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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Overnight music video - The Lion Sleeps Tonight -The Tokens

Obama : there was no evidence that Iran has the "intentions or capabilities" to wage attacks on US soil, Flashback: Nov 2011- US ties Iran to plot to kill Saudi ambassador!

'Israel has not made decision on Iran attack'.(JPost).WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama said on Sunday that Israel has not yet decided how to respond to concerns about Iran's nuclear program and said there was no evidence that Iran has the "intentions or capabilities" to wage attacks on US soil.Asked in an NBC interview whether Israel was set to attack Iran, Obama said: "I don't think that Israel has made a decision on what they need to do. I think they, like us, believe that Iran has to stand down on its nuclear weapons program," adding Israel and the United States would work "in lockstep" on Iran.Obama, who is up for re-election in November, has ended the US war in Iraq and is seeking to wind down combat in Afghanistan amid growing public discontent about American war spending at a time when the economy remains weak.The Democrat made clear on Sunday that he would not like to see more fighting in the oil-producing Persian Gulf region."Any kind of additional military activity inside the Gulf is disruptive and has a big effect on us. It could have a big effect on oil prices, we've still got troops in Afghanistan, which borders Iran, and so our preferred solution here is diplomatic," he said.Hmmmm....."there was no evidence that Iran has the "intentions or capabilities" to wage attacks on US soil" is this for real? A while back they where claiming Iran was about to murder the Saudi ambassador in the US...!More concerned with his own reelection than the lives of 7,6 Million Jews.Read the full story here.

PA to submit Israeli sites to World Heritage List

PA to submit Israeli sites to World Heritage List.(YNet).Failure to make progress during the latest round of talks between the Palestinians and Israel led the Palestinian leadership to examine new ways in which to gain recognition in the international arena.
One such effort is focused on submitting nominations of heritage sites – both on Palestinian and Israeli territory – for inscription on UNESCO's World Heritage List. The Palestinian Authority was admitted as a full member of UNESCO in October 2011, which enables it to make bids for historic monuments and locations to be classified as World Heritage Sites. The list of sites submitted to the organization includes the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the Old City of Nablus, Sebastiya, the ancient port of Gaza, Hisham's Palace and Tel al Sultan in Jericho, Mount Grizim, the monasteries in Judea Dessert and Rehan Forest.
In addition, the Palestinians considered adding Jerusalem to the list, but Jordan beat them to the punch, and east Jerusalem has already been declared as a World Heritage Site.
Along with the list of sites under the PA's control, the Palestinians are also considering submitting heritage sites that are under Israeli control such as Qumran Caves and the Dead Sea.
Officials in Ramallah told Ynet they see nothing wrong with the PA proposing to recognize these sites on behalf of Palestine "It's very simple – according to the international law, the entire West Bank is occupied territory and therefore all of the countries who recognize a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders will support this." Read the full story here.

Europe Rises Up Against ACTA.Widespread Protests Are Starting to Turn the Tide Against Anti-Democratic Bill

                                    The number of ACTA protests in Europe is overwhelming

Europe Rises Up Against ACTA(WB).Widespread Protests Are Starting to Turn the Tide Against Anti-Democratic Bill
The widespread protests against the anti-democracy bill ACTA by the Polish people have forced Poland’s prime minister to stall – or perhaps even back out – of the treaty. As TechDirt notes:
Following the growing protests about ACTA in Europe, as well as signs of US meddling, Poland’s prime minister is making it clear that Poland will not ratify ACTA for the time being, leading to speculation that the EU may not actually join ACTA.
Tusk’s backtracking could spell the end of ACTA for the entire European Union. If Poland or any other EU member state, or the European Parliament itself, fails to ratify the document, it becomes null and void across the union. As it stands, there are already five member countries that have not even signed ACTA.
I share the opinions of those who from the beginning said that consultations were not complete,” Tusk said, according to a report in Wirtualna Polska. The 54-year-old prime minister added that a Polish rejection of ACTA is now on the table, and admitted that he had previously approached the agreement from a “20th century” perspective, due to his age.
The Slovenian ambassador to Japan has apologized to her country and her children for signing ACTA, saying she signed it because her government told her to, and “out of civic carelessness” in not bothering to understand what ACTA meant before signing it.Bulgarian and Polish MPs wore Guy Fawkes masks to protest ACTA. Again, from TechDirt.
European Parliamentarian Marietje Schaake writes:
As a Member of the European Parliament, I very much welcome the increased attention the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has received in the past weeks. It has taken a while for massive outcry to emerge, but we are seeing protest voices getting louder and louder.
As Pirate Party found Rick Falvinge reports:
Just look at this map. I’ve never seen anything like it in terms of people all across Europe demanding their freedom of speech and being angry against backroom corporativist deals that steals their most basic civil liberties.
This is not Hollywood versus Silicon Valley, as oldmedia likes to frame it. This is Hollywood versus The People. For decades, they have trained us to think in black and white, in good versus evil fighting for domination of the free world. And now, they’ve gone and put themselves in the role of evil villain.
The copyright cartel thought they were battling Google.
They’re not.
They’re waging war against the people, with the help of the politicians.
And we’re not standing for it. We can’t change the copyright cartel, but we can send a clear message to the politicians that 250 million Europeans sharing and preserving contemporary culture is not a problem. It is a power base of 250 million voters that will kick you out of office if you dare so much as touch the net.
And there are visible cracks in the façade, especially seeing Poland falter and the copyright cartels visibly shaken from the SOPA defeat in the US, with the politicians having started to pay attention to what the Internet wants. We can win this.Read the full story here.

NGO workers, including 19 Americans, sent to criminal court in Egypt

NGO workers, including 19 Americans, sent to criminal court in Egypt.(BM).By Joseph Mayton.Cairo: At least 40 NGO workers in Egypt have been referred to a Cairo criminal court and have been charged with “illegal funding of a civil society organization,” judicial sources told on Sunday afternoon.Among those sent are 19 Americans, 5 Serbians, two Germans, three Arabs and the remaining Egyptians. Sam LaHood, the son of US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who has made headlines recently after being barred from leaving Egypt, was among those charged.The spat over American citizens being barred from leaving Egypt has left a diplomatic row between the military junta here in Egypt and the American government.A senior State Department official said Sunday that a “handful of US citizens have opted to stay in the embassy compound in Cairo while awaiting permission to depart Egypt.”The official, who was not allowed to discuss the matter on the record, would not say whether Sam LaHood, the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, was among those at the embassy.LaHood said last week that he fears he could be jailed for up to five years after being barred from leaving the country earlier this month.LaHood and a number of other Americans were banned from leaving Egypt little over a week ago.The younger LaHood told Fox News via telephone last Friday that an Egyptian judge claims he, along with the other Americans stopped, worked for an unregistered non-governmental organization and took a salary.“We’re kind of expecting the worst,” LaHood said.Read the full story here.

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 Kyrgyzstan 5.3 - 5.2!More info here.

  • Newt Gingrich Suggests Obama Is A Muslim-Appeasing Traitor.(NH).By Ellen.Newt Gingrich visited the Hannity show last night where he predictably spewed venom against President Obama. But Gingrich outdid himself when he repeatedly suggested that Obama is a traitor who “appeases” our enemies - such as Iran and the Taliban - and double-crosses our allies and troops.Both Hannity and Gingrich have been lusting for war against Iran for years – though neither has ever suited up in a military uniform. Hannity cited Leon Panetta’s recently-stated concern that Israel may attack Iran – almost certainly knowing that Gingrich would launch his own chickenhawk attack on Obama.“It tells you a lot about what’s wrong with this administration. Instead of worrying about the Iranians getting a nuclear weapon, they’re worried about our ally. It strikes me that we ought to be helping our ally and making sure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon.”Gingrich accused the Obama administration of “living in a fantasyland” at that point.The great threat in the Middle East is not Israel, it’s Iran. The great problem in Afghanistan is the Taliban and yet you have an administration which is apparently gonna release a number of Taliban terrorists… as a faith-building measure. These guys must be breaking up laughing… If I were a young American serving in Afghanistan, and I thought that I had a Commander in Chief who was currying favor with the people trying to kill me, I would find that very, very upsetting.Read the full story here.

  • Obama Thinks Veterans Are Only Good For Menial Jobs.(RWN).By William Teach.We’re finally going to get, after, what, a year? of talking about jobs for military veterans, his plan to get them work. And it’s as pitiful as you’d expect. (Fox News) In an effort to cut the unemployment rate among veterans, the Obama administration is calling for a new conservation program that would put veterans to work rebuilding trails, roads and levees on public lands.Of course, much like with his Stimulus, the jobs probably do not exist. Furthermore, the idea, like most of his ideas, isn’t particularly original. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the Civilian Conservation Corps that operated during the 1930s could be viewed as a model for what the administration will try to accomplish through its “Veterans Jobs Corps.” He said that the administration will propose spending $1 billion that would be used to put an estimated 20,000 veterans to work restoring habitat and eradicating invasive species, among other activities. So now the Obama admin. is looking towards Depression era make-work programs that failed to stimulate the economy, and helped keep the USA mired in depression for a decade.Hmmmm......The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families, ages 18–25. A part of the New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, it provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state and local governments.The CCC operated separate programs for veterans and Native Americans.Read the full story here.

