Friday, July 12, 2002

I just posted a long response to a comment at Warbloggerwatch which I'll share below:
Here is part of the thread (irrelevant portions eliminated):
Nikita: ..I'm wondering whether you regard Saddam's prior use of on poison gas against not just on the Iranians but against his own citizens, the Kurds of northern Iraq, killing 5,000 of them as an indication he would be willing and likely to repeat such behavior in the future, and further -to expand his theater of operations beyond his borders, and if so, do you consider that a threat to the security of the free world?
Fred McKenzie: Nikita, what do you make of the U.S. Government's use of napalm? What about all the other instances in which it knowingly exposed its own soldiers (to say nothing of opposite numbers) to hazchems and pathogens?
Nikita: Quite a good source on the Vietnam War is "A Bright Shining Lie - John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam" by Neil Sheehan.
Now regarding your napalm question. War is horrible. Period. However, unfortunately there are times when a country must go to war, when the human cost of not going to war is greater than that of fighting. World War II is a good example. Europe tried to pacify the Axis with concessions, and we both know the result. Whether Vietnam was one of those times is a whole separate debate, and personally I am not sure of the answer. However, during Vietnam, and during other wars, the policy of the U.S. has been to avoid unnecessary civilian deaths. Now, even war has rules. One of these rules is that it is forbidden to use a civilian population as a cover. When one is fighting against a enemy that conceals itself within a civilian population, hides weapon factories under hospitals, transports bombs in ambulances, etc. by international law the culpability of civilian death is the enemy's. (I would be happy to pull an article on that topic if you are interested.)
That does not make the civilian death any easier to bear or any less horrid.
So yes, the U.S. used napalm, and yes, there were many casualties, but no, U.S. policy was not to annihilate and destroy civilians just for the sake of killing them, and if any unit was found to do that it was prosecuted for the offense.
There is a huge moral difference between that and what Saddam did to the Kurdish citizens of Iraq - what Saddam did was gas whole towns for the purpose of annihilating a population. That is equivalent to the massacre Syrian president Assad perpetrated in Hama in 1982, sealing the town klling between 30,000 and 40,000 civilians for dissent against his regime.
Saddam killed for the sake of killing, he has done it before and he will do it again. He is a dictator that does not value individual life, and his people are paying the price for his cruelty.
There is a very good analysis of a fable authored by Saddam called "Zebiba and the King" - you may find it on meforum, and learn a bit more about the personality of this man.
Nobody in the U.S. government, no matter how far to the right, has displayed desire to annihilate a civilian population of any people or country. Rather, post 9/11, there has been an increase in knowledge and awareness of Islam, and in fact, a taking-care not to offend that in some cases works to the detriment of security (as in airport security checks.) While every society has bigots and nuts, the question is not whether they exist (and in a free society they certainly do make themselves heard) but whether there are voices representing all parts of the spectrum and whether the institutions of that society - the press, the judiciary, legislature etc - themselves are instruments of that bigotry and incitement or not. While in the U.S. there certainly are individuals full of hate, the institutions of the society stand guard against that hatred and protect against incitement. In the Islamic world, sadly, that is not the case. In the Islamic world, GOVERNMENT controlled press, GOVERNMENT appointed clerics, GOVERNMENT representatives, are the ones doing the incitement. And while there are moderates, they fear to voice their dissent, for if they do retribution comes in the form of fatwas. There were moderates in Afghanistan under Taliban rule, and they were happy to be freed, and scared to speak when the Taliban was in power for fear of being beheaded - see here for an example of a very brave Afghan now speaking out. There are I hope true moderates in the Palestinian Authority under Arafat's rule - but they fear to speak and be lynched by his thugs (they call them the "Tunisian mafia" actually.) Here is a heartening and hopeful example of brave Muslims who have launched a small opposition against the Islamists.
These people [reformers] need our help and support, even if only our moral support. The inner strength that comes from knowing the world has not forgotten you and recognizes your plight is immeasurable. I think now of Soviet dissidents like Natan Sharansky who breathed hope from the recognition of President Reagan of their oppression, and I think of how sad I was when the U.S. abandoned the Chinese students who died for democracy in Tiannamen Square. Let us not abandon those who seek freedom in the Middle East (and right now I am thinking of the increasingly restless and strongly pro-American population of Iran) to the wiles of their dictators.
I'll end this long response with a quote from the resignation letter of the
Friday prayer leader of Esfahan, Iran, Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri, who
quit to protest the current Iranian government's leadership:
"The ones who are astride the unruly camel of power, who are galloping
wildly in the political arena, who are climbing the ladder of the people's
sanctities and beliefs, who are circumnavigating the mill of leadership,
who are crossing the bridge of religion to reach the land of this-worldly
possessions, are unfortunately the assisters and encouragers of a bunch of
club wielders and a gang of shroud wearers who sharpen the teeth of the
crocodile of power and who want to marry the ill-tempered, ugly witch of
violence to religion, and to present our sanctities as defiled and
contaminated."
This truly spectacular sentence comes from the resignation letter of the
Friday prayer leader of Esfahan, Iran, Ayatollah Jalaleddin Taheri, who
quit to protest the current Iranian government's leadership:

"The ones who are astride the unruly camel of power, who are galloping
wildly in the political arena, who are climbing the ladder of the people's
sanctities and beliefs, who are circumnavigating the mill of leadership,
who are crossing the bridge of religion to reach the land of this-worldly
possessions, are unfortunately the assisters and encouragers of a bunch of
club wielders and a gang of shroud wearers who sharpen the teeth of the
crocodile of power and who want to marry the ill-tempered, ugly witch of
violence to religion, and to present our sanctities as defiled and
contaminated."

Ooo ya. Couldn't have put it better myself.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Jerusalem Post reports:
Oliver North, the retired Marine lieutenant-colonel who was a key player in the Iran-Contra affair, said yesterday he believes that the plane crash which killed Amiram Nir, counterterrorism adviser to prime minister Shimon Peres, over southwestern Mexico on December 1, 1988 was the result of foul play.
When asked who he thought might have been responsible for Nir's death, North said: "The KGB, Bulgarian intelligence, and Cuban intelligence all had operatives working in that area."
"Ami was the bravest man I ever knew, and I knew a lot of brave men," North added.
Nir's death 14 years ago has been the subject of controversy. Some reports at the time suggested the CIA was responsible for the crash of Nir's twin-engine Cessna, because he had knowledge of intimate details of the Iran-Contra dealings, including the types of arms that were sent to Iran, how much was paid, where the money went, and who specifically profited from the sales...
North, a former White House aide-turned journalist, was in Israel this week to broadcast his radio show, Radio America, from The Jerusalem Post's studios. He emphasized that his close ties with Nir had enabled a US Air Force plane to intercept the hijackers of the ill-fated Achille Lauro cruise ship when the Palestinian terrorists flew from Egypt in 1985.
Nir was North's main Israeli contact, serving as the liaison to senior Iranian leaders, including Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar, and helping to arrange US arms shipments transited through Israel.
The US and Israel were at the time supplying weapons to Teheran in hopes of securing the release of American and Israeli hostages held by pro-Iranian terrorist groups in Lebanon.
"The night before Ami and I flew from Tel Aviv to Teheran in May of 1986 to negotiate the release of Americans and Israelis who were being held in Lebanon, we were having dinner, and I overheard Ami tell his wife, Judy, that no matter what happened, he loved her and the kids," North recalled.
"We both flew on Irish passports that I brought to Israel. We were also issued 'pills' in case we were captured, but thank God we didn't have to use them." North said the Teheran mission was a "disaster, the Iranians gave us nothing."
North said that, following the failed Teheran operation, Nir returned to Israel, while he flew to Cyprus and then on to Beirut, where he secured the release of three captured Americans: Rev. Martin Jenko, Benjamin Weir, and David Jacobson.
Would someone please forward this chart to the State Department? Palestinian Homicide Bombers and
Saudi Payments to Their Families
Israel National News reports:
The White House yesterday condemned Israel’s decision to shut down the offices of Yasser Arafat’s man in Jerusalem, Al-Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said that while Israel’s recent actions such as easing closures on PA residents and removing Yesha outposts were "positive," he dubbed yesterday’s move “counterproductive."
The Israeli government closed down Nusseibeh's office in Jerusalem, because it was operating in blatant violation of
the Oslo accords.
While many have labeled Nusseibeh a “moderate”, including Foreign Minister Shimon Peres who recently praised Nusseibeh as being "courageous," the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) says that Nusseibeh is actually a longtime supporter of violence against Israel and describes him as "an extremist in moderate clothing."

In a 1986 article, Nusseibeh described Israel as "a racist Zionist entity" and called
for a three-stage plan of consolidating the Arab position within
Israel, increasing the Arab population, and then "the final stage
will be the stage of a Palestinian democratic and secular state,
achieved as and when Arab Palestinians naturally become a majority."
(Jerusalem Times, May 9, 1986)

During the Gulf War, Nusseibeh authored an extremist anti-American article which
appeared in the Arabic-language edition of Al Fajr on Jan.23, 1991
(for the English translation, see the edition of Feb.4, 1991).
When Iraq invaded Kuwait, "War generals, military strategists and
the military-industrial complex in the United States were
'rejuvenated' with this recent development," Nusseibeh wrote.
"They saw in this invasion a golden opportunity to test their
machines and theories and to revive their industry and profits...The
forces of aggression got themselves together to start the
annihilation process using the most advanced and sophisticated
weapons of mass destruction and dropping hundreds of tons of
explosives on Iraq which exceed the power of the bob on
Hiroshima...In order to further humiliate the Arab world and rub the
Arabs' nose in the dirt, the war in the Gulf was dubbed the 'six
hour war.'"

