These are all the Blogs posted on Saturday, 11, 2012.
Saturday, 11 August 2012
Denmark: Ramadan show draws ire
From The Copenhagen Post
National broadcaster DR will mark the end of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, next week by organising a festive event that includes music and workshops inside Koncerthuset, as well as several radio programs.
But not everyone is in a festive mood. Ole Hyltoft, DR’s deputy chairman, calls it a terrifying gamble and contends that Islam has political and warlike beliefs aimed at all non-Muslims.
“I keep thinking about the many ignorant and naïve Danes who celebrated the Hitler Youth in the 1930s for the healthy lifestyle, good food and fresh music that the young Germans embraced,” Hyltoft told Politiken newspaper. “Is it right that DR launch such a controversial project without discussing it with the board?”
Despite recently announcing that she would step down as Dansk Folkeparti's leader, Pia Kjærsgaard showed she wasn’t going to pull out of the limelight and agreed with Hyltoft, who was appointed to DR by Dansk Folkeparti in 2007. “I guess we have to be force-fed this stuff. Wherever we turn, we have to hear something about Eid,” Kjærsgaard told Politiken,
But Nihad Hodzic, spokesperson for Muslim interest group Muslimer i Dialog, disagrees with Hyltoft’s outburst, saying that there is nothing wrong with DR focusing on the end of Ramadan. “What is terrifying is that there is a man on the board that thinks it’s “terrifying” to include people in a public service event,“ Hodzic told Politiken. “The purpose of public service is to include the public, which Muslims are part of.”
All of next week, the radio station P3 will be concentrating their efforts on a pre-party to Eid and on Monday, August 20, it will all culminate in a concert at Koncerhuset.
I didn't think Muslims who followed Mohammed to the letter had music?
Posted on 08/11/2012 3:13 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 11 August 2012
A Musical Interlude: No Trouble But You (Ben Bernie Orch. & vocal)
Posted on 08/11/2012 8:24 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 11 August 2012
Inchworm, Inchworm, Measuring The Marigolds
See the latest entry in the annals of espionage here.
Posted on 08/11/2012 8:32 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 11 August 2012
German Spy Chief On The Syrian Army, Or, One More Reason To Do Nothing
End is near for Syria's Assad, says German spy chief
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's spy chief said Syria President Bashar al-Assad's government appeared to be in its final phase because its army had been depleted by casualties, deserters and defectors to the opposition.
Gerhard Schindler, head of Germany's BND intelligence agency, said Assad's once 320,000-strong army had lost about 50,000 troops since the uprising against his rule began 17 months ago.
Smaller, flexible rebel units were sapping the strength of the army with guerrilla tactics, he told Die Welt newspaper in an interview published on Saturday.
"There are a lot of indications that the end game for the regime has begun," said the president of the Bundesnachrichtendienst agency.
"That (army losses) includes those who have been wounded, deserted and about 2,000 to 3,000 who have defected to the armed military opposition," he said. "The erosion of the military is continuing."
While Assad's grip on the country has been loosened as the uprising has gathered momentum, his forces have overwhelming firepower advantage against lightly armed rebels.
However, Schindler said small rebel units were offsetting that by using their speed and maneuverability to strike quickly in ambushes.
"Because of their small size, they're not a good target for Assad's army," he said. "The regular army is being confronted by a variety of flexible fighters. The recipe of their success is their guerrilla tactics. They're breaking the army's back."
Assad is fighting to crush a rebellion that aims to end his family's four decades in charge of Syria.
Comment: Even if Schindler's calculation is correct, and 50,000 of what started as a 320,000-man army, have been killed, wounded, deserted, or defected, that still leaves an army of 270,000 men (in the regular army) and tens or possibly hundreds of thousands of others in militias who can be counted on, even more than the army.
