Soldier, 92, breaks silence over Auschwitz heroics

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It took him more than 60 years to break his silence, but in a new book 92-year-old Denis Avey tells the story of how he broke into Auschwitz concentration camp twice to witness for himself the horrors of the Holocaust.
Ernst Lobethall and his sisterSusana
Ernst Lobethall
Ernst Lobethall moved to the US
after the end of World War II.


Mr Lobethall, later Ernie Lobet,
lived a 'long and happy' life in America

Avey was a British soldier captured during World War Two and sent to a labor camp close to Auschwitz where he worked at the IG Farben plant alongside inmates from the concentration camp, nicknamed "stripeys" after their uniforms.
While Avey, a headstrong, battle-hardened soldier, was told about the mass extermination of Jews and experienced the sickening smell from a nearby crematorium, he wanted to see for himself what was happening in Auschwitz.
While conditions in his own labor camp were appalling, the food was better and treatment less harsh than in Auschwitz.
And as a prisoner of war, Red Cross packages occasionally made it through containing chocolate and cigarettes, which could then be bartered for better provisions and aid survival.
After weeks of preparation, including bribes to a guard, Avey twice swapped uniforms with a Dutch Jew of roughly the same height to sneak into the camp where he spent the night.
On both occasions the men managed to change back into their own clothes, despite the risk of discovery and certain death.
"I did my homework over weeks and weeks, but the common denominator of all that was a tremendous amount of luck," Avey said in an interview to promote his biography "The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz," co-written by Rob Broomby and published in Britain by Hodder & Stoughton.
"My life depended on 50 cigarettes -- 25 in, 25 out. He (the guard) could have shot me easily."
His motivation for risking his life was twofold: to "put one over on the enemy" and to see what was happening so he could tell the world afterwards of the atrocities.
He recorded seeing piles of "vaguely human" corpses of workers who died each day. They were carried away by fellow inmates who showed no emotion. Body carriers collapsed, earning them a beating and almost certain death.
TOO WEAK TO RESIST
Men were pulled from lineups and taken away to be gassed, but there was no protest, so weak and dejected had they become.
Avey described the "foul air" of the sleeping area and putrid "soup" the men were served which he dared not eat.
He held whispered conversations with the inmate lying next to him who was in on the plan, finding out what he could about the concentration camp.
"Auschwitz III was like nothing else on earth; it was hell on earth. This is what I had come to witness but it was a ghastly, terrifying experience."
After surviving the camp and the "death march" at the end of the war, Avey tried to tell the army about his experiences, but when he came up against what he called the "glazed eye syndrome," he gave up and kept silent for 60 years.
Even his mother did not know what he had been through, and never asked why he was so emaciated when he returned to England.
For six years Avey had regular nightmares and woke up in a cold sweat. He still recalls his experiences today.
Then, during a radio interview a few years ago he opened up and told his story, and since then has gained recognition for his bravery from Holocaust organisations and politicians.
The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation has honored Avey with a diploma, and a spokesman in Israel said: "We feel that his story is genuine," adding that a fellow survivor corroborated his account to the foundation's satisfaction.
Avey said his book was relevant today.
"The difference between right and wrong is fast receding. Awareness is being diluted, people are just saying 'such is life'. People are like this now."
Despite its dark content, the story ends on a note of hope.
Avey recently discovered that a Jew called Ernst survived Auschwitz and recorded his testimony on video.
In that testimony he talked about a soldier -- Avey -- who arranged for him to get 10 packs of cigarettes from England which he swapped for food and new soles on his shoes without which he said he would not have survived the death march.
"I thought he was dead," said Avey. "I couldn't believe it."
via news.bbc.co.uk via LONDON (Reuters) news.yahoo.com

The way forward for Israel

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The state of Israel has failed miserably in winning over the English-speaking world, as well as the French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russians, by ignoring the need for an essential media tool — a satellite television channel with an ability to broadcast worldwide news reports and interviews, similar to Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya, or the BBC. Even Hezbollah had the foresight to set up a satellite operation, Al-Manar, influencing viewers across Europe and the Middle East. Since Israel is not on the world communications map, it is neither on the geographic map. Israel has foolishly depended on outlets such as CNN and the BBC to bring its side of the story to English speaking households. Its image has been severely damaged as a result, leading to a worldwide willingness to participate in a concerted effort to delegitimize the state through a so-called “BDS” campaign of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions.  via docstalk.blogspot.com

is this what IBC News is planning?
video via avideditor.wordpress.com

Egypt likely to face more difficult relations with Israel, U.S.

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OK, who do we thank for this?
CAIRO (WaPo) — Whatever new government emerges from the uprising in Tahrir Square, Egypt’s relations with Israel and the United States are likely to become more difficult in the months ahead with an infusion of Arab nationalism and skepticism about Egypt’s landmark peace treaty with Israel.
More...

