Monthly Archives: August 2013

Selling Lies: Alibi Agencies Help Create Double Lives

“Ulmer runs an agency that specializes in fabrications. His clients can purchase lies both small and large, from a text message to get them out of a tight spot to an entire package of assistance in managing a complicated double life. Ulmer considers this an ordinary service, much the same as driving a taxi. His clients include men and women in equal measure. Most of them come from southern Germany or Austria, more conservative regions where there is apparently a great need for keeping secrets.”

High hopes: Raelians ‘restoring’ the victims of female genital mutilation


Victims of FGM are only offered surgery to reduce their pain. But a cult is supporting a few surgeons as they attempt to restore sexual sensation.

Victor Davis Hanson commentary: Arab turmoil has been good for Israel

Israel could be forgiven for having a siege mentality, given that at any moment, old frontline enemies Syria and Egypt might spill their violence over common borders.

Yet these tragic Arab revolutions swirling around Israel are paradoxically aiding it, both strategically and politically — well beyond the erosion of conventional Arab military strength.

In terms of realpolitik, anti-Israeli authoritarians are fighting to the death against anti-Israeli insurgents and terrorists. Each is doing more damage to the other than Israel ever could — and in an unprecedented, grotesque fashion. Who now is gassing Arab innocents? Shooting Arab civilians in the streets? Rounding up and executing Arab civilians? Blowing up Arab houses? Answer: either Arab dictators or radical Islamists.

The old nexus of radical Islamic terror of the past three decades is unraveling. With a wink and a nod, Arab dictatorships routinely subsidized Islamic terrorists to divert popular anger away from their own failures to the West or Israel. In the deal, terrorists got money and sanctuary. The Arab Street blamed others for their own government-inflicted miseries. And thieving authoritarians posed as Islam’s popular champions.

But now, terrorists have turned on their dictator sponsors. And even the most ardent Middle East conspiracy theorists are having troubling blaming the United States and Israel.

Secretary of State John Kerry is still beating last century’s dead horse of a “comprehensive Middle East peace.” But does Kerry’s calcified diplomacy really assume that a peace agreement involving Israel would stop the ethnic cleansing of Egypt’s Coptic Christians? Does Israel have anything to do with Assad’s alleged gassing of his own people?

There are other losers, as well. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted to turn a once-secular Turkish democracy into a neo-Ottoman Islamist sultanate, with grand dreams of eastern Mediterranean hegemony. His selling point to former Ottoman Arab subjects was often a virulent anti-Semitism. Suddenly, Turkey became among Israel’s worst enemies and the Obama administration’s best friends.

Yet if Erdogan has charmed President Barack Obama, he has alienated almost everyone in the Middle East. Islamists such as former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi felt that Erdogan was a fickle and opportunistic conniver. The Gulf monarchies believed that he was a troublemaker who wanted to supplant their influence. Neither the Europeans nor the Russians trust him. The result is that Erdogan’s loud anti-Israeli foreign policy is increasingly irrelevant.

The oil-rich sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf once funded terrorists on the West Bank, but they are now fueling the secular military in Egypt. In Syria they are searching to find some third alternative other than Assad’s Alawite regime and its al-Qaida enemies. For the moment, oddly, the Middle East foreign policy of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the other oil monarchies dovetails with Israel’s: Predictable Sunni-Arab nationalism is preferable to one-vote, one-time Islamist radicals.

Israel no doubt prefers that the Arab world liberalize and embrace constitutional government. Yet the current bloodletting lends credence to Israel’s ancient complaints that it never had a constitutional or lawful partner in peace negotiations.

In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak’s corrupt dictatorship is gone. His radical Muslim Brotherhood successors were worse and also are gone. The military dictatorship that followed both is no more legitimate than either. In these cycles of revolution, the one common denominator is an absence of constitutional government.

In Syria, there never was a moderate middle. Take your pick between the murderous Shiite-backed Assad dictatorship or radical Sunni Islamists. In Libya, the choice degenerated to Moammar Gaddafi’s unhinged dictatorship or the tribal militias that overthrew it. Let us hope that one day Westernized moderate democracy might prevail. But that moment seems a long way off.

In comparison to the ruined economies of the Arab Spring — tourism shattered, exports nonexistent and billions of dollars in infrastructure lost through unending violence — Israel is an atoll of prosperity and stability. Factor in its recent huge gas and oil finds in the eastern Mediterranean, and it may soon become another Kuwait or Qatar, but with a real economy beyond its booming petroleum exports.

In short, the more violent and chaotic the Middle East becomes, the more secure and exceptional Israel appears.


