Commentary—Terrorism and Encryptology

 

A number of years ago as I clutched to the window ledge of car driven by a man whose eyeglasses seemed to have been made from the bottoms of coca cola bottles, I asked this security service official why his country’s “counterterrorist” services were so good at preventing terrorist attacks in his country. His answer was direct: “Because they (the terrorist) are not now that smart, but someday they will be.”

That day has long since arrived.

The date can be marked with the coordination and execution of the 9/11 attack. In retrospect, the logistics were quite astonishing; it was executed with immaculate precision, not on their own turf, but on ours.

A report by Anna Mulrine written about two months ago, but just arrived at my desk discussed how we confront terrorism has been transformed

The title of her article: “New encryption technology is aiding the terrorist, intelligence director says.” The intelligence director she refers to is the non-descript, bi-speckled James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). In that position he answers to and is directed by the President .He also serves as the advisor to not only the President himself but the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council in matters that relate to our national security. He also is head of a 16 member national intelligence community. Interestingly, federal law mandates that he also be an active-duty commissioned officer or have experience in military intelligence. The bottom line is that when this man speaks, we should listen very carefully.

A cautionary note: Critics claim that in crafting the legislation that created the DNI, it provided inadequate powers to improve the performance of the US Intelligence Community. Namely, the legislation creating the DNI left other important security agencies untouched. The need to hold onto power never changes.

This past week we are faced with mass murder in Orlando. This is the worst domestic attack of its kind in American history. We know there was a lone killer, born in the United States. The suspect, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, is a Muslim American of Afghan descent, and law enforcement agencies were investigating whether he had ties to or was inspired by Islamist extremism. An Islamic State group claimed the impetus for the attack, and across social-media outlets, Islamic State supporters cheered Sunday’s mass shooting, and called for more attacks on the West.

All this brings me to Ms. Mulrine’s report that new encryption technology is benefiting the terrorist. The playing field is becoming level. General Clapper noted — “The Edward Snowden” leaks, if nothing else, fast-tracked the sophistication of encryption technologies by “about seven years.”  And that is nothing but bad news for United States’ national security.

Clapper noted that the Islamic State is “the most sophisticated user by far of the Internet.” And they accomplish that because they have the resources and ability to go into the market place and purchase software that will “ensure end-to-end encryption” of their communications. In turn, he noted that this “had and is having major, profound effects on our ability” to collect intelligence, “particularly against terrorists”. This raises a particularly American long standing issue.

The publicized conflict between national security, privacy issues and those companies who refuse to divulge their user’s information creates — rightfully or wrong — road blocks in the fight not merely to stop but to at least contain the terrorist act. It increases the tension with those supporting the need for advanced security against cyber-attacks. Recently as February Clapper cited cyber-attacks as a greater threat than terrorism – and the blunt opposition to law enforcement against the development of so-called unbreakable encryption software that, they say, could hinder their search for terrorists. That said, he warned of yet the next step in this conflict with the development of an unbreakable encryption: it would “give the terrorists a pass” in its operational ability.  Think of those consequences and one can only shudder.

Clapper warned that ISIS has clandestine cells that are plotting more terrorist attacks in Germany, Italy, and England. This can only lead to the question: what if ISIS is defeated at home, how strong will they remain in plotting attacks abroad. Barbara Star, the CNN Pentagon Correspondent quoted a high racking counterterrorist official saying that ISIS “is not an army, It’s not about religion, it is not even a movement. It is a label covering mad and upset young man who can just say they are part of ISIS.” How does any part of law enforcement   respond to that?

To this end, the United States is stepping up efforts to promote more intelligence sharing. In my previous blog, I wrote of the proposed creation of a Secretary General for Intelligence within the NATO structure to improve not only how intelligence is shared but to expand its view of how analysis and information is shared. In the meantime, since the attacks on Paris and Brussels in January of last year, the US intelligence officials have learned that ISIS is clearly taking advantage of the migrant crisis in Europe, Clapper said. Nothing new was reveled in that statement but it doesn’t make it any less unsettling.

All this presents a daunting task for Europe, Clapper warned. There is a “fundamental conflict” between European Union incentives that drives the agenda to promote openness and free movement of people and goods with privacy. This “in some ways is in conflict with the responsibilities that each country has as a nation-state to protect the borders and securities of their nations and peoples.” This is all complicated by this week’s election in the UK weather or not to exit the EU. Even before the vote, the mere thought of exiting the UK has exacerbated normal volatility in the world’s stock markets and will have enormous bearing upon the security of all nation-states. Scotland has announced that if there is an exit by the UK from the EU, it will reexamine if it wants to remain within the UK; there are rumblings that it would also have lasting negative effect on peace in Norther Island. And there has been one assassination of a young member of the British Parliament.

If I were a “doctor” having just concluded a physical examination of these issues in the U.S., I would be more than merely concerned with its continued well-being. We live in a different world since 9/11 –The terrorist is not uninformed. The terrorist is sophisticated. The terrorist has learned to master the techniques utilized by the most advanced governments. The terrorist has learned to take advantage of the chaos in the Mideast, its flow into Europe and the political and social tensions around the world. The state of the patient’s national security “health” is not merely “not very good”—it’s in jeopardy of further very concerning deterioration. Political hysteria, in some quarters, does not address the problem.

Richard Allan,

The editor

 

 

 

 

Commentary: NATO Seeking New Intelligence Service, Iran’s Nuclear Non-Compliance and France’s Call for Negotiations

Two weeks after we left Paris, with its protestors blocking the streets, France is faced, with streets that are not flooded with demonstrators but water. The photographs are horrific and the damage must be catastrophic.

If you only listen with one ear, you only hear half the story. I wish I could write that it was my grandmother who said that. I live on the computer. I read two newspapers each day. I live from one news source to another and in between read some political blogs and then go back to the news and commentary.

Two very important events are now in process. With regard to the first, we can only say it’s about time. As to the second, my thought was: nothing new.

First, NATO –the Western Alliance is finally moving toward the creation of what it describes as a powerful new intelligence post. Its aim is to improve how Europe and the United States share sensitive intelligence information on terrorism among other dangers. At the moment NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) depends heavily upon the U.S. intelligence facilities for support, and it believes it could improve its reliance with a new, but superior and senior, intelligence administrative position. Strangely, NATO does not have an official role in fighting ISIS, notwithstanding the brutal attacks in both Paris and Brussels. The proposal is the creation of a Secretary General for Intelligence to improve not only how the intelligence is shared but to expand its view how of analysis and information is shared. The plan is to include, among other issues, Russia’s military capabilities and activities along with other Middle Eastern terrorist base incidents on the Continent. All this seems like a non-brainer for the Europeans but it is not because of the following:

First: NATO has two important players that are not members of the EU: The United States and Turkey. Any alliance with them would make intelligence sharing more meaningful. Second: Too many European countries have legally placed strict legislative barriers between their intelligence and police departments. Information is not shared. Third: There is Interpol (headquartered in Lyon, where I spent a week years ago working on a project) who is the EU’s police agency and has its own counterterrorism center. This is complicated by NATO – it has no law-enforcement role. All describing a situation where turfs are protected and agencies are fearful of treading on the toes of others, while others look to protect their own turf. To bring everyone to the table with one director is not easy, and was not easy in the U.S. fifteen years ago after 9/11. The United States did just that with the creation of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence. The Europeans can do the same, but can they in the wake of the UKs contentious vote this month to leave the EU; can they set aside their differences in light of the horrific migration problems that are showing divides in how that is managed; can they succeed dealing with the Greek financial crises?

