Saturday, June 24, 2006

Live BE Radio Tonight at 8pm EST

Hey all,

It’s Saturday again, and I am getting very psyched for another radio show on BlogExplosion Radio!  I recharged my account at the local mp3 download store, and have been downloading tunes for the past few days, and now I just can’t wait to get some tasty tracks out to all the bloggers out it BE land.

Do you have a song you haven’t heard in a while?  How about one you just love and want to send out to all those other bloggers out there?  Well this is your chance!  Tell me your song, and I’ll do my best to get it on the air tonight, Saturday 6/24 at 9:00 pm est.

I’m also looking for sites to run contests from.  Basically, let me know your site address and a piece of information listeners can look for on your site, and BE will give credits to bloggers for going to your site and finding the info.  How can you beat free traffic that’s actually looking at your site?  If you want to host a contest, just let me know.

There are other options too. You can have me read a headline over the air, I can even send dedications out to other bloggers.  Or maybe you have another idea for how to promote your blog; let me know, and I’ll tell you if it works (I have some limitations, but I’ll try to push the envelope for you).

Most importantly, though, we want you to be listening to the show, and if possible hanging out with other listeners in the BE Chat Room, ShoutBox.   The show is guided by the listeners, and the excitement in the room is definitely reflected on the air. So help make the show the first truly interactive radio show for bloggers on the internet, and have some fun while doing it.

It’s tonight, Saturday night, at 8:00 pm est, and it’s on BE Radio. It’s live, it’s interactive, it’s your show.  It’s BE Radio, radio for bloggers, by bloggers, and about bloggers.  Hope to see you there.


Posted by Scottage at 1:49 AM / | |  

Friday, June 23, 2006

Your Views on Sarah Jane Porter, the AIDS Assassin

OK, maybe I’m beating a dead horse, but I just read the Yahoo Answers poll on Sarah Jane Porter.  For those of you who don’t know, Porter was infected with Aids by an Afro-Caribbean man, the father of her son, and subsequently attempted to have unprotected sex with as many Afro-Caribbean men as possible to get revenge.  She continued this while on parole awaiting trial, and refuses to give the authorities a list of the men she slept with.

The Yahoo Answers article is slightly off in that Porter received 32 months, as opposed to 36 months, for Grave Bodily Harm from a London court, and it now has been revealed that she could be out in as little as 2 years.  

The poll asks if Porter should be charged with murder when someone dies from the HIV virus that Porter infected them with, which a variety of lawyers say can’t happen since this would constitute double jeopardy. What struck me, though, were the respondents to Yahoo’s poll that indicated that the men had it coming since they engaged in unprotected sex with Porter.

So I have changed up the poll on the right side of my screen to examine your opinions on this issue.  Tell me what you think is the appropriate punishment for Sarah Jane Porter. Also, feel free to elaborate on your argument in the comments section of this post, and be rewarded with BE credits (I’ll give credits to all who respond, and 250 credits to the best response)

I think my opinion is clear: the action is deplorable, and they should either lock her up and throw away the key or provide her with the death sentence that would probably ease her suffering.  But I want to know what you think about this deadly predator.  Thanks for your comments and for participating in the poll!

A New Black Widow with an HIV Sting
More on Sarah Jane Porter, the Aids Assassin

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Posted by Scottage at 9:21 AM / | |  

The One Percent Doctrine: How Suskind Chose the Name and Why it makes us Less Safe

Let me start by mentioning that so far I am only reading excerpts from “The One Percent Doctrine”, and they have been the source for this post and my two previous posts on the book.  Hopefully my copy of Ron Suskind’s book will arrive from Amazon tomorrow. But in the interim, there have been some excellent excerpts to write on.

Barton Gellman of the Washington Post focused on the capture or Abu Zubaydah, who Suskind portrays as a mentally ill Al Qaeda gopher while Bush portrayed him as a higher up in the Al Qaeda hierarchy. But a minor point in Gellman’s piece, on how the book got its title, may be far more pertinent as we examine the Bush administration’s efforts in the war on terror.

