Friday, April 22, 2016

Europe's decades-long neglect of terror - Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

by Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

Right now, Europe is not dealing with the terror in its midst.

American authorities expect additional terror attacks in Europe. The State Department has alerted US citizens to potential risks of travel throughout the continent writing: “Terrorist groups continue to plan near-term attacks throughout Europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants, and transportation. This Travel Alert expires on June 20, 2016.”[1]

However, many European countries still do not take the risks of random mass terror attacks seriously. This form of terrorism reared its head again in the Paris attacks of November 2015, and in Brussels in March 2016. After the Brussels killings much information on the failures of Belgium’s intelligence community came to light, together with the neglect of its security infrastructure. The feeble structure and inadequate equipment of Belgium’s law enforcement bodies contributed significantly to Belgium’s failure in this crisis. Following the Paris attacks existing terror databases were not even updated concerning local terrorists,.[2]

Europe’s counter-terrorism apparatus needs still major improvement. Many in the political system seem to believe that better intelligence services and more adequately trained police forces may largely resolve terrorism. It is indeed true that some European countries are gravely lacking in these areas. In the Netherlands, for example, the special police units deployed to protect that country against terrorism and serious crime are understaffed and have a conflict with the top management of the Dutch police.[3]

Over the past fifty years, terror attacks in Europe aimed mainly against specific targets. Attacks were directed against Israel, for example, or Israel-related targets. This “targeted” form of terrorism also emerged in the murders of prominent people by the German Baader-Meinhof group, the Italian Red Brigades and the French Action Directe. Targeted terrorism was also practiced by the Muslim murderers of Charlie Hebdo magazine staffers in Paris, and Jews in Toulouse, Paris, Brussels and Copenhagen.

It was the targeted terrorism by Europeans in particular which aroused a response of European governments during several decades of the past century. Surviving members of the Baader-Meinhof group, the Red Brigades and Action Directe were largely arrested. The super-terrorist Carlos “The Jackal” is serving a life-sentence in France. Anders Breivik, who attacked a gathering of the AUF Labour Party youth movement at the Utoya island in Norway in 2011 murdering 69, has been condemned to the maximum 21 years of detention in Norway. Breivik also randomly killed eight people with a bomb he planted in a van in Oslo prior to arriving at the island.[4]  

Such action was far from evident concerning the Palestinian terror organizations which attacked Israelis in Europe in the last decades of the previous century. Several European governments sought agreements with terrorist bodies in return for promises not to attack targets in their countries.  These agreements meant that Palestinian murderers were freed, and terrorists were allowed operational freedom in part of Europe. In a lethal twist of irony, Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro who had approved such an agreement for his country with the PLO was later kidnapped and murdered by the Red Brigades.[5]

Some of the random terror attacks in Europe yielded many victims, but they were carried out by different perpetrators. The bombings in the Bologna train station massacre in 1980 were probably carried out by neo-fascists and killed 85 people, wounding 200. [6] The Omagh bombing in Northern Ireland by the Real Irish Republican Army in 1998 killed 31 and wounded 220.[7] The explosion of a Pan Am plane above Lockerbie in 1988 was ordered by Libya’s then ruler Muammar Gaddafi killing 243 passengers and 16 crew, together with 11 more on the ground.[8]

The first random mass killing in Western Europe by Muslims took place in Madrid in September 2004 in the Atocha train station, killing 191 and injuring over 1800.[9] This was followed by the London underground and bus bombings of June 2005 killing over 50 and injuring hundreds of others.[10] 

As no further major random attacks followed until the massacres in Paris November 2015, European governments took little action, and in particular avoided the next, immediate step – systematic profiling. One look at the picture of the three terrorists at Brussels airport indicates that if professional profile specialists had been positioned outside Brussels airport, the killers would have been stopped and their luggage thoroughly examined. Yet there is great resistance in Europe against profiling because of its ethnic aspects, even if not all profiles of those to be specially checked are ethnically determined. 

If major random terror attacks in Europe become more regular, as the American authorities suspect, significantly more personal data will have to be assembled, filed in data banks and shared with authorities in other countries. Furthermore a number of current democratic rights will have to be gradually curtailed to some extent. One such is privacy, as more surveillance of communications would be required. Those who preach Salafism would be prime candidates for limitations on free speech. Although it is predictable that citizens will resist such limitations of democratic rights, the increasing threat of cyber terror also necessitates such measures.  However, although even now some express concerns of a police state, given the current criticized inefficiency of police in Western countries, such a police state is light years away.

Many Europeans find it hard to acknowledge that the situation would have been better if European governments had not tried to negotiate agreements with the Palestinian terror organizations decades ago. Not only did they transgress their own countries’ laws in entering into such agreements, they also did not learn from the “success” of Palestinian terrorism. The same is true for the Madrid and London random bombings from which, again, Europeans apparently learned little.

Israel has been the target of far more terror attacks than any European country, yet no attack has come close to the number of dead in Madrid, London and Paris. There is no guarantee that this will not happen in the future.  Israel however shows that random terrorism can be effectively limited, with vigilance, highly trained anti-terror forces, and a democratic society with the cultural ability and a sufficient sense of clear and present danger to accept, if necessary certain limitations of democratic freedoms.

