Archive for September, 2013

ISRAEL’S NETANYAHU TO WARN US,UN ABOUT IRAN’S ‘SMILEY CAMPAIGN’

September 30, 2013

Fox News on September 29, 2013, reported on Netanyahu’s message to Obama during the visit to the United States starting September 30. Just days after the first conversation between the leaders of the U.S. and Iran in 34 years was hailed as a “breakthrough” in relations between the two countries, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is taking an unpopular message to the White House and the United Nations: Don’t be fooled by Tehran’s “sweet talk.” Excerpts below:

Netanyahu, who contends Iran is using conciliatory gestures as a smoke screen to conceal an unabated march toward a nuclear bomb, will meet with President Obama to deliver strong words of caution to the U.S.

“I will tell the truth in the face of the sweet talk and the onslaught of smiles,” Netanyahu said before boarding his flight to the U.S. “Telling the truth today is vital for the security and peace of the world and, of course, it is vital for the security of the state of Israel.”

Netanyahu also plans to offer up fresh intelligence in his attempt to persuade the U.S. to maintain tough economic sanctions and not allow the Islamic republic to develop a bomb or even move closer to becoming a nuclear threshold state.

Israeli leaders watched with great dismay what they derisively call the “smiley campaign” by Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, last week. Rouhani delivered a conciliatory speech at the United Nations in which he repeated Iran’s official position that it has no intention of building a nuclear weapon and declared his readiness for new negotiations with the West.

For Netanyahu, such sentiments are nothing short of a nightmare.

For years, he has warned that Iran is steadily marching toward development of nuclear weapons, an assessment that is widely shared by the West because of Iran’s continued enrichment of uranium and its run-ins with international nuclear inspectors.

The Israeli prime minister contends Rouhani’s outreach is a ploy to ease international sanctions and buy time.

Israel considers a nuclear-armed Iran an unacceptable threat, given repeated Iranian assertions that the Jewish state should not exist. Israel has a long list of other grievances against Iran, citing its support for hostile Arab militant groups, its development of long-range missiles and alleged Iranian involvement in attacks on Israeli targets in Europe and Asia.

On September 29, Israel announced the arrest of a Belgian-Iranian businessman on espionage charges.

Netanyahu says the new Iranian leader must be judged on his actions, not his words. In the meantime, he says sanctions and other international pressure, including the threat of military action, must be increased. He has likened Iran to North Korea, which used the guise of international negotiations to secretly develop a nuclear weapon.

Netanyahu appears to enjoy widespread domestic support for his tough approach. Israel’s Channel 10 TV released the results of a poll Sunday night showing that 78 percent of respondents don’t believe Iran wants to resolve the nuclear problem. Fifty-nine percent said they do not think the U.S. will reach an agreement with Iran, while just 29 percent said they expect a resolution.

Obama will try to convince Netanyahu that the U.S. won’t consider lifting sanctions until Iran takes concrete actions to show it is serious about a verifiable, transparent agreement, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.

Obama will also seek to assure his Israeli counterpart that if the U.S. reaches a deal with Iran, it will ultimately advance Israel’s security interests by resolving the nuclear issue without the need for military intervention.

Obama’s bottom line remains that Iran can’t be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon, officials said.

Additionally, several U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have urged Obama to keep the pressure of sanctions on Iran and stand firm by the vow to prevent the country from developing a nuclear weapon. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and several other senators penned a letter to Obama on casting doubts on the intentions of Iran’s new leader.

Israel, though, wants the U.S. to establish clear “red lines” to prevent Iran from pressing forward with its nuclear program and moving toward threshold status — having the capability to build a nuclear weapon without actually possessing one. That scenario is unacceptable to Israel.

Netanyahu has laid out four demands: that Iran stop enriching uranium; that its stockpiles of enriched uranium be removed from the country; that a fortified underground enrichment facility be closed; and that Iran not make plutonium, another possible path toward nuclear weapons.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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PROTESTS GREET IRANIAN PRESIDENT AFTER CONVERSATION WITH OBAMA

September 29, 2013

Fox News on September 28, 2013, published an AFP report on a shoe thrown at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s motorcade as he arrived home to a mixed reception after his…call with Barack Obama…Excerpts below:

Iranian newspapers hailed the first contact with a US president in more than three decades as the ending of a long taboo.

But his 15-minute conversation with the leader of a country long derided as the “Great Satan” was too much for some hardliners.

Nearly 60 gathered outside Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport, chanting “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” as his motorcade passed.

They were outnumbered by 200 to 300 supporters of the president chanting: “Thank you Rouhani,” who were separated from the protesters by a small contingent of police.

The shoe was thrown as Rouhani stood up through the sunroof of his car to acknowledge the crowd. It failed to hit its target.

