These are all the Blogs posted on Sunday, 27, 2013.
Sunday, 27 January 2013
Terrorist who threatened to behead Jyllands-Posten employees sentenced to 35 years
From the Copenhagen Post
Authorities say terror case involving David Headley still active. International terrorist David Coleman Headley, 52, was sentenced to 35 years in a US federal prison yesterday for his key role in plotting deadly attacks in Mumbai in 2008.
Headley, 52, pleaded guilty and co-operated with US authorities to avoid the death penalty and extradition to India. He was found guilty on all 12 charges against him, including conspiracy to aid militants from the Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which carried out the attacks. The 60-hour assault on Mumbai began on 26 November 2008. Attacks on the railway station, luxury hotels and a Jewish cultural centre claimed 166 lives. Nine gunmen were also killed.
Headly also pleaded guilty to taking part in a plot, along with co-conspirator Canadian-Pakistani businessman Tahawwur Rana, to attack Jyllands-Posten’s headquarters in Copenhagen and Aarhus and behead employees and thrown their heads into the street.
Headley had faced life imprisonment, but US District Judge Harry Leinenweber said he had taken into account his co-operation in the case, even if "the damage that was done was unfathomable".
"I don't have any faith in Mr Headley when he says he's a changed person and believes in the American way of life," Leinenweber said while delivering the verdict, adding that it would have been much easier to impose the death penalty on Headley. "That is what you deserve.”
Despite the sentence handed down to Headley, authorities say the case is far from closed.
"Our investigation into the Mumbai attacks and Danish terror plans is ongoing and active," Lisa Monaco, a US attorney assisting in prosecuting the case, told the media outside the courtroom after the verdict was handed down against Headley. Monaco called the judgement against Headley "an important milestone" in the efforts to hold the perpetrators accountable, but said that several suspects remain at large. Headley met with terrorists in Sweden and England, but there have as yet been no arrests in those countries in connection with the case.
Headley was born Daood Gilani to a Pakistani father and American mother but changed his name to David Coleman Headley in 2006 "to present himself in India as an American who was neither Muslim nor Pakistani", prosecutors said.
Indian officials said they will continue attempts to extradite Headley to stand trial in that country. "India wants a death sentence for David Headley and all those involved in Mumbai terror attacks,” Indian home secretary, RK Singh, told India Today newspaper.
Those of us who only pronounce the words auld lang syne on New Year’s Eve and have a vague grasp of their grammatical function may be cheered by a sign at Ballyhalbert in Co. Down that reads: ‘Shore Road, formerly — lang syne, Tay Pot Raa.’ So we are learning quickly. Lang syne means ‘formerly’, and the local words for ‘tea pot’ are tay pot, and for ‘road’, raa. Hence Faas Raa.
But what language is this? The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 declared that ‘part of the cultural wealth of the island of Ireland’ was Ulster-Scots. This is undeniable. In 2001, the United Kingdom recognised ‘Scots and Ulster Scots’ as ‘a regional or minority language’. By then, paid translators had been engaged to turn the proceedings of the Northern Ireland Assembly into Ulster-Scots.
It is undoubtedly a language, but is it a different language from English? I think not. We are not talking about the Celtic languages of Gaelic or of Irish here. Ulster-Scots is derived from the language of people who spoke Scots in Scotland, and this lowland Scots, sometimes called Lallans, is, linguistically speaking, a northern dialect of English. Culturally, it boasted a proud literature, such as Bishop Gavin Douglas’s translation of the Aeneid (which he called Eneados), beginning: ‘The batalis and the man I wil discrive.’ The written literature of Ulster-Scots is less distinguished.
In Northern Ireland perhaps 2 per cent of people speak Ulster-Scots, say 35,000. In case they do not understand ‘Toilet’, an arts centre in Omagh has a notice pointing to the ‘Cludgies’. The way to the print workshop is signed ‘Prent Waarkschap’, which looks like Afrikaans and might have puzzled Bishop Douglas.
A useful booklet for teachers tells them that the Ulster-Scots for ‘house’ is hoose and for ‘education’ is learnin. That’ll learn them. To see how officials use Ulster-Scots, here is a sentence from a Northern Ireland Assembly leaflet, Yer Assemblie: ‘Syne 2007, Assemblie comatees is haean forgaithers wi hunners o fowk an thinkan on a wheen differan maiters as haes an effect tae the fowk o Norlin Airlan.’
Don’t get me wrong. I rejoice in the plurality of languages and dialects. But heaven help a child educated in the medium of Ulster-Scots.
Reports are circulating that an important nuclear facility in Iran has been at least partially destroyed in a massive explosion. The news comes just days after an ex-Iranian diplomat who defected to the West warned that if Iran obtained a nuclear weapon, it would use that weapon against Israel.
The explosion reportedly took place at the Fordo nuclear facility near the city of Qom. Fordo is buried deep under a mountain, making it nearly immune to aerial assault, and therefore a perfect location for a significant portion of Iran's uranium enrichment activities.
According to reports in the American news website WorldNetDaily, which cited a former Iranian defense official who fled to the West, the explosion caused a collapse of the elevators that descend nearly 300 feet into the mountain facility, trapping some 240 personnel inside.
Tehran is said to be blaming the explosion on sabotage. Both Israel and the US are known to have taken various measures against Iran's defiant nuclear program over the past several years. Though Israel did not officially respond to speculation that it was behind the blast, Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter told Yediot Ahronot that "any explosion in Iran that doesn't hurt people but hurts its assets is welcome."
The debate over whether or not to take decisive action against Iran's nuclear program has been intensifying, especially after Iran's former consul in Oslo, Mohammed Reza Hedyari, told Israel's Channel 2 News that Iran is only one year away from fielding a nuclear weapon, which it will turn on Israel.
"If Iran is given more time, it will acquire the knowledge necessary to build a nuclear bomb within a year," Heydari told Israeli television viewers last Friday. "If Iran gets to the point where it has an atomic bomb, it will certainly use it, against Israel or any other enemy state."
