Sunday, 30 March 2014


Christian sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan

Arrest of Sawan Masih after drunken row last year prompted Muslim mob to burn hundreds of homes in eastern city of Lahore

People gather after Friday congregational prayers
People gather after Friday congregational prayers to protest for the release of Mumtaz Qadri, one of the elite police guard who killed Punjab governor Salman Taseer in 2011 
A Christian man has been sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan, according to his lawyer, following an incident last year that prompted a Muslim mob to torch hundreds of homes.
It is the latest in a string of convictions prompting calls from religious minorities for the law to be reformed.
Naeem Shakir said his client, Sawan Masih, was convicted during a hearing held in jail for fear of violent protests.
Masih, a cleaner, was accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammed during a conversation with a Muslim friend in the eastern city of Lahore. Within hours, about 3000 protesters had set light to Christian homes and churches in an area known as Joseph Colony.
His supporters have always claimed the incident was fabricated as part of a plot to seize land.
“They hatched a conspiracy to push out the residents of the colony,” said Masih in a statement after sentence was passed. “They contrived a case and got it filed by a person who was close to me. I am innocent.”
At the time police said Masih had been drinking with his friend and the pair got into a heated row.
Although Pakistan has not carried out capital punishment for blasphemy, violent mobs and extremists have. At least one judge has been murdered for appearing to be too lenient in such cases.
Xavier William, president of the Christian pressure group Life for All Pakistan, said the episode marked a clear example of intolerance and misuse of the laws.
"In Pakistan even being accused of blasphemy is equivalent to being sentenced,” he said.
"The blasphemy laws in Pakistan are used to settle personal vendettas.”
The police arrested 83 suspects following the rampage through the Christian colony, including the man who brought the complaint against Masih, but so far none have been convicted.
Amnesty International called for Masih to be released and for those responsible for attacking Christian homes to be tried.
"Failure to do so will effectively send the message that anyone can commit outrageous abuses and excuse them as defence of religious sentiments," said David Griffiths, Amnesty International's deputy Asia Pacific director.
An elderly British man is among the several dozen currently being held for blasphemy offences.
Muhammad Asghar, 70, was sentenced to death after being arrested in 2010 for writing letters claiming to be a prophet. His relatives say he has a history of paranoid schizophrenia and his lawyers have launched an appeal.
Efforts to reform the British-era colonial laws – toughened in the 1980s with Sharia penalties – have foundered.
Such is the febrile atmosphere that few dare to question the laws.
In 2011, Salman Taseer, governor of Punjab, was shot dead by one of his own bodyguards for taking up the case of a Christian woman sentenced to death.

Saturday, 29 March 2014


PA officials: Jews have ‘no right to pray’ at Western Wall

Judge Tayseer Al-Tamimi says Al-Aqsa Mosque, including Jewish holy site, is Islamic and belongs to Muslims alone

 March 27, 2014, 7:27 pm

The Western Wall and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem's Old City. (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)
The Western Wall and Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem's Old City. (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Two Palestinian Authority officials recently asserted that Islamic law forbids Jews from praying at the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, both adding that the wall was an integral part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
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“Allah decreed that the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque is Islamic and belongs to Muslims alone,” Tayseer Al-Tamimi, former Chief Justice of PA Religious Court said last month, according to a translation newly provided by watchdog NGO Palestinian Media Watch.
“It is part of the religious belief of a billion and a half Muslims, and the Jews have no right to it… or the right to pray in any part of it. The Al-Aqsa Mosque includes all its courtyards… and specifically, its western wall,” al Tamimi said
Palestinian Authority Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash also stated last month that non-Muslims should be barred from praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which, according to him, includes the Western Wall.
“The Al-Aqsa Mosque will remain, by divine decree, a Muslim mosque, will not be shared with anyone, will not be forfeited, and no one besides Muslims will pray in it,” he said.
In an interview with the official PA television station in December last year, Al-Habbash stated that the Western Wall is “an authentic part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque only.”
During the same interview, Al-Habbash said that “freedom of worship in our Jerusalem is guaranteed to all,” but added that “nonetheless, we have rights, principles and positions that cannot possibly be altered.”
The Temple Mount compound, referred to by Muslims as the Al-Aqsa Mosque, is considered the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest site to Jews. By law, under arrangements Israel instituted after capturing the area in 1967, Jews are not allowed to pray at the site.
In February, Likud MK Moshe Feiglin initiated a first-of-its-kind Knesset debate to examine the right of non-Muslims to enter and pray at the holy compound, with over 30 MKs from both right-wing and left-wing parties seeking to voice their opinion on the divisive topic.
A resurgence of interest in prayer on the Temple Mount has provoked outrage among Palestinians and others in the Muslim world, who accuse Israel of attempting to “Judaize” the site, which Palestinians claim for their future state.
Lazar Berman contributed to this report

