“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wars and Rumors of War

Israel is getting ready to invade Gaza
Lorna Fitzsimons
Wednesday, 20th February 2008

Lorna Fitzsimons talks to senior sources and concludes that, with heavy hearts, the Israelis are set to mount a military takeover of Gaza — a step that will leave the talks nowhere

This is not the way things were meant to happen. When Ariel Sharon ordered the removal of all Israelis from the Gaza Strip in 2005, leaders from around the world applauded. It was a clear message that Israel was willing to do almost everything it could to resolve the decades-long conflict with the Palestinians — including returning land without any assurances of peace and security. However, the initial optimism was quickly curbed by the grim reality on the ground: Hamas’s election victory in January 2006 and the sharp rise of rockets fired at communities inside Israel showed that unilateral withdrawal would not provide a better future for Israelis and Palestinians.

Today the number of rocket attacks on Israel is soaring. Senior Israeli diplomatic and military sources have indicated that there will soon be a large military ground invasion, reluctantly mounted by the Israelis, and a possible reoccupation of some of Gaza. If there is an invasion, Israel will have tacitly admitted that the experiment of unilateral disengagement has failed, leaving it at square one in its quest for peace with the Palestinians in Gaza.

It is hard to imagine how any sovereign state could tolerate the situation that Israel finds herself in today. Approximately 190,000 Israelis — the population of Brighton — living in southern Israel have been under attack for seven years. The 23,000 residents in the Israeli town of Sderot have been going through hell on earth: 30 per cent of them now suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, 90 per cent have experienced a Qassam rocket falling on their street; and over the past 18 months more than 1,600 cases of trauma have been recorded. An alarm system gives residents 15 seconds to seek shelter. Sometimes there are 20 attacks a day. Those who can afford to are moving further inside Israel, leaving the poor and elderly to remain. In a country of just six million people, the impact of all this is the equivalent of Newcastle, Preston or Derby being attacked daily.

And the attacks have intensified. In 2005, 401 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip; in 2006, there were 1,722. The belief that territorial concessions alone would provide greater security has collapsed as the rockets keep on coming. In the two and a half years that followed Israel’s total withdrawal, more than 3,700 rockets were fired at Israel — and that figure will be reached this year alone if rockets continue to be fired at the same rate as they have been in the first weeks of 2008. Since 2001, 24 Israelis have been killed and 620 wounded in rocket attacks launched from Gaza. The equivalent attacks on the UK in the same period would have seen 240 people killed and 6,200.

The situation is now even more precarious for Israel following the breach of the Sinai/Gaza border last month. From conversations I’ve had with intelligence sources, we know that Gazan terror organisations used the breach to upgrade their military capacity, bringing in arms and ammunition — and even operatives. Hamas and other groups now have rockets that are able to reach further inside Israel, placing even more people under the threat of attack.

A growing number of government sources now say privately that under the current conditions a major ground operation in Gaza is only a matter of time. Dr Zvi Shtauber, director of the Institute for National Security Studies, believes it is no longer a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ such an operation will take place. Dr Mark Heller, Israeli-Palestinian policy analyst, agrees, calling it ‘almost a statistical certainty’ that Israel will be ‘compelled to re-enter Gaza’. Last week defence minister Ehud Barak called for ‘a calm and calculated management’ of the ongoing crisis, but revealed that he had ‘instructed the IDF to complete preparations for the possibility of a ground invasion in Gaza’. Chief of Staff Lt-Gen Gabi Ashkenazi went further declaring the IDF were ‘ready to deepen and widen any offensive in the Gaza Strip’.

It is clear that any military action in Gaza is likely to be ugly, dangerous and costly in terms of lives on both sides. Rockets manufactured locally using improvised materials and crudely launched from highly populated areas are one of the hardest threats to remove. There is no single or specific group of targets whose elimination would bring about a cessation of rocket fire. This makes military action highly complicated and Israel may well find itself embroiled in a long and bloody campaign taking over large parts of the Gaza Strip.

Experts such as Dr Rory Miller, senior lecturer at King’s College London, warn that if Israel does re-enter Gaza it must do so for specific militarily achievable objectives rather than as a response to domestic public opinion in Israel. He warns that the latter would be ‘disastrous’.

The atmosphere in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s plane en route to Germany last week, however, reflected just how little enthusiasm there is to send in any troops at all into the Strip. ‘Anger is not an operational plan,’ Olmert said, indicating that the lessons of the 2006 war with Hezbollah have been learnt — you don’t take troops in unless all other options have been exhausted. But the alternative to invasion and stopping the rocket attacks is much worse; as an ex-parliamentarian I know that the first responsibility of any government around the world is to protect her citizens.

Last month I took a group of senior British editors to meet Amos Gilead, the irrepressible chief of the Israeli Defence Ministry’s political military-bureau. We met him just as the IDF announced its plans to limit the amount of fuel going into Gaza. The general argued emphatically that there was only one effective solution — invasion of Gaza. But, he argued, Israel was, in effect, deliberately fighting terror with one hand tied behind its back, choosing blockades and targeted assassinations specifically because there was widespread reluctance to reoccupy the land she had left voluntarily. He told the journalists, ‘We have one clear option open to us — to invade. We do not want to do this and so we’re trying everything, exhausting all other options to see if there is a chance this is avoidable.’

And that’s what makes Israelis so depressed about the situation today: the vast majority of Israelis do not want to have any presence in Gaza. They don’t want to rule over the 1.5 million people there. They thought they had fulfilled their part of the bargain over two years ago when Israel pulled out, forcibly removing Jewish settlers from their homes and leaving the communities they had built there. A large majority of Israelis supported that action with only 34 per cent opposing. In a country where everyone has a son or a brother serving in the army, there is little appetite for any large military operation that is likely to result in large numbers of soldier fatalities.

Israelis also know that there are likely to be significant negative knock-on effects on the negotiations with Palestinian President Abu Mazen if they do go into Gaza. The round of talks relaunched in Annapolis — where Prime Minister Olmert pointedly acknowledged the role Israel plays in causing Palestinian suffering — may well stall after an invasion. It will be almost impossible for any Palestinian to negotiate while there are tanks, soldiers and civilian deaths in Gaza. Olmert, who has staked his political future on successful negotiations — even instructing his foreign minister to meet her Palestinian counterpart on the day of last week’s suicide bombing — knows this more than anyone.