According to Gellman, Suskind writes that the title is derived from a doctrine by VP Dick Cheney that was written in response to a report in 2001 that two Pakistani scientists who, in years gone by, had offered to build a bomb for Libya were then meeting with Osama bin Laden. Cheney’s doctrine dealt with “a low-probability, high impact event” such as the scientists building a bomb for Al Qaeda. The Cheney Doctrine states:

"If there's a one percent chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response."

Suskind states that the Cheney Doctrine allowed Bush to ignore debate about the government’s actions against Al Qaeda, basing the government’s war on terror on “impulse and improvisation” to unprecedented levels.  From Suskind’s perspective, this course of action prevented counter-terrorism and intelligence agents from accomplishing their jobs and fighting terror.

That approach constricted the mission of the intelligence and counterterrorism professionals whose point of view dominates this book. Many of them came to believe, Suskind reports, that "their jobs were not to help shape policy, but to affirm it." (Some of them nicknamed Cheney "Edgar," as in Edgar Bergen -- casting the president as the ventriloquist's dummy.) Suskind calls those career terror-fighters "the invisibles," and he likes them. His book is full of amazing, persuasively detailed vignettes about their world. At least a dozen former intelligence officials speak frankly in public here.

The Gellman article sites numerous examples from “The One Percent Doctrine” where the views and discoveries of intelligence agents took a back seat to Bush’s policies, often with catastrophic results. Gellman focuses on the capture of Zubaydah, but perhaps more poigniant is the report of the meeting between Tenet and Bush at the Bush ranch on August 6, 2001.

The book's opening anecdote tells of an unnamed CIA briefer who flew to Bush's Texas ranch during the scary summer of 2001, amid a flurry of reports of a pending al-Qaeda attack, to call the president's attention personally to the now-famous Aug. 6, 2001, memo titled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US." Bush reportedly heard the briefer out and replied: "All right. You've covered your ass, now."

Gellman also hits on the disclosure of data from First Data Corp, one of the largest credit-card transaction processors, the hunt for Ayman al-Zawahiri, the failure to capture Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora, and the capture of Khalid Sheik Mohammed.  This passage from the Zubaydah capture really tells the story:

In interviews with intelligence officers, Suskind often finds them baffled by White House statements. "Why the hell did the President have to put us in a box like this?" one top CIA official asked about the overblown public portrait of Abu Zubaydah. But Suskind sees a deliberate management choice: Bush ensnared his director of central intelligence at the time, George J. Tenet, and many others in a new kind of war in which action and evidence were consciously divorced.

All of which leads to the question, who understands the war on terror best, the Bush administration or the counter-terrorism and intelligence operatives who have made a career at understanding this complex enemy?  To me, the answer is a no-brainer, that a good commander-in-chief listens to his experts and bases policy around their views.  But this is not the case today, as Bush/Cheney’s views outweigh the experts’ views.

How can Bush and Cheney blatantly ignore the views of counter-terrorism experts?  By citing the Cheney doctrine, that states they the government is fighting against the one percent chance that bin Laden has contracted two Pakistani scientists to create a nuclear bomb. But perhaps we should deal with the reality, because terrorism can be fought if we understand our enemy and anticipate his true moves.

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Cartoon by Steven Bell of The Guardian.


Posted by Scottage at 12:29 AM / | |  

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Thursday Thirteen - Favorite Concert

Today’s Thursday Thirteen, coming over from Winged Emotion, is a favorite topic for me: the 13 favorite concerts I’ve been to, or groups I would like to see. I’m going to stick with concerts I’ve been to, having been to a few hundred concerts at this point, and making a point of not having regrets.  So, in reverse order of favorite to least favorite,  here goes:

13. The Eagles – I had always wanted to see the Eagles, but had never been in the right place at the right time, so when they started touring again a few years ago, I made a point of seeing their show in Boston.  They weren’t as tight as they once were, and I think that Joe Walsh has lost a bit of the passion that made the group so incredible, but it was a great nostalgic concert nonetheless.

