Saturday, December 24, 2005

Don't Go Wobbly George - Editor of Daily Star Lebanon

Appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Don't Go Wobbly George
By MICHAEL YOUNG
December 23, 2005; Page A14

BEIRUT -- For the first time in months, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad can relax. After facing international pressure for its presumed role in the Feb. 14 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Syria last week made the U.N. Security Council blink. The consequences will be felt hardest in Lebanon, which has yet to break free from Syria's stranglehold. Unless the Bush administration and its European allies, particularly France, reverse this trend, they risk losing everything they have worked for in the country during the past year.

When Detlev Mehlis, the German prosecutor tasked by the Security Council to investigate Hariri's assassination was appointed last May, he found himself in a unique position: Never before had the U.N. body overseen an inquiry into a political murder. However, that atypical international audacity showed its limitations when, after Mr. Mehlis's second progress report in mid-December, the Council passed an anemic resolution against Syria; this despite Mr. Mehlis's describing Syrian "reluctance and procrastination" in cooperating with his inquiry, and the fact that on the day the document came out another murder was committed in Beirut -- that of journalist Gebran Tueni, a critic of Syria.

Security Council Resolution 1644 was a disappointment on many levels. It extended the U.N. inquiry for six months, but effectively complicated two key Lebanese government objectives: The government had wanted the Council to endorse a tribunal "with an international character" to try suspects in the Hariri assassination; what it got, instead, was a request that Beirut define its needs in that regard. The government also asked that the U.N. inquiry be enlarged to cover other assassinations and bombings that have taken place in recent months. Its reward was a vague clause saying the U.N. and Lebanon might discuss "recommendations" to that effect.Detlev Mehlis

The first condition emasculated the tribunal proposal because Syria's Lebanese allies, particularly Hezbollah, refuse to endorse a mixed or international court, knowing a Lebanese court could never indict Syrians. That means any official Lebanese attempt to meet the U.N. demand might provoke domestic dissension. The vagueness on the inquiry's scope, meanwhile, means assassinations may continue with impunity, because Lebanon's judiciary and security services, where Syrian influence remains strong, will not seriously investigate political crimes without international cover and encouragement. It did not help the somber mood in Lebanon that Mr. Mehlis, who opposed widening the commission's latitude, also acknowledged the recent crimes were probably linked to the Hariri case.

The Security Council's indolence was further confirmed when a proposal to ask the U.N. commission to report on its progress every two months was amended, so that now it need only report every three months.

The Lebanese worry that the Bush administration has cut a deal, whereby Syria will give it assistance in Iraq and elsewhere in exchange for breathing space in Lebanon. There is little solid evidence for this, but the complexities of a Security Council investigation are becoming all too apparent: To retain unanimity in the Council, the U.S. and France have ceded much ground to Russia and China, who hesitate to punish Syria. Russia in particular fears that collapse of the Assad regime might lead to chaos, and is backed in this by the Arab states. In Washington, where Iraq withdrawal mode has taken over, "realists" enamored with stability are making a comeback, and also seem to prefer Mr. Assad to the unknown.

Getting cold feet on Syria would render the Security Council's year-long efforts in Lebanon invalid. It would also make a mockery of the Bush administration's stated aim that it seeks behavior change in Damascus. Syrian behavior in Lebanon has indeed changed, but for the worse. The Hariri investigation was designed to end political killings. If so, the families of Tueni, Samir Kassir and George Hawi, as well as those of several other bombing victims, would disagree.

The international community cannot continue backing a U.N. investigation of the Syrian regime while also saving Mr. Assad's bacon. Something has to give, and unless the contradiction is ironed out quickly, it will infect the work of the U.N. commission. If the Security Council is serious about finding Hariri's murderers, then it must use the instruments it has itself approved to compel Syria to cooperate with the inquiry, including sanctions. After all, Resolution 1644 and a strongly worded predecessor, Resolution 1636, were passed under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter.

His contract expired, Mr. Mehlis is returning to Berlin, reportedly to be replaced by a capable young Belgian prosecutor, Serge Brammertz. The U.N. investigation is moving forward and Syrian responsibility for the crime is in little doubt. (Asked by a London-based Arabic newspaper whether he was convinced Syria was behind Hariri's killing, Mr. Mehlis replied, "Yes.") But time is a key factor, and it would be strange for investigators to methodically investigate the Hariri killing, while others continue unabated. A reminder: Tueni died just meters from the road U.N. investigators take to Beirut daily.

Beyond the likelihood of more assassinations, the Security Council ignores another thing: Finding Hariri's assassins was always a cornerstone of efforts to dismantle the Syrian political and security edifice in Lebanon. That is largely intact. Syrian allies, most prominently Hezbollah, are armed, and while its disarmament (also demanded by the Security Council) must be the fruit of domestic Lebanese dialogue, its leadership will not negotiate unless Syria's sway in Lebanon is broken.

As long as the international community refuses to address a change of power in Syria, and as long as powerful states cretinously assume that the Syrian regime is a mainstay of stability, Mr. Assad will survive. This will lead to his trying to reassert Syria's hold over Lebanon, provoking serious instability between his enemies and allies here. Syrian stability passes through Lebanese instability, so any presumption that the men in Damascus are a force for regional serenity is misguided.

If the Security Council is to be consistent with its aims in the Hariri case, it must use the next two months to definitively determine if Syria is serious about cooperating with the U.N. inquiry. If it is not, the Council has a basket of policy choices: It can impose sanctions on senior Syrian officials, or on the economy as a whole, including oil exports. It can issue a new resolution that places the burden of forming an international or mixed tribunal on the U.N.'s shoulders, rather than on that of the Lebanese. And it can expand the U.N. commission's mandate to include all recent political crimes, on the grounds that these are extensions of the Hariri affair.

As for the U.S., it seems odd that only days after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wrote in the Washington Post that democratic institutions, especially in the Middle East, were "the only realistic response to [America's] present challenges," the administration should sign off on a U.N. resolution suggesting the contrary. Lebanon, like Iraq, is that rare country that has proven Mr. Bush right in pursuing regional democracy. He shouldn't have so easily averted his gaze when a bright light of Lebanese liberalism was butchered last week. Maybe it's time for the president to hear what his father heard from Maggie Thatcher after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait: "Don't go wobbly, George."

Mr. Young, a Lebanese national, is opinion editor at the Daily Star in Beirut and a contributing editor at Reason magazine.

Friday, December 23, 2005

SOME GREAT DRY BONES CARTOONS

Dry Bones cartoon weblog.
These are pretty good
  1. Spoof on Terrorists in Iraq and West Bank
  2. Justice
  3. Golda
  4. Tis the seeason

FORMER ISLAMISTS TERRORIST INTERVIEWED

INTERVIEW AUDIO
Hat tip Solomon

The interviews are very straightforward with not much fluff. The interviewees all speak good English and are in my opinion direct and honest.
  • Ex-terrorists Islamists Walid Shoebat - Ibrahim Abdullah and Zachariah Anani on 'The Jersey Guys' show here.
    Abdallah is a Dearborn, Michigan-born Palestinian who was indoctrinated in the United States and travelled to the Middle East to kill and engage in Jihad. He says that the exact same educating, fund raising and Jihad is taught all over the United States as in the Middle East.
  • PART 1
    PART 2
    PART 3

UPDATE: Princeton Censors Ex Terrorist/Islamist Speakers
You can read the whole progression there. In the end it had to be held off campus.

UPDATE II: Reporting Live from the Princeton Ex-Terrorist Event

Muammar al-Qaddafi - Reformed Murderer?

Hat tip Terp Pole -

And we were led to believe that Quadaffi was actually 'truly sorry' for the Pan Am bombing?

