Thursday, August 21, 2014

Germany says "not enough to show disgust" at Islamic State, pledges aid to Kurds in Iraq

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8/21/14, "Germany pledges to arm Kurd forces and ‘set aside taboos’ on Iraq military role," Irish Times, Derek Scally

"Berlin is ready to arm Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State militants in northern Iraq, the defence and foreign ministers announced yesterday.

As the Islamic State posted a video claiming to show the beheading of US journalist James Foley, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said it was not enough to show disgustat their actions.

After weeks of heated debate, he said Germany was prepared to go beyond existing promises to deliver protective vests, night-vision goggles and humanitarian aid. “This can include weapons,” Mr Steinmeier said at a press conference with German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen.

He said any shipments would be “closely co-ordinated” with EU partners and added Berlin was “aware of the risks”, namely where the weapons end up

But Ms von der Leyen said it was crucial to halt the Islamic State campaign. “More important than the question of whether or which weapons we deliver is the readiness to set aside taboos and have an open discussion,” she told Die Zeit. “This is where we are at the moment.”

The legacy of two World Wars has left Germans wary of military deployments, with a new poll showing almost two-thirds of Germans opposed to arming Kurdish forces.

Culture of restraint

But Mr Steinmeier and Ms von der Leyen appear to be coming good on their promise at Munich’s security conference in January to adapt Germany’s culture of military restraint to reflect new responsibilities and expectations from its partners.

Germany’s armed forces, the Bundeswehr, indicated yesterday it would consider providing hand weapons and anti-tank equipment. One complicating factor, German military analysts say, is that Kurdish forces are more used to Soviet-era weapons and not the more modern German weapons in the Bundeswehr inventory.

Yesterday’s announcement represents another step in the normalisation of Germany’s on-off military engagement. Its first postwar deployment in Europe was the 1998 war with Serbia. Germany also sent troops to Afghanistan as part of the Nato campaign. But it refused to join the 2003 US-led war on Iraq and abstained from a 2011 UN Security Council vote on military action against Libya

Though the world’s third-largest arms exporter, Berlin insists it operates a restrictive regime that rules out arms exports to crisis regions."


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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Local pastors unhappy with Malik Shabazz influence in Ferguson, say he escalates violence-KMOV

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8/19/14, "Pastors: Man claiming to be peacekeeper actually escalating things in Ferguson," kmov.com, St. Louis, Chris Nagus, Dan Greenwald, News 4 KMOV staff

"Many African American church leaders told News 4 a man pretending to spread messages of peace is actually escalating violence in Ferguson.


Pastors are pointing the finger at Malik Shabazz, the former leader of the New Black Panther Party, and many church leaders want him to leave Ferguson. 


“I am upset with a certain group of them that are rebel rousers. We know them by name. Last night was the scariest night of my life,” said Pastor Mike Robinson.




“We want Officer Darren Wilson arrested, we’re here for Mike Brown,” Shabazz said. “We’re here for Mike Brown and we’re not going to let outside infiltrators come and destroy our good movement.”


Robinson said Shabazz is an attorney from Washington D.C. who is causing problems.


I literally watched him cause chaos within a large group of people and prepare to send them to the front line, then he shifts and says ‘let’s keep the peace.’ We’re calling him out. We want him out of our city, we don’t need his help at all, and he’s doing nothing but cause chaos.”


According to the Anti-Defamation League, Shabazz is trying to recast himself as a serious civil rights leader that inserts himself in high profile, racially charged situations. The Southern Poverty Law Center says Shabazz is skilled at organizing provocative protests.

Local church leaders say they are going to keep a close eye on Shabazz Tuesday night as they try to keep the peace on the streets of Ferguson.

Shabazz did not respond to News 4’s request for a comment." via Free Rep.

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In Oct. 2013 Malik Shabazz stepped down as Nat. Chmn. of New Black Panther Party to focus on his career with Black Lawyers for Justice though he'll remain "spiritual guide" to NBPP:

10/17/13, "New Black Panther Party Announces New Chairman, Same Hateful Message," blog.adl.org

"Malik Zulu Shabazz announced that he is step­ping down from his posi­tion as National Chair­man of the racist and anti-Semitic New Black Pan­ther Party (NBPP) to focus on his career as a lawyer with the Black Lawyers for Jus­tice, an orga­ni­za­tion he founded in 1996.

