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 Post subject: World news
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:04 pm 
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NY approves burning twin towers bus ad
08/10/2010 10:34

World trade center depicted in flames with Ground Zero mosque.
The New York City transit agency approved a bus advertisement Monday depicting a plane flying toward the World Trade Center's towers as they burn along with a rendering of the proposed mosque near Ground Zero.

The ad was paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, an organization that opposes radical Islamic influence in the United States. The group's executive director says she doesn't find the ad offensive.

The group sued the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to demand it accept the ad, which was approved Monday.

MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz says the agency doesn't endorse the ad's views.

The plan for a mosque just blocks from the World Trade Center site has ignited a national debate about the limits of tolerance and the symbolism of Ground Zero.

The Anti-Defamation League recently came out against the planned mosque and Islamic community center near ground zero, saying more information is needed about funding for the project and the location is "counterproductive to the healing process."

ADL National Director Abe Foxman compared the idea of a mosque near GroundZ ero to the Roman Catholic Carmelite nuns who had a convent at the Auschwitz death camp. In 1993, Pope John Paul II responded to Jewish protests by ordering the nuns to move.

"We're saying if your purpose is to heal differences, it's the wrong place," Foxman said of the mosque. "Don't do it. The symbolism is wrong."

J Street supports the Ground Zero mosque, saying that "in the battle against violent extremism, core democratic values like respect for minorities and freedom of religion can be potent weapons in ensuring security and advancing tolerance and understanding. Now is the time to stand in support of those core values."

 Post subject: world news
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:12 pm 
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: Iran activates second centrifuge
08/10/2010 09:34

Defying Security Council, Teheran steps up uranium enrichment.

Defying the UN Security Council, Iran activated a second centrifuge Monday to enrich uranium more efficiently, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.

The Vienna-based nuclear watchdog said Monday Iran has started using a second set of 164 centrifuges linked in a cascade, or string of machines, to enrich uranium to up to 20 percent at its Natanz pilot fuel enrichment plant. Another cascade there has been producing uranium enriched to near 20 percent since February.

If enriched to around 95 percent, uranium can be used in building a nuclear bomb. At 20 percent, it can be turned into weapons-grade material much more quickly than less-enriched uranium.

Tehran denies it has such aims and says its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes only. But some in the international community — the United States and its allies — aren't convinced.

IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor said that when agency inspectors visited the facility on July 17, "Iran was feeding nuclear material to the two interconnected 164-machine centrifuge cascades."

This, she added, was "contrary to UN Security Council resolutions affirming that Iran should suspend all enrichment related activities."

The UN Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions on Iran in June because of its refusal to halt uranium enrichment. Tougher unilateral US and European Union sanctions followed in July.

Iran had informed the IAEA in March of its intentions to link the two cascades, Tudor said.

The move upgrades the efficiency of production by recycling the waste now being left by the first cascade to squeeze out more enriched uranium at near 20-percent levels, diplomats said in May when they disclosed to The Associated Press that Iranian technicians had assembled the second 164-centrifuge cascade and appeared ready to activate it.

One of the diplomats familiar with Iran's enrichment programs emphasized at the time that the idea appeared not to produce greater amounts than the first operating cascade was turning out, but to improve productivity.

The IAEA's comments Monday came as Iran announced plans to get rid of its dollar and euro reserves in response to the latest UN sanctions over its contested nuclear program.

"To fight sanctions, we will remove the dollar and euro from our foreign exchange basket and will replace them with (the Iranian) rial and the currency of any country cooperating with us," Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi told Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency. "We consider these currencies (dollar and euro) dirty and won't sell oil in dollar and euro," he added.

Earlier Monday, a German lawmaker who recently visited Tehran said Iranian officials fear the country's international trade will suffer from the latest round of sanctions.

A top Iranian adviser, meanwhile, said the Americans "must be dreaming" if they think they can intimidate Tehran into giving that program up.

Rainer Stinner, a foreign policy specialist with Germany's Free Democrats — junior partners in the coalition government of Chancellor Angela Merkel — told The Associated Press Iranian lawmakers and government representatives he met last week in Teheran fear the sanctions will lead to decreased imports and exports.

Iranians "suppose that these sanctions could have a significant impact on import and export," he told the AP in a telephone interview from New Delhi.

The new UN resolution seeks to crack down on the problem of evading sanctions and established a group of experts to gather information and analyze countries' efforts to implement them.

Meanwhile, an adviser to Iran's supreme leader, Ali Akbar Velayati, rejected the idea of Tehran giving up its nuclear program, insisting American threats will not deter Iran. He spoke during a trip to Syria.

The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff said last week the US military has a plan to attack Iran, although he thinks a military strike is probably a bad idea. Still, Adm. Mike Mullen said the risk of Iran developing a nuclear weapon is unacceptable.

 Post subject: world news
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:21 pm 
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Rivlin calls on A-G to probe Zoabi video
08/12/2010 02:52

Footage doesn’t show Balad MK in same frame as armed passengers.
A video clip released on Wednesday reawakened the public and political furor over Balad MK Haneen Zoabi’s participation in the May 31 Gaza-bound flotilla.

Zoabi’s critics said the footage from the Mavi Marmara, which was revealed by Army Radio, proves that the freshman lawmaker was aware of the violent intentions of the ship’s passengers.

However, the footage never clearly shows Zoabi in the same frame as an armed passenger.

The material was passed on to the office of Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) before Army Radio released the tape to the public. Rivlin determined that the tape should be passed on to the Attorney-General’s Office for review, as well to the Knesset’s Ethics Committee.

