These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 23, 2012.
Monday, 23 April 2012
CBS 60 Minutes Report on Christians in the Holy Land Delegitimizes Israel
Christians in the Holy Land
Source: CBS 60 Minutes
With thanks to Yuval Z in Israel
I watched this CBS 60 Minutes segment on Christians of the Holy Landthat aired Sunday night. Israeli Ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren had every right to be concerned about this CBS 60 Minutes 'hatchet job' segment about Christians in the Holy Land. When I see veteran CBS Middle East reporter Bob Simon giving a platform to Bethlehem Lutheran pastor Mitri Raheb, alleged author of the infamous Kairos Palestine Documentand an Israeli leftist engaging in moral relativism by equating "political Judaism", a code word for Zionism, with Political Islam, I knew that this was a propaganda piece. Dexter Van Zile,Christian Media Analyst at CAMERA, the Boston-based Middle East Media watchdog group, who attended and reported on the recent Christ at The Checkpoint conference in Bethlehem (see here) has critically examined the Kairos document concocted by Raheb and other Pro-Palestinian Christian clerics will doubtless respond to this biased CBS Report. Both Van Zile and I had the opportunity to confront Raheb and others in the leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Americaat an annual synod back in 2006 in Orlando, Florida. We arranged for a leader in the World Lebanese Maronite diaspora to discuss with Lutheran outreach bishops and pastors the dismal condition of beleaguered Christian minorities in the Middle East in the face of Islamic fundamentalist doctrine and Jihad. That was well before the current collapse of ancient Christian communities in Iraq, Egypt and Syria in the wake of turmoil in the Arab Spring. Simon's CBS 60 Minutes report is a propaganda piece that endeavors to arouse mainstream American Christians to 'boycott' tourism in the holy land. Problem for Simon and the CBS News organization is that the tens of millions of Christian Evangelicals in the US are allies of the Jewish State of Israel. They understand the threat of Jihadist Islam to Israel driving out minority Christians from communities like Bethlehem, Jerusalem and even Nazareth in Israel. They are undeterred by Simon's thinly veiled request to American Christians to boycott Israel. I am proud to say that Israel Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren acquitted himself ably when he took Simon and his CBS News producers to task for this biased 60 Minutes Report. A report that engaged in delegitimizing Israel, a nation that safeguards minority rights and Christians in the Jewish state. Simon has given a pass to the Palestinian Authority and neighboring Arab countries devolving into Salafist and Muslim Brotherhood annihilationist hatred of the Jewish State of Israel fomenting pogroms and Church burnings driving out ancient Christian communities.
Watch the CBS Six Minutes report with Bob Simon here.
Have you wondered why, for over ten years – despite countless man-years spent waiting in airport security lines, over a trillion dollars spent, the loss of thousands of lives in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and endless efforts to ensure that no offense is given to seemingly permanently aggrieved Islamist activists –we are no closer to victory in the so-called “war on terror” than we were on 9/11?
The missing answer and its online location will be unveiled on Tuesday, April 24 in a new web-based, ten-part video course presented by Frank Gaffney, President of the Center for Security Policy.
What: Press Conference and short video presentation of the course
Michel Gurfinkiel Looks Prescient on Sarkozy in French Presidential Runoff
Sunday, we posted a New York Sun editorial containing a prediction by its French correspondent and journalist Michel Gurfinkiel who contended that despite President Nicolas Sarkozy being second in polls to leading Socialist contender Francois Hollande that he would eventually come out ahead in the n May 6th runoff election.
Sunday’s election results showed less than a two point spread between the two top finishers, Hollande with 29percent and incumbent President Sarkozy at 27 percent with Marine Le Pen of the National Front finishing a strong third at 18.5 percent of the vote tally.
Now according to Monday’s New York Sun editorial, Sarkozy's Second Chanceit would appear that Gurfinkiel may be prescient.
Here is the New York Sun editorial comments on Gurfinkiel’s handicapping of the French Presidential runoff race:
“Sarkozy Loses” is the headline up on the Drudge Report over a dispatch of France24 with the early results of the first round of voting in the presidential election. It shows the socialist, Francois Holland, at around 29% and President Sarkozy at around 27%, which means the two of them will go into a runoff in which Jean-Marie Le Pen’s daughter, Marine, will play an outsized role. She was the big winner in the first round in the sense that her showing, at 18.5%, not only in third place but three or four percentage points stronger than the polls had been indicating just before the first round. Francois Bayrou came in at 9%, significantly lower than the 13% that had been indicated in the polls. The ragtag fringes of the right and left held no surprises.
