NYPD, FBI heroes honored after foiling terror plot to bomb Riverdale synagogues BY Celeste Katz and Corky Siemaszko DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Updated Friday, May 22nd 2009, 1:44 PM
Watts/NewsMayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Kelly and Governor Paterson (center) honor more than 100 law enforcement personnel who had a hand in foiling the plot to bomb synagogues in the Bronx. The cops and G-men who busted a gang of homegrown terrorists before they could blow up two Bronx synagogues got a big pat on the back Friday from a grateful city.
"I feel safer in the city today than ever before," Mayor Bloomberg said at a City Hall ceremony to honor the heroes. "They have prevented what could have been a terrible loss of life."
Gov. Paterson called the plot "one of the most heinous crimes that has been [planned] in this city for a long time."
And Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly called the police and FBI response "a textbook example of how a major investigation should be handled."
The kudos came a day after the suspects were ordered held without bail - and branded anti-Semitic would-be killers who dreamed of basking in the glory of their spectacular attacks.
"It's hard to envision a more chilling plot to bring mass murder to a . . . community," said Eric Snyder, an assistant U.S. attorney. "These are people who are eager to bring death to Jews."
Three of the shackled suspects - James Cromitie, 44; David Williams, 28, and Onta Williams (no relation to David), 32 - barely spoke at their Thursday arraignment in White Plains Federal Court.
The fourth man, Haitian immigrant Laguerre Payen, 27, looked dazed when he appeared later.
Cromitie, who recruited the other plotters, decided to bomb the synagogues because Al Qaeda already had brought down the best target the World Trade Center, court papers said.
"I hate those motherf-----s, those f-----g Jewish bastards," he told the informant, court papers revealed. "I would like to get [bomb] a synagogue."
He was itching to watch the devastation he wrought played out over and over again on TV.
"I'm the one who did that," Cromitie congratulated himself after the planned attacks, an informant told cops. "That's my work."
Even though cops called Cromitie the ringleader, Snyder singled out David Williams as the meanest of the bad-news bunch, saying he bragged he'd shoot anyone who tried to stop him.
The suspects, who are charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction and anti-aircraft missiles, did not ask for bail. A judge ordered them held until a hearing on June 6.
The group's diabolical dream was to create "a fireball that would make the country gasp," a law enforcement source said.
The accused terrorists were busted Wednesday night as they planted what they thought was 37 pounds of explosives outside the Jewish center and the Riverdale Temple, two blocks away.
Within seconds, authorities had closed off the normally tranquil street using 18-wheel trucks. Cops and agents swarmed over the black SUV getaway vehicle, broke the windows and yanked the suspects out.
The four also plotted to blow a plane out of the sky at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, Orange County, authorities charge.
"These guys were angry, they had intent and they were searching for capacity," a senior federal law enforcement official told the Daily News. But, the official added, they're "not exactly Al Qaeda."
The suspects met at their Newburgh mosque, Masjid al-Ikhlas, sources said, and at least three were jailhouse converts to Islam.
The mosque's spiritual leader denounced the plot and disowned the suspects. "Their plan was un-Islamic," declared Imam Salahuddin Mustafa Muhammad.
With Rich Schapiro, Tanyanika Samuels and Alison Gendar
Police Continue Siege at Extremist Camp April 22, 1985|Associated Press
THREE BROTHERS, Ark. — Camouflaged police officers trod warily Sunday for fear of setting off booby traps or mines as they besieged for a third day the hide-out of an extremist religious group whose leader is wanted on a weapons charge.
Federal officials were continuing to negotiate with the group--known as the Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord--for the surrender of leader Jim Ellison and hoped the standoff would not erupt into violence, said FBI agent Ray McElhaney.
Another right-wing extremist, who was arrested Saturday night in connection with the shooting death of a Missouri state trooper, was held without bond in a Springfield, Mo., jail Sunday.
Crowd Cheers Arrest
David C. Tate was transferred to Springfield from Forsyth, where 200 persons cheered upon hearing of his arrest.
Meanwhile, inside the remote, 224-acre compound deep in the Ozarks on the Arkansas-Missouri border, members of the extremist group moved into a barbed-wire enclosure, authorities said.
"We are talking about people who have announced they are well armed," McElhaney said. "There is good reason to believe there are explosives, mines and assault weapons on the premises, and the people that occupy the compound have adequate training in using them."
Federal and state lawmen converged on the encampment Friday to arrest Ellison, 44, who faces a federal charge of conspiracy to manufacture restricted weapons--automatic guns. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
In an attempt to flush him out of the compound Saturday, officers took over two unoccupied clusters of buildings.
Four women and 12 children had voluntarily left the compound, McElhaney said.
Police had wanted to search the compound as part of the massive manhunt for Tate of Athol, Ida., a member of the neo-Nazi group The Order, accused in the slaying of Trooper Jimmie L. Linegar, 31, last Monday. Another trooper, Allen Hines, 36, was wounded.
However, Tate, 22, who Covenant members said had visited the compound two years ago, was arrested unarmed late Saturday in Forsyth, said Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Lee Thompson.
He was transferred from the Taney County Jail in Forsyth to the Greene County Jail in Springfield, 30 miles to the north, Saturday night, officials said. He was placed in a maximum security cell where authorities could check him every 15 minutes.
Tate was arraigned in Taney County on charges of murder, first-degree assault, federal charges of unlawful possession of a machine gun and violation of anti-racketeering laws, said Lt. Ralph Biele of the highway patrol. When Tate was brought to the courthouse in Forsyth, some in the crowd outside yelled, "Kill him, kill him."
It's bad enough that President Obama is about to sign a new START agreement with Russia--an accord that is little more than a gift to Moscow. But Mr. Obama is now making matters far worse with his "Nuclear Posture Review," which further weakens our deterrent capabilities.
Previewing his new policy for the court stenographers at The New York Times, the president set limits on how the U.S. might use nuclear weapons, even in self-defense. Mr. Obama said the United States would commit "to not using nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states that adhere to non-proliferation treaties--even if those countries attack the U.S. with chemical or biological weapons."
While stopping short of a "no first use" policy, the Obama doctrine clearly constrains our potential employment of nuclear weapons. In his interview with the Times, the president said one of his goals is to "move towards less emphasis on nuclear weapons, to make sure that our conventional weapons capability is an effective deterrent in all but the most extreme circumstances.”
Some of those "circumstances" could include rogue states like Iran and North Korea. Mr. Obama's policy makes exceptions for those adversaries. Pyongyang has already demonstrated a limited nuclear capability while Iran is working actively to develop nuclear weapons. The President says our revised posture will "set an example" for the rest of the world, and persuade more nations to curb their nuclear programs.
It's tempting to ask just how well that example is working. North Korea has threatened both the U.S. and South Korea with nuclear attacks, and even shared their technology with Syria. Apparently, Pyongyang is unconcerned about our "example," or the potential for American nuclear retaliation. And the pace of Iran's nuclear program has only accelerated over the past year, suggesting that Iran has little fear of the administration and its nuclear policies.
But the decline in our nuclear forces goes well beyond our political statements, and how they play in places like Iran and North Korea. Mr. Obama is telegraphing how he would use nuclear weapons, eliminating the policy "ambiguity" that has kept enemies guessing--and served us well--for more than 60 years.
Equally distressing, President Obama remains committed to a continuing erosion in our nuclear capabilities. As former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Gaffney observes:
I believe that the most alarming aspect of the Obama denuclearization program, however, is its explicit renunciation of new U.S. nuclear weapons — an outcome that required the president to overrule his own defense secretary. Even if there were no new START treaty, no further movement on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and no new wooly-headed declaratory policies, the mere fact that the United States will fail to reverse the steady obsolescence of its deterrent — and the atrophying of the skilled workforce needed to sustain it — will ineluctably achieve what is transparently President Obama’s ultimate goal: a world without American nuclear weapons.
Given the outlines of Mr. Obama's policy, it's hard to disagree. Not only will our nuclear forces grow smaller in the coming years, they will also become less capable, with the president mandating a "procurement holiday" for that category of weapons, and the infrastructure and produces them.
Additionally, the newly-negotiated Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) will take a further toll on our deterrent capabilities, by cutting the number of warheads (to 1,500 for both the U.S. and Russia) and placing limits on delivery systems. By agreeing to that provision, Mr. Obama and his security team essentially traded away an American strength.
