Wednesday, March 28, 2012

If you are losing, try rebranding your product

The Obama administration is now referring to Obamacare as a “bi-partisan bill” and calling the unpopular individual mandate “a Republican idea,” following three days of tough questioning by the Supreme Court.

“The Affordable Care Act is a bipartisan plan and one that we think is constitutional,” Deputy White House press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Wednesday afternoon.

No Republican voted for the Affordable Care Act on final passage.

He also referred to the individual mandate as the “individual responsibility” clause of the bill, in an attempt to distance the administration from the term individual mandate.

“The administration remains confident that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional; one of the reasons for that is that the original personal responsibility clause…was a conservative idea,” he said.

Conservatives have blasted the administration for the individual mandate and only one Republican voted for Obamacare in both houses of the legislature.


Democrats and Republicans - Politicizing

Obama campaign to the American people:

"His Republican opponents have jumped all over him because they do want to play politics with this issue. The President spoke from his heart on this, it was trying to emphasize with some parents who had just lost a child. By any measure, this was a tragedy and we need to let the investigation take its course," Stephanie Cutter, Obama's Deputy Campaign Manager, said on MSNBC today."People have to stop politicizing it," she added. "It's no surprise that some of our Republican opponents are trying to make an issue with this. But the President spoke from the heart and we need to let the investigation take its course."

In congress however, a different story:

Congressman Rush - a Democrat decided he needed a hood because ...

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Florida): This is Treyvon Martin. Trayvon Martin's murderer is still at large. It's been one month, thirty days, with no arrest. I want America to see this sweet young boy who was hunted down like a dog, shot in the street, and his killer is still at large.

Not one person has been arrested in Treyvon's murder. I want to make sure that America knows that in Sanford, Florida, there was a young boy murdered. He is buried in Miami, Florida, and not one person has been arrested even though we all know who the murderer is. This was a standard case of racial profiling. No more! No more! We will stand for justice for Treyvon Martin.

and still others

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia): "He was executed for 'WWB' in a 'GC.' Walking While Black in a Gated Community."

and another

"I, personally, really truly believe this is a hate crime," said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) in a joint interview with CBC Chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) on CNN.

and another

You know if I had a son he'd look like Trayvon and you know I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves.


It is the Republicans who are politicizing this!



Monday, March 26, 2012

Israel: Killer of Children ?

Why must the Israelis be so cold-hearted. Why must they insist on killing innocent children by depriving the Palestinians of food and fuel. Why. 


This article essentially says it all, and when finished, read the article that follows.  I believe it is very eye-opening!

Gaza baby dies after respirator runs out of fuel

Posted: Sun, Mar. 25, 2012, 1:52 PM
The Associated Press

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - A Gaza man said Sunday his 5-month-old baby died after the generator powering his respirator ran out of fuel, the first known death linked to the territory's energy crisis.

The baby, who was born with lymphatic disorder, had only a few months to live, said his father, Abdul-Rahim Helou, 27. But his parents miscalculated how much fuel a new generator needed to remove fluids that accumulated in his respiratory system, he said.

"If we were living in a normal country with electricity, I think his chances of living (longer) would have been better," Helou said.

Gaza health official Bassem al-Qadri said the baby arrived dead at a Gaza City hospital on Friday night.

The baby's death highlights the human cost Gaza's 1.6 million residents are paying for 18-hour-a-day blackouts, triggered by a cutoff of Egyptian fuel.

Shortages have caused days-long lines for fuel at gas stations, a sharp reduction in public transportation and families left shivering in poorly built apartments during a wet and cold winter.

More than a year ago, Hamas decided to power Gaza's only power plant with smuggled fuel from Egypt, rather than pay for more expensive Israeli fuel, as it had done in the past.

Egypt started cutting off the supplies weeks ago because it was suffering shortages itself.

Israel provided some fuel last week.


(03-25) 12:31 PDT GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) --
The Associated Press has withdrawn its story about a 5-month-old baby who was said to have died Friday after the generator powering his respirator ran out of fuel, the first known death linked to the territory's energy crisis. The timing and reason for the death were confirmed to the AP by a man identified as the baby's father and a Gaza health official, but the report has been called into question after it was learned that a local newspaper carried news of the baby's death on March 4.
A substitute story will be filed shortly reflecting the new information.
The AP