We’re happy to be able to report that our erstwhile correspondent in France, Michel Gurfinkiel, isn’t backing off from suggestion that President Sarkozy could still emerge with a second term. He seemed relatively alone in stressing that point before the vote, but now the wires and the various papers are echoing his line. Mr. Gurfinkiel cautions us that he’s not making a hard forecast; not all votes are counted yet. He does say the Le Pen vote will be “crucial,” as he put it in his latest telegram. He notes that the socialists have already started to woo the Le Pen voters openly. “I doubt they will succeed,” he writes. He adds that most of the present Le Pen voters are “former conservatives” who were disappointed with the classic Right. “They will not support the Left, nor suffer a Leftwing victory.”
Plus, Mr. Gurfinkiel writes, the other Le Pen voters are “former communists or socialists” who moved right and “who see extra-European immigration as the main reason for their economic hardship and the disintegration of French society: they are not going to support M. Hollande, who says he will grant voting franchise to foreign residents.” He says that Mme. Le Pen will have a say but “doesn’t own her followers and sympathizers’ votes. If she tells them to vote for Hollande, she is dead. If she says she doesn’t take sides, most of them will understand they must prevent a Leftwing victory. If she suggests the Right is just slightly better than the Left, they will see it as a full fledged endorsement.”
What M. Gurfinkiel is predicting is that something like 60 % of Mme. Le Pen’s voters in the first round will support Monsieur Sarkozy, while but 10 % will switch to Monsieur Hollande, and 30% will abstain. Monsieur Bayrou’s voters, he thinks, will not support the Left, as those who were prepared to do so already switched in the first round. The rest of the Bayrou voters will vote for Monsieur Sarkozy. Mr. Gurfinkiel writes that things may not yet be entirely clear. But writes he: “If I am right, we may have on May 6, in very broad terms: Hollande : 29% socialists + 12 % Melanchon + 4 % Leftwingers + 2% Le Pen + 1% Bayrou. Total : 48 % more or less. Sarkozy: 27% conservatives + 2% Dupont-Aignan + 16% Le Pen + 8% Bayrou. Total: 52 % more or less.”
Mr. Gurfinkiel cautions us that the pollster CSA gives much better odds to Monsieur Hollande, predicting he’ll win the presidency with 56% of the vote, and ascribing to him a much better share of both the Le Pen and Bayrou votes. On verra. Two weeks of hard campaigning are still ahead of both candidates. The thing that gets us about all this is that France raised up, in Monsieur Sarkozy, a president who was more pro-American than any in our adult lifetime. He wasn’t perfect by any means. But what a refreshing change from President Chirac. It strikes us that the change was an opportunity for a dynamic American leader with a genuine strategy for Europe to make a connection, to work it, and to build some excitement. Somehow that eluded our current president. There may be good reasons for this; the French are nothing if not difficult. But if the French center is lost to the socialists, there will be those asking “Who lost France?” And what is Mr. Obama going to say? All the more reason to hope that Mr. Gurfinkiel is right in his guesstimates of the outcome of the second round.
BRITISH troops raided a mosque in the Afghanistan badlands — and found a quarter of a tonne of deadly explosives capable of killing countless soldiers. They swooped in a Chinook helicopter after intelligence tip-offs that it had been turned into a bomb-making factory.
Taliban had rigged the building in Hyderabad with boobytraps. But the troops moved in so quickly the enemy fled without priming them. It is the biggest find yet on this tour for the quick-response 12 Brigade Reconnaissance Force, which operates behind enemy lines
Hundreds of Muslims stormed a Christian church complex used by southerners in Khartoum at the weekend, witnesses said, raising fears that recent clashes between Sudan and South Sudan were stoking ethnic tensions in the city.
The attackers ransacked buildings, knocked down walls and burned Bibles, Youssef Matar, secretary general of the Presbyterian Evangelical Church, said yesterday.
South Sudan, where most follow Christian and traditional African beliefs, declared independence from Sudan in July after decades of civil war with the overwhelmingly Muslim north. But hundreds of thousands of southerners, and people from regions close to the shared border, remain in Khartoum, many of them in a state of legal limbo.
A Muslim preacher known for fiery sermons took advantage of the excited climate to call for “jihad” against Christians during Friday evening prayers, prompting hundreds to attack the church the next day, Mr Matar said. “No-one could believe it. Nothing like this has ever happened before.”
Ethiopians, Eritreans and Indians, as well as Christians from Sudan and South Sudan, use the church, he said.
