The Watchman On The Wall

The Watchman On The Wall
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Verse 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Chicks Coming Home to Roost

Communist Youth
Hitler Jugend

I think it is important for anyone forty years old or less to read about the The Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, (GIVE), HR 1388. I believe the 40 and under generation could be the last group of Americans to live in freedom in the United States of America.

Our liberty is being attacked from all corners. The constant growth of Statism is a pernicious cancer in this country. It has eroded individual freedom for a very long time. Both the Republican and Democratic party have forced it down our throats. It has creeped into and ruined our families with welfare, it is ruining our schools, it continues to destroy poor white and black families. Statism will ruin medicine, it will ruin banks and it helped ruin the auto companies. On the plus side like Mussolini statism will claim to make the trains run on time.

GIVE was sponsored by Reps. Carolyn McCarthy, D-NY and George Miller, D-CA. It was approved by a 321-105 vote in the House. The Senate voted closure on the motion to proceed by a margin of 74-14; making ultimate passage likely since Republicans have abandoned their role as a sensible "loyal opposition”.

GIVE will cost $6 billion over five years and will create 175,000 "new service opportunities" under AmeriCorps, bringing the number of participants in the national volunteer program to 250,000.

Many of the provisions in the GIVE can be found in Obama's 2010 fiscal year budget blueprint issued in February. The administration proposes $1.3 billion for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which administers AmeriCorps. CNCS received an estimated $260 million in fiscal 2009. However, that is not the final financial tally. Aides to Miller say they are awaiting estimates from the Congressional Budget Office on how much the GIVE would ultimately cost. In addition to all of the funding that goes to organizations in the forms of grants and administrative costs, AmeriCorps volunteers receive stipends and college scholarships when they complete one of the several available programs. For example, a participant in the National Civilian Community Corps, which is a 10-month residential commitment, now receives $4,000 in living expenses and a $4,475 in money toward school. That conceivably would increase under the new legislation.

Miller, chairman of the education committee, said "National and community service can help make Americans a part of the solution to get our country through this economic crisis.”

The Western world made a horrible mistake in the 1930s when people did not read Adolph Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and the world ultimately paid with millions dead.

This is what President Obama said in July 2008 in a speech at Colorado Springs when he suggested national security could be entrusted to a civilian force.

"We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that is just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded."

At the time, Obama was discussing expanding the USA Freedom Corps, the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps, as well as beefing up the cadre of foreign service officers abroad and programs that help veterans.

Obama continued, "This will empower more Americans to craft their own service agenda and make their own change from the bottom up."

But the bill's opponents, and I am one, say it could cram ideology down the throats of young "volunteers," many of whom will be forced into service since the bill creates a "Congressional Commission on Civic Service."

Democratic Colorado Sen. Gary Hart wrote "Resistance to expanded public service programs can be expected from the ideologically sclerotic, those who occupy the negative ground between government as the problem and government as our enemy." Senator, you and Democrats and Republicans like you are the problem with this country. Apparently you never learned in school that our founding fathers did not trust government.

Meanwhile, the Senate is mulling over a similar piece of legislation, the "Serve America Act," sponsored by Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. It was given a special endorsement by the president in his address before Congress on Feb. 24.

A bipartisan commission will be tasked with exploring a number of topics, including "whether a workable, fair and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the nation." Wow, that sounds familiar, didn’t Hitler tell the German people we must protect Aryan bloodline and the social fabric of the German nation.

The legislation also refers to "uniforms" that would be worn by the "volunteers" and the "need" for a 4-year public service academy" to "focus on training" future "public sector leaders." The training, apparently, would occur at "campuses." Citizens, look out here comes the SA brown shirts and the Obama Jugend or Communist Youth Brigades.

Conservatives and independents like myself am concerned that the increased funding will be used to promote one ideology over another. The old political adage states that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. President Obama and his henchmen are all about raw political power.

When you dramatically expand state programs like this one, then you dramatically expand the ability for these left-wing advocacy organizations to get more funding. I don't see a lot of attention being paid to that, even from those who are critical. That's where the focus should be. Republicans tend to say its not that they oppose the program, they just want to spend less money. Citizens, it's the program that's bad. I want to emphasize I would oppose this type of bill if Ronald Reagan wanted it. I am opposed to the Right or Left re-education or indoctrination camps.

The original official Obama website (, said Obama would "require" all middle school through college students to participate in community service programs and that "President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in under served schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year."

However, after many people protested against children being drafted into Obama's proposed domestic army, the official website was reworded to soften the wording to make it seem less mandatory. The word "require" was stricken from the website and replaced with the phrase "setting a goal" and "enabling" Americans to serve, rather than" requiring" them to serve. However elsewhere on the site, it described the plan under the heading, "Require 100 hours of service in college." (But since this article was posted, this reference on the website was also deleted.) Gee, I wonder why they made the change.

To make matters worse, Democrat George Miller, D-CA introduced an amendment to severely restrict the First Amendment by prohibiting the youth from participating in the program from attempting to influence legislation, organize or engage in protests, petitions, boycotts or strikes. Now, I call that CHANGE! All you young people who voted for Obama will not have constitutional rights in GIVE.

Under the pending legislation AmeriCorps will distribute money even though AmeriCorps volunteers have a history of being recruited and employed by community programs with an ideological purpose supported by Democrat Party politicians, including ACORN and Planned Parenthood. (Under terms of the legislation AmeriCorps volunteers can end up counseling Planned Parenthood clients to recommend and arrange abortions.)

Citizens, American volunteerism and charity has kept America running since the days of its founding' and Obama’s legislation would wipe out voluntary charity with the stroke of a pen.

Luke Sheahan, contributing editor for the Family Security Foundation said, "We (Americans) contribute our time and money under no government coercion on a scale the rest of the world doesn't emulate and probably can't imagine. The idea that government should order its people to perform acts of charity is contrary to the idea of charity and it removes the responsibility for charity from the people to the government, destroying private initiative." Charity and public service become forced labor and presses American citizens of all ages and creeds, unknowingly into military service. On paper, H.R. 1388 is the 'Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act'; the more innocuous sounding 'The Give Act,' for short.

South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson was one of three Republicans to oppose the legislation in committee. Wilson questioned the utility of the cash-strapped federal government making such huge investments in what he says should be community-inspired projects and programs. "Volunteerism is part of the American spirit of generosity, and we all stand in support of those who will share their time," said Wilson, who voted against the bill with Minnesota Rep. John Kline and California Rep. Tom McClintock.

GIVE puts the finishing touches to “Public Allies New Leadership for New Times”, modeled after radical professor Saul Alinsky's 'Peoples Organizations' and operating under Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama was a pioneer in the social entrepreneur movement, a group of leaders who create new approaches and organize to provide new solutions to social problems. Like most things associated with Saul Alinsky, GIVE sounds noble and states why wide-sweeping change is necessary."

H.R. 1388 goes straight to the heart of volunteerism in America, impacting everything from the lemonade stands of neighborhood children, to the residents of senior citizens homes. ... GIVE puts tow-headed school children and silver-haired seniors in the official uniform of the new State and encompasses every walk of life in main-street America. Whether you are young or old, or firmly believe that volunteering means you are offering your time to the good of community work, you will be pressed into Obama's National Civilian Community Corps."

"These volunteers would be "grouped together as appropriate in campuses for operational, support, and boarding purposes. The Corps campus for a unit shall be in a facility or central location established as the operational headquarters and boarding place for the unit. ... There shall be a superintendent for each camp" - just like Nazi Germany or Stalinist USSR.

