“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, January 26, 2009

EU to take only the best sort of detainee from Guantanamo

E.U.: U.S. Must Show Guantanamo Detainees Pose No Risk

Washington Post
Monday, January 26, 2009; 12:47 PM

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- European Union leaders said Monday they are willing to take prisoners being released from the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay _ but only after detailed screening to ensure they don't import a terrorist.

Foreign ministers from the 27-nation bloc discussed the fate of up to 60 Guantanamo inmates who, if freed, cannot be returned to their homelands because they would face abuse, imprisonment or death. The prisoners come from Azerbaijan, Algeria, Afghanistan, Chad, China, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, whose nation played a lead role in Monday's discussions on Guantanamo, said the European Commission will draft a formal plan in coming weeks defining a common course for EU members to pursue with the new U.S. administration of President Barack Obama. In his first week in office, Obama ordered Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba to be closed within a year.

Kouchner said the European plan was likely to include a formal EU request for legal and security experts to visit the prison _ and interview potential immigrants about where they wanted to resettle and why.

But Kouchner said Europe still had far too many unanswered questions to commit to accepting any particular prisoners. He said the U.S. and EU had yet to nail down whether prisoners would be legally treated as refugees or asylum-seekers, whether they would face heavy security restrictions in their new homes _ and whether some prisoners were simply too dangerous to come to Europe at all.

"Yes, of course this is risky," Kouchner told The Associated Press in an interview. "So we have to think about each case, and not to accept anything or anyone easily. It will be a long process." He said France would accept released prisoners "under extreme, precise conditions only."

"Legally this is difficult. Each of the 27 nations, they have different positions and different legal frameworks to accept or to refuse such people," he said.

While the French appeared keen to press other EU members on the issue, their successors as EU president _ the Czechs _ admitted that most nations were hoping to minimize their involvement with Guantanamo's homeless.

"Nobody is hot about it, that's perfectly true," said Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, referring to Monday's informal lunchtime talks about taking Guantanamo prisoners.

"We have to clear (up) a lot of things with the other side, too," he said, referring to the Obama administration.

The U.S. Defense Department says that, of the more than 240 prisoners currently in Guantanamo, about 100 are considered too dangerous to be released from U.S. custody; about 80 could face criminal charges in U.S. courts but could be freed if acquitted; and about 60 have been cleared for release _ but cannot be sent home because their own countries would likely harm them.

Of those 60, only 19 _ chiefly ethnic Uighurs from China _ have been reclassified as civilians, while the rest remain "enemy combatants."

A report in Monday's Washington Post said many case files of Guantanamo inmates were in disarray, suggesting that any candidates for resettlement in Europe could be months away from security vetting.

Some EU foreign ministers said their own countries _ long critical of the Bush administration's operation of Guantanamo _ would be accused of hypocrisy if they didn't take at least one ex-prisoner and were seen to be helping Obama with the shutdown.

"There is no question that chief responsibility to do with solving the problem of this detention center lies with those who set it up, the Americans themselves," said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. "But it is also a question of our credibility _ of whether we support the dismantling of this American camp or not."

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Britain had its plate full in dealing with its own nationals in U.S. custody and ruled out taking ex-prisoners from other nations.

He said Britain had already taken nine British nationals and three foreigners who have British residency rights, while the cases of two others still in Guantanamo were being processed.

"We feel that is already a significant contribution," Miliband said. "We're happy to offer our experience to other European countries, as they think about what steps they want to make, to help in the closure of Guantanamo Bay."

Finland's foreign minister, Alexander Stubb, emphasized the widespread view that the U.S. administration was not yet in position to clear any terror suspects.

"We are jumping the gun here a little bit, because the Americans haven't given us an offer or required us to take anyone on board," Stubb said.


  1. Snake River Alliance chickens out--

    Snake River Alliance backs out of defamatory statements
    AEHI agrees to drop case in light of SRA's admission

    For more information:
    Martin Johncox, 208-658-9100
    Don Gillispie, 208-939-9311
    I report, you decide.

    Jan. 26, 2009

    The Snake River Alliance has retracted a statement calling the company Alternate Energy Holdings Inc., “scammers,” with the Alliance saying their statement wasn’t “factual” but merely their opinion.

    On Aug. 11, 2008, Snake River Alliance Executive Director Andrea Shipley appeared on a television news broadcast and claimed AEHI representatives were criminals, calling the company “scammers.” AEHI sued the SRA for defamation, as no one in the company has been accused of charged with any criminal behavior. In response, the Alliance filed a motion to dismiss the defamation suit, instead saying their statements were offered as opinion, not fact, and were therefore protected under the First Amendment. In light of the SRA's admission that their statements were not factual, AEHI did not oppose the dismissal.

    “In their dismissal, the SRA admitted their statements were not factual, but just their opinion, which they could have done long ago,” said AEHI President and CEO Don Gillispie. “The SRA is known for over-the-top rhetoric and they came very, very close to crossing the line between protected speech and defamation; only by later retracting the factualness of their statement did they stay within the law and they now should think twice about the words they use.”

    For more on the issue, visit

    AEHI is seeking to develop the Idaho Energy Complex (, a large advanced nuclear reactor with low cooling water requirements located about 65 miles southeast of Boise, in Elmore County. Company officials plan to submit a Combined Operating License Application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2010. The approval process is expected to take three years and cost $80 million. Construction could begin as soon as late 2012 and finish with power generation beginning in late 2016.

