CAIRO -- American diplomats scrambled on Saturday to work out a deal to resolve the criminal charges against 16 Americans here on the eve of their scheduled trial in a case that has threatened to upend the 30-year alliance with Egypt. As late as Saturday evening, United States officials said they still could not predict what would happen when the trial opens Sunday.
You get the sense that the Egyptians would love to have a scapegoat for all their miseries right now, and American/European meddlers are as good a scapegoat as they have handy. The only thing better would be a Zionist spy, and I'm betting the Egyptian military is working on that.
American diplomats, Egyptian lawyers and others involved in the case said the efforts had foundered amid a breakdown in the lines of authority within the military-led transitional government in the final months before the generals have pledged to leave power. American officials say they have tried to find Egyptian counterparts who might intercede, but Egyptian leaders say they cannot intervene in the judicial process.
Oh no, never, such a thing has never happened in the history of Egypt.
If the case is not resolved, Congress and the Obama administration have vowed to cut off the $1.55 billion in annual aid to Egypt, potentially rupturing the three-way alliance among Washington, Cairo and Jerusalem that has been a linchpin of regional stability.
The 16 Americans and 27 others face criminal charges of working for unlicensed nonprofit groups and accepting foreign money to operate them. Nine of the Americans were outside Egypt when the charges were filed, and Egypt has barred the remaining seven, including the son of the United States secretary of transportation, from leaving.
The seven Americans work for a pair of federally financed nonprofit groups with close ties to the Congressional leadership, the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute, which are chartered to promote democracy abroad. In court papers, Egyptian prosecutors accuse the groups of collaborating with the Central Intelligence Agency in a campaign to destabilize Egypt and manipulate its revolution for the benefit of the United States and Israel.
If convicted, the accused face a fine and up to six years in prison for working for unlicensed nonprofit groups, and a minimum of six years for receiving money from abroad. As of Saturday, the seven Americans in Egypt had taken refuge in the United States Embassy for fear of arrest, officials said.
American officials dismiss Egypt's allegations of subversive aims as political grandstanding playing to domestic anti-American sentiment. The officials say it is implausible that the United States would give about $15 million a year to have the two groups undermine the Egyptian state when it spends $1.3 billion a year to support the Egyptian military.
There is no dispute that the two groups and their staffs have broken the letter of Egyptian law. Both groups sought, but never received, licenses from the Egyptian government, and both are openly financed from abroad. They therefore violate two restrictions on civil groups left over from government of Hosni Mubarak, the strongman president who was deposed a year ago. But both groups have been tolerated here for years, along with scores of Egyptian nonprofit groups that also break both rules.
American officials say that they increased financing for the groups after Mr. Mubarak's ouster on the presumption that the restrictions would be lifted, as the Mubarak government had pledged to do as recently as two years ago. Instead, an Egyptian cabinet official held over from the Mubarak government, Fayza Abul Naga, initiated a criminal investigation that has applied the old rules with new vigor.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton raised the matter twice with the Egyptian foreign minister, Mohamed Amr, in London on Thursday and again in Tunis on Friday, officials said.
Last week, Senator John McCain, the chairman of the International Republican Institute, left a meeting in Cairo with Egypt's top military rulers assured that a resolution was close at hand, people briefed on the meeting said.
But the case has continued to move forward, and the American threats to cut off aid have set off a new wave of Egyptian nationalism.
American officials say they are seeking some kind of resolution that might free the seven Americans trapped here while saving face for the Egyptian authorities. Egyptian lawyers have suggested that the security agencies responsible for overseeing nonprofit groups could grant licenses to the American groups, signaling to the presiding judge that their activities were not threatening and light sentences would be in order.
The National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute -- headed in Egypt by Sam LaHood, the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood -- are best known here for offering seminars and training programs to candidates and political parties preparing to run in elections.
United States law forbids the groups from seeking to influence political results in the countries where they operate, and many people who have worked with the groups say that Egyptians across the political spectrum have taken advantage of their programs.
Well, they're our citizens, to be sure, but they are in the service of the worst kind of internationalist UN/NGO types. They're totally guilty of doing exactly what they're accused of doing. Meddling in the internal politics of a foreign country. I wonder if any of the arrested even has any idea why that's a bad thing.
Now I ask you, who do you think this organization actually reports to? Yes, you are correct.
General Info The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs is a nonprofit organization working to strengthen and expand democracy worldwide. Calling on a global network of volunteer experts, NDI provides practical assistance to civic and political leaders advancing democratic values, practices and institutions. NDI works with democrats in every region of the world to build political and civic organizations, safeguard elections, and to promote citizen participation, openness and accountability in government. It undertakes a wide range of programs, including democratic governance, political party development, citizen participation, and information and communications technology. Headquartered in Washington D.C., The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs has locations throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and Middle East.
Now I ask you, who do you think this organization actually reports to? Yes, you are correct.
The International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute are center-left organizations, are nominally tied to the respective political parties, but have separate 'missions'. They do not "report" to the parties.
Well, they're our citizens, to be sure, but they are in the service of the worst kind of internationalist UN/NGO types.
The charters of both NGOs are granted to them by the US Gov't. Essentially they took over the "winning hearts and minds" duties that the CIA once held.
They're totally guilty of doing exactly what they're accused of doing. Meddling in the internal politics of a foreign country.
How do you feel about Tiananmen Square?
