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Saturday, September 04, 2004

LGF finds "bombshell revelation" -
Saddam almost got a nuke

little green footballs:
A new BBC miniseries has a bombshell revelation, in every sense of the term: shortly before the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein came “within a whisker” of purchasing a complete, off-the-shelf nuclear device from Abdul Qadeer Khan’s Islamic nuclear black market. This ought to be huge news. But it isn’t. It’s a tiny blip in a BBC show mostly about Libya.

There’s no transcript online, but you can listen to the audio here: Dirty Wars.

Arabs want Bush to lose

Is it not a no-brainer, then, for us to want him to win?

from Michael Freund's Opinion in the Jerusalem Post:

  • Cairo University's Prof. Hassan Nafaa in the Egyptian Al-Ahram Weekly (August 12-18 issue): Bush is a "wild eyed zealot" and an "evil fanatic" whose "departure from the Oval Office will mark the beginning of the decline of the forces of extremism and the rise of the forces of moderation."
  • August 4 editorial in the Syria Times: urged Arab-Americans not to make "the very mistake they made in the past when they gave their votes to Bush the Junior" in the 2000 presidential election. . . . a vote for Kerry this time would prove to be "a wise one."
  • July 27, the Palestinian Authority daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, ran a political cartoon depicting an American soldier bleeding to death in Iraq, his final words being, "Don't Vote Bush."
  • June 17 article in the English-language Tehran Times entitled "Pity the Next US President" compared Bush and his neo-conservative advisers to "neo-Nazis" who have created a "stinking heap of a mess" throughout the world. "Kerry," the paper asserts, "is exactly what the US needs right now."

". . . an astonishing 75 percent of US Jews back [Kerry]. . . "

Silly infidels.

A supporter for U.S. Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry (L)
and a protestor attend a rally for Kerry in Steubenville, Ohio,
September 4, 2004. REUTERS/Jim Young

U.S. official says capture of bin Laden nearing

Now I know all you cynics out there will immediately conclude that the timing is politically motivated, but you won't be satisfied if bin Laden's not caught, either. For some, no matter what happens, the Bush administration can do no right.
USA Today: ISLAMABAD (AP) — The United States and its allies have moved closer to capturing Osama bin Laden in the last two months, a top U.S. counterterrorism official said in a television interview broadcast Saturday.

"If he has a watch, he should be looking at it because the clock is ticking. He will be caught," Joseph Cofer Black, the U.S. State Department coordinator for counterterrorism, told private Geo television network.

Asked if concrete progress had been made during the last two months — when Pakistan has arrested dozens of terror suspects including some key al-Qaeda operatives — Black said, "Yes, I would say this."

Black, who briefed a group of Pakistani journalists after talks with officials here Friday, said he could not predict exactly when bin Laden and other top al-Qaeda fugitives would be nabbed.
"What I tell people, I would be surprised but not necessarily shocked if we wake up tomorrow and he's been caught along with all his lieutenants. That can happen because of the programs and infrastructure in place. "

Surprise. Argentina acquits 5 charged with bombing of Jewish center

Haaretz: BUENOS AIRES - A federal court acquitted five men of charges of being accessories to the July 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center here, the deadliest terrorist attack on Argentine soil, which claimed 85 lives and injured some 300 people.

In a nationally televised verdict, a three-judge panel cleared four former provincial police officers and a former used car salesman accused of supplying the van used in the attack. Judge Miguel Pons read the long-awaited verdict, which cleared the suspects of all major charges after a nearly three-year-long trial - the longest in Argentine history.

The masterminds of the attack were never identified.

Jewish and Argentine officials have charged the community center bombing was linked to Islamic fundamentalists and pro-Iranian terrorists, charges denied by Tehran repeatedly. After failing in efforts to extradite Iranian suspects wanted in the case, investigators have instead focused on what has been called "the local connection."

[This] was the second of two bombings targeting Jews in Argentina during the 1990s. A March 1992 blast destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 people in a case that remains unsolved.

IRAQ: al Sadr linked to mass killings

by Rowan Scarborough, in the Washington Times

A U.S. military intelligence report says that followers of radical Shi'ite cleric Sheik Muqtada al-Sadr imprisoned, killed and mutilated Iraqis who opposed his insurrection. American intelligence officers are now investigating in the town of Najaf, the site of Sheik al-Sadr's bloody standoff with coalition forces.

A U.S. military officer told The Washington Times that the command recently acquired photos of 15 to 20 mutilated bodies that appear to be Iraqis lying in a courtyard. A written U.S. intelligence report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, puts the body count much higher, based on an Iraqi informant, some of whose information was confirmed by local police.

The report said that after last week's truce, Iraqi forces moved into buildings held by the radical cleric's Mahdi's Army militia and found the bodies. "Inside the court building, Iraqi police found approximately 200 mutilated bodies taken by the Moqtada militia for speaking out against Moqtada al Sadr," said the intelligence report sent to the Pentagon and stamped "secret."

"Some of the prisoners had eyes and ears drilled out and others had their limbs and heads cut off. Some males had genitals cut off and shoved in their mouths. There was evidence of rape to men, women and children,"

according to the report.

The senior officer, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the number of bodies found is much less than 200. The source said that while it appears certain that the bodies exist, the circumstances of when and where the people were killed, and by whom, remained unknown yesterday.

"We don't have a complete picture of where they came from," the officer said. "We're trying to uncover what really happened before we are able to release information."

Too long, after all, to post as a comment at Totten's blog

I left a comment at Michael Totten's blog, and later in the thread "David" asked why my husband and I are switching parties after being lifelong Democrats (70 voting years between the two of us). This is my attempt at a short answer.

9/11 and the bombing of a Passover seder in Netanya several months afterward made us wake up with a start and pay attention, and begin to take Muslim terrorism seriously (and personally). It was no longer theoretical or just an "issue" once we realized that our own and our children's lives and safety were at stake.

After years of being knee-jerk liberals who never considered or questioned, but just continued the line of politics we inherited at age 15, we started to investigate, study history and {gasp!} read differing opinions.

The first big shocker was the liberal bias of the media, the second was the inability of our families and friends to respond to change in the world with anything other than the old knee-jerk cliches, and the third has been the devastating revelation that the Left seems not have meant what it used to say. When push comes to shove, it doesn't live up to its supposed ideals. The ideals, the values, are just as theoretical as the "issues."

Liberal rhetoric became anathema to me. Seeing leftists supporting Palestinians as victims (even as they were blowing themselves up to murder innocent Jews), marching in parades wearing keffiyahs, "Free Palestine" signs in every antiwar protest, the re-emergence of swastikas, Nazi and Hitler references and images -- everywhere from campus antiwar protests to Al Gore's speeches . . . the whole thing has been absolutely appalling, and it's been a phenomenon on the Left, not the Right.

I am ashamed to admit that as a reactionary liberal, I "hated" eveything and everybody conservative - Newt Gingrich,Oliver North, Bill Bennett etc.- without ever really knowing what they were about, without ever once really listening to what they had to say. Over a period of a couple of years I became more comfortable with FoxNews than with the New York Times and NPR, both of which I had previously held in The Very Highest Regard. (I still read the Times, but read the Wall Street Journal as well.)

Conservatives simply make more sense to me these days. They seem generally less arrogant and punitive than my home base has become.

Too, we keep getting pushed to the Right by the Left (e.g. Legion's comment, "good riddance"). Democrats talk a good game about tolerance, but in practice their tolerance is quite arbitrary, extended only to those with whom they agree and those whom they see as victims. They seem far better able to tolerate Arab Muslims (who want to do away with Jews and the Jewish state, and Americans and the American state) than fundamentalist Christians. One person actually told me that he feared the Christian Right more than Arab Muslim terrorists. (C'mon, when was the last time American Baptists blew themselves up to murder innocent people?) That kind of thing just doesn't make any sense to me, and what's more, I find it so off base, so far out, that it's alarming.

The liberals I know say worse things about Pres. Bush and Zell Miller than I've ever heard them say about Osama bin Laden, or Arafat! I am sickened to hear Zell Miller described on this thread as "a complete waterhead hack" and "an utterly spent whore." I empathize with Miller's indignation and anger at his own party pulling the rug out from under him, betraying him and his values, abandoning him and his beliefs . . . like Doug Purdie said in the thread, "I feel it too."

I come from ("Mountaineers are always free") WVA, and a lot of the liberal criticism of Zell Miller - about how he looks and talks - is a class and culture thing, and I am repelled by the lack of respect for the unpretentious among us, the rural folk, the "retro."

