Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NPR Interview: Zionists to blame for Darfur

Want to know who's responsible for the continuing genocide in Darfur? NPR listeners were given a surprising answer last night. According to Professor Horace Campbell of Syracuse University, the United States and France are responsible for its continuation. Professor Campbell went on to claim that the situation is being "manipulated" by what he calls "elements of the Zionist command", along with Christian fundamentalists and the neo-conservatives.

listen here: NPR : Africa Update: "Darfur Peace Talks"

The host of the program, Farai Chideya, didn't follow up this outrageous accusation. Was she trying to avoid being further embarrassed by the Africa expert her program's producers chose from the NPR rolodex? Was she too surprised or out of her depth to respond? I'm not certain. But I do know this: NPR, particularly the News and Notes program, owes its listeners an apology and an interview with an objective expert to undo the damage to truth done by this interview.

By the way, NPR shouldn't have been surprised by Horace Campbell's accusations against "the Zionist command" (whatever that is) because he's leveled the same charges before against "the neo-cons". According to the Spring 2007 edition of the Current, a journal published by Columbia University (read here):

Syracuse African American Studies and Political Science professor Horace Campbell says that the U.S.'s "neocon leadership" is using the perceived Arab-on-black genocide in Darfur as a means of "mobilizing a crusade against Islam" and "fighting wars in Iraq, Palestine, and Iran."
Campbell is promoting a book on Zimbabwe which purports to tell the whole story of Robert Mugabe's oppression of that country. No sane, honest person could assume Campbell is exploiting that situation for his own benefit. Revealing the horrors of the Mugabe regime, and addressing those horrors, are honorable pursuits. But somehow, when Jewish groups are involved in the campaign to end the genocide in Darfur, that indicates something nefarious, an anti-Muslim action by the Zionist high-command. (For the record, in case the reader is unaware, both sides in the Darfur conflict, both the perpetrators and the victims, are Muslim. The perpetrators identify themselves as Arab, whereas the victims are black.)

So Campbell is an expert of sorts -- an expert in applying a strategic double-standard designed to remove blame from mass murderers and place blame on those trying to end the genocide. That's the sort of expertise NPR listeners could do without.

Concerns about Mike Huckabee

Watch this video of three candidates, including Mike Huckabee, saying they don't believe in evolution (Video here) then tell me the idea of President Huckabee doesn't scare you. He must realize that this is a problem, because at the next debate opportunity to address the issue, he objected to the question, took the position that the choice was between belief in evolution or belief in God, yet claimed to believe both in a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation story and in a less literal interpretation where how God created the world is uncertain. (Video here) That's how a fundamentalist fudges.

Still on the fence? Read this from the National Jewish Democratic Council:

from the NJDC's Blog: Major Concerns about Mike Huckabee:

The big surprise at this weekend's Iowa straw poll was the sucess of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who finished a strong (and surprising) second to Mitt Romney.

Writes, MSNBC's First Read: "In terms of surprises at a straw poll that Romney was destined to win, Huckabee was it. He actually received more votes than he bought, a noble feat in the straw poll ... Huckabee is now first among the second-tier candidates, and he’s making a strong case for first-tier inclusion, if only he could raise more serious money."

The rise of Huckabee should be a major concern both for Republicans (who now have another very failed candidate as their potential nominee) and for Democrats (who should be concerned whenever an extreme candidate gets a whiff of the Presidency).

NJDC has blogged extensively about Huckabee. Here are a few concerns about his record:

- In June, Huckabee issued a call to arms to religious conservatives, urging them to vote on the very social issues that are undermining the wall between church and state.

- Also in June 2007, Huckabee said that "most of our prisoners would love to be in a facility more like Guantanamo ..."

- In May 2007, Huckabee went on record as not believing in evolution.

- In October 2006, Huckabee joked that he lost weight because Democrats put him in a concentration camp.

- In 1998, Huckabee called on the religious right to "take this nation back for Christ."

In January 2007, as Huckabee was preparing his presidential bid, the Washington Post reported on his radical views. Among the interesting points in the article:

[Huckabee] also publicly supported creationism, a philosophy advocated by fervent Christians, arguing that students should be exposed to the study of the doctrine as well as evolution.

During the political campaign, Huckabee could prove a poster boy for political corruption. He made news before leaving the Arkansas Governor's Mansion, when he set up gift registries on several websites, allowing lobbyists and others seeking to curry influence to know exactly which gifts to purchase for he and his wife. As we've blogged in past posts about Huckabee, this quote from a retired Arkansas government official says it all about the former Governor and potential Republican nominee:

“He’s using the trappings of the governor’s office to get everything he can, and the sad part of it is, I honestly believe he does not see anything wrong with this,” said Kerns, a retired lawyer for the Department of Veterans Affairs. “It’s like ‘ethics’ is a foreign word to him.”

Let's hope he never has the opportunity to "use the trappings" of the White House to do the same.


Still undecided? Download this factsheet (pdf here) then get back to me...

Why do I bother with this? I have always believed that Huckabee was the strongest candidate in terms of appealing to the Republican base. If he had money, he would be a shoe-in. Even without money he's got a shot. He's got a pleasant, easy going manner and radiates sincerity. None of the other Republicans can say that. He knows how to appeal to enough non-fundamentalist voters to make his candidacy much more than a pipe dream.

But, frankly, I think the guy's a hypocrite, and his sincerity a carefully choreographed facade. The idea of a President Huckabee scares me.

Melanie Phillips on the U.K.'s good friends, the Saudis

Following up on this post regarding the Saudi government disseminating most of the hate-promoting extreme Islamist literature in the U.K., literature found in at least one quarter of mosques in Britain, here's Melanie Phillips' take on who the Saudis really are and what they really promote. Read this and think about how accommodating them would most reasonably be interpreted as acquiescing in a culture war of their creation.

from The Spectator:


Britain's dhimmocracy (part 2):

On the Centre for Social Cohesion blog, David Conway rightly takes a very dim view indeed of today’s off-colour apologia in the Times for the British Saudi grovel-fest by the normally astute Amir Taheri, who argued that the Saudis were like camels – ‘uncongenial, but trustworthy’. Conway points out what these ‘trustworthy’ Saudis actually promote:

‘On May 7, 2002, wearing her customary body-length robe and fashionable head scarf, Doaa Amer -- a professional TV anchor who hosts Muslim Woman Magazine on IQRAA-TV, a satellite channel broadcasting throughout the Arab world … based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – announced to her viewers that she had a special guest. Broadcasting from Egypt, she beg[a]n: “Our report today will be a little different, because our guest is a girl, a Muslim girl, but a true Muslim.”

‘The camera pans slowly down and to the right as Ms Amer greets her guest who turns out to be a small child. [Their conversation goes thus:]

Amer: Peace be upon you.
Child: Allah’s mercy and blessing upon you.
Amer: How old are you?
Child: Three and a half.
Amer: Are you a Muslim?’
Child: Yes
Amer: Are you familiar with the Jews?’
Child: Yes.
Amer: Do you like them?
Child: No
Amer: Why don’t you like them?
Child: Because…
Amer: (prompting): Because they are what?
Child: They’re apes and pigs.
Amer: Because they’re apes and pigs. Who said they are so?
Child: Our God.
Amer: Where did he say this?
Child: In the Koran.
Amer: Right, he said that about them in the Koran…. Did they love our master Mohammed?
Child: No.
Amer: No, what did the Jews do to him?
….
….
Child: There was a Jewish woman who invited the Prophet and his friends. When he asked her, "Did you put poison [in my food]?” she said to him, “Yes.” He asked her, "Why did you do this?" and she replied: “If you are a liar – you will; die and Allah will not protect you: if you speak the truth –Allah will protect you.”
Amer: And our God protected the Prophet Muhammad, of course.
Child: And he said to his friends: “I will kill this lady.”
Amer: Of course, because she put poison in his food, this Jewess.
Child: Oh.
Amer: (speaking directly into the camera):
Basmallah [the girl’s name], Allah be praised, Basmallah, Allah be praised. May our God bless her. No one could wish Allah could give him a more believing girl than she… May Allah bless her and her father and mother. The next generation of children must be true Muslims. We must educate them now while they are still children so that they will be true Muslims.’