  2. Obviously, let 'em all room and board with Ash for five years. He's raised a hue and a stink about the issue. If after that time, Ash certifies that they are all good fellas, send them to the EU.

  3. mat is funny, too.
    He disputes facts with feelings, because the facts contradict his feelings.

    The facts are the facts.

    The Israeli government officially recognized a precursor to Hamas called Mujama Al-Islamiya, registering the group as a charity. It allowed Mujama members to set up an Islamic university and build mosques, clubs and schools. Crucially, Israel often stood aside when the Islamists and their secular left-wing Palestinian rivals battled, sometimes violently, for influence in both Gaza and the West Bank.

    "When I look back at the chain of events I think we made a mistake," says David Hacham, who worked in Gaza in the late 1980s and early '90s as an Arab-affairs expert in the Israeli military. "But at the time nobody thought about the possible results."
    The Muslim Brotherhood, led in Gaza by Sheikh Yassin, was free to spread its message openly. In addition to launching various charity projects, Sheikh Yassin collected money to reprint the writings of Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian member of the Brotherhood who, before his execution by President Nasser, advocated global jihad. He is now seen as one of the founding ideologues of militant political Islam.

    Mr. Cohen, who worked at the time for the Israeli government's religious affairs department in Gaza, says he began to hear disturbing reports in the mid-1970s about Sheikh Yassin from traditional Islamic clerics. He says they warned that the sheikh had no formal Islamic training and was ultimately more interested in politics than faith. "They said, 'Keep away from Yassin. He is a big danger,'" recalls Mr. Cohen.

    Instead, Israel's military-led administration in Gaza looked favorably on the paraplegic cleric, who set up a wide network of schools, clinics, a library and kindergartens. Sheikh Yassin formed the Islamist group Mujama al-Islamiya, which was officially recognized by Israel as a charity and then, in 1979, as an association. Israel also endorsed the establishment of the Islamic University of Gaza, which it now regards as a hotbed of militancy. The university was one of the first targets hit by Israeli warplanes in the recent war.

    Brig. General Yosef Kastel, Gaza's Israeli governor at the time, is too ill to comment, says his wife. But Brig. Gen. Yitzhak Segev, who took over as governor in Gaza in late 1979, says he had no illusions about Sheikh Yassin's long-term intentions or the perils of political Islam. As Israel's former military attache in Iran, he'd watched Islamic fervor topple the Shah. However, in Gaza, says Mr. Segev, "our main enemy was Fatah," and the cleric "was still 100% peaceful" towards Israel. Former officials say Israel was also at the time wary of being viewed as an enemy of Islam.

    The point is to show the friends of Israel just how much times and proxy allies can change.

    Around the time of Sheikh Yassin's arrest, Mr. Cohen, the religious affairs official, sent a report to senior Israeli military and civilian officials in Gaza. Describing the cleric as a "diabolical" figure, he warned that Israel's policy towards the Islamists was allowing Mujama to develop into a dangerous force.

    "I believe that by continuing to turn away our eyes, our lenient approach to Mujama will in the future harm us. I therefore suggest focusing our efforts on finding ways to break up this monster before this reality jumps in our face," Mr. Cohen wrote.
    Israeli officials, still focused on Fatah and initially unaware of the Hamas charter, continued to maintain contacts with the Gaza Islamists. Mr. Hacham, the military Arab affairs expert, remembers taking one of Hamas's founders, Mahmoud Zahar, to meet Israel's then defense minister, Yitzhak Rabin, as part of regular consultations between Israeli officials and Palestinians not linked to the PLO. Mr. Zahar, the only Hamas founder known to be alive today, is now the group's senior political leader in Gaza.

    In 1989, Hamas carried out its first attack on Israel, abducting and killing two soldiers. Israel arrested Sheikh Yassin and sentenced him to life. It later rounded up more than 400 suspected Hamas activists, including Mr. Zahar, and deported them to southern Lebanon. There, they hooked up with Hezbollah, the Iran-backed A-Team of anti-Israeli militancy.

    Many of the deportees later returned to Gaza. Hamas built up its arsenal and escalated its attacks, while all along maintaining the social network that underpinned its support in Gaza.

    That mat disputes these facts, with his feelings, just does not cut it, amigos.

    Though if there is a different interpretation of the facts, I'm sure we'd all like to see it.

  4. Israeli officials, still focused on Fatah and initially unaware of the Hamas charter, continued to maintain contacts with the Gaza Islamists. Mr. Hacham, the military Arab affairs expert, remembers taking one of Hamas's founders, Mahmoud Zahar, to meet Israel's then defense minister, Yitzhak Rabin, as part of regular consultations between Israeli officials and Palestinians not linked to the PLO. Mr. Zahar, the only Hamas founder known to be alive today, is now the group's senior political leader in Gaza.

    By trying to use Hamas as a counter to Fatah, the Israelis cut off their nose, to spite their face.

  5. That mat disputes these facts, with his feelings, just does not cut it, amigos.

    Ok. Let's see, your argument is: Israel is responsible for Hamas because it did oppose an Islamic charity called "Mujama Al-Islamiya" from operating in Gaza, and later this Islamic charity became Hamas. Did I get this right?

  6. "First the Saturday People, then the Sunday People"

    Remember that, dRat.

  7. Not fully responsible but guilty of attempting to use Hamas and it's folk for the gain of Israel, by diminishing the Fatah.

    Which they succeeded in doing.

    Despite the Hamas Charter, which the Israeli chose to ignore, for shoort term political gain against Arabfat.

