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Total number of comments: 353 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:40)

Eurofrank

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  • Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Man Allegedly Stabs 6 At Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade
    • Dear Professor Cole

      It is instructive to see that one form of Jewish Extremism is reported worldwide but that the death of an infant in a Jewish Extremist Terror attack is only reported on Jazeera and RT

      "The toddler died in a house fire which broke out in a village of Kafr Duma near the West Bank city of Nablus, Reuters reports.

      The infamous “Price Tag” slogan, typically used by radical Jewish settlers attacking Palestinians houses, as well as other sites like Christian churches, mosques and government buildings, was daubed on the walls of the home, according to police spokeswoman Luba Samri cited by Reuters."
      link to rt.com

  • Obama in Kenya: Why the Horn of Africa Matters to Geopolitics
    • Dear Professor Cole

      " The al-Shabab attacks led CNN unfairly to call Kenya a “hotbed of terrorism.” (This is not true and it is perfectly safe to visit)."

      Foreign and Commonwealth Office is wary

      The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to

      areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border

      Garissa County

      the Eastleigh area of Nairobi

      Lamu County and those areas of Tana River County north of the Tana river itself

      within 15km of the coast from the Tana River down to, but not including, Watamu

      The area to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel does not include Kenya’s safari destinations in the national parks, reserves and wildlife conservancies; including the Aberdare National Park, Amboseli, Laikipia, Lake Nakuru, Masai Mara, Meru, Mount Kenya, Samburu, Shimba Hills, Tsavo, nor does it include the beach resorts of Mombasa, Kilifi, Watamu and Diani.

      There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping. The main threat comes from extremists linked to Al Shabaab, a militant group that has carried out attacks in Kenya in response to Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia.

      link to gov.uk

      Detailed Daily incident reports support FCO's asessment.

  • Iran Deal: Why doesn't US Media interview Real Allies on American Policy?
  • 2 Years after Coup, will Assassination of Egypt's Att'y General be Pretext for More Repression?
    • Al Jazeera reports Muslim Brotherhood calling for Open Rebellion as a result of Egyptian Police slaughtering 13 unarmed prisoners

  • Syria: Al-Qaeda takes Jisr al-Shughur, threatening Key Port
    • Dear Professor Cole

      I am concerned at the amount of armour I am seeing among the attacking forces. I suspect that there is a two pronged attack with one prong coming south and west from Turkey to threaten Latakia and Tartus and draw forces away from Damascus and a second attack from Jordan coming to Damascus.

      A siege of Latakia will be very messy. 300,000 people and a Russian base. It can be supplied by sea but we may need to take women and children off and transport them to perhaps the UK sovereign bases on Cyrprus.

      An alternative would be for the UK Tornados on Cyprus to fly close support for the defenders of Latakia. However we suspect UK government is with Al Aqaeda and the attackers

  • Obama "I've aged so much Boehner invited Netanyahu to speak at my Funeral"
    • The most telling comment was The Koch brothers spending a $billion on the candidate

  • Mideast Apocalypse 2030: Why Obama wants the Palestine Issue Solved. Now.
    • Dear Professor Cole

      Your most excellent piece does not mention the Lebanese front or the Gaza front.

      This from Al Manar indicates that they are preparing to repel another Israeli assault. link to almanar.com.lb

      One does wonder what would happen to the Sabra who decide to flee, as they have no second passports. Germany in contrast to UK has been rather good at accepting Syrian Refugees, but PEGIDA objects.

  • Could a Netanyahu loss in Israeli Elections change Everything?
    • Dear Professor Cole

      A good place for Livni to start might be in evicting the few hundred squatters from Hebron (Al Khalil) and restoring the vitality of this Palestinian town.

  • Israel denies Gaza govt floodwater allegations
    • Now they use Gaza as a sewer. Here are pictures of untreated Israeli sewage being discharged into Gaza waters.

      link to facebook.com

      Are they trying to make the place uninhabitable so people leave and save them the trouble of carrying out ethnic cleansing at bayonet point.

  • Article withdrawn
    • The hasbara hit back link to honestreporting.com

      The recent stormy weather in Israel and the vicinity has seen widespread flooding in Gaza. For the Palestinians and their media supporters, however, it isn’t enough to blame heavy rain. There has to be some way to blame Israel.

