Iranian TV: Facebook CEO - a Zionist who offered a price for Israelis to kill Palestinians...
My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (www.freethinkingfilms.com)
Of course, we put Zion into the logo....everybody knows we control the IOC...
Iran has protested against the already controversial logo for the 2012 Olympic Games, saying the emblem is racist and spells the word 'Zion,' the ILNA news agency reported on Monday.
Iran's national Olympic committee have written to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) making an official complaint about the logo and are threatening to boycott the Games.
The jagged, multi-coloured emblem, which reportedly cost £400,000 (nearly $650,000), features four bold numerals representing 2012, with the signature Olympic Rings emblazoned within the digit zero.
But Mohammad Aliabadi, head of the national Olympic committee in the Islamic republic, said the logo was undermining the event and accused the British organisers of indulging in "racism," ILNA reported.
"Unfortunately, we all are witnessing that the upcoming Olympics ... faces a serious challenge, definitely spawned out of some people's racist spirit," Aliabadi said in a letter to IOC president Jacques Rogge.
"The use of the word Zion by the designer of the Olympics logo ... in the emblem of the Olympics Games 2012 is a very revolting act," he added, warning that if Rogge did not act, the logo would "affect the participation of several countries, especially Iran, which insists on following principles and values"
And, how many other Universities have taken money from dictatorships in the Middle East???
The Times (£) reports that half the board of the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics, which has received money from Libya among other Arab dictatorships, has called for a boycott of Israel, the one democracy in the Middle East.
Now, apparently, there are some red faces:
The university has already been urged by its own dons to give up the £300,000 it received from a foundation headed by the son of Colonel Gaddafi. Howard Davies, the LSE director, is said to have told academics this week that he was ashamed of the institution’s links to the dictatorship.
Questions have been emerging about the LSE’s wider reliance on finance from authoritarian regimes. One of its lecture halls has been named in honour of a sheikh reputed to have promoted anti-Semitic material.
An academic source said the university has become nervous about being seen as anti-Israel because of a threat to donations from American alumni.
Fresh concerns are focused on the LSE’s Middle East Centre. The body was designed to promote impartiality, academic freedom and the strengthening of links with universities in the region. But critics point out that two of the four-strong management group are campaigners for an academic boycott of Israel.
Martha Mundy, an anthropologist, is co-convener of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine. John Chalcraft, a politics expert, argued for boycotting Israel in a debate at the LSE last month. The motion was defeated. The centre was set up with £9.2 million which came partly from the Emirates Foundation, which is chaired by the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, a member of the ruling Royal Family. Tony Blair, who was Prime Minister when it was established in 2006, attended the signing of a ‘memorandum of understanding’.
Students objected to the subsequent naming of a lecture theatre in honour of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, the late UAE ruler. Their union said: ‘To name [the theatre] after a dead dictator with suspected links to Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism is completely beyond the pale.’
Can we blame Israel for this???
A prominent Christian surgeon in the Gaza Strip said assailants threw a bomb at his vehicle and sent him threatening messages.
Dr. Maher Ayyad, 55, says no one was hurt in Friday's bombing, though the explosion damaged his brother's vehicle.
He said Sunday that after the blast, he received text messages to halt evangelical work or face harsh punishment. Ayyad says he does not preach his faith.
The Chinese running the oil industry....the Russians supplying arms....
Russia could lose almost $4.0 billion in arms export contracts to Libya after Moscow joined other world powers in slapping an arms embargo on Moamer Kadhafi's regime, a report said on Sunday.
The Interfax news agency quoted a military source as saying that Russia had an order book for contracts from Libya worth $2.0 billion while negotiations had been in progress for deals worth $1.8 billion more.
"Among the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, Libya is one of the main buyers of Russian weapons," the source, which was not identified, told the agency.
"As of today, contracts for military hardware of around $2.0 billion had been agreed with Libya.
"Work on contracts for aviation equipment and air defence was also in the final stage. These were valued at $1.8 billion," the source said.
Christopher Booker is a must-read on climate change...
As the great global warming scare continues to crumble, attention focuses on all those groups that have a huge interest in keeping it alive. Governments look on it as an excuse to raise billions of pounds in taxes. Wind farm developers make fortunes from the hidden subsidies we pay through our electricity bills. A vast academic industry receives more billions for concocting the bogus science that underpins the scare. Carbon traders hope to make billions from corrupt schemes based on buying and selling the right to emit CO2. But no financial interest stands to make more from exaggerating the risks of climate change than the re-insurance industry, which charges retail insurers for “catastrophe cover”, paid for by all of us through our premiums.
An insight into this was given by a paper published by Nature on February 17, which claimed to show for the first time how man-made climate change greatly increases the risk of flood damage. Among the eight authors of the paper are two of the most influential scientists at the heart of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Prof Peter Stott of the UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre and Dr Myles Allen, head of Oxford’s Climate Dynamics Group. Two of their co-authors are from Risk Management Solutions (RMS), a California-based firm which is the world leader in advising the insurance industry on climate change.
The study, based entirely on computer models, focused on the exceptional flooding that took place in England and Wales in the autumn of 2000. Its conclusion – that climate change could increase the chance of flooding by up to 90 per cent – was widely publicised, without questioning, by all the usual media cheerleaders for global warming, led by the BBC’s Richard Black (“Climate change increases flood risk, researchers say”).
When less partisan observers examined the paper, however, they were astonished. Although Nature has long been a leading propagandist for man-made climate change, this example seemed truly bizarre. Why had this strangely opaque study been based solely on the results of a series of computer models – mainly provided by the Hadley Centre and RMS – and not on any historical data about rainfall and river flows?
The Met Office’s own records show no upward trend in UK rainfall between 1961 and 2004. Certainly autumn 2000 showed an unusual rainfall maximum, but it was exceeded in 1930. The graph between then and 2010 shows no significant upward trend. While 2000 may have seen a lot of rain, 1768 and 1872 were even wetter. In the real world, the data show no evidence of an increase in UK rainfall at all. Any idea that there is one seemed to be entirely an artefact of the computer models.
On Friday came the fullest and most expert dissection of the Nature paper so far, published on the Watts Up With That website by Willis Eschenbach, a very experienced computer modeller. His findings are devastating. After detailed analysis of the study’s multiple flaws, he sums up by accusing Nature of “trying to pass off the end-result of a long daisy-chain of specifically selected, untested, unverified, un-investigated computer models as valid, falsifiable, peer-reviewed science”.
His conclusion is worth quoting at some length: “When your results represent the output of four computer models, fed into a fifth computer model, whose output goes to a sixth computer model, which is calibrated against a seventh computer model, and then your results are compared to a series of different results from the fifth computer model, but run with different parameters, in order to show that flood risks have increased from greenhouse gases…” you cannot pretend that this is “a valid representation of reality”, let alone “a sufficiently accurate representation of reality to guide our future actions”.
This is precisely why the Nature study is of such significance – because it will undoubtedly be used to guide future actions, which will in one way or another impact on all our lives.
For a start, consider the players in this drama. Prof Stott and Dr Allen have long been among the most influential scientists in the world in stoking up climate alarmism. A famous analysis by John McClean showed that they played a key part in compiling the single most important chapter in the IPCC’s last report, in 2007. The chapter, entitled “Understanding and attributing climate change”, cited many more papers by them than anyone else. They have now been appointed as lead authors of the relevant chapter in the next IPCC report, “Detection and attribution of climate change”, which will guide the actions of governments all over the world.
His Ukranian 'nurse' is heading home....
The "voluptuous" Ukrainian nurse US diplomats believe accompanies Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi is about to return home to Kiev, her daughter said in an interview published today.
US diplomatic cables disclosed by the WikiLeaks website suggest that the Libyan leader is reliant on a small team of Ukrainian nurses and particularly a "voluptuous blonde" identified as Galyna Kolotnytska.
