This Week's Editorial
Lessons from Fall of Stanley McChrystal
By Avi Davis
Rolling Stone Magazine for its journalism is not easy reading for anyone who is in the least sanguine about our financial and political institutions. Its raging tirades against corporations, multinationals, Wall Street bankers, Republicans and George W. Bush are so bilious that they leave screaming provocateurs like MSNBC’s Keith Olderman blathering in the dust.
So it is quite in keeping that the magazine has launched its latest anti-establishment jeremiad against the Afghanistan War and done its best to expose Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his staff as sneering insubordinates who have no respect for the army’s civilian commanders.
Yet reading the very same article that led to Gen.; Stanley McChrystal's downfall, the overt intention to destroy the general’s career does not exactly shine through.
In fact, quite the opposite is true. The article is a competent examination of army leadership during war time and a portrait of the century’s long disconnect between civilian commanders and generals in the field.
Stanley McChrystal was only the most recent general to express frustration with the civilian leadership in Washington and is certainly not alone.
George Washington did so during the Revolutionary War; George McClellan followed suit during the Civil War; General ” Black Jack” Pershing criticized Woodrow Wilson in the First World War and Douglas McArthur did the same to Harry Truman in Korea.
Generals become exasperated with the failures of the civilian command to understand or appreciate military strategy and to place diplomatic or political considerations before military objectives.
It is important to see McChrystal's apparent insubordination in perspective. We should never forget how difficult it is to convey the seriousness of any given military situation without actually seeing it first hand on the ground.
For this reason Winston Churchill, who had served several periods in the army during war time before he became prime minister in 1940, made a point of traveling regularly to the front (particularly after the invasion of Normandy), in order to confer directly with his generals about the war’s progress. Adolf Hitler spent most of the Second World War in a bunker complex on the Eastern Front, so determined was he to remain close to the action.
In Stanley McChrystal’s case, it was only a few words – off hand comments on the competence of the civilian command in the persons of the Ambassador to Afghanistan, the Vice President and the President, that did him in. But those are the same impressions that are almost certainly on the mind of most of the American servicemen in Afghanistan. It should be no wonder since they are repeatedly told that that they can not undertake actions which are likely to have the chance of great military success, but cause irremediable political damage
This is made no clearer than in the documentary The Last 600 Meters – a film AFA screened last Sunday. In its portrayal of the Battles for Fallujah and Najaf in 2004, the two deadliest battles of the Iraqi War, soldiers who fought in the battles, report themselves mystified by the decisions of the civilian commanders to shackle them and forbid advances which could have eliminated significant strategic threats to the stability of Iraq. In one instance, the Mahdi Militia is cornered and about to be annihilated,
(removing a significant threat to American and Iraqi lives), when an order emerges from Washington, via Paul Bremer, to withdraw.
The soldiers are shown to be completely exasperated by the order and it is only explained to them later, well after the fighting has ended, that the damage to Iraqi infrastructure and the loss of civilian life in the towns has forced upon the politicians a reconsidered approach.
Since the far off days of Julius Caesar, civilian commanders have been wary of the runaway general in the field, who arrogates to himself all decision making. The fear of a general drunk on power, without sufficient restraints and respect for his own civilian commanders, is an abiding concern of all democracies.
But we should not forget that while a professional army in a republic such as ours operates for the defense of the citizenry and is there to do our bidding, a commander-in-chief such as Barack Obama, who comes to the job with less experience than any President in history, should learn when to defer to his men in the field, invest a measure of faith in their experience and acumen and treat their military decisions with respect.
No, a President should not have to tolerate open insubordination or publicly expressed contempt. But at the same time, he should have the humility to understand that the vital success of a military mission rests on the clear eyed vision of men in the field and there will never be a substitute for that bird’s eye view.
MPAC Denounces Hamas…In Words Only
by Steve Emerson
The hypocrisy of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) has been on display in full force since last month's flotilla incident off the Gaza coast. In Washington, D.C., the organization's government relations liaison denounced Hamas as a terrorist organization, while in California two days later, a senior advisor omitted any mention of Hamas' complicity in the ongoing crisis in the Gaza Strip.
We at the Investigative Project have repeatedly called upon MPAC to condemn Hamas and Hizballah as the terrorist organizations that the United States and the international community have recognized them to be. Typically, MPAC has skirted the issue by condemning "terrorism and any act of violence against civilians, including suicide bombings," while refusing to associate Hamas or Hizballah with those actions. Surprisingly, at a June 17 event on Capitol Hill titled, Perspectives on Countering Violent Extremism & Radicalization, Alejandro J. Beutel went the extra mile.
During the question and answer session, Beutel was asked whether MPAC considers Hamas and Hizballah to be terrorist organizations. At first he gave his organization's stock condemnation of "attacks against civilians," but then he was pressed further. (IPT)
Steven Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, is the author of six books on national security and Middle Eastern terrorism.
Hamas torches kids’ summer camps in Gaza, UN blames Israel
by Robin Shepherd
The irrepressible Melanie Phillips highlights today yet another searing indictment of the Islamist extremists who run Gaza, and their UN apologists who with mindblowing intransigence refuse to recognise the real root cause of what is going on there. It transpires that Hamas has yet again torched a UN run children’s summer camp to prevent the heinous crime against Islam of little boys and girls playing together and having fun.
To all sane and reasoned individuals — ie. not the British foreign office, not the Obama administration and most certainly not the United Nations — this would come as yet another piece of evidence of the vile, extremist nature of the people who run Gaza and remain intent on holding it in a state of backwardness and religious-ideological conformism.