      Xavier Ghazi · Top Commenter
      Nothing is exposed and no lies busted, you're just trying way too hard..Here:
      “The [Israeli] army opened the floodgates of a canal leading to central Gaza, which resulted in the removal of sand mounds along the border with Israel,” the CDD announced, according to Palestinian News Agency WAFA.
      “Opening the levees to the canal has led to the flooding of several Palestinian homes, and we had to quickly evacuate the afflicted citizens.”
      link to rt.com

  • Putin on the Nile: an Isolated Russia Seeks friends in Egypt w/ offer of Nuclear Plant
    • Dear professor Cole

      So it needs to come with a bloody good Air Defence system to avoid the chappies next door bombing it. The siting of the nuclear station then becomes subject to the need for good fields of fire for the SAM.

  • French Far Right Poised to Exploit Paris Attacks for Political Gain
    • This is causing some excitement on Twitter.

      Shadi Hamid
      ‏@shadihamid
      This Rupert Murdoch tweet is one of the most remarkable things I've seen from a public figure on #Paris attacks.

      Rupert Murdoch ‏@rupertmurdoch 4h4 hours ago
      Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible.

  • How a Republican Congress could Entangle the US further in the Middle East
    • This about sums it up. Ravid reports for Haaretz

      Barak Ravid @BarakRavid 2h2 hours ago
      Pretty good morning for Bibi Netanyahu, Ron Dermer (@AmbDermer) and Sheldon Adelson

      I suppose it is time to pick your children for sacrifice in the next great conflagration.

  • Jerusalem tensions over al-Aqsa Mosque turn bloody as Far Right-winger is Shot
    • A Cassandra posts a warning and a choice.

      "Jerusalem is burning and you are not taking any significant steps to stop the blaze. You are only adding fuel to the fire.”

      So said opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the opening session of the Knesset this week.

      Netanyahu has two more pyromaniacs at his side adding fuel to the fire: the Israeli Police and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

      Netanyahu continues to approve more Jewish housing starts in east Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank. The Israeli Police is using excessive force in suppressing the rioting in east Jerusalem, and Barkat has announced a campaign of collective punishment.

      The police are firing tear gas and sponge bullets in a seemingly random manner – most of the houses in Isawiya are said to have broken windows. East Jerusalem residents claim the infamous “skunk truck” which spews a vile-smelling liquid has been used not just to disperse rioters but to punish residents.

      They claim police have used clubs to smash car windows. Isawiya’s mukhtar, Darwish Darwish, said, “This makes no sense. They’re just heating things up instead of calming things down.”

      Meanwhile, Mayor Barkat has told municipal department heads to punish east Jerusalem residents for any violations of the municipal code – everything from traffic offenses to unlicensed businesses, house demolitions and animal confiscations.

      link to jpost.com

    • Dear Professor Cole

      Netanyahu continues to blame the victims. Nobody has told Chickenshit that he is playing with fire.

      Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a harsh response to the closure of the Al Aqsa Mosque Thursday morning. "Harming the places sacred to Muslims and Christians is a red line," he said, adding that he would "not permit this line to be crossed."

      Abbas' spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said the Israeli government bears responsibility for the escalation in Jerusalem. "The state of Palestine," he said, will use all measures available to it in international law to bring Israel to account and to halt the aggression.

      Abu Rudeineh also appealed to the international community to take steps to stop what he called "Israeli aggression," saying its continuation amounts to a "declaration of war" on the Palestinian people and the Arab and Islamic nation.

      Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a harsh response to the closure of the Al Aqsa Mosque Thursday morning. "Harming the places sacred to Muslims and Christians is a red line," he said, adding that he would "not permit this line to be crossed."

      link to haaretz.com

  • 5 Things to Know Today about the Fight Against ISIL
    • Dear Professor Cole

      Correction

      On the Syrian side of the border, the Bashar al-Assad regime

      On the Syrian side of the border, the Governement of Syria or The Syrian Arab Army

      ISIS are the result of a mistaken and mismanaged Saudi/ US attempt to overthrow the Government of Syria.