Since the late 1990's he's been trying to trade 4 Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor for the mastermind of the Pan Am Bombing who is serving life in prison in Britain. These good Samaritans supposedly traveled to Libya to "deliberately poison over 400 children with AIDS" - so a Libyan court said!

The nurses and doctor insist they were set up that they have been repeatedly raped and tortured while in prison.

So did Quadaffi purposely set up 4 nurses and a doctor of a horrible crime - let them rot in jail - so he could try and trade them for his partner in mass murder - with whom he murdered over 200 innocent civilians aboard Pan Am Flight 103?

Otherwise, wey're supposed to believe that 4 Bulgarian Nurses and a Palestinian Doctor traveled to Libya just for the purpose of poisoning Libyan children? Yeah, ok.

The guy IS
(did you ever think differently?) a Scumbag Murderer! - No matter how many try to portray him as reformed or if the so-called Revolutionary Left try to champion his ""virtues"".
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A terrible irony on the release of Robert Stetham's murderer: Today is also winter solitice, their darkest day, the anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am 103.

Among the 189 Americans murdered-- one of Robert Stetham's neighbors in Potomac, Maryland-- 20 year old Karen Elizabeth Noonan.

  • "Four hundred parents lost a child, 46 parents lost their only child, 65 women were widowed, 11 men lost their wives, 140 people lost a parent, seven lost both parents.... They are also victims of the Lockerbie bombing." —
    Colin Boyd
    - Chief prosecutor - Lockerbie Bombing Trial
Meanwhile, the mastermind behind Karen's murder (who successfully evaded justice) today imprisons and rapes Bulgarian nurses to blackmail the world for release of his imprisoned henchman.
Nemo me impune lacessit
Carthago delende est
  • Qaddafi: Horse-Trade of Medics for Lockerbie Bomber Possible
    Politics: 24 November 2005, Thursday.

    Bulgaria's five nurses and the Palestinian doctor sentenced to death in Libya could be spared if the UK handed over the man convicted for the Lockerbie bombing.

    This is what Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi announced in a CNN interview, adding that the medics' faith now lay in the hands of the Libyan court.

    Tripoli had informed British and US diplomats that it will free the medical staff on a death row if Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was allowed to serve the remainder of his life sentence in Libya.

    According to some reports, the offer was made in the late 1990s, during secret talks to free the five nurses and a doctor accused of deliberately infecting almost 400 children with HIV at a hospital in Benghazi, in northeast Libya.

    The disclosure followed mounting speculation that there were plans to repatriate Megrahi to Tripoli to serve the rest of his 27-year sentence. The former Libyan intelligence officer is serving his sentence in Greenock prison after being convicted of the 1988 atrocity in which 270 people were killed.

    The court defense of the prisoners, who face execution by firing squad, claim they were framed. They also alleged that they have been repeatedly raped and tortured during their seven years in jail. The hearing of their trial was delayed for January 31, 2006.

UPDATE: December 24, 2005

Libya may rule on HIV nurses by year-end -official
Reuters AlertNet - 7 hours agoBy Tsvetelia Ilieva. SOFIA, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Libya's Supreme Court could rule by the end of the year on the fate of five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death for deliberately infecting children with the HIV ...
Fund Set up for Libyan Children Infected with HIV New York Times
Libya, Bulgaria agree on fund for Libyan HIV children
People's Daily Online

Here is what is happening -

  1. First, the Nurses and doctor travel to Libya to try and help the AIDS afflicted among the population.
  2. 1999 Mummar decides to frame the nurses for 'actually deliberately spreading AIDS' and trade them for the Libyan hijacker/murderer serving life in jail in Britain.
  3. Mummar gets turned down.
  4. Now however, Mummar will take (extort) a PAY OFF in the name of "just compensation for the families who were deliberately infected" Because Mummar is a Man of the People!

But it gets even better! Who heads the charity to distribute the financial aid? The dictator's son and future leader of Libya. The same guy who 60 Minutes II (The New Gadhaffi) gave a puff interview to last year, as the "new reformed" face of Libya.

  • The medical workers, in custody since 1999, face death by firing squad for infecting the children with the HIV virus in a hospital of the Mediterranean port of Benghazi.
  • The nurses say they are innocent and their confessions were made under torture. AIDS experts told a Libyan court the outbreak started before the nurses arrived and was probably caused by poor hygiene.
  • Bulgaria, the European Union and the United States have denounced the verdicts and the case has become a hurdle to Libya's attempts to end its international isolation.
  • An official of the Gaddafi Charity foundation, chaired by the influential son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam, said in Tripoli that the Libyan and Bulgarian sides would meet on Wednesday to work out the compensation details for the families of the children.

UPDATE II: December 25, 2005

Libyan court scraps death sentences for foreign medics
CBC News - 54 minutes agoLibya's supreme court has tossed out death sentences against six foreign health-care workers who were convicted of infecting hundreds of children with HIV. The court ordered a retrial for five Bulgarian nurses ...
Libyan court to hear Bulgarian nurses` appeal over AIDS case AngolaPress
Sunday, December 25 CNN International

Thursday, December 22, 2005

BUSH'S NSA SNOOPGATE?

Well, this will put a damper in the left's 'overreaction' like Jonathan Alter's article "Bush's Snoopgate" in Newsweek. Nothing "political" with this.

I don't understand, either Alter is so possessed he can't help himself or he is simply an uninformed propagandist?

Hat tip Hedghog -

John Schmidt served under President Clinton from 1994 to 1997 as the associate attorney general of the United States, and is now a partner in a major Chicago law firm. In today's Chicago Tribune Mr. Schmidt begins his op-ed piece very simply:
  • President Bush's post- Sept. 11, 2001, authorization to the NationalSecurity Agency to carry out electronic surveillance into private phone callsand e-mails is consistent with court decisions and with the positions of theJustice Department under prior presidents.Read the whole thing. I wonder how much attention this will get in the rest of the mainstream news media. I'm not optimistic.

IRAQI ELECTION CRISIS DEEPENING

Publius Pundit has a good wrap up HERE and HERE.
(See my previous post here and related here)
  • It looks to me like the vote counting is malleable as far as it needs to be, defying months of polling and analysis that marked up to a 50% decrease in the power of the UIA. Four parties left the UIA, more secular and and liberal and cross-confessional parties with popular leaders opened up, Sunni parties joined the race, and Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani didn’t endorse the UIA as it did last time. While everyone expected the UIA to have the most votes when compared to every other party, many reports saw their support dropping by up to half. So, what the hell is going on?

  • Omar updates us with further information on the betrayal by the election commission. This is a must read.

  • Sunnis and secular parties are uniting in calling out the blatant fraud carried out by the Election Commission.

  • Do you see where I’m going with this? The difference between “democratic politics” in Iraq right now and politics in real liberal democracies is that, in the latter, the groups in government are working toward the betterment of the whole country. In Iraq, however, it is becoming more and more apparent that those in government are only working to satisfy the demands of their tribes or regions.

She isn't correct completely here. Regionalism (States), central and local power were a big part of the US Constitution and a big test during George Washington's (Whisky Rebellion) early Presidency. People forget how risky and amazing the Union of this country was.

  • The problem is that voter fraud is blatantly apparent and skewed toward the ruling parties. What is happening now is not anger at losing the elections, its anger at participating in a political process they thought would be transparent and fair but isn’t. They are losing faith in the country’s democratic institutions that are being built. What good is an Election Commission that doesn’t do its job right? If they lose faith in the institutions, there will be no way to bring them peacefully into the political process, and everything will be for naught.

LEBANON BEING LEFT TO HANG?

Lebanese Bloggers ask - Are we being left to hang?

