Artorius Castus

Volunteer suicide bombers seek to attack Israel

Posted in Uncategorized by Patrick Truax on December 31, 2008

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Hard-line Iranian student groups have asked the government to authorize volunteers to go carry out suicide bombings in Israel in response to the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip.

The government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had not responded to the call by Wednesday. Volunteer suicide groups have made similar requests in the past and the government never responded to their calls. The groups’ activities appear to be mainly for propaganda purposes, and there has been no sign of Iranians carrying out suicide attacks in Israel.

Five hard-line student groups and a conservative clerical group launched a registration drive on Monday, seeking volunteers to carry out suicide attacks against Israel.

In an open letter to Ahmadinejad, the students said “volunteer student suicide groups … are determined to go to Gaza. You are expected to issue orders to the relevant authorities to pave the way for such action.” A copy of the letter was made available to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The hard-liners started signing up volunteers after Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a religious decree Sunday saying anyone killed while defending Palestinians in Gaza against Israeli attacks would be considered a martyr.

The groups claim that more than 10,000 people throughout Iran have registered as volunteer suicide bombers in the past three days. At a gathering Tuesday in Tehran, hard-liners were distributing registration forms to volunteers.

“How can I remain indifferent while defenseless Palestinians are being butchered,” said one volunteer, Ali Reza Takrim Namini, as he filled out the registration form.

The volunteers wore white shrouds symbolizing their willingness to die and headbands with the slogan “Defenders of Gaza” and “Ready for Martyrdom.” Most of those registering were members of the Basij militia, a hard-line paramilitary group that has tens of thousands of members and is often involved in drumming up popular fervor against Israel and the West.

Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, which has killed hundreds of Palestinians, has sparked outrage in Iran and throughout the rest of the Muslim world. Israel says it launched its campaign in retaliation for rocket fire aimed at civilians in southern Israeli towns by Hamas. Iran is Hamas’ main backer, providing it considerable financial aid, though Tehran denies sending it weapons.

Protesters have held daily rallies outside the Egyptian interests section in Tehran, as well as the Jordanian and Saudi embassies, protesting what they call inaction by Arab nations. On Thursday, hard-line students threatened to storm the Egyptian mission unless Egypt open its Rafah border crossing with Gaza, a step Cairo has refused.

Late Tuesday, a branch of the Italian clothing retailer Benetton in northern Tehran was set fire, apparently as part of a protest. The branch showed minor damage, with some burned clothes and scorch marks.

Criticism of Hamas is rare in Iran and on Wednesday, the government ordered shut a leading reformist daily, Kargozaran, for publishing a statement by a student group that blamed Hamas for provoking the Israeli offensive.

The paper’s editor Mehran Karami said the student statement condemned the Israeli attacks but also called Hamas a terrorist organization that hides in schools and draws civilian casualties.

Hey, thats a good idea, more violence! Terrorism is always the answer as long as it is Israel that’s involved..

Associated Press

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Veteran admits acquiring child porn

Posted in Uncategorized by Patrick Truax on December 31, 2008

Activist says files were for research
By Steve Liewer and Greg Moran, staff writers

2:00 a.m. December 23, 2008

FEDERAL COURT — A San Diego veterans activist and Vietnam War hero who served in a senior Navy post during the Clinton administration pleaded guilty yesterday to a federal charge of possessing child pornography.

Wade Sanders (seen here in 1999) pleaded guilty to possession of child porn.

Wade Rowland Sanders, 67, acknowledged in federal court in San Diego that last May, he possessed computer files containing 600 images of minors, including a 21-minute video that depicted girls engaging in sex acts with an adult man, according to court records. He was caught under a 2½-year-old Department of Justice investigation called Project Safe Childhood, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego said.

Authorities arrested him Nov. 7.

In a telephone interview last night, Sanders said he had downloaded the files as part of his research for an article on the sexual exploitation of children in foreign countries. He said his work for the Clinton administration had included aiding victims of child sex abuse in the former Yugoslavia.

“I have no sexual attraction to children whatsoever,” Sanders said. “There was no evil intent.”

Sanders, a lawyer, said he didn’t realize federal child pornography laws barred downloading or viewing the material even by researchers. He said that is why he decided to plead guilty.

“I thought since my motives were pure and innocent, that would make a difference,” he said. “I’m technically guilty of the crime.”

