Archive for August, 2010

Israel Takes Control of Lebanon

Posted in Israel on August 29, 2010 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

Opinion-Maker.org

August 23, 2010

Israeli intelligence infiltrated throughout Lebanese government

Israel Penetrating Lebanese Institutions

WMR has learned from its Lebanese intelligence sources that the Lebanese government is coming to realize that Israeli intelligence penetration of all political groups in the country is worse than originally believed.

Israel’s Mossad, once content on penetrating the Christian and Druze parties in the country, has now thoroughly infiltrated the top echelons of Sunni and Shi’a parties, as well. Recently, Lebanon charged retired General Fayez Karam, a senior member of retired General Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, which is allied with Hezbollah, with spying for Mossad.

Among the political parties penetrated by Israeli intelligence is the Future Movement of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the son of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated by a car bomb in Beirut in 2005. The UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is expected very soon to charge Lebanon’s Hezbollah with the assassination. However, Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah recently announced the group had video evidence from Israeli drones that showed the Israeli Defense Force was tracking Hariri before his assassination.

The STL’s chief prosecutor, Daniel Bellemare of Canada, requested the evidence from Hezbollah. However, WMR has learned that Bellemare is suspected by Lebanese intelligence of having close previous contacts with agents of both the CIA and Mossad. WMR previously reported that Bellemare is suspected to have allowed and introduced into evidence against Hezbollah in the Hariri assassination, doctored cell phone intercepts pointing the “smoking gun” at Hezbollah. It is feared that Bellemare might give Hezbollah’s evidence to Mossad for the Israelis to determine the source of the leak of classified videos.

Mossad is also reported to be grooming a successor to the Lebanese Shi’a political leader Nabih Berri, currently the speaker of the Lebanese parliament. The Mossad operation is being actively supported behind the scenes by Saudi Arabia, a country that is fast becoming one of Israel’s most “open secret” allies in the Middle East.

According to WMR’s sources in Lebanon, one network that Israel and the United States can rely on to support the UN after the expected indictment of Hezbollah for Hariri’s assassination is a Sunni network in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon. It includes a member of the same family as Ziad al-Jarrah, one of the alleged United flight 93 hijackers on September 11, 2001.

Lebanese intelligence has linked the Ziad al-Jarrah, who hailed from the Bekaa Valley, to a Saudi-supported Salafist network that includes “Al-Qaeda” associates that will be used to target Shi’as throughout Lebanon in the wake of the Bellemare charges against Hezbollah. Lebanese intelligence discovered that members of this same Mossad-supported Salafist/Al Qaeda network also targeted top Shi’a leaders in Iraq. WMR has learned that Ziad al-Jarrah was used by the Mossad, the CIA, and Saudi intelligence as a “patsy” in the 9/11 conspiracy, just as similar “patsies” are being used in Iraq and elsewhere to help keep the myth of “Al Qaeda” and Osama bin Laden alive.

The same Salafist/Al Qaeda network in Lebanon, while still in an embryonic stage, was used by Mossad and the CIA to spy on Palestinian groups in Lebanon during the 1980s and 90s, as well as on Syria during its occupation of Lebanon.

The Israeli espionage network also extends to Syria. Lebanese sources report that former Syrian Vice President Abdel Halim Khaddam, who accused Syrian President Bashar al Assad of ordering Rafik Harir’s assassination, is tactically backed by Israel and the United States. Khaddam, who heads the exiled National Salvation Front (NSF), is seeking to overthrow Assad. The NSF not only receives support from Israeli and U.S. intelligence but also from the French and German intelligence. The NSF maintains offices in Brussels, Berlin, Paris, and Washington, DC and it is suspected of working behind the scenes with Bellemare to bring chargss against Hezbollah for the Hariri assassination. However, previous attempts to have Assad and pro-Syrian Lebanese generals indicted for the assassination fell through due to lack of any credible evidence.

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author and syndicated columnist. He has written for several renowned papers and blogs.

Madsen is a regular contributor on Russia Today. He has been a frequent political and national security commentator on Fox News and has also appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, and MS-NBC. Madsen has taken on Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity on their television shows.  He has been invited to testifty as a witness before the US House of Representatives, the UN Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and an terrorism investigation panel of the French government.

As a U.S. Naval Officer, he managed one of the first computer security programs for the U.S. Navy. He subsequently worked for the National Security Agency, the Naval Data Automation Command, Department of State, RCA Corporation, and Computer Sciences Corporation.

Madsen is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), Association for Intelligence Officers (AFIO), and the National Press Club. He is a regular contributor to Opinion Maker.

The above article can be found here: Israel Takes Control of Lebanon

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MIND THE SCHMALTZ: Obama makes Jewish Passover ritual a White House tradition, reports NYT

Posted in ZioBama on August 28, 2010 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

Next Year in the White House: A Seder Tradition

The New York Times; March 27, 2010

WASHINGTON — One evening in April 2008, three low-level staff members from the Obama presidential campaign — a baggage handler, a videographer and an advance man — gathered in the windowless basement of a Pennsylvania hotel for an improvised Passover Seder.

The day had been long, the hour was late, and the young men had not been home in months. So they had cadged some matzo and Manischewitz wine, hoping to create some semblance of the holiday.

Suddenly they heard a familiar voice. “Hey, is this the Seder?” Barack Obama asked, entering the room.

So begins the story of the Obama Seder, now one of the newest, most intimate and least likely of White House traditions. When Passover begins at sunset on Monday evening, Mr. Obama and about 20 others will gather for a ritual that neither the rabbinic sages nor the founding fathers would recognize.

In the Old Family Dining Room, under sparkling chandeliers and portraits of former first ladies, the mostly Jewish and African-American guests will recite prayers and retell the biblical story of slavery and liberation, ending with the traditional declaration “Next year in Jerusalem.” (Never mind the current chill in the administration’s relationship with Israel.)

Top aides like David Axelrod and Valerie Jarret will attend, but so will assistants like 24-year-old Herbie Ziskend. White House chefs will prepare Jewish participants’ family recipes, even rendering chicken fat — better known as schmaltz — for just the right matzo ball flavor.

If last year is any guide, Malia and Sasha Obama will take on the duties of Jewish children, asking four questions about the night’s purpose — along with a few of their own — and scrambling to find matzo hidden in the gleaming antique furniture.