The former diplomat suggested that it was a grave mistake for Western leaders to think that the Iranian leadership will be pragmatic with its nuclear weapons, in the way former Soviet leaders were.
Iran's leaders "are busying themselves with ideological preparations for the arrival of the 'hidden Imam' (a kind of Muslim messiah)," he said. "For this purpose, they are willing to spill much blood and destroy many countries."
Algeria Hostage Crisis and Politically Correct View of Islam
The one positive thing I can say about Max Hastings at the Daily Mail is that he is consistent, albeit consistently wrong. His latest foray into the problems posed by Islamic terrorism expound the position he has held since 9/11 and perhaps earlier. It is a position common amongst the politically correct literati who dominate mainstream media in Europe and North America. It is basically this:
(a) The threat of Islamic terrorism has been greatly exaggerated and comes only from a tiny minority of extremists, and
(b) In order to minimise that threat we should not do anything to provoke the terrorists or the Muslim world in general.
The above constitute two colossal untruths which, though repeated ad nauseam by the great and the good, will have terrible consequences for all of us if they continue to dominate political culture and government policy.
The first of these, point (a), is demonstrated by Hastings with the statement that, “Statistically, a Western traveller or expatriate worker is far more likely to die in a motorway smash in the snow than to be murdered by Al Qaeda,” as well as, “Since 9/11, Al Qaeda has launched several major attacks that have cost many lives. The 2002 Bali bombings killed 202 people; 191 died in the 2004 Madrid bombings; the 7/7 attacks in London killed 52 people as well as the four bombers. But in recent years, the terrorist movement has failed to achieve any murderous spectacular.”
The latter quote is breathtaking in its dishonesty, and it is astonishing that such statements can be published in a reputable newspaper. In fact, since 9/11 Islamic terrorists worldwide have launched over 22,000 deadly attacks which have claimed the lives of over a million people. It is true that comparatively few of those killed have been Westerners and no doubt that is why Hastings makes no mention of them. But does that mean that other human beings are of no account? Does Mr Hastings not include Africans and Asians among humanity? Islamic extremists (the term Al Qaeda is a meaningless invention of American intelligence agencies) are currently involved in at least a dozen murderous conflicts in various parts of the globe. Over the past ten years for example thousands of Christians have been slaughtered by the Islamist Boko Haram movement in Nigeria alone. Ancient Christian communities are being decimated throughout the Middle East, from Egypt to Iraq. Murderous Islamist-inspired wars continue to rage in the Caucasus, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Kashmir, in Thailand, in Indonesia, and in the Philippines.
The threat of Islamist mass murder is also alive and well in Europe and North America (notwithstanding Hastings’ attempt to suggest otherwise), but has –mercifully – been generally contained thus far. But it has been contained only by the intensive surveillance of quite literally thousands of would-be Islamic terrorists throughout Europe and America. An army of tens of thousands of police and intelligence personnel have been necessary to contain the threat. Without these there would have been many more Madrids, Balis, and indeed 9/11s.
The truth is, militant Islam is involved in a general “holy war” against the rest of humanity, which commenced long before 9/11. At least 200,000 were slaughtered in a horrific civil war in Algeria during the ‘90s. Whole villages had their throats slit by the Islamists in Algeria between 1994 and 1997, but these atrocities were barely noticed in the British media because Europeans were (in general) not the victims. The 1980s and ‘90s also saw massive bloodletting in Sudan, as the Khartoum government sought to impose sharia law on the Christian south. None of this had anything to do with George Bush or Tony Blair.
Which brings us on to point (b), namely the idea that to minimize the threat of Islamic terrorism we should not do anything to provoke Muslims, such as intervening militarily in Muslim countries. It is true that Western interventions in Muslim lands are almost invariably counter-productive in that they rarely, if ever, result in the stable Western-style democracy that we’d hoped for. On this count Hastings is right. Yet the other reason he disapproves of such interventions is that they foster Muslim anger against the West. This of course is arrant nonsense. Military interventions of the West in Muslim lands are almost invariably aimed at helping oppressed Muslim populations. Think of the West’s intervention in Bosnia, which saved the lives of thousands of Muslims from Serbian death-squads. And the interventions in Iraq and Libya were of the same ilk. Saddam Hussein was a secularist who probably killed more Muslims than anyone since Genghis Khan. It is true that this did not prevent the Islamists from using his removal as a “reason” for attacking the West. But in this they merely adopted a popular canard of Western leftists for their own propaganda purposes. The fanatics who bombed London on 7/7 needed no reason furnished by Tony Blair to hate the West.
The main problem with Hastings’ attitude, and it is one espoused by almost all commentators in the mainstream media, is that it leads to a cowardly tiptoeing around Islam and a refusal to confront the truth. To place Islam beyond criticism, through fear of attack, is to begin the process of submission to sharia law. The history of Islam is whitewashed by Western academics and media personalities in a way enjoyed by no other faith – and still this has not bought us peace. Nor will it. In order to counter the Islamist threat we must first and foremost be able to speak the truth. The rampant misogyny and intolerance of Islam must be confronted and confronted boldly. The West must make it clear to “allies” like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia that it will not tolerate the sentencing to death by Pakistan of a Christian peasant woman on a trumped-up charge of “blasphemy,” nor the execution by Saudi Arabia of a 15-year old Sri Lankan girl on the grounds of a confession to murder forced from her under torture.
It is a disgrace that we even consider such barbarous regimes as allies in the first place.
The threat of a resurgent and militant Islam is a challenge of the first order to Western civilization (or what remains of it); not least because of the West’s own appalling moral decadence, where there prevails a reluctance and even an inability to recognize the difference between good and evil. As Samuel Huntington famously remarked, Islam has bloody borders; and one of those borders now runs (thanks to decades of mass immigration) right through the heart of urban Europe. The problem of Islamic terrorism is not going to go away, and opinions such as those expressed by Max Hastings will certainly not help speed its demise. Hastings’ attitude, which is basically predicated on the notion that if we’re nice to Muslims they might not hurt us, was addressed by Winston Churchill in his description of the appeaser: “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
How Much Money, All Over The West, Is Spent Because Of Muslims In Our Midst?