The second important event has two distinct parts: The first is that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and a U.N. nuclear watchdog issued it second report on Iran’s nuclear program and found that key information needed is lacking. Without that information we do not know if Iran is complying with its agreements. The report also makes clear that there is no reliable information of how many of Iran’s too many centrifuges are operating. And last, not in the report but in the national press, Iran’s leaders continue to spit their threats of annihilating the United States and Israel. Do we really think that they are complying with all aspects of their agreement? And why is the State Department not taking a more vigorous approach to enforcement procedures? Why are we so diplomatically docile with a country that hates us and would see us eradicated? Do we really think that by placating them they will move more toward the center of the diplomatic world? And the answer is: I think not.

We are losing precious time in stopping them in this dangerous nuclear world after depositing millions of dollars in their pockets. What can be the logic to our behavior knowing them to be the leading exporters of terrorism in the world? Last, and there is new marvelous demand by the Iranians that made me stop dead in my tracks: The Iranian Parliament now demands compensation from the United States for its involvement in the “spiritual and material damage” for the past 63 years. Please, close your checkbooks.

The second is there was a call for an international conference by the French to end the decades of Israeli “Occupation.” At the same moment the Palestinians have launched scores of deadly knife attack against Israelis since October. This is my “nothing new” in French behavior. At no point in the French PM’s call for a conference to end the “occupation” did he mention either the continued rocket attacks against Israel or the attacks by knife slashing of Israeli civilians. The idea in French thinking is that the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel is somehow the root cause of the difficulties in the Middle East. This of course is nonsense. The one day conference ended with nothing accomplished.

Diplomacy, as I understand, is the attempt to find a balanced solution to a problem, local or otherwise, that does not ignore the deep seeded desires of the parties in conflict. At the same moment, one cannot be unconditionally wed to ancient history as the veil thru which we examine the present desires of the conflicting parties.

An atrocity committed a hundred years ago, a town annexed one hundred and fifty years ago cannot form the basis of working toward a conclusion to a dispute today. If so, the world would be in constant flux of demands, threats and violence. Unconditional surrender, as demanded by the Allies at the end of WWII, is not an option or pre- condition to dispute settlement today. Unrealistic demands accompanying an invitation to come to the table will keep the parties apart –period. Those who want or to pretend to want to be intermediators need to be impartial, forcefully even-handed and imaginative. They must also be sensitive that history is a powerful source that is always present but must not rule the negotiations.

Thus, with France not having the best of historical track records in dealing with anti-Semitic problems, it cannot blithely ignore the issues facing one of the parties while calling for a peace conference to move Palestinian-Israeli conflict toward a peaceful process of reconciliation. There is no negotiation between parties when the agenda is one sided. There is no negotiation when one party is predetermined “the guilty” one, and now let’s settle thru negotiations how we will deal with them. An imposed solution is bound to fail if parties are treated differently at the table. Syria is obsessively embroiled in violence, Yemen is failing, Egypt is in constant turmoil, Iraq is splintering into parts since 2003 and none of these issues provide a reliable backdrop in dealing with Israel/Palestine peace.

There can be only one factual precondition to any Palestinian –Israeli conference: Stop the violence, Stop the rockets, Stop the stabbings. There can be No historical preconditions in place. The only workable formula: Two nations willing to talk to each other, one neutral facilitator and time.

Richard Allan,

The Editor

Commentary: Gutter Politics, Fear and National Security and more-

Once in a while and more often than not it is a good idea to get out of your own apartment. It is also very healthy to get out one’s own country. We have done that and have just returned from a trip to London and Paris. The view from abroad was startling. To understand one owns country through the eyes of a foreign nation, to read the local press of another nation not tainted by the prejudices of home, to look at something at arm’s length provides a view neither varnished nor sanitized. It was at once unsettling and refreshing. I have waited a short while to write this blog to allow the events that transpired to settle into reality.

First London, where only a year before we were counselled not to go on to Paris because of the bombings, we found the hotels in London half empty, easy to obtain a restaurant reservation and theatres selling tickets at half price. The Americans (among others) were staying home. Our hotel tea room was filled with a group of women wearing burkas with mere slits so they could see. Men from Africa in overflowing bright floral-patterned shirts, their fingers encased in massive rings, doing business with their formal English counterparts, and English secretaries’ scurrying about with their I-pads taking notes. Security was on alert but nothing to compare with what we were to confront in Paris. And, as an aside, property rates in London are still rising with the influx of foreign money.

But, it was the local and national UK politics that held center stage with massive headlines in London. And by American standards, the language was not far behind the language used by Donald Trump. In the past I have written about the level of anti-Semitism in English academia, but it became clear that it was now more pervasive and intense, than I had seen in the past or anticipated. Shocking to me because this news had not even scratched the surface in the US press, then again, why should it.

A vicious campaign for the mayor of London was about to end with an election during our stay. In the headlights: The Conservative Party vs. the Labor Party. The Conservative Party candidate wild eyed and the Labor party headed by a Muslim. In proper London, bowler hats, rolled umbrellas and with a population no longer represented by Mary Poppins elected the Muslim candidate. A first, but not the end of the story: The Labor party was hit by a massive scandal that found dozens of its members drummed out of the party for extreme anti-Semitic remarks. This behavior was now street talk. The unsettling news shared the headlines in the London press in which the PLO announced, with the killing of an American, that “their” people “loved death more than life”.

While this played out each day, the ongoing slug fest was whether the UK should leave the EU: “Brexit”. The international invitation to join the conversation had words from the President of the United States and the Chancellor of Germany and all the rest around the world. Clearly, there are massive implications for not merely those who live and work in the UK but for treaties, deals, travels, security and life beyond the tiny island of the Kingdom. If the vote, to take place later in June, were to find the UK saying goodbye to the EU, it is more than an economic decision. Many think that the UK would be stronger economically, since it could deal with whomever it wishes on any terms it wishes. “Self-government works better than being part of an empire that doesn’t have our interests at heart”. A comment made in 1776 and now repeated with the question: will the Eurozone be in existence a decade from now? Others feel it would be a catastrophic. The person shopping in the UK does not trade locally in the Euro but the Pound, so there is no problem there. But it invades the lives of each person living in the UK whether they are citizens of the UK or not. From the simple decision to take a day trip by Chunnel train to France, to the cost of their daily purchases. Passport control will be reinstated, border controls will be erected, import duties will be imposed; a French person or Italian or German living in London might have to register as an alien. The legal issues will remain even after a proposed economic retreat. Investors are pulling out of Europe in anticipation of the vote. And while Britain provides more intelligence to the EU than it receives, the routing will be slower, more guarded, and thereby impacting security.