March 25, 2012|Ibrahim Barzak and Diaa Hadid, Associated Press
A Gaza man said Sunday his 5-month-old baby died two days ago after the generator powering his respirator ran out of fuel, but the report was called into question after it emerged that the timing of the baby’s death was misrepresented.
The baby’s death — which was confirmed to The Associated Press by a man identified as the father and a Gaza hospital official — would have been the first linked to the territory’s energy crisis, and the report appeared to be an attempt by Gaza’s Hamas rulers to use it to gain sympathy.
However, the AP later learned that news of Mohammed Helou’s death first appeared March 4 in the local Arabic-language newspaper Al-Quds, in an article written by a relative of the bereaved family.
The baby’s father, Abdul-Halim Helou, said Mohammed was born with a lymphatic disorder and had only a few months to live. He said they miscalculated how much fuel a new generator needed to remove fluids that accumulated in his respiratory system.
“If we were living in a normal country with electricity, I think his chances of living (longer) would have been better,’’ Helou said.
The Al-Quds article contained the same details as the one recounted by the Helou family on Sunday, saying Mohammed died from choking on his own phlegm. The story quoted that father as saying their generator ran out of fuel, causing their son’s respirator to stop working and ultimately causing the baby to choke to death.
The fuel crisis was relevant in early March as well, but Hamas apparently missed the report in Al-Quds — a publication considered loyal to its rival, Fatah — and Hamas was now trying to recycle the story to capitalize on the family’s tragedy.
Confronted by the AP with the newspaper story, the family and Hamas Gaza health official Bassem al-Qadri continued to insist the baby arrived dead at a Gaza City hospital on Friday night.
That timing would highlight the human cost Gaza’s 1.6 million residents are paying for 18-hour-a-day blackouts, triggered by a cutoff of Egyptian fuel.
Shortages have caused days-long lines for fuel at gas stations, a sharp reduction in public transportation and families left shivering in poorly built apartments during a wet, cold winter.
More than a year ago, Hamas decided to fire Gaza’s only power plant with smuggled fuel from Egypt, rather than pay for more expensive Israeli fuel, as it had done in the past.
Egypt started cutting off the supplies because it was suffering shortages itself and because it wanted to avoid absolving Israel from continuing responsibility for the crowded, impoverished slice of Mediterranean coast. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 but still controls its land crossings — except the one to Egypt.
There are hundreds of smuggling tunnels under the 15-kilometer (9-mile) Gaza-Egypt border, and Hamas raises funds by “taxing’’ smuggled goods, including fuel.
Israel provided some fuel last week as the crisis worsened.
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said he was not surprised by the apparent Hamas attempt to alter details of the baby’s death.
“I don’t believe this case is at all an isolated incident but rather the tip of the iceberg,’’ he said. “Hamas as an authoritarian regime consistently seeks to hide the truth and manipulate the information that is allowed to get out of Gaza.’’
(This version CORRECTS Rewrites throughout to reflect that the baby died 3 weeks, not 2 days ago. corrects previous version, which was KILLED, to show that report of baby dying appeared March 4, not 2 days ago.)
 Maybe because Hamas and the Palestinians have a proclivity toward lies and obfuscation that exceeds even the pathological within our society.  Necessary amounts of fuel are sent into Gaza. If Hamas rations the fuel, it is the fault of Hamas, it is their responsibility, not Israel's.  Israel did not ask for a barrage of rocket attacks, Israel did not ask for the deaths of innocents ... Palliwood doesn't have a problem with fabricating stories and the AP and Reuters seem to gobble up the lies, spreading them into mainstream European press where they get further dispersed to fools and idiots who would believe the earth was flat if a Palestinian told them.


Obama and Poland: Not worth the effort, give them to Russia. Allies beware.

Obama selling off Poland.

According to the Polish press, it sure seems like it.

Another ally gone. Why should they wait around and find out their fate.

Handlowali Polską? Zagadkowa rozmowa Obamy z Miedwiediewem

26.03.2012, 21:45

Na spotkaniu z Dmitrijem Miedwiediewem prezydent Barack Obama - nie wiedząc, że rozmowa jest nagrywana - poprosił rosyjskiego prezydenta, aby "dano mu czas" w sprawie amerykańskiego systemu obrony przeciwrakietowej w Europie, przeciw któremu Rosja protestuje

W czasie poniedziałkowej rozmowy z Miedwiediewem podczas szczytu nuklearnego w Seulu Obama powiedział, że po tegorocznych wyborach, w których ubiega się o reelekcję, "będzie miał większą swobodę manewru" w sprawie tarczy. Wypowiedź podchwyciły w USA prawicowe media, sugerując, że prezydent jest gotów do bliżej nieokreślonych ustępstw wobec Rosji. Kwestia budowy tarczy antyrakietowej miała być także istotnym elementem polskiej doktryny obronnej. Zastępca doradcy Obamy ds. bezpieczeństwa narodowego Ben Rhodes zapewnił jednak, że projekt tarczy antyrakietowej - którego elementy mają znaleźć się w Polsce - będzie realizowany.

Agencje cytują dosłownie podsłuchaną wymianę zdań między obu przywódcami. Co do wszystkich tych zagadnień, ale zwłaszcza tarczy antyrakietowej, to może być rozwiązane, ale ważne jest, żeby on dał mi na to czas - powiedział Obama. Z kontekstu wynika, że "on" to premier Władimir Putin.
- Tak, rozumiem. Rozumiem pana przesłanie co do czasu do namysłu... - odpowiedział Miedwiediew.
- To moje ostatnie wybory. Po wyborach będę miał większą elastyczność, swobodę ruchu - kontynuował prezydent USA.
- Rozumiem. Przekażę tę informację Władimirowi (Putinowi) - odparł Miedwiediew.
Republikanie w Kongresie zażądali wyjaśnień od Obamy.
"Kongres jasno oświadczył administracji, że zablokuje wszelkie próby osłabienia amerykańskiej obrony przeciwrakietowej. Chcę niedwuznacznie oświadczyć, że ja i moi koledzy nie pozwolimy na żadne dążenia, by przehandlować amerykańską obronę przeciwrakietową na rzecz Rosji czy jakiegokolwiek innego kraju" - podkreślił w pisemnym oświadczeniu republikański przewodniczący podkomisji ds. sił strategicznych w Komisji Sił Zbrojnych Izby Reprezentantów Mike Turner.
Ben Rhodes zapewnił, że USA "są oddane sprawie realizacji naszego systemu obrony przeciwrakietowej, który, jak wielokrotnie mówiliśmy, nie jest skierowany przeciw Rosji".,artykuly,152656,1.html

