FAILURE IN GAZA HAS A U.S. PRICE
By Avi Davis
The invasion has begun. The President, has been assured by his military advisors that the long planned operation involving close allies, will end in a significant victory over local forces. Those local forces, who launched a coup of their own only 12 months earlier, are commonly believed to be no more than a rag tag guerrilla army, unused to open warfare and without resources to counter a sophisticated military operation. But as the day wears on, it becomes increasingly clear that the invading force is in trouble. The U.S.’ allies are being outgunned and ambushed by combatants who have been expertly trained by foreign advisors and are heavily armed with weapons which are easily a match for the invading force. Within 72 hours, what had begun as an assertive military operation has turned into a rout of embarrassing proportions. The U.S. Administration is revealed to have placed its trust in a highly suspect military plan which has been even more woefully executed. The consequences prove telling. Over the course of the next year and a half, the United States is brought closer to a global military crisis than at any time since end of the Second World War.
A scenario in Gaza for the incoming President? No. This a description of the military situation which confronted the young administration of John F. Kennedy in April, 1961, less than three months after he had assumed office. The Bay of Pigs fiasco, an abortive CIA- planned and Cuban émigré -led invasion of Fidel Castro’s island fiefdom, was a momentous failure of U.S. military planning and intelligence and an event which had deep repercussions for U.S. foreign policy over the next several years. After the collapse of the invasion and a less than impressive performance by Kennedy at a face to face meeting with Soviet leader Nikolai Khruschev in June of the same year, Soviet resolve to confront the United States hardened. This lead to aggressive Soviet action in other theaters around the world ( including West Berlin where a wall was soon constructed ) and the beginnings of the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962.
If there is one important lesson the Bay of Pigs has left us, it is that the failure of relatively small operations in seemingly insignificant locations, can have important psychological consequences in other places. Today, while there might be no obvious connection between the Israelis’ operations in Gaza and American operations elsewhere, the crumbling of the Jewish state’s assault or an ambivalent U.S. commitment to its success, may have dire implications for the United States in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond.
That is because Israel, the United States and the Western aligned countries are together not only locked in a military confrontation with Muslim terrorists and their state sponsors, but in a psychological struggle as well. In this regard, manipulation of the media and control of communications can enable a terrorist group to steal a victory from even the most crushing of defeats. The Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah ably demonstrated this in 2006. After suffering a bruising reversal in southern Lebanon, victory was nevertheless claimed by the simple fact of having survived an Israeli assault. Hezbollah’s resilience– and its ability to communicate it as strength - has given Hamas and other terrorist operations in other parts of the world the tenacity to continue their own assaults and provocations.
Understanding this, it is a mistake to view the United States’ engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan as isolated from the events in Gaza. Gaza should be regarded as a front line engagement in a global war against Muslim fanaticism which has its military and psychological flash points in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, the Sudan, the Philippines, Lebanon, Russia and Iran. An apparent victory, yet without removal of the terrorist menace in one theater, can bolster terrorism in another. It is only with the complete elimination of the terrorist infrastructure – with the eradication or imprisonment of its leadership and the silencing of its means of communication – that both military and psychological victories can be assured.
The new president would do well to pay attention. Ceasefires, negotiated truces and even peace agreements should receive no encouragement if they mean that the terrorist group in question remains viable and committed in any way to its former course of action.
Failure has its price. Che Gueverra, the Latin American revolutionary, proved it in August 1961 when he managed to get a letter to President John F. Kennedy. It read: "Thanks for Playa Girón( Bay of Pigs). Before the invasion, the revolution was weak. Now it's stronger than ever."
