Archive for September, 2012


September 29, 2012

Jerusalem Post on September 29, 2012, reported that community representatives express shock over attack; Jewish organizations offer support for Sweden’s approximately 700 Jews. Excerpts below:

Swedish police have arrested two men in connection with an explosion that rocked a Jewish community building in Malmo.

The explosion took place early morning on September 28, according to Fred Kahn, chairman of the board of the Jewish community of Malmo. “There was an explosion and someone also threw a rock at the windows at the entrance to the community house,” he said.

The two suspects are 18 years old and have no prior criminal record, according to the daily Skanska Dagbladet.

The suspects are denying any involvement in the explosion and an attorney will be appointed to represent them.

Kahn said: “We are shocked by this incident, which was definitely a deliberate attack. The community has upped its security arrangements, but we are continuing as usual. The Jewish kindergarten is going to stay open and all services will continue.”

The Jewish community in Malmö was previously the target of anti-Semitic attacks. Earlier this year, a rabbi was physically assaulted and in 2010, a group of Jews were attacked by Swedish Muslims during a peaceful protest in support of Israel. Also in 2010, an explosion outside Malmo’s only Orthodox synagogue shattered the building’s windows.

Malmo Jews say they are routinely harassed in the city of 300,000 residents, which has a large immigrant community from the Middle East.

“For a number of years now, Malmo has been a hotspot for anti-Jewish activities,” Lauder said. “There is real fear among the Jewish population of Malmo, and it is growing – not least because not a lot has been done to address the issue,” he added.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center expressed solidarity with the 700-member strong Jewish community in Sweden, attacking Malmo’s mayor for “continued indifference, the ban on cameras…and the lack of police presence” which allowed the attack to occur. The center also warned that the blast could “set a precedent” for more sophisticated explosive attacks.


September 29, 2012

The Washington Times on September 28, 2012, published a commentary by William C. Triplett that it just so happens that both the United States and China will be engaged in leadership decisions this fall. In the case of the United States, after a full discussion of the issues, the American people will elect a new president or re-elect the incumbent. The American president will become (or remain) the leader of the alliance of democratic nations. Excerpts below:

By contrast, the Chinese people will have had no voice in who has been pre-selected for them by the Chinese Communist Party. They will not even know what policies he favors or opposes. The new Chinese Communist Party leader will head the alliance of nondemocratic regimes.

Since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, Chinese officials have committed one atrocity after another on their own people. Many are hidden, but some have received international attention.

[For instance] it was revealed that the Chinese government was trying to block a United Nations report from being released showing secret ties among

China, Iran and North Korea for the smuggling of weapons of mass destruction. U.N. officials, to their credit, leaked their report to the wires.

If we only look at Communist Party activities over the past 12 months, we would have to include the following:

Only one Chinese has ever won the Nobel Peace Prize, and he’s still rotting in a communist jail.

There is increasing suppression of Chinese who merely wish to practice their religion in peace and in private.

Execution of prisoners for their valuable body parts continues.

Increasing party efforts to eradicate Tibetan culture and religious life lead to self-immolations by Tibetan young people out of despair.

Cyberwarfare is being directed at Japan because of a territorial dispute.

Bullying and war threats are aimed at China’s neighbors in the South China Sea.

Diplomatic protection of the Iranian regime continues as well as increased purchases of Iranian oil and increased investments in the Iranian petroleum sector.

Likewise, diplomatic protection of the Syrian regime continues with no end in sight.

Rampant espionage directed against the U.S. government and American private firms has reached historic levels.

This is not a rain of dead cats — it is just the Chinese Communist Party’s current activities. If we were to go back beyond 12 months, the data would become unmanageable and the body count in at least the tens of millions.

When a country’s top leadership is selected in secret and not elected by the public, it has no legitimacy. Its illegitimacy spreads downward to the point where a corrupt local government official can commit a heinous act and the people have no recourse but armed rebellion. No one knows this more than the Chinese Communist Party rulers. It is no accident that virtually every one of the Red Revolutionary families has sent its next generation (and the family money) to safe havens in the West.

William C. Triplett II is former chief Republican counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and co-author of “Bowing to Beijing” (Regnery, 2011).