12. Harry Chapin – The first concert I really remember well was, at the age of 9, going to see Harry Chapin at the Valley Forge Music Fair. The small 2000 person venue was perfect for his music and his storytelling and the personal way he addressed the audience was fantastic.

11. James Taylor – I’ve seen JT a ton of times, but sitting on a lawn in Cincinnati on a hot summer day with Taylor strumming old favorites and a beautiful woman beside me is about as good as it gets in my book.

10. Three Dog Knight – I originally went to see Three Dog Knight when I was two with my family on the Philly art museum steps, but obviously didn’t remember that.  But going to see them last year at the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls was like a dream remembered.  They really are great, and if they’re coming to your town, I suggest hitting the show.

9. Aerosmith – The group had been on my list for years, but I didn’t get to see them until they played Darien Lake amusement park last summer. Wow, they really punched it out.  Great show!

8. The Grateful Dead – I’ve seen the Dead over 100 times, and I couldn’t tell you which my favorite show was.  But I had a good time at all of them (from what I remember).

7. Styx – I saw Styx at the Philly Spectrum during the Mr. Roboto tour, and was surprised and how much energy they have, and what a rocking show it was.  I’ve seen them since, but not with the original lineup, and it wasn’t the same.  But that show rocked!

6. Billy Joel/Elton John – I saw the two piano players together in Boston in 2002, and they were fantastic together.  I had seen Elton John many times, and he’s clearly my favorite of the two, but together they showed talent, fervor, and a real connection with the crowds.  I was glad to catch them.

5. U2 – I’ve seen U2 many times at this point, but my first U2 show was in Israel’s Hayarkon Park, and what a show that was. 230,000 people came out to see the band, both Palestinians and Israelis, and despite the show’s political nature, not one bit of violence broke out.  The show went well into the night, and I was an instant fan.

4. Stevie Ray Vaughan – I saw Stevie Ray in late August 1990 in Cincinnati, and the guy just jammed.  His opening act was Robert Cray, and the two jammed together for 4 of 5 songs. The concert was amazing.  Less than a week later, Vaughan died in a helicopter crash, a huge blow to the music world.

3. JFK Jam II – In the early 1980s, Philadelphia held three concerts titled “The Jams at JFK”, a stadium later condemned because they found nuclear waste under the rafters.  The second Jam, in 1981, included local favorites The Hooters, Santana, The Clash, and the headline act, The Who! What a concert!  I had never heard Santana before, and they brought the house down.  And the Who was beyond compare.  A great memory indeed.

2. Eric Clapton – I finally saw Clapton in 2002 in Philadelphia, and what a show that was.  He was always my hero, and I had only seen him when I was too young to remember the show.  For me, a long time Clapton fan, it was one of the most thrilling moments of my life to me front row center at the Spectrum with Eric Clapton seemingly playing his guitar right to me.

And the #1 concert I’ve seen is:

1. JFK Jam I – In 1980, 110,000 people attended the first Jam at JFK, consisting of local legend George Thoroughgood, Journey, and The Rolling Stones.  The Stones played for nearly four hours, with most of the concert being caught on video, later made into a movie called “Let’s Spend the Night Together”. At one point, Mick Jagger is on a catwalk which is moving out over the crowds, and he reaches out and grabs the hand of a kid on crutches who is propped up on milk crates, and indeed the kid is me.  How could I not have rock and roll fever after that?

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Posted by Scottage at 3:27 PM / | |  

More on Sarah Jane Porter, the Aids Assassin

A Quick Follow-Up to the post I ran last night on Sarah Jane Porter, the woman who, after being infected with aids by an Afro-Caribbean man, went on a spree attempting to infect as many Afro-Caribbean men as possible.

Porter has been sentanced, but to only 32 months in prison! Can you believe it? 32 months for infecting dozens of men with Aids, and then she'll be back on the street? Horrible, in my opinion. Meanwhile, one of her victims, Paul, issued a plea to other victims of this woman to be tested.

'If you've slept with her you could be HIV positive, you could be passing the virus to your wife, your girlfriend or boyfriend.' Recalling their affair, Paul said: 'I'd seen her a few times before, and we got talking in the club.