The problem with Herr Obama’s grand scheme for universal voluntary public service is that it can't be both universal and voluntary. If everybody has to do it, then it's not voluntary and if it's truly up to the individual, then it won't be universal.
We have seen our federal constitution continually eroded and our states stripped of their constitutional rights under the tenth amendment. The federal government has repeatedly exerted control over states by dictating terms to states when they accept federal money, for example, the 55 mph speed limit laws. The states will suffer under GIVE.

Sadly, most public schools depend on federal dollars. As Obama elaborated in a speech last December, “At the middle and high school level, we'll make federal assistance conditional on school districts developing service programs, and give schools resources to offer new service opportunities.” So, it won't be the nasty federal government forcing your kids to donate their time to government approved service; it'll be the local schools doing it because the schools need federal money.

Oh, and here is more good news, Obama has selected as Reich Minister for the mandatory civil service or Obama Jugend, the political thug Rahm Eichmann Emanuel, his chief of staff.

In Emanuel’s book, The Plan: Big Ideas for America, Emanuel writes: “It's time for a real Patriot Act that brings out the patriot in all of us. We propose universal civilian service for every young American. Under this plan, all Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 will be asked to serve their country by going through three months of basic training, civil defense preparation and community service.'’ Emanuel and co-author Bruce Reed insist this is not a draft, but goes on to write of young men and women, the nation will enlist them for three months of civilian service. They also warn, “Some Republicans will squeal about individual freedom,” ruling out any likelihood that they would let people opt out of universal citizen service.

Lee Cary of the conservative American Thinker wrote "Obama aims to tap into the already active volunteerism of millions of Americans and recruit them to become cogs in a gigantic government machine grinding out his social re-engineering agenda and turn America into one, giant, community organizer's sandbox at enormous cost to taxpayers."

Finally, the problem is the sold out Republican Party and American media won't "squeal" enough and many of our citizens will walk blindly happy to be in the dark. Reverend Jeremiah Wright was correct after all, the chickens will come home to roost in America, they will be brainwashed young chicks.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Israel

On the Western calendar, Israel was reborn as a nation on May 14, 1948. (No other ancient nation or language, Hebrew, has been reborn.) But on the Jewish calendar this year, yesterday marked the 61st birthday of the modern Jewish State. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ISRAEL! May Adonai/Yeshua bless you this year as never before.

Yesterday morning Israel paused and stood still in a moment of silence as the sirens sound for two short minutes to remember the fallen and thank them for their service and sacrifice. In the evening sorrow turned to joy, erupting in celebration with fellowship, singing, dancing, lots of food and fireworks across the land, a celebration of life.

Sixty-one years ago, rising from the Nazi ashes of World War II, a nation was born in a day. The world, facing the consequences of silence and lack of action against a monster, decided it was time to give back to the Jewish people a place they called home for thousands of years, a place they dreamt about returning to for generations, hoping against hope to return to Zion with joy and singing.

The words of Psalm 126 became a reality to those who survived "When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream..."

6 So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
7He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. Acts 1:6-7

5 Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days. Hosea 3:5

God's Love for Israel
1 "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. Hosea 11:1

32"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Matthew 24:32 The fig tree refers to Israel and twigs get tender and leaves comes out refers to the rebirth of Israel in 1948.

1 Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147: 1-3

1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.
Isaiah 40:1-2

Every year celebrations of Independence Day come on the heels of Memorial Day for those who gave their lives so that the dream could go on. Since the founding of the modern state of Israel, 22,570 soldiers and victims of terror perished to keep the dream alive.

But even as the Jewish people celebrated last tonight, the world conspires against them. A tiny nation has been in the center of the world stage ever since her new beginning. Enemies on every side surround Israel. The Muslim nations have not changed their plans to kill Israel’s dream and want to wipe Israel off the map. Last week's Durban II conference confirmed a sad truth that the fight is far from over as witnessed by Iranian President Ahmadinejad's outrageous statements about Israel.

Against all odds, after centuries of desolation, Diaspora, persecution, rejection, the Jewish people returned to their homeland. Through years of wars, terror attacks, individuals, groups and countries wishing her destruction, Israel remains as a testimony of God's goodness and mercy.

Those of us who know Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel, realize that the natural birth of the state of Israel is just the first step in God's plan to re-birth it spiritually. We dream of the day when all Israel shall be saved - even in the midst of her enemies.

We know that Adonai in Heaven knows all things, sees all things, and controls all things. His promises to the Jewish people will come to pass, because He said so. We pray for Israel. We pray for the Israelis. We pray for this Israeli generation to return to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and serve Him alone. Yeshua will take care of the rest.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Falcon and the Parrot

Alan Howell Parrot

The story below from Alan H. Parrot is extremely interesting and plausible. In the world of intelligence it is always good to learn about an enemies proclivities in this case Osama Bin Laden’s (UBL) love of falconry. Moreover, some key facts below are critical concerning the current accusations flowing from the Obama administration about alleged torture of enemy combatants.

After 9/11 several high-ranking members of Al Qaeda (AQ) fled to Iran including Osama bin Laden’s son, Sa’ad.

Since 9/11 the United States has held direct talks with Iran, and through intermediaries, concerning scores of AQ terrorists that Iran has allowed to seek refuge there. This includes an unspecified number of senior lieutenants, and members of AQ’s management council or Shura Council. The Shura Council would be the equivalent to President Obama’s cabinet or the board of directors of Dupont. Since 2003 the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have unsuccessfully sought the deportation of this AQ group, that included UBL’s son Saad bin Laden.
Much of the information concerning AQ lieutenants in Iran came from AQ detainees interrogated by the U.S. government, including Yemeni AQ senior lieutenant, Waleed Mohammed bin Attash. Attash organized the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole. Information was also gleaned from NSA electronic intelligence intercepts.

The 9/11 Commission’s chairman, Thomas Kean, said, “We believe….that there were a lot more active contacts, frankly, with Iran and with Pakistan than there were with Iraq.”

A previous Commission staff report found that AQ collaborated with Hizbullah and its Iranian sponsors in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers, in Saudi Arabia. Previously, the attack had been attributed only to Hizbullah, with Iranian support. A U.S. indictment of UBL filed in 1998 for the bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa said AQ “forged alliances….with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hizbullah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the U.S.”

Iranian officials approached the AQ leadership after the bombing of the USS Cole and proposed a collaborative relationship in future attacks on the U.S., but the offer was turned down by UBL, allegedly because he did not want to alienate his supporters in Saudi Arabia.

On January 16, 2009 the United States Treasury Department zeroed-in on four alleged AQ operatives with ties to the organization's operations in Iran. The department issued executive order 13224, freezing the men's assets and prohibiting transactions between them and U.S. citizens. The purpose of such an order is to target the operatives as well as those that support them, and forces Iran to publicly accept responsibility for how it is meeting its international obligations regarding AQ. The four men, including Osama Bin Laden's third oldest son Sa’ad bin Laden, Muhammad Rab'a al-Sayid al-Bahtiyti, Ali Saleh Husain and Mustafa Hamid, were detained by Iranian authorities in 2003 and held under house arrest. It is believed the Iranians released Sa'ad bin Laden in December 2008 and he went to Pakistan. An Italian reporter claimed that Sa’ad bin Laden was in Lebanon.

Now here is where the plot thickens a bit and gets interesting. Alan Howell Parrot has been the director of The Union for the Conservation of Raptors (UCR) for several years. Mr. Parrot has loved falcons since he was a young man. His love of falcons brought him into contact with several wealthy Arabs who hired him for his services. Many rich Arabs love falconry. Parrot appears to be a genuine person and not a scam artist. I will follow up with an article on international falcon smuggling.

