Reprint: Israeli Organ Harvesting


The New “Blood Libel”?

Last week Sweden’s largest daily newspaper published an article containing shocking material: testimony and circumstantial evidence indicating that Israelis may have been harvesting internal organs from Palestinian prisoners without consent for many years.

Worse yet, some of the information reported in the article suggests that in some instances Palestinians may have been captured with this macabre purpose in mind.

In the article, “Our sons plundered for their organs,” veteran journalist Donald Bostrom writes that Palestinians “harbor strong suspicions against Israel for seizing young men and having them serve as the country’s organ reserve – a very serious accusation, with enough question marks to motivate the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to start an investigation about possible war crimes.”1

An army of Israeli officials and apologists immediately went into high gear, calling both Bostrom and the newspaper’s editors “anti-Semitic.” The Israeli foreign minister was reportedly “aghast” and termed it “a demonizing piece of blood libel.” An Israeli official called it “hate porn.”

Commentary magazine wrote that the story was “merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of European funded and promoted anti-Israel hate.” Numerous people likened the article to the medieval “blood libel,” (widely refuted stories that Jews killed people to use their blood in religious rituals). Even some pro-Palestinian writers joined in the criticism, expressing skepticism.

The fact is, however, that substantiated evidence of public and private organ trafficking and theft, and allegations of worse, have been widely reported for many years. Given such context, the Swedish charges become far more plausible than might otherwise be the case and suggest that an investigation could well turn up significant information.

Below are a few examples of previous reports on this topic.

Israel’s first heart transplant

Israel’s very first, historic heart transplant used a heart removed from a living patient without consent or consulting his family.

In December 1968 a man named Avraham Sadegat (the New York Times seems to give his name as A Savgat)2 died two days after a stroke, even though his family had been told he was “doing well.”

After initially refusing to release his body, the Israeli hospital where he was being treated finally turned the man’s body over to his family. They discovered that his upper body was wrapped in bandages; an odd situation, they felt, for someone who had suffered a stroke.

When they removed the bandages, they discovered that the chest cavity was stuffed with bandages, and the heart was missing.

During this time, the headline-making Israeli heart transplant had occurred. After their initial shock, the man’s wife and brother began to put the two events together and demanded answers.

The hospital at first denied that Sadegat’s heart had been used in the headline-making transplant, but the family raised a media storm and eventually applied to three cabinet ministers. Finally, weeks later and after the family had signed a document promising not to sue, the hospital admitted that Sadagat’s heart had been used.

The hospital explained that it had abided by Israeli law, which allowed organs to be harvested without the family’s consent.3 (The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime includes the extraction of organs in its definition of human exploitation.)

Indications that the removal of Sadagat’s heart was the actual cause of death went unaddressed.

Director of forensic medicine on missing organs

A 1990 article in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs entitled “Autopsies and Executions” by Mary Barrett reports on the grotesque killings of young Palestinians. It includes an interview with Dr. Hatem Abu Ghazalch, the former chief health official for the West Bank under Jordanian administration and director of forensic medicine and autopsies.

Barrett asks him about “the widespread anxiety over organ thefts which has gripped Gaza and the West Bank since the intifada began in December of 1987.”

He responded:

“There are indications that for one reason or another, organs, especially eyes and kidneys, were removed from the bodies during the first year or year and a half. There were just too many reports by credible people for there to be nothing happening. If someone is shot in the head and comes home in a plastic bag without internal organs, what will people assume?”4

Mysterious Scottish death

In 1998 a Scot named Alisdair Sinclair died under questionable circumstances while in Israeli custody at Ben Gurion airport.

His family was informed of the death and, according to a report in J Weekly, “…told they had three weeks to come up with about $4,900 to fly Sinclair’s corpse home. [Alisdair’s brother] says the Israelis seemed to be pushing a different option: burying Sinclair in a Christian cemetery in Israel, at a cost of about $1,300.”

The family scraped up the money, brought the body home, and had an autopsy performed at the University of Glasgow. It turned out that Alisdair’s heart and a tiny throat bone were missing. At this point the British Embassy filed a complaint with Israel.

The J report states:

“A heart said to be Sinclair’s was subsequently repatriated to Britain, free of charge. James wanted the [Israeli] Forensic Institute to pay for a DNA test to confirm that this heart was indeed their brother’s, but the Institute’s director, Professor Jehuda Hiss refused, citing the prohibitive cost, estimated by some sources at $1,500.”

Despite repeated requests from the British Embassy for the Israeli pathologist’s and police reports, Israeli officials refused to release either.5 6 7

Israeli government officials raise questions

Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh reports in an article in CCUN:

“In January, 2002, an Israeli cabinet minister tacitly admitted that organs taken from the bodies of Palestinian victims might have been used for transplants in Jewish patients without the knowledge of the Palestinian victims’ families.

“The minister, Nessim Dahan, said in response to a question by an Arab Knesset member that he couldn’t deny or confirm that organs of Palestinian youths and children killed by the Israeli army were taken out for transplants or scientific research.

“‘I couldn’t say for sure that something like that didn’t happen.’”

Amayreh writes that the Knesset member who posed the question said that he “had received ‘credible evidence proving that Israeli doctors at the forensic institute of Abu Kabir extracted such vital organs as the heart, kidneys, and liver from the bodies of Palestinian youth and children killed by the Israeli army in Gaza and the West Bank.”8

Israel’s chief pathologist removed from post for stealing body parts

For a number of years there were allegations that Israel’s leading pathologist was stealing body parts. In 2001 the Israeli national news service reported:

“… the parents of soldier Ze’ev Buzgallo who was killed in a Golan Heights military training accident, are filing a petition with the High Court of Justice calling for the immediate suspension of Dr. Yehuda Hiss and that criminal charges be filed against him. Hiss serves as the director of the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute….According to the parents, the body of their son was used for medical experimentation without their consent, experiments authorized by Hiss.9

In 2002 the service reported:

“The revelation of illegally stored body parts in the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute has prompted MK Anat Maor, chairman of the Knesset Science Committee, to demand the immediate suspension of the director, Prof. Yehuda Hiss.”

Alisdair Sinclair’s death had first alerted authorities to Hiss’s malfeasance in 1998, though nothing was done for years. The Forward reported:

“In 2001, an Israeli Health Ministry investigation found that Hiss had been involved for years in taking body parts, such as legs, ovaries and testicles, without family permission during autopsies, and selling them to medical schools for use in research and training. He was appointed chief pathologist in 1988. Hiss was never charged with any crime, but in 2004 he was forced to step down from running the state morgue, following years of complaints.”10

Harvesting kidneys from impoverished communities

According to the Economist, a kidney racket flourished in South Africa between 2001 and 2003. “Donors were recruited in Brazil, Israel and Romania with offers of $5,000-20,000 to visit Durban and forfeit a kidney. The 109 recipients, mainly Israelis, each paid up to $120,000 for a “transplant holiday”; they pretended they were relatives of the donors and that no cash changed hands.”11

In 2004 a legislative commission in Brazil reported, “At least 30 Brazilians have sold their kidneys to an international human organ trafficking ring for transplants performed in South Africa, with Israel providing most of the funding.”

According to an IPS report: “The recipients were mostly Israelis, who receive health insurance reimbursements of 70,000 to 80,000 dollars for life-saving medical procedures performed abroad.”

IPS reports:

The Brazilians were recruited in Brazil’s most impoverished neighbourhoods and were paid $10,000 per kidney, “but as ‘supply’ increased, the payments fell as low as 3,000 dollars.” The trafficking had been organized by a retired Israeli police officer, who said “he did not think he was committing a crime, given that the transaction is considered legal by his country’s government.”

The Israeli embassy issued a statement denying any participation by the Israeli government in the illegal trade of human organs but said it did recognize that its citizens, in emergency cases, could undergo organ transplants in other countries, “in a legal manner, complying with international norms,” and with the financial support of their medical insurance.

