Friday, June 29, 2012

Hamas targets Knesset

Hamas terrorist admits building rockets to target Knesset

( A Hamas operative detailed the production of Qassam rockets in the West Bank just before the Second Intifada, admitting that terrorists were planning to target the Israeli Knesset.

Hamas published an interview with Ahmed Akram Salmi on Wednesday in which Salmi described that he and other terrorists bought a space where they built rockets and explosives, and housed a special car to transport the explosives into Israel.

The terrorists built nearly 20 “Qassam 1” rockets. “The most obvious rocket targets were the Knesset building, the Ben Gurion Airport and other cities, the most prominent of which was Tel Aviv,” Salmi said, according to Yediot Achronot.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Iran plays us all for fools

  • Following the Failure of the Moscow Talks - Ephraim Asculai
    As expected, the Istanbul-Baghdad-Moscow talks on Iran's nuclear program did not achieve anything of significance, besides deciding on further, lower level talks. The Iranians are successfully playing for time, as they have done for so many years.
    Iran wants the world to recognize the legitimacy of its uranium enrichment program. Such recognition would enable Iran to retain its technical capabilities, to perfect the enrichment capabilities, and to leave them a potential for a breakout, whenever they decide to do so. While the U.S. views an Iranian breakout as a red line, mandating strong action, Israel views the potential to produce nuclear weapons in a very short time as its red line. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
  • Saturday, June 23, 2012