Hamas, as an Islamist, expansionist organisation that angrily rejects the status quo and Israel’s right to exist, has deliberately created this new reality. Never before has Hamas looked as irrelevant and as isolated as in Annapolis in November last year when almost every Arab state pledged their support to bringing Palestinian independence through negotiation and compromise. It is no coincidence that, threatened by Israel and the PA’s public commitments to negotiations and concerned that its popularity in the Palestinian street could dwindle, Hamas cynically whipped up a crisis in Gaza and on its borders. It has tried to create an alternative vision for the Palestinians: violent resistance and independence through war and bloodshed, and unfortunately it is succeeding.

More worryingly, military action in Gaza could have a detrimental effect far beyond the immediate borders of Israel and Palestine. In a conversation last week, a leading Egyptian moderate, Tarek Heggy, told me, ‘If Israel went into Gaza tomorrow and those pictures were broadcast throughout the Arab world, the implications for the rest of the region will be gigantic. They would create a lot of pressure on the moderate leaders.’

The recent breaching of the border with Egypt underscores Hamas’s decision to prevent any containment of the conflict to the strict limits of the Gaza Strip. Hamas is strategically pushing for an escalation that places its confrontation with Israel on a wider geo-political level — as just another front on what it wants to portray as the West’s ‘assault’ on Islam. A ‘spillage effect’, in which the clash between Israel and Hamas destabilises moderate players in the region is possible. And if it empowers Iran, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas will have succeeded. Israeli leaders fully understand this, but just cannot see another way of stopping the daily barrage of attacks coming into Israel. As one Israeli security analyst summed it up, ‘We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.’

Israelis have learnt never to say never when dealing with Middle East politics, and some Israeli analysts are now arguing that military action in Gaza may actually be a boost for the peace process. Israel has always been prepared to cede territory gained on the battlefield for acceptance and peace with its neighbours. If Hamas rejects that formula then perhaps Israel’s anticipated action may make room for a more moderate Palestinian leadership that accepts the Jewish state and sees compromise as the only path to an independent Palestine. However, I worry that this is no more than wishful thinking, given the rise in Palestine and the wider region of political Islam and the decline of secular nationalism.

It is of course far from clear how events in Gaza will play out. What is plain is that the past seven years of attacks — and the dramatic increase in the past few months — have been unbearable for so many Israelis. Israel has acted with a commendable level of restraint that in all probability no other country in the world would have shown when under attack. Israel may well have to re-occupy large parts of Gaza, essentially admitting that its 2005 experiment of unilateral withdrawal failed — it wasn’t able to bring security to the region by giving back Gaza without a clear partner for peace on the other side. And where will all this leave Israel? Back at square one, pondering her next step in the search for a land-for-peace deal.


  1. Ash, what is your solution to this quandry? I don't need to ask Mat.

  2. Westhawk has a similar thread, it lists a few options, all bad, for Israel.

    The solution is still political, involving Fatah, or at least the attempt should be made.

    If not Israel is in a no-win situation, long-term.
    The war will expand, not contract with an israeli incursion into Gaza. Little good would come of it.

  3. FOX reported that the YouTube disruption was caused by Pakistani attempts to cut them off from access to the net, in Pakistan, and that dominoed across the entire world wide web.

    We are the world.

  4. Now that Fidel Castro has taken the carriage clock, international affairs has all too few fixed points of continuity. The Queen is still in place.

    The king of Thailand has been on the throne since 1946. Otherwise one has to turn to the Middle East for reassurance that some things never change.

    Fly-by-nights like Castro may come and go, but the Israel-Palestine conflict will, it seems, always be with us.
    After the one-day peace meeting in Annapolis last November, some believed that was about to change.

    Unarmed Resistance

  5. NEW YORK (Associated Press) -- Most of the world's Internet users lost access to YouTube for several hours Sunday after an attempt by Pakistan's government to block access domestically affected other countries.

    The outage highlighted yet another of the Internet's vulnerabilities, coming less than a month after broken fiber-optic cables in the Mediterranean took Egypt off line and caused communications problems from the Middle East to India.

    An Internet expert likened the cause of the outage to "identity theft" by a Pakistani telecommunications company, which accidentally started advertising itself as the fastest route to YouTube. But instead of serving up videos of skateboarding dogs, it sent the traffic into oblivion.

    On Friday, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority ordered 70 Internet service providers to block access to, because of anti-Islamic movies on the video-sharing site, which is owned by Google Inc.

    The authority did not specify what the offensive material was, but a PTA official said the ban concerned a trailer for an upcoming film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, who has said he plans to release a movie portraying Islam as fascist and prone to inciting violence against women and homosexuals.

  6. Finally, South Asian issues have also entered the campaign via questions about geopolitics and terrorism. Here, the focus of attention has been Pakistan, and again, it is Barack Obama who started the ball rolling with a major policy speech given on August 1, 2007.

    In the speech, Obama argued that the U.S. must take a robust stance against Islamic terrorists in Pakistan, stating, "It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."

    In the days following the speech, the statement was interpreted by a number of television pundits, as well as the candidates themselves, as suggesting that Obama was advocating a dangerous kind of unilateral military action in Pakistan, which might well lead to general instability in the nuclear-armed region. The Pakistan question emerged for a second time following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, though this time both Clinton and Obama were relatively careful in their statements following the tragedy.

    Funny Names

  7. Jawa Report has some rumor that "Azzam al Amerki" aka Adam Gadhan is smoking Mohammed's beef in hell, thanks to a visit from a Hellfire-bearing Predator.

    Here's the story. The major caveat is that The International News is a Pakistani publication:

    According to sources, American officials who are yet to publicly confirm the killing of Abu Laith al-Libi, had reportedly sharing information with western media that most likely another most wanted figure, Adam Gadahn, has also been killed in the air strike by the CIA-operated unmanned drone on a house in Khushali Torikhel village near Mirali town.

    According to sources, the American al-Qaeda militant, who has been reportedly spending much of his time in Afghanistan and Pakistani tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, had reached Mirali for an important meeting with other senior al-Qaeda commanders for planning the so-called spring offensive against US and Nato troops in Afghanistan.

    However, there were no details whether he arrived in the town when a house reportedly housing some senior al-Qaeda operatives including Abu Laith al-Libi, was blitzed. US military officials based in Afghanistan are reportedly collecting details about those killed in the attack on the house and in this regard two of their spy planes continued flying over the same area even after the tragic incident.

    May be just positive thinking, but it would be nice to see that traitor dead.

