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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

After all

After all the supposed simplicity of the Google Blogger, I am going to try the wordpress blogger now. I am going to leave this blog open while I transfer things to the other application.

I will begin posting again next week, I hope.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday October 3, 2010

Good mornign, all. The one thing in life that is constant is change. Change in my daily routine is going to require that I change how I run the blog. My choices are to stop the blog or to alter what I am doing, I am chosing to alter what I am doing. So, please, keep coming back and reading, leave comments, and I will try to make it back to a point where I can write my summary and my take on what is getting posted. I will continue to find views that are not covered in the news generally.

I hope that you have all had a safe weekend and are going into the best possible Monday. Among the following articles are two questions directly asked. One, is the TSA preying on the sick? I feel that, yes, the TSA is preying on the sick and the weak. My opinion on this is not just the humiliation of the cancer patient, the breaking of  the colostemy bag, forcing a 95 year old woman to take off her adult diapers, but all of the events going back to the incident at Newark airport years ago. That one being forcing a child who required crutches to stand and walk to amble through the scanner. If it were just one event of these I could see it was a mistake or a misunderstanding; however, when women with big hair are getting their locks picked through and multiple women who have already suffered the indignation, pain, and loss of their body parts as well as a shock to their femininity by having one or both breasts removed in order to remove cancer are further humiliated by TSA agents, well I think it is indemic to the organization.

The other question asked is Will Iran Ever Do Right? No, I do not believe that Iran will ever do right.

That is my quick take. Now, please, read on and form your own opinion. Stay safe.

Panetta warns Israel on isolation ... Debate over Awlaki killing continues ... Afghanistan breaks off Taliban talks ... Can the supercommittee get a deal?

By Charles Hoskinson
PANETTA JUMPS INTO THE THORNY Israeli-Palestinian peace process today, with meetings in Israel and the West Bank with senior Israeli and Palestinian leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

PRESS SECRETARY GEORGE LITTLE EMAILS: “This trip comes at a critical time for Israel and the Palestinian people. It's an important opportunity for Secretary Panetta to reaffirm America’s unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security and to helping Israel maintain its qualitative military edge. He will also urge Israeli and Palestinian leaders to renew discussions on a lasting peace, and to meet at the table to work through their differences.”

HIS VISIT ALSO COMES AS ISRAELI LEADERS SAID THEY’RE READY to restart negotiations with the Palestinians. While enroute, Panetta bluntly warned the Israelis that they are becoming increasingly isolated amid changes in the region and risk eroding their nation’s security if they don’t reach out to other countries. “There's not much question in my mind that they maintain that (military) edge,” Panetta told reporters traveling with him. “But the question you have to ask: Is it enough to maintain a military edge if you're isolating yourself in the diplomatic arena? Real security can only be achieved by both a strong diplomatic effort as well as a strong effort to project your military strength.” http://abcn.ws/p5DL2j

FURTHER DETAILS ARE EXPECTED WHEN Panetta and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak face the media later today. Panetta also is scheduled to lay a wreath at Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

HAPPY MONDAY AND WELCOME TO MORNING DEFENSE. Please send feedback and tips to choskinson@politico.com, and follow us on Twitter @morningdefense for updates between briefings.

** A message from Northrop Grumman: The E-8C Joint STARS platform from Northrop Grumman features 70,000 hours of proven combat experience, over 5,300 successful missions, and one very bright future ahead. **

PANETTA’S VISIT TO ISRAEL BEGINS A WEEK-LONG TRIP that will also take him to Egypt and Belgium, where he will attend a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday.

THE SECRETARY ALSO TOLD REPORTERS THAT the recent death of Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen and other top leaders of the Islamist militant group are making it harder for the group to plan and carry out large-scale attacks abroad. Awlaki, a Yemeni-American, was killed Friday by a CIA drone strike along with another U.S. citizen, Samir Khan, who produced the group's English-language Web magazine, Inspire. http://bit.ly/pJO9zI 

BUT ANALYSTS TELL AFP THAT Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula still remains a serious threat to the United States even after the death of one of its most inspiring leaders, mainly due to continuing instability in Yemen. Read the story here: http://bit.ly/o3PHWO

MEANWHILE, THE DEBATE CONTINUES over the legality of the Obama administration’s decision to launch an airstrike that targeted a U.S. citizen, even one who had openly declared himself at war with the United States. Former House intelligence committee chairwoman Jane Harman told CNN Sunday that the administration should release the private legal memo justifying the strike. “The debate on the legal grounds for that strategy should be more in the open,” she said. http://politi.co/nDPvE5

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY SAYS the administration owes him and other Bush administration figures an apology. He and his daughter Liz told CNN that the killing of Awlaki calls into question Obama’s past criticisms of the Bush administration for using enhanced interrogation techniques. Our story is here: http://politi.co/noJBr2

