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Monday, April 30, 2012

Muslim brotherhood endorses Obama faith adviser

The official Twitter account for the English website of the Muslim Brotherhood today endorsed a Twitter post by Dalia Mogahed, a member of Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Referring to Obama’s White House Correspondents Dinner speech yesterday, Mogahed tweeted: “Was great President Obama recognized Anthony Shadid tonight.”

Shadid was a Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent for The New York Times who died in February of an apparent asthma attack while covering the uprising in Syria.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Twitter account, @ikhwanweb, retweeted Mogahed’s post and says in its profile that such retweets mean official endorsements of the subject matter.

Reads the profile: “Ikhwanweb is the only official Muslim Brotherhood’s English website. Our Tweets represent the official opinions of the Muslim Brotherhood. RTs = endorsements.”

This isn’t the first time Mogahed’s Twitter account drew controversy for her.

Last month, she came under fire for her remarks on Twitter about Israel. She wrote on Twitter about her opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in which she pointed out the embattled ruler can no longer “deliver … resistance to Israel.”

Her full Tweet at the time read: “To those siding w/ Assad: he cannot deliver stability, protection of minorities, or resistance to Israel. He is a killer w/o legitimacy.”

After bloggers noticed, Mogahed tweeted, “I am criticizing (people) who support Assad because they think he resists Israel.”

However, her Tweet in question can be easily interpreted to mean she is decrying Assad’s inability to “resist” Israel.

“Resistance” is a term routinely used by Islamic extremists to mean terrorism targeting civilians.

Besides her role on the White House Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Mogahed is also on the advisory council of the Department of Homeland Security. She testified before the Senate on engagement with the Muslim community.

Obama’s faith adviser helped craft ‘perfect Islamic state’

WND first exposed Mogahed’s radical Islamic ties, including how she was a partner in an Islamic project whose stated goal was to “define, interpret and implement the concept of the Islamic State in modern times.”

The project was founded and directed by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the controversial Muslim cleric behind the 13-story, $100 million Islamic cultural center and mosque being built two blocks from Ground Zero in New York City.

Together with Rauf, Mogahed was a leading voice in the Leadership Group on U.S.-Muslim Engagement, which issued a 153-page recommendation paper, obtained and reviewed by WND, that calls for dialogue with Hamas.

The consensus focused on improving America’s relationship with Muslims globally, with many of the recommendations later reportedly being adopted by the Obama administration. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Dennis Ross, Obama’s Mideast envoy, also served on the Leadership Group that released the recommendation paper.

The paper specifically called on the U.S. to engage opposition parties in Egypt, including the Muslim Brotherhood. It set the boundaries for dialogue with Hamas if the Islamist terror group renounced violence. Also, the paper called on the U.S. to immediately engage Hamas using intermediaries in hopes of moderating the group.

Mogahed, meanwhile, is a senior analyst and executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, where she led what has been described an unprecedented survey of Muslims worldwide, including in the U.S. and Europe.

The survey was the basis for a 2008 book she co-authored, “Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think.”

Mogahed’s Gallup survey concluded only 7 percent of the world’s Muslims are political radicals and that the majority support democracy.

Other Gallup findings under Mogahed concluded Muslims and Americans are equally likely to reject attacks on civilians as morally unjustifiable. Large majorities of Muslims would guarantee free speech if it were up to them to write a new constitution, the survey claimed.

‘Sister’ Mogahed and Shariah Islamic state

WND has learned Mogahed and the Gallup survey provided key data for Rauf’s “Shariah Index Project,” which sought, according to its own mission, to “define, interpret and implement the concept of the Islamic State in modern times.”

The project at one time was featured on the website of Rauf’s Cordoba Initiative, which is the group behind the so-called Ground Zero mosque. However, after the mosque issue was highlighted in the news media, the Shariah Index Project, a sister project of Cordoba, was scrubbed from Rauf’s website.

The website BigPeace.com previously uncovered the scrubbed section of the Cordoba website that detailed the Shariah Index Project.