Such preparedness will only come about in Europe as a consequence of further attacks. This time period may be shortened and lives saved if Europeans begin to recognize the reflection of the current Israeli reality emerging in their own countries. Yet, as indicated above, in order to implement lessons learned through Israel’s experience, Europe’s culture in dealing with terrorism has to change in a major way.


Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld has been a long-term adviser on strategy issues to the boards of several major multinational corporations in Europe and North America.He is board member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and recipient of the LIfetime Achievement Award (2012) of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Iran's Nuclear Missiles in Our Future - Peter Huessy

by Peter Huessy

Iran's purpose seems obvious. By blocking transparency for its nuclear activities and evading enforcement of the terms of the JCPOA, Iran gets to move forward with its nuclear weapons development even as it pretends not to.

  • Iran has not only failed to sign the agreement, it passed a parliamentary resolution reiterating Iran's right to do the nuclear activities the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA) forbids.
  • Most of the media have ignored satellites photos showing that Iran has hidden its Parchin military atomic complex by completely bulldozing the area and then building an underground nuclear facility off limits to any inspections.
  • A missile can be launched from the sea -- as Iran has done at least twice -- by a freighter, which leaves no return address. Even the threat of missile launch can have significant coercive political effect particularly if one does not know from where it will be fired.
  • As for accuracy, if a missile in the mode of an electro-magnetic pulse exploded anywhere in the atmosphere between Atlanta and Boston, it would knock out most of America's electric grid.

In 2017, the next administration will face the choice of keeping the US-Iran 2015 nuclear deal – still unsigned by Iran -- or of creating a new approach to eliminate Iran as an emerging nuclear power.

Supporters of the current deal, the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA), will continue to argue that Iran has implemented the important provisions of the deal; that current violations and uncertainties are not critical to fulfilling the agreement, and that troublesome activities by Iran's leadership are just designed to appease some hardliners opposed to any concessions to the United States, "The Great Satan."

A significant number of senior security policy specialists, on the other hand, and members of Congress, apparently have serious doubts that Iran will fulfill the terms of the nuclear framework.

There is also growing concern that Iran already has a nuclear weapon, built with technology acquired in part from its North Korean partner, as well as intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of delivering it.

Moreover, as a result of the JCPOA deal, Iran will be receiving in excess of $100 billion from previously sanctioned oil sales revenue. This windfall makes its further missile and nuclear development easily affordable.

In what direction, then, should the next administration go?

That question requires analysis of two key issues. First, what does the U.S. know of Iran's nuclear and missile activities? Second, what is the objective of these Iranian activities?

It might help to examine Iran's relationship with its key military partner, North Korea.

Since at least 1988, Iran has manufactured nuclear-weapons-related neutron initiators and bridge-wire detonators. It has also experimented with implosion nuclear devices, all of which are directly related to any serious effort to build nuclear weapons. Iran could therefore very well have a nuclear weapons capability, one that could be used against America and American interests, as it has openly and repeatedly vowed to do.

Ironically, even if Iran had signed the JCPOA deal, the regime is allowed to continue to enrich more uranium, modernize its centrifuges, and continue to develop technologies applicable to nuclear weapons.

Satellite photos show that Iran has been continuing to build underground nuclear research and missile facilities while upgrading its Emad missiles. At the same time, Iran has received shipments of large-diameter rocket engines from North Korea.

Both of these expanded missile technologies mean that Iranian missile ranges extend beyond the Middle East and can soon begin to reach U.S. territory as well as American interests in Europe. .

Breezily dismissing previous UN resolutions that prohibit nuclear-capable long-range missile tests, Iran has test-fired some 140 missiles since 2010, some with ranges greater than 2000 kilometers. It has also, according to former CIA Director Ambassador R. James Woolsey, begun designing a nuclear warhead for its Shahab-III missile.

Iran is evidently seeking to exercise military power beyond the Middle East region to coerce, blackmail and terrorize its enemies including the United States.

This capability will further restrict the freedom of military and diplomatic action by the United States and its allies in the Mediterranean, in southern Europe and South Asia – as it is undoubtedly meant to.

Meanwhile, Iran's nuclear activities continue. Most of the media have ignored satellites photos showing that Iran has hidden its Parchin military atomic complex by completely bulldozing the area and then building an underground nuclear facility off limits to any inspections.

This lack of transparency is made more alarming by a recent decision of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Administration (IAEA), no longer to report details of Iran's violations of the JCPOA.

Parallel to its missile and nuclear activity, Iran has also been continuing its activities as the world's #1 terror master, as determined by official reports of the U.S. Department of State.

These activities hardy seem a reflection of a new and moderate Iran, willing to become a partner with the West in bringing peace to the Middle East. Does anyone actually believe that these activities are the harbinger of an arrangement for Iran to learn to "share" the region with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as President Obama suggested in a recent interview in The Atlantic?

The U.N., by agreement among the JCPOA parties, is reporting less from Iran than previously, and there are no interviews with nuclear scientists or inspections of military facilities.