The truth is, Mr. Obama, you lose flexibility after an election UNLESS you win by a land-slide.  You sir, will have a fight few politicians would ever wade into, to keep your job.  When it is finished, you will be, quite likely unemployed.  If you happen to scrape by - you will have lost support in Congress from Democrats who have watched you dismantle the conservative portion of their party, run roughshod over the political apparatchiks, and rule by fiat as a King does.  None of this will provide you with the necessary political support from your party, and the Republicans will never support your policies when they are contrary to American values.

Mar 26, 2012 6:17am

SEOUL, South Korea — At the tail end of his 90 minute meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev Monday, President Obama said that he would have “more flexibility” to deal with controversial issues such as missile defense, but incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to give him “space.”

The exchange was picked up by microphones as reporters were let into the room for remarks by the two leaders.

The exchange:

President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.

President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…

President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

When asked to explain what President Obama meant, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications Ben Rhodes told ABC News that there is room for the U.S. and Russia to reach an accommodation, but “there is a lot of rhetoric around this issue — there always is — in both countries.

A senior administration official tells ABC News: “this is a political year in which the Russians just had an election, we’re about to have a presidential and congressional elections — this is not the kind of year in which we’re going to resolve incredibly complicated issue like this. So there’s an advantage to pulling back and letting the technical experts work on this as the president has been saying.”


The Differences and the Truth

When an American acts contrary to standards that more than 100,000 other military personnel have followed, we apologize, and bring the person to trial.  In many cases, we pay the victims or their families.  We follow Arab custom with blood money or diyat.  It is not because we have to, we don't.  We do it because it saves us trouble - Koranic and later sharia law requires the payment in cases of mistake or accident for a death, and should the amount be paid, the family are koranically prevented from causing any further harm or damage to the offenders.  It is case closed.

We don't see that though.

We see the US forces burning the Koran - riots and protests with deaths occuring result.
We see a US soldier kill 17 - followed by riots and protests and the deaths of scores around the world.

What we see now are Afghan soldiers turn on NATO (and US) forces, claiming they are upholding some honor for the burned Korans and or the murdered families.  As the article points out, the number killed by Afghan killers is almost nearly as high as those killed by the one American soldier, yet no one seeks to repay Americans or NATO for the loss.  It is dismissed as the work of a lone killer, disenchanted with the Americans.

Beguiling as that may be, the truth is preferable.  Those soldiers were either a) put their by al qaida or Taliban, or b) taliban or al qaida approached their families and gave them a choice they could not refuse.

Unlike the mentally unstable American or lone NATO killer, not sanctioned or supported by a society or culture - the Afgahn killer is championed and treated in a heroic manner, albeit dead.  His family, I am quite sure if we could check, received some large payment prior to his death.
26 March 2012

A British soldier and Royal Marine have been shot dead by an Afghan army soldier, the Ministry of Defence says.

The gunman also injured a third UK serviceman when he opened fire at the British military HQ in Lashkar Gah in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan.

Nato said he was then shot dead when its soldiers returned fire.

The British soldier was from the Adjutant General's Corps (Staff & Personnel Support). Next of kin of both British servicemen have been told.

'Tragic event'

A total of 407 British troops have been killed in Afghanistan since military operations began in 2001.

Announcing the deaths in a statement to the Commons, Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond said: "Our thoughts, as ever, are with their families, for whom this will be a deeply personal tragedy.

"Details of the incident are still emerging but it appears that a member of the Afghan National Army opened fire at the entrance gate to the British headquarters in Lashkar Gar city, killing the two British service personnel.

"The assailant was killed by return fire."

No doubt that Britain and Nato's leadership will want to reaffirm that after this latest incident there will not be a change in policy.

But a recent classified coalition report, obtained by the New York Times, found that between May 2007 and May 2011 at least 58 western service personnel were killed by Afghan soldiers and police in 26 separate attacks.

The report stated that "lethal altercations are clearly not rare or isolated; they reflect a rapidly growing homicide threat".

Could this impact the timetable for withdrawal? When four French soldiers were killed by an Afghan soldier in January, President Sarkozy temporarily suspended his nation's military training mission.

He has also now brought forward the date when French combat soldiers will leave the country - from 2014 to 2013.

Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said the victims were in the "thoughts of all of us".

Spokesman for the UK's Task Force Helmand, Maj Ian Lawrence, said: "The thoughts and condolences of everyone serving in the Task Force are with their families and friends."

Brig Gen Sherin Shah of the Afghan National Army said the attack, carried out by a member of the Fourth Kandak of 3-215 Brigade, was "a tragic event".