What should the West do? Nothing. Let the Syrian army -- and its Air Force too -- be further damaged and degraded, not by the West but by the acts of Muslim Arabs. Ideally the Islamic Republic of Iran will be forced to send billions in aid, and military equipment, thus draining its own resources, and possibly Hezbollah could be persuaded to do the same, or even to send volunteers. That would be great. Let it be a free-for-all, where Shi'a allies earn the long-term hatred of the Sunnis in Lebanon, in Syria, in Iraq and Jordan and Egypt and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf sheikdoms.
Posted on 08/11/2012 10:01 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 11 August 2012
Iran v. Turkey
August 11, 2012
Turkey, Iran Show Signs of Deep Division Over Syria
ISTANBUL, Turkey — Relations between once close allies Iran and Turkey are rapidly deteriorating over Ankara's strong support for Syrian rebels fighting against Iran's key ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In an unprecedented move, Tehran suspended visa-free travel with Turkey for the first time in nearly 50 years.
Iran observer Mehrdad Emadi, who works for the international affairs consultant firm "Betamax," said the suspension of visa-free travel is significant.
"It is quite actually meaningful in the context of the rising tensions between the two countries," said Emadi. "And, I think there are too many sources behind this growing tension - one is the conflicting positions in the management of the Syrian crisis. We have never had such a thorny relationship between the two countries."
Iran alienates Ankara
Iranian leaders and senior diplomats increasingly have toughened their rhetoric against Ankara. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week accused Tehran of being ungrateful for his government's efforts to defuse international tensions over Iran's controversial nuclear program. Two years ago, Turkey - as a temporary member of the U.N. Security Council - voted against Iran sanctions.
Former senior Turkish diplomat Murat Bilhan said it is difficult to read Iran.
"The Iranian chief of general staff threatens Turkey in a press conference, but then the minister of foreign affairs denies it. Which one are you to believe?" asks Bilhan.
Bilhan said one factor behind the mixed messages is that Tehran is looking to Ankara to use its contacts to secure the release of 48 Iranians seized by rebels in Syria.
But Iran watcher Emadi said it also could be a sign of divisions within Iranian leadership.
"It has never been more disunited and uncoordinated in regards to its foreign policy."
Kurdish remains key concern
One other worry for Ankara is the major long-standing Kurdish issue.
Tehran during the 1990's provided support to the Kurdish rebel group the PKK in its fight for greater minority rights in Turkey. Emadi said Tehran might again be tempted to use the PKK against Ankara, but said it's a dangerous game.
"Iran has a very large Kurdish population and in recent years this population has become more vocal and most restive. But Iran sometimes has opted very, very high-risk options."
Some experts forsee rough road
Political columnist for the pro Islamic newspaper Yeni Safak, Akif Emre, said with Iranian-Turkish relations now linked to the crisis in Syria, tensions could worsen.
"If the crisis is getting deeper, that means the Iran and Turkish problem is getting deeper. This is very dangerous. The Syrian crisis is not limited to Syrian national borders. It could become a real regional crisis, maybe war," said Emre.
This Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will host U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss support for the Syrian opposition.
Posted on 08/11/2012 10:34 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 11 August 2012
Mumbai violence: Situation under control, probe ordered
From the Hindustan Times
Two people were killed and nearly 65 injured – of them 56 policemen -- in an unprecedented attack on the police force and media by protestors at Azad Maidan on Saturday afternoon. The protestors, drawn largely from the Raza Academy, a Sunni Muslim advocacy group, had gathered to condemn the recent killings of Muslims in Assam and Myanmar, and turned violent during the protest.
The police claimed that protestors numbered around 20,000, while the Raza Azademy said nearly 60,000 had gathered at Azad Maidan. The academy president, Saeed Noori, said that the violence was started by a few people hanging around the protest venue.
Three Muslim organisations had jointly organized the protest on Aug 13, the police said, but one of them went ahead with it on Saturday. By 1pm, the protestors had assembled.
Mumbai police commissioner Arup Patnaik, said: “Around 2.30 pm, midway through the protest, some elements in the crowd pulled out provocative pictures of people being killed at Assam. The pictures acted as a trigger and led to violence. When the policemen posted for bandobast tried to control the crowd, they pelted stones at them and heckled them.”