For me, the left is too far left now, their rhetoric too hyperbolic and inflammatory.

Generally, my old liberal crowd seems misguided (Bush is the real terrorist?),

inconsistent (Kerry's anti-VN-war protests were noble, but Cheney's deferrments are somehow shameful?),

closed-minded (Dissent is patriotic; therefore only dissent is patriotic. except for Zell Miller's.)

arrogant (bumper sticker: "If you can read this, you're not the President"),

morally bankrupt (ANYONE but Bush?)...

Oh yeah, and spineless in their own defense. They would stand up for anyone, save their own. What kind of craziness is that?

In general, I find more authenticity, more courage of conviction and more just plain common sense in conservatives.

So I'm switching over.

Friday, September 03, 2004

I didn't know Jonathan Last had a blog

It's called Galley Slaves and it's about as graphically nondescript as mine. He's sweet, though. Listen to this:
Let's all pray for a speedy recovery for Clinton. I hope that for years to come President Clinton can joke about how, back in 2004, Zell Miller nearly gave him a heart attack.

Hope that makes everyone smile. Good will to all and to all a good night.

Shabbat shalom. at last.

QUIZ: Who said the following?

Warning: for some, this exercise may result in cognitive dissonance

[T]he same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe -- the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth . . . that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans . . . proud of our ancient heritage -- and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world. . . .

Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah -- to "undo the heavy burdens . . . and to let the oppressed go free." . .Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe. Now the trumpet summons us again -- a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out . . . .

With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.

If you guessed this to be an excerpt from last night's speech by George W. Bush, you're close, but no cigar.

For the answer, follow this link to Jewish Current Issues :)

Bush Gets His Bounce, Opens Double-Digit Lead

TIME.com Press Release: New York - For the first time since the Presidential race became a two person contest last spring, there is a clear leader, the latest TIME poll shows. If the 2004 election for President were held today, 52% of likely voters surveyed would vote for President George W. Bush, 41% would vote for Democratic nominee John Kerry, and 3% would vote for Ralph Nader, according to a new TIME poll conducted from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2.

The economy: 47% trust President Bush more to handle the economy, while 45% trust Kerry.

Iraq: 53% trust Bush to handle the situation in Iraq, while 41% trust Kerry.

Terrorism: 57% trust Bush to handle the war on terrorism, while 36% trust Kerry.

Providing strong leadership: 56% said they trust Bush to provide strong leadership in difficult times, while 37% said they trust Kerry to provide leadership in difficult times.

Tax policy: 49% trust Bush to handle tax policy, while 40% trust Kerry.

Commanding the Armed Forces: 54% said they trust Bush to be commander-in-chief of the armed forces, while 39% said they trust Kerry.

Kerry scored higher than Bush on health care issues (48/42) and on "understanding the needs of the people" (47/44).

In other good news, 144,000 jobs were created in August and the unemployment rate declined to 5.4 percent.

As one of last night's comments at LGF said, Flipper is toast.

Kerry says the President is "unfit to lead this nation"

ABC News: Kerry, speaking to a midnight rally as Bush closed the GOP convention in New York with his acceptance speech, said the president was "unfit to lead this nation" because of the war in Iraq and his record on jobs, health care and energy prices. . . .

"We've had insults, we've had anger from Republicans. And I'll tell you why," Kerry said. "Because they can't come to you and talk to you about having created jobs since they've lost them. They can't come to you and talk to you about creating health care since 5 million Americans have lost it."

Kerry said the GOP convention was tinged by "anger" and "distortion."

"For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and my fitness to serve as commander in chief," Kerry said. "I'm going to leave it up to the voters to decide whether five deferments makes someone more qualified than two tours of duty."

Bush served stateside in the Texas Air National Guard during Vietnam. Cheney, a former secretary of defense, received five deferments and did not serve in the military. . . .

Search the text of Zell Miller's speech for the word, patriotism. You will find, like I did, this statement, and this statement only:

"It is not their patriotism -- it is their judgment that has been so sorely lacking. "

Kerry lies.

And if I hear him say "jobs" or "healthcare" one more time, I may vomit. I don't have a job, my husband is scrambling for freelance jobs, and our health coverage is outrageously expensive but utterly useless. Yet those concerns seem of a distant universe. I'll be happy to think about them in peacetime.

If I could question Kerry, I would say, To hell with healthcare, what about 9/11?

What about the terrorists?

What about Islamofascist designs on the world?

What about people who blow themselves up and take children hostage?

I would say, LOOK what they did to innocent Nepalese civilians!
[WARNING: Graphic video images of savage brutality]

What are your thoughts, man?!

I want to know how you intend to insure that I keep my head, and what you would do to insure that my children are not taken hostage by the enemy.

And don't say the words, United Nations, to me.

So you were a lieutenant in Vietnam for four months, so f*ing what? That alone doesn't qualify you to personify or lead the free world; plenty of guys have been there, done that. Should they be president too? Or do you have something more to offer? And where is it?

Instead of denying the transformative import and implications of 9/11, we need to personally -and as a nation- process the very fact that war is waged against us. We Americans have every need and rationale to continue to discuss the impact on our lives of the fact that our country has been attacked, just as we Jews have every need and rationale to continue to discuss the impact of the Holocaust.

If you will not delve into matters 9/11,

if you haven't resolved thirty-year-old festering differences with your fellow veterans,

if you are offended by scrutiny of your Senate record,

if you insist on keeping your old Senate job as an option in case you lose,

if you lie for fear of losing,

if you do not publicly condemn your colleagues for calling a sitting wartime president AWOL, a coward, a liar, a thug, a betrayer of his country,

if you do not publicly condemn Al Gore for using "brown shirt" and "gulag" references to the president, nor Michael Moore's incendiary and disingenuous propaganda, nor MoveOn.Org for their ad showing Bush morphing into Hitler,

then I ask you, What Good Are You?

And What Good Can You Possibly Be For Us in the Future?

"Here buildings fell,
and here a nation rose."

The President's Speech: Masterstroke

by John Podhoretz in the NY Post
. . . . Bush's jabs at Kerry were delicate and good-humored. "There are some things my opponent is for," he said. "He's proposed more than $2 trillion in new federal spending so far, and that's a lot, even for a senator from Massachusetts. To pay for that spending, he is running on a platform of increasing taxes — and that's the kind of promise a politician usually keeps."

But there was one scalpel thrust, when he quoted Kerry calling our allies in Iraq "a coalition of the coerced and bribed." Such allies, said Bush, naming some, "deserve the respect of all Americans, not the scorn of a politician."

Still, the president didn't go for Kerry's jugular by any means. Yet, only an hour after Bush finished, there was John Kerry live at a midnight rally in Ohio, going for the throats of Bush and Cheney himself.

In a speech angrier than Zell Miller's, Kerry raged: "The vice president even called me unfit for office last night. I guess I'll leave it up to the voters whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of combat duty."

Several problems here. First, Cheney said no such thing. Second, Kerry sounds rattled, and that's just not a very attractive quality in a presidential candidate or a president.

I hope he is rattled. And I hope he loses. Big Time.

See also Dick Morris (in the NY Post as well): Bush's Bid for History

UNTIL President Bush began his speech on the final night of the Republican National Convention, the goal of the United States' anti-terror policy was perceived by a largely supportive public as a bid to assure safety. With a rhetorical flourish worthy of the great speeches of all time, George W. Bush has transformed the war into a battle for liberty.

In a speech that was at once eloquent and substantive, sensitive and dynamic, profound and familiar, Bush has risen to a level few presidents have ever reached.

Sometimes a strategist just has to sit back and gasp. Occasionally, a seasoned political observer needs to realize that he has seen something extraordinary. Tonight, Bush made me feel like that.

The speech satisfied every single political need. He contrasted with Kerry without appearing negative. He demonstrated emotion without pandering. He rose to a level of substantive specificity without becoming wonkish.

. . . . I voted for Gore in 2000, as a true child of the Clinton era. But I decided to vote for Bush on Sept. 12, 2001 when I saw how he handled the threat we face. I used to back Bush because he offered safety; now I support him because he summons us all to an ideal. Before he spoke, supporting Bush was a duty one owed to the fallen. Now, it is an honor.

GORE 2000
BUSH 2004


It's Friday: Victor Davis Hanson

Brace Yourself
This excerpt doesn't do the piece justice (but read it anyway).

