Tuesday, 05 May 2009


Ken Berwitz

During his "I've been President for 100 days and don't you all just love me to death" speech, Barack Obama justified his stand on waterboarding by quoting Winston Churchill as saying "We don't torture". 

That quote is spurious.  There is no record of him ever saying any such thing.  Barack Obama either was misinformed or invented a quote that conveniently fit his view of things. 

But we're talking about today's New York Times.  So reality, and journalistic standards, are not operative.

If you want to read the entire NY Times article by Kate Phillips, which desperately tries to cover for Mr. Obama's phony Churchill quote, click here.

Me?  I'll just put up the more telling parts to show you just how far the Times is willing to go on behalf of Saint Barack:

May 5, 2009, 10:38 am

A Post-Script on Churchill, Obama and Torture

By Kate Phillips

Given that the definitions and practices of brutal interrogation methods, past and present, remain part of our modern-day debate, it seems worthwhile to revisit the remarks President Obama made during his 100 Days news conference about Winston Churchills views on torture and gather some of the discussion that has ensued since then.

To recap, journalists and bloggers spent the days after Mr. Obamas news conference dissecting his remarks, and countering them with evidence uncovered this past decade in Britain about the treatment of Nazi soldiers and others in London and elsewhere, some 60 years ago. We contacted Carlo DEste, a military historian and biographer, who wrote Warlord: A Life of Winston Churchill at War, 1874-1945. iIn the wake of Mr. Obamas comments, he offered his insights on Churchills personal experiences and leanings. Well get back to his take after setting up a little of the recent back-and-forth.

First, lets go to Mr. Obamas comments, as he discussed his rationale for releasing the legal opinions of the Bush administration that were the underlying reasoning for their methods used to interrogate terrorist suspects.

Mr. Obama said:

I was struck by an article that I was reading the other day talking about the fact that the British, during World War II, when London was being bombed to smithereens, had 200 or so detainees. And Churchill said, we dont torture, when the the entire British all of the British people were being subjected to unimaginable risk and threat. And and and the reason was that Churchill understood, you start taking shortcuts, and over time, that corrodes whats whats best in a people.

The White House press office initially wasnt sure which article the president referenced, but at the end of the week seemed to agree that it was one by Andrew Sullivan at TheAtlantic.com. (Several bloggers and writers and Web sites also cited Mr. Sullivans piece.)

But what Mr. Sullivan actually wrote is this: As Britains very survival hung in the balance, as women and children were being killed on a daily basis and London turned into rubble, Churchill nonetheless knew that embracing torture was the equivalent of surrender to the barbarism he was fighting.

In a hypothetical sense, that may cover an arc of positioning, from Mr. Obamas emphatic characterization of a Churchillian belief that we dont torture to the wartime leaders not embracing torture, spanning public pronouncements and what would appear to be evidence of a private, personal abhorrence despite institutional practice.

It would seem, from many accounts, that Mr. Obama misspoke. It remains unclear whether Churchill ever uttered the words we dont torture, but no citation has surfaced among biographers or historians that weve seen so far.

As I said above, you can go on and read the entire article.  Have a ball.  But I don't think you need any more than this.

Barack Obama has no basis for making his claim about Churchill.  Period. 

-Ms. Phillips may think "in a hypothetical sense, that may cover an arc of positioning....to be evidence of a private personal abhorrence despite institutional practice" (whatever that means).  But there is no basis for claiming Winston Churchill ever said "We don't torture".

-It doesn't just "seem from many accounts that (President Obama) misspoke".  There is no basis for claiming Winston Churchill ever said "We don't torture".

-The fact that "...no citation has surfaced among biographers or historians that we've seen so far" means there is no basis for claiming Winston Churchill ever said "We don't torture".

Got it?  Clear enough?  I know you do, but for the Times' edification (if not its' editions) let me say it very loudly"


The article goes on (and on and on and on) to try to come up with something that rationalizes Mr. Obama's claim.  But none of them work.  That is because....(yes, here it comes again):   there is no basis for claiming Winston Churchill ever said "We don't torture".