Fifty years later, those words resound with deadly meaning
Want to comment on this article? See Avi Davis’ new blog
Avi Davis is the Executive Director and Senior Fellow of the American Freedom Alliance in Los Angeles. He can be contacted at email@example.com
NEWS: EUROPE AND AMERICA
Muslim group mad at L.A. mayor for supporting Israel-Brad A. Greenberg
At the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles this afternoon, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa voiced his support for Israel’s war against Hamas and invasion of Gaza: “I’ve been to Sderot and seen the wreckage caused by a constant barrage of rocket attacks. I’ve met parents afraid to let their kids play in the streets and students unable to go to school each day. I’ve walked along empty roads, visited vacant buildings, and witnessed the sheer destruction of a town decimated by eight years of missile strikes.““And after all of the attacks – after all of the failed attempts to ignite the fires of peace rather than fan the flames of terrorism – any nation would take action to protect its citizens and ensure the safety and security of its residents. And no country would sit silently while innocent families are threatened and civilian lives are at-risk.““Israel is no different. It must act against the Hamas leaders targeting the innocent. And it must be allowed to exercise its right and responsibility to defend itself.“ (JewishJournal)
Synagogue set ablaze and anti-Semitic assaults soar in UK following Israel's invasion of Gaza-Robert Mendick and Neil Millard
The number of anti-Semitic attacks in London has risen sharply following Israel's land assault on Gaza, Jewish community groups said today. Their leaders have compiled a dossier of attacks against Jews which will be handed to seniors officers in the Metropolitan police. The attacks include claims of: An attempt to burn down a synagogue in north-west London. An assault on a Jewish motorist who was pulled from his car and punched. A gang of youths chanting anti-Semitic slogans as they tried to enter restaurants and shops in Golders Green. The Community Security Trust, which is responsible for the safety of Jews in Britain, has also noted the emergence of anti-Semitic graffiti in Jewish areas across London. Slogans sprayed on walls include: 'Kill Jews' and 'Jews are scumbags.' The trust has now logged 24 anti-Semitic incidents - most of them in London - in the past week. Police are said to be stepping up patrols in Jewish areas. (Dailymail.co.uk)
How the U.N. Perpetuates the 'Refugee' Problem-Nathan Sharansky
Nowhere on earth do terrorists get so much help from the Free World.Israel's assault on Hamas is just the latest in a long chain of military clashes, the scripts of which are always the same. On one side, there is the Israeli army. Technologically and militarily superior, its soldiers are motivated by a powerful commitment to their country's security. On the other, there are Palestinian terrorists whose aim is to kill as many innocent Israelis as possible by unleashing missiles and suicide bombers on civilian centers. Then, when Israel retaliates, they appeal to the world with gruesome images of Palestinian suffering as part of a global campaign to prevent Israel from defending itself. Sooner or later, the tactics of the Palestinian terrorists work. The voices of protest in response to Palestinian suffering grow louder until international pressure stays Israel's hand. (WSJ)
Milan: Controversy over prayer during protest
A public Muslim prayer in front of the Milan Cathedral during a protest against the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip is causing great controversy in Italy. A public Muslim prayer in front of the Milan Cathedral during a protest against the Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip is causing great controversy in Italy. Liga Nord even speaks of a "inconceivable provocation". the party blames the Muslims of converting the square in front of the cathedral into a mosque. The prayer was a provocation and a slap in the face to the city of Milan which must stay Christian, according to the right-wing political party. Pax Christi in Italy meanwhile said that the Muslims have a right to also express their solidarity with the Palestinian people by prayer. (Islamineurope)
Honour killing victim's parents refuse to testify-The Local
The parents of the German-Afghan victim of an “honour killing” by her brother last year refused to testify in a Hamburg court on Monday. Meanwhile state prosecutors have also accused her father of abuse. The 24-year-old Ahmad-Sobair O. is on trial after admitting to police that he killed his 16-year-old sister Morsal O. on May 23, 2008 because she had turned away from her family. The girl died after suffering 23 stab wounds in a Sankt Georg district parking lot. Both siblings, who immigrated to Germany 13 years ago, have German citizenship.The two parents of the family, as well as the girl’s younger brother refused to testify. Her sister is scheduled to testify on Monday afternoon. (Thelocal)
Genocidal Chants at Anti-Israel Rallies Worldwide-Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
