iran.(Zerohedge).For months now we have been following US naval developments and deployments in the Arabian Sea, which serve one purpose and one purpose only - to demonstrate US military strength in the Straits of Hormuz region and to keep Iranian 'offensive passions' subdued. Yet never has the US had a total of three aircraft carrier groups in the vicinity, always topping out at 2 in the Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet, most recently these being the CVN-70 Vinson and CVN 72 Lincoln, with a third boat present merely until a rotation in or out of the theater of operations was complete. That is about to change, and with it the prevailing price of Brent, which we are confident is about to take a new step wise price higher as the US makes it all too clear what the endgame is, because as Naval Today reports, the "US navy to deploy third carrier group to Persian Gulf", probably the CVN-77 George H.W. Bush which departed Norfolk two weeks ago according to the most recent naval update, or any other Norfolk-stationed aircraft carrier: there is a wide selection to chose from.Read the full story here.

  • Massive US Military Buildup on Two Strategic Islands: Socotra and Masirah, Up to 100,000 Troops Ready By March.(Debka).While quietly casting lines to draw Tehran into talks on their nuclear dispute, President Barack Obama is reported exclusively by DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military and Washington sources to have secretly ordered US air, naval and marine forces to build up heavy concentrations on two strategic islands – Socotra, which is part of a Yemeni archipelago in the Indian Ocean, and the Omani island of Masirah at the southern exit of the Strait of Hormuz.Socotra is situated 80 kilometers east of the Horn of Africa and 380 kilometers southeast of the Yemeni coastline. It lies athwart the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. A military base there is in a position to oversee the shipping moving in and out of those strategic naval waterways.Lushly verdant, Socotra is approximately 120 kilometers long by 40 kilometers wide. Its population of 55,000 has its own distinct language and culture. Since 2010, the US has been quietly building giant air force and naval bases on Socotra with facilities for submarines, intelligence command centers and take-off pads for flying stealth drones, as part of a linked chain of strategic US military facilities in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf.The Socotra facilities are so secret that they are never mentioned in any catalogue listing US military facilities in this part of the world, which include Jebel Ali and Al Dahfra in the United Arab Emirates; Arifjan in Kuwait; and Al Udeid in Qatar – all within short flying distances from Iran.Additional US forces are also being poured into Camp Justice on the barren, 70-kilometer long Omani island of Masirah, just south of the Hormuz entry point to the Gulf of Oman from the Arabian Sea.Our military sources have also picked up reports of British and French air, naval and special forces landings this month in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.All these military concentrations and Obama's latest word on the Iranian nuclear issue tend to confirm that nothing has changed since DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s sources in Washington first reported in November 2011 on the US president's resolve to attack Iran's nuclear facilities in the course of 2012.Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal told Al-Arabiya television last week that the Saudi government takes Iran's threats seriously. He pointed in particular to the words of Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, who warned that Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi's promise to boost oil production by 2.7 million barrels a day (bpd) to make up for any shortfall caused by sanctions on Iran, would "create all possible problems later."Prince Turki said he personally did not believe the oil kingdom would engage in military action but added:"It's a direct threat to our national interests and a direct threat to our industrial installations on the coast."Other Saudi officials in Riyadh were less diplomatic: "Iran's threats could be interpreted by Saudi Arabia as an act of war," said a senior Saudi defense official bluntly.This week Saudi Arabia began deploying its military in the kingdom's oil regions in the east opposite the Persian Gulf.Patriot PAC-2 and PAC-3 intercept missile batteries were installed around the oil fields and oil terminals; Saudi special forces stationed around the kingdom's main export terminal at Ras Tanura; and special marine and naval forces trained to defend the installations began conducting sea patrols off shore.Saudi armored forces were furthermore stationed at the main junctions of the pipelines and pumping stations and its air force and navy put on a state of alert.While the whole world talked about Iran's threat to close the Strait of Hormuz in response to an embargo on its oil exports, the Saudis were far more concerned with the reality of the second half of that threat: They are certain that the menace of an Iranian strike at Saudi oil targets will loom ever larger as US-European sanctions bite deeper into Iran's oil sales and Riyadh steps up its oil production to make up for the Iranian shortfall.The Saudis envision a panoply of aggressive Iranian operations: Missiles striking their oil fields and export terminals - aimed from speedboats zooming up close to target and launched from small unpopulated Persian Gulf islands occupied for the purpose by especially trained Iranian units.Iranian frogmen may come ashore to sabotage oil installations and pipelines; kamikaze pilots crash their planes into the oil tankers; and booby-trapped speedboats piloted by suicide attackers try to ram oil installations or tankers.Read the full story here.

