Thursday, October 31, 2013

UK's MWD lead by a nose

A team of 4 military working dog handlers put their dogs – Otis (pictured), Chox, Ali and Benson – through their paces in unfamiliar surroundings onboard HMS Dragon. The ladders, sounds and smells that are all second nature to the crew of the warship presented a new experience to the highly efficient team based at Episkopi Garrison in Cyprus. Otis and Chox – specialist arms explosive search dogs – found a mock suspicious device hidden in 1 of the destroyer’s bunk spaces within minutes, ably assisted by handlers Corporal Morris and Lance Corporal Jones. [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Dave Jenkins, Crown copyright]

NSA spying on allied leaders: 'POTUS didn't know'

Yet another case of 'POTUS didn't know.'   First from the BBC:

Obama 'not told of Merkel phone bugging'

The chief of the US spy agency NSA has not discussed the alleged bugging of German chancellor's phone with President Barack Obama, officials say.

Gen Keith Alexander never discussed alleged operations involving Chancellor Angela Merkel, an NSA spokeswoman said.

German media say the US has been tapping the chancellor's phone since 2002, and Mr Obama was told in 2010.

The row has led to one of the worst diplomatic crises between the two countries in recent years.

A report in German tabloid Bild am Sonntag claimed that Gen Alexander had told the president about the bugging himself.  [emphasis mine]

More here.

 From Homeland Security News Wire:

White House to curb NSA monitoring of some allies' leaders 
29 October 2013

It appears that President Obama will soon instruct the NSA to stop eavesdropping on leaders of close U.S. allies. 

Yesterday’s indication by the White House that it moving toward banning the NSA from eavesdropping on some foreign leaders is a historic change in the practices of an agency which has enjoyed unlimited and unfettered – and, it now appears, unsupervised – freedom of action outside the borders of the United States. The move is similar to, if more complicated than, the limits imposed on the CIA in the mid-1970s. Security experts note, though, that prohibiting the NSA from eavesdropping on some foreign leaders would be more complicated and potentially more damaging to U.S. interests than the prohibitions imposed on the CIA more than three decades ago.

It now emerges that both the president and Congress’s intelligence committees were kept in the dark about this aspect of the NSA surveillance program, a fact which yesterday has led a staunch supporter of the NSA, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), chairperson of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to issue an unusually – for her — pointed rebuke of the agency: “I do not believe the United States should be collecting phone calls or e-mails of friendly presidents and prime ministers.” Feinstein said, adding that her committee would begin a “major review of all intelligence collection programs.”

“She believes the committee was not adequately briefed on the details of these programs, and she’s frustrated,” a committee staff member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Times. “In her mind, there were salient omissions.”

The review that Feinstein announced would be “a major undertaking,” the staff member said....

Can you say:  SSDD?  Yes, we can!  You know there is more, here. 

Brought to you by 'the most transparent government EVER'

Royal Marine Afghan 'execution' video banned by Judge at Court Martial

From The Independent:

Footage showing the alleged execution of an injured Afghan insurgent by a British serviceman will not be released for fear it could spark revenge attacks on troops, a judge has ruled. 

The video, which allegedly shows a Royal Marine shooting the man in the chest at close range, had been recorded by a camera mounted on the helmet of another marine and had been shown to a court martial in Bulford, Wiltshire last week. The Ministry of Defence and the Home Office opposed the release of the footage. 

In a written ruling, Judge Advocate General Judge Jeff Blackett rejected an application from media outlets that the footage be shown. He said: “My view is the principle of open justice... has been satisfied by the DVD being played in open court where it has been observed by journalists and reported upon. Releasing it for unrestricted public consumption would expose British service personnel to increased risk of harm unnecessarily.

“[The Home Office] says that the risk is real and immediate and I accept that assessment”. Judge Blackett granted the media leave to appeal. The court martial was adjourned.

NASA: Ghost of Jupiter Nebula

Ghost of Jupiter Nebula 
This ghostly image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the disembodied remains of a dying star, called a planetary nebula. Planetary nebulas are a late stage in a sun-like star's life, when its outer layers have sloughed off and are lit up by ultraviolet light from the central star. The Ghost of Jupiter, also known as NGC 3242, is located roughly 1,400 light-years away in the constellation Hydra. Spitzer's infrared view shows off the cooler outer halo of the dying star, colored here in red. Also evident are concentric rings around the object, the result of material being periodically tossed out in the star's final death throes.