AFGHANISTAN IS SUSPENDING TALKS WITH THE TALIBAN to focus on cutting a deal with Pakistan. Afghan officials tell the Wall Street Journal that President Hamid Karzai’s government has concluded that the Taliban are essentially instruments of Pakistani policy and cannot deliver a deal on their own. The reassessment comes in the wake of last month’s assassination of peace negotiator Burhanuddin Rabbani, which Kabul blames on a Pakistani. “The peace process which we began is dead,” national security adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta told the WSJ on Saturday. “It's a joke.” The story is here: http://on.wsj.com/orrOQ5

A KEY LEADER OF THE HAQQANI NETWORK is denying responsibility for Rabbani’s death, telling the BBC that “We haven't killed Burhanuddin Rabbani and this has been said many times by the spokespersons of the Islamic Emirate.” Siraj Haqqani also denied that his group was linked to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency. http://bbc.in/pw4qDK

PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER YOUSAF RAZA GILANI meanwhile confirmed Sunday that his government would enter talks with the group, but left open the possibility of military operations if talks failed. http://bit.ly/rjkA0u

COALITION AND AFGHAN TROOPS HAVE STEPPED UP THEIR ASSAULTS on the network in Afghanistan. Several insurgents were killed overnight in a search for a Haqqani network leader in Paktia province suspected of facilitating the movement of weapons and the coordination of attacks, ISAF spokesman Lt. Gregory Keeley said.

ISAF REVEALED SATURDAY THAT A RAID on Tuesday netted a senior Haqqani leader, Haji Mali Khan, in Paktia province. He’s the uncle of Siraj and Badruddin Haqqani and the senior Haqqani commander in Afghanistan.

SOME BUDGET NEWS - The debt-reduction supercommittee resumes its deliberations today, with GOP insiders telling lobbyists they don’t expect the panel to reach a “grand bargain,” and saying they do not believe Congress will allow steep defense spending cuts if the panel fails to reach any deal at all. POLITICO’s Manu Raju and John Bresnahan have the details here: http://politi.co/oSWDoF

THE HOUSE TUESDAY WILL TAKE UP another Senate-passed continuing resolution to fund the government through Nov. 18 as lawmakers work on a more permanent funding arrangement for fiscal 2012.

WEEKLY PLANNER - HASC will hold a hearing Tuesday on the future of the U.S. military at 10 a.m. in 2118 Rayburn. A HASC panel will continue to explore DOD financial management at 8 a.m. Thursday in 2212 Rayburn.

LIBYA OPS UPDATE - NATO air raids continued Saturday against Qadhafi loyalists, with warplanes conducting 101 sorties, of which 38 were strike sorties. That brings the total to 24,574 sorties and 9,164 strike sorties since March 31.

Raids were conducted near Bani Walid and Sirte, with targets hit including a command and control node, a staging area, a multiple-rocket-launcher firing point and armored vehicles.

Sixteen vessels were hailed and none boarded Saturday in arms embargo enforcement activities. Since March 31, 2,888 vessels have been hailed, 293 boarded and 11 diverted.

CHANGES - Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia is Dempsey’s new senior enlisted adviser. U.S. Iraq commander Austin has been nominated as Army vice chief of staff.

WHO’S WHERE WHEN - Panetta is traveling this week. Dempsey has meetings in the building. Donley and Schwartz attend the funeral of fighter ace Maj. Gen. John Alison at Arlington National Cemetery. Alison, who died June 6 at 98, was famous for his exploits with the 1st Air Commando Group in Burma during World War II. Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler speaks at a retirement ceremony for Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Mellinger at Ft. Myer.


TSA watch: Are screeners preying on sick passengers?

October 2, 2011
The latest TSA horror story comes by way of Lori Dorn, a human resources consultant in New York.
Dorn, a breast cancer patient, was flying to San Francisco, when she was pulled aside by a TSA agent and told she would have to undergo a pat-down.
“I told her that I was not comfortable with having my breasts touched and that I had a card in my wallet that explains the type of expanders, serial numbers and my doctor’s information and asked to retrieve it,” she explains on her blog. “This request was denied.”


Instead, a supervisor was called over, who told her a physical exam was required. She explains,