Sanders pleaded guilty to one felony charge of possession of images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

A judge scheduled sentencing for March 30. Sanders faces a maximum of 10 years in prison but could receive far less time. He also could be fined $250,000 and be required to register as a sex offender.

Sanders, a retired Naval Reserve captain, earned a Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart while serving aboard Swift boats during the Vietnam War. He served from 1993 to 1997 as deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for reserve affairs under Clinton. Since last year, he had been a senior adviser on military and veterans affairs for California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi until resigning Nov. 8.

Sanders had served with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., in Vietnam, and had been among the senator’s most vocal defenders when some veterans questioned Kerry’s military record during his 2004 presidential run.

The investigation into Sanders began in October 2007, according to a statement filed in the case by San Diego FBI agent John Caruthers.

Another FBI agent working undercover signed on to a file-sharing computer network and entered a search term that is used for accessing child pornography images.

Among the responses to that search term was one for a specific computer address that the agents eventually traced to Sanders’ home in South Park in San Diego. The agent then obtained a list of files that were being shared on the computer and downloaded 11 files, including at least two that contained images of child pornography.

On May 2, 2008, agents executed a search warrant at Sanders’ home and seized his computer. During the search, Sanders admitted he had downloaded child pornography using the file-sharing program, but said he deleted the files once he noticed they were downloaded, according to the FBI statement.

He also denied “any inappropriate contact with children,” Caruthers wrote.

The FBI searched the computer and found “multiple videos depicting child pornography” saved on the hard drive.

After his arrest, Sanders posted a $75,000 bond and was released. He waived an indictment Dec. 4, meaning the case was not presented to a grand jury first. Sometimes that can work in a defendant’s favor at the time of sentencing.

The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alessandra Serrano, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Sanders said he believes he is a victim of zealous prosectors.

“I got caught in the net,” he said. “I’m not the kind of person they were after.”

Steve Liewer: (619) 498-6632; steve.liewer@uniontrib.com

*Snort* Research? That would make a cat laugh! Republicans-perverts, Democrats-researchers.

Story from signonsandiego.com

Gaza Relief Ship rammed by Israeli Gunship

Posted in Uncategorized by Patrick Truax on December 30, 2008

The Free Gaza Yacht that brings aid to Gaza was accosted by Israeli gunboats and forced to divert to Tyre, Lebanon. The yacht was carrying former US Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney.

Former congresswoman McKinney can’t keep out of the news. A passenger on a yacht bringing “aid” to Gaza, her boat was attacked by Israeli gunboats and damaged. The Israeli Navy claimed the yacht was attempting to penetrate a maritime exclusion zone set up after the raids on Gaza began last week. The Free Gaza website tells a different story.

“When attacked, the Dignity was clearly in international waters, 90 miles off the coast of Gaza,” the group said on its website. “The gunboats also fired their machine guns into the water in an attempt to stop the mercy ship from getting to Gaza.

“Israel thumbs its nose in the face of maritime law by attacking a human rights boat in international waters and has put all of these human rights observers at risk.

“At no time was the Dignity ever close to Israeli waters. They clearly identified themselves, and the Israeli attack was willful and criminal.”

The damaged Free Gaza boat Dignity arrives in Lebanon after its encounter with the Israeli navy. Photograph: Ali Hashisho/Reuters

Incidents like this are going to happen in wartime, and while it might appear Israeli action was heavy handed, one must remember groups like Free Gaza’s tactics. Refusing radio calls and not altering course as ordered generally leads to situations like this. Greenpeace has adopted similar tactics; provoke a response from the belligerent and then rely on the media to make their case.

The Dignity was carrying three tons of medical supplies requested by Gazan doctors.

But what was the former congresswoman doing on yacht? That remains to be seen, but with Ms Mckinney on board, you bet the response will be less than dignified.

For right or for wrong, attempting to bust a naval blockade is not a wise thing to do, humanitarian or not. Warring parties have no idea whats on the boat, whether it is mined or carrying weapons.

A former US Congresswoman should know better than to behave like this;she is still a former US Representative. While I understand the altruism, it seems more like an incident garnered to provoke a reaction with the added weight of a former Congresswoman.

