Arlene from Israel

That’s the current state of affairs.

Yesterday, the High Court — totally as expected — rejected the appeals of families of terror victims and said that the State had the right, for diplomatic reasons, to effect the release of the first 26 Palestinian Arab terrorists.

And so, after midnight last night (the wee hours of Wednesday, the 14th) the arrangements were carried out by Prison Services, with some being bused to Ramallah and others to the Erez Crossing into Gaza.

For obvious reasons, Hamas forbid its populace to have public celebrations over the releases. This would have been an acknowledgement that Abbas had achieved something in the lead up to negotiations, which they are dead set against. (More below on this.)

For equally obvious reasons, the Palestinian Authority engaged in celebration as the prisoners were brought to the presidential compound. Israel had specifically requested that the welcome of the released be kept low key. But Israeli officials must have known they were blowin’ in the wind when they made that request: Israel cannot prevent us from celebrating, PA officials retorted. There was music, and there were fireworks. PA officials were there along with families, offering welcome.

Always and ever, please! keep in mind, and remind others, what sort of low life villains the Palestinian Authority is celebrating as heroes.


An epiphany: That the bad guys, our enemies, should achieve a victory of sorts such as this is disheartening, and indeed sickening. But there is another way to look at it. That they welcome vile murderers as heroes throws into stark relief the evidence of what sort of people they are. See Abbas rejoicing with terrorists:

Credit: Times of Israel

So, I would suggest, we are able to look at them, do our own rejoicing because of the difference between them and ourselves, and thank Heaven for that difference.


Even with the celebrations that were anticipated, once the names of the prisoners who were scheduled to be released had been announced, a note of discontent was also voiced in certain Palestinian Arab circles. That had to do with the fact that no Palestinian Arabs who hold Israel citizenship or Jerusalem residency were included.

Kadoura Fares, director of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, referred to a “flaw” created by Israel’s selection of the first group of prisoners. He said it would be discussed by PA officials, who would seek to have input in future selections.


The reason why no Israel Arab prisoners were released is obvious: The government was trying to avoid riling the Israeli populace any more than it already had — and the release of Israeli citizens at the behest of Abbas would have been particularly contentious.

I am hardly the only one who feels that — as reprehensible as the release of any of the Palestinian Arab prisoners is — the release of Israeli Arab citizens who acted in ways they perceived as doing battle on behalf of an enemy, at the intercession of that enemy, is especially offensive. It should fall exclusively to Israel to deal with her own citizens.

Even now I ponder whether there is some way to stop their release from happening.

With this issue we step into the very thorny territory of the disloyalty of increasing numbers of Arabs who are Israeli citizens — who receive the rights and protections of Israel (and would not for anything opt to switch that for PA residency and the very dubious to non-existent rights and protections that would flow from this), and yet are prepared to identify with Israel’s enemy.

The fact is that in recent years Palestinian Arabs have deliberately prevailed upon Israeli Arab citizens to project loyalty to the PA “cause” rather than to Israel. This at the same time that we are accused of being “apartheid” by the PA. I am not suggesting that the PA prevails overtly upon Israeli Arabs to become terrorists, I am suggesting something more subtle. But that terrorist groups recruit among Israeli Arabs is unquestionably the case — and they are more susceptible to recruitment if they already identify with the PA.


I would shudder to think that PA authorities would have any say in which prisoners were selected for each subsequent release — if indeed all three projected releases are carried out.

At the hearing before the High Court, when the families of victims were petitioning for the halt to the release, a representative of the State said that subsequent releases were conditional on the “peace talks.” If the talks did not proceed, then there was an “option” to not release further prisoners.

An “option”? Does this suggest that maybe talks will collapse and we’ll continue with the releases anyway? (That would be what Abbas would demand, surely, claiming that it was Israel’s fault that talks failed.)


A different interpretation: Less than two weeks ago, Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni said release of further prisoners will depend upon the progress of the talks.

No way to pin down Israeli intentions on this now. Diplomats have said that Netanyahu does intend to demand in the future that dangerous prisoners who are released be deported out of the area — something Abbas has declared will not happen.


What is greatly distressing, if true, with regard to those who were selected for the current release, is a report from Maariv: Apparently the responsible committee ignored recommendations of the Shin Bet (Israeli internal security), which had provided a list of 40 prisoners — who represented the least security threat — from which to select the 26.

Some of those names were reportedly passed over and others substituted because they had more popularity in the Palestinian Arab street and thus might provide a bigger boost to the popularity of Abbas.


I give credence to this is part because elsewhere I read that there had been some changes in the list before it was released.

