Archive for February, 2010

redefining hospitality

US to terrorists: Do you need anything…. passports…. guns…. a place to stay…. anything?

Read aangirfan.

Similar situation unfolding in the Philippines with Abu Sayyaf.

Due to other pressing issues my blogging will be light for several more days, but there’s a lot going on so I will be back to it just as soon as possible.

Philippines

some context for what’s happening in the Philippines:

1. US embassy officials met with MILF rebels, in their very camps, back in November, after they abducted the Irish priest Michael Sinnot. This was around the time that the tungsten gold bars story circulated. Hillary Clinton rushed to the Philippines. from Asia Times:

Despite the row over Sinnot’s kidnapping, senior US Embassy officials in Manila have held clandestine meetings with MILF leaders in their Maguindanao camp. The US Embassy has kept mum on the meetings, but on its website, the MILF confirmed in a statement that it had held talks with a visiting group of American diplomats led by the US Embassy charge d’affaires, Leslie Basset, on October 16. Lasting for two hours, the meeting “was warm and forthright”, the MILF said and quoted Basset as saying that the US was willing to play a role in the peace talks. “Helping attain and sustain peace, security and development in Mindanao is a priority concern of our government,” the MILF quoted Bassett as saying.

pretty cozy, huh?

2. as covered here earlier, a whistleblower testified to the US military having permanent structures, unmonitored by the Filipino government, in the Southern Philippines, in violation of the Philippine Constitution, and that the US military behaves with arrogance toward the Filipinos.

In her affidavit, Gadian also accused the US military of building permanent structures in different military camps in the country. She said US forces have established “permanent” and “continuous” presence in Zamboanga, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi in the south. She added that the Philippine military has no access to the camps built by the US soldiers in these areas since they are “fenced off by barbed wires and guarded by US Marines.” Gadian likewise said these structures are indications the US troops had no intention of leaving the country, which is a violation of the Philippine Constitution….The ex-Navy official also complained of the “arrogant” behavior of many US military officers toward Filipinos.

pretty suspicious, huh?

So taking official pronouncements at face value,  here’s two stupid QUESTIONS… why doesn’t the MILF control it’s people, since the MILF has such a good relationship with the government… and what is the US military doing holed up illegally in the same area of the Philippines as the Abu Sayyaf?


3. NOW: over 10 dead in Abu-MILF raid on village

ZAMBOANGA CITY – (UPDATE 3) At least 11 people – including two children – were killed when suspected Moro rebels and Abu Sayyaf bandits stormed a village in Maluso, Basilan early Saturday, authorities said. The police corrected its initial report of 13 killed in the 5:45 a.m. attack staged by more or less 70 gunmen led by Puruji Indama in the village of Tubigan, Senior Superintendent Antonio Mendoza Jr., Basilan police chief, said by phone.

…Mendoza said the gunmen, including Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members, razed at least five houses during the attack. The attack on Tubigan came barely nine hours after authorities rescued the two Chinese nationals that Indama’s group had abducted in November, along with a local. The local, Marquez Singson, had been beheaded.

Mendoza said the gunmen immediately fled to Barangay (village) Libug in Sumisip town after the attack and were being pursued by the police and elements of the Army and the Marines. Founded in the early 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden, the Abu Sayyaf is blamed for a series of bombings and kidnappings targeting foreign missionaries, Christians, and US military advisers based in the south.

They have also carried out the worst terror attacks in Philippine history such as the 2004 bombing of a passenger ferry in Manila Bay that killed more than 100 people. Indama was an obscure Abu Sayyaf commander who gained prominence after he and other Muslim militants attacked a military convoy, killing and mutilating 14 Marines in 2007. The military says fewer than 400 Abu Sayyaf members remain active in the islands of Basilan and Jolo, down from a peak of about 1,200 in 2002. Government forces recently scored a string of victories over the Abu Sayyaf in Jolo Island, south of Basilan, and last week captured a bomb-maker and killed top commander Albader Parad, and five of his men.

more @ inquirer

4. missionary recounts captivity

Held hostage for 376 days by the Islamic terrorist group Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, Gracia Burnham doesn’t seem to tire of recounting the time she and her husband spent in the jungle with their kidnappers. It was the last year of her husband’s life. Burnham conducted a three-day lecture series this week at Southeastern Bible College, discussing mission work, terrorism and her personal experiences.

The kidnapping happened May 27, 2001, less than four months before the 9/11 terrorist hijackings in the United States, and her captors considered themselves aligned with al-Qaeda, Burnham said. “A few were bent on jihad,” she said. Some others, including a 9-year-old boy and others recruited from villages against their will, may not have had much choice.

…Burnham returned to the Philippines in 2004 to testify against some of her former captors, under heavy security. Twenty-four of the captors, out of a group of about 80, are in a maximum-security prison in Manila, she said.

She got a call this month from the U.S. Office for Victims of Crime, informing her that another one had been apprehended on Feb. 18. Jumadail Arad, known to the Burnhams as “Hurayra,” had been their closest friend and kindest captor among the Abu Sayyaf, she said. Burnham remembers talking to her husband about how he would treat Hurayra if they escaped and he one day showed up at their door in Rose Hill, Kan. “I would invite him in, cook him a big meal and then call the FBI,” she recalls him saying.

Abu Sayyaf leader Khadafi Abubakar Janjalani, one of Burnham’s captors, bragged of talking with Bin Laden by satellite phone, according to an Associated Press report. Burnham said her conversations with Abu Sayyaf leaders showed that they at least believed themselves to be part of a global effort, not a ragtag band of kidnappers. “People in America don’t understand,” she said. “Their basic goal is world domination.”

read more @ ai.com


5. UNICEF: Philippines has a terrible child trafficking problem, and it’s because of the poor ignorant people ya hear? nothing to do with corrupt officials or military or wealthy people in the cities or anything like that, who drive DEMAND. it never has to do with the demand side of the equation, only the supply side. they keep studying the problem, studying and studying, and they can never seem to work their way around to figuring out who moves the children around and where they end up. well actually, they know the children are moved from rural to urban, and for what purposes (sex, pornography, labor), but if they tackled that end it might get a few connected people in trouble. so instead they keep talking about the ignorant poor parents. it’s their fault, see?

MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - A United Nations agency has identified the Philippines as one of the seven countries in Asia with the worst child trafficking condition.

A study by the UN Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) entitled “Child Trafficking in East and Southeast Asia: Reversing the Trend,” said that throughout East and South East Asia, various socio-economic, family and individual factors render children vulnerable to trafficking.

These factors are poverty, family breakdown, the low status and role of children in their societies, lack of educational and viable employment opportunities, rapid economic growth and urbanization, gender inequality, discrimination, and the demand for illegal adoption, brides and sexual relations with children.

...It noted that the problem of child trafficking has yet to be stemmed amid the best efforts by the governments and aid agencies.

…In a region where the demand for young brides, adoptive infants, sex with children, images of child pornography, and cheap labor is strong, the study said children may be trafficked at source or during migration, either en route or after reaching their destination.

It noted that origin, transit and destination countries for child trafficking exist throughout the East and South East Asian region, with some countries characterized as origin and destination, transit and destination, and others encompassing all three.