(IsraelNN.com) As the Israeli counter-terrorist offensive against the jihadist Hamas regime in Gaza presses ahead, anti-Israel and pro-Hamas rallies have been taking place throughout the world. Video clips from many such rallies are often posted at various open media websites on the Internet. While some rallies appear confined to political protest, others reveal a common and troubling jihadist and anti-Semitic trend. In a video from a January 3 rally in Amsterdam, Dutch Socialist Party MP Harry van Bommel and other left-wing representatives call for an intifada against Israel. The crowd chants such things as: "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas"; "Hamas, Jihad, Hizbullah"; "In blood and spirit we will redeem you, Palestine"; and "Allah hu Akbar". The "Jews to the gas" chant was heard periodically at soccer games in Europe during the years of the Palestinian Authority's terrorist war that began in 2000. The following video was uploaded to YouTube by Dutch photographer Thomas Schlijper: (INN)
Blessing from a Tyrant-Robert Spencer
Three American academics flew to Tehran last week to accept awards from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In Tehran, Carl Ernst, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was honored along with William Chittick, a scholar of Islamic mysticism and a professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and Miriam Galston, a lawyer at George Washington University who made significant contributions to the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Thorp and Ernst seemed anxious to stress that this was an academic, non-political award -- as if Tehran these days were crawling with disinterested academics who are in no way co-opted by the regime. Even though Ernst reportedly “cringes” at some of Ahmadinejad’s “policies,” UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp decided that this was an “academic honor,” not a political one, and so had no objection to Ernst’s trip. Ernst himself explained, “it would have looked strange if I declined an academic award.” (Frontpagemagazine)
Anti-Zionism and the Abuse of Academic Freedom: A Case Study at the University of California, Santa Cruz-Tammi Rossman-Benjamin
Since 2001, anti-Zionist discourse has found its way into classrooms and academic events at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). At an academic conference held on that campus in 2007, the speakers claimed that Zionism was an illegitimate ideology and argued for the elimination of the Jewish state. The unscholarly, political, and anti-Semitic nature of the conference raises questions about whether events of this kind are a legitimate exercise of academic freedom or an abuse of it. Although the recently revised University of California rules do not specify the limits of academic freedom, they do presume that faculty and administrative agencies will define those limits and impose sanctions on faculty who violate them. However, despite a system of shared governance, in which faculty are responsible for ensuring the scholarly integrity of academic programming and administrators for making sure all programming accords with university regulation, abuses of academic freedom have been allowed to flourish at UCSC. (JPCA)
FSM’s Third Annual ‘America’s Most Dangerous College Courses’-Jason Rantz
Another year has passed, and more dangerous college courses have popped up across the country in some of our finest (and not-so-finest) institutions of higher learning. Where it was once expected of a student to learn for himself, using a fair and honest look at the issues of a course, it is now par for the course to regurgitate the spewed opinions of professors in order the get the best grade possible. When once you were asked to analyze a set of facts and come to your own conclusion, you are now asked to read biased and dishonest texts and listen to your professor tell you what his or her version of the facts are, and how you should think about them. As was the case with the first two installments of this list, courses are judged on a variety of criteria and are representative of similar courses at many other schools: (Familysecuritymatters)
Ontario union calls for ban on Israeli professors-Vanessa Kortekaas
Ontario's largest university workers' union is proposing a ban on Israeli academics teaching in the province's universities, in a move that echoes previous attempts to boycott goods and services from the Jewish state.The resolution, proposed by CUPE's Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee, is in protest against a Dec. 29 bombing that damaged the Islamic University in Gaza."In response to an appeal from the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees, we are ready to say Israeli academics should not be on our campuses unless they explicitly condemn the university bombing and the assault on Gaza in general," said Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario. (Nationalpost)
Why Does The New York Times Love Hamas?-Steve Emerson
Editor's Note: This article originally was published by The Daily Beast. See the original here.
The paper of record refuses to call them terrorists, extols the groups' humanitarian efforts, and whitewashes its behavior during the now-broken ceasefire.