In this image, infrared light at wavelengths of 3.6 microns is rendered in blue, 4.5 microns in green, and 8.0 microns in red.

 Read more

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hurricane Sandy - Then and Now

One year ago today, Hurricane Sandy thundered on to US shores,  wreaking mayhem and disaster in her wake. 

NOAA GOES-13 image of Sandy at 6:02 a.m. EDT Tuesday (Oct. 30).
Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project 

Origin of storm Sandy began as a tropical wave in the Caribbean on Oct. 19. It quickly developed, becoming a tropical depression and then a tropical storm in just six hours. Tropical Storm Sandy was the 18th named storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. It was upgraded to a hurricane on Oct. 24 when its maximum sustained winds reached 74 mph (119 kph). 

Sandy tore through the Caribbean, making landfall at Jamaica on Oct. 24. After leaving that island, the storm gained strength over open water and became a Category 2. The storm hit Cuba early Oct. 25, then weakened to a Category 1. On Oct. 26, it swept across the Bahamas. Sandy briefly weakened to a tropical storm on Oct. 27, then gained strength again to become a Category 1 hurricane before turning north toward the U.S. coast. 

Sandy slams Jersey shore

 Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the United States about 8 p.m. EDT Oct. 29, striking near Atlantic City, N.J., with winds of 80 mph. A full moon made high tides 20 percent higher than normal and amplified Sandy's storm surge. Streets were flooded, trees and power lines knocked down and the city's famed boardwalk was ripped apart. Along the Jersey shore, people were left stranded in their homes and waited for rescue teams in boats to rescue them. More than 80 homes were destroyed in one fire in Queens. Several other fires were started throughout the New York metro area. 

Seawater surged over Lower Manhattan's seawalls and highways and into low-lying streets. The water inundated tunnels, subway stations and the electrical system that powers Wall Street and sent hospital patients and tourists scrambling for safety. Skyscrapers swayed and creaked in winds that partially toppled a crane 74 stories above Midtown. A large tanker ship ran aground on the city's Staten Island. As of Nov. 1, about 4.7 million people in 15 states were without electricity, down from nearly 8.5 million a day earlier. Subway tunnels in Lower Manhattan remained flooded,...

More here at  Live Science.


Many millions of dollars in damage was done to properties as Sandy cut a wide swath across America.  Although exact figures are still not known, the death toll was also devastating:

Sandy killed nearly 110 people in the United States and an additional 72 people that lived in the Caribbean and Canada. The total death count is still uncertain as of today as some reports assert that the death toll is higher in the United States.

Sandy was responsible for nearly $65 billion (U.S) dollars in damage.

Satellite image of Sandy shortly before landfall on October 29, 2012. Image via NASA/GSFC Hurricanes vary in size and intensity, but Hurricane Sandy spread tropical storm winds over 900 miles, and typical systems are roughly 200 to 400 miles across.  (EarthSky)

Hurricane Sandy showed no mercy, no discrimination, and the world watched as heartbreaking pictures emerged.  From The Telegraph of the UK:

Sea water floods the Ground Zero construction site in New York  Picture: AP Photo/ John Minchillo

This aerial view, taken during a search and rescue mission by 1-150 Assault Helicopter Battalion, shows the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy to the New Jersey coast  Picture: REUTERS/Mark C. Olsen/U.S. Air Force

 A still taken from a surveillance camera capturing footage of water engulfing an underground station in Hoboken, N.J.  Picture: AP Photo/Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

The Plaza along Water Street in lower Manhattan is flooded after Superstorm Sandy hit New York City  Picture: EPA/JUSTIN LANE

 Rising water, caused by Superstorm Sandy, rushes into a subterranean parking garage in the Financial District of New York  Picture: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

 Streets are flooded under the Manhattan Bridge in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn, N.Y.  
Picture: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

A 'keep off the dunes' sign is buried in Cape May, NJ, after a storm surge from superstorm Sandy pushed the Atlantic Ocean over the beach and into the streets  Picture: Mel Evans/AP

An emergency worker carries an elderly resident from flood waters brought on by Superstorm Sandy in Little Ferry, New Jersey   Picture: REUTERS/Adam Hunger

An ambulance is stuck in over a foot of snow near Belington, West Virginia. Superstorm Sandy buried parts of West Virginia under more than a foot of snow, cutting power to at least 264,000 customers and closing dozens of roads  .Picture: Robert Ray/AP

The pictures above are just an overview - a few - of  a series of photographs by the Telegraph, and while they give some sense of the overwhelming devastation, they don't come close to showing the impact on people's personal lives.