However, IPS reports that the commission chair termed the Israeli stance “at the very least ‘anti-ethical’, adding that trafficking can only take place on a major scale if there is a major source of financing, such as the Israeli health system.” He went on to state that the resources provided by the Israeli health system “were a determining factor” that allowed the network to function.12

Tel Aviv hospital head promotes organ trafficking

IPS goes on to report:

“Nancy Scheper-Hughes, who heads the Organs Watch project at the U.S. University of California, Berkeley, testified to the Pernambuco legislative commission that international trafficking of human organs began some 12 years ago, promoted by Zacki Shapira, former director of a hospital in Tel Aviv.

“Shapira performed more than 300 kidney transplants, sometimes accompanying his patients to other countries, such as Turkey. The recipients are very wealthy or have very good health insurance, and the ‘donors’ are very poor people from Eastern Europe, Philippines and other developing countries, said Scheper-Hughes, who specialises in medical anthropology.”

Israel prosecutes organ traffickers

In 2007 Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper reported that two men confessed to persuading “Arabs from the Galilee and central Israel who were developmentally challenged or mentally ill to agree to have a kidney removed for payment.” They then would refuse to pay them.

The paper reported that the two were part of a criminal ring that included an Israeli surgeon. According to the indictment, the surgeon sold the kidneys he harvested for between $125,000 and $135,000.13

Earlier that year another Israeli newspaper, the Jerusalem Post, reported that ten members of an Israeli organ smuggling ring targeting Ukrainians had been arrested.14

In still another 2007 story, the Jerusalem Post reported that “Professor Zaki Shapira, one of Israel’s leading transplant surgeons, was arrested in Turkey on Thursday on suspicion of involvement in an organ trafficking ring. According to the report, the transplants were arranged in Turkey and took place at private hospitals in Istanbul.”

Israeli organ trafficking comes to the U.S.?

In July of this year even US media reported on the arrest of Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, from Brooklyn, recently arrested by federal officials in a massive corruption sweep in New Jersey that netted mayors, government officials and a number of prominent rabbis. Bostrom opens his article with this incident.

According to the federal complaint, Rosenbaum, who has close ties to Israel, said that he had been involved in the illegal sale of kidneys for 10 years. A US Attorney explained: “His business was to entice vulnerable people to give up a kidney for $10,000 which he would turn around and sell for $160,000.”15

This is reportedly the first case of international organ trafficking in the U.S.

University of California anthropologist and organ trade expert Nancy Scheper-Hughes, who informed the FBI about Rosenbaum seven years ago, says she heard reports that he had held donors at gunpoint to ensure they followed through on agreements to “donate” their organs.16

Israel’s organ donor problems

Israel has an extraordinarily small number of willing organ donors. According to the Israeli news service Ynet, “the percentage of organs donated among Jews is the lowest of all the ethnic groups… In western countries, some 30 per cent of the population have organ donor cards. In Israel, in contrast, four percent of the population holds such cards.17

“According to statistics from the Health Ministry’s website, in 2001, 88 Israelis died waiting for a transplant because of a lack of donor organs. In the same year, 180 Israelis were brain dead, and their organs could have been used for transplant, but only 80 of their relatives agreed to donate their organs.”

According to Ynet, the low incidence of donors is related to “religious reasons.” In 2006 there was an uproar when an Israeli hospital known for its compliance with Jewish law performed a transplant operation using an Israeli donor. The week before, “a similar incident occurred, but since the patient was not Jewish it passed silently.”18 19

The Swedish article reports that ‘Israel has repeatedly been under fire for its unethical ways of dealing with organs and transplants. France was among the countries that ceased organ collaboration with Israel in the 1990s. Jerusalem Post wrote that “the rest of the European countries are expected to follow France’s example shortly.”

“Half of the kidneys transplanted to Israelis since the beginning of the 2000s have been bought illegally from Turkey, Eastern Europe or Latin America. Israeli health authorities have full knowledge of this business but do nothing to stop it. At a conference in 2003 it was shown that Israel is the only western country with a medical profession that doesn’t condemn the illegal organ trade. The country takes no legal measures against doctors participating in the illegal business – on the contrary, chief medical officers of Israel’s big hospitals are involved in most of the illegal transplants, according to Dagens Nyheter (December 5, 2003).”

To fill this need former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, then health minister of Israel, organized a big donor campaign in the summer of 1992, but while the number of donors skyrocketed, need still greatly surpassed supply.

Palestinian disappearances increase

Bostrom, who earlier wrote of all this in his 2001 book Inshallah,20 reports in his recent article:

“While the campaign was running, young Palestinian men started to disappear from villages in the West Bank and Gaza. After five days Israeli soldiers would bring them back dead, with their bodies ripped open.

“Talk of the bodies terrified the population of the occupied territories. There were rumors of a dramatic increase of young men disappearing, with ensuing nightly funerals of autopsied bodies.”

“I was in the area at the time, working on a book. On several occasions I was approached by UN staff concerned about the developments. The persons contacting me said that organ theft definitely occurred but that they were prevented from doing anything about it. On an assignment from a broadcasting network I then travelled around interviewing a great number of Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza – meeting parents who told of how their sons had been deprived of organs before being killed.”

He describes the case of 19-year-old Bilal Achmed Ghanan, shot by Israeli forces invading his village.

“The first shot hit him in the chest. According to villagers who witnessed the incident he was subsequently shot with one bullet in each leg. Two soldiers then ran down from the carpentry workshop and shot Bilal once in the stomach. Finally, they grabbed him by his feet and dragged him up the twenty stone steps of the workshop stair… Israeli soldiers loading the badly wounded Bilal in a jeep and driving him to the outskirts of the village, where a military helicopter waited. The boy was flown to a destination unknown to his family.”

Five days later he was returned, “dead and wrapped up in green hospital fabric.” Bostrom reports that as the body was lowered into the grave, his chest was exposed and onlookers could see that he was stitched up from his stomach to his head. Bostrom writes that this was not the first time people had seen such a thing.

“The families in the West Bank and in Gaza felt that they knew exactly what had happened: “Our sons are used as involuntary organ donors,” relatives of Khaled from Nablus told me, as did the mother of Raed from Jenin and the uncles of Machmod and Nafes from Gaza, who had all disappeared for a number of days only to return at night, dead and autopsied.”

Why autopsies?

Bostrom describes the questions that families asked:

“Why are they keeping the bodies for up to five days before they let us bury them? What happened to the bodies during that time? Why are they performing autopsy, against our will, when the cause of death is obvious? Why are the bodies returned at night? Why is it done with a military escort? Why is the area closed off during the funeral? Why is the electricity interrupted?”

Israel’s answer was that all Palestinians who were killed were routinely autopsied. However, Bostrom points out that of the133 Palestinians who were killed that year, only 69 were autopsied.

He goes on to write:

“We know that Israel has a great need for organs, that there is a vast and illegal trade of organs which has been running for many years now, that the authorities are aware of it and that doctors in managing positions at the big hospitals participate, as well as civil servants at various levels. We also know that young Palestinian men disappeared, that they were brought back after five days, at night, under tremendous secrecy, stitched back together after having been cut from abdomen to chin.

It’s time to bring clarity to this macabre business, to shed light on what is going on and what has taken place in the territories occupied by Israel since the Intifada began.”21

The new “Blood Libel”?

In scanning through the reaction to Bostrom’s report, one is struck by the multitude of charges that his article is a new version of the old anti-Semitic “blood libel.” Given that fact, it is interesting to examine a 2007 book by Israel’s preeminent expert on medieval Jewish history, and what happened to him.

