Archive for October, 2013


October 31, 2013

Israel National Radio on October 11, 2013, reported on a policy speech by Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu on October 6 at Bar Ilan University. He then responded to a lauding by Palestinian leader Abbas of the Mufti in an earlier speech. Excerpts below:

Israel’s Prime Minister quoted the protocols of the Hitler-Mufti pact, presented as evidence against the Mufti in the Nuremberg war crimes trials. The records of the meeting between Hitler and the Mufti explicitly state that Hitler would exterminate the Jews in Europe, while the Mufti would enlist Nazi aid to exterminate Jews in Palestine, so as to establish a “JudenRein” state of Palestine.

To that end, the Mufti ensconced himself in Hitler’s bunker, from where he recruited an Islamic unit of the Waffen SS, which actively engaged in the mass murder of Jews, while issuing Arabic language appeals on Nazi radio that incited Moslems to join the Nazi cause and to prepare for mass murder of Jews in Palestine.

The Protocols of the Nuremberg trials concerning the Mufti were published in a 1946 book, titled “Mufti of Jerusalem,” authored by journalist Maurice Pearlman, who was appointed in 1948 by Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, as the first director of the Israel Government Press Office.

Pearlman reported that the refusal of the British government to arrest the Mufti in Cairo caused the head of the Zionist revisionists in the United States at the time, Ben Zion Netanyahu, the late father of Israel’s current Prime Minister, to launch an unsuccessful campaign to push the US to demand the arrest of the Mufti in Cairo.

In his Bar Ilan speech, Netanyahu cited affidavits of senior SS prosecution witnesses who testified that the Mufti, working directly under Eichmann and Himmler, identified the Mufti’s instrumental role in making sure that millions of Jews were murdered, and not ransomed.

Netanyahu referred to the affidavit of one of Eichmann’s subordinates, SS Hampsturmfuerer Dieter Wisliceny, who appeared as a witness for the Nuremberg prosecution, where the Nazi officer testified that,

The Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry for the Germans and had been the permanent collaborator and advisor of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of the plan.

In his messages broadcast from Berlin, the Mufti surpassed the Germans in anti-Jewish attacks. He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures.

Discussion of the Mufti’s role in the extermination of the Jews has been downplayed for years by Israeli officials, who were hesitant to attack the George Washington of the PLO. Perhaps that would spoil the moderate image of the PLO as a peace partner.
Now Israel’s Prime Minister has placed the Mufti’s legacy on the agenda.

A little known fact concerns the Mufti’s special relationship with a young relative in Cairo, to whom the Mufti would affectionately give the name “Yassir Arafat.” In December 1996, Haaretz interviewed Yassir Arafat’s younger brother and sister, who said that the Mufti performed the role of a surrogate father figure and mentor to the young Arafat.


October 30, 2013

The Washington Times on October 29, 2013, the USS Zumwalt, a massive 610-foot modern-day destroyer with an advanced rocket system, launched into the water off a Maine dock, in a surprisingly quiet ceremony, given the vessel’s record-breaking size and unusual shape. Excerpts below:

It’s the largest destroyer ever built for the U.S. Navy, and it’s notable for its angular profile, The Daily Mail reported.

The ship has a 155 mm “Advanced Gun System,” with rocket-propelled warheads that can shoot 100 miles. And due to its high-technology component, it only requires half the normal amount of sailors to operate.

Bath Iron Works craftsmen will keep working on the ship in the water. Workers hope to christen it this spring, and send it along for some trial sea runs in the fall of 2014. It will then be delivered to the U.S. Navy in 2015.

“The Zumwalt is really in a league of its own,” said defense consultant Eric Wertheim, in The Daily Mail.


October 29, 2013

Daily Telegraph, London, on October 28, 2013, reported that for the first time in over 40 years, China reveals a fleet of its older generation of nuclear submarines, which fires rockets from under the sea. Excerpts below:

The fleet of nuclear submarines has been around for four decades but, in a sign of the country’s growing military strength, China has now decided to openly display the vessels.

The submarines, which were taking part in training drills and simulating combat, could also be seen firing rockets from under the water.

The US has expressed concern over China’s increased military assertiveness…


October 28, 2013

Radio Free Asia on October 25, 2013, reported that former U.S. president George W. Bush held talks with a defector from North Korean who gave a harrowing account of his childhood spent in a camp for political prisoners in a meeting seeking to draw attention to human rights abuses in the reclusive, nuclear-armed nation. Excerpts below:

Bush and Shin Dong Hyuk, whose story is told in Escape From Camp 14, written by veteran American journalist Blaine Harden, spoke for an hour at the recently opened George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas, where the former president expressed concern that abuses suffered by prisoners in North Korea during Shin’s time in the camp continue today, sources said.