  • Pro-Israel Attacker puts British MP George Galloway in Hospital
  • British Cabinet Member Resigns over UK Gov't Gaza Stance, wanted to go to ICC
    • Dear Professor Cole

      It was noticeable that sayeeda Warsi did a long interview with Channel 4 and not with BBC. One wonders why until link to electronicintifada.net

      There rports off BBC staff circulating protests against its coverage

    • Dear Professor Cole,

      Baroness Warsi is one of four serving ofr frmer UK Conservative ministers whom I have heard in the last three months say "what Israel is doing is Wrong"

      As I listened to her mention that the prospective next leader of the conservative party is a good friend of the Israeli government and how David Dameron and William Hague were gagged by the intervention of one of their main campaign contributors, after a 2009 sstement that Gaza is an open air prison, I realised that the Conservative government is going to be one of the asualties of the Gaza Operation.

      We will not vote for Zionist Stooges (though I wouldn't have voted for them anyway)

  • Netanyahu's Last Stand: Why he Cannot Win by Bombing Gaza
  • Neo-Zangid State erases Syria-Iraq Border, cuts Hizbullah off from Iran
    • What is the economics of this state? The Kurds have Kirkuk and those oilfields. Basra is safe in the south. Can they extract enough oil from Mosul to fund a long running war?

  • Pastor Hagee: It's not Climate Change, It’s The Return Of Christ
  • Operation American Spring aims to drive Obama from office this Friday
    • Dear Professor Cole

      We know that drinking water In London is tainted with Cocaine.

      Has LSD found its way into the groundwater in the US?

  • Is Fall of Homs a turning point in Regime's Quest to Retake Syria?
    • Dear Professor Cole

      "You wouldn’t want that crew to sweep into Damascus and take it over. Syria is caught between two unpalatable alternatives."

      For me, the only way to decide between the alternatives is to ask "Who keeps my friends safe?" As my friends are mainly Christian, Ismaeli and Alawite this makes the choice simple.

      If this puts me on the other side of the fence from the US and UK government, "c'est la vie"

  • The FBI's Facial Recognition Database Combines Lo-Res Photos With Zero Civil Liberties Considerations
    • Oh well, at least Facebook tell us how far they have got with Deep Face.

      link to extremetech.com

      "What it chooses to do with that software, of course, remains a mystery. It will obviously eventually be used to shore up the existing facial recognition solution on Facebook.com, ensuring that every photo of you on the social network is connected to your account (even if they don’t show a visible tag). From there, it’s hard to imagine that Zuckerberg and co will keep DeepFace purely confined to Facebook.com — there’s too much money to be earnt by scanning the rest of the public web for matches. Another possibility would be branching out into real-world face tracking — there are obvious applications in security and CCTV, but also in commercial settings, where tracking someone’s real-world shopping habits could be very lucrative. As we’ve discussed before, Facebook (like Google) becomes exponentially more powerful and valuable (both to you and its share holders) the more it knows about you."

      Just imagine a global database of people's faces. What can the Department of Homeland Security do with that?

  • Egypt's new Cult of Personality: The Beatification of Saint Gen. al-Sisi
    • Dear Professor Cole

      I looked hard at the date of this article before starting to wonder who has bought the British Government this time.

      link to theguardian.com
      The Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded in Egypt in 1928, was branded a terrorist group by the Egyptian authorities last year. It had been banned during most of the latter part of the 20th century up until the Arab spring which saw the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak as Egyptian president.

      British officials are saying it is "possible but unlikely" that the Muslim Brotherhood will be banned in Britain on the grounds of terrorist links. Foreign Office officials figures have until now resisted proscribing the organisation on the grounds that that could encourage extremists. "The truth is that this is a large, disparate organisation that takes different forms in different countries," an official told the paper.

      The security services are said to take a more hardline view. Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, has reportedly described the Muslim Brotherhood as "at heart a terrorist organisation".

  • Why Romney is Wrong that Obama's Syria Policy Emboldened Putin
    • Dear Professor Cole

      His paymaster has even less acceptable views on International Relations.

      link to jpost.com

      NEW YORK – During a panel at Yeshiva University on Tuesday evening, Sheldon Adelson, noted businessman and owner of the newspaper Israel Hayom, suggested that the US should use nuclear weapons on Iran to impose its demands from a position of strength.

      Asked by moderator Rabbi Shmuley Boteach whether the US should negotiate with Iran if it were to cease its uranium enrichment program, Adelson retorted, “What are we going to negotiate about?”

      Adelson then imagined what might happen if an American official were to call up an Iranian official, say “watch this,” and subsequently drop a nuclear bomb in the middle of the Iranian desert.