Two decades after the Cold War ended, the U.S. is the only global power with a true nuclear "triad," consisting of land-based ICBMs, sub-launched ballistic missiles and long-range nuclear bombers. Reaching treaty goals means the United States will surrender some of its advantage in those latter categories. Russia, on the other hand, has only a token ballistic missile fleet and a handful of long-range bombers. Clearly, the U.S. must make most of the cuts to comply with the new agreement.
It's also worth noting that some of the American bombers facing elimination are dual-capable systems, designed for nuclear strike missions and extended-range conventional sorties. Writing at the American Thinker, Thomas Lifson speculates that Russia's real goal wasn't a reduction in nuclear weapons, but rather, a decrease in our global, precision-strike capabilities. With fewer dual-capable bombers in the inventory, it will be more difficult to mount "shock and awe" campaigns in the future and inject U.S. power in areas that Moscow wants to dominate.
No matter how you slice it, the new START agreement (and Mr. Obama's revised nuclear posture statement) are bad policy, pure and simple. After a year in the Oval Office, the commander-in-chief still has a myopic view of the world, believing that nuclear weapons can simply be wished or negotiated away. In reality, President Obama is sewing the seeds of a new arms race. Allies in eastern Europe and the Far East (think Taiwan) that have long counted on the American nuclear umbrella will now be tempted to developed their own weapons, deducing (correctly) that the U.S. may be unwilling or unable to protect them.
Sad to say, but the new treaty and nuclear posture statement represent the worst security policy since the United States signed the Kellogg-Briand pact back in 1928. That was the agreement that "prohibited war as an instrument of national policy," except in matters of self-defense. You know how that one worked out.
Let's say you are the SAC in the FBI office in the midwest when it comes to your attention that you've got a group that's plotting to kill cops. Do you wait until some rural deputy gets murdered on a traffic stop, or see if a U/C or other investigative method can make a case before someone gets killed?
For Immediate Release September 24, 2009 United States Attorney's Office Northern District of Texas Contact: (214) 659-8600 FBI Arrests Jordanian Citizen for Attempting to Bomb Skyscraper in Downtown Dallas
DALLAS—James T. Jacks, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, and Robert E. Casey, Jr., Special Agent in Charge for the Dallas Office of the FBI, announced today that Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, 19, has been arrested and charged in a federal criminal complaint with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. Smadi, who was under continuous surveillance by the FBI, was arrested today near Fountain Place, a 60-story glass office tower located at 1445 Ross Avenue in downtown Dallas, after he placed an inert/inactive car bomb at the location. Smadi, a Jordanian citizen in the U.S. illegally, lived and worked in Italy, Texas. He has repeatedly espoused his desire to commit violent jihad and has been the focus of an undercover FBI investigation.
“The highest priority of the FBI and the Department of Justice remains the prevention of another terrorist attack within the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Jacks. “In that effort, it is the job of the FBI to locate and identify individuals intent upon carrying out any type of attack upon this country and its citizens/residents. Whether as part of a group or acting alone, persons contemplating such acts need to know that all components of the government are working together to ferret out their activities and to insure that such individuals face the full measure of the law. The identification and apprehension of this defendant, who was acting alone, is a sobering reminder that there are people among us who want to do us grave harm,” Jacks continued.
Special Agent in Charge Casey said, “Today’s arrest of Hosam Maher Husein Smadi underscores the FBI’s unwavering commitment to bring to justice persons who attempt to bring harm to citizens of this country and significant danger to this community. Smadi made a decision to act to commit a significant conspicuous act of violence under his banner of “self jihad.” He will now face justice. The many agents, detectives, analysts, and prosecutors who helped to bring about Thursday’s arrest deserve special thanks for their efforts. This case serves as a reminder of the continuing threats of terrorism we face as a nation and the FBI’s resolve to meet those threats. The arrest of Smadi is not in any way related to the ongoing terror investigation in New York and Colorado.”
“The criminal complaint alleges that Hosam Smadi sought and attempted to bomb the Fountain Place office tower, but a coordinated undercover law enforcement action was able to thwart his efforts and ensure no one was harmed,” said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.
Smadi will make his initial appearance tomorrow in U.S. District Court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Irma C. Ramirez.
According to affidavits filed today with the complaint and search warrants:
Smadi was discovered by the FBI espousing his desire to commit significant acts of violence. Smadi stood out because of his vehement intention to actually conduct terror attacks in the U.S.
The FBI developed an investigative plan to determine Smadi’s true intent while also protecting the public’s safety. Smadi made clear his intention to serve as a soldier for Usama Bin Laden and al Qaeda, and to conduct violent jihad. Undercover FBI agents, posing as members of an al Qaeda “sleeper” cell, were introduced to Smadi, who repeatedly indicated to them that he came to the U.S. for the specific purpose of committing “Jihad for the sake of God.” Smadi clarified that he was interested in “self-jihad,” because it was “the best type of jihad.” Smadi was interested in violent jihad against those he deemed to be enemies of Islam. The investigation determined Smadi was not associated with other terrorist organizations.
Throughout the investigation, undercover FBI agents repeatedly encouraged Smadi to reevaluate his interpretation of jihad, counseling him that the obligations a Moslem has to perform jihad can be satisfied in many ways. Every time this interaction occurred, Smadi aggressively responded that he was going to commit significant, conspicuous acts of violence as his jihad.
In June 2009, Smadi identified potential targets in the Dallas area; but in mid-July, he notified an undercover FBI agent that he had changed his mind regarding the targets. On July 21, 2009, Smadi met with an undercover FBI agent and directed the agent to drive them to a Wells Fargo Bank in downtown Dallas. Smadi and the undercover FBI agent then drove to 1445 Ross Avenue where the Fountain Place office tower is located. A Wells Fargo Bank is located in that building. Smadi went into the building where he conducted his own reconnaissance.
In late August 2009, while meeting with one of the undercover FBI agents in Dallas, Smadi discussed the logistics and timing of the bombing, stating that he would have preferred to do the attack on “11 September,” but decided to wait until after the month of Ramadan, which ended on September 20, 2009. At the conclusion of the meeting, Smadi decided that a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) would be placed at the foundation of the Fountain Place office tower. Unbeknownst to Smadi, the FBI ensured the VBIED contained only an inert/inactive explosive device which contained no explosive materials.
A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged, and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The offense of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction carries, upon conviction, a maximum statutory sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The case is being investigated by the FBI in conjunction with members of the FBI-sponsored North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson is in charge of the prosecution. The Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division is assisting in the prosecution.
The lack of prosecution in the Black Panthers case was political (and disgusting), but that decision was from the US Atty's Office, not the FBI. The FBI has popped jihadists CONUS multiple times since 9/11.
For Immediate Release March 29, 2010 United States Attorney's Office Eastern District of Michigan Contact: (313) 226-9100 Nine Members of a Militia Group Charged with Seditious Conspiracy and Related Offenses
Six Michigan residents, along with two residents of Ohio and a resident of Indiana, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit on charges of seditious conspiracy, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, teaching the use of explosive materials, and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade and FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena announced today.
The five-count indictment, which was unsealed today, charges that between August 2008 and the present, the defendants, David Brian Stone, 45, his wife, Tina Stone, 44, his son, Joshua Matthew Stone, 21, of Clayton, Michigan, and his other son, David Brian Stone, Jr., 19, of Adrian, Michigan, Joshua Clough, 28, of Blissfield, Michigan, Michael Meeks, 40 of Manchester, Michigan, Thomas Piatek, 46, of Whiting, Indiana, Kristopher Sickles, 27, of Sandusky, Ohio, and Jacob Ward, 33, of Huron, Ohio, acting as a Lenawee County Michigan militia group called the Hutaree, conspired to oppose by force the authority of the U.S. government. According to the indictment, Hutaree members view local, state, and federal law enforcement as the “brotherhood,” their enemy, and have been preparing to engage them in armed conflict.
