May 21, 2009
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Maddow Dissects Cheney’s National Security Speech Continue reading
First off, the President has lost none of his oratorical powers. His national security speech today, in which he sought — and, I think, largely found — the correct balance with regard to the horrendous legacy of Guantánamo, was well crafted and delivered. He delicately put down the fearmongers in both parties who have recently tried to make political capital out of Guantánamo, laid down facts about the prison with an admirable clarity, eloquently called for cross-party unity on this most pressing of issues, and also explained his proposed solutions in a comprehensive manner.
50 min video:
May 21, 2009
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Pt 2 Continue reading
Updated: May 31, 2009
Updated: May 23, 2009
compiled by Cem Ertür
21 May, 2009
1) Israeli Air Force (IAF) holds drill simulating all-out war (21 May 2009)
2) FBI foils New York synagogue bombing (21 May 2009)
3) US army chief: Iran getting a nuclear weapon would be calamitous for the world (21 May 2009)
4) Azerbaijan seen as new front in Mideast conflict (30 May 2009)
5) Israeli Deputy Defence Minister: Israel is facing a real live missile threat from surrounding Arab countries (30 May 2009)
from the archives:
1) Obama: I understand why Israel considers Iran an existential threat (May 2009)
2) Netanyahu: We will not allow Holocaust deniers to carry out another Jewish Holocaust (April 2009)
3) New York City Police Department (NYPD) commando unit preparing to protect Jewish sites (April 2009)
4) Poll: U.S. Jews split on waging war against nuclear Iran (March 2009)
5) US Jewish communities test emergency system (March 2009)
excerpts from: IAF holds drill simulating all-out war
Jerusalem Post, 21 May 2009
|Israel Air Force squadrons took part in a large scale drill simulating war on all fronts over the past four days, Channel 10 reported Thursday. […]
Unlike previous drills, the air force did not train on long-range sorties, such as those that would be carried out during an offensive targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities; the drill this past week focused on defending the country.
During the exercise, the scenario included war against Hamas in the South and war against both Hizbullah and Syria in the North.
In early June, the Israeli home front will be practiced in the most far-reaching rehearsal for an emergency rocket attack ever carried out. All Israelis will be instructed to enter secure spaces and sirens will sound out throughout the country.
excerpt from: FBI foils NY synagogue bombing
Yitzhak Benhorin, Ynetnews, 21 May 2009
|Federal law enforcement officials say four men arrested in suspected plot to bomb car near temple and Jewish community center in Bronx borough [of New York City], shoot at military planes with stinger missiles.|
Iran nuclear bomb would be calamitous: U.S. military
Reuters, 21 May 2009
|“I’m one who believes that Iran getting a nuclear weapon is calamitous for the region and for the world.”|
[Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting, 21 May 2009]
excerpts from:Azerbaijan seen as new front in Mideast conflict
by Sebastian Rotella, Los Angeles Times, 30 May 2009
|Officials say they foiled a plot by Hezbollah and Iran to bomb the Israeli Embassy in revenge for the 2008 slaying of Imad Mughniyah. Anti-terrorism officials fear a new militant hub. It happened in Baku, transforming the capital of Azerbaijan into a battleground in a global shadow war.
The prosecution remained largely a secret until this week, when closed court proceedings began for two Lebanese and four Azeris charged with terrorism, espionage and other crimes. […]
The choice of Baku last year reflects Iran’s influence, said Matthew Levitt, a former intelligence chief at the U.S. Treasury Department. […] “The Iranians have a history of a presence there. And they wouldn’t mind undermining the country, given Azerbaijan’s Western leanings.”
‘Israelis must ready for missile attack’
by Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post, 30 May 2009
|Israel is facing a “real live missile threat” from surrounding Arab countries and needs to be prepared for possible missile attacks at a moment’s notice, [Israeli] Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i told The Jerusalem Post Saturday, ahead of the nationwide emergency drill that begins on Sunday.|
from the archives:
Obama: I understand why Israel considers Iran an existential threat
|“I’ve been very clear that I don’t take any options off the table with respect to Iran. I don’t take options off the table when it comes to U.S. security, period. […]
I understand very clearly that Israel considers Iran an existential threat, and given some of the statements that have been made by President Ahmadinejad, you can understand why. […] They’re right there in range and I don’t think it’s my place to determine for the Israelis what their security needs are.”
[US President Barack Obama, Newsweek interview, 17 May 2009]
Netanyahu: We will not allow Holocaust deniers to carry out another Jewish Holocaust
|“We will not allow Holocaust deniers to carry out another Jewish Holocaust. This is the supreme commitment of the State of Israel, and it is my supreme commitment as Prime Minister of Israel.”|
[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Holocaust Remembrance Day speech in Jerusalem, 20 April 2009] 
excerpt from: NYPD commando unit preparing to protect Jewish sites
by Allison Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, 9 April 2009
|Last week, during a regular pre-Pessah security briefing with Jewish community leaders, the New York Police Department confirmed that it has counterterrorism plans ready to go in case Israel decides to bomb Iran.
Any escalation in tension between the two countries would trigger the immediate deployment of the NYPD’s elite Hercules commando units to Israel’s consulate, as well as to synagogues and institutional headquarters throughout the city, Mitch Silber, a top intelligence analyst, told the crowd.