That event was the first presidential Seder, and also probably “the first time in history that gefilte fish had been placed on White House dishware,” said Eric Lesser, the former baggage handler, who organizes each year’s ritual.

As in many Jewish households, the Obama Seder seems to take on new meaning each year, depending on what is happening in the world and in participants’ lives (for this group, the former is often the same as the latter).

The first one took place at the bleakest point of the campaign, the long prelude to the Pennsylvania primary, which was dominated by a furor over Mr. Obama’s former pastor. “We were in the desert, so to speak,” remembered Arun Chaudhary, then and now Mr. Obama’s videographer, who grew up attending Seders with his half-Jewish, half-Indian family.

No one led the proceedings; everyone took turns reading aloud. Mr. Obama had brought Reggie Love, his personal aide, Ms. Jarrett and Eric Whitaker, another close friend, all African-American. Jennifer Psaki, the traveling press secretary, and Samantha Tubman, a press assistant, filtered in. Neither had ever been to a Seder, but they knew the Exodus story, Ms. Psaki from Catholic school and Ms. Tubman from childhood Sundays at black churches.

They peppered the outnumbered Jews at the table with questions, which the young men sometimes struggled to answer. “We’re not exactly crack Hebrew scholars,” said Mr. Lesser, now an assistant to Mr. Axelrod.

Participants remember the evening as a rare moment of calm, an escape from the din of airplanes and rallies. As the tale of the Israelites unfolded, the campaign team half-jokingly identified with their plight — one day, they too would be free. At the close of the Seder, Mr. Obama added his own ending — “Next year in the White House!”

Indeed, the group, with a few additions, has now made the Seder an Executive Mansion tradition. (No one considered inviting prominent rabbis or other Jewish leaders; it is a private event.)

But maintaining the original humble feel has been easier said than done.

Ms. Tubman and Desiree Rogers, then the White House social secretary, tried to plan an informal meal last year, with little or even no wait staff required. White House ushers reacted with what seemed like polite horror. The president and the first lady simply do not serve themselves, they explained. The two sides negotiated a compromise: the gefilte fish would be preplated, the brisket passed family-style.

Then came what is now remembered as the Macaroon Security Standoff. At 6:30, with the Seder about to start, Neil Cohen, the husband of Michelle Obama’s friend and adviser Susan Sher, was stuck at the gate bearing flourless cookies he had brought from Chicago. They were kosher for Passover, but not kosher with the Secret Service, which does not allow food into the building.

Offering to help, the president walked to the North Portico and peered out the door, startling tourists. He volunteered to go all the way to the gates, but advisers stopped him, fearing that would cause a ruckus. Everyone seemed momentarily befuddled. Could the commander in chief not summon a plate of cookies to his table? Finally, Mr. Love ran outside to clear them.

Mr. Obama began the Seder by invoking the universality of the holiday’s themes of struggle and liberation. Malia and Sasha quickly found the hidden matzo and tucked it away again, so cleverly that Mr. Ziskend, the former advance man, needed 45 minutes to locate it. At the Seder’s close, the group opened a door and sang to the prophet Elijah.

In preparation for this year’s gathering, Mr. Lesser and others have again been collecting recipes from the guests, including matzo ball instructions from Patricia Winter, the mother of Melissa Winter, Mrs. Obama’s deputy chief of staff.

“We like soft (not hard) matzo balls,” Mrs. Winter warned in a note to the White House chefs, instructing them to buy mix but doctor it. Use three eggs, not two, she told them; substitute schmaltz for vegetable oil, and refrigerate them for a day before serving (but not in the soup).

The Seder originated with Jewish staff members on the campaign trail who could not go home, but now some celebrate at the White House by choice. Participants say their ties are practically familial now anyway. “Some of the most challenging experiences of our life we’ve shared together,” Ms. Jarrett said.

No one yet knows exactly what themes will emerge this year. Maybe “taking care of people who can’t take care of themselves and health care reform,” suggested Ms. Sher, now Mrs. Obama’s chief of staff.

The evening might also reflect a group that has settled into the White House and a staff more familiar with the new custom. Last week, Ms. Sher was leaving the East Wing when a guard stopped her.

“Hey, are you bringing macaroons again this year?” he asked.

The above article can be found at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/28/us/politics/28seder.html?_r=1

Hamas must rebrand and take the wind out of Israel’s and America’s sails

Posted in Media Watch on August 20, 2010 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

Veterans Today

August 19, 2010

I often wonder if the British could have clung on through the London blitz, which my family lived under, if they’d had nothing to fight with and nowhere to run and, in addition, they’d had to contend with Nazi tanks in the streets, thousands of checkpoints, Nazi rifle butts smashing down their front doors, and the foul stench of Nazi stormtroopers in their jackboots ransacking their homes and dragging off family members. –

Hamas – indeed, on all Palestinians – should hone their long-neglected public relations strategy, “whoever rules in Palestine will never win any battles with Israel or the US without a proper media set-up and an effective communications strategy”. In the five years since I became interested in the Palestinians, only two things of positive note have happened in the occupied territories.

The Palestinians held full and fair elections in 2006 to establish themselves as a democracy – and much good it did them.

And in Gaza these amazing people have resolutely survived a vicious land and sea blockade imposed by Israel and aided and abetted by the Western powers as soon as those elections put Hamas into government. They have resisted almost daily air strikes and armed intrusions for four years and courageously withstood the cowardly Israeli blitzkrieg of 20 months ago.

Ismail Haniya – Hamas Leader

And during all that time they have endured unending barbarity and betrayal, which would have brought a lesser nation to its knees. They have come through.

I often wonder if the British could have clung on through the London blitz, which my family lived under, if they’d had nothing to fight with and nowhere to run and, in addition, they’d had to contend with Nazi tanks in the streets, thousands of checkpoints, Nazi rifle butts smashing down their front doors, and the foul stench of Nazi stormtroopers in their jackboots ransacking their homes and dragging off family members.

Palestinians have been put through that sort of mangle for decades. Death and misery still stalk their daily lives thanks to piss-poor Palestinian leadership and the international community’s moral bankruptcy.

When Palestinians elected Hamas, sore losers Fatah set out to cause maximum trouble. The relentless pressures of occupation and bribery succeed in causing internal divisions and self-destruction. When an attempted coup was beaten off there were claims that Hamas “seized control” when it simply acted to enforce its legitimate authority.

