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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Overnight music video - Melanie - Beautiful People

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 5.5 - 5.6 ; Japan 5.2 ; Tonga 5.2 !More info here.

  • U.S. Department of Defense Unveils New Quran Sensitivity Training Program.(AM).The U.S. Government would make a lousy parent. Imagine you've got two children. One is well behaved, the other is a spoiled brat. You go to the grocery store, and both kids ask for candy. You tell them both "No." The good child accepts your decision and stands quietly. The other child throws himself on the floor, kicking and screaming, flailing around, breaking things, convulsing with rage. Should you give the spoiled child what he demands? According to the Department of Defense, you should. Whoever throws the biggest tantrum gets whatever he wants. The message we've just sent the world is crystal clear: Go on a killing spree, and we will submit.Here's the latest Qur'an sensitivity training from the Department of Defense. I think I would title the program "Once Upon A Time Sharia invaded America." Hmmmm.........The First Amendment's Establishment Clause prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” This clause not only forbids the government from establishing an official religion, but also prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another. It also prohibits the government from unduly preferring religion over non-religion, or non-religion over religion.Read the full story here.

  • State attorneys general report tackles Obama's unprecedented lawbreaking.(AT).On March 5, the chief law enforcement officials from nine states issued A Report on Obama Administration Violations of Law. Nine constitutional conservative attorneys general say the report's purpose is to "outline actions taken by [the Obama] Administration that are violations of law." The report appears to be an unprecedented response to unprecedented lawbreaking.The Daily Caller quotes one of the nine, Virginia's Ken Cuccinelli, at a press conference unveiling the report: "'This is not about policy. ... [It is about] this administration's disregard for the law,' he said. President Obama and his deputies, he added, are 'the greatest set of lawbreakers that have run the federal government in our lifetimes.'"Joining Cuccinelli on the report are Attorneys General Tom Horne of Arizona; Pam Bondi of Florida; Sam Olens of Georgia; Bill Schuette of Michigan; Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma; Marty Jackley of South Dakota; Alan Wilson of South Carolina; and Greg Abbott of Texas.The report discusses the "continued disdain for the Constitution and laws shown by the Obama Administration." But it's about more than violations of the Constitution. "[T]his Administration repeatedly shows disdain for states, federal laws it finds inconvenient, the Constitution and the courts," the report adds.The report lists 21 violations of law by the Obama Administration that these attorneys general are currently fighting. That number does not include the many Obama Administration illegalities that the attorneys general have not yet begun to tackle.
List of Violations
  1. FCC: Regulation of the Internet in the face of a court order from Circuit Court of Appeals for Washington D.C. stating that the FCC does not have the power to regulate the Internet.
  2. PPACA: Individual Mandate; To be heard by Supreme Court of the United States in March.
  3. EPA 1: GHG lawsuit; EPA’s own Inspector General reported last September that EPA failed to comply with its own data standards; Heard in Circuit Court of Appeals for Washington D.C. in February.
  4. OSM: Attempting to impose regulatory requirements on the 19 states with authority for exclusive regulation of their coalmines for the first time in more than 30 years.
  5. NLRB: Boeing; Engaged in unprecedented behavior as described by former Chairmen under both Presidents Bush (43) and Clinton; behavior is best exemplified in South Carolina where the Board tried to muzzle over 80 percent of state voters who supported a secret ballot amendment to the South Carolina Constitution and attempted unsuccessfully to tell an employer in the state where they can and cannot base manufacturing facilities.
  6. EPA: Florida Water; EPA’s numeric nutrient criteria pre-empted Florida standards; U.S. District Judge upheld the state's site-specific alternative criteria for streams and rivers.
  7. EPA: Texas Air; TX filed lawsuit challenging Cross-State Air Pollution Rules; application rule to TX was particularly dubious because state was included in the regulation at the last minute and without an opportunity to respond to the proposed regulation; regulation was based on a dubious claim that air pollution from TX affected a single air-quality monitor in Granite City, Illinois more than 500 miles and three states away from Texas.
  8. EPA: Oklahoma Air; EPA illegally usurped Oklahoma's authority in the Clean Air Act to determine the state's own plan for addressing sources of emissions that affect visibility, by imposing a federal implementation plan; Federal plan goes beyond the authority granted to the EPA in the Clean Air Act and will result in $2 billion in cost to install technology needed to complete the EPA plan, and a permanent increase of 15-20 percent in the cost of electricity; Obama Administration is fighting Oklahoma's appeal, which was filed in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  9. HHS: Religious Liberty; HHS mandated religious entities such as Catholic, Baptist and Jewish schools and churches be required to provided medical services they find unconscionable to their employees; President attempted to compromise with an "accommodation" in name only that required insurance companies to provide the services for free to the religious organization employees; Accommodation made matters worse as many religious-base hospitals and schools are self-insurers; Seven Attorneys General filed suit to protect religious liberty and oppose the HHS mandate.
  10. DOJ: South Carolina and Voting Rights Act: Rejecting voter ID statutes that are similar to those already approved by the Supreme Court of the United States; DOJ ignored section 8 of the Voting Rights Act which calls for protections against voter fraud, and used section 5 to administratively block measures to protect the integrity of elections passed by state legislatures in preclearance states including South Carolina; South Carolina voter ID law merely requires a voter to show photo identification in order to vote or to complete an affidavit at the pain of perjury if the voter does not have a photo ID.
  11. DOJ: Arizona & Voting Rights Act: Rejecting voter ID statutes that are similar to those already approved by the Supreme Court of the United States.
  12. DOJ: Arizona Immigration; In violation of 10th Amendment, federal government to sue to prevent AZ from using reasonable measures to discourage illegal immigration within Arizona's borders; Affects Arizona because state has a large percentage, compared to other states, of illegal immigrants and need to be able to act to reduce the number.
  13. DOJ: Alabama Immigration; The DOJ challenged Alabama’s immigration reform laws after parts were “green lighted” by a federal judge; DOJ appealed the ruling; parts of the AL case have been struck down in various federal courts; specific provisions of the law include collection of the immigration status of public school students, businesses must use E-Verify, prohibition of illegal immigrants receiving public benefits; the provision requiring immigrants to always carry alien registration cards; allowance of lawsuits by state citizens who do not believe public officials are enforcing the law.
  14. DOJ: South Carolina Immigration; DOJ challenged South Carolina's immigration reform laws that are very similar to the AZ which is scheduled to appear before the United States Supreme Court; SC case will be heard by the 4th Circuit soon there after as the 4th Circuit granted SC motion to extend the filing time until after the US Supreme Court issues an Opinion in AZ.
  15. Congressional: “Recess" appointments to NLRB (three) and CFPB (one).
  16. EEOC: Hosanna Tabor (MI); Sought to reinstate a minister who was discharged for her disagreement with the religious doctrine of the church.
  17. DOE: Yucca Mountain; In 2009, Administration arbitrarily broke federal law and derailed the most studied energy project in American history when DOE announced intent to withdraw 8,000 page Yucca Mountain licensing application with prejudice; SC and Washington State filed suit, as a result, contesting the unconstitutional action; American people have paid more than $31 billion (including interest) through percentages of electric rate fees towards the project and taxpayers have footed an addition $200 million in legal feeds and over $2 billion in judgments against the DOE for breaking contracts associated with Yucca Mountain.
  18. DOI: Glendale Casino (AZ); Glendale is a violation because the Federal Government is forcing a family-oriented town, Glendale, to become another Las Vegas against its will. Essentially, the Federal Government has granted ‘reservation status’ to a 54-acre plot in the same town, where the Tohono O’odham Nation plans to build a resort and casino. Read the full story here.

