Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Al Qaeda Building Underground Country in Mali

More than 11 years after 9/11, Al Qaeda is creating another state-within-a-state. Read more.

AQ's control of an African land belies the Obama administration's assertions that the terrorist group has been "decimated" by drone and other attacks. In fact, Al Qaeda has been degraded, not decimated.

Al Qaeda and the Taliban should have been destroyed in the immediate aftermath of the mega-attacks. Instead, the Bush administration merely dislodged the enemy.

But that's another story.

New Evidence Hitler Escaped to Argentina

Was Hitler's suicide faked?

The theory that the Nazi monster and his mistress managed to flee to Argentina, where they lived out their days in luxury--with their two daughters--is the subject of a newly released documentary film. Click here for the story, below for the video.

Iran Claims it Test-Fired Missiles Near Strait of Hormuz

Another provocative move by Iran's nuclear/missile-mad, Islamist regime. Click here for the story.

New Delhi Known as India's Rape Capital

The torture, rape and murder of a medical student by slum dwellers and a bus driver highlights India's barbarism and backwardness. New Delhi is India's rape capital. Read more

Sunday, December 30, 2012

North Korean Dictator Died in Fit of Rage

Now it can be told: North Korea's lunatic leader died in a fit of rage after being told that a dam had sprung a leak. Read more.

Syria in Danger of Becoming Next Somalia: Brahimi

By Edward Yeranian

U.N.-Arab League Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Sunday said the situation in Syria is deteriorating rapidly and risks getting considerably worse if no political solution is found to the conflict.

He warned 100,000 more Syrians could die if the conflict lasts for another year.

Speaking in Cairo, the veteran U.N. envoy stressed that he believes the only solution to the conflict is a political settlement between the warring parties.

Brahimi said that there are only two alternatives in Syria: a political solution or hell.

Syria will not break apart into mini-states as happened in Yugoslavia, but into warring statelets as in Somalia, Brahimi said.

Related: Failed Mission Brings Chemical War Closer

Giant of Science Dies in Rome at Age 103

Nobel Prize Winning Biologist Rita Levi-Montalcini Defied Fascists, 

Was Senator for Life in Italy; Her Cellular Research Lives On

Lady of the Cells: Rita Levi-Montalcini

The scientific world has lost an amazing woman--an Italian Jew who conducted underground research in defiance of the Fascists during the Second World War. A Nobel Laureate known in Italy as the "Lady of the Cells," Rita Levi-Montalcini worked well into her final years. Read more

Saturday, December 29, 2012

French Wind Power Worker Kidnapped in Nigeria

Islamist Group Claims Responsibility 

A French renewable energy firm seeking to build a large wind farm in northern Nigeria has fallen victim to Islamist terrorism. A company employe was kidnapped by a group claiming to act in retaliation for France's burqa ban. Read more

NATO Piracy Update

NATO reports that all 22 hostages from the MV Iceberg 1 have now been released from pirate captivity. They had been held since the Iceberg 1 was pirated on 29 March 2010, a period of two years and nine months. The former hostages are now recovering from their ordeal and are receiving food and medical care.

On 21 Dec 2012 at 0845Z, a vessel transiting in the Gulf of Oman (2322N; 05926E) was approached and chased by two skiffs for approximately 1.5 hours. Vessel was subsequently confirmed as safe. On 20 Dec 2012 at 1015Z, a vessel transiting in the Gulf of Oman was approached by a skiff reported in position 2449N; 05750E, with possibly armed personnel onboard. The skiff fell back and the vessel was reported safe.

New Area of Concern

The vessel reported hijacked from Bossaso anchorage on 18 Dec 2012 has returned to its previous position. This incident is no longer assessed as being piracy related.

In addition to the incidents above, the NATO Shipping Centre has identified a new area of concern on the Pirate Attack Group (PAG) map located within the Gulf of Oman.

Merchant vessels are advised to remain vigilant throughout the High Risk Area and ensure that Self Protection Measures are in place as PAGs are likely to be operating in the area.

Clerical Fascist Egypt Engaging Hitlerian Hezbollah

Sunni Islamist Regime Reaches Out to Shiite Terrorist Group

More blowback from the Obama administration's betrayal and abandonment of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Egypt's new, U.S.-backed regime, which is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood--the movement that spawned Al Qaeda--says it will engage Iran's proxy terrorist organization, Hezbollah, which controls Lebanon. Hezbollah is bristling with ballistic missiles capable of striking all over Israel. Read more.

The news is bad for Israel, naturally. But an Egypt-Hezbollah tie-up is also bad news for Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states that are threatened by Iranian meddling and intrigue.

Russia, UAE Announce Nuclear Energy Accord

Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this week announced the signing of a civilian nuclear cooperation agreement to share technology, equipment and nuclear material in order to help the Gulf nation meets its goal of acquiring 25 percent of its energy needs from nuclear power. Read more.

Dark Times for European Trade Unions

But EU Organized Labor Still Powerful Force

A pro-labor expert on European trade unions argues that they have more power than they themselves seem to think they have, even as governments embrace wage reduction over currency devaluation as a way out of the financial crisis. Read more

UN 'Fails Miserably' in Syria

Diplomacy in Ruins; New Cold War Looms

An utter failure: UN attempts to end the Syrian Civil War. Russia backs Assad; America backs the rebels. Civilians are slaughtered.  Read more.

UPDATE: Russia Says No Chance Assad Will Quit

More than two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union and world Communism … and a decade after the secret U.S. intervention in Afghanistan blew back in the form of a mega-attack on the United States by Islamist terrorists … relations between the U.S. and Russia are alarmingly awful. Syria is the flashpoint.

But why? There is no good reason for a proxy war in Syria, no reason Syria has to follow the disastrous Libya script, no logic to Western support for Al Qaeda-linked rebels. The policy of backing rightwing political Islam, after all that has happened, is perfidious … and downright suicidal.