"The large-scale presence of Muslims in the countries of western Europe has created a situation for both the native non-Msulims, and for non-Muslim immigrants, that is much more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous than would be the case without that large-scale Muslim presence."
The expense comes from added security, to guard synagogues, Hindu and Sikh temples, churches, and schools and camps and other institutions related to them. It comes from the need for additional security at all airports, all train stations, all Tube stations, on all busses. It comes from the need to provide security at hospitals, especially for medical personnel who may be bullied or attacked by disgruntled Muslim family members who may not approve of Western medical practices (as a male doctor examining a female Muslim patient). The expense comes from the need to pay the police, lawyers, judges who have to handle so many more criminal cases that involve Muslims, who all over Western Europe have rates of criminality 5 to 10 times as high as non-Muslims. It requires more money even for schools -- especially in France -- where Muslim students have been known to threaten or attack teachers, either for daring to teach certain subjects (the Kings of France, Voltaire and the Enlightenment, World War II and the mass-murder of Jews, not to mention anything taught about the French in North Africa or about Islam that does not accord with what the Muslims regard as the indispensable party-line). How much is this sum? How many tens of billions, all over the Western world, or perhaps even hundreds of billions (if we include the gigantic sums dispensed in the United States for security-related measures), are being spent because of the Muslims in our midst?
Here's a story from The Daily Mail, just about the sums paid by British taxpayers to pay for lawyers for two groups -- just two -- of Muslims accused of involvement in terrorism.
Al Qaeda bomb plot gangs were handed £30m in legal aid to fund their defence
Trial of attempted July 21 bombers cost taxpayers £7.1million in legal aid
Terrorists who plotted to blow up planes given £12.2million to fund defence
Justice Secretary plans to hire junior lawyers to cut down on costs
Two gangs of Al Qaeda terrorists who plotted to inflict mass murder on the British public shared more than £30million in legal aid, it emerged last night.
Figures released by the Ministry of Justice show the astonishing sums being paid out by taxpayers to fund defence in criminal cases.
Recipients of huge amounts include the July 21 bombers, a group of Islamist fanatics behind the 2006 airline liquid bomb plot and a string of fraud cases.
The former fugitive Asil Nadir - who rented a £23,000-a-month London residence during his trial - received more than £1million in legal aid.
'Suffolk Strangler' Steven Wright, who murdered five prostitutes in Ipswich, was given £444,220 to pay for his defence.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said of the revelations: ‘Of course everyone deserves a defence.
‘But when you look at costs involved in some cases, you have to ask whether we can afford to provide this level of support in criminal trials.
‘Criminal legal aid costs one billion a year, and at a time like this, you have to challenge whether we are getting appropriate value for taxpayers’ money.’
A breakdown published by Mr Grayling’s department details the most expensive legal aid cases in each of the last five financial years.
Help: The July 21 bombers, pictured on CCTV buying peroxide, received £7.1million in taxpayer funds
In 2007/08, the July 21 terrorism trial swallowed £7.1million. Muktar Ibrahim, Ramzi Mohammed, Yassin Omar and Hussain Osman were convicted of attempting to blow themselves up on the London transport network just two weeks after the 7/7 atrocity in 2005.
The four men tried to mirror the previous attack but their rucksacks, packed with explosives, failed to detonate. At their trial in 2007, they claimed it was a deliberate hoax to protest over the war in Iraq.
The following year the eight defendants in an alleged conspiracy to launch suicide bomb attacks on a succession of transatlantic airliners, using liquid bombs, cost £12.2million in legal aid. The plot led to draconian restrictions on what could be taken on flights.
The first jury failed to reach a verdict in the case - leading to re-trials which swallowed a further £14.8million. Ultimately, seven out of the eight original suspects were found guilty of conspiracy to murder.
Money: Jars of substances kept by the attempted transatlantic plane bombers, whose trial sucked up £12.2million in legal aid
In The UAE, 94 Arrested For Plotting A Coup Linked To Muslim Brotherhood
Fresh from its victories in Tunisia, Libya and, most conclusively, in Egypt, where the Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) controls the government and is steadily working to remove from public life all those, such as journalists at Al-Ahram, who are deemed insufficiently enthusiastic about the Ikhwan, the Muslim Brotherhood has apparently been doing its best to overthrow the comparatively (in Arab Muslim terms) easygoing United Arab Emirates. One wonders if the Obama Administration, that just sent F-16s to the ikhwan in Egypt as a sign of continued confidence (and fear of how the Muslim Brotherhood might behave if it did not receive that vote of American confidence), is content to be perceived, by those Arabs who do not favor but fear the Muslim Brotherhood, to be terminally naive and, because of that naivete, dangerous to itself and to others.
Here's the story :
UAE charges 94 people in alleged plot to overthrow the state in widening crackdown
January 27, 2013
| Associated Press
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The United Arab Emirates says 94 people face charges for allegedly trying to overthrow the state as part of widening crackdowns on Islamist groups with suspected links to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Sunday's statement by the official news agency WAM did not name the Emirati suspects, but authorities have been waging systematic arrests against perceived dissidents for months.
The crackdowns have brought complaints from rights groups and raised tensions with Egypt, which is led by Muslim Brotherhood member President Mohammed Morsi.
The statement quotes UAE Attorney General Salem Saeed Kubaish as alleging that the suspects built a secret network to plot the coup and raised money through real estate and other deals. It also claims the suspects had links to the Muslim Brotherhood and others for expertise and financial support.
GAO/SEVARE, Mali (Reuters) - Residents of Mali's northern town of Gao, captured from sharia-observing Islamist rebels by French and Malian troops, danced in the streets to drums and music on Sunday as the French-led offensive also drove the rebels from Timbuktu.