    We've got to become energy independent to slow terrorism-fracking is the key

    We've got to become energy independent to slow terrorism-fracking is the key

    Energy Independence and Its Enemies

    “In my 50 years of following the energy business, this is by far the biggest event I’ve seen.” So says John Deutch, the chemist who ran the CIA under Bill Clinton and is now a professor at MIT. The “event” to which Deutch refers is the development of the technological process known as fracking, which is the shorthand term for hydraulic fracturing. Fracking makes possible the extraction of oil—natural gas in particular—from shale rock formations thousands of feet underground. A mixture of water, sand, and chemicals is pumped downward and sideways at high velocity. It fractures the rock and releases gas upwards to the surface.
    The normally dry experts from Citi wrote breathlessly in a recent study called “Energy 2020” that fracking portends nothing less than the “potential re-industrialization of the U.S. economy.” They concluded: “The cumulative impact of new production…and associated activity may increase real GDP by 2.0 to 3.3 percent.” A significant portion of the growth will come, they claimed, “directly from the output of new hydrocarbon production alone, while the rest is generated by multiplier effects as the surge in economic activity drives higher wealth, spending, consumption, and investment effects that ripple through the economy.”
    Polls show that when presented with these facts, most Americans support the development of natural gas. At the same time, however, there is strong opposition to this energy opportunity coming from those for whom man-made climate change is of paramount concern. Among this group, extracting and consuming more fossil fuels, even relatively cleaner natural gas, will cause too much harm to the planet to be worth the economic benefit. The question facing policymakers today is which side of this argument will win the day: those who want to use the earth’s resources to achieve greater human progress or those who want to protect the earth from that progress.
    Geologists had known for years that there was gas trapped underground, but they did not know how to get it out. Enter George P. Mitchell, a Texas wildcatter who was determined to get it to the surface. Mitchell and his team discovered that by combining a traditional vertical well with horizontal fracturing of the rock, engineers could extract gas that had been trapped in the Barnett Shale in North Texas. After 10 years of trial and error, Mitchell sold his Barnett “play” for $3.5 billion in 2002, by which time his gas field had become one of the most productive in the country. The fracking revolution had begun.
    According to government experts, the United States possesses more than 2,500 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas. That is the equivalent of 412.5 billion barrels of oil, and it means that America right now produces more natural gas per day than Saudi Arabia produces oil. One-third of it is trapped inside shale rock. In 2001, shale gas provided less than 2 percent of the total U.S. natural gas production; now the figure is approaching 30 percent. The U.S. government estimates that based on current consumption rates here at home, these deposits are so rich they could last for 95 years before they are exhausted. Nongovernmental sources say the estimates are far too low and that there may be enough natural gas to last three times longer.
    Why is all this natural gas from shale important to the economy? The most immediate result is that it lowers the cost of heating homes. Natural gas used to cost $15 per thousand cubic feet. Today, the cost is $2. “The natural gas glut has pushed down heating bills for millions,” according to Bernard L. Weinstein, the associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute. The federal government estimates that home-heating bills in 2012 will be 25 percent lower than they were in 2008.
    The abundance of natural gas has also had a huge impact on the cost of electricity. Weinstein says the average electric bill is “half what it was a few years ago.” According to a recent analysis by Exxon, “an increasing amount of…electricity will be generated by natural gas, which will pass coal as the world’s second-largest fuel source, behind crude oil, by 2025.” An MIT study says the “electricity sector is the principal growth area for natural gas.”
    In the past five years, exports of natural gas have risen and imports have fallen, thereby reversing the trendline of the previous quarter century and opening the almost unbelievable prospect of the United States becoming a net exporter of gas. There is already high demand for natural gas from Japan (where natural gas sells for $12), China, and countries throughout Europe, and they are already equipped to accept imported natural gas through receiving terminals. In Louisiana, two operators of terminals designed for the acceptance of imported natural gas are being fitted for export instead. The cost of redesigning them is around $6 billion each, which gives one a sense of just how confident the operators are about the exporting future.
    Perhaps most striking is the way the fracking revolution offers hope for employment in areas of the country that had seemed like terminal cases in the era of globalization and the post-industrial economy. Fracking is now being done in shale fields in North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Louisiana, and West Virginia. In North Dakota, the unemployment rate has fallen to 3 percent, due almost entirely to fracking. There has even been job growth in West Virginia. A company called Dominion is now employing 1,300 workers in the state, with an annual payroll of more than $142 million, and the development of new facilities to help process the shale gas unearthed in Pennsylvania and Ohio suggest there will be a great deal more where that came from.
    The most dramatic economic turnaround has been in Pennsylvania, which sits atop the Marcellus Shale, the largest repository of gas in closest proximity to the high-demand northeast. The state estimates that drillers have contributed $1.3 billion since 2006 in state and local taxes. Tens of thousands of jobs have been created over the past three years both in the industry and among ancillary businesses such as hospitality and construction and financial services.
    The impact of abundant natural gas goes beyond the fuel business, home heating, and electricity. Other fields are gaining as well, such as the petrochemical industry. According to the Wall Street Journal, cheap gas is “breathing new life into energy intensive industries such as steel and plastics.” Local businesses in Charleston, South Carolina, lobbied hard for a huge new chemical plant called an ethane catalytic cracker. A cracker is a petrochemical facility that converts ethane (in this case from the Marcellus Shale) into ethylene, which is used to make plastics. “It will take approximately 2,000 construction workers two years just to build the facility,” says Matthew Ballard, president and chief executive officer of the Charleston Area Alliance. There will be several hundred new jobs there once it is up and running.
    A cracker plant soon to get under way in the Pittsburgh suburbs is, according to Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett, “the single largest industrial development in the state’s southwest in more than a generation.” Constructing the new facility is expected to create up to 10,000 jobs, and, as in Charleston, hundreds more will work there when it is completed.
    Thus, cheap natural gas is bringing back “the basic kind of jobs we’ve been hemorrhaging for decades,” says Dan Kish, senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research. “People who work with their hands and make stuff and fix things, those jobs have been going down the tubes [for decades] and everyone has been crying for more manufacturing jobs and this is it.”
    A PricewaterhouseCoopers study published last December estimates that the availability and abundance of shale gas could result in a million new manufacturing jobs by 2025. The revived natural gas industry “has the potential to spark a manufacturing renaissance in the U.S., including billions in cost savings, a significant number of new jobs and a greater investment in U.S. plants,” in the words of Robert McCutcheon, the United States industrial products and metals leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
    All of this pales, in some sense, beside the benefits to the national interests of the United States. In 2010 we imported 9.4 million barrels of oil a day. And as Sen. Richard Lugar said in 2006, the problem is that “most of the world’s oil is concentrated in places that are either hostile to American interests or vulnerable to political upheaval and terrorism.” With the availability of oil and natural gas in the U.S. as well as from our ally Canada, the future energy-security picture looks much different. The phrase “energy independence,” which has been thrown around by both parties as a meaningless sound bite over the past decade, is no longer a species of fantasy. The notion that the United States will no longer need to calibrate its foreign policy around the elusive stability of the Middle East’s oil-rich regimes might just become a reality. How much different would our foreign policy look if we didn’t have to rely on Iran to keep our oil imports traveling through the Strait of Hormuz? And how much stronger a position would we be in vis-à-vis the Chinese if we were exporting energy rather than begging to import it?
    So why aren’t both parties in the United States celebrating this bounty beneath? Why hasn’t fracking become the dominant good-news economic story of our time? And why hasn’t President Obama, who needs to find something besides government spending to revitalize the U.S. economy, clasped fracking to his bosom and promoted its development as this century’s energy solution?
    The answer was recently made clear by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she said the world is suffering from a “climate crisis.” For those, like Clinton, who believe the most pressing issue facing our society is climate change, and that humans are the ones causing the problem, any effort that results in increased consumption of fossil fuels such as natural gas is anathema. Proponents of this view have been working tirelessly to move the United States toward what they call a cleaner energy future by reducing our consumption of and reliance on energies that are harmful to the environment, namely, “dirty” carbon-producing coal and oil.
    The opposition to fracking stems from the belief that the method of extracting natural gas from shale formations pollutes the environment and that burning natural gas for energy isn’t as “clean” as using solar or wind power. Clean-energy proponents argue that we should be moving as fast as possible to using nonpolluting, non-carbon-producing energy sources rather than transitioning to a less-dirty alternative to coal and oil.