  • Judicial Watch Group sues for Michelle Obama Spanish vacation records.(Politico).A conservative legal group is suing the U.S. Air Force for access to first lady Michelle Obama's travel records from a 2010 vacation to Spain.Judicial Watch filed suit Tuesday in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for access to all records pertaining to an August 2010 vacation taken by the first lady and her daughters — including cost estimates and passenger manifests."Evidently, American taxpayers were stuck with a sizable bill so Mrs. Obama could tour around Spain with her family and friends, This administration, as a supposed steward of taxpayer dollars, has an obligation to disclose the full costs of the Obama family’s luxury trip," said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton in a statement.The White House has insisted that the Spanish vacation was paid for by the Obama family — but taxpayers generally pick up the tab for security and other assorted costs.Hmmmmm................."Mrs. Obama is paying for her room, [and] her friends are paying for theirs," the aide said.Read the full story here.

  • Pink Slime For School Lunch: Government Buying 7 Million Pounds Of Ammonia-Treated Meat For Meals.(HP).Pink slime -- that ammonia-treated meat in a bright Pepto-bismol shade -- may have been rejected by fast food joints like McDonald's, Taco Bell and Burger King, but is being brought in by the tons for the nation's school lunch program.The U.S. Department of Agriculture is purchasing 7 million pounds of the "slime" for school lunches, The Daily reports. Officially termed "Lean Beef Trimmings," the product is a ground-up combination of beef scraps, cow connective tissues and other beef trimmings that are treated with ammonium hydroxide to kill pathogens like salmonella and E. coli. It's then blended into traditional meat products like ground beef and hamburger patties."We originally called it soylent pink," microbiologist Carl Custer, who worked at the Food Safety Inspection Service for 35 years, told The Daily. "We looked at the product and we objected to it because it used connective tissues instead of muscle. It was simply not nutritionally equivalent [to ground beef]. My main objection was that it was not meat."Custer and microbiologist Gerald Zernstein concluded in a study that the trimmings are a "high risk product," but Zernstein tells The Daily that "scientists in D.C. were pressured to approve this stuff with minimal safety approval" under President George H.W. Bush's administration. The USDA asserts that its ground beef purchases "meet the highest standard for food safety."Hmmmm......"Bon Appetit"?Read the full story here.

  • Islamic 'Black Widow bomber' kills five in Russia's Caucasus.(HD).A female suicide bomber who was the widow of a slain Islamist militant killed five police officers when she blew herself up at a checkpoint in Russia's volatile Caucasus region of Dagestan, officials said Wednesday.The attack on Tuesday night was the most deadly incident in a upsurge of violence in mainly Muslim Dagestan since Vladimir Putin was elected president, highlighting the problems he faces containing insurgents in Russia's south."A woman set off a bomb with two kilogrammes of TNT on her body at the checkpoint in Karabudakhent village," said a statement on the Dagestani police website.The suicide bomber's severed head was found tens of metres (yards) from the blast on Tuesday night, ITAR-TASS news agency reported.Investigators said relatives had identified her as the widow of a Dagestan rebel leader who was killed in a police operation against militants last month."She was Aminat Ibrahimova, the widow of a leader of a bandit group from (the town of) Kaspiysk, the former interior ministry official Zaur Zagirov" an unnamed police source told ITAR-TASS.The five victims were low-ranking police officers aged 22 to 34, the ministry said. Two more officers were hospitalised.The regional interior ministry blamed the recent violence on what it described as an Islamic militant "plague"."Using Islam as a cover, they are doing evil on the territory of Dagestan," the ministry said on its website.Russian officials have long been concerned by the activities of the widows of slain rebels and several attacks in Moscow in the last decade have been blamed on so called "Black Widows" who came to the capital.Read the full story here.

  • Jordan set for the largest drill in the military’s history.(HD).The Jordanian army will stage a massive joint military exercise dubbed “Eager Lion” in May, according to state-run news agency Petra. The exercise, which is expected to the largest in the military’s history, aims to prepare the country to handle strategic threats and terrorism and includes 17 nations. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Lt.-Gen. Misha’al Mohammed al-Zabin discussed preparations with the US commander Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser. Read the full story here.

Stratfor leaks: NATO commandos in illegal special ops in Syria

Stratfor leaks: NATO commandos in illegal special ops in Syria.(RT).Undercover NATO troops are already in Syria despite denials from their parent governments, according to a leaked brief from a highly-placed analyst.
The information comes from a hacked email from leading private US intelligence agency Stratfor, whose correspondence has been released by Wikileaks since February 27. The email appears to be written from the address of Reva Bhalla (, the company’s director of analysis, for internal use, and details a confidential Pentagon meeting in December. The consultation is alleged to have been attended by senior analysts from the US Air Force, and representatives from its chief allies, France and the United Kingdom.
Western powers have categorically denied military involvement in Syria’s internal conflict, for which they have no international mandate. But if the information contained in the letter is reliable, a radically different picture of Western activity in Syria emerges.
The author of the letter claims that US officials “said without saying that SOF [special operation forces] teams (presumably from the US, UK, France, Jordan and Turkey) are already on the ground, focused on recce [reconnaissance] missions and training opposition forces.” A little later the US army experts expand on the role of the undercover commandos: “the idea 'hypothetically' is to commit guerrilla attacks, assassination campaigns, try to break the back of the Alawite forces, elicit collapse from within.”
Alawites are a minority Islamic sect, to which Syrian President Bashar Assad and his support base belong. For the past year he has battled an insurrection that has united a range of opponents, from pro-democracy activists to radical Sunni Muslims.There have been previous allegations of a Western presence on the side of the rebels and on Monday 13 French officers were reportedly captured by the loyalist forces.
Despite the commandos’ already wide remit, the email states that the US experts “stress that this is all being done as contingency planning, not as a move toward escalation.”
If confirmed, the information will give ammunition to Russia and China, who have accused Western powers of paving the way for an invasion of Syria. These fears have already been cited as the reasons the two countries vetoed the US-backed UN resolution on Syria in February.Read the full story here.

Pentagon may put special ops in Afghanistan under CIA control to meet 2014 pullout deadline

                          Yes you're not dreaming that's Karzai (Middle Row, Third from Left).

Pentagon may put special ops in Afghanistan under CIA control to meet 2014 pullout deadline.(MN).WASHINGTON -- Top Pentagon officials are considering putting elite special operations troops under CIA control in Afghanistan after 2014, just as they were during last year's raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan, sources told The Associated Press.The plan is one of several possible scenarios being debated by Pentagon staffers. It has not yet been presented to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the White House or Congress, the sources said.
If the plan were adopted, the U.S. and Afghanistan could say there are no more U.S. troops on the ground in the war-torn country because once the SEALs, Rangers and other elite units are assigned to CIA control, even temporarily, they become spies.No matter who's in charge, the special operations units still would target militants on joint raids with Afghans and keep training Afghan forces to do the job on their own.
The idea floated by a senior defense intelligence official comes as U.S. defense chiefs try to figure out how to draw down troops fast enough to meet the White House's 2014 deadline. Pentagon staffers already have put forward a plan to hand over much of the war-fighting to special operations troops. This idea would take that plan one step further, shrinking the U.S. presence to less than 20,000 troops after 2014, according to four current and two former U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.Pentagon spokesman George Little denied the idea is being discussed.
A CIA-run war would mean that the U.S. public would not be informed about funding or operations, as they are in a traditional war. Oversight would fall to the White House, top intelligence officials, and a few congressional committees. Embedding journalists would be out of the question.
Two senior defense officials said that neither the CIA nor Special Operations Command has put this plan forward officially to Panetta.The notion of longer-term assignments to the CIA does not sit well with some senior commanders, who want their units to remain autonomous in order to keep their troops under Defense Department legal parameters. If CIA-assigned troops are captured, for example, they are treated like spies, not protected by the Geneva Conventions.Hmmmm......"Nobel Peace Medal Winner"......Kinetic actions Mogul.Read the full story here

Cardinal Dolan: Obama Admin Lectured Bishops on Catholic Teaching.

