Islamic jihadists storm “Kabul’s safest hotel,” murder nine people

kabul-serena-hotelThis was the safest hotel in Kabul, where UN workers, journalists, and foreign diplomats stayed. The gunmen got in because of a lapse in security: probably someone who was sympathetic to the Taliban’s jihad got onto the security staff. After all, there is absolutely no way to prevent such a thing.

“Pictured: Journalist who was gunned down alongside his young family at Kabul’s ‘safest restaurant’ after four teenage Taliban with mini pistols in their socks open fire,” by Luke Garratt and Emily Kent Smith for the Daily Mail, March 20:

An Agence France-Press journalist, his wife and two young children are among the nine dead after four teenage Taliban with mini pistols hidden in their socks opened fire in a Kabul hotel yesterday.

Reporter Sardar Ahmad, 40, had been based in Kabul and was at the Serena hotel with his three children and wife Humaira when Taliban gunmen stormed into the building and killed nine people.

Mr Ahmad’s youngest son is believed to have survived the attack and is said to have undergone emergency treatment.

The shooting happened at the luxury hotel which is used by U.N. staff and prominent Afghan politicians in Kabul.

Today, AFP colleagues paid tribute to the journalist describing him as ‘charming’ and ‘talented’.

An obituary to the journalist read: ‘Shocked colleagues of Sardar Ahmad, the senior reporter in AFP’s Kabul bureau, Friday mourned the loss of a charming and talented journalist equally at ease covering Afghanistan’s wrenching conflict as with colourful tales including a lion who lived on a roof.’

The Gathering of Afghan Journalists Group released a statement on the ‘tragic’ events in which they described the attack as ‘cowardly’. A tribute was paid to the ‘experienced’ and ‘renowned’ journalist.

‘This incident comes despite the fact that Afghan journalists have assiduously tried to remain neutral in their coverage amid difficult circumstances.

‘In this attack, the Taliban deliberately and ruthlessly targeted civilians, shooting women and innocent children around the dinner table,’ a statement read.

The assault on the heavily fortified Serena Hotel, which lasted some three hours, was the latest in a string of attacks by the insurgents seeking to spoil a presidential election on April 5.

The gunmen were shot dead by security forces, witnesses and police said on Friday.

The election would mark the first time in Afghanistan’s history that one elected government hands power to another.

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TV report: Abbas said ‘no’ to Obama on 3 core peace issues

Rejecting Kerry framework, Palestinian leader reportedly told US president he won’t recognize ‘Jewish Israel,’ abandon ‘right of return,’ or commit to ‘end of conflict.’

US President Barack Obama, right, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas hold a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, Monday, March 17, 2014.

US President Barack Obama, right, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas hold a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, Monday, March 17, 2014.

The Times of Israel (March 22) — On his trip to Washington this week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected US Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework document for continued peace talks with Israel, and issued “three no’s” on core issues, leaving the negotiations heading for an explosive collapse, an Israeli TV report said Friday.

Abbas “went to the White House and said ‘no’ to Obama,” Channel 2 news reported, quoting unnamed American and Israeli sources.

Specifically, the report said, Abbas rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that he recognize Israel as a Jewish state. He also refused to abandon the Palestinian demand for a “right of return” for millions of Palestinians and their descendants — a demand that, if implemented, would drastically alter Israel’s demographic balance and which no conceivable Israeli government would accept. And finally, he refused to commit to an “end of conflict,” under which a peace deal would represent the termination of any further Palestinian demands of Israel.

Israel has indicated that it may not release a fourth and final group of Palestinian prisoners at the end of this month, as agreed to when the current talks began last July, if Abbas does not first agree to extend the talks beyond their scheduled cessation next month. Since Abbas rejected the Kerry framework for extending the talks, the TV report said, the negotiations were now heading for an “explosion.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas waves to his supporters following his trip to Washington, DC, on Thursday, March 20, 2014, in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas waves to his supporters following his trip to Washington, DC, on Thursday, March 20, 2014, in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Abbas returned on Thursday from the US, having held talks with Obama on Monday, and was met at his Ramallah compound by hundreds of cheering supporters.

“We carried the deposit, and we are guarding the deposit,” Abbas told those supporters somewhat cryptically. “You know all the conditions and circumstances, and I say to you that capitulating is not a possibility.” Abbas did not specify what he meant by the “deposit.”

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Israel said to be budgeting billions for Iran strike

Military chiefs reportedly say they were given top-level orders to keep prepared for action despite nuclear talks.

An Israeli fighter jet takes off.

An Israeli fighter jet takes off.

