Thursday, September 30, 2010

Iran: A Regime that's Stux and Coming Unglued at the Same Time

Tehran this week secretly appealed to a number of computer security experts in West and East Europe with offers of handsome fees for consultations on ways to exorcize the Stuxnet worm spreading havoc through the computer networks and administrative software of its most important industrial complexes and military command centers. debkafile's intelligence and Iranian sources report Iran turned for outside help after local computer experts failed to remove the destructive virus.

None of the foreign experts has so far come forward because Tehran refuses to provide precise information on the sensitive centers and systems under attack and give the visiting specialists the locations where they would need to work. They were not told whether they would be called on to work outside Tehran or given access to affected sites to study how they function and how the malworm managed to disable them. Iran also refuses to give out data on the changes its engineers have made to imported SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems, mostly from Germany.

The impression debkafile sources gained Wednesday, Sept. 29 from talking to European computer experts approached for aid was that the Iranians are getting desperate. Not only have their own attempts to defeat the invading worm failed, but they made matters worse: The malworm became more aggressive and returned to the attack on parts of the systems damaged in the initial attack.

One expert said: "The Iranians have been forced to realize that they would be better off not 'irritating' the invader because it hits back with a bigger punch."

Looking beyond Iran's predicament, he wondered whether the people responsible for planting Stuxnet in Iran - and apparently continuing to offload information from its sensitive systems - have the technology for stopping its rampage. "My impression," he said, "is that somebody outside Iran has partial control at least on its spread. Can this body stop malworm in its tracks or kill it? We don't have that information at present, he said.

As it is, the Iranian officials who turned outside for help were described by another of the experts they approached as alarmed and frustrated. It has dawned on them that the trouble cannot be waved away overnight but is around for the long haul. Finding a credible specialist with the magic code for ridding them of the cyber enemy could take several months. After their own attempts to defeat Stuxnet backfired, all the Iranians can do now is to sit back and hope for the best, helpless to predict the worm's next target and which other of their strategic industries will go down or be robbed of its secrets next.

While Tehran has given out several conflicting figures on the systems and networks struck by the malworm - 30,000 to 45,000 industrial units - debkafile's sources cite security experts as putting the figure much higher, in the region of millions. If this is true, then this cyber weapon attack on Iran would be the greatest ever.

Source Debka File

In A Computer Work, A Possible Biblical Clue 
Stuxnet Worm Heralds New Era of Global Cyberwar


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Does Governor Joe Manchin Believe that Gay and Lesbian Americans Have a Different Nationality?

Here's a story that just surfaced today from Think's Wonk Room, indicating that West Virginia Democratic Governor Joe Manchin, who's currently running for the Senate seat left by the late Senator Robert Byrd, believes that it's OK to delay the civil rights of our gay and lesbian military service men and women, by "waiting" until the military leaders "certify" that the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell won't harm unit cohesiveness.  I had hoped for better from Governor Manchin, but so did I of President Obama.

Apparently Governor Manchin, like the President, gets it not, that the rights all Americans are guaranteed under our U.S. Constitution, and knows not or cares not what it's like to be an LGBT American Citizen, and to experience the hateful, damaging effects of endless government-sponsored discrimination, from the federal to the local levels.  I wonder if Governor Manchin believes gay and lesbian Americans have a different nationality under another Constitution?  I wish someone would ask him that question.

~Madison Reed

WV Governor Joe Manchin Won’t Vote To Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Until "Study Is Certified"

By Igor Volsky

The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld reports on the difficulties Democrats will face in passing the National Defense Authorization Act (and its amendment to begin the process of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) during the lame duck session, noting that the Democratic leadership will face a busy calender, a potentially devastating political set back and a re-energized Republican party:
Reality is settling in and many advocates for repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” have begun to acknowledge that passing the National Defense Authorization Act in the lame-duck session after the midterm elections is unlikely at best and could ultimately rest in the hands of Republicans.
A nearly insurmountable series of negatives seem to be stacking up: The White House is not engaged, time is running terribly short, Republicans are winning the political battle on the legislation, the midterms only stand to weaken Senate Democrats, and many fear the release of the Pentagon’s study of repeal in early December could deal a final blow to the effort.
“When you actually look at how much time Congress has to be here in lame duck, and the appetite to get difficult bills done, it will be very difficult to move the defense authorization bill,” said Winnie Stachelberg, who is vice president of external affairs at the Center for American Progress and has worked on the repeal effort.
Stachelberg tempered her comments with glimmers of hope, pointing out recent remarks from White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina, who last week spoke to a group of students at The University of Montana about DADT and said, “We’re going to get that done this year.”
An additional challenge facing Democrats is the uncertainty over the three new Senators from Illinois, Delaware and West Virginia who are expected to take their seats — and their first votes — within days of the Nov. 2 election. At least one of those Democratic candidates, West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin is now on record as opposing the existing DADT compromise. Here is the email I received from his campaign:
The Governor doesn’t believe the rules should be changed until the battlefield commanders can certify it doesn’t hurt unit cohesion.
All this means that the Senate is unlikely to take up the measure before the Pentagon releases its study, further delaying and jeopardizing repeal efforts.


The Shift and critical mass

By Madison Reed

I'm curious...  Did any of you sense anything unusual yesterday?  During the morning (about 10:00 AM, GMT -5), while having a cup of coffee and doing my routine internet reading and correspondence, I experienced a pleasant inner knowing feeling, that I would describe as a gentle clairsentient wave, that lifted my awareness.  The non-verbal information contained within the wave, told me that our global human collective had just reached the required critical mass that our prophets, seers, philosophers and scientists have been foretelling for centuries.