This column will await Ms Mckinney’s inevitable statement blaming everyone but the stunt she participated in, for the medical supplies not reaching Gaza.

As for the Israeli Navy, if they were attacking 90 miles off the coast, then they were in violation of International Law.

Moving Minutes – Indoctrinate U –

Posted in Uncategorized by Patrick Truax on December 30, 2008

LOL! Cool video!

A New Tack in the Holy Land

Posted in Uncategorized by Patrick Truax on December 29, 2008

Some years ago, Tom Clancy wrote a novel that included elements of the Arab-Israeli conflict. One of his best, he came up with what seems to be an option to be explored.

While it is easy to fantasize about fictional characters and scenarios, there is a lot that can be gleaned from a prominent author’s insight. One of the things that sets Clancy apart, is his research and his ability to weave it into his fictional story lines. Ken Follett and Dan Brown are two others who are very good at embroidering historical facts into their novels. The novel, “Sum of All Fears”, is a good example of that insight. The scenario opens with an Israeli soldier shooting a peaceful Palestinian protester, who sat down in a Ghandiesque fashion and refused to budge. Just like Martin Luther King’s message of peaceful disobedience, the young Palestinian staged is own refusal to move to the back of the bus.

The shooting catapults the conflict back into the headlines again, prompting a vain, American President to want to fix it once and for all. His plan was to have a third party administer a “free” Jerusalem. The author decided it was to be the Swiss Guards to ensure the peace, while a troika consisting of the highest ranking spiritual leaders in the city, would make group decisions on the administration of the city. An Imam, a Rabbi, and a Bishop, or maybe a Cardinal would have to collaborate in order to run the city. Unconventional, perhaps, but who knows until it is tried?

Certainly, the concept of a “free” city is not unheard of. In the last century, cities such as Shanghai, Danzig, and Trieste were free cities. In China, a good part of the city was run by and called “The International Settlement”. At odds with Japanese occupiers, it provided a haven for indigent Chinese. Trieste, situated between Yugoslavia and Italy, was sort of a free trade zone, separating and East and West. Danzig was port city in corridor of land on the Baltic Sea, which was administered by the League of Nations. Perhaps a similar philosophy can applied to the troubled region in the Middle East.

If Jerusalem was declared a Free City by, say, the UN, and whose civil rights for all inhabitants could be ensured by third party ala Tom Clancy, who is to say it wouldn’t work? To be fair, there would be some difficulty and mistrust, but virtually everything else has been tried. Jimmy Carter denied sleep to his staff and the stubborn parties and strong armed Israel and Egypt into signing the Camp David Accords. Bill Clinton had Yasser Arafat in the White House many times, giving away the store in return for Peace. Yet, old wounds are hard to heal in a region where tribal and cultural mistrust are a given, so a new tack is needed.

A Free Jerusalem administered by a troika of religious leaders with civil leaders, would go a long way to fairness to city who his revered by most faiths. Further, it should have the effect of lessening cultural mistrust, and lead to a non-discriminatory society. With the neutral Swiss patrolling and keeping the peace, it is something that just might work.

The Swiss have a long history of being a neutral and fair mediator. Since the 1500’s, the Swiss Guards have guarded the Vatican with their colorful uniforms, (designed by Michelangelo) halberds and faith. But the flair should fool no one; they are a modern, up to date, state of the art, military force. Loyal only to the Pope, they have protected the hub of Catholicism for centuries. Why not create a unit of the Guards to keep the peace in Jerusalem?

There would differences, of course, between their mission in Rome, and one in the Middle East. They couldn’t be loyal to one religiously leader or another, which might create a problem as the Guards are required to be Catholic. But if the Swiss could swear loyalty to only keeping the peace and fairly mediating disputes, as well as taking orders from a civil authority with unanimous spiritual oversight, why not try it?

Hamas: Legal Terrorism

Posted in Uncategorized by Patrick Truax on December 29, 2008

The Hamas Party, which administers the Gaza Strip, is a declared Terror organization. Indeed, the party has admitted and claimed responsibility for terror attacks in Israel. Yet, the news coverage of the last 48 hours, has been decidedly pro-Hamas.