Shabazz made the announce­ment on the NBPP’s online radio broad­cast on Mon­day. He noted that despite leav­ing his posi­tion as National Chair­man, he will con­tinue to serve the NBPP as a “spir­i­tual guide.”"


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Southern Poverty Law Center says New Black Panther Party is a hate group which has no connection with original Black Panther Party:

"The New Black Panther Party (NBPP) — which despite its name has no connection with the original Black Panther Party — is a black separatist organization. The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies the NBPP as a hate group based on the anti-white, anti-gay and anti-Semitic views its leaders have repeatedly expressed."...

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Malik Shabazz was one of three names cited in a US Justice Dept. 2008 voter intimidation lawsuit. The case against Malik Shabazz was dropped in May 2009.

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Malik Shabazz name in the news in 2009 and 2013:

The name Malik Shabazz appears on the White House visitors log on July 25, 2009, but the White House says it's a different Malik Shabazz (not the New Black Panther official). Malik Shabazz is also the name of the person to whom King Shabazz placed a phone call after his arrest in Harlem in June 2013:

6/22/13, "‘Kill Whitey’ Panther is held on gun rap," NY Post, L. Italiano, J. Schram

"Sources told The Post that (Maruse) Heath’s (King Shabazz) first call while in custody was to Malik Zulu Shabazz, who is the national chairman of the New Black Panther Party, considered by the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to be a Black supremacist hate group....
  
"The tattoo on his (Heath's) face says, “Kill Whitey” in block letters, and cops say the gun he carried was loaded and unlicensed.

But that didn’t stop Maruse Heath — head of the Philadelphia chapter of the New Black Panther Party — from claiming that he’s really all about charity and outreach as he was arraigned on a gun-possession charge in Manhattan last night....

Heath, 41, was ordered held in lieu of $75,000 bail for getting busted allegedly with a gun in Harlem Thursday night.

Heath, aka “King Salim Shabazz,” was arrested on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard as he left a meeting of New Black Panther Party members. The group had gathered to plan a 15th-anniversary Million Man March commemoration, scheduled for Harlem on Sept. 7.

Heath was unjustly “jumped” by cops as he left the meeting and walked near Seventh Avenue, said his lawyer, Brad Foster, in arguing unsuccessfully for low bail.

“It is no crime to belong to the Black Panther Party,” the lawyer argued. The group does, “charity work within the local community, outreach to the homeless, and works with at-risk youth who are at risk of becoming criminals.”"...
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Voter intimidation charges against 3 New Black Panther Party members for violations in the Nov. 2008 election were eventually dropped though one of the individuals stood in front of a Philadelphia polling place with a long club and waved it threateningly. (Photo at end of this post). Malik Shabazz wasn't at the polling place but was National Chairman of NBPP at the time:

7/16/2010, "The New Black Panther Party Case: A Timeline," dailysignal.com, Tina Korbe

"Highlight Timeline:

Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008

The New Black Panther Party, which is recognized as a violent, racial hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League, announces on its website that more than 350 of its members will be “deployed” in 15 cities across the country to “ensure that people of color … are ensured their right to vote” and to “provide security protecting our people in the face of real and confirmed” white supremacist group threats. Outside a Philadelphia polling place, two New Black Panthers dressed in paramilitary garb—Jerry Jackson and Minister King Samir Shabazzstand in front of the door. (King) Shabazz uses racial epithets and brandishes a two-foot-long nightstick. The two are caught on tape, and multiple witnesses, including poll watchers Michael Mauro, Chris Hull, and Bartle Bull, say voters, poll watchers, and others were intimidated.

Friday, Jan. 7, 2009

The Department of Justice files a lawsuit in Philadelphia against the NBPP, and conspirators Malik Zulu Shabazz, Jackson and King Samir Shabazz. NBPP officials then supposedly suspend the Philadelphia chapter (only after the lawsuit is filed), condemn bringing weapons to the polls, and claim King Samir Shabazz acted on his own, with no direction from the national organization."...