  • Europe's cold snap claims more victims, travel hit.(Yahoo).Transport networks were also badly hit as the chilling weather moved west, prompting severe weather warnings to be issued across much of France and Britain.London's Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, said it had cancelled about half of its normal services as more than 15cm (6 inches) of snow fell in parts of England overnight and temperatures dropped to almost -10 Celsius.Many of Britain's other airports were forced to shut runways overnight and warned of further disruption, while rail services were affected and motorways near London were brought to a standstill, forcing some divers to abandon their vehicles.In Paris, the Eiffel Tower received a coating of snow and more downfalls were expected to bring problems to the French capital's main airports.Meanwhile in Belgium, police found that overnight temperatures of about -10 Celsius were so low that machines to test motorists' alcohol levels did not work.Read the full story here.

  • Former DEA Chief: Hezbollah Eyeing Southwest Border, ‘Hell to Pay in the Not Too Distant Future’.(CNSNews).By Penny Starr.The Iranian-supported Shi’ite terrorist group Hezbollah has spread its influence all the way to the U.S. border with Mexico, a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Iran’s influence in the Western Hemisphere heard on Thursday.Michael Braun, a former chief of operations at the Drug Enforcement Agency, said Hezbollah had developed relationships with the powerful Mexican drug cartels to “move their agenda forward.” He cited a plot, recently uncovered by the DEA, involving an Iranian operative in Mexico allegedly planning to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C.“Hezbollah are absolute masters at forming close relationships with existing organized crime groups around the world that helps them facilitate what they need to do to move their agendas forward,” Braun told following the hearing. “And if anyone thinks for a moment that they don’t have their eye on the southwest border and all of our country, then they couldn’t be more wrong.”Read the full story here.

  • 'World’s ability to limit Iran missile program fading'.(JPost).By Hillary Leila Krieger.WASHINGTON – Iran’s missile program is becoming increasingly self-reliant, lessening the ability of the international community to limit its capabilities, the architect of Israel’s missile defense system warned on Friday.As Iran’s technological know-how and its skill at constructing its own components grows, Western countries have fewer opportunities to delay its program by refusing to sell Tehran equipment or by supplying faulty parts, said Uzi Rubin, who founded the Defense Ministry’s Israel Missile Defense Association.“It is less and less dependent on outside skill,” Rubin told the Foundation for Defense of Democracies before heading to Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers later in the day.“Today Iran can avoid all those export controls quite easily,” he continued, adding that currently, despite the economic sanctions, the country’s access to money is sufficient to “buy all they want.”Rubin wouldn’t offer a timetable for how long it would take Iran to not only develop a nuclear weapon, but produce it in a form suitable for putting on a warhead, and then constructing the warhead itself. But he did say the time is “very short.”Producing an intercontinental ballistic missile might take longer, but Rubin assessed that the Islamic Republics’s interest would be satisfied simply by posing a credible threat to the US homeland rather than in actually deploying an ICBM.“Iran would love to be in a deterrent situation with the United States. That makes it a superpower,” said Rubin, who now heads a defense consulting firm.He urged US political leaders to work to secure missile stocks in Middle East countries roiled by the Arab Spring.He described missiles held in countries such as Syria as “really capable” and ones that could pose a grave challenge to the West.“If you don’t take care of them, those missiles will end up in places that are bad for Israel and bad for the US,” Rubin said.Read the full story here.

  • Video - U.S. Bridges, Roads Being Built by Chinese Firms.Read and see the full story here.

  • FM Lavrov Explains Russia’s Veto on Syria Resolution in UN.(RN).Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday explained why Russia had vetoed a resolution on Syria in the UN Security Council, saying that without Russia's latest amendments, the draft would be unilateral and would harm Syria if adopted.Lavrov said he had on Friday sent Russian amendments to the draft resolution to U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton and Russia’s envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin so that all partners could get familiarized with them.“The rationality and objectivity of these amendments should not cause anyone’s doubt,” Lavrov said.Some Western countries have been trying to persuade Moscow to support a resolution effectively authorizing a military operation, but Russia has repeatedly insisted that the Western drive for a stronger crackdown on Syria is preparation for a “Libyan scenario.”In Libya, rebels ousted and killed long-standing dictator Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011 after a months-long military standoff in which they received assistance from NATO forces.Although UN Security Council diplomats had toned down the latest draft in an apparent move to overcome Russia’s opposition, Lavrov said the Morocco-submitted plan was “unilateral.”The Russian foreign minister said extremist groups that provoke violence in Syria should be assessed in a proper way, which has not been done. He said the resolution did not set enough demands on anti-government armed groups, and that Russia was concerned it could jeopardize Syria’s national political dialogue.Besides, he said, the draft resolution contained a demand that all Assad’s forces should withdraw from cities and towns.“This phrase, without being linked to a simultaneous termination of violence on the part of armed extremist groups, is absolutely provocative, as no president with self-respect, no matter how treated, will agree to surrender inhabited localities to armed extremists without resistance,” he said.U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said on Saturday she was "disgusted" by the Russian and Chinese veto on the draft, and that “all further bloodshed” that could follow will be on the two countries’ conscience."For months this council has been held hostage by a couple of members. These members stand behind empty arguments and individual interests while delaying and seeking to strip bare any text that would pressure Assad to change his actions,” Rice said.UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also condemned the veto, and his statement distributed through his spokesperson called it “a great disappointment to the people of Syria and the Middle East, and to all supporters of democracy and human rights.”“It undermines the role of the United Nations and the international community in this period when the Syrian authorities must hear a unified voice calling for an immediate end to its violence against the Syrian people,” Ban said.Read the full story here.

  • Israeli minister says Assad's end may be "long and bloody".(TZ).Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, facing an 11-month-old uprising, will fall from power eventually but the process could be "long and bloody" as he has outside support from Iran, Israeli deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon said on Friday. In remarks to Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in Germany, Ayalon said that support in the UN Security Council could also prolong Assad's rule. He did not name any country but appeared to refer to longtime Syria ally Russia. "Assad has no real challenge unfortunately from the international community as his case is being barred from discussion in the Security Council because of some members of the Security Council, and because he continues to get material financial and military help from the Ayatollahs in Iran and Hezbollah." "So with having these two political assets in the Security Council and military assets in Iran, unfortunately he can stay for a long time, although he lost his legitimacy and sometimes at the end he will fall, but it may be a long and bloody process." Ayalon said Russia should avoid supplying arms to Syria as this could destabilise the situation further.Assad has used troops and tanks to try to crush a popular revolt and thousands of people have been killed. Ayalon said the bulk of the Syrian military was still intact "notwithstanding a few defections". Read the full story here.

  • IMF wants to blow up Greek economy.(Capital).(Via: KTG).The members of the technical IMF team, which the government had asked in October to provide technical assistance in view of the tax reforms, suggest irrelevant proposals that could blow up the Greek economy. According to, in a mammoth report of over 100 pages, they suggest among other things, a doubling of VAT and tax on deposits, bonds and rents. Specifically, the IMF recommends: transfer of all goods and services from 6.5% to 13%. The IMF report proposes "abolition of the minimum rate of 6.5% which includes only hotels, medicines, books, magazines and theater tickets. This measure could generate about 360 million euros. Imposition of single VAT rate 19% -21% on all goods and services (other than hotels and tour packages that may be subject to a reduced 9% or 11%). This represents an increase from 13% to 19% or 21% VAT burdening food, medicines, electricity, water and gas bills, public transport tickets, taxi fares, medical visits and examinations, medical care etc.Elimination of the 30% reduced VAT rates applicable to the Aegean islands. This means an increase in tax for residents of the islands by 5% or 9% to 13% and from 16% to 19% or 21% for all other goods and services.The long list of new taxes just go's on.Read the full story here.

  • Maan News Agency: Haniyeh meets renowned Egypt Muslim Brotherhood sheikh al-Qaradawi in Qatar.(CA).(Maan) GAZA CITY – Influential Egyptian Muslim theologian Yususf al-Qaradawi on Friday stressed the necessity that the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip should be open completely.During a meeting with the premier of the Hamas-run government in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh in Qatar, al-Qaradawi said, “It is unusual that closure of the Rafah crossing continues barring movement of people and goods.” He added that the Gaza Strip expected support from the Arab and Islamic nations. Al-Qaradaqwi applauded the emir of Qatar, Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, for his support to Palestine and to Gaza.“In light of what the triumphant revolutions in the Arab world achieved, I can assert that Palestine will achieve victory because Palestine is rightness and rightness always wins, while occupation is falseness and falseness will eventually vanish.”For his part, Haniyeh applauded Qatar and Sheikh Al Thani for the support to Palestine and the Palestinian cause. He highlighted that the emir of Qatar responded positively to calls for reconstructing the war-torn Gaza Strip. Hmmmm......Hamas...who's your daddy?Read the full story here.

