Tag Archives: Middle East

Iran plans one-kiloton underground nuclear test in 2012

An underground nuclear test

According to debkafile’s Iranian sources, Tehran is preparing an underground test of a one-kiloton nuclear device during 2012, much like the test carried out by North Korea in 2006. Underground facilities are under construction in great secrecy behind the noise and fury raised by the start of advanced uranium enrichment at Iran’s fortified, subterranean Fordo site near Qom.
All the sanctions imposed so far for halting Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon have had the reverse effect, stimulating rather than cooling its eagerness to acquire a bomb.

Yet, according to a scenario prepared by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Tel Aviv University for the day after an Iranian nuclear weapons test, Israel was resigned to a nuclear Iran and the US would offer Israel a defense pact while urging Israel not to retaliate.

As quoted by the London Times Monday, Jan. 1, INSS experts, headed by Gen. (ret.) Giora Eiland, a former head of Israel’s National Security Council, deduced from a simulation study they staged last week that. Their conclusion is that neither the US nor Israel will use force to stop Iran’s first nuclear test which they predicted would take place in January 2013.

Our Iranian sources stress, however, that Tehran does not intend to wait for the next swearing-in of a US president in January 2013,  whether Barack Obama is returned for a second term or replaced by a Republican figure, before moving on to a nuclear test.

Iran’s Islamist rulers have come to the conclusion from the Bush and Obama presidencies that America is a paper tiger and sure to shrink from attacking their nuclear program – especially while the West is sunk in profound economic distress.

debkafile’s sources stress that both Tehran and the INSS are wrong: The Tel Aviv scenario is the work of a faction of retired Israeli security and intelligence bigwigs who, anxious to pull the Netanyahu government back from direct action against the Islamic Republic, have been lobbying for the proposition that Israel can live with a nuclear-armed Iran.
Our Washington sources confirm, however, that President Obama considers the risk of permitting a nuclear-armed Iran to be greater than the risks of military action.

Monday, Jan. 9, top administration officials said that developing a nuclear weapon would cross a red line and precipitate a US strike. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta: “If Iran takes the step to develop a nuclear weapon or blocking the Strait of Hormuz, they’re going to be stopped.” He was repeating the warnings of the past month made by himself and Chairman of the Joint US Chiefs of Staff. Gen. Martin Dempsey.

As for Israel, Dennis Ross, until recently senior adviser to President Obama, reiterated in a Bloomberg interview on Jan. 10: “No one should doubt that President Barack Obama is prepared to use military force to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon if sanctions and diplomacy fail.”
As for Israel, Ross said: “I wouldn’t discount the possibility that the Israelis would act if they came to the conclusion that basically the world was prepared to live with Iran with nuclear weapons,” he said. “They certainly have the capability by themselves to set back the Iranian nuclear program.”

Israel’s media screens and front pages are dominated these days by short-lived, parochial political sensations and devote few words to serious discourse on such weighty issues as Iran’s nuclear threat.
This is a luxury that the US president cannot afford in an election year.  Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear bomb and conduct of a nuclear test would hurt his chances of a second term. The race is therefore on for an American strike to beat Iran’s nuclear end game before the November 2012 presidential vote.

The INSS have also wrongly assessed Russia’s response to an Iranian nuclear test as “to seek an alliance with the US to prevent nuclear proliferation in the region.”
This fails to take into account that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, running himself for a third term as president in March, has already committed Moscow to a new Middle East policy which hinges on support for a nuclear Iran and any other Middle East nation seeking a nuclear program. This is part of Russia’s determined plan to trump America’s Arab Spring card. source – DEBKA

Strategy to invade Israel posted on Facebook

Campaign states goal: ‘May the state of the sons of Zion fall’

 

 

Social-networking sites, specifically Facebook, are being used to promote a campaign that appears to target the very existence of Israel, with hundreds of thousands worldwide seeking to join in a plan to “return” to and take over the original homes of their families in “Palestine” on May 15.

According to an in-depth report by L. Barkan, a research fellow at the Middle East Media Research Institute, which monitors and analyzes media reports throughout the Middle East, the idea being circulated is “for millions of Palestinian refugees to march en masse in return to the original homes of their families in Israel.”

The movement’s plans call for this to be much more than just a visit, however.

“All the families of Jewish settlers in the Galilee area, including in the areas of Safed, Tiberias, and all the way down to Acre, must proceed to the port of Haifa and board ships back to their countries of origin in Europe,” explained one posting that is part of the campaign.

It provided instructions for others to report to other ports – all by the middle of March, a deadline long past.

“The message also warned that anyone trying to take ‘archeological artifacts [or anything belonging] to the Palestinian heritage, even a single ball of falafel, will be pursued and arrested by Interpol in his new place of residence,’” the report said.

One of the Facebook pages soliciting participants in what apparently would be an invasion and attempted overthrow of the region’s existing government has been removed by the Facebook administration, but not before collecting some 350,000 endorsements from readers. Other pages remain.