The response of the U.S. and the international community is apparently not to challenge Iran but, in the words of the U.S. Department of State, to "avoid misunderstanding" Iran's activities.

Unfortunately, this posture enables Iran to transform every question into a legalistic quarrel.

The result is that U.S. administration spokesmen gravely "promise to deal with" Iranian violations in a lawyerly fashion," but then unilaterally take off the table effective diplomatic and military tools to stop Iran from "cheating."

In the process, the United Nations can do little more than complain that Iran is "not supposed to be doing that." After all, what can the U.N. do if its key members signal a reluctance to get serious about enforcing the terms of an unsigned agreement – or even, as we have repeatedly observed, a signed one?

Iran has not only failed to sign the agreement, it also passed a parliamentary resolution reiterating Iran's right to do the nuclear activities the JCPOA forbids.

With international corporations eager to do business with Iran, the strength of instruments of international law, such as sanctions, designed to contain Iran's nuclear ambitions, have eroded. Iran regularly -- and, it appears, successfully -- calls the bluff of the business-ravenous international community.

The JCPOA's Faustian bargain has, of course, the effect of accelerating the Iran's nuclear activities. As these activities accelerate, the promise by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that national and international sanctions would "snap back" in case of Iranian bad faith become even more meaningless than they were in the first place.

Matters are not any better at the UN. Even as Iran openly disregarded the terms of the JPCOA and U.N. resolutions, the U.N. Secretary-General was urging all parties to act with "restraint" and to avoid "hasty action."

Given such weak American and UN responses, it is no wonder Iran repeatedly threatens to walk away should efforts be made actually to enforce key provisions of the nuclear accord or resolutions barring missile tests.

Iran's purpose seems obvious. By blocking transparency for its nuclear activities and evading enforcement of the terms of the JCPOA Iran gets to move forward with its nuclear weapons development even as it pretends not to.

As Aaron David Miller, vice president and scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars noted, the result of this strategy is that "...a fundamental shift in the balance of power is taking place in the region in Iran's favor," especially as nations in the region fear Iran will soon be a nuclear armed power.

As for North Korea's role in Iran's nuclear program, Iran and North Korea have an agreement to exchange missile and nuclear technology

Iran's military leaders have also been to North Korea to "observe" Pyongyang's ICBM and nuclear tests. Tehran has even established a presence at a military base just south of the Chinese border.

Any Iranian-North Korean covert nuclear cooperation is also easily camouflaged or hidden, further undermining the notion that Iran is somehow voluntarily restricting its nuclear activities.

In light of these untrustworthy Iranian activities, how can one explain the sense of security held by many supporters of the JCPOA? Why does the administration continue to insist its deal is working?

Many supporters of the JCPOA accept, for example, the assurances of George Friedman of Stratfor in March, who admits Iran has tested ballistic missiles and has a nuclear program -- but he is not, he says, worried. He assumes, he goes on, that preparations for Iranian missile launch could easily be seen by the American and allied satellites, and the rockets destroyed on the ground before they could be launched.

Friedman evidently assumes that Iranian rockets only use liquid propellants. Liquid propellants require days to dispense prior to launch. Keeping a rocket fuelled with a liquid propellant is highly dangerous: liquid fuel is unstable and subject to explosions and thus highly dangerous. Thus the liquid fueling process of a rocket or missile is elaborate, above ground, time consuming, and can readily be seen by satellites.

Friedman also evidently incorrectly appears to assume that Iranian and North Korean warheads have not been sufficiently hardened and are not sufficiently accurate, thus making them not particularly dependable weapons. Taken together, he concludes, there is little threat from Iran's ballistic missile or nuclear capability.
But what are the facts?

A missile can be launched from the sea -- as Iran has done at least twice -- by a freighter, which has no return address. Even the threat of missile launch can have significant coercive political effect particularly if one does not know from where it will be fired.

Given the connection between Iran's terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, and Latin American's terror groups and drug cartels, a missile attack originating from the maritime areas immediately adjacent to the U.S. especially from the Caribbean or, in the future, Cuba, is a distinct possibility.

Additionally, solid-fueled rockets – unlike liquid-fueled ones -- can be launched at any time from tunnels or mountain silos with no notice. Iran has mastered this capability both with the Sajjil missile and with 2000 kilometer missiles, such as the Shahab-III.

Iran's missiles are also increasingly mobile, a capacity North Korea has developed and which it appears to have shared with Iran. Missile mobility makes quick detection of missile launch sites particularly difficult.

Moreover, a missile launched, for example, in the mode of an Electromagnetic Pulse, does not need a heat shield or an accurate warhead. It can be detonated 70 kilometers above the Earth and does not fall through the atmosphere where a heat shield would be necessary. As for accuracy, if it exploded anywhere in the atmosphere between Atlanta and Boston, it would knock out most of America's electric grid.

In addition to these technical mistakes are the equally questionable political assumptions many analysts make about Iran's objectives and motives.

One is that Iran's "moderates" are its controlling authority. A second is that Iran's 's terrorism and nuclear ambitions will easily diminish if America "behaves."

The administration complains that if Iran continues to engage in "extremist" behavior, such as launching missile tests or supporting terrorist groups such as the Yemeni rebels, businesses will not be willing to invest in Iran.

