Search Box

Search This Blog

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Overnight Music Video - Simon and Garfunkel - I Am A Rock


Iran: "Israel strike on Syria will have consequences for Tel Aviv."



Iran: "Israel strike on Syria will have consequences for Tel Aviv."(TI).A high-ranking Iranian official has condemned Israel's airstrike on a military research center near the Syrian capital city of Damascus, noting that the assault will have serious consequences for the Tel Aviv, reported PressTV.
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Thursday that the attack clearly demonstrated that foreign-sponsored militants and Israel pursue the same goals with regard to Syria.
He called on the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon to adopt an effective and practical measure against the attack.
"Parties that have always taken tough stances on Syria should now take serious measures and decisive positions on this invasion by Tel Aviv and place regional security high on their list of priorities," Amir-Abdollahian pointed out.
The Iranian deputy foreign minister also advised Israeli officials not to rely too much on the Patriot missile systems deployed in the region, stressing that their ineffectiveness has been already proven in the Israel's eight-day aggression against the Gaza Strip in November 2012.
The Syrian Army said in a statement on Wednesday that two people were killed and five others injured in an Israeli airstrike on a scientific center in Jamraya, located 25 kilometers (15 miles) northwest of the capital Damascus.Read the full story here.

Is the 'Mother of All Earthquakes' on it's way? Or Super Volcano Eruption? Four strong earthquakes signal angry ‘Ring of Fire’.


Is the 'Mother of All Earthquakes' on it's way?Or Super Volcano Eruption? Four strong earthquakes signal angry ‘Ring of Fire’.(Yahoo).The Pacific 'Ring of Fire' has been angry over the past day, producing four strong earthquakes since yesterday afternoon.
Epicenter of magnitude 6.8 Chile earthquakeNorth-central Chile was the first to feel the Ring's wrath, as a magnitude 6.8 quake went off at about 3:15 p.m. EST, centred roughly 40 km north of Vallenar, the capital city of Chile's Huasco Province. Reports say that it shook buildings as far away as Santiago, nearly 600 kms to the south, and closer to the epicenter, some buildings in lower-income areas of Vallenar suffered collapsed walls. According to a Reuters report, one unfortunate woman died shortly after the quake, of an apparent heart attack.
The Solomon Islands, in the south Pacific, were next, as two strong earthquakes, registering as magnitude 6.0 and 6.2 on the Richter Scale, struck just east of the island of Nuendö at 6:03 p.m. EST. No reports of any damage or injuries from either of these earthquakes as of yet, however the area is sparsely populated, with Lata, a community of just over 550 residents at the northwestern end of Nuendö, being the closest settlement to the quake.
Finally, this morning, at 4:53 a.m. EST, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake shook an already battered region along the southern tip of Alaska. The Alaskan Earthquake Center is apparently reporting that today's tremor is an aftershock of the magnitude 7.5 quake that shook this same area on January 5th, and it is just north of where a magnitude 7.7 earthquake shook Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte Islands) in October of last year. No damage or injuries have been reported from this latest quake.
Although earthquakes around the 'Ring of Fire' have been known to touch off tsunamis, no alerts were sounded as a result of any of these four events.
These earthquakes occurring in relatively quick succession, separated by distances of thousands of kilometres, punctuates just how active the 'Ring of Fire' is and just how unpredictable it can be. Although efforts are being made to put early warning systems into place, true earthquake prediction remains a lofty goal.Read the full story here.

Related: Russian scientists voice concerns about dangers of a supervolcano erupting in Italy

It looks like we may be in for an earth-shattering explosion. A dormant super volcano appears to be stirring under the Phlegraen Fields of Naples in Italy. Rising soil temperatures and surface deformation in the area have alarmed seismologists. In the distant past, volcanic super eruptions caused global climate change responsible for mass extinctions of plant and animal species. So far, scientists are unable to model the potential consequences of an awakening supervolcano. Latest studies show that the Phlegraen Fields have actually been swelling above sea level at a rate of 3 cm per month. Micro quakes and large amounts of gases accumulated in soil indicate that the volcano may be preparing to erupt, says Vladimir Kiryanov, Assistant Professor of Geology at the St. Petersburg University. “The Phlegraen Fields is a supervolcano. Yellowstone in the United States and Toba in Indonesia are also supervolcanoes capable of spewing more than 1,000 cubic km of magma. These are catastrophic eruptions. There was a huge volcanic eruption in the Phlegraen Fields some 30,000-40,000 years ago. Volcanic ash from that eruption is still found in the Mediterranean, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and even in Russia. We are now seeing the expansion of a magma pocket, which means that there might be an eruption at a certain time.” Super eruptions of such magnitude may produce the so-called “volcanic winter” effect when sulfur gases and ash will reach the stratosphere and cover the globe with thick ash clouds that solar rays will be unable to penetrate. Condensed sulfur trioxides will react with moisture, forming sulfuric acid. Downpours of sulfuric acid will hit the Earth. Scientists have obtained new evidence of a similar cataclysm following the eruption of the Toba super volcano on island of Sumatra in Indonesia about 74,000 years ago. But today, things promise to be even more devastating. Suffice it to recall the havoc wreaked by a minor increase in volcanic activity in Iceland in 2010 on air transportation over Europe. Super eruptions occurred so rarely that it is virtually impossible to calculate the approximate time span between the first and last stages of a future potential eruption. In the 1970s, the Phlegraen Fields inflated by more than 50 cm. There were even cracks in house walls. But then the process slackened. Apparently, the fact itself that a magma chamber is being filled with magma may or may not signal any immediate eruption. Alexei Sobisevich, laboratory chief at the Institute of Volcanology and Geophysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, shares his view: “It actually seems to be a long-term precursor. A magma chamber may be filled up within a span ranging from decades to centuries. Many mounts grow by 5 cm per year. This is a natural process.” Some scientists hold that the volcanic system of the Earth is becoming increasingly tense and that underground cavities are full of magma, threatening to burst out any moment. Whether this will be a super eruption or a string of smaller eruptions, we should prepare for the worst.Source: VoiceOfRussia.

U.S. Congress unknowingly bought Iranian oil for the Afghan Ministry of Defense?