“Imagine: a Perfectly Islamic State,” said the deleted section of Cordoba’s website.

The website described how Mogahed’s Gallup division helped to refine the principals of the Shariah Index, which was to serve as the basis for the “perfect Islamic state.” The website stated representatives from Gallup also joined in a phone conversation to help craft the principles.

Further, Jasser Auda, a Qatari professor who is one of the personalities behind the Shariah Index Project with Rauf, described Mogahed’s involvement in providing key data that helped formulate the Shariah Index plan to map out an Islamic state, even referring to Obama’s faith adviser as “sister Mogahed.”

In an interview about the Shariah Index Project with OnIslam.com, an Islamic news portal associated with Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, Auda stated, “Our sister Dalia Mugahed – at that time she was the head of the Muslim societies branch, now she is in Abu Dhabi leading the same project on Muslim societies.”

Continued Auda, “At that time in Washington she was leading the Muslim societies index, and she gave us according to an agreement between Gallup, Cordoba and the Prime Minister of Malaysia office, gave us (Shariah Index Project) the data for three years, through which we came up with some conclusions based on asking people.”

In her role on Obama’s faith council, Mogahed reportedly offers recommendations to the U.S. president on how faith-based organizations can best work with government to solve society’s toughest challenges.


At least 16 Nigerian Christians at prayer butchered after Islamists make good on threats

An early morning attack on a Christian church service in northern Nigeria left at least 16 people dead. The attack follows a string of violent incidents against Christians in the predominantly Muslim north.

Gunmen on motorcycles stormed Bayero University in the city of Kano Sunday morning during a Catholic mass held in the school's theater hall. The unidentified assailants threw improvised explosive devices as they traveled from the gates to the theater, and opened fire as people fled.

University spokesperson Alhaji Mustapha Zahradeen said seven people were killed. Eyewitness, however, said rescue operators have removed at least 18 dead bodies.

Security officials suspect Boko Haram, an Islamist insurgent outfit, carried out the attack. The group, whose name means "Western education is a sin," issued a statement last month warning that they will attack schools. Boko Haram has been blamed for killing more than 1,000 people since 2009 in its bid to overthrow Nigeria's secular government and establish Islamic sharia law nationwide.

Nigeria's political system tries to strike a balance between the Muslim north and Christian south. The use of religiously-targeted violence by Boko Haram, a group based in the north, is posing a challenge to the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian. In response, Mr. Jonathan has dispatched security forces, but sent mixed signals on whether his government would talk with the insurgents.

"Those who are saying we should dialogue are correct; those who are saying we should not dialogue are also correct," Jonathan told reporters Saturday after touring the bombed office of ThisDay Newspapers in Abuja.

Suleiman Ramat, a human rights activist in Kano, says to end the violence the government needs to act more vigorously, including on efforts to reconcile with the insurgents.

"The attack on Christians is barbaric and it must stop because innocent people are always at [the] losing end," he says.

Nigerian security forces have taken some counterinsurgency steps. Security forces arrested the group's leader Muhammad Yusuf, who was then killed in custody in 2009. In Kano last week, a joint military task force raided a suspected Boko Haram bomb factory. Earlier this month, security forces praised local residents in a Muslim neighborhood of Kano who apprehended two Boko Haram fighters before they could cause mayhem.

But a steady string of attacks by Boko Haram against churches, government installations, and newspapers continue, leading to calls for the government to get more serious about responding to the group.

The spokesman of the Joint Military Task Force, Lt. Ikedichi Iweha, said today's attack was highly sophisticated and cruel. By the time his men arrived on the scene, the gunmen had fled the area.

Meanwhile, the country's National Emergency Management Agency said that it received reports of the attacks but had no local office nearby with which to respond. Instead, they helped mobilize first responders and volunteers, who were then refused access to the scene by security forces.

Among the victims of the attack are chemistry professor Jerome Ayodele and Andrew Leo of the Library Science department.