The Madness Continues: A Ten-Year "Strategic Partnership" With Afghanistan
When the Framers gave primary power over the conduct of foreign affairs to the Executive branch, they could not have, and did not, foresee, that members of that branch -- demonstrating their generosity not with their own money, but with that of the citizenry -- would so heedlessly promise so much. It's true that Congress then holds a vote, but it's not much of a vote. Seldom is the wisdom qustioned of long-term commitments. And in this high tide of folly, the decuman is the latest announcement, about a ten-year "strategic partnership" with primitive, tribal, warlike, remote, forbidding, impoverished, and above all, thoroughly Muslim, Afghanistan. What could such a "strategic partnership" possibly mean? It means only this: another hundred billion dollars transferred from helpless taxpayers in the United States, to assorted Afghan crooks among the rulers, including Karzai's famiy, and the families of whoever replaces Karzai, and of course all of the well-connected, who have had now a good decade of experience in learning how to fleece the Americans, and what makes it easier is that as one group of finally wised-up Americans leave, they are replaced by others, fresh to the country, and naive as only, it appears, Americans convinced they are doing good can be.
Here's the story:
With Pact, U.S. Agrees to Help Afghans for Years to Come
KABUL, Afghanistan — After months of negotiations, the United States and Afghanistan completed drafts of a strategic partnership agreement on Sunday that pledges American support for Afghanistan for 10 years after the withdrawal of combat troops at the end of 2014.
The agreement, whose text was not released, represents an important moment when the United States begins the transition from being the predominant foreign force in Afghanistan to serving a more traditional role of supportive ally.
By broadly redefining the relationship between Afghanistan and the United States, the deal builds on hard-won new understandings the two countries reached in recent weeks on the thorny issues of detainees and Special Operations raids. It covers social and economic development, institution building, regional cooperation and security.
The talks to reach the agreement were intense. At times they broke down altogether, primarily because of geopolitical frictions in the region from two powerful neighbors, Iran and Pakistan. Each country opposes long-term American ties with Afghanistan.
The American and Afghan negotiators have been working hard in recent days to complete the draft so that it could be signed before a NATO conference in Chicago on May 20. There, decisions are to be made on how much money and support will be provided to the Afghan security forces after 2014 and by whom.
Lacking certainty about a long-term American commitment to Afghanistan, some countries were holding back, waiting to see what the United States, the leader in shaping Afghan policy, would do. Western diplomats said Sunday that the allies would now be more willing to make commitments.
The agreement — sweeping by design, with few details to bog down negotiators — puts down in writing for the first time the nature of the relationship the United States will have with Afghanistan once the bulk of American troops go home. It is meant to reassure the Afghan people that the United States will not abandon them, to warn the Taliban not to assume that they can wait out the West, and to send a message to Pakistan, which American officials believe has been hedging its bets in the belief that an American departure would leave the Taliban in charge.
“This is the proof in the pudding that we intend to be there,” one United States official said Sunday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
The agreement came despite a series of setbacks in Afghan-American relations, including the burning of Korans, the massacre of 16 civilians attributed to a lone Army sergeant, and the appearance of grisly photos of American soldiers posing with the body parts of Afghan insurgents.
“In the midst of all these meteor strikes, we were able to still sit down across the table and get these documents agreed to,” one NATO official noted. Many Afghans, including some who are ambivalent about the American presence, believe that the country’s survival is tied to having such an agreement with Washington. They say it will make clear to the Taliban and to regional powers that the Americans will not walk away the way they did in the 1990s after the Soviets were pushed out of the country.
A loya jirga, or traditional council, convened by President Hamid Karzai last fall strongly urged the government to sign a long-term agreement with the United States.
The draft agreement was initialed by Ryan C. Crocker, the American ambassador to Afghanistan, and Rangin Spanta, the Afghan national security adviser, at a meeting of the Afghan national security council on Sunday. It will now be sent to Mr. Karzai and to the Afghan Parliament for review and approval, and also to President Obama and the White House. It will become final when signed by the two presidents, according to American and Afghan officials.
Western diplomats in Kabul said the agreement was an important marker and a positive one, both because it would help persuade other Western countries to continue to support Afghanistan and because it will signal all sides, including the Taliban, that they will not have a free hand to manipulate the country after 2014.
“The Iranians don’t like it because it shows the U.S. is going to be here for a long time,” said a European diplomat here who noted that the Taliban would not like it for the same reason. “This is important because they cannot tell their soldiers now just to sit it out and wait for 2014.”
The Taliban responded to the draft agreement within minutes, issuing a detailed statement condemning it as a giveaway to the Americans.
