689: Code 44

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 11m
January 22nd, 2015
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Executive Order --- Enhancing Coordination of National Efforts in the Arctic | The White House
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 05:20
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
January 21, 2015
EXECUTIVE ORDER
- - - - - - -
ENHANCING COORDINATION OF NATIONAL EFFORTS IN THE ARCTIC
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to prepare the Nation for a changing Arctic and enhance coordination of national efforts in the Arctic, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. The Arctic has critical long-term strategic, ecological, cultural, and economic value, and it is imperative that we continue to protect our national interests in the region, which include: national defense; sovereign rights and responsibilities; maritime safety; energy and economic benefits; environmental stewardship; promotion of science and research; and preservation of the rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea as reflected in international law.
Over the past 60 years, climate change has caused the Alaskan Arctic to warm twice as rapidly as the rest of the United States, and will continue to transform the Arctic as its consequences grow more severe. Over the past several decades, higher atmospheric temperatures have led to a steady and dramatic reduction in Arctic sea ice, widespread glacier retreat, increasing coastal erosion, more acidic oceans, earlier spring snowmelt, thawing permafrost, drier landscapes, and more extensive insect outbreaks and wildfires, thus changing the accessibility and natural features of this remote region. As a global leader, the United States has the responsibility to strengthen international cooperation to mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change, understand more fully and manage more effectively the adverse effects of climate change, protect life and property, develop and manage resources responsibly, enhance the quality of life of Arctic inhabitants, and serve as stewards for valuable and vulnerable ecosystems. In doing so, we must rely on science-based decisionmaking and respect the value and utility of the traditional knowledge of Alaska Native peoples. As the United States assumes the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, it is more important than ever that we have a coordinated national effort that takes advantage of our combined expertise and efforts in the Arctic region to promote our shared values and priorities.
As the Arctic has changed, the number of Federal working groups created to address the growing strategic importance and accessibility of this critical region has increased. Although these groups have made significant progress and achieved important milestones, managing the broad range of interagency activity in the Arctic requires coordinated planning by the Federal Government, with input by partners and stakeholders, to facilitate Federal, State, local, and Alaska Native tribal government and similar Alaska Native organization, as well as private and nonprofit sector, efforts in the Arctic.
Sec. 2. Arctic Executive Steering Committee. (a) Establishment. There is established an Arctic Executive Steering Committee (Steering Committee), which shall provide guidance to executive departments and agencies (agencies) and enhance coordination of Federal Arctic policies across agencies and offices, and, where applicable, with State, local, and Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, academic and research institutions, and the private and nonprofit sectors.
(b) Membership. The Steering Committee shall consist of:
(i) the heads, or their designees, of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Domestic Policy Council, and the National Security Council;
(ii) the Executive Officer of the Steering Committee, who shall be designated by the Chair of the Steering Committee (Chair); and
(iii) the Deputy Secretary or equivalent officer from the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Transportation, Energy, and Homeland Security; the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; the Environmental Protection Agency; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; the National Science Foundation; the Arctic Research Commission; and the Office of Management and Budget; the Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, or his or her designee; and other agencies or offices as determined appropriate by the Chair.
(c) Administration.
(i) The Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, or his or her designee, shall be the Chair of the Executive Steering Committee. The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, or his or her designee, shall be the Vice Chair. Under the leadership of the Chair, the Steering Committee will meet quarterly, or as appropriate, to shape priorities, establish strategic direction, oversee implementation, and ensure coordination of Federal activities in the Arctic.
(ii) The Steering Committee shall coordinate with existing working groups established by Executive Order or statute.
(iii) As appropriate, the Chair of the Steering Committee may establish subcommittees and working groups, consisting of representatives from relevant agencies, to focus on specific key issues and assist in carrying out its responsibilities.
(iv) Agencies shall provide administrative support and additional resources, as appropriate, to support their participation in the Steering Committee to the extent permitted by law and within existing appropriations. Each agency shall bear its own expenses for supporting its participation in the Steering Committee and associated working groups.
(v) Each member of the Steering Committee shall provide the Executive Officer with a single point of contact for coordinating efforts with interagency partners, collaborating with State, local, and Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, and assisting in carrying out the functions and duties assigned by the Steering Committee.
Sec. 3. Responsibilities of the Arctic Executive Steering Committee. The Steering Committee, in coordination with the heads of relevant agencies and under the direction of the Chair, shall:
(a) provide guidance and coordinate efforts to implement the priorities, objectives, activities, and responsibilities identified in National Security Presidential Directive 66/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 25, Arctic Region Policy, the National Strategy for the Arctic Region and its Implementation Plan, and related agency plans;
(b) provide guidance on prioritizing Federal activities, consistent with agency authorities, while the United States is Chair of the Arctic Council, including, where appropriate, recommendations for resources to use in carrying out those activities; and
(c) establish a working group to provide a report to the Steering Committee by May 1, 2015, that:
(i) identifies potential areas of overlap between and within agencies with respect to implementation of Arctic policy and strategic priorities and provides recommendations to increase coordination and reduce any duplication of effort, which may include ways to increase the effectiveness of existing groups; and
(ii) provides recommendations to address any potential gaps in implementation.
Sec. 4. Duties of the Executive Officer. The Executive Officer shall be responsible for facilitating interagency coordination efforts related to implementing the guidance and strategic priorities developed by the Steering Committee. The Executive Officer shall coordinate with the Chair and the Special Advisor on Arctic Science and Policy at the Department of State to provide regular reports to the Steering Committee on agency implementation and planning efforts for the Arctic region.
Sec. 5. Engagement with the State of Alaska, Alaska Native Tribal Governments, as well as other United States Stakeholders. It is in the best interest of the Nation for the Federal Government to maximize transparency and promote collaboration where possible with the State of Alaska, Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, and local, private-sector, and nonprofit-sector stakeholders. To facilitate consultation and partnerships with the State of Alaska and Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, the Steering Committee shall:
(a) develop a process to improve coordination and the sharing of information and knowledge among Federal, State, local, and Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, and private-sector and nonprofit-sector groups on Arctic issues;
(b) establish a process to ensure tribal consultation and collaboration, consistent with my memorandum of November 5, 2009 (Tribal Consultation). This process shall ensure meaningful consultation and collaboration with Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations in the development of Federal policies that have Alaska Native implications, as applicable, and provide feedback and recommendations to the Steering Committee;
(c) identify an appropriate Federal entity to be the point of contact for Arctic matters with the State of Alaska and with Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations to support collaboration and communication; and
(d) invite members of State, local, and Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, and academic and research institutions to consult on issues or participate in discussions, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law.
Sec. 6. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
BARACK OBAMA
THE WHITE HOUSE,January 21, 2015.
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Big Block of Cheese Day Is Back, and It's Feta Than Ever | The White House
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 03:01
Alex WallJanuary 16, 201511:30 AM EST
Here at the White House, we're dedicated to making President Obama's administration the most open and accessible in history. That's why, for the second year in a row, we thought it'd be a gouda idea to brie-unite a certain cast of characters to help us bring back a tradition that dates back to the days of President Andrew Jackson.
On February 22, 1837, President Jackson had a 1,400-pound block of cheese hauled into the main foyer of the White House for an open house with thousands of citizens and his staff, where they discussed the issues of the day while carving off slabs of cheddar.
This year, we aim to do even feta. On Wednesday, January 21, in fromage to President Jackson (and to President Bartlet, if you're a fan of The West Wing), we're hosting the second-annual virtual Big Block of Cheese Day, where members of the Obama administration will take to social media to answer your questions about the President's State of the Union address and the issues that are most important to you.
Log on to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr, and ask away using the hashtag #AskTheWH. We'll do our best to answer as many questions as we can.
So be sure to visit WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU to watch the State of the Union address on January 20, 2015 at 9 p.m. ET and check out the schedule of all the ways you can engage on the following day, January 21. We camembert to think you'd miss it.
All day:
Share your questions on Tumblr now using the ask boxPost your questions in the comments on Facebook with #AskTheWHPost a photo or video with your question on Instagram with #AskTheWHFrom the road with President Obama:
Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer - @Pfeiffer44White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest - @PressSecSenior Advisor Valerie Jarrett - @VJ44Communications Director Jen Palmieri - @JPalm449:15 a.m. ET: Housing in America
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. ET: General Overview and State of the Union Themes
Director of the Office of Public Engagement Paulette Aniskoff - @PAniskoff44Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary - @Schultz44Associate Communications Director Stephanie Young - @Stephanie44Deputy Communications Director Amy Brundage - @Brundage4411:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. ET: Education, Immigration, and Latino Issues
Dr. Jill Biden - @DrBidenDirector of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Mu±oz - @Cecilia44Executive Director of Reach Higher Eric Waldo - @ReachHigherDirector of Hispanic Media Katherine Vargas - @Vargas44Deputy Director of Hispanic Media Antoinette Rangel - @LaCasaBlancaDepartment of Education - @USEdGov1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. ET: Climate, Energy and Conservation
Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz - @ErnestMonizSpecial Assistant to the President for Energy & Climate Change - @Utech44Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell '' @SecretaryJewellDepartment of Interior - @InteriorEnvironmental Protection Agency - @EPADepartment of Energy - @Energy2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET: Economic opportunity, infrastructure, minimum wage, and women's economic agenda
Member of the Council of Economic Advisers Betsey Stevenson - @CEABetseyDeputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget - @DeeseOMBSecretary of Labor Tom Perez - @LaborSecDepartment of Labor - @USDOLDepartment of Transportation - @USDOTCounselor to the President John Podesta - @Podesta44 (climate)3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. ET: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
Director of the Office of Science & Technology Policy Dr. John Holdren - @WhiteHouseOSTPU.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith - @USCTOOSTP Assistant Director for Strategic Communications and Senior Policy Analyst Kristin Lee - @Lee444:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Foreign Policy
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Health Care
Assistant Press Secretary Jessica Santillo - @Santillo44Department of Health and Human Services - @HHSGovThe State of the Union 2015: Everything You Need to Know
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THEREMIN - A Touch Friendly Synthesizer
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 16:31
THEREMIN - A Touch Friendly SynthesizerWaveformMain Volume Info?''–Update: 7 February 2014Thanks to everyone for sharing! Over 100,000 people have played on the theremin in the last 3 days which is absolutely amazing. Due to a large number of requests, we've began working on a record function as well as an offline version of the app which will be available soon.
Feel free to either subscribe at the bottom of the page or follow us on Facebook & Twitter for updates and future toys.
More infoThe web audio theremin is a touch friendly & responsive audio synthesizer built in javascript using the Web Audio API with HTML5 canvas.
Feel free to get in contact with me here: luke@femurdesign.com
''–If you are using Safari or Chrome, please update your browser to the latest version.
This synthesizer uses latest Web Audio API technology which is currently supported in Chrome, Safari, Opera and iOS Safari 6+. If you're seeing this message you need to update.
Unfortunately this will not work in Internet Explorer at all and runs slowly in Firefox (as of 11/12/13).
Turn your sound up and touch the screen to play
This version of the theremin currently has some bugs in Firefox. For a better experience please open the page in Safari or Chrome.
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Created by Luke Phillips, Femur, 2014 (C) | For best results please use the latest version of Chrome or Safari.
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Theodore Kasczinski "Industrial Society and Its Future"
Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Propaganda in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:00
Propaganda in the United States is propaganda spread by government and media entities within the United States. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions. Propaganda is not only in advertising; it is also in radio, newspaper, posters, books, and anything else that might be sent out to the widespread public.
Domestic[edit]World War I[edit]The first large-scale use of propaganda by the U.S. government came during World War I. The government enlisted the help of citizens and children to help promote war bonds and stamps to help stimulate the economy. To keep the prices of war supplies down, the U.S. government produced posters that encouraged people to reduce waste and grow their own vegetables in "victory gardens." The public skepticism that was generated by the heavy-handed tactics of the Committee on Public Information would lead the postwar government to officially abandon the use of propaganda.[1]
World War II[edit]During World War II the U.S. officially had no propaganda, but the Roosevelt government used means to circumvent this official line. One such propaganda tool was the publicly owned but government funded Writers' War Board (WWB). The activities of the WWB were so extensive that it has been called the "greatest propaganda machine in history".[1]Why We Fight is a famous series of US government propaganda films made to justify US involvement in World War II.
In 1944 (lasting until 1948) prominent US policy makers launched a domestic propaganda campaign aimed at convincing the U.S. public to agree to a harsh peace for the German people, for example by removing the common view of the German people and the Nazi party as separate entities.[2] The core in this campaign was the Writers' War Board which was closely associated with the Roosevelt administration.[2]
Another means was the United States Office of War Information that Roosevelt established in June 1942, whose mandate was to promote understanding of the war policies under the director Elmer Davies. It dealt with posters, press, movies, exhibitions, and produced often slanted material conforming to US wartime purposes. Other large and influential non-governmental organizations during the war and immediate post war period were the Society for the Prevention of World War III and the Council on Books in Wartime.
Cold War[edit]During the Cold War, the U.S. government produced vast amounts of propaganda against communism and the Soviet bloc. Much of this propaganda was directed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover, who himself wrote the anti-communist tract Masters of Deceit. The FBI's COINTELPRO arm solicited journalists to produce fake news items discrediting communists and affiliated groups, such as H. Bruce Franklin and the Venceremos Organization.
War on Drugs[edit]The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[3][4] but now conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998,[5] is a domestic propaganda campaign designed to "influence the attitudes of the public and the news media with respect to drug abuse" and for "reducing and preventing drug abuse among young people in the United States".[6][7] The Media Campaign cooperates with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and other government and non-government organizations.[8]
Iraq War[edit]In early 2002, the U.S. Department of Defense launched an information operation, colloquially referred to as the Pentagon military analyst program.[9] The goal of the operation is "to spread the administrations's talking points on Iraq by briefing ... retired commanders for network and cable television appearances," where they have been presented as independent analysts.[10] On 22 May 2008, after this program was revealed in the New York Times, the House passed an amendment that would make permanent a domestic propaganda ban that until now has been enacted annually in the military authorization bill.[11]
The Shared values initiative was a public relations campaign that was intended to sell a "new" America to Muslims around the world by showing that American Muslims were living happily and freely, without persecution, in post-9/11 America.[12] Funded by the United States Department of State, the campaign created a public relations front group known as Council of American Muslims for Understanding (CAMU). The campaign was divided in phases; the first of which consisted of five mini-documentaries for television, radio, and print with shared values messages for key Muslim countries.[13]
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act[edit]The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Ad Council[edit]The Ad Council, an American non-profit organization that distributes public service announcements on behalf of various private and federal government agency sponsors, has been labeled as "little more than a domestic propaganda arm of the federal government" given the Ad Council's historically close collaboration with the President of the United States and the federal government.[17]
International[edit]Through several international broadcasting operations, the US disseminates American cultural information, official positions on international affairs, and daily summaries of international news. These operations fall under the International Broadcasting Bureau, the successor of the United States Information Agency, established in 1953. IBB's operations include Voice of America, Radio Liberty, Alhurra and other programs. They broadcast mainly to countries where the United States finds that information about international events is limited, either due to poor infrastructure or government censorship. The Smith-Mundt Act prohibits the Voice of America from disseminating information to US citizens that was produced specifically for a foreign audience.
During the Cold War the US ran covert propaganda campaigns in countries that appeared likely to become Soviet satellites, such as Italy, Afghanistan, and Chile.
Recently The Pentagon announced the creation of a new unit aimed at spreading propaganda about supposedly "inaccurate" stories being spread about the Iraq War. These "inaccuracies" have been blamed on the enemy trying to decrease support for the war. Donald Rumsfeld has been quoted as saying these stories are something that keeps him up at night.[18]
Psychological operations[edit]The US military defines psychological operations, or PSYOP, as:
planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.[19]
The Smith-Mundt Act, adopted in 1948, explicitly forbids information and psychological operations aimed at the US public.[20][21][22] Nevertheless, the current easy access to news and information from around the globe, makes it difficult to guarantee PSYOP programs do not reach the US public. Or, in the words of Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003, in the Washington Post:
There's always going to be a certain amount of bleed-over with the global information environment.[23]
Agence France Presse reported on U.S. propaganda campaigns that:
The Pentagon acknowledged in a newly declassified document that the US public is increasingly exposed to propaganda disseminated overseas in psychological operations.[24]
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the document referred to, which is titled "Information Operations Roadmap." [22][24] The document acknowledges the Smith-Mundt Act, but fails to offer any way of limiting the effect PSYOP programs have on domestic audiences.[20][21][25]
Several incidents in 2003 were documented by Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel, which he saw as information-warfare campaigns that were intended for "foreign populations and the American public." Truth from These Podia,[26] as the treatise was called, reported that the way the Iraq war was fought resembled a political campaign, stressing the message instead of the truth.[22]
See also[edit]References[edit]^ abThomas Howell, The Writers' War Board: U.S. Domestic Propaganda in World War II, Historian, Volume 59 Issue 4, Pages 795 - 813^ abSteven Casey, (2005), The Campaign to sell a harsh peace for Germany to the American public, 1944 - 1948, [online]. London: LSE Research Online. [Available online at http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/archive/00000736] Originally published in History, 90 (297). pp. 62-92 (2005) Blackwell Publishing^National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988 of the Anti''Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub.L. 100''690, 102 Stat. 4181, enacted November 18, 1988^Gamboa, Anthony H. (January 4, 2005), B-303495, Office of National Drug Control Policy '-- Video News Release, Government Accountability Office, footnote 6, page 3 ^Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 (Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999), Pub.L. 105''277, 112 Stat. 268, enacted October 21, 1998^Gamboa, Anthony H. (January 4, 2005), B-303495, Office of National Drug Control Policy '-- Video News Release, Government Accountability Office, pp. 9''10 ^Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999, Pub.L. 105''277, 112 Stat. 268, enacted October 21, 1998^Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2006, Pub.L. 109''469, 120 Stat. 3501, enacted December 29, 2006, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 1708^Barstow, David (2008-04-20). "Message Machine: Behind Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand". New York Times. ^Sessions, David (2008-04-20). "Onward T.V. Soldiers: The New York Times exposes a multi-armed Pentagon message machine". Slate. ^Barstow, David (2008-05-24). "2 Inquiries Set on Pentagon Publicity Effort". New York Times. ^Rampton, Sheldon (October 17, 2007). "Shared Values Revisited". Center for Media and Democracy. ^"U.S. Reaches Out to Muslim World with Shared Values Initiative". America.gov. January 16, 2003.
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Je Suis Charlie
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Brian's Research
Adam:
Dana Kennedy's Daily Beast article "In Paris's Muslim Suburbs, Some Blame Jews for Charlie" and subsequent MSNBC appearance which you and JCD discussed on Sunday has gone viral. If one Google's "shape shifting Jews" the results seem endless and 90% are related to the Kennedy article or MSNBC appearance.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/13/jihad-fanboys-in-the-paris-burbs.html
What no one is mentioning is the major flaw in Kennedy's reporting: the identity of everyone quoted in her article is identified by their full name except for the individual who made the outrageous comment, here is that section of Kennedy's article:
_______________
Another young man of French-Algerian descent interviewed outside a gas station in the Saint-Denis suburb reacted angrily to a reporter’s presence and demanded to know her religion. “The worst thing is to be atheist,” he said.
The man, who gave his named as “Mohamed,” also said he was a devout Muslim but then changed his demeanor and added, grinning, that he was also “a delinquent.” Then he said he was a drug dealer and without prompting, invited the reporter into the (also very clean) gas station to show an array of hashish for sale in broad daylight on a shelf next to the ATM.
He also called the Paris terrorist attacks “un complot,” or conspiracy, and launched into a lengthy explanation of the “magical Jews” behind it. They were not ordinary Jews, he said, but a “hybrid race of shape shifters” who have extraordinary abilities. “They know how to get in everywhere,” he said. “They are master manipulators.”
_______________
A few things jump out at me:
- The article states the man "reacted angrily to a reporter’s presence and demanded to know her religion"... Is this something that was told to Dana Kennedy? Why doesn't Kennedy identify the female reporter or a source for this story?
- "The man, who gave his named as “Mohamed,” also said he was a devout Muslim"..."Then he said he was a drug dealer" Notice Kennedy doesn't provide a full name for Mohamed or specific location of this gas station yet utilizes two negative stereotypes for Muslims in the minds of Americans and adds fuel to the fire by pushing the classic drug dealer = evil meme to completely discredit in the mind of the reader anything this Mohamed says.
- Kennedy then attributes a series of quotes to Mohamed which propagate the idea that anyone who questions the Paris attacks is not only a crazy conspiracy nut but also an radical anti Semite. Conveniently, by omitting any truly identifiable information about Mohamed, Kennedy makes it impossible for anyone to seek him out in order to validate the accuracy of Kennedy's reporting.
By the way I've been able to find one other reference to the phrase "shape shifting Jews", it's from the 2006 film Borat: http://youtu.be/1l3wco9zVao
Oddly enough, I started looking into this because I wondered if potentially there were translation issues and the "Mohamed" comment about master manipulators was referencing the idea that the Paris attacks were not anti Semitic but have been manipulated to appear to be an attack on Jewish people. What I discovered is some very serious questions about the accuracy and credibility of Kennedy's reporting.
All my best,
Brian
In Paris's Muslim Suburbs, Some Blame Jews for Charlie - The Daily Beast
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 19:58
Another World01.13.15
In France, the projects don't look like ghettoes, but they're filled with a poisonous mix of conspiracy theories and a some support for murderous jihadis.
SEVRAN, France '-- As more than 1.5 million people, including 40 world leaders, converged on Paris on Sunday to rally for unity after terrorist attacks that left 17 innocent people dead, three young men in tracksuits and hoodies lounged outside a fast-food restaurant 10 miles north of the city in Sevran, one of France's poorest suburbs.
Mehdi Boular, 24, who said he was married with two children, and two of his friends, did not attend Sunday's rally.
''We're Muslims,'' Boular said. ''They might have killed us if we'd gone.''
But even though the flags of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia were flying at the rally in Place de la R(C)publique and Muslims were well represented among the marchers Sunday, Boular said the attacks in Paris were part of a plot masterminded by Jewish conspirators.
''The Kalashnikovs, the identity cards the [killers] supposedly left behind, it was all staged,'' said Boular, as his friends nodded in agreement. ''It was a conspiracy designed by the Jews to make Muslims look bad. We'd rather just stay where we are.''
No use arguing. No use pointing out that one of the terrorists murdered four Jews. Conspiracy theories have their own unassailable logic, and this is a world apart from the displays of unity in Paris after the carnage of last week. French newspapers reported that some students in these neighborhoods'--as well as other heavily Muslim areas near cities like Lille'--refused to participate in Thursday's national moment of silence for the victims of the terror attacks. One teacher said up to 80 percent of his students didn't want to observe the silence, and some said they supported the attackers. ''You reap what you sow,'' a student who refused the moment of silence told his teacher in reference to the terrorists' victims, according to Le Figaro.
Sevran is one of the many notorious banlieues just outside Paris that are home largely to second- and third-generation immigrants from former French colonies in North and West Africa. The town is studded with cement and brick public housing, mostly built in the 1960s and '70s. Unemployment rates are as high as 35 to 40 percent. Sevran often is lumped in with places like Saint-Denis and nearby Clichy-sous-Bois, the epicenter of weeks of rioting and car burning in 2005. Riots here back in the summer of 1981 led to some of the first mass demonstrations to illustrate the plight of immigrant Algerians, Tunisians, and Moroccans in France.
He called the Paris terrorist attacks ''un complot,'' or conspiracy, and launched into a lengthy explanation of the ''magical Jews'' behind it.
The 19th arrondissement in Paris has also become synonymous with immigrant frustration and despair after it became known that the Kouachi brothers, Ch(C)rif and Sa¯d, who died in a hail of gunfire last week after killing 12 people, including eight journalists at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, moved there as teenagers and were recruited by a jihadi network. Born in France, the Kouachis were the orphaned sons of Algerian parents.
The popular narrative is that France's minority populations, specifically those of North African descent, are marginalized and isolated in what are invariably called ''gritty,'' or ''hardscrabble'' areas. Shunned by the French majority, reports often say, the children of North African immigrants are frustrated and resentful because they are blocked from traditional routes of advancement.
But many of the Parisian banlieues appear to an outsider much tamer than gun-ridden American ghettoes and bear no resemblance to, say, a typical favela in Rio de Janeiro or the mafia-run Scampia ghetto in Naples. Much of the 19th arrondissement in Paris, where Cherif Kouachi joined the Buttes-Chaumont terror network 10 years ago, looks about as rundown and sketchy today as Brooklyn's Park Slope.
Indeed at the McDonalds in Sevran, called one of the most dangerous towns in France, the floor is so clean you can almost eat off it and the server actually brings your hamburger and French fries to you in a pristine booth.
''A lot of what you hear about how bad it is here is just not true,'' says Pathe Ndiay, 29, whose parents are Senegalese but who was born in France. Ndiay works as a security guard in Sevran and lives nearby. ''There's a lot of unemployment here but not that many young people are out looking for jobs.''
Ndiay said many young men in the banlieues prefer the easy money they can get selling drugs rather than seeking what is likely to be boring, poorly paid employment in Paris.
''They don't want to be bothered with getting a job,'' Ndiay said. ''Some can make up to '‚¬1,000 to '‚¬2,000 a day selling drugs. They want to be rappers. They don't want to start at some boring job and work their way up the ladder.''
When Boular and his friends were asked if they were looking for work, they said yes. ''We try every day,'' said one of his friends, who did not want to give his name, but then he started laughing and his friends joined in. They stand in front of McDonalds in Sevran, Boular said, pretty much all day and well into the middle of the night. Boular said he runs home ''every now and then'' to see his wife and children.
Boular said he recently was released from prison after a two-year sentence for involvement with a car theft. He says he was beaten by guards frequently because he was an Arab. Boular said he and his friends are ''blocked'' from advancing in French society because they are Arabs and added that his only dream is to ''go to Miami and be a rapper and drive a jet-ski.''
A cross-section of young men interviewed in several suburbs last week, including Sevran, Saint-Denis, and Paris's 19th arrondissement, all spoke of being devout Muslims. None said they supported the Kouachi brothers or their associate Ahmed Coulibaly, who killed four hostages at a kosher supermarket in Paris on Friday, although they all believed the cartoonists at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine did not have the right to caricature the prophet Muhammad.
Many spoke out against Israel and Jews as well as the United States but did not seem to have much of a grasp of geopolitics nor did they appear to be very religious in the traditional sense of the word.
Another young man of French-Algerian descent interviewed outside a gas station in the Saint-Denis suburb reacted angrily to a reporter's presence and demanded to know her religion. ''The worst thing is to be atheist,'' he said.
The man, who gave his named as ''Mohamed,'' also said he was a devout Muslim but then changed his demeanor and added, grinning, that he was also ''a delinquent.'' Then he said he was a drug dealer and without prompting, invited the reporter into the (also very clean) gas station to show an array of hashish for sale in broad daylight on a shelf next to the ATM.
He also called the Paris terrorist attacks ''un complot,'' or conspiracy, and launched into a lengthy explanation of the ''magical Jews'' behind it. They were not ordinary Jews, he said, but a ''hybrid race of shape shifters'' who have extraordinary abilities. ''They know how to get in everywhere,'' he said. ''They are master manipulators.''
Mouhanad Khorchide, a professor of Islamic pedagogy at the University of Munster in Germany told The New York Times last week that while he sees many young Muslims identifying more strongly with their religion he considers it a ''hollow religiosity.''
''They would say, 'Islam is really important for me,' but they had just dealt drugs,'' Khorchide said. ''They had a Quran in their backpack and said, 'With the Quran, I am strong.' But if you asked if they had read it or knew what it contained, they said no.'''
A French-Algerian named Bentaha Tahar, 30, and his friend who gave his name as Alouane, 31, stood outside Danny Hills restaurant in the 19th arrondissement, right across from the Buttes Chaumont park where Cherif Kouachi received early jihadi training from a charismatic janitor from the nearby Addawa mosque. Mothers pushing babies in expensive strollers and joggers of all ages filled the large, green quite beautiful park.
''The Kouachis insulted Islam,'' Tahar said. ''They had no right to do what they did. It is against our religion. People need to understand that.''
At the same time, the two grew very heated when they spoke of the resentment they said many French Algerians feel about the United States ''and the powers behind it.''
''The Americans are very na¯ve,'' Alouane said. ''They get all caught up in a story like this but they don't see what their own government is doing every day, every week, every year. What right do they have to go out and start wars? The answer is they have no right. They're out to grab money and power and they always have been.''
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France begins jailing people for ironic comments
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 12:02
Mock Charlie Hebdo cover circulated after the murder of the magazine's cartoonists. The text says ''Charlie Hebdo is shit. It doesn't stop bullets.''
It may sound like an ironic joke, but it isn't. Less than a week after the massive rallies in defense of ''free expression,'' following the murders of the Charlie Hebdocartoonists, French authorities have jailed a youth for irony.The arrest is part of a harsh crackdown on free speech in the country that has prompted criticism from national and international human rights organizations.
A 16-year-old high school student was taken into police custody on Thursday and indicted for ''defending terrorism,'' national broadcaster France 3 reports.
His alleged crime? He posted on Facebook a cartoon ''representing a person holding the magazine Charlie Hebdo, being hit by bullets, and accompanied by an 'ironic' comment,'' France 3 states.
The report does not include the drawing '' presumably that could put France 3 afoul of the law. So we do not know for sure what the youth is accused of sharing.
But the cartoon at the top of this page fits the description precisely. It was widely shared on social media, and published on 7 January on the website of the controversial French comedian Dieudonn(C). It is a mock Charlie Hebdo cover by the cartoonist Dedko.
An actual Charlie Hebdo from July 2013 caused outrage for mocking Egyptian protestors killed after the military coup. The text says ''The Quran is shit. It doesn't stop bullets.''
The text says ''Charlie Hebdo is shit. It does not stop bullets.'' It appears quite heartless and cruel, but look at the copy ofCharlie Hebdo that the person in the cartoon is holding.It represents a real Charlie Hebdo cover that was published in July 2013, days after the military coup in Egypt. It caused outrage at the time because of its cruelty and insensitivity.
It shows an Egyptian protestor being shot through a copy of the Quran he is holding. The text says, ''The Quran is shit, it doesn't stop bullets.''
Assuming that the mock Charlie Hebdo cover is the one shared by the youth on Facebook, this incident sums up the sheer hypocrisy of France's current national mood.
Anything mocking and denigrating Islam and Muslims is venerated as courageous free speech, while anything mocking those who engage in such denigration '' even using precisely the same techniques '' can get you locked up.
Wave of arrests''A string of at least 69 arrests in France this week on the vague charge of 'defending terrorism' ('l'apologie du terrorisme') risks violating freedom of expression,'' Amnesty International said in an understated press release on Friday.
''All the arrests appear to be on the basis of statements made in the aftermath of the deadly attacks against the magazine Charlie Hebdo, a kosher supermarket and security forces in Paris on 7 and 9 January,'' the human rights group added.
''Some of the recently reported cases in France may cross the high threshold of expression that can legitimately be prosecuted,'' Amnesty said. ''Others, however offensive the statements made, do not.''
As previously reported, the most high profile arrest was of Dieudonn(C) himself '' also apparently for an ironic comment.
Many of the arrests are simply absurd, and it is impossible to imagine what purpose they could serve other than to allow the French government to look tough amid an increasingly right-wing and xenophobic political atmosphere, and to satisfy a desire in some sections of the public and media for scapegoats.
They include:
A 14-year-old girl charged with ''defending terrorism.'' She allegedly shouted at a tram conductor: ''We are the Kouachi sisters, we're going to grab our Kalashnikovs.'' Cherif and Said Kouachi are two French brothers authorities say carried out theCharlie Hebdo attack.A 21-year-old was caught without a ticket on a tram, and subsequently sentenced to ten months in prison for allegedly saying, ''The Kouachi brothers is just the beginning; I should have been with them to kill more people,'' according to Amnesty International.In the northern city of Lille, authorities suspended three school workers for allegedly refusing to observe a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the attacks, and then justifying their action. One is being charged with ''defending terrorism.'' The accused denies that he refused to respect the minute of silence, but said he did ''debate it with colleagues outside work hours.''In Paris, one man who was drunk and another who suffers psychiatric problems were jailed for fourteen and three months respectively for ''defending terrorism'' for comments they made. A third was jailed for fifteen months and the court ordered that their sentences begin immediately.In Bordeaux, police carried out a traffic stop. A very drunk 18-year-old passenger in the car allegedly hurled abuse at the police and made comments sympathetic to theCharlie Hebdo attackers. She was charged with ''defending terrorism'' and sentenced to 210 hours of community service. Prosecutors had asked for a four-month jail term.In almost every case where a name is provided, those arrested would appear to be of North African ancestry '' suggesting that France's crackdown is quite targeted.
If it is not calculated to further alienate the country's large, young population of French citizens whose parents or grandparents came from the former colonies, there's a good chance it will do that anyway.
The cases also suggest a pattern where minor encounters with police '' with drunks and youths '' quickly escalate into ''terrorism''-related accusations. The fact that young people of color have long complained that they are targeted by police means that they are going to be disproportionately more vulnerable.
Double standardAmnesty says the crackdown followed a circular sent to prosecutors on 12 January by justice minister Christiane Taubira instructing them that ''words or wrongdoing, hatred or contempt, uttered or committed against someone because of their religion must be fought and pursued with great vigor.''
Although they might exist, I have yet to see cases of people being charged or jailed for anti-Muslim or other kinds of racist or bigoted comments under the ''defending terrorism'' law.
After the attacks, prominent journalist Philippe Tesson took to the airwaves of Europe 1, one of France's biggest radio stations, and declared that Muslims were responsible for threatening the country's vaunted secularism.
''It's the Muslims who bring the shit to France these days,'' he said.
While a private citizen has reportedly brought a legal complaint against Tesson for ''inciting racial hatred,'' the authorities have not charged him with a crime.
C(C)cile Duflot, a Green Party legislator, noticed the discrepancy and urged that ''the reaction to the foul Islamophobic words of Philippe Tesson should be much stronger.''
(Update: Le Parisien reports today, Monday, that Paris prosecutors have opened an inquiry into Tesson on suspicion of ''inciting hatred.'')
''Islamophobic'' murderMonitoring groups have collected reports of at least 83 Islamophobic threats and attacks in France since the Charlie Hebdo attack.
There were at least 21 incidents of shots or grenades being fired at buildings.
Police are investigating if the murder of Mohammed El Makouli, a Moroccan man in the eastern town of Beaucet, was motivated by anti-Muslim hatred.
El-Makouli was stabbed seventeen times by a neighbor who invaded his home, allegedly shouting anti-Muslim slogans. El-Makouli's wife was injured and his young son escaped the attack.
Draconian lawIt may seem surprising that French authorities can charge and jail people so quickly. These summary trials and long custodial terms are the result of a change in the law last November in which the charge of ''defending terrorism'' became a criminal offense subject to fast-track trials.
Last week France's Human Rights League said that when the change in the law was being debated, it had ''demonstrated that it would be ineffective for security, dangerous for liberties and damaging to the credibility of the justice system.''
The organization said that the slew of summary convictions of ''drunks and fools'' vindicated its warnings.
Many of these people are now likely to end up on the state's planned ''antiterrorist register.''
Prosecution for song and bookProsecutions for expression do not take place only under the ''defending terrorism'' law. This week the rapper Sa¯dou of the band Z.E.P. and the sociologist Sa¯d Bouamama will be indicted in Lille for ''public insult'' and ''incitement to discrimination, hate, or violence.''
The prosecution was brought by a right-wing nationalist group, as MR Zine reports, because of Sa¯d's book Fuck France and a Z.E.P. song with the same title.
