26 jun. 2009

Michael Jackson: Thriller

Ayatollah Khatami: Iran Protesters Will Be Punished "Without Mercy"

Amongst others, a member of the Iranian pro-government Basij militia, center right, chants slogans during a Friday prayer ceremony at the Tehran University campus in Tehran, Iran, Friday, June 26, 2009. Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami, a senior cleric, said during nationally broadcast Muslim sermon on Friday that the government should punish "leaders of the riots, who were supported by Israel and the U.S., strongly and with cruelty." (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Iranian authorities have barred journalists for international news organizations from reporting on the streets and ordered them to stay in their offices. This report is based on the accounts of witnesses reached in Iran and official statements carried on Iranian media.


Iran's increasingly isolated opposition leader effectively ended his role in street protests, saying he'll seek permits for future rallies. A leading cleric demanded in a nationally broadcast sermon Friday that leaders of the unrest be punished harshly and that some are "worthy of execution."

Iran's ruling clergy has widened its clampdown on the opposition since a bitterly disputed June 12 presidential election, and scattered protests have replaced the initial mass rallies.

The official Web site of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, his main tool of communicating with his supporters, was hacked Friday, leaving it blank, an aide said.

Mousavi has said victory was stolen from him through fraud, challenging the proclamation of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the winner.

However, Mousavi has sent mixed signals to his supporters in recent days, asking them not to break the law, while pledging not to drop his challenge of the election results.

Hundreds have been detained in recent weeks, including journalists, academics and university students, and a special court has been set up to try them.

In Friday's central Muslim sermon at Tehran University, a senior cleric, Ayatollah Ahmed Khatami, called for harsh retribution for dissent.

"Anybody who fights against the Islamic system or the leader of Islamic society, fight him until complete destruction," he said in the nationally broadcast speech.

The cleric claimed some involved in the unrest had used firearms.

"Anyone who takes up arms to fight with the people, they are worthy of execution," he said. "We ask that the judiciary confront the leaders of the protests, leaders of the violations, and those who are supported by the United States and Israel strongly, and without mercy to provide a lesson for all."

Khatami said those who disturbed the peace and destroyed public property were "at war with God," and said they should be "dealt with without mercy."

He reminded worshippers that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, rules by God's design and must not be defied.

The cleric also lashed out at foreign journalists, accusing them of false reporting, and singled out Britain for new criticism.

"In this unrest, Britons have behaved very mischievously and it is fair to add the slogan of down with England to slogan of down with USA," he said, as his remarks were interrupted by worshippers' chants of "Death to Israel."

Iran's rulers have accused the West, which has become increasingly vocal in its condemnation of the post-election clampdown, of meddling in Iran's internal affairs. Earlier this week, Iran expelled two British diplomat, prompting the expulsion of two Iranian diplomats by Britain.

In Trieste, Italy, foreign ministers of the Group of Eight countries called for an end to the violence in Iran and urged the authorities to find a peaceful solution.

Khatami, meanwhile, alleged that the icon of the opposition, slain protester Neda Agha Soltan, was killed by demonstrators, not the Iranian security forces. Soltan, 27, was killed by a shot to the chest last week, on the sidelines of a protest.

"The proof and evidence shows that they (protesters) have done it themselves and have raised propaganda against the system," he said. "I say hereby that these deceitful media have to know that the ordeal will be over and shame will remain for them."

In quelling protests, Basij militiamen have broken up even small groups of people walking together to prevent any possible gathering. Still, dozens of friends and relatives of Soltan managed to pay tribute Friday, arriving at Tehran's Behesht-e Zahra cemetery in groups of two and three, uttering brief prayers, placing flowers on Soltan's grave and then leaving, witnesses said.

Vigils for Soltan have been held around the world.

On Friday, Mousavi, who has said he is being increasingly isolated, lost his main link to the world after his official Web site Kalemeh, came up blank and stripped of any text or pictures. Mousavi's associate Ali Reza Beheshti told The Associated Press the site had been taken down by unknown hackers.

In a message on the site late Thursday, Mousavi had said he would seek permission for future protests, even though he said unfair restrictions were being imposed. He said he has been asked by the Interior Ministry to apply in person, a week ahead of time.

The opposition leader noted that his rival, Ahmadinejad, has been able to hold two post-election marches and a Tehran rally "that were well publicized on state television, seeming to encourage participation with their regularly advertised march routes."

Mousavi has said the authorities are pressuring him to withdraw his challenge by attempting to isolate and discredit him. He hasn't led a rally in more than a week.

Khamenei has ordered a large security detail around Mousavi _ ostensibly to protect him, but presumably also to restrict his movements. Authorities have also targeted those close to Mousavi.

Late Thursday, state TV reported that the head of Mousavi's information committee, Abolfazl Fateh, was banned from leaving Iran for Britain. The report, which could not be verified independently, identified Fateh as a doctoral student in Britain.

The semiofficial Fars news agency said Fateh was banned from travel so authorities could investigate "some of the recent gatherings," a reference to election protests.

At least 11 Mousavi campaign workers and 25 staffers on his newspaper have been detained since the election.

On Wednesday, 70 university professors were detained immediately after meeting with the opposition leader. All but four have been released. Those still in custody included Qorban Behzadiannejad, Mousavi's former campaign manager.

In all, at least 17 people have been killed in postelection protests, in addition to eight members of the Basij, the government has said.

Murders of Raul and Brisenia Flores

On 30 May 2009, Raul "Junior" Flores, 29, and his daughter, Brisenia, 9, of Arivaca, Arizona, were murdered during a home-invasion.

Gina Marie Gonzalez, 31, Junior's wife, was in the home during the attack. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said the attackers hoped to rob the Flores-Gonzales family of drugs and money, as Flores was involved in the illegal drug trade. Gonzalez called 911 when the assailants left the home for a few moments. While Gonzalez was on the phone, the assailants reentered the home and Gonzalez fired a handgun of her husband's, wounding one of the assailants.

An early exchange within the 911 call is as follows:

Gonzalez: "They shot me and I pretended like I was dead. My daughter was crying. They shot her, too.

Operator: "Are they still there, the people who, that shot them?"

Gonzalez: "They're coming back in! They're coming back in!" (Gunfire.)

Another Flores daughter, 12, had been at her grandmother's home in Sahuarita, Arizona, during the attack.
/wiki/Murders_of_Raul_and_Brisenia_Flores#cite_note-2"> Gonzalez identified two men, one "white," the other "Mexican," and a white woman as her attackers. Gonzales said it was the white man who had murdered her daughter and husband.


