Wednesday, October 31, 2012 EnglishArab tweeps should stop gloating over Sandy disaster: Saudi Grand Mufti

Sandy storm leaf more than 100 people killed and millions affected in the U.S. East Coast. (AFP)
Sandy storm leaves more than 100 people killed and millions affected in the U.S. East Coast. (AFP)
The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holliest sites, has condemned as “illegitimate” the gloating by radical “tweeps” in the Arab world over the Sandy storm disaster, which left more than 100 people dead in the U.S. East Coast.

Sheikh Abdel Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Sheikh told al-Hayat newspaper that gloating over "these people who were hit by storm Sandy is inappropriate,” adding that such behavior in “illegitimate” and “must be abandoned.”

Saudi Arabia’s prominent Islamic preacher Salman al-Oudah also urged Twitter users to refrain from gloating over Sandy victims, recalling the Prophet Muhammad’s message of peace to mankind.

Commenting on the super-storm disaster, one person who identifies himself as a professor of religion tweeted: “We ask God to destroy them all, and not keep one of them,” because the United States “supports war and abuse towards Muslims.”

In Egypt, controversial Islamic preacher Wagdy Ghoneim described storm Sandy as one of “God’s soldiers” sent to punish the United States for its actions against Muslims.

Other Twitter users compared Sandy to the sand storm, which according Islam was sent by God to the “People of Aad” to punish them for refusing to believe in him.

Mustafa al-Nagar, Former Egyptian parliament member who was in the United States at the time of the storm, wrote on his twitter account: “I pray for people here in America with mercy. What’s happening here is a catastrophe and a tragedy! Do not gloat over innocent victims, this is inhumane.”

Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti also criticized gloaters over Sandy. He tweeted: “Who told you that children, students, women and men in America wish you [Muslims] death? Politicians like Mubarak and Bush are one thing, and humanity is something else.”

In the same vein, Engy Hamdi, political activist and member of Egypt’s April 6 Movement, wrote on her Twitter account, “Did Islam teach us to gloat amid the misfortunes of people?

Labels: , , , ,

Public Relations Blitzing The UN

A lot of feverish diplomacy taking place at the United Nations as Palestinians launch yet another attempt at achieving a majority for a vote they have engineered to give them non-member statehood at the United Nations.  And it looks like a slam-dunk.  Sympathy, unsurprisingly, given the heft of the Arab League and the Muslim World League gear up to support one of their own, against a detested Zionist entity.

Non-aligned states which have long denied entry to Israel as an outsider and a 'colonizer' will also support the Palestinian bid.  West Bank diplomats are going at it full tilt courting European countries to support them, wagering on a substantive majority.  "From the EU we will have a minimum of 12 votes and maybe up to 15, as some are not yet decided", declared a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Ah, the PLO, Yasser Arafat's historical invention and alma mater.  The PLO is of course a brutally militant organization.  How many people think back to all those airplane high-jackings and others on the high seas?  Of people held hostage and murdered.  Of the deadly attack on Israeli Olympians at the Munich Games.  Of the explosions at European synagogues and the deaths of countless Jews and non-Jews.  Now they have diplomatic cachet.

Palestinian officials, representing a nascent nation which cannot exist financially without being propped up substantially by the United Nations and the European Union and other compassionate First-World nations, feel they can count on roughly 115 "yes" votes.  Those votes emanating for the most part from Arab, African, Latin American and Asian states, not necessarily those states that provide the economic means for the Palestinian state to survive.

They anticipate around 22 "no" votes.  Above all from the United States, Canada and other close supporters against the vote.  With 56 abstentions rounding out the 193-member United Nations.  The Palestinian bid for UN presence is now as an "observer" state, a status similar to that granted the Vatican.  They're working on France, hoping to dissuade it from abstention to a "yes".  Sitting on the fence is for the faint of heart.

It is thought that the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Georgia represent several of the five nations in Europe that appear set to vote "no", according to Palestinian officials.  President Mahmoud Abbas has made a pledge that if they succeed, from a new position of strength in UN recognition, he will be prepared to restart peace talks with Israel "straightaway".  Possibly dropping settlement preconditions.

These Palestinian moves to UN recognition and its success at UNESCO led its largest financial benefactor, the United States, to withhold economic assistance to the aid-dependent Palestinian Authority.  The U.S. extended its financial withdrawal to UNESCO as well, in the wake of admitting Palestine as a member.

Canada too has done its part in that department.

Labels: , , , ,

 Peace and Goodwill

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir, pictured together in Tehran in 2006

In "solidarity" and brotherhood with Sudan, Iran had moved two naval vessels, a helicopter carrier and a destroyer to Port Sudan on Monday.  Two days later the ships departed, back to their mission in the Indian Ocean to do their marine duty as a sea power in an effort to halt piracy on the high seas.  Iran portrays itself as a member in good standing of the world community.  Doing its part to ensure that the world is a safer place.

Iranian Navy destroyer Shahid Naqdi is pictured at Port Sudan at the Red Sea State
They make a good pair, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, indicted for war crimes for his mission to destroy Darfurians, and Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has pledged on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran to destroy and eradicate the State of Israel from the map of the Middle East.  Both are exemplars of world leaders doing their part to ensure a safer, peaceable world.

Some dastardly entity sought to destroy the manufacturing capability of an armaments plant in Sudan in the belief that weapons produced at the Yarmouk facility are destined for Tehran who sends them on through Sudan to Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon, keeping them well supplied with advanced weaponry. 

[The weapons could be] "something with air defence capability ... or could very well belong to the category of rockets and missiles, but just larger, stronger and longer range" explained retired Israeli Brig.-Gen. Shlomo Brom, convinced there exists a "strong possibility" that Israel had pinpointed an "imminent threat" emanating from the factory's production.

