20140630

3 Israeli kidnap victims found dead; How the previously-detained, Hamas-suspects slipped through Israeli hands

Israeli kidnap victims found dead: The Jerusalem Post reports  Head of search team that found bodies: This is a sad day 

A team of civilian volunteers found one body before alerting security forces, who then uncovered the other two.


Portraits of a kidnapper by Marissa Newman in Times of Israel, June 27

The Israeli press pieces together information about alleged abductors Amer Abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme 
Amer abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme- kidnapping suspects

The Shin Bet’s release of the names of suspected kidnappers Amer Abu Aysha and Marwan Kawasme on Thursday night dominated headlines in Friday’s Hebrew papers, which profile the Hamas operatives at length.

Haaretz, Yedioth Ahronoth, and Israel Hayom provide nearly identical accounts on Abu Aysha and Kawasme, both missing from their homes since June 12 — the day of the kidnapping of Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gil-ad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16.

The papers report that the operatives were suspected by the Shin Bet immediately, and their houses in Hebron were raided in the days following the kidnapping. The two were well known to the Israeli authorities, the papers maintain, having been arrested and held in Israeli detention on multiple occasions for their alleged terrorism activity.

Kawasme was arrested five times, and in 2004, at the age of 18, spent 10 months in an Israeli prison. In 2010, in the course of an interrogation, Kawasme confessed to belonging to Hamas: He conceded that he had been involved in training operatives in caves around Hebron, that he oversaw the obtainment of materials to produce explosives, and that he recruited youngsters to the terror group. He was released in 2012.

Abu Aysha was arrested on two separate occasions, in 2005 and 2007, for involvement with the terror organization. His family has close ties to the organization.

Yedioth quotes a security official who maintains the two did not act alone, and that a number of detainees presently in custody may have assisted them. “It will take time, but eventually we will get our hands on them,” he said.

20140624

Cognitive disorientation of the West- Prof. Richard Landes

Prof. Richard Landes of Boston University discusses the context for his presentation at the Assoc for Israel Studies in June, 2013 at UCLA.



Prof. Richard Landes presents "Paradigm, Anomalies, Constriction of Western Intelligentsia"

20140618

Israel re-arrests 51 Palestinians freed under public pressure for Gilad Shalit

Netanyahu: IDF actions ‘send an important message’; West Bank civilian population ‘beginning to realize’ the consequences of the kidnapping, top defense official says in The Times of Israel by Aron Donzis and Spencer Ho 

Israeli soldier looks at Palestinians inside a car near the West Bank city of Hebron June 14, 2014. Reuters. Jerusalem




With no sign of life from three kidnapped Israelis teens six days after their disappearance, the IDF pressed on with its comprehensive West Bank operation Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, arresting 65 Palestinians, 51 of whom were Hamas members released as part of the 2011 deal for captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
The army also raided the facilities of Radio Al-Aqsa in Ramallah and Hebron.
In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the IDF’s actions.
“The activities of the IDF and the Shin Bet last night, during which Hamas terrorists released in the agreement for the return of Gilad Shalit were arrested, send an important message and are a critical component in a series of operations whose purpose is to return the kidnapped boys, and damage Hamas’s infrastructure in Judea and Samaria,” he said.
Israeli forces have been engaged in a widespread crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank since the kidnapping Thursday night of Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gil-ad Shaar, 16 and Naftali Frankel, 16.
According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, 240 Palestinians, including 180 members of Hamas, have been arrested as part of Operation Brother’s Keeper, and 800 buildings have been searched, including 10 operations against da’wa institutions where Hamas recruits, disseminates information and transfers finances.
Welcoming Palestinian terrorists exchanged for kidnapped Gilad Shalit
“Last night’s activities took place across the West Bank,” a senior military official said. “We operated in Jenin, Qabatia and Samaria, Tzurif, Yatta and Samua. In Jenin there was a little friction during the arrests, but the rest occurred without incident. Additionally, we tested the defensive perimeters surrounding Jewish communities in the West Bank and the security fence as part of our efforts to prevent illegal breaches.
“Three hundred thousand people are under curfew, and after eight years of relative prosperity they are beginning to realize [the implications].”
The military source added that out of the hundreds of thousands of citizens in Hebron, “thousands, each of whom support six or seven family members, possess permits to work in Israel. Because of the curfew, they can’t work, and this has a visible impact on the population. With two weeks left before Ramadan, the population’s preparations for the holiday have taken a hit.”
Palestinians hand-out pastry celebrating kidnapping Israelis 
Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan, a member of Netanyahu’s security cabinet, said that Israel is “well aware” of the identity of the Hamas cell that kidnapped the youths.
“The Shin Bet and intelligence officials are interested in investigating as many Hamas operatives as possible to find any leads on the whereabouts of the boys,” he told Israel Radio Wednesday morning. “The end result of any military operation should be the eradication of the Hamas movement.”
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz toured the Gush Etzion area overnight, and met with senior security personnel. The senior defense official said the chief of staff signed off on the continuation of activities.
“There is a lot of determination and we learn from arrest to arrest,” he said.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid took to Facebook Wednesday morning to praise the IDF’s efforts.
“It will not stop here,” his message read. “Hamas will learn the hard way, and even if it takes time, we will pursue the organization everywhere, day and night, just when they least expect it. Until they return the boys.”
Although Hamas welcomed news of the kidnapping, and has been held responsible by Israel and much of the international community, officials of the organization have denied any connection to it.