The airport protest contrasted with the plaudits Rouhani received from the Iranian press for the historic telephone call.

“The world caught unawares,” crowed reformist daily Arman. “International media in shock over the telephone call.”

The Etemad newspaper carried a photomontage of Rouhani and Obama side by side. “Historic contact on way home,” read a banner headline taking up the whole front page.

But the paper carried an opinion piece by international relations professor Mohammad Ali Bassiri warning of the challenges that lie ahead to bring about a full rapprochement, not least the opposition of US ally and Iran foe Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has described Rouhani as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” is to meet Obama on September 30 before addressing the UN General Assembly…

Many newspapers carried front-page photographs of a smiling Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Secretary of State John Kerry at nuclear talks in New York between Iran and the major powers.

Zarif said he hoped for a deal within a year to allay international concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

But Zarif’s Western counterparts made clear at the meeting that an agreement will require big concessions from Iran.

They include the suspension of all enrichment of uranium beyond the level required to fuel nuclear power plants, and the closure of Iran’s underground enrichment facility near the central city of Qom.

THE IMPORTANCE OF A UKRAINE ASSOCIATION TREATY WITH EU

September 28, 2013

Washington Times on September 27, 2013, published a commentary by Conrad Burns on the importance of Ukraine. During the next few weeks, the European Union will make a decision that will have crucial implications for the Continent’s future. It is imperative that they not get it wrong, not only for the sake of Europe, but for American interests as well. Excerpts below:

That decision is whether or not to offer an association agreement and free-trade pact to Ukraine, a former republic of the Soviet Union. A final decision by the EU’s ruling executive body, the European Commission, will depend on whether Ukraine has instituted economic, legal and political reforms consistent with further integration toward Europe.

No one doubts that Ukraine’s performance presents a mixed picture. Under President Viktor Yanukovych, the country’s progress in these areas has been uneven but generally moving the right direction, as it was under his predecessors prior to 2010. For example, international observers were critical of irregularities during last year’s parliamentary elections, but the results — including the election to parliament of a controversial nationalist party opposed to Mr. Yanukovych — were seen as reflective of the actual votes cast.

Perhaps partly to placate Russia, Mr. Yanukovych has made it clear that Ukraine will not become part of the NATO alliance. A few years ago, I spoke in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, at a conference on this topic. I think staying out of NATO is the right call, as the large majority of Ukrainians are opposed to membership in any military bloc. However, Mr. Yanukovych has also ensured continuing cooperation with NATO in peacekeeping missions and in the alliance Partnership for Peace.

More telling, though, is the current government’s clear preference for a pro-Western, and pro-EU economic orientation. This is critical when it comes to the all-important issue of energy, on which not just Ukraine but the EU have had to dance to Moscow’s tune on natural-gas supplies and pricing, with the threat of cutoffs an ever-present reality. To his credit, Mr. Yanukovych’s ruling “Party of Regions” has pressed full-speed ahead with developing shale fracking technology, over the objections of the supposedly “anti-Russian” opposition.

Even the economy and energy don’t tell the whole story. As anyone familiar with Ukrainian attitudes knows, the issue of whether the two EU agreements gets signed this fall is a major historical and geopolitical turning point. It, in fact, boils down to a choice of civilizations. Will Ukraine become part of Europe or go back to Russia? As a country of almost 50 million people in a vital geostrategic crossroads, Ukraine would greatly bolster Russia’s comeback as a major power if it were reincorporated into a Moscow-led bloc. That would be bad not just for the EU, but for the United States, too.

Some in the EU seem to understand that. Recently, Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and the EU’s high representative on foreign affairs and security policy, Catherine Ashton, jointly voiced their opinions of Ukraine’s great importance to the EU. “We can’t lose Ukraine,” Ms. Ashton was quoted by the Estonian news service. Mr. Ansip agreed, and as the leader of a country that itself used to be part of the Soviet Union, that carries some weight.

…can further and faster progress be expected if Ukraine is locked into a relationship with the EU? The answer to that won’t be known for certain unless and until the agreements are signed, and the door is open to Ukraine’s historic choice for Europe.

By the same token, if Europe decides to slam the door shut, there is no uncertainty. For Ukraine, the only other game in town will be Russia.

Ultimately, the question is whether Europe will do what’s in its own self-interest, and that of the United States. Let’s hope the answer is yes.

Conrad Burns is a former Republican U.S. senator from Montana.

US AIR FORCE ACHIEVES FIRST DRONE FIGHTER JET WITH F-16 FIGHTING FALCON

September 27, 2013

Fox News/War Games on September 26, 2013, reported that drone fighter jet squadrons may be hitting the skies in a not so distant future. Excerpts below:

Boeing announced this week the successful first test flight of an F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet modified with unmanned control technology — essentially turning it into a drone.