So here is John Ging, head of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza, on the BBC:
”This is another example of the growing levels of extremism in Gaza and further evidence, if that were needed, of the urgency to change the circumstances on the ground.” In other words, it’s Israel’s fault. My God in heaven. As Melanie Phillips so rightly says by way of correction to Ging’s lunacy:
“Those ‘circumstances on the ground’ are the presence of Hamas. It is Hamas that has to be isolated and defeated if a start is to be made in slowing down the rate of extremism. But that’s not what Ging means. What he means is the idiotic mantra mouthed by the UN, Britain America and the EU who all chant in brainwashed chorus that Israel must not only allow in yet more humanitarian aid but also – increasingly – bring in Hamas from the cold. (Robinshepherdonline)
So Gen. Stanley McChrystal lost his job. Does it matter?
Aside from the fact that with Wednesday's announcement the nation's capital could finally exhale for the first time since news broke about the profanity-laced Rolling Stone profile in which the now-former Afghanistan commander made disparaging comments about members of President Obama's Afghanistan team (including Obama himself), absolutely nothing of consequence resulted from the whole breathless melodrama. Why not? Half the world by now has read the magazine article describing senior staff behavior more Animal House than conduct becoming the average adult, let alone officers and gentlemen. But despite the scandalous headlines, what we mainly gleaned was: most of the f-words salting the copy came from the reporter; the general's actual antics weren't so much disparaging as childishly indiscreet ("'Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke,' he groans ..."); and crude ("McChrystal gives him the middle finger"); and his top aides sounded like a bunch of dorks ("Make sure you don't get any of that on your leg," an aide jokes, referring to the Holbrooke e-mail). Even McChrystal's most egregious "insubordination," as media ecstatically called it, came down to second-hand descriptions of the general's distress over the time it took for Obama to approve McChrystal's "surge" of 30,000 troops (not 40,000 as requested), and Obama's apparent unfamiliarity with The Stanley McChrystal Story ("He (Obama) clearly didn't know anything about him, who he was" said an aide describing Obama's and McChrystal's first face-to-face meeting. "The Boss was pretty disappointed"). (Dianawest)
NEWS: EUROPE AND AMERICA
Faisal Shahzad Pleads Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court to 10 Federal Crimes Arising from Attempted Car Bombing in Times Square-DOJ
Faisal Shahzad pleaded guilty today in Manhattan federal court before U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum to all counts of the 10-count indictment against him, for allegedly driving a car bomb into Times Square on the evening of May 1, 2010, the Justice Department announced. Shahzad, 30, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, was taken into custody at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK Airport) on May 3, 2010, after he was identified by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection while attempting to leave the United States on a commercial flight to Dubai. Shahzad was then charged in a five-count criminal complaint. On May 18, 2010, he was presented in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV. Last week, on June 17, 2010, Shahzad was indicted in the Southern District of New York. "Faisal Shahzad plotted and launched an attack that could have led to serious loss of life, and today the American criminal justice system ensured that he will pay the price for his actions," Attorney General Eric Holder said. "We will not rest in bringing to justice terrorists who seek to harm the American people, and we will use every tool available to the government to do so." (DOJ) "This investigation included a combination of traditional law enforcement techniques and intelligence-based authorities, with men and women from a number of agencies working side-by-side in support of a common goal," said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller. (DOJ)
Times Square car bomber Faisal Shahzad: In his own hateful words-NY Daily News Staff
Would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad's remarks in court: "I want to plead guilty and I'm going to plead guilty a hundred times over because until the hour the U.S. pulls its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan and stops the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan and stops the occupation of Muslim lands and stops killing the Muslims . . . we will be attacking U.S., and I plead guilty to that." "I did the training [in Pakistan] to wage an attack inside the United States of America. ... I was given bomb training, and that's what I learned there. ... How to make a bomb, how to detonate a bomb, how to put a fuse. ..." "I asked them [the Taliban] for some cash 'cause I only had - my cash was like $4,500 that I had with me when I was leaving, and I asked for some more cash because I had to do the whole operation here, so they gave me initially $4,900 something. So I came back with $8,000 something..." "The bomb was - it was in three sections. ... The major was the fertilizer bomb. That was in the trunk. It was in a cabinet, a gun cabinet. The second was - if that plan ... didn't work, then the second would be the cylinder, the gas cylinders I had. And the third I had was a petrol [bomb] ... to make fire in the car. But seems like none of those went off. I don't know the reason why they didn't go off." "I chose the center of Times Square ... to injure people or kill people." "The drone hits in Afghanistan and Iraq, they don't see children, they don't see anybody. They kill women, children, they kill everybody. It's a war, and in war, they kill people. They're killing all Muslims.” (Nydailynews)
Terror trial ends but extremism still growing-Isabel Teotonio
The final chapter in the story of the Toronto 18 terror cell closed Wednesday with convictions, but experts warn there is no end to the threat of homegrown religious extremism among Muslim youth. “There is some denial, and people are not willing to acknowledge that Muslims can cause damage to other people,” said Shaykh Yasir Qadhi, an Islamic scholar who recently denounced extremism at a conference in Toronto that attracted about 500 youths. “But the majority of people are coming around to realize there is a problem.” Community members and security experts agree that youth are being radicalized in their own homes by tapping into an online jihadi cyberworld and also behind closed doors of private prayer rooms where firebrand religious ideologues go unchallenged. And increasingly, they are travelling overseas to countries such as Somalia and Pakistan to take up arms and fight jihad. The trend is especially troubling for Canada's spy agency, which is tracking more than 200 individuals with possible links to terrorism, and for police officers tasked with fighting terrorism in Toronto, the busiest unit in the country. The shocking arrests four years ago of what became known as the Toronto 18 woke up a country that had appeared immune to the kind of attacks that had terrorized cities such as New York and London. Evidence emerged of plots to storm Parliament Hill, behead the prime minister and blow up truck bombs in downtown Toronto. (Thestar)
Five Americans jailed in Pakistan for plotting terrorist attacks-Rob Crilly in Islamabad
Five American students have been sentenced to 10 years in Pakistani prisons after being found guilty of plotting terrorist attacks.