"The incident is still under investigation and it is unclear if the action was planned or influenced by the enemy or if he acted alone, either way it is with the deepest regret that two Isaf soldiers who came to our country to provide security are now dead," he said.

"I would like to convey my deepest condolences to the soldiers' families and the British Army and Royal Marines, especially Task Force Helmand, for their loss."

Earlier a spokesman for the governor of Helmand said the shooting followed a "verbal clash" between Afghan and Nato soldiers, and the Afghan involved was from Kunar province.

The Taliban have claimed that the gunman was "their man".

The attack appears to be the latest in a number of "green on blue" incidents - where members of the Afghan security forces turn their weapons on their international colleagues or trainers.

Fifteen Nato military personnel, including eight Americans, have now been killed in this way so far this year.

The number of these incidents has risen since the burning of Korans by US troops at base in February, which President Obama said was a "genuine mistake".

Tensions were inflamed further by the killing of 17 Afghan civilians earlier this month.

US Staff Sgt Robert Bales, 38, has been charged with killing nine Afghan children and eight adults in their homes in Kandahar province on 11 March.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

French Refuse to See

In France it is against the law for just anyone to publish a video on youtube of a news event that occured in France. For example, police shooting someone, hitting someone, a riot, burning buildings, protests ... It is illegal to videotape or record it and show it on the internet.


And by that logic, why is this dead killer not al qaida?

He went to Pakistan (al qaida), visited Afghanistan (al qaida), was trained by al qaida (al qaida), where they told him to kill Westerners (al qaida), trained on weapons (al qaida), given support and encouragement to commit evil acts of terror (al qaida), but he isn't al qaida.

Yep.  Sure doesn't seem like al qaida to me.

Just like in Spain.

Stick your head back in the sand and make something else illegal.

Useless.  You actually ask for this to happen again, and it will, but of course your first ignorant thought will be neo-nazis, as it was this time, instead of what it was - al qaida inspired terror.

Mohamed Merah, killed in a shootout after deadly attacks, claimed he had terrorist ties.

Posted: Sat, Mar. 24, 2012, 3:01 AM
By Jamey Keaten
Associated Press

PARIS - Investigators have found no signs that the suspected gunman behind deadly attacks in southern France was under orders from al-Qaeda or any militant group, a top French official said Friday - disputing Mohamed Merah's claim of terrorist ties before he died in a shootout with commandos.

France's prime minister and other officials have been fending off suggestions that antiterrorism authorities failed adequately to monitor Merah, 23. He had been known to them for years before he carried out three deadly shooting attacks this month.

Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian descent who claimed links to al-Qaeda, was killed in a gunfight with police Thursday after a 32-hour standoff. Prosecutors said he filmed himself carrying out the attacks that began March 11, killing three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi, and three French paratroopers with close-range shots to the head. Another Jewish student and a paratrooper were wounded.

An autopsy of the gunman's body showed that he received two fatal bullet wounds to the left temple and to the abdomen - but that he was hit by about 20 bullets, mainly in the arms and legs, judicial and police officials said.

The head of the elite police unit, Amaury de Hauteclocque, whose mission was to take Merah alive, insisted his men fired only in self-defense.

Investigators looking for possible accomplices homed in on Merah's brother Abdelkader, 29, and the brother's girlfriend, who one official said espouses an ultraconservative form of Islam. Both were detained early Wednesday, along with Merah's mother.

The brother and girlfriend were being transferred Saturday to police antiterrorist headquarters in Paris for further questioning. Abdelkader Merah had been implicated in a 2007 network that sent militant fighters to Iraq but was never charged. Merah's mother was to be released.

Meanwhile, a senior official close to the investigation told the Associated Press that despite Merah's claims to negotiators of al-Qaeda links, there was no sign he had "trained or been in contact with organized groups or jihadists."

The former auto-body worker had traveled twice to Afghanistan in 2010 and to Pakistan in 2011, and said he trained with al-Qaeda in the Pakistani militant stronghold of Waziristan. He had been on a U.S. no-fly list since 2010.

The official said Merah might have made the claim because al-Qaeda is well-known, adding there was "absolutely no evidence allowing us to believe that he was commissioned by al-Qaeda to carry out these attacks."

Merah was questioned by French intelligence officers in November after his second trip to Afghanistan, and he was cooperative and provided a USB key with photos of his trip, the official told the AP.

While he was under surveillance last year, Merah was never seen contacting any radicals and went to nightclubs, not mosques, the official said. People who knew him confirmed that he was at a nightclub in recent weeks.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's spy chief said Merah had told negotiators he attacked the Jewish school only after missing his original target, a French soldier.

"It wasn't the school that he wanted to attack," Ange Mancini told France-24 TV, calling the school shooting "opportunistic," because it was nearby.

That account appears to contradict Merah's claim that his attacks were to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children and protest the French army's involvement in Afghanistan and a French law banning Islamic face veils.


"Maybe the copy key got stuck on the presidential speechwriter's keyboard."

4:23 PM, Mar 23, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Weekly Standard

Thomas Buch-Andersen, host of the Danish TV show Detektor, mocked President Obama's political rhetoric in a recent episode. "Obama used a metaphor from boxing to explain Denmark's role in the world," says Buch-Andersen, introducing the segment.