More or less corroborated by Gen. Sameh Seif Elyazel, former Egyptian army general who felt the strike resulted from data on short-range missiles assembled at the factory "under Iranian supervision", meant to build up the inventory of Hamas and Hezbollah militant groups.  His analysis was fortified by "private conversations with Israeli officials" conveyed to him from another source.

"Iran wants to put Israel under pressure from the north, through Hezbollah and from the east through Gaza", was his informed and expert interpretation.  Which, of course, the Republic interprets as keeping the peace.  But Iran has many problems which it seeks to solve, among which is the conduit for its arms shipments to Hamas since Israel halted maritime lanes effecting direct delivery to Gaza.

The Syrian conflict has impacted deleteriously on Iran's relations with Hamas.  Hamas took umbrage at Alawite Shiites butchering Sunni Syrians.  Syria does represent Iran's most important regional ally.  After all, Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea are inconveniently located outside the Middle East and North Africa, so while their support is very much appreciated, their useful effect is limited.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

"Father" in the DRC

"This year I am once again operating on women whose genitals were destroyed by rape and other atrocities.  There are many women who are barely getting by, and rape is continuing.  The rainy season is coming soon in North Kivu and the vulnerability of women is increasing."

Denis Mukwege
Denis Mukwege is a Congolese gynecologist. He founded and works in Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, where he specializes in the treatment of women who have been gang-raped by Rwandan militia, Mukwege has ... Wikipedia
Born: March 1, 1955 (age 57), Bukavu
Awards: United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights
Dr. Mukwege is a singular human being.  He has dedicated himself to the surgical and psychical rehabilitation of women and girls who have experienced unbelievable human rights violations.  Thousands of women were dying of complications from the injuries they sustained from brutal rapes.  Inspiring this man to found the Panzi Hospital in eastern Congo.  And he made it his mission to help whomever among these desperately injured women he could.
His humanitarian work takes place under horrendously difficult circumstances and an obvious lack of enthusiasm of the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, although foreign governments do recognize and support his work.  His single-minded rescue of dreadfully harmed women has garnered him huge admiration from other organizations such as NGO Physicians for Human Rights, who also support his work financially.  
Dr. Mukwege's work has several dimensions; the care of broken women and girls who have been horribly mutilated through repeated rape  -  and a hoped-for cultural change that would convince men of the region to honour and respect woman, and turn them away from violence and rape as a weapon.  Government troops are as guilty as the rampaging militias the troops attempt to hunt down; they all rape vulnerable women and girls.

Rape as a weapon of war has been methodically incorporated into the operations of both government and rebel forces.  Dr. Mukwege's courage in publicly and loudly advocating on behalf of woman has made a target of him.  DRC's President Laurent-Desire Kabila has no interest in protecting this gynaecologist who has put the safety and security of his country's women at the top of his personal agenda, but not President Kabila's.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is battling an insurgency led by Rwandan Hutus who had sought haven in this hugely populous African neighbour, and they continued their depredations against Congo-based Tutsis, after their failure in the unspeakable carnage of the Rwandan Genocide and the ascension to power of the Rwandan Tutsis.  Uganda and the current Tutsi-led government of Rwanda have attempted to plot an overtake of DRC.

Against this backdrop of competing interests and military clashes with countless lives lost to brutalities, there is the dreadful plight of the Congolese women.  A week ago there was an assassination attempt on the life of Dr. Mukwege.  Four would-be assassins forced their way into his home, they shot and killed his security guard, and fired at Dr. Mukwege, but he managed to escape.  
He has since taken his family for safety away from the DRC.

Violence has once again broken out in his home city of Bukavu, causing aid organizations concern for the safety of their locally engaged staff in the region.  For the time being this brave man and his family are safe, removed from the conflict.  He is also away by necessity, from the hospital he founded, unable to perform his life-saving surgery on women who require it.  

Most of these women have no one else to care about them, to care for them.  Because they have been raped, their families' honour has been disgraced, and they have been disowned.  They view him as their 'father', for they have no one else to cling to for help and emotional support.

Labels: , , , , ,

Ramallah: Shin Bet exposes Hamas command center

Shin Bet arrests 30 operatives who attempted to restore Hamas activity in Ramallah region

Yoav Zitun
Published: 10.29.12, 21:57 / Israel News

A Shin Bet investigation has exposed an attempt by Hamas to renew activity in the West Bank, the general security service said.

The extensive organizational infrastructure that was uncovered in Ramallah and in villages in the West Bank's Binyamin region indicate the first effort made by Hamas in years to resume operations in the area. Some 30 operatives belonging to the terrorist organizations were arrested in the probe and are being indicted in a military court.

Related stories:

The command center was meant to promote Hamas' standing in the West Bank in order to increase its chances of gaining power in future elections in the Palestinian Authority. According to the Shin Bet, the operatives cultivated Hamas cells in universities with funding and activities, and transferred funds to Hamas prisoners and their families.
The investigation, which involved the IDF and the police, found that the operatives maintained contact with Hamas leaders abroad, taking extraordinary measures to conceal their identities and their intentions. The militants used messengers, aliases, memory cards and e-mail. Meetings were held under extreme secrecy.

Attempts to restore a command center in the Hebron and Bethlehem regions were foiled with the operatives' arrests. Among the detainees were two Hamas members who admitted to being involved in the lynch that claimed the lives of two IDF reserve solders at a Palestinian police station in Ramallah in 2000.

