Anthropologists have discovered three human fossils that are between 1.78 and 1.95 million years old. The specimens are of a face and two jawbones with teeth.
The finds back the view that a skull found in 1972 is of a separate species of human, known as Homo rudolfensis. The skull was markedly different to any others from that time. It had a relatively large brain and long flat face.
But for 40 years the skull was the only example of the creature and so it was impossible to say for sure whether the individual was an unusual specimen or a member of a new species.
With the discovery of the three new fossils researchers can say with more certainty that H.rudolfensis really was a separate type of human that existed around two million years ago alongside other species of humans.
For a long time the oldest known human ancestor was thought to be a primitive species, dating back 1.8 million years ago called Homo erectus. They had small heads, prominent brows and stood upright.
But 50 years ago, researchers discovered an even older and more primitive species of human called Homo habilis that may have coexisted with H. erectus. Now it seems H. rudolfensis was around too and raises the distinct possibility that many other species of human also existed at the time.
This find is the latest in a growing body of evidence that challenges the view that our species evolved in a smooth linear progression from our primate ancestors.
Instead, according to Dr Meave Leakey of the Turkana Basin Institute in Nairobi, who led the research the find shows that there was a diversity early on in the evolution of our species.
"Our past was a diverse past," she told BBC News, "our species was evolving in the same way that other species of animals evolved. There was nothing unique about us until we began to make sophisticated stone tools."
In other groups of animals many different species evolve, each with new traits, such as plumage, or webbed feet. If the new trait is better suited to the environment then the new species thrives, if not it becomes extinct.
According to Professor Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London, fossil evidence is increasingly suggesting that human evolution followed the same pattern.
"Humans seem to have been evolving in different ways in different regions. It was almost as if nature was developing different human prototypes with different attributes, only one of which, an ancestor of our species, was ultimately successful in evolutionary terms," he said.
According to Dr Leakey, the growing body of evidence to suggest that humans evolved in the same way as other animals shows that "evolution really does work".
"It leads to amazing adaptions and amazing species and we are one of them," she said.
Only About 40,000 Potential Muslim Terrorists In Germany To Vigilantly Monitor
From The New York Times:
August 9, 2012
Debate in Germany Over ‘Dangerous Jihadist’
By MELISSA EDDY
BERLIN — Revelations that a Tunisian man who is considered a “dangerous jihadist” and may have served as a bodyguard to Osama bin Laden in 2000 has been living for years in a western German city have ignited a debate over the difficulties faced by the German authorities in trying to curtail the activities of potential Islamic extremists.
The man, identified only as Sami A., in accordance with German privacy laws, has been under observation by intelligence services in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for eight years, said a spokeswoman for the state Interior Ministry. He is idolized by young Muslims in the region for having attended a training camp of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, said the spokeswoman, Birgit Axler.
She denied news media allegations that the authorities had not moved strongly enough against the Tunisian, insisting that “we are using every possible law to limit Sami A.’s activities as much as possible.”
So far, that has meant that Sami A., 36, is required to check in daily with the police in the western city of Bochum, where he lives, and must request permission for any travel.
The Bochum immigration authorities failed in 2009 to revoke his residency permit when a higher court ruled that his relationship to his wife, a German, and three children was important enough to override concerns about his activities as a radical Muslim preacher. The city has challenged the ruling in the state’s highest court, which is expected to issue a final decision later this year, Ms. Axler said.
A name similar to Sami A. does not appear on the United Nations’ current list of Qaeda figures, nor is one listed among the handful of men believed to have served as bodyguards to Bin Laden. But the local news media and members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party still insist that stronger action be taken against him.
Peter Biesenbach, the deputy chairman for the Christian Democrats in North Rhine-Westphalia, called Tuesday for an “offensive response from the relevant security officials,” the German news agency dpa reported.
In its most recent report, released last month, Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said it considered about 38,000 of the estimated four million Muslims living in the country potential extremists.
Sami A., Ms. Axler said, falls into that group and is considered one of about 50 potential extremists in the state who preach an ultraconservative form of Islam known as Salafism and are under police observation. In May, a group of Salafist youths attacked the police during a demonstration in Bonn in which 29 people were injured.
In May 2007, federal prosecutors, citing a lack of concrete evidence, dropped an investigation into allegations that Sami A. belonged to a foreign terrorist organization.
Security experts point out that living with the threat of potential terrorist cells has become part of a new domestic security problem facing European societies in the post-Sept. 11 world. Unless the authorities can prove that individuals who are known or believed to be radical members of any group have broken the law, they have to be observed, but not arrested.