Z.E.P Nique la France
The song's refrain states: ''Fuck France and its colonialist past, its paternalist smells, stenches, and reflexes. Fuck France and its imperialist history, its capitalist walls, fortresses and delusions.''
Z.E.P., ironically, stands for ''Zone d'expression populaire'' '' Popular Expression Zone. But irony is now a crime in France.
It is a matter of time before these laws are used with renewed vigor against a whole range of speech that might upset the French state, especially those who advocate for Palestinian rights and for the boycott of Israel.
''Obsessive pounding on Muslims''With all I've read since the Paris attacks, a few items stand out as particularly thoughtful and informative.
A 2013 piece by Olivier Cyran, a former journalist at Charlie Hebdo, traces the magazine's descent into an obsessive bigotry against Muslims in the years since the 11 September 2001 attacks.
The piece, in the form of an open letter to the magazine's editor St(C)phane Charbonnier, is an important rejoinder to the pervasive claims that Charlie Hebdo irreverently targeted everyone and that Muslims are just too sensitive.
Charbonnier is one of the cartoonists who was murdered.
''The obsessive pounding on Muslims to which your weekly has devoted itself for more than a decade has had very real effects,'' Cyran wrote to Charbonnier.
''It has powerfully contributed to popularizing, among 'left-wing' opinion, the idea that Islam is a major 'problem' in French society. That belittling Muslims is no longer the sole privilege of the extreme right, but a 'right to offend' which is sanctified by secularism, the Republic, by 'co-existence.'''
Myths of French secularism''Commentators in France and elsewhere have taken the recent terrorist attacks in Paris as an occasion to reflect more broadly about Muslims in France,'' observes Mayanthi Fernando, a professor of anthropology at University of California, Santa Cruz.
''Many read the attacks as a sign of French Muslims' refusal to integrate. They've asked whether Muslims can be fully secular and expressed doubt as to whether one can be both Muslim and French,'' Fernando says in an article for The Conversation.
She warns, ''we should be wary of myths about French secularism (la¯cit(C)) and French citizenship being spun in the aftermath of the attacks.''
Fernando notes that despite its ostensible la¯cit(C), the French state has always privileged some religious groups. But when Muslims ask for the same accommodations others receive, ''they are reminded that France is a secular country where proper citizenship requires separating religion from public life.''
All of this happens, Fernando notes, in a country where research demonstrates ''nonwhite immigrants and their descendants as a group suffer systematic discrimination on the basis of their race, culture and religion.''
Although Muslims are 7.5 percent of the general population in France, they are 60 percent of the prison population.
''Islam in Liberalism''The broader debates about ''Islam'' and ''democracy'' or ''Islam'' and ''secularism'' are tackled in Joseph Massad's new must-read book Islam in Liberalism.
Massad argues that ''American and European missionaries of liberalism'' are engaged in a campaign to remake Islam and Muslims in their image, that is to say in the image of ''liberal Protestant Christianity.''
''Muslim resistance to this benevolent mission is represented as rejection of modernity and liberal values of freedom, liberty, equality, the right-bearing individual, democratic citizenship, women's rights, sexual rights, freedom of belief, secularism [and] rationality,'' Massad writes.
''[I]f Muslims refuse to convert willingly,'' Massad observes, ''they must be forced to convert using military power, as their resistance threatens a core value of liberalism, namely its universality and the necessity of its universalization as globalization.''
''It's hard to imagine a more necessary and timely book,'' says Jonathon Sturgeon, literary editor at Flavorwire.
I could not agree more.
By Electronic Intifada
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:attack on Charlie HebdoCharlie HebdoFranceFrench satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdoinsulting cartoons of Prophet MohammedIslamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)Prophet MohammadQuotedterrorismterrorist group
'Freedom of speech not freedom to insult'
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 21:18
TEHRAN, Jan. 21 (MNA) '' In the wake of Charlie Hebdo's desecration of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), Iranian foreign minister reiterated that freedom of press does not mean the freedom to insult.On the sidelines of his trip to Afghanistan, Iran's FM Mohammad Javad Zarif told Mehr News that insult to the values is an obvious indication of extremism and any person who believes in freedom of thought and expression would not abuse those concepts for blasphemy.
He emphasized that such actions would lead to the hate and abhorrence among all communities.
Pointing to many young people in European countries who have joined ISIL and extremist movements in Iraq and Syria, Zarif stressed the need for their authorities to scrutinize the reasons behind the tendency formed among their citizens towards extremism.
''According to figures, 20 to 50 percent of fighters in Syria and Iraq are citizens of European countries,'' Zarif said. ''They should ask themselves what policies have caused these people who were trained in European countries, to affiliate with ISIL and other extremist movements?''
Stating that freedom of speech does not mean freedom of insult, Zarif acknowledged that ''we clearly condemn any act of terrorism, so do our religious authorities in Friday Prayers, however, the result of such insults is what you witnessed in Paris.''
By Mehr News Agency
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:attack on Charlie HebdoCharlie HebdoFrench satirical newspaper Charlie HebdoIran's Foreign MinisterMohammad Javad ZarifQuoted
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Cameron defends 'reasonable' letter to mosques
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 17:00
The Prime Minister says that anyone opposing a letter sent to UK mosques after the Paris terror attacks ''really has a problem''.David Cameron has rejected criticism by some Muslims of a letter sent to mosques in England urging them to do more to root out extremists and prevent young people being radicalised.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said it wanted Communities Secretary Eric Pickles to clarify the request '' and asked if, like ''members of the far right'', he was suggesting that Islam is inherently apart from British society.
In the letter sent to more than 1,000 Islamic leaders, Mr Pickles and communities minister Lord Ahmad stressed that he was ''proud'' of the way Muslims in Britain had responded to the Paris terror attacks but added that there was ''more work to do''.
There are fears about the spread of terrorism after the attacks in the French capital that left 17 people dead and the arrest of more than two dozen people in anti-terror raids in Belgium, Germany and France.
Mr Cameron has stepped in to defend the letter.
Answering questions after a speech in Ipswich, the Prime Minister said: ''I think it is absolutely right to write this letter, to say that we all have a responsibility to fight extremism.
''Anyone who reads this letter '' and I've read the letter '' will see that what he is saying is that British Muslims make a great contribution to our country, that what is happening in terms of extremist terror has nothing to do with the true religion of Islam. It's being perverted by a minority who have been radicalised.
''But everyone needs to help with dealing with this problem of radicalisation.
''Anyone, frankly, reading this letter, who has a problem with it, I think really has a problem. I think it is the most reasonable, sensible, moderate letter that Eric could possibly have written.
''Frankly, all of us have a responsibility to try to confront this radicalisation and make sure that we stop young people being drawn into this poisonous fanatical death cult that a very small minority of people have created.''
In the letter, Mr Pickles insisted Whitehall could not combat jihadist ideology alone and Imams must explain to young people what it means to be British.
''You, as faith leaders, are in a unique position in our society. You have a precious opportunity, and an important responsibility: in explaining and demonstrating how faith in Islam can be part of British identity,'' he wrote.
''We believe together we have an opportunity to demonstrate the true nature of British Islam today.
''There is a need to lay out more clearly than ever before what being a British Muslim means today: proud of your faith and proud of your country.
''We know that acts of extremism are not representative of Islam; but we need to show what is.''
But the letter immediately drew criticism from some Islamic leaders.
Harun Khan, deputy secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: ''We will be writing to Mr Eric Pickles to ask that he clarifies his request to Muslims to 'explain and demonstrate how faith in Islam can be part of British identity'.
''Is Mr Pickles seriously suggesting, as do members of the far right, that Muslims and Islam are inherently apart from British society?''
Lord Ahmad, who also signed the letter, also rejected the criticism.
He told Sky News: ''This is a positive initiative from the Government, it's not seeking to target any particular community.
''It's reaching out across the board, across the country, to say we want to tackle this issue of extremism.''
EU foreign ministers, including Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, met today in Brussels to discuss the terror threat in Europe. Building an alliance '' including with Muslim countries '' was high on the agenda.
Mr Hammond said: ''The Muslim countries of the world are the ones who have suffered the greatest burden of terrorism and they will continue to be in the frontlines.
''We have to work closely with them to protect both those countries and the EU countries.''
By Sky News
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:Charlie HebdoDavid CameronextremismFrench satirical newspaper Charlie HebdoMuslim Council of Britain (MCB)Paris shootingQuotedterrorismUK mosquesUK Prime Minister
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Iran's Khamenei urges Western youth to examine Islam for themselves
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:37
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (AFP)
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has urged Western youth to examine Islam for themselves rather than swallow prejudiced views, in a message posted on his Twitter account.''The recent events in France and similar ones in some other Western countries have convinced me to directly talk to you about them,'' he wrote in reference to the January 7-9 jihadist attacks in Paris that left 17 dead.
''Many attempts have been made over the past two decades, almost since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, to place this great religion in the seat of a horrifying enemy,'' Khamenei said of Islam.
''Don't allow them to hypocritically introduce their own recruited terrorists as representatives of Islam,'' he said.
''Receive knowledge of Islam from its primary and original sources,'' said the supreme guide of the Islamic republic.
Khamenei called for the youth of Europe and United States to ''study and research the incentives behind this widespread tarnishing of the image of Islam.''
Iran denounced the attack on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo but has also condemned as ''insulting'' and ''provocative'' its publication last week of a new cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.
By AFP
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:attack on Charlie HebdoAyatollah khamenei's letter to youth in Europe and North AmericaAyatollah seyyed Ali KhameneiCharlie HebdoFrench satirical newspaper Charlie HebdoIran's Supreme LeaderIslamQuoted
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The Psychology and Economy of Conspiracy Theories | VICE | United States
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:03
Regardless of their source, the Charlie Hebdo rumors have all the hallmarks of a classic conspiracy theory. Apparent discrepancies in the way the story was reported are jumped on, and the official version of events is discredited. From there, a leap is made to another, alternate, explanation, and evidence is gathered in support. The same thing happened after the murder of journalist James Foley, when critics suggested that the video was staged. Debunkers, in this case, asked why the West would bother faking an Islamic State beheading when the group has already carried out so many.
But how unique is the conspiracy theory-creation process? Plenty of bad journalism follows the same formula, and many an article is based on flimsy evidence and pseudoscience, or distorted by exaggerations. In the case of Charlie Hebdo, for instance, we were misled by pictures of world leaders apparently heading up the march in Paris, when really they'd just gathered in a cordoned-off street to have their photo taken.
Of course, "conspiracy theorists" is a blanket term, lumping together those who believe we're ruled by scaly lizard people with those who simply question the role of Big Pharma. Some'--perhaps unsurprisingly'--would like to see the name ditched altogether.
"It's a loaded term," says Chris, a friend of mine with a penchant for what most would call conspiracy theories. "It's merely a label applied to certain stories, usually to distinguish them from stories which the user of the label wishes to promote or defend by limiting the parameters of debate.
"I doubt most of what I am told, especially by those in authority, who may have an agenda to advance. The circumstances of the Charlie Hebdo attacks seem very suspicious to me, and the evidence for the official theory lacks credibility. Historical precedent also suggests that alternative narratives may be more likely."
The most recent myth to have been debunked on metabunk.org
In the US, Mick West runs the website metabunk.org, pulling in 10,000 unique visitors a day. He reckons the Charlie Hebdo rumors were predictable.
"It's nonsense," he says. "But sadly it seems like the expected response now. People pick up normal inconsistencies in the initial reporting of a chaotic situation and claim these things are significant. They always make claims about blood and injuries, but seem to be basing their expectations on the depictions of violence in movies and video games.
"It's just cherry-picking, with a strong confirmation bias. The people telling you these things have only one goal: to convince you it was fake. They amplify every little thing that seems to help their case, and they ignore everything that does not."
Conspiracy theories have been around for as long as human beings have been able to articulate the feeling that someone is trying to stitch them up. In living memory, theories have been espoused around the assassination of JFK, Hitler's death, the moon landings, Area 51, Princess Diana's death, the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, climate change, Obama's birth, whether Obama is in fact the Antichrist, AIDS, cancer, 9/11, chemtrails, the MMR vaccine, the Sandy Hook massacre, FEMA camps, the beheading of James Foley, Ebola, the Islamic State, the Scottish independence referendum, the Rosetta mission, and, of course, the Illuminati. And that's just a handful.
§
Academics, too, have been trying to get their head around it.
"People who believe in conspiracy theories tend to feel they don't have a lot of control over their lives," says University of Winchester psychology lecturer Michael Wood. "It's reassuring to believe the world can be controlled, even if that means it's not a nice place."
Wood says that being a conspiracy theorist is just another world view, no different from being a diehard liberal or a full-on, fox-killing Tory. While right-wingers might see the Charlie Hebdo attack as evidence that uncontrolled immigration leads to problems, and those on the left suggest it's what happens when a group is marginalized, conspiracy theorists are more likely to go for the false flag explanation.
Robert Brotherton, Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London, says believing in conspiracy theories fits with the way our brains make sense of the world.
"One of our psychological biases is that, whenever anything ambiguous happens, we connect the dots," Brotherton says. "The basis of many conspiracy theories is simply connecting the dots. Another is proportionality bias. When JFK got shot, people wanted to think that something big caused that, not just that some guy you'd never heard of could have killed the president."
A protester at the Anonymous Million Mask March in London, which is often attended by people espousing all sorts of conspiracy theories. Photo by Jake Lewis
But are there any factors that could signal a propensity to believe? Metrics like gender and income haven't been correlated with a belief in conspiracy theories, and there really isn't enough data available on the topic to say for certain whether'--statistically'--you're more likely than somebody else of a different socioeconomic group, for instance, to believe.
The advent of the internet is not thought to have swelled the ranks of conspiracy theory believers because, as quickly as the theories can be shared online, so too can their rebuttals. Some theories are plain stupid, others are less easy to dismiss.
Innate paranoia can't be a good starting point, but then not all conspiracies are a figment of the paranoid imagination. The black ops, coverups, and covert missions carried out by governments and secret services around the world are too lengthy to list in full. But to throw out a few, we've had Operation Gladio, the CIA and MI5's role in the overthrow of democratically elected governments around the world, Watergate, the Hillsborough cover-up, the Wikileaks revelations, the NSA scandal, and the discovery that, in 1990, PR firm Hill and Knowlton was behind fake testimony from a 15-year-old Kuwaiti "refugee," Nayirah, who swore she'd seen Iraqi troops killing babies.
Problem is, you can't believe every theory you hear, because many are clearly bullshit. Most of the "OPEN YOUR EYES SHEEPLE" stories you see being shared on Facebook come from sites with just as transparent an agenda as Fox News; conspiracy theories are an industry and a handful of people are doing very well out of it.
Alex Jones at the 2013 Bilderberg Conference. Photo by Matt Shea.
Alex Jones, who spews forth conspiracy theories from Infowars and other platforms, is estimated to make more than $10 million a year. Right-wing mogul Glenn Beck'--who's spawned a number of bizarre theories'--reportedly earned $90 million in the year from June 2012 to June 2013. Back in the UK, David Icke isn't exactly on the breadline, with an estimated $9 million net worth, much of which will have been generated through book and merchandise sales, and from tickets to the live shows where he rambles on about reptilians from the fourth Dimension ruling the world.
Plenty of conspiracy theory-espousing websites are making money through pay-per-click advertising, and you're as likely to come across a pop-up window for online gambling as herbal remedies. Make no mistake'--for some, "discovering" conspiracies is a job. This isn't to say they aren't true believers, but it is in their interest to "uncover" a constant stream of conspiracies.
And all these conspiracy theories they're "uncovering" can do real harm. Antisemitic hoax document the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which claims to be a plan for global Jewish domination, has been reprinted across the globe, most notably by the Nazis in 1933. The Protocols not only served as a model for conspiracy theories'--some now claim that the "Jews" depicted in Protocols are a cover identity for other groups such as the Illuminati, or, according to Icke, extra-dimensional entities'--but the document's message still reverberates around conspiracy theory forums, on which Jewish groups are posited as conspiracy masterminds with depressing regularity.
In 1998, TheLancet published a study suggesting a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism. The article was discredited and the author banned from practicing medicine. Numerous other studies have shown no such link. Nonetheless, 17 years later, many parents still subscribe to the theory that the government is trying to give their children autism in order to appease Big Pharma and, as a result, whooping cough and measles are on the rise.
Individuals have been targeted as a result of these theories. There's a movement of people who don't believe the Sandy Hook massacre really happened, suggesting it was an operation designed to revoke rights to gun ownership. Fanatics have harassed the parents of murdered children and stolen memorial signs.
A man at Occupy London 2014 who figured the best way to get his theory across was to scribble it on a sheet of cardboard in pretty much completely illegible writing. Photo by Oscar Webb
A questioning of the mainstream press seems sensible'--there are direct pressures from shareholders and advertisers, there's sloppy reporting and there are agendas'--but knee-jerk disbelief of anything reported by a major news source is misguided. Mainstream outlets frequently question the government and publish things those in power would rather they didn't.
Meanwhile, slavishly agreeing with everything you get from WorldTruth.tv is as sophisticated as pinning a "FUCK THE SYSTEM" badge to a branded sweatshirt made in a Bangladeshi sweatshop.
Perhaps Chris is right; the term "conspiracy theory" covers too much ground to be useful. David Cameron recently described those concerned about the alleged coverup of a VIP pedophile ring as "conspiracy theorists." His intention: to instantly discredit them.
But danger lies in using the small amount of energy you have for politics on chasing illusions. There are plenty of real problems to confront. Question mainstream news, sure, but don't fall into the trap of believing everything you read on Infowars and its ilk. Everyone has an agenda.
Follow Frankie on Twitter.
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Claiphate!
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ISIL threatens to kill Japan hostages, Tokyo vows not to give in
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 12:03
Image grab taken off a video on January 20, 2015, reportedly released by the Islamic State allegedly shows Japanese hostages Kenji Goto (L) and Haruna Yukawa (R) with a black-clad militant brandishing a knife at an undisclosed location (AFP Photo/-)
Beirut (AFP) '' The Islamic State group threatened to kill two Japanese hostages unless it receives a $200 million ransom within 72 hours, but Tokyo vowed Tuesday it would not give in to ''terrorism''.IS has murdered five Western hostages since August last year, but it is the first time that the jihadist group '-- which has seized swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq '-- has threatened Japanese captives.
In footage posted on jihadist websites, a black-clad militant brandishing a knife addresses the camera in English, standing between two hostages wearing orange jumpsuits.
An image made available by Jihadist media outlet Welayat Raqa on June 30, 2014, allegedly shows members of the Islamic State group parading in a street in the Syrian city of Raqa. (AFP Photo/)
''You now have 72 hours to pressure your government into making a wise decision by paying the $200 million to save the lives of your citizens,'' he says.
The militant says that the ransom demand is to compensate for non-military aid that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to support countries affected by the campaign against IS during an ongoing Middle East tour that on Tuesday saw him in Jerusalem.
But the Japanese government said it would not bow to extremism.
''Our country's stance '-- contributing to the fight against terrorism without giving in '-- remains unchanged,'' chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told a news conference in Tokyo.
An official in the foreign ministry's terrorism prevention division had said earlier that the government was investigating the threat and the authenticity of the video.
Since August, IS has murdered three Americans and two Britons, posting grisly video footage of their executions.
US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, American aid worker Peter Kassig and British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines were all beheaded.
The militant who appeared in the video threatening the Japanese hostages spoke with a very similar southern English accent to the militant who appeared in the footage posted of the executions of the Britons and Americans.
- Abe in Mideast -
Abe, who was due to give a Jerusalem new conference at 0800 GMT, pledged a total of $2.5 billion in humanitarian and development aid for the Middle East on the first leg of his tour in Cairo on Saturday.
He promised $200 million in non-military assistance for countries affected by the Islamic State (IS) group's bloody expansion in Iraq and Syria, which spurred an exodus of refugees to neighbouring countries.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) takes a picture with his mobile phone of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem on January 19, 2015 (AFP Photo/Thomas Coex)
The first hostage '-- Kenji Goto '-- is a freelance journalist who set up a video production company, named Independent Press in Tokyo in 1996, feeding video documentaries on the Middle East and other regions to Japanese television networks, including public broadcaster NHK.
He was born in Sendai, Miyagi, in 1967, according to the company's website.
The second hostage appeared in previous footage posted last August in which he identified himself as Haruna Yukawa and was shown being roughly interrogated by his captors.
Another online video that appeared at the time showed a man believed to be Yukawa test-firing an AK-47 assault rifle in Syria.
The same video could be seen on the website of Tokyo-based private military firm PMC, which listed Yukawa as its chief executive.
Calls to the firm at the time went unanswered and it was unclear if the company had other employees. Its website said the firm has branch offices in ''Turkey, Syria, Africa''.
Japanese nationals' involvement as combatants in foreign conflicts is limited, although the country's extensive media is usually well-represented in hotspots.
Japan has been relatively isolated from the Islamist violence that has hit other developed countries, having tended to stay away from US-led military interventions.
The country was rocked in early 2013 when militants overran a remote gas plant in the Algerian desert. The four-day ordeal that involved hundreds of hostages ended when Algerian commandos stormed the plant.
Ten Japanese died, giving the country the single biggest body count.
The hostage-takers said they had launched the raid in response to military action against Islamists in Mali.
In response, Tokyo pledged $120 million in fresh aid to help stabilise the Islamist-infested Sahel region, which runs across North Africa.
By AFP
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:Iraq crisisIslamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)Japan hostagesQuotedSyria crisisTokyo
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Wed, 21 Jan 2015 18:59
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'Anti-Islamization' demos spread in Europe as PEGIDA voices agenda '-- RT News
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:11
Published time: January 20, 2015 11:41Edited time: January 21, 2015 08:34Supporters of the Norwegian wing of Germany's anti-Islamic Pegida movement hold national flags of Norway as they demonstrate on January 19, 2015 in Oslo. (AFP Photo / NTB Scanpix / Fredrick Varfgell)
German 'anti-Islamization' movement Pegida is expanding into other European nations, with its Danish branch staging its first rally on Monday. Opposition to their message is also growing stronger, as people viewing them as bigots take to the streets.
Initially based in Dresden, the self-styled "Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the West" (PEGIDA) is spreading its weekly 'night strolls' into other European countries. In Copenhagen, the DanishPEGIDAbranch staged its inaugural rally on Monday.
Some 200 anti-Islamization activists showed up for the event facilitated with the help of local anti-immigrant organizations. Smaller demonstrations took place in Aarhus, Denmark's second-largest city, and Esbjerg.
"Our goal is to give the middle class a chance to express their worries concerning violent Islam and to send a signal to politicians that we voters are worried," said Nicolai Sennels, organizer of the Danish rally, who previously stood for parliament on an anti-immigrant ticket for the Danish People's Party (DPP).
PEGIDA supporters, however, were outnumbered by their opponents. About 5,000 people took part in a counter-rally in Copenhagen, and both gatherings passed off peacefully. Similar numbers of activists were fielded by the two sides in other parts of Denmark, AFP reported.
A small PEGIDArally in Oslo attracted around 70 supporters, who gathered for the second event of this kind and faced some 200 opponents, who threw snowballs at them, Norwegian public radio reported.
In Dresden, PEGIDA's unofficial stronghold, the traditional Monday rally had to be skipped. Police banned public gatherings due to ''credible'' threats against the rally andPEGIDAco-founder Lutz Bachmann. Law enforcers didn't allowPEGIDA's critics to stage a protest either.
The group called on their supporters to put candles in their windows and hang German flags as a sign of support. Nevertheless, police presence was heavy in the streets of Dresden, with authorities saying they would act if PEGIDAsupporters did gather in their tens of thousands.
However, the organization staged demonstrations in other German cities, including D¼sseldorf, Kassel and Stralsund.
PEGIDA is fighting an uphill battle to go from the fringe of political discourse towards the mainstream. The movement previously joined forces with right-wing groups, including neo-Nazis as it was growing in prominence, but is now trying to distance itself from such affiliations and appeal to the middle class both in Germany and other countries.
The movement's German leadership held a press conference on Monday to moderate PEGIDA's image and detailed their policy in a six-point plan. They called on Canada-style immigration rules to encourage the inflow of skilled immigrants and curb refugee numbers. They also want permanent expulsion of extremists and an end to what they called Berlin's"warmongering against Russia and other states."
"The press conference is meant to be the start of a dialogue," said PEGIDAspokeswoman Kathrin Oertel, adding that''in coming days there will be talks with representatives of mainstream politics."
Earlier German politicians, notably including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, blasted PEGIDAas Islamophobes, who held views contrary to Germany's core value of tolerance.
BBC News - Germany Pegida: Protest leader quits amid Hitler row
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:11
21 January 2015Last updated at 16:56 ET The head of Germany's "anti-Islamisation" movement Pegida has quit after disparaging anti-refugee comments and a photo showing him apparently posing as Hitler emerged.
Lutz Bachmann apologised for Facebook comments he made in which he reportedly called refugees "animals" and "scumbags".
He did not mention the photo of him with Hitler-style hair and moustache.
Meanwhile, thousands of people have marched in Leipzig at a Pegida rally.
Police were deployed to the streets of the eastern German city to prevent clashes with members of a rival anti-Pegida demonstration.
Pegida supporters chanted "We are the people", while their opponents shouted "Get out of here."
There were no reports of violence.
'Joke'The rival rallies came as Mr Bachmann apologised for his "ill-considered" remarks.
"Yes, I am stepping down from the board," he was quoted as telling Germany's Bild daily newspaper in an online report.
Pegida spokeswoman Kathrin Oertel said the anti-refugee comments went too far. However, she sought to play down the "Hitler" photo as a "joke" and "satire, which is every citizen's right".
But the German government condemned it. Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told Bild: "Anyone in politics who poses as Hitler is either a total idiot or a Nazi. Reasonable people do not follow idiots, and decent people don't follow Nazis."
Pegida has focused on Leipzig after police banned a protest by the movement in Dresden on Monday over reports of an assassination plot against the movement's leaders.
What is Pegida? Founded in Dresden by Lutz Bachmann in October 2014 Acronym for Patriotische Europaer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West) Umbrella group for German right wing, attracting support from mainstream conservatives to neo-Nazi factions and football hooligans Holds street protests against what it sees as a dangerous rise in the influence of Islam over European countries Claims not to be racist or xenophobic 19-point manifesto says the movement opposes extremism and calls for protection of Germany's Judeo-Christian culture What is Pegida?
At the scene: Jenny Hill, BBC News in LeipzigPolice in riot helmets formed a human corridor to funnel Pegida supporters through a crowd of counter-protesters.
To shouts of 'Nazis out!' they emerged smiling, holding their German flags high, into the square where a makeshift stage was set.
An appetising smell of goulash filled the air. A stall was doing a roaring trade. The square filled with people and noise - police estimate about 15,000 people came to support Pegida. That makes this the biggest demonstration they've held - outside Dresden, where Monday's weekly march was cancelled amid security fears.
I asked a woman why she had come. "I'm German," she replied. "I don't want my daughter to end up wearing a burka."
As always, Pegida supporters demonstrate for a variety of reasons. Another man reckoned 5% - maybe 10% of the people here - are racists. He had come along, he told me, because he worried about race relations.
"We don't want the problems that you get in places like Birmingham and Edinburgh," he said.
A spokesman for state prosecutors in Dresden, the east German city which has been the focus of Pegida rallies this winter, told Reuters news agency that preliminary proceedings had been opened over comments attributed to Mr Bachmann.
"The suspicion is of incitement to popular hatred," the spokesman said.
Mr Bachmann has denied being a racist.
Despite his resignation, Ms Oertel said that "Pegida will go on."
The movement has forced its way on to the political agenda in Germany with rallies that have attracted tens of thousands of people.
PEGIDA - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:09
Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the WestPatriotische Europ¤er gegen die Islamisierung des AbendlandesAbbreviationPEGIDAFormation2014Legal statusapplied for nonprofit organization statusLocationChair
Lutz BachmannVice-chair
Rene JahnTreasurer
Kathrin OertelWebsitewww .pegida .dePatriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West[note 1] (German: Patriotische Europ¤er gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes), acronymically PEGIDA and Pegida, is a far right[1][2]anti-immigrant[3]German organization based in Dresden. Since October 2014 it has been organizing public demonstrations, aimed at the German government, against what it claims to be the "Islamization" of the Western world. Its founder and leader Lutz Bachmann resigned after a photograph of him dressed as Adolf Hitler surfaced.[1] The organization is anti-Muslim and anti-EU, and pro-Putin. It is considered a successor of the German Defence League and thus the English Defence League.[4]
History[edit]Origin[edit]Pegida was founded in October 2014 by Lutz Bachmann, who runs a public relations agency in Dresden.[5] Bachmann's impetus for starting Pegida was witnessing a rally by supporters of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on 10 October in Dresden,[6][7] which he posted the same day on YouTube.[8] The next day he founded a Facebook group called Patriotische Europ¤er Gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes ("Patriotic Europeans against Islamization of the Occident")[9] which initially was mainly directed against arms shipments to the PKK.[6]
A few days earlier, on 7 October, a group of Muslims assumed to be Salafists had violently attacked PKK supporters who were gathering after a demonstration against the Islamic State.[10] The same day Yazidis and Muslim Chechens had violently clashed in Celle.[11] On October 26, of 5000 protesters, "at least 400 right-wing extremists went on a rampage in downtown Cologne during a demonstration" by "Hooligans Against Salafists".[6]
First wave of demonstrations[edit]The first demonstration on 20 October 2014 drew only a handful of people.[6][12] In the following days, the movement began drawing public attention and subsequently its weekly Monday demonstrations started to attract larger numbers of people. Among 7,500 participants on December 1, the police counted 80 to 120 hooligans. The demonstrations grew to 10,000 people on December 8, 2014.[12][13]
During weekly demonstrations, Pegida supporters have carried banners with slogans including "For the preservation of our culture", "Against religious fanaticism, against any kind of radicalism, together without violence" and "Against religious wars on German soil".[14] or "Peace with Russia- No war in Europe ever again", "We are emancipated citizens and no slaves"[15]
Institutionalization and clones across Germany[edit]On 19 December 2014, PEGIDA e.V. was legally registered in Dresden under register ID VR 7750[16] with Bachmann being chair, Rene Jahn vice-chair and Kathrin Oertel the treasurer. Pegida also formally applied for the status as a nonprofit organization.[17]
Pegida has spawned a number of smaller clones across Germany, including Legida in Leipzig, Dagida in Darmstadt[13] and Fragida in Frankfurt.[18] After some internal disputes, representatives of Pegida NRW, an affiliate aiming to operate in the federal state of North Rhine Westphalia, distanced itself from the Bogida, D¼gida and K¶gida clones in Bonn, D¼sseldorf and Cologne, which were said to be taken over by members of the openly xenophobic right-wing splinter party Pro NRW,[19] including Melanie Dittmer, who subsequently was replaced as media representative of Pegida NRW by Sebastian Nobile, a member of the German Defence League, another anti-Islamist organization modeled after the English Defence League.[20]
Aftermath of Charlie Hebdo[edit]While the demonstration on 29 December was cancelled by the organizers, the movement continued to draw large numbers of participants in early January. After the Charlie Hebdo shooting on 7 January in Paris, politicians including German ministers Thomas de Maiziere and Heiko Maas, warned Pegida against misusing the attack on Charlie Hebdo for its own political means. On Saturday, 10 January, some 35,000[21] anti-Pegida protesters came together to mourn the victims of Paris, holding a minute's silence in front of the Frauenkirche.