With Palestine’s internal squabbles continuing – even now – Yasser Arafat would be spinning under his mausoleum slab if he could see the depths to which his party has sunk.

Meanwhile, Israel’s propaganda machine, unchallenged, churns out the lies that Western politicians and Western media feed on and broadcast in order to sustain the racist entity.

“Impossible to reach agreement with Israel”

Khalid Amayreh, writing in Desert Peace, describes how the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas is being pressed yet again by Washington to resume “seemingly futile” peace talks, while two of Fatah’s veteran heavyweights speak out against any more concessions to the Obama administration.

Ahmed Qurei, a one-time aide to Arafat and a former prime minister of the PA, argued that, in view of Israel’s refusal to give up the spoils of the 1967 war, it was pointless to keep talking just for the sake of it. Nineteen years of talks had achieved nothing. “It seems utterly impossible to reach an agreement with Israel. Therefore, the Palestinian people must seek alternatives… Israel is not willing to end its occupation and allow for the creation of a viable Palestinian state.”

He didn’t say what the “alternatives” might be, which is a little unhelpful.

At the same time Nabil Amr, former Palestine Liberation Organization ambassador in Cairo, condemned the Abbas leadership as “vacillating, inconsistent, and unable to withstand external pressure”. He also had harsh words for “the mantra of American pressure”, which was designed to push the Palestinian people into submission or capitulation. “There are those among us who are trying to portray American pressure as if it were expedient to our interests,” said Amr. Actually, Obama is no friend. He has become a coercer, even a bully, while Netanyahu is given a free hand to dictate the rules of the game.

OK, so not all Fatah people are useless.

But there’s a gaping hole at the heart of the Palestinian Authority’s battered credibility – quite apart from a sickening lack of integrity. It’s their failure to understand that the war of words, if conducted effectively, is more important than the war of bullets. Israeli spin doctor Mark Regev and his team of lie-mongers would be easy meat for a Palestinian media outfit that was properly trained, alert and reasonably well resourced.

Alas, the Palestinian Authority refuses to gear up to meet the challenge. So the Israelis run rings round their victim – though not as much as they used to. The Zionist regime’s “crapaganda” effort has been significantly blunted not by the Palestinian Authority, which remains paralytic, but the actions of student groups and other pro-Palestinian activists around the world, who are beginning to put the Israelis in their place.

It is hugely disappointing to friends and supporters that Ramallah’s hot-shots have failed to put a coherent message across, supposing they actually had one. When I was writing my book (in 2006) I tried several times through London and Ramallah to arrange a meeting with Fatah bosses. They wouldn’t even give me the time of day. They simply didn’t care about communicating with the outside world. So I joined the growing multitude who wrote them off as a waste of space. Their antics since then have confirmed my assessment.

It is vitally important for Palestinian embassies in London and other key capitals to become a ready source of newsworthy material, and to proactively set the news agenda with spokespeople speaking clear and faultless English. Until this happens it will not be possible to engage the interest of mainstream media, and Palestinians will continue to lose the propaganda battle even though truth and justice are on their side.

Yes, we all know the British media are biased. But editors say they receive press releases from the London embassy “once in a blue moon”, while the Israelis take the initiative on the news front and fall over backwards to make a reporter’s life easy.

“We are not trained like the Israelis,” I heard one senior PA man say. Exactly. That’s the problem. The PA was offered media skills training some four years ago and turned it down. There may be murky reasons. It has been suggested that the PA, in its game of “footsie” with the US, was made to promise not to embarrass Israel publicly. This has given rise to suspicions that Palestinian ambassadors around the world are gagged by the regime in Ramallah and prevented from crossing swords with their blood-thirsty opponents. Why else would headquarters have left its London office, in particular, so woefully lacking in the skills and resources needed to make a proper impact at this important time?

I don’t believe they are batting for Palestine at all. But that’s just a personal opinion.

The wreckage of Gaza, the great suffering and the day-to-day air-strikes against its civilians – these ongoing crimes are allowed to be lost in the smoke and mirrors of Netanyahu’s scheme to divert attention towards Iran.

Netanyahu briefs Western journalists on his outrageous programme of conquest, implying that Palestinians must accept settlements declared illegal under international law and insisting that Israeli “sovereignty” over Jerusalem cannot be questioned. The PA’s media experts – if they had any – could make mincemeat of Israel’s preposterous claims and reframe the occupation in a way that told the world the truth.

“A house divided cannot stand”

Ordinary working people from countries far away, who put their hands in their own pockets and bravely drove with Free-Gaza convoys or sailed with mercy-mission ships, have done far more for the Palestinian cause than the internationally-funded, natty-suited poseurs who have no democratic mandate but strut the international stage achieving – well, achieving what?

Fatah have done themselves (and others) irreparable damage. They have shot their bolt. How will they command respect in the foreseeable future?

Meanwhile, it is four-and-a-half years since the fateful day Hamas was elected to power. They may have been surprised and unprepared then, but there is no excuse for squandering such a heaven-sent opportunity now. If, as the Islamic resistance movement has said before, it is prepared to accept the reality of Israel behind the internationally-recognized pre-1967 borders, its much criticized Charter no longer has a place in Hamas diplomacy. Why hasn’t it been consigned to the wastepaper basket of Palestinian history and replaced with something more constructive?

Hamas must do (within chosen limits, of course) whatever it takes to abolish its sinister image and make the rest of the world feel comfortable. It must erase its ‘terrorist’ reputation, whether justified or not.

It must remove obstacles to cooperation. It must take the wind out of Israel’s and America’s sails. In short, it must reinvent itself as a matter of urgency.

It must re-brand, open the door and make itself more approachable.

This wouldn’t be difficult. Hamas’s government team are well educated and competent. They have been tested like no other. Some are described as hardliners but they are not generally seen as Islamic extremists, and I heard no serious complaints from the Christian community when I was there. There is every reason to believe that the tradition of getting along together is still cherished despite the best efforts of “Christian” warmongers of the West to drive a wedge between Muslim and Christian.

It seems to me that if Western politicians can enthusiastically hobnob with rabid Zionists, ignore their war crimes and persistent lawlessness, and even wave the Israeli flag for them back in London and Washington, they should find it perfectly agreeable to sit down with not-so-rabid Islamists.

But how do we get to that point?