But more import and overarching: Since World War II the world has looked to a united European Continent: different languages, but one nation, one set of legal values and the civil rights of individuals. People of enormous political stature had given their entire adult lives to this political and social cause, and now it seems to be unravelling. And the big question is why and why now? And the not very simple answer is not economics. It is immigration and control of not merely ones own boarders, but of who can be allowed to enter “my” country by merely crossing an invisible line on a map. “My” country no longer looks like me; these people speak a different language; the food they cook smells funny; their clothes and manner of dress are not the same as mine; their religion is not mine. And they want things—the line is longer for health care; they want to build a mosque, they talk about imposing their own laws instead of our treasured national laws of governance. I am losing my country; it is no longer mine. So let’s turn back the clock to a time “before” the EU by voting for Brexit. But is that simple, and can you? Tension, but clearly not the type of tension we experienced in Paris.

In Paris, a most beautiful city that is changing: a narrow local street that I love, once occupied by a small butcher, a baker, a tobacconist, a florist and a small super market, now has cafes shoulder to shoulder. But it is the tension that runs through it all that is mounting and palpable. A department store now has a private security force at all its entrances, examining your purse, back pack, your attaché case and your shopping bag. Outside on the sidewalk are four to six young men—soldiers in full combat fatigues, wearing green berets with their helmets attached to their combat vests, carrying Famas assault weapons across their chest, at full ready with their fingers across the trigger guard. Their eyes darting and suddenly they will move to another street or another location. In a taxi cab rid–any ride if you pass by one of the areas hit by the terrorist attacks in January 2015, you are told how many died that night.

The driver will tell you how Charlie Hebdo has moved but not to where.

Then the Paris government, in the midst of our stay, announced a new austerity movement that will curtail labor and the protests started and continue to this day. Coming back to our hotel after dinner, night after night, we are diverted more than once because the protesters had taken over the streets. The protests then turn into riots and then the attack on the police and an American is accused of a violent attack on a police car. My wife has metal in her legs because of a series of breaks, it has been years since any airport security has stopped her and, in fact, we stopped carrying a doctor’s letter to that effect in our passport holder. At the airport in Paris, on the way home, she was not only patted down with utmost precision, but also subjected to the use of the wand in a slow and meticulous manner. Nothing left to chance. But that was Paris.

After our return home, I heard “horror” stories from seasoned travelers who are complaining that airport security is getting negligent to the point of non-existence. I had a friend who once said (and it has been said by others):”Just because I am paranoid doesn’t mean that someone is not trying to kill me.”

The political world – and I do not mean international foreign relations—is getting more vulgar with gutter politics looking to incite the lowest common dominator in the population. This is not unique to America. England has its share. There are pronouncements and statements aimed at our most irrational fears, looking for a scapegoat for our own failures, and not taking responsibility but blaming others for missteps is becoming the norm. This vile populist rhetoric attempts to create a mass movement in efforts to morph a nation into nationalistic isolation. This behavior, by its very nature, invites not merely verbal confrontation as in the discussion of the place of the individual Mexican in the US or the hostility toward the immigrant in the UK. It adds fire to a type of tension that gives rise to fascism and the ugly personal violence it usually accompanies. One need only look back a little more than seventy-five years ago in world history. It is all based upon the irrational, the stereotypical and innuendos to intentionally introduce instability. It jeopardizes not merely our political process but in the long run our national and international security, our individual security and individual rights. That is my fear, and it is not unfounded.

Richard Allan,

Editor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commentary—Politics At Home and Chaos Abroad

We are living in the most unsettling and frightening times in my memory, and I am a senior-senior. Politics in the United States is much more disturbing than I remember, and I remember the McCarthy era all too well.

Today, politics and its vulgarity cut across an uglier path than our traditional concept prescribes. This blog focuses on security, terrorism and counter-terrorism, often brushing the shores of civil rights. The present political scene has a direct negative bearing on our security—national and international. And although I am loath to enter that mine-field, I must.

On the right , never before in my lifetime have I heard and read such vitriolic language to describe long standing economic and security partners, against friends and non-friends in the diplomatic world or more pathetically—each other. Clearly, you do not conduct foreign relations in this century behind a wall or encourage others to build nuclear bombs.

On the other side of the political spectrum we find Bernie Sanders—like Mr. Trump, hides his federal tax returns, decided he was a Democrat only 4 months ago, and his surrogates harass super-delegates. He seeks to be president and commander-in-chief while ignoring that at one time he filed as a “conscientious objector’. How that squares with our national security and control of the black box is beyond my comprehension. When or where does our national security (and frankly, I am thinking about my family’s security) come into play if the Senator believes in non-violence in a very violent world, and most surely he will be required from time-to-time to engage our military in violent confrontation if elected. As our present occupier of the White House, will he draw a line in the sand and then go on to ignore his own threats? How will he handle drones and their use against ISIS, it leaders and those who plot against our military? How does he criticize Israel’s response to Hamas’s attacks and blatantly ignore the thousands of rockets fired by Hamas including their use of civilians as shields? How does a conscientious objector morph into a Commander-in-Chief?

At home we fear ISIS and its allies. Not when but where will they strike. ISIS is losing ground on their home turf but is more than making up for that loss with their savagery abroad. Think Brussels and Paris.

The migrants and their wholescale deportation across the Turkey boarders have deleted the word “humanitarian” from our dictionary. Looking at the rest of the world I see only violent chaos, massive displacement of whole groups of people, killings as random as walking across the street. It appears to me that the world’s governments are paralyzed to stop this brutality although they talk in boasting terms.

In India, nearly 100,000 farmers have committed suicide in 2014. Why and why is India silent?

In Gaza, there is no news from whichever government pretends to be in control, the international press is silent as the Israeli government quietly announced it has expanded the Palestinian fishing zone from six to nine nautical miles. A spokesperson for the Palestinian fishing industry said this would increase their income by at least one hundred thousand dollars annually. President Abbas has been silent, and there have been no comment from London.

Nearly a week after recapturing Palmyra from ISIS, Syrian forces say they have uncovered horrendous evidence of the workings of the terrorist group. Mass graves, some holding 40 bodies—many were women and children, and some show signs of beheading and torture. As Iran remains a steadfast ally of those criminally minded people it has told the American government in a posting today that their missile power is a non-negotiable issue. Warning that they “don’t get permission from anybody” especially from the “imprudence” of the U.S. regarding their own security.

From Steve Emmerson’s group, we are asked to “imagine more of the African continent engulfed in Islamist savagery of Libya and Nigeria. Imagine Jordan and Saudi Arabia undergoing the same turmoil as Iraq and Syria. Imagine a Europe that begins to resemble Lebanon more than its American cousin.” These events could occur in the next few years, and NATO seems blind to this story.