When one looks back on the troubled history of the region, an honest and reasonable assessment should yield an understanding of just how badly the cards are stacked against the Magan David. This column has tried to keep an open mind about the conflict, but honesty compels one to react to any biased coverage with more than a hint skepticism. Israel is tired of suicide bombers and rocket attacks. They are tired of World Opinion being against them. They are tired of their soldiers being kidnapped and tortured. They have been targeted by Scud missiles, and they are Iran’s number one target for a nuke. Lastly, they are tired of providing utilities for territories that attack their state.

Israel WILL defend her people, their borders, and their infrastructure, at all costs. They will not change their tactics, and why should they?

It is not the Jewish State’s fault that Gazans elected a terror organization to represent them, nor is it their fault that Hamas retreats to a human shield strategy when Israel retaliates. And has anyone else ever noticed that there is always a reporter on the scene of Israeli retaliation? Sometimes, the news comes from these PA “reporters” before anyone else has it. Two years ago, Reuters was caught doctoring photos in Lebanon of Israeli attacks in Lebanon. If the Anti-Israel cause was just, why doctor photos?

Gaza is the recipient of millions of dollars in aid from all around the world. Just where is this money going? Why don’t they build a power plant with the money? A de-salinization plant? A hospital with equipment and drugs? Create industry and jobs? Money pours into Gaza, yet the citizens are dirt poor. They rely on the Israelis for their infrastructure, and wail like babies when Israel shuts the water and power off after a kidnapping, missile attack, or suicide bombing.

The problem here is Hamas, not Israel.

Across Mideast, Thousands Protest Israeli Assault

Posted in Uncategorized by Patrick Truax on December 28, 2008

Thousands sweep into Middle East streets to protest Israel’s attacks against Gaza

By BASSEM MROUE Associated Press Writer

BEIRUT, Lebanon December 28, 2008 (AP)

Lebanese protesters supporters of Hamas group, chant pro-Hamas slogans as they hold placards with…

Crowds of thousands swept into the streets of cities around the Middle East on Sunday to denounce Israel’s air assault on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

Lebanese protesters supporters of Hamas group, chant pro-Hamas slogans as they hold placards with… Expand

Lebanese protesters supporters of Hamas group, chant pro-Hamas slogans as they hold placards with Arabic reads:”Our souls, our blood we sacrifice for Gaza and its people,” left, and “Oh our people in Gaza, you are honorable,”, during a demonstration held by Islamic groups to protest Israel’s attacks against the Gaza Strip, in front the United Nations house, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, on Sunday Dec. 28, 2008. About 1000 protesters Carrying Lebanese and Palestinian flags as well as green banners representing the militant Hamas group, chanted anti-Israeli slogans and called for an end to Israel’s attacks against Gaza. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla) Collapse

(AP)

From Lebanon to Iran, Israel’s adversaries used the weekend assault to marshal crowds into the streets for noisy demonstrations. And among regional allies there was also discontent: The prime minister of Turkey, one of the few Muslim countries to have relations with Israel, called the air assault a “crime against humanity.”

Several of Sunday’s protests turned violent. A crowd of anti-Israel protesters in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul became a target for a suicide bomber on a bicycle.

In Lebanon, police fired tear gas to stop dozens of demonstrators from reaching the Egyptian Embassy. Some in the crowd hurled stones at the embassy compound. It was unclear if anyone was hurt.

Egypt, which has served as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians as well as between Hamas and its rival Fatah, has been criticized for joining Israel in closing its borders with Gaza. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit called on Hamas to renew its truce with Israel: “There has been a calm and we should work to restore it.”

France also called for the truce to be renewed and rallied European nations to use “all their weight” to stop the fighting between Israel and Hamas.

“We have entered a new spiral of despair,” French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told the Journal du Dimanche in an interview published Sunday. “The truce must be restored.”

Kouchner noted that the attacks come “in a context of vacancy of power in Israel and the U.S.” as both countries are undergoing leadership transitions.

“Europe has a role to play,” Kouchner said.

In Beirut, Hamas representative Osama Hamdan told the crowd that the militant group had no choice but to fight. Gaza militants have been lobbing dozens of rockets and mortars into southern Israel since a six-month truce expired over a week ago, prompting Israel’s fierce retaliation.

An Iranian woman walks past an anti-Israel wall painting in Tehran, on Sunday Dec. 28, 2008. (AP photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian)

(AP)

“We have one alternative which is to be steadfast and resist and then we will be victorious,” Hamdan said.

