“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."

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

I conclude then, that a prince who has his people well armed and disciplined for war should always await a powerful and dangerous enemy at home, and should not go to meet him at a distance. But a prince whose subjects are unarmed, and the country unaccustomed to war, should always keep it as far away from home as possible. -- Niccolo Machiavelli, "The Discourses", Book 2, Ch XI

US embassy closures used to bolster case for NSA surveillance programs

Congress told that NSA monitoring led to interception of al-Qaida threats but privacy campaigners fear ulterior political motives

Spencer Ackerman and Dan Roberts in Washington 
Monday 5 August 2013 16.30 EDT

US embassies in the Middle East are to remain closed for the rest of the week as supporters of the National Security Agency's sweeping surveillance powers used the unspecified terror alert to bolster the case against reining in the controversial measures.
The closures follow the alleged interception of al-Qaida communications in Yemen, which intelligence committee members in Congress have been told were collected overseas using powers granted to the NSA under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – not the bulk surveillance programs disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post thanks to whistleblower Edward Snowden.
A privacy group questioned the publicity given to the latest alert after the State Department announced on Sunday evening that the number of embassies and consulates closed "out of an abundance of caution"
would be increased, with some remaining shut for up to a week.
Rebublican senator Saxby Chambliss said the NSA had identified threats that were the most serious for years and akin to levels of "terrorist chatter" picked up before 9/11.
"These [NSA] programs are controversial, we understand that," he told NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday. "But they are also very important … If we did not have these programs, then we simply would not be able to listen in on the bad guys."
Senator Lindsey Graham added: "To the members of Congress who want to reform the NSA program, great. If you want to gut it, you make us much less safe, and you're putting our nation at risk. We need to have policies in place that can deal with the threats that exist, and they are real, and they are growing."
Most warnings about NSA over-reach have focused on its domestic bulk surveillance program authorised under section 215 of the Patriot Act. Yet several news organizations reported on Monday that the information justifying the latest alert came from an intercepted communication between al-Qaida leader Ayman Zawahiri and the chief of the terrorist organization's Yemeni affiliate. Such information would have been collected overseas using powers granted to the NSA under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Critics of the NSA surveillance programs pointed out that the latest threat had nothing to do with the bulk collection of domestic phone data. Senator Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democract who has been a longstanding voice against the bulk collection of phone records, said the latest threat was "serious".
But Wyden, a member of the Senate intelligence committee, added: "While I can't go into specific details, the vice chairman of the Senate intelligence committee noted yesterday that this information was collected using section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, rather than the Patriot Act. I still haven't seen any evidence that the NSA's dragnet surveillance of Americans' phone records is providing any unique value to American counterterrorism efforts."
Privacy campaigners criticised the widespread linking of the latest terror alerts with the debate over the domestic powers of the NSA. Amie Stepanovich, a lawyer with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said: "The NSA's choice to publish these threats at this time perpetuates a culture of fear and unquestioning deference to surveillance in the United States."
News of the fresh terror alert came as Congress looked increasingly likely to pursue fresh attempts to limit the NSA's domestic powers when it returns in September.
"The NSA takes in threat information every day. You have to ask, why now? What makes this information different?" added Stepanovich.
"Too much of what we hear from the government about surveillance is either speculation or sweeping assertions that lack corroboration. The question isn't if these programs used by this NSA can find legitimate threats, it's if the same threats couldn't be discovered in a less invasive manner. This situation fails to justify the NSA's unchecked access to our personal information."
Late on Sunday, the State Department confirmed the closures would continue for several days.
"Given that a number of our embassies and consulates were going to be closed in accordance with local custom and practice for the bulk of the week for the Eid celebration at the end of Ramadan, and out of an abundance of caution, we've decided to extend the closure of several embassies and consulates including a small number of additional posts," the department said in a statement.
"This is not an indication of a new threat stream, merely an indication of our commitment to exercise caution and take appropriate steps to protect our employees including local employees and visitors to our facilities."
Posts in Abu Dhabi, Amman, Cairo, Riyadh, Dhahran, Jeddah, Doha, Dubai, Kuwait, Manama, Muscat, Sanaa, Tripoli, Antanarivo, Bujumbura, Djibouti, Khartoum, Kigali, and Port Louis are instructed to close for normal operations from Monday, August 5 through to Saturday, August 10.
Other posts that are normally open on Sunday, but were closed on Sunday, August 4, were due to reopen for normal operations on August 5, including: Dhaka, Algiers, Nouakchott, Kabul, Herat, Mazar el Sharif, Baghdad, Basrah, and Erbil.


  1. A suspected U.S. drone killed four alleged al-Qaida members in Yemen on Tuesday, as the State Department ordered the U.S. Embassy there evacuated as a result of the threat by al-Qaida that has triggered temporary shutdowns of 19 American diplomatic posts across the Muslim world.

    The draone fired a missile at a car carrying the four men in the al-Arqeen district of Marib province, setting it on fire and killing all of them, officials said.

    The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not allowed to talk to the media, believed that one of the dead is Saleh Jouti, a senior al-Qaida member.

    The strike is the fourth in less than two weeks. Three similar attacks have hit cars belonging to alleged al-Qaida figures in southern Yemen.

    Meanwhile, a statement issued Tuesday says the State Department has ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel from Yemen “due to the continued potential for terrorist attacks.”

    The travel warning says U.S. citizens currently in Yemen should depart and calls the security threat level in Yemen “extremely high.”

    A U.S. intelligence official and a Mideast diplomat told The Associated Press that the current shutdown was instigated by an intercepted secret message between al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri and his deputy in Yemen about plans for a major terror attack.