  8. Seecond that.
    Good riddence to bad rubbish.

  9. Whatever Israel does, Israel will not make any friends or please anyone. Israel will be taunted to a point where it will be forced to do something. Of course, that is the idea. Look at this arial photo. On the Israel side there are mainly farms. Israel could excavate it and build a harbor. Reminds me on my youngest who would not give up a security blanket. I did a daily snip and it eventually disappeared.

  10. Oh, I pray for confirmation of that kill.

  11. Over at Westhawk, I suggested that Israel appeal to the UN and the ICC.

  12. Gadahn was last heard from on January 6,when a jihadist website posted several links to a 50-minute video featuring Gadahn, released by the media arm of Al-Qaida. Gadahn delivered most of the statement in English, but spoke in Arabic on several occasions to deliver Koranic recitations, religious rhetoric, and messages to Arabic speaking persons.

    One of these Arabic statements called on Muslims to greet President Bush during his January trip to the Middle East with "bombs and booby-traps."

    Gadahn also suggested the U.S. had lost in both Afghanistan and Iraq. “How, Americans might ask, is it possible that the strongest and best-equipped army on earth has been defeated by lightly-armed mujahidin?

    Member Missing?

  13. Send in the posse!
    Same as in Lebanon.

    Italians, French and Spanish troops

    The Roman Legions return!

  14. Fox News has a video report of the latest rocket attack on Sderot.

    These little relatively ineffective rockets are sent to provoke, to goad the Israelis into reaction.

  15. Israel and Palestinians will not reach a peace deal this year, and a recent Mideast peace conference in Annapolis was only "an exercise in public relations," Syria's ambassador to the United States said Monday.

    Imad Moustapha said President Bush has no real desire to broker a peace deal and that there are powerful forces within his administration who believe "chaos is constructive" in the Middle East.

    "I don't know who he is referring to," responded Tom Casey, a U.S. State Department spokesman. "I certainly know that we have serious and ongoing concerns about Syria's unconstructive role in the region."

    No Chance for Peace

  16. From The Sublime To The Ridiculous

    'Piss Prophets'

    "Sometimes, after all, the paranormal is just funny, as the wacky saga of the piss prophets reveals.

    The practitioners of that antique health profession diagnosed human disease and prognosticated as to its outcome by interpreting the visions they saw when they gazed into the glass flasks of their patients' urine. They enjoyed enormous respect in Europe from early in the 14th century until several hundred yearts later. At the height of their popularity, they employed helpers known as piss messengers, who fetched urine from the homes of the bedridden and delivered it to the prophet for his inspection and pronouncement.

    For a time during the medieval period, the piss prophet's glass flask was the recognized emblem of the medical profession. It was always pictured as either half empty or half full, depending on which way you looked at it. Carried in its protective wicker basket, it was worn as the outwardly visible badge of the medical doctor.

    Piss prophets were always at war with debunkers who tried to trick the practicioners by substituting animal urine for human. In the late 18th century, the last fashionable uroscopist in England was laughed out of practice. He had pronounced that a young man had venereal disease on the basis of a flask of cow's urine substituted to him by hoaxers."

    from "The Last Laugh' by Moody

  17. Complicating matters, Abbas' government is locked in a power struggle with Hamas for control of the Palestinian territories. Abbas rules the West Bank, and Hamas controls Gaza.

    In the West Bank, Abbas' government announced Monday that the town of Jericho hooked up to the Jordanian electricity grid, with an eye toward a regional power supply.

    "This will enable us to be independent from Israel in providing electricity," Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said.

    Blockade of Gaza

  18. Abbas could well be the key to Gaza. Substantial advances in the West Bank could make Fatah a viable political force in Gaza. This opportunity should be exploited to the greatest degree possible, both covertly and overtly.

  19. Azzam al amerki--sure was a nasty confused little prick. It's cold in hell, according to his belief. May he have no mittens, no cap, no furs for his back.

    Since the folk in Gaza are targeting civilians in Israel, carpet bombing comes to mind.

    The big question is, what would newly installed US Secretary of State Louis Farrrakhan do?

  20. Gennifer Flowers must figure the Clintons will be old news in a week--

    Gennifer Flowers is putting the tapes of her recorded conversations with Bill Clinton during their 12-year affair on the auction block, Vegas Confidential learned Monday.

    Flowers, who came forward during Clinton's 1992 Presidential election campaign with details of the relationship, said she decided to part with the tapes after renewed interest surfaced. She was offered $5 million by a Japanese collector in the 1990s, she said.

    Asked about the timing of her announcement coming out as Hillary Clinton continues to slide in her presidential bid, “I don’t need to hurt Hillary. She is doing a fine job of that herself, along with her idiot husband. Karma is an interesting thing. If these two don’t get elected, and they are a team, it will be karma coming back to visit them. It's about time."

    When President Clinton denied the relationship during his presidential campaign, Flowers called a press conference played what she said were secretly recorded phone conversations.

    "These are the tapes I brought forth as proof," she said.

    Flowers, who lives in Las Vegas, sued Hillary Rodham Clinton, George Stephanopoulos, James Carville and other, accusing them of orchestrating a campaign to discredit her. Carville and Stephanopolous claimed Flowers doctored the tapes.

    Flowers, 58, said she has kept the tapes "very safe all these years and I just recently received more interest and I said 'why not?'

    "I certainly would enjoy the money for my future security. I don’t have any guarantee what might be coming," she said.

    Flowers is also exploring a new book with "explosive story additions to the Clinton affair," her publicist Bruce Merrin said in a release. The book "ill contain a special item which must remain a protected secret until the book is published."

    — NORM CLARKE, Vegas Confidential

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. There will be no winners on Wall Street, come November, whit.

    Either winner will be a loser, there.

  23. If Obama wins on March 4, I expect the markets to start heading south at that point.

  24. Bobal, I wish I had a solution to the quandry and Mats solution isn't really a viable solution.

    In a sense the Israelis made their bed and now they've got to lie in it. No, they didn't get to this point solely on their own but they have been very active participants and we can see the outcomes of their decisions. We can never know how different things would be if they had made (in my opinion) better decisions.

    How to move forward? Well, the strategy of ignoring Hamas and dealing with Fatah is failing and will continue to fail. Hamas is a fact of life and must be dealt with. Pretending they don't exist will not prove to be productive but rather the opposite. One bold gesture the Israelis could make would be to negotiate with Hama and put the release of Marwan Barghouti on the table. Pressure can also be applied to the Israelis to help them make some moves - the Israelis being one of the only parties in that dispute that we actually have some leverage with.