‘Shortly before this programme aired on IQRAA-TV, the station’s owner, Prince al-Waleed bin Talil [a Saudi royal] contributed $27 million to a government-organised telethon in Saudi Arabia that raised $109 million for the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Saudi King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdallah [now King] each contributed $1 million, with their wives kicking in separate cheques of close to $1 million. …

‘The telethon was hosted by a prominent Saudi government cleric named Sheikh Saad al-Buraik, who took the opportunity of the live television coverage to …[tell] his audience: “I am against American until this life ends, until the Day of Judgment. I am against America even if stone liquefies…. She is the root of all evils and wickedness on Earth… Oh Muslim Ummah, don’t take the Jews and Christians as allies… Muslim Brothers in Palestine, do not have any mercy. Neither compassion on the Jews, their blood, their money, their flesh. Their women are yours to take. Legitimately. God made them yours. Why don’t you enslave their women? Why don’t you wage jihad? Why don’t you pillage them?”

‘Like the al-Ibrahim brothers, whose Middle East Broadcasting Network aired the telethon, Sheikh al-Buraik is closely tied to Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd, the king’s youngest son. The sheikh hosts a regular show on MBC and the government’s Channel One called Religion and Life.’
[Kenneth Timmerman, Preachers of Hate: Islam and the War on America (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003), pp. 117-120 passim]

Just remember this when you look at the pictures of Britain’s Royal Family, Prime Minister and higher establishment bowing and scraping today to the House of Saud.

True Stories in Aspen Daily News Counter Hatred

I've posted quite a bit about the controversy in Aspen, Colorado over whether a local cable TV station would broadcast a Holocaust denial program at the request of a local "peace activist" who founded "Citizens for 9/11 Truth". (Links to all the pieces I posted on this are included in the most recent one here.)

In response to that controversy, which stirred up a lot of strong feelings in that quiet Rocky Mountain town and exposed a vein of anti-Semitism within a local group called the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition, The Aspen Daily News has published a series or articles recounting the experiences of Aspen's Holocaust survivors. The series, brilliantly authored by David Frey, are available via the links at the bottom of this post. Here's the first of the series:

from Aspen Daily News | Aspen, Colorado:

Aspen woman ‘disappeared’ amid Holocaust — and survived:

Ellen Goldsmith had disappeared. When the Nazis came rounding up Jews into concentration camps, Goldsmith had, miraculously, fallen off the list.

Her brother Leo hadn’t been so lucky. On a sunny day in 1942, he posed for family pictures by the tree in the backyard of their simple, two-story home in Mühlheim-Ruhr, Germany. The next day, with a few belongings packed in a bag, he left for what he was told would be a work camp. It turned out to be a journey to his death at a concentration camp. No one knew that at the time, though.

“He’ll be back,” Goldsmith remembered thinking. “That was the whole reason there wasn’t any uproar. Nobody was given the chance to think for themselves.”

The 77-year-old Aspen resident opened a family album that began with black-and-white pictures of Nazi Germany and ended with Technicolor birthday parties and world cruises.

As a 12-year-old girl, Goldsmith -- her last name was Baldeschwiler then -- stood in a ruffled blouse and plaid skirt as her brother twice her age prepared to leave. He stood beside her, in a jacket and tie, his face dour.

The next day would be the last day anyone in the family would see him. Two short postcards arrived from him in camp. The brief messages shed little light on his brief life behind barbed wire.

“I’m still doing well,” the last one read. “I hope to see you soon. Leo.”

Goldsmith’s grandmother wasn’t so lucky, either. At age 83, she was sent off to a concentration camp less than a year later. She would die there, like nearly all of her family, save a precious few who had escaped to the United States before it was too late. In pictures, her round face and stocky build made her look strikingly similar to her granddaughter today.

“My mother had five brothers and sisters,” Goldsmith whispered. “There’s nobody alive. Nobody.”

In the last months of the war, Goldsmith’s mother was sent to a Berlin work camp to serve the Nazis on a sewing machine. Goldsmith was left alone with her father. But amazingly, unlike most of her family, she was spared the horror of the concentration camps.

“I never had to go because I disappeared from the list,” she said.

GROWING HATRED
Little Ellen Baldeschwiler had witnessed the growing hatred of Jews in Nazi Germany. The daughter of a Jewish mother and a Christian father, she saw her family increasingly isolated. Her parents had tried to shield her from the hatred, and talked about it only in hushed tones. Then came Kristallnacht, Nov. 9, 1938, and in a night of violence across Nazi-occupied Europe, the synagogue where she attended with her family each Friday was destroyed.

“When the synagogues were burning, that was my first shock,” she said. “Because here we couldn’t go to synagogue anymore.”

She had had only one non-Jewish friend. She was forced to wear the Star of David that labeled her a Jew. When she walked down the street, she covered it with her pocketbook, as her mother had taught her. When she reached fourth grade, she and other Jews were kicked out of school.

Then the Nazis came for her brother. They were coming for her, too. That’s when she disappeared. The Nazis had given the local rabbi the horrific task of compiling the list of Jews to be sent to concentration camps. Goldsmith was friends with the rabbi’s daughter, so he kept her off the list as long as he could. Her father was Christian, and Ellen was just a girl, he told authorities. Her brother was the Jewish part of the family.

The ploy condemned her brother, but it saved Ellen. In time, the rabbi would be sent off to a concentration camp. His daughter would be, too. But Goldsmith was spared. She had disappeared.

Because her father was married to a Jew, he lost his job as a baker. But because he was a gentile, the family was spared some of the atrocities visited on other Jewish families. Their home was never ransacked. When his mother-in-law was run out of her home and her millinery shop, he was able to take her in.

“He was our savior in his own way,” Goldsmith said.

Henry Goldsmith, her husband to be, wasn’t so lucky either. A fighter in the Jewish resistance, he was captured and sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp. But he was smart and good with languages and the Nazis kept him alive, even well-fed compared to others at the camp, so he could help them.

In one photo, taken after liberation, he stands beside two Russians who were imprisoned with him, all three wearing black-and-white-striped uniforms and haggard expressions on their faces.

After he was freed, he showed up at Ellen’s door looking for news of his cousin, who had been imprisoned in the same concentration camp as her brother Leo.

“People searched all the time to find loved ones,” Goldsmith said. “We didn’t have any good news. My brother was murdered. He didn’t last long in the concentration camps.”

While Goldsmith had been spared the horror of the concentration camps, though, she wasn’t spared the horror of war. Two weeks before the war’s end in Germany, as allied forces approached, an American grenade landed in the backyard, the same backyard where she had bid good-bye to her brother years earlier. The grenade killed her father, and a family friend -- a soldier on leave from the front lines -- in front of her eyes. Shrapnel struck her in the chest.

“Then I was fatherless,” she said.

After she and Henry married, the two came to New York, and later to Aspen, where they built a successful business running Henry’s Electric Center and raised two sons. Before his death, Henry made a point of visiting local schools to share his memories of the Holocaust. His memoirs tell a harrowing tale. Escaping to Amsterdam as a child. Fighting with the resistance against the Nazis. Captured. Sent to Buchenwald. Surviving.

The memories linger for Goldsmith, too, even if age has erased some of the details. Claustrophobia still grips her sometimes, reminding her of the bomb shelter she ran to after watching her father die. Dark movie theaters, even automatic car door locks, can trigger it.

For years, the sound of Aspen’s noontime horn reminded her of childhood air raid sirens. But, she said, she doesn’t let the memories consume her.

“I’m still laughing,” she said. “But I have to. You can’t cry all the time.”

LINKS TO OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES (EACH ONE MUST BE READ, YOU WILL THANK ME):

Racist Website "Gamed" Aspen Daily News Poll on Holocaust Denial

The racist website Newsnet14.net "gamed" an Aspen Daily News poll concerning whether a Holocaust denial TV show should be aired on a local cable station. (Read about that controversy here and here and here and here).

The request to air the Holocaust denial program came from Steve Campbell, a former member of the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition and founder of Citizens for 9/11 Truth. For a number of years, Campbell programmed a film series sponsored by the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition that was accused of promoting anti-Semitism. Campbell apparently purchased the TV program from Mark Farrell, a neo-Nazi video distributor and publisher from Cincinnati who disseminates Nazi and racist themed DVDs for broadcast on public access stations. The broadcast was supported by Roaring Fork Peace Coalition board member Sue Gray, who blogs under the appropriate name "reckless G".