Two years ago a Palestine strategy group produced a report called “Regaining the Initiative – Palestinian Strategic Options to End Israeli Occupation”. Besides reminding Palestinians what their strategic objectives should be, it urged them “to seize their destiny in their own hands” by refusing to enter into peace negotiations unless the international community dealt first with issues relating to national self-determination, liberation from occupation, individual and collective rights, and enforcement of international law.

Only when these priorities were met could peacemaking and state-building begin.

First things first, right?

Secondly it spelled out the need for national unity. “A house divided against itself cannot stand… Palestinian strategic action is impossible if the Palestinian nation is unable to speak with one voice or to act with one will.”

Right again. Well-wishers like me shake their heads in disbelief at the ongoing disunity.

The report, which was funded by the EU, concluded by saying:

What Palestinians must be prepared to undertake is nothing less than a final and conclusive strategic battle with Israel… The main conclusion of the strategic review conducted by the Palestine Strategy Study Group is that Palestinians have more strategic cards than they think – and Israel has fewer.

If that’s the case, the authors might consider turning their report into a fully-fledged action plan taking into account what has happened in the last two years and what might happen next if the paralysis continues, and making it a working document for the international community as well as the PA and Hamas to study.

Perhaps they have already done so.

But whoever rules in Palestine will never win any battles with Israel or the US without a proper media set-up and an effective communications strategy.

Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk

The above article can be found here: Hamas must rebrand and take the wind out of Israel’s and America’s sails

Israeli organ-trafficking

Posted in Israel on August 20, 2010 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

Ukraine: Israeli headed organ-trafficking ring

Ynet
August 8, 2010

Authorities say scheme to recruit organ donors from former Soviet countries and transplant organs into wealthy foreigners headed by Israeli citizen

Ukrainian authorities announced Friday the arrest of 12 people who are suspected of belonging to an organ-trafficking ring headed by an Israeli. The network supplied human organs to Israelis who had ordered them in advance, according to the authorities.During a press conference in Kiev, the head of the Interior Ministry’s department on human trafficking, Yuriy Kucher, said the scheme to recruit organ donors from former Soviet countries and transplant the organs into wealthy foreigners was headed by an Israeli citizen who was arrested last month.

Kucher said Thursday that recruiters sought mostly kidneys from people in Ukraine and other countries. Most of those who eventually donated organs were impoverished young women, paid up to $10,000.Surgeries were performed in Kyiv, Azerbaijan and Ecuador, he said. The surgeries cost up to $200,000 apiece.

According to an initial investigation, the ring’s profits totaled an estimated $18 million a year. The network’s members earned more than $40 million collectively.

All of the suspects have been charged with human trafficking and face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

In April the Israeli State Prosecution filed a harsh indictment against 62-year old Brigadier-General (res.) Meir Zamir from Rishon Lezion, who is suspected of heading a gang of organ traffickers that raked in millions of shekels. Also charged, along with Zamir, who received a gallantry medal during the Yom Kippur War, were brothers Michael and Yaakov Golob, age 40 and 34, Shlomi Biton, 31, and Netanel Moyal, 34.

The above article can be found here: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3931173,00.html

12 nabbed for organ trafficking Jpost

August 6, 2010

Twelve people, some of them Israeli, were arrested in the Ukraine on suspicion that they were selling human organs, Army Radio reported on Friday.

According to Army Radio, the head of the Human Trafficking Department in the Ukrainian police said the twelve contacted organ donors in the Ukraine and other countries in the former Soviet Union over the past three years.

The trafficking ring mostly sold livers to Israelis and citizens of other countries for $10,000 per body part. The transplant surgeries were done mostly in Kiev, Azerbaijan and Ecuador.

An Israeli suspected of heading the trafficking ring was arrested last month.

In April, six people were arrested in Israel by the northern branch of the police’s National Fraud Unit for allegedly misleading people into donating their organs in exchange for false promises of money, and for arranging dangerous organ transplants abroad that resulted in medical complications for recipients.

The ring allegedly placed ads in local newspapers promising $100,000 to kidney donors. In some cases, those allegedly duped by the ads were paid only $10,000, while in other cases, the organ donors received no money at all.

In 2008, the Knesset outlawed organ trafficking and the earning of profit on organ transplants. The law stipulates that all organ transplants must be carried out by the National Transplant and Organ Donation Center.

The above article can be found here: http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=183889


Report: Israeli suspected of running Ukraine organ trafficking ring

Haaretz
August 6, 2010

According to Army Radio, the ring recruited potential kidney donors online, paying $10,000 per kidney, before sending the organs to Israel.

An Israeli man was arrested Friday for allegedly running an organ trafficking network in the Ukraine, Army Radio reported.

The Israeli, whose name was not revealed, was arrested by Ukrainian police along with 12 other people.

According to the report, the network operated for over three years and recruited donors via the internet. Most of the donors were young women who agreed to sell a kidney for $10,000.

The organs were then allegedly transferred to Israelis in need of a kidney transplant, which cost over $200,000, said the head of the Ukrainian organization for combating human trafficking during a press conference following the arrests.

Ukrainian police estimated that the network made a gross sum of $40 million.

The facility in which the alleged operations for extracting the kidneys took place denied the allegations.

The above article can be found here: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/report-israeli-suspected-of-running-ukraine-organ-trafficking-ring-1.306470

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdBzR9r3V94

ECHOES OF ABU GHRAIB: Israeli soldier gets thrills posing with bound captives; BBC: Israeli interrogators ‘in Iraq’ (2004)

Posted in Israel on August 19, 2010 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

Anger over Israel soldier’s prisoner Facebook images
BBC News (UK)
August 17, 2010

A former Israeli soldier has been sharply criticized for posting images of herself on Facebook posing next to Palestinian prisoners.

Eden Aberjil had put the images in an album on the site entitled “The army: the best days of my life.”

wrote on her Facebook page on Thursday that she would “I would gladly kill Arabs – even slaughter them”

Army officials have condemned her behavior as “shameful” and said they would investigate the matter further.

Palestinian groups said the images were humiliating and revealed the “mentality of the occupier”.

The controversial images were among 26 photographs Ms Aberjil posted on her Facebook page.

In one, she is shown smiling next to three bound and blindfolded prisoners and in the second, she is sitting with her face turned towards a prisoner.

Ms Aberjil had already been discharged from the army having completed her mandatory military service, and it was unclear whether she could face disciplinary action.

But a military spokesman said all the details had been passed to her commanders for “further attention”.