Syria could--and should--have been turned into a neutral, federated nation of demilitarized, autonomous provinces. As part of a deal, Moscow's naval installation at Tartus--no threat to Washington--could have been preserved, along with compensation for the loss of Russian arms sales to Syria. The Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union is over; why, then, is a new cold war with post-Soviet Russia apparently being promoted? Who benefits from the worsening relationship?

The questions, which few U.S. politicians and observers bother to raise, go unanswered. U.S. media inexplicably ignore the important issue of U.S.-Russia relations, a topic neglected, even, during the Presidential debates. 

Mysterious N. Korean Caste System Starting to Fray

Pursuit of Wealth Creates Songbun-Free Space 

The founder of the criminal, Kimist-Stalinist state created a caste system based on ideological purity. But the system, called songbun--which officially does not exist--is ever so quietly beginning to unravel. Read more

Friday, December 28, 2012

Most Amazing American Football Kicker is Norwegian

And His Viral Video Won Him a NY Jets Tryout!

Click here for the story and below for the video.

World Braces for N. Korean New Year Nuclear Fireworks

More about a dysfunctional--but deadly--adversary, North Korea.

A New Year's Eve or Day nuclear detonation is likely. North Korea is readying a test site in the aftermath of the nation's successful ICBM launch.

Click here for the latest news about the … Iran-assisted and … China-enabling … North Korean nuclear program.

As Henry Kissinger once put it, if the international community can't stop North Korea, an impoverished nation with no natural resources that is dependent on China for food, fuel and arms, then, what meaning is there to the term international community?

The criminal, Kimist regime is overtly aligned with Iran, a  totalitarian (clerical fascist) power that is pursuing an imperialist foreign policy--i.e. a policy aimed at overturning the status quo, or power relations among nations. The partners in nuclear and missile proliferation make little effort to hide their intentions, which are thoroughly evil. Iran muses openly about "a world without America and Zionism" and repeatedly threatens to attack the United States and to destroy Israel. North Korea has threatened to also strike the U.S. and to obliterate South Korea.

The threats are all too real and must be ended, one way or another, before they end us.

Armed Teachers and Guards Central to Israel School Security

On Saturday, December 15, a day after the Connecticut massacre, Foreign Confidential called attention to Israel's use of armed guards--and teachers--to protect school children against terrorist attacks.

Fox News picked up the story. Click here to read the Dec. 27 report.

Israeli, Jordanian Leaders Discuss West Bank, Gaza

Dramatic Developments on Both Sides of the Jordan 

Peace could be breaking out. Read more.

Will Iran interfere? Peace threatens the monstrous mullahocracy. 

North Korea Probably Preparing Third Nuclear Test

Fresh on the heels of its illicit ICBM test, the world's worst regime, which the so-called international community has appeased and accommodated for decades, is probably preparing to again detonate a nuclear device. Read more.

Iranian scientists and military and intelligence offers, some of whom might have been on hand for the missile launch, will surely observe the nuclear test.

That an impoverished criminal regime can repeatedly defy the international community makes a mockery of the very term--international community. That this country can also deceive the United States is mind boggling.

Nuclear armed North Korea, which is allied with and aided by nuclear arming, Islamist Iran, is a serious national security threat. Not for nothing have the two rogues developed and tested cargo ship-based ballistic missile launch systems. A freighter flying a flag of convenience can be used to strike a U.S. coastal city with a nuclear weapon and/or to launch a missile with a nuclear warhead timed to detonate high above the country's mid-section in order to wipe out all electronic and communication systems and devices in an EMP attack. Thousands of  civilian ships approach U.S. coastal waters on a daily basis; there is no known homeland defense against a ship-to-shore missile. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Israel Becoming Hedge Fund Center

Long known for its dual-listed public companies, Israel is also becoming a center for international hedge funds. Read more

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Egypt Credit Rating Cut to Junk

What revolution has wrought in Egypt: Islamism, anarchy, and a downgrading of the country's credit rating to junk level, like Greece and Pakistan. Read more.

The Obama administration's emboldening of and alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood--a clerical fascist menace--and betrayal and abandonment of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak can only be compared with the catastrophic Carter administration's craven complicity in the ouster of Iran's pro-Western, modernizing monarch, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.

S. Korea Says North's ICBM Could Have Hit US Mainland

South Korean defense officials say the United States mainland was within range of nuclear armed North Korea's recently test-fired intercontinental ballistic missile. Read more.

Kidnapped by N. Korea, Held 24 Years: an Amazing Memoir

Innocent Japanese couple was snatched from beach, forced to teach their language to North Korean spies. Read more.

Iran Announces New Show of Strength in Strategic Strait

Another Iranian naval exercise--i.e. provocation--in the world's most strategic waterway. Read more. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Syria Increasingly Seems Like Proxy War

Russian advisers against U.S.-supported rebels. Read more.

But this isn't Afghanistan. And the cold war ended--and the Soviet Union collapsed--more than 20 years ago. And the U.S. side is Islamist-dominated and actually allied with … Al Qaeda.

How sick is that?

Very sick.

Where's the outrage?

In related news, it appears that an elite Russian military unit--operating in close cooperation with U.S. and Israeli forces--secured an arsenal of Syrian chemical and biological weapons. Click here for the exclusive report from Israel.

Islamist Iran OKs Egypt's Clerical Fascist Constitution

You know it must be bad if Iran welcomes it. Read more

Thursday, December 20, 2012

12-Year-Old ICE Picks Up 220-Year-old NYSE for $8.2 Billion

Iconic Big Board Loses Independence as Derivatives Eclipse Equities 

How quickly the world turns. Read all about it.

The folks at NYSE have read the electronic writing on the wall….

Anyone remember the American Stock Exchange, aka The Curb?