The charges brought against the operatives include membership, employment and carrying out services for an illegal group, maintaining contact with the enemy and transferring enemy funds into the West Bank. The military court decided to keep the defendants in custody until the trial is over.
The Shin Bet said that the command center was run by Murad Muhammad Khaled Abu Baha, with several others operating under his direction to manage the headquarters' finances, oversee student and prisoner affairs and supervise activity in various areas of the West Bank.

  • Follow Ynetnews

Labels: , , ,

Supreme Court denies to hear appeal of Hamas-linked Holy Land Foundation officials

JihadWatch - Robert Spencer

The stain on the record of Hamas-linked CAIR remains, even as it continues to deceive law enforcement officials and the mainstream media. "End of the Line for HLF," from IPT News, October 29:
The United States Supreme Court has decided not to accept appeals from the five Holy Land Foundation officials convicted of illegally funneling more than $12 million to Hamas, essentially concluding the case.

The court had no comment in declining to hear the case Monday.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected similar arguments last year in upholding the convictions against Ghassan Elashi, Shukri Abu-Baker, Mohammad El-Mezain, Mufid Abdulqader and Abdulrahman Odeh. They were convicted on a total of 108 counts in 2008 and are serving sentences ranging from 15 years to 65 years in prison....

The defense and its supporters continue to cast the Holy Land Foundation as a victim of overzealous post-9/11 prosecutions. The group merely raised money for needy Palestinians, they argue, and was never connected to any violence.

But evidence and testimony in the trial showed the HLF sent money to Palestinian charities controlled by Hamas. "The purpose of creating the Holy Land Foundation was as a fundraising arm for Hamas," U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis said at the 2009 sentencing hearing.

HLF had been one of the nation's largest Muslim charities before being shut down in 2001.

Other disclosures in the case tied several prominent American Islamist groups – especially the Council on American-Islamic Relations – to a Muslim Brotherhood network in the United States created to provide Hamas with political and financial support.

Labels: , , Exclusive: Islamist Adviser to the State Dept and USAID Exposed

Wed, October 24, 2012
by: Ryan Mauro
Abed Ayoub (left)Abed Ayoub, the CEO of Islamic Relief USA, a powerful charity with links to Hamas is an official advisor to the State Department and USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development), a investigation has found.

Ayoub has been advising the Obama Administration since at least April 2010. He and his organization have been publicly embraced by President Obama and Vice President Biden.

Ayoub was born in a Palestinian refugee camp and raised in Jordan. After high school, he moved to Yugoslavia and Germany and ultimately ended up in California. He became a volunteer for the Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) and went on to become its CEO in 2008. He is a governance committee member of Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), IRUSA’s parent group. He is also on the Board of Trustees of the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty.

Ayoub joined the State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group in November 2011, specifically the Sub-Group on Faith-Based Groups and Development and Humanitarian Assistance, according to IRUSA’s press release. It says he will “take part in dialogue and provide input on relevant topics including the challenges and opportunities for partnership. The group also will identify model action programs or projects for collaboration between the U.S. government and NGOs.” The release says it will “meet through November 2012.” The timing and phrasing suggests that this isn’t the group’s expiration date and that the election will determine whether its work continues next year.

According to his bio, Ayoub was appointed to the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid in April 2010, where he “provides advice, analysis and recommendations to USAID on the most pressing development issues in the world today.” He was reappointed to another two-year term in May.

On November 23-24, 2010, Ayoub spoke at Washington National Cathedral and the White House. In August 2011, he was given a Distinguished Community Service Award by the Department of Agriculture. President Obama mentioned his administration’s work with IRUSA at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 2, 2012. On June 21, Ayoub spoke at an event hosted by Vice President Biden (there’s a picture of the two together on this page).

That’s quite a list of accomplishments for a man whose bio states that he’s a governance committee member of IRW. In 2006, Israel arrested the IRW’s project coordinator of its Gaza office, Iyaz Ali, for funneling money to Hamas. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ press release stated that IRW operations in Gaza and the West Bank were inseparable from that of Hamas:
“The IRW’s activities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip are carried out by social welfare organizations controlled and staffed by Hamas operatives. The intensive activities of these associations are designed to further Hamas’ ideology among the Palestinian population,” it states.
The Israeli government says that Iyaz Ali admitted to knowing that the organizations supported by IRW are Hamas entities. These organizations incite acts of terrorism and provide material aid to the families of Hamas terrorists that are wounded or in Israeli custody.

Joe Kaufman writes that IRW is the creation of Hani Al-Bana, a former trustee of a group called Muslim Aid. The British government cleared Muslim Aid in 2010, raising objections from some terrorism experts because of the group’s well-documented ties to terror-linked Islamist groups. The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report further reports on the Brotherhood ties of IRW leaders, including one that used to be the Minister of Religious Affairs in Sudan.

Ayoub’s group, IRUSA, tries to put some distance between itself and IRW on its website by saying they are “legally separate and independent affiliates (also referred to as ‘partner offices’).” IRUSA’s Facebook page says it is a “legally separate and independent member of a global family of collaborating relief organizations that share a common vision, mission, and family identity, and all of which use the term ‘Islamic Relief’ as part of their organizational name.”

As mentioned, Ayoub is both the CEO of IRUSA and a governance committee member of IRW. IRUSA’s president and chairman of the board, Mohamed Amr Attawia, sits on IRW’s Board of Trustees. Americans for Peace and Tolerance discovered that Attawia was listed as the New England director in a 1991 phone directory of the American Muslim Brotherhood. Attawia also once was the Vice President of the Muslim American Society, a Brotherhood front.

The immense movement of money transferred between the two shows they operate as one. The Money Jihad blog documents the movement of about $5 million, $6 million and $9.5 million from IRUSA to IRW in 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively. The IRUSA’s December 31, 2010 financial report says, “The majority of IRUSA’s programs are administered through grants with [IRW],” with a total of nearly $22 million that year alone.