Cardinal Dolan: Obama Admin Lectured Bishops on Catholic Teaching.(LN).Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops, has released a public letter today detailing a stunning conversation he and other bishops had with top White House officials about the controversial Obama mandate.
In the letter, Cardinal Dolan relates a shocking meeting in which top Obama Administration asked to meet with the bishops to “work out the wrinkles” of the mandate. After accepting the invitation and arriving at the White House, the bishops asked whether any ability to broaden the very narrow religious exemptions in the mandate were off the table.“The invited us to ‘work out the wrinkles.’ We have accepted that invitation,” he wrote.
“Unfortunately, this seems to be stalled: the White House Press Secretary, for instance, informed the nation that the mandates are a fait accompli (and, embarrassingly for him, commented that we bishops have always opposed Health Care anyway, a charge that is scurrilous and insulting, not to mention flat out wrong.”)
Dolan writes: “At a recent meeting between staff of the bishops’ conference and the White House staff, our staff members asked directly whether the broader concerns of religious freedom—that is, revisiting the straight-jacketing mandates, or broadening the maligned exemption—are all off the table. They were informed that they are. So much for “working out the wrinkles.” Instead, they advised the bishops’ conference that we should listen to the “enlightened” voices of accommodation, such as the recent, hardly surprising yet terribly unfortunate editorial in America.”
He said, “The White House seems to think we bishops simply do not know or understand Catholic teaching and so, taking a cue from its own definition of religious freedom, now has nominated its own handpicked official Catholic teachers
“We have made it clear in no uncertain terms to the government that we are not at peace with its invasive attempt to curtail the religious freedom we cherish as Catholics and Americans,” the archbishop of New York wrote in a public letter to the Catholic bishops last Friday. “We did not ask for this fight, but we will not run from it.”
Dolan said, “The White House already notified Congress that the dreaded mandates are now published in the Federal Registry ‘without change.’ He added that “The Secretary of HHS is widely quoted as saying, ‘Religious insurance companies don’t really design the plans they sell based on their own religious tenets.’ That doesn’t bode well for their getting a truly acceptable “accommodation.”
He added that “Congress might provide more hope, since thoughtful elected officials have proposed legislation to protect what should be so obvious: religious freedom. Meanwhile, in our recent debate in the senate, our opponents sought to obscure what is really a religious freedom issue by maintaining that abortion inducing drugs and the like are a ‘woman’s health issue.’ We will not let this deception stand. Our commitment to seeking legislative remedies remains strong. And it is about remedies to the assault on religious freedom. Period.”
“Perhaps the courts offer the most light,” he said about the many lawsuits that have been filed against the mandate.Cardinal Dolan added that “we know so very well that religious freedom is our heritage, our legacy and our firm belief, both as loyal Catholics and Americans. There have been many threats to religious freedom over the decades and years, but these often came from without. This one sadly comes from within. As our ancestors did with previous threats, we will tirelessly defend the timeless and enduring truth of religious freedom.”Read the full story here.

"Eurogeddon" looms as Dutch Freedom Party pushes euro exit.

"Eurogeddon" looms as Dutch Freedom Party pushes euro exit.(KV).A report into the cost of the euro commissioned by Geert Wilders shows the Netherlands can return to the guilder, the PVV leader said at the presentation on Monday afternoon.
'The results go against everything we are told in the media and by the left-wing elite on a daily basis,' Wilders said. 'The Netherlands can go back to the guilder.' The research states the shift to the euro has hit the Netherlands' prosperity. For example, the Dutch economy has grown by an average 1.25% [yearly] since the euro was introduced, compared with 3% [yearly] in the 20 preceding years.
Yet over the past 10 years, the economies of Sweden and Switzerland, which are not members of the eurozone, have grown 2.25% and 1.75% respectively, the report states.
Leaving the euro now will cost up to €51bn, but that will be more than offset by a €75bn saving on propping up the single currency, Wilders said. He wants a referendum on the issue.
The report was done by Lombard Street Research (LSR). The full report (75 pages) is here (pdf), a 20 page summmary can be viewed here (pdf). Most of what the report says we've rehearsed earlier. But this report is a first in that it takes a look at the actual numbers.

Bottom line, as reported by to Fundweb: Eurozone could cost €2.4 trillion to keep together.

The research suggests that it will cost at least €1.3 trillion for the eurozone to be held together. This optimistic scenario assumes that the debt of Greece and Portugal are written off and healthier economies such as Germany, France, Benelux, Austria and Finland fund the budget deficits of Spain and Italy.
But the group’s pessimistic scenario, which would cost €2.4 trillion, sees Spain and Italy also needing their bond maturities refinancing. This is expected to cost almost four times the amount of bailing out Greece and Portugal. (...)
Dumas concludes: "The difficulties of the eurozone are dynamic and complex but we believe that our report, based on careful statistical analysis, points towards a growing likelihood that the eurozone cannot survive in its current form."Hmmmmm...................."luctor et emergo".Read the full story here.
More here: Dutch eurodoom - EURef
The Eurebellion begins - Vox Day
Dutch Freedom Party pushes euro exit as €2.4 trillion rescue bill looms - Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.

Afghan president Karzai endorses clerics’ code that downgrades women to second-class citizens

Afghan president Karzai endorses clerics’ code that downgrades women to second-class citizens.(TS).On the eve of International Women’s Day, President Hamid Karzai has given Afghan women an unwelcome present: the message that they are second-class citizens.In remarks made Tuesday, Karzai backed a “code of conduct” written by the Ulema Council of 150 leading Muslim clerics. It could dramatically restrict women’s daily lives and threaten a return to the dark days of Taliban rule.“Men are fundamental and women are secondary,” the council said in its statement released last week, and later published on Karzai’s own website.
The move appears aimed at enticing the Taliban into the peace process — but also gives pause to Canada and other countries that have supported efforts to advance women’s rights in the land they fought to take back from the extremists. “These reports are of serious concern to Canada,” said a statement from Joseph Lavoie, press secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. “We call on the Government of Afghanistan to uphold the provisions of Afghanistan’s constitution, which establishes equal rights for men and women, and to respect its obligations under international law.
Since 2002, 158 Canadian soldiers have died in Afghanistan.The Ulema Council’s code is part of a general framework for political issues. It was described as “voluntary” for women who are devout, and not legally binding. It says women should not travel without a male guardian or mingle with men in public places such as schools, offices or markets. It also allows wife-beating in the case of a “sharia-compliant” reason, although it rejects forced marriage and the bartering of women to settle disputes.
In Kabul, Karzai said that the council had not put “any limitations” on women, and that it was only stating “the sharia law of all Muslims and all Afghans.” But some Muslim scholars have disputed the clerics’ strict interpretation.“We want the correct Islam, not the Islam of politics,” activist Fatana Ishaq Gailani, a founder of the Afghanistan Women’s Council, told reporters in Kabul.Before the 2001 invasion, Afghan women were confined to their homes and forced to wear burkas. Girls were not allowed to go to school, and females could not get medical attention from male doctors.
Since then women have made large strides, returning to work and school, starting businesses and taking part in the political process. But their lives are frequently at risk, and have become more difficult as security has frayed in recent months.“It makes political sense to him to make these statements. He may be ridiculed in the West, but his position is tenuous now.”That bodes ill for women, who will also have a harder struggle if Islamist factions gain ground.
“They will continue protesting,” said Armstrong. “They are raped, killed for producing girl children, beaten and harassed. They don’t have anything to lose.”Hmmmm.......Perhaps Obama should Apologise again for sending troops with different ideas?Read the full story here.