  8. They're killing the Christians of Iraq as we speak.

  9. It wasn't Hamas then. It was a group opposed to Fatah, which was terrorist group and still is. Later that group became Hamas, and when Israel realized who and what they were, Israel's position changed accordingly.

  10. ..did ^not oppose an Islamic charity called "Mujama Al-Islamiya"..

  11. ..Fatah, which was ^a terrorist group and still is..

  12. Names make no difference, mat, performance does. The Israeli were fore warned and chose to ignore it, and the Hamas charter, to gain an advantage over Arabfat.

    Now that short sightedness has come back to bite 'em in the butt.
    Israeli Generals soon to be charged, like the Serbians, with crimes against humanity.

    Mr Olmert telling the the Whirled that the UN is a terrorist organization, is funny stuff, when the Israeli did not recongnize a real terrorist organization within their midst.

  13. "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."

    - Jefferson

  14. When the nationalized Icelandic Banks defaulted on their British clients, bob, Mr Brown declared Iceland a terrorist State and was then able to freeze Icelandic assets in England, using the anti-terror laws.

    The UN wants justice for civilians fired on while in a UN facility and Mr Olmert calls the UN a terrorist organization. One the US of A funds, annually, to the tune of 25% of the General Budget.
    Making the US of A a sponsor of terror, in Gaza, according to the Israelis' Prime Minister.

  15. Was the US invasion and occupation of Iraq authorized by a terrorist organization?

    Mr Olmert seems to think so.

  16. Viewing Mr Bush as going before the whirled terrorist body, to seek permission to take down Saddam.

    Quite the perspective, from a country desiring a 'Special Relationship', with US.

  17. Mitchell is expected to meet with Israeli leaders, including Netanyahu, and focus on ways to revive peace talks in the wake of Israel’s recent offensive in the Gaza Strip.

    Nearly all the illegal Israeli settlement construction over the past decade has taken place in existing West Bank communities.

    Netanyahu’s positions do not significantly differ from outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who has allowed construction in existing settlements to continue even while holding peace talks with the Palestinians.

    Different Middle East

  18. If the Republicans change the name of their Party from Republican to Green Energy Now!, but none of the people changed, neither would anything else, but you'd then support them, right?

    Because it is all in the name.

  19. Names make no difference, mat, performance does. The Israeli were fore warned and chose to ignore it, and the Hamas charter, to gain an advantage over Arabfat.

    What the hell are you talking about? When "Mujama Al-Islamiya" morphed from an Islamic charity group to Hamas the violent terrorist group, Israel's position towards it changed. To say that because Israel did not violently oppose a particular Islamic charity group, that later morphed to become Hamas makes Israel responsible for Hamas is absurd. And malicious.

  20. Israel's military-led administration in Gaza looked favorably on the paraplegic cleric, who set up a wide network of schools, clinics, a library and kindergartens. Sheikh Yassin formed the Islamist group Mujama al-Islamiya, which was officially recognized by Israel as a charity and then, in 1979, as an association. Israel also endorsed the establishment of the Islamic University of Gaza,

    So, no schools, no clinics, no library, no kindergartens, no University for Gaza. And what would dRat say to that?

  21. Not violently oppose them, mat.
    But regular meetings with Mr Rabin and the Israeli Army not enforcing the travel rules equally is mentioned in the WSJ piece as how Israel were supporting them.

    Trying to benefit Hamas, after it became Hamas, in the effort to diminish Arabfat. Trying to pick and choose amongst the Palis, to the short term benefit of the Israeli. Seems easy enough to understand, it was witnessed by Israelis on the ground.

    That you refuse to admit it, from your vantage point in Canada, seems a tad off center. But then again, you are.

  22. REPORTS that two Saudi former detainees at Guantanamo have rejoined Al-Qaeda and are in Yemen are shocking but this should not detract from the tremendous success in rehabilitating former terrorist suspects. The program has been a success.


    The death and suffering in Gaza is entirely the fault of Israel. That is a biased statement.


    The BBC’s decision not to screen the appeal for funds for humanitarian aid is an error. First, it elevates bizarre media preoccupations about the corporation’s image above the need to help people in an emergency.

    Terror Suspects

  23. I'd say that the Israeli should have withdrawn from Gaza and the West Bank in 1967, after the War then none of it would have been their responsibility.

    But then they could not have stole the land.

  24. stealing lands...


    hey rat? whose land are you squatting on?

    AND the fact that the west bank (as you would call them) are historically the property of the Jewish People. The Arabs? are thieves...

    Just ask the coptics the kurds the berbers and yes the jews...

    Jews predated the "arabs" by several thousand years..

    so why should JEWS not be allowed to LIVE in Hebron, Bethlehem and the Galilee?

    Oh that;s right rat, everyone else in the world is entitled to live where ever they choose...

    but Jews? they are thieves, even on their 1/650th of the middle east...

    (funny point, 22% of Israel is arab.... does that make them the real owners of Israel according to the Rat?)

  25. First, in the old days, Henry Kissinger could fly to three capitals, meet three kings, presidents or prime ministers and strike a deal that could hold. No more.


    Second, Hamas now has a veto over any Palestinian peace deal. It's true that Hamas just provoked a reckless war that has devastated the people of Gaza.


    And that leads to the third new factor -- Iran as a key player in Palestinian-Israeli diplomacy. The Clinton team tried to woo Syria while isolating Iran.

    Hinge of History

  26. But then they could not have stole the land.

    I'm done here.
    Enjoy playing with yourself.