So perhaps, a global shift in our human collective consciousness has occurred, and our potential to attain anything that we desire, has jumped exponentially.  It was as if the Archangel Michael's time had come, and he had unlocked the chains that have been holding us back for milennia.  I was left with a very positive sense to be excited and optimistic about our future.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Emperor of Moscow Dethroned by Russian President Medvedev

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree firing powerful Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, Russian media say.

They quote the presidential press service as saying that Mr Luzhkov, 74, was removed because he had lost the president's trust.

In recent weeks Mr Luzhkov - who has been in office since 1992 - had faced harsh criticism from the Kremlin.

The move follows weeks of speculation that Mr Luzhkov would be be forced out after disagreements with the president.

Mr Medvedev stripped Mr Luzhkov of his post "because he has lost the trust of the president of the Russian Federation", Itar-Tass news agency reported.

Gay Pride Russia Nikolai Alexeev
The mayor's first deputy, Vladimir Resin, was appointed the acting head of Moscow.

Mr Luzhkov has recently been criticised by state-run TV for gridlock on the capital's roads and bulldozing of historic buildings. He and his billionaire wife have been also accused of corruption.

Mr Luzhkov denounced all the claims as "total rubbish", designed to make him "lose his balance". He has threatened to sue the TV channels concerned.

News continues here.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lifestyles of West Virginia's Raese and Infamous

By Steve Benen

John Raese, the Republican Senate hopeful in West Virginia, was asked this week about his background. "I made my money the old-fashioned way, I inherited it," Raese boasted. "I think that's a great thing to do." He went on to say "a key part" of his platform is lowering inheritance taxes on multi-millionaires.

In a state where the median household income is less than $38,000, it seemed like an odd thing for a Senate candidate to say.

Nevertheless, with Raese, the heir to the Greer Industries fortune, crowing about all the money he's inherited, there's renewed interest in the Republican nominee's finances.
Raese leads a lavish lifestyle that's included over 15 cars, boats and motorcycles, a home in Florida where his family lives full-time and where, records show, he paved the driveway with marble in 2008 as the economy was nosediving.
The fact of Raese's family living in another state fulltime is almost certain to come up on the campaign trail.
Elizabeth and John Raese have a nearly 7,000-square-foot home, one where in 2008 -- shortly after the first of the TARP package was being allocated -- the Raeses put in permits to repave their marble driveway with fresh pink stone. They've also claimed homeowners' exemptions, which are available only to Florida state residents, including a $25,000 one this year, according to Palm Beach County property records, because of his wife's residence.
By all accounts, Raese's home is in Florida, where his wife lives and his kids went to school, and where he frequently visits by way of his private jet.

Raese isn't suspected of having done anything untoward with his riches, but stories like these create a narrative that will likely undermine his outreach to struggling West Virginia families.

To be sure, there's nothing wrong with being extremely wealthy, just as there's nothing wrong with getting rich by accepting an inheritance. West Virginia's senior senator, John Rockefeller (D), comes from a wealthy family, too.

The reason stories like these appear damaging, however, is two-fold. The first is that Raese's connection to West Virginia appears about as tenuous as Rick Santorum's connection to Pennsylvania in 2006 -- Santorum's home was in Virginia, just as Raese's home is in Florida. Voters tend to want officials representing them who actually live in their state.

The second is that Raese's extreme, inherited wealth has led him to believe he should fight for other rich people. Rockefeller may come from a wealthy family, but he's spent his career trying to create opportunities for those on the other end of the economic spectrum.

Raese is rich, and wants to go to the Senate to help people just like him. In one of the nation's poorest states, it's a bizarre pitch to take to voters.


World's Economic Model is 'Poisonous,' Heading for 'Catasprophic' Collapse Says Acclaimed Economist

Acclaimed economist Manfred Max-Neef, author of the award-winning book From the Outside Looking in: Experiences in 'Barefoot Economics' recently appeared in a must-see interview on Democracy Now where he says a second, more catastrophic crisis is unavoidable because our economic model is "dramatically poisonous."  Max-Neef explains that "Greed is the dominant value today in the world and as long as that persists, we're done!"  But he doesn't just mean done economically, he means done as a species.

Going beyond facts and figures to describe economics, his philosophy is based on a macro-world view, where he accounts for the biosphere, human creativity, security and happiness, and life in all of its manifestations. He reveals that the majority of economists have great knowledge, more than ever before, but they lack understanding. The two differ as, "knowledge is a function of science, whereas understanding is holistic," explained Max-Neef.  Using the metaphor of love to simplify: we may read and accumulate great knowledge about love, but we can never fully understand it until we fall in love and experience it.

His philosophy of humanizing economics, or "Barefoot Economics," stems from spending years living in and studying the culture of poverty to better understand the economics of it.  He concludes that the poverty culture has entirely different principles than our modern culture, where they must depend on enormous creativity, cooperation and solidarity of people. In poverty, "you cannot be an idiot if you want to survive," he quipped.
He emphatically assures Amy Goodman in the interview that the "next crisis is coming, and it will be twice as much as this one (referring to financial collapse of 2008)." Only for this one, "there will not be enough money anymore -- so that will be it!" Even more frightening are his views that the ecosystem may be beyond critical tipping points.  He says, "Some important scientists believe that it is definite, we are finished . . . I have not reached that point, but I believe we are close."

Max-Neef claims the biggest problem is that economists see the biosphere as a subset of the economy, not the other way around, where "economists don't realize that if the bees disappear, so will he disappear." In other words, the notion that infinite growth can persist in a finite biosphere is dead wrong.  And we may already have reached a point of no return.