A television clip released by MEMRI shows a Leader of Islamic Movement in Israel preaching: “This land (‘Palestine’) will vomit Israeli occupation like the sea vomits its filth”. I wonder if any person could preach that same gospel in Gaza about Hamas.

Turkey is awash in political upheaval. This once proud democratic nation has fallen victim to not some strong mana’s rule but a neo-Islamist dictator. His crushing of civil rights and the opposition press is not subtle but violent and public, and yet the people vote for him. All this internal power has provided him the upper hand internationally, as Greece with its dire financial conditions and swamping of migrants seeks help. In return for 6 billion euros and some vague promises of free travel, Turkey will take back anyone currently attempting to enter Greece. This week we saw the first boat load of migrants starting the painful route home. And as I write this blog, Turkey has been placed on high alert as our own government warms about credible threats and reports of controlled explosions conducted in Istanbul’s popular square.

And last on my agenda today is the South China Sea where international relations have becomes tenser and potentially moving beyond mere political hostility. Although the New York Times attempts to portray the Unite States as neutral in the area, it is just the opposite. America sails its warships close to the Chinese created military island and compound in defiance of China’s extension of its territorial and nautical rights in that part of the world. All, as the other nations of the area try to forge stronger political and military ties that we have not seen in decades.

I remember sitting in my office when JFK was assassinated, and I fearfully thought what was going to happen to the country. I thought of my very young family waiting for me at home. Obviously, the country has more than merely survived. But today’s political climate is more endemic. The hatreds long contained are being encouraged to be expressed and acted upon. The most base thoughts and actions are encouraged to be displayed and executed freely. Disregard for reality, one note songs repeated over and over in disregard of others; to dismiss what you don’t have merely because you do not possess it. I loathe placing Donald’s name in the same sentence with Bernie, but each in his very own distinct way have a blind eye to international reality and would make us a more isolationist nation. And that would damage our national and international security. Yesterday, a very close relative said to me: I am voting my brain not my heart. And I thought that is a good rule to follow when determining issues involving security.

Richard Allan

The Editor

Commentary: Hot Spots and Thoughts

The race to insanity, called the “primary races to the White House”, has left me catatonic, and so this blog has been silent too long. Sorry. And as I said: “Sorry”, ISIS struck with vengeance in Brussels killing scores. The attack was in retaliation for the arrest of one of the leaders of the November 13 bombings in Paris that left 130 people dead. Arrested in Belgium was one of the masterminds of the attack who had when captured, a cache of heavy weapons. The upsetting part of the story is that he was being protected by his relatives, friends and neighbors in Belgium, who then set off a neighborhood protest because of his arrest. The entire European continent has move into a shutdown mode. All the airlines have bypassed Brussels and local governments wait for more attacks. And they will come.

At the same moment, the rest of the world seems to be heating up and I do not mean climate change:

The migration caused by the chaos in Syria is frightening and beyond mere human understanding. The sitting German government is in trouble because of the large influx of migrants. Turkey, beginning to look more like a dictatorship, is certainly not helping ease the crises in Europe. What is becoming more evident as time evolves is that Turkey’s president evidences the zeal of a despot. He has within one week taken control of a majority of Turkey’s newspapers and TV stations. The issue becomes what is his next heavy handed attack on what was a thriving democracy turned dictatorship, the plight of the Kurds and the fate of the immigrants as he holds Europe hostage in the political chaos.

The president of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza is getting older and to keep hold of its population he formants more and more low level terrorism against individual in Israel. Abas turned down a new US peace imitative brought by Vice President Biden, although it gave the Palestinians practically all they asked for. At this moment 58% of Palestinians support the stabbings in Israel. As Hamas expands its tunnel network in Gaza, Israel and the United States are working on a network of secret tunnels to destroy Hamas handiwork with seismic sensors. Less than a mile away from where Biden spoke in Jaffa, a Palestinian attacker went on a stabbing binge that left one US tourist dead, who happened to be a graduate of West Point. The US, in the hope of moving Abas away from his myopia, has withheld 159 Million dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Notwithstanding ISI making headline news that is devastating (including the latest Brussels attack), in 2015 it lost about 40% of the area it held in Iraq as well as parts in northern Syria. While its cash deposits have been depleted, it still manages to use Turkey as a trading hub. Today’s Brussels attacks show that one should not count on ISIS filing for bankruptcy…not yet. The Associated Press has just reported that ISIS has trained at least 400 fighters to target Europe in what it describes as a series of deadly wave of attacks. ISIS is deploying interlocking terror cells similar to the ones that attacked Brussels and Paris.

What we learn from Steve Emmerson is that the five countries where the US has involved itself militarily—Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan—all failed states account for 55% of all death caused by radical Islamist terror in the world. ISIS filled the vacuum in Iraq and Syria created by a lack of effective governance, and Libya became a nest of extremism after NATO deposed its dictator. Saudi Arabia and Iran are currently fighting a deadly proxy war in Yemen. My thought is our eyes are wandering away from Jordan and a potential implosion from within.

Don’t blink when you attempt to follow the news of North Korea whose official name is The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or the DPRK. Its information agency has defined its government’s mandate as a “genuine workers’ state in which all the people are completely liberated from exploitation and oppression.” It goes on to claim that the United States and its puppet South Korea are “seized with extreme frenzy for invading the north.” And last, the DPRK will make a “preemptive nuclear strike of justice.” What all this boils down to is bluster with a very big “if”. Any miscalculation, a wrong button pushed, can escalate words and ballistic testing to something much more international and violent.

As you might have seen, the United States conducted one of the deadliest airstrikes that I can recall in recent memory. It has been confirmed that the airstrike relied on multiple manned and unmanned aircraft against large groups of militant camps that posed an imminent threat to the US and African Union forces in Somalia

As China moves ahead with its man-made island expansion, the US navigates its ships within its island’s corridors and the Australian navy shows its might. The Australian Navy announced that its ships patrolling near Oman intercepted a fishing vessel carrying almost two thousand AK-47 assault rifles and 100 rocket propelled grenades. The weapons had been sent from Iran to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Hitler said:” I could have killed all the Jews, but I kept some alive so the world would understand why I killed them.” He also wrote: “The Jews are like parasitic plants that burden the nations and compete with them for their source of income.” In February news began to trickle out in greater and greater volume regarding the degree of Anti-Semitism in England. A country awashed in Muslim terrorism. Among the left leaning population there is a new term: Zio. It is a term used by the KKK, an expression of solidarity with Hamas and a short cut expression for an “imperialist-colonialist state of Israel”. England already has a high level of anti-Semitism among academics and is spreading to other portions of a country that one would expect would be more tolerant.