Who is America arming in Libya?

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NYTIMES OBSCURES TRUTH: a FOIA request for a PUBLIC University Professor's Email is standard

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A conservative research group in Michigan has issued a far-reaching public records request to the labor studies departments at three public universities in the state, seeking any e-mails involving the Wisconsin labor turmoil.
William Cronon, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.  The group, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, declined to explain why it was making the Freedom of Information Act request for material from professors at the University of Michigan, Michigan State and Wayne State University. But several professors who received the records request, which was first reported by Talking Points Memo on Tuesday, said it appeared to be an attempt to intimidate or embarrass professors who are sympathetic to organized labor.
This records request, which was filed Friday, comes several days after the Republican Party of Wisconsin made a records request to a prominent University of Wisconsin history professor, William Cronon, who had severely criticized the state’s Republican governor, Scott Walker, over his push for legislation to weaken public-sector unions.
The Mackinac Center, which describes itself as a nonpartisan research and educational institution and receives money from numerous conservative foundations, asked the three universities’ labor studies faculty members for any e-mails mentioning “Scott Walker,” “Madison,” “Wisconsin” or “Rachel Maddow,” the liberal talk show host on MSNBC.
Greg Scholtz, the director of academic freedom for the American Association of University Professors, said: “We think all this will have a chilling effect on academic freedom. We’ve never seen FOIA requests used like this before.”
Roland Zullo, a labor studies professor at the University of Michigan, said he found the center’s request “puzzling.” “It seems an odd request for an institution that claims to be nonpartisan,” he said.
Michael D. Jahr, the Mackinac Center’s vice president for communications, declined to discuss the records request. Ken Braun, managing editor of the center’s political newsletter, declined to give the reason for it. He said the newsletter, Michigan Capital Confidential, had made the request and often makes such public records requests.

Teacher With Long History of Depression Kills Herself

“As a general policy, we don’t discuss our FOIAs until we write about them,” Mr. Braun said. He said the records request could have been much broader but was limited to a handful of topics at just the labor studies departments, instead of also including history and political science departments.
Mr. Braun said the center’s request was in no way coordinated with the Wisconsin Republican Party’s FOIA request to Professor Cronon.
After one recent records request, the center reported that taxpayers were paying the salary of an elementary school teacher even though she was released from her teaching duties to work 100 percent on union issues.
Marick Masters, the director of labor studies at Wayne State, said he had nothing to hide. “This looks like an attempt to embarrass us,” he said. “I haven’t engaged in any partisan activities here. I think they’re probably interested in seeing the extent to which labor studies centers in the state have helped orchestrate the protests in Madison.”
Professor Cronon, who describes himself as a political independent, said he was angry about what he called an attempt at harassment. He said that he had never engaged in any nonscholarly political work on university computers or time, which is prohibited, but that he was still concerned about the release of any e-mails. The Republican Party requested e-mails mentioning several politically related words, including Mr. Walker and several legislators.
“There is an academic freedom issue here,” Mr. Cronon said.
Mark Jefferson, the executive director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, declined to explain why the records request was made. He criticized Professor Cronon for questioning the party’s motives. “I find this troubling,” he said. “Like anyone else filing a public records request, I don’t have to give a reason.”
Narayan Mahon for The New York Times

“YOU WILL DIE?”



“YOU WILL DIE!!!!” Read The Death Threat E-Mail Sent To Wisconsin GOP Senators [Update 4: Wisconsin Teacher Charged]

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Since the MSM appears intent on downplaying the growing intimidation and escalating threats of violence around the union power issue, I am reprinting verbatim an email that was sent to Republican senators.  Remember this? Wisconsin Dem State Rep. Gordon Hintz To Republican “You are F***king dead!” Incitement to murder?
(The senders name has been redacted -Ed.)
From: XXXX
Sent: Wed 3/9/2011 9:18 PM
To: Sen.Kapanke; Sen.Darling; Sen.Cowles; Sen.Ellis; Sen.Fitzgerald; Sen.Galloway; Sen.Grothman; Sen.Harsdorf; Sen.Hopper; Sen.Kedzie; Sen.Lasee; Sen.Lazich; Sen.Leibham; Sen.Moulton; Sen.Olsen
Subject: Atten: Death threat!!!! Bomb!!!!
Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your familes
will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks. Please explain
to them that this is because if we get rid of you and your families then it
will save the rights of 300,000 people and also be able to close the deficit
that you have created. I hope you have a good time in hell. Read below for
more information on possible scenarios in which you will die.

