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Archive for July 2015


The Edge of Terrorism

Israeli Strike Kills Ruthless, Hizballah/PFLP Terrorist

July 30th 2015

IAF Fighter

An Israeli airstrike Wednesday reportedly killed a senior Hizballah operative in the Golan Heights; a man considered one of the most reviled terrorists in Israeli history.

Samir Kuntar reportedly was among five men killed by an Israeli airstrike in the Syrian Druze village Hader. That community is considered strongly loyal to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad

Kuntar was among five prisoners Israel released in 2008 in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

Kuntar was 16 years old in 1979, when he and three other members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) sneaked into Israel, killing a policeman and kidnapping a man and his 4-year-old daughter, Einat Haran. Kuntar killed the little girl by smashing her head with his rifle butt. Compounding the tragedy, Haran's other daughter, a 2-year-old, was accidentally suffocated by her mother as she tried to keep the girl from crying out as they hide from the terrorists in their apartment. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Israeli Company Trains Mice To Detect Explosives At Airports

July 29th 2015

Mouse in Beaker

Animals are known for their impressive ability to respond to external stimuli, and mice are no exception. While some may consider the furry creatures to be vermin that spread diseases, one Israeli company is debunking that perspective by harnessing the traits that make rodents particularly extraordinary. It turns out, these small mammals can sniff out explosives at airport security checkpoints and save travelers and authorities time and money.

Mice are currently trained by Israeli company X-Test to detect explosives at airports. These specially trained mice will be carried in cages to different checkpoints in order to discreetly smell people and their possessions, alerting officials when they sense a potentially lethal substance.

This unique system was developed by Israeli company X-Test, a member of The Tamar Group established in 1998 by former Israel Defense Forces officers to detect and neutralize explosives. Now, the company is expanding into uncharted territories by utilizing mice’s keen sense of smell to detect drugs, explosives and foreign substances at border crossings and airports.

In line with Pavlov’s classical conditioning, the rodents are trained (or conditioned) to identify and signal when they come across an unfamiliar odor. The man behind this latest development, former bomb-disposal expert Yuval Amsterdam, even claims the mice are more effective in distinguishing smells than explosive-detecting canines. â€œThey’re as good as dogs as far as their ability to smell, but they’re smaller and easier to train,” Amsterdam told The Independent.  “They’re cheap, and you don’t have to take them for a walk. Once they are trained, they become bio-sensors.” Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

The Democratic Party, on the Edge of the Abyss

July 29th 2015

Hillary Clinton

Two of the most powerful members of the Democratic Party, former and current senators from New York, now hold the fate of the putative deal with Iran in their hands. Because they alone can overturn it, this means that presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and presumptive Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer carry a heavy burden that will deeply affect their personal reputations and, most probably, the trustworthiness of the Democrats in foreign policy for at least a generation.

Their former senatorial colleagues Barack Obama, Joe Biden and John Kerry already own their decision, though their logic still remains unclear to both the most diligent and the most casual observer. The president asserts that his piece of paper will prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, presuming both the honesty of a regime that has displayed mendacity and hostility for 35 years as well as the existence of a wide-ranging verification capability that his own agreement has fatally compromised. And then, of course, there is the sunset provision that enables Iran to acquire nuclear weapons anyway. As they congratulate themselves on the hard work that produced this bizarre document—Bloomberg News related that “[a]ll present were in a kind of awe”—have these former Solons stopped to wonder why Iran negotiated in the first place when their leaders still insist on claiming they don’t want nuclear weapons? The entire process is built on lies. If the Iranians didn’t want nukes, then why would they want a time limit? Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

Dems Clash with Kerry over Iran Nuke Deal

July 29th 2015

John Kerry

Democrats harshly criticized the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran during a testy hearing Tuesday, underscoring the difficulty the White House faces in winning over its own party. Secretary of State John Kerry had several sharp exchanges with Jewish Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, including ranking member Eliot Engel (N.Y.), who said he was “very disappointed” with the agreement.

Supporters and opponents of the Iran nuclear deal have focused on Jewish Democrats as both influencers and bellwethers in the debate.

“I have a fundamental concern that 15 years from now, Iran will essentially be off the hook,” Engel said. “My big question is this: What happens then? Are we back to square one? Is this deal just pushing the pause button for 15 years?” Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) argued the deal was not legally binding and that a future administration could turn away from it.

Read more ..

The Caliphate

How Turkey Fights the Islamic State

July 29th 2015

Turkish Air Force

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (the Islamic State, or IS) has been the number one target for the world's democratic nations, since it captured large swaths of land in Syria and Iraq last summer and declared caliphate under sharia law in the lands it controls. The United States and its allies have been waging a war against IS at a distance. So is NATO ally Turkey, at least theoretically, and not at a distance.

In reality, things are a bit different. Especially since the beginning of this year, several press reports in local and international media outlets told chilling stories about how jihadists move freely and recruit fighters in some of Turkey's biggest cities. "It is no secret that Turkey has become a fertile ground for jihadist activity. Turkey says it fights IS. Maybe it does. But just randomly and reluctantly," said one EU ambassador in Ankara.