  • Cricketer-turned-politician Khan vows to sweep Pakistan polls.(GN).Dubai: Pakistan is heading towards a bigger revolution than the Arab Spring because the "silent revolution" has brought people together under his leadership to usher in change in the country, said Imran Khan, cricketer-turned-politician.Khan, who led Pakistan's cricket team to win the 1992 World Cup, said that he is all set to "captain the nation"."My tsunami is much bigger than the leaderless Arab Spring, which was triggered by social media, but in Pakistan the media is free and I am leading the ‘revolution' from the front," the chief of Tehreek-e-Insaf (Justice Movement) told Gulf News on Sunday at a reception in Dubai. Khan, who has always opposed the military operation against militant groups in the US war on terror, said that he would immediately put an end to the war as soon as he comes to power."We will immediately announce a ceasefire and will not use our military against our own people because I have always said that it is not our war and we should not fight it. The US should also exit from Afghanistan to ensure peace in the region," he said. Khan is also in talks with militant groups as well and said he would use his influence in the tribal areas to reconcile with them."I have always told Americans as well that there is no military solution to this problem, but rather they have to solve it politically through talks and they have also started talking to the Taliban," he added.Read the full story here.

  • This Is Europe's Scariest Chart.(ZeroHedge).Surging Greek and Portuguese bond yields? Plunging Italian bank stocks? The projected GDP of the Eurozone? In the grand scheme of things, while certainly disturbing, none of these data points actually tell us much about the secular shift within European society, and certainly are nothing that couldn't be fixed if the ECB were to gamble with hyperinflation and print an inordinate amount of fiat units diluting the capital base even further. No: the one chart that truly captures the latent fear behind the scenes in Europe is that showing youth unemployment in the continent's troubled countries (and frankly everywhere else). Because the last thing Europe needs is a discontented, disenfranchised, and devoid of hope youth roving the streets with nothing to do, easily susceptible to extremist and xenophobic tendencies: after all, it must be "someone's" fault that there are no job opportunities for anyone. Below we present the youth (16-24) unemployment in three select European countries (and the general Eurozone as a reference point). Some may be surprised to learn that while Portugal, and Greece, are quite bad, at 30.7% and 46.6% respectively, it is Spain where the youth unemployment pain is most acute: at 51.4%, more than half of the youth eligible for work does not have a job! Because the real question is if there is no hope for tomorrow, what is the opportunity cost of doing something stupid and quite irrational today?Hmmmm......Thank corporate greed for using 'cheap labor countries'.Read the full story here.

  • Sex consensual as rape victim didn’t scream, Turkish court rules.(HurriyetDaily). A court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır has ruled that a rape victim had consensual sex with her assailant because she "did not scream” during the intercourse. E.B., a 40-year-old woman with mental disabilities, lost her husband in 2007 and had been living with her three mentally disabled children in a single-room shanty home in Diyarbakır's Ergani district when the district's deputy governor found out about her condition and placed her in care in 2009. E.B. was taken to a hospital for health examinations where it was discovered that she was eight months pregnantE.B. and her 14-year-old son said she had been repeatedly raped by their 24-year-old neighbor, İbrahim T., for the past two years.A court arrested İbrahim T. after DNA samples that were taken from the baby girl E.B. gave birth to proved that he was the father. Prosecutors charged him with "coercion" and "numerous sexual assaults" and asked for a 17-year prison term.The court asked the forensics department to conduct a report on E.B. The report said she was 36 percent mentally disabled and that she could have fought to resist the rape but did not, meaning that the intercourse was consensual. Forensic officials based their report on the fact that E.B. did not scream while being sexually assaulted. The court convened on a day when its only female judge, Hatice Polat, was on leave and decided to release İbrahim T. after two years of arrest.Hmmmm......Human rights....what, who , when , where?Read the full story here.