American officials dismiss Egypt's allegations of subversive aims as political grandstanding playing to domestic anti-American sentiment.
Partly that, but mostly it was because the NGOs were working with the secular parties; something the current junta did not want.
SANAA: Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi became Yemen's new president on Saturday, formally removing autocrat Ali Abdullah Saleh from power, as a car bombing in the south of the country underscored the violence that will be the new leader's greatest challenge.
A former army general, Hadi stood as the sole candidate to replace Saleh in a power transfer deal brokered by Gulf neighbors and backed by Western powers. He was elected after more than 60 percent of eligible voters took part in an election this week.
Saleh's departure makes him the fourth Arab leader to be removed from power in more than a year of mass uprisings that have redrawn the political map of the Middle East.
Hadi said in a speech that Yemen must draw a line under a year of protests and violence and tackle pressing issues such as Yemen's economic problems and bringing those displaced by the crisis back to their homes. "I stand here in a historic moment... I look to the Yemeni people and give them thanks. The crisis reached every city and village and house, but Yemen will continue to go forward," Hadi said. "If we don't deal with challenges practically, then chaos will reign."
Yemen's neighbors, led by Saudi Arabia, crafted the power transfer, also backed by Washington and a UN Security Council resolution, to ease out Saleh, who had ruled Yemen for 33 years.
Hadi now is tasked with overseeing a proposed two-year political transition that envisions parliamentary elections, a new constitution and restructuring of the military in which Saleh's son and nephew still hold power. Hadi made a point to single out Al-Qaeda as a top priority for his new administration: "Continuing the war against Al-Qaeda is a national and religious duty."
"Yemenis want an end to the crisis, and to turn a new page. Now it's time to rebuild, for consensus and concord... and to bring people into an inclusive political process," said Jamal Benomar, UN envoy to Yemen.
The US ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein, said: "We are seeing the beginning of a process that I believe will deliver great results over the next two years."
Hadi's inauguration ceremony is scheduled for Monday, which Saleh is to attend. Saleh returned to Yemen on Friday after seeking treatment in the United States for injuries suffered in a assassination attempt last year. A high election turnout was deemed crucial to Hadi's legitimacy, but the vote was rejected in advance in wide swathes of the country, notably the south, where secessionists urged a boycott.
One of the poorest countries in the Middle East, Yemen had already been fractured before the revolt against Saleh's rule, with separatists in the south, rebels in the north and an active wing of Al-Qaeda. Some 42 percent of Yemen's population of 23 million live on less than $2 per day in a land where tribal loyalties remain central to society.
For a map, click here. For a map of Chihuahua, click here
By Chris Covert
A Mexican rifle battalion commander is on trial for ordering the 2010 murder of two soldiers in Chihuahua state, according to Mexican news accounts.
Colonel de Infanteria Elfego Jose Lujan Ruiz is accused of ordering soldiers to torture, then killing Mario Alberto Leon Guerrero, AKA El Janos, and Mario Alberto Rodriguez Peralta, AKA El Capulina after the two had deserted their posts. Both men were alleged to be part of La Linea, the enforcement wing of the Juarez cartel.
The charges come from statements from 15 soldiers in Colonel Lujan Ruiz's 35th Infantry Battalion that the colonel had ordered an interrogation detail to extract information from the two detainees about their involvement with La Linea. Allegations are that electric shock treatment was used to obtain the information. Following the end of the interrogation when an unidentified lieutenant in charge of the interrogation detail presumably phoned the colonel asking for further instructions, Colonel Lujan Ruiz allegedly said, "Kill them."
The victims were then led to a location on the road near the army base, strangled to death with plastic bags and then incinerated using gasoline.
The bodies were discovered a day later by local police agents.
According to press reports, elements of La Linea in the rifle unit had gained contact with the families of several elements in the rifle unit, making threats and sufficiently striking fear to influence counternarcotics operations. The actions taken by the colonel appear to be that of a senior commander invoking rule number one in war: protection of command. If in fact La Linea were relying on information provided by the two deserters, it is clear that means of information probably stopped with the two murders.
According to press reports, Colonel Lujan Ruiz was recommended for his promotion to colonel in 2007, which was approved by the national Chamber of Deputies in 2008. He was assigned to the 35th Infantry Battalion based in Nuevas Casas Grandes in far western Chihuahua sometime in 2009 under the command of General Jose de Jesus Espitia, commander of the Mexican 5th Military Zone.
Colonel Lujan Ruiz was arrested in February, 2010 and then formally imprisoned in March, 2010 on the charges.
Colonel Lujan Ruiz could also be facing charges in another more well known disappearance case that took place only a few days before the murders.
In August, 2011, three bodies were found inside an abandoned mine near the town of Buenaventura in Galeana municipality in far western Chihuahua state. It is unclear from concurrent news reports whether the three cadavers found were the three individuals reported taken from their respective residences by men dressed as soldiers 19 months before, or if tests begun by Chihuahua state authorities shortly after they were discovered were conclusive.
According to news and human rights accounts, at around 2000 hrs December 29th, 2010 three individuals were taken in two separate incidents from residences in Buenaventura in Galeana municipality -- Jose Alvarado Herrera, 30, Nitza Paola Alvarado Espinoza, 31 and Rocio Irene Alvarado Reyes, 18.
