These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 2, 2009.
Monday, 2 November 2009
Deadly blast hits Pakistan city
From the BBC.
At least 20 people have been killed in a suspected suicide bomb attack in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi.
Police told the BBC a bomber blew himself up in the car park of a hotel. More than 40 people were injured, including women and children.
The blast struck a busy area near the army headquarters where security is controlled by the military.
Local TV footage showed ambulances and rescue workers at the scene of Monday's blast.
It took place in the car park of the Shalimar hotel in a busy area of the city, Rawalpindi police chief Aslam Tareen told the BBC.
The blast came as the Pakistani government offered rewards totalling $5m (£3m) for information leading to the capture of three Taliban leaders and 15 of their commanders.
In a front-page advertisement on Pakistan's daily, The News, the largest sum of $600,000 was promised for the capture - dead or alive - of the group's leader Hakimullah Mehsud.
It said his group was involved in acts of terrorism that were causing the death of innocent Muslims on a daily basis.
"These people are definitely killers of humanity and deserve exemplary punishment," read the advertisement.
Posted on 11/02/2009 1:29 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 2 November 2009
Mumbai terror attacks: And then they came for the Jews
Thanks to Apostate Islam for reminding me of this from yesterday's Sunday Times.
Last November, more than 150 people were killed by terrorists in Mumbai. One target was a centre run by this young Jewish couple, who were murdered and perhaps tortured; miraculously, their toddler son escaped. Alastair Gee went back to Mumbai to find out what really happened that night.
It is a sticky monsoon day in Mumbai, and Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz walks through the shell of Nariman House. Today, the ruined five-storey structure is testament to the ferocity of the terrorists’ incursion and their battle with Indian commandos. It seems impossible that anyone could have come out alive.
Berkowitz is an American charged with recreating the Mumbai outpost of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, a Hasidic outreach and educational organisation that sends emissaries around the world. “We are in deep shock,” says Berkowitz, 33. “They have left a gaping hole in our community.”
But even as the organisation looks to the future, uncertainty lingers over what took place during those 48 hours last November. During the siege, six foreigners were murdered inside Nariman House and three Indians were killed on the surrounding streets. Four people from inside the house survived. The building was run by Lubavitch, and was part of a larger attack on hotels and public buildings across Mumbai that resulted in the deaths of at least 166 people. But for the terrorists themselves, Nariman House was different. It was the only Jewish target, and the terrorists would be told by their handlers in Pakistan that the lives of Jews were worth 50 times those of non-Jews. The organisers had sought it out with care. Most Mumbaikars knew of the Taj Mahal hotel. Few were aware of the small Jewish centre tucked away on a backstreet.Strangely, considering Nariman House’s central place in the attacks, the events of the siege are a mystery. The full story of what happened, of how the siege began, of the hostages who escaped, and of the baby who was rescued, has never been told.
The storage room in which Sandra Samuel and Zakir (Jackie) Hussain were hiding from the gunmen measured 3.5 metres by 3 metres. . .
There was little indication of what the men upstairs were doing with the American rabbi, his wife and son, Moshe, who was almost two, and their guests. “Nobody was speaking, there was just the moving of tables, shaking noises, bumps, things being pushed against the wall, things grinding,” says Sandra. It was approaching 1am on Thursday, November 27, 2008.
In an adjacent building, a British woman, Anna, was crouching in the hall of her apartment with her Indian husband. Anna, 41, is a thoughtful, dark-haired teacher; she didn’t want to give her real name because, in light of what happened in her adopted city, she fears becoming a target. All their windows — about 21 panes — had shattered from a blast after the gunshots and explosions had started at Nariman House at 9.45pm the previous night. So they waited on the floor for hours in the darkness, calling and receiving calls from worried relatives and friends, unsure of what was going on next door, even though Nariman House was only a few steps away. Curiously, the thing that struck Anna was the silence. It was as though the city beyond had ceased to exist. No car horns, no chatter from the street, none of the normal hum of a sprawling tropical metropolis. That night there was nothing except for gunshots, and they issued from Nariman House infrequently.
At around 1am there was one unforgettable sound that Sandra, Jackie and Anna would all hear. It came from Nariman House. Anna was crouching. Jackie and Sandra were hiding. And then, very clearly, a woman screamed. From that moment on, there could be little doubt about what was taking place there. “She screamed as a gunshot rang out,” says Anna. “Then there was a real sobbing. She was crying with that kind of… like she was terrified. That kind of crying.”
The central figures in this story are Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, emissaries of the Lubavitch movement who arrived in Mumbai in 2003. They offered local and visiting Jews a free place to eat, sleep, and pray.
Illness afflicted the Holtzberg family. Their first child, Menachem Mendel, was diagnosed with Tay-Sachs, a genetic disorder, and died in 2006, aged two. Another son, Dov Ber, also had the disease, and was to die at four years old in December 2008, a month after his parents. Amid all this, the Holtzbergs had their youngest child, Moshe, and to them he was a blessing. He did not have Tay-Sachs, and Rivki called him her malach, her angel. Everyone on their street seemed to know him. . . What’s more, Rivki was five months pregnant, another reason to be thankful.
Sandra, a Catholic Mumbaikar who previously worked as a private cook and a masseuse, started with the Holtzbergs in 2003. Jackie, a Muslim from Assam, was hired as a cook in 2006 after meeting Gabi at a sports club where he worked. Since the siege, The Sunday Times has learnt, suspicions have arisen that he may have been implicated.
The Holtzbergs had guests for dinner. Among them were the American rabbis Benzion Kruman, 28, and Leibish Teitelbaum, 37. There were also two women: an Israeli grandmother, Yocheved Orpaz, 62, and Norma Shvarzblat Rabinovich, 50, from Mexico. Kruman, Teitelbaum, Orpaz and Rabinovich would not leave Nariman House alive. Another Israeli visitor, David Bialka, 52, a diamond trader from Netanya, was more fortunate. Unbeknown to the occupants of Nariman House, at around 8.30pm on Wednesday, a dinghy landed at a local jetty. It contained 10 men from Pakistan. Splitting into small groups, they fanned out across the city, some leaving bombs in taxis on the way. Each man carried an AK-47, a pistol, 8 to 12 grenades, and was in constant phone contact with handlers in Pakistan. Two of them, identified as Babar Imran of Multan and Nasir of Faisalabad — little else is known about them — walked a few streets to the only Jewish target. Their handlers would emphasise to them the importance of killing Jews.