Read more: PA officials: Jews have 'no right to pray' at Western Wall | The Times of Israel
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Friday, 28 March 2014


  • War college professor warns of imminent invasion
  • US officials tell of ‘awful’ developments
  • NATO chief briefs US government on threat
WAS Crimea just the beginning?
A senior military academic is warning Europe is staring down the barrel of its biggest war since 1945. And it could start in days, as Russian forces mass on the border with Ukraine — apparently poised to invade.
The commander of NATO forces in Europe visited the White House overnight to voice his alarm at Moscow’s massive military build-up facing eastern Ukraine — on the other side of the embattled country to the already-annexed Crimean peninsula.
Many other military and political voices are suddenly expressing the same fears.
“By the end of the weekend, Europe’s biggest war since 1945 will have begun or Putin will have started to send the troops on the border home,” declared Professor of the Naval War College at Boston University, John Schindler.
And he is not the only academic voicing this concern.
The troops are reportedly not average Russian conscripts. New intelligence reveals the mechanised infantry units and their tanks to be among the best and most highly trained the Russian Federation has — diverted from their Moscow barracks to their tents and revetments overlooking Ukraine.
Also early this morning Australia time, a group of masked right wing ultra-nationalists began a demonstration inside and out of the Ukraine’s main parliament building - calling for the sacking of the police minister after one of their leaders was shot dead.
Commanding position ... Russian President Vladimir Putin, centre, uses binoculars to obse
Commanding position ... Russian President Vladimir Putin, centre, uses binoculars to observe a training exercise in Siberia, with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, and chief of Russia's military's General Staff Valery Gerasimov, right. Picture: Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service Source:AP
There are even reports — unconfirmed at this stage — that Russia has in the past few hours erected a massive field hospital designed to treat wounded soldiers.
And Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rhetoric has also been heating up, with claims that Russian-speaking people in Ukraine are being treated “brutally”.
The much-talked-about Russian defence exercises near the Ukraine seem to be a spoof, designed to explain away the buildup.
While highly publicised exercises have been underway in distant Siberia, only a few “events” seem to have been staged among the troops massed near Crimea and Ukraine.

US Defense officials say the numbers of troops far exceeds the amount needed for any training exercise. And there is no evidence any large-scale manoeuvres have actually taken place
More worrying is that none of the troops have returned to their bases.
War expert Schindler has been fast and furiously tweeting his fears to all who care to listen in recent hours.
He speculates the real number of Russian troops now in place may amount to 80,000.
“(The) odds of invasion are raising,” he tweeted early this morning. “Only Putin really knows, but the world will know soon enough.”
Massed might ... Russian tanks during exercises in Siberia earlier this week. Russia has launched its biggest military manoeuvres since Soviet times, involving 160,000 troops and about 5000 tanks across Siberia and the far eastern region. Picture: Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service Source: AP
He argues that the presence of Russia’s best and finest forces are unnecessary for a “show of strength”. Many of the units are particularly loyal to Putin, he points out, meaning the Russian president won’t want them far from his side in Moscow for long.
It’s a tactical move not lost on the military head of NATO — Europe’s defence organisation.
General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe, gave a classified briefing last night to various US government committees.