      "Then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development. You want to be peaceful? Just reverse it all, and we will guarantee you that you can have a nuclear power plant for electricity purposes, energy purposes’," Adelson said.

      “So a tremendous demonstration of American strength?” Boteach clarified. “So that they would get the message?”

      “It’s the only thing they understand,” Adelson said.

  • As Putin recognizes Crimea, his other Client, Syria, Goes on the Offensive
    • Patrick Cockburn recounts the tragedy of a massive US Saudi mistake, that people are trying to undo. Returning Government of Syria to control of its territory is the least bad option after all. Wikileaks points the finger squarely at the instigators of the tragedy.

      One hopes that like after the fiasco of Gallipoli, that an enlightened rule will emerge from the chaos and destruction to manage reconstruction and development.

      link to independent.co.uk

  • Israelis slam Kerry over "Jewish State" Remarks as Abbas Rejects Demand
    • Dear Professor Cole.

      sadly the British prime Minister's fawning speech to knesset gave away all of Netanyahu's points and undermined Kerry. I almost threw up as I read it.
      link to gov.uk

      "And to those who do not share my ambition, who want to boycott Israel, I have a clear message – Britain opposes boycotts; whether it is trade unions campaigning for the exclusion of Israelis or universities trying to stifle academic exchange, Israel’s place as a homeland for the Jewish people will never rest on hollow resolutions passed by amateur politicians. It is founded in the spirit and strength of your people, it is founded in international law, it is founded in the resolve of all your allies to protect an international system that was forged in our darkest days to put right historic wrongs. And it is founded in the achievement of your economy and your democracy, a country pledged to be fair and equal to all its citizens, whether Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Arab or Druze, it is your destiny. De legitimising the State of Israel is wrong, it is abhorrent and together we will defeat it."

      Can criminalising BDS be far off?

  • Can the Neoconservatives make a comeback via the Ukraine Crisis?
    • Dear Professor Cole

      As far as i can see you are the first person to accurately describe this ongoing problem.

      We Europeans are horrified at the antics of Ms Nuland and State Department in executing the strategy outlined by her husband in "The Revenge of Geography". Germany depends for its gas on Russia and BP one of UK's biggest companies is heavily invested in Russia.

      Now that the plan to route Qatari gas through Syria to Europe has failed, we Europeans must logically side with President Putin.

      Following on from this it is time to reconsider the European relationship with US. Having wrecked our economies with casino banking and violated many of the basic tenets of European Law in pursuits of even more extravagant returns for US investors and now trying to drag us into an unnecessary war it may be time to dust off the old slogan from he 1960s and 70s and say " Yankee Go Home"

      I trust that somehow you will manage to avoid an election in 2016 where both candidates are prisoners or clients of AIPAC and the Neocons

      I should hate to see a rerun of the Carter presidency that brought Ronald Reagan onto the scene.

  • Obama and the Golden Calf of National Security: Broken Commandments
    • Dear Professor Cole

      One can only laugh at this attempt to harvest facial images.

      GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not.

      In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally.

      Yahoo reacted furiously to the webcam interception when approached by the Guardian. The company denied any prior knowledge of the program, accusing the agencies of "a whole new level of violation of our users' privacy".

      The documents also chronicle GCHQ's sustained struggle to keep the large store of sexually explicit imagery collected by Optic Nerve away from the eyes of its staff, though there is little discussion about the privacy implications of storing this material in the first place.

      ......

      Sexually explicit webcam material proved to be a particular problem for GCHQ, as one document delicately put it: "Unfortunately … it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person. Also, the fact that the Yahoo software allows more than one person to view a webcam stream without necessarily sending a reciprocal stream means that it appears sometimes to be used for broadcasting pornography."

      The document estimates that between 3% and 11% of the Yahoo webcam imagery harvested by GCHQ contains "undesirable nudity". Discussing efforts to make the interface "safer to use", it noted that current "naïve" pornography detectors assessed the amount of flesh in any given shot, and so attracted lots of false positives by incorrectly tagging shots of people's faces as pornography.

      link to theguardian.com

  • American Writers are Self-Censoring to Avoid NSA Scrutiny (McCauley)
    • Dear Professor Cole

      The UK's Chilcot inquiry into how the saintly Mr Blair sent 45,000 troops to war in Iraq are being censored by the US.

      link to independent.co.uk

      Earlier this year, The Independent revealed that early drafts of the report challenged the official version of events leading up to the Iraq war, which saw Mr Blair send in 45,000 troops to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s regime.