“This is shameful behavior by the soldier,” the spokesman said in a statement.

Palestinians are routinely blindfolded and handcuffed when arrested by Israeli troops, to prevent them trying to escape.

While the photographs do not depict overt abuse, the [Zionist-run] Palestinian Authority said they did show “the mentality of the occupier to be proud of humiliating Palestinians”.

“The occupation is unjust, immoral and, as these pictures show, corrupting,” said spokesman Ghassan Khatib.

Yishai Menuchim, head of the Israeli Committee against Torture [another oxymoron — 800], also criticized the images, saying the incident “reflects an attitude which has become the norm and consists in treating Palestinians like objects, not like human beings“.

Last month, six Israeli soldiers were widely criticized for posting a video of themselves performing a dance routine while on duty in the West Bank town of Hebron.

The soldiers escaped disciplinary action after the army said no harm had been done.

The above article can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-10994668

Israeli interrogators ‘in Iraq’ (2004)

BBC News (UK)
July 3, 2004

The US officer at the heart of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal says she has evidence that Israelis helped to interrogate Iraqis at another facility.

Brigadier-General Janis Karpinski told the BBC she met an Israeli working as an interrogator at a secret intelligence center in Baghdad.

A BBC reporter says it is the first time a senior US officer has suggested Israelis worked with the coalition.

The Israeli foreign ministry said the reports were completely untrue.

Intelligence access

Gen. Karpinski was in charge of the military police unit that ran Abu Ghraib and other prisons when the abuses were committed. She has been suspended but not charged.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today program she met a man claiming to be Israeli during a visit to an intelligence center with a senior coalition general.

“I saw an individual there that I hadn’t had the opportunity to meet before, and I asked him what did he do there, was he an interpreter — he was clearly from the Middle East,” she said in the interview.

“He said, ‘Well, I do some of the interrogation here. I speak Arabic but I’m not an Arab; I’m from Israel.'”

Until a 1999 ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court, Israeli secret service interrogators were allowed to use “moderate force”.

The US journalist who broke the Abu Ghraib scandal told the program his sources confirm the presence of Israeli intelligence agents in Iraq.

[Zionist propagandist] Seymour Hersh said that one of the Israeli aims was to gain access to detained members of the Iraqi secret intelligence unit, who reportedly specialize in Israeli affairs.

‘Convenient scapegoat’

The BBC reporter, Matthew Grant, says that whatever the truth, these allegations could cause anger in the Arab world.

Photographs of naked Iraqi detainees being humiliated and maltreated first started to surface in April, sparking shock and anger across the world.

One soldier has been sentenced and six others are awaiting courts martial for abuses committed at Abu Ghraib jail.

Gen. Karpinski has said she was being made a “convenient scapegoat” for abuse ordered by others.

The above article can be found here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3863235.stm


New photos of soldiers rejoicing at killing, arresting Palestinians exposed

The Palestinian Information Center
August 18, 2010

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– The Israeli Shovrim Shtika (breaking the silence) organization unveiled pictures posted by Israeli soldiers on the internet showing them standing beside Palestinian detainees or dead bodies rejoicing over what they had done.

The pictures, showing Israeli soldiers with handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinians or dead bodies lying on the ground, illustrated the pleasure the Israeli soldiers normally find in killing and arresting Palestinians.

Shovrim Shtika said that the pictures that were revealed yesterday and today proved that this phenomenon is much broader than individual incidents, adding that it launched a campaign against the Israeli army which denies the spread of such incidents.

This new revelation came one day after a female soldier posted on Facebook pictures showing her smirking at handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinian detainees next to her.

For its part, the prisoners’ center for studies called on international human rights organizations to necessarily follow up the Israeli violations committed against Palestinians and detainees at military checkpoints.

This appeal was made in reaction to the pictures of suppressed Palestinian detainees posted on Facebook by an Israeli female soldier yesterday.

Director of the center Ra’fat Hamdouna said in a statement Tuesday that Israel’s violations against Palestinian citizens and detainees went too far and became unbearable, similar to what happens in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons.

The above article can be found here: New photos of soldiers rejoicing at killing, arresting Palestinians exposed

Israeli investigators assault prisoner to force out confession
The Palestinian Information Center
August 19, 2010

NABLUS, (PIC)– According to the international Tadhamun (solidarity) foundation for human rights, Israeli investigators physically assaulted prisoner Noureddine Samhan, 20, when questioning him at the Jalama interrogation center.

Ahmed Beitawi, a researcher at the foundation, said Samhan was severely beaten by an Israeli investigator named Meimon, who kicked him several times in the legs and struck him in the chest and stomach. Police also used verbal profanities, ripped his clothes, and spit in his face, all while he was fasting.

Beitawi said the prisoner was bruised on various parts of the body and went into a nervous breakdown during the assault. He signed a confession of all charges against him to save himself from the beatings and insults.

Beitawi described the attack as real and tangible evidence against claims which deny that Palestinian prisoners are beaten during interrogation and questioning, and that they make confessions of their own volition without any pressure or coercion.

Noureddine Samhan, a student at the University of Jerusalem, was arrested by Israeli troops at the Qalqilya checkpoint July, 13 and immediately rushed to the Jalama interrogation center.

The above article can be found here: Israeli investigators assault prisoner to force out confession

‘I would gladly kill Arabs – even slaughter them’
Haaretz
August 19, 2010

In new bid to defend publishing controversial images, former IDF soldier Eden Abergil writes on Facebook ‘In war there are no rules.’

Eden Abergil, the former Israel Defense Forces soldier who has been criticized for publishing controversial images on Facebook, allegedly wrote on her Facebook page on Thursday that she would “gladly kill Arabs – even slaughter them.”

“In war there are no rules,” Abergil allegedly wrote on the wall of her profile page on the social network Facebook.

Photographs uploaded by Abergil from Ashdod and labeled “IDF – the best time of my life,” depicted her smiling next to Palestinian prisoners with their hands bound and their eyes covered.

A comment attached to one of the photos of the soldier smiling in front of two blindfold men and posted by one of Abergil’s friends read “That looks really sexy for you,” with Abergil’s response reading: “I wonder if he is on Facebook too – I’ll have to tag him in the photo.”

Since the photos were published by blogger Ido Keinan earlier this week, dozens of people have uploaded images on to their own Facebook pages depicting similar situations.