Internal trafficking, from rural to urban centers, and from small towns to big cities, is also a considerable dynamic, although less researched in comparison to cross-border trafficking, it said.

In some countries, such as the Philippines, the country assessment indicated that internal trafficking is more of a problem than its cross-border form. “In the Philippines, children are mainly trafficked from the rural regions of Visayas and Mindanao to the urban cities of Cebu City, Manila and Quezon City,” the study said.

more here

organized crime in Goa

Think you had a good weekend? Think again. Brad, Angelina and the kids, currently in Pune, India, hopped a private charter flight to Goa, India for a little R&R. Reports are rolling in that the couple needed a break from the ‘razzi and left Pune on Friday night around 9pm on a small jet.
Goa’s fame and beauty have attracted multiple old-school Hollywood types, as well as India’s wealthiest families (think private beach houses, etc.) The Pitt’s apparently checked into a guesthouse in Ashvem Beach in North Goa about 50 miles away from the Dabolim international airport there. Is Goa the Hamptons of India? Hm….The word is that North Goa is much more vibrant that South Goa, so we think it’d be like East Hampton vs. South Hampton perhaps. Shhh! Don’t let Lizzie Grubman find out.

Actually, sometime between then and now, Goa fell apart. I think, possibly, there’s a connection between the influx of the Hollywood types and wealthy Indian families, and the increase in drugs, rapes, and organized sex trafficking. Just. A. Guess.

I referenced this December 13, 2009 jpost (cached) article about two weeks ago, and I will reference it again today: ‘Israelis in Goa disastrous for tourism.’

In one section he quotes a tourist from the UK who gave his opinion on Israelis in Goa as saying that Israelis come to the area and bring with them drugs from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kashmire, then use Goans and Indians to sell it. “The Israelis who sell drugs have control over the Ministers from Goa to Delhi,” the tourist said. “They pay them a large amount of money. They also bribe the police.”

^^^^^^^

Today: Goa emerging as drug, sex destination, say industry

The Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has issued strict caution to the state government, asking it to shore up its act on tourism, in a pre budget note which was handed over to chief minister Digambar Kamat on Tuesday.

…Industry stalwarts like travel and tourism association of Goa (TTAG) president Ralph de Souza have already said that the bogey of the Russian mafia in Goa could spell disaster for tourism in the state in the near future.

Tourism minister Mickky Pacheco had earlier said Goa was on its way to becoming the rape capital of India. Increasing crimes against tourists in recent times, beginning with the rape and murder of British teenager Scarlett Keeling, has put the international spotlight on Goa.

The recent rape of a nine-year-old Russian girl Jan 26 triggered a nationwide media debate on the safety of women tourists in Goa.

A 25-year-old Russian woman was allegedly raped by a Goan politician in December last year.

Police have also been unable to crack the mysterious death of Russian teenager Elena Sukhonova, whose mangled body was found on the railway tracks near Thivim, 25 km from Panaji.

Goa receives nearly two million tourists annually, nearly half a million of which are foreigners.

More specifically, from jpost: “Tourists from Israel, along with those from Britain, Russia and Germany, top the number of tourists arriving in Goa every tourist season.

^^^^^^^

And police having trouble cracking the case? There seems to be a rash of that going around. The police in Delaware seem to experience the same problems.

Goa police hand-in-glove with organized sex mafia: official

PANAJI: A senior Goa police official on Thursday admitted that the state is emerging as a den for the organized sex mafia in collusion with the local police.

Superintendent of Police (Criminal Investigation Department) Atmaram Deshpande wrote in his weekly column in a vernacular daily ‘Gomantak’ Thursday: “There is a disturbing increase in number of instances where massage parlours and beauty salons are being used for prostitution. People are getting restive.”

…Deshpande, who is the nodal officer for all police intelligence networks in the state, in his article has also taken a subtle dig at the police top brass that had approved a Russian belly dancer for the inauguration of a coastal police station in Anjuna last year.

“There is an increase in bar dancers, foreign (belly) dancers and escort services professionals coming in to Goa. There is an urgent need for these to be stamped out, before they flourish here,” Deshpande said.

The official also said that local police stations were often hand-in-glove with the organized sex crime mafia.

“The police have to keep an eye on massage parlours and beauty parlours. But sometimes the local police turn a blind eye to these issues and then the crime branch is forced to bust these operations,” Deshpande said.

…Deshpande said that Goa, a major tourism destination in India, is also emerging as a centre for trafficking and high profile prostitution.

“Over the last one or two years, young Goan women too have been getting involved in the business of prostitution. That is a worry. Since this (high profile prostitution) is an easy way to get into the world of fashion and the hotel industry, a lot of women from India and abroad are flocking to Goa,” Deshpande said.
Goa receives nearly two million tourists annually, of which nearly half a million are foreign nationals.

Maybe they want to meet some Hollywood people.

I would also anticipate the Goa police having trouble catching the Israeli drug dealer’s Kazakh girlfriend. Wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

PANAJI: Anti-narcotics sleuths are tracking down the Kazakh girlfriend of an alleged Israeli drug peddler arrested in the coastal belt of north Goa for possessing drugs worth Rs 3.81 lakh.

The residence of David Graham alias Dudu was being searched for nearly 48 hours for documents related to his import export company, which police suspect was used to transport drugs out of India, a senior police official said Wednesday.

“Yes… his girlfriend is missing. We had summoned her to the anti narcotics cell police station, but she has suddenly disappeared,” Superintendent of Police (ANC) Veenu Bansal said.  Bansal however refused to reveal the identity of the Kazakhstan national.

Dudu Division Import and Export Pvt Ltd, a firm run by the accused, came under the police scanner after its annual returns showed profits only once in 2005. The company specialises in exporting chocolates and garments.

“We are interested in knowing the exact nature of their business. The company has the making of a front for drugs,” the official said.

Dudu was arrested on Monday at Anjuna and 144 ecstasy tablets as well as quantities of heroin, cocaine, liquid LSD and charas were seized from him.

Bansal added that Dudu had been earlier arrested in 2008 by the Mumbai anti-narcotics squad. He was also arrested in 2006 for over staying.

^^^^^^^

As if that isn’t bad enough, corrupt officials also rape the land in Goa.

Goa chief minister, aide shielding illegal mining: BJP

Panaji, Feb 25 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Goa unit Thursday accused Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and his secretary Rajiv Yaduvanshi of shielding illegal mining operations in the state and said it would raise the issue in the coming assembly session.

Addressing a press conference here, Leader of Opposition and former chief minister Manohar Parrikar claimed that illegal mining in Goa comprised an unparalleled 22 percent of the total nearly 33 million tonnes of iron and manganese ore exported from the state annually over the last decade.

“Digambar Kamat has been the mining minister for 10 years now. He is directly responsible for the rampant illegal mining in Goa,” he said, terming Kamat’s government “impotent” to quell the large-scale illegal mining.

Parrikar also accused Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Yaduvanshi, who besides being Kamat’s secretary heads several crucial departments including mining, forests, of being part of the conspiracy to shield the illegal mining lobby.



…“There is complete chaos in the mining sector. Most ministers are involved in illegal mining,” he said, adding that the mining policy being devised by the state government was “an eye wash”.