On January 12 Pegida organizers exercised their right to do the same in front of a record audience of some 25.000 participants. Facing growing opposition by anti-Pegida protesters, both in Dresden and Leipzig, main organizer Bachmann declared the six key aims of Pegida, which include calls for selective immigration and generally stricter law and order politics but also included anti-EU sentiments and calls for a reconciliation with Russia.[22] In the evening of January 12, Khaled Idris Bahray, a young immigrant from Eritrea, was fatally stabbed dead with a knife in Dresden. The perpetrator and circumstances remained under investigation. Pegida's main organizers outright rejected any possible Pegida connection with the murder. International media correspondents described an "atmosphere of hatred and resentment" in Dresden and published social media comments by Pegida-sympathizers expressing disdain for the dead Eritrean.[23]
Dresden police did not permit the demonstration on 19 January, because of a concrete threat against a member of Pegida's leadership, that resembled an Arabic-language Tweet describing Pegida as an "enemy of Islam".[15] Pegida cancelled its 13th demonstration and wrote on its Facebook page that there was a concrete threat against a leadership member and "his execution was commanded through ISIS terrorists".[24]
[edit]On 21 January 2015, Pegida-founder Bachmann resigned from all his responsibilities after coming under fire for a number of Facebook posts.[25] Excerpts from a closed Facebook conversation incriminated Bachmann as having designated immigrants as "cattle", "scumbags" and "trash".[26] He was also quoted commenting that extra security was needed at the welfare office "to protect employees from the animals".[27] A self-portrait of Bachmann deliberately posing as a reincarnation of Adolf Hitler, titled "He's back!", went viral in social media[26] and was printed on title pages worldwide. On another occasion, Bachmann had posted a photo of a man wearing the uniform of the US white supremacist organisation Ku Klux Klan accompagnied by the slogan: "Three Ks a day keeps the minorities away."[25]
While the Dresden state prosecutors opened an investigation for suspected Volksverhetzung ("incitement to popular hatred"), deputy chancellorSigmar Gabriel said the real face of PEGIDA had been exposed: "Anyone who puts on a Hitler disguise is either an idiot or a Nazi. People should think carefully about running after a Pied Piper like this."[27]
Political positions[edit]At the beginning of December 2014, Pegida published an undated and anonymous one-page manifesto of 19 bulleted position statements.[28]
Affirms the right of asylum for war refugees and politically persecuted people.Advocates to include a duty to integrate into the German Basic Law.Advocates for decentralized housing of refugees.Suggests creation of a central refugee agency for a fair allocation of immigrants among countries of the European Union.Demands a decrease in the number of asylum seekers per social worker from currently 200:1.Suggests to model German immigration policies after those of the Netherlands and Switzerland and demands an increased budget for the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees to speed up processing of applications.Demands an increase in funding for the police.Demands implementation of all asylum laws including expulsion.Mentions zero tolerance towards criminal refugees and immigrants.States that Pegida oppose a misogynic and violent political ideology, but does not oppose assimilated and politically moderate Muslims.[29]Supports immigration as in Switzerland, Canada, Australia and South Africa.States that Pegida support sexual self-determination (opposing "early sexualization of children"[30]).Argues for the protection of Germany's Judeo-Christian culture.Supports the introduction of referenda as in Switzerland.Opposes weapon export to radical and non-permitted groups, such as the PKK.Opposes parallel societies/parallel jurisdictions, for example Sharia courts, Sharia police and peace judges.States that Pegida oppose gender mainstreaming, and political correctness.Indicates that Pegida oppose any radicalism, whether religious or politically motivated.Says that Pegida oppose hate speech, regardless of religion.At the 10th of January a new version of the position paper retained only the first 14 points, omitting the last 5.[citation needed]
Pegida's specific demands are unclear, largely because Pegida has refused to dialogue, calling the press a politically correct conspiracy.[31] Demonstrators have been chanting "L¼genpresse" (liar press) a term which had surfaced during World War I[32] and was used in Nazi propaganda.[33] The use of "L¼genpresse" was so offensive to be picked as un-word of the year (German: "Unwort des Jahres") for 2014: This is a term chosen by a German panel of linguists every year as most offensive, and a major news item in Germany.[32]
Deutsche Welle has written that Pegida call Islamism a misogynist and violent ideology.[30][34]
Participants[edit]Pegida Participants in DresdenDateparticipants per MondayOctober 20, 2014October 27, 2014November 3, 2014November 10, 2014November 17, 2014November 24, 2014December 1, 2014December 8, 2014December 15, 2014December 22, 2014January 5, 2015January 12, 2015According to Frank Richter, director of Saxony's state office for political education, Pegida is "a mixed group'--known figures from the National Democratic Party of Germany, soccer hooligans, but also a sizable number of ordinary citizens."[12] Werner Schiffauer, director of the Migration Council has pointed out that the movement is strongest where people have hardly any experience with foreigners, and among ''easterners who never really arrived in the Federal Republic and who now feel they have no voice.''[31]
In December, Gordian Meyer-Plath, president of the Landesamt f¼r Verfassungsschutz said that initial doubts that PEGIDA might tie in with the riots staged by Hogesa earlier in Cologne did not substantiate, so the movement wasn't put under official surveillance status. He also said there were no indications that the organizers were embracing right-wingers: "It doesn't seem to be scam that Pegida wants to distance itself from the right." An assessment contested by the weekly Zeit who researched the self-perceived idological proximity of Pegida organizer Siegfried D¤britz to the German Defence League or the so-called Identitarian movement.[48] In a Tagesspiegel interview on 19 January Meyer-Plath reaffirmed that the participant spectrum was very diverse and that there were no evidence of radicalization.[49]
Reactions[edit]Civil society reactions[edit]Floodlights of Cologne Cathedral being switched off in protest against a Pegida march on 5 January 2015.Numerous protests against Pegida and affiliated movements in cities across Germany have drawn up to 35000 demonstrators in Dresden[50][51] and up to 100,000 nationwide.[52]
In protest against a Pegida march, the floodlights of the Catholic Cologne Cathedral were switched off on the evening of January 5.[53] Dresden's Volkswagen plant used the same method of protest.[54]
German tabloid newspaper Bild launched a petition against Pegida, including former Chancellors Helmut Schmidt and Gerhard Schr¶der, as well as actress Karoline Herfurth and former footballer Oliver Bierhoff.[54]
Public debate[edit]Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticized Pegida, saying that while everyone had the right to voice their opinion freely, there was no place in Germany for agitation against immigrants,[13] later adding that the leaders of Pegida "have prejudice, coldness, even hatred in their hearts.''[55] The Federal Minister of the InteriorThomas de Maizi¨re said that among the participants of the mass rallies were many ordinary people who expressed their concerns about the challenges of today's society.[56]Bernd Lucke, the leader of the political party Alternative for Germany, considered most of the positions of Pegida to be legitimate.[57] According to Lucke, the people taking part in these demonstrations did not feel that their concerns were being understood by politicians.[58] Similarly, the Dresden city council fraction of the Alternative for Germany welcomed Pegida's weekly "walks".[59]
Josef Schuster, chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, voiced his opposition to the group, saying that the possibility of an Islamic conquest of Germany would be as "absurd" as a resurrection of the Nazi regime.[60] Pegida have also been criticized by Lutheran clergy, including Bishop of Hamburg Kirsten Fehrs.[61]
Bachmann's credibility as a leader has been criticized because he has numerous criminal convictions, including "16 burglaries, driving drunk or without a license and even dealing in cocaine".[12] In 1998 he fled to South Africa to avoid German justice, but was finally extradited and served his 2-year jail sentence.[62][63]
Commentators have attributed the success of Pegida to widespread dissatisfaction with European immigration policies amidst an increasing alienation toward the political elites and the mainstream media.[64] A poll of 1,006 people by Forsa Institute for the German magazine Stern found 13 percent would attend an anti-Muslim march nearby and that 29 percent believed that the marches were justified because Islam was having such an influence on life in Germany.[65] A poll by the Spiegel found a similar result, 34 percent of Germans agreeing with Pegida protestors in that the influence of Islam in Germany is growing.[6]
Political reactions[edit]in November 2014, Saxony's minister of interior Markus Ulbig (CDU) claimed that foreign criminals stay in Germany too long. He announced the creation of a special police unit to deal with criminal immigrants in Dresden and the rest of Saxony, including a section of the Spezialeinsatzkommando (SWAT Team) trained to enter buildings occupied by armed terrorists. Investigators and specialists in criminal and immigrant law would collaborate to process foreign criminals in the criminal justice system, and prevent those not eligible for asylum from obtaining the right to stay in Germany.[66] Ulbig admitted that there were a number of criminal acts committed by immigrants near the homes for asylum-seekers, but they were a minority and should not be allowed to undermine the solidarity with the great majority of law-abiding refugees. He said police worked on criminal immigrant cases too slowly.[67]
^While the majority of English language sources use the term "West", a more precise translation of "Abendland" is the historic term "Occident" i.e. the opposite of "Orient".References[edit]^ abhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2920124/German-PEGIDA-leader-investigated-Hitler-pose.html^http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2916408/Far-right-anti-Islamisation-rally-Dresden-cancelled-police-confirm-concrete-threat-kill-leading-member-Pegida.html^http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/22/world/europe/pegida-hitler-photo-germany.html?_r=0^http://fm4.orf.at/stories/1750776/^Connolly, Kate (15 December 2014). "Estimated 15,000 people join 'pinstriped Nazis' on march in Dresden". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 January 2015. ^ abcdeSPIEGEL Staff (December 21, 2014). "The End of Tolerance? Anti-Muslim Movement Rattles Germany". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 3 January 2015. ^http://www.bild.de/regional/dresden/demonstrationen/pegida-erfinder-im-interview-38780422.bild.html^"KURDEN DEMO DRESDEN". Youtube (in German). Lutz Bachmann. Retrieved 5 January 2015. ^Popp, Maximilian; Wassermann, Andreas (12 January 2015). "Prying into Pegida: Where Did Germany's Islamophobes Come From?". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 16 January 2015. ^"Pro-ISIS radicals with machetes, knives attack Kurds in Germany". RT.com. 8 October 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2015. ^"Germany: Holy War Erupts in Hamburg". Gatestone Institute. 15 October 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2015. ^ abcdSmale, Alison (7 December 2014). "In German City Rich With History and Tragedy, Tide Rises Against Immigration". New York Times. Retrieved 16 December 2014. ^ abcKirschbaum, Erik (16 December 2014). "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West quickly gathering support in Germany". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 16 December 2014. ^Stute, Dennis (7 December 2014). "Anti-Islamist protests with right-wing ties expand in Germany". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 9 December 2014. ^ abSommers, Jack (18 January 2015). "Pegida Cancel Lastest Dresden Demonstration After Threats". Huffington Post UK (AOL (UK) Limited). Retrieved 19 January 2015. ^"Dresdner Tafel will kein Geld von PEGIDA". Morgenpost Sachsen. 22 December 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2015. ^Fischer, Christian (12 January 2015). "So will Pegida mit den Demos Geld machen". Bild (in German). Retrieved 17 January 2015. ^Gedziorowski, Lukas (15 December 2014). "Pegida wird Fragida" (in German). Journal Frankfurt. Retrieved 16 December 2014. ^Burger, Reiner (12 January 2015). "Schwarze P¤dagogik, die wir nicht n¶tig haben". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 17 January 2015. ^"Pegida-NRW feuert Pressesprecherin und will K¶ln k¼nftig meiden". K¶lner Stadt-Anzeiger (in German). 6 January 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2015. ^Gegen das Pegida-Image. 35.000 Dresdner demonstrieren f¼r Toleranz. MDR.de, 10. Januar 2015.^Brady, Kate (12 January 2015). "Record turnout at Dresden PEGIDA rally sees more than 25,000 march". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 17 January 2015. ^Connolly, Kate (15 January 2015). "Killing of Eritrean refugee in Dresden exposes racial tensions in Germany". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 January 2015. ^"Dresdner Polizei verbietet Demos wegen Anschlagsgefahr". Reuters (Thomson Reuters). 18 January 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2015. ^ abWagstyl, Stefan (21 January 2015). "German populist leader quits after Hitler pose emerges". Financial Times. Retrieved 21 January 2015. ^ abConnolly, Kate (21 January 2015). "Photograph of Germany's Pegida leader styled as Adolf Hitler goes viral". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 January 2015. ^ abChambers, Madeline (21 January 2015). "German PEGIDA leader investigated after Hitler pose". Reuters. Retrieved 21 January 2015. ^Anonymous (10 December 2014). "Pegida Positionspapier" (in German). www.menschen-in-dresden.de. ^N., N. (12 December 2014). "Pegidisch f¼r Anf¤nger" (in German). taz. Retrieved 16 December 2014. ^ abKnight, Ben (15 December 2014). "PEGIDA determining political debate in Germany". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 12 December 2014. ^ ab"The uprising of the decent". Economist. 10 January 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015. ^ abErik Kirschbaum (13 January 2015). "Revived Nazi-era term 'Luegenpresse' is German non-word of year". Reuters (Thompson Reuters). Retrieved 16 January 2015. ^Kate Connolly (6 January 2015). "Pegida: what does the German far-right movement actually stand for?". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 January 2015. ^Honnigfort, Bernhard (15 December 2014). "Pegida ver¶ffentlicht Positionspapier" (in German). Frankfurter Rundschau. Retrieved 16 December 2014. ^"Demo in Dresden bleibt friedlich '' Teilnehmerzahl weit unter Erwartungen". DNN-Online (in German). DNN-Online. 27 October 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2015. ^"Polizeieinsatz" (in German). Polizei Sachsen. 3 November 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2015. ^"Polizei Sachsen" (in German). Polizei Sachsen. 10 November 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2015. ^"Polizeieinsatz" (in German). Polizei Sachsen. 17 November 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2015. ^"Demonstration in Dresden: Spezialeinheit Abendland". FAZ Net (in German). FAZ. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2015. ^"Polizeieinsatz" (in German). Polizei Sachsen. 1 December 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2015. ^"Polizeieinsatz" (in German). Polizei Sachsen. 8 December 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2015. ^"Polizeieinsatz" (in German). Polizei Sachsen. 15 December 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2015. ^"Polizeieinsatz" (in German). Polizei Sachsen. 22 December 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2015. ^Tiede, Peter (22 December 2014). "Evangelische Kirche Deutschlands Pegida ist unchristlich" (in German). Bild. Archived from the original on 23 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014. ^"Polizeieinsatz" (in German). Polizei Sachsen. 5 January 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2015. ^Polizeieinsatz. In: Polizei Sachsen. Januar 12, 2015^http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/germany-anti-islam-pegida-protest-rally-draws-record-25000-dresden-1483097^"Neues aus der Tabuzone". Die Zeit (in German) (52). 17 December 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2015. ^Jansen, Frank (19 January 2015). ""Sachsen im Fokus der Dschihadisten"". Der Tagesspiegel (in German). Retrieved 22 January 2015. ^"Dresden setzt Zeichen f¼r Weltoffenheit - 35.000 Menschen bei Kundgebung gegen Pegida". DNN online. 11 January 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2015. ^"BBC News Germany protests: Dresden marches against anti-Islamists Pegida". http://www.bbc.com/news/. BBC News. 10.01.2015. Retrieved 12.01.2015. ^"Deutschlandweit Proteste gegen Islamfeinde". Frankfurter Allgemeine. 12 January 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2015. ^"Cologne Cathedral to turn out the lights in protest at anti-Muslim march". Reuters. 2 January 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2015. ^ ab"Germany Pegida protests: 'Islamisation' rallies denounced". BBC News. 6 January 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2015. ^"Angela Merkel issues New Year's warning over rightwing Pegida group". The Guardian. 30 December 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2015. ^vek, dpa (12 December 2014). "Protest-M¤rsche: De Maizi¨re zeigt Verst¤ndnis f¼r Pegida-Demonstranten". SPIEGEL Online. Retrieved 16 December 2014. ^Hill, Jenny (16 December 2014). "Anti-Islam 'Pegida' march in German city of Dresden". BBC. Retrieved 16 December 2014. ^Hugglet, Justin (10 December 2014). "German Eurosceptics embrace anti-Islam protests". The Telegraph. Retrieved 16 December 2014. ^AfD-Fraktion, Dresden (20 November 2014). "Erkl¤rung der AfD-Fraktion im Stadtrat der Landeshauptstadt Dresden zu den Demonstrationen von PEGIDA" (in German). AfD. Retrieved 5 January 2015. ^"German Council of Jews chairman condemns "immensely dangerous" PEGIDA movement". Deutsche Welle. 20 December 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2014. ^"Bischof will ehrlichen Dialog mit Muslimen ¼ber IS" [Bishop wants honest dialogue with Muslims on IS]. Die Welt (in German). 24 December 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2014. ^"German xenophobia: Peaceful, but menacing". The Economist. 20 December 2014. ^Connolly, Kate (6 January 2015). "Pegida: what does the German far-right movement actually stand for?". The Guardian. ^von Altenbockum, Jasper (19 December 2014). "Politisch heimatlos". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 18 December 2014. ^"One in 8 Germans would join anti-Muslim marches: poll". Der Spiegel. 1 January 2015. Retrieved 5 January 2015. ^"Pl¤ne in Sachsen: Sondereinheit soll gegen straff¤llige Asylbewerber "durchgreifen"" [Plans in Saxony: Special unit to clamp down on criminal asylum seekers] (in German). Der Spiegel. 24 November 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2015. ^Robert Kuhne (24 November 2014). "Innenminister Ulbig zur Asylpolitik". MOPO24 (in German). External links[edit]
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Dit is de pil die de feesten en oorlogen in het Midden-Oosten draaiende houdt
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 16:01
Op 29 februari 2012 onderschepten de autoriteiten in Jemen een partij van zo'n 4,6 miljoen Captagonpillen die vanuit Pakistan op weg was naar Saoedi-Arabi. Foto: Yahya Arhab/ANP
Captagon. In Europa kent bijna niemand het, in het Midden-Oosten is het gebruik wijdverbreid. 'Je vergeet iedereen om je heen, je hallucineert en alles is beter. Je hebt zoveel ideen,' zegt Khaled (19), een Libanees die verslaafd is aan de drug. Hij is dun en draagt een zwarte capuchontrui. Zijn pupillen zijn gigantisch.
Hij is niet de enige die de pillen, die eruitzien als witte of lichtbruine M&M's, graag slikt. Van alle amfetamine, het basisingredint van Captagon, die wereldwijd wordt onderschept, wordt volgens de Verenigde Naties meer dan de helft in het Midden-Oosten gevonden. De VN schatten dat 0,2 procent van de bevolking amfetamines gebruikt. Ter vergelijking: 0,05 procent zou coca¯ne gebruiken. En in 2012 werd er meer dan 21 ton aan Captagonpillen gevonden. De grootste vondsten? In Saoedi-Arabi, waar meer dan de helft van dat aantal werd gevonden, en in Jordani en Syri.
Gebruikersdata zijn er niet; drugs zijn een taboe in het Midden-Oosten. Het is in ieder geval niet de meest gebruikte drug in de regio; cannabis is populairder. Maar de handel erin brengt miljoenen op en groeit hard: door het conflict in Syri wordt er steeds meer Captagon geproduceerd.
'Captagon wordt vooral gemaakt in Syri, het wordt dan naar Libanon gesmokkeld en dan gexporteerd naar de Golf,' aldus kolonel Ghassan Chamseddine, hoofd van Libanons antidrugsbrigade. Zijn agenten vonden de afgelopen achttien maanden 55 miljoen Captagonpillen. Smokkelwaar verstopt in airconditioners, metalen buizen en meubels. Hij schat dat wat hij vindt maximaal 20 procent is van wat er daadwerkelijk wordt geproduceerd.
De miljoenen pillen gaan vooral naar de Golflanden; de Verenigde Arabische Emiraten, Koeweit, Qatar, Bahrein en Saoedi-Arabi, waar de prijs van een Captagonpil omhoogschiet. Het productieproces is goedkoop en makkelijk, amfetamine, ether en cafe¯ne zijn de basisingredinten. Op straat in Libanon koop je de pillen voor vijf euro, een lokale dealer betaalt drie euro aan de lokale producenten. In Saoedi-Arabi, Koeweit of de Verenigde Arabische Emiraten kost een pil zestien euro, aldus kolonel Chamseddine.
Op 29 februari 2012 onderschepten de autoriteiten in Jemen een partij van zo'n 4,6 miljoen Captagonpillen die vanuit Pakistan op weg was naar Saoedi-Arabi. Foto: Yahya Arhab/ANPWat doet de pil?In 1961 werd Captagon, officieel fenethylline, ontwikkeld voor ADHD-patinten. Maar in 1986 werd het middel door de Wereldgezondheidsorganisatie (WHO) in de ban gedaan omdat het te verslavend zou zijn. Al snel daarna startte een industrie van nep-Captagon, pillen gemaakt van verschillende amfetamines, aangevuld met andere uppers '' drugs die de gebruiker energie en een goed gevoel geven.
In Saoedi-Arabi wordt Captagon vaak gebruikt door vrachtwagenchauffeurs die wakker willen blijven tijdens lange ritten door de woestijn
Die bestanddelen komen vaak niet uit het Midden-Oosten zelf. Nog steeds wordt er in Belgi, Nederland, Polen en de Baltische staten amfetamine geproduceerd voor export naar het Midden-Oosten, aldus de EU. Het is een drug die vooral onder welgestelde jongeren in de Golfstaten populair is. Een partydrug die ervoor zorgt dat je door kunt blijven feesten. De drug staat ook bekend als seksuele stimuleringsdrug; hij verlengt het uithoudingsvermogen in bed.
En in Saoedi-Arabi wordt hij volgens lokale media ook vaak gebruikt door vrachtwagenchauffeurs die wakker willen blijven tijdens lange ritten door de woestijn.
Een andere verklaring voor de populariteit van de pil is dat hij honger onderdrukt, en daarom populair is bij vrouwen die graag willen afvallen. Dat zegt aldus dr. Justin Thomas, een psychologieprofessor aan de Zayed-universiteit in Dubai.
Bovendien is hij goedkoper dan coca¯ne en kun je vrij normaal blijven functioneren. En het feit dat de drug ooit een medicijn was, geeft het een zweem van onschuld. 'Het ziet eruit als een geneesmiddel en het wordt niet geassocieerd met de lugubere kant van drugs. Mensen hebben niet het idee dat ze een illegale drug slikken,' zegt Thomas.
Waarom het Midden-Oosten?Captagon is in het Midden-Oosten populair sinds de jaren tachtig, maar komt voor het eerst echt in beeld aan het begin van deze eeuw. Opeens worden er enorme partijen pillen onderschept, vooral in Syri, Jordani en Saoedi-Arabi. In 2009 meer dan 20 ton.
Saoedi-Arabi is de grootste en meest lucratieve afzetmarkt '' meer dan een kwart van de wereldwijde onderscheppingen wordt daar gerapporteerd. Zelfs de regering geeft toe dat dat slechts 10 procent van de drugs in omloop betreft. Meer dan de helft van de bevolking is onder de 25, en het gevaar van drugssmokkel drijft de prijs omhoog. En dus wringen smokkelaars uit Jordani, Syri en Libanon zich in allerlei bochten om hun waar daar naar binnen te krijgen. Verstopt in ijzeren kabels, airconditioners, autobanden, grote rollen textiel en zelfs in koekjes. Maar het gevaar is groot; in het conservatieve koninkrijk staat de doodstraf op drugssmokkel. In 2013 werden er twee Syrirs voor onthoofd.
Naast de Golflanden is er een nieuwe afzetmarkt: Syri en Libanon. 'Het houdt je wakker, het maakt je agressiever, je laat alle remmen los,' aldus psycholoog Ramzi Haddad, gevestigd in Beiroet. Dat het je scherp houdt, is ook wat het een aantrekkelijke drug maakt voor strijders. Sommige media noemen de drug zelfs 'jihad meth,' vanwege de populariteit onder strijders in Syri.
In klinieken in Tripoli, in Noord-Libanon, komen tijdens de gevechten die daar elke paar maanden tussen soennieten en alawieten uitbreken regelmatig gewonde strijders binnen die Captagon gebruikt hebben. Net als twintig jaar geleden, toen strijders in de Libanese burgeroorlog veel coca¯ne gebruikten. 'Het is heel makkelijk te maken, goedkoop en beschikbaar. Dat is waarom mensen het slikken,' aldus Haddad.
In Libanon is het vooral populair onder studenten, vertelt Abu Ali, een drugsdealer in de hoofdstad Beiroet die om veiligheidsredenen een bijnaam opgeeft. De straten zijn er ongeplaveid, er is geen elektriciteit, bewoners eten bij kaarslicht en op elke straathoek staat een andere jongen, op de uitkijk voor de politie. 'De vraag naar Captagon groeit gestaag,' zegt Abu Ali. Hij verkoopt per week ongeveer 150 pillen. Waar het vandaan komt? 'Uit de Bekaavallei.'
De Bekaavallei is een vruchtbare vallei in Oost-Libanon. Het gebied staat al lang bekend vanwege de cannabis die er wordt gekweekt. Lebanese red, de hasjvariant die je in sommige Nederlandse coffeeshops vindt, groeit daar. En het is de vallei waar ook andere illegale drugs zoals Captagon worden geproduceerd.
Dat gebeurt volgens kolonel Chamseddine met chocolademachines, die worden ge¯mporteerd uit China. Na een verbouwing kunnen ze tot wel 100.000 pillen per dag produceren.
Op 29 februari 2012 onderschepten de autoriteiten in Jemen een partij van zo'n 4,6 miljoen Captagonpillen die vanuit Pakistan op weg was naar Saoedi-Arabi. Foto: Yahya Arhab/ANPWie produceert het?De sjiitische beweging Hezbollah maakt in de Bekaavallei de dienst uit. De groep wordt er al lang van verdacht een vinger in de pap te hebben bij de drugsproductie. In 2012 werden twee broers van Hezbollahparlementslid Hussein Moussawi opgepakt na een schandaal over Captagonfabrieken in twee sjiitische religieuze scholen.
Het gebruik van drugs is verboden volgens de islam, zowel voor soennieten als sjiieten. Maar Sheikh Mohamed Yazbek, een hoge geestelijke en lid van Hezbollah, gaf een fatwa '' religieus edict '' uit om de handel wit te wassen. Daarin stond dat de productie en verkoop van Captagon legaal waren indien het product niet bestemd was voor sjiieten.
'De dealers zijn enkel ge¯nteresseerd in geld verdienen. Het maakt niet uit of ze het regime of de rebellen betalen, als ze hun drugs maar kunnen vervoeren'
Eenzelfde constructie wordt mogelijk gehanteerd door Islamitische Staat en andere islamitische rebellen. Verschillende media hebben bericht dat de terreurgroepen betrokken zijn bij de Captagonhandel. Dit terwijl roken voor IS-strijders streng verboden is. Ook plaatste IS video's online waarin te zien is hoe strijders hasjvelden verbranden omdat die in strijd zouden zijn met de islam.
Dat rebellengroepen als IS zich aan de productie wagen is echter geen verrassing: Captagon komt voornamelijk uit Syri. In 2011, het jaar dat de opstand begon, onderschepte de Syrische regering 22,7 miljoen Captagonpillen, twee keer zoveel als het jaar ervoor. De grote vondsten worden nu over de grens gedaan. In 2014 onderschepte de regering maar 2,7 miljoen pillen, aldus Syrisch persbureau Sana. Ter vergelijking: in Libanon werden tijdens een operatie in februari 5 miljoen pillen gevonden, geproduceerd en gesmokkeld door Syrirs.
Aan de handel in Syri zit volgens kolonel Chamseddine geen ideologisch randje. 'De dealers zijn enkel ge¯nteresseerd in geld verdienen. Het maakt niet uit of ze het regime of de rebellen betalen, als ze hun drugs maar kunnen vervoeren.' Dat was ook de reden dat een drugsdealer uit Homs die hij in 2013 arresteerde van regimegebied naar een oppositiegebied was verhuisd. De rebellen waren makkelijker om te kopen. De man investeerde zijn geld in luxeappartementen in Beiroet en een vloot aan luxeauto's.
Het afgelopen jaar ging het aantal gevonden pillen alleen maar omhoog. Maar onderzoek naar de langetermijneffecten voor gebruikers blijft uit. Langzaam beginnen regeringen toe te geven dat er een drugsprobleem heerst. Toch blijft drugsgebruik een moeilijk onderwerp en toestemming voor academisch onderzoek krijg je niet. Bovendien zitten er ethische bezwaren aan; op drugsgebruik staan immers zware straffen, in sommige gevallen zelfs lijfstraffen.
Vanwege het gemak waarmee het te krijgen is, krijgt men ook moeilijk inzicht in wie de gebruikers zijn. Psycholoog Thomas: 'Er wordt zo veel onderschept. Laten we ervan uitgaan dat er tien keer zoveel in omloop is. Wie slikt dat dan allemaal?'
Dit artikel is geschreven door Fernande van Tets.
E(C)n vijfde van Libanon bestaat nu uit Syrische vluchtelingenIn Libanon '' 4 miljoen inwoners '' zitten al meer dan 1,2 miljoen vluchtelingen uit Syri. Het land zit overvol: er is niet genoeg water, elektriciteit en werk voor iedereen. Gastcorrespondent Marit de Looijer maakt een reis door Zuid-Libanon en spreekt vier heel verschillende Syrirs over hun nieuwe leven als vluchteling.
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Het desastreuze gedoogbeleid in de Afghaanse opiumstaatNegentig procent van de wereldwijde opiumproductie komt uit Afghanistan. Een record dat bereikt werd onder toeziend oog van de NAVO. De 'war on terror' bleek de perfecte voedingsbodem voor een bloeiende papaverteelt, ontdekte gastauteur Mick van Biezen.
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European 'No-Go' Zones: Fact or Fiction?
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 21:42
A 120-page research paper entitled "No-Go Zones in the French Republic: Myth or Reality?" documented dozens of French neighborhoods "where police and gendarmerie cannot enforce the Republican order or even enter without risking confrontation, projectiles, or even fatal shootings."
In October 2011, a 2,200-page report, "Banlieue de la R(C)publique" (Suburbs of the Republic) found that Seine-Saint-Denis and other Parisian suburbs are becoming "separate Islamic societies" cut off from the French state and where Islamic Sharia law is rapidly displacing French civil law.
The report also showed how the problem is being exacerbated by radical Muslim preachers who are promoting the social marginalization of Muslim immigrants in order to create a parallel Muslim society in France that is ruled by Sharia law.
The television presenter asks: "What if we went to the suburbs?" Obertone replies: "I do not recommend this. Not even we French dare go there anymore. But nobody talks about this in public, of course. Nor do those who claim, 'long live multiculturalism,' and 'Paris is wonderful!' dare enter the suburbs."
The jihadist attack on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French magazine known for lampooning Islam, has cast a spotlight on so-called no-go zones in France and other European countries.
No-go zones are Muslim-dominated neighborhoods that are largely off limits to non-Muslims due to a variety of factors, including the lawlessness and insecurity that pervades a great number of these areas. Host-country authorities have effectively lost control over many no-go zones and are often unable or unwilling to provide even basic public aid, such as police, fire fighting and ambulance services, out of fear of being attacked by Muslim youth.
Muslim enclaves in European cities are also breeding grounds for Islamic radicalism and pose a significant threat to Western security.
Europe's no-go zones are the by-product of decades of multicultural policies that have encouraged Muslim immigrants to create parallel societies and remain segregated from '-- rather than become integrated into '-- their European host nations.
The problem of no-go zones is well documented, but multiculturalists and their politically correct supporters vehemently deny that they exist. Some are now engaged in a concerted campaign to discredit and even silence those who draw attention to the issue.
Consider Carol Matlack, an American writer for Bloomberg Businessweek, who recently penned a story '-- entitled "Debunking the Myth of Muslim-Only Zones in Major European Cities" '-- in which she claims that no-go zones are nothing more than an "urban legend" that is "demonstrably untrue." She then goes on to ridicule those who disagree with her.
The American cable television channel Fox News has also issued at least four apologies for referring to Muslim no-go zones in Europe, after one commentator erroneously claimed that the entire city of Birmingham, England, was Muslim. Had he simply said that "parts" of Birmingham are Muslim, he would have been correct.
Despite such politically correct denials, Muslim no-go zones are a well-known fact of life in many parts of Europe.
What follows is the first in a multi-part series that will document the reality of Europe's no-go zones. The series begins by focusing on France and provides a brief compilation of just a few of the literally thousands of references to French no-go zones from academic, police, media and government sources that can easily be found on the Internet by doing a simple search on Google.
Fabrice Balanche, a well-known French Islam scholar who teaches at the University of Lyon, recently told Radio T(C)l(C)vision Suisse: "You have territories in France such as Roubaix, such as northern Marseille, where police will not step foot, where the authority of state is completely absent, where mini Islamic states have been formed."
French writer and political journalist ‰ric Zemmour recently told BFM TV: "There are places in France today, especially in the suburbs, where it is not really in France. Salafi Islamists are Islamizing some neighborhoods and some suburbs. In these neighborhoods, it's not France, it's an Islamic republic." In a separate interview, Zemmour '-- whose latest book is entitled, "The French Suicide" '-- says multiculturalism and the reign of politically correct speech is destroying the country.
French politician Franck Guiot wrote that parts of ‰vry, a township in the southern suburbs of Paris, are no-go zones where police forces cannot go for fear of being attacked. He said that politicians seeking to maintain "social peace" were prohibiting the police from using their weapons to defend themselves.
The Socialist mayor of Amiens, Gilles Demailly, has referred to the Fafet-Brossolette district of the city as a "no-go zone" where "you can no longer order a pizza or get a doctor to come to the house." Europe 1, one of the leading broadcasters in France, has referred to Marseille as a "no-go zone" after the government was forced to deploy riot police, known as CRS, to confront warring Muslim gangs in the city. The French Interior Ministry said it was trying to "reconquer" 184 square kilometers (71 square miles) of Marseille that have come under the control of Muslim gangs.
The French newspaper Le Figaro has referred to downtown Perpignan as a "veritable no-go zone" where "aggression, antisocial behavior, drug trafficking, Muslim communalism, racial tensions and tribal violence" are forcing non-Muslims to move out. Le Figaro also reported that the Les Izards district of Toulouse was a no-go zone, where Arab drug trafficking gangs rule the streets in a climate of fear.
Separately, Le Figaroreported that large quantities of assault rifles are circulating in French no-go zones. "For a few hundred dollars you can buy Kalashnikovs," political scientist Sebastian Roch(C) said. "The price of an iPhone!"
The newspaper France Soirpublished poll results showing that nearly 60% of French citizens are in favor of sending the army into troubled suburbs to restore order.
The newspaper Le Parisien has called parts of Grigny, a township in the southern suburbs of Paris, a "lawless zone" plagued by well-organized Muslim gangs, whose members believe they are "masters of the world." The weekly newsmagazine Le Pointreported on the spiraling Muslim lawlessness in the French city of Grenoble.
The French magazine L'Obs (formerly known as Le Nouvel Observateur) has reported on the deteriorating security situation in Roubaix, a city in northern France that is located close to the Belgian border. The magazine reported that local citizens are "exiled within their own country" and want to create their own militia to restore order because police are afraid to confront Muslim gangs.
In August 2014, the French magazine Valeurs Actuelles (Contemporary Values) reported that "France has more than 750 areas of lawlessness" where the law of the French Republic no longer applies. Under the headline "Hell in France," the magazine said that many parts of France are experiencing a "dictatorship of riffraff" where police are "greeted by mortar fire" and are "forced to retreat by projectiles."
Separately, Valeurs Actuellesreported on the lawlessness in Trappes, a township located in the western suburbs of Paris, where radical Islam and endemic crime go hand in hand. "Criminals are pursued by Islamic fundamentalists to impose an alternative society, breaking links with the French Republic," according to local police commander Mohammed Duhan. It is not advisable to go there, he says, adding, "You will be spotted by so-called chauffeurs (lookouts for drug traffickers) and be stripped and smashed."
Valeurs Actuelles has also reported on no-go zones in Nantes, Tours and Orl(C)ans, which have turned into "battlefields" where the few remaining native French holdouts are confronted with "Muslim communalism, the disappearance of their cultural references and rampant crime."
A graphic 20-minute documentary (in French) about the no-go zone in Clichy Montfermeil, a suburb of Paris, can be viewed here. At around the 3-minute mark, the video shows what happens when French police enter the area.
A policeman uses a shotgun to try to keep an attacking gang at bay, in the Parisian suburb of Clichy Montfermeil. (Image source: Dailymotion video screenshot)
A 1.5 hour documentary (in French) produced by France's TF1 about Muslim gangs in Parisian no-go zones can be viewed here. A 50-minute documentary (in French) produced by France's TV3 about the no-go zones of Clos Saint-Lazare in northern Paris can be viewed here. A 45-minute documentary (in English) about the no-go zones of Marseilles can be viewed here.
A four-minute video of the most dangerous neighborhoods of France in 2014 can be viewed here. A three-and-a-half-minute video of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Greater Paris Metropolitan Area can be viewed here. A two-minute video of a no-go zone in Lille can be viewed here. A five-minute video about life in the suburbs of Lyon can be viewed here.
A Russian television (Russia-1) documentary about no-go zones in Paris can be viewed here. The presenter says: "We are in Paris, the Barb¨s quarter, a few minutes from the famous Montmartre. Finding a European here is almost a mission impossible. Certain Paris streets remind one of an oriental bazaar." He continues: "The Paris banlieues have become criminal ghettoes where even the police dare not enter." Hidden cameras record widespread lawlessness and drug dealing in the area.
A 120-page research paper entitled "No-Go Zones in the French Republic: Myth or Reality?" documented dozens of French neighborhoods "where police and gendarmerie cannot enforce the Republican order or even enter without risking confrontation, projectiles, or even fatal shootings."
Some of the most notorious no-go zone areas in France are situated in the department of Seine-Saint-Denis, a northeastern suburb (banlieue) of Paris that has one of the highest concentrations of Muslims in France. The department is home to an estimated 600,000 Muslims (primarily from North and West Africa) out of a total population of 1.4 million.
Seine-Saint-Denis is divided into 40 administrative districts called communes (townships), 36 of which are on the French government's official list of "sensitive urban zones" or ZUS.
Seine-Saint-Denis '-- also known locally as "ninety-three" or "nine three" after the first two digits of the postal code for this suburb '-- has one of the highest unemployment rates in France; more than 40% of those under the age of 25 are jobless. The area is plagued with drug dealing and suffers from some of the highest rates of violent crime in France.
In October 2011, a landmark 2,200-page report, "Banlieue de la R(C)publique" (Suburbs of the Republic) found that Seine-Saint-Denis and other Parisian suburbs are becoming "separate Islamic societies" cut off from the French state, and where Islamic Sharia law is rapidly displacing French civil law. The report said that Muslim immigrants are increasingly rejecting French values and instead are immersing themselves in radical Islam.
The report '-- which was commissioned by the influential French think tank, L'Institut Montaigne '-- was directed by Gilles Kepel, a highly respected political scientist and specialist in Islam, together with five other French researchers.
The authors of the report showed that France '-- which now has 6.5 million Muslims (the largest Muslim population in European Union) '-- is on the brink of a major social explosion because of the failure of Muslims to integrate into French society.
The report also showed how the problem is being exacerbated by radical Muslim preachers, who are promoting the social marginalization of Muslim immigrants in order to create a parallel Muslim society in France that is ruled by Sharia law.
The research was primarily carried out in the Seine-Saint-Denis townships of Clichy-sous-Bois and Montfermeil, two suburbs that were ground zero for Muslim riots in the fall of 2005, when Muslim mobs torched more than 9,000 cars.
The report described Seine-Saint-Denis as a "wasteland of de-industrialization" and said that in some areas, "a third of the population of the town does not hold French nationality, and many residents are drawn to an Islamic identity."