    Tough problems, no easily definable solutions. Why was it you want US to be global cop and peacemaker?

  25. The gun ban "has not been a major issue at national parks in recent years," said Bryan Faehner of the National Parks Conservation Association, an advocacy group.

    The restrictions, which require that guns be unloaded and placed somewhere that is not easily accessible, such as in a car trunk, "were reasonable then and are reasonable now," Faehner said. "This is not about guns.

    It's not about parks. It's a hardball political issue injected by the NRA in an election year," he said.

    Easing Gun Ban in Parks

  26. 1. The Case of the Typing Monkeys

    The “Monkey Theorem,” in its popular form, holds that if you have an infinite number of monkeys banging away at an infinite number of keyboards, eventually you will get from one of them Shakespeare’s Sonnet Eighteen, the first four lines of which read:

    "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? /Thou art more lovely and more temperate./ Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May/ And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
    Well, in the 1990’s the British National Council of the Arts, in an inventive use of taxpayers’ money, placed six monkeys in a cage with a computer. After banging away at the keyboard for a whole month – and using the computer as a bathroom at the same time – the monkeys had typed 50 pages but failed to produce a single word in the English language, not even the letter “a” by itself. [Gerry] Schroeder applied probability theory to the “Monkey Theorem” and calculated that the chance of getting Sonnet Eighteen by chance was 26 multiplied by itself 488 times (488 is the number of letters in the sonnet) or, in base 10, 10 to the 690th. If that number is written out, it is 1 with 690 zeroes following it. But, as Schroeder showed, the number of particles in the entire universe – protons, electrons and neutrons – is only ten to the 80th. Thus, even if every particle in the universe were a computer chip that had been spinning out random letters a million times a second since the beginning of time, there would still be no Shakespeare’s Sonnet Eighteen by chance. As [philosopher Anthony Flew] concluded, “if the theorem [the Monkey Theorem] won’t work for a single sonnet, then of course it’s simply absurd to suggest that the more elaborate feat of the origin of life could have been achieved by chance.

    (HT: Cranach)

    There's something wrong with this reasoning I get an itchy feeling, but I don't know what it is. An infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of keyboards would finally overwhelm a finite number of particles, or something. Scratching head again...

  27. Check this out sports fans from Hewitt's site:

    "Monday, February 25, 2008
    Obama's Chicago-style Politics
    Posted by: Patrick Ruffini at 3:53 PM

    Howard Dean is upset that John McCain wants out from public matching funds for the primary. So much so that's he's filed a complaint with the FEC.

    Very well. If that's how he really feels about it, he'll tell Senate Democrats to give up their extraordinary block against the President's FEC nominees -- a block that is preventing the FEC from holding a pro-forma vote to allow McCain out of the system.

    And who put the hold on Hans Von Spakovsky, one of the FEC nominees in limbo?

    Barack Obama.

    (In fact, this left-wing blogger asserts that Obama is THE key reason there is no working FEC right now.)

    This is extraordinary. Obama is using his Senate office to limit his likely November opponent's spending to $9 million between now and the convention. Incidentally, Obama's actions would have been responsible for cutting John Edwards off at the knees had he stayed in the race and required an infusion of federal funds.

    The FEC must vote to approve any such transfers, and partly because of the Obama-led block, it can't. That also means John McCain hasn't seen any Federal money yet. I don't see how you can be in a federal matching funds system and not receive any matching funds.

    Is this "change we can believe in" or just Chicago-style politics?

  28. An infinite number of Israelis with an infinite amount of patience will never be able to make peace with a finite number of paleos and the koran: so they might as well carpet bomb them.

    bob's theorem

  29. As I said a couple of weeks ago, allow Abbas to lead a march from the West Bank to Gaza, and lift the siege, then.

    Let Abbas use the women and children to a positive propaganda effect. Take that card away from Hamas, but do not ignore them. Put them in an unviable position with the majority of Gazans.
    Put the Hamas team in the position of continuing the deprivations. With Fatah and Abbas offering a middle way forward. Reconcile the Palistinians, with Abbas calling for new elections, after liberating Gaza.

  30. Obama is a master of the inside game, not some neophyte just off the turnip truck.
    He entered Harvard Law School in 1988. In February 1990, he was elected the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review. Obama graduated magna cum laude in 1991.

    He is a fast tracker that has the gift of gab. Well ahead of the MSM curve.
    He'll get an emotional explosion out of McCain at some point in the campaign. The money issue, which McCain has used as his basis of integrity will bite John in the ass, not as postulated earlier here at the Bar, Obama.

    This Obama fellow is smooth a silk.

  31. That seems to be the goal rat; place Abbas in the role of the Saviour, the leader that can deliver. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be working. If he were to march through Gaza he'd probably end up dead.

  32. I posted something the other day about the dating on the Shroud of Turin possibly being wrong, and that new tests were needed, now this---

    Fresh tests on Shroud of Turin
    By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
    Last Updated: 2:04am GMT 25/02/2008

    The Oxford laboratory that declared the Turin Shroud to be a medieval fake 20 years ago is investigating claims that its findings were wrong.

    The head of the world-renowned laboratory has admitted that carbon dating tests it carried out on Christendom's most famous relic may be inaccurate.

    Carbon dating tests carried out 20 years ago on the Shroud of Turin suggested that the relic was a forgery

    Professor Christopher Ramsey, the director of the Oxford University Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, said he was treating seriously a new theory suggesting that contamination had skewed the results.

    Though he stressed that he would be surprised if the supposedly definitive 1988 tests were shown to be far out - especially "a thousand years wrong" - he insisted that he was keeping an open mind.

    The development will re-ignite speculation about the four-metre linen sheet, which many believe bears the miraculous image of the crucified Christ.

    The original carbon dating was carried out on a sample by researchers working separately in laboratories in Zurich and Arizona as well as Oxford.

    To the dismay of Christians, the researchers concluded that the shroud was created between 1260 and 1390, and was therefore likely to be a forgery devised in the Middle Ages.

    Even Anastasio Alberto Ballestrero, the then Cardinal of Turin, conceded that the relic was probably a hoax.

    advertisementThere have been numerous theories purporting to explain how the tests could have produced false results, but so far they have all been rejected by the scientific establishment.