The QF-16 program takes retired F-16 jets and turns them into drones to work as advanced aerial targets in fighter jet pilot training. Without a pilot in the cockpit, Boeing’s fighter jet took off by itself, flew from a Florida base to the Gulf of Mexico at supersonic speeds, and then landed itself.

During the test mission it flew at an altitude of 40,000 feet and a speed of Mach 1.47, or 1,119 miles per hour. In spite of the empty cockpit, this Fighting Falcon demonstrated a series of combat maneuvers to evade attack by enemy aircraft and missile lock-ons.

From a ground control station at Tyndall Air Force base in Florida, two U.S. Air Force test pilots directed the fighter jet to complete its first unmanned flight. Two manned planes followed it and ensured the mission remained safe.

F-16s are approximate 50 feet long, have a nearly 33-foot wingspan and can travel at Mach 2 — a whopping 1,500 mph. This sort of fighter has a range of 1,740 nautical miles.

To create the next generation of aerial combat training targets, Boeing took retired fighter jets and retrofitted them with drone tech, also known as unmanned aircraft control tech.

U.S. pilots can now use the sooped up jets to train against as realistic enemy aircraft. Without a human in the cockpit, pilots can practice firing on and neutralizing enemy aircraft.

Thus far Boeing has adapted six F-16 to become QF-16s and the U.S. military will use some of them in live fire tests. The current plan is to deliver these into military service in 2015.

Charges are built into drones to destroy the aircraft should they, say, diverge from the pre-approved flight plan.

Once the QF-16s roll into service, they will give pilots targets that are similar to the jet performance they will fly against in operations. Pilots will be able to use them to test newly developed weapons as well.

After this first successful test, there will be more operational evaluations. A live fire test at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M is in the pipeline.

Eventually, the QF-16s will be flown for the Navy, Army and Air Force for weapons testing and challenging pilots in training.

Defense specialist Allison Barrie has traveled around the world covering the military, terrorism, weapons advancements and life on the front line.

TIME FOR MUSLIMS TO CONFRONT MUSLIM EVIL

September 26, 2013

National Review on September 24, 2013, published an article by Dennis Prager commenting on this weekend’s massacre by Muslim terrorists of scores of innocent civilians at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, and Muslim terrorists’ killing about 80 Christians at a Christian church in Pakistan. Most people wonder what, if anything, in addition to a continuing war on terror, can be done to minimize the scourge of Islamic brutality. Excerpts below:

The answer lies with Muslims themselves. Specifically, Muslim religious leaders around the world must announce that any Muslim who deliberately targets non-combatants for death goes to Hell.

Christians, Muslims, and Jews who are massacred by Islamic terrorists are murdered by Muslims in the name of Islam.

Muslim leaders — specifically, every imam in the world who is not a supporter of terror, the leaders of the most important Sunni institutions, such as the Al-Azhar Mosque and University in Cairo, and religious leaders in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states — must announce that any Muslim who participates in any deliberate attack on civilians goes to Hell.

This must be announced as clearly and as repeatedly as, for example, Muslim condemnations of Israel.

Just as the promise of immediate entrance into paradise animates many Muslim terrorists, the promise of immediate Hell would dissuade many Muslims from committing acts of terrorism. Just as the promise of 72 virgins animates many Muslim terrorists, the promise of Hell would dissuade many Muslims from terrorism.

Whenever non-Muslims ask Muslim organizations about Muslim terrorism, these organizations trot out the various anti-terrorism statements they have issued. But these are largely useless because a) they are usually issued by Western Muslim organizations; b) even when they are issued by Middle Eastern Muslims, they almost always include condemnation of “state terrorism,” which is Muslim-speak for condemnation of any use of force by Israel; and c) these statements usually also condemn non-Muslim terror, as if Christian or Jewish or Buddhist terrorism is as great a threat to humanity as is Muslim terrorism.

Therefore the statements that need to be made by every Muslim teacher, school, mosque, and organization that does not support Muslim terror must be unequivocal. They need to state that any Muslim who targets any civilian for death — whether that civilian is Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, or of no religion — goes to Hell.

In addition, there need to be large Muslim demonstrations against Muslim terrorism. I understand that Muslim clerics who would organize such demonstrations in the Muslim world might be risking their lives. But what about Muslims in America and Europe?

There have been huge Muslim demonstrations against cartoons depicting Mohammed and any other perceived “insult” against Islam. But I am unaware of a single demonstration of Muslims against the Muslim terror directed at non-Muslims.