Alan Howell Parrot asserts that UBL is in Iran. Mr. Parrot is a Sikh and served as a Falconer for many years for the rulers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and members of Saudi Royal family. In that capacity he was a regular guest in the seasonal Falconry-hunting camps and had access to all participants. Parrot has been offering evidence of UBL's sighting in Iran since November 2004. UBL is a very tall, thin man so I do not think Mr. Parrot is confused. It is possible UBL has a double though. Mr. Parrot has spoken to a great number of U.S. government officials at the Department of Defense, the FBI, Senators and even to the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Gen. Michael V. Hayden. Government officials who asked to remain nameless confirmed Parrot's contact with the government. Still, no one responded.

Parrot's passion to save the falcons led him and his team to UBL. In November 2004 a UCR field operator in Iran happened to meet UBL. Parrot presented the very detailed and convincing evidence to former senior US military officials. Between November 2004 and January 2009 Parrot says he has "diligently reported UCR meetings with UBL in Iran to U.S. government agencies. At no time did the Bush Administration request interviews with any of the UCR field operators who tracked and met UBL in Iran." Parrot provided accounts of UBL's movement and details of six meetings UCR's operators had with UBL in Iran; some were held near Zehedan, in Southern Iran, others in a safe house North of Tehran and in Mashhad. This information was confirmed during a debriefing by an expert interrogator on march 2008.

Falconry is a 2,000-year-old tradition among Arabs, especially princes and sheikhs. Falconry is hugely popular in the Middle East. In fact, when I served in Iraq some of my Middle Eastern translators raised pigeons for falconry. The pigeons can also be quite expensive. The founder of the Saudi kingdom, Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud, was known as "the Falcon of the Peninsula" (Al Saqr al Jazira). Saudi Prince Fahd bin Sultan described Falconry as the Arabs' "form of golf, a place to relax and conduct business.''

Hunters gather several times a year in well-equipped hunting camps in the Arabian deserts, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran, among other places, to hunt with falcons that cost $100,000 and in some cases more than $2 million. Not surprisingly, the illegal trade in falcons is valued at more than $300 million annually. UBL is a known as an avid Falconer.
Former White House counter terrorism advisor Richard Clarke told the 9/11 Commission that in 1999 the U.S. "planned to bomb a Falconry camp in Pakistan when UBL was present." That raid, however, "was scrubbed because a minister from the United Arab Emirates was a member of the hunting party."

Parrot is an avid Falconer and conservationist who, in 1974, when he was just 18 years old, began his career training hunting falcons for the Shah of Iran. He excelled in his work and was retained by wealthy Arabs in Kuwait and the Gulf States who flew him regularly from Ithaca, NY to the Middle East. He was attending Cornell University but he left school after 3 years in favor of trapping and training falcons for UAE president and Abu Dhabi's ruler Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayyan. From 1981 to 1991 he continued to work for Zayed, who hosted him in his many palaces, where Parrot met and befriended many of the ruler's guests. Sheikh Zayed's recommendation opened doors to employment with other Arab leaders. Parrot also worked for Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

Parrot was a civilian undercover agent in "Operation Falcon," conducted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS), to stop the multi-million dollar international smuggling of North American falcons to the Middle East. That operation resulted in the arrest of over 300 falcon smugglers the world over.

Parrot also helped stop Prince Bandar, the former Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., from smuggling falcons from the U.S. on board a Royal Saudi Airlines charted plane. Bandar paid his $150,000 fine to the Department of Justice, from his Washington DC Riggs Bank account. It was the same account which Bandar's wife used to pay two of the 9/11 hijackers.

For his work in Operation Falcon, Parrot received two letters of commendation from the Canadian government. Together with his dedicated team of falcon lovers, Parrot continued to collect evidence on falcon smuggling throughout Central Asia, Russia, China, and the Middle East. In 2001 he established The Union for the Conservation of Raptors (UCR), a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. Its mandate pertains "to the conservation and sustainable management of raptors, with specialized expertise on Middle East falconry practices and smuggling cartels with operational linkage to AQ."Over the years, Parrot witnessed how the Secretariat for the U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) violated its own mandate to protect the birds by licensing illegal trade in sport-falcons to Arab rulers and sheikhs. This led to the creation of 'five star' tented cities erected throughout the Middle East, Central Asia, and Afghanistan, like the royal falconry camp that served as AQ's de-facto 'Board room,' referenced in the 9/11 Commission Report.

Parrot was encouraged by president-elect Barack Obama's statement on January 14, 2009 that his "preference obviously would be to capture or kill Bin Laden."Parrot sent a letter to the Rewards for Justice program at the State Department detailing his efforts to track UBL and providing information of UBL's whereabouts. Parrot also noted that he had discussed the matter with Iranian officials and that "a negotiated and political (i.e. not-military) solution is available" with the Iranian leadership. The letter was sent on January 20, 2009 but Parrot has yet to hear from Washington. Parrot claimed that he has negotiated with Iranian officials the transfer of UBL from Iran "to the custody of the Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud al Faisal, whom I know personally," he said.

So what is the bottom line here for the Obama Administration? Waleed bin Attash is one clear cut case where enhanced interrogation techniques produced actionable intelligence. Furthermore, President Obama's witch hunt concerning enhanced interrogation techniques is bogus. Mr. President I would be water boarded and listen to blasting rock n roll music rather than have my entire family blown up by you in Pakistan. Somehow enhanced interrogation (water boarding etc.) doesn't equal a hell-fire missile striking me and my family. It is like asking a Jew in Nazi Germany do you want to be deported to Sweden or do you want to be gassed? The Obama administration has fired several missiles at AQ and Taliban types in Pakistan since Obama took office.

Israel's Arrow Missile

Israeli Arrow Missile Defense

Israel recently successfully tested an anti-missile system designed to protect the country against Iranian attack. The intercept of a dummy missile was the 17th test of the Arrow system, a U.S.-Israeli joint venture. Israeli defense officials said the interceptor was an upgraded Arrow II, designed to counter Iran's Shahab ballistic missile.

Israel has identified Iran as its biggest threat, citing the country's nuclear program and its development of long-range ballistic missiles. Those fears have been compounded by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's repeated calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.

Iran's Shahab-3 missiles have a range of up to 1,250 miles putting Israel well within striking distance.

An official with the Israeli Defense Ministry said the interceptor shot down "a missile simulating a ballistic threat in especially challenging conditions." It called the test "an important step in the development of operational abilities to counter the growing threat of ballistic missiles in the region."

Defense Minister Ehud Barak watched the intercept from a military helicopter, the ministry said. According to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Pentagon representatives also were present.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has made the Iranian threat a top priority of his administration, congratulated defense officials for the successful test. "While we are for peace, we will know how to defend ourselves," he said.

Vice President Joe Biden was asked how worried he is that Israel, under Netanyahu, will launch a strike to take out Iran's nuclear facilities. "I don't believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu would do that," Biden said. "I think he would be ill-advised to do that. And so my level of concern is no different than it was a year ago."

The Arrow project is being developed by Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. and Chicago-based Boeing Co. at a cost of more than $1 billion. It was spurred largely by the failure of the U.S. military's Patriot missiles to intercept Iraqi Scud rockets that struck Israel in the 1991 Gulf War.

Several batteries of Arrow missiles are already operational. Israel has been working to perfect the system to deal with increasingly complicated threats, for example, missiles that strike at extremely high speeds from high altitudes and could split apart as they approach their targets.

Iran has worked hard to increase the accuracy of its missiles. In November, it successfully test-fired the Sajjil, a solid fuel high-speed missile with a range 1,250 miles. Solid fuel is considered a significant breakthrough because it increases accuracy.