The weekend gains made at Gao and Timbuktu by the French and Malian troops capped a two-week whirlwind intervention by France in its former Sahel colony, which has driven al Qaeda-allied militant fighters northwards into the desert and mountains.
In Gao, the largest town in the north where the Islamist insurgents had banned music and smoking, cut off the hands of thieves and ordered women to wear veils, thousands cheered the liberating troops with shouts of "Mali, Mali, France, France".
French special forces backed by Rafale fighter jets and Tiger helicopters had helped capture the town early on Saturday.
Among the celebrating Gao crowds, many smoked cigarettes, women went unveiled and some men wore shorts to flout the severe sharia Islamic law the rebels had imposed for months. Youths on motorcycles flew the flags of Mali, France and Niger, whose troops also helped secure the ancient town on the Niger River.
"Now we can breathe freely," said Hawa Toure, 25, wearing a colorful traditional African robe banned under sharia for being too revealing. "We are as free as the wind today. We thank all of our friends around the world who helped us," she said.
French and Malian troops also arrived at the weekend at the fabled Saharan trading town of Timbuktu, more than 300 km (190 miles) to the west of Gao, and were working to restore government control over the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A Malian military source said the French and Malian troops had met no resistance up to the gates of Timbuktu and controlled the airport. They were working on flushing out any Islamist rebel fighters still hiding in the city, a labyrinth of ancient mosques and monuments and mud-brick homes between alleys.
"Timbuktu is delicate, you can't just go in like that," the source, who asked not to be named, said.
A third northern town, the Tuareg seat of Kidal, in Mali's rugged and remote northeast, remains in rebel hands.
The United States and Europe are backing the U.N.-mandated Mali operation as a counterstrike against the threat of radical Islamist jihadists using the West African state's inhospitable Sahara desert as a launch pad for international attacks.
FEARS OF GUERRILLA WAR
Fighters from the Islamist alliance in north Mali, which groups AQIM with Malian Islamist group Ansar Dine and AQIM splinter MUJWA, had destroyed ancient shrines sacred to moderate Sufi Moslems in Timbuktu, provoking international outrage.
They had also applied amputations for thieves and stoning of adulterers under sharia law.
As the French and Malian troops push into northern Mali, African troops from a continental intervention force expected to number 7,700 are being flown into the country, despite delays due to logistical problems and the lack of airlift capacity.
France sent warplanes and 2,500 troops to Mali after its government appealed to Paris for help when Islamist rebels launched an offensive south towards the capital Bamako early in January. They seized several towns, since retaken by the French.
In the face of the two-week-old French-Malian counter offensive, the rebels seemed to be pulling back north into the trackless desert wastes and mountain fastnesses of the Sahara.
Military experts fear they could carry on a grueling hit-and-run guerrilla war against the government from there.
A leader of Mali's main Tuareg insurgent movement, MNLA, whose initial separatist rebellion in the north was hijacked by al Qaeda and its local Malian allies, offered help from his group's desert fighters to the French-led offensive.
Speaking at Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, Ibrahim Ag Mohamed Assaleh said the MNLA was preparing to attack the withdrawing al Qaeda-allied Islamist forces and its leaders, whom he said were hiding in the Tidmane and Tigharghar mountains in Kidal region.
At Konna, 500 km (312 miles) southeast of Gao and recently recaptured from the rebels, some people were still afraid.
"No-one believes the rebels will give up without resisting. They may be regrouping for an attack, there is fear of a guerrilla war," said Salou Toure, a middle-aged resident of Timbuktu who had fled that town three months ago.
"WE CUT HIS THROAT"
In Gao, the atmosphere was jubilant. Malian army Colonel Didier Dacko declared the town "liberated"."I thank France and all friendly nations for helping Mali," he told the crowds.
Gao Mayor Sadou Diallo, who had taken refuge in Bamako during the Islamist occupation, was triumphantly reinstalled.
Around a dozen "terrorists" were killed in the taking of Gao, while French forces suffered no losses or injuries, France's defense ministry said.
Youths in the city said there were still some rebels and rebel sympathizers around, but they were being found. "Yesterday, even, we found one hiding in a house. We cut his throat," one man said, asking not to be named. "Today we found another and we brought him to the army."
Human rights groups have expressed fears of violent reprisals being taken against lighter-skinned Malians suspected of sympathizing with the Islamist rebels, who have many Tuaregs and Arabs in their ranks.
At an African Union summit in Addis Ababa, outgoing AU chairman Thomas Boni Yayi, president of Benin, criticized Africa's slow response to the Islamist insurgency in Mali.
"How could it be that when faced with a danger that threatens its very foundations, Africa, although it had the means to defend itself, continued to wait," Yayi said.
OFFERS OF FUNDS, HELP
Around 1,900 African troops, including Chadian, have been deployed to Mali so far as part of the planned U.N.-backed African intervention force, known as AFISMA. Burkina Faso, Benin, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Niger and Chad are providing troops. Burundi and other nations have pledged to contribute.
The United States and Europe, while providing airlift and intelligence support to the anti-militant offensive in Mali, are not planning to send in any combat troops. Washington agreed to fly tankers to refuel French warplanes.
The AU is expected to seek hundreds of millions of dollars in logistical support and funding for the African Mali force at a conference of donors to be held in Addis Ababa on January 29.
European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs told Reuters in Addis Ababa he believed enough funds would be offered to sustain the African troop intervention for a year.
Piebalgs added the latest estimated cost of the operation he had seen was 430 million euros ($579.42 million).
Tehran Denies Explosion Occurred at Fordo while Israeli Sources Confirm the Event
When we posted on Reza Kahlili’s stunning World Net Daily (WND)story about an alleged massive explosion at the Fordo enrichment facility deep inside a mountain near Qom, we treated it as unconfirmed. We also raised the question of whether Israel might have been involved in a covert action. Meanwhile, the London Times cites Israeli sources confirming something happened there, either an accident or sabotage. Kahlili, who we have interviewed about the Islamic Regime’s nuclear program, is an ex-CIA spy who infiltrated the Revolutionary Guards. Kahlili’s source was Hamid Reza Zakeri, formerly with the Islamic Regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and National Security. He was purportedly a former adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei. Zakeri gave evidence in a German trial in 2004 and the New York Federal Court trial in 2011, Havlish v. bin Laden civil lawsuit , about the Islamic Regime’s links to the al Qaeda perpetrators of 9/11.