The attack at Bayero University comes just two days after gunshots and blasts at Gombe State University in northeastern Nigeria. There were no casualties in that attack, which destroyed an administrative building.


Netanyahu’s choices: Strike Iran before or after Israeli elections

Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak are facing another of the periodic opposition campaigns to unseat them – this time by pressure for an early election a year before its October, 2013 date. New faces have joined the opposition lineup. They are focused on challenging the current government’s credentials for leading an Israeli attack to preempt a nuclear Iran. These two goals are interchangeable. However, before the campaign peaks, DEBKAfile’s analysts report it has begun to backfire.
The newcomer to the anti-government ranks is the party registered Sunday, April 29, by ex-broadcaster Yair Lapid as “Yesh Atid” (There is a Future). His potential partners are former Shin Bet director Yuval Diskin, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former chief of staff Gaby Ashkenazi. They are all casting about for a political base, together or apart, from which to tip over the current government. Incumbent President Shimon Peres cheers them on from the wings.
Diskin’s assault on Netanyahu and Barak as not to be trusted to lead a war and guided by “messianic” feelings was launched Friday, April 27, directly after Independence Day celebrations, at the same time as two leading opposition parties, Labor and Kadima, set the stage for an early election to stem the right-of-center government’s constant gains in opinion polls.

The ex-Shin Bet chief sounded the drum for them all by his assault on Netanyahu’s competence for leading any wars, least of all, a major conflict against Iran. Captions suddenly blossomed in foreign publications on the lines of “Israel’s Generals in Revolt,” implying that Israel’s security establishment was solidly against an attack on Iran.

This is far from the truth. The vocal opponents are a group of disaffected ex-security officials. There are questions about why they did not resign on the grounds of the views they are now voicing instead of fighting to have their tours of duty extended.

Now they are casting out lines for careers in politics.

Ehud Olmert, one of the Yesh Atid founding fathers and a member of its inner leadership, set the new party’s security agenda in New York Sunday with this comment: “I think that fundamentally, Israelis believe that a nuclear Iran imperils their existence. That is not in dispute. Nor that we must do everything it takes to defend ourselves against this peril. The question is what should be done, who should do it and when. My answer is this: It is being done and continues to be done by the international community led by the United States.”

With this agenda, Olmert sought to place the question of an Israeli solo attack on Iran versus reliance on US President Barack Obama front and center of the election campaign to come.

He appeared to be drawing on Diskin’s words, that the Israeli public is “stupid” or “ignorant,” leading to his belief that the Israeli voter would swallow a straight black-and-white choice between the “good guys” and the “bad guys.’
The good guys would be Barak Obama and his advisers, who have worked so hard to hold Israel back from a military offensive against Iran, and the baddies are Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak who are making trouble for the US president.

On April 26, Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz tried to fracture this distorted picture: He reported that other armies stand alongside Israel ready to attack Iran and prevent its acquisition of a nuclear weapon.

He did not name those armies, but DEBKAfile’s military sources disclosed he was referring to the United States.

In their drive to discredit Netanyahu and Barak, President Peres, Olmert, Dagan, Diskin and Ashkenazi failed to take note of Gen. Gantz’s words or what they portended – namely: In the past week, the United States has brought forward its operational preparations for an attack on Iran.

Instead, in Jerusalem, Israel’s opposition parties gathered for the push to corner Netanyahu into announcing an early election.

They got their wish sooner than they expected.

The prime minister, after turning the situation over for 48 hours, assented. He figured that the key weapon adopted by his rivals to knock him over was not in fact in their hands but in his: It is up to him and him alone to decide whether to attack Iran. In fact, if an election was forced on his government, he could defeat their scheme by bringing the attack forward.

So the impression of Netanyahu and Barak fighting with their backs to the wall against a body of generals is totally misleading.