Vox says - Shame on the UN
Below I copied his recap of a discussion he had at Abu Advaark's comments section. As usual the inferrrence was "Wait, could it be the Jooos?"
(See my previous post Pat Buchanan can't help himself)

A typical commentator has written the following on Abu Aardvark
  • " Hey, wait a minute! Isn't there a much simpler explanation? Since everyone in Washington and Beirut says that Syria is responsible and the killings seriously damage Syria's reputation, you need a pretty good explanation for why the Syrians continue along this course. I've seen some attempts to answer that question, none of them wholly convincing. Anyone who knew Lebanon during the 1975-90 war must know that the most obvious perpetrator isn't always the real one. There are layers of deception at work here. "

To which I (Vox) replied:

  • Actually, it's the other way around. And Syria behaves that way because it has learned the lessons of the past: that it always got away with murder and that the international community has always turned its back on Lebanon. Bashar probably thinks that all this is just a temporary crisis. Maybe he's right, maybe he's wrong. We'll see if the situation in the middle east has really changed since 9-11. It's a test for the UN.The international community never really cared about Syria's occupation and violence agaisnt the Lebanese people. Lebanon was always too small and too irrelevant, it wasn't 'strategic' enough to be worth the effort. I was disappointed but not surprised by the UN's latest resolution. I mean, what kind of international organization let a country get away with murdering politicians in other countries? Syria blows our politician and only gets a reprimand? It's ludicrous. Shame on the UN. Shame on Russia, China, Algeria and especially Kofi Annan whose shady positions are unworthy of ta UN secretary gernal. It's despicable.

Meet the Egyptian Editor Who Denies Holocaust

See my previous post on this here

Meet the Egyptian Editor Who, Once Aided by U.S., Denies Holocaust
December 21, 2005

CAIRO, Egypt - Hisham Abd al-Rauf, the foreign editor of Egypt's largest-circulation afternoon paper, would like the readers of The New York Sun to know that he does not hate all Jewish people. But that nonetheless, he is entitled to his opinions that the Holocaust never happened, that the Romans did not destroy the Second Temple in Jerusalem because it was never built, and that Jews ordered President Bush to unseat Saddam Hussein. (see this: Poll: Jews against Iraq war)

But as for the Jews, Mr. al-Rauf grew up with many in his Cairo neighborhood before the Six-Day War. His father's jeweler was Jewish. In 1993, he met many more Jews, whom he claims to genuinely like, on an American government program to train foreign journalists in Boston. "I have even met some rabbis. I liked them," he said in an interview yesterday where he defended a recent column praising the Iranian president's recent remarks questioning the historical truth of the Holocaust.

Mr. al-Rauf's column, titled "Israel's Lies," argued that the gas chambers were actually rooms to disinfect clothing, and that Adolf Hitler was "not against the Jews," he even allowed 120,000 of them to immigrate to Israel. At the end of this screed, Mr. al-Rauf scolded the Europeans who have expressed outrage at the comments of Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "If you feel sorry for the poor Jews, why don't you establish their country on your lands?" he wrote, according a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

The column appeared on December 12 in al-Masaa, a government funded paper that has 200,000 daily readers.

One might think these sorts of assertions would draw controversy. But not here in Egypt. Mr. al-Rauf and al-Masaa's editor in chief, Khaled Imam, say they have received no letters to the editor.

In an interview following Mr. Imam's midafternoon prayers, the editor seemed puzzled that the column would even warrant a news story. "I did not even read this," he said. "Some people say the Holocaust happened, other people say it did not."

The editor then explained that researchers and historians differed on the facts of the matter. For his part, he thinks Hitler did attempt the extermination of European Jewry. "There is no smoke without fire," he said. "Israel cannot propagate something like the Holocaust if it was made up 100%. But some of it might be exaggerated."

Mr. al-Rauf, however, is sticking by his story. He says that his column is supported by a British historian, David Irving, the author of "Hitler's War." (Denying the Holocaust, Woman who defended history, Interview) That book, which has drawn severe criticism from reliable historians, argues that Hitler never ordered the Holocaust. "I cite David Irving," he said. "These are facts."

When asked however, if he ever read the Nuremburg Laws, for example, or the transcripts from Adolf Eichmann's trial in Jerusalem, he admitted he did not. "I do know the Mossad kidnapped Eichmann from Argentina," he said however. When pressed for more sources for his assertions, he got testy. "I am not the only one writing this. There are researchers in Europe and the USA who say this. This is my own opinion. You cannot be a journalist if you don't have an opinion."

Throughout the hour-long interview, Mr. al-Rauf asserted, among other things, that Jews secretly control the governments of Britain, France, and America; that there was never a Second Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and that as a general rule Jewish people are "greedy." In the interest of fairness, however, he did concede that Jews were persecuted by the Spanish during the Inquisition, and that it's likely Russian tsars ordered pogroms against Jewish villages in the 19th century.

The journalist exchange program in which Mr. al-Rauf participated in 1993 was funded by American taxpayers. He says he treasures the trip to America, arranged by the U.S. Agency for International Development. During the visit he remembers meeting colleagues at the Boston Globe and the Christian Science Monitor. When asked if he could recall a particular lesson from the exchange program, he recalled the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. "There are times when you have to be responsible. The American reporters did not write that some of the hostages were CIA until after they arrived home safely," he said.

"I saw Jackson, Miss.; New Orleans; Washington; New York, and of course Boston," the foreign editor said. "It's a very good country with very good people, but a very bad government." When asked his thoughts on President Bush, he said, "He is turning America into the Soviet Union," an odd comment for the foreign editor of a state-funded newspaper that nearly every day features an above-the-fold photo of President Mubarak.

Mr. al-Rauf got his start in journalism in 1980 working for a sister paper to al-Masaa translating wire copy. He remembers at the time that the hot story was the Iran-Iraq war. "Many journalists here were bought off by Saddam Hussein," he said. "Just like how America is buying the Iraqi journalists today." He noted that no one in Egypt wrote about the plight of the Kurds during the 1988 Anfal campaign, but suddenly journalists remembered this in 1991 after Egypt supported the first Gulf War.

But Mr. al-Rauf is not particularly sympathetic to the plight of ethnic minorities. In fact he thinks journalists have a responsibility not to write about massacres and discrimination if the stories shame their native governments. This is the theme of his next column, at least. It is an attack on a Turkish novelist, Orhan Pamuk, who faces possible jail time for telling a Swiss newspaper this year that Ottoman forces killed 1 million Armenians between 1915 and 1917.

"Some Turkish people are selling out their country," he said with an almost conspiratorial nod. "For someone to say that the Turks killed 1 million Armenians, well they should prove this. And even if it is true, they should not say this because it is damaging to their country."

Mr. al-Rauf sees a similarity between Mr. Pamuk and his country's renowned sociologist and human rights activist, Saad Eddin Ibrahim. Unlike many of the world's journalists, Mr. al-Rauf says he supported the regime when Mr. Ibrahim was arrested in 2000. "He is always speaking about the persecution of the Copts in Egypt, which is not true. And even if this was true, it should not be propagated because it harms Egypt," he said.

Ali Salem, (Ali Salem Grounded Ali Salem My Drive to Israel here here) a playwright and columnist who was shunned by Egypt's literary and journalistic establishment for visiting Israel in 1994 and writing a book about it, described Mr. al-Rauf's approach to journalism as "mercenary."

"These sort of people think they are soldiers fighting a war of liberation. They are part of an intellectual brigade," Mr. Salem said with a laugh. "They think this sort of thing is defending Egypt." He says this attitude is a byproduct of Arab socialism.

Mr. Salem in 1994 was kicked out of Egypt's writer's guild. He sued the organization to get his membership back and won, only to resign from the club as soon as he was allowed back in. Today Mr. Salem is still writing plays but he is recording them on to compact discs and cassettes because almost all of Egypt's theaters are run by the state and will not allow his creations to see the stage.

