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Total number of comments: 1850 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:38)

Mark Koroi

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  • Syrian Baath Escalates, Uses Jets to Bomb Aleppo
    • If Assad does command his formidable air force and army in a massive assault against his own people he will also risk international intervention. That would be in addition to the well-taken point that it will further alienate him from the Syrian people whose loyalties are now strained.

      Russia needs to take a more active leadership role to defuse the crisis, especially since they have an armed presence in Syria and Assad's forced removal by rebels could likely dameage Russian interests.

  • Could Michelle Bachmann cost Romney the Presidency?
    • Some good points.

      While Arab-American voters, like most minorities, trend Democrat, the fact is they are hardly monolithic. Palestinian-Americans are heavily Republican but other Arab and Muslim constituencies tend to favor Democratic interests, not unlike Hispanic voters, who are predomiinantly Democratic - except Cuban-Americans.

      Remember the political hot potato in 2000 when the Cuban-American community in Florida galvanized in a pro-Bush push following the Elian Gonzalez debacle. After Bush was initially (but premaurely) declared the winner by the network news reporters, the first thing he did was call to thank the Cuban-American chairman of the Florida Republican Party. The Elian Gonzalez affair changed the course of the American presidency for the next eight years.

      The realities are that Arab and Muslim voters are prevalent in swing states such as Ohio, Michigan and Florida. Remember in 1948 when Harry Truman got large Jewish support at the polls in swing states such as Illinois for his advocacy of the declaration of the State of Israel early that year. There is no reason for the GOP to alienate a potential source of support this election year.

  • Your Government's 92 Million Secrets are Safe . . . from You! (Engelhardt)
    • Those numbers do not take into account that many other federal agencies contain intelligence divisions that are members of the U.S. intelligence community that share intelligence with the agencies listed above.

      Those federal agencies having substantial intelligence sections include, but are certainly not limited to, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Marshals Service, the Internal Revenue Service and the Defense Department (via the Defense Intelligence Agency).

  • Is Michele Bachmann an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood?
    • Not too surprising when you consider that many other political heavyweights like Rudy Giuliani have also been recruited to support this bizarre Islamo-Marxist group that many have characterized as a cult.

      It has been stated that a number of Jewish-American organizations have been trying to garner aid to this group for the reason that they are opposing the Iranian government and have been involved in paarmilitary operations against those interests .

      There have also been reports that this group has been receiving training from the U.S. military and intelligence communities.

      What is so unique is that the West, even the U.S., has been so successful in winning the Cold War that they are now willing to promote Communist ideologues - and bizarre ones at that - who are intent in toppling a foreign oil-producing power. I wonder if this is the first time in American history that military assistance was rendered to a Marxist insurgent group.

    • Very good point.

      There have been only a few Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel that were from Marxist organizations - the vast majority were from the Islamic Jihad or Hamas groups - whose positions largely track the Quran.

      It was like the Catholic Church's pronouncement that Catholics were not allowed in leadership posts the Marxist Sandinista government in Nicaragua. The two groups have irreconcialable tenets.

  • Fighting Spreads to Damascus; but is it a Turning Point
    • A major turning point in the Libyan civil war was when a Libyan Army comamnder defending the capital of Tripoli joined forces with the rebels.

      If that happens here Dr.Assad may be forced to flee Damascus.

      For his own safety, it would likely be better for him if he resigned and went into exile - like Idi Amin in Saudi Arabia. Otherwise, he is delaying the inevitable while his countrymen are dying in a civil war.

      I suspect that various foreign intelligence agencies may be involved in providing covert aid to the rebels.

  • Jimmy Carter's Greatest Victory: Guinea Worm on Verge of Extinction
    • I would agree that Carter has done more since leaving office than any other past American president.

      I believe he deserved a Nobel Peace Prize as president for his role in negotiating the Camp David Accords not to mention his criticism of South American governments on the use of torture.

      He has been a stern critic of Israel for punishing the Gazan populace due to their election of Hamas representatives as their lawful government.

      Jimmy Carter has been an exemplary world citizen and this is another fine example of public good he is responsible for.

  • Morsi Reaffirms Israel Peace Treaty to Clinton
    • The Muslim Brotherhood's offshoot in Gaza - Hamas - has suggested that a two-state solution may be possible - however the ruling Likud Party has refused to undertake direct negotiations with Hamas. Labor Party leader MK Amir Peretz, a former defense minister in Isreal, has supported direct peace talks with Hamas.

      Israel had assasssinated Sheikh Yassin shortly after he announced the possibility of a two-state solution.

      The Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas are keys to any prospective peace pact between Israel and the Palestinians.

  • On Denying "Radicals" Due Process (Fighting Bob LaFollette Poster)
    • Excellent quote.

      Almost 100 years later those words have current application to our federal goverment.

  • Top Five Reasons Israel is Losing the Public Relations Battle
    • Solzhenitsyn claimed the quality of life of a political prisoner under the czar in Siberia was superior to that of the average unincarcerated Soviet citizen under Stalin.

      Compare the 1975 Khmer Rouge depopulation of the major Cambodian cities at gunpoint so the evacueees could relocate to the countryside to form collectives with the Plan Dalet planned and endorsed by David Ben-Gurion and other leading Zionists. Ben-Gurion had heated exchanges with other Jewish leaders, including Marek Edelman, the only surviving commander of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, with the proposal of creaing a Jewish state. Dr. George Habash's family was forced with other residents of his hometown of Lydda to leave at gunpoint and walked for three days without food or water to reach Arab lines. Deir Yassin, the Arab Muslim village near Jerusalem, declared itself neutral and militarily repulsed an Arab militia before the Irgun terror gang came in and massacred several hundred residents. The Irgun actually wanted the incident publicized so that it would facilitate Arabs to abandon their towns due to the terror the episode instilled. Haifa was depopulated of most of its Arabs as was Jaffa. Many of the Arab families that inhabit Gazan refugee camps today are originally from Jaffa.

    • An excellent article.

      "Administrative detention" was a legal concept promoted by the Soviet Union to suppress "counter-revolutionary" conduct by its citizens. Under this legal theory persons who were merely "doubtful" could be held by the authorities in camps where "concentrations" of these prisoners would be detained - hence the term "concentration camp". This system was described in great detail in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago trilogy.

      Solzhenitzyn descibed how a friendly and trusting people under the supervision of a benevolent czar had the fabric of their society torn apart by Marxist elements who were largely criminals and sharp operators financed by the Kaiser.

      In his book "From Beirut to Jerusalem", Thomas Friedman likewise describes Palestine under the British Mandate as two peoples - Jewish and Arab - who peacefully coexisted for 2,000 years who were subjected to European Jews who were extremely shrewd in the formulation and execution of a plan to dispossess Arabs for the benefit of those Zionists who wanted to create a nation that was constructed for the primary advantage of Zionists. The kibbutzes that were Jewish-only and separatist land development programs of the Jewish National Fund would be repugnant to an American-style democracy. Plan Dalet, described by Professor Ilan Pappe (formerly a listed Knesset candidate of the Meretz Party, now residing in Britain)

      The existence of J-Street, Machsom Watch and B'tselem organizations are examples of Jews criticizing Israeli government conduct. Shimon Peres concluded several years ago that Hamas could never be defeated by the IDF, that it would have been done long ago if it were feasible. Much like the U.S. trying to destroy the Viet Cong. Never will happen.

      Israel cannot move any farther right politically without continuing to damage its standing in the international community. Will Avigdor Lieberman ever be elected prime minister? Will young Daphni Leef's leftist social movement in Israel translate their popularity into political power? Left wing parties such as Meretz and Hadash have expresed hope that Ms. Leef's network and ideals wll gain influence to turn the tide of Israel's political center to the left.

  • Voters in Libya: Indescribable Joy, "Libya is Free"
    • The Libyan people have a fledgling democracy.

      History teaches us that, as in Eastern Europe following the collapse of Soviet Union's hegemony, that the initial euphoria will give way to reality that a complex restructuring of the government and society itself needs to occur. Remember in Ukraine, the executive director of the State Bar of Michigan was consulted in establishing a criminal justice system in that nation (after the downfall of the Soviet government) compatible with Western standards.

      France, Great Britain, and the U.S. can all be thanked for playing a role in esatblishing a free Libya.

      The Central Intelligence Agency did not need a Phoenix program as in Vietnam, formation of death squads as in El Salvador, or employment of systematic torture to ensure the compliance of the Libyan citizenry with its goals.

  • Fox Smears Mursi with "Jerusalem Capital" Lie (Murphy)
    • Mursi also was an engineer at NASA.

      I knew a Palestinian immigrant who was in a doctoral program in engineering at USC and stated likely over 90% of the students admitted to the program were foreign-born.

      Many of the world's political leaders have been engineers - Boris Yeltsin, Yasser Arafat, Herbert Hoover, and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, to name a few.

      I expect Mursi to be a good leader of Egypt and assist in the peace process in the Middle East.