In the past week, the Fourth Estate's Hamas cheerleaders have stripped away any pretense of being honest or neutral, with the New York Times continuing to take the side of the terrorist group in one of the most shameful journalistic episodes I have ever seen. In following the Times coverage for the past six months and checking external sources of information, one can see a clear pattern of propagandistic reporting favoring Hamas that selectively suppressed or willfully misrepresented information. Even the Times knows it has a bias problem. Readers who detected it got a chilling confirmation of their suspicions in the December 13 column by Ombudsman Clark Hoyt. Addressing a public outcry over the paper's failure to use the term "terrorist" for the attackers who executed some 170 people in Mumbai, India in late November (and mutilated the six Jews killed in the Chabad House—a fact never reported by the Times), Hoyt quoted several reporters and editors making extraordinary admissions that shed some light on the newspaper's most recent dispatches from Gaza. (Investigativeproject)
The Hamas Broadcasting Corporation (Ctd)-Melanie Phillips
Last night’s BBC TV News at Ten featured a highly partisan report about Gaza by Jeremy Bowen. Making no mention of the direct hit yesterday by a Hamas rocket on a kindergarten in Ashdod (which was empty for fear of precisely such an occurrence) Bowen concentrated heavily on the growing civilian casualty toll among Palestinians, making no acknowledgement of any Hamas operatives among these figures. The piece de resistance of this item was a report from Gaza’s Shifa hospital by a Gazan BBC producer, Rushdi abu Alouf. He claimed that ‘hundreds of kids, women and children’ had been brought to the hospital for medical treatment. Undoubtedly there are many casualties -- tragically, including children -- and the hospital is obviously under pressure. This though may help explain some of that pressure: (Spectator.co.uk)
Get me a Massacre: Up next — the Kfar Qana of Operation Cast Lead-Richard Landes
Whether by Israeli accident or Hamas engineering, expect a spectacular civilian massacre in the coming days, followed by an orgy of Pallywood photography, amplified by a compliant Western media, and even greater fury in the streets of the Muslim and Western world. It’s in the Hamas playbook… and will be until the media gets sober. Here’s the background, and the obscenity that will probably be played. Barry Rubin has laid out the various endgames open to Hamas, and how, when all else fails, it’s the media reserves you draw on to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. And it’s an old story: Arafat called the Western media, busy drinking at the Commodore Hotel in Beirut under the protection of his mafiosi while his “guerillas” participated in a civil war (1975-82) that killed 100,000 civilians, his best division. (theaugenstables)
Freedom of Speech
Pressure group urges scrapping of UN racism declaration-Agence France Presse
GENEVA -- A Geneva-based pressure group called Monday on United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN human rights chief Navi Pillay to throw out a proposed declaration on racism planned for April. The declaration "restricts free speech, prohibits expression deemed offensive to Islamic sensitivies, and portrays counter-terrorism efforts by the United States, Western states and Israel as essentially 'racist'," UN Watch said.UN Watch [is] a non-governmental organization whose mandate is to monitor the performance of the United Nations by the yardstick of its own Charter.The UN plans to hold a five day conference on racism in Geneva from April 20 to 24, known as Durban II, seven years after an acrimonious meeting in Durban in South Africa which ended with charges of anti-semitism. "With Muammar Qaddafi's Libya chairing the planning committee, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Iran as vice-chair, it's heart-wrenching though not surprising that Durban II is hijacking the noble cause of human rights and anti-racism, with the aim of legitimizing an agenda of hate and extremism that targets innocents in Mumbai, Madrid, Israel, and elsewhere," said UN Watch... "Just like in 2001, the proposed declaration veers off its mandate in order to single out Israel for opprobrium, and more generally indicts Western democracies," said the group's executive director Hillel Neuer. "But it's actually worse than 2001, because now Islamic states have inserted language seeking to delegitimize counter-terrorism efforts as racist, and to censor free speech in order to prevent what they call the 'defamation of Islam'."As the most vocal defender of the Durban II process ... UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has a moral obligation now to protest and push back," said Neuer. (AFP)
Paris opens door to author fleeing Islamist threats-Angelique Chrisafis
The award-winning feminist writer Taslima Nasreen, who is under death-threat from Islamist extremists, is to be housed in an artist's studio paid for by the city of Paris, more than a decade after she was forced into exile from her native Bangladesh. Nasreen's outspoken stance on what she calls the inherent misogyny of conservative Muslim society in Bangladesh has sparked protests, riots and warrants for her arrest as well as a cash reward for her decapitation by religious fundamentalists. In 1994, the former doctor was accused of blasphemy over her novel Lajja (Shame), which described the life of a Hindu family persecuted in Muslim-majority Bangladesh. The book was banned for offending Muslim religious sentiments. (Guardian.co.uk)
The Jews Face a Double Standard
Why doesn't Israel have the same right to self-defense as other nations?
