Sunday, September 30, 2012

Morsi in Turkey, Calls for Support for Syria and 'Palestine'

In an address in Turkey, Egypt's president urges support "the nations that are aspiring to freedom and independence."

By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 9/30/2012, 7:42 PM

Morsi speaks in Turkey
Morsi speaks in Turkey
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Sunday discussed several pressing regional issues in an address delivered at an annual conference of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party.

"Our history, hopes and goals bind us together to achieve the freedom and justice that all nations are struggling for," Morsi said during a short visit to Ankara, according to the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram.
Morsi, on his first visit to Turkey as Egypt's president, urged members of the audience to support "the nations that are aspiring to freedom and independence."

“The Arab world and the Arab Spring need you and your support to achieve sought-for stability,” he said, according to Al-Ahram.

Egypt, he went on, "supports the demand of the people for freedom from oppression and occupation in both Syria and Palestine," stressing Turkey's role as an "important element" in issues of concern to the region.

Morsi also condemned the "misery" imposed on the Syrian people and the "bloodshed caused by the Syrian regime."

"The Syrian people have the right to choose their leaders," said the Egyptian president. "And this can only be achieved when they obtain their full freedom on their own soil and have our full support."
Morsi also expressed his hope for the eventual creation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, urging his listeners to support “the Palestinian national cause.”

He also stressed that the border between Egypt and Hamas-run Gaza remained open "to meet our obligations to our brothers in Gaza."

Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal also attended the conference in Turkey, along with several members of the Gaza government, Al-Ahram reported.

"In Egypt, we aspire for stability, security and productivity," Morsi declared in his speech. "The Egyptian people are now on the path towards national revival and the establishment of a true civilization for the nation."

He went on to reject any outside interference in Egypt's domestic affairs.

The speech comes amid reports earlier on Sunday that Morsi has expressed willingness to meet top Israeli officials. According to the Yisrael Hayom newspaper which published the report, his preference would be to meet with President Shimon Peres.

The report said that if such a meeting takes place it would occur in Washington, shortly after the U.S. election. During the meeting, the two officials would attempt to set a new basis for the sour relations between Israel and Egypt, which nearly fell apart after an Egyptian mob stormed the Israeli embassy in Cairo last year.

Last week, in his address to the United Nations, Morsi hit out at Israel over its veiled threats to attack Iran's nuclear facilities and the deadlock in the Middle East peace process.

Morsi said the Middle East "no longer tolerates" any country's refusal to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty "especially if this is coupled with irresponsible policies or arbitrary threats."
"The acceptance by the international community of the principle of pre-emptiveness or the attempt to legitimize it is in itself a serious matter and must be firmly confronted to avoid the prevalence of the law of the jungle," he said.

Morsi also put the Israel-Arab conflict ahead of the Syria war in the list of priorities he laid out before the General Assembly.

"The first issue which the world must exert all its efforts in resolving, on the basis of justice and dignity, is the Palestinian cause," Morsi said.

He said that UN resolutions on the conflict had not been implemented and that Palestinian Authority Arabs "must also taste the fruits of freedom and dignity" that other countries in the Arab region have won in the past year.

Arutz Sheva

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Bangladeshi Muslims burn 10 Buddhist temples over Facebook photo

Rioters pinned a Facebook photo of a burning Quran on a local Buddhist boy, but it's unclear if the boy posted the photo or not.

By Associated Press / September 30, 2012
Bangladeshi Buddhist monks form a human chain during a protest against attacks on Buddhist temples and homes, in front of national press club in Dhaka September 30. Hundreds of Muslims in Bangladesh burned at least four Buddhist temples and 15 homes of Buddhists on Sunday after complaining that a Buddhist man had insulted Islam, police and residents said. The placard reads, "We express our protest and condemnation."
Andrew Biraj/Reuters

Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh
Thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims angry over an alleged derogatory photo of the Islamic holy book Quran on Facebook set fires in at least 10 Buddhist temples and 40 homes near the southern border with Myanmar, authorities said Sunday.
The violence began late Saturday and continued until early Sunday, said Nojibul Islam, a police chief in the coastal district of Cox's Bazar.

He said the situation was under control Sunday afternoon after extra security officials were deployed and the government banned public gatherings in the troubled area.
He said at least 20 people were injured in the attacks that followed the posting of a Facebook photo of a burned copy of the Quran. The rioters blamed the photo on a local Buddhist boy, though it was not immediately clear if the boy actually posted the photo.

Bangladesh's popular English-language Daily Star newspaper quoted the boy as saying that the photo was mistakenly tagged on his Facebook profile. The newspaper reported that soon after the violence broke out, the boy's Facebook account was closed and police escorted him and his mother to safety.
Joinul Bari, chief government administrator in Cox's Bazar district, said authorities detained the boy's parents and were investigating.

Buddhists make up less than 1 percent of Muslim-majority Bangladesh's 150 million people.
The Bangladeshi violence follows protests that erupted in Muslim countries over the past month after a low-budget film, "Innocence of Muslims," produced by a U.S. citizen denigrated the Prophet Muhammad by portraying Islam's holiest figure as a fraud, womanizer and child molester.

Some two dozen demonstrators were killed in protests that attacked symbols of U.S. and the West, including diplomatic compounds.

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Syria conflict: Aleppo's souk burns as battles rage

BBC News online - 29 September 2012

The BBC's Jim Muir says the souk was once a "magnet for tourists", as amateur footage purportedly from the area showed widespread damage

A blaze has swept through ancient markets in Aleppo, activists say, as rebels and government forces seek to gain control of Syria's largest city.
Reports say hundreds of shops in the souk, one of the best preserved in the Middle East, have been destroyed.

Unesco, which recognises Aleppo's Old City as a world heritage site, described the damage as a tragedy.

On the third day of a rebel offensive, battles broke out in the Old City and the Arkub district, reports said.

The fire, believed to have been triggered by shelling and gunfire, began on Friday but was still burning on Saturday, reports said.

"It's a big loss and a tragedy that the old city has now been affected," Kishore Rao, director of Unesco's World Heritage Centre, told the Associated Press.