The 2002 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, Nicholson Baker, is due out with Checkpoint — an extended dialogue on killing (in a variety of strange ways) George Bush. Last year, comedian Rick Hall played to full houses in the U.K., performing his newest composition, “Let's Get Together and Kill George Bush.” A so-called pacifist group announced its sponsorship of a rather violent-sounding off-Broadway “guerilla comedy” entitled, I’m Gonna Kill the President.

This is stupid — and dangerous. Al Qaeda has announced its intentions play on perceptions of Western decadence and nihilism. Should the terrorists strike at our leaders, there will be a national accounting over the failure of those on the left to condemn such extremism. Alfred A. Knopf, for example, is promoting Baker’s book as a cris du coeur — “in response to the powerless seething fury many Americans felt when President Bush decided to take the nation to war.”

“Seething”? The radical Left is courting disaster and threatens to destroy the credibility of liberals who are apparently fearful of condemning the madness in their midst — this “cry of the heart” to save Saddam Hussein from the wrath of an imperialistic and bullying United States. When upscale protestors swear at delegates and parade obscene signs in New York while John Kerry goes windsurfing in shades and racing gloves, you have a recipe for disaster for wannabe populists.

. . . . If Bush wins in November, and I think he will, then there will be recriminations and fury of the like we have not seen since the Right imploded after 1964. For many of us lifelong Democrats, the very sight of Michael Moore perched next to Jimmy Carter at the convention in Boston says it all — the sorry coming together of conspiratorial anti-Americanism and self-righteous appeasement.

It's Friday: Charles Krauthammer in TIME Magazine

The Case For Bush
Bush was rewarded for this extraordinary first victory with overwhelming popular support. He could easily have spent the next two years lavishing attention on domestic affairs, ostentatiously opening a bioterrorism triage center in every clinic in every hamlet in America. Punctuate that with regular announcements about the hunt for al-Qaeda, and he could have coasted to re-election as Father Protector.

Instead, he took on Iraq. Everyone knew that Iraq would be difficult and dangerous. But Bush believed that Saddam Hussein and the threat he represented had to be removed. Our postwar troubles have made us believe, as if under amnesia, that the choice was between war and some kind of sustainable equilibrium. It was not. The tense post-Gulf War settlement was unstable and creating huge and growing liabilities for America. First, Iraqi suffering and starvation under a cruel and corrupt sanctions regime was widely blamed on the U.S. Second, the standoff with Iraq made necessary a large American garrison in Saudi Arabia, land of the Islamic holiest places—in the eyes of many Muslims, another U.S. provocation. Indeed, these two offenses were cited by Osama bin Laden as the chief justification for his 1998 declaration of jihad against America. Most important, the sanctions "containing" Saddam were collapsing.

That would have produced the ultimate nightmare: a re-energized and relegitimized regime headed by Saddam —and ultimately, even worse, his sons— increasingly Islamicizing its Baathist ideology, rearming and renewing WMD programs, and extending its connections with terrorist groups. The threat was not imminent. But it was ominous and absolutely inevitable. Bush, correctly, thought it necessary to remove it. It was obvious to all that this second war would jeopardize his presidency. He risked his entire political future for it nonetheless.

Kol hakavod to these two commentators. I hate to think where we would be without them. It's absolutely tragic that I spent so many years thinking that people with views to the right of my own must be stupid people. I apologize. I repent.

Lo and behold, "Wahhabi follower" behind Russian Hostage-taking

According to the Moscow Times, "the group [of hostage-takers] is probably being led by Magomed Yevloyev, an ethnic Ingush and follower of the radical Islam Wahhabi movement" RIA-Novosti reported, citing law enforcement officials.

BACKGROUND: According to a Reuters "Fact Box" on Chechen "separatists" (no longer online),
"A mountainous region in the Caucasus range, Chechnya is inhabited by a mainly Muslim people with a fearsome reputation dating from the late 18th century when
warlord Sheikh Mansour led a jihad (holy war) against Russian rule

MORE BACKGROUND: I don't know how accurate this is, but I found it on the web and it makes for relatively fun history reading.

Shaykh Mansour, "First Mujahid of the Caucasus"

By the late eighteenth century the Russian Orthodox threat to the Caucasus had not gone unnoticed by the mountain tribes. Their lack of unity, however, made effective action impossible, and soon the fertile lowlands of North Chechenia and (further west) the Nogay Tatar country were wrested from Muslim hands.

The Muslims who remained were forced to become the serfs agricultural slaves of Russian lords. Those who refused or ran away were hunted down in an aristocratic Russian version of fox- hunting. Some were skinned, and their skins were used to make military drums. The enserfed women often had to endure the confiscation of their babies, so that the pedigree Russian greyhounds and hunting dogs could be nourished on human milk.

Overseeing this policy was the empress Catherine the Great, who sent the youngest of her lovers, Count Platon Zubov (he was twenty-five, she seventy), to realise the first stage of her Pan-Orthodox dream by which all Muslim lands would be conquered for Orthodoxy. Zubov's army broke up along the Caspian shores, but the warning had been sounded. The Caucasus looked up from its internal strife, and knew it had an enemy.

The first coherent response to the danger came from an individual whose obscure but romantic history is very typical of the Caucasus. He is known only as Elisha Mansour an Italian Jesuit priest sent to convert the Greeks in Anatolia to Catholicism. To the anger of the Pope, he soon converted enthusiastically to Islam, and was sent by the Ottoman sultan to organise Caucasian resistance against the Russians.

But at the battle of Tatar-Toub in 1791 his resistance came to an untimely end; and, captured by the enemy, he spent the rest of his life a prisoner at a frozen monastery in the White Sea, where monks laboured unsuccessfully to bring him back to the Catholic fold.

Mansour had failed, but the Caucasians had fought like lions. The flame of resistance which he lit soon spread, nursed and fanned by one man of genius: Mollah Muhammad Yaraghi. Yaraghi was a scholar and a Sufi, deeply learned in the Arabic texts, who preached the Naqshbandi Way to the harsh mountaineers.

Although he converted many thousands, his leading pupil was Ghazi Mollah, a religious student of the Avar people of Daghestan, who began his own preaching in 1827, selecting the large aoul (village) of Ghimri to be the centre of his activities.

For the next two years Ghazi Mollah proclaimed his message. The Caucasians had not accepted Islam fully, he told them. Their old customary laws, the "adat", which differed from tribe to tribe, must be replaced by the Shari'ah. In particular, the kanli vendettas must be suppressed, and all injustices dealt with fairly by a proper Islamic court. Finally, the Caucasians must restrain their wild, turbulent egos, and tread the hard path of self-purification. Only by following this prescription, he told them, could they overcome their ancient divisions, and stand united against the Russian Orthodox menace.

In 1829, Ghazi Mollah judged that his followers had absorbed enough of this message for them to begin the final stage: of political action. He travelled throughout Daghestan, openly preaching against vice, and overturning with his own hand the great jars of wine traditionally stored in the centre of the aouls. In a series of fiery sermons he urged the people to take up arms for the Ghazwa, the armed resistance:

"A Muslim may obey the Shari'ah, but all his giving of Zakat, all his Salat and ablutions, all his pilgrimages to Makka, are as nothing if a Russian eye looks upon them. Your marriages are unlawful, your children bastards, while there is one Russian left in your lands!"
It was the time of Jihad, he proclaimed. The great Islamic scholars of Daghestan gathered at the mosque of Ghimri, and, acclaiming him Imam, pledged their support.


DEBKA says 7 children are dead; Stan says 150 people (minimum) are dead, and at least 200 wounded. AP reports that more than 100 bodies were found in the gym where hostages had been held.

There seems to be no concensus on what happened, is happening. There was a Russian military action by special forces; no one seems to know exactly what triggered it, but DEBKA reports Kremlin sources saying the troops were forced to attack after phone intercepts suggested the terrorists planning a massacre. When a truck went in to collect the dead bodies, the action began. Two loud explosions came before the Russian assault.

Some hostages escaped, all the rest have been evacuated and army sappers are removing explosives from the area. Several terrorists have been captured but others ran away, toward the train station. Local people are chasing them down, and at least one has been severely beaten, possibly killed, by an angry mob. There is some fighting between terrorists and Russian troops "around town."

Children are in a "bad state" according to DEBKA, and are still being carried out on stretchers. Many are injured and none have had food, water or hygienic conditions all this time.

ChinaDaily reports that soliders blew a hole in the building to help hostages escape, but some terrorists are still there and possibly in other buildings as well.

