Wednesday, October 3, 2012

News From The Epicenter:

This was actually done this morning but somehow didn't get posted - updates from Syria/Turkey on the way

Remember, there has been a planned 'uprising' in Jordan during the month of October, so we are watching for developments closely:

A Late-Blooming Arab Spring In Jordan?

The Arab Spring has blossomed – and sometimes wilted – in nearly every country in the region, aside from Jordan.
Now, with large demonstrations planned for Friday in Amman – which organizers say will be the biggest the Hashemite Kingdom has seen in years – some question how long Jordan can remain immune from the demands for change that have swept through the region, sparking uprisings and unseating dictatorships.

The situation in Jordan has been simmering for the past year and-a-half. In recent weeks, however, frustration has grown. This Friday, there will be a large protest in Amman, billed as Jordan’s largest demonstration in decades. It’s main organizer is the Muslim Brotherhood, but opposition parties are expected to join, including the leftist Wihda and the Nahda Party.

The Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood declared its gathering as a “Save the Homeland” rally, and outlined demands which, if implemented, could change the face of Jordan. These include constitutional amendments which would place citizens “at the source of authority” – an apparent reference to royal rule.

A new Hizbullah video highlights the terrorist organization's latest campaign - “liberating the Galilee.” On the agenda is Hizbullah's conquering of key sites and cities like tourist centers, refineries, and the Haifa port.The video was posted on a Hizbullah site Monday, the same day that Israeli Arab politicians led a protest commemorating the deaths of 12 Arabs in 2000, as they rioted and attempted to spread the intifada to northern Israel. The video shows the chief “Zionist settlements” - meaning Jewish towns and cities - in northern Israel, such as Afikim, Ma'alot, and Nahariya. Thevideo also mentions “the principal Palestinian cities in northern Palestine,” including Tzefat, Akko, Tiberias, Haifa, and Nazareth.

Ahmadinejad: We Won't Retreat On Nuclear Issue

Iran will not back down on its nuclear program despite the problems caused by Western sanctions, including a dramatic slide in the value of its currency, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday."We are not a people to retreat on the nuclear issue," AFP quoted him as having told a news conference in Tehran."If somebody thinks they can pressure Iran, they are certainly wrong and they must correct their behavior," he said

Iran is recruiting staff relentlessly to work on its nuclear program, is making steady progress in its uranium enrichment, and has constructed several facilities for nuclear testing outside Tehran whose precise location is known only to high-ranking officials, according to an Iranian source who said he was hired recently as a researcher at one of Iran’s nuclear facilities.
 In a telephone interview with this reporter, who has made several reporting trips to Iran in recent years, the source — who spoke on condition of anonymity — said it had been “very hectic” of late at the facility where he is employed. “More and more young graduates and people are brought in every day,” he said. “We have been working non-stop.”

The Iranian researcher said he was speaking because he wanted the outside world to know that, despite attacks on Iran’s top scientists and other pressures aimed at halting the nuclear program, “we are not afraid and we have continued to progress.”Professor Uzi Even, one of the founders of Israel’s nuclear reactor in Dimona, told The Times of Israel a month ago that he believes the regime in Iran has already covertly created the 20-25 kilograms of highly enriched uranium necessary to conduct a successful underground test.

United States intelligence and Pentagon officials have begun assembling preliminary information about potential targets in Libya that could be struck if President Barack Obama decided to order such action, senior military counterterrorism officials said Tuesday.
The top-secret Joint Special Operations Command is compiling “target packages” of detailed information about the suspects, the officials said.

Russia told NATO and world powers on Tuesday they should not seek ways to intervene in the Syrian war or set up buffer zones between rebels and government forces.
The statements from Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov was one of Moscow's most specific warnings yet to the West and Gulf Arab leaders to keep out of the 18-month-old conflict.

"In our contacts with partners in NATO and in the region, we are calling on them not to seek pretexts for carrying out a military scenario or to introduce initiatives such as humanitarian corridors or buffer zones," Gatilov said, according to the Interfax news agency.Russia and China have vetoed three UN Security Council resolutions condemning Syrian President Bashar Assad and blocked attempts to impose sanctions on the country or intervene more directly in its conflict.

