World differs on perpetrators of terror attacks

Dawn – World differs on perpetrators of terror attacks

There is no consensus in Muslim countries about the perpetrators of 9/11 attacks as significant minorities cite the US government itself and in a few countries Israel. These responses were given to an open-ended question that did not offer response options.

According to a survey by WorldPublicOpinion, 46 per cent say that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks while 15 per cent say the US government, 7 per cent Israel, and another 7 per cent some other perpetrator. Twenty-five per cent say they do not know.

“Given the extraordinary impact the 9/11 attacks have had on world affairs, it is remarkable that seven years on there is no international consensus about who was behind them,” comments Steven Kull, director of WorldPublicOpinion.org.

Even in European countries, the majorities that say Al Qaeda was behind 9/11 are not overwhelming. Fifty-six percent of Britons and Italians, 63 percent of French and 64 percent of Germans cite Al Qaeda. However, significant portions of Britons (26 per cent), French (23 per cent) and Italians (21 per cent) say they do not know who was behind 9/11. Remarkably, 23 per cent of Germans cite the US government, as do 15 per cent of Italians.

People in the Middle East are especially likely to name a perpetrator other than Al Qaeda. In Egypt 43 per cent say that Israel was behind the attacks, as do 31 per cent in Jordan and 19 per cent in the Palestinian Territories.

The US government is named by 36 per cent of Turks and 27 per cent of Palestinians. The numbers who say Al Qaeda was behind the attacks range from 11 per cent in Jordan to 42 per cent in the Palestinian Territories.

The only countries with overwhelming majorities citing Al Qaeda are the African countries: Kenya (77 per cent) and Nigeria (71 per cent). In Nigeria, a large majority of Muslims (64 per cent) also say that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks (compared to 79 per cent of Nigerian Christians).

…Interviews were conducted in 17 countries, including most of the large nations — China, Indonesia, Nigeria and Russia — as well as Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, the Palestinian Territories, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey and the Ukraine.

…Respondents in Asia have mixed responses. Bare majorities in Taiwan (53 per cent) and South Korea (51 per cent) name Al Qaeda, but 17 per cent of South Koreans point to the US government and large numbers in both countries say they do not know (Taiwan 34 per cent and South Korea 22 per cent).

Majorities of Chinese (56 per cent) and Indonesians (57 per cent) say they do not know, with significant minorities citing the US government (Indonesia 14 per cent and China 9 per cent).

A clear majority of Russians (57 per cent) and a plurality of Ukrainians (42 per cent) say Al Qaeda was behind the attacks. But significant minorities identify the US government (15 per cent in both cases) and large numbers do not provide an answer (Ukrainians 39 per cent and Russians 19 per cent).

Of all the countries polled, Mexico has the second-largest number citing the US government as the perpetrator (30 per cent after Turkey at 36 per cent). Only 33 per cent name Al Qaeda.

…A stronger correlation of beliefs about 9/11 are respondents’ attitudes about the United States. Those with a positive view of America’s influence in the world are more likely to cite Al Qaeda (on average 59 per cent) than those with a negative view (40 per cent).

UK: London mosque row highlights Muslims’ struggle for status

Click here: AFP – London mosque row highlights Muslims’ struggle for status

…If officials grant planning permission the mosque, in the deprived but diverse district of West Ham in east London, will hold up to 12,000 worshippers and feature facilities including a school and conference centre. It is, though, a big if. The plan has drawn furious opposition from some politicians and locals, with 280,000 people signing a petition against it on Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Downing Street website earlier this year. Many complaints focus on Tablighi Jamaat, the media-shy Muslim group behind the proposed development of the 18-acre Abbeymills site, and which mosque opponents and some British press reports claim has links to Islamic extremism.

…Many Muslims in the street declined to comment on the plans, with some citing suspicion of how Islam is represented in the British media. But a local Islamic bookshop worker who declined to be named said the new mosque was needed because of chronic overcrowding. “There are thousands of people in this area — they’re praying in houses, in sheds, in portakabins,” he said. Two other large mosques built in the area in recent years had rapidly become overcrowded, he said, predicting that a new one would draw worshippers from across the capital. A young Muslim man, who also declined to give his name, echoed this view. “We pray five times a day. We want somewhere to go and put our heads down and pray,” he said. Asked about why he thought there was such strong opposition to the plans, the bookshop worker responded: “What they’re saying is why do we need such a big mosque?”

