Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Vindicated! In HLF trial jurors were bullied

Vindication! I couldn’t help crying this morning as I followed my Google alert notice of news articles about the Holy Land Foundation trial to a breaking story on Steve Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism, “HLF Jury Room Bullying.”

A few weeks ago, Michael Fechter with the Investigative Project emailed me with some questions about the jurors because of my follow up report on the trial and indications that there had been bullying by one of the jurors. He asked me not to say anything because they were doing an investigation into it.

His email came the same day as a new a piece written by Greg Krikorian in the LA Times (Weak case seen in failed trial of charity 11-4-07) which claimed to have spoken to three HLF jurors (only two named) who agreed the defendants were not guilty.

Since I was actually in the courtroom to see the jurors, I knew that the description in Krikorian’s piece about an older woman juror who agreed the defendants were guilty, was most definitely not the woman juror I described in my report—the one who took copious notes and was very unlikely to have believed the defendants were not guilty.

I am so thankful that Fechter and IPT pressed into this story and found jurors willing to talk about what went on behind those closed doors.

The IPT investigative article is total vindication of what I picked up on in the courtroom and in the post-trial interviews given by the bully juror. You can also see a video interview of juror Kristina Williams, who I noted had taken copious notes during the trial and who I felt had very likely been beaten down by Neal according to things he said in post trial interviews.

We can make a difference by getting involved.
"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

Exclusive IPT Investigation Uncovers
HLF Jury Room Bullying
by Michael Fechter IPT News Service Dec 10, 2007

Saturday, December 8, 2007

NIE Report "Bushwhacked" President

Later this weekend I will be putting out a special focus Israel News Launch on my website and to subscribers to Israel News on IsraelPrayer.com in order to bring out more information on the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report everyone is talking about.

My personal take is that this report has done far more damage to the security of the United States and Israel than most have comprehended. The reason I think so is because it has done more to undermine U.S. credibility in assessing what is going on in the Middle East than anything in recent memory.

It is a another sign of the lawlessness of our times when a sitting president has his knee caps shot out by the counter-agendas within the U.S. intelligence community. Instead of serving the elected leadership of the nation, these Washington foreign policy and intelligence "professionals" believe they have the right to capsize the boat our president is sailing.

Not everyone cares whether Israel is swallowed up by terrorist forces and they are just as short sighted as Neville Chamberlain was 60 years ago.

What does that have to do with intelligence assessments? A lot.

As the Wall Street Journal wrote last week in an article called High Confidence Games, "Our own 'confidence' is not heightened by the fact that the NIE's main authors include three former State Department officials with previous reputations as 'hyper-partisan anti-Bush officials,' according to one intelligence source. They are Tom Fingar, formerly of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research; Vann Van Diepan, the National Intelligence Officer for WMD; and Kenneth Brill, the former U.S. Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)."

Another news source indicated that none of the three main authors have expertise in Middle Eastern affairs.

In the concluding statement of this article WSJ editors wrote, "Our intelligence services are supposed to inform the policies of elected officials, but increasingly their judgments seem to be setting policy. This is dangerous."

It sure is! It is called anarchy - lawlessness - and it is how nations implode at the governmental level.

The NIE, is the National Intelligence Estimate. Why estimate? Because it is rare to have solid concrete evidence about what other nations are doing within their own borders - especially true of those hostile to our nation. Intelligence estimates are made based on a much lower level collection of evidences that have been pieced together to form a best guess picture of reality.

The way it is supposed to work is that the intelligence agencies gather and piece together a best guess estimate then turn it over to the elected officials, who decide what it means for the direction of the nation, according to the policies of the elected leadership. What has been happening in Washington is intelligence leaks meant to sink the ship of the Bush administration. It's an old story of chaos when there is no recognition of leadership and "everyone does what is right in his own eyes."

This will not only sink an administration, it will sink a whole nation if it is allowed to continue. That is why I am with those who are saying there needs to be further investigation into the NIE report and its latest conclusions. President Bush should not just roll over in this "Bushwhacking" as a Jerusalem Post editorial rightly called it this week.

Israeli reports have it that the Israeli Military Intelligence chief Gabi Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Ehud Barak will be presenting "hard core evidence" on the Iranian nuclear program tomorrow when Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff makes a rare visit to Israel on Sunday, 12/9. An Israeli defense official said of the NIE assessment, "The report clearly shows that we did not succeed in making our case over the past year....Mullen's visit is an opportunity to try and fix that."

Like I said, intel rarely consists of evidence so concrete that it is carved-in-stone fact. That is why intelligence must be interpreted and estimates given as to what the intel means. It is more than just guessing but it is not more than an educated guess. This is where policy comes into play and why the tug of war in Washington goes on between those who resist the policies of the Bush administration in the fight he is leading in Islamic terrorism and in U.S. policy in the Middle East.

In a Wall Street Journal article called Iran Curveball, editors wonder over the same thing I've been puzzled about in the past week, the editors writing, "What's amazing in this case is how the White House has allowed intelligence analysts to drive policy."

The president was surely blindsided in a major way. It is a back lash that even pulls the carpet out from under the foundation of a new start that was laid down for the Middle East in the Annapolis meetings. There will be unintended negative consequences always when rebellions like this are staged against the elected leaders.

That doesn't mean there can't be a turnaround. We can and should fight to negate the significance and the damage done by this NIE report.

John Bolton was immediately out in public speaking against the conclusions of the NIE report. We need to pay attention to him and to the many others now out there explaining what is really going on here.

