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Tue, 19 Oct 2021
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Israel Warns It Might Act on Iranian Warships Passing Through Suez Canal

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© Reuters
An Iranian warship and speed boats take part in a naval war game in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, southern Iran on April 22, 2010.
Israel is monitoring two Iranian warships about to pass through the Suez Canal for Syria and warn they might act.

The Israeli Navy will be tracking the two warships as they cross the Suez Canal for the Mediterranean Sea, according to defense officials.

Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a statement that it had alerted "friendly nations" about the warships, Reuters reports.

Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says that "Israel cannot ignore these provocations," according to ynetnews.com.

"Unfortunately, the international community is not ready to deal with Iran's repeated provocations," Lieberman said, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Lieberman added that the warships were "a provocation that proves Iran's nerve and self-esteem is growing from day to day."

The Egyptian body that runs the Suez Canal denied the claim.

Ahmed el-Manakhli, head of the canal operations room, said warships must get permission 48 hours before crossing, and "so far, we have not been notified."

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an e-mailed statement that "Israel is closely following the movements of the Iranian ships and has updated friendly states on the issue. Israel will continue to follow the ships movements."

Eye 1

US: Obama Allocates $44 Billion for Homeland Security to Purchase Hundreds More Health-destroying Naked Body Scanners

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The Obama administration recently announced its $3.73 trillion dollar budget plan for the 2012 fiscal year beginning on October 1. The new budget includes a more than $44 billion allocation for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to purchase 275 more naked body scanners to be installed at U.S. airports, despite continued outcry from health experts and the public about the machines' safety hazards, threats to personal privacy, and complete ineffectiveness.

Up three percent from last year's budget, the DHS allocation is just the start of the Obama administration's efforts to have 1,275 naked body scanners installed in airports by the end of 2012. The plan disregards the numerous testimonies from security experts who have dubbed the machines "useless," and say they fail to detect explosive materials any better than conventional scanners.

"I don't know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines," said Rafi Sela, former chief of security at the Israel Airport Authority and expert in airport security. "I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747. That's why we haven't put them in our airport."

The machines are also a huge health threat, as they bombard travelers with low intensity radiation in a way that spreads it across the skin of the entire body. This full-body radioactive blast has not been fully investigated and nobody knows for sure what the long-term consequences of exposure will be.

Bad Guys

CIA & Pentagon Knew Their Methods Were Torture

abhu gahraib
© unknown
The CIA and Pentagon used "enhanced interrogation techniques"(EIT) on Middle East prisoners knowing they were illegal and considered to be torture by the United Nations, according to an article published in the January issue of the American magazine Science.

Tortures including sensory deprivation, forced nudity, and painful body positions were "routinely applied to detainees in U.S. custody in at least three theaters of operation and an unknown number of (CIA) 'black sites,'" the article states. The U.S. did this "despite the fact that each EIT was considered torture by the United Nations and the United States (had) recognized them as such in its reports on human rights practices."

Entitled, "Bad Science Used to Support Torture and Human Experimentation," the Science article was written by noted physicians Vincent Iacopino, Scott Allen, and Allen S. Keller. Dr. Iacopino is a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine; Dr. Keller is director of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture; and Dr. Scott Allen, associate professor of medicine and co-director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights at Alpert Medical School, Brown University. All three are consultants to Physicians for Human Rights, of Cambridge, Mass.

Life Preserver

Obama Reassures Jordan King of U.S. Support

jordan
© unknown
The president made a weekend call to Jordanian King Abdullah II to assure him of U.S. support, but also to say that Washington wants Jordan to move toward reform.

With protests rocking the Middle East, the Obama administration is reaching out to King Abdullah II of Jordan, trying to reassure a badly shaken ally of its support even as it calls for greater political freedom across the Arab world.

Abdullah has been among the leaders alarmed by the popular uprising that toppled Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia's President Zine el Abidine ben Ali, expressing his anxiety to Washington over the steadiness of U.S. support for its friends in the region.

Seeking to ease those fears, President Obama called the king over the weekend and has dispatched a procession of top officials to Jordan to reassure him of Washington's support. The emissaries included the State Department's No. 3 official, William J. Burns, and the top U.S. military officer, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael G. Mullen.

Jordan's royal family is facing popular demands for more open government while also coming under pressure from the nation's tribal leaders, traditional supporters of the government. At the same time, the Obama administration is pressing for changes that could discomfit the king and his aides.

"You can't maintain power through coercion.... At some level, in any society, there has to be consent," Obama said at a Tuesday news conference, adding that people armed with nothing more than "a smart phone and Twitter account can mobilize hundreds of thousands."

Laptop

Israeli General Claims Stuxnet Attacks as One of His Successes

stuxnet graphic
© unknown
The latest results of a Symantec study concentrating on the Stuxnet worm revealed that its developers knew what they were doing - once finished, it took only 12 hours to infect the first target.

The study also concluded that the Stuxnet attacks can be dated back to June 2009 - more than a year prior to it being first discovered by security experts - and that its intial targets were five separate organizations that have a presence in Iran and most of which have been attacked at various points through 2009 and 2010.

Last month, The New York Times ran a story about Stuxnet having been developed by the Americans and the Israelis as a part of a joint project, but it was based on the claims by confidential sources and there was only circumstantial evidence that would corroborate them.

But, it now seems that the information from these sources was correct. The Haaretz - Israel's oldest daily newspaper - reports (via Google Translate) about the a surprising video that was played at a party organized for General Gabi Ashkenazi's last day on the job.