“The attorney-general must examine the new material and determine if there are grounds to investigate Haneen Zoabi for criminal offenses,” Rivlin explained. “The Knesset does not judge its members, and it is not my job to do so as the speaker. The evidence must be checked, and the attorney-general must determine if Zoabi was a participant in any crime. That has been my stance from the beginning, when this affair was exposed, and is certainly correct now, as well.”

Zoabi said on Wednesday that the video was released to further sully her name, and that she was not seen doing anything illegal on the brief tape.

The video, which was apparently filmed before, during and after the IDF’s boarding of the Gaza-bound ship on May 31, contains segments that show Zoabi at various stages of the incident.

Zoabi’s critics said the tape undermines her claim that there was no violent resistance aboard the ship, and that any injuries to IDF personnel were due to “selfdefense” by the passengers, who were “helpless” against the boarding party.

After repeated review of the 2 minutes and 39 seconds of the tape available to this paper, it appears that there is no moment in which Zoabi appears in the same frame as a person clearly bearing a weapon. The video – which is widely available on the Internet – has three separate and distinct “scenes.”

The first scene opens on a deck of the Mavi Marmara.

Activists – at least one bearing a pole for possible use against IDF soldiers – are seen milling about, preparing for the boarding. Passengers allegedly members of the radical Turkish IHH organization are seen wearing orange life vests, and are clearly opening packages of gas masks.

Toward the end of the brief scene, Zoabi is seen coming around a corner, and has not yet put on the life vest that she is seen wearing in the next scene. One man, walking toward Zoabi, was cited by at least one Israeli television station as carrying a weapon, but repeated examinations of the footage suggest that the split-second image merely showed a dangling strap.

The second scene was apparently filmed before or during the IDF’s boarding of the ship and the violent assault on Flotilla 13 soldiers.

The scene opens in a stairwell, where a number of men are seen apparently brandishing metal batons and other possible weapons. The camera then focuses on a bloodstain on the metal deck, and then on what appears to be a wounded activist.

A conversation is heard that begins in Arabic, and ends in English, with one of the speakers apparently Zoabi, who is seen on the staircase, alone, now wearing a life vest. The MK clearly checks her watch, and then realizes that she is being filmed, and pushes the camera away. In no frame of this scene is she filmed alongside the batonbrandishers.

The third – and by far the longest – scene takes place in a cabin in the ship, where Zoabi is seen clearly negotiating with IDF medical officials.

Zoabi tells the IDF men and an off-camera army doctor that the wounded people in the cabin “do not want to be taken to an Israeli hospital.”

One of the soldiers tells her that the patients are not stable and that “we need to take them to the hospital. That’s it.”

“I said that I was willing to translate for those people,” Zoabi told Channel 1 news on Wednesday. “They were people with pride. They didn’t want to be taken to a hospital by the people who send the army to attack them.

“We convinced them, for their health, that would be better for them” to go to the hospital, Zoabi added, deflecting claims that she had interfered with the IDF’s attempts to provide immediate medical care for those wounded during the boarding of the ship.

“There are two casualties who died between 5:30 and 6 [a.m.] who died there because they did not receive medical attention,” she said.

Zoabi complained that the video failed to show “hours when I calmed the spirits so that there would not be additional bloodshed.”

She said that “I hope that the attorney-general will get all the material, unedited, from the IDF. And that they will question me. If I committed a crime, I am willing to be tried.”

She accused “the IDF or the media” of “creating a situation in which two minutes are connected together.”

MK Miri Regev (Likud) said that “Zoabi is not only a traitor, but also a liar.”

Regev called for Zoabi’s parliamentary immunity to be immediately lifted and for her to be investigated for “harming national security while taking advantage of her status as an MK, as well as aiding the enemy.

“The State of Israel cannot and should not allow an MK to commit treason against the country and to brazenly lie in a clear attempt to harm national security,” Regev continued.

“Zoabi’s behavior is a clear violation of the rules and values of democracy in the State of Israel, and she must be tried.”

Regev’s comments were echoed by MKs from across the political spectrum, from Labor to the Right.

MK Ophir Akunis (Likud), a member of the Central Elections Committee, promised to work to disqualify both Zoabi and the Balad party from running for the next Knesset.

Rivlin said that he had accepted Zoabi’s request that the Knesset’s probe into the events of May 31 be accelerated in order to determine the truth.

“Personally, these images cause disgust, and in light of the pictures I cannot find an explanation with which I can remain satisfied,” the Knesset speaker continued. “But as the person who is charged with running the temple of Israeli democracy, I must allow her to bring her position up for clarification. Even when my soul is repulsed by the actions, as speaker I also serve those whose positions differ from mine.”

 Post subject: world news
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 7:52 pm 
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Just in case some of you don't look at the NZ thread this is what I have posted there .

Joined: 25 Nov 2002
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Posted: 13 Aug 2010 07:31 pm Post subject: Gaza aid from NZ


Kiwi Gaza aid convoy called provocative Published: 6:25PM Monday August 09, 2010
Source: ONE News
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Kia Ora Gaza - Source: ONE News

Watch Video Kiwi Gaza aid convoy called provocative (2:02)

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NZ team to take part in Gaza convoy August 09, 2010
The Israeli government says it will stop any attempts to break its blockade of Gaza as a Kiwi team prepares to travel to the Middle East.

Kia Ora Gaza has announced a six-man team which will join a massive convoy from London to deliver aid to the besieged Palestinian territory.

The team's captain 61-year-old Roger Fowler, from Auckland, says they are hopeful of making a difference. "People from all over the world, even the Prime Minister of Britain say this siege must be stopped, the blockade must be stopped."

The Kiwi team is joining a land-based mission and will see the Kiwis join a 500-vehicle aid convoy into Gaza, through the Egyptian border town of Rafah.