'I was really surprised when she gave me her number. She seemed really into me. Sarah is a very, very good dancer. She has real presence and doesn't have to work hard to attract men. 'I really thought I had met the girl of my dreams.'

Porter’s boyfriend, Mr. C., at first was worried he had passed Aids on to Porter, before finding out that she was the carrier of the disease.  Since learning he is infected, he has contemplated suicide multiple times.

'I was having what I believed was a breakdown and at this stage I could not cope with life,' he said. 'I did not care for myself and stopped washing and cleaning my clothes. At times even making dinner was too difficult.

'On one occasion I took some paracetamol and washed them down with alcohol intending to kill myself.  I stopped myself before I took too many but did consider suicide at several other points during this time. I hated myself and felt worthless.'

Kojak in MySpace reports on an editorial in The Guardian today was not endangering the lives of other people, but rather denying her condition and her racist digs.  Fortunately, Kojak agrees that Porter is a sociopath, and that endangering others is the real crime here. Not so for Beautiful Soul’s friend, who felt Porter didn’t tell people she was sick because she thought they wouldn’t want to sleep with her, and she would be unloved. Crazy, huh?

Porter’s parents are only now learning that their daughter has Aids, and is appalled that their daughter, who they put through finishing school over 20 years ago, has now been on this vendetta.  They say they’ve had little contact with her since she had her child.  Meanwhile, Porter is still unwilling to disclose the names of any sexual partners to the police, and only 4 of the countless men have been identified.

As for my readers, Invisible Blogger wants to know if this is really a crime, and there’s not a whole lot of clarity on this, though I remind people this is occurring in London, so the criminal justice system is different.  ANO shows that some states do have criminal penalties for knowingly infecting people with Aids, but not all states.  

Gidget doesn’t know what punishment would affect her, and I’m afraid she may be correct, as Porter obviously has no conscience. The Write Jerry considers this a hate crime, since she is targeting Afro-Caribbean men, which I think is an excellent point.  And Knockin’ on the Golden Door has also printed a piece on this crime, and has many good comments.  

As more info is released on Sarah Jane Porter, I’ll release it here.  In the mean time, let’s hope that the British legal system locks her away and throws away the key!

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Posted by Scottage at 3:14 AM / | |  

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A New Black Widow with an HIV Sting

In 2000, Sarah Jane Porter was diagnosed with Aids will giving birth to the child she had conceived out of wedlock with an Afro-Caribbean man. Upon learning this tragic news, Porter could have taken the brave way, and found a way to live her life.  Or perhaps she could have taken the defeatist way, and decided she didn’t want to live.  But Porter found a third way: she went out for revenge!

Porter, pictured right, decided to make it her mission to infect as many Afro-Caribbean males with HIV as possible. She began by entering a relationship with a man we’ll call Mr. B, and lying to her partner when he asked that they both be tested.  She said she had recently been tested, and refused to take the Aids test.  Her partner believed her, and they engaged in a five year exclusive relationship which included unprotected sex.

Or at least the boyfriend thought the relationship was exclusive; but in reality, Porter was going out regularly to dance clubs, picking up Afro-Caribbean men (and only Afro-Caribbean men), and having unprotected sex with them. Mr. B discovered her vendetta in 2005, and reported it to the authorities, who believe that Porter has had sex with dozens of men during her relationship with Mr. B.

But the story doesn’t end there.  They asked Porter to help them identify her sexual partners, so they could try to prevent an epidemic, but she refused, and to this day will provide no sexual history to the authorities.  And, when Porter was released on bail pending her trial, she went on another sex spree, again targeting Afro-Caribbean men.  

So how do you resolve a situation like this? Is jail for a woman like this cruel and unusual punishment, considering her disease?  What punishment could even be worse than the disease she’s contracted?  And how can you let a woman like this, with no concern for the health of others, run free in society?  I have no answers, only questions, including how a person can be so cruel.  Your opinions are welcome!

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Posted by Scottage at 8:38 PM / | |  

The One Percent Doctrine and NY Subway Attacks: What You Need To Know!