  • Muslim Brotherhood will determine future of Hamas.(TZ).Hamas, which has left its mark on Palestine’s political life, embarked on a quest for both a new leader and a new policy.The Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt is expected to be the driving force of change in Hamas, which will affect the region as well as Palestine.Samir Ghattas, director of Maqdis Center for Political Studies in Gaza, says Hamas is definitely attached to the Muslim Brotherhood, and so the role the Muslim Brotherhood will have in the political life of Egypt in the same way will deeply affect Hamas.The wind of change within Hamas started after the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation deal, which took place in Cairo last May and Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoğlu also attended. Hamas leader Khalid Mishal, just like Palestine’s leader Mahmud Abbas, supports the establishment of a Palestine state within 1967 borders.However, at the time of this reconciliation, many inner conflicts within Hamas were revealed. Mahmoud Zahar, one of Hamas’ big guns, caused deep cracks within the organization to be unearthed when he severely criticized Mishal.Stressing that the most important reason behind change in Hamas is the developments in Syria, Ghattas points out the existence of Hamas in Syria leads to heavy oppression of the organization, as tens of people are dying there everyday.Saying that, on the other hand, Hamas getting out of Syria may cause serious problems, Ghattas adds: “First of all, the country where Mishal and the organization will deploy is vague. Qatar and Jordan are the countries that are discussed most. Secondly, Hamas has a serious asset in Syria, and there is a great amount of money in their banks. Therefore, if the organization retreats from this country, it will leave all its wealth behind.”According to Ahmed Mousa, head of the political section at the Palestinian Embassy in Cairo, whether or not Hamas will get out of Syria isn’t known. Pointing out that there are no concrete developments that indicate whether or not there will be a serious change within Hamas, Mousa states that the organization establishing itself in Egypt is beside the point.Ghattas also says Hamas’s settling in Egypt seriously distresses the Muslim Brotherhood, which is expected to establish the government in Egypt, and therefore it isn’t very possible.Read the full story here.

  • How Europe Has Evolved From A Democracy To A Bankocracy And Why Austerity Will Lead To Chaos.(ZeroHedge).In one of the clearest (and most optically pleasing) discussions of recent months, David McWiliams (of Punk Economics) succinctly explains how Europe has evolved from a democracy to a bankocracy, the implications of which lead to austerity for the people and a Franco-German imposition (the 'fiscal compact') that can only lead to social unrest and chaos. In this brief (and expertly illustrated) video, the Irish economist clarifies Europe's 'dirty little secret' where economic policy is being run almost exclusively for the banks which, as we see in Greece and Ireland, means the political elite are becoming more and more detached from the people. The terror of the r-word (referendum) looms large as McWilliams analogizes the two ways out of a debt crisis (squeeze the debtor or forgive the debtor) with the catholic and protestant perspectives on sin and forgiveness. While falling short of calling for governments to go full-Keynesian (everyone knows you never go full-Keynesian), he (focusing on the problems of the current hopeful solution) summarizes the fiscal union as envisaged by France and Germany (which actually penalizes countries that are in trouble, rather than help them) as not a friendly-union but a vindictive strait-jacket put in place to help banks, not countries. It comes as no surprise to him that the price of Gold (and Bunds) is firm as the 'example' that Greece is likely to set (or face extreme social upheaval) will domino-like stumble across the other troubled nations and as he points "we have been warned". Our view remains that austerity works if countries manage to cut expenses while keeping a balance. Alas, the balance is out of skew due to 30 years of runaway full-Keynesianism, which leads indeed to the problems that McWilliams so well espouses.Read and see (Video) the full story here.

  • Russia vetoes anti-Assad UN motion after preparing Special Forces for Syria.(Debka).The West and Russia had a major showdown Saturday Feb. 5 over the Arab League resolution calling on Bashar Assad to step down and allow the formation of a national unity government. US President Barack Obama demanded a UN stand against the Syrian president's "relentless brutality" and a vote before the end of the day. It was put to the vote and defeated by Russian and China vetoes.Moscow sources charged that the motion had been intended to pave the way for war in Iran and a bid to overthrow the Tehran regime.debkafile's military sources report that the Russians backed their hard line against the West by putting Rapid Reaction Force (aka Spetsnaz) units in Black Sea bases on the ready to set out for Syria and defend Damascus. A Cold War dimension has been injected into the Syrian crisis, which is fast descending into a sectarian war between Syria's ruling Alawites (Shiites) and the majority Sunnis. The regional dimension is provided by pitting Iran and Syria against Turkey and the Gulf Arabs.The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's earlier announcement that he would visit Damascus next Tuesday, Feb 7, with Russian Foreign Intelligence Service chief Mikhail Fradkov was meant to buy Bashar Assad another three days' grace to polish off the opposition before a possible UN-ordered ceasefire.However, the US and Western powers refused to wait for further Syrian excesses to take place after various sources reported earlier Saturday that Syrian troops had shelled the Homs district of Khaldiyeh, killing an estimated 350 people there and injuring some 1,500, in the worst military bombardment of nearly 11-month-old uprising,.Syrian government officials denied the charge accusing "gunmen" of killing civilians.Aside from a few Turkish brigades strung out along the Syrian border, the West maintains no troops on in the vicinity of Syria since the American military withdrew from Iraq last December.The United States presented a tough front at the UN Security Council Saturday, with President Obama insisting that the council vote on a Arab League text without further delay or changes to accommodate Moscow and that its president step down over his "unspeakable assault" on Homs.Read the full story here.

  • Saudi Lawyer wants Genie to Testify in Court.(Emirates24/7).A Saudi defence lawyer has asked court to summon a jinn (genie) claimed to have possessed a judge who has been arrested on corruption charges, the Saudi Arabic language daily Okaz reported on Saturday.The lawyer, Salim bin Atteyya, told court that the jinn must be present in court to testify in the case of the corrupt judge in Madina, Islam’s second holiest shrine after Makkah, the newspaper said.“The case of the corrupt judge in Madina has taken a new turn and witnessed new developments as the lawyer of an absent defendant has asked court to summon the jinn to testify,” the paper said.“If what the accused judge said about the jinn, then this jinn could be bad and blasphemous…this jinn could have been sent by a bad sorcerer because witchcraft is bad and non-Islamic.”Okaz quoted the lawyer as saying he had made that demand on the grounds any sentence must not be based on “jinn’s allegations”, presented by an exorcist.“This Raqi (Koran reciter and exorcist) has not presented any real evidence that the accused judge has been possessed by jinn,” the lawyer said.In a report on the case early this week, Okaz said the accused judge told court he was under a magic spell by jinn when he was involved in such practices.The paper said the court summoned Fayez Al-Kathami, a well-known cleric and Raqi who is believed to have the powers of speaking to jinn.It said the court summoned Kathami after the arrested judge said he was possessed by jinn through another defendant, who is a sorcerer.Kathami told the judge later that he managed to “question” the jinn that had possessed the judge and would present a report to the court.“The judge also asked me to question the jinn about all the offences committed by the accused judge and other defendant who is at large,” Kathami said.“The jinn told me all I want through the accused judge…I have written all what the jinn said about the judge’s life and the other defendant….I will write a full report and present it to the court, proving this judge has been under a spell.”According to Okaz, the corrupt judge had told investigators that the other defendant had “taken control of his thoughts and made him rule on cases without being conscious of committing any illegal act.Read the full story here.

Former Member of Russian Joint Chiefs of Staff Col.-Gen. Leonid Ivashov: Russia Is Ready to Use Military Power to Defend Iran and Syria; Attack on Syria or Iran Is Indirect Attack on Russia; US in Libya Like Hitler in Poland

Interviewer: Dr. Leonid, do you think that these preparations and very large maneuvers, which will soon be conducted by Russia, are meant as preparation for war, or rather, a military strike against Iran?
Leonid Ivashov: These maneuvers and training will demonstrate Russia's readiness to use military power to defend its national interests and to bolster its political position. The maneuvers will show that Russia does not want any military operations to be waged against Iran or Syria. I assume that the people in the West and in Israel who design the schemes for a large geopolitical operation in the greater Middle East region draw a direct connection between the situation in Syria and in Iran. Indeed, these two countries are allies, and both are considered guaranteed partners of Russia. The only question, therefore, is who they will try to destroy first as a stable country: Syria or Iran.