I was again told that I could not retrieve the card and needed to submit to a physical exam in order to be cleared.
She then said, “And if we don’t clear you, you don’t fly” loud enough for other passengers to hear.
And they did. And they stared at the bald woman being yelled at by a TSA Supervisor.
Her post, which being widely covered online, is just the latest in a series of incidents in which TSA screeners appear to target visibly sick people.
As I read Dorn’s troubling account, I couldn’t help but remember the last time I saw someone who was dying of cancer. It was almost exactly a year ago, and I was visiting Hawaii’s Big Island with my family. We stumbled into a coffee shop, badly jetlagging and in desperate need of caffeine, and happened to sit at a table next to someone who was perhaps a few weeks from death.
The first thing I noticed after we sat down was the book he was reading: Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross’ On Death and Dying.
Then I looked up at him and saw all the signs of late-stage disease. He was bald from the chemotherapy and almost skeletal from the weight loss.
He’d come here to die.
I mention this because in many of these TSA incidents, the passenger is as obviously sick as the guy I saw in Hawaii. You don’t need an MD, or to call over a supervisor, to know that the person standing in front of you with no hair really does have a breast cancer, and poses absolutely no security threat — none whatsoever — to the flight she’s about to board.
And there have been many incidents. Too many.
• This summer, TSA screeners gave passenger Lena Reppert a once-over when she tried to board a flight out of Northwest Florida Regional Airport. Reppert was 95, in a wheelchair, and suffering from late-stage leukemia. She was visiting her daughter for what would probably be the last time. Reppert’s daughter said screeners demanded her mother remove her adult diaper. “I ran with her to the bathroom and stripped her down,” she told FOX News. “I got back to the line and just started bawling.”
• Earlier this year, TSA agents in Detroit botched a pat-down of cancer survivor Thomas Sawyer of Lansing, Mich., leaving him covered in his own urine. Sawyer is a bladder cancer survivor who wears a bag which collects his urine from an opening in his abdomen. “Every time I tried to tell them about my medical condition, they said they didn’t need to know about that,” he told MSNBC.
• And in late 2010, during the pat-down craze, Cathy Bossi, a longtime Charlotte, N.C., flight attendant and cancer survivor told a local television station that she was forced to show her prosthetic breast during a pat-down. The TSA screener “put her full hand on my breast and said, ‘What is this?’ “Bossi told the station. “And I said, ‘It’s my prosthesis because I’ve had breast cancer.’ And she said, ‘Well, you’ll need to show me that.’”
None of this should be happening. The TSA’s stated policy on passengers with what it calls hidden disabilities seems pretty reasonable. But apparently its implementation isn’t, in some instances.
I want to give TSA the benefit of the doubt on these incidents. I want to believe they really thought the bald cancer patient wanted to blow up the plane with her breast implants. I want to believe the agents thought the adult diaper contained plastic explosives and that the plastic bag was filled with some kind of combustible liquid.
But I’m having a little trouble with that. Folks, what we probably have here is either a profound lack of common sense or — worst case scenario — TSA agents cynically targeting sick people who fly.



Mideast Peace Impasse May Pose Israel Existential Threat, Brzezinski Says

The deadlock in the Middle East peace process is undermining U.S. influence and may pose an existential threat to America’s key ally Israel, former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski said.
“If this issue continues to fester, the Middle East will become more anti-American,” Brzezinski said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend. “We are in the process of being pushed out” of the role as power broker in the region, he said, and “eventually Israel is going to be fatally threatened” if peace isn’t achieved.
“There is a way out” of the impasse, said Brzezinski, 83, who helped broker the Camp David peace accords between Israel and Egypt under President Jimmy Carter. The Obama administration, he said, should craft a United Nations resolution that satisfies both Israel and the Palestinians, and saves the administration from vetoing the Palestinians’ bid for statehood recognition at the UN.
An alternative U.S. resolution should welcome “the existence of a democratic Jewish state in Israel, explicitly, at the same time saying the Palestinians are entitled to something similar,” he said.
Negotiations should be resumed on the basis of 1967 borders, Brzezinski proposed. Such a statement, he said, is something the Israelis “could even vote for.”
Brzezinski, who was an early supporter of Obama in the 2008 Democratic primaries, said the president has failed to play an active, direct role in the peace process, without which the two sides are incapable of coming to an agreement.

Arab Spring

Brzezinski suggested the so-called Arab Spring uprisings, which have so far ousted authoritarian leaders in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, have altered the ability of the U.S. to exert influence in the strategically critical region.
The Middle East is the world’s largest oil-producing region and holds about two-thirds of proven global oil reserves, according to the U.S. Energy Department.
Polls show that the Israeli-Palestinian issue looms high in the minds of the Arab public, Brzezinski said, and U.S. credibility and authority will continue to wane until that issue is resolved.
“Until recently, we could ignore that because we dealt with the governments and not with the publics,” he said. “But now the publics are becoming more important.”
Brzezinski also criticized the Obama administration’s policy on Pakistan, saying that comments by the top U.S. military officer in congressional testimony last week linking Pakistan’s spy service to an extremist militant group is a dangerous diplomatic strategy.

Mullen Controversy

Admiral Mike Mullen, who retired yesterday as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee Sept. 22 that the violent Haqqani network is a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence. Mullen blamed the Haqqani group, based in a tribal area of northern Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, for the Sept. 13 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and other high- profile attacks in Afghanistan.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sept. 28 said the U.S. government is in the “final, formal” stage of reviewing whether to designate the Haqqani network as a terrorist organization, making it subject to sanctions.
Brzezinski warned that the administration’s public slap- down of Pakistan has “consequences.”
“If we are going to go down the path of publicly condemning them, we’d better think through how we’re going to play that game” to U.S. advantage, he said. “I’m not sure I see much evidence of that.”

