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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
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EU Bans Iranian Oil, Tehran Responds With Threats

By Justyna Pawlak and Hossein Jaseb

BRUSSELS/TEHRAN | Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:20pm EST

(Reuters) - The European Union banned imports of oil from Iran on Monday and imposed a number of other economic sanctions, joining the United States in a new round of measures aimed at deflecting Tehran's nuclear development program.

In Iran, one politician responded by renewing a threat to blockade the Strait of Hormuz, an oil export route vital to the global economy, and another said Tehran should cut off crude shipments to the EU immediately.

That might hurt Greece, Italy and other ailing economies which depend heavily on Iranian oil and, as a result, won as part of the EU agreement a grace period until July 1 before the embargo takes full effect. Angry words on either side helped nudge benchmark Brent oil futures above $110 a barrel on Monday.

A day after a U.S. aircraft carrier, accompanied by a flotilla that included French and British warships, made a symbolically loaded voyage into the Gulf in defiance of Iranian hostility, the widely expected EU sanctions move is likely to set off yet more bellicose rhetoric in an already tense region.



Anonymous To Launch File Sharing Service

By David Edwards
Monday, January 23, 2012

Hacktivists affiliated with the “Anonymous” movement are planning to launch a file sharing service to replace MegaUpload.com, a similar website the U.S. government recently shut down.

The group hopes to have the new site, Anonyupload.com, up and working by Wednesday.

In an effort to thwart U.S. law enforcement, the group said the free service would be hosted in Russia. Donations were being solicited instead of selling ads.

Last week, the movement took credit for crashing the websites of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Universal Music Group after the FBI shut down one of the most popular file sharing websites, MegaUpload.com.



U.S. Aircraft Carrier Enters Gulf Without Incident

By David Alexander

WASHINGTON | Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:07pm EST

(Reuters) - A U.S. aircraft carrier sailed through the Strait of Hormuz and into the Gulf without incident on Sunday, a day after Iran backed away from an earlier threat to take action if an American carrier returned to the strategic waterway.

The carrier USS Abraham Lincoln completed a "regular and routine" passage through the strait, a critical gateway for the region's oil exports, "as previously scheduled and without incident," said Lieutenant Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

The Lincoln, accompanied by strike group of warships, was the first U.S. aircraft carrier to enter the Gulf since late December and was on a routine rotation to replace the outgoing USS John C. Stennis.

The departure of the Stennis prompted Iranian army chief Ataollah Salehi to threaten action if the carrier passed back into the Gulf.



Filmmakers Capture ‘Human View’ Of Palestinian Village

By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, January 21, 2012

Palestinian filmmaker Emad Burnat spent five years filming his village’s resistance to Israeli settlers — and brought his intimate but powerful documentary to the Sundance film festival.

Co-directed with Israeli Guy Davidi, “5 Broken Cameras” was shown in competition on the first weekend of the world-renowned independent film festival, which runs until January 29 in the US ski resort of Park City, Utah.

The West Bank village of Bilin, some 10 kilometers (six miles) west of Ramallah, made headlines when its inhabitants demonstrated in 2005 against an Israeli settlement on their land.

The same year Burnat, an olive picker, received a small camera as a gift for the birth of his fourth child. He rapidly developed from family home movies to filming the resistance of Bilin.



Russian FM Lavrov: Libya Scenario Will Not Be Repeated

Russia will not allow the Libyan scenario to be repeated in the region's other countries. A statement to this effect was made by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as he summarized the results of the year 2011 and outlined the agenda for 2012 at a news conference on Wednesday.

Many of the conflicts that broke out in Arab countries in 2011 will remain hot issues in 2012. As changes in the troubled countries have just begun to take hold, the international community should refrain from meddling in their domestic affairs, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"Nations should be free to choose what path of development they wish to follow and the international community should accept their choice. Foreign countries should refrain from interfering, let alone the use of force. What is happening in one country has nothing to do with what goes on in others. Other countries should focus on their own business and abide by the principle of 'Do No Harm."

A repetition of the Libya scenario has to be avoided at all costs. Unfortunately, some western countries attempted to pursue a similar scenario by offering their so-called “assistance” for resolving the crisis in Syria. Russia will do its utmost to obstruct a UN Security Council resolution on military intervention for Syria. Moscow has proposed a draft resolution which stipulates non-interference and non-use of force. China supported this wording. As for the western partners, they disagree on these two points and this cannot but cause concern.



