These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 8, 2012.
Thursday, 8 November 2012
"President Obama may have gotten Osama bin Laden, but he didn't kill the ideology"
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The California man behind an anti-Muslim film that led to violence in many parts of the Middle East was sentenced Wednesday to a year in federal prison for probation violations in an unrelated matter, then issued a provocative statement through his attorney.
The sentence was the result of a plea bargain between lawyers for Mark Bassely Youssef and federal prosecutors. Youssef admitted in open court that he had used several false names in violation of his probation order and obtained a driver's license under a false name. He was on probation for a bank fraud case.
Shortly after Youssef left the courtroom, his lawyer, Steven Seiden, came to the front steps of the courthouse and told reporters his client wanted to send a message.
"The one thing he wanted me to tell all of you is President Obama may have gotten Osama bin Laden, but he didn't kill the ideology," Seiden said.
Asked what that meant, Seiden said, "I didn't ask him, and I don't know."
U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder accepted the plea agreement and immediately sentenced Youssef after he admitted to four of the eight alleged violations, including obtaining a fraudulent California driver's license. Prosecutors agreed to drop the other four allegations under the plea deal, which also included more probation time.
All parties agreed that none of the violations had to do with the content of "Innocence of Muslims," a film that depicts Mohammad as a religious fraud, pedophile and womanizer.
A Toronto Islamic school whose teaching curriculum disparaged Jews and encouraged boys to keep fit for jihad will not face criminal charges but police said they had identified curriculum materials they found concerning.
A York Regional Police report on its investigation of the East End Madrassa said the school syllabus used offensive passages lifted from Iran, “challenged some of Canada’s core values” and “suggested intolerance.”
Police held Principal Masuma Jessa and Imam Syed Mohammed Rizvi responsible for the materials, which referred to “crafty,” “treacherous” Jews and contrasted Islam with “the Jews and the Nazis.”
“Islam has allowed boys to engage in sports for one specific reason and that is to always keep them healthy and strong. But why should a Muslim be healthy and strong? Firstly, it is necessary to take care of the body because it is a gift from Allah. Secondly, so that you may physically be ready for jihad whenever the time comes for it.”
“Islam is a dynamic, comprehensive school that aims at the rectification of the social and economic systems of the world in a special manner. Unlike the beliefs of the ancient Romans, the Jews, and the Nazis, Islam is not restricted to a certain community of a certain race, but is for all human beings…”
“No doubt any wise, humanitarian person accepts such a combat and admires it [jihad] because there is no other way to achieve the sacred ends of the Prophets.”
“End of Jewish Plots and Treacheries: Ever since the Prophet’s entry into Madina, the treacherous Jews had vehemently opposed him and his Islamic call, evoking memories of their hostility to the previous Prophet, Jesus Christ, half a millennium ago. The crafty Jews entered into an alliance with the polytheist Quraish in a bid to stamp out Islam. They conspired to kill Prophet Muhammad despite the fact that he was lenient towards them and had treated them kindly, hoping to convince them of Islam’s truth. But eventually as Jewish plots and aggressions increased, he had no choice other than to take up arms against them, in order to protect Islam and the Muslims. At the battle of Khaiber which is famous for Imam Ali’s heroic exploits, the Prophet defeated them ending Jewish intrigues and conspiracies in Arabia.”
Source: Curriculum, East End Madrassah, eemadrassah.ca
Police said the investigation forced them to stray beyond their law enforcement role “into an educator’s role to determine what is acceptable to teach young Canadians from a religious perspective,” the report said.
“What needs clarification is the degree to which we tolerate the exposure of young impressionable minds to the promotion of a belief or ideology while it denigrates other communities or faiths. The vetting of offensive language in religious teachings poses to be one of the great constitutional challenges of our post-modern, secular, liberal democracy.”
The East End Madrassa lost its license to use Toronto District School Board property shortly after the police investigation began six months ago. The school apologized and said it would review its curriculum.
The Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, which had complained to police about the school, said it was disappointed no charges would be laid but praised police for the investigation.
Iranian Fighters Fail to Down Unarmed US Drone over Persian Gulf
MQ-1 Predator Drone Georgian Air Force SU-25 B Frongfoot
Two aging Iranian Sukhoi (SU) -25sfailed to down an unarmed US MQ-1 ‘military’ drone over the Persian during an episode on November 1st . Iran’s Air Force acquired seven of the SU-25’s as a ‘gift’ from the Iraqis when they were flown across the border to Iran during the First Gulf war. Iran subsequently acquired several more. It has approximately 13 of the Soviet-designed close air support aircraft developed and produced starting in the mid-1970. The Pentagon conveniently released the report of this unsuccessful engagement today amid speculation that the White House didn’t want the publicity during the run to Tuesday’s Presidential election. It indicated that the Unarmed Predator drone was on a ‘routine surveillance mission”.
Two Iranian jets recently tried and failed to shoot down an unarmed MQ-1 Predator drone flying a surveillance mission over the Persian Gulf, the Pentagon disclosed Thursday. Despite the best efforts of Iranian pilots, the slow-flying robot returned to its Middle Eastern base unharmed.
The incident took place on Nov. 1 just before 5 a.m. Washington time, Pentagon chief spokesman George Little revealed on Thursday. The Predator was conducting a “routine surveillance” mission 16 nautical miles off the coast of Iran when two Iranian Su-25 Frogfoot attack jets, which usually shoot at targets on the ground, “intercepted” the drone. The Iranian pilots engaged in something of a 21st-century dogfight, turning their 30-mm guns on the Predator on at least two passes.
The dogfight turned out to be lopsided. Not only did the Predator lack the weaponry to return fire, it probably couldn’t have, as the drones don’t typically carry air-to-air missiles. But in any event, the Iranian pilots missed the drone outright. “The MQ-1 was not hit, and returned to its base safely,” Little said. At all times, Little emphasized, the drone was over international waters and never entered Iranian airspace.
The Danger Room commented on the speculation about timing of today’s announcement by the Pentagon:
It’s curious why the Pentagon is disclosing the incident now. Little dismissed suggestions that the White House, which was notified of the incident at the time, wanted to keep the weird quasi-dogfight out of the news until after Tuesday’s election. It may also be worth mentioning that the attack comes around the same time as a huge U.S.-Israeli training exercise designed to practice shooting down Iranian missiles.
The Danger Room previously reported that US fighter aircraft had shot down Iran drones over Iraq in 2009 but lost a stealth RQ-170 Sentinel drone over Iran in 2011, prominently displayed in Tehran by Iranian Islamic President Ahmadinejad. Reza Kahlili in a World Net Daily report in late October indicated that President Obama alleged chose not to destroy the RQ-170 when it wandered into Iranian airspace and allegedly crashed. A Reuters report had statements by an Iranian Member of Parliament that an Iranian drone shot down by the Israeli Air Force allegedly sent back imagery of secret facilities before it was intercepted and destroyed.
Thank God The Decline Was Halted At The Kijun Line On The Ichimoku Charts
From a news story about the dollar's decline:
"But its decline stopped at the kijun line on the Ichimoku charts at 79.31 yen, making it an important support level for now and traders see limited room for further falls given Japan's economy is also seen contracting as exports are plummeting."
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil has informed the Iraqi government it wants to pull out of a $50 billion oil project, and Baghdad expelled Turkey's state oil operator from another contract on Wednesday, both signals of trouble in Iraq's petroleum policy.
"Exxon has stated in its letter that it has started discussions with some international oil companies to sell its stake," Abdul-Mahdy al-Ameedi, director of Iraq's contracts directorate, told reporters.
The move by Exxon to quit the West Qurna-1 oilfield in south Iraq will exacerbate tensions between Baghdad and the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region, where Exxon has signed oil deals seen as more lucrative but dismissed by the central government as illegal.
Kurdistan has upset Baghdad by signing oil deals with foreign companies including Exxon, Chevron and Total . Kurdish officials say they have the constitutional right to do so, but the central government says only it controls oil policy.
Iraq's cabinet also said it was expelling Turkey's state-owned TPAO from its exploration block 9 oilfield for an unspecified reason, denying it was prompted by any move by the Turkish company into Kurdistan.
Baghdad plans to reply to the letter from Exxon by Sunday, another oil official said. But it was unclear who would replace Exxon if it leaves the huge oilfield, which pumps around 400,000 barrels per day of crude, with minority partner Royal Dutch Shell.
Exxon has not commented publicly on its plans.
Doubts about who can replace Exxon in the important project could raise questions about Iraq's target to increase crude output to 5-6 million barrels per day by 2015 from 3.4 million bpd.
Some industry sources have said Baghdad is keen to replace Exxon with companies from Russia or China as a way to hit back at major Western oil majors. But it was unclear which companies would have the financial heft to follow Exxon.
Russia's LUKOIL (and Gazprom Neft are already working in Iraq. LUKOIL, which already runs a project to develop West Qurna-2, has said that it lacks the resources to take on a project like West Qurna-1 for the moment.
Exxon is now at the heart of a long-running dispute over oil reserves and territory between the Arab-led central government and ethnic Kurds, who have run their own regional administration in northern Iraq since 1991.
Iraq's cabinet also decided to expel Turkey's TPAO from Block 9, where it holds a 30 percent stake, and asked Kuwait Energy to boost its stake to 70 percent from 40 percent. Dragon Oil holds the remaining 30 percent.
"We respect their decision. If they see such a contract renewal or stake transfer appropriate, we don't mind either," Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told reporters on Wednesday, in response to Iraq's plan.
Iraqi officials said the decision was not related to possible TPAO deals with Kurdistan.
"The cabinet rejected the approval of Turkey's TPAO as a partner," al-Ameedi said. "Removing TPAO has no connection with Kurdistan deals. We know TPAO has no deals in Kurdistan. But this decision was taken for other reasons."
He refused to give any further details.
Iraqi oil officials said removing TPAO from the exploration project will not affect the company's other activities in oil and gas fields across the country.
TPAO has minority stakes in the two small oilfields of Badra and Maysan in the south and is running two gas fields along with Kuwait Energy in the province of Diyala and the southern oil hub of Basra, both near Iraq's borders with Iran.
"TPAO can still operate in other oil and gas projects in Iraq without being affected by removal from the exploration deal," Ameedi told Reuters.
The expulsion comes amid tensions between Baghdad and Ankara after Turkey accused Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of sidelining Sunni Muslims since the onset of a political crisis in Iraq after U.S. troops left in December.
Maliki, a Shi'ite close to Iran, has traded insults with Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan several times, with the Iraqi leader calling Turkey a hostile state and Erdogan accusing Maliki of fanning sectarian tensions.
Terrorist designation removed from man with alleged Hamas ties
November 8, 2012
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- The U.S. Treasury Department removed from its designated terrorist list a Chicago man who was convicted in Israel of assisting Hamas.
Muhammad Salah, 59, who spent 4 1/2 years in an Israeli prison for funding the terrorist organization, was taken off the list on Wednesday by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. The designation had meant that Salah could not get a job or make simple purchases without the department's permission.
Two months ago, backed by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the American Friends Service Committee, he filed a lawsuit for his removal.
"A strong message was sent, and that is all Americans are entitled to their due process and essential rights," the Anti-Discrimination Committee said in a statement.
The organizations had challenged the designation in part because it forbade them from assisting Salah -- a ban they said violated their First Amendment protections.
Salah in 1997 had returned to the United States from his Israeli prison term to discover that the U.S. had placed him on its designated terrorist list because of his conviction in 1993 in Israel for funding Hamas. Israeli authorities had arrested Salah after finding $95,000 in his eastern Jerusalem hotel room.
Salah has claimed for years that his guilty plea in the case was made under duress.
He was acquitted in 2007 of U.S. charges that he funded Hamas, but he was convicted of lying under oath in a separate civil case brought by the family of an American teenager, David Boim, murdered by Hamas.