No matter. We're living in a world of ever-accelerating change (Future Shock) and wholly disruptive technological breakthroughs and advances, with the Internet (and the World Wide Web, the Internet subset that enveloped and became synonymous with the Net) being the prime example. So, an upstart exchange can practically come from nowhere and buy NYSE Euronext in a deal that recalls AOL's acquisition of Time Warner.

But AOL, which essentially consumerized the corporate private data business for pre-Internet home computer users, used inflated stock to buy the world's largest media company. The dopes running Time Warner had no clue that the Web had already transformed the Net in ways that made the AOL model obsolete.

Which is almost certainly not the case with ICE. Its business appears to be more robust and in tune with the times than the NYSE business. ICE's acquisition of NYSE is truly about the future buying the past.

It seems that anything is possible in this new, topsy-turvy universe. Will a renewable energy company--a company that proves it can commercially produce, say, green gasoline, or green (bio-) coal--one day buy a big oil and gas or coal company? Will chemical companies morph into energy and fuel companies?

Maybe. Time will tell. And the times are indeed interesting.

Related: Click here to read about ICE's meteoric rise, "a tale for the computer age."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Al Qaeda and Atomic Ayatollahs: the Nightmare Next Time

"In the 1990s, Iran and its proxy Hezbollah provided assistance to Al Qaeda in preparing the powerful truck bombs that destroyed two American embassies in Africa in 1998. Can anyone guarantee that a nuclear-armed Iran would not collaborate with Al Qaeda again? This time, instead of a destroyed embassy in Africa, we could be talking about a nuclear device placed into a shipping container and sent to a port in order to destroy an entire city. That city could be Ashdod or Haifa in Israel, or it could be New York, London or Los Angeles."

Read more.

Related: Israel Warns Against "Sleeping with Hezbollah Rockets"

Dutch Pioneering Production of Bio-Methanol from Bio-Coal

500 Million Euro Project Gets 199 Million Euro Grant

The Netherlands is leading the way in innovative use of refined, or torrefied, biomass, also known as bio-coal.

The fuel is a drop-in, grindable and pulverizable coal substitute that is carbon-neutral if made from sustainable supplies of biomass, including wood chips derived from responsible forestry management operations (e.g. utilization of thinnings and logging waste) and agricultural waste materials.

But the Dutch are proving that bio-coal is also a more efficient feedstock for production of renewable chemicalsAs reported here, a partnership called Wood Spirit has announced a 199 million euro grant for construction of a bio-coal-based bio-methanol refinery in Delfzijl.

The refinery process first gasifies the bio-coal in order to produce syngas, which is then made into methanol.

The project represents one of the largest-ever green projects in the Netherlands and one of the largest investments in the country's chemical industry in recent years.

First of Three Projects 

Wood Spirit is the first of three projects that was nominated by Dutch government for the NER300 program that  aims to stimulate investments in large, innovative,  renewable energy and CO2 capture and storage projects.

The program is funded from returns generated by the emissions trading system.

Methanol, also known as ethyl alcohol, wood alcohol, wood naphtha, or wood spirits, is the simplest form of all alcohols (CH3OH) and a common component in fuels. (The ancient Egyptians used wood spirits in embalming.) Methanol can be made from any carbon-based source; bio-methanol is made from biomass instead of from a fossil fuel, such as coal or natural gas.

Using bio-methanol instead of methanol as a catalyst in the production of bio-diesel, which, when blended with petroleum diesel can be burned in existing diesel engines without need for retrofitting or additional equipment, further reduces CO2 emissions.

Bio-methanol is also the most cost-efficient and environmental friendly liquid fuel for fuel cell vehicles. Methanol can be directly fed into a fuel cell without being reformed into hydrogen.

In other words, in addition to replacing or being blended (co-fired) with coal--a fossil fuel that is both the backbone of electricity generation worldwide and a leading source of climate change-causing carbon dioxide and hazardous pollutants--solid, green bio-coal can be gasified and then liquified to make renewable motor transport fuel.

ENDNOTE: Click here to read about a U.S. company's machine-based bio-coal production technology, which lends itself to installation in such existing wood processing facilities as sawmills and to use of the wood waste produced by these facilities. The technology basically repurposes a well known industrial workhorse--the calciner--into a coal-making machine, accomplishing in minutes what nature takes hundreds of millions of years to do.

Europe and Israel

An Appeal for Sensitivity to Israel's Unique Situation

By David Harris

EDITOR'S NOTE: David Harris is Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC). The article that appears below in its original English version was first published by El Pais, Spain's best known newspaper, which is also widely read throughout Latin America. The essay is the latest in a series of op-eds that Harris is writing for the paper at its invitation. Click here to read the Spanish version. 

Europeans often express frustration that they are not more involved in seeking to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Given the geographical proximity and financial support for Palestinian development, Europeans wonder why their political role is so circumscribed.

The answer, I believe, lies in a widespread Israeli belief that Europe too often gives short shrift to Jerusalem's concerns.

Take, for example, the UN General Assembly vote on November 29th to upgrade the Palestinians to non-member observer state status in the world body.

Despite strenuous objections from Jerusalem (and Washington) that such a move would deal a setback to reviving the peace process, reward the Palestinians for bypassing the negotiating table, and undermine the 1993 Oslo Accords, 14 EU countries, including Spain, opted to support the gambit.

Only the Czech Republic voted against. But if I had to choose just one EU capital to oppose the measure, Prague would have been it.

No other EU country has such a long record of outspoken support for the creation of a Jewish state, dating back almost a century to the legendary President Thomas Masaryk and interrupted only in the communist era.

Moreover, given its own history, the Czech Republic uniquely understands Israel’s vulnerability. After all, in 1938, Britain and France sacrificed then Czechoslovakia in a vain effort to satisfy the Third Reich. Instead, of course, Berlin’s appetite was only whetted, leading to the devastation of the Second World War.