  • UN Official: CIA Drone Strikes on Rescuers a War Crime (Serle)
    • Palestinian militants and Israeli Defense Forces have been internationally vilified for targeting rescuers.

      Militants would, after a suicide bombing in Israel, have a secondary explosive device to detonate with the expectancy that rescuers would have responded. Ambulance drivers, for example in the Muhammad Al-Dura incident, were often targets of IDF soldiers for being shot at and killed.

      American military leaders have opined that the CIA program of targeted drone killings in Pakistan and Afghanisan are inappropriate and stress the U.S. Armed Forces does not engage in such conduct.

      Can we justifiedly complain if Americans working for the Red Cross are targeted by Arab militants? Or if funerals or burial sites of American servicemen were desecrated?

  • Campbell: Israeli PM Sharon Threatened Bush with Nuking Iraq (Mearsheimber & Walt vindicated)
    • Ariel Sharon was not the first to suggest nuclear weapons.

      Defense Minister Moshe Dayan suggested using them to PM Golda Meir during the Yom Kippur War when things were going badly for Israel.

      Avigdor Lieberman has expressed his consideraton for a nuclear option in Gaza.

    • Since Italy and most European nations are NATO members now, that means, per the NATO charter that an attack against one NATO member "is an attack against all" this would place the U.S. in a potential war with Israel should an Israeli attack occur against Europe.

  • Is the secret war in Yemen and Somalia secret no longer? (Woods)
    • Good to see the ACLU sees issues about the "kill list" process.

      I can remember a stir created when the NY Times #1 bestseller came out "By Way of Deception" which descibed a secret panel within the Israeli intelligence structure that authorized extrajudicial killings. The panel's existence was unknown to the Israel Supreme Court.

      Where did the U.S. kill list process originate - by "executive order"? By interpretation of federal statute? How can a chief executive order extrajudicial killings?

      Currenntly in Israel, a Palestinian militant leader can only be killed via approval of the Israeli attorney general. Britain views such actions as illegal, as does Amnesty International.

  • Libya's Problems will be Solved by more Democracy, not Less (Hilsum)
    • It is rather ironic Gaddafi's early years were viewed as idyllic by young revolutionaries throughout the world. He had been viewed as something as an Arab Che Guevara.

      It was only years later when he achieved recognition as an unstable purveyor of worldwide terrorism was he vilified almost universally both internally and externally.

      King Idris was deemed to have been not that bad after all.

  • Planned Israeli Detention Camps for Africans Draw Human Rights Protests
    • Author Thomas Friedman in his award-winning book, "From Beirut to Jerusalem", set forth that conservative Israeli politicians actually enjoy the stalemate that has occured since 1967 where those living in occupied territories have no citizenship, and hence no voting rights to influence the outcome of Israeli elections or otherwise have any say on how they are ruled. If those residing in the occupied territories, including Gaza, were conferred Israeli citizenshp, the percentage of Arab Israelis would approach 50% with a birth rate that greatly exceeds that of Jewish Israelis.

      The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan had a lecture series last October that descibed the West Bank as a morass, in a legal sense, since Jordan's prior claims to the area were legally untenable and no Israeli government wanted to annex it. It exists as a quintessential no man's land under IDF occupation and a Palestinain Authority with limited autonomy and various armed militias that have some authority by virtue of their brute force capabilities, such as Tanzim.

      Israel in an ethnic sense is a true "melting pot". Returning Jews have come in significant numbers from Europe, Iraq, Iran, Central Asia, and Yemen since the end of WWII, although in a sociological sense, Ashkenazi Jews have been the elite group that have exerted significant influence upon Israeli politics and the economy, whereas Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews have complained as being treated like second-class citizens. Only four American-born Jews have ever sat in the Knesset, wheras in recent years, Jews from Eastern Europe have achieved political success, including Avigdor Lieberman.

      Israeli's major weakness in the eyes of the world has been its treatment of its minorities, in a legal and sociological sense. The world community became acutely aware of this during the First Intifada and ongoing external pressure has failed to bring about meaningful change. The Jewish community in Israel enjoyed high moral standing in the world community in the years following the Holocaust and the establishment of Israel, but that standing has progressively dwindled due to perceived insensitivity to its minority populations.

  • 83 Dead in Syrian Military Repression
    • When will the United Nations Security Council consider dpoloying a peacekeeping force?

  • Syria and the Rise of the Death Squad
    • Not only El Salvador, but the CIA-trained and supplied intelligence network known as "Operation Condor" in its heyday in the 1970s that attempted to suppress left-wing activists, labor leaders and others in the "panhandle" area of South America by abduction, torture, and murder resulted in the deaths of at least 60,000 governmet opponents.

      Operation Condor was largely successful in keeping in place pro-West anti-communist elected governments and military juntas in that region.

  • Despite Airport Incident, Henry Kissinger is Wrong about Libya
    • I believe there is little doubt that the Libyan people - and the world community - are better off without the Qaddafi regime.

      Billions of dollars in petroleum revenues were skimmed by Qaddafi and his henchman and diverted out of the country that could have been used for infrastructure to aid the Libyan populace. Much like Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

      All the naysayers that Al-Qaeda would control or significantly influence a new Libyan government appear to be off-base. The oft-quoted "political center" of the Libyan revolution supporters appears to gravitate toward a Western-style democracy.

  • CIA ‘revives attacks on rescuers’ in Pakistan (Woods)
    • Remember the international outrage when gunfire broke out in 1980 at the El Salvador funeral of Archbishop Romero? It galvanized opinion against the ultraconservative death squads.

      Remember the Goldstone Commission report that told of the Israeli army firing artillery into a mosque during services on the pretext that it held war materiel? It brought worldwide revulsion?

      The CIA drones involvement in targeted assassnations at funerals and religious services is antithetical to U.S. interests. It will serve to aid in increasing sympathy for Al-Qaeda among local Muslims in taht region.

  • Thousands Demonstrate in Alexandria Against Shafiq as Egypt Faces Election Turmoil
    • Mursi can be expected to win in a general election.

      It is possible by the end of this year a Muslim Brotherhood-controlled government may control Syria if Assad leaves office.

    • Mubarak's sons were reportedly acquitted.

  • Top Ten Reasons Romney Shouldn't Arm Syrian Rebels
    • There is a very powerful Christian fundametalist community in the United States that teaches that the State of Israel's existence is of divine origin and must be blindly supported as a Christian imperative.

      Thomas Friedman, in his award-winning book "From Beirut to Jerusalem" touched upon this topic when he opined that Israeli leaders are not aware that these Christian fundamentalist groups, primarily Baptist and Pentecostal, generally have no affinity to Israel in identifying with them in a political sense, but rather see Israel as a religious state that carries with it both theological and eschatological significance.

    • I have heard Hafez Assad previously labeled "Alawite".

  • Satellite Images Show Syrian Army Siege of Houla (BBC)
    • Russia lost a major strategic ally when Iraq was invaded by Allied forces in 2003 and Syria is currently Russia's most prominent ally in the Middle East.

      The base at Tartous is invaluable to Russia.

      Look for Russia to try to broker some peace deal that will allow them to maintain their presence in Syria.

    • The link to the article on possible Israeli military intervention alludes to the Assad govenment acting as a conduit for Iranian-supplied weaponry to Hezbollah operatives inside Lebanon.

      It would not surprise me if Israel was directly or indirectly giving aid to the Free Syrian Army just like they have been alleged to aiding anti-government rebels inside Iran - the MEK. Israel may perceive that a post-Assad government blocking the flow of arms to Hezbollah may be an ideal situation.

  • How Obama changed definition of ‘civilian’ in secret drone wars (Woods)
    • Good point.

      Osama bin Laden was a defendant under federal grand jury indictment in a United States District Court when he was killed under questionable circumstances by the American military. The U.S. has, per Anmesty International, never articulated any cogent valid legal theory upon which they justify bin Laden's killing.

      It seems that if the U.S. would have tried to capture him, they may have extracted some good intelligence from him as they did with Saddam Hussein.

    • Targeted assassination is bad policy.

      It justifies the enemy having at least moral standing to retaliate against the government conducing the policy.

      In Israel, it was the government policy of extrajudicial assassination of Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders that led to the proliferation of suicide bombings and other armed attacks from 2000-2005 that led to 1,000 Israelis being killed. Israeli cabinet minister and former general Revaham Ben Ze'evi, who was the key official advocating targeted kilings was himself assassinated in retaliation for the IDF helicopter gunship attack on Poplular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Ali abu Mustafa in his office in Ramallah, in which he died.

      Amnesty International just released a report in which it held that the killing of Osama bin Laden violated international law. It also held that the U.S. government's reliance on torture was likewise illegal and warranted the arrest of then-President Bush when he visited Canada. The report, lastly, cited excessive lockdown conditions and use of the death penalty in the U.S.

      America should not be in the business of targeted extrajudicial assassinations, torture, or inhumane confinements. We are the supposed leader of the "Free World". Implementation of such barbarism encourages others to inflict similar conduct upon Americans.

