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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Video - Neil Munro explains his exchange with President Obama in Rose Garden.

Overnight Music video - The Muppets - Bohemian Rhapsody

Turkey declaring "Art War" on leading World museums.

Turkey declaring "Art War" on leading World museums.(HD).Turkey is on a collision course with many of the world’s leading museums, as it is refusing exhibition loans because of ongoing antiquities claims, according to Britain-based The Art Newspaper.
Earlier, it was reported that Turkey was refusing to lend artifacts to leading Britain and American museums until the issue of disputed antiquities had been resolved.The Turkish culture ministry was not availbale for immediate comment on the issue.
 European museums that are also being targeted include the Louvre, Berlin’s Pergamon Museum, the British Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. In America, claims are being lodged against Metropolitan Museum of Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Museum of Art and Dumbarton Oaks.
Earlier, the Turkish government had contacted the Getty, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Cleveland Museum of Art and Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection to present evidence that objects in their collections may have been illegally excavated from the country’s archaeological sites, the Los Angeles Times reported last Saturday. It has threatened to halt all loans of art to these institutions until they respond to the claims. From Metropolitan Museum of Art, Turkey is claiming 18 items, all of which were donated by New York collector Herbert Schimmel in 1989. From Louvre, Turkey is claiming a set of important 1577 tiles from the mausoleum of Selim II in Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, The Art Newspaper reported.Hmmmm..........Perhaps Europe should mention this: 

Cyprus Looting Overview

The looting of northern Cyprus by the Turkish forces has been described as “one of the most systematic examples of the looting of art since World War II[44] [45].
Archaeological sites, museums, churches, monasteries, castles, libraries, and private art collections have all been affected by the looting of the northern area of Cyprus; icons, frescoes, archaeological artifacts, and cultural heritage have been stripped from areas around the island and have been taken to places all over the world or simply destroyed [46].
Some believe that this has been done to ‘Turkify’ the northern region of the country and erase the characteristics of the Cypriot predecessors, while people like Aydin Dikmen have been working to make money off of cultural heritage artifacts by selling them in international markets [47] [48].
The amount of destruction of Islamic sites and artifacts in the south is not even comparable to the looting and destruction of the north; previous Christian sites in the north have been destroyed or transformed for other uses, while the icons and mosaics have been dismantled into smaller pieces, helping them to deteriorate at a fast pace and eventually be lost forever.
  1. ^ Morris, Chris. “Shame of Cyprus’s Looted Churches”. BBC News. 18 January 2002. Web. 9 February 2012. <>.
  2. ^ Miller, Judith, & Stephen Kinzer. “Greek Orthodox Church Icons Ravaged in the Turkish Part of Cyprus”. The New York Times. 1 April 1998. Web. 5 March 2012. <>.
  3. ^ Jansen, Michael. “The Pillage by Turkey of the 12,000 year old cultural heritage of Cyprus”. Europe’sWorld. Spring 2007. Web. 9 February 2012. <>.
  4. ^ Jansen, Michael. “The Pillage by Turkey of the 12,000 year old cultural heritage of Cyprus”. Europe’sWorld. Spring 2007. Web. 9 February 2012. <>.
  5. ^ “Turkish Invasion and Cyprus Occupation”. Press and Information Office, Republic of Cyprus. 2005. Web. 12 February 2012. <>.
  6. ^ Morris, Chris. “Shame of Cyprus’s Looted Churches”. BBC News. 18 January 2002. Web. 9 February 2012. <>.
Read the full story here.More on art looting here.

Video - Fight For Freedom Of Speech.

Video - Nun: “Syrian rebels took bodies from hospital to stage massacre for U.N. Observers".

"The War On Christianity" - Syrian Islamist opposition casts out Christians.

"The War On Christianity" - Syrian Islamist opposition casts out Christians.(RT).The Christian minority in Syria is facing a growing threat and thousands are being forced to flee their homes as they face harassment and discrimination from radial Islamist factions of the opposition.
At least 9,000 Christians from the western Syrian city of Qusayr were forced to seek refuge after an ultimatum from a local military chief of the armed opposition, Abdel Salam Harba, Fides news agency reports.
In the latest outburst of violence a Christian man was shot dead by a sniper in Qusayr, which neighbors the restive city of Homs.
There have been reports last week that some mosques in the city have announced from the minarets: "Christians must leave Qusayr within six days, which expires this Friday."
Two Catholic priests who fled Qusayr confirmed to the news agency that they heard the ultimatum "with their own ears" repeated from the minarets.
"The situation is unsustainable in the area and exposed to total lawlessness," Fides sources on the ground say. They also fear that the fate of Christians in Qusayr could soon affect the 10,000 believers who live in other villages in the area.
The areas controlled by the opposition are witnessing the rise of radical forms of Sunni Islam with the extremists not willing to live in peace with the Christians. Many of these gangs and armed groups operate independently of the Free Syrian Army, which rejects such kinds of discrimination against minorities.
Apart from religious rifts, the violence against the Christian community may also be fueled by the fact that they have openly expressed support to the regime. Bashar Assad, as well as his late father, Hafez Assad, guaranteed secular rule in Syria, protecting Christians from discrimination and guaranteeing their rights.
On Wednesday, an armed group broke into and desecrated the Greek-catholic church of St. Elias in Qusayr.
"It is the first time in the ongoing conflict that such an episode has occurred in which sacred symbols are deliberately hit," a local source told Fides.
Christians make up about 10 per cent of the country’s population with most belonging to the denomination of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch.Read the full story here.

US military intervention in Syria – “Not if but when”.

                                                  Hmmmm.....'Boots on the Ground'?