The Times of Israel (March 20) — Israel is still preparing for a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, including a specific military budget running to NIS 10 billion ($2.89 billion), despite the developments in talks between world powers and Tehran.

Details of the budgeting came to light during Knesset joint committee sessions on IDF plans that were held in January, Haaretz reported on Thursday.

Three MKs, who were present during the hearings but asked to remain anonymous, said that the funding was to cover preparations throughout 2014 and was similar in size to the Iran strike budget for 2013, the report said.

According to the report, some of the legislators present at the sessions grilled Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, and Brig. Gen. Agai Yehezkel of the IDF’s Planning Directorate, about the necessity of a strike plan despite talks between world powers and Iran. Those talks led to an initial agreement in November 2013 for Tehran to scale back its nuclear program, and are still ongoing.

The IDF officials responded that they had received instructions from the highest levels of government, apparently Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, to continue with preparations for a strike, the report said. Netanyahu publicly slammed the November interim deal as a “historic mistake,” and he has demanded the full dismantling of Iran’s “military nuclear” capabilities under a permanent deal, whereas US President Barack Obama has spoken of allowing Iran to maintain a closely supervised low-level enrichment capability.

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Analysis: Putin’s disdain for the West

ED-AR982A_WL032_D_20140319185712The Wall Street Journal (March 20) — …Sometime in the first Obama term, opinion polls began to report that the American people were experiencing what media shorthand came to call “fatigue” with the affairs of the world. The U.S. should “mind its own business.” The America-is-fatigued polling fit with Mr. Obama’s stated goal to lead from behind. A close observer of American politics also could notice that Republican politicians, the presumptive heirs of Reagan, began to recalibrate their worldview inward to accommodate the “fatigue” in the opinion polls.

We are of course discussing Vladimir Putin’s path to the forced annexation of Crimea. And possibly in time a move on the independence of Ukraine, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Kazakhstan or Moldova. This narrative has one more point of Putin demarcation: Syria.

Last September, every foreign chancery in the world concluded that the United States would bomb Bashar Assad’s airfields with Tomahawk missiles in reprisal for killing nearly 1,500 Syrians with chemical weapons, including sarin gas. Vladimir Putin placed a bet. He suggested to the American president that in lieu of the U.S. bombing Assad’s airfields, their two nations, in concert, could remove all of Syria’s chemical weapons. Mr. Obama accepted and stood down from bombing Assad. Six months later Vladimir Putin invaded and annexed Crimea.

This moment is not about Barack Obama. By now we know about him. This is about Vladimir Putin and the self-delusions of Western nations and their famous “fatigue.” Vladimir Putin is teaching the West and especially the United States that fatigue is not an option.

Sometimes world affairs go off the grid. Diplomats may give reasons why it is not in the interests of Mr. Putin or Russia to take this course. Vice President Biden told the Poles in Warsaw Monday that Mr. Putin’s seizure of Crimea was “flawed logic.” It is difficult for men embedded in a world of rational affairs to come to grips with Mr. Putin’s point of view: He doesn’t care what they think.

The solitary but thrilling world of Vladimir Putin’s mind is the one inhabited by the Assads, Saddams, bin Ladens, Kims, Gadhafis and Khomeinis of the world, and when it really runs out of control, or is allowed to, by a Stalin, Hitler, or Mao. Whether one man’s grandiosity will burst across borders is not about normal logic. It is about personal power and forcing the obeisance of other nations.

Vladimir Putin re-proves that sometimes a bad person gains control of the instruments of national power. Their populations do nothing or can’t, because they are disarmed by thugs with overwhelming firepower. Or, as on Russian TV now, they are marinated in anti-U.S. propaganda. Today even second-rate megalomaniacs gain access to high-tech weaponry, including missiles and nuclear bombs.

Running alongside these old realities is a new phenomenon, surely noticed by Mr. Putin: The nations of the civilized world have decided their most pressing concern is income inequality. Barack Obama says so, as does the International Monetary Fund. Western Europe amid the Ukraine crisis is a case study of nations redistributing themselves and perhaps NATO into impotence.

Because no modern Democrat can be credible on this, some Republican presidential candidate will have to explain the high price of America’s fatigue. Fatigue will allow global disorder to displace 60 years of democratic order. If the U.S. doesn’t lead, the strongmen win because for them it’s easier. They don’t lead people; they coerce them. Ask the millions free for now in the old countries of the Iron Curtain.

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Putin returns the favour: Russia hits US officials with sanction as Obama expands penalties

obama-to-make-statement-on-ukraineFox News (March 20) — The Russian government slapped sanctions on top U.S. officials on Thursday, moments after President Obama imposed penalties on 20 Russians inside and outside the government — as diplomatic efforts over Ukraine unraveled into a long-distance tit for tat.