There were reports of gunfire in the building and structures ablaze near the school. Huge explosions could be heard and plumes of smoke seen near the school. Small arms fire crackled. . . .

Scenes of the chaotic, chilling ending of the hostage-taking unfolded on television.

Half-naked children dashed out of the school in every direction. Some were carried and helped by parents and adults. Many were bleeding. Others screamed. Many received medical treatment and food and water outside.

Paramedics pulled children out in stretchers and put into cars and ambulances. Some were bandaged and badly injured and others were just simply distraught and relieved to be free. Anxious adults milled around an area near the school where Russian soldiers were stationed.

Lo and behold, Wahhabi follower behind Russian Hostage-taking

According to the Moscow Times, "the group [of hostage-takers] is probably being led by Magomed Yevloyev, an ethnic Ingush and follower of the radical Islam Wahhabi movement" RIA-Novosti reported, citing law enforcement officials.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Hostage situation UPDATE

from Stan at Logic and Sanity
Released hostages are saying that there are Osetians amongst the terrorists. They also identified one of the terrorists - Nikolai Hodov. Hodov was already on FSB's terrorist list and was blamed for the bomb that exploded in Vladivakavkaz in February of this year. Several people were killed in that explosion.

gzt.ru quotes one of the released hostages as saying that there are over 1,000+ hostages inside, not ~350 as officials claim.

26 hostages were freed, but there are only 25 names on the list. It's being said that one of the women hostages, who came out with a child (who was not hers) in her arms, went back in, because she has three of her own children inside. [Then] small correction: The woman who came back to the school carried out her own child (not someone else's as was reported prior). She went back to stay with her remaining children.

New Israelis warmly greeted. . . at 3:15 AM

Arutz Sheva: The new olim (immigrants) numbered about 85, and were the last group of the summer sponsored by the Nefesh B'Nefesh organization.

Although the new Israelis arrived at 3:15 AM, scores of friends, family and Aliyah activists showed up at the airport to welcome them home to Israel. This was the fourth large group of North American olim to have arrived this summer. Over 1,500 North American Jews have made Aliyah with the help of grants from Nefesh B'Nefesh this summer alone --the same number as were assisted by Nefesh B’Nefesh in the previous two years combined.

Three previous chartered flights full of olim, one in July and two in August, were treated to a festive ceremony attended by government officials, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Today's olim did not expect a grand reception, but were still greeted by well-wishers and pro-Aliyah activists with banners, drums and guitars.

A contingent from the grassroots Aliyah movement Kumah-Americans Return to Zion were on hand, holding banners and distributing bumper stickers reading "Aliyah Revolution." As the new olim came out into the arrivals hall, Kumah members blew shofars, symbolizing the fulfillment of the daily prayer,
"Sound the great ram's horn for our freedom, and raise the banner to gather our exiles and speedily gather us together from the four corners of the Earth to our Land."

T-shirt $12

According to Maariv, the number of French Jews immigrating to Israel has doubled in recent years.

Chaim Spiller, a 42-year-old Orthodox Jew from Paris, immigrated with his wife and two children in March 2003 and bought a $400,000 apartment here, even as he held on to his men's clothing business in Paris. He said he had long felt a "latent anti-semitism" from some neighbors and said the waves of attacks by Muslims confirmed his decision.

Referring to his skullcap, Spiller said, "You can't put on a kipa in Paris because it's too dangerous."

Palestinian Authority Condemns Bombings in English, but praises them in Arabic

While official Palestinian Authority statements condemned the double suicide attack in Be'er Sheva, the PA's Arabic media were telling a different story. English and Arabic reports in the PA were also at odds with each other.

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) , a watchdog organization overseeing the PA's media, reports that the official PA daily paper granted the status of "Shahid" - Holy Martyr - to the two suicide terrorists who murdered 16 Israelis in Be'er Sheva on Tuesday. This definition of the murderers as Shahids in the opening sentence of the top story of the PA's official Al Hayat al-Jadida newspaper stood in sharp contrast to the English-language "condemnations" issued shortly after the attack by PA official to international media.

PMW's Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook also noted a sharp contrast between the English and Arabic news broadcasts on PA TV. The three Arabic language news reports following the Tuesday attack, each 20-30 minutes long, made no mention whatsoever of the mass murder of 16 Jews. The Arafat-controlled English language newscasts, on the other hand, which target foreign audiences and media, told of the attack and the PA condemnations.

Moreover, wrote PMW's Marcus and Crook, while the PA officials condemned the attack, the reason they gave "was that it harmed PA 'national interests' - and not that it was morally wrong." The PA statement explained,
"the Palestinian national interests require not to harm civilians in order not to give Israel the pretexts to continue its military aggression against the Palestinian people and their holy sites."
PMW notes that PA policy has long been not to condemn Palestinian suicide terror on moral grounds but only on grounds of "national interest," and never to condemn the terrorists, who are all granted Shahid status.

For example, an open letter by Hannan Ashrawi, Sari Nusseibeh, and other leading PA figures in June 2002 calling for a halt to suicide terror against civilians stated,

"We believe that these operations do not advance the fulfillment of our endeavor, for freedom and independence... Military actions are defined positively or negatively not by its own criteria [i.e. the success of the attack itself] but rather according to the achievement of political goals..."

See also PMW's cartoons and photo section ~

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug 24, 2004

The Hill reports "love-in" between Republican delegates and FoxNews

The love-in between Republican delegates and Fox News Channel continued on Tuesday night, as a group of delegates seated directly facing CNN’s broadcast booth began taunting the CNN cast and crew.

“Watch-Fox-News” chanted the delegates and other convention-goers in Section 223, likely broadcasting the message to millions of homes tuned in to CNN.

I was wondering how Kerry did with the American Legion yesterday

Ralph Peters gives us his take in the New York Post:
YESTERDAY, in front of the American Legion's National Convention, John Kerry made his most disgraceful speech since he lied about atrocities to Congress three decades ago. By making promises he doesn't mean and can't keep, he tried to buy the votes of American veterans.

Had he offered each vet a $5 bill and a shot of whisky for their support, his performance could not have been shabbier.

Read it all if you're looking for something Giuliani, Zell Miller or Dick Cheney might have forgotten or overlooked . . .

Speaking of Cheney, this WaPo article is titled "Cheney Continues Attacks on Kerry" but I can't find one single remark in it -- by Cheney, about Kerry. I wonder what the point is. Maybe it's just for the people who read headlines only. Or maybe the writer has a political agenda he'd like to put forward.

Text of Kerry speech to American Legion (He talks about being born at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital, but skips the bit about the "West Wing.")

New counting song?

I could think only of counting songs like A Partridge in a Pear Tree - or the Pesach favorite, Chad Gadya - when I read this paragraph from Belmont Club, as quoted by Rick Richman:
The seizure of 200 schoolchildren and their parents in Russia, for a total of perhaps 400, presumably by Chechen terrorists . . . 12 Nepalis executed in Iraq; 2 French journalists held hostage in Iraq; 16 killed in twin bus bombing attacks in Israel; 10 dead in a bombing attack on a Moscow subway. . . .

The dichotomy illustrates the worlds we are forced to somehow straddle. In my one world, it's a beautiful day in Colorado, my son's printer leaked ink all over his winter coat, it's Lisa's 49th birthday and I really need to sit down and pay the bills. In my simultaneous, other, "anti"-world, I grieve for the murdered Jews of Be'er Sheva, am afraid for those Osetian schoolchildren in the Caucasus, nervous for Eric, Peter & Cheryl, Hookey & Joel - all on the coast in Florida, worried about the possibility of a Kerry presidency, and terrified of the implications of Iran's plans to restart its centrifuges.

One of the few things that keep me from going over the edge, from one world irretrievably into the other, is the blogosphere -- where people like Stan work without pay to let us know what's going on Beslan, people like Rick spend thoughtful time and energy on the question of "which way is forward?" and people like LaShawn take the trouble to call us to our moral senses.

My son finds all the world's tensions enlightening; he says that now you can really see what people are made of.

Let us all be made of good, strong stuff. If we are generous with it, we can learn the new counting songs and still straddle any number of worlds.

LaShawn Barber on our collective indifference to Islamofascists taking hundreds of children hostage in Russia:

Shame on the World!

Also, check out this Q&A at the BBC :

What do the Chechens want?

Peace and stability are the main priority for most ordinary people.

Yeah, and the Palestinians want a state next to -and in peaceful coexistence with- Israel.