BBC ran a feature on November 3, 2012, just days after Hurricane Sandy:

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy continues to affect the US East Coast. 

Some 2.5 million homes and businesses still have no electricity. 

Petrol shortages have also caused forecourt confrontations from New Jersey to Connecticut.
BBC News website readers caught up in the devastation have been describing the difficulties they and those around them are facing.

Daphay Sanchez, Staten Island

Storm Sandy took us by surprise. We didn't expect to be hit hard and we didn't evacuate. When we realised our yard was flooded and more water was coming, it was too late to move. 

We had to climb on top of our roof to get away from the water as it started entering the house.
The power went off, it was pitch-dark and we were scared. We had to tie ourselves to each other, because the winds were very strong. 

I had my laptop with me and kept posting cries for help. We stayed on the roof for eight hours before we were rescued.

It was a terrible night. Many people in our neighbourhood lost their lives.

More on her story, and others, here...

Sadly, stories such as those were not unique.  Through the power of social media, many of us miles away got to witness (and in a few cases, share) some of these cries for help..  Throughout the night, we all witnessed First Responders facing incredible dangers as they didn't hesitate to rescue those most vulnerable.

An amazing video clip here: Hurricane Sandy: NY firefighter tells of Queens rescue  

Across social media , people around the world shared pleas for help from people who were trapped. Calls for volunteers went out via groups such as Rockaway Relief, Occupy Sandy Relief NJ
Occupy Sandy, Team Rubicon and many others.

Great article on Team Rubicon's initial efforts here. 

 One of the First Responders was police officer Robert Franco.  From Wayne Patch:

Injured Officer Returns to Light Duty a Year After Sandy

Officer Robert Franco was nearly killed when a tree fell on his patrol car during Superstorm Sandy.
Posted by
October 28, 2013

A year after he was nearly killed in a horrific accident during Superstorm Sandy, Officer Robert Franco is back on the job.

Franco nearly died when a tree fell and crushed his patrol car on Lake Drive West while responding to the scene of a ruptured gas line. 


“I thought I was going to die,” Franco said last December. “I said whatever prayers I could and thought of my family.”

Franco’s bulletproof vest was strangling him and there were live electrical wires around the vehicles. Powerful wind gusts blew down hundreds of trees throughout the township. The trees fell on top of vehicles and houses, many taking power lines with them. 

“For 26 years I’ve been involved in emergency services and in all that time, I’ve never seen anything like that,” Franco said.

It took paramedics an hour to remove Franco from the vehicle....

Much more here. 

Many, many others rushed into the fray, risking their own lives to serve those in their communities as they battled Mother Nature .  Most of them, we will never hear about, but to those they saved, they ARE all Heroes.


What of the politicians, the government agencies?  POTUS did a fly over NJ, and then did a photo-op with Gov. Christie.  (No, you don't need me to share any of those pictures.)  FEMA had updates on their own website. The usual major relief agencies called for donations:  

American Red Cross:

Posted December 19, 2012

The American Red Cross, which will spend an estimated $110 million by the end of December on Superstorm Sandy emergency relief, is working closely with government and community partners on longer-term recovery efforts for survivors.

The initial Red Cross recovery plan, developed in coordination with FEMA and other partners to identify and address unmet needs, is estimated to cost another $60 million. Any Sandy donation beyond what is used for emergency relief and this initial recovery plan will be used for other longer-term needs of those affected by this disaster....

More here.  

(Depending on who you talked to, and where they lived, stories varied as to how visible - or helpful, the Red Cross was on the ground. )

United Way on Long Island put out the call, and later released a report on their efforts to contribute, make a difference for those finding themselves adrift, homeless.

Long Island Harvest was just one food bank who sprang into action to fill the needs of  local residents who lost everything.