…On the mosque website, organisers said they “utterly refute any links to terrorism or terrorists” and described Tablighi Jamaat as “a Muslim missionary and revival movement”. “We do not teach an extremist line, but we clearly can’t speak for every single one of those who has ever attended our mosques,” it said, adding that the movement has up to 80 million followers worldwide….Tablighi Jamaat also denies reported links to the Saudi royal family, saying the money for the mosque, whose construction costs have not yet been estimated, will be raised through donations from Muslims in London.

Iran: Iraq crisis tops Muslim world’s agenda

Click here: Presstv.ir – Iraq crisis tops Muslim world’s agenda 

In a meeting with the Head of the United Iraq Coalition (UIC), Abdel Aziz Hakim, the Iranian official voiced full support for the Iraqi government, saying a solution to the conflict in Iraq lies in the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country.

The Iranian Parliament Speaker called for the further expansion of ties between the two countries’ parliaments. Abdel Aziz Hakim, for his part, praised Iran’s efforts to bring stability and security to Iraq and described the country’s current situation as ‘promising’. “The remarkable unity between Shiite and Sunni factions promises gradual restoration of stability in Iraq,” Hakim concluded.

7 Countries Considering Abandoning the US Dollar (and what it means)

Click here: CurrencyTrading.net – 7 Countries Considering Abandoning the US Dollar (and what it means)

It’s no secret that the dollar is on a downward spiral. Its value is dropping, and the Fed isn’t doing a whole lot to change that. As a result, a number of countries are considering a shift away from the dollar to preserve their assets. These are seven of the countries currently considering a move from the dollar, and how they’ll have an effect on its value and the US economy.

  1. Saudi Arabia:…The kingdom is taking “appropriate measures” to protect itself from letting the dollar cause problems for their own economy. They’re concerned about the threat of inflation and don’t want to deal with “recessionary conditions” in the US. Hans Redeker of BNP Paribas believes this creates a “very dangerous situation for the dollar,” as Saudi Arabia alone has management of $800 billion. Experts fear that a break from the dollar in Saudi Arabia could set off a “stampede” from the dollar in the Middle East, a region that manages $3,500 billion.
  2. South Korea: In 2005, Korea announced its intention to shift its investments to currencies of countries other than the US…
  3. China: After already dropping the dollar peg in 2005, China has more trouble up its sleeve. Currently, China is threatening a “nuclear option” of huge dollar liquidation in response to possible trade sanctions intended to force a yuan revaluation…
  4. Venezuela: Venezuela holds little loyalty to the dollar. In fact, they’ve shown overt disapproval, choosing to establish barter deals for oil…
  5. Sudan: Sudan is, once again, planning to convert its dollar holdings to the euro and other currencies…
  6. 6. Iran: Iran is perhaps the most likely candidate for an imminent abandonment of the dollar. Recently, Iran requested that its shipments to Japan be traded for yen instead of dollars…
  7. Russia:…In 2006, Russian President Vladmir Putin expressed interest in establishing a Russian stock exchange which would allow “oil, gas, and other goods to be paid for in Roubles.” Russia’s intentions are no secret–in the past, they’ve made it clear that they’re wary of holding too many dollar reserves…Then in 2005, Russia put an end to its dollar peg, opting instead to move towards a euro alignment. They’ve discussed pricing oil in euros, a move that could provide a large shift away from the dollar and towards the euro, as Russia is the world’s second-largest oil exporter.

Countries are growing weary of losing money on the falling dollar. Many of them want to protect their financial interests, and a number of them want to end the US oversight that comes with using the dollar. Although it’s not clear how many of these countries will actually follow through on an abandonment of the dollar, it is clear that its status as a world currency is in trouble.

Egypt’s Bold N-Step

Click here: Arab News – Egypt’s Bold N-Step

Last week, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced the relaunch of his country’s nuclear energy program, on hold since the 1986 Soviet Chernobyl disaster.“Egypt will go through with the nuclear energy project in the belief that energy security is a basic element in building the future of the homeland and part and parcel of Egypt’s national security system,” he said while pledging it would be transparent, peaceful and developed in coordination with the UN nuclear watchdog the IAEA.