Their opponents are beginning to realize that their anti-government offensive has missed its mark and may well blow up in their faces. The pressure for an election may therefore dissipate in the coming days - or not. That too is up to Netanyahu. He may decide that a successful operation against Iran would assure him of an election victory and wipe out his rivals. For now, he's got his foes guessing.

President Obama was far from happy with the exes’ anti-government maneuvers because he realized that they offered Prime Minister Netanyahu his strongest incentive yet for bringing forward an attack on Iran, an eventuality which the US president had made every effort to prevent before he himself faces the American voter in November.


US deploys F-22s to base near Iran

The U.S. military has deployed several F-22s, the nation's most advanced fighter jets, to an allied base less than 200 miles from Iran.

The Air Force strongly denies this deployment is meant as a show of force against Iran or that it is in some way related to a potential strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. Rather, it says this is all part of a routine deployment and "security cooperation with regional partners."

The Air Force won't say how many jets were sent or exactly where they are stationed, but privately, U.S. officials have told Fox News the jets are in hangars at the United Arab Emirates' Al Dafra Air Base, a fact first reported by Aviation Week.

The F-22 has not yet seen combat. The jets were not used in Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya. They are stealth, and they specialize in air-to-air combat, but can also strike air-to-ground if needed. As one Air Force official put it, "this is America's premier fighter jet. It has no rival."

The next round for Iran nuclear negotiations, which many consider to be the country's last diplomatic opportunity, takes place on May 23 in Baghdad.

"The United States Air Force has deployed F-22s to Southwest Asia. Such deployments strengthen military-to-military relationships, promote sovereign and regional security, improve combined tactical air operations, and enhance interoperability of forces, equipment and procedures," Lt.Col. John Dorrian, Air Force public affairs, said in a written statement.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/04/27/us-deploys-f-22s-to-base-near-iran/#ixzz1tXJrt2Ca

Andrew Breitbart coroner poisoned to death on same day autopsy report released

He spent his life trying to determine how people died. But now his colleagues are searching for answers after he died under mysterious circumstances.

Los Angeles police detectives, with the help of the Los Angeles County coroner's office, are investigating the death of Michael Cormier. Officials said he might have died of poisoning, but they have not provided further information.

Cormier, 61, died last week after being taken to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank from his North Hollywood home. Earlier he had complained of pain and vomiting.

Hospital staff notified police about concerns surrounding the cause of Cormier's death.

"At this point we haven't ruled out foul play," said Lt. Alan Hamilton of the Los Angeles Police Department. "It is one of the things being considered. We are waiting for the coroner's results."

Ed Winter, deputy chief coroner, said that Cormier's autopsy has been performed but that a cause of death has been deferred pending further tests.

Investigators have also interviewed his family and friends. Messages left at the home Friday went unanswered.

Authorities have examined Cormier's Auckland Avenue home for clues to the cause of his death. Sources said several hazardous materials experts and officers searched the small home looking for clues.

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that finding the presence of poison does not necessarily mean the death was a homicide, because the substance could have accidentally entered his system.

Hamilton cautions that such investigations are standard practice when there is even a suggestion of anything other than natural causes.

It unclear if the death could also be related to his work or hobbies.

Cormier, who also worked as a coroner's photographer, registered MAC Autopsy Services as a small business at the home.

LA Times

Iran Preparing for ‘The Last Six Months’ Prior to the Reappearance of the ‘Islamic Messiah’

By Reza Kahlili – “Despite the recent declaration by Iran that it does not want a nuclear bomb and statements by regime officials that they are willing to negotiate over the nuclear issue, indications from within Iran signal massive preparation for an all-out war as part of its destiny.

Nine years ago a Revolutionary Guards arm, the Holy Defense, published a book, ‘The Last Six Months,’ in which it describes the conditions needed in the last six months prior to the reappearance of the last Islamic messiah. The book was distributed in the hundreds of thousands to all Guards, Basij and army bases throughout the country.

Islam’s Shiites believe their 12th Imam, Mahdi, will reappear at the end of times and kill all the infidels, raising the flag of Islam in all four corners of the world.