I will be posting the the NIE Special Focus News Launch page on Sunday 12/9 afternoon at: http://www.israelprayer.com/NewsLaunch/NewsLaunchINDEX.html or sign up to receive the news launch via email.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

PeaceMaker: Not as Easy as You Think

Just in time for Christmas!

For all those voices that clamor every time Israel makes a move (or doesn't) in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, this is a perfect gift. A virtual game called PeaceMaker that lets you be the one to call the shots on all the tough decisions to resolve the conflict. Think you know better than any of the Israeli Prime Ministers? Ever wonder why no matter whether they came from the right or the left, when in office they made choices you never would. Well, this is the perfect opportunity to find out what it is like to be in their shoes.

Really $19.95 seems a small price to pay for anyone who thinks they could call the shots better to get the "right" outcome in the conflict. If only this game would be bought and played by all with hardline positions. Maybe some would see what the consequences of their choices would really be. (And without actually blowing up the whole region!)

That is probably my biggest complaint about the far right advocates for Israel. There is never any talk about the consequences of the hard line positions they propose the Israeli government take on all the issues that arise. PeaceMaker the game could be very educational in that respect.
As the game website says, "PeaceMaker will test your skills, assumptions and prior knowledge. Play it and you will never read the news the same way again."

Wouldn't that be nice?

You can download the demo at peacemakergame. com or purchase it online in Arabic, English or Hebrew. Give it to that know-it-all friend for Christmas, Hanukkah or Ramadan. Who knows? Maybe they really do have all the right answers for the conflict....or maybe they will emerge from the gaming experience with a deeper understanding of what the leaders are really up against trying to navigate through the morass.

According to an article in the Jerusalem Post, the PeaceMaker game was created by a former IDF intelligence officer in Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology program.

"In PeaceMaker, gamers play as either the Palestinian president of Israeli prime minister as they attempt to lead their nation and their people toward a lasting international peace," goes the promotional material. "Players will encounter the same obstacles as real-life leaders, including protests, political pressures and acts of violence against soldiers and citizens alike."

Even a tour of the download-able demo quickly shows that making the right call is not as simple as many seem to think.

In a 2-11-07 post by on the PeaceMaker website, Asi Burak writes in Asymmetric Gameplay, Asymmetric Feedback:

"One of the fascinating things about an interactive piece like PeaceMaker is that it can take a life of its own. Players get positive messages you didn't intend to convey, others try very hard to find the bias towards one side or the other .... All I can say is we tried to create a realistic and balanced environment, arguably optimistic, with not intention to say that one side holds the key to a solution or that one side is to blame. "

Real peace in this conflict is going to require Divine intervention. In the meantime, we are called to be peacemakers...not hardliners. Not passive doormats, but those who have been given a ministry of reconciliation...even in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Annapolis means "I am the police."

Can anything good come from Annapolis?

Before the meeting it was seemingly unanimous that nothing good could issue from the meeting but only disaster. What a difference 24 hours makes.

Now the Israeli media—which along with most believers had been predicting only dire consequences of even meeting in Annapolis—is almost unanimously pleased with what was accomplished. It is so easy to say, “Washington is pressuring Israel,” even when nothing could be farther from the truth.

GOD help us to recognize who are friends are and not to mistake any of them for enemies. Our prayer is for discernment and understanding of the times.

I thought this was an astute observation from the Hebrew press:
“The Jerusalem Post agrees with President Bush, when he claims that the battle for Arab-Israeli peace has become part of the battle against Islamic "extremists." This means that 2008, the year in which
Arabs and Israelis are aiming to reach agreement on the establishment of a Palestinian state, must also be the year that the Iranian regime's bid for nuclear-backed hegemony is repelled.”

Another astute observation, this time from the Arabic press:
Arabic commentators have "made much of a linguistic coincidence:
In Arabic, ana polis means "I am the police."

"President Bush's message, former Lebanese Cabinet minister Essam Norman wrote in that country's opposition Al-Akhbar newspaper, is: 'I am the policeman of the Middle East, responsible for your safety and security. Beware devious troublemaking. Israel isn't the enemy, Iran is."

By "opposition" the Washington Post writers meant, Syrian-backed, Hizballah-leaning political forces within the Lebanese government.

It's ironic that the enemies of peace and freedom all see President Bush's Annapolis meeting as a challenge to Middle Eastern radical Islamic extremism, while so many pro-Israel Christians and far right Israelis think Bush is just out to destroy Israel.

From my perspective the enemies of Israel have far better discernment of the character and motives of President Bush. Thank you, Mr. President, for not basing what you do on the personal favor or displeasure of the crowd.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Getting Started

First entry.

This is an experiment. MySpace was not a good fit for me. I need a quick in-and-out place to write about things going on in the realms I'm engaged in. Technical hassles are not something I want to deal with. So we'll see how this works out.

Every week I put out a summary of prayer requests from the indigenous ministries of Israel to my mailing lists. This gets done if nothing else does. Secondarily, I do a news launch to news items that I believe are important for Christians in regard to Israel. This is where my 'second opinion' really diverges from the majority view. That news launch goes out to a mailing list and is also posted on my web site www.israelprayer.com

More than likely this blog will serve as a place to relay what my thoughts are on the news I'm reviewing for the news launch or current events surrounding the believing Jews and Arabs in Israel and the Palestinian controlled areas.

This may end up being a perfect outlet. Who knows?