The author is Bar-Ilan professor (and rabbi) Ariel Toaff, son of the former chief rabbi of Rome, a religious leader so famous that an Israeli journalist writes that Toaff’s father “is to Italian Jewry as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris.” Ariel Toaff, himself, is considered “one of the greatest scholars in his field.”22 23

In February 2007 the Israeli and Italian media were abuzz (though most of the U.S. media somehow missed it) with news that Professor Toaff had written a book entitled “Pasque di Sangue” (“Blood Passovers”)24 containing evidence that there “was a factual basis for some of the medieval blood libels against the Jews.”

Based on 35 years of research, Toaff had concluded that there were at least a few, possibly many, real incidents.

In an interview with an Italian newspaper (the book was published in Italy), Toaff says:

“My research shows that in the Middle Ages, a group of fundamentalist Jews did not respect the biblical prohibition and used blood for healing. It is just one group of Jews, who belonged to the communities that suffered the severest persecution during the Crusades. From this trauma came a passion for revenge that in some cases led to responses, among them ritual murder of Christian children.”25

(Incidentally, an earlier book containing similar findings was published some years ago, also by an Israeli professor, Israel Shahak, of whom Noam Chomsky once wrote, “Shahak is an outstanding scholar, with remarkable insight and depth of knowledge. His work is informed and penetrating, a contribution of great value.”)26

Professor Toaff was immediately attacked from all sides, including pressure orchestrated by Anti-Defamation League chairman Abe Foxman, but Toaff stood by his 35 years of research, announcing:

“I will not give up my devotion to the truth and academic freedom even if the world crucifies me… One shouldn’t be afraid to tell the truth.”

Before long, however, under relentless public and private pressure, Toaff had recanted, withdrawn his book, and promised to give all profits that had already accrued (the book had been flying off Italian bookshelves) to Foxman’s Anti-Defamation League. A year later he published a “revised version.”

Donald Bostrom’s experience seems to be a repeat of what Professor Toaff endured: calumny, vituperation, and defamation. Bostrom has received death threats as well, perhaps an experience that Professor Toaff also shared.

If Israel is innocent of organ plundering accusations, or if its culpability is considerably less than Bostrom and others suggest, it should welcome honest investigations that would clear it of wrongdoing. Instead, the government and its advocates are working to suppress all debate and crush those whose questions and conclusions they find threatening.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, rather than responding to calls for an investigation, is demanding that the Swedish government abandon its commitment to a free press and condemn the article. The Israeli press office, apparently in retaliation and to prevent additional investigation, is refusing to give press credentials to reporters from the offending newspaper.

Just as in the case of the rampage against Jenin, the attack on the USS liberty, the massacre of Gaza, the crushing of Rachel Corrie, the torture of American citizens, and a multitude of other examples, Israel is using its considerable, worldwide resources to interfere with the investigative process.

It is difficult to conclude that it has nothing to hide.

For a rather extensive footnote section check out the link to the above story here.  Hat tip to If Americans Knew.

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The War On Terror Underscores Big Government Inefficiency


All the fear mongering and brutal imagery of war and terrorism aren’t enough to overshadow the fact that this war is as much a plague on the national identity of America as terrorism itself and the government has hindered not helped nor made safer the public it claims it wants to safeguard.  The recent statistics bear that out; with regards to detainees at Guantanamo Bay, only 15%………15% have withstood the habeas corpus guidelines and remained imprisoned…the remaining 85% have been set free, many times by George W. Bush appointed judges who followed the rule of law and not the whimsical desires of their mentor, a public figure drunk with power and image.  So why do we settle for such inefficiency from our government?  Why do we continue to insist the state pursue a course of action which yields only a bare minimum of results for the price we as a society have had to pay?

Even now we are still arguing whether the “enhanced interrogation” methods of the CIA yielded any actionable intelligence, trusting the word of a bygone administration that has continued to lie about its role in this phony war.  All those on the right clamoring for a restoration of government, should also ask for a restoration of the Law and ask why is the government in times of economic difficulty spending countless amounts of money for enforcements that can’t stand the test of the law?  Does the economic expenditure of a Guantanamo Bay which has perhaps even less than 15% of real terrorist inmates, worth the money it costs the US taxpayer at anytime, but especially now?  Is this what we demand and expect from government, that they run on only 15% efficiency?  Are the continued renditions of prisoner away from the scrutiny of an American judicial system we claim to love, honor, support and fight for worth the emotional, moral and financial price we pay for as a country? Do we still claim to assert that acts of violence against people we detained are not torture and therefore not illegal, when there are other indisputable acts of sound law enforcement and military training which yield better, more actionable results?    Glenn Greenwald in a very good piece on the propensity of some in government to support torture mentions this rather eloquent quote from Thomas Paine which should be noted here.

An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

Justice Prevailed!


youssefIn an earlier post I wrote how a defendant found not guilty of a charge was set upon by the full force of the State and detained just two days after his first court case for possible deportation from America.  It wasn’t enough that this young student had done all that was asked of him by society in general as well as the judicial system, the government in some strange way decided more was required and that “more” was his immediate removal from America.   Everyone involved in his court case was up in arms and protested his re-imprisonment where he remained in custody for four months.

Finally,

An immigration judge on Friday rejected the federal government’s attempt to deport an Egyptian immigrant who had been acquitted of charges of illegally possessing and transporting explosives.Youssef Megahed was released after being detained as a suspected terrorist for almost five months by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, in a politically explosive case that has pitted national security claims against charges of profiling and discrimination against Muslims.

It’s scary that the government is even thinking about an appeal of this judge’s decision and the mere thought that’s being left only gives some credibility to Megahed’s dad’s remarks that his son’s case is an example of pure discrimination against Muslims, “They didn’t want us to live here. And because he wins the case, they want to destroy him completely.”  The young man and his family have no record of illegal activity during their stay in America and have been law abiding citizens; the stain of his original trial has been removed with a not guilty verdict and the admiration of some of the jurors in his case.  The witch hunt on the part of the government against a young man with no ties to illegal activity, terrorist or otherwise, is ill advised and sophomoric at best.  There are plenty of bad guys available for ambitious prosecutors to catch, try and imprison.  Youssef Megahed isn’t one of them.  He’s had more than his day in court; he has had several and each time was vindicated.  It’s time for the state to move on.

Israeli hysteria at a press story? Say it ain’t so!


Palestinian_The European press likes to rattle the nerves of semites, Arab, Israeli, Jew, or Muslim.  We all know how the Dannish cartoons of the Prophet of God caused a big reaction in the Muslim world at a cost of world wide derision because for some reason or another people aren’t supposed to get upset about the insults hurled at their religious figures especially when done by members of the press.  The publication of the cartoons was done twice for maximum exposure to the Muslim world and the expected ridicule which they faced because of actions of their world wide protests.  However, the international community was told how what the Danish newspaper did was a free press issue and in order to be citizens of the 21st century this is the kind of exposure one should expect by a press whose job it is to reveal and expose issues to its readers no matter how inflammatory they may be or who gets upset in the process.

Well that pesky European press is at it again, and this time the Israeli semites are in its cross hairs and they are as mad as the Muslims ever were.  In fact, so mad they claim the article in question ‘shames Swedish democracy and the entire Swedish press’. Interesting reference to “democracy” wouldn’t you say?  I wonder what does Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor mean when he says an article in a free press Swedish newspaper “shames democracy”?  Ignoring the story, the Israeli government’s reaction has been to call the offending paper names and refer to a centuries old stereotype of Gentile blood sacrifice at the hands of Jews….dark blood libels from medieval times is how it was put by the Israeli spokesman, and perhaps they have a right to be angry, but where are all the calls for a free and independent media whose job it is to assess information and report it whether you like it or not.  What about the old saying, ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’, and there’s plenty of smoke surrounding the sale of organs at the hands  of Jews and Israeli-Americans who claim to have organ donors from Israel.