Read more ..

The World on Edge

Quantum Geopolitics

July 28th 2015

Syrian Rebels in Aleppo

Forecasting the shape the world will take in several years or decades is an audacious undertaking. There are no images to observe or precise data points to anchor us. We can only create a picture, and a fuzzy one at best. This is, after all, our basic human empirical instinct: to draw effortlessly from the vivid imagery of our present world and past experiences while we squint and hesitate before faint, blobby images of the future.

In the world of intelligence and military planning, it is far less taxing to base speculations on the familiar — to simulate a war game that pivots on an Iranian nuclear threat, a seemingly unstoppable jihadist force like the Islamic State and the military adventurism of Russia in Eastern Europe — than it is to imagine a world in which Russia is weak and internally fragmented, the jihadist menace is contained by its own fractiousness and Iran is allied with the United States against a rising Sunni threat. Read more ..


The Digital Edge

The U.S. Global Positioning System Needs Protection

July 28th 2015

Random Radio Telescope Array

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is the most important technology and capability ever developed and fielded by the military forces of the United States. Originally, conceived as an aid to weapon delivery and navigation for the military, the system is no longer considered only a military system. Its uses and importance have exceeded the wildest dreams of its developers. While it is still maintained and operated by the U.S. Air Force, it has become a critical instrument for supporting and enhancing the lives of all Americans. Indeed, it also performs this function for many societies throughout the entire world.

GPS navigation systems appear in many automobiles, and most are familiar with their use in driving from place to place. GPS is also the primary enabler of aircraft instrument approaches during bad weather. But less known is that GPS position measurements now determine property boundaries and its receiver has replaced the standard surveying tools, such as transit and measuring tape. Read more ..


The Race for Natural Gas

Israeli Nat Gas Committee Changes Rules

July 28th 2015

Tamar-gas-drill-ocean

Members of the gas outline hearing committee met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today, only two days before the Prime Minister plans to bring the outline to the government's approval and they told him that changes are needed in the outline. Committee members who ended the public hearing that lasted three weeks asked to launch a new round of talks with the gas companies.

Committee members explained that they think the outline should move forward, but with changes in the price issue and in the issue of reservoir development. The most significant change the committee members demand is the price.  The price that was set in the outline they think is too high and the monitoring mechanism is "too soft." They suggested two possible solutions: either lower the gas price or toughen the monitoring mechanism, so that the price will not rise dramatically in the coming years.

The committee members were also concerned by the Israeli dependency on a single gas pipe – the Tamar gas field pipe. As an answer for this problem, the committee suggested imposing more sanctions on the private companies if those do not develop the Leviathan gas field. An additional possibility that was raised after the hearing was to give more incentives to smaller companies so that they buy and develop the Tanin and the Karish gas fields. Netanyahu will meet the committee members again tonight. Meetings with the companies’ representatives may take place as early as tomorrow in order to promote the changes and bring them to the governments’ approval. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

The Lawless Underpinnings of the Iran Nuclear Deal

July 27th 2015

Iran-US Hatred

The Iranian nuclear agreement announced on July 14 is unconstitutional, violates international law and features commitments that President Obama could not lawfully make. However, because of the way the deal was pushed through, the states may be able to derail it by enacting their own Iran sanctions legislation.

President Obama executed the nuclear deal as an executive agreement, not as a treaty. While presidents have used executive agreements to arrange less-important or temporary matters, significant international obligations have always been established through treaties, which require Senate consent by a two-thirds majority.

The Constitution's division of the treaty-making power between the president and Senate ensured that all major U.S. international undertakings enjoyed broad domestic support. It also enabled the states to make their voices heard through senators when considering treaties-which are constitutionally the "supreme law of the land" and pre-empt state laws. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

How ISIS Makes Money From The Art Market

July 27th 2015

Islamic State Destroys Nimrud April 2015

Imagine: you are window-shopping on a quiet street, perhaps in London or Paris or New York. Something remarkable catches your eye: an ancient coin, a gold chain, a tiny figurine. Impulsively, you enter the shop, where the owner explains to you that the sculpture comes originally from Mesopotamia, that the necklace is Byzantine. It isn't inexpensive, but the shopkeeper has guaranteed its provenance and the price seems fair; and besides, you quite love it. You say yes, and leave the shop with your new treasure tucked safely in a bag.

You may have just handed your money over to the Islamic State. Read more ..


Broken Bookselling

Barnes and Noble is Going to Kill the Nook

July 25th 2015

E-book readers

The future of Barnes and Noble Nook e-books, e-readers and tablets looks to be in jeopardy. The Nations largest bookseller has just hired Fred Argir to run the Nook division and e-commerce division, replacing Mahesh Veerina who had run it for the last two years.

The Barnes and Noble Nook division is in serious trouble. They recently unveiled a massive upgrade to their website. The new design gives us a sense on what the bookseller is hoping to sell more of, which are lifestyle products, print and e-books. Unfortunately there are a number of bugs with e-books and Nook that are preventing people from reading and this is resulting in a fair amount of apathy.