The woman's daughter, Tatyana, told Ukraine's Segodnya daily that her mother has been shocked by the violence raging in Libya and is planning to return to her suburban Kiev residence.
"Mom called yesterday. She says that she is in Tripoli," Tatyana Kolotnytska told the daily.
"There is shooting, fighting and everything else they show on television. She spoke in a calm voice, asked us not to worry, and said she will be home soon."
The diplomatic cables, which were sent by diplomats in Tripoli to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009, reveal that Gaddafi is almost always accompanied by Kolotnytska.
"Gaddafi relies heavily on his long-time Ukrainian nurse, Galyna Kolotnytska, who has been described as a 'voluptuous blonde'," said one dispatch using the US State Department's standard spelling for the Libyan strongman.
"Of the rumoured staff of four Ukrainian nurses that cater to the Leader's health and well-being, XXX emphasized ... that Gaddafi cannot travel without Kolotnytska, as she alone 'knows his routine'," the dispatch said.
Gee, what does it take for Obama to actually do something???
Unless the administration seriously envisages a future that includes the continued private ownership of Libya and its people by Qaddafi and his terrible offspring, it's a sheer matter of prudence and realpolitik, to say nothing of principle, to adopt a policy that makes the opposite assumption. Libya is—in point of population and geography—mainly a coastline. The United States, with or without allies, has unchallengeable power in the air and on the adjacent waters. It can produce great air lifts and sea lifts of humanitarian and medical aid, which will soon be needed anyway along the Egyptian and Tunisian borders, and which would purchase undreamed-of goodwill. It has the chance to make up for its pointless, discredited tardiness with respect to events in Cairo and Tunis. It also has a president who has shown at least the capacity to deliver great speeches on grand themes. Instead, and in the crucial and formative days in which revolutions are decided, we have had to endure the futile squawkings of a cuckoo clock.
On top of their anti-semitism, they are just plain stupid...
The Nation of Islam, long known for its promotion of black nationalism and self-reliance, now is calling attention to another core belief that perhaps isn't so well-known: the existence of UFOs.
When thousands of followers gather in suburban Chicago this weekend for the group's annual Saviours' Day convention, one of the main events will include a panel of scientists discussing worldwide UFO sightings, which they claim are on the rise.
The idea of seeking the divine in the skies is deeply rooted in the Chicago-based Nation of Islam, whose late leader Elijah Muhammad detailed in speeches and writings a massive hovering object loaded with weapons he called "The Mother Plane" -- although religion experts, Nation of Islam leaders and believers offer very different interpretations of what exactly happens aboard the plane, its role or how it fits into religious teachings.
It's one of the group's more misunderstood -- and ridiculed -- beliefs, something organizers took into account when planning the convention, which starts Friday and ends Sunday with Minister Louis Farrakhan's keynote address.
"There's enough evidence that has been put before the world and public," Ishmael Muhammad, the religion's national assistant minister, told The Associated Press. "There have been enough accounts and sightings and enough movies (documentaries) made, I don't think you would find too many people that would call it crazy."
During last year's Saviours' Day speech, Farrakhan for the first time in years discussed in detail a vision he had in Mexico in 1985 involving an object he calls "the wheel." Using charts, photos and drawings, he spent almost four hours describing how he was invited aboard and heard Elijah Muhammad speak to him. Farrakhan says that experience led him to inklings about future events.
Farrakhan, 77, has said the wheel, with its great capacity for destruction, contains the "wisdom to purify the planet," but has harmed no one so far. He also claimed there have been governmental attempts to cover-up proof of the wheel, which he says many call UFOs.
Over 12,000 Chinese nationals have been taken out of Libya...did any other country have that many people in Libya???
Some 12,000 Chinese nationals have been evacuated from riot-torn Libya in the ongoing large-scale evacuation operations by Friday morning, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed.
Israel is aware of other Syrian nuclear facilities...
Israeli intelligence agencies are aware of additional Syrian nuclear facilities, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Thursday, amid reports that Syria was harboring a uranium conversion reactor near the town of Marj as-Sultan, about 15 km. east of Damascus.
The German Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper on Thursday identified the location of the site, which is suspected of containing a small uranium conversion facility that is functionally related to the covert reactor at al-Kibar that the Israel Air Force destroyed in September 2007.
According to the newspaper and a subsequent analysis of satellite footage by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), the facility is reportedly intended for processing uranium yellowcake into uranium tetrafluoride (UF4), and could have been related to making fuel for the reactor destroyed in 2007.
Barak said that Israeli intelligence and the International Atomic Energy Agency were aware of the Syrian facilities and that United Nations inspectors were working to gain access to them.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declined to comment on the reports, but Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon was quoted as warning Syrian President Bashar Assad “not to challenge us.”
Minister-without-Portfolio Yossi Peled told Israel Radio that Israel would not allow hostile countries to obtain nuclear weapons.
“Assad has already proven that he has negative intentions,” Ya’alon said on the sidelines of an IDF memorial service. “We know him as someone who is connected to Iran on one side and Hezbollah on the other.”
Shame on the Norwegians...
The Israeli Embassy in Oslo, Norway was officially notified a few days ago that it must move to another location within a year, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Monday.
According to the Norwegians, the embassy poses a security threat to its surroundings and has had a negative impact on the residents' quality of life.
Michael Eligal, Israel's ambassador to Oslo, sent the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem a cable saying embassy staffers were having a hard time finding an alternate site. "Our search has been frustrating, to say the least," the envoy wrote. "No one wants to sell us property."
A Foreign Ministry official said the affair is indicative of a new low in Israel-Norway relations. "The authorities in Norway are capitulating to public opinion that is hostile to Israel," he said. "They are doing everything they can to make things more difficult on the embassy."
The Oil Sands are going to deliver prosperity to Canada...
The chief economist of the International Energy Agency recently did some crystal ball gazing in Toronto on what the future of energy might look like and his conclusions are worth a look.
A few aspects of Fatih Birol's presentation stand out, namely where the world's oil supply is going to come from, the implications of the growing natural gas glut and the role of renewable energy in decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.
Anyone who still hasn't grasped the significance of Canada's oilsands resource would do well to pay attention to the IEA's analysis.
Between 2009-2035, the IEA shows that more of the world's incremental oil production will come from a smaller number of producers. The fact the 13 names are primarily members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, as well as the name at the top of the list being Saudi Arabia shouldn't surprise anyone.
But what might raise a few eyebrows are the non-OPEC producers that are on the list, not to mention those that are not.
The IEA's analysis puts the second largest producer as Iraq -which of course presumes the country will be able to develop its massive oil reserves. This, of course, depends on political stability that, in turn, will attract much needed foreign capital and expertise.
The third, fourth and fifth spots are occupied by non-OPEC players: Brazil, Kazakhstan and Canada.
The rest of the spots are filled by OPEC players; the country notably absent from the analysis is Russia.
What does all this mean in the context of what's going on today?
Brazil and Canada, and to a lesser extent Kazakhstan, represent the rising importance of the unconventional oil reserves. Brazil has its deepwater plays, Canada the oilsands and much of Kazakhstan's oil lies below the Caspian Sea.
What's even more interesting is the role Canada will play -even as production ramps up in Iraq. There has been a good amount of discussion in oil circles of late on the question of the impact more oil produced from Iraq could have on the demand for Canada's oilsands.
The one conclusion to draw from this is fairly clear: increased production from Iraq is unlikely to have a negative impact on the demand for Canada's unconventional barrels; the world is going to need every drop of oil because of the surging demand for cars in China and other developing countries. According to Birol's presentation, the number of cars on the road by 2035 will be 1.6 billion, with more than half in China and the developing world.
The other take-away from the presentation from Canada's perspective is that the importance of the oilsands in meeting the world's energy needs is going to more than offset the ongoing opposition from environmental groups to the continued development of the resource.