    Many people remain convinced that the shroud is genuine.

    Prof Ramsey, an expert in the use of carbon dating in archeological research, is conducting fresh experiments that could explain how a genuinely old linen could produce "younger" dates.

    The results, which are due next month, will form part of a documentary on the Turin Shroud that is being broadcast on BBC 2 on Easter Saturday.

    David Rolfe, the director of the documentary, said it was hugely significant that Prof Ramsey had thought it necessary to carry out further tests that could challenge the original dating.

    He said that previous hypotheses, put forward to explain how the cloth could be older than the 1988 results suggested, had been "rejected out of hand".

    "The main reason is that the contamination levels on the cloth that would have been needed to distort the results would have to be equivalent to the actual sample itself," he said.

    "But this new theory only requires two per cent contamination to skew the results by 1,500 years. Moreover, it springs from published data about the behaviour of carbon-14 in the atmosphere which was unknown when the original tests were carried out 20 years ago."

    Mr Rolfe added that the documentary, presented by Rageh Omaar, the former BBC correspondent, would also contain new archeological and historical evidence supporting claims that the shroud was a genuine burial cloth.

    The film will focus on two other recorded relics, the Shroud of Constantinople, which is said to have been stolen by Crusaders in 1204, and the Shroud of Jerusalem that wrapped Jesus's body and which, according to John's Gospel, had such a profound effect when it was discovered.

    According to Mr Rolfe, the documentary will produce convincing evidence that these are one and the same as the Shroud of Turin, adding credence to the belief that it dates back to Christ's death.

  33. McCain notified the FEC earlier this month that he intended to opt out of the public-financing system, a move that would allow him to spend as much money as he can raise at a point when Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are still competing for their party's nomination.

    FEC Chairman David Mason, himself a Republican, told McCain in a letter last week the commission might not approve his request because four of the commission's six seats remain unfilled due to a standoff between the Senate and President George W. Bush.

    Mason also said the FEC needs to review whether McCain might have violated commission guidelines by pledging its expected matching funds as collateral in a bank loan.

    Investigatin of McCain

  34. Deuce, how is it that Obama is preventing the FEC from forming a quorum? If they do manage to form a quorum do you think they'll release McCain from his obligations on public financing?

  35. By Matthew Murray
    Roll Call Staff
    October 4, 2007

    Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Wednesday derailed a plan blessed by Senate leaders to vote on controversial Federal Election Commission White House nominee Hans von Spakovsky, a move giving Democrats time to breathe in the ongoing Senate stalemate on FEC nominees.

    Then at the Brad Blog, a Democratic blogger, to be sure ...

    UPDATE: Russ Feingold (D-WI) joined Obama in blocking the vote on vS. They've just issued this joint statement:

    "While at the Department of Justice, Hans von Spakovsky was directly involved in efforts to politicize the Department and use the Voting Rights Section to disenfranchise voters, rather than enforce our nation's civil rights laws. As a recess appointee to the FEC he has been a committed, ideological opponent of the campaign finance laws he is supposed to enforce. Putting him at the head of the FEC is just another example of this administration putting the fox in charge of the hen house. We oppose his nomination, and any effort to tie his nomination to the other pending nominations to the FEC."

  36. Brad goes on to say ...

    ... is the fact that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked a vote on the remaining three FEC nominees in the Senate, in retaliation for the blocking of von Spakovsky, and George W. Bush has also refused to name a replacement nominee for him since Obama exercised his right last year, as a U.S. Senator, to block just one of the four new nominations to the commission.

    In other words, the Republican leadership in the Senate is actively blocking votes on nominees which would give the FEC the quorum they need to do business in this election year. But clearly the disinformationalist Ruffini would hate to let readers know about that aspect of the story, lest he be forced to forgo his sleazy "Obama's Chicago-style Politics" headline meme.

    Ruffini cryptically, and dishonestly references that point in his blog item by writing: "The FEC must vote to approve any such transfers, and partly because of the Obama-led block, it can't."

  37. Rat, you are saying Obama saw this coming back in October? If so, he is pretty dang shrewd!

  38. Clinton attacks Obama on foreign policy--

    Clinton said that Obama "wavers from seeming to believe that mediation and meetings without preconditions can solve some of the world's most intractable problems to advocating rash unilateral military action without cooperation among allies in the most sensitive region of the world."

    With a half-dozen retired generals standing behind her, Clinton said she was the only candidate who could restore a U.S. foreign policy that had the right combination of diplomacy and military might.

  39. The truth is out there, some where

  40. I am quoting Roll Call and Brad the Blogger, ash.

    And yes, I'd agree that Obama is damned shrewd, no doubt about that.

  41. ya, I think he is shrewd as well but I think it probably more serendipitous that his block in Oct. is paying off now. McCain seems to have manouvered himself into a corner on the finance thing. Seems strikingly familiar to Bush's moves in Iraq. Nothing like painting yourself into a corner.

  42. "We actively support Belgrade's demand ... to restore the territorial integrity of Serbia, restore the country's sovereignty," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on state-run Vesti-24 television.

    Lavrov claimed NATO and the European Union, which plans to deploy a 1,800-member police and justice mission to Kosovo, were considering using force to keep ethnic Serbs from leaving Kosovo.

    "The question of using force to hold back Serbs who do not want to remain under Pristina's authority ... is being seriously discussed," Lavrov said in the broadcast, without offering any evidence. "This will only lead to yet another 'frozen conflict' and will push the prospects for stabilizing Europe - and first of all for stabilizing the Balkans - far to the side."

    Firing Tear Gas

  43. I had originally thought that Obama made this FEC move about the John Edwards campaign, starving his campaign of Federal funding.

    That it also works against McCain, that may have been the intent, as well. But if Brad the Blogger is to be believed, Mitch McConnell has helped to stymie McCain, as well.

  44. If the EU does not allow Serbs to leave Kosovo, that'll just be lighting a match to the powder keg.

    Tempest in a tea pot.
    Ready to boil over and burn the cooks.

  45. Holier than thou, John ...

    He'll go off on someone, like he did on immigration, but this time it'll be on video. Played over and over, again. On John's pet issue, how he is now abandoning his principles.
    Comin' at US like a frieght train.

  46. Clinton is getting support from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which spent about $80,000 on mailings in Ohio, and from Emily's List, a political organization that helps candidates who support abortion rights and spent more than $90,000 on radio ads supporting Clinton in Texas. Democratic activists also have created an organization to raise money and run ads in Ohio and Texas promoting her stands on issues.