“If we want to live in a functioning modern society that is based on the rule of law, we have to accept there are weak spots that some want to exploit,” said Michael Bauer, a terrorism expert at Munich University’s Center for Applied Policy. “If we don’t want to give up our system, this is simply something that we have to accept.”
Really, is that the choice? "If we want to live in a functioning modern socdiety that is based on the rule of law" Germans, and French, and British, and Italians, and Dutch, and Danish, and all the others, can do nothing about this unprecedented threat, based on an immutable ideology which, at any moment, for any number of reasons, may prompt some to conduct Jihad through violence against the non-Muslims among whom they have been allowed to settle? Nothing at all? Why can't laws be changed so that those who are deemed to be the most dangerous -- those 38.000 Muslims for example, mentioned in the article -- are deported. And if they have "German wives" and "German children" - it's the easiest thing in the world to find some domestic ditz who will marry you, and thereby to offer you, as in this case, protection -- then change the law. For god's sake, marrying a "German" should not make you exempt from deportation. If the German (probably Muslim) spouse, and the German (almost certainly Muslim) children, wish to follow you, let them.
A failure of intelligence, a want of imagination -- by too many all over the Western world.
Pizza Hut has withdrawn its all-you-can eat Ramadan offer in Pakistan prompting howls of fury from thousands of hungry Muslim families used to breaking their fast with plate after plate of deep pan or thin crust. Instead the chain said it wants to reduce "gluttony" by limiting customers to a single regular pizza in its Ramadan Fiesta offer.
In previous years Pizza Hut restaurants would be packed for the evening meal of Iftar, as diners starving from a day of fasting would fill their bellies with pizza after pizza for as little as £7 – a figure industry analysts said was unsustainable.
Furious fast food fans have taken to social media to complain at the new, cheaper deal, which is still advertised as an "all-you-can" offer. "Pathetic and a misleading deal. It's only one regular pizza with bottomless Pepsi, not all you can eat," said one post on Pizza Hut Pakistan's Facebook page.
Pizza Hut in Pakistan was one of many fast food restaurants to have benefited from a move away from the traditional Iftar meal of spiced fruit salad, chickpeas and dates. As an alternative, many people are turning to Chinese buffets or burger joints
But in Islamabad, during daylight hours . . . From The Guardian
Police in Islamabad enforce law forbidding people from eating or drinking in public during Islamic fasting month.
Mocca Cafe is the not the den of iniquity that might normally attract a police raid.But Islamabad's police have suddenly found cause to turn their attention to the capital's poshest eateries in an effort to enforce a patchily applied, decades-old law forbidding people from eating or drinking in public during the fasting month of Ramadan.
Customers and proprietors were shocked on Saturday when, nearly halfway through the holy month, Mocca and at least two other popular eating spots in the well-heeled Kohsar market were visited by police officers cracking down on the illicit consumption of muffins and brownies, not to mention smoothies and skinny lattes.
A message circulated on an expatriate email list by a customer who had been in the Gloria Jeans coffee shop at the time reported a "large commotion". "There was a lot of hostility in the air because foreigners were being served while others (Pakistanis) were being told to leave," the email said, before going on to advise expats to give restaurants a wide berth until the end of Ramadan. "Personally, I wouldn't take the chance after the anger I felt while in the coffee shop."
The raids, which police say were prompted by a complaint from a member of the public, followed last month's police assault of a journalist who had the temerity to consume a soft drink in his car at a secluded hilltop beauty spot overlooking Islamabad. He said he was beaten with belts by the officers, who threatened to charge him under the Ramadan Ordinance
The police involved in last week's raids say they were simply enforcing the law. One senior officer, who did not wish to be named, said he was actually trying to discourage extremists. "Personally I have no problem with people eating, but if the restaurants and hotels in the less privileged parts of the city are not serving food then it gives us an image problem with militants and religious people. They say the common people abide by the law, why don't you take action against the posh areas?"
If we'd given the Golan in return for peace ["Peace" means "Peace Treaty" and "Peace Treaty," with those who are either Muslims or want, like the Alawites, to pretend to be, means -- when Israel is the other party -- the Treaty of Hudaibiyya]. in the 2000s, then today we'd already have bloodshed. If we had gone to bed with Assad a decade ago, today we'd be waking up with jihad.
No one likes to admit they were wrong. I don't, either. But sometimes you have no choice.