Little Leverage

Brzezinski said the U.S. doesn’t “have much leverage” on the Pakistani government to rein in militant groups. “I’m not sure we have much strategy right now” for Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said.
Brzezinski, a native of Poland and a veteran Cold War-era policymaker, said he wasn’t surprised by the announcement that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will likely return to the presidency next year.
“Everybody knew that Putin was the real power” and current President Dmitry Medvedev is “just a front,” he said, adding that Putin’s prospective return eliminates hope for democratic reforms.
The killing yesterday of Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni-American radical cleric who was a charismatic leader in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was a “significant tactical breakthrough” in the administration’s campaign against the terrorist group, Brzezinski said. The U.S. says al-Awlaki was an inspiration for several attempted terror attacks on the U.S., including the Christmas 2009 attempted underwear bombing and the 2009 shootings at Fort Hood.

Progress on Al-Qaeda

Brzezinski said the U.S. appears to have little influence to compel Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to halt his violent crackdown on protests that begin in January.
“Our position in the Middle East is just declining so rapidly that it’s really appalling,” he said. Fifty years ago, “we had good relations with Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey,” he said, while “we barely have a decent relationship with some of them now.”
“I deplore the fact that we don’t have a policy” toward the Middle East, he said. “As a consequence, we are in the process of being pushed out.”

Mideast Talks

The most urgent concern, he said, is Israeli-Palestinian peace. Given the history and geography of the dispute, “the two sides on their own will never reach agreement,” Brzezinski said. “Each side, of course, will always say the other side is guilty, doesn’t want really to negotiate” when “in fact, they can’t do it” given the complexity of the situation.
Peace talks broke down a year ago when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to renew a partial, 10-month moratorium on new construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says settlement expansion must be halted before talks resume.
Abbas filed a resolution for UN recognition of a Palestinian state on Sept. 23. Israel and the U.S. vehemently opposed the move, and the U.S. vowed to veto the measure, to the consternation of Arab allies who are supporting the Palestinians.
The U.S., the UN, the European Union and Russia -- the so- called Quartet for Middle East Peace -- responded to Abbas’s bid with a statement calling on both sides to return to direct talks within 30 days and come up with a peace deal within a year.
Obama has “not been willing to move up to the plate” and lead the two sides to a brokered agreement, Brzezinski said. Obama’s speech at the UN on Sept. 21 was “extremely limited” and appeared to validate only the Israeli side, he said.
“As a result, I think the issue is going to get worse rather than better,” Brzezinski said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Indira Lakshmanan in Washington at ilakshmanan@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at in Washington or Msilva36@bloomberg.net


Will the Iranian regime ever do right?

The Iranian regime regularly serves reminders of its malevolence: its support for Hezbollah and Hamas terrorism, its killing of American troops in Iraq, its support for Bashar al-Assad's massacres of Syrian dissidents, its brutality to its own citizens during the Green Movement protests, or its persecution of religious minorities such as Bahais, Jews, Zoroastrians, and Christians.
In the latter category is the urgent case of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian Christian pastor in the city of Rasht who this week was found guilty of the "crime" of apostasy for his conversion from Islam to Christianity. Under shari'a law apostasy is a capital offense. Knowing this, Pastor Nadarkhani on three consecutive days this week still refused before the court to renounce his Christian faith and return to Islam. Many reports indicate that Pastor Nadarkhani faces the very real possibility of execution.  Even if the court releases him, he would not be spared danger. Religious freedom advocates remember the cases of Iranian pastors such as Mehdi Dibaj (also a convert from Islam), Haik Hovsepian-Mehr, Tateos Michaelian, and Mohammad Bagher Yusefi who were all abducted and murdered in the 1990s, very likely by Iranian intelligence agents.
The White House, State Department, and Speaker of the House Boehner have all issued statements calling on the Iranian Government to spare Pastor Nadarkhani's life, as have other Members of Congress and world leaders such as British Foreign Minister William Hague. These are welcome steps and serve notice to Tehran -- which does care about its international image - that its oppression does not go unnoticed. There are several additional diplomatic measures that can be taken. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice should remonstrate with her Iranian counterpart at Turtle Bay, Mohammad Khazaee. Related, the Obama Administration can demonstrate the utility of America's renewed membership in the U.N. Human Rights Council by pushing in Geneva for an emergency Council resolution condemning Iran's treatment of Pastor Nadarkhani and calling for the preservation of his life and his immediate release. And though the United States does not have diplomatic relations with Iran, the State Department can work to mobilize other nations that do -- such as the United Kingdom, France, and Germany -- to issue protests through their embassies in Tehran. Finally, Obama and Clinton can speak out publicly and in person to call for Pastor Nadarkhani's release.
The Iranian Mission to the U.N.'s website rather audaciously proclaims that "as a founding member of the United Nations, Iran believes deeply in the ideals of the organization and the purposes and principles of its Charter." Would that it were so -- especially since Article 18 of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms that "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief."
Though he is just one man, Pastor Nadarkhani's case exemplifies the situation faced by many other Iranians of all faiths, who desire only to believe, worship, and live peaceably without the oppression of the state. As the world watches, will the regime in Tehran do right?