Leaders of Minutemen American Defense
plus an alleged operational confederate
Albert GaxiolaContact inArivaca, Arizona
Albert Gaxiola
Contact in
Arivaca, Arizona
Gunny BushNational Operations Director
Gunny Bush
National Operations Director
Shawna FordeNational Executive Director
Shawna Forde
National Executive Director

Shawna Forde

Shawna Forde (born December 6, 1967 (1967-12-06) (age 41)), of Everett, Washington,is an anti-immigration activist who had been expelled from the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps for "unstable" behavior, and later formed a splinter group to further her political agenda. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik alleged Forde to have planned and ordered the murders of the Floreses.


Forde has asserted that she had formerly been the promoter of a grunge rock band; she has also worked as a youth counselor, as an aircraft factory worker, and as a licensed cosmetologist and esthetician. Forde ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Everett City Council in 2007.

Forde had several run-ins with the law before her arrest for double murder. Court records show that she served time in juvenile lock-ups for repeated convictions involving theft, burglary and prostitution. Forde married four times, in 1989, her future husband sought court protection from Forde claiming that she had physically attacked him and threatened to hurt herself with a knife. In 2007, she was charged with stealing a small container of chocolate milk from an Everett grocery store, which Forde described as a misunderstanding. While running for the Everett City Council, her son was convicted of assaulting the owner of the beauty salon at which she was employed. In January 2008, Forde accused members of a drug cartel of sexually assaulting and shooting her, however, she later suggested the alleged culprits were actually criminal associates of her son. In 2007, she first became involved in the anti-immigrant activities and later joined the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps. However, she was asked to leave the organization in February of 2007 after members described her as being "unstable". Forde later founded a splinter group, the Minutemen American Defense organization, which had 14 members at the time of the attack on the Flores family.

Gunny Bush

Jason Eugene "Gunny" Bush ((born August 11, 1974 (1974-08-11) (age 34)), of Meadview, Arizona, is M.A.D.'s National Director of Operations. Bush was shot in the leg during the same time frame as the attack.

Bush is Forde's second in command. He has ties to the Aryan Nation and was also charged in June 2009 with the 1997 murder of Hector Lopez Partida in Wenatchee, Washington. Later in 1997, Bush was imprisoned for the theft of a car and for his possession of a firearm (unlawful because Bush was already a felon, from a previous conviction). After he was released in 2003, Bush moved to Hayden Lake, Idaho, where he lived until 2007.

Albert Gaxiola

Albert Robert Gaxiola (born February 9, 1967 (1967-02-09) (age 42)), of Arivaca, Arizona, is believed to have provided intelligence about drug activities in the area to the M.A.D. Gaxiola had been imprisoned on marijuana charges from 1992 to 2000. According to Gonzalez, Gaxiola and Flores had an on-going dispute that had originated in 2008 over marijuana belonging to Gaxiola that had been stored at Flores's residence.

Alleged involvement of Militiamen American Defense

Militiamen American Defense is a militant anti-illegal immigration splinter group founded in the late 2000s by Forde after she was expelled from the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps. Various Forde family members and some of Forde's associates said that Forde began to rob presumed drug dealers in 2009, in hopes of raising funds to benefit her vigilante group. Chuck Stonex, of Alamagordo, New Mexico, a former member who quit the organization after Forde's arrest, says that M.A.D. had about 14 members and that Forde termed its covert missions "Delta One Operations." Stonex said Forde intended to fund the purchase of a 40-acre property in southern Arizona where she had intended to establish a base for her group's border operations.

Chuck Stonex

Chuck Stonex, a member of MAD, is quoted in several articles about Forde. The certified home inspector was also in Arizona at the time of the home invasion/murders. He told authorities that he was called upon to provide medical treatment to Bush and didn't question their story of being shot at by a smuggler while patroling the border.

He has a history of defending Forde and carrying out personal attacks online against anyone who opposed his views or those of MAD. One such attack started on the Everett Herald in which he engaged in heated correspondence with one individual, quoting "Shoot, reload, shoot, call 911 is my SOP."

Provided an email address for this woman, he contacted her company in an attempt to persuade her employer to terminate her employment. Calling her a "bottom-feeding Mexican parasite" in email boasting about his accomplishment, he blamed her for his actions. It ended abruptly when she contacted the authorities.

Once the murders were made public, he claimed to have been oblivious to Forde's real motives, stating "this is not what minutemen do."

Pastor Asks God to Smite President Obama

As if President Obama doesn’t have enough to deal with - what with civil unrest in Iran, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and economic malaise at home - now he’s also got a Southern Baptist minister praying for his death.

The Rev. Wiley Drake, pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif., told Fox News Radio earlier this month that he was practicing “imprecatory prayer” – a divine curse – that would bring about Obama’s death.

“So you’re praying for his death?” asked the show’s host, Alan Colmes.


“So you’re praying for the death of the president of the United States?”


The pugnacious pastor later elaborated: “If he does not turn to God and does not turn his life around, I am asking God to enforce imprecatory prayers that are throughout the Scripture that would cause him death, that’s correct.”

A spokesman for the Southern Baptist Association, where Drake was second vice president in 2006-2007, responded to Drake’s comments by saying that he believes most Southern Baptists are praying for the president’s well-being.

Obama isn’t the first person for whom Drake has prayed for an untimely demise. In 2007, when Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed a formal complaint with the Internal Revenue Service maintaining that Drake’s endorsement of Mike Huckabee for president violated tax laws, Drake called on his followers to pray for the deaths of the nonprofit’s staff.

And after Kansas physician George Tiller, a prominent provider of abortions, was murdered in church on May 31, Drake said his death was the answer to his imprecatory prayers. He called Tiller “a brutal, murdering monster” on his radio program. “This man, George Tiller, was far greater in his atrocities than Adolf Hitler.”

Drake is none too fond of homosexuals, either. He wrote the resolution at the Southern Baptist Convention in 1996 calling for a boycott of the Walt Disney Corporation after it afforded health benefits to gay and lesbian partners of employees. He urged followers to join him last year in praying for rain to fall on the Democratic National Convention in Denver. “I too am still against killing babies and allowing sodomites to marry,” he explained. [The weather was beautiful when Obama made his acceptance speech before 84,000 people in a football stadium].

