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The Iranian Threat

Iran’s MAD Strategy Has a Strategic Rationale

November 7th 2011

Iran - Iranian Qiam missile launch

My first book, The Iranian Islamic Revolution, published way back in 1986, dealt with the historicity of the 1979 Khomeinist Revolution in Iran. In it, I exposed the Khomeinist regime’s long-term ambitions and revisionist account of events that led to the Shah’s overthrow and Ayatollah Khomeini’s ascent to power in the alleged Islamic “Republic” of Iran. From my observatory in Beirut, where Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRG) were growing into a force to be reckoned with in the region and beyond, I absorbed and digested the thinking and logic of Tehran’s strategists. Boiled down, that strategy involved sending as many mixed signals in as many directions as possible so as to confuse opposing forces and make them tentative. This would allow the Khomeinists to pursue their global ambitions with minimal opposition.

First, Tehran formed an alliance with the Assad regime in Syria. Next, Hezbollah was established in Lebanon and later, in 2003, penetrated Iraq’s Shia communities. Now, Tehran is about to achieve its most important goal since the inception of the Islamist regime—a strategic intercontinental ballistic missile arsenal capable of delivering nuclear and other lethal warheads. Military historians will undoubtedly debate the ins and outs of the Iran’s long trek to join the nuclear club. What they will find is a Western world that was fooled for decades. It remains to be seen whether the West’s current leaders will be able to stop this final phase in Iran’s jihadist strategy. Read more ..

Argentina on Edge

Argentina's Elections: A Paradox of Democracy and Absolutism

November 6th 2011

Argentina Topics - Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
Pres. Cristina Fernadez de Kirchner of Argentina

The October 23rd presidential elections in Argentina have given a clear advantage to Cristina Kirchner, who was reelected president of Argentina with an overwhelming majority. Kirchner, of the Frente Para la Victoria – the Center-left wing of the Justicialista (Peronist) Party –took 54 percent of the vote, while her closest rival won 17% percent.

This will be Ms. Kirchner’s second term after being preceded by a full four-year term by her late husband, Nestor Kirchner. This means that at the end of the next presidential term Argentina’s politics will have been dominated by 12 years of Kirchner governance. She is barred from seeking a third term. This is why she is likely to pursue constitutional reform.

Last April, in a previous article in the Americas Report entitled, “Making Sense of Argentina’s Frenzied Policy” I wrote the following: “the Kirchners have behaved like dictators; intimidating the business sector every time there were price increases; attacking the media that criticized them and taking steps to destroy them while buying and co-opting media outlets they thought were supportive of the government." Read more ..

Mexico on Edge

Mexico Suppresses Human Rights Organizations

November 6th 2011

Mexican Topics - Juarez Mexico protest

Mexican authorities this past week suppressed two demonstrations in the border states of Chihuahua and Baja California. The actions drew sharp protests, and cast new doubt on Mexico's oft-stated commitment to uphold national and international human rights standards.

In the first instance, Ciudad Juarez police commanded by Julian Leyzaola broke up a November 1 march called by the Citizens Plural Front and other groups to demand justice for the 9,000-plus victims of the so-called drug war in the border city since January 2008. Read more ..

The Arab Winter

The U.S. Plan as the Islamist Winter Draws Near

November 6th 2011

Islamic Topics - Islamic Terrorists
Islamic Terrorists

As secular authoritarian regimes topple across the Middle East, there is the danger that governments with a pronounced Islamist bent will replace them. In the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, this phenomena bears close watching.
In Tunisia this week, the Islamist Ennahdha (Renaissance) party has become the largest faction in the legislature following the first elections held since long-time strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled into exile in January 2011. European Union monitors declared Sunday's elections free and fair, with Ennahdha capturing 40 percent of the vote. Failing to obtain an outright majority of seats in the 217-seat parliament, however, it will be forced to share power with the next largest vote recipients, two centrist secular parties.  Read more ..

Financial Jihad

Israel and the Apartheid Slander

November 6th 2011

Gaza Topics - Richard J. Goldstone
Richard J. Goldstone

The Palestinian Authority’s request for full United Nations membership has put hope for any two-state solution under increasing pressure. The need for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians has never been greater. So it is important to separate legitimate criticism of Israel from assaults that aim to isolate, demonize and delegitimize it.

One particularly pernicious and enduring canard that is surfacing again is that Israel pursues “apartheid” policies. In Cape Town starting on Saturday, a London-based nongovernmental organization called the Russell Tribunal on Palestine will hold a “hearing” on whether Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid. It is not a “tribunal.” The “evidence” is going to be one-sided and the members of the “jury” are critics whose harsh views of Israel are well known. Read more ..

Edge on Terrorism

It is Time to End the Hypocrisy of Terrorist Designations that Confuse Friends and Foes

October 25th 2011

Iran - Maryam Rajavi of MEK Iran
MEK leader Maryam Rajavi

As two current high-profile cases demonstrate, the U.S. government’s practice of listing “foreign terrorist organizations” (FTOs) has become an increasingly dangerous and hollow political exercise rather than a sober assessment of the real threats to America.