Few developments gave cause for optimism. At 10.45pm, an hour after the terrorists entered the Jewish centre, a bomb they had left at a local petrol station exploded. The scream heard by Anna, the Englishwoman, came at around 1am. “At that point, my blood ran cold,” Anna says. In Nariman House itself, it appears that some of the hostages were killed immediately after the terrorists’ arrival, although this would not be known until the end of the siege. Rivki and Gabi seemed to have survived for a few hours after the terrorists arrived, according to Sandra. She says it was Rivki who screamed. Soon after, she heard Rivki shout “Gabi, Gabi, stop, stop”. “What she wanted him to stop, I don’t know,” Sandra says; she suggested that Gabi had been fighting the terrorists.
While the terrorists focused on the phone conversations with Lubavitch, there was a lull in the gunfire. In the storeroom, Sandra and Jackie suddenly heard Moshe crying upstairs. Sandra’s reaction was instinctive. “I heard him cry, I ran towards him, that’s it,” she says. “I wasn’t frightened. If I was frightened I would have run away.” It is not known who brought Moshe down from his fifth-floor room, or why Babar Imran and Nasir did not shoot him. A sense of humanity may have prevailed. Sandra found him wandering amid the bodies of his parents and the two visiting rabbis. “They were unconscious, not dead,” she insists. “There was no blood on the scene, not one scratch on the bodies. It was like they were sleeping. Rabbi Gabi had a little bit of blood on his leg.” It is possible Sandra did not fully take in the scene, because there was certainly blood on Moshe’s clothing. Grabbing the baby, she and Jackie fled.
At dawn, a helicopter dropped Indian commandos onto the roof. For hours, rockets and bullets slammed into Nariman House as commandos closed in on the terrorists from the roof and the ground floor. Onlookers were stunned at the intensity of the battle. It continued until Friday evening, when the terrorists were killed by commandos. Their bodies were riddled with bullets; Nasir’s arm was charred. A team of volunteers at Zaka, an emergency-response group, had arrived from Israel on Friday with Rivki’s parents, and now they and others moved into the building to recover the bodies. As the Jewish Sabbath started, the siege of Nariman House was over. The rumours began shortly afterwards. Some in Mumbai heard that the hostages had been tortured, their bodies mutilated. There was speculation that the terrorists had taken mind-altering drugs before committing appalling acts, perhaps even sexually abusing the women. Few know what actually happened. The situation was complicated by the fact that no autopsies were performed on the bodies, in accordance with Jewish law.
I tracked down a man who was one of the first people into Nariman House after the siege ended. It was the first time he has spoken to a journalist, and he asked me not to reveal his identity as he feared upsetting the families of the deceased. He allowed me to say that he has medical training.
He had waited outside Nariman House as the commandos battled their way in on Friday, he said. He was optimistic; when Sandra escaped on Thursday morning, she had stated that the hostages looked unconscious rather than dead. But what he found appeared different. “They were tortured very badly,” he told me, speaking sombrely and matter-of-factly.
All the hostages had been shot, he said. Some had multiple bullet wounds. But there was more. Two of the rabbis had broken bones. The skull of one of the victims had caved in, as sometimes happens when somebody is shot in the head at close range with a rifle, except the man had not been shot in the head. The two female visitors, Orpaz and Rabinovich, were found bound with telephone cord and lying next to each other on a fourth-floor bed. One of the hostages had bruising all over her body, which the man, who is not a pathologist, said was consistent with being hit by a blunt object. There was a large cut on her thigh. And one of her eyes was out of its orbit and lying on her cheek.
It sounded so extreme, so hard to believe, that the man said in a quiet voice: “I can show you photographs.” So we drove through deserted night-time streets to his home, where he opened a folder on his laptop entitled “Nariman House”. Inside were pictures, presumably taken by the Mumbai police, of the terrorists and four of the hostages: Gabi, Teitelbaum, and the two visiting women. He did not have photos of Rivki or Kruman. The pictures are overwhelming, an almost unbearable tableau of blood and contorted bodies. Nariman House is in disarray, the furniture overturned, bullet holes everywhere. It was not hard to believe that the hostages met a horrific, drawn-out end. Based on the images and eyewitness reports, it becomes clear that most did not die in the first hail of bullets as the terrorists entered the building, as has been reported. They may have fought back. Survivors would hear Rivki through the first night, and Gabi appears to have died some time after being shot in the leg, as there is a tourniquet around his thigh. The most brutal injuries suggest torture, but the organisations that might have conclusive answers, such as Zaka, the Israeli emergency-response group, decline to comment.
One more question remains: how did the terrorists and their handlers apparently know the layout of Nariman House, and the schedule of its inhabitants, so well? Suspicion has fallen on Jackie, the Muslim cook. Since the siege, he says he has had about 100 interviews with police and officials, including Israelis. Solomon Sopher, a leader of the Mumbai Jewish community, says he thinks Jackie is suspected not of direct collusion with terrorists, but perhaps of unwittingly revealing information to scouts who struck up a friendship with him. Jackie denies this, and it is probable that if there were evidence against him, he would have been charged.
He now lives with Sandra’s son, and works at a falafel firm. When he speaks warmly of the Holtzbergs, he seems genuine.
Moshe, almost three now, seems to have adjusted. He lives in Israel with Rivki’s parents and Sandra.
Meanwhile, Damyanti Gohil, the mother of the call-centre worker who was shot from Nariman House, says that before the siege she would sit out, watch the building’s sparkling lights, and listen to the melodies of prayers and songs. The Holtzbergs had parties and it all seemed lovely. Now it aches so much for her to see the house through her kitchen window that she has blocked it with bricks and cement.
Surprisingly, considering the grim history, dozens of Lubavitch couples have applied to replace the Holtzbergs in Mumbai. “The light has to shine again from Chabad house,” Berkowitz says.
It is Tisha B’Av, a Jewish day of mourning for the destruction of two Jerusalem temples about 2,000 years ago. On the roof, Berkowitz sits and begins to recite a traditional prayer. “They attacked us and besieged us, our enemies,” he half-sings, the city spread out beneath him. “They made impure what was pure. There is no comfort.” The visitors look at the ground or into the distance. “Hashem,” he says, using one of the Jewish names for God, “return us. We will repent and you will return us. May you reinstate the glorious days of old.”
Posted on 11/02/2009 3:07 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 2 November 2009
Denmark - trouble in Tingbjerg
This is a week old from the Copenhagen Post but it is an on-going situation.
A vicar hunted from his home by local vandals is being backed by politicians and locals alike.
The country’s leading politicians, including Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, attended a Sunday service to show their support for an ousted vicar at the weekend.
Police and Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) agents discreetly kept watch on Tingbjerg Church on Sunday as the prime minister, Danish People’s Party leader Pia Kjærsgaard, former Social Minister Karen Jespersen and a host of other ministers and local politicians showed solidarity with the vicar, Ulrich Vogel.