Kaufman reported in 2007 that IRUSA’s Registered Agent is Kazbek Soobzokov, who was the attorney for Wagdy Ghoneim. Ghoneim was a radical imam in California who was arrested in November 2004. The Department of Homeland Security had evidence that he was fundraising for Hamas, and he voluntarily left the U.S. On September 30, he preached that Muslims who call themselves liberals or secularists should be prosecuted as apostates.

IRUSA’s events regularly feature Islamist speakers. At least nine of its fundraisers for Palestinians this year featured Hatem Bazian, the chairman of American Muslims for Palestine. These took place in Elk Grove, CA; Stockton, CA; Redmond, WA; Brooklyn, NY; East Rutherford, NJ; Dublin, OH; Garden Grove, CA; Orlando, FL and Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Bazian’s group holds events that preach extremism including support for the destruction of Israel and at least two board members worked closely with the Holy Land Foundation, a charity shut down for financing Hamas. Bazian said in 2004 that Muslim-Americans need to follow in the footsteps of the “uprising in Iraq” and the “intifada in Palestine” by having an intifada in the U.S. to “change fundamentally the political dynamics in here.” He warned, “They're gonna say some Palestinian [is] being too radical – well, you haven't seen radicalism yet."

In June, Bazian said that the U.S. wants to ally with India against China because “we always like that the darker people fight our war and the more these people die is better for the officers because racism can be manifested across many sectors.”

He claimed there is a “systemic process of targeting Muslim leadership of organizational structures by eliminating the existing leadership that has developed over the last 40 years…” Bazian repeated this theme in a video posted in September. He said that the “military-industrial complex” is behind the “Islamophobic production industry.”

“Those who are working on Islamophobia, they believe that the more hatred we have of Muslims in here, the more that we have reflexive hatred of Muslims abroad, thus authorizing or making the need for military action and the death and destruction more palatable to us without having to think we are actually killing humans,” Bazian said.

The IRUSA "Fundraising Dinner for Palestine" in Richardson, Texas on January 15 featured Sheikh Kifah Mustapha. The government designated him an unindicted co-conspirator in the terrorism-financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation. He is listed among “individuals/entities who are and/or were members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee and/or its organizations.” The Palestine Committee was set up by the Brotherhood to support Hamas in the U.S. Mustapha’s mosque has extensive links to the Brotherhood and he sang in a band that performed pro-Hamas songs.
On June 23, IRUSA held a "Fundraising Dinner for Palestine" at the Islamic Center of Charlotte in North Carolina. The mosque is owned by the North American Islamic Trust, a Muslim Brotherhood entity that was also labeled an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial.

IRUSA will be holding its First Annual Change the World Banquet on December 1 in Anaheim, California with Imam Zaid Shakir, whose radicalism has been documented at (click here, here and here). Also scheduled to speak is Imam Suhaib Webb of the Islamic Society of Boston, a mosque linked to Sheikh Yousef Qaradawi, an influential terrorism-supporting Muslim Brotherhood cleric. The mosque was founded by Abdurahman Alamoudi, a highly successful Brotherhood operative that is now in prison on terrorism-related charges.

IRUSA also sponsored a fundraiser for the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on March 3. CAIR is another designated unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land trial. The government says CAIR is a creation of the Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee. Speakers at the event included Kifah Mustapha and Edina Lekovic, a spokeswoman for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, which was also founded by Brotherhood ideologues.

What’s especially shocking about the influence of Ayoub is that IRUSA appears to be on the radar screen of top counter-terrorism officials. A budget analyst for the National Geospatial Agency may have lost his security clearance because of his wife’s employment with IRUSA. In April 2011, Patrick Poole, a national security and terrorism reporter, quoted a high-level Justice Department source as saying to him:

“Ten years ago we shut down the Holy Land Foundation. It was the right thing to do. Then the money started going to KindHearts. We shut them down too. Now the money is going through groups like Islamic Relief and Viva Palestina. Until we act decisively to cut off the financial pipeline to these terrorist groups by putting more of these people in prison, they are going to continue to raise money that will go into the hands of killers.”

It is alarming to think that the leader of a group with strong Islamist ties, including links to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, is advising the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. The White House is even embracing him and promoting his group.

Answers are needed. How did Abed Ayoub and Islamic Relief USA get this high-level access and influence with this background? And what is IRUSA using its influence in the Obama Administration to accomplish?

Labels: , , , , ,

Tue, October 30, 2012

by: Clare Lopez
The remains of Americans killed in Benghazi are taken off a transport aircraft (Photo: Reuters)

Data points continue to accumulate about the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. The picture that is beginning to emerge from connecting those dots is deeply concerning on multiple levels. Two related issues dominate this analysis: The stripping of security protection from the Benghazi mission prior to the 9/11 anniversary attack and the refusal to send or even permit local help on the night of the attack.

As Fox News Bureau Chief of Intelligence Catherine Herridge suggested on the “Mike Huckabee” show on Oct. 27, both of these critical subjects may have been driven by a perceived need to cover up the existence of the role being played by the U.S. mission in Libya to serve as a command hub for the movement of weapons out of Libya to Syrian rebels fighting to bring down the Bashar Al-Assad regime.

It has now been established through the persistent work of Congressional leadership figures and such investigative journalists, media and talk show hosts  including Fox News, Michael Coren at Canada’s Sun News, Aaron Klein at World Net Daily and Diana West that the Benghazi mission played a central role in a U.S. government policy of “engaging, legitimating, enriching and emboldening Islamists who have taken over or are ascendant in much of the Middle East,” as Center for Security Policy president, Frank Gaffney, put it.