The newest sanctions would bar nine American officials from entering Russia. The list includes House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

Just as Vladimir Putin’s government shrugged off U.S. sanctions earlier in the week, so did the Americans targeted by Moscow.

“The Speaker is proud to be included on a list of those willing to stand against Putin’s aggression,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement.

McCain tweeted that he’s “proud to be sanctioned by Putin.”

As each side imposes sanctions, left unclear is whether any of them will have an effect on the standoff over Russia’s widely challenged annexation of Crimea.

Obama, warning of more costs to come for the Kremlin if the situation worsens, said he also signed an executive order that would allow the U.S. to penalize key sectors of the Russian economy. Officials said Obama could act on that authority if Russian forces press into other areas of Ukraine, an escalation of the crisis in Crimea.

The president, speaking on the South Lawn of the White House, voiced concern that Russian military positioning could point to “further incursions” into southern and eastern Ukraine.

The president cautioned that the threatened economic measures if implemented could hurt the global economy, as well as the Russian economy, but “Russia must know that further escalation will only isolate it further from the international community.”

For the time being, Obama said the U.S. will levy sanctions on more “senior officials of the Russian government,” as well as “a number of individuals” supporting Russian leadership — and a bank, Bank Rossiya, that is likewise providing “material support.” The list includes Putin’s chief of staff and his banker.

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Russia Warns West it May Change its Stance on Iran

vladimir-putin-angryAssociated Press (March 19) — Russia may revise its stance in the Iranian nuclear talks amid tensions with the West over Ukraine, a senior diplomat warned Wednesday.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, according to the Interfax news agency, that Russia didn’t want to use the Iranian nuclear talks to “raise the stakes,” but may have to do so in response to the actions by the United States and the European Union.

The statement is the most serious threat of retaliation by Moscow after the U.S. and the EU announced sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Ryabkov, who is Russia’s envoy to the Iranian talks, said that Russia considers the “reunification” with Crimea as far more important than the developments surrounding the Iranian nuclear program.

Russia has cooperated with the United States and other Western nations in the Iranian talks, but Ryabkov warned that its attitude may now change.

“We wouldn’t like to use these talks as an element of the game of raising the stakes taking into account the sentiments in some European capitals, Brussels and Washington,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying by Interfax. “But if they force us into that, we will take retaliatory measures here as well. The historic importance of what happened in the last weeks and days regarding the restoration of historical justice and reunification of Crimea with Russia is incomparable to what we are dealing with in the Iranian issue.”

Ryabkov didn’t elaborate on how Russia’s position in the talks may change.

Iran has agreed to curb its nuclear activities under the terms of a deal last November with six world powers, including Russia.

Tehran insists that its nuclear program has peaceful goals and dismisses Western fears that it could be a cover for a bid to develop nuclear weapons. It has agreed to temporarily limit its atomic work in return for some sanctions relief. In the meantime, both sides are working on a fuller deal placing long-term restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for an end to all economic sanctions.

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Video: What happens when a blonde girl walks through Cairo University campus?

In video, female student seen walking through campus as men whistle and shout at her; dean says girl to blame for “unconventional” attire.

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The Jerusalem Post (March 19) — A video of a female Egyptian university student walking through the Cairo University campus while being whistled and shouted at by male students has caused an international and viral backlash against sexual harassment in Egypt, Saudi television station Al Arabiya reported on Wednesday.

The young girl, with long blonde hair and a pink shirt, pink shoes and jeans, can be seen in the video, uploaded to YouTube, walking through the university campus as a group of men gather around her and whistle and shout profanities at her.

The Saudi television channel reported that a group of men also attempted to remove her clothing, which cannot be seen in the clip.

University guards were forced to escort her until the she was safely off campus.

Adding to the controversy, the Dean of Cairo University Law School, Gaber Nassar, described the student’s outfit as “a bit unconventional” and implied that she was responsible for the harassment it caused.

“This girl entered the university wearing an abaya (loose cloak) and then took it off in the faculty, and appeared with those clothes, that caused, in reality — but this doesn’t justify at all [the incident],” Nassar said on private Egyptian channel ONTV.

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Russian Deputy PM Laughs at Obama’s Sanctions

Krauthammer’s Take: Obama Is Being ‘Ridiculed by Russians’

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President Obama has thus far responded tepidly to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, targeting only several individuals in Russia for sanctions and providing Ukraine with rations as opposed to the arms it requested. Because of Obama’s rhetoric and policy, Charles Krauthammer said the president is being “ridiculed by Russians.”