An Iranian woman walks past an anti-Israel wall painting in Tehran, on Sunday Dec. 28, 2008. (AP photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian)

(AP)

In the capital of neighboring Syria, more than 5,000 people marched toward the central Youssef al-Azmeh square, where they burned an Israeli and an American flag.

One demonstrator carried a banner reading, “The aggression against Gaza is an aggression against the whole Arab nation.”

“Down with America, the mother of terrorism,” read another.

In Amman, Jordan, about 5,000 lawyers marched toward parliament to demand the Israeli ambassador’s expulsion and the closure of the embassy. “No for peace, yes to the rifle,” they chanted.

In Jordan’s squalid Baqaa camp for Palestinian refugees and their descendants, protester Yassin Abu Taha, 32, blamed America and Israel for the Middle East’s problems.

“The Israelis kill our people in Gaza and the West Bank. The Americans kill our people in Iraq. We’re refugees, kicked out of our home in Tulkarem in 1967 and we’re still displaced,” he said, bemoaning his family’s flight in the 1967 Mideast war.

The U.S. Embassy in Jordan warned Americans to avoid areas of demonstrations.

Thousands of Egyptians — many of them students — demonstrated at campuses in Cairo, Alexandria and elsewhere and accused President Hosni Mubarak and other Arab leaders of not doing enough to support the Palestinians.

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has said Israel should be “wiped off the map,” denounced the Israeli strikes.

And in the normally politically placid streets of glitzy Dubai, hundreds of demonstrators — some draped in Palestinian flags — gathered at the Palestinian consulate.

“This is a time for the Palestinians and Arabs to unite to fight against a common enemy,” said Majdei Mansour, a 30-year-old Palestinian resident of Dubai. Mansour said he has been unable to contact his family in Gaza since the latest fighting.

In Iraq, where the government has also condemned the Gaza airstrikes, a suicide bomber on a bicycle blew himself up amid a crowd of about 1,300 demonstrators in Mosul who were protesting against Israel, killing one demonstrator and wounding 16, Iraqi police said.

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, center, top, and other lawmakers attend in an anti-Israel demonstration in Tehran, on Sunday Dec. 28, 2008. Posters of Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Khomeini, are seen.(AP photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian)

(AP)

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack on the demonstration, which was organized by a Sunni party in sympathy for Palestinians in Gaza, who are largely fellow Sunnis.Associated Press writers Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria; Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran; Jamal Halaby in Amman, Jordan, and Hamid Ahmed in Baghdad contributed to this report.

AP via ABC News

Is this not the most biased article you have ever read?

Across Mideast, Thousands Protest Israeli Assault

Posted in Uncategorized by Patrick Truax on December 28, 2008

Thousands sweep into Middle East streets to protest Israel’s attacks against Gaza

By BASSEM MROUE Associated Press Writer

BEIRUT, Lebanon December 28, 2008 (AP)

Lebanese protesters supporters of Hamas group, chant pro-Hamas slogans as they hold placards with…

Crowds of thousands swept into the streets of cities around the Middle East on Sunday to denounce Israel’s air assault on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

Lebanese protesters supporters of Hamas group, chant pro-Hamas slogans as they hold placards with… Expand

Lebanese protesters supporters of Hamas group, chant pro-Hamas slogans as they hold placards with Arabic reads:”Our souls, our blood we sacrifice for Gaza and its people,” left, and “Oh our people in Gaza, you are honorable,”, during a demonstration held by Islamic groups to protest Israel’s attacks against the Gaza Strip, in front the United Nations house, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, on Sunday Dec. 28, 2008. About 1000 protesters Carrying Lebanese and Palestinian flags as well as green banners representing the militant Hamas group, chanted anti-Israeli slogans and called for an end to Israel’s attacks against Gaza. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla) Collapse

(AP)

From Lebanon to Iran, Israel’s adversaries used the weekend assault to marshal crowds into the streets for noisy demonstrations. And among regional allies there was also discontent: The prime minister of Turkey, one of the few Muslim countries to have relations with Israel, called the air assault a “crime against humanity.”

Several of Sunday’s protests turned violent. A crowd of anti-Israel protesters in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul became a target for a suicide bomber on a bicycle.