Heading that committee was Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. And my immediate response was, Bogie? Even Bogie? He did vote for the prisoner release, which was a great disappointment. I know that he knows better, which makes it even more painful, if true, than if he actually believed peace with the PA was around the corner. (See his cynical assessment below.)

Did the PA have input into the matter of which prisoners have the most street popularity?


And so, as far as we know, “negotiations” did begin today here in Jerusalem, with the agenda, the place and the time kept secret. There is supposed to be a full media blackout as talks proceed, but I see this as exceedingly unlikely — most particularly from the PA side.


Moshe Ya’alon told reporters (emphasis added):

“We set ourselves the goal of nine months in which we will try to reach something with the Palestinians. We’ve been trying for 20 years since Oslo, and for over 120 years of the conflict. The skepticism in the tone of my remarks is apparent, but we’ve decided to give it a chance.”



Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a Gaza-based Hamas official, has made it clear that Hamas will not be bound by any outcome of the negotiations. This is hardly a surprise.

But we need to follow this further: Hamas officials are angry that “the PA has dealt the final blow to reconciliation talks.” Thus, says Al-Zahar, Hamas needs to isolate Abbas and strip him of any authority to negotiate.


Hamas intentions to undermine Abbas among his own people, and to destabilize the PA, represent yet other reasons not to negotiate with the PA. Abbas is without the backing to make his actions credible and is exceedingly vulnerable.

A handful of prisoners that are popular on the street may have been released by Israel in an attempt to garner further support for him. But in the end that will be a very small matter that does not significantly alter the situation. The mere fact that there was concern about the need to strengthen Abbas speaks volumes.


I note here that the talks presumably have begun in spite of the pronunciations of Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior PLO official. who was put out with the very recent announcement of an additional almost 800 apartments to be built in Jerusalem neighborhoods past the Green Line.

Abed Rabbo said the approval of this building “could” (not “would”) bring about the “collapse” of the talks: “This settlement expansion is unprecedented. It threatens to make talks fail even before they have started.”

Mere talk only — the sort of carrying on that we might expect. What was more interesting to me was that almost immediately Kerry advised that no one should get too upset about this.


It was clear as it might be then that there had been an understanding between Kerry and Netanyahu. I can imagine Netanyahu telling Kerry that the only way he could pull off the prisoner release was if he made the right wing of his government happy by approving building. And indeed, subsequently Kerry acknowledged that Netanyahu had told him forthrightly that since there was no agreement with regard to a building freeze there would be building.

This is what he said yesterday (emphasis added):

“Let me make it clear: The policy of the United States of America with respect to all settlements is that they are illegitimate, and we oppose settlements taking place at any time, not just the time of the peace process.

But – here’s the but – that said, Prime Minister Netanyahu was completely upfront with me and with President Abbas that he would be announcing some additional building that would take place in places that will not affect the peace map, that will not have any impact on the capacity to have a peace agreement. That means that it is building within the so-called blocs in areas that many people make a presumption – obviously not some Palestinians or others – will be part of Israel in the future. He has specifically agreed not to disturb what might be the potential for peace going forward.

Now, we still believe it would be better not to be doing it, but there are realities within life in Israel that also have to be taken into account here going forward.


I note here that he says that Abbas was informed of this, and so we can assume that all the PA grandstanding is just that. What is more, that they lied when they said, as they did, that Kerry promised that there would be no building.

Altogether, I find this an interesting state of affairs. Is Kerry starting to publicly indicate impatience with Abbas?


What Kerry said here about the Israeli position represents it accurately. The prime minister’s office is saying that building will take place only in blocs in Judea and Samaria or in neighborhoods in Jerusalem that we would be retaining in any negotiated agreement. The notion that our building in neighborhoods such as Gilo or Har Homa represents a threat to “the peace process” is beyond ridiculous, frankly.

Of course Uri Ariel, Housing and Construction Minister, says:

“No other nation on the planet accepts diktats from other countries on where it can build and where it can’t. We’re going to continue issuing tenders for apartments and we’re going to build all over Israel, according to our citizens’ needs.”

What I can report with certainty is Israeli delight at the prospect of housing being constructed, when there has been a shortage for some while. I’ve noted this before: the construction of housing in Israel so often carries political implications that are assumed to be paramount.

But the bottom line is that people in Israel need places to live. We are, thank Heaven, a growing population. We have more children per couple than Jews anywhere else in the world. Our kids grow up, get married, and seek homes of their own.


How the Russians Practice Disinformation

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

The approaching 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy is sufficient reason alone to buy and read the new book, Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism. The co-author, Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking defector from the former Soviet bloc, is an expert on the Kennedy assassination and documents how the Soviet Union and its comrades worked overtime to blame the CIA, right-wingers, oil men and others for the murder of the American president. Many people still believe these false allegations to this day.