  • UAE men handed one-month jail for beating pregnant Canadian woman.(BikyaMasr).DUBAI: Three Emirati men were handed one-month in jail for beating a pregnant woman at n Ikea cafeteria three years ago. They were also handed a DH12,000 fine for the incident involving a Canadian couple.According to The National, Emirati businessman A A, 52, and his brothers M A, 33, and E A, 43, on June 13, 2009, beat the woman and her husband after they sat at a table allegedly reserved for the men and their families.“A A approached us and told us that the table was booked as his three children were sitting on the other end,” the husband told the court.When the wife, who was pregnant, said she didn’t want to move, the husband attempted to move her away and sit elsewhere, but the men attacked the couple.“I was punched in the back of the head and lost consciousness and woke to find three men kicking me and punching me on the floor and saw my wife bleeding from her legs profusely,” he told prosecutors.The National reported that a Syrian man had witnessed the incident and confirmed that he saw one of the men hitting the woman while the other two attacked the husband.Security guards called the Dubai Police in order to end the attack after they had failed.The couple were taken to Rashid Hospital, where the wife was also given treatment to prevent a miscarriage.The sentence has left many in the UAE angry over the extremely lenient terms, with many citizens pointing out that drug charges carry longer terms in jail that the assault of a pregnant woman.I find it appalling to call myself an Emirati,” said Abdullah. “These people should be in jail for a long time, not just one month, but because they are Emiratis they are getting off without anything but a slap on the wrist. It is wrong.”Hmmmm......Read the full story here.

  • Document appears incourt, titled "The Islamic Rule on Hijacking Airplanes".(Memri).Hizbut Tahrir's Document on Hijacking Now Before A British Court: 'If The Plane Belongs To A Country At War With The Muslims, Like Israel, It Is Allowed To Hijack It, For There Is No Sanctity Neither For Israel Nor For The Jews Inside It'. A document, titled "The Islamic Rule on Hijacking Airplanes" and produced by Hizbut Tahrir, is the subject of court proceedings in the United Kingdom where a Muslim pilot was sacked over fears that he could carry out a 9/11-like terror attack.Read the full story here.

  • 'Israel sees narrowing window for Iran strike'.(YNet).Israeli officials are quietly conceding that new international sanctions targeting Iran's suspect nuclear program, while welcome, are further constraining Israel's ability to take military action – just as a window of opportunity is closing because Tehran is moving more of its installations underground.The officials said that Israel must act by the summer if it wants to effectively attack Iran's program.A key question in the debate is how much damage Israel, or anyone else, can inflict, and whether it would be worth the risk of a possible counterstrike. Israel has been a leading voice in the international calls to curb Iran's nuclear program. Like the West, it believes the Iranians are moving toward nuclear weapons capability – a charge Tehran denies.Israel contends a nuclear-armed Iran would threaten its survival. It also fears an Iranian bomb would touch off a nuclear arms race in a region still largely hostile to Israel. Israeli leaders say they prefer a diplomatic solution. But – skeptical of international resolve – Israel refuses to rule out the use of force, saying frequently that "all options are on the table."After calling for tougher sanctions against Iran at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Friday: "We must not waste time on this matter; the Iranians continue to advance (toward nuclear weapons), identifying every crack and squeezing through. Time is urgently running out."Key Israeli defense officials believe that the time to strike, if such a decision is made, would have to be by the middle of this year. Complicating the task is the assessment that Iran is stepping up efforts to move its work on enriching uranium deep underground.An Israeli strike would risk shattering the US-led diplomatic front that has imposed four additional rounds of sanctions on Iran and jolt the shaky world economy by causing oil prices to spike. Still, the officials said that if Israel feels no alternative but to take military action, it will do so. The US has sold Israel dozens of 100 GBU-28 laser-guided "bunker-buster" bombs. The 2.5-ton bombs are capable of penetrating more than 20 feet of solid concrete. It's not clear how much damage the bunker-busters could actually do. Iran's main enrichment site at Natanz is believed to be about 25 feet (6 meters) underground and protected by two concrete walls.Many believe that in the event of a strike, Iran would likely unleash its large arsenal of missiles capable of striking Israel.Iran's local proxies, Hezbollah to Israel's north and Hamas to the south, possess tens of thousands of short-range rockets and missiles. American soldiers in the Persian Gulf might come under fire. Islamist backers of Iran could target civilians all over the world. A one-time surgical strike, the most likely attack by Israel, "can't do more than politically declare that we aren't willing to tolerate" a nuclear Iran, Shapir said. Hmmmm......Unless small tactical Nuclear weapons are used? Read the full story here.