Shin, who escaped in 2005 from Kwan-li-so (Prison-labor camp) No. 14 by crawling through an electrified fence, said that Bush had invited him because of the former president’s concern for human rights in North Korea and because he had been impressed by the book about him.

Even now, almost 200,000 inmates of the North Korean camps are subjected to hunger, torture, and other abuse, with some publicly executed for attempting to escape, participants in the meeting said as they called for the world to pay greater attention to the sufferings endured in the camps.

Following the meeting, the former U.S. president and former political prisoner exchanged books, with Shin presenting Bush with a copy of Escape From Camp 14, and Bush in turn offering Shin a copy of his memoirs.

“Former president Bush is deeply interested in [the situation of] North Korean human rights, and especially in the political prison camps,” said executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea Greg Scarlatoiu, who attended the meeting.

Scarlatoiu added that Wednesday’s meeting creates a new opportunity to press the international community, including the U.S., to work to improve human rights in North Korea.

In September, the head of a U.N. investigation into human rights abuses in North Korea cited “unspeakable atrocities” in the secretive state…

Michael Kirby, chairman of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea, told the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council that testimonies heard so far by his panel indicate that North Korean authorities are responsible for violations in every area it had been tasked with investigating.

Kiriby’s commission heard testimony from a former prisoner driven by hunger to eat rodents, lizards, and grass.

It also heard from a young woman who said she saw another female prisoner forced to drown her own baby in a bucket, Kirby said, and a man who said he was forced to collect and burn the corpses of prisoners who died of starvation.

The commission has now held hearings in Seoul, Tokyo, and London ahead of a meeting this week in Washington, and will present its final findings to the U.N. Human Rights Commission in March.


October 27, 2013

Fox News on October 27, 2013, reported that an Israeli defense official says a new report claiming Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium to build a nuclear bomb in less than a month is further justification for why Israel will take military action before that happens. Excerpts below:

Danny Danon, Israel’s deputy defense minister told USA Today that Iran is speedily moving to develop advanced centrifuges that will enable it to enrich uranium needed for nuclear weapons within weeks.

The United States and other world powers fear Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

The Institute for Science and International Security on October 24 issued a report stating that Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a nuclear bomb in as little as one month, USA Today reported. The organization’s estimates did not include the time required to build a reliable warhead for a ballistic missile

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is asking Congress to hold off on enacting new sanctions against Iran, arguing that a pause in the push to impose new penalties would give negotiators flexibility in talks now underway to get Iran to comply with demands it prove its nuclear program is peaceful.

But, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said it was the consensus of the administration’s national security teams that a pause “would be helpful in terms of providing some flexibility while we see if these negotiations will move forward.” She said the position was delivered to lawmakers and congressional aides at a White House meeting on October 24.

“We have conveyed that any congressional action should be aligned with our negotiating strategy as we move forward. So while we understand that Congress may consider new sanctions, we think this is a time for a pause, as we asked for in the past, to see if negotiations can gain traction,” Psaki told reporters.

She noted that additional sanctions can always be imposed later if the Iranians fail to meet their obligations, and she stressed that no existing sanctions are being lifted.

At the White House, national security council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the negotiations would not last indefinitely without progress and movement from Iran, which has long defied international demands to come clean about its nuclear intentions.

Bipartisan pressure in Congress to ramp up sanctions on Iran has been rising for some time and hit a new high last week after negotiators from the United States, the other four permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany met with Iranian officials in Geneva.

The Senate Banking Committee is expected soon to draft new sanctions shortly after the government reopens, largely mirroring a House bill that passed overwhelmingly by a 400-20 vote in July and blacklisted Iran’s mining and construction sectors. It also called for all Iranian oil sales to end by 2015.

The Senate’s bill may narrow that timeframe, block international investment in more economic sectors, try to close off Iran’s foreign accounts and tighten Obama’s ability to waive requirements for allies and key trading partners who continue to do business with Iran.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


October 26, 2013

Fox News on October 24, 2013, published an article by Allison Barrie on the Annual United States Army Meeting land warfare exhibition being the stage for many companies vying to win the opportunity to place their tech in U.S. Special Operations. Excerpts below:

As the event drew to a close, the scoreboard was clear: Those betting on Boomerangs, Flyers and Pumas to be at the forefront would have been right.

Scoring big with special operations were the Boomerang Air to protect helicopter crews, the Flyer ITV ground vehicle to provide agile transport in severe terrain and the Puma next generation drone to give operators eyes in the sky.