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Jan. 20, 2009, Obama inaugurated

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(continuing Timeline): "Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thomas J. Perrelli is confirmed by the Senate to be Associate Attorney General of the United States on a vote of 72 to 20....According to The Washington Times, he does not visit the White House for the next 11 days.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The DOJ trial team on the case—Christopher Coates, Robert Popper, J. Christian Adams and Spencer R. Fisher—present its draft motion for “Request for Entry of Default” to the acting division chiefs—Loretta King and/or Steven H. Rosenbaum.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Perrelli meets with White House Associate Counsel Susan Davies in the White House. Perrelli will meet with White House officials nine times between this date and the final dismissal of the case.

Late March

Kristen Clarke, director of political participation at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, reportedly asks Justice Department officials to drop the case.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Because the defendants missed the deadline to file an answer, the trial team files notice of default with the court.

Friday, April 17, 2009

U.S. District Judge Stewart R. Dalzell issues an order recognizing that the (New) Black Panthers are in default. The order gives the DOJ until May 1 to file an official Motion for Default Judgment.

Friday, May 1, 2009

King orders the trial team, with Perrelli’s approval, to seek an extension of time to file the motion with the court....

Friday, May 15, 2009

The trial team is ordered to dismiss case against the NBPP, chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz, and Jackson....
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Now-cleared defendant Jackson is allowed to again serve as an official Democratic poll watcher at any polling place nationwide. The NBPP is free to provide “security” at any polling place in the country."...

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http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_nMLR3Feb9RM/TKBzMv8EPhI/AAAAAAAAF_8/kN4E_EXKO8g/s1600/blackpanthersobamaelectiondayphilpolling.jpg

11/4/2008, King Shabazz (aka Maruse Heath) above at Philadelphia polling place on election day brandishing a night stick. (The GOP probably sent him to suppress conservative votes.) At the time, Malik Shabazz was Nat. Chmn. of NBPP.

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More on 2008-2011 events in the New Black Panther voter intimidation case:

1/27/2011, "New Black Panther Party case: The facts are in," Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post

"The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights came out in December with a draft of its interim report on the New Black Panthers Party scandal. Earlier today a final report was posted on the commission's website, and with it, a flurry of rebuttals and separate statements from a number of the commissioners. The import of these statements should not be minimized."...

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5/29/2009, "Charges Against 'New Black Panthers' Dropped by Obama Justice Dept.," Fox News, Eric Shawn

(I don't often link to Fox News articles but did in this case because it was a good summary of facts. The topic wasn't well reported by major outlets at the time. In 2009, unless you sobbed with joy that Soros, Obama, and the Chamber of Commerce had been handed the country by the Bush crowd, you were considered an insane racist. It's only slightly better in 2014. Which is probably fine with Fox News and the GOP. Susan)

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Big banks today can commit crimes without fear of consequence, US only pursues civil charges, makes back room deals, collects fines, no individuals do jail time-NY Times Dealbook, Cohan

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8/19/14, "Sound and Fury in Bank Settlements, Still Signifying Nothing," dealbook.nytimes.com, William D. Cohan

"Once again last month, we were treated to the sorry spectacle of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. holding a news conference to proclaim that a “too big to fail” bank had been brought to justice for its reprehensible behavior in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. All things considered, it was fine theater with the obvious caveat that nothing even remotely close to justice had been served.

This time, Mr. Holder was taking a victory lap for strong-arming Citigroup into paying $7 billion — including a $4 billion cash penalty, the largest such single payment ever — to settle all civil claims against it for its role in packaging troubled mortgages into securities and selling them as investments in the years before the crisis, even though a bunch of Citigroup bankers knew better and did it anyway.

“This historic penalty is appropriate given the strength of the evidence of the wrongdoing committed by Citi,” Mr. Holder said. “The bank’s activities contributed mightily to the financial crisis that devastated our economy in 2008. Taken together, we believe the size and scope of this resolution goes beyond what could be considered the mere cost of doing business. Citi is not the first financial institution to be held accountable by this Justice Department, and it will certainly not be the last.

For those following closely, as Mr. Holder alluded to in his statement, the Citigroup settlement was a repeat of the performance he gave last November when JPMorgan Chase paid $13 billion to settle similar claims against it. It is probably also serving as set-up for the show that Mr. Holder will be putting on again any day now when Bank of America capitulates to his demands for a settlement after months of threatening not to go along. Bank of America is expected to pay a fine of $16 billion to $17 billion to various government entities — eclipsing the $13 billion that JPMorgan paid — including a stunning $9 billion in cash.