Another township of Seine-Saint-Denis is Aubervilliers. Sometimes referred to as one of the "lost territories of the French Republic," it is effectively a Muslim city: more than 70% of the population is Muslim. Three quarters of young people under 18 in the township are foreign or French of foreign origin, mainly from the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa. French police are said to rarely venture into some of the most dangerous parts of the township.
The southern part of Aubervilliers is well known for its vibrant Chinese immigrant community along with their wholesale clothing and textile warehouses and import-export shopping malls. In August 2013, the weekly newsmagazine Mariannereported that Muslim immigrants felt humiliated by the economic dynamism of the Chinese, and were harassing and attacking Chinese traders, who were increasingly subject to robberies and extortion. The situation got so bad that the Chinese ambassador to France was forced to pay a visit to the area.
In response, the Socialist mayor of Aubervilliers, Jacques Salvator, suggested that the violence could be halted if Chinese companies would agree to hire more Arabs and Africans. The Chinese countered that Muslims do not work as hard as the Chinese, that they are more demanding, and that they complain too much, according to Marianne.
After local officials refused to act in the face of increasing Muslim violence, the Chinese threatened to "call on the Chinese mafia" for protection. Muslims responded by launching a petition to have the Chinese expelled from the area.
Also in Aubervilliers, the magazine Charlie Hebdoreported in 2012 that the town hall was obligating non-Muslim men who want to marry Muslim women to convert to Islam first, even though France is ostensibly a secular republic. One such man, Fr(C)d(C)ric Gilbert, a journalist, was told:
"You can convert in any mosque in three minutes. All you need do is to repeat 'with conviction and sincerity' this sentence: 'I recognize that there is no god but Allah and that Mohammed is his prophet,' and the Imam will agree that you have converted to Islam.'"
In a story entitled, "When Town Hall Mayors become Imams," Charlie Hebdo wrote:
"In other words, Moroccan law prevails over French law in cases of mixed marriages and the same situation pertains with regard to other former French colonies such as Tunisia and Algeria as well as with Egypt."
According to the newspaper Le Parisien, the practice of "false conversions" to Islam is widespread because most non-Muslim grooms prefer fake conversions rather than to suffer "administrative complications."
In 2014, Le Figaropublished the contents of a leaked intelligence document that warns about the imposition of Islamic Sharia law in French schools in Muslim ghettoes. The 15-page document provides 70 specific examples of how Muslim radicals are taking over ostensibly secular schools throughout the country. These include: veiling in playgrounds, halal meals in the canteen, chronic absenteeism (bordering 90% in some parts of N®mes and Toulouse) during religious festivals, clandestine prayer in gyms or hallways. The report details how "self-proclaimed young guardians of orthodoxy" are circumventing the March 2004 law banning religious symbols in French schools. In Marseille, a high school principal testified that some of her students pray with such fervor that they have "blue foreheads."
A video showing a radical Islamic rally in Saint-Denis can be viewed here. A video showing radical Muslims commandeering a French bus amid screams of "Allahu Akbar!" (Allah is greater!) can be viewed here. A series of eight videos documenting Muslim street prayers in Paris can be viewed here. (Street prayers have now been outlawed.) A series of 25 videos documenting the Islamization of France can be viewed here.
In July 2012, the French government announced a plan to reassert state control over 15 of the most notorious no-go zones. The crime-infested districts, which the French Interior Ministry has designated as Priority Security Zones (Zones de S(C)curit(C) Prioritaires, or ZSP), include heavily Muslim parts of Amiens, Aubervilliers, Avignon, B(C)ziers, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Marseilles, Montpellier, Mulhouse, Nantes, Nice, Paris, Perpignan, Strasbourg, Toulouse and many others. The number of ZSPs now stands at 64; a complete list of ZSPs can be found here.
Meanwhile, a 13-minute Hungarian television documentary (with English subtitles) about no-go zones in Paris can be viewed here. The presenter interviews a French crime reporter named Laurent Obertone, who is the author of a bestselling new book entitled, "La France Orange M(C)chanique" (France: A Clockwork Orange).
In his book, Obertone writes that France is descending into a state of savagery and that the true magnitude of crime and violence across the country is being deliberately under-reported by politically correct media, government and police.
In the documentary, Obertone states: "The French elite became outraged when [former French President Nicolas] Sarkozy referred to [Muslim] immigrants attacking police as 'mobs'."
The Hungarian presenter then asks: "What if we went to the suburbs?" Obertone replies: "I do not recommend this. Not even we French dare go there anymore. But nobody talks about this in public, of course. Nor do those who claim, 'long live multiculturalism,' and 'Paris is wonderful!' dare enter the suburbs."
Soeren Kernis a Senior Fellow at the New York-basedGatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estrat(C)gicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him onFacebookand onTwitter.
Related Topics: France | Soeren Kernreceive the latest by email: subscribe to the free gatestone institute mailing list
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Attack on Hezbollah unveils Israel's disappointment with ISIL : Iranian MP
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:34
TEHRAN (Tasnim) '' A senior Iranian lawmaker said on Wednesday that Israel's recent attack on Hezbollah Resistance Movement showed Israelis' disappointment with Takfiris' performance in Syria.''The Zionist regime assassinated senior Hezbollah figures '... because it felt threatened by the Resistance forces after repeated failures by terrorist forces active in Iraq and Syria,'' a member of Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Mohammad Saleh Jokar told the Tasnim News Agency.
Jokar added that common interests of Israel and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group have put them in a same front against Islam, but Tel Aviv has embarked on killing key Hezbollah figures after it was disappointed with these terrorists.
Six members of Hezbollah plus an Islamic Revolution Guards Corps general were killed when an Israeli military helicopter hit their convoy in Syria's southwestern region of Quneitra.
Links between Israel and the foreign-backed terrorists that fight against Damascus government is not something new.
Israeli media reported in December 2014 that Zionists had taken three wounded militants belonging to Takfiri groups fighting in Syria to hospitals in Israel.
The reports also revealed that more than 449 wounded militants had been treated at Nahariya Hospital in Galilee.
According to documents from Israeli hospitals, Israel's army paid $10 million until September 2014 for the costs of treatment to the foreign-sponsored militants injured during battles with Syrian government forces, and the money has come from the Israeli military's budget.
By Tasnim News Agency
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:HezbollahIranian lawmaker Mohammad-Saleh JokarIslamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)Israel attack on QuneitraQuoted
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Aldi withdraws soap brand 'insulting to Muslims'
Mon, 19 Jan 2015 17:07
With Europe facing terror alerts and Germany in the grip of anti-Islam protests, the supermarket chain Aldi has found itself in the middle of controversy over liquid soap bottles that depicted a mosque.
The German discount chain Aldi S¼d has withdrawn its own-brand Ombia 1,001 Nights liquid soap from sale after complaints that its packaging was insulting to Muslims '' only to face new complaints from non-Muslim customers demanding it be reinstated.
The packaging, which Aldi said was intended to evoke the exotic Orient, depicted a Turkish-style mosque with dome and minarets, together with a lantern and a set of prayer beads.
"I was somewhat shocked that a mosque that was depicted," Ali Girdapoglu wrote. "With its dome and minarets, the mosque is a sight that means dignity and respect for them for Muslim people."
Others complained that it was inappropriate for a mosque to appear in a bathroom setting, and there was a heated discussion on Aldi's Facebook page.
"We are sorry the design of our soap has caused you distress," the supermarket said in a post that has been deleted, according to Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper. "The product will soon no longer be available in our stores."
Non-Muslim customers reacted angrily to the decision, claiming it was unnecessary to withdraw the product and demanding its reinstatement in Facebook posts. Some claimed there would have been no complaints if a church had been featured, while others posted pictures of other products featuring mosque designs.
The discussion has now been deleted from Aldi S¼d's Facebook page. Aldi S¼d is one of two separate Aldi chains in Germany formed when the original company was split between two brothers.
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Growing fear among Jewish Londoners
Mon, 19 Jan 2015 17:02
19 January 2015Last updated at 15:41 By Emma Ailes & Mario CacciottoloBBC NewsPoliticians and police in Britain have spoken of "heightened concern" in Jewish communities following the terror attacks in France that included the killing of four men at a kosher supermarket. So what has been the impact on people living and working in Jewish areas, such as London's Golders Green?
"An attack in our community is inevitable."
Israel Morgenstern is bracing himself for a terror attack aimed at the Jewish community in Britain. "It's going to come. It all depends how and where."
Mr Morgenstern, 37, who lives in Golders Green but is originally from Israel, is married with three children, and says he has a weight on his mind whenever he sends them off to school.
While he is talking, he points out three police cars which pass by, and also says that he welcomes local patrols conducted by the Community Security Trust (CST), a Jewish security charity.
However, he says that he does not know "how much they would be able to help" in the event of an attack. "Maybe, just maybe they would alert the police two minutes earlier.
"I like it in this country, I prefer it to Israel. We want to relax here, but we can't right now."
'On edge'Lord Sacks, former chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, has told the BBC that anxiety levels among British Jews are at an "all-time high" in his lifetime.
However, he adds that "the most recent survey shows that the overwhelming number of Jews in Britain feel safe here. It remains one of the most tolerant societies on earth".
The threat has been a background noise for many years, he says. "We are used to it, we are well prepared. This is well under control."
Along with the visible increased police presence in Jewish areas of London, "internally our security level has risen", he says.
At one of the area's largest kosher supermarkets, all appears to be business as usual. But its manager Chuny Rokach says that, since the Paris attacks, anxious customers have been phoning and emailing him to ask what security measures the shop has in place.
"We've trained our staff on what to do if there is an incident - how to communicate, where the exits are," he says.
"They have radios, and we've checked our CCTV to make sure it's effective. People are still shopping, but our customers are definitely on edge. "
Mr Rokach is in daily contact with the CST, but says he wants to see more police actually walking the beat, not just driving up and down the main road.
"The police haven't been in touch to talk to us about security. We haven't had any issues, but obviously it's a concern.
Continue reading the main storyThere are attacks in Jerusalem, but I was more scared in London''
End QuoteIsraeli tourist"You do see some extra patrols on Saturdays and Sundays, but we've communicated through the CST that we'd like to see a more visible police presence in the area."
Party securityThe authorities say they are listening to concerns. On Friday, Met Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, the national policing lead for counter-terrorism, said a security review was under way, and that police were holding talks about providing "more patrols in key areas".
It is a measure that has been welcomed by leaders in the Jewish community, while some individuals are also taking their own steps in order to feel safe.
Frances Bronzite, 64, is visiting Golders Green from her home in Redbridge, Essex, to buy supplies for her son's engagement party.
She consulted with the CST about the party, and was advised that they should arrange to have security present.
"I told my son, and I thought he'd laugh, but he said, 'No mum, they're right,'" she says.
"It's a party at his fiancee's house for about 200 people. They told us we should have security on the door.
"That never would have occurred to us before."
Mrs Bronzite says it is not just the threat of Islamist extremism that worries her, but also what she sees as a rise in right-wing anti-Semitism.
"I haven't changed my behaviour. Why should I? I still go about life as normal. We're British, born and bred.
"But I think we have to be very wary and very observant. I haven't felt this worried before."
It is a view echoed by two women who stop outside a Jewish bakery to chat. They are happy to give their opinion, but do not want to give their name or a photograph for fear of being "targeted".
The younger of the two is visiting from Israel.
"Of course there are attacks in Jerusalem, but I was more scared in London," she says. "I was scared to go to the kosher supermarket.
"Personally, I feel people here should be moving to Israel."
Her companion is more stoical, however.
"I've lived here for 40 years," she says. "Of course we're worried after seeing what happened in Paris, but you still have to go shopping and do things.
"The way I deal with it is to not think about it. If I let myself think about it, of course I will be scared. But you have to get on with life."
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ISIS leader Baghdadi wounded and stays in Syria, says Iraqi PM
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 12:06
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has been wounded in Al-Qa'im. (File photo: Reuters)
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has been wounded in Al-Qa'im by an Iraqi airstrike along the border with Syria, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi told the pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper on Tuesday.''His survival was a miracle,'' said Abadi, adding that Baghdadi has since ''moved to another location.''
The ISIS leader is ''sometimes present in Mosul, but most of the time he's in Syria, not Iraq,'' the prime minster said.
The threat posed by ISIS has led to some countries, particularly in the West, muting their demands to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Abadi said.
While ISIS is no longer a threat to Baghdad, a regular army will not be able to confront it if it manages to recruit thousands of youths, he said.
ISIS has turned its sights on Kurdistan after realizing that it could not reach southern Iraq, the prime minister added.
Relations with Turkey are strained because Ankara considers the Kurdistan Workers' Party as much a threat as ISIS, if not more, Abadi said.
Relations with the Kurdistan region ''are good, and there's coordination on the security, military and economic levels. There's also a relation of mutual trust,'' he said.
''However, I'm very frank with the brother Kurds. I've told them that if they continue to adopt that previous approach'... of taking what they can from Iraqi lands until they achieve separation, then they must be clear. And if they're willing to stay in Iraq, we're willing to share bread.''
On Izzat al-Douri's whereabouts, Abadi said he did not think the former assistant of late President Saddam Hussein was present in Iraq.
''If he had been in Iraq, he would've been caught a long time ago. I think he's in another country,'' the prime minister said.
Abadi added that he expects more Iraqi-Saudi contacts since a location for the Saudi embassy has been chosen in Baghdad.
He described his meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal as ''very positive.''
By Al Arabiya
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:Abu Bakr al-BaghdadiAl-HayatHaider al-AbadiIraq's Prime MinisterISIL leaderIslamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)Quoted
Iran lauds Omani support for fighting terrorism in high seas
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 12:06
TEHRAN (ISNA)- Commander of Iranian Navy Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari lauded Omani Navy for cooperation with Iran in fighting terrorism and piracy in northern Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.''We appreciate Oman for its full convergence with the Islamic Republic of Iran's Navy,'' he said in a meeting with an Omani delegation in Tehran headed by Commandant of Omani National Defense College (NDC) Salim bin Musallam Qatan.
Iranian Navy is in northern Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden to battle terrorists and this is a continuous and sustainable presence, he said, adding Omani Navy has well cooperated with Iran for the important mission and providing security in high seas.
Salim bin Musallam Qatan is in Iran at top of a military delegation. He would meet with Iranian armed forces commanders to discuss training and defense and strategic development.
By ISNA
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:Gulf of Adenhigh seasIndian OceanIran's Navy CommanderIran-Oman tiesQuotedRear Admiral Habibollah Sayyariterrorism
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Shut Up Slave!
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News Feed FYI: Showing Fewer Hoaxes | Facebook Newsroom
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 22:48
By Erich Owens, Software Engineer, and Udi Weinsberg, Research Scientist
The goal of News Feed is to catch up with your friends and find the things that matter to you. We're always looking to people on Facebook to tell us how we can improve this experience. We've heard from people that they want to see fewer stories that are hoaxes, or misleading news. Today's update to News Feed reduces the distribution of posts that people have reported as hoaxes and adds an annotation to posts that have received many of these types of reports to warn others on Facebook. We are not removing stories people report as false and we are not reviewing content and making a determination on its accuracy.
What are hoaxes?
Hoaxes are a form of News Feed spam that includes scams (''Click here to win a lifetime supply of coffee''), or deliberately false or misleading news stories (''Man sees dinosaur on hike in Utah''). People often share these hoaxes and later decide to delete their original posts after they realize they have been tricked. These types of posts also tend to receive lots of comments from friends letting people know this is a hoax, and comments containing links to hoax-busting websites. In fact, our testing found people are two times more likely to delete these types of posts after receiving such a comment from a friend.
Recently, we added an option for people to report a story they see in News Feed as false. This works in the same way as reporting a story as spam. When you click to hide a story you also have the option to report the content. Stories that include scams, or deliberately misleading news, are reported two and a half times more often than links to other news stories.
What's the update?
To reduce the number of these types of posts, News Feed will take into account when many people flag a post as false. News Feed will also take into account when many people choose to delete posts. This means a post with a link to an article that many people have reported as a hoax or chosen to delete will get reduced distribution in News Feed. This update will apply to posts including links, photos, videos and status updates.
Posts that receive lots of reports will be annotated with a message warning people that many others on Facebook have reported it.
Will this affect my Page?
We've found from testing that people tend not to report satirical content intended to be humorous, or content that is clearly labeled as satire. This type of content should not be affected by this update.
The vast majority of publishers on Facebook will not be impacted by this update. A small set of publishers who are frequently posting hoaxes and scams will see their distribution decrease.
Facebook Launches Effort To Cut Down On Those Annoying Hoax Stories Your Friends Can't Stop Believing '' Consumerist
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 22:48
No, Betty White is not dead (and neither is Eddie Murphy, Celine Dion, Jon Bon Jovi, etc). No, a bunch of worms didn't burst out of a woman's chest. But because your friends on Facebook are easily fooled and don't know about the existence of Snopes.com, it's up to you to run through that gauntlet of idiocy on your news feed. Since those gullible folks will never learn, Facebook says now it's going to help crack down on bogus, hoax and otherwise fake Internet stories clogging up what you read on the social media site.Facebook announced the effort today, saying News Feed will adjust what it shows when people report a post that has false content, as well as take into account when people delete posts. The update to News Feed will see those posts getting reduced distribution, and applies to posts including links, photos, videos and status updates.
If a post with a lot of reports shows up in your News Feed, it'll now come with a warning that others have reported it as a hoax, instead of you having to once again copy and paste a link to Snopes.com in proving that whatever nonsense you've been taken in by is just that, annoying nonsense.
''The goal of News Feed is to catch up with your friends and find the things that matter to you. We're always looking to people on Facebook to tell us how we can improve this experience. We've heard from people that they want to see fewer stories that are hoaxes, or misleading news. Today's update to News Feed reduces the distribution of posts that people have reported as hoaxes and adds an annotation to posts that have received many of these types of reports to warn others on Facebook. We are not removing stories people report as false and we are not reviewing content and making a determination on its accuracy.''
Posts that fall under the hoax umbrella include scams, like clicking on a link to win free flights for a year or stories that are deliberately misleading, Facebook says, like ''Man sees dinosaur on hike in Utah.''
If you see a story that's false, you can now notify Facebook to help clean it up.
''Stories that include scams, or deliberately misleading news, are reported two and a half times more often than links to other news stories,'' Facebook says.
Now if someone could create a filter for smug sports fans who decide it's a good idea to prey on you at the very lowest point of the season when it already feels like everything you loved has been lost, that would be great.
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These States Will Revoke Your Driver's License If You Can't Pay Back Student Loans
Mon, 19 Jan 2015 16:28
Most of the nation is unaware of it, but there are two states which will take your driver's license away if you do not pay your student loans.
Alums in both Montana and Iowa, face laws that allow the state to revoke driver's licenses if the individual is unable to pay back their loans.
This has obvious consequences for potential employment, as well as childcare, creating a downward spiral of self-perpetuating poverty.
The Montana Department of Justice says that those who default on their student loans face ''indefinite suspension until student loan association notifies Motor Vehicle Division of compliance.''
The Department of Motor Vehicles in Iowa parallels this legislation almost identically. The law says that the State will ''suspend a person's driver's license upon receiving a certificate of noncompliance from the College Student Aid Commission in regard to the person's default on an obligation owed to or collected by the commission.''
But the group Jobs With Justice notes that in October 2010, there were also 42 nurses in Tennessee who similarly had their licenses suspended for nothing other than falling behind on their student loans.
The irony of all of this is that taking away the ability to drive makes student loan defaulters even more certain to fall behind on payments.
In effect, this is little different than debtors prison, which, in a misguided effort to deter loan default, actually perpetuates it.
(Article by Reagan Ali; h/t to Chris Hicks and Jobs With Justice)
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Police radar looks through walls
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 19:28
20 January 2015Last updated at 17:57 The use of technology that allows the police to "see" inside the homes of suspects has raised privacy questions.
At least 50 US police forces are believed to be equipped with radars that can send signals through walls.
The use of the radar device, known as Range-R, was made public in a Denver court late last year.
It was used by police entering a house to arrest a man who had violated the terms of his parole.
In court documents relating to the case, lawyers defending Steven Denson questioned whether officers entered his home lawfully.
One of the questions asked was "how the Fourth Amendment interacts with the government's use of radar technology to peer inside a suspect's home".
Although the judges upheld the search and Denson's conviction, they wrote that they had "little doubt that the radar device deployed here will soon generate many questions for this court".
Intrusive toolThe Range-R sends out radio waves that can detect the slightest movements, including breathing, from as much as 50ft away.
Originally developed to assist US forces fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, the radar motion detectors have proved popular with law enforcement agencies.
USA Today, which first reported the case, said that agencies including the FBI and the US Marshals Service, had been using radars since 2012. The Marshals Service had spent at least $180,00 (£118,000) on them, it said.
But none of the agencies has made any public disclosure about how or when the devices would be used.
In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled that police cannot use thermal cameras without a warrant, specifically noting that the rule would also apply to radar-based systems that were then being developed.
"The idea that government can send signals through the wall of your house to figure out what's inside is problematic," Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union told USA Today.
"Technologies that allow the police to look inside of a home are among the intrusive tools that police have."
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HealthCare.gov Sends Personal Data to Dozens of Tracking Websites | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 20:41
The Associated Press reports that healthcare.gov''the flagship site of the Affordable Care Act, where millions of Americans have signed up to receive health care''is quietly sending personal health information to a number of third party websites. The information being sent includes one's zip code, income level, smoking status, pregnancy status and more.
EFF researchers have independently confirmed that healthcare.gov is sending personal health information to at least 14 third party domains, even if the user has enabled Do Not Track. The information is sent via the referrer header, which contains the URL of the page requesting a third party resource. The referrer header is an essential part of the HTTP protocol, and is sent for every request that is made on the web. The referrer header lets the requested resource know what URL the request came from. This would for example let a website know who else was linking to their pages. In this case however the referrer URL contains personal health information.
In some cases the information is also sent embedded in the request string itself, like so:
https://4037109.fls.doubleclick.net/activityi;src=4037109;type=20142003;cat=201420;ord=7917385912018;~oref=https://www.healthcare.gov/see-plans/85601/results/?county=04019&age=40&smoker=1&parent=&pregnant=1&mec=&zip=85601&state=AZ&income=35000& &step=4?
In the above example, a URL at doubleclick.net is requested by your browser. Appended to the end of this URL is your age, smoking status, preganacy status, parental status, zip code, state and annual income. This URL is requested by your browser after you fill out the required information on healthcare.gov and click the button to view health insurance plans that you are eligible for.
The following is a table showing which third party domains EFF researchers confirmed were receiving the private health data.
DomainPII in referrerPII in requestAkamai.net'''Chartbeat.net''''''Clicktale.net'''Doubleclick.net''''''Google.com''''''Mathtag.com'''Mixpanel.com'''Nrd-data.net'''Optimizely.com''''''Reson8.com'''Rfihub.com'''Twitter.com'''Yahoo.com'''Youtube.com'''Sending such personal information raises significant privacy concerns. A company like Doubleclick, for example, could match up the personal data provided by healthcare.gov with an already extensive trove of information about what you read online and what your buying preferences are to create an extremely detailed profile of exactly who you are and what your interests are. It could do all this based on a tracking cookie that it sets which would be the same across any site you visit. Based on this data, Doubleclick could start showing you smoking ads or infer your risk of cancer based on where you live, how old you are and your status as a smoker. Doubleclick might start to show you ads related to pregnancy, which could have embarrassing and potentially dangerous consequences such as when Target notified a woman's family that she was pregnant before she even told them.
It's especially troubling that the U.S. government is sending personal information to commercial companies on a website that's touted as the place for people to obtain health care coverage. Even more troubling is the potential for companies like Doubleclick, Google, Twitter, Yahoo, and others to associate this data with a person's actual identity. Google, thanks to real name policies, certainly has information uniquely identifying someone using Google services. If a real identity is linked to the information received from healthcare.gov it would be a massive violation of privacy for users of the site.
Third-party resources could also introduce additional security risks to the healthcare.gov website, with each included third-party resource increasing the attack surface of the site. If an attacker were able to compromise just one of the third party resources included on healthcare.gov they could potentially compromise the accounts of every user of healthcare.gov. The attacker could then sell the Private Health Information or hold it for ransom.
For now, EFF recommends installing software that will block third party tracking, such as EFF's own Privacy Badger. Privacy badger will block the referrers and the connections to third party sites on healthcare.gov and protect your personal health information.
Health information is some of the most sensitive and personal information there is. People's private medical data should not be available to third party companies without consent from the user. This practice is negligent at best, and potentially devastating for consumers. At a miminum, healthcare.gov should disable third-party trackers for any user that requests an opt out using the DNT header. Arguably, healthcare.gov should meet good privacy standards for all its users.
President Obama will give his State of the Union speech tonight, in which he is expected to address cybersecurity issues. If President Obama is really concerned about cybersecurity, he may want to start in his own backyard, by securing healthcare.gov.
America's healthcare portal is sharing your personal data with ad agencies
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 20:39
Enabling millions of people to access vital healthcare services they otherwise couldn't have afforded is a very noble cause, but it looks as if those behind the service haven't been playing fair with your private information. A report by the AP has revealed that Healthcare.gov, the Government's affordable care portal, shares some of your personal data with a whole raft of marketing agencies. The action has been independently verified by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has found that a person's location, annual income and smoking habits are all being freely distributed.
The foundation has also discovered that enabling Do Not Track doesn't protect users against the surveillance, since the data is being shared in the site's referrer header. In essence, the referrer header is a fundamental part of how the internet works, and can't be anonymized. That's why it's a little unnerving to see a string displaying a person's vital statistics in a format that's very easy to read. In the EFF's example (pictured), this URL was sent to Google's advertising service, DoubleClick, and shows that the user is a 40-year-old smoker living in Arizona and with an annual income of $35,000.
[Credit: The Electronic Frontier Foundation]
According to the AP, the White House has already responded to complaints, saying that the data sharing was intended to improve the customer experience for the site. It added that firms weren't able to collect this data to "further their own business interests." Given that last night's State of the Union covered a presidential pledge to protect the data of US citizens, it looks as if President Obama has some work to do in his own back yard.
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SOTU
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Pink is the new red
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Barack Obama's 'struggling mom' Rebekah Erler was once a Democratic organizer | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 14:06
In his January 20 address, Obama said mother Rebekah Erler's story of struggle is 'shared by millions of American families'Her Linkedin profile reveals the 37-year-old mother of two held the not-so-common position of field organizer for Senator Patty MurrayObama had even spent a day with Erler in Minnesota in June to see how 'real America' gets byErler wrote to Obama about her husband's struggles to find a job, steep costs of food and childcare and the burden of paying off student loansBy MailOnline Reporter
Published: 16:02 EST, 21 January 2015 | Updated: 17:53 EST, 21 January 2015
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The mother of two whose letter to Obama about her family's financial woes won her a place of honor at the president's State of the Union Address on Monday also happens to be a former Democratic field organizer.
Rebekah Erler, 37, told the president of her and her husband's struggles last year. Obama then traveled to Minneapolis to spend a much publicized June'day in the life' of a typical American.
Sometime prior to the trip, Erler worked as a 'field organizer' for Democratic Senator from Washington Patty Murray.
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Interesting work history: Seen here with Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, Minnesota mother of two Rebekah Erler was invited to the SOTU after writing a letter to the president last year. She's also reportedly a former Democratic field organizer
Reuters uncovered this from Erler's LinkedIn profile back in June after the president's Minneapolis trip.
Now, with Erler back in the spotlight, people are paying attention to her not-so-typical work history after Obama used her as an example of how things have improved for America's middle class under his leadership.
'America, Rebekah and Ben's story is our story. They represent the millions who have worked hard, and scrimped, and sacrificed, and retooled. You are the reason I ran for this office,' Obama said Tuesday night.
Erler was among among 22 people whose whose stories of tragedy or triumph highlight an issue or public policy and who were invited to the State of the Union by the White House.
Middle class mother-of-two inspires Obama's SOTU with letter
Erler, center left, was among over 20 Americans invited to the SOTU address by the White House. Her LinkedIn indicates she was a field organizer for Democratic Senator from Washington Patty Murray
A TYPICAL AMERICAN STRUGGLE? OBAMA'S WORDS ON REBEKAH ERLERObama told Rebekah story as part of his 2015 State of the Union address
Seven years ago, Rebekah and Ben Erler of Minneapolis were newlyweds. She waited tables. He worked construction. Their first child, Jack, was on the way.
They were young and in love in America, and it doesn't get much better than that.
'If only we had known,' Rebekah wrote to me last spring, 'what was about to happen to the housing and construction market.'
As the crisis worsened, Ben's business dried up, so he took what jobs he could find, even if they kept him on the road for long stretches of time. Rebekah took out student loans, enrolled in community college, and retrained for a new career. They sacrificed for each other. And slowly, it paid off. They bought their first home. They had a second son, Henry. Rebekah got a better job, and then a raise. Ben is back in construction '-- and home for dinner every night.
'It is amazing,' Rebekah wrote, 'what you can bounce back from when you have to'...we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.'
We are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.
America, Rebekah and Ben's story is our story. They represent the millions who have worked hard, and scrimped, and sacrificed, and retooled. You are the reason I ran for this office. You're the people I was thinking of six years ago today, in the darkest months of the crisis, when I stood on the steps of this Capitol and promised we would rebuild our economy on a new foundation. And it's been your effort and resilience that has made it possible for our country to emerge stronger...
...Because families like Rebekah's still need our help. She and Ben are working as hard as ever, but have to forego vacations and a new car so they can pay off student loans and save for retirement. Basic childcare for Jack and Henry costs more than their mortgage, and almost as much as a year at the University of Minnesota. Like millions of hardworking Americans, Rebekah isn't asking for a handout, but she is asking that we look for more ways to help families get ahead.
President Ronald Reagan was the first to do so in 1982 and acknowledge the guests during the speech. Every president since has carried on the tradition, and lawmakers increasingly are bringing guests, too. Among their guests are several Cuban activists, former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason, who is afflicted with Lou Gehrig's disease, and celebrity chef Tom Colicchio.
Gross, a former federal subcontractor, was freed from Cuba last month as part of Obama's historic announcement that the United States would restore diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Kelly, of Houston, is preparing to blast off in March on a yearlong space mission, the longest of any U.S. astronaut. His twin, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, is married to former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. Giffords was gravely wounded during a shooting at a political event she held in Tucson four years ago. Scientists will compare medical data from the Kelly brothers to study how the human body responds to longer durations in space.
Before the State of the Union address, the Erler family visited the White House and posed for a selfie
CVS Health pulled cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products from its store shelves last year, a move that was applauded by Obama, a former smoker. The decision earned Merlo, the drugstore chain's top executive, a seat in the first lady's box for the speech.
The letter-writers, as identified by the White House, are:
'-- Malik Bryant, of Chicago. The 13-year-old wrote a letter to Santa over the holidays asking for safety. Instead of forwarding the letter to the North Pole, a nonprofit organization redirected it to the White House. Obama wrote back to say that security was a priority for him, too.
'-- Victor Fugate, of Kansas City. Fugate told Obama how he went from being an unemployed new father to getting his degree and helping low-income patients obtain medical care. Fugate says he and his wife are benefiting from an Obama program that caps monthly student loan payments. Obama met Fugate in Kansas City last year.
'-- Retired Army Staff Sgt. Jason Gibson, of Westerville, Ohio. Gibson wrote to thank the president for visiting him as he recovered from injuries, including the loss of both legs. Gibson surfs, skis, has completed marathons on a hand cycle and earned a pilot's license. He became a father in November.
'-- Katrice Mubiru, of Woodland Heights, California. Mubiru, a career-technical education teacher in Los Angeles, encouraged Obama in a letter to support K-12 adult and career technical education. She introduced Obama last year when he visited Los Angeles Trade-Technical College to promote technical skills programs.
Obama had already met Erler. He visited her in June after a much-publicized 'day in the life' of an average American trip he made to Minnesota
Rebekah Erler and her husband Ben Erler watch as US President Barack Obama speaks on stage on the economy at the Lake Harriet Band Shell in Minneapolis in June
'-- Astrid Muhammad, of Charlotte, North Carolina. Muhammad, a wife and mother of two, wrote to thank Obama for signing the Affordable Care Act. She obtained coverage under the law last year and had surgery to remove a potentially fatal brain tumor that was diagnosed when she had no health insurance.
'-- Carolyn Reed, of Denver. Reed described for Obama how she expanded her submarine sandwich shop business with a government loan. Obama dined last year with Reed and other Coloradans who wrote to him. Reed also told the president she was raising her hourly employees' wages to $10.10.
'-- Ana Zamora, of Dallas. A student at Northwood University, Zamora was brought to the United States illegally as a child and has benefited under Obama's program to defer deportations for eligible immigrants. Zamora wrote Obama about her experience and says her parents will also be eligible for protection under his recent executive actions on immigration.
The remaining guests are:
'-- Chelsey Davis, of Knoxville, Tennessee. Davis is scheduled to graduate in May from Pellissippi State Community College. She met Obama when he visited her school this month to announce a plan to pay for two years of community college for students who keep up their grades.
'-- LeDaya Epps, of Compton, California. The mother of three completed a union apprenticeship in construction and is on the crew building the Crenshaw/LAX light rail line. Obama has promoted apprenticeships as a way for people to get training for skilled jobs.
'-- Nicole Hernandez Hammer, of southeast Florida. The sea-level researcher studies how cities and other areas most vulnerable to the effects of climate change also have large Hispanic populations. She works to raise Latinos' awareness of climate change. Obama has taken steps to address climate change.
It was Erler's letter about her family's financial struggles which prompted Obama to fly to Minnesota last June to met her
'-- Anthony Mendez, of New York City. The University of Hartford freshman once had to rise at 4:30 a.m. to get to school after his family was evicted and living in a homeless shelter hours away. Mendez was among students who met Mrs. Obama last year. She spearheads an initiative encouraging students to pursue education after high school.
'-- Kathy Pham, of Washington, D.C. Pham is a government computer scientist who works to improve health information technology, expand access to benefits for veterans and improve how government provides services.
'-- Capt. Phillip C. Tingirides, of Irvine, California. A husband and father of six, the veteran Los Angeles police officer heads the Community Safety Partnership program in the neighborhood of Watts, once scarred by race riots and subsequent gang violence. Police engage with residents under the program.
'-- Catherine Pugh, of Baltimore. Pugh is majority leader of the Maryland Senate and helped pass legislation increasing the state minimum wage to $10.10. She has also introduced legislation to provide workers with earned paid sick leave. Both are issues Obama is pushing at the federal level.
'-- Dr. Pranav Shetty, of Washington, D.C. Shetty is the global emergency health coordinator for International Medical Corps, a partner in the U.S.-backed effort to control the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Shetty went to Liberia in August, returned to the U.S. last month and heads back to West Africa this week.
'-- Prophet Walker, of Carson, California. While serving time for robbery, Walker started a prison program to help fellow inmates earn a two-year degree. After prison, he became a construction engineer and has worked to improve relations among law enforcement, community activists, parents and the children of local housing projects.
'-- Tiairris Woodward, of Warren, Michigan. Woodward started a second job working on Chrysler's assembly line in 2010 to help support herself and three children, including one with special needs. She eventually began working only for Chrysler and after a year had saved enough money to buy a car and rent a new apartment. The company's tuition assistance program is aiding her pursuit of a bachelor's degree in business management. The White House says her story is possible due to the comeback of Detroit and the U.S. auto industry.
Mom-of-two Rebekah Erler was among 22 invited guests who sat with Michelle Obama at Tuesday's State of the Union address
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Message -- Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Terrorists Who Threaten to Disrupt the Middle East Peace Process
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 05:03
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
January 21, 2015
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, within 90 days prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. In accordance with this provision, I have sent to the Federal Register for publication the enclosed notice stating that the national emergency declared with respect to foreign terrorists who threaten to disrupt the Middle East peace process is to continue in effect beyond January 23, 2015.