U.S. president Barack Obama said on April 1, 2016, "When they [Iran] launch ballistic missiles with slogans calling for the destruction of Israel, that makes businesses nervous."

The administration seems to be assuming that the prospects of business investment in Iran will certainly take precedence over Iran's continued revolutionary and terrorist activities, and that the "moderates" in Iran will "of course" choose the former (business) and pressure the "extremists" in Iran not to choose the latter (terrorism).

But Iran apparently does not see the situation this way. The mullahs have been echoing the American leftist line that the cause of "turmoil" in the Middle East is bullying by the United States. [1]

Moreover, when the mullahs support the Yemeni-based rebels and Hezbollah in Lebanon presumably to expand the influence of the Iranian regime in the Middle East, they claim they are defensive actions. Such "defensive actions," according to Iran, cannot accurately be characterized as "terrorism" by the United States and therefore cannot be grounds for the United States to curtail business investment in, or maintain sanctions against, Iran.

Iran can thereby pretend to be defending of its own security instead of its real role: trying expand its influence through revolutionary terror.[2]

Part of this façade is Iran's advocacy for a nuclear free zone in the Middle East – in reality a simplistic feint to try to disarm Israel and distract attention from Iran's terrorist activities.

The reality is even more deadly. Iran's Mullahs have previously killed thousands of Americans in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, as well as having been complicit in the attacks 9/11 attacks on the U.S.[3]

Iran's missile and nuclear activity thus should be examined in light of -- and not as distinct from: 1) Iran's destruction of Lebanese sovereignty; 2) Iran's massive support for militia's and civil war in Iraq; 3) Iran's support for Assad's regime in Syria; 4) Iran's propping up Assad in Syria, inciting armed unrest in Bahrain, and 5) providing massive weapons for the rebels in the civil war in Yemen.

Are those the actions of a "moderate" regime?

Iran claims it does not see its military activities as "terrorism;" the United States does. The decision facing Iran is not a simple matter of trading in their jihadi suicide vests for a business suit and briefcase.

The Iranian theocratic leaders seem to be seeking hegemonic control of all the Middle Eastern oil wells and all the Middle East Muslims, including the founding Islamic religious shrines in Mecca and Medina in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Terror is evidently their top tool to accomplish that.

This seemingly overarching Iranian goal explains much of the conflicts in the Middle East and the potential implications for life in the free world. Bringing Iraq and Saudi Arabia into Iran's orbit would give Iran essential control of two-thirds of the world's store of conventional hydrocarbons. [4]

Cordesmann explains this gives Iran tremendous economic leverage over the industrial world by giving Iran control 20% of all world daily exports of oil and 35% of all oil daily moved by sea. This is especially true given the most optimistic estimates that put U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil in 2040 still at 32% of all U.S. oil supplies.]

At some point, Iran may confidently declare that it can confront any "threat" from the United States. The means to do so could easily include using nuclear weapons against the U.S. or threatening to do so. How credible, then, would be America's promises that its military would stop the mullahs from becoming a regional power? As credible as many of America's other promises?

In addition, should the mullahs not prefer to stay in power, they might determine that such a confrontation could also usher in the advent of the Mahdi, the messianic heir of Mohammed in Shia Islam, and through him the wished for "End of Times."
Peter Huessy is President of Geostrategic Analysis, Senior Defense Consultant to the Mitchell Institute of the Air Force Association, and teaches nuclear deterrent policy at the US Naval Academy.

[1] "American Foreign Policy in a Globalized World," edited by David P. Forsythe, Patrice C. MacMahon
[2] Stephen Kinzer's book "All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror" is the most popular example of this narrative.
[3] In particular, see Morton Klein in the Algemeiner, on September 11, 2015: "Iran's key role in the 9/11 attacks was detailed in the U.S. District Court's Findings of Fact in Havlish v. bin Laden, et al — a case brought by 9/11 victims against Al Qaeda, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hezbollah and numerous other Iranian and Iranian-backed entities. The case was the culmination of years of investigation prompted by information initially uncovered by the 9/11 Commission. Overwhelming evidence of Iran's complicity included testimony from experts and a top former Iranian regime insider, in addition to damning documents, such as a May 2001 memo on behalf of Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, discussing communications regarding Al Qaeda's then upcoming attack."
See also The Daily Beast on essay by Philip Shenon who explains: "The court papers also include sworn statements from staff members of the 9/11 Commission, including Dietrich Snell, a former top terrorism prosecutor at the Justice Department, who says in his affidavit that 'there is clear and convincing evidence the government of Iran provided material support to al Qaeda in the planning and execution of the 9/11 attack.' He said the support came in the form of 'facilitating the travel of members of the 9/11 conspiracy to and from Afghanistan and Pakistan, in which countries, in my opinion and as found by the 9/11 Commission, the plot was hatched and developed.'"
[4] "Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Clash within a Civilization" by Tony Cordesmann, February 3, 2014, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., and "Iran's deadly Ambitions: The Islamic Republic's Quest for Global Power" by Ilan Berman, published August 2015 by the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington, D.C.