Thanksgiving was hard  for many communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy,  and local businesses donated turkeys etc to remind them that they were not overlooked.   From the Examiner:

Thanksgiving dinners delivered to Hurricane Sandy victims in NY

November 21, 2012

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that 3,085 boxes of traditional Thanksgiving dinners and 900 turkeys will be delivered to communities hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy. The Governor coordinated thousands of food items donated by Costco, Delta, ShopRite and Walmart to be packed and delivered by the National Guard to impacted New Yorkers in New York City, Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley today.

This morning, Governor Cuomo visitws the Five Towns Community Center in Lawrence, Nassau County at 11:00 AM and the Rockaway Point Fire Department in Breezy Point, Queens at 12:00 PM to help distribute dinners. In Breezy Point, the Governor greeted first responders with actor Steve Buscemi at a lunch hosted by the Friends of Firefighters non-profit organization. The Friends of Firefighters lunch was nearly cancelled but the Governor's Office arranged for the National Guard to help deliver supplies and prepare meals for the first responders.

“This Thanksgiving, we wanted to ensure that New Yorkers impacted by the storm can still celebrate the holiday with their loved ones,” Governor Cuomo said. “The generous contributions from Costco, Delta, ShopRite and Walmart made that possible for families in the hardest hit communities in the state. I thank our corporate partners for their continuing assistance which will provide the invaluable comfort of a Thanksgiving dinner to thousands of New Yorkers.”...

 Read the rest here.

One year on?  Not much in the msm throughout the past year, but the people directly impacted by Hurricane Sandy are still working to rebuild their shattered lives.

Of course, many news organisations are checking in with those they met in the direct aftermath.  THere is this video: Hurricane Sandy:  One Year Later from CBC The National 

From CBS New York is this:

Veterans, Other Volunteers Turn Out To Rebuild Nearly A Year After Sandy

Group Rebuilds Six Houses On Coney Island

 As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, over 200 veterans, along with other good-hearted people, took their weekend to rebuild six homes in the neighborhood.

“The reason that I volunteer is because it helps us to continue our service,” said U.S. Army veteran Elana Duffy, “and it’s a very similar feeling, almost, when you are out there and you realize that you’ve actually made a difference, and you’ve impacted somebody’s life.”

The volunteers are from the groups Rebuilding Together and Team Rubicon. They said the ability to help was an honor.

“Just seeing the impact that you do on people’s lives – I mean, they lost everything. Some of them lost family members,” said veteran Victor Londono. “And just to help them out any way you can, there’s no greater feeling than that.”...

 More on this story of Americans helping each other - plus an audio clip - here.

From The New York Times:

A Storm Still Felt

 A November 2012 photograph shows the block where Aidan White, story below, and his family lived.  Kirsten Luce for The New York Times

Published: October 27, 2013  

Kerry Price

Belle Harbor, N.Y. 
  1. We decided not to evacuate.

    We left for Irene and nothing — no water, no loss of electricity — just a night spent at my in-laws’ in an uncomfortable bed. 

    We knew this would be worse, but we felt safe staying. The kids watched movies, I made a beef stew and we played board games. It reminded me of the harmless power outages from my childhood, when we would all spend quality family-time together. It was nice. 

    Then the water broke through the garage door, folding it in half. 

    Around 7:40 p.m., the power went out. The kids went to bed, and we listened to the radio: when was high tide, when was low tide, was it over, was it just starting, had the eye passed? All we knew was it was bad and getting worse. 

    Kerry and Jim Price with their children, from left, Jake, 4; Kelsie, 8; Kiera, 10. Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

    My husband noticed an orange glow out the window, a fire that looked about two blocks away - or was it? 

    Within about two hours, the fire was right across the street. Embers were crashing off the roof, the scent of smoke filled the house and we could hear the loud booms of wood snapping and burning. 

    There was a gas station on the corner. Would it blow? 

Much more on their story -  and others' -  here.

From USA Today, comes this written statement from President Obama:

Obama: We're recovering from Hurricane Sandy

 There are still some Americans who are struggling to pick up whatever pieces are left of their lives; who appear to have fallen through the cracks. 
From FOXDC comes this:

A year later, some Superstorm Sandy victims wonder if they’ll ever get their lives back

Oct 29, 2013

By the morning of Oct. 29, 2012, it was clear the East Coast would not be spared by the 1,100-mile storm system churning north through the Atlantic Ocean. Residents of seaside towns in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut evacuated. Homes and stores were boarded up. Schools were closed and flights canceled. Those who didn't make it to high ground hunkered down and waited.

