Archive for the ‘Fundamentalism’ Category

POLL: Only 13 Percent Of Congressional Republicans Believe In Man-Made Global Warming

Sunday, February 11th, 2007

National Journal has released a new “Congressional Insiders Poll,” which surveyed 113 members of Congress — 10 Senate Democrats, 48 House Democrats, 10 Senate Republicans, and 45 House Republicans — about their positions on global warming.

The results were startling. Only 13 percent of congressional Republicans say they believe that human activity is causing global warming, compared to 95 percent of congressional Democrats. Moreover, the number of Republicans who believe in human-induced global warming has actually dropped since April 2006, when the number was 23 percent.

To the original piece:

Iran ‘sets up atomic centrifuges’

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

– Both the US and Israel have said that Iran will not be allowed to have nuclear weapons and Iran has said, essentially, that it will do as it pleases. Unless something significant changes in this equation, things are not going to turn out well.

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Iran has set up more than 300 centrifuges at two uranium enrichment sites at its underground Natanz complex, Western diplomats have said.

If confirmed, the centrifuges would be the first of 3,000 that Iran says it is planning to install at the site in the coming months.

The centrifuges could pave the way for work to create enough fissile material for a nuclear warhead.

Iran has repeatedly denied that it plans to develop nuclear weapons.

Two “cascades” of 164 centrifuges each have been installed at Natanz, the diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

Centrifuges spin uranium gas to enrich it to low levels for fuel and much higher levels for nuclear weapons.

Iran has said it eventually plans to install 54,000 centrifuges at Natanz.

Former UN nuclear inspector David Albright, whose Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security tracks Iran’s nuclear activities, said Iran should be able to reach its goal of 3,000 centrifuges by the end of the year.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies in London (IISS) has said that once Iran has 3,000 centrifuges operating smoothly, it could produce enough highly enriched uranium for one bomb in nine to 11 months.

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Russian smuggled nuclear-bomb uranium, officials say

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

– This was about 3.5 ounces of 90% enriched Uranium (bomb grade). Sources tell us that 33 to 40 pounds is enough for an atomic weapon. According to an IAEA database, there have been 16 previous confirmed cases that either highly enriched uranium or plutonium have been recovered by authorities since 1993. In most cases the recoveries have involved smaller quantities than the Tbilisi case. But in 1994, 6 pounds of highly enriched uranium intended for sale were seized by police in the Czech Republic.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Republic of Georgia authorities, aided by the CIA, set up a sting operation last summer that led to the arrest of a Russian man who tried to sell a small amount of nuclear-bomb grade uranium in a plastic bag in his jacket pocket, U.S. and Georgian officials said.

The operation, which neither government has publicized, represents one of the most serious cases of smuggling of nuclear material in recent years, according to analysts and officials.

The arrest underscored concerns about the possibility of terrorists acquiring nuclear bomb-making material on the black market, although there was no suggestion that this particular case was terrorist-related.

“Given the serious consequences of the detonation of an improvised nuclear explosive device, even small numbers of incidents involving HEU (highly enriched uranium) or plutonium are of very high concern,” said Melissa Fleming of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency.

Details of the investigation, which also involved the FBI and Energy Department, were provided to The Associated Press by U.S. officials and Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili.

Authorities say they do not know how the man acquired the nuclear material or if his claims of access to much larger quantities were true. He and three Georgian accomplices are in Georgian custody and not cooperating with investigators.

Georgian attempts to trace the nuclear material since the arrest and confirm whether the man indeed had access to larger quantities have foundered from a lack of cooperation from Russia.

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– This 2nd link is from the NY Times and they insist that folks have an ID and a PW in order to read their stuff. You can get these for free just by signing up. However, recently, a friend of mine suggested the website bugmenot.com :arrow: as an alternative to having to do these annoying sign ups. Check it out. Thx Bruce S. for the tip.

Radicals vs. moderates: British Muslims at crossroads

Friday, January 19th, 2007

DUBLIN, Ireland (CNN) — At a recent debate over the battle for Islamic ideals in England, a British-born Muslim stood before the crowd and said Prophet Mohammed’s message to nonbelievers is: “I come to slaughter all of you.”

“We are the Muslims,” said Omar Brooks, an extremist also known as Abu Izzadeen. “We drink the blood of the enemy, and we can face them anywhere. That is Islam and that is jihad.”

Anjem Choudary, the public face of Islamist extremism in Britain, added that Muslims have no choice but to take the fight to the West.

“What are Muslims supposed to do when they are being killed in the streets in Afghanistan and Baghdad and Palestine? Do they not have the same rights to defend themselves? In war, people die. People don’t make love; they kill each other,” he said. (Audio slide show: Preying on Britain’s young Muslims)

But in the same debate, held on the prestigious grounds of Dublin’s Trinity College in October, many people in the crowd objected.