And if morality doesn’t persuade Muslim leaders to issue such a statement and organize such demonstrations, perhaps self-interest will. To just about everyone in the world outside of academia and the media, Islam is not looking good. Muslim leaders should be aware that with Muslims burning Christian churches and Christian bodies in Pakistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Egypt, and elsewhere, and the regular massacring of innocents by Muslim terror groups, the protestations by Muslim spokesmen that “Islam is religion of peace” are beginning to wear thin.

On the other hand, perhaps not that many Muslim religious leaders do believe that Muslim terrorists are going to Hell.

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His most recent book is Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.

GEORGE GILDER RETURNS BEARING KNOWLEDGE AND POWER

September 25, 2013

“The most important human resource, the only true natural resource, is the human mind.” — John Allison (now Cato Institute president), quoted in Knowledge and Power, by George Gilder

Forbes magazine in the issue dated October 6, 2013, published a review by Ralph Benko of George Gilder’s new book. Gilder is one of the original pillars of Supply Side economics. As stated by Discovery Institute, which he co-founded, “Mr. Gilder pioneered the formulation of supply-side economics when he served as Chairman of the Lehrman Institute’s Economic Roundtable, as Program Director for the Manhattan Institute….” Excerpts below:

He was the living writer most quoted by President Reagan. And he is back with his most brilliant work yet — one of potentially explosive importance if taken to heart by our political and policy thought leaders. It is a radical guide, with surprising insights on almost every page, to the creation of a new era of vibrant prosperity.

After writing his best-selling Wealth and Poverty Gilder most notably spent decades travelling down various rabbit holes into, and thoroughly exploring, technological Wonderlands. He has been an essential guide to the technological cornucopias that immensely enrich our lives…Gilder’s Knowledge and Power: the Information Theory of Capitalism and How It Is Revolutionizing our World is his finest work, which is saying a lot.

He provides an extraordinary rethinking of economics by way of information theory. In it he brings the argument for capitalism … as a humanitarian, and ecological, force … into the 21st century. In the process he makes trenchant comments on the economic shibboleths of both right and left (with more than glancing blows to both but much more devastation to the doctrines of statism and socialism).

Knowledge and Power is not a book for the faint of heart or the closed of mind. Its early chapters drive the reader up a challenging learning curve.

Gilder takes the bull by the horns:

“From Adam Smith’s day to ours, economics has focused on the nature of economic order. …. Smith and his successors followed in the footsteps of Newton and Leibniz, constructing a science of systems. What they lacked was a science of disorder and randomness, a mathematics of innovation, a rigorous measure and mandate for freedom of choice. For economics, the relevant science has arrived just in time. The great economic crisis of our day, a crisis of theory as well as practice, is a crisis of information. It can be grasped and resolved only by an economics of information. … [T]he mathematical structure for this new economics was completed by one of the preeminent minds of the twentieth century, Claude Elwood Shannon.” (p. 16)

Gilder is one of the most sophisticated analysts of how technology, as an expression of human creativity, benefits the mass of humanity and the planetary ecology. He takes the reader through a highly technical, fascinating, tour of Shannon’s information theory and draws out many implications. For non-techie Earthlings he summarizes the essence of information theory in what he calls “the ‘capstone’ of the ‘theory’ section,” the chapter “Mind Over Matter.”

“The power in capitalism must not be mindless. Unless it is combined with knowledge, more economic power or money is fruitless. Enterprise involves memory of the past and anticipation of the future, and it is creative. It is not a simple incentive system of rewards and punishments, of carrots and sticks. It is an information system, and it is governed less by economic theory as we know it than by information theory. The beautiful congruence of information theory with a capitalist economy, the creative convergence of knowledge with power, has been the main subject of this book.” (p. 108)

This is not mere soaring rhetoric.

Gilder provides a radical take on many of the confounded issues of the day, including energy policy, Wall Street, banking, financial markets, tax policy, Israel, and, this columnist’s favorite, monetary policy. He imports the fruits of a vividly fresh worldview from the intellectually vibrant Discovery Institute, based in Washington State, to the too-often stagnant Washington, DC.

Once we…get done rethinking economic policy along Gilderian lines the world likely never will be the same. It will be better. Information theory laps classical economics and, perhaps at long last, drives the wooden stake into the heart of undead Keynesian dogma haunting the capital. Gilderianism eats Keynesianism for breakfast.

On monetary policy:

“Could it be that the fundamental cause of the [2008 financial] crisis was that the monetary system, alone among the structures of capitalism, lacks a low-entropy physical layer?

“Over the centuries of monetary history, the remedy for unstable money has always been gold. Critics who say the gold standard has been eclipsed by an information standard based on the Internet do not grasp the essence of information theory, which measures the information content by its ‘news’ (expressed in digital form as unexpected bits or entropy). It takes a low-entropy carrier to bear a high-entropy newsworthy message.