The Arrow is meant to intercept short and medium-range ballistic missiles. This was the most advanced version of the Arrow weapons system in terms of the ability to perform the type of intercept that would be necessary to destroy a ballistic missile target. The Arrow in conjunction with Patriot missiles, which strike at a lower altitude, gives Israel a layered defense.

The U.S. military has conducted tests in recent years of different components of the defensive shield, that includes Patriot air defense batteries, anti-ballistic missiles launched from Navy ships and lasers mounted in planes designed to shoot down incoming missiles.

The U.S. military's ground-based mobile missile defense system successfully shot down a medium-range ballistic missile during a test in Hawaii.

It was the first time the military fired two interceptors at one target using the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD), a program designed to shoot down ballistic missiles in their last stage of flight.

Israel is running out of time in dealing with a nuclear Iran and the Israelis are dealing with life and death issues for their tiny state. I do not believe the Israelis should count on the U.S. to deter Iran.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pyongyang Ping Pong

Taepodong-2 Missile
General Douglas MacArthur
I sometimes think General MacArthur was correct about using nuclear weapons during the Korean War and that President Truman was wrong to prosecute a “limited” war. The “limited” war on the Korean peninsula in the early 1950s was in some respects a total failure. The Red Chinese badly miscalculated and had horrendous losses in Korea, losing most of their veteran combat soldiers. China could not supply their forces in Korea from their bases in Manchuria.

For 69 years we have lived with the problem the “limited” war in Korea produced. Sometimes I think it would have been better if the entire peninsula went communist or capitalistic democratic as later happened in Vietnam. Despite mistakes, South Korea has become a capitalistic juggernaut, a steady ally and democratic Christian nation. Our effort with the South Koreans has been immensely successful.

The failure of the U.S. and its allies on the Korean peninsula has produced a rogue state that now threatens Japan, the Pacific nations and the western boundaries of U.S. territories. Furthermore, the North Koreans threaten the entire world by proliferating their illegal missile and nuclear technology.
The “limited” war philosophy also infected U.S. foreign policy thinking and led to our disaster in South Vietnam. The “limited” war philosophy also caused needless casualties in Korea and Vietnam. The facts below confirm the errors of 69 years of foreign policy yackety yack.

According to my sources in Israel on September 23, 2007 Israeli commandos seized nuclear material of North Korean origin during a daring raid on a secret military site in Syria before Israel bombed it. The attack was launched with American approval after Washington was shown evidence the material was nuclear related. Nuclear samples taken from Syria for testing had been identified as North Korean. North Koreans were also at the site.

The South Koreans believe the North's 1.2 million-strong military an "immediate and grave threat." North Korea has recently bolstered its naval forces, reinforcing submarines and developing new torpedoes, in addition to increasing its special forces training. Tension between Pyongyang and Seoul has increased steadily. North Korea threatened to scrap peace agreements with the South and has threatened to start another war.

North Korea has been involved in six-party talks with the United States, Japan, Russia, South Korea and China but North Korea is not seriously engaged in the talks.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called North Korea's nuclear program "the most acute challenge to stability in northeast Asia." In February 2009 Clinton warned North Korea against any "provocative action and unhelpful rhetoric" amid signs the Stalinist nation was preparing to test fire a missile capable of reaching the western United States. Clinton said North Korea needs to live up to commitments to dismantle its nuclear programs, saying Washington is willing to normalize ties with it in return for nuclear disarmament. "The North Koreans have already agreed to dismantling," she said. "We expect them to fulfill the obligations that they entered into." Clinton fails to realize we cannot make agreements with the leadership of a nation that has no ethical or moral values.

She also criticized the Bush administration for abandoning the so-called 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea, reached during President Bill Clinton's first term in the White House, which called for the North to give up its plutonium-based weapons program. Again Clinton fails to realize that we have been talking off and on with the North Koreans since 1950 and except for an armistice these talks have achieved almost nothing including a permanent peace treaty.

Clinton said the framework collapsed when the Bush team accused Pyongyang of maintaining a separate highly enriched uranium program. As a result, she said, the North had restarted and accelerated its plutonium program, allowing it to build a nuclear device that it had detonated in 2006. I am sure the Bush administration had good reason to accuse the North Koreans.

Recently the North Koreans fired another missile and the UN failed to agree on a response to North Korea's long-range rocket launch despite pressure from Washington and its allies for action, while regional powers weighed the extent of the new security threat. The UN is not going to do a damn thing because the UN is splintered.

The launch of the rocket, which flew over Japan during its 2,000-mile flight, was effectively a test of a ballistic missile designed to carry a warhead as far as the U.S. state of Alaska.

An emboldened North Korea would use the first successful launch of its Taepodong-2 missile to extract concessions for showing up at any future round of six-party talks on ending its nuclear program. North Korea will probably seek to water down obligations it signed onto under previous negotiations.

Kim Tae-woo, a nuclear and weapons expert at the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis, said "With this capability, North Korea is equipped with the infrastructure to play the nuclear game and raise the stakes in the six-way talks," "As a result, more will have to be given to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear program."

The long-running talks among the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States have failed.

Japan called for the emergency U.N. Security Council meeting but the 15 members agreed only to discuss the matter.

The U.S., Japan and South Korea say the launch violated Security Council resolutions banning the firing of ballistic missiles by Pyongyang, imposed after a nuclear test and other missile exercises in 2006.
Of course, China and Russia were not convinced the launch of a North Korea satellite was a violation of U.N. rules. Three other countries supported their view. In the end it was 10 nations against 5 nations.

U.S. military and South Korea officials said no part of the Taepodong-2 rocket entered orbit. The rocket flew 2,000 miles, which was double the range of an earlier version, called the Taepodong-1, fired over Japan in 1998. In the only previous test flight of the Taepodong-2, in July 2006, the rocket blew apart 40 seconds after launch. The rocket is designed to fly an estimated 4,200 miles.

The missile launch has implications for security in North Asia, which accounts for one-sixth of the global economy and it forces Seoul to review its military, which has been focused on a possible conventional war with North Korea.
There is now debate in Japan as to whether Japan should have the means to pre-emptively destroy North Korea's missile facilities.

The rocket launch bolsters the authority of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il after he suffered a suspected stroke in August.

The implications for the U.S. are huge. A successful satellite launch would have put half the continental United States in North Korean rocket range.

North Korea is believed to have enough fissile material for several nuclear bombs but many proliferation experts believe the North does not have the technology to miniaturize a nuclear device for a warhead yet.

Japan said it would keep pushing for punishment of Pyongyang through a new U.N. resolution.

China and Russia have called on all sides for restraint. Both nations made it clear before the launch that they would use their veto power to block any resolution imposing new sanctions on Pyongyang.

Washington and Tokyo want a resolution demanding stricter enforcement, and possibly expansion, of an existing arms embargo and financial sanctions

President Obama said,” North Korea broke the rules, once again, by testing a rocket that could be used for long-range missiles. This provocation underscores the need for action, not just ... in the U.N. Security Council, but in our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons."
Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. said that the U.S. was calling for a Security Council resolution that would be binding under international law, so North Korea's leaders understand "they can't act with impunity."

North Korea’s friends China, Russia, Libya and Vietnam used the cover story that they were concerned about further alienating and destabilizing North Korea." I am afraid to envision what this rogue state would look like "destabilized." Our position is that all countries concerned should show restraint and refrain from taking actions that might lead to increased tensions," Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yesui said.

Surprise, surprise some analysts say sanctions imposed after the North's underground nuclear test in 2006 have had little effect because some countries showed no will to impose them. Those sanctions bar the North from ballistic missile activity. Pyongyang claims it was exercising its right to peaceful space development.

