Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Rasmea Odeh, convicted terrorist, pleads guilty to immigration fraud

In the recent annual conference of Jewish Voice for Peace, Rasmea Odeh, a convicted terrorist, was one of the featured speakers in the closing plenary session. She pleased guilty today of immigration fraud and she will be stripped of her American citizenship and deported. As many others have noted, JVP disgraced itself by having Odeh speak, thereby giving support to a person who murdered two young Israeli men in 1969.

As Legal Insurrection reports, Rasmea Odeh acknowledged in her guilty plea that she lied on her visa application and her application for naturalization, asserting that she had never been charged or convicted of any crime, when in fact she had been arrested and convicted in Israel of taking part in a bomb attack on the Supersol supermarket on Agron St. in Jerusalem, which killed two young men. The attack occurred in 1969 and she was convicted in 1970. The two young men, Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner, were students at the Hebrew University at the time.
At the time of the bombing and conviction in Israel, Rasmea was a military member of the terrorist group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Rasmea was so important to the group that Leila Khalid, the first female airplane hijacker, formed to Rasmea Odeh Brigade to try to free her. Rasmea also was on the list of prisoners whose release was demanded by the Black September terrorists who took Israeli hostages at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Yet Rasmea’s supporters would have you believe she was just an innocent political activist. 
Rasmea didn’t serve her life sentences in Israel, however. In 1979 she was released in a prisoner exchange for an Israeli soldier captured in Lebanon. She made her way to Lebanon, then Jordan, then to the U.S. in the mid-1990s, when she lied on her visa application by denying any prior convictions or imprisonment, or being a member of a terrorist group. 
Rasmea again lied on her naturalization papers, denying that she “EVER” (caps and bold on application) was convicted or imprisoned. She also falsely stated that she never was a member of a terrorist group or was involved in terrorism....
After an initial conviction in November 2014 for obtaining naturalization unlawfully, Rasmea was given a new trial so a psychologist could testify on her behalf that Rasmea falsely answered the immigration questions because she was suffering from PTSD as a result of alleged Israeli torture. That claim was ludicrous on its face, but it was enough to earn her a new trial. That new trial was supposed to take place in May 2017.

Instead of taking the case to trial again, and obviously fearing a lengthy prison sentence, Rasmea accepted a plea deal. While Rasmea’s supporters claim the deal was a victory because it would keep her out of jail, in fact is almost identical to the plea deal Rasmea was offered and rejected in 2014.
The following is an excerpt from the plea agreement, as posted by Legal Insurrection on Scribd (https://www.scribd.com/document/346364164/Rasmieh-Odeh-Case-Plea-Agreement#from_embed):
Defendant Admits That the Following Facts Are True:

In 1969, Defendant Rasmieh Odeh was arrested and charged by an Israeli Military Court for participation in placing two bombs. One bomb had been placed in a supermarket. The other had been placed at the British Consulate. In 1970, Defendant Odeh was convicted of the charges and sentenced to life imprisonment, although she was released in 1979 after having served approximately ten years. 
In December 1994, Defendant Rasmieh Odeh submitted an application for United States Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, Department of State form 230. Question 21 of the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration required Odeh to list all places she had "lived for six months or longer since reaching the age of 16." Defendant Odeh's full response falsely stated that she had lived in Amman, Jordan, from 1948 onward, thereby intentionally omitting the fact that following her release from prison she had lived in Lebanon for approximately three years. 
Question 33 of the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration asked whether Defendant Odeh ever had been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, or of two or more offenses for which the aggregate sentences were five years or more imprisonment. Defendant Odeh falsely checked the box marked "No." 
Question 31 of the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration asked if Defendant Odeh had ever been "arrested, convicted, or ever been in a prison[.]" 
Defendant Odeh falsely checked the box marked ''No." 
On June 4, 2004, defendant Odeh filed an application for naturalization (Form N-400) with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to afford her the status of a United States citizen. On November 3, 2004, an immigration officer interviewed Defendant Odeh regarding her naturalization application at the USCIS office in Detroit, Michigan. In defendant's naturalization application defendant made the following material false statements, which she reiterated and reaffirmed during her naturalization interview: 
1. Defendant falsely stated that she had never been arrested, cited or detained by any law enforcement officer or military officer. 
2. Defendant falsely stated that she had never been charged with committing any crime or offense. 
3. Defendant falsely stated that she had never been convicted of a crime or offense. 
4. Defendant falsely stated that she had never been in jail or prison. 
5. Defendant falsely stated that she had never given false or misleading information to any U.S. government official while applying for any immigration benefit or to prevent deportation, exclusion or removal. 
At the time she made the false statements, Defendant knew the statements were false. Defendant also admits that all of these false statements were material, in that they had a natural tendency to affect the decision of the State Department and USCIS. She made the false statements intentionally and not as a result of any mistake, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or any other psychological issue or condition or for any innocent reason, and notwithstanding any other statement or testimony Defendant Odeh may have made at any other time regarding those answers. At the time she made the false statements, Defendant knew that it was unlawful for her to provide false information to the United States Department of State and to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in connection with her application for immigration Visa and her application for naturalization.  
On December 9, 2004, defendant was sworn in as a United States citizen in an oath ceremony conducted by the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan. 
Defendant procured her citizenship by virtue of the false statements, because she would not have been granted citizenship had she revealed the truth.