“If he thinks that sanctioning seven Russians out of a population of, what, 150 million is a sanction, he’s living in a different world,” Krauthammer said. Instead we should be sending Ukraine weapons, something the administration denied because it thinks “somehow to arm the victim of aggression is a provocation,” Krauthammer explained.

The idea that such small, targeted sanctions will work is “preposterous,” Krauthammer said. “This really is a humiliating response by a president who can’t even get the Europeans to join him in effective sanctions.”

Krauthammer appears to be right as ABC News reported yesterday that “Russian Deputy PM Laughs at Obama’s Sanctions.”

ABC News (March 17) — It remains to be seen whether the sanctions will dissuade Russia from annexing Crimea, but one an early clue that they will not be effective came just hours later when President Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea as an independent state, perhaps an early step towards annexation.

U.S. official have warned of additional sanctions for Russian action, hoping it will deter Russia from any further aggression towards Ukraine, but it didn’t appear to upset the often outspoke Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

Rogozin, a friend of actor Steven Seagal,  took to Twitter to tweak Obama, tweeting  he thinks “some prankster” came up with the sanctions list

In a later tweet addressed to “Comrade @BarackObama,” he asked, “what should do those who have neither accounts nor property abroad? Or U didn’t think about it?”

Another Russian on the sanctions list, Vladislav Surkov, also seemed unconcerned.

Surkov,  a top Putin ideologue often called the Kremlin’s grey cardinal, reportedly told a Russian newspaper, “It’s a big honor for me. I don’t have accounts abroad. The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollock. I don’t need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing.”

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Video: Leading Iranian ayatollah – Islamic messiah ‘will behead Western leaders’

Ayatollah-e1394990532614The Daily Caller (March 17) — A leading ayatollah of Iran’s Islamic regime is promising that Western leaders will be executed by the Islamic messiah, the state-owned media outlet Mehr news reported Saturday.

“When Imam Zaman [‘Mahdi,’ the last Shiite Imam] comes, he will behead the Western leaders,” warned Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani, the interim Friday prayer leader of Tehran and a member of the Assembly of Experts, the body that chooses the supreme leader. “However, Imam will not harm the oppressed nations,” he said.

The Shiite clerical establishment in Iran believes that at the end of times, the 12th Imam, Mahdi, a ninth century prophet, will reappear with Jesus Christ at his side, kill all the infidels and raise the flag of Islam in all four corners of the world.

A video revealed in 2011, “The Coming Is Upon Us,” showed regime intentions: change in the Middle East, destruction of Israel and the coming of Mahdi. The video, produced by the regime, was to be distributed in the Middle East.

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Kashani compared the Western leaders as “tag rags” and criticized Europe’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, for her recent visit to Tehran in which she met with female dissidents. The purpose of Ashton’s visit was to discuss with regime officials the ongoing negotiations over Iran’s illicit nuclear program. However, in a sign of support for human rights, she met with several dissidents.

“They come to Iran, and in the name of human rights, they meet with this and that,” Kashani said. “However, they commit the most heinous crimes in the region and the world.”

U.N. human rights officials recently raised an alarm about violence against women, torture and at the pace of execution in Iran. In two and a half months of this year alone, 176 people have been hanged.

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A CIA Chief’s Willful Blindness on Jihad

By Raymond Ibrahim for FrontPage Mag, March 17, 2014:

John Brennan with Barack ObamaCIA director John Brennan is at it again—equivocating over the nature of jihad by evoking paradigms familiar to the West.

Last Tuesday, “during an event at the Council of Foreign Relations, Brennan was asked about the ‘war of ideas’ surrounding Islam, which the questioner said many Americans tend to equate with violence.”

The CIA chief responded by saying that al-Qaeda’s ideology is “a perverse and very corrupt interpretation of the Qur’an”; that “al-Qaeda has hijacked” Islam; that “they have really distorted the teachings of Muhammad.”

Even so, “that ideology, that agenda of al-Qaeda,” confirmed Brennan, “has gained resonance and following in many parts of the world.”

So what is the CIA chief’s explanation as to why such a “perverse and very corrupt” understanding of Islam—one that has “distorted the teachings of Muhammad”— resonates among Muslims?

He gives none—other than to say that this ideology is “fed a lot of times by, you know, political repression, by economic, you know, disenfranchisement, by, you know, lack of education and ignorance, so there—there are a number of phenomena right now that I think are fueling the fires of, you know, this ideology.”

Interestingly, if you watch the video clip of Brennan talking, you will note that he only “you knows” in the above quotation (four times) and right before it, when he says that al-Qaeda has “distorted the teachings of Muhammad, you know, for violent purposes.”

The rest of his talk is relatively smooth.