Relatives had said the three were taken to the Nuevas Casas Grandes army base, while officials both at the local garrison as well as at higher commands denied having them. A human rights report state that on February 4th, a friend of one of the victims received a brief telephone call from Nitza Paola Alvarado Espinoza. A local prosecutor in Galeana attempted to trace the call but failed.
The army has consistently denied knowing the whereabouts or fate of the three victims, a contention which appears to be true.
It later transpired, according to an article in the leftist weekly Proceso, that soldiers dropped the three off at a facility run by the Chihuahua state Agencia Estatal de Investigacion (AEI) . According to the article, the detail that detained the three was led by Colonel Lujan Ruiz. The colonel's involvement in the detention was confirmed by three other Chihuahua state officials, however the report fails to state whether the colonel was physically present when the arrests were made, and when the three were dropped off to the AEI. It is clear by virtue of the colonel being in command of the rifle unit that it was his operation. But, it is also unclear if the three officials, who claimed the colonel led the expedition to arrest the three, either saw or knew that a witness had seen him in that detail at that time.
A January 9th, 2010 meeting was set and attended by Luz Estela Castro Rodriguez, a human rights activist, Emilia Gonzalez Tercero, a lawyer for the families, Maria de Jesus Alvarado Espinosa, a sister of one of the victims, Colonel Lujan Ruiz, General de Jesus Espitia, Major Carlos Sergio Ruvalcaba, head of the Department of Rights International Human Rights and the Directorate of Military Justice, and another, unidentified army general.
At the meeting, General de Jesus Espirita attempted to divert focus from the issue by claiming the three detainees had criminal records for theft. The Proceso report does not deny that contention. The meeting erupted when Colonel Lujan Ruiz continually denied that any element of the 35th Infantry Battalion were conducting operations in the vicinity of Buenaventura on the date of the disappearance, a contention which was heatedly contested by Ms. Alvarado Espinosa, the sister of Nitzla.
The colonel, as commander of the rifle unit is in the unique position to know if operations had taken place in the area, since by definition of his position as commander he is operations chief. Unit logs and other data would presumably be available to easily confirm Colonel Lujan Ruiz's contention that the army did not detain the three victims.
However, to date none of that data has been released by the Mexican Army.
According to the Proceso account the meeting was then concluded, and Colonel Lujan Ruiz was later relieved of command. The report does not say, however, that the colonel was likely relieved not because of the triple disappearance but more likely because of the murders of the two La Linea operatives within his ranks only a few days after the disappearance.
Less than six months later General de Jesus Espitia was relieved of his command of the 5th Military Zone as well.
General de Jesus Espitia has been the subject of press reports detailing alleged links with the Sinaloa Cartel, a charge that former alleged subordinates have denied. The general during his tenure also maintained close ties with Patricia Gonzalez, who ended her term as Chihuahua state's attorney general in October, 2010 under a cloud of suspicion that she had links to La Linea, the Sinaloa Cartel's rival in Chihuahua state. Both General de Jesus Espitia and Ms. Gonzalez worked closely together during their time in office.
Neither Maestra Gonzalez nor General de Jesus Espitia have been charged with any crime relating to a nexus with organized crime.
Proceso's treatment of the disappearance yields several questions.
First is Colonel Lujan Ruiz himself. The Proceso article said that the colonel was being sought by families of the victims for his role in the disappearance. But the article also states that ten men dressed as soldiers arrested the three victims, then transported them to AEI facilities in western Chihuahua.
That would track with army practice. Army units and their commanders, even if they develop their own intelligence, do not act on said intelligence unless they are allowed to by the respective state or federal prosecutors. Army units do not operate in secrecy; someone in police agencies or prosecutors' offices almost always knows what is going on when a detachment is sent out.
A second question is whether Colonel Lujan Ruiz himself was present at the arrest. It is very unlikely such a senior commander would have led an expedition to arrest three petty thieves even if ordered by a superior prosecutor. Not that senior commanders don't go out on army security missions; they do. But as the commander of the 35th Battalion, it would follow that the colonel likely had better things to do.
A third question arises about the three victims. In the meeting General de Jesus told the two human rights activists and Maria de Jesus that the three had criminal records as thieves. If the three were wrongly denounced and were killed by authorities, then the question would be who directed the military detail to the three victims.
We know now that Colonel Lujan Ruiz had a severe security problem; his unit was infiltrated by members of organized crime. He is being tried for killing two of his subordinates who were allegedly in the the pay of La Linea. It is impossible to think those two were the only traitors in his unit because of the events of the summer of 2011.
In July, 2011 Jose Antonio Acosta Hernandez, AKA El Diego was finally arrested by a team of Policia Federal agents in Chihuahua city after a brief pursuit and firefight. Acosta Hernandez had his hand in a number of major security incidents in Chihuahua state, including the Juarez car bomb in July, 2010. He also admitted to well over 1,500 murders during his reign of terror. He must have been at the time of his arrest a wealth of information.
The next month the bodies of the three disappeared were found and were tentatively identified. A news report suggested that Acosta Hernandez had directed authorities to the abandoned mine near Buenavertura, but a news release later refuted the reported fact that he knew where those bodies were.
But Acosta Hernandez was apparently at the time of the disappearance getting his people inside military units, and probably still has some in the army to this day. Assuming the three never left army custody, which is a stretch given what is now known, what if Colonel Lujan Ruiz identified the wrong two? Or if two more that only Acosta Hernandez knew about had reported to Acosta Hernandez what they knew about the three. Or perhaps a new infiltrator entered the unit after the deaths of the two men under Colonel Lujan Ruiz's command?