He then roles the tape. "That's fairly typical of the way that Danes have punched above their weight in international affairs," President Obama says at a press availability in the Oval Office with Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark.

"It's nice to be praised," Buch-Andersen remarks. "We punch harder than our weight class would suggest. But how much should we read into his words? According to Obama, are we doing any better than, say, the Norwegians?"

The TV host again turns to the tape, this time showing President Obama in the Oval Office with Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg. "I've said this before, but I want to repeat: Norway punches above its weight," Obama says.

Back to Buch-Andersen. "Hmm. So Norway packs a punch too. But what about the Netherlands? Here, their head of government, Mark Rutte, visits Obama."

The tape roles yet again. "We have no stronger ally than the Netherlands," says Obama. "They consistently punch above their weight."

The TV host continues, pointing to the similar rhetoric Obama used when Ireland's head of state came to town, and then the Philippines.

Buch-Andersen wonders aloud, "Maybe the copy key got stuck on the presidential speechwriter's keyboard."


Proud of His Brother? Amazing. Proud of what? Evil.

24/03 16:14 CET

The older brother of the Toulouse gunman who killed seven people said he was “proud” of Mohamed Merah’s actions.

Abdelkader Merah told police he was present when the Yahama scooter used in the killings was stolen.

But he insists he had no prior knowledge of his brother’s criminal plans

The 29-year-old and his girlfriend are being questioned by French intelligence officers in Paris.

Mohamed Merah’s mother was also quizzed but has since been released.

Her lawyer said on Saturday that she was “wracked with guilt and full of remorse” for what her 23-year-old son did.

Merah murdered three Jewish children, a Rabbi and three French soldiers in an eight-day killing spree that has shocked France.

He himself was shot dead on Thursday after he opened fire on police following a thirty-two hour siege of his apartment in the southwestern city.

Questions are being asked over how French intelligence failed to apprehend the Merah brothers, who were known to have links to radical Islamists.

It has forced national security straight to the top of the agenda ahead of next month’s presidential election.


John of God

Mar 24, 2:17 PM EDT

Associated Press

ABADIANIA, Brazil (AP) -- John of God grabs what looks like a kitchen knife from a silver tray and appears to scrape it over the right eye of a believer.
The "psychic surgeon" then wipes a viscous substance from the blade onto the patient's shirt.
The procedure is repeated on the left eye of Juan Carlos Arguelles, who recently traveled thousands of miles from Colombia to see the healer.
For 12 years, Arguelles says, he suffered from keratoconus, which thinned his cornea and severely blurred his vision.
John of God is Joao Teixeira de Faria, a 69-year-old miracle man and medium to those who believe. He's a dangerous hoax to those who do not.
For five decades he's performed "psychic" medical procedures like that for Arguelles. He asks for no money in exchange for the procedures. Donations are welcomed, however.
The sick and lame who have hit dead ends in conventional medicine are drawn to Abadiania, a tiny town in the green highlands of Goias state, southwest of the capital of Brasilia.
Faria says he's not the one curing those who come to him. "It's God who heals. I'm just the instrument."
"Psychic surgeons" are mostly concentrated in Brazil and the Philippines with roots in spiritualist movements that believe spirits of the dead can communicate with the living. Like Faria, they often appear to go into a trance while doing their work, allowing God, dead doctors or other spirits to flow through them.
Such practices have been roundly denounced.
The American Cancer Society has said practitioners of psychic surgery use sleight of hand and animal body parts during procedures to convince patients that what ails them has been snatched away.
But Arguelles, the 29-year-old Colombian who had his eyes worked on by John of God, doesn't care what the medical establishment says.
A week after visiting Brazil and undergoing the procedure, he said his vision had improved "by 80 percent" and was getting better each day.

Mali Coup: Me Wonders Why?

By MARTIN VOGL, Associated Press
March 24, 2012

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Mali's U.S.-trained coup leader said Saturday he is in control of the country, has no fears of a countercoup and wants peace talks with the rebels whose northern rebellion was the trigger that led him to oust a democratically elected president.

Capt. Amadou Sanogo, who appeared exhausted, his voice hoarse, stressed the importance of unity for the West African nation in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press at Kati garrison outside Bamako, the capital. What started there Wednesday as a mutiny of low-ranking officers and rank-and-file soldiers turned into a full-blown coup d'etat.

"Tuareg people in the north, Arab people, are our brothers. ... I want all of them to come to the same table right after this interview, my door is open, we should talk about this process," Sanogo said.

Sanogo's ouster Wednesday of President Ahmed Toumani Toure just five weeks before he was to step down after presidential elections threatens the cause of democracy in a region prone to coups and jeopardizes Mali's standing at the heart of the Western-backed fight against Africa's thriving wing of al-Qaida.

The European Union, the World Bank and the African Development Bank all have suspended aid because of the coup, and the African Union has suspended the country's membership. The United States is considering suspending all but humanitarian aid.

"Right now I'm in control of all the country," Sanogo, 39, said confidently.