The market stalls lie beneath the city's towering 13th Century citadel, where activists say regime troops and snipers have taken up positions.
Rebels use a hamam in Aleppo's souk as a base (24 Sept 12) Rebels were using a Turkish bath, or hamam, in the souk as a base
Activists quoted by Reuters news agency said that the presence of snipers was making it difficult to approach the Souk al-Madina, once a major tourist attraction.

Reports estimate that between 700 and 1,000 shops have been destroyed so far.

"It's a disaster. The fire is threatening to spread to remaining shops," one activist, Ahmad al-Halabi, told AP.

He said the Syrian authorities had cut off the water supply, making attempts to control the fire more difficult.

Rebels and civilians were working together to limit the fire with a few fire extinguishers, he added.
The fire took hold with speed, fuelled by the many shops' wooden doors and the clothes, fabrics and leather goods sold inside.

Heavy clashes erupted at several military sites in the city on Saturday evening, Reuters reports.
Fighting was reported at the Neirab military base as well as Bab Antakya, a stone gateway to the Old City.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group, said the focal point for fighting was Salaheddin, a rebel stronghold on the south-west side of the city.

State television reported attacks on what it called "terrorist centres" in 10 different locations on Saturday, saying heavy losses had been inflicted.

The BBC's Jim Muir, in Beirut, says that though both sides have reported clashes in different parts of the city, the signs are that the rebels simply lack the firepower and the manpower to score a significant breakthrough.

"No-one is actually making gains here, it is just fighting and more fighting, and terrified people are fleeing," one activist told Reuters.

Activists estimate more than 27,000 people have died in the violence since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began last year.

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A mob raided the U.S. embassy in Cairothis month in protest at a film mocking Islam made in the United States that sparked deadly unrest across the Muslim world. (Reuters)
A mob raided the U.S. embassy in Cairothis month in protest at a film mocking Islam made in the United States that sparked deadly unrest across the Muslim world. (Reuters)
The United States warned on Saturday that U.S. women Christian missionaries in mainly Muslim Egypt face threats of terror attacks and urged vigilance.

“The embassy has credible information suggesting terrorist interest in targeting U.S. female missionaries in Egypt,” the American mission in Cairo said in a statement on its website.
“Accordingly, U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance, taking necessary precautions to maintain their personal security,” it said, calling on Americans to ensure they can be contacted by diplomatic missions in case of emergency.

On Friday, a Republican congresswoman froze a request by the U.S. administration for $450 million in cash for the Egyptian government, saying it needed new scrutiny amid rocky U.S. ties with Cairo.

Earlier this month, U.S. President Barack Obama said Egypt was neither a friend nor a foe in the wake of last year’s uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak and brought Islamists to power.

Obama’s comments came after a mob raided the U.S. embassy in Cairo in protest at a film mocking Islam made in the United States that sparked deadly unrest across the Muslim world.

Coptic Christians, who make up six to 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 82 million, regularly complain of discrimination and marginalization. They have also been the target of numerous sectarian attacks.

The Copts have been nervous since the Islamists came to power.

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Turkish pilots killed by Assad, not crash: leaked documents

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Click to download...
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ordered the killing of two Turkish air force pilots who were captured after their fighter jet was shot down on June 22, 2012, files obtained by Al Arabiya show. (Al Arabiya)

As political tensions mount between neighboring Syria and Turkey, newly-leaked Syrian intelligence documents obtained by Al Arabiya disclose shocking claims shedding light on the dreadful fate of two Turkish Air Force pilots.

Contrary to what was publically claimed, the documents reveal that the pilots survived the crash, but were later executed by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad!

This disclosure is the first in a series of revelations based on a number of newly-leaked and highly classified Syrian security documents which will be aired in a special program produced by Al Arabiya over the next two weeks; the channel’s English portal – – will be carrying a subtitled version of the program on daily basis as well as publishing downloadable copies of the leaked documents.

The documents were obtained with the assistance of members of the Syrian opposition who refused to elaborate on how they laid hand on the documents.

Al Arabiya said that it has verified and authenticated hundreds of these documents and that it is has decided to disclose the ones with substantial news value and political relevance.

On June 22, a Turkish military jet was shot down by a Syrian missile in international airspace, Ankara’s official report said; a claim Damascus has refuted.

Assad’s regime said the country’s defense forces shot down the two-seater F-4 Phantom as it was in the Syrian airspace.

In an interview with Turkish paper Cumhuriyet published in July, Assad said he wished his forces did not shoot down the jet, claiming that Damascus did not know the identity of the plane at the time.

The incident set off tensions between the former allies, but Ankara, which had vowed a harsh response to any border violations by Syria, limited its reaction to sending military reinforcements to the common frontiers.

The two pilots on board of the jet were killed.

But both official reports by Syria and Turkey have restrained their explanation on the causes of the deaths of Air Force Captain Gokhan Ertan and Air Force Lieutenant Hasan Huseyin Aksoy.

Turkey’s armed forces said it had found the bodies of both pilots on the Mediterranean seabed.

“The bodies (of the two pilots) have been recovered [from] the seabed and work is underway to bring them to the surface,” the army command said in a statement released early in July.

The military did not specify where the bodies were found, but there has been no report that the pilots ejected from the plane.

However, after investigating the leaked documents it obtained, Al Arabiya can now reveal for the first time an alternative narrative of what might have happened to the two Turkish pilots.

One highly confidential document was sent directly from the presidential office of President Assad to brigadier Hassan Abdel Rahman (who Al Arabiya’s sources identify as the chief of the Syrian Special Operations Unit) states the following:

“Two Turkish pilots were captured by the Syrian Air Force Intelligence after their jet was shot down in coordination with the Russian naval base in (the Syrian city of) Tartus.”
Picture of the highly confidential document sent from the office of the Syrian president confirming the capture of the two Turkish pilots (Al Arabiya)
Picture of the highly confidential document sent from the office of the Syrian president confirming the capture of the two Turkish pilots (Al Arabiya)
The file therefore reveals two critical reports. First, the pilots were still alive after the plane had crashed. And second, that Russia held its share of involvement in this secretive mission.

The same document orders the concerned parties to treat both Turkish pilots according to the protocol of war prisoners, as instructed by the president.