The men, all Muslims, were arrested in the eastern city of Sargodha in December. Their families in Virginia reported them missing a month earlier after finding a farewell video message calling for Muslims to be protected. The case is particularly sensitive for American officials trying to come to terms with young men apparently being radicalised within the US – such as Faisal Shahzad, who this week pleaded guilty to the botched Times Square plot. However, Hassan Katchela, their defence lawyer, said the men planned to launch an appeal. "These boys had watched reports of how the Afghan people were living – especially the orphans – and they came here to help," he told The Daily Telegraph. Umar Farooq, Waqar Hussain, Rami Zamzam, Ahmad Abdullah Mini and Amman Hassan Yammer had faced a maximum punishment of life in prison if convicted of all charges. (Telegraph.co.uk)
Man jailed for five years for urging others to ‘martyrdom’-Russell Jenkins
The jailing of a man who encouraged other Muslims to murder Gordon Brown and Tony Blair has been hailed as a significant success for counter-terrorism in Britain .Ishaq Kanmi, 24, from Blackburn, Lancashire, who posted messages on a jihadist website calling for “martyrdom seekers” to carry out targeted murders and large-scale attacks, was jailed for five years yesterday by Manchester Crown Court. He posed online as Sheikk Umar Rabie al-Khalaila, the self-styled leader of al-Qaeda in Britain, composing his messages on a public computer at the Central Library in Blackburn. In one of the postings, in January 2008, Kanmi was said to have compiled a list of aims for the organisation, which included “the elimination of political leaders and top of the list Blair and Brown. As God said, ‘Kill the nonbelievers’,” it read. Another objective was “huge attacks, God willing, on centres and places of benefit to the crusaders. As God said, ‘Kill the participants as you find them, take them, guard them and wait for them’.” After the sentencing Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Porter, of the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, said that Kanmi had a dangerous influence on other young Muslims. “What Kami did was just as relevant to the terrorist cause as someone who plans and takes part in attacks. Organisations like al-Qaeda need people who encourage terrorism just as much as they need suicide bombers,” he said. (Thetimes.co.uk)
European MPs vote against burka ban-AP
MPs from 47 countries have unanimously voted against a general ban on the wearing of the burka in public.
The Parliamentary Assembly of Europe's human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, passed a resolution warning that if governments imposed such a ban they would be denying women "who genuinely and freely desire to do so" their right to cover their faces. But while the Assembly opposed a general ban, it left the door open for targeted laws against the burka, pointing out that legal restrictions may be justified "for security purposes, or where the public or professional functions of individuals require their religious neutrality, or that their face can be seen". The vote came in Strasbourg amid continuing controversy in France over efforts to introduce a general burka ban. The Muslim Council of Britain has attacked French president Nicolas Sarkozy as "patronising and offensive" after he declared: "The burka is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience. We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity." Belgium's lower house of parliament has already voted unanimously for such a ban. If unamended by the upper house - the Senate - the ban would be the first of its kind in Europe, introducing into Belgium's criminal code a prohibition on the wearing in public places of "clothing that hides the face". (UKpress)
Irvine Community and Jewish Groups React to Muslim Student Union Suspension-Reut Cohen
The University of California, Irvine (UCI) is the second youngest campus in the California state university system. UCI has made its mark  among prestigious American universities, steadily rising in the U.S. News & World Report ratings of “America’s Best Colleges.” Following the al-Qaeda terror attacks on September 11, 2001, however, the prestigious and relatively subdued Orange County campus began drawing attention and earning a reputation as a breeding ground for anti-American, anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic sentiment. At UCI, certain registered student groups, while claiming to exercise rights to free speech, have violated state and university policy. This is particularly true of the Muslim Student Union (MSU), which is part of the national network of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) . The organization, more than any other campus group, is known for its seditious rhetoric and hostile, militant activities. Several students and faculty have reported feeling intimidated or even frightened in the presence of MSU members. Such victims have often chosen to remain silent rather than oppose campus organizations whose confrontational tactics and agendas were, over recent years, increasingly tolerated by the university administration and community. As a result of its members’ belligerent and sometimes violent behavior, Irvine’s MSU has rendered itself among the most severely hostile Muslim student organizations in North America. (Pajamasmedia)
My Son’s Textbook Denies Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II Their Rightful Place in History-Jeff Dunetz
I spent much time during the past few weeks helping my son study for the state-wide World History test he took a few days ago. Working with him through his studies, I learned his class presented a brand new version of history, a version that never occurred. Some can argue different versions/interpretations of events that happened centuries ago, but his text book and curriculum distorted events I saw with my own eyes. The text-book in question is called World History Patterns of Interaction, and is published by McDougal Littell. Particularly upsetting was the section of the book covering the period from the end of WWII through the 1980s. It sets up the Cold War period with the mistaken politically correct explanation that both sides were aggressors. On page 983 it says: Both sides believed that they needed to stop the other side from extending its power.” What it should have said was that the Cold War was a battle between the Soviet side wanting to expand its communist philosophy across the world, and the west trying to prevent the takeover. The book also whitewashes the tyranny of Castro’s communist Cuba. Page 985 says “Soviet aid to Cuba ended abruptly with the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. This dealt a crippling blow to the Cuban economy.” There was no mention of the brutality of the Cuban regime; the fact that all opposition newspapers had been closed down, all radio and television stations were in state control, or that moderates, teachers and professors were purged. Nor was there any mention of the torture and inhumane treatment in Cuban prisons that is still happening today. (Bigjournalism)
A Conservative Kid Tries To Survive In California Schools-Sam Besserman
My name is Sam Besserman, I'm eleven years old, I live in Beverly Hills, California, and ever since I can remember I have been subjected to political bias in school. The first time I noticed the bias was actually in preschool where the teacher was reading a book about the importance of mothers and the inferiority of fathers. I tried to tell the teacher that dads might be just as important. The teacher responded in a sing-song, "No, listen to me, I'm the teacher." Of course, the girls loved the book and most of the boys hated it, except for a few who liked it and also wanted to become mothers some day. I was three years old and royally pissed off. I had to listen to such feminist ideas every day and, at times, I actually bought into them. Months later, I still didn't know whether mothers were really more important than fathers. Once I even felt like going into the bathroom and trying to pull off my penis. It wasn't that I wanted to be a woman, I had just lost my enthusiasm for my embattled gender. (Americanthinker)
MSNBC's Matthews Compares Conservative Candidates to Suicide Bombers-Ken Shepherd
"Being a suicide bomber is the new political role model," Chris Matthews told his Friday "Hardball" audience. "Just kill everything, destroy everything, blow it up, nothing gets done. You're dead, but who cares?" he added, referring to conservative Republicans running against Democrats in the 2010 midterms. The comment came at the end of a segment featuring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Politico's Jim VandeHei. Matthews had complained to the latter that the congressional minority Republicans were intent not merely on tinkering around the edges of the majority Democrats' policy proposals but on "destroy[ing] the United States government every time it gets up in the morning" all to the applause of "its cheering section back home say[ing] good work, keep trying to destroy the government." (Newbusters)
To Chavez, With Love-Ron Radosh
Oliver Stone's mash note to the dictators of Latin America.