Nusseibeh's activity as a spy for Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War
has been documented by Prof.Michael Widlanski of Hebrew University:
"During the 1991 Gulf War, Nusseibeh was caught contacting Iraqi
intelligence officials in order to help direct the Scud rocket attacks
of Saddam Hussein in which four Israelis were killed (one directly)
and many wounded from 39 missile strikes. 'While the rockets were
falling it became clear to us that this gentleman was telephoning
the Iraqi ambassador in one of the neighboring countries to tell the
Iraqis where to shoot the missile,' stated Col.(Res.) Shalom Harari,
former Arab Affairs Advisor for the Israeli Defense Ministry...
Nusseibeh was arrested by Israel's counter-intelligence agency, the
Shin Bet, and put in administrative detention without trial for
several weeks. After the Gulf War ended, Israeli officials, under
pressure from the Israeli Left, allowed Nusseibeh a kind of 'plea
bargain' under which he voluntarily left the country for three years,
said Harari, today a researcher at the Interdisciplinary Center in
Herzliya." (www.themedialine.org, Dec.28, 2001)

The ZOA also notes that in 1993 Nusseibeh told the Arab newspaper Al Fajr, "Military means against Israel are vindicated by Israeli practices," and that he supports "the use of force against Israelis as a means of support of our negotiating position." In a 1986 article in the Jerusalem Times, Nusseibeh described Israel as "a racist Zionist entity," and then laid out his three-stage plan: consolidating the Arab position within Israel, increasing the Arab population, leading finally to, "the stage of a Palestinian democratic and secular state, achieved as and when Arab Palestinians naturally become a majority."

The
vice president of the World Jewish Congress, Isi Leibler, has
written: "Nusseibeh's behavior does not imply 'moderate' dissent
from Arafat. It is more likely a propaganda weapon ultimately
controlled by Arafat--a man who has established a consistent
tradition of speaking with a forked tongue...At best he is a
propagandist playing his role in a good cop, bad cop performance
orchestrated by Arafat. At worst he is a straightforward con man."
(Jerusalem Post, Jan. 24, 2002)

Several bombs were found in Gaza today, including two very large ones in the north that weighed a total of 120 kilograms of explosives... Arabs fired at an IDF patrol near Nachal Oz this afternoon; no one was hurt… Security forces last night arrested ten Arabs in the Shechem area - including several terrorists planning to launch suicide attacks... Among several terrorists arrested near Hevron yesterday was the man responsible for the May 22 terrorist attack in Rishon LeTzion in which two Israelis were killed...An Arab woman accomplice to a female suicide terrorist was arrested today. The detainee, from Shechem, was brought to Bituniya on Feb. 26 by a terrorist organization in order to place the explosives pack on a suicide terrorist who killed herself the next day at Maccabim Junction. Three policemen were injured in that blast, but their alertness helped save many lives - as her plan was to commit a mass attack in central Israel. Keep reading.
A Russian navy officer was killed yesterday when he tried to remove an anti-Semitic sign in a town not far from Kaliningrad. The sign, dug into the grass near his home, stated derogatorily that a man living in the area was a Jew. The officer tried to remove the sign, somehow triggering a hidden explosive to detonate. He was killed, and another woman passing by was seriously injured. This is the third such incident in two months. Source.

Perhaps that is the way Jew haters in Russian say "thank you" for Israeli help to Russia: An Israeli search-and-rescue team set off this morning for the Siberian peninsula of Taymyr to help search for a missing Russian helicopter that disappeared last night. The plane was carrying 13 geologists and 8 crew members. Moscow reports that inclement weather conditions are making search operations difficult. Source.
Amnesty International has finally recognized suicide bombings as crimes against humanity and has also recognized Israel's right to defend itself. TalG has already said everything I would have, so go read it there.
If you'd like to read the source, this is the full Amnesty International report.
one quote:
"Amnesty International condemns unreservedly direct attacks on civilians as well as indiscriminate attacks, whatever the cause for which the perpetrators are fighting, whatever justification they give for their actions. The organization has repeatedly condemned attacks on civilians in reports and statements and in meetings and other communications with armed groups that have attacked civilians in Israel and the Occupied Territories and in countries around the world. (3) Targeting civilians and being reckless as to their fate are contrary to fundamental principles of humanity which should apply in all circumstances at all times. These principles are reflected in international treaty law and in customary law."
Reuters' report.
This next item has nothing to do with the Middle East but everything to do with civil liberties in the U.S. For the record, I have never used recreational drugs nor attended a rave. However, I find the following bill quite a disturbing curtailment of liberty:
The Senate is poised to pass legislation that would give federal prosecutors
new powers to shut down raves or other musical events and punish innocent
business men and women for hosting or promoting them. The bill, known as the
Reducing American's Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act(RAVE Act), was just
introduced in the Senate on June 18th and has already passed the Senate
Judiciary Committee. It is moving VERY rapidly and could be passed by the
Senate as early as next week. Worse still, the Senate leadership considers
this draconian drug war bill to be so uncontroversial that they are trying
to pass it under "unanimous consent" rules, which will mean no debate and no
real vote. It is absolutely vital that your Senators here from you today.
They need to know that this bill is a danger to civil liberties and is
unacceptable.
S. 2633, sponsored by Senators Durbin (D-IL), Hatch (R-UT), Grassley (R-IA)
and Leahy (D-VT), would greatly expand the so-called "crack house statute"
and potentially subject innocent business men and women to enormous fines if
customers sold or used drugs on their premises or at their events - even if
they were not involved in the offenses in any way. If the bill becomes law,
property owners, promoters, and event coordinators could be fined hundreds
of thousands of dollars if they hold raves or other events on their
property. This bill is a part of a Justice Department strategy to halt all
musical events they don't like,such as raves. For more information on this
bill, go to thomas.loc.gov/ and under "bill number" search for S2633.