US military intervention in Syria – “Not if but when”.(Debka).As the violence in Syria continued to go from bad to worse in scope and intensity, US official sources had this to say Saturday, June 16, about planned US military operations in the war-torn country: “The intervention will happen. It is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when.’” A Syrian Free Army rebel delegation is now in Washington to talk about their requests for heavy weapons from the Obama administration. In their meetings with US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford and the State Department’s expert on Syria Fred Hof, the rebel leaders handed in two lists for approval: types of heavy weapons capable of challenging Bashar Assad’s armed forces and selected targets of attack to destabilize his regime. debkafile’s Washington sources disclose that the administration is very near a decision on the types of weapons to be shipped to the Syrian rebels and when. Most of the items Washington is ready to send have been purchased by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and are ready for shipment.
The White House is also close to deciding on the format of its military operation in Syria. Some sources are defining it as “Libya lite” – that is, a reduced-scale version of the no-fly zone imposed on Libya two years ago and the direct air and other strikes which toppled the Qaddafi regime. Following reports of approaching US military intervention in Syria and a Russian marine contingent heading for Tartus port, the UN observer mission in Syria has suspended operations and patrols. Its commander Maj. Gen. Robert Mood said, “Violence has been intensifying over the past 10 days by both parties with losses and significant risks to our observers.” He said the risk is approaching an unacceptable level and could prompt the 300 observers to pull out of the country. A contingent of Russian special forces is on its way to Syria to guard the Russian navy’s deep-water port at the Syria’s Mediterranean coastal town of Tartus, Pentagon officials informed US NBC TV Friday, June 15. They are coming by ship. According to debkafile’s sources, the contingent is made up of naval marines and is due to land in Syria in the coming hours. In a separate and earlier announcement, US Defense Department sources in Washington reported that the US military had completed its own planning for a variety of US operations against Syria, or for assisting neighboring countries in the event action was ordered – a reference, according to our sources, to Turkey, Jordan and Israel. debkafile’s military sources. Moscow, by sending troops to Syria without UN Security Council approval, has set a precedent for the United States, the European Union and Arab governments to follow. They all held back from sending troops to Syria because all motions to apply force for halting the bloodshed in Syria were blocked in the UN body by Russia and China.Hmmmm.......Flashback  MFS - The Other News 06 June:"Russia prepares army units for war in Syria..Read the full story here.

Russia Sending Missile Systems to Shield Syria.

Russia Sending Missile Systems to Shield Syria .(NYTimes).Moscow — Russia’s chief arms exporter said Friday that his company was shipping advanced defensive missile systems to Syria that could be used to shoot down airplanes or sink ships if the United States or other nations try to intervene to halt the country’s spiral of violence. “I would like to say these mechanisms are really a good means of defense, a reliable defense against attacks from the air or sea,” Anatoly P. Isaykin, the general director of the company, Rosoboronexport, said Friday in an interview. “This is not a threat, but whoever is planning an attack should think about this.” As the weapons systems are not considered cutting edge, Mr. Isaykin’s disclosures carried greater symbolic import than military significance. They contributed to a cold war chill that has been settling over relations between Washington and Moscow ahead a meeting between President Obama and President Vladimir V. Putin, their first, on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit meeting in the Mexican resort of Los Cabos next week. Mr. Isaykin’s remarks come just days after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton raised diplomatic pressure on Russia, Syria’s patron, by criticizing the Kremlin for sending attack helicopters to Damascus, and amid reports that Moscow was preparing to send an amphibious landing vessel and a small company of marines to the Syrian port of Tartus, to provide security for military installations and infrastructure, if it becomes necessary.Read the full story here.

Video - Nik Wallenda Niagara Falls Post-Stunt Press Conference

Egypt’s army plans to issue complementary constitutional declaration; U.S. ‘troubled’.

Egypt’s army plans to issue complementary constitutional declaration; U.S. ‘troubled’.(AA).The ruling military council held an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss how they would proceed after the country’s Supreme Constitutional Court ordered the dissolution of the parliament, an Egyptian daily reported on Friday. The controversial court decision comes on the eve of Egypt’s second round of presidential vote, scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, between former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi. “The military council has begun important and intensive consultations with legal experts in order to write a constitutional declaration outlining the standards of the Constituent Assembly,” Egypt’s al-Masry al-Youm quoted an official source as saying. “The complementary declaration will also stipulate the powers of the new president, and will likely be issued within hours,” the source said.
The source noted that the presidential powers would be derived from the Constitutional Declaration issued in March 2011, following the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak by a popular uprising in February. The new president would be sworn in before the general assembly of the Supreme Constitutional Court, the daily quoted the official as saying. The United States said on Friday that it was “troubled” by Egypt’s top court’s decision to dissolve the parliament, and that it was studying the implications of the move. “We are troubled by the court ruling yesterday that will effectively dissolve a democratically elected” body, Muslim Brotherhood State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters. 
Analysts said that the court decision gives the nation’s army the means to keep its key political role and challenge the Muslim Brotherhood. If Shafiq is elected, the military council leading the country is likely to transfer power as promised, without much reluctance. But the Brotherhood’s candidate Mursi will face “lots of problems” securing the keys to power from the army, he cautioned.
For some experts, the court’s decision is evidence of the tact with which the military has refined its strategy since taking power in February 2011, allowing it to protect its central role in the political process. “The general judicial framework of the decision is shaky,” said Mathieu Guidere, a specialist in the Muslim world at France’s Toulouse University. He stopped short of calling it a coup but said it was part of “a political strategy that has been carefully devised by the military, which is trying to keep all options open whatever the results of the presidential elections.
The parliament’s invalidation in particular “leaves the field open for a rebalancing of the assembly in favor of Shafiq and a return to a presidential regime.” Khalil al-Anani, a Middle East specialist at Durham University in Britain, also said the ruling should be seen in the context of a wider army strategy. “What happened yesterday is part of the whole transition plan that has been set up by the military,” he said. “The military over the past year-and-a-half has tried to absorb the revolutionary momentum,” he added. “They started with the youth, and now they are trying to suppress the Muslim Brotherhood.” Strengthening the perception of a careful army bid to protect their powers is a decision by the justice ministry to restore the right of military personnel to arrest civilians. For Antoine Basbous, who heads the Observatoire des Pays Arabes in Paris, “we are witnessing a disguised restoration” of the military-political power system in Egypt. “The Egyptian army is not ready to cede power and to see the Islamists throw their generals in prisons and return the troops to their barracks like in Turkey,” Basbous said.Hmmmmm........Lets see how far the Muslim Brotherhood has 'infiltrated' the Obama Regime?Read the full story here.

Saudi Crown Prince Nayef, next in line to the throne, dies

Saudi Crown Prince Nayef, next in line to the throne, dies.(AA).Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud has died in Geneva, Saudi state television said on Saturday, citing a royal court statement. Prince Nayef, interior minister since 1975, was the heir to Saudi King Abdullah and was appointed crown prince in October 2011 after the death of his elder brother, Crown Prince Sultan. Prince Nayef had been in Switzerland since May for medical tests. Al Arabiya reported that the prince will be buried on Sunday and that prayers would be held in the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca. Unlike in European monarchies, the line of succession in Saudi Arabia does not move directly from father to eldest son. It moves down a line of brothers born to the kingdom’s founder Ibn Saud, who died in 1953.
The crown prince was interior minister for more than three decades, Prince Nayef enjoyed strong relations across the Arab region. Born in the western city of Taif in 1933, Nayef was quickly pushed into public service, being named governor of Riyadh when he was barely 20. Charged with managing the country’s borders, its internal crime-fighting apparatus and the internal intelligence force the mabahith, Nayef dismantled charities which used to collect donations for the late Osama bin Laden and his extremist network. Saudis showed support and appreciation for the strongman persona Nayef reflected because of public perceptions that he could deliver on national security. Nayef was the middle prince of the so-called Sudairi Seven, the formidable bloc of sons of King Abdul Aziz by a favorite wife, Princess Hassa al-Sudairi. Among his other full brothers were King Fahd, who died in 2005, Crown Prince Sultan who died in 2011, and Riyadh Governor Prince Salman.Read the full story here.