The violence lasted from 2.30 to 3.15 pm. Policemen and journalists at the venue were beaten by the mob and 10-15 vehicles were set on fire. Mayhem prevailed until police opened fire to bring the situation under control. Services on the Central Railway were cancelled for a brief while.
The dead were identified as Mohammed Umar, 22 and Altaf Shaikh, 18. Apart from the 56 policemen, about a dozen press photographers and television camerapersons were injured. Vehicles, including three police vans and three OB (Outdoor Broadcasting) vans, were set on fire.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said: “It’s surprising how the police which is otherwise reluctant to give permission for protests of teachers and farmers gave a nod to a group which was protesting on a national issue that had no relevance to Mumbai”.
Posted on 08/11/2012 2:38 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 11 August 2012
What Did You Expect? More American Military Aid To Egypt
From The New York Times:
After Attack, U.S. and Egypt Step Up Talks
WASHINGTON — In the wake of the attack that killed 16 Egyptian soldiers near the border with Israel last Sunday, the United States and Egypt are negotiating a package of assistance to address what administration officials described as a worsening security vacuum in the Sinai Peninsula.
Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi, and its military leaders balked last month when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta each separately pressed them to act more aggressively against extremists operating in Sinai. But after the attack, Egypt appears to have overcome its sensitivities about sovereignty and accelerated talks over the details of new American assistance, which would include military equipment, police training, and electronic and aerial surveillance, the officials said.
The attack — in which at least 35 masked gunmen raided an Egyptian border post and commandeered two military vehicles they used to try to storm the border with Israel — has deeply shaken Mr. Morsi’s government. It led to the dismissal of the country’s intelligence chief and a retaliatory military operation that included the first helicopter airstrikes in Sinai since Israel ended its occupation in 1982.
American and Israeli officials now see Egypt’s response to the attack as an important test of Mr. Morsi’s nascent presidency and, more broadly, the country’s commitment to security after the uprising in 2011 that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.
While the American military has long had ties to its Egyptian counterpart, the deeper, more direct effort now under discussion could bind the United States and Egypt more closely against the shared threat of extremism. It could also overcome reservations among some in Washington about Mr. Morsi’s affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization long reviled by American officials for its anti-Western views and Islamist politics.
The Pentagon is discussing a variety of options for sharing intelligence with Egypt’s military and police in Sinai. They include intercepts of cellphone or radio conversations of militants suspected of plotting attacks and overhead imagery provided by aircraft — both piloted and drones — or satellites, the officials said.
“We continue to discuss ways of increasing and improving the Egyptians’ situational awareness in the Sinai,” said a Pentagon official who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic delicacy of the discussions.
The talks are taking place through military and intelligence channels that the two countries have used for decades, as well as with Mr. Morsi’s new government. Mrs. Clinton, who was traveling in Africa, spoke by telephone with Mr. Morsi’s new prime minister, Hesham Qandil, to offer condolences and discuss greater assistance.
Egypt, though it receives $1.5 billion a year in arms and other military assistance from the United States, is deeply averse to direct American involvement in its security and, in public at least, plays down the aid assistance it has received.
Even the more routine assistance under discussion — including equipment and training of its border police — has faced resistance, but after talks last week, the officials said they were optimistic that Mr. Morsi’s government would allow greater military-to-military collaboration.
While concerns about security in Sinai have intensified during the tumult of the Arab Spring, they are not new. Nor are American offers of military assistance to deal with a problem with multiple causes, including terrain, the government’s neglect of the Bedouin tribes that roam through the sparsely populated area and the treaty with Israel limiting military personnel and firepower.
Militants — some linked to international terrorist organizations, some to the Palestinian territories and some homegrown — have mounted large attacks before, including coordinated bombings in 2005 that killed nearly 100 people in Sharm el Sheik, the Red Sea resort favored by Mr. Mubarak and foreign tourists.