According to a source in the security forces protecting Fordo, an explosion on Monday at 11:30 a.m. Tehran time rocked the site, which is buried deep under a mountain and immune not only to airstrikes but to most bunker-buster bombs.
The blast shook facilities within a radius of three miles. Security forces have enforced a no-traffic radius of 15 miles, and the Tehran-Qom highway was shut down for several hours after the blast, the source said. As of Wednesday afternoon, rescue workers had failed to reach the trapped personnel.
[. . ]
The information was passed on to U.S. officials but had not been verified or denied [at the time].
The regime’s defense ministry, which runs the country’s nuclear program, has dispatched the drill team from the Revolutionary Guards Khatam al-Anbia base to the site, the source said, but as of today no progress had been made to reach those trapped within.
According to the source, the regime has enforced a total blackout on the media and the families of the employees who work at the site. The security forces have also created a security zone around the site to control access and manage the rescue efforts.
The WND story took off to become the on-line media buzz twith reports in major Israeli and German dailies, Yediot Aharonot and Die Welt. The London Times published an article with the headline, "Iranian uranium -enriching facility 'is damaged by explosion'". The Times cited Israeli Intelligence sources confirming that an explosion had occurred at the Fordo enrichment site:
Israeli intelligence officials have confirmed that a major explosion has rocked an Iranian nuclear facility, according to a report Monday in The Times of London.
The British daily cited officials in Tel Aviv who said the blast occurred last week, as originally reported on the website wnd.com.
Iran is not believed to have evacuated the area surrounding the Fordo plant, according to the same Israeli sources, who said that an investigation into the blast was ongoing.
“We are still in the preliminary stages of understanding what happened and how significant it is,” one Israeli official told the London Times. He did not know if the explosion was “sabotage or accident” and refused to comment on reports that Israeli aircraft were seen near Fordo at the time of the blast.
The Times of Israel quoted Acting Israeli Defense Minister, Avi Dichter, former head of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, saying, “Any explosion in Iran that doesn’t hurt people but hurts its assets is welcome.”
The Jerusalem Post had this comment from Strategic Affairs Minister and Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon in an Israeli Army Radio interview: "in the past we heard about worms and viruses and explosions. Every incident like this delays Iran's nuclear program."
Comments by security officials normally have to pass by military censors in Israel before publication in the dailies and on-line media. A source formerly with the US Intelligence Community suggested that the Die Welt article lent credence to possible independent confirmation. The source further noted that Germany’s BND and Israel’s Mossad share information and have good relations.
As Monday dawned in the Middle East Tehran’s official news agency, IRNA, denied the reports about the alleged Fordo enrichment facility explosion.
There has been no explosion in the Fordo nuclear Facility, the deputy head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Seyyed Shamseddin Barbroudi said on Sunday.
An Iranian MP, in a related IRNA report, suggested this was all a ploy by the West (P5+1) to evade earnest negotiations on Iran’s alleged peaceful use of nuclear energy:
Claim of explosion in Fordo enrichment facility is another [example of]Western propaganda on the occasion of Iran and P5+1 negotiations, the head of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of Iran’s Majlis (Parliament) Alaeddin Boroujerdi said on Sunday.
Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.
[. . .]
Tehran has dismissed West’s demands as politically tainted and illogical, stressing that sanctions and pressures merely consolidate IraniansËˆ national resolve to continue the path.
Tehran has repeatedly said that it considers its nuclear case closed as it has come clean [on] International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) questions and suspicions about its past nuclear activities.
A Debka story about an Iranian al QodsForce- Hezbollah convoy that blew up on the Golan noted obliquely the alleged Fordo explosion now dismissed by Tehran. The Debka report closed with an extraordinary event that occurred on Thursday, January 24th in Israel:
Israel’s Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and Military Intelligence Director Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi ceremonially promoted Col. G., commander of the elite Sayeret Matkal, to the rank of Major General in recognition of his unit’s “outstanding covert operations.”
We mused that the boost in rank for Col. G. could have been bestowed for any number of good reasons. Among them might be Israel's leading role in identifying movement of Syrian CW munitions by the Assad regime, successful incursions inside Gaza during the November2012 eight day rocket war that led to assassination of the Hamas military commander or targeting longer range Iranian supplied Fajr-5 rockets via the Sudan.
Conduct of special ops requires significant intelligence, planning and deployment of assets with the assurance that might succeed.
Notwithstanding the Islamic Regime’s denials to the contrary, even if US, German and Israeli intelligence can obtain independent verifiable reports, we may never the outcome of the Fordo mysterious explosion. The proof that explosion took place can only be confirmed by the rescue or removal of victims or a recording of the event. As in the case of Israel’s dramatic IAF attack that destroyed the Syrian nuclear bomb factory on the banks of the Euphrates River in September 2007, Israel will remain mum. If the mysterious Fordo blast is confirmed it would be a possible setback to Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons poised to provide a nuclear umbrella to threaten Israel, US and Sunni antagonists in the Gulf region. Until then the report of the Fordo uranium enrichment destruction remains a case of either an accident or covert sabotage. That awaits corroboration of comments from Israeli sources in the London Times that something significant happened at the Fordo enrichment facility on January 20, 2013 at 11:30AM, Tehran Time.