Could Brennan be self-conscious of his own equivocations—hence all these stilted “you knows” in one sentence?

Could he be aware of the Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009?   It found that “Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.”

At any rate, this is all déjà vu.  Back in May 2010, I closely examined Brennan’s apologetics on jihad in an article that, in light of these recent remarks of his, is just as applicable today as it was nearly four years ago.  It follows:

Obama’s Top Counterterror Adviser’s Inability to Think Outside the Box Bodes Disaster

“The greatest hurdle Americans need to get over in order to properly respond to the growing threat of radical Islam is purely intellectual in nature; specifically, it is epistemological, and revolves around the abstract realm of ‘knowledge.’ Before attempting to formulate a long-term strategy to counter radical Islam, Americans must first and foremost understand Islam, particularly its laws and doctrines, the same way Muslims understand it—without giving it undue Western (liberal) interpretations. This is apparently not as simple as expected: all peoples of whatever civilizations and religions tend to assume that other peoples more or less share in their worldview, which they assume is objective, including notions of right and wrong, good and bad. …. [T]he secular, Western experience has been such that people respond with violence primarily when they feel they are politically, economically, or socially oppressed. While true that many non-Western peoples may fit into this paradigm, the fact is, the ideologies of radical Islam have the intrinsic capacity to prompt Muslims to violence and intolerance vis-à-vis the ‘other,’ irrespective of grievances…. Being able to understand all this, being able to appreciate it without any conceptual or intellectual constraints is paramount for Americans to truly understand the nature of the enemy and his ultimate goals.”

Such were the words that opened my testimony to Congress. One year later, none other than President Obama’s top counter-terror adviser, John Brennan, has come to personify the approach I warned against, that is, the misguided phenomenon of westernizing Islamic concepts.

A Fox New’s report, titled “Counterterror Adviser Defends Jihad as ‘Legitimate Tenet of Islam,’” has the details:

…Next, our counter-terror adviser evokes the perverse logic behind the administration’s recent decision to censor words offensive to Muslims (which I closely explored here):

Nor do we describe our enemy as “jihadists” or “Islamists” because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children.

Inasmuch as he is correct in the first clause of that sentence—”jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community”—he greatly errs in the latter clause, by projecting his own notions of what constitutes “holy,” “legitimate,” and “innocent” onto Islam. In Islam, such terms are often antithetical to the Judeo-Christian/Western understanding. Indeed, the institution of jihad, according to every authoritative Islamic book on jurisprudence, is nothing less than offensive warfare to spread Sharia, a cause seen as both “legitimate” and “holy” in Islam.  Jihadis regularly seek to “purify” themselves and their communities by purging them of “infidels” and their influences.  As for “innocence,” by simply being a non-Muslim infidel, one is already guilty in Islam. Brennan understands the definition of jihad; he just has no clue of its application. So he is left fumbling about with a square peg that simply refuses to pass through a round hole.

Fox News continues:

Brennan defined the enemy as members of bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network and “its terrorist affiliates.” But Brennan argued that it would be “counterproductive” for the United States to use the term, as it would “play into the false perception” that the “murderers” leading war against the West are doing so in the name of a “holy cause.”

Fine, do define the enemy as members of bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network and “its terrorist affiliates,” but do also define the cause that binds these “terrorist affiliates” together in the first place. Of course, one need only read their writings to know that they adhere to one and the same cause: the establishment of a hegemonic caliphate that governs the world according to Sharia. As for Brennan calling the terrorist affiliates “murderers,” would he also be willing to apply that epithet to their prophet Muhammad, who was wont to send assassins to, well, murder his critics, including poets and one old woman whose body was dismembered by her Muslim assailants—assailants who were no less convinced that they were involved in a “holy cause” than were the 9/11 hijackers?

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Iranian Prisoner Cries, Begs to See His Mother

These are the new negotiation partners of the West. The idea is that by being nice to these savages they will start to like the West. How did that work in Iraq and Afghanistan? Libya? I’d argue not like the West had intended.

The prisoner breaks free and attempts to escape.

The prisoner breaks free and attempts to escape.

FrontPage Mag (March 14) — A shocking and disturbing amateur video documenting a recent public execution from the Islamic Republic of Iran has recently emerged and gone viral since its release.

In this video, a young man is going to be publicly hanged in the city of Karaj, near the capital city of Tehran, on February 25th.  The hanging is held in front of a large crowd that has gathered to watch the execution. Until now, there have been no reports identifying the name of the person who is about to be executed or the precise charges brought against him by the Islamic judiciary court of Iran.