Noting that mining for minerals was a central government subject under Schedule I of the constitution and the state government does not have much of a say in it, Parrikar said the state government can effectively deter illegal mining and mining-related excesses by enforcing laws on transportation and implementing other existing laws.

Open cast mining, a Rs.6,000 crore industry in Goa, is seeing increasing popular resistance due to uncontrolled illegal mining and rampant destruction of the state’s forests. The opposition has repeatedly alleged on the floor of the house that the chief minister and several cabinet ministers were sheltering the mining mafia in collusion with the bureaucracy.

Read nobody.

Read Dave McGowan. more….

Read aangirfan.

Put it together. It’s time.

the passport caper

Remember a little while back how they told us that al qaeda was recruiting Western-looking women to do terrorist attacks?

Defne Bayrak anyone?

And shortly after that, several other stories pushed the idea along.

LONDON: Al-Qaida in Yemen has trained a group of woman suicide bombers with ‘non-Arab’ appearance to attack Western targets, including airliners and power stations, US officials have warned.

Details of the bombers emerged just hours after Britain raised the UK threat state to “severe” [naturally! timing is everything - ed.] amid fears that al-Qaida was planning a wave of attacks against western targets, ‘The Sunday Telegraph’ reported.

The woman suicide bombers, who may be travelling on Western passports, have been prepared for their missions by al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen responsible for the botched Christmas Day attempt to blow up a US airliner, it said.

Etc.

And see? Now we know that some of those three dozen American terrorists-in-training may have been women.

Well just so you know who looks to be training those “al qaeda” Western-looking female operatives: Mossad. No doubt with help from CIA, etc.

Six more British passports were used in the assassination of a Hamas commander in a Dubai hotel last month, police have claimed.

The revelation from Dubai today means that up to 12 British identities are believed to have been stolen or forged to carry out the hit, allegedly by Israel’s feared secret service, Mossad.

One of the six new British passports is in the name of a dark-haired woman calling herself Gabriella Barney. She appears to have been posing as the daughter of Michael Barney, named as one of the original 11 suspects.

Up to six women are now believed to have been part of the hit squad.

And then there’s this guy, a Hamas leader’s son who Israel supposedly flipped to make him one of their agents.

Or was it Scooby Doo? One can never tell these days.

Well anyway, that’s about the level of seriousness that people should take ANYTHING THEY SAY.

think tanks: where experts go to reverse engineer plans for world domination

At think tanks, experts figure out how to get from point A to point B. First they decide on point B, and then they reverse engineer how to arrive there from point A. When insiders do this, they call it “brainstorming” or “war games” or “simulations.” When outsiders do this, they call it “terrorism.”

^^^^^^^

The exposure of military plots in Turkey has finally gained momentum, after several weeks. This morning we learn of over 50 arrests of current and retired military officers in connection with the alleged Ergenekon coup plots: Sledgehammer and Cage.

Former Naval Forces Adm. Özden Örnek kept detailed journals between 2000-2004 on some of the plans.

Naturally, some of the plotting came under cover of think tanks , including the General Staff’s Strategic Research and Study Center (SAREM), a foundation affiliated with the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

The Sledgehammer plan, revealed in January by a Turkish newspaper, was more than simply an outline of a plan to kill or injure various bureaucrats, journalists and the government. It included a plot to bomb one of ?stanbul’s largest mosques during Friday prayer and a subplot named Oraj (Thunderstorm) that called for the deliberate downing of a Turkish jet to trigger problems with Greece, which the conspirators hoped would give the army the upper hand in politics as the public would feel threatened by a foreign enemy.

Police said the operation yesterday was launched when the National Police Department’s criminal investigations department examined and verified the authenticity of documents regarding the Sledgehammer and Cage plans. The original documents were handed to the Ergenekon prosecutors by the Taraf daily, which exposed both plans.

^^^^^^^

In 2007, the director of SAREM and several other accused Turkish military people met with the Hudson Institute to “brainstorm.” The Hudson Institute is a very prestigious US think tank where very important and surely very well-paid experts work, in Washington DC and NY, to help devise policies and solve problems facing the world.

In the meeting, participants had discussed the outcomes of possible scenarios in Turkey, including increased terrorist attacks killing 50 people in ?stanbul and the assassination of the former head of the Constitutional Court, Tülay Tu?cu, by a suicide bomber. Sources confirmed that Gen. Tanyeri and military attaché Brig. Gen. Bertan Nogaylaro?lu participated in the meeting.

This is one of the scenarios discussed, my comments in green:

  • On June 18, a suicide bomber attacks a police station in Beyo?lu, Istanbul. Fifty, including police officers, tourists and shoppers, are dead and 200 are wounded.  [who directs the suicide bomber?]
  • Rumors indicate that the PKK perpetrated the attack. [who starts the rumors?]
  • One day later, the Interior Ministry announces the attacker was trained in northern Iraq by the PKK. [false flag set, the attack could now be blamed on the desired party: PKK, according to people inside government?]
  • Chief of General Staff Gen. Büyükan?t says the terrorist PKK will continue carrying out attacks on big cities. [and how does he know what the PKK will do?]
  • He makes the call for an immediate military operation into northern Iraq. [one of the goals?]
  • The US State Department calls for calm. [working both sides, manipulating emotions?]
  • On June 23, Iran announces that the PKK attacked trucks carrying supplies to Syria inside its borders and alleges that the PKK was previously instructed by the US to carry out this attack. [which will be denied, and the media will spin it as paranoid?]
  • Fueled by the attack, the Tehran administration offers Turkey a joint military operation against the PKK. [taking the bait?]
  • On June 24, former chief justice of the Turkish Constitutional Court Tülay Tu?cu is assassinated. Tu?cu is taken to the hospital in critical condition and dies there the next day. [a week later, goosing the situation to the next level, and who directs the assassin?]
  • Preliminary investigations reveal that the bomb used in the assassination is the same type as the one detonated in Beyo?lu. [naturally, it's the same people?]
  • On June 25, the Interior Ministry and General Staff announce the involvement of the PKK in the incident. [as they well know, since it's really them?]
  • Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an decides on a military operation in northern Iraq. [the desired reaction, drawing Turkey into the conflict?]
  • On June 29, the Turkish Army enters northern Iraq. The Baghdad administration strongly reacts to the operation. [escalation?]
  • The US State Department underlines the operation will undermine Turkey’s security, as the White House notes Turkey has the right to defend itself.” [whose favorite phrase?]

The end result of this scenario being that Turkey and Iran have now been drawn into northern Iraq, it all gets blamed on the PKK terrorists. Regrettable. Sure thing.

^^^^^^^

And here’s a war-game scenario about Israel attacking Iran reported on this week, from another US think tank: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/02/21/87061/war-game-shows-how-attacking-iran.html. The scenario shows how “unintended consequences can spin out of control.” The only trouble is the entire thing is based on false assumptions and innuendo.

With diplomacy failing and precious intelligence just received about two new secret Iranian nuclear facilities, Israel launches a pre-emptive strike against Tehran’s nuclear complex. The strike is successful, wiping out six of Iran’s key sites and setting back its suspected quest for a bomb by years.

Would honest diplomacy fail? Probably not. The Iranians haven’t started a war in a couple hundred years. So, bad assumption. Also, no actual evidence of Iran’s secret nuclear facilities has ever been put forth. None. Nothing but innuendo, and yet that did not stop the Saban Center for Mideast Policy, part of the Bookings Institution, to run a war-games scenario, which ends up in disaster. What a bummer for them.