In Lebanon, police fired tear gas to stop dozens of demonstrators from reaching the Egyptian Embassy. Some in the crowd hurled stones at the embassy compound. It was unclear if anyone was hurt.

Egypt, which has served as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians as well as between Hamas and its rival Fatah, has been criticized for joining Israel in closing its borders with Gaza. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit called on Hamas to renew its truce with Israel: “There has been a calm and we should work to restore it.”

France also called for the truce to be renewed and rallied European nations to use “all their weight” to stop the fighting between Israel and Hamas.

“We have entered a new spiral of despair,” French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told the Journal du Dimanche in an interview published Sunday. “The truce must be restored.”

Kouchner noted that the attacks come “in a context of vacancy of power in Israel and the U.S.” as both countries are undergoing leadership transitions.

“Europe has a role to play,” Kouchner said.

In Beirut, Hamas representative Osama Hamdan told the crowd that the militant group had no choice but to fight. Gaza militants have been lobbing dozens of rockets and mortars into southern Israel since a six-month truce expired over a week ago, prompting Israel’s fierce retaliation.

An Iranian woman walks past an anti-Israel wall painting in Tehran, on Sunday Dec. 28, 2008. (AP photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian)

(AP)

“We have one alternative which is to be steadfast and resist and then we will be victorious,” Hamdan said.

An Iranian woman walks past an anti-Israel wall painting in Tehran, on Sunday Dec. 28, 2008. (AP photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian)

(AP)

In the capital of neighboring Syria, more than 5,000 people marched toward the central Youssef al-Azmeh square, where they burned an Israeli and an American flag.

One demonstrator carried a banner reading, “The aggression against Gaza is an aggression against the whole Arab nation.”

“Down with America, the mother of terrorism,” read another.

In Amman, Jordan, about 5,000 lawyers marched toward parliament to demand the Israeli ambassador’s expulsion and the closure of the embassy. “No for peace, yes to the rifle,” they chanted.

In Jordan’s squalid Baqaa camp for Palestinian refugees and their descendants, protester Yassin Abu Taha, 32, blamed America and Israel for the Middle East’s problems.

“The Israelis kill our people in Gaza and the West Bank. The Americans kill our people in Iraq. We’re refugees, kicked out of our home in Tulkarem in 1967 and we’re still displaced,” he said, bemoaning his family’s flight in the 1967 Mideast war.

The U.S. Embassy in Jordan warned Americans to avoid areas of demonstrations.

Thousands of Egyptians — many of them students — demonstrated at campuses in Cairo, Alexandria and elsewhere and accused President Hosni Mubarak and other Arab leaders of not doing enough to support the Palestinians.

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has said Israel should be “wiped off the map,” denounced the Israeli strikes.

And in the normally politically placid streets of glitzy Dubai, hundreds of demonstrators — some draped in Palestinian flags — gathered at the Palestinian consulate.

“This is a time for the Palestinians and Arabs to unite to fight against a common enemy,” said Majdei Mansour, a 30-year-old Palestinian resident of Dubai. Mansour said he has been unable to contact his family in Gaza since the latest fighting.

In Iraq, where the government has also condemned the Gaza airstrikes, a suicide bomber on a bicycle blew himself up amid a crowd of about 1,300 demonstrators in Mosul who were protesting against Israel, killing one demonstrator and wounding 16, Iraqi police said.

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, center, top, and other lawmakers attend in an anti-Israel demonstration in Tehran, on Sunday Dec. 28, 2008. Posters of Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Khomeini, are seen.(AP photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian)

(AP)

There was no claim of responsibility for the attack on the demonstration, which was organized by a Sunni party in sympathy for Palestinians in Gaza, who are largely fellow Sunnis.Associated Press writers Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria; Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran; Jamal Halaby in Amman, Jordan, and Hamid Ahmed in Baghdad contributed to this report.

AP via ABC News

Is this not the most biased article you have ever read?

Eve of Destruction

Posted in Uncategorized by Patrick Truax on December 27, 2008

Every time I hear Barry McGuire sing about Selma and Red China, I can’t help being drawn to the mess that is the Holy Land. As Israel once again retaliates for a Hamas broken truce, again, one has to wonder just when the conflict will go too far.

