The Sting

The 5 American Muslim young men arrested for a Pakistan terrorism sting this week were turned over to the FBI by their concerned parents. The group, Aged 19-25, abruptly disappeared from their Northern Virginia and DC communities in November, and met with officials from Jaish-e-Mohammed, the terrorist group responsible for killing American reporter Daniel Pearl. “Fearing the worst,” their families contacted the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the organization that urged contacting Federal authorities.

Secretly, our own people are engaged in something that most of us don’t know about,” Johari Abdul-Malik, an Imam in Falls Church, VA told NPR. “And that is sending a chill through our community.” One of the detained young men, Ramy Zamzam, was a dental student a Howard University.

New Jersey same-sex marriage Senate vote scheduled for today was postponed late last night by the bill co-sponsors. Democratic Sate Senators Raymond J. Lesniak and Loretta Weinberg want to get the bill rolling before a General Assembly committee, where majority support is expected.

An Alabaman woman admitted to smoking meth 3 days before her child was due by pleading guilty in a child endangerment case. The baby died 19 minutes after birth, and mother Amanda Helaine Borden Kimbrough will serve a plea deal sentence of 10 years in prison. As in much of rural America over the past decade, meth is the number one drug threat in Alabama.

Houston is facing a historic mayorial run-off this weekend, with a “social identity crisis” in tow. If elected, Annise Parker will become the first openly gay mayor of Houston. Her sexual orientation has come under attack by Christian groups, which threw their weight behind former city attorney Gene Locke. Locke, who denounced a $200,000 donation from his campaign to religious groups who attacked Parker’s sexual orientation in GOTV efforts, would be the second African-American mayor of Houston if elected. University of Houston political scientist Richard Murray puts the support distribution bluntly: “You don’t have many cases where you have an older straight, black male supported by conservatives matched up against a younger white female who happens to be gay, and is backed by non-establishment sources… Normally, you see progressive whites allied with African-Americans.”

No one is happy. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he is disappointed at the EU draft of a document declaring Jerusalem a two-state capital (of Israel and a Palestinian state) because it is too “vague.” A draft written by Sweden, who currently hold the EU Presidency, was more to Abbas’ liking because it called for an end to the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem and referred to Palestine as a state. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has been lobbying against this draft and prefers revisions recommended by the French that would commend Israel for its current ten month settlement freeze. Meanwhile in Israel, Netanyahu has promised his base of hard line citizens that building in Jerusalem will continue after the ten month period, but settlers are still wary. On Wednesday, ten thousand pro-settler activists demonstrated in front of the Prime Minister’s Jerusalem residence with signs that read “We will continue to build” and “Stop Iran’s nukes, not our homes.” Netanyahu also has grievances against the Palestinians who “have adopted a strategy of delaying negotiations with Israel, and this is in order to refrain from meeting the demands of Israel and the international community, which require comprises on the Palestinian side.”

The Islamic State of Iraq, a group with links to al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the 5 coordinated bombings in Baghdad on Tuesday that killed 127 and wounded 450. In a statement, translated by a U.S. monitoring group, says that Tuesday’s explosions were the third part of a series of attacks. “The list of targets will not end, with permission from Allah, until the flag of monotheism is raised once against on the land of Baghdad and the sharia of Allah rules the land and the worshippers,” they said.

The Israeli government has released a report about what the army should expect in the event of another conflict with Hamas.The report, which emphasizes the danger of underground tunnels connecting open field in Gaza with Israeli urban centers, also describes the variety of arms Hamas has gotten from allies in Iran. Weapons range from long range rockets and Konkur anti-tank shoulder missiles, held in hidden missile silos. The report also warns of the danger of underground tunnels along the Philadelphi Corridor- the buffer zone between Israel and Gaza, stretched by the Rafah Crossing (border of Egypt and Gaza). That is why the Egyptians, with the help of American engineers, are building a steele wall along Rafah 6.7 miles wide and 59 feet below the surface. The wall is fit together like a jigsaw puzzle and cannot be cut or melted.

Minister of Parliament Kazem Jalali of the Iranian legislature’s (Maji) Security and Foreign Policy Committee has said that Iran will not cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) if they pass another resolution against the Iranian nuclear program. The IAEA Board of Governors passed a resolution against Iran because it was building a new nuclear plant at Fordo on September 30. Members of the Maji recently voted in favor of building ten more such sites in the country.

South African health, government, and civil society worker task force discussed their concerns over the combination of high AIDS rates, active criminalized sex trade and flux of tourists during the upcoming FIFA World Cup:

“Among the draft recommendations that emerged from the two-day meeting were the need for human rights training, public health messages specific to sex work, a government directive to end police harassment of sex workers, and a moratorium on arrests of sex workers during the event.”

The group used Germany’s “Fair Play” safe sex campaign during the 2006 World Cup as a successful model.

More violence in The Philippines as a militia called the “Perez Group” has taken a group of 17 school children and their principal hostage. The group is attempting to use the hostages to negotiate their own freedom after they engaged in a shoot out with government forces. Tension among citizens has risen exponentially because The Perez Group is one of several militias armed by the government a decade ago to fight communism. This comes three weeks after a brutal politically motivated massacre left 57 dead in another part of the country.

A deal for former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya to finally leave the Brazilian embassy in his country’s capital and go to Mexico has fallen through.Zelyay does not want to go to Mexico as an asylee, but rather as a guest, because claiming asylum status could make him unable to return to the Presidency.

A report released by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) surfaced strong currents of racism and ethnic discrimination in Europe. The findings are based on responses from 23,000 people of ethnic minority descent living in various communities and countries. High levels of civilian assault and threat on behalf were uncovered, especially among African groups in Ireland and Italy & Romas in Czech Republic, Hungary and Greece.



  1. Jerzy

    Pencils down ladies. Post that shit, I know it’s good.

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