Thursday, April 21, 2011

What is the point of dragging Israel, victim of Hamas terrorism into the question of Arrigoni’s death?

From Il Giornale, April 16, 2011, by Fiamma Nirenstein:

The cruelty of the public execution of a young man who had family and friends, as it was the case with Vittorio Arrigoni's killing, is always awful. And this is clear.

What isn’t clear to the European public is that it is patently evident that the killers are his old Islamic Jihadists friends from Gaza. But they could have been Afghanis, or Iraqis.

In 2002, Daniel Pearl was killed in Karachi with similar methods because he was a Jew; in 2004 the decapitation of the American Nick Berg in Iraq was filmed, the Jihadists said, «to give a clear message to the West»; the Italian Fabrizio Quattrocchi was executed because he was «an enemy of God, an enemy of Allah» and Vittorio Arrigoni, as his butchers say it in the video, in the words that scroll across the screen, because «he was spreading western immorality in Gaza» and because «Italy fights against Islamic countries».

It has been repeated again and again that Hamas, with whom Arrigoni was on friendly terms, has condemned the crime. But in actual fact it doesn’t matter if the assassins are members of Hamas or not. They have been, they will be, they are all controlled by Hamas. Even Al Qaida, which has a presence in Gaza, is seen by Hamas in a better or worse light, depending on the moment. But Hamas is always top dog in Gaza.

Hamas is responsible for the captivity of Gilad Shalit; it was responsible for the armed destruction of the UN recreational camp for children, which did not abide by Islamic dictates; it was responsible for arresting 150 women under the accusation of witchcraft and the execution of several of them; it is Hamas that has introduced by law death penalty, whipping, cutting off hands and crucifixion, according to Sharia. Hamas killed the 32-year old Christian book salesman Rami Khader Ayyad, guilty of selling Bibles.

Not all those who carry out these operations, or which Hamas gives orders to fire Qassam missiles against Israel, are members of the terrorist organization that rules Gaza; indeed at times it pretend to fight them.

Hamas is a movement, a party, a fundamentalist State. Its statute stipulates that it wants to destroy the Jewish State, to exterminate Jews and impose an Islamic caliphate on the entire world. Salafite fringes and those linked more to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, those influenced to a greater or lesser extent by Iran or Al Qaeda and based in the Gaza Strip, join up and leave Hamas by turns. The fact that Hamas has now disowned the killers of Arrigoni is not of the slightest importance. In any case, they were still employed by Hamas as members of the Al Qassam Brigades.

To understand the death of this Italian activist, one important fact must be grasped: his death was triggered by the spurious way he mixed his humanitarian ideals with the cause of fundamentalist Gaza, by the fact that he mixed his life with that of his potential enemies, that he thought about as his best friends.

But fundamentalists do not have stable affinities. Only their interpretation of Quran counts. Hamas Gaza, where Arrigoni has been killed, is for us a land ruled by awful and distant laws. Arrigoni loved the Palestinians, but he remained a total foreigner for them. It is for us unconcivable, even if you are a militant like Arrigoni, to live alongside those who fire missiles on civilians, wear belts packed with explosives and hand out sweets when an Israeli family is killed in Itamar, including a three months baby, a four years old child and another of nine.

This is a crucial issue: when you go to Gaza, or Afghanistan, you have to realise that our conception of life, is complitely different from any Islamic political conception of life. You can die because you are Jewish, because you are Italian, or Christian, because you are an apostate, or a corrupt Westerner... the extremist mentality, make no bones about it, cancels out friends and allies.

No matter how much you have worked against the «Zionist power» or that you have called Zionists «rats» (and Arrigoni did this), nothing is of any worth if you break their rule, a rule which will remain unclear until the knife blade comes. Arrigoni was fan of political Islamism because he was an enemy of the Jews, but this did not save him from a cruel execution in front of the camera, just as the one of many others friends or enemies of Hamas or the Islamic Jihad, never mind.

So it is intellectually sad and even dangerous that a demonstration in front of the Italian Parliament blamed Israel and Italy for Arrigoni’s death; or that the ISM, the pro-Palestinian NGO Arrigoni belonged to, attributed «moral responsibility to the State of Israel». These reactions seem to be triggered only by ideological hatred.

But what is more striking still, with sincerest respect for the figure of the President of Republic, was the statement of condolences which Giorgio Napolitano rightly delivered; instead of laying the blame on Islamic fundamentalism, he asked that «a negotiated solution be found to the conflict which sees bloodshed in the region». With the same coherence, he could have invoked any good cause: the fight against world hunger, or child prostitution.

Yet instead, Israel is being summoned to face some mysterious responsibility.

But the fault is only of Islamic fundamentalism; what is the point of dragging the pained witness and victim of Hamas terrorism into the question?

Iran implicates Siemens in Stuxnet cyberattack

From Computerworld, April 18, 2011 by Gregg Keizer:

...Iran's Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali laid some of the blame for the Stuxnet worm that attacked his country's nuclear facilities, on Siemens.