Vogel has been the vicar of the north western district of Tingbjerg, Copenhagen, since 1992, but went on sick leave earlier this month and is hiding abroad after a lengthy campaign of harassment and vandalism from local youths.
The vicarage has come under attack numerous times in the last year, with windows being smashed, bottles being thrown at the wall and in one case – someone broke in and destroyed furniture, paintings and ripped cables out of the walls. The vicarage has now been put up for sale.
There was suggestion that Vogel’s homosexuality was the reason he was being targeted by vandals, but the vicar told Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper that the root of the problem is much more widespread.
‘As a vicar I represent an institution and normality that isn’t welcomed by these young people. Furthermore, lots of others who aren’t homosexual have been harassed,’ Vogel said from his undisclosed location.
Since 2008, social order has deteriorated in Tingbjerg, following a high-profile murder that was seen as an accelerant to the current gang conflict. The local school was set on fire, public transport smashed up and the destruction of private and public property has become a regular occurrence.
When a film crew from TV2 News recently went to report on the troubles in the area, local youths objecting to their presence smashed up the news crew’s vehicle.
About 70 percent of the 5000 residents in the area are from a non-Danish ethnic background and Integration Minister Birthe Rønn Hornbech suggests that a lack of integration is to blame for the troubles in the area.
‘The City Council has unconsciously crammed anti-social and un-integrated immigrants together in large housing complexes.... It’s up to the council with a whole new housing policy and the police with a far better effort to ensure that Tingbjerg is integrated into society and offenders learn to obey the laws of society,’ Hornbech wrote in a Kristeligt Dagblad column.
The extent of vandalism has surpassed what you would normally associate with pranks. It feels like malice in its purest form,’ Vogel said
Pia Kjærsgaard declared it was important to show contempt for the vandals and their actions and criticised the city council for allowing the situation to disintegrate to this point.
The comment left by a local reader:-
We see every day young palestinians throwing stones against israeli army.....In Tingbjerg young Arabs throw stones to the local preast.
I guess Tingbjerg is considered Arab territory occupied by Danish settlers.
Posted on 11/02/2009 3:47 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 2 November 2009
The UN, Goldstone, and the Matter of Law
From Israel National News:
" "Meanwhile, the Sanhedrin – a Jerusalem-based organization of rabbis and Torah scholars seeking to renew the supreme Jewish court for the Jewish People in the form of a central Jewish-legal authoritative body – has issued an “injunction” to “prohibit the UN Security Council from discussing the Goldstone Report.”
A copy of the order has been sent to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to the Rotating Chairman of the Security Council, and to Council members.
The Sanhedrin also calls for a revision of the UN Charter “and of the laws of war, with regard to the fight against terror organizations and terrorist states.” Avoiding this responsibility, the Sanhedrin states, “nullifies the legitimacy of the United Nations as a fair and representative organization that seeks to bring peace, and defeats the purpose for which it was established.” If a totally neutral investigative commission is not established, the Sanhedrin demands “steps to establish a new international framework to bring peace and resolve disputes, an organization that operates according to laws that reflect the vision of the prophets.”
“In taking such action, the UN has abandoned all basic standards of justice and freedom, and has turned the victim into the offender. By supporting the Goldstone Report, the UN has presumed to revoke the Torah law - which has become a basic tenet of natural international law – which states that if someone rises up to kill you, kill him first.” "
The problem that the "rabbis and Torah scholars" of the (new) Sanhedrin cannot bring themselves to address, is that "the prophets" that the rabbis like to think of as Jewish were Muslim according to Islam and "Prophet" Mohammed was the "seal of the prophets" and the Torah is false according to Allah and the only truth is the Koran. So with my lawyers hat on, with everything being equal in the Cowardly Foolish New World we are all part of, Muslims, in this case Hamas, have every right to kill kafirs, in this case Jews (Israelis, Zionists), because of their obligation to Islamize Israel (and the entire world).
The problem is everything is most certainly not equal in the real world. Muslims are superior and non-Muslims, as enemies of Allah, have no legal rights whatsoever.
The great historian Bat Ye’or, a world authority on the history of non-Muslims under Islam, and pioneer in the study of dhimmitude wrote:
Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, explained in a December 1997 interview that Islamic law classifies the People of the Book—Jews and Christians—in three categories: non-Muslim protégés, dhimmis, living in Islamic countries (dar al-islam); non-Muslims in countries of temporary truce; and non- Muslims in the lands of war, harbis.
Explaining that Islamic law establishes different rules for each of these categories,1 the sheikh summed up in a few words the theory of jihad that governs relations between Muslims and non-Muslims.
According to the theory of jihad, inhabitants of the lands of war (dar al-harb) are infidels to be combated because they oppose the establishment of Islamic law in their countries. As enemies of Allah they have no rights: they themselves and their property become licit (mubah) for all Muslims. As the opportunity arises they can be taken as slaves, kidnapped for ransom, robbed or killed. War is waged against them to Islamize their territory which, according to the will of Allah, must belong to the Islamic community. If they resist, Islamic law provides for the deportation or massacre of the men and the enslavement of women and children.
So until and if that reality is dealt with by political and religious leaders things can only get worse until, to quote the rabbis in the Israel National News article "billions of human beings" will be killed.
To quote Bat Ye'or again:
"Present and Future : a Challenge
The twentieth century confronts Muslim leaders with a great challenge---whether to coninue their adherence to an ideology of jihad, which might eventually engulf the whole world in a gigantic nuclear jihad, or to strive for a profound renewal of hearts and minds, leading to the acceptance of the infidel as a fellow human being with his hopes and sufferings, who is everywhere the same."
[Page 137 of Bat Ye'or's first book, The Dhimmi, Jews and Christians under Islam, first published in 1980.]
No sign of Muslims not continuing "their adherence to an ideology of jihad".
On the contrary.
Posted on 11/02/2009 6:34 AM by "The Law"
Monday, 2 November 2009
Matrix Producer has Muhammad Biopic in Development, Qaradawi Hired as Consultant
Producer Barrie Osborne cast Keanu Reeves as the messiah in The Matrix and helped defeat the dark lord Sauron in his record-breaking Lord of the Rings trilogy. Now the Oscar-winning American film-maker is set to embark on his most perilous quest to date: making a big-screen biopic of the prophet Muhammad.
Budgeted at around $150m (£91.5m), the film will chart Muhammad's life and examine his teachings. Osborne told Reuters that he envisages it as "an international epic production aimed at bridging cultures. The film will educate people about the true meaning of Islam".