According to MEMRI, some of the Facebook pages “stress that the activities are meant to be peaceful and unarmed, while others hint at violence and armed resistance.”

“It also has gained the support of Palestinian officials, through the PLO Department of Expatriate Affairs … which has called on Palestinians living abroad to participate in the march and to publicize it among the Palestinian communities and organizations worldwide,” the MEMRI report said.

Timetables to coordinate the events have been posted by administrators who explain it is the moral and legal right of refugees to return to their homes.

One page, “The 2011 March of Return,” said, “The goal of [the Facebook] group … is to organize a march of millions, who, on May 15, 2011, will realize the Right of Return to Palestine in deed as well as in word.”

 

Read more: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=281293

 

Iranian chocolate thief ‘to have hand chopped off

An Iranian judge has sentenced a man convicted of robbing a confectionery shop to have one of his hands cut off, Iranian media report.

 

The judge also sentenced the man to one year in prison.

Police arrested the man in May after finding $900 (£560), three pairs of gloves and a large amount of chocolate in his car, Fars news agency said.

Under Iran‘s Islamic law, amputations are usually reserved for habitual thieves.

Last week, authorities cut off the hand of a man convicted of two robberies in the north-eastern city of Mashhad.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11559750

Ex-Mossad chief: Israel can hit Iran without U.S. OK

WND

‘A nuclear Tehran with the present regime is a threat of survival scale’

Shabtai Shavit, Ex-Mossad chief

JERUSALEM – Israel does not need American permission to strike Iran, said Shabtai Shavit, former chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, in an exclusive interview with Aaron Klein, WND’s Jerusalem bureau chief.

Asked whether Israel must coordinate with the U.S. on any future military actions against Iran’s nuclear facilities, Shavit replied, “I don’t think that Israel needs American permission when it comes to the survival of Israel.”

“But I would expect Israel to try to coordinate such a move if push comes to shove,” Shavit said.

Shavit, who traditionally shies away from news media interviews, was speaking during an interview on New York’s WABC Radio with Klein, who hosts a weekend show on station.

Shavit posited that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s declaration last week that his country is a nuclear state “proves that the international strategy addressing the nuclear threat until today was completely wrong.”

Shavit said he doesn’t see a consensus materializing to push through the crippling sanctions that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been lobbying for.

Shavit did suggest, however, strong sanctions may still work to dissuade Iran from forging ahead with its nuclear ambitions.

“If there is a consensus among the U.S., Europe, Russia and China, I believe it is still possible to convince the Iranians that for them the price that they will have to pay for achieving the nuclear ways is prohibitive for them,” he said.

Asked by Klein whether Israel should strike Iran if sanctions failed and Tehran pressed ahead with its uranium enrichment program, Shavit replied, “I wouldn’t like to elaborate too much about this section, but I will only say that a nuclear Iran with the present regime of the extremists’ fanaticism – this is a threat of a survival scale.”

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Will Israel join the European Union?

Italy’s Prime Minister Berlusconi makes proposal in state visit to Jerusalem

Israel Flag

Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Jerome Corsi’s Red Alert, the premium online newsletter published by the current No. 1 best-selling author, WND staff writer and columnist. Red Alert subscriptions are $99 a year or $9.95 per month for credit card users. Annual subscribers will receive a free autographed copy of “The Late Great USA,” a book about the careful deceptions of a powerful elite who want to undermine our nation’s sovereignty.

While in Israel, Italy’s president of the Council of Ministers, Silvio Berlusconi, proved once again that Italy is one of Israel’s most committed allies by suggesting that he would like to see Israel invited to join the European Union, Jerome Corsi’s Red Alert reports.

“At first glance the proposal did not seem to have been made seriously, except that the EU is considering extending membership to Turkey, so why not extend membership to Israel?” Corsi wrote.

Clearly, Berlusconi’s envisioned measures that might prevent Middle East violence from extending into Europe.

If the proposal were to advance within the EU, Islamic states would almost certainly respond by launching anti-Italy demonstrations and boycotting Italian-made goods, Red Alert reported.

“With the requirement that EU countries not occupy territory that is not recognized as part of its own, Berlusconi could respond that a condition of Israel joining the EU would be for Israel to completely turn over the West Bank as well as the Gaza to the administration of the Palestinian Authority,” Corsi noted. “Moreover, with the EU nations of Greece, Spain and Portugal about to experience economic collapse over continued high levels of unemployment and unsustainable levels of public debt, the EU could use among its members right now a strong economy such as Israel’s.”

In his visit to Yad Vashim, Jerusalem’s Holocaust museum, Berlusconi left an emotional hand-written message saying: “Our soul cries out that ‘it is not true, it cannot be true,’ and then, facing reality, shouts ‘never, never again.”

The Italian newspapers also pointed out that Israel is considering the purchase of 40 of Italy’s most advanced M-346 fighter jets at a cost of over 1 billion pounds ($1.365 billion).

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded in kind, stating, “Israel has no greater friend than Italy.