Multiple votes can be cast in such polls using a variety of simple techniques (such as deleting cookies or using software to change IP addresses) to defeat protections against "gaming" or deliberately skewing poll results. To read the solicitation for racists to vote in the poll click the following link. WARNING: link to hate-group website.

Newsnet14.com

Extreme Islamist Lit in UK Mosques Mostly from Saudi Govt Sources

from eGov monitor:

Investigation discovers hate literature can be found in a quarter of British Mosques (Source: Policy Exchange):

An authoritative new report by Policy Exchange, the UK's leading centre-right thinktank, entitled The Hijacking of British Islam: How extremist literature is subverting Britain's mosques, reveals the worrying extent of extremist penetration of mosques and other key institutions of the British Muslim community. The report is the most comprehensive academic survey of its kind ever produced in the UK and is based on a year-long investigation by several teams of specialist researchers into the availability of extremist literature and covers more than a hundred mosques and Islamic centres throughout the UK.

Among the reports findings are:

  • Most of the extremist literature is published and distributed by agencies linked to the Saudi Arabian government.
  • Some of the most high-profile and prestigious mosques in Britain are among the worst offenders; in many of them, it is openly available.
  • Separatist literature is distributed at the East London Mosque -which is closely associated with the Muslim Council of Britain (which purports to be the main body representing British Muslims).

Shocking statements

Pamphlets, books and leaflets obtained from mosques and Islamic centres contain an assortment of shocking statements including:

  • "Jihad against a tyrant, oppressors, people of bid'ah [Muslim innovators], or wrongdoers. This type of jihad is best done through force if possible."
  • "The Jews and the Christians are the enemies of the Muslim."
  • "Whoever changes his religion, kill him."

Although some of the hate literature is in English, a proportion is written in Arabic. The translations commissioned by Policy Exchange have been independently verified.

Many of the publications encourage British Muslims to segregate themselves from non-Muslims. So-called unbelievers are to be treated as second-class and avoided wherever possible.

There are also repeated calls for gays to be thrown from mountains and tall buildings and for women to be subjugated.

Among the literature available are extracts from the notorious anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion (published by the Saudi Ministry of Education), and other publications peddling bizarre conspiracy theories alleging that birth control is a plot against Muslims and Arabs, and that pornography is spread as part of a Jewish plot to corrupt Muslims.

The report has been authored by Dr Denis MacEoin, the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Newcastle University who received his doctorate in Persian (Islamic) Studies from Cambridge University and has taught Arabic and Islamic Studies at Durham, Newcastle and Fez universities.

Speaking about the findings of the report, Anthony Browne, Director of Policy Exchange said, "It is clearly intolerable that hate literature is peddled at some British mosques. I am sure the majority of moderate Muslims will be as horrified as everyone else that pamphlets advocating jihad by force, hatred for insufficiently observant Muslims, Christians and Jews, and segregation have found their way into the UK's mosques."

Mr Browne went on to say, "The fact that the Saudi regime is producing extremist propaganda and targeting it at British Muslims must also be challenged by our own government. It is reassuring that the majority of mosques investigated do not propagate hate literature - but much work needs to be done to ensure that a large number of leading Islamic institutions remove this sectarianism from their midst."

Recommendations

The report makes several key recommendations:

i)The Saudi Arabian government must be told to stop distributing extremist literature in Britain or else risk its good relations. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is currently on a state visit to the UK and the British government should address this matter directly with him.

ii)Mosques and other Islamic institutions must act immediately to remove extremist literature from their premises.

iii)The government, local authorities, police forces, other institutions and prominent individuals should have nothing to do with mosques that continue to sell or distribute extremist literature.

iv)Islamic schools must be subject to clear and rigorous regulation and made part of a genuinely shared system of national education.

MTV from Hell: Croation Nazi Singer to Play NYC (with video)

I recently commented (here) on a NY Sun article (The New York Sun:Neo-Nazi Band Set To Play Amid Protests, By MARUXA RELAÑO) on a concert by a Croatian neo-Nazi performer Marko Perkovic, who performs under the name Thompson (after the submachine gun of the same name). Perkovic is going to be performing in a Croatian Catholic church in Manhattan.

A reader named DAVID suggested that I post some video of Perkovic's videos and I thought you might be interested to see him in action. I warn you that his videos can be disturbing. I also warn you that his music is absolutely atrocious and devoid of talent or art; Perkovic traffics in dull moronic fascist chants with little appeal. At least that makes it easier to ignore him.

Here are some links to Perkovic's videos. The truly Nazi character of this material has to be experienced to be believed. This is MTV from hell:

BEFORE WATCHING THOMPSON'S MUSIC VIDEOS, WATCH THESE VIDEOS OF THE JASANOVAC DEATH CAMP SO YOU KNOW WHAT HiS SONG CELBRATES. YOU CAN ALSO SEE WHERE HE GOT SOME OF THE FOOTAGE HE USES.

HERE'S A VIDEO FOR THOMPSON'S "Jasenovac i Gradiska Stara" GLORIFYING THE CROATION HOLOCAUST

and ANOTHER VIDEO FOR THE SAME SONG

and ANOTHER

NAZI CHANT BY FANS AT THOMPSON CONCERT


VARIOUS OTHER THOMPSON VIDEOS:

#1 #2 #3

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Hypocrisy and Naked Bigotry of Michael Scheuer

You will remember Michael Scheuer, the man who developed the "extraordinary rendition" program for the CIA and went on to become a critic of Israel, supporter of Ron Paul and world-renowned authority on hubris. This piece from Commentary reveals what may be the source of Michael Scheuer's anti-Israel bias (not really a shock). It also reveals a bit about both his hypocrisy about and his recklessness with classified information, which really is a shock, especially considering the following quote from an interview he did with Die Zeit in December 2005 (German here, English here):

Die Zeit: Did you not have doubts concerning the use of torture in these countries? [i.e. the countries prisoners were sent to by the CIA]

Michael Scheuer: No, my job was to protect American citizens by arresting members of Al-Qaida. The executive power of our government has to decide whether it considers this hypocritical or not. 90% of this operation was successful and only 10% could be considered as disastrous.

Die Zeit: Which part was the disaster?

Michael Scheuer: The fact that everything was made public. From now on the Europeans will diminish their assistance because they fear reading about it in the Washington Post. And then there is this troublemaker in the Senate, Senator John McCain, who virtually confessed, wrongly of course, that the CIA uses torture. And that is how the program will be destroyed.


In other words, Scheuer condemns Senator McCain for destroying the program by inadvertently embarrassing our allies. Set aside for the moment that Scheuer is dissembling by ignoring the fact that Senator McCain, like the rest of the sentient world, was forced to deal with several publicly revealed instances where the extraordinary rendition program sent innocent people to countries where they were tortured. Scheuer, perhaps motivated by vanity, is now deliberately embarrassing allies who deny knowledge about still secret aspects of the program.

While Schoenfeld may overstate the criminality of Scheuer's disclosure of classified material in that Scheuer only speaks in general terms about what "must have happened" with respect to the CIA renditions program in Denmark* (see footnote) as opposed to disclosing specific classified information, he understates Scheuer's hypocrisy and his destructiveness. Scheuer appears to want to damage U.S. interests, even as he continues to defend his program.

By the way, Schoenfeld prematurely confirms Michael Mukassey as Attorney General in this piece. I really don't know whether he'll be confirmed and I have doubts that, if he is, he'll pick the sort of political fight Schoenfeld would like to see. Frankly, after recent experiences, the next Attorney General would be wise to depoliticize that office as much as possible, especially with respect to issues relating to intelligence and national security. More germane to this question, as Scheuer is undoubtedly aware, the U.S. is not anxious to publicize Scheuer or give him a forum to do more damage.

For the record, let me say that the extraordinary rendition program should be fully investigated for legal and ethical violations. Since first hearing about it, I was struck both by its necessity and with its blatant illegality -- a very uncomfortable combination. I also thought that the word "extraordinary" was a euphemism for something that was soon to be, if not already, ordinary. "Extralegal deportation" would have been a more accurate term. If it was necessary, than it should have been rare and precise and I don't believe that it was rare or precise enough. While I assume that I disagree with Schoenfeld on that, his piece is a very interesting peak into mind of Michael Scheuer, a very vain man whose mask is starting to slip.

from Commentary: "Michael Scheuer Watch":

by Gabriel Schoenfeld

An entry here entitled Michael Scheuer: Innocent Until Proven Guilty seems to have rattled the former CIA official’s cage. He has posted three separate comments in reply.