Osborne's production will reportedly feature English-speaking Muslim actors. It is backed by the Qatar-based production company Alnoor Holdings, who have installed the Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi to oversee all aspects of the shoot. In accordance with Islamic law, the prophet will not actually be depicted on screen.
"The film will shed light on the Prophet's life since before his birth to his death," Ahmed Abdullah Al-Mustafa, Alnoor's chairman, told al-Jazeera. "It will highlight the humanity of Prophet Muhammad."
The as-yet-untitled picture is due to go before the cameras in 2011. It remains to be seen, however, whether it will be beaten to cinemas by another Muhammad-themed drama. Late last year, producer Oscar Zoghbi announced plans to remake The Message, his controversial 1976 drama that sparked a fatal siege by protesters in Washington DC. The new version, entitled The Messenger of Peace, is currently still in development.
This should be interesting.
Posted on 11/02/2009 7:26 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 2 November 2009
Linguists all a-muckwash and fratching over lost words
From The Times:
Sceptics from Norfolk may blar at the idea, while Devon folk may dismiss it as zamzoden, but linguists have begun an investigation into whether regional dialect words are dead or, as they used to say in Lancashire, merely wambly.
Seven local dialect societies have each provided dictionary compilers at Collins with a list of three words that they believe to be endangered or out of use except by language enthusiasts. None has appeared in the database of written and broadcast media that compilers use to monitor the English language, but linguists are prepared to consider a word for publication in future dictionaries if there is evidence that it is in common use.
Elaine Higgleton, editorial director of Collins English Dictionaries, said that she did not wish to resurrect extinct words, but if there was “proof of life” words would be monitored for possible inclusion in future editions Readers who believe that they have heard any of the words in the list in everyday use can alert Collins, which is owned by News Corporation, parent company of The Times, by signing up to Twitter and posting a message about it with the prefix @localwords.
The message should include any detail about when and in what context the word was heard. Otherwise the compilers will conclude that the person behind it is a complete wassuck.
Zamzoden soft, half-baked
Kickshaw an amusement
Shawm to warm oneself
Muckwash hot and bothered
Wambly faint, sick
Fratching to quarrel
Roily upset (of stomach)
"Fratching" sounds vaguely familiar, but I'm probably thinking of "fractious". "Wassuck" is probably a variant of "wazzock", which I heard regularly, and was callled on occasions, when I lived in the north.
Posted on 11/02/2009 8:01 AM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 2 November 2009
Where Shall Last Year's Beetlebungs Be Found?
In dead Vineyard oaks, a warming warning
WEST TISBURY - Ever since a vast tract of Martha’s Vineyard forest died two years ago, visitors who stumbled upon the graveyard of gray stalks have called it eerie, bizarre, and sad.
Now scientists are calling it something else: a possible climate change lesson.
The 500 acres of dead oak trees were the epicenter of an islandwide infestation of caterpillars that munched their way through millions of leaves for three consecutive springs ending in 2007. Then a severe summer drought hit the island, finishing off tens of thousands of the weakened trees.
“I have never seen anything like what has happened on Martha’s Vineyard in New England,’’ said David Foster, a Harvard University ecologist. “Usually you walk through forests and see some dead trees, but here, it’s hundreds of acres and almost all of the trees in it are dead.’’
Ordinarily, such catastrophic damage would be chalked up to bad luck. But Foster, who is also director of Harvard Forest, the university’s experimental forest in Petersham, and other researchers recently discovered a vast die-off of Cape Cod coastal oak trees 5,000 years ago during an abrupt warming period. They found evidence of the forest’s demise in sediment samples from under lakes and ponds, and they speculate that the ancient - and far smaller contemporary - episodes may have roots in the same type of one-two climate punch: more-active bugs coupled with an intense drought.
Scientists predict that in a warming world, insects will thrive, and droughts and other extreme weather will become commonplace. With the prospect of more numerous bugs feasting on weakened trees, Foster wonders whether the recent die-off is a harbinger of more catastrophic ones in the future. While the dead trees will certainly be replaced by new ones, what species repopulate forests has ramifications for everything from lichen to leaf-peepers.
“These trees control the foundation of an ecosystem,’’ said Foster, whose group has just been awarded $100,000 from the National Science Foundation to study the Vineyard forest. “What happens when they collapse? We are trying to understand how everything in that forest copes.’’
Nobody foresaw the death of the oaks. In the spring of 2004, an intense caterpillar infestation gripped the trees for two weeks, raining thousands of inch-long green-and-gray caterpillars on the heads of islanders and visitors.
Many thought the bugs were the despised European winter moth that shows up in horror-movie-like numbers off the island, but scientists were able to confirm that most of the bugs were a native fall cankerworm. Not that the news was much better: Cankerworm moth numbers were legendary that winter when they emerged as adults, splattering car windshields so thoroughly that drivers could hardly see.
“The first year, it was a shock’’ that the leaves were disappearing so quickly, said Tim Boland, executive director of the Polly Hill Arboretum in West Tisbury, as he picked his way last week over lichen-covered dead oak branches that littered a narrow Arboretum path.
“Then it was, ‘They came. They went. Let’s hope they don’t come again.’ But they did . . . twice. And so did the drought,’’ he said, pointing to the lifeless trees around him that are part of the epicenter of the destruction. About 17 acres of the Arboretum’s trees were killed off.
The 2007 dry period began in July, with less than 2 inches of rain that month, according to the National Weather Service. Thousands of trees began dying across the island but for some reason, virtually all the trees in the 500-acre swath did. Boland suggests the forest’s location may be partly to blame - elevated and sandy, the ground may not have been able to hold enough water for the weakened trees. Foster isn’t sure that is the answer.
Across the island, communities are struggling to deal with dead trees that pose a safety hazard if they fall on roads or walking paths. In West Tisbury, executive secretary Jennifer Rand said, officials are going after only the “deadest of the dead’’ trees because there is not enough money to remove them all.
Polly Hill and private landowners in the dead-oak epicenter are not cutting the trees, a situation that is allowing Foster to understand how the forest recovers on its own.
The researchers have tantalizing clues to their climate theory. First, by examining long, cylindrical cores of sediment extracted from Cape Cod lakes and Vineyard ponds, they discovered that oak pollen dramatically declined about 5,000 years ago - at the same time as other sediment and vegetation records indicated warmer temperatures and drought conditions.
Second, scientists have known for years that New England’s vast hemlock populations also crashed 5,000 years ago, a situation initially attributed to insects because hemlock pests were found in a peat bog sample from that time.