“These people, ladies and gentleman, have a good look at them. They actually believe if you kill women and children, you will go to heaven,” said one young Muslim who waved his finger at the radicals.

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Fury at Australia cleric comments

Friday, January 19th, 2007

– Two stories out recently about radial statements being made by Muslim clerics point up a growing and critical problem. As we continue to fill the world, our cultures and religions are pressing against each other with ever more pressure. This is a volatile situation that grows ever more dangerous. Our cultures and religions need to be ever more tolerant of each other if we are to avoid disaster as we try to muddle our way through the coming historical bottlenecks.

– Stories, like the following, are clear calls for moderate Muslims to control the statements of their more radical brethren. Indeed, be it Muslim, Christian or any religion, I would advocate the same.

– To get the drift of why a story like this might incense Australians so badly, consider that they are 20 million and they are just south of Indonesia, which is the most populous Muslim country in the world – and a very poor one, besides. Consider a statement like the following: “Muslim Australians had more rights to the country than white Australians whose ancestors arrived as convicts.

– Below, is the first of the two stories. The next can be found in the next post here.

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The Australian government has condemned a Muslim cleric for making offensive comments in videotaped lectures.

Sheikh Feiz Mohammed, head of the Global Islamic Youth Centre in Sydney, urged children to become martyrs for Islam and mocked Jewish people as pigs.

Police are said to be investigating the tapes, which were exposed in a British TV documentary earlier this week.

Top Australian Islamic cleric Sheikh Hilali also sparked controversy, with remarks on women and white Australians.

Sheikh Feiz Mohammed, who has spent the past year living in Lebanon, talks on the controversial videotapes of his desire for children to be offered “as soldiers defending Islam”.

“Teach them this,” he says, “that there is nothing more beloved to me than wanting to die as a Muhajid.

“Put in their soft, tender heart the zeal of jihad and the love of martyrdom.”

He also ridicules Jewish people as pigs and makes snorting noises, saying they will go to hell.

His comments were shown on a British television documentary called Undercover Mosque, which says it found children selling Islamic tapes in a car park behind a UK mosque.

More… :arrow:

Israel has nuclear plans for Iran – report

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

– When I created this entry, I didn’t know if I should put it under ‘Politics – How not to do it‘ or not. Frankly, I’m not sure what should happen here. It appears to be a lose-lose in all directions to me. So, in the end, I put it under ‘The Perfect Storm‘ because which ever way it works out, it will contribute to the increasing instability in the world.

The logic: If Iran is allowed to press on and develop nuclear weapons, it will change the entire power structure of the Mid-East and they may well decide to obliterate Israel. On the other hand, if Israel or the US preemptively takes out Iran’s nuclear capabilities, Iran will probably loosen its controls on its nuclear materials and begin passing these materials out to al Qaeda and other Islamic fundamentalist groups who, up until now, have apparently not been able to gain access to significant quantities of these materials. Once the fundamentalists have these materials, it won’t be long before the long feared ‘Dirty Bombs‘ appear in places like London and Washington, D.C. and the havoc that will cause to the nations so attacked and their economies is hard to grasp. Imagine Manhattan radioactive and abandoned for years while the Feds try to work out how to decontaminate it – and you’ll get the picture.
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LONDON – Israel has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons, the Sunday Times said.

Citing what it said were several Israeli military sources, the paper said two Israeli air force squadrons had been training to blow up an enrichment plant in Natanz using low-yield nuclear “bunker busters”.

Two other sites, a heavy water plant at Arak and a uranium conversion plant at Isfahan, would be targeted with conventional bombs, the Sunday Times said.

The UN Security Council voted unanimously last month to slap sanctions on Iran to try to stop uranium enrichment that Western powers fear could lead to making bombs. Tehran insists its plans are peaceful and says it will continue enrichment.

Israel has refused to rule out pre-emptive military action against Iran along the lines of its 1981 air strike against an atomic reactor in Iraq, although many analysts believe Iran’s nuclear facilities are too much for Israel to take on alone.

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Grand Theft Christianity

Friday, December 15th, 2006

– I’ve written on this story before here and here. It is amazing to me that certain threads within Christianity have gotten so far off the road and into the bushes.

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A loose coalition of progressive social-advocacy and Christian groups are lobbying major retailers, most-notably Wal-Mart, to stop carrying a high-end video game that they say urges born-again Christians to convert or kill others who don’t adhere to their extreme ideology – including Muslims, Jews, and Catholics.