Made by Raytheon-BBN Corporation, these are not your average Australian outback boomerangs. These Boomerang Airs are acoustic hostile fire indicator systems that mount on helicopters.

The tech saves lives by helping flight crews under attack by locating the shooter. It does this by using the microphone sensors that are integrated into, and distributed throughout, the helicopter body. The sensors detect small arms fire traveling toward the helicopter.

The system is so advanced that it can detect even when shooters are firing from maximum effective range of a weapon.

Boomerang Air will even identify the weapon shooting at them for the crew.

The aircrew receives the shooter locations through audio warnings and graphical displays.

And the tech works not just when the helicopter is hovering or landing, but also while it is cruising. Beyond single shots, it can also identify multiple bursts and multiple shooters.

While Special Operations Command would use Boomerang Air to protect warfighters on operations, the tech could also be used for surveillance and search and rescue operations. It even has potential on the homeland for law enforcement.

On display over at General Dynamics all week, the Flyer ITV couldn’t help but draw crowds.

Developed with Flyer Defense LLC , the Flyer is a modular, armored four wheel drive vehicle with a top speed of 85 mph and a cruising range of 450 miles.

From 7.62 mm machine guns through to 40 mm automatic grenade launchers, its 360-degree mounting ring mounted on the roll cage means the Flyer can be equipped with a range of weapons.

Depending on the mission, it can be easily and rapidly be reconfigured in the field with different modular mission kits ranging from reconnaissance and light strike assault through to rescue and evacuation.

It provides off-road and cross-country capability over severe, rugged and restrictive terrain. Very robust, it has been designed to perform in all types of weather while carrying up to 3,500 pounds.

But the key here is that it can fit inside, and be transported by, most of the U.S. military’s rotary-winged aircraft such as the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor and Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters.

It can also be sling-loaded from the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

General Dynamics announced at AUSA that U.S. Special Operations Command also gave them a contract for the Flyer Advanced Light Strike Vehicle or ALSV. The three-year contract is for up to 10 vehicles representing a total value of $5.8 million if all options are exercised.

Lightweight drone Puma made by Aeroenvironment is only 13.5 pounds, can be easily carried and is already very popular with special operators.

Very quiet, it operates autonomously to provide an eye in the sky. Puma doesn’t need a runway or launch pad to deploy.

Instead, this drone can be assembled in minutes, hand-launched, operated and recovered by a two-person team. Fully waterproof, it can also be launched and recovered at sea.

When you combine the new propulsion system with its new battery, Puma will give the special operator an extra three and one-half hours of surveillance.

There are also other potential power options like integrating solar and fuel cells. Puma currently has color and thermal video camera capability, but new Puma will also have an auxiliary payload bay to help make integrating advanced tech faster and easier.

The enhanced Puma AE will be available the first quarter of next year.

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


October 25, 2013

Washington Times on October 24, 2013, reported that former Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren is worried that the United States is withdrawing from foreign affairs and he doubts that U.S. efforts to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians will calm tensions in the Middle East. Excerpts below:

Mr. Oren told the Jerusalem Post newspaper that he detected a growing isolationist sentiment among liberals and libertarians during his four years in Washington.

“It is something I have been aware of for a long time,” he said in the interview published this week. “I have been talking about this for at least a year.”

Mr. Oren said U.S. fatigue is not limited to foreign affairs. “It is on a whole spectrum of issues,” he said.

Mr. Oren also revealed his anxiety over the latest U.S. move to restart talks between Israelis and Palestinians, rejecting the view of many analysts that resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict would bring wider stability in the Middle East.

“It is not going to bring stability to internal affairs in Egypt, and it is not going to end the Syrian civil war,” the former ambassador said.

Mr. Oren returned to Israel late last month to join the faculty at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, one of Israel’s most prestigious universities.


October 24, 2013

Fox News on October 23, 2013, published an article by Allison Barrie on 3 new military technologies. What do a kamikaze drone, a “field and forget” surveillance system and an Israeli robot have in common? Buzz at the annual AUSA Army meeting in Washington, D.C. Excerpts below:

Battlehawk drone blows itself

A new “kamikaze” drone that blows itself up — and takes its target with it — was revealed at AUSA.

Made by Textron System, the Battlehawk is similar to Aerovironment’s widely publicized Switchblade. Both are drones that can be carried in a backpack and hand-launched. And they both represent a movement towards making drones more accessible at a squad level.

Rather than call in air support, a squad would have a drone literally in their hands to deploy against threats like a sniper or an ambush waiting around the corner. The Battlehawk is made of carbon-fiber wings – wings that can be curled up for deployment from a 22-inch tube launcher.