In 2007, after a series of rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel, Mr. Mubarak’s government — including the current military leader, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi — relented to pressure by then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and allowed the United States Army Corps of Engineers to draw up plans for improving security on the border, according to diplomatic cables disclosed by WikiLeaks.
That work led to a $23 million project to deploy seismic sensors to detect tunnels used by smugglers hauling contraband and weapons between Gaza and Egypt, though that was undermined in 2009 when Field Marshal Tantawi refused to allow a satellite link to the sensors that would record GPS coordinates. Reflecting the sensitivity to matters of sovereignty, he cited “potential criticism from the opposition of U.S. control over the Egyptian border.”
Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Panetta both raised alarms about security in Sinai in their recent meetings with Mr. Morsi and Field Marshal Tantawi — in Mr. Panetta’s case just days before the attack.
“We indicated concerns about some of the security threats there, some of it the result of border efforts that have not been sometimes effective at controlling individuals and weapons that have come through,” Mr. Panetta said after the talks with Mr. Morsi in Cairo last month.
The State Department’s annual terrorism report, released last month, said the northern Sinai had become “a base for smuggling arms and explosives into Gaza, as well as a transit point for Palestinian extremists.” Last August, a group of gunmen belonging to a group calling itself Ansar al-Jihad launched an attack from the region into Israel that killed eight Israelis, prompting an Israeli counterattack that killed six Egyptian border police officers, the report said.
Ansar al-Jihad, a little-known group, also claimed responsibility for two attacks on a gas pipeline that traverses the Sinai Desert to Israel, according to the report. It was not yet clear who carried out last Sunday’s attack, which American officials described as disturbingly sophisticated. It only ended when Israeli aircraft struck one of the commandeered vehicles after it crossed the border. The officials expressed fear that future attacks could lead, inadvertently or not, to a clash between Israel and Egypt that could threaten the peace treaty between them.
Compounding American concerns, the officials added, is the presence of an international peacekeeping force in Sinai that includes about 700 American soldiers and is now led by David M. Satterfield, a retired ambassador. The force, which oversees compliance of the treaty, is not authorized to fight extremists and is not part of the discussions on expanded assistance, but its troops and civilians have encountered the lawlessness in the region, including the threat of kidnappings.
“We have Americans in the Sinai,” Mrs. Clinton told CNN last month after her visit to Cairo. “We’ve had a few concerns about their safety. So this is not only about Egypt and Israel, it’s also about the United States and other members of that multinational force. So it’s in everyone’s interest that we work together to make sure that security is in place in Sinai.”
In her meeting in Cairo with Mr. Morsi, Mrs. Clinton also emphasized that security in Sinai depended on more than the military and police. She pressed Mr. Morsi to move forward with a stalled $50 million American project to promote development in the region to improve infrastructure and create jobs.
“The security environment in Sinai,” said Haim Malka of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, “is not going to be solved by military campaigns alone.”
Posted on 08/11/2012 2:58 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 11 August 2012
What Muslims Are Doing To The Hindus In Pakistan
In the backdrop of a 14-year-old Hindu girl’s abduction in Pakistan’s Jacobabad city in Sindh province three days ago, a controversy erupted when a delegation of 150 Hindus was detained by Islamabad for seven hours on Friday before being allowed to enter India for a pilgrimage. Head of the delegation Anup Kumar said they were supposed to cross over to India in the afternoon, but their arrival was delayed because the Pakistani authorities were apprehensive that they may not return due to the law and order problems in the southern province of Sindh, where most of Pakistan’s estimated seven million Hindus live.
Before leaving Pakistan, members of the delegation had to give an undertaking to the authorities that they would not seek asylum from the Indian government and would under all circumstances return to Pakistan within 30 days, Kumar said.
He said Hindu families were not safe in Pakistan and kidnapping of young Hindu girls and brides at gunpoint by fundamentalists had become a routine affair. “There is no law and order in Sindh and the government is watching the activities of fundamentalists as a mute spectator.”