U.S. Congress unknowingly bought Iranian oil for the Afghan Ministry of Defense?(TI).American officials in Afghanistan have failed to verify that fuel purchased for Afghan security forces in recent years did not come from Iran, which would constitute a violation of U.S. sanctions, according to an inspector general report issued Wednesday.
According to The Washington Post Daily, The report warned that "it will become more difficult" to make sure assistance to Afghanistan complies with sanctions on Iran as the U.S. military footprint in the country continues to shrink over the next two years. The United States intends to start giving a fuel stipend for Afghan forces to the Afghan Ministry of Defense in March, rather than directly supplying units in the field.
"Our report again demonstrates the critical importance that oversight plays in the contracting process," Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John F. Sopko said in a statement. "It is essential that the Department of Defense continues to implement strict controls over the fuel supply process to ensure taxpayer funds are not used in violation of Iranian sanctions.
Between 2007 and 2012, the report said, the U.S. government did not have a reliable way of verifying that its Afghan providers were not buying from Iran as they supplied fuel worth nearly $1.1 billion to the Afghan army. The Pentagon asked Congress for $323 million for fuel purchases for Afghan security forces during 2013. U.S. military officials estimate that the Afghan army will need $2.8 billion to keep its security vehicles running between 2014 and 2018.
Afghanistan imports most of its oil from Russia, Turkmenistan and Iran. Investigators from the inspector general office, known as SIGAR, found that some fuel imported from other neighbors may have been blended with Iranian petrol.
The report of a possible violation of Iran sanctions is the latest critical review of the U.S. military's fuel procurement for Afghans. SIGAR and other U.S. agencies have said the military does not have enough safeguards to ensure that the fuel it provides to local security forces is not siphoned off.
In response to a draft of the report, the training command said it is taking numerous steps to enhance accountability in its fuel procurement system, including a new requirement that vendors must agree not to buy Iranian fuel.
The United States bars American companies from doing business with Iran and prohibits spending U.S. taxpayer funds on Iranian products. The measure is designed to cut off the Islamic republic from the global economy, a pressure tactic to persuade Tehran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
Iran is the third-largest exporter of crude in the world, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.Hmmm.....Sanctions that benefit, Turkey....Afghanistan and who else?Read the full story here.

Video - The Worst 80 Seconds of Chuck Hagel’s Hearing


HT: FreeBeacon.

Video - 'Iran will defend Syria, US & Israel should take that seriously'

Video - 'Arab Spring Meltdown' - Eric Trager on how all the experts got it wrong on Egypt's Arab Spring.



HT: SunNewsNetwork.

Video - Charles Adler: "Egypt emergencies."



Charles Adler asks if the Arab Spring changed anything in Egypt.HT: SunNewsNetwork.

Missing American woman Sarai Sierra seen by witnesses in Istanbul, some 3,000 adults have gone missing recently


Missing American woman Sarai Sierra seen by witnesses in Istanbul, some 3,000 adults have gone missing recently.(HD).Members of the public have made contact with a foundation for missing people claiming to have seen an American woman that has been missing in Istanbul since Jan. 21, according to the head of the association.
Some people come and say that they have seen [Sarai Sierra] a week ago,” Zafer Özbilir, the president of the Members of the Foundation for Relatives of Missing Persons (YAKAD), told the Hürriyet Daily News today, adding that the organization was directing such people to the police.
Some said they saw her taking photos over the Galata Bridge over Istanbul’s Golden Horn, he said. YAKAD is aiding in the search to locate the 33-year-old mother of two.
Sierra was supposed to return to New York on Jan. 22 but never boarded the plane in Istanbul, according to airline officials. Members of YAKAD launched a campaign to support the search for Sierra while drawing attention to the many missing-person cases in Turkey.
Traveling around in a bus they call “the bus of hope,” YAKAD members are currently distributing Sierra’s picture and details of her last-known whereabouts to help speed up the process. The bus is covered in photos of missing people, and its activities have helped resolve nearly 900 cases in the past.
Özbilir, who is also a relative of a lost person, said some 3,000 adults have gone missing only recently, adding that searching for Sierra was also helping to publicize their mission.
Police forces continue to search for Sierra, whose last contact was reportedly a Turkish man named Taylan. The two arranged to meet by Galata on Jan. 20, according to online chat transcriptions.
Sierra’s husband, Steven Sierra, handed transcripts of her Facebook and Twitter correspondences with four Turks over to police to aid attempts to track her activity during her time in the city.
It is not clear whether Taylan is the man’s real name.
Footage of Sierra walking around Sultanahmet and Taksim surfaced yesterday, and police forces have been looking into the stores visited by Sierra.Read the full story here.

Related: Video - Turkish Police search for missing American woman Sarai Sierra last Turkish contacts, she was last seen on security cameras in Istanbul.

Iran oil exports rise to highest since EU sanctions.


Iran oil exports rise to highest since EU sanctions.(JPost).GENEVA/DUBAI - Iran's crude oil exports in December leapt to their highest level since European Union sanctions took effect last July, analysts and shipping sources said, as strong Chinese demand and tanker fleet expansion helped the OPEC member dodge sanctions. Exports rose to around 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) in December, according to two industry sources and shipping and customs data compiled by Reuters on a country-by-country basis and corroborated by other sources and consultants. The sources said they expected exports to dip in January from the December peak ahead of new US sanctions. Western sanctions aimed at curbing Iran's disputed nuclear program halved Iran's oil exports in 2012 from 2.2 million bpd in late 2011, leading to billions of dollars in lost revenue and a plunge in the Iranian currency.
But continuous robust demand from top buyer China and others such as India and Japan, as well as the purchase of new tankers, allowed the Islamic Republic to unexpectedly boost exports late last year.
The United States and the EU are hoping the economic pressure will force Iran to address international concerns about its nuclear program, which Tehran insists is for peaceful purposes but the West suspects is for making weapons.
Salar Moradi, oil market analyst at oil and gas consultancy FGE, estimated that Iran shipped more than 1.4 million bpd of crude oil in December and forecast that exports would remain between 1.1-1.3 million bpd in the first quarter of 2013.
This represents an increase from a low-point of less than 900,000 bpd in September and suggests monthly revenues worth approximately $4.7 billion based on December Brent prices.
"They (Iran) bought a number of tankers from China and can now do more deliveries ... It's taken some pressure off Iran and facilitated tanker traffic and we are seeing higher exports to China," he told Reuters this week.
The second industry source said the rise in exports to near 1.4 million bpd was a result of traditional buyers finding new ways to secure shipping insurance.
But, like FGE, he estimated that they would fall slightly to around 1.3 million bpd in January. Previously, Iran's tanker fleet had struggled to meet delivery schedules to China because EU measures in July barred Europe-based insurers from covering tankers that carry Iranian oil.
"China is saying let's up the numbers because no-one is doing anything about it and it looks like Obama has made a political decision not to go to war with Iran," said a senior source with a large independent trading house.
Elena McGovern, oil and gas analyst at Business Monitor International, said: "The implications of preventing Chinese imports from Iran would be too damaging to the (U.S.-China) bilateral relationship. I would be very surprised if Obama were to take China to task on Iranian imports."
India's imports of Iranian crude were up 29 percent in December from November at around 275,000 bpd, according to tanker arrival data.
Tracking Iranian shipments has become increasingly difficult as companies have sought to conceal tanker movements from Western governments by turning off satellite signals. Still, some analysts think Iran will continue to find ways to safeguard against significant drops in its oil revenues.
"What we have seen is that when Iran is pushed to a do or die situation, they have looked for creative solutions to get around sanctions," said McGovern.
"The system will always find a way to cope."Hmmm.....'Sanctions that Benefit'Read the full story here.

Related: Iran-Turkey Trade Value Touches $20bln in 2012

Video - Ikea 'monkey mom' back in court fighting to get Darwin back.