Responsible journalism is a lot different from a free press.  The latter sometimes is a double edged sword as the Israelis have come to find out but it is the very basis of journalism.  Responsible press is the epitome of journalism and a lot harder to find; we should insist on it, but not count on it.  The Israelis are now complaining against the very thing which they have relied on for so long to forward their disinformation, or yellow journalism, and which during the Danish cartoon fiasco they so highly touted.  Israeli hypocrisy can be seen from a mile away.  Despite their protestations, like everybody else, they’re gonna’ have to sit and bear it and see if the market place of ideas is their enemy or their friend.  Welcome to the world of European journalism; a must in today’s world.  Now, take that!

The Israelis are at it again!


The Gaza blockade continues and of course that means, people are continuing to die.  It’s never been anything other than that as far as the Israelis are concerned; Palestinians must die, slowly or quickly, by attrition or by force.

We’ve been had!!


national-guardI don’t know why folks don’t see it, but we’ve been had and the people responsible for pulling the wool over our eyes  are laughing all the way to the bank…….well make that laughing all the way as they exit the bank!  Trillions of dollars cannot be accounted for by oversight agencies responsible for keeping an eye on the US treasury.  Trillions!!

I think one of the places this money has gone is to nonsense travel junketts the federal government is paying to racialize its police forces and military!!

This fall, U.S. law enforcement personnel will have their final chance to take advantage of a rare opportunity. Participants will travel to Israel to receive “homeland security training,” but the counterterrorism briefings and martial arts practice sessions are only one part of the package. The program also includes visits to Christian religious sites in the Holy Land — an aspect likely to be especially attractive to Christian Zionists — along with other sites such as the Knesset and the Israeli “security fence”.

The Israel program is run by Security Solutions International (SSI), a group that has attracted controversy due to its ties to Islamophobic propaganda groups — as well as its apparent view that indoctrinating first responders with alarmist information about Islam is an essential part of counterterrorism training……….

Unsurprisingly, SSI has been criticized for the alarmist tenor of its “counterterrorism” training. It is not immediately obvious why the Appalachian State University campus security force, or the Yakima, WA police department — to take two representative names from SSI’s clients list — require a crash course in the fine points of jihadist ideology to do their jobs properly.

Critics have pointed out that the most likely effect of such training — particularly for law enforcement personnel who have never had significant contact with Muslims before — is to drum up hysteria, and increase the likelihood of a potentially tragic overreaction when they actually do encounter someone they presume to be Muslim.

……like Henry L. Gates for example?  The shucksters of the war on terror have used every trick in the book to gain the support and or attention of the public while they rob state coffers blind.  Why is the federal government paying the expenses of any police agency’s trip to Israel to train in tactics they can receive the same and better training for here?…..and as it is pointed out in the article not all of the tactics are applicable to circumstances law enforcement faces here, unless you want to talk about home evictions which the Israelis are really good at that perhaps Sgt. Crowley picked up on when he dealt with Henry Gates; the only problem is Crowley didn’t call in the bulldozers to tear down Gates’ home.  (When was the last time your local constabulary had to deal with a suicide bomber, by the way?)   You really should read the comments of the latter of the two links; it highlights the dual loyalties of SSI’s president who has cashed in on the steady diet of hate and fear towards Muslims that he has fed the government and the people of America.  Perhaps someone should ask him about some of the missing trillions of dollars?

Memory Hole Material- Hitler’s Jewish Army


I am placing this article on the blog only to refer to it the next time I’m told because there were Palestinians who may have agreed, met or collaborated with Nazi Germany and Hitler they therefore deserve every bad thing they get……because I want to remind such people there were also Jewish Germans who served in Hitler’s army who fought, guarded over and perhaps even in some cases killed fellow Jews, and therefore by the logical extension of the first part of this sentence ask do the people from whom they came also deserve what they get?

The idea of collective punishment is a common one when talking about the Middle East and especially treatment meted out to the enemies of the state of Israel and Jews in particular.  Would they extend that argument to themselves?

Cambridge University researcher Bryan Rigg has traced the Jewish ancestry of more than 1,200 of Hitler’s soldiers, including two field marshals and fifteen generals (two full generals, eight lieutenant generals, five major generals), “men commanding up to 100,000 troops.”

In approximately 20 cases, Jewish soldiers in the Nazi army were awarded Germany’s highest military honor, the Knight’s Cross.

One of these Jewish veterans is today an 82 year old resident of northern Germany, an observant Jew who served as a captain and practiced his religion within the Wehrmacht throughout the war.

One of the Jewish field marshals was Erhard Milch, deputy to Luftwaffe Chief Hermann Goering. Rumors of Milch’s Jewish identity circulated widely in Germany in the 1930s.

In one of the famous anecdotes of the time, Goering falsified Milch’s birth record and when met with protests about having a Jew in the Nazi high command, Goering replied, “I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan.”

What this shows is the absolute corruptible nature of power.  In the case of Adolph Hitler he no more believed what he was saying about the final solution than he would about the man in the moon, but he went through all of that, and dragged the rest of the world along with him because it was acceptable to the masses of his citizens and people in his military, some of whom were Jews who took advantage of the power they had for personal reasons, in order to amass power, satisfy an ego out of control, and probably along with that collect a whole lot of money in process.  Hitler appealed to the basest of human nature……hatred and fear, even though he knew there was no reason for any of it!  He was giving personal dispensations to people so they would no longer be Jewish so he could retain their services to keep him in power.  If he feared them at all, the last place he would want them would be in the military apparatus that sustained him and his wars of aggression for so long.  He not only kept them he welcomed them into his fraternity of blood lust and murder, and they accepted and served willingly, knowing full well what that service was doing to the rest of humanity, including their own coreligionists.  This is the essence of the intoxication of power; it causes people to forget the rule of law, to bend all conventions of human interaction and contact, to suspend humanity in order to engage in the most ruthless and aggressive behavior asked them of the state they serve.  There are parallels in today’s various wars, and especially the war on terror which has turned into the war on Islam. One of the ways they succeed in enlisting otherwise good decent people to their cause is to demonize everyone that’s not a part of their circle of power; anyone not granted their “exemption” is someone to be considered “against us”, a negative, a negation, an “anti” not worthy of the right to exist, but rather the right to be destroyed, and all for the advancement of state power.  In many ways therefore, this is not about race or ethnicity; Hitler didn’t mind at all enlisting Jews who agreed with his program of the absolute acquisition of Power to work to that end, even while he claimed they were the “problem”, and George W. Bush had no problems lying his way into the ever expanding power of the federal government into wars of aggression where he had allies from the Muslim world who agreed with his demonic plots because they too relish power.

The point of all this is to remind the people who believe in the idea of collectivism that if they want to throw that stone at people who allied themselves with power, they should really look closely at those who worked for the State’s interests.  They might be surprised to find people from their own midst………..and what will they do then?