    Yemeni authorities released the names of 25 wanted al-Qaida suspects on Monday, saying they were planning terrorist attacks in the capital, Sanaa, and other cities across the country.

    1. "In July 2011, Obama’s then newly appointed defense secretary, Leon Panetta, said he was “convinced in this capacity that we’re within reach of strategically defeating al Qaida.

      Leon let the cat out of the bag that they were repurposing Little John Warheads for deployment on Predators.

      Little did he know that since the Enviros would prevent domestic tests of 60 year old uranium, a Yemini threat would have to be cooked-up instead.

      Global terror alert inconsistent with U.S. portrayal of weakened al Qaida

    2. Jimminy Crickets, Batman!

    3. Jiminy Cricket is a small cricket who first appeared in Pinocchio as the deuteragonist.

      That means he plays second fiddle to Barrack's nose.

  2. If you had credible evidence of an impending attack, why would you broadcast it?

    If you were being criticised for the overuse of drones, what would you do?

    If you were being criticised for spying on everyone in the country, what would you do?

    If an employee of the NSA exposed illegal spying on US citizens and the bullying of other countries did not work in trying to bring him back for “justice,” what would you do?

    If you were being investigated for not reacting timely to the Benghazi attack, what would you do?

    If you were trying to pass legislation to permit 20 million people, here illegally, to remain, would you want to demonstrate that you had and needed the ability to keep a federal eye on all of them?

    1. Giving them Citizenship will bring them out from the shadows, but once they are citizens they must be subject to the same NSA "Oversight" as every other citizen.

  3. This is truly bizarre. Kerry is in Pakistan hinting that the use of drones is coming to an end.

  4. Agents of a secretive DEA unit routinely receive tips from US intelligence agencies, including NSA intercepts, a report states. The sources are then concealed with "parallel construction" of evidence – a troubling practice that many call unconstitutional.

    A document obtained by Reuters “specifically directs” the agents of the Special Operations Division (SOD) to cover up their information sources from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony.

    Such sources may include intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, three-letter-agencies’ informants and a massive database of telephone records – all of which could reportedly be used to help the authorities launch criminal investigations of Americans.

    “Remember that the utilization of SOD cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function,” reads the document, which is said to be presented to the agents of this Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) unit.


  6. An unnamed federal prosecutor said he refused to file charges in a Florida drug case after he learned a DEA agent “lied” to him about where the information came from – it was later revealed he had actually used a SOD tip based on an NSA intercept. The prosecutor said the fact of concealing the information source alone made him lose confidence in the investigation.

    Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge for 17 years, said the report sounds more troubling than recent Edward Snowden revelations that the NSA has been indiscriminately collecting domestic phone records.

    “It is one thing to create special rules for national security. Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations,” Gertner believes.

    The Special Operations Division was created in 1994 to initially combat Latin American drug cartels, and has since grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.

    Since its inception, the SOD’s mandate has expanded to include narco-terrorism, organized crime and gangs. A recent LinkedIn posting on the personal page of a senior SOD official reportedly estimated the unit’s annual budget to be $125 million.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. The unit played a major role in the case against Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was extradited to the US from Thailand and in 2011 sentenced to 25 years in jail on charges of conspiring to sell weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC.

    According to DEA officials, the DICE database they use contains about 1 billion records and largely consists of phone logs and Internet data gathered legally by the DEA through subpoenas, arrests and search warrants nationwide. Those records are said to be kept for about a year and then purged.

    About 10,000 federal, state and local law enforcement agents use the DICE database “to connect the dots,” according to an official cited by Reuters.

    But the DEA official insists that tips from intelligence agencies, such as the NSA, are generally not forwarded to the SOD until a caller’s citizenship can be verified, as warrantless eavesdropping on Americans is illegal.

    1. Move right along.
      Nothing unusual going on here.

  9. We have set up a colonial and military presence on a global scale, as Israel has on a local scale. We bully, kill and attack at will, as the Israelis have in Palestine and we wonder why we are hated. Only hubris would convince any national power that such behavior will not have long term consequences. We listen to the pols in DC and are losing our freedoms for the foolishness.

    1. It's all about the oil.

      We're idiots.

      Click on the state to see the E85 Prices, and Spreads:


    2. The title of your article admonished Obama to stick to his pledge on flex-fuels.

      Good luck with that. : )

    3. E85 is not like gasoline, in that different blends are required for different areas. In Ethanol, one size does fit all.

      There's not a state, or city, in the Union that E85 couldn't be sold, profitably, for $2.25/gal.

    4. .

      And yet,

      Average Price Spread 21.4%

      Average E85 Price $2.85

      Average Gas Price $3.63

      21.4 % spread

      'Almost' covers the loss in gas mileage.


    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. More than covers the loss in mileage in MY car.

      What a product is sold for in an uncompetitive environment, and what it CAN be sold profitably for, are, oftentimes, Two Entirely Different things.

    7. 899/900th of the middle east has been Jew cleansed by the arabs. If we include Iran? that number grows hugely.

      You state: "We bully, kill and attack at will, as the Israelis have in Palestine and we wonder why we are hated"

      And yet, the ENTIRE modern history of the arab/israeli war has killed less than 3 months of what the syrians have killed of themselves.

      Saddam Hussein killed MILLIONS, Assad killed hundreds of thousands, Egypt in it's war in Yemen used poison gas and killed hundreds of thousands. The Arab controlled Sudan murder and raped millions...

      THe Israel/Palestinian wars? Between 14 and 21 thousand TOTAL.

      That's since 1948.

      But you say the Israeli's "KILL AT WILL"..

      From your mouth the my friends weapons!!!!

      If ONLY the Israelis KILLED at will!!!

      They could have defeated the palestinians (as America defeated the Nazis or Japanese) and we could have been done with the conflict.