The red carpet was rolled out this Wednesday night for director Oliver Stone at the premiere of his new documentary, "South of the Border," at the Silverdocs Film Festival in Silver Spring, Md. Mr. Stone told the enthusiastic crowd that his intent in making the film was to correct Americans' negative view of the Latin American left, particularly of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez. Americans, Mr. Stone said following the screening, "have a false view of these countries, as they do of Saddam Hussein, Iran and any country that crosses our path." In "South of the Border," Mr. Chávez is portrayed as a hero, a humble man of the people dedicated to elevating the poor who have democratically elected him time and again. The villains are all the usual suspects: capitalists and local oligarchies that are slaves to foreign interests, the Western press, the International Monetary Fund, and, of course, George W. Bush. Both the subject and the filmmaker had high hopes for Barack Obama, who is shown near the end of the film warmly shaking Mr. Chávez's hand. While the film's major focus is on Mr. Chávez, it also covers Bolivia's Evo Morales, Brazil's Lula da Silva, Argentina's Cristina Kirchner, Fernando Lugo of Paraguay, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, and Fidel Castro's younger brother, Raul. By Mr. Stone's lights, all of these heads of state should be celebrated for daring to take on our country, the imperialist giant. "It is the big story that hasn't been told," Mr. Stone said. "These leaders are being trashed as dictators because our leaders don't like them." (WSJ)
FREEDOM OF SPEECH
48% See Government Today As A Threat to Individual Rights-Rasmussenreports
Nearly half of American Adults see the government today as a threat to individual rights rather than a protector of those rights. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 48% of Adults see the government today as a threat to rights. Thirty-seven percent (37%) hold the opposite view. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided. Most Republicans (74%) and unaffiliateds (51%) consider the government to be a threat to individual rights. Most Democrats (64%) regard the government as a protector of rights. Additionally, most Americans (52%) say it is more important for the government to protect individual rights than to promote economic growth. Just 31% say promoting economic growth is more important. But again a sizable number (17%) of Adults aren't sure which is more important. This nationwide survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on June 18-19, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology. Men strongly believe it is more important for the government to protect individual rights, while women are almost evenly divided on the question. Fifty-five percent (55%) of whites feel the emphasis should be on protecting individual rights. African Americans are closely divided over which is more important. (Rasmussenreports)
Morgan Hill Parents File Lawsuit Over Cinco de Mayo Clothes Flap
MORGAN HILL, Calif. - Central Coast News broke the story about a California school sending students home for wearing patriotic clothing. Then it made national headlines. On Wednesday, it's heading to court. Central Coast News talked to the attorney who filed the lawsuit and found out what the students are asking for. The three Live Oak High School students were told to change their clothes or face suspension. Now, they want to make sure that never happens again. Three families filed a lawsuit against the Morgan Hill Unified School District, its Principal Nick Boden and Assistant Principal Miguel Rodriguez. We spoke with William Becker, the Los Angeles Attorney representing the families. "We're not seeking money damages, we are asking the court for an order that the school acted unconstitutionally by restricting the students first amendment rights. And we are also asking the court for an injunctive relief, indicating the school is forbidden from practicing those policies in the future," said Attorney William Becker. Principal Boden said he told the students to take off the shirts or face suspension because he thought the American flag could cause problems on a Mexican holiday. We talked with the families after the students were sent home for wearing the American flag on Cinco De Mayo, they were all angry about the school's decision, but never talked about filing a lawsuit. At the time, one of the students sent home said he didn't see any problems with students showing any sort of patriotism, for America or Mexico. (KCBA)
Islamic Dress and No-Win Situations-David J. Rusin
Accommodation of Islamic norms must be weighed against the cost. On the societal level, granting Muslims special privileges comes at the price of not just equality, but also cultural integrity. The tradeoffs can be more personal and immediate on smaller scales. Consider this no-win scenario: A business owner fears that permitting Islamic garb at his establishment might leave the wearer susceptible to injury. Faced with a covered client, he has to choose between a pair of harrowing options: decline to apply the proper dress code and risk being accused of negligence, or enforce it and risk being accused of discrimination. Two stories about Australian amusement parks demonstrate that dilemmas of this type can be all too real. In April, a Muslim woman was killed at Port Stephens Go-Karts when her head covering got snagged by the axle of her moving vehicle. IW commented at the time:Signs at the track reportedly "outline a number of rules, including appropriate footwear for drivers, but do not mention scarves or other forms of head-dress." If they had, a Muslim's life could have been saved — despite the inevitable charges of anti-Muslim bigotry that such restrictions would have provoked. (Islamistwatch)
Shalit Supporters Sail 'True Freedom Flotilla' in NYC-Maayana Miskin
Hundreds of people set sail in New York City on Thursday in what they dubbed the True Freedom Flotilla. Ten boats sailed past the Statue of Liberty, around Manhattan, and past the United Nations, waving signs calling to free kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. The event was organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Among those in attendance were Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gabriela Shalev, Israeli Consul General in New York Asaf Shariv, and the Reverend Michael Faulkner of the New Horizon Church, a Christian leader who has long been vocal in his support for Israel. The True Freedom Flotilla aimed to raise awareness of Shalit's plight. Friday marks the fourth anniversary of his kidnapping by Gaza terrorists. In the time that has passed since, Hamas has not allowed international humanitarian groups to visit Shalit even once. (INN)
'Boycott efforts worsening in Britain'-J Post Staff
UK Jewish leader praises Cameron for taking pride in Jewish heritage.
