Archive for July, 2012

Mein Name ist Hase…

Sunday, July 8th, 2012
A Herrenknecht tunnel boring machine

A Herrenknecht tunnel boring machine

I’ll explain the title of this post at the end.

News item:

BERLIN – Germany’s multi-billion euro bilateral trade relationship with Iran continues unabated, even as evidence mounts that the Islamic Republic is determined to build a nuclear weapons capability.

The Jerusalem Post has obtained an uncensored list from late 2011, showing hundreds of German and Iranian enterprises in a flourishing trade relationship.

This is despite Iran’s construction of Fordow, a medium-level uranium enrichment facility buried into the side of a mountain near Qom, and the fact that the German equipment could be used to build more underground nuclear facilities.

Some businesses have asked that their names be removed from the list to avoid damage to their reputations.

One company named is Baden-Württemberg-based engineering giant Herrenknecht AG, which appears to be delivering heavy tunneling equipment to Iran – some of which is promoted as having the capability of “drilling down to depths of 6,000 meters.”

In response to Post inquiries, an unidentified representative of the company wrote via email on Friday that it has “comprehensively ensured that Herrenknecht excavation engineering and services solely reach projects which clearly pursue civil applications [metro tunnel construction, sewage pipes and water supply lines].”

Oh, of course they have! And what exactly will they do when the Iranians use their machinery for something else? File a complaint?

Kind of stupid, when you realize that Baden-Württemberg is about 1850 miles from Iranian territory, which is, or soon will be, within range of Iranian missiles.

So what about the title of this post? There is a German expression, “Mein Name ist Hase, ich weiß von nichts,” which literally means “My name is Hare [or Rabbit] and I don’t know anything,” that is,  “don’t ask me, I don’t know.” (The expression dates back to the 19th century, and it relates to someone named Von Hase, not a rabbit). Anyway, it’s said that Germans captured at the end of WWII often used this expression when questioned about extermination camps or other Nazi atrocities.

But today’s ‘rabbits’ are not fooling anyone. I think that Herrenknecht and others know exactly why Iran wants this equipment, and they are therefore guilty of helping Iran achieve nuclear weapons.

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The Divine Suha and Arafat’s iconic underwear

Sunday, July 8th, 2012
The divine Suha at the Dubai Film Festival in 2011

The divine Suha (2nd from l) at the Dubai Film Festival in 2011

As you may know, Suha Arafat, the widow of the Original Terrorist, went to al-Jazeera with a few pieces of Arafat’s clothing and claimed that she had kept them in a ‘secure room’ since his death in 2004.  After a ‘nine-month investigation’, al-Jazeera breathlessly reported that

…tests reveal that Arafat’s final personal belongings – his clothes, his toothbrush, even his iconic kaffiyeh – contained abnormal levels of polonium, a rare, highly radioactive element. Those personal effects, which were analyzed at the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, were variously stained with Arafat’s blood, sweat, saliva and urine. The tests carried out on those samples suggested that there was a high level of polonium inside his body when he died.

“I can confirm to you that we measured an unexplained, elevated amount of unsupported polonium-210 in the belongings of Mr. Arafat that contained stains of biological fluids,” said Dr. Francois Bochud, the director of the institute.

The findings have led Suha Arafat, his widow, to ask the Palestinian Authority to exhume her late husband’s body from its grave in Ramallah. If tests show that Arafat’s bones contain high levels of polonium, it would be more conclusive proof that he was poisoned, doctors say.

Well. A sensation! The diabolical Zionists poisoned him after all!

The only problem is that Suha apparently majored in French haute couture, not physics. And the staff of al-Jazeera like a good story more than a reasonable one.

The half-life of Polonium-210 is 138 days. This means that after 8 years, only about 4.3 x 10-7 — 0.00000043 — of the original amount of Polonium would be left. So even if Arafat’s iconic underwear had been loaded with the stuff after his death, it would be undetectable, or at least at much lower levels than the Swiss laboratory found.

As Johnny Cochran would have pointed out, there is a problem with the chain of custody of the evidence.

What is more interesting is the half-life of the money that Suha extracted from the Palestinian Authority (PA), which of course is supported by the US and the European Union.

When Arafat died in November 2004, hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of dollars in his secret accounts went missing. Suha refused to release Arafat’s body for a week, until the PA agreed to pay her an adequate pension (estimates range from $12,000 to $100,000 monthly).

It’s doubtful that she needed it. Earlier that year, French prosecutors investigated $11.4 million of mysterious payments into her accounts:

The inquiry, disclosed by a satirical French weekly, Le Canard Enchaîné, and confirmed by unidentified judicial officials to The Associated Press, was opened in October after the Bank of France notified the Paris prosecutor’s office that Mrs. Arafat’s accounts at two banks in France had received relatively regular transfers of nearly $1.27 million each from Switzerland between July 2002 and September 2003. The newspaper also reported that about $2.5 million of the money had been diverted to an account of an interior decorating firm, Alberto Pinto.