The crisis with respect to grave acts of violence committed by foreign terrorists who threaten to disrupt the Middle East peace process that led to the declaration of a national emergency on January 23, 1995, has not been resolved. Terrorist groups continue to engage in activities that have the purpose or effect of threatening the Middle East peace process and that are hostile to United States interests in the region. Such actions continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. Therefore, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared with respect to foreign terrorists who threaten to disrupt the Middle East peace process and to maintain in force the sanctions against them to respond to this threat.
BARACK OBAMA
Notice -- Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Terrorists Who Threaten to Disrupt the Middle East Peace Process
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 05:03
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
January 21, 2015
NOTICE
- - - - - - -
CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT TO TERRORISTS WHO THREATEN TO DISRUPT THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
On January 23, 1995, by Executive Order 12947, the President declared a national emergency pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706) to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States constituted by grave acts of violence committed by foreign terrorists that disrupt the Middle East peace process. On August 20, 1998, by Executive Order 13099, the President modified the Annex to Executive Order 12947 to identify four additional persons who threaten to disrupt the Middle East peace process. On February 16, 2005, by Executive Order 13372, the President clarified the steps taken in Executive Order 12947.
These terrorist activities continue to threaten the Middle East peace process and to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. For this reason, the national emergency declared on January 23, 1995, and the measures adopted to deal with that emergency must continue in effect beyond January 23, 2015. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to foreign terrorists who threaten to disrupt the Middle East peace process.
This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.
BARACK OBAMA
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Pipeline$
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Turkey, Iraq plan to jointly construct oil pipeline
Mon, 19 Jan 2015 17:01
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan.19
By Rufiz Hafizoglu '' Trend:
Turkey and Iraq intend to expand the bilateral relations in the sphere of economy, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz said.
Yildiz made the remarks during his recent visit to Iraq.
The minister said that during the meetings with Iraqi officials, he discussed several issues related to the bilateral cooperation between Turkey and Iraq, Turkish Sabah newspaper reported on Jan.19.
The minister added that the two countries plan to jointly construct an oil pipeline, however, he didn't reveal any further details.
''Turkey and Iraq intend to increase the volume of bilateral trade turnover,'' said Yildiz.
Previously, during his visit to Turkey in December 2014, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said his country is interested in exporting its oil to world markets through Turkey's territory.
He said the stable situation in Turkey will allow to export Iraqi oil through this country's territory.
The prime minister added that Iraq is interested in cooperation with Turkey in all spheres.
Edited by SI
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Executive Order --- Enhancing Coordination of National Efforts in the Arctic | The White House
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 05:20
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
January 21, 2015
EXECUTIVE ORDER
- - - - - - -
ENHANCING COORDINATION OF NATIONAL EFFORTS IN THE ARCTIC
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to prepare the Nation for a changing Arctic and enhance coordination of national efforts in the Arctic, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. The Arctic has critical long-term strategic, ecological, cultural, and economic value, and it is imperative that we continue to protect our national interests in the region, which include: national defense; sovereign rights and responsibilities; maritime safety; energy and economic benefits; environmental stewardship; promotion of science and research; and preservation of the rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea as reflected in international law.
Over the past 60 years, climate change has caused the Alaskan Arctic to warm twice as rapidly as the rest of the United States, and will continue to transform the Arctic as its consequences grow more severe. Over the past several decades, higher atmospheric temperatures have led to a steady and dramatic reduction in Arctic sea ice, widespread glacier retreat, increasing coastal erosion, more acidic oceans, earlier spring snowmelt, thawing permafrost, drier landscapes, and more extensive insect outbreaks and wildfires, thus changing the accessibility and natural features of this remote region. As a global leader, the United States has the responsibility to strengthen international cooperation to mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change, understand more fully and manage more effectively the adverse effects of climate change, protect life and property, develop and manage resources responsibly, enhance the quality of life of Arctic inhabitants, and serve as stewards for valuable and vulnerable ecosystems. In doing so, we must rely on science-based decisionmaking and respect the value and utility of the traditional knowledge of Alaska Native peoples. As the United States assumes the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, it is more important than ever that we have a coordinated national effort that takes advantage of our combined expertise and efforts in the Arctic region to promote our shared values and priorities.
As the Arctic has changed, the number of Federal working groups created to address the growing strategic importance and accessibility of this critical region has increased. Although these groups have made significant progress and achieved important milestones, managing the broad range of interagency activity in the Arctic requires coordinated planning by the Federal Government, with input by partners and stakeholders, to facilitate Federal, State, local, and Alaska Native tribal government and similar Alaska Native organization, as well as private and nonprofit sector, efforts in the Arctic.
Sec. 2. Arctic Executive Steering Committee. (a) Establishment. There is established an Arctic Executive Steering Committee (Steering Committee), which shall provide guidance to executive departments and agencies (agencies) and enhance coordination of Federal Arctic policies across agencies and offices, and, where applicable, with State, local, and Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, academic and research institutions, and the private and nonprofit sectors.
(b) Membership. The Steering Committee shall consist of:
(i) the heads, or their designees, of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Domestic Policy Council, and the National Security Council;
(ii) the Executive Officer of the Steering Committee, who shall be designated by the Chair of the Steering Committee (Chair); and
(iii) the Deputy Secretary or equivalent officer from the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Transportation, Energy, and Homeland Security; the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; the Environmental Protection Agency; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; the National Science Foundation; the Arctic Research Commission; and the Office of Management and Budget; the Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, or his or her designee; and other agencies or offices as determined appropriate by the Chair.
(c) Administration.
(i) The Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, or his or her designee, shall be the Chair of the Executive Steering Committee. The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, or his or her designee, shall be the Vice Chair. Under the leadership of the Chair, the Steering Committee will meet quarterly, or as appropriate, to shape priorities, establish strategic direction, oversee implementation, and ensure coordination of Federal activities in the Arctic.
(ii) The Steering Committee shall coordinate with existing working groups established by Executive Order or statute.
(iii) As appropriate, the Chair of the Steering Committee may establish subcommittees and working groups, consisting of representatives from relevant agencies, to focus on specific key issues and assist in carrying out its responsibilities.
(iv) Agencies shall provide administrative support and additional resources, as appropriate, to support their participation in the Steering Committee to the extent permitted by law and within existing appropriations. Each agency shall bear its own expenses for supporting its participation in the Steering Committee and associated working groups.
(v) Each member of the Steering Committee shall provide the Executive Officer with a single point of contact for coordinating efforts with interagency partners, collaborating with State, local, and Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, and assisting in carrying out the functions and duties assigned by the Steering Committee.
Sec. 3. Responsibilities of the Arctic Executive Steering Committee. The Steering Committee, in coordination with the heads of relevant agencies and under the direction of the Chair, shall:
(a) provide guidance and coordinate efforts to implement the priorities, objectives, activities, and responsibilities identified in National Security Presidential Directive 66/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 25, Arctic Region Policy, the National Strategy for the Arctic Region and its Implementation Plan, and related agency plans;
(b) provide guidance on prioritizing Federal activities, consistent with agency authorities, while the United States is Chair of the Arctic Council, including, where appropriate, recommendations for resources to use in carrying out those activities; and
(c) establish a working group to provide a report to the Steering Committee by May 1, 2015, that:
(i) identifies potential areas of overlap between and within agencies with respect to implementation of Arctic policy and strategic priorities and provides recommendations to increase coordination and reduce any duplication of effort, which may include ways to increase the effectiveness of existing groups; and
(ii) provides recommendations to address any potential gaps in implementation.
Sec. 4. Duties of the Executive Officer. The Executive Officer shall be responsible for facilitating interagency coordination efforts related to implementing the guidance and strategic priorities developed by the Steering Committee. The Executive Officer shall coordinate with the Chair and the Special Advisor on Arctic Science and Policy at the Department of State to provide regular reports to the Steering Committee on agency implementation and planning efforts for the Arctic region.
Sec. 5. Engagement with the State of Alaska, Alaska Native Tribal Governments, as well as other United States Stakeholders. It is in the best interest of the Nation for the Federal Government to maximize transparency and promote collaboration where possible with the State of Alaska, Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, and local, private-sector, and nonprofit-sector stakeholders. To facilitate consultation and partnerships with the State of Alaska and Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, the Steering Committee shall:
(a) develop a process to improve coordination and the sharing of information and knowledge among Federal, State, local, and Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, and private-sector and nonprofit-sector groups on Arctic issues;
(b) establish a process to ensure tribal consultation and collaboration, consistent with my memorandum of November 5, 2009 (Tribal Consultation). This process shall ensure meaningful consultation and collaboration with Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations in the development of Federal policies that have Alaska Native implications, as applicable, and provide feedback and recommendations to the Steering Committee;
(c) identify an appropriate Federal entity to be the point of contact for Arctic matters with the State of Alaska and with Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations to support collaboration and communication; and
(d) invite members of State, local, and Alaska Native tribal governments and similar Alaska Native organizations, and academic and research institutions to consult on issues or participate in discussions, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law.
Sec. 6. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
BARACK OBAMA
THE WHITE HOUSE,January 21, 2015.
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Eni strikes oil in Egypt's Western Desert
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:42
Eni has announced a new discovery of oil and gas in the West Melehia deep exploration prospect, located in the Melehia licence, in the Western Desert of Egypt, 300 square kilometres west of Alexandria
The exploration well, which allowed the discovery of Melehia West Deep 1X, was drilled to a depth of 4,175 metres, meeting a 20 metres net mineralised accumulation of light oil in the Lower Cretaceous age of the Alam El Bueib formation. The well also encountered a significant mineralised accumulation of gas and condensates in the Upper Jurassic age in the Safa formation.
The well began production with an initial flow of 2,100 barrels of oil per day (40 ° API), intended for the Melehia field infrastructure treatment.
The discovery will be rapidly followed by the drilling of other delineation and development wells which should result in an estimated production of about 8,000 barrels per day by the end of 2015.
Melehia West Deep 1X's drilling, together with Emry and Rosa North's previous discoveries, confirm Eni's strategy in Egypt with regard to exploration in the deep geological sequences of the Western Desert. It also shows the significant potential for exploration available in the deep sequence of Melehia's licence, increased by new three-dimensional seismic imaging technology.
Eni's strategy to focus on exploration activities which offer high value and rapid development with synergistic asset was confirmed by the short time-to-market following the development of the field.
Eni, through its subsidiary International Egyptian Oil Company (IEOC), holds a 76 per cent stake in Melehia's licence. Lukoil is the other partner with a 24 per cent stake. The operator is Agiba, which is equally held by IEOC and the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGP ).
In the last three years, in the Western Desert of Egypt Eni has doubled its oil production through exploration of deep sequences.
The company currently produces more than 60,000 barrels per day in five different development licences, all operated by Agiba .
Eni has been present in Egypt since 1954, where it operates through IEOC and is the market leader with an equity production of approximately 210,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
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Iran
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Senate opens showdown with Obama over Iran sanctions
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 21:29
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- Senators are pushing to have a say about the ongoing international negotiations aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons, a move they say will further destabilize an increasingly volatile Mideast.The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is working on legislation that would allow Congress to weigh in by allowing it to take an up-down vote on any deal the Obama administration reaches with Tehran. A committee hearing on Wednesday will focus on the status of the negotiations and the role of Congress.
''Whether it's the intelligence agencies in Israel or the people we deal with around the world, I have had no one yet say that Congress voting up or down on this deal would do anything but strengthen the administration's hand and help cause this process to come to fruition,'' Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said Tuesday.
The Senate banking panel next week is taking up a different bill drafted by Sens. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J., that would ramp up sanctions against Iran if a deal is not reached by July 6. The bill does not impose any new sanctions during the remaining timeline for negotiations, but if there's no deal, the sanctions that were eased during the talks would be reinstated and then Iran would face new punitive measures in the months thereafter.
President Barack Obama, who wants to let the negotiations with Tehran play out before any new sanctions are considered, says he will veto any Iran sanctions bill that lands on his desk. New sanctions ''will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails, alienating America from its allies and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again,'' Obama said in his State of the Union speech Tuesday.
Time is running out to reach a deal with Iran, which claims its nuclear program is peaceful and exists only to produce energy for civilian use.
Talks have been extended until July, with the goal of reaching a framework for a deal by the end of March.
Both Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani face stiff opposition to negotiations from conservatives in their respective homelands. Moreover, a Republican victory in the 2016 presidential election would make renewed talks with Iran unlikely.
Kirk and Menendez are working hard to muster the 67 votes they would need in the Senate to override an Obama veto. A vote could occur as early as next month. It's unclear whether they have enough Democrats backing their bill to override a veto.
''I think there are some (Democrats) who are more anxious and want to create some incentive for the Iranians to do the right thing by putting pressure on them,'' Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Tuesday. ''Others, like myself, feel that this is a once-in-a-political-lifetime opportunity (to get a deal with Iran). I just don't want to jeopardize the negotiations.''
By The Associated Press
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:Barack ObamaIran-P5+1 nuke talksObama state of the union addressQuotedsanctions against Iranstate of the unionU.S presidentUS CongressUS senate
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Hillary Clinton: More sanctions on Iran would be 'serious strategic error'
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:36
Potential 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Wednesday backed President Barack Obama's opposition to additional congressional sanctions on Iran, saying that sanctions would create an ''excuse'' for Iran, Russia and China to back out of ongoing talks.''If we're the reason '-- through our Congress '-- that in effect gives Iran and others the excuse not to continue the negotiations, that would be, in my view, a very serious strategic error,'' Clinton said during an appearance in Winnipeg sponsored by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
The former Secretary of State said that ''insofar as we know,'' Iran has put its nuclear program on hold during the negotiations, creating a ''status quo'' that remains in the interest of the United States.
''Why do we want to be the catalyst for the collapse of negotiations until we really know whether there's something we can get out of them that will make the world safer [and] avoid an arms race in the Middle East?'' she said.
Clinton added that ''obviously, all bets are off'' if Iran is found to be cheating or restarting its nuclear program.
''But right now, the status quo that we're in is in my view in our interests and therefore I don't want to do anything that disrupts the status quo until we have a better idea as to whether there's something we can get out of it,'' she added.
In his State of the Union address last night, Obama promised to veto any new sanctions against Iran passed by the United States Congress, where leaders like House Speaker John Boehner argue that they are necessary to ensure the safety of the U.S. and Israel.
''There are no guarantees that negotiations will succeed, and I keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran,'' Obama said. ''But new sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails'Š'--'Šalienating America from its allies; and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again.''
In a direct challenge to the Obama adminsitration, Boehner on Wednesday announced that he has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress to speak about Iran.
Boehner told reporters Wednesday that he did not consult the White House before extending the invitation.
By NBC
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:Barack ObamaHillary ClintonIran nuclear dealIran nuclear talksIran's nuclear programIran-P5+1 nuke talksQuotedsanctions against IranU.S president
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U.S., Iran to hold nuclear talks in Switzerland on Friday, Saturday
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:34
(Reuters) '' U.S. and Iranian negotiators will hold talks about Iran's nuclear program in Switzerland on Friday and Saturday, the U.S. State Department said.Negotiators from Iran and six major powers failed to meet a self-imposed deadline in November to clinch an agreement that is seen as crucial to reducing the risk of a wider Middle East war. A deal would curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
U.S. Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is scheduled to travel to Berlin on Wednesday for talks with political directors of the Group of Seven nations, which includes Britain, Canada,France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, the State Department said. Germany hosts the G7 summit this year.
By Reuters
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:Iran nuclear talksIran's nuclear programIran-P5+1 nuke talksQuotedSwitzerlandU.S. State Department
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US house invites Netanyahu to address congress on radicalism and Iran
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:18
US Speaker of the House John Boehner announced Wednesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been invited to address a joint session of Congress on the grave threats of radical Islam and the threat that Iran poses.WASHINGTON, January 22 (Sputnik) '-- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited to address Congress next month to discuss radical Islam and Iran, US Speaker of the House John Boehner said Wednesday, in a move the White House described as a break from protocol.
''I have invited prime minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress on the grave threats of radical Islam and the threat that Iran poses not only to the Middle East, but frankly to world,'' Boehner, a Republican, announced at a press briefing Wednesday, without previously notifying the White House or State Department.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Air Force One en route to Boise, Idaho, called the invitation ''interesting,'' suggesting it was a break from standard protocol.
''The typical protocol would suggest that the leader of a country would contact the leader of another country when he's traveling there. That's certainly how President Obama's trips are planned when he travels overseas. This particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol,'' Earnest said.
Earnest didn't say whether Obama would meet with Netanyahu. ''We haven't heard from the Israelis directly about the trip,'' Earnest said. Israel hasn't officially confirmed the visit.
Netanyahu's address to Congress would come ahead of Israeli elections, scheduled for March 17.
Congress is pushing for tougher sanctions on Iran, which the Obama administration has said would undermine negotiations with Iran at a critical juncture as international powers are trying to reach an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program before a July deadline. Obama has said he would veto any additional sanctions passed by Congress.
The White House on Wednesday said Republicans appeared to want to add pressure to gain support for additional sanctions.
By Sputnik News
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:Benjamin NetanyahuIran's nuclear programIran-P5+1 nuke talksJohn BoehnerQuotedUS CongressWhite House
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Iran sees 'No threat' from oil at $25 if prices keep falling
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 11:59
OPEC has no immediate plan to cut its output target for crude, and Iran is strong enough to withstand a deeper slump in prices even if the country must sell at $25 a barrel, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said.''If the oil prices drop to $25 a barrel, there will yet again be no threat posed to Iran's oil industry,'' Zanganeh told reporters yesterday at a conference in Tehran, according to the state-run Fars news agency.
Brent crude traded below $50 yesterday in London. Oil has fallen about 30 percent since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided on Nov. 27 to keep its ceiling unchanged at 30 million barrels a day. Iran isn't seeking for OPEC to hold an emergency meeting, Zanganeh said. The group's next scheduled meeting is for June 5.
Iran together with Venezuela has called for OPEC, which supplies about 40 percent of the world's oil, to work together to support a recovery in crude. The U.S. shale boom has contributed to a global glut, and Qatar and the United Arab Emirates estimate the oversupply at about 2 million barrels a day. Iran is hobbled by international sanctions over its nuclear program and struggling for market share.
Brent crude, a benchmark for more than half of the world's oil, has slid 15 percent this month and was at $48.71 a barrel at 11:15 a.m. Singapore time. Oil fell almost 50 percent last year, the most since the 2008 financial crisis.
Iran is consulting with its fellow OPEC members to respond to the collapse, Zanganeh said, without providing details. As of yet, OPEC has made no decision to reduce its production ceiling, he said.
Upheaval in oil markets is the result of politics and decisions by producer countries, Zanganeh said, declining to be more specific. U.A.E. Energy Minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei said in Abu Dhabi yesterday that sustainable development in the oil industry cannot be achieved at current prices.
Iran is lowering the crude price assumed for this year's budget to $40 a barrel, from $72, Fars reported Finance and Economy Minister Ali Tayebnia as saying Jan. 15. The Persian Gulf nation pumped 2.8 million barrels a day of oil in December, down from an average of 3.6 million in 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
OPEC members and non-OPEC producers must cooperate ''to generate investment in the oil industry,'' Zanganeh said. ''This will bring about desired conditions for both producers and consumers.''
By Bloomberg
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:Bijan Namdar ZanganehIranian oil priceIran's oil ministeroil price declineOPECOPEC oil price
Parl. 60 pct enrichment plan in response to US conduct
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 21:27
Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, the spokesman for the Majlis (parliament) Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy
TEHRAN, Jan. 20 (MNA) '' Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Commission spokesman has said the US has recently played a role of good and bad cop.Seyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini who was speaking via phone call to 'The Text of the Margin' aired by Iran's state TV Channel 3 talked about the draft of the Parliament which would mandate 60 per cent enrichment of uranium; ''we have seen very contradictory behavior by the US administration and the Congress; once they were pro-negotiation and agreement; however, other times, under the overwhelming impact of the Zionist lobby, they resorted to threats that they would spare no option in containing Iran's power, putting now and then so-called options on the table,'' he told the program.
Asked why the parliament prepared the draft of the legislation mandating 60-per cent enrichment, and whether it was a response to sanctions by the US Congress, Naqavi Hosseini said that Parliament prepared the draft on the promise that the US would not welcome a deal and that they would adopt a policy of buying time, using carrot-and-stick approach to advance their interests; ''draft was prepared according to assessments made in the Parliament of country's industrial demand for enriched uranium, and signed by 200 parliamentarians; collecting signatures was a long process, and with approaching to Geneva Joint Plan of Action, Parliament concluded that a deal would be accessible,'' Naqavi Hosseini told the program. ''These issues along with US general abandoning of their threats, the draft fell to abeyance, turning the tide in the direction of supporting negotiators in the road to a deal,'' he asserted.
''The draft was still in agenda, which went on the table when the US tone changed the situation for the worse,'' he added. In response to a question whether the draft would pose barriers in the path of negotiations toward a deal, Commission spokesman said that US officials had adopted a good and bad cop routine recently; ''Congress has its own stick and the White House with a carrot advance their national interests; the draft was meant to retaliate on the Congress,'' Naqavi Hosseini told to program.
On Iran's capability to handle 60-per cent enrichment plan, Naqavi Hosseini said that it was a long-term objective; ''currently, the nuclear committee advances the plan according to the necessities of present conditions,'' he said.
About his evaluation of the nuclear negotiations, Naqavi Hosseini told the program that the Islamic Republic of Iran strongly believed that nuclear dossier had no other solution than negotiation, and that ''our nations would not give in to the pressures , sanctions and threats.''
''The government should not put all its eggs on the negotiations basket, thus tailoring economic, political, and cultural conditions to negotiations; this is not a wise policy and not to the interest of the country as well,'' proposed the Commission spokesman, recommending the indigenous power and Resistance Economy as the ultimate way out of the difficult situation.
Naqavi Hosseini also recommended the government not to involve unnecessarily on the US domestic politics, thus avoiding effectively a trap lying ahead.
By Mehr News Agency
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:Iran parliamentIran's nuclear programIran's uranium enrichmentIranian lawmakerQuotedSeyed Hossein Naqavi HosseiniUS sanctions against Iran
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A look at Iranian newspaper front pages on Jan. 21
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 04:54
IFP has taken a look at the front pages of newspapers on Wednesday and picked headlines from 19 of them. IFP has simply translated the headlines and does not vouch for their accuracy.Conclusion of a military cooperation deal between Iran and Russia which could possibly pave the way for the delivery of the S300 missile system to Iran by authorities in Moscow dominated the front pages of Iranian newspapers on Wednesday. The warning the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps issued to Israeli authorities following the martyrdom in an Israeli airstrike of a revolutionary guard commander in Syria appeared on the front pages too. Last but not least was the swipe President Rouhani took at those who kill in the name of religion and those who insult religions in the name of freedom of speech.
Abrar: Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah has expressed Kabul's interest in conclusion of a comprehensive deal with Iran.
Abrar-e Eghtesadi: Afghanistan seeks to import natural gas from Iran.
Afarinesh: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that Tehran attaches strategic importance to Afghan development and stability.
Afarinesh: Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani has signaled Tehran's readiness to hold ''frank talks'' with Saudi officials.
Afkar: The commander of the naval forces of the Iranian Army has said that Iran sends a message of peace and friendship to all neighboring countries.
Arman-e Emrooz: Babak Zanjani, a young billionaire who stands accused of massive corruption, will stand trial within a month.
Arman-e Emrooz: The newly appointed deputy interior minister has said that he is a reformist and that the Interior Ministry will maintain impartiality in upcoming elections for parliament and the Assembly of Experts.
Asr-e Iranian: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has been invited to pay an official visit to Iran.
Asr-e Rasaneh: A first wave of an influenza B outbreak has swept the country.
Asrar: The commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps has said the Zionists should await ''destructive thunderbolts'' [after a senior revolutionary guard commander was killed at the hands of the Zionists in an attack on Syrian soil].
Asrar: A former Iranian ambassador to Lebanon has said the potential of [former President Mohammad Khatami] should be tapped in countering extremism.
Ebtekar: The minister of economy and financial affairs has said inflation will fall to 17 percent by the end of the year [March 21, 2015].
Etemad: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that Tehran played an active role in the formation of a national unity government in Afghanistan.
Ettela'at: ''Insults, terror and violence are neither freedom nor defense of religion,'' President Rouhani told a meeting of the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council.
Ettela'at: Iran and Russia have signed a security and defense deal which among other things clears the way for the delivery to Iran of the S300 missile system.
Hambastegi: ''Personal tastes should be sidelined in defining national security and national interests,'' said Mohammad Reza Aref [a former first vice-president under Mohammad Khatami].
Hemayat: ''Zionists seek to hatch plots against Islamic countries in Syria,'' said Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.
Iran: The Supreme Leader has issued a message of condolence on the passing of well-known poet Moshfegh Kashani.
Jomhouri Islami: A reservoir dam has been inaugurated in Bijar [northern Iran] with the first vice-president on hand.
Kaenat: ''We will be able to run the country even if oil prices plunge to $25 a barrel,'' said the Iranian ministry of economy and financial affairs.
Khorasan: ''Some 40 percent of the country's major arteries are in bad or very bad conditions,'' said the minister of roads and urban development.
Resalat: Two diplomatic blunders by Zarif: A visit to Paris [at a time when anti-French sentiments run high across the Muslim world], and a stroll with US Secretary of State John Kerry on the streets of Geneva.
Shahrvand: The director of the Environment Protection Organization has said that by 2050 drought in Iran will worsen 11-fold.
By Iran Front Page
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:Abdullah AbdullahAli ShamkhaniAshraf GhaniBabak ZanjaniHassan RouhaniIran exports to AfghanistanIran's environmental plansIran-Russia military accordIranian oil industryIranian poet Moshfeq KashaniMohammad KhatamiQuotedzarif visit to Afghanistan
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Switzerland seeks widening bilateral ties with Iran
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 05:09
TEHRAN (ISNA)- Switzerland is seeking the further expansion of bilateral ties with Iran, said Swiss Ambassador to Iran Julio Haus.''Switzerland is not a threat for any country, and we are trying to boost our relations with Iran,'' Haus said in a meeting with Governor of South Khorasan Province, northeastern Iran, Vajhollah Khedmatgozar.
''Switzerland believes Iran and thinks that the country has chosen the right path. We guarantee that certain concerns of the international community on Iran will be eased,'' he added.
The Swiss diplomat also highlighted Iranian industrial, economic, scientific and tourism potentials, and said Iranian tourism industry rose by 30-40 percent in Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's government.
He also said that Swiss tourists are willing to visit Iran again and because of Iranians' hospitality.
By ISNA
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:Iran tourist attractionsIran's tourism industryIran-Switzerland tiesJulio HausQuotedSwiss Ambassador to IranTourism
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Rafsanjani: Zionists should look for safe shelters
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 05:09
TEHRAN (FNA)- Chairman of Iran's Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani strongly condemned Israel's recent attack on the Golan Heights that killed six Hezbollah members and an Iranian General, and said the Israelis should look for shelters to protect themselves from Hezbollah's revenge.On Sunday, an Israeli helicopter struck Quneitra in Syria's Golan Heights, killing Iranian military advisor Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi as well as the son of slain Hezbollah top commander Imad Mughniyeh and 5 other Hezbollah members.
''As the Lebanese Hezbollah secretary general has said the Zionists should go and prepare their shelters,'' Rafsanjani said in a meeting with Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Ahmad Jibril in Tehran on Wednesday.
He reiterated that the historical defeat of Israel has just begun, and said, ''The Zionist army has been defeated by Hezbollah once in Lebanon and by Palestinians twice in Gaza; the resistance of the Palestinian people and fear of the Israelis will speed up the defeat of the Zionists.''
Rafsanjani reiterated that nowhere in Israel is safe for the Zionists now.
Jibril, for his part, hoped for the final victory of the Palestinian nation, and said, ''I am sure the Palestinian youth will celebrate this final victory.''
On Monday, Hezbollah issued a statement confirming the strike, saying its forces had been martyred during an inspection mission in the Syrian town of Quneitra.
Hezbollah stressed that it would give a crushing and rigid response to the Israeli forces' Sunday attack.
''The attack against six Hezbollah members will have a painful and unexpected response,'' the Hezbollah sources said.
Analysts believe the new Israeli assault is yet another attempt by Tel Aviv to change the balance of war in favor of the Takfiri militants fighting against Syria.
The Tel Aviv regime has carried out several airstrikes in Syria since the start of the nearly four-year-old foreign-sponsored militancy there.
Damascus says Tel Aviv and its western allies are aiding the extremist terror groups operating inside Syria since March 2011.
The Syrian army has repeatedly seized huge quantities of Israeli-made weapons and advanced military equipment from the foreign-backed militants.
By Fars News Agency
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:Ahmad JibrilAkbar Hashemi RafsanjaniIranian Gen. Mohammad Ali AllahdadiIran's Expediency Council chairmanIsraelIsrael air strike on SyriaIsrael attack on QuneitraQuoted
Iran threatens to retaliate for Israel attack in Syria
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 21:17
Funeral procession of Iranian Gen. Mohammad Ali Allahdadii
Iran on Tuesday threatened to retaliate in response to an Israel attack in southern Syria on Sunday that killed an Iranian general along with six members of the Lebanon-based militant group Hizbollah.Despite warning Israel of ''devastating thunderbolts'', however, analysts said Tehran is likely to react cautiously in order to avoid jeopardising negotiations over its nuclear programme.
Israel has girded itself for a possible military escalation in the aftermath of the attack, deploying one of its Iron Dome rocket interceptor units in its northern border region after Iranian and Hizbollah officials threatened to retaliate for the drone strike in the Syrian Golan region. Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet met on Tuesday to discuss its response to the rising regional tensions.
Read more here
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Tags:Benjamin NetanyahuHezbollahIran-Israel relationsIranian Gen. Mohammad Ali AllahdadiIsrael attack on QuneitraIsrael Iron Dome missile defence systemQuoted
Iran says is ready for 'straight talks' with Saudi Arabia
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 21:15
(Reuters) - Iran said on Tuesday it was ready for ''straight talks'' with Saudi Arabia over contentious issues that have kept the rival Gulf powers at loggerheads for more than three decades.Relations between Tehran and Riyadh soured after Iran's 1979 revolution brought to power Shi'ite clerics opposed to the conservative Sunni Muslim kingdom.
The two countries, struggling for regional influence and power, have backed opposite sides in the Syria and Yemen conflicts and argued over global oil prices.
An Iranian official said this week Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif delayed a visit to Saudi Arabia in protest against Riyadh's refusal to cut crude output and help lift prices.
But Admiral Ali Shamkhani, a top security aide to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said his country ''is now quite ready to for straight, clear and continuous talks spanning the whole range of mutual interests with Saudi Arabia.''
''In light of unprecedented human and financial losses caused by sectarian conflicts, (we) need to stop further bloodshed and wage an earnest fight against extremism and terrorism that has found expression in Daesh (Islamic State)'', Shamkhani told Iran's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, according to state news agency IRNA.
By Reuters
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:Iran's Foreign Ministeriran's oil priceIran-Saudi Arabia relationsMohammad Javad Zarifoil price declineQuotedRear Admiral Ali Shamkhanizarif visit to Saudi Arabia
Iran against intervention policy: Zarif
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 21:13
KABUL, Jan. 20 (MNA) '' Iranian FM met with Afghan Leader of the National Coalition today to examine the two countries' roles in regional issues.After meeting with Afghanistan's Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah, Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters that Iran has never interfered in Afghanistan's internal affairs and would follow the same non-intervention policy in regard to this country.
''We have certain concerns over foreign presence in Afghanistan and have expressed these concerns in a friendly and clear way to neighboring countries, including Afghanistan itself,'' said Zarif.
He referred to the two countries' common challenges addressed during the joint meeting with Abdullah, noting that the issues discussed were on regional terrorism and extremism, as well as the sacrilegious and profane acts against sanctities which in turn fanned the fire of violence and extremism.
He mentioned immigration, economic discussions, water cooperation and drug trafficking as other challenges the two countries are facing.
Abdullah Abdullah, for his part, expressed his country's deep gratitude for the Islamic Republic's generous contributions, adding ''Iran has stood by Afghanistan's people and government under all circumstances and played a significant role in our country's reconstruction, immigration and drug trafficking issue.''
Mohammad Javad Zarif heading an Iranian delegation had left Tehran for Kabul this Tuesday to hold meetings with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan and Leader of the National Coalition of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah. He also extended President Rouhani's official invitation to Ashraf Ghani for a visit to Iran.
By Mehr News Agency
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:Abdullah AbdullahIran foreign policyIran's Foreign MinisterMohammad Javad ZarifQuotedzarif visit to Afghanistan
Obama to meet with wife of America pastor jailed in Iran
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 21:11
BOISE, Idaho (AP) '-- The wife of an American pastor held prisoner in Iran says President Barack Obama will meet with her during his short visit to Idaho on Wednesday.The Idaho Statesman (http://bit.ly/1xTIYRc ) reports Naghmeh Abedini received confirmation Tuesday that Obama agreed to meet with her and her two young children. Abedini recently had written an open letter to the president requesting a face-to-face meeting.
Abedini declined to reveal any other details about the meeting.
Christian pastor Saeed Abedini has been in Iranian custody since September 2012. He was given an eight-year sentence in 2013 for what was termed undermining state security when he attempted to build a church network in private homes.
The 34-year-old man is of Iranian origin but had been living in Boise.
By The Associated Press
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:American-Iranian pastor Saeed AbediniBarack ObamaIdaho Statesman reportsNaghmeh Abedini
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Importer Claims To Start Ak-47 Manufacture In US
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 05:05
The importer of Russian Kalashnikov rifles in US, RWC, has claimed to start manufacturing the AK-47 guns in the USA, CNN Money reported yesterday.
The importing of the AK-47 gun in US was stopped after it imposed sanctions in July against Russia. The US made gun will have same name as the original: AK-47, arguably the most ubiquitous assault rifle in the world.
"We are not permitted to pick up the phone and to talk to them," he said. "We were forced to stop doing business with them because of the sanctions," Thomas McCrossin CEO of RWC is quoted as saying by CNN Money.
"I have a lot of inventory on my shelf bought and paid for," McCrossin told CNNMoney in Las Vegas at the annual gun industry show. "We are permitted to sell these weapons because they were already in the US. But when the inventory goes down to zero, there are no more."
RWC, based in Tullytown, Pa is looking for a new location to set up a manufacturing unit once the present inventory goes down to zero.
"In the second quarter of this year we are going to start manufacturing here in the US," said McCrossin. "What I'm manufacturing are our own AK-47s and shotguns under the Kalashnikov brand."
Kalashnikov had sealed a deal to supply 200000 rifles a year in the US in January 2014 before US stuck sanctions in July.
"The US was a key market for us, one that we planned to develop," the official was quoted as saying to BBC.
"It's a big loss, there's no point saying otherwise." There are now some 200 models of Kalashnikov, still produced at the original factory in Izhevsk, two hours' flight east of Moscow.
The plant used to manufacture around 600,000 rifles a year for the military during USSR. Last year it turned out one tenth of that number and 80% were civilian firearms.
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Chiner$
Ukraine Stiffs China for Billions Owed Washington's Blog
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 14:58
China paid Ukraine $3B two years ago for grain still not delivered, now demands refund. Another $3.6B that's owed to China, will probably also default.
Eric Zuesse
Russia's RIA Novosti News Agency reported, on January 17th, that China is demanding refund of $1.5 billion in cash and of an additional $1.5 billion in Chinese goods that were paid in advance by China (in 2013), for a 2012 Chinese order of grain from Ukraine, which goods still have not been supplied to China.