By MARVIN HIER
The world-wide protests against Israel's ground incursion into Gaza are so full of hatred that they leave me with the terrible feeling that these protests have little to do with the so-called disproportionality of the Israeli response to Hamasrockets, or the resulting civilian casualties.
My fear is that the rage we see in the protesters marching in the streets is far more profound and dangerous than we would like to believe. There are a great many people in the world who, even after Auschwitz, just can't bear the Jewish state having the same rights they so readily grant to other nations. These voices insist Israel must take risks they would never dare ask of any other nation-state -- risks that threaten its very survival -- because they
Terror in France: Flaming Vehicle Rammed into Synagogue-Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
(IsraelNN.com) Terrorists crashed two vehicles, one loaded with firebombs, into the facade of a synagogue in southwestern France on Monday night. No injuries were reported; however, the attack is the second serious terrorist attack on Jewish targets in Europe in less than a week.According to the French news agency AFP, unidentified attackers rammed a burning car into the gates of a Toulouse synagogue while a lecture was underway inside. A second vehicle, apparently used to push the flaming car into the synagogue, was found to hold several more firebombs. The attempted bombing damaged the synagogue, but the dozen or so people inside escaped unharmed. (INN)
French and Belgian Jews concerned about growing number of anti-Semitic acts in wake of Gaza events-EJP
The National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA) reported that in Paris and several other French cities, Jews have been targeted since the beginning of Israel’s military operation. Attackers launched two cars packed with petrol bombs at a synagogue in south-western city of Toulouse, Monday night, causing damage but no casualties. One car was set on fire and pushed by the other until it hit the door of the synagogue, at a time when about a dozen people were attending a class with a rabbi. The building caught fire but all those inside escaped unharmed. Police found unexploded petrol bombs inside the second car, which did not catch fire. They said they were investigating the attack and had not made any arrests.
"Nobody was hurt in the blaze which has not been claimed," said Anne-Gaelle Baudouin-Clerc, spokeswoman for the district prefecture. “We consider that incitement to hatred of Israel from those who take part in anti-Israeli demonstrations as the cause of the anti-Jewish crimes,” Samy Ghozlan, head of the National Bureau for Vigilance against Anti-Semitism said.Pro-Palestinian rallies have been held in several French cities since Israel began its operation. (EJP)
SP Denies Incitement to Terrorism against Israel
THE HAGUE, 06/01/09 - The Socialist Party (SP) denies that it is inciting to terrorism against Israel even though its MP Harry van Bommel appealed for an intifada during a demonstration on Saturday. A demonstration against Israel was held on Saturday in the Museumplein in Amsterdam. Van Bommel, who acted as a cheerleader, repeatedly initiated the slogan "Intifada, Intifada, Palestine free". Incidentally, at the same time, the rhyme "Hamas, Jews deserve gas," could be heard in the background. Fellow MPs were critical of Van Bommel. "People who encourage violence against Israeli civilians provoke repugnance and lose their credibility as representatives of the people," claimed conservative (VVD) MP Hans van Baalen. Joel Voordewind of the socialist Christian party ChristenUnie agreed that Van Bommel was out of bounds by supporting a new Palestinian intifada, "which means an armed rebellion" in his view. Party for Freedom (PVV) leader Geert Wilders said that Van Bommel had "shown his true, extremist face". (NIS)
TERRORISM, INTERNET, JIHAD
Egyptian Cleric Safwat Higazi on Hamas TV: Dispatch Those Sons of Apes and Pigs to the Hellfire – On the Wings of Qassam Rockets-MEMRI
Following are excerpts from a speech by Egyptian cleric Safwat Higazi, which aired on Al-Aqsa TV on December 31, 2008.