    Clinton's campaign has criticized Obama, noting that while he denounced ads run by outside groups on behalf of Democrat John Edwards in Iowa last year, he has not called on his union supporters to stop their ads.

    "The outside organizations supporting Senator Obama are far outstripping any support we're getting from our supporters," Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said.

    Political Ads

  47. I'd have never believed, a year ago, that Billary would be out campaigned, out spent and out smarted.

    That says more than a little about Obama. Dollar for dollar, McCain is in deep, deep caca.

    Fighting todays battles with yesterdays plan. Typical of a man his age.

  48. He needs some young gun GOP'ers in his campaign.

  49. The Clinton campaign issued an official response to the growing tempest - but the statement from campaign manager Maggie Williams did not respond to the central question of whether staffers circulated the photo.

    “Enough,” Williams said in the statement. “If Barack Obama's campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed.

    Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely.

    Smear Photo

  50. ya, I think he is shrewd as well but I think it probably more serendipitous that his block in Oct. is paying off now.

    Is Obama beginning to reveal signs of the paranormal here? By a serendipitous chance, I was reading...

    "Like the paranormal, the notion of serendipity is deep-rooted in popular entertainment. Horace Walpole(1717-1797) extracted the concept and name from an amusing Persian fairy tale about three princes of Serendip(Sri Lanka). By the dictionary's definition, all of serendipity is comic in spirit, like most of the paranormal.

    In Walpole's words, serendipity is a faculty the three princes exemplified for 'making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.' So serendipity resembles the paranormal in that it also entails a prior concept of knowledge(sagacity.)

    Serendipity highlights its prior knowledge. It brings what it already knows to the fore to yield a fortunate discovery. As Walpole defined it, serendipity is a concept that echoes Pasteur's observation that chance favors a prepared mind." The Last Laugh

    An odd, and a little fearful blending of the sagacious and chanceful, an eerie mixing.

    But if he is only shrewd that is troubling as well, since we all know shrewd is derived from shrew, is often applied to lawyers and bankers, and in yesteryear was always a very uncomplimentary term.

  51. Before each event, Obama organizers ask the crowd to "vote today" or first thing tomorrow, so they are free to help make phone calls, knock on doors, get out the vote and, most importantly, caucus on March 4.

    "Go to the caucus and get Obama a few more delegates," the senator from Illinois said in Austin, a critical point as the two Democrats inch their way delegate by delegate to win the nomination.

    The next night in Cleveland, Mr. Obama told his supporters to "do what the cool people do: vote early."

    Vote Today

  52. The orthodox speak--

    Newsletter of Mater Dei Seminary
    March 2000
    Other articles in this newsletter:
    Old Testament Prophecies on the Sufferings of the Messias


    Dear friends and benefactors,

    According to many of the saints and spiritual writers, one of the most efficacious means available to us to advance in the spiritual life is meditation on the Passion and Death of our Divine Savior Jesus Christ. Herein we ralize the infinite love of God for us and the great wickedness of the sins of man. How appropriate and beneficial it would be for us to spend some of our time during this holy season of Lent in serious meditation on the Passion. To assist us in this spiritual exercise, we can pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, make the Stations of the Cross, or read the narratives of the Passion from the four Evangelists (St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John). Besides these, there is yet another way to meditate on the sufferings of christ to form in our minds a vivid description of the price Jesus paid for our Redemption. This other way is to study the Shroud of Turin.

    Within the past year, a documentary on the Shroud has shed new scientific light on the authenticity of this ancient artifact. These discoveries include the new scientific findings about the original Carbon-14 dating of the Shroud in the early 1980’s, which apparently dated the Shroud back only to the twelfth century. Some of these discoveries are listed as follows:

    1) The relationship of the blood and the image on the Shroud of Turin to the blood and the image on the Sudarium (the burial face cloth of Christ of Oviedo, Spain);

    2) The images of unique flowers on the Shroud;

    3) The presence of particulate pollen on the Shroud;

    4) The molecules of limestone found on the Shroud;

    5) The analysis of the VP-8 Image Analyzer of NASA;

    6) The presence of bacteria on the Shroud which obstructed the original Carbon-14 dating.

    Before we consider these new discoveries, let us remember that the image on the Shroud perfectly matches the Biblical description of the sufferings of Christ: the scourging, the crowning with thorns, the nail wounds in the hands and feet, and the wound in the side. We also need to remember that after hundreds and thousands of tests conducted by STURP (the American team of scientists who were allowed to directly examine the Shroud in 1979) with the most sophisticated technology available, they concluded that there is absolutely no way the image on the Shroud could have been a forgery. They also verified that the bloodstains on the Shroud are indeed human blood (type AB) and that there is no known way of how the image was impressed upon the Shroud.

    Let us now consider individually each of the new discoveries listed above.

    1) There is in Oviedo, Spain, a relic of the Passion of Christ — the blood-stained cloth that wrapped the head of Christ immediately after the crucifixion. According to a fifth century testimonial of the cathedral of Oviedo, the relic is the Sudarium of which we read in the Gospel of St. John and which remained in the tomb with the burial cloth after the Resurrection of Jesus. It was the ancient custom of the Jews (and it still is today) to wrap the head of their dead, especially when the individual died a violent death. The testimonial verifies that this relic was brought to Spain from Jerusalem by way of northern Africa. Thus, the location of the Sudarium is historically and geographically established independently of the Shroud of Turin.

    What is most fascinating is that the blood on the Sudarium of Oviedo, Spain, identically matches the blood on the Shroud of Turin (type AB). Furthermore, when the image of the blood-stained cloth of the Sudarium is placed over the image of the head on the Shroud, the blood stains line up perfectly. Thus the Sudarium, which dates back to the first century, supports the authenticity of the Shroud.

    2) Another recent discovery found on the Shroud was the presence of images of flowers and plants which had been placed on the Shroud perhaps as a sign of respect or to help perfume the body. Dr. Allen Whanger, a botanist of Duke University, has identified 28 of these plants and flowers, many of which are indigenous only to Jerusalem. He furthermore discovered that these plants and flowers found on the Shroud blossom only during the months of March and April. From this Dr. Whanger concluded that the image on the Shroud was formed during these months.