That Mr. Holder prefers large settlements to prosecutions is no surprise to anyone familiar with the so-called Holder Doctrine, which stems from his now-famous June 1999 memorandum — when he was deputy attorney general — that included the thought that big financial settlements may be preferable to criminal convictions because a criminal conviction often carries severe unintended consequences, like loss of jobs and the inability to continue as a going concern. (See Andersen, Arthur, for instance.)

That Mr. Holder, as attorney general, is following through on an idea that he proposed as a subordinate 15 years ago does not make his behavior any less infuriating. The fact is that by settling with the big Wall Street banks for billions of dollars — money that comes out of their shareholders’ pockets — Mr. Holder is allowing them to avoid the sunshine that Louis Brandeis wrote 100 years ago was the best disinfectant. Instead of shining the bright light on wrongdoing that took place at the Wall Street banks, Mr. Holder’s settlements allow them to cover it up permanently. 


And that helps no one. The American people are deprived of knowing precisely how bad things got inside these banks in the years leading up to the financial crisis, and the banks, knowing they will be saved the humiliation caused by the public airing of a trove of emails and documents, will no doubt soon be repeating their callous and indifferent behavior.

Instead of the truth, we get from the Justice Department a heavily negotiated and sanitized “statement of facts” about what supposedly went wrong. In the case of JPMorgan, the statement of facts was 21 pages but contained little of substance beyond the fact that an unidentified whistle-blower at the bank tried to alert her superiors to her belief that shoddy mortgages were being packaged and sold as securities. Her warnings went unheeded and the mortgages were packaged and sold all the same.


The explicit details of the bank’s wrongdoing were contained in a civil complaint that Benjamin B. Wagner, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of California, had drafted and threatened to file publicly if JPMorgan didn’t settle. Fearing disclosure of the contents of the complaint, JPMorgan caved to Mr. Holder’s demands. The bottom line was JPMorgan paid the $13 billion, in cash and in-kind, and the American people were deprived of finding out exactly what the bank did wrong.

A similar cat-and-mouse game took place in the Citigroup settlement. This time, though, the statement of facts was a mere nine pages and contained remarkably little substance beyond the fact that Citigroup packaged mortgages it should not have and sold them as securities to investors. In the most anodyne language, Citigroup conceded that it occasionally violated its own internal credit guidelines for mortgages but packaged them anyway. Here is a sample of what Citigroup admitted to in the statement of facts: “In certain instances, Citigroup securitized loans that its vendors had reported exceeded Citigroup’s valuation tolerances or where the vendor’s valuation determination exceeded the reported or appraised value.”


The only quasi-damning piece of evidence in the statement of facts came in the form of an email written by an anonymous trader who had reviewed a bunch of the mortgages that Citigroup intended to package and sell and realized that they were defective.

The trader stated that he “went thru the diligence reports” — describing the mortgages — “and think that we should start praying… I would not be surprised if half of these loans went down. There are a lot of loans that have unreasonable incomes, values below the original appraisals” — where the loan-to-value ratio would exceed 100 percent, a no-no — “It’s amazing that some of these loans were closed at all.” No surprise, according to the statement of facts, “Despite this trader’s observations, Citigroup securitized loans from this pool” in two residential mortgage-backed securities. 


The problem is, of course, that these settlements allow for the Wall Street bankers, traders and executives who write these kinds of emails and make these kinds of decisions to get away with their bad — and perhaps illegal — behavior without being held the slightest bit accountable. To the contrary, they were rewarded for making and selling these securities with huge bonuses that often ran into the millions of dollars. And then — thank you very much — Wall Street’s boards reward their exalted chief executives with higher bonuses for resolving these nettlesome legal matters. But all the chief executives did was use their shareholders’ money to make the lawsuits go away and cover up any trace of the bad behavior.

As usual, in any war, the first casualty is the truth. After the announcement of the Citigroup settlement, I received an email from Richard Bowen, a former Citigroup executive who had pinpointed the bank’s wrongdoing in securitizing the faulty mortgages it was buying. Well before the financial crisis hit, Mr. Bowen alerted the top executives of Citigroup about this malfeasance. Of course, Mr. Bowen’s clarion call was ignored and the bank fired him. (I have written about Mr. Bowen before, and “60 Minutes” did a feature on him, too.) 