Depending on where one get his or her history of Israel, one can come away with completely different versions and distortions, thus making it hard to determine which side is “right”. Israel, while barely a half a century old, has been steeped in conflict for thousands of years. Roman occupation, attacks from Persia, and the Crusades, to name a few, have bloodied the landscape for one reason or another, usually religion. At the same time, it is also the land where Christ was born, where King David ruled, and the Ark of the Covenant once resided. Why, then, should we be surprised the area is in conflict again?

To be sure, electing a declared terrorist organization to lead Gaza wasn’t a smart move by the residents of the Strip. Especially knowing Hamas’ penchant for hiding among innocents when Israel retaliates. On the other hand, Israel needs to recognize the people in Gaza aren’t all terrorists, and cutting off utilities to Gaza creates hardship and perpetuates a cycle of poverty that breeds resentment and anger, despite the religious differences.

It is unfortunate that the Palestinians allow such leaders to have sway over them. Yassir Arafat would settle for nothing less than Jerusalem. The Jews, understandably, were against this, and the wars between began in earnest.

In 1948, when the United Nations created the State of Israel, it was known there would be some conflict. Wars in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and the Intifadas of 1987 and 2000, bear witness to how hotly contested the land is.

A thousand years ago, when Jerusalem fell to the Muslims, the citizens living there were able to get along fairly well. There was conflict between the two faiths, but nothing like what we see today. The Mohammedans built their Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount which ruffled feathers, and the Christians were more than a little annoyed because the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was nearby, but for the most part, there was peace there up until the UN made their declaration. So, while Israel may have a political advantage, there has to be an understanding that the continuing strife will just breed more resentment. The Palestinians must realize electing known terrorists and encouraging rocket attacks, and suicide bombings, against Israel must stop. The media, too must present a fair case to their viewers.

Lastly, is the spiritual angle. Jews and Christians believe Christ will return to Israel, but the Muslims ruled there for long time. From a religious standpoint, one could argue that the land should stay in Israel’s hands. But from a secular view, one has to wonder when cultural influence should take precedence. So who is right?

Unfortunately, it will probably be decided politically, which will please no party. But it is the Holy Land, and Allah, God, or Jehova, or whomever is worshipped there, doesn’t abide by political decisions.

Israel Launches Air Strikes on Gaza, 155 Dead

Posted in Uncategorized by Patrick Truax on December 27, 2008

Hamas says Israeli air strikes demolish compounds throughout Gaza Strip, 155 dead

Smoke rises from Israeli missile strikes in the northern Gaza Strip as seen from the Israeli community of Netiv Hasara, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008. Israeli aircraft struck Hamas security compounds across Gaza on Saturday in an unprecedented series of simultaneous strikes. Hamas and medics reported that dozens of people were killed and that others were still buried under the rubble. Health Ministry official Moawiya Hassanain said at least 120 people were killed. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov) Collapse
(AP)

Israeli warplanes retaliating for rocket fire from the Gaza Strip pounded dozens of security compounds across the Hamas-ruled territory in unprecedented waves of airstrikes Saturday, killing at least 155 and wounding more than 310 in the single bloodiest day of fighting in recent memory.

Hamas said all of its security installations were hit and responded with several medium-range Grad rockets at Israel, reaching deeper than in the past. One Israeli was killed and at least four people were wounded.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said “the operation will last as long as necessary,” but it was not clear if it would be coupled with a ground offensive. Asked if Hamas political leaders might be targeted next, military spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich said, “Any Hamas target is a target.”

The strikes caused widespread panic and confusion in Gaza, as black clouds of smoke rose above the territory, ruled by Hamas for the past 18 months. Some of the Israeli missiles struck in densely populated areas as children were leaving school, and women rushed into the streets frantically looking for their children. Most of those killed were security men, but civilians were among the dead.

Said Masri sat in the middle of a Gaza City street, close to a security compound, alternately slapping his face and covering his head with dust from the bombed-out building.

“My son is gone, my son is gone,” wailed Masri, 57. The shopkeeper said he sent his 9-year-old son out to purchase cigarettes minutes before the airstrikes began and now could not find him. “May I burn like the cigarettes, may Israel burn,” Masri moaned.

In Gaza City’s main security compound, bodies of more than a dozen uniformed security officers lay on the ground. One survivor raised his index finger in a show of Muslim faith, uttering a prayer. The Gaza police chief was among those killed. One man, his face bloodied, sat dazed on the ground as a fire raged nearby.