Elisha Wiesel: My father was a witness, and now I will be a witness

A moving statement by Elisha Wiesel, the son of Elie Wiesel, when he went on the March of the Living this year: My father was a witness, and now I will be a witness.
My father never forgot. The things he saw stayed with him all the days of his life. He lived to speak of them to me, and to my children. My father was a witness.

He was a witness to the worst atrocity that man has ever unleashed on fellow man. And he was a witness who believed that to acknowledge the suffering of another—and to have them feel less alone—was an imperative for every human being. He spoke for victims around the world: Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur. The thought that genocides could occur in the wake of the Holocaust haunted him.

But my father was a witness to more than the Holocaust, he was a witness to the Jewish lives in Eastern Europe which it had claimed. He was a witness to his parents’ beliefs and their traditions and their values, some of which continued even in this place, even in that time: the father and son saving crusts of bread for each other, the Rabbis condemning God at trial and then praying the evening prayer....

I will be a witness. I am here today with my first cousins Steve and Sydney and we are witnesses that we are standing in the place where my father and mother’s families were sent to die simply because they were Jews, packed like animals for the slaughter onto the train while their neighbors watched.

And I am a witness to my children who brought so much joy to their grandfather, to my son in whom my father’s gentle soul lives on, and to my daughter, exactly nine years old today, whose soul throws off the brilliance of a thousand suns. Her name Tziporah bears witness to a little girl of the same age, my father’s sister, who was sent to the flames here 73 years ago.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Holocaust in the New York Times, 1942-43

From the Elder of Ziyon blog: The Holocaust in the New York Times, 1942-43.

This is part of an article from August 27, 1943, p. 7:

What shocks me the most is how much was already known in summer of 1943.



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Beware of false information from the "Real Farmacy" website & Facebook page

I've noticed an increasing number of my Facebook friends posting stories from https://www.facebook.com/REALfarmacy/. I advise you to be skeptical of anything published on this site.

Simply from looking at the first few stories, it's clear it's an anti-vaccine site that is spreading the lie that vaccines cause autism (they don't). It frequently posts from an FB page called March Against Monsanto which spreads anti-vaccine stories claiming the link between vaccines and autism. (See this one for example - https://www.facebook.com/REALfarmacy/posts/1456554817698280).

This site also posts fake cancer cures, including one that claims that apricot seeds cure cancer (http://realfarmacy.com/seeds-banned-fda-40-year-cover-exposed-truth-apricot-cancer/). Don't try this at home - apricot kernels cause cyanide poisoning (see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20196932).

According to an article on the website of the European Food Safety Authority (https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/160427),
"Eating more than three small raw apricot kernels, or less than half of one large kernel, in a serving can exceed safe levels. Toddlers consuming even one small apricot kernel risk being over the safe level. 
"A naturally-occurring compound called amygdalin is present in apricot kernels and converts to cyanide after eating. Cyanide poisoning can cause nausea, fever, headaches, insomnia, thirst, lethargy, nervousness, joint and muscle various aches and pains, and falling blood pressure. In extreme cases it is fatal."
This is not a reliable website.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Tulsi Gabbard

If you haven't been following the news about Tulsi Gabbard, you should.

The Selective Peace Movement in Ithaca, New York

For the last six years of the Syrian civil war, there has never been an antiwar demonstration in Ithaca about the war. No one has protested Assad's barrel bombs, the destruction of east Aleppo, the Russian support for the Assad regime in destroying Syria - nothing. No demonstrations against the attempt of ISIS in Iraq to exterminate the Yezidis, the sexual enslavement of Yezidi women and girls, the destruction of historic antiquities. No one has gone out into the streets of Ithaca and protested the inaction of the United States in the face of the mass murder of half a million Syrians, and the forced homelessness of half the Syrian population.