Meanwhile Mr. al-Rauf is the foreign editor of Egypt's largest afternoon newspaper.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

HOW QUICKLY WE FORGET - Rudy Guilliani

December 17, 2005
Taking Liberties With the Nation's Security
By RUDOLPH W. GIULIANI

YESTERDAY the Senate failed to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act, as a Democratic-led filibuster prevented a vote. This action - which leaves the act, key elements of which are due to expire on Dec. 31, in limbo - represents a grave potential threat to the nation's security. I support the extension of the Patriot Act for one simple reason: Americans must use every legal and constitutional tool in their arsenal to fight terrorism and protect their lives and liberties.

The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, made clear that the old rules no longer work. The terrorists who attacked us seek to kill innocent men, women and children of all races and creeds. They seek to destroy our liberties. They willingly kill themselves in their effort to bring death and suffering to as many innocents as they can, here in this country or anywhere in the world where freedom has a foothold.

In October 2001, after six weeks of intense scrutiny and debate, Congress passed the Patriot Act overwhelmingly (98 to 1 in the Senate and 356 to 66 in the House). We had already received clear signals about our enemies' intentions, in the first attacks against the World Trade Center in 1993, the bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and the attack on the Navy destroyer Cole two years after that. Despite the abundance of warning signs, it took Sept. 11 to wake us to the dangers we face.

The central provisions of the Patriot Act allow law enforcement and the intelligence community to share information. This might seem elementary, but for years law enforcement had been stymied by a legal wall that prevented agencies from sharing information. For four years now, inter-agency collaboration, made possible by the Patriot Act, has played an important role in preventing another day like Sept. 11. The act's provisions helped make possible the investigations in Lackawanna, N.Y., and Portland, Ore., in which 12 people were ultimately convicted for attempts to aid Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

So what happened in Washington? The House voted on Wednesday to renew the act; it stalled in the Senate. If the Senate fails to approve the extension, the government will be forced to revert in many ways to our pre-Sept. 11 methods. Sixteen provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire on Dec. 31, including the key information-sharing ones.

It is simply false to claim, as some of its critics do, that this bill does not respond to concerns about civil liberties. The four-year extension of the Patriot Act, as passed by the House, would not only reauthorize the expiring provisions - allowing our Joint Terrorism Task Force, National Counterterrorism Center and Terrorist Screening Center to continue their work uninterrupted - it would also make a number of common-sense clarifications and add dozens of additional civil liberties safeguards.

Concerns have been raised about the so-called library records provision; the bill adds safeguards. The same is true for roving wiretaps, "sneak and peek" searches and access to counsel and courts, as well as many others concerns raised by groups like the American Library Association and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Given these improvements, there is simply no compelling argument for going backward in the fight against terrorism. Perhaps a reminder is in order. The bipartisan 9/11 commission described a vivid example of how the old ways hurt us. In the summer of 2001, an F.B.I. agent investigating two individuals we now know were hijackers on Sept. 11 asked to share information with another team of agents. This request was refused because of the wall.

The agent's response was tragically prescient:
  • "Someday, someone will die - and wall or not - the public will not understand why we were not more effective."

How quickly we forget.

Rudolph W. Giuliani was mayor of New York from 1994 through2001.

IT MAY TAKE A WAR

It May Take A War
Hat tip Big Pharaoh

Also see Egyptian Person's great post When People Are the Source of Dictatorship

  • It's certainly a negative thing to have a totalitarian regime that oppresses its people. It's even worse to have a society in which the people themselves oppress their fellow citizens if they choose to have opinions that contradicts to what the majority believes in. But it is definitely a disaster to have both, because it seems that you can't fix one you without fixing the other, and at the same time it is almost impossible to fix both simultaneously.I read two news articles recently that show how the people in Egypt oppress their fellow citizens, or even think they don't have the right to be citizens, just because they choose to be different than the rest of the herd.

Algerian blogger Nouri has very insightful comments on how he thinks we, Arab countries, will one day or another learn it the hard way.

I had a phone conversation a few weeks ago with an older friend of mine, I'm going to call him Tahar, who is from Algeria. He goes to university in America. His family is good friends with mine, and we were friends when we were younger. I hadn't spoken with him for many years prior to this discussion. We met at a restaurant in my town, and had dinner and talked and caught up with each other. Tahar is not as much like me as most of my Arab friends. He is much more Americanized, and he is generally speaking irreligious.

But he has an understanding of politics, he and I share similar opinions about democracy, especially about how it would come about in most Muslim countries, that is only after the people have stared Islamism square in the face, or, as in many cases, stared at Islamism through the opposite end of the barrel of a gun. We discussed Algeria and its troubles and its pleasures.

When our conversation had degraded to us going back and forth, each of us naming a different relative who died during the war (this was after a lot of food and after he had some alcohol in him), he asked me, "What is with Arabs, that we kill each other so easily?"

"How do you get around Islam?" he asked, as if I knew this. You can't get around Islam. It's just not possible, it's a part of the culture, and so deeply engrained in the society that any effort to take it out can only be at best half-assed. Islamism is what has to be gotten around I said.

We sat and pondered that.

"There is no way out," Tahar finally said after almost ten minutes of eating without speaking.

"No, it is everywhere. Look at Egypt and Iraq. They are all this way. I think we're going to have to accept it."

"Not necessarily," I started.

"Yes, necessarily," he snapped "What the Turks did will never work with Arabs."

I hadn't even thought of Attaturk.

"Listen to me," I began again, "Algeria is not like Iraq anymore and it isn't like Afghanistan. Things are better there now. The girls aren't looking like ghosts all the time and there are music groups singing without fear. Algeria was not defeated Tahar. It's not an Islamic Republic. It doesn't have to be that way."
[...]
"Why isn't Algeria like that?" we started back up.

"Because Algerians know what Islamism is all about. It isn't abstract for them, it's totally concrete. It's misery and violence, and that's all. That's the fact of it on the ground, thirteen years of bearded bullies. Nobody wants to go back to that," I told him.

"Yeh," he said, his accent was coming out, "I agree."

We went on eating. Tahar asked me "How many wars will it take?" .... "For this stuff to go away, I mean, how many civil wars? Botched elections?"

"A lot."

There don't have to wars. There can be corrupt regimes, like in Iran. It doesn't really matter, which. But the fact is that Islamists governments and groups quickly discredit themselves when given the opportunity. They have not once, when put in a position of authority and responsibility or when they have been pit against an "enemy," to be effective in any endevor outside of making the lives of their "constituencies" miserable.

I was reminded of this conversation today when I read a post at Michel J. Totten's blog, about a meeting he had with the Big Pharaoh in which he states the following:

  • “A friend of mine recently went to Algeria,” he said. “When he came back he told me that there are far fewer veiled women there than there are here. It is much more liberal in Algeria because there they have tasted Islamism. Egypt does need to experience what happened in Iran and Algeria…as long as I am in the U.S. or Canada when it happens.”
We shouldn't take this to mean that the Big Pharaoh think his country "needs" to be tortured by masked heathens with meat cutters. What I think he's really getting at is that if Egypt wants democracy, it's going to take a war or some sort of theocratic regime to discredit Islamism and fundamentalism so that liberalism and moderation can take hold. It will, unless something divine intervines, have to learn about Islamism the hard way, especially if the state continues to behave like it has during these last elections and if the popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood continues to rise, which seems to be the most probable turn of events.

As sad as it may be, many Muslims and many Arabs will learn the hard way. The Iraqis will likely learn about this disease like Algeria and Lebanon did and Iran is learning, as will Egypt, Syria and other countries that seem to believe that they so badly want an "Islamic state."

TIME'S CRUELEST FEAT - SPEED

SPORTS BREAK

Watching ESPN and Peter Gammons try to pretend they're not too crushed that Johnny Damon, the quintesential Red Sock - is not only leaving the Sox but heading to the hated Yankees.

