– A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog: Occasional Musings –

‘Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel used one of the most prominent platforms in the world on Tuesday to warn against what he called a “bad deal” being negotiated with Iran to freeze its nuclear program, bringing to a culmination a drama that has roiled Israeli-American relations for weeks (3 March 2015)’.  

‘Nafeez Ahmed, former Guardian contributor and currently crowdfunding Insurge, a new media platform, talks to Going Underground host Afshin Rattansi about the paper. Alan Rusbridger is stepping down as editor and will be moving to the Scott Trust which owns the Guardian and was set up to ensure it could remain editorially and financially independent. The Scott Trust was changed to a limited company in 2008, so it now has to be a profitable company, although any profits are put back into the trust. He says that the ‘elite of British society’ are on the board, which he says raises the question of constraints, and ‘stories can be pulled in a direct way.’ There are also indirect ways, such as self-censorship, when people learn what stories an editor doesn’t like, and eventually will not pitch certain stories because it becomes an ‘uphill struggle.’ His story with the Guardian started as a writer on geopolitics, particularly energy and environment. When Israel went into Gaza, he wrote a piece about Israel’s interests in getting control of the Gaza marine gas field, which could produce revenues of $6-8 billion a year. He had editorial control over his work, and published the piece to the website, and then received a call the next day saying it was not a proper environmental story, and they would discontinue his blog and terminate his contract. When he went public, he was supported by a couple of Guardian writers, who described a culture ‘where certain types of questions about Israel shouldn’t be asked,’ such as those challenging the status quo or Israel’s relationship with Western governments. He says that there is ‘some basis’ of Telegraph claims about the Guardian scuppering their own journalism due to advertisers such as Apple. And he says in the run up to the next election we will see ‘the battle of the oligarchs,’ as all different media is influenced by the interests that own it (2 March 2015)’.

‘On this final episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin, discusses the power of grassroots activism in getting the FCC to uphold net neutrality. Abby then speaks with Eugene Puryear, Organizer with the ANSWER Coalition, about effective activism as it relates to issues from combating police brutality to taking on prison reform. Abby then speaks with BTS producer, Anya Parampil, about the best moments of the show. Abby then features a montage of some of her favorite monologues and guest appearances on the show. Abby concludes the final episode by explaining why BTS has been such an important part of her life and why we should never stop Breaking the Set (27 Feb 2015)’.

‘A former German rapper turned ISIS extremist was reportedly spied on by his wife, who was an undercover agent for FBI. Denis Cuspert, 39, aka Deso Dogg, converted to radical Islam, changed his name to Abu Talha al-Almani and arrived in Syria as a jihadist in 2013.[1]  He is believed to lead a group of German-speaking terrorists and became an ISIS poster boy after he was seen holding a severed head in a grisly beheading video last year. German media believe that Cuspert, a father of three by three different women, was targeted because of his past womanizing. It is not clear when he married his unidentified spy wife, but she secretly transmitted critical information about the former rapper and his ISIS colleagues to her handler before she found out that the militants were looking for spies. The undercover wife then escaped to Turkey, where she was arrested. She is now believed to be in the U.S. German and American intelligence sources have acknowledged the existence of the secret mission. German intelligence said 500 German Muslims have traveled Syria and Iraq, and about 150 radical Muslims are now back in Germany (17 Feb 2015)’.

A “report by German newspaper Bild am Sonntag based on information by American and German intelligence sources, the spy had been tasked with establishing contact with high level ISIL leadership. The agent eventually met German rapper and ISIL fighter Denis Cuspert, whom she married via Islamic rites. Later when her life entered danger she fled to Turkey where she was apprehended by Turkish police and returned to the United States”.[2]

[1] “Rap and the Shariah: Denis Cuspert, the Islamic State’s Propaganda Mastermind” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (13 November 2014). https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/rap-and-the-shariah-denis-cuspert-the-islamic-states-propaganda-mastermind/.

[2] “Turkey returns US spy married to German ISIL fighter” BGN News (15 Feb 2015). http://national.bgnnews.com/turkey-returns-us-spy-married-to-german-isil-fighter-haberi/3536.