Had the EU abstained as a group on the UN vote, as some member countries wished, it would have sent a more balanced message, but, led by France, that was not to be.

Or consider the EU’s unwillingness to add Hezbollah to its list of terrorist organizations.

Here is an organization that has been implicated in repeated murderous plots, from Latin America to Asia, from Europe to the Middle East. Yet, years have passed since the issue was first raised in Brussels and nothing has happened. Now, we are told, everything hinges on the Bulgarian investigation of the deadly attack in July that killed six people. But why should that become the linchpin, as if there were not already reams of evidence of terrorist involvement, not to mention repeated threats to incinerate Israel?

And in recent days, there have been reports of four EU nations – Denmark, Finland, Ireland, and Portugal – seeking to block an EU statement that included condemnation of the incendiary comments of Khalid Mashaal, the Hamas chief. Here is an excerpt of his remarks earlier this month: “Today is Gaza. Tomorrow will be Ramallah and after that Jerusalem, then Haifa and Jaffa.”

Only the intervention of Germany and, again, the Czech Republic ensured rejection of this hateful rhetoric reiterating Hamas’ oft-stated desire to wipe Israel off the map.

If the EU cannot recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist group, and has difficulty condemning eliminationist remarks by the Hamas leader, how can Israel have confidence in a greater European role?

If the EU truly wants to increase that role, let it first show more sensitivity to Israel’s unenviable security position -- in both words and deeds.

After all, in any peace process leading to a two-state agreement, Israel, two-thirds the size of Belgium, would be asked to take unprecedented risks for peace. Europe needs to ask how it can help mitigate those risks. Seeing terrorist groups for what they really are is one way. So is exploring seriously what could be the EU role "the day after" any peace accord, insofar as Israel's security is concerned.

Recent events in the Arab world underscore once again the dangers of the area. Syria's deadly violence may be a matter of concern to the EU, to be sure, but Damascus shares a border with Israel. So do Hezbollah-dominated Lebanon and Hamas-dominated Gaza, as do Muslim Brotherhood-ruled Egypt and the increasingly lawless Sinai. Meanwhile, the West Bank is ruled by the Palestinian Authority, which makes an art form of sending mixed signals – one day calling for peace talks, the next day refusing to condemn Hamas-fired missiles at Israel and then seeking reconciliation with the group, whose covenant explicitly calls for Israel’s annihilation.

That is the regrettable reality of Israel’s neighborhood. It is a far cry from Spain’s or Sweden’s.

And the overlay of Jewish history makes it still starker. After all, as a people of memory, the Jews recall that, more than once, those who called for our elimination tried to implement it, whether in the Middle East or Europe.

By showing more sensitivity to Israel’s unique situation, Europe would be doing the right thing -- and, no doubt, earning itself a greater role in the political process.

Bearish 2013 Coal Outlook for US and Europe

But Some Investors Take a Contrarian View

Even though coal is the backbone of electricity production in the United States and Europe, use of the fossil fuel in the U.S. and European countries will decline in the coming years as a result of increased natural gas production in the U.S. and carbon-cutting mandates and policy targets in Europe. Read more.

There will be a growing demand for bio-coal, or torrefied biomass, a drop-in replacement for coal that is carbon neutral if made from sustainable supplies of low-grade wood and wood waste, agricultural waste products, and similar feedstocks. Unlike wood chips (a bio-coal feedstock) and wood pellets, bio-coal can be co-fired with nature-made coal--meaning, bio-coal can be pulverized, or powdered, and injected into coal-fired furnaces along with the fossil fuel in a blended ratio of, say, 10% bio-coal and 90% coal. (Click here to read more about bio-coal.)

That said, demand for coal in China--home of the world's deadliest and dirtiest coal mines--and India will remain strong and probably increase. "The five largest coal users--China, USA, India, Russia and Japan--account for 76% of total global coal use," according to the World Coal Association.

Thus, while the transition away from coal use is underway in the U.S. and Europe, global consumption could actually increase in the near future. This is the bullish case, the main reason many contrarian investors are taking a fresh look at coal. (Click here for the bullish case for coal in pictures; and here, for the International Energy Agency's medium-term outlook on coal.)

Monday, December 17, 2012

End the N. Korean ICBM Threat Before it Ends Us

Time is running out to stop North Korea's ICBM program. Read more.

Sasol Spending Billions on First US Gas-to-Liquids Plant

The energy companies of South Africa and Qatar are making a big bet on a proven but problematic process that was developed in Germany in the 1920s. Read more

Something Different: A Tour of the International Space Station

NASA TV: In her final days as Commander of the International Space Station, Sunita Williams of NASA recorded an extensive tour of the orbital laboratory and downlinked the video on Nov. 18, just hours before she, cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency departed in their Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft for a landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan. The tour includes scenes of each of the station's modules and research facilities with a running narrative by Williams of the work that has taken place and which is ongoing aboard the orbital outpost.

Britain Disappearing?

Britain isn't merely changing--it's disappearing, becoming something entirely different. Read more

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Syrian VP Calls for Negotiated Peace

Official Says Neither Side Can Win War

Iran Could be Preparing to Dump Assad

Syria's civil war appears to be entering a new and perhaps even more chaotic phase. Read more.

Al Qaeda Supporters Attack Egyptian Opposition Party HQ

Wafd party Cairo headquarters attacked by Islamists. Read all about it here

Saturday, December 15, 2012

World Shocked by Connecticut School Massacre

Foreign Leaders Express Sympathy, Urge US to Adopt Stricter Gun Laws 

An updated report--over here.

The mass murder was an act of unspeakable evil; the killer, a monster. His deed recalls Nazi atrocities.