Sandy's fury claimed 73 lives, caused $68 billion in damage and was felt in 24 states, from Florida to Maine and as far west as Wisconsin. In the ensuing weeks and months, aid workers and utility crews from all over the nation descended on the stricken area, helping victims and slowly restoring power to some 6 million homes. Yet many who found themselves in the mighty storm's path are still waiting a year later - waiting on insurance payments or government aid. Waiting to get their lives back.

 One year after Superstorm Sandy unleashed its fury on the East Coast, leaving a wake of destruction from New Jersey to New England, Michael Conacchio feels like a hostage in the bedroom of his ravaged home.
As Sandy pushed north along the New Jersey coastline, it sent seawater surging over dunes and boardwalks, and into the many inlets along the shoreline. Six feet of water rushed into the first floor of Conacchio's two-story home along Barnegat Bay estuary. When the waters receded, they left a wake of ruined furniture, soggy carpet and bulging sheetrock - and an uninhabitable first floor.
“For the past 12 months I’ve been living in my bedroom,” said Conacchio, 56, of Brick Township.

"There's mold throughout the first floor.”

Conacchio has plenty of company. New Jersey officials estimate that some 346,000 homes were destroyed or damaged by Sandy. And as of last month, in Ocean County alone, 26,000 people were still displaced. People who spoke to said their anger is reserved for low-balling insurance agents, FEMA workers who won't listen and a host of rules governing the aid they desperately need.

“The big problem is that no grant money has hit the streets,” said George Kasimos, a Toms River resident who started the advocacy group Stop FEMA Now. “They just give you a denial. Without any explanation.”
“There’s no straight answers.”

More of other families struggling here.

 Another family struggling is the Fernandez' of Nassau County, NY.  The mom, Rosaline, has started a petition which she addresses to the CEO of the American Red Cross, Gail McGovern.  Her petition begins:

American Red Cross: Honor your commitment to Sandy survivors 

Rosaline Fernandez, with Disaster Accountability Project

My name is Rosaline Fernandez, and after Hurricane Sandy I was devastated. Nearly everyone in my community in Atlantic Beach, Nassau County, NY, was impacted. My apartment of 9 years was destroyed by mold – nearly all of our furniture, clothes, books, heirlooms, and photographs – were all gone. I'm a single mom and my three kids and I were homeless. I was overwhelmed and feeling lost. I was so thankful when American Red Cross told me they were going to help me with rental and specific furniture assistance. We were filled with hope... until something horrible happened.

Without any warning, American Red Cross changed several of the Program’s eligibility rules. Just like that, my family -- along with as many as 1,000 other Sandy survivors -- were no longer eligible for the assistance we had counted on because of seemingly random changes that even surprised many of our caseworkers.

Like so many others, the American Red Cross’s Move-In Assistance Program was the help we needed to get back on our feet. We were so ready to move on with our lives.  I even found a new apartment and the landlord completed the paperwork provided by Red Cross. We couldn’t understand why the Red Cross would suddenly move the goalpost for eligibility for the program leaving hundreds of victims and their families behind right as we were prepared to settle in to new homes and rebuild.

Millions of people across the country donated hundreds of millions of dollars to American Red Cross, trusting that they were helping people like me and my neighbors. The Move-In Assistance Program could have been a lifesaver for families who lost everything.
 Instead, it has been a nightmare....

She goes on to give details of other families who  have been unable to get the help they also so desperately need.  She is asking for your signature here. 
The fact is, no matter what level of bureaucracy may be involved, there ARE families who face another long, cold harsh winter,  who are still unable to gain any semblance of a stable, new normal since Hurricane Sandy ripped right through their homes, their lives.

The media may move on, but Americans unlucky enough to be in the path of Hurricane Sandy will never be the same again. 

From the POTUS statement above:

..."That's who we are as Americans — we take care of our own. We leave nobody behind. And as long as our fellow Americans continue to travel the long and sometimes difficult road to recovery, their country will stay with them every step of the way."...

That IS the American way, looking out for each other, and we saw that full-force on October 29 last year.   It is my belief that the legacy of Hurricane Sandy will be a continuing demonstration of those values. NObody left behind.

Israel releases MORE terrorists in appeasement gesture

Because appeasement always works so well!