Wouldn't it have been easier to just say........ok, I won't post those words again.   But the New York Times does not seem to have the capacity to point out that Mr. Obama either was misinformed or lied about the quote (it has to be one or the other). 

You might want to keep this in mind the next time you read anything in the New York Times.  Its former reputation notwithstanding, the Times is no longer a newspaper.  It is an agenda-driven partisan rag.


Ken Berwitz

My son just sent me this video. 

It is phony, of course.  It is also unbelievably childish.  But I would bet anything you'll be laughing so hard you won't notice.

If you have any trouble seeing it below, just click here




Ken Berwitz

Here, from the Times of London, is a report on the UN's latest condemnation of Israel - this one based on the claims of hamas and other fun-loving humanitarian types in Gaza:

UN report accuses Israeli military of negligence in Gaza war

Inquiry finds Israel responsible for deaths, injuries and damage to UN buildings

A UN inquiry accused the Israeli military today of "negligence or recklessness" in its conduct of the war in Gaza.

The summary of the UN report, commissioned by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, censured the Israeli government for causing death, injuries and damage to UN property in seven incidents involving action by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).

It said: "The board concluded that IDF actions involved varying degrees of negligence or recklessness with regard to United Nations premises and to the safety of United Nations staff and other civilians within those premises, with consequent deaths, injuries, and extensive physical damage and loss of property."

However, in a blow to human rights campaigners, Ban said there would be no further investigation despite the report calling for a full impartial inquiry.

Although the full, 184-page findings of the UN board of inquiry will not be made public, the 27-page summary emphasised that UN premises are inviolable, and that inviolability cannot be set aside by the demands of military expediency.

"UN personnel and all civilians within UN premises, as well as civilians in the immediate vicinity of those premises, are to be protected in accordance with the rules and principles of international humanitarian law," the summary says.

Among the incidents for which the Israeli government is held responsible are:

The deaths of three young men killed by a single IDF missile strike at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Asma school in Gaza City on 5 January;

The firing of heavy IDF mortar rounds into the UNRWA Jabalia school on 6 January, injuring seven people sheltering in the school and killing up to 40 people in the immediate vicinity;

Aerial bombing of the UNRWA Bureij health centre on the same day causing the death of a patient and serious injuries to two others;

Artillery firing by the IDF into the UNRWA field office compound in Gaza city on 15 January that in turn caused high explosive shells to explode within the compound causing injuries and considerable damage to the buildings. The summary notes that it disrupted the UN's humanitarian operations in Gaza;

Artillery firing by the IDF into the UNRWA Beit Lahia school on 17 January, causing the deaths of two children

Aerial bombing by the IDF of the Unesco compound on 29 December causing damage to UN buildings and vehicles.

In his accompanying letter to the summary, Ban noted that the Israeli government had significant reservations and objections to the document. He said he was reviewing the inquiry boards recommendations "with a view to determining what courses of action, if any, I should take".

Those recommendations include demanding from the Israeli government that it retract earlier claims that Palestinians had been firing at the IDF from within UN premises, and that the UN should pursue Israel for reparations and reimbursement for all expenses incurred. Those reparations would cover the death or injury of UN personnel or third parties, and the repair of UN property.

Israel had dismissed the report, given to an Israeli foreign ministry official, as "tendentious" and "patently biased".

The UN investigation is the first into the war, and looked only at deaths, injuries and damage caused at UN sites in Gaza during the three-week conflict.

The document was compiled by a board of inquiry a team of four led by Ian Martin, a Briton who is a former head of Amnesty International and a former UN special envoy to East Timor and Nepal.

Israel's foreign ministry attempted to pre-empt the report today, saying the Israeli military had already investigated its own conduct during the war and "proved beyond doubt" that it did not fire intentionally at UN buildings. It dismissed the UN inquiry.

"The state of Israel rejects the criticism in the committee's summary report, and determines that in both spirit and language the report is tendentious, patently biased, and ignores the facts presented to the committee," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

It said the inquiry had "preferred the claims of Hamas, a murderous terror organisation, and by doing so has misled the world".