A strike against Syria or Iran is an indirect strike against Russia and its interests. Russia would lose important positions and allies in the Arab world. Therefore, by defending Syria, Russia is defending its own interests.

In addition, Russia is thus defending the entire world from Fascism. Everybody should acknowledge that Fascism is making strides on our planet. What they did in Libya is nearly identical to what Hitler and his armies did against Poland and then Russia. Today, therefore, Russia is defending the entire world from Fascism.Source Memri.

Obama submits to all of Taliban’s pre-conditions for talks.

Obama submits to all of Taliban’s pre-conditions for talks.(TN).KARACHI: Tayyab Agha, Special Assistant to Mulla Omar, had begun talks with the United States with the mandate of the Taliban Shoora and after the acceptance of the Talibanís six conditions by the US; the talks now stand suspended.The conditions are:
(1) The talks would not be held in any neighbouring country of Afghanistan;
(2) the talks will not be held in any country allied with Nato;
(3) the talks will be held in the country that has not been hostile to Taliban during the last 10 years;
(4) no ceasefire will be demanded before, during or after the talks;
(5) Taliban will not accept any condition contrary to Shariah;
(6) whenever desired, the Taliban will disassociate from the talks.

Under the circumstances, the US will force the acceptance of its conditions contrary to the fact that Taliban were not ready to accept even a single condition. Having accepted these points, Pakistan agreed that the talks may not be held through them.
The Taliban sources said the agenda of their talks with the US comprised three points:

(1) Five important Taliban held at Guantanamo may be released and a swap may be held between the prisoners of allies and Taliban.
(2) There shall be no ceasefire, and
(3) All allied forces shall leave Afghanistan.

The source said that Nato and US had thrust war over Afghanistan, and they had to pay war damage. The source said there was an active Taliban government in Afghanistan, including finance, foreign affairs and war ministries. Their foreign ministry is supervising the talks with the US, he said.
Taliban sources added that the Karzai government is nowhere active in Afghanisan and even the suburbs of Kabul are being supervised by the Taliban/ In the northern provinces of Mazar-e-Sharif, Taliban are active and governors appointed by Karzai are confined to their houses.Hmmmm.....Perhaps the President can start singing 'I Did It My way"for the elections?Read the full story here.

Paper cut out of Khomeini roams Tehran amid Iranians’ pointing out the idolatry aspect.

Paper cut out of Khomeini roams Tehran amid Iranians’ pointing out the idolatry aspect .(Alarabiya).In commemoration of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, a paper model of Iran’s first Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini was paraded in the streets of the capital Tehran amid sarcastic remarks by Iranians and indignation on the part of several officials.The “paper Khomeini,” as the model came to be called, first came down a plane to reenact the supreme leader’s return from exile in France after the toppling of the Shah.Officers and clerics then took paper Khomeini to the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery in southern Tehran and where the late leader gave his first speech after coming back. Officials attending the ceremony played a recording of the speech then started talking to the paper model about current problems in Iran like the nuclear program, economic sanctions, oil exports and others.The model then roamed the streets of Tehran accompanied by a group of officials while army helicopters started spraying rose water and throwing flowers at the procession. Creating a paper model of Ayatollah Khomeini was met with disdain on the part of hundreds of thousands of Iranians, especially on social networking websites. Many of the scoffing remarks focused on the idolatry aspect of the process and some even accused the regime of going back to pagan times.Read the full story here.

NATO implementing a drone-based high-altitude surveillance project.

NATO implementing a drone-based high-altitude surveillance project.Source: Reuters. The Alliance Ground Surveillance project (AGS) project, which is scheduled to come into use from 2015, will have its main base at Sigonella in Italy and several associated command-and-control base stations.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that under an agreement reached at a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels, a group of nations would acquire five Global Hawk RQ-4B reconnaissance drones produced by U.S. firm Northrop Grumman and powered by Rolls-Royce engines.
Northrop Grumman ISS International is the main contractor, while the German arm of EADS, Italy’s Galileo Avionica — a unit of Finmeccanica — and the Canadian arm of General Dynamics are also involved.The 13 countries participating in the project are Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the United States.U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta welcomed the deal.“It’s good deal, big deal, done deal,” he was quoted as saying in a Twitter message posted by the U.S. ambassador to NATO.
Rasmussen, who has been a champion of such cooperative defence projects, said NATO’s operation in Libya last year had shown the need for such a capability.“This will give our commanders the ability to see what is happening on the ground, at long range, over periods of time, around the clock, in any weather,” he said.The drones fly at 60,000 feet and can stay aloft for over 24 hours.Read the full story here.

And as a topping for the Drone cake: In case you guys haven’t seen this video, it’s awesome. It shows a swarm of tiny quadrotor UAVs flying in numerous formations, performing figure eights with each other and even flying around obstacles. Talk about sense and avoid!More here.

Congress Calls for Accelerated Use of Drones in U.S.

Congress Calls for Accelerated Use of Drones in U.S.(DougRoss).Via Fas   By Steven Aftergood
A House-Senate conference report this week called on the Administration to accelerate the use of civilian unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or “drones,” in U.S. airspace.
The pending authorization bill for the Federal Aviation Administration directs the Secretary of Transporation to develop within nine months “a comprehensive plan to safely accelerate the integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system.”
“The plan… shall provide for the safe integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system as soon as practicable, but not later than September 30, 2015.”
The Department of Defense is pursuing its own domestic UAS activities for training purposes and “domestic operations,” according to a 2007 DoD-FAA memorandum of agreement. (“Army Foresees Expanded Use of Drones in U.S. Airspace,” Secrecy News, January 19, 2012.)
In the recently enacted FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act (section 1097), Congress mandated that “the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall establish a program to integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system at six test ranges.” This new test range program is supposed to be established within 180 days.Read the full story here.

The "Perfect Solar Storm" Could Lead to Atomic Armageddon.

Bestselling Author/Environmentalist Matthew Stein Says Solar Storm-Caused Grid Collapse Could Lead to Atomic Armageddon.(FC).Solar flares are all over the news as we head towards the next solar maximum in 2012-2013. With recent brilliant displays of northern lights, scientists are concerned that this "solar max" could deal a devastating blow to America's electronic power grid and communications systems."If a super solar storm of such intensity were to strike today, it would massively disrupt modern electronics, wipe out communication satellites, and collapse the electric power grid over much of the industrialized world for months and possibly years," says bestselling author and environmentalist Matthew Stein. "What most people don't realize is that a long-term grid collapse would also start a chain of events leading to a nuclear Armageddon caused by hundreds of simultaneous Fukushima-like nuclear meltdowns occurring in reactors around the world."
The last extreme geomagnetic solar storm occurred in 1921, The largest solar storm on record, known as the Carrington Event, occurred just 62 years earlier in 1859.
These storms were decades before the advent of nuclear power, microelectronics, and the widespread electrical power grid, which are extremely vulnerable to storms of such magnitude.
According to Stein, "as our nuclear power plants and electric power grid are currently configured, a solar-induced nuclear Armageddon is 100% guaranteed to happen."
Catastrophe is now a matter of when, not if, he says, adding that it does not have to be this way.
"For the price of a single stealth bomber (about $2 billion) we could protect our grid from collapse and our nuclear reactors from catastrophic meltdown," Stein says.
He says that due to a lack of understanding of the seriousness and breadth of the problem, Congress has failed to pass legislation mandating protective measures to prevent catastrophic grid collapse caused by extreme solar flares or an EMP attack.
More than a third of all Americans live within 50 miles of a nuclear reactor. If most of the 104 American reactors were to fail, including Indian Point just outside of New York City, it would be the end of America for many generations to come, Stein says.
Stein has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and is the bestselling author of When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide for Emergency Planning and Crisis Survival.Read the full story here.

The Man We Have Arrested Is Certainly Boko Haram's Abdul Qaga, Says SSS

The Man We Have Arrested Is Certainly Boko Haram's Abdul Qaga, Says SSS.(SR).A security source has told SaharaReporters that the man they arrested in Kaduna, the identify of whom is currently shrouded in controversity, is indeed Abul Qaga.Yesterday, the leadership of the Boko Haram identified the man as Abu Darda, who is the head of the militant sect’s enlightenment committee, and not Qaga.
A man claiming to be the “real” Qaga said in Maiduguri yesterday that Darda was in Kaduna to meet government officials ahead of a possible dialogue meeting, but was pounced upon and arrested by a Joint Task Force team, and foreclosed further dialogue opportunities.Our security source said his agency is simply a security agency doing its work. “We don't play politics,” he said. “Decisions on dialogue are taken at the political level.”And then, with reference to the arrest of Qaga, he asked, “Why would someone who they claimed came for dialogue contacts hide under the bed?”
Asserting that he does not want to be drawn into argument with any group, he said, “The person we have been trailing for months and now have him with us says he's Abu Qaqa. He did not say he is Abu Dardaa, except they impersonate in their group.”He further wondered why it took Boko Haram “so many hours to launch a propaganda on a 'missing/arrested' Abu Dardaa, and subsequently buy enough time to assemble another Abu Qaqa".Hmmmm.....The comments on this story are most 'interresting'.Read the full story here.More here.