Peter Huessy is President of Geostrategic Analysis, Senior Defense Consultant to the Mitchell Institute of the Air Force Association, and teaches nuclear deterrent policy at the US Naval Academy.


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Hiroshima and 'Unwarrantable Self-Abasement' - Bruce Thornton

by Bruce Thornton

The moral incoherence of the U.S. expressing regret for swiftly ending a war it didn’t start.

Next month, Obama will be in Japan for the G-7 Summit. There are rumors that he will visit Hiroshima and formally apologize for the U.S. dropping atomic bombs on that city and Nagasaki in August 1945. Maybe that’s why John Kerry didn’t apologize during a recent visit to the Hiroshima memorial, but merely set the stage for Obama by lamenting the suffering and calling for a “world free from nuclear weapons.”

The debate over whether or not Truman should have authorized dropping the bombs is an old one. And any objective evaluation of the decision shows that it was correct, for it shortened the war and saved millions of Japanese and American lives. More interesting than rehashing what should be a settled debate is the ideological prejudices and moral incoherence of those who continue to want the U.S. to express regret for swiftly ending a war it didn’t start and paid for with nearly 112,000 lives.

First is the idea, serially displayed by Obama since the beginning of his presidency, that the U.S. has been a bad international actor and so must atone for its sins. As the leftist tale goes, America’s corporate greed, imperialist depredations, and racist nationalism sowed the seeds of all the world’s disorder and ills. Whether poverty in Africa, violence in the Middle East, or global warming, the default response is “When all else fails, blame the Americans.”

Just watch Oliver Stone’s 10-part “documentary” on the Cold War, “The Untold History of the United States,” or read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. This is the “Yankees done us wrong” school of factually challenged historiography that has spread into popular culture, high school curricula, and whole departments in most universities. With Obama it has now reached the presidency, where its malign effects have been obvious in his foreign policy disasters caused by feckless “disengagement” and “leading from behind” predicated on reversing America’s malign interventionism.

The phenomenon of national self-loathing, however, is not new. It is an old ideological artifact of Marxist-Leninism, which along with its hatred of capitalism and liberal democracy, demonized colonialism and imperialism as unmitigated, unique evils, rather than being a tragic mixture of good and bad typical of everything flawed humans do. This smear of the Western economic and political system that had created the richest, freest people in history validated self-hatred among some citizens of the nations guilty of such alleged crimes.  And even though the U.S. has never been a true imperial or colonial power, after World War II the indictment was shifted to America when it became the dominant global power and the premier challenger of communist ideology.

This dangerous anti-patriotism began mainly in England among leftist literary and intellectual elites, who had begun to turn against the British Empire in the late 19th century. In 1933, the year Hitler came to power, Winston Churchill warned of this by then fashionable set of attitudes:
Our difficulties come from the mood of unwarrantable self-abasement into which we have been cast by a powerful section of our own intellectuals. They come from the acceptance of defeatist doctrines by a large proportion of our politicians. But what have they to offer but a vague internationalism, a squalid materialism, and the promise of impossible utopias?
Then as now, such attitudes are a threat to a nation’s security, for they insidiously extend beyond the salons of litterateurs and intellectuals. In 1941, George Orwell noted the “trickle down” effect of self-loathing on patriotic, pro-imperial British, called “Blimps” by the left. In the years before the war, Orwell writes, “Left-wingers were chipping away at English morale, trying to spread an outlook that was sometimes squashily pacifist, sometimes violently pro-Russian, but always anti-British.” This “systematic Blimp-baiting affected even the Blimps themselves and made it harder than it had been before to get intelligent young men to enter the armed forces.”

This “sniggering of the intellectuals at patriotism and physical courage,” Orwell continues, “the persistent effort to chip away English morale and spread a hedonistic, what-do-I-get-out-of-it attitude to life, has done nothing but harm. It would have been harmful even if we had been living in the squashy League of Nations universe that these people imagined. In the age of Fuhrers and bombing planes it was a disaster.” Any nation that wants to survive must have citizens who believe that their way of life is worth fighting and dying for.

The attitudes Orwell describes are widespread in America today, and were already obvious in the Sixties. The dislike of America, once found mainly among communists and fellow travelers in the universities and Hollywood, spread widely throughout the larger culture. “Sniggering” at patriotism, despising one’s own country, looking down on the military, sneering at the “silent majority” who still believed in God and Country, praising delusional internationalism, and indulging a stealth pacifism that preached “violence solves nothing”–– all became unquestioned dogma and fashion markers for those who fancied themselves as more cosmopolitan and sophisticated than the mass of oafish rubes who knew the lyrics of  “The Star-Spangled Banner” and saluted the flag. And, as Orwell noted in the case of England, soon the schools and popular culture adopted the same clichés and stale dogmas founded on left-wing prejudice, ignorance of historical fact, and moral idiocy.