The Red Sox have been virtually destroyed now. It started last year with the loss of their pitchers and completed this year with Theo Epstein the progidal son of the Sox and their 2004 Championship
leaving. Now ESPN and baseball have lost baseball's most contentious and heated rivalry.

THE BASEBALL G-DS AND THE YANKEES

My thoughs were "Isn't this Yankee shopping spree getting ridiculous?" As a Yankee fan you want them to get any good player they can, but it's just bad for baseball. Perhaps, that's why the Yankees haven't won since 2000?

First Jason Giambi then Sheffield then Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson then almost Garciaparra and now Damon? The Yankees are out of control! The heart of the great and likeable team the Yankees were is gone. And do you realize the Yankees almost had the 3 best Short Stops in the American League on their team for 2006? Farce isn't even the word.

Maybe I'm being reminiscent but today's bought Yankees are about as sympathetic and likeable as Wal Mart. The 1996 World Series Run was magical not only because they were underdogs but because most of the players were team players who were brought up in the Yankee system. Bernie Williams Andy Pettitte Mariano Rivera Derek Jeter were all core part to the Yankees and brought up from within. Guys like Pauly O'Neill were brought in and added to the mix of real Yankees.

It started with the banishment of Steinbrenner in 1991 by former baseball commish Fay Vincent. Finally, Stick Michael and Buck Showalter were able to build the Yankees from the Minors without Darth Vader there. It all came together in 1994 but then the strike happened and with it seemingly Donny Mattingly's final chance at a Playoff run.

In 1995 the Yankees struggled as Mattingly's back finally looked done. Then shockingly he added a step hitch to his swing and caught fire in the final third of the year. The Yankees won about 25 of their last 30 and qualified for the Wildcard. Against Seattle the Yankees jumped to a 2-0 lead at home and Donny Baseball stayed on fire, hitting a home run in Game 2 to a Yankees stadium that was virtually shaking! Jim Leyritz began his magic here in Game 2 in the pouring rain of extra innings.

Then 1996 Buck was astoundingly let go by the Boss and Joe Torre brought in.
The 1996 Yankees led from start to finish but it was bitter sweet because Donny Baseball had retired. However, the 96 World Series was an unbelievable exciting one and finally a championship for Joe Torre as well as Wade Boggs. The 2001 Series, though they lost cemented Yankee lore forever.

The Yankee run from 1994-2000 will go down in Yankee and baseball lore.

However, I was glad the Yankees lost last year after signing the unlikeable Randy Johnson. It's incredible that the 96 Championship team is almost 10 years ago! How fast time goes by. What's more amazing is that at that point it was 10 years after the most magical 1986 Mets.

How fast time goes. I remember 1996 like it was last week and I remember the 2000 Yankees Mets Series like it was yesterday.

UPDATE: December 24, 2005

A little cynicism in your eggnog
North Adams Transcript - 7 hours agoMan, was that press conference something else. Smooth-cheeked Johnny Damon, decked out in pinstripes, welling up with tears as he expressed his pride at becoming a part of the Yankee tradition. Ho ho ho. In ...

THE IRONIC VIRTUE OF HOLOCAUST DENIAL

Johan Goldberg is always on point in his polite yet witty way.

THE IRONIC VIRTUE OF HOLOCAUST DENIAL [Jonah Goldberg]

  • I just wrote a column about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I originally planned the piece to be about Holocaust denial, but I changed in midstream. But there's one point I thought I'd throw out there.

    I read a little bit of Paul Tillich for my book. Interesting stuff, but not really my bag (existential Christian theology tends not to have enough car chases to hold my attention). But he makes one argument that's stuck with me, even if I don't totally buy it. He argues that skepticism about God's existence creates the belief in God. In The Protestant Era, he writes, "There is faith in every serious doubt; namely, the faith in the truth as such. . . . So the paradox got hold of me that he who seriously denies God, affirms Him." Peter Berkowitz makes what seems to me a similar argument about Nietzsche. Even as Nietzsche tried to smash concepts of truth, what emerges from the process are external standards of hierarchy and value. Or something like that.

    Anyway, even if I have all that wrong, it seems like something similar is at work with Holocaust denial. The need to deny the Holocaust establishes the importance of the Holocaust.

    Ahmadinejad and his ilk need to call it a myth because if such a horrror actually happened the moral consequences would be too enormous to ignore. Why else say it's a myth? Denying the historical reality of the Holocaust concedes the moral arguments which flow from it. In much the same way hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue, Holocaust denial is the homage evil men pay to absolute standards of good and evil.

    The deniers in the Arab world often tacitly acknowledge this by adding the contradictory argument that if it happened then Israel should set up shop in Austria or Germany.

    Of course, all of this doesn't take place in a vacuum. There are other arguments for why Israel should be where it is and there are other reasons why people deny the Holocaust. But a more logically consistent anti-Israel stance would simply accept that the Holocaust happened and, well, so what? But they understand they can't make that argument, at least not on the world stage. We all know that for internal consumption, the Nazis still get a lot of applause in the Middle East.

"Would You Run Hitler?" - You can't make this stuff up!

The deluded lefties living in Fantasywood, ie... Babs Streisand crowd - are still seething that Robert Scheer was cut from the LA Times OpEd team and Jonah added in his place.

In an Orwellian twist they first cited "loss of diversity".... as a big problem. Adding 1 right of center columnist to a team of all lefties apparently hurts diversity?

But now Jonah Goldberg noted another reason they just came up with -
(notice how Jonah is a 'far-right' columnist) -

  • The agonizing about me being in the LA Times continues. Though the loss of Scheer remains the main gripe. A progressive delegation visited the LA Times to demand the liberal gamut be fortifitied. I particularly like this part -
    When Martinez and [Op-ed page editor Nick Goldberg, no relation] mentioned wanting to be intellectually provocative on their Opinion pages, thereby running people with far-right opinions, Marcy asked, "Would you run Hitler? Would you give a half a page to someone who espoused annihilating a race?"

Misguided Munich

Misguided Munich

  • The most misleading omission from "Munich" is Germany's response to the massacre.

    Germany released the Black September terrorists less than two months after they had killed 11 innocent civilians. Israel had to hunt down Black September, because Germany didn't value Jewish lives enough to capture, try, and imprison those who kill Israelis on German soil.

    (Also missing from the film is any mention of Germany's refusal to allow the Israeli Olympians their own security detail, despite credible threats to their safety, and Germany's refusal to let Israel conduct a rescue operation.)

    Meir said that she was "literally physically sickened" by Germany's capitulation. She continued, "I think that there is not one single terrorist held in prison anywhere in the world. Everyone else gives in."

    Nobody can accuse Stephen Spielberg of insensitivity toward Jews and Israel. But by trying so hard to appear evenhanded, he has made an incomplete and imbalanced movie. In "Munich," those who would murder racist butchers are no better than the butchers themselves.

    Conservative columnist Warren Bell put it best when he described "Munich"'s simple-minded morality like this: "When good guys kill bad guys, they're as bad as bad guys."

    Liberal writer Leon Wieseltier concurred: "Munich prefers a discussion of counterterrorism to a discussion of terrorism; or it thinks that they are the same discussion. This is an opinion that only people who are not responsible for the safety of other people can hold."

Then menioned is the total omission of mention of Avery Brundage. This American who agreed with Hitler's request in the 1936 Munich Olympics to prevent qualifying Jewish athletes from running. Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller were taken off the roster at the last second. Marty Glickman would go on to become one of the most beloved sports broadcasters of his generation.

  • Gold number four was a controversial one—not with the Germans, but with his fellow Americans. American Jews Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller were supposed to run for the United States on the 4x100 relay team. At the last minute, they were replaced by Owens and Metcalfe and it was reported that Hitler asked U.S. officials not to embarrass him any further by having two Jews win gold in Berlin.