Related: Who will be Saudi Arabia’s next heir to the throne?

Video - GOP Rep. Steve King To Sue Obama Regime Over New Immigration Policy.

HT:  The Daily Caller.

Video - Jonathan Halevi Joins Ezra Levant to discuss islam's global design.

Iran may be building uranium plant:"Could Break out in Two months" if decided.

Iran may be building uranium plant:"Could Break out in Two months" if decided.(TI).Iran may be constructing a secret uranium enrichment plant outside of international nuclear safeguards, according to a report from the Institute for Science and International Security, Bloomberg reported. "Although suspicions are increasing that Iran is building a secret centrifuge plant, ISIS assesses that it is unlikely that Iran could currently have such a plant or finish one in the next year," according to the report yesterday from the Washington-based research group.
Iran is already increasing its stockpiles of 19.75 percent low-enriched uranium which, with further processing, would be enough to fuel a single nuclear bomb "by early next year," according to ISIS analysts David Albright and Christina Walrond.
If Iran "modestly expands" its capability to make 19.75 percent uranium consistent with its existing plans, it could have enough for a nuclear weapon by the end of 2012, they said. "Production of enough for a second nuclear weapon would take many additional months."
The report comes days before a third round of international negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, which Israel and western nations say they suspect is being used to develop a nuclear weapons capability. Iran says it is purely civilian and that the 19.75 percent uranium is needed for current and future reactors producing isotopes for medical use. The current stockpiles are monitored by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency to avoid diversion for weapons use.
To build a nuclear bomb, Iran either would have to "breakout" of current international safeguards -- providing a signal that could lead to a military strike by the U.S or Israel -- or could try to conduct enrichment secretly. "If Iran seeks to breakout at Fordo only, the time to produce enough weapon-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon is estimated to exceed two months," the analysts said. "In this case, there is adequate time for both the detection of such a breakout and an international response."
Iran could reduce the time by further processing some of the 19.75 percent uranium using centrifuges at Natanz, its other known enrichment plant, they said. That would reduce breakout times to as little as about a month and require a relatively rapid detection and response, they said. In contrast, if Iran had to rely mainly on its stock of 3.5 percent uranium, a level applicable for nuclear power reactors, breakout times to obtain enough weapon-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon would be several months, they said. Even with a relatively short breakout time of one month, the Natanz site -- regularly visited by IAEA inspectors -- is highly vulnerable to military strikes. "On balance, Iran may feel deterred from breaking out there," the two researchers said. Because the underground Fordo enrichment plant is so deeply buried, they said, "it raises concerns that Iran will try to breakout at this site, believing that the site is impervious to military strikes or that breakout can be achieved prior to a military strike." "The ability to fully destroy the Fordo site is open to debate, but nonetheless the United States and Israel have the military capability to shut down operations at the facility for some period of time," they said.Read the full story here.

"Sanctions that Benefit" - Number of Iranian-funded companies in Turkey tops list once again

"Sanctions that Benefit" - Number of Iranian-funded companies in Turkey tops list once again.(TI).The number of Iranian-funded foreign companies in Turkey rose for the fifth consecutive month this year, according to the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), Today's Zaman reported.
A report issued by TOBB on Friday stated that 27 percent of foreign companies that were established in Turkey in May were Iranian-funded.
The report, which provides statistics of companies that were set up and closed down in May 2012, stated that 86 companies -- out of the 320 that were established with foreign partners last month -- are Iranian-funded. The report also stated that 431 Iranian-funded foreign companies had been established in Turkey in the first five months of the year. The next two foreign investors on the list were Germans, with 152 companies established this year, and Russians, with 85.
The Iranian firms in Turkey are mainly in the electricity, electronics, communications and construction sectors. According to the registry list for companies provided by the İstanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO), more than half of the Iranian-funded companies in Turkey -- 1,200 to be exact -- are located in İstanbul. Currently, 25 percent of all foreign companies are based in İstanbul.
TOBB previously announced that 590 foreign companies had been financed by Iran in 2011, which was an increase of 41 percent compared to the previous year. This puts Iran on the top of the list of new foreign companies established in 2011, not only based on nominal figures but percentage-wise as well. As of Dec. 31, 2011, the number of companies funded by Iran totaled 2,140, with a quarter established in the last year alone.
TOBB also reported that Iran had topped the list in January with 63 new companies. However, this is not commensurate with the trade volume Iran maintains with Turkey. As of last year, trade volume between the two countries amounted to $16 billion, mostly from Iranian natural gas and oil proceeds. Turkey imports some 30 percent of its oil needs, or 200,000 barrels per day, from Iran, which represents over 7 percent of Iranian oil exports. Iran also meets a third of Turkey's natural gas demand.
In contrast, Germany, Turkey's largest commercial partner with $37 billion in non-energy trade, only established 36 companies in January.
"Some of these [Iranian] companies were established to procure goods and merchandise for the Iranian economy in clear violation of the sanctions. They use smugglers to get the merchandise across the border to Iran," a former senior executive of a Turkish company that has a multi-million dollar investment in Iran said.

Hmmmmm.......The Obama Admin giving Turkey a Waiver on sanctions is a PURE Violation of Congress their demands!Read the full story here.

Ottoman Empire 'Wisdom' - ISRAEL Called "Wilayat Soorya" meaning "Province of Syria."

Full scale picture Here.

Ottoman Empire 'Wisdom' - ISRAEL Called "Wilayat Soorya" meaning "Province of Syria."
HT: JawaReport, IQ al Rassooli.
It is important to note that this 1893 map is an Arabic map, so it can't be brushed aside as a misunderstanding of the Ottoman Empire or Western propaganda.
IQ al Rassooli, who emailed this map to the JawaReport, notes:
 ...the area of Israel is called " Wilayat Soorya" meaning "Province of Syria." This land was under the domination of the Ottomans for almost 500 years and NO WHERE can one read the word Palestine or Palestinian on it.

Read the full story here.