Some members of the “Israeli” team nonetheless felt that setting back Iran’s nuclear program “was worth it, even given what was a pretty robust response,” said one participant. He asked that his name not be used, because under the game’s ground rules, participants are supposed to remain anonymous.

Yes, I bet they would like to remain anonymous, considering what they really seem to be doing. Considering that they considered it “worth it” to set back a nuclear program for which no evidence exists.

The Brookings war game was one of three simulations regarding Iran’s nuclear program conducted in December. The other two, at Harvard University and Tel Aviv University, reportedly found that neither sanctions nor threats dissuaded Tehran from its suspected nuclear weapons ambitions.

Again, the “suspected” ambitions don’t exist of course. But by never acknowledging that fact, Tehran can never be dissuaded from their imaginary ambitions, so that our experts may continue to justify all this fluffy frosting of lies as they try to reverse engineer some series of events that will result in point B: Israel’s continued hegemony over the world and a defeated Iran, hmm?

In the Brookings game, three teams of experts, including former senior U.S. officials, played the Israeli, Iranian and American leadership. They assembled in separate rooms at the think tank’s Washington headquarters. Israeli and U.S. “officials” communicated with each other, but not with the Iranians.

One of the simulation’s major findings was how aggressively the Iranians responded to the attack — more aggressively, some participants felt, than they would in real life — and how Washington and Tehran, lacking direct communication, misunderstood each other.

And no you may NOT know who got to “play” the Iranians or anyone else in this game, as these demented people plot — oh, I’m sorry, “brainstorm.” And look at all the comments. People will take this all very seriously when we should be pulling the rug right out from under their feet since the entire thing rests on LIES about Iran’s “suspected” nuclear program. Why are think tanks discussing a strike at all? What a diabolical waste of time. It appears they want to creates a reality out of thin air, for Israel. And if lots and lots of people have to die to make that happen, which they would, well, “so be it” seems to be the attitude from the people at the think tanks who consider the cost “worth it.”

^^^^^^^

No surprise really. Look at the man who founded the Hudson Institute, Herman Kohn. A few facts about this monster from Wikipedia:

  1. Born in Bayonne, New Jersey, Kahn grew up in a Jewish family in the Bronx, then in Los Angeles following his parents’ divorce.
  2. Like many of his colleagues at RAND, he had little personal experience of warfare.
  3. Kahn’s major contributions were the several strategies he developed during the Cold War to contemplate “the unthinkable”, namely, nuclear warfare, by using applications of game theory….Whether hundreds of millions died or “merely” a few major cities were destroyed, Kahn argued, life would in fact go on.

1975, in Vancouver, Mr. Robyn Williams arranges a meeting with Kahn to discuss nuclear arms:

I had taken the trouble to write to Khan in advance at the Hudson Institute where he was based and received a courteous reply. …He opened the door, wearing only boxer shorts. With another man that would, perhaps, have been unremarkable. But Khan was immense and spectacularly hirsute. He repaired back to his made-up bed where he had obviously been sitting, eating grapes. He lifted a large bunch and nibbled them like Nero at a Roman banquet. To my great relief, I was not invited to share the feast.

Herman Kahn was a giant. He boldly confronted public issues with creativity and the conviction, in his case correct, that thought and analysis could help make ours a better world. ~ Donald Rumsfeld

^^^^^^^

You can read more details of the Hudson Institute meeting here.

Sources confirm that various Turkish military officials and civilian experts, the Hudson Institute’s Turkey expert Zeyno Baran, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s son Kubat Talabani, as well as Brig. Gen. Suha Tanyeri and military attaché Brig. Gen. Bertan Nogaylaro?lu participated in the meeting.


The invitation outlines the meeting sessions with headlines translated into Turkish as “Introduction,” “The Scenario,” “Questions” and “Wildcard.”

Potential Wildcards

  • A new set of clues indicates that the suicide terrorist who attacked the police station in Beyo?lu was trained by Hezbollah in a Syrian camp.

  • In a raid near Kandil Mountain, Turkish security forces confiscate two-year-old MOSSAD training manuals and videos showing Israeli agents side by side with the PKK militants.

  • A Peshmerga unit on patrol in northern Iraq panics and attacks a group of Turkish Special Forces. After the battle, it is revealed that one of the gunned-down Peshmerga is, in fact, an American soldier who was training the Kurdish militia. This soldier, however, was not authorized to be on patrol with the Peshmerga.

Well I guess they have to plan for everything, even maybe getting caught? Yes a few people on the front lines sometimes go “rogue,” it’s very regrettable. Tsk tsk. But you know, should any of these scenarios cooked up at think tanks ever go live, don’t expect any of those experts to be held accountable for the planning. That would just be a coincidence. In fact, you will probably see them paraded across teevee as even greater experts for having predicted what happened in advance.

Like this one: she’s a star.

Zeyno Baran, Hudson Institute
nice necklace

the unimpeachable investigators of CHINESE organ trafficking

Quick history of the Falun Gong, condensed from here

  • Founder Li Hongzhi was born in 1951
  • Qigong fitness movement sweeps China in the 1980s
  • Li Hongzhi creates Falun Gong in 1984, a more accessible variant of training he had practiced since childhood
  • By 1992 Falun Gong is joined to the qigong fitness movement and popularity grows steadily
  • All is well through the mid 1990s as people discover many health benefits of Falun Gong
  • Things get more political around 1995 as the movement expands internationally and pressure grows to control it (and reap the rewards?)
  • Late 1990s the Chinese government starts harassing Falun Gong as a “heretical cult” while 70 million people practice it
  • February 14, 1999: Chinese official tells U.S. News & World Report that as many as 100 million may have taken up the practice and highlights the costs the practice is saving China’s national health care system…

…and it was pretty much all downhill from there.

^^^^^^^

Also note the Falun Gong symbol, which is a reversed swastika:

For thousands of years the swastika symbolized good, until the 20th century, when it became reversed, and we all know what it means now. I may expand on this aspect in another post. For now, there it is, the swastika. Knowing what we know about symbols and their importance as triggers for human behavior, I suspect it’s no coincidence that the Falun Gong has come under particular brutality and oppression. How *dare* they use that symbol properly.
^^^^^^^

Former Secretary of State, Canada, David Kilgour

Human Rights Lawyer, Canada, David Matas, senior legal counsel of B’nai Brith Canada

These two gentlemen, at the request of CIPFG (Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong), sponsored a report published in January 2007 called Bloody Harvest: Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China. You can download a pdf of the report here.

The request was to investigate allegations that state institutions and employees of the government of the People’s Republic of China have been harvesting organs from live Falun Gong practitioners, killing the practitioners in the process.

In this update, published August 22, 2008, they confirm their findings with the release of additional evidence:

David Matas and David Kilgour today released new evidence confirming their conclusion that China has been killing Falun Gong practitioners so that their organs can be sold to transplant tourists. The new evidence takes the form of a video admission from Dr. Lu Guoping combined with a prior audio recording from the same doctor.

…The video is being distributed by Chinese embassies and consulates; its authenticity is therefore endorsed by the Chinese government.