When you are looking to buy a new book and haven’t heard much about it, likely you want to check out the first few chapters with a digital sample. Barnes and Noble has an online reading platform called Nook for Web. Sadly, this system is totally broken and has not been revised to work in conjunction with the new B&N website. Users have also reported a myriad of problems with logging into their accounts and purchases randomly disappearing. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

Despite 10,000 in Times Square Rally, Schumer Not Ready to Oppose Iran Nuke Deal

July 24th 2015

Ali Rouhani of Iran

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Times Square July 22 evening in protest over the recent landmark nuclear deal with Iran.

Protest organizers proclaim ed: “Washington is prepared to give Iran virtually all that it needs to get to the bomb. To release $150 billion to Iran will result in the expansion of worldwide terror.”

Former New York Governor, and Presidential contender, George Pataki joined the chorus of voices urging lawmakers to block the deal.

“Reject this deal. Protect America. Protect Israel and protect the world from freedom,” Pataki said.

The Stop Iran Rally Coalition — a bi-partisan group — is also calling out Sen. Charles Schumer, saying he “has the votes as presumptive leader to override this deal….If this deal is not stopped, New York voters will know whom to blame,” protestors shouted. Sen. Schumer said in a statement Wednesday that he wasn’t ready to make a decision on the deal yet. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Leader of Khorasan Group Killed in U.S. Airstrike

July 24th 2015

MQ-1 Predator Drone

A U.S. airstrike killed a seasoned member of al-Qaeda, Muhsin al-Fadhli, 31, as he traveled by car in the northwest Syrian town of Sarmada on July 8th, according to recently released information from officials in Washington. Al-Fadhli was leader of Khorasan, a terrorist group focused on launching attacks on the U.S and Europe.

Pentagon spokesperson, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis made the announcement Tuesday morning saying that Al-Fadhli's "death will degrade and disrupt ongoing external operation of al-Qaeda against the United States and our allies and partners."

According to U.S. reports, Fadhli was a confidant of Osama bin Laden and one of the few members of al-Qaeda to receive a warning prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. Fadhli was active in terrorist operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for more than a decade and is considered a close ally of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, before his death in 2006. Officials suspect Fadhli's involvment in two 2002 terrorist attacks, one that killed a United States Marine in Kuwait as well as a deadly explosion on the French oil tanker MV Limburg off the coast of Yemen. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

The Saudis and the Iran Nuclear Agreement

July 23rd 2015

Ahmadinejad at Iranian nuclear plant

Relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia remain tense, despite Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s visit there today. According to the Saudi English language daily Arab News,  King Salman and his son, Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, “reviewed relations between the Kingdom and the United States of America, especially in the military fields, and discussed the latest developments in the region. The U.S. Secretary of Defense stressed America’s keenness on enhancing peace and stability in the region. Details were unavailable, but the tone of the Saudi media indicated that the Saudis were not amused. Yet, according to the Voice of America, Carter has said the “Saudi Leaders Support Iran Nuclear Deal.” Read more ..


Turkey on Edge

Turkish Journalists: Guilty Without Trial

July 23rd 2015

Erdogan

Two of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's children are better known by the public than the other two. His 34-year-old son, Bilal, made his debut at the Turkish hall of fame when recordings of phone-tapped conversations he had with [then prime minister] Erdogan were leaked on the internet.

The recordings appeared to capture the prime minister passionately instructing his son to dispose of large amounts of hidden funds from their private home in the midst of a corruption investigation. Although Erdogan later admitted that his private phones had been tapped, he rejected the telephone conversation with Bilal as "complete lies," fabricated by an Islamist group that wanted to discredit his government and take over state institutions in Turkey. Read more ..


The Media on Edge

Washington Post and David Cole Try to Bury History

July 23rd 2015

File Folders

The Washington Post published a brief letter to the editor from me Friday, addressing some false and misleading statements Georgetown University law professor David Cole made in a recent book review. See my letter here.

The Post limits such letters to 350 words, far too few to fully respond to the mischaracterizations Cole made in reviewing David K. Shipler's book, Freedom of Speech. In one chapter, Shipler devotes considerable effort to trying to debunk a key document outlining the Muslim Brotherhood's long-range ambitions in America.

The Brotherhood should engage in "a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within," the 1991 memorandum said.

In his review, Cole accuses me and others of using documents like this to make "a business of issuing impassioned, McCarthy-like warnings about Islamist conspiracies to take over the United States" and minimizes the memo as "nothing more than a thought piece drafted by a single individual in the early 1990s." Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

Deal Repeatedly Refers to Iran's "Voluntary Measures": Does Iran Have No Real Obligations?

July 21st 2015

Iran holy missiles

Virtually every treaty and agreement contains language clearly binding the parties to definitive terms, such as "the parties agree to the following terms."  However, the Iran deal - formally called the "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" (or JCPOA) - is different.   Strangely, supposed obligations are merely called "voluntary measures."

It is frightening and of great concern that even the minimal supposed obligations of the Islamic Republic of Iran in this disastrous, lopsided deal may not be binding on Iran.