Muslims of conscious should avoid vacationing in Europe


bikiniI think it should go further than that, i.e. Muslim countries shouldn’t sell their oil to places which display such a vehemently anti-Islamic attitude towards them, and especially women who wear hijab, but if the rich oil drenched citizens of the oil producing states stop going there, that would be a start.  There’s simply too much drama, and politics, around the issue of women’s clothing…more than anything I’ve seen or heard of coming from the Middle East where bikini clad women frolick on the beaches of Muslim countries under the lustful stares of all who dare watch.  Or maybe it’s something to do with water and how whenever certain people approach water their appearance there just makes others a little stark raving mad.  Judging by the looks of the swimsuit worn by Carol a Muslim mother from France, it doesn’t seem so provocative or disruptive enough to cause an entire country to go crazy, but it has, and it’s leader, a known abuser and user of women, has gone on the offensive, proclaiming such attire has no place in France and is ‘a symbol of subservience that suppresses women’s identities and turns them into “prisoners behind a screen.”‘  I wasn’t aware Muslim women had asked Monsieur Sarkozy to be their spokesperson, but he has taken up that role and stuck his foot in his mouth by doing so.  Now that’s not to say there aren’t  many Muslims who abuse this issue of apparel, but when a grown, mature, woman decides she wants to wear a certain type of clothing which at the time of that decision is not illegal, then the only one who’s suppressing her “identity” is the one who prohibits her from her own self-expression…….i.e. Sarkozy’s ilk, and he has a lot of company.  Mr. Sarkozy does a much better job of cutting off from all social life Muslim women who want to practice their religion in France than any article of clothing they could possibly wear, when he tries to make that expression illegal under the law or unwelcome on French soil.  The greatest deprivation  of all identity comes in the pronouncement that once legal acts of religion are now illegal and unwelcome.  I hope all Muslims who like their summer vacations in nice temperate climates where things are green and people who may look different are welcomed would give pause and think of going to other places than the Islamophobic regions of Europe where politicians are reliving centuries old battles they simply can’t seem to forget. Avoid France; you are not wanted there!

As for the Sarkozys of the world, I offer up this explanation from  independent minded Muslim women, who seem to me to have a pretty good handle on the age old platitudes surrounding Muslim women attire.  Hey Sarkozy, listen up!

UPDATE

For those Muslims, men and women who like swimming, may I suggest heading down under…..Australia, where a Muslim woman can look like her similarly clad Muslim female life guard and even have a chance of being rescued should she need it as opposed to being left to her own devices should she venture into French or Dutch waters.

They Hate us because we are evil


The conventional wisdom for the last several years is that we are dealing with an implacable enemy who is spiritless, evil, murderous and hates us because of what we stand for.  They are the holders of an irrational ideology that causes them to murder and plunder and they do it all because they don’t like that we are the bulwark between them and anarchy or chaos.  The only way to deal with such an opponent, so goes the extended logic, is to kill them wherever they are, to spare no quarter, until we eliminate all of them.  This sounds much like the same rhetoric used in every other campaign of genocide waged by the self-righteous who want to get rid of people who really aren’t foes or threats but against whom the most vicious incendiary language is directed to justify the righteous’ murder and torture.

It has now come to light that we did just that….murder and torture, and it wasn’t because of anything “they” did, but rather something within us that caused nationwide amnesia to the rule of law, sanity, international relations and all the other historical lessons we have taught over the decades but haven’t learned about tyranny and how to fight it.  This lapse of an American  national conscious caused the death of far more Americans than those who died at the hands of the “terrorists” on 911, that according to an interrogator in Iraq.

“The reason why foreign fighters joined al-Qa’ida in Iraq was overwhelmingly because of abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and not Islamic ideology,” says Major Matthew Alexander, who personally conducted 300 interrogations of prisoners in Iraq. It was the team led by Major Alexander [a named assumed for security reasons] that obtained the information that led to the US military being able to locate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of al-Qa’ida in Iraq. Zarqawi was then killed by bombs dropped by two US aircraft on the farm where he was hiding outside Baghdad on 7 June 2006. Major Alexander said that he learnt where Zarqawi was during a six-hour interrogation of a prisoner with whom he established relations of trust.

Major Alexander’s attitude to torture by the US is a combination of moral outrage and professional contempt. “It plays into the hands of al-Qa’ida in Iraq because it shows us up as hypocrites when we talk about human rights”

The stain of legal contempt and immorality in this phony war on terror can only be removed by the application of the law against those who need to be in the words of President Bush, ‘brought to justice’. No amount of bullying, or phony displays of patriotism to selective passages of the Constitution and/or the writings of the Founding Fathers should hide the fact that we, America, alone are responsible for fixing this problem. A mentally challenged president was able to whip up fervor among the people of America to fight an enemy of his own creation and the country responded resoundingly. Why hasn’t an even more intelligent and gifted president not appealed to the soul of the nation that justice must be served against criminals, even those in our midst?  The existence of this country is at stake.  The further we descend into the abyss of lawlessness, the easier it becomes for us to become victimized by groups and nations of the world who have seized upon our hypocrisy to unite others against us.  Leaders would be able to stall this inevitability and stop it with such a declaration.  Mr. Obama, are you listening?

Turning the other cheek is not a Jewish thing to do


I like context.  Things when viewed in context offer a remarkable clarity to things that may appear to be seperate and completely irrelevant.  American authorities have become somewhat hysterical about the handful of Somali American young men who appear to be leaving the US to go back to Somalia to wage jihad.  In officials’ wildest dreams, they think after fighting in Somalia these same young men would return to the States and resume the fight here.  Huh?  Somali-Americans are doing everything they can to cooperate with federal and local authorities and no doubt this whole idea is the brain child of Hollywood scriptwriters of action movies seeking to cast the next group of bad guys to be bowled down by an overly aggressive American administration.

What these same writers left out is the other side of the story, the rest of the story, where this type of pan-nationalist recruitment goes on everyday with people who hold dual loyalties between America and ‘choose your other country and insert here’.  I’m sure this story of Jewish Americans who go to help their second home has as much traction if not more than that of any Somali adventurist.   Sometimes, however the Jewish American jihadist tends to confuse his loyalties and winds up fighting for the wrong “good guys” against American interests.  However those who possess singleness of mind can find themselves filling slots their adopted country needs filled in order to justify its territorial grab of Palesinian land which further entrenches them in a place they are not wanted for which they need to fight to defend.  It’s sad young men such as the two examples above don’t see themselves as cannon fodder for states’ interests that have nothing at all to do with them as individuals or their survival.

American Teens are fighting back in Israel

Later this year, 21-year-old Ephraim Khantsis will pack a couple of suitcases, say good-bye to his mother, leave his home in Brooklyn, and move to Israel. On arrival in Jerusalem he will enroll in a yeshiva, or religious school, that is popular with Americans. After a few months he will make his way north, to a place this young American feels is his true home: the Jewish settlement of Kfar Tapuach.

Khantsis, who is in the process of applying for Israeli citizenship, will fit right in. Like the assassinated Brooklyn-born rabbi Meir Kahane, the man some in Kfar Tapuach consider their spiritual leader, Khantsis believes that all Arabs and Palestinians should be forcibly removed from territory controlled by Israel, including the West Bank.

“It’s the most humane way to solve the situation,” Khantsis—who has just graduated from Stony Brook University, on Long Island, with a degree in computer science—says, sipping a soda in an Israeli-run kosher pizzeria in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, this past June. He acknowledges that he is advocating ethnic cleansing.

There are now more than a quarter of a million Jewish settlers living among almost 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank—and many of the radicals resisting Obama’s wishes are American. The approximately 100,000 U.S. immigrants in the West Bank and Israel have been influential from the beginning of the movement, and many of them have been among the most extreme of the pioneers: Kahane founded a political party that was deemed racist and banned from the Knesset before he was assassinated in Manhattan in 1990; Brooklyn-born Baruch Goldstein shot dead 29 Palestinians in Hebron in 1994; and a group of settlers in Hebron, whose spokesman is New Jersey–born David Wilder, was involved in a violent confrontation with the Israeli military last year.

Israeli immigrants, Somali jihadists, both fighting American allies but given two different designations.  That’s the beauty of yellow journalism and distorted history.  One man’s terrorist is another man’s guerilla/freedom fighter.  The next time you hear of someone leaving the shores of America to fight in a land far, far away, remember it’s not just Muslim American who may be doing that.