TO VIEW THIS CLIP AND OTHERS YOU MUST LOG IN BY SIGNING UP FOR A FREE MEMRI TV REGISTRATION [www.memritv.org ] To register for MEMRI TV, go to the MEMRI TV site and click "Register" at upper right hand side.
"You Threaten To Kill Us?! By Allah, You Are Threatening Us With What We Desire More Than Anything"
Safwat Higazi: "Being killed is nothing new to us. It is what we desire and hope for. It is martyrdom, by Allah. This is Allah’s victory coming to us. It is Paradise with the first drop of blood of the martyr.[...] "I refuse to accept condolences or consolation over a martyr. It saddens me immensely when I see on TV a Palestinian woman from Gaza crying and wailing over her martyr. By Allah, I never see such things among the people of Palestine, the people of Gaza. We always see the mothers and wives of the martyrs in Palestine wailing for joy, and preparing another martyr, another man, to raise the banner.[...]"Being killed is nothing new to us. Martyrdom is nothing new to us. You threaten to kill us?! By Allah, you are threatening us with what we desire more than anything. You are threatening us with what our souls yearn for [...] "By Allah, I wish I could carry my gear, carry my gun, and be among you. I wish I could stand among the youth of the Al-Qassam Brigades, passing them one of their missiles, wiping from their faces the dust of a missile that was launched, or crying 'Allah Akbar' along with them. By Allah, I wish I could do that."[...] (MEMRI)
US security braced for 'cybergeddon'
Cyber attacks pose the greatest threat to the US after nuclear war and weapons of mass destruction - and they are increasingly hard to prevent, FBI experts said Tuesday. Shawn Henry, assistant director of the FBI's cyber division, told a conference in New York that computer attacks pose the biggest risk "from a national security perspective, other than a weapon of mass destruction or a bomb in one of our major cities." "Other than a nuclear device or some other type of destructive weapon, the threat to our infrastructure, the threat to our intelligence, the threat to our computer network is the most critical threat we face," he added. (SydneyMorningHerald)
India publishes 'proof' dossier on Mumbai attacks-Rhys Blakely in Mumbai
India dramatically ramped up its diplomatic offensive against Pakistan today, releasing evidence linking "elements" in the neighbouring nuclear-armed state to the Mumbai terror attacks for the first time. A dossier handed to Pakistan's high commission in Delhi included interceptions of telephone calls made between the ten Mumbai gunmen and their alleged handlers in Pakistan during the attacks. "The commanders in Pakistan are following events on television and are issuing real-time instructions; telling the gunmen to target certain nationalities and religions; to maximise casualties; not to touch Muslims. This is hands-on direction," a senior Indian government official told The Times. The commands included the order to execute six foreign Jews held at Nariman House, an orthodox Jewish outreach centre, during the Mumbai atrocities, which claimed more than 170 lives in all. (Timesonline/co.uk)
Nariman House, not Taj, was the prime target on 26/11-Somendra Sharma
Think 26/11, and images of the carnage at the Taj come to mind. But the terrorists themselves were in no doubt that Nariman House was the prime focus. For this was the place which housed a Jewish centre, and the fanatics from Pakistan were clear that they wanted to send a message to the world from there. The Mumbai crime branch, which is investigating the terror attacks, has found that the terrorists’ handlers in Pakistan were clear this operation should not fail under any circumstances. The rest of the operations — at the Taj, Oberoi and Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus — were intended to amplify the effect.A senior police official, told DNA on condition of anonymity, that the interrogation of Mohammed Amir Iman Ajmal (aka Kasab) revealed as much. Just before entering the city, the terrorists’ team leader, Ismail Khan, briefed them once again about their targets. “But Khan briefed Imran Babar, alias Abu Akasha, and Nasir, alias Abu Umer, intensely on what to do at Nariman House,” the officer said. (Dnaindia)
Terrorists could use 'insect-based' biological weapon-Stephan Adams
Terrorists would find it "relatively easy" to launch a devastating attack using swarms of insects to spread a deadly disease, an academic has warned.