Obama is the political culmination of this process and an embodiment of the “blame America” reflex. He has publicly denigrated his own country before international audiences. He has questioned the belief that America is an exceptional nation, and advised us to be “mindful of our own imperfections.” He apologized to the Muslim world for the “tensions” between Islam and the West caused by “colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations.” He assured the Turks that the U.S. “is still working through some of our own darker periods in our history.” He regretted that his country had been “arrogant, dismissive, derisive” to Europeans. He told Latin Americans that during his presidency the U.S. will “acknowledge past errors.” And he regretted that after 9/11 “all too often our government made decisions based on fear rather than foresight; that all too often our government trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions,” a despicable slander of his predecessor and others who acted on their responsibility to keep Americans safe.

Such “unwarrantable self-abasement” before our allies and adversaries has reinforced Obama’s preference for conducting foreign policy with the tools of the “squashy [U.N.] universe” of multilateralism, “soft power,” non-lethal sanctions, endless conferences and summits, appeasing negotiations with inveterate enemies, and symbolic actions more useful for marketing Obama’s “legacy” than neutralizing or countering aggression. To paraphrase Orwell again, such attitudes are always harmful for a great power with global responsibilities and numerous enemies. But in an age of jihadist terrorism, the nuclear ambitions of an apocalyptic Islamic cult, and nuclear powers like Russia and China relentlessly expanding their reach and influence, they have been a disaster.

Finally, the eagerness to apologize for our nation’s history bespeaks a corrosive moral idiocy. Apologizing for Hiroshima, for example, ignores the age-old wisdom that, as Aeschylus put it, “the doer suffers.” Imperial Japan slaughtered millions and viciously brutalized millions more in a conflict it started based on a lust for empire and a racist ideology. Obama and those of his mind-set should read about the Japanese attack on Nanking in 1937, in which as many as 300,000 people, mostly civilians, were brutally murdered, and millions more raped and tortured. He should read about the torture, forced labor, starvation, and beheadings of our soldiers during the Bataan Death March in 1942, which led to the deaths of 21,000 American and Philippine soldiers.

He should also read the history of the battle of Okinawa that ended a mere six weeks before Hiroshima. This was a brutal battle that both sides called a “typhoon of steel.” Many Japanese civilians (some as young as 14) fought, hundreds of kamikaze suicide-bombers attacked American ships, and over 20,000 Americans died by the time the island was taken. Maybe then Obama would learn about the fanaticism of the Japanese troops––in the Pacific War, one American died for every two wounded, but 17 Japanese died for every one wounded. Maybe he’d learn that on Okinawa the Japanese fought to the death for vicious cause they knew was already lost. Then maybe he’d understand what Truman and his military advisors knew––invading the sacred Japanese home-islands, defended not just by soldiers but also by civilian militias, would be many times more costly in lives and destruction than were the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

But fact and moral clarity are both in short supply among today’s progressives and other believers in “vague internationalism” and “impossible utopias.” Instead, cheap sentimentalism and moral preening substitute for accepting the tragic costs that at times must be paid to protect our security and freedom. When indulged by our Commander-in-Chief, these specious apologies do not show moral superiority or sophistication, nor do they cultivate international good will. Instead they create the perception of fear and weakness that provokes aggression from our enemies ––a timeless truth we should long ago have learned from history.

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press), is now available for purchase.


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Horowitz Defends Anti-BDS Poster Campaign From Charges of Racism and Intimidation - Sara Dogan

by Sara Dogan

Exposing the real purveyors of hatred on campuses.

In a fiery rebuttal issued Wednesday, David Horowitz defended his reputation and that of his organization, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, from charges by a UCLA administrator that posters hung by the Freedom Center on UCLA’s campus targeting supporters of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel are “hateful” and “thuggish” and use  the “tactic of guilt by association, of using blacklists, of ethnic slander, and sensationalized images engineered to trigger racially tinged fear.”

University of California-Los Angeles Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Jerry Kang sent an email attacking Horowitz to the entire UCLA community—some 50,000 individuals—calling the Freedom Center’s posters “repulsive” and “personalized intimidation” and stating that they produce “chilling psychological harm” that “cannot be dismissed as over-sensitivity.”

Kang also falsely characterized the Freedom Center’s previous poster campaign as “accusing two student organizations — the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) — of being murderers and terrorists.”

In his response, Horowitz termed this accusation “a lie” noting that “The posters did not accuse SJP of being an organization of murderers and terrorists, as the Vice Chancellor claims. They accused SJP of being ‘Jew-haters’ because they support the murderers and terrorists of Hamas, which they do… In a public statement I also called on UCLA to remove the campus privileges and university funding of SJP because they are a hate group and their activities routinely violate UCLA’s ‘Statement of Principles Against Intolerance,’ which Vice Chancellor Kang professes to champion.”

Horowitz also challenged the Vice Chancellor’s claim that the posters constitute intimidation, stating “There is no intimidation on the posters, just a list of names of activists who support SJP and BDS… the posters don’t cast those listed on them as murderers and terrorists, just activists from Students for Justice in Palestine who supported the BDS boycott campaign. BDS has been denounced by figures as liberal as Alan Dershowitz and Larry Summers as anti-Semitic.”

“This disgraceful performance by a top university official demands a retraction and apology from the University of California and some serious reflection by Vice Chancellor Kang about the hateful content of his letter and the focused, personalized intimidation directed at myself and all those involved in putting up posters he happens to disagree with,” Horowitz concludes, noting that Kang might “also benefit from a re-reading of the First Amendment and learn to live with opinions he doesn’t like.” Horowitz’s full response to Vice Chancellor Kang may be read below.