The indictment further alleges that the Hutaree planned to kill an unidentified member of local law enforcement and then attack the law enforcement officers who gather in Michigan for the funeral. According to the plan, the Hutaree would attack law enforcement vehicles during the funeral procession with improvised explosive devices with explosively formed projectiles, which, according to the indictment, constitute weapons of mass destruction. Subsequently, and in furtherance of this plan, David Brian Stone, the Hutaree’s leader, obtained information about such devices over the Internet and e-mailed diagrams of such devices to a person he believed capable of manufacturing the devices. He then had his son, Joshua Matthew Stone, and others gather materials necessary for the manufacturing of such devices.
According to the indictment, in June 2009, David Brian Stone and his other son, David Brian Stone, Jr., taught other Hutaree members how to make and use explosive devices intending or knowing that the information would be used to further a crime of violence. In addition, the grand jury charged all nine defendants with carrying or possessing a firearm during a crime of violence on at least one occasion.
U.S. Attorney McQuade said, “Because the Hutaree had planned a covert reconnaissance operation for April which had the potential of placing an unsuspecting member of the public at risk, the safety of the public and of the law enforcement community demanded intervention at this time."
Andrew Arena, FBI Special Agent in Charge, said, "This is an example of radical and extremist fringe groups which can be found throughout our society. The FBI takes such extremist groups seriously, especially those who would target innocent citizens and the law enforcement officers who protect the citizens of the United States. The FBI would like to thank our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners who are member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, for their assistance in this case."
As of this morning, eight of the nine defendants are in custody and seven of them will be making their initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Donald A. Scheer at 10 a.m. Joshua Stone is currently a fugitive. Any person with information as to the whereabouts of this individual should contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at (313) 965-2323.
The charge of seditious conspiracy carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction carries a statutory maximum penalty of life in prison, Teaching the use of explosives materials carriers a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence carries a mandatory minium penalty of at least five years in prison.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case was investigated by special agents of the FBI and the Michigan State Police.
FBI Sees Little Chance of Copycat Militia Plots Anger aplenty, but FBI sees little chance of copycat plots after Christian militants' arrest By DEVLIN BARRETT The Associated Press WASHINGTON
There's a lot of anger out there. But the alleged plot by Midwestern militants and violent outbursts by scattered individuals don't signal any coming wave of extremist violence, federal investigators say.
There's more fizzle than fight among self-styled militias and other groups right now, they say, and little chance of a return to the organized violence that proved so deadly in the 1990s.
Militia extremist statements "primarily have served as an expression of anger after a particular event," according to an FBI intelligence bulletin obtained by The Associated Press. "The FBI assesses the likelihood of violent conflict from the remaining group members or other militia extremists as low."
A group of Christian militants calling themselves the Hutaree stand charged with plotting attacks against police in Michigan, assaults that prosecutors say the militants hoped would inspire others to commit anti-government violence. There was no attack; authorities moved in and made arrests last weekend because, the prosecutors contend, the group was girding for action in April.
There is always a risk of a lone wolf launching an attack, and law enforcement officials cannot rule out the possibility that they have failed to detect larger, more organized plots still unfolding. But the FBI bulletin — it was issued to police departments — underscores that authorities have not yet detected clear signs of a revival of organized violence that would require a strong federal response.
BBG's post was written by someone with an anti-establishmentarian agenda coupled with a profound lack of law enforcement knowledge.
Do politics shape how law enforcement works? Yes, to a degree as law enforcement agencies in this country either answer to an elected official, or the appointed head of the agency answers to an elected official, but how FBI "brick agents" work is very distant from politics 99.9 % of the time. The FBI has 300+ federal laws they are charged with enforcing by statutes set by congress. It's easier to be admitted to Harvard than to be hired by the FBI. The men and women of the FBI take on huge responsibilities and lots of sacrifice for not a great deal of money, especially when compared to the cost of living in the cities they often get posted to at the start of their careers. When you consider what lawyers, CPAs and foreign linguists with undergrad degrees could make in the private sector compared to doing a job where a bad day at work can result in a flag draped coffin, we should be glad that are such people willing to step up and do the job.
FBI PRIORITIES In executing the following priorities, we will produce and use intelligence to protect the nation from threats and to bring to justice those who violate the law.
1. Protect the United States from terrorist attack. 2. Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage. 3. Protect the United States against cyber-based attacks and high-technology crimes. 4. Combat public corruption at all levels. 5. Protect civil rights. 6. Combat transnational and national criminal organizations and enterprises. 7. Combat major white-collar crime. 8. Combat significant violent crime. 9. Support federal, state, county, municipal, and international partners. 10. Upgrade technology to successfully perform the FBI's mission.
The FBI needs to stop being used by whatever political party is in office, and focus on their job. As it is they are abridging the civil rights of whoever is LEAST represented. Sounds like the Tyrany of Majority item that the Constitution is supposed to prevent eh?
As usual, you have an opinion with nothing to support it.
April 3, 2010 Obama Accepts a Nuclear Iran By Greg Sheridan
US President Barack Obama has decided to abandon any serious effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He is determined instead to live with a nuclear Iran, by containment and, if possible, negotiation.
This is the shifting tectonic plate in the Middle East.
This is the giant story of the past few weeks which the world has largely missed, distracted by the theatre of the absurd of Obama's contrived and mock confrontation with Israel over 1600 apartments to be built in three years' time in a Jewish suburb in East Jerusalem.
Iran is the only semi-intelligible explanation for Obama's bizarre over-reaction against the Israelis.
In the Middle East, today, Iran is the story. It is the consideration behind all other considerations.
Obama has not explicitly announced his new position and he and his cabinet secretaries still make speeches saying they will try to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. But if you look at the statements closely you see a steady weakening of resolve, a steady removal of any threat of any consequence for Iran. Similarly, if you look at the actions of the administration, the sombre conclusion is inescapable.
Iran's missile program, which has no conceivable military use except to carry nuclear weapons, and which can now reach Europe and in due course will have a longer range, the fundamental change in US policy has global security consequences.
It has global security consequences in other ways, as well. It profoundly undermines American strategic credibility, which is the bedrock of whatever global order this troubled planet enjoys.
The troubling realisation that the Americans have given up, or are in the process of giving up, the fight to prevent Iran going nuclear is backed by the best informed security sources in Washington, London, Jerusalem and Canberra.
The bust-up between Washington and Israel only makes sense in this context. Last week, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Obama in the White House, and also met Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the State Department. On both occasions, all photographers and all TV cameras were banned. This was a studied humiliation of Netanyahu and all, ostensibly, because Israel announced that in three years' time 1600 apartments would be built in a Jewish neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. Yet the 10-month moratorium on new residential building in the West Bank which Netanyahu had announced in October to effusive US praise had specifically exempted East Jerusalem.
It is inconceivable that Obama would have treated any Arab or Muslim leader with the same considered contempt that he showed to Netanyahu. I speculated last week that Obama engaged in his furious over-reaction in order to pursue personal popularity in the Muslim world, and perhaps to force Israel to make so many concessions that the Palestinians would come back to negotiations. Although these negotiations would not produce a comprehensive peace deal, at least Obama could claim the talks themselves as a victory of sorts.
I still think these were important considerations but there was a much bigger strategic purpose, as well. In 2008, Israel told Washington it was planning to strike Iran's nuclear facilities. Washington talked Jerusalem out of the move, not least by showing its own determination to stop the Iranians.
In those days, senior Americans from then-president George W. Bush down, often said that "all options are on the table" in their determination to stop Iran acquiring nukes. All options explicitly included an American military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. When Obama spoke to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2008, he said he would use "all elements of American power to pressure Iran".
He won a tumultuous standing ovation by using a repetition of a key word to emphasise his determination. He said: "I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon - everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon - everything." That was Obama's equivalent to Bush's "all options".
Obama doesn't talk anything like that any more. In his message to Iran on the Iranian new year a few weeks ago, he reiterated his determination not to meddle in Iran's internal affairs and said the nuclear matter should still be negotiated.
Clinton, in her address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee last week, spoke only briefly about Iran, repeating a pro-forma US determination to stop it going nuclear. But there was no mention of all options, everything the US could do, or all aspects of US power. Instead, she said that while sanctions were taking a long time to work out at the UN, it was time well spent, and they would show Iran that its actions had consequences.
But the bulk of her speech was all about the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Presidential and Secretary of State speeches on subjects like this are given a level of attention that wouldn't be out of place in the preparation of a papal encyclical. The sub-text of Obama and Clinton's recent speeches can only be that they have decided that the battle against a nuclear-armed Iran is over.