Right at the outset, the introduction to the Iran deal's provisions calls these provisions "voluntary measures."  At the end of the introductory "Preamble and General Provisions," which is immediately prior to key Section A (entitled "Nuclear"), the JCPOA states:

"Iran and E3/EU-3 will take the following voluntary measures" within the timeframe as detailed in this JCPOA and its Annexes." Read more ..


Book Review

Book on Prewar Concentration Camps Well-Written But Not Well-Published

July 21st 2015

Before Auschwitz

Before Auschwitz -- Jewish Prisoners in the Prewar Concentration Camps, Kim Wunschmann, Harvard University Press 2014, pp 376.

Nazi concentration camps—eventually thousands of them sprang up—were known for their cruelty and human degradation. Historians have noted that the first of these camps to open was Dachau on March 22, 1933, accompanied by fanfare and international press releases. Actually, local Stormtroopers in Prussia had opened a camp on disused factory grounds at Oranienburg the day before Dachau’s inaugural media event. Oranienburg later became one of the Reich’s most pivotal camps by virtue of hosting Section D-2, which in its “T Building” supervised all camps throughout Nazi Europe via a complex array of IBM Hollerith machines. 

The hellholes of Nazi Germany have been written about in many scholarly works. Since the war, these monstrous camps have been characterized by the sheer scope of the tens of thousands incarcerated within their evil perimeters. Now comes Kim Wunschmann in Before Auschwitz -- Jewish Prisoners in the Prewar Concentration Camps to deliver an important, needed insight into the personal human suffering experienced at these inhuman sites.

Whereas many prior analysts and chroniclers, including myself, have taken the 50,000 foot view, recording the misery where high math intersects prodigious war crime, Wunschmann peers into the individual experiences of ordinary Jewish prisoners. She describes the torture and humiliation that accompanied their unjust incarceration. In other words, she describes these camps from the inside looking out. Wunschmann names victims’ names, and connects the dots of the specific agony experienced by these unfortunate prisoners. More importantly, Wunshmann’s cohesive narrative maps specific events in the day-to-day vicissitudes of the German Reich and then depicts how camp guards and administrators retaliated against their hapless prisoners as a matter of national sport, Nazi movement policy, and pure individualized cruelty. Thus the camps become more than monuments of inhumanity; they become burning infernos of hate and degradation. Read more ..


Destination the Seas

Crossing The Atlantic On The QM2

July 21st 2015

Queen Mary 2

If you wish to avoid the indignities nowadays associated with international air travel  and can afford the luxury of spending seven days at sea, there is no better way to cross the Atlantic than on board Cunard’s flagship, Queen Mary 2. You will be pampered, wined, dined and entertained around the clock and you will no longer have to wonder why some people yearn for the “good old days” because you will be experiencing them.

Weighing in at 150,000 grt, the QM2 is the largest, longest, tallest and widest passenger liner ever built and with lower berths for just 2,620 guests, she is also the most spacious of the world’s great liners. You will notice this the moment you enter her six-storey Grand Lobby with its dramatic staircase and exquisite works of art. This sensation of spaciousness is one of the ship’s hallmarks and you will be surprised that even when she is fully booked, she never feels crowded. Read more ..


The World on Edge

The State of the World

July 21st 2015

Russian warships Sevastopol Crimea

The Cold War was a frozen conflict in one sense: The Soviet Union was contained in a line running from the North Cape of Norway to Pakistan. There was some movement, but relatively little. When the Soviet Union fell, two important things happened. First, a massive devolution occurred, freeing some formally independent states from domination by the Soviets and creating independent states within the former Soviet Union. As a result, a potentially unstable belt emerged between the Baltic and Black seas.

Meanwhile, along the southwestern border of the former Soviet Union, the demarcation line of the Cold War that generally cut through the Islamic world disappeared. Countries that were locked into place by the Cold War suddenly were able to move, and internal forces were set into motion that would, in due course, challenge the nation-states created after World War I and the fall of the Ottoman Empire that had been frozen by the Cold War. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

"Stop Iran" Protest In Times Square

July 19th 2015

Iran Nuclear Equipment centrifuges

The "STOP IRAN RALLY," the largest, grassroots bipartisan American protest against the deal granting Iran a fast track to a nuclear bomb, will be held in Times Square on Wednesday, July 22, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thousands of Americans from all faith traditions, political interests and communities, including Christians, Muslims, Jews, registered Democrats and Republicans, LGBT, Iranian-Americans, and others will demand that Congress vote down the Iran deal.

Under the umbrella of the STOP IRAN RALLY COALITION, more than 100 organizations spanning the nation's political, religious and social spectrum will participate. A roster of preeminent experts from senior levels of the military, government, academic, and media establishments will speak at the rally.

"Strip away the administration's rhetoric and it's clear this deal gives the Mullahs – the world's foremost sponsors of terrorism, $150 billion in return for effectively nothing: no dismantlement of Iran's nuclear program; no anytime or anywhere inspections; no eradication of Iran's ballistic missile program; no maintenance of the arms embargo; and no halt to Iran's sponsorship of terror," said Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, STOP IRAN RALLY's co-organizer. Read more ..