International human rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have accused Israel's military and Palestinian militant groups of serious violations of international law and possible war crimes during the conflict.

The UN board of inquiry report has limited scope: it is confined to investigating death or injuries or damage at UN buildings or during UN operations. The UN human rights council is also to dispatch a fact-finding mission to Gaza, but Israel has already suggested it will not co-operate, saying the council is biased.

Let's start with the fact that the guy who headed this inquiry, Ian Martin, is more than "a former head of Amnesty International and UN special envoy to East Timor and Nepal".  He is also a former UN envoy to Gaza.  Now why do you suppose they left that out?

Continuing, do we know why the UN accepts the hamas version of what happened in Gaza?  Based on the wording of this article, it appears to have rejected Israel's accounts out of hand.  I suppose it makes sense to take the word of a terrorist organization committed in writing to Israel's obliteration........if you're the UN, that is.

Now let's try to figure out why Israel would reject the UN human rights council as biased.  Could it be because its members include Bahrain, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Senegal, among others? 

Let's be honest:  Israel has about as much of a shot at getting a fair shake in the UN as Carrie Prejean has of getting a standing ovation at a GLAAD convention. 

Where were these keepers of the flame when hamas was firing rockets into Israel every day, attempting to hit civilian targets.  Is the fact that hamas is woefully inept some kind of excuse to pretend they weren't trying?  If hamas ever improves and starts killing more Israeli Jews, will the UN care? 

And where was the UN when Gaza's schools were teaching Palestinian Arab children that Jews come from pigs and monkeys, it is a glorious act to kill Jews and that Israel should be obliterated?  Oh, wait, the UN was - and continues to be - RUNNING those schools.

Still wondering why Israel isn't impressed with this report or the UN human rights council?  I didn't think so.


Ken Berwitz

This morning I watched a brief, but classic, example of how the Today Show uses "Agenda News" to manipulate its viewers.  Unfortunately, I also watched my wife get sucked right into their game. 

Let me immediately add that my wife is very smart and very savvy.  But when you're paying 2/3 attention to the TV while getting ready to go to work and thinking about what you have to do during the day, you aren't as sharp as you would be at other times.   That is one of the greatest advantages Today has when they do "Agenda News".

The story concerned Miss California, Carrie Prejean.  Today's teaser promised "racy pictures" of her, while reminding us (either in the teaser or the story itself, I don't remember for sure) that she went to a Christian College.  On hearing this, my wife said something like "Oh, her again?  Enough with her already". 

I happen to agree with my wife's sentiment.  Carrie Prejean doesn't mean much to me one way or the other.  But the problem was that my wife's anger was clearly directed at Ms. Prejean, not the Today Show.  So I asked her why she was getting angry at Prejean. 

I said (this is pretty close to verbatim)  "Why are you mad at her?  Shouldn't you be mad at the Today show?  They're the ones doing this story, because they don't like what she says about gay marriages so they're going to make her look like a piece of (bleep) any way they can.  They do it all the time.  Do you think she sent those pictures to Today?  They're the ones pushing this, not her.  If you want to get mad, get mad at them"

About halfway through my comment (which looks long in print but actually lasted no more than 12-15 seconds), I got "the look".   After almost 40 years of marriage I know "the look" very well.  It means "ok, you made your point, now would you please shut up? I don't care".   So I dropped the subject.....for a couple of minutes.

But then the actual story came on.  And Matt Lauer was talking about the pictures again.  He characterized them as "images that may not sit very well with her conservative supporters" and then ran a story narrated by NBC "newsperson" Miguel Almaguer which warned that "some say (the pictures have) gone too far..." and added that they were "....too far for NBC news to broadcast".

Let's stop here.  I've seen one of the pictures (it is shown below).  And believe me, NBC News could have broadcast it.  That was an intentionally overdramatized comment to build a case for the nothingness which followed. 

