July 10, 2012- Olmert Not Guilty On Most Charges, Libyans Vote For Liberals Over Islamist Party.
The Since a little after 9 AM this morning the news in Israel has been dominated by the story of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert being found not guilty of all but one charge, in many faceted corruption trial. The verdict was a real surprise to most observers. The trial was, in fact, three trials in one. The first case, called "Rishon Tours" dealt with the fact that Jewish charities were often double billed for Olmert's flights and the balances were later used by his family for private travel. The second segment of the trail was over the Talansky case, about money Olmert received from a resident from "The Five Towns", named Talansky. The third case revolved around how Olmert ran his office when he was Minister of Trade.
Olmert was acquitted in the first and second cases, due to reasonable doubt. The doubt was not over the facts in either of these two cases, but whether or not Olmert was aware of the illegal acts, and whether or not there was criminal intent behind the actions. In the third case, Olmert was found guilty of one of the lesser charges: Breach of public trust. Thus, Olmert becomes the first Israeli Prime Minister to be found criminally guilty. The court's decision today has brought all types of reactions in Israel. Most of the negative reactions have been aimed at the State Prosecutor's office, for pursuing the cases against Olmert in the first place.
It's important to remember the sequence of events: The investigation began while Olmert was serving as Prime Minister, with over two years left to his term. The issue came to the fore when the prosecution requested the key witness Moshe Talansky gives testimony early, before an indictment had even taken place, since they feared he would not remain around in Israel. The courts honored the prosecutor's request and Talansky gave testimony that he had indeed given Olmert a significant amount of cash. The testimony caused a political storm. After Ehud Barak gave Ehud Olmert an ultimatum, Olmert was forced to resign. Soon there were new elections and a Likud government came to power.
Talansky’s motivation for testifying remain unclear to this day. Though the results of his testimony are clear. Olmert was out of office and Netanyahu become Prime Minister. Yet, it is hard to see how, in light of the material the prosecutors received that they could have chosen not go ahead. This recent vindication is the fourth or fifth time that Olmert has escaped conviction on various allegations of corruption. One has to wonder, where there is smoke there is usually...
Olmert is still immersed in one last case- that of the Holy Land bribery trial. There, he is charged with accepting bribes in return for changing the zoning requirements for the humongous chain of buildings that went up on the site of the former Holy Land hotel. Finally, one piece of unadulterated good news. In the Libyan elections, the Liberal candidate who ran for office decisively defeated the Islamist candidate. Thus, showing there may still be a chance for a true liberal democracy in the Arab world. It’s also a clear foreign policy victory for the Obama Administration. If you combine this victory with the narrowness of the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate in Egypt, maybe the Muslim world is not on a one-way trip to Islamic rule.
ISRAEL CHALLENGES LIBYA INVASION
Israeli navy challenges Gaza-bound Libyan ship
By Jeffrey Heller JULY 13 11:35 AM
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The captain of a Gaza-bound Libyan aid ship Tuesday rejected an Israeli demand that it dock instead in Egypt, the mission organizers said, setting course for a new confrontation over Israel's naval blockade.Six weeks after it drew a world outcry by killing nine Turks in the botched boarding of another ship that tried to reach the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory, Israel said it would turn away or seize the cargo vessel Amalthea -- renamed Hope by activists.A charity chaired by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, said in a statement an Israeli warship was near the Moldovan-flagged Amalthea, which left Greece on Saturday for what would normally be a three-day voyage to Gaza.In response to the Israeli order to head for the Egyptian port of El Arish, the captain of the Libyan ship and the head of the foundation team on board reaffirmed that the ship's destination is Gaza and no other place, the charity said.An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed that a process of identification and communication with the vessel, some 100 miles from the Gaza coast, had begun but said the ship had not been boarded.The Israeli navy has launched preparations and activity to stop the Libyan ship,she said.After the May 31 interception of the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, Israel eased overland commerce with Gaza but maintained the naval blockade in what it called a precaution against arms reaching the Islamist Hamas, with whom it fought a war last year.
On June 5, the navy commandeered Irish-owned aid ship Rachel Corrie after it refused orders to turn back or dock in Israel for its cargo to be vetted for possible transfer to Gaza.International criticism of Israel, led by former stalwart Muslim ally Turkey, has focused on the continued harship inflicted on Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinians, many of whom depend on U.N. aid handouts.There has also been rancor over the limited powers and mandate of two internal Israeli investigations into the killings aboard the Mavi Marmara by marine commandos who said they opened fire after being set upon by passengers wielding clubs, knives and a gun. Activists aboard the ship disputed that account.Tuesday saw publication of the conclusions of the first inquiry by a military panel that faulted a lack of planning in the high seas interception but found the lethal force warranted.Organizers said the Amalthea, with 12 crew and up to 10 activists on board, carried 2,000 tonnes of food and medicine and complied with international shipping regulations.Hamas made clear it saw value to the ship beyond the cargo.This story is not related only to delivering humanitarian goods, but also to breaking the siege on Gaza and opening a sea lane, Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters, noting that Egypt, which also borders Gaza, was maintaining its own closure.(Writing by Dan Williams and Jeffrey Heller, Reporting by Allyn Fisher-Ilan and Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem and Lamine Ghanmi in Rabat, Editing by Angus MacSwan)
Missing Iranian scientist surfaces in Washington By MATTHEW LEE and ROBERT BURNS, Associated Press Writer JULY 13,10
WASHINGTON – A missing Iranian nuclear scientist, who has sought refuge at a Pakistani embassy office in Washington and who Iran claims was abducted, is free to return to his homeland, the State Department said Tuesday.It was the latest development in a murky case that has been shrouded in mystery since the scientist, Shahram Amiri, disappeared while on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in June 2009.He has been in the United States of his own free will and obviously he is free to go, department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. In fact, he was scheduled to travel to Iran yesterday but was unable to make all of the necessary arrangements to reach Iran through transit countries.Crowley said Amiri was at the Pakistani embassy. He traveled there on his own,he added, but would not elaborate. Other officials said Amiri arrived there Monday evening.Iran's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, told reporters at a news conference in Madrid that Amiri was found after having been kidnapped during the Hajj and taken to the U.S. against his will. He demanded that Amiri be allowed to return home without any obstacle.In brief remarks to reporters, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Amiri was free to go.
These are decisions that are his alone to make, Clinton said. In contrast, Iran continues to hold three young Americans against their will, and we reiterate our request that they be released and allowed to return to their families on a humanitarian basis.Clinton was referring to three American hikers who have been held by Tehran since July 2009 on an accusation of illegally entering the country. They have not been charged.Clinton and Crowley also mentioned the case of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007.We also continue to have concern about others, including Robert Levinson. We have asked Iran many, many times for information about his whereabouts and we still do not have that information,Crowley said.Iran has repeatedly claimed that the U.S. abducted Amiri — charges the Americans deny. U.S. media reported in March that the 32-year-old scientist had defected to the U.S. and was assisting the CIA in efforts to undermine Iran's disputed nuclear program.Adding to the confusion, Amiri himself appeared in a series of videos making conflicting claims, including one where he said he was kidnapped by American and Saudi agents and taken to the U.S. and another in which he said he was freely studying in the United States.
Iranian state television reported that Amiri entered the Pakistani embassy's office representing Iranian interests in Washington and demanded an immediate return to Iran.The Iranian interest section is technically part of Pakistan's embassy and is under Pakistani legal protection but is run by Iranians who issue visas for travelers to Iran and perform other functions.A Pakistani diplomat in Washington said Amiri arrived at the interest section, which is separate from the main Pakistani embassy building, at 6:30 p.m. EDT Monday, and told Iranians there that he had been dropped by what he called his captors.The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. He added that Pakistani officials had yet to speak directly to Amiri.Mostafa Rahmani, head of the Iranian office in Washington, said Amiri was there but declined to provide details.Amiri's sudden appearance could prove an embarrassment to Washington, which accuses Tehran of seeking nuclear weapons. Iran denies that and maintains that its nuclear research is for peaceful purposes. Iranian State TV's website quoted Amiri as saying in a telephone interview that the U.S. was planning to send the scientist back to Iran following release of the videos.Since the release of the videos, the Americans have come out as the losers,Amiri was quoted as saying. He said he was under psychological pressure in recent months.The United Nations in early June slapped a fourth round of sanctions on Tehran over its refusal to curtain its nuclear program.
Before he disappeared, Amiri worked at Tehran's Malek Ashtar University, an institution closely connected to the country's powerful Revolutionary Guard.Iran's state TV has periodically showed purported videos of Amiri claiming abduction and torture by the U.S. Crowley, the State Department spokesman, disputed the claim of torture.I have no information to suggest that he has been mistreated while he has been in the United States,Crowley said.Associated Press writers Nahal Toosi in Islamabad, Nasser Karimi in Tehran and Robert Reid in Amman contributed to this report.