Israel on Edge

CUFI Christians Mobilize for Battle on Iran Deal

July 17th 2015

Edwin Black

When the last plaintive shofar blast echoed through the Washington D.C. Convention Center of the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) Policy Conference extravaganza of support for Israel, July 13–14, 2015, it was not the record attendance of 5,000 fired-up pro-Israel Christians that marked a turning point for the 10-year old group. Nor was it the several on-stage and pre-recorded presidential candidate interviews -- from Jeb Bush to Mike Huckabee, conducted by Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal that will be most remembered. Nor was it the video salute from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, nor the blazing oratory of Presidents Conference Vice-Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein that prompted standing ovations.

Instead, it was the quiet 24-minute briefing by CUFI executive director David Brog and CUFI national leader Gary Bauer for a half-dozen national reporters conducted around a circular table in a small non-descript room in a roped-off corner off the lobby that revealed the muscular new role for the CUFI community.

CUFI has spun off a ready-to-rumble NRA-style political lobbying arm called Christians United for Israel Action Fund. Its first mission will be to demonstratively oppose the controversial Iran nuclear deal now before Congress. Working independently of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the CUFI Action Fund promises to deliver a partisan political punch from its national reservoir of 2.2 million fiercely supportive Christian Zionists, asserted Bauer, a former presidential hopeful, key Republican strategist, and Washington director of the new CUFI Action Fund.

Bauer stated that even though the Fund’s office space has not been rented or even selected yet, and a proposed staff of about a dozen is still being hired, multimillion funding is in place and the Fund is ready to tackle the Iran nuclear deal at once. Job one, said Bauer, is the immediate commencement of daily reports to every Congressional office. In addition, the Fund will mobilize core supporters across the country to create “centers of influence of local pastors and businessmen … leaders in their communities” that can act in home districts the way a national office cannot. Home district activists “who are donors to an elected official or have a business relationship” are in a position “that the Congressman or top aide will actually take their phone call,” Bauer elaborated. Hence, the Fund will flex both national and localized muscle. Read more ..


Mexico On Edge

In Mexico, Crime Is Bigger Than a Crime Boss

July 16th 2015

Mexican SWAT

The July 11 escape of the notorious Sinaloa crime boss, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera, from a maximum-security prison in Mexico has drawn considerable Mexican and international media attention. While the brazen and elaborate nature of the escape will add to the lore already surrounding Guzman, the escape itself carries little significance for organized crime in Mexico — though it will place a momentary strain on coordination between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement. The forces that drive the evolution of organized crime and their impact on society in Mexico are simply greater than any single crime boss.

Mexico's geography enabled drug traffickers like Guzman to operate on a global scale. As international law enforcement effectively dismantled the powerful Colombian cartels and stymied their maritime trafficking routes through the Caribbean in the 1980s and 1990s, Mexico became the lynchpin of new smuggling routes into the United States. This evolution took place just as the Mexican criminal networks that trafficked drugs broke down into smaller groups. Though crime bosses like Guzman rose in stature relative to others, all organized crime groups in Mexico are the result of a systematic decentralization in cartel structure that continues today. Read more ..


StandWithUs Assails Iran Nuke Deal

July 15th 2015
While StandWithUs welcomes international efforts to end Iran's nuclear program through diplomacy, the details emerging about the agreement reached yesterday, July 14, 2015, between the P5+1 and Iran raise serious concerns. It appears the deal will not prevent Iran`s regime from developing nuclear weapons, moderate its aggressive policies, or persuade it to stop sponsoring terrorism. Rather it only delays its pursuit of nuclear weapons and allows it to continue promoting violence and instability around the world. We hope that Congress, which has 60 days to review the agreement after it is submitted by the administration, will ensure that the deal protects the U.S. and our allies, and prevents nuclear proliferation in the region. This should not be a partisan issue. The stakes are too high and this will impact too many people in the international community.  Here we have the world`s main sponsor of international terrorism, a fundamentalist regime that believes in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, that calls for the elimination of neighboring states, abuses its own people, and leads chants of "death to America." All Americans should work together to prevent this regime from gaining more destructive ability. The choice is not between this agreement or war. It is between an agreement that will prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and one that will not. We hope that both parties in Congress work together to ensure that the only deal America agrees to is one that will rein in Iran and keep it from getting nuclear weapons not just in the short term, but in the long term. In the not too distant past, liberal democracies failed to stop a fascist, racist, anti-Semitic regime. We cannot afford to repeat that mistake. We will do all we can to alert the public and encourage Congress to hold fast to the terms the United States and the world needs to prevent a nuclear-armed regime in Iran.

Iran's Nukes

Utter Disbelief at Obama Capitulation to Lunatic Iranian Leaders on Nuke

July 14th 2015

Trent Franks

For years we have watched in utter disbelief at the great lengths to which this Administration has gone in order to secure a deal at any price with Iran on their nuclear weapons program. As predicted, Barack Obama has capitulated to the lunatic leaders of Iran in a “peace in our time” deal with that will strengthen Iran’s ability to foment terrorism throughout the world as it has for the last 40 years. 