From Israel National News:

A List of Monsters
by Gil Ronen A List of Monsters

The terrorists to be set free murdered Jews young and old, including an elderly Holocaust survivor, with guns, knives, axes, and ropes.

As Israel prepares to release 26 more terrorist prisoners as a "gesture" to the Palestinian Authority, Arutz Sheva presents a partial list of those slated for freedom.

It reveals a catalogue of atrocities, the majority of which involved the murder of civilians carried out at close range. Each of the crimes shook Israel at the time it happened, and was the front page headline of Israel's newspapers at the time it happened. 

Kassem Hazem Shabir murdered Holocaust survivor Yitzhak Rotenberg Hy”d. Rotenberg, a Polish Jew, was sent to the Sobibor concentration camp with his family when he was a teenager but managed to escape from the camp and to fight in the ranks of the Partisan underground. He was also interred by the British in Cyprus before reaching Palestine. He joined the IDF and took part in the War of independence. He worked in construction.

At age 67, as he was fixing a floor in Petach Tikva, Hazem and another terrorist attacked him from behind with axe blows to the back of his head. He died two days later. Hazem's accomplice was released in the previous batch of terror prisoners. Rotenberg was survived by his wife and son.

Alabed Hilmi Amawi murdered Yigal Vaknin Hy”d, 22, in 1993, just before the Yom Kippur fast. Vaknin's body was found in an orchard near Moshav Basra, where he lived and worked. He was survived by his parents and eight brothers and sisters.

Awad Masalkha took part in the murder of Yigal Vaknin Hy”d and also murdered another Jew, David Reuven Hy”d, an Iraqi-born father of three who ran a mini-market in Petach Tikva. In 1991, Awad and other terrorists entered the mini-market, attacked Reuven, tied him up and beat him to death. He was 59.

Ahmed Damuni murdered reservist soldier Amnon Pomerantz Hy”d in 1970. Pomerantz was on his way to reserve service in Gaza when he entered the Al Burej neighborhood by mistake. He was pummeled with rocks, murdered, and his body was burned inside his car. He was 46. He was survived by his wife and three children.

Sharif Abu-Dahila murdered his employer of 15 years, Avi Osher Hy”d, in 1991. Osher, who was 40, managed the date grove at Moshav Masua. Sharif stabbed Osher to death and hid his body in a vineyard. Osher was survived by his wife and two children.

Mustafa Ganimat and Ziyad Ganimat gunned down Meir Ben Yair, 33, and Michal Cohen, 32, Hy”d, at the Masu'a Forest, in 1985. Ben Yair was survived a wife and two children. Cohen was survived by a husband, two children, parents, a brother and a sister.

Al-Afu Shakir murdered IDF soldier Akiva Shaltiel Hy”d, 21, in April of 1985. Shakir and other terrorists abducted Shaltiel as he was making his way from his base in Samaria to Rosh Haayin. His body was discovered near Beit Aryeh. He was survived by his parents and five brothers and sisters.

Mahmoud Haga murdered Yosef Shirazi Hy”d. Haga and another terrorist managed to swim from Aqaba, Jordan, to Eilat, in May, 1992. Shirazi, who was employed as a security guard for the Hebrew Unversity’s marine biology research center, received word of suspicious movements outisde the research center and went out to check the premises. The terrorists gunned him down at short range.

Muhammad Mukabal murdered Yaakov Shalom Hy”d, 40, in 1990. Mukabal and his accomplice in the stabbing murder were both employed by Shalom at the kitchen of the Ein Kerem Inn, which Shalom owned. He was survived by his mother, two daughters, and three siblings.

Haza Yusef and Abdullah Bani-Hassan murdered Yosef Eliyahu and Leah Elmakayes Hy”d, two teachers, in 1985. The teachers were preparing a field trip for their pupils in the Gilboa area, when they were accosted by the terrorists. Eliyahu, 35, married and a father of five, was shot at close range, and Elmakayis, 19, was strangled to death. She had been a National Service volunteer. She left behind her parents and three siblings.

Yousef Abdel Hajj murdered Genia Friedman Hy”d, 41 years old when, in 1992. He stabbed her to death as she walked down a main street in Kfar Saba. Abdel Hajj also stabbed and injured her father and two other people.

Ahmed Abdel Aziz, Usama Abu Hanana and Muhammad Turkeman murdered Motti Bitton Hy”d, 32, in 1992. Biton, who lived in Ganim, was buying items in an Arab-owned store in northern Samaria when the terrorists came in, shot him and blew up an explosive charge. His wife, Molly, fired at the terrorists and they escaped.