One nation directly threatened by North Korea, Japan said it plans to extend its economic sanctions on the North for another year. The measures prohibit Japanese companies from buying North Korean exports.
Daniel Pinkston, a Seoul-based analyst for the International Crisis Group, said that while the rocket's first stage successfully broke away, it appears the second and third stages failed to separate or had difficulty doing so. "So it has to call into question the dependability and reliability of the system," he said. "They're still a long ways off" from being able to successfully target and strike the United States, he said. Daniel did not say what he considers “a long ways off”.
John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. said the launch didn't constitute an outright failure. "In the beginning of the U.S. missile program, when Vanguards and Jupiters were blowing up on the launching pad, American scientists declared those to be 90 percent successful, and the reason was you learn by your failures." Bolton said, "This is far from a failure. Japan is now clearly in range, and unless you're willing to kiss Japan goodbye, you have to be worried by this test."

North Korea is playing a game of trying to blackmail the U.S. by getting it within range, which is the so-called pressure card.

North Korea, one of the world's poorest countries, is in desperate need of outside aid, particularly since the help that flowed in unconditionally from neighboring South Korea for a decade has dried up since Lee took office in Seoul in 2008.

North Korea also violates non-proliferation missile agreements by peddling missile parts and technology as the situation in Syria demonstrated.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Time For the U.S. military to leave Europe

NATO Emblem

In February NATO's secretary-general blasted Europe's reluctance to respond to American calls for more troops in Afghanistan, saying countries like Germany and France need to "share the heavy lifting."

Germany's chancellor endorsed the principle of greater military support for the U.S. in NATO operations but did not commit to additional deployment in Afghanistan. France's president did not mention the issue at all during at a meeting of world leaders at the Munich Security Conference

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, a staunch supporter of U.S. calls for more European troops in Afghanistan, referred to a joint call this week from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy to strengthen Europe's role in NATO. He said it was a good idea but would not come without cost.

"I'm frankly concerned when I hear the United States is planning a major commitment for Afghanistan but other allies are already ruling out doing more," he told a gathering of world leaders and top ministers at the Munich Security Conference. "That is not good for the political balance ... and it also makes the calls for Europe's' voice to be heard in Washington perhaps a bit more hollow than they should be."

Germany has argued that its military is already too far stretched to commit more troops beyond the 4,500 now in the relatively calm north of Afghanistan. Instead, it has said the focus should be on future civil reconstruction, in conjunction with military security.

The French parliament voted in September to keep 3,300 French troops in the Afghan theater, but has no current plans to increase the French contingent.

Sarkozy argued for a Europe more ready to defend itself instead of relying on others, without touching on the Afghan troops issue. "Does Europe want peace, or does Europe want to be left in peace?" he asked. "If you want peace, then you need to have the requisite means to survive ... you need to have political and military power."

While supporting the general concept of more European military backing of the U.S. through NATO, Merkel also did not address U.S. calls for additional European deployments.

"We think that international conflicts can no longer be shouldered by one country alone," she declared. "No country can go it alone, so the cooperative approach needs to be guiding us."

De Hoop Scheffer said that if Europe wants a greater voice, it needs to do more.

"The Obama administration has already done a lot of what Europeans have asked for including announcing the closure of Guantanamo and a serious focus on climate change," he said. "Europe should also listen; when the United States asks for a serious partner, it does not just want advice, it wants and deserves someone to share the heavy lifting."

De Hoop Scheffer added that the same principle applies to Russian requests to be involved in Washington's plans to place a missile defense system in Eastern Europe.

He said Russia cannot talk of a new "security architecture" yet build its own new bases in Georgia and cause Kyrgyzstan to close the Manas air base, used by the U.S. to resupply troops in Afghanistan.

Kyrgyzstan's president announced the closure of the base on a visit to Moscow on Tuesday, just hours after securing more than $2 billion in loans and aid from Russia. U.S. officials said it acted as a result of pressure from Moscow, but Russia and Kyrgyzstan denied that.

The U.S. plans interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic. Washington has said the system is aimed at preventing missile attacks by "rogue states" such as Iran, but Russian officials claim the true intention is to undermine Russia's defenses.

On Iran, which is already under U.N. Security Council sanctions, Merkel said the West was ready to push for harsher penalties to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear arms.

"It is a must to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons," she said, alluding to international concerns that Tehran's civilian program could be used to declare such arms. The Islamic Republic asserts its intentions are purely peaceful.

"In 1877, Lord Salisbury, commenting on Great Britain's policy on the Eastern Question, noted that 'the commonest error in politics is sticking to the carcass of dead policies.” Salisbury was bemoaning the fact that many influential members of the British ruling class could not recognize that history had moved on; they continued to cling to policies and institutions that were relics of another era."

Stephen Meyer, wrote an essay in 2003, entitled "Carcass of Dead Policies: The Irrelevance of NATO." NATO has been irrelevant for two decades, since its raison d'etre -- to keep the Red Army from driving to the Rhine -- disappeared. Yet Obama went to Brussels to celebrate France's return and the 60th birthday of the alliance. But why is NATO still soldiering on? In 1989, the Wall fell. Germany was reunited. The Captive Nations cast off communism. The Red Army went home. The USSR broke apart into 15 nations. But, having triumphed in the Cold War, it seems the United States could not bear giving up its role as Defender of the West, could not accept that the curtain had fallen and the play was closing after a 40-year run. So, what did we do? In a spirit of "triumphalism," NATO "nearly doubled its size and rolled itself right up to Russia's door.

Breaking our word to Mikhail Gorbachev, we invited into NATO six former member states of the Warsaw Pact and three former republics of the Soviet Union. George W. Bush was disconsolate he could not bring in Georgia and Ukraine. Why did we expand NATO to within a few miles of St. Petersburg when NATO is not a social club but a military alliance? At its heart is Article V, a declaration that an armed attack on any one member is an attack on all. America is now honor-bound to go to war against a nuclear-armed Russia for Estonia, which was part of the Russian Empire under the czars.After the Russia-Georgia clash last August, Bush declared, "It's important for the people of Lithuania to know that when the United States makes a commitment -- we mean it." But "mean" what? That a Russian move on Vilnius will be met by U.S. strikes on Mother Russia? Are we insane? Does anyone believe that, to keep Moscow from re-establishing its hegemony over a tiny Baltic republic, we would sink Russian ships, blockade Russian ports, bomb Russian airfields, attack Russian troop concentrations? That would risk having some Russian general respond with atomic weapons on U.S. air, sea and ground forces. Great powers do not go to war against other great powers unless vital interests are imperiled. Throughout the Cold War, that was true of both America and Russia. Though he had an atomic monopoly, Harry Truman did not use force to break the Berlin blockade. Nor did Ike intervene to save the Hungarians, whose 1956 revolution Moscow drowned in blood. John F. Kennedy did not use force to stop the building of the Berlin Wall. Lyndon Johnson fired not a shot to halt the crushing of Prague Spring by Soviet tanks. When Solidarity was snuffed out on Moscow's orders in 1981, Ronald Reagan would not even put the Polish regime in default. In August 1991, George Bush I, in Kiev, poured ice water on Ukraine's dream of independence: "Americans will not support those who seek independence in order to replace a far-off tyranny with a local despotism. They will not aid those who promote a suicidal nationalism based upon ethnic hatred." Many Americans were outraged. But outrage does not translate into an endorsement of Bush's 43's plan to bring Ukraine into NATO and risk war with Russia over the Crimea. Bush 43 bellowed at Moscow last summer to keep hands off the Baltic States. But his father barely protested when Gorbachev sent Special Forces into all three in 1991. Bush I's secretary of state, Jim Baker, said it was U.S. policy not to see Yugoslavia break up. Bush 43 was handing out NATO war guarantees to the breakaway republics. Washington succumbed to victory disease and kept kicking Russia while it was down two decades of humiliation were a potent incentive for Russia to push back. Indeed this is why many realists opposed NATO expansion in the first place." Few Americans under 30 recall the Cold War. Yet can anyone name a single tripwire for war put down in the time of Dean Acheson or John Foster Dulles that we have pulled up? Dwight Eisenhower in his first meeting with the new president-elect, told JFK, "'America is carrying far more than her share of the free world defense.' It was time for the other nations of NATO to take on more of the cost of their own defense." Half a century later, we are still stuck "to the carcass of dead policies."