Kumar said the recent abduction of the teenager in Jacobabad had sparked fear among the minority community, which was now planning an exodus.
He said it was possible that the majority of the delegation members would never like to go back to Pakistan in the prevailing circumstances. He said Hindu girls were being forced to convert to Islam after being abducted.
In Islamabad, President Asif Ali Zardari took serious note of reports of a "sense of insecurity" among Hindu families in Sindh and directed the authorities to allay the minority community’s grievances.
Media reports from Jacobabad said seven Hindu families comprising 90 people had decided to move to India for good. “We are businessmen but have been compelled to leave our motherland because of harassment, lawlessness, looting, kidnapping of girls and their forced conversion to Islam," said Amesh Kumar of Bakhshapur area in Jacobabad.
An unnamed Hindu man from Quetta told the Dawn newspaper: “Pakistan is our homeland and at the moment we are going to India for visiting our sacred places. But if I find the situation in India better than in Pakistan, I will prefer to settle there and others also think the same way.”
Government officials in Delhi said it was too early for them to comment, particularly since decisions on visa and citizenship are taken on a case to case basis after inputs from security agencies.
Pakistan expert Air Marshal (Retd) Kapil Kak said, “The kidnapping and conversions, especially of Hindu girls, has created a fear psychosis, resulting in many members of the minorities to rush to Indian borders. India should give them visas and allow them to stay till conditions improve and should also advise Pakistan to act against such intolerance.”
Posted on 08/11/2012 4:34 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 11 August 2012
A Musical Interlude: We Three (The Ink Spots)
Posted on 08/11/2012 4:43 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Saturday, 11 August 2012
Pvt. Abdo, Maj. Hasan and Iftar Dinner Comments by President Obama
The run up to the final days of the month long observances of Ramadan in America was occasioned by civilian and military trials in Texas regarding American Muslim Jihadis of note in our military, Pvt. Naser Jason Abdo and Maj. Nidal Hasan. Contrast those developments with President Obama’s comments praising personal aide to Secretary of State Clinton, Huma Abedin, caught up in a swirl of Congressional controversy regarding family connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. Then there was the President’s reference to the dastardly murderous attack by a suicidal Neo-Nazi on a Sikh Temple near Milwaukee seeking protection of Mosques, a reference to a second arson of one in Joplin, Missouri. All this as Ramadan comes to a conclusion with the Eid al Fitr feast on August 19th.
Yesterday, ABC News reported that Pvt. Naser Jason Abdo was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences of 60 years each for his plot uncovered on July 11, 2011 at a motel in Kileen, Texas adjacent to Fort Hood. Abdo was seeking to blow up a local restaurant filled with military service personnel. According to ABC, FBI investigators who were tipped off by a local gun-shop owner found an arsenal of weapons, bomb-making materials and instructions from al Qaeda magazine InSpire in Abdo’s motel room. Abdo was AWOL from his 101st Airborne unit at Fort Campbell, Kentucky after his application for conscientious objector status was put on hold for investigation of child pornography charges. During Abdo’s arraignment following his arrest, he allegedly shouted “Nidal Hasan -Fort Hood 2009”. Abdo was clearly seeking Jihad against fellow Army service personnel in furtherance of Maj. Nidal Hasan’s November 2009 murderous attack that killed 13 injuring more than 20, some severely, in his rampage at a Fort Hood deployment center. At his conviction in May, Pvt. Abdo reportedly spat what may have been HIV-infected blood at his guards. On Thursday in a separate matter, Maj. Hasan was convicted of contempt by the military court for not shaving off his beard as directed. Hasan’s long-awaited courts martial proceeding is scheduled to begin on August 20th. That follows the Eid-al-Fitr feast concluding the month long observances of Ramadan.