  27. Many have but it doesn’t matter because their belief in their own view is so overpowering that anything that contradicts it becomes a minor detail. As another reader put it, “Basically, you are aiding terrorists and causing the increase in bloodshed while telling one-sided stories, totally ignoring the whole picture.”

    He did say one thing I agree with: “You should not be a reporter if you are not telling the whole story, not just the parts that sell.”

    I would offer a mediator the same advice.

    One-sided Stories

  28. Timothy Geithner won confirmation as U.S. Treasury secretary on Monday as the U.S. Senate set aside misgivings about his past income tax problems in light of his experience battling the financial crisis.


    Geithner, who has been president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank since 2003, has now joined a new administration already deeply involved in pushing a package of spending and tax-cuts through Congress to lift the recession-mired economy.


    Geithner has a long-standing familiarity with the Treasury Department. His service there dates back to 1988 when he began a climb upward to undersecretary for international affairs from 1998 to 2001 under former Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers during the Clinton administration.

    Tax Woes

  29. Well, wi"o" I keep saying that Israel and Jew are not synonyms and finally you agree.
    Not all Israeli are Jews.

    I keep speaking of Israel, you speak of Jews. They are not the one and the same, happy you see the light, now.

    That Israel maintain an aparthied type system in place, in Jerusalem, with regards the Palistinian minority, this is well documented.
    Even George Mitchell could see it.

    Nowadays, the number of Israelis living in East Jerusalem is close to the number of Palestinians there. Since Palestinians are denied living in the Western city, the Palestinian population, which constitutes a third of the whole population of Jerusalem, has been limited to 9% of the municipal land. The policy of administrative discrimination in housing caused thousands of Palestinian families to relocate outside Jerusalem putting their Jerusalem residents’ status at risk. The motive behind this governmental policy towards the Palestinian of East Jerusalem is keeping the demographic ratio of 70% Jewish Israelis to 30% Palestinians. In 1973 an inter-ministerial committee, named the Gafni Committee, explicitly stated this policy. It’s objective was to study the rate of development in Eastern Jerusalem. The Israeli governments supposed that by constricting Palestinian building areas in East Jerusalem their demographic growth would stop – since they were to be prevented from building, they would be driven out of the city (the most blatant example of this trend is the Shou'afat – Beit Hanina city building plan 3000, which was supposed to provide 17,000 housing units and was cut down by the Ministry of Interior to 7500 units under the claim that the original plan contradicted the policy of keeping the demographic balance). Other moves were employed to drive the Palestinians away from Jerusalem: confiscation of ID cards from residents moving outside the municipal boundaries, obstructing registration of newborn babies in the residence list and preventing unification with spouses from the Occupied Territories or Jordan inside the city (data by Jeff Halper).

    That the land was stolen, as was the water, decided in 2004 by the UN's court system that settles International disputes. Israel is acting illegally and is actively discriminating against the Palistinians.

    The more I do as wi"o" suggests, and read about the particulars, the more glaring the abuse of power appears.

  30. Switzerland: Israel breaking int'l law by razing Palestinian homes
    Friday, November 14, 2008

    Switzerland accused Israel on Thursday of wantonly destroying Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and near Ramallah in violation of the Geneva Conventions' rules on military occupation.

    The Swiss Foreign Ministry demanded that Israel immediately halt the demolitions, which Israel has said are aimed at removing illegally constructed shacks.

    An Israeli Embassy spokeswoman in the Swiss capital of Bern said the decision to remove the structures was not an arbitrary decision, but was sanctioned by law.

    "This demolition of houses was done under a court order," embassy spokeswoman Shlomit Sufa said Thursday.

    Switzerland - as the guardian of the Geneva Conventions - can call meetings of the treaty's signatories if it finds problems with its implementation, but does not have any special powers to enforce the document.

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Lars Knuchel said the demolitions violated the 1949 Geneva Conventions, regarded as the cornerstone of international law on the obligations of warring and occupying powers. The Fourth Convention states that occupying powers must respect the property of civilian populations under their control.

    Switzerland said it lodged a formal protest with the Israeli Foreign Ministry over recent demolitions, which now bring the tally to more than 600 destroyed homes in East Jerusalem and 1,600 altogether in the West Bank since 2000.

    The Swiss statement, using unusually harsh language, said the neutral country regards the recent incidents as violations of international humanitarian law and notes no military need to justify the destruction of these houses.

    The Swiss statement called East Jerusalem an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory

    The Israeli claiming to have only been following orders.

    While it is the terrorists that do not abide by the Geneva Accords and bomb UN facilities.

    Part of the definition of being a terrorist, or so I've been told.

  31. Meanwhile, closer to home--

    Mexico On Edge of Chaos
    Wracked by a brutal war with drug cartels, Mexico is a failing state on the brink of collapse, according to the U.S. military. The war is already spilling over into the United States, where nearly 300 cities have drug gangs linked to our southern neighbor. Could Mexico be the next Iraq?

    More Stories

    Obama May Ease Rules on Immigration Arrests

    Mexican Drug Cartels Well Armed for Battle

    Top Mexico Cops Charged With Favoring Drug Cartel

    Ex-Mexican Drug Czar Jailed on Corruption Charges

    Drug Kingpin's Body 'Disposal' Expert Arrested

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. rat wrote:

    "The more I do as wi"o" suggests, and read about the particulars, the more glaring the abuse of power appears."

    Yes, the history is long and sordid and the Israeli hands are not squeaky clean. It should go without saying but, for WiO, Mats, and especially the Bobal's of the world, the Arabs hands are filthy as well.