[for now the full article is apparently available only to subscribers --when it appears in full, I'll post it]
A newly uncovered espionage tool, apparently designed by the same people behind the state-sponsored Flame malware that infiltrated machines in Iran, has been found infecting systems in other countries in the Middle East, according to researchers.
The malware, which steals system information but also has a mysterious payload that could be destructive against critical infrastructure, has been found infecting at least 2,500 machines, most of them in Lebanon, according to Russia-based security firm Kaspersky Lab, which discovered the malware in June and published an extensive analysis of it on Thursday.
The spyware, dubbed Gauss after a name found in one of its main files, also has a module that targets bank accounts in order to capture login credentials. The malware targets accounts at several banks in Lebanon, including the Bank of Beirut, EBLF, BlomBank, ByblosBank, FransaBank and Credit Libanais. It also targets customers of Citibank and PayPal.
The discovery appears to add to the steadily growing arsenal of malware created by the U.S. and Israeli governments. That list includes the groundbreaking Stuxnet cyberweapon that is believed to have infiltrated and caused physical damage to Iran’s uranium enrichment program, as well as the spyware tools known as Flame and DuQu. But Gauss marks the first time that apparently nation-state-created malware has been found stealing banking credentials, something that is commonly seen in malware distributed by criminal hacking groups.
The varied functionality of Gauss suggests a toolkit used for multiple operations.
“When you look at Stuxnet and DuQu, they were obviously single-goal operations. But here I think what you see is a broader operation happening all in one,” says Roel Schouwenberg, senior researcher at Kaspersky Lab.
The researchers don’t know if the attackers used the bank component in Gauss simply to spy on account transactions, or to steal money from targets. But given that the malware was almost certainly created by nation-state actors, its goal is likely not to steal for economic gain, but rather for counterintelligence purposes. Its aim, for instance, might be to monitor and trace the source of funding going to individuals or groups, or to sabotage political or other efforts by draining money from their accounts.
While the banking component adds a new element to state-sponsored malware, the mysterious payload may prove to be the most interesting part of Gauss, since this part of the malware has been carefully encrypted by the attackers and so far remains uncracked by Kaspersky.
The payload appears to be highly targeted against machines that have a specific configuration — a configuration used to generate a key that unlocks the encryption. So far the researchers have been unable to determine what configuration generates the key. They’re asking for assistance from any cryptographers who might be able to help crack the code.
“We do believe that it’s crackable; it will just take us some time,” says Schouwenberg. He notes that using a strong encryption key tied to the configuration illustrates great efforts by the attackers to control their code and prevent others from getting a hold of it to create copycat versions of it, something they may have learned from mistakes made with Stuxnet.
According to Kaspersky, Gauss appears to have been created sometime in mid-2011 and was first deployed in September or October of last year, around the same time that DuQu was uncovered by researchers in Hungary. DuQu was an espionage tool discovered on machines in Iran, Sudan, and other countries around August 2011 and was designed to steal documents and other data from machines. Stuxnet and DuQu appeared to have been built on the same framework, using identical parts and using similar techniques. Flame and Stuxnet also shared a component, and now Flame and Gauss have been found to be using similar code as well.
Kaspersky discovered Gauss only this last June, while looking for variants of Flame.
Kaspersky had uncovered Flame in May after the UN’s International Telecommunciations Union asked the company to investigate claims out of Iran that malware had struck computers belonging to the oil industry there and wiped out data. Kaspersky never found malware that matched the description of the code that attacked the oil industry computers, but did find Flame, a massive and sophisticated espionage toolkit that has multiple components designed to conduct various kinds of espionage on infected systems. One module takes screenshots of e-mail and instant-messaging communications, while other modules steal documents or turn on the internal microphone on a computer to record conversations conducted via Skype or in the vicinity of an infected system.
As the researchers sifted through various samples of malware identified as Flame by their anti-virus scanner, they found samples of Gauss that, upon further inspection, used some of the same code as Flame but differed from that malware. Gauss, like Flame was programmed in C++ and shares some of the same libraries, algorithms and code base.
The authors of the malware neglected to scrub path and project data from some of the modules, so the researchers were able to glean the names of project files the attackers appear to have given their code. They found, for example, a pathway for a file named “gauss_white_1″ as it had been stored on the attackers’ machine under a directory called “flamer.”