In a letter to the Chinese embassy in Canada, David Kilgour and David Matas wrote:

“Denial (of the abuse of organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners) in the face of such compelling evidence which has the official sanction of the Government is no longer an option. The only option which remains is ending this horrible crime.”

Prominent US members of CIPFG include three congresspeople, Thaddeus McCotter (MI), Dana Rohrabacher, (CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, (FL).

^^^^^^^

Matas and Kilgour stay focused on the Chinese government for the supply side of the equation, very focused. In fact, Matas campaigns extensively to bring pressure on the Chinese government to stop this practice. I have not read the whole report yet, so I don’t want to jump to conclusions. Let us say it appears to be quite thorough. I particularly enjoyed this part describing the methods of proof. They work exactly like conspiracy theorists, which obviously, they cannot be, considering their status.

We have had to look at a number of factors, to determine whether they present a picture, all together, which make the allegations either true or untrue. None of these elements on its own either establishes or disproves the allegations. Together, they paint a picture.

Many of the pieces of evidence we considered, in themselves, do not constitute ironclad proof of the allegation. But their non?existence might well have constituted disproof. The combination of these factors, particularly when there are so many of them, has the effect of making the allegations believable, even when any one of them in isolation might not do so….

Proof can be either inductive or deductive. Criminal investigation normally works deductively, stringing together individual pieces of evidence into a coherent whole. The limitations our investigation faced placed severe constraints in this deductive method. …We also used inductive reasoning, working backwards as well as forwards. If the allegations were not true, how would we know it was not true? If the allegations were true, what facts would be consistent with those allegations? What would explain the reality of the allegations, if the allegations were real? Answers to those sorts of questions helped us to form our conclusions.

We also considered prevention. What are the safeguards that would prevent this sort of activity from happening? If precautions are in place, we could conclude that it is less likely that the activity is happening. If they are not in place, then the possibility that the activity is happening increases.

That’s an excellent question because it gets at the other side of the problem: the demand side. Because after all, it’s not for nothing. These organs go someplace — the go into other bodies. And that takes hospitals and doctors and administrators and lots of money. So when we discuss safeguards, we must consider how all these organs possibly get through the screening process on the other end — the recipient end. Surely, if people were serious about stopping illegal organ trafficking, they can work the issue from both ends, or even from the middle — the brokers. Myopically focusing on the Chinese extracting Fulan Gong organs without following the organs to their destination accomplishes very little, but it looks great.

^^^^^^^

In the video, a Dr. Michael Shapiro, Transplant Surgeon (hospital not identified), makes the following remark:

“If you could, you know, know the blood types of everyone you had in prison and if you could execute people to order, um, then you could certainly deliver (laughing) hearts and livers, um, and…and…anything else you wanted to do…um…on a short time frame. You know the current wait in New Jersey for kidneys is 4-5 years, in New York City it’s 8-10 years.”

So, in other words, he’s saying that people have to wait a long time for organs. That’s a problem. But if you could run a prison full of healthy people with all their medical data on file, well, hahaha, that would be, like, a totally awesome solution. Of course it would also be totally unethical, and that’s why we laugh about it haahahahahahah. Because who would do such a wicked thing?

But Dr. Francis L. Delmonico, Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School agrees on the solution to the problem:

“There’s no other way of guaranteeing the opportunity of having an organ available on a scheduled basis other than to say we will have to schedule an execution.”

Which of course, as everyone knows, is beyond the pale totally ridiculous completely unethical abhorrent outrageous behavior that could only be expected from the most loathsome human rights violators on earth, the CHINESE. Sadly, Kilgour and Matas have determined, through their meticulous “methods of proof” report, that the Chinese are doing precisely what these two doctors describe. And that’s why Kilgour and Matas have studied this problem in exquisite detail, to see exactly how the Chinese have managed to run these camps and conduct these diabolical organ harvesting programs for years on end, without being caught.

Something Must Be Done.* (http://en.epochtimes.com/news/7-6-22/56782.html)

Rabbi Dr. Reuven Bulka, a leader of the Canadian Jewish community called on the government of Israel to do their best in order to stop organ harvesting in China from living Falun Gong practitioners….Among Rabbi Bulka’s friends is David Kilgour.

…According to Rabbi Bulka, exactly because of the close relationship between Israel and China, Israel can urge China to stop the horrifying practice of harvesting organs from the living.

The Rabbi admitted, however, that talking to the Chinese authorities probably would not change things.

The possibility of material losses for Israel, for example, in trading weapons with China, does not bother the rabbi more than the current holocaust going on in China.. Asked how the Israeli government should act, the Rabbi said, “First of all, it is necessary to prepare an instruction forbidding Israelis to go to China for transplantation.”

* Look busy.

^^^^^^^

And, sure enough, Nancy Scheper-Hughes, who became much more well-known last year after the New Jersey organ trafficking story broke, testified before Congress, including Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, back in 2001, when she put the Chinese problem into context:

Thank you, Madam Chair Ros-Letinen Ranking Member and Congresswoman Mc Kinney for the opportunity to speak before you and the members of the Human Rights Sub-Committee this afternoon.

For the last five years, however, I have been involved in active field research on the global traffic in human organs, following the movement of bodies, body parts, transplant doctors, their patients, brokers, and kidney sellers, and the practices of organs and tissues harvesting in several countries - from Brazil, Argentina, and Cuba in Latin America to Israel and Turkey in the Middle East, to India, South Africa, and the United States.

As Director of Organs Watch, my role here is to put the specific Chinese case, as egregious as it is, into a larger global and social perspective. For the traffic in organs and tissues transcends national boundaries and involves doctors, patients, organs brokers, and impoverished organ sellers from both third world and first world contexts.

…We are witnessing, today, a confluence in the flows of immigrant workers and itinerant kidney sellers who fall into the hands of unscrupulous and highly sophisticated transnational organs brokers.

Markets are inclined to reduce everything - including human beings, their labor and their reproductive capacity - to the status of commodities, things that can be bought, sold, traded, and stolen. And nowhere is this more dramatically illustrated than in the current markets for human organs and tissues to supply a medical business driven by “supply and demand. Bodily holism and integrity have given way to the divisible body and detachable organs as commodities, and as fetishized objects of desire and of consumption.”

So in other words, people in authority have known about the global network of illegal organ trafficking for many years. How many people died having their organs extracted from 2001 to 2006, when Matas and Kilgour got involved and published their report? And how many people died since then? They could probably even tell us. I’m sure someone has that data along with all the other data they’ve collected on the Fulan Gong prisoners. This is big business.

So where’s the Matas Kilgour report on the international organ brokers? Hmm? Waiting on that report…

look the other way

1. Delaware pediatrician faces 500 counts of child sex abuse, but his lawyer’s gonna change the subject

An American paediatrician is facing nearly 500 charges of child sex abuse in one of the worst cases in the country’s history.

All 103 of Dr Earl Bradley’s alleged victims were documented on 13 hours of video recordings found at his office and home in Lewes, Delaware.

…The 471 charges against Bradley include rape, sexual exploitation of a child, unlawful sexual contact, continuous sexual abuse of a child, assault and reckless endangering.