September 28, 2012

Fox News on September 27, 2012, reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a dramatic speech to the United Nations, employed a simple diagram to hammer home his plea that the international community set a “clear red line” over Iran’s nuclear program — warning that a nuclear-armed Iran would be tantamount to a nuclear-armed Al Qaeda. Excerpts below:

Netanyahu claimed that Iran would have enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb by next summer. His remarks before the U.N. General Assembly amounted to an appeal to the U.S. and other nations to join Israel in drawing a line that Iran cannot cross without risking a military response.

Netanyahu argued that nothing less than the “security of the world” is at stake.

“The red line must be drawn on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program,” Netanyahu said. “I believe that faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down.”

“Red lines don’t lead to war, red lines prevent war,” he said. “Nothing could imperil the world more than a nuclear-armed Iran.”

“Imagine their long-range missiles tipped with nuclear warheads, their terror networks armed with atomic bombs — who among you would feel safe in the Middle East?” he said.

The issue of Iran has led to tensions between Obama and Netanyahu. That perception was heightened after Obama did not make plans to meet with the prime minister this week during his visit to New York

Mitt Romney, meanwhile, said in a statement that he joins Netanyahu’s “urgent call” to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

Netanyahu began his U.N. address with an implicit rebuke to Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, telling the history of the Jewish people’s ties to the land of Israel and vowing that they would remain there.

“Throughout our history the Jewish people have overcome all the tyrants who sought our destruction,” he said. “The Jewish people have come home. We will never be uprooted again.”

At the U.N. on Thursday, Netanyahu also said he wants a “durable peace” with the Palestinians – but rebuked Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for his remarks just moments earlier.


September 27, 2012

The National Interest journal on September 25, 2012, published an article on the coming of Asian rebalancing. It is of importance because of the ongoing geopolitical crisis between Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and China. Excerpts below:

The Spratly, Paracel and Macclesfield Bank islands in the South China Sea also make the Middle Kingdom look increasingly threatening to its Asian neighbors and beyond. Thus, it is hardly surprising to see the beginnings of an Asian coalition against China emerging.

The cobweb of islands, a minefield of disputed claims among no less than six actors, presents textbook balancing conditions. It should surprise no one that China seeks to negotiate the dispute bilaterally between the relevant actors, while the less powerful states—Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei and Vietnam—seek a more collective approach with the United States. These nations are by no means natural allies. In most cases, they have overlapping claims with one another. However, each one understands that its individual position is best served by working together to check Chinese ambition. It is the essence of balancing. The United States, lurking in the background, provides the ace in the hole.

The reason for a prominent U.S. role lies in geography. In the Asian neighborhood of states, China looms largest. Its land borders are contiguous or within a few hundred miles of the nations whose land rights it disputes. The overwhelming presence of the People’s Liberation Army, the largest standing army in the world, hangs over any Chinese negotiation as a grim bargaining chip. The United States is likely the only nation that can credibly neutralize this threat. This is why its assistance is not only sought after in the island disputes but also why most of these nations are already ensconced within the U.S. security umbrella (whether directly or indirectly.

Another question to be considered is why the United States lends its weight to this rebalancing, which is going on on the other side of the world. The answer was best summed up by eminent realist John Mearsheimer in three words: “free to roam.” The United States today is the only nation that has a worldwide sphere of influence. It is totally secure in its own neighborhood and, by possessing the means to do so, is able to interfere and associate itself in other neighborhoods as well.

Washington’s “pivot to Asia” and U.S. participation in the Asian rebalancing are indicative of a desire to prevent China from developing this freedom to roam. After all, if China achieved this capability, there would be no stopping it from engaging in similar behavior off our shores.

Or of course, things could go another way. As Minxin Pei has pointed out, all our current models and predictions about China are based on the assumption of its continued growth. Yet it is possible that China’s economy will stagnate and the current “threat” may recede. Such a scenario would eliminate the need for the Asian rebalancing.