WE want to make this perfectly clear. Because of your actions today and in
the past couple of weeks I and the group of people that are working with me
have decided that we’ve had enough. We feel that you and the people that
support the dictator have to die.
We have tried many other ways of dealing
with your corruption but you have taken things too far and we will not stand
for it any longer. So, this is how it’s going to happen: I as well as many
others know where you and your family live, it’s a matter of public records.
We have all planned to assult you by arriving at your house and putting a
nice little bullet in your head.
However, we decided that we wouldn’t leave
it there. We also have decided that this may not be enough to send the
message to you since you are so “high” on Koch and have decided that you are
now going to single handedly make this a dictatorship instead of a
demorcratic process. So we have also built several bombs that we have placed
in various locations around the areas in which we know that you frequent.
This includes, your house, your car, the state capitol
, and well I won’t
tell you all of them because that’s just no fun. Since we know that you are
not smart enough to figure out why this is happening to you we have decided
to make it perfectly clear to you. If you and your goonies feel that it’s
necessary to strip the rights of 300,000 people and ruin their lives, making
them unable to feed, clothe, and provide the necessities to their families
and themselves then We Will “get rid of” (in which I mean kill) you. Please
understand that this does not include the heroic Rep. Senator that risked
everything to go aganist what you and your goonies wanted him to do. We feel
that it’s worth our lives to do this, because we would be saving the lives
of 300,000 people. Please make your peace with God as soon as possible and
say goodbye to your loved ones we will not wait any longer. YOU WILL DIE!!!!
H/T Jonathon M. Seidl at The Blaze who adds:
WTMJ confirmed police are investigating several death threats, including the e-mail above.
Wisconsin GOP senators were told toe flee the Capitol almost immediately after their vote because police said “it was not safe.”
Update: According to this union scum @BCombs212 the death threats are no biggie; “Everyone dies

Update 2:
WisPolitics.com
MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation and the Wisconsin Capitol Police have investigated numerous threats against elected officials over the last four weeks. Last evening, the DCI identified and located a subject suspected of sending at least two of those threats.
The suspect subsequently admitted to authoring and sending two e-mails threatening to kill the Governor and members of the Senate. DCI Administrator Ed Wall said “The Division of Criminal Investigation takes these kind of threats seriously and will follow through with the investigation and prosecution whenever possible.”
This investigation is still ongoing and no further information will be released pending presentation to the District Attorney in the jurisdiction of the threat origination. The Department of Justice has notified members of the Governor’s Office and Senate in regard to the recent developments in this investigation.
The following is the text of a second email sent by the suspect in question:
F— YOU ASSHOLE, I AM FORMALLY REQUESTING TO SEE THE 30,000 EMAILS YOU HAVE GOTTEN MAKING YOU COMPLY WITH THE OPEN RECORDS LAW. I ASSURE YOU THAT NONE OF THEM ARE IN SUPPORT OF YOU OR ANYTHING THAT YOU OR YOUR STAFF STAND FOR. YOUR STAFF MEMBERS HAVE NOW BEEN ADDED TO THE HIT LIST AS WELL AS THOSE OF THE OTHER SENATE MEMBERS WE HAVE THREATENED. PLEASE ADVISE THEM OF THE IMPENDING DANGER LEADING TO THIER DEATHS.
Update 3: In related death threat news, Wisconsin State  Senator Dan Kapanke received this odious threat.
I WILL HAVE YOUR DECAPITATED HEAD ON A PIKE IN THE MADISON TOWN SQUARE.
There’s more…
Update 4:
(JS Online) A 26-year-old woman was charged Thursday with two felony counts and two misdemeanor counts for allegedly making email threats against Wisconsin lawmakers during the height of the battle over Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill.
Katherine R. Windels of Cross Plains was named in a criminal complaint filed in Dane County Criminal Court.
According to the criminal complaint, Windels allegedly sent an email threat to State Sen. Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) March 9. Later that evening, she allegedly sent another email to 15 Republican legislators, including Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau).
The subject line of the second email was: “Atten: Death Threat!!!! Bomb!!!” In that email, she purportedly wrote, “Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your families will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks.”

NYTIMES
OBSCURES TRUTH:
a FOIA request for a
PUBLIC University
Professor's Email
is standard
and is explained
by Human Resources
A conservative
research group
in Michigan
has issued a far-reaching
public records request to the
labor studies departments
at three public universities
in the state,
seeking any e-mails
involving the Wisconsin
labor turmoil.

