A presumptive deal between the United States and Iran to curb the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions is regarded in the White House as a breakthrough, cutting the Gordian knot between intractability and persistence. Yet before the acclamation begins a cautionary note is warranted.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently said, “I believe that adopting them [the deal proposals] is a mistake of historic proportions.” There is much to suggest that he is right.

For one thing, perhaps most notably, Iran retains the capability of making nuclear weapons. The deal – described as unfolding – merely freezes the most advanced aspects of its nuclear program, including the production of near-weapons-grade fuel. With uranium enriched at the twenty-percent level as is presently the case, Iran can probably produce six Hiroshima like atom bombs today. Moreover, it possesses the missiles to deliver them over a 1000 kilometer distance.

Second, Iranian leaders have been known to lie. The assurances offered in the past have disappeared like soap bubbles. After all, negotiations of one kind or another have been going on for decades. Prime Minister Rouhani, in his previous role, was the chief Iranian negotiator at a diplomatic table with American and European representatives. Despite his pleasant smile and moderate demeanor, he is a jihadist who is eager to promote Iran’s imperial agenda and that political position is enhanced by the possession of nuclear weapons.

Third, although this deal is the first phase in what is presumed to be a step-by-step process, verification procedures are obscure. It has been established from Intelligence sources that Iran has several projects deeply hidden underground on heavy-water nuclear production and centrifuges. Even if one or two are “frozen” to satisfy IAEA inspectors, how can one be sure other facilities aren’t operating at full tilt?



During the years 1934-1939, Soviet dictator and Communist Party General Chairman Josef Stalin ordered what later became known to history as the “Great Purge” – a period of brutal political repression, torture, imprisonment and mass murder in the Soviet Union.

Launched under the auspices of purifying the Communist Party of ideologically-unreliable elements and rooting out fifth columnists within its ranks, the purges focused initially on party leadership. However – fueled by Stalin’s paranoia – they soon expanded into the military, government bureaucracy and wider Soviet society.

Members of the intelligentsia, senior government bureaucrats (nomenklatura), professionals, land-owning farmers (kulaks), members of the military and anyone else suspected of being an enemy of the state were swept up in the wave of suspicion and mutual distrust. Suspects were typically charged with espionage, anti-Soviet agitation, counter-revolutionary activity, or the like; if no “evidence” of wrong-doing could be found, it was manufactured by the secret police – the dreaded NKVD – or obtained via “confessions” extracted under torture. Following a perfunctory hearing or trial with a pre-determined outcome, most of those charged were imprisoned in the vast Soviet system of gulags (concentration camps) or executed. At the height of the purges, in 1937-1938, an estimated 1.2 million people lost their lives.

Aware of a resurgent Germany on his western flank, and a militarized and powerful Japan on his eastern frontier, Stalin – fearful of infiltrators and fifth-columnists within the ranks – ordered Commissar of State Security Nikolai Yezhov to purge the Soviet senior officer corps. Acting under orders from Premier Stalin, who sought a pretext to move against the officer corps, the NKVD instructed agent Nikolai Skoblin to pass incriminating misinformation implicating Red Army Field MarshallMikhail Tukhachevsky, to Reinhardt Heydrich, the head of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) – the intelligence arm of the German SS-Gestapo. Heydrich arranged for the information to be planted in such a way as to implicate Tukhachevsky and a number of other top Soviet general officers.

So began the purge of the senior officer corps of the Soviet army and navy. By the time the process ended in 1939 – with war on the horizon – the military had been decimated. Three of the five Marshalls of the Soviet Army – including Tukhachevsky himself – were executed; 13 of 18 army commanders, 8 of 9 admirals, 50 of 57 army corps commanders, and 154 out of 186 division commanders were removed; some were executed, while others were imprisoned or forced into retirement and exile. Some of the survivors were later ideologically-rehabilitated and brought back into uniform, but by then, the damage had been done.

Brooklyn College to Play Host to Another Anti-Israel Event: Zach Ponz


The City University of New York’s (CUNY) Brooklyn College is again provoking passions, playing host this week to an anti-Israel activist who many, citing his published writings, believe to be anti-Semitic.

Ben White, who describes himself as a writer, freelance journalist and researcher on his Twitter page, will give a talk Thursday, November 14th called “Israel: Apartheid not Democracy,” as part of a mini-tour of college campuses that will also include a stop at John Jay College in Manhattan. The event is to be hosted by the school’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).