Herewith some comments about his comments.

In his 2004 book, Imperial Hubris, Scheuer made a point of stressing how vital it was for CIA analysts like himself always to “check the checkables”—a phrase he used incessantly in that volume. In writing about Imperial Hubris in COMMENTARY, I noted then that he himself had a very hard time with the checkables, not least in the realm of spelling. L. Paul Bremer III was rendered in the book as Paul Bremmer, General Curtis LeMay as General Lemay, the foreign-policy analysts Edward Luttwak and Adam Garfinkle as Lutwack and Garfinckle, etc.

In his comments posted here on Connecting the Dots, Scheuer still has trouble with the same class of checkables. And, along with misspellings, he does some far more noteworthy things.

Thus, in one of his three replies, Scheuer suggests that I am disloyal to the United States: “only a small part of Mr. Scheonfeld [sic]…may be American.” He suggests that, along with me, Norman Podhoretz, Max Boot, James Woolsley [sic], someone simply identified as “Pipes” (Richard or Daniel?), and someone simply identified as “Horowitz,” have pushed the United States into wasting American “treasure” and getting our “soldier-children killed in fighting other peoples’ wars, especially other peoples’ religious wars.”

Presumably, in referring to “religious wars,” Scheuer has in mind, as so often in the past, Israel’s conflicts with its neighbors. But my post had nothing to do with Israel. Nor were the names Podhoretz, Boot, Woolsey, Pipes, or Horowitz mentioned in it. The imputation that these individuals, including a former director of the CIA, are disloyal to the United States is naked bigotry (although I cannot of course defend “Horowitz” from Scheuer’s accusation, since I do not know who he is).

I was writing not about religious wars but about Scheuer’s disclosure of information to the Danish newspaper Politiken concerning the extraordinary rendition to Egypt in 1995 of a terrorist plotter by the name of Abu Talal. Scheuer does comment on that episode, but in a way completely irrelevant to my charges. He says:

The CIA’s rendition program—which I helped author, and then managed for almost four years—continues to be the U.S. government’s single most successful, perhaps only sucessful [sic] counterterrorism program, and Americans are very much safer with the likes of Abu Talal off the street.

But the issue is not whether extraordinary renditions were successful, or whether Americans are safer because of them. I will stipulate for the sake of argument that he is right about both those things.

I was raising a different issue, concerning the U.S. laws governing leaks, and I raised five questions about whether the Politiken story indicates that these laws may have been broken:

1. Is the story accurate?

2. Assuming it is accurate, was the information about the rendition of Abu Talal classified?

3. Assuming it was classified, and that Scheuer . . . was the primary source, did he have the CIA’s permission to talk about it?

4. Assuming he was the primary source and he did not have CIA permission, and that the two preceding questions are answered in the affirmative, was a crime committed here?

5. If the elements of a crime are in place, will be there an investigation? And is anyone at the CIA or the Department of Justice or in Congress paying attention?

It is notable that in his three responses, Scheuer does not address or answer even one of these five questions.

The CIA does things in secret for a number of very good reasons. One of them is to accomplish U.S. security objectives without creating political firestorms in friendly countries. But a firestorm has now been ignited in Denmark as a result of Scheuer’s leak.

All the opposition parties in the Danish parliament are demanding an investigation into whether the authorities cooperated with the CIA in the extradition. Amnesty International has joined the choir: “It should be clarified whether Denmark indirectly participated in the CIA’s prisoner program and therefore in the violation of human rights,” says Lars Norman Jorgensen, who heads the organization’s Danish branch.

Meanwhile, even as the Danish foreign minister, Per Stig Moller, is denying that he was ever informed that “any unlawful acts” had taken place on Danish territory, Michael Scheuer has been pouring more fuel on the fire. He has told Politiken that the Danish intelligence agency, the DSIS, must have known about the rendition program; he says, “I can’t imagine any situation where we would not have told Denmark this.”

In short, not only does Scheuer appear to be the source of a damaging leak, he appears to be intent on maximizing the damage.

Here are some more dots that I’m still trying to connect:

CIA officers have been indicted in Italy for taking part in extraordinary renditions there. Will Denmark now initiate a similar legal process?

How does Scheuer’s activity differ from the deliberate leaking of classified information by the renegade CIA agent Philip Agee, whose passport was revoked in 1979 and is now a fugitive living in Cuba?

What is the Justice Department doing about the disclosure? I predict that the incoming Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, will prove far more energetic in investigating and prosecuting leaks than was the feckless Alberto Gonzalez. I hope I’m right.

What does Scheuer have to say about any of this? I predict that, at this point, he will answer with either a telling silence or with even more telling and more irrelevant evasions.



*Note: Similarly, Scheuer spoke in 2005 about what the German government "must have known" with respect to the rendition from Morocco to Syria of German/Syrian citizen Mohammed Haydar Zammer, a member of the Hamburg cell which planned 9/11.

Neo-Nazi Leader Organizing Ron Paul Youtube "gaming"

According to the racist website, VNN forum, neo-Nazi leader Will Williams (aka "White Will") (read about him here) is organizing another in a series of Ron Paul internet dirty tricks of the sort that have distorted cable news snap poll results (read here and here).

Basically, he's asking that Paul supporters all request a particular Paul campaign video from Youtube on a particular date to boost its ratings in Youtube's recommended viewing ratings. By the way, he helpfully indicates that "bjb" won't be able to do this on his "niggerberry". "bjb" stands for "burnjewburn", one of the other users of this message board -- he's the one who puts the motto "nothing says lovin' like a jew in the oven" on everything he posts. The other word apparently means blackberry. That's what passes for humor among neo-Nazis.

I post the following with a strong warning, don't click it unless you really need evidence of the above information.

CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING WITH CAUTION -- RACIST WEBSITE:


Youtube tip from Ron Paul guerrilla "gamer" "White Will" - Vanguard News Network Forum

Monday, October 29, 2007

U.K. "peace activists" caught destroying crops

from Arutz Sheva/Israel National News: 'Olive Harvest' Activists Caught Destroying Jewish Vineyards:

Jewish-owned vineyards in Samaria were once again destroyed by leftist “humanitarian groups” Friday. This time some were caught in the act and arrested.

Shortly after residents of Dolev, located north of Jerusalem, discovered Friday that a local synagogue had been burned to the ground overnight, they saw that 3,000 plants in nearby vineyards had been destroyed. This is the third case of major agricultural vandalism in the region in recent months.

Vines were torn from the ground, and expensive irrigation equipment was damaged. The Jewish locals saw a group of foreign activists and Arabs heading toward an additional Jewish agricultural plot and alerted the police and IDF. The group fled, but three female activists from the United Kingdom were slower and were caught by police.

Destruction Under Guise of Humanitarian Assistance
Residents say the vandalism occurred under cover of the much-publicized PA Arab olive harvest. Local Arabs, joined by leftists – many foreign nationals – focus their harvest activities on trees abutting Jewish communities. This year, the IDF has been tasked with ensuring that Jewish residents do not leave their communities while the harvest activities are going on, citing fears of clashes. Two administrative orders have distanced two Jewish residents from all of Judea and Samaria for the duration of the harvest.

Adi Mintz, an area resident and member of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria (Yesha) who is running for mayor of the region, said that the Yesha's Jewish residents have now received “a clear warning sign. Today it is synagogues and vineyards that are destroyed - tomorrow it will be the lives of human beings. The army must send in more forces to defend the residents of this area,” he said.

The owner of the destroyed vineyard, Shlomi Cohen, said the attack had caused NIS 60,000 of direct damage and would cost him an additional NIS 120,000 in lost produce. The damage was particularly severe because the attack took place during the shemittah (sabbatical) year, when Jews are forbidden to work the land.

British ‘Peace Activists’ Responsible
The three British women who were apprehended by police are accused of responsibility for the destruction Friday. Police also have evidence, however, that the women were part of the group that destroyed farm equipment in the nearby town of Neria in an earlier incident as well.