The Citigroup settlement has left him flabbergasted. In July of 2008, I gave the S.E.C. 1,000 pages documenting fraud and the false representations given to investors in many securitizations and subsequently provided additional evidence to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and the Department of Justice,” he wrote in his email. “In light of the huge losses this behavior caused our country, it is outrageous that, six years later, a settlement of only civil fraud charges would be announced, with no individuals being held accountable and no real admission of wrongdoing or true penalties assessed.” Mr. Bowen figures the Justice Department lets these banks get away with a whitewash of their bad behavior so as not to provide a litigation road map for investors who were burned by the faulty securities.

Something tells me this is precisely the way the powers that be wanted these deals to go down. But the American people deserve — nay, we demand — better."

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Ronald S. Lauder NY Times op-ed: "Why is the world silent while Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and Africa?"

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ISIS carnage rivals "death orgies of the Middle Ages."
 
8/19/14, "Who Will Stand Up for the Christians?" Ronald S. Lauder

"Why is the world silent while Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and Africa? In Europe and in the United States, we have witnessed demonstrations over the tragic deaths of Palestinians who have been used as human shields by Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls Gaza. The United Nations has held inquiries and focuses its anger on Israel for defending itself against that same terrorist organization. But the barbarous slaughter of thousands upon thousands of Christians is met with relative indifference

The Middle East and parts of central Africa are losing entire Christian communities that have lived in peace for centuries. The terrorist group Boko Haram has kidnapped and killed hundreds of Christians this year — ravaging the predominantly Christian town of Gwoza, in Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, two weeks ago. Half a million Christian Arabs have been driven out of Syria during the three-plus years of civil war there. Christians have been persecuted and killed in countries from Lebanon to Sudan. 

Historians may look back at this period and wonder if people had lost their bearings. Few reporters have traveled to Iraq to bear witness to the Nazi-like wave of terror that is rolling across that country.

The United Nations has been mostly mum. World leaders seem to be consumed with other matters in this strange summer of 2014. There are no flotillas traveling to Syria or Iraq. And the beautiful celebrities and aging rock stars — why doesn’t the slaughter of Christians seem to activate their social antennas?

President Obama should be commended for ordering airstrikes to save tens of thousands of Yazidis, who follow an ancient religion and have been stranded on a mountain in northern Iraq, besieged by Sunni Muslim militants. But sadly, airstrikes alone are not enough to stop this grotesque wave of terrorism.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is not a loose coalition of jihadist groups, but a real military force that has managed to take over much of Iraq with a successful business model that rivals its coldblooded spearhead of death. It uses money from banks and gold shops it has captured, along with control of oil resources and old-fashioned extortion, to finance its killing machine, making it perhaps the wealthiest Islamist terrorist group in the world. But where it truly excels is in its carnage, rivaling the death orgies of the Middle Ages. It has ruthlessly targeted Shiites, Kurds and Christians. 

They actually beheaded children and put their heads on a stick” a Chaldean-American businessman named Mark Arabo told CNN, describing a scene in a Mosul park. “More children are getting beheaded, mothers are getting raped and killed, and fathers are being hung.”

This week, 200,000 Aramaeans fled their ancestral homeland around Nineveh, having already escaped Mosul. 

The general indifference to ISIS, with its mass executions of Christians and its deadly preoccupation with Israel, isn’t just wrong; it’s obscene. 

In a speech before thousands of Christians in Budapest in June, I made a solemn promise that just as I will not be silent in the face of the growing threat of anti-Semitism in Europe and in the Middle East, I will not be indifferent to Christian suffering. Historically, it has almost always been the other way around: Jews have all too often been the persecuted minority. But Israel has been among the first countries to aid Christians in South Sudan. Christians can openly practice their religion in Israel, unlike in much of the Middle East. 

This bond between Jews and Christians makes complete sense. We share much more than most religions. We read the same Bible, and share a moral and ethical core. Now, sadly, we share a kind of suffering: Christians are dying because of their beliefs, because they are defenseless and because the world is indifferent to their suffering

Good people must join together and stop this revolting wave of violence. It’s not as if we are powerless. I write this as a citizen of the strongest military power on earth. I write this as a Jewish leader who cares about my Christian brothers and sisters. 