Pathways left in the code by the attackers show what appear to be the names of files the attackers used in designing their malware. Courtesy of Kaspersky Lab
Kaspersky suggests that “white” in the file name may refer to Lebanon, a name said to be derived from the Semitic root letters “lbn,” which are also the root letters for “white.” Although in Arabic — a Semitic language — white is “abayd,” in Hebrew — also a Semitic language — the word for white is “lavan,” which comes from the root letters “lbn.”
More than 2,500 systems in 25 countries have been infected with Gauss, based on data Kaspersky gleaned from infected customer machines, and at least 1,660 of those have been in Lebanon. Kaspersky notes, however, that these figures only represent its own customers who have been infected.
Extrapolating from the number of infected Kaspersky customers, they speculate that there may be as many as tens of thousands of other victims infected with Gauss.
By comparison, Stuxnet infected more than 100,000 machines, primarily in Iran. DuQu infected an estimated 50 machines, but was not geographically focused. Flame is estimated to have infected about 1,000 machines in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Graphic showing the various distribution of infections by Stuxnet, DuQu, Flame and Gauss. Courtesy of Kaspersky Lab
Aside from 1,660 infections in Lebanon, 482 are in Israel and 261 are in the Palestinain territories, and 43 are in the U.S. Only one infection has been found in Iran. There is no sign that Gauss targeted specific organizations or industries, but instead appears to target specific individuals. Schoenwenberg said, however, that his team does not know the identities of victims. The majority of victims infected by Gauss use the Windows 7 operating system.
Like Flame, Gauss is modular, so that new functionality can be swapped in and out, depending on the needs of the attackers. To date, only a few modules have been uncovered — these are designed to steal browser cookies and passwords, harvest system configuration data including information about the BIOS and CMOS RAM, infect USB sticks, enumerate the content of drives and folders, and to steal banking credentials as well as account information for social networking accounts, e-mail and instant messaging.
Gauss also installs a custom font called Palida Narrow, the purpose of which is not known. The use of a custom font designed by the malware authors is reminiscent of DuQu, which used a font called Dexter fabricated by its creators to exploit victim machines. Kaspersky has found no malicious code in the Palida Narrow font files and has no idea why it’s in the code, though the font contains Western, Baltic and Turkish symbols.
Gauss’s primary module, which Kaspersky refers to as the mother ship, appears to have been named after German mathematician Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss. Other modules of the malware appear to have been named after mathematicians Joseph-Louis Legrange and Kurt Godel.
The Gauss module is about 200K in size. With all of the plugins found so far, Gauss measures 2MB, much smaller than the 20MB Flame with all of its modules.
Researchers do not yet know how the main Gauss module first gets onto systems, but once on a system, it injects into the browser in order to steal cookies and passwords. Another module loads an exploit onto any USB sticks inserted into the system thereafter. The exploit dropped to the USB stick is the same .lnk exploit that Stuxnet used to spread to systems. Microsoft has since patched the .lnk exploit, so any system Gauss infects with this exploit would be ones that have not been updated with that patch.
Once an infected USB stick is inserted into another system, it has two roles – to gather configuration information about the system and to deliver the encrypted payload.
The configuration data it collects includes information about the operating system, network interfaces and SQL servers. It stores this data in a hidden file on the USB stick. When the USB stick is later inserted into another system that has the main Gauss module installed on it and that is connected to the internet, that stored configuration data is sent to the attacker’s command-and-control servers. The USB exploit is set to gather data only from 30 machines, after which it deletes itself from the USB stick.
Schoewenberg says the USB module appears to be aimed at bridging an airgap and getting the payload onto systems that are not connected to the internet, as it had been used previously to get Stuxnet onto industrial control systems in Iran that were not connected to the internet.
As noted, the payload is only unleashed on systems that have a specific configuration. That specific configuration is currently unknown, but Schoewenberg says it has to do with paths and files that are on the system. This suggests that the attackers have extensive knowledge about what is on the target system they are seeking.
The malware uses that configuration to generate a key to unlock the payload and unleash it. Once it finds the configuration it’s looking for, it uses that configuration data to perform 10,000 iterations of MD5 to generate a 128-bit RC4 key, which is then used to decrypt the payload.
“Unless you meet these specific requirements, you’re not going to generate the right key to decrypt it,” Schoewenberg says.
Researchers had criticized Stuxnet’s creators because that malware was not better controlled by the attackers. Stuxnet left a backdoor on infected machines that would have allowed anyone to take control of the infected machines. Its payload was also not obfuscated as strongly as it could have been, allowing others to reverse-engineer the code and create copycat attacks from it.