When asked what he thinks needs to change, he replied: "Oh, almost everything! We act systematically against the evidences we have."  He believes the economy will "catastrophically" self-correct and a new model must emerge with principles to humanize the economy in balance with the biosphere. His five principles and values to develop a humanized economy are as follows:
  1. The economy is to serve the people, not the people to serve the economy.
  2. Development is about people, and not about objects.
  3. Growth is not the same as development, and development does not necessarily require growth.
  4. No economy is possible in the absence of ecosystem services.
  5. The economy is a subsystem of a larger finite system -- the biosphere, hence permanent growth is impossible.
The dominant value that is needed to sustain this new economy is, "No economic interest, under any circumstances, can be more important than LIFE in all its manifestations."

When the engineered collapse comes, we can bet that the corporate-government will offer up their "solutions."  It's not good enough for the Human World Order simply to oppose tyranny; we must also present logical solutions.  Manfred Max-Neef is offering a philosophy to re-humanize the economy.  From the ashes of the collapse will come the opportunity to build a new economy based on human principles of valuing all life.  Ultimately, he is hopeful because of the amazing human creativity and solidarity witnessed among the impoverished.  We shall create our way out of the crisis, but it must take place in an entirely new economic model to be successful.

Please watch the entire interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now.  And follow Manfred Max-Neef's books and speaking engagements here.  Below is an older video describing his work in an indigenous village in South America.

Source: Activist Post


Friday, September 24, 2010

Western surge in obesity may have been caused by a virus

By Jeremy Laurance
The obesity explosion that has swept the Western world over the past 30 years may have been caused by a virus, scientists have said.

Researchers have discovered new evidence for an illness they have called "infectobesity" – obesity that is transmitted from person to person, much like an infection. The agent thought to be responsible is a strain of adenovirus, versions of which cause the common cold. It has already been labelled the "fat bug". 

There are more than 50 strains of adenovirus known to infect humans but only one, adenovirus 36, has been linked with human obesity.  News continues here.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Eleven gay rights activists arrested for protest in Moscow

Bigot Mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov
By Jessica Geen

Eleven gay rights activists were arrested today for holding a protest outside Moscow's city hall in protest at the homophobia of mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

They were arrested by police at around 6.15pm local time after chaining themselves to a metal fence next to the building.

Russian gay rights leader Nikolai Alekseev, who was one of those arrested, told he was in Tverskoy police station and waiting for police to finish the "protocols" of the arrests.

He said: "We handcuffed ourselves to the fence and the police took us out by force. They broke the handcuffs, my hand is all [covered] in blood."

He estimated that between 40 and 50 participants joined the protest but said he did not know if others were being held at other police stations.

The protest was banned by city authorities last week but campaigners decided to go ahead without permission after Mr Alekseev was apparently unlawfully detained for more than two days by authorities last week.

During the protest, campaigners held up gay rights posters and a doll of Mr Luzhkov.

The mayor has called gays and lesbians "satanic" in the past and refused permission to hold Pride marches.
Activists have attempted to hold them anyway and are taking a case against Moscow city authorities to the European Court of Human Rights.



Friday, September 17, 2010

An Important Message to President Barack Obama

By Madison Reed

President Obama, are you reading this?  LGBT Americans would love nothing more than to join with you in becoming the most beloved President in American history.  You have that potential.  You are our first President of mixed-race and mixed religious heritage.  For the LGBT community, you made specific, very clear promises to end discrimination and inequality stacked against us.  We are expecting a greater sense of justice and fairness from you, and a heart with a greater capacity to feel our pain and suffering.

But if you allow our wretched misery to continue, by not acting to stop the injustices that we bear, with further delay, and you continue to shock us by defending cruel and despicable, unconstitutional laws that were created knowing full well that they would end up harming LGBT American citizens, then how can you honestly believe we're going to continue to support you, or how do you believe we're going to feel about your presidency, of all American presidents?  LGBT Americans have waited too long for change already.  When you told us that change had come, we believed every word that came from your mouth!  We believed you when you said during your campaign that there would be no discrimination against LGBT Americans in your White House or in your Department of Justice were you to become president of the United States.

I have been viciously separated from the person I adore by the laws of my own country, while my sweetheart's life is always in peril.  The message I get from my country, is that it's good and proper for me - because I'm a deviant queer - to live a hard, lonely life, pay higher taxes without the same constitutional rights, or leave my family, friends and career, sell my house and settle in another country and have a subsistence living, or simply die from the grief of loneliness. You're probably aware of medical studies that have recently indicated that people who are lonely die earlier.

LGBT American soldiers are still being discharged because they're too honest to lie about their sexual orientation and hide whom they love.  LGBT Americans are still being denied the legal status and recognition of marriage by most states and by the federal government.  Because of this one ignoble act of discrimination, we loose 1,136 rights and benefits that are conferred at the federal level ,and pay higher taxes and higher insurance premiums.  Immigration rights for foreign born family members is one of those federally conferred rights that LGBT Americans are denied.  LGBT Americans with foreign partners, whether we're legally married from a marriage equality state like Iowa or Massachusetts, or we can't get married due to discriminatory immigration law that prevents us from sponsoring our partners for immigration family uniting purposes, have been suffering year after year for decades.  During the Bush administration, Chris Bentley, spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security's Citizen and Immigration Services said, and I'll quote him:

"There are no immigration benefits available to [gays] based on their relationship.  With that said, there's certainly nothing that says a U.S. citizen cannot move to another country."
(Ref: 01-08/news/ exiled-by- love/)

In my state of West Virginia, I can be fired from my job because I'm gay, and told to my face by my boss that I'm being fired because I'm a faggot; refused by a landlord to rent an apartment; run out of a neighborhood, and so on, because I have no protection from this sort of discrimination.  Two years ago, after receiving numerous threats by local right-wing individuals who said that they were having meetings with local authorities, I called my state human rights commission.  I was told by the person in charge of the commission that for people with my "lifestyle choice" there was nothing that the state could do to protect me.  My state ignored my request for help because of my "lifestyle choice"?  Really?