“I hope you have a good time in hell,” she allegedly wrote in the lengthy email in which she purportedly listed scenarios in which the legislators and their families would die, including bombings and by “putting a nice little bullet in your head.”
According to the criminal complaint, Windels told investigators “I sent out emails that I was disgusted and very upset by what they were doing.”
Asked if she intended to follow through on any of her threats, Windels told the investigators “No,” according to the complaint.
Windels was charged with two felony counts “bomb scare” and two misdemeanor counts of “computer message-threatening injury/bodily harm.” If convicted, each felony count carries a maximum penalty of three years and six months in prison and a $10,000 fine, and each misdemeanor count carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Teacher
With Long History of Depression
Kills Herself

Reportedly she is an early childhood/elementary school teacher and there is talk that her father is Madison, Wisconsin area  psychiatrist William Windels.
the context is clear

Tennessee imam claims Sharia law is based on Ten Commandments

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Muslim community members react to documentary


About 30 members of the local Muslim community gathered Sunday at Dr. Syed Haque’s Frederick home to watch a screening of the CNN program “Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door,” about the trials of a Muslim community to expand its mosque in Tennessee.



Yeah, I know, my reaction too was "WTF?"
For starters, Ten Commandments, if I'm not mistaken, instruct you "Do not kill", whereas Sharia makes it an obligation for the faithful to kill infidels.

A World View Interview with Benjamin Netanyahu

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Two Helen Thomas Farces: What She Says and How She's Ridiculed

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It's amazing how bad the public discussion of issues is nowadays. Here's a tiny example. Helen Thomas was fired for her anti-Jewish statements and was recently interviewed in Playboy where she made more such remarks that are--correctly--being interpreted as antisemitic.
Mrs.Twit
The Twits, author Roald Dahl
(Another Norwegian
who believed this shit)
illustrated by Quentin Blake, 1980.
via fast times
But why does Thomas hate Israel so much, a hatred that spills over into antisemitism? I haven't seen a single person who's gotten it right. She's no neo-Nazi or nut case. Thomas is of Lebanese descent, albeit Christian, and basically views herself on this issue at least as an Arab.  The important factor is not her eccentricity but her typicality.
What Thomas is doing, then, and has done for many years, is to express ideas common in the Arabic-speaking world which are becoming increasingly common in the West.

Patty Herst and the Herst Corporation that fired Helen Thomas....
That's why she's significant and that's where she's coming from. Her blend of anti-Zionism and antisemitism--using traditional anti-Jewish themes, sometimes applied to Israel and at times to all Jews--is just like what exists in a high percentage of households in the Arabic-speaking and Muslim-majority worlds.

We're not talking about a funny old lady but about a worldview held by millions of people in a lot of countries, by revolutionary Islamists and terrorists, and by a growing number of people on Western college campuses and in elite circles. This is not some joke but rather a "craziness" that kills and shapes the fate of whole nations and continents.
Thomas has a long history of anti-Israel rhetoric at White House press briefings. In 2006, Thomas posed a question to then-Press Secretary Tony Snow that suggested the United States supports "collective punishment for Lebanon and Palestine." 

Snow responded, "Well, thank you for the Hezbollah view." 



US boots on the ground in Libya?

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A ClockWork Orange, Ultra Violence:Gates:No ground troops while 'I am in this job'
...As the U.S. debates its future role in the Libyan conflict, Defense officials slammed the brakes on any broad participation Thursday, with Defense Secretary Robert Gates saying there will be no American ground troops in Libya "as long as I am in this job."
Media_httpwwwwiredcom_fgicm

Here's another indication that there may eventually be US troops on the ground in Libya.
During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island asked Adm. James Stavridis about NATO putting forces into “post-Gadhafi” Libya to make sure the country doesn’t fall apart. Stavridis said he “wouldn’t say NATO’s considering it yet.” But because of NATO’s history of putting peacekeepers in the Balkans — as pictured above — “the possibility of a stabilization regime exists.”
So welcome to a new possible “endgame” for Libya. Western troops patrolling Libya’s cities during a a shaky transition after Moammar Gadhafi’s regime has fallen, however that’s supposed to happen. Thousands of NATO troops patrolled Bosnia and Kosovo’s tense streets for years. And Iraq and Afghanistan taught the U.S. and NATO very dearly that fierce insurgent conflict can follow the end of a brutal regime. In fact, it’s the moments after the regime falls that can be the most dangerous of all — especially if well-intentioned foreign troops become an object of local resentment.
In fact, Stavridis told Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma that he saw “flickers of intelligence” indicating “al-Qaeda [and] Hezbollah” have fighters amongst the Libyan rebels. The Supreme Allied Commander of NATO noted that the leadership of the rebels are “responsible men and women struggling against Col. Gadhafi” and couldn’t say if the terrorist element in the opposition is “significant.” But the U.S. knows precious little about who the Libyan rebels are.
The new prospect of NATO force on the ground in Libya seemed to alarm Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who got Stavridis to say that there’s “no discussion of the insertion of ground troops” in NATO circles. (And “to my knowledge” there aren’t troops there now, he said.) But Stavridis told Reed that the memory of the long NATO peacekeeping efforts in the Balkans is “in everyone’s mind.”
And the US isn't even running the show - NATO is.
What could go wrong?