“We’re all concerned about what Russia is doing on the border of Ukraine,” Breedlove said after the first briefing. “The size of the forces have a message that are not congruous with respecting the borders.”
Even the United States — until now somewhat timid in its talk of Russia’s ambitions — is starting to get the message.
Ground attack ... Russian Army Su-25 strike fighters fly near the Baikal Lake in Russia. Picture: Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service Source: AP
“The thinking in the US government is that the likelihood of a major Russian incursion into Ukraine has increased,” a senior US official told Fox News.
“I can’t tell you how awful this is,” said one congressional source who spoke to Fox News on the condition of anonymity.
CNN reports two Obama administration officials admitting off-record that new threat assessments are saying an invasion was far more likely than previously thought.
Nothing is certain, the officials said. But there have been “worrying signs” in the past three or four days.
“This has shifted our thinking that the likelihood of a further Russian incursion is more probable than it was previously thought to be,” one said.
In recent weeks the West has been stating its belief that there was only 30,000 Russian troops deployed to the Ukraine region. But there is mounting evidence a further 50,000 have arrived in the past few days.
At the ready ... Russian soldiers stand near a tank outside a former Ukrainian military base in Perevalnoye, near the Crimean capital Simferopol. Picture: Dmitry Serebryakov Source: AFP
Pentagon Press Secretary, Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby told a press conference early this morning that Russia continues to reinforce its units along the eastern and southern Ukraine border.
“It’s doing nothing to assist in the stability of that part of Europe,” the admiral said.
“I would tell you that the staff here in the Pentagon, both the civilian and uniformed, are constantly looking at other ways that ... we can further reassure our allies and partners in Europe to potentially look at either adding to or reinforcing existing operations or exercises or even adding on additional opportunities,” Kirby said. “We’re looking at that very closely right now ...”
“Our concern is for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and for the Ukrainian people and their nation,” Kirby said.
Testing times ... a video grab taken from the Russian TV channel shows Russian paratroopers taking part in a night drill, 150km outside Russian southern town of Rostov-on-Don, a region next to the Ukrainian border. Source: AFP
Overnight the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favour of Ukraine. With 100 votes for, and only 11 against, the General Assembly voted to condemn Russia’s annexation of Crimea as illegal. Another 58 nations abstained.
The troop build-up along the border is reminiscent of Russia’s military movements prior to the conflicts in Chechnya and Georgia, one US official said.
A Defense official said if Russia were to invade the mainland, Ukraine would attempt to defend itself and this would be “far from a bloodless event as we saw in Crimea.” However, Ukraine would be outmatched, this official told Fox News.

Thursday, 27 March 2014


Syrian Conflict Creates New Tensions Between Israel And Hezbollah

On Tuesday, the situation in Israel got a little more tense and a little more uncertain. An IDF patrol was attacked in the Golan Heights, and Israel struck back. Such events are fairly common, sadly, but this one could spell the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the Middle East. Developments are still unfolding, but signs point not only to the erosion of the extended period of quiet between Syria and Israel, but also a significant change in the convoluted relationship between Damascus and Hezbollah.

Some background: Hezbollah was founded in 1982 by a group from inside Iran's Revolutionary Guard, together with Lebanese Shiite Clerics, the majority of whom received their religious instruction in the city of Qom, in Iran.

From its inception, the group received a frosty reception from the elder Assad, Hafez al-Assad (Bashar's late father). In fact, Hafez actually nurtured the rival Shiite Amal movement, and in 1987, sent tanks and other assets to fight Hezbollah direct.

These days, it seems that times, and circumstances have changed. With the passing of the elder Assad in 2000, his son Bashar has moved increasingly closer to Hezbollah. The younger Assad has actively armed the Shiite organization with every sort of rocket, missile, and weapon he can, in order to strengthen Syrian deterrence against hated Israel. Before the onset of the civil war, Bashar's assumption was that although Syria might be unable to reclaim the Golan Heights directly, Hezbollah could underscore the price of not reaching an accord with Damascus on that matter.

For years Bashar has assisted Hezbollah with training and equipment, always careful not to supply the group with sensitive weapons that would risk Israeli ire and wrath. This policy resulted in a huge supply of missiles, produced for Hezbollah but stored in secret locations around Syria, ready for the decisive moment (escalation vs. Israel), when it came.

Bashar's bungling of the civil war in his country has changed the game. It used to be the case that Syria saw Hezbollah as a net cost...a burden. Now it seems that it is the other way around. When Bashar's government began to falter under the rebel onslaught, he requested assistance from Hezbollah. That group's leader, Hassan Nasrallah flatly refused. It was only under pressure from Iran's supreme leader that the group ultimately complied, and since then, Hezbollah has committed itself to the curious task of saving President Bashar Assad.

The operation has been a success so far. Victories have come since the group's involvement, but it has also not been without cost, mostly in the form of support. Hezbollah formerly enjoyed widespread support across the Middle East. Now, in a significant shift, they have become al-Qaeda's favorite target in the region.

The biggest boon, however, has been that the Assad regime is now completely dependent on Hezbollah for its continued existence.

On its own, the Syrian Army has proved completely incapable of dealing with the rebel threat. Assad needs Hezbollah's continuous involvement, and since Nasrallah began getting involved, the tide has indeed been turning. There is now a “clear corridor” along the Lebanese border for Assad, and rebel supply lines have been disrupted.

Gone is the old Syrian perception that Lebanon was its playing field. In the new reality, Hezbollah increasingly sees Syria as its playing field, and recently Hezbollah has demanded, and begun to receive those aforementioned missiles that Syria had been storing. Assad now allows the group to operate anywhere it chooses, including the Golan Heights. 
This “green light” to go and do as it pleases could pose serious problems to Assad when the civil war finally ends, should Hezbollah opt to remain in Syria. Using their position and freedom to move, they could opt to take revenge against Israel, as, in fact, they began trying to do today.