Later, some of the dead, rolled in blankets, were laid out on the floor of Gaza’s main hospital for identification. Hamas police spokesman Ehad Ghussein said about 140 Hamas security forces were killed.Defiant Hamas leaders threatened revenge, including suicide attacks. Hamas “will continue the resistance until the last drop of blood,” vowed spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.
Smoke rises from Israeli missile strikes in the northern Gaza Strip as seen from the Israeli… Expand
Smoke rises from Israeli missile strikes in the northern Gaza Strip as seen from the Israeli community of Netiv Hasara, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008. Israeli aircraft struck Hamas security compounds across Gaza on Saturday in an unprecedented series of simultaneous strikes. Hamas and medics reported that dozens of people were killed and that others were still buried under the rubble. Health Ministry official Moawiya Hassanain said at least 120 people were killed. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov) Collapse
(AP)

Israel told its civilians near Gaza to take cover as militants began retaliating with rockets, and in the West Bank, moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for restraint. Egypt summoned the Israeli ambassador to express condemnation and opened its border with Gaza to allow ambulances to drive out some of the wounded.

Protests erupted in the Abbas-ruled West Bank and across the Arab world.

Several hundred angry Jordanians poured protested outside a U.N. complex in the capital Amman. “Hamas, go ahead. You are the cannon, we are the bullets,” they cried, some waving the signature green Hamas banners.

In Beirut, dozens of youths hit the streets and set fire to tires. In Syria’s al-Yarmouk camp, outside Damascus, dozens of Palestinians protested the attack as well, vowing to continue fighting Israel.

Israeli leaders approved military action against Gaza earlier in the week.

Past limited ground incursions and air strikes have not halted rocket barrages from Gaza.

But with 200 mortars and rockets raining down on Israel since the truce expired a week ago, and 3,000 since the beginning of the year, according to the military’s count, pressure had been mounting in Israel for the military to crush the gunmen.

Earlier this month, Israeli security officials told the government that militants possess rockets with ranges capable of reaching farther from Gaza than ever before, including the cities of Beersheba and Ashdod.

Gaza militants fired several rockets Saturday, including one that struck a new target, the town of Kiryat Gat. A missile hit on the town of Netivot killed an Israeli man and wounded four people, rescue services said. In Ashkelon, TV cameras showed people huddle against a wall as a rocket alert sounded.

Barak, the Israeli defense minister, said that the coming period “won’t be easy and won’t be short for the communities in the south (of Israel).Israel declared a state of emergency in Israeli communities within a 12-mile (20-kilometer) range of Gaza, putting the area on a war footing.

The first round of air strikes came just before noon, and several more waves followed.

Hospitals crowded with people, civilians rushing in wounded people in cars, vans and ambulances. “We are treating people on the floor, in the corridors. We have no more space. We don’t know who is here and what the priority is to treat,” said a doctor at Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s main treatment center. He hung up the phone before identifying himself.

Dr. Moawiya Hassanain, a Gaza Health Ministry official, said at least 145 people were killed and more than 300 wounded.

Frantic civilians drove wounded people to hospitals in their cars.

In the West Bank, Hamas’ rival, Abbas, said in a statement that he “condemns this aggression” and called for restraint, according to an aide, Nabil Abu Rdeneh. Abbas, who has ruled only the West Bank since the Islamic Hamas seized power in Gaza in June 2007, was in contact with Arab leaders, and his West Bank Cabinet convened an emergency session.

Israel has targeted Gaza in the past, but the number of simultaneous attacks was unprecedented.

Israel left Gaza in 2005 after a 38-year occupation, but the withdrawal did not lead to better relations with Palestinians in the territory as Israeli officials had hoped.

Instead, the evacuation was followed by a sharp rise in militant attacks on Israeli border communities that on several occasions provoked harsh Israeli military reprisals.

The last, in late February and early March, spurred both sides to agree to a truce that was to have lasted six months but began unraveling in early November. In recent days, Israeli leaders had been voicing strong threats to launch a major offensive.

It’s time for the Magan David to take Hamas out once and for all. I’m sick of whining Palestinians and their hand wringing supporters in the US and Europe. If you lay down with dogs….