Entries in Blogger (4)


US Blogger Says He Was Leaked Israeli Attack Plan Against Iran

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A U.S. blogger says he has been given leaked documents by a high-placed Israeli source that detail that country's plan for stopping Iran's rogue nuclear program.

Richard Silverstein wrote that a preemptive military attack on Iran will involve a "coordinated strike, including an unprecedented cyber-attack which will totally paralyze the Iranian regime and its ability to know what is happening within its borders."

Silverstein claims that the documents he was given offer an all-encompassing assault that seems to leave nothing to chance.  He says it will entail an aerial bombardment, dozens of missile strikes and the assassination of senior Iranian military and intelligence officials to go along with the cyber-attack.

The blogger maintains that he obtained the information from an Israel Defense Forces officer and that it was leaked to "expose the arguments and plans advanced by the Bibi-Barak two-headed warrior.  Neither the IDF leaker, my source, nor virtually any senior military or intelligence officer wants this war."

Bibi is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Barak is Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

According to Silverstein, the duo believes this plan will minimize Israeli casualties should Iran retaliate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Scottish Schoolgirl Wins Heated Food Fight

Comstock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Martha Payne, 9, is one happy girl after a turbulent 24 hours. Her local council in Scotland has lifted a controversial ban imposed Thursday that prevented her from including photographs of food in her blog “NeverSeconds,” documenting her school lunches.

Media coverage of the blog had led catering staff to fear for their jobs, a representative of the Argyll and Bute Council said earlier today. But Council leader Roddy McCuish recently issued a new statement, saying, “There is no place for censorship in this Council and never will be whilst I am leader.”

McCuish added that he wanted to speak with the Payne family, in the hope that “Martha Payne and her friends will have had a strong and lasting influence not just on school meals, but on the whole of Argyll & Bute.”

Martha has been snapping pictures of almost every school meal, and rating her plate, since April 30. Ratings ranged from “3/10″ to “10/10, noting “mouthfuls,” “price” and “health rating.” She was posting anonymously as “Veg” but local newspapers began naming her and identifying her school. The council’s ban came after a piece in Scottish newspaper The Daily Record, who penned a headline, “Time to fire the dinner ladies.”

Martha had published a “Goodbye” post Thursday night, bidding farewell to sharing her dinners with others: “I’ll miss seeing the dinners you send me too.”

She also wrote that she probably wouldn’t meet a fundraising target she had been working on for a charity called Mary’s Meals, responsible for providing food to more than 650,000 underprivileged children worldwide.

Martha’s “JustGiving” fundraising page for Mary’s Meals is linked to her blog, which has more than 2 million hits, with a new page view virtually every second.

With all the publicity Martha’s blog has received, donations to Mary’s Meals have escalated enormously. One of the charity’s chief administrators, Abeer MacIntyre, told ABC News, “We just watched with amazement today. Martha set herself the ambitious goal of raising £7,000 [about $11,000]. She’s managed to not only build a kitchen on the side of a school in Malawi, but to feed all 2,000 children at that school for a whole year.”

JustGiving tweeted today, “Congrats to Martha Payne (aka VEG) for completely smashing her fundraising target today. Here’s her page #NeverSeconds.”

Martha has attracted the support of local politicians, such as MP Louise Mensch, who tweeted this morning, “Dear @ArgyllandBute, what have you to fear from a 9 year old exposing lunch provision? reverse your awful decision.”

Even celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, a spokesman for healthier meals for schoolchildren, offered a few kind words on Twitter: “Stay strong Martha, RT this to show your support #neverseconds.”

Martha’s blog previously inspired the Scottish chef to organize a think-tank on school meals.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Syria: Mystery Swirls Around Allegedly Kidnapped Gay Blogger

Photodisc/Thinkstock(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- It was an alarming message, echoing widespread reports of the recent brutal crackdown taking place across Syria by government forces. "Amina was seized by three men in their early 20's," the blog post read. "One of the men then put his hand over Amina's mouth and they hustled her into a red Dacia Logan..."

It was the first word about the alleged disappearance of a gay Syrian-American woman named Amina Abdallah Araf. Her "A Gay Girl in Damascus" blog had gained notoriety online as an "out Syrian lesbian's thoughts on life, the universe and so on."

But three days after word was posted about Araf's supposed kidnapping on the blog by someone calling herself Araf's cousin, American officials say they have no record of an American by that name and no one appears to have ever seen or spoken to Araf directly.

Articles were written about the eloquent, brave and knowledgeable Araf, but interviewers only communicated with her by e-mail or online chat. Even a Montreal woman, with whom Araf had exchanged some 500 emails over six months, had never heard her voice.

Making the story all the more confusing are the many pictures supposedly of Araf, photos of a pretty, brown-haired young woman with a mole above her left eyebrow. A Croatian woman living in London with no ties to Syria says the photos were stolen from her Facebook page.

"I've never met her. I'm not part of her blog. I'm not friends with her,'" Jelena Lecic told the BBC. "This has put me in danger. This person is a gay activist in Syria. I really don't feel comfortable."

Araf's blog was noticed at the end of April as the regime of President Bashar al-Assad tried to crush the uprising across Syria that has now claimed around 1,300 lives and resulted in arrests many times higher. She wrote well, had a good knowledge of Syria and admitted her homosexuality in a country where to be gay is illegal.

"I am an Arab, I am Syrian, I am a woman, I am queer, I am Muslim, I am binational, I am tall, I am too thin; my sect is Sunni, my clan is Omari, my tribe is Quraysh, my city is Damascus," she wrote in a post.

On Sunday, just a day before the "cousin" wrote about Araf's disappearance, a poem called "Invitation" was posted that started:

"Look long into my wand'ring eyes Follow my gaze cross these dark'ning skies Place all your trusts in my hands And follow me to other lands"

The next day, someone who identified herself as Rania O. Ismail wrote on the site, "We do not know who took her so we do not know who to ask to get her back. It is possible that they are forcibly deporting her."

Deported, theoretically, back to the U.S. since she said she had claimed to have been born in Virginia, which the State Department has not been able to verify.

The blog has been silent since Monday as speculation flies and the blog posts are picked apart for clues.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Prominent Syrian Blogger Disappears in Damascus

George Doyle/Stockbyte(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Amina Abdallah, a blogger who has gained recognition during the Syrian uprising for her blog "A Gay Girl in Damascus," has disappeared.

Abdallah's cousin wrote on the blog that Amina was taken Monday by three men in their 20s "assumed to be members of one of the security services or the Baath Party militia."

"One of the men then put his hand over Amina's mouth and they hustled her into a red Dacia Logan with a window sticker of Basel Assad," Rania Ismail wrote.

Abdallah describes her blog as "An out Syrian lesbian's thoughts on life, the universe and so on..." --  this, in a country where homosexuality is not just taboo, but illegal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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