Since, however, news reports state the three did leave army custody and were presumably under the custody of Chihuahua state, and since the state prosecutor may have had ties with La Linea, it is possible it was through those offices that Acosta Hernandez knew where the three bodies had been dumped.
A last question is why, in light of the fact the victims were left to Chihuahua state authorities, would the family of the disappeared and their representatives be going after the army for information when it is at least as likely that Chihuahua state government officials would know more?
The Procuradoria General Republica (PGR) had throughout the case consistently declined investigation or prosecution in favor of military proceedings, which until last year was de riguer for such cases involving the military and civilians. The case eventually made its way to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Washington DC.
A July, 2011 decision of the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that when a civilian is involved with wrongdoing by the military, investigations and prosecutions must be made by civil, not military authorities. The chief justice of the court, Juan Silva Meza later walked back the ruling saying federal judges have total discretion as to whether a case gets moved to civilian courts.
On February 9th, 2012 a meeting of officials with Secretaria de Gobiernacion (SEGOB) recommended the case be turned over to the PGR.
If the PGR does move vigorously on the case it will conceivably bring Ms. Gonzalez back under investigation, if it turns out agencies under her command knew or covered up the disappearances of the three victims.
That may not mean that Maestra Gonzalez was privy to those actions, but it doesn't rule out the possibility that any delegates under her administration were involved.
A Defense Department official visited a Virginia mosque Friday to reiterate the White House's apologies for the burning of Korans at a US military base in Afghanistan, pledging that those responsible will be held "appropriately accountable."
Good lord, does it ever end? How many times do we grovel to people who care not if they murder our people?
Peter Lavoy, acting assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, attended services at the ADAMS Center in Sterling, Va., and told the congregation he was there to express his "sincere regret" on behalf of the Department of Defense for the incident.
The Boss already apologized. Why are you doing it again? And at home, no less.
"I know that apologies are never enough and do not erase this incident," he said, adding, "We will hold people appropriately accountable."
He also noted that US commander Gen. John Allen apologized to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and to the Afghan government and people, that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta apologized and pledged to personally review results of an investigation into the incident and that President Barack Obama wrote a letter of apology to Karzai that US Ambassador Ryan Crocker delivered by hand.
Did the White House milkman apologize?
The string of apologies from the Obama administration has come under harsh criticism by Republicans. Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich called the president's apology "an outrage" and a "destructive double standard," while Sarah Palin tweeted that the "US trained & protected Afghan Army can apologize for killing our soldiers yesterday."
I have made a transcript of the Pennsylvania case in which state judge Mark Martin, a Muslim convert and U.S. Army reservist who served in Iraq, relied on a sharia law defense (as well as some evidentiary contortions) to dismiss an open-and-shut harassment case against a Muslim man who assaulted an atheist activist at a Halloween parade. (See my earlier post.)
The victim, Ernest Perce, wore a "Zombie Mohammed" costume and pretended to walk among the dead (in the company of an associate who was the "Zombie Pope" -- and who, you'll be shocked to learn, was not assaulted). The assailant, Talag Elbayomy, a Muslim immigrant, physically attacked Perce, attempted to pull his sign off, and, according to police, admitted what he had done right after the incident. The defense argued that Elbayomy believed it was a crime to insult the prophet Mohammed (it is, under sharia law), and that because he was in the company of his children, he had to act to end this provocation and set an example about defending Islam.
As you will see, Judge Martin did not lecture the defendant about free speech or how disputes are resolved in a civilized country. He instead dressed the victim down for failing to appreciate how sensitive Muslims -- including the judge himself -- are about Islam. The audio of Judge Martin's remarks can be heard on YouTube (The audio, beginning at around the 2-minute mark on the YouTube clip, lasts about 7 minutes. Martin has reportedly threatened to hold Perce in contempt for recording and publishing the judge's statements, which were made in open court. Perce says he had permission to make a recording as long as it was only audio, not video.) Here is the transcript:
Since it's legal now for Muslims to assault atheists at Halloween parades, we should recruit some atheists and go beat up some Muslims coming out of their Mosque.
Elbayomy's been acquitted so he's home free on the criminal side, though I suppose Perce could try to sue him if he could figure out some monetary damages to make it worth the trouble. At this point the most important thing would seem to be to get Martin off the bench.
Muslims versus atheists? Now there's a match made in hell. The collective head of our Dept. of Justice collective must be spinning like the girl in the Exorcist trying to figure out which side they ought to be on. Glenmore, you are right. Martin ought to go.
With little fanfare, the Pakistani government leveled the former three-level residence in Abbottabad (some 30 miles northeast of Islamabad) earlier today (February 25), rather than be forced into maintaining the late al-Qaeda leader's home as a tourist attraction. And if they built it again, they could call a releveler to level it again. I've always liked the word releveler, it's a rather long palindrome.
COMMENT: The house legally belonged to a Pakistani who worked as bin Laden's courier and who was killed along with his brother in the May 2, 2011 raid by members of Seal Team 6.
Activists of a banned jihadi group gave a lecture on the campus of University of Peshawar (UoP) on Friday even though the university`s rules do not allow such gatherings. A student who listened to the sermons said, "Two persons delivered speeches outside Madina Mosque in the university to a group of about 60 people. Their speeches centered on efforts to invite people towards jihad."