20140607

Veterans of D-Day invasion of France (and a French spy who landed them) look back on the 70-year anniversary in Los Angeles

D-Day B-24 airmen Elmo Maiden, Bill Baird, and Wilbur Richardson (l-r)
The Heritage League of the Second Air Division (USAF) and Jane and Bert Boeckmann of Galpin Ford  enabled D-Day and WWII Veterans, friends and  families to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of D-Day at the 94th Aero Squadron in Van Nuys, California on  Friday, June 6, 2014. 

Bill A. Jones served as the Master of Ceremonies.  Special guest speakers included Marthe Cohn, the WWII French Nurse who Spied against the Nazis (who authored "Behind Enemy Lines"); Hon. Axel Cruau, Consul General of France, and Hon. Sabrina Yoong, Consul for the Consulate General of Canada.  

Interviewed here: USAF B-24 Pilot Lt. Col. Elmo Maiden, Staff Sgt. Gunner Wilbur Richardson; Capt. Bill Baird, a B-24 Pilot in the 13th Air Force who flew in the Pacific.   



Also interviewed in this plalist (advance with buttons on left), Mrs. Marte Cohn, a German-speaking French nurse who divulged Nazi secrets to Allied planners to enhance the effectiveness of the D-Day invasion of France. She documented her story in the book, "Behind Enemy Lines."


Engine-failure forced B-24 Pilot Lt. Col. Elmo Maiden and crew down in Europe

20140605

Muslim "Boko Haram" murders 400 Nigerians in Christian villages, officials say

An attack by suspected militants from the Boko Haram Islamist group left at least 400 people dead in three villages in northeastern Nigeria, according to local officials. (Bloomberg News, June 4)

 Kano, Nigeria (CNN) -- Scores of residents in four villages in the northeastern Borno state of Nigeria, near the border with Cameroon, were killed Tuesday in Boko Haram raids, a lawmaker and residents said.

They said hundreds of homes were destroyed.
Her family was killed in front of her

Heavily armed gunmen dressed as soldiers in all-terrain vehicles and on motorcycles attacked Goshe, Attagara, Agapalwa and Aganjara villages in Gwoza district, shooting residents and burning homes.

Villagers fled into neighboring Cameroon to escape the onslaughts, said Peter Biye, a lawmaker from the area who serves in the Nigerian lower parliament.

No sign of Nigerian violence slowing
"We are still trying to compile a toll of the dead as people on the ground are still counting the number of casualties," said Biye.

Residents of these villages fled their homes while soldiers have deployed in the area to fight the Islamists who have taken control of at least seven villages, the lawmaker said.

On Wednesday, military jets carried out aerial bombardment on Boko Haram positions in the affected area to dislodge the insurgents, he said.

Boko Haram: A bloody insurgency, a growing challenge