Video - Ikea 'monkey mom' back in court fighting to get Darwin back.(Yahoo).TORONTO - When a baby monkey in a little shearling coat made international news by hopping around an Ikea parking lot, it would have been hard to predict he would become such a polarizing primate.
Darwin the macaque was taken to Toronto Animal Services that December day and sent to Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary, where he has resided ever since.
Yasmin Nakhuda, the self-professed "Monkey Mom," is trying to get him back and an Ontario Superior Court judge in Oshawa is set to hear arguments Thursday on where Darwin should live until the case can be fully heard at a trial. After an interim motion in December the judge ruled that Darwin would stay at the sanctuary for the time being.
The already heated fight over Darwin, which sanctuary staffers say has resulted in threats against them, intensified when the sanctuary filed allegations with the court that Darwin was abused. Nakhuda vehemently denies the allegations, which have not been proven in court.
Meanwhile, a fierce debate has been raging online between supporters of the sanctuary, who argue that's where Darwin will receive the best care, and Nakhuda's supporters, who argue he belongs with the woman who obviously loves him.
Nakhuda — who refers to Darwin as her "monkid" — has become the target for much derision and scorn but also compassion.
She has posted numerous videos on YouTube of her cuddling in bed with Darwin, brushing her teeth with Darwin, at the gym with Darwin and changing Darwin's diaper.
Pictures and videos abound on a Facebook page of Darwin wearing overalls, polo shirts and his trademark coat, playing at her office, drinking from a baby bottle and splashing around in a bathtub.
Her newest video is a photo montage set to Phil Collins' song "Against All Odds." It ends with footage of Darwin wearing that famous coat, hopping up on a bed and over to Nakhuda, who hugs him.Hmmmm....People love dogs, cats , fish ,pigs ...why not a monkey?Read the full story here.

"Sanctions that Benefit" a thing of the past?Dubai gold dealers shun Turkish bars on fears of link to Iran.


"Sanctions that Benefit" a thing of the past?Dubai gold dealers shun Turkish bars on fears of link to Iran.(AA).Trade in Turkish gold bars to Iran via Dubai is drying up as a growing number of banks and dealers refuse to buy the bullion to avoid the risks associated with Turkey's gold-for-gas trade with Iran.
U.S. officials say they are concerned the trade between the two countries provides a financial lifeline to the Iran, which is largely frozen out of the global banking system by Western sanctions.
The U.S. State Department said in December that diplomats were in talks with Ankara over the flow of gold to Iran after the Senate approved expanded sanctions on trade with Iran's energy and shipping sectors, which would also restrict trade in precious metals.
That increasing U.S. pressure has already started to create troublesome repercussions for exporters of Turkish gold.
Many dealers in Dubai’s crowded and boisterous gold souk now refuse to take gold bars produced in Turkey. Some ask for a deep discount, saying their clients such as banks and other traders had suspended dealing with Turkish bullion over the past couple of months.
The media spotlight on the gold-for-gas exchange has already helped push Turkey's gold exports to the UAE to $621 million in November from nearly $2 billion in August, according to the latest official trade data.
Turkey, Iran’s biggest natural gas customer, has been paying the Islamic Republic for oil and gas imports with Turkish liras, because Western sanctions prevent it from paying in dollars or euros. Iranians then buy gold in Turkey, and couriers carry the gold worth millions of dollars in their hand luggage to Dubai, where it can be sold for foreign currency or shipped to Iran.
A Turkey-based industry source said the fact that Iranians are buying Turkish gold and shipping it via Dubai has worried international banks and traders and prompted them to suspend trading in Turkish gold bars.
This is not something declared. It has been going on very quietly for the past month. Some international banks have taken the lead in this and they are simply staying away from any gold bullion that is coming out of Turkey,” he added.A London-based spokesman for Standard Bank, which is active in Dubai’s gold market, said it was not trading any Turkish-branded gold currently and had not regularly traded in Turkish bullion in the past.
He said, however, that the bank continued to trade gold bars registered by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), whose Good Delivery List sets the quality standard for physical gold refining.
Gold bars produced in Turkey’s two refineries - Nadir Metal and Istanbul Gold Refinery - are both registered in LBMA's Good Delivery list.
“In general we see a decline in the pace of demand from Dubai. After the latest U.S. sanctions, Turkish gold suppliers might have become more cautious too. The market is not as hectic as it was three months ago,” an Istanbul-based gold trader said.
This is not a Dubai-particular issue. It has started here due to the flows of Turkish gold, but this has now become a global issue around Turkish gold,” said a source with knowledge of the discussions between DMCC and Turkish officials.
In Dubai, majority government-owned bank Emirates NBD , an active player in the local bullion market, said in a note to clients in November, “Emirates NBD will, as a pure measure of precaution, stop buying and selling all gold bars from Turkish refineries, even though they might be an accredited refinery by the London Good Delivery or by the Dubai Good Delivery List.”
A source in the Dubai office of major bullion dealer ScotiaMocatta, a division of Bank of Nova Scotia, said it was currently not dealing with Turkish gold bars.Read the full story here.

Arab-American groups call Coke Super Bowl ad 'racist'.


                                                            LOVE IT !

Arab-American groups call Coke Super Bowl ad 'racist'.(AA).Arab-American groups have sharply criticized a Coca-Cola Super Bowl ad depicting an Arab walking through the desert with a camel, and one group said it would ask the beverage giant to change it before CBS airs the game on Sunday before an expected audience of more than 100 million U.S. viewers.
Why is it that Arabs are always shown as either oil-rich sheiks, terrorists, or belly dancers?” said Warren David, president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, or ADC.
Coca-Cola released an online teaser of the commercial last week, showing the Arab walking through a desert. He soon sees cowboys, Las Vegas showgirls and a motley crew fashioned after the marauders of the apocalyptic “Mad Max” film race by him to reach a gigantic bottle of Coke.
In its ad, Coke asks viewers to vote online on which characters should win the race. The online site does not allow a vote for the Arab character.
The Coke commercial for the Super Ball is racist, portraying Arabs as backward and foolish Camel Jockeys, and they have no chance to win in the world,” Imam Ali Siddiqui, president of the Muslim Institute for Interfaith Studies, said in an email.
“What message is Coke sending with this?” asked Abed Ayoub, ADC’s director of legal and policy affairs. “By not including the Arab in the race, it is clear that the Arab is held to a different standard when compared to the other characters in the commercial,” he said.
CBS declined comment. Coca-Cola spokeswoman Lauren Thompson said Coke took a “cinematic” approach with the ad, employing the characters as a nod to movies of the past.
“Coca-Cola is an inclusive brand enjoyed by all demographics,” she said in an email. “We illustrate our core values, from fun and refreshment to happiness, inspiration and optimism across all of our marketing communications.”
Ayoub said ADC intended to contact Coke and CBS Corp on Thursday to “hopefully start a dialog.
I want to know why this happened and how can we fix this if possible before Sunday,” he said.
The ADC garnered attention back in 1992 when it complained that lyrics in the Walt Disney animated film “Aladdin” were racist.
Ronald Goodstein, professor at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, said he was surprised by the image as well. “If Coke’s vision is to be an arm’s distance away from every customer, why would they want to offend the Arab world?” said Goodstein.
Ayoub said the commercial could harm Coke’s business with the Arab community.
“Coke should understand and respect their consumers and have a better understanding of the market they are sharing,” he Ayoub.
The company has a large market share in the Middle East and North Africa, he noted, and many convenience stores and other retail outlets in the United States that offer Coke are owned by Arab-Americans. Hmmmm.....It couldn't be Pepsi cause they 'sponsor' the Democrat party?Read the full story here.