Mr. Obama has now successfully negotiated away every nonnegotiable and struck a faulty deal that legitimizes Iran on the world stage. Most dangerous of all, Iran will now have a protected protocol to enrich uranium and produce plutonium on its own soil. This is an issue impossible to overstate. 

The Islamic Republic of Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, whose leadership envisions "a world without America," has threatened to "wipe out Israel in a sea of fire." It is to this nation that this administration has now bowed at the negotiating table. Today the Prime Minister of Israel, our most trusted ally in the region said "obviously we are going to have to continue to prepare to defend ourselves by ourselves." It is an absolute disgrace that this President has sacrificed the security and stability of this important ally and our greatest friend in the world, along with the entire human family on the altar of perceived international civility. This is a betrayal that history will never forget. Read more ..


Iran's Nuke

Deeply Disappointment After Early Assessment Of Final Deal With Iran

July 14th 2015

Simurgh booster

We are deeply disappointed by the terms of the final deal with Iran announced today which seem to fall far short of the President’s objective of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state. The thrust of the deal relies entirely on Iran’s good faith and the ability of the IAEA to effectively carry out its inspection obligations.

While President Obama, Secretary Kerry, Undersecretary Wendy Sherman and the P5+1 negotiators invested a formidable amount of effort in securing a respite from the most  immediate threat posed by Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions, the JCPOA does not prevent it for the long term.  In ten years, Iran will be able to rapidly expand its enrichment capacity. Read more ..


Stop the Bomb Coalition Deplores Iran Nuke Deal

July 14th 2015

The European coalition STOP THE BOMB sharply criticizes the announced agreement of the UN Security Council members and Germany with the Iranian regime. With what is known until now, this agreement leaves nearly the whole nuclear infrastructure of the nuclear and missiles programs intact. It does not prevent the Iranian bomb, but rather institutionalizes its necessary components. A nuclear arms race with the Arab states has already started. The aggressive regional expansion of the Iranian regime has been ignored in the talks just as the annihilation threats against Israel which have been repeated several times amid the negotiations. STOP THE BOMB regards the planned removal of sanctions as especially disturbing. Reinstating sanctions in case of Iranian violations of the agreement will prove unworkable. It took 10 years to establish the anyway insufficient sanctions architecture, which was met by harsh resistance. The Iranian regime exactly knows that there will not be a rapid reinstatement once the sanctions are removed. Billions of dollars currently blocked will soon be unfrozen as a result of this deal and at the anti-Semitic regime’s disposal. This will enable the regime to sponsor its terror proxies like Hamas and Hezbollah in unprecedented ways. The terror against the Iranian population will not decrease, but increase. Already now more people have been executed under allegedly "moderate" President Rouhani than under his predecessor Ahmadinejad.


Iran's Nukes

Iranian Nuclear Deal Reached

July 14th 2015

Iran Long-Range Missile

In the UN complex in Vienna, Austria, the foreign ministers of the six world powers and Iran announced that a nuclear deal was reached after months of intensive negotiations.   Israel is following with concern the partial easing of sanctions that Iran received in exchange for the monitoring of their nuclear sites.  â€œThis is a new chapter in international relations,” EU Foreign Minister Frederica Moghini stated this morning.

In the meeting that was conducted, Moghini added, “We will overcome the decades of tension between Iran and the rest of the world.” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif added, “This is a solution that only has winners. It opens a new horizon with the international community. We are opening a new chapter and we need to relate to it as a great achievement for all of us.” Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

Iran Nuke Deal Realizes the Deepest of Fears

July 14th 2015

Iranian Qiam missile launch

Today's announcement of this nuclear agreement with Iran is a realization of the deepest fears and the most dire predictions of skeptics who have, for two years, been warning against exactly this outcome -- a bad deal that both enriches this tyrannical regime and fails to strip Iran of nuclear weapons capability. The deal will give Iran billions in cash and sanctions relief to fuel its terror and war machines, shred the hard-won sanctions regime beyond repair, and enable the Iranians to get away with hiding the full extent of their nuclear work, infrastructure, and know-how. It will not have an enforceable inspections regime or a workable way to re-impose pressure on Iran when it cheats. And then, after just over a decade, most of this deal will expire, and Iran will be allowed to have a full-blown nuclear program-- a screw's turn away from a nuclear weapon.

It is important to ask: if a 3-month nuclear breakout by Iran is a problem today, why are we giving the Mullah’s in Tehran hundreds of billions of dollars, all so Iran will have a zero break out time, according to President Obama himself, in just over a decade? Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Radical British Islamist Hid In Plain Sight -- On Government Payroll

July 14th 2015

Big Ben

The British government saw "Abdullah al Andalusi" as a trusted adviser, someone qualified to help oversee Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), which supervises UK police counter-terrorism policy and reactions to attacks.

Andalusi may have enjoyed access to classified information in that role. That stopped when someone in the HMIC hierarchy recently saw Andalusi on television, defending extremist ideology offered by the Saudi-financed Muslim Debate Initiative, the Sunday Telegraph's Andrew Gilligan reported.