Love is love Mr. President, whether you're gay or straight.  Do you seriously believe that the Creator of the Universes, cares who you love, who you sleep with, or whether you're a Christian, a Muslim or a Hindu?  Love has the same intensity, the same commitment, and the same feeling of yearning for those whom you love, whether you're homosexual, bisexual, transgender, heterosexual or impotent.  Regardless of excuses we hear, we know that as Chief Executive of the United States and chief defender of the Constitution of the United States, you can use your executive privilege if necessary, to protect American Citizens from harm.

We are expecting you to fulfill your promises to us, and to do something that will show the world for a change, that the United States government cares about the common citizens of the United States.  LGBT Americans are now the most maligned, misunderstood and abused people.  Step up, fulfill what will please God, forget about the bigots who will never, ever support you, and be the President that who finally puts and end to all hateful, evil discrimination!  We will rally behind you and a wave of love will bless your presidency if you will do this.

Sincerely yours,


A Proposal to WV Senator Jay Rockefeller Concerning the Inclusion of the Uniting American Families Act into the Defense Authorization Act

Madison Reed
Huntington, West Virginia

September 17, 2010

Senator Jay Rockefeller
531 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Rockefeller,

On previous occasions I've written to you about my hellish life being separated from the person I love with all my heart, only because I was born gay and the United States federal government denies me the same bundle of constitutional rights and benefits of citizenship that straight Americans have always received.

I've asked you to become a co-sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act. Today, I'm going to ask you again if you'll declare your co-sponsorship of the bill. Will you? We already have 129 House members co-sponsoring the UAFA, and 24 members of the Senate. If it would come up for a vote it's pretty likely that we'd get enough votes to pass it. But I have another idea to propose to you. It might be an idea that could help boost the democratic party's popularity and gain more votes to elect democrats. But before I tell you the idea, here's a brief summary of what the UAFA is:
"The UAFA is a bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate discrimination in the immigration laws by permitting permanent partners of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the same manner as spouses of citizens and lawful permanent residents and to penalize immigration fraud in connection with permanent partnerships."
Now, next week Senator Harry Reid will be introducing the Defense Authorization Bill for passage by the U.S. Senate. He seems very determined to get the DAB passed, regardless of people who try to use partisan politics to block it. He has included into the DAB, language for passage of one LGBT bill, "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and one immigration bill, "The Dream Act" - a bill that will legalize the status of children of non-American immigrants without legal status.

While I support both DADT and the Dream Act, what I'm proposing to you, my Senator, is to ask Senator Reid why he doesn't add the Uniting American Families Act into the Defense Authorization bill, a bill that will produce a lot of goodwill and create a lot of positive publicity, because its about love and families of American CITIZENS - giving LGBT American citizens rights that they should already be enjoying like other Americans? The Uniting American Families Act is such a strong and positive bill that it could stand on its own and be passed by Congress, without inclusion into other bills! It should be the darling of the Democrats, who would like a bill to sweeten the bitter reality pill of dwindling voter party loyalty, and the need to pass the Defense Authorization bill.

Of all LGBT bills pending in Congress, the Uniting American Families Act is probably the least controversial. If Democrats will be seen helping to get it passed, and pass it, it will be a convincing, powerful message to numerous millions of LGBT American citizens, to their family members and friends, that our democratic political leaders do care about the equality of every single American citizen, and are not bowing to far right-wing theocrats!

Would you, on my behalf, remind Senator Reid that Americans like me are suffering needlessly, and that the exclusion of the Uniting American Families Act from the Defense Authorization bill, while including a bill for non-citizens, "The Dream Act," could be perceived as Congress helping non-citizens while turning their backs on citizens. Including the UAFA would be less controversial than the other bills, would certainly add balance and fairness, and might add to the success of the passage of the Defense Authorization Bill - plus, were the Uniting American Families Act to become law, there would be a wave of support for any member of Congress who had their hand in supporting it. You could expect the loyalty of a huge number of voters. I think we can safely say that there are more Americans who are fair and want to see Americans treated fairly, than those who are intolerant and hateful.

Will you help me, and go to bat for the Uniting American Families Act, Senator Rockefeller?

I will be waiting for your reply.

Very sincerely yours,

Madison Reed

P.S. - Here's a website put up by another American, a friend of mine from Louisiana, who has a German partner. Lucky for Patrick that Germany warmly accepted him, allowed him to get a job, and German residency, otherwise he and his German partner Marco would still be living apart in two different countries like me and my Belarusian partner Dzmitry, who have been separated for several years. On the right hand side of the page, you'll see a rectangular cluster of small photos. If you go down to row 8, you'll see the photo in the middle with the guy with the sunglasses. That's me. Click on it and you'll see a mini-description of the two of us.


Passing the Uniting American Families Act Can Help Both Democrats and Republicans

By Madison Reed

As of this morning, the Uniting American Families Act (H.R. 1024/S. 424) has 129 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives and 24 co-sponsors in the Senate.  The numbers are steadily increasing.

The Uniting American Families Act, or UAFA, is a U.S. bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to eliminate discrimination in the immigration laws by permitting permanent partners of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents  to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the same manner as spouses of citizens and lawful permanent residents and to penalize immigration fraud in connection with permanent partnerships.

Of all LGBT bills pending in Congress, the Uniting American Families Act may be the least controversial, and could have the best chance of passage by Congress - a gesture that would go a long way in saying to numerous millions of LGBT American citizens, to their family members and friends, that our political leaders care about the equality of every single American!

We know that just because we are gay, lesbian or transgender - that doesn't mean that our constitution denies us the full bundle of rights that every other American citizen enjoys.