The game is Left Behind: Eternal Forces, based on the popular Left Behind series of Christian-themed novels, which are based on the theology found primarily in the book of Revelation, according to the publisher’s Web site.

The action of the novels takes place after the Rapture, when Christian believers have been shuttled to heaven and the nonbelievers have been left behind to face the return of the Antichrist.

The Campaign to Defend the Constitution, Crosswalk America, Talk2Action and the Christian Alliance for Progress are among some of the groups that have joined forces to boycott the game and to lobby Wal-Mart to remove the Left Behind: Eternal Forces video game from its shelves.

Said Clark Stevens, co-director of the Campaign to Defend the Constitution, to the San Francisco Chronicle this week:

It’s an incredibly violent video game. Sure, there is no blood. (The dead just fade off the screen). But you are mowing down your enemy with a gun. It pushes a message of religious intolerance. You can either play for the good side by trying to convert nonbelievers to your side or join the Antichrist.

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Iran bans fast internet to cut west’s influence

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

– To my thinking, ideas should stand or fall on their own merit. Therefore, when governments control information to direct the thoughts and perceptions of their populations, they are revealing that they don’t beleive that the ideas they are promoting could stand on their own merit.

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· Service providers told to restrict online speeds
· Opponents say move will hamper country’s progress

Iran’s Islamic government has opened a new front in its drive to stifle domestic political dissent and combat the influence of western culture – by banning high-speed internet links.

In a blow to the country’s estimated 5 million internet users, service providers have been told to restrict online speeds to 128 kilobytes a second and been forbidden from offering fast broadband packages. The move by Iran’s telecommunications regulator will make it more difficult to download foreign music, films and television programmes, which the authorities blame for undermining Islamic culture among the younger generation. It will also impede efforts by political opposition groups to organise by uploading information on to the net.

The order follows a purge on illegal satellite dishes, which millions of Iranians use to clandestinely watch western television. Police have seized thousands of dishes in recent months.

The latest step has drawn condemnation from MPs, internet service companies and academics, who say it will hamper Iran’s progress. “Every country in the world is moving towards modernisation and a major element of this is high-speed internet access,” said Ramazan-ali Sedeghzadeh, chairman of the parliamentary telecommunications committee. “The country needs it for development and access to contemporary science.”

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Waging War on Evolution

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

By Paul A. Hanle of the Biotechnology Institute via the Wasington Post
Sunday, October 1, 2006; Page B04

I recently addressed a group of French engineering graduate students who were visiting Washington from the prestigious School of Mines in Paris. After encouraging them to teach biotechnology in French high schools, I expected the standard queries on teaching methods or training. Instead, a bright young student asked bluntly: “How can you teach biotechnology in this country when you don’t even accept evolution?”

I wanted to disagree, but the kid had a point. Proponents of “intelligent design” in the United States are waging a war against teaching science as scientists understand it. Over the past year alone, efforts to incorporate creationist language or undermine evolution in science classrooms at public schools have emerged in at least 15 states, according to the National Center for Science Education. And an independent education foundation has concluded that science-teaching standards in 10 states fail to address evolution in a scientifically sound way. Through changes in standards and curriculum, these efforts urge students to doubt evolution — the cornerstone principle of biology, one on which there is no serious scientific debate.

This war could decimate the development of U.S. scientific talent and erode whatever competitive advantage the United States enjoys in the technology-based global economy. Already, U.S. high school students lag near the bottom in math skills compared with students in other developed nations, and high school seniors are performing worse in science than they were 10 years ago.

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Agency Blocked Hurricane Report

Saturday, September 30th, 2006

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID

The Associated Press
Wednesday, September 27, 2006; 8:34 PM

WASHINGTON — A government agency blocked release of a report that suggests global warming is contributing to the frequency and strength of hurricanes, the journal Nature reported Tuesday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration disputed the Nature article, saying there was not a report but a two-page fact sheet about the topic. The information was to be included in a press kit to be distributed in May as the annual hurricane season approached but wasn’t ready.

“The document wasn’t done in time for the rollout,” NOAA spokesman Jordan St. John said in responding to the Nature article. “The White House never saw it, so they didn’t block it.”

The possibility that warming conditions may cause storms to become stronger has generated debate among climate and weather experts, particularly in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

In the new case, Nature said weather experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration _ part of the Commerce Department _ in February set up a seven-member panel to prepare a consensus report on the views of agency scientists about global warming and hurricanes.

According to Nature, a draft of the statement said that warming may be having an effect.

In May, when the report was expected to be released, panel chair Ants Leetmaa received an e-mail from a Commerce official saying the report needed to be made less technical and was not to be released, Nature reported.

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