Should Americans defend pacifist Europeans who do not want to be defended? Should America continue to help Europeans who will not help us in Afghanistan?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mexican Swine Flu Mutates

Mexico is undergoing a health crisis. The schools and museums are closed; soccer games are being played in empty stadiums; Health workers are ordering sickly passengers off subways and buses; bars and nightclubs are filling up as usual but some teenagers were dancing with surgical masks on.

Across this overcrowded capital of 20 million people, Mexicans are reacting with fatalism, confusion, anger and mounting fear. Mexico City may be ground zero for a global epidemic of a new kind of flu — a strange mix of human, pig and bird viruses that has epidemiologists deeply concerned.

Mexico's Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova said tests show 20 people in Mexico have died of the new swine flu strain and that 48 other deaths were probably due to the same strain. The caseload of those sickened has grown to 1,004 nationwide. The same virus also sickened at least eight people in Texas and California but though there have been no deaths north of the border.

Scientists have warned for years about the potential for a pandemic virus that mixes genetic material from humans and animals. This outbreak is particularly worrisome because deaths have happened in at least four different regions of Mexico, and because the victims have not been vulnerable infants and elderly.

The 1918-19 flu pandemic killed at least 40 million people worldwide. It also first struck healthy young adults.

Authorities in the capital responded Friday with a sweeping shutdown of public places and events, urging people to stay home if they feel sick and to avoid shaking hands or kissing people on the cheeks.

Mexicans quickly got the message made sure their family members did, too. Cristina Ceron, a 55-year-old waitress, called her daughter and said, "Please keep your mouth covered. And don't you eat street food."

The government discovered the virus late Thursday and international laboratories are assisting Mexican authorities. Government officials said for days that its growing flu caseload was nothing unusual, so the sudden turnaround, along with a flurry of warnings from disease experts, left many angry and confused.

Pizzeria owner David Vasquez said, "Why did it break out, where did it break out? What's the magnitude of the problem?" Health officials told residents stay home Friday night.

The virus outbreak hit Mexico's beloved national pastime, soccer. Two sold-out soccer matches Sunday between the Pumas vs. Chivas and America vs. Tecos will be played in empty stadiums to prevent the spread of the disease.

Health workers also staffed the international airport and bus and subway stations, handing out masks and trying to stop anyone who appeared sick. Many commuters wore masks but masks are scarce. A nearby pharmacy put up signs saying, "We don't have masks" after selling out all 150 in stock.

Scientists have worried that a new killer flu could evolve when different viruses infect a pig, a person or a bird and then mingle their genetic material. The resulting hybrid could spread quickly because people would have no natural defenses against it.

The WHO was convening a panel this weekend to consider whether to raise the pandemic alert level or issue travel advisories. The CDC and Canadian health officials were studying samples sent from Mexico, and some governments around Latin America said they would monitor passengers arriving on flights from Mexico.

But it may be too late to contain the outbreak, given how widespread the known cases are. If the confirmed deaths are the first signs of a pandemic, then cases are probably incubating around the world by now, said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a pandemic flu expert at the University of Minnesota.

No vaccine specifically protects against swine flu, and it is not known how much protection current human flu vaccines might offer. A "seed stock" genetically matched to the new swine flu virus has been created by the CDC. If the government decides vaccine production is necessary, manufacturers would need that stock to get started. Actually producing the vaccines could take months.

The CDC says two flu drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza, seem effective against the new strain. Roche, the maker of Tamiflu, said the company is prepared to immediately deploy a stockpile of the drug if requested. Both drugs must be taken early, within a few days of the onset of symptoms, to be most effective. Mexico has enough Tamiflu to treat 1 million people hence only one in 20 people in greater Mexico City would get Tamiflu. Tamiflu will be strictly controlled and handed out only by doctors.

This swine flu and regular flu can have similar symptoms. People get a fever, cough and get a sore throat. Some U.S. victims experienced vomiting and diarrhea.

At Mexico's National Institute of Respiratory Illnesses, Adrian Anda waited to hear whether his 15-year-old daughter had the frightening new disease. She had been suffering a cough and fever for a week.

In Mexico City's Zona Rosa neighborhood, teenagers with spiky hair and tight jeans laughed at the danger. "People are giving too much importance to something that isn't that big of a deal," said Oscar Zarate, 19, shouting over the loud music and the jostling crowd outside a packed nightclub.

The book of Psalms tells us to take comfort in the Lord.

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. [a]
2 I will say [b] of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the LORD, who is my refuge-
10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation." Psalm 91:1-16
a. Psalm 91:1 Hebrew Shaddai
b. Psalm 91:2 Or He says

Tensions are rising because the Chinese navy becoming more aggressive in asserting its territorial claims in the South China Sea. The U.S. Navy has another reason to be deeply concerned about the Chinese navy.

Details have emerged about a "kill weapon" developed by the Chinese to target and destroy U.S. aircraft carriers. A recent Chinese report provides a description of an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) that can strike carriers and other U.S. vessels at a range of 2000km. The range of the modified Dong Feng 21(DF21) missile is significant in that it covers the areas that are likely hot zones for future confrontations between U.S. and Chinese navies.The size of the missile enables it to carry a warhead big enough to inflict significant damage on a large vessel. It could destroy a U.S. super carrier in one strike. The DF21 employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable. Hence, the odds have increased that it can evade tracking systems to hit its target. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2000km in less than 12 minutes.Supporting the missile is a network of satellites, radar and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that can locate U.S. ships and then guide the weapon to hit moving targets.

The DF21 has been a topic of discussion within national defense circles for quite some time; however, the fact that information is now coming from Chinese sources indicates that the DF21 is operational. Historically, the Chinese rarely mention weapons projects unless they are well beyond the test stages. If it is operational it marks the first time a ASBM has been successfully developed. Ships currently have no defense against an ASBM.

U.S. Navy officials appear to view the development of the DF21 and Chinese naval build-up as a tangible threat. After spending the last decade placing an emphasis on building a fleet that could operate in shallow waters, the U.S. Navy seems to have changed its strategy over the past several months to focus on improving the capabilities of its deep-sea fleet and developing ASBM defenses.

In typical U.S. Defense Department quirky and almost unfathomable language analyst Raymond Pritchett wrote in the U.S. Naval Institute blog: "The Navy's reaction is telling, because it essentially equals a radical change in direction based on information that has created a panic inside the bubble. For a major military service to panic due to a new weapon system, clearly a mission kill weapon system, either suggests the threat is legitimate or the leadership of the Navy is legitimately unqualified. There really aren't many gray spaces in evaluating the reaction by the Navy…the data tends to support the legitimacy of the threat."

China has been expanding its navy to better exert itself in disputed maritime regions. A recent show of strength in early March led to a confrontation with an unarmed U.S. ship in international waters.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Significance of a Bow

Walid Phares
Global terrorism and Middle Eastern expert Walid Phares said that within the next five years, the radical regime in Iran would have a missile capable of reaching North America. Phares, who has conducted briefings at the U.S. State Department and the United Nations Security Council, also said Iran is definitely seeking to acquire nuclear weapons and will not hesitate to use them if they do.