Ramadan Kareem to all


kiss-at-ramadan

The 2nd Amendment pushed to the limits


gun_toterI am a big time supporter of the 2nd amendment and believe every citizen should exercise his or her right to own firearms.  EVERY citizen.  I am somewhat mildly amused at the demonstrators mingling with crowds of  protesters at President Obama’s appearances at different venues across America, while other citizens take it all in and law enforcement officers are civil during the display of armed resistance to a President of the United States and I ask myself the question what would be the reaction of the very same group of people to the presence of armed Muslims outside a George Bush appearance during his war on terror era?  No doubt it would provoke mass detention of every member of the Islamic faith in America’s borders, and a prohibition of some sort that would single out that group from legally owning firearms.  I doubt very seriously that those who are carrying their weapons at such events as those which Obama has spoken are true supporters of the 2nd amendment in all its meaning but rather using it as a symbol of resistance to government policies.  As such, they are selfish ideologues  whose blatant disregard for the public safety and well being jeopardize the amendment more than anything Obama could do with all of big government behind him.   How would the people openly carrying firearms in protest of Obama’s policies act towards similarly armed citizens in close proximity with signs supporting an Obama led federal government, and what would be the stance of till now completely law observant local and federal law officials to such a situation?  It’s ironic to see such people standing among crowds with signs protesting big government when these same signs were absent during the Bush administration which ratcheted up the size of government by way of its phony war on terror.   I wonder what would be the response of today’s patriots patrolling the grounds near the appearance of a black POTUS to the presence of armed opponents of the Bush doctrine of preemptive strikes and wars of aggression at one of Bush’s rallies not so many years ago? I remember clearly supporters of Bush saying sometimes rights have to be curtailed, suspended, abridged, infringed upon, at times in order to protect the public.  Certainly that would not be their cry today, and if they say they believe  fundamentally in the right of citizens to keep and bear arms, no matter what their persuasion, I would ask them to come out and support the trial of Daniel Boyd whose crime it seems is that he too owned guns and differed with the current political winds.  I don’t think you’ll see the guy in the above photo or any others like him at Boyd’s trial.

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racistairforceone

Pedophilia-Even Jews Suffer From Its Curse


rabbis IIOver the last decade much has been made of pedophilia and how predominant it is in Islamic culture.  Everyone from the last Prophet of God to Yassir Arafat has suffered the accusation that this deviant behavior is indicative of Islam.  Catholicism too has been branded by  pedophilia because of the many revelations  some of its clergy have abused worshipers in this way.  Under the title, ‘Protecting the pedophiles’, are we to assume with this latest revelation that Judaism, the oldest religion, is the progenitor of this way of life among the religions of the world?

For several weeks in April last year, the seven-year-old son of residents of the ultra-Orthodox Ramat Beit Shemesh neighborhood insisted on staying at home. “This was odd, because he always loved to go to school,” relates his mother. “All of a sudden he looked scared and tried to find excuses not to go.”

Then one day the boy suddenly told his elder brother: “The rabbi touched me.”

“The rabbi” is a teacher at the ultra-Orthodox Yishrei Lev school for boys, which the boy attended. “When his brother asked, ‘Where did he touch you?'” relates the father, “the boy pointed to his intimate parts.”

The parents, who immigrated to Israel from the United States about 10 years ago, are very active in the ultra-Orthodox “Anglo-Saxon” (English-speaking) community in Ramat Beit Shemesh. As soon as the incident became known they received phone calls from rabbis and community functionaries who tried to dissuade them from continuing to investigate, and pressure them to deal with the incident with the help of the Mishmeret Hatzniut modesty patrol from Mea She’arim in Jerusalem.

The parents, who initially submitted to the pressure, ultimately took courage and in August 2008 they filed a complaint with the police. From the questioning of the boy by the police it emerged that ostensibly innocent tickling descended into indecent acts every day during recess over a long period. Parallel to the investigation the parents turned to the school directors, and the teacher was fired. During the following months three other boys from the class also filed complaints against the rabbi with the police.

However, at the start of the current school year the suspect had no difficulty in finding another educational institution in Ramat Beit Shemesh, and has been teaching there ever since.

This week the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office decided to close the case against the teacher for lack of evidence. The boy’s parents have appealed this decision. They complain that the case was dealt with in a flawed way after several investigators were replaced during the course of the investigation. Beit Shemesh police dismiss these claims.

Ever since the affair was revealed, the parents have been vulnerable and exposed to a community that is condemning them for having laundered their dirty linen in public, and especially for complaining to the authorities. Later on their names were made public, and rumors were circulated to the effect that it was one of their sons who molested his brother. The father of the family has had to leave his synagogue because of the alienating way he was treated by the congregation.

But the most resounding slap, according to the father, was felt by the family when the principal of the school to which their son, the victim of the abuse, had been accepted during the summer, informed them that he had decided to revoke his acceptance on the excuse that he would need treatment that the school did not have the capacity to offer. “I think they simply want to distance us because we are a family that makes problems,” says the father. “My son asked me, ‘Daddy, is it because of what happened?’ What answer could I give him?”

The storm around the Yishrei Lev story refuses to die down, especially as other affairs involving sexual abuse of children have surfaced lately. Four 10-year-olds from the ultra-Orthodox Bais Shalom institution for boys filed complaints with police this year against two rabbis on suspicion of physical and psychological abuse. In the course of the investigation it emerged that one of the teachers is also suspected of sexual molestation.

According to a source familiar with the details of the case, the rabbi would yell at the children that they are stupid and dolts, hit them on their sexual organs and twist their arms tightly.

According to Rabbi Tzvi Rabinsky, the director of the Toras Habayis educational institutions, of which Bais Shalom is one of three schools, the management is not obligated to report as long as the cases have not been proven to it. Also, because the investigation of the institution was carried out during vacation time and found that they are clean, there was no need to suspend the teachers.

According to Rabinsky and educational supervisor Rabbi Yosef Juliard, the complaints refer to the two best teachers at the school, and throughout the entire year during which the parents are claiming the teachers abused their children the directors heard only praise of the teachers from parents. Moreover, according to them, one of the families that filed complaints continued to send the complainant’s younger brother to study with the teacher who is suspected of abuse.

To support their claim regarding the teachers’ innocence, the directors showed a graphological test of one of the teachers in which he came out clear of any suspicion. They say they were prepared to see to all the necessary tests carried out by expert psychologists, but the parents of the children were not prepared to cooperate.

“We initially thought of going to the police, but we can’t spill innocent blood. And apart from that the parents of the other children pressed us not to fire the teachers,” said Yuliard and Rabinsky. According to them the parents’ accusations against the teachers derive from the fact that the teachers sent their children for diagnosis, and there are parents who feel pressured by this.

The second case involves a complaint to the police in December last year by parents concerning the suspicion that their 6-year-old daughter had been molested when she was three by an assistant nursery teacher who is still working at the kindergarten. At around that age the little girl stopped talking and her behavior became problematic. The parents took the girl for various treatments and, as a result, two years later she began to function again normally.

According to the mother, only this year her daughter spontaneously related that the assistant used to strip her naked, tie her up and ask her to touch her body in different ways. “The child had never seen people behaving in a sexual way,” says the father, with tears in his eyes. “How could she have imagined all those details?”

In the meantime the case has been closed for lack of evidence because the girl did not cooperate with the investigation. About a year ago, when the suspicion of another case arose and the parents demanded that the institution take action, the kindergarten employee was suspended, but she has since returned to work.

In Ramat Beit Shemesh, the population consists mostly of ultra-Orthodox Jews from abroad, who are considered more open than the Israeli-born ultra-Orthodox. Most of them work and therefore are more connected to the world around them. However, as new immigrants they are prisoners in the hands of the rabbinical establishment that is the captive of the most extreme Israeli ultra-Orthodoxy. The parents’ reporting to the police in the three cases has been interpreted by the rabbis and school directors as traitorous to the community.

In all the cases, the children’s departure from the schools stirred up a storm. The parents have been cold-shouldered by neighbors and friends, and have had to stop worshiping at their synagogues. As a result of the demands to retract their complaints they are feeling threatened. One family has even left Israel but is continuing to cooperate with police investigators.

