Sunday, February 5, 2012
The World ends. Because Iran is full of psycho muslims who thinks that they will get a freepass into heaven if they destroy israel. If israel get nuked, then israel will launch its 200 nukes from its hidden bunkers and submarines and fire them against iran and also meccha and medina. This will send the world into a third world war.
Egypt to try 19 Americans in case straining tiesBy HAMZA HENDAWI | Associated Press – 41 mins ago
CAIRO (AP) — Ignoring a U.S. threat to cut off aid, Egypt on Sunday referred 19 Americans and 24 other employees of nonprofit groups to trial before a criminal court on accusations they illegally used foreign funds to foment unrest in the country.Egypt's military rulers had already deeply strained ties with Washington with their crackdown on U.S.-funded groups promoting democracy and human rights and accused of stirring up violence in the aftermath of the uprising a year ago that ousted Hosni Mubarak. The decision to send 43 workers from the various groups to trials marks a sharp escalation in the dispute.
Egypt and the United States have been close allies for more than three decades, but the campaign against the organizations has angered Washington, and jeopardized the $1.5 billion in aid Egypt is set to receive from the U.S. this year.
On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Egypt that failure to resolve the dispute may lead to the loss of American aid. The Egyptian minister, Mohammed Amr, responded Sunday by saying the government cannot interfere in the work of the judiciary.
"We are doing our best to contain this but ... we cannot actually exercise any influence on the investigating judges right now when it comes to the investigation," Amr told reporters at a security conference in Munich, Germany. A few hours later, word of the referral to trials came.
The Egyptian investigation into the work of nonprofit groups in the country is closely linked to the political turmoil that has engulfed the nation since the ouster of Mubarak, a close U.S. ally who ruled Egypt for nearly 30 years.
Egypt's military rulers have been under fire by liberal and secular groups for bungling what was supposed to be a transition to democracy after Mubarak's ouster. The ruling generals who took power after the uprising, led by a man who was Mubarak's defense minister for 20 years, have tried to deflect the criticism by claiming "foreign hands" are behind protests against their rule and frequently depict the protesters as receiving funds from abroad in a plot to destabilize the country.
Those allegations have cost the youth activists that spearheaded Mubarak's ouster support among a wider public that is sensitive to allegations of foreign meddling and which sees a conspiracy to destabilize Egypt in nearly every move by a foreign nation.
Egypt has just been plunged into a new cycle of violence with 12 killed in four days of clashes. The clashes were sparked by anger at the authorities inability to prevent a riot after a soccer match last week left 74 people dead.
International Cooperation Minister Faiza Aboul Naga, a remnant of the Mubarak regime who retained her post after his ouster, is leading the crackdown on nonprofit groups. On Sunday, she vowed to pursue the issue to the very end. The investigation into the funding issue, she claimed, has uncovered "plots aimed at striking at Egypt's stability."
Egyptian security officials said that among the Americans sent to trial is Sam LaHood, the head of the Egypt office of the Washington-based International Republican Institute and the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Five Serbs, two Germans and three non-Egyptian Arab nationals are also targeted.
Lahood's group called the decision "politically motivated" and said it "reflects escalating attacks against international and Egyptian democracy organizations." The IRI statement from Washington said the campaign was being carried out "in part by Mubarak-era holdovers."
All 43 have been banned from leaving the country. A date has yet to be set for the start of the trial.
"Governments have the right to regulate (nonprofits) but not to micromanage them and impede their activities and decisions," Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement Sunday. He urged Egypt's newly elected parliament to pass a law guaranteeing the rights of civil society groups.
Sunday's decision to refer the 43 to trial raises questions about the Egyptian military's motive to allow the issue to escalate so much that the valuable $1.3 billion it gets annually be placed in jeopardy. Washington also is set to give Egypt $250 million in economic aid this year.
The U.S. assistance has allowed the Egyptian military to replace its relatively antiquated Soviet-era weaponry with modern and sophisticated arms, ranging from fighter-bombers and transport aircraft to tanks and personnel carriers. The aid is closely but informally linked to Egypt's continued adherence to its 1979 peace treaty with Israel, Washington's closest Middle East ally.
Already, Egyptian authorities are preventing at least six Americans — including LaHood — and four Europeans from leaving the country, citing a probe opened last month when heavily armed security forces raided the offices of 17 pro-democracy and rights groups. Egyptian officials have defended the raid as part of a legitimate investigation into the groups' work and funding.
"The ruling military council is searching for scapegoats to cover up its successive failures, the disastrous ones, since it took power on Feb. 11 (2011)," said prominent rights activist Bahy Eddin Hassan. "It has managed to stain the reputation of everybody to come out at the only party to be trusted in the eyes of ordinary Egyptians."