The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) effort against Israel is getting “worse and worse” in the UK, Vivian Wineman, the president of British Jewry’s representative body, the Board of Deputies, warned on Sunday. Wineman, who is holding his first meetings with officials in Israel since his election to the post a year ago, added that once the BDS activists achieve their objective of getting settlement goods boycotted, they would move on to efforts to boycott all Israeli goods. He noted that Palestine solidarity campaigners had pushed successfully for regulations that require UK retailers to specifically label settlement-produced goods, but said it was not yet clear how many retailers – because “they don’t want trouble” – had stopped stocking such goods. Overall, said Wineman, he was increasingly concerned about the “growing campaign” of delegitimization of Israel in the UK. At the same time, he said the new British government had been “making the right noises” where Israel was concerned and that he hoped it would be better than its predecessors on issues such as universal jurisdiction, which left Israeli political and military leaders vulnerable to possible arrest for alleged war crimes when visiting the UK. (Jpost)
87 Senators Tell Obama: Stand Behind Israel!-Hillel Fendel
An overwhelming majority of the United States Senate has signed a letter to President Obama encouraging him to stand strongly behind Israel in the face of "challenges" to its international standing. The letter, written in the midst of a continuing international onslaught against Israel in the wake of the flotilla-Gaza blockade situation, emphasizes that it is in “our national interest to support Israel at a moment when Israel faces multiple threats from Hamas in Gaza, Hizbullah in Lebanon, and the current regime in Iran.” The missive has been signed by 87 senators, and was spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky). “Israel’s opponents have developed clever diplomatic and tactical ploys to challenge its international standing,” the letter states, including “the effort to isolate Israel at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference [and] the recent effort to breach the naval blockade around Gaza… Israel’s naval blockade, which is legal under international law, allows Israel to keep dangerous goods from entering Gaza by sea.” (INN)
Gilad Shalit: Hostage of Hamas-Michael Oren
The struggle to bring the soldier home has become a national passion for Israelis.
In a small Jerusalem café, I sat with Noam Shalit and tried to discuss his son, Gilad. I say tried because each time Noam, a soft-spoken, bespectacled man, began a sentence, the owner of the café rushed over with complimentary plates of humus, salads and desserts. Passersby, glimpsing Noam through the window, burst inside to embrace him. "We are with you," they cried. "We will get our Gilad home." That our is the key to understanding the devotion that Israelis feel for Gilad Shalit. The Israel Defense Forces is a citizens' army in which most young men serve for a minimum of three years, followed by several decades of reserve duty. Young women serve for at least two. Our soldiers are literally our parents, our siblings, our children. Israel is also a small country with few if any degrees of separation between families. Even those who have never met the Shalits know someone who has. And all of us have loved ones—a brother, a son—who could suffer the same ordeal that Gilad began four years ago today. Early on the morning of June 25, 2006, Hamas terrorists—using a tunnel secretly excavated during a cease-fire with Israel—infiltrated across the Gaza border and attacked an IDF base. Firing rocket grenades and automatic weapons, they killed two soldiers—Lt. Hanan Barak and Sgt. Pavel Slutzker, both 20—and kidnapped the 19-year-old corporal, Gilad Shalit. The IDF promptly launched a massive manhunt in Gaza, suffering an additional five fatalities, but failed to find the abductors. Hamas, meanwhile, demanded that Israel release more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, most of them convicted terrorists, in exchange for Gilad's freedom. (WSJ)
Jordan is Palestine-Melanie Phillips
The Dutch politician Geert Wilders has hit the bullseye
‘Jordan is Palestine,’ said Wilders, who heads the third-largest party in Holland. ‘Changing its name to Palestine will end the conflict in the Middle East and provide the Palestinians with an alternate homeland...There has been an independent Palestinian state since 1946, and it is the kingdom of Jordan.’ Wilders also called on the Dutch government to refer to Jordan as Palestine and move its embassy to Jerusalem. Wilders has spoken the big inconvenient truth. As a result, it is inevitably being dismissed as merely what ‘the right’ regularly says. So of course it's untrue, on the grounds that, by definition, everything ‘the right’ says is untrue. Yadda yadda. But it is not untrue. It is correct. Anyone familiar with the history knows it is correct. Immediately after World War One, Palestine consisted of what is now Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. The great powers dividing up the region decided that Britain should be given a mandate to administer Palestine and restore within it the historic Jewish national home. Within a couple of years, however, Winston Churchill, for reasons of realpolitik, gave away three quarters of Palestine to the Hashemite dynasty to found (Trans)Jordan (leaving all the rest to be settled by the Jews; but that’s another story). (Spectator.co.uk)
Hannover: Jewish dance troupe forced off stage
Members of a Jewish dance troupe were pelted with stones and insulted during a neighborhood festival in Sahlkamp, Hannover (Germany). Politicians and local associations responded in outrage and disbelief to the antisemitic attacks in Sahlkamp. A dance troupe of the Liberal Jewish Community in Hannover was pelted with stones and insulted on Saturday during a district festival. After correlating pictures, 30 children and teenagers of mostly Lebanese, Palestinian, Iraqi, Iranian and possibly also Turkish origin, were involved in throwing pebbles and calling insults at the eight adult dancers. The Jewish folklore group were forced to leave the stage, one dancer was hit in the leg and suffered a bruise. The international cultural festival continued after a break, the police were not notified. The stones apparently came from a large pile of larger and smaller pebbles, which was still around Tuesday at the edge of the Sahlkamp market. There are conflicting reports about the exact chain of events. It appears that the provocation began immediately when the group got on the stage. A young person with a megaphone shouted "Jews, out", another threw the first pebble. While the audience rebuked those disturbing, more young people aged 12-16, all together half a dozen, got up and also started throwing stones. Later, around 20 children, boys and girls, joined in. The situation calmed several minutes after the dancers left the stage, and social workers called for restraint. (Islamineurope)
Dear Mr. President ... from Jon Voight
An open letter from actor Jon Voight to President Obama:
June 22, 2010
Dear President Obama:
You will be the first American president that lied to the Jewish people, and the American people as well, when you said that you would defend Israel, the only Democratic state in the Middle East, against all their enemies. You have done just the opposite. You have propagandized Israel, until they look like they are everyone's enemy - and it has resonated throughout the world. You are putting Israel in harm's way, and you have promoted anti-Semitism throughout the world. You have brought this to a people who have given the world the Ten Commandments and most laws we live by today. The Jewish people have given the world our greatest scientist and philosophers, and the cures for many diseases, and now you play a very dangerous game so you can look like a true martyr to what you see and say are the underdogs. But the underdogs you defend are murderers and criminals and want Israel eradicated. You have brought to Arizona a civil war, once again defending the criminals and illegals, creating a meltdown for good, loyal, law-abiding citizens. Your destruction of this country may never be remedied, and we may never recover. I pray to God you stop, and I hope the people in this great country realize your agenda is not for the betterment of mankind, but for the betterment of your politics.