Drake also is chaplain to the Minuteman Project, a group that President George W. Bush called “vigilantes.” He was Alan Keyes’ vice-presidential running mate on the America’s Independent Party ticket in 2008. They were plaintiffs in one of several unsuccessful lawsuits filed last year claiming that Obama could not be sworn in as president because he supposedly wasn’t born in the United States.

Neo-Nazi Hal Turner Arrested Again

Hal Turner, a neo-Nazi talk radio host known for his threats against public
figures, was denied bail during an appearance in federal court Thursday
afternoon on charges of threatening to assault and murder three federal
judges. Also at the hearing, FBI officials revealed that they’d found 200
rounds of ammunition and 150 illegal hollow point bullets in Turner’s home during a search on Wednesday, according to the Jersey Journal.

Turner’s arrest comes three weeks after he was taken into custody in New Jersey on charges that he incited violence against two Connecticut legislators. He had been freed on $25,000 bond and wasn’t scheduled to return to court until July.

But the FBI — an agency for which he once may have worked as a paid informant — arrested Turner on Wednesday after going to his home in North Bergen, N.J., to execute a search warrant. The charges stem from Internet postings earlier this month in which he blasted a June 2 decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago that essentially upheld local handgun bans.

The blog posts named Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, who wrote the unanimous decision, along with Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer. “Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed,” Turner allegedly wrote on June 2. He later posted the photographs, phone numbers, work address and room numbers of the three judges, as well as a modified photo of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse where they work that reveals the locations of “anti-truck bomb barriers.” He also posted a map showing how to get to the building, according to the FBI.

In the June 2 blog post titled in part “OUTRAGE: Chicago Gun Ban UPHELD,” Turner states that the same federal appeals court that made the handgun decision also upheld the 2004 conviction of Matt Hale, a white supremacist now serving a 40-year sentence for soliciting the murder of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow. Turner also noted that a gunman killed Lefkow’s mother and husband in her home. “Apparently, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court didn’t get the hint after those killings,” he allegedly wrote. “It appears another lesson is needed.”

Turner, 47, isn’t the only neo-Nazi whose cyberspace comments on the Hale case have helped lead to criminal charges in Chicago. Bill White of Roanoke, Va., the leader of the American National Socialist Workers Party, is scheduled for trial next month in federal court in Chicago on obstructing justice charges related to his alleged encouragement of violence against the foreman of the Chicago jury that convicted Hale. White posted the name, home address, phone numbers and other personal information of the “Gay, Jewish, anti-racist” juror last September. White wrote that the juror “played a key role in convicting Hale.”

If Turner is convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. “We take threats to federal judges very seriously. Period,” said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Turner has made numerous racist and violent threats. In 2007, he railed against President George W. Bush, saying that “a well-placed bullet can solve a lot of problems.” He has written that “we need to start SHOOTING AND KILLING Mexicans as they cross the border.” In 2006, he published an attack on New Jersey Supreme Court justices that included several of their home addresses. Just before President Obama’s inauguration, he suggested that the mass murder of those attending the event “would be a public service.” Most recently, he was charged on June 3 with inciting injury to persons or property after he posted a blog entry that encouraged readers to “take up arms” against two Connecticut lawmakers, Sen. Andrew McDonald and Rep. Michael Lawlor. Turner was upset about state legislation that would give more power to the laity in the Roman Catholic Church.

In January 2008, unidentified hackers posted E-mail correspondence between Turner and an FBI agent who appeared to be his handler in the forum of Turner’s website for his radio program, “The Hal Turner Show.” The FBI last year declined to comment about Turner’s relationship with the agency.

Iran arrests 70 professors who met with Mousavi

CNN's Reza Sayah shares his stories about covering the turmoil in Iran after the Iranian government imposed restrictions.

Iran arrested 70 university professors who favor a reform of the country's political system overnight, spreading its crackdown beyond protesters on the streets to members of the country's political and intellectual elite.

The Associated Press – citing a web site close to Mir Hussein Mousavi, the centrist presidential candidate who observers both inside and outside Iran say had the country's June 12 election stolen from him – reported that the professors were arrested shortly after attending a meeting with Mr. Mousavi.

Even as the regime did so, Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, once the hand-picked successor of the father of the Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei, condemned his government's behavior. This came amid signs that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the populist and anti-Western president who claimed victory in the election, was losing some of his old supporters.

There [were] also indications that the disputed election has caused a rift among former Ahmadinejad supporters. Several Tehran newspapers reported Thursday that only 105 out of 290 members of parliament attended a victory celebration held by Ahmadinejad on Tuesday. Among the no-shows was Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.

Writing in Lebanon's The Daily Star, columnist David Ignatius predicts that in the short term "the thugs who claim to rule in the name of God" will carry the day, but that the brutal opposition crackdown, now symbolized by the murder of young protester Neda Soltan, whose death was caught on video, will ultimately lead to fundamental change.

They have exposed the weakness of the clerical regime in a way that Iran's foreign adversaries – America, Israel, Saudi Arabia – never could. They have opened a fundamental split in the regime. The rulers will try to bind this wound with force, and salve it with concessions, but neither approach will make the wound heal.

Though President Barack Obama has said that he's committed to expanding dialogue with Iran, evidence of how difficult Iran's brutal crackdown will make that goal continued to emerge, with the US announcing its invitation to Iranian diplomats to attend July 4 celebrations at overseas missions has now been withdrawn, no matter that no Iranian diplomat had yet accepted the invitation. "So much for hot dog diplomacy," writes The Washington Post.

"July 4th allows us to celebrate the freedom and the liberty we enjoy," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. "Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. Freedom to assemble peacefully. Freedom of the press. So I don't think it's surprising that nobody's signed up to come."

Gibbs added: "Given the events of the past many days, those invitations will no longer be extended."

Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor of Middle Eastern history writes on his blog Informed Comment that the Obama administration has limited scope to support the opposition movement.

Obama will likely be as helpless before a crackdown by the Iranian regime as Eisenhower was re: Hungary in 1956, Johnson was re: Prague in 1968, and Bush senior was re: Tiananmen Square in 1989. George W. Bush, it should be remembered, did nothing about Tehran's crackdown on student protesters in 2003… As an oil state, the Iranian regime does not need the rest of the world and is not easy to pressure. So Obama needs to be careful about raising expectations of any sort of practical intervention by the US, which could not possibly succeed.