    For some, opposing fracking is about quality of life. “Economically, I would say, there’s no question that it would be good, if you are willing to write off the lifestyle, the peace and quiet, the surface-value rights, all that sort of stuff,” argues James Northrup, a former oil and gas investor turned anti-fracking activist in Cooperstown, N.Y., 75 miles west of Albany.
    Other fracking critics say that some of the gases come up from the well during the drilling process and thereby pollute groundwater. In Josh Fox’s Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland, for example, one Colorado man living near a drilling site is able to ignite his kitchen tap water because of all the methane mixed up with his well water. Methane is indeed one of the gases released from shale drilling. There have been successful lawsuits filed against drillers operating in northeastern Pennsylvania for polluting water sources, and some communities have been torn apart by fights between those who have leased their land to drillers and neighbors who sued the operator for allegedly polluting their water.
    The New York Times upped the ante in the fracking-causes-pollution meme with a series of explosive news reports early last year on allegedly radioactive fracking wastewater polluting Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams.
    The most recent and controversial claim against natural gas development comes from the Cornell environmental biologist Robert Howarth. Last year he published the study “Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations.” It purports to prove that “compared [with] coal, the [climate] footprint of shale gas is at least 20 percent greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon and is comparable when compared over 100 years.”
    Howarth’s claim that fracking causes global warming electrified environmentalists. Many began arguing that previous discussions of the economic possibilities of natural gas development couldn’t justify endangering the planet. And whereas previous debate over natural gas development might have been a question of scope—how many wells, how much fracking—the conversation turned to blanket opposition to any fracking whatsoever, and various towns and cities passed ordinances banning drilling within their confines. Landowners in some of these communities have opposed the bans, demanding that their property rights (to choose to lease acreage to drillers) be respected. But in many cases, the property owners are outnumbered and the environmentalists are louder.
    But in fact, the fracking-poisons-groundwater complaint has largely proven to be overblown. The reality is that many places around the U.S. have naturally occurring methane, and if water wells aren’t properly constructed and sealed, or have aged and become damaged, gas can seep into groundwater. But there is no evidence of a direct link between shale gas drilling and groundwater contamination. Indeed, the Environmental Protection Agency has lately had to retreat from several investigations against energy companies operating in Pennsylvania and Texas, where the agency had alleged that drilling caused groundwater contamination. And EPA administrator Lisa Jackson has recently admitted that there is no evidence that fracking has ever directly polluted groundwater. States such as Pennsylvania, meanwhile, have worked hard in developing regulations to prevent any future contamination by mandating properly sealed drilling wells and proper cement-casing standards for those wells. The Times reports about “radioactive” fracking wastewater were studied by state regulators and other experts, who concluded that the trace amounts of radioactive particles were so small as to be insignificant.
    As for Howarth’s research on fracking’s carbon footprint, his conclusions were quickly debunked by fellow researchers at Cornell as well as by other scientists. As Lawrence M. Cathles of Cornell’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences concluded in his rebuttal, “The data clearly shows that substituting natural gas for coal will have a substantial greenhouse benefit under almost any set of reasonable assumptions. Methane emissions must be five times larger than they currently appear to be before gas substitution for coal becomes detrimental from a global warming perspective on any time scale.”
    The debate over fracking has gotten so extreme, in fact, that reasonable environmentalists are beginning to complain. As Andrew Revkin, one of the deans of environmental reporting in the United States, recently noted, fracking opponents sound so intransigent that he questions whether there is any resource to which the anti-gas advocates would say yes.
    The great irony is that only a few short years ago, many environmentalists were promoting natural gas as the cleaner alternative to oil and coal. The theory was that natural gas would provide a temporary bridge from pollutants such as oil and coal to so-called clean tech (wind and solar electricity generation, some nuclear power, and electric cars). Now that natural gas is cheap and plentiful, however, many openly worry that there may never be a full-scale transition to wind and solar because there won’t be a need. Gas is cleaner than coal and oil, it is equally or more efficient, it has the same applications as coal and oil, and it can be exported. Wind and solar haven’t proven to be cost-effective, nor are they easy to transport or possible to export. This realization has led to near hysterical opposition to fracking. As Howarth himself argued recently, “It is pure folly to view shale gas [as] a bridge fuel to a green future.”
    These are the arguments, moreover, that help explain the otherwise inexplicable rejection of natural gas extraction in New York, a state that could desperately use new industry and new revenues. There is gas from the Marcellus Shale under the state’s southern tier, and there are gas companies that came into the state nearly five years ago to lease land for potential drilling. But in 2007, the state decided that, absent new regulations for hydraulic fracturing, no new permits for natural gas wells would be issued. The moratorium continues to this day, even as Andrew Cuomo, the state’s governor, keeps promising that his Department of Environmental Conservation will produce new drilling rules—once its experts have had sufficient time to study the issue.
    New York’s drilling ban is even odder when you consider that next door in Pennsylvania, not only is gas drilling ongoing and successful, but there is an established record of successful regulation. As the state’s former Democratic governor, Ed Rendell, and the former head of its Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), John Hanger, wrote to the New York Times earlier this year: “Pennsylvania has the strongest enforcement program of any state with gas drilling. Period. From January 1, 2008, to June 30, 2010, the DEP issued 1,400 violations to drilling companies.”
    On the basis of Pennsylvania’s experience, Rendell told a New York audience in June 2011, “If Gov. Cuomo asked me my advice about lifting the moratorium, I would tell him the moratorium should be lifted.” In his state, the “unemployment rate was 7.5 percent at a time when [the] national rate [was] 9.0 percent and most industrial states are higher than the national average,” he said. “Pennsylvania is the third-highest creator in jobs behind Texas and California. These numbers are in part because of shale drilling.”
    Given the economic potential of natural gas development and that the fears of its environmental effect are largely without foundation, why is there any debate at all about the efficacy and desirability of natural gas? The answer is that there is something anathematic to the environmentalist movement and its supporters in the Democratic Party about economic growth and employment that might arise from the harvesting of shale.
    President Obama himself is a perfect illustration of how much the so-called clean, anti-growth, anti-development dogma holds sway over his party. By the time Obama took over the White House in 2009, the “shale gale” was still in its early stages, but its potential was already evident. And yet when the president designed his stimulus package to save the U.S. economy, there was almost nothing in it relating to fracking—even though it is a textbook example of a shovel-ready technological product. Instead, obsessed with so-called clean tech, Obama and his Energy Department targeted solar and wind companies for subsidies and loans, with predictably negligible results. Obama forced the newly bailed-out automakers to develop clean, electric cars such as the Chevy Volt. The administration even promoted $7,500 rebates for those who purchased the more than $40,000 car of the future.
    Alas, the newly elected president had been utterly certain clean tech would produce the economic windfall its advocates had told him it would. In his book, The Escape Artists, Noam Scheiber writes of the two months before Obama’s inauguration:
    Energy was a particular obsession of the president-elect’s, and therefore a particular source of frustration. Week after week, [economic adviser Christina] Romer would march in with an estimate of the jobs all the investments in clean energy would produce; week after week, Obama would send her back to check the numbers. “I don’t get it,” he’d say. “We make these large-scale investments in infrastructure. What do you mean, there are no jobs?” But the numbers rarely budged.
    The relatively untutored president, who had had only two years in a statewide office before he ran for president, may never have had even so much as a conversation on energy matters with anyone in public life who was not a member of the environmentalist camp. But by early 2012, Obama had certainly been on the job long enough to assimilate new information regarding the potential of natural gas, when he was forced into a decision over granting valuable right of way in the United States for the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada. He stuck to his old script and had the State Department deny the pipeline permit. Facing a tough economy and a tough reelection campaign, Obama has been presented a political gift in the form of shale gas—and he has rejected it.
    He still has time to reverse himself. In March, polls showed that a strong majority of Americans want the pipeline approved. Obama quickly made a special stop in Oklahoma to take credit for approving one small section of it (to fix a supply-chain glut). When a proposed new route for the pipeline was announced in April, a route that reflected some environmental concerns about potential hazards to wetlands, the president had a perfect opportunity to save face, present himself as the defender of the environment and as an energy realist at the same time, and approve it. He did not. As of this writing, no decision has been made and it is likely no decision will be—although it would mark a dramatic sign of the urgency of Obama’s desire to win reelection if he reversed himself. Can one imagine Bill Clinton, the last successful national Democratic politician, rejecting such a bounty solely due to pressure from the ideological left?
    The question goes beyond the merely partisan. The real issue, going forward, is whether the American people will permit the environmental movement to deny the United States its surprising and providential chance for true energy independence.