One observation: there is an obvious, urgent need for properly trained and armed security guards at all American schools. When this reporter attended a large New York City high school in the 1960s every public high school in the city had a police officer assigned to it. (Our officer, a welcome sight in a tough city school--two students were killed during my four years there--was "Officer Perry.") In later years, some NYC high schools had more than one cop because of increased school violence.

Another thought: in Israel, many school teachers and principals have ready access to guns in case of terrorist attack. This has been true since the Ma'alot massacre. In contrast, in the United States, even soldiers on military bases are inexplicably unarmed and vulnerable to attack, as shown by the Fort Hood mass shooting.

The slain Connecticut principal died heroically. Had she been armed, she might have stopped the murderer and saved more lives, including her own. Had a police officer been on duty at the school, the only casualty might have been the killer. In fact, the presence of a uniformed officer might have even deterred the maniac, regardless of how deranged he was. As crazy as America's mass murderers seem to be, they seem to pick only on defenseless people.

POSTSCRIPT: ACT now! Click here to learn more about survival measures that can be used by anyone, anywhere.

US Says Syria Prepared Dozens of Sarin Bombs

U.S. officials say the Syrian chemical arms threat is more serious than previously assumed . Click here for the story. 

DEBKAfile is reporting that Al Qaeda tried to raid a Syrian chemical weapons arsenal and that Assad fired Scud missiles to stop them. Read more

In addition to Al Qaeda, Hezbollah would like to grab Syria's weapons of mass destruction--including long-range missiles.

Worth repeating: Syria is FUBAR

Friday, December 14, 2012

Russia Insists it Still Supports Assad

Foreign Ministry Backs Off Comments Attributed to Bogdanov, 

Says Deputy FM Was Referring to Claims by Syrian Opposition 

Russia's foreign ministry says Moscow's policy on Syria has not changed, after a top diplomat was quoted as saying Syria's opposition may win its battles against President Bashar al-Assad.

The ministry, on Friday, said Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov had not made any statements or conducted "special interviews" with journalists over the past few days regarding Syria.

On Thursday, Russian media quoted him as saying Assad was increasingly losing control of his country's territory, and that an opposition victory could not be ruled out.  It was seen as the first time Russia, a powerful Syrian ally, had acknowledged the Syrian government was beginning to crumble in its nearly two-year battle against anti-government forces.

But Russia's foreign ministry said Bogdanov was referring to the claims of the ``Syrian opposition and its foreign sponsors forecasting their quick victory over the regime in Damascus."  It said Bogdanov made the remark to a Kremlin advisory body that was discussing issues in the Middle East and North Africa.

Separately, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen predicted a pessimistic outcome for Assad. On Thursday, he said Assad's government was "approaching collapse" and the Syrian leader's fall was "only a matter of time."


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Russia: Assad Could Lose

By Edward Yeranian

(VOA) CAIRO — A senior Russian diplomat says Syria's opposition may win its battle against President Bashar al-Assad, marking the first time the powerful Syrian ally has acknowledged the Syrian government is crumbling due to internal and external pressure from the nearly two-year uprising.

In comments reported by Russian media, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said that “the regime is losing more and more territory,” and that the “victory of the Syrian opposition cannot be ruled out.”

Bogdanov accused Western nations of distorting Russia's position on Syria in order to weaken its influence in the Middle East. Moscow and Beijing have repeatedly blocked efforts by the United Nations Security Council to address the Syrian crisis.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday that the Assad regime was “approaching collapse,” adding that he thinks it is “only a matter of time” before it crumbles.

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, said that the regime has been losing military control of the capital Damascus in recent days, which could hasten its demise.

“If you noticed the pattern of events during the past two or three days, the number of bombings has increased rather dramatically and this is an indicator of the strengthening of the opposition around Damascus and the decline of the ability of the state's machinery of coercion to stop them," he said.

Khashan said that the Syrian “troops loyal to the regime have become combat fatigued.” He said that many troops are “no longer interested in fighting” and that the unending combat has started “getting to them.”

Deadly Car Bomb

Meanwhile, a car bomb on Thursday killed at least 16 people in a suburb of the Syrian capital.

Residents of Qatana picked through twisted metal, chunks of concrete and other debris after the attack near a Christian school.

A girl who witnessed the blast said she and her friends were going to school in the morning when the explosion hit.  She said many were hurt by the force of the blast.

"What did we do to deserve this?" she asked.

On Wednesday night, a bombing outside Syria's interior ministry killed five people. Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim Sha'ar was reported to have been lightly wounded and a member of parliament killed in the blast which shattered the facade of the ministry.

Rebel fighters traded machine-gun fire in the Damascus suburb of Daraya Thursday, as government artillery shelled a wide swath of rebel held territory. Amateur video also showed government warplanes bombing several suburbs of the capital.

The Syria government, meanwhile, denied reports that short-range missiles fired by government forces hit an area of northern Syria close to the Turkish border on Wednesday.

NATO sources announced that “allied intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets detected the launch” this week.

On Wednesday, a grouping of more than 100 nations formally recognized the newly re-organized opposition coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

The director of the Brookings Doha Center, Salman Shaikh, told VOA from the conference site in Morocco that the new coalition's leadership was "satisfied" with the outcome of the so-called Friends of Syria meeting.

"It's safe to say this is the most significant Friends [of Syria] meeting there's been," he said. "In fact, it's probably the first significant Friends [of Syria] meeting there has been."

VOA's Carla Babb contributed to this story.

Will N. Korea Test a Nuke on Christmas or New Year's Day?

North Korea could detonate a nuclear device--using uranium instead of plutonium--on Christmas or New Year's Day in an attempt to mar one of the holidays for the United States, which the North regards as an implacable enemy. 

It's pretty clear that a nuclear test is coming--a matter of when, not if.

Al Qaeda Degraded Not Decimated

More than a decade after  9/11, an Al Qaeda front group is advancing in Syria  and an affiliate is ruling northern Mali

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

N. Korea Releases Rocket Launch Photos, Video

Fresh from its latest provocation, defiant North Korea released images and video of its successful rocket launch. Read more. 