"From Barack Obama With......"? Iran’s Supreme Leader Says He May Release Letter Sent To Him By Obama

Greece’s Neo-Homeless Seek Shelter at Airport

Greece’s Neo-Homeless Seek Shelter at Airport.(KTG).By  keeptalkinggreece.This is another shocking evidence about Greece’ “Neo”- Homeless, middle class people who fell victim of the economic crisis. In a thrilling report published in daily Eleftheros Typos, workers at Eleftherios Venizelos, Greece’s biggest airport. speak of dozens of people who seek shelter in the area, pretending to be airlines passengers.“Usually they try to deceive the security personnel, therefore they often carry with them a suitcase or a bunch of magazines” as if they’re waiting either to travel or to pick up some passenger on arrival.Speaking to newspaper, Yiannis, 43, explains why he seeks shelter at the airport. “I have lost everything. My own people. I have no money, neither a home. The night is dangerous, I am afraid to sleep on park benches therefore I come to the airport.”“I remember one night I saw a homeless man to shave himself in the rest room. It froze my heart. I think of the suffering of all these people. How can we throw them out? And then? Where will they go?” an airport worker confessed to Eleftheros Typos.Indeed, it is often very difficult to distinguish as among the homeless are welldressed people who lost their homes recently due to debts and seek some place to spend the night.As the newspaper notes, the homeless arrive at the airport with the shuttle buses, they spend the night at the seats of the arrivals and departures and leave with the first light of the dawn.Speaking to the newspaper, Ada Alamanou from ”Klimaka”, an NGO that deals with homeless, said that homeless in Greece are estimated to be 20,000. She stressed the need to build capacities to offer shelter to those who found themselves on the streets from one day to the next.Read the full story here.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Overnight music video - Manfred Mann - Mighty Quinn

The "Barak Obama student Generation".

My guess they would know where and what to occupy.

‘Act of Valor’: Top to Bottom U.S. Navy Propaganda Film, Uses Active Duty SEALs as Actors, Raw Footage Kept for ‘Training and Other Purposes’

The Navy held final cut privileges in order to remove any frames to address security concerns and kept raw footage to use for real-life training and other purposes.More here HT: Cryptogon.

US Lawmakers say “days of blank checks” are over for Egypt’s military junta

US Lawmakers say “days of blank checks” are over for Egypt’s military junta.(Yahoo).WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A leading senator warned Egypt's military-led government on Friday that "the days of blank checks are over" as an Egyptian army team huddled with State Department officials to discuss the future of $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid.Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat who chairs the Senate subcommittee in charge of foreign aid, issued a blistering attack on Egypt's crackdown on local and U.S.-funded pro-democracy groups and warned that Congress could block future aid unless changes are made."We want to send a clear message to the Egyptian military that the days of blank checks are over. We value the relationship and will provide substantial amounts of aid, but not unconditionally," Leahy said in his statement.Leahy joined a growing number of U.S. lawmakers from both political parties who have expressed outrage over the swoop on non-governmental organizations, which has seen a number of U.S. staffers barred from leaving Egypt.In two joint letters released on Friday, more than 40 U.S lawmakers warned U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of Egypt's ruling military council, that U.S. aid to the Egyptian military hung in the balance."The absence of a quick and satisfactory resolution to this issue will make it increasingly difficult for congressional supporters of a strong U.S.-Egypt bilateral relationship to defend current levels of assistance to Egypt," the letters said.Hmmmm......FlashBack:"MFS - The Other News" May 2011 "Muslim Brotherhood to Obama : "Go to Hell".Egyptian Government Rejects US Conditional Aid".Read the full story here.

Don’t Trust Satellite Phones - Satellite Phone Encryption Cracked.

Don’t Trust Satellite Phones - Satellite Phone Encryption Cracked.(Telegraph).German academics said they had cracked two encryption systems used to protect satellite phone signals and that anyone with cheap computer equipment and radio could eavesdrop on calls over an entire continent. Hundreds of thousands of satellite phone users are thought to be affected.
We were able to completely reverse engineer the encryption algorithms employed,” said Benedikt Driessen and Ralf Hund of Ruhr University Bochum as they announced their report, “Don’t Trust Satellite Phones”.
The encryption algorithms are known as GMR-1 and GMR-2, and are standards used across satellite phone operators, including Thuraya, a leading providers. Their technology is widely used in the Middle East and Africa, including in some military applications.
Mr Driessen told The Telegraph that the equipment and software needed to intercept and decrypt satellite phone calls from hundreds of thousands of users would cost as little as $2,000. His demonstration system takes up to half an hour to decipher a call, but a more powerful computer would allow eavesdropping in real time, he said.Read the full story here.

Israeli Defense minister Ehud Barak implies a strike on Iran nuclear program is near.

Israeli Defense minister Ehud Barak implies a strike on Iran nuclear program is near.(CSMonitor).By Joshua Mitnick.Tensions between Israel and Iran are on the rise after a group of top Israeli leaders engaged in a round of saber-rattling on Thursday and Iran’s Supreme Leader answered on Friday with a pledge to "remove" Israel.Speaking at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center's annual conference, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak compared the current standoff with Iran to the "fateful" period before the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, when Israel launched a preemptive strike against Egypt.At the same conference, Israel’s military intelligence chief, Aviv Kochavi said that Iran had enough nuclear material to make four bombs, and could construct a missile within three years. Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon warned that "an unconventional country can’t be allowed to have a nonconventional weapon" and that "a nuclear Iran would be the nightmare of the West."
Even though Israeli leaders have been heartened by international sanctions targeting Iran's nuclear program, which Iran insists is for peaceful purposes only, the chorus of warnings from Israel reflect growing anxiety among some leaders that Iran may still obtain a nuclear bomb.  "The temperature is rising in Israel," says Meir Javedanfar, an Iran analyst in Tel Aviv. He says that if the defense minister sees the current period as similar to the run-up to the [1967] Six-Day War, "that gives credibility to those who think Israel is going to launch an attack."Comparing Iran’s regime to Nazi Germany, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said it is Israel’s right to act to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon.Hmmmm.......On Thursday Khamenei then claimed the current century as the century of Islam and promised that human history is on the verge of a great event and that soon the world will realize the power of Allah.IMHO: THE ONLY THING THAT THIS COULD BE IS EITHER A TEST OF A NUKE OR THE USE OF A NUKE.Read the full story here.

GOP Rep. Allen West: Someone's 'playing around with' unemployment numbers

GOP Rep. Allen West: Someone's 'playing around with' unemployment numbers.(TheHill).By Daniel Strauss. Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) is suspicious about the newly released January unemployment numbers. In response to news that the overall unemployment rate had dropped to 8.3 percent and the unemployment rate in the black community declined from 15.8 percent to 13.6 percent, West floated the possibility that the numbers might have been cooked. "Can someone tell me how employment in the black community has improved at a rate three times the national average in just a few months?? With numbers like today, urban communities should be well on their way to economic recovery then! There is something suspicious about the job numbers released today and it has me very concerned," West wondered Friday. "Is this dramatic supposed decrease in black unemployment a result of job creation or is someone playing around with the census numbers??"Hmmm.....As unemployment numbers go down......Food stamp users go up, is the rise equal?Read the full story here.

Polish PM Caves In to the people their demands, Freezes ACTA Ratification

Polish PM Caves In to the people their demands, Freezes ACTA Ratification.(Novinite).Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk has yielded to mass protests, announcing Friday that his government would put on hold plans to ratify ACTA, the controversial international online anti-piracy accord.
"I consider that the arguments for a halt to the ratification process are justified," Donald Tusk told reporters, as cited by international media."The issue of signing of the ACTA accord did not involve sufficient consultation with everyone who is part of the process," Tusk said, adding that he would hold broad talks on what to do next."The ACTA ratification process will be frozen as long as we haven't overcome all the doubts. This will probably require a review of Polish law. We can't rule out that, at the end of the day, this accord will not be approved," he declared.
Tusk's decision comes in the wake of high-profile protests mostly by young Poles who fear the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) -- aimed at creating international standards for intellectual property protection -- could significantly curtail online freedom.
ACTA was negotiated between the 27-nation European Union, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and the United States.
Bulgaria's Borisov Cabinet has also come under fire for the secret signing of ACTA.
Even though Bulgaria has seen no street rallies, massive outcry by Internet users and ISPs led on Thursday Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to declare that ACTA will be applied with reservations and will be supplemented by the existing Bulgarian legislation in its part referring to Internet content.Hmmmm.........President Obama could learn a lesson in Democracy from Poland it seems.Read the full story here.