It also requests that both men be investigated about Turkey’s role in supporting the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the country’s main armed opposition group.

The report also suggests the possibility of transferring the pilots into the neighboring Lebanese territory, leaving them in the custody of Assad’s ally, Hezbollah.

However, if the Turkish air commanders were not killed upon the crash of their F-4 Phantom, further leaked documents confirm that their death was inevitable.

A subsequently leaked file, also sent from the presidential palace and addressed to all heads of units of the Syrian foreign intelligence, reads: “Based on information and guidance from the Russian leadership comes a need to eliminate the two Turkish pilots detained by the Special Operations Unit in a natural way and their bodies need to be returned to the crash site in international waters.”

The document also suggests the Syrian government sends a “menacing” message to the Turkish government, insinuating Syria’s capability of mobilizing Kurdistan’s Workers Party (PKK) on the Turkish borders, notifying Ankara from the danger it might face in case of any hostile move.
A copy of the presidential order for the killing in a “natural way” of two Turkish pilots. (Al Arabiya)
A copy of the presidential order for the killing in a “natural way” of two Turkish pilots. (Al Arabiya)
The report insists that the Syrian leadership should hasten and make a formal apology to the Turkish government for bringing down the plane, which would embarrass the Turks and win the support of international public opinion. As such, the Syrian Regime did apologize.

Al Arabiya’s exclusive series on the newly-leaked Syrian security documents continues tomorrow.

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East is East and West is West

The leaders of the Islamic ummah have gathered in a rare display of unity to express at the United Nations General Assembly their outrage over what they claim is a rising tide of unsuppressed and hatefully malicious slander against Islam.  What is sacred to Islamic sensibilities must not be taken in light vein by non-Muslims.  As in 'show some respect'.

The United Nations headquarters in New York, where Muslim leaders demanded international action to stop religious insults. (Reuters)
The United Nations headquarters in New York, where Muslim leaders demanded international action to stop religious insults. (Reuters)
Which would be entirely reasonable under different circumstances.  Should not those who hold their faith in such high regard restrain themselves from offering death as a consequence to those whose words they find compellingly offensive?  Verbal abuse in exchange for violent death.  The verbal abuse is insufferable, and completely at fault, causing the pious to respond in such a viciously violent manner.

"Death to America", spoken with passion and a wish to visit instant death on any whom a mob approaches that appear to resemble Americans is excusable, evidently.  Passions have been aroused, and the result of that provocation must be severe.  Mutilation and death are quite severe.  That many Islamic countries have laws that discipline those who take the name of the Prophet or Islam in vain, or who secede from Islam, and thus become fodder for a death sentence is seen as abhorrent in the West.

But Western laws that disallow inhibitions and prohibitions on free speech are held by Islamic countries to represent decadence, a total failure of control and justice, as they know it.  It is just and meet that anyone defying the supremacy of Islam, anyone who has the unmitigated gall to point out the obvious, that too many of its adherents subscribe to violent jihad and irrational notions of martyrdom, be held accountable to Islamic law.

The exculpatory protection of free speech at the price of harming the emotional stability of fanatics is held to be a shield for hatred of Islam, according to Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, who claims it is 'time to put an end' to the protection of Islamophobia 'masquerading' as the freedom to speak freely.  Why might that be so, when Muslims continually speak freely of their utter contempt of any religion other than Islam?

When it is common for a majority Muslim society to inflict real harm on minority religion worshippers in their midst.  When fanatical Muslims seek to injure Christians living among them, and see nothing awry in destroying the religious symbols that Christians or other religionists hold sacred?
When churches are destroyed or ancient Buddha statues, does the Muslim national hierarchy issue a stern condemnation?

For that matter, do the kings and tyrants and tycoons and generals gather themselves in outraged condemnation of Islamists slaughtering Muslims?  Have they reached a general agreement on being forthcoming in indicting the Syrian regime for its conduct of war against its own?  Have they urged Iran to speak less menacingly against the existence of a non-Muslim country in a Muslim geography? 

The 193-nation General Assembly heard out the outraged plaints of Turkey and Egypt among others. "Egypt respects freedom of expression, freedom of expression that is not used to incite hatred against anyone.  We expect from others, as they expect from us, that they respect our cultural specifics and religious references, and not impose concepts or cultures that are unacceptable to us", decried the new Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi.

But that is precisely the point; Muslim societies like that of Egypt do indeed attempt to impose concepts/cultures that are unacceptable to non-Muslims.  The film, Innocence of Muslims, that has so enraged Muslims was produced by an Egyptian-American Christian Copt, whose experience in Egypt was such that he vented his hatred and frustration in the crudely offensive manner that he did.  It is the Muslim attitudes and behaviour toward other religions that has propelled this activity.

Their righteously outraged stance at being victimized does not reflect reality.

And while the Western leaders at the United Nations have exhorted Muslim countries to foster democratic reforms and respect and uphold human rights and basic freedoms, they cannot and will not respond positively to calls by Muslim leaders for the United Nations to agree to an international ban on blasphemy.  A ban that would reflect the anger of Islam against the West.  Where Islam bears no responsibility for itself.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in whose country over a dozen people have been killed in those anti-Islam film protests was among those demanding criminalization of insults to religion (Islam).  The film represented another "ugly face" of religious persecution according to Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, insisting "Freedom of expression is therefore not absolute", quoting from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that "everyone must observe morality and public order".

King Abdullah II of Jordan, disparaged the film, and the violence that followed.  President Zardari demanded UN action: "Although we can never condone violence, the international community must not become silent observers and should criminalize such acts that destroy the peace of the world and endanger world security by misusing freedom of expression."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai spoke both of the video and the latest incarnation of cartoons in France satirizing the Prophet Mohammed, terming the insults as representing the "depravity of fanatics", a phrase that neatly fits the reactions of the ravening Muslim mobs, destroying, looting, burning, beating and killing.  

But to him and to the 56-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation, "Such acts can never be justified as freedom of speech or expression".

"The menace of Islamophobia" he claimed, represents "a worrying phenomenon that threatens peace and co-existence."  And here we were of the apprehended belief that the menace of Islamism represented a worrying phenomenon threatening peace and co-existence around the Globe. 