    Speaking of which peace came real close in the region as Clinton brokered the deal. Arafat, in the end, declined to agree. Many feel he blew it. For Arafat, though, it was tough. He would have to have given up the right of return (which will eventually be given up anyway in my view) and the Palis would have received approximately 98% (I'm pull that figure out of memory) of the land area outlined by the '67 borders BUT, and I think this was ultimately the deal killer, the Pali's wouldn't have gotten the land according to the '67 borders but other land in compensation for the settlements in existence. On the face of it - not too bad, but if one took a look at the details of the land the Israelis would occupy they contained the bulk of the Aquifers. Water is precious in the desert and the Palis were going to get the short end of the stick on that one it appears. I remember seeing detailed maps of the proposals with aquifers marked and it wasn't pretty.

    details, details, details....

    Then there was Jerusalem...

  34. Yeah, bob, the 1at Cav can drive right to the next conflict they could be tasked with.

    Not far from Fort Hood to Mexico.

    20% of the Marine Corps is hispanic, no need for foreign interpreters, we'll have our own, in uniform.

    There could be a few of them that are really Mexican nationals, at heart. Kinda like this fellow: Army Sergeant Hasan Akbar, a Muslim, attacked fellow troops in Kuwait, killing two and wounding 14 others

    Or this Mexican Marine: Cpl. Cesar Laurean A grand jury delivered an indictment against Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, who had once accused him of rape. Her remains, along with the remains of her unborn child, were found in a fire pit in Laurean's North Carolina backyard.

    Authorities believe Laurean has fled to his native Mexico

  35. More interesting particulars you might be interested in Rat are the detailed events of 1948 and 1949, often referred to as "The birth of the Palestinian refugee crisis". The Irgun (Menachim Begin being a member) blew up Arab homes fanning the flames of hysteria. At least one home with occupants inside at the time. The fear of such acts coupled with the other Arab nations claims of defeating the Israelis prompted them to flee the war zone. Israelis quickly moved into the vacated homes. Those civilians have never been able to return home hence the nagging issue of "Right of Return" all these years later.

  36. In 1973, a young terrorist named Khalid Duhham Al-Jawary entered the United States and quickly began plotting an audacious attack in New York City.


    Once he's released, Al-Jawary will be handed over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and held until his deportation.

    It remains unclear where he'll go, largely because Al-Jawary's true identity remains in question — even to this day.

    Khalid Duhham Al-Jawary

  37. It'a hard to get along with a neighbor whose holy book commands them to kill you. Under such circumstances where there is too little land and too many people. It's easy enough from a world away to make accusations. It's Hamas and the other groups that have genocide on their minds. Their charter says as much. How you live in peace next door to such folks hasn't been figured out yet. All those arab countries that kicked them out of their territory, well, they were saving themselves from a lot of problems and making trouble for the Jews, a win/win situation from their point of view. It's a unique situation in the world. A tough neighborhood.

  38. I found the Timeline of Jerusalem which begins the 1948 conflict with the Deir Yassin massacre (which) refers to the killing of between 107 and 120 Palestinian unarmed civilian villagers, ...

    There had been a truce agreement with that particular village, that the Israeli ignored.

    The commanders of the underground groups came to Shaltiel [the Haganah district commander], and asked for his approval. Shaltiel was surprised by their choice and asked: "Why go to Deir Yassin? It is a quiet village. There is a non-aggression pact between Givat Shaul and the Mukhtar of Deir Yassin. The village is not a security problem in any way. Our problem is in the battle for the Qastel (al-Qastal). I suggest you participate in the operations in that area. I will give you a base in Bayit Vagan, and from there you will take over Ein Kerem, which is providing Arab reinforcements to the Qastel." ”

    The Zionist irregulars refused to change their minds and complained that the proposed mission would be too hard for them. Shaltiel ultimately yielded and wrote in a letter to the underground commanders that he allows them to attack the village, provided that they could hold it thereafter.[15]

    Shaltiel's consent was met with internal resistance. Meir Pa'il objected to violating the agreement with the village but Shaltiel maintained that he had no power to stop the guerillas. Yitzchak Levi proposed that the inhabitants should be notified that the truce was over but Shaltiel refused to endanger the operation by warning them.

    wiki for all of it.

  39. There was no Hamas, in 1967, bob.

    Nor in 1948, for that matter.

    Istael should withdraw to the '67 borders, but then it'd not be the Israel that mat knows, any more.

    They've been livin' on the occupied and illegally annexed land for 40 years.
    Seems normal, now.

  40. You guys don't go back far enough. Battle of Khaybar

    Do the Jews have a right of return to Khaybar? And many other places? It's useless trying to assign blame, as someone else can always point to some other incident. The two groups don't get along. I could point out that the arabs in Israel are living better than the Jews in Iran for instance. Then someone would come up with a counter example. And round and round it goes.

  41. Some History:

    In order to understand what is happening, some historical review is in order. Israel captured Judea/Samaria (the “West Bank”) and the Gaza Strip in June 1967, in a defensive war against three Arab states. Since then, Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt and with Jordan.


    Is Israel’s Response Disproportionate?

    Article 51 of the UN Charter is quite clear that any nation has the right to engage in self-defense against armed attack. The response has indeed to satisfy the principle of proportionality.


    How Can This War Be Ended?

    The “world” most insistently demands that an immediate cease fire be arranged. Remarkably, that same “world” did not utter a word or lift a finger when thousands of rockets fell on Israel.