On Sunday I wrote a post on an excerpt from Ron Suskind’s new book, The One Percent Doctrine that talks about the potential 2003 attack on the NY Subway system that was called off by Ayman Zawahiri. And today Richard Clarke, former White House chief of counter-terrorism said there was reason to be skeptical of the reported incident, indicating that even if it was true it was one of hundreds of threats recorded during Clarke’s tenure.

"There's reason to be skeptical," said ABC News consultant Richard Clarke, who is the former chief of White House counterterrorism. "Just because something is labeled in an intelligence report does not mean every word in it is true." He said the information describing the plot would have been just one of the hundreds of threats that would have been collected in 2003.

Trial of Al Qaeda Operatives from Embassy Bombings

At the same time, my friend and talented writer Soccer Dad sent me a link to a fascinating article from May 2001, reporting on the trial of four defendants in the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The article is well worth a read, especially considering its timing.  The basic premise is that, despite locking up these four Al Qaeda operatives, the U.S. had become no safer.

Unfortunately, the trial does almost nothing to enhance the safety of Americans. The Qaeda group, headed by the notorious Osama bin Laden, which perpetrated the outrages in East Africa, will barely notice the loss of four operatives. Indeed, recent information shows that Al-Qaeda is not only planning new attacks on the U.S. but is also expanding its operational range to countries such as Jordan and Israel.

Perhaps the most crucial information from the article is found in what the authors, Steven Emerson and Daniel Pipes, see as the value of the trial:

Perhaps the real importance of the New York trial lies not in the guilty verdicts but in the extraordinary information made public through court exhibits and trial proceedings. These have given us a riveting view onto the shadowy world of Al-Qaeda-though you'd never know from following the news media, for this information was barely reported. Tens of thousands of pages from the trial transcript provide a full and revealing picture of Al-Qaeda, showing it to be the most lethal terrorist organization anywhere in the world.

They demonstrate that Al-Qaeda sees the West in general, and the U.S. in particular, as the ultimate enemy of Islam. Inspired by their victory over the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the leaders of Al-Qaeda aspire to a similar victory over America, hoping ultimately to bring Islamist rule here. Toward this end, they engaged in many attacks on American targets from 1993 to 1998. One striking piece of information that came out in the trial was bin Laden's possible connection to the World Trade Center bombing in New York in 1993. A terrorist manual introduced as evidence was just an updated version of an earlier manual found in the possession of the World Trade Center defendants.

The Value of Suskind’s Report

So the question that begs to be answered is: what is the value of Suskind’s report on the potential NY subway bombing?  Because, even if it is only one of hundreds of potential attacks reported, there is some value in this report.

The value is information to U.S. citizens. Any person who has lived in a country that has been plagued by terrorism (I’ve lived in 3: Israel, England, and the U.S.) will tell you that the greatest defense against terrorism is the awareness of its citizens.  If the citizens of a country are aware of the nature of potential attacks, they can be the eyes and ears of law enforcement, and thwart attacks because they are in the locations being attacked.

Defense Against Terrorism

In Israel, all citizens know certain key characteristics of a potential terrorist attack. If a bag is lying unattended on a street or in a store, an Israeli citizen will immediately tell a police officer, who gets the bomb squad.  People acting suspiciously, wearing inappropriate clothes for the season, or standing out are pointed out to officials and addressed.  For this reason, 11 of 12 terrorist attacks in Israel are unsuccessful.

Awareness of the tactics of terrorists was growing in England when I lived there.  Citizens were paying more attention to their surroundings, and we less shy about notifying officials when seeing unusual activity.  As such, more IRA attacks in England were being prevented, and terrorists were being captured, leading to further information on their cells.

If information on Al Qaeda revealed in the 2003 trial had been made more public, would the victims on the four planes from 9/11 been quicker to realize the nature of the attack?  Would they have been more inclined to resist the terrorists, as the passengers of Flight 93 eventually did?  We’ll never know!  But we do know that the more U.S. citizens know about terrorist tactics, the better the chances that an attack can be identified and prevented before it occurs.