ACTIONS TO TAKE:
--Call your Senators and tell them to stop S. 2633, the Reducing American's
Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act from becoming law. Tell them that innocent
business owners shouldn't be punished for the crimes of their customers.
Tell them this bill has dangerous anti-civil liberties provisions that they
need to be aware of, and this bill deserves serious debate.
You can contact your Senators through the Capitol Switchboard at
202-224-3121. To find out who your Senators are go to:
http://www.senate.gov/senators/senator_by_state.cfm (To see the actual bill
go to search page - then go to search number-then type S.2633)

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Amish tech support has a great great super hilarious funny essay on Jewish vs Arab humor.
What a guy! When the World Trade Center was in flames, Merrill Lynch executive Alan Leventen left his nearby office to aid the injured. Moved to further action, he decided he'd fight terrorism by volunteering for reserve duty in Israel's army. Keep reading. Volunteers interested in participating in the program should call (08) 977-0484/6.
Capt. Haggai (Haim) Lev, 24, of Jerusalem, deputy commander of a Givati reconaissance unit, died after being shot as his unit was operating in the Rafiah area, near the Tarmit position on the Egyptian border, officials said.
Palestinians opened fire on the troops from a nearby structure as they were looking for tunnels used to smuggle weapons to terrorists from nearby Egypt, they added.
Lev was mortally wounded and flown to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba, where he died shortly afterwards of his wounds.
He is to be buried Wednesday evening at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem.
He is survived by a wife, Nurit, an English teacher in the Gush Etzion community of Efrat; parents Shimon and US-born Noa, two brothers and three sisters. Lev is the first IDF fatality in action since June 19, near the outset of Operation Determined Path, launched in response to a series of suicide bombings. On that day, Maj. Shlomi Cohen, 26 of Rehovot and Staff-Sgt. Yosef Talbi of Yehud were killed and four other soldiers were wounded in Kalkilya. The soldiers were shot while in pursuit of two terrorists hiding in a building. Source.

I remember Shlomi when he was younger. He was just a beautiful guy. Beautiful inside and out. When I first heard his name on the radio (I was driving back from the Golan Heights,) I thought, no, couldn't be *that* Shlomi. But it was. Sad sad sad losses, all of these brave and beautiful individuals.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

This article made me very happy. It is a potent illustration of the power of the individual and of how aligning people's incentives (eg stable livelihood) with a desired outcome (sustainable environment) is a much more effective means of social progress than arbitrary laws. Alternare, founded by two biologists, is teaching farmers in Mexico how to improve their lives and fortify their livelihood and as a result, is improving the condition of the environment. Take a moment to read it, and breathe in some hope.
You've probably all seen this on OpinionJournal...but here it is again anyway:
Nation of Islam chief Louis Farrakhan is in Iraq to show solidarity with Saddam Hussein. "The Muslim American people are praying to the almighty God to grant victory to Iraq," Saddam's Iraqi News Agency quotes Farrakhan as saying, according to a United Press International report.
Um..isn't this sedition or some such?
Doesn't Nation of Islam have quite a following among the U.S. prison population? especially disturbing when you couple this wee posting with this.
A thought by Spencer Ackerman to add to my little essay about Israeli humor:
cultural humor is an elusive and arbitrary phenomenon...Jewish culture--and Israeli culture in particular--has some spectacular black humor...But in the Jewish case, the engine of laughter is the bleakest moment of victimhood, survival from which engenders humor as a coping mechanism. The Abu Turki family [the family that took the picture of their baby with the suicide bomb belt and described it as a joke,] by contrast, is having a chuckle over murdering Jews in bus shelters, supermarkets, nightclubs, and pizzerias. They laugh to celebrate murder--and the consequent death of their own child--not to overcome it.
TalG points to a new and hilarious translation by the Cookie Goddess: morning LAX satire on Israeli Army radio.
This morning's must read article lineup:
Our Friends the Saudis: (those of you with delicate constitutions might want to avoid post prandial consumption of the following)
Simon Henderson writes in the Standard about the coming showdown with the Saudis . To quote one choice paragraph:
In case the Bush administration failed to notice Riyadh's
attempt to put some space into the relationship, the de
facto ruler Crown Prince Abdullah played a more obvious card
at the end of May. He sent one of his sons, Prince Mitab, to
Pakistan to witness the test launch of a Ghauri surface-to
surface missile with a range of 900 miles. Also present at
the launch site were North Korean scientists (the Ghauri is
a version of their Nodong missile) and a delegation from
Libya. Mitab's visit was unannounced, but Crown Prince
Abdullah must have known that his son's presence would be
noted by American intelligence within days, if not hours.