But rebels seeking to create a separate state in northern Mali for the nomadic Tuareg people have taken advantage of the power vacuum to advance to the gates of the strategic northern town of Kidal. Soldiers are deserting by the dozens while others are retreating without a fight amid disarray in the army command, a senior rebel commander told the AP on Thursday. The rebels are led by battle-hardened colonels who fought in the army of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi before returning home heavily armed.

Mali's land borders and airspace remained closed Saturday, trapping thousands of visitors including three African foreign ministers who were there for a meeting. The country has been under a curfew since the coup.

Sanogo would not say where Toure is, or even if he knows his whereabouts.

"As a soldier, I have my secrets," is all he would say.

Pushed about whether Toure is protected by any soldiers, he said "Not even one."

He was contradicted by one officer who told the AP that a handful of the red-bereted parachutists who made up the presidential guard remain with the toppled leader. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

The African Union also said Thursday that it has information that Toure is safe, under the protection of Red Berets at a location not far from Bamako.

Sanogo, however, claimed the Red Berets were with him, and at least three soldiers in his office at Kati garrison sported red berets.

The putschists have also arrested at least three Cabinet ministers, but the whereabouts of Defense Minister Gen. Sadio Gassama are unknown.

Sanogo says he acted Wednesday to avert a national security crisis because the government was not providing the arms and ammunition needed to fight the rebels, who have killed scores of soldiers.

On Friday, state radio and TV went dead for about an hour and troops set up barricades around its downtown headquarters, raising speculation that a countercoup was in progress. Rumors coursed that Sanogo was wounded, even dead.

But the television station flickered back to life, and later showed Sanogo in a room of soldiers wearing different uniforms and berets, which the coup leader said indicated they were members of the police, the paramilitary gendarmerie and the Red Berets. It was a show of unity meant to dispel reports of a divided army.

When asked about a countercoup, Sanogo calmly responded: "To be honest, I don't fear."

The Africa Command of the U.S. Defense Department confirmed that Sanogo received basic officer training in the United States as well as participating in several other training programs there.

State TV and radio on Saturday repeated warnings for soldiers to stop the pillaging that began Friday, when soldiers were stealing everything from people's cars to bananas being sold by vendors on street corners.

State TV and radio were also broadcasting a communique urging gas stations to reopen. They had closed because soldiers had been ordering their vehicles refilled without payment.

Saturday morning, major stores and the city's downtown market remain shuttered. People fearful of more trouble rushed around small grocery stores and roadside vendors to stock up on food supplies. Cars returned to the streets as the looting subsided.

Sanogo played down any chaos.

"People are starting with their daily life, the market is open, transportation has been going on now. I believe I am getting closer to what I promised to my people," he said.

But he has offered no clear agenda.

"I'm scared to say it but it must be said: We can never put our confidence in a young soldier with a gun," said Kalifa Keita, 30, who was buying goods from a street vendor in downtown Bamako. "The problem is that these things take time to resolve, and that makes me afraid."

This week's coup represents a major setback for the nation of 15.4 million at the bottom of the Sahara desert. Although Toure initially took power in a 1991 coup, he became known as the "Soldier of Democracy" because he handed power to civilians, and retreated from public life. Years later he re-emerged to win the 2002 election and was re-elected in 2007.

A dozen candidates were running in the April 29 vote, which is now in jeopardy.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012