I'mmm back: Middle Ages scourge of Black Death popping up in affluent regions of U.S.

                        Through what 'port' did it enter America or did it enter 'ILLEGALLY"?

I'mmm back: Middle Ages scourge of Black Death popping up in affluent regions of U.S.(Yahoo).Although the plague is typically considered a remnant of the Middle Ages, when unsanitary conditions and rodent infestations prevailed amid the squalor of poverty, this rare but deadly disease appears to be spreading through wealthier communities in New Mexico, researchers report. Why the plague is popping up in affluent neighborhoods isn’t completely clear, the experts added. “Where human plague cases occur is linked to where people live and how people interact with their environment,” noted lead researcher Anna Schotthoefer, from the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Wisconsin. “These factors may change over time, necessitating periodic reassessments of the factors that put people at risk.” This latest study confirms previous reports that living within or close to the natural environments that support plague is a risk factor for human plague, Schotthoefer said. Plague is caused by a fast-moving bacteria, known as Yersinia pestis, that is spread through flea bites (bubonic plague) or through the air (pneumonic plague). The new report comes on the heels of the hospitalization on June 8 of an Oregon man in his 50s with what experts suspect is plague.
According to The Oregon Live, the man got sick a few days after being bitten as he tried to get a mouse away from a stray cat. The cat died days later, the paper said, and the man remains in critical condition. For the new study, published in the July issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the researchers used U.S. Census Bureau data to pinpoint the location and socioeconomic status of plague patients. About 11 cases of plague a year have occurred in the United States since 1976, with most cases found in New Mexico. Plague has also been reported in a handful of other states. Although many cases were in areas where the habitat supports rodents and fleas, the researchers also found cases occurring in more upper-class neighborhoods. In the 1980s, most cases occurred where housing conditions were poor, but more recently cases have been reported in affluent areas of Santa Fe and Albuquerque, the investigators found. “The shift from poorer to more affluent regions of New Mexico was a surprise, and suggests that homeowners in these newly developed areas should be educated about the risks of plague,” Schotthoefer said. Schotthoefer noted that these more affluent areas where plague occurred were regions where new housing developments had been built in habitats that support the wild reservoirs of plague, which include ground squirrels and wood rats. Bubonic plague starts with painful swellings (buboes) of the lymph nodes, which appear in the armpits, legs, neck or groin. Buboes are at first a red color, then they turn a dark purple color, or black. Pneumonic plague starts by infecting the lungs. Other symptoms include a very high fever, delirium, vomiting, muscle pains, bleeding in the lungs and disorientation.
In the 14th century, a plague called the Black Death killed an estimated 30 percent to 60 percent of the European population. Victims died quickly, within days after being infected.Hmmmmm......The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil. ~ Proverbs 16:4, NAS.Read the full story here.

Related:  First Case of Bubonic Plague in 2011 Appears in New Mexico

Video - Tennessee congresswoman Reports: TSA hires thieves, pedophiles

Video - Tennessee congresswoman Reports: TSA hires thieves, pedophiles.(WMC-TV) - A new report by a Tennessee congresswoman reveals the Transportation Security Administration is hiring child pornographers and pedophiles.The report originated out of Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn's office.
Blackburn said America needs to know if the people who are supposed to keep air travel safe are dangerous themselves.
Moments before heading through airport security, Memphis traveler LaDonna Jones admitted this report gave her an uncomfortable feeling about the possibility of a pat-down.
Blackburn's report entitled "Not on My Watch: 50 Failures of TSA's Transportation Security Officers" shows photos and criminal records of the TSA's worst offenders, from statutory rape to murder.
"Many of them have committed the crimes while in their TSA uniforms," said Congresswoman Blackburn.Blackburn said her office put out the report following complaints.
"No pre-employment checks, no criminal background checks, things of that nature. We thought this was something that needed to be addressed," she said.
Blackburn filed a bill to strip transportation security "officers" of the title, if they do not have proper federal law enforcement training.Travelers say the revelations are eye-opening."I'm surprised they're not doing more background checks on people who are responsible for our safety," said Jones.
The TSA released the following statement:"TSA has no tolerance for criminal activity among our ranks. This attempt to cast our highly dedicated workforce as criminals is not an accurate portrayal of our employees."According to a TSA spokesperson, job candidates undergo thorough background checks, and their fingerprints are submitted to the FBI.Read Blakburn's full report by clicking here.Read the full story here.

"DOING FINE " - Govt. Blows $102 Mil To Catch $19 Mil In Medicaid Fraud.

"DOING FINE " - Govt. Blows $102 Mil To Catch $19 Mil In Medicaid Fraud.(JW).In a shameful—and costly—example of government incompetence, a special program created to combat Medicaid fraud has cost American taxpayers more than five times the amount of overpayments it has identified.
That means the anti-fraud project, known as National Medicaid Audit Program, has cost the U.S. government $102 million to operate since 2008 while identifying only $19.4 million in overpayments. It seems like a bad joke, but unfortunately it’s not. Instead it’s one of many examples of government inefficiency that ends up sticking it to the people.
The idea behind the National Medicaid Audit Program was a good one. It was launched to tackle a monstrous epidemic of fraud and overbilling in the joint federal-state healthcare program for the poor. Medicaid has the second-highest (Medicare, the government’s health insurance program for the elderly is first) estimated improper payments of any federal program. In fact, the feds say that $21.9 billion of Medicaid’s federal expenditures of $270 billion in fiscal year 2011 involved improper payments.
That means the government paid for medically unnecessary treatments and services or procedures not covered by the program. In some cases the service or treatment was billed but never provided. It’s bad situation for everyone. So what does the government do? Create yet another deficient program to police the corruption. Problem is that a bunch of idiots were apparently hired to run it.
At least that’s what most people will likely conclude after reading a federal audit about the Medicaid anti-fraud program published this week by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), which serves as the investigative arm of Congress. In a nutshell, the National Medicaid Audit Program uses incomplete federal data to crack down on fraud so the majority of probes failed to find any, even when it was there.
You can’t make this stuff up! It’s all laid out in the GAO’s 43-page report. It’s not like the Medicaid fraud patrol is in denial that using incomplete data doesn’t cut it. Its own figures show that audits that used incomplete data only identified overpayments 4% of the time. This is why the program is moving toward a “collaborative approach” in which complete data is considered to identify potential fraud. So now they use this new approach and guess what? It works better and uncovered more than $12 million in overpayments right off the bat. Imagine that.Read the full story here.

Video - In 2011, Obama said what he did today was unconstitutional!

HT: AstuteBlogger.


Pentagon Lists 110 Potential Drone Bases in U.S.