'Dies Gloriae'*, V: From Saint Angela Merici To Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac -- And Candlemas
Here at NER we don't just draw your attention to the latest violent outrage committed by the Mohammedans (and Heaven knows that there are enough of those every day to keep us occupied all our waking hours - you can find detailsat this site), we also try to point up various aspects of our cultures. We do that because one of the things that the Mohammedans always, erroneously and boringly, bang on about at great length is the lack of any real culture in our societies -- so much so that we now have many of our own people believing that that is, in fact, the case. The devil-worshippers do this in order to undermine, certainly, but they also do it because they cannot slough off their satanic, tiny little, highly restricted, belief-inspired view of the world and so cannot see (disregarding the fact that they don't want to see, anyway) the wealth of our cultural and spiritual lives and the poverty of theirs. This attack is often subtle and we must always counter-attack. We at NER do so by writing about as many of the facets of our cultures as we can, and as we are interested in and knowledgeable about.
On the splash page each month you can find links to a host of different articles by many different writers about all sorts of things connected to the peoples we all are and the lives we all lead. We hope that you find our articles entertaing, stimulating, occassionaly amusing, and informative and that they provide you with some ammunition to help you defend your ways of life against the incursions and encroachments of the demon-polluted Mohammedans. We hope the same, too, for all our posts at this our blog - The Iconoclast.
In this series of posts1 at The Iconoclast, and in many other posts2 here as well, I have set out to demonstrate just what one little aspect of our shared Judeo-Christian enlightenment heritage actually is and what it means -- that we are indissolubly linked to a past that contains some remarkable men and women who fought in their times this very fight that we find ourselves in today. I believe that we can draw inspiration from the examples of those people's lives and I have chosen to bring to your attention, day by day, just a few of them that I know about who are saints in the Christian tradition and religion. Of course, there were many, many other brave souls that I don't know anything about -- I can only write about the things of which I know. That said, I hope that you can all draw some inspiration, and, when necessary, some consolation, from my personal NER kalendar of saints.
However, protecting and defending our societies from the nauseating Mohammedan propaganda (and lies and doublespeak) takes place in many different ways. For example, it is necessary to transmit our culture to our young. It is also necessary to educate those in our societies who have fallen into the trap of thinking that our free, democratic, culturally and religiously rich societies contain nothing of worth. At the same time as we are undertaking those two things we also have to counter the efforts of some in our midst who actively pursue the destruction of our free democracies (usually, but not invariably, those on the political left) many of whom have wormed their way into very important positions in our political establishments.
Those of us who are Christian, or who engage with any belief system other than the devil-given Mohammedan cult, also have to spend time defending our beliefs. By that I do not mean that we have to defend ouselves against those who engage in the civilised debate that has always gone on in our free societies, but that we have to do so against the hysterical outbursts and violent intimidations of the Mohammedans. They wage violent, physical warfare against all other faiths wherever they can and whenever they think that they can get away with it3 (and see this site for just a few details).
One of the keys to defending ourselves is education. We have to provide a non-stop stream of information in every medium that we can (NER is part of that), and we have to educate our young. We cannot afford for one moment to leave the education of our young in the hands of people whom we don't trust and whose views we cannot respect. The state education systems in all our countries are deeply flawed and compromised by the willingness of those who manage them, and quite a number of those who teach in them, to surrender to the dominant, but false, politically left-wing meme. It corrupts our children's views of their societies and leaves them powerless to resist those who would deprive them of their cultures and their histories and, as the left really want to do, deprive them of their freedoms also.
So it's hardly surprising that my chosen saint for the twenty-seventh of January is Saint Angela Merici. She was born on the twenty-first of March in AD1474 at Desenzano on Lake Garda in Italy and died in the January of 1540 at Brescia in Italy. She was interred in the church of Saint Afra, which is also in Brescia.
In 1535 she gathered together a group of girl students and began what would become the Institute of Saint Ursula (the Ursuline Sisters). It was founded to teach children and it began by teaching them their religion and a little later the curriculum expanded to include secular topics. Her first schools were in the Italian cities of Desenazno and Brescia. She did this because she was horrified at the ignorance that she found amongst the young, not only of their religion but also of ordinary everyday things pertaining to life and living.
Back in the fifteenth century Saint Angela saw, and was concerned about, the dangers posed by the ignorance of the young about the fundamentals of the cultural and religious world in which they lived so she did something about it. Today we face a similar problem and we must do what we can about it. Saint Angela, who lived at a time when life was far more difficult than it is for us today, didn't give up and neither should we. Let us draw inspiration from her example.
For the twenty-eighth of January I'm going to continue the idea that education is important and ask you to memorialise with me Saint Agatha Lin Zao. She was born in 1817 at Ma-Tchang in China and she was a teacher at a Christian school. Saint Agatha was beheaded in Maokin (Maokou) in the province of Guizhou on January the twenty-eighth in 1858 because she refused to renounce her faith and to stop teaching. (Two other teachers were beheaded with her -- Saint Jerome Lu Tingmei and Saint Laurence Wang Bing -- and the three are collectively known as the Martyrs of Qingyanzhen, which is in Guizhou also, and they are memorialised on this day as well).
Once again we see a teacher (three of them in this case) who wouldn't give up and refused to be bullied or coerced into doing so -- even to the point of death. If she could do it in nineteenth century China then there is no reason why we shouldn't stand up to the educational bullies and the coercive left-wing bureaucrats who manage the education systems of our countries in order to demand proper education for our children. If it seems like a daunting task then just remember Saint Agatha Lin Zao and draw strength from her steadfastness.
Continuing with my theme of education and its crucial importance (if it isn't important then why do the leftists always try to seize control of it and the Mohammedans always try to get out of it by running their own educationally sub-standard schools?) I'm going to memorialise on the twenty-ninth of January The Blessed Bronislaw Markiewicz.
He was born on the thirteenth of July in AD1842 in Pruchnik near Jaroslaw in south-eastern Poland and he was the sixth of the eleven children of John Markiewicz and Marianna Gryziecka. His father was the mayor of Pruchnik and the family was a pious one. Notwithstanding that, he nearly lost his faith due to the anti-Christian and anti-Church atmosphere of his school. However, he went on to join the seminary at Przemysl in 1863. He was ordained in the archdiocese of Przemysl dei Latini on the fifteenth of September in 1867 and he became the parish priest at Harta and at the cathedral of Przemysl for six years. He studied at the University of Leopoli and the University of Cracow. He was Parish priest at Gac in 1875, parish priest at Blazowa in 1877 and taught pastoral theology at the seminary at Przemysl in 1882.