Last month, Afghanistan’s ruthless Haqqani Network reportedly staged a brazen attack against the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. The Haqqanis, who conduct grisly terrorist attacks on hotels, embassies and other targets to advance their agenda to become power brokers in a future political settlement, reportedly are responsible for hundreds of American deaths since 2001. Some American military officers apparently are furious that the Obama administration decided not to designate the Haqqani Network as a terrorist organization because it was feared that listing the group would make it harder for the Afghan government to negotiate with the Haqqanis.

At the same time, the United States continues to list the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), Iran’s main opposition group and a declared democratic ally, as an FTO even though it meets none of the criteria and long ago renounced violence. Importantly, the group was the first to reveal Iran’s 20-year clandestine nuclear program and provided invaluable intelligence to the U.S. military in Iraq, which not only helped identify and neutralize Iran’s proxy terrorist groups operating in that country but undoubtedly saved American lives in the process. Read more ..

America's Occupation Season

50 Million Will March

October 24th 2011

Economy - Occupy Wall St Oct 2011

I believe that the first big winner of the 2012 campaign is the Occupy Wall Street movement, whether or not it participates in electoral politics. Before next April 30 there will be more simultaneous marches around the world that could inspire up to 50 million men and women supporting a more just economy.

In only 30 days, Occupy Wall Street has reshaped our national political narrative and brought back to center stage the great American question: Are we a nation of the people and for the people, or a nation where the few and the factions with the money can dominate the politics and finances of the nation?

Today there is another great bailout being negotiated in Europe. Protests continue to gain powerful support. There is a firestorm of outrage from consumers against new bank fees, a firestorm of demand from workers to create new jobs and a firestorm of outrage against corruption in business and politics. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Ramallah Lynch Mob Leader to be Set Free for Shalit

October 23rd 2011

Israel Topics - Shalit Graffiti

Among the prisoners released in exchange for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is a murderer whose hands, if not his name, are burned into the Israeli consciousness forever.

In the year 2000, just as the second intifada broke out, two reserve soldiers took a wrong turn into Ramallah. They were taken to a local police station, attacked by a mob, and literally torn to pieces.

The aftermath of this vile atrocity was captured on video, and the appalling image of Abed Alaziz Salaha at the station window, holding his bloody hands up before a cheering crowd, immediately became one of the most iconic and horrifying symbols of the campaign of racist mass murder upon which the Palestinians had embarked. Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Iran’s History of Violence

October 23rd 2011

Saudi Topics - Saudi embassy dude

Is there anyone who still doubts that Iran is a terrorist state?

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement on Oct. 11 that a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen and a commander in Iran’s Quds Force, the special-operations unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), had been charged in New York for their alleged roles in a plot to murder the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, represents a brazen escalation in Iran’s struggle for regional dominance. But Iran’s willingness to use brutal means to achieve its foreign-policy goals is nothing new: Since the creation of the Islamic Republic, U.S. intelligence agencies have repeatedly identified terrorism as one of the regime’s signature calling cards.

The timing of this plot suggests Iran feels itself under increasing pressure, both from the international community (led by the United States) and from the regional alliance of Sunni states in the region (led by Saudi Arabia). Intriguingly, the plot seems to have been launched shortly after the Saudi-led military intervention in Bahrain against Shiite protesters, to which Iran objected loudly but was unable to affect. Read more ..

Economic Jihad

The Disingenuity of Divestment

October 17th 2011

Israel Topics - Richard Cravatts

The recent call by NYU’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) for TIAA-CREF to divest holdings in targeted companies doing business in Israel is part of a troubling trend that exposes dangerous radicalism on campuses disguised as efforts at achieving social justice. In 2010, for instance, student-led groups at both UC San Diego and UC Berkeley introduced initiatives to demonize Israel once again in the court of world opinion. One effort, disingenuously named “UCSD Divest for Peace,” was aimed at divesting university funds from U.S. companies which benefit Israel and which take a “non-neutral financial stance in the occupation of Palestinian territories.” The Berkeley initiative, endorsed by 41 student groups in March 2010 and cynically named “A Bill In Support of UC Divestment From [Israeli] War Crimes”—promoted by broader an anti-Israel effort named the “U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.”

The latest NYU effort, an “Open Letter to TIAA-CREF CEO and President Roger W. Ferguson from NYU Faculty and Staff,” signed by over 70 members of the NYU community, has as its purpose “to pressure TIAA-CREF into divesting its holdings in 5 key companies which profit from the illegal Israeli occupation and oppression of the Palestinians.” It has at its core the same baseless accusations and libels against Israel, namely, that companies like Caterpillar “sells the bulldozers used by the IDF to destroy Palestinian homes, infrastructure, and fruit and olive trees;” Elbit Systems provides “drones used to kill Palestinian and Lebanese civilians;” Northrop Grumman builds weaponry that “Israel needs to defend itself from crowds of children throwing stones;” Veolia “operates a light-rail system linking Israel’s illegal settlements to Jerusalem;” and Motorola “manufactures surveillance equipment for Israeli checkpoints” [emphasis added]. Read more ..

Economic Jihad

NYU Israel-Divestment Push Ill-conceived

October 16th 2011

Congressional issues - Gary Ackerman (D-NY)

I strongly condemn the ill-conceived and dangerous effort by some of the professors and staff at NYU to instigate divestment from American and Israeli companies by TIAA-CREF. While they have managed to assemble a pastiche of smears and falsehoods against Israel, they have not actually come up with anything resembling a sound rationale for divestment.