The environmental organizations may well want to protest in Washington, D.C. -as they did on Wednesday -warning this time of heightened safety risk associated with pipelines carrying oilsands crude into the U.S. because the oil is apparently more corrosive and could result in another spill. The groups were asking the government to suspend new permits for pipelines into the U.S., a move clearly aimed at the yet-tobe approved Keystone XL pipeline that would carry oilsands crude to refineries in the Gulf Coast.
But Birol's analysis is fairly clear those barrels are important in meeting the world's incremental demand -especially in the absence of other viable substitutes. Birol notes the growing presence of renewables, but also notes that they remain dependent on government subsidies -to the tune of $205 billion by 2035 from $57 billion in 2009.
It was the right thing to do, but I have a huge issue in how Obama played the whole issue.
The Obama Administration was right to cast its vote against the Security Council Resolution condemning the continuation of "all" settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "illegal" and a "major obstacle" to "peace on the basis of the two-state solution."
Although I oppose the expansion of Israeli civilian settlements deep into the West Bank, I also strongly opposed the one-sided, overbroad, legally erroneous and factually inaccurate resolution.
Read as intended by its draftsmen, the vetoed resolution would include the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem and the Western Wall as "occupied Palestinian territory," even though Jordan originally captured and desecrated these Jewish holy places illegally when it attacked the new Jewish state in 1948. Israel lawfully recaptured these areas in a defensive war started by Jordan in 1967. They are not occupied territory and Israel is entitled to build as much as it wants to there.
The resolution would also include heavily populated Jewish areas—such as Maale Adumim and Gilo—that the Palestinian Authority had previously agreed, in principle, would remain part of Israel in any negotiated borders of a two-state solution. It would declare "illegal" such activities as building up the Jewish Quarter, that are clearly legal, as well as activities, such as continuing to build the security barrier, that save human lives and have been found to be entirely legal by the Supreme Court of Israel and numerous legal scholars.
Finally, it would omit activities by the Palestinians—ranging from firing rockets at civilians, inciting violence against Jews, refusal to recognize Israel as the Homeland of the Jewish people, refusing to sit down and negotiate, and rejecting generous offers made by Israel in 2000, 2001 and 2008—that have been the real "obstacles" to "peace on the basis of the two-state solution."
Even more important, passage of such a biased resolution would have discouraged the Palestinian Authority from coming to the negotiating table and trying to resolve their differences with Israel by compromise. Why compromise if the United Nations and the United States are prepared to give them what they want without any negotiation? The international community is sending that destructive message to the Palestinians by threatening to recognize a Palestinian state based on a unilateral declaration by the Palestinian Authority. The vetoed Security Council resolution, pushed by the Palestinian Authority, was part of this unilateral strategy that would make peace, which can only be achieved through negotiation, more difficult.
By demanding that Israel "immediately and completely cease all settlement activities," broadly defined, and demanding absolutely nothing of the Palestinians in return, the resolution—if implemented—would substitute fiat for negotiation and make it more difficult for the Palestinian Authority to offer realistic compromises. The Security Council cannot be perceived by the Palestinian people as being more pro-Palestinian than the Palestinian Authority. The only road to peace, a two-state solution and an end of the occupation is mutual compromise through negotiation—land for peace. This is how peace—cold and tentative as it may be—was achieved with Egypt and Jordan. There were no unilateral declarations or one-sided Security Council resolutions. But if Israel is forced to give up land it captured lawfully in a defensive war without getting anything in return, there will be no peace.
What is forgotten in all this is that it is the Israelis who want to sit down and negotiate a two-state solution and an end to the occupation. They have offered to begin negotiations immediately without any preconditions. The Palestinian Authority has demanded preconditions, and Hamas refuses to negotiate a two-state solution under any circumstances. But you wouldn't know that reading the proposed resolution.
A pessimistic appraisal from Benny Morris...
Prediction is always risky or plain silly, but my guess is that when the dust settles, which it will, in a month or two or three's time, one will see that Western—and Israeli—interests in the Middle East will have been substantially undermined and anti-Western—and anti-Israeli—interests substantially bolstered. Similarly, one will see that the regimes which are, by nature and tradition very brutal, such as Iran's, Syria's and possibly Libya's, will weather the storm whereas those which are softer, more inclined to measures of liberalisation, partly because of attentiveness to messages from Washington, will either have fallen or will have given ground, and a large measure of power, to anti-Western, often Islamist, elements within each country.To be clear, I support the uprisings against all of these horrible dictatorial regimes. But, as my good friend Terry Glavin likes to say, contradictions may be sharpened.
The regimes that have already collapsed, and will either collapse in the near future, or will suffer a large measure of curtailment of their power, are those of Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and the Gulf states. (people tend to forget that Lebanon, not Tunisia, was the "first to go", though there the threat of radical action rather than actual street violence was the precipitant). In the Gulf states, with large Shi'ite populations—such as in Bahrain, where the Shi'ites constitute the overwhelming majority—Iran's influence will vastly increase, in one or two of them, perhaps to the point of domination. One has yet to see how what is happening will affect eastern Saudi Arabia, via its large Shi'ite minority. (In recent days, I haven't seen much written about Iranian involvement in the Bahrein upheaval. I have little doubt that it was intense.)
In all the others—Lebanon, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia (where is Morocco?), Iraq, Jordan, and Yemen—help to the American "War on Terror" will be considerably reduced, or will vanish altogether, as the new regimes bow to the "will of the people" and anti-Western Muslim or secular parties.
Obama's enlightened liberalism, encouraging street protests and discouraging the regimes' clampdowns, or, alternatively, his calculation that the tiger will in any event win out so best to ride him and appear benevolent towards the regime-changers, will in the end result in growing American alienation in the Middle East.The masses will rage against America however much money Washington pours in in emergency funding (vide grassroots anti-American feelings in Pakistan, despite largescale American post-disaster assistance).
Similarly, a greater frostiness will enter into attitudes across the Middle East towards Israel (a frostiness, to be sure, that will aid the Israeli right in rebuffing efforts to conciliate the Palestinians and will encourage the Palestinians in their obduracy and inflexibility on such issues as refugee return, settlements, etc.). In Egypt, opposition elements are already calling for revocation of the 1979 peace treaty with the Jewish state or, at the least, "reconsidering it" and a permanent end to the multi-billion dollar gas exports to Israel. (It appears that the gas pipeline, cut by sabotage near El Arish in Sinai a fortnight ago, has not yet been re-activated, whether for technical or political reasons is unclear. Israel, and perhaps Wahington, are quietly trying to press the Egyptians to renew supplies.) The post-Mubarak caretaker military regime responded to the treaty controversy with a general statement about Egypt "respecting its international commitments"—but shied well away from explicitly including the treaty with Israel (some generals may themselves oppose the treaty; and certainly such an explicit commitment would have riled the masses, which the military regime is keen to avoid.)
The latest news from Cairo (Monday) is that the caretaker government has decided to lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip, which supplemented the Israeli siege of the Hamas-controlled territory since the fundamentalists took over in 2006-2007. Hundreds of Gazans will start crossing the Gaza-Sinai border tomorrow; it is unclear whether the Egyptians will attempt to control the flow of arms and ammunition to Gaza as they did during the Mubarak years.
The Egyptian masses, like those in other Arab countries, are in some measure anti-Israeli because of decades of deliberate unrestrained anti-Israeli (and, often, anti-Semitic) media incitement. There is substantial support for the Hamas, which is the Palestine branch of Egypt's fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood movement.
In Egypt, while peace was the official policy, government spokesmen often publicly castigated Israel (sometimes justifiably) and took great offense when Israelis said anything critical about Egypt. There was never any symmetry.