      The protected documents relating to the Bush-Blair exchanges are said to provide crucial evidence for already-written passages that are highly critical of the covert way in which Mr Blair committed British troops to the US-led invasion.

      One high-placed diplomatic source said: “The US are highly possessive when documents relate to the presence of the President or anyone close to him. Tony Blair is involved in a dialogue in many of these documents, and naturally someone else is at the other end – the President. Therefore this is not Tony Blair’s or the UK Government’s property to disclose.”

      The source was adamant that “Chilcot, or anyone in London, does not decide what documents relating to a US President are published”.

  • France Crashes the Geneva Party, Scuttles Iran Deal
    • Dear Professor Cole

      Perhaps the French want to keep the Saudis in the market for more weapons by stoking the Arms Race in the Middle East.

      If you really want to get scared just imagine the Saudis getting Pakistani warheads for their Chinese Missiles, which provokes the Turks and Egyptians to arm themselves too.

      We don't know how to do Multilateral Deterrence, so we have to disarm the Israelis and do a WMD Free Middle East.

      Fifty years ago when I was ill in the Infirmary at school, I read Neville Shute's "On the Beach" about the end of mankind in a slowly spreading cloud of fallout.

      He postulated the war starting as a General Nuclear Exchange in the Middle East.

      link to goodreads.com

  • Would Israel's Netanyahu really Drag US into war with Iran?
    • Dear Professor Cole

      Shouldn't an unprovoked attack by Israel on Iranian Civil Infrastructure not provoke cruise missile strikes on Tel Aviv?

  • I lived to See the Day when the Pope and the President of Iran are more doctrinally Flexible than the GOP
    • Dear Professor Cole

      I know most Americans don't know where Europe is, ( Clue:it is on the other side or the Atlantic, near Russia) however most people of Polish extraction will know where Poland is.

      They know about John Sobieski and the Hussaria and the magnificent charge outside Vienna.

      Less well known is the disfunctional Sejm, the parliament that was bought and controlled by the neighbouring countries.

      How did the Republicans manage to import this system into the US? Will the US be dismembered between Mexico and Canada?

  • How Putin Saved Obama, Congress and the European Union from Further Embarrassing themselves on Syria
    • Dear Professor Cole

      While my friends at the University in Damascus will be spared US bombing, my besieged friends in Aleppo continue to starve.

      Much is being made of the difficulties of assembling and destroying the chemicals, while fighting continues, by the BBC

      Clearly stopping the fighting is the next step.

      One looks forward to some interesting arm twisting in Qatar and Riyadh

  • Former Iranian President Slams Syria for Gassing own People: Sign of deep Divisions in Tehran
    • Dear Professor Cole

      One of your biggest triumphs during the Iraq fighting was to stop an American Tank Battalion firing on the Mosque in Najaf.

      Perhaps I might suggest you publish as short list of sites of major cultural and religious significance in Syria so the US pilots avoid sacrilidge as well as all the other charges that will be levelled against them.

      Clearly the Ummayad Mosque and the tomb of Salahedin will be avoided.

      The Shrine of Saida Ruqayya is just around the corner and the extraordinarily beautiful shrine of Saida Zainab is in the suburbs near the road to the airport.

      The loss of any of these would be a loss to mankind and would confirm to the world that the Americans have inherited the legacy of Hugalu.

  • The Ghost of Iraq haunts Obama on Syria as British Parliament Defects
    • Dear Professor Cole

      1 Chemical Weapons are of no military use against a modern army which is equipped and trained to operate in an NBC environment.
      2 Use of Chemical Weapons by anyone against civilians or insurgents or other forces is a war crime, or a crime against humanity
      3 The lack of progress on, or obstruction of, establishment of a WMD Free Zone in the Middle East is an affront to humanity.

  • Kerry signals US Intervention in Syria, but to What End?
    • Dear Professor Cole

      Once the Legal Precedent for use of standoff missiles and cruise missiles fired from outside Syrian territory or airspace is established, it is only a short step to the use of the much loved drone strikes to maintain the stalemate.

