Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Signs of Growing Conflict

Israeli news sources reported:

Iran doubles enriched uranium stockpile (Jersualem Post)

U.S. to sell $60 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia (Ynet)

Rabbi encourages IDF soldiers to use Palestinians as human shields (Haaretz)

Ahmadinejad and Chavez united to change world order (Haaretz)

Tom Friedman scolds Israel (Jerusalem Post)
Netanyahu won't allow an Iranian state in West Bank (Jerusalem Post))

Saturday, October 16, 2010

FBI Uses GPS Tracking without a Warrant

A California computer salesman found a strange box magnetically attached to his vehicle during an oil change.  He freed it from his car and posted pictures of it online, hoping for help in identifying the device.  It was a GPS tracking unit.

Two days later, the FBI showed up at his door, demanding their personal property back.  The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the use of GPS tracking without a search warrant.   The dissenting judge wrote in Jeffersonian fashion:

"By holding that this kind of surveillance doesn't impair an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy, the panel hands the government the power to track the movements of every one of us, every day of our lives."

Here's the false choice pushed daily.  You can have freedom or security, what's your pick? 

"The oppressed should rebel, and they will continue to rebel and raise disturbance until their civil rights are fully restored to them and all partial distinctions, exclusions and incapacitations are removed." --Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Religion, 1776. Papers 1:548

"As revolutionary instruments (when nothing but revolution will cure the evils of the State) [secret societies] are necessary and indispensable, and the right to use them is inalienable by the people." --Thomas Jefferson to William Duane, 1803. FE 8:256

U.S. All Bark on Israeli Settlements

America's deja vu on "stop building settlements" is longer than I thought.  Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's office called it a four decade phenomena.  Haartez reported:

Opposition to the settlements has been a U.S. policy for 40 years already

It can't be called opposition, not when America gave Israel billions in aid over the same period.  A better word would be "theater".  This forced round of peace negotiations looks more like theater of the absurd.

The clear trajectory in the Middle East is toward war.  The question is how many fronts will America and its 51st state have to fight?

Update 11-14-10  U.S. to reward Israeli intransigence.  Netanyahu met with U.S. officials in an effort to break the impasse and held a seven-hour meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. He returned with a U.S. proposal to renew the moratorium in exchange for a White House pledge to ask Congress to sell Israel 20 stealth fighter jets for $3 billion, Cabinet Minister Yuli Edelstein told The Associated Press.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Today's Depressing Read: Ha'aretz

The war edition of Ha'aretz landed on doorsteps.  The list of articles included:

No chance of peace with Palestinians in near future (link)

Lieberman: Palestinians may try to form autonomous Arab regions within Israel (link)

Poll: 76% of American Jews think Arabs want to destroy Israel (link)

Palestinian official: PA will never recognize Israel as Jewish state (link)

Netanyahu asking Palestinians to cede right of return (link)

U.S. after Netanyahu proposal: Our position on settlements hasn’t changed (link)
Not only is this the most reluctant peace negotiation, it stands to grow by magnitudes with the addition of Lebanon and Syria.  Is Rube Goldberg behind this? Or is the intent to keep parties at the negotiating table long enough for America and its 51st state attack Iran's nuclear facilities?  Time and bombs will tell.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Israeli Loyalty Oath Bill Passes

Ynet reported:

New non-Jewish citizens will be obligated to pledge allegiance to 'Jewish, democratic state' from now on, after bill passes 22-8.
10-10-10, mark the date.

Friday, October 8, 2010

White House's Pragmatic National Security Adviser

Pragmatic President Obama appointed another pragmatist, Tom Donilon, to replace retiring National Security Adviser General James L. Jones.  The Jerusalem Post reported on Jone's tenure: 

Obama cited the renewed push for peace in the Middle East as one of the major accomplishments of Jones’s 20-month tenure, along with resetting relations with Russia, dealing with Iran and Al-Qaida and winding down the war in Iraq.

So why change the horse in the middle of those active streams? Because Obama wants to be seen as driving policy.

Washington insiders said they didn’t expect a dramatic change in foreign policy with the transition, especially in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in part because Obama played such a key role in crafting policy, in part because Donilon has already been involved with the issue at the NSC and in part because other Obama administration officials could overshadow him.