Hamas and Hezbollah: Libyan Weapons in Terrorists Hands

Egyptian authorities were just a tad too late to stop Hamas and Hezbollah (the former in Gaza, the latter in Lebanon) from gaining sophisticated Soviet surface to air missiles purchased from Libyan rebel generals looking for quick riches. Empty crates that normally carry the following weapons were found dumped near the border:
  • The SA-24s, which are portable air defense missiles with a range of 5.2 kilometers, and an operational ceiling of 3.5 kilometers with a Mach 2.3 speed.
Depending mainly on visual scanning, they can also be fired at night and are effective against fighter planes, armored helicopters, drones and diverse surface-to surface missiles, including cruise missiles.
  • SA-14 (Strela-3) is a small and very precise solid propellant guided missile with an improved system for overcoming countermeasures. Its range is 4.5 kilometers and operational ceiling 3 kilometers.
  • The SA-7 (Strela-2) has a 3.6 kilometer range, operational ceiling from 15 meters to 1.5 kilometers and Mach 1.75. It is the oldest of the weapons,yet against non-military planes can easily down aircraft.
  • Also found were empty crates that normally carried Russian-made MDM-3 sea mines of the same type Qaddafi scattered around ports to keep NATO vessels at bay in May.
While quantities did not amount to more than 15, the SA-24 can be reused and is comparable to the US Stinger. It only takes a few of them to cause havoc for civilian airliners. It seems that the Middle East may be on the edge of another war.
http://perrya.hubpages.com/hub/Hamas-and-Hezbollah-Libyan-Weapons-in-Terrorists-Hands

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Syria, Iran, and Russia

During the last year the political landscape in the Middle East has shown some signs of change. Algeria, Libya, and Egypt were able to rid themselves of their despotic rulers. I would argue that the resistance groups waited, like a pack of wild dogs, for the leaders to be old, sick, and weak enough to take down. Conversely, Iran was able to quickly and not so quietly put down its own uprising with some people finding the government violence on social media. This is also being replayed in Syria. For six months now the Assad regime has been slaughtering its own citizens.

Since that started the world has seen the UN repeatedly call the slaughter an abominable and criminal act. The US and the EU have tried to have new sanctions levied against Assad only to be stymied by Russia and China on the UNSC.

Why has Russia stated that it will not support sanctions? Russia has invested billions of dollars in Syria, Russian investments in Syria in 2009 were valued at $19.4 billion, mainly in arms deals, infrastructure development, energy, and tourism. Russian exports to Syria in 2010 totaled $1.1 billion, Russia is also reported to have invested heavily in the strategic naval facility in Tartous; investments and work that could all be jeopardized if the Assad regime is overthrown or the country descends into violent chaos. As it is, Moscow, which has criticized the NATO-led intervention in Libya, is waiting to see if the new authorities in Tripoli will honor some $10 billion worth of business deals reached with the Qaddafi regime.

Let’s also recall the fact that Russia lost the Cold War. Moscow enjoyed wide authority in the region in the Soviet era and has watched with increasing alarm as Western pressure and a public frustration helped push veteran regional leaders from power as reported in Soviet newspapers.

Meanwhile, in trying to encourage the discourse and further talks, as required by Russia, the US diplomatic envoy is attacked, again, by regime loyalists (read as active supporters of terrorism attacking a legal and diplomatic representative of the United States).

The call for regime change is coming. This is the path which I described in earlier writings where the slaughter has to get to a level of visibility which requires the Arab League and/or OIC to say that something must be done. The UN will eventually be allowed to make that call and, when it does, you will all see Obama rushing in with boots on the ground. Such a good little lap dog for that mechanism, if only he would learn when not to bark, this would go much quieter for the OIC and Arab League. Until that call goes out, Obama gets to strategically and tactically avoid Iran, Russia, and the bad press that would inevitably come.



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Palestinian Seeks Recognition They Already Have

Palestine is seeking recognition as a nation. I posted some thoughts and misconception son this the other day and, while some were incorrect, I stand by my assessment that Palestine will not get the UNSC votes it wants for international recognition.

First, let’s set a standard of definitions as they relate to Nation and State. A nation denotes a people who are believed to or deemed to share common customs, religion, language, origins, ancestry or history. However, the adjectives national and international are frequently used to refer to matters pertaining to what are strictly sovereign states, as in national capital, international law. A state refers to the set of governing and supportive institutions that have sovereignty over a definite territory and population. I found these definitions on wiki.  