Jeffrey Lockwood, professor of entomology at Wyoming University and author of Six-legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War, said such Rift Valley Fever or other diseases could be transported into a country by a terrorist with a suitcase. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think a small terrorist cell could very easily develop an insect-based weapon."He said it would "probably be much easier" than developing a nuclear or chemical weapon, arguing: "The raw material is in the back yard."He continued: "It would be a relatively easy and simple process. "A few hundred dollars and a plane ticket and you could have a pretty good stab at it." (Telegraph.co.uk)
Muslim Brotherhood Reacts Defensively As Israel Takes On Hamas-Victor Comras
Muslim Brotherhood leaders are already engaging in something akin to “damage control” as they rationalize Hamas' breach of the ceasefire with Israel, and condemn Israel, Egypt and the West for Israel’s incursion into Gaza. The Brotherhood is also trying to tell its members and followers that Israel’s defeat of Hamas in Gaza, and the possible re-establishment of Fatah control in that Palestinian territory, is a reversible set-back, and that it will provide the Muslim Brotherhood a golden opportunity to strengthen their movement in Egypt, the Middle East, Europe, and around the Muslim world. The Brotherhood is already busy turning these events into a major recruitment tool, and for proselytizing and broadening its support base. They have targeted Egypt and other moderate Arab leadership as well as the Israelis. But, it is also clear that they were caught short by Europe's reaction to the conflict and to the degree of understanding and sympathy expressed by European leaders with regard to Israel’s actions. This represents a real setback for them. (Countererrorismblog)
ENVIRONMENTALISM and Science
Environment minister Sammy Wilson: I still think man-made climate change is a con-Belfast Telegraph
Spending billions on trying to reduce carbon emissions is one giant con that is depriving third world countries of vital funds to tackle famine, HIV and other diseases, Sammy Wilson said. The DUP minister has been heavily criticised by environmentalists for claiming that ongoing climatic shifts are down to nature and not mankind. But while acknowledging his views on global warming may not be popular, the East Antrim MP said he was not prepared to be bullied by eco fundamentalists. “I’ll not be stopped saying what I believe needs to be said about climate change,” he said."Most of the people who shout about climate change have not read one article about it “I think in 20 years’ time we will look back at this whole climate change debate and ask ourselves how on earth were we ever conned into spending the billions of pounds which are going into this without any kind of rigorous examination of the background, the science, the implications of it all. Because there is now a degree of hysteria about it, fairly unformed hysteria I’ve got to say as well. (Belefasttelegraph.co.uk)
Revolt! Robbed of their right to buy traditional light bulbs, millions are clearing shelves of last supplies-David Derbyshire
Millions of Britons are finally waking up to the fact that their beloved light bulb will disappear for good after 120 years. Traditional 100-watt bulbs are vanishing from the High Street because of a controversial European Union decision. Yesterday panic buyers were snapping up the remaining bulbs in a last-ditch attempt to stockpile the final supplies. Hundreds of leading supermarkets and DIY chains - including Sainsbury's, Asda and Homebase - have already sold their last remaining bulbs after a surge in panic buying.