“I don’t think he’ll be a [primary] foreign policy-maker in the Middle East because of the greater experience and influence of Secretary of State Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden,” said Morris Amitay, a former executive director of AIPAC who was in touch with Donilon during his time in the Clinton administration.

Why would pragmatic Obama stick his nose into his weakest area, international relations and war?  He didn't appear to lead on health care and financial reform.  Obama couldn't deliver basic honesty on the BP disaster.
In December 2008 General Jones & Hillary Clinton approved Israel's pummeling of Gaza.  Obama sat on his lips and hands while Israel turned Gaza into a stinking charnel house.  Pragmatic President Obama does theater as well as his hand's on predecessor.  Obama's a bit less folksy, that's all.

General James L. Jones Resigns

President Obama's National Security Adviser is stepping down.  General James L. Jones approved Israel's pummeling of Gaza in December 2008.  He and Hillary Clinton gave the thumb's up, according to Tony Blair (Haaretz).

Jones held an official position as Special Envoy to the region.  Despite his unsworn Secretary of State giving the go ahead, President elect Obama stayed silent through the month long bombing, .

Will General Jones return to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where he crafted plans for U.S. military might to secure the world's oil fields?  Will he pull a Peter Pace and sell his services to multiple high bidders?  Will he become a Mike McConnell, selling threats only his employer (Booz Allen Hamilton) can address?  Will he splatter the airwaves with blather, like Fran Townsend on CNN?

The best stories remain untold.  Rest assured Tony Blair and Tom Daschle didn't reveal the Democratixx in their recent books.  It's the story of influence peddling, power and greed.  General Jones reenters the accumulation race.  What's his next step?  Follow the greenback.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

P.J. Crowley's Triple Track for Peace

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley cited a multi-pronged Middle East peace negotiation.  It would have an Israel-Palestine (Fatah) track, an Israel-Syria track and an Israel-Lebanon track.  Israel's other borders with Egypt and Jordan are quiet.

The U.S. called on the Arab League to remain patient with their peace deal, on the table since 2002.  Israel needs time to milk the U.S.  Haaretz reported:

Israel's envoy to the United States Michael Oren provided the first official confirmation of the possibility of a forming deal, saying the "administration has come back to Israel with a number of suggestions - incentives if you would - that would enable the government to maybe pass a limited extension of 2 or 3 months."
Israel's peace intentions rise in conjunction with making war in the region. They want one war at a time.  Multiple enemies on numerous fronts won't do. What did the Obama administration use to incentivize Israel to "maybe pass" a few month freeze?  The White House isn't saying.

Update 10-8-10  The Jerusalem Post said the White House offered Israel a continued military presence in the Jordan Valley as an incentive.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Haaretz: Strange Day

It was a strange day on Israeli newspaper Haaretz.  Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's pleading with Palestinian leaders to remain at the bargaining table was no surprise. Fatah's Mahmoud Abbas said no negotiations without settlement curbs.

The odor grew with another Rahm Emanuel dead fish story.  Will this one end up in an EPA guarded landfill along the Gulf Coast?

What shocked me was the dismissal of CNN's Rick Sanchez for anti-Semitic remarks.  The last time I heard Rick he challenged Stephen Colbert to do his anchor job, in return for another ride on a Taser at Colbert's "Keep Fear Alive" event.

It brings to mind Ozzy Osborne, the subject of the final story on Haaretz.  Ozzie didn't play in Israel for years, not because he's an anti-Semite, but because he was too drunk.  Today's odd stories call into question humanity's sobriety.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Stirring Pot on Iran

I used a poker metaphor for the line of politicians raising the stakes on Iran.  The list included Senator Lindsey Graham (American Enterprise Institute), Representative Howard Berman (Center for Strategic & International Studies) and Joe Lieberman (Council on Foreign Relations).  After each talk, the pot grew.

Newt Gingrich weighed in on the Iranian threat at the Counter-terrorism Education Learning Lab (CELL).  His talk prompted a different pot, the kind that is stirred.  Newt's the rabid possum in the stew. Will he crawl out before it comes to a boil?