Egyptian 'Islamic' Court Sentences Copt Priest to Six Months for Excessive Church Height.

Egyptian 'Islamic' Court Sentences Copt Priest to Six Months for Excessive Church Height.(Aina).By Mary Abdelmassih.A court in Edfu has sentenced Reverend Makarios Bolous, pastor of St. George's Church in the village of Elmarinab, Edfu, in the Aswan province, to six months prison and a fine of 300 pounds for violations in the height of the church building. The court also ordered the removal of the excess height.
The church had received a license from the Governor of Aswan and was still under construction, but it was torched by a Muslim mob on September 30, 2011 (AINA 10-1-2011). Construction workers had started removing the excess height before the torching of the church."Since then no work has been done to it. We are not allowed to pray there or come near it by order of the authorities," said father Salib el-Deek of the Coptic diocese of Edfu. He said that they had proof that the church applied several times to the police to remove the excess, which it had started before the torching of the church, but were not granted permission. The police records were refused to be admitted as evidence by the court.The church lawyer also presented documents shwing that Rev. Makarios is not the one who is responsible for the removal of the excess height, but the architect and the building contractor, but the court refused to take this into consideration and Father Makarious was convicted.
Reverend Salib also said that reverend Makarios is not allowed to go inside the village by the village Muslims, and the government has done nothing about this.Field Marshall Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, had given orders to the governor of Aswan to rebuild the church at the expense of the government. "He even told this to Pope Shenouda personally and was mentioned in all papers," said reverend Salib." But the governor did nothing about it."The church will appeal the ruling.Hmmmm.........A separate Coptic state is the only way for survival of the Christian faith in Egypt.Read the full story here.

Egypt - Red Sea - 2,700 heads of cattle die on converted livestock vessel, 2,000 still alive on board.

Egypt - Red Sea - 2,700 heads of cattle die on converted livestock vessel, 2,000 still alive on board.(BM).CAIRO: The international animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has issued a statement following a report on the stranded vessel carrying thousands of cattle in Egypt’s Red Sea, demanding that Cairo immediately allow the ship to dock in Egypt before more animals are left to die.“An engine failure reportedly caused the ventilation and feeding systems to shut down just three days into their journey, leaving animals to starve, suffer, and die in the extreme heat,” PETA said in its letter aimed at the Egyptian government.
Already, some 2,700 cattle die on board a live export ship from Brazil to dock in the country. The Egyptian government has refused to allow the ship to dock, despite the final destination for the vessel is Egypt, where the animals are to be slaughtered.Animals Australia, the leading organization reporting on the controversial live export trade to the Middle East and Southeast Asia, said the current incident is among the worst the industry has witnessed in years.Animals Australia’s Campaign Director, Lyn White, said in a statement to that the ship is anchored at sea after being refused port in a number of countries, including Egypt, where the cattle were supposed to be offloaded.“Animals Australia has been working overnight with international colleague groups to find refuge for the surviving 2,000 cattle after Egyptian authorities refused to allow the animals to be unloaded.”
It’s understood that ventilation problems on the recently converted livestock vessel, the MV Gracia Del Mar, has caused the deaths of more than half of the animals on board since the ship left South America for Egypt a few weeks ago. The ship has been anchored in the Red Sea for over a week.
This is nothing short of an animal welfare disaster. If remaining cattle are not offloaded more of these animals will suffer appalling deaths at sea. We are appealing to authorities in Egypt to offload the remaining cattle at al-Sohkna, as was originally intended.“Australia also exports cattle to Al Sohkna Livestock company in Egypt. Whilst we have an MoU with Egypt which should ensure the offloading of our animals, it has never been put to the test. The Egyptians thus far have flatly refused to allow the MV Gracia Del Mar to dock despite the mass suffering of the animals on board.
“If they continue to refuse to allow the surviving animals to be unloaded it would provide little confidence that the non-binding agreement with Australia would be honoured if a similar incident were to occur on an Australian livestock ship.“It should not matter if these cattle aren’t Australian and if Brazil doesn’t have a similar piece of paper, they should not be abandoned to suffer and die at sea. We are appealing to Egyptian authorities to offload these cattle as a matter of urgency.”Hmmmmm........Read the full story here.More here.

Dutch Holocaust Survivor - "I Saw How The Mufti Of Jerusalem Paid A Visit To Auschwitz-Monowitz"