Bradley, who was arrested in December and initially charged with 29 counts for allegedly abusing nine children, is being held with bail set at $2.9m (€2.13m). His medical licence was permanently revoked by the state last week.

Bradley’s lawyer, Eugene Maurer, said he had not read the charges laid by a grand jury but was not surprised by the allegations.

“I’m sure they have their reasons for including all these different victims in this indictment,” said Mr Maurer, noting that under state law, a single conviction of rape would be enough to put Bradley behind bars for life.

Mr Maurer added that the “real battleground” in the case will be Bradley’s mental state, not what is seen on the videotapes or alleged in the charges.

Bradley is accused of video taping his sexual exploitation of patients as far back as December 1998. Many victims were assaulted repeatedly, some on consecutive days and one girl was raped more than a dozen times over a period that lasted more than a year.

more @ ireland online

2. colleagues fail to report him to the medical licensing board after years of suspicion. it was a 2 year old child who told her mother. and even though the police investigated him in 2005 they found nothing? really?? NOTHING??? did they ask the parents and colleagues who had suspicions for years?????

After years of suspicions among parents and questions about his strange behavior from colleagues, Bradley was arrested after a 2-year-old girl told her mother that the doctor hurt her in December when he took her to a basement room of his office after an exam.

The case has shocked the close-knit coastal community of Lewes and the central Delaware town of Milford, where Bradley closed an office in 2005 after police investigated him. While prosecutors allege regular and repeated abuse by Bradley, the indictment contains a gap of more than a year, from October 2004 to June 2006, in which no alleged crimes are listed.

Biden and Gov. Jack Markell have ordered reviews to determine whether doctors, hospitals, state agencies or law enforcement authorities failed to comply with a state law that requires all such entities to report to the medical licensing board in writing within 30 days if they believe a doctor is or “may be” guilty of unprofessional conduct. Biden said Monday that those investigations are aimed at determining “how this physician could lurk in our midst for as long as he did.”

more @ wapo

vultures in africa

vulture11b1. China warns Zimbabwe: we are not ‘friends’ — pay back the money you owe us

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara says the Chinese want all loans to be repaid before loosening its purse. According to the Mutambara the Chinese President Hu Jintao revealed to him during a brief meeting at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland that he considers Beijing relationship with Harare as ’business partners’ and not ’friends’.

The Chinese are quoted telling the Mr. Mutambara that: “We’ll not condemn you publicly but we’ll not give you cash”. And according to the Deputy Prime Minister, “unless we do the right thing the Chinese will not work with us.”

The two countries have signed a series of agreements in infrastructure, tourism, energy and mining but the cooperation has largely not translated into an improved standard of living for ordinary Zimbabweans.

Zimbabwe has literally handed over control of most sectors of the economy to the Chinese during the past few years in return for short-term financial assistance to enable Mugabe’s government to ride one crisis after another.

more @ afrik.com

2. nice. about Mugabe…

Are the people of Zimbabwe really celebrating Robert Mugabe’s 86th Birthday? What is there to celebrate about this aberrant human form? Thirty years in power and nothing good to show for it. He is determined to cling on to power for the rest of his life despite embarrassingly losing an election to a more dignified and respectable opposition leader and refusing to hand over the reins of government. Mugabe is not only ruthless, he is incapable of showing remorse and lacks all human form of compassion. On close examination, it is possible that he has an inherent mental condition. Why? Because of all the abnormalities contained in his dispositions and behaviour. When the lust for power deprives anyone of a second thought faculty, you become your own victim. Because you lose control of your sanity as a result of your desperation to satisfy your ego-driven tendencies.

more @ newstime africa

3. Angola awards $340m deal to Daewoo Shipbuilding, S. Korea, to deliver 5 oil carriers to state-owned Sonangol (link)

mm hmm. Sonangol, Lev Leviev… see here: excitement always follows Lev Leviev, posted on January 28, 2010

1. Lev Leviev tied to Chinese intelligence, business interests in Angola — Sonagol

The suspicions were spelled out in a report recently compiled by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which was established by Congress in 2000 in order to “monitor, investigate and submit to Congress an annual report on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, and to provide recommendations, where appropriate, to Congress for legislative and administrative action.” The report noted, among other things, that the group of Chinese corporations has business ties with Israeli businessman and diamond magnate Lev Leviev.

2. India, Angola agree to cooperation for hydrocarbon sector — there’s Sonagol again

Luanda (Angola), Jan 27: India and Angola on Wednesday said that the two countries will enter into Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide an overarching framework for cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector.

During the meeting a MoU was signed between ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL) and the National Oil Company of Angola namely, Sonangol, for cooperation in the exploration sector.

4. Nigeria: Obasanjo, corrupt ex-Nigerian president,  pays tribute to Tony Blair, war criminal and alleged pedophile, for helping Nigeria, Blair also meets Goodluck Jonathan kiss kiss hug hug

Abuja — Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who is in Nigeria for the THISDAY’s Nigeria at 50, 2010 Awards, yesterday relived the diplomatic interactions that contributed to the success of their administrations.

Speaking at an Inter-faith Malaria Initiative organised by the Nigeria Inter-faith Action Association with funding support from Federal Government, World Bank, Centre for Inter-faith Action on Global Poverty and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation held at the Kuje Town Hall in Abuja, Obasanjo said the former British premier made a significant contribution to Nigeria’s exit from the Paris Club and other creditor nations.

Obasanjo, whose entry into the venue of the event elicited wild, nostalgic cheers from the audience, said while he travelled round the globe to get Nigeria off the Paris Club debt yoke, he received promises from world leaders which were not fruitful thus prompting his government to search for a facilitator and a member of the Group of Seven industrialised nations (G7) which they found in Mr. Blair.

He said the debt relief allowed the country to channel resources into the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) projects notably funds needed to fight infant mortality and morbidity occasioned by such diseases as malaria.

…Also yesterday, Blair visited Acting President Goodluck Jonathan at his Akinola Aguda residence, Presidential Villa, Abuja and commended him for holding the country together in the face of the daunting political leadership facing the country.

Blair also expressed concern about recent political developments in the country and thanked Jonathan for the skilful way he has handled the country.

more @ allafrica

5. George W Bush and Dear Condi also wish Goodluck Jonathan Good Luck i think he’s gonna need it

Nigeria’s Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday evening in Abuja secured the support of the former President of the United States, George Bush who assured him of the world’s support in making his job a success. Mr. Bush and his entourage were in Nigeria for the ThisDay Nigeria at 50 awards….

“Terrorism is alien to Nigeria,” Mr Jonathan said. “Nigeria and US are strategic partners for global peace and development.” He also thanked the US government for its concern over the health of President Umaru Yar’Adua who is currently undergoing treatment in a Saudi hospital.

Mr Bush was accompanied on the trip by former US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice and US Ambassador to Nigeria, Robin Sanders. On the Nigerian side were the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ojo Maduekwe and his solid minerals counterpart, Diezeani Allison Maduekwe.

read more @ next

6. oil agenda and bush visit

United States of America’s insistence on establishing a military high command for Africa called AFRICOM in the Gulf of Guinea is not for the love of the continent, but principally for the lust for its oil resources.

Over the years, the U.S. has significantly increased its oil imports from Africa, mainly through most of its companies operating in Nigeria, Angola, and to a lesser extent from Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Sudan.