But more importantly, the Cairo govermment—contrary to its treaty obligations—allowed the media completely free rein in damning the Jewish state and its behavior, while internal criticism of the regime itself or other aspects of the regime's policies was severely restricted. Israel was the one area where, under the dictators Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak, "freedom" was given its head. A good example was furnished a few weeks before the January uprising when the Egyptian media ran stories charging that the Mossad had organized a recent spate of shark attacks on swimmers in the Sinai resort of Sharm al Sheikh. It was explained that this was a means of harming Egypt's tourism industry.
Time to get serious about Syria...
A second suspected nuclear installation has been identified in Syria, according to commercial satellite photos, providing new evidence that Damascus may have been pursuing atomic weapons before a 2007 Israeli military strike.
The publishing Wednesday of the photos by Washington's Institute for Science and International Security could increase pressure on the United Nations to demand expansive new inspections of suspect Syrian facilities during a March board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
IAEA inspectors visited eastern Syria in 2008 and reported that they recovered traces of processed uranium from a site called Dair Alzour, which the Bush administration alleged housed a nearly operational nuclear reactor. Israeli jets destroyed the facility nearly eight months before the IAEA's visit.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government has rebuffed repeated IAEA requests to conduct additional inspections of the site as well as three other facilities the U.N. agency believes could be related to a covert Syrian nuclear program. Damascus's rejection of IAEA inspections could result in Syria being declared noncompliant with its U.N. commitments and referred to the Security Council for formal censuring.
Mr. Assad denied in an interview with The Wall Street Journal last month that his government has pursued a nuclear program. He also said he wouldn't allow the IAEA expansive powers to inspect his country.
The photos published by the ISIS think tank identifies what it says are one of the three additional sites the IAEA believes could be connected to the Dair Alzour facility. In a series of photos, ISIS displays what it alleges were apparent Syrian attempts to disguise the activities of site after the Israeli attack.
"Laying down a new foundation could be an attempt to defeat the environmental sampling the IAEA inspectors would like to carry out to see if uranium was present," the ISIS report reads.
ISIS says the location and contours of the building suggests it housed uranium-conversion equipment that is used to produce nuclear fuel. The facility, in a town called Marj as Sultan, is on the outskirts of Syria's capital, Damascus.
ISIS said it located the site using commercial satellite images based on information provided by sources at the IAEA as well as by a report in the German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
A few people have mentioned that perhaps the Americans should fire a cruise missile at the Presidential Palace in Tripoli - getting rid of Qaddafi once and for all.
The Egyptians may no longer contain them...
Three years behind bars in Egypt made Ayman Nofal a symbol of President Hosni Mubarak's clampdown on the enemies of Israel. A week on the run turned him into a symbol of Israel's heightened insecurity in a roiling Middle East.
Grazed by sniper fire during a mass prison break, Mr. Nofal, a senior military commander in the Gaza Strip's ruling Hamas movement, said he borrowed a cellphone to mobilize a network of Palestinian and Bedouin contacts who spirited him across the Sinai Desert and back home through a dirt tunnel under the border to a hero's welcome.
"We're preparing for the next battle," Mr. Nofal said in an interview.
To Israel, his return to the Palestinian enclave is an unsettling sign that Egypt's commitment to isolating Hamas and shutting down its crossborder network is waning. That development, Israeli officials say, is the most pressing of many security threats stemming from the departure of Mr. Mubarak, the Jewish state's only reliable regional ally.
Two Israeli officials familiar with intelligence reports said this week that Hamas, emboldened by Mr. Mubarak's resignation and its own successful crackdown on popular discontent at home, had stepped up the smuggling of militants and weapons through Egypt to be stockpiled in Gaza for use against Israel.
On Friday, Hamas won high-profile backing from Cairo when the influential Islamic cleric Yussuf al-Qaradawi, speaking at a large opposition rally, urged the interim military rulers to open "dignified negotiations" with Hamas and lift a wider blockade of Gaza that Mr. Mubarak had coordinated with Israel.
Egypt's interim leadership is divided over whether to lift the blockade, according to former Egyptian officials and analysts familiar with the military's thinking. Even if the blockade holds for now, Israeli officials worry that popular sentiment in Egypt will push an elected government lift it and cool the two neighbors' 32-year-old security alliance.
"The question is what influence people like Qaradawi will have on future Egyptian governments," said a senior Israeli official. "If you have people sympathetic to Hamas sitting in the government there, that's a game changer."
Israel and Egypt imposed a land and sea blockade on Gaza after Hamas won Palestinian Authority parliamentary elections in 2006.
The Islamist movement, which Israel and the U.S. label a terrorist group, took full control of the seaside enclave in 2007 and stepped up rocket attacks on Israel's border communities.
A 23-day Israeli assault on Gaza two years ago all but stopped the rocket fire. Thanks to the Mubarak regime, Israeli officials say, the supply of rockets and other weapons sent by Iran through Egypt to Gaza slowed, although Hamas's extensive smuggling network remains intact.
The blockade has crippled Gaza's economy and confined its 1.5 million people. But so far it has failed in its ultimate aim of bringing down Hamas.
The movement has lost popularity in opinion polls and postponed elections, but a pervasive police apparatus has helped it weather the democratic ferment sweeping the region.
Wary of unrest at home, Hamas refrained from comment as Egyptians demanding Mr. Mubarak's ouster surged into Cairo's Tahrir Square. Security police summoned participants in an anti-Hamas Facebook campaign and seized their computers, then broke up the small crowds that tried to gather for an Egypt-style "dignity uprising."
The moment Egypt's protesters triumphed, however, the Hamas leadership embraced their cause as its own. Uniformed Hamas militants joined the celebratory crowds in Gaza City, firing guns into the air. Mubarak Children's Hospital, built in Gaza with Egyptian donations before Hamas's rise to power, was renamed Tahrir.
Hamas leaders say they expect a friendlier regime in Cairo, one that would abandon the blockade and Mr. Mubarak's passive support for Israeli military incursions in Gaza.
"We are going to benefit from this," Mahmoud Zahar, a senior Hamas leader and surgeon, said in an interview. "Mubarak worked as an agent for the hand of Israel and America, and that was deeply humiliating for the Egyptian people. They will have their say now, and our affairs in Gaza will count more than before."
Dr. Zahar dodged questions about Israel's allegation of stepped-up arms smuggling. "We are constantly listening to Israelis say they're going to crack down on Hamas," he said. "So what do you expect? We have to defend ourselves."
Let's hope so...
Following an emergency EU meeting of foreign ministers on the situation in Libya, Mr Hague was asked if Britain, or other Western countries, knew if Col. Gaddafi had left Tripoli.
“About whether Col. Gaddafi, is in Venezuela, I have no information that says he is although I have seen some information that suggests he is on his way there,” he said.
British officials stressed that Mr Hague was referring “not to media reports but information from other channels”. “This is credible information,” said a diplomat.
Iran knows where to get the thugs from...
Hundreds of Hezbollah fighters have been taking part in the clashes between Iranian security forces and opposition protesters, Israel Radio quoted the London-based pan Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat as reporting on Monday.
According to the report, leaders of Iran's opposition said that some 1,500 Hezbollah men came from Lebanon to Iran in the past several days in order to help the Iranian regime scatter the anti-government protests that recently broke out in the country.
The latest report from US intelligence...
Iran has resumed research on development of a nuclear bomb, a U.S. intelligence report says.
The finding refutes a 2007 report that Iran had halted work on developing a nuclear weapon, The Washington Post said.
The report didn't say when Iran might develop the bomb and the National Intelligence Estimate said while Iran had resumed research, it described "serious debate within the Iranian regime … on how to proceed."
The new report is important because it represents the entire U.S. intelligence community, rather than a single agency, the newspaper said. But unlike the 2007 estimate, the new information will remain classified.
"Iran is technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon in the next few years, if it chooses to do so," said Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
The Jew-hater Qaradawi...
Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza has invited influential Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi to the Strip.
In a phone call on Saturday, Haniyeh congratulated the Egyptian-born cleric on the victory of the revolution which led the the toppling of former leader Hosni Mubarak, a Ma'an correspondent reported.
The Gaza-based premier thanked Al-Qaradawi for mentioning the Palestinian struggle, the occupation of Jerusalem and the siege of Gaza when he addressed crowds in Tahrir Square.
A comment from Michael Totten (one of the best reporters out there)....yes, it's time to get rid of all those middle east dictators...
I was almost certain we wouldn’t see much, if any, upheaval in Libya, and even wrote less than a week ago that only the very brave or the very stupid would dare stand up to Muammar Qaddafi’s totalitarian system. As Michael Rubin has pointed out, no country on earth aside from North Korea (and I’d add the possible exception of Turkmenistan) is more oppressive than the vast Libyan dungeon. Even Bashar al-Assad’s Arab Socialist Baath Party state is lax by comparison.
So it’s rather extraordinary that the Arab revolt has broken out in Qaddafi-land. If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.
Hardly anyone in Libya could imagine standing up to, let alone overthrowing, Qaddafi just a few weeks ago, but Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak turned out to be much more vulnerable than anybody expected. They seemed to be pushed out of power so easily. It’s not true that if they can be overthrown that anyone can be overthrown, but the invincibility of the Arab police states has nevertheless been proved a myth. The fear that so grips the hearts of the Middle East’s peoples is breaking.
Some in the foreign-policy “realist” camp are concerned that the Arab revolt is only targeting the nominally “pro-American” states, but that’s not true anymore. The anti-American states are considerably more vicious and more likely to survive for that reason, but all the Arab rulers outside Lebanon and Iraq are despotic. (The real power in Lebanon — Hezbollah — is also despotic.)
The likelihood that all these tyrants will be swept away and replaced with parliamentary democracies is practically zero, but the Arab world has needed a powerful shaking up for a very long time and, for good or for ill, is finally getting it. No one knows where this is going, and nobody can control it. Let’s not pop the champagne corks or slit our wrists until things settle down.
If the IAEA is worried, then everybody should be really worried...they are usually the last ones to know what is going on..
The U.N. atomic watchdog may soon spell out in more detail its concerns about possible military aspects to Iran's disputed nuclear programme, Western diplomatic sources say.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is considering including an annex on the issue in its next regular report on Iran's atomic activities due this month, ahead of a meeting in early March of its 35-nation governing board, one source said.
Such a move would signal the U.N. body's growing frustration at what it sees as lack of Iranian cooperation with its probe into the country's nuclear work, which the United States and its allies fear is aimed at developing atomic weapons capabilities.
Hashem Hamdy, a member of the student council, writes on his thoughts on Students Against Israeli Apartheid..
By now, most of us have had a chance to catch up on the events that transpired on the evening of February 17th, the ugly display of political violence that it was. If you have not, I ask that you please go look at the excellent notes written by Emile, Dashiell, and Ihor. They give succinct accounts of events, and thus I do not feel the need to offer another. I am more concerned about the overall discussion on Israel, democracy, the respect for discourse in general, and the overall campus atmosphere. To quote a SAIA member who met with me, "We don't believe in dialogue with people who don't believe in basic human rights." These are hardly concerns that exist solely on Carleton University’s campus- Concordia and York are similar. However, it has become very apparent how serious of an issue it is on our campus now.
There have been few times in my life when I have wanted to quit. I’ve been forced to quit before, but rarely have I just wanted to wash my hands of a situation and walk away. Council was one of those nights. Regardless of my devotion to Israel advocacy and the Carleton community as a whole, I was simply so disgusted with the way that the meeting unfolded that I just wanted to leave, and never revisit these issues again. It upset me on multiple levels. It upset me as a supporter of Israel, as a student, as a councilor, and most fundamentally, as a member of a society which holds democracy and rational discourse to be essential parts of our national character. I know that I am not the only person that feels this way.
Perhaps saddest of all, I did not find the events that transpired the least bit shocking. That I would find the need to run down twenty flights of stairs for my safety speaks volumes about how shocking it should be, yet, again, I feel no surprise. I have come to expect this from the radical fringe that occupies the end of the political spectrum that Students Against “Israeli Apartheid” festers in. Regardless of how you feel about Ann Coulter, it was not only the exact same behaviour, attitudes, and tactics that prevented her from speaking at the University of Ottawa last March, but the same people as well. Perhaps we, as a community, were somewhat complacent about her being silenced considering the message that she brings. I hope that the CUSA council meeting was a wakeup call for those who doubted the resolve of these radical students on campus as well as the extreme lengths they will go to achieve their objectives.
I just admitted that I wanted to quit two days ago- why shouldn’t you? Should we not be disheartened, and should we not simply be a silent if safe majority? Absolutely not. The behaviour of Students Against “Israeli Apartheid” should embolden each and every one of us. They have finally shown their true colours as a violent, hateful organization with no real respect for human rights, or even basic human civility. They are a group solely preoccupied with the delegitimization and destruction of the state of Israel.
We need to be an increasingly loud majority. While this battle may be won, the war is far from over. “Israel Apartheid” Week is almost two weeks away, and SAIA will be out in full force from March 7th to March 20th. What we need from you is your help during this troubling and difficult time. You can help in so many ways. It can be as easy as posting articles on Facebook that help dispel myths about Israel, or show the true nature of SAIA and the BDS movement. You can write to CUSA council about how disgusted you are over SAIA’s behaviour. You can help pro-Israel students table in the Atrium and pass out materials as well. There are endless possibilities, and who knows what we can accomplish if we work together?
Please use this reading week to do some actual reading and get some much-needed rest. You will need all the time and energy you can spare to take back control of our campus.
Some shameful behavior by Students Against Israeli Apartheid. This first-hand account was written by my friend Emile.
I'm writing this in response to many people's questions about what exactly happened at the CUSA Council meeting last night. I've done my absolute best to present the facts as I perceived them in this very chaotic situation. If anyone disagrees with my perception, please weigh in through a comment.
A couple of weeks ago, the Israel Awareness Committee became aware that CUSA Council would be considering a motion put forward by Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA), and seconded by outgoing PAPM rep Alex Hunsberger, that would endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. The BDS campaign calls for economic, cultural, and academic boycott of Israel – thereby punishing the country's entire population in protest of particular Israeli government policies. As GSA rep Austin Miller said at the council meeting, there's an important difference between criticizing a government, and calling into question an entire country's right to exist. That was the key issue for us: anyone should feel free to truthfully criticize Israeli government policy, but it is unacceptable to demand the isolation of a whole people and an entire culture. Moreover, we share the widespread concern that Jewish and pro-Israel students face real danger on campus when irrational and non-factual attacks are leveled against the world's only Jewish state.
In response to this motion, we put out a call for students concerned about this issue to gather half an hour before the Council meeting on the 20th floor of Dunton Tower, in order to show opposition to this politically charged attack on Israel's right to exist. We appealed to students who believe in the Jewish people's right to a safe homeland, but even more to students who believe their student union should not be in the business of deciding issues of right and wrong in one of the most controversial and complicated areas of the world.
About forty or fifty students came to show their opposition to the SAIA motion. We knew we would be outnumbered - SAIA has been remarkably successful in gathering anti-Israel activists together, along with campus groups passionate about human rights who have somehow been convinced that the BDS movement is justifiable. And as we expected, SAIA brought out about a hundred activists to support the motion.
As we all crammed into the lobby of 20th Dunton, SAIA began a series of anti-war chants. Some of their members held up signs accusing us of opposing human rights, and of supporting "war profiteering." Others used force and intimidation to shove our supporters aside and get closer to the closed door of the Council room. I recognized one of these more aggressive activists as the individual who, at a previous SAIA event I attended, accused the Canadian government of financially supporting Jewish groups that illegally harvest human organs.