After Threats, Iran Plays Down U.S. Naval Moves

By Robin Pomeroy and Hashem Kalantari

TEHRAN | Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:58am EST

(Reuters) - Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps said on Saturday it considered the likely return of U.S. warships to the Gulf part of routine activity, backing away from previous warnings to Washington not to re-enter the area.

The statement may be seen as an effort to reduce tensions after Washington said it would respond if Iran made good on a threat to block the Strait of Hormuz - the vital shipping lane for oil exports from the Gulf.

"U.S. warships and military forces have been in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East region for many years and their decision in relation to the dispatch of a new warship is not a new issue and it should be interpreted as part of their permanent presence," Revolutionary Guard Deputy Commander Hossein Salami told the official IRNA news agency.

The apparently conciliatory comments may be a response to the European Union and Washington's rejection of Iran's declaration it was close to resuming negotiations with world powers and with the Pentagon saying it did not expect any challenge to its warships.



Newt Gingrich Uses Violent Rhetoric Directed At President Obama In Fundraiser Email

January 20, 2012
By Stephen D. Foster Jr.

Newt Gingrich is leading South Carolina in several new polls and his violent rhetoric towards President Obama may be the reason why. Not too long ago, Newt Gingrich told voters that not only would he “bloody President Obama’s nose,” he’d “knock him out.” Racist South Carolinians seem to be responding with glee to those remarks so Gingrich is including the threat in a fundraising email.

“From: RC Hammond – Newt

A Bloody Nose Just Won’t Cut It

Dear Friend and Supporter, Speaker Gingrich was recently asked at a townhall event how he would “bloody Obama’s nose,” and his response proved once again why he would be the best Republican nominee for President: “I don’t want to bloody his nose, I want to knock him out!” “

This is clearly violent rhetoric directed at the sitting President of the United States. The sad part is that it seems to be helping the Gingrich campaign. So when are the other candidates going to ratchet up the rhetoric?



Waiting for False Prophets: The Puzzling Matter of the Israeli Liberals

by Ramzy Baroud / January 19th, 2012

Regardless of who may rule Israel, little change ever occurs in the country’s foreign policy. Winning parties remain obsessed with demographics and retaining absolute military dominance. They also remain unfailingly focused on their quest to initiate racist laws against non-Jewish residents of the state, and continue to hone the art of speaking of peace, while actually maintaining a permanent state of war.

Every few years the media becomes captivated by Israeli democracy. Commentators speak of right, left, center, and anything in between. Despite Israeli elections still being a year and a half away, media pundits are already discussing possible outcomes of the vote against the peace process, economic reforms, social equality, and so on.

In a recent article, Israeli columnist Uri Avnery decried the fact that the main opposition to the right wing parties – “the Likud, the Lieberman party and various ultra-nationalist, pro-settlement and religious factions” – is no other than the center-left Kadima. The party, led by the “incompetent” Tzipi Livni, is allegedly in “shambles”. Moreover, left parties, such as Labor and Meretz, are not expected to pose a real threat to the right party conglomerate, despite their temporary rise in the polls.

As genuine as he is, Avnery is once again presenting the false hope of a savior emerging to save Israel from itself. Avnery envisions Israel being rescued from its ‘neo fascists’ and returned to the over-romanticized scenario of old, when early Zionists supposedly dreamed of an Israel governed by universal ethics, true democracy, peace and social equality . “I fervently hope that a different kind of new political force will emerge – a center-left party with a clear and inclusive message: social reform, narrowing the gap between rich and poor, the two-state solution, peace with the Palestinians and the end of the occupation.”



Guest Lineups For The Sunday TV News Shows (damn near all wall-to-wall repukes)

Guest lineups for the Sunday TV news shows:

ABC's "This Week" — 2012 GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

NBC's "Meet the Press" — Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J.

CBS'"Face the Nation" — Former Gov. Haley Barbour, R-Miss., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

CNN's "State of the Union" — Santorum; Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.

"Fox News Sunday" — House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; Stuart Stevens, campaign strategist for 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Iran-Russia Trade In Domestic Currencies

Jan 20 (Reuters) - Iran and Russia have started using their domestic rial and rouble currencies in bilateral trade instead of the U.S. dollar, Iran's envoy to Moscow said on Friday, after the United States imposed new sanctions on the Middle East state.

"Trade) is based on our national currencies," said Iranian ambassador to Russia Seyed Sajjadi.

"We started this work long ago. Iranian businessmen are buying products in Russia and are using the rouble as (payment) currency ... The U.S. dollar has no (economic) support base," he said speaking at a news conference.

Iran is seeking to boost trade after the United States imposed additional sanctions in late December in a response to Teheran's refusal to abandon uranium enrichment.


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