The goals of the agreement for the Americans, the Taliban statement said, are: “First goal: securing routes to the Central Asian and Caspian oil fields. Second goal: prevention of a movement in favor of a true Islamic government. Third goal: Bringing secularism and liberalism to Afghanistan. Fourth goal: establishing an army hostile to Islam that protects Western interests. Fifth goal: Continuous threats to Islamic countries in the region and the prevention of political and military ties between them and Afghanistan.”
In many respects the strategic partnership agreement is more symbolic than substantive. It does not lay out specific dollar amounts of aid or name programs that the Americans will support; the financing must be authorized and appropriated by Congress from year to year.
Nor does it lay out specifically what the American military and security presence will be after 2014 or what role it will play. A more detailed security agreement is to come later, perhaps in the next year, Western diplomats said, once it becomes clear how much support European nations will give to the Afghan security forces.
Even so, the United States expects to make substantial contributions toward the cost of Afghanistan’s security forces beyond 2014. A total figure for the United States of $2.7 billion a year has been discussed, and it could easily be more; there would most likely be aid for civilian programs as well.
That would be a steep reduction from the amount the United States now spends here, which has been $110 billion to $120 billion a year since the “surge” in American troop levels began in 2010, according to the Congressional Research Service.
For the partnership to work, the Afghan government must follow through with political reforms, particularly in fighting corruption, said Brian Katulis, a national security expert at the Center for American Progress. “U.S. taxpayers have seen tens of millions of their dollars wasted by a corrupt and ineffective Afghan government over the past decade,” Mr. Katulis said. “Any transition plan needs to demand more responsibility from our Afghan partners.”
Officials declined Sunday to release the text of the draft strategic partnership deal or comment on it in detail. “Until the agreement is finalized, we’re not in a position to discuss the elements it contains,” said Gavin Sundwall, the American Embassy spokesman in Kabul.
“Our goal is an enduring partnership with Afghanistan that strengthens Afghan sovereignty, stability and prosperity and that contributes to the shared goal of defeating Al Qaeda and its extremist allies,” he said. “We believe the agreement supports that goal.”
The talks on the agreement were delayed repeatedly over the delicate issues of night raids by American troops and the American operation of detention facilities. Ultimately, negotiators agreed to prepare detailed side agreements on those two issues. In March the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding shifting responsibility for all detention facilities in the country to the Afghans, and earlier this month they handed final authority over night raids to Afghan security forces, who are now carrying out all raids unless American assistance is requested.
With those two issues resolved, the strategic partnership was completed quickly.
When we posted on the Sappho.dk commentary about the Danish Supreme Court decision acquitting Lars Hedegaard, President of the Danish Free Press Society, we noted that the ruling did not result in changing the language of Article 266b of the penal code that caused nearly two years of heedless litigation. Effectively, truth as fact remains denied as a defense of free speech in Denmark. That means more jeopardy for anyone in Denmark, like Hedegaard , who has the temerity to crticize Islamic doctrine. Thus more allegations and grist for public prosecutors will likely follow on bogus charges of "racism' and hate speech. We wrote in our post that this cries out for adopting, what the Hon. Geert Wilders in the Netherlands has proposed, an EU version of the US First Amendment. To that, Hedegaard responded in an email, "totally agreed."
A statement by Hedegegaard, "The Prosecutor Lies in Wait" published today on the Gatestone Institute blog furthers our conclusion and his warning.
The Prosecutopr Lies in Wait
by Lars Hedegaard
Article 266b, under which I was charged, remains unchanged. Thus, we still have no right to refer to truth if we are indicted under this article.
I am satisfied that the Supreme Court has delivered a verdict in accordance with the evidence given in lower and superior court. The prosecution had this evidence before it decided to press charges so I cannot understand why it went ahead.
The prosecutor has burdened the courts and the taxpayers needlessly for more than two years.
This judgment is not necessarily a victory for free speech. Article 266b, under which I was charged, remains unchanged. It remains a disgrace to any civilised society and is an open invitation to frivolous trials. Thus, we still have no right to refer to truth if we are indicted under this article.
There have been several attempts to make 266b conform to normal standards of justice but successive governments and parliamentary majorities have steadfastly refused.
I am, however, happy that my acquittal means that at least the Supreme Court has set a limit to how deeply the State may penetrate one's private life. The Supreme Court has clearly upheld the principle that for a statement to be criminal, it must have been made with the intent of public dissemination. We may still talk freely in our own homes.