Before being executed, it appears in the video that the young man is pleading with and begging the regime executioners, guards, and henchmen to allow him to receive a final embrace from his mother who is also in the crowd. His mother’s voice can be heard, yelling to her son and raising her voice in a sign of protest against the regime and this act.

As usual, the Iranian regime’s henchmen and the Islamic guard, who are preparing for the commencement of the public execution, deny the man his final request. After the denial, the prisoner becomes defiant, visibly agitated, and publicly attempts to resist the start of the execution process.

The prisoner repeatedly kicks over a ladder that was going to be used for his execution, and struggles against the guards. At some point he lashes out, breaks his handcuffs, wrestles away from his guards, and tries to escape from  the Islamic guard around him.

What is intriguing in this scenario, though, is that the same crowd that has gathered to watch the execution starts cheering the resistance of the young man and his attempt to escape. The regime guards protecting the scene began yelling at the crowd to be quiet and to move back.

Soon after, in this powerful scene, the man is savagely beaten into submission by swarms of Iranian and Islamic guards, his body was lifted onto a podium, hoisted onto the ladder, and the execution noose was forcefully wrapped around his neck. Even after the noose is placed around his neck, and even after the beatings, the young man’s spirit appears to remain resistant and defiant. An Iranian man in the crowd can be seen at the end of this public execution pointing out, “Regardless of his crime he should have been allowed to see his Mother.”  Some people in the crowd are heard saying to the regime henchmen to forgive him.

The condemned man struggles as the regime henchmen forcefully put the noose around his neck.

The condemned man struggles as the regime henchmen forcefully put the noose around his neck.

As Michel Foucault eloquently wrote, and Hamid Yadnapanah also pointed to,  “The public execution is to be understood not only as a judicial but also as a political ritual. It belongs, even in minor cases, to the ceremonies by which power is manifested.”

Iran is ranked number one, surpassing China and North Korea, in leading the world in executions per capita.  Hundreds of people, including women, human rights activists, and political activists, have been executed since January 2014. Recently, the United Nations human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani referred to the rise of executions in the Islamic Republic by saying, “the surge in the use of the death penalty … has dampened hopes for human rights reforms under President Hassan Rouhani.”

But the major question revolves around why the Islamic Republic of Iran and its judiciary system insist on conducting public executions in the modern era. The logic, ritual and rationale of public execution is also well illustrated by Foucault in his work Discipline and Punishment, an analysis of 18th century. Foucault points out:

It is a ceremonial by which a momentarily injured sovereignty is reconstituted. It restores that sovereignty by manifesting it at its most spectacular. The public execution, however hasty and everyday, belongs to a whole series of great rituals in which power is eclipsed and restored… Its aim is not so much to re-establish a balance as to bring into play, as its extreme point, the dissymmetry between the subject who has dared to violate the law and the all-powerful sovereign who displays his strength.

And if you are questioning why the Iranian people gathered around the scaffold to watch the execution, it is not because people enjoy watching other human being be executed. As Foucault states, “If the crowd gathered round the scaffold, it was not simply to witness the sufferings of the condemned man or to excite the anger of the executioner: it was also to hear an individual who had nothing more to lose curse the judges, the laws, the government and religion.”

The fact of the matter is that the Islamic regime of Iran utilizes its judiciary system and its Islamic/Sharia laws to repress its population by imposing horror and fear on the society and punishing defiance and resistance through acts such as public execution. In addition, the so-called moderate Rouhani has ratcheted up the rate and number of executions in Iran. As Shamdasani pointed out, “It appears at least in the past seven weeks that in fact executions have been scaled up.”

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Video: Robert Spencer and Michael Coren on Muslim cleric justifying Westgate jihad massacre and more

Robert Spencer is the best informed, most articulate, and probably the brightest expert on Islam, jihad, and Islamic supremacism. He is the director of JihadWatch.org, a website that monitors and explains the previously mentioned topics.

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Last night on Spencer’s regular weekly appearance on Michael Coren’s Sun TV show. Topic summary:

1) Abubaker Shariff Ahmed (aka Makaburi) says that the Koran justifies the killing of 72 innocents by Islamic terrorist group al-Shabaab at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi in September 2013.

2) The mainstreaming of child marriage in the Islamic world, justified by the example of Mohammad, who at 54 consummated his marriage to 9 year old Aisha.

3) Albert Einstein? Muslim!

‘The Real Reason Why the Obama Administration Has Not Released Pictures of Osama Bin Laden’s Corpse’

TheBlaze (March 13) — The “real reason” the White House has yet to release photos of Osama bin Laden’s corpse is because U.S. troops “took turns dumping magazines-worth of ammunition” into the terror leader’s body, according to a new SOFREP report. Citing unnamed sources within the special ops community, the report alleges bin Laden “had over a hundred bullets in him, by the most conservative estimate.”