Andalusi's Islamist activities were done under his real name, Mouloud Farid, while government officials failed to realize he secured government work with a fake name. Farid is close with the radical Hizb ut Tahrir, a global Islamist movement that has been described as a "conveyor belt" for jihadist terror. Read more ..


Greece on Edge

An Empire Strikes Back: Germany and the Greek Crisis

July 14th 2015

PARTHENON

A desperate battle was fought last week. It pitted Germany and Greece against each other. Each country had everything at stake. Based on the deal that was agreed to, Germany forced a Greek capitulation. But it is far from clear that Greece can allow the agreement reached to be implemented, or that it has the national political will to do so. It is also not clear what its options are, especially given that the Greek people had backed Germany into a corner, where its only choice was to risk everything. It was not a good place for Greece to put the Germans. They struck back with vengeance.

The key event was the Greek referendum on the European Union's demand for further austerity in exchange for infusions of cash to save the Greek banking system. The Syriza party had called the vote to strengthen its hand in dealing with the European demands. The Greek government's view was that the European terms would save Greece from immediate disaster but at the cost of impoverishing the country in the long term. The austerity measures demanded would, in their view, make any sort of recovery impossible. Facing a choice between a short-term catastrophe in the banking system and long-term misery, the Greeks saw themselves in an impossible position. Read more ..


Campus Hate

Who Should Define Anti-Semitism?

July 13th 2015

uc davis swastika door

“Anyone who does not recognize the Jewish people and the State of Israel — and their right to exist — is guilty of anti-Semitism”  - Pope Francis

"I think a good baseline [for when anti-Zionism becomes anti-Semitism] is: Do you think that Israel has a right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people…If your answer is no…then that is a problem” - President Barack Obama

"Criticism of Israel that is based on anti-Zionism — that’s anti-Semitism today, this is the refuge of those who do not accept the State of Israel” - French Minister Manuel Vall

"This is the face of the new anti-Semitism. It targets the Jewish people by targeting Israel and attempts to make the old bigotry acceptable to a new generation... what else can we call criticism that selectively condemns only the Jewish state and effectively denies its right to exist, to defend itself while systematically ignoring, or excusing, the violence and oppression all around it?” - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Read more ..


Jewry on Edge

Foxman Exit Interview -- Predictions Were Terribly Wrong Q-A

July 10th 2015

Abraham Foxman

Looking back after 50 years of service to the Anti-Defamation League, retiring national director Abraham Foxman expressed passionate worry to journalist Edwin Black about the safety and security of Jews overseas and Israel’s position in the world. Excerpts from his exit interview follow, edited and condensed for continuity, clarity, and length.

 

Edwin Black: Looking back over a half century, how does it strike you?

Abraham Foxman: Boy, how wrong they were! When I came on this job, I read a lot of stuff about the future of the Jewish community. I wanted to know what I would be facing. One thing that the sociologists and prognosticators said 50 years ago was "Anti-Semitism, it’s a historical fact of the past. You don’t have to worry about it — we’re just going to point to it when we fight other prejudices." Boy how wrong they were! The other thing they said was “In 50 years, Israel will be a normal nation among all the nations.” Boy how wrong they were! Israel has become "the Jew amongst the nations." Read more ..


China

Why China's Stock Markets Matter

July 9th 2015

New hires to Chinese military

The Shanghai Composite Index fell 6 percent on July 3, rounding out a 28 percent decline since June 12, when the country's stock markets peaked. The deterioration occurred despite intensive government efforts to stabilize prices and revive investor sentiment. Overt attempts by Beijing included cutting benchmark interest rates and reserve requirement ratios and loosening restrictions on investor access to margin loans, in addition to less overt moves, such as direct interventions to prop up the market with government-backed purchases of blue chip stocks. On Friday, in a clear bid to win investor confidence in its oversight abilities, the securities regulator announced it would investigate signs of potential market manipulation. Yet so far, Beijing's efforts have failed to achieve the desired effect of stimulating, or at least stabilizing, China's leading stock markets. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Hamas and ISIS in the Sinai

July 8th 2015

Hamas+Guns

The question of whether Hamas’ military wing cooperated with Wilayat Sinai (literally Sinai Province), the organization that carried out the big terrorist attack in the Sinai Peninsula on July 1, is critical for Hamas. This issue is expected to impact not only the future of its relationship with Egypt, but the future of the movement overall. The largest terrorist attack in Sinai occurred when the leaders of the political wing thought the complicated relationship with the regime of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was stabilizing and that improved relations and a calming of the tensions between them was on the horizon. Once again, however, an accusing finger is pointed toward Hamas, and its leaders are forced to defend themselves.

The leaders of the movement, Ismail Haniyeh, Mousa Abu Marzouk and Abu Obeida, the spokesman of the military wing, quickly denied any connection with the Sinai terror organization affiliated with the Islamic State (IS). In an interview with Al-Quds network, Abu Marzouk explained that everyone knows how his movement works in Gaza against what he called “the black extremism.” He was referring to the surge of arrests in recent weeks carried out by Hamas of members of Salafist organizations in Gaza after Salafists had fired rockets toward Israel and tried to entangle his movement. Israel repeatedly states that it holds Hamas responsible for rockets fired at it. Read more ..