According to media reporting, Benghazi was staffed by CIA operatives whose job may have been not just to secure and destroy dangerous weapons (like RPGs and SAMs) looted from former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi’s stockpiles during and after the 2011 revolution, but also perhaps to facilitate their onward shipment to the Al-Qaeda- and Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Syrian opposition.

President Barack Obama signed an intelligence finding sometime in early 2012 that authorized U.S. support for the Syrian rebels and by mid-June 2012, CIA operatives reportedly were on the Turkish-Syrian border helping to steer weapons deliveries to selected Syrian rebel groups. According to an Oct. 14, 2012 New York Times article, most of those arms were going to “hard-line Islamic jihadists.”
One of those jihadis may well be Abdelhakim Belhadj, former leader of the Al-Qa’eda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting GroupAbdelhakim Belhadj (LIFG) and head of the Tripoli Military Council after Qaddafi’s ouster.

During the 2011 revolt in Libya, Belhadj was almost certainly a key contact of the U.S. liaison to the Libyan opposition, Christopher Stevens.

In November 2011, Belhadj was reported to have met with Syrian Free Army (SFA) leaders in Istanbul, Turkey, as well as on the Turkish-Syrian border. Further, Belhadj’s contact with the SFA comes in the context of  official policy adopted by the post-Qaddafi Libyan “government,” which sent a delegation to Turkey to offer arms and possibly fighters to the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels. "There is something being planned to send weapons and even Libyan fighters to Syria," according to a Libyan source quoted in a November, 2011 Telegraph report.

The multilateral U.S.-Libya-Turkey agreement to get weapons into the hands of Syrian rebels – which were known to be dominated by Al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood elements -- by working with and through Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist figures like Belhadj, seemed confirmed by the appearance of a  Libyan-flagged vessel, Al-Entisar, which docked at the Turkish port of Iskanderun on September 6, 2012.

Suspected of carrying weapons bound for the Syrian rebels, the ship’s cargo reportedly included Russian-designed, shoulder-launched missiles known as MANPADS, RPGs and surface-to-air missiles—all of them just the sort of weapons available in Libya.

U.S. Ambassador Chris StevensStevens’ last meeting in Benghazi the night he was killed was with the Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin, who is variously reported to have been there to discuss a weapons transfer or a warning about the possible compromise of the Libyan weapons pipeline to Syria. Whatever the topic of Ambassador Stevens’ discussion with Akin, he clearly and knowingly put himself in harm’s way to be there, in Benghazi, on the night of September 11.

The urgency that compelled Stevens to Benghazi that night seems especially difficult to understand given what was known to him as well as to senior levels of the Obama administration about the extremely dangerous situation in post-Qaddafi Libya.

It is all the more baffling then that, in view of the obvious priority that the U.S. government had placed on its Libya-to-Syria weapons pipeline operation, such a systematic effort in the weeks leading up to the September 11 attack was dedicated to stripping the Benghazi base of the security protection it so desperately needed in a deteriorating Libyan security environment and despite the repeated pleas of Ambassador Stevens and others in both Tripoli and Benghazi for more security.

From at least February, 2012 onward, the Regional Security Officer (RSO) at the U.S. Tripoli Embassy, Eric Nordstrom, had urged that U.S. security measures in Libya be expanded, citing dozens of security incidents by “Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, including Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)…”

In August 2012, Stevens reported that the security situation in Benghazi was deteriorating, yet in spite of this, the 16-man Site Security Team assigned to Libya, comprised of Special Forces led by SF LTC Andy Wood, was ordered out of Libya, contrary to the Ambassador’s stated desire that they stay.

Note that, at any time, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could have ordered the deployment to Benghazi of additional security experts from the Department of Security (DoS) Bureau of Diplomatic Security (or Diplomatic Security Service—DSS), but apparently chose not to do so.

Instead, DoS hired a British firm, Blue Mountain, to manage its security in Benghazi, and Blue Mountain subcontracted the job to a local jihadist militia called the February 17 Martyrs Brigade who have known Muslim Brotherhood ties.

Furthermore, Nordstrom testified at the October 11, 2012 Congressional hearings that “in deference to sensitivity to Libyan practice, the guards at Benghazi were unarmed"-- an inexplicable practice for a place as dangerous as Benghazi.

Then, in what may have been the attack “green light,” on September 10, 2012, AQ leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called on Libyans to avenge the death of his Libyan number two, Abu Yahya al-Libi, who had been killed in a June, 2012 drone strike in Pakistan. The timing suggests that al-Zawahiri may have given the attack go-ahead after receiving word that Stevens had arrived in Benghazi that day—further suggesting that perhaps AQ knew of Stevens’ travel plans.

Once the attack unfolded at the Benghazi base, it quickly became apparent that the minimal number of U.S. and local security staff was completely unequal to the scores of heavily armed jihadist attackers swarming the compound. And yet, despite a live-streaming video from an overhead drone, plus cables and cell phone calls that, altogether, must have been received by hundreds of administration diplomatic, intelligence and military officials (including the U.S. President, Vice President, Secretaries of Defense and State, and Directors of National Intelligence and CIA), military support from regional bases was denied repeatedly to the besieged Benghazi defenders.

Worse yet, former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods, Tyrone Woodswho was providing security for CIA operatives at the Benghazi annex facility, and Glen Dougherty, who had arrived on a rescue flight dispatched by the CIA Chief of Station in Tripoli, repeatedly were denied permission by their CIA chain of command on the ground to go to the aid of Ambassador Stevens and the others.

Eventually, they went anyway, and succeeded in saving many lives because of their moral and physical courage. Once back at the CIA annex, they all came Glen Doughertyunder heavy fire there too. Again, Dougherty and Woods requested military backup, at least to silence the mortar fire that they had been able to identify by laser painting it. They fought on alone for hours, but when no help came, that mortar barrage eventually took both their lives and seriously injured others.