One thing they are determined to do is to stop Israel from taking its own unilateral military action to stop or retard Iran's nuclear program. Israel has taken this type of action twice before. In 1981, it destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor at Osirak. And in 2007, it bombed into obliteration a North Korean-supplied secret nuclear reactor in Syria.
It is impossible to know with absolute certainty what Israel's intentions were, or are, for the Iranian nuclear program. But for several years the most senior US officials would agree that a nuclear-armed Iran represented an existential threat to Israel. Iran's rulers, after all, not only deny the Holocaust but have made militant anti-Americanism, confrontation with Israel and even anti-Semitism, defining ideologies of the Iranian state. Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has threatened to wipe Israel off the map. Most analysts believe that for all their extremism, the Iranian rulers are rational actors and would not actually use nuclear weapons. But this is a slender analytical thread to ask Israelis to hang their very lives on. And the danger of Iran proliferating some element of nuclear material or technology to terrorists is much more plausible.
This is where the Obama-Israel dust-up comes in. By so isolating Israel, by irresponsibly unleashing a global wave of anti-Israel sentiment, especially in nations which normally support Israel, Obama has made the possibility of Israel considering unilateral action against Iran much more unlikely. The Israelis would weigh such action very carefully. There are many pluses and minuses. By creating the impression of Israel as a besieged, isolated and reckless nation, which the wildly disproportionate reaction to the East Jerusalem apartments accomplished, Obama has made the potential cost to Israel of action against Iran much greater.
Is it fair to conclude definitively that Obama has decided to give up, except for symbolic and meaningless actions, the fight against a nuclear-armed Iran?
Obama might still change his mind - he is nothing, after all, if not flexible - but that is the inescapable conclusion of his actions so far.
He has set so many deadlines for Iran. Each of them has passed and nothing ever happens. There are never bad consequences for the US's enemies in Obama world, it seems, only for its friends.
Remember, initially, that the Obama administration wanted to wait for the Iranian election in the middle of last year before it exhausted dialogue or went down the sanctions road? Remember then the deadline was September? Remember the proposal for Iran's uranium to go to Russia for enrichment? Remember the revelation of Iran's secret nuclear facility at Qom? Remember Iran's announcement that it intended to enrich uranium up to 20 per cent, a vast leap on the technological road to weapons? Did you notice a couple of weeks ago Iran's announcement that it would build new nuclear facilities?
And where are we today? Now it is April and Obama is still talking in his feckless way about possible UN sanctions. Anything that is passed by China and Russia at the UN Security Council will be weak and ineffective. A serious US administration would have built a critical mass of like-minded countries to impose crippling sanctions on Iran outside the Security Council.
The only explanation that fits with all the facts is that the US administration is no longer serious about stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons. James Lindsay and Ray Takeyh, writing in this month's Foreign Affairs, declare that: "If Iran's nuclear program continues to progress at its current rate, Tehran could have the nuclear material needed to build a bomb before US President Barack Obama's current term in office expires." The Foreign Affairs article, After Iran Gets the Bomb, is important in another way. It demonstrates the drift in the serious discussion in the US. It is no longer a discussion of how to stop Iran getting the bomb, but how to cope with a nuclear-armed Iran.
Here's something else you should know about Iran. US General David Petraeus, in written testimony to congress, has revealed that Iran is co-operating with al-Qa'ida in Afghanistan and Pakistan, facilitating the movement of its leaders. The Sunday Times of London recently carried interviews with Taliban leaders who were trained in Iran.
There is no chance Obama will produce a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace deal in his first term in office, which is how he would like to be remembered by history. There is every chance history will remember him for something altogether different, as the American president on whose watch Iran became a nuclear-weapons state.
March 29, 2010 Obama's Treatment of Israel is Shocking By Ed Koch
President Obama's abysmal attitude toward the State of Israel and his humiliating treatment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is shocking. In the Washington Post on March 24th, Jackson Diehl wrote, "Obama has added more poison to a U.S.-Israeli relationship that already was at its lowest point in two decades. Tuesday night the White House refused to allow non-official photographers record the president's meeting with Netanyahu; no statement was issued afterward. Netanyahu is being treated as if he were an unsavory Third World dictator, needed for strategic reasons but conspicuously held at arms length. That is something the rest of the world will be quick to notice and respond to."
I have not heard or read statements criticizing the president by New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand or many other supporters of Israel for his blatantly hostile attitude toward Israel and his discourtesy displayed at the White House. President Obama orchestrated the hostile statements of Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, voiced by Biden in Israel and by Clinton in a 43-minute telephone call to Bibi Netanyahu, and then invited the latter to the White House to further berate him. He then left Prime Minister Netanyahu to have dinner at the White House with his family, conveying he would only be available to meet again if Netanyahu had further information - read concessions - to impart.
It is unimaginable that the President would treat any of our NATO allies, large or small, in such a degrading fashion. That there are policy differences between the U.S. and the Netanyahu government is no excuse. Allies often disagree, but remain respectful.
In portraying Israel as the cause of the lack of progress in the peace process, President Obama ignores the numerous offers and concessions that Israel has made over the years for the sake of peace, and the Palestinians' repeated rejections of those offers. Not only have Israel's peace proposals, which include ceding virtually the entire West Bank and parts of Jerusalem to the Palestinians, been rejected, but each Israeli concession has been met with even greater demands, no reciprocity, and frequently horrific violence directed at Israeli civilians. Thus, Prime Minister Netanyahu's agreement to suspend construction on the West Bank - a move heralded by Secretary of State Clinton as unprecedented by an Israeli government - has now led to a demand that Israel also halt all construction in East Jerusalem, which is part of Israel's capital. Meanwhile, Palestinians are upping the ante, with violent protests in Jerusalem and elsewhere. And the Obama administration's request that our Arab allies make some conciliatory gesture towards Israel has fallen on deaf ears.
Prior American presidents, beginning with Truman who recognized the State of Israel in 1948, have valued Israel as a close ally and have often come to its rescue. For example, it was Richard Nixon during the 1973 war, who resupplied Israel with arms, making it possible for it to snatch victory from a potentially devastating defeat at the hands of a coalition of Arab countries including Egypt and Syria.
President George W. Bush made it a point of protecting Israel at the United Nations and the Security Council wielding the U.S. veto against the unfair actions and sanctions that Arab countries sought to impose to cripple and, if possible, destroy, the one Jewish nation in the world. Now, in my opinion, based on the actions and statements by President Obama and members of his administration, there is grave doubt among supporters of Israel that President Obama can be counted on to do what presidents before him did - protect our ally, Israel. The Arabs can lose countless wars and still come back because of their numbers. If Israel were to lose one, it would cease to exist.
To its credit, Congress, according to the Daily News, has acted differently towards Prime Minister Netanyahu than President Obama. Reporter Richard Sisk wrote on March 24th, "Congress put on a rare show of bipartisanship for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday - a sharp contrast to his chilly reception at the White House. ‘We in Congress stand by Israel,' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told a beaming Netanyahu, who has refused to budge on White House and State Department demands to freeze settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank."
But Congress does not make foreign policy. It can prevent military arms from going to Israel, but cannot send them. Congress has no role in determining U.S. policy at the U.N. Security Council. The President of the United States determines our foreign policy - nearly unilaterally - under our Constitution. So those Congressional bipartisan wishes of support, while welcome, will not protect Israel in these areas, only the President can do that. Based on his actions to date, I have serious doubts.
In the 1930s, the Jewish community and its leadership, with few exceptions, were silent when their coreligionists were being attacked, hunted down, incarcerated and slaughtered. Ultimately 6 million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust. The feeling in the U.S. apparently was that Jews who criticized our country's actions and inactions that endangered the lives of other Jews would be considered disloyal, unpatriotic and displaying dual loyalty, so many Jews stayed mute. Never again should we allow that to occur. We have every right to be concerned about the fate of the only Jewish nation in the world, which if it had existed during the 1930s and thereafter, would have given sanctuary to any Jew escaping the Nazi holocaust and taken whatever military action it could to save Jews not yet in the clutches of the Nazis. We who have learned the lessons of silence, Jews and Christians alike, must speak up now before it is too late.