Video - On President Obama 'This man is probably on his way out of office'



On January 25th, 2013 , Mr. Lyndon Larouche, a well respected journalist and political activist received word from his sources within the United States government that President Barack Hussein Obama has been indicted by a Federal Court. Details of the indictment has been omitted by Larouche but he characterized them as probably the greatest indictment he has ever seen placed upon a standing president throughout history.Related.

Part II :

'Unacceptable': Russia warns Israel about strike on Syria.


'Unacceptable': Russia warns Israel about strike on Syria.(AA).Russia said on Thursday it was very concerned about reports of an Israeli air attack deep inside Syria near its capital Damascus. Any action of such, if confirmed, would amount to unacceptable military interference in the war-ravaged country, the Russian foreign ministry said on Thursday.
If this information is confirmed, then we are dealing with unprovoked attacks on targets on the territory of a sovereign country, which blatantly violates the U.N. Charter and is unacceptable, no matter the motives to justify it,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Russia added that it was taking "urgent measures" to clarify the situation.
"We once again call on the end to all violence in Syria, underscoring the inadmissability of any type of intervention from abroad, and the start of inter-Syrian dialogue based on the Geneva agreements of June 30, 2012," the Russian statement said.
Israeli fighter jets have struck a convoy on the Syria-Lebanon border suspected of carrying sophisticated Russian-made surface-to-air missiles, Al Arabiya correspondent Ziad Halabi reported from Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Halabi said “security indications” pointed to a convoy carrying surface-to-air missiles being smuggled into Syria via the Lebanese border. The Lebanese army had reported a heavy presence of Israeli jets over its territory throughout the night.
In the same vain, Syrian state television accused Israel of bombing a military research center at Jamraya, between Damascus and the nearby border. However, Syrian opposition fighters disputed that, saying their forces had attacked the site.Hmmm....So far 60.000 people killed everything is fine, till the Jooos strike an arms transport?Read the full story here.

Saudi Arabia: 36 Days in Jail for displaying a Human Rights Sign.


Saudi Arabia: 36 Days in Jail for displaying a Human Rights Sign.(GlobalVoicesOnline).By Osama Khalid. .Saudi Arabia's harsh crackdown on demonstrations has led many to start experimenting with new methods for showing dissent. A public hunger strike was one example that we have reported. In a series of tweets, Saudi Twitter user Mohammad al-Olayan told his own story of writing a human rights sign, namely “No to arbitrary detainment,” on his car.
On Sunday December 16th, I was arrested by emergency forces on my way back from work because of a “No to arbitrary detainment” sign on my car's rear glass. I was transferred to al-Manar police [station] after my car had been photographed. A policeman started the interrogation and I denied responsibility. I told them that I had found the writing at dawn when I was about to leave to work and I couldn't remove it because the ink was irremovable. I affirmed my statements with a fingerprint and I asked the policeman to allow me to leave even if this requires a third person since I did not commit any crime and did not violate any law, but he refused and told me that I am under detainment for interrogation. Then a policeman asked me to hand my mobile phone and my keys and took me to a very, very crowded communal cell with inhumane conditions. The policemen told me [to stop talking about humanity and get in,] but I refused to do so. He then took me to a solitary confinement cell, but it was leaking and full of dirt so I refused to get in so he took me to a hallway and said that no place left but this one I told him that this was a better place, so he tied me to an iron door then they took me to the communal cell at dawn [...].
al-Olayan continued by reporting further interrogation in which he was asked whether he had attended the public trial of two of Saudi Political and Civil Rights Association's (ACPRA) co-founders (which we have a Special Coverage for!) ACPRA found out about his arrest so they asked a volunteer lawyer to help him.
al-Olayan was finally sent to court and he continued to deny responsibility. The judge issued an order to release him, after 36 days, on the condition of attending further sessions if he was ever called.By AL-Olayan.

U.N. 'human rights council' threatens to send Israel to International Criminal Court for 'settlement activity'.


U.N. 'human rights council' threatens to send Israel to International Criminal Court for 'settlement activity'.HT: IsraelMatzav.

  • They have nothing to say about 60,000 Syrians being murdered by the Assad regime. They have nothing to say about thousands of Iranians being tortured and murdered by the Khameni/Ahmadinejad regime.
  • They have nothing to say about thousands of Egyptians and Sudanese being murdered by their respective governments. 
  • And they have nothing to say about thousands of North Koreans being starved to death in their little gulag off the Sea of Japan.

But the United Nations' 'human rights council' is threatening to refer little Israel to the International Criminal Court for something called 'settlement activity.'
In the probe's conclusions, the mission’s report stated that Israel had an obligation under international law not to transfer its population into the Palestinian territories.
“The Rome Statute establishes the International Criminal Court's jurisdiction over the deportation or transfer, directly or indirectly, by the occupying Power of parts of its own population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory,” the report stated.
It added, “ratification of the Statute by Palestine may lead to accountability for gross violations of human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law and justice for victims.”
For this to happen. the imaginary state of 'Palestine' would first have to ratify the Rome Statute (how would they do that? Via the 'legislature' whose term expired four years ago?) so that they would become a 'state party' to the International Criminal Court treaty.
The full report may be found here. Did I mention that it includes 'east' Jerusalem?
This entire sordid tale can be traced back to the Obama administration's insistence of treating the 'human rights council' as something other than a kangaroo court. Read the full story here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Goldman Sachs proposes to lower French workers their salary ...by 30%.....Yes Thirty percent.


Goldman Sachs proposes to lower French workers their salary ...by 30%.....Yes Thirty percent.(EgaliteEtReconciliation).Google Translate.When Goldman Sachs bankers give their opinion on solutions to provide miracle solutions to France to stem the crisis, IT ... Hurts!
Huw Pill, chief economist at Goldman Sachs, one of the investment banks most prestigious and world-sulfur is not for nothing that it is called the "devil of finance" - was interviewed by The Huffington Post . According to him, they must simply reduce the salaries of all the French about a third. Nothing less!
To begin with, " Mr. Europe "of Goldman believes that, compared with Greece, France " has it all ", but it has two (small) problems: its" lack of competitiveness "and" imbalances in its accounts ".
Hold it! What's 'sriking' the finances? " The public sector ", accused of being" too important ". Officials enjoy. That said, the operating expenses of the State in fact represented 34.7% of total expenditure in 2010 (against 41% in 1960!), Is the second largest expense behind social benefits (45.3% in 2010 ).
So, in order to get out of the 'swamp' in which the hexagon is sunk, the economist has an idea: " lower general wages "to" regain competitiveness . " 3%, 5%, 10% ... ? No! " It is estimated that France should reduce its average salary by about a third , "says one who works in a company where, as pointed out Time to sign off , the bonus shares granted to the twelve members of the management team have exceeded $ 102 million in 2012, and where the average annual salary exceeded 410,000 dollars ... an increase of 9% in a year!
However, Huw Pill said he was " convinced that France can reform "in" three to five years , "and to" take the right direction . "
As for the euro area, he said it should " see a contraction less "this year than in 2012, but, he warns, the aftermath will not sing on. 2016, it was not until 2016 he estimated " to find modest growth . " Patience, then! " Europe is going to come out slowly but surely . " If an expert Goldman Sachs says, we are reassured.....Hmmm.....The US next?Read the full story here.