Coincident with Pvt. Abdo’s conviction, Friday night was the annual White House Iftar Dinner, a tradition begun under former President Clinton, and carried forward by Presidents Bush and Obama. President Obama’s remarks while citing American Muslim citizen accomplishments, singled out for special praise Huma Abedin, personal deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Ms. Abedin, the highly visible aide to Secretary Clinton has been alleged to have close family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. See our recent post of the Center for Security Policy briefing, “Duty is Calling Us Now” by Andrew C. McCarthy, former Federal Prosecutor of the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing. Watch the abbreviated McCarthy briefing video prepared by our colleagues at Vladtepesblog, here.
Both the Obama Administration and Congressional Republican figures, including Sens. John McCain and Lindsay Graham, and House Speaker Boehner have sharply criticized the efforts of five GOP House members led by Rep. Michelle Bachmann. These Members of Congress sent requests to the inspector generals of several federal departments and agencies to investigate Muslim Brotherhood influence in our government. The Washington Post quoted McCain saying:
Abedin “represents what is best about America: the daughter of immigrants, who has risen to the highest levels of our government on the basis of her substantial personal merit and her abiding commitment to the American ideals that she embodies so fully.”
According to the Washington Post, Rep. Bachman responded to McCain and other critics saying:
“The intention of the letters was to outline the serious national security concerns I had and ask for answers to questions regarding the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical group’s access to top Obama administration officials”.
Bachmann cited her concerns that Egyptian Hani Nour Eldin, a known member of terror group Gamaa Islamiyya, had been granted a visa to visit the United States and then meet with administration officials while in Washington.
“This is just the latest example of the dangerous national security decisions made by the Obama administration,” Bachmann said. “I will not be silent as this administration appeases our enemies instead of telling the truth about the threats our country faces.”
Last night at the glittering White House Iftar dinner, The Washington Post noted::
President Obama on Friday voiced strong support for Huma Abedin, saying the top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has been “nothing less than extraordinary in representing our country and the democratic values that we hold dear.”
[. . .]
The president called Abedin an “American patriot” and added that the public owes her “a debt of gratitude” because she is “an example of what we need in this country -- more public servants with her sense of decency, her grace and her generosity of spirit.”
The Washington Post referring to the massacre at the Sikh Temple in Milwaukee by a Neo-Nazi suicide terrorist quoted:
Obama said diversity “makes us Americans,” but he warned that tolerance for such diversity is “threatened.”
He cited the recent shooting at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, in which six people were killed by a gunman who eventually shot himself.
“Tonight, our prayers, in particular, are with our friends and fellow Americans in the Sikh community,” Obama said. “We mourn those who were senselessly murdered and injured in their place of worship. . .So tonight, we declare with one voice that such violence has no place in the United States of America. The attack on Americans of any faith is an attack on the freedom of all Americans. No American should ever have to fear for their safety in their place of worship. And every American has the right to practice their faith both openly and freely, and as they choose.”
As noted in The Lede, New York Times blog report on the Murfreesboro Mosque holding Friday Jumaa prayers, Saleh Sbenaty a board member of the embattled Islamic Center of Murfreesboro said:
They were “very concerned” about safety after the Sikh temple shooting and the fire at the Joplin, Mo., mosque.
“Even before those incidents we were the subject of vandalism, intimidation, arson and bomb threats,” he said. “We are not new to this. But we are not going to be deterred. We are not going to give up our rights just because somebody is going to threaten us.”
The Council of American Islamic relations, a Muslim Brotherhood front and one of several unindicted co-conspirators in the 2008 Federal Dallas Holy Land Foundation Trial, quickly seized these attacks to justify more federal protection. The Times noted:
The Council on American-Islamic Relations called this week for extra police protection on Muslim institutions after the Sikh temple killings of six worshipers, and after the Joplin mosque was burned to the ground on Monday.
It was the second such arson attack on that mosque. The first was on July 4, and the F.B.I. later released a video of the suspect wanted in that attack.
Sic ignominy Ramadan in America.
Posted on 08/11/2012 4:55 PM by Jerry Gordon