The Freedom Center is responsible for posters appearing on five California campuses attacking the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel as a “Hamas-inspired genocidal campaign to destroy the world’s only Jewish state.” Images of the posters which appeared on the campuses of UC-Santa Barbara, San Diego State University, UC-Santa Cruz, UCLA and UC-Berkeley over the last week can be viewed here.

In addition to defining the BDS movement as a genocidal campaign to wipe out Israel, one of the posters placed on each campus names a number of prominent BDS activists on that campus, stating at UC-Santa Barbara for example: “The following students and faculty at UC Santa Barbara have allied themselves with Palestinian terrorists to perpetrate BDS and Jew Hatred on this campus.”

A second poster displays a photo of armed Palestinian militants with the caption “BDS: The Final Solution to the Israel Problem,” while a third features an enlarged photo of retired UC-Santa Cruz professor Angela Davis who is known for her anti-Israel activism emblazoned with the words “Communist Anti-Israel BDS Supporter.”

All three posters contain the hashtag #StoptheJewHatredonCampus, a reference to the Freedom Center’s campaign and website of the same name, and also include a link to the website.

The posters are part of a larger Freedom Center campaign titled Stop the Jew Hatred on Campus which seeks to confront the agents of campus anti-Semitism and refute the genocidal lies about the Jewish state spread by Palestinian terrorists and their campus allies. These lies include the claims that Israel occupies Palestinian land and that Israel is an apartheid state. These lies and rebuttals to them may be found on the campaign website,

“Virtually every major university campus in America is host to student organizations dedicated to spreading the propaganda lies of Hamas designed to weaken and delegitimize the Israeli state, and promoting Hamas campaigns like Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) whose goal is its destruction,” explained David Horowitz. “Our goal in placing these posters on prominent campuses across America is to expose the true motivations of these groups who have chosen to ally themselves with terrorists and to challenge the lies which underpin their genocidal propaganda.”

Sara Dogan


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Pollard claptrap - Jerusalem Post editorial

by Jerusalem Post editorial

US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s recent letter to the US Parole Commission hyping the enormous threat to America’s national security which he claims Jonathan Pollard still poses is so much claptrap.

So is Clapper’s contrived contention that Pollard spied “against the US.” Pollard was indicted for spying for “the benefit of an ally” – Israel – not against the US.

Clapper’s lame attempt to inflame public sentiment against an aging and very ill Pollard who spent 30 years in prison paying for an offense whose median sentence is two to four years, is at best laughable.

Like his predecessors, Clapper hides behind a veil of secrecy and relies upon hyperbole and ad hominem to obscure the absence of evidence against Pollard. This, despite the now-public knowledge that former defense secretary Caspar Weinberger (the man who drove Pollard’s life sentence) admitted before he died that the Pollard case was “a minor mater” which had been exaggerated to serve another agenda. Clapper continues the hyperbolic spin, regardless.

Here is the real scoop.

Jonathan Pollard, who spent an unprecedented 30 years of a 45-year life sentence in prison for the one count of spying for an ally, Israel, with which he was charged, while working as a civilian intelligence analyst for US Navy, was released from prison last November.

Because he was released on parole, not pardoned, Pollard still has the balance of his life sentence – 15 years – hanging like a sword of Damocles over his head. Any violation of his parole conditions – which are unusually harsh and restrictive – could send him back to prison for what could well be the rest of his life.

Pollard’s unprecedented life sentence was shrouded for years by a veil of secrecy and lies, which have been discredited recently with the declassification of most of the key documents that served as evidence against him.

A series of exclusive articles and editorials in The Jerusalem Post first detailed these new revelations, calling into question the entire judicial process and its blatant politicization. For decades the case has been used by US officials to promote and sustain tension in the otherwise close relationship between the US and Israel.

Although it was known that Pollard did not commit treason (which is defined by the US Constitution as aiding and abetting an enemy in time of war) US officials have often branded Pollard a “traitor” to politically redefine the nature of the US-Israel alliance whenever desired.

Successive Israeli governments generally demanded Pollard’s freedom in Jerusalem before a domestic audience, but were timid and pro forma in their demands in Washington.

Washington regards Pollard, to this day, as a high value hostage to keep Israel off balance, and as a bargaining chip for any number of future Israeli concessions.

When he was finally freed at the age of 61, Pollard was welcomed by his wife, Esther, with whom he is now living in New York. There, Pollard is battling Draconian parole conditions in court and fighting to come home to Israel. His parole conditions prevent him from being gainfully employed and from observing his religious beliefs, and make it impossible for him to reintegrate into normative society.

His attorneys, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman, state there is absolutely no justification for these conditions, which are in their words, ”onerous, punitive, vindictive, cruel and unlawful.”

When he last met with President Barack Obama in Washington, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested the return of Pollard, an Israeli agent, and gave Washington guarantees for his supervision.

It behooves Obama to cut the claptrap and to do for Israel what he has done for Iran, for the Taliban, for Cuba, for Russia , for China and for numerous Guantanamo prisoners when he signed orders to simply send them home to other countries unconditionally.