So I ask again, where are our Senators, Schumer and Gillibrand? And, where are the voices, not only of the 31 members of the House and 14 Senators who are Jewish, but the Christian members of the House and Senate who support the State of Israel? Where are the peoples' voices? Remember the words of Pastor Niemoller, so familiar that I will not recite them, except for the last line, "Then they came for me, and by that time, there was no one left to speak up."
Supporters of Israel who gave their votes to candidate Obama - 78 percent of the Jewish community did - believing he would provide the same support as John McCain, this is the time to speak out and tell the President of your disappointment in him. It seems to me particularly appropriate to do so on the eve of the Passover. It is one thing to disagree with certain policies of the Israeli government. It is quite another to treat Israel and its prime minister as pariahs, which only emboldens Israel's enemies and makes the prospect of peace even more remote.
Are you shocked to find out that the Obama I warned you was immersed in leftist ant-semitism has turned out to be hostile to Israel? I don't be on things I don't want to be true, and if there is a smoking sheet of radioactive glass where Tel Aviv used to be, a wager is the last thing that'll be on any of our minds.
How's that outstretched hand to Iran working out? Compare and contrast to the clenched fist Israel is getting.
And we all know how evil Nazi eugenics were, don't we? How crazy were their efforts to build up the "master race" through selective breeding of SS men with the best of German women — the Lebensborn project? Good Leftists recoil in horror from all that of course. But who were the great supporters of eugenics in Hitler's day? In the USA, the great eugenicists of the first half of the 20th century were the "Progressives". And who were the Progressives? Here is one summary of them:
Originally, progressive reformers sought to regulate irresponsible corporate monopoly, safeguarding consumers and labor from the excesses of the profit motive. Furthermore, they desired to correct the evils and inequities created by rapid and uncontrolled urbanization. Progressivism ... asserted that the social order could and must be improved... Some historians, like Richard Hofstadter and George Mowry, have argued that the progressive movement attempted to return America to an older, more simple, agrarian lifestyle. For a few progressives, this certainly was true. But for most, a humanitarian doctrine of social progress motivated the reforming spirit. Sound familiar? The Red/Green alliance of today is obviously not new. So Hitler's eugenics were yet another part of Hitler's LEFTISM! He got his eugenic theories from the Leftists of his day. He was simply being a good Leftist intellectual in subscribing to such theories.
The summary of Progressivism above is from De Corte (1978). Against all his own evidence, De Corte also claims that the Progressives were "conservative." More Leftist whitewash! See also Pickens (1968).
And are feminists conservative? Hardly. And feminists are hardly a new phenomenon either. In the person of Margaret Sanger and others, they were very active in the USA in first half of the 20th century, advocating (for instance) abortion. And Margaret Sanger was warmly praised by Hitler for her energetic championship of eugenics. And the American eugenicists were very racist. They shared Hitler's view that Jews were genetically inferior and opposed moves to allow into the USA Jews fleeing from Hitler (Richmond, 1998). So if Hitler's eugenics and racial theories were loathsome, it should be acknowledged that his vigorous supporters in the matter at that time were Leftists and feminists, rather than conservatives.
**Rog, did you bother to parse out the various "clean and articulate" and "He'd be getting coffee for us" "negro dialect" quotes for racist motivations from democrats? No code words in these statements, are there?**
Nader -- who launched his 5th presidential campaign in February -- says the only thing different about Obama from previous Democratic presidential candidates is his race. "I haven't heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos," Nader says. "Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What's keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn't want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We'll see all that play out in the next few months and if he gets elected afterwards."
Sep 14, 2006 Top Racist Democrat Quotes
"You cannot go to a 7-11 or Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian Accent." -Senator Joe Biden
Mahatma Gandhi "ran a gas station down in Saint Louis."
-Senator Hillary Clinton
Some junior high n*gger kicked Steve's ass while he was trying to help his brothers out; junior high or sophomore in high school. Whatever it was, Steve had the n*gger down. However it was, it was Steve's fault. He had the n*gger down, he let him up. The n*gger blindsided him."
-- Roger Clinton, the President's brother on audiotape
"You'd find these potentates from down in Africa, you know, rather than eating each other, they'd just come up and get a good square meal in Geneva." -- Fritz Hollings (D, S.C.)
"Is you their black-haired answer-mammy who be smart? Does they like how you shine their shoes, Condoleezza? Or the way you wash and park the whitey's cars?"
-- Left-wing radio host Neil Rogers
Blacks and Hispanics are "too busy eating watermelons and tacos" to learn how to read and write." -- Mike Wallace, CBS News. Source: Newsmax
Black on Black
"In the days of slavery, there were those slaves who lived on the plantation and [there] were those slaves that lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master ... exactly the way the master intended to have you serve him. Colin Powell's committed to come into the house of the master. When Colin Powell dares to suggest something other than what the master wants to hear, he will be turned back out to pasture." -- Harry Belafonte
"Republicans bring out Colin Powell and J.C. Watts because they have no program, no policy. They have no love and no joy. They'd rather take pictures with black children than feed them." -- Donna Brazile, Al Gore's Campaign Manager for the 2000 election
(On Clarence Thomas) "A handkerchief-head, chicken-and-biscuit-eating Uncle Tom." -- Spike Lee
"He's married to a white woman. He wants to be white. He wants a colorless society. He has no ethnic pride. He doesn't want to be black."
-- California State Senator Diane Watson's on Ward Connerly's interracial marriage
Comments From The Past
"Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."
-- Former Klansman and current US Senator Robert Byrd, a man who is referred to by many Democrats as the "conscience of the Senate", in a letter written in 1944, after he quit the KKK.
"I am a former kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan in Raleigh County and the adjoining counties of the state .... The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia .... It is necessary that the order be promoted immediately and in every state of the Union. Will you please inform me as to the possibilities of rebuilding the Klan in the Realm of W. Va .... I hope that you will find it convenient to answer my letter in regards to future possibilities."
-- Former Klansman and current US Senator Robert Byrd, a man who is referred to by many Democrats as the "conscience of the Senate", in a letter written in 1946, after he quit the KKK.
"These laws [segregation] are still constitutional and I promise you that until they are removed from the ordinance books of Birmingham and the statute books of Alabama, they will be enforced in Birmingham to the utmost of my ability and by all lawful means."
-- Democrat Bull Connor (1957), Commissioner of Public Safety for Birmingham, Alabama
"I'll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years."
-- Lyndon B. Johnson to two governors on Air Force One according Ronald Kessler's Book, "Inside The White House"
(On New York) "K*ketown." -- Harry Truman in a personal letter
"I think one man is just as good as another so long as he's not a n*gger or a Chinaman. Uncle Will says that the Lord made a White man from dust, a nigger from mud, then He threw up what was left and it came down a Chinaman. He does hate Chinese and Japs. So do I. It is race prejudice, I guess. But I am strongly of the opinion Negroes ought to be in Africa, Yellow men in Asia and White men in Europe and America."
-Harry Truman (1911) in a letter to his future wife Bess
"There’s some people who’ve gone over the state and said, ‘Well, George Wallace has talked too strong about segregation.’ Now let me ask you this: how in the name of common sense can you be too strong about it? You’re either for it or you’re against it. There’s not any middle ground as I know of." -- Democratic Alabama Governor George Wallace (1959)
"You f*cking Jew b@stard." -- Hillary Clinton to political operative Paul Fray. This was revealed in "State of a Union: Inside the Complex Marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton" and has been verified by Paul Fray and three witnesses.
"The Jews don't like Farrakhan, so they call me Hitler. Well, that's a good name. Hitler was a very great man. He rose Germany up from the ashes." -- Louis Farrakhan (1984) who campaigned for congresswoman Cynthia McKinney in 2002
"Now that nation called Israel, never has had any peace in forty years and she will never have any peace because there can never be any peace structured on injustice, thievery, lying and deceit and using the name of God to shield your dirty religion under his holy and righteous name." -- Louis Farrakhan who campaigned for congresswoman Cynthia McKinney in 2002, 1984
'Hymies.' 'Hymietown.' -- Jesse Jackson's description of New York City while on the 1984 presidential campaign trail.