Overnight Music Video - Charles Aznavour-La mamma


Syria: Israel attacked military chemical weapons research center


Syria: Israel attacked military chemical weapons research center.(YNet).Israeli warplanes attacked a military research center in Damascus province at dawn on Wednesday, Syria's military command said, denying reports that the planes had struck a convoy carrying weapons from Syria to Lebanon.
Local residents and experts claim the target was a chemical weapons production center.
Two people were killed and five wounded in the attack on the site in Jamraya, which Syria described as one of a number of "scientific research centers aimed at raising the level of resistance and self-defense". The building was destroyed, the military command said in a statement carried by state media.
It said the planes crossed into Syria below the radar level, just north of Mount Hermon, and returned the same way. The Jamraya area contains many military facilities as well as what is likely a chemical weapons production and storage site. The area also houses training camps for Hezbollah combatants who are learning to operate advanced Russian weapons systems.
It was further noted that the attack occurred after terrorist groups tried and failed to take control of the site several times.
The Syrian army statement denied that the strike had targeted a convoy headed from Syria to Lebanon, instead portraying the strike as linked to the civil war pitting Bashar Assad's forces against rebels seeking to push him from power.
"This proves that Israel is the instigator, beneficiary and sometimes executor of the terrorist acts targeting Syria and its people," the statement said.
Residents near Damascus had previously told AFP that missiles had struck a military site for unconventional weapons on Tuesday at 11:30 pm.
According to them, the center, which is located in Al-Hameh, about fifteen kilometers north-west of Damascus, was hit by six missiles that were partially destroyed, causing a fire and killing at least two people.Read the full story here.

Israel drops sharply in annual press freedom ranking


Israel drops sharply in annual press freedom ranking.(TOI).IDF, which ‘deliberately targeted journalists’ during Gaza op, pushes Israel down to No. 112; ‘Palestine’ slightly improves. Israel took a steep dive in an international list measuring freedom of the press, ranking 112 out of 179 countries, a decrease of 20 places since last year. Israel now ranks lower than countries such as Lebanon, Qatar, Kuwait and Uganda.
“Palestine” took the 146th spot on the 2013 list, published annually by Reporters Without Borders, slightly increasing its position compared to the previous year.
Despite Israel being listed as one of this year’s “big falls,” its journalists enjoy “real freedom of expression,” the organization acknowledged.
Israel’s 20-place drop is due to the actions of the Israel Defense Forces in the Palestinian territories, which used to be ranked separately under the label of “Israel extraterritorial,” Reporters Without Borders explained in the 2013 World Press Freedom Index.
During Operation Pillar of Defense last November, the Israeli army “deliberately targeted journalists and buildings housing media that are affiliated to Hamas or support it,” the report states. “And the arbitrary arrest and detention of Palestinian journalists is still commonplace.”
Israel took a steep dive in an international list measuring freedom of the press, ranking 112 out of 179 countries, a decrease of 20 places since last year. Israel now ranks lower than countries such as Lebanon, Qatar, Kuwait and Uganda.
“Palestine” took the 146th spot on the 2013 list, published annually by Reporters Without Borders, slightly increasing its position compared to the previous year.
Despite Israel being listed as one of this year’s “big falls,” its journalists enjoy “real freedom of expression,” the organization acknowledged.
During the IDF’s offensive in Gaza, which followed months of rocket fire from the Strip on Israel’s south, at least three journalists were killed and at least 10 media personnel were injured, making the army the subject of much criticism from human rights groups.
Israeli airstrikes continue to put journalists in harm’s way,” Committee to Protect Journalists Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said at the time. “This reflects the risks journalists face while reporting on conflict, especially in such a densely populated area.”
The IDF responded by saying that it abides by the laws of armed conflict, despite ongoing deliberate violations and abuse of these laws by Gaza terrorists.
Despite Israel’s relatively low ranking, the 2013 report attests that the government gives members of the press a free hand to do their jobs. “Israeli journalists meanwhile enjoy real freedom of expression but military censorship continues to be a structural problem,” the report states.
“Palestine,” the report notes, is still in the list’s bottom quarter but rose eight places. “An improvement in relations between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas has had a positive impact on freedom of information and the working environment for journalists.”
The political importance of Turkey (154th, -6) has grown even more because of the armed conflict in neighbouring Syria but it has again fallen in the index. It is currently the world’s biggest prison for journalists, especially those who express views critical of the authorities on the Kurdish issue.
Belarus went up 11 places (157) and Egypt went up 8 places (158).They're still Obama's BFF.There are 179 countries on the list.Read the full story here.

Video - Greta Van Susteren interviews Hillary Clinton about Middle East ,Pres Morsi and Benghazi.



Video - Greta Van Susteren interviews Hillary Clinton about Middle East ,Pres Morsi and Benghazi.HT: BarrackNow. Greta brings up Morsi's 2010 comments, which included him saying the Jews were descendants of "apes and pigs", and that Egypt must "nurse its children on hatred of the Jews". A few hours before Greta's interview, reports came out that a close Morsi aid said the Holocaust never happened and that the Jews secretly moved to the U.S.

Hillary's response?

At the 1:58 mark, she says "We were quite concerned about those statements" and that "the Egyptian presidency has repudiated" the comments.

What more proof does one need that the Democratic Party has more contempt for Christians and conservatives than for the Muslim Brotherhood? Virtually the entire Barack Obama administration, for more than four years, has been engaged in class warfare that involves much more critical and relentless criticism of conservatives who haven't even come close to talking like Morsi.

At the 3:30 mark, when asked about Morsi personally, Hillary said:

"I think he has a lot of the right intentions".

Wait a minute. A leader of the Muslim Brotherhood who also happens to be the President of Egypt has pure intentions?! The intentions of the Brotherhood include the annihilation of Israel and establishing a global caliphate.

Will Valley Park Middle School, with its Friday Muslim prayers, become a model for all Ontario public schools?

Ontario's first Lesbian Premier.

Will Valley Park Middle School, with its Friday Muslim prayers, become a model for all Ontario public schools?(TorontoSun).TarekFatah. As Ontario Liberals converged on Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens to elect their new leader, Kathleen Wynne’s team sent out a mass e-mail to delegates seeking their support. Nothing extraordinary, except this message was filtered so it would not reach all delegates, only the roughly 100 Muslims among them.
Here is part of that message:
“Dear Muslim Delegates, Assalamu Alaikum:
We appeal to you all to join us in supporting Kathleen Wynne to become the leader of OLP and thus next premier of Ontario … She had openly defended Muslims’ religious rights for Friday prayers in Valley Park Middle School in her riding.” 
The bulk e-mail was followed by a direct letter from Wynne to Muslim delegates touting her credentials, specifically noting her support for “the Muslim prayer issue at Valley Park Middle School.” The fact many Liberal Muslims had vociferously opposed the mosque-in-school initiative was lost on Wynne.
This was actually a case of a Liberal candidate choosing to abandon Liberal Muslims in a bid for Muslim support.
The e-mail touting Wynne as a good-for-Muslims-candidate was signed, among others, by Abdulhuq Ingar, the man behind the establishment of the Mosque in Valley Park Middle School.
Salma Siddiqui, president of the Muslim Canadian Congress and a lifelong Liberal, was indignant.
The hypocrisy of these Islamists is appalling. They (dislike) Irshad Manji because she is a lesbian, but endorse Wynne?” she asked. “How can Ingar, a supporter of Sharia law, which among other things considers gays as worthy of outright contempt ... become a spokesman for Wynne?asked Siddiqui.Will Valley Park Middle School, that Wynne boasts of as one of her proud accomplishments, become a model for all Ontario public schools? Will the Friday ritual prayer asking Allah to bring victory to Muslims and defeat the “Kufaar” (Jews and Christians) ring out from all of them?Read the full story here.