Clearly, a polarizing perspective of East and West.

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

India launches 101st space mission, and looks to Mars

The mission will be carried out without international help, highlighting the growth and ambition of India's home-grown space program, which plans to launch a mission to Mars.

By Vaishnavi ChandrashekharCorrespondent / September 29, 2012
India's space program is advancing at a breakneck pace with a goal of reaching Mars with an unmanned vehicle by 2014. Here, a satellite launch from earlier in September.
Arun Sankar K/AP/File
Bangalore, India
India marked its 101st space mission today with the launch of its heaviest communications satellite, GSAT-10, from French Guyana.

The satellite, carrying 30 communication transponders and a navigation payload, is the first of 10 missions slated for the coming year, a hectic schedule that the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) hopes will have glorious finale in November 2013 with the launch of an orbiter to Mars.
India’s Red Planet mission is to be carried out without international help, highlighting the growth of the agency.

“At the moment, we plan to do it on our own,” said ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan at the agency’s headquarters here last week.

After 50 years and 100 missions, the Indian space program is growing faster than ever. India’s scientists, some NASA-trained, assembled the country’s first rocket in a village church in the 1960s. Today, India’s home-grown space program is considered one of the top six in the world.
In recent years, the mission has expanded its original development agenda to embrace more commercial and exploratory interests – though to what extent remains to be seen.

The government has increased budgets, accelerating the pace of missions and moving toward more prestigious – and sometimes controversial – projects throughout the past decade.
“The first 50 missions took 27 years, the next 50 took place in the last 10 years and the next 58 missions will happen in the next five years,” said Mr. Radhakrishnan, whle emphasizing the agency’s “success on a shoestring” story.

ISRO’s budget is barely 7.5 percent the size of NASA, but it has been growing every year since the early 2000s, jumping from $591 million in 2004-05 to $1.3 billion in 2012-2013.

“I can think of no other major space program in the world that has enjoyed such a level of sustained annual budgetary growth,” says Asif Siddiqi, an associate professor of history at Fordham University, who is working on a book on the Indian space program.

The budget expansion parallels India’s economic growth in the past decade, notes Mr. Siddiqi. And high-profile successes have also helped boost government support for ISRO, he says.

For five decades, ISRO stuck close to founder Vikram Sarabhai’s vision to reject “the fantasy of competing with economically advanced countries" to explore the moon and instead use space technology to improve the lives of ordinary people.

The result: India has built one of the largest communication satellite systems –  used to support telemedicine and tele-education programs for rural areas – and one of the world’s best remote sensing systems, which helps with forecasting the weather and monitoring natural resources, including locating water sources.

But the agency’s recent forays into space exploration – including the 2008 Chandrayan 1 lunar probe and proposed missions to the sun – and reconnaissance satellites is a “fundamental shift” from Sarabhai’s “space for development” agenda, says Siddiqi.

India’s uncertainty about that shift was evident last month with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s announcement of the Mars mission, called Mangalyaan (Sanskrit for “To Mars”), which was met with mixed response. The mission, timed to coincide with the next window when the planet is closest to earth, is intended to help collect data on methane sources.

 Skeptics question not only the tough deadline, but whether India should be spending almost $90 million on a scientific mission that comes amid economic slowdown in India and after the US has already undertaken a similar mission.

Not everyone has been critical, however. “India is a country which works on different levels,” says Krishan Lal, president of the Indian National Science Academy. “On the one hand, we have a space mission, on the other hand a large number of bullock carts. You can’t, say, remove all the bullock carts, then move into space. You have to move forward in all directions.”          

Officials have defended their program: ISRO chief Radhakrishnan pointed out that of this year’s budget, 55 percent was allocated to space applications like communication, navigation, and remote sensing, 36 percent to launch vehicles and just 9 percent to science and exploration missions including Chandrayan 2 and the Mars orbiter.

Many observers agree that prestige is partly behind the Mars mission (the announcement was made when it became clear that the second Moon mission would not keep its 2013 date and even took the scientific community by surprise). But they also say there is little evidence India is engaged in a real space race. China’s space exploration program is far ahead of India’s, especially in manned spaceflight.

“India’s space program will be driven by its budgets, not by a race with competitors,” said Dinshaw Mistry, an associate professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati specializing in nuclear, missile, and space technology, in an e-mail. The Mars mission is “relatively cheap,” he notes, “costing no more than launching a satellite, while a manned mission is an order of magnitude more expensive and far more risky.”

Less controversial has been ISRO’s entry into the multibillion dollar international commercial launch market via Antrix, its commercial arm. India has launched 29 foreign satellites during the past decade, including the simultaneous launch of the French SPOT 6 and a Japanese microsatellite in September.

But “India has barely begun to scratch the surface” of the market, says Susmita Mohanty, founder and CEO of Earth2Orbit, India’s first private space start-up.

ISRO is still perfecting its Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle,which is meant for launching telecommunications satellites, but it has a robust Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle for launching earth observation satellites, Dr. Mohanty notes. Theoretically ISRO is capable of building and launching five to six Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles a year but for the past few years, has launched about two a year, she says, “most likely because our national priorities precede any commercial intent.”
To grab a greater chunk of the market, says Mohanty, who has previously worked in the aerospace industry in US and Europe, ISRO would have to “develop a more international outlook” and privatize routine rocket manufacturing.

There are signs that this is already happening. At the recent close of Bangalore's Space Expo, Radhakrishnan said that ISRO plans to encourage private participation so that it can focus on research and development. He suggested that what India needs is a consortium of big space contracting companies similar to the US.

“We can learn from Europe and America though their situation is different,” he said.

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 Iranian Satellite Blew Up After Liftoff


First Publish: 9/28/2012, 1:56 PM

Indian satellite launch
Indian satellite launch
An Iranian attempt to launch a satellite into space failed when the missile carrying the satellite exploded shortly after liftoff, completely destroying the satellite.

HIS Janes reported that the accident took place in May, and that Iran's space agency has made great efforts to hide it from the public's knowledge.

The failure is expected to set back Iran's space program considerably.

Western experts said that the mishap shows Iran is facing difficulties in ballistic missile development. Janes revealed that U.S. spy satellites followed the attempted launch, which took place at the space center near Tehran. Black spots were seen covering the area around the launching pad immediately after the accident.