The visit by leaders of the Bahawalpur-based banned jihadi outfit was part of the group`s membership drive, he said, adding that about 30 people filled out membership forms after the anti-US speeches by Maulana Mufti Abdur Rehman and Hifzullah.
The day before, posters were posted in the campus asking students to attend the lecture by activists of the group, led by Maulana Mohammad Masood Azhar, but the administration failed to take any action and ban their entry to the campus.
Both of the leaders blamed the US and its allies for Pakistan's problems and called on students to stand up against what they called the anti-Islamic forces and foil their attempts to subdue Muslims, a witness quoted the activists as saying.
They also distributed literature. One leaflet said that the group was working to turn Islamic teachings into actions, serve the people and Islam by spreading knowledge of the religion so that people could understand true Islam and its enemies.
When Gilani offered to come to Aitzaz's house
Reported in Jang a close friend of Aitzaz Ahsan and Gilani reported that in his presence Prime Minister Gilani rang Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan and asked him to defend him at the Supreme Court in a case of contempt. Aitzaz Ahsan politely refused and said he was senior to him in age and membership of the party but the PM thereafter said that he was visiting him at his house to convince him. After that Barrister Ahsan agreed to defend him at a fee of Rs 100.
Is that as much as the cost of a cup of tea?
Nasim Wali Khan versus Pak ideologyRespected Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa ... formerly NWFP, still Terrorism Central... politician and wife of ANP leader Wali Khan, Nasim Wali, was quoted by Daily Pakistain as saying that Pakistain was not created in the name of Islam but democracy.
She hasn't read the writings of the Mr. Jinnah, esq., Father of Pakistan, it would seem. Granted, they are voluminous, as befits his first career.
She said Pakistain's intelligence agencies later caused religious fanaticism to spread.
That is certainly theory...
She said Abaseen-Pakhtunkhwa as name was acceptable to Nawaz Sharif ... served two non-consecutive terms as prime minister, heads the Pakistain Moslem League (Nawaz). Noted for his spectacular corruption, the 1998 Pak nuclear test, border war with India, and for being tossed by General Musharraf... once. Now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa was better than no name (Frontier).
Haqqani should ask for reparations
Writing in Jang Nazir Naji stated that after the winding up of the memo case Husain Haqqani should go back to the Court and ask for reparations for the suffering caused to him. It would be unfair that lawyer Akram sheikh got millions sitting at home while Haqqani had to lose ambassadorship and suffer for no fault of his own.
He made the mistake of picking the wrong side, and getting caught. In that part of the world, this is often enough a Darwinian error.
Powers behind Defence of Pakistain Council
Editor in Chief Khushnood Ali Khan wrote in Jinnah that the grand rally of Defence of Pakistain Council in Rawalpindi was made successful by three organizations. The main work of getting the people and collecting the religious leaders was done by Hafiz Saeed...founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and its false-mustache offshoot Jamaat-ud-Dawa. The United Nations declared the JuD a terrorist organization in 2008 and Hafiz Saeed a terrorist as its leader. Hafiz, JuD and LeT are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Pak intel apparatus, so that amounted to squat... of Jamaat-ud-Dawa ...the front organization of Lashkar-e-Taiba... while Maulana Samiul Haq of JUI(S) was able to attract a lot of people to the arena. Above all there was the organising hand of Maulana Tayyab of the famous seminary of Panj-Pir in Swabi. Tayyab was the brother of the famous ISI officer Major (retd) Amir.
Meera finally chooses husband
After a long wait by her fans filmstar Meera was reported by Mashriq as consenting to marry an American-born Pak pilot named Naveed Parvez. She added that the wedding will take place in the following month (February).
'Memo' prepared by Generals Karamat and Mahmud Durrani!
Speaking to Mashriq ex-army chief Aslam Beg said that Mansoor Ijaz will have to prove at the Court that the memo that he said he got from Husain Haqqani was actually prepared by Haqqani, ex-army chief Jahangir Karamat and Major General (Retd) Durrani. He said if PM Gilani had been defended by Babar Awan he would have been quickly convicted.
Just as well he wasn't, then.
Ramday should not comment on case
Daily Pakistain reported that Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan defending PM Gilani at Supreme Court protested at Justice (Retd) Ramday's decision to go public with opinion opposed to the PM. At which the other side replied by saying that Ramday had completed two years after retirement and Aitzaz should not get emotional about him. Ramday's brother as attorney general had written the letter to Swiss court to start proceedings against Zardari.
Farah Naz Ispahani denies allegation
Reported in Mashriq MNA Farahnaz Ispahani wife of Husain Haqqani, who decamped Pakistain and told British journalist Christina Lamb that she had left Pakistain because she was scared of being killed by the ISI, issued another statement that she had not said anything of the sort against the ISI. She said she had great respect for the Army.
Ramday's son gets a packet!
Revealed in Mashriq Punjab government was said to have paid huge sums to two lawyers for defending the Punjab government in various cases. Khwaja Haris was paid Rs 35 lakh, and the son of the retired Supreme Court judge Khalilur Rehman Ramday a sum of Rs 10.5 lakh. His name was revealed as Mustafa Ramday who was a lawyer.