"Jews — that's J-E-W-S." -- Democratic state representative Bill McKinney on why his daughter Cynthia lost in 2002
"I want to go up to the closest white person and say: 'You can't understand this, it's a black thing' and then slap him, just for my mental health."
-- Charles Barron, a New York city councilman at a reparations rally, 2002
"Civil rights laws were not passed to protect the rights of white men and do not apply to them." -- Mary Frances Berry, Chairwoman, US Commission on Civil Rights
(I) "will not let the white boys win in this election." -- Donna Brazile, Al Gore's Campaign Manager on the 2000 election
"The old white boys got taken fair and square." -- San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown after winning an election
"There are white n*ggers. I've seen a lot of white n*ggers in my time." -- Former Klansman and Current US Senator Robert Byrd, a man who is referred to by many Democrats as the "conscience of the Senate" in March of 2001
"The Medicaid system must have been developed by a white male slave owner. It pays for you to be pregnant and have a baby, but it won't pay for much family planning." -- Jocelyn Elders
The white man is our mortal enemy, and we cannot accept him. I will fight to see that vicious beast go down into the lake of fire prepared for him from the beginning, that he never rise again to give any innocent black man, woman or child the hell that he has delighted in pouring on us for 400 years." -- Louis Farrakhan who campaigned for congresswoman Cynthia McKinney in 2002, City College audience in New York
"There's no great, white bigot; there's just about 200 million little white bigots out there." -- USA Today columnist Julienne Malveaux
"We have lost to the white racist press and to the racist reactionary Jewish misleaders." -- Former Rep. Gus Savage (D-Illinois) after his defeat 1992
"White folks was in caves while we was building empires... We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it." -- Rev. Al Sharpton in a 1994 speech at Kean College, NJ, cited in "Democrats Do the Dumbest Things
"The white race is the cancer of human history." -- Susan Sontag
"Reparations are a really good way for white people to admit they're wrong." -- Zack Webb, University Of Kentucky NAACP
"A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion." [Robert O. Paxton, "The Anatomy of Fascism," 2004]
**Sounds more like Obama and his consolidation of power rather than a handful of midwestern loons awaiting a final apocalyptic battle with the anti-christ, yes?**
I also felt that the "birther" movement (heavily egged-on by the talk radio right-wingers) had a fairly racist component to it.
**Birtherism, in general is fueled by two non-racial elements:
1. A distrust of the MSM (and rightfully so).
2. The perception that Obama has no love for America, no attachment to this nation and it's ideals, again rightly so in my book.**
Again, they're not going to come right out and say "aren't you pissed off that a black guy is president?" But if all you're doing is "simply asking the question" (over and over and very loudly) of whether the black president is *really* American, then you're appealing to racists without having to make any openly, blatantly racist statements. Not all (or even most) conservatives are racist, but a significant chunk of them are and politicians and media personalities absolutely know it.
**The people that are actually pissed that a black guy is president need no code words. The people that are frightened/angered by Obama's ascent to power are concerned by the red shade of his ideology, not the amount of melanin in his skin.**
I take back my calling Lee Atwater "Republican god", since it would be incorrect to suggest most Republicans agree with him. To his credit, near the end of his life he expressed deep regret for a lot of the nasty things he did as a political consultant. It's unfortunate that his proteges who are still operating today haven't come to any such enlightenment.
But back to the subject of the thread, why are none of you willing to call the Hutarees "fascist"? Or do you guys just want to call Obama and the Dems fascists and have tailored your definition of the term to apply solely to them (and Hitler, Mussolini, etc)?
You kind of glossed over how "Clinton lied, people died", right? When do Al Gore and Slick Willy face war crimes prosecution, using your "not crazy" legal theory?
Rush used "boy king" and that's your smoking gun for a racist incitement for violence? Shall we compare and contrast with Obama's pastor of 20 years, his friend Bill Ayers, or the leader of the NOI that went to visit Moammar Kadaffi in Libya in 1984 with Obama's spiritual leader in tow? Remember Obama's "typical white person" quote? Remember Obama's rush to judgement on a Cambridge police officer while remaining agnostic on the motivations of the Ft. Hood jihadist?
Remember the last 8 years of leftist hatred aimed at President Bush? Lee Atwater is a republican god? In what fantasy world? Funny how you can immediately associate "boy king" with race, it never occurred to me. That says something, doesn't it.
No, they don't specifically urge their listeners to do actual violence, but there is a LOT of coded speech that is pretty racist and all but say outright that violence would be justified. I don't think I'm exaggerating here either.
**Please cite some quotes of the "coded speech" mentioned above.**
Monday, March 29, 2010 What Happend to the Cheonan?
UPDATE/9:30 am EDT. In a rather dramatic about-face, South Korea is now pointing the finger of blame squarely at Pyongyang. The ROK Defense Minister now says a mine from North Korea may have caused the blast that sank the Cheonan. Additionally, President Lee Myung-bak has placed the South Korean military on alert, to respond to further "moves" by the DPRK.
As ROK Navy teams continue their rescue and salvage operations, a North Korean defector raised the possibility of a suicide attack. Chang Jin-seong, who worked for Pyongyang's spy agency before fleeing in 2004, said some DPRK naval units have trained for suicide missions.
But Washington is still downplaying the possibility of North Korean involvement. Monday, a senior State Department official said the U.S. still has no firm evidence that Pyongyang was behind the attack.
American reluctance to blame North Korea promises to create a potential rift between Washington and Seoul and set the stage for a possible crisis in the coming days. If South Korea determines that Pyongyang was behind the Cheonan disaster, there will be a demand for revenge, both publicly and officially. At that point, the Obama Administration will be forced to admit North Korean complicity, and attempt to dissuade South Korea from taking military action.
And, if you don't believe South Korea would take such steps, consider the hours following the Rangoon bombing in 1983. After learning of North Korea's attempt to kill the South Korean president (and his cabinet) in Burma, some ROK Army units began mobilizing for war. One U.S. officer, stationed in Korea at the time, reports that some mechanized and armored battalions actually left their garrisons and were heading towards the DMZ--without notifying the United States.
The military preparations received little attention in the west, but they were indicative of the shock and outrage that followed the assassination attempt. Needless to say, there were some tense days in Seoul and Washington, as U.S. officials cautioned their South Korean counterparts against any hasty action. Similar discussions will likely occur in the coming days, but it may be more difficult to deter Seoul this time around. South Korea is far more powerful --militarily, politically and economically--than it was in the early 1980s, and has every right to defend its interests. If Mr. Obama and his advisors believe the Cheonan affair will quickly blow over (with little diplomatic or military fallout), they are sadly mistaken. **** Three days ago, it was dominating world headlines. But almost as quickly as it sank into the Yellow Sea, the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan has disappeared from the 24-hour news cycle.
And that's clearly by design.
The sudden loss of the Cheonan was stunning, to say the least. On patrol near the disputed Northern Limit Line with North Korea, the 1,200-ton corvette was suddenly struck by a mysterious explosion that ripped the vessel in half. Three hours later, the last section of the ship went down, leaving more than 40 sailors dead or missing.
It was South Korea's worst naval calamity in more than 30 years; as rescue operations began, suspicions were immediately cast on the DPRK--and with good reason. The two Koreas have fought a series of naval engagements in the area over the past decade (with North Korea taking the worst of it), and Pyongyang has been spoiling for payback.
But in the hours following the disaster, officials in Seoul (and, to a lesser extent, Washington) tried to refocus global attention on other scenarios. As naval and coast guard vessels were pulling sailors out of the water, sources at the South Korean defense ministry suggested the Cheonan was the victim of an internal mishap, caused (perhaps) by an ammunition or engine explosion.
At the U.S. State Department, spokesman P.J. Crowley was quick to point out that American officials "had no direct evidence" of North Korea involvement, and referred reporters to the ROK government for more "definitive" information.
Meanwhile, Pyongyang was quiet--a little too quiet. Normally, a scandal or blunder in South Korea becomes gist for the DPRK propaganda machine--an opportunity for Kim Jong il to tout the "superiority" of his regime. But this time, there was none of the usual bluster. In fact, North Korea seemed to go "out of its way" to avoid mentioning the maritime disaster.
Seoul and Washington also seemed reluctant to mention the tragedy, beyond the initial statements. Oddly enough, that strategy may have been the best approach, because few western observers were buying explanations of an internal explosion on the Cheonan, or U.S. claims that we "knew nothing" about possible North Korean activity in the area.