In addition to the 100 holiday commutations that Obama just signed this past year, he also recently cut the sentences and released thousands of hard-core drug offenders – who are untrained for any lawful profession and will likely reoffend.

In that light, Israel’s request for one elderly, ill, harshly punished Israeli agent to be sent home for Passover after 30 years in US jails is not much to ask.

Jerusalem Post editorial


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Kurds raise an army to defend new federal region - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

Meet the APF force being trained as the nucleus of a new army, defending region Kurds claimed despite opposition from all sides.

In a leafy field in Syria, fighters in beige fatigues negotiate an obstacle course as they are trained to defend a Kurdish federal region across the country's north.

Clutching rifles under a bright spring sun, the men are among thousands undergoing obligatory nine-month training to join the Autonomous Protection Forces.

The APF, its commander-in-chief Renas Roza says, will be responsible for defending the federal region declared last month at a Kurdish-led conference.

"This is the nucleus of a new army that will take up the defense of the federal region in northern Syria," Roza tells AFP in his headquarters at Amuda near the border with Turkey.

The clean-shaven commander sits under a large poster bearing the APF logo - a long, curved sword crossed over a rifle below a red five-point star.

Roza says thousands of Kurdish, Arab and Syriac Christian men between the ages of 18 and 30 have completed the compulsory training.

For the first two months, conscripts are taught military structure and tactics, and then have lessons on human rights and interaction with civilians.

Three stages of training are led by the powerful People's Protection Units (YPG), the military arm of the leading Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

Fadi Abdo Lahdo, a Syriac fighter training in the Bawr camp near Rmeilan, says his trainers are from the YPG's commando force.

Dealing with civilians

"We're learning how to cross over both cement barriers and natural barriers," says the fair-haired fighter, squinting in the sunlight.

Other training sessions are administered by civic institutions.

"I served five months and I still have four months before I finish my service," says Rinas Ahmad, an 18-year-old conscript with gelled hair.

"We were trained on military life and on how to deal with civilians so we don't become like the Syrian (government) army," Ahmad says.

Syria's Kurds have both exploited and benefited from the chaos of the five-year-war to expand their control across northern parts of the country.

When the regime's armed forces withdrew from Kurdish-majority areas in 2012, Kurds filled the void with a system of three "autonomous administrations."

The three cantons, known from west to east as Afrin, Kobane and Jazire, already feature their own independent police forces, driving licenses and schools.

In March, a Kurdish-led summit in Rmeilan announced that it would establish a "federal region" uniting the cantons.

It elected a 31-member assembly tasked with laying the groundwork for the federal region by September.

The announcement was swiftly shot down by both the mainstream opposition and the regime, which categorically reject a federal system for Syria.

Rounding up recruits

In anti-government demonstrations across the country, some protesters burned the Kurdish flag to show their opposition to federalism.

Syria's Kurds have continued their preparations nevertheless.

Training camps currently operate in the Afrin and Jazire cantons and will open soon in Kobane, Roza says.

The APF is also rounding up anyone who has yet to complete his nine-month service.

"We check people's papers as they pass through checkpoints. If they have not done the training, we take them there," an APF spokesman says.

An Arab APF trainee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says he was detained at a Kurdish-run checkpoint as he drove to work.

Non-Kurdish residents living under the PYD-run cantons were already complaining about a six-month period of compulsory military service run by the YPG, but the new training period is three months longer.

As the federal region's future army, APF units have begun deploying to areas recently captured from the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group.

Although they are not yet involved in front-line fighting, they are increasingly cooperating with the YPG and the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces.

The APF moves in to secure towns that the YPG or the SDF have seized from ISIS - such as Shadadi in Hasakeh province, which the SDF captured in February.

Kurdish forces have led the fight against ISIS since the jihadist group emerged in Syria in 2013, scoring several major victories in the recapture of key border towns, like Kobane, last year.

AFP contributed to this report.

Arutz Sheva Staff


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Next war with Hezbollah could be devastating for Lebanon - AP and Israel Hayom Staff

by AP and Israel Hayom Staff

Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan says Shiite terrorist group has developed capabilities that pose an "unprecedented" threat to Israel, warns against provocations on the Israel-Lebanon border • Future conflict will be a "full-scale war," he says.

AP and Israel Hayom Staff


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Foreign Ministry blasts UNESCO decision to nix 'Temple Mount' - Shlomo Cesana

by Shlomo Cesana

While the resolution has no practical value, "we will not allow international actors to blur the Jewish nation's connection to its eternal capital," writes Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold in letter to 33 countries that supported the decision.

Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold
Photo credit: Yoav Ari Dudkevich

Shlomo Cesana


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Israeli doctors harness cord blood to fight cerebral palsy - Maytal Yasur Beit-Or

by Maytal Yasur Beit-Or

"Studies have shown that cord blood ... can help treat brain injuries," says Omer Bar-Yosef, who is running a new trial at Sheba Medical Center • Although first Israeli patient shows signs of improvement, Bar-Yosef advises against jumping to conclusions.

Maytal Yasur Beit-Or


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.