Obama Administration Claims that the Libya Intervention is Constitutional Because it is Not a “War”

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Media_httpwwwsaloncom_wauad
Charlie Savage of the New York Times reports that the Obama Administration is arguing that the Constitution does not require congressional authorization for the Libya intervention because it is not a “war,” but merely some smaller scale of military action:
“The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation,” Mr. Obama told The Boston Globe in December 2007.
The administration’s legal team appears to be distinguishing between a full war and a more limited military operation, on the theory that the Libyan intervention falls short of what would prompt any Congressional authority to control decisions about whether to initiate hostilities.Asked about Mr. Obama’s 2007 statement, Tom Donilon, Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, said Monday that the administration “welcomes the support of Congress in whatever form that they want to express that support.” But, Mr. Donilon added, Mr. Obama could authorize the operation on his own.
“This is a limited — in terms of scope, duration and task — operation, which does fall in the president’s authorities,” he said.
As I have pointed out here and here, this may be a reasonable argument if the Libya operation remains short and very limited in scale. But if it drags on or the fighting escalates, the administration’s legal position will become increasingly tenuous. Moreover, as Jack Goldsmith points out, the administration may be relying on Clinton-era arguments justifying the 1994 Haiti and 1995 Bosnia interventions. But those arguments relied heavily on the notion that the interventions in question were “consensual” (US forces had been invited by the governments of those countries). By contrast, the Libyan government certainly hasn’t invited us to bomb its forces, and the administration has not recognized the rebels as as the “true” government in Gaddafi’s place.
Some might say that none of this really matters. After all, no court is likely to enjoin military operations against Libya, even if a lawsuit were filed. But the president and Congress have an independent duty to uphold the Constitution even if courts cannot or will not force them to do so. We should strive to establish a political culture where all three branches of government take their constitutional obligations seriously. I am not naive enough to believe that politicians will ever do so fully. But we can certainly do better than the present situation where most of our elected leaders give the Constitution no more than lip service unless forced to do by defeat in Court.
Constitutional considerations also matter in so far as they might sway public opinion. While people who strongly support or strongly oppose the Libya intervention are unlikely to change their minds on the basis of constitutional concerns alone, many observers are on the fence. I am one such fence-sitter myself, since I see some strong arguments on both sides of the policy issue. The Libya action has split both the right and the left in interesting ways. In such a fluid situation, constitutional arguments might have a greater impact than in a case where partisan divisions are tightly drawn and most people have strong commitments to one side or the other.
image via salon.com

Dear Helen Thomas

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...Helen Thomas
on being anti-Semitic:
Baloney!






Our Torah commentators teach us that in biblical days, these skin discolorations and abnormalities were a physical manifestation of a spiritual problem. The Kohain was well trained in looking at the skin and knowing what the person did wrong to merit such scabs. Almost always, these skin conditions were a result of Lashon Harah- gossip, slander, evil talk, using our communication skills for ill ends.
Enter Helen Thomas, long time journalist and reporter for United Press International (UPI), who had the distinction of not only sitting in the front row at every US Presidential news conference for decades, but also of being given the privilege of asking the first question following the President’s remarks. Perhaps Helen Thomas has worn long sleeves over the years, to cover the results of her private gossip about Jews as well as her recent public slanderous and outrageous remarks about Israel, Jews and Zionism.
yes I am aware of the irony of using Roald Dahl's character

Want to know what is going on in the Pacific Northwest of America? Seriously

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this is a region of the country that is in a lot of trouble.The Salem News for example reads like a website for Stormfront.They dress it up in "Liberalism"...of course.  In Seattle the ACLU is actively trying to put BDS posters on public buses.  I have experience with the mind set here.  Wish I could say more.  Portland Knows Oh So Little About Portland via challahhuakbar.blogspot.com
SEATTLE -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington is suing King County over its refusal to place advertisements critical of the Israeli government on Metro buses.

Gates: No ground troops while 'I am in this job'