In the past year there has developed an array of groups to welcome Syrian and other refugees to Ithaca, which is highly commendable, and friends of mine have been very active in the local refugee assistance groups.

But now, finally, I have just received a notice of an antiwar demonstration planned for Tuesday night at Cornell University, calling for "Hands off Syria!"

And is this demonstration calling for the Russian army and air force to leave Syria? Is it calling for Assad to go into exile and stop massacring his own people with ruthless air assaults, including the use of poison gas, both Sarin and chlorine? Is it calling for ISIS to withdraw from the towns and cities it has occupied?

No, this demonstration has been called ONLY against the US bombing yesterday of the Shayrat air base, the place from which the Syrian bombers left to drop Sarin on a village in the Idlib governate.

I really cannot express how angry I am about this. If the people who organized this demonstration really cared about the people of Syria and the array of murderers and oppressors they have been trying to survive since 2011 when their peaceful uprising began, they would have been in the streets long ago. Their silence until now speaks for itself.

HANDS OFF Syria! Emergency Mobilization Against War With Syria
Hosted by Cornell Welcomes Refugees and Amnesty International at Cornell University  
Tuesday, April 11 at 7 PM - 8 PM  
Ho Plaza, Cornell University Donald Trump’s recent missile attack on Assad regime targets is an act of war. The US government now intends to form an “international coalition” to achieve regime change, a course of events frighteningly similar to those that kicked off the illegal invasion of Iraq. Further military intervention will only fuel the Trump/Pence regime’s larger “America First” project of refugee bans, indiscriminate drone strikes, and domestic state terror. Gather with us on Ho Plaza to say: HANDS OFF SYRIA!

Thursday, April 06, 2017

More medieval cats (Dr. Karl Shuker)

Courtesy of an article on snail-cats in medieval manuscripts by Dr. Karl Shuker, here are three examples.

This first is from Horae ad Usum Parisiensemf 187r (15th century, in Latin). The left-hand image is of the entire page, and on the right below are two enlargements of the creature.


The next image is "a close-up of the snail-cat in f 70v of the Bibliothèque Mazarine's MS 62, NT Épîtres de Saint Paul. "

On this manuscript (by Dr. Shuker):
(originally the personal library of Cardinal Mazarin, the celebrated Italian cardinal and diplomat who served as Chief Minister to the French monarchy from 1642 until his death in 1661, the Bibliothèque Mazarine is the oldest public library in France). As its title suggests, this manuscript contains the Epistles of St Paul from the New Testament, written in the Vulgate Latin translation. It consists of 149 folios, dates from the final quarter of the 14th Century, and was originally owned by the Convent of the Minimes in the village of Nigeon, located on the hill of Chaillot, near Paris.


The image below is from
"Maastricht Hours as MS [Manuscript] Stowe 17. Written in Latin (using Gothic script), but with a calendar and final prayers in French, it was produced during the first quarter of the 14th Century in Liège, the Netherlands, probably for a noblewoman, who may be "represented as a kneeling female figure in several places throughout the manuscript" (Dr. Shuker)


Redux: Cats at the Seder

Re-upping this post from two years ago:

The Jewish Studies Library at Oxford has posted a charming article about depictions of cats at Pesach seders in medieval manuscripts. Here are some of these delightful images.

Forli Siddur, Italy, 1383 (London, British Library, MS Add. 26968, fol. 119v). 

Second Nuremberg Haggadah, Ashkenaz, 1460s
(Jerusalem, Schocken Library, MS 24087, fol. 3v)

From the Oxford Jewish Studies Library:
In some medieval miniatures of the Seder feast, feline creatures appear under the table at the feet of the celebrating family. 
What do these animals do at such an occasion? 
The Pesahim tractate of the Babylonian Talmud discusses at length what to do if a mouse runs into the searched house with a bread crumb in its mouth (bPes 10b). The question is if the house has to be searched again or not. 
In the Second Nuremberg Haggadah, the cat itself comments on its task: “Behold, I bite the mouse, lest he eat the grain” (הנני נושך בעכבר פן יאכל את הבר). Another image on the same folio depicts a man pouring the content of a bowl into a big vessel. The caption says: “One hides the leaven and the grain, lest the mouse drag it away.” Thus it seems that cats are “invited” to catch mice which might bring in some leavened bread crumbs to the searched and already ritually clean house.
Prayer book, Italian rite, 15th century (London, British Library, MS Or. 11924, fol. 153v)