Dutch Holocaust Survivor - "I Saw How The Mufti Of Jerusalem Paid A Visit To Auschwitz-Monowitz".(MIM).By Emerson Vermaat.San Francisco, CA - - "It was a very hot day in June or July 1944 when I was at work in Monowitz, also known as Auschwitz III. And then I suddenly noticed a group of people who looked like actors. They were wearing long robes and strange headgear. Occasionally, internees did perform a play in the camp. I wanted to find out myself and as I walked towards that group I was stopped by a high ranking SS-officer whom I didn't know. He was from the main camp (Auschwitz I) or Birkenau (Auschwitz II). The officer asked me, 'What do you want?' 'I just wanted to know whether these people are actors or not. Is there going to be a stage performance tonight?' 'These people aren't actors,' the SS-officer told me. 'They are the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and his retinue.' I then asked him, 'What is he doing here?' 'He is paying a visit to the camp,' the SS-officer said. 'He lives in Berlin where he enjoys Hitler's personal protection. He is now paying a visit to Monowitz to see how the Jews are working themselves to death in factories. He is also in Auschwitz to see the gas chambers. When we have won the war he will return to Palestine to build gas chambers and kill the Jews who are living over there.'"
Ernst Verduin, a Dutch Jew from Amsterdam born in 1927, was deported to Auschwitz in September 1943. Upon arrival in Auschwitz-Birkenau he was first selected for the gas chamber but then somehow managed to leave the "gas chamber group" and join the group selected for slave labor. "An SS- officer protested loudly, but I didn't care," Verduin told me at the end of February. 'He didn't use his machine gun and kill me, although he could have done so quite easily.
I later learned that the SS wanted to avoid panic at all costs and that I wasn't the only one who switched from one group to another. I already knew about the gas chambers of Auschwitz when I was still in Holland. An SS-officer named Ettlinger who was stationed at the concentration camp of Vught, told me about it. Ettlinger had previously been stationed at Auschwitz, so he knew exactly what was going on there."
"The worst thing I saw after my arrival at Auschwitz was a group of prisoners who entered the gas chambers. These people were about to die. I later tried not to remember this terrible spectacle." Verduin only spent a few hours in Auschwitz I and II and was then transferred to Monowitz where he stayed between September 1943 and mid-January 1945.
Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, was an important Palestinian leader who sided with the Nazis during the Second World War. Not only did this hate cleric and jihadist meet Hitler in November 1941, also did he cultivate the personal friendship of Adolf Eichmann, the very man who was in charge of organizing the Holocaust. Eichmann told his friend Willem Sassen after the war that he was proud of having killed at least 5 million "enemies of the German Reich." The Holocaust was codenamed "The Final Solution of the Jewish Problem" ("Die Endloesung der Judenfrage"). The Mufti used a similar term on at least one occasion.
"About four million Jews have been killed in the various death camps, and an additional two million have been killed in another manner, most of whom were executed by the SS-Einsatz commandos of the Security Police during the invasion of Russia," Eichmann told Wilhelm Hoettl at the end of August 1944. Hoettl was an SS-Sturmbannführer (major) stationed at Budapest at the time. In Hungary alone, more than 400,000 Hungarian Jews were sent to the gas chambers between May 8, and July 8, 1944 – a very short period indeed. Eichmann personally oversaw the whole operation. So when Haj Amin Al-Husseini visited Auschwitz and Monowitz in the summer of 1944, hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews were being exterminated.
Verduin claims that few people believed him when he said that he saw how the Mufti of Jerusalem paid a visit to Auschwitz-Monowitz.
Only Simon Wiesenthal wrote a book back in 1947 in which he claims that the Mufti and his staff "paid visits to the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Majdanek to convince themselves of the capacity of the crematoria." "Haj Amin was introduced to the SS-guards and expressed his appreciation for those SS-men who were very capable," Wiesenthal writes. But Wiesenthal was confronted with scepticism, too. However, Verduin told me that he saw how the Mufti and his group "were accompanied by very high ranking SS-officers." "They were not far from the camp's sick barracks and the Mufti was clearly talking to these high-ranking SS-officers."
The SS-officer who told Verduin about the Mufti's visit threatened him that if he would not resume work immediately he would leave Monowitz entirely. Verduin, of course, had no intention of being killed in the gas chambers of Birkenau, so he did as he was told. But he informed some of his trusted camp mates of what he had seen.
Eichmann was greatly impressed by the personality of the Grand Mufti. He repeatedly said to me, both then and on a later occasion, that the Mufti had made a powerful impression on him, and also on Himmler, and that he had an acknowledged influence on Arab-Jewish affairs. To my knowledge, Eichmann saw the Mufti from time to time and spoke to him."
So Eichmann, Himmler and the Mufti planned another Holocaust in Palestine, a British mandate at time. Their plan was about to succeed in the summer of 1942 when German troops were not far from the Suez Canal and were also on the offensive in southern Russia. (The Nazi flag was installed on Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus in August 1942.)
Gideon Hausner later wrote in his excellent book "Justice in Jerusalem": "The ex-Mufti's ties with Eichmann were of long standing. At the beginning of 1942 Eichmann received him and his retinue at the department's headquarters and lectured to them on the Final Solution in Europe. The ex-Mufti was so strongly impressed that he immediately requested Himmler to designate someone on Eichmann's team to be his 'personal advisor' on 'finally solving' the Jewish problem also in Palestine, once the ex-Mufti was reinstated in his office by the victorious Axis. Eichmann welcomed the offer. 'A priceless jewel… The biggest friend of the Arabs,' recorded the ex-Mufti on Eichmann in his personal diary."
Wisliceny claims that the Mufti also prevented 10,000 Jewish children from leaving Poland. "It was planned to exchange these children for German civilian prisoners, through the services of the International Red Cross. But suddenly Wisliceny was summoned to Berlin by Eichmann. "He disclosed to me to me that the idea of the planned operation had become known to the Grand Mufti, by means of his intelligence service in Palestine. As a result he protested vigorously to Himmler, using the argument that these Jewish children would, within a few years become adults and would strengthen the Jewish element in Palestine. Following this, Himmler (as he told me) forbade the whole operation.Hmmmm.......... “As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map,” ~ Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.Read the full story here.

Iran Ready to Allow IAEA Access to Parchin Military Facility......once modalities of Iran-IAEA cooperation had been agreed on.

Iran Ready to Allow IAEA Access to Parchin Military Facility......once modalities of Iran-IAEA cooperation had been agreed on.(Fars).Tehran - Iran's Representative Office at the International Atomic Energy Agency announced on Tuesday that the country will be ready to provide the UN nuclear agency with one-time access to its Parchin military test facility once modalities of Iran-IAEA cooperation have been agreed on, reminding that the facility is a highly sensitive military site already visited by inspectors twice.
"Given the fact that Parchin is a military site and finding access to such a site is a time-consuming process and cannot be done repeatedly, and taking into account that the Agency has been asked (by Iran) to integrate all the related issues, including the hydrodynamic tests, permission will be granted for access" to Parchin (of course, only after the aforementioned demand is materialized), a statement by Iran's Representative Office at the IAEA said.
"Clearly, this process can start only when an agreement is made on the modality plan," it said, and reminded that the two sides have already agreed that the IAEA's demand for accessing Parchin be postponed until after the next meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors currently underway in Vienna. News media reported last week that Iran had flatly refused the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access to its Parchin military test facility, based on a statement to reporters by IAEA Deputy Director General, Herman Nackaerts, that "we could not get access".
But, explicit statements later made on the issue by the Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA and the language of the new IAEA report indicate that Iran did not reject an IAEA visit to the base per se but was only refusing access as long as no agreement had been reached with the IAEA governing the modalities of cooperation.
Based on the history of Iranian negotiations with the IAEA and its agreement to allow two separate IAEA visits to Parchin in 2005, the Parchin access issue is a bargaining chip that Iran is using to get the IAEA to moderate its demands on Iran in forging an agreement on how to resolve the years-long IAEA investigation into Iran's nuclear issue.
In interviews with Russia Today, Reuters, and Fars News Agency (FNA), Iran's Permanent Representative to IAEA Ali Asqar Soltaniyeh said Iran told the high-level IAEA mission that it would allow access to Parchin once modalities of Iran-IAEA cooperation had been agreed on. "We declared that, upon finalization of the modality, we will give access (to Parchin)," Soltaniyeh said.
In the Russia Today interview on February 27, which was completely ignored by the western news media, Soltaniyeh referred to two IAEA inspection visits to Parchin in January and November 2005 and said Iran needs to have "assurances" that it would not "repeat the same bitter experience, when they just come and ask for the access." There should be a "modality" and a "frame of reference, of what exactly they are looking for, they have to provide the documents and specify exactly where they want (to go)," he said.
But Soltaniyeh also indicated that such an inspection visit is conditional on agreement about the broader framework for cooperation on clearing up suspicions of a past nuclear weapons program.
"In principle we have already accepted that when this text is concluded we will take these steps," Soltaniyeh said. The actual text of the IAEA report, dated February 24, provides crucial information about the Iranian position in the talks that is consistent with what Soltaniyeh is saying.
In its account of the first round of talks in late January on what the IAEA is calling a "structured approach to the clarification of all outstanding issues", the report states: "The Agency requested access to the Parchin site, but Iran did not grant access to the site at that time [emphasis added]." That wording obviously implies that Iran was willing to grant access to Parchin if certain conditions were met. On the February 20-21 meetings, the agency said that Iran "stated that it was still not able to grant access to that site." There was likely a more complex negotiating situation behind the lack of agreement on a Parchin visit than had been suggested by Nackaerts and reported in western news media.Hmmmm........"two separate IAEA visits to Parchin in 2005." SEVEN years ago!There should be a "modality" and a "frame of reference, of what exactly they are looking for, they have to provide the documents and specify exactly where they want (to go), so we can hide it!Read the full story here.

John Bolton slams President Obama for accepting Iran's offer to be 'played' for time once again.

HT: IsraelMatzav.