According to Egypt’s minister for electricity, the first will be built near the coast east of the Mediterranean resort town Alexandria and besides having a 1,000-megawatt capacity will be a vital source of desalinated water. It is predicted to be up and running by 2018.

It should be mentioned that Egypt has possessed a Soviet-supplied 2-megawatt nuclear research reactor fuelled by enriched uranium since 1961 — The Inshas Nuclear Research Center, north of Cairo. Reports suggest that Inshas might have been upgraded to 22-megawatts over the past decade with the assistance of Argentina. It is also believed that Egypt has an indigenous source of uranium in its eastern desert, although according to the IAEA, Egypt has thus far not attempted an enrichment process.

Like Iran, Egypt is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty under the terms of which it has the right to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and elicit assistance from nuclear powers. However, here the similarity ends. While Iran is under international siege for its nuclear ambitions, Egypt’s have been blessed by the US, France and the EU. US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Washington would not object to Egypt’s program provided it respects the rules of the NPT and the IAEA.

Due to the outrageous double standards openly displayed by Israel and Washington over this issue and the obsequious falling in line of their European allies, the dream of a nuclear-free Middle East has receded into the twilight zone. Rebuffed in its efforts to get international backing for a nuclear-free region and concerned at the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran, Egypt is sounding a clarion call for an “Arab nuclear family”.

“It is a right for all Arabs”, said an emotionally-charged Mubarak at an Arab League summit in Riyadh. Jordan, Libya, Yemen and Algeria have already announced their intentions to seek a peaceful nuclear capability while GCC leaders are set to discuss the issue later this year. In the meantime, Saudi Arabia has proposed a way to defuse the crisis over Iran, which would also eliminate suspicions that other regional countries are covertly seeking a nuclear weapons program under cover of nuclear energy plants, and ultimately stave off an arms race.

USAF Struck Syrian “Nuclear” Site

Click here: JPOST – USAF Struck Syrian “Nuclear” Site

The September 6 raid over Syria was carried out by the US Air Force, the Al-Jazeera Web site reported Friday. The Web site quoted Israeli and Arab sources as saying that two US jets armed with tactical nuclear weapons carried out an attack on a suspected nuclear site under construction.The sources were quoted as saying that Israeli F-15 and F-16 jets provided cover for the US planes.

The sources added that each US plane carried one tactical nuclear weapon and that the site was hit by one bomb and was totally destroyed.

…On October 28, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the cabinet that he had apologized to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan if Israel violated Turkish airspace during a strike on an alleged nuclear facility in Syria last month.

…According to the report, Israel carried out the report to send a message that it would not tolerate even a nuclear program in its initial stages of construction in any neighboring state. On October 17, Syria denied that one of its representatives to the United Nations told a panel that an Israeli air strike hit a Syrian nuclear facility and added that “such facilities do not exist in Syria.”

The Shame of Diego Garcia

Click here: CounterPunch.org –  The Shame of Diego Garcia

One of the more sordid and long-running stories in Anglo-American colonial history — that of Diego Garcia, the chief island of the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean — reared its ugly head again on Friday when the UK’s all-party foreign affairs committee announced plans to investigate long-standing allegations that the CIA has, since 2002, held and interrogated al-Qaeda suspects at a secret prison on the island.

…The suspicion, which the foreign affairs committee has pledged to investigate, is that on Diego Garcia the Americans found a far more compliant partner in torture — the British government — than they found in most other locations chosen for secret CIA prisons. …In June 2006, Dick Marty, a Swiss senator who produced a detailed report on “extraordinary rendition” for the Council of Europe, also concluded that Diego Garcia had been used as a secret prison. Having spoken to senior CIA officers during his research, he told the European Parliament, “We have received concurring confirmations that United States agencies have used Diego Garcia, which is the international legal responsibility of the UK, in the ‘processing’ of high-value detainees.”

…Barry McCaffrey, a retired four-star US general, who is now professor of international security studies at the West Point military academy, has twice let slip that Diego Garcia has, as the administration’s opponents have struggled to maintain, been used to hold terror suspects. In May 2004, he blithely declared, “We’re probably holding around 3,000 people, you know, Bagram air field, Diego Garcia, Guantánamo, 16 camps throughout Iraq,” and in December 2006 he slipped the leash again, saying, “They’re behind bars … we’ve got them on Diego Garcia, in Bagram air field, in Guantánamo.”