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 Philipines 6.0 - 5.5 ; Tonga 5.8 - 5.5 ; Mongolia 5.5 - 5.4!More info here.

  • Iran blocks IAEA inspectors at Parchin military site.(JPost).By REUTERS.VIENNA - Iran's apparent reluctance to let UN inspectors visit a military site near Tehran underlines the uphill task they face in getting the Islamic state to address suspicions it may be seeking to develop nuclear weapons, Western diplomats say. They say the UN nuclear watchdog sought access to the Parchin complex during three days of talks in the Iranian capital, so far without any sign that Iran would agree to it.More meetings are scheduled for later this month - rare direct dialogue in the long-running international dispute, which has deepened as the West pursues punitive embargos on Iranian oil and Tehran threatens retaliation. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) named Parchin in a detailed report in November that lent independent weight to Western fears that Iran is working to develop an atomic bomb, an allegation Iranian officials reject. The UN agency has not said whether the issue was among those it raised in the January 29-31 discussions in Tehran aimed at shedding light on possible nuclear-linked weapons development work, but diplomats accredited to the IAEA said it was. The senior IAEA team requested "access to Parchin, which Iran did not provide", one Western diplomat said.The senior IAEA team requested "access to Parchin, which Iran did not provide", one Western diplomat said. He and others suggested that Iran had sidestepped the question rather than rejected it outright during the meetings with the IAEA delegation headed by the agency's global inspections chief, Deputy Director General Herman Nackaerts. "They asked to see a particular site and they never got an answer," another envoy said. "The bottom line is: Iran did not engage the agency on the issues the agency wanted to discuss.""There was nothing achieved on this visit," the Western envoy said. "I was never optimistic. This just reinforces my pessimism." In a new sign of Iran's refusal to back down, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran would retaliate over Western-backed oil sanctions and any threat of attack, insisting outside pressure would not halt its nuclear work.Suspicions about activities at the Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran date back at least to 2004 when a prominent nuclear expert said satellite images showed it may be a site for research and testing relevant for nuclear weapons. In 2005, UN inspectors visited the large site, but not the place where the IAEA now believes the explosives chamber was built.Hmmmm.....That's almost eight years of refusal.Read the full story here.

  • Is Iran about to test a Nuclear weapon?(AstuteBloggers).By ReliaPundit. Khamenei then claimed the current century as the century of Islam and promised that human history is on the verge of a great event and that soon the world will realize the power of Allah.IMHO: THE ONLY THING THAT THIS COULD BE IS EITHER A TEST OF A NUKE OR THE USE OF A NUKE.Hmmm.....Last year the Former mossad chief warned of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon in 2012.And The maximum of 3,000 centrifuges that Fodow can contain will never produce enough to supply the fuel needed for a nuclear reactor.However, their performance is perfect for making nuclear bombs.So i wouldn't be surprised.Read the full story here.

  • Perfect: Obama pulls combat pay for U.S. troops.(DougRoss).But he obviously holds the U.S. military in very high esteem.President Obama’s latest policy outrage makes no attempt to hide his contempt for our military, as he is ordering that our troops serving overseas in war zones overseas are not to receive combat pay unless they are being shot at.In other words, the president continues to siphon off more and more money from our defense infrastructure -- hitting our warriors first, last and hardest in the process -- to fund his green energy scams and public sector union cronies (which, coincidentally, also contribute heavily to his campaign).Read the full story here.

  • Iran Starts Mass-Production of Naval Cruise Missile.(Fars).Iran on Saturday inaugurated the production line of a newly unveiled naval cruise missile, called Zafar (Triumph). The production line was inaugurated by Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi in a ceremony at the Defense Ministry' Aerospace Industries Organization on the occasion of the Ten-Day Dawn ceremonies, celebrating the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution back in 1979. The ceremony was also attended by Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Naval Force Brigadier General Ali Fadavi. During the ceremony, the first cargo of Zafar missiles was delivered to the IRGC. Speaking to reporters, Vahid said that "Zafar is a short-range, anti-ship, radar guided missile capable of hitting and destroying small and medium-sized targets with high precision". He added that the missile can be mounted onto light and speed boats, enjoys a high capability in anti-electronic warfare and is highly destructive. Read the full story here.

  • Iranian Navy Ships Arrive in Saudi Port.(Fars).The 18th flotilla of warships dispatched by Iran to the Gulf of Aden on an anti-piracy mission docked at the Saudi port city of Jeddah today, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said on Saturday.The Iranian Navy dispatched its 18th flotilla of warships to the Gulf of Aden on January 21 to protect the country's cargo ships and oil tankers against Somali pirates. Addressing a ceremony here in Tehran today, Sayyari said the Iranian Navy's fleet of warships, comprised of Khark warship and Shahid Naqdi destroyer, docked at Jeddah this morning, and added that the mission is part of the Navy's moves in line with the orders of the Supreme Leader for having a stronger presence in the high seas. The commander said that the navy ships' 70-80-day mission is aimed at demonstrating Iran's power in the high seas. While enemies try to portray Iran's growing power as a threat to the regional states, the Admiral indicated that such missions prove that Iran's military power is used to defend the region and can, thus, defuse the plot hatched by the enemies to spread Iranophobia.Hmmmm......Placing the pawns on the chess game board.Read the full story here.

  • Iran's SNSC, Three Branches of Power Studying Cut of Oil Supplies to EU.(Fars).Iranian parliamentary sources revealed on Saturday that the country's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) and three branches of power (the Parliament, the Government and the Judiciary) are studying a double-urgency bill of the parliament on cutting crude exports to the European countries. "Apart from the SNSC, the issue is important for the parliament, government and the country's macro-scale decision-making levels," member of the parliament's Presiding Board Omidvar Rezayee told FNA, referring to the finalization of the parliament's last week bill on cutting oil exports to the EU members. He said the issue is presently under study at the SNSC and economic departments of the three branches of power, and added, "They will take the final decision in this regard."After the EU oil ban against Iran, members of the Iranian parliament finalized a draft bill on cutting the country's oil exports to the European states in retaliation for the EU move. "The bill has 4 articles, including one which states that the Islamic Republic of Iran will cut all oil exports to the European states until they end their oil sanctions against the country," Vice-Chairman of the parliament's Energy Commission Nasser Soudani told FNA last Saturday.In relevant remarks on Saturday, Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi also underlined Tehran's determination to retaliate against the western states' oil ban against the country, and said Iran will certainly cut its oil exports to certain European countries. "Export of oil to certain European countries will certainly be cut," Qassemi said in a press conference on Saturday. "We will decide on stopping oil exports to other European countries later," he added.Read the full story here.

  • Damascus denies responsibility for deaths of more than 400 civilians ahead of U.N. vote.(AlArabiya).Damascus on Saturday said gunmen were responsible for the killing of more than 400 civilians across Syria, the state media reported. At least 416 civilians were killed by the Syrian forces across the country while the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) vowed to fight back with intense operations against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.Early Saturday, the anti-Assad regime army intensified its campaign against the government’s forces as it destroyed an air intelligence building in Homs, the Syrian Media Center reported. Hours later, the media center said that a huge explosion took place in Hama close to the border entrance of Halab. And in the rebel-held al-Zabadani, the opposition fighters went on to surround a government security building, the media center said. Ammar al-Wawi, an FSA official, told Al Arabiya that the free army vows more operations against Assad’s forces to include targets such as military and police headquarters.Initially, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 138 of the fatalities were caused by mortar fire in the Al-Khalidiya district of Homs, which has become a flashpoint of the 10-month revolt against the regime of Assad. Civilians, including women and children were killed, a rights group said on Saturday. But Al Arabiya correspondent said that the death toll in Homs alone included 337 people killed and 1,300 others injured. The correspondent also reported that the Khalidiya hospital in Homs was destroyed.Residents said Syrian forces began shelling the Khalidiya neighborhood at around 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) on Friday using artillery and mortars. They said at least 36 houses were completely destroyed with families inside.“We were sitting inside our house when we started hearing the shelling. We felt the bombardment was falling on our heads,” said Waleed a resident of Khalidiya.As Syrians rushed to aid victims and carried on with funerals in Homs, Assad forces continued with attacks, Al Arabiya correspondent said, adding that nail bombs were used during the shelling campaign against the city.It was not immediately clear what had prompted Syrian forces to launch such an intense bombardment at a time when diplomats at the U.N. Security Council are discussing a draft resolution on an Arab League plan calling for Assad to give up power.Another 79 people were killed in other parts of town. The grim tolls, if confirmed, would mark the bloodiest day of the almost 11-month uprising against Assad’s regime.“It’s a real massacre,” the observatory’s director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP, calling for the “immediate intervention” of the Arab League to end the killing.Al Arabiya showed images of dozens of bodies on the ground and scenes of chaos in the city, with several buildings destroyed.Residents claiming to be from Homs took to Twitter to send out updates. One spoke of a city that “is bleeding” and under heavy bombardment and another counted “366 explosions tonight so far.”Amid growing concern that Syria is sliding into all-out civil war, an officer with the FSA claimed the regular army “is in a pitiful state and getting close to collapsing.”Read the full story here.