The BCC does admit the existence of Chechen "rebel" links to al Qaeda if you scroll down.

The Left has lost its collective mind

Under the title, Cutups and Cutthroats, Maureen Dowd writes in today's New York Times,
Highly scripted screwball moments designed to soothe fears that the Bushies are bullies alternate with high-octane, turbo moments designed to stir up fears that we won't be safe without the Bush bullies.

Unlike the arrogant Boston Kerry strategists, who focus-grouped and dial-a-metered their convention to death, scrubbing most of the direct attacks on President Bush, the arrogant Austin Bush strategists have encouraged their non-girlie-men speakers to put the pedal to the metal and flatten the poor Democrat who is windsurfing through his free fall.

Despite the fact that the economy is cratering, Iraq is teetering, Afghanistan is reverting to warlords, Dick Cheney is glowering at the world, the war on terror has created more acts of terror, Ahmad Chalabi is an accused spy for Iran and the Pentagon has an accused spy for Israel, Republicans felt so good about themselves that when Arnold Schwarzenegger said he was inspired to become a Republican by Richard Nixon, they exploded. When Tricky Dick is a hot applause line, they're feeling cocky.

Republicans are political killers.

Whew, what a waste of free speech.

It's more useful, to my mind, to read John Podhoretz at the New York Post.

I agree with Roger Simon that Guiliani has given"the speech of the year so far," (we'll see what he says about Zell Miller; I'd say he's a close second) - but I heard someone on NPR characterize both the McCain and Giuliani speeches as "flat and pedantic."

And I completely agree with Banagor on Zell Miller having given voice to the righteous indignation and sense of betrayal that many of us feel.

YOU decide. NPR has audio of the major convention speeches, and Fox has this video of Zell Miller. Highly recommended.

Hostage situation

Stan at Logic & Sanity continues to monitor and translate the Russian newswires. He confirms that 26 hostages have been released.

According to a teacher (Aslan Kadzoev), who managed to escapee during the night - the terrorists picked 15 of the most strongest looking men to the floor above the gym and shot them. Russian officials are not confirming nor denying yet.

Another source quoting the escaped teacher, Aslan Kadzoev, claiming that 15 adult, male hostages were shot dead by the terrorists. He claims that this took place at 11 AM. Aslan told the reporters that he was led to the room with the bodies and told to throw the corpses out the window. After throwing 14 of the 15 bodies outside, Aslan realized that he might be next. He jumped from the second floor window and ran.

Comment at Stan's site points out that in 1995 Shamil Basayev took hostage a whole hospital at Budennovsk and made the women in maternity ward stand in the windows to be used a live shields. 166 hostages were killed when the Russian anti-terrorism unit stormed the hospital; Basayev and his men escaped.

DEBKA: Three women with (three) babies released in Osetia

Just heard on NPR ~ 26 released

USA Today provides some background on the "decade-long rebellion in the small republic of Chechnya" -
Putin was chosen as a successor by Russia's first post-Soviet president, Boris Yeltsin, in part to deal with the Chechen situation.

One of five Muslim republics in the northern Caucasus, Chechnya was conquered by Czarist Russia in the 1850s and has long been restive under Moscow's rule.

Chechnya proclaimed itself independent after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But Yeltsin sent in Russian troops in 1994, beginning a conflict that killed tens of thousands of Chechens — most of them civilians — and destroyed their capital, Grozny.

A peace agreement reached with a rebel leader, Aslan Maskhadov, in 1996, began to fray two years later. Chechen attempts to spread Islamic law into a neighboring republic, Dagestan, and a series of bombings in Moscow that were blamed on Chechens, provided the rationale for a new Russian invasion in 1999.

Putin appointed a former rebel leader and Muslim cleric, Akhmad Kadyrov, to head the Russian administration in Chechnya in 2000. But violence continued, and in May Kadyrov died in a bombing in Grozny. His replacement, Alu Alkhanov, is a former interior minister who fought on the Russian side in the earlier Chechen conflict and is perceived by many of his people as a Russian puppet.
Sounding like a typical American liberal academic, John Dunlop, a Russia scholar at the Hoover Institution, a research unit at Stanford University, comments in the article:
"[The Russian] tactics have been all wrong," says John Dunlop, a Russia scholar at the Hoover Institution, a research unit at Stanford University. "In addition to repression, they need to build up the infrastructure and provide something for unemployed young men to do to give people a sense of hope."

Funny, the very same thing is said about Palestinian, French, and other young Arab Muslim men. Why is it that the whole world seems to have something to do with their days, except for young Muslim men?

And why is it that, if not given what they say they want, these young Muslim men will gladly blow themselves up to murder innocent people?

Let's just hope and pray that they do nothing of the sort anywhere near the 400+ Osetian hostages, mostly young children.

More on JIHAD IN CHECHNYA via Robert Spencer, including quotes from a "detailed Islamic theological treatise . . . calling upon Muslims to wage jihad in Chechnya, prepared by the Shariah Council of State Defense Council of Chechnya."

These "regulations concerning jihad according to the Word of the Most High" illustrate four cases (with reference to the Koran for each) where jihad is mandatory:

  1. "When ye meet the unbelievers in hostile array. . . "
  2. When the enemy enters a territory, city or village "where Muslims are living,"
  3. when a country's ruler mobilizes the men of "full legal age," and
  4. if Kafirs (i.e. infidels, non-Muslims) capture Muslims
"After reading this we hope it is clear that the war operations that Muslims are conducting against foreign aggressors in Chechnya are Jihad."

See also How Jihad Made Its Way to Chechnya, apparently published in the Washington Post in April of last year.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

More callous death worship from the Arab Muslims

Nabil Masri, a resident of the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza, regrets nothing. Equipped with a false permit saying he had prostate cancer, Masri sought medical treatment in Israel. His intention was to conduct a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. He admits that had he succeeded, hundreds of Palestinian patients would no longer receive permits for medical treatment in Israel. (Maariv-Hebrew only, 30 Aug 04)

Todah, Esther Sarah.


Your search - "Nabil Masri" - did not match any documents.

Northern Osetia, Russia:


My daughter's sister-in-law is from Osetia; I am praying her family is not involved with School No. 895 in the town of Beslan. Those poor people, it's everyone's worst nightmare.


from Logic & Sanity, where the blogger is translating Russian newswire reports:

Chechen terrorists (male and female) have seized school #895 in Beslan, North Osetia.They are holding 600 students, parents and teachers. They demand the release of 27 terrorists who were recently arrested ina raid in Ingushetia.

Terrorists have mined the area around the school, and reportedly the female terrorists are wearing suicide belts.

Terrorists have announced, via a loudspeaker, that they will kill 20 students for each terrorist killed by the police.

They have also made the students stand in order to prevent the police from shooting at the windows.

About the school. School #895 has a capacity of 895 studentsand 59 teachers.

I will keep updating from various russian wires every 5-15 minutes.

Details... ~ 50 children managed to escape at the time of seizure. 11 students and 4 adults hid in the boiler room (from where they were safely led out by the police). Later on, 2 girls managed to escape.

They report that the terrorists are acting very aggresively and are scaring the children. One of the terrorists is wounded.

The hostages are being kept in the school's gymnasium. The number of hostages mentioned here is 500+.

There are about 25 terrorists, 4 of them are women with bomb belts, and they also have 2 dogs.

21 year old Kazik brought his sister to school. He tells the journalist what he witnessed. Around 9 am, an old truck pulled up and about 20 heavily armed terrorists dressed in black and wear black masks and 4 women with bomb belts came out. Children started to run. Those who were standing closest to the street were able to make it out. Terorrists starting pushing others, and throwing some children through windows (!!!). And elderly woman was shot, and a girl who looked like an 11th grader was shot in the back. She died on the spot. Kazik's sister is still a hostage.

Soldiers are saying that terorrists are getting bold. They are looking outside, laughing, and seems like they are speaking arabic amongst themselves. They are also yelling in Russian for the authorities to release terorrists who were recently arrested in Ingushetia.

from Outlook India:
Suspected Chechen suicide bombers today seized a school in southern Russia taking upto 400 people, including 200 children and teachers, hostage, a day after a suicide attack left 11 people dead and dozens injured outside a subway station here.

At least eight people were killed after the heavily armed militants, both men and women numbering upto 20 and clad in black 'fidayeen' (suicide) garbs, poured into the high school compound in Caucasian town of Beslan in the republic of North Osetia at 9 am (local time), shortly after the ceremony of the beginning of new school year, and took parents, pupils and teachers hostage, Itar-tass news agency reported.