The women are activists with the International Solidarity Movement, a militantly anti-Zionist group that seeks to enable provocative actions against the IDF and Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, under the assumption that their foreign citizenship will raise the threshold on the response of security forces. The lines between ISM and local terrorist groups are quite blurry. In the past, British terrorists even carried out a suicide bombing after being embedded in an ISM cell.

Most of the vandals also take part in clashes with the IDF near the Arab village of Bilin. The militants were recently handed a victory by the Supreme Court, which ordered the IDF to move the security fence in the area of the weekly protests.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cambridge Univ. Press Destroys Book on Terror Finance, But Copies Remain in Libraries

More on the incredibly wealthy, incredibly evil Sheikh Khalid bin Mafouz and his ongoing battle against free speech, especially when it concerns allegations that he finances terror groups (read here for background):

from the Library Journal: "ALA to Libraries: Keep Alms for Jihad, Pulped in the UK":

by Andrew Albanese & Jennifer Pinkowski (8/23/2007)


At the urging of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), a scholarly book pulped by its British publisher is maintaining a safe haven in U.S. libraries. Alms for Jihad was the target of a potential libel suit in England by Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz, whose charitable activities have reportedly been linked to terrorist activities, as conveyed in the book. In response, publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP) pulped its unsold copies of the book, put it out of print, asked libraries to pull it, and agreed to pay damages. CUP also issued a stunning public apology on its web site in which it characterized the "serious and defamatory allegations" against Mahfouz in Alms for Jihad as "manifestly false."

In a statement released last week, the OIF recommended libraries resist Cambridge’s request. Libraries "are under no legal obligation to return or destroy the book," said OIF deputy director Deborah Caldwell-Stone. "Libraries are considered to hold title to the individual copy or copies. Given the intense interest in the book, and the desire of readers to learn about the controversy firsthand, we recommend that U.S. libraries keep the book available for their users."

As of mid-August, Alms for Jihad was not available through Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, or Alibris. (About 1500 copies of the book were sold worldwide.) Libraries suddenly have an incredibly rare book in their stacks; a WorldCat search finds the book at nearly 300 libraries. Rather than discard the book, many libraries are safeguarding it, keeping it on hold, at the reserves desk. "I have recalled the copy of this title…in order to place it in our Rare Books collection, where it may be read by anyone but not borrowed," said Dona Straley, Middle East Studies librarian at Ohio State University's Ackerman Library. "Several of my colleagues at other institutions have reported their copies as missing."

That may be the case at University of North Carolina's Davis Library, whose catalog reveals that Alms for Jihad is "in search," meaning "someone has gone to the shelf to look for the book and not found it," said reference librarian Carol Tobin.

These sorts of measures may eventually be less necessary, because the authors hope to republish Alms for Jihad in the U.S. Co-author Robert O. Collins, a professor at University of California Santa Barbara, told LJ that he and co-author J. Millard Burr, a former state department employee, are currently negotiating with CUP for a rights reversion. The authors have had several offers from U.S. publishers.

"We stand by what we wrote and refused to be a party to the settlement," Collins said. "As soon as CUP received notice, they decided to settle as rapidly as possible despite our vigorous defense. CUP did not want to embark on a long and expensive suit which they could not win under English libel law." Indeed, libel laws in England are far more favorable to plaintiffs than those in the U.S.

Collins said he is confident Alms for Jihad will be republished in the U.S., where Mahfouz's charges would have little chance of succeeding in court. "In reality, the few passages referring to Mahfouz are trivial when compared to the enormous amount of information in the book that is in demand," Collins noted, adding that he has received calls from booksellers offering as much as $500 for copies.

Mufti: Fantasy History Trumps Truth

from The Iconoclast - New English Review:

No Temple on Temple Mount

This is why I called my piece on Muslims attitudes toward antiquities, "At War With Reality." Islam is built upon a fantasy history and thus actual history inevitably refutes it, so history is a threat to Islam.. Also see Ibn Warraq's piece this month where he discusses evidence that the Koran developed over centuries and was edited and re-edited several times, contrary to the Muslim contention of its uncreated, perfect and eternal nature.

Jerusalem Post (h/t DW): The former mufti of Jerusalem, Ikrema Sabri, has made the claim that there never was a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount, and the Western Wall was really part of a mosque.

"There was never a Jewish temple on Al-Aksa [the mosque compound] and there is no proof that there was ever a temple," he told The Jerusalem Post via a translator. "Because Allah is fair, he would not agree to make Al-Aksa if there were a temple there for others beforehand."

Sabri rejected Judaism's claim to the Western Wall as part of the outer wall of the Second Temple.

"The wall is not part of the Jewish temple. It is just the western wall of the mosque," he said. "There is not a single stone with any relation at all to the history of the Hebrews."

More than 50 organizations plan to protest Sabeel anti-Israel conference

from The Jewish Advocate:

Pro-Israel rally to demonstrate against weekend Sabeel event
By Lorne Bell

Scores of local organizations are planning to rally outside the Old South Church in Boston this Friday in response to a weekend conference sponsored by Sabeel, the controversial Christian Palestinian human rights group.

The conference, “The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine-Israel: Issues of Justice and Equality,” will feature Sabeel leaders and the Reverend Desmond Tutu, who, along with Sabeel, has been criticized for his portrayal of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. More than 50 organizations plan to join in Friday’s demonstration.

“We respect the right of the Old South Church to have the conference because we believe in freedom of speech, but we absolutely denounce the message,” said Nancy K. Kaufman, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston. “The public needs to understand that [Sabeel] is anti-Israel and against Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.”
The JCRC has teamed up with religious and human rights groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the United Assembly of God of Framingham, to demonstrate against this weekend’s event.

“They have a right to demonstrate,” said Nancy S. Taylor, senior minister at Old South Church. “The people rallying outside the event have legitimate concerns, and the people speaking inside have legitimate concerns. There is more than one truth.” The central issue voiced by this weekend’s demonstrators is Sabeel’s insistence on labeling Israel an apartheid state and the incendiary language used by the organization’s founder and leader, Naim Ateek.

In a 2001 Easter message, Ateek wrote, “Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him. The Israeli crucifixion system is operating daily.” He also compared Israel’s security wall to the rock that sealed Jesus’ tomb.

“The United Church of Christ prides itself on recognizing the covenant between God and the Jewish people, yet it has tolerated the use of this despicable imagery by one of its ecumenical partners,” said Dexter Van Zile, Christian media analyst at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. “This is very troublesome.”

But Sabeel and Ateek have been unfairly targeted and demonized, according to Martin Federman, co-chair of Jewish Voice for Peace’s Boston chapter. “Ateek has tried, for the sake of Palestinian Christians, to put [the conflict] in a context of what it feels like from a Christian point of view,” said Federman. “I have read Ateek’s stuff, and I have met with him on numerous occasions, and to call him anti-Semitic is so outrageous and defamatory it would be humorous if it wasn’t so serious.” Still, Federman conceded that some of the concerns about Ateek’s language are valid from a Jewish perspective.

Taylor, who said she could not speak on behalf of Ateek, Sabeel, or the United Church of Christ, of which Old South is a member, agreed that some of Sabeel’s language could be seen as problematic. “I find the language concerning. It is not language I would use,” she said.

The Sabeel event is part of Old South Church’s “Getting religion right: beyond stereotypes and statistics” series, which runs from October through December. Several Jewish speakers had been scheduled to speak at the conference, including Dennis Ross, Rabbi Susan Harris, and Rabbi Jonah Pesner of the Union for Reform Judaism. Pesner has since cancelled his appearance, although he would not say whether the Sabeel controversy influenced his decision. Ross’ name was also recently removed from the conference’s roster of speakers.

Meanwhile, Tutu, who holds the title of International Patron of Sabeel, has also been criticized for comments he made at the Old South Church in 2002 as part of another Sabeel-sponsored conference. In his address, Tutu implied that Israeli policies were the cause of suicide attacks and also compared the “Jewish lobby” to the totalitarian regimes of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Pinochet and Apartheid South Africa.

“We reject the apartheid language and the traditional Christian imagery that has historically been used to vilify the Jewish people and is today used to vilify the Jewish state,” said Andrew H. Tarsy, regional director of the ADL.