A columnist makes predictions
Daily Jang had Hamid Mir reporting that Yasir Pirzada had predicted that in 2012 filmstar Meera will contract a real marriage that she will be in a position to own up to. Soon participants and anchors in TV talk shows will come armed with guns and that Musharraf will stop lecturing the world on Pakistain but focus on music while Ustad Hamid Ali Khan will accompany him. Hamid Mir's own prediction: Senate elections will be held in March and no top judge will succeed in becoming the president of Pakistain.
Pasha will go out as ambassador
Editor in Chief Khushnood Ali Khan wrote in Jinnah that when the army chief Kayani ... four star general, current Chief of Army Staff of the Mighty Pak Army. Kayani is the former Director General of ISI... asked ISI chief Ahmad Shuja Pasha if he would like another extension he replied that he would like to retire after which it was planned that he would be sent out as ambassador. After him, either the Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... corps commander General Zaheerul Islam or Lahore corps commander Rashid Mehmood would be chosen by the Army Chief as ISI chief.
Nawaz Sharif worried about nuclear programme
Columnist Saleem Safi writing in Jang stated that when he told Nawaz Sharif that by bringing up the memo case at the Supreme Court he had put himself and other politicians in trouble to the advantage of the Army, Nawaz Sharif replied that he could swear that his intention behind the memo case was to save the nuclear programme of Pakistain. He was convinced that the real aim behind the move by Haqqani was to deprive Pakistain of its nuclear assets.
Oh my. Pakistani logic is a very special thing, once it gets properly started.
Why Dasti resigned and came back!
Columnist Khalid Masood Khan write in Jang that MNA Jamshed Dasti was returning from Luddan after doing condolence for Azeem Daultana when he heard that Hina Rabbani Khar had got his favourite PEPCO XEN Khalid Nazir transferred. He was already greatly upset by the rising influence in PPP of Hina but the removal of the XEN was the last straw. He announced his resignation from PPP amid rumours that he would join Imran Khan ... aka Taliban Khan, who isn't your heaviest-duty thinker, maybe not even among the top five... . He had already removed a number of XENs for not listening to his advice on the electricity charges.
Imran Khan is coming!
Yes, yes. We'll believe it when we see it
.Veteran politician Syeda Abida Husain told daily Pakistain that Imran Khan was in politics for the last 15 years but now his time had come and he would be ruling Pakistain. She said he was an honest leader and had won the hearts of the people. She said she was not sure if she would be joining Tehrik Insaf.
ISI chief supporting an Ahmadi
I've got a beautiful bridge to sell, if you're interested. A family heirloom, chock full of olde worlde craftsmanship.
Columnist Hamid Mir writing in Jang stated that once ISI used to accuse the CIA of plotting against Pakistain but now General Pasha was himself trying to prove that Mansoor Ijaz was right in his allegations. People in Pakistain often associate Ahmadis with the CIA but the ISI was now acting as if it was on their side.
Yasir Qasmi a Moses in the house of Pharaoh
Writing in Jang stated that well known columnist Yasir Pirzada was the son of famous Urdu columnist Ataul Haq Qasmi same way as the house of Pharaoh saw the birth of Moses. Yasir said that columnists had descended like a calamity on Pakistain and he was one of them. Yasir was known for his imitation of the style of well known columnists like Hasan Nisar, Haroon Rasheed and Irfan Siddiqi. He had just published collection of his widely read columns.
Continued on Page 49
BAGHDAD - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki said on Saturday an Arab League summit would take place as scheduled in Baghdad next month, despite security fears after violence killed at least 60 people this week.
Maliki's announcement came after Al Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq threatened a new wave of attacks against Shia Muslims, whom the Islamist militant group accuses of persecuting Sunni Muslims in post-Saddam Iraq.The summit has been twice delayed by regional turmoil and acrimony between Baghdad and some Sunni Arab Gulf states over Bahrain's crackdown on Shia protesters a year ago.
Maliki said all Arab countries had agreed to attend the March 29 summit, including 13 kings and presidents.
'I thank these Arab countries frankly, some of whom said 'By god, we will go to Baghdad, even if on foot',' said Maliki in a speech to Iraqi researchers. 'Even after the attacks that happened some days ago, their aim was to give a message to prevent the summit from taking place, but thanks be to God, it did not have an effect.'
Maliki said the Arab League had inspected security measures Baghdad had taken to secure the safety of dignitaries going from the airport to the meeting venue and back, which they 'highly approved of and were satisfied with'.
Israeli defence officials on Sunday confirmed $1.6 billion in deals to sell drones as well as anti-aircraft and missile defence systems to Azerbaijan, bringing sophisticated Israeli technology to the doorstep of archenemy Iran.
The sales by state-run Israel Aerospace Industries come at a delicate time. Israel has been labouring hard to form diplomatic alliances in a region that seems to be growing increasingly hostile to the Jewish state.
Its most pressing concern is Iran's nuclear program, and Israeli leaders have hinted broadly that they would be prepared to attack Iranian nuclear facilities if they see no other way to keep Tehran from building bombs.
Iran denies Israeli and Western claims it seeks to develop atomic weapons, and says its disputed nuclear program is designed to produce energy and medical isotopes.
Azerbaijan is focused on recovering Nagorno-Karabakh and therefore putting pressure on Armenia to negotiate. Armenia is allied with Russia and Iran so this purchase of Israeli military hardware makes sense for both parties.