Berlusconi is also pursuing the sale of 48 M-346 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates at a cost of 1.4 billion pounds (or $1.9 billion), but so far Italy has refrained from proposing that the UAE should be allowed to join the EU.

During his visit to Israel, Berlusconi also delivered an obvious message to Iran’s President Ahmadinejad, saying, “We will not close our eyes before a state that wishes to destroy a country that is our friend.”

Still, Italy remains Iran’s second trading partner, behind Germany.

In 2008, Italy was responsible for approximately 6.1 billion pounds (or $8.4 billion) in trade with Iran, approximately 25 percent of the total trade conducted between the EU and Tehran.

Red Alert noted, Berlusconi won no friends among the Palestinians after his speech to the Knesset in which he claimed Israel was justified in launching rocket attacks in the Hamas-controlled Gaza during December 2008 that killed 1,400 Palestinians.

Berlusconi recalled Italy’s vote against the United Nations report on Israel’s December 2008 Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in the Gaza, in which Israel rejected the report presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council by an independent fact-finding committee headed by the South African prosecutor Richard Gladstone.

The so-called “Goldstone Report” sought to criminalize Israel for responding with military force to the Hamas-launched rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza.

Red Alert’s author, whose books “The Obama Nation” and “Unfit for Command” have topped the New York Times best-sellers list, received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in political science in 1972. For nearly 25 years, beginning in 1981, he worked with banks throughout the U.S. and around the world to develop financial services marketing companies to assist banks in establishing broker/dealers and insurance subsidiaries to provide financial planning products and services to their retail customers. In this career, Corsi developed three different third-party financial services marketing firms that reached gross sales levels of $1 billion in annuities and equal volume in mutual funds. In 1999, he began developing Internet-based financial marketing firms, also adapted to work in conjunction with banks.

In his 25-year financial services career, Corsi has been a noted financial services speaker and writer, publishing three books and numerous articles in professional financial services journals and magazines.

For financial guidance during difficult times, read Jerome Corsi’s Red Alert, the premium, online intelligence news source by the WND staff writer, columnist and author of the New York Times No. 1 best-seller, “The Obama Nation.”

For full immediate access to Jerome Corsi’s Red Alert, subscribe now.

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China’s idiotic stance at Munich security conference

CSM

In front of 300 diplomats, including senior US officials, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said the US was violating international law by a proposed arms sale to Taiwan, and defended Chinese TV and radio as more reliable than Western media.

Why do China sell weapons to failed states like North Korea or Burma or Iran?

China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi is welcomed by Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Conference on Security Friday before the start of the 46th Conference on Security Policy in Munich. Speaking with uncharacteristic bluntness, Mr. Yang accused the US of violating international law with its proposed arms sale to Taiwan.

By Robert Marquand

Munich, Germany

Today Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi, speaking with unusual bluntness in front of 300 leading diplomats – including senior US officials – here in Munich publicly stated that China is getting stronger on the international stage. He said the US was violating international law by a proposed arms sale to Taiwan, offered that China’s TV and radio news service contains “more solid” and reliable news than Western media, and that China is not ready to address sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program, stating instead that the Islamic Republic “has not totally closed the door on the IAEA.”

Transatlantic – meet the Pacific.

Foreign Minister Yang is the first Chinese official to speak at the annual Munich Security Conference, the premier transatlantic security meeting, in its 46 year history. He turned heads in the group at a time when the People’s Republic and the US have come to loggerheads over Taiwan arms sales, Internet freedom, currency rates, and climate policy coming out of the Copenhagen meeting in December.

“I haven’t heard a high-ranking Chinese official say, ‘Yes, we are strong,’ in a public setting before,” said a senior German diplomat. “It was a very assertive message, different, and it means we will soon see a different Chinese policy.”

Mr. Yang, a former ambassador to the US and highly respected, gave a somewhat conventional speech – though in a strong voice. He affirmed that China is both a developed and a developing country, that it seeks “win-win solutions,” and that it is preparing for greater “shared responsibilities” on the world stage – and that it played a transformative role in helping avert a global financial crisis in the past year.

Yet during three probing follow-up questions, Yang mopped his brow repeatedly in answering on Taiwan, cyberspace, and China’s position on Iran’s nuclear program, which he earlier admitted was “at a crucial stage.”

“Does China feel stronger? Yes,” he said as questions opened.

Regarding a proposed US $6.4 billion package of arms for Taiwan introduced in recent weeks by the Obama administration, and which China has for the first time threatened retaliatory sanctions on US firms that supply arms – Yang called it a “violation of the code of conduct among nations” by the US, said China has “every reason to feel indignant about this thing,” and added that Beijing has a “sovereign right to do what is necessary” in response.

He went on to say China is “totally against hacking attacks…I don’t know how this Google thing has popped up” – in response to a question about cyberspace. At a time when the American search engine giant has said it may leave China after repeated hacks on human rights workers, and British intelligence has reported official Chinese espionage against business travelers, Yang said that “China is a victim” of hacking.