Almaguer then said "after first claiming the photos were taken when she was 17..." which suggests that Ms. Prejean subsequently had to change her story.  But, dispite the insinuating tone of that lead-in, nowhere in the rest of the story did she change her claim.  Again, this is Agenda News posing as facts.

Further on, Almaguer seconds Lauer's nonsense by saying that "(the) pictures may not sit well with conservative groups".  Ok, the dead horse took another beating.  Meanwhile the screen verbiage states that "Nude pictures surface of Miss USA Runner-up".  Again, the one picture that has been released (to my knowledge, anyway) is not nude.  So why did they use that wording?  Because it is "Agenda News", so you don't have to worry about reality.

Toward the end, Almaguer states that she may be in trouble as Miss California because the rules "prohibit her from being photographed in a state of partial or total nudity".  But I doubt the amount of skin shown below is what they were worrying about.  One look at what she and every other constestant wore in the bathing suit competition makes that pretty clear.

So what do we have here?  We have a beauty pagaent contestant who may have - may have - had a few topless pictures taken.  This was the big deal?  This was what Today's feature story was about?

Earth to Matt Lauer:  Women have boobs.  Even Christian women.  An urbane guy like him, you'd think he would know that.

So, bottom line, Today did a feature story on Carrie Prejean, apropos of nothing, that was cobbled together because they were able to come up with a couple of pictures of her with her bra off.  And they did it in a way that got my wife (and countless other viewers, I'm sure) annoyed with Ms. Prejean - the last person on earth who would have wanted that feature done - rather than the Today show.

Would they have done the same "Agenda News" if Carrie Prejean had given them the answer they wanted about gay marriage?  What do you think?



I just found the web site that Today was referencing in its hit piec...er, news story on Carrie Prejean.  The site clearly despises her.  It has a total of one picture (it promises more, but so far just one) which may or may not be Ms. Prejean.  Assuming it is, she is wearing panties which cover about as much of her lower body as the bikini bottom she wore on-stage at the pagaent.  But as for the rest, she is facing away from us with her arm covering most of the breast area.  See for yourself:



Based on this picture, I retract any inference that you could see her boobs (why would I ever believe Today?  My bad).  Maybe the web site has other pictures which are more revealing, but they have not released them yet, so I don't know that for a fact and neither does the Today show.

Therefore, I conclude that the only visible pair of boobs in this story are Matt Lauer and Miguel Almaguer.


NOTE:  I originally wrote this blog from memory.  But I was able to watch a video of the Lauer/Almaguer "story" and have added material from it.  You can watch it too, by clicking here.

Bobby Ewing Well, you all knew this was gonna happen. Think about it - for one Carrie Prejean is pretty dang hot to begin with. I guess that is why she is "Miss California". But if there are nude and topless pics like these 6 out there to be seen of a hot girl like this - you KNOW they are going to come out. Its a given. But can you blame people for not wanting to look watercooler dot jlaforums dot com I mean look at these pics - she is smokin! (05/05/09)


Ken Berwitz

I can't do this episode the way I usually would because, this time, P.J. Gladnick at www.newsbusters.org has done it first (and I don't want to come across as a copycat).  So here is his blog:


Name That Party: Unpopular New Orleans Mayor Featured in NYT

By P.J. Gladnick (Bio | Archive)
May 4, 2009 - 21:19 ET

Okay, boys and girls, it's time to play on America's favorite political game show.....NAME THAT PARTY!!!


Today's show features a highly unpopular mayor of New Orleans written up in the New York Times. The first person who thinks he knows the political party affiliation of the mayor, please hit the buzzer. The hidden clues might be hard to find in this article but they could lead the more carefully discerning among you to the correct answer:

NEW ORLEANS As Mayor C. Ray Nagin approaches his final year in office, he faces scandal, an acrimonious stalemate with the City Council and the worst popularity ratings ever recorded for a mayor here.