The faculty and staff who signed the open letter to TIAA-CREF claim the companies they list are profiting from the so-called “occupation of Palestinian territories.” What they actually seem to be most upset about is that these companies and the goods they produce enable Israel, the only true liberal democracy in the Middle East and a staunch American ally, to defend itself, protect its citizens, and fight back against relentless terrorist assault targeting Israeli civilians.

Strangely, there is not a word of concern in their letter about the many thousands of Israelis who have been murdered or maimed by rockets falling on their homes, bombs going off on their buses, or by suicide bombers slipping into restaurants and religious celebrations. Likewise, no word is mentioned about the declared, and often repeated, intent of Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, and their radical allies to destroy Israel altogether. Should we assume these erudite employees of NYU forgot, omitted, or are actually ignorant of this essential fact? Surely these exceptional educators wouldn’t cherry-pick the facts to present only one side of a complex issue. Read more ..

America’s Occupation Season

“Occupy Wall Street” Should Also Take Aim at Health Insurance Companies

October 12th 2011

Economy - Occupy DC Oct 2011

The lobbyists for U.S. health insurers surely have to be feeling a little uneasy knowing that thousands of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators who have been marching and protesting in Washington as well as New York and other cities might target them in the days ahead. After all, the headquarters of the insurers’ biggest lobbying and PR group, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), at 601 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, is just blocks away from Freedom Plaza, where the demonstrators have set up camp, and problems with health insurers appear to be near the top of the list of protesters’ concerns.

Health Care for America Now, an umbrella advocacy group that played a key role in the health care reform debate, last week analyzed the 546 comments that had been posted by then on the “We Are the 99 Percent” site. It found that 262 of the comments mention such problems as getting denials for doctor-ordered care from their insurance companies and having to forego treatment because of hefty out-of-pocket costs. Read more ..

Islam on Edge

Muslim Brotherhood Making Itself at Home in the United States

October 11th 2011

Islamic Topics - Muslim Brotherhood Jordan

They were the first modern terrorists and the forerunner of al-Qaeda. But these days, the Muslim Brotherhood is becoming mainstream not only in Egypt, but in Washington, D.C.

While the final chapter of the so-called Arab Spring has yet to be written, it appears that radical Islamic forces could emerge as the big winners. None more so than the Muslim Brotherhood.

In Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria and Jordan, the Brotherhood has used unrest to increase its influence.

The group is also making inroads closer to home, according to one expert.

"Their goal is primarily deception, manipulation and intelligence gathering," former FBI Special Agent John Guandolo said.

Guandolo said Brotherhood operatives have infiltrated the halls of power in Washington, D.C.

"What we're seeing not just inside the White House, but inside the government entities, the national security entities, the State Department -- is a strong push by the Muslim Brotherhood to get their people not just into operational positions, but policy positions -- deeper, long term, bureaucratic positions," he told CBN News. Read more ..

Egypt after Mubarak

Eyewitness to Mayhem and Geopolitical Convulsions in Cairo

October 11th 2011

Egypt - Flames in Cairo

The last time I visited Cairo, prior to the ouster of then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a feeling of helplessness pervaded the streets. Young Egyptian men spent the hot afternoons in shisha cafes complaining about not being able to get married because there were no jobs available. Members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood would shuffle from apartment to apartment in the poorer districts of Cairo trying to dodge arrest while stressing to me in the privacy of their offices that patience was their best weapon against the regime.

The Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest Islamist organization, could be seen in places where the government was glaringly absent in providing basic services, consciously using these small openings to build up support among the populace in anticipation of the day that a power vacuum would emerge in Cairo for them to fill. Read more ..

War Against the Weak

Carnegie and other Philanthropic Institutions Share in the Blame for Eugenic Genocide

October 10th 2011

Book Covers - War Against the Weak

This article is part of our continuing coverage of the eugenic issues brought up in Edwin Black's bestselling book, War Against the Weak.

North Carolina has been transfixed this past summer by the gripping, tragic testimony of victims of its eugenics program, which forcibly sterilized some 7,600 state residents from 1929 to 1974. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, it might be instructive to recall that foundation’s contribution to North Carolina’s shameful past.

Why bring up this unpleasant, happily obscure historical footnote on the occasion of the Carnegie Corporation’s grand centenary? Because philanthropy at last seems a bit weary of self-celebration and has begun to realize that it will become more effective only if it is willing to learn from its mistakes. Eugenics presents a serious opportunity to do so.

Eugenics was a pseudo-science popular in the early 20th century, championing the notion that the human race could be biologically enhanced by encouraging the “breeding” of “superior stocks” while discouraging, even forcibly preventing, the propagation of “inferior stocks.”

In America, the mark of “inferiority” could be anything from inherited physical or mental disabilities to being poor or a member of a disfavored racial or ethnic group.

One of the most ill-defined but commonly targeted mental deficiencies, “feeblemindedness,” was thought to be the genetic cause of crime, prostitution, alcoholism, and other social ills. Read more ..

America on Edge

Missing Bill Clinton, the Comeback Kid

October 9th 2011

Contributors / Staff - Armstrong_Williams

I never thought it would come to this. I never imagined a time past 2000 when I would actually welcome a return to the past. But here we are, facing a recession as deep and even longer than the one in the early 1990s. A recession that ushered in none other than the Comeback Kid—President William Jefferson Clinton.