Phares said, “I wrote a book on the Iranian Islamic revolution in 1987 in which I looked at a projection into the future, and we are now in the future. They always wanted to acquire nuclear power and they wanted to do so in order to protect the expansion of their interests in the region. Acquiring nuclear power for them is first of all to protect the regime from the internal domestic democratic opposition. On the other hand, keep in the mind that they are involved in Iraq. They are involved in Lebanon with Hizbullah. They have a strategic alliance with Syria. They have interests in the Gulf with Shiite areas in eastern Arabia and elsewhere. They need the nuclear power to shield anybody who’d like to challenge their interests. The nuclear program they have is going to end up becoming a military one.”

Phares added Iran is close to developing an ICBM with a nuclear warhead. “What is interesting about the Iranian program is that they are developing on two tracks. One track is the actual nuke technology. They are moving slowly on that one. And the other track is the missile technology. The missile technology they do have includes missiles that can reach not only the eastern Mediterranean but also Europe. No wonder we have a debate about whether we should have a missile shield system in Europe or not. Basically the Iranian regime will be able in the next five years, according to the projections, to reach as far as North America.”

“When the Obama administration devises a policy that says we need to reach out to the Iranian regime, without putting pressure on that regime by engaging with the actual Iranian opposition, the perception in Tehran is that the Obama administration will not use everything at its disposal to apply that pressure. Hence Ahmadinejad declared that there is no more pressure to be made on Iran, and when that is the case obviously they are free to develop the weapons they want.”

Phares declared, “Regimes in the past that are totalitarian, including Saddam Hussein, have used missiles, have used weapons of mass destruction, have gassed their own population. Hizbullah, The Iranian ally has used missiles in their confrontation with Israel. The Iranian regime, which is ideological and radical, will use them when they think they can win the war.”

Phares said Obama’s bow to Saudi King Abdullah sends a message of submission. “The image that we saw indicates that there was a political message. If the U.S. president will be seen in a picture bowing that much to the head of the Wahabis in the region, then the perception is that America is weak. Maybe the president did not want it to be seen like that, but the radicals in the region have seen it that way and so has the international community. The U.S. president is the president of the most powerful democracy on the face of the earth. Not only should he not bow to any other president but even in the Arab world we haven’t seen any other Arab king or president or Muslim sultan or head of state bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia or to any other king.”

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Just Poor Dirt Farmers

GTMO Detainee Shaker Aamer
The case of a Guantánamo detention-camp detainee named Shaker Aamer, an alleged former associate of Osama bin Laden (UBL), has evolved into a perfect example of the dilemmas facing the Obama administration as it tries to shutter the facility: is Aamer truly dangerous or not? And if he leaves Gitmo, where should he go?

Last month, Britain's Home Secretary Jacqui Smith pressed the U.S. government to release Aamer, the last person with U.K. connections held at Gitmo. But according to some U.S. officials and government documents, Aamer is just the kind of detainee whose release could prove unwise.
Two years ago, Pentagon official Sandra Hodgkinson said that Aamer, a Saudi with U.K. residency, had shared a London apartment with Zacarias Moussaoui, convicted for his role in the 9/11 attacks. Government documents also suggest Aamer fought jihad in both Bosnia and Afghanistan and served as an "interpreter" for UBL.

Some Pentagon experts regard Aamer as "an extremely dangerous person." I concur with that assessment based upon my experience at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. At least 18 former detainees have re-entered the world of terrorism and in some cases were killed on the field of battle including Mullah Dadullah who was personally aware of.
But not everyone agrees that Aamer is dangerous. Brent Mickum, his lawyer, insists that claims about his client's Qaeda ties are false.

Shaker contends that at the time of his arrest in Afghanistan, he was working for a Saudi charity; however, in January 2004, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia froze the assets of the Saudi Al-Haramain Foundation for diverting funds to terrorist activities, including those sponsored by the al-Qaeda network.

Yeah, we heard that a multitude of times from detainees claiming they were just poor dirt farmers or that they just went to Afghanistan to build mosques. They falsely claimed they were captured by mistake or because of a clan vendetta against them.

Let’s look at some of the evidence against Aamer. A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for the tribunal, listing the alleged facts that led to his detainment. His memo accused him of the following:

a. The detainee is associated with the Taliban and al Qaeda:

  • The detainee arrived in Afghanistan in August 2001.
  • The detainee is associated with a known terrorist with ties to al Qaeda.
  • The detainee is associated with a second known terrorist with ties to al Qaeda, who is also a suspected hijacker.
  • The detainee has traveled internationally on false passports.
  • A stolen passport used by detainee was discovered in an abandoned cave in Tora Bora.
  • The detainee has received training on the AK-47 rifle.
  • The detainee participated in the conflict in Bosnia.
  • The detainee has stayed at multiple guesthouses in Afghanistan.
  • The detainee has visited the Khaldan terrorist camp.
  • The detainee received money from Usama Bin Laden (UBL).
  • The detainee taught Arabs to fight during the Bosnia-Serb War.
  • The detainee was armed with a 82mm mortar and a M43 120mm mortar.
  • The detainee is associated with a non-governmental organization (NGO) that has ties to al Qaeda.
  • The detainee has met with UBL and other senior leaders of al Qaeda.

    b. The detainee engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.

  • The detainee fought on the front lines in Afghanistan.
  • The detainee sent people to the front lines in Afghanistan.
  • The detainee was at Tora Bora during the U.S. air campaign.
  • The detainee was in charge of a group of fighter at Tora Bora.

A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Shakir Abdurahim Mohamed Ameer's first annual Administrative Review Board, on 25 October 2005.The memo listed 36 factors favoring his continued detention. The memo listed 7 factors favoring release or transfer. The 36 factors favoring continued detention asserted:

  • He had visited Afghanistan in 1993, stayed in suspect guest houses there;
  • He had fought in Bosnia in 1994;
  • He visited al Qaeda cells in the USA in 1998;
  • He had served on the Taliban's front lines against the Northern Alliance in 1999;
  • He had commanded a group of fighters in the Tora Bora region during the Taliban's retreat'
  • He knew several senior al Qaeda leaders;
  • He was close to UBL;
  • He served as UBL's interpreter;
  • and that he "has traveled to Romania where he was introduced to humanitarian organizations including the Islamic Heritage Revival and the Islamic Relief Organization."

    A Summary of Evidence memo was prepared for Al Madani Sawad's second annual Administrative Review Board, on 20 October 2006. The memo listed 33 factors favoring his continued detention. The memo listed 5 factors favoring release or transfer. Among the new factors favoring his continued detention:
  • Captive 239 was said to be the sole person UBL could call upon who was fluent in both Arabic and English.
  • Captive 239 was captured in Jalalabad, with other fleeing Tora Bora

    If Aamer is released where should he go? Both the British and Saudi governments have suggested they'll take him. The Saudis hinted they'd put Aamer in a program to rehabilitate extremists, a program that often doesn't work. Meanwhile, some U.S. officials worry that U.K. authorities are too taxed to keep an eye on him. Indeed, Aamer's lawyer says British authorities have promised he won't be monitored there. A British Embassy spokesman in D.C. said, "Our request for his release was made in light of his status as a former legal resident … and due to our wish to see the closure of Guantánamo Bay."