Israelis sue Al-Jazeera over Lebanon war reporting By ARON HELLER, Associated Press Writer - JULY 13,10
JERUSALEM – A group of 91 Israelis wounded by Hezbollah rockets during the 2006 war is suing the Arab news network Al-Jazeera for $1.2 billion in a New York court for allegedly aiding the Lebanese guerrillas, their lawyer said Tuesday.Nitzana Darshan-Leitner said the suit, which was filed Monday, claims the Qatar-based news network intentionally violated Israel's military censorship regulations and reported the precise locations of rocket strikes in Israel in live broadcasts during the monthlong 2006 war.The reporting enabled Hezbollah to aim its rockets more accurately at Israeli targets, the suit alleged.There was no immediate comment from Al-Jazeera.Hezbollah launched around 4,000 rockets into Israel during the monthlong war in 2006. The fighting killed 159 Israelis and 1,200 people in Lebanon.Al-Jazeera made itself a crucial component of the Hezbollah rocket offensive. The intent was to assist the terrorists in targeting and killing civilians,said Darshan-Leitner. Without the assistance of Al-Jazeera's on-the-ground spotters, Hezbollah would have been unable to accurately aim its rockets into Israeli cities.Israel's military censor prohibited media outlets from reporting the locations of rocket strikes during the fighting, and Israeli police detained Al-Jazeera crews several times for violating the edict and broadcasting real-time information, though no formal charges were ever filed.The lawsuit was filed on the fourth anniversary of the start of the war.Haim Kaplan, who was wounded in the first day of fighting and his northern Israel home damaged, said the lawsuit aimed to hold all those connected to the rocket attacks accountable.Anyone involved in supporting terror should pay the price and anyone who thinks about doing so should think twice,he said.
Israeli bulldozers raze 4 east Jerusalem buildings By DIAA HADID, Associated Press Writer - JULY 13,10
JERUSALEM – Israeli bulldozers destroyed six buildings, including at least three homes, in contested east Jerusalem on Tuesday, resuming the demolition of Palestinian property after a halt aimed at encouraging peace talks.Jerusalem house demolitions are a volatile issue because of conflicting Israeli and Palestinian claims to the city's eastern sector. Israel sees it as part of its capital city, while Palestinians want it for their own future capital.The municipality said none of the structures razed were homes, and that all had been illegally built and were not populated. The demolitions were carried out by a court order, the municipality said in a statement.But Palestinians disputed those claims, saying three of the demolished structures were homes and one was a warehouse. Two daybeds and bags crammed with children's clothing and kitchen utensils were strewn outside one of the buildings.Basem Isawi, 48, an unemployed contractor, stood stony-faced amid the rubble of his unfinished home, forbidding his six children to come out of the nearby house where they currently live to see what had happened to it.Isawi said he built the almost-finished home illegally for about $25,000 because he was convinced the municipality would deny him a permit. He had been notified of the impending demolition but did not know when it was slated to happen, he said.We watched them destroy the house, and we couldn't do anything, Isawi said. Police said the demolitions were carried out without incident.
Since October, no houses had been demolished in the eastern sector of the city until Tuesday. The demolitions seemed to indicate a move a way from the unofficial freeze on them, which Israel imposed after much criticism from Washington.On Monday, a Jerusalem municipal committee gave preliminary approval to 32 new apartments in a Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem, rolling back a decision earlier this year to quietly put new projects on hold. And in recent weeks, the municipality has begun demolishing small, uninhabited structures, such as sheds, built without permits in east Jerusalem.Palestinians say both demolitions and settlement construction undermine their efforts to establish a state on territory Israel captured in the 1967Mideast war.Saeb Erekat, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the demolitions. This government of Israel has been given the choice between settlements and peace and it is obvious that it chose settlements, he said.The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not comment Tuesday. A spokesman for the U.S. embassy had no comment.Israel says it is only enforcing the law against building violations, but Palestinians say discriminatory planning practices make it impossible for them to get permits, leaving them no choice but to build illegally and risk demolition.About a third of Jerusalem's 750,000 residents are Palestinian. They have residency status in Jerusalem and receive Israeli social benefits, but do not hold Israeli citizenship.They largely boycott municipal elections to avoid recognizing Israel's hold on east Jerusalem.Meir Margalit, a dovish Jerusalem municipal councilman, said the demolitions were aimed at squeezing Palestinians out of the city.The municipality and the government are afraid that the Palestinians will become a majority in the future, and in order to stop this process they have forbidden them to build houses in order to convince them to leave the city,Margalit said.
US envoy Mitchell to return to Mideast in talks push
Mon Jul 12, 4:35 pm ET
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States said Monday that envoy George Mitchell will return to the Middle East this week in hopes of helping start long-dormant direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians.He'll be in the region in a couple of days, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.We want to get them into direct negotiations as quickly as possible, he said.Until we get in direct negotiations, there's little prospect of reaching a just settlement for everyone concerned.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the White House last week and pledged to work to resume direct talks as he tried to play down past frictions with President Barack Obama.Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has been skeptical of Netanyahu's sincerity about starting direct talks, accusing Israel of poisoning the atmosphere with settlement plans in the Palestinian territories.
Palestinians suspended direct talks in December 2008 when Israel began an offensive in the Gaza Strip, controlled by the Islamist movement Hamas. But Mitchell helped start indirect talks in May this year.
20 new Jewish homes approved in east Jerusalem
Mon Jul 12, 2:15 pm ET
JERUSALEM (AFP) – The construction of 20 new homes in a Jewish settlement in annexed east Jerusalem was approved on Monday, officials said, in a move likely to hamper Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.The city's planning and construction committee authorised the construction in the Pisgat Ze'ev neighbourhood, said Stephen Miller, a spokesman for mayor Nir Barkat.The neighbourhood is one of the largest Jewish settlements built in mostly Arab east Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed.Miller said the committee at a meeting on Monday authorised more than 100 building permit requests from all parts of Jerusalem, including in Arab neighbourhoods.Jerusalem and Jewish settlements are among the thorniest issues in efforts to achieve a peace deal.Israel considers the Holy City its eternal and indivisible capital and has vowed to continue building there, while the Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their promised state.So-called proximity talks were originally due to start in March but the Palestinians withdrew after Israel publicised a plan to build 1,600 units in east Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo district.The Palestinians eventually agreed to hold the indirect talks after receiving US assurances the Ramat Shlomo expansion plan would be frozen, a move Israel denied.Israel is now pushing the Palestinians to agree to enter direct talks, but they have so far refused and made them conditional on an Israeli freeze on all settlement construction, including in east Jerusalem.We will continue building Jerusalem in all its neighbourhoods, without consideration for the political situation,committee member Elisha Peleg told the Ynet news Website.However, Miller said it was unlikely that the building of the 20 units in Pisgat Ze'ev would start any time soon.It still has to go to 15-to-20 municipal departments for approval, like sanitation and environment, before they can pay their fees and start building, the spokesman said.
Abbas urges Hamas to sign reconciliation deal
Mon Jul 12, 1:56 pm ET
BUCHAREST (AFP) – Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas Monday renewed calls for the Islamist Hamas movement to sign an Egyptian-drafted reconciliation document that would allow elections to take place.I hope that Hamas signs the Egyptian document so that we are able to move towards the organisation of elections, Abbas said after a meeting in Bucharest with Romanian President Traian Basescu.Abbas, who is scheduled to meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Thursday in Egypt, reiterated the importance of inter-Palestinian reconciliation.In the last general election in 2006, Hamas unexpectedly routed Abbas' secular Fatah party.Under the terms of the reconciliation document, legislative and presidential elections would be held in mid-2010.The two groups have remained deeply divided since the Islamists violently seized control of Gaza in June 2007 during a week of bloody street clashes, confining Abbas's authority to the Israeli-occupied West Bank.Egypt has made several attempts at reconciliation, but the last round of talks ended in October 2009 when Hamas refused to sign the Egyptian document after it was inked by Fatah.Hamas has said it will only sign the document with certain amendments, while Egypt and Fatah have refused to reopen the negotiations.
Netanyahu: peace deal unlikely to be in place by 2012
Mon Jul 12, 12:17 pm ET
JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview broadcast Sunday that it was unlikely a peace deal with the Palestinians could be implemented by 2012.Can we have a negotiated peace? Yes. Can it be implemented by 2012? I think it's going to take longer than that,Netanyahu told Fox News Sunday.
Asked if he believes there can be a Palestinian state by 2012, Netanyahu said he thought the process needs to take longer.I think there can be a solution. It may be implemented over time, because time is an important factor of getting the solution, both in terms of security arrangements and other things that would be difficult if they're not allowed to take place over time,he said.For the past two months, Israel and the Palestinians have been engaged in a series of US-backed proximity talks which have seen US envoy George Mitchell shuttling between the two sides.But Israel wants to shift to direct negotiations -- in a move which was publicly backed by US President Barack Obama when he met with Netanyahu in Washington last week.Following the meeting, Obama assured Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas by telephone on Friday of his commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state, Abbas' spokesman said.
The Palestinians have set August 2011 as a target date for a state, particularly prime minister Salam Fayyad, who has been trying to build the institutions for a de-facto state.
Israel says won't let Libyan aid ship reach Gaza
Sun Jul 11, 6:05 pm ET
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel will not allow an aid ship sent by a Libyan group to reach Gaza, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday, just over a month after Israeli commandos killed nine activists in a raid at sea.I say very clearly, no ship will arrive in Gaza. We will not permit our sovereignty to be harmed, Lieberman said on Army Radio, referring to Israel's naval blockade of the Palestinian territory controlled by Hamas Islamists.The Moldovan-flagged Amalthea, renamed Hope, left Greece on Saturday bound for Gaza on a trip organized by a charity chaired by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. The group said the ship was carrying some 2,000 tons of food and medicine and complied with international rules.Organizers said the vessel, with 12 crew and up to 10 activists on board, would head for Gaza but go to Egypt's port of El-Arish instead if banned from reaching its destination in a voyage expected to take between 70 and 80 hours.I hope very much that common sense will prevail and the ship will go to El-Arish, or that it will obey the Israel Defense Forces and eventually go to (Israel's port of) Ashdod,Lieberman said.Israel's blockade of the coastal strip has been under closer international scrutiny since it sent commandos to raid an aid flotilla on May 31, killing nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists. Israel said those troops acted in self-defense after passengers attacked them with metal rods and knives.