According to RIAN, ''State Food and Grain Corporation of Ukraine (STATE FOOD) supplied grain in 2013, elsewhere, but not to China. The new Kiev authorities had an opportunity to fix the short-sighted actions 'of the [previous] Yanukovych regime,' and to present a positive economic image to the Chinese.'' But it didn't happen.
Furthermore: ''Prior to the Presidency of Yanukovych [which started in 2010], China's leadership had simply refused to do business with the pre-Yanukovych Administration's Yulia Tymoshenko, and they planned to wait until Yanukovych became President. He then came, and since has been ousted, and yet still only $153 million of grain has been delivered.'' (None of the $1.5B cash that China advanced to Ukraine to pay for growing and shipping grain has been returned to China, but only the $153M that had essentially been swapped: Chinese goods for Ukrainian grain.) This $153 million was approximately as much as the interest that would be due on China's prepayment, and so Ukraine still owes China the full $3 billion ($1.5B in cash, + $1.5B that China supplied in goods).
The RIAN report goes on to quote Alex Luponosov, a Ukrainian authority on Ukraine's banking system, who says, ''Ukraine won't be able to supply the grain to China, because we don't have it.'' The reason he gives is that ''there is a big shortage of technicians: combiners, adjusters, mechanics, farm-machinery operators '-- all of them were taken by the army.'' Those men are being required to fight in Ukraine's 'ATO' or 'Anti Terrorist Operation,' that's occurring in Ukraine's former Donbass region (the far-eastern tip of Ukraine), the place where the residents don't accept the new Ukrainian Government's legitimacy, and they are therefore being called 'Terrorists' by this new Government, which is thus bombing them, supposedly in order to convince them that this new Government's authority over them is legitimate (even though the residents there never participated in its selection, and have been cut off even from Ukraine's social-security payments).
The Russian news report continues by quoting Luponosov again: ''If the declaration of mobilization will take place in the planned figures, up to 100 thousand people in three stages, the sowing campaign cannot take place, either on the farms or at the grain traders.'' As part of Ukraine's military mobilization '-- the new phase of which which started on January 20 '-- military offices take first the rural male population of the country, and farm-production must therefore suffer.
Luponosov was quoted: ''Now try to tell Parliament to amend the war-legislation so that these people won't be taken from their villages. No one will deny the military. Parliament thus cannot do anything [to fulfill on Ukraine's grain-contract with China].''
The RIAN report says that, ''China is angry,'' and it closes: ''By the way, in addition to China's $3B loan that's to be repaid with grain [which cannot be supplied], Ukraine also received from China a $3.6 billion loan to pay for the gasification of coal, by Ukraine's gas company, Naftogaz, which the Ukrainian Government has guaranteed up to 2.3 billion dollars. Information on the implementation of the coal-gasification project has not been made available, but there seems to be a high probability that this matter too will be decided in a court. If China decides to call in that loan, then the result will be the bankruptcy of either Naftogaz, or the Ukrainian Government.''
On January 9th, Ukraine's Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, reassured the IMF, EU, and other investors of all funds that are being loaned to Ukraine, that Ukraine is doing everything possible to fulfill on its financial obligations to all investors:
''I would also like to note that the money that we get in the framework of international financial assistance, does not go to finance the state budget deficit, it does not go to the payment of pensions, it does not go to the payment of wages. All of this is happening in the first place, solely to perform our external obligations.'' On 1 May 2014, the IMF (whose money comes from taxpayers in U.S. and the EU, not from the aristocrats whose investments the IMF protects and whom the IMF actually serves) had stated that Ukraine's first obligation, without which the IMF would lend no more money, is to win the war against Donbass. Yatsenyuk, thus, is here reassuring the IMF, and other investors in Ukraine, that their money will not go to pay for anything but winning this war.
The IMF, and other lenders, require Ukraine to win this war, because, if the Ukrainian Government doesn't win, then the natural gas and other assets that are in the ground in that region will not become available to be sold off by the Ukrainian Government in order to pay-off those investors; instead, the residents there (the people whom the Ukrainian Government is now trying to eliminate) will control those assets, as being assets of a separate state '-- one which has not borrowed from these investors. The IMF wants the assets that are in the ground, not the people who are living on it. That is why it demands victory (elimination of the people in Donbass) '-- or else Ukraine will promptly go bankrupt. (And, perhaps, so too will some of those investors.)
'--'--'--'--'--
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
Drone Nation
Drone Carrying Meth Crashes Near San Ysidro Port of Entry | NBC Southern California
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 14:15
A drone carrying methamphetamine crashed in Mexico near the San Ysidro Port of Entry on Tuesday night.
The unmanned aircraft hauling more than 6 pounds of crystal meth in six packages fell from the sky into the parking lot of a supermarket in Tijuana just before 10 p.m., according to Vicente Calderon, a Tijuana-based freelance journalist for NBC 7.
Tijuana police said an anonymous citizen reported finding the drone in the parking lot.
The packages of drugs were attached to the drone using plastic webbing and strips of black tape, police said.
The aircraft itself had six propellers and a lithium battery.
The drone and the drugs were handed over to Mexican authorities to look into who's responsible for the attempted smuggling.
While smugglers have long used a variety of tactics to shuffle drugs across the border, Calderon said Tijuana police reported that this is the first time smugglers have attempted using drones to pass drugs through the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
Drug trafficking organizations in Mexico have increasingly used drones to transport drugs over the past several years, according to published reports.
SnowJob
Trust Around the World - 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 15:59
The 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer shows a global decline in trust over the last year, and the number of countries with trusted institutions has fallen to an all-time low among the informed public.
Among the general population, the trust deficit is even more pronounced, with nearly two-thirds of countries falling into the distruster category.
In the last year, trust has declined for three of the four institutions measured. NGOs continue to be the most trusted institution, but trust in NGOs declined from 66 to 63 percent. Sixty percent of countries now distrust media. Trust in government increased slightly, driven by big gains in India, Russia and Indonesia but government is still distrusted in 19 of the 27 markets surveyed. And trust in business is below 50 percent in half of those markets.
Ex-MI6 chief Sir John Sawers: We cannot stop terrorism unless we spy on innocent people - Telegraph
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 15:54
Amid wide public debate about the need for new online surveillance powers, he said: "The Prime Minister was right when he was saying last week we can't afford to have complete no-go areas.
"We cannot have no go areas in our communities where the police cannot go, because that just allows space room for the evil-doers to ply their trades.
"It is the same in the virtual world.
"If you allow areas which are completely impenetrable then you might feel comfortable that your communications are private and no one else can see them, but so are those who are trying to do you down and undermine your society."
He said the revelations by Edward Snowden, the former CIA contractor, had captured the public's attention because they had not been properly informed about the security services' online surveillance capabilities.
Snowden, who revealed top secret details about online monitoring, had "thrown a massive rock in the pool", said Sir John, but he admitted that the move had led to a public debate.
Sir John went on that Snowden "gained traction" because the public did not know that GCHQ, the Government listening post, and its US counterparts "could monitor traffic on the internet in the way that it could".
"It was certainly a great concern for me that the, if you like, the informal co-operation that worked well between most technology companies and communication companies and security services was broken by the Snowden revelations and has not been repaired," he said.
"These new developments in technology and in communications are vastly advantageous to our economies and to our way of life and to family cohesion.
"But if a technology companies allow to be developed areas which are simply impenetrable, you are inviting problems.
"We have to find a way as a society whereby the technology companies ... and those responsible for the security of our societies can work together so that the interests of both can be met with limited compromise.
"Now, I do not believe that there is a trade-off between security and privacy. I think they go together.
"If you have a society which evades and abuses privacy, then ultimately there will be a reaction against the damage to your security.
"If you do not have any security then all your basic freedoms are at threat.
"So we have to find a way of building the trust in governments and in technology companies that both the private uses that people justifiably expect to be able to have of these new technologies and the public goods are both being met at the same time.
"Now Snowden threw a massive rock in the pool. The ripples from that still have not died down, but it has provoked a debate on these very difficult issues.
"There needs to be some new compact between the technology companies and those who are responsible for security if we are not to see events like we saw in Paris last week and which we have seen also across in Yemen, in Nigeria, and so on become more and more features of our lives."
"We cannot afford for that to happen."
Sir John said there were so many terror plots ongoing that it was a certainty that the security services would not be able to foil them all.
"We are not saying that an attempted terror attack is highly likely, but that an attack actually getting through is highly likely," he told an audience of business leaders in London.
Sir John said while the majority of the British-based Muslims who had gone to fight in Syria would probably pose no security threat when they returned home, a "hard core" would almost certainly attempt to mount terror attacks.
"I think the great majority of them are probably mightily relieved to get back [to the UK], but there will be a hardened core who are absorbed into extremist ideology who will pose a real threat to us back here.
"The security community has done a fantastic job keeping threats at bay, but if I was to sit here and ask 'will the goalkeepers of the police and security services foil every single attempt to score a goal?', the answer is no.
"At some point a threat will get through," he said at the central London launch of the Edelman Trust Barometer, an international survey of public trust in institutions including the security services and other government institutions.
The UK survey found public trust in the intelligence agencies was far higher than for other official bodies.
It found 64 per cent said they trusted MI6 and 72 per cent trusted MI5, the domestic security agency, compared with a 43 per cent rating for government overall.
Sir John said the security agencies had begun to rebuilt public trust following concern over the "dodgy dossier" under Labour prime minister Tony Blair in 2003, which was later used to justify the invasion of Iraq on the grounds that Saddam Hussein's regime was claimed to have weapons of mass destruction.
Sir John said the British agencies had achieved the turn-around by being "skilful and clever rather than violent and thuggish", in a reference which will be widely interpreted as a veiled swipe at the CIA.
The American agency's involvement in torture was detailed in a report from the US Senate Intelligence Committee last month.
Spy fiction such as James Bond films also helped boost the reputation of the British agencies, Sir John admitted.
"Our favourable reputation in popular fiction, as we all know, helps on trust," he said.
CYBER!
Obama's Cyber Proposals Sound Good, But Erode Information Security - The Intercept
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 03:14
The State of the Union address President Obama delivers tonight will include a slate of cyber proposals crafted to sound like timely government protections in an era beset by villainous hackers.
They would in theory help the government and private sector share hack data more effectively; increase penalties for the most troubling forms of hacking; and require better notification of people when their personal data has been stolen.
But if you cut through the spin, it turns out that the steps Obama is proposing would likely erode, rather than strengthen, information security for citizens and computer experts trying to protect them. Consider:
There's plenty of sharing of data on cyber threats already and no reason to think that the Sony Pictures hack or any of the other major recent cyber attacks could have been averted with more. What Obama is proposing would, by contrast, give companies that have terrible security practices a pass in the form of liability protection from regulatory or civil action based on the information they disclose, while potentially allowing widespread distribution of personal data that should be private.The increased penalties for hacking Obama is proposing could punish people who have only briefly rubbed shoulders with hackers as full-fledged members of a criminal enterprise, and criminalize ''white-hat'' hacking.And Obama's federal standards for when companies have to report that customers' data has been stolen would actually overturn tougher standards in many states.''There's nothing that he would propose that would do anything to actually improve cybersecurity,'' says Chris Soghoian, the principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union. ''That's a problem.''
Cybersecurity researcher Robert Graham wrote in his blog:
Obama's proposals come from a feeling in Washington D.C. that more needs to be done about hacking in response to massive data breaches of the last couple years. But they are blunt political solutions which reflect no technical understanding of the problem'....
This War on Hackers is likely to be no more effective than the War on Drugs.
The explanation for the mismatch between Obama administration goals and policy is, unfortunately, a familiar one: The pull of moneyed corporate interests.
''The reason why we don't have any serious proposals on the table that would improve cybersecurity,'' says Soghoian, ''is because big companies don't actually want to be held accountable.'' And Obama ''doesn't want to take on big business.''
The Chamber of Commerce and National Retail Federation are among the biggest fans of the proposals. And that's a feature, not a bug.
By offering liability protection in return for something companies are doing already, Obama is not only protecting them from consequences, he's even encouraging companies to spy on users more than they do already, knowing they couldn't get in trouble anymore.
Any proposal to, by contrast, set basic, minimal cybersecurity standards for consumer-facing businesses '-- with non-compliance opening the door to regulatory action or lawsuits '-- would be fought by an army of lobbyists. So it isn't even on the table.
If Obama wants to address the problem behind the most notorious recent cyberhacks, he could call attention to what appears to have been their common problem, says Robyn Greene, policy counsel at New America's Open Technology Institute.
The recent Sony Pictures breach and others were ''the results of poor cyber hygiene; they weren't the result of poor information sharing,'' she says. ''It would be really good if part of the debate about cybersecurity focused more on what are the easy and practical things that people and companies can do to enhance their cybersecurity.''
''When you've got an epidemic, the answer is you should be washing your hands every time you use the bathroom. It's just not a sexy thing to say,'' says Lee Tien, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
''Is he going to tell everyone to update their web browser?'' asks Soghoian. ''It's tough to make that a sexy political proposal.''
One source of particular concern among tech-savvy privacy advocates is that Obama's proposal rewards companies for sharing user information with the Department of Homeland Security '-- and then allows DHS to share that information with other agencies, even for purposes unrelated to cybersecurity. That includes the NSA and other military agencies.
''We don't want military and intelligence agencies to have information about American citizens that they just don't need,'' says Greene.
The concern extends to law enforcement agencies as well. ''We're concerned about widespread sharing that can be done as a backdoor to evade search warrants,'' says Chris Calabrese, senior policy director at the Center for Democracy and Technology.
''If you limit the sharing to 'it was this type of attack,' 'this is the new security loophole discovered' and 'here's what they did to patch it' '-- that sort of stuff '-- nobody's really arguing about that,'' Calabrese says. The concern is about ''personally identifiable information of innocent people'' such as those whose computers might have been hijacked.
But the privacy rules regarding Obama's information-sharing proposal have been left for a future group of government officials to determine '' a big deal, given that the liability provision would effectively trump existing privacy laws.
Meanwhile, Obama's computer crime propsals are ''the opposite'' of what groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation are advocating.
''The theme of the language is to increase penalties in a number of places without really clarifying the vagueness or uncertainty that has been problematic in prosecutions,'' says Tien.
For instance, he says, when it comes to ''hacking'' material on public servers: ''You're at risk of being criminally prosecuted because someone can make an argument that you should have known that's not what they wanted you to do even if they put it online in a way that anybody could get to it.''
Penalties under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act are already draconian and redundant, Tien and colleague Mark Jaycox wrote in a recent blog post. And Obama's more expansive definition of ''exceeds authorized access'' could lead to absurd situations, like major felony prosecutions ''for sharing your HBO GO password.''
Obama's proposal would also extend notoriously heavy-handed racketeering penalties to cybercrime, meaning people who are in some way associated with cybercriminals could be treated like members of a criminal enterprise.
''If I'm on a mailing list, is that an association?'' asks Tien. ''We are concerned that it's very, very easy to associate with people anonymously or privately on the Internet. And if that association is treated as part of an enterprise, that's potentially quite dangerous.''
That said, Obama's cyber agenda has its good points, too.
''We're happy he's elevating the issues,'' says Calabrese. ''The attention on student privacy is a good thing. And we're excited they are finally planning to release legislative language for the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. Hopefully it's strong.''
But, he adds: ''What's not in here? There's no discussion of the government. And you really can't have any true fix for digital privacy without addressing the government's collection of information.''
Photo: Kris Tripplaar/Sipa USA/AP
Obama to Call on Congress to Pass Cybersecurity Legislation
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 02:41
US03:34 21.01.2015(updated 04:16 21.01.2015)
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WASHINGTON, January 21 (Sputnik) '-- US President Barack Obama will call on Congress to pass cybersecurity legislation to combat the ''evolving threat'' of cyber-attacks, identity theft and to protect American children's information during his State of the Union address, according to excerpts from his speech released by the White House on Tuesday.''We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism,'' President Obama said in the excerpt. ''And tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children's information.''
President Obama stressed that if Congress does not act on cyber security legislation now, that it would leave the United States and its economy ''vulnerable.''''If we do [pass cyber security legislation], we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe,'' President Obama said.
Throughout 2014, numerous US institutions were hit with cyberattacks, including financial giant JP Morgan and US federal agencies, such as the State Department and US Central Command.
In January, President Obama announced a new cybersecurity legislative proposal, encouraging private companies to share cyber threat information with government agencies as a way to protect them from cyber incidents.
According to the White House announcement, the new cyber security proposal would modernize law enforcement authorities to combat cyber crimes and criminalize the overseas sale of stolen US financial information. Penalties for computer crimes will be in line with other similar non-cyber illegal activities.
To shape public and private sector discussions and efforts to protect themselves from cyber threats, the White House will host a Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection at Stanford University on February 13, 2015.
EuroLand
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Swiss Franc Trade Is Said to Wipe Out Everest's Main Fund - Bloomberg
Sun, 18 Jan 2015 08:48
Marko Dimitrijevic, the hedge fund manager who survived at least five emerging market debt crises, is closing his largest hedge fund after losing virtually all its money this week when the Swiss National Bank unexpectedly let the franc trade freely against the euro, according to a person familiar with the firm.
Everest Capital's Global Fund had about $830 million in assets as of the end of December, according to a client report. The Miami-based firm, which specializes in emerging markets, still manages seven funds with about $2.2 billion in assets. The global fund, the firm's oldest, was betting the Swiss franc would decline, said the person, who asked not to be named because the information is private.
Armel Leslie, a spokesman for Everest Capital with Peppercomm, declined to comment on the losses. Calls to Dimitrijevic weren't returned.
The SNB's decision to end its three-year policy of capping the franc at 1.20 a euro triggered losses at Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG and Barclays Plc as well as hedge funds and mutual funds. The franc surged as much as 41 percent versus the euro on Jan. 15, the biggest gain on record, and climbed more than 15 percent against all of the more than 150 currencies tracked by Bloomberg.
Dimitrijevic grew up in Switzerland and comes from what he terms a Yugoslavian family, according to ''Inside the House of Money'' by Steven Drobny (Wiley, 2006). He started the firm in 1990 with $8 million and has seen assets rise and fall as investors rushed in and out of emerging markets.
Everest grew to $2.7 billion by the start of 1998 after navigating crises in Mexico and Southeast Asia. Russia's default and currency devaluation proved trickier and assets fell by half amid losses. He revived the firm and a decade later Everest managed $3 billion. Then the global financial crisis hit, and assets shrunk by $1 billion.
Last year, the main fund rose 14.1 percent, driven by Chinese equities and bets against currencies, including a wager that the Swiss franc would fall after citizens rejected a referendum that would require the central bank to hold at least 20 percent of its assets in gold, the investor report said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Katherine Burton in New York at kburton@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christian Baumgaertel at cbaumgaertel@bloomberg.net Pierre Paulden
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BBC News - Swiss franc move leaves European homeowners counting cost
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 19:26
20 January 2015Last updated at 11:51 ET By Adam EastonBBC News, WarsawIt's a very worrying time for many thousands of people in central and eastern Europe, as they helplessly watch the Swiss franc rise against their local currencies and see their mortgage repayments go up and up.
An estimated 566,000 Poles have taken out Swiss franc-denominated loans, that's about 37% of all mortgages here.
By Tuesday, the Swiss franc had risen 21% against the Polish zloty, following the Swiss National Bank's decision to abandon its currency ceiling against the euro last Thursday.
Real-time Swiss franc exchange rate tables are displayed on popular news websites, so Poles can groan and fret as they watch the franc edge higher. It's been the major front page story of the daily Gazeta Wyborcza three times in the past four days.
It's not just Poles. Many Hungarians, Croats and Austrians have taken out Swiss franc-denominated loans.
For years banks in Poland advised customers to take out a mortgage in a foreign currency, mostly the Swiss franc, because the interest rate was much lower than on a Polish zloty loan and the expectation was that the zloty would appreciate.
Then came the financial crash. In 2009, CEE (Central European) currencies lost much of their value against the Swiss franc, sending monthly mortgage repayments skyward. The Swiss National Bank's decision has now piled on more pain.
Robery Grausam-Onyszkiewicz from Krakow told the TVN24 news channel that he had taken out a 150,000 zloty (£26,000; '‚¬34,000; $40,000) credit denominated in Swiss francs in 2008.
Now he owes the bank 500,000 zlotys.
"I lost two jobs, my health deteriorated. Let my example be a warning," he said.
The franc's rise and the possibility that it will remain strong have again raised concerns that people will be unable to meet their repayments.
At the moment only about 3% of Poles are in arrears. That's partly because Polish banks tended to offer Swiss franc loans to wealthier borrowers.
However, there are already calls for greater protection for homeowners and those will likely increase because Poland holds parliamentary elections this autumn. Politicians will be tempted to ease the pain for households.
Hungary has already done so, forcing banks to convert Swiss franc loans into local currency credit at favourable rates.
"Banks should take steps to share the burden," Adam Jasser, the head of Poland's Office for Consumer Protection and Competition, UOKiK, said on Tuesday. "From our point of view the key is for clients not to be injured," he added.
Poland's Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz on Tuesday ordered UOKiK and the banking regulator to investigate reports that some banks were altering mortgage agreements at the expense of the borrower.
The banks are also considering helping out.
The head of the Polish Banks' Association, Krzysztof Pietraszkiewicz, told Tok FM radio on Tuesday that some banks were considering a suggestion that homeowners could keep paying their instalments for a limited period of time at December's exchange rate before the Swiss franc shot up.
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Greek Syriza Party Says EU Anti-Russian Sanctions Damage European Stability
Mon, 19 Jan 2015 17:03
Politics17:45 19.01.2015(updated 18:04 19.01.2015)
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ATHENS, January 19 (Sputnik) '-- European Union sanctions against Russia are causing substantial damage to peace and stability throughout Europe, Panayiotis Lafazanis, one of the leaders of the Greek left-wing coalition Syriza told RIA Novosti on Monday.''The European Union's policy of sanctions against Russia is a very bad policy. This policy causes significant damage to the Russia-European relations, damaging peace and stability throughout Europe. We do not agree with the imposition of sanctions against Russia,'' Lafazanis said, stressing that Syriza wants ''good relations with Russia.''
According to Lafazanis, a leftist government, should it come to power in Greece after the elections, will try to improve ties with Russia.
''Absolutely nothing is dividing the people of Greece and the people of Russia. Greece and Russia have no problems that divide us. Good connections is the only way for the two nations and two states and improving the bilateral ties would help Greece, Russia and most certainly the whole Europe, the European Union as a whole,'' Lafazanis said.Following Crimea's reunification with Russia, the European Union imposed several rounds of sanctions against Moscow. In August, Russia responded by introducing a one-year ban on imports of a number of food products from countries that imposed sanctions against it.
Originally found as a coalition of left-wing and radical left political parties, the eurosceptic Syriza is Greece's second-largest party. Polls suggest that Syriza is most likely to win the country's snap parliamentary elections Sunday.
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Eurozone prepares for QE
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 02:42
21 January 2015Last updated at 00:40 By Andrew WalkerBBC World Service Economics correspondentThe eurozone, it is widely thought, is about to get a dose of a new economic medicine.
The European Central Bank is expected to announce this week that it's going to go into the financial markets to buy substantial amounts of government debt using newly created money - a policy known as quantitative easing, or QE.
There has been mounting speculation that the ECB is preparing to act along these lines, and there will be serious disappointment in financial markets if that does not happen.
Continue reading the main storyThere is a clear danger of a more sustained period of deflation, which would destroy peripheral countries' debt consolidation efforts''
End QuoteCapital EconomicsLondon-based economic consultancyThe problem the ECB wants to tackle is inflation that is too low. Indeed last month it turned into deflation, or falling prices.
Deflation is partly a symptom of the eurozone's persistent economic weakness. But it could also aggravate it.
Deflation tends to be bad for debtors. The problem is that their incomes may fall, but their debt payments - if they debt involves fixed interest rates - may not.
With governments, falling prices and incomes will hit revenue from income tax and VAT. Most of their debt payments are at fixed rates.
'Unambiguously positive'There have been warnings that deflation could reignite the eurozone's debt crisis.
The London economic consultancy Capital Economics has said: "There is a clear danger of a more sustained period of deflation, which would destroy peripheral countries' debt consolidation efforts, and could cause market concerns to once again spread from Greece."
Now it is true that the eurozone had a period of deflation back in 2009. It lasted five months. But Capital Economics reckons the recent fall in energy prices could keep the eurozone in deflation territory for a lot longer this time.
But if it's the result of cheaper energy, you might argue, then it's surely not a problem.
There is a lot in that view. The International Monetary Fund's chief economist Olivier Blanchard said in a BBC interview that the oil price fall is "what I hate to call a gift of God" for the eurozone.
He said it means there has been "a very large increase in real [that is inflation adjusted] incomes of people, and is therefore likely to lead to more spending."
The ECB President Mario Draghi has described the direct impact of cheaper oil as "unambiguously positive".
Even so, Mr Blanchard says that deflation is worrisome.
What bothers Mr Draghi is what he called "second round" effects, that falling prices might become "embedded in inflation expectations", and could affect wages as well as the prices of other types of goods.
In any event, it's worth noting that inflation excluding energy prices was 0.6% in December, a good deal lower than the ECB's target of below but close to 2%.
So that's what Mario Draghi and his colleagues in the ECB's policy-making committee are worried about.
Overseas examplesQuantitative easing is on their agenda because the traditional ammunition for a central bank is spent.
The ECB's interest rate policy is just about zero. The main rate that it charges for lending money to the commercial banks is just 0.05%. And the rate it pays them for holding their surplus finds overnight is below zero - minus 0.2%.
In similar circumstances, central banks in the US, UK, and Japan, wanting to provide more stimulus have gone down the path of quantitative easing, QE.
QE historyThree major developed country central banks have carried out QE in recent years: the US, the UK and Japan.
In the US and UK it started in the aftermath of the financial crisis. The American move, worth a total of about $3.5tn (£2.3tn), has coincided with a recovery from a nasty recession.
In the UK the return of convincing growth came only a few years after the active asset purchases of £375bn came to an end, though to this day the Bank of England still holds them.
Japan started QE much earlier, back in 2001, and its cumulative scale is in the region of $1.7tn or so. It's an attempt to deal with prolonged economic weakness. Despite the effort, Japanese growth has never really decisively resumed.
The evidence from these experiments is inconclusive. Some say the US and UK would have recovered without QE. Others say Japan would have been in worse shape without it.
And that's what is widely expected from the ECB - that it will announce a plan to buy substantial volumes of government debt using newly created money.
The ECB has, over the course of the financial crisis, done things that have elements in common with this. It has bought the bonds, the debts of some governments, and it has also bought assets backed by loans to the private sector.
With much of this, though not all, the ECB took steps to offset the additional money creation involved in buying these assets. The technical term is sterilisation.
In addition, the asset buying undertaken by the ECB so far was aimed at improving conditions in specific parts of the eurozone financial system: the availability of credit to the private sector, and the periods of very high borrowing costs in some countries.
What we are expected to get this week is different in that it won't be quite so focussed - the aim will be to generate higher inflation across the eurozone. And the scale is likely to be bigger than we have seen before.
The figure often suggested that the ECB will spead on QE is 500bn euros ($591bn; £382bn). That's smaller than the programmes undertaken by central banks in the US or Japan, and the UK, in comparison with the size of the economy. But then all those QE programmes did take time to build up to their full scale.
'Hyperinflation phobia'So how would it work? Buying bonds in large quantities can raise their price, which lowers the return on them.
The return on bonds is in effect an interest rate, so the idea is that QE should exert downward pressure on interest rates throughout the economy, even when the central bank's own interest rate policy can no longer do that.
So the idea is that QE leads businesses to want to invest more and consumers to spend. The additional demand for goods and services would then push inflation up too, and reduce the risk of aggravating the eurozone's persistent debt problems.
In addition QE can weaken a currency on the foreign exchanges. The fact that the policy tends to drive down interest rates also makes investors less enthusiastic about investing in the currency. The weaker currency makes business more competitive against rivals outside the eurozone.
The IMF's Olivier Blanchard told the BBC that the recent depreciation of the euro is "largely due to anticipation of QE coming down the line".
Now there are plenty of critics of QE. In the US a group of them wrote an open letter to the then Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, published in the Wall Street journal, warning of a risk of excessively high inflation.
Some in Europe, especially Germany, share that concern. There is history behind that, the hyperinflation of 1923 in Weimar Germany, which was followed in the next decade by the rise of the Nazis.
The Economist has called it "Germany's hyperinflation phobia" and as the paper points out there is a debate to be had about exactly what were the economic factors behind the disaster that followed in the 1930s.
Still, it is an issue in German politics and it has made it harder for the ECB to embark on a policy that can be characterised as "printing money".
There is also a concern that by buying government debt, the ECB would be relieving the pressure on countries that arguably need to do more to reduce their debts and reform their economies. And if any of those governments were to default, the argument goes, it would be taxpayers across the eurozone that would have to foot the bill.
There have been reports that the ECB will address the latter concern by having national central banks in the 19 member countries of the eurozone buy the bonds and take responsibility for any losses there might be - which would almost certainly let the German taxpayer off the hook.
It has been a long wait. The eurozone is, probably, about to embark on something that the US, Japan and Britain started years ago.
And nobody seems to think it will fix all the eurozone's problems. The best that eurozone QE might achieve is to alleviate one factor that could make them worse.
As the BBC's Economics Editor Robert Peston put it - "painkillers to an economy that needs rather more radical structural treatment".
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Elite$
1,700 Private Jets Will Fly to Davos to Discuss Global Warming | FrontPage Magazine
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 21:09
Don't worry. I'm sure these will be non-polluting private jets powered by carbon offsets and unicorn magic. They will not in any way add to the heat death of the earth. Unlike you, toting your groceries home in a plastic bag in the back on an SUV.
You should be ashamed of yourself. Why can't you fly around in a private plane like these people who really care about the environment?
A squadron of 1,700 private jets are rumbling into Davos, Switzerland, this week to discuss global warming and other issues as the annual World Economic Forum gets underway.
The influx of private jets is so great, the Swiss Armed Forces has been forced to open up a military air base for the first time ever to absorb all the super rich flying their private jets into the event, reports Newsweek.
But it's for a good cause.
What's Next? A Climate for Action: Through a powerful visual narrative, Nobel Laureate Al Gore reveals what's next for climate in 2015.
Speakers: Al Gore, Pharrell Williams, Kevin Wall
If only everyone could be as enormously conscientious as these people flying private jets to warn us that it's time to make home heating more expensive, outlaw plastic bags and price food staples further out of reach.
Bill and Melinda Gates want to fix another messy global problem: banking '' Quartz
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 14:17
Bill and Melinda Gates have taken on some of the world's messiest problems, funding projects to improve the design of toilets and condoms and even create urine-powered fuel cells. Now, in their annual letter published today, they're outlining ambitions to tackle another messy sector: banking.
The central thesis of the letter, which lays out goals for the 15-year-old Gates Foundation's next 15 years, is of unparalleled progress ahead for the world's poor. (Last year's annual letter predicted there would be almost no poor countries by 2035.) As they put it:
Our big bet: The lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history. And their lives will improve more than anyone else's.
Their argument is predicated on advances in agriculture, health'--including progress against youth mortality, polio, malaria, and HIV'--and access to education, including online courses delivered to children in the developing world via cellphones.
It's also based on the belief that mobile banking will transform the lives of the world's poor. They write:
By 2030, two billion people who don't have a bank account today will be storing money and making payments with their phones. And by then, mobile money providers will be offering the full range of financial services, from interest-bearing savings accounts to credit to insurance.
The Gates Foundation's focus is on supporting the creation of mobile-money systems over which financial services can be provided. The foundation has previously provided funding to help the spread of the M-Pesa mobile-money service pioneered in Kenya, and invested in bKash in Bangladesh.
''The thing we're trying to create is essentially a debit card with your cell phone where you have transaction costs for digital transfers under 2%,'' said Bill Gates in an interview with Quartz. ''So whether it's savings or transferring to other accounts or taking out loans, you have that basic capability, and innovators can do educational or agricultural offerings on top of that.''
The consumer survey data below for Tanzania from Financial Inclusion Insights show the relatively low usage of traditional banks and high cell-phone penetration.
Own bank account10%14%6.8%18%7.3%Own mobile phone67%78%58%81%62%Have used mobile money48%54%42%68%39%Having access to savings banks, loans, and cheap money transfers is important for the poor because it allows them to better weather financial shocks'--brought on by poor growing seasons, for example'--that make it hard to feed their families, get health care, or educate their children.
''It's the savings piece that we saw as so fundamentally key in this, that people can make these micropayments in their own accounts where they're saving money,'' said Melinda Gates. ''Then when they go through these hunger seasons that happen every year in Africa, they can tide over in the hunger seasons in terms of buying food. But they really talk about then being able to have the school fees, when it comes time in the fall to pay the school fees, they don't have to sell a cattle or a piece of jewelry or hope that the money is still around under the mattress.
Roughly 2.5 billion adults don't have bank accounts, according to the World Bank. Mobile banking can be much more efficient for them than doing all transactions with cash. It's also more cost-effective for financial institutions, since it's otherwise not worth the overhead expense for them to handle tiny accounts and money flows.
Mobile banking is a shift in focus from the traditional micro-lending that the Gates Foundation and others have supported in recent decades. Traditional micro-finance'--which typically requires a network of staff spread out in rural areas to dispense and manage the loans'--has higher transaction costs than mobile banking, and can't scale to reach as many people. Micro-loans can now be offered more efficiently to more borrowers using the mobile money systems.
It's also not bitcoin. The Gates Foundation is looking to help fund open payment systems that can connect to other ones and allow companies to build services such as savings accounts on top of them. But they say the systems they're backing, unlike bitcoin, don't allow user anonymity and do allow transactions to be reversed in case of errors.
Bill Gates predicts that some of the advances in developing countries will ''trickle up'' to rich-world consumers. But he's skeptical that an explosion of consumer finance in poorer countries will give rise to serious rivals to the existing global banks, because regulations in the developed world are a big hurdle. He says that Alipay, the digital payment system from China's Alibaba, could be a competitor in global digital finance, though.
Gates thinks that technology will reduce the transaction costs for financial services and increase competition for banks throughout the world. It will be easier for consumers to buy specific services a la carte, and harder for banks to justify the expense of maintaining branches.
You can view an extended speech by Gates about the future of banking from October below.
Billionaire Greene, Who Bet Against Subprime, Goes Long on U.S. While Bemoaning Jobs Crisis - Bloomberg
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 05:39
A worker vacuums a staircase inside the Kongress Zentrum, or Congress Center, on the opening day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers attend the 45th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos from Jan. 21-24. Close
Billionaire Jeff Greene, who amassed a multibillion dollar fortune betting against subprime mortgage securities, says the U.S. faces a jobs crisis that will cause social unrest and radical politics.
''America's lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence,'' Greene said in an interview today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. ''We need to reinvent our whole system of life.''
The 60-year-old founder of Coral Gables, Florida-based Florida Sunshine Investments said his biggest fund was up more than 20 percent last year with bets on Apple Inc. (AAPL), Google Inc. (GOOG), bank stocks and mortgage-backed securities.
''I'm remarkably long for my level of pessimism,'' he said. ''Our economy is in deep trouble. We need to be honest with ourselves. We've had a realistic level of job destruction, and those jobs aren't coming back.''
Greene, who flew his wife, children and two nannies on a private jet plane to Davos for the week, said he's planning a conference in Palm Beach, Florida, at the Tideline Hotel called ''Closing the Gap.'' The event, which he said is scheduled for December, will feature speakers such as economist Nouriel Roubini.
''I live in Palm Beach, where no one wants to hear bad news,'' he said. ''We need to have an event where people aren't just focused on predicting the price of oil.''
Greene says he has no investors or partners and manages about $2 billion in financial investments, more than $750 million in real estate and at least $1.5 billion in assorted property development projects.