Victor Davis Hanson provides some color on the Saudi royal lifestyle, leaving me with a rather unpleasant image of bloated ticks. except in this case they are bloated on both blood and oil. ewe. bloated oily ticks. He details oppression in the kingdom (tickdom?) Anyway, here's a quote:
By any modern standard of civilization, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a bizarre place. In an age of spreading consensual government, the House of Saud resembles an Ottoman sultanate staffed by some 7,000 privileged royal cousins. The more favored are ensconced in plush multimillion-dollar palaces and maintain luxury estates abroad in Paris, Geneva, Marbella and Aspen. All 7,000 haggle over the key military and political offices of the kingdom--normally distributed not on the appeal of proven merit but more often through a mixture of blood ties, intrigue, and bribes.
Polygamy is legal, and practiced, among the Saudi elite. Everywhere in the kingdom, women are veiled, secluded and subject to the harsh protocols of a sexual apartheid. A few female Saudi professionals who in 1991 drove cars as a sign of protest mostly ended up arrested and jailed. Women who have traveled to the West remain under the constant surveillance of the Committee for the Advancement of Virtue and Elimination of Sin, a Taliban-like government watchdog group of clerics and whip-bearing fanatics.

Jack Kemp discusses the U.N. Arab Human Development Report 2002 and notes it left unmentioned:
a deficit of vital importance to the equation of social progress: a tolerance deficit.
Tolerance and liberty are the interlocking pillars of a free society. Liberty means having the freedom to think and advocate anything you desire and to live your life any way you want, so long as doing so does not encroach on other people's freedom do the same.
Tolerance means granting that same freedom to others, and the tolerance deficit in the Arab countries is glaring. It can be measured by their abysmal record on religious tolerance. According to a global survey of religious freedom by Freedom House in December 2000, "The religious areas with the largest current restrictions on religious freedom are countries with an Islamic background."

And finally, Arnold Beichman paints a picture of the 9/11 like threats to Israel that would arise from a Palestinian state:
Picture this in three, four, five years: There is now a Palestinian state with everything a state has — police and fire stations, a health department, schools and boards of education, newspapers and radio stations, shopping malls, a national legislature, mosques and an airport with two long runways capable of handling Boeing 767s, its own control tower located a short flying distance from the center of densely populated Tel Aviv. (you've got to keep reading)
Daniel Pipes (I just love this guy) provides a list of terrorist acts beyond the LAX attack that US and (no shocker here) French authorities have failed to call by their proper name:

Rashid Baz, a Lebanese cab driver with a known hatred for all things Israeli and Jewish, armed himself to the teeth in March 1994 and drove around the city looking for a Jewish target. He found his victims - a van full of Hassidic boys - on the Brooklyn Bridge and fired a hail of bullets against them, killing one boy. The the FBI classifed the attack as "road rage." Only because the murdered boy's mother relentlessly fought this false description did the bureau finally in 2000 re-classify the murder as "the crimes of a terrorist."

Ali Hasan Abu Kamal, a Palestinian gunman hailing from militant Islamic circles in Florida, took a gun to the top of the Empire State building in February 1997 and shot a tourist there. His suicide note accused the United States of using Israel as its "instrument" against the Palestinians, but city officials ignored this evidence and instead dismissed Abu Kamal as either "one deranged individual working on his own" (Police Commissioner Howard Safir) or a "man who had many, many enemies in his mind" (Mayor Rudolph Giuliani).

Gamil al-Batouti, an EgyptAir copilot, yelled "I put my faith in God's hands" as he crashed a plane leaving Kennedy airport in October 1999, killing 217. Under Egyptian pressure, the National Transportation Safety Board report shied away from once mentioning Batouti's possible terrorist motives.