30 years later the IOC has never even recognized, let alone honored the murdered athletes at Munich.

  • And yet, even if "Munich" had gotten the dialogue, plot, and tone right, there would still be something missing. [....] a character, Avery Brundage. The reason Munich matters so much to American Jews has nothing to do with Arab terrorism or European appeasement. Those complementary stories were familiar to the world decades before Munich. It was Avery Brundage, an American, who so outraged.

    The same Avery Brundage who, as head of the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1936, had insisted on sending an American delegation to "Hitler's Games" in Berlin; the same Avery Brundage who, in 1941, was expelled from the anti-war America First Committee for his Nazi allegiance; the man who, in 1972, was president of the full International Olympic Committee.

    According to Time Magazine, during the standoff, Brundage's chief concern was with "remov[ing] the crisis from the Olympic Village," as if to say, "There's no way we can save the hostages. Let's at least save the Games." After the murders, despite strong opposition within the IOC, including from the German organizers, Brundage insisted that everything go on as if nothing had happened. He refused even to mention the dead Israelis in the following day's memorial ceremony.

    Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray summed up Brundage's decision like this:

    "Incredibly, they're going on with it. It's almost like having a dance at Dachau."

    Murray's comparison is apt. It was Dachau that taught my grandfather's generation the importance of Israel as a haven in a world that is too often either hostile or indifferent to Jews. And when he was my age, my father watched Munich, the massacre, live on television, and he learned the same lesson. Thirty-three years later, "Munich," the movie, forgets to explain why Israel acted as it did.

    That's the story Steven Spielberg missed.

Kesher Talk has a full rap up of posts
More on Munich from Lynn at In Context

UPDATE: Box Office Mojo reviews all of the Munich movies.

One Day in September: The Full Story of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and the Israeli Revenge Operation "Wrath of God"

  • Based largely on exhaustive investigation for the Oscar-winning documentary, One Day in September is the definitive account of the tragedy. Simon Reeve has gathered extraordinary information from a number of sources, including recently released Stasi files and interviews with key figures, including the families of the hostages, politicians, policemen, advisors, fellow athletes, media figures, and even the lone surviving member of the group that carried out the attack. Reeve's control over his material is admirable. He vividly paints images of the individuals involved, humanizing a narrative that cracks and buzzes with the compact tension of those 24 hours. At the same time, he provides the background to the attack, filling in vital historical context from the distant and recent past, such as the Arab-Jewish dispute that produced this and other terrorist actions and their responses.

Striking Back: The 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and Israel's Deadly Response (Hardcover)
(December 20, 2005)
by
Aaron J. Klein

Murder at the 1972 Olympics in Munich (Terrorist Attacks) by Liz Sonneborn

UPDATE II: Hedgehog Blog

  • From news media reports it looks like Steven Spielberg's latest movie, "Munich," will get as much attention as "Brokeback Mountain" will get during the run-up to the Oscars. (That's not suprising, since the themes of both movies have a large power following in Hollywood.)

    According to a review I heard on NPR yesterday, Spielberg freely admits his aim is not to be historically accurate, but to explore the implications of revenge. So, in an effort to help people remember what actually took place during the 1972 Olympics, here is a summary prepared by StandWithUs. Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, comments further on "Munich" here.

    I was a senior in high school in 1972 and was riveted by the events unfolding in Munich that fall. I recall being inexpressibly sad, shocked, repulsed, and angry. I hope Spielberg's movie does not turn that event into some argument about an approach to terrorism that centers on "understanding" of, or sympathy for, the murderers.

UPDATE III: Haaretz 'Munich' to remember - or not

  • A 'Munich' to remember - or not
    By Yossi Melman

    Last Wednesday in Manhattan, leaders of the Jewish community gathered for a private screening of a film to which they had been urgently invited by Dennis Ross, formerly assistant to the secretary of state in the Clinton administration and Middle East envoy. Ross is now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy think tank. According to him, the much-hyped "Munich," directed by Steven Spielberg, which opens today (December 23) across America, is a good movie for the Jews and for Israel.

    Ross has boasted that he succeeded in toning down the film, so that Israel and its war on terrorism are presented in a positive light. He also related that he was able to persuade Spielberg to add a scene that was not originally planned: a monologue by the mother of Avner, the tormented protagonist of the film and the head of the Mossad espionage agency's hit squad. Performed by veteran Israeli actress Gila Almagor, the monologue may be intended to move the audience, but to some, it sounded like pure kitsch. In it she tries to dissuade her son from leaving Israel and preaches to him about the Holocaust, the Jewish people, historical retribution, etc.

    This didactic monologue is meant to be a counterweight to the sermonizing by Palestinian speakers about the suffering of their people, some of whom are so wretched that they have to take up arms, become terrorists and kill 11 Israeli athletes in the Olympic Village in Munich in 1972.

    This viewer found the film boring and one-dimensional, but the great concern of Spielberg and the screenwriter, acclaimed playwright Tony Kushner ("Angels in America") - who rushed to get the movie into theaters two days ahead of Christmas, on time for the upcoming Oscars, and also prohibited the actors from giving interviews - is not about the reviews. They are apprehensive about political criticism by opinion makers in the Jewish community - and such criticism has already been voiced.

    As Ross exercised his charms on the U.S. Jewish community and media, Spielberg and his producers hired the services of Eyal Arad, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's strategic adviser and a brilliant PR man. The distributors, Universal Studios, decided that the film will not open in Israel until the end of January, so Arad has more time than Ross to persuade the Israeli public that "Munich" is a good movie for the Jews.

    Arad will have to overcome two obstacles: the holy wrath of senior members of Israel's intelligence community, who were apparently affronted because Spielberg ignored them; and, more serious, the reaction of the relatives of the athletes killed by the Black September terrorists.

    The victims' families are not a monolithic group and, since the massacre, they have been involved in disputes over a range of issues including commemoration, compensation and the German government's responsibility for the affair. Two of the widows have stood out for their leadership: Ilana Romano, widow of weightlifter Yosef Romano, and Ankie Spitzer, widow of fencing coach Andrei Spitzer. Two years ago, they succeeded in forcing the German government to pay the families compensation, though without acknowledging responsibility for the Bavarian police's failure in the rescue operation.

    AVI DICHTER, the previous chief of the Shin Bet security service, who is currently at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy in Washington, and saw the film, says that the Mossad agents and some aspects of the intelligence work are portrayed inaccurately.

    Avi Dichter, a retired head of the Shin Bet security service who attended a preview in Washington, likened "Munich" to a children's adventure story. "There is no comparison between what you see in the movie and how it works in reality," he said.
    Meanwhile Arad still has to sell the film to veteran Mossad people, especially those who participated in reprisals after the massacre. He has his work cut out for him. Interestingly, about five years ago, when the Mossad decided for the first time to launch a recruitment drive by means of media ads, Arad was hired as an external consultant by Efraim Halevy, then head of the agency. However, an attempt to screen the film to retired Mossad officials did not succeed.

    "I was not invited to a preview screening," says Zvi Zamir, who was head of the Mossad at the time of the Munich killings and who, according to foreign reports, supervised the subsequent liquidations from European headquarters. "I am ready to buy tickets so that Spielberg will get compensation from me, too," Zamir says sarcastically. He thinks that if the director was interested in historical credibility, he should have spoken with him and his colleagues. "I imagine that Spielberg is interested mainly in how the film can make money and not in the historical truth."

    If Spielberg had taken the trouble to approach the Prime Minister's Office, he would have received red-carpet treatment. A directive would have been issued to the Mossad chief to instruct the agents who were involved in or familiar with the affair to cooperate with Spielberg: to share experiences, volunteer anecdotes and give advice, within certain constraints.