Posted by: Mike Ramsey ||
The International Atomic Energy Agency's latest report on Iran's nuclear programme is "further proof" that Israeli estimates of the programme were accurate, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday, DPA reported.
The premier's statement came after the IAEA said Friday that Iran has increased its capacity to enrich uranium to higher grades, despite orders from the United Nations Security Council to halt such work. Tehran has tripled its capacity to enrich uranium to levels of 20 per cent at its Fordo facility and boosted the number of centrifuges enriching to below 5 per cent at its Natanz plant by 2,600 to 8,808, the report said.
"Iran is continuing its nuclear programme without let-up ... while bluntly ignoring the demands of the international community," Netanyahu's statement, the first official Israeli response to the IAEA report, said.
Iran's enrichment of uranium up to 20 per cent has caused concern in the West because such material is theoretically much easier to turn into bomb-grade material than uranium enriched at below 5 per cent.
The latest report comes two days after senior IAEA officials returned from a second trip to Iran without a commitment from Tehran to start answering questions about alleged nuclear weapons projects, and without having been allowed to see the key facility of Parchin.
Israel has long maintained that, despite Tehran's denials to the contrary, the real aim of the nuclear programme is to manufacture atomic weapons. Jerusalem regards Iran as its biggest existential threat, because of the country's nuclear programme, coupled with consistent statements by Iranian leaders that the Jewish state should be destroyed.
While no Israeli official has openly or publicly threatened a military attack on Iran, preferring instead to call for tighter and more stringent sanctions against Tehran, they have repeatedly said that "all options are on the table."
RABAT, Morocco: Syrians in the military and business who still support President Bashar Assad should turn against him, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Sunday.
"The longer you support the regime's campaign of violence against your brothers and sisters, the more it will stain your honor. If you refuse, however, to prop up the regime or take part in attacks on your fellow citizens, your countrymen and women will hail you as heroes," Clinton said at a news conference in Morocco as she conveyed a message to those holdouts backers of the embattled leader.
"Assad would have the Syrian people believe that it is only terrorists and extremists standing against the regime. But that is wrong," Clinton said. "So many Syrians are suffering under this relentless shelling. All Syrians should be working together to seek a better future."
She said in the Moroccan capital that "we're appealing to members of the Syrian army to put the people of their country first before a family or a political party. And we are pushing hard for a plan that would lead to a political transition."
What kind of political transition is the question. We really don't need another Sunni-dominated, Islamicist regime that plans to suppress the women and minorities, kick out the Westerners, and work to turn the country back a few centuries. Granted it's hard to answer that question now, but the fact that King Abdullah in Saudi-controlled Arabia is happy to fund the rebels should tell us something about where he wants this go.
Earlier Sunday, Clinton was asked if the participants in the conference shouldn't be doing more.
"I am incredibly sympathetic to the calls that somebody do something," she told CBS News. "But it is also important to stop and ask what that is and who is going to do it and how capable anybody is of doing it."
Asked about continued US reluctance to provide weapons to the Syrian rebels, Clinton responded: "What are we going to arm them with? ... We're not going to bring tanks over the borders of Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. That's not going to happen. So maybe at best you can smuggle in, you know, automatic weapons. Maybe some other weapons that you could get in. To whom? Where do you go?"
A top Iranian military commander said Saturday that nothing but burning the White House could remedy the pain caused to Moslems by the burning of Korans at a US military base in Afghanistan, pan-Arab Al Arabiya news channel reported Sunday.
"The US has committed such an ugly act and burnt Korans because of the heavy slap it has been given by Islam," Basij (volunteer forces) Commander Brig.-Gen. Muhammad Reza Naqdi told Iran's semi-official Fars new agency, according to the Al Arabiya report.
US President Barack Obama How's it going, Sunshine?... sent a letter to Afghanistan's Caped PresidentHamid Maybe I'll join the Taliban Karzai ... A former Baltimore restaurateur, now 12th and current President of Afghanistan, displacing the legitimate president Rabbani in December 2004. He was installed as the dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001 in a vain attempt to put a Pashtun face on the successor state to the Taliban. After the 2004 presidential election, he was declared president regardless of what the actual vote count was. He won a second, even more dubious, five-year-term after the 2009 presidential election. His grip on reality has been slipping steadily since around 2007, probably from heavy drug use... on Thursday apologizing for the incident, which occurred last week, sparking angry protests against US and NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A collection of multinational and multilingual and multicultural armed forces, all of differing capabilities, working toward a common goal by pulling in different directions... forces in Afghanistan.
"Their apology can be accepted only by hanging their commanders; hanging their commanders means an apology," he was quoted as saying.
White House front man Tommy Vietor said, "in the letter ... the president also expressed our regret and apologies over the incident in which religious materials were unintentionally mishandled at Bagram Airbase ."
More than 80,000 Syrian refugees have decamped the nearly 11 months of violence in their homeland and settled in neighboring Jordan, a Jordanian government official said Sunday.
The skyrocketing number of refugees, which was significantly higher figures than previously reported by the Jordanian government, attests to the growing violence in Syria where Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Leveler of Latakia... is trying to suppress a months-long rebellion by Syrians demanding he step down.
Azerbaijan, Baku -- The U.S. air base located in the Kyrgyz "Manas" airport should not be used against Iran, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev said.
"The base in Kyrgyzstan should not be used against Iran. That is why we are talking about the necessity to withdraw foreign troops from the civil airport after 2014 and close the base," Atambaev said in an interview with Voice of Russia radio station.