This undated file photo shows al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. (Photo: AP)

This undated file photo shows al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. (Photo: AP)

According to the account of the SEAL Team Six member behind the book “No Easy Day,” the terrorist was shot with “several rounds.” SOFREP’s sources are now disputing that claim:

But this is perhaps the most measured and polite description that one could give of how operator after operator took turns dumping magazines-worth of ammunition into Bin Laden’s body, two confidential sources within the community have told us. When all was said and done, UBL had over a hundred bullets in him, by the most conservative estimate.

SOFREP’s Jack Murphy, an 8-year Army Special Operations veteran, goes on to question the legality of the “pure self-indulgence” such a display would represent.

“You may not care if Bin Laden got some extra holes punched in him, few of us do, but what should concern you is a trend within certain special operations units to engage in this type of self-indulgent, and ultimately criminal, behavior,” he writes. “Gone unchecked, these actions get worse over time.”

Though the claim is far from the undisputed truth at this point, the excessive gun shots would explain why President Barack Obama’s administration was adamant about preventing the photos from being released.

Judicial Watch lost a lawsuit over access to the photos last year.

“Now you know the real reason why the Obama administration has not released pictures of Osama Bin Laden’s corpse,” Murphy concludes. “To do so would show the world a body filled with a ridiculous number of gunshot wounds.”

Read the entire SOFREP report here.

Pat Condell: A society of cowards

This is maybe his best so far.

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Published on Mar 13, 2014: We’re getting what we deserve.

Censoring Jesus and Mo establishes UK sharia blasphemy code
http://archbishop-cranmer.blogspot.co…

Cowardly MP supports the extremists
http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/…

Maajid Nawaz defends decision to tweet controversial cartoon
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2…

Nick Cohen on the media’s submission to Islamic blasphemy code
http://nickcohen.net/2014/02/15/twent…

Who is Muhammad Shafiq?
http://hurryupharry.org/2013/12/05/wh…

Mo Ansar exposed as a fake
http://hurryupharry.org/2014/01/28/mo…

You can download an audio version of this video at
http://patcondell.libsyn.com/

Iran Islamic Revolutionary Guards Deputy Commander: Islam has given us goal of annihilating “the Zionist entity”

“The answer is that the religion of Islam has designated this for us – this goal, this motivation, this belief, this energy – so that we, here, can muster all our energies in order to annihilate the Zionist entity.” He couldn’t have made it plainer. Yet the fact that Islam has anything to do with the general Muslim enmity toward Israel is consistently ignored and denied by establishment analysts, right up to and including Barack Obama and John Kerry, who keep insisting in the teeth of all the evidence that a few fresh concessions from Israel will do the trick, and bring about lasting peace.

“IRGC Deputy Commander Hossein Salami: We Are Ready to Annihilate the Zionist Entity in the Future,” from MEMRI, March 11:

Speaking at a conference held in Tehran, IRGC Deputy Commander Brigadier-General Hossein Salami said: “We, here, can muster all our energies in order to annihilate the Zionist entity, more than 1,400 kilometers away. We are ready for that moment in the future.”

Following are excerpts from the speech, which aired on Al-Alam TV on March 11, 2014.

Brigadier-General Hossein Salami: Despite the geographical distance, we are attached to the hearts of the Palestinians. How is it that our slogans and goals are identical to the slogans and causes of the Palestinians? Why do we strive to become martyrs and risk our lives for the Palestinian cause?

The answer is that the religion of Islam has designated this for us – this goal, this motivation, this belief, this energy – so that we, here, can muster all our energies in order to annihilate the Zionist entity, more than 1,400 kilometers away. We are ready for that moment in the future.

Moderate Fatah official: Allah will gather Israelis so Palestinians can kill them

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“Zaki’s public anticipation of the extermination of the Israelis is significant because, as Palestinian Media Watch has reported, he is a close associate of Mahmoud Abbas.”

“Allah will gather Israelis so Palestinians can kill them, says senior Palestinian official Abbas Zaki,” by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik for Palestinian Media Watch, March 13:

Senior Palestinian official Abbas Zaki said in an interview broadcast yesterday on official PA TV that Israelis “have no belief, no principles” and that they “are an advanced instrument of evil.” Therefore, “Allah will gather them so that we can kill them,” he explained:

“These Israelis have no belief, no principles. They are an advanced instrument of evil. They say, the Holocaust, and so on – fine, why are they doing this to us? Therefore, I believe that Allah, will gather them so we can kill them. I am informing the murderer of his death.”