Other stores say they have enough stocks to last until the end of next week.The supplies are running out after the Government signed up to an EU decision to replace conventional 100w light bulbs with supposedly greener low energy alternatives.Ministers claim the switch will reduce carbon dioxide by around five million tons each year.But experts have questioned whether or not the new bulbs, far from being environmentally friendly, are actually harmful.The low-energy fluorescent bulbs can trigger skin rashes, migraines and epilepsy. (Dailymail.co.uk)
George W Bush turns green to save marine treasures-Frank Pope
President Bush is to create the world’s largest marine protection area in the Pacific Ocean. Mining and commercial fishing will be banned across 195,000 square miles (505,000 sq km) that includes three “marine monuments”: the Mariana Trench, the deepest on the planet, Rose Atoll in American Samoa and seven islands strung along the Equator in the central Pacific. The three zones are the habitat of hundreds of species of bird and fish that are not found elsewhere, including the world’s largest land crab and the rare Malaysian megapode, a bird that incubates its eggs in the heat of underwater volcanoes. (Timesonline.co.uk)
Society and CULTURE
Forced marriages society will be a defining issue of 2009-Margarette Driscoll
One of the most touching aspects of the story of Humayra Abedin – the 33-year-old doctor with a Hindu boyfriend who was tricked into travelling home to Bangladesh, then imprisoned, drugged and forced to marry a Muslim man she hardly knew – was the statement she gave outside the High Court in London just before Christmas. “I am deeply upset by what has occurred, but I do not wish my parents to suffer any punishment for what has happened,” said Abedin, who had just obtained an injunction to stop her parents removing her again. “I am their only child and they are still my parents.” But what was once a happy family relationship is now sundered for ever. “That’s what makes resisting a forced marriage so difficult,” says Jasvinder Sanghera, author and human rights campaigner, who ran away from her home in the Midlands aged 16 to avoid being coerced into marrying a man her parents had chosen. “If you refuse your parents’ wishes, even though you know what they are doing is wrong, you end up feeling like the criminal. You are the bad daughter because you have shamed them.” (Timesonline.co.uk)
The 10 Best American Movies-Stanley Fish
It’s Top Ten time again, and like everyone else I have a list, in my case a list of the 10 best American movies ever. Here it is, with brief descriptions and no justifications. Only the first two films are in order. The others are all tied for third.
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), directed by William Wyler. Regarded as producer Sam Goldwyn’s masterpiece, this deeply felt study of soldiers coming home after World War II boasts career-best performances by Fredric March (who won an Oscar), Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright, Dana Andrews, Virginia Mayo, Cathy O’Donnell, Hoagy Carmichael and the amazing Harold Russell (two Oscars), a double amputee and first- and last-time (non)actor who played a double amputee.The movie is filled with thrilling and affecting scenes – the moment when Milly Stephenson (Loy) realizes that the person at the door is her husband, Al (March), who has come back a day before he was supposed to; the moment when Homer Parrish (Russell) waves goodbye to his two new friends and his parents see the hooks that are now his hands for the first time; the moment when Fred Derry (Andrews) hoists himself into a military plane like the one he flew in so many times and hears in his mind the engines of the other dead planes surrounding him in rows. The three intertwined stories are resolved with a measure of optimism, but with more than a residue of disappointment and bitterness. Al Stephenson is still a drunk. Fred Derry is still poor and without skills. Homer Parrish still has no hands. (Fish.blogs.nytimes)
Traditional fairytales 'not PC enough'-Graeme Paton, Education Editor
Parents have stopped reading traditional fairytales to their children because they are too scary and not politically correct, according to research.
Favourites such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella and Rapunzel are being dropped by some families who fear children are being emotionally damaged.A third of parents refused to read Little Red Riding Hood because she walks through woods alone and finds her grandmother eaten by a wolf. One in 10 said Snow White should be re-named because "the dwarf reference is not PC". Rapunzel was considered "too dark" and Cinderella has been dumped amid fears she is treated like a slave and forced to do all the housework. The poll of 3,000 British parents - by TheBabyWebsite.com - revealed a quarter of mothers now rejected some classic fairy tales. (Telegraph.co.uk)
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