People Do Vote for Tyranny

By Clare M. Lopez

As the world watches and waits for the Egyptian people to vote in a nationwide referendum to be held December 15 on a new constitution drafted largely by the Muslim Brotherhood, it would be well to consider another constitutional referendum from 33 years ago when another people who'd just been through a revolution went to the polls and cast their votes firmly in favor of tyranny.

On October 24, 1979, after a tumultuous year of revolution, the Iranian people turned out by the millions and voted overwhelmingly (over 98%) to approve a new constitution that subjugated the country to the rule of Islamic Law under the leadership of a single man – the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini – an Islamic cleric with unlimited power.

The vote was no snap response, as the full text of the new Iranian constitution had been published for the electorate's consideration more than four months earlier (from June, 1979). More than 15 million Iranian voters willingly chose to subordinate themselves, their children and their country to an Islamic theocratic dictatorship, whose provisions were spelled out to them and accepted by them in an explicitly worded constitutional document that described the totalitarian system of Velayat-e Faqih (Rule of the Jurisprudent) and dedicated the nation to jihad.

Endless Aggression and Warfare 

Further, the preamble to the constitution made clear that the Iranian revolution was not intended to stop at the country's borders but rather would strive for the formation of a "single world community" (ummah) in accordance with the "universal values of Islam," thus committing Iran and its military forces to open-ended aggression and warfare (which followed soon enough).

While the draft Egyptian constitution contains no such institution as a Supreme Leader or Velayat-e Faqih, it does state in Article 2 that "Principles of Islamic Sharia are the principal source of legislation," thus ensuring that genuine liberal democracy (in which the people and their representatives craft laws free of theological constraints) will have no chance in the new Egypt.

Also, as both Andrew McCarthy (here) and Barry Rubin (here) point out, the new constitution makes clear that implementation of sharia will be far stricter under the Muslim Brotherhood than it ever was under Mubarak: Article 219 defines the "principles of Islamic Sharia" to be bound by "sources accepted in Sunni doctrines and by the larger community," which means the four classical schools of Sunni jurisprudence and the Islamic institution of scholarly consensus (ijma). The Hanafi, Hanbali, Maliki and Shafi'i schools hold that the principles of Islamic Law were fixed many centuries ago and have remained immutable ever since.

So, despite a cursory nod in the direction of individual "rights and freedoms" (Article 81), the very next words of the Egyptian draft document, stipulating that such rights and freedoms "shall be practiced in a manner not conflicting with the principles pertaining to State and society included in Part I of this Constitution," make clear that means Egyptians get whatever "human rights" are allowed under sharia (see below).

Just like the 1990 Cairo Declaration of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which exempted all Muslim countries from compliance with the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and declared that under Islam, human rights means sharia and only sharia.

Further, much as Article 96 of the Iranian constitution designated the Guardian Council (comprised of 12 jurist experts in Islamic Law) to determine the "compatibility of the legislation passed by the Islamic Consultative Assembly with the laws of Islam," so too does Egypt's new constitution designate al-Azhar's "Senior Scholars … to be consulted in matters pertaining to Islamic law."
Thus, a non-elected assembly of Islamic jurists will be granted the authority to approve or disapprove any legislation the Egyptian parliament passes, with judgment to be based solely on Islamic laws set down in the 10th century.

Death Penalty for Adultery

Those laws assign the death penalty for adultery, apostasy from Islam, homosexuality and, in some cases, for blasphemy or slander (criticism) against Islam. They establish legal inequality between Muslims and non-Muslims and between men and women. And lest any think these laws apply only to Egyptians or only to Muslims, sharia also mandates jihad against non-believers for the express purpose of imposing sharia globally.

In addition, as Yousef al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood's senior jurist, decades of accumulated Brotherhood ideology, and the campaign speeches of Ikhwan stalwarts like Khairat al-Shater or Mohammed Morsi himself all attest, mainstream Islamic doctrine also mandates virulent hatred of infidels and Jews.

The Muslim Brotherhood may not move immediately to implement all of these principles, but approval of the new constitution would give them the authority and the popular mandate to do so. Morsi himself has left no doubt about how he intends to govern, pledging to an enthusiastic crowd in a May 2012 campaign speech on Egyptian TV that he is dedicated to "The shari'a, then the shari'a, and finally, the shari'a."

And the thing is, the Egyptian people, who are over 70% literate, know all this either from their own reading or through their imams and mosques. Andrew Bostom has been indefatigable in drawing our attention to credible surveys of the Egyptian public which unambiguously and overwhelmingly demonstrate that they want "strict application of Sharia law in every Islamic country (74%)," to "keep Western values out of Islamic countries (91%)" and to "unify all Islamic countries into a single Islamic state or Caliphate (67%)."

As recently as December 2010, a Pew survey found that 82% of Egyptians favor the stoning to death of people who commit adultery, 77% approved of whipping and hand amputation for theft and 84% said they thought apostates from Islam should be executed.

Despite the last spasms of protest from Egypt's tragically outnumbered liberals and secularists, does anyone still have any serious doubts about how this referendum is going to go? Backed and emboldened by the Obama administration in Washington, D.C., the Muslim Brotherhood has orchestrated its takeover of Egypt masterfully from the beginning: It won the initial constitutional amendments referendum by a landslide, then, together with its Salafist allies, grabbed an overwhelming majority in the January 2012 parliamentary elections, before taking the presidency in June 2012.

As Andrew McCarthy has pointed out, though, "The constitution was always the prize" and now that looks to be soon within their grasp as well. Once the December 15 up or down vote enshrines these sharia principles as law of the land, just as in Iran, there will be no going back for Egypt for a long, long time.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Iranians Probably Observed N. Korean Launch

An Iranian delegation, including rocket scientists and military and intelligence officers, most likely observed North Korea's seemingly successful, surprise ICBM test.