Abergil responded on Facebook to an image in which a women was pasted instead of the Palestinian prisoners in the original images, saying that it was not funny and that she would not let anyone ruin her “perfect life.”

“I can’t allow Arab lovers to ruin the perfect life I lead,” she allegedly wrote. “I am not sorry and I don’t regret it.”

“I am in favor of a Jewish-Zionist State,” she added. “I defend what has been rightfully mine for ages,” she wrote.

During an Army Radio interview on Tuesday, Abergil repeatedly said that it had never occurred to her that “the picture would be problematic,” asking interviewer Ilana Dayan whether the media asked for detainees permission when they film them.

Referring to the possibility that the images could injure Israel’s image in the international arena, Abergil said: “We will always be attacked. Whatever we do, we will always be attacked.”

On Monday, the IDF spokesman issued its response to the photographs, saying that “on the face of it the behavior exhibited by the soldier is base and crude.”

The head of the Public Committee Against Torture, Ishai Menuchin, also commented, saying that “these terrible photographs reflect a norm in the way Palestinians are viewed, as an object and not as humans. It is an attitude that ignores their feelings as humans and their individual rights.”

The above article can be found here:  http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/i-would-gladly-kill-arabs-even-slaughter-them-1.309031

PURVEYORS OF FILTH: Jewish-spawned porn industry aims at ‘moral subversion’ of Christian America, admits Jewish professor

Posted in Hollywoodism on August 17, 2010 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

Triple-exthnics: Nathan Abrams on Jews in the American porn industry

Jewish Quarterly, Winter 2004

A story little told is that of Jews in Hollywood’s seedier cousin, the adult film industry. Perhaps we’d prefer to pretend that the ‘triple-exthnics’ didn’t exist, but there’s no getting away from the fact that secular Jews have played (and still continue to play) a disproportionate role throughout the adult film industry in America.

Jewish involvement in pornography has a long history in the United States, as Jews have helped to transform a fringe subculture into what has become a primary constituent of Americana. These are the ‘true blue Jews’.

Smut peddlers

Jewish activity in the porn industry divides into two (sometimes overlapping) groups: pornographers and performers. Though Jews make up only two per cent of the American population, they have been prominent in pornography. Many erotica dealers in the book trade between 1890 and 1940 were immigrant Jews of German origin. According to Jay A. Gertzman, author of Bookleggers and Smuthounds: The Trade in Erotica, 1920-1940 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), ‘Jews were prominent in the distribution of gallantiana [fiction on erotic themes and books of dirty jokes and ballads], avant-garde sexually explicit novels, sex pulps, sexology, and flagitious materials’.

In the postwar era, America’s most notorious pornographer was Reuben Sturman, the ‘Walt Disney of Porn’. According to the US Department of Justice, throughout the 1970s Sturman controlled most of the pornography circulating in the country. Born in 1924, Sturman grew up in Cleveland’s East Side. Initially, he sold comics and magazines, but when he realized sex magazines produced twenty times the revenue of comic books, he moved exclusively into porn, eventually producing his own titles and setting up retail stores.

By the end of the 1960s, Sturman ranked at the top of adult magazine distributors and by the mid-70s he owned over 200 adult bookstores. Sturman also introduced updated versions of the traditional peepshow booth (typically a dark room with a small color TV on which the viewer can view X-rated videos). It was said that Sturman did not simply control the adult-entertainment industry; he was the industry. Eventually he was convicted of tax evasion and other crimes and died, disgraced, in prison in 1997. His son, David, continued running the family business.

The contemporary incarnation of Sturman is 43-year-old Jewish Clevelander Steven Hirsch, who has been described as ‘the Donald Trump of porno’. The link between the two is Steve’s father, Fred, who was a stockbroker-cum-lieutenant to Sturman.

Today Hirsch runs the Vivid Entertainment Group, which has been called the Microsoft of the porn world, the top producer of ‘adult’ films in the US. His specialty was to import mainstream marketing techniques into the porn business. Indeed, Vivid parallels the Hollywood studio system of the 1930s and 1940s, particularly in its exclusive contracts to porn stars who are hired and moulded by Hirsch. Vivid was the subject of a behind-the-scenes reality TV show recently broadcast on Channel 4.

Nice Jewish girls and boys

Jews accounted for most of the leading male performers as well as a sizeable number of female stars in porn movies of the 1970s and ‘80s. The doyen of the Hebrew studs is Ron Jeremy. Known in the trade as ‘the Hedgehog’, Jeremy is one of America’s biggest porn stars. The 51-year-old Jeremy was raised in an upper-middle-class Jewish family in Flushing, Queens, and has since appeared in more than 1,600 adult movies, as well as directing over 100.

Jeremy has achieved iconic status in America, a hero to males of all ages, Jewish and gentile alike — he’s the nebbischy, fat, hairy, ugly guy who gets to bed dozens of beautiful women. He presents an image of a modern-day King David, a Jewish superstud who supersedes the traditional heroes of Jewish lore. No sallow Talmud scholar he. His stature was recently cemented with the release of a pornomentary about his life, Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy.

As probably the most famous Jewish male porn star, Jeremy has done wonders for the psyche of Jewish men in America. Jeremy has also just released a compilation CD, Bang-A-Long-With Ron Jeremy. For £7.99 (including delivery), the lucky listener gets to enjoy Jeremy’s hand-picked favorite porno grooves along with narration by ‘the legend’ himself. As the publicity blurb gushes, ‘Out of the brown paper wrappings and into the mainstream’.

Seymore Butts, aka Adam Glasser, is everything that Jeremy is not: young, handsome and toned. Glasser, a 39-year-old New York Jew, opened a gym in 1991 in Los Angeles. When no one joined, he borrowed a video camera for 24 hours, went to a nearby strip club, recruited a woman, then headed back to his gym and started shooting.

Although the movie stank, with a bit of chutzpah and a few business cards he wangled a deal with a manufacturer and started cranking out films. Within a few years, ‘Seymore Butts’ — his nom de porn which is simultaneously his sales pitch — became one of the largest franchises in the adult-film business. As the king of the gonzo genre (marked by handheld cameras, the illusion of spontaneity and a low-tech aesthetic meant to suggest reality), he is today probably the most famous Jewish porn mogul.