But it would be unusual to have two enormous populations of trees crash at the same time, suggesting there was an underlying reason at play, such as climate. While just a pest outbreak or a drought may not have killed the trees, the combination - whether it was a drought followed by pests or vice-versa - could have wiped them out.
“Insects are always around with patchy disturbances, but you don’t see them wipe out entire species,’’ said Wyatt Oswald, assistant professor of science at Emerson College and a Harvard Forest research fellow who is studying the phenomenon.
There is another link to today. Just like 5,000 years ago, a pest is wiping out New England’s majestic hemlock trees. The nonnative woolly adelgid is mostly contained in southern New England because scientists believe it’s too cold for the insects to advance northward. But New England winters have warmed around 4 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 40 years, and researchers believe the pest will make inroads into more northern regions as temperatures warm.
“It’s what makes the story interesting,’’ Oswald said. “The same two types of trees are dying at the same time’’ today, just as they did 5,000 years ago.
Today, the researchers are carefully watching what grows on the forest floor now that the sun is no longer blocked by oak leaves. Thorny catbriar and sassafras are filling in the gaps between the dead oak trunks. And beech trees are gaining a stronger foothold. Scientists say the pollen record shows the same thing happened 5,000 years ago, when the coastal oaks gave way to beech.
“Climate change will drive changes in the forest,’’ said Harvard’s Foster. “But they will be more rapid if the forest is also impacted by bugs.’’
Posted on 11/02/2009 9:15 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 2 November 2009
Did The NYTimes Pay Ransom to Taliban?...Twice?
Greg Pollowitz writes at NR's Media Blog:
Remember that reporter from the New York Times, David Rohde, who "escaped" from the Taliban in June?
Michael Yon tweets:
Kept it all quiet for NYT. Now why are the NYT endangering British hostages in Somalia? NYT needs to shut up. They are endangering British.
I have been told by very close sources that ex-CIA officers helped pay off release for Rohde. I knew this while it was ongoing.
NYT is endangering the hostages in Somalia.
Am told by good sources Rohde is good guy, but still NYT cannot ask for discretion when they don't use it.
Numerous very well placed sources have told me New York Times/associates paid millions to get Rohde release.
New York Times cannot expect quiet about David Rohde when they blab all:
Hours before the British raid, Munadi was allowed to place a cell-phone call to his worried parents to reassure them that he and Farrell would soon be released. When the British commandos made their surprise attack on the house where the pair were being held, the two men rushed out. Munadi died in the firefight, shouting, "Journalist! Journalist!" Farrell recounted to his Times colleagues in Kabul. "He was lying in the same position as he fell," Farrell said. "That's all I know. I saw him go down in front of me. He did not move. He's dead. He was so close, he was just two feet in front of me when he dropped."
I read this at the time and was suspicious of the "no ransom" reporting. Have the Taliban ever done that? If what Yon is saying about Rohde is true, it's reasonable to at least question if the New York Times was arranging a payment for Farrell and the translator. And if so, were they telling the military of their negotiations? Reporters at the New York Times and elsewhere owe it to the family of the fallen British soldier to act on Yon's tips and find out what management at the New York Times was up to.
Posted on 11/02/2009 9:23 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 2 November 2009
What Part Of Wright's English Dialect Dictionary Don't You Understand? (bis)
Today's posting about English "dialect words" that are falling into desuetude (at least one of those words, is not , strictly speaking, a "dialect words") provides the excuse for re-posting s piece.
Here it is:
What Part Of Wright's "English Dialect Dictionary" Don't You Understand?
"Geezer" seems a little old-fashioned now, though Paul Whitehouse revived it in the nineties in The Fast Show. According to Merriam-Webster and the free dictionary, it is the same word:
The English Dialect Dictionary defines geezer as “a queer character, a strangely-acting person,” and refers the reader to guiser, “a mummer, masquerader.” The citations for guiser refer to practices such as the following: “People, usually children … go about on Christmas Eve, singing, wearing masks, or otherwise disguised,” the last word of this passage being the one to which geezer is related. --Mary Jackson
Mary Magdalene-Jackson -- do you own Wright's English Dialect Dictionary? And if so, the original, or the 1962 reprint?
By the way, there are German rivers named Aa. There was the Dutch map-maker van der Aa, as prolific in his production as Herman Moll. There is the "aa" you utter on command for the ear, nose, and throat man with that tongue depressor. There is the famous Hidden Aa-Aa or Ha-Ha (depending on whether you choose to recognize a rough breathing mark), that played such havoc with the Viking horses at that Three-Day Eventing in which Harold the Red lost his ffrench ffooting on the Norman course.
I hope you realise that the first barrel of my surname is pronounced like the Cambridge college, not the Oxford one.
No, but I have Wright's Grammar of the Gothic Language. I'm the only person in my street to have this. My neighbours keep asking to borrow it so they can talk to the Goths and the Vandals who hang around near Camden tube station. Unfortunately, like a lot of my books, it's packed in a box underneath a lot of other boxes. --Mary Jackson
If you had it -- the eight-volume 1962 edition, liable to keep its shape for a bit longer than the original -- I would have made an offer. I need another copy for the pied-a-terre in the woods or on water that I hope one day to buy. But that day awaits the dawning, on some well-heeled readers of this site, that the best way to express gratitude for the profit and pleasure they derive daily from it, is to send a token of that gratitude for that profit, for that pleasure. Amazing how people can continue to assume that we who work for free somehow have the means to do it, so obviously don't need it, when those of us who must spend valuable time cliipping, not the coupons, of the rentier in the stories of yore, but those of the housewife, in the reality of today, all in order to save 35 cents here on a roll of Bounty, and a dollar off there on some Perdue chicken. Really: is this our, is this my, highest and best use? And all the other salti mortali that one must perform to stay afloat?
Check, money order, beloved PayPal, it doesn't matter.
And see, for just a bit more, here.
Posted on 11/02/2009 9:32 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 2 November 2009
A Musical Interlude: I Can't Get Started (Bunny Berigan)
Listen to this 5-minute version here.
Posted on 11/02/2009 9:40 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 2 November 2009
Mum of six hid terror manual in her burkha
From The Manchester Evening News
A mother of six was sentenced to two years in prison after admitting concealing “a mini encyclopaedia of weapons making” in the sleeve of her burkha.
Houria Chahed Chentouf, 41, from Longsight, Manchester, pleaded guilty to two offences of possessing documents likely to be useful for a terrorist.
But she walked free from Manchester Crown Court after serving her time on remand following her arrest.
The court heard the Moroccan accidentally dropped a pen drive containing terror-related documents while she was being interviewed by officers at Liverpool's John Lennon Airport on October 16 last year. According to the Press Association she has lived in The Hague Holland for 20 years but was also renting a house in Manchester.