My personal reaction to more than two years of fatiguing litigation is to demand written guarantees from people who want to talk to me. With their signatures they must confirm that nothing be passed on without my express approval and without me having had a chance to vet it. This goes whether people are journalists or not.
I would advise everybody to do the same for we all know that the prosecutor lies in wait.
The Free Press Society will strengthen its struggle against the penal code's despicable Article 266b.
Lars Hedegaard, President of The Free Press Society in Denmark, was acquitted two days ago after a three year struggle through three layers of Danish courts, of "hate speech" for having spoken freely in his own home. Article 266b, however, under which he was charged, still stands, ensuring that anyone who fails to submit to continual self –censorship, or who inadvertently says something in public "that might offend somebody" -- even if what he said was true – can be placed under arrest and subjected to financially, emotionally and socially ruinous years on trial. It would be hard to think of a more effective way totally to crush free speech. Until article 266b is revoked, free speech is an outlaw in Denmark.
I was anxious to get the main narrative of yesterday in Brighton on-line before I went to bed. In the cold drizzle of morning here are more photographs including my husband's from his computer and some details I didn't immediately notice last night.
These are the two flyers that were handed out lavishly. We ended up with quite a few; the people handing them out behaved very angrily when I declined one. My explanation that I already had one was not greeted with any kind of smile. Thereafter I took everything offered and put the duplicates in a bin, which was the best place for them.
These and the several different posters were plentiful around town. Someone has money to bankroll not just UAF (who are funded by the unions) but these tiny groups such as 'stopmfe' above. Who? I would like to know.
This is video I found this morning taken by someone who was much closer to the police cordon round MfE than I was in Queen Street. He is very proud of the intimidation expressed. It shows how the police horses that were injured could have been hurt, although I don't think this was the actual incident.
These are some more of the protesters who joined the headlong rush down North Street to 'stop the fash' at the bottom of Church Street.
The fash went that-a-way!!!
I'll bash the fash once I have drunk my skiny latte.
As glass bottles were thrown at MfE en route the skin on a congealed coffee would have been preferable.
My husband went closer up Church Street while I stayed back with our daughter.
The protestors are attempting to move a large communal rubbish bin into the path of the St George's Day parade. According to some reports bins were set alight, although I didn't see this.
Showing how tightly packed and surrounded by police March for England were.
I don't know what he is brandishing. When I zoom in close on the original it isn't a leaf or a rolled up newspaper. It looks like a piece of wood or broken drainpipe, sharp and pointed and I don't like the look of it.
Update, after discussion in the comments and elsewhere, I am satisfied that what this young woman is waving is a placard which has been forshortened by an odd camera angle.
Taxi 'used as a weapon' by Bristol Taxi driver Muhammed Jave | Religion as a Weapon
This report is about "a taxi driver using his cab “like a weapon”as he deliberately mows down his passenger after a row over the fare."
The taxi driver in Bristol, England, Muhammed Java, was found guilty and jailed for six months.
Watch the 23 second video. It is amazing. Looks like a low level taxi jihad to me.
This incident brings to my mind a song I have recorded called Religion as a Weapon.
Here are the lyrics - the chorus is in inverted commas:
RELIGION AS A WEAPON
I know it sounds
Crazy but Islam uses
Religion as a weapon in its war to
Conquer and rule the world uses
Religion as a weapon in its war to
Conquer and rule the world uses
Religion as a weapon in its war to
Conquer and rule the world “To rule the world”
Religion as a weapon in its war to
Conquer and rule the world “To rule the world"
Religion as a weapon in its war to
Conquer and rule the world “To rule the world”
When I can, I hope to release the song.
THE IMPLICATIONS OF AFFORDING ISLAM THE STATUS OF A RELIGION:
Muslims are given freedom to strive to make "non-Muslims" lose their freedom
Maybe the American people to will start think about whether affording Islam the status of a religion should be reviewed in the light of the reality that the whole object of Islam is primarily political and that is to conquer and rule the world "in accordance with Islamic Shari'ah," this to be accomplished by peaceful persuasion or force.
Yes and Muslims must strive to achieve Allah's rule on earth with their wealth and lives.
This is their religious obligation.
But it is also their obligation under their law, their "Islamic Shari'ah."
Now that law is 100% in contradiction to the United States Constitution, the US Bill of Rights and the US Declaration of Independence.
So this means that affording Islam religious status which means Muslims are free to practice their islamic religion means that Muslims are free to strive with their wealth and their lives until all "non-Muslim" Americans are free only to live in accordance with Islamic shari'ah - under which law "non-Muslim" Americans have no legal rights not even the legal right to life and no legal right to property.