September 26, 2012

Fox News on September 25, 2012, published an AP report on China formally entering its first aircraft carrier into service, underscoring its ambitions to be a leading Asian naval power, although the ship is not expected to carry a full complement of planes or be ready for combat for some time. Excerpts below:

The Defense Ministry’s announcement had been long expected and was not directly linked to current tensions with Japan over a disputed group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

China had partly justified the launching of a carrier by pointing out that it alone among the five permanent United Nations Security Council members had no such craft. That had been particularly glaring given the constant presence in Asia of carriers operated by the U.S. Navy, which maintains 11 worldwide.

The carrier is the former Soviet navy’s unfinished Varyag, which was towed from Ukraine in 1998 minus its engines, weaponry and navigation systems. Christened the Liaoning after the northeastern province surrounding Dalian, the ship began sea trials in August 2011 following years of refurbishment.

China is developing a carrier-based fighter-bomber, the J-15, derived from Russia’s Sukhoi Su-33, along with a prototype stealth carrier fighter, the J-31.

Beijing hasn’t said what role it intends the carrier to fill other than helping safeguard China’s coastline and sea links. The Liaoning has also been portrayed as a kind of test platform for the future development of up to five domestically built Chinese carriers.

Without specifically mentioning China’s territorial disputes, Yang acknowledged other countries’ concerns about its growing military might, but said Beijing wouldn’t shy from flexing its muscles.

“When China has a more balanced and powerful navy, the regional situation will be more stable as various forces that threaten regional peace will no longer dare to act rashly,” Yang wrote.

Whatever its practical effects on China’s global status, the carrier embodies huge symbolism for China’s political and military leaders as a totem of their country’s rise from weakness to strength, according to Andrew S. Erickson, a China naval specialist at the U.S. Naval War College.

“While (Chinese navy) acceptance of this `starter carrier’ is the first step in a long journey, it is a journey that will take place in full view of the world, and one that will ultimately take Beijing to a new place as a great sea power,” Erickson wrote on his blog.


September 25, 2012

Fox News on September 24, 2012, reported that the U.S. space agency is weighing a proposal to build a “gateway spacecraft” that would hang in space about 277,000 miles from the Earth and 38,000 miles past the moon — more than a quarter million miles further into space than the orbit of the International Space Station. Excerpts below:

A report by the Orlando Sentinel details the plan to park the orbiting spacecraft on the far side of the moon, in a precisely calculated spot called Earth-Moon Lagrange Point 2. The gravitational pull of the planets balances out at this point in space, allowing NASA to essentially “park” there permanently rather than orbiting.

In contrast, the ISS orbits the Earth at a height of about 230 miles.

The new outpost — which may be built from parts leftover from the construction of the ISS — would be an ideal first mission for the heavy lift spacecraft dubbed Space Launch System (SLS).

SLS is being designed to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, a capsule that can hold crew on missions to the moon or beyond. It can also carry important cargo, equipment and science experiments to Earth’s orbit and destinations beyond, according to NASA.

A deep-space base or “gateway spacecraft” would present unique opportunities and challenges. It would expose astronauts to the radiation of deep space, and would be challenging to resupply. But it would greatly ease communications further out into space, and would presumably be a jumping off point for human travel to Mars.

It was unclear whether this space base would be manned. NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Division recently detailed work on a deep-space habitat that would allow crew to live and work safely in space for up to a year. The group built a mockup of such a space habitat in July at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.

“In addition to the moon and an asteroid, other options may be considered as we look for ways to buy down risk — and make it easier — to get to Mars.”

Paying for any such a project would be an immense challenge in itself. The Orlando Sentinel reportedly studied internal NASA documents on the project, which don’t include any sort of price tag. And NASA has been wrestling with budget cuts for years.

On September 22, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney released a policy paper detailing his vision for NASA called “Securing U.S. Leadership in Space” – it underscores the concept of doing more with less.

“A strong and successful NASA does not require more funding, it needs clearer priorities,” the document reads.


September 24, 2012

The Wall Street Journal on September 23, 2012, reported that Japan’s prime minister warned China that its inflammatory reaction to a territorial dispute—from violent protests to apparent informal trade sanctions—could further weaken China’s economy by scaring away foreign investors. Excerpts below:

“Recent delays in customs and visa issuance are of concern,” Mr. Noda continued, referring to reports that Japanese companies were now facing a form of economic harassment, outlining his most detailed comments to date on the business implications of the row. “Damaging our ties over such things would be bad for not just the two countries’ economies, but for the global economy.”