The Jewish people understand all too well what can happen when the world is silent. This campaign of death must be stopped."

"Ronald S. Lauder is the president of the World Jewish Congress."



Urban Infidel photos and video of Sunday, August 17 rally in NYC for Israel, Yazidis, Kurds, Copts, Christians and other minorities targeted by Islam

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From Sunday 8/17/14 AFDI rally in NY City's Union Square for Israel and other minorities persecuted by Islam:

8/19/14, "AFDI Rally for Israel & Persecuted Religious Minorities in the Middle East," Urban Infidel















"Mazzen Warra, a Palestinian Christian from Ramallah, Gaza."















"Gay people don't have a chance in the Islamic world."

Above images by Urban Infidel, much more at Infidel's site. via, "The Urban Infidel Report," PamelaGeller.com

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The Urban Infidel Report

American reporter beheaded in Middle East by member of the Religion of Peace

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8/19/14, "ISIS militants behead abducted American journalist James Wright Foley in graphic video," NY Daily News, S. Goldstein, J. Warren, B. Hutchinson

Foley prior to beheading
"WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES. A masked militant claims the murder is in retaliation for American airstrikes against the Islamic State militants in Iraq. Missing since Nov. 22, 2012, Foley appears to be forced to read an anti-American statement before he is beheaded in the gruesome five-minute clip. His family confirmed his death late Tuesday evening." Image from Daily News and You Tube video.

"After killing the handcuffed Foley, a cloaked terrorist left the victim’s head on the small of his back....It was not clear where the grisly video was filmed."...

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Comment: You Tube video of actual beheading was taken down. The Religion of Peace must be protected:

8/19/14, "In Wake of James Foley Beheading Video, Journalists Rush to Self-Censor," mashable.com

"The images of Foley will almost certainly be found in perpetuity in the dark corners of the Internet. However, most media outlets and journalists declined to share the graphic video or photos, recognizing that word was already spreading without them."...

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Comments: I looked "in the dark corners of the Internet" and have found no images of Foley's actual beheading, video or still. Suggested by Mashable and others is the idea that everybody already knows so why show the images, it just helps the terrorists. Or, "I do not believe in censorship but" this is "sufficient grounds for censorship." Or, don't show because, "It's propaganda for the terrorists," (far leftist Spencer Ackerman). It's the exact opposite of course-material that's continually censored can't possibly be known. After 9-11 in New York some reporters were standing near dead bodies outside the World Trade Center. They said they wouldn't show photos of the bodies because, "no one should see such a thing." Says who? A twisted interpretation of compassion was one more weapon for the terrorists. We're not allowed to know the exact nature of what we face. Where did the Left get the idea that totalitarianism was "good" for humanity? It's never worked where it's been tried. It works for elites but not for humanity. via Pamela Geller




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Democrat voter registration booth set up at scene of Michael Brown killing in Missouri

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8/19/14, "Liberal activists set up voter registration booth where Michael Brown was killed," Washington Times, Jessica Chasmar

8/16/14, Jessica Lee tweeted: "In front of the makeshift memorial where Mike Brown was killed, they've set up a voter registration table

Dem. Voter Reg. at death scene
Jessica Lee is a human rights attorney for the Soros funded Center for Constitutional Rights.

"Liberal activists — including from the George Soros-funded Center for Constitutional Rights — have set up voter registration booths at several locations around the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, including at a makeshift memorial for 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was fatally shot by police Officer Darren Wilson during an altercation on Aug. 9. (Twitter/Jessica Lee)



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Breaking cease fires is only way Hamas gets PR, during cease fires Hamas is out of limelight, has 'diminshed leverage'.-NY Times

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If Hamas stops causing deaths of its own civilians it will be seen as a failure, PR dries up unless it's killing, "sees little choice." Qatar aids Hamas says Israel.  
 
8/19/14, "Rockets From Gaza and Israeli Response Break Cease-Fire," NY Times,



The prospect of a negotiated and lasting peace had seemed distant from the start of the Cairo talks as each side set bottom-line goals that the other flatly rejected.

After weeks of intermittent negotiations and fighting, analysts said that Israel’s leadership might well have considered it preferable to let the conflict continue at a low simmer rather than give concessions that could be seen as rewarding militants who fired about 3,000 rockets into Israel, penetrated its territory through tunnels, and killed 64 soldiers over a month of bloody battle....