Under the above definitions there is a nation of Palestine, albeit in exile. A nation in exile is nothing new; the European Union has hosted the leadership of several governments in exile. Under international law this is recognition of a people as sovereign.

There are four easy ways under international law to recognize, but without going into painful detail and an argument over history we can agree to a few points.
First, Palestine did exist under the Mandate of Palestine and they were under British rule and protection. A civil war began in which Palestinians were throwing grenades into crowds, blowing things up, and using hit and run tactics to confuse, befuddle, and confound the Brits. Sounds familiar, huh? At this point in time those who were rich and powerful saw what was happening and left. By the time of the Israeli Declaration about 175,000, 25% according to UN estimates, Palestinians had left.
Of the remaining Palestinian populations, historians agree that some were forced out by Israeli military units but without higher command orders, some left, and others were militarized by Arab nations in order to stop Israel from further developing.

After this hullabaloo settled down the UN adopted Resolution 194. 35 of the then 58 members of the UN agreed to have the refugees returned to their homes and given a defined role at the UN. Of those who opposed the Resolution and were Arab we see that all six Arab states then opposed the Resolution. Those states being Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen

90 years ago, the Palestinians had a nation and a state. They had international recognition. Arab states were opposed to Palestine and Israel then and they are opposed to both states now. Arab nations fomented violence then and they foment violence now.

In 1967 the UN put together, painfully I might add, Resolution 242. Rather than summarizing a summary I will paste and link the following understanding of the resolution. Please pay close attention to the intent as recorded by the drafting parties in that “withdrawal” was not to include all the territories. In other words, Israel is to remain as a nation with land and be part of the Arab led peace process. Yes, folks, Resolution 242 put the onus for the peace process on the Arabs, not surprisingly, as we have seen, the Arab Street then as now refused and voted against it. Here is a very strong breakdown of Resolution 242 (I added the emphasis on certain points below):

The most controversial clause in Resolution 242 is the call for the "Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict." This is linked to the second unambiguous clause calling for "termination of all claims or states of belligerency" and the recognition that "every State in the area" has the "right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."

The resolution does not make Israeli withdrawal a prerequisite for Arab action. Moreover, it does not specify how much territory Israel is required to give up. The Security Council did not say Israel must withdraw from "all the" territories occupied after the Six-Day war. This was quite deliberate. The Soviet delegate wanted the inclusion of those words and said that their exclusion meant "that part of these territories can remain in Israeli hands." The Arab states pushed for the word "all" to be included, but this was rejected. They nevertheless asserted that they would read the resolution as if it included the word "all." The British Ambassador who drafted the approved resolution, Lord Caradon, declared after the vote: "It is only the resolution that will bind us, and we regard its wording as clear."

This literal interpretation was repeatedly declared to be the correct one by those involved in drafting the resolution. On October 29, 1969, for example, the British Foreign Secretary told the House of Commons the withdrawal envisaged by the resolution would not be from "all the territories." When asked to explain the British position later, Lord Caradon said: "It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positions were undesirable and artificial."

Similarly, Amb. Goldberg explained: "The notable omissions-which were not accidental-in regard to withdrawal are the words 'the' or 'all' and 'the June 5, 1967 lines'....the resolution speaks of withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal."
The resolutions clearly call on the Arab states to make peace with Israel. The principal condition is that Israel withdraw from "territories occupied" in 1967, which means that Israel must withdraw from some, all, or none of the territories still occupied. Since Israel withdrew from 91% of the territories when it gave up the Sinai, it has already partially, if not wholly, fulfilled its obligation under 242.

The Arab states also objected to the call for "secure and recognized boundaries" because they feared this implied negotiations with Israel. The Arab League explicitly ruled this out at Khartoum in August 1967, when it proclaimed the three "noes." Amb. Goldberg explained that this phrase was specifically included because the parties were expected to make "territorial adjustments in their peace settlement encompassing less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territories, inasmuch as Israel's prior frontiers had proved to be notably insecure."

The question, then, is whether Israel has to give up any additional territory. Now that peace agreements have been signed with Egypt and Jordan, the only remaining territorial disputes are with Lebanon and Syria. Israel's conflict with Lebanon is a result of fighting after 1967 and is therefore irrelevant to 242 (Israel has said it would withdraw to the international border if a treaty is signed and the central government takes control of northern border areas currently in the hands of terrorist groups).

The dispute with Syria is over the Golan Heights. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin expressed a willingness to negotiate a compromise in exchange for peace; however, President Hafez Assad refused to consider even a limited peace treaty unless Israel first agreed to a complete withdrawal. Under 242, Israel has no obligation to withdraw from any part of the Golan in the absence of a peace accord with Syria.

It is also important to realize that other Arab states that continue to maintain a state of war with Israel, or have refused to grant Israel diplomatic recognition, such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Libya have no territorial disputes with Israel. They have nevertheless conditioned their relations (at least rhetorically) on an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders.