Still, in a recent letter to the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, the ADL objected to the university’s decision to call off an appearance by Tutu. And though the ADL will be part of this weekend’s demonstration, Tarsy affirmed Old South Church’s right to host Tutu.
“He has a right to speak and they have a right to have him,” said Tarsy. But, he added, “It is too bad that Tutu would lend his credence to [Sabeel].”

Kaufman agreed and said this weekend’s demonstration is about Sabeel, not Tutu.
“Sabeel claims to support non-violence, but it criticizes all Israeli security measures and has never denounced suicide bombing,” said Kaufman. “This isn’t about legitimate criticism of Israel; it’s about a group that goes way beyond legitimate criticism.”

Neo-Nazi Support for Ron Paul

The Lone Star Times has revealed that the Ron Paul campaign has received at least one contribution from neo-Nazi leader Don Black, who heads an internet-based group called Stormfront. (Read the Lone Star Times piece here)

I've been looking at neo-Nazi support for Ron Paul and found that there's quite a bit. It seems that one of Rep. Paul's top internet organizers in Tennessee is a neo-Nazi leader named Will Williams (aka "White Will"). Williams was the southern coordinator for William Pierce's National Alliance Party, the largest neo-Nazi party in the U.S. (for more on Williams' role in the National Alliance Pary see "Beyond A Dead Man’s Deeds: The National Alliance After William Pierce", page 7 [pdf], for general info on the National Alliance Party, read here) For those fortunate enough not to know, Pierce was the author of The Turner Diaries, the bible of American neo-Nazis and inspiration for this country's worst case of home-grown terrorism, the Oklahoma City bombing (read here).

Williams claims to have spent 30 years as a racist activist, and reportedly was personally responsible for providing security services to William Pierce. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, in 1993, Williams targeted children for recruitment to the National Alliance, authoring and distributing a racist comic book called "The Saga of ... WHITE WILL" which featured a violent attack by the hero against a Jewish youngster (read here). In 1998, Williams organized what he advertised as a "European Culture Festival" in Cleveland, featuring Irish and Slavic folk music and dancers. Attendees found themselves at a "white power" rally with speeches by William Pierce, Tom Metzger, founder of White Aryan Resistence ("WAR") and other racist leaders (read here). In December 2000, he spoke to a younger racist audience at a concert of racist rock bands organized by the National Alliance and Erich Gliebe's Resistance Records in California. (read here and here) [Gliebe, Pierce's personally chosen successor to lead the National Alliance, specializes in the recruitment of young people. He is perhaps the world's leading promoter of racist rock music and computer games, and is one of the chief promoters of the racist girl group Prussian Blue. (read here)] In March, 2001, Williams participated in a racist anti-immigration rally on the steps of the Hall County, Ga. courthouse, along with his friend and National Alliance Party associate, Chester Doles, listed variously as former Grand Dragon and Former Imperial Wizard of the KKK (read here and here and here) . In July, 2001, Williams participated in a violent rally at the German embassy in Washington, D.C. in support of German neo-Nazis (read here).

Williams now spends less time recruiting young people to be Nazis via comic books and rock music, and more time recruiting them to support Ron Paul via several meetup groups in Tennessee (read here), although he may be using these meetups to do both. He also posts anti-Semitic messages on Ron Paul message boards (read here), sometimes eliciting requests that he keep his neo-Nazi views quiet while continuing to organize for Paul, or in one case a joke concerning remaining "non-interventionist" with respect to William's ravings (read here). "White Will" Williams has also been actively campaigning for Ron Paul via racist websites as noted here, on the Huffington Post. (That piece, titled "To His Dismay, Ron Paul Becoming Magnet For White Supremacists", was a whitewash of the racist connections of the Paul campaign, ignoring Williams' role as an internet organizer for Paul.)

Other National Alliance Party leaders or former leaders are actively promoting the Ron Paul campaign on neo-Nazi websites. One such is Ron Doggett, currently of a group called Viginia EURO, a local branch of a national group started by David Duke (read here and here, photos here [CAUTION: Hate-group site]). (Pro-Paul forum postings by Dogget here [CAUTION: Hate-group site]) Here's what Doggett posted on one racist website:

Getting his name out there and showing support is important in any campaign. Everyone should do their part, getting those yard signs like Glenn suggested is one small way to help. I've got a Ron Paul for Pres. sign for the world to see at the base of my flag pole, the pole has a 4x6 Confederate flag atop it. Ron Paul bumper stickers on our cars and I wear my Ron Paul t-shirt anytime we go out to places with a lot of folks. A good number of my neighbors who know about my politics have asked me about Paul and have said they'd vote for him in the primary know that they know he's a good one.
Directly above this post was one authored by a user calling himself "BurnJewBurn". This user's slogan, appearing on everything he posts, reads "nothing says lovin' like a jew in the oven".

For those with the stomach to read more of that sort of material, here, with my warning, is the "Ron Paul Internet Army" forum of a neo-Nazi website to which Doggett posts: [LINK TO HATE-GROUP WEBSITE. CAUTION.]

Racist podcaster Hal Turner has recently taken a break from issuing death threats to politicians in order to endorse Ron Paul. And then there's David Duke himself, who's devoted webpage after webpage to material supportive of the Paul campaign, without formally endorsing Paul. You could say that's soft money from the hard right.

The Ron Paul campaign disavows racism, of course, but for some reason, they can't keep the racists away. Maybe it has something to do with Rep. Paul's seeming opposition to all federal civil rights laws. Or his vote against providing funding to re-open investigations of murdered of civil rights workers. His racist comments about fleet-footed black muggers (or, as Paul has claimed, the comments he first defended, then took several years to realize he hadn't made and disavowed) haven't hurt, nor has his association with the John Birch Society, acceptance of support from the Christian Identity movement and advocacy for conspiracy theories. His isolationism, anti-immigrant rhetoric, and disdain for Israel and its supporters just might help explain his appeal to racists.

Maybe the racists' support for Paul has something to do with his advocacy of states' rights, which he frequently mischaracterizes as individual rights. He apparently appeals to a constituency which has forgotten the horror of what states' rights meant to non-white individuals in many states. As should be clear by now, Paul also appeals to some who DO remember and support a return to segregation and the other forms of racial oppression justified in the name of states' rights.

Let's remember that Rep. Paul voted against renewing the Voting Rights Act. He had the nerve to state in a speech to Congress that relations between the races have improved despite, not because of, civil rights laws. (read here) He also made the following statement in a speech he gave to Congress in opposition of a bill to commemorate the 1964 Civil Rights Act:

"(T)he forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty...The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the federal government unprecedented power over the hiring, employee relations, and customer service practices of every business in the country. The result was a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society. The federal government has no legitimate authority to infringe on the rights of private property owners to use their property as they please and to form (or not form) contracts with terms mutually agreeable to all parties."

In other words, Paul values the right to discriminate more than the right not be discriminated against. What a sorry state of affairs that this disgraceful conduct can still occur in our Congress over forty years after the first major civil rights legislation passed. This outrage is compounded when Rep. Paul portrays himself as a champion of the Constitution, and this message is promoted by the ignorant and ignored by the indifferent.

So while I blame the racists and neo-Nazis for being who they are, I am more concerned about those who should know the history of civil rights but still allow Paul to spread his deceptions. He does not belong among the top candidates in a major party and his candidacy gives a boost to an otherwise declining racist movement in this country.




UPDATE (4/2/2010):  Going back through this piece, I've discovered that the Ron Paul campaign has deleted several of the Meetup webpages linked to here, and made others private and accessible only with permission of the campaign.  As time permits, I will search for archived versions of these webpages and replace the links to the originals with links to the archived versions.  Thanks for your patience..

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Syrian Reactor Disappearing Act

from New York Times: Satellite Photos Show Cleansing of Syrian Site:

By WILLIAM J. BROAD and MARK MAZZETTI

New commercial satellite photos show that a Syrian site believed to have been attacked by Israel last month no longer bears any obvious traces of what some analysts said appeared to have been a partly built nuclear reactor.

Two photos, taken Wednesday from space by rival companies, show the site near the Euphrates River to have been wiped clean since August, when imagery showed a tall square building there measuring about 150 feet on a side.