White has in the past compared Israel’s policies to those of Nazi Germany – classified as anti-Semitic by the U.S. State Department; once declared he can “understand” why some people are anti-Semitic; and has served as an apologist for previous Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s Holocaust denial.

The event comes on the heels of a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) talk in February that many members of both Brooklyn College and the New York community objected to. The controversy reached a crescendo when four Jewish students were forcefully removed from the event because of what organizers said was a disruptive presence. The school later conducted an inquiry into the incident and determined “there was no justification for the removal of the four students.”

Questions They Won’t Answer Benghazi isn’t going away. Stephen F. Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn


When South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham threatened last week to place a hold in the Senate on all Obama administration nominations until the president and his advisers cooperate fully with investigations into the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, White House press secretary Jay Carney responded with a familiar accusation.

“Let’s be clear that some Republicans are choosing to play politics with this for partisan purposes, and we find that unfortunate,” he said at a White House press briefing on October 28. Carney, in a we’ve-been-over-this-before tone of annoyance, ticked off numbers meant to show administration cooperation: 13 congressional hearings, 40 staff briefings, and “providing over 25,000 pages of documents.”

It’s been more than a year since four Americans were killed in Libya and more than six months since Carney dismissively declared that Benghazi “happened a long time ago.” Is he simply doing his job or does he really believe that Benghazi is a “phony scandal” trumped up by Republicans? Whatever the answer, Benghazi is not going away.

Bret Stephens: Axis of Fantasy vs. Axis of Reality

France, Israel and Saudi Arabia confront an administration conducting a make-believe foreign policy. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304644104579190024212147260?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop When the history of the Obama administration’s foreign policy is written 20 or so years from now, the career of Wendy Sherman, our chief nuclear negotiator with Iran, will be instructive. In 1988, the former social worker ran the Washington office […]

BJORN LOMBORG: Green Energy Is the Real Subsidy Hog Renewables Receive Three Times as Much Money Per Energy Unit as Fossil Fuels. ****


For 20 years the world has tried subsidizing green technology instead of focusing on making it more efficient. Today Spain spends about 1% of GDP throwing money at green energy such as solar and wind power. The $11 billion a year is more than Spain spends on higher education.

At the end of the century, with current commitments, these Spanish efforts will have delayed the impact of global warming by roughly 61 hours, according to the estimates of Yale University’s well-regarded Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy model. Hundreds of billions of dollars for 61 additional hours? That’s a bad deal.

Yet when such inefficient green subsidies are criticized, their defenders can be relied on to point out that the world subsidizes fossil fuels even more heavily. We shouldn’t subsidize either. But the misinformation surrounding energy subsidies is considerable, and it helps keep the world from enacting sensible policy.

Three myths about fossil-fuel subsidies are worth debunking. The first is the claim, put forth by organizations such as the Environmental Law Institute, that the U.S. subsidizes fossil fuels more heavily than green energy. Not so.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated in 2010 that fossil-fuel subsidies amounted to $4 billion a year. These include $240 million in credit for investment in Clean Coal Facilities; a tax deferral worth $980 million called excess of percentage over cost depletion; and an expense deduction on amortization of pollution-control equipment. Renewable sources received more than triple that figure, roughly $14 billion. That doesn’t include $2.5 billion for nuclear energy.

What Happened to Christians in the Middle East this August? by Raymond Ibrahim

http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4050/christians-middle-east-august “After torching a Franciscan school, Islamists paraded three nuns on the street ‘like prisoners of war,’ before a Muslim woman offered them refuge.” — Associated Press While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world is on its way to reaching pandemic proportions. The attacks on […]



Back in 2002 the journalist Douglas Davis, in an article originally published in the UK’s The Spectator, explained why he had stopped accepting interview requests for BBC TV. It was because “September 11 changed all that”:

Even as the Twin Towers came crashing down, the BBC was rushing in the first of a stream of studio analysts to solemnly intone, one after another, that it was racist to assume that Arabs or even Muslims were responsible. More likely, they chorused, it was the Mossad because such an event “played into Israeli hands.”

Blaming the Mossad for the attack belongs, of course, to the outermost fringe of the loony. But the BBC’s “profound anti-Israel bias,” Davis wrote—which “reaches into virtually every British living room”—had “become ingrained in the BBC’s corporate culture.” To the point that, “wittingly or not, the BBC has become the principal agent for re-infecting British society with the virus of anti-Semitism.”