His was a presidency that brought us DNA samples; Don’t ask, Don’t tell; school uniforms; and wagging fingers regarding a certain intern.

But set all that aside (if you can), and recall some of the fiscal successes of his presidency, and it’s easy to long for those days again. Yes, the United States enjoyed years of growing surpluses during the Clinton presidency—many of which could be attributed equally to the Republican Congress—but pair them together, and it’s easy to see why the country could use another Bill Clinton in place of the current Oval Office occupant. Here’s why:

Trade policy.

I lead with this because it’s easily the quickest thing President Obama could accomplish to help set the economy on the right footing again. President Clinton bucked the powerful labor unions and even some of the most liberal wings in his party to push through Trade Promotion Authority during his tenure. For the first time, the Administration had the power to negotiate trade deals and send them to the Congress for an up-or-down vote. TPA was a signature legislative jewel in the crown of the Clinton presidency, and it took none other than Clinton himself to put his own political capital on the line to marshal it through the Congress. Read more ..

Turkey on Edge

Turkish Bellicosity is NATO’s Dilemma

October 7th 2011

Turkish Topics - Erdogan

Bellicose threats directed at Israel by the Turkish government delivered over the past two months are extremely disturbing and demand an American response. Never before in the history of the alliance has a NATO member used such strident and threatening language at a fellow democratic country. This is in addition to nine years of actions counter to the positions of its Western partners.

The succession of hostile declarations by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish officials has been accompanied by a downgrading of relations with Israel and a threat to deploy Turkish naval vessels to confront the Israeli blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza, a measure the UN recently declared legal. Read more ..

The Digital Edge

Steve Jobs: the Stanford Commencement Address—Love and Loss, Triumph and Death

October 6th 2011

Technology - Steve Jobs speaking

This is a prepared text of the Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, on June 12, 2005 at Stanford University. See video here.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Read more ..

America on Edge

New Mexico Law Enforcement plagued by Corruption and Abuse of Human Rights

October 6th 2011

Crime Topics - Guns for sale

Barely a week goes by without a scandal involving a New Mexico law enforcement officer making the headlines.

Angelo Vega, the former police chief of the border town of Columbus, pleads guilty to extortion and trafficking arms destined for the La Linea criminal organization, one of the protagonists in the so-called Mexican drug wars.

At Albuquerque’s iconic Frontier Restaurant on historic Route 66, where the stern mug and big brim of John Wayne hangs tall, a Bernalillo County sheriff gets involved in a dispute over a table that ends with the officer’s friend, a former Texas deputy, pulling a gun on an unarmed man.

The deputy is fired but not before a video showing the confrontation gets ample play on the Internet. In separate trials last month, an Albuquerque cop gets six months in jail for tipping off a friend who was the subject of a federal drug investigation, while a former Santa Fe County sheriff begins serving a three-month jail sentence for stealing department equipment and peddling it on E-Bay. Read more ..

War Against the Weak

Compensation for Victims of North Carolina's Eugenic Genocide Should Also Come from the Charities That Funded It

October 5th 2011

Book Covers - War Against the Weak

America's eugenics movement was not just a tragedy for North Carolina. During some five decades of 20th century science-based ethnic cleansing and class elimination, the state sterilized almost 8,000 of its own citizens — mostly women. The war against the weakest residents of North Carolina was not waged at night with burning crosses by men dressed in sheets, but at high noon by the best and brightest men and women of North Carolina's academic, legislative and medical elite.

Eugenic stalwarts, powered by millions of dollars from the opulent Carnegie Institution, Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune, sought to extend their reach into Germany. Rockefeller and Carnegie spent Depression-era fortunes to finance the worst Nazi doctors and race institutes. Hitler promptly implemented American precepts that he studied with stunning ferocity and velocity. Among the central recipients of Rockefeller money was top Nazi doctor Otmar von Verschuer. During the Final Solution, Verschuer's assistant, Josef Mengele, continued the Rockefeller-funded eugenic twin research at Auschwitz. Mengele's efforts yielded monstrous experiments.

While 27 states joined in the campaign once projected to eliminate the reproductive viability of some 90 percent of the nation, most abandoned the practice after the full realization of Hitler's eugenic Holocaust and his quest for a master race. But North Carolina continued its eugenic practices for years, with vestigial race laws designed and deployed purportedly to eliminate poverty but mainly implemented as a heinous tactic of Jim Crow. From 1929 through 1974, an estimated 7,600 North Carolinians were sterilized, mainly poor blacks. Read more ..

Greece Edge

The Tyranny and Devastating Glory of Greece

October 4th 2011

Europe Topics - Nazi officers at Acropolis

On the eve of World War II, in 1935, the British scholar, E. M. Butler, spoke about the “tyranny” and “devastating glory of the Greeks.” She explained:

“Greece has profoundly modified the whole trend of modern civilization, imposing her thought, her standards, her literary forms, her imagery, her visions and dreams wherever she is known. But Germany is the supreme example of her triumphant spiritual tyranny. The Germans have imitated the Greeks more slavishly; they have been obsessed by them more utterly and they have assimilated them less than any other race. The extent of the Greek influence is incalculable throughout Europe; its intensity is at its highest in Germany.”

Butler was not quite right. WWII shreded the classical façade of Europe rather quickly. Read more ..