The book admonishes the military forces that they must be prepared to do their duties during those six months and that there will be many signs to help the faithful to understand the transition, which will center on Iran.

The book, which relies on Islamic hadiths by the Prophet Mohammad and his descendants from centuries ago, describes the 9/11 attacks and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as signs that the time is near. But it also prophesies much more significant signs that would launch the six-month time frame for the reappearance of Mahdi: an attack on Syria and then an attack on Iran.

Both those events are looking increasingly likely as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad continues to murder his own people and Iran continues its quest for nuclear weapons.

Mahdi will only reappear, Shiites believe, when Israel is destroyed and the U.S. is brought to its knees; two-thirds of the world’s population will die in a nuclear exchange, and with this chaos and havoc engulfing the earth, the ‘coming’ will unfold.

As revealed in the Iranian secret documentary ‘The Coming Is Upon Us,’ it is believed within the Islamic regime that the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is the historical figure as claimed in a hadith who will rise up against the infidels and pass the flag of Islam to Imam Mahdi, the last Islamic messiah.

According to a source who served in the Guards’ intelligence – he has defected to a country in Europe – billions of dollars have been spent on the military forces to emphasize this very ideology of the coming as well as preparation for an all-out war.

Thousands of terrorist cells consisting of the most loyal are placed throughout the world, and they believe Iran will be a key player in creating the circumstances for the coming.

The Islamic regime fully expects to be attacked, the source says. Its leaders believe this will happen as foretold in centuries-old hadiths and written in the book ‘The Last Six Months.’ Response contingencies call for simultaneous attacks on Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, and attacks not only on U.S. bases in the region but the U.S. homeland.

The Islamic regime has already mastered nuclear technology and currently has enough enriched uranium, verified by the IAEA, for six nuclear bombs. It also has ballistic missiles capable of reaching every country in the Middle East and many capitals in Europe but is also working, with the help of China and North Korea, on intercontinental ballistic missiles.

An internal IAEA document from 2009 shows that Khamenei, as early as 1984, was pushing for nuclear bombs, stating that, ‘This was the only way to secure the very essence of the Islamic Revolution from the schemes of its enemies, especially the United States and Israel, and to prepare it for the emergence of Imam Mahdi.’

Of utmost concern is that Iran likely has nuclear weapons already even as it works to create more. As reported in October, Iranian agents scoured the former Soviet republics after the fall of the Soviet Union in search of buying existing nuclear bombs, offering hundreds of millions of dollars. As verified with sources at the State Department, a former U.S. intelligence officer and a Russian general, the Iranians have at least two workable nuclear warheads.

The source in the Guards’ intelligence said he was informed in secret briefings while in the Guards that they had two nuclear bombs, though he could not attest if they were viable. But what he verified next was further terrifying: Iran has neutron bombs, thanks to its North Korea ally.

A neutron bomb is a tactical nuclear weapon invented during the Cold War to kill people with neutron radiation, while minimizing damage to buildings.

‘However, a neutron warhead is more accurately described as, and is officially called, an Enhanced Radiation Warhead because it produces large quantities of all kinds of radiation – including gamma rays – that generate the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) effect at high altitude,’ according to Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, which advises Congress.

‘So if a neutron bomb, or more properly ERW, is detonated at high altitude, above 30 kilometers, it becomes an enhanced EMP weapon, a strategic weapon that could generate a powerful EMP, destroying electronics and collapsing the critical infrastructures that support the lives of millions of people over vast geographic areas,’ Pry said.

As verified by the IAEA, the Guards have launched ballistic missiles from ships and detonated warheads over the earth’s surface. Those tests have only one purpose: create an EMP attack, whether by nuclear or neutron bomb. As revealed last year, the Guards have now armed their naval vessels with ballistic missiles and plan on deploying warships in the Atlantic Ocean.

Studies show that a successful EMP attack could destroy electric power, telecommunications, transportation, banking and finance, and food and water across the continental United States.