In fact, the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was a Marxist with Soviet and Cuban intelligence connections and sympathies. The evidence is simply overwhelming that the Communists killed Kennedy because Kennedy, an anti-communist liberal, confronted the Soviets in Cuba and authorized the overthrow of the Castro regime.

Pacepa’s co-author, Professor Ronald J. Rychlak, adds to this important book by explaining in detail the campaign by the Soviet intelligence service, the KGB, against the Roman Catholic Church, especially the elaborate and engineered smears of Pope Pius XII being “Hitler’s Pope.”

Ominously, by analyzing the conduct of Russian foreign policy and threats against the West, the authors say the Russians may have secretly built a “new generation” of nuclear weapons, developed in hidden “nuclear cities,” and that “a nuclear midnight,” prepared by Iran, could be launched on Israel and the West. They even suggest that a Russian role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America cannot be dismissed.

Granted, this is a lot for people to swallow. But with the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination approaching, the part of the book on Oswald should take center stage and serve as a reminder of the forces that still are arrayed against the United States.

For those who think this is old news, since the Soviet Union collapsed, consider Pacepa’s point that Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer, and his ex-KGB cronies “own Russia” today. They have transformed Russia into “the first intelligence dictatorship in history,” he says. In other words, the enemy remains the same but has changed appearances; Putin appears to rule a “democratic Russia,” with competing centers of political power.

In Russia, Pacepa and Rychlak note, Putin has been ruthless, with more than 120 journalists murdered because they were trying to uncover the secrets of Putin’s nuclear weapons policies.

Pacepa ran the Romanian intelligence service and has extensive knowledge of Soviet/Russian intelligence activities, especially in the field of disinformation. He maintains that disinformation, which confuses or misleads Western audiences, is the most important area of warfare for America’s enemies. The basic purpose is to convince us that foreign threats do not exist and that those who do expose our enemies are themselves the enemies.

Pacepa previously wrote the book, Programmed to Kill: Lee Harvey Oswald, the Soviet KGB, and the Kennedy Assassination, which also is a must-read.

He documents that Oswald was recruited by the KGB when he was a U.S. Marine stationed in Japan and that he, after defecting to the Soviet Union, came back to America three years later for the express purpose of killing Kennedy. Even though the Soviets for their own reasons subsequently tried “to turn Oswald off,” Oswald went ahead with the plan and was already “programmed” by the Communists to kill Kennedy.

The “Dragon Operation,” designed to shift blame for Kennedy’s murder away from the Communists, “has become one of the most successful disinformation operations in contemporary history,” Pacepa and Rychlak note.

This is significant because of the press reports that National Geographic Channel is airing “Killing Kennedy,” a two-hour film, in November, while PBS has a new two-part “American Experience” documentary, “JFK,” airing November 11th and 12th.

The chapter in the Pacepa book on the Kennedy assassination is titled, “The End of America’s Innocence,” but 50 years later America still has not come to grips with the fact that an American president was killed as a result of a Communist conspiracy based in Moscow and Havana.

President Johnson, fearing another nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union and Cuba, didn’t want the truth to come out. The Warren Commission and a special House committee whitewashed the Communist connection because they “lacked the inside knowledge of Soviet intelligence,” the authors write.

Not only did a Soviet/Cuban agent kill Kennedy, but also, as the book cites, there is evidence that the Soviets were in fact behind the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II.

In other revelations, the authors say that:

  • John Kerry, the former senator and current secretary of state, was a dupe who parroted communist disinformation about the U.S. military effort to keep South Vietnam free from communism. The “anti-war” movement was manipulated by Communist regimes in Hanoi, Havana, and Moscow.
  • The World Council of Churches was a Kremlin pawn.
  • Yasser Arafat, himself a KGB agent, was most likely killed by the KGB (and not by the Israelis, as suggested by Al Jazeera). Arafat’s PLO was created by the KGB.
  • KGB dissident Alexander Litvinenko, living in London, was killed by the KGB because he spilled the beans on how Soviet intelligence spawned Islamic terrorism and trained al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri.
  • The Russians have played a covert role in the “Arab Spring” that has brought to power radical Islamist regimes.

The disappointing part of the book is the failure to adequately explain the background and intentions of President Barack Obama. The authors write that Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright, was associated with the KGB-inspired “liberation theology” movement and that Obama was “bitten by the Marxist bug.” They write about Obama’s “tactics for hiding his past” and note that he ran for the presidency 2008 as a “secret socialist.”