“The 130,000 metric tons of gold that has been mined in all of human history constitutes the supreme low-entropy carrier for the upside surprises of capitalism. Without guidance from gold, currency markets are subject to political high entropy. They resemble a communications system without a predictable carrier that enables the information to be distinguished from the noise in the line.

“…Without a baseline of gold, entrepreneurship in the world economy degenerates into the manipulation of currencies for the interests of profiteers and government insiders. This is a pathology of capitalism ….” (p. 122)

Gilder sums up his overarching argument:

“Information theory comprehends and subsumes game theory, computer theory, cybernetics, genetics, network theory, demography, and strategy. … From its roots… it knows its limitations—its inexorable incompleteness, its dependence on mental processes that it cannot subdue. From its constant tests in engineering, it knows its authenticity and authority. Governed by entropy (measuring freedom of choice), it is a science of human liberty, knowledge and power. And it is generating a golden age of unexpected new technology. (p. 271)

And in a coda by no means gratuitous he presents capitalism, honestly understood, as a magnificent, noble, humanitarian force. He thereby places it on the commanding heights of an unassailable moral high ground too often lacking from its more pedestrian defenders:

“When faith dies, so does enterprise. It is impossible to create a system of collective regulation, insurance, and safety that does not finally deaden the moral source of the willingness to face danger and fight, that does not dampen the spontaneous flow of gifts and experiments, that extends the dimensions of the world and the circles of human sympathy.

“The ultimate strength and crucial weakness of both capitalism and democracy are their reliance on individual creation. But there is no alternative except mediocrity and stagnation. Demand-based systems can never flourish in a world where events are shaped by millions of human beings, acting unknowably, in fathomless interplay and complexity, in the darkness of time.”

Into our own dark time now returns George Gilder…in fact a modern Prometheus, Gilder heroically brings to humanity the fire of Knowledge… and Power.

DE FÄNGSLADES PÅ GRUND AV PRÄSTEN SOM VAR ANGIVARE FÖR ÖSTTYSKA STASI

September 24, 2013

Tidningen Dagen, Stockholm, publicerade den 20 september 2013 ett öppet brev från offren för ’Stasi-prästen’ Aleksander Radler i Burträsk. De vill veta varför Radler angav dem till den östtyska polisen samt att han redogör för allt han vet. Det skriver de personer som fängslades i slutet av 1960-talet på grund av teologistudenten som senare blev kyrkoherde i svenska Burträsk. Utdrag ur artikeln nedan:

Den 10 juli 1968 har sex personer förts samman av Stasi i den östtyska staden Gera, i dag en del av den tyska delstaten Thüringen. De hade lärt känna varandra på universitetet i grannstaden där de bestämt sig för att tillsammans försöka fly den hårt kontrollerade kommuniststaten. Men något hade gått snett. Planerna avslöjades, och i stället för ett nytt liv i väst väntade fleråriga fängelsestraff.

Vem var det som hade satt dit dem? Det visste de inte då. Först 40 år senare skulle det komma fram att den direkta orsaken till att de fängslades var studentkamraten Aleksander Radler.

– Vi gav Aleksander Radler ett brev som skulle till våra släktingar i Västtyskland, för vi visste att annars skulle Stasi öppna det. I brevet bad vi om pengar till flykten som vi planerade och berättade att vi var hårt pressade, berättar Henning Frunder, som personligen överlämnade brevet till Radler, till Dagen.

Att de sex ungdomarna satte sitt hopp till en person som samarbetade med den östtyska underrättelsetjänsten hade de ingen aning om…

Inte ens när de åtalades och fälldes för sitt flyktförsök förstod de vem som avslöjat deras planer. Alexander Radlers inblandning i det hela förblev länge dold. Han skyddades av myndigheterna, exempelvis hölls han borta från rättegången mot ungdomarna. I stället inträdde ett annat huvudvittne.

Visst har de som då fängslades undrat, men de gick aldrig till botten med frågan.

– Vi har inte försökt att följa upp det hela, utan konstaterade att det kunde ha varit Aleksander Radler. Eller någon annan, berättar Henning Frunder.

År 1968 började han att avtjäna sitt fängelsestraff. Han var då 21 år, och utsikterna för ett bra liv efter fängelsevistelsen var dystra. I det kommunistiska DDR…skulle han vara stämplad för livet och många karriärvägar skulle vara stängda efter avtjänat straff.

Två år och fyra månader fick Henning Frunder sitta fängslad. Den 30 oktober 1970 blev han frisläppt, något tidigare än de tre år han dömdes för, men han tog inte sina första steg som en fri man i Östtyskland.