But then I pause and remind myself, that they have a cast system and its starts with the royal family and the House of Lords. A very dear friend of mine from Scotland once said to me: listen to the accents of the people you are engaged with in England and you will immediately identify the various classes —clearly defined. I am saddened by that thought, because it would seem to me that the people of England (and they are an educated society) should embrace Israel not denigrate it. Israel protects and secures the only democracy in the Mid-East. There are open and free elections. There are Palestinians sitting in their Parliament. No other nation in that area is democratic—only failed states or demagogue governments or governments about to implode. If Israel were to disappear or be destroyed, that would only vitalize and embolden the Jihadist Muslims living and plotting in London at this very moment to blow up more of their buses, more underground train stations , more pubs and what next. At the same moment Israel’s Cellebrite, a provider of mobile forensic software is helping the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s attempt to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California shooters. And now, after Brussels, the world looks to Israel to understand airport security. All that in the long run will benefit the anti-Semites of England and the free world. There are no Jewish jihadist in London.

It boggles the mind to consider the failure of logic and might I say bigotry of the highest order among people of England who should know better, who have themselves suffered the pangs of horrific terrorist attack and not by the people of the Jewish faith. Shame on them.

Richard Allan

The Editor

Commentary– No Carpet Bombs and No Walls: Security & Elections

I am fast approaching my 85 birthday, and this election cycle has left me with an uncomfortable taste never before experienced.

On the Republican side it’s leading contender, Donald j, has used the type of profanity best left to the gutter and not for the ears of our children. What sort of presidential model could he be?  His marriages and extramarital bragging do not promote any sort of values, and his bashing of everything from women to immigrants is from some other time — and whose values have long been interred, and not among our more cherished memories. Those with a rational thought in his party are killing each other.

Hillary, has been with us for a long time, and is a known entity – with all her warts–from her days in the White House, seeking what is today our healthcare heritage and traveling to China and announcing that women’s rights are human rights. What you see is what you get and you’ve seen her a long time.

Hillary became New York State’s Senator and then Secretary of State using, it seems, the same laptop as Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. So much for state secrets and violations limited only to Democrats.

Then we have Bernie.

If elected he will be the oldest president to ever hold that office, and at 75 years of age he has a life expectancy of less than 10 years. Who will be his V.P.? Cause that’s who will finish out his two terms in office, if he lasts that long. Sitting in the US Senate is like not standing in the Oval Office. Just look to what has happened to Obama. He looks worn and very gray.

Bernie until 2015 (that’s just last year) touted he was an independent and identified himself, when he first entered the race, as a socialist. He is the junior ( can that be at age 75) senator from his state with not one (!) piece of legislation introduced by him and adopted in all the years he keep this senate seat warm. Stellar performance —-can you see the Republican nominee handle that along with his self-proclaimed socialism–in the general election.

Bernie thinks that Bill Clinton’s behavior (the sex) is unacceptable! But he is “not throwing stones”. First, Bill Clinton is not running for president and Bernie should not throw stones. His own marital (or maybe not so marital) conjugal relations have had divorces, children born (it is uncertain if in or out of marriages) along with a partner overlapping his escapades.

And although, he alleges, he is not in bed with the banks –that’s true, but in bed he is. In recent years, Sanders has been billed as one of the hosts for a Senatorial Campaign Committee’s retreats for the “Majority Trust” — an elite group of top donors who give more than $30,000 per year — at Martha’s Vineyard in the summer and Palm Beach, Florida, in the winter. One major network obtained invitations that listed Sanders as a host for at least one Majority Trust event in each year since 2011.

In the same breath we can say has absolutely no foreign policy experience. Zippo. Period.  He also came not merely tardy but very late to the VA crises.

But there are two additional considerations somehow held below the radar: His present wife, it is alleged,  used her position as the wife of a sitting US Senator to get a fraudulent loan that nearly bankrupt a small college in his very own state of Vermont. She was its president, and then—follow this– she walked away while under investigation with a very sizable severance package.  And Bernie wants Hillary to release the receipts for her speaking engagements? It was alleged the Bernie’s wife is to have committed a pretty sophisticated crime in the process, but walked away with lots of money in her pocket by quietly departing from the college campus and its presidency. I am sure they share pockets and household expenses, how else can a small town mayor cum senator amass a 1.2-1.5 million dollar bank account.

Second, Bernie obviously has forgotten that there are two other branches of government.  One of them is called “The” Judiciary. That’s the Supreme Court. And there is congress. Oops, forgot — right now both the House and Senate are controlled by Republicans. Now how does Bernie give us all that he promises –while they are all giving him the finger? He can’t and he doesn’t even know how to talk to “them “;   which is evident by his legislative record.

In addition, again, forget about how he is going to pay for all he promises with his magic equations and tax hikes.

Last, and probably the most important point in my slow process of thought is, how do you elect a candidate—Bernie–who doesn’t even own a comb? Please. Someone help him. And help the American Electorate clear the air of its political pollution.

Most important: In November, you must vote. But you cannot write-in “Donald Duck”. Trust me, I check that out.

Richard Allan,

The editor

 

 

 

Deceit and Fact

Much of life depends upon which end of the binoculars you view the world; which talking heads provide you with your bible lessons; and which news print you wrap your fish. In other words, what is it that forms your perception of anything? A dear friend once said to me, in half-jest, that he reads only one newspaper so that he doesn’t get confused by the facts. I have one relative who gets his news by listening to talk radio, and hasn’t read a newspaper in years. His reason he gets his news at no cost.

And then there are those of us who surf the web for whatever options are available. Some of us are more additive to surfing than others. And in surfing I ran across a news items posted by the Dailey Alert, a site I often glance at. It wrote of a “High Level Military Group” (HLMG) report that triggered no memory. So I googled HLMG and that in turn led to other sites and to a widely different perception of Israel’s 2014 Gaza campaign. Again, it is which end of the binoculars you employ to view events. And it is disturbing.

Three bench marks then came into clear focus for me in reviewing the responses to the 2014 Gaza campaign: “perception”, “how” you view an “event”, and “facts”. The first two are easily manipulated; it’s the third factor that gives one pause.

As a former litigator and Assistant District Attorney, and then professor of law, I am only too aware of how facts can be viewed, presented and interpreted to fit one’s own agenda. In other words: how facts can be distorted; what facts you include and what facts you exclude to create your own narrative.

Part of the overall problem in reading a report or analysis is having some understanding of the background of the authors of a study, or “findings of fact”. The first thing that must be done is to target the author, his or her experience, training and most important his agenda. I am not inferring that we are all inherently liars, but we do slice and paste to fit the world to the mold we want to create.

And so we return to the international flurry over the 2014 Israeli Gaza campaign and the uproar and bias created. It all began shortly before the UN’s Human Rights Council began their inquiry into the actions of both Hamas and Israel during that conflict and immediately thereafter. The United Nation’s Human Rights Council immediately appointed their three hearing commissioners. What is incomprehensible is that the United Nation’s HRC appointed as their Chair, to conduct this type of highly sensitive inquiry into the conduct of these two fierce advisories, a person who had publically declared, well before the inquire ever began to hear any evidence, that it was his personal desire to see the prime minister of Israel in the criminal docket at the International Court of Justice. He also admitted that he, William Schabas, had been on the payroll of the Palestinian liberation Organization!