Stevie Ray Vaughan – Live At Montreux

Coming up: Conference of deranged Catholic Jew haters in Niagara Falls

The Fatima Center has:

“published columns criticizing the Pope for ‘kowtowing’ to the ‘Synagogue of Satan,’ argued that Jews are attempting to undermine the Catholic Church on behalf of Satan, and claiming that ‘Zionist billionaires’ have been ‘financially raping” the Russian people”.


Islamonazis building new community centre


Hamas is running out of friends

In the weeks since Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was ousted in a coup and his allies in the Muslim Brotherhood were declared enemies of the state, Egypt’s military has shut down most of the tunnels that serve as a lifeline for Hamas, the Islamist political and militant organization that governs the Gaza Strip.

“The army now runs Egypt and the army hates Hamas,” said Emad, who declined to give his full name because the tunnels are, at least technically, illegal. “They could care less what happens to Gaza.”

Under Morsi, hundreds of tunnels were allowed to flourish. Now there are a few dozen. So fuel prices in Gaza are soaring. Orders for steel and cement go unfilled. Projects to repave roads, build public housing and repair crumbling infrastructure in the impoverished Palestinian enclave have stopped.

Egypt’s new military-led interim government is openly hostile toward Hamas, which was born of the Muslim Brotherhood in the late 1980s. Hamas was ecstatic when Morsi was elected president of Egypt. But with its close ally now detained at an undisclosed location, the movement is finding itself more isolated than it has been in years.

Uranium Shoe Man

A man from Sierra Leone has been arrested at New York’s John F Kennedy airport with uranium samples allegedly concealed in his shoes.

Patrick Campbell was charged with attempting to broker a sale of 1,000 tonnes of yellowcake uranium to Iran.

He allegedly made the offer to US undercover agents, thinking they were representing the Iranians.

Samples of raw uranium ore were found beneath the inner soles of his shoes, an agent said in a US court complaint.

Al-Qaida vows to strike at Hezbollah for Lebanon bombings

Break out the popcorn:

“Al-Qaida’s North African branch blamed Lebanese Shi’ite Muslim militant group Hezbollah for twin bombs that hit the northern city of Tripoli on Friday and threatened retribution, a US-based intelligence monitoring website reported on Saturday.

Although al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, is not operational in Lebanon, its statement shows a growing regional hatred against Hezbollah by radical Sunni Muslim groups and a wider, deepening sectarian divide in the Middle East.

AQIM said in tweets it knew “with certainty” that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah was responsible for the attack that killed more than 42 people in Tripoli.

“That vile party… should know that it will meet retribution soon,” AQIM said, according to the SITE monitoring service.”

Iran wants their banker back

“Iran’s Police Chief Brigadier General Esmayeel Ahmadi Moqaddam lashed out at the Canadian government’s lack of cooperation in the case of the former Iranian Bank Melli Chief, Mahmoud Reza Khavari, who fled from Iran to Canada during an embezzlement scandal.

“The Canadian government has had no cooperation with us in this regard and has even closed its embassy (in Tehran),” Ahmadi Moqaddam said on Monday on the latest developments in Khavari’s case.

“We pursue the case through the Interpol,” he added.

Khavari, who sources say has been a dual Iranian-Canadian citizen since 2005, left Iran in September as prosecutors in here announced they wanted to question him in connection with a $2.6-billion embezzlement scandal. Tehran has also announced that it has requested an international warrant for Khavari’s arrest.

The security officials testified that Canada has no extradition treaty with Iran. But Khavari could be stripped of his Canadian citizenship under immigration laws if officials discover he misrepresented himself to gain status.

The banker’s continuing freedom and apparent wealth – he and his family own several Toronto properties – have angered the Iranian people. It’s unclear how he could become a Canadian citizen while working in Iran as an elite banker.

Sources said Khavari is indicative of a much larger wave of people who have slipped into Canada. The Globe and Mail reported that one of the several brothers whose family business is at the heart of the Iranian embezzlement scandal moved to Montreal last summer.”


Saudi king donates $100 million to UN anti-terror centre

Yes, really:

“King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has announced a further donation of $100 million (75 million euros) to set up a United Nations centre for fighting terrorism, Saudi media reported on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia signed an agreement with the UN in 2011 to create the centre and the oil-rich Gulf monarchy has already donated $10 million towards its launch.

“I announce a donation from the kingdom of Saudi Arabia of $100 million to support this centre and work for its activation under the umbrella of the United Nations,” King Abdullah said in a speech marking Eid al-Fitr, the holiday celebrating the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, quoted by official news agency SPA.

The king called on the international community to support the centre “to get rid of the forces of hatred, extremism and criminality”.