But the Israeli ambassador to New Zealand, Shemi Dzur calls the move provocative.

"This is really really unnecessary, it just creates tension," he told ONE News.

Dzur said the team should deliver its aid through an Israeli or Egyptian port, as requested by the Israeli government.

"If they want to bring any goods to Gaza they are welcome to bring it through the ports of Ashdod in Israel or the ports of Egypt. It will be screened to make sure no explosives," he said.

But the convoy organisers - Viva Palestina - say they do not trust Israel to deliver the aid.

The Kia Ora Gaza team says they were driven to do something after Israeli forces shot and killed nine Turkish aid workers on board a ship sailing in an aid flotilla, in May. Israeli forces defended their action, saying they fired in response to an attack by the Turks onboard. Sir Geoffrey Palmer is currently leading an independent UN inquiry into the incident.

But Dzur believes there is more to the Kiwi involvement that the group states.

"This is not a natural Kiwi operation - this is really a hatred kind of operation to undermine Israel," he said.

Israel says the convoy will not be allowed to enter the way it plans. It blames the suffering on Gaza's ruling Hamas party and says any support of them undermines the peace process.

The aid convoy sets off next month.

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Les Keane

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Posted: 13 Aug 2010 07:37 pm Post subject: Gaza aid from NZ


Hamas stopping aid for Gaza
by Whaleoil on June 3, 2010 ·

Hamas doesn’t seem to want any of the aid that was aboard the flotilla that Israel stopped and searched. After clear­ing the con­tents of the ship the aid sup­plies were loaded aboard trucks and sent to the bor­der of Gaza. Hamas has refused entry of the trucks.

As of right now, the State of Israel has loaded 20 trucks with var­i­ous types of aid found onboard the flotilla. Expired med­ica­tion, cloth­ing, blan­kets, some med­ical equip­ment and toys were among the aid found on the ships.

Unfor­tu­nately, the Hamas ter­ror orga­ni­za­tion is unwill­ing to accept the cargo and the trucks filled with human­i­tar­ian aid have not been allowed to enter the Gaza Strip. It appears that Hamas is in fact stop­ping the trans­fer of the human­i­tar­ian aid.

And here was me think­ing that the aid sup­plies were crit­i­cal to the sur­vival of Gazans. Silly me, seems Hamas just wants to score polit­i­cal points. Of course the use­ful idiots in the media will repeat the Hamas line that it is Israel that is stoppng aid.

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Les Keane

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Posted: 13 Aug 2010 07:49 pm Post subject: Gaza aid from NZ


NZ team to take part in Gaza convoy Published: 4:59AM Monday August 09, 2010
Source: Newstalk ZB/ONE News
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An Israeli naval vessel - Source: Reuters

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From Kiwi suburbia to Gaza activist June 13, 2010 » watch
Turks mourn Gaza flotilla "martyrs" June 04, 2010
Six New Zealanders will be part of a global group attempting to get aid into Gaza.

The team, called Kia Ora Gaza, will leave London in September as part of a convoy of hundreds of vehicles and a flotilla of ships.

Queen's Service Medal recipient Roger Fowler heads up the New Zealand contingent, with his 25-year-old son Hone also taking part. They will be joined by photojournalist Chris van Ryn, human rights observer Julie Webb-Pullman and social justice campaigner Pat O'Dea. Mousa Taher, who has a Palestinian father, is the sixth team member.

Despite nine people being killed just months ago for doing something similar, the group says there is strength in numbers.

The 500-vehicle convoy will travel through Egypt into Gaza's Rafah crossing next month, to deliver aid.

Van Ryn says the flotilla raid by Israeli forces in May was a catalyst for action. He says it is a tragic situation, but it has given Gaza supporters a stronger voice.

Van Ryn is both excited and apprehensive about taking part, but believes the rewards from taking part in the convoy outweigh the risks.

The point I particularly want to make from all this is that all Europeans and those who have European blood lines have their roots in Israel . Check the history if you must but the only reason it is not commonly known is because it is not taught and people are too lazy to learn themselves . Israel as we know it today is Jewish , the tribes of Judah and Benjamin who split from the other ten tribes who then dispersed throughout Asia and Europe .
The split has never been mended so anything anyone from NZ ( predominantly Europeanised ) does against the Jews is deliberately agravating that split , not bringing peace as they suppose in their histrionic way .

 Post subject: world news
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:12 pm 
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Obama backs Ground Zero mosque
08/14/2010 05:03

Bucking public opinion, US President champions freedom of religion.

US President Barack Obama on Friday forcefully endorsed allowing a mosque near the site of the former World Trade Center, saying the country's founding principles demanded no less, even as 70 percent of US citizens opposed the mosque's construction in a recent poll.

"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country," Obama said, weighing in for the first time on a controversy that has riven New York City and Americans.

"That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances," he said. "This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable."

Obama made the comments at an annual dinner in the White House State Dining Room celebrating the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The White House had not previously taken a stand on the mosque, which would be part of a $100 million Islamic center two blocks from where nearly 3,000 people perished when hijacked jetliners slammed into the World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001. Press secretary Robert Gibbs had insisted it was a local matter.

It was already much more than that, sparking debate around America as top Republicans including former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich announced their opposition. So did the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group.

Obama elevated it to a presidential issue Friday without equivocation.

While insisting that the place where the twin towers once stood was indeed "hallowed ground," Obama said that the proper way to honor it was to apply American values.

"Our capacity to show not merely tolerance, but respect to those who are different from us — a way of life that stands in stark contrast to the nihilism of those who attacked us on that September morning, and who continue to plot against us today," he said.