Damir Igric, a Croat immigrant from the former Yugoslavia, used a boxcutter to slash the neck of a Greyhound bus driver in Tennessee last October, causing the bus to roll over, killing six passengers and himself. Although this bus-hijacking scenario echoed similar attacks by Palestinians on Israeli buses, the FBI immediately classified it "an isolated incident" and not an act of terrorism. The media attributed the violence to post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Hassan Jandoubi, an Islamist with possible connections to al Qaeda, had started working at the AZF fertilizer factory in suburban Toulouse, France, just days before a massive explosion took place there last Sept. 21. This, the worst catastrophe ever in a French chemical plant, killed Jandoubi and 29 others, injured 2,000, destroyed 600 dwellings, and damaged 10,000 buildings.

Monday, July 08, 2002

Action request from Honestreporting.com:
The "Foreign Service Journal" has probably one of the most exclusive
readerships in the world. Published by the American Foreign Service
Association, the de facto "union" of State Department employees, the
Journal is written for and by American diplomats around the world.
The June edition contains a vicious attack on Israel by a
long-time anti-Israel propagandist, Jerri Bird, the wife of a retired
diplomat. The article, "Arab-Americans in Israel: What Special
Relationship," calls Israeli actions "terrorism" and claims that Israel
systematically "tortured and incarcerated" Arab-Americans.
Bird heads "Partners for Peace," a "sister organization" of the
anti-Israel Council for the National Interest headed by Bird's husband,
Eugene, and former congressmen Paul Findley and Pete McClosky.
Jerri Bird's Journal article is a rehash of accusations she made last July
in "The Link," an anti-Israel smear-sheet published by the "Americans for
Middle East Understanding." Part of Bird's charges are based on the
24-year-old cables of a junior foreign service officer, Alexandra U.
Johnson, who interviewed Palestinian visa applicants and "detailed the
treatment of Arab prisoners."
Bird hides the fact that Johnson was later fired from the State
Department; according to a 1979 Washington Post report, Johnson was
"engaged to one of the Palestinians" cited in her cables. Only by claiming
he was tortured could the Palestinian obtain a U.S. visa. According to one
1979 report, Israeli intelligence informed U.S. authorities that Alexandra
Johnson may have aided terrorist cells.
Among the "human rights" organizations Bird cites in her article is
Miftah, an Arab organization headed by Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan
Ashrawi (who in April falsely accused Israel of committing "massacres").
Bird's article in the semi-official Foreign Service Journal follows the
Ashrawi line: "Now we see a ferocious, brutal attack on Palestinian
civilians by the massive Israeli military, supposedly to root out
terrorists.... So I ask: Who are the terrorists in the Middle East? Don't
decades of torture practiced on a wide scale by an occupying power qualify
as being terrorist? Are the Israeli government demolitions of homes not
terrorist actions?"
Some of Bird's imprisoned Palestinian-Americans were found guilty of
bringing funds to Hamas operatives. Bird labels Hamas an "illegal
organization" -- in quotation marks, as if Hamas is only considered so by
Israel. But Hamas is on the American and UK list of terror organizations,
and American officials visited Israel to interrogate one of the arrested
Palestinian-Americans to learn about terrorist networks in the United
States.
Yet Bird discounts the battle against terrorism shared by the United
States and Israel.

HonestReporting asks:

- Why did the Foreign Service Journal permit such a piece of rehashed
propaganda -- so at odds with American policy -- to be published?

- Is the anti-Israel article a tool to direct attention and criticism away
from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the breeding ground for al-Qaida terrorists?
Would the Journal consider an article on a topic recently aired in
Congress: American children abducted by their Saudi fathers and held in
Saudi Arabia?

- The battle against Bin Laden and the international terrorist network, as
conducted by the United States, requires intense interrogation of captured
terrorists who may possess information about "ticking bombs" ready to
explode. Would the Foreign Service Journal consider an article critical of
American interrogation tactics?

Read Bird's article here(second half of article)
Or here.

Once you read the article, if you object to the Bird article appearing in
the prestigious Foreign Service Journal, contact:

Steve Honley, Editor
honley@afsa.org
Tel: (202) 944-5511
Fax: (202) 338-8244

Foreign Service Journal
2101 E Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037-2990

You can also write to the State Department to object to the Bird article,
and to encourage them to disassociate from the Journal article:
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
Secretary@state.gov
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
Fax: (202) 261-8577