That is perfect justice through the wrong end of the telescope. Unbiased? Due process? Let’s all forget about “the facts” and get right to the guilty verdict, and, also, let’s save some time and garden some headlines in the process. We know “they” are guilty—it’s Israel. Obscene!

This gives you some idea of why the United States refused, for so many years, to be a member of the United Nations Council on Human Rights. The Gatestone Institute described the council’s work most apply: “Expecting the UNHRC to carry out a fair, balanced or accurate investigation of anything involving the State of Israel is rather like expecting the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to carry out investigations into persecution of Christians in Muslim countries. “ And, indeed, one need not wonder why the Human Rights Council’s work is so suspect. And, conversely, it is why so many people in the Mid-East laud their work and distort their own work to fit their agenda and passion.

The 200-plus page report of the Council was ultimately submitted to the United Nations, through their two remaining commissioners. It held they could not find clear evidence of why Israel targeted residential buildings in Gaza late at night, risking mass civilian casualties. By the way, no evidence was provided by the Israeli government to this inquiry. Where then did they get their information/facts? Obviously, it was from Palestinian sources.

Before moving on to the work of the High Level Military Group, I would like to focus for one short moment on a popular voice of the British press.
The UK Media Watch has reported that the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent was not only interviewed at great length on his biased reporting on the war from Jerusalem, but on the in-depth analysis of his articles which were even more disturbing.

In his writing from the area during the Gaza conflict (some twenty reports and many thousands of words back to his London readers) he detailed in horrific detail the death of Gaza citizens, but not once did he comment, analyze or criticize Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields. To be clear, and this is uncontroverted, the use of human shields is not merely morally reprehensible; it is a war crime punishable under international law.

Let us turn to a less publicized report, and less publicized for obvious reasons: It does not fit the agenda of The Guardian and UN Council on Human Rights and persons of that “persuasion.”

The High Level Military Group was formed in the aftermath of the Gaza conflict. It consisted of retired generals and defense officials from Germany, Colombia, India, Spain, Australia, the U.S., France, the UK and Italy. NATO and beyond. This panel consists of nine very different countries, nine different cultures, and nine different national historical pasts, five different parts of the world. The very first critic of its report complained that it was made up of all white males and no humanitarians. What an absurd complaint . When determining whether or not a conflict/war was conducted in a “legally prescribed manner”, one looks to the accredited, accepted and adopted International Rules of War and not to the further musing of a humanitarian.

If we have accepted the Rules of War, and they have been processed, created and accepted by all the enlighten nations of the entire world for more than mere decades. It is not the “humanities” of war we look at (they have been incorporated into the treaties, conventions that comprises the Rules of War). We certainly would not seek the humanitarians on the payroll of Hamas to determine if a participant of hostilities is guilty or not of its violations. Second, these particular generals and defense officials, from nine very different countries, are not the political voice of one of the combatants as attempted by the UN’s HRC. And third, and possibly the most important, the High Level Military Group observations were made with the combined experience and wisdom of many years of war from nine very different perspectives, cultures and political positions—and most important, they viewed evidence produced from both sides of the conflict.
The HLMG found:
• That Israel not only abided by the laws of armed conflict, but far surpassed their requirements.
• Armies of the world would be rendered far less effective if they were forced to operate under the same restrictions as the IDF during Israel’s 2014 Gaza campaign.
• The report found that the UN accepted Hamas’ figures for combatant vs. civilian casualties, while the HLMG found Hamas’ numbers to be widespread with contradictions and flaws. For example: the insertion of identical names, incorrect ages, combat-related deaths caused by Hamas itself or its associated groups, the case of misfired rockets, and deaths not related to the hostilities but classified as such.
• And last, and extremely important when civilian casualties are high– The HLMG laid the blame for a majority of civilian casualties as the direct result of Hamas’ measured policy of having the military embedded within civilian compounds and areas in order to increase the chances of greater civilian casualties as another method of conducting its highly successful international war of propaganda.
• Not to be ignored was the Israeli use of “banging on roofs”. A short-hand term of advanced warning to civilians before a military strike was to occur giving them ample time to evacuate before hostilities began.

I understand hypocrisy, I understand being passionate about ones beliefs. I understand loyalty. I understand going the extra mile for the Gipper. On the world stage, I cannot accept deceit or an excuse for deceit. Take the consequences for your misstep, and move on. No one, nobody is innocent from birth to death for something done at one time in our lives. In the Mid-East, to continue the lie to any and all mistakes- and let me emphasize this is true on both sides of the equation — puts more rather than less lives into the nameless trenches of the dead.

We cannot carpet bomb or lie our way to success; we can no longer bring the Atomic bomb to the table; my rifle stays at home when we meet; to negotiate, to bargain for, to discuss is not a matter of –all or nothing.

Facts are facts. It is totally untrue, and clearly unacceptable, that one person’s hero is another’s terrorist. A protagonist does not kill innocent people; a “soldier” knows his enemy is and who is not. A freedom fighter does not firebomb a bus with civilians. Civilians are not combatants. A child and its mother is never, ever the enemy –no matter through which end of the binoculars you view the world.
Richard Allan,
The Editor

Connected Unsystematic Thoughts

The U.S.-led air campaign against the Islamic State began more than a year ago, and then chaos set in. The confusion on the ground and in the air over Syria is only becoming more of a night- mare, caused in part by too many fingers in one pot with no recognition of each other. Two months after Putin’s physical entry to shore up Assad’s regime, there have been too many close calls in the same air space between the fighters and bombers from Russia and the United States. To add to the confusion and disarray is Turkey’s shooting down a Russian bomber that strayed into Turkish air space. The crises continue with questions concerning the Turkish control of its boarders and ISIS. And now the present outcry: which country bombed a friendly Syrian army base? The first accused was the United States, but forced to reveal its evidence, the American intelligence confirms it was Moscow’s “Blackfire” bombers that killed three soldiers, wounding at least 13 and destroying vehicles and equipment. And yesterday, a Turkish fishing vessel came within 1600 feet of a Russian destroyer playing a dangerous game of “two close to call navigation” with Russian firepower used to make a military point and Turkey said its losing patience with the Russia.

As we flip to the other side of the world, China continues to pile sand and rocks on reefs to build islands to extend its territorial claims further into the South China Sea and to add its military strength to be piled higher on newly created islands. This is not only an attempt to control so much more of free sea lanes of navigation but to cut heavily into the control and power of China’s many neighbors, especially Japan and the United States’ long reach of its naval might. All this adds up to a new strategic imagery: Japan is moving rapidity away from its post WII pacifism, communist Vietnam is purchasing arms from the United States, and the Philippines is inviting the U.S. Navy back to its ports, some twenty-five years after asking them unceremoniously to leave. And even if you have never visited the tiny island nation Singapore, it is not hard to understand why the United States and Singapore have signed an agreement to provide a launching pad for the United States to monitor the South China Sea. Also, as reported, not only has Malaysia called for the United States to work out of its bases, but I am informed that the United States has added to its aircraft force in the area the P-8 Poseidon thereby putting greater spying know-how ability into play to monitor the Chinese adventures and capabilities in that part of the world.