Abdullah floated the idea for the centre in 2005. Saudi Arabia was hit by a wave of attacks attributed to Al-Qaeda militants between 2003 and 2005, and has made fighting terrorism one of its top priorities.”


It’s Now Possible to Hire Fake Protesters


Crowds on Demand, as the name suggests, is a company that will organize a crowd for you, on demand.

The two main scenarios that require this service are: 1) You’re an aspiring celebrity who wants to make it seem like people give a shit about you, so you hire some fake fans; or 2) you believe in a cause and want to make it seem like people give a shit about it, so you hire some fake protesters.

Good news for starving North Koreans: New Vitamin C factory operational

“The Vitamin C Factory has been commenced with due ceremony on Friday. It was built on the bank of the River Taedong in Pyongyang.

The vitamin C producing base has the latest production processes that use bioengineering methods.


The factory helps make another achievement in carrying out the behests of leader Kim Jong Il, who worked heart and soul to improve the standard of people’s living, and will greatly contributing to promoting health of the people.


Present at the ceremony were Pak Pong Ju, Choe Thae Bok and officials concerned, officials of different units, builders, youth shock brigade members and officials and employees of the factory.


Pak Sun Chol, general director of the Korean Taeyang General Company, made an address.

At the end of the ceremony the participants went round the factory.”


Government-approved vigilante groups fight Islamists in Nigeria

Nigerian ironworker Ba Kaka initially felt sympathy for Boko Haram’s violent uprising against a state he and many others saw as corrupt, un-Islamic and kowtowing to Western ideology.

But as deaths mounted in the Islamist sect’s bloody campaign against state institutions, security services, Christians and even school children in northeast Nigeria, he began to see them as a threat to his life and livelihood.

“We thought they were doing God’s work at the beginning, but over time, we realized they were just a cult“.

“Data from last Tuesday was said to be equal in veracity to that culled from 8000 BC,” and together it “produced lots of sharp graphics and one big quantitative result that hot, rainy weather is bad for you”

There’s a widely held assumption that climate change will have horrific consequences, not only for the environment but also for its inhabitants. As resources become scarcer, the logic goes, the number of violent conflicts across the globe will increase. At first glance, the claim would seem to make sense. And yet for the last 20 years, scientists have been debating the question as to whether global warming necessarily makes conflict more likely. A flood of studies on the subject has failed to provide much clarity. Some researchers see climate change as a danger to peace, some don’t. Still others believe that global warming could even reduce the risk of war.
Given the lack of consensus, a recent study that appeared in the respected journal Science was all the more astounding. A team led by Solomon Hsiang from the University of California, Berkeley analyzed 60 studies from a variety of disciplines and came to the conclusion that global warming clearly increases the danger of violent conflict. Should average temperatures increase by 2 to 4 degrees Celsius (4 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2050 as forecast, the study claimed, armed conflict could increase in some regions by as much as 50 percent.

All regions of the world would be affected, the researchers wrote. Sudden increases of domestic violence in India and Australia, more corporeal violence and murders in the US and Tanzania, ethnic riots in Europe and South Asia, conflicts over land in Brazil, police violence in Holland and even historical events such as the fall of the Mayan Empire: all such examples were used to support their theory. The study, they claimed, was the first such large-scale report on the issue. Never before had so much data been analyzed.

Killer Heat Waves

“Hotter Weather Actually Makes Us Want to Kill Each Other,” was the headline chosen by the Atlantic. “Rise in violence ‘linked to climate change,’ wrote the BBC. “Global Warming Is Greatly Increasing Crime and Other Conflict,” it read in the Huffington Post. Several German outlets have run variations on the “Climate of Violence” theme with Focus Online leading the way. Their headline? “Agro-Heat Turns People into Killers.”

But there is a problem. Other experts were unusually forceful in criticizing the study, accusing Hsiang and his colleagues of using questionable statistical methods, of arriving at dubious conclusions and even of a tendentious selection of data.

Afghanistan Audits Reveal Billions in Waste

As the U.S. prepares to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, the government watchdog charged with overseeing nearly $100 billion in contracts to reconstruct the country has found almost $2 billion in potential waste, fraud and abuse in the last three months alone — some of which has likely led to the deaths of American servicemen and women, according to the agency’s reports.

The string of alleged violations includes phantom projects, improperly awarded contracts, aborted projects, deserted construction, a general lack of transparency to comprehensively oversee projects and, in one instance, building a $34 million military facility that will never be used.

‘Zimbabwe in secret deal to sell uranium to Iran’

Zimbabwe has signed a secret deal to supply Iran with the raw materials needed to develop a nuclear weapon, in breach of international sanctions, The Times reported on Saturday.