When asked why he didn’t authorize military assets to scramble to Benghazi’s defense, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta claimed that he didn’t know what was going on and “could not put forces at risk in that situation.

 This is patently false on both counts: Panetta most certainly did know that an American Ambassador and other staff were under military assault by jihadist forces who had invaded the sovereign territory of a U.S. diplomatic facility. Whether U.S. military assets -- either air support or Special Forces -- could have arrived in time to save lives is unknown at this point, but the administration’s refusal to say when the president first learned that Benghazi was under attack, that the ambassador was in peril and that the Al-Qaeda-linked Libyan jihadist group, Ansar al-Shariah, had taken credit for the attack invites speculation.

The White House refusal to comment on when exactly the president first met with the National Security Council after the attack began doesn’t help either. (And the weeks of deliberately false statements from a range of administration figures who tried to claim that an obscure trailer for a film no one had ever seen was to blame for the Benghazi debacle only confirms suspicions about the administration capitulation to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) demands for limits on free speech.)

For his part, CIA Director David Petraeus has denied that either he or anyone else at CIA refused assistance to Dougherty and Woods, saying that "No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate." This leaves only the president himself responsible for the decision to allow the Benghazi base to fall and four Americans to die.

How could he or any of those present when this momentous decision was made not have tried to make every effort imaginable to defend American territory and save American lives? House Government Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa believes President Obama had a political motive for rejecting Ambassador Stevens’ security requests because he wanted to show that conditions in Libya were improving, possibly to justify U.S. intervention in the Libyan revolution or even help pave the way for oil company investment.

Whatever the thinking that left a U.S. mission abroad so undefended that it practically constituted an open invitation to Al-Qaeda, and then, in cold blood, refused to launch military support in defense of Americans fighting and dying to defend U.S. sovereign territory from jihadi assault, the cover-up is fast becoming the worse failure. It is time for administration leaders, from the president on down, to explain both their actions and their failures to act.

Clare Lopez is a senior fellow at and a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on the Middle East, national defense and counterterrorism. Lopez served for 25 years as an operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Labels: , , , , , , ,

After the Devastation, a Daunting Recovery

The New York Times - 31 October 2012

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
Keith Klein and Eileen Blair among homes destroyed by fire in the Breezy Point section of Queens. More Photos »
The New York region began the daunting process on Tuesday of rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a storm that remade the landscape and rewrote the record books as it left behind a tableau of damage, destruction and grief.

The toll — in lives disrupted or lost and communities washed out — was staggering. A rampaging fire reduced more than 100 houses to ash in Breezy Point, Queens. Explosions and downed power lines left the lower part of Manhattan and 90 percent of Long Island in the dark. The New York City subway system — a lifeline for millions — was paralyzed by flooded tunnels and was expect to remain silent for days. 

Accidents claimed more than 40 lives in the United States and Canada, including 22 in the city. Two boys — an 11-year-old Little League star and a 13-year-old friend — were killed when a 90-foot-tall tree smashed into the family room of a house in North Salem, N.Y. An off-duty police officer who led seven relatives, including a 15-month-old boy, to safety in the storm drowned when he went to check on the basement. 

On Tuesday, the storm slogged toward the Midwest, vastly weaker than it was when it made landfall in New Jersey on Monday night. It delivered rain and high winds all the way to the Great Lakes, where freighters were at a standstill in waves two stories tall. It left snow in Appalachia, power failures in Maine and untreated sewage pouring into the Patuxent River in Maryland after a treatment plant lost power. 

President Obama approved disaster declarations for New York and New Jersey, making them eligible for federal assistance for rebuilding. “All of us have been shocked by the force of mother nature,” said the president, who plans to visit New Jersey on Wednesday. He promised “all available resources” for recovery efforts. 

“This is going to take some time,” he said. “It is not going to be easy for these communities to recover.” 

There was no immediate estimate of the losses from the storm, but the scope of the damage — covering more than a half-dozen states — pointed to billions of dollars. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey called it “incalculable.” 

Rescuers looked for survivors in the wet rubble in places like Atlantic City, and state and local officials surveyed wreckage. Utility crews began working their way through a wilderness of fallen trees and power lines. And from Virginia to Connecticut, there were stories of tragedy and survival — of people who lost everything when the water rushed in, of buildings that crumbled after being pounded hour after hour by rain and relentless wind, of hospitals that had to be evacuated when the storm knocked out the electricity. 

The president spoke with 20 governors and mayors on a conference call, and the White House said the president would survey damage from the storm with Mr. Christie on Wednesday. Mr. Obama’s press secretary said the president would join Mr. Christie, who has been one of his harshest Republican critics, in talking with storm victims and thanking first responders. 

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said Mr. Obama had also offered to visit the city, “but I think the thing for him to do is to go to New Jersey and represent the country.” 

Connecticut, New Jersey and New York reopened many closed roads and bridges, and the New York Stock Exchange made plans to resume floor trading on Wednesday after a two-day shutdown, its first because of weather since a blizzard in 1888. 

There were no traffic signals on the walk from Fifth Avenue to the East River. Police officers were directing traffic; here and there, bodegas were open, selling batteries and soft drinks. In Times Square, a few tourists walked around, though some hotels still had sandbags by the doors. 

Mr. Bloomberg said 7,000 trees had been knocked down in city parks. “Stay away from city parks,” he said. “They are closed until further notice.” 