Just five weeks before America’s presidential election, US intelligence reports signs that al Qaeda leader Ayman Zuwahiri is preparing a string of terrorist attacks as the sequel to the murders of US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other US officials in Benghazi on Sept. 11, according to evidence collected across Asia, Africa and the Middle East.The Al Qaeda leader is now seen - not only by US intelligence experts, but by most experts in the West, the Middle East and Israel - to be impatient to capitalize on this success and so dramatically expose to the Muslim world America’s perceived weakness and his own worth as commander of the jihadist movementAmerica is therefore confronted with a broad new al Qaeda front, armed with scanty intelligence. Worst of all, Washington can’t trust the new regimes and local military and intelligence organizations, thrown into power in the post-“Arab revolt” countries, for cooperation in fighting terror.Instead of confrontation, the Obama administration has opted for retreat.Middle East intelligence observers have told DEBKAfile that they don’t recall US diplomatic military and intelligence personnel, businessmen and technical staff with their families being withdrawn from the region on this scale or at comparable speed.President Obama made American retreat his order of the day after refusing to heed calls for a US military operation against AQIM and its head, Abdelmalek Droukdel. It was Droukdel, according to accumulating intelligence who, acting on behalf of Zuwahiri, orchestrated the Libyan Ansar al-Shariah militia’s murderous attack on the US Benghazi consulate.

Also see:

A multibillion-dollar information-sharing program created in the aftermath of 9/11 has improperly collected information about innocent Americans and produced little valuable intelligence on terrorism, a Senate report concludes. It portrays an effort that ballooned far beyond anyone’s ability to control.

A Senate Homeland Security subcommittee reviewed more than 600 unclassified reports over a one-year period and concluded that most had nothing to do with terrorism. The panel’s chairman is Democrat Carl Levin of Michigan, the ranking Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.
“The subcommittee investigation could identify no reporting which uncovered a terrorist threat, nor could it identify a contribution such fusion center reporting made to disrupt an active terrorist plot,” the report said.

When fusion centers did address terrorism, they sometimes did so in ways that infringed on civil liberties. The centers have made headlines for circulating information about Ron Paul supporters, the ACLU, activists on both sides of the abortion debate, war protesters and advocates of gun rights.When Janet Napolitano became Homeland Security secretary in 2009, the former Arizona governor embraced the idea that fusion centers should look beyond terrorism. Testifying before Congress that year, she distinguished fusion centers from the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Forces that are the leading investigative and analytical arms of the domestic counterterrorism effort.

President Obama’s latest catch phrase, “new economic patriotism,” is neither new nor necessarily patriotic.In Europe, the term historically has had a socialist connotation. It has been used to describe the government takeover of private industry.In a two-minute Web advertisement released last Wednesday, Obama delivered a video message calling for a “new economic patriotism” that purportedly benefits the middle class while taxing the rich.
Some in the conservative blogosphere have been hard at work guessing what the mantra means.
Erika Johnson at Hot Air attempted to interpret the Obama ad’s “economic fairness” as code language for “more stimulus.” Johnson concludes with “‘New economic patriotism’? Does that soundseverely creepy to anyone else?”
In Europe, “economic patriotism” routinely refers to the government takeover of private industries.

Alex Brummer reported in the London Daily Mail on the intra-European Union squabbles between England, France and Italy:
France has a long and honourable tradition of economic patriotism dating back to Jean-Baptiste Colbert in the 19th century.
The difficulty is that its one-sided approach to takeovers is opposed to the idea of the free and open markets espoused by the European Union. …
Backdoor nationalization and dilution of governance are unacceptable however big the price tag.
A few months later, in June 2006, Deutsche Bank published a study emphasizing the negative effects of emerging “economic patriotism,” or government takeovers, on the development of the EU’s single market”:
The study summarizes the theoretical arguments against protectionist industrial policy, pointing out that the damage caused to the economy by active intervention far outweighs any benefits thus gained. All the evidence indicates that state activity should focus on creating development-friendly framework conditions in line with Single Market principles rather than resorting to protectionist measures, says Deutsche Bank.

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