Israel and Palestine on Edge

Letter from Prague: What the Betrayal of Czechoslovakia in 1938 Can Teach Us About The World and Israel Today

September 30th 2011

 - sudetenland_1938

"We have no interest in oppressing other people. … It is not so much the country of Czechoslovakia; it is rather its leader, Edvard Benes. He has led a reign of terror. … The Czech maintenance of a tremendous military arsenal can only be regarded as a focus of danger. We have displayed a truly unexampled patience, but I am no longer willing to remain inactive while this madman ill-treats millions of human beings."- Adolf Hitler, September 1938.

Visiting the Czech Republic prompts thoughts of the 1938 Munich agreement. Analogies with Nazism and the 1930s are overused today, made even more tasteless and cliché-ridden by the fact that many of those using them know very little about the situations then and now. Read more ..

Religous Tolerance

Christian pastor faces Death Penalty in Iran for Refusing to Recant his Faith

September 27th 2011

Iran - Pastor Yousef Nadarkhan
Pastor Yousef Nadarkhan

A Christian pastor may be executed in Iran if he refuses to give up his faith. Rev. Yousef Nadarkhani has twice refused to recant his Christian faith during two court hearings held in Rasht, Gilan Province, September 25- 26. According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, recanting will again be demanded at sessions scheduled for September 27-28, and that if he continues to refuse, he will be executed thereafter. He belongs to the Church of Iran, an evangelical Christian denomination.

Pastor Nadarkhani was tried and found guilty of abandoning Islam in September 2010 by the court of appeals in Rasht. The verdict was delivered verbally in court, while written confirmation of the death sentence was received nearly two months later.

At the June 2011 appeal, Iran's Supreme Court upheld Nadarkhani’s sentence, but asked the court in Rasht that had issued the initial sentence to re-examine whether or not he had been a practicing Muslim adult prior to converting to Christianity. The written verdict of the Supreme Court’s decision included provision for annulment of the death sentence if he recants his faith. Read more ..

Guatemala on Edge

Evil Times in Guatemala make for Difficult Choices in Fight against Narco-Terror

September 27th 2011

Latin American Topics - Guatemalan special forces
Guatemala 'Kailbil' special forces

The Guatemalan elections are taking place against a complex background of a largely impoverished population yearning for some semblance of law and order. The September 11th presidential elections resulted in a run-off between Otto Perez Molina, a conservative former general and Manuel Baldizon, a wealthy businessman running as a populist.

Guatemala is far from being a solid state. It is a state where insecurity, corruption and drug trafficking has destroyed its foundations. Institutional corruption is such that people have lost all confidence in their government up to the point that people often refuse to pay taxes or take the law into their own hands by conducting public lynching of suspected criminals.

As Mexican drug cartels control most of the trafficking of drugs to the United States, Guatemala has become a bastion of organized crime. Guatemala shares an uncontrolled border with Mexico. For a very long time it has had weak state institutions. This makes Guatemala a perfect transit country for the passage of drugs on their way to the U.S. Indeed, more than one ton of cocaine passes through Guatemala every single day. Read more ..

Oil Addiction

How to Weaken the Power of Foreign Oil

September 27th 2011

Energy Topics - Oil Barrels 400px

Our country has recently gone through a sober national retrospective on the 9/11 attacks. Apart from the heartfelt honoring of those lost—on that day and since—what seemed most striking is our seeming passivity and indifference toward the well from which our enemies draw their political strength and financial power: the strategic importance of oil, which provides the wherewithal for a generational war against us, as we mutter diplomatic niceties.

Oil’s strategic importance stems from its virtual monopoly as a transportation fuel. Today, 97 percent of all air, sea and land transportation systems in the United States have only one option: petroleum-based products. For more than 35 years we have engaged in self-delusion, saying either that we have reserves here at home large enough to meet our needs, or that the OPEC cartel will keep prices affordable out of self-interest. Read more ..

The World on Edge

Palestinian Statehood Would be Diplomatic Disaster

September 27th 2011

Contributors / Staff - Armstrong Williams Headshot
Armstrong Williams

The world is abuzz with the possibility of a U.N. vote to recognize a Palestinian state. Should this vote take place, it would be a disgrace and a diplomatic debacle for Israel, the Palestinians and the United States.

Since its founding in 1948, Israel has lived under the constant threat of physical danger, surrounded by hostile regimes committed to its obliteration. In recent weeks, Israel’s diplomatic ties with Turkey, at one time its closest ally in the Muslim world, unraveled completely. Meanwhile, across the border in Egypt, Israeli diplomats literally ran for their lives as a lawless mob stormed the Israeli Embassy. These events, combined with the Palestinian Authority (PA) seeking U.N. recognition, are creating a perfect storm of diplomatic danger.

PA efforts to secure statehood represent an abandonment of the very foundation of the peace process, which requires the Palestinians and Israelis to negotiate directly to resolve their conflict. The PA lusts for statehood despite its near-total reliance on foreign aid to prop up its frail economy and the government’s physical and political division between PA-controlled areas on the West Bank and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

The proposition of Palestinian statehood today is ludicrous. This would involve bestowing legitimacy on a government that includes a radical, Islamist terrorist group which is committed to the destruction of its neighbor Israel, has championed use of suicide terrorism to murder innocents, and has indiscriminately fired thousands of rockets into Israeli towns and cities after Israel withdrew completely from Gaza.