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As the U.S. debates its future role in the Libyan conflict, Defense officials slammed the brakes on any broad participation Thursday, with Defense Secretary Robert Gates saying there will be no American ground troops in Libya "as long as I am in this job."
Media_httpwwwwiredcom_fgicmUnder withering congressional probing and criticism of an ill-defined mission to aid a rebel force that officials know little about, Gates and Joint Chiefs chairman Adm. Mike Mullen sketched out a largely limited role for the U.S. military going forward, with Gates saying some other country could train the rebels trying to oust strongman Moammar Gadhafi.Media_httpimgssfgatec_atpqi
"My view would be, if there is going to be that kind of assistance to the opposition, there are plenty of sources for it other than the United States," said Gates. "Somebody else should do that."
Asked by one lawmaker whether the U.S. involvement might inevitably mean "boots on the ground" in Libya, Gates replied, "Not as long as I am in this job."
The U.S. turned over control of the military operation to NATO Thursday, just hours before Gates and Mullen told Congress that future U.S. participation will be limited and will not involve an active role in airstrikes as time goes on.
They were unable; however, to answer key questions from clearly agitated lawmakers about the length of the operation and how it will play out if Gadhafi does not relinquish power.
The U.S. goals are unclear and officials don't know who the rebels are, said Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, adding that if it came to a vote he would not support U.S. involvement in the operation.
He and others repeatedly complained that Congress has not been consulted on the Libya operation, and chafed that the legislative branch is not willing to be a backseat driver.
Gates and Mullen insisted that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's military has been degraded by as much as 25 percent, but Mullen noted that regime forces still outnumber the rebels by about 10-to-1.
Meanwhile, they said the opposition groups are fractured and operating independently city by city, and just 1,000 of the rebels are militarily trained.
Their comments came as Gadhafi's forces struck forcefully back at the rebels this week, recapturing lost ground and triggering pleas for help from the battered and failing opposition forces.
Gates said that he believes political and economic pressures will eventually drive Libyan leader Gadhafi from power, but the military operation will help force him to make those choices by degrading his defense capabilities.
Gates and Mullen testifed before the House and Senate Armed Services Committees in the wake of new revelations that small teams of CIA operatives are working in Libya.
Gates declined to comment on the CIA activities in Libya.
U.S. officials have acknowledged that the CIA has sent small teams of operatives into Libya and helped rescue a crew member of a U.S. fighter jet that crashed.
The CIA's precise role in Libya is not clear. Intelligence experts said the CIA would have sent officials to make contact with the opposition and assess the strength and needs of the rebel forces in the event President Barack Obama decided to arm them.
Meanwhile, battlefield setbacks are hardening the U.S. view that the poorly equipped opposition probably is incapable of prevailing without decisive Western intervention, a senior U.S. intelligence official told The Associated Press.
The administration says there has been no decision yet about whether to arm the opposition groups, and acknowledged that the U.S. needs to know more about who the rebels are and what role terrorists may be playing there.
Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said the U.S. must better explain to the American public that this is not an open-ended conflict and that the U.S. will not become embroiled in a civil war.
Committee chairman Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., said he has concerns about U.S. objectives in Libya.
"History has demonstrated that an entrenched enemy like the Libyan regime can be resilient to airpower," McKeon said.
___
Associated Press writers Adam Goldman and Robert Burns contributed to this report.
image via wired.com

Ahava store chased out of London location

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The UK branch of Israeli cosmetics store, Ahava, is moving from its central London shop after years of pro-Palestinian demonstrations.
Protesters claim that the products sold in the store are manufactured in a factory in Israeli settlement, Mitzpe Shalom in the West Bank but are "misleadingly" labelled as produced in Israel.
The owner of the shop, currently in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, is looking for other sites after owners of neighbouring stores complained to the landlord following protests.
Supporters claim it has been "chased out" of its location by regular "noisy and intimidating" demonstrations.
A spokeswoman for Shaftesbury PLC, which owns the property as well as several others in the Seven Dials area, said: "When Ahava's lease expires in September, we will not offer them a new one."
Pro-Palestinian protesters have been demonstrating fortnightly outside the shop, which opened in April 2007, for more than two years. A counter group of pro-Israeli supporters also demonstrate outside.
The owner of the store next door shows the spinelessness we can expect from much of the UK:
Colin George, manager of clothes shop The Loft, next door to Ahava, said: "I'm pleased Ahava is leaving. It's brought the street down. I've complained to the landlords, as has everyone here. Everyone would like them to leave. I wish they had left two years ago.
"Protesters are just going to follow them around, wherever they go. Maybe they should be an online business instead."
Perhaps it is time to stage noisy protests outside The Loft? Then Mr. George can follow his own advice!
After all, he believes that any group can shut down any shop they want to, just by acting obnoxious.

“Orwellian” list of journalists nominated for 2011 Orwell Prize includes Guardian’s Rachel Shabi