With heartfelt and deep concern for America and Israel,
Jon Voight (Washingtontimes)
Wikipedia, an Islamist Hornet’s Nest-Ari Lieberman
There is a place where the State of Israel is incessantly vilified, its leaders maligned, and its policies continuously criticized by Arabs and their third world and Western cohorts. Any attempt to defend Israel is immediately quashed by hordes of Jihadists and like-minded anti-Semites. Israel’s defenders are subjected to censorship while its most virulent detractors are afforded the podium to blather about this or that “atrocity” committed by Israel in defense of its citizenry. It’s a place where truth gives way to vitriolic, blood curdling Israel bashing. If you think I’m talking about the United Nations Human Rights Counsel or the General Assembly, you’re wrong. If you think I’m talking about Human Rights Watch or any one of the hundreds of anti-Israel NGOs, wrong again. If you think I’m talking about the back office editorial rooms of the New York Times, CNN or Al Jazeera, try again. The place I’m talking about is Wikipedia, an online, supposedly impartial encyclopedia open to editing from anyone who bothers. Wikipedia describes itself as a “multilingual, Web-based, free-content encyclopedia project based mostly on anonymous contributions.” It is “written collaboratively by an international (and mostly anonymous) group of volunteers.” Anyone with internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles.Wikipedia claims 65,000,000 monthly visitors as of 2010 and is rapidly gaining acceptance by university students and media alike. (Frontpagemagazine)
TERRORISM, security and policy
Roberts Rules: Supreme Court Upholds an Important Terrorism Law-Andrew McCarthy
For a dozen years, leftist organizations styling themselves as proponents of international humanitarian law have campaigned to undermine the laws prohibiting material support to terrorism. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court finally swept aside this challenge, forcefully upholding one of our nation’s most crucial counterterrorism tools. Chief Justice John Roberts’s opinion for the 6–3 majority in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project is a smashing victory for the rationale of material-support laws, which bar various forms of aid to formally designated “foreign terrorist organizations” (FTOs) on the ground that any meaningful assistance — however ostensibly innocent or virtuous — strengthens these groups. (I have been writing about the Humanitarian Law litigation here at NRO for a number of years — see here, here, and here — and joined an amicus brief supporting the constitutionality of the material-support laws, both in my individual capacity and as co-chairman of the Center for Law & Counterterrorism, a joint project of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the National Review Institute.) The principle operating here is that terrorism is barbaric, contravening both international law’s imperative to protect civilians and the civilized international norms that promote resolution of political disputes by negotiation, not assassination. Therefore, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and the two terrorist organizations at issue in the epic Humanitarian Law litigation, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Kurdistan Workers Party (Partiya Karkeran Kurdistan, or PKK), must be treated as pariahs, ostracized and suffocated until they either are annihilated or convincingly abandon terrorism as a method. (Familysecuritymatters)
The Western way of war-Caroline Glick
General McChrsytal teaches us a truth of 21st century warfare in the West.