The PA today is undergoing what it calls its “worst financial crisis” in three years, being unable to pay its employees. Most of these employees are part of its ‘security’ forces, who from time to time murder Israelis. Many of them are in Hamas-controlled Gaza, where they are either doing nothing or working for Hamas. Some are in Israeli prisons, having been convicted of crimes including multiple murder (they get paid anyway). And then there are the pensions paid to the widows of ‘martyrs’, suicide and otherwise.

Maybe Suha will make a donation?

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The UN is a Frankenstein monster

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

I may have written the following before, but it bears repeating:

The United Nations is a Frankenstein monster, an evil and vicious creature that has become precisely the opposite of what its creators intended. Rather than a vehicle to prevent war and ameliorate human suffering, to spread freedom and human rights, it has become a tool of the forces that want to propel the world back into pre-modern darkness.

From a statement released today by Hillel Neuer’s UN Watch group:

GENEVA, July 5 – The U.N.’s top human rights body defied the U.S. today by adopting a Cuban-led “right to peace” resolution that endorses resistance against “foreign occupation,” for the first time granting U.N. Human Rights Council legitimization of the terminology used by Middle East extremists to justify terrorist attacks against Americans and Israelis.

Initiated by Cuba, the resolution’s co-sponsors included Syria, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Belarus, China, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua.

Everyone should read the advisory committee’s repetitious, Orwellian draft of the resolution, in order to fully savor the absurdities that the occupy our UN. There is a lot of discussion of gender-sensitivity, climate change, the environment, foreign debts, disarmament, military outsourcing, etc. But there is also some language that is clearly aimed at Israel and the West.

The post-colonial paradigm is embedded  throughout, with many references to the special rights of indigenous peoples.

Article 11.      Rights of victims and vulnerable groups

1.       Every victim of a human rights violation has the right, in accordance with international human rights law, to the restoration of the violated rights; to obtain the investigation of facts, as well as identification and punishment of those responsible; to obtain effective and full redress, including the right to rehabilitation and compensation; to measures of symbolic redress or reparation; and to guarantees that the violation will not be repeated.

2.       Everyone subjected to aggression, genocide, foreign occupation, racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other related forms of intolerance or apartheid, colonialism and neo-colonialism deserve special attention as victims of violations of the right to peace.

3.       States shall ensure that the specific effects of the different forms of violence on the enjoyment of the rights of persons belonging to groups in situations of vulnerability, such as indigenous peoples, are taken fully into account. They have the obligation to ensure that remedial measures are taken, including the recognition of the right of persons belonging to groups in situations of vulnerability to participate in the adoption of such measures.

And of course there is the assertion of a right to resist occupation:

Article 7. Resistance and opposition to oppression

1.       All peoples and individuals have the right to resist and oppose oppressive colonial, foreign occupation or dictatorial domination (domestic oppression).

2.       Everyone has the right to oppose aggression, genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, violations of other universally recognized human rights, and any propaganda in favour of war or incitement to violence and violations of the right to peace, as defined in the present declaration.

Note that while any form of ‘censorship’ is forbidden and freedom of thought and expression is guaranteed, there is also a right to ‘oppose’ what is defined as ‘propaganda’ in favor of war or violence.

Naturally, there is also a guarantee of refugee status, not only for those who who have fled their homeland, but for those who are outside the country of [their] nationality. In other words, someone with ‘Palestinian’ nationality can be a refugee even if he or she has never been in ‘Palestine.’

And need I add that there is a ‘right of return’ for refugees?

Article 12.      Refugees and migrants

1.       All individuals have the right to seek and to enjoy refugee status without discrimination, if there is a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of one’s nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail oneself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to return to it.

2.       Refugee status should include, inter alia, the right to voluntary return to one’s country or place of origin or residence in dignity and with all due guarantees, once the causes of persecution have been removed and, in case of armed conflict, it has ended.

And who gets to decide what is war propaganda, who is indigenous, who is a refugee, what is apartheid, neo-colonialism, racism, etc.?

Why, the UN and its Human Rights Commission of course:

                Article 13.              Obligations and implementation

1.       The preservation, promotion and implementation of the right to peace constitute a fundamental obligation of all States and of the United Nations as the most universal body harmonizing the concerted efforts of the nations to realize the purposes and principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations.

5.       States should strengthen the effectiveness of the United Nations in its dual functions of preventing violations and protecting human rights and human dignity, including the right to peace. In particular, it is for the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Human Rights Council and other competent bodiesto take effective measures to protect human rights from violations that may constitute a danger or threat to international peace and security.6.       The Human Rights Council is invited to set up a body to continue discussion on and monitoring of the right to peace and to report to relevant United Nations bodies.

Today’s resolution, to continue the process of ‘promoting’ this declaration, was passed. Only one member of the council cast a ‘no’ vote: the US.