TOULOUSE, France (AP) — Riot police surrounded an apartment building into the night on Wednesday, laying siege to a gunman who boasted of bringing France "to its knees" by carrying out an al-Qaida-linked terror spree that killed seven people.
Hundreds of heavily armed police, some in body armor, cordoned off the five-story building in Toulouse where the 24-year-old suspect, Mohamed Merah, had been holed up since the pre-dawn hours.
As midnight approached, three explosions were heard and orange flashes lit up the night sky near the building.
Authorities said the shooter, a French citizen of Algerian descent, had been to Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he claimed to have received training from al-Qaida.
They said he told negotiators he killed a rabbi and three young children at a Jewish school on Monday and three French paratroopers last week to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children and to protest the French army's involvement in Afghanistan, as well as a government ban last year on face-covering Islamic veils.
"He has no regrets, except not having more time to kill more people and he boasts that he has brought France to its knees," Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins told a news conference.
The standoff began when a police attempt at around 3 a.m. to detain Merah erupted into a firefight. Three police were wounded, triggering on-and-off negotiations with the suspect that lasted into the night.
As darkness fell, police cut electricity and gas to the building, then quietly closed in to wait out the suspect.
Authorities were "counting on his great fatigue and weakening," said Didier Martinez of the SGP police union, adding the siege could go on for hours. Street lights were also cut, making Merah more visible to officers with night vision goggles in case of an assault.
French authorities — like others in Europe — have long been concerned about "lone-wolf" attacks by young, Internet-savvy militants who self-radicalize online since they are harder to find and track. Still, it was the first time a radical Islamic motive has been ascribed to killings in France in years.
Merah espoused a radical brand of Islam and had been to the Afghanistan-Pakistan region twice and to the Pakistani militant stronghold of Waziristan for training, Molins said.
He said the suspect had plans to kill another soldier, prompting the police raid.
The gunman's brother and mother were detained early in the day. Molins said the 29-year-old brother, Abdelkader, had been implicated in a 2007 network that sent militant fighters to Iraq, but was never charged.
Wednesday's siege was part of France's biggest manhunt since a wave of terrorist attacks in the 1990s by Algerian extremists. The chase began after France's worst-ever school shooting Monday and two previous attacks on paratroopers beginning March 11, killings that have horrified the country and frozen campaigning for the French presidential election next month.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has played up nationalist themes in his bid for a second term, vowed to defend France.
"Terrorism will not be able to fracture our national community," Sarkozy declared Wednesday on national television before heading to funeral services for the two paratroopers killed and another injured Thursday in Montauban, near Toulouse.
The suspect repeatedly promised to turn himself in, then halted negotiations. Cedric Delage, regional secretary for a police union, said police were prepared to storm the building if he did not surrender.
After bouts of deadly terrorist attacks in France in the 1980s and 1990s, France beefed up its legal arsenal — now seen as one of the most effective in Western Europe and a reference for countries including the U.S. after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Sarkozy's office said President Barack Obama called him Wednesday to express condolences to the families of the victims and praise French police for tracking down the suspect. The statement said France and the United States are "more determined than ever to fight terrorist barbarity together."
In recent years, French counterterrorism officials have focused mainly on al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African affiliate of Osama bin Laden's network that has its roots in an insurgent group in Algeria, a former French colony.
Molins said Merah's first trip to Afghanistan ended with him being picked up by Afghan police "who turned him over to the American army who put him on the first plane to France."
"He had foreseen other killings, notably he foresaw another attack this morning, targeting a soldier," Molins said, adding also planned to attack two police officers. "He claims to have always acted alone."
Merah has a long record as a juvenile delinquent with 15 convictions, Molins added.
An Interior Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Merah had been under surveillance for years for having "fundamentalist" Islamic views.
During the standoff, police evacuated the five-story building, escorting residents out using the roof and fire truck ladders. The suspect's apartment was on the ground floor of the postwar building, locals said.
French authorities said Merah threw a Colt .45 handgun used in each of the three attacks out a window in exchange for a device to talk to authorities, but had more weapons like an AK-47 assault rifle. Gueant said other weapons had been found in his car.
"The main concern is to arrest him, and to arrest him in conditions by which we can present him to judicial officials," Gueant added, explaining authorities want to "take him alive ... It is imperative for us."
Delage said a key to tracking Merah was the powerful Yamaha motorcycle he reportedly used in all three attacks — a dark gray one that had been stolen March 6. The frame was painted white, the color witnesses saw in the school attack.
According to Delage, one of his brothers went to a motorcycle sales outfit to ask how to modify the GPS tracker, raising suspicions. The vendor then contacted police, Delage said.
The shooter has proved to be a meticulous operator. At the site of the second paratrooper killing, police found the clip for the gun used in all three attacks — but no fingerprints or DNA on it.
Those slain at the Jewish school, all of French-Israeli nationality, were buried in Israel on Wednesday as relatives sobbed inconsolably. The bodies of Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, his sons Arieh, 5, and Gabriel, 3, and 8-year-old Myriam Monsenego had been flown there earlier in the day.
At the funeral ceremony, Myriam's eldest brother, Avishai, in his 20s, wailed and called to God to give his parents the strength "to endure the worst trial that can be endured."
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, meanwhile, denounced the deadly shooting attack at the Jewish school and condemned the link to Palestinian children.
"It's time for criminals to stop using the Palestinian cause to justify their terrorist actions," Fayyad said in a statement. "The children of Palestine want nothing but dignified lives for themselves and for all the children."
Before he was killed last year, bin Laden stressed the importance of focusing on the Palestinian cause. In what is believed to be a draft letter to al-Qaida's top lieutenant, the al-Qaida leader wrote about the need for the terror group's affiliates to tie their operations to broad concern for Palestine instead of local grievances, according to declassified documents obtained in last year's bin Laden raid that were reviewed by the Washington Post.

al qaida

Monday, March 19, 2012

Honor Killings: Pakistan is Rife with the murder of innocents.

Barbarism.  Animals.  Yet animals are not so unkind.  For people to speak of honor ... who have neither honor nor humanity, bespeaks a great deal ab out these cretins.  But, on the other hand - for anyone to be so naive as to believe such things do not happen and all will be well ... they walked into it, and Darwin sorted them out.

A Scottish businessman and his American wife were shot dead in the street in a suspected honour killing while on holiday in Pakistan, it has emerged.

3:45PM GMT 24 Nov 2011

Saif Rehman, 31, from Glasgow, and his wife 30 year-old wife Uzma Naurin, who is from New York, were gunned down while on a shopping trip in Gujrat earlier this month.

Reports say their car was ambushed by four men and Mr Rehman was killed instantly before Mrs Naurin was taken away with the group. Her body was found a few hours later dumped in nearby bushes on November 1.

It is believed the couple were accompanied by a driver, Mr Rehman’s sister and her two-year-old daughter.

The other passengers are thought to have escaped unharmed.

Pakistani police are investigating claims of "tension" between the couple’s parents over their marriage three years ago.

They were married in Manchester before a more elaborate ceremony, involving both sides of the family, occured in Glasgow in June.

Attendees of the wedding reported that it appeared that the differences might have been resolved.