  10. The al-Qaeda menace the U.S. helped to create

    By Eugene Robinson, Published: August 5

    If the new, decentralized al-Qaeda is such a threat that 19 U.S. embassies, consulates and other diplomatic posts have to be shuttered for a week, we have a decade of wrongheaded U.S. policy to blame.

    The Arab Spring contributed by creating power vacuums for militant anti-Western jihadists to exploit. But myopic decision-making in Washington clearly played a huge role — and while I hope we’re getting smarter, I have my doubts.

    President Obama’s decision to order the closure of U.S. outposts in much of the Muslim world drew rare bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers on the House and Senate intelligence committees underscoring the perceived gravity of the threat. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) called it “the most serious threat that I’ve seen in the last several years.” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) said that “the administration’s call to close these embassies . . . was actually a very smart call.”

    It’s hard to argue with prudent caution. At the same time, though, it’s hard to understand just how worried we should be. Osama bin Laden lies in a watery grave. His organization, once based in Afghanistan, is decimated. Regularly we hear news of someone described as an al-Qaeda lieutenant being blasted to his reward by a drone-fired missile. There is a disconnect between these successes and the need to close so many U.S. facilities — while issuing a general warning to travelers — in fear of another attack.

    The truth is that U.S. foreign policy helped to create the decentralized al-Qaeda, a branch of which is believed to be trying to launch some kind of strike.

    The most fateful choice, and the biggest strategic error, was the decision to invade Iraq. George W. Bush’s epic misadventure diverted resources and attention from the war in Afghanistan, giving a reprieve to the Taliban. The Iraq war also provided new focal points for jihadist grievance — Abu Ghraib, for example — and gave new oxygen to the simmering intra-Muslim conflict between Sunni and Shiite.

    Al-Qaeda put down roots in chaotic Iraq. It did the same in lawless Yemen — home to the al-Qaeda “branch” or “affiliate” responsible for the current alert. While the original al-Qaeda may be moribund, its surviving leaders hiding in Afghanistan or Pakistan, terrorist groups bearing the name are trying their best to continue the fight.

    First Bush and then Obama discovered the expediency of remotely piloted drone aircraft as instruments of war. Obama has waged what amounts to a campaign of targeted assassination, decimating the ranks of the various al-Qaeda branches. This strategy has the obvious merit of not putting American lives at risk. But the inevitable collateral damage — deaths of civilians, destruction of infrastructure — helps recruit new al-Qaeda conscripts.

    The Arab Spring created opportunity for jihadists throughout the region. There is now an active al-Qaeda branch in Libya, where militants attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in 2012. There is a branch that briefly occupied northern Mali before being pushed out by a French intervention. There is a branch fighting against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war.


  11. {…}

    And if Egypt’s military rulers follow through with their crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood, it would not be surprising to see something like an al-Qaeda affiliate begin to emerge in the Arab world’s most populous nation, perhaps establishing a refuge in the largely ungoverned tribal lands of the Sinai Peninsula.

    With a few exceptions — Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia — the Obama administration has tried to support popular movements and push hard for democracy. For his trouble, Obama is learning that no good deed goes unpunished. In Egypt, for example, the two sides agree on hardly anything except that they both feel betrayed by the United States.

    My argument with Obama’s policies is not that the president has tried too hard to end the “war on terror,” as hawks allege. It’s that he hasn’t tried hard enough to leave behind the “war” metaphor as ill-suited to a struggle that is fundamentally ideological.

    We should think in terms of engagement, not intervention. We should spend more money projecting “soft power” and less projecting military force. We should recognize that the rest of the world will not necessarily shape itself to fit our wishes. And our goal should be to have fewer anti-American terrorists in the world, not more.

    Al-Qaeda turns out to be like a pool of mercury. Hit it with a hammer and you end up with 10 little blobs instead of one big one.

  12. Pick an MPG target, and I'll show you an ethanol-optimized engine that will achieve it, while delivering more horsepower than its gasoline-powered equivalent.

    Now, consider this:

    Gasoline - $3.60/gal

    E85 - $2.25/gal

    Difference - $1.35/gal

    $1.35/$3.60 = 37.5%

    Average person driving 15,000 miles/yr, savings:

    $3.60 X 680 gallons X .375 = $918.00 Per Year Savings

    1. The DOE has estimated that we have 100 Billion Tons of usable Ag waste/forestry waste, etc available annually.

      That would generate 80 Billion Gallons of Ethanol.

      And, that's before we start looking at raising switchgrass, etc, on marginal land, or utilizing Municipal Solid Waste.

      Add that ethanol from cellulose to our domestically-produced oil, and we're Out of the oil-importing business.

      How complicated Is that?

    2. That should read: One Billion Tons of usable Ag waste/forestry waste, etc . . . .

    3. 80 gallons of ethanol per ton of cellulose

    4. "There's not a state, or city, in the Union that E85 couldn't be sold, profitably, for $2.25/gal."


      The Union, specifically the United Auto Union, and industry, led by Government Motors is all in:

      Not too much market for used cars with prematurely rusted engines.