In November 1885 he joined the Salesians at their centre near Turin in Italy and made his final vows on the twenty-fifth of March in 1887. He contracted tuberculosis in 1889 and nearly died. He returned to Poland on the twenty-third March in 1892 where he served as parish priest at Miejsce Piastowe and began a concerted effort at youth ministry.
He started a trade school for poor and orphaned boys, and he soon had hundreds of children in his care. He founded the Society of Moderation and Work in 1898 to work with children and it was based on the spirituality of Saint John Bosco, which he much admired (the associated magazine Moderation and Work began publication on the sixteenth of July in 1898). He also opened an orphanage in Pawlikowice which soon had over four hundred residents. The endless work finally broke his health and at the age of sixty-nine he lost his battle with consumption and he was called home to G-d on this day in 1912.
From the very beginning of his priestly life, he was particularly sensitive towards the religious, moral, and material neglect of the children and young people around him, and to the misery of simple people. In his opinion the solution to these social problems depended upon the proper education of young people.
I can't help but concur with that view -- if we don't take charge of the education of our young then we will find that their heads are either left empty or filled with left-wing nonsense or Mohammedan evil. The Blessed Bronislaw Markiewicz knew that too, and he did something about it. If you are having to correct what has been indoctrinated into your children by state approved, left-leaning teaching materials or by Mohammedan apologists, then take heart from The Blessed Bronislaw's efforts. Thanks to his exertions all those years ago, and to the hard work of many other people throughout the years, there are still today a goodly number of unbiased teachers working in education. They can be difficult to find, but they are there. Once again we have a teacher in the person of the The Blessed Bronislaw who didn't think that the education of the young was somebody else's responsibility but knew that it was everybody's. He just got on with the job - so can we if we hold his example before us.
If you've read this far your probably thinking that I'm fixated on education. Well, yes, I am -- and I'm not going to make any apologies about that! Next to challenging, confronting and fighting those who seek only our destruction, education of our young is the single most important issue facing us -- it is one of the key weapons in the counter-jihad. So, it will come as no surprise that my next saint was also an educationalist.
The thirtieth of January is the feast day of Saint Mutien Marie Wiaux. He was the third of six children of a blacksmith whose family was noted for piety and he was born on the twentieth of March in 1841. His birth Christian name was Louis-Joseph. He attended a small country school, and then helped in his father‘s shop. He joined the Brothers of Christian Schools on the seventh of April in 1852 at the age of eleven, taking the name Mutien Marie, and began his novitiate in Namur in Belgium.
As a Christian Brother, he taught at several elementary schools near Brussels in Belgium. The only problem was that he was so easy on his students that his classes were known for getting out of hand. Consequently, he was re-assigned to music and art classes so he could work with small classes, and work individually with students. He soon became an excellent fine arts teacher, and the one-to-one work led many young people to see and follow his excellent example of a life. He was known within his community for being available to help with any need which arose, whether it was comforting a homesick student or going to the train station to meet a traveler unfamiliar with the city. He died on this day in 1917.
I've chosen to memorialise Saint Mutien Marie Wiaux not just because he was an educator but because he was also a mild and kind man -- saintly, if you will -- whose example inspired many, many young people into a good and holy life. It's not so much that he was a teacher, although he was a fine one, but that he is an example to children and to teachers alike. So, if you're a teacher and you haven't given in to the leftist's political indoctrination and the Mohammedan religious bullying then take heart from this saint because you are probably inspiring more children than you know -- and you have our support too.
In discussing Saint Mutien Marie Wiaux I have moved the accent away off the education of children and onto the teachers. I'm going to stay with the educators for my saint for the thirtieth of January and memorialise Saint Francis Xavier Bianchi. Personally, I am peculiarly drawn to this Saint Francis. I empathise with his suffering as his legs gave out, and I am saddened by his lonely death, separated from his brothers in Christ because of Jacobin (left-wing, as we would say today) anti-clerical political sentiments, after a lifetime of their company -- it moves me.
Born 1743 in Arpino in Italy he was also known as the apostle of Naples (Italy) and he studied there. He became a Barnabite4 at age 14 over the objections of his family and he was ordained in 1767. Noted for his continuous ministry to the poor and neglected, for his work to educate and prevent girls from turning to prostitution and for his personal austerities, he also served as the President of two colleges. One of the central tenets of the Barnabites is the importance of education and Saint Francis Xavier Bianchi nevered betrayed that principle especially in his support of his colleges and the girls he worked with.
His health was destroyed by overwork and late in life he lost the use of his legs, but he continued to work with those who he felt were worse off than himself and to extol the virtues of education. When the Barnabites were expelled from Naples, his health was so poor that he had to be left behind, and he died separated from his brothers on this day in 1815. Saint Francis Xavier Bianchi gave his life, quite literally, for the education and advancement of others. He gave everything - we can surely give a little for the cause we all believe in, and we can be inspired by his example.
For the first of february I want to draw your attention to one of those brave men who are often disregarded in their own lifetimes but, nevertheless, manage to make a difference. He is The Blessed Luigi Variara and he was born in Viarigi in Italy, on the fifteenth of January in 1875 and died on the first of February in 1923 in Cucuta in Colombia. He was an apostle to the lepers in Colombia and founder of the congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary who ran the homes he set up for lepers. He was born to Pietro Variara and Livia Bussa. When he was 12 years old he entered the Salesian Oratory in Turin, whilst the founder, Don Bosco, of the Salesian Congregation, was still alive. Luigi had the privilege of meeting this living saint on one occasion, and it was an encounter that changed his life. John Bosco looked into the eyes of the young boy, and this gaze was for Luigi a confirmation of his future Salesian vocation. John Bosco died a month later on the thirty-first of January, 1888.