      Once the Syrian Air Force is degraded then Syrian Armour and Artillery can be eliminated by drones flying from bases in Cyprus, Turkey, and Jordan.

      The bad guys in Al Nusra, Al Qaeda and similar can happily be killed from the comfort of an air conditioned office in Wiltshire or Virginia.

      The war never ends and the Israelis can continue to build Eretz Israel between the Jordan and the Sea.

  • Top 13 Surveillance Secrets the Gov't Doesn't want You to Know About (Quigley)
    • Dear Professor Cole

      Now we seem to be in danger of being convicted of possessing secrets that might possibly assist a terrorist

      If you think this is Monty Python

      link to theguardian.com

      God only knows what defence might be offered.

      "It has to have the right to preserve those secrets and we have to have a law that covers a situation when somebody, for all sorts of wonderfully principled reasons, wishes to disclose those secrets.

      "It just is something that is extremely dangerous for individual citizens to [make] those secrets available to the terrorists."

      Lord Blair said the threat from international terrorism was "constantly changing" and there was a need to "review the law".

      He warned there was a "new threat which is not of somebody personally intending to aid terrorism, but of conduct which is likely to or capable of facilitating terrorism". He cited the examples of information leaks related to Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks.

      "Most of the legislation about state secrets is in the Official Secrets Act and it only concerns an official," he said.

      "I think there is going to have to be a look at what happens when somebody possesses material which is secret without having authority."

      I wonder if I can get dragged away for reading Informed Comment or the Guardian?

  • Does the World Care? 1 Mn Syrian Children Refugees & Aid Money Running Out
    • Dear Professor Cole

      Only six other people cared enough to comment.

      I care because I know people in Damascus,and Aleppo and Homs and their friends, and it distresses me to have to share instructions with them on how to build air raid refuges in their flats and where to find instructions in Arabic on how to respond to a gas attack.

      It distresses me greatly to read of other friends who have fled to UAE,Lebanon, and Egypt and are at the mercy of events there.

      When it is all over and the shooting eventually stops we will need to rebuild a tourist industry and set up twinning schemes and rescue and rehabilitation schemes for the refugees.

      And most of all we need to avoid forgetting this Nakba.

  • Bradley Manning in a World of Cheneys, Hadithas, and NSA Domestic Surveillance
    • Dear Professor Cole

      If you were to post the postal address of Prisoner Manning at Fort Leavenworth, it would be interesting to see how many Christmas cards and Birthday cards he gets over the next thirty five years.

      UK comment suggests that with Parole he might be out in ten years. Does the Uniform Code of Military Justice recognise parole?

  • Syria: Will Killing of Hundreds with Sarin Gas force Obama's Hand?
    • Dear Professor Cole

      The Russians are now reporting that it was the Rebels.

      "The missile with a chemical poison gas sarine was launched by Syrian rebels and targeted the eastern suburbs of Damascus. This is according to the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich.

      "Early morning of August 21, a homemade rocket carrying an unknown chemical warfare agent was launched on the eastern suburbs of Damascus. The missile resembled the rocket which was used by the rebels on March 19 in Khan al-Asal," said Lukashevich.

      "Moscow believes it is important to carry out an objective and professional investigation of what happened", the diplomat continued. "It looks like an attempt to create a pretext for the UN Security Council to side with the opponents of Assad's regime and thus undermine Geneva-2 talks which are now scheduled for August 28".

      "Once again we urge all those who have the opportunity to influence the armed extremists to make every effort to put an end to provocations with the use of chemical agents," Lukashevich asserted.

      link to informationclearinghouse.info

      Clearly, If it is the Rebels who did this then their cause is lost.

      This has implications both for the besieged occupants of Aleppo who are waiting for the relief column to roll North from Homs, and for the unfortunate citizens of Cairo whose agony is still to come.

      If you visit the expat city districts in Dubai one wonders what the death toll of such an attack happening in that area might be.

    • Dear Professor Cole

      By Gordon Lubold

      Why is the Obama administration is opposed to even limited U.S. military intervention? Because, according to a new story by the AP, the administration believes rebels fighting the Assad regime wouldn't support American interests if they were able to topple the regime and seize power. That according to a letter by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Marty Dempsey, to Congress, and obtained by AP. AP: "Effectively ruling out U.S. cruise missile attacks and other options that wouldn't require U.S. troops on the ground, Dempsey said the military is clearly capable of taking out Syrian President Bashar Assad's air force and shifting the balance of the Arab country's 2½-year war back toward the armed opposition. But he said such an approach would plunge the United States deep into another war in the Arab world and offer no strategy for peace in a nation plagued by ethnic rivalries."