    5. "In theory, all fuel-driven vehicles have a fuel economy (measured as miles per US gallon, or liters per 100 km) that is directly proportional to the fuel's energy content.[54] In reality, there are many other variables that come into play that affect the performance of a particular fuel in a particular engine. Ethanol contains approx. 34% less energy per unit volume than gasoline, and therefore in theory, burning pure ethanol in a vehicle will result in a 34% reduction in miles per US gallon, given the same fuel economy, compared to burning pure gasoline. Since ethanol has a higher octane rating, the engine can be made more efficient by raising its compression ratio. In fact using a variable turbocharger, the compression ratio can be optimized for the fuel being used, making fuel economy almost constant for any blend.[25][26] For E10 (10% ethanol and 90% gasoline), the effect is small (~3%) when compared to conventional gasoline,[55] and even smaller (1–2%) when compared to oxygenated and reformulated blends.[56] For E85 (85% ethanol), the effect becomes significant. E85 will produce lower mileage than gasoline, and will require more frequent refueling. Actual performance may vary depending on the vehicle. Based on EPA tests for all 2006 E85 models, the average fuel economy for E85 vehicles resulted 25.56% lower than unleaded gasoline"

    6. All of the X-Prize-type competitions are won by ethanol-fueled engines. There are NO ethanol-optimized flexfuel engines.

    7. .

      And dragsters use nitrous oxide boosters.

      So what?



  13. Global, nonspecific threats such as those that prompted recent U.S. embassy closures and travel warnings have rarely proved credible. These precautionary measures appear to be the result of two separate threats, one attack against an unspecified U.S. embassy and another against travel infrastructure -- presumably an airliner. In response to the embassy threat, the U.S. government announced Aug. 4 that it had extended the closure of several embassies in the Middle East until Aug. 10 and that African posts would now be among the embassies closed. In response to the airline threat, Washington issued a global travel alert running from Aug. 2 to Aug. 31. The travel warning and the closures have commanded the media's attention and have led to much speculation about the source and the credibility of the threats, but more often than not these threats fail to materialize.


    Most attacks against embassies have involved a large vehicle bomb, an armed assault or a combination of a vehicle bomb and armed assault. Such was the case with the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, in September 2008. To mitigate the impact of a perceived threat, the United States will close an embassy, increase security and request that the host country bolster its security presence at the compound.

    Many of the posts that were closed in response to the August threats happen to have very good physical security measures in place due to their locations in the Middle East, which poses higher threat levels to U.S. facilities. For example, the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa was built in accordance with the security standards established by the Inman Commission. Therefore, it is designed to withstand bomb attacks and armed assaults. Still, even well constructed buildings are vulnerable to mob attacks like the one directed against the U.S. Embassy in Tunis in September 2012. Only the host country security forces can provide protection against such threats.

    The threat to embassies has been a persistent feature of the age of modern terrorism, and so has the threat to airliners and travelers. As for the threat to aviation, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has a history of failed attacks against commercial and cargo airliners using cleverly disguised explosive devices. While these devices have failed in the past, it is likely that the group's bombmaker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, has been able to solve the problems that afflicted his past designs. In fact, in a thwarted underwear bomb plot in May 2012, the alleged suicide bomber turned his device over to Saudi officials, and the device was reportedly of a different design from the one used in the failed Christmas 2009 attempt.

    Threats to embassy buildings and airliners have been a persistent feature of the age of modern terrorism. While the tactics and tradecraft used to attack these targets have changed in response to evolving security procedures, diplomatic facilities and airliners have nonetheless remained desirable targets. Jihadists will continue to be drawn to them even as the jihadist threat continues to shift from one posed by the al Qaeda core to one centered on regional militant groups that have adopted the al Qaeda brand name, such as al Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.


  14. {…}

    Not Another Benghazi

    As the threat persists, however, that fact remains that many warnings are issued for threats that never actually materialize. Warnings can be invalidated by bad information, deliberate disinformation or postponed or canceled plots. This is especially true of global, non-specific warnings, such as those against U.S. embassies in the Middle East and Asia in mid-2001.

    In the post-Benghazi political environment, warnings issued by the U.S. government are likely evidence that Washington is acting out of an overabundance of caution -- no politician or bureaucrat wants to experience another Benghazi. Overreacting is seen as preferable to the risks of failing to warn at all. It is also important to remember that practically, the threat is more acute in places where al Qaeda franchise groups are active, such as Yemen and Libya, than it is globally.

    Terrorism is an enduring reality. There were people planning attacks against U.S. embassies and international aviation before these alerts were issued, and there will continue to be people planning attacks well after the warning expires on August 31. The U.S. State Department has maintained a "worldwide caution" since 2001 that is updated every six months or so. This means that people must not allow themselves to be caught up in the hype that surrounds such warnings. Rather they should keep terrorism in perspective and practice prudent situational awareness.

    Read more: With Embassy Closures, the U.S. Errs on the Side of Caution | Stratfor
    Follow us: @stratfor on Twitter | Stratfor on Facebook

  15. "We have set up a colonial and military presence on a global scale, as Israel has on a local scale. We bully, kill and attack at will, as the Israelis have in Palestine and we wonder why we are hated."

    Hallucination, thy name is Deuce.

    1. Here are the facts:

      Data , 29.9.2000-31.10.2012
      Occupied Territories
      Gaza Strip West Bank Total
      Palestinians killed by Israeli security force: 6511

      That includes: 1334 minors

      During the same period the IDF killed 437 with targeted killing.

      More data:

      Paltry by the killings of the US military during the same period.