“Instead of looking inward in an attempt to understand how Ramat Beit Shemesh has become a city of refuge for pedophiles and how to stop the plague, they are thinking about how to silence us,” said one parent whose child fell victim to sexual abuse.

“There is denial here by an entire community,” says Helise Pollack, a former welfare officer from Ramat Beit Shemesh and an expert on children who have experienced sexual abuse, who is treating some of the children. “They simply don’t believe the complainants. The people suspected of sexual abuse do not look like monsters. These are people who have families, regular people. They make an excellent impression on their surroundings. What happens is that the victim’s family is put on trial.”

However, if thus far the community’s attitude toward those who decided to complain to the police has been one of condemnation, only now, in the wake of the additional cases, are voices beginning to be heard calling for protest against the silencing of the incidents at the price of exposing children to risk of abuse. Recently fear of the “plague of sexual abuse,” as people in the community are defining it, has led to some urgent assemblies of parents to discuss the problem.

About three weeks ago parents whose children are enrolled at the educational institution where the assistant is working convened to discuss what steps to take following a rumor that there has been another complaint against her. A week later, about 15 women met in a private home to hear Pollack and get her advice. “People in Ramat Beit Shemesh are taking the law into their hands,” Pollack said. According to her, “Pedophilia is an addiction. Pedophiles must not be around children.”

Pollack told the women that if the school does not fire the teacher, they must withdraw their children from the school in order to protect them. Her familiarity with the welfare system, the fact that she is religious and not ultra-Orthodox and the fact that she is Anglo-Saxon in origin have made her the address to which the parents are turning. The women were raised in a society where problematic topics like abuse are not discussed, and as mothers they are now going through a process of opening their eyes and mouths in order to warn their children.

“In ultra-Orthodox society the child’s voice is not heard. They prefer to be considerate of the adult,” said one mother.

The women confessed to Pollack their bad feeling about the beatings in heder (traditional school for young boys) as a matter of routine – a rabbi who crudely pushes a child’s face into the Pentateuch on the table, another rabbi who cruelly twists ears – and said that this reality has to stop.

“Write about us compassionately,” one of the women requested after the meeting. “I love this community. ”

At another meeting held this month on the issue of sexual abuse, attended by nearly 100 people, the lecturer, a volunteer from the hotline on sexual abuse issues for religious women and girls, apologized for talking about immodest things. “I didn’t understand why she was apologizing the whole time,” complained one woman. “I got up and said, ‘We’re talking about child abuse. What does that have to do with modesty?'”

The speaker, D., is the mother of children who studied at an institution where sexual abuse took place. Ever since the abuse affairs became known, she has been acting unremitingly to fight the community’s terrible silence. “They are saying that to blame the teachers is murder,” she says, “and talking about how rabbinical law prohibits harming their livelihood. But against that, what about the danger of the harm to children? I am asking how it is possible to keep someone who is suspected of abuse at a school with little children.”

During the past year 10 families applied to the welfare office in Ramat Beit Shemesh and the National Council for the Child concerning such issues. According to the NCC’s director, Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, this represents an increase in the rate of applicants from that neighborhood. However, according to Kadman and Pollack, in Ramat Beit Shemesh a kind of social chaos prevails. “Beit Shemesh has grown at dramatic rates but the welfare office has not been given extra manpower slots. There aren’t enough social workers and welfare officers,” says Kadman. “Among other things a population has arrived here that is closed and extremist, and requires complex treatment.”

The prosecution did not bother to inform the complainants in the Yishrei Lev case that it had been closed, because of a malfunction. This fact added to the parents’ overall feeling that they are being punished for reporting the abuse. “If in this particular community, someone who gathers up the courage and complains doesn’t get the fastest and best treatment, he will retreat and the whole community will get the message that it is not a good idea to report,” says Kadman. “We mustn’t miss this window of opportunity.”

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Part 1

Part 2

The Case Against Religion in America


It’s ironic finding myself writing this article against religion in the US on an early Sunday, but perhaps there is no better time to discuss the effect religion, and especially Christianity, has on the American conscience.  I generally thought religion had a positive role to play in the lives of its worshippers until recently when I ran across this survey that suggests six in ten American Protestants consider torture, an illegal activity condemned by the United States under the Reagan and Bush/Clinton administrations, often or sometimes justified!  How did the religion of peace, a derisive term reserved for Islam, get to this point in a democracy which supposedly follows the rule of law?  Had any other religion’s adherents so overwhelmingly advocated breaking American and international law there would be a tremendous shout to get rid of such people from the shores of America, send them back to ‘where they came from’, in whatever way necessary in order to return us to the God fearing, peace loving and law abiding nation we all know we are; yet the faith that holds the majority of followers in this country, also holds the most number of people who think torture is ok.

I don’t think religion is responsible for that fact, although one could possibly point to scripture to substantiate the assertion Christianity is a violent religion, or to historical events wherein Christian inspired leaders of this country and others were responsible for the wholesale plunder and murder of entire civilizations; Vietnam comes to mind in my lifetime.  Most likely scripture and history are not things which people drew on to support their belief in the necessity for torture in modern day America, but that still does not scratch the itch I have to the question why is Christianity so wrapped up in activity that we were told was the sole endeavor of our pagan or Islamic enemy?  Perhaps because like so much else that takes place on the world’s stage, the victor usually re-writes history to support negative notions of the vanquished and our modern day, 20-21st century crusade against Islam has made it possible for us to do that, starting with the conquest of Palestine and upto the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is however another contributing factor to our belief and/or support for terrorism and that is our increased militarism.  It appears our belief in our own military superiority makes us more susceptible to notions of torture than countries not as aggressive as we.  We rank with Egypt, South Korea, Nigeria, Turkey, and India as a country that believes some degree of torture should be allowed, whereas the historical base of America, old Europe and those countries we denigrated because of their reticience to embrace our last Iraq adventure, most notably France, Spain and Britain, are less inclined to support torture.  The totalitarian regimes of Russia and China have less people who support torture than America as does Iran a country under threat of military action from America or its allies.  Does that mean in order to get better, i.e. eschew the idea of torture, we’ll have to get worse first and turn into repressive regimes which have no regard for human rights or the rule of law?

One could look at this in another way, absent the religious/military inference.  Despite all the electronic gadgets we own, and I count myself up there among the techno geeks, and all the access we have to various information sources we still are quite backwards in our thinking, and oppressive in our policy making.   The enlightenment we claim to possess, the exceptionalism we assert is ours is accepted only by third world countries which equally oppress their citizens or have in place draconian laws which are based on class and ethnicity.  We are now wallowing around in the mud they have mixed with the sweat of their citizens and we are no better than they.  The very reasons we have given  for invading countries, their repressiveness towards their own citizens or the threat they pose to their neighbors has now become a staple which we readily accept as a part of our diet.  There are no moral compasses to redirect our wayward ship from the disastrous course it has set for itself into oblivion.  Instead what we have are lighthouses of mass media which are shining beacons of darkness that lead an America towards notions that are perfectly ok with torture, even among the religiously minded followers of the Prince of Peace.  Perhaps instead of his followers we have become his torturers; after all he is said to have died at the hands of an over zealous state intent on destroying the message he brought.  That is the greatest irony; a Christian population which has forsaken its founder and instead identified with his enemies.  America, you have lost your way.

Right Wing Hate


I have been watching and listening with a certain amount of detachment the vitriol aimed at President Obama’s health care proposals because it is nothing more than racism that’s fueling the debate and I really want to stay above that base animal instinct.  The “right” has a habit of pulling the body politic down into the moral abyss of racism and xenophobia, the two ingredients which also were responsible for the phony war on terror which was led by some of the same cheerleaders and talking heads that are spearheading the anti-health care rhetoric now heard in hallowed halls.  Some of the talking heads are so deep in their moral depravity that some of the other right wing groups are saying “enough”!!   I really don’t want to deal with the talking head media types that have spoiled our political landscape….I don’t think they’re worth the bandwidth and some of their supporters are so rabid there’s no amount of convincing in any language that’ll get them to reconsider their positions.