  • Report: Fast and Furious "Fix is in" and Boehner is behind it.(BN).As I readied myself for what promised to be a bombshell of a hearing on February 2nd, I thought Attorney General Eric Holder would have his toughest test yet. He would now be in front of the committee that Darrell Issa chairs - the House Oversight Committee. In every Fast and Furious hearing Issa had been involved in, he stood out as the top bulldog, the fieriest and most knowledgable about the case. On February 2nd, he had the gavel and much more evidence with which to go directly at Holder.As I watched the hearing, I was struck by how tame Issa was compared to previous hearings. There were congressmen on the committee who went at Holder hard - Gowdy, Meehan, Buerkle, and Labrador to name a few - but Issa was conspicuously soft. I thought, "Why?" This was the guy who had all of the goods, collectively. He could have personally delivered a mortal blow to Holder's tenure; he might have even exposed a White House connection. Instead, he seemed to put his gloves down.Mike Vanderboegh, the guy who broke the Fast and Furious story originally before CBS' Sharyl Attkisson picked it up and gave it a much wider audience, seems to be pretty convinced that the fix is in and that House Speaker John Boehner is behind it.The Obama administration is, by far, the most corrupt in the history of the United States. It has put the Republic in serious danger. If there was a White House connection to Fast and Furious, Boehner COULD have gone down in history as the man willing to do the right thing by leading the effort to expose it, by truly unleashing Issa and standing with him.Instead, if these reports are true, he has decided to allow the dismantling of America continue.Read the full story here.

  • Russian officials plan to meet Assad as U.N. clash over Syria continues.(AlArabiya).Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit to Syria on Tuesday to meet President Bashar al-Assad, Russian news agencies quoted Lavrov as saying in Munich on Saturday, as Russia and Western states clash over a draft U.N. Security Council resolution on the violence in Syria.“On the order of the Russian president, myself and Mikhail Fradkov will visit Damascus on February 7 for a meeting with Bashar al-Assad,” Russian news agencies quoted Lavrov as saying on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference Saturday.Lavrov, who said President Dmitry Medvedev had instructed him and Fradkov to make the trip, gave no details about its specific purpose, the reports said. The statement came as Russia and Western states clash over a draft U.N. Security Council resolution that would support an Arab League plan calling for Assad to cede power.Arab and Western countries have rejected a new draft amended by Russia. The draft dropped callas to condemn “arbitrary executions, killing and persecution of protestors and members of the media, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, interference with access to medical treatment, torture, sexual violence, and ill-treatment, including against children.”It also conditioned the pull out of all Syrian military and armed forces from cities and towns with “the end of attacks by armed groups against state institutions and cities and towns.”A major Russian amendment urged U.N. member states to use their influence to prevent continued violence by armed groups. Al Arabiya correspondent from the United Nations reported that Arab and Western states rejected the Russian amendments.“They [Russians] attempted all through the draft to equate between the victim and the aggressor, which is unacceptable to the Arabs and the Europeans alike,” Talal Alhaj said.“My sources are assuring me that these amendments have been refused by the Europeans and Arabs alike. This refusal will of course and most likely lead to a Russian veto, double veto with China.”Read the full story here.

  • GOP lawmaker walked out on Obama's speech at National Prayer Breakfast.(TheHill).By Jonathan Easley.Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey (Ga.) walked out of President Obama's speech at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, his spokeswoman confirmed to The Hill.Jen Talaber said the five-term lawmaker "left quietly" in the middle of the president's remarks.“He was disturbed and offended by the president’s use of prayer and reflection time for partisan politics and class warfare,” Talaber said. “Rep. Gingrey enjoyed listening to the keynote speaker and found the breakfast to be inspiring until President Obama began politicking.”At the breakfast, Obama tried to tie some of the proposals from his State of the Union address, such as everyone paying their fair share in taxes, to Biblical teachings.Talaber said Gingrey listened to several minutes of the speech before he “slipped out” because he found the perceived politicking “inappropriate.”There are 364 other days a year in which to do that,” she said. “While he commends the president for his attendance, Rep. Gingrey wanted to hear what was in his heart and not campaign rhetoric. He was disappointed that the president seemed to be unaware of the reason so many gathered there today.”Read the full story here.

  • GOP's Hatch: Someone should remind Obama he's not Jesus Christ.(TheHill).By Josiah Ryan.Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on Thursday evening said President Obama needs a reminder that he is not Jesus Christ."In 2008, the president declared that his nomination was the world historical moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal," Hatch said in a speech from the Senate floor. "Someone needs to remind the president that there was only one person who walked on water and he did not occupy the Oval Office."Hatch skewered the president for a remark he made at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday morning, during which he suggested Jesus might support his plan to raise taxes on wealthy Americans.“For me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that 'for unto to whom much is given, much shall be required,'" Obama said at the breakfast. Hatch, who is a devout Mormon, suggested Obama was trying to "assume the role of theologian in chief" and said he ought to stick to public policy."[Obama] suggested to the attendees that Jesus would have supported his latest tax-the-rich schemes," Hatch said. "With due respect to the president, he ought to stick to public policy. I think most Americans would agree that the gospels are concerned with weightier matters than effective tax rates.”Hatch said Obama does not even live up to the example set by two former presidents he claims to admire, Franklin Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln."At some moments in our nation's history, at moments of crises, leaders have emerged, put partisanship aside and worked to solve our greatest challenges, though our current president, who's compared himself to both Franklin Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, his leadership is falling well short of their examples," Hatch said.Read the full story here.

  • Federal Court Forces EPA to Enforce Rules Agency Believes Are Faulty.(BigGovernment).President Obama’s EPA usually has a bad habit of kicking American industry when it’s down by dumping on them with unnecessary regulations, regardless of what business leaders say the effects will be.Usually. Which is why the latest fiasco over the Agency’s proposed Boiler MACT rule is so noteworthy.After writing new rules in mid-2011 that would require electricity-generating boilers to meet a shockingly high emissions standard – at a capital cost of $9.5 billion – a wide swath of industries, most notably the paper and wood business, pushed back. EPA was set to impose the rules anyway, risking hundreds of thousands of jobs, sky-high costs, and electrical production capacity.Yet shockingly, EPA suddenly changed its mind in December, apparently having listened to the industries’ criticisms and deciding to stay any formal enactment of the proposed rules. EPA wanted more time to study the potential effects and revise the regulations.But of course, the environmentalist left wouldn’t have that. From the PJ Tatler:In December 2011, though, the EPA changed course and decided to delay implementing the rule. It actually appeared to be taking industry concerns into account, for once. The Sierra Club and others had filed suit to force the EPA to stick to its original timeline. The federal court in Washington, DC heard the case and sided with the Sierra Club in January. So now, the EPA is being forced by a judge to implement a rule that the EPA itself has acknowledged is problematic and requires more study.The minute the EPA actually listens to industries’ concerns and decides it wants a more balanced approach, they get stuck with a federal court ruling requiring them to enforce the original rules they have already acknowledged are faulty.Luckily, in order for sanity to prevail, Republicans are pushing legislation that will shield the EPA from the court’s ruling and give it the time it needs to draft new rules that lessen the burden on industry. The legislation, titled the EPA Regulatory Relief Act, has been bouncing around Congress. The House has already passed the bill as part of the payroll tax cut package passed in December. It’s the Senate’s turn now.Even the EPA itself admits that too much is at stake.Read the full story here.