Iran Ready to Open New Chapter in Relations with Belarus, will Lukashenko sell weapons-grade uranium?

Iran Ready to Open New Chapter in Relations with Belarus, will Lukashenko sell weapons-grade uranium? (Fars).TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi in a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Sergey Martynov underlined Tehran's preparedness to open a new chapter in bilateral relations and mutual cooperation with Minsk.
During the meeting in Minsk on Tuesday, The two top diplomats stressed that the Islamic Republic of Iran and Belarus can play complementary roles in different aspects of their relations. "Iran as a great country with 75mln population and abundant capabilities and Belarus as a crossroad linking Western to Eastern Europe and the North-South Corridor enjoy many potentials for cooperation," Salehi said.
Martynov, for his part, described mutual cooperation between Iran and Belarus as a factor which reinvigorates bilateral relations between the two countries, and said this cooperation serves the interests of both nations, while it also promotes peace and security in the region.
Tehran and Minsk have in recent months increased efforts to start a jump in mutual cooperation.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in December 2009 that Tehran and Minsk were laying the foundations for broader ties and intended to promote relations to the highest level possible. Also, Belarusian Prime Minister Sergey Sidorskiy in a meeting with Iran's Central Bank Governor Mahmoud Bahmani in November 2009 urged the Iranian side to increase the volume of trade cooperation with Minsk. Noting that the current volume of economic cooperation between Tehran and Minsk stands at about $100mln, Sidorskiy reiterated that the opening of the second Iranian Bank in Belarus should help boost the volume to $1bln. The National Bank of Belarus registered two Iranian banks, namely the 'Onerbank' and 'Trading Capital Bank (TC Bank)', respectively in October 2009 and December 2008. Hmmmm......Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has announced Belarus is still in possession of Soviet-produced highly enriched uranium (HEU) that it does not intend to part with. For which purpose could this dangerous material be used by a ruler whom the Administration of George W. Bush once famously called “Europe’s last dictator”? Andrei Ozharovsky explores. April 14 2010, during Lukashenko’s working visit to Gomel Region.
I will tell you the truth: We have kept highly enriched uranium – hundreds of kilograms of what is basically weapons-grade and lower-enriched uranium,” Read the full story here, more on Belarus stockpile of Uranium here.

Leaked Stratfor email says Turkish PM Erdogan has cancer and just two years to live

Leaked Stratfor email says Turkish PM Erdogan has cancer and just two years to live.(AA).A leaked email from security analysis company Stratfor said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had terminal cancer and just two years to live, a claim denied by officials who said Turkey’s most powerful politician was in good health. Cancer rumors started after Erdogan had surgery on his lower intestine in November but did not gain media prominence until Tuesday when the Taraf newspaper reported the email leak on its front page.
The email, between two colleagues at U.S.-based Stratfor, which provides geopolitical analysis to paying subscribers, was released by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks as part of a massive leak of the company’s correspondence.The email said doctors had removed a 20-cm (8-inch) part of Erdogan’s colon during the first operation on Nov. 26. He had a second procedure last month.
“The prognosis is not looking good, though. The surgeon said they were estimating 2 years for him,” said a copy of the Dec. 10 email accessed on the Internet.
The report was based on intelligence from a source identified as Faruk Demir who obtained the information from an “old classmate friend” of the lead surgeon who operated on Erdogan.Stratfor described Demir as a former National Security Council official, adviser to Erdogan and an energy expert. Demir, on his website, describes himself as an energy security analyst who has worked for the prime minister’s office.
In a press statement on his website, Demir said the report was a lie and that all he knew about the issue was what he had read in the media.Taraf quoted the chief surgeon who operated on Erdogan as saying the cancer report was “a complete lie.” Another doctor who observed the surgery said Erdogan did not have cancer and there was no tumor, the paper said. An Erdogan aide contacted by Reuters following the Taraf report dismissed the Stratfor email as “speculation and gossip.”“The prime minister’s health is very good,” the aide said.
Erdogan, 58, won a third consecutive term at an election last June and dominates Turkish politics. Even critics fear the void he would leave if forced to quit, as many see the ruling AK Party falling into factionalism.There has been no discernible market reaction to the rumors - the lira, bonds and shares have all rallied this year.After each operation Erdogan returned to work in less than two weeks. He has not gone on any overseas trips, though he is expected to visit Korea, Germany and Iran later this month.His government steered the country out of economic crisis to usher in Turkey’s most prosperous period, and introduced reforms that have quashed the power of the army.While Erdogan lays claim to being a champion of democracy, empowering pious Turks from the country’s Anatolian heartland, critics say he has autocratic tendencies and his democratic reforms are designed to prolong his rule.Read the full story here.

Hillary Clinton to honor 2012 International Women of Courage Award Winners.

                                   2011 International Women of Courage Award Winners

Hillary Clinton to honor 2012 International Women of Courage Award Winners.(HD).U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will host the 2012 International Women of Courage Awards ceremony tomorrow. The special guest of the event will be First Lady Michelle Obama. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) parliamentarian Şafak Pavey, who is the first disabled woman elected to the Turkish Parliament, will be one of the recipients of the award. According to the award website, Pavey will be presented the award for giving voice to disabled persons, women and minority populations in Turkey since 2011 after winning a seat in Parliament. “Pavey has demonstrated great personal dignity in overcoming physical obstacles every day, while locally and globally championing the rights of vulnerable populations, including refugees and disabled persons. Whether working in extreme conditions for the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, or acting as a lightning rod to spark the UN Interagency Support Group for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Pavey has sought to turn her disability into strength on a global level,” the website said. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer and other United States and foreign dignitaries will also participate in the award ceremony.
Other special guests of this year’s award ceremony will include Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. The event will be held at 11 a.m. in the Dean Acheson Auditorium of the U.S. Department of State.The other honorees of the 2012 International Women of Courage Awards are Maryam Durani, Kandahar Provincial Council member (Afghanistan); Pricilla de Oliveira Azevedo, Rio de Janeiro Military Police (Brazil); political activist and NGO co-founder Zin Mar Aung (Burma); investigative journalist Jineth Bedoya Lima (Colombia); architect and political activist Hana Elhebshi (Libya); gender-based violence (GBV) activist and former Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs Aneesa Ahmed (Maldives); human rights activist and founder/executive director of Anjuman Behbood-e-Khawateen Talah (the Union of Women’s Welfare) Shad Begum (Pakistan); political activist Samar Badawi (Saudi Arabia); and human rights activist Hawa Abdallah Mohammed Salih (Sudan).For further information about the honorees go here. Hmmmm.........Seven of the Ten nominees are from Islamic countries.......A sign on the wall of the problems women are facing in Islamic countries, or just "Outreach to Muslims"?Read the full story here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Overnight music video - Four Tops - If I Were A Carpenter

Eat, Drink and be Merry - Happy Purim

Eat, Drink and be Merry - Happy Purim.From Giyus.Purim is probably one of the favorite holidays in the Jewish year - costumes, feasts and the flow of wine make it a merry holiday indeed.

Queen Esther is the heroine of this holiday and one of the most popular costumes for little girls in Israel. She was the beautiful Jewish woman selected by the King of Persia to be his wife. After she became queen, she begged the king to save her people from Haman's wicked plan to destroy them. He did, and thus the Jews were saved.But there's more to this story then meets the eye, read the rest of this post here, and this great version of the Purim story.

Purim provides the Jewish comics' classic example of a Jewish Holiday:

"They tried to kill us. We survived. Let's eat!"