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“From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:
WAR IS PEACE; FREEDOM IS SLAVERY; IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.” – 1984, by George Orwell
Media_httpcommentisfr_ethqe
H/T Judy
George Orwell, prolific writer and a staunch opponent of totalitarianism (including communism), writing in the spring of 1945, in a long essay titled “Antisemitism in Britain“, for the Contemporary Jewish Record, stated that anti-Semitism was on the increase in Britain, and that it was “irrational and will not yield to arguments.”
He argued that it would be useful to discover why anti-Semites could “swallow such absurdities on one particular subject while remaining sane on others.”
Anti-Zionists today, those who are opposed to the Jewish state’s very existence and engage in demonization beyond any limits of reason, as those active in the fight for the state’s survival are acutely aware, is often equally irrational and unable to yield to even the most lucid arguments.
Indeed, the quote I cited above from 1984 reflects one of the common understandings the word “Orwellian” – the capacity to hold inherently irreconcilable, hypocritical, and/or irrational political views without the slightest cognitive dissonance.
The Orwell Prize for Journalism is characterized, on their website, as:
“Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing. Every year, we award prizes for the work – the book, the blog which comes closest to George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’.”
The 2011 list includes prolific Israel haters such as Robert Fisk (See here,  here, and here), the man with the proud distinction of engaging in journalistic bias so egregious as to inspire the word Fisking) and Guardian contributor, Rachel Shabi.
In discussing a review of “Not the Enemy: Israel’s Jews from Arab Lands”, the New Centrist succinctly sums up Shabi as follows:
“Shabi is part of small group of post-Zionist Mizrahi intellectuals who want to reclaim the non-European aspect their identity. I think this is a positive thing. But some of these post-Zionists have a tendency to borrow analytical frameworks from Marxists and others who view Ashkenazim and Zionists as imperialists and colonialists. In this narrative, the Mizrahim are indigenous people who have been victimized by Zionism, just like the Palestinians. In other words, Mizrahi Jews and Palestinians are people of color and Ashkenazis are whitey. Shabi and her political allies, in turn, are part pf the global resistance against the forces of global empire.
Here’s a sampling of Shabi’s offerings on the evils of Zionism and the moral sins of Israeli Jews:
“Most Israelis, in other words, seem to have convinced themselves that their own moral superiority somehow sanctions and justifies their own acts of moral repugnance. As a line of defence, it’s hard to see how this will stand up in court.” The self-defence defence January 23, 2009
But Palestinian analyst Ghassan Khatib says there is another factor at play in the overall media skew. “Even if the Palestinian side came up with proper messages, Hamas has been successfully labelled by Israel as a terrorist group and is portrayed in the western media in a manner similar to al-Qaida,” he says. As a result, western audiences are more prepared to sympathise with Israel – because it fits the “us or them” binary to which post 9/11 ears are attuned.” Winning the media warJanuary 10, 2009
“Kfir Brigade’s own former members describe its role in enforcing the Israeli occupation as having turned them into “monsters”. This brigade is the nightmare of bed-wetting Palestinian children and its deeds should be the nightmare of any Israeli who seeks peace, rather than perpetual loathing, between the Jewish and Palestinian peoples of the region.” Bruiting about brutes November 29, 2008
In the mind of Shabi, every Israeli act, her every fear and concern, can be contorted in a way to suggest the state’s inherent and immutable bigotry.
Indeed, her capacity to twist and turn prose in a way which assigns maximum malice to the Jewish state seems to have no limits as, more recently, she penned a piece for the Guardian which managed to spin Israeli concerns over the potential rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as evidence of Israeli racism.
The Muslim Brotherhood, as we noted previously, is a viciously anti-Semitic movement, which openly calls the destruction of Israel and whose spiritual leader, Yusef al-Qaradawi has endorsed the Holocaust as divinely inspired just punishment of the Jews.
The capacity to engage in such a profound moral inversion – accusing Jews of racism for expressing their concern over a movement inspired by a man who endorsed the Holocaust – represents the dangerous doublethink so eloquently illustrated in the totalitarian dystopia of Orwell’s novel and seems, at the very least, inconsistent with the moral parameters of the prize which bears his name.

Calling BULLSHIT on Rolling Stone

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The online edition of the Rolling Stone story contains a section with a video called “Motorcycle Kill,” which includes our Soldiers gunning down Taliban who were speeding on a motorcycle toward our guys.  These Soldiers were also with 5/2 SBCT, far away from the “Kill Team” later accused of the murders.  Rolling Stone commits a literary “crime” by deceptively entwining this normal combat video with the Kill Team story.  The Taliban on the motorcycle were killed during an intense operation in the Arghandab near Kandahar City.  People who have been to the Arghandab realize the extreme danger there.  The Soviets got beaten horribly in the Arghandab, despite throwing everything including the Soviet kitchen sink into the battle that lasted over a month.  Others fared little better.  To my knowledge, 5/2 and supporting units were the first ever to take Arghandab, and these two dead Taliban were part of that process.
The killing of the armed Taliban on the motorcycle was legal and within the rules of engagement.  Law and ROE are related but separate matters.  In any case, the killing was well within both the law and ROE.  The Taliban on the back of the motorcycle raised his rifle to fire at our Soldiers but the rifle did not fire.  I talked at length with several of the Soldiers who were there and they gave me the video.  There was nothing to hide.  I didn’t even know about the story until they told me.  It can be good for Soldiers to shoot and share videos because it provides instant replay and lessons learned.  When they gave me the video and further explained what happened, I found the combat so normal that I didn’t even bother publishing it, though I should have because that little shooting of the two Taliban was the least of the accomplishments of these Soldiers, and it rid the Arghandab of two Taliban.