The Congressional EMP Commission estimated that, given current U.S. unpreparedness, one year after an EMP attack, about two-thirds of the U.S. population, 200 million people, would have perished from starvation, disease or societal collapse.

As the West continues to negotiate with the leaders of the Islamic regime in Iran, even accepting their nuclear program for ‘peaceful purposes,’ one thing is ominously lacking: an understanding of their ideology.” Source – WND.

Nuclear experts: Fukushima crisis may become 'global catastrophe'

A nuclear watchdog official told RT News that the ongoing crisis at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan could become a "global catastrophe", echoing warnings from other experts.

Kevin Kamps, a radioactive waste watchdog with Beyond Nuclear, described the potential nightmare to "The Big Picture" host Thom Hartmann, stating that if the fukoshim  at the plant caught on fire, the area would become so radioactive that the entire containment operation would have to be permanently abandoned.

Mitsuhei Murata, the former Japanese ambassador to Switzerland, also expressed grave concerns about what would happen if the damaged building that houses Reactor 4 collapsed. According to the Huffington Post, he explained to the Swiss House of Councilors last month that should such an event occur, it would adversely affect the thousands of spent nuclear fuel rods nearby, which are dangerously exposed to air.

Nuclear expert Robert Alvarez, the former Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, spelled out the potential disaster in more specific -- and chilling -- terms in an email sent to renowned Japanese diplomat Akio Matsumura.

"If an earthquake or other event were to cause the pool to drain, this could result in a catastrophic radiological fire involving nearly 10 times the amount of [radioactive] Cs-137 released by the Chernobyl incident," Alvarez stated.

However, things could get much worse. According to Alvarez, if the 11,138 spent nuclear fuel rods contained in the facility also went up in flames, it would unleash 85 times the amount of Cs-137 released by the Chernobyl disaster.

In addition, a recent study of the meltdown at Chernobyl offers a sobering analysis of the situation, ENS News reports. According to research compiled by Russian scientists and published in the New York Academy of Sciences, the nuclear fallout from the Chernobyl disaster killed over one million people worldwide from 1986 to 2004. If the worst-case scenario at Fukushima becomes a reality, the effects could lead to millions of casualties around the globe.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/323733#ixzz1tXGTYPXX

Spain back in recession after first-quarter contraction

The Spanish economy is officially in recession, according to the latest figures.

The National Statistics Institute said the economy shrank 0.3% over the three months to the end of March, the second consecutive quarterly contraction.

But the contraction was not quite as much as economists had been expecting.

Concern over the weakness of the economy and the deficit have driven up the cost of borrowing for Spain, raising fears it will need a bailout.

Separately, Standard and Poor's downgraded the credit ratings of nine Spanish banks, including Santander and BBVA.

A report in the Financial Times on Monday said that the Spanish government is considering helping the banking industry by allowing them to put bad loans into a government-organised fund.

But according to the report it is not clear how much benefit the scheme will have, as government officials say banks will have to match the bad loans deposited with provisions for that debt on their own balance sheets.

Meanwhile, many Spaniards are affected by the crisis.

On Friday the government said that unemployment hit a record in March of 24.4%.

And on Sunday, tens of thousands protested planned cuts in healthcare and education.

The cuts are part of the government's effort to reduce the public deficit to to 5.3% of gross domestic product in 2012, from 8.5 percent last year.

But that effort is being hampered by the lack of growth. Spain only emerged from a year-long recession in early 2010.

That prompted the Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo to say: "The figures are terrible for everyone and terrible for the government... Spain is in a crisis of huge proportions."

Guillaume Menuet, an economist at Citigroup, said: "Spain's still very much recession and we think that this isn't going to improve soon."

"It's likely they'll have to create more fiscal tightening in order to catch up if they wish to avoid going into [a bailout] plan, and that's going to be counterproductive."

Spain's performance contrasts with Germany, which on Monday announced that retail sales had risen 0.8% in March.