The Syrians reported an attack by Israel in early September; the Israelis have not confirmed that. Senior Syrian officials continue to deny that a nuclear reactor was under construction, insisting that Israel hit a largely empty military warehouse.

But the images, federal and private analysts say, suggest that the Syrian authorities rushed to dismantle the facility after the strike, calling it a tacit admission of guilt.

“It’s a magic act — here today, gone tomorrow,” said a senior intelligence official. “It doesn’t lower suspicions, it raises them. This was not a long-term decommissioning of a building, which can take a year. It was speedy. It’s incredible that they could have gone to that effort to make something go away.”

Any attempt by Syrian authorities to clean up the site would make it difficult, if not impossible, for international weapons inspectors to determine that exact nature of the activity there. Officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna have said they hoped to analyze the satellite images and ultimately inspect the site in person. David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a private group in Washington that released a report on the Syrian site earlier this week, said the expurgation of the building was inherently suspicious.

“It looks like Syria is trying to hide something and destroy the evidence of some activity,” Mr. Albright said in an interview. “But it won’t work. Syria has got to answer questions about what it was doing.”

The striking difference in the satellite photos surprised even some outside experts who were skeptical that Syria might be developing a nuclear program.

“It’s clearly very suspicious,” said Joseph Cirincione, an expert on nuclear proliferation at the Center for American Progress in Washington. “The Syrians were up to something that they clearly didn’t want the world to know about.”

Mr. Cirincione said the photographic evidence “tilts toward a nuclear program,” but does not prove that Syria was building a reactor. Besides, he said, even if it was developing a nuclear program, Syria would be l years away from being operational, and thus not an imminent threat.

Gordon D. Johndroe, a White House spokesman, declined to comment on the satellite pictures.

The satellite images of the Syrian site were taken by DigitalGlobe, in Longmont, Colo., and SPOT Image Corporation, in Chantilly, Va. They show just a smooth, unfurrowed area where the large building once stood.

The desolate Syrian site is located on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River some 90 miles north of the Iraqi border and seven miles north of the desert village of At Tibnah. An airfield lies nearby. The new images reveal that the tall building is gone but still show a secondary structure and a pumping station on the Euphrates. Reactors need water for cooling.

The purported reactor at the site is believed to be modeled on a North Korean model, which uses buildings a few feet longer on each side than the Syrian building that vanished.

Mr. Albright called the Syrian site “consistent with being a North Korean reactor design.” Imad Moustapha, the Syrian ambassador to the United States, said in an interview last week with The Dallas Morning News denied that his country was trying to build a reactor.

“There is no Syrian nuclear program whatsoever,” he said. “It’s an absolutely blatant lie.”

Later in the interview, he said, “ We understand that if Syria even contemplated nuclear technology, then the gates of hell would open on us.”



Saudi drunk driving problem

Important news story? Not really. I present this as an example of the law of unintended consequences. This law always takes effect when religious hypocrites place arbitrary limits on the free choice of individuals. In this instance, the Saudi restriction on drinking forces drinkers, most of them young men, to drive to Bahrain, which has no such prohibition. The cops look the other way -- maybe they don't want to bust the rich and privileged -- or maybe they do the same thing themselves. The unintended result? An epidemic of horrific fatal accidents caused by drunk drivers coming back into Saudi over what Arab News reporter Molouk Y. Ba-Isa calls the Blood Border’.

from
arab news:

In the Eastern Province, there is a Blood Border in the area of the King Fahd Causeway. Bahrain, just across the Causeway, allows the sale of liquor. In Saudi Arabia the consumption of liquor is prohibited. During Ramadan every year, traffic across the Causeway is diminished. But starting on Eid Al-Fitr, tens of thousands of people make the trek to Bahrain. Many of them can be seen happily consuming alcohol in Bahrain’s hotels, clubs and restaurants.

What they are doing is none of my business — until they decide to get behind the steering wheel of a vehicle and drive. Our home is five minutes from the Causeway. Every night during the Eid holiday week, we have had to deal with the problem of impaired drivers returning after a bit of fun in Bahrain. Actually, this is an issue every weekend, but during the Eid holiday, the terror of it continues night after miserable night.

Normally, when a driver is having difficulty keeping to the center of his lane in the Kingdom, it’s because he’s talking on his cell phone. But at night on the roads and highways leading into Saudi Arabia from the Causeway, for safety’s sake it must be assumed that every driver is at least somewhat impaired and perhaps five percent are outright drunk.

The drunk drivers who weave left and right are easy to spot and avoid. There are also the overcautious drivers. These are the impaired drivers who realize they are in trouble, but who won’t pull over and sleep it off since “home” is nearby. They will be driving 50 kph in the middle lane on the highway, where everyone else is doing at least 120 kph. Just imagine what happens when they are encountered unexpectedly!

.....

These young men tend to live with their parents and being out all night would lead to questions. They think that having a few drinks and then driving isn’t a problem at all. Unfortunately, their response time is slowed and they may be drowsy from the alcohol. If they are joined by friends in the car, they may be distracted, too. As we all know, the situation on the Kingdom’s roads isn’t the safest. Combine the teenage driving maniacs with the impaired drivers on a highway near a recreation area in the evening, and a blood border is the outcome.

There are no statistics on how often alcohol plays a role in Saudi traffic accidents. A “Legal Limit” doesn’t exist in Saudi Arabia. Having any amount of alcohol in a person’s blood stream in the Kingdom is illegal. Every Saudi insurance policy states that there is no compensation for accidents caused by drunk driving. In the Kingdom, penalties for drunk driving include fines, imprisonment and even lashing.

In Bahrain too, there is supposed to be zero tolerance for consuming alcohol and driving. Under Bahraini law, any sign of having consumed alcohol may be taken as prima facie evidence of driving under the influence, which can lead to imprisonment and/or fines. So if the laws are in place — why are drunks on the road?

The problem is a lack of enforcement. The Bahrainis could set up random breathalyzer testing on their side of the Causeway every night, but that doesn’t happen. Coming into the Kingdom on the Causeway, everyone must stop at a Custom’s check point. When Arab News inquired about the procedure for dealing with drunk drivers, the Saudi Custom’s officer, who refused to be named, stated that they really have no way of detecting drivers who may be impaired but not drunk. They call the police to hold those drivers who are clearly incompetent to drive, and a blood test to confirm blood alcohol level is not always carried out.

So year after year the tradition continues. I’ve lived in the Eastern Province for more than a decade now and every Eid it’s the same. Just as sure as there will be Eid candy on the table, there will be Eid drunks on the highway.

The end of Poland's evil twins?

I always thought the evil twin was a feeble plot device. Now the Polish electorate agrees...

opinion from International Herald Tribune: "Poland, untwinned":

Polish voters have rendered a clear, negative judgment on the fear-mongering political style of the Kaczynski twins, President Lech Kaczynski and Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and their 15 months of joint rule. They decisively rejected the Kaczynskis' Law and Justice party, turning instead to the center-right, pro-business, Civic Platform, whose leader, Donald Tusk, is now expected to become prime minister.

Lech Kaczynski's job was not at stake Sunday - he remains president until 2010. But his power to veto future legislation will be largely nullified by the new parliamentary arithmetic.

The Kaczynskis spoke, and will doubtless continue to speak, for the hurts and resentments born of Poland's tragic 20th century history. The problem was that they often behaved as if that history was the exclusive property of their political party, and their belligerent, populist tone its only legitimate voice.

The grudges and suspicions they nurtured extended not just to ex-Communists, but to Germans of all generations, foreign business leaders, secularists, intellectuals, and on and on. They fostered a climate of accusation and suspicion that divided Poland from its natural European partners and alienated the more forward and outward looking younger generation.

That climate also threatened to snuff out the critical democratic spirit forged in the heroic Solidarity movement that defied Communist power a quarter century ago. Lech Walesa, Solidarity's former leader, became an outspoken critic of the Kaczynskis' rule.

All the main Polish parties are more or less pro-American, thankful for Washington's steadfast opposition to Soviet domination during the cold war. The Kaczynskis, with few friends left in Europe, ardently embraced Bush administration initiatives whenever they could, sending a military contingent to Iraq and offering Poland as a base for a proposed new American missile defense system.