It had been tied to the inner sleeve of her burkha, but fell out as she reached down to scratch her leg, prosecutor Simon Denison told the court.
She was charged under the Terrorism Act 2000 with possessing an article which gave rise to suspicions that “the possession was for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism”.
The computer memory stick contained more than 7,000 files, including an explosives manual for the “Brothers of the Mujahadeen”.
It was described by police as “a mini encyclopedia of weapons making”.
The court heard that Chentouf suffers from a mental illness, triggered by the death of a family member, and has previously self- harmed.
Her behaviour may have been affected by this and her culpability was at the lower end of the scale for this offence, the judge added.
“The Crown accept there was no intention of putting it into practical use,” he said.
Chentouf, wearing a full burkha, did not react to the sentencing.
Picture of her leaving court, left, from AFP.
Posted on 11/02/2009 10:56 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 2 November 2009
The right Wright
Posted on 11/02/2009 1:17 PM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 2 November 2009
Wilders accuses Dutch political opposition of "creating climate of hate"
Five years ago, today, Dutch film maker Theo Van Gogh was murdered on the streets of Amsterdam by Dutch Moroccan Muslim extremist Mohammed Bouyeri. Geert Wilders, whom we interviewed in the November edition of the New English Review, accused leaders of the Dutch opposition in the Hague Parliament of being "political accomplices" to Bouyeri creating "a climate of hate" against him and the Freedom Party leading in political polls..
Note his remarks in this Radio Nederland Report::
Mr Wilders says comments by the two politicians have contributed to "a climate of hate and violence against him and his party." He added that the Labour Party and D66 had not learnt anything from the murder of Pim Fortuyn. The two politicians have typified the Freedom Party as extreme right and a danger to the constitutional state at the weekend.
Mr Wilders believes that this "demonisation and the denouncements" were made out of fear of the Freedom Party's success. He warned: "If anything ever happens to me or my party that everyone will know that Van der Laan and Pechtold contributed to a climate that made it seem justified to some madmen."
The Friends of Pim Fortuyn foundation is holding a public commemoration of Theo van Gogh on the spot where he died this afternoon. A number of debates have also been organised to mark the anniversary of his death.
Posted on 11/02/2009 2:06 PM by Jerry Gordon
Monday, 2 November 2009
UAE Daily: J-Street Next Best Thing To Arab Lobby
In a recent column in the UAE daily Al-Ittihad, columnist Dr. As'ad 'Abd Al-Rahman wrote about the Jewish-American advocacy group J Street, arguing that its importance is in that it provides the U.S. administration with "political and media ammunition" against Israel, especially in the absence of an Arab lobby in the U.S.
The following are excerpts from this article: (1)
"The Emergence of J Street Has Brought About a Significant Change"
"A prevalent view in the U.S. and outside it is that the Jews determine and control America's Middle East policy, mostly through [the Jewish lobby] AIPAC. But since President Obama's July 13, 2009 address to the leaders of the Jewish-American organizations, [in which he] set out his Middle East policy, there have been accusations from Jewish circles that Obama is being manipulated by two of his Jewish aides who have renounced [the usual pro-Israeli views] – Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod.
"Journalist J. J. Goldenberg, author of Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment, thinks that one of the goals [of these aides] is to restrain the Jewish-American community by means of two organizations that attack Israel, namely 'Americans for Peace Now' and 'J Street.'
"But our topic today is J Street, which held its first conference last Monday... Its founders say that it represents the 'voice that is absent' from America's Middle East policy. J Street defines itself as 'the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement' founded to 'promote meaningful American leadership to end the American-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts peacefully and diplomatically.'
"Though AIPAC is still in control, the American media reports that the emergence of J Street has brought about a significant change..."
"[J Street's] Influence Has Not Yet Reached the Dimensions of AIPAC's, But It... Has Won Some Significant Points [Against It]"
"In terms of its perspective on the Arab-Israeli conflict, J Street is an extension of the Israeli Left, while AIPAC represents the views of Israel's political Right. Therefore, it is not surprising that [J Street] faces harsh censure for its criticism of the Israeli policy...
"True, the influence of this new lobby has not yet reached the dimensions of AIPAC's [influence], but it has taken AIPAC head-on, and has won some significant points [against it]. During the recent attack on Gaza, J Street collected 30,000 signatures in an online petition that condemned [Israel's] aggression, characterizing it as 'disproportionate' and stressing that 'there can be no military solution to a conflict that is essentially political.' J Street campaign director Isaac Luria wrote that 'while there is nothing "right" in raining rockets on Israeli families or dispatching suicide bombers, there is nothing "right" in punishing a million and a half already-suffering Gazans for the actions of the extremists among them' – a statement that was supported by 69% of American Jews, though AIPAC's response to it was endorsed by the majority of congress members.
"[J Street's] second important [action] came during Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit to Washington. J Street asked the U.S. administration to intervene and impose a two-state solution, even if this meant exerting pressure on Israel. AIPAC, on the other hand, asked Washington not to intervene but to leave the issue to the decision of the two sides in the conflict.
"AIPAC and other large Jewish organizations have brutally attacked J Street for its views on resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. [J Street's] Statement of Principles advocates the creation of a viable Palestinian state as part of a negotiated two-state solution, based on the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the joint capital of the two states. [The organization] also calls for dialogue with Hamas, even through mediators." (2)
"There Is No Arab Lobby in Washington... To Work Towards Changing U.S. Policy"
"I think it unfortunate that there is no Arab lobby in Washington to support the Arabs' official and popular position and to work towards changing U.S. policy on the Middle East conflict..."
"J Street [Has] Provided the U.S. and Other Countries With Political and Media Ammunition"
"Needless to say, the views of the new Jewish lobby J Street have provided the U.S. and other countries with political and media ammunition. The Arab lobby, on the other hand, has remained nothing more than an unrealized dream or idea, even though, over the years, there has been need for it."
Posted on 11/02/2009 4:54 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 2 November 2009
A Musical Interlude: Hold Me (Jack Hylton Orch., voc. Pat O'Malley)
Posted on 11/02/2009 5:10 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 2 November 2009
The Small Warm Rain Of Kilimanjaro
Snow cap disappearing from Mount Kilimanjaro
Some 85 percent of the ice that made up the mountaintop glaciers in 1912 was gone by 2007, researchers led by paleoclimatologist Lonnie Thompson of Ohio State University report in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
And more than a quarter of the ice present in 2000 was gone by 2007.
If current conditions continue "the ice fields atop Kilimanjaro will not endure," the researchers said.