Should the U.N. really grant the precious gift of global recognition to a PA that pays salaries to known terrorists imprisoned in Israeli jails, honors suicide terrorists as martyrs and holds them up as role models for children? Read more ..

The Arab Spring

Arab Spring—or Islamist Winter?

September 27th 2011

Egypt - Members of Muslim Brotherhood

A fierce debate is gripping Israel’s defense and intelligence community over fateful questions that have arisen from the recent period of Middle Eastern turmoil.

The first, most basic question concerning defense officials is: Can stable states eventually emerge around Israel from the chaos and uncertainty that has replaced the old regional order?

Alternatively, will the Arab states be hijacked by powerful, radical Islamist currents that have been deceptively dormant until now, lying in wait for a golden opportunity to fill a vacuum? Moreover, if the Islamists do take over, is it inevitable that they will drag the region into war?

In January of this year, just as the Arab revolts began spreading like wildfire, Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror—who would go on to become Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s national security advisor—expressed an unequivocal and discomforting prognosis. Read more ..

Religious Tolerance

Former Muslim Seeks to Enlighten Americans on Politically Incorrect Truth about Islam

September 23rd 2011

Book Covers - Quran Dilemma

It's been 10 years since Muslim terrorists carried out the 9/11 attacks. Yet polls show that most Americans still have very little understanding of Islam.

A former Muslim is looking to change that by revealing the politically incorrect truth about the Koran. Al Fadi, a Saudi native, said it's no coincidence that a majority of the 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia.

"When I lived in Saudi Arabia, not only did I look at non-Muslims as second class, you would look at non-devout Muslims as second class citizens," Fadi said. "If Islam has to prosper, be the superior religion, then certain steps must be taken by its followers, including spreading Islam at any cost, including the sword and killing any opposition," he said.

Real Life Under Islam

These days al Fadi, which is a pseudonym, lives in the West. He also left Islam for Christianity, a move that would bring a death sentence in his native country.

"The Koran will emphatically say in chapter 4, verse 157 that the crucifiction never took place, that someone else was made to look like Jesus and was put in his place," Fadi explained.

It's been 10 years since Muslim terrorists carried out the 9/11 attacks. Yet polls show that most Americans still have very little understanding of Islam.

A former Muslim is looking to change that by revealing the politically incorrect truth about the Koran. Al Fadi, a Saudi native, said it's no coincidence that a majority of the 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. "When I lived in Saudi Arabia, not only did I look at non-Muslims as second class, you would look at non-devout Muslims as second class citizens," Fadi said. "If Islam has to prosper, be the superior religion, then certain steps must be taken by its followers, including spreading Islam at any cost, including the sword and killing any opposition," he said. Read more ..

Israel and Palestine on Edge

President Clinton Reinvents Israel

September 23rd 2011

Israel Topics - Israel pre 1967

Bill Clinton recently blasted Benjamin Netanyahu, blaming the Israeli prime minister for the lack of progress toward peace with the Palestinians.

The errors and misstatements in Clinton’s interview with bloggers are sufficient to change his reputation from that of a firm supporter of Israel into that of a firm supporter of Israelis who agree with his twisted version of the facts. Clinton simply blames the Israeli right for killing peace efforts. He appears entirely—in fact, embarrassingly—unaware of what has actually happened to the Israeli right over the last ten years, where the change has been extraordinary.

First, Ariel Sharon embraced Palestinian statehood in 2003, at the Aqaba Summit, and then took all Israeli settlements and bases out of Gaza in 2005. Sharon broke up his Likud Party over this, forming Kadima to back his policies. Likud fought those new Sharon policies for years, but Netanyahu is now bringing Likud, or most of it, around to supporting the basic Sharon view—that there should indeed be a Palestinian state. In his speech to the Knesset on Israeli independence day this year (May 16), ignored by Clinton (as it was by the Obama administration), Netanyahu agreed again to Palestinian statehood and the compromises it entails: “These compromises, by the way, will be hard to make because, no matter what, they involve parts of our homeland. Read more ..

Israel on Edge

Why is Israel’s Largest NGO Undermining the Jewish State?

September 18th 2011

Israel Topics - jerusalem from mt of olives

It is a somber reflection on the naivety of well-intended Jewish philanthropists that they continue donating vast amounts of money to Israel’s largest NGO, the New Israel Fund (NIF). They do so despite repeated documented exposures demonstrating that this body is sponsoring anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian and post- Zionist organizations, committed to undermining the Jewish state and promoting the narrative of the Palestinians as victims and Israelis as oppressors.

Many of the donors are liberal Jews genuinely committed to Israel who blindly accept at face value statements from NIF officials who obfuscate the truth. Read more ..

Egypt and Israel

An Egyptian Mob Attacks Israel’s Embassy—and Captures the Egyptian Revolution

September 14th 2011

Egypt - Egyptian protests at Israeli embassy

“You have always yearned for this chance and now you have it. A wind is blowing from paradise sweet with the smell of martyrdom.” – Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s leader Hasan al-Banna, December 10, 1947

“The world will see it is impossible to beat Arabs by force.” – Arab Summit Declaration, December 24, 1947

“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know / What I was walling in or walling out, / And to whom I was like to give offence / Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, / That wants it down!” – Robert Frost, “Mending Wall”

How is Egypt’s revolution different from a real democratic revolution, as in Eastern Europe? Here’s a symbolic way to remember it.