    About the Author

    Abby W. Schachter writes the New York Post’s politics blog, Capitol Punishment.

    Thursday, June 21, 2012

    Update on Iran-playing the world as fools

    Daily Alert
    Iran Speeding Up Nuclear Enrichment
    Iran could produce enough enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon within four months, experts have told a U.S. congressional committee.
    The rate of Iran's uranium enrichment has accelerated despite cyber sabotage from the Stuxnet virus in 2009, the experts said. Based on the findings of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), "It's clear that Iran could produce a nuclear weapon very quickly should it wish to do so", said Stephen Rademaker of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. Iran has produced 3345 kilograms of uranium enriched to 3.5 per cent, according to the agency. (AFP)
    See also Brinkmanship, Taboos: Behind the Scenes of Failed Iran Nuclear Talks - Barak Ravid
    The intensive talks held in Moscow on Monday and Tuesday between Iran and the six powers ended in failure. A Western diplomat who asked to remain anonymous said that one major obstacle revealed by the Moscow talks relates to the underground facility for uranium enrichment in Fordo, near the city of Qum. According to the diplomat, the Iranians refused to discuss the Fordo plant at all. The Iranians were surprised that delegates from the six powers managed to maintain a united front throughout the discussions. The Iranians had hoped to bring the Chinese and Russian delegates into their corner. (Ha'aretz)  Israeli Strike on Iran Stays on Hold, for Now - Joshua Mitnick
    Israel is unlikely to launch a strike on Iran as long as sanctions on Tehran intensify and diplomatic efforts continue, despite the failure of international talks in Moscow this week, Israeli officials and security experts said.
    That puts Israeli leaders in a bind: While lack of progress on diplomatic attempts to curb Iran's nuclear program bolsters Israel's position that Tehran won't compromise, it needs to wait for diplomacy and sanctions to be exhausted so it can better persuade others to join it in taking tougher measures, analysts said.
    Some Israeli officials worry that Iran will eventually offer an 11th-hour compromise that will split the international negotiators, a group known as the P5+1.
    Israeli experts are divided on what approach would prompt Iran to change course. Some say only a credible threat of military action by the West  will work. "Sanctions are known to take a very long time to have an impact on the country you are targeting," said Dore Gold, a former ambassador to the United Nations. "It's important to put in place, but the clock is ticking." (Wall Street Journal)

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012

    chief rabbi and anti brotherly love

    Less than a month after Israel's attorney general issued the historic decision that Reform and Conservative Jewish institutions must receive state funding alongside traditional Orthodox institutions, one of Israel's foremost religious figures has declared a public fight against the move.
    Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar attacked the decision in no uncertain terms, calling it “reckless” and warning that it may "uproot all the foundations of the Torah."
    In line with this apocalyptic warning, Amar warned "The greatest danger for our generation is the danger of assimilation," and called on his followers "to be strong and steadfast in our fight. It is forbidden to remain silent, because there is nothing more serious than this measure."
    While the Times of Israel notes that "funding for the non-Orthodox rabbis will come from the Culture and Sport Ministry rather than the Religious Services Ministry," the Orthodox establishment appears to be primary concerned with the precedent it will set.
    As Haredi MK Moshe Gafni put it, it will result in giving "government funding to someone who is not defined by law as a rabbi and who was not ordained by the Chief Rabbinate.” Thus undercutting the Chief Rabbinate's considerable political and financial power.