Israel said on Saturday it had contacted Greek, Egyptian and Moldovan authorities to make sure the latest ship, chartered by the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, would not attempt to reach Gaza.Youssef Sawani, executive director of the Libyan charity, said before the Moldovan ship left Greece that its mission was peaceful and its sole goal was have its humanitarian cargo delivered to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.It's not to make an event or a show in high seas or somewhere else, Sawani said.Israel says the blockade is needed to keep arms from Hamas.The United Nations says the blockade has led to a humanitarian crisis for the Gaza Strip's 1.5 million people, of whom about 1 million depend to some extent on regular supplies of U.N. and other foreign aid.Following the international outrage caused by its raid on the aid flotilla, Israel eased the land blockade of the enclave and set up an inquiry into the incident.(Writing by Jeffrey Heller Additional reporting by Reuters TV in Lavrio and Lefteris Papadimas in Athens Editing by Peter Graff)
Hezbollah says it has list of targets in Israel By BASSEM MROUE, Associated Press Writer – Sun Jul 11, 11:00 am ET
BEIRUT – A senior official with the militant Hezbollah group said Sunday they have a list of military targets inside Israel to strike in any future war.Hezbollah commander in south Lebanon, Sheik Nabil Kaouk, made his comments in response to Wednesday's release by Israel's military of maps and aerial photographs of what it described as a network of Hezbollah weapons depots and command centers in south Lebanon.The Israeli material included detailed maps and 3-D simulations showing individual buildings that the military said were rocket storehouses. Some were said to be located close to schools and hospitals.The Hezbollah official told the state news agency that the Israeli leaders were trying to restore their confidence by presenting a list of targets in southern Lebanon after the Israeli public opinion lost faith in the army.Kaouk noted that Israel's announcement comes on the anniversary of their defeat in the 2006 war in which Hezbollah battled Israel to a stalemate and some 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis died.Though the border has remained quiet for the last four years, Israel and Hezbollah have exchanged threats in recent months.During the 2006 war, which started after Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border attack, Israel launched a massive air, sea and ground campaign, while Hezbollah fired around 4,000 rockets into Israel.
The war ended with a U.N. resolution that imposed a blockade on weapons destined for Hezbollah and banned the group from operating near the Israeli border.Israel says the resolution and international peacekeeping forces in Lebanon have been largely ineffective. Israel believes Hezbollah has increased its prewar arms stockpile to more than 40,000 rockets.Israeli defense officials say the range of the group's arsenal now includes Israel's main population center in and around Tel Aviv.Hezbollah leader sheik Hassan Nasrallah said the group now can hit anywhere in Israel.Let the enemy's leaders know that we have a bank of targets that is full and they all know that all their drills and threats will collapse in front of the resistance's surprises in any future war,said Kaouk.
Israel police quiz ex-PM again over Holyland scandal
Sun Jul 11, 6:27 am ET
JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel's former prime minister Ehud Olmert was questioned by the fraud squad on Sunday for a third time over his alleged involvement in a huge property scandal, a police spokesman said.Ehud Olmert went on Sunday to the brigade headquarters in Lod, near Tel Aviv, said Micky Rosenfeld, without giving details of the questioning.In May, the fraud squad had questioned the 64-year-old two times within the same week about the so-called Holyland affair.He is already on trial on three unrelated counts of fraud and bribery.The investigation reportedly centres on his alleged role in a scandal involving bribes from developers building a grandiose residential project in Jerusalem called the Holyland complex.In April, prosecutors named Olmert as a key suspect in the Holyland affair in which he is suspected of having taken bribes totalling some 3.5 million shekels (one million dollars).The bribes were allegedly given during construction of the massive complex in the 1990s, a period when Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem. He has denied any such charges.
In December, Olmert also pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption linked to three other cases. He resigned under pressure in September 2008 after police recommended he be indicted.He is accused of unlawfully accepting gifts of cash-stuffed envelopes from Jewish-American businessman Morris Talanski and of multiple-billing for foreign trips.Olmert has also been charged with cronyism in connection with an investment centre which he oversaw when he was trade and industry minister between 2003 and 2006.All the charges relate to a period before Olmert became premier in 2006.
Palestinian village to be encircled by barrier By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press Writer – Sat Jul 10, 3:08 pm ET
WALAJEH, West Bank – Israel has started construction on a new section of its West Bank separation barrier that Palestinian residents say could sound a death knell for their hamlet.The barrier, running much of the length of the West Bank, has already disrupted lives in many Palestinian towns and villages in its path. But it threatens to outright smother Walajeh: The community of about 2,000 on the southwest edge of Jerusalem is to be completely encircled by a fence cutting it off from most of its open land, according to an Israeli Defense Ministry map.Walajeh old-timers are determined to stay, but doubt their children will feel the same way.We will cling to the village by our teeth, said Adel Atrash, a village council member. But we don't know how the next generation will look at things. Maybe they won't be able to live with all the difficulties and decide to leave.Israel began building the barrier in 2002, saying it would be a temporary bulwark against Palestinian suicide bombers and gunmen who have killed hundreds of Israelis. However, the barrier's zigzag through the West Bank brought allegations that Israel is unilaterally drawing a border and grabbing land by scooping up dozens of Jewish settlements.Six years ago Friday, the International Court of Justice said in a nonbinding ruling that the barrier's path through occupied territory violates international law and that Israel should tear down what it has built.
Israel rejected the decision, saying the barrier is crucial for keeping Israelis safe, and denies it is drawing a border.In future negotiations (on Palestinian statehood), the route of the security barrier will not constitute a political factor,Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.Construction of the barrier continues as Israel and the Palestinians hold indirect negotiations the U.S. hopes will eventually lead to face-to-face talks on a peace treaty establishing a Palestinian state. But the Palestinians have refused direct negotiations without a complete freeze on settlement building.Today, the barrier, almost two-thirds complete, runs for more than 250 miles (400 kilometers) through the West Bank and east Jerusalem, war-captured territories claimed by the Palestinians for a state. Once finished, the barrier would put 9.4 percent of the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, on the Israeli side, along with 85 percent of half a million Israeli settlers, according to a U.N. report.The barrier — walls of cement slabs in urban areas and wire fences in the countryside — has made it harder for tens of thousands of Palestinians to reach farm land, schools and medical care.Those who live in the seam zone between Israel and the barrier or have farm land there need special permits they can't always obtain and cross through gates that aren't always open, according to the U.N. report, issued on the anniversary of the world court ruling.
Walajeh's fate appears to be sealed because it is virtually surrounded by Israeli settlements.The barrier will make a large dip into the West Bank to keep the settlements, including Har Gilo and the Gush Etzion bloc, on the Israeli side. Within that pocket, an extra loop of barrier is to surround Walajeh on three sides, with a fenced settler road to Har Gilo closing off the fourth side, according to the Defense Ministry map of the projected route.Moreover, the loop runs tightly around Walajeh's built-up area, penning it within less than a square mile and isolating it from almost all its farmlands. Of 36 Palestinian villages that are or will be caught in the seam zone, none are as closely encircled as Walajeh, said Ray Dolphin, a U.N. barrier expert in Jerusalem.Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror said Friday he could not comment on the details of construction around Walajeh, but noted the route withstood a challenge in an Israeli court four years ago.The Israeli military would not comment on how villagers are to get in and out of their enclave. Israel has raised the possibility of an access road with a checkpoint, Atrash said, as well as gates so farmers could reach their lands. Residents are skeptical, considering the difficulties farmers elsewhere have had.In recent weeks, bulldozers began leveling land and uprooting trees near Walajeh in the run-up to construction.
Ahmed Barghouti, 63, who lives close to the fence's path, says he lost 88 olive trees last month and now fears for a nearby family burial plot. The village's lawyer, Ghiath Nasser, says he won a temporary order to stop work on that section until Israel's Supreme Court decides what should be done with the graves of Barghouti's parents and grandmother. The house of a neighbor, Omar Hajajla, lies just outside Walajeh's barrier loop. Hajajla said Israeli officials last week informed him his home would be surrounded by its own electric fence. This is like putting my entire family in jail,the father of three young boys said.My children need to cross four gates to go school. We don't know how it will work out, but I'm sure it will be hell for my entire family.The barrier is just the latest blow for Walajeh, which has lost most of its land to Israel in decades of conflict. Israeli forces took control of the village in the 1948 Mideast War, and residents fled, some resettling on parts of its lands that ended up in the Jordanian-controlled West Bank.After 1967, Israel expanded east Jerusalem's boundaries and absorbed half of Walajeh. But residents were still classified as West Bankers, not Jerusalemites, limiting their rights and freedom of movement.Since then, Walajeh has lost more acres to expanding settlements and roads, said Matteo Benatti, a U.N. official. From its pre-1948 size of 4,400 acres, Walajeh now has around 1,100 acres, nearly half of which will be cut off by the barrier if built as projected, he said.
Plans have been floated to build more homes for Israeli settlers in the area. In November, Israel's government gave preliminary approval to expand the nearby east Jerusalem's Gilo settlement. Private developers propose building apartments for Israelis on the lands surrounding Walajeh and have been lobbying to include the village on the Israeli side of the barrier, so far to no avail. Dror, the Defense Ministry spokesman, said he did not believe the developers would get their plan approved. Also, more than two dozen houses in Walajeh have been demolished over the years and 41 out of about 200 remaining homes face Israeli demolition orders on grounds they were built without permits, said Meir Margalit, a Jerusalem city council member. Margalit, who supports the village, says permits are impossible to obtain.Walajeh faces an uphill battle for survival, said Margalit.In any scenario, my feeling is that Walajeh will disappear.Associated Press writer Dalia Nammari in Ramallah, West Bank, contributed to this report.