In other words freedom of religion for Muslims means freedom to make "non-Muslim" Americans (and all "non-Muslims") unfree.
See Islamic Dictionary for Infidels for a full explanation of how different words have different meanings in Islam-speak all carefully designed to deceive "non-muslims" - see deception by Raymond Ibrahim.
SHARIA - NO LEGAL RIGHTS FOR "NON-MUSLIMS"
Here are three excellent studies on Shari'ah - if anyone can find any legal rights (not rights conceded by a benevolent or malevolent Muslim ruler) please advise me. I have been searching for 10 years and can find none, none whatsoever.
CONCLUSION: ISLAM'S STATUS AS A RELIGION SHOULD BE REVIEWED
Islam's status as a religion should be reviewed in the light of the legal realities.
Muslims must obey their islamic Shari'ah law.
Do "non-Muslims" really think they can or should try to incite Muslims to break their law.
Muslims obviously believe they're religious but unfortunately they worship a god, Allah, that they say is the one and only god, and according to Allah's divine Islamic Shari'ah "non-Muslims" have no legal rights.
In fact Muslims worship, sorry, a demonic god, a god who exhorts Muslims to literally stop at nothing till they conquer and rule the world.
"NON-MUSLIM" AMERICANS SHOULD REALISE THAT ISLAM IS PRIMARILY A POLITICAL MOVEMENT AND THAT RELIGION IS BEING USED AS A WEAPON IN ITS WAR TO CONQUER AND RULE THE WORLD.
Islam does this because it is following Islamic law.
According to reports from the BBC and Reuters, Iran’s oil facilities and Ministry were hit by the Stuxnet malware on Sunday shutting down operations. The Ministry website is back up today; however, the national oil company website is not. If this latest malware attack is prolonged and not readily corrected it could put a serious crimp in Iran’s ability to supply oil to the international energy commodity markets. Whoever engineered this latest attack understood what impact this would have on the Islamic Republic’s economy. The Kharg Island facility, which handles 90% of Iran’s oil production, was affected.
In a separate report in mid-April by The Verge, US and other intelligence services reported that Israel may have used proxies to insert the Stuxnet malworms in the Natanz enrichment facility using USB memory sticks. Perhaps, that may have been the method used in this latest attack on Iran’s oil management software system.
Here is the BBC report
Iran has been forced to disconnect key oil facilities after suffering a malware attack on Sunday, say reports.
The computer virus is believed to have hit the internal computer systems at Iran's oil ministry and its national oil company.
Equipment on the Kharg Island and at other Iranian oil plants has been disconnected from the net as a precaution.
Oil production had not been affected by the attack, said the Mehr news agency.
However, the attack is believed to have been responsible for knocking offline the websites of the Iranian oil ministry and national oil company.
The Ministry website was back in action on Monday but the oil company site has remained unreachable.
An Iranian oil ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying that data about users of the sites had been stolen as a result of the attack. Core data about Iran's oil industry remained safe because it was on computer systems that remain separate from the net, they added.
The terminal on Kharg Island handles about 90% of Iran's oil exports.
Iran is reported to have mobilized a "cyber crisis committee" to handle the aftermath of the attack and bolster defenses.
This committee was set up following attacks in 2010 by a virus known as Stuxnet that was aimed at the nation's nuclear program.
“I realized what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been.”
- Biff, Act II, Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller
Mike Wallace, veteran media personality, died the other day at age 93. If air time and salary are measures of merit, Wallace was an American television star and an unqualified success. He was a triple treat too; pitchman, game show host, and actor. On the back nine, Mike liked to think of himself exclusively as a journalist. The network might have plucked him from day-time television; but, taking the shill out of the entertainer was another matter. Wallace was the quintessential barker, an ambulance chaser with Press credentials. He perfected the art of “ambush” journalism at the CBS network. With such tactics, copy only led when it bled. Indeed, Mike Wallace’s career echoes some of the more predatory traditions of broadcast journalism.
The idea that day-time television (a mind numbing mix of games, gossip, cartoons, and fake reality shows) is a good apprenticeship for serious journalism is a little like believing that playing doctor as a child is good training for urologists or gynecologists. Nonetheless, the career paths of chaps like Wallace, and larger icons like Walter Cronkite, followed that road where entertainment and news merge. The problem might be worse with women. Barbara Walters moves seamlessly from bimbo chat in the AM to hard news in the PM. Diane Sawyer is now another refugee from daytime fluff.
Such media figures usually have one or more characteristics in common; liberal politics, photogenic looks, variable standards – and a knack with a teleprompter. Of these, politics and visuals are probably the deal breakers. When was the last time you saw an obese, homely, or impartial anchor?