Tusk has already made clear he will withdraw Polish soldiers from Iraq, and will agree to missile defenses only so far as they advance Poland's own security interests. Those shifts will not be universally welcomed in Washington.

Everyone, however, should be pleased that Poland - the largest, most important former East Bloc country to have joined NATO and the European Union - has voted to embrace Europe, modern capitalism and its own best political traditions. Tusk's challenge in the days ahead will be to assemble a broad and stable governing coalition that faithfully reflects those views.




Polish senator who doubted Holocaust gets top role

By Natalia Reiter, from Reuters via Yahoo! News:

Senator Ryszard Bender was named by President Lech Kaczynski as "speaker senior," a post that will give him ceremonial duties at the re-opening of parliament on November 5. The president's office said Bender was named because he was the oldest senator.

Bender has said in the past that the Nazi extermination camp of Auschwitz was "not a death camp, it was a labor camp." More than 1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed by German occupiers at the camp in southern Poland.

"Someone like this should not have any political functions," said Stefan Niesiolowski, a senior official of the centre-right Civic Platform, which defeated the ruling party of Kaczynski and his twin brother the prime minister in the election.

"We do not want to start with boycotts and fights, but this is a scandal," Niesiolowski told reporters.

Bender is an ultra-nationalist who entered the senate on the platform of the Kaczynskis' Law and Justice party. The president's office said Kaczynski had no choice but to name him as chairman for the first sitting of parliament.

"He is obliged to appoint the oldest senate member," a statement from the presidency said.

In 2000, Bender questioned whether the Nazis had gassed people at Auschwitz in remarks echoing those from far-right politicians and historians who deny the Holocaust.

"Auschwitz was not a death camp, it was a labor camp. Jews, Gypsies and others were annihilated there through hard labor. Actually, labor was not always hard and not always were they annihilated," he told right-wing Catholic Radio Marjya.

After an outcry followed the comments, Bender complained at the law banning denial of the Holocaust.

"Through the unfortunate law, Jewish fundamentalists seek to claim Auschwitz and Birkenau camps for their Holocaust, while those and other camps were the scene of the holocaust of Poles, too," he said.

Many of those killed at Auschwitz were gassed and burned. Most of them were women and children seen by the Nazis as unsuitable for hard work.

The president and Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski have good relations with Jewish groups and Israel, but the prime minister's former coalition included a far-right party that was often accused of xenophobia.

Poland had the biggest Jewish population in Europe until World War Two. Millions were killed in the Holocaust and many survivors fled anti-Semitic propaganda by the communists, leaving only a few thousand in the country.

Millions of other Poles were also killed in the war.

Croatian Nazi Concert Planned in NYC

Croatian neo-Nazi, neo-Ustase singer took his stage name from the Thompson submachine gun.


from
The New York Sun:Neo-Nazi Band Set To Play Amid Protests, By MARUXA RELAÑO:

Protests are mounting against plans for a Croatian rock star, Marko Perkovic, who critics say glorifies the Nazis, to perform in New York.

The performer, known as Thompson, combines folk-inspired melodies with the electric thrill of heavy metal and nationalistic lyrics.

While Thompson's songs promote love of God, family, and his nation, the singer and songwriter is also said to glorify war and Croatia's Nazi past, and that has groups lining up in protest of his two New York shows at the Croatian Center in Midtown next month.

In past concerts, he has performed an anthem of the country's Nazi-backed military regime — the Ustasha — that references extermination camps where tens of thousands of Jews, Serbs, and Gypsies were killed during World War II. He greets adoring crowds with a famous Ustasha slogan — and many respond with the Nazi salute.

"To glorify what happened during the Holocaust is not what we need in the world today, nor do we need it in this city — after the events we have recently been through. To play with that for the sake of music, or even conviction, I find it totally repugnant," the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Task Force Against Hate, Mark Weitzman, said.

Mr. Weitzman said his group is in conversations with the Croatian Embassy, whose government has been trying to distance the country from the strong nationalism of the 1990s as part of a serious bid to join the European Union in 2010.

"I get the sense that they are not very happy about the concert, but I'm not sure how they are going to respond. Hopefully there will be the right response," Mr. Weitzman said.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights nonprofit that has been monitoring Mr. Perkovic's performances for several years, has also asked the Croatian Embassy in Washington to publicly repudiate the band as part of the country's commitment to international treaties denouncing the Holocaust, and to forgo working with any institution that supports the tour.

Last week, organizers of a Thompson concert planned in Toronto next month cancelled after pressure from the Canadian offices of the Task Force Against Hate. The group is now in conversations with the venue that is to host their Vancouver appearance, as well as to police there, said Leo Adler, director of national affairs.

Mr. Adler said in Canada, where there is a lower threshold for what constitutes hate speech, there is a chance that Thompson's lyrics could violate the law. In America, freedom of speech is more protected, he noted.

The director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, said he hoped education and exposure of the band's background would convince people to not attend their concerts. "The sad part is how popular they are in Croatia and that they are now coming here to appeal to U.S. Croats to almost justify the Holocaust," Mr. Foxman said.

"It's a free country, and people can choose to be offensive. We are not in the business of censorship or shutting people down, but we do hope that when people understand what they are about they will not want to hear them play," he added.

For Serbs living in America, whose minority population in Croatia was decimated during WWII and the Balkan wars of the 1990s between Serbs and Croats, Thompson's songs strike a particularly sensitive chord.

"He is singing about genocide against a people who were ethnically cleansed. It's intolerable," a development officer at NYU, Radosh Piletich, 35, said. Mr. Piletich is part of a loose group of Serbian-Americans in New York who would like to see the concert canceled and have lodged complaints with the office of Rep. Jerrold Nadler, in whose congressional district the concert will be taking place.

"I would like to stop the concert. I would like to stop the hatred. I don't understand how we can be in the 21st century and allow this type of language to take place," a man whose grandmother was killed by Ustasha during the war, Tom Djurdjevich, 37, said.

"If you listen to his lyrics, it celebrates butchery. It's beyond inhumane. He talks about gouging out of eyes and sawing off of heads," Mr. Djurdjevich continued.

One of the New York events' organizers, George Corluka, of Syndicate Productions, did not return calls and emails requesting comment.

But patrons at several Croatian bars in Astoria, Queens, where tickets for Mr. Perkovic's performance are being sold for $45, dismissed the importance of Thompson's extremist rhetoric, saying he is just appealing to a young nationalist sentiment long repressed by the Communist regime that gripped the country following World War II.

"Everybody says he's a good person. He's singing about genocide in the context of a war," said a painter, Marko Marienovich, 42, whose 21-year old daughter has made plans to go hear Thompson play said. "What he's singing about, he went through. He sings about the things he saw."

Many said they respect the fact that Mr. Perkovic is a veteran in the war between the Croats and Serbs. He earned his stage name from an American-issued submachine gun used by the Croats.

"He's a Croatian hero. You are going to see how many people show up for his show," a retiree, Boris Yurisic, 47, said.

So far, tickets for Mr. Perkovic's November 2 concert at the Croatian Center on 41st Street in Manhattan — which holds 700 people — are sold out. Tickets for a second concert the following day, scheduled due to strong demand, will soon go on sale. The Croatian Center adjoins the Roman Catholic Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius and St. Raphael, on 10th Avenue. Calls to the church offices were not picked up.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, Joseph Zwilling, said he didn't know about the concert or the artist and therefore couldn't comment. "I'd have to contact the Parish about this and we'll have to investigate it, certainly," he said.


At a readers' suggestion (thanks DAVID), here are some links to Thompson's videos. The truly Nazi character of this material has to be experienced to be believed. This is MTV from hell:

BEFORE WATCHING THOMPSON'S MUSIC VIDEOS, WATCH THESE VIDEOS OF THE JASANOVAC DEATH CAMP SO YOU KNOW WHAT HiS SONG CELBRATES. YOU CAN ALSO SEE WHERE HE GOT SOME OF THE FOOTAGE HE USES.

HERE'S A VIDEO FOR THOMPSON'S "Jasenovac i Gradiska Stara" GLORIFYING THE CROATION HOLOCAUST

and ANOTHER VIDEO FOR THE SAME SONG

and ANOTHER

NAZI CHANT BY FANS AT THOMPSON CONCERT


VARIOUS OTHER THOMPSON VIDEOS:

#1 #2 #3

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