Abed Rabbo Issa murdered Ron Levy, 23, and his girlfriend Revital Seri, 22, who were hiking in northern Mount Hevron in 1984, near the Cremisan monastery. Issa tied them with ropes, put sacks on their heads and shot them.

Massoud Amar murdered Ian Feinberg Hy”d, 30, a lawyer involved with economic development in Gaza. In 1993, he was conducting a business meeting in Gaza when terrorists burst into the room and told the other Arabs there to leave. They murdered Feinberg with axe blows and gunshots. He was survived by his wife and three children.

At last night's demonstration protesting the prisoner release, Feinberg's sister gave an emotional address to the crowd, in which she decried the "sale" of Israeli and Jewish blood "as a gesture.”.

Asrar Samarian and Musa Kara’an Musa murdered Tzvi Klein, 44, a mathematician and educator, who lived in Ofra. In 1991, they fired on his vehicle when he was travelling from Jerusalem to Ofra, fatally injuring him. He was survived by his wife and three children. 

Ali Hader Razak killed IDF soldier Guy Friedman Hy”d in Bethlehem in 1990, in a terror attack that involved explosive charges planted at the entrance to the military governor's building. Guy was 19. He was survived by his parents and two brothers.

Ibrahim Muhammad Nasser and Muhammad Rafaa Karaja murdered reservist soldier Aharon Avidar Hy”d in 1985, as he guarded the customs building in Ramallah. Avidar was 29, married, with one daughter.

As noted, the above is only a partial list of the murderers being set free by Israel in the second batch of terrorists to be released as "a gesture" to the PA.

NASA: Sunlight on Mercury

Sunlit Side of the Planet Mercury 
Another day, another beautiful view of Mercury's horizon. In this scene, which was acquired looking from the shadows toward the sunlit side of the planet, a 120-km (75 mi.) impact crater stands out near the center. Emanating from this unnamed crater are striking chains of secondary craters, which gouged linear tracks radially away from the crater. While this crater is not especially fresh (its rays have faded into the background), it does appear to have more prominent secondary crater chains than many of its peers.

This image was acquired on Oct. 2, 2013 by the Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) aboard NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft, as part of the MDIS's  limb imaging campaign. Once per week, MDIS captures images of Mercury's limb, with an emphasis on imaging the southern hemisphere limb. These limb images provide information about Mercury's shape and complement measurements of topography made by the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) of Mercury's northern hemisphere.

The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unraveling the history and evolution of the solar system's innermost planet. During the first two years of orbital operations, MESSENGER acquired over 150,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is capable of continuing orbital operations until early 2015.

Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Monday, October 28, 2013

Negotiate with Iran? Sheldon Adelson has a better idea!

As the MIC, and his mouthpiece John Kerry,  continue to channel Neville Chamberlain with Iran, here comes a much more effective approach from casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.

From Homeland Security News Wire:

“Go ahead, make my day”: Sheldon Adelson on how to deal with Iran

25 October, 2013

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson says that the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran will lead to nothing, arguing that the best negotiating tactics would be to launch a preemptive nuclear strike on unpopulated areas in Iran – accompanied by a threat to wipe out the entire population of Tehran if Iran refused to give up its nuclear program. Echoing Clint Eastwood, Adelson said that following the nuclear explosion in the desert, Obama should tell the Iranians: “You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development.”

Nearly fifty years ago, in 1964, Barry Goldwater, running as the Republican candidate against President Lyndon Johnson in the elections, startled audiences by what was regarded at the time as loose talk about nuclear weapons. He suggested, for example, that the United States could resolve many of the problems it was facing around the world by “[Lobbing] one into the men’s room at the Kremlin.”

Tuesday night, in a public forum titled “Will Jews Exist?” at Yeshiva University in New York, Casino billionaire and GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson said, in response to a question from the audience, that the best negotiating tactic with Iran would be launch a nuclear missile at the country and threaten to wipe out the entire population of Tehran....

Much more plain talk from Adelson here.


9/11 Families: WE are the tortured, NOT the GITMO detainees


 Victims of World Trade Centre attacks suffered 'torture', not Guantanamo detainees: families

 October 27, 2013

  • AFP  
ALLEGATIONS by five accused 9/11 plotters that they were tortured in US detention have outraged many relatives of those who died in the attacks, who said their loved ones suffered a far worse fate. 