The 5.5-pound Battlehawk runs on a small battery-powered propeller. This drone can be flown using a mere tablet or smartphone equipped with the Android app.

It also has an onboard video camera system so the users can monitor the mission in progress.

While this drone could be used to target enemy vehicles and locations, beyond military applications, Textron has hopes for homeland security applications as well. Rather than using a lethal grenade, Battlehawk could be armed with less lethal alternatives like a smoke grenade for deployment domestically, for example.

This autumn the Battlehawk will be deployed for more testing by forces.

Rocks to monitor enemy movements

Lockheed Martin chose AUSA to reveal more information on the company’s field-and-forget surveillance system called Self-Powered Ad-hoc Network or SPAN.

So what is SPAN? Basically it looks like rocks, but acts like smart sentries.

SPAN is an integrated sensor system that functions as a self-forming mesh to provide covert surveillance for protecting bases, borders and more.

And get this: These sensors are self-healing, self-powering and self-organizing. This sensor network is so smart it can direct a camera or drone to investigate an area.

The sensors can be easily concealed in camouflage housing. For example, one option is for the sensor to look like just your average rock.

Small enough to be fit into a hand, not only do the sensors operate with extremely low power but they harvest their own energy from their surroundings.

That’s right, this surveillance system powers itself. It can operate nearly perpetually without someone going out to the “rocks” and replacing their batteries.

When you combine convincing rock disguises with self-sustaining power, you’ve got a difficult to detect, highly concealed surveillance system, with a reduced chance of the enemy discovering it and dismantling or tampering with it.

Special Operations Stair-Climbing Robot

Also announced at AUSA, the U.S. Defense Department is fast-tracking deployment of a stair-climbing micro robot to deploy on special operations missions.

Designed by the Israeli Roboteam company, the Micro Tactical Ground Robot (or MTGR) can be carried by a single soldier.

MTGR travels at 2 miles per hour and can climb 8-inch stairs, and this tough little fella can carry its own weight.

The micro robot was also built to clear obstacles and conduct complex maneuvers in extreme terrain with a line-of-sight operating range of 1,600 feet. To that end, it has five on-board cameras, an internal microphone and infrared laser pointers that can pinpoint a target 360 degrees around the robot.

Its encrypted radio allows streaming secure voice and video to tactical operators downrange.

Roboteam’s Ruggedized Operator Control Unit, which comes in a 5-inch Android version and a two-handed, 7-inch Windows-based unit, controls the robot, its manipulator arm and onboard tech.

A robot this size equipped with this tech would be useful for situations involving tight spaces where a warfighter or canine would not fit or easily maneuver. For example, it could be used for underground threats like investigating tunnels in war zones.

MGTR is also built for to help dispose of explosive ordnance. At 20 pounds, the company says it is the world’s lightest such platform.

The micro robot is in operational tests with the Pentagon’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office…

The Pentagon expects Army Special Operations Command, Naval Special Warfare Command, Marine Corps combat engineer schoolhouse and the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team to use these micro robots.

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


October 23, 2013

Fox News on October 22, 2013, in an article by Allison Barrie reported that Sikorsky and Boeing revealed the name of their new Joint Multi-Role (JMR) helicopter tech, “Defiant,” at the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting & Exposition — one of the largest land warfare expositions in the world, held every October in Washington, D.C. Excerpts below:

Within the next two decades, the JMR helicopter program will replace the popular current Apaches and Black Hawks helicopters.

On Oct. 2, the Army announced it plans to invest $217 million in the first phase of the Future Vertical Lift initiative that is developing the JMR. The Defiant team is in the running with three other teams including Bell Helicopter/Textron, AVX Aircraft Co. and Karem Aircraft, each of which received $6.5 million to begin initial work.

The Army will narrow down selection to two teams who will then build prototypes for flight tests next year.

Who attends?

Each year more than 30,000 attend from the U.S. and foreign countries. AUSA attracts a mix of active military, retired and civilians from the U.S. as well as abroad.

Government funding freezes also failed to discourage foreign countries from taking the opportunity to showcase their latest and greatest at the annual event.

Last year, representatives from 49 countries ranging from Argentina and Chile, Benin and Cameroon, through to Bosnia and Denmark, Russia and Ukraine over to Asian countries like Japan and Singapore.

There are nine international pavilions: United Kingdom, Turkey, Korea, Israel, Germany, France, Canada and Australia.

Ever wonder what a Korean MRE would taste like?