    2. The moslem arabs of north africa were hijacking our ships in 1783. This has NOTHING to do with Israel.


    3. Though Israeli children were killed in the conflict during the decades prior, the first acts of Palestinian violence specifically targeting large numbers of Israeli children were committed in the 1970s.
      The Avivim school bus massacre was a terrorist attack on an Israeli school bus on May 22, 1970 in which 12 Israeli civilians were killed, nine of them children, and 25 were wounded. The attack took place on the road to Moshav Avivim, near Israel's border with Lebanon. Two bazooka shells were fired at the bus.[22] The attack was one of the first carried out by the PFLP-GC.[23]
      The Ma'alot massacre in May 1974 involved a two-day hostage-taking of 115 people which ended in the deaths of over 25 hostages. It began when three armed members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)[24] entered the Netiv Meir Elementary School, where they took more than 115 people (including 105 children) hostage on 15 May 1974, in Ma'alot. The hostage-takers soon issued demands for the release of 23 Palestinian militants from Israeli prisons, or else they would kill the students. On the second day of the standoff, a unit of the Golani Brigade stormed the building. During the takeover, the hostage-takers killed the children with grenades and automatic weapons. Ultimately, 25 hostages, including 22 children, were killed and 68 more were injured.
      The Dolphinarium discotheque suicide bombing was a terrorist attack by on June 1, 2001 in which a suicide bomber Saeed Hotari, linked to the Palestinian group Hamas, blew himself up outside a discotheque on a beachfront in Tel Aviv, Israel, killing 21 Israeli teenagers and injuring



    The emotional position of the Israeli Arabs is tormenting (and is held in that torment by the Arab radio stations), though they are materially secure, protected by equal justice under law, and by an almost exaggerated respect for their feelings. If the Arab nations made peace with Israel, it is possible that all Israeli Arabs would relax, be happy, and wholehearted supporters of Israel. If not, not. No one, after listening to Israeli Arabs, could believe that Palestinian refugees would be either contented or loyal citizens of Israel.

    The new village, that so pleased Nissim, was rows of small plastered houses painted in pastel shades, or white with pastel-colored woodwork. They have a porch-veranda, two fairly large rooms, a kitchen, a shower-washroom, and small gardens. No working-class Arabs I saw anywhere in the Middle East possess houses like these, but the owners were not satisfied, as I knew they would not be. One boy of about fourteen could speak English; boys of this age are valuable informants--they parrot their elders without reflection.

    "We are very poor," he said.

    "How can you be very poor and live in these houses? You have to pay for them."

    "We must to work very hard. More harder than before. Terrible work. We have no land."

    "Wasn't farming hard work?"

    "No. That was easy. Not like now."

    "How does your family manage?"

    "My brother works. In Tel Aviv. In a gasoline station. That is terrible hard work."

    When we left, the pretty, healthy children ran beside the car, shouting. I waved. Nissim looked queer, something was wrong; that chronic optimist seemed sad.

    "What's the matter, Nissim?"

    "Nothing. What the children say."

    "You mean just now, shouting?"

    "Yes. They say: 'Where you going, bastard? I spit on you.'"

    What for, I thought, what for, and will it never stop?

    "Do you hate the Arabs, Nissim?"

    "No. Of course no."

    "Why not?"

    "What is the good of hate?"

    What indeed? Arabs gorge on hate, they roll in it, they breathe it. Jews top the hate list, but any foreigners are hateful enough. Arabs also hate each other, separately and, en masse. Their politicians change the direction of their hate as they would change their shirts. Their press is vulgarly base with hate-filled cartoons; their reporting describes whatever hate is now uppermost and convenient. Their radio is a long scream of hate, a call to hate. They teach their children hate in school. They must love the taste of hate; it is their daily bread. And what good has it done them?

    The good news?

    Syria divides into three.


  17. The Middle East has been made worse by US foreign policy. There is no question about that.

    1. Really?

      US Foreign Policy gave the Egyptian's the IDEA of their nation and helped many arabs form into nations.

  18. Yes, the US should have supported Mubarak, instead of the MB. Yes, the US should have supported the people in the streets in Iran when they were trying to over throw the mullahs. Yes, the US should not have intervened in Libya even to the slight extent we did. They might still be fighting among themselves, dividing them selves up into two or three. Yes, the US should have divided Iraq into three. Yes, the US should have divided Afghanistan into two, or three. Yes, the US should have joined Israel in ending Iran's nuclear bomb program, and long ago.

    A bright spot is Syria, which is doing a wonderful job of dividing itself into three, despite our monkeying around there at the edges.

    I agree with you. We could have done much better.

    1. Kurdistan should be liberated from the arab, turk, persian and syrian occupation

    2. Why should Kurdistan be liberated from arab, turk, persian and syrian occupation and Palestine not be liberated from Russian, Polish, Hungarian, and Brooklyn occupation?

    3. Why should the west bank not be liberated from Palestinian occupation?

      The Palestinians, should they get their 'state', are pledged to making it a 'Jew free zone'.

      And to continue from this vantage point to continue the project of pushing the Jews back into the sea.

      You are implicitly supporting this, a further step even past an 'apartheid state', that is, genocide.

      Whole project won't be particularly good for women's rights, either.

    4. You really don’t see the irony in your own words? You are all for throwing out the “occupiers” from Kurdistan but have a different standard for the European colony in Palestine. Am I clear in that if one group of occupiers is of a certain religion, they have a special dispensation not available to other religions?

    5. .

      From the trifurcated mind of our modern-day Caesar (or Red Queen if you like),

      Cut off its head!

      Cut off its head!

      oh yeah, and

      Cut off its legs, too.

      Like Caesar dividing ancient Gaul, the Wizard of ID has yet to find a country he doesn't want to divide trilaterally, Iraq, Syria, now Afghanistan. What's next Guam?


    6. The United States still holds dominion over Guam.
      Home of Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base.
      It is more likely to become a state that to be trisected.

      Either way another proof of past US aggression, resulting in the acquisition of foreign territories to further forward deploy the US military, in his case extending US power projection further into the Western Pacific.

  19. Iran’s incoming President Hassan Rouhani used his first press conference on Tuesday to offer an olive branch to the United States in protracted talks on Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme, raising hopes of progress after years of stalemate.

    By FRANCE 24

    Rouhani, seen in the West as a relatively moderate leader, said he was “seriously determined” to resolve the dispute and was ready to enter “serious and substantive” negotiations in order to do so.