  • Syria: Famine and Civil War
    • Russia and China, as permanent members of the UN Security Council, have the ability to veto any effective way of ending the atrocities comitted by Assad's forces.

      Russia, having a valuable naval base on the Mediterranean Sea, has every motivation to keep Assad in power in Damascus. A new regime in Damascus would leave Russo-Syrian relations in a very dubious position.

      There is no doubt Assad is an embarrassment to the concept of a participatory democracy and will likely never voluntarily step down absent extraordinary opposition pressure by the Syrian people and the international community.

  • Code Pink Takes on Obama's Drones (Woods)
    • Did the U.S. Congress declare a state of war against Al-Qaeda? I think not.

      Would it be OK for U.S.intelligence to fire drones to kill IRA leaders pursuant to an undeclared "War on Terror"? That is silly, especially given the political clout of the Irish-American community.

      Is it not a violation of the Neutrality Act to kill a foreign national in a country the U.S. is not in a state of declared war with? The Neutrality Act was cited by former FBI agent William Turner in his book "Fish is Red" to suggest that the covert war against Cuba during Operation Mongoose was illegal but that federal, stae and local law enforcemnt had an understanding of non-enforcement with the CIA.

      The last time I recall any governmental entity targeted an explosive on a group of American citizens was the Philadelphia police department during the MOVE crisis. That series of events wound up in millions of dollars in wrongful death suit payouts. Innocent children were among the dead.

      Should the U.S. compensate innocent bystanders who have been injured or killed during these drone attacks? Some Palestinians had attempted legal actions when the Israeli Air Force had an F-16 drop a half-ton bomb on an apartment complex in an attempt to assassinate a Hamas military wing leader and left scores of innocent dead and wounded.

    • According to a recent spate of articles published today, President Obama orders the extrajudicial killing of suspected Al-Qaeda operatives when no state of war exists between Al-Qaeda and the U.S.

      JFK and RFK when supervising the CIA and Army Intelligence-led Operation Mongoose took great pains to provide a plausible argument that the U.S. government was not attempting to kill Castro, that the U.S. was simply assisting Cuban exiles to overthrow the Castro regime, who themselves would only be harming Castro as incident a legal internal civil war.

      According to the NY Times #1 best-seller "By Way of Deception", the author, a former Israeli intelligence officer, set forth that an internal council within the Mossad heard requests to assassinate individuals and engaged in an approval process; this process and the existence of this council was unknown to the Israel Supreme Court.

      Recently, the Mossad, in one of the Arabian Peninsula oil-producing states, was fingered by local law enforcement in the killing of a Hamas official. Interpol warrants went out for numerous Israeli agents and one was arrested in Poland who had played a key support role in procuring phony passports for the killers. There was a question of possible issuance of arrest warrants for former Mossad chief Meir Dagan as well as PM Netanyahu, but the matter died down.

      This recent admission that our chief executive regularly authorizes the extrajudicial assassination of both U.S. and foreign nationals upon the application of U.S. intelligence officials is unprecedented.

      What legal authority gives Obama the ostensible right to do this? After the Church Committee investigated the CIA's involvement in assassinations of foreign leaders, President Ford issued an executive order barring such actions.

      What is the specific application process, who approved this process, and is their a mechanism of judicial review?

      What standards, if any, exist before a person can be placed on a "death list". Given the history like the Iraqi "Curveball" informant, it is clear that Pentagon and CIA operatives in foreign countries often make up information to give the U.S. defense and intelligence community the information it wants to hear. The sour experience the U.S. has had with the Iraqi National Congress should emphasize that second and third-hand unverified information should be the basis for ordering a drone assassination. The fact that a number of Iraqi leaders whose faces appeared on the famous "Deck of Cards" eventually were cleared in judicial proceedings and released shows that the U.S.government is not infallible in who it accuses of nefarious conduct.

      Even Fidel Castro, whom it is now asserted had private hit squad that conducted killings of various anti-Casrto elements - such as Anastaio Somoza in his Paraguayan exile -exercised extreme care to ensure these assassinations would not be liked to himself. Obama makes no such pretense here.

      There should be Freedom of Information Act requests to gather evidence to determine if any laws have violated during this "process".

      This candid revelation begs the question - "Who else has the U.S. government recently killed without legislative or judicial oversight."

    • Drone attacks are a method of extrajudicial assassination.

      What is the legal line here? Where is to be drawn?

      Can drones be used against U.S. citizens? Apparently, yes.

      Can drones be used against European terror suspects? Of course not! That would cause international outrage.

      Can drones be used in the U.S. against domestic terror suspects? Apparently not.

      Who has the authority to call a drone strike? Maybe a CIA general counsel can tell us.

      Have drone strikes been used against children? Yes.

      Is it OK if some bystanders have their lives or safety at risk due to another being targeted by a drone strike. Yeah, probably - it is done all the time.

      Have their been any court actions to test the legality of drone strike assassinations? Apparently not.

  • Will Houla be al-Assad's My Lai? Artillery Massacre of Children in Syria
    • Thank you for your report!

    • I do not think the My Lai incident turned the American public against the Vietnam War. American opinion went against the war when they witnessed the Tet Offensive in their living rooms via the national news outlets in January/February of 1968.

      I always figured it ironic that Americans have been oblivious to the massive scale human rights violations in Syria going back decades.

      More were killed by Syrian armed forces in the massacre at Hama in the 1980s than died in either the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in 1982 or during 9/11 in NYC but almost no Americans have ever even heard of the incident outside the diplomatic and academic communities in the U.S. That massacre was in response to the Muslim Brotherhood killing members of Assad's security services.

      The world media has done a poor job of reporting on and emphasizing the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Assad regime. Without consistent reporting by media giants there will be insufficient outrage aroused to spur the U.N. and its constituent members to action in intervening in Syria.

      So far Senator John McCain has been the most vocal member of Congress supporting giving aid to the rebels. However, the Obama administration, dealing with economic problems and being embroiled in conflicts in Afghanistan and Libya recently, is understanably reluctant to plunge into another civil disorder.

  • Is the Egyptian 2010s a Replay of the American 1960s?
    • ".....a Brotherhood government in Egypt that stood up for the Palestinians would be a positive step."

      Agreed. Anwar Sadat was never a hero in mainstream Palestinian society; in fact, he was much more respected by the Israeli public. The Camp David Accords did little or nothing to improve the welfare of Palestinians.

      Additionally, part of the quid pro quo for the Arab states diplomatic support of the U.N. coalition against Saddam Hussein in 2003 was the promise of U.S. assistance in the establishment of a Palestinian state - this never materialized.

      The U.S. and Egyptian governments' failure to apply pressure on Israel to enforce human rights and grant autonomy to Palestinians has led to a political stalemate in which Palestinian citizens of Israel and West Bank Arabs are deprived of any significant degree of basic civil rights. Further, as confirmed in Wikileaks-released leaked diplomatic cables between Israel and the United States, the Israeli government has admittedly attempted to economically strangle Gaza to a point of the brink of a humanitarian crisis. The Gazan fishing industry is near a point of collapse due to intentional Israeli meddling. Gazans have claimed that the greenhouses of Gush Katif that were abandoned by settlers and maintained due the efforts of the William Gates foundation have generated significant vegetable production - but that the Isareli government thwarted these efforts by refusing entry of such Gazan produce.

      Egypt's silence on the suffering of Palestinians would likely end if a Muslim Brotherhood-controlled government came to power in that nation. The Muslim Brotherhood - parent organization to Hamas - would likely be a significant and positive influence to all Palestinians living under Israeli occupation or Hamas rule.

  • Egypt's Presidential Election: Between Revolution and Counter-Revolution
    • The anticipated Mursi-Fotouh campaign alliance bodes well for the prospect of seeing the Muslim Brotherhood acquire dramatic influence in a projected Egyptian government.

      That scenario could result in a very postive by-product for Hamas in Gaza.

  • Israeli Squatters fire with Impunity at Palestinian civilians as Israeli Army watches
    • This is reminiscent of the Jim Crow-era South when law enforcement officers like Sheriff "Bull" Connor allowed racist segrgationists a free fifteen minutes of time to attack civil rights demonstrators.

      The deliberate indifference in the video exhibited by the IDF is appalling. It is videos like this that hurt Israel's public image on the international level.

  • Time Magazine Cover asks if Bibi Netanyahu will Make Peace... 1996
    • Netanyahu came to power as PM in 1996 as a surprise since it was assumed that the national mourning over the death of Yithzab Rabin would translate into his successor, liberal Labor Party leader Shimon Peres into easy retention of the prime minister's seat he assumed after Rabin's assassination at the hands of a right-wing extremist.

      The series of bus bombings in retaliation over the Israeli kiling of Hamas leader Yehia Ayyash, however, turned public opinion toward Netanyahu.

      "Bibi" has done very little to advance the peace process and has been seen as one who supports the settler movement.
      Jimmy Carter has stated that he believes the the potential exists for Netanyahu to achieve significant gains toward Middle East peace, as Menachem Begin had effectuated in the 1970s as a Likud leader.