Iranian officials announced that the Safir-1B satellite launch vehicle would be launched on May 23, but subsequently announced that the launch had been delayed for up to 10 months without saying why.

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Egypt's Christians Flee Sinai Homes After Attacks

From: Jihad Watch 29 September 2012

Eventually they will have no where to flee to. "Egypt's Copts abandon Sinai homes after threats, attack," by Yousri Mohamed andTamim Elyan for Reuters, September 28
(Reuters) - Most Christians living near Egypt's border with Israel are fleeing their homes after Islamist militants made death threats and gunmen attacked a Coptic-owned shop, a priest said on Friday.
The departure of nine families that made up the small Christian community in the border area of Egypt's Sinai peninsula will fuel worries about religious tolerance and the rise of militancy after the overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak last year.
"Coptic Christian families decided to leave ... out of fear for their lives after the threats and the armed attack," said Mikhail Antwan, priest at the Coptic Margirgis church in the North Sinai town of al-Arish.
Death threats had been printed on flyers circulating in the desert area, he added.
Two armed men riding a motorcycle opened fire on a Coptic-owned shop in Rafah on Wednesday but no one was injured.
Two families from the small community had already left while the rest were still packing up their possessions in Rafah and Shaikh Zuwaid after living 20 years in the area, he added.
All were planning to move to al-Arish, the administrative center of North Sinai, where security was better, the priest said.
Islamists with possible links to al Qaeda have gained a foothold in the area, analysts say.
Israel has voiced concern about security in Sinai, where at least four cross-border attacks have taken place since Mubarak was toppled in February 2011.
Egypt's new president, Mohamed Mursi, has vowed to restore order. But efforts to impose central authority are complicated by the indigenous Bedouin population's ingrained hostility to the government in Cairo.
A local official, who asked not to be named, confirmed the departures and said the families planned to return when security improved. It was the second wave of Christian departures - another seven families left soon after Mubarak's fall.

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At UN Muslim world questions Western freedom of speech


Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 28, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
UNITED NATIONS | Fri Sep 28, 2012 7:14pm EDT
(Reuters) - Muslim leaders were in unison at the United Nations this week arguing that the West was hiding behind its defense of freedom of speech and ignoring cultural sensitivities in the aftermath of anti-Islam slurs that have raised fears of a widening East-West cultural divide.

A video made in California depicting the Prophet Mohammad as a fool sparked the storming of U.S. and other Western embassies in many Islamic countries and a deadly suicide bombing in Afghanistan this month. The crisis deepened when a French magazine published caricatures of the Prophet.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said it was time to put an end to the protection of Islamophobia masquerading as the freedom to speak freely.

"Unfortunately, Islamophobia has also become a new form of racism like anti-Semitism. It can no longer be tolerated under the guise of freedom of expression. Freedom does not mean anarchy," he told the 193-nation U.N. General Assembly on Friday.

Egypt's newly elected Islamist president, Mohamed Mursi, voiced similar sentiments in his speech on Wednesday.

"Egypt respects freedom of expression, freedom of expression that is not used to incite hatred against anyone," he said. "We expect from others, as they expect from us, that they respect our cultural specifics and religious references, and not impose concepts or cultures that are unacceptable to us."
Mursi was one of the first leaders to be democratically elected after Arab Spring revolutions that led to changes in the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen last year.

Western states that backed the uprisings have urged these countries to quickly foster democratic reforms and adhere stringently to human rights principles and basic freedoms.

They fear a more austere version of Islam could hijack the protest movements. Most Western speakers at the United Nation defended freedom of speech, but shied away from calls by Muslim leaders for an international ban on blasphemy.

While repeating his condemnations of the video, U.S. President Barack Obama staunchly defended free speech, riling some of those leaders.

"The strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech - the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy," Obama said in a 30-minute speech dominated by this theme.

Speaking after Obama, President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan, where more than a dozen people were killed in protests against the anti-Islam film, demanded insults to religion be criminalized.

"The international community must not become silent observers and should criminalize such acts that destroy the peace of the world and endanger world security by misusing freedom of expression," he said.

Highlighting the anger of some, about 150 protesters demanded "justice" and chanted "there is no god but Allah" outside the U.N. building on Thursday. One placard read: "Blaspheming my Prophet must be made a crime at the U.N."

Foreign ministers from the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation met on Friday. The film topped the agenda.

"This incident demonstrates the serious consequences of abusing the principle of freedom of expression on one side and the freedom of demonstration on the other side," OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu told reporters.

Human Rights First and Muslim Public Affairs Council, two U.S.-based advocacy groups, warned of the risks of regulating such freedoms.

"Countless incidents show that when governments or religious movements seek to punish offences in the name of combating religious bigotry, violence then ensues and real violations of human rights are perpetrated against targeted individuals," they said in a joint statement.

The 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council, dominated by developing states, has passed non-binding resolutions against defamation of religion for over a decade. Similar ones were endorsed in the U.N. General Assembly.

European countries, the United States and several Latin American nations in the council opposed the resolutions, arguing that while individual people have human rights, religions do not, and that existing U.N. pacts - if enforced - were sufficient to curb incitement to hatred and violence.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle attempted to dampen talk of a clash of civilizations on Thursday.

"Some would have us believe that the burning embassy buildings are proof of a clash of civilizations," Westerwelle said in his U.N. address. "We must not allow ourselves to be deluded by such arguments. This is not a clash of civilizations. It is a clash within civilizations. It is also a struggle for the soul of the movement for change in the Arab world."
(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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Few Choices, Raw Imperative

"I believe that faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down - and it will give more time for sanctions and diplomacy.  Red lines don't lead to war, red lines prevent war ... nothing could imperil the world more than a nuclear-armed Iran."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
This is not the first time that the Prime Minister of Israel has resorted to graphic demonstrations to prove a point.  On a previous occasion he came equipped with documentation and architectural plans to impress upon the delegates at the United Nations General Assembly that contrary to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's insistence that the Holocaust never took place, it most certainly did, a fact that should be seared indelibly on the sensibilities of every intelligent human being.