Entering the highly charged election-year debate, Obama surely knew that his words would not only make headlines but be heard by Muslims worldwide. The president has made it a point to reach out to the global Muslim community, and the over 100 guests at Friday's dinner included ambassadors and officials from numerous Muslim nations, including Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. Seated around candlelit tables, they listened closely as Obama spoke, then stood and applauded when the president finished his remarks.

Obama harkened back to earlier times when the building of synagogues or Catholic churches also met with opposition. "But time and again, the American people have demonstrated that we can work through these issues, stay true to our core values and emerge stronger for it," he said. "So it must be and will be today."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent who has been a strong supporter of the mosque, welcomed Obama's words as a "clarion defense of the freedom of religion."

But some Republicans were quick to pounce.

"President Obama is wrong," said New York Rep. Peter King. "It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of ground zero. While the Muslim community has the right to build the mosque they are abusing that right by needlessly offending so many people who have suffered so much."

While his pronouncement concerning the mosque might find favor in the Muslim world, Obama's stance runs counter to the opinions of the majority of Americans, according to polls. A CNN/Opinion Research poll released this week found that nearly 70 percent of Americans opposed the mosque plan while just 29 percent approved. A number of Democratic politicians have shied away from the controversy.

The group behind the $100 million project, the Cordoba Initiative, describes it as a Muslim-themed community center. Early plans call not only for prayer space but for a swimming pool, culinary school, art studios and other features. Developers envision it as a hub for interfaith interaction, as well as a place for Muslims to bridge some of their faith's own schisms.

Opponents, including some relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, see the prospect of a mosque so near the destroyed trade center as an insult to the memory of those killed by Islamic terrorists. Some of the Sept. 11 victims' relatives, however, are in favor.

The mosque has won approval from local planning boards but faces legal challenges, and New York's Conservative Party is planning a television ad campaign to pressure a New York City utility to use its power to block the project.

 Post subject: world
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:08 am 
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Fake graves cleared from J'lem cemetery
08/15/2010 01:21

"Islamic officials" blamed for attempting to "illegally seize state land."

In what city officials are calling “one of the largest acts of deception in recent years,” Jerusalem municipal employees last week cleared away some 300 “fictitious tombstones” from a historic Muslim cemetery located in the heart of the capital. The cemetery abuts the planned site of a future “Museum of Tolerance.”

On Thursday, city officials confirmed that the fraudulent markers had been cleared from the site, and pointed blame at “Islamic officials” who they said had sanctioned the placement of these markers in an attempt to “illegally seize state lands.”

“Over the last month, Islamic officials have acted fraudulently and erected new, fictitious tombstones inside the ancient Muslim cemetery at Mamilla,” read an official statement released by the Jerusalem Municipality on Thursday night.

“These officials exploited permits they had received from the city’s sanitation department for the cleaning and renovation of existing graves, and instead [used the permits to] fraudulently erect fictitious tombstones in the cemetery, which is owned by the Israel Lands Administration,” the statement said.

The municipality statement also stressed that “this is an ancient Muslim cemetery; however, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority, it has not been used for burial since 1927.”

The statement added that upon discovering the false tombstones at the site, the municipality filed a complaint with police and halted the work immediately.

“During a court hearing [last Monday], a Jerusalem District Court judge rejected an injunction that had been filed in the case and authorized the municipality to begin removing the fictitious headstones,” the municipality’s statement continued.

City officials added that the extent of the fraud may not yet be completely known, and that work at the site to identify additional false markers was still underway.

“So far,” the municipality statement went on, “about 300 fictitious tombstones have been removed, with each new location being identified and cleared only after review and approval from an IAA expert.”

The municipality statement also alluded to the “simple” method used in erecting the tombstones, in which workers placed stone frames between 70 and 120 centimeters in size over the “tombs,” or used authentic, older pieces of stone they found at the site.

City officials added that the work was often done hastily, and that “under the fictitious tombstones, plastic bottles, cigarette butts and sewage has been found.

“It is important to note that this is one of the greatest acts of deception in recent years, with one specific goal – the illegal seizure of state land,” the municipality statement added.

“The Jerusalem Municipality will not allow extremist elements to illegally change the status quo, and will continue to enforce law in order to prevent any attempt to illegally take over public land.”

The city’s account has reportedly been refuted by the Islamic Movement, which last week accused the municipality of razing ancient tombs inside the cemetery.

The cemetery itself is no stranger to controversy; it abuts the planned site of a future “Museum of Tolerance” being constructed by the US-based Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The center has long fought against opponents of its plans to build at the site, expressly by Palestinian groups who have petitioned against the museum’s construction. The appeals, which have reached the United Nations, argue that the construction would disturb centuries-old graves and desecrate the cemetery.

Palestinian and Israeli advocacy groups filed a petition against the planned construction in 2004 and have been contesting it ever since.

The Supreme Court considered the legal arguments for nearly four years, finally giving the go-ahead in 2009 to the Los Angeles-based Wiesenthal Center.

Earlier this year, however, The Jerusalem Post learned that the Supreme Muslim Council of British Mandate Palestine had planned to build a large commercial center directly on top of the cemetery in 1945.

A November 22, 1945 article from The Palestine Post (the pre-state name of The Jerusalem Post), forwarded to the Wiesenthal Center in February, reported the council’s plans to build “a six-storeyed building to house the Supreme Moslem Council and other offices, a four-storeyed hotel, a bank and other buildings suitable for it, a college, a club and a factory” directly over the cemetery.

The 1945 article also describes plans by the council to transfer remains buried in the cemetery to a separate, “walled reserve” and cites rulings from prominent Muslim clerics at the time allowing for the building plans to go ahead.