    Dr. Uri Baruch, an Israeli botanical expert, completed the extensive experiments begun by Swiss criminologist and botanist, Max Frey, on the 58 different pollens found on the Shroud. Dr. Baruch conclusively proved that 28 of these pollens were from plants found only in the Middle East where the Shroud had to have originated.

    4) Yet another new discovery found on the Shroud is the presence of molecules of limestone. This limestone is unique to limestone found only in and about Jerusalem.

    5) Kevin Moran, an optical specialist on the STURP team, discovered from their VP-8 Image Analyzer that the image on the Shroud was indeed formed from an actual body, that is, 3-dimensional. Both he and Don Lynn, an image-processing expert from NASA, again concluded that the image was not a forgery.

    6) Lastly, the original Carbon-14 dating of the Shroud in the early 1980’s, which erroneously dated it back only to the twelfth century, was obstructed by a significant amount of bacteria found on the cloth. Dr. Harry E. Gove, physicist and inventor of the modern technique for Carbon dating (Accelorator Mass Spectrometry), has stated that, according to the recent discovery of Dr. Garza Valdez, bacteria that form on the objects to be Carbon dated contaminate the process and such objects cannot be accurately dated until this bacteria is removed. Once again, a significant amount of bacteria was found on the Shroud, thus invalidating the original Carbon-14 dating.

    The six discoveries listed above are by no means a comprehensive and complete list of all that can be said concerning the Shroud. Nevertheless, when one weighs all the scientific evidence, I personally believe that the Shroud of Turin is an actual image of our Divine Redeemer. One remarkable comment made by NASA expert, Don Lynn, about the Shroud is that the terrible wounds inflicted on the body of the Person on the Shroud do not correspond to the calm and peaceful demeanor manifested on the face of that Person. Indeed, our Divine Savior Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God “Who takes away the sins of the world.”

    May all of you have a grace-filled season of Lent!

    With my prayers and blessmg,
    Most Rev. Mark A Pivarunas, CMRI

  53. Lamar University and the Beaumont Foundation of America have announced the 10th Southeast Texas Legends Scholarship – this one honoring Dr. Joe Wesley Dickerson. The $100,000 endowed scholarship will assist underserved students who attend Lamar University , President James Simmons said at a ceremony and news conference Monday, Feb. 25, in the University Reception Center of the Mary and John Gray Library.

    Dickerson, affectionately known for years as “Dr. Joe”, was invited in 1978 to serve on the assessment committee investigating the Shroud of Turin, the reputed burial cloth of Jesus, which is housed in the cathedral of St. John the Divine in Turin , Italy . His lectures at Duke University Theological School on the shroud led to another invitation and biblical landmark, Saint Catherine’s Monastery on the Sinai Peninsula.

    Dickerson was honored by Princeton University on April 19, 2007, for the biblical research performed at the monastery during several visits.

    Dr. Joe

  54. Needless to say Rev. Mark's statements are controversial. I've always been impressed by the pollen that was found, or allegedly found, by Frey, who used to work for Interpol, on the Shroud, from the Jerusalem area.

  55. Dr Joe is an interesting guy. Sounds like, with the life he has lived, he is in less need of a savior than most of the rest of us.

  56. Sunday morning, after America had some time to let Huckabee’s antics sink in, the Republican hopeful told CNN’s John King about his night, "It's an awesome experience. The "Saturday Night Live" crew and cast have to be some of the most amazingly talented people in all of America.

    And they are also some of the hardest working people. You just can't imagine how long the hours are these guys put in.

    And to put that show together, to do it live, it is truly one of the most remarkable things I have ever witnessed in my life."

    Mike Huckabee

  57. No kiddin'. What an adventurous life.

  58. Obama looks more and more the muzzie--

    Obama raised funds for Islamic causes
    Speeches for Palestinian refugees called code for Israel's destruction

    Posted: February 25, 2008
    10:18 pm Eastern

    By Aaron Klein
    © 2008 WorldNetDaily

    Sen. Barack Obama (WND photo)
    JERUSALEM – Sen. Barack Obama has spoken at fundraisers for Palestinians living in what the United Nations terms refugee camps, WND has learned.

    Palestinians have long demanded the "right of return" for millions of "refugees," a formula Israeli officials across the political spectrum warn is code for Israel's destruction by flooding the Jewish state with millions of Muslim Arabs, thereby changing its demographics.

    In a conference call last month with Jewish and Israeli media aimed primarily at dispelling Internet reports he is anti-Israel, Obama stated "Palestinian refugees" belong in their own state and do not have a "literal" right of return to Israel.

    "We cannot move forward until there is some confidence that the Palestinians are able to provide the security apparatus that would prevent constant attacks against Israel from taking place," continued Obama during the conference with Jewish journalists.

    But in the 1990s Obama was a speaker at events in Chicago's large Palestinian immigrant community to raise funds for U.N. camps for the so-called Palestinian refugees.

    (Story continues below)

    Ali Abunimah, a Chicago-based Palestinian-American activist and co-founder of Electronic Intifada, a pro-Palestinian online publication, recalls introducing Obama at one such event, a 1999 fundraiser for the Deheisha Palestinian camp in the West Bank.

    Abunimah is also a harsh critic of Israel and has protested outside pro-Israel events in the Chicago area.

    "I knew Barack Obama for many years as my state senator – when he used to attend events in the Palestinian community in Chicago all the time," stated Abuminah during an interview last month with Democracy Now!, a nationally syndicated radio and television political program.

    "I remember personally introducing [Obama] onstage in 1999, when we had a major community fundraiser for the community center in Deheisha refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. And that's just one example of how Barack Obama used to be very comfortable speaking up for and being associated with Palestinian rights and opposing the Israeli occupation," Abunimah said.

    Abunimah also was recently quoted saying that until a few years ago, Obama was "quite frank that the U.S. needed to be more evenhanded, that it leaned too much toward Israel."

    Abunimah noted Obama's unusual stance toward Israel, commenting "these were the kind of statements I'd never heard from a U.S. politician who seemed like he was going somewhere, rather than at the end of his career."

    'Critical of U.S. bias toward Israel'

    Abunimah previously described meeting with Obama at a fundraiser at the home of Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, reportedly a former PLO activist.

    "[Obama]came with his wife. That's where I had a chance to really talk to him," Abunimah recalled. "It was an intimate setting. He convinced me he was very aware of the issues [and] critical of U.S. bias toward Israel and lack of sensitivity to Arabs. ... He was very supportive of U.S. pressure on Israel.

