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.