Although ignored by most analysts, Resolution 242 does have other provisions. One requirement in that section is that freedom of navigation be guaranteed. It is important to remind people this clause was included because a principal cause of the 1967 war was Egypt's blockade of the Strait of Tiran.

Israel's Obligations to the Palestinians

The Palestinians are not mentioned anywhere in Resolution 242. They are only alluded to in the second clause of the second article of 242, which calls for "a just settlement of the refugee problem." Nowhere does it require that Palestinians be given any political rights or territory. In fact, the use of the generic term "refugee" was a deliberate acknowledgment that two refugee problems were products of the conflict-one Arab and another Jewish. In the case of the latter, almost as many Jews fled Arab countries as Palestinians left Israel. The Jews, however, were never compensated by the Arab states, nor were any UN organizations ever established to help them.

In a statement to the General Assembly October 15, 1968, the PLO, rejecting Resolution 242, said "the implementation of said resolution will lead to the loss of every hope for the establishment of peace and security in Palestine and the Middle East region."

By contrast, Amb. Abba Eban expressed Israel's position to the Security Council on May 1, 1968: "My government has indicated its acceptance of the Security Council resolution for the promotion of agreement on the establishment of a just and lasting peace. I am also authorized to reaffirm that we are willing to seek agreement with each Arab State on all matters included in that resolution."

It took nearly a quarter century, but the PLO finally agreed that Resolutions 242 and 338 should be the basis for negotiations with Israel when it signed the Declaration of Principles in September 1993.


Palestine wants to be recognized as a nation, they have that with 120 of the 193 member states of the UN recognizing them. Based on the definitions above and international law, as I understand it, the Palestinians are a nation. They are not a state as they do not have land other than UN Refugee camps; however, the denial of land and the refusal of recognition is coming from the Arab Street, not Israel; meanwhile, the Palestinians continue to align themselves with the more malignant personalities and forces in the region. There was a UN Resolution, the number I cannot recall, but it seems to me that the particular Resolution stated the requirement for a unanimous UNSC vote in favor of the Palestinians to have their state.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Appointed Bureaucracy

Today I will be looking over a few of Obama’s appointees and their positions. This is a last minute look that was motivated by a caller on The Morning Majority. This fellow apparently had received a letter from the EPA to update things in a building that he owned for his construction business. The letter informed him that he had 30 days to complete the updates, which I think he said were about $5,000, or face fines of up to $32,000 per day. From my perspective, here is a small business, a contracting company run by two gents, and is facing quite a financial hit. I understand the safety issues and such; however, anyone who has completed any home remodeling or other similar task knows the morass of paper work and filing fees as well as the not-so-benevolent bureaucracy that must be dealt with.

Bottom Line Up Front
There are a large number of governmental agencies which are run by presidential appointees. These appointees must be approved of by congress. What happens when the Congress and the President are all on the same party line is that the vast bureaucratic ship of state turns towards a direction that looks a lot like a centralization of power and a primary dominion. These are things which the founders of America sought to avoid.

Background
Those particular offices which come to mind at this early hour are the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Office of Faith Based Neighborhood Partnerships. An odd pair, I know, but it is early and I am only on my first pot of coffee and first something hour energy shot. I would include the FCC and the FTC, but those would make this a full book and I cannot devote that much time to writing in one day.

The directors or leading heads of these offices are presidential appointees and can wield, apparently, some broad powers.

The EPA was founded by Richard M. Nixon in 1970. This office is responsible for enforcing the nation’s environmental statutes. What has been done in that regard under this administration? The Gibson Guitar raid is the most recent and widely known action taken by the EPA, but there is more.

In Chino, CA the EPA is requiring that some 13 dairies prevent animal waste run-off. There is a fear that the cow manure and chemicals on the farms could wash into the rivers and streams in the winter rains. Concerns about cow crap in the water cloud California. Cow manure actually composts nicely into great fertile soil, but is a threat to the environment? I do not want to drink it, but it has been a LONG time since I have had to drink from a stream. Wait! What is going to happen when the EPA learns that fish poop in the water, too? How are they going to handle the herds of buffalo and wild horses that roam the plains and hills of the Midwest and daringly defecate without concern to the waterways?

Obama had to step in and pull back the current administrator of the EPA, Lisa Jackson. Just a few weeks ago, Jackson “tried” to implement standards that even Obama considered too stringent. Like that was the first time he saw the standards which Jackson was trying to implement! Come on, the Director of the EPA is virtually a Cabinet level position now. He sees Director Jackson quite regularly, I am sure. At any rate, Obama said that the standards were too strict and Jackson came back with lower standards, but which are still much stricter than those under which the US currently operates. These standards are strangling the US economy. Manufacturing plants are losing capital, getting fined, shutting down and laying off employees, while other businesses are moving operations overseas. These manufacturing plants are going to places with cheaper labor and looser environmental controls. Places like China. Earlier this year there were several press releases about thousands of children, not to mention the thousands and thousands of adults, who were diagnosed with lead poisoning in areas around battery plants in China. Some of those plants have been closed, but the environmental and human damage is done. These people are not going to be cured of a lifetime of lead exposure. If Director Jackson were to go to China and look at the environmental wrongs there she would either die of shock or, like the old cartoon characters, her eyes would jump out of her head with dollar signs for pupils.