Present at this scene were Carleton's director of student affairs, Ryan Flannagan, and two officers from Campus Safety. They were under extreme pressure to find a solution to the Council room's fire capacity. Ultimately, Mr. Flannagan decided that twenty people from each side would be allowed into the Council meeting. SAIA's leadership shouted that this was unfair and undemocratic, and several members attempted to force their way into the room past the Safety officers. At this time, we decided to respond to SAIA's chants with a rousing chorus of 'O Canada,' which was unfortunately interrupted by the opening of the Council room.
As promised, twenty members from each side were let in. SAIA's supporters were not satisfied with this, and they even managed to breach a side door – where they had to be physically restrained from pouring into the room. Other activists verbally abused Mr. Flannagan and the Safety officers as they demanded to be let in.
The Council had decided to go straight to the motions under consideration. CUSA VP Finance Meera Chander had proposed a compromise motion that would recommend socially responsible investing for the University pension fund, without singling out Israel. The motion met all of SAIA's demands, except one – it did not single out Israel for demonization and accusations of crimes against humanity.
This first motion was debated for upwards of two hours, until finally a SAIA supporter introduced an amendment that further specified the human rights violations that would eliminate companies from the pension fund's investment portfolio – under CUSA's recommendation. This amendment was debated for some time, often in a heated fashion. One of my best friends had to temporarily leave the room as a result of taunts and threatening gestures from SAIA supporters. Outside, she was further mocked and belittled by other activists. The amendment eventually passed. The amended motion was then passed by a majority of CUSA Council. The cheers from SAIA's supporters outside were so loud it felt like they were in the room. Throughout this time, I was fielding text messages from our supporters outside the room asking that we all leave as a group at the end, since they did not feel safe trying to leave the area alone or in small groups.
Then something happened that none of us had expected. The chairperson of CUSA Council – an unelected employee of the association – determined that SAIA's anti-Israel boycott motion was redundant, since the motion just passed contained the same substance – excluding, of course, unique condemnation of Israel. Citing Robert's Rules of Order, the chairperson ruled that SAIA's motion be struck from the agenda.
The chair's ruling was challenged by CUSA VP Student Services Sam Heaton. Accordingly, the dispute was put to a vote by Council, which voted by a wide margin in favour of the chair's ruling – thus removing SAIA's motion from the agenda. Council then voted to move to a five-minute recess.
Immediately, we could hear the hallway outside exploding. SAIA's supporters began knocking with their fists on the doors and the walls, chanting "Shame" and other indistinct slogans. The activists inside the room began berating CUSA executive and councillors, while those of us opposed to the SAIA motion remained relatively calm and collected.
As the minutes dragged on, however, SAIA's supporters in the hallway raised their volume and further escalated the situation. For a tense period of time, those who were there to oppose the SAIA motion did not feel safe leaving the room to face a screaming mob of anti-Israel activists. It was clear that Alex Hunsberger and other councillors who had voted with SAIA were embarrassed by the turn of events, and the behaviour of their allies.
Eventually, the Safety officers were able to ensure safe passage of people from the Council room to the Dunton elevators. I stayed in the room a few more minutes as Sam Heaton – backed up by increasingly furious SAIA members – once again challenged the chairperson, unsuccessfully. When I finally left the room along with two friends, it was through a mob of angry students shouting incoherent invectives as Council, at the Safety officers, and at us. I admit it was a very big relief to get out of the area.
As I met with some friends in Residence, I got several calls from others reporting incidents of near-violent encounters between our supporters and pro-SAIA activists. One friend was reportedly called a "faggot" by a SAIA supporter during an argument. Another, who is a religious Jew and wears a kippah, was the subject of a fistfight in which he was fortunately not involved. I have to give credit to one very courageous individual who kept returning to the 20th floor to walk out with our supporters past the mob.
I do not by any means want to suggest that all the SAIA supporters who attended were party to this behaviour. There were many people there who are simply passionate believers in human rights, and who have been misled to believe that their cause is a noble one. But last night, Students Against Israeli Apartheid showed their true colours. They are vicious, violent, and they will do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. Until last night's events, I continued to hope that the tensions on our campus could be defused through dialogue and mutual respect. Unfortunately, it has become clear that SAIA and its supporters are not interested in playing a constructive part in our campus life. I hope you will join me in opposing them and their hateful agenda, whenever and wherever they surface next.
My heartfelt thanks to all the brave and righteous people who came to stand together against hate, and to all those who supported us in our struggle. And my deep respect and gratitude to the CUSA executives and members of Council who did their jobs despite the kind of intimidation that no Canadian should ever have to experience.
This will not help peace in any way...
The spectacle of the UN Security Council engaged in one more Israel-bashing exercise, while the the Iranian and Arab world burns, is a stark example of the organization’s moral turpitude and irrelevance for the 21st century. The Council is set to convene this afternoon to consider a resolution condemning all Israeli settlements built on what Arabs claim is their land. The Obama administration is doing everything possible to placate Israel’s foes, and may well decide to refuse to exercise its veto power, though the resolution promotes a grossly one-sided distortion of fact and law. The wrong side of history is close at hand.
Despite the talk about the president, the secretary of state, and the director of national intelligence being in the dark on most things going on in the Middle East, like the “secular” Muslim Brotherhood, there is nothing mysterious about today’s events. Serving up Israel when the going gets tough is what Arab dictators and demagogues do at regular intervals. Since the same bunch dictates virtually all outcomes at the UN, but for the Security Council, it is also what the UN does. If the president decides to join them, therefore, he is betting against democracy with his eyes wide open.
Already, via U.S. UN Ambassador Susan Rice, the administration has capitulated and agreed to a unanimous Security Council “presidential statement” condemning Israel. That strategy just whet the appetites of Muslim and Arab negotiators who can recognize weakness as well as every other observer.
To understand just how evil the scene is, it is necessary to talk about what happened to Lara Logan. The CBS reporter was in Cairo last week covering the aftermath of the overthrow of Mubarak, when she was brutally raped by democracy-celebrating Egyptians heard yelling “Jew, Jew.” It does not matter that she wasn’t Jewish. It does matter that the hatred and anti-Semitism which runs so deep among the masses screaming for tolerance, for everybody but Jews, is precisely what is driving the diplomatic mobs at the UN. Ganging up on Israel at the UN Security Council is an ugly and contemptible scene.
Iranians are rioting today against a vicious government that stones women for alleged adultery, murders homosexuals for the crime of existing, amputates limbs by judicial decree, brutalizes anyone wanting free speech, and is currently holding two Americans hostage for hiking. Is there a Security Council resolution in the works on the dying and the dead in Iran? Bahrain? Libya? Tunisia? Egypt? Algeria? Not the slightest possibility.
The only thing on the table at the UN is a statement that it is illegal for any Jew to live on any land that is claimed by Palestinian Arabs. Not only is this a racist recipe for an apartheid Palestine, it is also a direct violation of the American and UN-sponsored “Middle East Roadmap.” The Roadmap states that the settlement issue will not be finally resolved until final status negotiations – “Phase III:… a final, permanent status resolution . . . on borders, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements.” This Security Council resolution is intended to take the settlements issue off the table and pre-determine the outcome without having to negotiate or actually live with Jewish neighbors.
He now is in Beirut...
The Syrian embassy in Cairo aided Egyptian Hezbollah president Mohammed Yousef Mansour, known as Sami Chehab, in leaving Egypt by issuing him a false passport, a Syrian source told Kuwaiti Arabic-language daily Al-Seyasseh Wednesday.
Chehab, exploiting the chaos that had erupted in Egypt during demonstrations that called for president Hosni Mubarak's ouster, had escaped the prison where he was serving a 15-year sentence for planning terrorist activities on Egyptian soil. Following his escape, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah sent an adviser to Syria's intelligence head in order to request that Syria provide Chehab with a false Syrian passport and documents, the source told Al-Seyasseh. The Syrian intelligence head was reportedly eager to help.