Hmm... It sure sounds bad for Ray Nagin but is this enough evidence to correctly guess his political party? Perhaps we need more information:

Term limits will keep him from running again, so Mr. Nagins eight tumultuous years of leading what he called a chocolate city will come to an end next May. He has not been popular among middle-class white voters since the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but now, with the city still in a halting recovery more than three and a half years later, residents citywide seem eager to see him go.


In a recent poll by the University of New Orleans, Mr. Nagin was cited as one of the biggest problems for the city, coming in third after crime and education. Just 24 percent of residents over all said they approved of the mayor, a drop from 31 percent the year before.


Its the worst approval rating weve reported since 1986, when the poll was first conducted, said Robert T. Sims, the director of the universitys survey research center.

Wow! This is just so tough to figure out. You sure don't make it easy for us, New York Times:

Among African-Americans, support dropped to 36 percent from about half of those polled last year. Among whites, who constituted much of Mr. Nagins voting base in his first election, the approval rating was 5 percent. (The surveys margin of sampling error for whites was plus or minus five percentage points.)


Edward F. Renwick, a retired professor of political science at Loyola University and a pollster himself, said he found that figure surprising. I have hardly ever seen 5 percent, Dr. Renwick said. On the other hand, he added, I have never met a white person who doesnt hate him.


That sentiment can be seen in a $2 bumper sticker that has become popular in the citys souvenir shops. In vivid Mardi Gras colors, it says: May 31, 2010: Nagins Last Day. Proud to See Him Gone.

May 31? That's the birthday of your humble correspondent. But does that make figuring out the political affiliation mystery any easier? All it does is make me more confused:

Why is dissatisfaction so high? People have learned to take in stride Mr. Nagins tendency to shoot from the hip with a howitzer and have tended to draw some satisfaction from his ability to avoid the serious taint of corruption that has dogged many Louisiana politicians.


Now, however, that sense is coming to an end, after accusations arose in a civil lawsuit concerning city technology contracts. In a deposition, a former city official said he took a Hawaiian vacation with Mr. Nagin and their families in 2004 that was paid for by a company whose owner did extensive business with the city through other companies. Claims of other trips raising ethics questions were raised in later testimony.


At a news conference on April 7, the mayor defended the Hawaiian vacation. I dont see it as a violation of any law, any ethics rules, he said, because he had been told that the city official Greg Meffert, the former chief of technology for New Orleans was paying for the trip, not the contractor.

Corruption in New Orleans? So what party is dominant there? Somehow if we could figure out the answer to this we would know the political affiliation of the highly unpopular mayor. Come on NYT! Don't tease us. Give us just a tiny clue. Please!

The authors of the Tulane poll, including the political consultant James Carville, said voters believed by two to one that the city was on the wrong track, and they compared the citys mood to that of the nation in the final year of the Bush administration.

Blame Bush! Whatever the problems of Mayor Nagin, it's all the fault of Bush! Does this mean we need to somehow figure out Bush's political affiliation to help us win Name That Party?

One of the mayors top aides, Edward J. Blakely, executive director for recovery management, said in an interview that, to some extent, Mr. Nagin was a victim of his times.


Everything that was broken before Katrina is now magnified, and the mayor has to be held accountable for it, Mr. Blakely said. Housing may be blighted, the streets pothole-strewn and the infrastructure crumbling, he said, but these things were broken long before Katrina.

Federalist? Whig? Know-Nothing? Prohibitionist? Give us just a hint as to the the political party of the mayor who was a tragic "victim of his times."

You're not sure whether to laugh, be outraged or both, right? 

Let's remember in all this that ray nagin was re-elected with plenty of room to spare AFTER the hurricane Katrina debacle, and that his re-election occurred with a far lower complement of Black voters than his previous election win.  This corrupt, inept disgrace, therefore, is what New Orleans' residents prefer, period.

That says plenty about New Orleans:  just about all of it bad.

A special thanks to the New York Times for keeping the hypocrisy torch aglow.  If nagin were a Republican we'd have known about it within the first three paragraphs - more than likely in the headline too.   I base that judgement not on any ad hominem dislike of the Times, but on reading it, almost every day, for decades. 