Presbyterians: End Israel aid over settlements By PATRICK CONDON, Associated Press Writer – Sat Jul 10, 12:29 am ET
MINNEAPOLIS – Presbyterian leaders strongly backed a proposal Friday that included a call to end U.S. aid to Israel unless the country stops settlement expansions in disputed Palestinian territories.But they said the 172-page report, which details their church's approach to issues in the Middle East, was a sincere effort to mend long-standing fractures between the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Jewish groups.
It earned qualified praise but also criticism from pro-Israel organizations, which have long taken issue with various Presbyterian statements on Middle East peace.
Who Is Responsible for Retaliatory Violence?
As protests roiled Benghazi, an eastern Libyan city that had served as the power base of the uprising that deposed Libyan dictator Colonel Moammar al-Gaddafi last year, gunmen launched an acute assault on the United States consulate there Tuesday night. Successfully exploiting the protests as cover, they attacked the consulate with guns, hand-thrown bombs and rockets. The United States Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, was killed, along with 2 American security contractors who were formerly Navy SEALs and 1 other member of the Foreign Service. The BBC reported that Ambassador Stevens apparently was only on the grounds of the consulate at the time because he was assisting with the evacuation. The Libyan doctor who tried to revive the Ambassador after the attack said he died of smoke inhalation.
The 4 Americans who were killed in the line of duty were brought back stateside yesterday, and buried in a ceremony led by President Obama.
The principle reason I’m writing this is to wade into a controversy that developed almost immediately. It is a political controversy, but because it involves a serious question of the priority with which government regards our rights I will try to deal with it in as minimally-political (but not apolitical) a fashion as possible.
The controversy started when Governor Romney predictably criticized President Obama’s response to the attacks. I want to be very clear about this: I will spend most of this entry on the title question, not on the “apology” for the American value of freedom of speech which Romney accused the President of giving (and which anyone paying attention to the actual course of events knows he did not give). Since I’ve cleared that up, Governor Romney’s charge was directed towards a tweet issued by a member of the Foreign Service at the US Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, without knowledge or authorization of the President:
“The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”
This statement was tweeted by a Foreign Service member before the attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi or the US Embassy in Cairo even occurred. Governor Romney seized on it because they fit with his campaign’s foreign policy narrative of “no apology” for American values and the empowered role of the United States in the World. He immediately caught a round of flak, including from some prominent Republicans, for seeking to politicize an unfolding crisis the President responded with unusual harshness, saying Governor Romney has a “shoot first, aim later” approach to foreign policy problems. But I want to look past Governor Romney’s objection to this comment from its political context, with the attendant charge against the President. I even want to look past the focus of the statement itself, which “condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” So: When you remove the question of the appropriateness of Governor Romney’s comments, of President Obama’s moral tone in responding to the crisis, and of the notorious tweet’s call for respect for religion, what’s left of the controversy? Well, none other than the most-fundamental political question of all is left.
Who is responsible when offensive provocation leads to retaliatory violence? The perpetrators of violence are responsible. The perpetrators of violence are always responsible, and they are entirely responsible.
This is not to say that the creation of an artwork (however badly-made and contrived in its meaning) that one can reasonably expect to engender a violent response isn’t a morally-fraught question. Moral considerations that don’t at least countenance the likely response of others to the act are really moral abdications. But the difference between the provocateur and he who rises to the bait with a violent response is the difference between a person who may (or in some cases, does not) have bad motives but performs a nonviolent act versus a person who chooses to initiate violent force because of their subjective feelings. The makers of the bad movie insulting Islam’s chief religious and historical figure may warrant our contempt for issuing an insult that was designed expressly to provoke a response…but that is the most sanction they deserve. Their act of provocation does not warrant physical retaliation against anyone whatsoever–in any way.
When President Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose Abolitionist novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin horrified many with its account of man’s inhumanity to man under American slavery, he is said to have greeted her with immortal irony: “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” Hyperbole, of course, but is it plausible through some stylized narrative to hold Stowe accountable for the bloodiest war in American history? No, no, a thousand times no. Neither Stowe’s obvious innocence in the course of the war nor the rightness of the Abolitionist cause have anything to do with it the simple fact is a match of this sort is happenstance compared with the tinder it lights.
And the tinder itself is much smaller than people think for how brightly it burns. CNN yesterday was in particularly-shameful form, playing a few minutes of violent Friday protests over and over and over again. The Cairo area has about 20 million people a few thousand participated in Friday’s protests. Worldwide, most of the protests were not riotous. The narrow subset of people who perpetrated acts of violence deserves more attention the attack on the US consulate in Libya appears to have been planned by a Libyan radical Islamist group, Ansar al-Sharia, which blocked Libyan security forces from moving in to protect the consulate while it was being overrun. While this comes up in an online CNN article explaining the riots, the news channel’s coverage yesterday nonetheless was full of headlines like “RAGE IN THE MUSLIM WORLD.”
But again, the small number (and telling geographic confinement) of Muslims actually involved in violent riots is not the issue in assigning blame between provocateur and rioter. The principle at stake here is as basic as they come. Our refusal to take punitive action against the makers of a message–however-offensive–isn’t simply about our fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression in this case. It is even more-basic than that. When we rebuff the demands of those who answer an insult with violence, we repudiate the uncivilized notion that the one whom is willing to use violence can dictate the actions of others. Anyone has the right to take offense expressed indignation can be quite virtuous and even have beneficial effects on individuals or on a culture. Anyone has the right to put these provocateurs on the couch, so to speak, or to seek to ridicule or disqualify them in the public sphere. But as the use of violence expands the public sphere contracts it is never in its essence anything more than it is between 2 individuals–namely, an attempt by one to subordinate the other mechanically to his will. Violence is simply about unadorned power. The most-basic principle justifying government is that it may monopolize violence to prevent its subjective use by individuals against one another. Thomas Hobbes goes so far as to say that there can be no talk of morality without what we call law and order suffice to say that casting blame on a provocateur in a way that implies that violent men can blame others for their violent actions is nonsense.
While Neoconservatives and the emphatically religion-averse “New Atheists” have preached confrontation, in the face of this latest rash of violent riots much as they did with the 2006 “Cartoon Riots” following the publication of offensive drawings of Muhammad in a European newspaper, they have done so on freedom of speech grounds. Offensive images, including those that bring the sacred down to the level of the profane, can always be sufficiently defended on the grounds of freedom of speech. But I’ve noticed that those who congregate to defend these gestures on these grounds have an odd tendency in practice to share the sentiments expressed. There is a right even more-basic than our freedom of speech that violent rioters calling for punishment for those who made the offending video are violating. That right is the expectation that our government will protect us from violence.
On account of our First Amendment, Americans have the right to express themselves as they wish–provided that such expression will not create an immanent danger. On this grounds one does not have a “right” to yell “Fire!” in a theater because it could cause a stampede however, one does have a right to offensive gestures others have the opportunity to consider and decide how to respond. Those who have rioted, burned several American chain restaurant franchises in the Middle East, launched attacks on our and German embassies and even killed 4 staff members at our consulate in Benghazi, Libya were not automatons responding reflexively to a present stimulus they were human beings who decided to riot, destroy property, threaten people and in some cases kill because of an idea. This idea, in case this characterization invites confusion, had nothing to do with changing their own lives or other people’s lives for the better given that, one might have said the same about the Arab Spring of late 2010 to the present, which has brought striking political change in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and may do the same in Syria once the Assad Regime finally succumbs to the rebellion it cannot contain. The only idea the present rioters are fighting for is their capacity to use violence to dictate terms to others. They say it is to defend the integrity of their religion, or the dignity of their religion’s founder a Liberal Ironist maintains as always that these ideas and their need for defense are human in origin, as are both the standards by which the rioters judge them “defended” and the crude and hamfisted tactics they would use to achieve that aim. This is and only ever has been about them, about the violent radicals themselves, and about their efforts to use force to control other people’s behavior. To say that expressive provocateurs are responsible for the violence their work incites–even if they might have thought that their actions could provoke a reaction–is in its very nature to follow the script written by the violent extremists. (It hardly seems to make sense to speak of them “writing” something, but there it is.) The Liberal Ironist sees religion as a series of theoretically-inviolate symbols people use either to congregate and communicate difficult truths (at best) or simply to dominate each other (at worst) these symbols are always anthropomorphic, and never transcend human experience. 1 idea may prove more practically useful than another in one’s experience, but no idea is more “real” than any of the others, and no idea is going to “win the Contest.” Ideas compete, but they are not involved in zero-sum games. Animals–humans very-much included–play zero-sum games. This is a zero-sum game: To blame anyone other than the actual initiator of violent force for actions consciously taken, is to submit to domination by anyone immoral-enough to assert it. They may portray themselves as victims, but the ironist at his most-illiberal would say that this is an old trick of those who want power they cannot earn. The impersonal use–or even the credible threat–of deadly violence to counter an insult isn’t like the problem of terrorism, it is the problem of terrorism.
I want to close with an attempt to address Governor Romney’s attack on the President’s leadership through this episode. Aside from on the most-basic level (regarding government’s role in protecting the peace and our interest in conducting a sure-footed foreign policy), I want to do this without recourse to politics. Governor Romney responded to an unofficial tweet issued by someone in the US Embassy in Cairo Andrew Sullivan marvelously noted that this tweet was tweeted before the film riots and the assault on the US consulate in Libya–but that Governor Romney’s response blamed the President for issuing an apology in the face of violent attacks that had not yet occurred, by way of a statement that he hadn’t seen or authorized. Romney admonished him thusly:
“I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”
This crosses the line, as does Romney’s equally shrill later “clarifications”–and not principally because the Governor is blaming the President for something he didn’t do, or because he saw fit to wade into the issue without actually knowing what was happening. Governor Romney tried to make the President look weak while a security crisis unfolded that involved multiple United States diplomatic missions in the Middle East, as well as possible risks to American citizens and American property abroad.