25 jun. 2009

Farouk Hosni: "I'd burn Israeli books myself if I found any in libraries in Egypt"

Farouk Hosny (or Hosni), (born 1938 in Alexandria) is an Egyptian abstract painter who was appointed in 1987 to the position of Minister of Culture, which he currently still holds.
In an interview published in November 2006, Farouk Hosni sparked controversy among many religious Muslims, particularly the clergy, after stating publicly that the traditional Muslim veil for women, the hijab, "is a step backward for Egyptian women". Hosny said, "women with their beautiful hair are like flowers and should not be covered up" and "religion today is linked only to appearances, while every woman's veil should be inside her, not outside." The dominance of the conservative party in Egypt also leads to a very conservative religious mindset. Farouk Hosni's views that men should be veiled if girls are and that men's hair is no more or less sinful than women's hair were shocking. Also he publicly denounced the "Moufti," people who are specially educated in the Koran and trained to give their views of Islam, and he said that they are worthless and are giving faulty image to the true Islam. His views were controversial, but was shared by a minority of Muslims who believe that hijab/veil is a step backward for Egyptian women and Egyptian culture.
Hosni remains in his job and said that he didn't call for stripping women of their veil, but that the veil style coming from the Arabian Peninsula (the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf) is not appropriate for Egyptian women.

In 2008 Farouk Hosni provoked a further controversy by declaring publicly that he would personally burn all Israeli books in Egyptian libraries if he could, which aroused charges of antisemitism against Hosni, despite his referencing "Israeli," not "Jewish," books. He later backtracked, issuing A Message to the World on his website, indicating that his statement was an exaggeration.

Hosni is a leading candidate to become the Director General of UNESCO at its 2009 elections. However, the backlash regarding the book burning comments may taint his candidacy.

ADL launched a major campaign to oppose the candidacy of Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni for Director-General of UNESCO, saying that "throughout his tenure, Farouk Hosni has consistently promoted policies that contravene the founding principles of UNESCO through his entrenched opposition to cultural exchanges with Israel and his hostility toward Israeli culture.” ADL sent letters to 27 E.U. foreign ministers detailing Hosni's long history of hostility toward Israeli-Egyptian cultural exchanges.

ADL also took ran an advertisement in major U.S. and European newspapers calling attention to Hosni’s most infamous statement: “I'd burn Israeli books myself if I found any in libraries in Egypt.”

The Information War About Iran

On YouTube

On Twitter

Dutch television reported that the government of the Netherlands subsidizes most of the costs of a Radio station for Iran located in Amsterdam. It's about several tens of millions, but the government does not have influence on the content of the station. It's funding freedom of speech, a Universal Human Right. Governments spokesmen have confirmed the report.

Keith Olbermann on Ballots, Bullets and Blood

The Iranian government's report about Neda that travels around:


21 jun. 2009

Inside Iran: Christiane Amanpour

CNN's Christiane Amanpour discusses her recent time in Iran, the situation there and answers viewer questions.


20 jun. 2009

They Don't Know What The Hell Is Going On

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Irandecision 2009 - CNN's Unverified Material

Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJason Jones in Iran

CNN has taken a lot of heat in the past few days for its initial lack of coverage of the Iranian election and the ensuing melee. Now Jon Stewart is going after the coverage they are devoting to the historic struggle.

Iran expelled many foreign reporters and put others under house arrest, making first hand reporting more difficult. As a result, CNN has thrown out their playbook, "just reporting what they find on the Internet," without a vetting process. Stewart sees no difference between this "new" policy and what CNN normally does.

Stewart has been devoting the bulk of his show to the Iranian elections. Monday night he called Ahmadinejad "batshit insane," and then had John Oliver use a CNN-esque magic screen to prove that he had in fact won fair and square.

But Rachel Maddow reported more ballots than voters and after that more votes than voters. How can that be fair and square? Watch:

And there is more fun ahead when we try to understand what we know about President Obama, so, watch this too:


Ponzi Scheme Indictments

Today in Washington, D.C., the FBI, Department of Justice, and our partner agencies announced at a press conference the unsealing of an indictment in the Southern District of Texas related to a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme that victimized thousands of people in the U.S. and abroad.

The indictment charges Robert Allen Stanford, the sole shareholder of the Houston-based Stanford Financial Group and other affiliated companies, with defrauding investors who purchased approximately $7 billion in certificates of deposit administered by Stanford International Bank, an offshore bank located on the island of Antigua.

Charges against Stanford, along with four other individuals, include conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud and securities fraud, wire fraud, obstructing an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Said Lanny Breuer, Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, “As today’s charges make clear, the Department will vigorously root out and expose financial crimes that wreak havoc on innocent investors.”

Also charged were:

  • Laura Pendergest-Holt, chief investment officer of Stanford Financial Group and a member of Stanford International Bank’s investment committee, who had also been previously charged with obstruction of justice in a separate SEC proceeding;
  • Gilberto Lopez, Stanford Financial Group’s chief accounting officer;
  • Mark Kuhrt, global controller for Stanford Financial Group;
  • Leroy King, administrator and chief executive officer of the Financial Services Regulatory Commission, the regulator for Antigua and Barbuda’s financial services industry. King allegedly accepted bribes to ensure that Stanford International Bank was not subject to close scrutiny by Antiguan or U.S. regulators.

Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer, Director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Division of Enforcement Robert Khuzami, Assistant Director of the FBI Criminal Investigative Division Kevin Perkins and Deputy Chief of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Greg Campbell

Officials announcing the indictments included, from left, Lanny A. Breuer, assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division; Robert Khuzami, director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Division of Enforcement; Kevin Perkins, assistant director of the FBI Criminal Investigative Division; and Greg Campbell, deputy chief of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Not shown are Eileen Mayer, chief of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigative Division; and Tim Johnson, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas.
Additionally, a criminal information was unsealed today charging James M. Davis, Stanford Financial Group’s chief financial officer, for his role in the scheme, along with an indictment charging another former Stanford Financial Group employee with destroying company records.

The scam. According to the indictment, Stanford International Bank offered—through its network of financial advisors—CDs with higher (and ultimately bogus) rates of return than those available through CDs offered by U.S. banks. Stanford and his co-conspirators also misrepresented to clients the actual financial condition of Stanford International Bank, its investment strategy, and the extent of its regulatory oversight by Antiguan authorities.

Ponzi cash
Definition: What is a Ponzi scheme?
While collecting billions from his investors, who placed their trust and in some cases their life savings with him, Stanford and his co-defendants were allegedly misusing and misappropriating most of these assets, including diverting at least $1.6 billion into undisclosed personal loans to Stanford himself.