    Iran’s critics say that it has used previous nuclear talks as a delaying tactic while continuing to develop nuclear weapons-related technology - something Tehran denies. Iran says it needs atomic power for energy and medical needs.

    Rouhani said Iran would not abandon its nuclear programme, which it would uphold “on the basis of international law”.

    “We will not do away with the right of the nation,” the 64-year-old said. “However, we are for negotiations and interaction. We are prepared, seriously and without wasting time, to enter negotiations which are serious and substantive with the other side.”

    “If the other party is also prepared like we are, then I am confident that the concerns of both sides will be removed through negotiations within a period which will not be very long.

    And what do we hear from the Dark son of Russian and Prince of Zion?

    06 AUGUST 2013 - 21H25

    Israel’s Netanyahu urges ‘increased pressure’ on Iran

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opens the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office on August 4, 2013. Netanyahu called on Tuesday for “increased pressure" on Iran, saying it was the "only thing" that would deter it from pursuing a nuclear weapons capability.

    AFP - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Tuesday for "increased pressure" on Iran, saying it was the "only thing" that would deter it from pursuing a nuclear weapons capability.

    He was addressing a delegation of 36 visiting US Congressmen after Iran’s new President Hassan Rowhani called for “serious” talks without delay to allay concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme.

    "Iran's president said that pressure won't work," Netanyahu told the delegation led by House Democratic whip Steny Hoyer.

    "Not true! The only thing that has worked in the last two decades is pressure. And the only thing that will work now is increased pressure," Netanyahu said in remarks relayed by his office.

    Rowhani had warned that negotiations would not work under pressure and had taken strong issue with a letter signed by 76 US senators calling for tougher sanctions.

    The new Iranian president charged that the letter was the work of a "foreign country" and its supporters in the United States, in a clear allusion to Israel.

    Despite Iran’s denials, Netanyahu has repeatedly accused it of seeking a nuclear weapons capability, which he has said would constitute an "existential threat" to Israel.

    1. .

      Peace with Iran without regime change has nearly the impossibility of an Israeli/PA peace accord.

      Regime change continues to represent the end-game for Obama and the other neocons, Dem and GOP, in OZ.

      No matter what excuse they start out with (WMDs, 'humanitarian' reasons, etc.), we quickly shift to the real reason for their actions, regime change.

      Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iran, ad infinatum (or at least until we run out of countries to fuck over).


  20. Good old Bibi keeping the US Conga Line in step.

    1. You've slipped a transmission belt, to be polite about it.

    2. My daughter will be by this afternoon to get me back on blogger.

      I have unending problems getting this maddening device called a computer to run correctly, and to continue to run correctly.

      Out till then.

    3. Then it appears that you are the one having difficulties with your transmission.

    4. With all due respect, to be polite, so to speak.

    5. boobie,

      Your "transmissions" confirm the boobie moniker. Simply WRITE DOWN on a piece of paper your username and password and GLUE IT to your belly button.

    6. Ashlikinssie, dearie, I know my username and password full well. I have them written down right here on my deskie, in my little notie bookie. It don't work. That is the problem. It was workie, and, now, it no workie.

    7. .

      If you do happen to take Ash's advice, remember to glue that note to your stomach upside down so that you can read it; otherwise, you will have to wait until your daughter comes around so that she can read it to you.


  21. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday that it is crucial for the international community to support the constructive approach of Iran’s leadership.

    “As any other issue, this problem should be solved on the basis of respect for your negotiating partner, and not ultimatums,” he said.

    Lavrov said that imposing new sanctions on Iran will only work against international interests in a non-proliferation sphere.

    "When new unilateral sanctions are being proposed to strangle Iran financially and economically while a new Iranian president is taking office and a new Iranian government is being formed, I think these ideas go against the international community's fundamental interests, that is, the idea of ensuring non-proliferation of nuclear weapons," he said at a press conference in Rome.

    Lavrov added that some people seem more interested in regime change than clarifying the remaining questions on Iran’s nuclear program, although he did not go into details.



    The global terror threat seems to have focused on Yemen, where both the United States and Britain are evacuating their embassies. There are fears of retaliation after U.S. drone strikes killed some al-Qaeda members over the past few weeks. The spectacle of American personnel fleeing the country should put the final nail in the coffin of Barack Obama's rhetoric about a decimated global terror organization on the run. The situation looks worse the longer you examine it; the policies pursued by Obama and Hillary Clinton in Egypt and Libya are disasters of historic proportions…

    …President Obama once again broke the law to modify ObamaCare, granting a priceless waiver to Congress, which claims it cannot operate under the law it imposed on the American private sector. The willingness of the American people, and our elected representatives, to tolerate such flagrant defiance of the Constitution is almost as depressing as the public's apparent acceptance of special privileges for the ruling class. If the Republicans can't successfully run against the ongoing ObamaCare disaster in 2014 and 2016, then either the GOP, or the American electorate, has passed its expiration date.

    John Hayward
    Senior Writer

  23. Breaking: First criminal charges filed over Benghazi attack

    1. .

      Remember, according to a splashy AP piece back in May, the White House had held off on killing or capturing the Benghazi suspects because they didn’t have enough evidence yet to bring them to trial.



      Since when does Obama need 'evidence' to take someone out much less 'charge' them?

      And notice that even the charges are SECRET. Curiouser and curiouser.

      Well, now that the 'charges' have finally come out, we can at least be grateful that they weren't filed against the survivors.


    2. Political prisoner speaking out -

      Out of jail, fatwas on his head from all around, our blamed for Benghazi film make Nakoula-Nakoula is showing no fear.

      Any moslem 'cleric' in the United States that issues a 'fatwa' against anyone should immediately be arrested without bail and charged with attempted murder, incitement to violence, and half a dozen other crimes I haven't the skill to describe, such as issuing personal threats, denial of Constituion rights, on an on, religious intolerance, etc etc.