The most famous line, at least from an American, on the road to Eastern Europe’s transformation cane from President Ronald Reagan: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Eventually the East German people did the job. The tearing down of the wall was a symbol of opening the borders, letting in the light of the outer world, throwing out the old totalitarian ideas that had sat on the people’s heads and pecked at their brains for decades.

While the tearing down of a wall in Berlin signaled a democratic and liberating revolution in Eastern Europe, it symbolizes the decision to make the Egyptian revolution the basis for a new dictatorship of hatred, blindness, and destruction. Read more ..

Central America on Edge

Central Americans Enter the Mexican Valley of Death on their way to the U.S.

September 11th 2011

Latin American Topics - Central American emigrants

Every year, 500,000 Central Americans pass through Mexico on an invariably dangerous journey to the United States in search of better opportunities, but it is unknown how many reach their intended destination. Migrants are regularly treated as second-class citizens during their journey; many fall victim to the violence of criminal gangs, resulting in assaults, sexual slavery, kidnapping, or murder. Civil society organizations often advocate the protection of migrant rights; however, in response to a wave of migrant-associated murders, the Mexican government chosen to take action. In light of the recent explosion of migrant killings, on May 25, 2011, a reform of Mexico’s Immigration Law was forced upon the government. Nevertheless, it is debatable whether or not this law reform will be enough to protect migrants.

Criminal gangs take advantage of migrants’ vulnerability

Local authorities have not only proven unable to adequately treat migrants with respect, but have themselves, on some occasions, also been linked to criminal activities that have added to the woes of those who are desperate to enter the U.S. The Mexican weekly Proceso reported that members of the National Immigration Institute (INM) kidnapped over 120 migrants on a bus in Tamaulipas going to the U.S. Migrants of Mexican, Central American, and Chinese origin are delivered to criminal gangs who exploit them for months before selling them into some form of servitude. It is no surprise then that migrants feel trapped in a situation where they are prevented from having an adequate outlet to hold human rights abuses accountable. Read more ..

Economic Recovery on Edge

The American People Can Handle The Truth About The Economy; Can Washington?

September 9th 2011

Contributors / Staff - Armstrong_Williams

Who does the Fed think it’s kidding? Somehow we are supposed to believe it that the economy is growing, inflation is under control, and the big banks the Fed has been spoonfeeding are somehow more solvent than they were two years ago. Fortunately, we live in a country where, despite the old adage, it is rarely possible to fool all of the people even some of the time.

That’s especially true of people who’ve already been fooled several times in recent memory. First it was the ratings agencies, whose reckless and conflicted business depended upon receiving billions of dollars in revenue from the very companies that they were supposedly rating. If that’s not an incentive for willful blindness, if not outright fraud, what is? The effect was that they were complicit with the big banks in duping the so-called “dumb money” (read public and private pension funds under mandate to invest only in highly rated securities) into investing workers’ hard earned savings into what turned out to be worthless junk securities.

When, finally, one of the agencies dared dip its toe in the waters of truth and recently downgraded U.S. sovereign debt (which, given its calamitous risk exposure, is still too highly rated), it was met not with a soothing reassurance that it was doing the right thing, but a baptism of fire and brimstone. In its vindictiveness, the U.S. Government immediately set to work supposedly investigating S&P of for its misdeeds. Where were the righteous Feds in 2007, when all of the ratings agencies gave Lehman Brothers AAA ratings right up until the day it collapsed? Why hasn’t there been a global discrediting of the ratings process after fully 90 percent of all the mortgage backed securities rated AAA by all three major ratings agencies have been downgraded to junk status? Read more ..

Financial Jihad

Anti-Israel BDS Claims Exposed as Fraudulent Time and Time Again

September 7th 2011

Europe Topics - Anti Israel demo Greece
Anti-Israel protest in Greece

No doubt the author of the Ynet August 31 piece “Is BDS campaign working” meant well in terms of alerting readers to the threat of not just BDS but the whole effort to de-legitimize the Jewish state. That said, accurate information is always required when analyzing a threat and, unfortunately, the writer chose to take BDS claims of success at face value, rather than digging beneath the surface for more accurate information.

For example, Agrexco (the Israeli flower grower that began his story) is going through financial difficulty not because of significant losses in exports, but due to a major drop in the domestic market (coupled with general business woes). Similarly 2009-2010 “divestment” from the Africa-Israel Corporation was not due to politics but to the company’s near hopeless debt situation, trigged by the 2008-2009 crash in the real estate industry. Read more ..

The 2012 Vote

Capped Malpractice Awards have Yielded No Benefits to the People of Texas

September 7th 2011

Social Topics - judge's gavel

In his quest to win the Republican presidential nomination, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is perpetuating a convincing hoax: that implementing Texas-style tort reform would go a long way toward curing what ails the U.S. health care system. Like his fellow GOP contenders, Perry consistently denounces “Obamacare” as “a budget-busting, government takeover of healthcare” and “the greatest intrusion on individual freedom in a generation.” He promises to repeal the law if elected.