US General Stanley McChrystal has paid a huge price for his decision to give Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings free access to himself and his staff. But he performed a great service for the rest of us. US President Barack Obama fired McChrystal – his hand-picked choice to command NATO forces in Afghanistan – for the things that he and his aides told Hastings about the problematic nature of the US-led war effort in Afghanistan. But by acting as he did, McChrystal forced the rest of us to contend with the unpleasant truth not only about the US-led campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan. He told us the unpleasant truth about the problematic nature of the Western way of war at the outset of the 21st century. Hastings’ now famous article, “The Runaway General,” told the story of an argument. On the one hand, there are people who want to fight to win in Afghanistan. On the other hand, there are people who are not interested in fighting to win in Afghanistan. Obama – and McChrystal as his general – occupy the untenable middle ground. There they try to split the difference between the two irreconcilable camps. The inevitable end is preordained. (Jpost)
Tales from the Taliban-Rebecca Conway
For nearly five brutal years, Ijaz fought in the Pakistan Taliban. Under a pseudonym, the former militant tells Rebecca Conway about his life as a Taliban fighter and what made him turn away from a harrowing life of radicalism and bloodshed. Here is his account. I was involved with jihad for five years. When we started, we were trained to fight in the Kashmir struggle. We wanted to travel to Indian-held Kashmir and join the conflict. It is the duty of every Muslim and every Pakistani to attend military training. I believe it is not necessary to fight against all non-believers, but it is my duty to fight against the non-believers who threaten Islam and Pakistan. I was interested in learning to fight, and the local messages from militant groups, and what we heard in the mosques and speeches during Friday prayers, made me want to join the jihad. They talked about the threat to Pakistan and the threats to Islam. I did 45 days of training. There were 2,000 recruits in the camp from across Pakistan. There was no distinction in terms of where recruits came from. It was difficult training. Not everyone could complete it. But those who did were sent to fight jihad. Manshera was used, because it resembles the terrain you find in Indian-held Kashmir. The area is very hilly, there are cedar forests. Taliban fighters are trained to fight in a similar area to the one where their operations will take place. The militants running the training camps prepared our minds and bodies for the fight. We prepared for many night attacks because it was thought we would often fight at night. It was very strict, with a heavy focus on religion. We had to pray five times a day. That was compulsory. We didn’t smoke or relax. Some people left, but those who left had still gained a level of military expertise and undergone the mental and religious preparation. (Thenational.ae)
Dozens of Americans believed to have joined terrorists-Eli Lake
Threat called 'worrisome'
Dozens of Americans have joined terrorist groups and are posing a threat to the United States and its interests abroad, the president's most senior adviser on counterterrorism and homeland security said Thursday. "There are, in my mind, dozens of U.S. persons who are in different parts of the world, and they are very concerning to us," said John O. Brennan, deputy White House national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism. In a wide-ranging interview with The Washington Times, Mr. Brennan said he would not talk about lists of targeted American terrorists. However, U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies have been tracking down U.S. nationals and U.S. passport holders who pose security threats, like the Yemen-based al Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, he said. "They are concerning to us, not just because of the passport they hold, but because they understand our operational environment here, they bring with them certain skills, whether it be language skills or familiarity with potential targets, and they are very worrisome, and we are determined to take away their ability to assist with terrorist attacks," Mr. Brennan said. (Washingtontimes)
Shin Bet Agent Breaks Cover in US for 'Son of Hamas'-Hana Levi Julian
A Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) agent has broken his cover in an attempt to help his former fellow agent avoid deportation from the United States. Gonen Ben-Yitzchak, who left the service four years ago, worked for 10 years as one of the handlers of Mosab Hassan Yousef, author of the book “Son of Hamas.” Yousef is the eldest son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a founder of Hamas, and for a decade was also an informant for the Jewish State. The team was responsible for preventing countless terrorist attacks, among them assassination attempts on the life of President Shimon Peres and Shas party spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Yousef subsequently emigrated to the United States, and converted to Christianity. But he now faces what might be a life-threatening situation, having revealed his identity to the American authorities in an application for asylum. The former agent said he did not realize that publishing the details of his life in his autobiography might jeopardize his chances of remaining there, rather than prove his intent to sabotage Hamas. Ben-Yitzchak has avoided cameras up to this point and was known in the organization as “Captain Loai” or “G.” However, early last week he traveled to the United States to testify on his former protege's behalf at an immigration hearing. The intelligence operative will appear before a judge in San Diego on June 30. (INN)
JFK Bombing-Plot Trial Set to Start-Chad Bray
Brooklyn Man and Two Others From Guyana Accused of Plan to Blow Up Airport's Fuel Tanks, Pipeline
A Brooklyn man goes on trial later this week on federal charges he wanted to carry out a bombing at Kennedy Airport that he hoped would rival the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, damage the U.S. economy and allow him to profit from the ensuing chaos. But attorneys for Russel Defreitas, a 66-year-old former air-cargo worker at the airport, say there is no evidence that he took "concrete" steps toward blowing up aviation fuel tanks and a pipeline there. On trial with Mr. Defreitas, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Guyana, will be two residents of that South American country whom prosecutors say he asked for help in connecting with an Islamic-militant group on the nearby island of Trinidad. A key question for the jury will be how serious the plot really was. Federal authorities claim it was thwarted before reaching an operational stage, but Mr. Defreitas had carried out surveillance of the airport and reached out to the militant group to assist the operation. "Sometimes, it's hard to tell if it's ideation and talk or if it's a real commitment to bring action to fruition," said Joshua L. Dratel, a New York criminal defense lawyer with experience in terror cases. In court papers, defense lawyers have said there's no evidence the defendants engaged in any training for the plot, acquired any materials to carry it out or took any "concrete act" in furtherance of any criminal activity. (WSJ)
GLOBAL GOVERNANCE AND RADICAL ENVIRONMENTALISM
BREAKING: ‘Green’ Energy Company Threatens Economics Professor … with Package of Dismantled Bomb Parts-Chris Horner
Spain’s Dr. Gabriel Calzada — the author of a damning study  concluding that Spain’s “green jobs” energy program has been a catastrophic economic failure — was mailed a dismantled bomb on Tuesday by solar energy company Thermotechnic.
Says Calzada: Before opening it, I called [Thermotechnic] to know what was inside … they answered, it was their answer to my energy pieces. Dr. Calzada contacted a terrorism expert to handle the package. The expert first performed a scan of the package, then opened it in front of a journalist, Dr. Calzada, and a private security expert. The terrorism consultant said he had seen this before:
This time you receive unconnected pieces. Next time it can explode in your hands.
Dr. Calzada added: [The terrorism expert] told me that this was a warning.