The billionaire said he's planning on having dinner tonight with former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, and will attend several private meals and parties throughout the week.
To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew G. Miller in Davos at mmiller144@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Newcomb at pnewcomb2@bloomberg.net Andrew Heathcote
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.
A billionaire lectures serfs in Davos - Claims "America's lifestyle expectations are far too high"
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 05:38
>>If you listened closely this morning, you could hear humanity vomit as JP Morgan CEO, Jamie Dimon, began to speak at Davos.In what amounted to some of the most egotistical and delusional statements heard at a conference filled with egotistical and delusional participants, Mr. Dimon didn't disappoint. Here are a couple highlights courtesy of Twitter:
*DIMON SAYS 'YOU DON'T WANT A WEAK JPMORGAN' - or else
- Tim Backshall (@credittrader) January 21, 2015
Jamie Dimon: Family first, country second, and JP Morgan- it's the best I can do for this world. @jpmorgan$JPM
- Julia Boorstin (@JBoorstin) January 21, 2015
Such shameless insincerity would even make his Best Banker Buddy (BBB) Barry Obama blush. I don't know about you, but I'm eagerly awaiting Mr. Dimon's 2028 Presidential run with Chelsea Clinton as running mate.But I digress. Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it has. Enter billionaire Jeff Greene, who's comments at Davos make Sam Zell look enlightened.
From Bloomberg:
Billionaire Jeff Greene, who amassed a multibillion dollar fortune betting against subprime mortgage securities, says the U.S. faces a jobs crisis that will cause social unrest and radical politics.
"America's lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence," Greene said in an interview today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "We need to reinvent our whole system of life."
Wait a minute, "we" need to reinvent our whole system of life? I'm curious, Mr. Greene, how specifically will YOU be adjusting your lifestyle expectations? I didn't think so. Kindly shut the fuck up.Greene, who flew his wife, children and two nannies on a private jet plane to Davos for the week, said he's planning a conference in Palm Beach, Florida, at the Tideline Hotel called "Closing the Gap." The event, which he said is scheduled for December, will feature speakers such as economist Nouriel Roubini.
Apologies, it appears when it comes to Jeff Greene, he is adjusting his expectations in the opposite direction, upward. Jewish Business News reportsthat:Billionaire Jeff Greene really does believe that he can get $195 million for his California estate, which just so happens to be the most expensive listing for a residential property in American history.
The 59 year old made his money by betting against the subprime mortgage market that burst in 2008. But many observers think that the $195 million price tag on the Beverly Hills property is just a type of marketing gimmick and that Greene does not honestly expect to get that much money for it.
Greene dispelled these rumors in an interview with the New York Times. "When you consider the value of the land and the quality of the construction. $195 million is really quite reasonable," he said.
Now back to the Bloombergarticle:The billionaire said he's planning on having dinner tonight with former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, and will attend several private meals and parties throughout the week.
It's not surprise that such a disingenuous guy would find the time to have dinner with Tony Blair, a celebrated crony capitalist and war criminal. Here are a few Tony Blair lowlights I have showcased previously:Picture of the Day - A Very Creepy Season's Greetings from Tony Blair
Tony Blair Gets Paid (Again) - Secret $61,000 per Month Contract with Saudis Revealed
Letter Reveals Tony Blair Advised Kazakhstan's President on How to Spin Massacre of Innocent, Unarmed Protesters
Apparently, some lifestyle expectations are more equal than others.
Have a Nice Day:
In Liberty,Michael Krieger
F-Russia
Texas-based Schlumberger Buys 45% Stake In Russian Oil Driller
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 17:06
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Oil services company Schlumberger announces deal to take minority stake in Russian rival, nearly a week after announcing plans to reduce its workforce. UPI/Stephen Shaver
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HOUSTON, Jan. 20 (UPI) ''Oil services company Schlumberger said Tuesday it spent roughly $1.7 billion to take a minority stake in a Russian driller, a week after announcing layoffs.The world's largest oil services company said it was taking on a 45.65 percent stake in Eurasia Drilling Co., the largest company of its kind in Russia. The terms of the deal gives Schlumberger the right to buy the rest of the shares within three years of the deal's closing.
''The agreement extends the successful long-term relationship enjoyed by the two companies within the strategic alliance signed in 2011, which has enabled deployment of a range of drilling and well engineering services to customers in the Russia land conventional drilling market,'' Schlumberger said in a statement.
The Russian driller also has a large presence in the Caspian Sea and Iraq.
The deal's announcement comes as Schlumberger said weak oil prices meant it had to cut back on its workforce.
With futures contracts showing crude oil priced below the $50 per barrel mark through mid 2015, the company said performance moving forward needed to be based on transformation and changes in the way it works.
Although there were signs that global oil demand would increase, Schlumberger said growth in global gross domestic product has ''softened,'' leading to uncertainty in 2015.
Iran, Russia ink defense cooperation agreement
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 17:05
TEHRAN (Tasnim) '' Iran and Russia on Tuesday signed an agreement on defensive and military cooperation in Tehran.The document was signed by the defense ministers of the two countries after a meeting in Tehran.
Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan held talks with his Russian counterpart, General Sergei Shoigu, who arrived in the Iranian capital on Monday night.
The agreement calls for the expansion of military cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.
It also includes provisions that entail closer cooperation on ''maintenance of regional and international peace, security and stability, and the fight against various types of terrorism, separatism and extremism.''
The Russian defense minister is heading a delegation of senior officials. He arrived in Tehran on Tuesday and is scheduled to hold talks with senior Iranian officials.
By Tasnim News Agency
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:Brigadier General Hossein DehqanIranIran-Russia agreementQuotedRussiaSergei ShoiguSergey Shoigu visit to iran
MIC
Japan approves biggest ever defence budget amid Asia tensions - Business Insider
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 03:55
(C) AFP/File Kazuhiro NogiJapan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C-R) inspects a mock-up F35A fighter (rear) as part of a static display during a review ceremony at the Japan Air Self-Defense Force's Hyakuri air base at Omitama, Ibaraki prefecture, on October 26, 2014
Tokyo (AFP) - Japan approved its largest-ever defence budget for the next fiscal year on Wednesday, as hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks to strengthen surveillance of territorial waters in the face of a continuing spat with China.
For the year to March 2016, Tokyo will spend 4.98 trillion yen ($41.97 billion), the government said, rising for the third straight year.
"This is the largest budget ever," said a defence ministry official, adding the highest allocation previously was 4.96 trillion yen earmarked in 2002.
The trend reflects Abe's wish to build a more active military, a push supporters say is in response to the raising of tensions with China, with which Tokyo is at odds over the ownership of islands in the East China Sea.
Japan is increasingly wary of Beijing, which is seen by several countries in the region as growing aggressive in various sovereignty claims.
But detractors point to Abe's desire to bolster the military more generally, and to shrug off the shackles of pacifism.
The premier had wanted to alter the constitution to reduce restrictions on the armed forces, but was unable to muster sufficient public support, and moved instead to reinterpret the relevant clause to allow the military to come to the aid of an ally under attack.
Among items on the defence ministry's shopping list are 20 "P-1" maritime patrol aircraft, with a combined price tag of 350 billion yen.
It will also buy five V-22 "Osprey" -- crossover aircraft, which have the manoeuverability of helicopters and the range of airplanes -- along with six high-tech F-35A stealth fighters.
The ministry is looking to get a fleet of "Global Hawk" drones over a five-year period, and part of the purchase will come out of this budget, officials said.
The ministry is also buying 30 units of amphibious vehicles and one E-2D airborne early-warning aircraft to be assigned to protect fringe areas, including the Nansei Shoto islands which lie between the East China Sea and Pacific Ocean.
The cash will also go towards the construction of one Aegis destroyer, and fund the deployment surveillance units around the southern islands of Okinawa and Amami.
Routinely butted heads The Abe cabinet decided in late 2013 to set aside roughly 24.7 trillion yen between 2014 and 2019 to spend on kit including drones, submarines, fighter jets and amphibious vehicles, in a strategic shift towards the south and west.
Japan and China have routinely butted heads over the ownership of the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku Islands, which Beijing claims as the Diaoyus, with official Chinese ships and aircraft regularly testing Japanese forces.
Separately, Chinese naval ships and military jets are seen increasing their activities around Japan, while an unpredictable North Korea continues its missile and nuclear programmes.
Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in last November, the first face-to-face encounter since each came to power, and agreed to work towards easing tensions over the sovereignty of the islands.
On Monday, defence officials from the both sides resumed talks on building a hotline, for the first time since June 2012, in an effort to avert unexpected clashes in the East China Sea, the government said.
But conservative ideologue Abe has also travelled abroad tirelessly to reinforce ties with foreign leaders, particularly those in Southeast Asia, in a bid to counter China's efforts to expand its sphere of influence.
Abe has also worked to strengthen Japan's military alliance with the United States.
The defence expenditure makes up more than five percent of Japan's general budget for the next fiscal year, which comes in at a record-high 96.34 trillion yen, up from 95.88 trillion yen the previous year.
Armageddon
US and UK play war games as banks try to get their act together on hacking
Mon, 19 Jan 2015 17:06
Storm clouds gathering over the city. Credit: alcaide, CC BY-NC-ND The financial institutions of the City of London and Wall Street are to take part in a series of "war game" exercises aimed at testing their resilience to cyber attack. The announcement comes as prime minister David Cameron travelled to the White House to discuss with president Barack Obama closer UK-US intelligence and cybersecurity cooperation.
Recent months have seen criminal hackers raising the bar in the scale and destructiveness of cyber-attacks, with two strikes. One was believed to be politically motivated, bringing down Sony Pictures networks for the film The Interview mocking North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Another was religiously motivated, as Islamists humiliated the US military by hijacking its CENTCOM Twitter account.
Hacking social media channels is one thing, but it's only a matter of time before a major institution such as a major bank or government service is brought to its knees by an online onslaught.
What effect would this have on the economy unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end? Financial services sectors across the world are constantly enduring '' and just about surviving '' cyber-attacks. But a major breach in any one part of a bank's critical network infrastructure could cause it to fail, setting in motion potentially devastating ripple effect throughout the markets.
The key is public confidence: no one wants to see a repeat of the run on Northen Rock in 2008, with queues and cash machines. "How safe is my money?" is the question that immediately occurs to those at other banks. Were any financial institution to fall to a cyber attack we would see a run on banks and an economic slump following not far behind.
In fact, when the Associated Press had their Twitter feed hijacked with a fake tweet posted reporting the bombing of the White House, within minutes the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 143 points. Imagine the economic effects of a genuine strike.
Even something as straightforward as a denial-of-service attack can shut down the networks running cash machines for days at a time, as happened in South Korea in 2013. Three of the country's major banks were paralysed by an attack which many suspected originated in neighbouring North Korea.
Despite a recent push to flag up the importance of cybersecurity matters at board level, banks are still not especially well prepared for even this sort of attack at the periphery '' never mind one that goes for jugular. The Bank of England launched its CBEST framework last year to help finance houses identify vulnerable areas. But there needs to be mandatory tests right across the sector, in the same way that banks have had to pass a "stress test" to check their financial reslience.
Banks would be wise to focus more on the human element involved in cyber-security, and not just piling resources into technical safeguards, as attacks leveraging human errors or ease of manipulation are increasingly common and effective. Most employees, without proper training of the necessary "cyber-hygiene" required at work are a significant weak link. And beyond this, in most cases only a small number of people in the organisation are sufficiently expert in cybersecurity issues '' a problem that doesn't just affect banks.
There's a very real possibility of this new threat, economic cyber-terrorism, emerging: intimidation from state-sponsored attacks, terrorist cells keen to highlight their sophistication, or a malicious insider at an organisation. Our financial institutions have to be ready when they find themselves in the crosshairs.
Explore further:Seoul, Toyko pledge to work with US to combat cyber crime
This story is published courtesy of The Conversation (under Creative Commons-Attribution/No derivatives).
Regime Change
Middle East press warn of failed state in Yemen
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:37
Yemen, a key US ally in the fight against al-Qaeda in the region, has been beset by unrest for months
Various pan-Arab papers refer to a ''coup'' having taken place.
Al-Quds Al-Arabi notes that the battle waged by the Houthis against the Presidential Guard ''marked the end of a great historical stage in the history of Yemen''. The Houthis are the ''most powerful dynamic force at present'', it adds.
Dailies in Saudi Arabia, the Sunni-ruled kingdom that borders Yemen, are highly critical of the Houthis.
''Treachery hits Yemen'', declares a headline in Ukaz. ''The Houthi strangles Yemen,'' Al-Watan says. Writing in the pro-government Al-Riyadh, Ali Naji Al-Rawi warns that Yemen ''is moving quickly on the path of failure or the Somali model''.
In Qatar, the pro-government daily Al-Rayah also strikes a cautionary note, saying: ''The Houthis are risking Yemen's future'... via their armed actions and attempts to impose their control over the entire country under an illusionary pretext of protecting the revolution and fighting terrorism.''
Egyptian papers also condemn the unrest, with the story making the front page of almost every paper. ''Houthis in presidential palace, Yemeni president 'disappeared','' says Egypt's private daily Al-Watan.
However, Iran's Arabic-language daily, Al-Vefagh, adopts a supportive tone, saying: ''People's committees control presidential palace in Yemen.'' Iran's government has been accused of providing financial and military assistance to the Houthis '' something it has denied.
'Opportunity for South Yemen'
In Yemen itself, state-owned dailies continue to call for reconciliation and unity. ''President: disagreements will be finally resolved according to agreements,'' reads the main headline in Al-Thawrah.
Rasil Umar al-Qurashi in state-owned Al-Jumhuriyah agrees that ''any element that thinks it can subject the country to its hegemony is mistaken'... all political parties are responsible for the situation in Sanaa and Yemen in general''.
But pro-separatist Southern Movement (Hirak) papers see further justification for independence for the South in the light of current events.
''The current crisis clearly shows that the possibility of forming a civil state in Yemen has become impossible and that the only hope for that is in the South,'' says Muhammad al-Saqqaf says in Aden al-Ghad. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the UN have to take ''a new initiative towards the South and its right to self-determination,'' he adds.
Echoing those sentiments, Abdul Qawi Abdallah Baish says in Al-Tariq: ''We now have the legitimacy of the revolution and we may have to resort to the fait accompli even if that costs us one million martyrs to liberate the Arab South and establish the state.''
BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.
By BBC
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:QuotedShia Houthi Ansarullah movement in YemenYemenYemen crisis
FM urges all parties in Yemen to avoid violence
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 04:56
Tehran, Jan 21, IRNA '' Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham urged all parties in Yemen to avoid indulgence in violence.She said the full implementation of the content of national dialogue agreement and the peace pact could restore tranquility and stability in the country.
She also urged all signatories of the agreement to stay committed to its contents.
The spokeswoman expressed hope that participation of all groups, parties and political as well as social trends in the process of implementing the agreement could be used as an all-inclusive political document leading the country to stability and peace.
By IRNA
The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.
Tags:Iran's Foreign Ministry spokeswomanIran-Yemen tiesMarziyeh AfkhamQuotedYemen crisis
Agenda 21
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Senate Votes 98-1 That 'Climate Change Is Real And Not A Hoax' | ThinkProgress
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 05:34
by Emily AtkinPosted on January 21, 2015 at 5:38 pm
"Senate Votes 98-1 That 'Climate Change Is Real And Not A Hoax'"
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), one of Congress' most outspoken climate deniers, voted for a resolution that states that ''climate change is real and not a hoax.''
CREDIT: Office of Senator Jim Inhofe
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted 98-1 to approve a resolution stating that ''it is the sense of the Senate that climate change is real and not a hoax.'' Then, about 15 minutes later, the Senate rejected a second resolution that said climate change is real and caused by humans.
The first resolution was approved '-- and co-sponsored '-- by one of the most outspoken climate deniers in the Senate, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), a man who literally wrote a book about how climate change is the ''greatest hoax ever perpetrated.'' The only Senator to vote against the resolution was Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS).
Sounds too good to be true, right? That's because it is. At the last minute, right before a vote was taken, Inhofe took the floor to state that he would be co-sponsoring and approving the amendment on the grounds that yes, climate change is real, but human-caused climate change is not. ''Man cannot change climate,'' Inhofe said. ''The hoax is that there are some people that are so arrogant to think that they are so powerful that they can change climate.''
The resolution was originally put forth by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) as an amendment to the bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. It was widely seen as a way to troll Republicans '-- a way for Democrats to say ''Fine, if you want to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, you have to go on record about whether you think global warming is real.''
But Jim Inhofe out-trolled Sheldon Whitehouse. Jim Inhofe out-trolled us all.
Fortunately, the effort to get every Senator on the record about their stance on human-caused climate change was not all for naught. Shortly after the vote on Whitehouse's resolution, the Senate also took up an amendment from Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), which stated that climate change is real and that humans contribute to it. That amendment failed, however, following a short speech from Sen. Lisa Murkoswki (R-AK) saying that the amendment's inclusion of the word ''significantly'' '-- as in, humans ''significantly'' contribute to global warming '-- should warrant a ''no'' vote. Schatz's amendment failed 50-49 (it needed 60 votes to pass), but it does mean that a slim majority of the U.S. Senate acknowledges that climate science is a real and valid thing.
Among the votes against Schatz' amendment acknowledging that climate change is real were Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). Republicans who voted to say that climate change is real and significantly caused by humans included Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark Kirk (R-IL), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
By 98 to 1, U.S. Senate passes amendment saying climate change is real, not a hoax | Science/AAAS | News
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 05:29
The final tally was 98 to 1.
The U.S. Senate has voted overwhelmingly, 98 to 1, to approve an amendment affirming that climate change is real and "not a hoax."
The vote came on an amendment to legislation that aims to force approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from the Canadian oil sands to the United States.
Senators opposed to the pipeline, who say it would help accelerate climate change by encouraging mining of oil sands, are using votes on the bill as an opportunity to force Republican senators to take a stand on whether climate change is real. Some Republican lawmakers have dodged the issue, saying they lack the scientific credentials to evaluate the evidence for climate change. One lawmaker, Senator James Inhofe (R''OK), has even called climate change a "hoax."
The amendment, from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D''RI), takes a veiled jab at Inhofe, asking simply whether it is ''the sense of the Senate that climate change is real and not a hoax."
In a surprise this afternoon, Inhofe rose before the vote to ask to become a co-sponsor of the Whitehouse amendment. Scattered applause greeted his remarks. "Climate is changing," he said, "and climate has always changed." The hoax that he has talked about, he suggested, is that there are people who think they are so "arrogant" and "powerful" that "they can change climate."
Whitehouse said he hoped the amendment would lead to greater efforts to address the impacts that climate change is having on the oceans and other ecosystems.
Inhofe was one of the last senators to vote, in favor. The lone no vote came from Senator Roger Wicker (R''MS).
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Nasa climate scientists: We said 2014 was the warmest year on record'... but we're only 38% sure we were right
Mon, 19 Jan 2015 17:01
* Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies claimed its analysis of world temperatures showed '2014 was the warmest year on record'* But it emerged that GISS's analysis is subject to a margin of error* Nasa admits this means it is far from certain that 2014 set a record at all
The Nasa climate scientists who claimed 2014 set a new record for global warmth last night admitted they were only 38 per cent sure this was true.
In a press release on Friday, Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) claimed its analysis of world temperatures showed '2014 was the warmest year on record'.
The claim made headlines around the world, but yesterday it emerged that GISS's analysis '' based on readings from more than 3,000 measuring stations worldwide '' is subject to a margin of error. Nasa admits this means it is far from certain that 2014 set a record at all.
Yet the Nasa press release failed to mention this, as well as the fact that the alleged 'record' amounted to an increase over 2010, the previous 'warmest year', of just two-hundredths of a degree '' or 0.02C. The margin of error is said by scientists to be approximately 0.1C '' several times as much.
As a result, GISS's director Gavin Schmidt has now admitted Nasa thinks the likelihood that 2014 was the warmest year since 1880 is just 38 per cent. However, when asked by this newspaper whether he regretted that the news release did not mention this, he did not respond. Another analysis, from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project, drawn from ten times as many measuring stations as GISS, concluded that if 2014 was a record year, it was by an even tinier amount.
Data: Gavin Schmidt, of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, admits there's a margin of error
Its report said: 'Numerically, our best estimate for the global temperature of 2014 puts it slightly above (by 0.01C) that of the next warmest year (2010) but by much less than the margin of uncertainty.
'Therefore it is impossible to conclude from our analysis which of 2014, 2010, or 2005 was actually the warmest year'... the Earth's average temperature for the past decade has changed very little.'
Scientists disagree over its significance, but there is little doubt that the rapid warming of the 1980s and early 1990s has slowed '' although greenhouse gas emissions have surged.
Bob Ward, of the Grantham Institute on Climate Change, said the new figures showed the notion that global warming had 'stopped' was a 'myth', although it had 'temporarily slowed'. Since 1951, he added, the long-term trend was for warming of 0.12C per decade, and in his view, it would 'pick up again unabated' if emissions continued to rise.
However, if the long-term rate is 0.12C per decade, this would mean the world would be 1C or so warmer by the end of the century, not 4C-5C as some have claimed.
Climate sceptics insisted that the new figures showed the warming 'pause' had continued. Dr David Whitehouse, of the Global Warming Policy Forum, said 'there has been no statistically significant warming trend since 1997' '' because the entire increase over this period was smaller than the error margin.
Dr Ed Hawkins, associate professor of climate science at the University of Reading, said the past 15 years had seen a slightly slower rate of warming.
But he added: 'You have to take a longer view, because 15 years is too short a period. We expect natural fluctuations, volcanic eruptions and changes in solar output to sometimes slow and sometimes increase warming rates.'
Since 1880, Earth's average surface temperature has warmed by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius), a trend that is largely driven by the increase in carbon dioxide and other human emissions into the planet's atmosphere
Source: dailymail.co.uk
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Eating less meat essential to curb climate change, says report
Wed, 03 Dec 2014 08:18
Dietary change is essential if global warming is not to exceed 2C, says report. Photograph: Brent Lewin/Getty Images
Curbing the world's huge and increasing appetite for meat is essential to avoid devastating climate change, according to a new report. But governments and green campaigners are doing nothing to tackle the issue due to fears of a consumer backlash, warns the analysis from the thinktank Chatham House.
The global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, planes, trains and ships combined, but a worldwide survey by Ipsos MORI in the report finds twice as many people think transport is the bigger contributor to global warming.
''Preventing catastrophic warming is dependent on tackling meat and dairy consumption, but the world is doing very little,'' said Rob Bailey, the report's lead author. ''A lot is being done on deforestation and transport, but there is a huge gap on the livestock sector. There is a deep reluctance to engage because of the received wisdom that it is not the place of governments or civil society to intrude into people's lives and tell them what to eat.''
The recent landmark report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that dietary change can ''substantially lower'' emissions but there is no UN plan to achieve that.
Past calls to cut meat eating by high-profile figures, from the chief of the UN's climate science panel to the economist Lord Stern, have been both rare and controversial. Other scientists have proposed a meat tax to curb consumption, but the report concludes that keeping meat eating to levels recommended by health authorities would not only lower emissions but also reduce heart disease and cancer. ''The research does not show everyone has to be a vegetarian to limit warming to 2C, the stated objective of the world's governments,'' said Bailey.
The report builds on recent scientific studies which show that soaring meat demand in China and elsewhere could tip the world's climate into chaos. Emissions from livestock, largely from burping cows and sheep and their manure, currently make up almost 15% of global emissions. Beef and dairy alone make up 65% of all livestock emissions.
Appetite for meat is rocketing as the global population swells and becomes more able to afford meat. Meat consumption is on track to rise 75% by 2050, and dairy 65%, compared with 40% for cereals. By 2020, China alone is expected to be eating 20m tonnes more of meat and dairy a year.
Two recentpeer-reviewed studies calculated that, without severe cuts in this trend, agricultural emissions will take up the entire world's carbon budget by 2050, with livestock a major contributor. This would mean every other sector, including energy, industry and transport, would have to be zero carbon, which is described as ''impossible''. The Chatham House report concludes: ''Dietary change is essential if global warming is not to exceed 2C.''
The consumer survey in the report, covering 12 nations including the US, China, India, Brazil and the EU bloc, found a link between the awareness of climate change and its impacts and the willingness to change behaviour. Acceptance that human activities cause climate change was significantly higher in China, India and Brazil than in the US, UK and Japan.
The good news, said Bailey, was that ''the majority of future demand appears to be in the countries [like China and Brazil] that are the most receptive to change''. He said it was ''pretty disappointing'' that in developed countries, where meat and dairy eating is highest, awareness of livestock's impact on the climate is low and willingness to change is low.
Brigitte Alarcon, sustainable food policy officer at WWF said: ''Our LiveWell project has shown we can cut a quarter of our climate emissions from the European food supply chain by eating more pulses, fruit and vegetables and by reducing our meat consumption. National governments should improve food education to encourage healthy eating habits and environmental sustainability as a first step.''
A spokesman for the UK government said: ''Greenhouse gas emissions from the UK agricultural industry have fallen by more than 20% since 1990. While food choices can have an impact on emissions, well managed livestock also provide many environmental benefits including supporting biodiversity.''
A separate survey by the Eating Better alliance, also published on Wednesday, shows that UK consumers are beginning to eat less meat. The YouGov poll found 20% saying they have cut the amount of meat they eat over the last year, with only 5% say they are eating more.
Prof Keith Richards, at the University of Cambridge and one of the researchers behind the two key scientific studies, said: ''This is not a radical vegetarian argument; it is an argument about eating meat in sensible amounts as part of healthy, balanced diets.''
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Furgeson
Federal charges unlikely for Darren Wilson in Ferguson case, officials say - CNN.com
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 05:22
Story highlightsFederal investigators have been looking into the Michael Brown shootingSources say they haven't found enough evidence for Darren Wilson to face civil rights chargesThe former Ferguson police officer shot and killed Brown in AugustThe FBI has completed its investigation into the August shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, and sent the findings to the Justice Department, a law enforcement official and a separate U.S. official said Wednesday.
Justice Department prosecutors will not recommend civil rights charges against Wilson, who killed Brown, because there is not sufficient evidence to support charges, a U.S. official told CNN.
The New York Times first reported the development Wednesday.
A grand jury decided not to indict Wilson on state charges in November.
However, the final Justice Department report has not been completed. The FBI joined local officials in interviewing over 200 people and looked at much the same evidence as the grand jury.
Ultimately, the decision will be made by Attorney General Eric Holder, who has said he will announce a decision before he leaves office, which is expected to be by spring.
Another Justice Department civil rights investigation into the Ferguson Police Department's overall track record with minorities is ongoing.
Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Brown's family, declined to comment on the news Wednesday.
"The family of Michael Brown Jr. will wait for official word from the Justice Department regarding whether or not any charges will be filed against the police officer who shot and killed him," Crump said in a written statement released Wednesday. "The family won't address speculation from anonymous sources."
Months of protests over alleged police brutality and racial profiling surged in Ferguson and across the country after Wilson, a white officer, killed Brown, an unarmed African-American teen.
Legal experts have long noted that a federal civil rights case against Wilson would be more difficult to prove.
"The bar is extraordinarily high," said Joey Jackson, a criminal defense attorney and legal analyst for CNN's sister network HLN. "You have to show an intentional deprivation of a civil right."
Given how difficult it is to prove intent, and also how many conflicting accounts emerged from the grand jury investigation, "it would be very difficult to move forward federally with a civil rights charge," Jackson said.
If no federal charges are brought against Wilson, who resigned from his position as a Ferguson Police officer in November, some people in the area will be disappointed, said Antonio French, a St. Louis city alderman who lives near Ferguson.
"I think you have a lot of people who will be disappointed if this does turn out to be the case. The community and the family wanted a day in court, an opportunity to see all the evidence laid out, cross-examined," French said. "And it looks like that's not going to happen. I hope we don't have any violence as a result of this."
Violent protests erupted in Ferguson after the grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson in November. Police are still searching for suspects accused of looting.
Protests aren't likely to stop any time soon, French said.
"People have a right to protest. We will probably continue to see that. That's a good thing. But we want to keep them peaceful, nonviolent," he said. "Because violence makes the situation worse. It divides the community in a time we need to come together and make everyone feel like they can get equal protection."
Ultimately, he said, some of the protesters' goals can be achieved outside the courts.
"The next steps I think are legislative change," French said, "trying to make sure that in cases like this we get a special prosecutor by law, and to create a new level of civilian oversight over police departments."
In his State of the State speech on Wednesday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said addressing "the broader, systemic issues" raised by the unrest that followed the killing of Brown would demand "sustained effort."
"The legacy of Ferguson will be determined by what we do next ... to foster healing and hope ... and the changes we make to strengthen all of our communities," he said.
CNN's Catherine E. Shoichet, Dave Alsup, Jethro Mullen and Wolf Blitzer contributed to this report.
2TTH
Gray State Director and Family Dead, Killed in Apparent Murder-Suicide - The Pontiac Tribune
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 00:26
A warrior. A dreamer. A visionary. I met David Crowley when he was starting to promote his new project, Gray State, in Tampa in 2012. He had a vision of bringing a Hollywood quality movie exposing the tyranny and destruction of the police state to theaters across the country.
Dan Johnson(The Pontiac Tribune) '' A warrior. A dreamer. A visionary. I met David Crowley when he was starting to promote his new project, Gray State, in Tampa in 2012. He had a vision of bringing a Hollywood quality movie exposing the tyranny and destruction of the police state to theaters across the country.
Two years later, he was succeeding. The trailer had been viewed nearly 1 million times. The film had already raised $61,000 in initial funding. A side documentary on just how close America was to its own Gray State was almost completed, paving the way for his masterpiece.
And now he's dead.
According to the Apple Valley police department, it is an ''apparent murder-suicide'' that left him, his wife, and young daughter all dead in an Apple Valley, MN home. The police haven't said for how long, but their neighbor who originally discovered the bodies believes they have been laying there since before Christmas as packages hadn't been taken inside.
There are many questions yet to be asked. Police are supposedly treating the murder as suspicious. Correlation does not equal causation, and the fact he was working on a successful film exposing the police state does not mean he was targeted with malicious intent. But it may have the same effect. As posted on Gray State: The Rise's Facebook page, the team is unsure as the to the future of the project.
This film, which could reach millions with a clear message about the dangers of the police state today. is now in jeopardy. And it's time for those of us concerned about the police state to do more than just talk.
First, we remember and celebrate the life he led, and the movement he birthed. We remember and cherish the time we had with him, for some of us just a few days, for others a lifetime. Much like was done with Aaron Swartz, I've set up a page where people can post their memories and messages to his family and friends, and hope to gift it to them when this week is up. Please send any remembrances to rememberdavidcrowley@gmail.com, and they will be posted here: http://rememberdavidcrowley.tumblr.com/
Second, we help the team make their decision. We offer to take this idea, this project, this unfinished painting and help turn it into a masterpiece. We offer to take up the paintbrush of the master, and while some can contribute blue, some can contribute green, some can paint in yellow, we can each do our part to make Gray State a reality, so the gray state itself does not become our reality. Send an email to rememberdavidcrowley@gmail.com with why you want to help and what you can step up to do.
The police will look into the suspicious circumstances surrounding his passing. I cannot affect that. I cannot wipe away his friends' grief any more than an eraser can wipe away the contours of the earth.
But I can do something.
I may not be a master painter, but I am an artist. I may not be a director, but I am a dreamer. I may not be able to save the world, but I can do my part. And I will do my part.
Shall we finish the masterpiece?
'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--''
Dan Johnson is the Founder and President of the Solutions Institute, the first-ever Activist Consulting Firm
This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivatives license with attribution to the author and PontiacTribune.com. Follow us on Facebook to receive our latest articles. Comments(Visited 27,495 times, 27,498 visits today)
Argentine prosecutor who accused Cristina Kirchner over 1994 bombings found dead
Mon, 19 Jan 2015 17:08
Alberto Nisman, who on Monday was due in parliament to present his case against president Cristina Kirchner, found dead days after warning "I could end up dead because of this"
A prosecutor who has accused President Cristina Kirchner of covering up Iran's alleged involvement in the country's worst terrorist attack has been found dead in his Buenos Aires apartment '' hours before he was due to present his findings.
Alberto Nisman was discovered lying dead in his bathroom in the early hours of Monday morning, with a handgun by his side. Initial reports suggested suicide.
The veteran prosecutor had spent the past two years compiling a 300-page case on the 1994 bombings of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association building (AMIA), which killed 85 people. Iran has long been suspected as being behind the bombings.
Mr Nisman has accused Mrs Kirchner and her foreign minister, Hector Timerman, of attempting to "erase" Iran's role in the attack, in return for favourable oil deals.
"The president and her foreign minister took the criminal decision to fabricate Iran's innocence to sate Argentina's commercial, political and geopolitical interests," he said.>> >>
Read More...
Ministry of Truth
CNN Security Analyst Bob Baer Helps Tiny Mountain TV Station Go Big | TVNewser
Mon, 19 Jan 2015 04:13
Former CIA officer Bob Baer has had plenty to talk about this week. The CNN national security analyst has made about four appearances on CNN shows each day since the release of the Senate report on CIA torture. In each case, whether he's on ''Situation Room'' or ''Erin Burnett: OutFront,'' Baer's always in the same place: sitting in front of a green screen in a high school in Telluride, Colorado.
''Telluride TV'' is a nonprofit media center that produces community access programming, teaches media arts classes, and until this year, was known for its outdated equipment. But a fundraising campaign has brought in more than $38,000''enough to purchase new camera equipment, a multi-camera switcher, and, as the Durango Herald reports, the ability to provide live feeds with CNN's requirements:
The iconic background scene demonstrates that Telluride can provide professional broadcasting services on short notice, said Katie Karow, executive director of Telluride TV.
Baer approached the station about enhanced facilities, Karow said. The media center's previous direct-feed capability was too slow for CNN.
The recent expansion of its quarters in Telluride High School gave Telluride sufficient space to install the green screen, a TriCaster that permits multicamera shoots, and an LTN Global Communications video transport, Karow said. CNN suggested LTN because it provides a high-quality feed without delay, Karow said.
The Durango Herald 12/11/2014 | Telluride station linked to world
Mon, 19 Jan 2015 04:14
Enlarge photoCourtesy of Karen James
Bob Baer, a CNN analyst and area resident, appeared on the network several times this week while sitting in front of a green screen in Telluride. A new media center allows Telluride TV to provide fast, live feeds to network stations.
Courtesy of Karen James
Bob Baer, a CNN analyst and area resident, appeared on the network several times this week while sitting in front of a green screen in Telluride. A new media center allows Telluride TV to provide fast, live feeds to network stations.
Telluride, a mountain town of 2,400 known for its winter sports and summer festivals, has been a destination for outsiders.
But since last week, it has been the point of origin of world-news commentary that keeps outsiders glued to the local Telluride TV media center.
There, CNN national security analyst Bob Baer, who has a home in the region, has provided insight into the report on CIA interrogation of suspected terrorists, the failed Navy SEAL rescue attempt of an American photojournalist in the Middle East and the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to Uruguay.
Baer's voice could be coming from anywhere. But a recently purchased green screen cyclorama, a device that inserts a background separate from what is being filmed, shows Colorado Avenue with 10,033-foot Ajax Peak in the distance.
The iconic background scene demonstrates that Telluride can provide professional broadcasting services on short notice, said Katie Karow, executive director of Telluride TV.
Baer approached the station about enhanced facilities, Karow said. The media center's previous direct-feed capability was too slow for CNN.
The recent expansion of its quarters in Telluride High School gave Telluride sufficient space to install the green screen, a TriCaster that permits multicamera shoots, and an LTN Global Communications video transport, Karow said.