It's election time, and high time to pass an equality bill that will convince America that our two major political parties are not going to throw gays and lesbians us under the bus again!

I call on my own representatives in Congress, Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, and Congressman Nick J. Rahall, II, to join in co-sponsorship of the Uniting American Families Act.

Uniting American Families Act Bill Summary and Countinual Update (
Uniting American Families Act Facts (

Related news:
Tea Party fights back with claim that it can win national elections


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ash-e-Reshte Soup, Iranian Persimmons, and Zahra Rahnavard's great Autumn Feast

Hello again Madame Rahnavard,

Just this morning I saw a pretty photo of you wearing an autumn looking flower-patterned hijab.  For some reason unknown to me, as soon as I looked at your photo, in my mind's eye, I saw you preparing delicious Iranian fruit desserts, and cooking ash-e-reshte soup, which is my favorite of all soups!  I like ash with spinach (and possibly leek?) in it.  I also saw a large bowl of sweet persimmons sitting on your dinner table too.  I have no doubt that you are a master cook! 

As my mind's image expanded, I saw a great feast at your home.  It was in the autumn months.  You had invited hundreds of guests to a feast to celebrate the total victory of love, the oneness of mankind, and the disintegration of injustice, hatred and bigotry in your country.  The Iranian people were very happy, and it was a special time for celebration.

As I see it, the Child of the new and first, spiritually glorious Iran has already been born!  The future of your country is brilliant.  But in order to protect your nation, you MUST speak only truth from the heart - the whole truth when the time and circumstances are right - be the guardian of Justice and the champion of the oppressed people - of all of them; especially for those who are the most despised and slandered!

Let us know when you're going to prepare your great feast, so that we can eat and celebrate with you!

I read your news every morning and inwardly send you and your husband, and the amazing Iranian people to the Light of the Archangel Michael's protection.  There's no doubt that Michael is assisting you!

Blessings to you!

Madison Reed
Huntington, West Virginia


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Christian fundamentalist pastor Terry Jones set up German base in quest to 'awaken' Europe

By Kate Connolly

Fundamentalist preacher left Cologne in disgrace after being accused of using fear and control to run sect-like movement
Pastor Terry Jones poses in front of his church
When he arrived in Germany on what he called his "God-sent" mission in 1982, charismatic bible fundamentalist Terry Jones came with a message of hope, promising to show his followers the "riches of the kingdom of God".

Germany, he said, was "central" to his plans to lead the "Christian awakening of Europe". 

At prayer rallies that were used as recruitment drives, congregations dropped to their knees in worship or danced ecstatically in the aisles, so taken were they by him.

But when Jones left Cologne 26 years later it was as a disgraced preacher who was accused of running a sect-like community with an iron fist, forcing members to give him a percentage of their earnings, making them work for little or no money and causing the breakup of families and friendships. He also faked a title as "Doctor of Theology", for which he was fined.

As tension mounted ahead of Jones's plan to burn Qur'ans at his Florida church, it emerged that he had been dismissed by the board of the Christian Community of Cologne in 2008 after years of strife.

Andrew Schäfer, an official sect monitor for the protestant church in Germany's Rhine region who has closely observed the activities of the community, said Jones had "enormous manipulative potential" and believes that his failure in Germany led to his increased desire to achieve fame and notoriety in Florida.

"He has clearly not been able to cope with the immense loss of his power and significance," said Schäfer.

Bankrolled by the late US businessman Donald Northrup, the founder of the Dove World Outreach Centre in Gainsville, Florida, that Jones now leads, the pastor's brief was to establish a branch of the community of Gainsville in the west German city.

Kate Connolly's story continues here.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Qur'an Burning Canceled After Pentagon Calls Pastor

By Margaret Talev and Nancy A. Youssef

WASHINGTON -- Under tremendous pressure from U.S. officials all the way up to President Barack Obama, a Florida pastor on Thursday called off a Quran burning he'd scheduled for Saturday - the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks - that had drawn international condemnation and posed a potential threat to national security.

The Rev. Terry Jones announced the change of plans to a media circus outside his Dove Outreach World Center in Gainesville shortly after Secretary of Defense Robert Gates called the pastor to make a direct appeal. Gates told Jones that burning Qurans would inflame Muslim sentiment and endanger U.S. troops abroad.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said that Gates had weighed concerns that making such a call could encourage copycats who want attention, but felt that "if that phone call could save the life of one man or woman in uniform, that call was worth placing."

Gates' call was a highly unusual outreach to a civilian that showed how concerned the Obama administration had become about the potential ramifications of such an insult to Islam.

It also reflected the triumph of national security concerns over freedom of expression. Only weeks earlier, Obama spoke out to protect plans for an Islamic cultural center two blocks from the World Trade Center site in New York, arguing that the nation's First Amendment principles were paramount to the sensitivities of Sept. 11 victims' families. Jones' right to burn a Quran as a matter of free expression didn't get the same backing.

Story continues here.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Why Americans Must Support the Right to Burn the Holy Qur'an!

By Madison Reed

As sickening as I find the plan to set fire hundreds of copies of the Holy Qur'an, by a Gainesville, Florida pastor Terry Jones and members of his church, the Dove World Outreach Center, I want to go on record as supporting his right and his church's right to burn as many Qur'ans as they would like. I don't believe it's wise for him to do this, considering the hypersensitivity of countless millions of Muslims who will be offended by their actions. But remember, they (Muslims) have also burned Bibles, U.S. flags, and done far worse.  To possess a Holy Bible or to teach Christianity is enough to get you imprisoned or even executed in some Muslim countries. But, as I will remind you later, this is exactly what kind of society we Americans also need to avoid, and why we must understand the value of freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of religion.