I was cruising through my regular reading one morning and ran across the comment section of a story  entitled, ‘Obama’s Life at risk in health care battle’ and one comment caught my eye and sums up to me what has gone on in this country the last eight years.  The author nails it, so kudos to ‘trippin’ the author of what appears below.  Well done!

A 21st Century Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there was a prosperous and moral nation. Their citizens were the envy of the world.

Their rulers became corrupted. They robbed the population in the interest of their political allies, to the point that the once-prosperous nation was now destitute.

Those corrupt political leaders justified their actions by convincing themselves that God hand picked them as leaders, so they were above respecting the moral codes they demanded the citizens abide.

These political figures propagandized the people with easily disprovable lies, but the populace chose not to question. They stoked the flames of discontent at their humiliating fall from grace to whip a jingoistic populace into a frenzy of irrational support for policies that continued to undermine their own interests.

They invaded other nations that were no threat to them, under the guise of self-defense. They used torture designed to elicit false confessions to justify their illegal war. They ginned up stories of imaginary threats to national security, and used them to conduct surveillance on the citizenry. They leveraged the destruction of a prominent building as part of the rationale.

Their military leaders were infused with the arrogance that they were ordained by God. Some interpreted their mission to exterminate all the peoples of a certain religion, a sentiment shared by many of the people who were ignorant of cultures other than their own.

They pitted citizens against each other by spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Those that sought diplomacy were labeled appeasers, those who disagreed, traitors. Violence and mob rule strong armed people into compliance. Bands of thugs shouted down political opponents, and used intimidation to overturn the will of the majority as expressed in elections.

People were shot in churches, police were killed based on rumors propagandized by the media, gay businesses and government buildings were bombed, and even physicians were assassinated.

Citizens of conscience saw the signs early enough to do something, but because it was politically incorrect to draw parallels with past atrocities, they chose to avert their eyes until the entire nation was gripped in fascist totalitarianism. Soon, it was too late.

Name that country.

Trippin’ you get an ‘atta boy’.  Well said!

Obama Continues to disappoint


President Obama has many issues but the ones dealing with his approach to the phony war on terror, torture and armed conflicts that he is escalating continue to baffle and upset me.  Now he has petitioned the US Supreme Court to suppress release of pictures taken at Abu Ghraib which show torture and prisoner abuse.  I understand why he doesn’t want them released; it would force his hand to prosecute those who would be clearly shown violating every conceivable law in the books, our books as well as international treaties we’ve sworn to uphold and protect.  However, he can’t give that as a reason for asking they not to be released so instead he chose this:

“there are nearly 200,000 Americans who are serving in harm’s way, and I have a solemn responsibility for their safety as Commander-in-Chief. It is my judgment … that releasing these photos would inflame anti-American opinion and allow our enemies to paint United States troops with a broad, damning and inaccurate brush, thereby endangering them in theaters of war.”

Obama was forced to petition the high court after  a lower court ruled the photos should be released  ignoring the pleas by some in government that their release would imperil US personnel.  The courts have sided with those who cite the Freedom of Information Act which they say requires, or mandates the release of such pictures.

Obama’s petition to block the release is an about face from his earlier position where he called for their release.  He has decided to escalate US involvement in Afghanistan and is using that escalation as an excuse for keeping the pictures locked up but he goes on to say with a straight face,  ‘Any abuse of detainees is unacceptable. It is against our values. It endangers our security. It will not be tolerated.’

If abuse won’t be tolerated Mr. President, prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those who carried it out as well as those who ordered it.  I assert the photos should imperil the freedom and liberty of those who are engaged in the abuse chronicled therein or who were responsible for it.  If he is worried about inflaming anti-American opinion, correct those anti-American notions by restoring the rule of law and showing the world we apply that law equally to all even when it hits close to home and involves members of American government.  If he’s worried about negative opinions of American foreign policy he should  curtail America’s wars of aggression and remove American troops from foreign lands that pose no direct threat to American personnel or American interests.  He should return them to America and de-escalate American forces that have been used as advance teams for US corporations to set up permanent bases and expand global markets at the expense of US resources.  These theaters of war are ones he has chosen to engage in when the survival or prosperity of our Republic is not at stake.  The greatest danger to our military is their deployment to these areas by the very government that wants to protect them by infringing on the rights of the society they are fighting to protect.    People who claim that photos showing abuse and or torture of prisoners under American control should be released should also proclaim  those who are responsible for their ugly content must be brought to justice.   If the Supreme Court rules against the Obama petition most likely he will used the powers of the unitary executive, finely tuned by the Bush administration, to block the release of the pictures.  Just one more example of ‘the more things change, the more they remain the same’.

The Princes of Darkness


Iraq_Children_prostituteMuch has been said on the pages of Miscellany101 about the war on Iraq, the devastation it caused the Iraqi society in general, at the behest of George Bush and his minions of terror.  It appears Bush considered himself acting as the Hand of God in carrying out his murderous, torturous regime against a people who posed no threat to ANYONE, and yet were the victims of a military invasion which was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, as well as the displacement of hundreds of thousands more from their homes.

Bush, who turns 63 in July and was 54 when first sworn into office in 2001, has yet to comment on the reports, which include last week’s GQ magazine expose into the hawkish use of scripture in 2003, when then-defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld forwarded secret intelligence memos to Bush embroidered with biblical passages.

“Therefore, put on the full armour of God,” a verse from Ephesians, and “Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter,” from Isaiah, are among the messages that adorn reports prepared for Bush by Rumsfeld’s Pentagon, juxtaposed with photographs of U.S. forces storming Baghdad.

Stranger still are new accounts emerging from France describing how former president Jacques Chirac was utterly baffled by a 2003 telephone conversation in which Bush reportedly invoked fanatical Old Testament prophesy — including the Earth-ending battle with forces of evil, Gog and Magog — in his arguments to enlist France in the Coalition of the Willing.

“This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins,” Bush said to Chirac, according to Thomas Romer, a University of Lausanne theology professor who was later approached by French officials anxious to understand the context of the biblical reference.

Such ignominy has earned Bush the title of the Prince of Darkness, and this illegal and immoral foray into Iraq must never be forgotten by upstanding citizens of the world who believe in law, order and justice.

Unfortunatelyl Bush is not alone in sharing the nom de plume of Darkness with the latest update about one Erik Prince, CEO of what was once known as Blackwater.  Earlier we chronicled the latest charges against him which include his religiouisly inspired desire to rid the world of Muslims by unleashing his mercenary force against the people of Iraq.  Now comes word he was engaged in a child prostitution ring on his bases in Iraq.

Blackwater was guilty of using child prostitutes at its compound in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone and that owner Erik Prince knew of this activity and did nothing to stop it.The declarations describe Blackwater as “having young girls provide oral sex to Enterprise members in the ‘Blackwater Man Camp’ in exchange for one American dollar.” They add even though Prince frequently visited this camp, he “failed to stop the ongoing use of prostitutes, including child prostitutes, by his men.”

One of the statements also charges that “Prince’s North Carolina operations had an ongoing wife-swapping and sex ring, which was participated in by many of Mr. Prince’s top executives.”

The irony of all this is religiously inspired behavior on the part of US officials resulted in immoral behavior on the part of those who answered the plea something the US has said its terrorists opponents have been guilty and which started the war on terror.  Perhaps we ought to have a war on terror against the people who claimed to be  fighting a war on terror.  Let us begin at the top, shall we?