“I have seen [a memorandum of understanding] to export uranium to the Iranians,” Zimbabwean Deputy Mining Minister Gift Chimanikire told the British newspaper.

The agreement, which was reportedly signed last year, is likely to cause alarm in Western capitals.

The US and the European Union have imposed crippling sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme, which Tehran insists is for peaceful energy uses but which they fear is intended to build a bomb.

Zimbabwe is also subject to international sanctions over its human rights record and conduct of elections.

President Robert Mugabe, who won another five-year term in disputed polls last month, has publicly backed Iran’s nuclear drive.

During a visit by Iran’s then president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to Harare in April 2010, Mugabe said his guest should be assured of “Zimbabwe’s continuous support of Iran’s just cause on the nuclear issue”.

Chimanikire is a member of Zimbabwe’s Opposition who is likely to be replaced now that the election has brought an end to the shaky coalition government.

He said the uranium deal had been made without his knowledge, and was only known to a handful of people at the top of the Government.

Despite the agreement, The Times reported analysts as saying that it was likely to be a long time before Zimbabwe’s uranium reserves were ready for export.


Syrians brave risks to seek treatment in Israel

It looks like a standard scene in the corner of the children’s intensive care unit at a hospital in this northern Israeli town. The counter is jammed with stuffed animals, and balloons shaped like princesses float against the ceiling. A nervous, silent father hovers over his injured daughter.

But he and the girl are Syrians, spirited across the border by the Israeli military for medical treatment unavailable amid the civil war at home. He is silent because he cannot speak Hebrew, nervous because his presence in Israel, Syria’s longtime enemy, could place his family in danger if his trip is discovered.

He came to the hospital six days ago, following after his daughter. He refuses to say how he arrived, and hospital staff step in quickly to deflect questions about the journey. He has no contact with his family at home. All of this, he says, is worth it.

“For my daughter, I’m willing to do anything,” said the father, who, like his 12-year-old daughter, could not be named because he fears repercussions in Syria. While he was grateful for high-quality medical care, he was visibly afraid of the potential consequences of his trip, speaking in one-word answers and keeping his eyes lowered. He checked footage filmed by an AP Television News crew to make sure his daughter’s face was obscured.

On both sides of the Syrian civil war, militant groups like Hezbollah and fighters linked to al-Qaida are virulently opposed to Israel’s existence.

The Syrian regime itself is a longtime Israeli enemy, and its citizens are banned from travel there, facing possible jail time if they are discovered. The two countries have fought two wars, and Israel has annexed the Golan Heights, a plateau it captured from Syria in 1967. President Bashar Assad and his late father Hafez, the former Syrian ruler, have used their anti-Israeli stance as a source of legitimacy and have hosted and funded anti-Israeli militants. Generations of Syrians have grown up under propaganda vilifying the Jewish state.

All of this means that the father’s presence in Israel could mean trouble for his family back home from any number of groups.

Those fears, said Dr. Zonis Zeev, the head of the children’s ICU at Western Galilee Medical Center in the city of Nahiriya, are often the hardest for the patients to overcome.

“Probably at some time they were told about the ‘animals’ on the other side of the border, us, like the Zionists or the Jews,” he said. “So they are terrified, and we have to treat the anxiety not less than treating the physical part. Sometimes it is much harder.”

The father refused to identify even the general area in Syria where he lives, but members of the staff at the hospital believe that most of their Syrian patients live near the frontier with the Israeli-controlled Golan. When fighting picks up near that frontier, they said, they see spikes in the number of Syrians who come to the hospital.

“We get a call from the army and they say, ‘someone’s coming in an hour,’” said Haggai Einav, the hospital spokesman.

The hospital has treated 44 Syrian patients since March 27, four of them children as young as 3 years old. The 12-year-old daughter is one of seven Syrians scattered throughout different wards of the hospital, most guarded by Israeli soldiers stationed outside their rooms. The Ziv Medical Center in the city of Safed, along with Army field hospitals, have also taken in Syrian patients.

Dr. Masad Barhoum, the director-general of the hospital, said those numbers were a “drop in the ocean” given the scale of violence in Syria. The United Nations announced last month that its estimated death toll in the Syrian civil war had topped 100,000 people. Still, he said, his doctors are proud to offer whatever help they can.“We do all our best at the end to have a smile on the face of the child and what happened later, nobody knows,” said Barhoum, the director-general of the hospital. “But you can ask … every injured Syrian here, the first thing that he will say, I heard from him: ‘I want to go back home to Syria.’”