Seymore Inc., his production company, releases about 36 films annually, most of them shot for less than $15,000, each of them grossing more than 10 times that sum. Glasser employs 12 people, including his mother and cousin Stevie as respectively genial company accountant (and matchmaker for her single son) and lovable but roguish general gopher. Glasser currently even has his own reality TV show (also broadcast on Channel 4), a ten-episode docu-soap called Family Business, whose opening credits show Glasser’s bar mitzvah photo.

In search of a buck

Jews became involved in the porn industry for much the same reasons that their co-religionists became involved in Hollywood. They were attracted to an industry primarily because it admitted them. Its newness meant that restrictive barriers had not yet been erected, as they had in so many other areas of American life. In porn, there was no discrimination against Jews.

During the early part of the twentieth century, an entrepreneur did not require large sums of money to make a start in the film business; cinema was considered a passing fad. In the porn business, it was similarly straightforward to get going. To show ‘stag’ movies or loops, as they were known, all one needed was a projector, screen and a few chairs.

Not tied up with the status quo and with nothing to lose by innovation, Jews were open to new ways of doing business. Gertzman explains that “Jews, when they found themselves excluded from a field of endeavor, turned to a profession in which they sensed they could eventually thrive by cooperating with colleagues in a community of effort . . . Jews have for a very long time cultivated the temperament and talents of middlemen, and they are proud of these abilities”.

The adult entertainment business required something that Jews possessed in abundance: chutzpah. Early Jewish pornographers were marketing geniuses and ambitious entrepreneurs whose toughness, intelligence and boundless self-confidence were responsible for their successes.

Of course, the large number of Jews in porn were mainly motivated by the desire to make profits. Just as their counterparts in Hollywood provided a dream factory for Americans, a blank screen upon which the Jewish moguls’ visions of America could be created and projected, so the porn-moguls displayed a talent for understanding public tastes. What better way to provide the stuff of dreams and fantasies than through the adult-entertainment industry? Performers did porn for the money. As ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman commented, ‘Those Jews who enter the pornography industry have done so as individuals pursuing the American dream.’

Secular sex

Like their mainstream counterparts, Jews who enter porn do not usually do so as representatives of their religious group. Most of the performers and pornographers are Jewish culturally but not religiously. Many are entirely secular, Jews in name only. Sturman, however, identified as a Jew — he was a generous donator to Jewish charities — and performer Richard Pacheco once interviewed to be a rabbinical student.

Very few, if any, porn films have overtly Jewish themes, although Jeremy once tried to get several Jewish porn stars together to make a kosher porn film. The exception is Debbie Duz Dishes, in which Nina Hartley plays a sexually insatiable Jewish housewife who enjoys sex with anyone who rings the doorbell. It has sold very well, spawned a couple of sequels and is currently very hard to buy — perhaps indicating a new niche to exploit.

Indeed, according to an editorial on the World Union of Jewish Students website, “there are thousands of people searching for Jewish porn. After things like Jewish calendar, Jewish singles, Jewish dating, and Jewish festivals comes ‘Jewish porn’ in the list of top search keywords that GoTo.com provide”.

Sexual rebels

Is there a deeper reason, beyond the mere financial, as to why Jews in particular have become involved in porn? There is surely an element of rebellion in Jewish X-rated involvement. Its very taboo and forbidden nature serves to make it attractive. As I written [sic] in these pages before, treyf signifies ‘the whole world of forbidden sexuality, the sexuality of the goyim, and there all the delights are imagined to lie…’ (‘Reel Kashrut: Jewish food in film’, JQ 189 [Spring 2003]).

According to one anonymous industry insider quoted by E. Michael Jones in the magazine Culture Wars (May 2003), ‘the leading male performers through the 1980s came from secular Jewish upbringings and the females from Roman Catholic day schools’. The standard porn scenario became as a result a Jewish fantasy of schtupping the Catholic shiksa.

Furthermore, as Orthodox Jew and porn gossipmonger Luke Ford explains on his website (lukeford.net): ‘Porn is just one expression of [the] rebellion against standards, against the disciplined life of obedience to Torah that marks a Jew living Judaism.’ It is also a revolt against (often middle-class) parents who wish their children to be lawyers, doctors and accountants. As performer Bobby Astyr put it on the same website, ‘It’s an “up yours” to the uncles with the pinky rings who got down on me as a kid for wanting to be musician.’

As religious influences waned and were replaced by secular ones, free-thinking Jews, especially those from California’s Bay Area, viewed sex as a means of personal and political liberation. America provided the freest society Jews have ever known, as manifested by the growth of the adult industry.

Those Jewish women who have sex onscreen certainly stand in sharp contradiction to the stereotype of the ‘Jewish American Princess’. They (and I’m speculating here) may have seen themselves as fulfilling the promise of liberation, emancipating themselves from what feminist Betty Friedan in 1963 called the ‘comfortable concentration camp’ of the household as they set out into the Promised Land of the porno sets of Southern California.

It signified their economic and social freedom: they were free to choose to enter, rather than coerced into it by economic and other circumstances. Once they had lain down, they could stand on their own two feet, particularly as female performers typically earn twice as much as their male counterparts.

Sexual revolutionaries

Extending the subversive thesis, Jewish involvement in the X-rated industry can be seen as a proverbial two fingers to the entire WASP establishment in America. Some porn stars viewed themselves as frontline fighters in the spiritual battle between Christian America and secular humanism. According to Ford, Jewish X-rated actors often brag about their ‘joy in being anarchic, sexual gadflies to the puritanical beast’.

Jewish involvement in porn, by this argument, is the result of an atavistic hatred of Christian authority: they are trying to weaken the dominant culture in America by moral subversion. Astyr remembers having ‘to run or fight for it in grammar school because I was a Jew. It could very well be that part of my porn career is an “up yours” to these people’.

Al Goldstein, the publisher of Screw, said (on lukeford.net), ‘The only reason that Jews are in pornography is that we think that Christ sucks. Catholicism sucks. We don’t believe in authoritarianism.’ Pornography thus becomes a way of defiling Christian culture and, as it penetrates to the very heart of the American mainstream (and is no doubt consumed by those very same WASPs), its subversive character becomes more charged.

Porn is no longer of the ‘what the Butler saw’ voyeuristic type; instead, it is driven to new extremes of portrayal that stretch the boundaries of the porn aesthetic. As new sexual positions are portrayed, the desire to shock (as well as entertain) seems clear.