It should be noted that Assad has something of an interest in punishing Israel as well, and making that nation pay for striking Syrian or Hezbollah targets. Still, the potential complications for Assad from the attack in the Golan are much more serious than they are for Hezbollah. At a time when his military is already reeling, the last thing he needs is an escalation with Israel.

As ever, the problem is that it is nearly impossible to know Assad's mind. As he has shown, his decision making is complicated. Enigmatic. It is also possible that one of Assad's subordinates will simply take matters into his own hands, and do something that could lead to a further escalation with Israel, which in turn, could lead to a significantly wider conflict. At this point, it is just impossible to say which direction he will turn.



Twenty employees of U.S. Chipmaker among passengers on Malaysian flight

(Reuters) - Twenty employees of U.S. chipmaker Freescale Semiconductor were passengers on a Malaysia Airlines flight presumed to have crashed off the Vietnamese coast, according to a company statement on Saturday.The employees, among 239 people on the plane, included engineers and manufacturing staff, many of whom travel regularly between company facilities in Tianjin, China, and Kuala Lumpur, a company source said.
None of Austin, Texas-based Freescale's most senior executives were on board Boeing Co's 777-200ER, which vanished from radar screens about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.
There were no confirmed signs of the plane or any wreckage, well over 24 hours after flight MH370 went missing.
Twelve of the Freescale employees on the plane were from Malaysia and eight from China, the company said in a statement.
"At present, we are solely focused on our employees and their families," Freescale Chief Executive Officer Gregg Lowe said in a statement.
Freescale has sites in Tianjin and Kuala Lumpur for testing and packaging chips used in automobiles, consumer products, telecommunications infrastructure and industrial equipment.
(Reporting by Noel Randewich in San Francisco; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
The disappearance of four members of a patent semiconductor traveling on Malaysia Airlines MH370 makes the famous billionaire Jacob Rothschildat the sole owner of the important patent.

Rothschild Inherits a Semiconductor Patent For Freescale Semiconductors
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The disappearance of four members of a patent semiconductor traveling on Malaysia Airlines MH370 makes the famous billionaire Jacob Rothschild at the sole owner of the important patent.
The mystery surrounding the Malaysian Airlines MH-370 is growing as each day passes with more mysterious silence shadowing the disappearance of the airline. More and more conspiracy theories are beginning to boom on the internet. One of the conspiracies one is the Freescale Semiconductor’s ARM microcontroller ‘KL-03′ which is a new improvised version of an older microcontroller KL-02. This crazy story about how Illuminati Rothschild exploited the airlines to gain full Patent Rights of an incredible KL-03 micro-chip is going haywire across the internet especially when it’s involving Jacob Rothschild as the evil master plotter.
A US technology company which had 20 senior staff on board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 had just launched a new electronic warfare gadget for military radar systems in the days before the Boeing 777 went missing.
Freescale Semiconductor has been developing microprocessors, sensors and other technology for the past 50 years. The technology it creates is commonly referred to as embedded processors, which according to the firm are “stand-alone semiconductors that perform dedicated computing functions in electronic systems”.
Why were so many Freescale employees traveling together? What were their jobs. Were they on a mission and if so what was this mission? Can these employees be the cause of the disappearance of this plane? Could the plane have been then hijacked and these people kidnapped? Did these employees hold valuable information, did they have any valuable cargo with them? Did they know company and technological secrets? With all the might of technology why cant this plane be located? Where is this plane where are these people?”
The 20 Freescale employees, among 239 people on flight MH370, were mostly engineers and other experts working to make the company’s chip facilities in Tianjin, China, and Kuala Lumpur more efficient, said Mitch Haws, vice president, global communications and investor relations.
“These were people with a lot of experience and technical background and they were very important people,” Haws said. “It’s definitely a loss for the company.”
In Malaysia, Freescale’s modern operations facility that manufactures and tests integrated circuits (IC) is based in Petaling Jaya.
Based on information obtained from Freescale’s website, the facility began operations in 1972 covering an eight hectare site and is specifically designed for the manufacturing and testing of microprocessors, digital signal processors and integrated radio frequency circuits.
It also owns Freescale RF which is involved in creating solutions for Aerospace and Defence listed below.
1. Battlefield communication
2. Avionics
3. HF Radar – Band L- and S-
4. Missile Guidance
5. Electronic Warfare
6. Identification, friend or foe (IFF)