Officials to AP: Convoy Israel hit was a SA-17 missiles shipment.

SA-17 missiles

Officials to AP: Convoy Israel hit was a SA-17 missiles shipment.(YNet).Israel conducted an airstrike inside Syria overnight near the border with Lebanon, hitting a convoy of trucks, US and regional officials said Wednesday.
The regional officials said Israel had been planning in the days leading up to the airstrike to hit a shipment of weapons bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon. They said the shipment included sophisticated, Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles, which would be strategically "game-changing" in the hands of Hezbollah.
A US official said the strike hit a convoy of trucks.
SA-17 missiles are self-propelled and have the capacity to hit jets at a low altitude. The system's portability makes it harder to trace and enables it to surprise jets within its range. These attributes could jeopardize IAF jets should they operate against Hezbollah in Lebanon. 
A former senior security official in Lebanon told the Washington Post that the attack involved a missile fired by an unmanned Israel aircraft at a truck the Lebanon-Syria border. There were no casualties, according to him. The strike was on the Syrian side of the border, said the former official, who still has close ties to Lebanon’s senior security team and said he was told about the attack by a high-ranking official.
He said the truck was carrying weapons, although it was unclear what kind of weapons. It also was not immediately clear whether the truck was being used by the Syrian military or by Syrian rebel forces, who have been locked in a brutal, bloody civil conflict for almost two years.
Earlier on Wednesday, foreign and Arab media sources said Israeli forces attacked a target on the Syrian-Lebanese border overnight adding that 12 IAF jets breached Lebanon's airspace on Tuesday.
The US-based Al-Monitor website quoted Lebanese sources as saying the target was a weapons convoy traveling near Syria’s border with Lebanon. The report has not been corroborated by any Israeli source and the IDF refused to comment on the matter.
If Israel indeed conducted an airstrike, it may have been signaling to Bashar Assad that Jerusalem would not tolerate the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah. It is likely Syria is not interested in locking itself into a conflict with Israel for fear it would cause the Assad regime to collapse. Israel on its part, is not interested in engaging Hezbollah either.
On Tuesday, the World Tribune reported that Israel's intelligence community has been tracking convoys of trucks that were bringing what appeared to be missiles and warheads from Syria’s Latakia region to Lebanon. Officials said the convoys were unloading the suspected weapons at Hezbollah warehouses in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.
"When we said we mustn’t let terrorists lay a hand on Syrian weapon, we meant it," Former Mossad Chief Danny Yatom told Ynet Wednesday. Read the full story here.

Power chief: Carbon credits face a ‘junk bond’ future.


Power chief: Carbon credits face a ‘junk bond’ future.(Euractive).Europe is staring at a ‘lost decade’ that will make decarbonisation impossible and reduce carbon credits to the value of ‘junk bonds’ unless politicians back a carbon market reform package, the head of Europe’s electricity industry association has told EurActiv.
Last week, MEP’s on the European parliament’s industry (ITRE) committee rejected a proposal to firm up carbon prices by withholding – or ‘backloading’ – 900 million EU allowances from the 2020 auctioning period.
Analysts expect a narrow majority for action in key votes on the parliament’s environment committee on 19 February and, crucially, in a plenary later this Spring.
But Hans ten Berge, secretary-general of Eurelectric, warned that “if we choose the strategy of a lost decade then we are going for a collapse of the carbon market and it will be impossible to achieve the 2050 decarbonisation targets.”
Carbon prices, which are supposed to entice low-carbon investments, plunged to a record low of just €2.81 per tonne after the ITRE committee vote, down from a peak of €32 in April 2006. But ten Berge said that the price could yet fall further.
“Just ask investors what the value is of a bond that you would not be able to cash before 2025,” he said. “I think that would be called a junk bond.Hmmmm....'There's one born every minute'.Read the full story here.

Video - Turkish Police search for missing American woman Sarai Sierra last Turkish contacts, she was last seen on security cameras in Istanbul.


Video - Turkish Police search for missing American woman Sarai Sierra last Turkish contacts, she was last seen on security cameras in Istanbul. (HD).The police are now looking for four Turkish citizens who contacted the missing 33-year-old Sarai Sierra while she was in Istanbul, daily Hürriyet reported.
Sierra’s husband, Steven Sierra, gave police forces her Facebook and Twitter correspondence with the four Turks, whose identities have not been revealed.
Footage of Sierra walking around in Sultanahmet and Taksim surfaced yesterday, and police forces have been tracking the stores Sierra visited. Sierra’s room in a Tarlabaşı house reportedly cost her 222 euros, and her expenses through her holidays in Turkey, the Netherlands and Germany totaled over 10,000 dollars.
The owner of the house in which Sierra was staying said he had not seen the woman since Jan. 20, Doğan news agency reported.
The woman’s family last made contact with her on Jan. 21, the day before she was supposed to begin her journey back to the United States.
Three days after renting a room in Istanbul on Jan. 12, Sierra traveled to Amsterdam and Munich, Anatolia news agency quoted sources as saying. She returned to Turkey on Jan. 19.
A friend of the woman, Magalena Rodriguez, is also trying to gather information about Sierra’s whereabouts on social media.
 Video - Missing American Sarai Sierra's was last seen on security cameras in Istanbul. She was wearing a beret and a leather jacket.Read the full story here.

"Religion of Peace" - Rushdie, Indian actor Haasan targeted by Muslim groups.


"Religion of Peace" - Rushdie, Indian actor Haasan targeted by Muslim groups.(HD).Acclaimed British author Salman Rushdie cancelled a film promotional event and veteran Indian actor Kamal Haasan threatened to go into exile Wednesday after Muslim groups protested their work.
In the eastern city of Kolkata, Rushdie, whose 1988 book "The Satanic Verses" remains banned in India for allegedly insulting Islam, was forced to cancel a trip to promote a film of his novel "Midnight's Children".
TV footage showed about a hundred people from various Muslim groups gathered outside the Kolkata airport on Wednesday morning to protest his planned visit.
Haasan said he could leave the country after his new film "Vishwaroopam" was forced out of cinemas by the government in the southern state of Tamil Nadu for allegedly depicting Muslims in a negative light.
The latest incidents come amid growing concern about artistic expression and free speech in India.
Haasan said he was "fed up" by the controversy over his film and would seek to live in another country just like India's acclaimed painter M.F. Hussain who was targeted by Hindu hardliners and fled the country in 2006.
"I will find, hopefully, another country which is secular that might take me in. M.F. Hussain had to do it, now Haasan will do it," he said at a press conference in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu.
Rushdie, whose stay in India has been shrouded in secrecy due to threats to his life, spent a decade in hiding after Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa in 1989 calling for his death.
Last year, Rushdie was forced to withdraw from a literary festival in the northwestern Indian city of Jaipur in January after death threats and angry protests from Islamists.
On Tuesday, Indian academic Ashis Nandy saw a police complaint filed against him for reportedly saying that some of India's most disadvantaged groups were the "most corrupt".Read the full story here.