All of this is true, but utterly incomplete. In fact, as we have documented, Obama was mentored by Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis during his critical growing-up years in Hawaii. We documented this in 2008, releasing Davis’s 600-page FBI file in August of that year.

Noting Obama’s dedication to “change,” the authors write, “Let us hope that President Obama will also change himself.”

What we need from Pacepa is an analysis of Obama’s relationship with Putin’s Russia, not a false hope that Obama might change.

Paul Kengor’s excellent book on Davis, The Communist, made the case that Obama’s policies were inspired by the kind of thinking Davis imposed on the future president. Glenn Beck, to his great credit, published this book and featured it on his television network.

A Professor at Grove City College, Kengor wrote the foreword to the Pacepa-Rychlak book, noting how it documents the history of Soviet support for Islamic terrorism “and dual promotion of virulent anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism among Middle East Arabs.” He cites the assertion in the book that the Soviet bloc planted some 4,000 agents of influence in the Islamic world.

The introduction was written by former CIA director R. James Woolsey, who suggests that while Russia may be seen as declining in its influence, largely because of its own demographic problems, current disinformation operations directed at the United States come from Russia “and countries in the Middle East.”

He asks, “…why are many governments in the Mideast essentially doing the same thing [as the Soviets], such as spreading the crazy stories about 9/11—that it was the CIA, or the Mossad?”

Woolsey has his own answer—that dictators “need enemies”—but the ultimate purpose also seems to be to confuse the American people about the nature of the enemy. The crazy stories he refers to have been regular fare on the Al Jazeera and Russia Today propaganda networks that are carried in the United States, and which today promote the line that the NSA is more of a threat to the American people than the Muslim Brotherhood or Moscow.

With the defection of NSA leaker Edward Snowden to Russia and his grant of political asylum from Putin, the intelligence war documented in the Pacepa-Rychlak book does indeed continue. But to many in the West, it is America—not Putin’s Russia—that is the real threat to world affairs.

Obama, responding to the NSA controversy, seems prepared to accept restrictions on the ability of the NSA to monitor foreign threats. Perhaps Snowden has accomplished what Obama secretly hoped would occur anyway.

If this happens, it will be another victory for the disinformation apparatus, at a time when the threat grows and the lives of millions hang in the balance.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].


Watcher’s Council Nominations – 10 Year Anniversary Edition

The Watcher’s Council

Ten years ago, the original Watcher had an idea. Blogging carnivals, featuring posts from different bloggers were all the rage then, but our illustrious Founder had a different idea. Instead of a haphazard and changing bunch of contributors every week, he put together the concept of a set membership, a Watcher’s Council that would promote the best in the blogosphere, week in and week out… a group that would become a community rather than just a collection of random links.

It worked and the fact that it’s lasted so long is worth looking at. If I had to pick out a reason, I’d say it’s both the quality of the writers and the quality of the people involved.

Ten years is an eternity in the world of the Internet. As the current Watcher, what I’m going to write here is probably a little corny, but still true and from the heart – I’m honored to work with such a great group of writers and be a part of the Watcher’s Council. I always have been, ever since I first got the nod from the original Watcher to come aboard and join the Council back in 2005. It really is a community and I think that comes across to our readers.

The strength of that community was tested in a unique way back in 2008, when the original Watcher had to bow out due to health concerns and we lost our community site. Most groups of this sort would have faded into the woodwork and just dissolved. But I was around at the time and I remember how we all rallied as a group and said no, we weren’t going anywhere, thanks.

We put our collective heads together via e-mail, set up a rotating schedule to host the weekly nominations and results on our individual sites, kept linking to each other and kept right on going. We worked together, watched each others’ backs and never missed a week. The esprit was amazing and it brought all of us closer together.

We kept it going ourselves for a few months until August of 2008, when we ran into Terry Trippany, our current web wizard, who put together our new site for us, still hosts and troubleshoots it and even acted as Watcher for a period.

Since the Council started up, some members have come and gone, and we’ve made some changes, but the basic structure the original Watcher put together has endured and the quality of what has become a must read weekly magazine on politics, culture and foreign affairs continues to keep our fans informed and entertained.

We still haven’t missed a week.

The Council is something unique in the world of the internet, a community of writers from varied backgrounds that swaps our triumphs, travails, stories, information, outrageous jokes and links to each others’ stuff while still competing every week to put out the best entries we can. Along with everything else, it’s a heckuva lot of fun.

I’m sure my fellow Council Members will join me in thanking our fans for tuning in to our corner of the blogosphere and in shouting “Council Akbar!”

This week’s contest is lovingly dedicated to our former comrade in arms, Major Andrew Olmsted.