Freescale’s shareholders include the Carlyle Group of private equity investors whose past advisers have included ex-US president George Bush Sr and former British Prime Minister John Major.
Carlyle’s previous heavyweight clients include the Saudi Binladin Group, the construction firm owned by the family of Osama bin Laden.
The fact that Freescale had so many highly qualified staff on board the Boeing 777 had already prompted wild conspiracy theories about what might have happened.
The company says they were flying to China to improve its consumer products operations, but Freescale’s fresh links to electronic warfare technology is likely to trigger more speculation and deepen the mystery.
Experts have been baffled how a large passenger jet seems to have flown undetected and possibly beaten military radar systems for up to six hours.
Avoiding radar via “cloaking technology” has long been one of the objectives of the defense industry and Freescale has been active developing chips for military radar.
On its website, the company says its radio frequency products meet the requirements for applications in “avionics, radar, communications, missile guidance, electronic warfare and identification friend or foe”.
Last June it announced it was creating a team of specialists dedicated to producing “radio frequency power products” for the defense industry.
And on March 3, it announced it was releasing 11 of these new gadgets for use in “high frequency, VHF and low-band UHF radar and radio communications”.
The company did not respond to questions from Express Online, including whether any of its missing employees had been working on the defense products.
It neither provided any responses to the latest bizarre conspiracy theory being widely published on the comments sections of newspaper websites and other internet forums.
The comment reads: “It reads: “Have you pieced together the puzzle of missing flight 370 to Beijing China? If not, here are your missing pieces.
Four days after the flight MH370 disappear, semiconductor patent was approved by the U.S. patent office patent is divided in parts of 20% between five starters. One of the owners is the company itself, Freescale Semiconductor, Austin, Texas (USA), and the other four Chinese employees of the company:Peidong WangZhijun Chen, Cheng and Li Ying Zhijong,
all the Suzhou City. And they
all passengers of Malaysia Airlines plane disappeared on March 8, according Eternity .
It adds: “Here is your motive for the missing Beijing plane. As all four Chinese members of the Patent were passengers on the missing plane.
Patent holders can alter the proceeds legally by passing wealth to their heirs. “However, they cannot do so until the Patent is approved. So when the plane went missing, the patent had not been approved.”
However, the absurd theory does not add up.
Although a Freescale patent does exist under number US8650327, none of the names listed actually appear on the passenger manifest released by the Malaysian authorities.
If the patent holder dies, the other owners share equally in dividends from the deceased. If four of the five patentees die, then the patentee left alive gets 100% of the patent. That remaining patent holder is the company Freescale SemiconductorWho owns Freescale Semiconductor? The answer is: JacobRothschild. British billionaire owns the company Blackstone, which in turn owns the company Freescale Semiconductors.
Several speculations on the Internet now pay attention to this circumstance. The Rothschilds are a dynasty of financiers and international bankers of German-Jewish origin . The family is from the nineteenth century one of the most influential families of bankers and financiers of Europe.

The search continues for Flight MH370 but speculation surrounding its fate grows by the day.


Israel tightens aviation security as hijacking suspected in Malaysia flight disappearance

Foreign airlines approaching Israeli airspace required to identify earlier; other security measures classified.

By Reuters and  Mar. 17, 2014 | 12:08 AM 
U.S. Navy assists in search and rescue operations for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370
U.S. Navy assists in search and rescue operations for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean on Sunday, March 16, 2014. Photo by AP
As the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 continues to baffle investigators and aviation experts, Israel is tightening security standards for any flights that enter its aerial territory, according to a report by Channel 2.
With the strong suspicions the plane was hijacked, Israeli security and aviation officials held meetings and produced a series of evaluations in the past several days.
One of the conclusions they reached is that foreign airlines approaching Israeli airspace must identify themselves far earlier than was standard until now, the report said.
Officials decided on long list of additional security regulations but those will remain classified.
Malaysian investigators are trawling through the backgrounds of the pilots, crew and ground staff who worked on a missing jetliner for clues as to why someone on board flew it perhaps thousands of miles off course, the country's police chief said.
Background checks of passengers on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 have drawn a blank, but not every country whose nationals were on board has responded to requests for information, police chief Khalid Abu Bakar told a news conference on Sunday.
No trace of the Boeing 777-200ER has been found since it vanished on March 8 with 239 people on board, but investigators believe it was diverted by someone who knew how to switch off its communications and tracking systems.
Malaysia briefed envoys from nearly two dozen nations and appealed for international help in the search for the plane along two arcs stretching from the shores of Caspian Sea to the far south of the Indian Ocean.