Japan is simultaneously ensnared in an increasingly bitter tiff with another neighbor, South Korea, over a separate territorial argument as well as a debate over whether Japan has made adequate amends for its World War II aggression. Mr. Noda made clear in the interview that his government had no intention of making the concessions Seoul has demanded to repair diplomatic ties frayed in recent months, indicating an extended period of friction there as well.

Mr. Noda conducted the interview ahead of a visit to the United Nations General Assembly session starting on September 24, where he plans to give a speech on the importance of “the rule of law” in international-dispute settlement.

Indeed, at the same time that Japan appears to be taking a firm line in its regional disputes, officials also are looking for ways to dial down the heat, particularly with China. Illustrating his balancing act, Mr. Noda held out hope that the recent curbing of formal diplomatic contacts would be eased, and that the foreign ministers of the two nations would meet in New York as a step toward defusing tensions over the contested islets in the East China Sea. “If there is a chance, we should hold such a meeting,” he said.

But Beijing indicated Sunday that it wasn’t ready to move on, with the official Xinhua news agency saying the Chinese government had decided to cancel various ceremonies scheduled for later this week related to the 40th anniversary of normalization of postwar diplomatic ties between the two nations.

Beijing also sent paramilitary patrol boats under its various agencies to waters near the islands, setting off a cat-and-mouse chase with the Japanese Coast Guard that has continued for more than a week. The Coast Guard said two Chinese vessels entered the islands’ territorial waters, an act Tokyo sees as provocative.

Japanese opposition lawmakers have called for beefing up the defenses around the islands. But Mr. Noda said he saw no need to bring in the Japanese navy, and shrugged off the possibility of a military conflict.

Although Mr. Noda noted that the violence had died down, he cited the new trade delays as evidence that prospects remain for spreading economic fallout. In recent days, Japanese companies have reported customs-clearing delays, raising concerns that China was now retaliating economically…

Mr. Noda’s remarks Saturday followed statements by Japanese business leaders that they may begin to rethink their ties to China. Tokyo has considerable economic clout: Japan has become a major contributor to China’s growth, just as China has become economically vital to Japan.

While more understated than the rhetoric coming out of China, Mr. Noda’s comments over the weekend echoed remarks by Chinese government officials and editorials suggesting that tensions could spill into business ties. The China Daily, for example, carried a column titled “Consider Sanctions on Japan.” “Japan’s economy will suffer severely if China were to impose sanctions on it. China’s loss would be relatively less,” said the piece written by an analyst at a think tank affiliated with China’s Ministry of Commerce.

In contrast to his remarks about China, which appeared to leave the door open for discussions, Mr. Noda was resolute on September 22 in refusing Seoul’s demand for government compensation, saying that South Korea agreed to forfeit claims to wartime compensation when the two nations normalized ties in 1965.


September 23, 2012

Dagens Nyheter, Stockholm, rapporterade den 23 september 2012 om professor Anders Törnvall, som intet ont anande hjälpte den tyska präst som avslöjats som Stasiagent att etablera sig i Sverige. Nu kräver Anders Törnvall tillsammans med professor Lennart Stenflo att regeringen utreder omfattningen av Stasis och systerorganisationen KGB:s verksamhet i Sverige. Se utdrag nedan:

För Anders Törnvall, professor emeritus i interkulturell kommunikation och bosatt i Linköping, blev det en chock när kyrkoherden Aleksander Radler i Burträsk pekades ut som en av Stasis elitspioner.

Under 24 år hade Aleksander Radler angivit både svenskar och tyskar. I juli erkände han själv sin koppling till Stasi i Dagens Nyheter.

– Jag gick i god för honom när han ville komma till Lund och läsa etik i slutet av 1960-talet. Jag blev sviken och grundlurad.