Laws requiring local and foreign civil society groups to register with the government have long been a source of contention, with rights activists accusing authorities of using legal provisions to go after groups critical of their policies. Offenders can be sentenced to prison if convicted.
Foreign civil society groups must receive permission to legally operate in Egypt by registering with the ministries of foreign affairs and international cooperation.
Legally, the Social Solidarity Ministry must approve any foreign funds funneled to local or foreign civil society groups in Egypt.
Also Sunday, security officials said Mubarak, 83, would shortly be moved to a prison for the first time since his arrest last April. Mubarak has since his arrest been kept in custody in a hospital at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and later at an army's medical facility east of Cairo.
Mubarak is on trial on charges of complicity in the killing of hundreds of protesters during the 18-day uprising that forced him to step down.
The officials also said that around 50 former regime insiders held at Tora would be dispersed to five different jails in the greater Cairo area within the next 48 hours. They include Mubarak's two sons, businessman Alaa and one-time heir apparent Gamal, two former prime ministers and the former speakers of parliament's two chambers.
The decision to move Mubarak and spread the regime officials appeared to be a concession by the military to pro-reform activists who complain that the ruling generals led by Mubarak's defense minister for 20 years were treating the ousted leader with reverence and turning a blind eye to former regime officials clustered in Tora to use supporters to undermine security.
Associated Press reporters Maggie Michael and Aya Batrawy contributed to this report from Cairo.
What is Groupthink?
Groupthink, a term coined by social psychologist Irving Janis (1972), occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment” (p. 9). Groups affected by groupthink ignore alternatives and tend to take irrational actions that dehumanize other groups. A group is especially vulnerable to groupthink when its members are similar in background, when the group is insulated from outside opinions, and when there are no clear rules for decision making.
References (also see annotated bibliography of books, articles and websites below)
Janis, Irving L. (1972). Victims of Groupthink. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
Janis, Irving L. (1982). Groupthink: Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascoes. Second Edition. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
Symptoms of Groupthink
Janis has documented eight symptoms of groupthink:
- Illusion of invulnerability –Creates excessive optimism that encourages taking extreme risks.
- Collective rationalization – Members discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.
- Belief in inherent morality – Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions.
- Stereotyped views of out-groups – Negative views of “enemy” make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary.
- Direct pressure on dissenters – Members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views.
- Self-censorship – Doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus are not expressed.
- Illusion of unanimity – The majority view and judgments are assumed to be unanimous.
- Self-appointed ‘mindguards’ – Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions.
When the above symptoms exist in a group that is trying to make a decision, there is a reasonable chance that groupthink will happen, although it is not necessarily so. Groupthink occurs when groups are highly cohesive and when they are under considerable pressure to make a quality decision. When pressures for unanimity seem overwhelming, members are less motivated to realistically appraise the alternative courses of action available to them. These group pressures lead to carelessness and irrational thinking since groups experiencing groupthink fail to consider all alternatives and seek to maintain unanimity. Decisions shaped by groupthink have low probability of achieving successful outcomes.
Examples of Groupthink: Past and Present
Examples of groupthink “fiascoes” studied by Janis include US failures to anticipate the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Bay of Pigs invasion, the escalation of Vietnam war, and the ill-fated hostage rescue in Iran. Current examples of groupthink can be found in the decisions of the Bush administration and Congress to pursue an invasion of Iraq based on a policy of “preemptive use of military force against terrorists and rogue nations”. The decision to rush to war in Iraq before a broad-based coalition of allies could be built has placed the US in an unenviable military situation in Iraq that is costly in terms of military deaths and casualties, diplomatic standing in the world, and economically.
Groupthink and the News Media
Knowledge is power and we as citizens and as a nation are becoming less powerful. We face an administration that believes in operating under high levels of secrecy. The American press, especially the television news media, has let down the American people and the American people have allowed this to happen. US television news is geared more toward providing entertainment than information. When one compares the news Americans received about the “war on terrorism” and “war in Iraq” with the news citizens of other countries received, it is easy to see why many Americans were eager to launch an attack on Saddam Hussein while most of the world thought this was not a good idea. The major news networks eagerly voiced almost exclusively the Bush administration’s (questionable) justifications for the attack on Iraq and ignored the voices of millions who knew that other ways of addressing the issues were still possible. Furthermore, the rapid pace of CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News opinion programs makes it difficult for viewers to process information in any depth. Americans need a press that serves as a devil’s advocate to alleviate the ongoing groupthink concerning the war on terrorism and the invasion of Iraq.