Pentagon Lists 110 Potential Drone Bases in U.S.(SN).The Department of Defense has identified 110 sites in the United States that could serve as bases for military unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones. A new report to Congress lists each of the 110 sites “and the UAS likely to fly at that location.” See “Report to Congress on Future Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training, Operations, and Sustainability,” Department of Defense, April 2012 (pp. 9-12).
The newly disclosed DoD report was first reported by
The actual or potential drone bases are located in 39 of the 50 states, from Fort McClellan in Alabama to Camp Guernsey in Wyoming, as well as Guam and Puerto Rico.
Currently, the DoD and the military have “88 active certificates of authorization (COAs) at various locations around the country” that permit them to fly UASs outside of restricted military zones, the report to Congress said. COAs are issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.
But “The rapid increase in fielded UAS has created a strong demand for access within the NAS [National Airspace System] and international airspace. The demand for airspace to test new systems and train UAS operators has quickly exceeded the current airspace available for these activities,” the report said.
The Senate Armed Services Committee, evidently receptive to this demand, said in its report on the FY2013 defense authorization act that integration of drones into domestic airspace should be accelerated. See “Senate: Drones Need to Operate ‘Freely and Routinely’ in U.S.,” Secrecy News, June 8, 2012.
The website Public Intelligence previously identified 64 U.S. drone site locations.
See also “Revealed: 64 Drone Bases on American Soil” by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Wired Danger Room, June 13:
UAS will not achieve their full potential military utility unless they can go where manned aircraft go with the same freedom of navigation, responsiveness, and flexibility,” the new DoD report to Congress said.
A bill “to protect individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of the unmanned aerial vehicles” (HR 5925) was introduced in the House of Representatives on June 7 by Rep. Austin Scott. A companion bill (S.3287) has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Rand Paul.Hmmmm.........Obama Blames “Founding Fathers” For Making It Difficult For Him To “Bring Change”But......"I will keep plotting".Read the full story here.

Video - President Obama makes his case for a one term presidency

...... No president in human history has quite equaled Obama when it comes to blaming others for his problems. And during the 2008 campaign, everything wrong with America could be laid squarely at the feet of President Bush. But now Obama, having presided over what at this stage must qualify as among the most inept presidencies in American history, is complaining because he’s being held accountable.
What is fairly astonishing in all this is the utter lack of self-awareness by the president. A jolting collision is occurring between his own self-conception (Obama views himself as a world-historical figure and Great Man) and the multiple and multiplying failures of his presidency. Obama appears incapable of processing the truth or coming to grips with reality....
Obama has now entered a world all his own. It’s a world where up is down, hot is cold, north is south, and Barack Obama is fiscally responsible and blameless....
That is a pretty good summary of this President and his petulant campaign for reelection. He takes responsibility for nothing and engages in full time serial blame shifting.

U.S. Senators: Obama Admin must rethink tactics if Iran doesn't act.

U.S. Senators: Obama Admin must rethink tactics if Iran doesn't act.(JPost).WASHINGTON — A bipartisan slate of 44 US Senators urged US President Barack Obama to reconsider talks with Iran unless it agrees to immediate steps to curb its enrichment activity. “Steps it must take immediately are shutting down of the Fordow facility, freezing enrichment above 5 percent, and shipping all uranium enriched above 5 percent out of the country,” said the letter sent Friday to Obama and initiated by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).The Fordow facility is a reinforced enrichment plant revealed in 2009 by western powers based on information from their intelligence agencies. “Were Iran to agree to and verifiably implement these steps, this would demonstrate a level of commitment by Iran to the process and could justify continued discussions beyond the meeting in Moscow,” the letter said, referring to a third round of talks scheduled for Moscow on Monday.“On the other hand, if the sessions in Moscow produce no substantive agreement, we urge you to reevaluate the utility of further talks at this time and instead focus on significantly increasing the pressure on the Iranian government through sanctions and making clear that a credible military option exist,” said the letter. “As you have rightly noted, ‘the window for diplomacy is closing.’ Iran’s leaders must realize that you mean precisely that.” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has derided the talks until now saying that Iran is exploiting them to buy time.Hmmmm......Do they really believe Obama will listen to them?Read the full story here.

Obama "Indonesia is an example of religious tolerance" - Jail term for Indonesia man who admitted being atheist sparks worries.

Obama "Indonesia is an example of religious tolerance" - Jail term for Indonesia man who admitted being atheist sparks worries.(BM).Kuala Lumpur: Critics in Indonesia are lashing out at the Indonesian judicial system after it sentenced a man to two and a half years in jail for publicly acknowledging he was an atheist. Alexander Aan, 32, was also given a fine of Rp 100 million ($11,000) after he told people on Facebook that he was atheist. Activists in the country have condemned the ruling, saying it will harm freedom of speech and liberties in the country. But the West Sumatra court disagreed. The verdict was lighter than the three-and-a-half years without a fine sought by prosecutors. Aan is believed to be the first person in Indonesia to ever be imprisoned for being an atheist. He said he accepted the court’s ruling. “I accept the judgment and will abide by it. For me, faith is a personal matter and I have expressed my regret and apology to every party, including my family,” he said in comments published by the Jakarta Post.
In the verdict, presiding judge Eka Prasetya Budi Dharma said Alexander was proven guilty of blasphemy against Islam and insulting the Prophet Muhammad through his personal Facebook account “Alex Aan” and the “Ateis Minang” Facebook group, of which he was an administrator. “We establish that the defendant committed the act intentionally because he objected when other parties protested his posts and he did not immediately remove a number of posts in the Ateis Minang group despite the fact that as an administrator he had the authority to do so,” said Eka. According to the judges, Alexander’s actions violated Article 28 of Law No. 11/2008 on Information and Electronic Transactions because he had spread information that had caused hatred and enmity against individuals and groups based on tribal affiliations, religion, race and societal groups (SARA). The judge also mentioned Alexander’s open declaration that he was an atheist, which could be read by many people. This was not acceptable behavior for a citizen and civil servant under the state ideology of Pancasila and the Constitution, which obliges every citizen to have a religion.
Despite their judicial victory, prosecutors have filed for an appeal. Prosecutor Syahril Jasman said he was not satisfied with the sentence, which he deemed too lenient. Criticism The online community in Indonesia is up in arms over the ruling, saying the ruling could spark more arrests and online snooping of personal accounts on social media websites. “This is a very difficult ruling to digest,” activist Nihal Islam told on Saturday, arguing that for her, “it is something that I will now have to think about when I post something on Twitter or Facebook.” Others criticized the entire process of the case, arguing it should not have come to fruition in the first place. Legal experts question why the court, and the prosecutor, would waste time and state money to try a man who was not harming society. But the prosecution argued it affects all of Indonesia, which is an Islamic country. For Islam and other young bloggers and activists, Aan is likely to become a symbol for free speech. She said that “already we at universities and in online forums are angry and I do believe we will protest for Alex’s release because it is not right that he is in jail for being honest about his beliefs. As a Muslim, I believe there is no compulsion in religion, as the Qur’an says.”Hmmmm........Obama “We will hold sacred the beliefs held sacred by others.”Read the full story here.