Two items have become clear since my last comments concerning the Iranian Nuclear deal (JCOP). First, Iran is moving internally further in the direction against the “American Enemy” with greater political movement toward the ideological base of its Supreme Leader and non-adherence to the JCPOA , and, second, my mistrust of Iran’s intentions have become more evident. We have just learned that notwithstanding UN Resolution 2231, which was passed just one day after the nuclear accord was signed and which compels Iran to restrain from any work on ballistic missiles for 8 years, on November 21, in breach of that resolution, a missile known as the Ghadr-110, having a range a little over 1200 miles with the capacity of carrying a nuclear warhead, was tested by the Iranians. So much for international agreements, international resolutions, and international oversight and enforcement.

About three months ago I asked one of my grandsons: What’s the Dark Web? Without hesitation he shot back: “Why? Why do you want to know? You shouldn’t go there!” Since the shooting in San Bernadino with the death of 14 and the injury of scores of others, there is talk of encryption (normal text into code) and the Dark Web. It is on the Dark Web that terrorists communicate, utilizing encrypted messages. The Dark Web is a semi-technical term that refers to a collection of websites that, although they are publicly visible/available, the IP address of the servers that run them is hidden. You and I can utilize the Dark Web with any web browser, but it is more than problematical and ultra-challenging to determine who is behind the sites.

On December 8th the French newspaper, Le Monde, reported that France, not nearly recovered from the ISIS attack last month in Paris, may seek to ban the infamous Tor browser, used to namelessly surf the Dark Web. The French Parliament may also ban use of public Wi-Fi during periods of emergency. But, at this writing, Paris seems to be turning away from those options. The UK has launched a dedicated cybercrime unit to tackle the Dark Web, with a particular focus on cracking down on serious criminal rings and child pornography. This very week the FBI has admitted that they can determine who is “speaking” to whom, but cannot crack the encrypted messages, so what it hears is “noise”, without understanding. Of course, only one country has been able to successfully block Tor: China, with its great “other” wall, the firewall.

As reported in the Jerusalem Post, a spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on December 6th that she supports labeling of Israeli settlement products from the disputed territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Israel had sought Germany’s help in convincing EU member states to reject the implementation of this type of labeling as it has done for many other countries. It refused. So much for a balance, even-handed international policy, and from a person just named TIME’s—Person of the Year in a country synonymous with holocaust.

Each of these random thoughts carries a connecting tissue. The obvious fact being that the United States sits geographically between the conflicts in the east and the west. These conflicts share potentially devastating consequences to its national security not merely abroad but at home, on our own shores. We are also in the midst of a race to the White House in a manner and style never before witnessed, filled with extreme rhetoric and personal vindictive hate. We have seen pictures of foreign parliaments whose member have been moved beyond words to extreme physical conformation. We are not like that; but what have we become?

To live in fear is not acceptable. But to live without care is imprudent and unrealistic. Today, as I write this blog, Americans’ fear of terrorism is as high as immediately after 9/11. Do we cry “ouch “only when we are personally affected? There have so many lessons available to us over the last 75 years, why are we ignoring them and to our peril? What do we teach our children, and why does a grandchild have to become fearful because his grandfather queries about the Dark Web?
Richard Allan
The Editor

Appeasement–It Never Works

Two events, not seemingly connected, suddenly brought clarity in the heated discussion that followed the horrendous attacks in Paris. I shall try to keep it simple.

The ISIS attack earlier this year in January targeted individuals associated with a political magazine and people shopping in a Jewish supermarket. The targets were symbols unmistakably identified: Those who were anti-Islam and those who were Jews. The attacks this month were far more treacherous and repugnant: at the heart of the citizens of France. Ordinary people, not symbols; people who were indiscriminately chosen to die merely because they were congregating in large numbers, in one place and so easily murdered.

When a person enlists or is drafted into an army during a war, there is the “possibility” they will be killed if they go into a conflict area. When a person enlists into the ranks of ISIS, there is the “likelihood” that they will be ordered to wrap a bomb around their bodies and die. There is an enormous difference in the mentality and focus of each of these warriors. One is a soldier, the other is a terrorist. ISIS is many times larger and stronger than al Qaida and its focus is more vast and horrific. They are barbaric.

To understand the political climate of appeasement in Europe today, and not often discussed, one need only exam EU (European Union). Founded in 1948, in the aftermath of World War II, it has as its mission the guarantee of peace, stability and economic cooperation in Europe. Today, the EU membership has risen to include 28 European countries. The EU does not recognize the annexations of territories by several world governments. And although it’s  barely been heard in the discussions in the aftershock of the Paris attacks, its members choose to demand special labeling of products produced from only one region in the world—products from the Golan Heights and the West Bank—Israeli products.

The reason is clear: it is the EU’s hope that the world would boycott products from Israel. All in the aim of forcing the State of Israel to choose between facing an economic boycott and a possible financial crises or bending to the will of the Islamic world. A somewhat round about way of saying: look what we’re doing for you so please keep your terrorist at home. Appeasement did not work to stop WWII and will not stop ISIS.

The EU’s act is so clearly overt that it reminded me of Hitler directing that we should identify the Jews to isolate them from the rest of the German community and then the world by wearing the Star of David on their clothing. The EU order is no different. Label a person, label a product–to discriminate.

In addition, if one were to look at the internal social structure–the voices of the people in England, France and Germany, one identifies the rising violent voice of anti-Semitism –anti Israel. Yet being anti-Israel has not helped the following nations from attack: Academia in England is as anti-Israel as one can get, and still they haven’t secured a safety net from the Islamic terrorist. Hate crimes against London’s Jewish minority have surged over the last 12 months with an increase of 93.4%, according to figures from the Metropolitan police. In the 12 months from July 2014, police recorded 499 anti-Semitic crimes in London compared with 258 in the same period the preceding year.

In Germany Scrawling swastikas on synagogues, Jew-baiting during demonstrations, desecration: Seventy-five years after the Holocaust, hatred against Jews is taking place openly in Germany, even in schools. The number of crimes linked to anti-Semitism in Germany increased dramatically over the past year. While 788 cases were registered in 2013, there were 864 cases registered in 2014 a 10 percent increase. The most famous department store in Germany announced its agreement to labeling products produced from Israel.

In Rome, more than 70 disturbing hate messages were scrawled with black and red paint on Jewish businesses and throughout the so-called Jewish Ghetto around the city’s main synagogue. Phrases like “Anne Frank Was A Liar,” “Dirty Jews,” “Jews your end is near,” and “Israel executioner” were written in spray paint.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister came out strongly in support of the EU’s boycott attempting to link the issues in Israel with the ISIS attack in France. And in the United States, the American Anthropological Society (an academic institution), in what can only be described as an infamous vote, resoundingly approved a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions by a vote of 1040-136. We can only wonder how we are to define the word “academic” in the future?