Criminal Kimist Regime Defies US, UN

Is Nuclear Test Next?

As Henry Kissinger once said, if the international community can't contain North Korea, an impoverished country with no natural resources, then, what meaning is there to the term international community?

Islamist and Secular Egyptians Prepare Rival Rallies

Cairo braces for street protests, violence. Read more.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Russia Remains Loyal to Assad

Moscow will not cooperate with Washington's regime change plans for Syria. Read more.

Say what you will, Russia at least remains loyal to its allies. In sharp contrast, the United States under Carter betrayed and abandoned the Shah, and, more recently, under Obama, did the same to Mubarak. In both cases, the craven and cynical attempts to jump aboard the Islamist bandwagon boomeranged. Iran, which for decades was an important U.S. ally, became an implacable enemy; and Egypt, which cooperated closely in the war on radical Islam and for three decades preserved the peace with Israel, is on the way to turning into another Iran. The U.S. is reduced to praising Cairo's clerical fascist despot for allegedly restraining his movement's Gaza branch, Hitlerian Hamas, in its recent missile strikes on Israel--a mini-war that was a rehearsal of sorts for the genocidal conflict that Iran's atomic ayatollah plans to one day launch.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Much of Damascus Still Loyal to Assad Regime

Syrian Capital Fears Islamist Takeover

Fearing an Islamist takeover, much of Syria's capital remains loyal to the Assad regime. Read more. (And Assad could be planning a retreat to an Alawite-dominated mountain stronghold, from which he could attack his enemies, including invading forces, with chemical arms.)

The Syrian situation is FUBAR. A direct Al Qaeda offshoot is emerging as one of the most effective rebel units. In other words, Syria is essentially following the Libyan script: the West, led by the United States, is in the process of replacing a contained secular dictatorship with an Islamist nightmare.

Not content with aiding the overthrow of the pro-American Mubarak regime in Egypt, the Obama administration and its European allies sought to strengthen their alliance with supposed moderate Islamism (akin to the concept of moderate fascism or moderate Stalinism) by meddling in Syria.

The Obama administration, slavishly hailed as "progressive" by liberal idiots, will go down in history as the administration that overtly aligned United States foreign policy with rightwing political Islam. Initially, the administration narrowed the definition of the Islamist enemy to Al Qaeda and its affiliates. As a result of the unnecessary intervention in Libya, however, and the mess in Syria, the definition is being further narrowed and, barring a change in policy, it is only a matter of time--maybe months--before even affiliates, offshoots and known sympathizers will be deemed all right to "engage." At the rate things are going--more than a decade after 9/11 Al Qaeda is far from "decimated" and Islamism is ascendant--indirect and even direct negotiations with the core terrorist group are no longer unthinkable, as horrible as this may seem, for good reasons, to most Americans. The nation has no idea of what is really happening; and U.S. media are doing an awful job of reporting and analyzing the unfolding disasters.

Not since the catastrophic Carter administration assisted the ouster of Iran's modernizing monarch, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, has there been this much confusion--and complicity--on the part of the news outlets, especially those clearly on the administration's side on all foreign and domestic policy issues.

But the Republicans are not blameless. The stupidity is bipartisan, as shown by the borderline imbecilic statements that continue to emanate from figures like the failed Presidential candidate John McCain, who still insists on referring to Libyan, Egyptian and Syrian Islamists as freedom fighters.

ENDNOTE: Clear-thinking critics of the administration's policy, those who refuse to believe in the existence of  "moderate Islamism" and that it is possible to appease such fascist terrorist groups as the Taliban and Hamas, are gradually being marginalized. Washington's party line is that Islamism is not monolithic;  worse, that the clerical fascist creed constitutes an unstoppable force that is on history's right side (right meaning progressive, not rightwing) and that the U.S, is capable of manipulating this force to further U.S. interests abroad. Perfidy!

ENDNOTE 2:  The taboo question that no liberal reporter will ask is this: Why won't the supposed freedom loving, pro-democracy rebels appeal to neighboring Israel for help? The answer is obvious: the rebels are in the main just as or more anti-Israel than the Assad regime, with which, in spite of its menacing alliance with Iran, Israel has basically enjoyed a de facto peace since 1973 and with which Israel, perhaps if not for Washington's interference, could long ago have made a formal peace pact.

Related News: Egypt's US-Backed Islamist Despot Fails to Quell Protests 

Saturday, December 08, 2012

BND Chief: 'Assad's Regime Will Not Survive'

The end is drawing near for the Syrian despot, according to Germany's spy boss. Read more.

No Consolation: Iran ICBM Development Thwarted

Iran's ICBM quest has reportedly been hampered and slowed by sanctions and lack of cooperation from China and Russia. Read more.

Of course, there is little reason to celebrate. The main point to consider is that Iran is striving to develop these monstrous weapons in the first place, that Iran's intentions are imperialistic and therefore threatening to its neighbors and to the entire civilized world. Like Nazi Germany in its time, clerical fascist (Islamist) Iran is bent on overthrowing the status quo (power relations among nations) and achieving genocidal aims tied to plans for regional and even global dominance.

Intentions is the key concept. The prewar European powers misread Germany's intentions, and appeasement of Germany made war inevitable--on Germany's terms. Similarly, appeasement and so-called engagement policies--i.e. the Obama administration's utterly failed attempt to enter into a Grand Bargain with Iran--are making war with Iran inevitable. On Iranian terms.

Hitlerian Hamas Leader Promises Perpetual War for Palestine

What appeasement of radical Islam has wrought--click here for the story. 