At least one of the attackers, who were demanding the withdrawal of federal forces from Chechnya and release of arrested colleagues from jails, was also killed in the shootout with police, the state-run Rossia channel reported.

"During the storming of the building, one of the residents died, and one militant who participated in the attack was killed by policemen who guarded the school," officials of the crisis management committee told Itar-Tass.

Seven people, who were wounded as a result of school seizure, died in hospital, the agency reported. . . .

North Ossetia, the Russian Caucasus' only Christian province, borders on Chechnya.

"There are many small school children, pupils of class one and two among the hostages," North Osetia's Interior Minister Kazbek Dzantiyev was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass. . . .

In a parallel development the holed up militants set the roof of a five storey building on fire with the help of tracer bullets. However, the blaze was put off, but all the residents of the nearby building have been evacuated.

The school attack came a day after a suicide bombing in Moscow killed 11 people and injured dozens others. It also came a week after the crash of two Russian airliners that killed more than 90 people. Both incidents have been linked to the Chechen rebels.


. . . hullo? . . .

Aviel Atash was three years old

Israeli mourners carry the body of three-year-old Aviel Atash as they arrive for his funeral in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2004. Atash, whose mother was badly wounded, was one of 16 Israelis killed in a double suicide bombing carried out by Palestinian militants [terrorists] in Beersheba Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Again we bury the innocent:


Emanuel Yossef, 28

Maria Sokolov, 58

Rozita Lehman, 45

Tatiana Kortashesko, 49

Vitaly Brodsky

Larissa Gomnenko

Eliyahu Ouzon

Roman Sokolovsky

Tzvi Freeman:

We are not a religion. We are a soul. A single soul radiating into many bodies, each ray shining forth on its unique mission, each body receiving the light according to its capacity, each embodiment playing its crucial role. Together, we compose a symphony with no redundant parts, no instrument more vital than another. And our path back towards that original source of light is through every other ray that extends from it.
Yaakov Cohen, driver of bus number 12:
"I saw the first explosion and thought, my God, I've got to get out of here. I drove (my bus) about 10 metres and then opened the doors," he said from his hospital bed in the southern city of Beersheba, where he was being treated for leg wounds.

"I believe that between 10 to 15 people got off my bus. Suddenly I heard a huge explosion. I can't explain it but it was almost as if I knew it was going to happen. It was terrible, terrible... I don't want to describe what I saw."

None of the passengers who boarded his bus earlier had looked suspicious. "Believe me, I look and check," Cohen said. "It is very hard to identify a bomber... I don't know how anyone can."
Nissim Vaknin, 65:
"I got on the bus near the post office and found one seat remaining. At the next stop, a woman asked if she could sit down. I gave my seat to her. I moved back toward the center of the bus. Around 300 meters later, the bus exploded.... When I saw his body in pieces, I realized I had sat next to the bomber.... Now I'm in terrible anguish. My life was spared because I gave up my seat for a woman who died."

HAMAS leaflet:

"You [Israelis] were mistaken if you thought that killing our leaders would lessen our determination," the leaflet said.

". . . . This is a gift to the newcomers who recently arrived to our land," it added, in a reference to recent wave of Jewish immigration to Israel.

"We say to you: This is your fate, so we advise you to reconsider."

A Palestinian boy holds a toy gun and Muslim
book Koran as Hamas supporters celebrate
the twin suicide bombing
that killed 16 Israelis in
Beersheba,in Gaza city August 31, 2004. REUTERS /
Suhaib Salem

Palestinian Hamas supporters chant slogans during a demonstration
in support of a double-bombing in Israel, in Gaza City, Tuesday,
Aug. 31, 2004.(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

A Palestinian climbs the Israeli separation barrier
AFP/File/Pedro Ugarte)

Relatives of Tatjana Koliciansko, who was killed after bomb
blasts ripped through two buses in the southern Israeli city
of Beersheba, mourn during her funeral September 1, 2004.

May the Gd of Israel comfort and strengthen

these many families and their friends

among all the mourners for Zion and Jerusalem.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Which of today's murders was paid from your taxes?

by Isralert subscriber/commentator David Frankfurter
I am sitting at my computer watching the reports come in of the attempted suicide bomber caught at the Erez crossing from Gaza, immediately followed by the double bus bombing in Be'er Sheva. As the body count rises and the bloody tragedy unfolds on our screens, I think of the irony of the email I was reading when the terrible news came through.

I have written often about the culpability of foreign donors, who knowingly allow their aid money to be diverted from benefiting the genuinely needy Palestinian Arabs, toward corruption and particularly terrorism. As the news of these latest murders came through, I was reading the press release of the Funding for Peace Coalition, announcing their new report entitled Managing European Taxpayers’ Money: Supporting The Palestinian Arabs – A Study In Transparency.

The report is fully documented and cross-referenced. You can see exactly how the European Commission have specified controls in place since September 2001 to stop their money going to terrorism - and then proof after proof from the mouths of Palestinian leaders and terrorists that these controls were not in place until mid 2004. You can read how the EU deliberately used money laundering techniques to excuse the blatant abuse of their money. You can read a list of terrorists on the European funded PA payroll - despite European denials. You can read about the excuse making that passes for investigations, and the list of countries around the globe - from the US, through Japan, Canada, Australia and beyond - that make direct and indirect contributions to the Palestinian coffers.

And in case you thought that the Europeans had 'learnt the errors of their ways' as a result of the many investigations and revelations, read Monday's Jerusalem Post:

Radi Jirai, a senior official with the PA Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs, said in response that his ministry was paying monthly salaries to the families of all the security prisoners. He said the sums ranged between NIS 1,200 - 3,000 per month for each family. He also said that the ministry covers the university fees of the children of the prisoners.
In other words, if you get caught murdering Jews, you can rest easy that the Palestinian Authority will use its EU funded budget to support your family, send your children to school - and continue to pay your salary while you serve your time. A terrorist insurance policy from the European taxpayer's pocket. If that's not supporting and encouraging terror - then I don't know what is!

I urge you to read the press release (and the report). Please pass it on to your national media, to politicians, to NGOs, to church leaders, to your friends and family. Let people know how they are contributing to corruption and murder.

If we don't demand accountability from our leaders, then we are equally responsible for the murder of every Israeli, for the death of every Palestinian terrorist and for the grinding poverty that is gripping the Palestinian villages.

You've gotta laugh . . .

Letter in today's Daily Camera

DEMOCRATS: We have reasons to be angry

Charles Krauthammer's column ("Anger gets the better of Dems," op-ed page, Aug. 28) makes him seem wonderfully dense. He blames Democratic anger on Democratic vanity, and claims we feel contempt for the "huddled masses." But we are the huddled masses . . .

Seth Masia

"Huddled masses" in Boulder. Yeah, right.

Glenn Reynolds: A MEDIA MELTDOWN?

". . . while the media's willingness to side with Kerry has been striking, it's also like the proverbial thirteenth chime of the clock -- not only wrong itself, but calling into question everything that came before. The loss of credibility that has come with that, coupled with the press's poor performance on all sorts of topics (don't these people know how to use Google? don't they realize that we do?) will be a long-lasting blow.

The media barons should be worried. "

Read it all.

"The difference is pretty stark."

Jonathan Last in today's Daily Standard
New York - THE DIFFERENCE is pretty stark. The first night of the Democratic convention in Boston was a carnival of losers. It was dominated by Al Gore and Jimmy Carter, who both gave prominent speeches. The mood was one of studied, celebrated victimhood.

. . . the Republicans are concentrating on their winners, and the two big stars on display are Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, who are the future of the party.

. . . . Republicans are running an atypical campaign for an incumbent party. Instead of sitting back and playing defense, running on the president's record, they're drawing deep contrasts with Kerry, behaving more the way a challenger would. The distinction they are intent on making tonight is that Democrats are the September 10 party, and Republicans are the September 12 party.

Rudy Giuliani's speech etches that contrast into granite.