    Zamir would have spoken to Spielberg. Maybe even publicity-hating Mike Harari - who headed the Mossad's operations branch at the time and coordinated the reprisals - would have agreed to meet with him. But Spielberg and Kushner decided to shy away from any connection with Israel.

    From its reservoir of experts in the intelligence community and outside it, they chose to rely on Yuval Aviv, who was the source for the book by Canadian journalist George Jonas, "Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team," on which the film is based. The trouble is that Aviv, now 58, never served in the Mossad.

    Eyal Arad, doesn't "Munich" have a problem of historical accuracy?

    Arad: "Kushner and Spielberg are creative artists. They have created a thriller that has to be judged with artistic tools."

    But they are explicitly trying to create the impression that the film is the historical truth.

    "The film does not address the question of whether Jonas' book is accurate or whether Yuval Aviv is a fraud and a liar."

    What is your opinion?

    "I tend to accept the defense establishment position that he is. Let's say the whole thing was forged in Aviv's feverish mind. The only judgment that should be applied is an artistic one. 'Munich' must be viewed as a work of art."

NYTimes - The 'Hezbollah' That Wasn't There

MEDIACRITY nails the NY Times UN***BELIEVABLE whitewashing of this story.
See my previous post
Germany Releases Murderer of American in Trade

The 'Hezbollah' That Wasn't There


UPDATE: The Times explains why it whitewashes terrorists. Because they do nice things!

The New York Times really pulled out all the stops today, in its reporting of Germany's release of the Hezbollah airplane hijacker who murdered Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem in 1985. The Times has hit new lows just about every day in its coverage of terrorism, but its article today exceeded the most cynical expectations.

The Times reported on the release of the hijacker without mentioning that he was from Hezbollah!

Just as its report the other day on Hamas failed to describe the group's use of "suicide bombing," the Times's rather lengthy story was alone, among all other media outlets, in omitting the hijacker's Hezbollah membership and not even mentioning the group at all.

By contrast, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and even Reuters considered Mohammed Ali Hammadi's Hezbollah membership important enough to mention it in their lead paragraphs. The rest of the world's media at least mentioned the Hezbollah connection, including al Jazeera (albeit qualified as "said to be" a member). Yep, as it did with Hamas, the Times has out-al-Jazeerad al Jazeera.

This is not the first time that the Times, this time by not connecting the group to one of the most notorious hijackings in history, has bent over backwards to whitewash this notorious terrorist group, describing their murder operations --such as slaughtering 241 Marines in 1983 -- as "resistance" and as the work of an "army".

[....] an explanation from the Times itself. Click here (if you haven't already......).


FINAL HOURS DETAILS OF Petty Officer Robert Stethem

  • Here’s the story of the final hours of Petty Officer Robert Stethem

    When the plane was at the Beirut airport in Lebanon, Petty Officer Stethem was singled out because he was in the US military. After many hours of being cruelly beaten, tortured, and finally killed by the terrorists, they threw his body from the plane in a final disgraceful, cowardly act. The wounds were so terrible that his body had to be identified by its fingerprints.

    Throughout the ordeal, Robert Stethem did not yield, and instead encouraged his fellow passengers to endure by his example. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for heroism and bravery. He is buried at Arlington Cemetery.

Picture of Robert Stethem wthin Debbie Schlussel's great article.

SUDAN GENOCIDE GETS WORSE

SUDAN GENOCIDE GETS WORSE

  • Professor Eric Reeves of Smith College is indefatigable in his determination to try to stop the genocide in Sudan. The SudanReeves website is an outstanding source of information. His latest posts detail how the situation in Darfur has gotten even worse in recent months, and how the African Union "peacekeeping" force (which is only supposed to protect foreigners, not Darfuris) is an abysmal failure even in its limited mission.

    The Khartoum dictatorship has been perpetrating genocide since 1992--first in the Nuba Mountains, then in south Sudan, and now in Darfur. Reeves predicts that the next target will (be) the oil-rich eastern Sudan.

    In the book "Darfur: Genocide Before Our Eyes" (published by the Institute for the Study of Genocide), Reeves makes the case for military intervention by NATO to stop the genocide. Military intervention would be a wonderful idea, and, indeed, there is a good international law argument that every NATO country is legally bound to intervene, since every NATO country is a signatory to the Genocide Convention, which imposes an affirmitive duty to "prevent" genocide.

    But the prospects of NATO intervention are, unfortunately, nil. Among NATO governments, only the United States has even used the word "genocide" about the genocide in Darfur.

    [....]

    In a forthcoming article in the Notre Dame Law Review, Paul Gallant, Joanne Eisen and I examine the Darfur genocide, and other genocides, and conclude that under existing international law, the victims of an on-going genocide have an over-riding right to acquire and possess defensive arms, notwithstanding any contrary national or international laws on the subject.

WOODWARD - WHouse Did Not Calculate to Leak Plame Name

The crazy Kos, lunatic Democratic Underground, - not to mention the Kevin Drum and infamous Juan Cole crowds - are going to be jumping out of buildings when they read this.

Bob Woodward of the Washington Post - famous for using Deep Throat to out Watergate and bring down a Republican President - told an audience THIS -
  • The Harvard Crimson breaking news - Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein spoke at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Institute of Politics, and then had an on-the-record conversation at an invitation-only inner afterwards.

    Woodward on Novak -
    His source was not in the White House, I don’t believe,” Woodward said of Novak over a private dinner at the Institute of Politics on Dec. 5. He did not indicate what information, if any, he had to corroborate the claim.
    Woodward on the Administration conspiracy to out Valerie Plame -
    Responding to Bernstein’s claim that the release of Plame’s identity was a “calculated leak” by the Bush administration, Woodward said flatly,I know a lot about this, and you’re wrong.”
    The Crimson notes Woodward's history of misdirection in protecting Deep Source, Mark Felt -

    Also unclear is how much can be gleaned from Woodward’s comment about Novak’s source. Woodward is widely hailed for protecting the identity of his most famous source, W. Mark Felt or “Deep Throat,” in the decades after Watergate, but he was occasionally misleading in order to protect Felt.
    We continue to suspect Richard Armitage, former Deputy Secretary of State, as Woodward's source.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

GEMANY RELEASES MURDERER OF AMERICAN IN A TRADE

Well, Germany let the MUNICH - Olympic Terrorist Murderers go in 1972 because they didn't want any terrorism directed against them. Now in 2005 they just let a TWA Airplane Hijacker go despite the fact he brutally murdered an American - so they could gain the release of a German. This, after they denied extradition to the US!

5 THINGS TO NOTE -
  1. Germany denies any connection to the release of a German hostage.
  2. They deny it but previously tried to use the same guy as a bargaining chip shortly after he was convicted in 1989!! (who cares he didn't kill any Germans and why let the US try him??)
  3. The US wanted the Murderer extradited but Germany denied the US because their "pacifist" souls find the Death Penalty too repugnant! (Schwarzenegger to Hometown Remove My Name...)
  4. After denying extradition they saw no harm in then trying to trade him for a German captive - this right after he was convicted!
  5. FYI - He was convicted for the beating and shooting of Robert Dean Stethem, a 23-year-old U.S. Navy diver whose body was thrown on the tarmac at Beirut airport during the hijacking of TWA Flight 847.

Germany frees killer of U.S. diver

  • BERLIN, Germany (CNN) -- A Hezbollah militant sentenced to life in Germany for murdering a U.S. Navy diver during the 1985 hijacking of a U.S. jetliner has been freed, officials said.

    The German government denied on Tuesday the release was related to the freeing of a German hostage in Iraq.

    Mohammed Ali Hamadi was released Thursday and allowed to return to his native Lebanon on the next day, after qualifying for parole after 19 years in prison, said Ulrich Hermanski, spokesman for the North Rhine Wesphalia state justice ministry.