The Syrian embassy then issued Chehab a new passport - replacing one that "was lost" - which he used to travel from Egypt to Khartoum where members of the Sudanese Hezbollah cell helped usher him to the international airport. From there, Chehab flew to Syria, and crossed over into Lebanon.
Chehab appeared in a Beirut rally Wednesday, waving Hezbollah flags and raising his hands in a V-victory sign.
The Shi'ite group said that Mansour was among the thousands of prisoners across Egypt who are believed to have escaped or been set free shortly after the revolt against longtime president Hosni Mubarak erupted Jan. 25. But this was his first public appearance.
Mansour was convicted in 2010 along with 25 others of spying for Hezbollah and plotting attacks in Egypt.
Threats from Hezbollah...
Turkish Jews expressed fear Thursday of a retaliation scheme by Hezbollah, which has threatened to avenge the death of one of its commanders, Imad Mughniyeh, on the third anniversary of his death.
Earlier this week Israel temporarily shut down a number of its diplomatic missions in the world due to fears of an attack, and a local Turkish paper revealed Thursday that these included the Israeli consulate in Istanbul and the embassy in Ankara.
But local Jews still harbor anxiety, especially since Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rise to power. "As we speak now, we are being heard because there is wire-tapping here," a Jewish merchant from Istanbul told Ynet over the phone, asking to remain anonymous.
"In Turkey there is no knowing what will happen tomorrow. So much goes on here. What guaranteed the separation between religion and state was the army, but unfortunately the generals who maintained this in the past are no longer around."
The merchant added that indictments against 200 military officials recently filed in the country "demonstrates the threat against us all".
"Turkey is a dictatorship. They attack newspapers and there are raids against anyone who dares speak out against the government. Those who talk too much find themselves under investigation," he said.
"Friendships are being developed here with states hostile to Israel. This concerns us, because we don't know if we will be protected as before. Though police guard all Jewish institutions, we still don’t really feel safe."
The merchant added that many of those belonging to the Jewish community refrain from going out to public places in which Jews gather.
"It's better to keep a low profile. Anything I say can make me a target, so I prefer to stay silent. There has always been a threat here, but apparently it has gotten worse because of the lack of cooperation between Israel and Turkey," he said.
Fun in London...
Stickers have been placed around London’s East End, declaring it a “gay-free zone”.Thanks to Vlad Tepes for sending this.
The messages, posted on buildings and lampposts close to Shoreditch gay nightspots George & Dragon and the Joiners Inn, say “Arise and warn. Gay free zone. Verily Allah is severe in punishment.”
They have also been posted on Whitechapel High Street and outside a school.
Pictures of the stickers were sent in by a local resident, who said he tried to remove them.
He told PinkNews.co.uk: “Tower Hamlets council won praise from Stonewall for its LGBT friendliness, but these stickers are a warning that Islamist extremists in Tower Hamlets have not gone away from London’s streets.
“According to police figures, a homophobic crime is committed in Tower Hamlets at the rate of more than five a month.”
The resident suggested that they may have been posted by members of Islam4UK, which has been accused of being a front for the banned Al Mahajaroun Group.
Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “There have been a series of homophobic threats and assaults by Asian youths on LGBT people in the East End over recent years.
“I’ve been attacked by Muslim youths three times in and around Brick Lane. In all three attacks, the assailants shouted religious slogans. My LGBT Muslim friends who live in the area are nervous and anxious. They fear attack and dare not reveal their sexuality.”
What other issue makes western idiots go so crazy???
"UNTIL the Palestinians are given back their rights we're going to have instability throughout the Middle East," declared John Pilger on ABC1's Q & A last night. "That is central to everything."
Yet, one of the most striking things about the uprising in Egypt was the lack of pro-Palestine placards. As Egypt-watcher Amr Hamzawy put it, in Tahrir Square and elsewhere there were no signs saying "death to Israel, America and global imperialism" or "together to free Palestine". Instead, this revolt was about Egyptian people's own freedom and living conditions.
Yet on the pro-Egypt demonstration in London on Saturday, there was a sea of Palestine placards. "Free Palestine", they said, and "End the Israeli occupation". The speakers had trouble getting the audience excited about events in Egypt, having to say on more than one occasion: "Come on London, you can shout louder than that!" Yet every mention of the word Palestine induced a kind of Pavlovian excitability among the attendees. They cheered when the P-word was uttered, chanting: "Free, free Palestine!"
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This reveals something important about the Palestine issue. In recent years it has moved from the realm of Arab radicalism, where Egyptians and other peoples frequently demanded the creation of a Palestinian state, and has instead become almost the exclusive property of Western middle-class radicals, such as Pilger.
Emptied of its nationalist vigour and militancy, the Palestine problem, it seems, is now of little immediate interest to protesting Arabs and is instead the ultimate cause celebre for Western liberal campaigners who like nothing more than having a victimised people they can coo over.
The power and allure of Palestine in Western radical circles is extraordinary. Palestine is the only issue they get excited about. But there is nothing progressive in their pro-Palestine fervour. It is not driven by future-oriented demands for economic development in a Palestinian homeland in the West Bank or Gaza. Instead it is driven by a view of Palestinians as the ultimate victims, the hapless and pathetic children of the new world order, who need kindly, wizened Westerners to protect them from Big Bad Israel.
Today's pro-Palestine leftism is more anthropological than political. It treats Palestinians less as a people who ought to have certain democratic rights and more as an intriguing tribe to be prodded and preserved. Some Western radicals have even adopted the fashions of their favourite tribe. Step on to any university campus in the West, or join any left-wing march, and you'll see concerned-looking youths wearing the Palestinian keffiyeh scarf, a politically correct version of blacking up.
This is the politics of pity rather than solidarity. Groups of Western middle-class youth have taken Palestinian pity holidays in the West Bank and Gaza. They turn up and marvel at the dignity of this beautiful besieged people, like those wives of old Victorian colonialists who discovered they rather liked the African tribes they had been sent to Christianise. "I've never met people like the Palestinians. They're the strongest people I've ever met", gushed British peace activist Kate Burton, who hit the headlines in 2006 after being kidnapped by a Palestinian faction in Gaza.
Fund-raising in South America...
Leaked US embassy cables made public here report US suspicions that Hezbollah raised funds and maintained contacts among the Chile's small community of Islamic fundamentalists.
An unclassified embassy cable dated February 27, 2006, and released Tuesday by WikiLeaks, said a "radical fundamentalist presence" was centered in the northern city of Iquique, and to a lesser degree in Santiago.
"These fundamentalists who are known to be associated with Hezbollah are increasing their presence and activity in Chile," the cable said, adding the intelligence on them was insufficient to gauge their true intentions.
"There is substantial information that indicates that significant financial fund-raising for Hezbollah is taking place in northern Chile within the Muslim community," it said.
Hmmmm...five months in captivity....
Late last March, a series of confounding and conspicuously opaque news reports began to appear in the Israeli press regarding an Israeli citizen who had vanished in North Africa. While the initial reports were hazy and facilitated an inevitable surge of innuendo and speculation, they were eventually all suppressed by the government censor, who decided to enforce a complete media blackout on the story.
That changed in early August, when, out of the blue, the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced that a 34-year-old citizen by the name of Rafram “Raphael” Chadad, who had been held captive for five months in Libya, had just been released and was on his way back to Israel. At the same time, details behind his disappearance began to emerge: Chadad, a Tunisian-born Israeli who maintains dual citizenship, had been arrested by Libyan officials in Tripoli while on assignment there for Or-Shalom, an Israeli non-government organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of the 2,500-year-old Jewish community in Libya. Despite efforts by Tony Blair, Silvio Berlusconi, and Nicolas Sarkozy, it was the well-connected Jewish-Austrian billionaire Martin Schlaff who ultimately secured his release. Having flown Chadad out of Libya on his private jet, Schlaff brought him to Vienna, where he was met by Foreign Secretary Avigdor Lieberman. With Shlaff’s mediation, Lieberman had apparently orchestrated the entire deal behind closed doors.