The Jews of Palestine used to celebrate heartily at the Purim Adloyada ["until they don't know"] festival and parade held in Tel Aviv in the 1920s and 30's.
Some commentators make a crude comparison to Marde Gras partying, but the merriment is based on an ancient rabbinic tradition of Jews imbibing on Purim to the point where they do not know the difference between sobriety and drunkenness, between Mordechai and Haman -- but without losing their wits.
The Purim tale did not take place in Eretz Yisrael, but in Persia. A villain named Haman arose and tried to destroy the Jewish people. Through guile and disguise, Mordechai and Esther were able to thwart Haman's genocidal plans and save the Jewish people. To this day there is a custom to dress up in disguises.More here at "Picture a Day".

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 5.3 ; India 5.6 !More info here.

  • Exclusive Obama Ally Won't Release Alinsky Tape.(Breitbart).By Ben Shapiro.Sources inform today that Pam Dickler, director of the 1998 production of The Love Song of Saul Alinsky in Chicago that included a panel discussion featuring then-State Sen. Barack Obama, has a video tape of the play. And she won’t release it.Read the full story here.

  • Ten Questions Obama Should Be Asked at Tuesday’s Press Conference.(Heritage).President Obama will hold his first official press conference since October on Tuesday. Plenty has happened since then: the president has illegally appointed four officials to federal posts, Energy Secretary Steven Chu has again demonstrated his lack of concern for rising gas prices, Iran has continued its march towards nuclear weapons, and the Department of Health and Human Services has usurped Americans’ rights to free practice of their religion.In light of these and other happenings over the last few months, here are ten questions that we feel should be asked of the president when he takes the podium on Tuesday.
  1. Your Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, has now been on record three times stating it is not the policy of his department to help lower gas prices. Do you agree with Secretary Chu that this is not the job of the Energy Department?
  2. Your administration has touted the declining unemployment rate. Do you plan any policy proposals to deal with the steady – and ongoing – decline in labor force participation?
  3. According to The Heritage Foundation, there are over $2 trillion in tax hikes in your latest budget proposal, when you yourself stated that raising taxes is anathema to economic recovery. How will tax hikes spur job growth, or is that secondary to some other policy goal?
  4. Your Justice Department insisted the Senate was in recess over the holidays for the purposes of recess appointments. But the Senate passed the payroll tax cut extension during that period. Do you think Presidents should dictate when Congress is in session, were these appointments legitimate, and will you go around Congress on future travel weekends?
  5. What provision of the Constitution grants the federal government the authority to require religiously-affiliated groups to pay for contraception in violation of their own moral teachings?
  6. Does China’s decision to boost its defense budget by more than 11% give you any pause about repeatedly slashing our own military capabilities?
  7. Do you regret your administration’s hands-off approach to the Iranian Green Revolution given the country’s increasing belligerence and its continued pursuit of nuclear weapons?
  8. Your administration has no plan to reform unsustainable entitlement programs, according to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Why haven’t you proposed any real solutions?
  9. You continue to tout an “all of the above” approach to energy policy, but your budget proposal singles out the oil industry for punitive tax hikes, while preserving preferential tax treatment for wind energy, despite the fact that wind energy companies get roughly 100 times the amount in subsidies that oil companies do per kilowatt-hour. Do you believe the playing field should be leveled by eliminating all energy subsidies, or should government continue trying to pick winners and losers?
  10. Have you instructed Attorney General Holder to comply with the congressional subpoena related to the more than 60,000 documents that the Department of Justice has not turned over to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee?Read the full story here.

  • In Syria, al Jazeera’s Credibility Implodes.(ICH).The guy who runs al Jazeera’s Syrian coverage is the brother of a opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) bigwig.The main event, or what should be the main event, for Western observers of Syria is the messy implosion of Al Jazeera’s credibility. Somebody disgruntled with the diktat of channel management that the Syrian revolution (at least the SNC version of it) “must be televised” leaked some raw footage of Homs coverage and interviews staged for maximum anti-regime effect.As’ad AbuKhalil, proprietor of the Angry Arab newsblog, hails from the atheist/Marxist/feminist quadrant and is no friend of the Bashar regime. He had this to say about recent trends in programming on Syrian state TV:“It seems that Syrian regime had agents among the rebels; or it seems that the Syrian regime obtained a trove of video footage from Baba Amru. They have been airing them non-stop. They are quite damning. They show the correspondent or witness (for CNN or from Aljazeera) before he is on the air: and the demeanor is drastically different from the demeanor on the air and they even show contrived sounds of explosions timed for broadcast time…“PS This is really scandalous. It shows the footage prior to Aljazeera reports: they show fake bandages applied on a child and then a person is ordered to carry a camera in his hand to make it look like a mobile footage. It shows a child being fed what to say on Aljazeera.”Later in the day:“This is rather explosive. You know how low Aljazeera has sunk when Syrian regime TV stations have a field day with the shoddy journalism and fabrication procedures of Aljazeera. It seems that people inside Aljazeera have leaked raw footage and pre-air reports to someone in Syrian regime TV. I am not surprised of the leak at all: I am in contact from people inside Aljazeera who are disgusted by the propaganda work of the network in the last few months. … I know how those things work and they know that I know. The footage that are being shown show staging of events of calling a civilian an “officer” in the Syrian army, of faking injuries and feeding statements to people before airtime, etc. Aljazeera seems to be writing its own professional obituary. I don’t know how it can really resurrect itself again. It is mortally wounded. I know that there are people in the network who are pained about what is happening but royal orders are royal orders in the network and no one dare to disobey. I am told that orders came down to the effect that no half-position would be tolerated and that categorical adoption of the Qatari foreign policy on Syria is a job requirement.” Actually, information about Al Jazeera’s Syria biases had already reached the English language media on February 24 (and Syria watchers when Josh Landis posted it on his Syria Comment blog), when an article in al Akhbar reported on some e-mails hacked off al Jazeera’s servers by the Syrian regime’s “electronic army”:“The major find to be made public was an email exchange between anchorwoman Rula Ibrahim and Beirut-based reporter Ali Hashem. The emails seemed to indicate widespread disaffection within the channel, especially over its coverage of the crisis in Syria.“Ibrahim … protested that she had ‘been utterly humiliated. They wiped the floor with me because I embarrassed Zuheir Salem, spokesperson for Syria’s Muslim Brothers. As a result, I was prevented from doing any Syrian interviews, and threatened with [a] transfer to the night shift on the pretext that I was making the channel imbalanced.’“Ibrahim also spoke of how Syrian activists invited onto Al Jazeera use terms of sectarian incitement on air, ‘which Syrians understand very well.’“They also confirmed an allegation Ibrahim had reportedly made in one of her emails: That Ahmad Ibrahim, who is in charge of the channel’s Syria coverage, is the brother of Anas al-Abdeh, a leading member of the opposition Syrian National Council. He allegedly stopped using his family name to avoid drawing attention to the connection.”Yes, emphasis added. The guy who runs al Jazeera’s Syrian coverage is the brother of a SNC bigwig.The requisite ironic coda (and what should be the obituary for al Jazeera as a serious news outfit, at least as far as its current Syrian coverage is concerned) is contained in this observation:“However, the scoop did not attract the attention that had been hoped for. Like other official Syrian media, the channel is not widely watched and has suffered a loss of viewer confidence.“Thus the report was barely noticed, and Al Jazeera itself completely disregarded it.”Yes, news you can report just by walking into your newsroom; that’s too far for al Jazeera (and, probably CNN).Read the full story here.

    Video - In case you missed Netanyahu at AIPAC last night.

    HT: CriticalAnalist.