The cyberspace answers were prefaced with polemics on the virtues of Chinese news gathering. The Chinese people have better news than members of the western public, and “freedom of speech is what we advocate,” Yang said, adding that with 15 million Chinese traveling abroad every year, “the Chinese people are well informed.” Yang also said that while foreign companies were free to enter China, and that many had done well there, they still must submit to Chinese laws, “and what is in the best interest of China.”

China’s presence at the 48-hour Munich conference, hosted by German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger, and that will include US National Security Advisor James Jones, follows a robust Chinese presence at the annual Davos conference in Switzerland, where China rented one of the most splendid villas – used in the past by Microsoft.

Gary Smith, director of the American Academy in Berlin, said that Yuan’s assertive speech did not contain the kind of direct dynamite that Vladimir Putin’s address here did in 2007, when Russia’s then-president affirmed that Russia would taking a newly assertive role on the world stage. But Yuan’s comments nonetheless would be felt strongly here, Smith said: “Europeans have been terrified by this kind of moment…they’ve been obsessed by the rise of China and India.

“[Yuan’s remarks] tells this group that the hard work of Atlantic consensus on global issues can be negligible if the Chinese don’t agree to play ball.”

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Exposed: Saudi Arabia’s secret nuke stash

WND

Riyadh ‘confident’ it has an atomic option

Pakistani missiles on display in Karachi in 2008.

By Aaron Klein

JERUSALEM – Pakistan’s nuclear weapons project was partially financed by Saudi Arabia, with the two countries sharing nuclear technology, a senior Egyptian security official told WND.

“The Saudis are confident they have a nuclear option via Pakistan,” said the security official. “The Pakistani nukes are also Saudi nukes.”

The official said an agreement between the two countries was secretly inked seven years ago, although at the time such a pact was strongly denied by both Saudi and Pakistani officials.

Pakistan in the late 1990s became the seventh country to successfully develop and test nuclear weapons. The Pakistani arsenal is estimated at between 35 and 95 warheads, according to the U.S. Navy Center for Contemporary Conflict.

Analysts have been keeping a close eye on the rise of Islamic militants in provinces close to Pakistan’s nuclear facilities.

Saudi-Pakistan cooperation has been extensive for decades. The two are both leading Islamic countries with close military alliances. As early as 1969, the Pakistan Air Force flew the aircraft of the Royal Saudi Air Force to help fend off an invasion from South Yemen. In the 1970s and 1980s, about 15,000 Pakistani soldiers were stationed in Saudi Arabia to protect the country’s oil fields.

According to recent media reports, Saudi Arabia negotiated the purchase of Pakistani ballistic missiles that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

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Fox News promotes terror-tied, FBI-shunned group

WND

Bankrolled by same wealthy Saudi prince, CAIR now regular guest on cable leader

CAIR's Ibrahim Hooper, right, on the Fox News "O'Reilly Factor" show with host Bill O'Reilly last week

Long a reliably patriotic media source in the war on terror, Fox News may now be among news outlets who have fallen under the spell of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ propaganda machine.

“We own the media,” CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper privately brags, according to a source currently working inside the aggressive Islamist lobby group.

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly last week invited the TV-savvy Hooper on his show to debate passenger profiling, the second guest appearance by the CAIR spokesman in a month. At the end of the segment, O’Reilly thanked Hooper and called him a “stand-up guy,” sending shockwaves through the conservative blogosphere.

CAIR is no ordinary guest. The government has blacklisted it as an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator, and the group remains under criminal suspicion by the FBI, which has cut off outreach ties to it.

Congress and the IRS also are investigating CAIR, which has had no fewer than 15 executives and board members convicted or implicated in terror probes, including its founding chairman.

In addition, CAIR’s very existence as a legitimate corporation has been challenged in a lawsuit in federal court.

FBI agents arresting CAIR founder

Get “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America,” autographed, from WND’s Superstore.

Given CAIR’s proven ties to terrorism – which O’Reilly failed to mention – why would Fox offer the group’s top executives a virtually uncritical forum on prime-time cable TV? Saudi Arabian money may be a factor.

It turns out that the same billionaire Saudi prince who owns a major stake in Fox’s parent company also bankrolls Washington-based CAIR. And sensitive State Department records reveal Hooper – despite his repeated public denials – has personally solicited cash from the prince and other members of the ruling Saudi royal family during recent trips to the kingdom.

The common financial bond between Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal and Fox, and between bin Talal and CAIR, raises questions not only about Fox News’s independence, but about the truthfulness of CAIR’s top spokesman.

Hooper repeatedly has denied that CAIR receives foreign support, insisting it’s a “grass-roots” nonprofit organization. In CAIR press releases, Hooper has stated unequivocally: “We do not support directly or indirectly or receive support from any overseas group or government.”

However, smoking-gun video footage obtained during a recent six-month covert investigation of CAIR puts the lie to Hooper’s claims.