Although the exact nature of the agreement that brought about Chadad’s release is still unknown, the deal reportedly included Israeli permission to transfer Libyan aid supplies into Gaza (as well as $50 million from Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s charity foundation, marked for rebuilding houses in Gaza). “These have been reasonable demands by Libya,” announced Lieberman upon Chadad’s return. “Libya’s responsible behavior was a pleasant surprise.”
A frightening bunch of cables...
Al-Qaida is on the verge of producing radioactive weapons after sourcing nuclear material and recruiting rogue scientists to build "dirty" bombs, according to leaked diplomatic documents.
A leading atomic regulator has privately warned that the world stands on the brink of a "nuclear 9/11".
Security briefings suggest that jihadi groups are also close to producing "workable and efficient" biological and chemical weapons that could kill thousands if unleashed in attacks on the West.
Thousands of classified American cables obtained by the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph detail the international struggle to stop the spread of weapons-grade nuclear, chemical and biological material around the globe.
At a Nato meeting in January 2009, security chiefs briefed member states that al-Qaida was plotting a program of "dirty radioactive IEDs", makeshift nuclear roadside bombs that could be used against British troops in Afghanistan.
As well as causing a large explosion, a "dirty bomb" attack would contaminate the area for many years.
The briefings also state that al-Qaida documents found in Afghanistan in 2007 revealed that "greater advances" had been made in bioterrorism than was previously realized. An Indian national security adviser told American security personnel in June 2008 that terrorists had made a "manifest attempt to get fissile material" and "have the technical competence to manufacture an explosive device beyond a mere dirty bomb".
Alerts about the smuggling of nuclear material, sent to Washington from foreign U.S. embassies, document how criminal and terrorist gangs were trafficking large amounts of highly radioactive material across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
The alerts explain how customs guards at remote border crossings used radiation alarms to identify and seize cargoes of uranium and plutonium.
Freight trains were found to be carrying weapons-grade nuclear material across the Kazakhstan-Russia border, highly enriched uranium was transported across Uganda by bus, and a "small time hustler" in Lisbon offered to sell radioactive plates stolen from Chernobyl.
In one incident in September 2009, two employees at the Rossing Uranium Mine in Namibia smuggled almost half a ton of uranium concentrate powder - yellowcake - out of the compound in plastic bags.
A fine piece by Yossi Klein Halevi...
ISRAELIS want to rejoice over the outbreak of protests in Egypt’s city squares. They want to believe that this is the Arab world’s 1989 moment. Perhaps, they say, the poisonous reflex of blaming the Jewish state for the Middle East’s ills will be replaced by an honest self-assessment.
But few Israelis really believe in that hopeful outcome. Instead, the grim assumption is that it is just a matter of time before the only real opposition group in Egypt, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, takes power. Israelis fear that Egypt will go the way of Iran or Turkey, with Islamists gaining control through violence or gradual co-optation.
Either result would be the end of Israel’s most important relationship in the Arab world. The Muslim Brotherhood has long stated its opposition to peace with Israel and has pledged to revoke the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty if it comes into power. Given the strengthening of Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas’s control of Gaza and the unraveling of the Turkish-Israeli alliance, an Islamist Egypt could produce the ultimate Israeli nightmare: living in a country surrounded by Iran’s allies or proxies.
Mohamed ElBaradei, the icon of the Egyptian protesters, and many Western analysts say that the Egyptian branch of the Brotherhood has forsworn violence in favor of soup kitchens and medical clinics. Even if that is true, it is small comfort to Israelis, who fear that the Brotherhood’s nonviolence has been a tactical maneuver and know that its worldview is rooted in crude anti-Semitism.
The Brotherhood and its offshoots have been the main purveyors of the Muslim world’s widespread conspiracy theories about the Jews, from blaming the Israeli intelligence service for 9/11 to accusing Zionists of inventing the Holocaust to blackmail the West.
Others argue that the responsibilities of governance would moderate the Brotherhood, but here that is dismissed as Western naïveté: the same prediction, after all, was made about the Iranian regime, Hezbollah and Hamas.
The fear of an Islamist encirclement has reminded Israelis of their predicament in the Middle East. In its relationship with the Palestinians, Israel is Goliath. But in its relationship with the Arab and Muslim worlds, Israel remains David.
Since its founding, Israel has tried to break through the military and diplomatic siege imposed by its neighbors. In the absence of acceptance from the Arab world, it found allies on the periphery of the Middle East, Iran and Turkey. Peace with Israel’s immediate neighbors would wait.
That doctrine began to be reversed in 1979, when the Israeli-Iranian alliance collapsed and was in effect replaced by the Egyptian-Israeli treaty that same year. The removal of Egypt from the anti-Israeli front left the Arab world without a credible military option; indeed, the last conventional war fought by Arab nations against Israel was the 1973 joint Egyptian-Syrian attack on Yom Kippur.
Since then all of Israel’s military conflicts — from the first Lebanon war in 1982 to the Gaza war of 2009 — have been asymmetrical confrontations against terrorists. While those conflicts have presented Israel with strategic, diplomatic and moral problems, it no longer faced an existential threat from the Arab world.
For Israel, then, peace with Egypt has been not only strategically but also psychologically essential. Israelis understand that the end of their conflict with the Arab world depends in large part on the durability of the peace with Egypt — for all its limitations, it is the only successful model of a land-for-peace agreement.
Looks like the conspiracy was slightly bigger...
A newly released U.S. diplomatic cable discloses the existence of previously undisclosed participants in the Sept. 11, 2001, plot: a group of Qatari men who conducted surveillance of targets in New York and the Washington area before leaving the United States on the eve of the attacks.
The three men flew into the United States on Aug. 15, 2001, and "visited the World Trade Center, the Statue of Liberty, the White House, and various areas in Virginia" before flying on to Los Angeles, according to the cable, part of the cache of documents obtained by the antisecrecy group WikiLeaks.
But a U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity in order to comment on classified material made public by WikiLeaks, said that the three men were "looked at" within days of the attacks and that investigators concluded they could not be charged.
"There is no manhunt," said the official, playing down a report in Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper that disclosed the contents of the cable. "There is no active case. They were looked at, but it washed out."
The cable, sent on Feb. 11, 2010, from the U.S. Embassy in Doha, Qatar, to various agencies in Washington, including the FBI and the CIA, recommended that an individual named Mohamed al-Mansoori be added to a government watch list. The cable said he was a threat to civil aviation in the United States and abroad.
The cable goes on to explain that Mansoori assisted the group of three Qataris - identified as Meshal Alhajri, Fahad Abdulla and Ali Alfehaid - while they were in the United States.
Mansoori, from the United Arab Emirates, lived in Long Beach, Calif., in September 2001. "He is suspected of aiding people who entered the U.S. before the attacks to conduct surveillance of possible targets and providing other support to the hijackers," the cable states.
The existence of a surveillance team supporting the 19 hijackers led by Mohammed Atta appears to add a new element to the narrative of the plot's execution. There is no direct mention in the 9/11 Commission report of such a team.
Not a good sign...
Arsonists set fire to a synagogue in the southern Gabes region of Tunisia, a leader of the local Jewish community said Tuesday.
"Someone set fire to the synagogue on Monday night and the Torah scrolls were burned," Trabelsi Perez told AFP, criticising the lack of action by the security services to stop the attack.
"What astonished me was that there were police not far from the synagogue," added Perez, who is also head of the Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba, the oldest synagogue in Africa.