    Sunday, June 17, 2012

    Helen Thomas parshat Korah and anti-Semitism

    Thursday, June 14, 2012

    Obama admin. stabs Israel in back 2x in one week

    Why Did the U.S. Exclude Israel from the New Counterterrorism Forum? - Josh Rogin
    At Turkey's insistence, Israel was not invited to the June 7 meeting in Istanbul of the new Global Counterterrorism Forum. Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) wrote to Secretary of State Clinton on Monday to protest the Obama administration's decision to exclude Israel from the new forum. "As you know, there are few countries in the world that have suffered more from terrorism than Israel, and few governments that have more experience combating this threat than that of Israel," they wrote.
        "Obviously the U.S. is looking to adhere to the wishes of Turkey," said Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. "But since this is a U.S.-sponsored event, hosted in Turkey, the U.S. should not be listening to anybody about whom they should or should not invite."  (Foreign Policy)


    Pattern of White House Leaks Threatens Nation’s Security

    Thursday, 07 Jun 2012 05:33 PM
    By Ronald Kessler
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    Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C. — An accelerating series of leaks of classified information all have two things in common: They directly endanger national security, and the stories reporting on them paint President Obama as a hero.

    News reports on Tuesday disclosed that the FBI is probing the leaking of information about a classified U.S. cyberattack program aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities, but a close look at recent developments uncovers a broad and disturbing pattern of leaks of some of the nation’s most guarded secrets by the Obama administration.
    This photo taken on July 9, 2010 shows Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi. 
    (AP Photo)
    John Brennan, Obama’s counterterrorism chief, set the tone a year ago when he went on national television immediately after the killing of Osama bin Laden and gave a highly detailed account of the top-secret operation.

    Defense Secretary Bob Gates, for one, was shocked.

    “Too many people in too many places are talking too much about this operation,” Gates said, adding that the level of disclosures and blabbing violates an agreement reached in the White House Situation Room on May 8, 2011, to keep details of the raid private.

    “That lasted about 15 hours,” Gates said with chagrin.

    Then came disclosures that directly revealed secrets helpful to the enemy, that could endanger lives, and undermine trust by other countries and potential informants in U.S. intelligence operations. 

    Soon after the bin Laden raid, word began leaking to the press that a Pakistani doctor had helped the CIA operation. 

    In fact, Dr. Shakil Afridi reportedly provided critical intelligence on the location and identify of the al-Qaida leader. He had set up a fake vaccination program to obtain DNA during a visit by bin Laden.

    Following the leaks, Afridi was arrested and on May 23 he was sentenced to 33 years in prison on a charge of conspiring against the state.

    "The blame has been placed on my brother because of America," Shakil's brother Jamil told Fox News.

    The protection of secret sources of the United States is not only good sense, it is vital for continuing operations and getting new sources that could improve our security and prevent the loss of American lives. But who will trust us if we leak sensitive information?

    And critics of the Obama administration point to a pattern of leaks over a long period:
    • On May 9, The Associated Press reported that a CIA asset from Saudi Arabia had infiltrated al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and thwarted a planned “underwear bomb” attack on an airplane bound for America. As a result of that disclosure, the asset had to be extracted and brought to the United States, possibly precluding opportunities for obtaining future inside information from within the terrorist group.
    • On May 29, The New York Times ran a detailed account of how President Obama directs U.S. drone attacks based on a classified “kill list” of terror suspects. The story rightly credited Obama with killing top al-Qaida leaders. Sen. John McCain has charged that the kill list leak was politically motivated.
    • On June 1, The New York Times ran a story revealing an alleged U.S. covert action program called Olympic Games, designed to thwart Iran’s nuclear program with computer virus attacks utilizing first the Stuxnet computer worm and later the Duqu malware. Thanks to the Times article, which cited U.S. government sources, details of the previously unknown operations are now public, including how the programs were supposed to operate and the involvement of Israeli intelligence. Up to that point, the possibility that the U.S. or Israel was behind the cyberattacks on Iran’s computers was pure speculation. In effect, the Times story provided Iran with a roadmap on U.S. efforts to defeat its nuclear bomb efforts.
    • Another front-page New York Times article in 2011 disclosed that the Obama administration had agreed to sell to Israel bunker-buster bombs capable of destroying buried targets, including suspected nuclear weapons sites in Iran.
    The Bush administration had rebuffed Israeli requests for the bombs. But word of Obama’s sale to Israel came soon after Republican Bob Turner captured the U.S. House seat vacated by the resignation of scandal-marred Anthony Weiner in a Queens, N.Y., district with a large Jewish population. 

    Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch cited Turner’s election in a Newsmax column explaining why he had decided to back Obama for re-election in 2012. He referred to a New York Times article reporting that the United States had agreed to back Israel’s call for a return to negotiations with the Palestinians without preconditions, saying the agreement was “affected” by Turner’s win, and stating that “the president should be praised” for “providing the Israeli military with bunker buster bombs” — a clear reference to the Times story about the bombs that had the effect of bucking up Jewish support for Obama.

    The leaks — which have accelerated as Obama’s re-election efforts have stumbled — have provoked bipartisan outrage.

    “In recent weeks, we have become increasingly concerned at the continued leaks regarding sensitive intelligence programs and activities including specific details of sources and methods,” said a joint statement released by the top members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Select Committee on Intelligence. 