According to FBI Assistant Director Kevin Perkins, the FBI has seen an increase in Ponzi schemes. In the past 18 months, we’ve opened 100 new cases into these scams, many involving losses of more than $20 million. “Ponzi schemes and other securities fraud investigations are one of the top priorities of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division,” said Perkins. “We recognize the enormous impact these crimes have on the economy as a whole and on the trust of investors.”

Echoed U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson, Southern District of Texas, “The investing public needs to be assured that it is protected from those who would corruptly deprive them of their financial security.”

The case was worked jointly by the Department of Justice, FBI, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Moral War Of God's Own Pacesetters

partial transcript:
MADDOW: Late in the day on Tuesday, when Nevada Senator John Ensign called a press conference in Las Vegas, the news that he was announcing he‘d had an affair registered about a 4.0, say, on the political Richter scale. Significant damage unlikely, though you may sense some moderate shaking. That‘s how it felt initially. Not that big a deal.
But it turns out this wasn‘t a short sharp shock. It turns out this is one of those prolong earthquake experiences in which the aftershocks do way more damage than the initial ka-chunk. The initial announcement from Ensign, backed up by a statement by his office, was that the senator had conducted an affair from December 2007 through August of last year with a campaign staffer who was married to a man who worked in his Senate office.
So, both the woman he was sleeping with and the man she was married to were on Ensign‘s payroll. A personal failure to be sure, which the senator himself proclaimed, and an ethical fiasco given that both of these people work for him. Also, a hypocrisy problem, given Senator Ensign‘s demand that President Clinton resign because of his affair with Monica Lewinsky and Senator Ensign‘s demands for the resignation of Larry Craig, after Senator Craig got nabbed in the famous wide stance in the men‘s room public sex sting.
But the personal failure, the ethical issue and hypocrisy problem were all evident right away on Tuesday. Those were the initial shock.
The aftershocks? The subsequent reporting about this scandal?
They‘ve been even worse.
NBC News has reported that on the day he announced that he‘d had the affair, Senator Ensign explained to other senators that the reason he was coming forward about the affair now was because his ex-mistress was trying to extort money from him. The same claim always anonymous, but remarkably similar in language and tone was made to “The Associated Press,” FOX News, Politico.com, “The Las Vegas Review Journal” and “The New York Times.” This claim that his ex-mistress‘ husband was also a former employee of Senator Ensign had demanded a substantial such money from the senator and that‘s what prompted his public revelation.
Here‘s the problem with that claim: extortion is a felony. Extortion of the United States senator is the kind of felony that‘s likely to get a lot of law enforcement attention. But local authorities in Las Vegas and the FBI claim that no reports of an extortion attempt were ever made to them, nor are they investigating any claims of extortion against Senator Ensign specifically.
Today, as picked up on by Zachary Roth at TPM Muckraker, the extortion claim was replaced by another still anonymous claim sourced this time to Senator Ensign‘s staffers that the reason the senator had to go public now was because his ex-mistress and her husband were not trying to extort money -- that‘s old story—the new story is that they had approached a television news network about publicizing the affair. And that‘s why he had to go public now.
The shifting of anonymous explanations for the senator‘s timing and coming forward were emerging today alongside new details about the employment history of the senator‘s ex-mistress and the employment history of her family. In 2007, when her affair with Senator Ensign began, Cynthia Hampton was employed at Ensign‘s Battle Born Political Action Committee. She was earning about $1,400 a month. Once the affair with the senator got under way, her salary was doubled to nearly $2,800 a month.
At the same time, Ms. Hampton was also employed by Ensign‘s campaign committee. Again, around the time the affair began, her salary at the campaign committee doubled, from $500 a month to $1,000 a month.
Even more remarkably, during the time that Senator Ensign and Cynthia Hampton were having an affair, John Ensign was the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. That‘s the part of the Republican Party responsible for electing and re-electing Republican senators.
For the record, depending on how the Coleman-Franken thing turns out, while Ensign was at the helm of the NRSC, the Republican Party lost eight, maybe nine seats in the Senate.
But anyway, while he was head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and while he was caring on an affair with Cynthia Hampton, the National Republican Senatorial Committee found it in its heart to also put Mrs. Hampton‘s 19-year-old son on the Republican Party‘s payroll. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, then chaired by John Ensign, paid his mistress‘ 19-year-old son $5,400 over a period that started four months into the affair, between Senator Ensign and this young man‘s mother, and ending the month that the affair ended.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee today confirmed to us that Cynthia Hampton‘s 19-year-old son was listed on the organization‘s expenditures. They then referred all further questions to Senator Ensign‘s office.
For the record, the 19-year-old was supposedly paid for research policy consulting.
Despite the involvement in this scandal now of the actual Republican Party and its fundraising and campaign arms, Republican senators are not exactly falling all over themselves to weigh in on the matter. Senator Kyl said, “I‘m not going to say anything.” Senator Grassley said, “It would be intellectually dishonest for me to comment.”
Senator Gregg said, “It‘s a personal matter.” Senator Crapo said, “I‘m going to reserve comment.” Senator Collin said, “I don‘t have a comment right now.”
Senator Vitter, he said, “I‘m late.” He actually said, “I‘m late.”
Senator Vitter.
The John Ensign scandal, it seems, is just getting started. It Republican senators try to ignore this the way they‘ve tried to ignore David Vitter after his prostitution problem, does that mean that the Democrats can pass any old gay rights legislation they want without fear of Family Values moralizing from the “wide stance” side of the aisle?

Brzezinsky: There are two Irans

Same-sex behavior nearly universal in animals

Examples of same-sex behavior can be found in almost all species in the animal kingdom — from worms to frogs to birds — making the practice nearly universal among animals, according to a new review of research on the topic.

"It's clear that same-sex sexual behavior extends far beyond the well-known examples that dominate both the scientific and popular literature: for example, bonobos, dolphins, penguins and fruit flies," said Nathan Bailey, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Riverside.

Same-sex behaviors in different species are not all equivalent, the review finds. For instance, male fruit flies sometimes court other male flies, but this behavior is due to a missing gene that gives the flies the ability to distinguish between sexes, said Bailey, a co-author of the review. "That is very different from male bottlenose dolphins, who engage in same-sex interactions to facilitate group bonding, or female Laysan Albatross that can remain pair-bonded for life," he added.

The review also found a gap in the literature: While many studies have tried to understand why same-sex coupling exists and why it might make sense in terms of evolution, few have looked at what the evolutionary consequences of this behavior might be.