“I definitely think these guys really learned their lesson from Stuxnet in looking at how all that stuff went down,” Schoewenber says. “This approach is really very smart. This means it buys them more time, because it will take people longer to figure out what is happening, and indeed this will become effectively impossible for copycats…. The security industry will have the code, but it won’t be out there for the average cybercriminal…. They’re definitely trying to prevent copycats from just copy-pasting.”
Though he says there’s no evidence that Gauss is targeting industrial control systems, as Stuxnet did, the fact that the payload is the only part of the code that is encrypted so strongly, “really makes one wonder what is so special that they have gone through all that trouble. It must be something important…. So we are definitely not ruling out the possibility that we will find a destructive payload targeting industrial control machines.”
Gauss uses seven domains to gather data from infected systems, but all five of the servers behind the domains went dark in July before Kaspersky was able to investigate them. The domains were hosted at various times in India, the U.S. and Portugal.
Researchers have not found any zero-day exploits used by Gauss but caution that since they still have not found how Gauss first infects systems, it’s too early to rule out the use of zero-days in the attack.
Mohammad Dahlan Denounces Hamas For Fostering "New Terror Groups," Threatening Egypt's Security, And "Laying Siege To The Gaza Strip"
From The Jerusalem Post:
Dahlan: Hamas fostering terror, damaging ties with Egypt
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Former PA security chief claims Hamas created atmosphere ripe for "new terror groups"; accuses Gaza leadership of threatening Egypt's national security; says Gaza "not under siege", residents "not lacking anything."
Hamas has created the proper environment for the emergence of new terror groups in the Gaza Strip, Mohammed Dahlan, a former Palestinian security commander, said Thursday.
Dahlan, who founded and headed the Palestinian Authority's Preventive Security Force in the Gaza Strip between 1994 and 2000, also accused Hamas of harboring the terror groups and using their members to kill Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip.
Dahlan's allegations came in wake of Sunday night's terror attack in Sinai in which 16 Egyptian border guards were killed by unidentified gunmen.
PA and Fatah officials have seized the opportunity to hold their rivals in Hamas responsible for the attack, which is believed to have been carried out by Muslim fundamentalists from Sinai and the Gaza Strip.
Hamas has strongly denied any connection to the attack, insisting that the terrorists did not come from the Gaza Strip.
Dahlan, who was expelled from Fatah last year following a dispute with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his sons, also criticized Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy for hosting Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in the presidential palace in Cairo last week.
Dahlan said that Haniyeh was being ungrateful to the Egyptians who honored him by treating him as a head of state. "Instead of expressing their gratitude, Hamas and Haniyeh are working to damage Egyptian interests in Sinai," Dahlan said in an interview with an Egyptian TV station.
Dahlan said that the underground tunnels along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt were a source of income for Hamas leaders who have no interest in closing them down.
The Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip do not benefit from the tunnels, Dahlan added. He called on the Egyptians to hold Hamas and its leaders, and not the entire Palestinian people, fully responsible for harboring terror groups in the Gaza Strip and threatening Egypt's national security.
Dahlan said that the Gaza Strip was not under siege and its residents are not lacking anything. "Hamas is laying siege to the Gaza Strip," he charged.
Dahlan said that a pro-Hamas Sudanese minister who visited the Gaza Strip recently told him that he wished that Sudan had as much basic goods as the Gaza Strip.
In a related development, Hamas claimed Thursday that the Egyptian authorities have determined that the terrorists who killed the 16 border guards did not come from the Gaza Strip.
Salah Bardaweel, a senior Hamas official, said that the Egyptian security forces' investigations have shown that the terrorists were not Palestinians, did not come from the Gaza Strip and were not affiliated with Hamas.
Bardaweel claimed that supporters of ousted President Hosni Mubarak have been trying to implicate Hamas and the Gaza Strip to embarrass Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Hamas official said that his government would be prepared to shut all the underground tunnels if the Egyptians agree to permanently open the Rafah border crossing.
Taher a-Nunu, spokesman for the Hamas government, also appealed Thursday to the Egyptians to keep the Rafah terminal open. He also suggested that the border crossing be turned into a trade terminal so that it could replace the underground tunnels.
A-Nunu said that the Sinai terror attack was designed to sabotage relations between Egypt and the Palestinians.
Up the verdantest of hills,
in this most equestrian of pageants,
wearing the silkiest of cloaks.
Toward a castle with seven towers,
each of them by far the tallest.
In the foreground, a duke,
most flatteringly unrotund;
by his side, his duchess
young and fair beyond compare.