The South Korean Pavilion has the answer. Harvest Charm Food, purveyor of instant rice, noodle and kimchi type products, has been providing the South Korean military with their MREs for more than 30 years.

The pavilion is also featuring companies like Hi-Saver that makes a light reflective skin for fluorescent tubes to save energy alongside companies like Dasan Machineries that make rifle barrels, pistol parts and more along the weapons line.

Over at the Israel Pavilion, Seraphim Optronics revealed a new surveillance solution.

Less than ten pounds, the ROSS is a lightweight surveillance system that is remotely controlled and images day or night. Only just over ten inches by six and a half inches, it compact and can be left unattended to get on with covert surveillance.

Seraphaim Optronics specializes in electro-optical systems for military, paramilitary and civilian markets.
Team Defense Australia is featuring more than twenty companies this year.

From ammunition and fuses through to turrets and mine clearance, their companies are offering quite a range of tech.
And when the drinks start pouring freely on the exhibit floor at the end of the day, year in and year out, their patch tends to mop up as most fun national pavilion – a smart way to attract business in a highly competitive environment.

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


October 22, 2013

Wall Street Journal on September 5, 2013, published a review by Gabriel Schoenfeld of a new book by Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman. Twelve years after 9/11, the U.S. remains a prime target of al Qaeda, with New York City as the bull’s-eye. Yet in the interval, New York hasn’t been successfully struck again. Enemies Within suggests an explanation for the city’s good fortune. Written by Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, reporters with the Associated Press, the book tells two intertwined stories. One is an account of the 2009 attempt by Najibullah Zazi, an al Qaeda recruit, to bomb New York City’s subways. The other is a chronicle of the city’s counterterrorism efforts in the years since the Twin Towers fell. Together, contend the authors, the two tales tell us a great deal—not all of it flattering—about the ways in which law enforcement has kept the city safe. Excerpts below:

Counterterrorism in New York is carried out by a patchwork of agencies, the two biggest players being the New York City Police Department and the FBI.

The Intelligence Division—or NYPD Intel, as it is called—was long a backwater. After 9/11, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly breathed life into it, installing the rough-riding David Cohen as its director. Mr. Cohen was a former CIA official with a reputation for aggressive management.

In the frantic search for hidden al Qaeda cells, Mr. Cohen’s division recruited an army of informants to infiltrate Islamic institutions across the city and indeed across the region.

In contrast to such…conduct, the FBI emerges in “Enemies Within” as a model of rectitude. It too sent informants into mosques to gain information about suspects, but only upon evidence of criminal activity. Without meeting stringent legal requirements, the scrupulously law-abiding federal agents, Messrs. Apuzzo and Goldman report, couldn’t even “sit outside a mosque as part of an investigation and collect license plate numbers of people in attendance.”

“Enemies Within” makes much of the fact that it was the FBI—despite being encumbered by the supposed handicap of observing the Constitution—and not NYPD Intel that busted Najibullah Zazi and his two al Qaeda confederates. Zazi, an Afghan-American, had traveled with his fellow plotters to Pakistan to train in the arts of violent jihad. Upon their return, they intended to blow themselves up in three coordinated blasts on the New York City subways. Spooked by surveillance, Zazi fled to relatives in Colorado, where the FBI swooped in. (Zazi pleaded guilty in 2010 to conspiracy to commit murder, among other charges.)

Mr. Kelly would have been grossly negligent if, in the wake of 9/11, he had not shifted resources to gathering intelligence on potential malefactors and the communities in which they blend in and hide. It is in the nature of terrorism that its operations, aimed at mass death, are secretive and conspiratorial. Normal cop-on-the-beat practices won’t do the job.

Mr. Kelly’s decisions paid off in averting the attempted bombing of the Herald Square subway in 2004, as well as other plots.

…in the age of mass terrorism, even one successful attack is far too many. In any event, police work is measurable, in part, by the absence of the wrongdoing it aims to prevent, and by that measure the NYPD is clearly doing something right. In seeking out terrorists, NYPD Intel deters them. We can’t know what might have happened in New York without its efforts.

The merit of the authors’ assiduous reporting is often undercut by their intemperate and politically tendentious rhetoric. They tell us that NYPD Intel “fancied itself a miniature CIA,” that it cast itself along the lines of Dick Cheney’s “dark side,” and that it has engaged in tactics that are likely to be remembered next to “waterboarding, secret prisons, and warrantless wiretapping.” One doubts whether New Yorkers, grateful not to have suffered a second terrorist attack, would agree. Such claims are, in any case, an injustice to New York’s Finest.

Gabriel Schoenfeld is a Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute.