TBR News March 19, 2012

Mar 19 2012

The Voice of the White House

          Washington, D.C. March 19, 2012: “At one time, foreigners sent their children to the United States to receive a good education. Those days are now long gone and forgotten. The current American public schools, to include universities, are grossly incompetent with several exceptions and are turning out generations of barely literate graduates who rarely read and who can barely write. The best public schools in the United States are: The University of Virginia  at Charlottesville, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Oregon at Eugene and the University of California at Berkeley. Most “community colleges” turn out students with virtually no reading or writing skills and these graduates would have a terrible time finding a job scrubbing the lavatories in pubic housing. College graduates in this current era are able to read and write but rarely to either, preferring to “text message” in short, cryptic sentences to their legions of “friends” who respond with similar messages. A full email page of text is too tiring for most of them to bother with and their vocabularies are very, very limited. This is one of the main reasons why American print media is rapidly collapsing and television is turning into an idiot;s delight with scripted news approved by corporate owners. The Washington Post lost 75% of its regular subscribers last year and other large papers have the same problems. The current public does not subscribe because they are not able to read long articles and so the free Internet supplies all the news they need. Idiot and inaccurate blogs aside, the foreign press is often the best, and unfortunately, only places where accurate current news can be found….for those diminishing citizens who are actually interested. However, the so-called “Personal sites” like Facebook and Twitter are flooded by the quasi-literate and frustrated and they pour their shallow souls out in print in a frenzy of desperation. The only ones who benefit from all the immense amount of useless personal information that is only of interest to the poster are the various governmental investigative agencies who gleefully reap where the lonely have sown.”

Facebook’s ‘dark side’: study finds link to socially aggressive narcissism

Psychology paper finds Facebook and other social media offer platform for obsessions with self-image and shallow friendships

March 17, 2012

by Damien Pearse


Researchers have established a direct link between the number of friends you have on Facebook and the degree to which you are a “socially disruptive” narcissist, confirming the conclusions of many social media sceptics.

People who score highly on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory questionnaire had more friends on Facebook, tagged themselves more often and updated their newsfeeds more regularly.

The research comes amid increasing evidence that young people are becoming increasingly narcissistic, and obsessed with self-image and shallow friendships.

The latest study, published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, also found that narcissists responded more aggressively to derogatory comments made about them on the social networking site’s public walls and changed their profile pictures more often.

A number of previous studies have linked narcissism with Facebook use, but this is some of the first evidence of a direct relationship between Facebook friends and the most “toxic” elements of narcissistic personality disorder.

Researchers at Western Illinois University studied the Facebook habits of 294 students, aged between 18 and 65, and measured two “socially disruptive” elements of narcissism – grandiose exhibitionism (GE) and entitlement/exploitativeness (EE).

GE includes ”self-absorption, vanity, superiority, and exhibitionistic tendencies” and people who score high on this aspect of narcissism need to be constantly at the centre of attention. They often say shocking things and inappropriately self-disclose because they cannot stand to be ignored or waste a chance of self-promotion.

The EE aspect includes “a sense of deserving respect and a willingness to manipulate and take advantage of others”.

The research revealed that the higher someone scored on aspects of GE, the greater the number of friends they had on Facebook, with some amassing more than 800.

Those scoring highly on EE and GG were also more likely to accept friend requests from strangers and seek social support, but less likely to provide it, according to the research.

Carol Craig, a social scientist and chief executive of the Centre for Confidence and Well-being, said young people in Britain were becoming increasingly narcissistic and Facebook provided a platform for the disorder.

“The way that children are being educated is focussing more and more on the importance of self esteem – on how you are seen in the eyes of others. This method of teaching has been imported from the US and is ‘all about me’.

“Facebook provides a platform for people to self-promote by changing profile pictures and showing how many hundreds of friends you have. I know of some who have more than 1,000.”

Dr Viv Vignoles, senior lecturer in social psychology at Sussex University, said there was “clear evidence” from studies in America that college students were becoming increasingly narcissistic.

But he added: “Whether the same is true of non-college students or of young people in other countries, such as the UK, remains an open question, as far as I know.

“Without understanding the causes underlying the historical change in US college students, we do not know whether these causes are factors that are relatively specific to American culture, such as the political focus on increasing self-esteem in the late 80s and early 90s or whether they are factors that are more general, for example new technologies such as mobile phones and Facebook.”

Vignoles said the correlational nature of the latest study meant it was difficult to be certain whether individual differences in narcissism led to certain patterns of Facebook behaviour, whether patterns of Facebook behaviour led to individual differences in narcissism, or a bit of both.