Behind them, the ladies-in-waiting,
all pretty as pictures, verily,
then a page, the most ladsome of lads,
and perched upon his pagey shoulder
something exceedingly monkeylike,
endowed with the drollest of faces
Following close behind, three knights,
all chivalry and rivalry,
so if the first is fearsome of countenance,
the next one strives to be more daunting still,
and if he prances on a bay steed
the third will prance upon a bayer,
and all twelve hooves dance glancingly
atop the most wayside of daisies.
Whereas whosoever is downcast and weary,
cross-eyed and out at elbows,
is most manifestly left out of the scene.
Even the least pressing of questions,
burgherish or peasantish,
cannot survive beneath this most azure of skies.
And not even the eaglest of eyes
could spy even the tiniest of gallows -
nothing casts the slightest shadow of a doubt.
Thus they proceed most pleasantly
through this feudalest of realisms.
This same, however, has seen to the scene's balance:
it has given them their Hell in the next frame.
Oh yes, all that went without
even the silentest of sayings.
British executive facing jail in Dubai after calling Prophet Mohammad a 'complete paedophile' in text message to Muslim colleague
The executive in question is British born of Indian heritage and I don't disagree with his assessment of Mohammed's behaviour. But: either he was completely barking mad to send such a text or he has been set up by someone with a grudge - maybe the Muslim colleague himself? From the Daily Mail
A high-flying British executive accused of calling the Prophet Mohammad a 'complete paedophile' is facing up to three years in a Dubai jail. Deep Marwaha allegedly texted a Muslim colleague with a volley of abuse after he performed a holy ritual while the pair were working in Saudi Arabia.
The 35-year-old, a manager at UK-based conference organising firm Informa, was said to have texted fellow Brit Khalid Shafique with the words: 'F*** you, f*** your Islam and f*** your prophet. Your Prophet Mohammad is a complete paedophile. Now show what you can do. I know lots of sheikhs.'
Fellow Informa colleague Mr Shafique, 34, complained to police that Marwaha was angry when he went to perform Umrah, a form of pilgrimage in Mecca, when their business meetings were over for the day. He resigned from the company and claimed he received the insulting text message two days later at 1.15am.
But Marwaha, who went to £15,000-a-year Latymer Upper School in west London before studying at Middlesex University, denied sending the abuse and said he was sleeping when the messages were sent. His lawyer persuaded judge Zakariah Abdulaziz to postpone his trial so he could conduct a technical experiment to show how text messages could have been sent from the defendant's phone remotely by someone else.
Both Marwaha and Mr Shafique, who are British but live in Dubai, are frequent visitors to Saudi Arabia.
Marwaha, whose family is of Indian origin but was born in London, has been heavily involved in £17 billion Saudi government plans to overhaul the infrastructure of Mecca, the holy city for Muslims, and was a key organiser of a Future Makkah (Mecca) conference in Jeddah last year
His brother Rohan was recruited in 2002 as managing director of Cityscape Dubai, staged by Informa and one of the world's biggest property sales exhibitions, and he followed him to the Middle East four years later to help manage branch offices around the region. Marwaha has been manager of Informa's Saudi Arabia office for the past three years.
Mr Shafique told police the pair flew to Saudi Arabia for business meetings on March 11 but while Marwaha stayed in their hotel when their work was finished, he made his way to the pilgrimage site. (How big is the exclusion zone to non-Musims around Mecca? This makes it sound like Shafique just popped along for an hour. I think he must have had some distance to travel) Marwaha allegedly became agitated with him at the airport as they left, telling him prayer and pilgrimage were not allowed under company rules.
Mr Shafique said: 'He asked me why I had performed Umrah. I asked him why I should not have gone [and that] I went in my free time to pray. He said prayers and Umrah were not part of our company's policy. I resigned on March 15 and on March 17 I received offensive messages from his mobile phone.'
The defendant, who is charged with insulting Islam denied sending any texts . . . The trial was adjourned until September.