The mayor also said that trick-or-treating was fine for Halloween, but the parade in Greenwich Village had been postponed. The organizers said it was the first time in the parade’s 39-year-history that it had been called off. 
New York’s subway network, which suffered the worst damage in its 108-year-history, faced one of its longest shutdowns because the problems were so much worse than expected, said Joseph J. Lhota, the chairman and chief executive of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency that runs the subways and several commuter railroads.

Water climbed to the ceiling of the South Ferry subway station, the end of the No. 1 line in Lower Manhattan, and debris covered tracks in stations up and down other lines after the water rushed in and out. Mr. Lhota said that seven subway tunnels between Manhattan and Brooklyn were flooded.
He also said that the Metro-North Railroad had no power north of 59th Street on two of its three lines, and that a 40-foot boat had washed up on the tracks in Ossining, N.Y. 

The Long Island Rail Road’s West Side Yards had to be evacuated, and two railroad tunnels beneath the East River were flooded in the storm. The railroad had not restored power on Tuesday and had no timetable for restoring service. The Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, officially the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, and the Queens-Midtown Tunnel also remained impassable, he said. 

Airports, too, took a beating. More than 15,000 flights were canceled, and water poured onto the runways at Kennedy International Airport and La Guardia Airport, both in Queens. Officials made plans to reopen Kennedy, the larger of the two and a major departure point for international flights, on Wednesday. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said La Guardia would remain closed “because of extensive damage.” 

The flooding in the tunnels in Lower Manhattan was so serious that the Federal Emergency Management Agency asked specialists from the Army Corps of Engineers to help. The “unwatering team,” as it is known — two hydrologists and two mechanical engineers from the corps with experience in draining flooded areas — flew to the airport in White Plains because it was one of the few in the area that was open. 

Buses began running again on Tuesday afternoon, and the mayor ordered a ride-sharing program for taxis. He said more than 4,000 yellow cabs were on the streets by Tuesday afternoon. 

From southern New Jersey to the East End of Long Island to the northern suburbs in Connecticut, power companies spent Tuesday trying to figure out just how much damage the storm had done to their wires, transformers and substations. 

The work will take at least a week, possibly longer, because the damage was so extensive, and utility companies called in thousands of crews from all around the country to help out. Consolidated Edison reached to San Francisco to bring in 150 workers from Pacific Gas and Electric. 

Even with the additional manpower, Con Edison said it could still take more than 10 days to complete the repairs. Con Edison had more than 285,000 customers in Manhattan who were in the dark on Tuesday, and more than 185,000 in Westchester. 

Things were worse east of New York City, where nearly one million customers of the Long Island Power Authority did not have power on Tuesday and Mr. Cuomo made clear he wanted the authority to restore power faster than it had in the past. He said it was “not O.K.” for it to take two weeks to repair lines brought down by tree limbs. 

In New Jersey, Public Service Electric and Gas said it had 1.3 million electric customers in the dark, including 500,000 without power because a surge in Newark Bay flooded substations and other equipment. Another New Jersey utility, Jersey Central Power and Light, whose territory covers many shore towns, said almost all of its customers had lost power in some counties, including Ocean and Monmouth. More than one-third of Connecticut Light and Power’s 1.2 million customers had no electricity, either. 

The fire in Breezy Point, Queens, leveled scores of houses, among them one that belonged to Representative Bob Turner, who was riding out the storm at home despite the mayor’s order to evacuate low-lying areas. Mr. Turner’s spokeswoman, Jessica Proud, said he and his wife made it out safely after flames reached their house. Michael R. Long, the chairman of the state Conservative Party, had a home nearby that also burned down, she said. 

Flooded streets in the area prevented firefighters from reaching the blaze, a Fire Department spokesman said, and the mayor, who toured the area on Tuesday afternoon, said the neighborhood was devastated. 

“To describe it as looking like pictures we have seen at the end of World War II is not overstating it,” the mayor said. 

The off-duty officer who drowned in his basement was identified as Artur Kasprzak, 28, who was assigned to the First Precinct in Manhattan. He had led seven relatives upstairs to the attic as the water rose in his house on Doty Avenue on Staten Island. He said he was going to check the basement and would be right back. About 20 minutes later, one of his relatives called 911 and said he was missing. 

A rescue team with boats and motorized water scooters tried to answer the call but could not reach the house at first because power lines were in the water. His body was found shortly before sunrise.

Labels: , , ,

EXPOSÉ: Italy, Land of Islam

Education minister Profumo proposed that Islam be taught in public schools alongside Catholicism. Nazification of Israel ruled free speech.

By Giulio Meotti, Italy - ArutzSheva 7
First Publish: 10/31/2012, 11:42 AM

Flash 90
The Italian authorities have capitulated to hatred.

Last week Italian education minister Francesco Profumo proposed that Islam be taught in public schools alongside the traditional teaching of Catholicism, while Bishop Mariano Crociata, secretary general of the Italian Episcopal Conference, announced that the Vatican is in favor of building new mosques in Italy.

Tthe European Bishops met with European Muslims in Turin to proclaim the need for the “progressive enculturation of Islam in Europe".

And it began when thousands of Muslims marched in front of Milan’s Duomo to protest against Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, burning Israeli flags and chanting anti-Jewish slogans, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, John Paul II’s spokesman for 22 years, defended the “freedom of expression” of the Muslims who burned the Star of David.

Now, Sheikh Abu Iyad is the major Islamist wanted for the terror attack against the US consultate in Benghazi, Libya. It was just been discovered that two of his handmen are Sami Essid Ben Khemais and Mehdi Kammoun. They both lived in Italy between Milano and Gallarate and they spent seven years in Italian prisons for terrorism.

Italy leads the ranking in Europe as paradise for "martyrs", imams of hatred and terrorists involved in major terror attacks.