The expectation of an average American is that by 2015 about 25 percent of its oil imports would come from Africa, essentially from the Gulf of Guinea. Therefore, any threat to sustained oil exploration and production activities in the region is, invariably, a direct threat to America’s interest.

Maintaining stability in the centres of oil production in Africa has remained a prime concern to the US.

The threat from China With China also venturing outside for other sources of oil to support its quest for solutions to its energy needs, the competition has heightened the pressure on the U.S. to safeguard its existing oil interests.

read more @ next

7. Tony Blair — also to Liberia to help “lift Liberia”

The founding principle behind Tony Blair’s Africa Governance Initiative, which is a registered charity in the UK and the US, is that Africa’s solutions are going to come from Africans and Africa’s leaders – leaders like President Johnson-Sirleaf. This is why Tony Blair is expanding his work into Liberia, building his support to African leaders that began in Rwanda and moved to Sierra Leone.

more @ next

8. Obasanjo: also not happy with this Goodluck Jonathan business — it’s not a permanent solution, especially since he is practically back in office himself with Yar’Adua out of the picture, and if some corruption charges start popping up about Jonathan….you never know.

Kaduna — Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the nation’s resort to the Acting Presidency as a way of stabilising the polity in the absence of ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua should not be regarded as a permanent solution.

Instead, he said further steps ought to be taken to arrive at a more dependable and permanent solution to the existing political uncertainty in the country.

more @ all africa

9. Nigeria: investigator of financial crimes assassinated

A former senior investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Danjuma Mohammed was yesterday shot dead in the Gwarimpa area of Abuja. He was ambushed by gunmen as he returned home from a trip from Minna, Niger State.

Mr Mohammed, a DeputySuperintendent of Police and top aide of the former EFCC boss, Nuhu Ribadu, was responsible for several high profile cases during Mr Ribadu’s leadership of the EFCC leading to landmark conviction of some corrupt government officials. He was until his assassination yesterday a deputy investigator at the Federal Inland Revenue Service. Mr. Mohammed was one of the first casualties of the power play in the EFCC when Farida Waziri took over the three years ago.

His assassination is the second against financial crimes investigators. In November 2009, Abubakar Umar, a lawyer and special assistant to Ahmeed Al-Mustapha, registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), was killed and burned in his car in Abuja.

Police investigations are yet to yield any result.

more @ next

10. chaos in Ivory Coast (Zoellick was there recently) as protesters resort to looting and vandalism

In the Ivory Coast city of Bouake, hundreds of protesters marched through the city center, setting fire to cars, smashing up shops and looting a local government administrative office. This comes amidst the backdrop of President Laurent Gbagbo dissolving the government and the electoral commission one week after a row over voter registration. A group of protesters broke into the regional governor’s office and stole equipments as they chant that they don’t want the President anymore. “Gbagbo must quit now! He cannot stay in power,” they said. Ivorian security forces dispersed protesters in the south western town of Gagnoa, using tear gas.  Five protesters were killed a day before after police fired into the crowd of demonstrators.

more @ newstime africa

11. one dead three injured in Rwanda attacks

Eighteen people are reported injured after three simultaneous grenade attacks in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. The attacks that looked choreographed left one person dead as they went off in the city’s busiest points last night. According to state radio, five of the injured were in serious condition following the attacks on a busy bus station, a restaurant and a building housing city centre businesses. Grenade attacks have increasingly become a popular way of venting anger or revenge, mostly on unsuspecting crowds in the last three years in Rwanda, where many of those cases remain largely unsolved.

more @ newstime africa

Lebanon, Cyprus, Turkey, Iran

1. Former military chiefs held in Turkey plot probe

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish police detained former heads of the air force and navy and other senior officers on Monday in an investigation into an alleged plot to undermine the Islamist-rooted government and trigger a military coup.

The swoop, one of the largest in European Union candidate Turkey against the secularist armed forces, further raised tensions between the ruling AK Party and the military, which has been implicated in several alleged plots in the past year.

Former Air Force Commander Ibrahim Firtina, former Naval Commander Ozden Ornek and ex-Deputy Chief of the General Staff General Ergin Saygun, were among those held, broadcasters said.

Current armed forces chief General Ilker Basbug delayed a trip to Egypt as a result, broadcaster CNN Turk reported. In total seven serving officers and seven retired officers were detained.

Interior Minister Besir Atalay, accompanying Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on an official visit to Spain, said he was being kept informed of developments, state-run Anatolian news agency reported.

NTV said the suspects held in Ankara were being flown to Istanbul for questioning over the “Sledgehammer” plot after police raids in the cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

Neither police or the military had any immediate comment.

Financial markets showed little reaction to the detentions, but Wolfango Piccoli from the Eurasia political risk consultancy said they looked set to trigger another escalation in the tense relations between the military and the AK Party.

“The government is now embroiled in an open and bitter power-struggle with the judiciary and the military, raising the risk of a head-on confrontation that would badly damage political stability,” Piccoli said.

Such detentions would have been unthinkable in the past for the military, which has ousted four governments in the last 50 years. However, its powers have waned in recent years due to democratic reforms aimed at securing EU membership.

Other senior military officers have been indicted on charges of planning a separate plot to overthrow the AK Party, which has its roots in political Islam.

SOWING INSTABILITY

According to previous media reports on the Sledgehammer plan, denied by the military, the army had plotted to provoke Greek fighter jets into shooting down a Turkish military jet.

Turkey and neighbouring Greece have longstanding territorial disputes and came close to war in 1996 over an islet in the Aegean, though relations have improved in the last decade.

The alleged plot also involved planting bombs in mosques and museums in Istanbul to stir chaos. Last month Taraf newspaper said it had obtained 5,000 pages of documents and tapes on the plan which was aimed at justifying an army takeover in 2003.

The military has said documents quoted by the paper were part of a military training seminar but were never meant to be carried out and were not part of a conspiracy.

The latest detentions coincide with rising political tensions due to a clash between Erdogan’s government and the secularist judiciary over the arrest of a prosecutor who had investigated Islamic groups.

That prosecutor has been accused of links to an alleged far-right militant network, “Ergenekon”. More than 200 people, including military officers, lawyers and politicians, have been arrested in the case since it came to light 2-1/2 years ago.

Critics of the government say the Ergenekon investigation has also been used to hound political opponents.

source

2. Lebanese PM Sleiman and Cyprus — time to implement agreements

During a press conference held Wednesday February 17, 2010 at the embassy headquarters in Beirut, the ambassador of Cyprus in Lebanon Mr. Kiriakos Koros said Michel Sleimane’s visit to Cyprus aimed, above all, to tighten bilateral relations, and namely to promote tourism in both countries. “Since the official establishment of the Cyprus Embassy was officially established in Beirut, several contracts have been signed between the island and the country of cedars. Today, it is time to implement these contracts”, the ambassador said.

On the political level, Mr. Koros focused on the Lebanese support to the island in international forums. Lebanon, he said, should be alerted, and even sensitive on issues concerning Cyprus. “Being elected for the non-permanent seat within the Security Council but also as it is an integral part of the Arab League, Lebanon can now echo Cyprus requests in international forums,” Koros said.