Council News:

This week, Ask Marion and The Pirate’s Cove took advantage of my generous offer of link whorage and earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

Simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (which won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out Wednesday morning.

Simple, no?

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members, while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let’s see what we have this week…

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!


John Kerry, the Frustrated Elitist

Blasted Fools

John Kerry’s bosses have goals, objectives and an agenda to accomplish. Why are you making their job so difficult?

There are too many fools and too little time. That being the case, I still have been neglecting new Secretary of State John Heinz – pardon me, John Kerry. He’s made a lot of noteworthy statements in his career – but outside of his treacherous testimony before the Fulbright Committee, where he supplied the Vietcong with propaganda with which to torment and psychologically assault American P.O.W. captives, while we were still at war – his speech yesterday to a State Department audience in Brazil, was most revealing.

What it reveals is his weltanschauung with regard to the disadvantages of the free flow of information to the citizens of a nation – especially one not yet fully in the clutches of tyranny.

John Kerry, by inclination – is a man who believes that the general public should be on a ‘need to know basis’, as the military expression goes. He lamented to the assembled group in Brazilia, that access to too much readily accessible detail about the activities of government, by civilians, can be an impediment to governing:

“Well, folks, ever since the end of the Cold War, forces have been unleashed that were tamped down for centuries by dictators, and that was complicated further by this little thing called the internet and the ability of people everywhere to communicate instantaneously and to have more information coming at them in one day than most people can process in months or a year.”

It sounds like Kerry waxes nostalgic for the age when Kings, Queens, Emperors, Fuehrers, Generalissimos, Premiers and various other practitioners of despotism, had a solid grip on the population, their movements, activities, right to voice opposition and access to facts.

When he talks about ‘this little thing called the internet’, he is referring to you and I – the proponents and the consumers of alternative news, journalism, opinion and commentary. No doubt, what would be more favorable to Kerry’s purposes would be the world before the emergence of ‘Al Gore’s invention’ in roughly its present form in 1994. Yes, before the ability existed to scream ‘LIAR!!!!’ and expose corruption at the highest levels in a microsecond. Tragic.

Kerry goes on to say:

“It makes it much harder to govern, makes it much harder to organize people, much harder to find the common interest,” said Kerry, “and that is complicated by a rise of sectarianism and religious extremism that is prepared to employ violent means to impose on other people a way of thinking and a way of living that is completely contrary to everything the United States of America has ever stood for. So we need to keep in mind what our goals are and how complicated this world is that we’re operating in.”

For Kerry, it’s all about governing, ‘organizing people’ and imposing the will of the ruling class on the great unwashed, the plebes in their masses. We’re a wrench in the works, a nuisance, an impediment to progress. Kerry is only the most recent in a long line of political Brahmins to decry the inconvenience of unfiltered reporting and the free dissemination of ideas – especially those contrary to the interests of the autocrats. Joseph Stalin had similar objections:

“Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.”

Kerry’s reference to ‘sectarianism and religious extremism’ might be interpreted as a discrediting of Islamism. But since he doesn’t name the Muslim Brotherhood, it may be just as likely that he’s dog whistling about Christians and Jews in the United States, who hold a variety of attitudes and positions that complicate the undertaking of transforming America into the image of utopia the intelligentsia have agreed upon.

What was most remarkable to me about Kerry’s condescending oration, was the distinct flavor of plagiarism. I knew I had heard a similar construction from another practitioner of the New World Order – Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor, four years earlier. And in fact, I had:

“The nearly universal access to radio, television and increasingly the Internet is creating a community of shared perceptions and envy that can be galvanized and channeled by demagogic political or religious passions. These energies transcend sovereign borders and pose a challenge both to existing states as well as to the existing global hierarchy, on top of which America still perches.”

Zbigniew Brzezinski

In America and other places in the world where the object of the elite is to drag us backward in time to the inescapable feudalism and political suppression of the Middle Ages – individuals like Breitbart, Snowden, Assange, Anonymous, the Tea Party, Ron Paul, Bradley Manning, Occupy Wall Street, Alex Jones and the rest of the dissident voices of opposition from all corners, are proving to be a troublesome hindrance.

My friends at ‘Black Quill and Ink‘ brought to my recollection, a quote from Harry Truman – “I don’t give ‘em Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think it’s Hell!”

You – with your blogs, your tweets, your Facebook postings, your letters to the editors, your phone calls, your faxes, your subversive comments in casual conversations, your emails, your appearances at townhall meetings, your visits to lawmakers’ offices, your freeway overpass rallies and your public protests – stand stubbornly and obstinately in the way of ‘progress’.

Keep up the good work!