    “The accelerating pace of such disclosures, the sensitivity of the matters in question, and the harm caused to our national security interests is alarming and unacceptable,” said the statement from Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. — the chair and ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee — and Reps. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, D-Md. – the chair and ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

    “These disclosures have seriously interfered with ongoing intelligence programs and have put at jeopardy our intelligence capability to act in the future. Each disclosure puts American lives at risk, makes it more difficult to recruit assets, strains the trust of our partners, and threatens imminent and irreparable damage to our national security in the face of urgent and rapidly adapting threats worldwide.”

    Republican Rep. Peter King of New York, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told the New York Post that the leaking of vital secrets reflects an “amateur hour” style of management at the White House.

    “It’s a pattern that goes back two years, starting with the Times Square bomber, where somebody in the federal government, probably the FBI, leaked his name before he was captured,” he said.

    Read more on Pattern of White House Leaks Threatens Nation’s Security 
    Important: Do You Support Pres. Obama's Re-Election? Vote Here Now!

    Are we talkin’ ’bout the same folks who barred Israel from participation in The Global Counter-Terrorism Forum, while allowing ten – TEN – Muslim nations at the thirty-place table ?
    Yeah, it’s the same folks.

    Iran must be stopped-hegemonic ambitions

    Clinton: Iran Has "Hegemonic Ambitions"
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Washington on Tuesday, said: "There is a unified position being presented by the P5+1 that gives Iran, if it is interested in taking a diplomatic way out, a very clear path that would be verifiable and would be linked to action for action." "The Russians have made it very clear that they expect the Iranians to advance the [upcoming] discussion in Moscow, not to just come, listen, and leave."
        "The continuing effort by the Iranians to extend their influence and to use terror as a tool to do so extends to our hemisphere and all the way to East Asia. So the threat is real. We're dealing with a regime that has hegemonic ambitions. Those who live in the near neighborhood are well aware of that."  (U.S. State Department)

    Wednesday, June 13, 2012

    Iran marches right along playing us for fools and no one is discussing!

    In Negotiating over Nukes, Iran Holds the Upper Hand - Ilan Berman
    Iranian officials have defiantly rejected the idea that they might stop enriching uranium to 20%, as per U.S. and European demands. Instead, all the parties at the Baghdad talks managed to do was agree to meet again for more talks later this month in Moscow. That outcome isn't cost-free. It provides Iran with diplomatic breathing room, and delays - at least temporarily - the application of significant additional economic pressure on Iran by the U.S. and its allies.
        With the U.S. presidential election looming this fall, Washington sees negotiations as a net benefit, at least for the moment. So, too, does Iran. A protracted negotiating track confers tremendous benefit to the Iranian regime, providing it precious time to continue work on its nuclear program and adapt its economy to better weather international sanctions.
        That's why Iran - for all of its bluster to the contrary - is likely to remain engaged in the current round of talks with the West. From Iran's perspective, diplomacy is indeed succeeding. Having agreed to reopen talks with Tehran, the U.S. and its allies now find themselves locked in protracted negotiations that play to Iran's timetable. The writer is vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council.(Forbes)

    Presbyterians want to divest-help

    Please join me in taking a stand for peace and against anti-Israel divestment. 

    I just signed a groundbreaking letter to delegates of the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s General Assembly this June who will be considering a divestment measure. Divestment was rejected by United Methodist Church this spring. Previously, the Episcopal and Lutheran (ELCA) churches have rejected similar measures - but it may pass in the Presbyterian Church (USA). 

    Please join me and click either of the links this note.

    I am making this request both on behalf of peace in the Middle East and to help preserve and strengthen not weaken our relationship with the Presbyterian Church (USA). I am worried that the relationship between our community and the Presbyterian Church is at stake. The letter expresses our collective hope for peace and partnership. There is much that our communities can do to repair our world and to bring peace to a land that yearns for it. Unfortunately, there are those who are recommending a different path – one that acts out conflict rather than promote reconciliation. 

    If you decide to sign the letter, and I hope you do, after using the link to affix your own signature, please send it on to your own personal and organizational lists. We would like to send this letter to our Presbyterian friends prior to their convention which begins at the end of June.

    Again, thank you for any consideration of this request. 


    Sunday, June 10, 2012

    The Kings of Israel in the Bible

    The melekhim of the Southern KingdomYahudah (which also included Benyhamine & Shimon as well as theLevites) reigned between 931 to 586 when the Babylonian Galut/ Exile occured due to disobedience/ unfaithfulness to The Holy One.  During this era, some kings were relatively good.  It is recorded in Scripture that Hezekiah was the best (which could possibly include David, although Very doubtful).  Hezekiah's ben, Manasseh was exceedingly rah/ evil.  Josiah was a very good king & was taught by Levites.  However, later in his life, not so good. Other somewhat good (at least not exceedingly evil) kings were AsaYehosaphatJoashAmaziahUzziah(Azariah) & Jotham.  It appears that Zedekiah (who was very evil/ never ever any good at all) could have saved the First Temple, but did not.

    The kings of the Northern Kingdom (which was destroyed in 722 BCE by the Assyrians due to disobedience/ unfaithfulness/ evil) where all of the kings were very bad, existed between 931 to 712 or 722 BCE.