Giuliani is relaxed and presidential. He bobs between making light-hearted jokes about himself and forceful arguments about the war. In one passage he details the history of the appeasement of terrorists and does not flinch from laying blame on Germany (for their coddling of the '72 Munich terrorists), Italy (for its lapse in the '85 murder of Leon Klinghoffer), and the entire world of European sophisticates (for their awarding of the Noble Peace Prize to Yasser Arafat). "Before September 11, we were living with an unrealistic view of the world," he says. It is a frank, unvarnished, and powerful passage. Americans have not heard anything like it in many years.
See also Lileks on the speech:
. . . what Giuliani did was completely typical: aggressive graciousness. It’s why people who disagree with many of his positions admire him greatly, and why he spoke Monday night. And dang: he was good. He was hard: first time I’ve heard someone get up and slam Arafat by name in such a context. A sharp elbow at Germany. A Kerry section played mostly for laughs. An amazing last 10 minutes - dodged nothing. It was like watching a blacksmith at work while he whistled opera.

I liked the Sept. 14 anecdote, where a construction worker at Ground Zero gives Bush a big hug. He had told the President what he thought should be done to the terrorists, and had used construction worker language. “I can’t tell you what he said – this is the Republican convention,” Giuliani said. Big laugh. A wink and a nod: we cuss, we just don’t do it in front of the children and horses. The president responded to the suggestions by saying “you’re right!” and the construction worker, overwhelmed by the moment, embraced Bush in a spine-cracking hug. A Secret Service agent, already annoyed that the President was staying too long in this unsafe place, said “if this guy hurts the president, Giuliani, you’re finished.”

For some reason, I think that tale has more relevance to modern times than the resuscitation of a hamster.

And even Andrew Sullivan has some nice things to say:
You just cannot imagine a story in which a huge, ham-handed construction worker would ever give John Kerry a big, warm bear-hug. Or that John Kerry would answer a long disquisition from a man in a hard-hat and feel satisfied to respond with two simple words: "I agree." Again, Giuliani reminded us of why we tend to like George W. Bush. (Personally, I'd rather have pins stuck in my eyes than endure a conversation with John Kerry, but I'd love to hang with Bush.) All of this matters. A president in wartime needs to be able to connect with people. Bush can. Kerry can't.

If all this reliving of Giuliani's speech is getting monotonous for you, you can switch over to Michael Moore in USA Today: The GOP doesn't reflect America.


A photo published on an Islamic groups' website August 31, 2004, showing what appears to be men lying shot in a pit. An Iraqi militant group said it had killed 12 Nepali hostages and showed pictures of their throats being apparently slit on an Islamist web site on Tuesday.

"We have carried out the sentence of God against 12 Nepalese who came from their country to fight the Muslims and to serve the Jews and the Christians ... believing in Buddha as their God,"

said a statement on the site by the military committee of the Army of Ansar al-Sunna. REUTERS/Handout


12 14 16 Killed, 84 Wounded

JPost: Two suicide bombers exploded almost simultaneously on two buses in central Be'er Sheva on Tuesday, police said.

The explosions took place on buses numbers 12 and 63, traveling opposite the municipality building on Yitzhak Riger Street. The buses were approximately 100 meters apart when suicide terrorists detonated their explosives.

Magen David Adom said 12 people were killed in the attacks, all of whom died at the scene. 84 people were wounded and taken to Soroka Hospital not far from the site of the attack. Four people are listed in very serious condition; 12 are listed as serious, and the rest of the wounded are listed in light-to moderate condition.

ZAKA (disaster victims association) reported all the fatalities were on the buses.

59 people were wounded and taken to Soroka Hospital, the hospital's director Eytan Hayam said. He added the hospital was able to deal with the large number of wounded.

According to Haaretz News Flashes, Hamas has taken responsibility.

Manhattan "peace rally" a "dialogue of the deaf"

by Robert Jancu, in the Jerusalem Post

On Friday August 27, I read in a newspaper that a group called the Middle East Peace Coalition would be holding a rally the next day between 3 and 6 p.m. in Manhattan's Union Square Park. It was one of many street events of all political stripes timed to coincide with the Republican National Convention, set to begin August 30.

I want peace in the Middle East. So I decided to attend the demonstration. I had never heard of the Middle East Peace Coalition, but figured it would be nice for me, a Zionist Jew, to stand in solidarity with a coalition of folks wanting peace between Israel and her Arab neighbors.

I scrawled a handwritten sign stating, simply, "Zionists for Peace," and drew an Israeli flag with 1960s-era peace signs.

I attended the rally with a friend, Polina Valis. She is a survivor of the Dolphinarium Disco suicide bombing in Tel Aviv of June 1, 2001, in which five of her friends were among the 21 teenagers killed, Jewish and Christian. She herself spent two months in the hospital, underwent five operations (and needs another), carries nails and metal fragments from the bomb in her legs, back, and arm, and is permanently missing several chunks of her body.

She is also a Zionist, and she is also for peace.

As Polina and I waded into the crowd to draw nearer to the speaker, I realized that this peace rally might be not as advertised when I spotted a man I had once seen selling insignia pins of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The PFLP is a Marxist-Leninist gang specializing in wholesale civilian murder. The US Department of State properly classifies it as a foreign terrorist organization.

The speaker at the rally was holding forth on the Zionist cabal controlling America.
"Who is running American foreign policy in the Middle East? Who is in charge? Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Feith, Perle, Abrams: right-wing Jews who work for the Israelis."
Calling Rumsfeld a Jew was a minor flub compared to his later peroration on "Zionist death camps."

Polina and I had scant time to listen. When my fellow demonstrators read my innocuous sign, they accosted me. Zionists hate peace, they insisted. Someone called me a Nazi. Plucky Polina stood by me, trying to make sense of bellicose peaceniks.

Hovering journalists, sensing story potential, scribbled down bits of conversation and snapped photos as the Middle East Peace Coalition formed a circle around Polina and me.

A woman demanded that I put down my "Zionists for Peace" sign.

"This is a peace demonstration," I objected.

"Who told you it was a peace demonstration, huh?" she said.

Alarmingly, she then yelled, "No justice, no peace!"Hoping not to be on the receiving end of "no peace," I pathetically stuttered: "Middle East Peace Coalition. It [the paper] says a 'peace demonstration.' It says 'peace' on my sign."

A dialogue of the deaf ensued. I asked why Jews can't have a state like every other nation, just like the Palestinians want. Or why Zionism is racism if fully 20 percent of Israel's population is Palestinian, while Arabs insist that all Jews leave the West Bank and Gaza so they can have a state without Jews.

Someone demanded to know why I had cited the status of the West Bank and Gaza as the sticking points rather than "the whole occupation." Then a guy wrapped in a Palestinian flag asserted that since all Israel is occupied territory and Israel's existence is therefore a crime against peace, a Zionist like me was, by definition, an intruder at a peace rally.
Eventually the author was removed from the scene by the police, for his own protection.

Taking Iran at its word

including "time-bombs within America"
by Steven Stalinsky, in the Jerusalem Post

There are growing indications that Iran may be planning an attack on American soil. These indicators are not secret – they appear in speeches, newspaper articles, TV programs, and sermons in Iran by figures linked to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and other government officials. All discuss potential Iranian attacks on the US, which will subsequently lead to its destruction.

. . . . Hassan Abbassi, a Revolutionary Guards intelligence theoretician who teaches at Al-Hussein University. . . spoke of Teheran's secret plans, which include "a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization." In order to accomplish this, he explained, "there are 29 sensitive sites in the US and in the West. We have already spied on these sites, and we know how we are going to attack them."

Abbassi's speech further detailed that "[Iran's] missiles are now ready to strike at their civilization, and as soon as the instructions arrive from Leader [Ali Khamenei], we will launch our missiles at their cities and installations."

. . . . Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, secretary-general of the Guardian Council, appeared on Iran's Channel 1 TV on June 4, stating, "Every Muslim and every honorable man who is not a Muslim must stand against the Americans, English, and Israelis and endanger their interests wherever they may be." When he added "They must not have security," thousands in the audience repeated chants of "Islam is victorious, America will be annihilated."

"Time-bombs within America" is how Iranian MP Hamid-Reza Katoziyan described Muslims within the US, who could be behind future terrorist attacks on America.

Speaking on Iranian TV channel Jaam-E-Jam 2 on July 27, Katoziyan warned:

"The whole group of people belonging to the Arab community and Muslims living in the US are currently, in my opinion, in a special situation. Perhaps they do not walk the streets with weapons in their hands or attach bombs to themselves in order to carry out a suicide operation, but the thought is there."
. . . An editorial in the July 6 edition of the Iranian daily Kayhan, the conservative paper affiliated with Khamenei, issued another warning for the future:
"the White House's 80 years of exclusive rule are likely to become 80 seconds of Hell that will burn to ashes That very day, those who resist [Iran] will be struck from directions they never expected. The heartbeat of the crisis is undoubtedly [dictated by] the hand of Iran."