  • Hizbullah Al-Manar TV Exclusive on U.S. Drone Captured by Iraqi Insurgents.(Memri).Reporter: "This American reconnaissance plane is in the hands of the Iraqi resistance. This is an achievement that the resistance has pulled out of its hat – one of dozens of qualitative achievements that the U.S. occupation army has not dared to acknowledge throughout its time in Iraq. This state-of-the-art Predator plane fell into the hands of the resistance in Basra, following surveillance activity that led to this achievement."Read and see the full story here.

  • Man raped in UAE by 13 relatives of woman he had relationship with.(BM).DUBAI: Thirteen men were imprisoned for between one and two years this week for kidnapping and raping an Asian man who allegedly had a relationship with one of their female relatives, The National newspaper reported on Tuesday.According to the report, the men kidnapped, sexually assaulted the man and filmed the entire attack on their mobile phone.Police said they rescued the man from the house, but did not say how long the man had been there or how long the ordeal had taken.The sentence, however, has rights groups angered over the apparent lack of longer jail time, saying that kidnapping and rape should carry harsher sentences.Read the full story here.

Liberal Egyptians ought to stop talking about "Sectarian conflict between Muslims and Christians" in Egypt, and start talking about "Sectarian attacks on Copts By Muslims".

Egyptian Christians touch a blood-splattered mural at the Coptic church in Alexandria, where at least 21 people were killed in the 2011 new year terrorist bombing (Photograph: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters)

Liberal Egyptians ought to stop talking about "Sectarian conflict between Muslims and Christians" in Egypt, and start talking about "Sectarian attacks on Copts By Muslims".(CopticLiterature). By DioscorusBoles .
Right now, the Copts of Alexandria are being under attack from Muslims. This is of course not news – Copts in Alexandria as in all other places in Egypt, whether town or village, have been under attack by Muslims on a fairly regular pattern since the Arab Conquest in 640 AD.[i] This is a fact that history bears witness to, even though many Muslim Egyptians, careful to protect the reputation of Islam, are still in denial about. Those in Egypt who would say with Aristotle, “Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is truth,” are rare.
Denial of attacks on the Copts represents the extreme reaction. It also represents the extreme insult to the victims. If you think the denial is only about past incidents, which are long hidden in history books, you will be mistaken – the Egyptian government, and its propaganda machine, has often denied attacks on the Copts in our modern day. The reports of human rights organisations speak of such repeated behaviour: the Maspero Massacre of the 9th October 2011 when Egyptian army personnel murdered 27 Copts is a recent example in demonstration.[ii] We are accustomed to these denials, and we are aware that the drive behind them is a trial to cover up crimes or a defence of one’s personal, regime’s or religion’s reputation.
There is, however, another reaction by the Muslims of Egypt, and it is widespread. Even some liberal Muslims fall victims to it. Attacks on Copts are often reported as “sectarian strife فتنة طائفية/fitna ta’ifiyya”. al-fitna is an Arabic word which means “the differing in opinion between people and what occurs between them in way of fighting”.[iii] In historical context, it is often used for the First Civil War in Islam (656 – 661 AD) after the assassination of Caliph Uthman, which is often referred to as the “Great Fitna”. Those involved in that fitna are widely condemned and seen as faulty in whatever camp they stood.[iv] When applied to the Coptic situation, it is used to both misinform and mislead – Copts who are being attacked by Muslims are apportioned equal blame, and the violent attacks are represented as clashes between Copts and Muslims where both use violence against the other. In this way, it portrays the victim Copts as culprits and condemns them as sectarian offenders on equal basis to their attackers. Egyptian media have often used this characterisation. The latest attack on the Copts of al-A’amiriyya district in Alexandria, which are still on going, and in which Coptic houses, businesses and properties have been set on fire by Muslims, has been, for instance, described by Al-masry Al-youm newspaper as “sectarian clashes between Muslims and Christians”.[v]
The victim Copts are not only represented as partners in the “troubles”, but an excuse is always put in the media to justify the attacks by the Muslims. Common pathetic pretexts are such as a Copt “making” a relationship with a Muslim girl (as in this case and other cases),[vi] the Copts converting an unlicensed property to a church to pray in, a Copt making religious cartoons on Muhammad, a Copt wearing a crucifix in class, Copts playing a drama that is “insulting to Islam”, etc.
As long as Egypt continues its denials of Coptic cases of persecution and oppression, or try to represent them as bilateral clashes between Christians and Muslims, or attempts to justify them, these religionist attacks on the Copts will continue. Egypt’s liberals, in the least, ought to stop talking about “sectarian conflict between Muslims and Christians” in Egypt, and start talking about “sectarian attacks on Copts by Muslims”. It has always been the case. Liberal Muslims must say it as it is – that is of course if they really want to stop the persecution and oppression, and win us over.Hmmm.......Violence does not build up the kingdom of God, the kingdom of humanity. On the contrary, it is a favorite instrument of the Antichrist, however idealistic its religious motivation may be,” ~ Pope Benedict XVI . Source : CopticLiterature.