    Jeroboam, bad, 930-909 B.C.
    Nadab, bad, 909-908 B.C.
    Baasha, bad, 908-886 B.C.
    Elah, bad, 886-885 B.C.
    Zimri, bad, 885 B.C.
    Tibni, bad, 885-880 B.C.
    Omri (overlap), extra bad, 885-874 B.C.
    Ahab, the worst, 874-853 B.C.
    Ahaziah, bad, 853-852 B.C.
    Joram, bad mostly, 852-841 B.C.
    Jehu, not good but better than the rest, 841-814 B.C.
    Jehoahaz, bad, 814-798 B.C.
    Joash, bad, 798-782 B.C.
    Jeroboam II (overlap), bad, 793-753 B.C.
    Zechariah, bad, 753 B.C.
    Shallum, bad, 752 B.C.
    Menahem, bad, 752-742 B.C.
    Pekahiah, bad, 742-740 B.C.
    Pekah (overlap), bad, 752-732 B.C.
    Hoshea, bad, 732-722 B.C.

    Rehoboam, bad mostly, 933-916 B.C.
    Abijah, bad mostly, 915-913 B.C.
    Asa, GOOD, 912-872 B.C.
    Jehoshaphat, GOOD, 874-850 B.C.
    Jehoram, bad, 850-843 B.C.
    Ahaziah, bad, 843 B.C.
    Athaliah, devilish, 843-837 B.C.
    Joash, good mostly, 843-803 B.C.
    Amaziah, good mostly, 803-775 B.C.
    Uzziah, GOOD mostly, 787-735 B.C.
    Jotham, GOOD, 749-734 B.C.
    Ahaz, wicked, 741-726 B.C.
    Hezekiah, THE BEST, 726-697 B.C.
    Manasseh, the worst, 697-642 B.C.
    Amon, the worst, 641-640 B.C.
    Josiah, THE BEST, 639-608 B.C.
    Jehoahaz, bad, 608 B.C.
    Jehoiakim, wicked, 608-597 B.C.
    Jehoiachin, bad, 597 B.C.
    Zedekiah, bad, 597-586 B.C.

    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    Israel can't trust Obama to stop Iran

    Israel and the U.S. in Disagreement over Iran - Zaki Shalom
    All the efforts to dissuade Iran from continuing to develop nuclear capabilities have failed to bear fruit. Israel welcomes the expansion of the sanctions that are scheduled to be imposed against Iran in the coming weeks, yet it does not pin great hopes on the ability of the sanctions to stop Iran's nuclear activity. There is little hope that the negotiations of recent weeks, as well as those scheduled for Moscow, can cause a transformation. Iran's attitude to the negotiations with the P5+1 does not indicate that Iran feels deterred in any way or senses any urgency.
        From the Israeli perspective, there is a conspicuous gap between the resolute tone of the Obama administration's statements on Iran and their translation into tough stances in the dialogue. Israel's timetable vis-a-vis Iran differs vastly from America's. While Israel operates out of a sense that it has very little time left, the U.S. seems to have a much longer timeframe. Furthermore, Israel is making very specific and concrete demands of Iran, much more far-reaching than those being made by the U.S.
        In the current circumstances, Israel will find it hard to place its trust in America's resolve to prevent a nuclear Iran, and not act on its own. The writer is a Principal Research Fellow at the INSS.(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)

    Wednesday, June 6, 2012

    Iran not slowed at all-Bibi today

    Bibi today 
    The Iranian nuclear program has not slowed down by one millimeter. Despite all the pressures that were applied to it. Nothing....The Iranians were only asked to stop 20% enrichment of uranium. That doesn't stop their nuclear program in any way. It actually allows them to continue their nuclear program."

    Does Obama finally get it?

    Obama: Abbas May Not Want Peace - Yitzhak Benhorin
    U.S. President Barack Obama told Orthodox Jewish leaders at the White House on Tuesday that President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians may not want a peace agreement and that he fears that the window of opportunity for a deal is closing. He expressed hope that the parties will go forward with the peace process but admitted it was possible that the Palestinians were not interested in an agreement. (Ynet News)

    Monday, June 4, 2012

    Important movie on UN

    Very important movie on UN. Please see. Note, does not mention how horrible UN is to israel. Pro Israel maker wanted to build anti UN coalition as broadly as possible.Opening in Chicago and other cities (River East 21). Also available on demand on cable TV. Click at bottom for list of cities, theaters and cable outlets