With blessings from Hebron

by David Wilder
Almost exactly sixty five years ago, Nazi forces conquered and occupied the second largest city in Poland, Lodz. Less than a week after the occupation, Rosh HaShana 1939, the Germans ordered that all businesses remain open and that synagogues be closed. This was only the beginning of the havoc to be wreaked on Lodz’s two hundred and thirty thousand Jews.

In November Jews were ordered to wear a yellow arm-band, easily identifying them as enemies of the Third Reich. A month later the arm-bands were replaced by the infamous yellow badge in the shape of a star of David.

In February, 1940 the Nazis officially announced the creation of the Lodz Ghetto. On May first the fenced-off ghetto was closed. Two hundred and thirty thousand people were squeezed into less than five square kilometers. The ghetto was sealed, and so was the fate of its inhabitants.

Two years later the Germans transported another twenty thousand Jews to the Lodz ghetto, together with five thousand gypsies. In early January 1942, the Germans began a transport of all Jews under the age of 10 and over the age of 65 to the first Nazi extermination camp, Chelmno, only about 65 kilometers from Lodz. A Nazi-appointed Jew, Mordechai Haim Rumkowski, head of the Lodz ghetto Judenrat, or council, made a famous speech:

"A grievous blow has struck the ghetto. They are asking us to give up the best we possess - the children and the elderly. I was unworthy of having a child of my own, so I gave the best years of my life to children. I've lived and breathed with children, I never imagined I would be forced to deliver this sacrifice to the altar with my own hands. In my old age, I must stretch out my hands and beg: Brothers and sisters! Hand them over to me!

Fathers and mothers: Give me your children…I must perform this difficult and bloody operation - I must cut off limbs in order to save the body itself. I must take children because, if not, others may be taken as well - God forbid…I must tell you a secret: they requested 24,000 victims, 3000 a day for eight days. I succeeded in reducing the number to 20,000, but only on the condition that these be children under the age of 10. Children 10 and older are safe! Since the children and the aged together equals only some 13,000 souls, the gap will have to be filled with the sick.

I can barely speak. I am exhausted; I only want to tell you what I am asking of you: Help me carry out this action! I am trembling. I am afraid that others, God forbid, will do it themselves .

A broken Jew stands before you. Do not envy me. This is the most difficult of all orders I have ever had to carry out at any time. I reach out to you with my broken, trembling hands and beg: Give into my hands the victims! So that we can avoid having further victims, and a population of 100,000 Jews can be preserved! So, they promised me: If we deliver our victims by ourselves, there will be peace!!!

The parents dressed the children in their holiday best, as if they were about to attend a party. The children were then separated from their parents and transported to Chelmno. As the train pulled out of the station, filled with babies and the elderly, the cry “Mama’ could be heard from inside the cars. In less than two weeks, over 20,000 Jews were sent to their deaths at Chelmno.

Regarding Rumkowski, who was killed at Auschwitz in 1944, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center: Within the ghetto, Rumkowski had gradually overcome opposition with the aid of German intervention and by introducing an evenhanded system of food distribution. Ultimately, he ruled with an iron hand. The few who dared to oppose him, ran the risk of his taking revenge, which in some extreme instances meant being included on the lists of candidates for deportation. His figure more than that of any other Jewish leader, has attracted the attention of historians and writers. In the view of some, Rumkowski was a traitor and a collaborator. Others believe that his policies helped extend the life span of the Lodz ghetto, which remained in existence when all the other ghettos in Poland had been liquidated. Those who hold the latter opinion point out that the five thousand to seven thousand survivors of the Lodz ghetto constituted, in relative terms, the largest among all the groups of Holocaust survivors in Poland. The Lodz ghetto was liquidated in August, 1944 and the Soviets liberated the area in January of 1945. Of the over 250,000 Jews living in the ghetto, less than 900 remained.

That’s the way it was then.

Yesterday, Jews and gentiles gathered in Lodz to mark the 60th anniversary of the ghetto’s destruction. Among those there: Israeli science and technology minister Ilan Shalgi, Polish prime minister Marek Belka and Lodz mayor Jerzy Kropiwnicki. The ceremony, at the Lodz cemetery, was followed by a march to the Lodz train station, infamous site of Jewish transports to concentration camps.

It’s very important to remember what happened sixty years ago – in Lodz, in Auschwitz, and throughout Europe. The other night, while attending a wedding ceremony in Jerusalem, I had the honor and privilege to meet a man, who in my eyes, is a giant. In truth, I know very little about Rabbi Haim Menachem Teichtel. My guess is that he is over 80 years old – he was born in Hungary, and was fortunate to escape the flames of the holocaust. So, not knowing him, how can I call him a giant? Simply, because I know of his father. And with a father like his, he too has to be a Jew of gigantic proportions.

Rabbi Haim Menachem’s father was named Rabbi Yisachar Shlomo Teichtel. A supremely talented scholar, the very pious Rabbi Teichtel believed, along with other religious Hungarian Jews in the pre-1940s, that Zionism was an evil disease, to be kept at a distance.

As World War Two progressed, Hungary’s Jews witnessed what was happening to their Jewish brethren throughout Europe. However, they thought it couldn’t happen to them. Rabbi Teichtel, with his brilliant mind and his unbelievable spirituality, realized otherwise. Analyzing the situation at hand, Rabbi Teichel came to an unavoidable conclusion: had Jews seen the handwriting on the wall and moved to Israel, in keeping with the goals of Zionism, the calamitous events plaguing them would not have occurred. He rejected his previous life’s philosophy which stated that Jews should not move to Eretz Yisrael and decided to repent, for what he viewed as a terrible sin.

Rabbi Teichtel, being trapped in Budapest, decided that his repentance would take the form of a book, which he titled “Em Habanim Smacha,” which literally means, the Mother of the Sons is Happy. The entire work, quoting hundreds of Jewish texts and scholars from memory, is dedicated to an appreciation of Eretz Yisrael, including the many reasons why Jews should live in their land, the Land of Israel. The book is a tremendous source of praise for the land, and bears witness to its author’s humility – a giant Torah scholar who rejected his earlier beliefs, announced his change of heart publicly and wrote a classic Torah volume to convince others of the rightness of his ways.

Rabbi Yisachar Shlomo Teichtel’s family escaped the horrors of Aushwitz, but the Rabbi was not so fortunate. He survived the camps only to be killed days before the liberation by a Ukrainian while attempting to prevent the barbarian from stealing a piece of bread from a woman.

So, where does this all lead? If we are to learn from the past, we should recognize, for the nth time, that appeasement does not work. I cannot evaluate the deeds of Mordechai Haim Rumkowski – I certainly do not know if, when reaching the next world, he was judged as a traitor or a hero. But his premise, saving the many by sacrificing the few, was already tried, only a few years earlier, by then British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. So why try again?

From Rabbi Teichtel we can learn many things – but first of all, not to ignore the obvious, the events taking place around you. Putting on blinds, saying, “it won’t happen to me,” is a sure recipe for defeat. That’s what happened to Hungarian Judaism, at the cost of more than a half a million killed, over 60 percent of the Hungarian Jewish population, obliterated in the course of one year.

One last example that I feel obligated to mention. Last night the IDF again destroyed the Hazon David synagogue, as well as the small, makeshift camp at the site of the Hebron Heroes neighborhood, between Hebron and Kiryat Arba. How paradoxical that these two quintessential sites, one a place of worship in memory of two murdered men, and the other, the seeds of a neighborhood in memory of 9 soldiers and officers and three civilians, all killed by Arab terrorists, should be again destroyed on orders of the Israeli government at the same time that Israel, the Jewish people, and even Polish leaders, thousands of kilometers away, commemorate the slaughter of Jews sixty years ago. What would the martyred victims of Ghetto Lodz say if they knew that the Jewish people, with their own hands, were destroying synagogues in Eretz Yisrael, in Hebron, built in memory of murdered Jews?

It is so imperative that we learn from the past, but too many times we seem to either forget or ignore, and it is such a blunder. Appeasement is fatal mistake, and blinders do not change reality, they just screen out what you do not want to see. If Israel really wants to honor those Jews who lived and died in Lodz, it is not enough to attend ceremonies and make speeches. We must collectively reject and then correct the erroneous ways of the past, adopting the right means of action – standing tall and proud for what is legitimately, rightfully ours, never acquiesce, when necessary take the offensive rather than hide behind a good defense, and never, ever, despair.