Sister Haggadah, Catalonia (Barcelona), 2nd or 3rd quarter of the 14th century 
(London, British Library, MS Or. 2884, fol. 18r)

For those who thought Hillary Clinton was the warhawk

The United States launched a military strike on Syrian government targets in retaliation for their chemical weapon attack on civilians earlier in the week, CNN is told. 
On President Donald Trump's orders, US warships launched 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles. 
The strikes are the first direct military action the US has taken against the leadership of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country's six-year civil war and represent a substantial escalation of the US' military campaign in the region, which could be interpreted by the Syrian government as an act of war. The US began launching airstrikes in Syria in September 2014 under President Barack Obama as part of its coalition campaign against ISIS, but has only targeted the terrorist group and not Syrian government forces.
Preparations were apparent earlier tonight:
U.S. appears to be on the verge of Syria missile strike: Military strike would be in response to nerve gas attack that killed scores of civilians 
With two destroyers armed with cruise missiles positioned in the eastern Mediterranean, the U.S. appeared on the verge of launching a strike against the Syrian military in retaliation for the suspected chemical attack earlier this week.

Preparations for the attack came in the middle of a high-stakes summit between President Trump and China’s President Xi at the Florida White House.

Cruise missiles are unmanned aircraft which carry a 1,000-pound warhead. They fly close to the ground below enemy air defenses, guided to their targets by GPS satellites.

Mr. Trump is the second president to be on the brink of military action against the Assad regime.

“A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,” then-President Obama said in 2012.

And after a sarin gas attack in 2013 killed more than 1,400 Syrians, Mr. Obama prepared for airstrikes.

“The purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime’s ability to use them, and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use,” he said.

But Mr. Obama backed down from his threat after Assad promised to hand over his stockpile of chemical weapons, a promise this week’s attack suggests the dictator did not keep.

That was nearly four years ago, before Russia had intervened in Syria on the side of the regime. If President Trump gives the order to strike this time, it will be carried out under the noses of the Russian military.






So which is it? Did we inform the Russians or not?


Wisdom from Jill Stein:

Monday, April 03, 2017

In Hungary, Sebastian Gorka Backed an Anti-Semitic Militia. Now can we say he's an antisemite?

Now we know that Sebastian Gorka really is an antisemite: Sebastian Gorka Backed Anti-Semitic Militia.
As a Hungarian political leader in 2007, Sebastian Gorka, President Trump’s chief counter-terrorism adviser, publicly supported a violent racist and anti-Semitic paramilitary militia that was later banned as a threat to minorities by multiple court rulings.

In a video obtained by the Forward of an August 2007 television appearance by Gorka, the future White House senior aide explicitly affirms his party’s and his support for the black-vested Hungarian Guard (Magyar Gárda) — a group later condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for attempting to promote an “essentially racist” legal order.

Asked directly on the TV interview program if he supports the move by Jobbik, a far-right anti-Semitic party, to establish the militia, Gorka, appearing as a leader of his own newly formed party, replies immediately, “That is so.” The Guard, Gorka explains, is a response to “a big societal need.”

Hungary’s official military, he stressed, “is sick, and totally reflects the state of Hungarian society…. This country cannot defend itself.” 
[snip]
During the 11-minute interview, which aired on Hungary’s Echo TV, Gorka dismissed concerns expressed by the Jewish community, and in particular fears that the Guard provoked among Hungarian Holocaust survivors. As is often the case in Hungary, the interviewer refers to Holocaust survivors obliquely, as “people who experienced 1944” — when hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews were deported to Nazi concentration camps — or as those who experienced “the Arrow Cross regime.”

Many such people, the interviewer noted, “are saying now is the time to leave Hungary. So in effect [the establishment of the Hungarian Guard] is facilitating the flaring-up of anti-Semitism?”

“This is a tool,” Gorka replied. “This type of accusation is the very useful tool of a certain political class.”
And who might those people be? The Jews, I presume.
The Guard was well known for its members’ anti-Semitism. Members often attended memorial ceremonies for World War II-era Hungarian fascists. In a 2008 speech, István Dósa, who served in the Guard as a high-ranking captain, referred to Jews as “Zionist rats” and as “locusts” while also discussing “Zionist-Bolshevik genocide” and calling Hungarian Jews “nation-destroyers.”