It is a case of the traditional revolutionary/radical drive of immigrant Jews in America being channeled into sexual rather than leftist politics. Just as Jews have been disproportionately represented in radical movements over the years, so they are also disproportionately represented in the porn industry.

Jews in America have been sexual revolutionaries. A large amount of the material on sexual liberation was written by Jews. Those at the forefront of the movement which forced America to adopt a more liberal view of sex were Jewish. Jews were also at the vanguard of the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

Wilhelm Reich, Herbert Marcuse and Paul Goodman replaced Marx, Trotsky and Lenin as required revolutionary reading. Reich’s central preoccupations were work, love and sex, while Marcuse prophesied that a socialist utopia would free individuals to achieve sexual satisfaction. Goodman wrote of the ‘beautiful cultural consequences’ that would follow from legalizing pornography: it would ‘ennoble all our art’ and ‘humanize sexuality’.

Pacheco was one Jewish porn star who read Reich’s intellectual marriage of Freud and Marx (lukeford.net): “Before I got my first part in an adult film, I went down to an audition for an X-rated film with my hair down to my ass, a copy of Wilhelm Reich’s Sexual Revolution under my arm and yelling about work, ‘love and sex’.”

As Rabbi Samuel H. Dresner put it (E. Michael Jones, ‘Rabbi Dresner’s Dilemma: Torah v. Ethnos’ Culture Wars, May 2003), ‘Jewish rebellion has broken out on several levels’, one being ‘the prominent role of Jews as advocates to sexual experimentation’. Overall, then, porn performers are a group of people who praise rebellion, self-fulfillment and promiscuity.

What are we ashamed of?

This brief overview and analysis of the role and motivations behind pornographers and performers is intended to shed light on a neglected topic in American Jewish popular culture. Little has been written about it. Books such as Howard M. Sachar’s A History of the Jews in America (New York: Knopf, 1992) simply ignore the topic. And you can bet that the 350th anniversary of the arrival of the Jews in the United States did not include any celebrations of Jewish innovation in this field.

Even the usually tolerant Time Out New York has been too prim to deal with it, although the more iconoclastic Heeb plans an issue on it. In light of the relatively tolerant Jewish view of sex, why are we ashamed of the Jewish role in the porn industry? We might not like it, but the Jewish role in this field has been significant and it is about time it was written about seriously.

Nathan Abrams is a Lecturer in Modern American History at the University of Aberdeen. He has just completed a book on neo-conservatism in the United States.

The above article can be found here: http://www.jewishquarterly.org/issuearchive/articled325.html?articleid=38

Also see Hollywoodism: Jews, movies and the American dream’ here: http://800pg.co.cc/geeklog//article.php?story=20080903042527297

Jacob Lew (Jewish Zionist) to replace Peter Orszag (Jewish Zionist) as White House budget chief

Posted in ZioBama on August 11, 2010 by The 800 Pound Gorilla

Haaretz (Israel)
July 13, 2010

US President [and Zionist front-man] Barack Obama on Tuesday picked Jacob Lew, an Orthodox Jew, as the new White House budget chief, naming a policy veteran who helped return the United States to budget surpluses and who must now confront its record deficit.

Obama said Lew, who served President Bill Clinton as budget head, was the right man to cut the deficit over the next few years and to “put our nation back on a fiscally responsible path.”

Analysts say this will require a mixture of tax hikes and spending cuts, both politically unpopular issues to even raise in an election year, and warn it will take considerable time to reverse the country’s funding gap.

“If there was a hall of fame for budget directors, then Jack Lew surely would have earned a place for his service in that role under President Clinton when he helped balance the federal budget after years of deficits,” Obama said.

“Jack is the only budget director in history to preside over a budget surplus for three consecutive years,” Obama said at the White House.

Clinton inherited a deficit and eight years later left office with a $237 billion surplus.

Lew was director of the Office of Management and Budget between 1998 and 2001 and is currently Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources.

His appointment requires Senate confirmation. Lew’s nomination quickly drew support from lawmakers, including Paul Ryan, top Republican on the House of Representatives Budget Committee.

“Jack has consistently demonstrated a pragmatic approach to tackling challenges and getting things done. The grave threat posed by our looming fiscal crisis will require leaders to chart a new course,” Ryan said in a statement.

Obama says he is committed to curbing a record US deficit and rising debts in the medium term, but wants to maintain taxpayer supported fiscal stimulus policies to aid growth and jobs until hiring has picked back up.

Lew, a former hedge fund manager, would replace Peter Orszag [another Zionist Jew], who steps down on July 30 for a position at the Council on Foreign Relations, a New York think-tank.

Orszag was seen as a budget hawk within the Obama administration, which has debated how far to go in emphasizing continued stimulus over deficit reduction.

Democrats running in the November midterm congressional elections are also keen to emphasize fiscal probity to voters weary of government bailouts, with the deficit forecast to rise to $1.56 trillion this fiscal year.

Lew’s success in ending the deficit under Clinton would also mark him out as a deficit hawk, say analysts, who say he would not have taken the post if he was uncomfortable with the White House’s budget priorities.

“I think Jack is an absolutely terrific public servant,” said James Horney, director of federal fiscal policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington.

“It’s hard for me to imagine a better person given the challenges that lie ahead,” said Horney. “There are no easy politically popular ways to do it. I am absolutely convinced it is going to take a combination of increases in revenues … and also reductions in spending,” he said.

Obama has appointed a bipartisan commission to study ways of tackling the deficit. It is due to submit recommendations by the end of 2010, and is expected to suggest a mixture of spending cuts and higher taxes.

Brian Riedl of the conservative Heritage Foundation said Lew knew the budget would have a shorter learning curve than previous budget chiefs having done the job before.

But his chances of repeating his Clinton-era performance of rolling back the deficit were “virtually impossible.”

“The 1990s budget surpluses were based on some very good luck,” said Riedl, citing lower defense spending after the end of the Cold War and high tax revenues generated by strong economic growth and a dot.com-driven stock market surge.

“Those variables are responsible for virtually 100 percent of the deficit reduction in the 1990s … I wouldn’t count on history repeating itself on that. He’s going to have a tough haul,” said Riedl.

The above article can be found at: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/news/obama-nominates-jacob-lew-for-white-house-budget-chief-post-1.301772

Also see ‘Obama’s first pick: Israeli Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff’ here: http://800pg.co.cc/geeklog//article.php?story=200811061611250