â€œDuty is Calling Us Nowâ€�: Former Federal Prosecutor Andrew McCarthy on Muslim Brotherhood in America
Andrew C. McCarthy, Former Federal
Prosecutor author and NRO columnist
Yesterday, I watched the Center for Security Policy briefing on the Muslim Brotherhood by Andrew C. McCarthy, former Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District in Manhattan and author of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America. McCarthy was the prosecutor in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing federal trial in New York that resulted in the conviction and a life sentence for Egyptian blind Sheikh Omar Abdel- Rahman for that plot and planned bombings of New York City landmarks. One of the first actions by Egypt’s recently elected Muslim Brotherhood President, Mohammed Morsi, was to demand that Rahman be released by President Obama from his federal Super Max prison and immediately returned home to Egypt. McCarthy made reference to that demand from Egypt’s President Morsi and why federal prosecutors were successful in conviction of the blind Sheikh, a respected Islamic jurist who espoused jihad violence and was alleged to be a leader in the Egyptian terrorist group, al Gama’a al-Islamiyya . Al-Gama’a sought the overthrow of the Egyptian government and replacement with an Islamic Sharia compliant state. It was responsible for several hundred terrorist attacks in Egypt.
McCarthy offered effective rebuttal evidence to both Administration and Congressional criticisms of the five House members' letter sent to Inspector Generals of several executive departments requesting internal investigations of the Muslim Brotherhood 'presence' in these federal government agencies. Most notably a significant portion of McCarthy's remarks were devoted to the swirl of controversy regarding Ms. Huma Abedin the personal chief of staff for Secretary Clinton, whose family has close ties to MB leaders and Saudi Salafists/Wahhabists. McCarthy noted the Abedin family enterprise, The Journal of Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (JIMMA) is edited by Saleha Abedin, a Saudi women’s college professor, leading member of the international MB sisterhood and Huma’s brother Hassan. As uncovered by Andrew Bostom, until 2008, Huma was listed as one of JIMMA’s editors. Among the luminaries on the JIMMA board was the venerable Middle east expert and Princeton Professor Emeritus Bernard Lewis who served from 1996 to 2006. McCarthy addressed the Abedin family connections to Muslim Brotherhood preacher Yusuf al Qaradawi and terrorist Group, the Union of Good, as well as connections to the Saudi –backed World Muslim League co-founded by Said Ramadan, son-in-law of MB founder Hassan al-Banna. Ramadan’s son, Professor Tariq Ramadan was given a Visa in 2009 by Secretary Clinton to teach at Notre Dame University, after a successful appeal in the New York Federal Circuit of Appeals. This despite evidence of funds provided to designated terrorist group and Muslim Brotherhood affiliate in Gaza, Hamas. We posted on these developments and previous documentation released by the Center for Security Policy in our Iconoclast Post, “The Ties that Bind”.
Towards the end of McCarthy’s brilliant presentation, he makes the telling argument that the Muslim Brotherhood influence campaign should become an important, bi-partisan issue In the Presidential election campaign. Having briefed Christian Zionists here on the Gulf Coast in late June on the Muslim Brotherhood influence campaign in America, I concur that average Americans will understand the grave nature of this threat to America and its special ally in the Middle East, the Jewish State of Israel.
Credit for this definitive rebuttal briefing by McCarthy goes to Frank Gaffney and the team at the CSP. Gaffney introduced the presentation noting McCarthy’s experience in prosecuting Islamic terrorism cases and his acknowledged expertise in Shariah and the Muslim Brotherhood campaign in America.
Here is a link to the transcript of McCarthy’s briefing published by PJ media. Watch the C-Span You Tube video of his masterful presentation.
This is how everything turns political: Someone says, no politics and religion in this room please; other agrees, I am apolitical and don’t believe in religion; the third one adds his voice, I hate politicians and religious leaders.
All three are making political statements, without meaning to. And so is the fourth one who gets up to point out that two Muslims have publicly admitted to losing faith and therefore the audience should be allowed half an hour to go out and gather enough stones to dispatch the mardoods to hell, right here, right now.
This blog was never meant to be political. But then some smart techie added ‘thumb up’ and ‘thumb down’ buttons next to the readers’ comments, and the politics begins. ‘I don’t agree with this. Why you always see the dark side can’t you see the achievement of Pakistanis? There is just a long list no need to me notion just open your eyes and see the other side’. This is Imran and he gets three ‘likes’.
‘With the situation being such, I am surprised you managed to write this column. You must be really exhausted by now. Poor fellow’. This is Raika 45 and she gets 13 likes. Johnny steals the show with his tongue-in-cheek: ‘Good. Now how about writing an article on another attribute of Pakistani, being critical of everything and never delivering. Having an answer for everything but just talk and no action …’ and he gets a whopping 25 likes.
Compare this with Asif Ansari’s: ‘Good, your every words tell the story of TRUTH,’ that won him zero likes and Mohsin Sayeed’s unabashed praise: ‘Kudos for writing it as we experience it. I am so glad that someone else on this planet shares my opinion about Pakistanis and gareebs …’ earned him a minus two.