Ex-CIA Spy Says Iran Targeting Israel Over Syria

Reza Khalili reports that Russia is arming the embattled Syrian regime with superior surface-to-surface missiles and that Iran, regarding the fall of its Arab ally as a "red line," is targeting Israel for retaliatory missile strikes--with warheads of mass destruction--if the despot Assad is toppled (even though Israel isn't involved in the Syrian conflict). Read more.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Secular Egyptians Refuse to Back Down

Will Washington Betray and Abandon Real Freedom Fighters?

Made-in-America Bloodbath Looms

Egypt's Obama-backed clerical fascist ruler is relying on tanks to stay in power. His legitimacy is ruined. Read more.

Ahead of Meeting Lavrov, Clinton Calls Assad's Fall 'Inevitable'

The top diplomats of the United States and Russia will meet regarding Syria's civil war, which is on the verge of either ending or turning into a far worse--and perhaps wider--conflict. Read more.

Russia's support for Assad is appalling--but understandable. With all the border changes over the last two decades, it is still possible to get into a car or truck and … drive … from Damascus to Moscow. The East, as Russians are used to referring to the region, is a mysterious--and dangerously close--place from the Kremlin's perspective. An Arab Spring/Islamist/Al Qaeda-sympathizing regime in the Arab capital would be seen by Russia's leaders as a cancerous tumor bound to spread. A tumor implanted in the heart of the Arab world with Western assistance … even after 9/11, when decades of covert backing for the clerical fascist creed known as rightwing political Islam, or Islamism, blew back most horrifically in Washington's face. A tumor with a vital network of blood vessels extending into … or emanating from … Cairo's Muslim Brotherhood headquarters and the palaces of Persian Gulf states cynically seeking to manipulate a menace that cannot be manipulated, as history as shown time and again.

POSTSCRIPT: That Syria seems to be following the Libyan script is worse than alarming in view of the ways in which Libyan arms ended up in Al Qaeda hands--and were used against Israel. Should the same thing happen in Syria, Israel could be hit with a chemical attack. 

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


Confined by Conflict to His Damascus Palace, 

Desperate, Demented Dictator Clings to Power

Islamist Iran's beleaguered, secular Arab ally is threatening to massacre his own people with chemical weapons. Read more.

Syria is a nightmarish flashpoint for regional--and, possibly, even, global--conflict. Again, Washington cynically sought to ride the Arab Spring/Islamist tiger without being eaten by it. But the civil war that ensued is incredibly complex with multiple powers and factions trying to take or preserve power, including Syria's traditional ally, Russia, which is still seething over the loss of Libya to Russian arms sellers; the turbaned tyranny in Iran, which had high hopes for establishing missile and nuclear bases in Syria; the Muslim Brotherhood, which has for decades dreamed of taking power in Damascus; NATO-member Turkey, which, under so-called moderate Islamist leadership, is aiming to restore the Ottoman Empire; Saudi Arabia, which is out to stop Iran's imperialist drive; Qatar, which is intriguing on several levels; and Al Qaeda, which is exploiting the chaos to the maximum possible extent. The terrorist group  responsible for 9/11 has not been "decimated," contrary to the repeated, ridiculous claim by the Obama administration. Al Qaeda has merely been degraded. Events in Syria … and Libya … and Egypt … another nightmare at least partially made in Washington … have played into Al Qaeda's murderous hands.


US armed AQ-affiliated Libyan rebels via Qatar. Read more.

The administration's perfidious, pro-Islamist policy has backfired, big-time. Not since the catastrophic Carter administration secretly intervened in Afghanistan--ahead of and in order to instigate--the Soviet invasion of the backward country and aided the overthrow of Iran's pro-American Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in a craven attempt to jump aboard the Islamist bandwagon … not since the Reagan administration escalated the Afghan war into America's largest-ever covert operation … and the Bush administration stupidly and unnecessarily invaded Iraq, a contained, secular enemy with no meaningful Islamist ties, thereby creating an Iranian satellite … has the United States done something so stupid as intervene in Libya.

Serbia's Envoy to NATO Commits Suicide

Respected, Popular Diplomat Joked and Chatted Before Killing Himself

A much admired ambassador's mysterious leap from a multistory parking garage in Brussels. Shocking news. Click here to read the story; below, for the video report. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

China Tests ICBM Capable of Striking US

Ahead of North Korea's upcoming long-range rocket launch comes a startling signal from Pyongyang's protector and chief ally. Read more.

China has at least 30 ICBMs capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. ICBM missile development is China's answer to U.S. missile defense efforts. Read more.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Lunatic Regime Claims Ancient Unicorn Discovery

Like Germany's Nazis before them, North Korea's criminally insane leaders--nuclear armed nuts--are promoting political archeology. Read more


Assad Regime Nearly Finished

The Syrian dictator is on his last legs. Like a wounded, deadly snake, however, he could still strike out most viciously--meaning, in the case of this particular viper, attacking his neighbors with chemical weapons. 

Sunday, December 02, 2012

North Korea Readies Rocket Launch

The … nuclear armed … rogue state is readying another long-range rocket launch--i.e. ICBM test--in defiance of the international community. Read more.

There they go again…. As Henry Kissinger has said, if the international community can't prevent an impoverished nation with few natural resources from menacing the world, then, what meaning is there to the very term international community?

Saturday, December 01, 2012

US Slams N. Korean Rocket Launch Plans

The United States calls North Korea's plans for a new, long-range rocket launch "highly provocative." Read more.

An Iranian delegation will certainly observe the launch. North Korea's Islamist proliferation partner could well be paying for part or all of the test.

And what about China, North Korea's closest ally and provider of support, including food and fuel, without which the North would collapse in a matter of days? There will be heightened suspicion on the part of many observers that Beijing is also behind the provocation. China's military leaders (China's real rulers?) are increasingly angered by the Obama administration's Asia-Pacific initiatives, seeing the U.S. "pivot" as an obvious attempt to contain China's rise.