...Jalali heads Iran's Passive Defense Organization, a military unit responsible for constructing and defending the country's nuclear enrichment facilities. He is a former commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guard.
Stuxnet, which first came to light in June 2010 but hit Iranian targets in several waves starting the year before, has been extensively analyzed by security researchers, most notably a three-man team at Symantec, and by Ralph Langner of the German firm Langner Communications GmbH.

According to both Symantec and Langner, Stuxnet was designed to infiltrate Iran's nuclear enrichment program, hide in the Iranian SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) control systems that operate its plants, then force gas centrifuge motors to spin at unsafe speeds. Gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium, can fly apart if spun too fast.

..."The investigations and research showed that the Stuxnet worm had been disseminated from sources in the U.S. and Israel," said Jalali, who added that the worm sent reports of infected systems to computers in Texas.

Jalali's allegations of U.S. and Israeli involvement were the first from an Iranian official, although President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly blamed the two countries for trying to destabilize his government.
In January, the New York Times, citing confidential sources, said that Stuxnet was jointly created by the U.S. and Israel, with the latter using its covert nuclear facility at Dimona to test the worm's effectiveness on centrifuges like the ones Iran employs.

According to the Times, Siemens cooperated in 2008 with the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to help experts there identify vulnerabilities in the SCADA hardware and software sold by the German firm. The lab -- located about 30 miles east of Idaho Falls, Idaho -- is the U.S. Department of Energy's lead nuclear research facility.

...Symantec ...has said that Stuxnet was very successful. In a February update to its research on the worm, Symantec said the first attacks in June 2009 infected Iranian computers just 12 hours after the worm was compiled. The average time between compilation and infection was 19 days for the 10 successful attacks Symantec monitored over an 11-month span.

How good an ally is Israel?

A Passover Hymn (Da'ye'nu) 2011, about US-Israel relations, from Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, Jerusalem, Israel:

"How many degree of beneficence hath the Almighty conferred upon us?!  If He had brought us forth from Egypt, and had not executed judgment upon the Egyptians, it would have sufficed (Da'ye'nu)...

If He had inflicted justice upon them..., it would have sufficed (Da'ye'nu')..."

If Israel were merely the most effective battle-tested laboratory available to the USA, the source for over 600 modifications of the F-16, and thousands of cutting-edge modifications in hundreds additional US military systems, enhancing US national security, while providing the US defense industries a unique mega-billion dollars competitive edge in the global market, expanding US employment, research & development and export infrastructures - Da'ye'nu (it would have sufficed to crown Israel as a unique two-way-street ally of the USA);

If Israel were merely the source of breakthrough battle tactics, which were the first to penetrate/jam/destroy the most sophisticated Soviet/Russian surface-to-air missile batteries and radar systems, in addition to transferring to the US the first Soviet MIG-21 and 23 and other Soviet military systems, which tilted global balance of power in favor of the USA, providing the US defense industries with mega-billion dollars bonanza - Da'ye'nu;

If Israel were merely the source of intelligence - shared with the USA - which exceeds the scope of intelligence received by the US from all NATO countries combined (according to Senator Daniel Inouye, former Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and current Chairman of the full Appropriations Committee) and is equal to five CIAs (according to retired General George Keegan, former Chief of US Air Force Intelligence) - Da'ye'nu;

If Israel were merely the country which destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981 (in defiance of global opposition), thus providing the USA a conventional option in  the 1991 Gulf War, sparing the US a potential
traumatic nuclear confrontation -  Da'ye'nu;

If Israel were merely a source of battle-proven experience and military systems - combating IEDs, car bombs, suicide bombers and generic terrorism - shared with US Special Operations units, which battle Islamic terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, thus minimizing US losses - Da'ye'nu;

If - as stated by the late General Alexander Haig, former Supreme Commander of NATO and former Secretary of State -Israel were merely the largest American aircraft carrier which does not require a single American personnel, which cannot be sunk, which is the most battle-tested and cost-effective, and located in a region, which is critical to vital US economic and national security interests - Da'ye'nu;

If there would not be an Israel in the eastern flank of the Mediterranean, and the US would have to deploy to the region real aircraft carriers with tens of thousands of American servicemen, costing the US taxpayers $20BN annually and possibly dragging the US into local and regional conflicts - all of which has been spared by the existence and capabilities of the Jewish State - Da'ye'nu;

If there would not be havoc in Arab lands, highlighting the Jewish State as the only stable, reliable, credible, capable, predictable, democratic and non-conditional ally of the USA - Da'ye'nu;

If Israel were not the place where- according to Warren Buffett - hundreds of  major American companies and investors shop for innovative ideas, which they transform into technologies, products and manufacturing lines, benefitting both American and Israeli employment, trade, research & development and exports - Da'ye'nu;

If Israel were not the source of hundreds of revolutionary medical device, healthcare, telecommunications, Internet, laptops, cellular and social networking technologies/products.- enhancing quality of life in the US and throughout the globe - Da'ye'nu;

If US-Israel covenant were not uniquely based on shared values (dating back to the Pilgrims and the US Founding Fathers), joint interests and mutual threats - Da'ye'nu (It would have sufficed to crown Israel as a unique two-way-street ally of the USA).