I do not level this criticism lightly or opportunistically. In 2007, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Syria to confer with President-for-Life Bashar al-Assad, who had not yet come fully into his own as a brazenly mass-murdering tyrant (merely a quiet, garden-variety tyrant). Speaker Pelosi sought to show-up President George W. Bush for his strict policy of diplomatic silence towards the Assad Family Regime. This was wrong–and not because “we shouldn’t have been talking to Syria.” 5 1/2 years ago, I agreed that our government should have been trying to establish better relations with the Assad Regime. I cannot say for certain whether this would have benefited the pro-democracy movement in Syria in 2011 or would simply have made the United States look worse and the Assad Regime even more-confident In any case, I was all for better communication with the Assad Regime at the time. But I was not in favor of legislative leaders holding out the promise of alternate US foreign policies. That is simply inappropriate behavior for an elected official of the same government. In a CNN interview last night, former Utah Governor, US Ambassador to China and Republican Presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman said “politics stops at the water’s edge” that’s a sentiment I like very much–whoever happens to be President. In-house disagreements are fine, as are serious disagreements about foreign policy. But you do not undermine the President while he is conducting US foreign policy. This is not a game. This kind of opportunistic effort at backseat driving leaves us all worse-off in any case, a Presidential candidate shouldn’t be making comments that could be taken for more than they are while a foreign security situation is unfolding, or in ways that could be construed as an attempt to force the President to change his policy tack.
I didn’t want to link these 2 judgments together, but tactical concerns and concerns of tact must be allowed to take precedence over statements of principle where foreign policy are concerned. Lives are at stake if a government’s foremost responsibility of protecting the lives of its citizens dictates that we not comply with the demands of violent malefactors, it also requires that the President be permitted to formulate a response to an emerging situation when our foreign service personnel or other Americans abroad may be in danger. The initial provocateur’s political right to get us into this mess may still be a moral wrong, and in any case a doubling-down by a political candidate looking for an angle cannot help. Those who want a position of power in government have to think responsibly, even if the proper functioning of our political system sometimes defends citizens when they don’t.
The Liberal Ironist hopes that you think without fear, speak your mind–eloquently, I must ask–and ask yourself when considering political action, “Am I helping to make the World a more- or a less-threatening place?”
Terror Victims' Voice - For those who cannot speak for themselves.
alisa stephen flatow E1 Palestinian state construction israel jerusalem From the AICE website, home of Myths and Facts.
The Israeli construction plan called the E1 project threatens the two-state solution and the contiguity of a future Palestinian state .
Ma’ale Adumim is a suburb of Israel’s capital, barely three miles outside Jerusalem’s city limits, a ten-minute drive away. Ma’ale Adumim is not a recently constructed outpost on a hilltop it was established in 1975 and is now the largest Jewish city in the territories, with a population of approximately 46,000. The community is popular because it is clean, safe, and close to where many residents work. Israel has long planned to fill in the empty gap between Jerusalem and this bedroom community -- referred to as the E1 project.
The E1 corridor is approximately 3,250 acres and is largely uninhabited state land on steep hills. According to the plan, a new neighborhood of Ma’ale would be constructed with approximately 3,500 housing units. The plan also includes tourist, industrial and commercial areas and a nature reserve. 276
Every Israeli prime minister since Yitzhak Rabin has supported the plan and, according to the Clinton parameters, Ma’ale was to be part of Israel in a final peace agreement. The Palestinians agreed to this as well. The area is also included within the route of the separation fence on the Israeli side.
Critics of the E1 plan complain that it would kill the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute by making it impossible for the Palestinians to have a contiguous state. This is untrue because the Palestinian state would be contiguous around the eastern side of the city.
The other complaint is that linking Ma’ale Adumim to Jerusalem would cut off east Jerusalem from a Palestinian state, but Israel has proposed constructing a four-lane underpass to guarantee free passage between the West Bank and the Arab sections of Jerusalem that would actually reduce the time for Palestinian drivers traveling in a north-south direction. In addition, “access to Jerusalem through Abu Dis, Eizariya, Hizma and Anata is not prevented by the proposed neighborhood, nor would it be precluded by a string of neighborhoods connecting Ma’aleh Adumim to Jerusalem.” 277
Curiously, none of the critics of E1, who express such concern for the contiguity of a future Palestinian state, are disturbed by the fact that the failure to complete the project would preclude Israel from having contiguous borders as Ma’ale Adumim would become an island in the middle of the Palestinian state. Incidentally, this one-sided concern about contiguity is also evident in discussions regarding linking the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, which are not contiguous either, and would require some rail or auto link that would break up the continuity of Israel in the Negev.
The hypocrisy toward the E1 project is further exemplified by the international silence over the illegal Palestinian Arab building in the area. The Palestinians want to prevent Israel from linking Ma’ale with Jerusalem by filling the area with their own homes and they also hope to surround Jewish neighborhoods built after 1967. If the Palestinians succeed, they can threaten Jerusalem from the east and block the city’s development while also threatening the Jerusalem-Jericho road, a strategically vital passage for the movement of troops and equipment through the Jordan Valley. The illegal construction has already reduced the area for building Israeli homes and narrowed the corridor to Jerusalem from about one mile to six-tenths of a mile.
According to the Oslo II agreement, Israel retained control over the area around E1 and therefore has the right to build in the area, but the Palestinians do not. Israel has built a police station and the infrastructure for completing construction in the area but has refrained from moving ahead on the project. In fact, every time a prime minister announces plans to begin work on E1, they mysteriously reverse course, usually within 24 hours, apparently after being threatened by the United States. This occurred in the most recent case when Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the project would move forward and then almost immediately backtracked after being condemned by the United States and many other Western nations.278
The two-state solution is not threatened by the E1 project it is in danger from the continuing terrorism from Gaza and the refusal of Mahmoud Abbas to engage in peace negotiations. While settlement construction is controversial in Israel, there is broad consensus that Ma’ale Adumim will be part of Israel after any agreement with the Palestinians and that it should be linked to Jerusalem. After years of planning, the time to complete the E1 project is overdue and should no longer be held hostage to the specious complaints of the Palestinians and their supporters.
Footnotes are found on the website . The entire article makes sense to me. How about you?
We Are All Terrorists Now [Reader Post]
Fourth of July in Washington D.C.. and did you know where your President and First Lady were?
That’s right! Enjoying themselves at the traditional picnic for military heroes and their families on the lawn of the Big White.
Just one look at their faces and you can tell just how much they’re enjoying it too.
For this year’s traditional ceremony Lady M ditched her previous 4th of July themes of black and white and funky batik prints and went more traditional in red, white and blue stripes and pleats. No sacrifice is too great for our reelection effort.
Black and white marked our first historic Big
White 4th of July: it also sparked our first “preggers” rumor.
A red, white, black and turquoise apron top marked
our 2nd historic 4th. More “preggers” rumors ensued.
A lovely cornflower blue and red frock, reminiscent of a
Marimekko shower curtain from the 70’s, marked our3rd historic 4th.
Butt now that it’s the reelection season:
We are all over the preppy red, white and blue stripes. This ensemble stars double-double belts. I’m referring to the ones with buckles in the proximity of MO’s “waist” I’ll leave the alcoholic drinks coverage to Obama Foodorama (from which I’ve currently been banned for some reason. I HOPE it didn’t have anything to do with my coverage of O-Food fave Big White chef, Sammy Kass, last week).
Any hoo, fireworks followed the picnic and a good time was had by all as we celebrated the Nation’s Independence Day. Or, as some of Big Guy’s big supporters would say, “Happy effing Birthday America, you sucky, racist, violent slaver-nation!” (h/t: Juno)
Meanwhile, over at Bruno’s Homeland Security agency, we’ve finally discovered where to direct our anti-terrorist forces: at you. Despite the worldwide Jihadist war declared against all infidels (I hope you’re paying attention Hollywood – they’re talking about you), HS has determined through in-depth research and studies that their pre-conclusions were correct: the real threat to America comes from home grown terrorists like Susan Daniels. She’s a 70 year old mother of 7 and private investigator challenging Big Guy’s Social Security credentials, so you know she’s dangerous.
That’s right. It seems we have just received the official and incontrovertible results of a report funded by Homeland Security that classifies
Americans who are “suspicious of centralized federal authority,” and “reverent of individual liberty” as “extreme right-wing” terrorists.
So, I guess that’s that, it’s now official:
Note: To be sure, the report “Hot Spots of Terrorism in the United States 1776 1970 –2008” includes this disclaimer:
This material is based upon work supported under Grant Award Number 2008ST061ST0003 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security made to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START, www.start.umd.edu) at the University of Maryland. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or START.
In other words, if this causes too big of a stir, Homeland Security will disavow it. Even though they agreed with it before they funded it.
I know MOTUS is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but rather than linking to the absurd Prison Planet for ”proof” of anything, why not link to the original source, the actual PDF of the Homeland Security study?
Here’s that link:
Page 8 begins defining what terrorism is.
Yes extreme right-wing stuff is listed but so is Islamist, left-wing, one-issue and so on.
Left out are two major terror groups: eco-terrorist group ELF and animal-rights terrorist group ALF.