Pakistani nuclear physicist: "Muslim Societies Have Collectively Failed"


Pakistani nuclear physicist: "Muslim Societies Have Collectively Failed".(Spiegel).Google Translate. Extracts from an interview with Pakistani nuclear physicist Hoodbhoy he was born a Muslim, in an Ismaili family. Hated by many, but also secretly admired by some, he does not want to be silenced. "I say what I think." Because he is an Islmaili Muslim, he's considered heretical by many other Muslims.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr Hoodbhoy, you warn regularly about the radicalisation of Muslims. What do you base that on specifically?

Hoodbhoy: When I started teaching here at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad in the early 70s, on the entire campus there was only a single student wearing a burka. Today around 70 per cent of the women here are completely covered. Only 30 per cent go around normally.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Do your students justify it? Or is that not an issue?

Hoodbhoy: I ask them occasionally and many of them say Islam requires it of them. Others say they wear a burka or hijab because most women here do. Others say they feel safer like that, because when they're standing at the bus stop no one bothers them.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So there's no turning to god or stricter interpretation of religion?

Hoodbhoy: Yes. We are experiencing a major cultural revolution in the Islamic world. It's not just Pakistan that is affected, but more or less every Islamic country. Pakistan is changing, Afghanistan has radicalised, Iran, Iraq, many countries in Africa and the Arabian world, Egypt, Algeria, now Mali. Sooner or later in Syria only veiled women will be seen.
But let's look at the Islamic communities in Europe or the USA - they are infected by the same virus. Why? I think people are noticing that they are different from others. A burka is really just a label to distance yourself from others. It says clearly: my identity is Islamic. This identity is closely bound to the feeling of being a victim of history. Deep down, Muslims feel that they have failed. This mix of sensitivities makes me afraid, because it leads to behaviour that is very unhealthy.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You view Muslim societies as having collectively failed. What do you mean by that?

Hoodbhoy: There are around 1.5 billion Muslims in the entire world - but they cannot point to a substantial achievement in any field. Not in politics, not socially, not in the sciences or art or literature. The only thing they do with great devotion is fast and pray. But there are no efforts to improve conditions of life in Islamic societies. Unconsciously people naturally feel this is a collective failure.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Do you actually receive threats because of statements like this?

Hoodbhoy: Threats, no, but they make life difficult for me. I've just been sacked from Lahore University of Management Sciences, where I taught physics. That's a very progressive private university, but in this society there are limits to what may be said. Even here in Islamabad life isn't easy for me. Because I am a tenured professor, they can't sack me. But I've haven't been paid for months. I'm just sticking to the facts: what significant invention or discovery have Muslims made in the last thousand years? Electricity? Electromagnetic waves? Antibiotics? The combustion engine? Computers? No, nothing, at least nothing that makes for a modern civilisation. And it's the same now. And according to the religious fanatics, that also doesn't matter. Their thoughts are still stuck in the 12th century.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How strong is the degree of radicalization within the Pakistani army, which has at least about the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world?

Hoodbhoy: The army can hardly be different in composition than the society from which they are recruited. Pakistani society has the Islamist agenda given a place, and this is equally true for the armed forces. The military therefore faces great difficulties. There are officers who see themselves as part of Pakistan's army. And there are officers who see themselves as part of the Army of Islam. The secular forces within the armed forces see the quite concerned, but they have no answer to this challenge.Hmmm.......A brave and intelligent man.Read the full story here.

Video - WildBillforAmerica "Obama's Goal"

Video - "RESET" - Russian politicians Refused to Shake Obama's Hand (July 6-8, 2009).

FBI intent on sniffing out those who leaked possible US Stuxnet role.


FBI intent on sniffing out those who leaked possible US Stuxnet role.(NakedSecurity).by Lisa Vaas.Federal investigators in the US are tightening the screws on former senior government officials who might have leaked info about the Stuxnet worm, according to The Washington Post.
Last June, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. started the inquiry into loose lips.
As Naked Security recounts here, the Stuxnet virus was seemingly created by the US, under the regime of President George W. Bush, to target Iran's nuclear facility in Natanz.
The US pulled Israel into the cyber-espionage effort, with stunning results.
Those results included slowing down and speeding up a centrifuge's delicate parts, which resulted in damage so extreme that, according to The New York Times, debris from a damaged centrifuge was laid across the conference table at the White House's Situation Room to demonstrate the malware's potential power.
But the obligingly destructive Stuxnet spun out of control and escaped into the wider world, damaging systems well beyond Iran.
In spite of the virus going maverick, President Barack Obama secretly authorized continued attacks, according to the NYT.
 The code name for the Stuxnet operation was Olympic Games.
Olympic Games, indeed: The administration's efforts to find and punish those who informed the press about Stuxnet are reaching strenuous levels.
One person familiar with the investigation told the Washington Post that prosecutors are pursuing "everybody - at pretty high levels, too... There are many people who’ve been contacted from different agencies."

That includes several current and former senior government officials. The Washington Post reports that investigators are confronting these high-level officials with evidence of contact with journalists that's based on extensive analysis of their email accounts and phone records.
Six officials have already been prosecuted for disclosing classified information, and more senior-level officials may yet be implicated.
The FBI's manhunt has been aided by increasingly sophisticated data-crunching tools to sift through huge volumes of email.
Outside of its use in investigating Olympic Games leaks, such data-crunching technology has led to one recent prison term—that of John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer sentenced on Friday to 30 months in prison for disclosing to a journalist the identity of an undercover CIA officer - and the high-profile resignation of Gen. David H. Petraeus, who resigned as CIA director after the FBI discovered emails implicating him in an extramarital affair.
Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian has written an extensive and thoughtful post about how the Stuxnet leaks investigation demonstrates, in his opinion, the Obama administration's devotion to maintaining and increasing its secrecy power.
 It's not hard to come to the same conclusion that Mother Jones did: war has been declared against whistleblowers, and the administration is taking it to what some believe are troubling extremes.

The Guardian's Greenwald writes:
"Given how subservient the federal judiciary is to government secrecy claims, it is not hyperbole to describe unauthorized leaks as the only real avenue remaining for learning about what the US government does - particularly for discovering the bad acts it commits. That is why the Obama administration is waging an unprecedented war against it - a war that continually escalates - and it is why it is so threatening."

Vitter, Issa Investigate EPA’s Transparency Problem, More Suspicious E-mail Accounts.