Given the nature of ISIS, there is no method to reach a system of negotiations nor to employ appeasement strategy. ISIS is a cancer that has metastasized, and the mere snipping at its surface does not impede its growth. Isis is an amorphous enemy state, not a terrorist cell. It has enormous capability and controls large swaths of territory.  It has supreme success in recruitment among the young, and therein lays a great deal of its strength. And yet in France, with the strictest security apparatus in place, which would make the ACLU cringe in despair, its attack was not prevented.

To be Anti-sematic/anti-Israel is not sufficient to fend off an ISIS attack and hatred. To attempt to financially cripple Israel is not sufficient to appease ISIS. There is no appeasement and, therefore, we cannot mince words in describing, without political correctness, those who support the idea that the world would be better off without those—whomever “those” might be who do not follow the ISIS dogma.

In the past few days, at a soccer stadium in Turkey, as the announcer asked for a moment of silence for those who had died in the Paris assault, there were those who booed and chanted “Allahu Akbar” –an Islamic phrase meaning “God is Great”, the very words chanted by those who attacked the innocent people of Paris with their guns and vest bombs. In addition, politeness is no longer an acceptable method in dealing with those who passively support this reign of terror.

One last thought: On the world stage, the more the United States waffles, hesitates and ignores its own “lines drawn in the sand”, the weaker we become and not only endanger our own security but lose the moral leadership in the world. We need straight talk and affirmative action. We can no longer afford to do anything less.

Appeasement, in whatever form, to whoever offered, invites greater violence not peace.

Richard Allan
The Editor

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[1] The Kashmir region is defined by the international community as a disputed territory. Tibet was occupied by the Chinese army in 1958 and unilaterally annexed by Beijing.  Morocco invaded the Western Sahara region and unilaterally annexed it. The Turkish army invaded Northern Cyprus, expelled hundreds of thousands of Greek speakers, and established the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula

Enough is Enough with Iran

My normal morning ritual allows me to take the next step in my daily routine. I read two print newspapers, and one of them is not the New York Post. The headlines and front page articles claim Bush is Toast, earth quakes are ravaging counties, Greenland is melting, and more and more of any meaningful discussion of the issue at stake in our presidential election.

When I turned to read the opinion page of the second newspaper, I realized that it has been over a week since an important pronouncement trickled out of Iran that would have been lost but for the outstanding work of Yigal Carmon and his institute, MEMRI.  The ignoring of this proclamation and its non-dissemination to the American public via the national press is shameful.

On October 21, 2015, Ali Khamenei, the Iranian Supreme Leader published a letter, for the world to read. It was a “guideline” (read that word as you wish) to Iranian President Hassan Rohani, regarding the execution and implementation of the Iranian Nuclear Agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)). Not unnoticed is that the letter’s publication corresponded with the celebration of a central religious and national holiday of immense importance in Iran. In other words, his letter is meant to underline Iran’s determination and dedication against “the forces of evil”. This is no “guideline.” And it is directed at us.

Ali Khamenei, after the world had sanctioned the Iranian Nuclear deal, — bequeathed Iran millions of dollars instead of an armed attack, continues his excessive tirade against the United States. He asserts that the US government has and is pursuing an approach of hostility and disruption to his country and its interests. It is unlikely, he rages, that it will otherwise in the future.  That Obama‘s real intention is to subvert Iran with open threats of military and nuclear strike. That the United States is a nation with a “never-ending hostility” toward Iran and its people.  In total, “…the US regime’s enmity against the Islamic Republic is inevitable and this enmity will continue.”

Mr. Khamenei has clearly identified us as his country’s mortal enemy and concludes that the agreement that we all thought had been concluded is not yet “a done deal”. He wants more. Much more. Enough is not enough.

His first demand: that the U.S. and Europe lift the sanctions, not suspend them, and in addition demands “solid and sufficient” guarantees in advance that this will be done. These conditions constitute a total change of the JCPOA.

Second demand: Any sanctions against Iran “at every level and on every pretext,” (note the word pretext), including the claim of terrorism and human rights violations, by any one of the countries participating and a party to the Nuclear agreement, will “constitute a violation of the JCPOA” and a reason for Iran to stop executing its obligations pursuant to the Agreement. Obviously, he is looking for an excuse to cancel the Agreement after reaping the millions of dollars in rewards.

The Third demand seeks to change the Agreement’s timetable, so that Iran will not take action as stipulated in the JCPOA, and, therefore, will not meet its obligations before the sanctions are eased. Instead it commands that the sanctions must first be eliminated totally, and only then will Iran meet its obligations under the agreement.

His fourth demand: Iran’s fulfillment of its obligations regarding the purpose of Arak reactor, as stipulated by the JCPOA, will be postponed until some undetermined future date.

The fifth demand: The date for Iran to ship out its enriched uranium, as stipulated by the Nuclear Agreement, is postponed again until some unknown future date. In addition, he is now demanding that Iran receive in exchange for the enriched uranium he is releasing — not the raw uranium as agreed upon, but uranium that has been enriched but to a lower level.

The last pronouncement for our purposes is that notwithstanding the declared goals of the JCPOA agreement, he directs that Iran is to immediately expand its ability to enrich uranium with a 15-year long term objective for its centrifuges.

A thought suddenly occurred to me: On 30th September 1938, the Prime Minister of the British Empire returned from a meeting with Adolph Hitler, where he signed the Munich Agreement conceding part of the Sudetenland, a region of Czechoslovakia, to Germany.  In effect, the free world buckled under Hitler’s demands. But the British Prime Minister announced to the troubled world with great fanfare as he arrived back in London: “I have returned with peace in our time.”  Less than a year later, Adolf Hitler invaded Poland.

Lessons not learned haunt you in the future.

I have written in the past about the loopholes and side deals that we find in the Agreements with Iran, which bodes trouble of an immense magnitude in the future. This latest move by the supreme leader of Iran is a clear signal that he does not believe in the sanctity of an agreement and despises the west. Contracts I teaches us an agreement is only as good as the integrity of the signing parties. He has no integrity, that’s more than evident, and will not honor either the letter or spirit of the agreement. He has said so. Nothing is clearer. The question then becomes why are we playing his game and not our own? Why are we dealing with a person who seeks our destruction? We, in colloquial terms, have all the cards, why aren’t we playing them?

As I finish writing this commentary (10.29.15), a breaking news report is issued by MEMRI—Rafsanjani, it reports, has told the Iranian Supreme Leader to get out of the way of fully executing the Nuclear Agreement. In other words, I will not follow your guidelines. The two most powerful men in Iran, in facing off in one arena, might have caused their own implosion.  The outcome is not clearly predictable.

One thing is clear; the nations who conducted and agreed to the JCPOA have given much more away in their desire to reach an accommodation than was prudent, necessary or safe for the United States and its allies.

Enough is enough.

Richard Allan,

The Editor