 Post subject: world news
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:15 am 
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60 killed in Baghdad suicide bombing
08/17/2010 10:43

Attack targets Iraqi army recruits near military headquarters.

BAGHDAD — Sixty people were killed and 125 more were wounded on Tuesday when a suicide bomber blew himself among dozens of Iraqi army recruits who had gathered near a military headquarters in downtown Baghdad

The massive morning blast took place just outside the former Iraqi Ministry of Defense building that now houses the army's 11th division headquarters. The site receives about 250 new recruits each week as Iraqi security forces try to bolster their ranks to prepare for the US military's looming withdrawal after seven years of war.

The recruits were gathered in an open area next to Maidan Square in central Baghdad as they waited to be let through the main gates in small groups, according to two Iraqi police officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. At least three soldiers were among the dead and eight among the wounded, the police officials said.

Officials at four Baghdad hospitals confirmed the casualties.

Iraqi security forces have been trying to boost their numbers as the US military begins to leave the country. All but 50,000 US troops will go home by the end of August, with the rest to follow by the end of 2011 under a security agreement between Baghdad and Washington.

But insurgents determined to highlight the Iraqi government's struggle to protect the nation have been stepping up attacks in recent weeks.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:11 am 
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08/26/2010 12:00

Police says teacher put students at risk of 10 year jail term.
The Australian Federal Police on Thursday morning confirmed a report that a high school teacher had assigned her class to plan a terrorist attack that would kill as many innocent Australians as possible.

An Australian police spokesman was quoted by news Web site WAtoday as saying that the teacher was exposing her students to a minimum jail term of at least 10 years, for collecting or making documents related to a terrorist attack.

Australia to urge counter-terror measures in Bali

The spokesman added that being "reckless as to whether these documents may assist or prepare for a terrorist attack" is also illegal.

On Wednesday, Australian education officials had stressed that the teacher had no intent to promote terorrism.

The Year 10 students at Kalgoorlie-Boulder Community High School in the state of Western Australia were given the assignment last week in a class on contemporary conflict and terrorism.

Principal Terry Martino said he withdrew the assignment as soon as he heard of it.

But after news of the assignment was published in Wednesday's West Australian newspaper, talk radio and online forums began a busy debate and some survivors of terror attacks across Australia — which has been a target of terror campaigns at home and abroad — came forward to express their outrage.

"It's extremely offensive if you've ever been involved in it," said Peter Hughes, who was burned over half of his body in the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, on the Indonesian resort island.

"It's something they would probably do in some radical school in Indonesia. For it to be done in the state education system is mind-blowing," he told the newspaper.

The students were asked to pretend they were terrorists making a political statement by releasing a chemical or biological agent on "an unsuspecting Australian community," according to a copy of the assignment received by the West Australian newspaper.

The task included choosing the best time to attack and explaining their choice of victims and what effects the attack would have on a human body.

"Your goal is to kill the MOST innocent civilians in order to get your message across," the assignment read.

Grades were to be allocated based on students' ability to analyze information they had learned on terrorism and chemical and biological warfare and apply it to a real-life scenario, the newspaper reported.

The school declined to identify the teacher, citing her privacy, and her name also was not given in the newspaper report.

Student Sarah Gilbert, 15, told the newspaper she was horrified by the assignment.

"I was shocked and quite offended," she said. "I'm offended that it's Australia but I'm disgusted because it doesn't matter where it is, it's still not something you ask someone to do or think about. ... There is a difference between being a terrorist and learning about terrorism."

Gilbert — whose mother lost a relative in the Bali bombings — wrote a letter to her teacher refusing to do the assignment.

"Even though it may seem petty, to me my beliefs are more important than an "A'' stating I am smart," Gilbert wrote. A copy of her letter was published by the newspaper.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:53 am 
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Hamas claims responsibility for 2nd W.Bank attack
09/02/2010 03:33

Shot fired at a vehicle near Rimonim Junction injuring two, one in serious condition; in Washington, Abbas denounces latest terror attacks.
The military wing of Palestinian terrorist group Hamas claimed responsibility for Wednesday night's drive-by shooting near Rimonim Junction in the West Bank that left two Israelis wounded, Israel Radio reported Thursday.

Shots were reportedly fired at a vehicle traveling in the area between the settlement Kochav Yaakov and Rimonim Junction.

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Judea and Samaria Police officers who arrived on the scene found an Israeli vehicle with bullet marks. "The vehicle descended down a nearby slope," police said. The officers who arrived in the area found one person seriously injured and another person slightly injured.

Magen David Adom rushed the two Israelis to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center in Jerusalem; a man aged around 30 in moderate to serious condition suffering from a gunshot wound to the knee, and a woman aged around 30 who was injured in the resulting accident. Both are conscious and stable, paramedics said.

Security forces were on the scene searching for the terrorists' vehicle.

Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas during his Wednesday night speech at the White House denounced the terror attacks against Israeli civilians in the West Bank on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We [the Palestinian Authority] are not interested in spilling Israeli blood. We want the two peoples to live regular lives in real peace," Abbas said.

The shooting came the day after four Israelis were killed Tuesday night in a devastating Hamas shooting attack in the West Bank believed to have been aimed at torpedoing the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks set to kick off on Wednesday in Washington DC.

The four victims, described by a settler spokesman as a couple and two hitchhikers – were driving on Route 60 near the entrance to Kiryat Arba when their vehicle came under fire. The victims were named as Yitzhak Ames, 47, and his wife Tali Ames, 45, Kochava Even-Haim, 37, and Avishai Schindler, 24, all from Beit Hagai. The Ames couple had six children, including a one-and-a-half-year-old toddler.