In 1891, he entered the novitiate and shortly afterward he made his profession in the hands of the Blessed Michael Rua, Don Bosco's first successor. After his novitiate, Luigi did his study of philosophy at Valsalice and there he met Father Michele Unia, the Salesian apostle of lepers of Colombia, who had come to speak to the community about his mission. His talk won Luigi over, and in 1894 he left for Colombia with Father Unia when he returned. Here he dedicated himself to the lepers of Agua de Dios, sharing with them his passion for music and drama.
Father Unia died shortly thereafter, leaving Luigi and three other priests in charge of the leper colony. After his ordination in 1898, he exercised his duties as priest in the leper colony, and with responsibility for the parish, often spending four or five hours a day in the confessional. He also continued to teach music and drama, especially concerned for the moral health of the young people of Agua de Dios. From the first year of his priesthood, Luigi felt the need to open a leprosarium for young patients, a project that mirrored that of his predecessor, Fr. Unia. The scope of such a foundation was to educate these children in the faith, to teach them how to read and write and at least one skill in manual labour, so that they would be saved from a life of desolation and vice. In 1905 the "Michele Unia Youth Hostel" was opened.
He went on to work with the lepers for many years and he had huge success in his attempts to educate and train the children. It seems, however, that some in the heirarchy of his order didn't like his efforts and didn't want his foundations to flourish and they placed many obstacles in his way. Luigi, however, held firmly to God's will, and began to climb the Calvary of not being understood or accepted by those who should have been closest to him. He received, however, the consolation and relief of knowing that he was acting out of obedience, since Father Michael Rua, Don Bosco's first successor, stood behind him and encouraged him to continue with the foundations. For a considerable number of years those who were against him kept transferring him from place to place in an attempt to undermine his works. He continued, however, to keep in contact with Mother Lozano, cofoundress of the Institute. He assured her that there was "nothing to fear: if it is a work of God, it will last" -- and it did.
The Blessed Luigi Variara struggled successfully against many difficulties -- difficulties far greater than those we face today in our societies that have modern medical expertise. He believed that education is for everyone, even the lepers, and that it offers hope for the future. We can follow his example by making sure that even the most lowly and insignificant person in our societies has access to good sound education and, just like The Blessed Luigi, we must never get discouraged by the machinations of those in positions of power. Education, even of the lowliest, is vital if we are to emerge victorious from the battle we are now having to fight against the satanic Mohammedan hordes.
The second of February is, of course, Candlemas and you can find all the details about what it means and how we Christians celebrate it in my NER post here. Just like any other lucent day of the year there are many saints that can be commemorated on this particular one. I have chosen, as usual, just one, a saint whom I admire for many different reasons.
Her name was Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac5 and she was born in Bordeaux in France on the twenty-seventh of December in 1556. She died, aged eighty-four, on this day in 1640. At the age of 17 she married the Baron de Montferrand-Landiras and had 8 children, the first three died shortly after they were born. She was married for 24 years before her husband died. His death occurred at a painful time in her life when not only her husband but her father, her uncle and her eldest son also died.
After her husband died she entered the Cistercian Monastery in Toulouse. However, she became very ill and had to leave and she went to live in the La Mothe countryside. She saw all around her the results of ignorance and in 1607, at the age of 51, and with the approval of Pope Paul V, she established the religious order called The Company of Mary Our Lady to educate girls. Shortly thereafter the order established its first school for girls in Bordeaux. By the time she died in 1640 at the age of eighty-four, some thirty houses and schools existed in France.
Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac was a daughter, a wife and a mother, and she became a founder of an Institute that promoted education because her life experience clearly demonstrated to her the need for, and the importance of, education. What is more her Order was founded to educate girls -- contrast that with the devilish Mohammedan approach to female education and you can easily see just why I admire this Saint. Today her religious order has over 2,500 sisters and is found in seventeen countries throughout Europe, Africa and North and South America. Over four hundred years after its foundation it is still teaching girls and women.
Education -- one of the sure defences against encroachment by the demon-contaminated Mohammedans. If we own it then the leftists can't.
More next week -- if the good Lord sees fit.
* The Latin words, Dies Gloriae, in this title mean 'Days of Glory' and come from Saint Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologiae: Volume 30, The Gospel of Grace: q. 114 a. 8 co. 109-114: "[...] Prov. IV[:VIII], ["]iustorum semita quasi lux splendens procedit, et crescit usque ad perfectum diem["], [St. Jerome's Vulgate Latin Bible] qui est dies gloriae." ("...Proverbs 4:18: "But the path of the just, as a shining light, goeth forwards, and increaseth even to perfect day.," [Douay-Rheims Bible] which is the days of glory.")
3) One of the most interesting pieces of knowledge that one can deduce from the bare facts in the recent Pew Research Center's reports is that Christians, who make up a third of the world's population, are also the most persecuted group of people on Earth and that Mohammedans are the people usually doing the persecuting (not just of Christians, I must add, but also of all other religions, and that, obviously, gives the lie to the perpetual Mohammedan claims about worldwide so-called 'Islamophobia'). You can find the three full reports here at the Pew Center's site , from where each report can be read and downloaded so that you, the readers, can judge for yourselves.
4) This Congregation, the Barnabites, or Clerics Regular of Saint Paul (Clerici Regulares Sancti Pauli), got its popular name 'Barnabite' through its association with the church of St. Barnabas in Milan, which came into its possession shortly after the foundation of the order. The famous engraver, antiquarian, numismatist and archaeologist Father Felice Caronni (1747 - 1815) was a Barnabite.
5) Sainte Jeanne's mother was the sister of the founder of modern scepticism, the philosopher, writer, statesman and wit, Michel de Montaigne. Jeanne grew up in a time when the conflict between the Protestant reformists and the defenders of the Catholic faith was at its height. This was evident in her family. While her mother was an enthuasiatic Calvinist, her father and her uncle Montaigne adhered to the Catholic tradition.