In a private conversation with undercover researcher Chris Gaubatz, who was posing at the time as a CAIR intern, Hooper boasted that he personally can “bring (in) a half million of overseas money” a year, adding: “If some guy’s got a lot of extra money in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), I don’t mind taking it.” Hooper made the remarks Aug. 30, 2008, during the Islamic Society of North America’s 2008 annual convention in Columbus, Ohio.

A State Department cable citing Hooper by name, moreover, directly contradicts Hooper’s denials about foreign support, according to the blockbuster book “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America,” which exposes the secret inner workings of CAIR, among other radical Muslim Brotherhood front groups in America. (The book is based, in part, on voluminous documentary and videotaped evidence gathered by Gaubatz during his internship.)

The sensitive but unclassified communiqué was written by U.S. Embassy staff in Saudi Arabia, who in June 2006 reported the following after meeting with a CAIR delegation: “One admitted reason for the group’s current visit to the KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) was to solicit $50 million in governmental and non-governmental contributions.”

“(Saudi) King Abdullah knows CAIR very well,” the cable added.

Among other things, CAIR said the money would be used to “counter negative stereotypes about Muslims in the U.S.” media, a phenomenon described by CAIR as “Islamophobia.”

The core delegation, according to the cable, consisted of Hooper, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad and then-CAIR Chairman Parvez Ahmed. Besides Riyadh, the trio also visited Mecca and Jeddah.

Just three months after the trip, Hooper denied soliciting Saudi government funds.

“To my knowledge, we don’t take money from the government of Saudi Arabia,” he said in a September 2006 appearance on MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson show.

At a meeting held that year at the Saudi headquarters of the kingdom-run World Assembly of Muslim Youth – whose U.S. branch was formerly run by Osama bin Laden’s nephew – CAIR announced the launch of a massive PR campaign and warned potential donors that the U.S. was trying to curtail the political activity of Muslims.

Awad, with Hooper at his side, said CAIR needed a well-funded endowment to change American opinion. He proposed spending $10 million annually for five years on the media campaign.

“We are planning to meet Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal for his financial support to our project,” Awad told the Arab press. “He has been generous in the past.”

Indeed, the Saudi prince donated at least $500,000 to CAIR after 9/11. He also presented a $10 million relief check to then-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani – or at least he tried. Giuliani rejected the gift after bin Talal blamed America’s “pro-Israel” policies in the Middle East for the attacks.

Prince Bin Talal’s voting stake

Prince al-Walid bin Talal

Bin Talal, a member of the Saudi ruling family, owns a 5.5 percent voting stake in Fox News’ parent News Corp., run by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch. The prince has said he is willing to increase his share in Fox’s parent to fend off hostile takeover bids by rivals. Murdoch, in turn, has invested in bin Talal’s Saudi-based enterprises.

It is not immediately clear if bin Talal has influenced Fox’s decision to book CAIR. But there is strong evidence that bin Talal has directly influenced Fox News content in the past.

As WND reported, during violent street protests involving Muslim immigrants in France in 2005, the Saudi prince persuaded Murdoch to change a screen banner that identified the unrest as “Muslim riots.”

“I picked up the phone and called Murdoch (and told him) these are not Muslim riots, these are riots out of poverty,” bin Talal said. “Within 30 minutes, the title was changed from ‘Muslim riots’ to ‘civil riots.’ “

Fox News has acknowledged it changed the banner after receiving complaints from unnamed Muslims abroad. It has not denied bin Talal’s influence in its internal operations.

Bin Talal isn’t the only member of the ruling Saudi elite bankrolling CAIR.

Bank wire records published exclusively in “Muslim Mafia” show another Saudi royal family member has pumped six-figure sums into CAIR coffers. In 2007, for example, Saudi Prince Abdullah bin Mosa’ad transferred $112,000 directly into CAIR’s bank account at Citibank.

The Saudi bank transfers further undermine the official line peddled by Hooper, who has a reputation for dissembling.

Longtime CAIR critic Andrew Whitehead, for one, calls him “CAIR’s liar-for-hire,” and argues he cannot be trusted as a media spokesman. CAIR sued Whitehead for defamation and lost.

“The record shows CAIR habitually engages in deception,” said terror expert Steven Emerson, executive director of the “Investigative Project on Terrorism” and author of “Jihad Inc.”

In 2003, for example, CAIR accused WND of “demonizing Muslims” for citing a Bay Area newspaper’s report that CAIR’s then-chairman, Omar Ahmad, told a gathering of Muslims that Islam was in America to dominate and that the Quran would one day rule over America. In a phone interview, Hooper insisted to WND that CAIR had sought a retraction from the newspaper. But Hooper was forced to backtrack when confronted with the fact that the editors and reporter had just declared they never spoke with CAIR and, furthermore, stood by the story.

Despite CAIR’s dubious reputation, Fox has recently given Hooper and other top CAIR leaders an unchallenged platform to persuade the American public to back off passenger profiling and other measures to counter an ominous upswing in terrorism.

Since the Fort Hood terrorist attack by a Muslim Army officer, CAIR’s leaders have been invited on Fox at least four times, even though there are several other Muslim groups considered genuinely moderate who could speak for the Muslim community, such as the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.