[i] The author does not suppose that all Muslims attacked or attack Copts. There has always been good Muslims. This the author has repeated several times in various places.

[ii] See, e.g., Human Rights Watch, Egypt: Don’t Cover Up Military Killing of Copt Protesters Official Denials Suggest Investigation Will be Flawed (October 24, 2011).
[iii] almonjid fil lu’gha wal a’alam (Beirut; Dar el-Maschreq Sarl Publishers; 1998).

[iv] For the First Civil War in Islam, read Bernard Lewis, The Arabs in History (Oxford; Oxford University Press; 2002).

[v] Al-masry Al-youm, 27.01.2012. For an internet copy, go to:

[vi] Ibid.

Ethiopian Christians arrested in Saudi, women strip searched

Ethiopian Christians arrested in Saudi, women strip searched.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: Some 35 Ethiopian Christians have been arrested and are awaiting deportation from Saudi Arabia after participating in “illicit mingling,” police in the ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom said of the group, arrested in December.Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that 29 of those arrested are women and were subjected to “arbitrary body cavity searches” while in custody.
The Christians had gathered together to pray on December 15 at a private home of one of the Ethiopians, but police responded by raiding the house and arresting the group of Ethiopians, three of those jailed told HRW.“While King Abdullah sets up an international interfaith dialogue center, his police are trampling on the rights of believers of others faiths,” said Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch. “The Saudi government needs to change its own intolerant ways before it can promote religious dialogue abroad.”In October, Saudi Arabia, together with Austria and Spain, founded the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, located in Vienna, and funded by Saudi Arabia.The Ethiopian men spent two days at al-Nuzha police station in Jeddah, after which the police transferred them to Buraiman prison. The women had already been transferred to Buraiman prison. Two of the women said that officials there forced the women to strip, and then an officer inserted her finger into each of the women’s genitals, under the pretext of searching for illegal substances hidden inside their bodies. She wore a plastic glove that she did not change, the women told the New York-based human rights organization.Officers also kicked and beat the men in Buraiman prison, and insulted them as “unbelievers,” the jailed Ethiopian man said.In July 2006, the Saudi government promised that it would stop interfering with private worship by non-Muslims. In a “Confirmation of Policies,” a written document the Saudi government sent to the US government, Saudi Arabia said it would “guarantee and protect the right to private worship for all, including non-Muslims who gather in homes for religious practice,” and “ensure that members of the [religious police] do not detain or conduct investigations of suspects, implement punishment, [or] violate the sanctity of private homes.”In this document, the government also said it would investigate any infringements of these policies. Public worship of any religion other than Islam remains prohibited in the kingdom.“Saudi authorities have broken their promises to respect other faiths,” Wilcke said. “Men and women of other faiths have nowhere to worship in Saudi Arabia if even their private homes are no longer safe.”The Arab Charter of Human Rights, to which Saudi Arabia is a state party, guarantees “[t]he freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs or to perform religious observances, either alone or in community with others,” and prohibits “arbitrary arrest.”Human Rights Watch called on the Saudi authorities to release the 35 Ethiopian men and women immediately if there is no evidence to charge them with offenses that are recognizably criminal under international norms. Saudi authorities should also investigate their allegations of physical and sexual abuse and, if warranted, compensate them for arbitrary arrest and any mistreatment they endured, and to hold accountable any officials found to be responsible for these acts.Read the full story here.