The two countries also stressed the need to comply with UN resolutions and move the peace process forward in the Middle East. “The two countries share many political opinions, particularly concerning the need to freeze the settlement process in the Palestinian territories and the importance to establish peace in the Middle East” he added.

To conclude, Mr. Koros stressed the need to coordinate between Lebanon and Cyprus and exchange experiences so as to meet the interests of both the Cypriots and the Lebanese. He also praised the key role assumed by the Maronite community in Cyprus, as it was serving as a cultural bridge between the Lebanese and the Cypriot society.

more @ iloubnan

3. Ahmadinejad calls for independent states to be ready for changes in world

“Today that capitalism is collapsing, the independent states should prepare themselves for huge global developments, and this necessitates promotion of the level of mutual and all-out cooperation,” Ahmadinejad said in a meeting with the Democratic Republic of Congo’s National Assembly Speaker, Evariste Boshab, here in Tehran today.

Ahmadinejad described expansion of mutual and multilateral cooperation among independent states as the key to resistance against the pressures imposed by the bullying powers.

more @ fars

4. Iran to speak to IAEA about “unreal parts” of Amano’s report

“Unfortunately Amano’s report is two-sided and some unreal issues have been intermingled with real issues,” member of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Esmae’il Kowsari told FNA….The latest report on Iran presented by Amano to the agency’s Board of Governors on Thursday vindicates the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities and confirms that Iran’s program is faced with no technical or legal problems.

Yet, Amano’s first report on Iran’s nuclear program, similar to ElBaradei’s reports, is comprised of technical and legal as well as political aspects. Those parts which deal with the legal and technical issues underline the technical success and legality of Iran’s nuclear program and the peaceful nature of the country’s nuclear activities.  However, a number of issues fabricated by the western media are stated in the report on Iran which Iranian officials say has no legal rationale.

Despite, Amano’s previous claims that he wants to focus on “the facts” and pursue a more technical approach than his predecessor Mohammad ElBaradei, he also complained about the level of Iran’s cooperation with the Agency. This is while the agency has repeatedly praised Iran’s full cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog agency in is previous reports.

more @ fars

5. and where do those “unreal parts” come from? Israel urges Iran oil embargo even without UN approval

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Monday for an immediate embargo on Iran’s energy sector, saying the U.N. Security Council should be sidestepped if it cannot agree on the move.

…If the world “is serious about stopping Iran, then what it needs to do is not watered-down sanctions, moderate sanctions … but effective, biting sanctions that curtail the import and export of oil into Iran,” Netanyahu said in a speech.

STOPPING IRAN FROM WHAT YOU FUCKING WHACK JOB?

violence justifies the narrative and allows it to move forward

1. more Abu Sayyaf militants captured, ties to AQ, JI, MNLF.

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines: The Philippine military killed at least six Abu Sayyaf militants in fierce clashes Sunday in the southern province of Sulu, official said. Top commanders of the group were among the dead.

Three soldiers were also slightly wounded in the fighting that erupted in the village of Karawan near Indanan town, a known stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf who are blamed for a spate of kidnappings in the restive region. “We have killed at least six militants and recovered their weapons. Three of my soldiers are slightly wounded in the fighting,” said Marines Brig. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, commander of military forces in Sulu, who is leading an offensive against the militant group tied to Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah.

He said a platoon of Marines special unit and reconnaissance soldiers attacked an Abu Sayyaf camp in Karawan, a mountain chain s and a known lair of the militants. Lt. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino, the regional military commander, said a senior Abu Sayyaf leader wanted by the United States was among those killed in the clashes. “We have reports that Albader Parad and Dr. Abu were among those killed and we are trying to verify this information,” he said.

Dolorfino said troops were fighting Abu Sayyaf forces under Albader Parad and Abu Jumdail, also known as Dr. Abu because of his alleged ability to cure wounded militants. Jumdail was the cousin of Umbra Jumdail, one of the core leaders of Abu Sayyaf. Both leaders are wanted by the Philippine and US authorities for their involvements in the kidnappings of American citizens and the killing of two US Special Forces soldiers in Sulu. Dolorfino described the offensive as a “surgical, intelligence-driven operation.” Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels under former chieftain Nur Misuari also fought side by side with the Abu Sayyaf militants in the fighting that began at dawn, local media said.

more @ arab news

see also: set the table for additional context

2. Iraq: gunmen murder two iraqi families, mostly children, and behead some — blamed on election, ie: it’s the locals. DON’T COUNT ON IT.

Gunmen murdered two Iraqi families, mostly children, beheading some of the victims and killing 12 people on Monday, as a spate of brutal attacks hit the country less than two weeks before elections. Nine children were among those killed in their homes in and around Baghdad, while 11 other people died in violence across Iraq, including three in a suicide car bombing and a police commando who was shot dead by a sniper. The worst incident occurred in Al-Wehdah, a predominantly Shiite Muslim town in an ethnically-mixed area about 20 kilometres (12 miles) southeast of Baghdad. Eight members of the same family, including six children younger than 12, were gunned down and several were beheaded.

Beheadings have been the trademark of Sunni insurgents in Iraq, particularly Al-Qaeda militants in the violence that flared after the 2003 US-led invasion, although the motive for the attack was unclear. Baghdad police said they later apprehended four people carrying silencers in connection with the murders, after receiving a tip-off. A second family, comprising a mother and her three daughters, was shot dead overnight in their home in the mostly Shiite north Baghdad district of al-Hurriyah, a police official said, on condition of anonymity.

more @ middle east online

3. Pakistan: beheadings cause fear and panic in Sikhs

Islamabad/Hundreds of fear-stricken Sikhs clamoured to escape to India after the Pakistani Taliban beheaded one of three Sikh men they abducted over a month ago. The killing was condemned in India by the government and political parties.

The body of Jaspal Singh was found in Pakistan’s restive tribal region Sunday, triggering panic in the small community that has faced the ire of the Taliban for some time….According to arzePakistan.com, the kidnapping occurred in an area where the Pakistan government has virtually no control….No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction and murder but members of the Sikh community blamed it on the Pakistani Taliban, which has close ties with Al Qaeda, and said they wanted to quit Pakistan for good….The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) asked the government to mount ‘diplomatic pressure’ on Pakistan to ensure the release of the abducted Sikhs.

more @ irish sun

4. Germany arrests 3 suspects of helping Islamic militants planning attacks against “The West”

BERLIN (Reuters) - German police have arrested three people suspected of helping a radical Islamist group whose followers have confessed to planning attacks on U.S. targets in Germany, prosecutors said on Monday.

The federal prosecutor’s office said it suspected two men whom it identified only as Alican T. and Fatih K., and one woman, Filiz G., of supporting the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), a group often linked to a militant Islamist movement that originated in Uzbekistan.  “They are accused of aiding the terrorist group financially,” said Marcus Koehler, a spokesman for the prosecution, adding that the charges involved the transfer of several thousand euros to accounts in Turkey late last year.

Four men affiliated to the IJU and known as the “Sauerland group” are on trial in the western city of Duesseldorf for planning bomb attacks on U.S. institutions in Germany. A verdict in that case is due in the next week or two. Prosecutors said the three suspects arrested on Saturday were apprehended in Berlin and the southern city of Ulm, are aged between 20 and 31 years, and hold German citizenship.

source