Silber said that he believed it was his duty to “prepare for any retaliation that might happen with the region, but more specifically in the West, and more specifically New York City.”
excerpt from: Poll: U.S. Jews split on waging war against nuclear Iran
by Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz, 23 March 2009
|American Jews are evenly divided over whether the United States should launch a military offensive against Iran if it acquires nuclear weapons.
J Street, the dovish pro-Israel lobby in Washington, commissioned a poll which revealed on Monday that 41 percent of American Jews favor an attack, 40 percent oppose, and 16 percent chose neither.
excerpt from: US Jewish communities test emergency system
by Yaakov Lappin, Jerusalem Post, 9 March 2009
|In the wake of ongoing terror threats to Jewish targets around the world, representatives of American Jewish communities are now testing an integrated rapid-response system designed to allow communications during times of emergency and to share security information on an ongoing basis.|
America has lost her soul, and so has her president.
A despairing country elected a president who promised change. Americans arrived from every state to witness in bitter cold Obama’s swearing-in ceremony. The mall was packed in a way that it has never been for any other president.
The people’s good will toward Obama and the expectations they had for him were sufficient for Obama to end the gratuitous wars and enact major reforms. But Obama has deserted the people for the interests. He is relying on his non-threatening demeanor and rhetoric to convince the people that change is underway.
The change that we are witnessing is in Obama, not in policies. Obama is morphing into Dick Cheney.
Obama has not been in office four months and already a book could be written about his broken promises.
In recent weeks, there has been an unsavory race to see which Republican can come up with the most scare-mongering drivel about the remaining 240 prisoners in Guantánamo. This competition, which has also drawn in Democrats to such an extent that, on Wednesday, they spinelessly voted to withhold the funds needed to close the prison, and also to prevent the transfer of prisoners to the US, has generally focused on NIMBYist (“Not In My Back Yard”) responses to proposals to move prisoners from Guantánamo and incarcerate them on the US mainland, and has, for the most part, involved politicians who think that Americans are the toughest people in the world, and who have a network of impregnable maximum-security prisons, but who, nevertheless, have been wailing like babies about the “threat” posed by a group of men who have never been adequately screened, or received a fair hearing, to ascertain whether they are in fact a “threat” to the US.
Last week, however, Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, hit a new low in the debate by lashing out at Guantánamo’s Uyghurs (also known as Uighurs), 17 men from China’s Xinjiang province, who, after a stunning court victory last June, are the only prisoners in Guantánamo to have persuaded the Bush administration to drop its claims that they were “enemy combatants.”
In a move that seems to open up a route out of Guantánamo for prisoners accused of having an active involvement with international terrorism that does not involve reviving the much-criticized system of trials by Military Commission, the Justice Department announced today that Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian, and one of 14 “high-value detainees” transferred to Guantánamo from a secret CIA prison in September 2006, will be put on trial in a federal court in New York, following a thorough review of his case that was conducted by the interagency Guantánamo Review Task Force established by Barack Obama on his second day in office.
Ghailani, who is charged with “assist[ing] in the purchase of the Nissan truck as well as the oxygen and acetylene tanks that were used in the bombing of the US Embassy in Tanzania,” and who is “further alleged to have participated in loading boxes of TNT, cylinder tanks, batteries, detonators, fertilizer and sand bags into the back of the truck in the weeks immediately before the bombing,” admitted at a hearing in Guantánamo in 2007 that he “bought the TNT used in the bombing, purchased a cell phone used by another person involved in the attack and was present when a third person bought a truck used in the attack,” but apologized for his involvement, saying that he did not know that the supplies would be used to attack the embassy.
By David Walsh
21 May 2009
On Wednesday, the same day another eight Afghan civilians were killed by a NATO-led air strike in Helmand province, the American military released the findings of its interim investigation into the mass killing of civilians in Afghanistan’s Farah province May 4.
The investigation concluded that US bombs killed “60 to 65 Taliban extremists” while “at least 20 to 30 civilians may have been killed during the fighting,” according to a US Forces Afghanistan news release.
This conclusion, unsubstantiated by any evidence, flies in the face of local accounts, International Red Cross reports and an official Afghan government inquiry that found 140 civilians, including 93 children, died in the US air attack. Only 22 of the victims were adult males. Other sources have put the total death toll higher.
by Larry Chin
Global Research, May 20, 2009
A red herring is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is used to divert attention from the original issue. The furor over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s knowledge of the Bush/Cheney administration’s use of torture is the latest Washington noise that conveniently diverts attention from the illegitimate “war on terrorism” that continues to serve as the justification for torture, murder and war.
Nancy’s clumsy tap dance
In a series of bumbling statements, Pelosi has denied her knowledge of the extent of the Bush/Cheney administration’s use of torture and other “enhanced interrogation techniques”.
Pelosi admits that she was aware, as early as September 2002, that “enhanced interrogation” techniques were being explored by the Bush/Cheney’s Office of Legal Counsel as legal options, but that she was not told that they were being used. A timeline from the CIA and statements from well-placed (but unnamed) Democratic Party sources refute Pelosi’s claim.