 Post subject: world news
PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:40 am 
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Abbas: No 'historic compromise' on Jerusalem, borders
09/07/2010 13:35

In 'Al-Quds' interview, PA president says Palestinians won't recognize Israel as Jewish state, accuses PM of trying to "strip" Israeli-Arabs' rights.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's talk about an "historic compromise" and said there would be no compromises on core issues such as Jerusalem and borders.

Abbas also reiterated his rejection of Netanyahu's demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. "We're not talking about a Jewish state and we won't talk about one," Abbas said in an interview with the semi-official Al-Quds newspaper. "For us, there is the state of Israel and we won't recognize Israel as a Jewish state."

Analysis: The PA's mixed messages about peace talks

Abbas said that in recent meetings with leaders of the Jewish community in the US, he made it clear that the Palestinians would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state. "I told them that this is their business and that they are free to call themselves whatever they want," Abbas said. "But [I told them] you can't expect us to accept this."

Abbas said that by raising the issue of Israel's right to be a Jewish state, Netanyahu was seeking to "strip" Israeli-Arabs of their rights and turn them into illegal citizens. He said that Netanyahu's goal was also to block any chance of Palestinian "refugees" from returning to their original homes inside Israel.

Asked about the possibility of dismantling the PA, Abbas said he did not rule out such an option if he reached the conclusion that the peace talks are hopeless. However, he stressed that this option was not on the table at present.

 Post subject: world news
PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:44 am 
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Israel gearing up for ‘mother of all flotillas’
09/07/2010 05:35

NGOs planning to sail up to 20 ships to Gaza in coming months; IDF closely tracking planned flotilla, preparing for wide-range of scenarios.
Israel is preparing for what is being described in the IDF as the “mother of all flotillas,” which could include up to 20 different ships planning to set sail for the Gaza Strip in the coming months.

The flotilla is being organized by a coalition of NGOs from Europe and the United States, including a group calling itself European Jews for a Just Peace.

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Flotilla’s purpose was to save Hamas regime

“We hope to have a broad coalition from European countries, and also maybe the United States,” Dror Feiler, an Israeli-Swedish musician and artist who lives in Stockholm – and one of the organizers behind the flotilla – told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. “We would like it to be double the size of the last flotilla, with at least a dozen ships and more than thousand people.”

The IDF is closely tracking the planned flotilla and is preparing for a wide-range of scenarios, including the possibility that due the large number of ships, it will need to stop the flotilla far from Israel’s shores. Feiler said the large number of ships was due to the unprecedented number of people who wanted to sail to Gaza.

“The Israeli army can stop 12 or 50 ships if it wants,” he said. “There are so many ships since so many people want to get together to stop the siege, which is a collective punishment of the people of Gaza and is unacceptable.”

The last flotilla to Gaza was stopped by the navy at the end of May. During the operation, nine Turkish passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara passenger ship were killed in clashes with commandos from the navy’s Flotilla 13.

The coalition behind the new blockade-busting effort includes the Turkish IHH and the Free Gaza Movement, both of which were involved in the May flotilla. It is demanding “an immediate and complete lifting of the closure, including a lifting of the travel ban as well as the ban on exports from Gaza.”

 Post subject: world
PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:49 am 
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Breaking News Gaza terrorists fire missile at ID-
JPost.comHeadlines Dutch police arrest drunken American pilot before takeoff
09/14/2010 21:33

AMSTERDAM — Dutch police on Tuesday stated that they had arrested and fined an intoxicated American pilot who was preparing to take off with a passenger jet.

The National Police Corps has not identified the pilot or his airline, but said he is a 52-year-old captain from Woodbury, New Jersey. He does not fly for a Dutch airline, according to a police statement published Tuesday.

Police said they arrested the man in the cockpit of his plane after an anonymous tip. A breath test found he had a blood alcohol content of 0.023 percent — a hair above the legal limit in the Netherlands.

The pilot was fined €700 ($900) and released, the statement said. The flight was canceled.

 Post subject: world
PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:56 am 
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Breaking News Gaza terrorists fire missile at IDF; army returns fire
JPost.comMiddle East
Photo by: Courtesy Gaza-made film shows Israel’s destruction by Palestinians
09/14/2010 02:40

Palestinian filmmaker calls ‘The Great Liberation’ "a gift to the people of Gaza," a response to Operation Cast Lead.A new film produced in the Gaza Strip depicts the destruction of Israel at the hands of Palestinians.

Titled The Great Liberation, the film includes scenes that show Palestinians blowing up vital institutions, including the Bank of Israel, the Supreme Court and the recently renovated Hurva Synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem.

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In one scene, a Palestinian is seen reading the news in Arabic at the Channel 2 studios.

One of the scenes documents the moment Tel Aviv is “liberated” by the Palestinians.

Palestinian flags are seen flying over many buildings as Palestinian cars drive through the city to celebrate the event.

Tel Aviv is referred to in the film by its Arabic name, Tal al-Rabi.

Mohammed al-Amriti, one of the producers of the new film, said he drew the idea from a dream he had a while ago.

He said that he and his colleague, Ayman Hijazi, recruited a number of actors from the Gaza Strip.

Amriti called the movie a “natural response” to a film that was recently produced by Israeli extremists about the destruction of the Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount.

He added that the film, parts of which have been posted on YouTube, also came in response to Operation Cast Lead.

“This film is a gift to the people of the Gaza Strip and to Palestine,” he explained.

According to the filmmaker, the whole movie will be released for screening within a month.