  24. Here is what we are doing in Yemen:

    (CNN) -- A pair of suspected U.S. drone strikes killed four al Qaeda militants in Yemen as the United States maintained a heightened security alert in the country and urged all Americans to leave immediately.

    Security sources told CNN about the strikes but didn't offer additional details. A Yemeni official said four drone strikes have been carried out in the past 10 days.

    None of those killed on Tuesday were among the 25 names on the country’s most-wanted list, security officials said.

    It is unclear whether the strikes were related to the added security alert in the country after U.S. officials intercepted a message from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to operatives in Yemen telling them to "do something." The message was sent to Nasir al-Wuhayshi, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terror group's Yemeni affiliate. U.S. intelligence believes al-Wuhayshi has recently been appointed the overall terror organization’s No. 2 leader.

    Now can anyone please explain to me how these ingrates would even dream of attacking any of our “interests”? There are now reports of US drones hovering over their capitol.

  25. There were highly specific communications that were intercepted from Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to AQAP’s chief in Yemen, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, ordering a major attack against US and/or Western interests. The evidence suggested that those who would carry out the attacks were in Yemen, presumably preparing for the attack, at the time the communications were intercepted.

    The reason for the widespread Embassy closures and other precautions taken was that the specific target or targets were not identified. It is thus prudent to take such precautions when the information on the planning of the attack is specific but the target is not. This, by the way, demonstrates the value of NSA’s communications intercept programs, particularly as applied abroad.

    Second, the drone strikes in Yemen obviously have been working, as we know some major AQAP leaders and operatives have been taken out as a result. That there remain in Yemen some AQAP leaders and operatives capable of mounting planned attacks against the US and its interests demonstrates the need to continue the drone strikes against them as the opportunity arises. Terrorism will never be completely eradicated, but Al-Qaeda and AQAP have been degraded. That they are still operationally capable of planning attacks simply demonstrates the need for our continued counter-terrorism programs.

    1. Yes.

      A gust of fresh air, at last!

    2. .

      It is hard to know how to answer, not knowing if Occam had the sarcasm button on or off.


  26. I don’t know about that. The Carter administration helped create the problem we have with Iran. The first Bush administration went to war with Iraq after sending signals they had no problem with Iraq's annexation of Kuwait. Bill Clinton treated the first World Trade Center bombing as a criminal act and bombed Iraq whenever the heat reached a critical point in his various sex scandals. Bush II stepped up to the plate and dealt with Al Qaida after 9/11. Bush II also tried to finish his dad's unfinished business in Iraq. At this point we have no easy outs to the problems in the Middle East. Our leaders have helped create most of the problems.

    We allowed Boston, one of our greatest cities to be closed because of 2 Muslim thugs. Now we have closed our embassies all over the Muslim world and turned them into fortresses. The more I think of this, the more I question why the media is not doing its job again. What is going on??

    Our leaders and the media who does their bidding. We have no grand strategy! What is American policy? its pathetic. What is the purpose of American foreign policy?

    Have drones ended up hurting us more than war? Are we creating more terrorists than stopping them? I wish the media would educate and properly analyze what our strategy is, but the media is too biased . The government works for the people, not vice versa and the media is supposed to inform not indoctrinate!

    1. Ike, who everyone liked, had more to do with creating the "problem" the US has with Iran than the rest of the US Presidents, combined.

      US foreign policy is pretty easy to discern, if one takes the time to look at the events and how they unfold.

      Start with Egypt, the US had been supporting, training and indoctrinating he Egyptian Army since 1980. Thirty three years of Bright Stars. When the politicos in DC, Ms Clinton as the mouthpiece, thought the Egyptian military supported Mubarak, so did the US. She said a much.

      The Egyptian military, US Security Partners set the domestic policy, in Egypt. Egyptian politics is not and cannot be dictated from OZ. Simply impossible, we have to utilize our Partners, follow their lead when their internal domestic politics is the issue at hand.

      The Suez Canal remains open, there is peace on the Israeli border and Russian bombers do not stage out of any Egyptian airbase. US policy ha been and continue to succeed in Egypt, our primary goals are being met.

      In Libya, the oil flows and Colonel Q has been disposed, a good thing, indeed. The CIA botched operations there, almost a year ago. It has become the background noise in DC, a zero defects policy is now the standard for all US operations in the Middle East and Africa.

      In Iraq, we left the quagmire.

      In Syria there is confusion, as some Senators and Congressmen advocate arming al-Queda because the Israeli like al-Queda more than they like Assad. Other politicos and the US military find that idea both repugnant and revolting. Nothing much happens there, but the US has not had influence in Syria for decades.

      Afpakistan, well those folks became nuclear capable under the Reagan administration, and were our best ally in the WoT, so said GW Bush even if they were not. That country is a policy muddle, but it has been since Reagan. Obama has been on the streets of Afpakistan, the current CIA director the station chief there, back in the day.

      And in the political motivations on the part of the administration and the GOP leadership in their bi-partisan support of the NSA, and the current scare is brought into clearer focus.

      Things are not perfect but the razor cut to the chase, being more correct than not ...

  27. 38 Israelis wounded by Arab terror in July
    Monday, August 05, 2013 | Israel Today Staff

    The Israeli army an internal security agency Shin Bet have published their monthly security review for July, and it would appear that Palestinian Arab terrorism is again on the rise.

    In just one month, no fewer than 38 Israeli Jews were injured in acts of Palestinian terrorism.