The bomb threat is just the latest intimidation Dr. Calzada has faced since releasing his report and following up with articles in Expansion (a Spanish paper similar to the Financial Times). A minister from Spain’s Socialist government called the rector of King Juan Carlos University — Dr. Calzada’s employer — seeking Calzada’s ouster. Calzada was not fired, but he was stripped of half of his classes at the university. The school then dropped its accreditation of a summer university program with which Calzada’s think tank — Instituto Juan de Mariana — was associated. Additionally, the head of Spain’s renewable energy association and the head of its communist trade union wrote opinion pieces in top Spanish newspapers accusing Calzada of being “unpatriotic” — they did not charge him with being incorrect, but of undermining Spain by daring to write the report. Their reasoning? If the skepticism that Calzada’s revelations prompted were to prevail in the U.S., Spanish industry would face collapse should U.S. subsidies and mandates dry up. As I have previously reported at PJM (here  and here ), Spain’s “green jobs” program was repeatedly referenced by President Obama as a model for what he would like to implement in the United States. Following the release of Calzada’s report, Spain’s Socialist government has since acknowledged the debacle — both privately  and publicly. This month, Spain’s government instituted massive reductions in subsidies to “renewable” energy sources. (Pajamasmedia)
SCIENCE, SOCIETY AND CULTURE
Prozac saved me-Robert Crampton
I don’t care how many doctors say it’s a placebo. Prozac has changed my life - and ended my lifelong bad temper
Well it works for me. I started on fluoxetine, popularly known as Prozac, five years ago this October, when I was 41. I’ve been taking 20mg every morning ever since, green and white pill, down it goes with the first coffee of the day. There have been big benefits, and no side-effects as far as I’m aware. I see no reason to stop. Neither does my wife. Neither does my GP, Dr Cahill. “I know the years of disquiet you had, and I also know how much better you felt when you started the medication.” These are the opinions that matter to me, rather more than the opinion of Professor Irving Kirsch. I feel better with antidepressants than I did without them. I can’t say whether this is a result of a placebo effect. I suppose it would be arrogant to discount it. But two factors make me think that whatever is helping me is more likely to be the result of an actual chemical change, rather than a psychological trick. First, it took two weeks for any change in my state of mind to register. If the change was wrought simply by taking a pill, rather than by real pharmacological effects that pill was causing in my head, why the delay? It seems illogical that you would pop a placebo then not feel the effect for a fortnight. (Thetimes.co.uk)
Don't mention the mockingbird! The reclusive novelist who wrote the classic novel that mesmerised 40 million readers-Sharon Churcher
In the 50 years since Harper Lee published her classic novel that mesmerised 40million readers, she has barely written another word – and turned into an almost total recluse. So when her friends agreed to give our reporter an introduction, it was on one strict condition...Don’t mention the Mockingbird
Despite the thick, black sunglasses, there is something familiar about the frail 84-year-old woman as she is helped falteringly towards the lake shore. A delighted smile flickers across her face as ducks and Canada geese flock round to feed on the scraps of bread brought from the care home where she lives in a modest apartment. Dressed in a clean but faded T-shirt and loosely fitting gingham slacks, she attracts barely a glance from passers-by. Yet hers is the face which has stared from the cover of a book that has hypnotised more than 40 million readers around the world, one that has frequently been rated as one of the ten most important books published in the past century. She is Harper Lee, whose only book, To Kill A Mockingbird, won the Pulitzer Prize, is translated into nearly 50 languages and was turned into the Oscar-winning 1962 film starring Gregory Peck. It also made Harper into a multi-millionairess. (Dailymail.co.uk)
The Feuding Fathers-Ron Chernow
Americans lament the partisan venom of today's politics, but for sheer verbal savagery, the country's founders were in a league of their own. Ron Chernow on the Revolutionary origins of divisive discourse.In the American imagination, the founding era shimmers as the golden age of political discourse, a time when philosopher-kings strode the public stage, dispensing wisdom with gentle civility. We prefer to believe that these courtly figures, with their powdered hair and buckled shoes, showed impeccable manners in their political dealings. The appeal of this image seems obvious at a time when many Americans lament the partisan venom and character assassination that have permeated the political process. Unfortunately, this anodyne image of the early republic can be quite misleading. However hard it may be to picture the founders resorting to rough-and-tumble tactics, there was nothing genteel about politics at the nation's outset. For sheer verbal savagery, the founding era may have surpassed anything seen today. Despite their erudition, integrity, and philosophical genius, the founders were fiery men who expressed their beliefs with unusual vehemence. They inhabited a combative world in which the rabble-rousing Thomas Paine, an early admirer of George Washington, could denounce the first president in an open letter as "treacherous in private friendship…and a hypocrite in public life." Paine even wondered aloud whether Washington was "an apostate or an imposter; whether you have abandoned good principles, or whether you ever had any." Such highly charged language shouldn't surprise us. People who spearhead revolutions tend to be outspoken and courageous, spurred on by a keen taste for combat. After sharpening their verbal skills hurling polemics against the British Crown, the founding generation then directed those energies against each other during the tumultuous first decade of the federal government. The passions of a revolution cannot simply be turned off like a spigot. (WSJ)
The Latest Thievery: Best Friends-Jonah Goldberg
There's a great moment in the 1993 movie Searching for Bobby Fischer. Ben Kingsley plays a coach for a seven-year-old chess prodigy named Josh. Kingsley wants the boy to stop playing chess in the park and devote himself completely to Kingsley's tutelage. Josh's mother doesn't like the idea, because she's a jealous guardian of her son's childhood. "Not playing in the park would kill him. He loves it." Kingsley complains that her decision "just makes my job harder." "Then your job's harder," she responds. As the father of a seven-year-old myself, I think of that scene all the time--most recently, when I read a profoundly depressing story in the New York Times about how "some educators and other professionals who work with children" don't think kids should have best friends. "I think it is kids' preference to pair up and have that one best friend. As adults--teachers and counselors--we try to encourage them not to do that," said Christine Laycob, director of counseling at a St. Louis day school. "We try to talk to kids and work with them to get them to have big groups of friends and not be so possessive about friends." "Parents sometimes say Johnny needs that one special friend," she continued. "We say he doesn't need a best friend." As a result of this thinking, best friends are broken up. Buddies are put on separate teams, assigned to different classes, etc. It's not quite the sort of thing cult leaders and North Korean prison guards do, but in principle it's not too far off either. (Americanenterpriseinstitute)