 Post subject: world
PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:57 am 
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Breaking News Gaza terrorists fire missile at IDF; army returns fire
Photo by: ASSOCIATED PRESS 'Soldiers seldom punished for killing Palestinians'
09/14/2010 06:15

B’Tselem report states that out of 148 cases in which 288 Palestinians were killed between 2006 and 2009, 95 are still pending.
IDF soldiers who kill Palestinians in the West Bank are seldom punished, regardless of the circumstances, according to a new report to be released on Tuesday by the organization B’Tselem.

The report, called “Void of Responsibility,” states that the reason for the low number of prosecutions is that the IDF’s Judge Advocate-General’s office routinely procrastinates on cases and the military police do not probe such issues.

Facebook flooded with photos of detainees
Soros to give Human Rights Watch $100m. over 10 years

The report states that out of 148 cases in which 288 Palestinians were killed between 2006 and 2009, only 22 resulted in the opening of a Military Police Investigation Unit probe. Ninety-five of those cases are still pending.

B’Tselem said Monday that in their examinations of a number of cases, “investigations are not opened even where there is a grave suspicion that the law has been broken.

“Also, analysis of the files shows that the authorities’ interpretation of the events is based solely on the results of an operational inquiry and the statements of the soldiers, without any reliance on the eyewitness testimony of other persons and on other evidence that contradicts the soldiers’ position.”

In a statement issued on Monday, the IDF Spokesman’s Office said “the majority of the subjects and contentions brought up in the B’Tselem report are mentioned in a petition the organization issued to the High Court of Justice on the matter and the state has responded in a comprehensive way. A number of the incidents mentioned in the report have been examined and the results of such probes were sent directly to the organization [B’Tselem].”

The statement added: “It is worth noting that every human being who has found themselves hurt by such decisions has the right to appeal them and turn to the Attorney-General’s Office or the High Court of Justice.”

The statement also takes issue with 10 cases mentioned in the report, detailing how in each one an official investigation was opened and completed.

 Post subject: Re: World news
PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 7:06 am 
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Photo by: HH/AP Press freedom, Turkish style
11/17/2010 05:07

If Turkish citizens are taking to the streets to denounce Israel, who can blame them, given the AKP’s stranglehold on the media.
In May, a ship full of civilians – but not full of humanitarian aid – sailed from Turkey to join the Free Gaza flotilla. Having warned the Mavi Marmara that it would not be allowed to breach the blockade, Israeli commandos raided the ship. In the clash, nine Turks were killed.

I’ve lived in Istanbul for five years and I’ve spoken to hundreds of Turks about these events. A Turkish documentary filmmaker and I have filmed some of these conversations.

Something will immediately strike the viewer: the Turkish people have no idea what happened.

This is because the most basic facts about and surrounding these events have not been reported in Turkey.

In billing the flotilla as a humanitarian mission, the IHH – the expedition’s Islamist sponsor – exploited the Turks’ Achilles heel: their generosity.

Turks think of themselves as charitable and compassionate, as indeed they are. They genuinely believe, because this is what has been reported here, that the Palestinians are starving.

They know almost nothing about the reasons for the blockade. They believe that the ship was on a humanitarian mission and nothing but a humanitarian mission. They are bewildered that anyone would have interfered with such a noble-minded endeavor.

They do not know the most rudimentary facts about Hamas. As one man said: “These are elected people. It’s not like they took over by force, via a coup.”

Almost no one in Turkey understands any language but Turkish. If this obviously thoughtful man was unaware that indeed, Hamas took over precisely by force, via a coup, it is because he had no way to know. The men and women to whom we spoke were astonished when we told them that Israeli officials had invited the ship to disembark at Ashdod and deliver the aid overland.

But they were not disbelieving – and importantly, when we told them this, it changed their view.

Many spontaneously said that they knew they could not trust what they heard in the news, that the situation confused them and that something about the story just didn’t sound right.

TURKEY’S JUSTICE and Development Party, known by its Turkish initials as the AKP, came to power in 2002. When Western journalists note in a casual aside that press freedom has experienced certain setbacks under the AKP, they are failing to do justice to the severity of this calamity and its ramifications for Turkey and the region. The calamity is exacerbated by the tendency of the foreign media to repeat, without scrutiny, the very idiocies peddled in the Turkish press, where the range of opinion on offer has become severely limited.

The AKP has brought under its influence most of the media in Turkey, and what it hasn’t purchased or neutered, it has terrified. Since taking office in 2003, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched an energetic series of lawsuits against Turkish journalists and cartoonists for character defamation. No one knows how many have been sued, though the number is probably in the hundreds, and Erdogan has refused to answer this question when asked in parliament.

The government, meanwhile, has been locking down larger and larger portions of the internet: more than 1,000 websites have been banned, among them YouTube.

So what’s left? Chiefly such newspapers as Zaman and Yeni Safak – the AKP’s unofficial mouthpiece – which are staunchly Islamist and connected to or controlled by the AKP or the Gülen media empire.

Now, cronyism and government influence over the media is nothing new in Turkey; it would be completely misleading to suggest otherwise. What’s new, and disturbing, is the agenda this media consolidation is now serving and the eagerness of foreign journalists to swallow it whole and promote it.

If Turkish citizens are taking to the streets to denounce Israel, who can blame them? Here’s what they’re reading in the Turkish press. Yasin Aktay of Yeni Safak, a popular figure on the talk-show circuit, writes: “Israel is contrary to logic, to human rights and to democracy.”

Ali Bulaç, a columnist for Zaman, describes Gaza as “a concentration camp that in reality surpasses the Nazis camps”. In Ortadogu, Selcuk Duzgun warns: “We are surrounded.

Wherever we look we see traitors. Wherever we turn we see impure, false converts.

Whichever stone you turn over, there is a Jew under it.