Hela den här historien, om de fängslade ungdomarna och teologistudenten som var Stasiagent, har under lång tid varit en förborgad hemlighet, främst en angelägenhet för de närmast sörjande. Aleksander Radler stannade inte kvar i Östtyskland länge, utan gjorde i stället karriär i Sverige. Först via universitetsstudier i teologi och senare som kyrkoherde i Burträsk, fyra mil utanför Skellefteå. Han skrev flera böcker om teologi, och utförde också en del akademisk forskning.

Informationen om Aleksander Radlers förflutna inom Stasi har visserligen sipprat ut längs vägen. 1994 skrevs en bok på tyska av Dietmar Linke där han pekar ut Radler som Stasiagent, något som året efter blev känt på Teologiska institutet vid Lunds universitet. Aleksander Radler var då tjänstledig från sin anställning på universitetet, och sade upp sig när han konfronterades. Men det satte inte stopp för hans kyrkliga karriär i Sverige. Han var redan på väg till sin tjänst i Västerbotten, och informationen om hans förflutna stannade nere hos teologerna i Lund. De hade kontaktat Säpo, som hade ärendet på sitt bord fram till 2001, men inte heller de valde att höra av sig till Luleå stift där Burträsk församling ligger.

Det var först i slutet av 2011 som det började uppdagas att en gammal östtysk agent varit verksam i Svenska kyrkan under täckmanteln ”Thomas”. Informationen kom då från det öppnade Stasiarkivet i Tyskland. Pusslet började läggas, först kom Birgitta Almgrens omdiskuterade bok ”Inte bara spioner”. Där pekades inte den svenska prästspionen ut med namn, utan avslöjandet sker av Expressen, som konfronterade Aleksander Radler med över
1 000 dokument från de gamla östtyska arkiven.

Även Luleå stift inledde en utredning, och tog hjälp av tyska myndigheter. Nere i Tyskland fick de del av Aleksander Radlers akt i Stasi-arkivet, en akt som sträckte sig över 26 år. Tyska experter menade att det inte rådde någon tvekan om vem personen var.

Sommaren 2012 hade bilden klarnat. Efter att först ha nekat till anklagelserna erkände till slut Aleksander Radler vad han hade gjort, och avsade sig då också sitt prästämbete.

…de personer som hamnade i fängelse på grund av honom fick komma till tals i Dagen för ett år sedan.

Men deras röster fick då en mer perifer roll, och de bad om att få betänketid för att senare få återkomma med ett ordentligt svar.

Nu, ett drygt år senare, har de hört av sig. Precis som Aleksander Radler har de skickat in ett brev, och deras önskemål är att det publiceras rakt av. Brevet är undertecknat av sex personer, även om två av dem inte är kvar i livet, deras namn står ”in memorian”.

Henning Frunder är en av fyra som fortfarande är i livet, och Dagen har varit i kontakt med honom via telefon. Han berättar att det var en lång och smärtsam process att skriva brevet. Han berättar också hur de som står som undertecknare ser på den numera avsatte kyrkoherden.
– Vi tvivlar på allting. Han har mycket kvar att jobba på sin skuld, säger Henning Frunder.

I det öppna svarsbrev som de har skrivit ställer de flera frågor till mannen som fick deras förtroende och som senare skulle visa sig vara den som svek dem.

”Du är präst och har undervisat i etik vid Lunds universitet. Hur kunde du trampa alla etiska normer under fötterna?”

”Hur ska vi någonsin kunna tro på din kärlek till människorna i Burträsk, bara för att de inte kunde utsättas för din inhumana Stasiaktivitet på den platsen under den tiden?”
”Hur kan du över huvud taget ha predikat Guds ord, efter att ha brutit förtroendet för hundratals människor i verkligheten, inklusive din familj, fru och barn?”

Temperaturen i brevet stegras ju längre man läser, och det avslutas med tre specifika önskemål. Att Alekander Radler ska:

1. Dokumentera sitt förflutna inom Stasi.

2. Skriva till dem som blivit drabbade där han förklarar sitt agerande.

3. Visa sin ånger genom att engagera sig i en organisation för offren för kommunistregimens brott.

Vad som inte står i brevet är hur det har gått senare i livet för de sex ungdomarna som i juli 1968 spärrades in för sina planer på att fly DDR. En av dem, Henning Frunder, kan i alla fall fylla på med sin livshistoria. Han var den siste av de sex som släpptes fri efter drygt två år i fängelset. Och han klev ut som en fri man i Västtyskland. Anledningen var att han köptes ut av Västtyskland, som på den tiden då och då gjorde upp med sin fientligt sinnade granne där pengar och västerländska varor skickades över gränsen åt ena hållet och politiska fångar åt den andra. Henning Frunder berättar om det overkliga i att transporteras förbi den välbevakade gränsen helt öppet i en buss, rakt in i landet han så länge drömt om.

