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Tuesday
Dec282010

WikiLeaks, Iran, and the Green Movement: The Predictions of Iraq's President

Commenting a week after the demonstrations on 27 December 2009 and the regime's mobilisation of support three days later, Talabani assesses, "Tt was not that the Iranian regime was weak, but rather that the opposing side was strong....Whereas the demonstrations at first were attacking Iranian President Ahmadinejad, they have now shifted to being against Supreme Leader Khamenei."

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Tuesday
Dec282010

Gaza-Turkey Video: The Freedom Flotilla's Mavi Marmara Returns to Port

On Sunday, hundreds of Turks gathered in Istanbul to welcome the Mavi Marmara, the main ship of the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla, which was attacked by Israeli forces on 31 May, killing nine Turkish passengers:

A day before the repaired ship entered the port of Sarayburnu, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reiterated Ankara's demands that West Jerusalem addressed damaged ties between two countries. He said:

We have the intention of making peace with Israel....Turkish citizens have been killed in international waters, nothing can cover up this truth. We want to both preserve relations and defend our rights. If our friendship with Israel is to continue, the way for it is to apologize and offer compensation.

Tuesday
Dec282010

The Latest from Iran (28 December): One Execution Delayed but Two Carried Out

2230 GMT: A Cleric and the Law. Ayatollah Vahid Khorassani has said that the confessions of those in prison are worth nothing.

2220 GMT: Subsidy Cuts, Fuel, and Ahmadinejad. A correspondent from Tehran summarises official statistics that show consumption of diesel fuel, gasoline, fuel oil, and kerosene has dropped 38% since the start of subsidy cuts on 19 December.

Consumption of diesel fuel initially fell 73% but has risen again, thank in parts to the government's partial restitution of subsidies for fuel for transportation.

President Ahmadinejad, speaking in Karaj on Tuesday, declared, "I announce with pride that in the past ten days, since the implementation of this law, we have been witness to a 38 percent drop in consumption just in the diesel fuel and heating oil sector."

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Monday
Dec272010

Israel Analysis: Lieberman's Triple Attack on Turkey, Palestine, & His Own Prime Minister

On Monday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman launched a multi-front attack, bombarding Turkey, the Palestinian Authority...and his own Prime Minister.

Talking to Israeli diplomats, Lieberman pressed his belief that the "Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity", saying that they "would find a reason not to sign a peace agreement even if the Israelis had offered Tel Aviv and a retreat to 1947 borders". He called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's attempt to achieve a peace agreement "unrealistic" and said the Palestinian Authority, recognized by West Jerusalem since 1994, was an "illegitimate government that doesn't conduct elections".

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Monday
Dec272010

WikiLeaks Shocker: Julian Assange and the Missing Library Book

In its four years of existence, WikiLeaks has whipped up a controversy or two, but it took Ms EA to uncover what may be the biggest scandal of all. On a trip Down Under, she happened to find this document which, strangely enough, has not appeared on WikiLeaks website.

Click to enlarge the "smoking gun", or rather "smoking book", from the past of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange:

That's right. The devious Julian strolled into the University of Melbourne in 2004, picked up Introduction to Non-Classical Logic by Graham Priest --- no doubt to confound the media interviewers who would try to trip him up six years later --- and never returned the book.

The Melbourne Library Police note, "Despite many attempts by staff he was unable to be contacted." I can help them out a bit if they wish, but I have a feeling they may have to take their place in a queue waiting to have words with Mr Assange....

Monday
Dec272010

Afghanistan: The Top 10 Myths of 2010 (Cole)

Myth: There has been significant progress in tamping down the insurgency in Afghanistan.”

Reality: A recent National Intelligence Estimate by 16 intelligence agencies found no progress. It warned that large swathes of the country were at risk of falling to the Taliban and that they still had safe havens in Pakistan, with the Pakistani government complicit. The UN says there were over 6000 civilian casualties of war in Afghanistan in the first 10 months of 2010, a 20% increase over the same period in 2009. Also, 701 US and NATO troops have been killed this year, compared to 521 last year, a 25% increase. There were typically over 1000 insurgent attacks per month in Afghanistan this year, often twice as many per month as in 2009, recalling the guerrilla war in Iraq in 2005.

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Monday
Dec272010

Belarus Updates: How Many Thousands Protested on 19 December?

1330 GMT: Youth activists Volha Damaratskaya and Mikhail Matsevich have been sentenced to 10 days of imprisonment.

Police have searched the apartments of Vladimir Kobets, the detained head of Andrei Sannikov’s presidential campaign team, and of Mikita Krasnou, coordinator of the “Citizen” youth campaign.

1130 GMT: Two members of the Minsk Elections Commission have filed a dissenting opinion over the Presidential results, citing violations in the balloting.

0745 GMT: Activist Vera Lozovskaya has been summoned to the KGB for interrogation.

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Monday
Dec272010

The Latest from Iran (27 December): Threats

2115 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch (German Edition): Confusion tonight over the situation with detained German journalists Marcus Hellwig and Jens Koch....

Earlier this month, Iranian authorities had said they hoped it would be possible for the Germans to meet their families for the New Year.

Today the German Foreign Ministry said it had summoned Iran's Ambassador to Germany, Ali-Reza Sheikh-Attar, over the refusal to allow that visit.

Iranian authorities countered that they had extended the offer of a visit early on Monday but the families of the detainees have refused to travel to Tabriz, where the two are being held. The Iranians also deny that their ambassador in Germany was summoned, saying it was a pre-arranged meeting on other matters.

Hellwig and Koch were arrested in October as they interviewed and photographed the son and lawyer of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, condemned to death for adultery and complicity in murder.

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Monday
Dec272010

WikiLeaks Feature: US "Retaliation" Against Europe For Genetically-Modified Crops and Monsanto?

In December 2007, the US Embassy in France confronts opposition to genetically-modified crops in Europe. The intervention was prompted by a ban on GM corn produced by the agricultural company Monsanto.

The cable, sent to Washington and US missions in Europe in the name of Ambassador Craig Stapleton is blunt: "In our view, Europe is moving backwards not forwards on this issue with France playing a leading role, along with Austria, Italy and even the Commission....Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voices."

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Monday
Dec272010

Iran Feature: Subsidy Cuts --- The Product of Ahmadinejad's Genius? (Farokhnia)

UPDATE 1100 GMT: An EA correspondent comments:

The premises of this article are all wrong - the author is attributing to ahmadinejad what is entailed by the subsidy scrap plans devised since the mid Nineties. The issue here is not whether these recipes are good or bad - they are positive, but there are serious doubts as to whether the Ahmadinejad clique is able implement any of them correctly, given its penchant to antagonise, as they proceed, the critical economists.

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