      His only achievement with the Palestinians was the Palestinian prisoner exchange for Gilad Shalit, which ha popular support among both Israelis and Palestinians.

      Currently, the political center of Israel has shifted left and a "March of a Million" is scheduled for mid-July to oppose internal Israeli government policies. 25 year old Daphni Leef, a leftist social activist who pledged not to serve in the IDF despite mandatory service, has toured the U.S. giving lectures on her activities. Meretz and Labor were expected to gain Knesset seats if an early election had been called this year - which it was not.

      The right-wing in Israel is losing some ground - but Bibi remains in solid charge.

  • Analysis: Why we must name all drone attack victims (Woods)
    • There have been plenty of suspicious deaths in the Cuban exile community but brazenly open homicide by Castro agents is something that is unknown withing American boundaries.

      Former Cuban president Carlos Prio was shot to death in Florida in what was ruled a suicide while Congressional investigators from the House Select Committee on Assassinations were about to question him.

      Former Cuban congressman Eladio Del Valle was killed as he was about to be questioned by the New Orleans District Attorney's Office in the Clay Shaw investigation. That homicide remains unsolved.

      But no, no confirmed killings by Castro's agents in the U.S.

    • What legal authority gives the CIA the right to determine who lives or dies? Where is the line to be drawn and who has discretion to order a drone assassination?

      This classic extrajudicial assassination that Israel conducts regularly. The Israeli Attorney General has the power to sign a death warrant, so the executive branch of the Israeli government can order killings by itself.

      American were shocked in 1975 when the Church Commitee revealed our government regular kills people during peace time. Why is it OK to kill Pakistani or Arab "terrorists" but the CIA has apparently never ordered the killing of an IRA or other European violent group member engaged in arguably illegal terrorist actions?

  • New Israeli government likely won't launch Iran attack
    • Exactly, the Second Lebanon War was one which initially had popular suport among both Israelis and Jewish-American pro-Israel activists. There was a sharp drop in that popularity when the high casualty figures began coming in for the IDF and Northern Israeli residents. 166 Israelis died in that conflict and the political and military leaders in Isarel that led it were heavily criticized by the Winograd Commission.

      Israel has not re-entered Lebanon since the conclusion of that war in the summer of 2006.

    • I would not describe Meretz as center-left.

      They are Israel's equivalent of the Green Party, although they are Zionist in orientation, unlike the U.S. Green Party.

      I expect the Mofaz plan on the Palestinian issue to be unrealistic and go nowhere.

      Contiuing the status quo in the West Bank has been the Israeli government plan for decades while beefing up settlement activity.

  • Power and Money in America (Noam Chomsky)
    • A very succinct yet accurate description of American society.

      The semi-skilled and unskilled factory jobs that sustained families in the 1950s and 1960s are gone. Many of those families have parents that are toiling in menial jobs at low wages and are fortunate to be keeping their heads above water financially let alone enjoying a decent standard of living.

      Further, about 10 trillion dollars in Saudi investment plus trillions more in Chinese, Japanese, and "Caribbean financial institutions" are propping up massive federal deficit spending while saturating our financial markets with funding that has left America at the mercy of Communist China and foreign banks.

      Our economy will face more crisis - and no FDR to allay American fears and cure economic calamities to come.

  • Palestinian Hunger Games
    • I remember back about 20 years ago, Israel would deport Palestinians to Lebanon and some deportees eventually decided to resist deportation by remaining at the border and refusing to leave. Well-wishers brought food to the deportees and the whole situation was a public relations nightmare for Israel.

      This situation is shaping up as another P.R. embarrasssment for the Israeli government.

  • Romney wants to Fight Whole Muslim World, not Concentrate on Bin Laden
    • It was the Muslim Brotherhood who also rose up in the Syrian city of Hama in the 1980s that led to the armed forces of Assad leveling that city and killing 5,000 of its inhabitants. That event is considered one of the great mass murders of that era.

  • Israeli Security Elite Slams Netanyahu, sidetracks War on Iran
    • Yuval Diskin's warnings should be heeded about a military attack against Iran actually backfiring and causing Iran to begin implementing a nuclear weapons program.

      During the last decade anti-terrorism experts warned the Israeli government leadership that its "targeted killings" of Hamas political leaders was imprudent as it (1)tended to create greater cohesion between Hamas and more violent Islamic gropus such as Islamic Jihad, and (2) allow Hamas' military wing more influence since the political wing was generally more conducive to peaceful negoatiations. This was disregarded and violence soared during that decade in Gaza and resulted in Hamas eventually seizing control of that region.

      Should Israel again eschew the learned advice of its security experts, it will likely pay a heavy price in the court of international opinion and pave the way for militant elements in Iran to have their way in creating a nuclear arsenal.

    • Benzion Netanyahu, who died at the age of 102, served as secretary to Ze'ev Jabotinsky early in his career. Jabotinsky believed in the ultraconservative concept of Greater Israel and is still revered within Israel, having many parks named after him.

      Binyamin Netanyahu's brother was an IDF commando killed in the 1976 Entebbe raid.

      These events undoubtedly shaped his world view.

  • "America Does not Go Abroad in Search of Monsters to Destroy" - John Quincy Adams (Poster)
    • The Roman Empire is a good analogy, but, more recently, look at the Soviet Empire that was a great military superpower thrity years age and struggles today economically.

      The organizing principle of any society is for war; the authority of the federal government over its citizenry resides in its war power and national security apparatus.

      The federal government has drained trillions of dollars of taxpayer funds in the post-WWII years for military adventurism and foreign aid and has received a negative return on many of these "investments" - incluing Indochina, Iran, Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, Italy, Pakistan, Israel, Lebanon and other locales. These funds could have been epended for education, slum clearance, industrial development, medical research, and other worthwhile domestic causes that would have boosted the standard of living in America.

    • John Quincy Adams had some wise sayings.

      I agree with him to the extent that America needs to withdraw from involvement of the internal affairs of most countries it is now deeply involved in. The conflicts and upheavals in Indochina, Cuba, Lebanon, and Libya in the preceding decades are a source of colossal wastes of taxpayers' monies.

      Syria may the next battleground that America will be supplying weapons to.

  • Rubio Calls for War on Iran, Syria-- as Israeli Army Rejects Strike
    • Some of the most sensible statements in recent years coming out of Israel has come out of the ranks of their military and intelligence agencies.

      A few years ago, four retired Shin Bet directors issued a joint statement urging political resolution to the Palestinian question, since Israel could not continue to be considered a democracy with the extraodinary security measures being implemented in Israeli society to thwart terrorism activities.

      During Operation Cast Lead and more recently during Gaza missile attacks on Southern Israel it was former IDF Chief of Staff Barak who urged the Prime Minister to exercise restraint.

      Another former IDF chief of staff, Shaul Mofaz, has urged and campaigned on a platform of a non-military option as to the Iran nuclear program in his quest for the prime minister's office as a Kadima candidate. Kadima lost the prime minister's office and multiple seats in the Knesset immmediately after the 2008-2009 Gaza incurson.

  • Top Ten Reasons Israel tried to Censor Bob Simon's Report on Palestinian Christians
    • The Christian clans from areas such Ramallah, Ramleh, Bethlehem, and Nazareth, it is important to note, co-existed with the Muslim population - and native Jewish populations in Palestine foe centuries as separate cultures that rarely intermarried but respected each other.

      The "nakba" for those in the West Bank occurred in 1967 when the IDF occupied those areas. Jordan still administered those areas by supplying welfare payments to Palestinians even up to the 1980s.

      What is interesting is that the administrative vacuum that occurred in the West Bank after 1967, things such as deed recording was taken over by the churches. The churches functioned as a form of local government.

      During the 1980s and 1990s land transactions were often made between absentee Palestinian Christian landlords in the U.S. that weere processed through the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Today however most land transactions involving the West Bank are processed via the P.L.O. Mission in Washington D.C. Many if not most of the aristocratic Palestinian Christian families in the West Bank emigrated out of that area but still transact business between each other in the U.S. relative to investment real estate in the West Bank. Almost all abhor the Israeli occupation and refuse to live under it, but have retained their Christian identity and intermarry with other Palestinian Christian clans from the same home towns while residing in the U.S. The "Ramallah Federation" is a U.S. organization of Christian clans from that town that perpetuates their culture and identity through conventions and other social events.

      The main difference I have discerned in these Christians as opposed to Palestinian Muslims is that they are a passive and peace-loving culture as opposed to the Muslims who actively are inclined to favor armed struggle against Israel and be more outspoken on these issues.

      Justin Amash, a University of Michigan law school graduate, became the first Ramallahite to be elected to U.S. Congress 1n 2010. He is a Christian. A number of other Ramallah Christian immigrants have achieved prominence in public office.

    • Dr. George Habash was an Orthodox Palestinian Christian, former leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. As was Tawfik Toubi, the longtime Knesset member from Haifa.

      I questioned many of the Christians whose families immigrated to America from the Jerusalem/Ramallah region and found that a large percentage came after the Six Day War. Most simply did not want to live under Israeli martial law and army occupation. They came on Jordanian passports although now the Palestinian Authority issues its own passport documents.