      Let's wait for the UN report

  • It's not about Democracy: Top Ten Reasons Washington is Reluctant to cut off Egypt Aid
    • Dear Professor Cole

      I am reminded of Amritsar and The Year 1905 as I read of the events in Cairo.

      Considering the poverty of the social indicators in Egypt after fifty years of the Army's oligarchy, I wonder if Americans still ask "Why do they Hate Us?"

      "Sow the Wind, reap the Whirlwind"

  • Egypt's Transition Has Failed: New Age of Military Dictatorship in Wake of Massacre
    • Dear Professor Cole

      BBC reports yesterday's death toll as 421, with three thousand wounded.

      Will the rebels who are slowly being defeated in Syria head off to Egypt to give the Army a hard time?

      From what we are told the Army in Egypt has been feathering their nest and I wonder if they are combat ready. Certainly the missing 4000 SAM from Libya must give pause for thought.

      Certainly yesterday's excitement won't do much for the tourist industry, and I will feel even more unhappy being anywhere near the El Al Check-in desk at Cairo International Airport.

      A bit of shooting among the bikini clad lovelies on the beach at Sharm and Hurghada will really put the cat among the pigeons.

  • Israeli Gov't mocks 'Peace Talks' with announcement of 1200 New Squatter homes in Occupied Palestine
    • Dear Professor Cole

      Mr Kerry has insulted my intelligence this morning.

      The US has urged the Palestinians "not to react adversely" to Israel's approval of 1,200 new settlement homes only days before peace talks resume.

      The Israelis are holding the detainees hostage.

      link to m.bbc.co.uk

      US State Department has thrown the Palestinians under a bus.

      Are we complicit in this crime if we do not protest?

  • All Hell Breaks Loose in Libya
    • "raised the question of whether the extremist Libyan and Tunisian devotees of political Islam coorinated the attacks so as to foment turmoil that might form a path whereby they could take over the country."

      This is a reference to the overthrow mechansim of a weak Kerensky like government by the Bolshevik like armed factions.

    • Dear Professor Cole

      How curious to hear you echo the words of the saintly Mr Blair who commented recently about Islamists who are unable to run a modern economy.

      Sounds like it is time for Africom, or at least a demi brigade of La Legion Etrangere.

      ps there might be a "not" missing in the following sentence from the final paragraph "And no, these problems of transition would justify having kept the totalitarian and murderous dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi in place."

  • Indiana: "How do we get rid of" Zinn's 'A People's History of the United States?'
    • Dear Professor Cole

      A Cease and Desist order would be very effective in driving this scolarship or opinion off the Internet and supressing its sale except through regulated outlets

      link to historyisaweapon.com

      Bad sign indeed!

  • Syria: Attack on Sayyida Zainab Provokes Sunni-Shiite Tensions in Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan
    • Dear Professor Cole

      My memory of Saida Zainab is of an extraordinarily beautiful building in complete contrast to the ugly bus grage beside it.

      The throngs of pilgrims being preached to by their ayatollahs remined me of the fervour of pilgrims to Lourdes or Fatima.

      The way the pilgrim routs cross the frontiers were the beginnings of understanding just how silly the lines on the map were as borders.

  • Has NSA Spying Killed US "Cloud" services, Email in Europe, Brazil?
    • Dear Professor Cole

      It gets worse for the US.

      Many of the modern IT security programs designed to overcome Advanced persistent threats and Polymorphic malware are funded by US Venture capitalsists.

      Such programs if you buy them have access to everythin in your network.

      If they have a backdoor built in for the NSA then all our IPR and negotiating positions leak to the US.

      I think I see an emerging European Security Applications market.

  • Furious European Parliament Members Warn US Spying could Derail Free Trade Agreement
    • Dear Professor Cole

      As it happens we are discussing new standards and regulations for Cybersecurity in the EU this year.

      link to gov.uk

      As the heard of MI5 said ina radio interview on Radio Four last night, "there are three things in life that are certain. Death, Taxes and finding a Foreign Intelligence Agency in your network."

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