‘While the Big Bang has long been accepted as the primary theory for how the universe was formed, a new report is challenging its central premises. Saurya Das, professor of physics at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, is spearheading new research into the possibility that the universe didn’t actually start with a massive explosion, but is actually influenced by dark energy that exists throughout the universe yet is not visible to the naked eye. RT’s Ben Swann discusses with the physicist (12 Feb 2015)’.

As the BBT was originally devised by a Belgian Jesuit called Monseigneur Georges Lemaître (1894-1966) and his obit reads like this: “The originator of the “Big Bang” theory of cosmology, Georges Lemaitre, died in Loin am, Belgium, on 20 June [1966], at the age of 71. Lemaitre had spent a year in the mid-twenties touring the big observatories in the United States where he talked to the astronomers involved in the spectacular discovery that many “nebulae” were in fact extragalactic spirals receding at phenomenal velocities. In 1927, he published his solution to the problem entitled: A homogeneous universe of constant mass and increasing radiation, taking account of the radial velocities of extragalactic nebulae. Lemaitre was born in Charleroi. He first came to Louvain to study humanities at the College du Sacre-Coeur and then at die Ecoles speciales. He had achieved the status of first-grade civil mining engineer in 1914 when the first world war began and he joined the Belgian army. While he was serving as an artillery officer, he read Henri Poincare’s Electricite et optique and began to waver in his choice of a career. When he returned to Louvain after the armistice he began to study physics and mathematics. His thesis, prepared in 1920 under de la Vallee-Poussin, was on the approximation of functions of several real variables. In 1923, after receiving his doctorate, and after having studied at a seminary and been ordained a priest, he won fellowships that took him to England and to the United States. He studied with Sir Arthur Eddington for a year and then went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was during this period that he became familiar with the work of V.M. Slipher, Edwin Hubble, Harlow Shapley and others on the red shifts of the receding galaxies. Models of expanding universes had been conjectured by Willem de Sitter and Alexander Fridman, but Lemaitre’s is the most widely accepted theory, starting with an initial condensed state and an explosion. In 1934 he was awarded the Prix Francqui. One of his sponsors was Albert Einstein; among his judges were Eddington and Langevin. Since the early 30’s, Lemaitre had taught at Louvain, done research, and collaborated with other scientists. His interests included cosmic rays, the three body problem, spinors, and calculating machines. At the time of his death, he was a monsignor and President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at Rome”.[1]

[1] “Georges Lemaitre” Physics Today, 19(9), 119 (1966). http://scitation.aip.org/docserver/fulltext/aip/magazine/physicstoday/19/9/1.3048455.pdf?expires=1424462736&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=3F99ACB4B1ECB51326040FBC5A328346.

First the bees and now the butterflies . . . In the Washington Post, Darryl Fears writes that “[t]hreatened animals like elephants, porpoises and lions grab all the headlines, but what’s happening to monarch butterflies is nothing short of a massacre. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service summed it up in just one grim statistic on Monday: Since 1990, about 970 million have vanished. It happened as farmers and homeowners sprayed herbicides on milkweed plants, which serve as the butterflies’ nursery, food source and home. In an attempt to counter two decades of destruction, the Fish and Wildlife Service launched a partnership with two private conservation groups, the National Wildlife Federation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, to basically grow milkweed like crazy in the hopes of saving the monarchs”.[1]

And just the other day, Newsy Science reported that the “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has pledged $3.2 million to save monarch butterflies, that have had a 90 percent drop in its population”.

[1] Darryl Fears, “The monarch massacre: Nearly a billion butterflies have vanished “The Washington Post (09 Feb 2015). http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/02/09/the-monarch-massacre-nearly-a-billion-butterflies-have-vanished/.

‘SWISSLEAKS – Did HSBC channel funds to Al-Qaeda? Revelations keep coming from the so-called SwissLeaks list of clients who stached cash in Switzerland with the bank. Frederik OBERMAIER, investigative journalist for German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung who connected the dots between Swiss Leaks, the so-called Golden Chain list of alleged Al Qaeda financiers and those 28 pages from the US Congress’ 9/11 Report that the Bush administration redacted tells us more on FRANCE 24 (12 Feb 2015)’.


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