The values are all wrong and the politics are predictable in the entertainment bullpen. Standards seem to be confined to: appearance, salesmanship, limited expertise, and selective ethics. Wallace’s Vietnam War coverage for CBS and 60 Minutes is an illustration; a case where Wallace and the network, not content with real issues like military competence, chose to attack an officer’s character. Ethos is more entertaining than issues.
In 1982, fourteen years after the fact, Wallace accused William Westmoreland of cooking the Intelligence books on Viet Cong strength numbers in 1968. Had Wallace known anything about the Order of Battle calculations, he would have known that commanding generals do not get mired in the details of bean counting; relying instead on agencies like DIA and CIA and accepting G2 (Intelligence) numbers as received wisdom.
The 60 Minutes segment alleged that Westmoreland personally suppressed Viet Cong strength numbers, a manipulation which led to the Tet Offensive “surprise” of 1968.
CBS speculations were based on several flawed premises; including a flaky witness (Sam Adams) and the implausibility of underestimates in the middle of a shooting war. Estimates of enemy strength were not done exclusively at Westmoreland’s MACV HQ in Saigon in any case; calculations were also done by agencies in Honolulu and Washington, DC.
Nonetheless, enemy threat numbers usually err on the high side (recall the ten foot Soviets of the Cold War). Threat inflation is a no-lose hedge. Higher threat estimates are also key to bigger budgets. The Tet “surprise” may have been a low point in the war, but low numbers were irrelevant in any case. The war went on for another seven years.
The libel suite against CBS was settled out of court. Westmoreland might have proved defamation, but probably not the higher standard for “malice.” Still, Wallace’s personal conduct after the trail provides a telling coda; admitting first to profound depression and then to at least one attempted suicide in the wake of the battle with Westmoreland. Is truth depressing? Are winners suicidal?
With the “uncounted enemy” charade; CBS was telling one story, but selling another; a tale of personal destruction. And the practice of political journalism is not without precedent before or after Mike Wallace.
Walter Cronkite cried on air for John Kennedy. What network anchor shed tears for Ronald Reagan when he was shot? Were Supreme Court nominee, Clarence Thomas, a liberal jurist instead of a conservative black man, would he have been savaged by PBS and Nina Totenberg? More recently, Dan Rather, another 60 Minutes regular, was caught using forged documents to attack George Bush’s character. Even colleagues claimed that Dan Rather was “transparently liberal;” a charge that might be made about many network journalists today. Rather was fired for cooking the books, while Mike Wallace was just left to marinate with a troubled conscience.
The producers of 60 Minutes and correspondents like Mike Wallace might better be called “parachute,” not ambush journalists. Indeed, men and women with limited expertise are often dropped onto a hot issue for hours or days and then returned to air conditioned suites where they judge like experts. The near tragedy with Lara Logan, another CBS protégé, in Tahrir Square, is instructive. Who thought it was a good idea to drop a blond waif, with cowardly escorts, into a howling mob of angry Muslim men?
Hemingway was a credible war correspondent because he served at the Italian front in WWI. George Orwell was a believable critic of retail Communism because he served with Red partisans in the Spanish Civil War. Joseph Conrad was a reliable source on colonialism because he lived in the “heart of darkness.” Ernie Pyle was beloved by the troops and on the home front because he bivouacked with, and ate the same chow as, the GIs for the duration of WWII.
Recall the mockery of Wallace’s CBS colleague, Dan Rather, as “Gunga Dan” for his silly costumes and war zone pretense. The credibility of reporting is not enhanced by posturing. Since the Korean War, no correspondent is ever more than a helicopter ride away from air conditioning, happy hour, and room service.
The recent network eulogies for Wallace had all the appropriate spin; replete with the numbers of Emmy and Peabody awards. Yet these, like Pulitzers, have become a kind of Special Olympics for the glitterati. If you have one significant award, it might mean something; 25 awards is a kind of faint praise - just another statistic.
Few testimonials mentioned Wallace’s ethnic paranoia, and over compensation in the form of biased coverage of Jewish or Israeli news items. Fewer still mentioned his derogatory comments about Blacks, Hispanics, or homosexuals either. And almost none mentioned Chris Wallace, Mike’s son over at FOX, who became the journalist that Mike Wallace never was.