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State finally condemns Rahimi, a week too late

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Last week I wrote about a high Iranian official’s anti-Jewish remarks and suggested that they consituted a threat and incitement to genocide. Yesterday (July 3), the State Department finally issued a statement in the name of spokeswoman Victoria Nuland:

We strongly condemn Iranian First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi’s vile anti-Semitic and racist comments on June 26 at the International Day Against Drug Abuse conference in Tehran. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has confirmed that the conference was not held under UN auspices, nor did officials in attendance have any idea that Rahimi would level such offensive charges. Both UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon and UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov registered their dismay and serious concern over Rahimi’s anti-Semitic speech and issued a statement July 3 calling on Iranian officials to refrain from these kinds of anti-Semitic statements.

It is strange that it took more than a week for State to notice, and that the statement was made by Nuland and not Secretary of State Clinton. After all, since June 26, Ms Clinton had time to comment on the Solomon Islands’ and Venezuelan independence days, the national days of the Congo,  Rwanda, Somalia and Burundi, and of course Canada day; speak at the dedication of Sumner Welles Street in Riga, Latvia; speak at the Climate Clean Air and Green Embassy event in Helsinki, Finland; and much more. She also gave interviews to NPR and CNN during which she did not mention the affair.

The last sentence of the press release is very misleading. Ban-Ki Moon publicly condemned Rahimi’s remarks on the day after they were made. So did the EU Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton, no particular friend of Israel. And so did the Italian Foreign Minister and the UK Foreign Office.

So why did our State Department wait 8 days to notice? And why was the statement made by Nuland and not our own “Foreign Minister?”

The statement that the conference “was not held under UN auspices” is mysterious. UN officials were present, as were European diplomats (some of whom expressed shock at Rahimi’s remark). Original reports said it was “co-sponsored by the UN and Iran.”  The impression is unavoidable that the State Department is more concerned about the possibility of a slur against the UN — which for once appears innocent — than about the Iranian’s Hitlerist remarks.

It is embarrassing that the US, given the Obama Administration’s constant repetition of its ‘unbreakable bonds’ with Israel should be so late and tepid in its response. It is not so surprising, though, given the administration’s practical actions to distance itself from Israel.

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Cosigning for the devil

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

News item:

Israel sought a $1 billion IMF bridging loan for the Palestinian Authority earlier this year, but was turned down, an Israeli newspaper said Monday in a report confirmed to AFP by a senior Israeli official.

Haaretz reported that Israel’s central bank chief Stanley Fischer approached the International Monetary Fund for the money after discussing the Palestinian Authority’s financial crisis with Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad.

Absurd, isn’t it: Israel should take a loan to support an organization that officially considers Jews the offspring of apes and pigs and which venerates ‘heroes’ like Samir Kuntar and Dalal Mughrabi whose heroism consisted of murdering Jewish children?

I suppose I can understand the reasoning of the Israeli government: if the Palestinian Authority (PA) were to collapse, it would be replaced by Hamas or worse. Israel would lose whatever leverage it has over corrupt PA officials, and there would be an end to ‘security cooperation’ (PA people arresting or helping Israel to arrest Hamas terrorists). In the short term there would be more terrorism.

But I am not sure propping up the PA is a good long-term policy for Israel. The PLO-run PA does not differ from Hamas and more extreme elements in its ultimate goal: the elimination of Jewish sovereignty and the replacement of Israel with an Arab state. Its strategy differs — it endeavors to present a ‘moderate’ image to external observers — and perhaps it is marginally more corrupt than Hamas, but that is not to say that it is less likely to achieve its objective.

What is dangerous about the PA is that while its existence reduces the chances of a military confrontation in the near term, it facilitates the longer-term diplomatic war against Israel.

The PA enables the US president to demand that Israel stop construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem and withdraw to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines. The PA manipulates UN agencies like UNESCO, which it uses to deny Jewish history.

The existence of the PA is necessary to the myth of a ‘peace process’ — the idea that somehow there can be a negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians that will result in a partition of the land which will end the conflict and cause the Arabs to accept the existence of a Jewish state.

The myth has been refuted over and over by the words of Mahmoud Abbas and other PA leaders, who insist that they will not recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, regardless of borders.

The PA is ‘unnatural’. It exists only because it is supported by the US, the UN and Israel. It was created by the failed Oslo process, which was based on the aforementioned myth.

Maybe the myth, and the PA, has outlived its utility. Maybe it is time for the Palestinian Arabs to stand on their own, without subsides, without special UN agencies, departments, “special rapporteurs,” etc. Maybe they should have to accept the consequences of their multiple refusals to compromise, to accept a sovereign state when offered, and rather to insist that only the elimination of Jewish sovereignty would be acceptable to them.

Would this make them more ‘realistic’? Probably not.

Perhaps they will choose Hamas or perhaps they will descend into civil strife. It is not Israel’s responsibility to protect them from themselves, only to defend herself against aggression if that is the path they take.

As I’ve argued before, Israel should unilaterally establish a defensible eastern border. It’s been 64 years since the War of Independence, and it should be clear by now that the Arabs in general, and the Palestinian Arabs in particular, are not prepared to agree to the permanent existence of a Jewish state.

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