But maybe they fit in the ”one-issue” group.
“Tongue in cheek?”
Actually, I did link to the actual study pdf. RIGHT under the Newsweek cover.
Full disclosure: The Newsweek cover is not an “actual” Newsweek cover. Somebody photoshopped it. No, really.
HI, THANK’S FOR YOUR POST,
I just heard that the UN, [ imagine it] one of their AGENCY SEND SENSITIVES STUFFS to NORTH KOREA
and whatever it is it belong to THE USA,
STRANGE WHEN THE WHITE HOUSE THINK OF THEM AS ALLIES.
THAT STORY JUST CAME ON FOX NEWS,
If someone landed from Mars and asked who we elected to run the most powerful nation on this planet…………AND we told them that we elected a narcissistic, inexperienced, community organizer………they would leave the planet like ………NOW.
Maybe because I’m one of those rural Oklahoma country boys, I might be missing something. On the 4th of July, while watching a little TV news, I noticed a segment abou the Obama’s celebrating at home. All well and good I guess. But what really pissed me off was this… on the 4th of July we celebrate INDEPENDENCE DAY. So when I greet someone on that day I say “Happy Independence Day”. Since then I have heard some sound bites of Obama greeting people “Happy 4th of July”, not once have I heard him mention that it was Independence Day, a very important anniverary in my mind.
I really cannot wait until he is gone…
I just read an article… a picture was included…about people and bumper stickers…Seems if there are those who are in the Romney court, and if they want to show support by slapping a ‘Romney 2012’ bumper sticker or even a ”Down with Obummer” sticker on their car…. they could just get a nice ‘key’ stripe across their car or SUV… ‘fond regards’ from the “tolerant” bunch!!
Seems if they see something they don’t ‘agree’ with…you will pay…”somehow” yep, this is it folks..
Hmmmm….and the “terrorists and extremists” [ destroyers ] are who again.
Will the propaganda from the emotionally dysfunctional whiners of the “Left” never cease.
@Dave Brickner #4 – LOL and sadly – so true..
Liberal/progressives have always adopted an accusatory pose towards conservatism that levels charges at conservatives of doing exactly what they, themselves, do constantly. And many times their accusations are unfounded, while the evidence of liberal/progressives doing similar is quite extensive.
I enjoyed the article, until I realized the depth and ugliness of the tragedy. It brought back memories of one of my earlier articles, Thanks Mr President, I am Your Enemy . You might enjoy the short read.
@Skookum: Thanks Skook, that was a good read, and a good reminder.
Even mathematicians have to eat. Not to prevaricate the prevailing paradigm: The largest growing sector is the leviathan, the government sector. Henry Hazlitt covered this phenomenon quite well in his many publications, as he debunked John Maynard Keynes. When the public sector drains from private sector: There are secondary and tertiary effects that need to be discovered and understood before something can be fully categorized. The department of economic development can open another grant for profiling job outlooks in mathematical studies. Some things are self-evident It’s hard to argue against the supposition of the increased probability of some of the brightest minds of the population will have to wind up in government sector doing studies like this. The propaganda arm of the U.S. government even came up with this television show NUMB3RS, where a geek-nerd used statistics to bag the bad guy. The trend started with this fellow: J. Edgar Hoover, who would specifically required smarter than the average bear, number-crunching, CPA types to the DHS forerunner: FBI.
Imagine what might happen if these minds weren’t all snatched up by the leviathan, and could be used by the private sector. Like physical, hard sciences. Geology, Energy. Ponder what might happen if events like the Bakken discovery would have occurred 20 years earlier? Perhaps, we wouldn’t have had to off-shore so much moo-lah-dough-ca$h to bolster those that really, really, hate us? What if these minds were correlating lung cancer death statistics among non-smokers could lead discovery of vast, untapped sources of say, Uranium or something? Or, if these minds somehow established links between the production of oil and coal, and actually able to understand the mechanisms of God’s “green” earth and how it renews and distills out it’s various energy treasures ? Or, say economics. Where we might discover the linkages between subsidizing slave labor, actually increases it? Or, subsidizing things like poverty, actually increases it? Or, taxing things that oughtn’t be taxed actually breeds problems?
yes, and I think you’re the man to be there on top to delegate each their tasks
according to their knowledge, wow, there would be some butt moving there to bring results fast and furiously. who need the WHITE HOUSE, AFTER ALL. WITH ALL THOSE SMART BRAINS IN AMERICA,
WASTING THEIR TIMES BY WORKING IN THE WHITE HOUSE GETTING PAID BY THE GOOD PEOPLE,
WHEN WE CAN USE THEM BETTER,
NO WANDER the secret agent got plaster in COLUMBIA, THEY MUST BE SO DEPRESS TO SEE THE MUSLIM INFILTRATORS IN THEIR RANK,
THEY JUST WANTED TO TELL THE GOVERNMENT TO STFU BEFORE THEY LEFT.
A lost concept: an administration that actually confronted the problems that hold us back as a nation. A unified effort to bring true prosperity and an expanding economy for a positive future for our descendents. Instead we are crippled by a class of professional office holders in permanent campaign mode and optimally mediocre mandarin bureaucrats buttressing their personal fiefdoms to maintain power no matter which party is on top. Both groups intentionally and systematically insulated from the People and arrogant in their self preservation. The founders allowed for this occasion that arriving at a such a place we, the People would always retain and reserve the right to alter, reform, abolish or reset the Government as the People find expedient.
Brian, Thank You! Your post was inspiring. This modern day problem: The class of professional office holders, “swarms of officers that harass and eat our substance, have been around, a long, long time. Last night, I fell asleep in front of this machine, doing a strike-through post on the Declaration of Independence. How unalienable rights, and the authorship of those rights, have been, in a Fabianesque way “changed.” When I woke up this morning, I closed the browser, discarding all the “work” I had done What I was doing was almost as disgusting as what is now being done to our country. I decided not to post the defiled document, having discovered this morning, how we all ended up in this position. If one carefully reads that document, and really think about what is written there. We see the parallels are there, just as they were two and a quarter centuries ago. The same problems, the same complaints, the same foe. Back then, the foe was concentrated in the actions of King George. Abuses and usurpations. “Pursuing invariably the same object of an absolute tyranny over these States. : The same situation. That foe: is a non time varying IT. Ethereal. And, then we go back and carefully read that wonderful work of our founders, it spells out that they were throwing off the old guards, for new ones. Just as we need to do today. We all know deep in our hearts, what really needs to be sought. But, have some how lost our way to this very thing. That “Pursuit of Happiness” Certain words in the Declaration stand out. Much like the suppressed stanzas of our National Anthem. As human beings, we were designed by our Creator, for His Purposes. When we recognize that fact, we seem to find that peace, that happiness, we were all innately designed to seek. Denied that nourishment: By design, our souls become restless, and unhappy. The Creator, The author of the world, the Supreme judge. Who ever would try to usurp those powers?
Every time we hear The One speak. What do we hear? We always hear attendant echoes and reverb. We are shown people fainting in their seats. Many, many people went along with the ruse. Take: ” Change we can Believe in” (I hate dangling participles) Or, a usurper hawking “Hope and Change.” We have been placed here on this Earth for reasons again “conveniently” buried. Our very DNA is coded, and our hearts designed, to Love our Author. Our Creator, The author of Truth, the Supreme Judge of the World. But, right under our noses, He is being usurped today, in the very same way as history has shown. John’s first letter to the Corinthians discusses: “Faith, Hope and Charity.” Then, along comes this usurper du’ jour , turns up the reverb, and just offers us instead, “Hope” And, many (fools) wind up fainting, swooning, and swallowing the bait. It is said that nature abhors a vacuum. That vacuum was created, by a dark, ethereal force: Striking out The Truth, and Faith, Hope and Charity. We then thirst, and then instead, are offered only “Hope and Change” Which, winds up being truthfully: ” Hype and Change.” To find true happiness, Seek Ye always the Truth. It IS The Truth, that will set us free.
SUPER-LY bright and shining like if inspired by GOD HIMSELF,
THERE are no doubt, that you fell asleep on the previous work, which you destroyed,
but I feel strongly that while you where going through those notes, they where only the coverup
of the search, and your sleep did open the door to bring you to the debt you needed so to come here with this fabulous comment,
too bad you destroy the first, it would have prove the all connected chain of your finish product emerging from your core where it was hidden all the the time.
my how I love my BLOG FLOPPING ACES, IS FULL OF TREASURES. AND THEY ARE THE CONSERVATIVES.
the DEMOCRATES who get elected are spending their time blocking the REPUBLICANS AND THE GOPS AND THE TEA PARTY, AND publicly work at staining their reputation, they also work hard in dividing
the NATION , in different groups against each opposit, that’s what they spend their time doing,
beside making laws consisting of so many pages of regulations and expecting
the business to learn them all, so to not be fine on anyone of them, they like to find the owners guilty of one of their laws, which cost the owners lots of money to get rid of going to COURT IF THEY FIGHT IT,
THAT ENCOURAGE THE GOVERNMENT multiple agencies to catch lot’s of sinners and make a deal and collect money for OBAMA thirsty for money he love to spend himself,
for feeding his spending spree addiction . yes those laws are made up to fit their agenda exactly to keep the people in fear and poverty, the THE GOVERNMENT pay big money which belong to the CITIZENS so to keep the many LAWYERS they hire to implement their sneaky laws,
on the back of the good people.
get dems out to save moneys and repay the debt THEY HAVE ACCUMULATE for the other generations coming,
they are all guilty, BECAUSE NO ONE DEMOCRAT
found the courage to stand up in front of the people, and publicly expose their outrageous abuse over a the good tolerant citizens . they have succeeded to render so depress,
unable to to think that such manipulation was possible to be done on them
they could not fight what they could not believe,
they just accept it as normal , because the MEDIA where always covering for them saying it was normal, AND HOPE and CHANGE would be coming soon, by the party of liars,
accusing the other party, all the time,
and now they want to keep their jobs, for what?
for doing what?
no thank you, no more of that.