See the politics? A majority likes the comments that are critical of the writer for being … critical. But let it be as it may. I have to respect readers’ opinion and respond to it politically, and so giving in to the popular demand, this piece will strive not to see the dark side or to be critical of anything, and instead will look at and admire the many achievements of Pakistanis.
On second thoughts, and after googling ‘Pakistanis’ achievements’ many times, I am afraid I have only one, but a worthy achievement to talk about: the world exclusive, the invention of the millennium, the ‘water kit’ that frees up automobiles from the stranglehold of hydrocarbons. The perfect fuel is here, and it is good old water. How much energy is required for a car to travel from Hyderabad to Karachi? The energy needed to draw two jugs of water from the hand pump, is the new correct answer.
Almost every country on the planet has claimed this particular invention at some point within the last half century but Waqar Ahmed Agha is the man because he not only invented something that has been invented many times before, but also because he is our man, a Pakistani. He is B.Tech from the world renowned Government College of Technology, Khairpur. The college is not recognised by the world wide web today – you google college’s name and the only entry that comes up is a tender notice for some civil work in the said institution – but riding on the possibility of one of its graduates earning an international patent for something the world’s best brains and laboratories haven’t been able to produce, it is expecting its name to come up in the top ten, next time someone searches for Ivy League Centres of Scientific Excellence in northern Sindh.
What Mr. Agha, who is fondly introduced as a mechanical engineer and an inventor par excellence, has done is beyond engineering, beyond alchemy, Quantum theory and Mendel’s laws: He has given the thriving but subdued community of closeted scientists a sense of achievement, obligation and direction. He has shown to the whole world that intellectual inferiority, academic poverty and lack of technical skills and aptitude are no hindrance when one commits oneself to running a motorbike, a truck, and eventually a power generation plant, on water. He has shown the stuff Pakistanis are made of. He has made us all proud and unleashed the creative scientist among us.
You could literally count the number of hours that elapsed between the Sindhi genius’ announcement and the unveiling of a similar system in Lahore by another brilliant water-kit inventor called Dr. Chaudhry Ghulam Sarwar. Dr. Sarwar has done only two things in life: studying and teaching commerce, and studying and propagating Islam. A scientific breakthrough is the obvious outcome a believer expects of the two occupations. ‘This car,’ Dr. Sarwar says brimming with the confidence of a non-resident Pakistani from Britain (though, to make things complicated he was born and educated in East Pakistan and Bangladesh respectively) while pointing to a car behind him, in his famous TV appearance ‘can be runned on water’ and its exhaust pipe emits pure oxygen, not the lowly carbon. God be praised.
Imagine the possibilities: Both petrol and CNG stations are closed and your car is running low on fuel. You could still take a very sick person to hospital on a couple of glasses of water, with a rubber pipe connected with the exhaust, providing oxygen into the patient’s breathing mask. Or running the engine on idle in the street so children can lie down next to the exhaust and take in all the oxygen their lungs need, for free. Or setting up huge power generators in every locality that turn water into electricity. Load shedding? That already sounds so last century.
What makes Pakistanis special is the way we have embraced and celebrated both our heroes (and those who may have cropped up by the time this piece is published), regardless of their ethnicity, facial hair, and their grasp of spoken English. From common people to TV anchorpersons, politicians, and luminaries in the most scientific of human quests – eliminating the largest number of living beings in the shortest time – who also happen to be the father and paternal uncles to our science, technology and the bomb, have all joined in to welcome the breakthrough that has placed Pakistan on par with Western countries in terms of scientific study and innovation.
Pakistan wasn’t always this lucky with the brilliance and abundance of its scientists. There have been impostors like Dr. Abdul Salam who dazzled the whole world with their pretend genius but couldn’t fool us into believing their claptrap. I can’t criticise him more as I am bound by my own vow, so let’s just say we don’t need to hear about this sham Noble laureate any more than the once-after-every-few-years news item about the desecration of his grave in Rabwah, renamed Chenab Nagar against the wish of the thankless people of this central Punjab city.
This is no time to look back though. It’s time to usher in a shining bright future that will be fuelled by water, and our collective belief that Allah can turn water into a combustible material if we pray and wish enough. In the words of a TV reporter’s piece to camera: ‘In this age of knowledge-based economy, if innovators like Dr. Sarwar are encouraged, there’s every reason we can overcome our many economic crises including the en