Lawyers for Guantanamo Bay detainees argued this week their clients should not face the death penalty because their rights were violated during alleged torture in secret CIA prisons.

But those charges have been greeted with indignation from the ten or so people at pretrial hearing here whose loved ones perished in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan, or who died in the attacks in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon.

"We're not here to try to change America, but we're here to get justice,'' said Richard Costanzo, whose sister died in the September 11, 2001 attack on the Pentagon.

"To listen to them put the US on trial instead of these five men is outrageous,'' said Mr Costanzo.

Defence lawyers at pretrial hearings this week for the men, invoked the United Nations Convention Against Torture, telling the judge that the death penalty should be taken off the table because of their clients' treatment in detention....

Yep,those 'poor victims' and their lawyers at GITMO continue to bleat about how badly they have been treated.  Go read the rest here.

Happy Birthday, Royal Marines

 Photo: Crown Copyright 2013

Today is the 349th birthday of the Royal Marines.

"Per Mare, Per Terram."

The Royal Marines were formed in 1755 as marine infantry for the Royal Navy. However, it can trace its origins back to the formation of "the Duke of York and Albanys maritime regiment of foot" at the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company on 28 October 1664.

Happy Birthday, Marines.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Gone to the dogs: MWD - finally - have their own Memorial

From My San Antonio:

Monument for dogs used in military to be dedicated

By Scott Huddleston : October 22, 2013
An eight-year quest to honor the four-legged guardians of freedom known as military working dogs will come to a culmination Monday in San Antonio.

The new U.S. Military Working Dog Teams National Monument will be dedicated at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, home of the world's largest training center for military and security canines and their handlers.

John Burnam, a former dog handler in the Vietnam War and a technical writer in McLean, Va., who led the $2 million project, said the scout and sentry dogs he worked with in the Army saved him from ambushes and booby traps.

“I give the credit to the animals, and the senses they used to protect me,” said Burnam, 66....

Much more - and pictures of MWD's too (I couldn't pick my favourite) - here.

UPDATE on the ceremony here:

"As a nation we owe our war dogs a tremendous debt of gratitude," said Burnam. "Their selfless service, loyalty and sacrifices to our country must never be forgotten. The U.S. Military Working Dog Teams National Monument is a treasure for us all to ensure they are honored and remembered forever."

From England, I found this story from back in the summer of a young woman and her amazing dog Gin.  Kate Nicholas and Gin wowed the judges as they performed "canine freestyle'.

Today?  Kate Nicholas in serving in the British Military; the Royal Army Veterinary Corp training bomb sniffer dogs. 
 From the Telegraph:

Animal trainer goes from TV fame to the dogs of war

An animal trainer who danced her way into the finals of television show Britain's Got Talent with her moonwalking collie Gin is now training dogs to sniff out bombs in Afghanistan.

 Former star of Britain's Got Talent and Puppy trainer Private Kate Nicholas with dogs Georgie and Gonzo

02 Jun 2013

As a shy young dog trainer Kate Nicholas entranced millions and took Britain’s Got Talent by storm putting her moonwalking collie Gin through “canine freestyle” dance routines. 

The pair danced their way to the series finals, then used their new fame to embark on a career of performances and pantomimes. 

Yet five years later she has turned her back on the world of Showbusiness and put her formidable skills to a very different purpose. The 22-year-old has joined the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC) and trains dogs not to dance, but to sniff out Taliban bombs threatening British troops in Afghanistan. 

“I joined the Army because I wanted to use my skills in a practical sense, rather than performing up and down the country,” she said....

There is much more - plus video of their performance on BGT - here.

 [*Bratdog would be proud]

Friday, October 25, 2013

US Veterans' Unemployment UP

From Marine Corps Times:

Vets' unemployment rate inches up in September

Oct. 22, 2013 
The upward trend in unemployment for post-9/11 veterans continued in September, with the jobless rate climbing to 10.1 percent — the second straight month of double-digit unemployment for the group.

The news for veterans of all generations also was lukewarm in September: the overall vets’ unemployment rate was 6.5 percent, up from a yearly low in August of 6.2 percent, according to the Labor Department employment report released Tuesday...