What we need to understand is that our forebears understood that rights are interlocking and support each other the God given rights protecting our enumerated ones just as the enumerated protect those that devolve upon us naturally. I had been rereading the Texas Constitution based as it was on the individual colonies and the Founders apprehension of all that was needed to empower and reserve the ultimate authority of the People in shaping their government. Texans reserved the same power and authority as the Founders. Both groups brought forth the means to govern both nations, those means were never above review, amendment or abolition. Those foundations were just that foundations and allowance was made to correct or amend the Government in its service to the People. That is what is lost to time, we have allowed the politician and the mandarin to grow fat on the bounty of this land. They show little if any fear that they can or will be held to account for their largesse. We effectively have an executive branch that picks and choose what statutes it will and will not enforce. At the same time they hobble at best and at worst prohibit the states from taking up the responsibility vacated federally. States are thus barred from exercising their duties under their individual statutes entailing their security, the maintenance of their voter rolls, renouncing unfunded federal mandates and providing the regulation of petroleum exploration, production, mining and energy production that is usurped by agencies that operate outside the scrutiny of the voter. The means are at hand, the conviction to see them used is something quite different.
hi, the OBAMA’S have a thing against TEXAS, and use every chance they have to throw their weight on TEXAS, BECAUSE TEXAS are hard head and won’t take any sh.. from them, if there is one STATE who can lead by example against all the empowerments of the OBAMA AGENCIES, it is TEXAS,
AND EVEN THE LESS EDUCATED ONE CAN SEE THAT TEXAS IS THE ONE TO SEND THE FEDS PACKING,
ALONG WITH ARIZONA IN BIGGER PROBLEMS THAN OTHER STATES with the illegals threats,
yet you cannot escape the awareness of their pride to fight the OBAMA’S GOONS, COMPRISED OF OBAMA’S LAWYERS PAID BY THE PEOPLE, AND THE UNION’S THUGS WHICH ARE OBAMA’S ARMY WHO INTIMIDATE THE STATES ON HIS BEHALF.
IT SHOW CLEARLY THAT THE NOW GOVERNMENT IS WORKING AGAINST THE UNITED STATES, INSTEAD OF DOING WHAT THEY ARE ELECTED FOR, THAT IS SERVING THE STATES AND THE PEOPLE,
IT NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICA,
AND THAT’S WHY THE SMART AMERICANS ARE URGING THE PEOPLE TO VOTE THE DEMS OUT.
and the warning is so wide spread that, no one will be able to say, I DID NOT KNOW, unless they are not interested in
what is going on in AMERICA, or stupid
Thursday, July 26, 2012
There are some laws that seem like a good idea but really don't work out in practice. If we had an economy with full employment and jobs were going unfilled because there were not enough workers to do all the work, how much discrimination based on race, sex, age, religion, orientation, or whatever do you think there would be in this country? Very little, in my opinion and not only would there be very little, but the effect of any discrimination would be minimized because there would always be a better job down the street.
American businesses spend millions of dollars to train people not to discriminate, to avoid lawsuits, and to support various kinds of programs telling us how wonderful it is to have a diverse workplace. The reality is that jobs don't belong to the employees or the government. Jobs belong to the employer. The employer should be able to hire, fire, promote or pass over any employee for any reason. It's called freedom. Employers who are smart will hire the best person for the job and will prosper. Employers who are no good will hire the wrong person for the wrong reason and will not do well. It's called free enterprise.
If someone wants to run a restaurant with an all female staff, that should be their choice. If someone wants to run a hair salon with all Black employees, that should be their choice. If a sports retailer does not want to hire employees who weight 400 pounds that should be their business. We spend far to much time and effort requiring businesses to take time away from their core competencies and spend the time on diversity and other non-productive business. No where else in the world do businesses have the pointless red tape our businesses have. It makes us uncompetitive. We would be better off to allow free markets and free enterprise to grow our economy and we would have plenty of good jobs for everyone that's the view from the Hysterical Right Wing.
The tale of the undoing of justice for the Bengalis since the end of the 1971 war is a tragic one. Bangladesh, caught in the grip of persistent patterns of international relations, proved unable to escape them. The result was one of the most consequential cases of impunity in modern history.
Returning to the four core arguments of this article, first, national security trumped international justice. Although India was bargaining from a position of strength, and had elites and a public who were sympathetic to the Bengalis, Indira Gandhi's government ultimately yielded to the primacy of India's own national security imperatives. Pakistan, though momentarily subdued and humiliated, was still too strong to be forced to submit to the trials of its soldiers as war criminals. Gandhi sought a breakthrough peace with Pakistan at Simla, which could have brought a new era for India's own security. Despite having accused Pakistan of genocide to justify going to war in 1971, she abandoned prosecutions for those same atrocities in order to safeguard India's security. For India, the prospect of peace in Kashmir came ahead of justice in Bangladesh.
While Bangladesh's government demanded punishment for its former Pakistani overlords, it was limited by its military and political relative weaknesses. War crimes trials would require approval from India, which held the Pakistani prisoners of war. Pakistan, despite its battlefield defeat, was still powerful enough to make regional diplomacy contingent on amnesty for its troops. Nor could Bangladesh rely on other foreign allies to tip the balance in its favor, while Pakistan had support from the United States, China, and Arab and Muslim countries. 252 Indeed, even during the bloody months of Pakistan's crackdown in 1971, the Nixon administration and China had staunchly stood behind Pakistan, joined by the Arab states and members of the Non-Aligned Movement such as Indonesia. 253 Bangladesh had little reason to think that the world had grown more friendly since then. This was an era well before the creation of the International Criminal Court, which in recent years has pressured some war crimes suspects into surrendering to its custody even without military conquest Bangladesh had no such alternatives for international institutions beyond the region. Relatively weak and desperate for recognition, Bangladesh could not resist the mounting pressures for impunity.
Second, the most victimized countries were the most dedicated to justice. Bangladesh's government sought retribution for atrocities committed against its own traumatized citizenry, but it stood all but alone. India, a liberal democracy that had sheltered some 10 million Bengali refugees and then fought a war as a consequence of Pakistan's crackdown in East Pakistan, was sympathetic to Bangladesh's demands for justice. But India's concern waned fast once the Bangladeshi refugees returned from India's volatile border states to their new country.
Beyond South Asia, the rest of the world did almost nothing to support Bangladesh's calls for prosecutions. In recent years, there has been considerable foreign pressure for international justice, 254 but Bangladesh received no such succor. The most direct involvement came from the Nixon administration, which only interceded to help to broker Bangladesh's abandonment of trials in exchange for Pakistani recognition, and did so in part by pressuring Bangladesh.
Third, as is discussed more below, international law had a noticeable impact, but not simply as a goad to prosecutions. Had there been trials, Bangladeshi prosecutors would have been frustrated by the demands of due process, particularly in gathering valid evidence and following the chain of command. While Bangladeshis and Indians pointed to Nuremberg as a precedent, India was also constrained by the Geneva Conventions and Security Council resolutions. Largely for reputational reasons, India wanted to be seen as upholding international law. India's respect for international law, though limited, ultimately contributed to the freeing of Pakistan's prisoners of war.
Fourth, this important case of justice thwarted suggests that the nostrums of both realists and liberals are true and also in some ways inadequate. As realists rightly argue, the pressures for impunity may prove overwhelming as liberals rightly argue, impunity may be damaging in the long term.
Today and in the future, Bangladeshi nationalist politicians can all too easily exploit the unexorcised specter of past atrocities to rally domestic political support and marginalize the opposition. In Pakistan, there is something close to national amnesia about the slaughter of Bengalis. 255 A more thorough airing of the atrocities could have been used to discredit the most illiberal elements of the military, which could have had welcome consequences for Pakistan's politics and its relations with its neighbors. This calls to mind O'Donnell and Schmitter's argument for undoing “the armed forces' messianic self-image as the institution ultimately interpreting and ensuring the highest interests of the nation.” As O'Donnell and Schmitter warned, “[T]he worst of bad solutions would be to try to ignore the issue,” leaving brutal armies with a “sense of impunity.” 256
IMPUNITY AND INTERNATIONAL LAW
To elaborate on the third main argument of this article, India was constrained both by the technical requirements of the law and by a reputational concern about, in the words of a top Indian leader, “international opinion.” 257 When there was a clash between military imperatives and legal requirements, the former trumped—most dramatically in the Indian army's insistence that four divisions worth of Pakistani troops not be repatriated before the conclusion of a peace deal with Pakistan, regardless of international law. But when the tradeoff was less stark, India sought to abide by international legal standards.
There are several indications of a modest Indian respect for international law. Rather than merely branding Pakistan as a political enemy, India framed its complaints in legal terms, planning “[t]rials for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.” 258 Joining in what Sikkink has termed the “justice cascade,” Indians believed they could follow the Nuremberg and Tokyo precedents. As one prominent Indian politician wrote, “Bigger powers, including even our friends, are preaching all kinds of conciliatory conduct to us, whereas in similar circumstances they were themselves most harsh on their defeated enemies—Germany in 1918 and 1945, Italy in 1945 and Japan in 1945.” 259 Moreover, the Indian government evidently felt constrained by the Geneva Conventions of 1949, making considerable efforts to couch its policies within their legal parameters. In the end, despite the military's qualms, India repatriated the prisoners of war, rather than holding them indefinitely.