Som teologstudent i Lund på 1960-talet reste Anders Törnvall till Rostock och Berlin för att stötta en grupp kristna östtyska studenter. Det var under dessa resor som han träffade Aleksander Radler som utgav sig för att vara motståndare till systemet i dåvarande DDR. Senare har det blivit känt att han ¬infiltrerade gruppen för att ange sina kamrater. Flera dömdes till långa fängelsestraff. Några tog senare livet av sig.

Aleksander Radler kunde lämna DDR tack vare ett österrikiskt pass. I själva verket var det Stasi som skickade honom av operativa skäl. Samtidigt som han arbetade för underrättelseorganisationen gjorde Radler en snabb akademisk karriär. Han prästvigdes i Luleå på 1970-talet.

-Det går inte att blunda för att det pågick en omfattande verksamhet i Sverige. Det är regeringens skyldighet att utreda angiveriets strukturer och Sveriges relation till DDR, säger Anders Törnvall, som själv fått sitt liv kartlagt av Stasi.

I somras skickade Anders Törnvall och Lennart Stenflo, professor emeritus i plasmafysik, ett förslag till justitieminister Beatrice Ask om att utreda Stasis infiltration av svenska universitetsmiljöer. De krävde också att regeringen ska öppna Säpos arkiv med uppgifter om misstänkta svenska medarbetare.

Svaret blev en avspisning och i dagarna gör de ett nytt försök med ett öppet brev till justitieministern, där de ber henne tillsätta en sanningskommission om Stasis verksamhet i Sverige.

Lennart Stenflo var verksam vid Umeå universitet och handledare åt gäststudenter från dåvarande Sovjetunionen. Under de många resorna till Moskva, där han bland annat samarbetade med regimkritikern och kärnfysikern Andrej Sacharov, visade myndigheterna ett stort intresse för honom.

– När jag förhördes av KGB satt de och bläddrade i en trave med papper som innehöll detaljerade uppgifter om mitt liv. De visste exempelvis i vilket rum bordtennisbordet fanns i mitt tonårshem, säger Lennart Stenflo.

Lennart Stenflo drog slutsatsen att studenter och kolleger vid universitetet lämnat ut uppgifter om honom. Han vet fortfarande inte vilka, men han ser Aleksander Radler som en viktig ledtråd.

– Radler var knuten till Umeå universitet. Vi vet att KGB och Stasi samarbetade och jag är säker på att Radler hade ett nätverk vid universitetet.

– Han måste i så fall berätta om vilka personer som ingick i hans svenska nätverk.


September 23, 2012

Wall Street Journal on September 22, 2012, published an AP report on hundreds of Japanese marching through downtown Tokyo in a loud but tightly controlled protest against China’s claim to disputed islands in the East China Sea. Excerpts below:

The protest Saturday, organized by the nationalist group Ganbare Nippon (“Go for It, Japan”) followed scores of sometimes violent anti-Japanese demonstrations in China in recent weeks.

“Come on out of there!” some of the protesters screamed at the well-guarded embassy building, which was closed. Dozens of police kept order, moving the groups away from the embassy after only a few minutes.


September 22, 2012

Fox News on September 21, 2012, reported that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last week was a joint operation orchestrated by an Al Qaeda affiliate in North Africa and the Islamist militia Ansar Al-Sharia, an intelligence source told Fox News, citing evidence collected so far in the investigation. Excerpts below:

About 100 attackers carried out the “coordinated assault,” intelligence sources said, further discrediting earlier Obama administration claims that the deadly attack was a “spontaneous” outburst in response to an anti-Islam film.

Fox News’ sources say the attack came in two waves and involved rocket-propelled grenades, as well as mortar fire.

Libyan officials are now “absolutely convinced” the attack was preplanned, sources say, adding to recent indications that Al Qaeda was involved, specifically a former Guantanamo detainee named Sufyan Ben Qumu.

Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in the strike, which occurred on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Qumu, the former Guantanamo Bay detainee, is a Libyan who was released from the U.S. prison in Cuba in 2007 and transferred into Libyan custody on the condition he be kept in jail.

He was released by the Qaddafi regime as part of its reconciliation effort with Islamists in 2010.

His Guantanamo files also show he has ties to the financiers behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The declassified files also point to ties with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a known Al Qaeda affiliate.