What You Need To Know

The potential attack would have included multiple Mubtakkars, or gas distribution devices, placed in strategic locations around the subway.  They would have looked like small machines, obviously homemade, with cans at the top of them, unattended and not professional looking.  In 2003, who would have second guessed these devices? Today, it may be a different story.

Moral of the Story

I don’t believe in sensationalizing terrorist attacks, and I don’t believe in politicizing them to raise fears and promote a particular agenda.  Using stories of these potential attacks to increase funding for government agencies or to abolish civil liberties seems to me abhorrent.  But still, these reports are necessary to raise public awareness, and to let citizens know what to beware of. Because in the end of the day, we, the potential victims, are the best defense against terrorism!

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Posted by Scottage at 7:00 PM / | |  

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Israel and the Power of God: An Indescribable Force Described

I was very frustrated bit a derogatory post about my work on Haveil Havelim last week (evidently I omitted a strong posting by On The Contrary) and turned to one of my favorite writers in the blogosphere, Soccer Dad, for both advice and comfort. In his responses, he reminded me of a post I had written in May on my personal experiences in Israel, this post on Har Gilboa.

In actuality, though, I had written four posts on my time in Israel, thinking I would post one a week. But with so many pressing topics, I had forgotten to post the other three.   However, there’s no time like the present, so I figured I would post the second one now, and try to put up the others some time in the near future.  So without further ado, my second post on the how I personally experienced Israel.

- - - - -

Israel is a bizarre country. The country, by its present borders, is only the size of New Jersey, it contains few natural resources, the water supply is minimal, and the heat can be unbearable.  And yet, for the past 5000+ years, no country has been fought over more than Israel.  Which bears the inescapable question of why this country, in such a tumultuous region, is in such demand?

To a person who’s never been there, the answer may never be found. Sure, people can talk about the history, the tangible proof found everywhere of the stories found in the bible and our own heritage, regardless of your religion, but that’s not it.  Others speak of its geographic location, as a keystone of three continents, a trade route between Africa, Europe and Asia. But while Israel’s location makes it strategically valuable, this has little to do with what makes Israel so special.

But while Israel’s appeal may elude the rational thinker, it is crystal clear to the person who has walked the sands of the country with an open heart: it’s because in Israel you can feel something special, something which I have no terminology for other than “the power of God”.

Now don’t get tricked into thinking that I’m ultra-religious or some sort of bible-thumper.  In reality, I’m a somewhat non-religious Jew.  But friends of mine who are Christian, Muslim, even agnostic, have all noted that same power, that same electric feeling that we feel no where else in the world, and that grows stronger as you approach Jerusalem.

The power of the city is almost tangible, you can feel it and taste it, and it seems as if it emanates from the Temple Mount itself.  I believe it is no accident that the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher are in such close proximity to each other. There’s something special there, something indescribable that makes the Mount and Jerusalem itself the true capital of all religion?

In Jerusalem, religion is not esoteric; it lives and breathes in the very fabric of life in the city.  It creates a passion for religion greater than the passion felt for a woman, greater than the passion for life itself it sometime seems. It drives people to unthinkable actions, both positive and negative, in support of their religion.  And it changes people’s lives on a day-to-day basis.

I can hardly imagine what a person who reads this post and has never been to Israel is thinking at this point; perhaps they believe I’m crazy or imagining things. But people who have spent time in Jerusalem and have lived in the Holy Land know exactly what I’m talking about. We have all felt it, and the feeling is too powerful to ignore.

Life in Israel is not easy.  Israeli people can be abrasive, honking horns at 2 second delays at traffic lights and arguing over issues that have little significance.  Government bureaucrats rule the day, carving out their own little government niches and protecting them as vigilantly as Israel defends its borders. And the threat of terrorism or all-out warfare looms large, an ever-present cloud hanging over the beautiful landscape.

Yet, I am not alone in longing for the country every day that I am away from the hallowed grounds. It calls to me like a voice in the night, pulling me back, away from family, friends, and the comforts that Western life not only promises but delivers upon. And when I speak to other people who have spent any time there, they all seem to feel the same way, their longing increased by the amount of time spent in Israel.

Oddly enough, the same feeling felt by the Jews who have spent time in Israel is felt by the Muslims and Christians who have spent time in the country as well.  It reminds us that the Jewish God, the God of the Old Testament, is also the God of Islam and the God of Christianity; there is One God, there is none else.

The feeling could bind us, be common ground that could pull these people together to help Israel claim the glory that I believe is its destiny, and help it become a truly moral and spectacular nation.  Instead, it divides us, and causes a level of strife that can only be described as God-less.

I can’t tell you what the future holds for Israel, who will wind up running the country, or how the present dispute will be settled.  But I can say definitively that it’s a special country, with a power like none other I’ve felt in the world. And I can also say that if you haven’t been there, haven’t experienced what Israel has to offer, you are missing something glorious in your life.  Make it a point to get to Israel; you will be glad for the experience.

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Posted by Scottage at 8:14 PM / | |  

Haveil Havelim Now Posted

Haveil Havelim #74, a roundup of the best posts from Jewish bloggers over the past week, has been posted by Blue Diary.  If you’re interested in reading some great writing from some of the best Jewish writers on the net, take a look, I am sure you will find many posts that will be of interests to any blog reader.


Posted by Scottage at 5:10 PM / | |  

Deadly Terror Attack on NY Subways Called Off

Time Magazine has printed a book excerpt from Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Suskind’s new book “The One Percent Doctrine”, and it documents a potentially brutal attack on the NY subways that was called off at the last minute by Al Qaeda #2 Ayman Zawahiri. The attack would have dispersed a poison gas equivalent to that used in the concentration camps inside the subway system, killing any who breathed it. One current and two former US officials have confirmed most details on the attack.

In 2003, the schematic for a device called “The Mubtakkar” (Arabic for inventive) was discovered on the laptop of a Bahraini jihadist captured in Saudi Arabia.  The device can be made from parts found at any Home Depot, uses chemicals readily available for purchase, and can be activated remotely, distributing a hydrogen-cyanide gas which is highly lethal.

"In the world of terrorist weaponry," writes Suskind, "this was the equivalent of splitting the atom. Obtain a few widely available chemicals, and you could construct it with a trip to Home Depot – and then kill everyone in the store."

A mole inside of Al Qaeda, known by code-name “Ali” indicated that the attack was only 45 days from being implemented at the orders of Yusaf al-Ayeri, the top Al Qaeda operative in the Arabian Peninsula. However, when al-Ayeri reported on the attack to Osama bin Laden deputy Ayman Zawahiri, he called the attack off. There is no indication as to why Zawahiri did not want the attack to be carried out.

Al-Ayeri was detained by the Saudis in 2003, but they released him, later indicating they did not realize his high-ranking position in Al Qaeda. Later, when the US determined they wanted to question al-Ayeri about the attack, he was killed in a firefight with Saudi security forces. The CIA questioned whether the killing was an accident, but "The Saudis just shrugged," the source tells Suskind. "They said their people got a little overzealous."

The book indicates the terror cell that was supposed to carry out the attack is still at large in the United States.  Speculation inside the Pentagon is that the attack was cancelled because Al Queda was planning an even more deadly attack, which has not yet been carried out. Using the schematics found, a prototype of the device was created, and it was determined that the device would have worked.

Two of the officials said that the device was actually quite primitive put together with beer cans and soda bottles. Still, the officials say, models of the device built from Al Qaeda designs by U.S. authorities appeared to work. The weapon was not regarded as the type of device that could cause large-scale, 9/11-style carnage, the officials told the magazine. But if set off in a crowded theater or arena was capable of killing hundreds of people.

“The One Percent Doctrine” is scheduled to hit the shelves on Tuesday, and includes other behind-the-scenes reports on the war on terror, such as an allegation that the FBI set up an operations center within Western Union to alert Israel to monies being sent to terrorist leaders in Gaza and the West Bank. Evidently, the operations center has led to various targeted killings by the Israelis.

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Posted by Scottage at 6:36 AM / | |