    "There was no special treatment," Hermanski said in a telephone interview.
    [....]
    Hamadi was convicted in 1989 in Frankfurt, Hessen state, for the beating and shooting of Robert Dean Stethem, a 23-year-old U.S. Navy diver whose body was thrown on the tarmac at Beirut airport during the hijacking of TWA Flight 847.

    The German government also denied there was any link between Hamadi's release and the freeing of Suzanne Osthoff, a German archaeologist, in Iraq last week.

    "There is no relation between the release of Hamadi and the release of Osthoff," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger told the news conference.

Hezbollah member wanted by US released in Germany

  • BEIRUT - Hezbollah member Mohammed Ali Hamadi has returned to Lebanon after being secretly released in Germany, where he was serving a life sentence for the 1985 hijacking of a TWA jetliner and killing of a US navy diver, Hezbollah and Lebanese security sources said Tuesday.

    Hamadi returned a few days ago, a Hezbollah source told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in Beirut. A Lebanese security source confirmed that Hamadi entered Beirut four days ago aboard a commercial flight from Germany.

    He had been arrested on 13 January 1987 at Frankfurt airport after customs officials found liquid explosives in his luggage...... He was sentenced in 1989 for possession of explosives, hijacking a U.S. commercial passenger airliner in Athens to Beirut - TWA flight 847 - on 14 June 1985, beating and holding passengers aboard that flight, and murdering Robert Dean Stethem, a US Navy diver, on the same flight.

    US authorities had requested his extradition so he could stand trial in the United States, but the government of Germany, which has no death penalty, insisted on prosecuting him in Germany.

    Commentators have speculated that Hamadi's release may be connected to the freeing Sunday of German hostage Susanne Osthoff in Iraq. German authorities had already tried to use Hamadi as a bargaining chip in the late 1980s to secure the release of German hostages in Lebanon.

RACISM IS BAD - SELF DELUSION IS WORSE

As usual Mark Steyn is witty and flambouyant but makes good points about the PC whitewash media. CONCLUSION FIRST -
  • Telegraph
    These days, whenever something goofy turns up on the news, chances are it involves a fellow called Mohammed. A plane flies into the World Trade Centre? Mohammed Atta. A gunman shoots up the El Al counter at Los Angeles airport? Hesham Mohamed Hedayet. A sniper starts killing petrol station customers around Washington, DC? John Allen Muhammed. A guy fatally stabs a Dutch movie director? Mohammed Bouyeri. A terrorist slaughters dozens in Bali? Noordin Mohamed. A gang-rapist in Sydney? Mohammed Skaf.

    Maybe all these Mohammeds are victims of Australian white racists and American white racists and Dutch white racists and Balinese white racists and Beslan schoolgirl white racists.

    But the eagerness of the Aussie and British and Canadian and European media, week in, week out, to attribute each outbreak of an apparently universal phenomenon to strictly local factors is starting to look pathological. "Violence and racism are bad", but so is self-delusion.

Here is the rest from the beginning -

  • What's the deal with these riots in Sydney? You switch on the television and there's scenes of urban conflagration and you think, "Hang on, I saw this story last month." But no. They were French riots. These are Australian riots. Entirely different. The French riots were perpetrated by - what's the word? - "youths". The Australian riots were perpetrated by "white youths". Same age cohort, but adjectivally enhanced.

    And, being "white youths", they thus offered "a chilling glimpse into the darker corners of Australian society", as Nick Squires put it last week, "with thousands of white youths rampaging through a well-known beach suburb, attacking people of Middle Eastern background. They were egged on by white supremacists and neo-Nazis."

    Gotcha. White youths egged on by white supremacists. You can't make a racist omelette without egged whites.
    [....]
    Thank God somebody had the courage to say it, eh? But isn't the problem, in Australia and elsewhere, that it's not quite that "clear and simple"?
    [....]
    Take "tolerance", for example. Wave-of-tolerance-wise, Australia for years has looked like New Orleans the day after Katrina hit. The broader Blanchett-Squires culture has been tolerant to a fault. In Sydney in 2002, the leader of a group of Lebanese-Australian Muslim gang-rapists was sentenced to 55 years (halved on appeal).

    The lads liked to tell the lucky lady that she was about to be "fucked Leb-style" and that she deserved it because she was an "Australian pig". (YET) It was the sentence that was "controversial".

    As Monroe Reimers wrote to the Sydney Morning Herald:

    As terrible as the crime was, we must not confuse justice with revenge. Where has this hatred come from? How have we contributed to it? Perhaps it's time to take a good hard look at the racism by exclusion practised with such a vengeance by our community and cultural institutions."
    After 9/11, a friend in London said to me she couldn't stand all the America-needs-to-ask-itself-what-it-did-to-provoke-this-anger stuff because she used to work at a rape crisis centre and she'd heard this blame-the-victim routine far too often: the Great Satan, like the dolly bird in the low-cut top and mini-skirt, was asking for it. Even so, it's still a surprise to hear the multiculti apologists apply the argument to actual rape victims.

    So suppose we do as Mr Reimers suggests and "take a good hard look" at "racism by exclusion"....[....]

    "His parents, Eddy and Samira, who have lived in Australia since 1972, said their five children would be allowed to go to the beach again only when the 'conflict is resolved and peace is restored' in the Sutherland shire region. 'If there's no more conflict, I will let him go,' Samira, 42, told the Australian in Arabic."

    In Arabic? Let's suppose that Cate Blanchett got her wish and a tidal wave of tolerance washed into all those "dark corners of Australian society" taking the chill off the chilling glimpse Squires got. How are even the most impeccably diverse multicultural types supposed to welcome into the bosom of their boundlessly tolerant family a woman who prefers to speak the language of the land she left at nine? When it comes to "racism by exclusion", who's excluding whom?

    There are no doubt "white racists" down under, but, as an explanation of what's going on, it's almost quaintly absurd.

    "People of Middle Eastern background" have prospered in Australia. The governor of New South Wales, Marie Bashir, is Lebanese, as is her husband, Sir Nicholas Shehadie, as is the premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks. Likewise, in my own state of New Hampshire, one of the least racially diverse jurisdictions in North America, the last Senate race was nevertheless fought between a Republican, John Sununu, and a Democrat, Jeanne Shaheen, both from Lebanese families.

    All these successful politicians are of Lebanese Christian stock: that's to say, after a third of a century in their new countries, they weren't conversing with reporters in Arabic. It's not racial, it's cultural. And the cries of "Racist!" are intended to make any discussion of that cultural problem beyond the pale.

    In that sense, Sydney's beach riots are a logical sequel to what happened in France. From opposite ends of the planet, there are nevertheless many similarities:

    non-Muslim women are hectored and insulted in the streets of both Clichy-sous-Bois and Brighton-le-Sands. The only difference is that, in Oz, the "white youths" decided to have a go back.
    These days, whenever something goofy turns up on the news, chances are it involves a fellow called Mohammed. A plane flies into the World Trade Centre? Mohammed Atta. A gunman shoots up the El Al counter at Los Angeles airport? Hesham Mohamed Hedayet. A sniper starts killing petrol station customers around Washington, DC? John Allen Muhammed. A guy fatally stabs a Dutch movie director? Mohammed Bouyeri. A terrorist slaughters dozens in Bali? Noordin Mohamed. A gang-rapist in Sydney? Mohammed Skaf.

    Maybe all these Mohammeds are victims of Australian white racists and American white racists and Dutch white racists and Balinese white racists and Beslan schoolgirl white racists.

    But the eagerness of the Aussie and British and Canadian and European media, week in, week out, to attribute each outbreak of an apparently universal phenomenon to strictly local factors is starting to look pathological. "Violence and racism are bad", but so is self-delusion.