The internal failure theory was shredded almost as soon as surviving crew members reached land. They told of a routine night patrol, suddenly punctuated by a massive blast that tore the corvette in half. There were no reports of a weapons accident or engine mishap just prior to the explosion. In fact, survivor accounts--and descriptions of the damage--were consistent with a torpedo or mine attack.
As for U.S. surveillance of the area, that subject has received less attention. But Mr. Crowley's statement is little more than a carefully-worded, verbal two-step. The waters on either side of the NLL are some of the most closely-monitored on earth. The massive U.S. SIGINT complex at Osan AB, Korea (along with other sites in the Far East) monitors activity throughout North Korea, including naval traffic. U.S. and South Korea recce aircraft criss-cross the skies daily, and satellites keep close tabs on key military complexes, including those of the DPRK navy.
To be fair, the U.S. might have missed the deployment of a small number of mines, or a single torpedo shot from a North Korean submarine. But we almost certainly had a picture of naval activity along the NLL in the hours leading up to the Cheonan tragedy, and we have detailed knowledge as to how the DPRK conducts mine-laying, submarine and surface combatant operations. If North Korea recently engaged in mine-laying activity (or training), there's pretty good chance it was detected. How the information was handled is another matter, but readers will note that Mr. Crowley's response artfully dodged that type of context.
Which brings us back to the essential, unanswered questions: first, why would North Korea pull a stunt like this, and secondly, why are the U.S. and Seoul so reluctant to point the finger?
The first one is easy enough. North Korea has a long history of deadly provocations towards South Korea and the U.S. From the capture of the USS Pueblo in 1968 (and the subsequent downing of an EC-121 reconnaissance aircraft the following year), to the infamous "tree-chopping" incident in the DMZ, Pyongyang has killed dozens of American servicemen over the past 40 years.
During the same period, South Korea has suffered even greater casualties. A 1968 raid by DPRK commandos on the ROK presidential mansion in Seoul killed at least 68 South Korean soldiers, police officers and civilians. Fifteen years later, North Korea attempted a similar decapitation of ROK leadership, during the infamous Rangoon bombing (while several cabinet officials were killed the South Korean leader survived only because he was running behind schedule.
Four years later, DPRK agents (acting on the personal orders of Kim Jong-il) planted explosives on a Korean Airlines jet that blew up over the Andaman Sea, killing all 115 people on board. It remains the worst terrorist act perpetuated against a South Korean target.
Beyond casualties--and North Korean involvement--these events have something else in common, a muted response from both Seoul and Washington. There were never any retaliatory attacks against the DPRK, fearing that an increase in military activity might lead to a renewed Korean conflict. The "official" responses to these deadly attacks have been a mixture of diplomatic protests, various forms of sanctions and (on rare occasions) a military demonstration.
Against that backdrop, is it any wonder that Pyongyang continues to thumb its nose at the international community and stage "incidents" when they serve the intended purpose. Even if South Korea and the U.S. determine that the Cheonan was sunk by an enemy mine or torpedo, North Korea has little to fear, in terms of possible consequences. Better yet, the DPRK has often used such incidents to pry concessions out of the U.S. and its allies in Seoul. We can almost hear the demand this time around: "Send us more food aid and we'll guarantee that your ships don't blow up along the NLL."
What else does the DPRK gain from this? A propaganda victory (should they decide to claim it), and a tactical advantage in future clashes along the NLL. With the Cheonan disaster fresh in everyone's mind, ROK Navy commanders will be less aggressive in responding to future maritime incidents, fearing the loss of more surface vessels. Additionally, South Korean fishermen may be reluctant to return to the crab beds of the Yellow Sea, worried about the possibility of more mines in local waters, and the ability of the ROK Navy to defend them from possible DPRK attack.
As a result, you'll probably see fewer South Korean boats (and ROKN escorts) along the southern edge of the NLL this summer. It's a move that will cost the ROK economy millions--and it will make a lot of fishermen angry--but officials Washington and Seoul clearly want to avoid a confrontation with Pyongyang. In their view, North Korea is a problem to be "managed" until the communist regime eventually implodes. That's why we may never know what happened to that South Korean corvette or if we do, the news will be dribbled out on a Friday night or a holiday, to minimize media coverage.
Then, when North Korea pulls a similar stunt in the future, the same "leaders" will offer the same, feigned outrage. Once the furor dies down, they'll cave again to Pyongyang's newest demands. And the cycle will only repeat itself.
The ‘Obama Intifada’ Begins in Israel This Passover season the struggle for Jewish survival persists as a modern-day Pharaoh, with a hardened heart, sits in the White House. (Also read Phyllis Chesler: A Passover Greeting)
March 29, 2010 - by Abraham H. Miller This Passover, as in every previous Passover, the struggle for Jewish survival continues.
We now face an administration that has turned a bureaucratic flap over an incomplete building permit into a diplomatic crisis with Israel.
Ramat Shlomo is a Jewish neighborhood. The Arabs never protested building there because the Arabs never envisioned that Ramat Shlomo would be turned over to them in a final peace accord.
Twelve years ago, major construction began in Ramat Shlomo without a stone being thrown.
Today, a fourth stage of a seven-stage building permit and the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s central synagogue, malevolently and illegally destroyed under the Jordanian occupation, creates an Intifada, the Obama Intafada.
Obama has created negotiation positions for the Palestinians they themselves knew were unrealistic. But no Palestinian leader can afford to demand less for the Palestinians than the Americans are willing to demand for them.
First there was the demand for a settlement freeze as a prelude to negotiations. But negotiations took place all the time while settlements were being built. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas never asked for a freeze as a precondition, but once Obama carved out that position, Abbas had to fall into line. Can the Palestinian president be more accommodating to the Israelis than the Americans are?
Then, of course, the Obama administration put the building freeze in Jerusalem on the table. Abbas never asked for a freeze in Jerusalem until after the administration took the lead. Does the Obama administration believe they can make Jerusalem Judenrein (“Jew free”)?
Building in Ramat Shlomo, and the reopening of the central synagogue, the Huvra, transformed into rallying cries for a new Intifada, about which the administration remains mute. Whenever Jews choose to return to where they lived before the Jordanians evicted them, they are met with outcries from the international community. This is the same international community that chose to be blind and mute about Jews being evicted from their homes and cut off from their holy places during the Jordanian occupation.
Obama wants to be the American president who created a Palestinian state, and his vision is clear: Israel returns to the ‘67 boundaries and large segments of Jewish Jerusalem are given over to the Palestinians for a capital.
There are two problems with that offer. First, it has been rejected by two Palestinian leaders, Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. Second, the refugee problem now overshadows the issue of territory. No Palestinian leader has ever said that the return of the territories is a sufficient or even a necessary condition for peace. Yet all forays into the “peace process” behave as if territory will solve everything.
This is the view of the vacuous liberal elements of the Jewish community, who seem to suffer from a terminal case of battered wife syndrome: Just give them more land and they won’t blow themselves up. They are really nice people when they are not teaching their children jihad or celebrating the deaths of their “martyrs.”
The Palestinians want three generations of Jew-hating refugees settled within Israel’s borders, a demand designed to topple the Jewish state. That is not going to happen, but there are options in terms of compensation, if only the Palestinians were serious about negotiations.
To date, the Obama administration has exceeded the demands of the Palestinians. The administration’s public face has hyped the proximity talks, a throwback to 1992 before there were direct negotiations, and the administration has refrained from making a single demand on the Palestinians for concessions, not even for direct negotiations.
We already know what a Palestinian state will bring Israel. Gaza is the laboratory for that. The Israelis withdrew from Gaza. Jewish philanthropists bought the settlers’ greenhouses and donated them to the Palestinians, hoping to give the Palestinians an economic livelihood. Instead, the Palestinians vandalized the greenhouses, tearing them apart for the value of their scrap copper and tubing. This was followed by an escalation of Kassam rockets and subsequently by Iranian-supplied Grad missiles. Gaza became a launching pad for attacks on Israel.
And so, too, will become the Judean Hills above Ben Gurion Airport. The airport will become the next Sderot.