Unlike those in the “repeal-and-replace” wing of the Republican Party, however, Perry has emerged as leader of the “repeal-and-let-the-states-figure-it-out” wing that believes the federal government has no legitimate role in fixing America’s health care system. “To hear federal officials tell it, they’ve got all the answers on health care and it’s up to the rest of us to sit, wait and embrace whatever solution—if any—they may eventually provide,” Perry wrote in a newspaper commentary in 2009. “I find this troubling, since states have shown they know a thing or two about solving problems that affect their citizens.” Read more ..

Energy and Environment

Federal Carbon Capture Program Risks Mass Fatalities and Delirium

September 7th 2011

Energy / Environment - carbon emissions

Oil and gas companies believe that carbon capture and storage (CCS) will allow fossil-burning to continue unabated, but health leaders expose the potential for widespread human fatalities in the event of accidental leaks.

The United States Department of Energy has pledged to match Masdar’s $700,000 carbon capture research program with $3 Million of US taxpayer money.

In collaboration with RTI International, an independent, international non-profit organization that has worked closely with the DoE for 25 years, Penn State University and two other American companies, Masdar intends to revolutionize the CCS space so that the world can continue to burn coal, gas, and oil without worrying about the impact that doing so will have on escalating climate changes. Read more ..

The Obama Edge

Some Strategic Thinking by Obama Needed on Israel

September 5th 2011

Obama Admin Topics - Obama calling

Seven months ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed strong U.S. opposition to the Palestinians’ unilateral statehood bid at the United Nations. One month ago, Congress threatened to cut off U.S. aid for the Palestinian Authority if it carried on. Yet President Mahmoud Abbas is still moving full-speed ahead to September with his U.N. initiative.

The Obama administration and Congress have rightfully taken a firm stance against unilateral recognition of a Palestinian State. But with every sign indicating that the Palestinian leadership won’t be changing course, it’s time for the White House to assert a more active approach to blunt the potential impact of this collision.

The United States must begin a vigorous public effort to lobby other countries, large and small, to oppose the Palestinian effort and join President Barack Obama in pressuring the PA to call it off. Acting decisively now, we can persuade the Palestinians not to press ahead with this damaging course – which undermines our quest for peace and risks anti-Israel terrorism and violence on the Palestinian side, when carelessly raised hopes are dashed. Read more ..

Financial Jihad

Australian Newspaper Likens Anti-Israel Boycotters to Nazi Stormtroopers

September 4th 2011

Jewish Topics - Max Brenner Boycott Protest

A leading Aussie newspaper, The Australian, has editorialized about the Nazi-style tactics of the anti-Israel boycott movement, patterned after and evolved from the one begun by the Hitler regime. During the 1930's, Hitler's Brownshirts, disrupted concerts featuring Jewish performers, and picketed Jewish shops. Australians were shocked to recently find that while Arabs were being slaughtered daily by dictators in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Palestinian agitators caused a public ruckus at a popular Israeli-owned chocolate shop.

"A few weeks ago it was a chocolate shop in Melbourne, targeted by pro-Palestinian activists because it is part of an Israeli chain," warned the Australian. Then "it was the Royal Albert Hall in London, where about 30 demonstrators disrupted a Proms concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. So noisy were they that the BBC had to interrupt its coverage twice, although the orchestra, under the baton of one of the world's leading conductors, Zubin Mehta, kept on and managed to play all four pieces on the program, including Max Bruch's violin concerto No 1 in G Minor." Read more ..

Edge of Terrorism

Prominent Son of Murdered Governor Abducted in Lawless Pakistan

August 26th 2011

PakistanTopics - Shahbaz taseer
Shahbaz Ali Taseer

Shahbaz Ali Taseer - son of the slain Governor Punjab Salman Taseer - was kidnapped by armed men in Lahore, Pakistan. According to eye witnesses, Shahbaz Taseer was going towards his company office "World Call" located at 103C2 Gulberg Lahore, at around 10:54 a.m. Just a few meters away from the office, a motorcycle intercepted Taseer`s Mercedes Benz SLK 200, bearing the license plate LZT 1. When he stopped, more than 4 armed men came out of a black Toyota Land Cruiser and kidnapped him at gun point.

The abductors threw away Shahbaz Taseer`s iPhone, 2 cell phones and the laptop and drove towards DHA ( Defence Housing Authority) over the Calgary Bridge. Read more ..

Nicaragua on Edge

Murder of Nicaraguan priest Stirs Up Popular Resentment during Presidential campaign

August 25th 2011

Latin American Topics - Nicaraguan crime unit
Nicaraguan criminal forensics unit

The Catholic Church in Nicaragua confirmed on August 23 that a body recovered that morning at the Kilometre 16 marker on the road from Managua to Leon was indeed that of Fr. Marlon Ernesto Pupiro Garcia of the province of Masaya. According to the Archdiocese of Managua, Fr. Pupiro had been missing since August 20 under as yet to be discovered circumstances. The sacristan for Fr. Marlon's parish in the town of La Concha, José Ignacio Moraga Sánchez, told local media that the priest arrived on time every day to open the church for the morning liturgy. On the morning of August 20, when the priest did not arrive, the sacristan walked along the road but did not find him.

The press office of the Archdiocese of Managua said that the priest's body was brought to La Purisima parish, in the municipality of La Concepcion, Masaya province, where the Metropolitan Archbishop Jose Brenes Solarzano and Auxiliary Bishop Silvio Baez and the clergy of the archdiocese celebrated a memorial Mass on the evening of August 23. Read more ..

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