Review the following consequences of groupthink and consider how many of them apply to the Bush administration’s handling of the ‘war on terrorism’ and the issues related to Iraq and Saddam Hussein:
a) incomplete survey of alternatives
b) incomplete survey of objectives
c) failure to examine risks of preferred choice
d) failure to reappraise initially rejected alternatives
e) poor information search
f) selective bias in processing information at hand
g) failure to work out contingency plans
h) low probability of successful outcome
Remedies for Groupthink
Decision experts have determined that groupthink may be prevented by adopting some of the following measures:
a) The leader should assign the role of critical evaluator to each member
b) The leader should avoid stating preferences and expectations at the outset
c) Each member of the group should routinely discuss the groups' deliberations with a trusted associate and report back to the group on the associate's reactions
d) One or more experts should be invited to each meeting on a staggered basis. The outside experts should be encouraged to challenge views of the members.
e) At least one articulate and knowledgeable member should be given the role of devil's advocate (to question assumptions and plans)
f) The leader should make sure that a sizeable block of time is set aside to survey warning signals from rivals; leader and group construct alternative scenarios of rivals' intentions.
A dangerous alliance: U.S. warning over Ahmadinejad's meeting with Cuban president
- Congresswoman describes both nations as threat to national security
- Ahmadinejad uses speech to ask why his country is being 'punished'
- Claims capitalism is the root of war during address at Havana University
- Iranian President to meet Cuban President Raul Castro
Last updated at 12:24 PM on 12th January 2012
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has described Iran and Cuba as threats to the national security of the United States as the leaders of the two nations met in the island's capital of Havana today.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in the country for a brief meeting with Raul Castro during his Latin American tour which has already taken in Venezuela and Nicaragua.
But in a statement issued earlier this week Ros-Lehtinen described the meeting as a 'tour of the tyrants' and said it was opportunity to 'spew anti-American rhetoric'.
V for victory: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives in Havana today to deliver a speech to students and for a meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro
Speech: Ahmadinejad told students at Havana's university that he wanted to know why Iran was being 'punished' no good reason
And in a statement released today, the Republican representative from Florida said: 'Iran and Cuba are both state-sponsors of terrorism, and need to be treated as immediate threats to our national security.'
Warning: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has described Iran and Cuba as threats to the national security of the United States
Ahmadinejad was untroubled by the Congresswoman's comments as he landed at the island's Jose Marti International Airport today, flashing a victory sign several times at photographers as he was greeted by Cuba's Vice president Esteban Lazo.
Later, the Iranian President gave a speech at Havana University where he demanded answers as to why Iran was being 'punished' no good reason.
He told students: 'Have we assaulted someone? Have we wanted more than we should have? Never, never. We have only asked to speak about and establish justice.'
He also railed against the United States and its allies and said heartless capitalism is the root cause of war during the speech.
'Thankfully we are already witnessing that the capitalist system is in decay,' Ahmadinejad, who received an honourary doctorate from the university, said.
'On various stages it has come to a dead end - politically, economically and culturally.'
Greeting: Ahmadinejad shakes hands with Cuba's Vice president Esteban Lazo, who stands next to rector of University of Havana Gustavo Cobreiro Suarez
'You see that when it lacks logic, they turn to weapons to kill and destroy.' he added.
After the speech he refused to comment on a bomb attack this morning that killed a nuclear scientist in Tehran, although his government laid the blame on both Israel he U.S. and the UK.
But the Iranian leader spoke warmly of his Cuban hosts, describing the relationship of the two countries as 'solidarity between two revolutionary peoples.'
Ahmadinejad began his Latin America tour shortly after Washington imposed tougher sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear program.
Cuba was his third stop on his tour. He will visit Ecuador tomorrow.
Iran says will attack any country used to strike its soilReuters – 46 mins ago
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will attack any country whose territory is used by "enemies" of the Islamic state to launch a military strike against its soil, the deputy head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards told the semi-official Fars news agency on Sunday."Any spot used by the enemy for hostile operations against Iran, will be subjected to retaliatory aggression by our armed forces," Hossein Salami said, during military maneuvers.
The Revolutionary Guards began the two-day ground exercises on Saturday as a show of military might as tension rises between Tehran and the West over Iran's disputed nuclear program.
Iranian media said it was a small-scale exercise in southern Iran.
The United States and Israel, Iran's arch enemies, have not ruled out a military strike against the country if diplomacy fails to resolve the standoff. Iran says its nuclear program is purely peaceful, rather than aimed at developing weapons.
Iran has warned that its response to any such strike will be "painful," threatening to target Israel, and U.S. bases in the Gulf, along with closing the vital oil shipping route of the Strait of Hormuz.
(Writing by Parisa Hafezi)