On this occasion it was a graphic of a bomb in process that Mr. Netanyahu used to ensure that his audience understood the fundamentals of preparation and approach to completion of an cataclysmic explosive device, one fully capable of altering the world order.  Entirely re-writing, in its larger capacity the geography of the Middle East and far, far beyond.
"Iran is 70% of the way [to completing the first stage of its progress toward creating a nuclear device] and ... well into the second stage.  By next summer, at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage.  From there it is only a few more weeks before they have enriched enough for a bomb."
His contention, as leader of the country most directly threatened by that acquisition, is that merely claiming the intention to deter Iran from acquiring what it seeks is insufficient to ensure that it does not achieve its intent.  The purpose of a red line is to inform, without equivocation, that one has reached the limit of the designated line identified as "stop right here".  To proceed beyond is to invite whatever precautions to be undertaken to destroy that purpose.

To stop the project from proceeding from the second stage to the third and last.  That represents the only possible, reliable safeguard.  It is not just Prime Minister Netanyahu who warns of Iran's impending date with nuclear destiny, it is the United Nations' own nuclear regulatory [and inspection] authority that has confirmed the situation at its direst.  That action is required is obvious. 

The latest intelligence on the outcome of the sanctions on Iran's economy inform of straitened circumstances.

There is yet hope that another, even stricter round of sanctions may lead Iran to the brink of final abandonment of the nuclear program and uranium enrichment beyond commercial-medical applications.  In the interim, Israel, far more than any other country, including Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, knows its presence in the Middle East is imperilled. 

It has little patience for the kind of patience that the United States is pressing upon it.

And with reason.  A nuclear-armed Iran would represent a lowering and constant threat to the world, but first of all to Israel.  Iran has iterated and reiterated its intention to redraw the map of the Middle East, to release the geography from the presence of the 'cancer' it names the "Zionist entity".  That raw, undisguised threat cannot be dismissed out of hand.

Iran is a terrorist state in support of other terrorist states and militias.  The savagery of its punishment meted out to those it considers adversaries is taken to be legitimate under the canopy of Islam's directives.  "Given the record of Iranian aggression without nuclear weapons, just imagine Iranian aggression with nuclear weapons", reminded Mr. Netanyahu.

The leader of a civilized society, Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks of deterrence, not aggression.  The leader of an uncivil, brutally primitive government, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Grand Ayatollah Khamenei speak of extermination.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

World Statesman of the Year

"I say these things not to counsel any particular action, not to wish any additional hardship on the long-suffering Iranian people and certainly not to advocate war, but rather so that we not shrink from recognizing evil in the world for what it is."
Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Prime Minister Harper spoke indirectly to the international community of a regime "where evil dominates", calling upon the world to make an effort to "step up pressure and isolate" the Islamic Republic of Iran.  The occasion was during his being awarded the World Statesman Award from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, in New York.  A ceremony that took place at the very time when the United Nations General Assembly was reconvening.

Present at the opening of the UN General Assembly were heads of state and of government of well over one hundred member countries.  Many of whom made speeches from the General Assembly podium.  Prime Minister Harper made a judiciously considered decision not to attend.  And that decision without a doubt had much to do with the fact that the United Nations whose purpose is to foster peace and human rights within the international community appears to be failing.

Setting aside entirely the gruesomely absurd reality that one of the United Nations' last Secretary Generals had been a Nazi officer in World War II, implicated in the murder of Jews, utterly defiling the sanctity of the United Nations as a sanctuary from vile fascism, more latterly the world's latest fascist regime has been allowed to present its credentials there.  From Kurt Waldheim, former Austrian president, to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the United Nations has irremediably sullied itself.

And continues to do so, with little backward glance at the original purpose of the League of Nations in the wake of that dreadful world cataclysmic eruption, the Second World War.  It was not just the horrors of a Fascist covenant intent on overthrowing democracy, but the realization and acknowledgement of the world's failure in preventing the wholesale destruction of six million Jews during the Final Solution that resulted in the Holocaust.

And here, yet again, another lecture at the podium of the General Assembly in the holiest of human rights sanctuaries, by yet another fascist dictator state; the emissary from Tehran, speaking of an 'illegitimate state', the cancer of Judaism/Zionism, and the bland intention of the Islamic Republic of Iran, on specific orders from rabid Islamism to destroy the State of Israel.  A statement issuing from a country that is infamous for spreading and supporting terrorism and oppressing its own people.

The question should be why would any self-respecting head of state or government be complicit in permitting sanction to the right of one UN member-country to viciously slander and overtly threaten another so openly?  By their very presence, their willingness to sit and hear out the never-changing insults and assaults those in attendance were conferring respect upon the unrespectably indecent.

When Prime Minister Harper made the decision to absent himself yet again from the UN General Assembly it was with impeccable reasoning.  His government's support for the State of Israel, and his government's rejection of the legitimacy of a state that represses its own, tortures, imprisons and executes political dissenters, persecutes religious minorities, lends itself to brutal suppression of revolt in other tyrannical states should be widely supported and joined by other democratic countries.

"It is important to state, that whatever Israel's shortcomings, neither its existence nor its policies are responsible for the pathologies present in that part of the world."  After which, like a statesman, Prime Minister Harper went along to the United Nations to meet with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, and later to meet with President Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

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"I will be held, if I am convicted, in solitary confinement, for the rest of my life in very harsh conditions, with probably no possibility of parole.  I am a disabled man and have no arms and there will be very little granted to me to alleviate that."

In the grand legal tradition of the mother country, Canada has experienced no end of difficulties ridding itself of failed refugee and immigration claimants most of whom, because they become familiar with the democratic laws of the country favouring the individual in reflection of the Constitution and Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, one appeal after another can take place, costing the government tax dollars and exhausting all legal avenues, eating up years in the effort.

This is the legacy of legal protections under the law that Canadians treasure, and which are extended to all those whose feet touch Canadian soil.  The tedious, cumbersome and lengthy procedures tie up the courts and government agencies' patience, while benefiting those whose claims are very often vexatious in nature, enabling them to continue enjoying the generous social benefits that Canada is renowned for.