"Like any other behavior that doesn't lead directly to reproduction — such as aggression or altruism — same-sex behavior can have evolutionary consequences that are just now beginning to be considered," Bailey said. "For example, male-male copulations in locusts can be costly for the mounted male" and this cost may put evolutionary pressure on the locusts, he said. As a result, a larger number of males may secrete a particular chemical that discourages the mounting behavior, he added.

In their future research, Bailey and Marlene Zuk, a biology professor at UCR, plan to try and address questions about the evolutionary outcomes of same-sex couplings, focusing on the Laysan Albatrosses.

The review article was published in the June 16 issue of the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, and the study was funded by the UCR Academia Senate.

Homosexuality has been documented in almost 500 species of animals, signaling that sexual preference is predetermined. Considered the closest living relative to humans, bonobos are not shy about seeking sexual pleasure. Nearly all of these peace-loving apes are bisexual and often resolve conflict by the "make love, not war" principle. They copulate frequently, scream out in delight while doing so, and often engage in homosexual activities. About two thirds of the homosexual activities are amongst females.

19 jun. 2009

The Worst Places to be a Refugee

WASHINGTON (IPS) - Gaza, South Africa and Thailand are among the world's worst places to be a refugee, according to the latest annual World Refugee Survey released here Wednesday by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI).
The survey, which was issued in advance of World Refugee Day Jun. 20, found that the number of refugees had dropped modestly worldwide in the past year – from 14 million to 13.6 million, according to USCRI.
Of those, well over half, or nearly 8.5 million, have been trapped in refugee camps or otherwise denied their rights under the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.
Of these, Palestinians, more than 2.6 million of whom have been "warehoused" for up to 60 years throughout the Middle East, constitute the largest national group that has been displaced for the longest period of time, according to the report. It also named Gaza as one of the worst places in the world, particularly in the aftermath of the three-week Israeli military campaign that began late last December.
Israeli authorities have so far permitted only humanitarian goods to be imported into Gaza since Operation Cast Lead, in which more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed. They have yet to permit reconstruction and related supplies to be shipped into the territory, which is governed by Hamas, an Islamist party the U.S. and other western countries have labeled a "terrorist" organisation.

The latest report was released one day after the publication by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) of its annual report. It found that some 15.2 million people qualified as refugees during 2008 - down from 16 million one year ago - and that more than 800,000 were currently seeking asylum in foreign countries.
It also found that some 26 million more people were internally displaced; that is, they had fled their homes but were still living within their homelands' borders.
The greatest number of newly displaced people over the past year, according the UNHCR report, were found in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Somalia, where violence has uprooted hundreds of thousands of people, including more than two million civilians who fled their homes in Pakistan's Swat Valley alone, to escape offensives by the Taliban and counter-insurgency operations by the country's army and paramilitary forces.

According to the USCRI report, the world's largest refugee group over the last year was the 3.231 million Palestinians living in refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as elsewhere in the Greater Middle East.
The next largest group was Afghans, nearly three million of whom are currently living outside their homeland's borders, the vast majority in Pakistan and Iran, according to the report.
Increased violence between the Taliban and its allies on the one hand and the U.S. and other international forces, as well as the expanding Afghan Army, on the other, has provoked some Afghans to seek safe haven across the border. Pakistan's recent counter-insurgency campaign along the Afghan border has also provoked thousands of Pakistanis to flee into Afghanistan. Nonetheless, nearly a quarter million Afghan refugees returned to their homeland from Pakistan in the course of the year.
Iraqis, who for the previous three years had been the largest new source of refugees, now claim third place among all refugee groups, according to the report.
Nearly two million Iraqis are living abroad, mostly in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. As violence in Iraq has diminished over the past two years, the exodus from Iraq has also fallen sharply, and some Iraqis have begun to trickle back home, according to the report.

Some 800,000 refugees from Burma, or Myanmar, are living outside their homeland, mostly in Thailand and Bangladesh.
Somalia, where continued fighting among various factions forced a total of some 80,000 people to flee to Kenya (60,000) or Yemen (20,000), and hundreds of thousands to become internally displaced, ranks fifth as the largest source of refugees.
These countries were followed by Sudan (428,000 people), Colombia (400,000), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (385,000), according to the USCRI report.
Besides Gaza, the report identified South Africa and Thailand as among the worst places for refugees to be living. It noted the xenophobic violence that swept South Africa last May, as mobs of the country's poorest citizens rampaged through slums and shanty-towns attacking suspected foreigners and, in some cases, even setting them on fire. As many as 10,000 refugees fled South Africa for Zambia.
Thailand was cited as a poor performer as a result of its treatment of Rohingya refugees - in one case, the Thai Navy towed unseaworthy boats with nearly 1,000 Rohingyas and scant food and water aboard into the open sea to prevent them coming from ashore - and its plans to forcibly repatriate Hmong refugees to Laos.
Other countries that rank among the worst for refugees include Kenya, for its treatment of Somali refugees; Malaysia, due to officials selling deportees to gangs along the Malaysia-Thailand border; Egypt, because of its treatment of African migrants; and Turkey, for forcibly repatriating refugees, overcrowding detention centers and beating detainees.

In one incident, four refugees drowned when Turkish officials forced them to swim across a river to Iraq.

Brazil, Ecuador and Costa Rica, on the other hand, were among the countries that treated refugees best, according to the report, which noted that Brasilia had permitted Palestinians forced to flee Iraq to settle within its borders. Ecuador also launched a registration programme aimed at protecting and ensuring the rights to work and travel of tens of thousands of Colombian refugees who have sought safe haven there.
Some of the world’s poorest countries are also home to large populations of refugees. Chad, a constant on the UN’s list of least developed countries, has a refugee population of 268,000 while Sudan hosts 175,800 refugees from Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Overall, nations with a per capita GDP of less than 2,000 dollars hosted almost two-thirds of all refugees. According to the UNCHR report, "among the 25 countries with the highest number of refugees per 1 USD GDP per capita, all are developing countries, including 15 Least Developed Countries."

The report gave Europe a grade of "D" and the U.S. a grade of "F" for "refoulement," or returning refugees to places where their lives or freedoms could be threatened. It also gave Europe and the U.S. grades of "D" for "detention/access to courts."

Are terror groups finding a haven in Bangladesh?

Jatiyo Smriti Soudho, a tribute to the martyrs of the Bangladesh Liberation War.

In recent days, Bangladeshi police have been hot on the trail of disturbing developments: they've uncovered a plot that used Bangladesh to transit thousands of weapons to an Indian separatist group, and followed up by arresting key members of that group in Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, reports The Times of India.