Top lawyer accuses U.S. Department of Justice of "aiding and abetting" state-sponsored terror.

Top lawyer accuses U.S. Department of Justice of "aiding and abetting" state-sponsored terror.(JPost).Top lawyer accuses Department of Justice of "aiding and abetting" state-sponsored terror after it files amicus brief.Lawyers for American victims of a Hamas triple suicide bombing who successfully sued Iran for damages have slammed the US Department of Justice’s backing of a court ruling preventing the plaintiffs from obtaining information about Iran’s US-based assets, The Jerusalem Post learned this week. The lawsuit, Rubin v. The Islamic Republic of Iran, first made headlines in 2003 when the US District Court in Washington, DC, awarded 33-year-old American Daniel Miller and other victims seriously wounded in the attack $71.5 million in compensatory damages from Iran.
The court ruled that Iran was responsible for the attack, because it had provided funding and training to Hamas. However, in the nine years since that ruling, Miller and the other plaintiffs have been unable to obtain justice from the Islamic Republic, because the Iranian government has refused to pay out the damages.
In an odd twist of events, the lawsuit has led to accusations recently that the US government is supporting Iran by filing court briefs in support of Tehran’s decision to hide its assets and avoid paying Miller and the other victims. After the 2003 court ruling awarding them compensation from Iran, Miller and the other plaintiffs served the Islamic Republic with a request to produce documents regarding all of its US-based assets. Iran, which had previously refused to appear in US court, immediately hired a lawyer and sought a protective order to shield its US assets from the terror victims’ discovery requests. Eventually, the US Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Iran and concluded that the terror victims could not obtain information about all Iranian assets in the US, and that instead they could only seek discovery about specific Iranian property. In what is set to be a landmark decision this month, the US Supreme Court is expected to decide by June 25 whether to review the Court of Appeals ruling denying Miller access to information about Iranian assets. Late last month, in a move that has provoked anger among terror victims, the US Department of Justice filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court, arguing that the Court of Appeals ruling was correct. “Compelling a foreign state to produce extensive material pertaining to its assets may impose significant burdens and impugn the state’s dignity, and may have implications for the United States’ foreign relations,” the Department of Justice brief reads. Olson said that the question of whether Iran financed the Hamas terrorist attacks that devastated Miller’s life and those of his fellow victims was not in dispute. “Iran is unquestionably liable to pay the victims of its crimes, but it has made every effort to avoid paying by repeatedly concealing its assets,” he said. “The victims in our case simply seek what every other judgment creditor is entitled to obtain: The identity and location of the judgment debtor’s assets,” he added. Olson said Miller and the other victims faced a “critical difficulty,” in that they cannot begin attachment proceedings to obtain the damages they were awarded, if they are unable to locate Iranian assets in the US. “The [Obama] administration’s position that Daniel cannot receive even this minimal discovery about the location of Iranian assets prevents him from even attempting to recover his judgment against Iran,” Olson told the Post.Hmmmm......“Withholding information is the essence of tyranny. Control of the flow of information is the tool of the dictatorship.” ~ Bruce Coville.Read the full story here.

Video - Baltic Sea UFO divers discover ‘something unique and abnormal’.

Video - Baltic Sea UFO divers discover ‘something unique and abnormal’. (OMtv).In the continuing saga of the “Baltic Sea UFO,” divers from the treasure-hunting outfit Ocean X Team have released new updates regarding their efforts to locate and identify the strange disc-shaped submerged object.
PRESS RELEASE STOCKHOLM, Sweden, June 15, 2012 The Ocean X Team dove down to the circle-shaped object in the Baltic Sea and met something they never experienced before.

First they thought it was just stone or a rock cliff, but after further observations the object appeared more as a huge mushroom, rising 3-4 meters/10-13 feet from the seabed, with rounded sides and rugged edges. The object had an egg shaped hole leading into it from the top, as an opening. On top of the object they also found strange stone circle formations, almost looking like small fireplaces. The stones were covered in something resembling soot. 

During my 20-year diving career, including 6000 dives, I have never seen anything like this. Normally stones don’t burn. I can’t explain what we saw, and I went down there to answer questions, but I came up with even more questions “, says Stefan Hogeborn, one of the divers at Ocean X Team. The path to the object itself can be described as a runway or a downhill path that is flattened at the seabed with the object at the end of it. “First we thought this was only stone, but this is something else. And since no volcanic activity has ever been reported in the Baltic Sea the find becomes even stranger. As laymen we can only speculate how this is made by nature, but this is the strangest thing I have ever experienced as a professional diver“, continues Peter Lindberg, one of the founder Ocean X Team. Right now, scientists are examining samples from the circle-shaped object, and experts in sonar imaging are processing data from the ship to hopefully shed more light over the mysterious object.Hmmmm.....Not really the same structure…. a cover up?It's probably a weather ballon like in Area 51?Read the full story here.

"ISRAEL'S STAUNCHEST ALLY" - Obama now Calls Israel’s Government “Extreme”!

"ISRAEL'S STAUNCHEST ALLY" - Obama now Calls Israel’s Government “Extreme”!(BB).Weeks before George Washington’s historic letter to the Jewish community goes on display at the National Museum of American Jewish History, President Obama received a copy of the document from a delegation of Orthodox rabbis and communal leaders visiting the White House [...] To the small group attending the meeting, Obama said there should be no doubt about his “fidelity” to Israel, adding a request to understand that disagreements do not necessarily impact the friendship between the nations. When asked what lesson he had learned from attempts to broker an Israeli–Palestinian accord, the President responded that his key takeaway is that “it’s really hard” and that trying to get the parties to agree entails great potential for misunderstanding. Obama attempted to dispel the notion that he had pressured Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu unfairly and said that his administration was, in fact, “more attentive” to Israel than to the Palestinians. The President described Israel’s government as having been extreme right and said that Netanyahu, just like any other world leader, does not want “any restraints,” and does not want to be seen as a weak leader.Hmmmm.....Apparently wanting to ensure your country makes you 'extreme' in Obama's eyes?Read the full story here.