    Saturday, June 2, 2012

    Obama and Israel

    By Barry Rubin
    Get Updates From Barry Rubin
    Many Americans, and particularly Jews, are starting to receive mailings encouraging them to vote for President Barack Obama or donate to his reelection campaign of  by arguing that he is pro-Israel. Several readers have asked me to provide them with responses. Here is a brief answer.
    These emails and mailings, though designed to look as if they were written by concerned individuals, clearly draw their texts from talking points posted on the Obama reelection site. The arguments are very thin and selective but are presented as if they represent the totality of Obama policy.
    The main arguments are:
    1. Obama says he likes Israel.
    That’s nice, but so what? Of course it is good when he says nice things (by coincidence, no doubt, usually to Jewish audiences), but one can also find a lot of nasty remarks by him, his advisors, and various officials appointed by him. Every president for the last half-century has said similar nice things; not all the presidents put together during this period have said or done so many hostile things. While it is a great exaggeration to say that Obama hates Israel or wants to destroy it, I think it is fair to say that no president (including Jimmy Carter when in office) has been so cold toward Israel and basically failed to understand its nature and interests.
    2. Israeli leaders say Obama is great.
    Yes, that’s nice, but it’s not what they say in private. I can tell you authoritatively that not a single Israeli leader in any party has a high opinion of Obama with regard to Israel and its interests. But it is their job to lavish praise on America’s president. Their task is not to defeat Obama or to critique him but to get along with him as well as possible in order to protect Israel’s long-term alliance with the United States without sacrificing any of Israel’s vital interests. They’ve done it well. The one moment the truth emerged was when Obama betrayed Israel, on the diplomatic level, by announcing, without consultation, a new policy on peace terms while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was flying to Washington. You think Israeli leaders (and this is not ideological, not a matter of left or right) have a high regard for Obama? Read Netanyahu’s speech to the joint session of Congress.
    Perhaps the equation can be summarized as follows: Obama just gave Israeli President Shimon Peres a presidential medal of freedom. He also has just helped give Israel a second Muslim Brotherhood-dominated regime next door and insists that this is a good thing.
    3. U.S.-Israel bilateral relations are good especially with regard to military aid.
    That’s true, but only a small part of that relates to Obama’s benevolence. Why?
    a.  Congress supports Israel. There was more pushback against Obama from Democratic members on this issue than on any other, foreign or domestic. Thus, Israel is the only “target” of Obama whose constituency has vocal defenders within his own party that raise the cost of his actions against it, at least during his first term. (Note that last phrase.)
    b. The same applies to public opinion, which is strongly pro-Israel. This factor also inhibits Obama, at least during his first term. (Note that last phrase.)
    c. Regarding military relations, the U.S. armed forces are generally quite pro-Israel and want these programs. Many of them are based on previous commitments, which Obama merely continues.
    An especially important reason why Obama’s administration hasn’t been far more hostile to Israel in practice is that the Arabs and Iran shafted his policy. Remember that Obama offered to support the Palestinians, pressure Israel, and accelerate talks if only the Arab states and Palestinian Authority showed some flexibility. They repeatedly rejected his efforts—refusing even to talk–giving him no opportunity or incentive to press Israel for concessions. Note too, though, that the repeated humiliations handed him by the Arabs never made him criticize them publicly, change his general line, or back Israel more enthusiastically.
    The same point applies to Iran. While Obama has intensified sanctions on Iran, he:
    • Did so only after a long delay.
    • Did less than Congress wanted/
    • Exempted in effect China, Russia, and Turkey from observing the sanctions.
    Obama has been visibly eager to make a deal with Tehran, even on bad terms. Only Iran’s hard line has prevented some kind of arrangement that favored Iran. Instead, though, Tehran has used Obama’s slowness and desire for some compromise in order to buy time for its nuclear program to progress.
    Finally, there’s the most important factor of all. The main damage Obama has done to Israeli security is neither so much in the area of  bilateral relations nor regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict but as a result of his regional policy in the Middle East. This includes his:
    • Soft line toward antisemitic, anti-Israel, and also anti-American Islamism.
    • Support for overturning the Mubarak regime and encouragement for a Muslim Brotherhood takeover there. During the 2011 crisis, Obama never even consulted Israel. The outspoken antisemitism, calls for genocide against Israel’s citizens, and support for anti-Israel terrorism by the Muslim Brotherhood have had no effect on Obama’s policy and brought no criticism by the U.S. government of that movement.
    This point must be underlined. Do not forget for one moment that the Brotherhood is an explicitly antisemitic movement that calls for genocide against Jews in and often outside of Israel. It has never to the tiniest degree criticized or repented for its strong support for Nazi Germany. It is in fact that most important antisemitic movement in the world today. Anyone who claims that this movement is in fact moderate (denying its antisemitism and genocidal intentions) and helps it to achieve power is acting profoundly against the interests of Israel and of the Jewish people. Period.
    • His soft line toward Hizballah in Lebanon, including breaking promises made to Israel to keep terrorists out of south Lebanon.
    • Pressure on Israel to reduce sanctions on the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip greatly empowered that radical antisemitic movement.
    • The Obama administration has been passive about the Fatah-Hamas merger and has virtually never criticized or pressured the Palestinian Authority.
    • By distancing himself from Israel–something everyone in the world knows except about 60 percent of American Jews–he has encouraged Israel’s enemies to be bolder and others to  move away from support for Israel, too.
    • One of his worst actions has been to come close to worshipping Turkey’s Islamist regime despite its tremendous hostility toward Israel. Obama’s passivity has helped turn the Turkey-Israel alliance into something verging on cold war. Since the Turkish regime continues to be rewarded by Obama despite doing things like getting Israel barred from the NATO meeting and indicting Israeli officers over the Gaza flotilla confrontation, Ankara has no incentive to stop or reduce its enmity.
    • In Syria, he has supported the installation of an Islamist leadership for the opposition movement, posing a tremendous potential future danger for Israel.
    • Regarding Iran, Obama was very slow to take up the battle against the nuclear weapons campaign. Despite the relatively high level of sanctions (for which Congress deserves a lot of the credit), one can well doubt his future determination to battle Tehran. He also failed to support the Iranian opposition.
    • And by weakening American credibility and alliances, Obama has undermined the U.S. ability to protect its own interests which, in turn, hurts Israel’s security.
    There’s a lot more and each of the factors above can be amplified with lots of examples and documentation. All of this far overwhelms the very short  “pro-Obama” list.
    Did I mention that during a second term he won’t need to worry about fundraising or running for election again?