So, the EPA standards are putting some businesses directly under, fining others out, and preventing many from starting. I suppose that those who had been or would have been working in those factories can now go to Washington and apply for positions with the EPA. They could jump squarely into someone’s …. Crap or go in and fiddle around with their wood. As a matter of fact, the new standards would require some 230,000 new employees in the EPA to track, investigate, and enforce those standards. Don’t ask or worry about how these jobs will be paid for, we can always tax the rich.

I see that EPA Director Jackson worked as the Environmental Protector of New Jersey. According to the NJ Star Ledger the State now has to come up with $8 billion dollars to fix the state’s sewer systems. Wow, she REALLY likes to get in peoples … business.

Since I, like the founders of America, like to thank God for my fortune of a great family and enough to pay the bills while putting a very little something aside I find the White House Office of Faith Based Neighborhood Partnerships an odd creation. Seriously, if there is such a call from some minor groups and loud mouths to remove the Ten Commandments from courthouses and to remove the name of God from our money and the Pledge of Allegiance, why no outcry over this office? What is this office supposed to do? According to the announcement from the White House, this organ (and I struggled to find a word to put here) is charged with thrusting the following upon us, the People

  • The Office’s top priority will be making community groups an integral part of our economic recovery and poverty a burden fewer have to bear when recovery is complete.
  • It will be one voice among several in the administration that will look at how we support women and children, address teenage pregnancy, and reduce the need for abortion.
  • The Office will strive to support fathers who stand by their families, which involves working to get young men off the streets and into well-paying jobs, and encouraging responsible fatherhood.
  • Finally, beyond American shores this Office will work with the National Security Council to foster interfaith dialogue with leaders and scholars around the world. 

The second point I cannot argue with, the man must be the father. Although, I can see how this concept will stick in the craw of gay groups, did he just lose the Pink Vote? Reaching out to foster dialogue … what a load of stuff the EPA wants to keep out of streams and rivers! Come on, that is what we have the State Department for! Let the existing agencies do their jobs! What are we paying diplomats for if not to reach out to scholars and leaders around the world?

The first two points above are what the Christian Church has done and is still doing today, in spite of multiple attempts to squash it and remove any vestiges of Christian religion from all books and institutions in America. Obama has created a religious affairs organ. There is a strange and odd collection of names attached to searches in the news and on the net for religious advisors to the Obama administration. Shaun Casey is one. Mr. Casey referred to Jesus as an illegal immigrant. Jim Wallis, anti-Gay, had an apparently short tenure on the Hill.

The one name which I found as a current and regularly appearing name in relation to both the White Hosue and religion is Dalia Mogahed. Both Obama and Hillary Clinton have a strongly positive opinion about her. This must be the case as muslim outreach has increased to a robust level, according to rollcall.com. Dalia Mogahed cannot be all that bad, can she? I mean, really, she believes in sharia law! Aside from the fact that sharia law requires infidels to die, pay jizya, and be slaves to pure muslims. That is, according to ibm Rashid.
Why wage war? The Muslim jurists agree that the purpose of fighting the People of the Book, excluding the (Qurayshite) People of the Book and the Christian Arabs, is one of two things: it is either for the conversion to Islam or the payment of the jizya. The payment of the jizya is because of the words of the Exalted, “Fight against such as those
who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah or the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah and His Messenger hath forbidden, and follow not the religion of truth, until they pay the tribute readily being brought low.

What is jizya? According to Islamic law, this is a tax imposed upon non-Arab people of the Book (non-Arab Christians) who are male, of puberty, and free. What might that look like? Well, I hardly think that, if the word jizya, were used that the US would not erupt in a firestorm of rebellion. But, if one does a search on “fined for bible study” one will find nearly 100 articles just for September 2011, posts, and blog entries about the family in Orange County California that was fined $300 for holding a Bible study as it violated zoning laws. One articles states that the weekly gatherings violated the area zoning laws. What about large family meals (like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Birthdays), graduation parties, and the like? Are those also going to be zoned and taxed out or is this an insidious way of instituting a jizya? I did not find anything under “fined for quran study”

Even though “separation of church and state” is not written in the Constitution, it is written that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

Well, I ramble, but, we see that there is a steady term for Dalia Mogahed, daughter of a Muslim Brotherhood member, working closely with Obama; however, the “Christian” choices of the administration have been found to be extremist, racist, and otherwise just loony. It sounds to me like someone is being restricted by the government!