Bureau of Public Affairs
AskPublicAffairs@state.gov
Bureau of Public Affairs, Rm. 5827
U.S. Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520-6810
Tel: (202) 647-6575
FOX reports:
An Afghan man in the country illegally was arrested in Reading and whisked away to Philadelphia by federal agents, police said.
Mohomad Omar Popal, of Kabul, Afghanistan, had been wanted by federal authorities since 1997, police said. He was stopped by an Exeter Township officer on Saturday while driving toward Philadelphia, about 50 miles away...The agents searched Popal's truck, which appeared to be loaded with about a dozen cases of soda, Unterkoefler said. He said he found several car batteries, adhesive solvents and electrical wiring under the soda.
Thanks to Robert Crawford for posting the link.
UPDATE: more info here.
Muslims linked to Greek terror
BRITISH and Greek police have found a second Athens flat crammed with weapons belonging to the 17 November terrorist group.
At the same time, evidence has emerged apparently linking one of the group to Muslim extremists.
At noon on Saturday officers, including British and Greek detectives, burst into a modest two-room flat in the Pangrati district of the capital and found what they called a great many army bazooka rockets of the type that 17 November used in attacks on the BP headquarters and the European Commission’s office in the city.
Stolen from a Greek Army base in 1989, others had been found in a building in Patmos Street two days earlier, along with pistols, grenades, disguises and the 17 November anarchist flag. Two men and one woman were taken into custody. Until last week Greek police had not arrested a single member of 17 November since it began its attacks in the mid-1970s, including the murder of a British military attaché two years ago.
Savvas Xiros, whose botched bombing in the port of Piraeus more than a week ago made the present curbs possible, gave six hours of testimony to the police from his hospital bed at the weekend. Media reports suggested that he identified several 17 November cadres...
Potential links with Muslim extremist groups were reported by the influential daily Kathimerini newspaper yesterday, which ran a front-page photograph of Mr Xiros in a white jellaba and what it called Muslim Brotherhood headgear. The picture was said to have been taken in Sudan. The newspaper cited intelligence officials as saying that Mr Xiros had spent time in a Muslim Brotherhood camp in Sudan.
Gil Shterzer links to this very realistic scenario. Wake up Europe, before it's too late. To paraphrase Chen Keinan, whose baby daughter and mother were brutally murdered by a suicide terrorist a little over a month ago, your hypocrisy won't save you.
Freedom House's map is illuminating. See if you can guess which is the one little yellow colored (that is, free) country in the Middle East?
There is also a very interesting section on religious persecution in the world.
Yet another example of Islamofascist hatred for life in Iran: A Tehran court has sentenced the country's best-known male dancer Mohammad Khordadian, an Iranian-American, to a 10-year suspended jail term for promoting corruption among young people by setting up dance classes in the United States. The sentence, handed down Sunday, bans him from leaving Iran for 10 years, giving dance classes for life and attending public celebrations or wedding ceremonies of people who are not close relatives for three years, lawyer Abdolrahman Rasouli said. Keep reading.
This reminds me of the Islamist hatred for Mozart and Madonna.
The reasoning is very simple - death-woshippers can not allow people to find joy in music, dance, beauty, love - in physicalness and life - because once a human's soul is fed by joy, even a little snippet of joy, there comes an inner strength to seek freedom, in the way a plant seeks the light. A free thinking human, a joyful, life loving human, can not be controlled by fanatics, can not be bribed by visions of an afterlife, can not be cheated out of life by visions of sexual orgies after death.
and if you don't take my word for it, read this: "Do you want to know how to eliminate terrorism? I'll tell you. In fact, I'll tell you about something that no one else knows. Something that has never been written about. You will be amazed, but it is true. Listen."
Israeli humor and self satire tells a great deal. Whatever hardships and tragedies have occured over the last many many years, Israelis have always found an outlet in humor. This comes at least in part from a very rich Jewish tradition of humor, and is greatly informed by a sense of "ein breira" - no option (ie, nowhere to go, have to deal with the situation, so might as well see the humor in it.) The thing is, this is a culture that laughs at itself, and that is a clear indication of a healthy dose of self awareness and ability to self criticize. I would bet there aren't very many mulla jokes in the Palestinian Authority or Assad jokes in Syria for instance. One very interesting article I read (I think in the NYT - I'll keep an eye out for the link) a while ago, describe a renegade Iranian satellite TV station broadcasting in exile from LA (and immensely popular in Iran) whose most popular show was a hilarious mullah impersonator act. This article gives a good taste of Israeli humor in the current situation: AFTER a week in March when 25 Israelis had been killed in terrorist attacks, nearly half in the suicide bombing of a Jerusalem café, the television show "Only In Israel" presented a skit in which its two stars went out on a date. They sat at a table guarded by a rifle-toting sentry and ordered a full meal with champagne. When the waiter popped the cork, they flung themselves to the ground for safety. "Are you mad?" screamed the woman. "What do you think you're doing, going around opening bottles?" Keep reading.

So given the subject of this post is humor, and I have a firm belief that a great weapon in the arsenal of free people against fanatics and dictators is humor, here is another plug for Arafat in Amsterdam... Pass it on people, share the love ;-)

Heh heh! just ran across this gem.