Earlier, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said that the Ministry fears that the Manas air base can be used in the potential conflict with Iran.
Air base at Manas which was later renamed as the Transit Centre was opened in late 2001 after the U.S launched its operation in Afghanistan. At present, it accommodates about 1,200 U.S soldiers. According to Pentagon statistics, the base handles up to 15,000 coalition servicemen and 500 tons of cargoes a month. The agreement on deployment of the U.S. air base in Kyrgyzstan is valid until 2014.
Atambayev said that the decision on the withdrawal of foreign troops and military bases from civilian airport is provoked by considerations of Kyrgyz capital and civil population.
DAMASCUS, Syria -- Syria lashed out at Saudi Arabia on Saturday, a day after the kingdom's foreign minister backed the idea of arming the rebels fighting President Bashar Assad's regime, accusing Riyadh of becoming 'a partner' in the bloodshed in Syria.
The sharp riposte from Damascus, which was published in a state-run newspaper, came as activists said at least 68 people were killed across the country and regime forces pounded rebel-held neighborhoods in the central city of Homs.
Syria's traditionally cold relations with Saudi Arabia have plunged into a deep freeze since the 11-month-old uprising against Assad began. The Sunni power in the region, Saudi Arabia has been a harshly critical of the Assad regime, which is controlled by the minority Alawite sect, and its brutal crackdown against the mostly Sunni opposition.
A Saturday commentary in the state-run Al Thawra daily sharply criticised Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal, who said during Friday's 60-nation gathering in Tunisia that he supported giving weapons and ammunition to groups fighting the Syrian regime.
'I think it's an excellent idea,' Prince Saud told reporters in Tunisia. Asked why, he replied: 'Because they have to defend themselves.'
Al Thawra said that the prince, by 'rudely' supporting an armed opposition, has become a 'direct partner in shedding more Syrian blood.'
'It's shameful for the vocabulary of the Saudi speech to reach this level ... and to announce so rudely support for terrorists,' Al Thawra said. The paper reflects the Syrian government's point of view.
In August, Saudi King Abdullah issued a harsh statement against Assad's crackdown and recalled the kingdom's ambassador to Damascus in protest. Since then, the ambassador has not returned and Saudi officials have been campaigning against Assad's regime worldwide.
VIENNA/WASHINGTON: Iran has yet to clarify a discrepancy in uranium quantities at a Tehran research site, a UN nuclear watchdog report said, after measurements by international inspectors last year failed to match the amount declared by the laboratory.
The United States has expressed concern the material may have been diverted to suspected weapons-related research activity.
So it's not the IAEA who is suspicious of a diversion, it's the U.S.
UN inspectors have sought information from Iran to help explain the issue after their inventory last August of natural uranium metal and process waste at the research facility in Tehran measured 19.8 kg less than the laboratory's count. Experts say such a small quantity of natural uranium could not be used for a bomb, but that the metal could be relevant to weapons-linked tests.
"The discrepancy remains to be clarified," said the latest quarterly report on Iran by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), issued to member states on Friday evening. The 11-page IAEA document also showed that Iran had sharply increased its uranium enrichment drive. The report's findings, which added to fears of escalating tension between Iran and the West, sent oil prices higher.
Iran says it is enriching uranium only as fuel for nuclear power plants, not atomic weapons, but its refusal to curb the activity has drawn increasingly tough sanctions aimed at its oil exports. In discussions with Iran this month about the discrepancy at the Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Research Laboratory (JHL), the IAEA said it had requested access to records and staff involved in uranium metal conversion experiments from 1995 to 2002.
"Iran indicated that it no longer possessed the relevant documentation and that the personnel involved were no longer available," the UN agency's report said.
The IAEA said Iran had suggested the discrepancy may have been caused by a higher amount of uranium in the waste than had been measured by the UN inspectors.
"In light of this, Iran has offered to process all of the waste material and to extract the uranium contained therein," it said. The IAEA said it had also begun taking additional analysis samples of the material involved.
Iran's envoy to the Vienna-based UN agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, last year dismissed the reported discrepancy as "absolutely not an issue."
But a senior US official said in November it required "immediate" resolution, citing information indicating that "kilogram quantities" of natural uranium metal had been available to Iran's military program.
Iran in 2012 must decide whether to formally declare it desires + will build NucBombs; or it will hold off building same while possessing the ability to quickly do so.
As subject to ...
* DEFENCE.PK/FORUMS > A [Air = ISAF/ISAF] STRIKE ON IRAN WOULD POSE TOUGH TEST FOR ISRAELIS.
* TOPIX > WHAT IS HEZBOLLAH'S ROLE AFTER ATTACK ON IRAN?
Even iff AIRPOWER + MOSSAD ASSASSINATIONS + COMMANDO, ETC. STRIKES are successful, at best it would only delay Iran's NucProgs while giving Iran legal + moral reason/credence to demand "defensive" NucWeaps [e.g. Post-Kennedy, Missle Crisis CUBA]; + activate Regional, International Proxy Terror Ops agz the West.
* PREMISE FOR UN-SANCTIONED US-IRAN WAR > either "IRAN HAS NUCLEAR WEAPONS" VERSUS "IRAN MIGHT DEV NUCLEAR WEAPONS", wid "Iran" = also meaning Radical Islamist MilTerr Groups + aligned NGOS.