US Impotence in the face of Hysterical Hypocrisy at the UN

From Fox News, April 18, 2011, by Anne Bayefsky:

...Democracy-seekers are dying all over [Syria]. Meanwhile, at the United Nations, negotiations over what would be the organization’s first-ever definition of terrorism ended with deadlock on Friday after fifteen years of talking about it.

Leading the naysayers from the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) was Syria, a country that claimed that murdering its preferred antagonists doesn’t count. That might be just a bad joke, except for the fact that the Obama administration has made the U.N. the centerpiece of its national security policy.

Friday marked the last day of a week-long effort by the U.N. ad-hoc Committee on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism to finalize a comprehensive convention on international terrorism. Negotiations began back in 1996, and courtesy of American taxpayer dollars, they pick up now and again about every six months. Back in 2003, there was a draft put forward by a coordinator charged with bridging gaps, but the OIC objected because a definition of terrorism should “distinguish it from the legitimate struggle of peoples against foreign occupation.” Then again in 2007 a draft compromise failed because the OIC said the proposed definition failed to draw a “distinction between terrorism and peoples’ struggle for self-determination and against foreign occupation.”

On Friday, with four more years of diplomatic lunches under their belt, the OIC and its Syrian spokesperson said no deal because there is a “distinction between terrorism and the struggle for the rights of self-determination by people under foreign occupation and colonial or alien domination.” Representatives from Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia immediately voiced their wholehearted agreement. In plain language, Islamic states including Muslim “allies” of the United States, insist that all Israelis, Americans who get in their way, or anybody else nowadays who objects to President Bashar Assad’s idea of “self-determination,” are fair game.

And Syria’s run at the U.N. on Friday didn’t end there.

Syria is currently running for a seat on the U.N.’s flagship “human rights” body, the Human Rights Council. Seats are allocated to five regional groups, and just to make sure Syria’s ascendancy is unimpeded, the Asian group has only nominated the same number of states as they have seats. So barring any unexpected additions, Syria will join fellow U.N. human rights authorities like Saudi Arabia on the Council in May.

The U.N. does have a “test” for Human Rights Council wannabes. They call it a pledge system – candidates should promise to protect human rights. In the words of the 2006 General Assembly resolution that created the Council (the Bush administration and Israel casting a negative vote), when electing candidates “voluntary pledges and commitments made” “to the promotion and protection of human rights” should be “taken into account.”

Syria has been a quick study. Its pledge, obligingly posted on the U.N. website, says: “Promotion and protection of human rights are of highest importance to Syria…Syria’s candidature to the Human Rights Council signifies its commitment to respect and to support the inalienable and indivisible nature of all human rights.”

That might be another bad joke. Except that the Obama administration announced on March 30 that it was so “pleased to note the landmark achievements of the most recent session of the U.N. Human Rights Council” that it was going to seek a second term. That characterization of the Council’s main March session is somewhat dubious, at least if the administration cared at all about the concept of equality and the welfare of Israel. The last session was the worst on record for the demonization of the Jewish state, the Council adopting more anti-Israel resolutions in one sitting than ever before. The wildly premature announcement – the U.S. term will end in December 31, 2012 according to a new General Assembly deal – erases any possibility of using prospective U.S. membership or associated dollars as clout.

Which brings us back to Syria. Obama diplomats have been making tiny noises about attempting to institute criteria for belonging to the Council that have something to do with a country’s actual human rights record. On Friday, Syrians diplomats treated the toothless Obama speechifying with the ridicule it so richly deserved.

Syrian U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari warned “those who call for reviewing membership criteria” that the move “would bring unpleasant surprises.” In addition to his country’s penchant for bashing heads, what he meant by this threat was a list of seventeen membership “criteria that have to be met in case this matter is re-visited.”

Syrian thugs think these states should be disqualified from Human Rights Council membership: “colonial states,” states which “…have taken part in the slave trade and not apologized,… propagate Islamophobia…and all forms of cultural discrimination, …ignore international legitimacy,…interfere in the internal affairs of other UN members,…foster state terrorism,…and cause greenhouse effects and global warming.”

However ludicrous, make no mistake about how this classic U.N. debate will turn out. The U.S. idea of caring about human rights as a qualification for membership will be set off against Syria’s list and result in maintaining the status quo – namely, the laughable pledge. There is no possibility whatsoever, that the same countries who comprise the majority of members of the U.N. General Assembly – only 87 of 192 are fully free democracies according to Freedom House – are going to police themselves. Even if the Syrian candidacy is eventually challenged, there is no shortage of like-minded comrades to join Cuba, China, Russian and the Saudis on the U.N.’s idea of a human rights body.

Sadly, none of the above stopped United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice from telling lawmakers on Capitol Hill a week ago that “the U.N. promotes universal values Americans hold dear” and “the United Nations… make[s] Americans safer.” With the Obama administration looking to the U.N. for guidance on protecting “human rights” and combating “terrorism,” Americans are in serious trouble.