The Kilimanjaro glaciers are both shrinking, as the ice at their edges melts, and thinning, the researchers found.
Similar changes are being reported at Mount Kenya and the Rwenzori Mountains in Africa and at glaciers in South America and the Himalayas.
"The fact that so many glaciers throughout the tropics and subtropics are showing similar responses suggests an underlying common cause," Thompson said in a statement. "The increase of Earth's near surface temperatures, coupled with even greater increases in the mid- to upper-tropical troposphere, as documented in recent decades, would at least partially explain" the observations.
Changes in cloudiness and snowfall may also be involved, though they appear less important, according to the study.
On Kilimanjaro, the researchers said, the northern ice field thinned by 6.2 feet (1.9 meters) and the southern ice field by 16.7 feet (5.1 meters) between 2000 and 2007.
Researchers compared the current area covered by the glaciers with maps of the glaciers based on photographs taken in 1912 and 1953 and satellite images from 1976 and 1989.
The research was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Posted on 11/02/2009 5:23 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 2 November 2009
David Horowitz Newsreal:
Although James Gadiel was just 23 years old, he was a young man with promise. Hailing from the small town of Kent, Connecticut, James Gadiel had already landed his dream job with Cantor Fitzgerald, the global financial services powerhouse, and by all accounts was heading for a very successful career with that firm.
On September 11, 2001, James Gadiel’s life—along with the lives of nearly 3000 others—came to an abrupt end when Muslim terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center, where James worked on the 103rd floor of the North Tower.
James’s grief-stricken father, Peter, tried to move on with his life, but as the years passed, something began to trouble him: he was coming to the realization that people were starting to forget exactly who it was that attacked us on the morning of September 11, 2001. He doesn’t want people to forget his son or the other victims, but he especially doesn’t want people to ever forget who, exactly, was responsible for the heinous acts of that day: Muslim terrorists.
And that’s why now, according to reports on The O’Reilly Factor and Sunday morning’s Fox and Friends, Peter Gadiel is in a heated controversy with the Town of Kent, Connecticut, which wants to erect a plaque in memory of his son.
The Town Board has rejected Peter Gadiel’s wording for the proposed plaque, deeming it “offensive,” and unless Gadiel changes the plaque’s wording, they will not allow it to be erected.
The wording of the plaque, the language of which the Town finds so offensive, is:
James Gadiel: Murdered by Muslim terrorists.
To Peter Gadiel, this is the central fact of the events of September 11, 2001, which he does not want glossed over.
Peter Gadiel: This isn’t a fact that is just overlooked—it’s suppressed. It’s simply wrong to imply that people just died; the buildings just collapse; they didn’t just fall down. We were attacked-by people with a specific agenda and for a specific purpose.
The city doesn’t want to offend Muslims.
Ruth Epstein, one of two Kent Town Board members who voted the plaque down, explained the Town’s position:
Ruth Epstein: We perceive ourselves as a very warm, loving Town, and to disparage any one ethnic group is against everything that we stand for here…we have at least one Muslim family here—with children—and it would be just awful to have them see something like that.
Gadiel eloquently disagrees:
Peter Gadiel: Muslims have to acknowledge that it was their co-religionists who committed this act in their name. I am offended, that unlike so many others, they [Muslims] refuse to acknowledge that it was their people who did this.
Gadiel makes a valid point. The whole affair reeks of a double standard.
Janet Napolitano, our own Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, for example, had no problem with putting those who are anti-abortion or supporters of the Second Amendment on a “right-wing extremists” watch list earlier this year. It didn’t seem to matter to Napolitano and the DHS that most of those people were being unfairly targeted—if they were anti-abortion and/or owned a gun (and also had the misfortune to be white), they were, by Napolitano’s definition, potential terrorists.
Was this not offensive, and wholly inaccurate? Napolitano didn’t think so.
Mr. Gadiel is not using such a broad brush. He does not condemn Muslims. He does condemn Muslim terrorists. There is a difference.
That fact, says Mr. Gadiel, must be acknowledged in any memorial to his son, and he will not support any memorial that fails to do so.
We must never forget the victims of September 11, 2001.
And we should never forget who it was that murdered those victims.
Posted on 11/02/2009 5:54 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Monday, 2 November 2009
How “Atomic Opps!” paved the way for Iran’s Nuclear Bomb program
Amir Taheri had an op ed, “Atomic Opps! “ in the New York Post on the diplomatic duplicity that the “EU 5+1” including the US fell for that left Iran gloating. That was the alleged acceptance of a deal that involved sending low level enriched uranium to Russia to reach sufficient levels for France to produce nuclear fuel rods for reactors back in Iran. Sounds like a Rube Goldberg scenario and it is.
Note what Taheri says about this scheme:
In exchange, the 5+1 group would get control of 75 percent of the uranium that Iran has enriched in one year -- thereby slowing by several months’ Iranian plans to build a bomb.
Under the regime's latest offer, however, it would exchange only small quantities of its enriched uranium against equivalent quantities of fuel rods. In other words, Iran is hanging on to the 1.5 tons of uranium it has already partly processed. If enriched further, that stock could yield the 25 kilos of higher-grade uranium needed for making one Hiroshima-size bomb.
Iran is decommissioning next year an aging research reactor gifted by the US to the late Shah in the 1950’s. The Arak reactor producing plutonium doesn’t need the enriched uranium. Again, Taheri comments:
Nor does Iran need the enriched uranium for the new reactor at Arak -- a plutonium plant that doesn't require enriched uranium.
At the start of this year, Iran had 800 centrifuges enriching uranium. It now has 8,000, half of them in operation. Thus, Iran already has the capacity to enrich enough uranium for making one Hiroshima-size bomb a year.
The process could be speeded up by operating the "new advanced" centrifuges that Iran says it already has. With 30,000 to 40,000 centrifuges, it could produce enough material for one bomb within weeks.
In a commentary published Oct. 23, the official news agency IRNA boasted: "If Iran wants to build nuclear weapons, it has no problem with fissile material."
Emphasizing the point, it declared that Iran had reached "the threshold or breakout" stage, meaning it has the wherewithal to become a nuclear power.
In a speech Thursday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described the latest negotiations as "a diplomatic victory" for his administration. He said he welcomed "nuclear cooperation" with the 5+1 group -- but would not accept the deal in "the form presented to us."
Even if Iran had accepted the original deal, the real question would have remained intact: Should Iran comply with Security Council resolutions or not?
The true dispute is over forcing Iran to shut down its uranium-enrichment program
altogether, not about helping Iran with a higher grade of uranium. By ignoring the UN resolutions, the 5+1 are giving Iran a license to build the bomb.