The situation is an inherited one.  From the Mother Country, from the colonial outreach period when Great Britain ruled the seas and spread her influence far and wide throughout the Commonwealth.  What has made justice groan to a stumbling halt in Canada in attempts to extradite unwanted claimants whose claims are deemed to be illegitimate, or those who have committed criminal acts while in Canada, occurs with regularity in Britain as well, since it is the fount of these judicial strangleholds on sovereign decision-making.

Britain experienced a problem that has become common enough throughout Europe and North America; the troublesome and worrying presence of agents - often clerics - of fanatical Islamism who seek converts to radical violent jihad in the name of extending Islamist influence worldwide through intimidation, fear and violence.  From mosques and Muslim community centres youth graduated into jihad in support of Islamism, some going abroad to fight 'wars' against the infidel, some remaining behind to become home-grown jihadists prepared to defend the ideology of violent jihad right at home.

Eight years ago Britain took steps to begin extradition procedures of one of its most notorious jihadist extremists whom the United States requested on a 2004 warrant for organizing military training camps there and for being implicated in abductions that took place in Yemen.  Abu Hamza, a man dedicated to the violent overthrow of democracy to replace it with Islamist rule and Sharia law, invested in converting young Muslims to rabid jihadists has taken advantage of all the appeal mechanisms available to him over the years.

Just recently the BBC made a public apology when one of its regular interviewers revealed injudiciously that Queen Elizabeth II during an interview had stated her bemusement and annoyance at the fact that her country was not able to speedily dispatch this man out of Britain and into the waiting arms of the American justice system.  It obviously represented a source of frustration and anger to the Monarch that her country could be held to judicial ransom by its own laws to the benefit of such a malevolent figure.

And now, Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge reveals that this situation represented "a real source of fury" to him that such egregious situations would exist. Emphasizing the "great public interest" that terrorism cases be dealt with expeditiously and expressing his frustration at the absurdity of a known terror felon being able to pull such delaying tactics using the law that was meant to protect individuals from harm, in the case of someone like this cleric devoted to causing harm to others.

Perhaps the most absurd and bedevilling part of the entire situation is that Abu Hamza piteously clings to exhortations that people have pity on him.  That it should be kept uppermost in mind of those who seek justice on behalf of those whom he has harmed, that in so doing he would be harmed and that would be simply dreadful.  He could, he insists, face a life sentence in a maximum security prison if convicted, and that would represent an affront to European human rights prohibitions against torture and ill treatment.

While it was perfectly legitimate, ethical and moral on behalf of jihad for this cleric representing the tenets of Islam to decry the perfidious debasement of the West and his contempt for the inferiority of infidels deserving to die to satisfy sadistic jihadists in their mission to find salvation in Paradise in recognition of their heroic status as martyrs successful in human slaughter, his human rights should be viewed as inviolable.

The way has been cleared, finally, for British courts to act to expedite the removal of this menace from the country.  Abu Hamza's plea to the European Court to have mercy on him, as a poor, misunderstood man with unfortunate disabilities hasn't worked its magic.  The Strasbourg court ruled that "no violation" of this man's human rights would be breached, clearing the way for this miserable saga to come to a long-deserved end.

But not, alas, until yet another appeal has been heard in England, still blocking the extradition.

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Black holes: Scientists measure the point of no return 

Christian Science Monitor

Using imaging of the galaxy M87, astronomers have for the first time measured the closest stable orbit within which matter can circle a black hole. They found that this innermost orbit measures 750 times the distance from the Earth to the sun. 

By Clara / September 27, 2012
This image from a simulation shows an energy jet launched from a spinning black hole surrounded by a disk of accreting material.
Avery E. Broderick (University of Waterloo/Perimeter Institute)

For the first time, scientists have peered to the edge of a colossal black hole and measured the point of no return for matter.

A black hole has a boundary called an event horizon. Anything that falls within a black hole's event horizon — be it stars, gas, or even light — can never escape.

"Once objects fall through the event horizon, they're lost forever," Shep Doeleman, assistant director of the MIT Haystack Observatory and research associate at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, said in a statement Thursday (Sept. 27). "It's an exit door from our universe. You walk through that door, you’re not coming back."

Although the event horizon is an imaginary line that's impossible to observe, astronomers have imaged the region around a giant black hole at the center of a distant galaxy, and measured, for the first time, the closest stable orbit in which matter can circle the black hole. The findings were reported today in the journal Science.

The supermassive black hole in question lies at the center of the galaxy M87, which is about 50 million light-years from our own Milky Way. This behemoth black hole contains the mass of 6 billion suns.

Using a new observatory called the Event Horizon Telescope, which links up radio dishes in Hawaii, Arizona and California, astronomers measured that the innermost possible orbit for matter around the black hole is roughly 5.5 times the size of the black hole's event horizon.

This innermost orbit is about five times the size of the solar system, or 750 times the distance from Earth to the sun, Doeleman told The distance between the Earth and the sun is nearly 93 million miles (150 million kilometers).

The observations allowed the researchers to confirm that this swirling mass around the black hole is the source of the powerful jets of light seen radiating from the galaxy. Many galaxies throughout the universe spot similar jets, thought to be produced by matter falling into their central black holes. Until now, no telescope has had the resolution power to verify the idea.

The Event Horizon Telescope is a new project that aims to link as many as 50 radio dishes around the world to work in concert to image the distant universe. Already, the observatory can see celestial objects with 2,000 times more detail than the Hubble Space Telescope.
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Leading News Agencies Comparing Netanyahu to Hitler?

Associated Press and Reuters both featured 'Nazi salute' photos of Binyamin Netanyahu's U.N. speech.

By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 9/28/2012, 2:05 PM

Netanyahu lifts arm during speech.
Netanyahu lifts arm during speech.
Screenshot from video
A disturbing thing happened in the course of Binyamin Netanyahu's speech at the United Nations General Assembly Thursday. The world's two largest news agencies, Associated Press and Reuters, both selected photos of the same infinitesimal moment in Netanyahu's speech to send to their subscribers worldwide.

That moment was one in which Netanyahu raised his left hand, his arm straight, inadvertently assuming a position that immediately calls to mind Adolf Hitler giving a Nazi salute in the course of a speech - even though he did not hold the position or symbolize anything by it.