    • The Quakers in Ramallah have been there since the 1800s and educate a large percentage of the population in that city that are Christian; it is considered to be an elite school. I know a clan from Ramallah that is Seventh Day Adventist. There is also a Lutheran school that has operated in that area.

      Due to being a center of Christianity, many diverse Protestant groups have conducted missionary activities in the area, but one would be correct in assuming that Eastern Orthodoxy prevails in the Ramallah/Jerusalem area among Christian adherents and Roman Catholic adherents being the second largest Christian denomination with various Protestant groups filling out the remaining segment of the Palestinian population.

    • Having extensive contacts with the Palestinian Christian community, I know that the community is highly diverse with not only Orthodox and Catholic members but also significant numbers of Seventh Day Adventists, Lutherans, Quakers, and other denominations in Israel and the West Bank. The Armenian Apostolic Church has a significant presence in Jerusalem.

      These Palestinian Christians have sustained land expropriation, humiliating checkpoints, and other invidious forms of discrimination as Muslims have in the region.

      The great irony is that the organization once known as the Israel Communist Party, now known as Hadash, is and has been a bastion of Jewish/Christian/Muslim solidarity since the First Knesset was seated in 1949. Tawfik Toubi, a Christian journalist from Haifa, was the last surviving member of the First Knesset when he died last year; he was elected as a member of the Israel Communist Party. Hadash currently holds five seats in the Knesset. The city of Nazareth is two-thirds Muslim and votes heavily for Marxist Hadash in the Knesset elections.

      Palestinian Christians in general blame the Israeli government far more than Muslims in the region for their woes. They do, for the most part, eschew terorist and other armed resistance against Israel, however.

  • Top 5 Stories from the Arab Revolutions Today
    • The complaints in Misrata about a lack of security that had existed in totalitarian rule is common once a revolution occurs.

      Remember the 1989 Romanian Revolution as well as the decline of the Soviet empire when drug trafficking and general lawlessness flourished in the absence of a police state with such organizations as the Securitate, KGB and MVD.

      Libya is suffering many of the post-revolution pains as the forrmer Soviet republics and satellites.

  • Was this 16-year-old Drone Victim Really a Terrorist? (Chatterjee)
    • There is no state of war between Pakistan and the U.S.

      This is similar to the targeted kilings carried out by Israel in which "collateral damage" occurs.

      Western intelligence agencies do this because they can get away with it legally and diplomatically. No ambassador calling the head of state to protest, no legal action, no media swarm, no international outrage that would occur if it was done to the Irish Republican Army in Ireland or anti-Castro exiles in the U.S. or some Latin American base.

      Look at Col. Shalom Eisner who was dismissed from his IDF post and is facing a possible discharge for striking a Danish ISM activist in the face with a rifle magazine. The Danish ambassador and Western media were screaming at Israel in outrage. Look at ISM's Rachel Corrie and the protests in the State of Washington.

      99.9% of the world will likely never know that Tariq Aziz was killed as a result of crimes against humanity, nor will his family receive any compensation, nor will his killer or killers be brought to justice.

      Another faceless and anonymous victim of the "War on Terror."

  • Drones, Drones Everywhere, and now we've given them to Iran
    • The concept of translating a captured drone into a technological boon for Iran is not automatic.

      North Vietnam shot down dozens of B-52, F-111, F-4 and F-5 aircraft over its territory during the Vietnam War, but that did not translate to North Vietnam or its allies in the Communist world becoming equals to the U.S. in air power.

      The U.S. however should be honoring the air space of its allies.

      Also, to the extent that drones are deployed for targeted extrajudicial killings on foreign soil, Americans should be outraged. One CIA drone targeting and killing an alleged Al-Qaeda leader had killed many additional civilians as "collateral damage". Even some U.S. military leaders have condemned this use as drones as incompatible with American legal obligations. The British have claimed that it could never get away with the targeted killings employed by Israel; America should not get involved in the bathos of morality that Israel does by involvving itself in targeted extrajudicial assassinations.

  • Amnesia and Awakening: Israel and the Nakba (Weiss)
    • This article does not mention Plan Dalet, which was drawn up and implemented by the Haganah in 1947-48. It caused the forcible expulsion of Arabs from their homes.

      Laws were also passed by Israel barring Arabs any right of return to their residences.

      Professor Ilan Pappe, who is Jewish, is one of the top experts on these historical events and equates it with ethnic clensing.

      Author Thomas Friedman, in his book From Beirut to Jerusalem, described Israel's founding as something that could not have occurred without the exodus of Jewish refugees from Europe into Palestine as the native Jewish population in Palestine lacked the will and ability to create a new state.

      Marek Edelman, one of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, got into bitter arguments with David Ben Gurion over the decision to declare a Jewish state.

      The dispossesion of Arabs led to the creation of refugee camps where generations of Arabs have never escaped. Gaza is one of the major Arab refugee centers created by the Nakba.

      Livia Rokach's book, "Israel's Sacred Terrorism", largely based on the diaries of Moshe Sharret, longtime Israeli foreign minister who spent a few years as prime minister, described the Israeli government's role in systematically expelling and dispossessing the native Arab population and covering it up through misinformation.

      The Israeli government's long term record of human rights abuses against Palestinian Arabs is one of the greatest tragedies in post WWII history. The failure of the Israeli govrnment to heed the findings of the Goldstone Commission report, findings of Amnesty International and its own human rights organizations, including B'Tselem and Machsom Watch, have damaged Israel's credibility in the international commmunity.

  • David Frum on Gasoline Prices and Iran (bzzzt Wrong)
    • The last military incursion the U.S. had against Iran ended in American humiliation - the attempted rescue of U.S hostages in April of 1980 under the command of Green Beret Colonel Beckwith.

      One commentator pointed out that an American invasion of Iran could result in one suicide bombing per hour due to the supply of fanatics Iran can muster to attack Americans.

      Should Obama order the U.S. Armed Forces into Iran there will be serious casualties and the American public shall vote him out of office this fall.

  • Danish Ambassador Asks Israel for Explanation of Assault on Peace Activist (Video)
    • The Dane is a member of the International Solidarity Movement, organized by Roseville, Michigan resident and U-M grad Huwaida Arraf. Rachel Corrie was an ISM volunteer when she was killed by an IDF bulldozer several years ago in Rafah.

      The violence by the IDF is not surprising, but the fact it has received this much media coverage is.

    • The Dane was later interviewewd and gave his name as Andreas; he claimed his lip rquired suturing at a hospital.

  • It's Springtime in Kabul for the Taliban
    • As long as Taliban insurgent activities and Western casualties are trumpeted regularly in the press, the Taliban has achieveda major accomplishment. The strategic goal is to erode American public confidence in the occupation of Afghanistan.

      Iraqi insurgents once pointed to a camera in explaining to a journalist how they would defeat American occuaption efforts. During the Second Intifada, Gazan insurgent activated videocameras during ambushes on Israeli soldiers, which were later turned over to media organizations. Eroding the will of an occupying power's population is the key to winning an insurgency. Ho Chi Minh once stated that he would win with a 10-1 ratio of North Vietnamese versus American fatalities. Sheikh Nasrallah emerged a national hero when his forces killed 166 Israelis versus over 2,000 Lebanese killed in the Second Lebanon War.

      As long as the Taliban continue to resist in a visible manner, America cannot claim victory.

  • Egypt's Saturday Night Massacre and the Presidential Race
    • Amr Moussa is obviously the most well-known of the candidates listed, but I believe a Muslim Brotherhood member or some candidate espousing Muslim fundamentalist tendencies will have an inside track to being Egypt's next president.

  • The Syrian Army's outlaw Executions (Serle)
    • Where is the U.N. at in all this mess?

      These are war crimes and crimes against humanity that have allegedly occurred.

      Back in the 1980s Hafez Assad's military and air force killed 5,000 in the city of Hama and the world wide outcry was miniscule. It barely made the media even though it was initiated against unarmed civilians.

      How can the world community continue to ignore the allegations of extrajudicial killings and torture committed by this regime?

  • Washington's Dangerous Blockade of Iran (Cole at Tomdispatch)
    • It should be noted that MI-6, the British intelligence service, recruited the Central Intelligence Agency to overthrow Dr. Mossadegh, who was widely respected in Iran by its people. Allen Dulles oversaw Operation Ajax, which was planned by the CIA's Near East chief Kermit Roosevelt.

      Dr. Mossadegh's "offense" had been his expropriation of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. He remained under house arrest until his death in the late 1960s.

      His demise culminated in the cycle of oppression and violence that commenced with the creation of SAVAK, the Shah's secret police, and the Shah's regime's eventual overthrow by Muslim fundamentalists while the nation was ruled by President Bani-Sadr in the 1970s. The Shah and SAVAK enjoyed an intimate relationship with U.S. intelligence, particularly CIA Director Richard Helms, who later became the American ambassador to Iran under the Nixon and Ford administrations.