I have watched the New York Times disintegrate as a newspaper and become a ridiculous, self-impressed partisan rag.  That's too bad for the Times, and too bad for readers like me.


Ken Berwitz

This blog was written by Brian Maloney at www.radioequalizer.blogspot.com.  I hope it isn't true.  But, unsettlingly, it looks like it is.

You decide:

Left Furious Over Revelations Of White House Threats


Talk Radio Broke Blockbuster Story Of Obama's Threats
Did the Obama Administration threaten to use the White House Press Corps against an attorney who dared to oppose the president's forced handover of Chrysler to labor unions and foreigners?

That's the explosive allegation against the White House made by Tom Lauria, a bankruptcy attorney and major Democratic Party donor representing lenders opposed to the compulsory deal.

If not for the efforts of a well-respected, longtime Detroit-area talk host, Americans would still be unaware of this still-developing saga. At a time when
talk radio is being vilified by the mainstream media, the investigative work of WJR's Frank Beckmann deserves commendation.

It was Beckmann's
on-air interview with Lauria that first brought Obama's intimidation campaign to public attention, leading to an ABC News story by Jake Tapper and subsequent attention from other talk shows and blogs, including Rush Limbaugh on Monday:

RUSH: So, of the three possibilities: goodness of their hearts, they got secret slush money under the table from TARP, or they're scared to death because the Treasury department holds the future right in their hands. I vote option three. I vote that the big banks rolled over 'cause they're scared to death 'cause wherever I go, I don't care who I interact with, they're scared to death of this administration.

And now we know, ladies and gentlemen, I was right. Now we know beyond a shadow of a doubt I was right. Option number three, they are scared to death. My buddy Frank Beckmann at WJR in Detroit interviewed one of the bankruptcy lawyers for one of the bondholders at Chrysler, one of the clients. His name is Tom Lauria. Tom Lauria said, "Let me tell you, it's no fun standing on this side of the fence, opposing the president of the United States. In fact, let me just say, people have asked me who I represent. That's a moving target. I can tell you for sure that I represent one less investor today than I represented yesterday. One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House and, essence, compelled to withdraw its opposition to the Chrysler deal under the threat that the full force of the White House press corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight. That's how hard it is to stand on this side of the fence." And Frank Beckmann said, "Was it Perella Weinberg?" Lauria says, "It was Perella Weinberg." Now, this happened on Friday in Detroit. It's made the news throughout the weekend. Now, the White House, by the way, is denying all of this.

But there's a pattern here, ladies and gentlemen, that sort of gives the lie to the denial. We've referred to the situation that's going on in Washington as loan sharking, Obama loan sharking people. Basically what happened was, as we mentioned last week, the bondholders, the investors at Chrysler were leaned on by Obama and called out personally by the name of hedge funds, and they were selfish and they were holding out for a better deal. These people were forced to settle for 20 to 30 cents on the dollar while the UAW was made whole in the whole thing, and the lawyer, Thomas Lauria, now says that his client was threatened with reputation ruination from the White House press corps. There's no question that there is fear all over this country of this administration. There's fear in American business; there's fear in average citizens; there's fear in every aspect that does business one way or the other with the United States government now. The fear that the average American has always had of the IRS has now been transferred to everybody having fear of whatever branch of government they deal with -- in this case, Geithner and Treasury and President Obama.


Now, who is this lawyer, Thomas Lauria? Thomas Lauria is the head of a bankruptcy group at White & Case, the law firm. He is a Democrat who contributed $10,000 to the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2008. He voted for, he contributed to the very regime that he brought to power that is now wreaking havoc on his clients and threatening them with reputation ruination. But because he's a Democrat and gave ten grand to the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee he's got some credibility here, does he not? He's got a little bit more credibility than the White House spokesman. What did the White House spokesman say? "There's no evidence." Well, what's Lauria? Is he lying? "Well, he's a lawyer, Rush." But he's also a Democrat lawyer and gave big money. So on Friday, I predicted to you exactly what was going to happen, why'd they roll over, because they're scared to death. And here's a lawyer now saying (paraphrasing) "The Obama administration came to us and said, 'If you don't go along with this deal we're going to ruin the reputation -- we're going to get the White House press corps.'"