Netanyahu was not saluting, of course. Rather, he was saying this:
"Recently, I was deeply moved when I visited Technion, one of our technological institutes in Haifa, and I saw a man paralyzed from the waist down climb up a flight of stairs, quite easily, with the aid of an Israeli invention."

The arm gesture illustrated the story of the man climbing the stairs.
The average consumer of news would have a hard time realizing that AP and Reuters had done something wrong. The news agencies sell their reports and photos to newspapers, websites and television stations, which are the ones who pass the materials on to the end consumer. The agencies essentially serve as reporters-for-hire, for news outlets that rely on them to cover the events in a purely professional manner.

Therefore, it takes a journalist to fully recognize the apparently base and manipulative nature of what the agencies did. The news agencies could not help but realize the visceral reaction to that position, which remains frozen in a photograph.

The Weekly Standard noticed, and featured the story under the headline "Shock Photos of Netanyahu at U.N. from AP, Reuters."

The Daily Caller went a step further and contacted the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Abe Foxman.

“I can’t believe it, if it in fact happened,” Foxman told The Daily Caller. “I think it is ugly, disgusting, offensive."

Arutz Sheva has contacted the Prime Minister's Office and asked for a reaction, but has not yet received one.

Netanyahu talked of how Israel offers medical care to all who need it.  Israel treated 115,000 Palestinian Authority Arabs in its hospitals in the year 2011 alone.

As published online at ArutzSheva 7

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Why has it taken Britain eight years to extradite Abu Hamza?

British extradition proceedings against the militant cleric Abu Hamza, wanted in the US on terror charges, began in 2004. But only this week has an end to the legal process become visible.

By Ben Quinn, Correspondent / September 28, 2012
In this January 2004 file photo, self-styled cleric Abu Hamza leads his followers in prayer in a street outside Finsbury Park Mosque, on the first anniversary of its closure by anti-terrorism police, London.
John D McHugh/AP/File

Eight years after the first steps to extradite to the US one of Britain’s most notorious extremists, that legal saga is likely to come to an end next week should he fail in a last-ditch legal gambit to prevent his removal.

Yet even before the latest delay, legal deliberations over the fate of Abu Hamza – originally arrested in 2004 on a US extradition warrant for allegedly organizing a militant training camp in Oregon and assisting in kidnappings in Yemen – had long tested the patience of many, as the case wound its way through British and European Courts.

While not mentioning the case specifically, none other than the most senior judge in England and Wales suggested Thursday that he was as frustrated as anyone.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, said it was “a real source of fury” to him that cases should take as long as eight years to go through the courts as different grounds for appeal are attempted, and that there was a “great public interest” in allegations concerning terrorism being dealt with swiftly.

The comments by Lord Judge were welcomed by MPs as well as news outlets that have focused on the cost to the tax-payer of providing legal aid to Hamza and channeled anger at perceived foot-dragging by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which ruled back in 2008 that extradition could not take place until it examined the case.

Hamza had argued that his extradition to the US, where he could face a life sentence in a supermax prison if convicted, would run afoul of European human rights prohibitions against torture and ill treatment.

Julian Knowles, a barrister specializing in extradition law, says “a lot of the problems that have arisen here, and which have required litigation, are to do with just how savage the US sentencing system is and that gave the basis for Hamza to go to the European Court and say: ‘I will be held, if I am convicted, in solitary confinement, for the rest of my life in very harsh conditions, with probably no possibility of parole. I am a disabled man and have no arms and there will be very little granted to me to alleviate that.' ”

In April, the Strasbourg court ruled there would be "no violation" of the rights of Hamza and a number of others if they were put on trial in the US. And on Monday, the ECHR rejected the men's appeal, clearing the way for a possible end to the long legal saga.

After failing in Europe, Hamza is making a final stand in England, where judges issued an interim injunction Wednesday blocking the extradition and granting a court hearing for an appeal. Hamza’s legal team must show that there is some new and compelling factor that has not been already considered by previous court hearings.
Mr. Knowles says that while Hamza’s case is long, there have been longer extradition cases, including a French request that took 10 years.
“This case has taken a long time because the [ECHR] is very under resourced and has a backlog of cases, so by the time you go there you are building in up to a three-, four-year delay,” he says, adding that the extradition proceedings under English law also made the case a lengthy one.

Knowles also says that Hamza's eight-year saga is not a sign that Britain's extradition system is too weighted in favor of individuals fighting against their removal.  It's just the opposite, he says.
“The law is overwhelmingly in favor of the government seeking extradition. Very little has to be shown for the US to seek extradition, and in fact the controversy recently has been about whether it has been too easy for the US to get people from here as compared with if the UK was asking the US, where the hurdle is much higher.”

The sheer complexity of the Hamza case was also an issue.
The case's outcome is one that may have a lasting legacy in Europe.

The precedent set by the ECHR's ruling may turn out to be a green light across Europe for future extraditions to US supermax prisons, as the court officially has jurisdiction over 47 states across the continent (though Russia often ignores its rulings). The ruling is not apt to affect extradition to the US in death penalty cases, as Europe's opposition to capital punishment remains entrenched.

Symbolic importance

If Hamza's last-ditch effort fails, extradition is likely to quickly follow for a figure who has been one of the most striking encapsulations of what many Britons regard as the face of Al Qaeda inspired extremism.

Security experts emphasize the symbolic importance of the case of the hook-handed, one-eyed radical cleric, who took charge of London’s Finsbury Park Mosque in the 1990s and used it as a base to persuade young Muslims to take up the cause of holy war.

“In terms of his strategic relevance, he is no longer an active figure in terms of jihadi terrorism in general but he somehow represents the kind of threat that the UK has been facing since 2001,” says Tina Soria, an analyst specializing in counter-terrorism and Security and London’s Royal United Services Institute think-tank.

“His extradition would mark the end of one very important chapter in counter-terrorist narrative in the UK and how effective it has been in, hopefully, disrupting terrorist activities.”
“He represented a significant player in terms of radicalization, and the kind of threat that the UK was facing up until, maybe, 2007 and 2008 but we have seen an evolution in the terrorist threat and we of course now that kind of ideological message is equally circulating online.”

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