      The continued existence of anti-American fervor in Iran can be traced to the CIA coup of 1953.

  • Afghanistan’s Taliban – a differing view of drones (Woods)
    • Ten years ago the Bush administration was telling us that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda organizations were a distinction without a difference.

      However they emanate from different sources. Al-Qaeda came from the Saudi-backed and U.S. funded anti-communist rebels that fought the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. The Taliban actually fought the victors of the war with the Soviet-backed NMarxist regimes led by Nur Mohammed Taraki, Hafizullah Amin, and Babrak Karmal. The Taliban was largely a creature of Pakistani intelligence services and hosted Al-Qaeda once it took over.

      Important to note that the Taliban were never popularly elected but were only a militia that acquired sovereignty by force without diplomatic recognition by any nation other than Pakistan.

      The most significant difference betweeen the Taliban and Al-Qaeda organizations is cultural. The Taliban is virually monolithically Afghan, where Al-Qaeda membership is worldwide, including some Afghans, but significant percentages of not only Arabs, but Europeans from the Balkan states, Africans, and Muslim adherents from former Soviet republics.

  • Syrian Civil War Kills 160, Spills over onto Lebanon, Turkey; Will US Intervene?
    • The United States should not intervene militarily except as authorized via a duly-enacted United Nations Security Council resolution. This may not be easy, however, given the veto power of the permanent members.

      Merely supplying covert military aid may not be enough for the Free Syrian Army, as it was insufficient in Libya where air power turned the tide against the Qaddafi regime.

      A big question is whether or not the State Departrment and CIA will have a "ready-made" government flown into Syria as they tried to do with Iraq via the Iraqi National Congress. That is the key. Overthrowing a government is only half the battle for the U.S., they must then, in the turmoil, emplace an authority that will stabilize the country and be friendly to U.S. interests. Like Pinochet in Chile, Marcos in the Phillippines, the Shah in Iran, and Violeta Chamorro in Nicaragua.

      The U.S. established a $500,000,000.00 intelligence base network in Irag shortly after Saddam Hussein was ousted. The U.S. will expect some major concessions by a post-Assad regime if they render significant assistance to the Free Syrian Army.

      A major beneficiary of American involvement in this civil war would, of course, be Israel. Syria fought two bloody conflicts with Israel and technically continues to remain in a state of war with that nation. A demilitarized Golan Heights and a treaty of peace would be boon to the State of Israel and would hamper Hezbollah's ability to rearm and provide diplomatic support for.

      The U.S, should think long and hard whether or not to aid the Free Syrian Army, and if so, define the scope of such support in clear and well-defined terms to express to the American people.

  • US Pentagon Trained Iranian terrorists in Nevada: Hersh
    • Why is this any big surprise given American support of terrorist activities against our "enemies".

      Remember the book "The Fish is Red" by former FBI agent William Turner about the support by U.S. intelligence for terrorist groups trying to overthrow Fidel Castro.

      According to Noam Chomsky the CIA's Operation Mongoose not only operated to try to destabilize the Cuban government all through the 1960s but also through the 1970s and may have existed as late as when Noam completed his study on the matter in 1989. The issuance of the Church Committee report and the findings of the House Select Committee on Assassinations published in 1979 caused intense public scrutiny of those CIA activities but they continued anyway.

      The CIA actually, according to the Cuban operatives themselves, were trained in covert operations such as bombings and did strike Cuban facilities, including downing a jetliner carrying Cuban athletes in 1978 and attack against the Cuban agricultural and industrial infrastructure during those years.

      The fact that Mr. Hersh is now indicating that an anti-government Iranian group on a terrorist watchlist is being supported and trained by our own government is nothing new and therefore unsuprising as a terror group attacking U.S. enemies is the best friend of U.S. intelligence. The jihadists who engaged in a bloody insurgency against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s were trained and supplied by American intelligence. A segment of those U.S. intelligence operatives later turned against Western interests as international terrorists, including one or more of the perpetrators of the 1993 WTC bombing e.g. Ramzi Yousef. They had Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank guns when they fought the Soviets that were supplied by the U.S government. The rest is history.

      The fact that the United States government and apparently pro-Israel elements are giving support to this goofy violent group to destabilize Iran is an indication of imprudent foreign policy. If they start using this American training against Western interests to engage in terrorist activity, then the U.S. officials who authorized this training should be held accountable; in fact they should be held accountable now to the extent any laws were violated.

  • America’s new data center: The Biggest Big Brother of All (TBIJ)
    • United States District Judge Anna Diggs-Taylor of Detroit several years ago ruled the ECHELON eavesdropping program of the NSA unconstitutional but got reversed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

      There are serious questions of violtions of Fourth Amendment proscriptions against searches and seizures by this conduct of the government. Why courts would not enjoin this type of conduct is beyond me given the current scope of privacy rights granted citizens by recent United States Suprem Court opinions.

  • Videos on the Muslim Brotherhood and the Quest for Power in Egypt
    • Khairat Al-Shader had spent years in jail due to his activism in organizing the Muslim Brotherhood.

      His background is in engineering and he has been a succesful businessman.

      There is no question he enjoys public support and could be the next prime minister.

  • The Paradox of Israeli Politics: Sternfeld
    • AIPAC and dozens of other pro-Israel political ation committees make it a perception that American politicians must be beholden to them or else face their wrath at election time.

      There has been the historical thesis that Harry Truman did not, in is words, want to "inflame" the Palestinians by suppotring Israel's formation, but was advised that Jewish-Americans in key swing states, such as Illinois, New York and elsewhere could give Truman an upset win over Dewey and Truman's recognition of the State of Israel came to a stark reality.

    • The Israeli people also roamed the streets asking the government to resign following the Second Lebanon War.

      The Kahane Commission and Winograd Commission reports both laid criticism on the conduct of the IDF and Israeli leaders.

    • Shaul Mofaz earned a reputation with Amir Peretz as Israel's worst two defense ministers.

      Under his leadership the IDF withdrew form Gaza and there were about 1,000 Israeli fatalities in the Second Intifada. He was a tough talker that could never deliver as defense minister. He left the defense ministry as a "minister without portfolio" - a clear demotion.

      The occupation has been costly and caused the government to cut back on social programs. The Operation Cast Lead misadventure cost Israel $1 billion in military costs not including property damage from Gaza rockets and lost productivity. The "Arab Spring" social movement in Israel was a rebuke to Israeli hardliners.

      The Labor Party that was inclusive and that led Israel's post-independence years is merely a fringe party currently.

      Mofaz openly discussed as defense minister that military action would be taken against Iran's nuclear program - and did nothing.

      Thomas Friedman, in his award-winning book From Beirut to Jerusalem, indicated that the cynical segment of the Israeli electorate must be satisfied before any candidate for prime minister has a shot at winning an election. Israeli security is paramount to those cynics. I do not believe that situation has changed.

  • Arab spring brings steep rise in US attacks in Yemen (Woods & Slater)
    • I actually doubt that the targeted assassinations of those mentioned in the article are legal.

      Advocating violent overthow in the abstract has been deemed protected free speech under the Bill of Rights by the U.S. Supreme Court since the 1950s. See the 1957 opinion of Yates versus United States.

      British government leaders have stated that they could not nor would ever employ targeted assassinations of IRA leaders and were incredulous how Israel regular does this in Gaza and the West Bank.

      Osama Bin Laden was a criminal defendant under indictment in a U.S. District Court at the time Navy SEALS killed him. Absent any self-defense argument, there was no legal basis I know to support this action The British have stated that for years there was no credible evidence directly tying Bin Laden to the 9/11 attacks. It was not until 2004 did a purportedly genuine tape of Bin Laden was broadcast on Al-Jazeera did a confession appeared to occur, but that tape would have to be authenticated in a court of law to be admissible as trial proofs - which would be no small task.

      A good question is who authorizes an assassination - the president, a military official, a CIA officer?

      To kill a Palestinian resistance leader the Israeli Attorney General must aprove a death warrant. This is clearly extrajudicial.

      At what point does the U.N. or some other international agency come in and say this is a war crime or crimes against humanity - especially when "collateral damage" occurs.

      We recall the targeted assassination in Gaza of the military chief of Hamas where Ariel Sharon proclaimed a great military victory where an F-16 jet dropped a half-tom bomb on an apartment complex kiling over a dozen innocent civilians in addition to scores wounded. A lawsuit was filed on behalf of the victims and not only did world wide revulsion exist over this bombing but Hamas later carried ut a deadly bombing at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in retalition for the incident.

      America should not be a party to extrajudicial killings. In 1975 Gerald Ford issued an executive order barring the CIA from assassinating world leaders. That proscription shoyld be extended to all non-combatants.

  • Arab revolutions Continue
    • The Muslim Brotherhood is the parent organization to Hamas.

      Its ascension into a potentially controlling bloc within a future Egyptian government could be a boost to the citizens of Gaza. Egypt in pre-1967 days administered Gaza but did not garner a loyal following amongst mainstream Gazans.