    Response to Gaza

  42. Like Ash says, Arafat was offered nearly the whole of what was asked for, and turned it down. I don't think he really had any intention of making peace, but he's no longer here so we can't ask him.

  43. Military Contractors Go Green

    Lockheed Martin has signed a letter of intent with Ocean Power Technologies to build a utility-scale wave farm in North America. OPT will provide site development expertise while Lockheed will bring in the construction, logistics and operation expertise.

    Lockheed is also working on utility-sized solar projects with Starwood Energy Group.

    Some out there will see the name Lockheed and go “ewwwww.” The company has been a major military contractor for decades. But frankly, this is a real sign of hope that green will thrive. The greentech industry is trying to move beyond the concept stage to actual, practical, massive deployment, and that’s going to require the help of large, well-funded, and well-connected companies. Moving from fossil fuels will likely turn into one of the biggest construction and manufacturing projects since World War II. Lockheed has employees who’ve spent several years of their lives locked up in zoning hearings.

    Haliburton? You’ll likely see that name percolate in greentech over the next few years. If geothermal takes off, all the oil drillers will get into it.

    Granted, this means that you’ll also see an influx of bureaucractic inefficiency and some of the other charms of conglomerate style corporate management. But it’s better that than stay stuck on the fringes.

  44. Probly optimized for them special browsers!

  45. The controling legal authority, in the Region at the present, bob, is the UN.

    It was not around in 629 and so cannot mediate the results of the decisions made then. It did participate in the creation of the currrent State of Israel, in 1948. In fact the UN Resolutions are trotted from time to time, to make one point or another, by both sides.

    The fact of the matter is that the status que is unsatisfactory, neither side can be trusted to perform in a fair and just manner in regards the other.

    Binding nternational arbitration along with military occupation is called for. That way all the sides, the powerful Israeli and the corrupt Arabs would be held to an equal standard of justice.

  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

  47. What Arabfat was offered was not worth what he was asked to give up, bob.

    It's the way, since 1967, that the Israeli have developed the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It's the water and access to the rest of a contigous Palistine that was in that 2% of the land.

  48. Blogger bobal said...

    "Like Ash says, Arafat was offered nearly the whole of what was asked for, and turned it down"

    ummmm, no, Bobal, that was the popular misconception that I was trying to pry you from. While you Palestine may have sat on a land mass approximately 98 percent of what is represent by the '67 borders it is not nearly all they asked for. The 'right of return' is a generally accepted concept (if civilians flee they will be able to return to their property when hostilities end) and it was not included. There was no agreement on Jerusalem which is a very important city for both sides AND that land that the Palestinians were going to get was markedly absent control over aquifers - WATER, again, a very important commodity especially in a desert.

  49. That sounds all right on paper, how it would work out, I have no idea. Have to be darned near a permanent occupation, I'd think. Since there are dozens of arab and moslem countries in the UN, and only one Israel, the deck might be a little stacked in favor of the arab point of view. And Israel probably wouldn't want to be occupied by the UN, or anybody else either. Turning their security over to a world body in which they are heavily outvoted.

  50. Ash you know very well this right of return stuff is a suicide pill. It makes as much sense to demand that the Jews be allowed to return to the Khaybar oasis.

    If the purpose of an agreement is to make peace it doesn't make a lot of sense to demand that Israel be flooded with a mass of Jew hating arabs.

    Jimmy Carter may dream about it.

    It would be the end of the Jewish state.

  51. 23 day war in Gaza seems to have ended with more than 1300 dead and thousands of wounded Palestinians. It is really difficult to predict what is going to happen in upcoming days.


    It is a concrete fact stated by everyone who knows the region very well that there is a huge gap between the Arab leaders/regimes and their societies. In this regard, the recent developments in the region illustrated this divided and problematic structure which has never been portrayed that obvious before.


    Let’s go back to the latest developments. Israel announced a ceasefire by claiming that Israel won a victory, before the new president of the US, Obama came to the power officially. Well, is that really possible to talk about a victory or at least a success for Israel in the War in Gaza?

    Israel and Hamas

  52. A total of 22 World Trade Organization members have raised tariffs or non-tariff barriers and taken some trade remedy steps to protect domestic industries since the outbreak of the financial crisis in September 2008, according to the copy of a WTO working paper obtained Monday.


    The paper recognized that the auto industry has been hit hard by the ongoing global economic slowdown and that government support packages "have been provided or are under consideration in a number of countries."

    However, "Nothing can be said for the time being about the likely trade impact of those measures," it said.

    Economic Slump

  53. Robert Tyrer, co-president of the Cohen Group consulting firm and a former Senate staffer who has known Mitchell since 1976, called him dogged and disciplined, with a knack for handling tough negotiations.

    "I don't think I've ever known anyone as unflappable," Tyrer said. Mitchell is almost 11 years older than when he managed to persuade all sides in the Northern Ireland conflict to sign up to a power-sharing deal — a task that he wrote afterward in his book, "Making Peace," pushed him to the brink of exhaustion.

    He recalled the moment he learned the accord had been clinched.

    "I took a deep breath and felt tears welling in my eyes — tears of exhaustion, tears of relief, tears of joy," he wrote.

    Record of Patience

  54. But the opposition released a statement soon after criticizing the communique: "Quite clearly, the conclusions reached as reflected fall far short of our expectations," the opposition said.

    The opposition has consistently resisted pressure to join a coalition with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe until a dispute over how to share Cabinet posts is resolved. The opposition also wants attacks on dissidents to stop before it enters into the unity government first agreed to in September.