Sunday, July 07, 2002

Erik Raymond has some excellent essays about the War. To quote but one of his many excellent points:
The war against Islamic terror must be fought on three levels: homeland defense, military power projection, and cultural subversion. We must foil terrorist acts; we must imprison or kill the terrorists who plan and execute them; and we must dry up the pool of potential recruits before they become terrorists who can only be stopped by being imprisoned or killed.
Homeland defense includes all those measures designed to make the attacks on U.S. civilians less likely to succeed. These will include conventional police and security measures. It must also include a revival of the role of the unincorporated militia and the armed citizen. Al-Qaeda has limited resources, but the advantage of choosing where they will strike; since the police and military cannot be everywhere, civilians (like the passengers of flight 93) must take anti-terrorist defense into their own hands.
Today's Criminal Will Become Tomorrow's Islamic Terrorist: The Janissaries were the elite fighting force of the Moslem Ottoman Empire for centuries. Their ranks were filled with young Christian men (who often converted to Islam) conscripted to fight for the sultan. They became instrumental in holding together the Ottoman Empire precisely because they were free from the tribal loyalties that left other Moslem Arabs and Turks, at times, conflicted. In today's parlance, we would merely call them Moslem extremists.
While most reporters (and unfortunately the White House) look at the John Walker Lindh and Jose Padilla stories as some type of strange socio-religious anomaly, these instances are anything but. The advent of Jihad Johnny and Abdullah al Muhajir represent the revival of a proved weapon of radical Islam - the Janissary warrior. And the recruitment has just begun.
The key element in the recruitment of the new Janissaries is to seek out and evangelize those who are disaffected with Western culture. In the case of John Walker Lindh, Islam provided a young man with moral boundaries when his parents would (or could) not. With Jose Padilla, the story was different.
Padilla was recruited to his new vocation as an Islamic terrorist after prison. Time will show that Padilla was not alone. Keep reading.
In case the fortunate lull in news coming from Israel has deceived you into thinking the terrorists have quit trying, here's the weekend wrapup:
Friday: five Arabs planning to carry out suicide attacks in Israeli cities were apprehended. More info.
Saturday: Soldiers uncovered and destroyed bomb-making factories in the PLO-controlled towns of Ramallah and Shechem. Inside the factories were hundreds of bombs, grenades, and homemade armaments. Troops in northern Gaza found a triple-barrel anti-tank rocket launcher aimed at a Jewish community in the area. The device was neutralized without incident.
..Arabs last night launched at least three mortar shells at Jewish communities in Gaza… At around 2 AM this morning Arab stone throwers targeted a motorist traveling north between Jerusalem and Shilo. No injures were reported in either incident. Source.

Soldiers captured two armed Palestinians in police uniforms Sunday, wounding one of them, as they tried to infiltrate Israel to carry out a suicide bomb attack, sources said.
The infiltrators were on their way to attack the Jewish community of Netiv Ha'asara in southern Israel.
The hourlong confrontation started early Sunday morning, when soldiers fired several tank shells at the gunmen after spotted a hole in the security fence of the north Gaza community of Elei Sinai.
A gunbattle ensued, and one of the gunmen was wounded by shrapnel, military sources said.
The gunmen were armed with explosives to carry out a suicide bombing, rifles and grenades, the sources said.
Elei Sinai, in the north of the Gaza Strip, is a frequent target of attack. In October two young Israelis, Liron Harpaz and Assaf Yitzhaki, were killed by terrorists who infiltrated the community. Keep reading.

And a note to the demagogues:
OC Central Command Maj. Gen. Yitzhak Eitan said that the army makes all efforts to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches the Palestinian public even in areas where curfews and closures are in effect.
"I can say that no one living in Palestinian areas in Judea and Samaria is starving," he said.
He also noted that Palestinian civilian institutions are continuing to operate, and said that the best example is the fact that Palestinian pupils were able to sit for their matriculation exams in their schools despite the restrictions imposed by the army on Palestinian cities and villages. Source.
Syria has been brutally occupying Lebanon for years. Why is this not discussed in the media?
It is shameful and telling that those who repeatedly criticize Israel for defending itself, for holding land it conquered in the course of a defensive war, and unlike any other nation in a similar position has repeatedly offered to give up in return for true peace, can not find even one word to say about the wanton Syrian rape of Lebanon.
With its strong Christian population, its fashionable cafes, and its internationally-renowned financial district center, the Beirut of the 1960’s represented a metaphor for a promising Lebanon in an otherwise tribal, traditionally conservative Middle East. Widely referred to as the Switzerland of the region at the time, Lebanon was a bubble of prosperity in an Arab sea of social, economic and political backwardness. But the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) intrusion into Lebanese soil during the late sixties, the bloody 1975-1990 civil war, the PLO-prompted 1982 Israeli invasion, and the emergence of the radical Muslim Shi’ ite movement Hizbullah, among other developments, have seriously affected the prospects of a bright future for this Levantine nation.
Today, however, the event that is most deeply and visibly blocking Lebanon’s political and economic development is Syria’s overt occupation of the country. Syrian forces entered Lebanon to "preserve the peace" in June 1976. Since then, the Syrian presence has contributed to anything but that—unless one is ready to consider Syrian-sponsored anti-Israel terror across the border and the promotion of domestic anti-Christian sentiment part of that "peaceful mandate." Keep reading.