– Jag hade väl tur i oturen, kommenterar Henning Frunder den märkliga vändningen i livet.

I Västtyskland slutförde han sedan sina fysikstudier, som han hade påbörjat i Östtyskland, och har jobbat inom IT-sektorn. Numera är han pensionär, men utför en del konsulttjänster inom den tyska kärnkraftsindustrin. I sju år var han gift med Gesine Overkamp, en annan av dem som undertecknat brevet till Dagen. Samtliga sex personer som fängslades för sina flyktförsök kunde efter avtjänade fängelsestraff ta sig till Västtyskland.

– I Östtyskland litade man inte på ungdomar, utan ville kontrollera varje steg vi tog. När du är ung och ditt hjärta brinner vill du inte vandra på en väg som redan är utstakad. Det var som att leva i ett stort fängelse. Redan som tolvåring tänkte jag att här vill jag inte bli gammal. Till en början var det som en lek, sedan blev det allvar, säger Henning Frunder.

När Dagen hör av sig till församlingen i Burträsk är det taggarna utåt som gäller, på grund av det mediedrev som drog in förra året då Stasi-prästen avslöjades.

Dagen har försökt nå Aleksander Radler, utan att lyckas. Han bor kvar i Burträsk, besöker kyrkan regelbundet, och den som trodde att förra årets publiceringar i olika medier skulle ha brännmärkt honom och hans familj tror fel. Det märks inte minst när man ser vem som tagit över hans tjänst i församlingen. Tillförordnad kyrkoherde i Burträsk, i väntan på en församlingssammanslagning, är Aleksander Radlers fru.

(Kommentar: Det faktum att Radlers fru nu är tillförordnad kyrkoherde i Burträsk visar med tydlighet vilka ringa konsekvenser avslöjanden av Stasiagenter i Sverige får för dessa landsförrädare. Det görs mycket för att skydda dem och förhindra en bearbetning av den mot Östtyskland regimvänliga svenska politiken under det kalla kriget.)

FBI: DEADLY KENYA TERROR ATTACK ‘A MAJOR EVENT’

September 23, 2013

Fox News on September 23, 2013, reported that Kenyan police and security forces continued their attempts early on September 23 to free the last few hostages held in a shopping mall in the capital, Nairobi, by members of an Al Qaeda-linked Somali militant group. Excerpts below:

Witnesses reported about five minutes of sustained, heavy gunfire coming from the Westgate shopping complex shortly before 6:30 a.m. local time, a clear indication that at least one gunman was still free and that the standoff continued.

Meanwhile, the FBI and the U.S intelligence community are “aggressively” investigating whether or not Americans were among members of an Al Qaeda-linked militant group involved in an attack and hostage situation at a mall in Kenya, a federal law enforcement source told Fox News.

“Most” of the hostages who were holed up at mall were freed late Sunday after the country’s military launched a major assault on the building where at least 68 people were killed and 175 injured the day before.

The military assault began shortly before sundown, with one helicopter skimming very close to the roof of the shopping complex as a loud explosion rang out, far larger than any previous grenade blast or gunfire volley.

At around midnight local time, Kenya’s Defence Forces said it had rescued most of the hostages and had taken control of most of the mall, but declined to give further information on those freed. Officials said four Kenyan military personnel were wounded in the operation.

Many of the rescued hostages — mostly adults — were suffering from dehydration, Col. Cyrus Oguna, a military spokesman, told The Associated Press. He refused to say how many hostages were rescued or how many were still being held. He said some of the attackers had “most probably” been killed in the operation.

The source tells Fox News that the U.S. intelligence community believes the attack is a “hot” and “major event,” because it is outside the normal scope of al-Shabaab and the alleged “multi- national character” of the attackers.

New York Rep. Peter King, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said on ABC’s “This Week” that al-Shabab is “one of the only Al Qaeda affiliates which actually has actively recruited here in the United States.”

He called the mall attack a “well coordinated, well planned massacre.”

There are between 50 to 200 hostages and most of them were hiding in various places inside the mall, Fox News confirms.

President Kenyatta of Kenya said in an address that the attackers “shall not get away with their despicable and beastly acts.”

“We will punish the masterminds swiftly and indeed very painfully,” he added.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the attack as “an enormous offense against everybody’s sense of right and wrong,” and called the attackers “ruthless and completely reckless terrorists.”

Kenyans and foreigners were among those confirmed dead, including French, Canadians and Chinese. The U.S. State Department said four American citizens were injured and were being given assistance. The age of the victims ranged from 2 to 78, Reuters reports.

Nineteen people, including at least four children, died after being admitted to Nairobi’s MP Shah hospital, said Manoj Shah, the hospital’s chairman.