And we keep thinking to ourselves: Hitler did not do enough to these Jews.” Abdurrahim Karakoç of Vakit adds: “It is impossible not to admire the foresight of Adolf Hitler... Hitler foresaw what would happen these days. He cleansed off these swindler Jews, who believe in racism for a religion and take pleasure in bathing the world in blood, because he knew that they would become a big curse for the world... The second man with foresight is evidently Osama bin Laden... It was Hitler yesterday, and it is Osama bin Laden today.”

What is astonishing, then, is not that we see so much hostility towards Israelis among Turks, but that we see so little of it.

Given the level of anti-Semitic propaganda to which they are exposed, this can only be attributed to their basic decency.

The Turkish Penal Code clearly prohibits incitement on the basis of religion, but no one is ever prosecuted for writing this garbage, although the prime minister has, par contre, sued a cartoonist for depicting him as a cat caught in a ball of string – after all, that was really offensive.

Turkey’s religious affairs department has recently been given the right to request the banning of anti-Islamic and sacrilegious websites. They are duly banned.

The wonderment of this story is that, certain honorable exceptions aside, the Western media embraces the idea that the main threat to press freedom here comes from the military and from the antediluvian, antidemocratic secular elites, who in the received narrative long to return to what Michael Thumann, for example, in the Wilson Quarterly, published by the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, calls a “decaying old order.” On the other hand, he continues: “Pious Muslims lead the way toward modernization...

The AKP is conservative, but contrary to critics’ suspicions it is not a religious party...

after eight years in power the AKP has not pursued any Islamist objectives, such as establishing laws based on religious sources.”

What he’s missing, and what anyone who lives here could tell him, is that you don’t need to establish laws based on religious sources to pursue Islamist objectives, you just need to enforce laws based on religious sources. If you enforce the tax code, laws on foreign financing of the media and laws on religious incitement selectively, well then, voila! – you’ve got yourself an Islamist press, all without writing a single law based on religious sources, and mirabile dictu, people like Thumann are none the wiser.

I have no great love for Turkey’s secular elites, who are pretty much as decayed as described. It’s the enthusiasm for the AKP’s equally decayed elites and the credulous swallowing of its party line that puzzle me. The party does, certainly, cultivate the foreign media carefully and shrewdly and sometimes you can see precisely where the effort pays off. In the wake of the bloodletting on the Mavi Marmara, for example, the veteran Middle East specialist Hugh Pope published a defense of Erdogan in the Israeli daily, Haaretz. “Erdogan’s rhetoric may often be pugnacious and out of date,” he wrote, “but his ideology is not devoted to Israel’s destruction. Just over two years ago, he entertained Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to a long dinner in his official Ankara residence.

Naively perhaps, but certainly sincerely, Erdogan believed that he had brought Israel and Syria to the brink of face-to-face talks or even a peace deal. Yet just days later, and having given no warning, Olmert launched Israel’s winter 2009 assault on Gaza. This was the turning point, not the outburst against President Shimon Peres in Davos a few weeks later.”

I’ve seen that explanation repeatedly in the Western media. I know exactly where it comes from. I’ve personally heard it from two senior figures in the AKP, both very smooth guys, fluent English speakers, who tell this story to journalists in cosy little salon settings, off the record, in precisely these words. You get tea and biscuits, they tell you this story and a few others like it and the story just keeps getting repeated, verbatim, in the press, as if the journalist writing the story had been a first-hand witness to this dinner. What seems to escape those repeating it is that clearly the AKP has an interest in spinning it this way – but that doesn’t mean it’s what really happened or that it’s the most salient point.

Indeed, I’d say one of the sources of this story – at least, the one from whom I last heard it – has a massive credibility problem on the face of it, because he followed this anecdote by denying the genocide in Darfur and proposing that whatever was happening there paled in comparison with the crimes against humanity being perpetrated in Gaza. That part never makes it into the press, even though I know at least a dozen other foreign journalists heard him say this. Watch for variants on the long-dinnerwith- Olmert story, you’ll see it everywhere – Erdogan was so personally hurt, because he doesn’t smoke, in fact he hates smoking, but Olmert does, and he’d even dispatched his aide to get Olmert a cigar.

THE SUPPRESSED assumption, almost universal in the Western media, is that Turkey is divided into two camps, the anachronistic, godless, elitist generals who hunger for military coups just for the thrill of hearing the tank engines rumble, and the pious conservatives who are so forward-thinking and democratic they’re practically channeling the spirit of Thomas Jefferson with one hand and building a bridge between East and West and straight into the 27th century with the other.

It’s not so. This simply ignores the lack of democratization across the board in Turkey, not to mention roughly 80 percent of the Turkish population, who belong to neither camp and just wish the government – whoever’s controlling it these days – would stop stealing everything.

The struggle is taking place among the ruling elites, not the people, and these ruling elites are pretty much all thieving scum, as they will be until parliamentary immunities are lifted, voters are given the chance to elect their own MPs and government service is seen as something other than a chance to enrich oneself through cronyism and corruption. The deeper struggle here is about power and the right to steal, not religion or the military. Those are just the excuses to manipulate public sentiment, which is particularly easy to do if the media goes along for the ride.

The Turkish people are generally well-meaning. They suspect that they cannot trust what they hear in the media. “You saw what was on TV, in the news, and what was published,” said one young woman whom we interviewed about the Gaza flotilla. “We know nothing less and nothing more.”

“It’s murky,” agreed her mother.

They have no way of knowing more. So they may be forgiven.

What’s the Western media’s excuse?

The writer is an Istanbulbased American freelance journalist and novelist. She is author of Menace in Europe: Why the Continent’s Crisis Is America’s, Too and There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters (Basic Books). This article is republished by kind permission of Standpoint magazine (, where it originally appeared in a longer version.

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