Zaki’s public anticipation of the extermination of the Israelis is significant because, as Palestinian Media Watch has reported, he is a close associate of Mahmoud Abbas. He was sent to Syria as Mahmoud Abbas’ personal representative in October 2013, and he speaks at public events representing Fatah.

Click to see more statements from Abbas Zaki.

The following is a longer excerpt of the interview with Zaki:

PA TV host: On the issue discussed in the media, that Netanyahu failed in his attempt to stir up the media around the so-called arms ship (Iranian shipment of arms to Gaza intercepted by Israel), and so he turned to the option of bloodshed, which explains the number of Martyrs (3 Islamic Jihad terrorists) who fell in 24 hours. In other words, he failed to draw the world’s attention, and so resorted to the Israeli occupation’s traditional method – killing Palestinians in order to provoke a hurried Palestinian reaction. How do you see this?

Member of Fatah Central Committee Abbas Zaki: Netanyahu went and provoked an uproar, like [when] he drew a nuclear bomb [and said] this is what Iran wants. He failed in the Iranian issue, and tried to improve his situation with the Palestinian issue… These Israelis have no belief, no principles. They are an advanced instrument of evil. They say, the Holocaust, and so on – fine, why are they doing this to us? Therefore, I believe that Allah, will gather them so we can kill them. I am informing the murderer of his death.

[Official PA TV, March 12, 2014]

Click here for original source.

Schwarzenegger Will Ride in a Tank and Destroy Things for Charity

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The action hero and former California governor is selling a chance for fans to ride shotgun with him in an M47 tank while he runs a whole bunch of stuff over, an idea he says he got from Reddit. Proceeds from the raffle will go to charity

After crushing a “steak and egger” sandwich and frying an ostrich egg on his tank with the Epic Meal Time gang last week, Arnold Schwarzenegger is now going to crush things with his tank.

You can enter to win a chance to ride shotgun with him in his M47 Patton tank and — with cigars in hand — run over everything from bubble wrap to a piano to a copy of Million Dollar Baby. The shenanigans benefit After-School All-Stars, which plans after-school activities for disadvantaged children.

According to the description of the video on Schwarzenegger’s YouTube channel, “This idea came from Reddit, so I want to give credit where credit is due. Specifically, it came from “ipeeinyourshower” who has better taste in video ideas for charity than usernames.”

In a January promotion for After-School All-Stars, the former California Governor posed as a trainer at his old stomping grounds Gold’s Gym. The video went viral, racking up 17.2 million views to date.

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2,000 year old unopened tiny Dead Sea Scrolls uncovered in Jerusalem

Researcher finds tantalizing tefillin parchments from Second Temple era, overlooked for decades and unread for 2,000 years.

212-Fg002-e1394457908315The Times of Israel (March 12) — They’re not much larger than lentils, but size doesn’t minimize the potential significance of nine newfound Dead Sea Scrolls that have lain unopened for the better part of six decades.

An Israeli scholar turned up the previously unexamined parchments, which had escaped the notice of academics and archaeologists as they focused on their other extraordinary finds in the 1950s. Once opened, the minuscule phylactery parchments from Qumran, while unlikely to yield any shattering historic, linguistic or religious breakthroughs, could shed new light on the religious practices of Second Temple Judaism.

The Israel Antiquities Authority has been tasked with unraveling and preserving the new discoveries — an acutely sensitive process and one which the IAA says it will conduct painstakingly, and only after conducting considerable preparatory research.

Phylacteries, known in Judaism by the Hebrew term tefillin, are pairs of leather cases containing biblical passages from the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. One case is bound by leather thongs to the head and one to the arm during morning prayers, as prescribed by rabbinic interpretation of the Bible. The case worn on the head contains four scrolls in individual compartments, while the arm phylactery holds one scroll.

At least two dozen tefillin scroll fragments were known to have been found during excavations of the limestone caves overlooking the Dead Sea at Qumran in the 1950s (several phylactery boxes and straps were unearthed as well). They were among the world-famous cache of thousands of scrolls and scroll fragments containing biblical and sectarian texts from the Second Temple period. Since their discovery, the Qumran scrolls have been housed at the Israel Museum, and scholars have pored over the ancient documents and opened a window into ancient Jewish theology.

But these nine latest tiny scrolls had been overlooked — until now.

…While that analysis has yet to be confirmed, Adler was spurred on by the discovery, and in December visited the Dead Sea Scroll labs at the Israel Museum. There he found two tiny scrolls inside the compartments of a tefillin case that had been documented but then put aside some time after 1952. The scrolls were never photographed or examined, and so have remained bound inside the leather box for roughly 2,000 years.

Click here for full article.