“The issue,” Emerson said, “is whether CAIR is an honest and reliable broker for American Muslims.”

Hooper was invited on “The O’Reilly Factor” twice to shoot down profiling following the attempted airline attack by a Muslim would-be suicide bomber who concealed explosives in his underwear. In both appearances, Hooper – looking less fundamentalist without his trademark kufi skull cap – was given a full segment unopposed and unanswered by other guests.

In the wake of the Fort Hood attack, CAIR chief Awad was invited on Fox, and in an interview with Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum, Awad denied Islam had anything to do with the deadly massacre – even though it was known at the time that the shooter was Muslim and had yelled “Allahu Akbar!” before opening fire. Awad also got a full segment unopposed.

Free spin on Fox

Most recently, CAIR’s chief lobbyist Corey Saylor appeared on Fox New during an interview with anchor Bill Hemmer. Fox did not balance Saylor with an opposing guest to challenge the CAIR spokesman during his full segment, in which he contended young Muslim men are no more “security threats” than 85-year-old grandmothers.

Washington recently added Saudi Arabia – CAIR’s patron – to a list of 14 mostly Muslim nations whose travelers will undergo extra airport security screening. Saylor slammed the new Obama administration policy as “across-the-board profiling” and complained “Muslims will pay the price for this one.”

CAIR's Corey Saylor on the Fox News show "America's Newsroom" with co-anchor Bill Hemmer

At no time during any of the four appearances by CAIR leaders did Fox bring up the fact that the FBI has cut off ties to CAIR or that the Justice Department has blacklisted the group as an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator – information critical to the public’s understanding of CAIR’s possible bias in delinking terrorism from Islam and arguing against Islamic terrorist profiling.

Curiously, even O’Reilly of “no-spin zone” fame failed to so much as hint at the many controversies surrounding CAIR in his introduction of Hooper.

O’Reilly also let Hooper get away with a glaring falsehood during his most recent appearance.

Hooper maintained CAIR does not share al-Qaida’s “talking point” that America and the West are “at war with Islam.” Yet after the Iraq war, CAIR’s chairman declared: “The United States is at war with Islam itself.”

Detractors say the misleading statement is yet another example of CAIR’s deceptive tactics, which should give the media pause before booking CAIR representatives as the official voice of Muslim Americans.

Investigative journalist Paul Sperry, co-author of “Muslim Mafia,” says giving CAIR’s leaders a media platform is “like giving Hamas and the terrorist enemy a platform.”

He notes that while CAIR may bill itself as a “civil-rights advocacy group,” the FBI says that far from being a benign nonprofit, it’s an American front group for Hamas terrorists and the radical Muslim Brotherhood – the parent of both Hamas and al-Qaida. The bureau last year cut off formal ties to CAIR’s national office in Washington and all 30 of its branch offices across the country.

CAIR at the time blamed its ban on the “right-wing” Bush administration and confidently predicted that a Democrat administration would restore relations. Yet fully a year into the Obama administration, CAIR remains frozen out of any formal outreach with the FBI.

“Even the Muslim-friendly Obama has not helped CAIR,” Sperry pointed out.

At the same time, the Justice Department has blacklisted CAIR as an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator in the largest terror finance case in U.S. history, against the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation. The trial ended in convictions on all 108 counts.

Prosecutors have also connected CAIR directly to the Muslim Brotherhood, a worldwide jihadist movement that seeks to institutionalize Saudi-style Shariah law in America and the West through immigration, coercion and political infiltration.

“From its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists,” assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg stated in a court filing.

Sperry says “that makes CAIR mouthpiece Hooper an advocate for the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorists, and a fiercely effective one at that.”

He adds that the Saudis and CAIR’s other Arab patrons pay him well for it – more than $95,000 a year in total compensation, IRS records show.

Who is ‘Dougie’ Hooper?

He also commands a six-figure annual budget for conducting opposition research against CAIR’s enemies – which internal documents revealed in “Muslim Mafia” include, ironically, Fox’s O’Reilly and other “right-wing” media personalities.

A Canadian immigrant, the 53-year-old Hooper was known as “Dougie” before he converted to Islam. His birth name is Cary Douglas Hooper, according to government records.

He became a member of the Cairo Foreign Press Association while working for periodicals in the Egyptian capital, the global headquarters of the radical Muslim Brotherhood. Hooper also worked for local TV stations in Minnesota, where he once let it slip out that he favored Islamic rule in America.

Ibrahim Hooper

“I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future,” Hooper said in a 1993 interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”

“This is Hooper’s real agenda,” Sperry said, “make no mistake.”

In an October interview with CNN, Hooper denied charges of Middle Eastern influence-peddling: “We have no ties of any kind to any foreign group in any form.”

However, CAIR is on record promising to do the bidding of its Arab backers.

In 2006, shortly after a company owned by the United Arab Emirates lost a controversial bid to take over control of several major U.S. ports, Awad, Hooper and other CAIR officials traveled to the UAE to meet with its rulers.