    Among the victims is a small child who suffered a head injury when Arab stone throwers operating in Jerusalem's Old City attacked a Jewish family. Another eight-year-old Jewish boy was similarly wounded by stone throwers, and yet another baby was hurt when Palestinians hurled rocks at an Israeli passenger bus.

    Three Israeli Border Police officers were wounded when a bomb exploded in the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis, and an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man suffered serious injuries when an Arab stabbed him in the capital.

    There were even more attacks that did not result in physical injuries. For instance, there were at least 55 fire bomb attacks against Jewish motorists in Judea and Samaria in July.

    Israeli forces also managed to prevent numerous terrorist attacks before they could be carried out. In Hebron, Border Police officers apprehended a knife-wielding Arab before he could stab his intended target, and another man was arrested transporting bomb-building materials in his car.

    Even more numerous were Arab acts of vandalism against Jewish property and institutions around the country. In particular, young Arabs attempted to demolish the mezuzah - the prayer container attached to Jewish doors - at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, the biblical site where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebekkah and Leah are buried.

    1. .

      Obama would likely suggest that Israeli authorities go into lock down mode and shut the country down for the next month.


    2. .

      Stories? You want stories? We got stories.

      This is why the current Kerry peace negotiations are a joke.


  28. U.S. embassies in the Middle East have been closed and a travel warning is in effect through the end of August. U.S. intelligence analysts believe the attack would likely involve some type of bomb plot.

    AQAP specializes in creative bomb-making techniques. In Yemen on Monday, officials announced a list of 25 "most wanted terrorists" the government said was planning to carry out operations in the capital, San'a.

    Yemeni officials said the list included militants involved in the current plot. Among those on the list was Ibrahim al-Asiri, who U.S. intelligence officials say is the Yemen branch's chief bombmaker.

  29. Film recommendation via Las Vegas -

    >>>Just saw an excellent foreign film, "The Attack". In Hebrew & Arabic. The acting was amazing. The subject matter extremely disturbing! I just got home and had to take Advil. My brain was spinning. That same feeling of stress and anguish I experienced after "Shindler's
    List". It takes place in Israel & Palestine. Leaves one feeling hopeless to the situation. I am sure this film will get at a minimum and Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film.<<<

    1. >>>Bob,
      I have researched and found no super headliners in Las Vegas the first week in September/October. I was hoping for someone really special but it's actually OK because they would have been super expensive.

      As a result in addition to the recommendations I have already made I would include the following listed below.
      You will decide which appeal to you and how many shows you wish to see. :)

      "Terry Fator" at the Mirage Hotel is an excellent ventriloquist (sounds possibly strange but it's a very fun show)

      "Jerry Seinfeld" at Caesar Palace Hotel (Comedian)

      "Jersey Boys" at the Paris Hotel (Broadway Musical)

      "Million Dollar Quartet" at Harrah's Hotel (Broadway Musical)

      Hope this helps and I will mail a Where Magazine.

    2. An hour and half or so after this she e-mailed an odd mention of something showing in North Las Vegas.


      Came across an odd attraction in North Las Vegas, where I never ever go. Too dangerous, kind of like Detroit over there. Found it in a little three inch by three inch ad in Where. Self billed, no reviews mentioned, as a stand up routine by some guy calls himself "Quirk" who claims to be a comedian, logician, magician, musician (harmonica), metaphysical analyst, 'spirit healer', able to predict your future and read your past from your 'stars', herbal physician and, this is strange, a "SuperSalesPerson". The price is right - $2.50 for admission, Big Mac meals available at cost. Just mention it in passing, do not go to this. Obvious fraud. Now you know all, and I mean all, going on around here.<<<


  30. President Barack Obama took his economic road show to Phoenix on Tuesday, where he highlighted the effect his housing policies could have on furthering the recovery of the housing market in the Arizona city and dozens of other towns like it that were hit hard by last decade’s mortgage crisis.

    The president called for a series of reforms for both borrowers and lenders, which he said would help boost homeownership and protect the housing market from another crash similar to the one which devastated American financial system and prompted the onset of the 2008 recession.

  31. We are nuts --

    Not only do we not know much of what we are doing over there, or where our true interests are located, we allow the 'cultural' infiltration of our own country by people whose basic law demands our ways be overthrown.

    We are unable to think clearly any longer.

  32. New U.S. spying revelations coming from Snowden leaks:

    (Reuters) - Glenn Greenwald, the American journalist who published documents leaked by fugitive former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, plans to make new revelations "within the next 10 days or so" on secret U.S. surveillance of the Internet.

    "The articles we have published so far are a very small part of the revelations that ought to be published," Greenwald on Tuesday told a Brazilian congressional hearing that is investigating the U.S. internet surveillance in Brazil.

    "There will certainly be many more revelations on spying by the U.S. government and how they are invading the communications of Brasil and Latin America," he said in Portuguese.

    The Rio de Janeiro-based columnist for Britain's Guardian newspaper said he has recruited the help of experts to understand some of the 15,000 to 20,000 classified documents from the National Security Agency that Snowden passed him, some of which are "very long and complex and take time to read."

    Greenwald told Reuters he does not believe the pro-transparency website WikiLeaks had obtained a package of documents from Snowden, and that only he and filmmaker Laura Poitras have complete archives of the leaked material.

    Greenwald said Snowden, who was in hiding in Hong Kong before flying to Russia in late June, was happy to leave a Moscow airport after being granted temporary asylum, and pleased that he had stirred up a worldwide debate on internet privacy and secret U.S. surveillance programs used to monitor emails.

    "I speak with him a lot since he left the airport, almost every day. We use very strong encryption to communicate," Greenwald told the Brazilian legislators. "He is very well."

    "He is very pleased with the debate that is arising in many countries around the world on internet privacy and U.S. spying. It is exactly the debate he wanted to inform," Greenwald said.