      The Muslim Brotherhood has made a number of indications that it could be providing a supportive role in supplying utilities and other necessities for Gazans. A Gaza-Egypt alliance could be a tremendous boost to Gazans.

      It has been said, but never proven, that MI-6, the British intelligence service, was instrumental in the creation of Hamas in Gaza. It has also been believed the Irish Republican Army had furnished mercenaries to act as snipers in support of the Palestinian resistance while the Israel Defense Forces occupied Gaza prior to the 2005 withdrawal. The Israeli government actually contacted Britain for assistance they took the potential IRA matter so seriously. Nowadays, it is credibly believed that Iran is a major supplier of weaponry in support of various armed Islamic groups within Gaza. It also should be noted, however, that Iran would be more ideologically aligned with the more radical Islamic Jihad in Gaza than it would Hamas. Islamic Jihad and other extremist groups, such as Al-Qaeda and various other pro-Iranian splinter groups and clan leaders have enjoyed increased popularity in recent years in Gaza. So much so that Hamas leaders were recently being assassinated by these extremists; the once-influential Fatah is only a minor player in Gazan politics today.

      Ariel Sharon can be credited, by his Gaza military withdrawal in 2005 and his release of 900 Palestinian prisoners that year, with defusing the Second Intifada while giving Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza political prestige. One of the Israeli goals in Operation Cast Lead and in implementing the sea blockade was to turn the Gazan public away from Hamas rule; ironicaly the Gazan public tended to support more extremist groups as a result.

      The prospect of Gaza being controlled by Islamic Jihad and its allies is scary to Israel. Their rocket attacks into southern Israeli cities such as Ashkelon and Sderot were literally applauded by Gazans as their spokesman told Netanyahu that they "wanted a war" - something Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he did not want. Cooler heads prevailed and a truce was reached. Israeli citizens affected by the rocket launches questioned whether a shutdown of southern Israeli cities was worth the cost of the IDF operation which triggered the rocket firings.

      Hamas is the most moderate and credible governing force in Gaza. While not perfect, they are certainly a better potential negotiation partner for peace than groups such as Islamic Jihad - who vow to destroy Israel and unabashedly extol terrorist means. The Obama administration should continue to place peace feelers to the Hmas leadership and a future Egyptian government controlled aby the Muslim Brotherhood could be invaluable to extending needed diplomatic and material assistance to Hamas to assist them in negotiating with Israel and stabilzing the shaky control Hamas has had internally due to Israeli interference and Islamic extremist actions.

      Khairat Shater could be the key future leader to help stabilize Hamas control of Gaza and urge peace with Israel in that region.

  • Iraq Slams Saudis, Qataris for Plans to Arm Syrian Rebels
    • Yes, however there has been a significant concern - and rightly so - that the Arab Spring movements could result in military gains for extremists such as Al-Qaeda. This has been especially so in Libya where a number of anti-Qaddafi rebel leaders were identified as Al-Qaeda sympathizers. The political "center" of the Libya rebel organization was largely a matter of speculation.

      I do not see any major role for Al-Qaeda in a post-Assad Syria. But you cannot rule out such extremist influence in any North African nations affected by the Arab Spring movement.

    • It was anti-tank and anti-aircraft(particularly Stinger missiles) weaponry supplied by the CIA that had turned the tide in Afghanistan in favor of the anti-Soviet fighters in the 1980s. It would be correct to suggest that furnishing such weapons to rebels in Syria would likewise be a great boost to their cause.

      It was also Russian-manufactured anti-tank rockets that inflicted heavy casualties upon Israeli ground forces in the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and destroying or damaging numerous tanks.

    • It is rather ironic is that the Sunnis have been disenfranchised under the Assad regime for decades, yet Iraq's Sunnis were the dominating force in the Baathist governments of Iraq until 2003 and the toppling of the Saddam Hussein regime.

      Do the disenfranchised Syrian Sunnis have some intimate relationship that Nouri Al-Maliki should be rightfully concerned about?

      A big fear everyone should have would be if what happened in Afghanistan occurred in any other Middle East country - a power vacuum is created by the deposing of an existing regime and there is sufficient public support for extremists to allow an Al-Qaeda-oriented group to either seize power or play an integral role in a governing force like the dual relationship of the Taliban and Al-Qaedea in Kabul.

      My fear in Gaza would be that Islamic Jihad, Al-Qaeda, and various extremist clans and pro-Iranian groups essentially seize control from a Hamas-controlled government and have sufficient public support to become an outlaw state as Afghanistan was. The same fear was held in Libya and could concevably occur in Syria. During Operation Cast Lead, the brunt of militant fighting and casualties was borne by non-Hamas fighters and the Hamas militants largely avoided direct combat with the IDF and lost a comparatively small percentage of its fighting force. Since Cast Lead, the citizenry of Gaza have given increasing support to non-Hams groups who have not hesitated to engage Israel militarily via rockets or other attacks. Hamas has been a moderating force within Gaza and Fatah largely forgetten by mainstream Gazans as a potential successor to Hamas.

      In sum, a power vacuum in Syria could conceivably upset the balance of pwer in the entire region. Al-Maliki's fears are not irrational, but there may be nothing to worry about either. American involvement in Syria militarilycould avoid anarchy and bloodshed - but at what price to America and Obama's re-election hopes?

  • Polish PM Reveals that US Tortured at Black Sites in his Country
    • It goes back well over 30 years, Peter.

      Look at the history of the long torture of Soviet defector Yuri Nosenko in the 1960s. The conclusion was that he was a bona fide defector, but the CIA put him through years of isolation and physical torture.

      Look at the MK/ULTRA mind control tests where humans were used as guinea pigs. This was our own government.

      The Church Committee found widespread CIA abuses in the mid-1970s but it never slowed down the CIA from all types of conduct that was questionable. The CIA set up and supplied equipment for the intelligence network known as Operation Condor in the panhandle of South America operated by Argentina, Brazil, Chile and other nations in that region; it is responsible for abduction and torture of tens of thousands of persons, including the Harvard-educated journalist chronicled in the 1980s film "Missing", starring Jack Lemmon.

      The U.S. set up the SAVAK intelligence service in Iran under the Shah that engaged in systematic repression; one of its architects was Norman Schwartzkopf. The Shah was installed by the CIA in 1951 and was a college pal of future CIA Director Richard Helms.

      America has promoted torture in the Third World and suffers a backlash because of it. John McCain has agreed the U.S. should not be in the torture business.

    • It would be interesting to find out what quid pro quo was received by Poland in exchange for the concession in having this base and also to what extent that Polish citizens were involved directly or indirectly in its operation.

      The United States had egg on its face over Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay and likely felt that placing such a facility in Poland would obviate media scrutiny. However thses facilities appear to be CIA-operated as opposed to being run by the U.S. Armed Forces, as Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo were.

  • Happy Palestine Land Day: Israel Earmarks 10% of West Bank for Settlements: White
    • It is important to note that the Jewish National Fund has been subject to criticism since has had a history of forbidding non-Jews to work or live on land it has control over. Its status as a tax-exempt non-profit organization under the Inernal Revenue Code has been challenged in United States courts due to alleged discriminatory practices and policies against Palestinians.

      Additionally, eligibility for social welfare programs in Israel is dependent upon having a family member serve in the Israel Defense Forces. Since Jewish enlistment in the IDF is, almost without exception, mandatory and very, very few Arabs serve in the IDF (other than Druzes), this creates a de facto discriminatory practice against Israeli Arabs with respect to welfare benefits. Mere accident? Of course not - clever intententional discrimination which would never pass muster under American civil rights legislation.

      Then there are Jewish-only roads - as Helen Thomas so famously pointed out.

      There have been lawsuits in the U.S. District Court system challenging Israeli expropriation of Palestinian land owned by American citizens.

      There needs to be international pressure placed upon Israel to dismantle these forms of institutionalized discrimination.

  • Fayyad: Stop Exploiting Palestinian Children for Terror
    • Salam Fayyad is American-educated, receiving his college education in Texas, and has adopted American values.

      He is not extremely popular among his own Palestinian people, belonging to the secular Fatah party, which has seen its influence dwindle in the last fifteen years.

      He should be equally as critical toward the Israeli institutions of oppression of Palestinian children - the Israel Defense Forces and the Jewish settler movement in the West Bank. These Israeli groups have killed and maimed far more Palestinian children than Palestinians themselves.

      Hundreds of Gazan children were killed by the IDF in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead and credible evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity were documented by the 462-page Goldstone Commission report in that brutal military action directed by then-Israeli PM Ehud Olmert - who is currently facing criminal corruption charges. Yet 94% of the Israeli public supported that IDF operation and a similar percentage of Israelis polled (91%) expressed support for Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 despite the fact 600 IDF reservists refused to report for duty on the grounds that Israel was not engaged in a necessary action.