It was agreed that the UAE would set up an endowment in the U.S. run by CAIR to fund an “education” program to change negative perceptions about Islam that the UAE believes contributed to the public outcry that derailed its multibillion-dollar ports deal.

The endowment caught the attention of the U.S. government, which issued another sensitive State Department cable regarding the unusual deal.

It noted UAE Minister of Finance Sheik Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum endorsed a proposal to build a $24 million property in the U.S. to serve as an endowment for CAIR to launch its $50 million image-building campaign through 2011.

“The endowment will serve as a source of income,” Awad told the Arab press at the time, “and will further allow us to reinvigorate our media campaign projecting Islam and its principles of tolerance.”

CAIR is working out details of its endowment with the Dubai-based Al-Maktoum Foundation, founded and controlled by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai. The anti-Israeli charity has held telethons to support families of Palestinian suicide bombers and other so-called “martyrs.” Not surprisingly, the Arab press reported CAIR “values highly the stances of Al-Maktoum Charity Foundation.”

After 9/11, the Al-Maktoum Foundation took a nearly $1 million stake in CAIR’s headquarters property, just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol, as first reported by Sperry in his 2005 book, “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”

‘Selling its services’

The United Arab Emirates fears if its image is not repaired, its business interests will continue on a downward slide in America. CAIR’s leaders, who promised to act as a bulwark against any further backlash, described the planned $50 million endowment as more of a business contract than charity.

“Do not think about your contributions (to CAIR) as donations. Think about it from the perspective of rate of return,” former CAIR chairman Ahmed told finance ministers in Dubai, according to the Arab press.

“The investment of $50 million will give you billions of dollars in return for 50 years” if a sufficiently Arab-friendly environment can be created in America to allow sheiks to buy up key U.S. assets, he said.

CAIR critic Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, says the group is “selling its services to the Saudi and UAE governments by doing their ideological and financial bidding.”

Yet CAIR is not registered as a foreign agent, as required by the Justice Department. And it has never disclosed its foreign funding or relationships with countries tied to 9/11 and potentially still hostile to U.S. interests.

According to the U.S. Embassy cable, CAIR has other wealthy Emirate benefactors as well, including: the Bin Hamoodah Group, a $500 million-a-year trading company; and wealthy stock trader Talal Khoori, a UAE national of Iranian origin who is said to have donated $1 million to CAIR.

It’s plain that, notwithstanding Hooper’s denials, CAIR’s major funding comes from foreign sources largely in the Persian Gulf, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE – two nations that formally recognized and supported the Taliban rule in Afghanistan – and not from grass-roots domestic supporters as Hooper and CAIR publicly claim.

In fact, membership dues now account for a tiny 1 percent of CAIR’s total revenue, according to IRS records cited in “Muslim Mafia.” As CAIR’s domestic grass-roots support has dried up, it has stepped up its overseas fundraising efforts. Tax records show its travel budget for fundraising purposes has doubled since 2004.

Awad makes frequent pilgrimages to the Gulf to personally solicit funds. And he’s often joined by Hooper, who over the years has obtained several passports and is described by government officials as a “heavy traveler,” according to “Muslim Mafia.”

CAIR’s board recently proposed hiring an “international events manager” to help coordinate all the fundraising and other foreign activities. It has even created a special committee on “international affairs” headed by Awad to help tailor its pro-Arab message to American policymakers.

The amount of the UAE’s pledge toward the $50 million CAIR endowment is undisclosed. But it’s hardly the only Arab government funding it.

According to CAIR board meeting notes, revealed in “Muslim Mafia,” a Washington PR firm used by the Emirates – Hill and Knowlton – has put together a “business plan” to help CAIR raise money from other Gulf states.

“The UAE ambassador is willing to gather all ambassadors of the Gulf Cooperating Council to listen to a presentation,” Awad reported to the board. “In return, hopefully they will write to their respective people to ask for support.”

The six-member Gulf Cooperating Council was set up by the Saudis as a regional common market that includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE.

Investing in CAIR means having a reliable lobby for Arab interests in Washington, critics say.

“CAIR’s leaders have clearly stated their intention to use Arab funds to promote Arab interests in America, even though CAIR is not a registered foreign agent or even lobbyist,” Sperry said, adding that the interests of Saudi Arabia and the UAE – two nations tied to 9/11 – are more often than not at odds with those of America.

“Is O’Reilly aware of this?” Sperry asks, “And if he is, why does he withhold this critical information from his viewers when he books CAIR spinmeisters on his show?”

After the FBI in 2008 severed ties to CAIR, citing court evidence that its leaders were participating in an “ongoing” conspiracy to support terrorists, Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York requested that the FBI’s anti-CAIR ban be made “government-wide policy.”

“I would second that, and add an anti-CAIR ban in the media,” Sperry said. “Of all people, Fox should know better than to give the enemy voice. There are other legitimately moderate Muslim voices out there who can better speak for the broader Muslim community, and they aren’t hard to find. Why Fox keeps going back to CAIR really makes one wonder about the influence Saudi money is having at Fox.”