    Mugabe's party and the regional grouping say the opposition should first enter into government, then resolve outstanding issues. The impasse has kept politicians from addressing Zimbabwe's spiraling economic crisis.

    Talks End

  55. Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai said that with the new program, public funds could be used to cover up to about 80 percent of losses that banks may incur after investing in struggling companies.

    Only companies that have deep connections to regional economies and growth potential would be eligible to receive the capital infusions from the Development Bank of Japan or other authorized banks, industry ministry officials said.

    To receive investment or loans from the banks, companies must be able to raise profits in about three years, Nikai said at a news conference.

    Overcoming Crisis

  56. The Georgia Guidestones recently got spray painted. An American monument erected by a mysterious group.

  57. These danged Lasers are getting intrestin.

    Vehicle-mounted LASER shoots down UAV.


    First the uavs, then the Migs. la de da la la

  58. Of course, the present administration will treat this as just another ridiculous waste of the taxpayers money, which would be better spent on digital television coupons and the National Endowment for the Arts.

    Ptobably about right.

  59. ash states:
    ummmm, no, Bobal, that was the popular misconception that I was trying to pry you from. While you Palestine may have sat on a land mass approximately 98 percent of what is represent by the '67 borders it is not nearly all they asked for. The 'right of return' is a generally accepted concept (if civilians flee they will be able to return to their property when hostilities end) and it was not included. There was no agreement on Jerusalem which is a very important city for both sides AND that land that the Palestinians were going to get was markedly absent control over aquifers - WATER, again, a very important commodity especially in a desert.

    Now notice the bias...

    Notice no mention of the 660,000 JEWS that were ethnically cleansed from their homes of 2600 years in the arab occupied middle east?

    Notice how ash doesnt talk about how the collective arab world TURNED DOWN THE SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS THAT CREATED 2 STATES IN 1948?

    NOR DOES ASH talk about how in 1967 AFTER ISRAEL WAS ATTACKED it offered both the west bank and gaza BACK to the arabs they FAMOUSLY turned it it down in their famous 1974 3 NO's

    rat and ash love to pick and choose their history to quote...

    they always forget to quote the league of nation's resolution, the legally binding world body at the time of the ottoman's withdraw (and the british occupation) that gave the land from the river to the sea to the Jews....

    They always seem to forget the acts of war that the arabs have done in 1918, siding with hitler in genocide during ww2, and of course 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 to name a few...

    israel. unlike the arab controlled world (most of it stolen from many native peoples (berbers, kurds, copts, jews, druze & more) is of course 22% arab, whereas the other 649/650th of the arab occupied lands are jew free (hitler would be proud)...

    So now bullshit arguments about water rights (israel if it did not have to spend 22% of it's GDP of DEFENSE she could provide enough water for swimming pools filled for all in the area, not to mention water from turkey.. but let's not forget the lebanese act of war 2 years ago diverting upstream rivers FROM israel all the while Israel still provides water for both the west bank and the gaza strip.

    ANd bullshit argument about jerusalem, now using modern day land maps showing outlying areas never called jerusalem before in its 3000 JEWISH year history as areas of jerusalem being excluded from the arabs...

    yep quite the bias...

    and yet the JEWS LIBERATED jerusalem from Jordan (a fake country if ever) and yet did NOT take over the temple mount and bulldoze that squatting dome that sits on JEWISH property.. the temple mount...

    Interesting that the palios, ash and rat see no valid connection to the temple mount, jerusalem, hebron, bethelhem and many other historic JEWISH towns with the JEWS, only seeing those areas as "arab" only...

    this is why i say with all do respect to those "swiss" opinions, rat's rant's, ash's opinions, and the collective arab world & jew / israel haters...

    Shove it in your ass....

  60. a letter to the world about jerusalem
    The following op-ed was adapted from one first written for the 'Times of Israel,' a fledgling weekly established shortly after the Six Day War. After the war, the Israeli government announced preparations to return all the captured territories except for Jerusalem, in exchange for peace.

    The response came at the Khartoum Arab Summit Conference that year, at which it was announced that there would be no negotiations and no recognition of Israel.

    Israel came under tremendous international pressure to re-divide Jerusalem, which caused the author to sit down in a "white heat of anger" and write this piece.

    I am not a creature from another planet, as you seem to believe. I am a Jerusalemite - like yourselves, a man of flesh and blood. I am a citizen of my city, an integral part of my people.

    I have a few things to get off my chest. Because I am not a diplomat, I do not have to mince words. I do not have to please you, or even persuade you. I owe you nothing. You did not build this city; you do not live in it; you did not defend it when they came to destroy it. And we will be damned if we will let you take it away.

    There was a Jerusalem before there was a New York. When Berlin, Moscow, London and Paris were forest and swamp, there was a thriving Jewish community here. It gave something to the world which you nations have rejected ever since you established yourselves - a humane moral code.

    Here the prophets walked, their words flashing like forked lightning. Here a people who wanted nothing more than to be left alone, fought off waves of heathen would-be conquerors, bled and died on the battlements, hurled themselves into the flames of their burning Temple rather than surrender; and when finally overwhelmed by sheer numbers and led away into captivity, swore that before they forgot Jerusalem, they would see their tongues cleave to their palates, their right arms wither.

    For two pain-filled millennia, while we were your unwelcome guests, we prayed daily to return to this city. Three times a day we petitioned the Almighty: "Gather us from the four corners of the world, bring us upright to our land; return in mercy to Jerusalem, Thy city, and dwell in it as Thou promised."