The couple's friend, Saif Ali, from Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire, said they were in the country for a family wedding and were returning from a shopping trip when they were killed.

''They were going back home and basically, all of a sudden, the driver just stopped the car," he said.

''Four people were in a different car which stopped in front of them.

''They pulled Saif and his sister and his wife out of the car and as soon as he was pulled out of the car, they shot him without saying anything.''

Mr Ali added: ''Five minutes up the road they basically killed her (Uzma Naurin) as well.

''She wasn't found until quite a bit of time later.

''Probably about three or four hours later she was found as they had basically put her in the shrubs somewhere, just on the side of the road.''

Police in the Punjab region of Pakistan are understood to be investigating whether the couple, who reportedly married in Glasgow in February, were the victims of an ''honour killing''. They are said to be treating their deaths as a targeted attack.

Mr Ali told the BBC that Mr Rehman's sister and niece were in the same car as the couple, but were not killed after being asked to identify themselves. It is also reported that nothing was stolen from the vehicle.

Mr Ali, 30, of Cumbernauld, Dunbartonshire, owns a mobile phone repair company, met Mr Rehman – who operates a similar firm called GSM Communications in Glasgow – three years ago.

The Foreign Office is not involved in the case as Mr Rehman was a Pakistani national and Mrs Naurin was a US citizen.


Pakistani Honor Killings

Pakistan honour killings reach 675 this year

At least 675 honour killings have been carried out in Pakistan during the first nine months of this year, according to a human rights group which is calling for urgent steps to protect women and girls.

By Rob Crilly, Islamabad
4:17PM GMT 20 Dec 2011

The shocking tally highlights the scale of violence against women in conservative, rural parts of the Muslim country, where rape victims are routinely sentenced to death by village elders and murderers can escape court by paying blood money.

Zohra Yusuf, chairperson of The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said too many cases were dismissed by police as private, family affairs.

"It is one of the signs of a paternalistic and feudal society," she said.

"The government introduced a law in 2006 to check this and at least more cases are now being registered.

"But the status of women in these societies means that anything they do is seen as a reflection of the family's honour and that there is some sympathy for the perpetrators of these murders."

The murders include at least 71 victims under the age of 18, a figure expected to rise by the time the group publishes its report in February.

About 450 of the women killed from January to September were accused of having "illicit relations" and 129 of marrying without permission.

Some victims were raped or gang-raped before being killed, according to the preliminary report. At least 19 were killed by their sons, 49 by their fathers and 169 by their husbands.

Many cases are dismissed when relatives of the victim accept "diyat"or blood money from the accused.

Campaigners say they are encouraged by two laws passed last week, stiffening the penalty for acid attacks and criminalising practices such as marrying off young girls to settle tribal disputes, but that there is still a long way to go.

Doctors at Multan Hospital were on Tuesday trying to repair the face of Salma Bibi, 18, who was brought to them after her husband allegedly sliced off her nose.

She told relatives he believed she was about to run away with another man.


Honor Killings - Never Abate

And what does 'Asian' have to do with this???

Answer:  NOTHING.

The mother of a teenager stabbed to death as she walked by a canal yesterday claimed her daughter was the victim of a brutal honour killing.

8:00AM GMT 17 Mar 2012

Laura Wilson, 17, was repeatedly knifed in the head by her Asian boyfriend Ashtiaq Ashgar on a secluded tow path after their relationship turned sour.

Her mother, who has never spoken publicly before, believes her daughter was murdered because she challenged the code of ethics which some ethnic communities still follow.

It is thought that Miss Wilson could be the first white victim of an honour killing in Britain.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Mrs Wilson said: “I honestly think it was an honour killing for putting shame on the family. They needed to shut Laura up and they did.”

Miss Wilson lived in Ferham Park, an Asian and white community in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

Although only a teenager, she already had a baby by an Asian man, Ishaq ‘Zac’ Hussein, a 20-year-old.

But her mother revealed that he refused to recognise the child and Miss Wilson was really in love with his friend, Ashtiaq Ashgar. She admitted: ‘”Ashtiaq was her first love, she adored him.”

Stung by Mr Hussein’s rejection of her and their child, Miss Wilson decided to confront the men’s families and tell them she had had sexual relations with both of them.

Detective Superintendent Mick Mason, now retired from South Yorkshire Police, believes this may have been the trigger for a plan to kill her.

Officers know from analysing records of the two men’s phones that after the meeting there were text messages discussing buying a gun.

DS Mason said: “I think it was all about shame. In their eyes, Laura had brought shame on the family by coming round. Their son had also brought shame on the family.”

In October 2010, three days after the confrontation, Miss Wilson agreed to meet Mr Ashgar by a local canal. Police believe he began a frenzied knife attack on the girl before throwing her into the water.

The two men were arrested and tried for her murder. The pathologist in court revealed that Miss Wilson had been stabbed in the top of the head repeatedly as she tried to struggle out of the canal.

Mr Ashgar was found guilty and sentenced to 17 years in prison and Mr Hussein was acquitted.

DS Mason added: “I have seen many murders in my time, but this was the worst.”


Make Mine Freedom - 1948

American Form of Government

Who's on First? Certainly isn't the Euro.