    Obama's campaign headquarters did not reply to an e-mail request seeking comment on his fundraising activities for Palestinians.

    Abunimah serves on the board of the Arab American Action Network, or AAAN, a controversial Arab group that mourns the establishment of Israel as a "catastrophe" and supports intense immigration reform, including providing driver's licenses and education to illegal aliens.

    WND reported yesterday the Woods Fund, a Chicago-based nonprofit on which Obama served as a paid director alongside a confessed domestic terrorist, provided $75,000 in grants to the AAAN.

    The co-founder of AAAN is Columbia's Khalidi, who held a 2000 fundraiser for Obama. Khalidi, a harsh critic of Israel, has made statements supportive of Palestinian terror and reportedly has worked on behalf of the PLO while it was involved in anti-Western terrorism and was labeled by the State Department as a terror group.

    'Very active' terror apparatus

    Obama's 1999 fundraising for the Palestinian Deheisha camp raised the eyebrows of one senior Israeli security official who was contacted yesterday for comment on the issue. The official, who was not aware of Obama's fundraising, noted Deheisha, which is located near the city of Bethlehem, had a "very active" Palestinian terror apparatus in 1999, carrying out scores of deadly shootings against Israeli civilians that year.

    Two of the most deadly suicide bombings in 2002 also were planned from Deheisha, where the suicide bombers originated, said the security official. On one such bombing, in March of that year, 11 people were killed and over 50 injured, four critically when a Deheisha bomber detonated his explosives next to a group of Jewish women waiting with their baby carriages for their husbands to leave a nearby synagogue.

    The question of so-called Palestinian refugees is a sensitive one for supporters of Israel. All Israeli prime ministers have stated a final peace deal with the Palestinians cannot include the "return" of "refugees."

    When Arab countries attacked the Jewish state after its creation in 1948, some 725,000 Arabs living within Israel's borders fled or were flushed out when the Jewish state pushed back attacking Arab armies. Also at that time, about 820,000 Jews were expelled from Arab countries or fled following rampant persecution.

    While most Jewish refugees were absorbed by Israel and other countries, the majority of Palestinian Arabs have been maintained in 59 U.N.-run camps that do not seek to settle those Arabs elsewhere.

    There are currently about 4 million Arabs who claim Palestinian refugee status with the U.N., including children and grandchildren of the original fleeing Arabs; Arabs living full-time in Jordan; and Arabs who long ago emigrated throughout the Middle East and to the West.

    Other cases of worldwide refugees aided by the U.N. are handled through the international body's High Commission for Refugees, which seeks to settle the refugees quickly, usually in countries other than those from which they fled.

    The U.N. created a special agency – the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA – specifically to handle registered Palestinian refugees. It's the only refugee case handled by the U.N. in which the declared refugees are housed and maintained in camps for generations instead of facilitating the refugees' resettlement elsewhere.

    The U.N. officially restricts the definition of refugee status worldwide for nationalities outside the Palestinian arena to those who fled a country of nationality or habitual residence due to persecution, who are unable to return to their place of residence and who have not yet been resettled. Future generations of original refugees are not included in the U.N.'s definition of refugees.

    But the U.N. uses a different set of criteria only when defining a Palestinian refugee – allowing future generations to be considered refugees; terming as refugees those Arabs who have been resettled in other countries, such as hundreds of thousands in Jordan; removing the clause requiring persecution; and removing the clause requiring a refugee to be fleeing his or her "country of nationality or habitual residence."

    Palestinian leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, routinely refer to the "right of return," claiming the declared right is mandated by the U.N. But the two U.N. resolutions dealing with the refugee issue recommend that Israel "achieve a just settlement" for the "refugee problem." The resolutions, which are not binding, do not speak of any "right of return" and leave open the possibility of monetary compensation or other kinds of settlements.

    Obama worked with terrorist

    Obama's advocacy on behalf of Palestinians comes after WND reported yesterday the presidential candidate served on the board of the Woods Fund alongside William C. Ayers, a member of the Weathermen terrorist group which sought to overthrow of the U.S. government and took responsibility for bombings against government buildings.

    Ayers, who still serves on the Woods Fund board, contributed $200 to Obama's senatorial campaign fund and has served on panels with Obama at numerous public speaking engagements. Ayers admitted to involvement in the bombings of U.S. governmental buildings in the 1970s. He is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

    Ayers has boasted of his involvement with the Weathermen terror group's bombings of the New York City Police headquarters in 1970, the Capitol in 1971 and the Pentagon in 1972.

    "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough," Ayers told the New York Times in an interview released Sept. 11, 2001

    "Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon," Ayers wrote in his memoirs, titled "Fugitive Days." He continued with a disclaimer that he didn't personally set the bombs, but his group set the explosives and planned the attack.

    A $200 campaign contribution is listed April 2, 2001, by the "Friends of Barack Obama" campaign fund. The two appeared as speakers together at several public events, including a 1997 University of Chicago panel entitled, "Should a child ever be called a 'super predator?'" and another panel for the University of Illinois in April 2002, entitled, "Intellectuals: Who Needs Them?"

    The charges against Ayers were dropped in 1974 because of prosecutorial misconduct, including illegal surveillance.

    Ayers is married to another notorious Weathermen terrorist, Bernadine Dohrn, who also has served on panels with Obama. Dohrn was once on the FBI's Top 10 Most Wanted List and was described by J. Edgar Hoover as the "most dangerous woman in America." Ayers and Dohrn raised the son of Weathermen terrorist Kathy Boudin, who was serving a sentence for participating in a 1981 murder and robbery that left four people dead.

    Obama adviser wants talks with terrorists

    Last month WND quoted Israeli security officials who expressed "concern" about Robert Malley, an adviser to Obama who has advocated negotiations with Hamas and providing international assistance to the terrorist group.

    Malley, a principal Obama foreign policy adviser, has penned numerous opinion articles, many of them co-written with a former adviser to the late Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, petitioning for dialogue with Hamas and blasting Israel for numerous policies he says harm the Palestinian cause.

    Malley also previously penned a well-circulated New York Review of Books piece largely blaming Israel for the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Camp David in 2000 when Arafat turned down a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and eastern sections of Jerusalem and instead returned to the Middle East to launch an intifada, or terrorist campaign, against the Jewish state.

    Malley's contentions have been strongly refuted by key participants at Camp David, including President Bill Clinton, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and primary U.S. envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross, all of whom squarely blamed Arafat's refusal to make peace for the talks' failure.