What my liberal Jewish friends forget is that the Palestinians do not even have to fight the next war; all they have to do is position themselves so as to make life in Israel miserable, so that those Israelis who can leave will leave.
The Palestinians have repeatedly shown that they are interested in pseudo negotiations about a “peace process,” but they never have shown any real interest in peace through deeds. No Palestinian leader has ever suggested that the return to the 1967 boundaries, what Abba Eban called “the Auschwitz borders,” will lead to peace.
What our liberal American Jewish community has done and continues to do is to mindlessly embrace this administration and project the community’s own values on to the Palestinians. We are engaged in mirror imaging and are playing recklessly with the lives of over six million Israeli Jews.
The real chance for peace will come from strength, as Ronald Reagan showed with regard to the Soviets. Only by defeating this administration at the polls will there be a prospect for peace. To follow this administration blindly into the Palestinian abyss by weakening Israel means the end of the Jewish state.
This Passover season the struggle for Jewish survival persists as a modern-day Pharaoh, with a hardened heart, sits in the White House, deluded by his own narcissism and worshiped by liberal Jews who slavishly follow him.
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science and a former head of the Intelligence Studies Section of the International Studies Association.
"In some respects, though, Barack Obama has the hardest job, at least in the short term. When he took office, there was no love lost between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and Gaza was still smoldering from the recently concluded Operation Cast Lead. But there was reasonable quiet on the West Bank and in Jerusalem, and a renewed Intifada was nowhere on our radar screen. Obama's blunderings have now restored the region's previous tinderbox qualities."
**It's not a blunder by Obama. It's his intentional act.**
Hostility to Israel Plays out Jennifer Rubin - 03.28.2010 - 8:00 AM Given the Obami’s assault on Israel’s building in its eternal capital, this should come as no surprise:
The chief of the Arab League warned Saturday that Israel’s actions could bring about a final end to the Middle East peace process. Amr Moussa urged an Arab leadership summit in Libya on Saturday to forge a new strategy to pressure Israel, saying the peace process could not be “an open ended process.”
“We must prepare for the possibility that the peace process will be a complete failure,” Moussa said. “This is the time to stand up to Israel. We must find alternative options, because the situation appears to have reached a turning point.”
Speaking at the event, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said there would be no peace agreement without ending the occupation of Palestinian land, first and foremost east Jerusalem. He accused Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu’s government of trying to create a de facto situation in Jerusalem that would torpedo any future peace settlement.
Then the increasingly Islamic-tilting Turkish government gets into the act:
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a guest at the summit, said in his speech that the Israeli “violation” of peace in Jerusalem and Muslim holy sites was unacceptable. Erdogan said that the Israeli position defining the whole of Jerusalem as its united capital was “madness.” Israeli construction in east Jerusalem was completely unjustified, he said
The UN, of course, can’t be left out of the Israel bash-a-thon. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pipes up:
Ban called for the lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip which has created an “unacceptable and unsustainable” situation on the ground.Ban reiterated his condemnation of settlement activity in east Jerusalem, describing the settlements as “illegal.” “Like all of you, I was deeply dismayed when Israel advanced planning to build 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem. There are several other recent unilateral actions as well,” Ban said noting Israel’’s recent announcement of plans to construct another 20 dwellings and tensions surrounding the Al-Aqsa mosque, among others.
This is not only predictable; it is frankly by design — the Obami’s bully-boy pressure tactics encourage others to pile on. Obama thereby endears (he supposes) the U.S. administration to the “international community” — which, of course, seeks not a secure and peaceful Israel but a hamstrung and delegitimized (if not entirely eradicated) one.
As Bill Kristol explains, the Obami’s anti-Israel bent is no accident but part of his larger approach, which seeks realignment in Middle East policy as Obama becomes not the leader of a single nation or even of the alliance of democracies but the wise mediator for all humanity:
And there’s no better way to be a leader of humanity than to show disapproval of the Jewish state. Sure, Obama’s turn against Israel will make it less likely that Palestinians will negotiate seriously with her. Sure, it will embolden radical Arabs and Muslims against those who would like their nations to take a different, more responsible, course. Sure, it’s a distraction from the real challenge of Iran. But the turn against Israel is ultimately a key part of what Obamaism is all about. That’s why there’s been so little attempt by the administration to reassure friends of Israel that Obama has been acting more in sorrow than in anger. Obama’s proud of his anger at the stiff-necked Jewish state. It puts him in sync with the rest of the world.
In this, we see the intersection of Obama’s multilateralism, his aversion to American exceptionalism, his fetish with his own international popularity, his obsession with engaging despots, his disinterest in promoting human rights, and his hostility toward the Jewish state. They are interlocking pieces in the greater Obama vision — each reenforces the other and makes more precarious the security of not only Israel but also the United States. Obama may suppose he is making America more popular or reducing conflict with rogue states, but instead, he is fueling the ambitions of aggressive despots and frittering away America’s moral standing. We are abetting an international free-for-all as the world’s bullies look for openings to assert themselves and to show just how dangerous it is to be a small democratic ally of the U.S.
Lots of readers keep asking when we'll come up with our version. I'm not sure there's room to be too original here. His usual phrases are familiar enough: "Let me be clear," "make no mistake," "this will not be easy" etc. There's nothing wrong with that sort of thing. One different way to go is conceptual or thematic. Every time Obama suggests there's a consensus among experts about a proposal when there isn't, drink. Every time he claims to be aligned with the populist backlash he created, drink. Every time he suggests that History with a capital H demands that we do whatever it is he's talking about, drink. Every time he says that he's being "pragmatic" or "bipartisan" when he's actually being wildly ideological or partisan, drink. And so on.
My own preference is to drink every time he says something that will obviously cost me money. If that seems like an invitation to alcohol poisoning, you could narrow it down slightly by drinking only when something will cost you money and make the economy worse at the same time.
Sure they are, which is why it's important for legitimate gun owners and dealers to work with law enforcement to make a good faith effort to keep firearms out of the hands out of felons/illegal aliens.
Deputy Kyle Wayne Dinkheller Laurens County Sheriff's Office Georgia End of Watch: Monday, January 12, 1998
Biographical Info Age: 22 Tour of Duty: 4 years Badge Number: 37
Incident Details Cause of Death: Gunfire Date of Incident: Monday, January 12, 1998 Weapon Used: Rifle; .30 caliber Suspect Info: Sentenced to death
Deputy Dinkheller was shot and killed after pulling over a man on a rural road about 6 miles north of Dublin, Georgia. During the traffic stop he called in for backup. Before the backup arrived he was shot by the man with a rifle. He was able to return fire, striking the suspect in the stomach. The suspect was found during a search the next morning and taken into custody.
The entire incident was videotaped by a camera in Deputy Dinkheller's patrol car. On January 28, 2000, the suspect was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to death two days later.
Deputy Dinkheller is survived by his expectant wife and 22-month-old daughter. Deputy Dinkheller's son was born in early September 1998.
APD makes recommendations on illegal sales at gun shows 1/19/2010 7:36 PM By: News 8 Austin Staff
The Austin Police Department said in the last year, eight people were arrested and convicted for illegal gun possession.
All of them were convicted felons or illegal immigrants, and all bought their weapons from unlicensed dealers at shows at the North Austin Event Center, on North Lamar Boulevard.
Now APD is making recommendations to crackdown on illegal sales at gun shows.
It's not illegal for an unlicensed dealer to sell at the shows, but APD is urging promoters and property owners to require their vendors to have a license.
"There have been questions posed to us about whether or not we are trying to create new rules regarding the private sales of guns. We are not. We are just making recommendations to the property owner and how he can control the activity on his property in order to avoid ongoing violations of the law," APD Detective TJ Vineyard said.
APD also recommends that promoters provide onsite security, so that sales are prohibited from taking place in parking lots.
So far, police said all property owners and managers have agreed to follow the recommendations.
Gun control advocates are pushing the "US guns going to Mexico" meme. The real threat is the Mexican drug cartel affiliated gangs operating CONUS. Bitch about the BATFE all you want, but they are one of the most effective law enforcement agencies as far as targeting violent criminal gangs.
The US guns to Mexico is a red herring. The legitimate issue are the illegal aliens who use the guns here for illegal acts. Aside from the guns that originate from the Mexican gov't, the drug cartels can purchase military grade small arms from around the globe.