I am a homosexual man, and a member of the *Baha'i Faith (both groups have histories of experiencing terrible persecution) - an Iranian origin independent world religion that was born in the mid-19th Century from the bosom of Islam, from a mystical branch of Iranian Twelver Shi'ism. Raised under Missionary Baptist Christian teachings while I was a boy growing up in rural West Virginia, after learning about the life and teachings of Baha'u'llah, the founder of the Baha'i Faith, I embraced this beautiful Iranian religion when I was 19 years old.  You shouldn't find Baha'is anywhere on the planet ever burning Bibles, Qur'ans, Books of Mormon, Bhagavad Gitas, Zend Avestas, or the books sacred to any of the world's religions, because we respect all faith traditions and believe that the inspiration contained in all "Holy Books" originates from the same source of oneness. To some, like myself, this Source IS the realm that comes very close to the Creator. To others, it's Jesus, or it's Krishna, or Allah, or the First Cause. Different names that come from different ways, that we all struggle to perceive the same essence. Some of us perceive the Infinite Source through our lower emotional egos. Others perceive the Infinite through the eye of Oneness, Beauty and Justice, and have no problem with varieties of expression and differences, because we see them as completely normal and necessary.

Hatred and division stem from ignorance, which is a product of the lower emotional ego, caused by separating ourselves from our true reality.

The United States of America isn't a Baha'i, Christian or Muslim theocracy. It is a secular, yet spiritually rooted melting pot society made up of many different beliefs, races, and ethnicities, engaged in a grand experiment to see if it is possible for so many different kinds of people to find their common thread of unity and build a greater union - "E Pluribus Unum" (From Many, One) - by deriving strength and richness from their unique diversity, without having a central government to impose any form of religion or ideology upon them. It's too bad that every society has its primitive religious groups like this one in Florida. But this is a fact of life for humanity's 21st Century global Earth civilization.

Apparently, Hillary Clinton, the President, Angelina Jolie, the World Council of Churches, and a chorus of other people who have condemned the church's planned book burning, and may be frightening them into silence, are forgetting that the United States is a secular nation with a remarkable Constitution that demands that our servant government protect the Peoples' rights and freedoms.  These Rights are not just just cherished principles.  They are the supreme law of the United States of America that all good citizens should uphold and defend.

Christian fundamentalists, Muslims of every stripe, atheists, drag queens, hated greedy capitalist fat cats, politicians, and the rest of our diverse humanity, all must have the right to assemble and speak freely without fear of persecution or government reprisal in the United States of America. If this were not the case the United States would quickly lapse into a very divided and angry country forced into a false order and unity by some emerging political or religious dictatorship that would rise up from the ranks of mob that happens to be in power - a problem that plagues countries such as Iran, Belarus, Saudi Arabia and North Korea still today.

The First Amendment Right to free speech is like a pressure release valve. If people can't express themselves, a society becomes like a pressure cooker and eventually explodes and self destructs.

It will be a grave mistake for the government of the United States, or any other group to persecute these people for doing what they believe, or to interfere with their free speech . It will add explosive fuel to the fire of radical religious movements who act from emotions and blind belief rather than from the intellect, if we were to do so.

I hope that the pastor is influenced by his higher angels, as President Obama suggested this morning, and he calls off their Qur'an-burning for good reasons, rather than because he and his congregation feel threatened. If they carry through with their threats, I hope Christians and Muslims, and all people throughout the world, are able to see a clearer image of what our dark side looks like - this time coming from traditional American Christians instead of Muslims - and that we ask ourselves if such behavior really reflects the image of God?

Americans should not force the members of the Dove World Outreach Center to shut their mouths out of fear of what might happen if Muslims are offended.

We need to go back and relearn American history, and go get copies of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, and read them line by line, and think about why so many Americans from every religion, race, nationality and sexual orientation, have sacrificed and died for the principles finally enshrined in those two documents!

The victory over ignorance, and oppression by cruel, arrogant and ignorant scum monarchs and religious leaders, is the gift that the real America has given to the world, although in an imperfect way. It was won through hundreds of years of individual sacrifices and bloodshed. Americans and our fellow citizens all over the world, must resist the temptation to accommodate ourselves to either bully religious fanatics or tyrannical governments, who each believe they should tell us, We the People, how we should believe, communicate and live. If we do this, we will only feed and revive a monster that is finally dying out.  Let us all join together and guard precious freedom. Let us all get to know each other and discover that we are all One.

Relevant articles:

Qur'an Burning Canceled After Pentagon Calls Pastor (
Don't Burn the Qur'an, READ it! (
Angelina Jolie Speaks Out Against Planned Qur'an Burning by Florida Pastor (
Angelina Jolie and Hillary Clinton Condemn Koran-burning, But Mayor Bloomberg Supports Congregation's Rights (
Qur'an Burning in Florida.  Angelina Jolie Speaks Out (
Hillary Clinton: Koran Burning is 'Outrageous' and 'Aberrational' (
U.S. Religious Freedom Owes Debt to Colonists' Radical Movement
Origins of Shi'ism: A Western Consensus ( (

*The Baha'i Faith is not a monolithic religion as the majority group of Baha'is would like the world to believe. In fact, it is this author's conviction that the largest group of Baha'is, governed by the Universal House of Justice headquartered in Haifa, Israel, is not the best example of the beautiful, healing spirit of Baha'u'llah's teachings.

In the early 1990s, after publishing evidence to the American Baha'i Community that the "Hands of the Cause of God" - the appointed ministers to Shoghi Effendi, the first Guardian of the Baha'i Faith - had made a serious error in judgment after his sudden and unexpected death, that caused the mutilation of the Baha'i Faith, the Universal House of Justice, in consultation with the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States, without any due process whatsoever, declared me an enemy of God, and excommunicated me from their ranks. They printed news of my excommunication in the news of Baha'i communities all over the world, telling them that I was an enemy of God and a violator of Baha'u'llah's Covenant. They officially ordered Baha'is, including some of my own family members, to sever all contacts with me, and treat me as though I were dead. My life was threatened and I was slandered for years after that.