Combined Kenyan military and police forces had the mall surrounded on September 22.

Kenya has approached Israel for help on the standoff, and Israel sent an advising team.
U.S. law enforcement, military and civilian personnel in Nairobi were providing advance and assistance as requested by Kenya, spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

Kenyatta’s nephew and the nephew’s fiancee are also among the dead.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that his government had sent a rapid deployment team to Kenya to help. Britons had undoubtedly been caught up in the “callous and cowardly and brutal” assault at the Westgate mall, said Hague.

AL-QAEDA-LINKED SOMALI GROUP IN DEADLY MALL ATTACK IN KENYA

September 22, 2013

The Washington Times on September 21, 2013, published an AP report on a Kenya al-Qaeda-linked Somali militant group claiming responsibility for the deadly attack on a mall in Kenya.

Excerpts below:

A statement from al-Shabab on its official Twitter feed on September 21 says the attacks are retribution for military action by Kenya inside Somalia. The group said it was now shifting the battlefield to Kenya.

The group said its fighters entered Nairobi’s upscale Westgate Mall at around noon on September 21 and were still inside more than nine hours later. Kenyan military special forces had entered the mall in an effort to end the standoff.

Nairobi’s mortuary superintendent, Sammy Nyongesa Jacob, says at least 23 bodies killed in the attack were brought in. He said Africans, Asians and Caucasians were among the dead.

US MILITARY WANTS NEW HYPERSONIC SPACE PLANE

September 21, 2013

Fox News on September 18, 2013, published a Space.com report on the United States military kick-starting a suborbital hypersonic vehicle program that also aims to launch payloads into orbit on the cheap. Excerpts below:

The new program, run by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is called Experimental Spaceplane, or XS-1. It follows in the footsteps of previous DARPA hypersonic projects, such as the HTV-2 aircraft that reached 20 times the speed of sound in an August 2011 test flight.

Officials want the reusable, unmanned XS-1 to take advantage of capabilities to be showcased under another DARPA initiative, the Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) program, which aims to launch small spacecraft (up to 100 pounds) in the 2015-2016 time period for just $1 million per liftoff, including range costs.

The XS-1 endeavor would allow routine access to space for a larger payload class — 1,000 pounds to 4,000 pounds or so — at about $5 million per launch, officials said.

“We’re looking for radical and disruptive changes,” said former NASA astronaut Pamela Melroy, now deputy director of the Tactical Technology Office at DARPA. “We are about demonstrations. It’s not enough to just experiment. You have to actually prove it.”

Melroy, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and test pilot, is no stranger to space. Before departing NASA in 2009, she flew on three space shuttle missions: STS-92 in 2000, STS-112 in 2002 and STS-120 in 2007. She served as pilot on her first two flights and commanded the third.

After her NASA career, Melroy helped to investigate the 2003 space shuttle Columbia disaster and also served as the acting deputy associate administrator and director of field operations in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, a body that is starting to develop regulatory approaches for private manned spaceflight.

The goals of the XS-1 include flying 10 times in 10 days, as well as achieving Mach 10 — ten times the speed of sound, Melroy said. (The speed of sound at sea level is about 761 mph.)

“This is not a single-stage-to-orbit,” she said. “This is a suborbital, hypersonic vehicle that will also allow us to do advanced hypersonic testing as well. And of course we are going to launch a payload into orbit.”

Melroy said that there will be a broad agency announcement out from DARPA sometime in the next month or so. An industry day for those interested in working on the XS-1 initiative is scheduled for early October, she said.

Early artwork aside, DARPA has not yet committed to a winged design for the XS-1. The key is that it needs to have a reusable first stage, Melroy said.

“We all know how expensive space has gotten,” she said.

The goal is to go beyond Mach 3, and “we actually think that getting to Mach 10 is the bigger reach that DARPA is looking for,” Melroy added. “We’re headed for the big step with Mach 10.”

Melroy’s office is interested in technologies that provide a robust, reliable, affordable and innovative means for achieving access to space. The focus is on revolutionizing the responsiveness and flexibility of space systems by introducing “aircraft-like” space access.
DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office is also interested in space vehicle technologies that allow access to a wide range of altitudes and inclinations and also enable highly efficient on-orbit maneuvers.

“We’ve gone far too long without any serious experimental vehicles for launch technology,” said Rand Simberg, an industry consultant and writer on space business, technology and policy. He is author of the forthcoming book “Safe Is Not An Option,” which details what he views as the irrational risk aversion in spaceflight.

“Too many times an experimental program is just an excuse to push someone’s pet technology, even if it doesn’t necessarily make economic or engineering sense,” Simberg added. “I hope that they’ll let the concepts drive the technology, rather than the other way around.”