Twenty-nine of the suicide bombers in Iraq and Afghanistan came from Italy.

Eight of the terrorists jailed in Guantanamo Bay are Italians.

Hussien Saber Fadhil, who has been called "the caliph", is the Iraqi arrested in Venice and considered the Italian link with al Qaeda. He sent money to the Palestinian Arab terror groups as well.

The most well known "Italian" terrorist is Abu Farid Al Masri, the suicide bomber who destroyed the United Nations' building in Baghdad in 2003, killing dozens of civilians.

From Milan came Kamal Morchidi, who blew himself up at the Rashid Hotel in Baghdad, nearby attempting to kill then-US undersecretary Paul Wolfowitz.

The terrorist proliferation is a symbol of growing Italian  Islamization: There were 600,000 Muslims in Italy in the year 2000, over 1,300,000 in 2009, over 1.5 million today, and they are expected to get to 2.8 million by 2030.

The southern island of Sicily is about to become the site of a shining new multi-million euro mega-mosque paid for by Qatar.

The Mosque of Rome, which accommodates more than 12,000 people, is one of the largest mosques in Europe. It is there that the imam, an Egyptian Islamist, was suspended after preaching Jihad.
There are now an estimated 500 mosques in Italy, and 70 % of these are controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, not to mention thousands of informal Islamic prayer centers and Koranic schools.
In Italy, a new Islamic place of worship is established on the average of every 4 days.

And every week there are new episodes of violence against Muslim women committed in the name of Sharia, the Islamic law:

Bouchra, 24, was stabbed to death in Verona by her husband because she refused to wear the veil and was living "like a Westerner";

Kabira, 28, was stabbed to death by her husband, because she wanted to wear "Western clothes";
Darin Omar was killed by her husband because she had got a job in a call center;

Hina Salem was suffocated with a plastic bag by the family, beheaded and buried with her head facing La Mecca because she dated an Italian boy and refused a forced marriage;

Saamali Fatima was killed on a highway at Aosta;

Malka, 29, was strangled by her husband for her "Western" habits;

Fatima, 20, was stabbed to death by her boyfriend for being "too independent";

Sobia was poisoned by family members;

Naima was stabbed by her husband because she wanted back her children seized in Morocco;
Fouzia was strangled by her husband under the eyes of their three year old daughter, her body abandoned in a public garden, because she had begun to follow a "modern lifestyle";

Sanaa Dafan was slaughtered by his father in Pordenone for a relationship with an Italian boy;
Amal, 26, beaten by her husband simply because she wanted to go to the hairdresser.
Anti-Semitism grows alongside this horrible "multiculturalism".

The Italian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood released a version of the Koran that contains remarks describing Jews as morally duplicitous and as a people of rejects and swindlers. In several of the footnotes interpreting the text, the commentator, an Italian convert to Islam, suggested Jews are responsible for their own misfortunes and accuses them of being "champions of moral duplicity" who consider as  "acceptable any wickedness toward non-Jews".

Meanwhile, the Italian judges are apologetic about hatred. Ucoii, the largest Islamic organization in Italy, published an ad in many mainstream newspapers entitled “Nazi Bloodshed Yesterday, Israeli Bloodshed Today". An Italian court ruled that the Nazification of Israel came under “freedom of expression” and was not a case of incitement to hatred.

Islam grows in a vacuum, a demographic black hole. Antonio Golini, one of Europe’s top demographers and author of The Demographic Malaise in Italy, announced that “Italians will be extinct within the next 200 years”.

Italy is the first country in the world to experience what is known as "the crossing-over," where the number of people who are over 60 exceeds the number of those who are under 20. The number of births has been outpaced by the number of deaths every year since 1994. Already now, 22% of Italy's population is on a pension, one of the highest rates in the world, and the country devotes 15% of its gross domestic product to pensions—more than any other European nation.

In 1965, the population of Italy was 52 million, of which 4.6 million, or just under 9 percent, were children younger than age 5. A decade later, that age group had shrunk to 4.3 million—about 7.8 percent of Italians. By 1985, it was down to 3 million and 5.3 percent. Today, the figures are 2.5 million and 4.2 percent.

Young children are disappearing from Italy. According to the U.N.'s Population Division, by 2050 they will account for a mere 2.8% of the Italian population. "Democracies are governed by demography”, explained James Vaupel, director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany. “If birth rates stay low, Italy’s population could be 10 million at the end of the twenty-first century”, a sixth of the population today.

The population drop is concentrated in the richest parts of the country, where Islam is also growing more rapidly.

Milan has one of the lowest birthrates in the world and in its parks you may meet women with dogs, but rarely with children. Or Bologna, Italy's city of learning par excellence, where women give birth to an average of fewer than one child.

Bologna has more highly educated women than any other region in the country, and it's the capital of liberal politics and academics. The living is easy, the food is the finest in all of Italy, and mannequins clad in luxury outfits adorn the medieval sidewalks.

But there are more empty churches here than babies, while the Muslim Brotherhood is now seeking to build another mega mosque.

By 2050, 60% percent of Italians will have no brothers, no sisters, no cousins, no aunts and no uncles. The Pope’s city could be the stage for the sequel of "Children of Men", the movie that sketched a sterile, dystopian world without babies. That is where,today, security guards are patrolling the streets near Jewish school with metal detectors, searching for possible explosive devices, the school's pupils protected by bodyguards and cameras, its windows plumbed with iron grates.

And meanwhile, for the first time in Italy's history, a muezzin has  just called his followers to prayer from a minaret in Milan. 

The writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter. His writing has appeared in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary and the Israeli media. He is at work on a book about the Vatican and Israel.

More on this topic

Labels: , , , ,

Follow @rheytah Tweet