Video - Tell on Me: The Ballad of US Agents. - Latma.

HT: IsraelMossad.

Overnight Music Video - Queen - Radio Ga Ga.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Video - Krauthammer: New Obama immigration policy ‘out-and-out lawlessness’ .

HT: DailyCaller.

Video - McConnell: Obama seeking to change First Amendment ‘an act of radicalism’.

HT: DailyCaller.More here @ Breitbart.

Video - Daredevil Nik Wallenda Walks Tightrope Across Niagara Falls To Canada.

More here @ CP24.

Video - The Obamamobile is awesome! In fact, the VoltsWagen is smokin'!

HT: WolfFiles.

Video - Islam: What the West needs to know (full documentary).

Through an examination of the Koran, other Islamic texts and the example of the prophet Muhammad, this documentary argues, through a sober and methodical presentation, that violence against non-Muslims is and has always been an integral aspect of Islam.
Features interviews with noted experts on Islam including Robert Spencer, Serge Trifkovic, Bar Ye’or, Abdullah Al-Araby, and former PLO terrorist Walid Shoebat.HT: The Counter Jihad Report.

Congressional Leaders Call for Investigations of Muslim Brotherhood Penetration of the Obama Administration.

Congressional Leaders Call for Investigations of Muslim Brotherhood Penetration of the Obama Administration.(CfSP).Washington, DC, June 14, 2012: Five influential Members of Congress called yesterday for the inspectors general (IGs) of government departments with national security responsibilities to investigate whether their agencies are being subjected to influence operations mounted as part of what the Muslim Brotherhood calls its “civilization jihad.” This initiative holds out hope that a grave, and largely unremarked, threat may thus be recognized and thwarted in time.
The authors of letters sent to the IGs for the Departments of State, Justice, Defense and Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are:
  • Rep. Michele Bachman, a member of the House Intelligence Committee and Chairwoman of the House Tea Party Caucus
  • Rep. Trent Franks, Chairman of the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the Constitution a member of the House Armed Services Committee
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert, Vice Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
  • Rep. Tom Rooney, Deputy Majority Whip and member of the House Armed Services Committee
  • Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee’s Oversight Subcommittee; and
In a joint press statement, each of these congressional leaders expressed profound concern about the dangers posed by the Muslim Brotherhood and the need to understand that threat here in the United States. What is more, they cited in their letters evidence of the penetration of Brotherhood operatives and allies inside the Obama administration, and examples of policies that appear to have been influenced as a result.
The legislators explicitly draw upon documentation of that evidence contained in Parts 8 and 9 the Center for Security Policy’s new, ten-part online video curriculum: The Muslim Brotherhood in America: The Enemy Within (
Center President Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. said:
These five key legislators are to be commended for their exemplary leadership on a matter of utmost peril to this country – namely, the stealthy effort being made by avowed enemies of this country, the Muslim Brotherhood, to destroy us ‘from within.’ Their request for the five inspectors general to conduct investigations of the Brotherhood’s progress toward that end – and report back within ninety days – will hopefully be seconded by others in both parties and be swiftly addressed by the IGs, given their responsibility for conducting such independent inquiries within executive branch agencies. The Center for Security Policy’s extensive research, and the online course that presents it, shows those inquiries are fully warranted and urgently needed – as are, for that matter, corresponding investigations by the Congress, as well.Read the full story here.

Video - " Time To ACT " - ECI devastates Obama on Iran.

HT: IsraelMatzav.

Report: IHH financially linked to al-Qaeda.

Report: IHH financially linked to al-Qaeda.(JPost).HT: IsraelMatzav.Bulent Yildrim, a key member of the Turkish IHH terror group, is under investigation for allegedly raising money for al-Qaeda. According to the Habertürk report, special prosecutors in both Istranbul and Diyarbakir are conducting separate investigations into claims that Yildirim has been secretly "providing financial aid to al-Qaida via his foundation." The IHH, short for the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (Insani Yardim Vakfi), is an Islamic charity that was founded in the mid-90s to provide aid to Bosnia Muslims. Since then, it has been involved in charity operations in a number of Muslim and Middle Eastern countries, including Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon and aid missions to the Palestinian territories. According to the Israeli NGO The Intelligence and Information Center, the IHH is affiliated with Hamas and the Union of the Good, an Islamic umbrella affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2006, a report issued by the Danish Institute for International Studies stated that during the 1990s the IHH maintained links with al-Qaida and a number of "global jihad networks." The report also said that the Turkish government launched an investigation into the IHH starting December 1997 after receiving intelligence that the IHH had bought automatic weapons from Islamist terrorists. The report said that following the revelation, the Turkish government launched a raid on the organization’s Istanbul offices, where they found weapons, explosives, and instructions for bomb-making. The report added that an examination of documents found at the IHH office indicated that the group was planning to take part in terrorist activities in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Bosnia.Hmmmm.......IHH, which plays a central role in organizing the flotilla to the Gaza Strip, is a Turkish humanitarian relief fund with a radical Islamic anti-Western orientation.   I.H.H. and Al-Shabaab .Read the full story here.

Obama's Imperial authoritarian ObamaCare ‘Bug’ Puts IPAB Completely beyond Congress’ Reach.

Obama's Imperial authoritarian ObamaCare ‘Bug’ Puts IPAB Completely beyond Congress’ Reach.(Cato).By Michael F. Cannon.Today, the Cato Institute releases a new study by Diane Cohen and me titled, “The Independent Payment Advisory Board: PPACA’s Anti-Constitutional and Authoritarian Super-Legislature.” Cohen is a senior attorney at the Goldwater Institute and lead counsel in the Coons v. Geithner lawsuit challenging IPAB and other aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. ObamaCare.
From the executive summary:
When the unelected government officials on this board submit a legislative proposal to Congress, it automatically becomes law: PPACA requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to implement it. Blocking an IPAB “proposal” requires at a minimum that the House and the Senate and the president agree on a substitute. The Board’s edicts therefore can become law without congressional action, congressional approval, meaningful congressional oversight, or being subject to a presidential veto. Citizens will have no power to challenge IPAB’s edicts in court.
Worse, PPACA forbids Congress from repealing IPAB outside of a seven-month window in the year 2017, and even then requires a three-fifths majority in both chambers…
IPAB’s unelected members will have effectively unfettered power to impose taxes and ration care for all Americans, whether the government pays their medical bills or not. In some circumstances, just one political party or even one individual would have full command of IPAB’s lawmaking powers. IPAB truly is independent, but in the worst sense of the word. It wields power independent of Congress, independent of the president, independent of the judiciary, and independent of the will of the people.
The creation of IPAB is an admission that the federal government’s efforts to plan America’s health care sector have failed. It is proof of the axiom that government control of the economy threatens democracy.
Importantly, this study reveals a heretofore unreported feature that makes this super-legislature even more authoritarian and unconstitutional:
[I]f Congress misses that repeal window, PPACA prohibits Congress from ever altering an IPAB “proposal.”
You read that right.