Law played a double role, however, not just encouraging prosecution but also restricting it. In fact, the stringencies of international criminal law made it harder for India to punish Pakistani war criminals. It would be difficult to constitute a suitable court and to make legal charges stick. Moreover, India's concern for the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War proved a restriction: the Convention mandated the prompt repatriation of the Pakistani prisoners of war, giving India less leeway to prosecute them.
Neither India nor Bangladesh sought to innovate much in any potential trials. Whereas the victorious Allies sought to fundamentally rewrite the laws and norms of world politics at the end of World War I and World War II, India was a middleweight power with no such clout over the creation or casting of international humanitarian law. Even as India's diplomats drew up reports noting how the Allies had forced demilitarization and reparations upon Germany after World War I, 260 and detailing the Allied disarmament of Germany and Japan after World War II, 261 the senior ranks of India's government—having won a far less conclusive battlefield victory—knew that no such impositions would be possible against Pakistan. Instead of the kind of pathbreaking projects that international lawyers had in mind at Nuremberg and Tokyo, Indian and Bangladeshi officials had to content themselves with operating within the comparatively narrow confines of existing international law—the familiar strictures of both the Genocide Convention and the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. India was considering only quite standard trials for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. 262
On balance, Indian officials seem to have been driven more by Security Council resolutions and the well-established rules of the Geneva Conventions than by the uncertain procedures that would be necessary to prosecute Pakistani war criminals. In the unsettled era after Nuremberg, Tokyo, and the Eichmann trial but before the UN tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, India was wary of testing the ambiguities of international criminal law. In the end, the loftier aspirations of international criminal law were left unfulfilled.
TRAGEDY IN BANGLADESH
Given all these strategic constraints, could India or Bangladesh have done more to secure criminal accountability? Should they have persisted in their demands for trials despite opposition by Pakistan? Today it is conventional wisdom in India that the Simla agreement was a naïve deal, with Gandhi suckered by Bhutto, winning the war but losing the peace. On that account, perhaps India and Bangladesh should have remained firm and put some Pakistanis on trial. True, this might have undone efforts at regional peacemaking, but the advocates of a harder line would presumably argue that since Bhutto would ultimately prove useless for peacemaking, there was no point in accommodating him.
It is possible—although hardly guaranteed—that war crimes trials would have had a beneficial impact on Bangladesh's politics, soothing the victims' desire for retribution. Of course, the proceedings would necessarily have been inadequate. Nobody was in a position to put the military leadership in Rawalpindi in the dock many Bengalis would have wanted more justice than could be supplied by a weak state some would have still sought vengeance afterward. These shortcomings, however, are inherent to all war crimes tribunals, and do not exclude the possibility of some kind of catharsis or pacification—not an ideal solution, but perhaps a modest improvement over impunity.
Any such trials, however, could have had dire consequences in Pakistan and thus for regional peacemaking. India's military victory in December 1971 did not allow India to dictate terms to Pakistan's defiant generals. It is highly unlikely that Pakistan's military would have accepted the prosecution of its soldiers by a Bangladeshi tribunal. If India had sent Pakistani prisoners to a Dhaka tribunal, the Pakistan army could have scrapped peace talks with India. Pakistan's military, which eventually overthrew Bhutto in 1977, could have ousted him earlier. Moreover, many Pakistani civilian politicians would have resisted trials as well. Bhutto gave few indications that he would accept war crimes prosecutions—not least because he had supported the military crackdown in 1971. 263 Even after the war, he insisted that some kind of crackdown had been necessary, although with less brutality. 264
In short, although there is no certainty in counterfactuals, it is hard to believe that India or Bangladesh could have held war crimes trials without paying a substantial price in Pakistani diplomacy. Their bargain deserves a certain amount of credit: it helped secure the widespread recognition of Bangladesh, and allowed rounds of India-Pakistan peacemaking that, while ultimately unsuccessful, were worth exploring. For some Indians, subsequent decades of conflict with Pakistan demonstrate the futility of Indira Gandhi's attempt to grasp an enduring peace. The costs of interminable enmity, however, could equally well be taken to vindicate her drive to exploit a moment of flux to make peace when she could. Had India or Bangladesh prosecuted war criminals, the hostility between India and Pakistan might have become even more bitter.
The awful fact that much of South Asia remains mired in hostility does not imply that there were viable alternative policies. Understandably, this harsh reality left Indians and Bangladeshis profoundly frustrated. Recalling the Allied prosecutions after World War I and World War II, a prominent Indian politician wrote to India's foreign secretary, “What is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander. What was good enough in 1918 and 1945 should not be objected to in 1972. There cannot be different codes of conduct for bigger powers and poorer countries.” 265 But of course there were, at least as a practical matter, if not in moral terms. Much as Indians might have wished otherwise, the prospect of a subcontinental Nuremberg faded away—leaving the wounds of Bangladesh unbound to this day.
Monday, July 30, 2012
Books Worth Reading: 1812 The Navy's War
The Bicentennial of the War of 1812 is causing a new burst of histories to be written about this almost forgotten war.
1812: The Navy's War by George C. Daughan, also available in a Kindle edition, published in 2011 is a very good one indeed.
First, the book for your reading enjoyment provides a wonderful diagram of a sailing ship, identifying every mast and sail, which makes understanding what happened when a sea battle took place and why it mattered much easier. Now you'll understand what it means to have a topgallant shot off.
The book also has an extensive glossary. If you ever wondered what a Razee is and why a brig might run away from it, among many other terms, you'll know. In addition, the maps are excellent in showing the various naval and land battlefields.
The book begins with the causes of the war - The British restrictions on American trade with Europe and the impressment of thousands of American sailors. High-handed acts of impressment including boarding even US Navy ships to shanghai sailors served to inflame American opinion against the British. Conditions upon British ships of the time were so terrible for ordinary sailors, and by contrast much better aboard US navy and US merchant vessels that impressment was a necessity to keep the British navy functioning in the war against Napoleon as the idea of improving service conditions for British sailors never took hold in the Admiralty or among its political leaders at the time.
The book then outlines how unready and ill-prepared America was for this war - a theme we will see repeated through the beginnings of World War 1, World War 2 and Korea and likely will experience again.
The US started the war with a navy that was tiny, with no ships of the line, was about to take on the greatest maritime power of the day. It went to war with an army that was tiny and without adequate supplies, with leaders chosen more for political reasons than for any military genius, and was supplemented by militia that were ineffective or in the case of the New England militias, that often had ties and loyalties to Britain and refused to cross the border to invade Canada.
The book covers the impressive success of the American Navy's heavy 44 gun frigates, and the often overlooked success of her privateer commerce raiders that together forced the British to take American maritime power seriously. American privateers operated extensively off the coast of Great Britain and Ireland, capturing British merchant ships in her own backyard. The privateers also competed with the navy for sailors - offering better pay and prize money that the navy.
The book also notes how the New England states, even as the war was going on, would not only trade with the British but even sold provisions to the blockading British ships and troops.
The book covers not only all of the major and many minor maritime engagements of the war as well as the land campaigns and how they were interrelated with the state of war at sea. Control of the Great Lakes, considering the terrible state of roads in the Michigan, Ohio and other wilderness territories was vital to get troops where they needed to go. The book details British plans to hem in and divide the US, with such plans ending after some effective American naval victories and the American victory at the Battle of New Orleans that occurred after the peace treaty was signed.
The belligerents then returned to the status quo that existed before the beginning of the war, but the reputation of the US Navy had been well established.
The book concludes with the US Navy's successful battles against the Bey, the Deys and Basha in the Second Barbary War in the Mediterranean - ending the US payment of tribute to these Muslim pirates and leading to a US naval presence in the Mediterranean that continues to this day.
A very well-written book that thoroughly examines the political, nautical and military history of the War of 1812 timely completed for the bicentennial anniversary of the conflict. Highly recommended.
Yahoo turns to former nemesis to be its CEO savior
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- As a top executive at Google for the past 13 years, Marissa Mayer played an instrumental role in developing many of the services that have tormented Yahoo as its appeal waned among Web surfers, advertisers and investors.
Now, Yahoo is turning to its longtime nemesis to fix everything that has gone wrong while Google Inc. has been cementing its position as the Internet's most powerful company.
Mayer, 37, will tackle the imposing challenge Tuesday when she takes over as Yahoo's fifth CEO in the past five years.
The surprise hiring announced late Monday indicates Yahoo still believes it can be an Internet innovator instead of merely an online way station where people pass through to read a news story or watch a video clip before moving on to more compelling Internet destinations.
Angry drunk woman attacked boyfriend for refusing sex
say no to Tabatha Lee Grooms and there’s a price to pay (Richmond County Sheriff’s Office)
A US woman has been arrested for beating up her boyfriend because he said no to sex.
Tabatha Lee Grooms, 35, returned home from a boozy night out still fuming with her boyfriend for spurning her advances earlier in the day.
Carlos Rodrecus Grace, 30, was sitting on the sofa when Grooms arrived at 11.30pm on June 24, determined to settle their score.
She scratched Grace on the face, head and neck, and bit him on the arm, before he fled to the bathroom to call 911.
When police arrived at the house, she initially refused to give her name, then threatened to run an officer over with a baby stroller. She did admit she’d been drinking, however.
WFXG reports that Grooms’ 66-year-old mother also got caught in the crossfire, receiving a punch in the eye from her drink-addled daughter.
Following her arrest and charge with simple battery family violence, Grooms was taken to Richmond County Jail.