    On every Yom Kippur and Pessah we fervently voiced the hope that next year would find us in Jerusalem. Your inquisitions, pogroms, expulsions, the ghettos into which you jammed us, your forced baptisms, your quota systems, your genteel anti-Semitism, and the final unspeakable horror, the Holocaust (and worse, your terrifying disinterest in it) - all these have not broken us.

    They may have sapped what little moral strength you still possessed, but they forged us into steel. Do you think that you can break us now, after all we have been through? Do you really believe that after Auschwitz we are frightened of your threats and blockades and sanctions? We have been to hell and back - a hell of your making. What more could you possibly have in your arsenal that could scare us?

    I HAVE watched this city bombarded twice by nations calling themselves civilized. In 1948, while you looked on apathetically, I saw women and children blown to smithereens, this after we had agreed to your request to internationalize the city. It was a deadly combination that did the job: British officers, Arab gunners and American-made cannons.

    And then the savage sacking of the Old City; the willful slaughter, the wanton destruction of every synagogue and religious school; the desecration of Jewish cemeteries; the sale by a ghoulish government of tombstones for building materials, for poultry runs, army camps - even latrines.

    And you never said a word. You never breathed the slightest protest when the Jordanians shut off the holiest of our holy places, the Western Wall, in violation of the pledges they had made after the war - a war they waged, incidentally, against a decision of the UN. Not a murmur came from you whenever the legionares in their spiked helmets casually opened fire upon our citizens from behind the walls.

    Your hearts bled when Berlin came under siege. You rushed your airlift "to save the gallant Berliners." But you did not send one ounce of food when Jews starved in besieged Jerusalem. You thundered against the wall which the East Germans ran through the middle of the German capital - but not one peep out of you about the other wall, the one that tore through the heart of Jerusalem.

    And when the same thing happened 19 years later, and the Arabs unleashed a savage unprovoked bombardment of the Holy City again, did any of you do anything? The only time you came to life was when the city was at last reunited. Then you wrung your hands and spoke loftily of "justice" and the need for the "Christian" quality of turning the other cheek.

    The truth is - and you know it deep inside your gut - some would prefer the city to be destroyed rather than have it governed by Jews. No matter how diplomatically you phrase it, the old-age prejudices seep out of every word.

    If our return to the city has tied your theology in knots, perhaps you had better re-examine your catechisms.

    For the first time since the year 70 there is now complete religious freedom for all in Jerusalem. For the first time since the Romans put the torch to the Temple everyone has equal rights. (You preferred to have some more equal than others). We loathe the sword - but it was you who forced us to take it up. We crave peace - but we are not going back to the peace of 1948 as you would like us to.

    We are home. It has a lovely sound for a nation you have willed to wander over the face of the globe. We are not leaving. We have redeemed the pledge made by our forefathers; Jerusalem is being rebuilt. "Next year" - and the year after, and after, and after until the end of time - in Jerusalem!

  61. From Jay Norlinger
    For several years now, we’ve been hearing rumbles about Europe, and they are getting louder. I was forcefully impressed by a piece by Douglas Davis in the current Spectator (subscription required, I’m afraid). It begins,

    At my dinner table on Friday night, a holocaust survivor admits that she is trying to persuade her son to take his family out of Europe to America, Canada, Australia, Israel . . . ‘They say they can’t leave me, but I tell them: “Go, get out. My parents left my grandparents behind in Berlin and brought me to safety in England. Now I want you to leave so that my grandchildren will be safe.”’ There is an unbearable desperation in her plea. But she has a point.

    As tens of thousands of demonstrators march through the streets of Europe, the chants are modified but the message remains substantially intact: ‘Hamas, Hamas, Hamas—Jews to the Gas’. Or, more simply: ‘Death to the Jews’. Many European Jews, even well-established, affluent Jews, have been checking the suitcase they keep packed under the bed. They have been here before and many are (albeit reluctantly) reading the writing on the wall.

    Then Davis continues in a personal vein:

    To some extent I thought I was inured. I grew up in postwar apartheid South Africa where a subtle undercurrent of anti-Semitism was a fact of everyday life. So while I was disturbed by manifestations of mob anti-Semitism, I was also less vulnerable to shock. That’s just how people are. Living in genteel, leafy Hampstead Garden Suburb provides an additional layer of protection from such crass outbursts.

    But my sanguine state ends abruptly when I am out walking on Saturday. A hundred yards from my front door, I encounter the slogan, freshly painted in yellow, across the pavement: ‘Kill the Filthy Jews’. I am shocked. And shocked that I am shocked. The message is too close for comfort. The leafy gentility is, after all, an illusion.

    Those who study these matters tell me that the current convulsion of anti-Semitism is the worst in a generation.

  62. Also from Jay:
    Something humorous out of the military—specifically, out of our troops in Afghanistan: I received a list saying, “You may be a Taliban if . . .”—and here were three of the answers:

    You refine heroin for a living but have a moral objection to beer.
    You own a $3,000 machine gun and $5,000 rocket launchers but can’t afford shoes.
    You wipe your hiney with your bare left hand but consider bacon unclean.

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  64. What is the word that is used for being anti-apartheid?

    As obviously what happened in South Africa, the whirled condemnation and economic boycott and divestiture did not occur because of the Jewishness of the white South Africans.

    It was not anti-semitism that drove the quest for racial justice and equality, there, in South Africa.

    One must wonder, how President Obama will feel about apartheid?

    My bet is quite a bit differently than GW Bush. Or he'd not have appointed George Mitchell to be the Envoy.