The Congressional Research Service and others have reported that even if Congress fails to repeal this super-legislature in 2017, Congress will still be able to use the weak tools that ObamaCare allows for restraining IPAB. Unfortunately, that interpretation rests on a misreading of a crucial part of the law. These experts thought they saw the word “or” where the statute actually says “and.”

How much difference can one little conjunction make?
Under the statute as written," if Congress fails to repeal IPAB in 2017, then as of 2020 Congress will have absolutely zero ability to block or amend the laws that IPAB writes, and zero power to affect the Secretary’s implementation of those laws."
IPAB will become a permanent super-legislature, with the Secretary as its executive. And if the president fails to appoint any IPAB members, the Secretary will unilaterally wield all of IPAB’s legislative and executive powers, including the power to appropriate funds for her own department. It’s completely nutty, yet completely consistent with the desire of ObamaCare’s authors to protect IPAB from congressional interference.

It’s also completely consistent with Friedrich Hayek’s prediction that government planning of the economy paves the way for authoritarianism.Hmmmm........"Just wait till i'm more 'Flexible?"Read the full story here.

Palestinians call on FIFA to forego tournament in Israel over violations.

                                                       Palestinian "Soccer Fans" 

Palestinians call on FIFA to forego tournament in Israel over violations.(BM).Cairo: Palestinian football leaders and activists have called on the European Football Association (UEFA) to not host the Under-21 tournament in Israel. The Palestine Football Federation President Jibril Rojoub said in a letter to UEFA President Michel Platini that Europe should not hold a championship in a country that jails football players, citing at least three Palestinian footballers currently in prison in the country. He said that Israel is in “direct violation of FIFA regulations.” “We ask, your excellency, to not give Israel the honor to host the next UEFA Under-21 Championship,” Rajoub said, in a letter seen by The Associated Press on Thursday. “We are deeply concerned about the situation of our footballers.” Israel is set to host the 8 nation tournament across four venues from June 5 to 18 next year. The UEFA executive committee voted for Israel in January 2011 over competing bids from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, England and Wales. Rajoub is pressuring Platini to intervene on Palestine’s behalf as player Mahmoud Sarsak approaches his fourth month on a hunger strike. Israel has detained Sarsak without trial for three years as an “illegal combatant” after he was stopped at a Gaza Strip checkpoint while traveling to an international match, Rajoub said. “For athletes in Palestine, there is no real freedom of movement, and the risks of being detained or even killed are always looming before their eyes,” he wrote.Read the full story here.

Saudi-Iran rivalries high ahead of OPEC meeting.

Saudi-Iran rivalries high ahead of OPEC meeting.(AA).OPEC ministers are coming into a meeting deeply divided over how much crude to pump, with Saudi Arabia keen to keep a lid on prices, rival Iran pushing to cut production and Iraq expected to back Iran, its longtime foe under Saddam Hussein.
The divisions will test the unity of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which sees itself as the oil market’s prime regulator. The 12-nation group is likely to paper over differences Thursday by deciding to leave output unchanged despite the current overproduction. But the disagreements might be too deep to resolve and the meeting could break up in disarray.
A European Union embargo on Iranian crude that starts July 1 will tighten the squeeze.
Iran has warned the Saudis not to use the oil weapon against it by increasing supplies to countries that no longer get Iranian crude due to the sanctions, and Iranian oil minister Rostam Ghazemi on Wednesday warned the United States and Europe that their tactics will backfire.
The use of instruments such as sanctions or direct military interventions in energy-producing countries will increase the price of oil and market volatility,” he told an OPEC seminar.
For his part, Saudi oil minister Ali Naimi has denied tightening the screws on Iran, telling reporters his country sells to whoever buys.“We don’t sit and say ‘we want to sell to this country or that country (or) whatever,” he said.
But Saudi overproduction is clearly rankling the Iranians. In comments to Iran’s Mehr news agency, former Iranian oil minister Gholam Hossein Nozari noted that “political issues have overshadowed OPEC,” while analysts say the political implications of Saudi Arabia’s production policy cannot be ignored.
“You do wonder what’s tied up perhaps with the Iranian political issue,” said Neil Atkinson, director of Energy & Utilities Research and Analysis. “Of course the lower the price at the moment the more damage that does to Iran.
Jason Schenker of Prestige Economics said the Saudis already are making up for the reduced Iranian supply, “and they will replace even more barrels after July 1st,”“As such, there is going to be some serious tension between the members at this OPEC meeting.”
In another manifestation of their rivalries, both Iran and the Saudis are fielding candidates for the post of OPEC secretary general, to be filled in December when Abdullah Al-Badry of Libya retires. But Ecuador is also in the race, along with Iraq, and expectations are high that the ministers will opt for Wilson Pastor of Ecuador at this meeting or the next as a compromise.
Iran and fellow price hawk Venezuela see $100 as a fair price for a barrel of U.S. benchmark crude - a level substantially above the present price. Venezuelan oil minister Rafael Ramirez described that price Wednesday as “the minimum necessary” for a just return to producers.
An OPEC report released Wednesday showed that its members are already producing nearly 33 million barrels a day - close to 3 million barrels more than its overall quota and the most it has pushed out in four years.
Plentiful supply and weakening demand from the United States, China and the European Union have caused prices to sink more than 20 percent over recent months, with U.S. benchmark crude now about $83 a barrel and Brent, used to price international varieties of crude, below $100 a barrel.“Relative to a year ago, global demand for oil is weaker ... while supply is robust,” analyst Stephen Schork said in a research note Wednesday.
Iran and its backers have been usually defeated by Saudi Arabia - OPEC’s powerhouse that accounts for nearly a third of the organization’s production - and its Gulf supporters, and Naimi signaled ahead of Thursday’s meeting that his country was not prepared to cut back output .But Naimi does not always get his way.
Reflecting Baghdad’s stance ahead of the meeting, Iraq’s OPEC president, Abdul Kareem Luaibi, has noted the “tremendous surplus that has led to this severe decline in prices.”

Atkinson, the analyst, said Saudi Arabia’ push to lower prices further could backfire, resulting in free-fall that could leave the country short on its main revenue source and “very uncomfortable.”Read the full story here.
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