Around the same time, police arrested a fugitive hit man working for Daud Ibrahim, one of South Asia's most notorious terrorists. While in custody, the assassin divulged that 150 of Mr. Ibrahim's operatives are stationed in Bangladesh, according to The Daily Star, a leading English-language newspaper based in Dhaka.

Ibrahim's network is said to span Al-Qaeda, Bollywood, and the organized crime world of Dubai. India authorities blame him for masterminding several bomb attacks inside India, according to Foreign Policy.

The news is deeply unsettling for Bangladesh, a poor, Muslim-majority nation of 150 million that is struggling to put democracy back into place following two years of military-backed rule, according to BDNews24, a Bangladeshi news service:

Local government minister Syed Asharful Islam said ... Bangladesh would face the fate of Pakistan if the country was not prepared to tackle the growing spate of terrorism.

Talking to reporters in the capital he said Bangladesh needed to work seriously to tackle the issue since terrorism is a global phenomenon....

Ashraful's remarks echoed US ambassador James F Moriarty's comment that Bangladesh still faced threat of militancy.

About terrorism, Moriarty said at a Meet the Press at Dhaka Reporters Unity that recent seizure of weapons in Bhola and continued arrest of suspected ... militants demonstrate that "terrorism remains a concern" in the country.

He said Washington got "disturbing indications" of terrorist threat in Bangladesh."

The arms case is particularly disturbing because of the alleged role of Bangladesh's intelligence service. The Daily Star reports that two former intelligence chiefs have admitted to collusion in the deal, which consisted of more than 20,000 grenades. The arms were intended for the Indian separatist group United Liberation Front of Assam, or ULFA.

The Indian Express newspaper has also pointed out that Pakistan's security service, the ISI, was allegedly involved:

Retired Wing Commander Shahabuddin, an ex-director of the National Security Intelligence told investigators that detained suspects of the haul had several talks with ISI officials working with Pakistan's High Commission in Dhaka, Pratham Olo said quoting officials familiar to the probe.

The revelations are shocking because they have confirmed allegations that India has leveled at Bangladesh for years, says Diganta Sarkar, a blogger originally from West Bengal in India, on his blog The New Horizon.

India has long been accusing that Bangladesh has been used for anti-Indian activities, especially with ULFA. Bangladesh has so far denied all these. However, if this confession statement is true, the allegations would be difficult to deny. [Bangladeshi Prime Minister] Sheikh Hasina has promised the countrymen that they will free Bangladesh from any traces of terror. If she is sincere to her promise, ULFA is going to face tough time ahead. As we can see, the ball-game has already changed.

18 jun. 2009

Obama and Dems on Regulatory Reform

Lawmakers object to Fed powers

After Obama's remarks on regulatory reform, a group of Democratic legislators reacted to his message in a conversation with reporters.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) called POTUS's plan a very important step -- but said Congress probably won't give him everything he wants. Members will come up with a "product that looks a lot like what the president wants."

"I like how he framed it," Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said, adding that there will be debate over the details.

Both of them said they will have reform done by the end of the year.

The sticking point between the administration and Congress seems likely to be the regulatory role of the Federal Reserve, with Frank and Dodd making clear that they do not agree with Obama's plan to expand the Fed's powers.

"There’s not a lot of confidence in the Fed," Dodd said.

With health care reform occupying so much time, the Senate is not going to consider the financial regulations legislation "until the fall some time," Dodd said.

Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) vowed that there will be "very prompt action" on POTUS's plan, though larger structural reform will take more time. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), a former Goldman executive, agreed that "some of this stuff" will be slow in coming.

17 jun. 2009

pictures from Tehran

Watch recent videos and photos on tehranlive.org

Hands on: How to handle a fly, supposedly named Ahmedinejad

Update June 18:
The president has been getting lots of kudos for a lightning-fast, Mr. Miyagi-worthy swipe he employed to slay a pesky house ...

... fly that was buzzing him in mid-interview during a taping with CNBC that aired Wednesday.

“He stopped the interview to track and kill the fly,” said talk show host Conan O’Brien.

“That’s some pretty impressive hand-eye coordination right there,” Jimmy Fallon gushed. “Makes Obama look like a bad ass.”

But now People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, calling it an “execution,” wants the commander-in-chief to show a little more compassion to even “the least sympathetic animals.”

“Believe it or not, we've actually been contacted by multiple media outlets wanting to know PETA's official response to the executive insect execution,” a blog on the group’s website explained. “In a nutshell, our position is this: He isn't the Buddha, he's a human being, and human beings have a long way to go before they think before they act.”

The group has sent Obama a device that traps a fly so it can then be released outside.

“We believe that people, where they can be compassionate, should be, for all animals,” PETA spokesman Bruce Freidrich explained.

Nuclear threats and double standards

Part 1

Part 2

16 jun. 2009

Iran Presidential debate - Mousavi - Ahmadinejad


Old Iranian Song

Rachel's comments

Transcripts to release tomorrrow

When babies attack: Labor pain is just the start

Jacqueline Stenson

While other moms were enjoying being pampered on Mother’s Day, Hilary Wheeler Miller was nursing a broken nose that she suffered after being headbutted by her 3-year-old son.

“He stood up really fast and just plowed into my nose,” says the 40-year-old mom from Littleton, Colo.

As a result of the accident, Miller’s nose is now broken in two places and she’ll need surgery later this month to straighten it.

After an emergency C-section for her son’s delivery, Miller thought the worst of baby-induced pain was behind her. But childbirth was just the start.

Miller also got a fat, black-and-blue lip when Nicholas bit her as an infant. During a later roller-skating outing, he pulled her down and she shattered her right wrist, requiring a cast for two months. Miller also has been sickened with various illnesses that her son picked up at daycare, including strep throat, three rounds of pink eye, and a severe case of bronchitis that took months to treat.

“Never once did I imagine having a child would be hazardous to my health,” she says. Today, though, there’s an “ongoing saga of danger surrounding my life now that I have a child.”

Advice books, magazines and Web sites for new parents talk at great length about the aches and pains of pregnancy and childbirth, and the subsequent sleep deprivation and exhaustion. But beyond that, parents are more likely to learn the hard way about various other owies that babies and young children can innocently inflict.

Teeny-tiny terrors
Parents who’ve been knocked around a few times by tiny tots quickly find themselves strategizing about how to deflect flailing arms and legs, flying toys and utensils, razor-sharp fingernails and fists that tighten around strands of hair like a Vise-Grip — and then pull! They search for ways to ease the pain of strained backs from endless hours of carrying around youngsters (often only on one hip, which makes matters worse) and strained necks from gazing at baby while feeding (which is widely recommended for promoting parent-infant bonding).