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Arab claim to Dead Sea Scrolls rejected

RON FRIEDMAN , THE JERUSALEM POST

Dead Sea Scrolls

Jordan has asked Canada to seize the selected parchments of the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls that have been on display in Toronto, invoking international law in a bid to keep the artifacts out of Israel’s hands until their “disputed ownership” is settled, the Toronto-based Globe and Mail reported last week.

In its request, Jordan invoked the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, which is concerned with safeguarding cultural property during wartime.

The 1954 convention requires signatories “to take into its custody cultural property imported into its territory either directly or indirectly from any occupied territory.”

The Jordanians claim Israel acted illegally when it seized the scrolls from the Rockefeller Museum, located in eastern Jerusalem, during the Six Day War.

On Sunday, Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum ended its exhibit “Words That Changed the World,” which featured scroll fragments on loan from the Israel Antiquities Authority.

In the six months the scrolls were on display in Toronto, they sparked an unprecedented number of visitors, as well as political demonstrations.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor called Jordan’s claim ridiculous.

“The Dead Sea Scrolls are an intrinsic part of Jewish heritage and religion. The scrolls have no relation to Jordan or the Jordanian people,” said Palmor.

“Moreover, Jordan’s occupation of the West Bank was never recognized by the international community and the kingdom relinquished all claims on the territories back in the ’80s. On what grounds are they trying to lay claims to the scrolls, which are a cornerstone of Jewish cultural history?”

The Foreign Ministry had not contacted the Jordanian ambassador in Israel and believed that the matter was strictly between Jordan and Canada, Palmor said.

“Since it’s a ridiculous claim, we are sure that it will be rejected. We haven’t contacted the Canadians, either. At this stage it is a legal issue, not a diplomatic one,” said Palmor.

The Jordanians aren’t the only ones trying to get their hands on the ancient scrolls. Last April, the Palestinian Authority appealed to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to cancel the show. The Palestinian Authority and Toronto-based Muslim activists claimed that the scrolls were “stolen” from Palestinian territory and illegally obtained when Israel annexed east Jerusalem.

The exhibit sparked days of protest outside the museum, with pro-Palestinian groups calling on the public to boycott the exhibit.

So far Canada has refused to comply with Jordan’s request. A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade told the Globe and Mail that “differences regarding ownership of the Dead Sea Scrolls should be addressed by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. It would not be appropriate for Canada to intervene as a third party.”

The Israel Antiquities Authority said in response to the report that it had the right to loan the artifacts.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are made up of roughly 900 documents and biblical texts and are considered one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century.

The scrolls were first discovered in 1947, by Beduin in underground caves in and around Qumran, on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. Excavations that took place between 1947 and 1956 discovered a total of 11 caves.

The texts include some of the only known surviving copies of biblical texts made before 100 BCE, and preserve evidence of Jewish life during the Second Temple period.

More than 200,000 people went to see the display in Toronto, which along with the scrolls featured 200 other artifacts on loan from the IAA.

The scrolls are scheduled to appear at the Milwaukee Public Museum starting January 22.

This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com /servlet/Satellite?cid=1262339383479&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

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World’s tallest building, Burj Dubai Tower, opens as a golden era closes

CSMonitor

Dubai Tower opens next month. But will this crowning jewel also be the city’s high watermark?

Burj Dubai, or Dubai Tower, will be the world's tallest building.

By Chris Gaylord

Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest tower, is a spire of superlatives.

The 160-story skyscraper will open on January 4, the fourth anniversary of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed al-Maktoum’s rule in Dubai.

Under the Sheikh, Dubai has seen a boom in record breakers, impressive firsts, and baffling spectacles. For example, the city is or will be home to the world’s first refrigerated beach, a twirling tower, the world’s largest arch-supported bridge, and artificial islands in the shape of the world map.

And Burj Dubai boasts more surprising bullet points than simply being the world’s tallest tower:

• At 2,700 feet tall, the skyscraper can be seen from 10 miles away.

• The building will sport the fastest elevators in the world, traveling at 10 meters per second (22 miles per hour). They will also be double-decker elevators, with each deck supporting up to 21 people.

• To keep out the desert heat, 10,000 tons of coolant with flow through the tower every hour.

• 230,000 cubic meters of concrete form the building’s core, enough to pave 1,180 miles of sidewalk.

• Dubai Tower will be the highlight of the worlds’ largest indoor shopping center, with space for 1,200 shops nestled among 30,000 apartments.

But Dubai is a very different place this month than it was in 2004 when construction began on the tower. As AFP reports:

Plunging property prices and weak demand had already put a dampener on new schemes even before last week’s shock announcement by state-owned giant Dubai World that it wants to halt debt payments for six months.

“It’s not exactly going to improve investor confidence,” said Matthew Green, associate director at property agency CB Richard Ellis, which has reported a 55 percent year-on-year drop in downtown Dubai commercial rental rates and a 67 percent fall outside the centre.

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