  • US anxiety grows over possible Israeli plans on Iran, Israeli strike would have implications for US election.(Jpost).The Obama administration is increasingly anxious about Israeli leaders' provocative public comments on Iran's nuclear program but does not have hard proof that Jerusalem will strike Iran in the next few months, US and European officials said.The US uncertainty and lack of information about Israel's plans on Iran were behind an alarming assessment of the situation reportedly voiced by US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the officials said.David Ignatius, a Washington Post columnist who specializes in intelligence matters, reported that Panetta believed there was a "strong likelihood" that Israel would attack Iran's nuclear program within the next six months -- as early as April, Ignatius wrote.Three US officials who follow the issue said their understanding was that the United States did not have concrete intelligence suggesting an attack by Israel on Iran in that time frame was likely or actively being prepared.The current US assessment is that for months Jerusalem had been making contingency plans and tentative preparations both for such an operation and for possible Iranian retaliation, two of the officials said."If Israel has a good military option, they just take it, they don't talk about it, they don't give warnings," said Pollack, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. "So the fact that they are talking about it, to me, is one tip-off that they don't have a good military option".Many, if not most, Western experts believe it would take Iran at least a year to build a weapon once leaders decided to go ahead. But some Israel leaders and experts believe that an attack would have to be launched earlier if Iran's nuclear effort is to be set back seriously. Barak has warned that Iran's nuclear research could soon pass into what he called a "zone of immunity," protected from outside disruption.Barak was recently quoted telling the Herzliya Conference, "Later is too late," one of the US officials noted. The official said that US policymakers had to be concerned about the possibility of an early Israeli attack "given that Barak and Netanyahu seem so determined to do it."But Panetta's alleged remarks and other Obama administration's statements indicate the White House is focused on dissuading Israel from taking action - and distancing itself from an Israel strike if persuasion fails.A strike on Iran and Iran's response, including attempts to close the Strait of Hormuz, which is vital for oil shipments, could seriously harm the US economy, jeopardizing US President Barack Obama's chances for re-election. Obama also would likely come under intense domestic pressure to back Israel's actions."The US is not too excited about engaging with Israel or being part of anything at this point," one official said."Israel is, practically speaking, the wild card in the pack," the analyst said. "We have no specific information on when or if they will attack but based on their past history and current stance, it is something we do expect at some point."Hmmmm......Is it right to jeopardise the lives of 7.6 million Israelis for reelection reasons?Read the full story here.

  • Iran begins month long naval exercises near Gulf strait.(AlArabiya).Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard began naval maneuvers Saturday in the latest show of force near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the critical Gulf oil tanker route that Tehran has threatened to close in retaliation for tougher Western sanctions.Plans for new Iranian war games in the Gulf have been in the works for weeks. But they got under way following stern warnings by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, about any possible U.S. or Israeli attacks against Tehran's nuclear facilities.The month-long maneuvers also come after Western forces boosted their naval presence in the Gulf led by the American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.Iran has so far made no attempts to disrupt shipping through the strait, the route for one-fifth the world's crude oil. The U.S. and allies have said they would respond swiftly to any attempts at a blockade.Last month, Iran’s navy wrapped up 10 days of exercises in the Gulf, but the Revolutionary Guard - which is directly under control of the supreme leader - represents a significantly stronger military force and controls key programs such as missile development. Iranian state media announced the new maneuvers, but gave no further details.Khamenei, in a speech nationally broadcast on Friday, staked out a hard line after suggestions by Israel that military strikes are an increasing possibility if sanctions fail to rein in the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.He pledged to aid any nation or group that challenges Israel and said any military strikes would damage U.S. interests in the Middle East “10 times” more than they would hurt Iran. The comments also may signal that Tehran’s proxy forces - led by Lebanon’s Islamic militant group Hezbollah - could be given the green light to revive attacks on Israel as the showdown between the archfoes intensifies.Read the full story here.

  • Video - Syrians storm their embassies in Egypt, Kuwait and rally in UK, U.S and Germany.(AlArabiya).A crowd of Syrians stormed the Syrian embassy in Cairo smashing furniture and equipment and setting fire to parts of the building in protest over the latest bloodshed in the country, an embassy official and a witness said on Saturday.Rallies also broke out outside Syrian embassies in Britain, Germany and the United States after human rights activists reported more than 300 people were killed in shelling by government forces in the city of Homs.In Cairo, embassy official Ammar Mohamed said he had been told by security officials about the overnight attack and arrived at the site to assess the damage. The scene was calm by early morning and Egyptian police were guarding the embassy.It was the second such attack on the mission. The embassy was broken into last week in another demonstration against President Bashar al-Assad who has turned his army against demonstrators seeking an end to his rule.Hundreds of demonstrators also gathered at a police station a few streets from the Cairo embassy to demand the release of as many as 11 Syrians and an Egyptian who they said were detained during the protest at the mission.“God you are so strong, help us secure victory over Bashar,” chanted protesters outside the Cairo police station where they said the detainees from the demonstration were taken.The gate of the embassy in central Cairo was broken and furniture and computers were smashed on the second floor of the building, a Reuters witness said, viewing the site after the attack. Parts of the first floor were burned, he said.In Kuwait, witnesses say demonstrators have stormed into the Syrian Embassy compound in the Gulf state, breaking windows and hoisting the flag of the opposition to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.Meanwhile, five men were arrested Saturday after gaining entry to the Syrian embassy in London, police said, as protesters demonstrated outside the building.Around 150 protesters gathered outside the plush property in Belgrave Square, one of central London's finest squares, which houses a string of embassies.A Scotland Yard spokesman said the arrests were for public order offences after the demonstration broke out at around 2:00am (0200 GMT).The spokesman said “appropriate policing” was now in place.Read the full story here.

  • Freezing Europe hit by Russian gas shortage,Russia admits brief cut of gas supplies to Europe.(BBC).Freezing weather sweeping across Europe has led to a shortage of vital Russian gas supplies to several countries, officials say.An EU energy spokeswoman said eight countries had seen a reduction in gas due to increased demand in Russia. She said the situation was not an emergency but was being monitored.The cold snap is being blamed for scores of deaths in eastern Europe where temperatures have plunged to below -35C.Freezing temperatures have spread to Italy and France, and the UK is also on alert for snowfall over the weekend."I can confirm that there has been a decrease in gas deliveries in various member states - Poland, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Italy," EU spokeswoman Marlene Holzner said."It's not a situation of emergency yet," she added.Correspondents say the sudden drop in Russian gas supplies - which pass through Ukraine - is raising fears of a repeat of a crisis in 2009 when tension between Moscow and Kiev cut supplies to parts of Europe for about two weeks.Russia's state-controlled Gazprom natural gas giant acknowledged for the first time Saturday that it had briefly reduced gas supplies to Europe amid a spell of extreme cold. Gazprom deputy chief Andrey Kruglov reported to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that the cuts lasted for several days and reached up to 10 percent, but supplies are currently back to normal. Officials in Austria and France, however, have reported cuts of as much as 30 percent, and Italy said supplies were down by 24 percent Thursday. Russia previously had blamed Ukraine for the shortages, saying Kiev is siphoning off more than its share. Authorities in Ukraine have denied the accusations.Putin ordered Gazprom to try to meet an increased demand for the Russian gas in Europe, but added that the company's priority should be to satisfy the local demand.Read the full story here and here.

  • Congress Calls for Accelerated Use of Drones in U.S.(BLN).Source: Secrecy News. A House-Senate conference report this week called on the Administration to accelerate the use of civilian unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or “drones,” in U.S. airspace.The pending authorization bill for the Federal Aviation Administration directs the Secretary of Transporation to develop within nine months “a comprehensive plan to safely accelerate the integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system.”“The plan… shall provide for the safe integration of civil unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace system as soon as practicable, but not later than September 30, 2015.”The conference bill, which still awaits final passage, also calls for establishment of UAS test ranges in cooperation with NASA and the Department of Defense, expanded use of UAS in the Arctic region, development of guidance for the operation of public unmanned aircraft systems, and new safety research to assess the risk of “catastrophic failure of the unmanned aircraft that would endanger other aircraft in the national airspace system.”The Department of Defense is pursuing its own domestic UAS activities for training purposes and “domestic operations,” according to a 2007 DoD-FAA memorandum of agreement. (“Army Foresees Expanded Use of Drones in U.S. Airspace,” Secrecy News, January 19, 2012.)Read the full story here.

  • Al Arabiya documentary sheds light on Rafik al-Hariri’s assassination.(AlArabiya).On Feb. 14, 2005, more than one ton of explosives claimed the lives of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri and 22 of his companions and innocent passers-by. From that point onwards, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon has been conducting a series of investigations to determine the identity of the assassins. This was accompanied by a strong upheaval in Lebanon as well as in the entire region. Lebanon suffered a sharp division between the March 14 bloc, headed by The Future Movement under the leadership of Hariri’s son Saad al-Hariri and his allies, on one hand and the March 8 bloc headed by Hassan Nasrallah and his allies on the other. This division reached its peak when the balance of power tipped in favor of Hezbollah and its allies Iran and Syria. But the investigations continued until Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare accused four Hezbollah senior officials of taking part in the assassination.“In Search for Hariri’s Murderers” is a three-part documentary screened on Al Arabiya on Friday. The second and third parts will be shown on Thursday Feb. 9 and Friday Feb.10, respectively.The film recounts the details of the investigation from 2005 till the present against the backdrop of the complicated political and regional circumstances in which they have been taking place.Former deputy representative of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Lebanon the late Kamal Medhat gave a special interview to the film about his experience with the Nahr al-Bared battle before he himself was killed during the events.Read and see the full story here.

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