Miller family
Courtesy of Hilary Wheeler Miller
Hilary Wheeler Miller nurses her broken wrist while she watches her son, Nicholas, play in the sandbox. Nicholas broke his mom's wrist when he pulled her down during a roller-skating outing.

And when moms and dads drop their guard and take a finger to the eye, a blow to the head or a kick to the groin, they see stars — and not little twinkling ones.

Kris Cambra was in so much pain in April when her 2-year-old son, Truman, poked her in the eye, that she went to the emergency room.

“Think of having a paper cut on your eye,” says Cambra, 34, of New Bedford, Mass., who was diagnosed with a corneal abrasion.

“The doctor used an ultraviolet light to look at my eye and then she said, ‘Yep, you have a scratch on your cornea and it's shaped just like a fingernail,’" she says.

Thankfully, Cambra doesn’t have any lasting eye damage. But the experience has heightened her awareness of the need to stay on guard with her son, who she says is more physical and prone to tantrums and flailing than her daughter, 7, ever was. “You think, you outweigh them, you’re much bigger than them, so what can they really do to you?” A lot, actually.

Judy Ward, a pediatric nurse at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, says she’s heard about a range of child-induced injuries from parents who’ve called into the hospital’s Answer Line with questions about child health and behavior over the last 12 years that she’s fielded calls.

Her first bit of advice: “They probably didn’t mean it when they headbutted you.”

15 jun. 2009

Neither Real Nor Free

In Iran life is like in heaven: opposition is not allowed.

A The New York Times' op-ed named the real consequences of the fraudulent elections in Iran:
If the election were truly “real and free” as Mr. Ahmadinejad insisted, the results would be accepted by the voters and the government would not have to resort to such repression.
After four years of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s failed economic policies and ceaseless confrontations with the West, many of Iran’s voters clearly were yearning for a change. Mr. Moussavi promised that change; he also promised greater personal freedoms, including for women. If Tehran refuses to recognize that yearning or respect the will of its people — most of whom are too young to remember the 1979 Islamic revolution — the government will lose even more legitimacy.
The mullahs have had a tight lock on Iran up to now. But they should not forget what happened when the shah lost his people’s trust.
The elections are another potent reminder that there can be no illusions about Iran’s government and its malign intent. That is a hard political fact.
Iran’s centrifuges are still spinning and its nuclear program is advancing at an alarming rate. That is an even harder scientific fact.
We know that some in this country and in Israel will say that this election is proof that there can be no dealing with Iran and that military action is the only choice. The last thing the United States or Israel needs is another war with a Muslim state. An attack would only feed Iran’s nuclear ambitions and spur it to take even greater efforts to hide its program.
The only choice is negotiations backed by credible incentives and tough sanctions. Even if the mullahs had allowed Mr. Moussavi to win, that would still be true.

Also on My blog Pointer's Weekly I added:
It does not effect the vision of other countries on the Islamic Republic, which is in fact a theocratic led version of communism with all the commonly known poor economic performance. All larger businesses are owned by the state. It does not need enemies to break down at last. Inflation is high and poverty is growing, making the people the more dependent from the government, until the entry of starvation is reached. Oppression absorbs a large amount of the countries resources and the resistance can only become stronger and better organized, while a weaker dictatorship will seem more threatening with its dangerous pretensions. In fact the system is already heavy on the defense.
I’m not sure that a victory of Mir Hussein Moussavi, who’s idea of reform is moderate improvements of daily life and economic repairs by better foreign relations, should have done much on the system of the Islamic Republic and now we can aspect that the resistance will become more radical, making the real change to a more different system at the end of the day.
The best strategy in my opinion will be to isolate the system, cutting down their activities abroad, without interfering in the domestic policies by force or conspiracies. By then we will see it again: Democracy is a self-help organization.

13 jun. 2009

As always Rachel is fast and complete

Robert Greenwald on The Ed Show. June 11, 2009

Director Robert Greenwald appeared on The Ed Show yesterday to discuss the civilian casualties of war, the fourth segment of Rethink Afghanistan. To my knowledge, this was the first time Brave New Foundation’s exclusive footage from an Afghan refugee camp reached mainstream news audiences. And Greenwald was right there to hammer home the message that the war in Afghanistan is militarizing what is actually a regional political problem.

It’s so crucial for more people to see this exclusive footage because it puts a human face on the war, US military airstrikes, and indiscriminate bombing. Gripping images from Afghan refugee camps remind us that Afghanistan is the third poorest country in the world–a country that, as Greenwald said, needs teachers, educators, doctors, and humanitarian aid instead of more soldiers and wartime spending.

It’s not easy for the mainstream media to report the situation on the ground in Afghanistan. The images and subject matter are deeply upsetting, and they fly in the face of policies set by a popular White House administration. What’s more, it’s literally difficult for reporters to access the real story, considering the stringer hired to film this refugee camp was arrested by the Taliban. Now that Brave New Foundation has made this footage available and it has aired on The Ed Show, however, hopefully other networks will follow MSNBC’s example.

We now see this on MSNBC, but it is also common on CNN. It's not a hidden war but it is always the same too. War is no sport or entertainment and that's not the only thing we know about it. Will it be better to leave?
You can be sure that the Taliban is back, the same day we leave Afghanistan and with them also the training camps for terrorists return. It will not stop the bombing and killing people. Why should we sent doctors and teachers to a by Taliban controlled area to become arrested and killed too? Do they allow schools and hospitals? We have recently gotten the lessons from the Swat valley. Better losing a finger than your head, isn't it? I'm not joking.
Of course the tactics have to be improved. They are working on it.

The Daily Show: Dick (uncut)

At a recent appearance at the National Press Club, Dick Cheney blamed Richard Clarke for leaving the nation vulnerable to attack ahead of 9/11 saying, "He obviously missed it." Cheney was referring to the threat from al Qaeda which Clarke had emphatically warned the administration about several times before the fall of 2001.

Jon Stewart was not pleased with Dick Cheney for these accusations, nor the members of the National Press Club who failed to challenge him about the assertion. In a segment called "Dick Uncut," Stewart used dark humor to take both the former Vice President and the media to task for the events leading up to 9/11 through the waterboarding of detainees. It simultaneously makes you laugh and want to punch a whole through the wall.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
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