Friday, December 02, 2005




The Simon Wiesenthal Center expressed its alarm that the decision by a leading mainline Protestant Church, the Presbyterian Church USA, to permit ongoing contacts with Hezbollah will further embolden international terrorism.

“Americans should be deeply troubled by PCUSA’s decision to permit ongoing contacts with Hezbollah, a terrorist organization in word and deed,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “It was disturbing enough that PCUSA officials met recently with Hezbollah’s Commander in Southern Lebanon. But to learn that future meetings would be sanctioned, even after Hezbollah launched unprovoked bloody attacks designed to kidnap Israelis, will only further embolden the forces of terrorism in the Holy Land, in Lebanon and around the world.”

Officials of the Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human Rights NGO had launched a protest after the Middle East Research Institute, published Lebanese media reports that a PCUSA delegation headed by Robert Morley, a retired professor from McCormick Theological Seminary and Father Nihad Tomeh, the Church’s Mideast liaison met with Sheikh Nabil Qaouk, Hezbollah’s commander in Southern Lebanon. The Church delegation reportedly wanted to learn more about Hezbollah’s charitable works and its "concern" for people.

"The people of Lebanon struggle mightily to reassert their independent democracy, Israel evacuates Gaza and continues negotiations with the Palestinian Authority towards a two-state solution, hundreds of thousands of Jordanians throng to the streets to denounce suicide bombers in Amman, but leaders of the PCUSA rush again to coddle up to Syria and Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorists," charged Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center. "Their moral blindness is both arrogant and dangerous, seeking this meeting with Hezbollah even as the group plotted kidnapping and mayhem to blow up the quiet Lebanese-Israel border," Cooper continued.

At the meeting, Qaouk complained to the Presbyterian officials that U.S. policy towards Lebanon was dictated by Israel. Worley assured him that his delegation was blameless, because they had voted for Democratic Party. Worley also voiced his own complaint about how much PCUSA had suffered from Jewish organizations because its stand supporting divestment from companies doing business in the Jewish state.

"The latest photo op with a frontline terrorist leader confirms these Presbyterian leaders are pursuing a functionally antisemitic, punitive campaign against Israel, motivated not by hopes for peace but as a desire to weaken the Jewish state," said Rabbi Cooper.

"The Jewish community can only hope that fair-minded members of PCUSA will take back control of the moral compass of their movement before any further damage is done to the cause of Middle East peace, interfaith relations and the Presbyterian Church’s historic reputation," Cooper concluded.

PCUSA was the first mainline Protestant movement to call for divesting funds from Israel. A year ago, a PCUSA delegation also visited with Sheikh Qaouk in Lebanon. This led to the dismissal of two members of that delegation as well as condemnation by U.S. Congressional leaders, among others.

Now comes word from PCUSA’s interfaith coordinator Rev. Jay Rock that there would be new guidelines for its members. He explained, however, that “there will not be policies for or against meeting with any group, but we do have policies against the use of terrorism in any form.”

“But in fact, PCUSA’s dance with Hezbollah, a group funded and backed by the Iranian and Syrian regimes, only validates and rewards terrorists. In effect PCUSA is saying that it is fine to bring terrorists into civil discourse, so long as you don’t help them strap on the explosives belt,” Cooper concluded.

Hezbollah is designated by the U.S. as a terrorist organization. In addition, the distinction between the group’s political and terrorist wings was removed by General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands following an investigation into the groups social services apparatus.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe.

For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, or visit

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Once again into the Breach!

Once again the Eighth Marines take up their deployment to the Middle East, We say God Bless each and every one of them on their deployment. Semper Fi Marines!!!

CAMP LEJEUNE, NC(Nov. 30, 2005) -- For the fourth time since the seismic events of 9/11, the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit is preparing to deploy abroad in support of the War on Terror.

In a ceremony Wednesday at Camp Lejeune’s W.P.T. Hill Field, the unit grew from its standing headquarters of some 100 Marines and sailors to a highly potent air-ground task force of 2,200, as the MEU took charge of its three major subordinate elements.

The re-activation formally launched an intensive six-month pre-deployment training cycle designed to prepare the MEU – arguably the nation’s premier crisis-response force – for a host of possible missions ranging from humanitarian assistance to full-scale combat.

Joining the MEU command element for roughly the next year were its designated air, ground and logistics components: Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 365, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, and MEU Service Support Group 24.