CNN suggested LTN because it provides a high-quality feed without delay, Karow said.
The new equipment accommodates the needs of Baer, who has been broadcasting about four times a day, and offers professional communication services to celebrities living in or visiting the area and film crews that come to shoot, Karow said.
''It means that anyone who needs this type of service can enjoy all that Telluride has to offer, book the studio for an hour to be broadcast and then return to what they love about this town,'' Karow said.
Packet Equality
Are Democrats Serious about Net Neutrality? - TechFreedom
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 05:10
WASHINGTON D.C. '-- Today, House and Senate Subcommittees held hearings on a Republicandiscussion draftfor legislation to protect an Open Internet and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's separate proposal to reclassify broadband under Title II of the Communications Act.
''It's disappointing that Democrats seem unwilling even to discuss a legislative solution that could finally resolve the decade-long net neutrality debate,'' said Berin Szoka, President of TechFreedom. ''Instead of just objecting to the Thune-Upton discussion draft, why not propose amendments? Have they forgotten how 'regular order' is supposed to work?''
''President Obama has complained for six years that Republicans are unwilling to work with him. Well, they've come to the table on net neutrality, and Democrats have snubbed them '-- pushing unilateral, regulatory fiat instead of hammering out bipartisan legislation,'' continued Szoka. ''Even if the FCC goes through with Title II reclassification, it won't accelerate an end to the decade-long debate over net neutrality. Only Congress can provide clarity, transparency and permanence. Whatever the FCC cooks up behind closed doors will only get mired in court when it finally sees the light of day '-- and we'll wind up right back where we started, with Congress having to decide what to do. Why wait until 2017?''
''If Republicans really want to stop the FCC from imposing Title II on the Internet, they need to offer a grand bargain,'' suggested Szoka. ''Republicans can't accept a deal that leaves the FCC with a blank check to regulate the Internet. The same edge companies also pushing for net neutrality regulation should also fear that the FCC will use Section 706 to regulate them, too. Democrats are fixated on letting the FCC use 706 to preempt state laws on muni broadband, yet delude themselves if they think this will stand up in court. The solution is obvious: clarify that Congress never intended 706 as a sweeping grant of authority but preempt state laws that truly hinder muni broadband deployment. Most Congressional Democrats voted for that compromise in theComm Act Update of 2006.''
''Muni broadband should be authorized only as a last resort,'' concluded Szoka. ''Cities should first have to cut red tape and fees, and offer to lease access to smart infrastructure like Dig Once conduits and poles. There are a host of other ways Congress could implement the lessons learned by Google Fiber, Verizon and other private companies as they've struggled to deploy new networks. If Democrats won't even discuss that deal, we'll know that their talk of net neutrality and broadband competition has merely been cover for their real goal: returning to the bad old days of regulated monopoly.''
Szoka can be reached for comment atmedia@techfreedom.org. See more of our work onnet neutralityandTitle II, including:
Instagram takes heat for censoring photo of models with pubic hair - Your Community
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 02:40
[View the story "Instagram takes heat for censoring photo of models with pubic hair" on Storify]
Storified by CBC News Community· Thu, Jan 22 2015 01:02:06
Cbc
@freethenipplelives #freethenipplecaradelevingne
Driven in large part by the celebrity-backed #FreeTheNipple movement, much of the conversation about Instagram's nudity policy has been focused on the censorship of womens' bodies in recent months '-- and cries of gender-based double standards just keep on accumulating.This week, critics are once again accusing Instagram of sexism after it was reported that an Australian fashion agency's account had been banned for posting a photo of two women with visible pubic hair.
The photo in question, seen below, features two female models wearing bathing suits outdoors. The models are not nude, nor are their poses overtly sexual. In fact, the image is quite tame in comparison to almost anything on Instagram's infamous #ThirstTrap hashtag (which is almost always NSFW. You've been warned.)
THIS PHOTO GOT ME DELETED FROM INSTAGRAM. SO IM ON TWITTER NOW :) A X http://t.co/s8BoH1HrbZAinsley Hutchence
"Unfortunately Instagram has ruled out natural hair that appears on all bodies of women that don't trim their bikini lines," said the director of Sticks and Stones agency , Ainsley Hutchence, to Mic. "This hair occasionally does spill out of the sides of swimwear as it does on men in their underwear. But Instagram seem to be ok with man pubes."Hutchence, who had racked up hundreds of thousands of followers on her company's Instagram account before it was deleted, believes that the account wouldn't have been censored if the models were male.
"Clearly this is absolutely sexist," she said. "Instagram believes that women should wax or get off their platform."
Stylite's Hannah Ongley backs her up by pointing out the many reproductions of Justin Bieber's recent Calvin Klein ad that still appear on Instagram despite the presence of hair poking out from Bieber's underwear (hey, it may be fake hair, but it's still hair.)
This is just the start of the year #mycalvins #beallyoucanbe #learnfromyourfaults #risetosuccess #dontbeashamedredeem #thebestisyet2comejustinbieber
As many have pointed out today, this isn't the first time Instagram and pubic hair have made headlines together.In 2013, celebrated Canadian photographer and fashion designer Petra Collins had her entire Instagram account deleted over a cropped photo of her lower body in a bathing suit with an unshaven bikini line.
Wow @instagram thanks for making it clear that an unshaven bikini line NEEDS censoring. http://t.co/yUePI9BYmQpetra collins
"Recently, I had my Instagram account deleted. I did nothing that violated the terms of use. No nudity, violence, pornography, unlawful, hateful or infringing imagery. What I did have was an image of MY body that didn't meet society's standard of 'femininity,'" wrote Collins in a powerful essay that appeared on The Huffington Post, Oyster Mag, and her own Facebook page among other places."I know having a social media profile removed is a 21st century privileged problem -- but it is the way a lot of us live," Collins wrote later in the piece. "These profiles mimic our physical selves and a lot of the time are even more important. They are ways to connect with an audience, to start discussion, and to create change. Through this removal, I really felt how strong of a distrust and hate we have towards female bodies. The deletion of my account felt like a physical act, like the public coming at me with a razor, sticking their finger down my throat, forcing me to cover up, forcing me to succumb to society's image of beauty. That these very real pressures we face everyday can turn into literal censorship."
Petra Collins - just posting this again so its loud and... | Facebookjust posting this again so its loud and clear - sans image - "I wasn't shocked at the reaction I received from my t-shirt. I'm used to being told by society that I must regulate my body to fit the norm. I'm used to the fact that images of unaltered women are seen as unacceptable.
Reactions to Collins' story were passionate and prolific, as are reactions this week to the banning of Sticks and Stones' Instagram account over pubic hair.
#Instagram needs to stop being so sexist, tumblr allows nipples of women to be shown & their pubic hair. Stop being so stupid #freethefemaleSkye Reearna
What kind of puritanical perv runs Instagram? Hint of a woman's pubes are now considered the work of the Devil?!!! http://t.co/XZV8gxICIYBobby S
This image was banned from Instagram. Struggling to find the 'problem' with it? Me too. #doublestandard #yesallwomen http://t.co/fN3AMLRjefNina | Lunar Look
It's really ridiculous how sexist instagram really is, #noequality #wimloyno http://t.co/AdV015Qy1repaige
@feministabulous crazy double standards. Is #freethebush the new #FreeTheNipple?Caroline MT
Share your own thoughts on, and experiences with, Instagram's content policies in the comments section below.
PedoBear
Justitie is 120.000 euro kwijt aan verdediging Demmink - AD.nl
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:05
Door: redactie21-1-15 - 13:49 bron: ANPJoris Demmink. (C) Ilya van Marle.Het ministerie van Justitie heeft de afgelopen twee jaar bijna 120.000 euro bijgedragen aan de verdediging van de voormalige eigen topman Joris Demmink. Die wordt al jaren achtervolgd door beschuldigingen over seksueel misbruik van jongens.
De kosten zijn in 2013 en 2014 gemaakt voor rechtsbijstand in een strafvorderingsprocedure (ruim 64.000) en bijstand in civiele procedures (bijna 49.000) . Dat heeft minister Ivo Opstelten van Veiligheid en Justitie woensdag aan de Tweede Kamer geschreven in antwoord op vragen van Groep Bontes/Van Klaveren.
Bovenop deze uitgaven komt nog een bedrag van 6529,50 euro die Demmink moest betalen in het proces dat hij had aangespannen tegen het AD. Hij wilde dat de krant artikelen over hem zou rectificeren, maar de rechter wees dat af.
ZorgvuldigIn dat vonnis spreekt de rechter van 'zorgvuldige' verslaggeving door het AD. Demmink had rectificatie en een forse schadevergoeding van het AD geist, omdat hij onterecht schade zou hebben ondervonden door berichtgeving. In het AD-artikel in oktober 2012 stelden meerdere ooggetuigen dat de toenmalig Defensieambtenaar begin jaren '80 contact had met een beruchte Haagse jongenspooier.
Demmink noemde dat verhaal uit de lucht gegrepen. De Rotterdamse rechtbank vindt dat het AD zorgvuldig is geweest in haar publicaties. Auteur Koen Voskuil heeft de betrouwbaarheid van bronnen getoetst en geen onjuiste feiten gepubliceerd.
SteunOpstelten is ondanks dit vonnis bereid ook de ruim 6500 euro te vergoeden. Zijn uitleg is dat 'nu niet is komen vast te staan dat de door het AD geuite beschuldigingen gegrond zijn.'
Opstelten wijst erop dat de financile bijstand voortvloeit uit een eerder besluit om betrokkene volledig te steunen. Maar het is niet zeker of Opstelten ook een eventueel hoger beroep in de zaak tegen het AD zou vergoeden. De minister heeft Demmink al laten weten dat hij zich daarover 'uitdrukkelijk zou beraden'.
Het Openbaar Ministerie heeft vorig jaar onderzoek ingesteld naar het mogelijke misbruik door Demmink, onder meer van twee Turkse mannen.
SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVERENRapporteer een fout in het artikel aan onze redactie
Kale
Crickets The New Kale | Pleasanton Chiropractor | Intero Chiropractic | Pleasanton, CA
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 14:19
The thought of eating kidney, brain or liver is not exactly the most appetizing for the majority of people in the United States. Then again, neither is the idea of a plate of crickets and mealworms. However, what if considering a shift in our cuisine paradigm is what's needed in order to make giant steps both for an increase in the consumption of nutrients and the state of the environment?
Organically raised, grass-fed animals provide some of the most richly nutrient organs you can eat. Sadly, the conditions in which most food animals are raised nowadays involve veterinary drugs and poor diets, which does not result in the the cleanest organs. Aside from the cultural differences that have not made eating every part of an animal commonplace in America, organmeats have also been given a bad image in the media, due to myths about cholesterol and animal fat.
However, it should be noted that most animals start by eating the organs of their prey because they are the densest source of nutrition. Traditionally in other cultures, people would carefully prepare entire animals, and had the understanding that eating the organs supported the natural function of their bodies.
With the ever increasing prominence of chronic health conditions, the high amounts of CoQ10 in heart is attractive as CoQ10 is essential in energy production and preventing oxidative stress. While the taste of liver can take some getting used to, it may be worth getting creative! Liver has abundant levels of folate, choline and vitamin B12, as well as retinol (pre-formed vitamin A). This can help with skin problems. But that's just the start- the vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and essential amino acids concentrated in heart, brain, liver, kidney, thymus, tripe, tongue (although technically a muscle) and more, make these organs the natural multi-vitamin.
As it pertains to insects'...nutritious, abundant and environmentally friendly. While these critters are not often seen on the menus of American households or restaurants, consider these quick points from AsapSCIENCE:
'' 100 g of crickets has comparable protein content as 100g of steak, pork or chicken, but is higher calcium, zinc, and iron, while mealworms contain more fiber
'' 22,000 L of water is needed to produce 1 kg of beef, but only 1 L of water is needed to produce 1 kg of crickets
'' 80% of a cricket is edible and digestible, while only 50% of chicken and 40% of cattle is
Not only that'...but there are already insect parts in our vegetables, peanut butter and beer- so is it really that far fetched to consume what is more popularly eaten in other countries, such as the Congo?
Look out, acai! Perhaps, soon enough, insects will be the newest superfood.
Sandy Hook
Newtown votes to raze home of Sandy Hook school shooter Adam Lanza - World - CBC News
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 05:53
Officials in Newtown voted Wednesday night to tear down the home where Adam Lanza lived before he carried out the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The vote by the Newtown Legislative Council approved a proposal by the board of selectmen to raze the 3,100-square-foot home and keep the land as open space.
First Selectwoman Pat Llodra said she expects the Lanza house will be razed once winter is over. The property was given to the town in December by a bank that acquired it from the Lanza family.
Neighbours had been pleading with town officials to tear down the house of the mass murderer, with one resident saying it's "a constant reminder of the evil that resided there."
Inside the large yellow house with green shutters on Yogananda Street is where Lanza shot his mother to death Dec. 14, 2012, before killing 20 first-graders and six educators at nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School. He then committed suicide.
Amy DeLoughy, whose house sits across the street, wrote to the council that her children's bus stop had to be moved because it was too scary for the kids to wait near the house.
Ian and Nicole Hockley, whose 6-year-old son, Dylan, died in the shooting, have said they moved out of the neighbourhood because seeing that house across the way was too painful for them.
Neighbour Dave Ackart wrote, "Not only is the property a constant reminder of the evil that resided there '-- those of us who walk, run, drive, ride or otherwise must pass it multiple times a day, are having a hard time moving on."
Llodra was unsure how much demolition would cost, but estimated it could be around $27,000.
Legislative Council member Phillip Carroll said a Sandy Hook fundraiser that brought in $1.2 million still has about $260,000 left. "The money for the demolition can come from this fund," he said.
Llodra has asked town attorneys to write something into the deed that will prohibit the town from profiting from any future sale or development of the land.
"Any proceeds, should the property ever be developed, would be for the benefit of the victims," she said.
The Lanza family moved from southern New Hampshire and bought the new house in 1998. It has been sitting vacant since the shooting.
Everything inside, including rugs and lighting fixtures, have been removed and incinerated so nothing could become memorabilia.
But neighbours say it has become a destination for macabre tourists "who still drive by and pause and take photos on a regular basis," Ackart wrote.
Llodra said she polled the victims' families and neighbours, and most support the plan to tear the house down. But not everyone likes the idea of leaving the space open.
DeLoughy said she would rather the property be sold and a new home built on the property.
"Leaving the property to nature would mean there is still a sense of darkness in our neighbourhood," she said. "Love and light that a new family would bring would help heal some of the very deep wounds we are still tending to."
Out There
U.S. Air Force Releases Thousands of Pages Of Declassified UFO Files
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 03:59
Huge news for UFOlogists: nearly 130,000 pages of fully searchable archives, dubbed the Project Blue Book Collection, are now available on truth-seeking website the Black Vault.
Military Timesreports:
UFO enthusiast John Greenewald has spent nearly two decades filing Freedom of Information Act requests for the government's files on UFOs and other phenomena. On Jan. 12, Greenewald posted the Blue Book files '-- as well as files on Blue Book's 1940s-era predecessors, Project Sign and Project Grudge '-- on his online database, The Black Vault.
Project Blue Book was based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Between 1947 and 1969, the Air Force recorded 12,618 sightings of strange phenomena '-- 701 of which remain "unidentified."
The National Archives has made these files available to public on microfilm in its Washington headquarters. Parts of the Project Blue Book files have previously been posted online in various locations, Greenewald said. But his webpage is the first time the complete files have been posted in PDF form in a searchable database.
The site has records available for browsing by year or keyword; as yet, there are none officially relating to the big daddy of UFO conspiracies: the alleged 1947 spacecraft crash in Roswell, New Mexico. Project Blue Book officially ended on Dec. 17, 1969, but the truth, as they say, may still be out there.
Update: We've been informed that these documents were previously available in a non-searchable format over at the Project Blue Book Archive and Fold3. This is just the first time they've been online in a searchable PDF format.
Image via Twin Peaks Wikia.
Cuba
Russian spy ship visits Havana on eve of US-Cuba talks | Caribbean News Now
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 03:21
Don from Canada:Russia, is the ally of Cuba who helped Cuba when the USA started its Blockade to destabilize the Cuban Government.
Of course Cuba would want the Russian Government's take (and advice), during negotiations with the WORLD'S LARGEST TERRORIST ORGANIZATION, the USA.
How many different American DIVISIONS' and AGENCIES' are sitting at the table in Habana, waiting to get 'THEIR SHARE', of the 'CUBA PIE'?
Cuba, like Russia, is a 'Sovereign Nation', that has chosen to be governed by the, 'SOCIALIST MODEL' of Governance, so WHY SHOULDN'T IT, ask for some common assistance, to deal with the 'American Hegemony', that will inevitably surface during discussions with the USA.
I'm sure that China's input (another Cuban Ally), will ALSO be utilized by the Cuban Delegation, for consideration of course.
There's nothing wrong with this scenario, in my mind.
There will be NOTHING hastily decided at this first meeting, you can rest assured of that fact.
The meeting is intended for BOTH SIDES to put ALL their demands forward, FOR LATER DISCUSSIONS and FINE TUNING!
This is a GIGANTIC STEP FOR CUBA, who has withstood the Absolutely Vindictive Stance, of American (and Other) Governments, FOR THE LAST 50-PLUS YEARS!
Naturally, it will take MANY years' before the final agreement is ratified, I would ascertain.
More power to BOTH SIDES, for taking this GIGANTIC STEP in clearing up an Absolutely Ludicrous situation!
VIDEO-CLIPS-DOCS
VIDEO- moontalk - YouTube
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:07
VIDEO-Circular Quay evacuated after package found on ferry | smh.com.au
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 14:22
Tom Decent -Jan 22, 2015
Police evacuated Circular Quay after reports of a suspicious package on this ferry. Photo: Channel Seven
Circular Quay has been reopened after earlier being evacuated when police were alerted to a possible suspicious object on a ferry.
Ferries, trains and buses were disrupted, and an exclusion zone was established in the area, for about 90 minutes, until police announced that the package had been deemed not suspicious.
Specialist police, three fire trucks and a rail emergency response truck were on the scene during the scare. Reports of navy vessels responding were incorrect, as they were nearby undertaking independent harbour training.
A NSW Police spokesman said he understood that no people were in the vicinity of the ferry, called the Friendship, which was docked at wharf 5B.
The whole of Alfred Street, which lines Circular Quay, was cordoned off. Commuters were redirected to Martin Place, Wynyard and George Street for alternative transport.
Trains passed through Circular Quay but did not stop there. Buses also did not stop at Circular Quay, with passengers travelling to the eastern suburbs advised to catch a bus from Martin Place. George Street and Parramatta Road buses were operating via George Street, Wynyard, instead
The Transport Management Centre said that no ferries were operating in or out of Circular Quay during the shutdown.
John and Musse Stausholm from Denmark have been on holiday in Sydney for a week. They were close to wharf 2 when the evacuation announcement was made.
"Police just came and told us to leave, just said just go just go," John said.
"We thought if it was a bomb they would move us further away from the area than we are now," said Musse.
The Danish tourists said police first cleared wharf 2 and 3 before moving down to clear the remaining wharfs.
They said they weren't worried about terrorism when they decided to come to Sydney.
"We heard about the [Martin Place] siege but we weren't worried," Musse said.
Buses are now returning to their usual routes and ferries are operating again, although they may leave from different wharves than usual. Roads have also opened around Circular Quay.
- with Lucy Cormack
VIDEO-Prosecutor in 1994 Buenos Aires Jewish center bombing found dead - CNN.com
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 03:24
Story highlightsProsecutor Alberto Nisman blamed Iran for the 1994 bombing, which left 85 deadHe also alleged that top Argentine officials had worked to cover up Iran's involvementSome officials have said Nisman's death appears to be suicide; a probe is underwayOn Sunday, hours before he was set to testify before the National Congress about his allegation, he was found dead in his apartment, the country's Ministry of Security said Monday.
Nisman, 51, who had been investigating the Jewish community center bombing that occurred more than 20 years ago, was found in his bathroom with a .22-caliber gun and shell casing nearby, the ministry said.
No cause of death has been released, but according to the Buenos Aires Herald, Security Secretary Sergio Berni and Anibal Fernndez, secretary-general to the presidency, said there are signs that Nisman's death was a suicide.
"The forensic investigation is crucial. In forensic science, when you have a body, a cartridge and a weapon, everything leads to one place," Berni said, according to the newspaper. "We have to wait for the judicial to confirm."
Buenos Aires police will conduct tests on Nisman's hands to see if there is gunpowder on them, the state-run Telam news agency reported. Such a test would be necessary to determine whether he committed suicide.
"As the days go by and we have the results from the autopsy, we will be able to determine the cause of death. I can't venture a hypothesis; that wouldn't be prudent," Viviana Fein, the federal prosecutor leading the investigation into Nisman's death, told reporters in Buenos Aires. "I can confirm that there was a gun, a .22-caliber gun. I can confirm that he died due to a gunshot. I cannot confirm further details. I will find those out in the coming days."
Security detail raised concernNisman's mother discovered his body shortly before midnight.
The prosecutor had been under the protection of a 10-man security detail, members of which belonged to the Federal Police. The detail called his secretary Sunday afternoon to say he wasn't answering his phone, Telam reported.
When he didn't answer his doorbell and his Sunday newspaper was found on his doorstep, the security detail reached out to his family.
The detail took Nisman's mother to his apartment in Le Parc Tower, a high-rise in the Puerto Madero neighborhood of Buenos Aires, and upon finding the door locked from the inside, with the key still in the lock, Nisman's relatives reached out to a locksmith, the agency reported.
Nisman's mother and a guard later found the prosecutor's body blocking a bathroom door inside his room, Telam said.
Government officials accused of cover-upNisman was set to testify to lawmakers behind closed doors on a report alleging that President Cristina Fernndez de Kirchner, Foreign Minister H(C)ctor Timerman and other officials had covered up Iran's involvement in the bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association building. The attack killed 85 people and wounded more than 300.
Fernndez de Kirchner and Timerman wanted to cover up Iran's involvement in order to boost trade -- specifically, oil imports and grain exports -- with the Islamic republic, Nisman alleged last week, according to the Herald.
Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers Jorge Capitanich told CNN and other media outlets that Nisman's allegation is "crazy, absurd, illogical, irrational, ridiculous, unconstitutional." Timerman also formally rejected the accusations last week.
Appointed in 2004 by Fernndez de Kirchner's late husband, then-President N(C)stor Kirchner, Nisman told members of the Argentine opposition that he had documents to back his allegations, the Herald reported. He was also expected to divulge sources for his research.
Congresswoman Patricia Bullrich, who represents Buenos Aires in the National Congress' lower house and who organized the hearing, said she spoke with Nisman on Saturday.
"He said he was very threatened and he knew that this was a very heavy topic," she said. "I am very dismayed."
Prosecutors sought Iranians' arrestsArgentine prosecutors have long accused Iran of involvement in the bombing and requested the arrest of Iranian citizens in connection with it, among them former Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi, former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohsen Rezaie, head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard at the time of the attack.
Iran has denied the charges.
In 2013, Argentine lawmakers approved the creation of a "truth commission" designed to investigate the bombing in conjunction with Iran.
The National Criminal Court is investigating Nisman's death, the Security Ministry said. His body has been sent to a morgue for autopsy, Capitanich told CNN.
Israel's Foreign Ministry, in a statement to media outlets, called Nisman a "brave and prominent jurist who fought ceaselessly for justice" as he worked to expose those behind the 1994 attack.
"The State of Israel voices hope that Argentine authorities will continue with Nisman's activities and make every effort to exact justice on those responsible for the terrorist attacks in Argentina," the statement said.
The Anti-Defamation League called for a full and transparent investigation into Nisman's death, which it labeled "another tragic episode that will extend the decades-long delays in bringing the Iranian masterminds and perpetrators to justice."
"The timing and circumstances of Mr. Nisman's death, coming just days after he released detailed allegations of high-level government attempts to evade his investigation and hours before he was scheduled to present additional details to members of the Argentine Congress, raise serious questions about whether Mr. Nisman's death was related to his work on the AMIA bombing," ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said in a statement.
CNN's Michael Pearson, Ivn P(C)rez Sarmenti, Elwyn Lopez and Robert Lenz contributed to this report.
VIDEO-Exclusive: New video of French terror suspect, partner
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 02:30
Exclusive: New video of French terror suspect, partner
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VIDEO-Dem Senator Unloads: Obama Admin's Iran Talking Points 'Straight Out of Tehran' | Mediaite
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 20:19
The morning after President Barack Obama vowed to veto any legislation imposing sanctions on Iran if negotiations fail to cut back the country's nuclear enrichment efforts, one Democratic senator railed against the administration for having talking points ''straight out of Tehran.''
Speaking during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-NJ), had the following to say:
The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran. And it feeds to the Iranian narrative of victimization, when they are the ones with original sin: An illicit nuclear weapons program going back over the course of 20 years that they are unwilling to come clean on. So I don't know why we feel compelled to make their case when, in fact'... they get to cheat in a series of ways and we get to worry about their perceptions.
Watch the clip below:
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VIDEO-borat at jews house - YouTube
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 20:02
VIDEO-Snowden: AIVD en MIVD zijn ondergeschikt aan de VS | NOS
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 19:07
De Nederlandse inlichtingendiensten AIVD en MIVD doen precies datgene wat de Amerikaanse NSA van ze vraagt. De Amerikanen zien de Nederlanders als "ondergeschikten" die altijd "onbegrensde toegang" bieden.
Dat zegt de Amerikaanse klokkenluider Edward Snowden, die voor zowel de NSA als de CIA werkte, in een interview dat Nieuwsuur met hem had in Moskou. "Jullie diensten werken in feite voor de Amerikanen. Ze voeren gewoon uit wat wij ze vragen", zegt Snowden tegen verslaggever Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal.
Nieuwsuur is een programma van NTR en NOS.
VIDEO-Watch: President Obama's 2015 State of the Union | The White House
Wed, 21 Jan 2015 04:29
Those were a few of President Obama's final words as he finished delivering his sixth State of the Union address moments ago.
He spoke not just about where we are as nation, but where we're going.
This is a speech you don't want to miss -- so if you didn't see it live, make sure you watch the full enhanced version now.
Watch on YouTube
Then, read President Obama's remarks, and check out the slides from the enhanced address:
VIDEO-Gun Shop Manager Helps Thwart Potential Terrorist
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 23:21
Christopher Lee Cornell, the Cincinnati man accused of plotting to bomb the United States Capital and shoot at those running away is behind bars, at least partially because of the efforts of John Dean.Dean is the manager of point blank range and gun shop in Cincinnati. He says he was contacted by the FBI a few weeks ahead of Wednesday's arrest., but at the time, agents weren't able to provide him with much detail:"Not really. Because, they did let us know that what we would be doing is handling a sale for them.But beyond that, there were no specifics. They just said that they would keep us informed. And ifthe time came that we would have to be a part of this, that they would let us know."On Wednesday morning, Dean found out that he would play an integral role in the operation:"It was just a few minutes after we opened up. One of the agents stopped by and said that this person was going to be stopping by, probablyin about ten minutes or so. He let me know that he was probably in the market for two firearms, and asked us who would handle the sale. I said I woulddo that. And, sure enough, about ten minutes later, Christopher Cornell came in."Dean says that he initiated the sales process after an agent pointed out Cornell on the shops security camera.Cornell completed his purchase of two AR-15's, some extra ammunition and two additional magazines.Dean encouraged Cornell to take the items to his vehicle. Dean recounts, that's when operatives moved in."Several agents came from several different directions toward him. They put him down on the parking lot asphalt, just immediately face-down. The guns were separated from him."Those agents made quick work of the arrest. Dean says that there was no struggle from Cornell:"Absolutely not. No, he went right down. He saw the agents starting to come towards him. He stopped and did exactly what they asked him to do. There was no resistance that I could see. It just was obvious that that fight was not in him."Fight or not, Cornell will be charged with attempted killing of a U.S. Military officer and possession of a firearm with intent to commit a crime after tweeting pro-ISIS material, and taking steps towarddetonating pipe bombs at the Capitol. Cornell had been under investigation for a year before making his move toward the capitol this week. He currently sits in the Boone County Jail in Northern Kentucky, held without bond. As for dean, he's just happy that he was able to do his part in keeping people safe."I've been around firearms my entire life. It's always been a goal to make sure they don't get into the wrong hands."For now the man who helped thwart a terror attack is just looking forward to fading from the spotlight."It's been an exciting week. And, hopefully, next week we'll be back to normal."
VIDEO-Paris Mayor Announces Plans to Sue Fox News | Mediaite
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 22:50
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo told CNN's Christiane Amanpour today she's planning to sue Fox News over its coverage of her city:
Last week, various individuals on Fox News made some questionable claims about Muslim no-go zones in France, which made them quite the subjectof ridicule by a French TV show.
Fox did issue apologies over the weekend for some of the claims they made about no-go zones.
Hidalgo made it clear to Amanpour today she was very specifically talking about Fox:
Earlier today, Hidalgo took a shot at the ''stigmatizing stupidity of Fox News'' on Twitter:
Update- 12:32 pm EST: Here's video of Hidalgo talking to Amanpour, via CNN:
[image via Fox News]
'' ''
Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac
VIDEO: Top Argentine prosecutor found dead
Mon, 19 Jan 2015 17:01
An Argentine federal prosecutor who accused President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner last week of a cover-up has been found dead at his home in the capital, Buenos Aires.
Alberto Nisman was investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires in which 85 people died.
On Wednesday, he accused the president of involvement in a plot to cover up Iran's alleged role in the bombing.
The BBC's Ignacio de los Reyes says a weapon was found next to Mr Nisman's body, but the circumstances surrounding his death remain a mystery.
VIDEO-CIA Link To Paris Terror Attack Confirmed
Mon, 19 Jan 2015 16:07
Paris was a false flag attack
Independent researcher Soraya Sepahpour claims to have new information which confirms CIA involvement in the Paris attack.
According to the Video's description:
According to The Associated Press, one of the men responsible for last week's terrorist attack that killed 12 people in the French capital claimed to have lived with the Nigerian man behind the failed al-Qaeda ''underwear bomb'' plot five years ago, Yemeni Journalist and researcher Mohammed al-Kibsi who met Said Kouachi, the alleged Paris attacker, said on Monday.
In a phone interview with Press TV on Tuesday, Ulrich said, ''The whole Paris incident has been a puzzle for many'... and one has to find connections to find what really is going on.''
''We have been told by the mainstream media, the Western media, that a Yemeni reporter has claimed that he had interviewed Kouachi who was responsible for the Paris attack, or one of those who were responsible,'' she said.
''And he had ties with 'the underwear bomber', 'the underwear bomber' who was held responsible for wanting to blow up an airliner at Christmas in 2009,'' Ulrich added.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was convicted of attempting to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253, en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan.
''Well, it so happens that the mainstream media here is so busy turning up this information that they turned to forget the very information they gave us in the first place. For example, in 2012, we were told that 'the underwear bomber' was in fact working with the CIA intelligence and with the Saudis,'' she pointed out.
US and Yemeni officials told The Associated Press in May 2012 that the so-called underwear bomber was in fact working under cover for Saudi intelligence and the CIA when he was given a new non-metallic type bomb aimed at getting past airport security.
Ulrich said it iss important to mention that the so-called underwear bomber slipped past the security ''when Israeli intelligence was in charge of the Amsterdam airport '-- [its] security.''
She added that intelligence officials failed to scrutinize the bomb and helped the bomber get on the plane, which ''indicates to me that they all were aware of this individual's job.''
''Six or seven months ago, the UK airport security supposedly received a warning from the US intelligence'... that al-Qaeda terrorists were going to attack airports and airliners using a new generation of non-metallic bombs developed by them in Syria and Yemen,'' Ulrich said.
''What is really very alarming for me is all this information, or misinformation we are getting,'' she stated. ''We have to understand who gain from'' all this.
A spate of violent incidents, including the attack at the Paris office of controversial magazine Charlie Hebdo, left at least 17 people dead last week in the French capital.
Two days after the Charlie Hebdo attack, Said and Cherif Kouachi, suspects, were killed after being cornered at a printing workshop in the French town of Dammartin-en-Goele.
''So at the end of the day, we have to understand who is gaining by all these alleged attacks,'' Ulrich emphasized. People are not being told the truth; they are ''told a bunch of lies that are supposedly not connected and somehow when they do get connected we trace it back to the intelligence services, like the CIA.''
''So we have to be very alert, and do not forget what we read yesterday in order to absorb what we are reading today and connect the dots ourselves,'' she warned.
''I mean many have had doubts about the veracity of the incident in Paris. Many had thought it to be a false flag operation. And now with this new information they are feeding us and tying [it] to the underwear bomber who worked for the CIA, it has virtually established the fact that it was indeed a false flag operation,'' Ulrich concluded.
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VIDEO-NASA Cuts Live Video As UFO Appears To Rise Over Earth's Horizon As Seen From Space Station '-- Again
Mon, 19 Jan 2015 04:16
A UFO was caught on the NASA video feed streamed live from the International Space Station on January 15 '-- but as soon as the mysterious grey object was seen rising over Earth's horizon, the NASA live video stream suddenly cut to black.
Coincidence? UFO researchers think not.
The video was taken from a high definition camera mounted outside the space station, as part of a NASA experiment in generating HD images from space, which would be the clearest video images of our home planet ever produced.
But every so often, the HD cameras capture something else as well '-- something which causes NASA to become extremely tight-lipped when asked by the taxpayers who fund the agency for answers as to what they are seeing in the baffling video images.
As seen in the video above, as posted by the YouTube UFO archivist Streetcap1, the clear shot of a distant but distinct object which appears to come into view at about the same level as the space station's 275-mile high orbit, is quickly replaced by a message informing viewers that the NASA High Definition Earth Viewing Experiment is experiencing some sort of technical difficulties.
Granted, even with today's highly sophisticated technology, streaming live video from space is not a perfect endeavor, with glitches and outages not unexpected. But UFO watchers say that this one is not the first instance of NASA suddenly dumping a video feed moments after a UFO appears on screen.
In fact, earlier this week, a blogger claimed to have spotted a giant UFO on the NASA feed shortly before the video dropped. But that sighting, with its oversize, animated UFO looked too good to be true.
The Streepcap1 sighting appears more realistic. Watch the video above as a grey object appears to emerge from behind the Earth, then rises as if to meet the Space Station '-- only to have the video feed quickly cut off.
While some skeptics commented that the object may simply be Earth's moon '-- hardly a mysterious UFO '-- the UFO archivist ruled out that possibility.
''Please bear in mind that the moon appears white when it shows,'' Streetcap1 wrote. ''There would be no point in me uploading a video of the moon.''
Scott Waring, editor of the popular UFO Sightings Daily blog said that NASA has a bad habit of censoring unexpected UFO sightings on its own video feed.
''NASA did it again. A UFO shows up on live public Internet cam and NASA takes it off line,'' Waring wrote on Sunday. ''Who here is surprised by this? If you are, you are new here. UFOs are caught by researchers on a weekly basis and NASA does cut the line when they catch them. However the eggheads at NASA are not always focused on the screen and miss a lot of very interesting and sometimes very highly detailed UFOs.''
Several commenters on the video said that they emailed NASA asking for an explanation of the UFO sighting and why the live video was suddenly cut off, but no one at the space agency granted them the courtesy of a reply.

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Caliphate!

ISIS Japanese.mp3
Oz suspicious package BE AFRAID.mp3

Cyber!

Gen Scowcroft-cyber=nuclear.mp3
updated-law-enforcement-tools.pdf
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Dude named Ben

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Furgeson

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Iran

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JCD Clips

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Je Suis Charlie

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Packet Equality

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SnowJob

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SOTU

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