Michael Coren on Fox News Discussing Canadian "Honor" Killings

NATO ally Turkey on Iran sanctions: ""We are not bound by EU or US decisions,"

NATO ally Turkey on Iran sanctions: ""We are not bound by EU or US decisions,".(Fars).TEHRAN - Turkey announced that it is not obliged to follow the West's decision on imposing a ban on Iranian oil supplies. "We are not bound by EU or US decisions," a Turkish Energy Ministry spokesman was quoted by press tv as saying on Monday. The remarks came after Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu ruled out the possibility of Ankara complying with the West's unilateral sanctions against Iran. Davutoglu added that Turkey is currently trying to facilitate talks between Tehran and Western nations on Iran's nuclear program. Hmmmm.....When will NATO realise that they can't trust or rely on Turkey?Read the full story here.

White House: No rush on Iran - All options are on the table.

White House: No rush on Iran.(TheHill).By Jeremy Herb and Amie Parnes.The White House won't be rushing to make a decision on Iran's nuclear program, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday.While Carney would not respond directly to questions about whether President Obama would have to decide within a year whether to use military force against Iran to stop it from obtaining nuclear weapons, he did say Obama's policy is "clear.""The president has made clear two things,” Carney said at Monday's White House press briefing. “One, that he is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He has also said that he takes no options off the table.”Defense Secretary Panetta said over the weekend in a "60 Minutes" interview that Iran could develop a nuclear weapon within a year and have a delivery system for the weapons in two to three years, if it attempted to pursue them. Iran has claimed its nuclear program is for producing energy, while the United States and its allies say Iran is trying to make a weapon.Obama said at the State of the Union that no option was off the table to stop Iran from obtaining nukes, echoing a statement from Panetta that Iran would not be allowed to cross a “red line" and obtain nuclear weapons.Asked whether Panetta’s view puts a timetable on Obama, Carney said: "It doesn't change our strategy, which is to continue to put pressure, continue to isolate, continue to make clear to Iran what its options are."Hmmmm.......Postponed for election reasons.If i win a second term i might act against Iran if you return to the 1967 borders.Read the full story here.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Overnight music video - Beethoven's 5th Symphony

U.S. to send floating floating drone base to Mideast, called an “afloat forward staging base.

U.S. to send floating floating drone base  to Mideast, called an “afloat forward staging base.(Stratfor).WASHINGTON—Within the president’s defense-budget plan is funding for an intriguing new item: a floating drone base that also could be used as a launching pad for commandos.
The vessel—called an “afloat forward staging base”—would be a platform that could be configured to carry and refuel small patrol boats, helicopters or pilotless aircraft.
Within the president’s new defense budget plan is funding for an intriguing new item: a floating drone base that also could be used as a launching pad for commandos. Nathan Hodge has details on The News Hub.It would also give the U.S. military the ability to stage a small strike force offshore—without obtaining a permission slip from another country for access to a land base.
Details are still emerging, but the project offers insight into how the Obama administration envisions a military that in some ways is more lethal even as it contracts.
Plans for the specialized vessel fit neatly with the Obama administration’s plans to grow special-operations forces, while slimming down conventional forces such as the Army and Marine Corps.
Senior officials want to provide military commanders with affordable sea-base options without necessarily sending a big-deck aircraft carrier and a full complement of escort ships.
James Jay Carafano, a national-security expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation "this kind of capability was “not a silver bullet,” because such vessels would still have to be sustained and protected by conventional forces.'It’s a very limited capability,” he said, adding: “Normally, when we do stuff like this, they wouldn’t want to advertise it. It does seem to be a PR campaign for a smaller, leaner, more flexible military.”Read the full story here.
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