Over a decade later, has the situation changed? Not much. A year ago Adam Levick, indefatigable proprietor of the Cif Watch site, which monitors “antisemitism and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy in The Guardian,” launched BBC Watch. The BBC’s “coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Levick noted, “is often extremely misleading and egregiously biased.”

While the BBC may not be as virulent and obsessive an attacker of Israel and Jews as The Guardian, it has even greater reach. As Levick points out, “97% of the UK population—and roughly 225 million more people worldwide—watch and listen to BBC broadcasts every week….” And the BBC’s main web portal (bbc.co.uk) gets an Alexa ranking as about the 50th most trafficked site in the world.

Denying the sanctity of Jewish life, subjecting Israel to unique, discriminatory treatment, and providing a steady platform for an outright antisemite are some of the BBC’s recent exploits.
“Settlements” worse than mass murder

On the night of March 11, 2011, two Palestinian teenagers snuck into the home of the Fogel family in the Israeli community of Itamar in Samaria (part of the West Bank). They stabbed to death or strangled the parents and three children aged eleven, four, and three months (according to some reports three-month-old Hadas was decapitated).

As HonestReporting noted, while “many media outlets…chose to politicize” the massacre, “the most shocking and callous treatment of the incident was produced by the BBC.” It responded with a story headlined “Israel approves new settler homes.” It “chose not to publish any photos or specific details of the terror incident” even though these were available.

Instead the BBC treated the Itamar attack as a tangential, secondary part of the story. The Fogels, including the children and the infant, were a “Jewish settler family.” Not simply human beings subjected to a horrific attack, they were, rather, politicized unto their appalling deaths.

The BBC claimed the attack had “shocked many Palestinians” but did not mention that Palestinians in Gaza celebrated it and handed out sweets. It strongly implied that Israeli actions—particularly the building of homes—are what produces Palestinian terror and did not inform its readers that the Israeli prime minister had emphasized the role of Palestinian incitement against Israel and Jews, which is all-out and relentless.



The London Economist observes Remembrance Day under the headline, “Avoidable brutality,” citing a new book by Margaret MacMillan claiming that the whole horrible mess was the result of blunders. That also is the view of Sir John Keegan, who in his history of the First World War calls it a “tragic and unnecessary conflict.”

That is a contradiction in terms, for “tragic” implies necessity. MacMillan and Keegan, in my view, offer in place of hard analysis a Utopian rescue fantasy. The same Utopian view infects Western policy towards Iran. If only reasonable men could sit down and split the differences, there would be nothing to fight about. I do not believe this is always, or even often, the case. In the case of Iran, the West encounters a dying civilization with a death wish: Iran’s fertility rate has fallen from 7 children per female in 1979 to perhaps 1.7 at the moment, the fastest demographic decline ever recorded, which ensures societal collapse at the horizon of one generation. Iran is like a hostage-taking bank robber with a brain tumor. It has little to lose and can only be dissuaded from building nuclear weapons by force.

The flaws in Europe were fundamental, not arbitrary: Russia as an empire depended on Poland and other industrialized Eastern provinces for its tax base. The pull of the German cultural-economic sphere constantly threatened to dislodge the Eastern part of the Russian Empire from the center, which would have caused its economic collapse. That is why Russia sponsored pan-Slavic movements including the Serbian terrorists who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand in July 1914. I listed the reasons for war some years ago (in an essay titled “In praise of preemptive war”) as follows:


“Those who live today remember those who do not. Those who know freedom remember today those who gave up life for freedom.

Today, in honor of the dead, we conduct ceremonies. We lay wreaths. We speak words of tribute. And in our memories, in our hearts, we hold them close to us still. Yet we also know, even as their families knew when they last looked upon them, that they can never be fully ours again, that they belong now to God and to that for which they so selflessly made a final and eternal act of devotion.

We could not forget them. Even if they were not our own, we could not forget them. For all time, they are what we can only aspire to be: giving, unselfish, the epitome of human love — to lay down one’s life so that others might live.

We think on their lives. We think on their final moments. In our mind’s eye, we see young Americans in a European forest or on an Asian island or at sea or in aerial combat.

And as life expired, we know that those who could had last thoughts of us and of their love for us. As they thought of us then, so, too, we think of them now, with love, with devotion, and with faith: the certainty that what they died for was worthy of their sacrifice — faith, too, in God and in the Nation that has pledged itself to His work and to the dream of human freedom, and a nation, too, that today and always pledges itself to their eternal memory.

Thank you. God bless you.

– Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States (1981–1989), delivered at the Veterans Day National Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, November 11, 1988.