The Farhud

International Farhud Day -- An Insider's Eyewitness Account

July 7th 2015

Edwin Black

While I was speaking to the packed room, a woman I did not know, sitting in the front row, slowly shook her tear-stained head in disbelief and muttered softly … barely audible … "I never thought I would hear these words in this building."

The woman, it turns out, was of Iraqi Jewish ancestry. The building was the iconic United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, astride the East River. The event was in a hall routinely used by the UN Security Council. The day was June 1, 2015. The occasion was the proclamation of "International Farhud Day" at the UN as a live global event broadcast by UN TV.

Farhud in an Arabic dialect means violent dispossession. The words I spoke that gripped the woman listening described in detail how the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, leader of the Arab community in Mandate Palestine, organized a blood-curdling massacre by Nazi-allied Arabs against Baghdad’s peaceful Jewish community on June 1-2, 1941. The ensuing mass rape, beheading, murder, burning, and looting spree was the first step in a process that throughout the Arab world effectively ended 2,600 years of Jewish existence in those lands. Ultimately, some 850,000 to 900,000 Jews were systemically pauperized and made stateless in a coordinated forced exodus from the Arab world.

Many Sephardic Jews consider the 1941 Farhud, which murdered and maimed hundreds, to be their Kristallnacht. However, for the past 74 years, neither the facts about the brutal, two-day pogrom, nor the culpability of the Nazified Iraqi and Palestinian Arab perpetrators, nor the expulsion of 850,000 Jewish refugees from the Arab world that followed were topics the UN wanted to hear of. Nor for the past 74 years was this blood-letting and its aftermath commemorated in the vast chronicles of organized Holocaust remembrances. Nor for the past 74 years was this constellation of tragedies commonly known and/or spoken of within the Jewish community. Read more ..


Greece on Edge

The Greek Vote and the EU Miscalculation

July 7th 2015

Greek and EU flags

In a result that should surprise no one, the Greeks voted to reject European demands for additional austerity measures as the price for providing funds to allow Greek banks to operate. There are three reasons this should have been no surprise. First, the ruling Coalition of the Radical Left, or Syriza party, is ruling because it has an understanding of the Greek mood. Second, the constant scorn and contempt that the European leadership heaped on the prime minister and finance minister convinced the Greeks not only that the scorn was meant for them as well but also that anyone so despised by the European leadership wasn't all bad. Finally, and most important, the European leadership put the Greek voters in a position in which they had nothing to lose. The Greeks were left to choose between two forms of devastation — one that was immediate but possible to recover from, and one that was a longer-term strangulation with no exit. Read more ..


BTC Applauds U.S. DOJ Investigation of Airline Coordination on ‘Capacity Discipline’

July 2nd 2015

The Business Travel Coalition (BTC) applaudes the decision of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate recent public communications by major U.S. network airlines that could prove to represent illegal coordination among industry competitors to restrict capacity in domestic U.S., transatlantic and other international markets for the purpose of maintaining and/or increasing upward pressure on ticket pricing. DOJ is no doubt observing the reduction in competition and concomitant increase in total air travel prices and decrease in product innovation and declining customer service satisfaction levels. The DOJ investigation is coming at a critical time for consumers. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal's (D-CT) recent leadership on this problem is welcomed, and the European Commission should join in on this investigation. There is precedent for this investigation per previous U.S. Federal Trade Commission investigations and rulings with respect to tacit competitor coordination – especially on analyst calls. The number one concern that antitrust experts have - with no close second - as with regard to radical consolidation of any industry, is the risk of tacit competitor coordination on policies, practices and prices among a reduced number of industry participants. Since recent U.S. airline mega-mergers, we have witnessed near constant airline CEO calls for 'capacity discipline' during industry gatherings and analyst earnings calls only to be echoed by analysts in follow-on earning calls with other airlines. This represents perhaps the darkest hours of airline coordination as well as a too-cozy harmonization between airlines and Wall Street. Sadly, this apparent tacit coordination on capacity is accompanied by an even more aggressive and widely coordinated attack on price transparency, consumer protections and competition.


Campus Jihad

Anti-Israel Venom Comes to High School Cirricula

July 2nd 2015

Education - Child at Blackboard

The poisonous propaganda against Israel on college campuses is spreading to our high schools.  Under the guise of “global education,” “peace studies,”  â€œCritical Thinking” or simply as part of world history, anti-Israel viewpoints have been curricularized and are being inserted into American public and private schools.   Much of this effort is supported by oil money from the Middle East, much of it created and disseminated by Leftist educational establishments in Middle East Studies Departments in Universities.  Anti-Israelism is now fully a part of the general effort to promote global citizenship, multiculturalism and the degradation of American exceptionalism.   

In April 2015, Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) released a video documenting the biased work of a Boston University-- based group called Axis of Hope (AOH), which has now been fully incorporated into The Global Literacy Institute at BU’s School of Education. The AOH workshop, entitled “Whose Jerusalem?” has been conducted in many schools across the U.S., including in Weston High School in Massachusetts. Read more ..


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