The video contained references to the successes he achieved during his stint as chief of staff, and enumerated among them was the Stuxnet worm attack on Iran's uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and and the nuclear reactor at Bushehr.

There is always the possibility that this was just a way of magnifying the General's achievements, but it is also possible it is true. As we all know, Israel has never commented on the speculations about its involvement in the attacks.

Book

Who's Afraid of a Free Society?

dollar decline
© Unknown
Last week, my new book, Rollback: Repealing Big Government Before the Coming Fiscal Collapse was released. It could just as easily have been called Everything Needs to Be Abolished, and Here's Why.

The book does two things. First, it lays bare the true fiscal position of the U.S. government, and shows why some kind of default is not merely possible but inevitable. But this is not a book full of numbers about the impending collapse. The collapse is merely the jumping-off point. By far the more central part of the book is this: the critical first step for reversing this mess and checking the seemingly unstoppable federal advance is to stick a dagger through the heart of the myths by which government has secured the confidence and consent of the people.

We know these myths by heart. Government acts on behalf of the public good. It keeps us safe. It protects us against monopolies. It provides indispensable services we could not provide for ourselves. Without it, America would be populated by illiterates, half of us would be dead from quack medicine or exploding consumer products, and the other half would lead a feudal existence under the iron fist of private firms that worked them to the bone for a dollar a week.

Star of David

FBI Official Sees 100% Likelihood of WMD Strike on U.S.

A senior FBI official said there is a 100 percent chance that the United States at some time will be attacked with a weapon of mass destruction, Newsmax reported on Monday (see GSN, Feb. 14).

"The notion of probability of a WMD attack being low or high is a moot point because we know the probability is 100 percent," FBI Assistant Director for the WMD Directorate Vahid Majidi said. "We've seen this in the past, and we will see it in the future. There is going to be an attack using chemical, biological or radiological material."

Majidi said the expected WMD attack could be carried out by an international terrorist group, a lone actor or a criminal operation. An incident would be expected to feature a weapon less devastating than a nuclear bomb due to the difficulty in preparing and transferring such as device.

Cult

Book Review: The Invention of the Jewish People

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Can you imagine the acrimony if this book had been written by anyone other than an Israeli Jew?
Book Review: The Invention of the Jewish People by Shlomo Sand, 2009, Verso Books, London and New York. English translation from the Hebrew by Yael Lotan.

Justification for the Zionist venture that has displaced Palestinians and resulted in the nation of Israel hinges on the story of a Semitic ethnic group exiled from its homeland in 70 CE, thereafter to wander during a two-millennium "Diaspora". In this book, Shlomo Sand, an historian at Israel's University of Tel Aviv, and part of a "post-Zionist" movement contesting this "imagined universe" with its "mythological kingdom of David", accuses rabbinical Judaism of avoiding its own history. He is firm in challenging "the nationalization of the Bible and its transformation into a reliable history book" and its basis for "the sacred trinity of Bible-Nation-Land of Israel".

Nowhere within Rome's detailed records is there documentation of an expulsion from Judea that could be a basis for an "Exile" and a "Diaspora". Rather, Judaism's history has been one of converting non-Semitic peoples. Judaism was historically evangelistic, and within officially polytheistic Rome, itself struggling with hedonism and corruption, the monotheistic religion offered moral grounding for converts. From there Judaism spread throughout the Empire, only to slow in the fourth century when a repressive Christianity, having become differentiated from its Judaic root, became official state religion.

Proselytizing and conversion to Judaism was widespread in the Mediterranean and north into the Caucasus. In particular, the now vanished empire of Khazaria, which extended from the Black and Caspian seas well into Russia, underwent massive conversion to Judaism in the eight century, thereafter to become the primary source of Jewry in Eastern Europe. This was an accepted history among scholars until the 1970s, when it became condemned as anti-Semitic by what Sand refers to disparagingly as "Israel's establishment historians ", occupied in inventing the eternal history of the "people of Israel". Sand writes that the "Exile", in fact a creation of early Christians, was ultimately accepted by Jews and evolved into "truth engraved in history".

Eye 1

In sharp reversal, U.S. agrees to rebuke Israel in Security Council

The U.S. informed Arab governments Tuesday that it will support a U.N. Security Council statement reaffirming that the 15-nation body "does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity," a move aimed at avoiding the prospect of having to veto a stronger Palestinian resolution calling the settlements illegal.

But the Palestinians rejected the American offer following a meeting late Wednesday of Arab representatives and said it is planning to press for a vote on its resolution on Friday, according to officials familar with the issue. The decision to reject the American offer raised the prospect that the Obama adminstration will cast its first ever veto in the U.N. Security Council.

Still, the U.S. offer signaled a renewed willingness to seek a way out of the current impasse, even if it requires breaking with Israel and joining others in the council in sending a strong message to its key ally to stop its construction of new settlements. U.S. officials were not available for comment, but two Security Council diplomats confirmed the proposal.

Mr. Potato

US clueless about Egypt?

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Senate hearing turns into farce as American ignorance on Egypt situation revealed; specific agenda of Muslim Brotherhood unclear, top official says, has trouble responding to question on group's attitude to peace with Israel

Washington - A senate hearing Wednesday revealed that top US intelligence agencies are largely ignorant about the current situation in Egypt and unfamiliar with the agenda of the country's radical Islamists.

"It's hard to at this point to point to a specific agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood as a group," National Intelligence Director James Clapper told senators. When asked about the group's attitude to Egypt's peace treaty with Israel, he said this was a difficult question before assessing "they are not in favor of the treaty."