Today, still a Baha'i, my allegiance is to Jacques Soghomonian, whom I believe to be the true successor to Baha'u'llah, and IV Guardian of the Baha'i Faith. I am still shunned by my only sibling and brother, who still belongs to the Baha'is loyal to the Universal House of Justice.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Scientists Discover Tiny Solar Panels that Create Themselves

By Peter Pachal

File this one under "holy crap," but scientists at MIT have discovered molecules that spontaneously assemble themselves into a pattern that can turn light into electricity — essentially a self-creating solar panel. In a petri dish.

The researchers set out to create a synthetic process that imitates photosynthesis. Certain molecules respond to light by releasing electrons; the trick was discovering a substance that sticks them together in a consistent structure. Phospholipids do just that, and they also attach themselves to carbon nanotubes, which conduct electricity. With the nanotubes holding the phospholipids in a uniform alignment, the photoreactive molecules are all exposed to light at once, and the tube acts as a wire that then collects the resulting electrical current.

Pachal's story continues here.


Muscovites oppose building new mosque in the Russian capital

Dmitry Medvedev and Mufti Ravil Gaynutdin 

By Paul Goble

Furious that Moscow did not consult them before giving its approval, residents in Moscow’s South-Eastern Administrative District are organizing to block the construction of a mosque in their neighborhood, an action they say will deprive them of a park, depress property values, and attract undesirable visitors to their neighborhood.

A year ago, the district administrator met with Mufti Ravil Gainutdin, the head of the Union of Muftis of Russia (SMR), to discuss construction of a mosque, given that there is now only one mosque in the city for every 500,000 ethnic Muslims compared to one Orthodox church for every 40,000 ethnic Orthodox.

Muslims have long pressed for the opening of more mosques in the Russian capital, something that officials have sometimes supported out of concern that in the absence of official mosques, Muslims will turn to underground ones but a step that the Russian Orthodox Church and many ethnic Russians oppose as a threat to the historical image of the city.

This issue began to heat up when the local newspaper, “Yugo-vostochny kur’er” reported that Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov had formally taken a decision to offer Muslims space for “the construction of a mosque and Sunday school” in that Moscow district, a step he took without consulting the local population.

A group of residents of the South-Eastern Administrative District are now organizing to block the construction of a mosque in their neighborhood. To that end, they are calling for a mass public meeting next Saturday and have disseminated an appeal that seems certain to exacerbate ethnic and religious tensions in Moscow.

That appeal reads as follows:

“By a decision of the mayor of Moscow and the prefecture of the South-Eastern Administrative District, the only green section of land in our district across the road from House Eight on the Volga Boulevard has been set for the construction of a mosque and a medrassah.

Copies of the corresponding documents and publications in the official press you can find here.

Goble's story continues here.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Change Could Come to Belarus Very Quickly According to Andrei Sannikov

"One thing is expected from Europe: to be true its principles. Not to ignore a single violation of human rights, not to try to reform the dictator – it is impossible, and to understand that changes in Belarus can happen very quickly."  ~Andrei Sannnikov

People are fed up with the 16 years of rule of the dictator. It is felt everywhere.

It has been stated in an interview to “Voice of America” by the leader of “European Belarus” campaign, a presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov.

Last respects have been paid in Minsk to the founder of the oppositional Internet portal Aleh Byabenin. His body was found in his summer cottage not far from Minsk on September 3. The General Prosecutor Office of Belarus has come to an opinion that Byabenin had committed suicide.

However a coordinator of the civil campaign “European Belarus” Andrei Sannikov, who was Byabenin’s colleague for a long time (the deceased was a member of his campaign headquarters), doubts that the official version is true.

- What could you say about the investigation?

- The needed investigatory actions are not carried out. The summer cottage, in which Aleh was found, has not even been sealed. I mean, right after inspection of the scene of the incident, they worked according only one version, a suicide. If there would be any other versions, they would seal up the house probably. Aleh’s car had not been sealed up as well.

They have not lifted fingerprints from a surface. The inspection of the incident site was superficial. They do not inform about the date of the death still: when I arrived to the site of the tragedy, they told me assuredly that Aleh had died on the same day, about the afternoon. After the autopsy they said, assuredly again, that he had died the day before. I can suppose that there are signs which allow determining a possible time of the death, and there could not be a gap of about a day between them.

All these facts raise certain doubts. Moreover, Aleh Byabenin did not a bit resemble a person planning to commit suicide.

- Are there any facts that allow supposing that Aleh Byabenin’s death was not a suicide?

- People disappear, people are murdered in our country, and serious investigation of such cases is not carried out. Aleh had been abducted, beaten up, he had been threatened…

You know, a person who opposes the dictatorship, who speaks about that publicly and works against the dictatorship openly, cannot feel secure.

- The histories of Belarus there have been some examples of mysterious disappearances and assassinations of people who were considered Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s opponents. Some of them were committed many years ago. Have investigators detected any new facts over this time?

- No new facts have been detected. The position of the Russian TV channels has changed. They have started to speak about these facts. But there is enough evidence that high-level officials of Belarus could be involved in that.

We have addressed all the permanent members of the UN Security Council for them to facilitate in conducting an international investigation. There is a precedent already: investigation into the murder of the former Prime Minister of Lebanon Hariri. Unfortunately, for today there is no reaction either from Russia or from the United States.