Fred Leder had this comment on the duplicity of the 5+1 enrichment deal.
The enriched uranium that the Russians and French are offering, which will be enriched to 20% U235, will be used to run a 40 megawatt research reactor at Arak. Iran claims it is to make medical isotopes. The fact is "research reactors" are ideal for making plutonium. They are ideal because they are big enough to make plutonium and they are small enough to be able to recycle the spent fuel fairly frequently. The nuclear chemistry is that the 80% U238 in the fuel rods converts, in part, to Plutonium 239. It is fissile, requires no enrichment and can be easily extracted from the spent fuel. So the strategy is to run the reactor for a while, pull the fuel rods and replace them, chemically extract the plutonium from the spent fuel and eventually accumulate enough plutonium (about 22 Kg) to make a Nagasaki-sized bomb. In fact this is exactly how we made the Nagasaki bomb. The Arak plutonium reactor is their best route to a bomb and the western media doesn’t grasp that.
How can this be prevented? I suppose the Russians and French can refuse to continue providing fuel rods when they see that the Iranians are using the reactor to breed plutonium. Will that happen? Never! Another way to prevent it is for the US/NATO to bomb the reactor. Likely? Never! That leaves the Israelis. It is doubtful they can inflict enough damage without going nuclear themselves. I predict Israel will first pre-emptively attack Hamas and Hezbollah, this time with enough determination to prevent any attacks on Israel. Then they will mount an air attack on Iran, hoping to slow the process by a few years. They may lose the IAF in the attempt. Replacement parts, air craft, ammunition, will not come from the Obama government. The UN will condemn them and Obama may not veto sanctions against Israel. Enrichment is a diversion.
When we interviewed Erick Stakelbeck, CBN on-air terrorism and national security journalist, for the November edition of the New English Review, we asked him about the daunting prospect of Israel “doing the West’s dirty work.” Stakelbeck in reply noted the dilemma facing Israel and the possible timing of an attack on Iran’s nuclear projects:
The Iranians, according to various intelligence estimates, could have a nuclear device by 2010. The Israelis can't wait much longer than they already have, and the recent revelation that Iran has a hidden nuclear facility outside Qom just raised the stakes even higher. I have spoken to Israeli officials at length both on and off the record about this. The Israelis feel they have no choice but to let the Obama administration's diplomatic game play out. If Israel were to attack Iran while negotiations were still ongoing, the full anti-Semitic fury of the UN and much of the EU would come down upon Israel in a vengeful manner. The Israelis realize this, and feel they need to exhaust every possible option before possibly taking that ultimate step of military action against this existential threat of a nuclear Iran. . .
I think the Israelis will give negotiations until January 1st, and then make their decision. My gut tells me that by spring of 2010, if we have seen no momentum or real progress in these talks between the West and Iran, Israel will take military action. If they wait beyond the spring of 2010, it may be too late. The U.S. and Europe don’t want to do it. They are going to leave it up to Israel, once again, to take care of the West’s dirty work. It’s going to be interesting to see the public response by the Obama administration if and when Israel does take that action.
Posted on 11/02/2009 7:10 PM by Jerry Gordon and Fred Leder
Monday, 2 November 2009
Pakistan’s Nuclear facilities have been attacked
Annie Jacobsen had an article in Pajamas Media that doubtless shakes ours and India’s confidence in the security of Pakistan nuclear weapons security: “Could Terrorists Attack Pakistan’s Nuclear Facilities? They Already Have.”
While Secretary of State Clinton expressed confidence in Pakistan’s controls of its nuclear weapons arsenal, the reality is that despite dispersion of components throughout the country that several attacks by the Taliban have occurred, giving rise to increasing concerns about the vulnerability and out scenarios for taking them under control or destroying them.
Note Jacobsen’s comments:
If Pakistan’s nuclear bombs are safe because Pakistan says so, perhaps Hilary Clinton should add that to her pitch. In the meantime, the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point disagrees. In the July 2009 issue of CTC Sentinel, Professor Shaun Gregory writes that “the risk of the transfer of nuclear weapons, weapons components, or nuclear expertise to terrorists in Pakistan is genuine.”
Even more alarming, Gregory confirms that Pakistan’s nuclear facilities have already been attacked at least three times by terrorists in the last two years. These attacks include:
· A November 2007 attack on Pakistan’s nuclear missile facility at Sargodha.
· A December 2007 attack on Pakistan’s nuclear airbase at Kamra.
· An August 2008 attack at the Wah cantonment, “widely understood to be one of Pakistan’s main nuclear weapons assembly sites.”
Because Pakistan’s nuclear warheads can reach neighboring India, the Times of India reports extensively on Pakistan as a nuclear threat. In August the paper featured a news report and a television program on the West Point report. One of its reporters interviewed terrorism expert and CNN analyst Peter Bergen on the subject. “[Gregory] points out something that was news to me … which is that a series of attacks on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons facilities have already happened,” Bergen said.
How many nuclear weapons does Pakistan have? Reports vary. In 2002, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) put the number between 24-48 nuclear warheads. Carnegie puts the number around 55. Hans Kristensen of FAS said Pakistan could have as many as 90 nuclear warheads.
Bruce Riedel, who has been a senior advisor to three U.S. presidents (including Obama) on Middle East and South Asian issues, sums up the reality of the nuclear threat. Pakistan has “has more terrorists per square mile than anyplace else on Earth, and it has a nuclear weapons program that is growing faster than anyplace else on Earth,” Riedel says.
In the November New English Review, we asked Erick Stakelbeck, CBN’s on-air terrorism and national security journalist about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Here were his comments:
Pakistani government officials, and even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have said that they think Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is secure. When the Taliban moved within 60 miles of Islamabad last spring, they were apparently close to some of Pakistan’s nuclear facilities. The Pakistani military obviously has a very strong presence and they ultimately hold the keys to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. The problem is that the Pakistani military and Pakistani intelligence services are infiltrated by Taliban and Al Qaeda sympathizers. Pakistan never misses a chance to remind us that it is a sovereign country and we have been very mindful of that. But if you have the Taliban seize major metropolitan areas in Pakistan, everything is off the table. If it came to a point where it looked like the Taliban was going to overthrow the Pakistani government and a nuclear-armed, Jihadist state was going to ensue, the U.S., along with NATO, may have to take drastic measures, perhaps even attempt to destroy Pakistan's nuclear arsenal (if India didn't first). It would be that dire of a situation. A nuclear-armed jihadist state run by the Taliban and al-Qaeda, with designs against the West, is an apocalyptic scenario.
Posted on 11/02/2009 7:39 PM by Jerry Gordon