Beckmann, also a Detroit News columnist, has been doing the kind of digging seldom seen in the mainstream media these days.

But that has the left-wing blogosphere in a tizzy. Determined to protect Obama at all costs,
they've been launching grenades at ABC News and Tapper for daring to cover something more substantive than dogs, arms and pecs. The far-left Media Matters has also attacked Fox News for discussing the story.

Meanwhile, as can be expected,
the White House is denying everything.

Is the Obama administration threatening the free speech of its critics, and assuming that the fawning, drooling love affair it enjoys with most media will cause them to run interference for it?  I don't know for sure  But, as noted above, that is the way it looks.

This is getting scary, folks.  When do our wonderful "neutral" media  unmesmerize long enough to see what is in front of their eyes?  

When do they stop and think about the possibility that they're one wrong move away from being next on the hit parade? 


Ken Berwitz

Is the Obama administration using Iran's development of nuclear weapons to threaten Israel into conducting "peace negotiations" (what a misnomer that is) with palestinian Arabs?

Let me assure you that I hope this story is not true.  But I don't know one way or the other.

Here are the particulars, from an article in the Jerusalem Post.  Please pay special attention to the part I've put in bold print:

Emanuel: Thwarting Iran easier with Israeli-Palestinian talks

The task of forming an international coalition to thwart Iran's nuclear program will be made easier if progress is made in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has said, according to sources in Washington.

SLIDESHOW: Israel & Region  |  World

Israeli TV stations had reported Monday night that Emanuel had actually linked the two matters, saying that the efforts to stop Iran hinged on peace talks with the Palestinians. The remarks were reportedly made in a closed-door meeting previous day with 300 major AIPAC donors on Sunday.

Last month, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Israel that it risks losing Arab support for combating threats from Iran if it rejects peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

        Clinton said Arab nations had conditioned helping Israel counter Iran on Jerusalem's commitment to the peace

Meanwhile, in an interview with the Jerusalem Post on Sunday, former US House speaker Newt Gingrich blasted the Obama administration for setting itself on a collision course with Israel and endangering the Jewish state.

He called US President Barack Obama's program of engagement with Iran a "fantasy," and his Middle East policies "very dangerous for Israel." He summed up Obama's approach as "the clearest adoption of weakness since Jimmy Carter."

Let me again say that I don't know where the truth is.  If Emanuel - who is Jewish and has strong familial ties to Israel - simply said that progress in "peace talks" would make it easier to prevent Iran from creating nuclear weapons, I would consider it supersedingly ridiculous, but not threatening.  (Anyone who thinks Iran, which is on record as wanting Israel "wiped off the face of the earth" would be dissuaded by the renewal of a meaningless 40 year debate needs a course in elementary logic).

But if Emanuel specifically tied efforts to prevent Iran from gaining the means to obliterate Israel with Israel doing what the Obama administration wants, that is another matter entirely.  It is a direct threat against Israel.  It can even be called a blackmail attempt.

So where does the truth lie?  Only Mr. Emanuel and the people he spoke with know for sure - so far (maybe a few of the AIPAC people will pipe up, or an audio tape will emerge.  It's happened before).

I hope we find out as soon as possible. I want to know what my country is demanding of Israel, and how far it will go to enforce its demands.

Zeke Ken - Mutually Assured Destruction effectively prevented a nuclear exchange between the US and the USSR. Neither wanted to be nuked. Not so with Iran. In it's war with Iraq in the 1980's, Iran sent hundreds of young boys walking across mine fields to clear them for the following infantry. Iran is very into martyrdom. One wonders if Israel would then threaten to launch dirty bombs (long life radioactive) at Middle East oil fields as a retaliation. Thereby giving the West, China, Japan a stake in preserving Middle Eastern peace. (05/05/09)

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