Vitter, Issa Investigate EPA’s Transparency Problem, More Suspicious E-mail Accounts.(wattsupwiththat).by Anthony Watts.
EPA Region 8 Administrator violates e-mail rule, uses private e-mail accounts to conduct official business
(Washington, D.C.) – In a joint letter sent today, Senator David Vitter (R-La.), the top Republican of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, questioned James Martin, Region 8 Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), regarding his use of a non-official e-mail account to conduct official business, potentially violating federal transparency laws.
In documents obtained by Senate EPW and House OGR committees, Administrator Martin used a non-official, me.com, e-mail account, which may have been an attempt to circumvent the Federal Records Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and Congressional oversight.
We’ve seen EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s ‘Richard Windsor’ e-mails, and now we have a regional administrator who appears to be dodging the agency’s mandatory recordkeeping policy,” said Vitter. “The American people have to be wondering where this will stop. The EPA owes us all some answers about their absolute disregard for transparency.
This administration took office promising to be the ‘most transparent’ in history, but repeated actions have undermined this ambitious goal,” said Issa. “Investigations have revealed widespread disregard for transparency and record-keeping laws in multiple agencies and even in the White House. We need to get this administration beyond just cleaning up the mess after they’re caught red-handed in flagrant violations of transparency laws and to address the root causes of failures to conduct public business transparently.
EPA instructs its employees to “not use any outside e-mail account to conduct official Agency business.” However, the documents obtained by the Committees suggest that Administrator Martin regularly used a non-official e-mail account to conduct official business, and it does not appear to be an isolated incident.
The Committees are investigating whether Administrator Martin’s use of multiple e-mail accounts is symptomatic of a broader problem at the EPA.
The text of Vitter and Issa’s letter to EPA Region 8 Administrator Martin is below:

==========================================================
January 29, 2013
Mr. James B. Martin
Administrator, Region 8
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1595 Wynkoop Street
Denver, CO 80202
Dear Administrator Martin:
We write to inquire about your use of Apple’s me.com, a non-official e-mail account to conduct official business as the Region 8 Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. In particular, documents released pursuant to litigation recently obtained by the Committees confirm that you have used this non-official e-mail account to conduct official business.[1] We are concerned that your use of the me.com e-mail account may be an attempt to circumvent the Federal Records Act, the Freedom of Information Act, and Congressional oversight. Accordingly, we are writing to request your cooperation as the Committees investigate whether this is an isolated incident or symptomatic of a broader problem at EPA.
In the limited production obtained by our respective Committees, it appears that on at least one occasion you used an Apple me.com address, a non-official e-mail account, to schedule an official business meeting. Specifically, an email from Vickie Patton, the General Counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund to this private e-mail said, “Hi Jim, Next Monday or Tuesday December 12/13 at 9am depending on which is best for you.”[2] In response, you replied from this private e-mail account with, “January 13 at 9:00 am works for me if that works for you. (Lost your original note – is that the date and time you proposed?).”[3] It is our understanding that this meeting did in fact take place at the EPA regional office. Moreover, it is unclear whether you attempted to preserve the correspondence as an EPA record, as is required by law.
The use of personal, non-official e-mail accounts raises concerns that you could be attempting to insulate this and other e-mail correspondence from a Freedom of Information Act[4] request. Moreover, your actions may also constitute violation of the Federal Records Act.[5] In accordance with the Federal Records Act and guidance from the D.C. Circuit, federal agencies must preserve e-mail messages if they are:
made or received by an agency of the United States Government under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and preserved or appropriate for preservation by that agency or its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the Government or because of the informational value of data in them.[6] (emphasis added).
To be clear, it does not appear that this transaction was an isolated incident. Rather, the body of emails suggests that you regularly used this personal email account to stay informed on matters relating to your official duties. For example, not only did Ms. Patton regularly send updates to the me.com account, according to one document, you used this non-official account to request contact information for another government employee, which was provided as a private e-mail address.[7]
As the Region 8 Administrator, I expect you would have knowledge of EPA’s policy that explicitly prohibits use of non-EPA e-mails for business purposes. In 2008, EPA wrote to the Government Accountability Office that “EPA has a clear and consistent policy framework against the use of nongovernmental e-mail systems for official EPA business.”[8] During EPA’s briefing on Records Management to incoming political appointees in 2009, EPA instructed, “[d]o not use any outside e-mail account to conduct official Agency business.”[9] More recently, in October 2012, EPA sent an agency-wide e-mail reminding employees of this policy. Specifically, the email stated: “[t]his is a reminder to all EPA Employees that EPA prohibits the use of non-EPA E-Mail Systems when conducting agency business. This guidance is stated in Agency Records Training, New Employee Orientations and Briefings for Senior Agency Officials.”[10] (emphasis added).
In both the agency-wide e-mail and the Frequently Asked Questions about E-Mail and Records webpage, EPA states that employees are prohibited from using “any outside e-mail system to conduct official Agency business. If, during an emergency, you use a non-EPA e-mail system, you are responsible for ensuring that any e-mail records and attachments are saved in your office’s recordkeeping system.”[11] (emphasis added) It does not appear that there were any emergency circumstances surrounding the use of your personal email, but even if there were, it appears that you still failed to preserve the e-mails in the proper recordkeeping system. Thus, under all plausible circumstances, your private e-mails demonstrate a clear violation of EPA policy and federal law.
In an effort to better understand whether or not the emails provided to our Committees are an unfortunate, but isolated incident, or if they are part of a larger scheme to defeat federal transparency laws, we request that you provide all emails sent or received from any private email account from April 1, 2010, through present day that refer or relate to your responsibilities as an EPA official. This request includes all emails sent or received by you, whether or not they are currently in your “inbox.” Moreover, I request that you make yourself available for a transcribed interview with both Committee staffs the week of February 11, 2013.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. If you have any questions, please contact Kristina Moore with the Committee on Environment and Public Works at (202) 224-6176 or Tyler Grimm with the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform at (202) 225-5074.
Sincerely,
David Vitter Darrell E. Issa
Ranking Member Chairman
Environment and Public Works Oversight and Government Reform
Cc: Chairman Barbara Boxer, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
Ranking Member, House Oversight and Government Reform


[1] See Michael Bastasch, Top EPA official used private email account to correspond with environmental groups, Daily Caller News Foundation (Jan. 10, 2013), available at http://dailycaller.com/2013/01/10/top-epa-official-uses-private-email-account-to-correspond-with-environmental-groups/.
[2] See http://www.scribd.com/doc/119719232/CEI-v-EPA-Region-8-Martin-Reply-Declaration (last accessed Jan. 16, 2013).
[3] Id.
[4] See 5 U.S.C. § 552
[5] See 44 U.S.C. § 31
[6] Armstrong v. Executive Office of the President, 1 F.3d 1274, 1278 (D.C. Cir. 1993).
[7] Note 2 supra.
[8] GOV’T ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE, FEDERAL RECORDS: NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND SELECTED AGENCIES NEED TO STRENGTHEN E-MAIL MANAGEMENT, 61, GAO008-742 (June 2008).
[9] Records and ECMS Briefing, EPA Incoming Political Appointees 2009 [On file with Committee].
[10] NRMP Alert: Do Not Use Outside Email Systems to Conduct Agency Business [On file with Committee].
[11] ENVTL. PROT. AGENCY, Frequent Questions about E-Mail and Records http://www.epa.gov/records/faqs/email.htm (last accessed Jan. 16, 2013).
==============================================================
The actual letter is attached also, you can view it here:
Region 8 joint letter final VitterIssa 01292013 (1) (PDF)
It should also be noted that this has come to light thanks to the work of Chris Horner and ATI, who forced production of these documents by EPA in their FOI litigation.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...