    'Better To Be a Dictator than Gay' Germany Slams Lukashenko Over Slur.

    'Better To Be a Dictator than Gay' Germany Slams Lukashenko Over Slur.(Spiegel).German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Monday dismissed a comment about his homosexuality by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, who had said: "Better to be a dictator than gay."
    Westerwelle, who last week described Lukashenko as "Europe's last dictator," said on Monday: "This statement condemns itself. I won't budge one millimeter from my commítment to human rights and democracy in Belarus after these comments."
    Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Lukaschenko's comment "shows very clearly the position that the Belarus president takes in relation to basic rights. It's interesting to find out this way that Mr. Lukashenko too now classes himself as a dictator.""That by the way is a view that the federal government reached some time ago and on which the Belarus president delivers proof almost daily," he added.
    Relations between European Union governments and Minsk have worsened since Lukashenko's violent crackdownon the opposition following a disputed December 2010 election in which he won almost 80 percent of the vote. The European Union and Belarus made tit-for-tat withdrawals of ambassadors last Tuesday in a row over sanctions imposed by the EU's last week to punish Minsk's human rights record. The EU widened its sanctions to include entry prohibitions on 21 judges and senior police officers.
    Belarus told the ambassador of the European Union and of Poland to leave the country, and recalled its own envoys from Brussels and Warsaw. In response, EU states withdrew their ambassadors in Minsk.Lukashenko is worried that the EU will impose economic sanctions next, which would hit its key oil industry. Belarus is one of the biggest suppliers of oil products to Germany and Poland, and has recently been able to increase its exports to the EU significantly.
    If Europe were to carry out its threat to introduce economic sanctions, its economy would be hit hard. Experts say Belarus would no longer be able to keep up its payments after just three months.
    Lukashenko had managed to stabilize his economy by devaluing the currency by two thirds to cope with the financial crisis.
    Plans by the EU to target more people involved in financing Lukashenko's government fell through last week after objections from Slovenia and Latvia, which have firms building two luxury hotels in Minsk. Members of the European Parliament described their behavior as "shameful."Hmmmmmm......."Lord of the Belarussians"?Read the full story here.

    Syria bombs key refugee bridge used last week to transport wounded French reporter Edith Bouvier out of Homs.

    Syria bombs key refugee bridge used last week to transport wounded French reporter Edith Bouvier out of Homs.(HD).Syrian forces on Tuesday bombed a bridge used as a main escape route to evacuate the wounded and refugees from the central flashpoint province of Homs to Lebanon, a monitoring group said."Regime forces on Tuesday bombarded a bridge near Qusayr, in Homs province, which is used by refugees and the wounded fleeing to Lebanon," Rami Abdel Rahman, of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP."They are trying to cut off all access routes between Lebanon and Syria, especially in the region of Qusayr and Tall Kalakh," he added.
    Both towns are in Homs province, east of the Lebanese border.Abdel Rahman said the bridge bombed was located some three kilometers (nearly two miles) from the border and straddles the Orontes River.
    Hadi Abdallah, a Syrian activist in Homs, said the bridge was the main route used to evacuate the wounded from the battered city, which has suffered a relentless onslaught by regime forces.
    "The bridge was hit by artillery shells," said Abdallah, reached by telephone from Beirut. "It can no longer be used."It was the main route used to transport the wounded," he added.
    The UN refugee agency said Tuesday that some 2,000 Syrians have crossed over into neighbouring Lebanon since the weekend after fleeing the violence in Homs.Dana Sleiman, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Beirut, told AFP that 170 families had sought refuge in the village of El Fakha, located in Lebanon's eastern Bekaa region, and 50 others were in the nearby town of Aarsal."We are trying to verify whether there are additional people in other areas and how many have returned to Syria," Sleiman said.Hadi Abdallah, a Syrian activist in Homs, said the bridge was used last week to transport wounded French reporter Edith Bouvier out of Homs, which has been the target of a fierce assault by regime forces.Read the full story here, more here.

    Former CIA Officials Say Iran’s Clerics Want to Goad Israel Into an Attack.

    Former CIA Officials Say Iran’s Clerics Want to Goad Israel Into an Attack.(Stratrisk).Source: Daily Beast.Benjamin Netanyahu, in Washington today, is laying more political groundwork for a possible preemptive Israeli airstrike against Iran’s nuclear sites.
    But as Netanyahu rallies his American supporters and discourages diplomatic engagement with Tehran, some intelligence officials and Iran experts tell The Daily Beast that an Israeli attack may be exactly what Tehran’s most hard-line leaders have been trying to provoke.Marty Martin, a former senior officer in the CIA, ran the unit that hunted Al Qaeda terrorists from 2002 to 2004. Iran’s most militant leaders “are goading the Israelis,” he tells The Daily Beast, “because a bombing will help them put their internal problems aside.”
    Martin, who spent most of his 25-year career at the CIA in the Middle East, argues that some clerics and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders, confronted with a discontented and restless population, are looking for ways to solidify public support. “The way they see it, if Israel bombs them it relieves the internal pressure,” says Martin. “Amid this turmoil, its always good to have an outside enemy.”
    Iran’s internal troubles include a 12 percent unemployment rate, a shattered economy (due in part to international sanctions), resentment over the oppressive regime, and widespread disgust over corruption.Martin, who retired from the agency in 2007, now works as an independent consultant. He was prominent inside the agency not just for his leadership against Al Qaeda but also for his expertise on the Middle East: his Louisiana drawl disguises the fact that he speaks fluent Arabic.
    “If you are an Iranian,” he says, “there is actually a benefit to an Israel strike—an Israel strike which won’t be successful completely militarily, but will be successful for saying ‘game on’!”
    Paul Pillar, the former national intelligence officer for the Middle East, agrees, though he emphasizes that only part of the Iranian leadership is likely plotting this way. “It’s quite rational,” he said, “from the perspective of the specific elements in the regime that believe it would work to their political advantage.” Pillar, who spent 28 years at the CIA, is now a professor at Georgetown University. “I strongly believe that the net political effect of an attack would be to help the hardliners,” he says.
    “The White House is mindful of the fact that there are radical elements in Tehran who might like to provoke an attack for their own domestic expediency.”“The White House,” Sadjadpour says, “is mindful of the fact that there are radical elements in Tehran who might like to provoke an attack for their own domestic expediency.”(The National Security Council spokesperson, asked to comment, said no one was available to address the issue this weekend.)
    I do think that a military conflagration could be one of the few things that could potentially rehabilitate the regime,” said Sadjadpour. “It could resuscitate revolutionary ideology and repair the deep fractures both amongst the political elite and among the population and the regime.”Pillar says the theory has some historical evidence on its side. “The big data point in support of this concept is the Iran-Iraq war: Saddam Hussein’s Iraq attacking Iran,” he says. “Iraq was the aggressor, and the attack [had] a big rally-around-the-flag effect and it had a positive effect in bolstering support for the [Iranian] regime. That’s the most applicable way to look at.”
    Iran, in this view, could intentionally cross so-called “red lines” laid out by the Americans or Israelis, to invite an attack that it believes would be largely ineffective against its nuclear sites, and that would not bring large numbers of casualties.Another veteran of the CIA’s clandestine services, who spent years working with Iranian agents, says he finds the explanation “entirely logical.” (He asked that his name not be used because much of his work was classified.)“The guys you are talking about, they are not going to die,” he says. “They are not the ones who are going to get bombed. They can always find another lab technician, or another scientist. Those are the ones who are going to die.”Hmmmmmm.........Read the full story here.
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