Miracles in the Middle East

pictures of Guilda Ayoub and her towel

Guilda is a 16-year-old girl from 'Imar' village situated near Zgharta, North Lebanon. Guilda watched the film of 'Passion of the Christ ' on Good Friday on 4 June 2007. Before Guilda went to sleep that night she told her mother she didn't believe that Jesus suffered all that pain. That night she dreamt of having a cross on her hand but the next day she woke up and did not have anything on her hand. She went to school and as she was telling her friend about it, she felt something pulling her hand backwards and putting it on the wall behind her. Her hand was stuck on the wall and no one could take it off.. When her hand eventually came of the wall a cross was printed on her hand with a wound in the middle as if from a nail. Blood samples were taken from the wound on her hand. The tests determined that the blood that was coming out of her hand has no blood group. Some sort of oil was also on her hand.

Saint Charbel has talked to her many times and he has given her messages. One of the messages concerns Lebanon but he asked her not to tell what he said until he tells her.

St Charbel lived in the hermitage for 23 years. On December 16th, 1898 he was struck with an illness while performing the holy mass. He died on Christmas' eve, December 24th, 1898, and was buried in the St Maron monastery cemetery in Annaya.

Few months later, dazzling lights were seen around the grave. From there, his corpse, which had been secreting sweat and blood, was transferred into a special coffin. Pilgrims started swarming the place to get his intercession. And through this intercession, God blessed many people with recovery and spiritual graces.

In 1925, his beatification and canonization were proposed for declaration by Pope Pious XI. In 1950, the grave was opened in the presence of an official committee which included doctors who verified the soundness of the body. After the grave had been opened and inspected, a variety of healing incidents occurred. A multitude of pilgrims from different religions come to the Annaya monastery to get Saint Charbel's intercession.

Guilda still has pain in her hand and it is still bleeding from time to time.

Yeshua is at work all across the Middle East. Many people are reporting dreams and visions involving Yeshua. Despite tyrannical governments Christianity is spreading. Yeshua said the gates of hell would not prevail against his church and it would prevail for all time.

A myriad of events are occurring around the world, some for the first time in human history. I do not think these events are an accident. The Lord is sending a message for each of us to prepare ourselves.

17 In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'[a]
22 "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.
23 This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[b] put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
25 David said about him: " 'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope,
27 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.'[c]
29 "Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day.
30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne.
31 Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ,[d] that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay.
32 God has raised this Yeshua/Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.
33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, " 'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand
35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." '[e]
36 "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." Acts 2:17-36
a. Acts 2:21 Joel 2:28-32
b. Acts 2:23 Or of those not having the law (that is, Gentiles)
c. Acts 2:28 Psalm 16:8-11
d. Acts 2:31 Or Messiah. "The Christ" (Greek) and "the Messiah" (Hebrew) both mean "the Anointed One"; also in verse 36.
e. Acts 2:35 Psalm 110:1

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mubarak vs. Hizbullah II

Hosni Mubarak

In the latest twist in the story of the Hizbullah infiltration of Egypt, the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported that the terror group planned to use Israeli Arabs visiting Sinai to smuggle bombs and weapons into Israel for use in terror attacks. According to the paper, members of the Hizbullah cell recently arrested by Egyptian authorities had admitted to the plan under questioning.Egyptian security officials said that among the 25 suspects already arrested in the case were a large number of Sinai Bedouin, who were likely to have contacts among Israeli Bedouin, and who would have been the conduit for the smuggling. The arrests began back in November.

The leader of the espionage ring, Sami Shehab, who is among those detained, was a Hizbullah agent. He recruited Lebanese, Syrians, Sudanese, and Palestinians along with 12 Egyptian Shiites. They planned to attack Israeli vacationers in the Sinai, apparently as revenge for the February 2008 killing of Hezbollah mastermind Imad Moughniyeh. They also planned to smuggle Iranian weapons into Gaza.

Shehab planned to set up a terror infrastructure throughout Egypt and spread the Shiite ideology. He also aimed to buy a boat that would smuggle weapons into Egypt from Yemen, Sudan, and Somalia.

Zvi Mazel, the former Israeli ambassador to Egypt said, “The aim was to destabilize the country and provoke huge demonstrations that could bring down Mubarak’s regime and cause a military coup.”

Members of the ring also rented villas near the Israeli embassy in Cairo and in the town of Suez overlooking the Suez Canal. Their purpose was to monitor Suez Canal traffic and attack American or Israeli vessels in the canal.
Some mainstream Egyptians have condemned the plot and Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Some Egyptians are calling for his arrest. Nasrallah has replied by admitting responsibility for the group but claiming it was only intended to help Palestinians in Gaza. State-controlled newspaper al-Gomhouria blasted Nasrallah and called him “a Monkey Sheikh…a bandit and veteran criminal who killed your countrymen, but we will not allow you to threaten the security and safety of Egypt...and if you threaten its sovereignty, you will burn! Every Egyptian knows that you are an Iranian agent.

Yet, according to Israeli experts, the ring was only the tip of the iceberg. Lt.-Col. Moshe Marzouk of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center said, “Other cells operate in Egypt. The one that was uncovered is neither the first nor the last. Egypt’s territory has become no man’s land for the smuggling of money, weapons and terror cells. The Iranian grip on Egypt is rooted so deeply that it was doubtful that Mubarak’s regime would be able to confront it. The terror network is just part of the second stage of the Islamic revolution, whose goal is not only to take over Iran like in Khomeini’s days, but also to export the revolution to the Muslim countries of the region and help topple the Sunni regimes.”

If Egypt uncovered the plotters back in November, why has it waited till now to publicize it? The answer seems to lie in Mazel’s observation that President Barack Obama has started a dialogue with Syria and is about to begin one with Iran.” Mazel said Egypt and the rest of the Sunni camp are not too happy about that development. They would like to see Israel and the U.S. bomb Iran and do away with the Iranian threat, since they know very well it will not be removed by diplomacy.

The question is whether Obama can listen before it’s too late. The Palestinian issue is not central to the relatively geopolitically pro-Western Arab states in the region like Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and smaller Gulf states. The Sunni states are much more concerned about the push for hegemony by Iran and its allies Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, and others. They know Iran and its allies cannot be deflected from its designs with professions of friendship and “respect.

Khristos anesti

Alithos anesti

Our Greek Orthodox, Armenian and other Eastern rite Christians celebrated “Resurrection Day” on Sunday. I would like to wish them a very blessed and holy “Resurrection Day.”

One of my Eastern rite friends observed that he had not seen anything on TV or in the news about this most sacred day for Eastern Christians.

The different date is the Orthodox adherence to the Council of Nicea which determined that Easter could not coincide or fall before the Jewish Passover but they say there could be some negotiations to come up with a compromise on a unified date for Easter sometime.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia, who heads the Russian Orthodox Church, led the four-hour Easter divine service in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral, where about 5,000 people, including President Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov attended the service.

On Saturday, thousands of worshippers crowded into the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, Christianity's holiest shrine, for the Holy Fire Ritual. Jerusalem's Old City was jammed with pilgrims from the eastern Orthodox faiths, which include Greeks, Copts, Russians and Assyrians. Some 10,000 worshippers crammed into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Saturday night for the Holy Fire ceremony. Another 30,000 remained outside. According to the ancient ritual, the Greek Orthodox patriarch lights an oil lamp in the darkened church. The light from the holy fire is then shared by candles with the crowd. It is also taken to the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, the traditional birthplace of Jesus Christ, and aboard special flights to Athens and other cities. It was passed as far away as Russia, where the Patriarch Kirill was the first to light his candle from it at the cathedral in Moscow.

Greek Orthodox, Armenians and other Eastern rite Christians mark Easter a week after Protestants and Catholics as the Orthodox Church follows a different calendar.

Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!
Хрїстóсъ воскрéсе! Воистину воскресе!
Χριστός νέστη! ληθς νέστη!
al-Masī qām! aqqan qām!
Hristos a înviat! Adevărat a înviat!