Buoyed in the Palestinian public for having achieved more militarily than in previous violent exchanges with Israel, Hamas is nonetheless under extreme pressure to deliver a tangible change to daily life in Gaza. During the war, the rising death toll put pressure on Israel. But during the cease-fire Hamas finds itself with diminished leverage, and so has resorted to threatening and provoking Israel.

It sent a flurry of rockets that reached Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and on Monday the group’s armed wing even invited a Reuters crew inside a tunnel like the ones through which it repeatedly attacked Israeli soldiers last month, showing off masked gunmen talking tough....

The Palestinian delegation had called for a complete lifting of what it calls Israel’s siege on Gaza, the reopening of border crossings into Egypt and Israel and the building of a seaport and revival of an old airport in the crowded coastal territory. Israel demanded the demilitarization of Gaza with strict international controls to prevent the rebuilding of tunnels its troops just destroyed.
As the temporary halt in hostilities was extended — from an original 72 hours last week, for five more days and then an additional 24 hours that was supposed to last until midnight Tuesday — people involved in the talks said these maximalist demands had been dropped, or at least postponed. 

The focus was instead on more incremental changes in Israeli rules on imports and exports and on an internationally monitored rehabilitation of Gaza. For the Palestinians, it was too little and too late....

Before the cease-fire broke down Tuesday evening, another Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, warned that if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel “does not understand the message and the demands of Gaza through the political language of negotiations in Cairo, we know very well the way that will oblige him to understand it.

Hamas denied responsibility for the first round of rockets, fired before 4 p.m. local time. But by 11 p.m., it claimed credit for firing two toward Tel Aviv and two more toward Ben-Gurion International Airport, among others. The Israeli military said about 50 fell before midnight, including one on open ground in Jerusalem.

Israel responded with more than 25 airstrikes in Gaza, the military said, but it declined to specify targets. Witnesses said Israeli F-16 warplanes dropped at least four bombs on a Gaza City house around 9:30 p.m.; the Gaza-based Health Ministry said the strikes killed a man, a woman and a child, and injured 45 others....

It was unclear on Tuesday night whether the renewed exchange would lead to an escalation, given the exhaustion of the publics on both sides. Israel, which has been condemned by world leaders for the high number of civilian casualties, may be granted some leeway to respond to fire, but that would be likely to disappear if the death toll began to rise quickly. While Hamas may see little choice but to continue launching rockets, analysts said the Palestinians need a deal more than Israel does.

Azzam al-Ahmed, the head of the Palestinian negotiating team and an ally of President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, said in a late-night news conference that his delegation would also leave Cairo but that he did “not consider that we have withdrawn from the negotiations.” He blamed Israel for the failed talks, saying it did not respond to the Hamas demands.

Israelis has blamed Khaled Mashal, the exiled political leader of Hamas, and his Qatari sponsors for setting a hard line and thwarting progress....

“Israel prefers to end the war without committing itself to lifting the siege in writing,” said Mukhaimer Abusaada, a political scientist at Al-Azhar University in Gaza City. Accusing Israel of exploiting the rocket fire as “an excuse to sabotage the talks,” he added, “A unilateral decision by Israel to gradually lift the siege will deprive Hamas of a sense of victory after this destructive war.” Kobi Michael, a former head of the Palestinian desk at Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, said Israel’s move “weakens Hamas — it kills it softly in front of its people.”

Israel prefers a de facto cease-fire and reconstruction in a controlled manner in coordination with the Egyptians,” said Mr. Michael, now at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. “If Hamas is doomed to be a marginal player, it would prefer to be one without an agreement and not be marginal in an agreement.’

But Sami Abdel Shafi, a Gaza-based consultant and political commentator, said Israel’s unwillingness to make concessions, and the Palestinian leaders’ lack of leverage to force them, left the people of Gaza in “potentially explosive” despair.

“The only place to look, and the appropriate place to look, is toward the international community and the United Nations,” he said. “They have to seriously step up to the plate and defuse a situations they will be seen as responsible for if they don’t come forward and push the Israeli government to recognize that people cannot be treated this way.”"

"Fares Akram contributed reporting from Gaza, and Merna Thomas from Cairo." via Pamela Geller


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