Argentina & Saudi Arabia Seek Nuclear Partnership

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The Saudi government has tasked the head of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy with drawing up a cooperation agreement with Argentina regarding the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Source: 'Okaz, Saudi Arabia, March 29, 2011
not sure this is a good thing. Argentina is very close to going to war over the Falklands again

The Volokh Conspiracy thinks The CIA on the Ground in Libya is good public relations?

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I've lost complete respect for this blog. he is trying to justify arming terrorists as a PR tactic.
NOTE TO CIA DIRECTOR PANETTA:  You need to instruct your lawyers to come up with a coherent strategy for talking publicly with people, frequently lawyers, who are important to your institutional mission because they set the terms of your institutional legitimacy in the wider world.  You need to show them that you have an at least plausible and soberly thought-out legal analysis of why your use of violence is not contrary to international law.  They don’t have to agree with it, but you have to assert that it is real, considered, and at least plausible, which means you have to say something and engage with these people.  You think the international law community is irrelevant?  The activist and advocacy community, intermingled experts, academics, and advocates, unable to lay gloves on you?  Think again.  They toasted the Agency like a bagel for breakfast over interrogation and detention — so much so that you are left blowing up people in part for lack of a detention option that can get by the activist world.  They might well do it to you again on targeted killing.  Get out in front of this; the world has changed and they are more important as a (mostly de-) legitimating community than 180 of the members of the General Assembly.  Samantha’s War for Virtue is the perfect opportunity not only to show your stuff on the ground, whatever that might be — but also to explain yourselves on legal policy, in ways in that sound far better when it’s about “saving lives” in Benghazi rather than “counterterrorism in AfPak.” That’s so even when the activity, using violence, is the same activity and under fundamentally the same jus in bello legal justification.  Use Sam’s War as an opportunity to give yourselves some legal cover and create some legal precedents that can be used down the road.  Give me a call and we’ll talk.
horrible thinking. no wonder this guy endorsed Obama during the election. He might claim to be a Libertarian, but breaking the constitution for our reputation is wrong.

Latest Victim of Global Warming: Coffee

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...YES IT IS TRUE... Xerxes= Ahusuerus

It's raining here in New Jersey today. Obviously, global warming is to blame. Later this year it'll warm up: Global warming, no doubt. Unions throwing an extended temper tantrum in Wisconsin? Global warming, silly.
And now, put down your coffee and brace yourselves. Your thirst for caffeine will now suffer from, you guessed it, global warming.
Profits of high-end coffee chains like Starbucks and Green Mountain have been eroded. Coffee futures of Arabica, the high-end bean that comes predominantly from Latin America, have risen more than 85 percent since last June, to $2.95 a pound, partly over concerns about supply, extreme weather and future quality, said George Kopp, an analyst at the International Futures Group in Chicago.
Yet as stockpiles of some of the best coffee beans shrink, global demand is soaring as the rising middle classes of emerging economies like Brazil, India and China develop the coffee habit.
Coffee production is under threat from global warming, and the outlook for Arabica in particular is not good,” said Peter Baker, a coffee specialist with CABI, a research group in Britain Ithat focuses on agriculture and the environment, noting that climate changes, including heavy rains and droughts, have harmed crops across many parts of Central and South America.
A top coffee scientist, he has rattled trade forums by warning, Cassandra-like, of the possibility of “peak coffee,” meaning that, like oil supplies, coffee supplies might be headed for an inexorable decline unless growers make more concerted efforts to expand production globally.
The Specialty Coffee Association of America warned this year, “It is not too far-fetched to begin questioning the very existence of specialty coffee.”
By the way, if you're not buying this global warming nonsense, it's because your brain is functioning irrationally.
What's the answer for environmentalists? Change the message and frame the issue in a way that doesn't trigger unconscious opposition among so many Americans. That can be a simple as using the right labels: a recent study by researchers at the University of Michigan found that Republicans are less skeptical of "climate change" than "global warming," possibly because climate change sounds less specific. Possibly too because so broad a term includes the severe snowfalls of the past winter that can be a paradoxical result of a generally warmer world. Greens should also pin their message on subjects that are less controversial, like public health or national security. Instead of issuing dire warnings about an apocalyptic future — which seems to make many Americans stop listening — better to talk about the present generation's responsibility to the future, to bequeath their children and grandchildren a safer and healthy planet.
Gee, the nonstop gloom and doom scenarios have people tuning out? Crazy how that is. Maybe if even a single dire prediction had ever come true people might listen to the scaremongers.
Posted via email from noahdavidsimon's posterous

if only Al Gore thought up an asteroid like they did in the middle ages.  Hailey's comet?  any one... any one?  was a real scare.



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