      The IDF caused widespread death and destruction to Lebanon in the Second Lebanon War during 2006 but that operation did not have widespead public support by the Israeli public. Why? Because the Hezbollah and the varoious other armed resistance groups in Lebanon were able to inflict heavy casualties upon both the IDF personnel and the Israeli public in Northern Israel via missile strikes. The Battle of Bint Jebayl and the Litani Offensive were characterized by observers as rare victories over the IDF by an Arab militia. Millions of Israelis hid in bomb shelters as Katyushas struck Haifa, Kiryat Shmona and other northern Israeli communities. Hezbollah's capacity to inflict serious damage upon the Israel won them and their leader respect and prestige within Lebanon. This is despite the fact the Lebanese public was devastated by Israeli Air Force strikes in that war.

      The most popular and respected leaders in the Arab world will be those who criticize Israel and bring pressure upon the IDF and settler movements which have been the primary cause of the suffering of Palestiian children. The children who have chosen to oppose the Israeli occupation by rock-throwing and other civil disobedience are guided by noble motives and should be lauded by the Palestinian Authority.

      Fayyad should be also leveling criticism at the "criminals" in the IDF and Jewish settler movements who incite the retaliation from Palestinian children through their own reprehensible acts.

  • Israel - Iran Military Comparison
    • Israel's Merkava tanks were subject to widespread damage or even being destroyed during the Second Lebanon War by Russian-manufactured anti-tank rockets employed by Hezbollah during that conflict.

      The performance of Merkava tanks in that conflict was heavily criticized and if these are the same ones that Israel plans to deploy in the future against anyone they may have a rough going.

  • The Dilemma over Syria
    • One positive aspect of the Hafez Assad dictatorship was that his brutality and internal repression prevented militant Islamics groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood from taking control of the government. Of course, the massacre on Hama was a war crime as well as crimes against humanity.

      My apprehension will be if Syria's current leader vacates office,there will be nothing to restrain jihadist elements from either ruling or exercising powerful influence on a new Syrian government much like Hezbollah has done in Lebanon since the early 1980s. This could destabilize the fragile diplomatic balance that has kept this region of the Middle East largely at peace since 1973.

  • How an Israeli Strike on Iran could radically weaken Israel
    • Israeli air strikes at Iranian nuclear facilities as was done in 1981 against Iraq would not only lead to United Nations condemnation as it did in 1981 due to the IDF strike on Iraq, but also the unacceptable risk of a ballistic missile response by Iran, which a leader of the Iranian military has already threatened.

      As astutely recognized here, any military action of this magnitude will likely cause crude oil prices to skyrocket and thus inhibit worldwide economic recovery, which is slowly occurring.

  • South Carolina & Gingrich, Egypt & the Muslim Brotherhood
    • There is no clear front-runner for the GOP nomination.

      Gingrich was on top of the polls in mid-to-late December and was considered by many to be washed up prior to his South Carolina landslide.

      Just shows me voters have not gravitated toward any candidate as a nominee in the Republican primaries.

  • Israel: No Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program; Barak: Any decision to Strike Iran "Far off."
    • It was Israel's then-Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, himself of Iranian ancestry, who had in 2005 openly advocated and publically discussed taking military action against Iran as an option Israel had been planning while Ariel Sharon was prime minister. Israel did nothing.

      After the sub-par performance of the IDF in Lebanon in 2006, many in Israel opined that if the IDF had its hands full fighting 1,500 Hezbollah militiamen what would happen if it ended up in a military conflict with a nation like Iran with 75 milion people? Israel did not attack Iran during Ehud Olmert's tenure as prime minister.

      Iran's military chief of staff has already publicaly hinted at a ballistic missile retaliation if Israel takes action against Iran as it did with Iraq in 1981.

      I see Israel as hesitant to attempt anything more spectacular than the low-grade special operations missions that has been limited thus far to computer virus attacks and continued possible assasination of nuclear scientists to deter the Iranian development of a nuclear program.

      It is important to note there appears to be no international law or treaty violations that would occur if Iran maintains a nuclear program or manufactures some sort of nuclear weaponry.

  • Dear Republican Candidates, You Have us all Wrong
    • The question may be who is going to be the ideological successor to Ronald Reagan? Newt wants that title but Santorum may be closer to it.

      Many political pundits believe Ron Paul being nominated may guarantee an Obama re-election, so Democratic crossovers -as the GOP did with Jesse Jackson in 1984 - are a distinct possibility.

  • Three Republican Bears and none Just Right
    • Rick Santorum has filled a void in the GOP as a presidential candidate having solid conservative credentials on the areas of abortion and gun ownership as well as devotion to the State of Israel. Mitt Romney's stands on abortion, gun control and foreign policy bear little semblance to views that GOP conservative activists usually espouse. Not to mention he has been involved in investment banking - something rural America is not particulrly fond of given the financial hard times farmers have had in the Midwest the last 25 years.

      Expect Santorum to take off as Mike Huckabee did in 2008 as the true contender for the hearts of the right-wing of the GOP. Romney's "victory" is as hollow as Presdent Lyndon Johnson's win over Eugene Mc Carthy in the Democratic New Hampshire primary in 1968.

      Rick Santorum was the big "winner"in the Iowa caucuses.

  • Iraq on the Brink: Court Forbids VP al-Hashimi from Leaving Country
    • The American influence in Iraq is vanishing.

      The last election, the Iraqi National Congress, the entity that was formed and initially funded by the Central Intelligence Agency at the direction of George H.W. Bush in 1991 won no seats in the Iraqi legislature, although they maintain a colorful website presence.

      The influence of the Shi'ite clerics, such as Muqtada Al-Sadr, remain large. At the time of Saddam Hussein's execution, witnesses chanted the name of Al-Sadr and another Shi'ite cleric, Sistani, was the most powerful figure in Iraq.

      As in Lebanon, the future of the government in Iraq leans toward Shi'ite dominance.

  • Top Developments in the Arab Spring Today
    • Abdullah Sanoussi is the intelligence chief who was on a first name basis with the C.I.A. Director and who exchanged holiday greetings.

      The U.S. had a cozy relationship with Libyan intelligence services and turned over captured exiles to them.

      The International Criminal Court would have been the better place for him to surrender to since there is no death penalty, but Libya appears to have the choice to try him and there is, of course, the availability of a death penalty by the new Libyan government.

  • Netanyahu a "Liar": Sarkozy
    • Thanks for the link to the Netanyahu visit to the settlers' home on YouTube.

      America should look with a discerning eye on the foreign and domestic policy pronouncements of Israel.

      The Oslo Accords were the tireless result of three statesmen who were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts. It is those like Netanyahu and his foreign minister Lieberman that have undermined the spirit and letter of those agreements.

      Israel needs better quality leadership and the U.S. more critical of its ally.

  • Ambassador Ford's Departure a Defeat for al-Assad
    • I found the McCain statement endorsing U.S. military intervention as bordering on shocking. I hope and expect there will be cooler heads prevailing in the Congress.

      The recent demise of the former Libyan dictator may have made Assad think about reconciliation and democratic reforms as a goal preferable to the violence against its own citizenry that has failed thus far in Egypt and Libya.

  • Mahmoud Abbas goes to the UN
    • I believe that the United Nations General Assembly's consideration of "observer status" is a lot better than no status at all for the State of Palestine.

      Abbas has nothing to lose except possibly some foreign aid.

  • Cole, ACLU, Sue CIA, FBI seeking Bloggergate Documents
    • This is not the first time a Metro Detroiter has been targeted by the feds due to his position on Middle Eastern affairs and criticism of U.S.foreign policy necessitating ACLU assistance inbringing FOIA enforcement in federal court.

      In the 1970s, the FBI and NSA were alleged to have engaged in inapprpriate surveillance of Detroit attorney Abdeen Jabara, who had succesfully appealed Sirhan Sirhan's death sentence and got it vacated and reduced to life in prison in 1972. Jabara also criticized the billions of dollars in foreign aid America gave to Israel contending it violated the Foreign Assistance Act due to Israel's record of human rights violations. Jabara's suit filed by the ACLU was eventually settled after a key ruling in the Court of Appeals which established legal precedent on enforcement of the FOIA law contained in the United States Code.

      The FBI targeting of Jabara was part of Operation Boulder, which targeted Arab-Americans folowing the Black September attacks at the Munich Olympics in 1972.

      Jabara is a U-M graduate and has remained involved with Ann Arbor. He signed a published petition supporting pro-Palestine activist Dr. Catherine Wilkerson who was tried criminally after being involved in a protest and purportedly attempting to obstruct a law enforcement officer at U-M and later acquitted in December of 2007 by a jury in Ann Arbor.

      The Juan Cole case today has parallels to the Jabara case of the 1970s.

  • Clinton: al-Asad has lost Legitimacy after Mobs Storm US, French Embassies
    • I believe that Shiite clerics in general across the Middle East have been the most vehement anti-Israel bloc among Muslims and have inspired and funded Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad militants in Lebanon and Gaza in teror attacks that have dwarfed the impact Saddam Hussein's government had on Israel.

  • Ret'd. CIA Official Alleges Bush White House Used Agency to "Get" Cole
    • There should be an investigation into this.

      But it is only a tribute to the impact that you are perceived to have in Washington.

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