- How the situation in Belarus has changed after tensions in the relations with Russia started? Earlier interlocutors of the Voice of America feared that the story with the attack against the Russian Embassy in Minsk would be used by the authorities of Belarus for crackdown on the opposition…

- It is already happening. Interrogations concerning Aleh’s death are a preparation for more serious actions. I’m afraid there will be searches, confiscations, pressure and threats.

The situation is very tense. After Russia changed its attitude to Lukashenka, on the one hand there is a panic here, which can bring about any actions by the authorities. On the other hand, there is a desire of the authorities to use the old methods and to curb all alternative point of views in the harshest manner, including violence.

- The presidential election is coming. What outcome could be expected, as you think?

- There is a great probability of changes. People are simply fed up with 16 years of dictatorial rule. It is felt everywhere. There is no fear any more; there is only mistrust in one’s own forces. Polls show that Lukashenka does not enjoy support of all age groups of the population. A conclusion could be made that changes will be welcomed by the entire society.

And it is also clear what the repressive machine would make. One can speak positively that the dictatorship will try to maintain Lukashenka’s regime by all means known to it.

- Can other states – Russia, the US, the European Union, – influence the results of the presidential elections?
- Yes, they can. Lately the main sources of financial support for Lukashenka’s regime are in the West, not in the East. Europe, which tried to speak with Lukashenka for a long time, offered him all kinds of dialogues, could have taken a more principled stand. As he can receive financial backing only there.

Today we are at a crucial moment in the history of Belarus. But unfortunately, there are voices heard in Europe that Russia is a permanent evil, so as Russia has started to criticize Lukashenka, Europeans should support Lukashenka. Such ideas, offered by some lobbyists of Lukashenka from Western Europe, are fraught with grave consequence for us.

One thing is expected from Europe: to be true its principles. Not to ignore a single violation of human rights, not to try to reform the dictator – it is impossible, and to understand that changes in Belarus can happen very quickly.


Monday, September 6, 2010

An Inconvenient Truth

Once upon a time there stood a building that housed a cheap retail store going by the name of ‘Burlington Coat Factory.’ It was near the World Trade Centre in New York. Over time, the store closed down and the building fell vacant for anyone to rent or own.

One beautiful September morning when the sky was unbelievably blue, the sunlight eerily ethereal and the air mystically magic, two silver jetliners flew straight into the Twin Towers killing everyone in them and destroying America’s most prized edifice. Hellfire followed. It took weeks, nay months to recover. The words ‘Taliban’ and ‘Al-Qaeda’ were introduced overnight in American diction. The world at large too discovered the term Al-Qaeda which before 9/11 was little known.

I remember Wolf Blitzer of CNN interviewing our then ambassador in Washington Maliha Lodhi. He asked her what Al-Qaeda meant and drew a blank from her. (It means The Hub) Dr Lodhi was in the dark, as were the whole of America and the rest of the world. Nor did suicide bombers exist then. People didn’t blow themselves up to kill others.

Sporadic cases of this kind of murder happened in Israel, but the rest of the universe remained detached and unaware of this monster which was soon to rear its ugly face in other parts of the globe. ‘War on terror’ was yet another phrase, unheard of until President Bush made it a household term and said he would “smoke” the terrorists out wherever they be hiding.

Nineteen Arab hijackers who called themselves Muslims and attacked innocent people in the name of Islam on September 11, 2001, have forever left a black mark on 23 per cent of the world’s population and the second largest religion on earth.

Nine years have gone by since 9/11, but the fires of hate, hostility and distrust among Muslims, Jews and Christians remain. They simmer at times; rage at others, but never go out. When one out of five Americans today firmly believes that President Barack Obama is a Muslim and not a Christian because he’s never seen attending church or carrying a Bible ala his predecessors Bill Clinton and George Bush, what is one to say?

Let’s get back to our Burlington Coat Factory building which got picked up by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf with Saudi funds. The plan is to convert it into an Islamic Centre on the lines of a Muslim YMCA. But the right wing media led by Fox News is determined to whip up a mass hysteria against the idea, determined to singe the plan. The bigots with loud mouths and empty brains at the channel are churning hate and anger against Muslims. They are drawing right wing conservatives in their fold willing to spread more hate and anger wherever their voices can reach.

One man alone is taking up the cudgels for the embryonic Islamic Centre near the bombed site. He is Jon Stewart. And he’s skewering Fox News! The job that a Muslim in general and a Saudi in particular should be doing is instead being done by a Jew! He’s one of the few who presents the true face of Islam as it should be to his Comedy Channel viewers here in America via his Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It’s perhaps the best watched late night show going. It has no peers.

On “Fox & Friends” the Islamophobic anchors and their guests continue to smear the reputation of Feisal Abdul Rauf, asking questions like, “Where is this money coming from? This guy has questionable ties. The Kingdom Foundation, which has been a funder of Imam Rauf in the past, is this Saudi organisation headed up by the guy who tried to give Rudy Giuliani $10 million after 9/11 that was sent back. He funds radical madrassas all over the world.”

As it turns out that the “guy” is Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal who is now hold your breath; the largest shareholder after the Murdoch family, of News Corp, who in turn owns Fox News!

“That's right. The guy Fox is painting as a sinister money force owns part of Fox News,” Jon Stewart screamed. “We know that it's a terror mosque, because the money may be coming from a bad guy, who definitely owns part of Fox News. Now we know that he's a bad guy, because we just heard it on Fox News. And by hearing it on Fox News, watching Fox News, I'm increasing their viewership and their advertising rates go up. Now part of that money goes to the bad guy we learnt about on Fox, because he's their part-owner, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, allowing him then to 'make it rain,' so to speak, on the terror mosque.” Bravo Stewart.

Fox News tells Americans that the Saudi prince is funding Islamic radicalism; it doesn't want Americans to know that the same ‘guy’ is also funding Fox News! That’s the inconvenient truth.