The MEU will conduct much of its training in and around Camp Lejeune, but the schedule also includes exercises at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia and in Norfolk, Va., where the MEU will hone its skills at operating in an urban environment. Additionally, the MEU will execute several sea drills aboard the amphibious assault ships Iwo Jima, Nashville and Whidbey Island, the naval vessels that will transport the MEU during its deployment.

While the MEU has been home since it completed a seven-month deployment to Iraq in February, it has not been idle. In early September, while busy assembling the pre-deployment training program, the MEU headquarters, BLT 1/8 and MSSG-24 were ordered to the U.S. Gulf Coast to aid recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The Marines spent nearly a month in the stricken region before returning to North Carolina to resume preparations for its scheduled deployment next spring.

The MEU heads into its latest round of workups with considerable combat experience. The MEU headquarters and MSSG-24 spent their last tour in Iraq south of Baghdad, taming the highly volatile “Triangle of Death,” while 1/8 played a leading role in the recapture of Fallujah in November. At the same time, HMM-365 logged its own seven-month stint in western Iraq.

Still, Col. Ronald Johnson, the MEU commander and himself a veteran of five tours in the Middle East, implored his Marines to guard against complacency and to make the most of every training opportunity.

“Time is our enemy,” he told them, repeating what has become a mantra. “No two deployments are the same. The battlefield is constantly evolving, and our adversaries are constantly thinking and adjusting. As we get ready to re-enter the arena, we must never forget how high the stakes are for our Marines, our families and our country.”

While the 24th MEU’s rich lineage traces back to the 1960s, it wasn’t until October 1983 that the unit, during a watershed deployment to Beirut, Lebanon, entered America’s consciousness.

In what remains the deadliest terrorist strike against Americans overseas, an explosives-laden truck barreled into the barracks housing the headquarters of BLT 1/8, the ground combat element of what was then called the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit. The attack killed 241 U.S. troops, including 220 Marines.

Throughout the 1990s, the 24th MEU distinguished itself in a number of high-profile but relatively low-intensity operations. These included Provide Comfort, the 1991 mission of mercy in support of Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq and Turkey; Restore Hope in Somalia in 1993; Support Democracy in Haiti in 1994; and Allied Force, NATO’s air campaign against Kosovo in 1999.

Its most heralded triumph came in June 1995 with the daring rescue of Air Force Capt. Scott O’Grady, an F-16 pilot shot down over wartorn Bosnia who eluded capture for six days before Marines landed behind enemy lines to pluck him to safety.

The 24th MEU was in Kosovo on Sept. 11, 2001, wrapping up a six-month deployment dominated by training exercises with allied forces. Before it returned home, the MEU briefly supported Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Johnson, then serving as the operations officer for Task Force Tarawa and slated to take command of the 24th MEU later that year, tapped the MEU to help secure key terrain during the drive to Baghdad.

In June 2004, halfway through its last training cycle, the MEU was ordered to straight to Iraq as the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority prepared to hand political control of the country over to the interim Iraqi government.

While it’s too soon to know where the MEU will be sent next year, all eyes are clearly on Iraq.

“We have unfinished business over there, and we expect that’s where we’ll be needed most,” said Johnson. “But we’ll be ready for anything.”

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Teacher of the Homicide Bomber

Hezbollah learnt suicide bomb tactics from Iran - commander Sat. 26 Nov 2005

Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Nov. 26 – Lebanon’s Hezbollah group learnt suicide operation tactics from Iran, a senior officer of the Revolutionary Guards boasted.

Mohammad-Ali Samadi, the spokesman for a government-orchestrated campaign to recruit suicide bombers said that Iran first developed the tactic during its eight-year war with Iraq, which left over a million people dead.

Samadi’s organisation, the Headquarters to Commemorate the Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement, is run by the IRGC in an effort to recruit potential suicide bombers. At a recent rally in the city of Shahroud, north-eastern Iran, it claimed to have signed up 1,000 volunteers for suicide attacks against the West and Israel.

The former regime of Saddam Hussein, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia disseminated negative propaganda against suicide operations to keep them apart from Palestinian culture, Samadi said.

“Lebanese Hezbollah used its ties with Iran to adopt the Iranian model and utilised it successfully with light guns and light-weight short-range rockets”, the senior IRGC officer said.

In October, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be “wiped off the map” and threatened the leaders of Muslim countries that developed ties with the Jewish state.

Earlier this month, Samadi told a state-run news agency that 50,000 people had enlisted for martyrdom-seeking operations throughout the country and were willing to attack targets on the orders of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The group’s organisers previously said that their targets were three-fold; U.S.-led forces in Iraq, Jews in Israel, and Salman Rushdie, who still has a fatwa against him issue by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.