Ironically, a few days after Wallace passed away, this year’s print Pulitzers were announced. The reporting trophy went to an Associated Press exposé; a series on the NY Police Department and the city program to collect intelligence on Islamists. Yes, a little more than a decade after 9/11, cops are again the enemy - and the Muslim community is a victim (of “profiling”), not a potential source of terror. Mike Wallace would have loved this choice, a world turned inside out by political pretense and journalistic spin.
G. Murphy Donovan served as a junior intelligence officer at 7th AF, HQ on Ton Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam, during the Tet Offensive of 1968.
Geert Wilders Brings Down Dutch Government over EU Austerity Budget
Dutch PM Mark Rutte and PVV Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders
Last Saturday night, Geert Wilders, populist leader of the PVV Freedom Party in the Netherlands walked out of intense negotiations with the ruling minority Center Right coalition government headed by PM Mark Rutte of the VVD Liberal Party. Thus ended the 557 days of this minority working coalition composed of the VVD, Christian Democrats and the PVV, which had finished third in the 2010 general elections. Wilders had refrained from joining the Rutte government in any cabinet posts. Wilders, who left the VVD created the PVV as a bulwark against Dutch multiculturalist policies including wholesale Muslim immigration with the overarching threat of Islamization. There are approximately 1 million Muslims out of a total population of 16.5 million in The Netherlands. Wilders and the PVV had sought in the current budget crisis to protect the pension rights of average citizens in Holland.
Wilders had also railed against the European Union, while fielding a PVV slate in 2009 that captured four positions in the Dutch delegation to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Wilders had objected to the recent visit of Islamist President Abdullah Gul of Turkey to the Netherlands commemorating four centuries of relations between the two countries. Gul, prior to his arrival for the visit,had criticized Wilders for being an anti-Islamic extremist. Wilders had earlier campaigned to deny Turkey’s entry to the EU. Officials of the Islamist AKP government in Turkey in 2010 objected to Wilders’ inclusion in a Dutch parliamentary delegation visiting the NATO member.
PM Rutte resigned today surrendering his credentials to Queen Beatrix after holding long discussions at the royal palace. Tomorrow a debate has been scheduled in The Hague parliament about the issues that brought down the current government and scheduling snap elections to be held in June. The issue in question is the EU austerity budget guidelines and resulting budget cuts to reach fiscal targets set by the European Commission. This is a reflection of the roiling Euro Zone controversy. The Netherlands is the fifth strongest economy in the EU and has an AAA credit rating. That credit rating may now in doubt given the budget crisis and fall of PM Rutte’s coalition government.
Rutte said the Queen was considering the resignation offer and had asked the cabinet to keep working for the country's good. However, government ministers openly speculated that new elections would be needed to break the impasse.
Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager, who has taken a tough line with euro zone "budget sinners" such as Greece, tried to reassure markets that the country was not about to ditch its commitment to good housekeeping.
"The Netherlands will retain its solid fiscal policy and will also show the market it will lower its deficit and also have a path of sustainable government finances," he said.
Wilders, 48, was kingmaker when the last government was formed in 2010; his Freedom Party is the third-largest in parliament and provided the coalition with a majority.
In withdrawing his support, he relinquished his position as the most influential politician outside the government and is set on going for real power in the next elections, which could be held as early as June.
The move threw a core euro zone member already struggling to deal with recession and EU demands for budget cuts into a political crisis, and is a huge gamble for Wilders given that his party has slipped in opinion polls.
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Given Marine Le Pen's surprisingly strong showing [18.5% of total votes cast] in the French elections at the weekend; Wilders may be hoping his anti-euro agenda will catapult him up the polls.
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He wants to pull the Netherlands out of the single currency too and reintroduce the Dutch guilder and is seeking to turn any election into a referendum on the embattled common currency.
Prominent economists have disputed the findings of a report he commissioned arguing the costs of euro membership outweighed benefits, but public opinion is on his side when it comes to his opposition to austerity.
Surveys by Maurice de Hond showed a clear majority of Dutch people think the level of budget cuts demanded by the EU is excessive, although only 32 percent favored quitting the euro.
By walking out of the budget negotiations, Wilders triggered the collapse of the government at a time of considerable economic uncertainty.
"This development is clearly credit-negative for the Dutch sovereign given that it generates both political and policy uncertainty," Sarah Carlson, a London-based vice president at the ratings firm, wrote in a research note.
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The Dutch economy is considered among the euro zone's strongest, but the Netherlands' GDP is expected to shrink 0.6% this year, which will hit the country's fiscal position, according to the Moody's note. The economy should grow 1.3% in 2013 and more thereafter, Carlson wrote.
Wilders’ book tour in the US next week comes at a momentous time for this Dutch populist political figure.