Christopher Carpenter, who ran the study, said: “In general, the ‘dark side’ of Facebook requires more research in order to better understand Facebook’s socially beneficial and harmful aspects in order to enhance the former and curtail the latter.

“If Facebook is to be a place where people go to repair their damaged ego and seek social support, it is vitally important to discover the potentially negative communication one might find on Facebook and the kinds of people likely to engage in them. Ideally, people will engage in pro-social Facebooking rather than anti-social me-booking.”



In Israel, prospect of war with Iran raises questions about home-front defense

March 17, 2012

by Karin Brulliard  ,

The Washington Post


TEL AVIV — Two young government workers had set up shop in the patio section of an Ace hardware store the other day, and many Israelis were waiting. The product: free gas masks, from a dwindling national supply that is set to dry up by month’s end.

When that day comes, nearly 40 percent of Israelis will still lack masks. More than half that figure has no access to bomb shelters. And there appears to be more reason than ever to have both: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned sharply this week that he reserved the right to unilaterally strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, an act officials and analysts warn would trigger a retaliatory spray of rockets and missiles onto the economic hub of Tel Aviv and other populous coastal districts.

That ominous prospect has some critics here slamming the mask and shelter shortage as woeful neglect of Israeli civilians, who for most of the nation’s turbulent 64-year history have been far from the front lines. Others view it as a evidence that the escalating threats of war are more bluff than plan, or that the closely guarded Israeli war calculus envisions a quick and punishing strike likely backed up by the United States.

But the shortages also point to Israel’s rocky transition from a long-held military paradigm that prioritized attack capabilities to one that also stresses defense of a home front under siege. Israeli officials say the need became clear during a 34-day Lebanon war in 2006, when Hezbollah militants’ rockets pounded northern Israeli cities, and it was underscored last week, when a torrent of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip froze life in southern Israel for days.

Most people here dismiss the prospect that Iranian retaliation would cause massive Israeli casualties. But a shower of missiles on Tel Aviv and the surrounding areas, home to the majority of Israelis, could paralyze the economy and trigger panic.

A successful strike on Iran “will depend on our capability to withstand an onslaught on the heart of Israel,” said Uzi Rubin, the former director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization. “We have to be ready for a flare-up . . . but we are still way off.”

Iran and the allies who might come to its defense, including Syria, Hezbollah and Palestinian militants in Gaza, have expanded the size and power of their arsenals in recent years, and Tel Aviv is now in the cross hairs, experts say. Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Israel’s military intelligence director, said recently that 200,000 rockets and missiles in the region could strike inside Israel.

That includes about 50,000 short-range weapons stockpiled in Lebanon by the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah — nearly four times the number the group had in 2006, according to Israeli military estimates. Palestinian-backed militants in Gaza have 10,000 rockets, the military says. Iran itself is believed to possess several hundred medium-range Shahab missiles, and Syria thousands of various kinds of warheads, including chemical weapons — one reason the Israeli government pledged to provide its population with gas masks.

Confidence in Israel’s defensive capacity rose last week, when a new short-range missile interceptor system blocked a large majority of the rockets headed for population centers, helping prevent any Israeli fatalities. Known as Iron Dome, the system was derided by military officials as a waste of money when first proposed, but it was extolled as the hero of the recent Israel-Gaza clashes.

But Iron Dome — one of four multibillion-dollar, partially U.S.-backed systems designed to thwart missiles of various ranges — is deployed only in three sites in southern Israel, and a site near Tel Aviv is to be added in the coming weeks. Another system designed to stop mid-range Iranian missiles, Arrow II, has not been tested in battle. How either system would cope with sustained fire is uncertain, defense analysts say.

In any case, critics say the systems and other big-ticket equipment should not take priority over what is known here as “passive defense.” Those measures, including gas masks and bomb shelters, should come first, as should as well as emergency response plans, said Rubin, who once led the Arrow program.

“It’s going to be a very good defense for the people of Israel, but unfortunately it’s not 100 percent,” Ze’ev Bielski, a lawmaker who chairs the parliamentary subcommittee on home-front defense, said of the missile shields.

Military and defense officials have said little to temper the concerns.

An official in the ministry of home-front defense, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said Israel has made strides in coordinating responses for all sorts of potential emergencies, from earthquakes to war. But exigency has not been reflected in budgets, the official said.

“We need to change the way of thinking in Israel about this kind of thing,” the official said.

In a nation that views itself as one large family, even a small number of civilian deaths would be viewed as disastrous, Bielski said.

But there is little sense of urgency. A government plan to provide homeowners incentives to build bomb shelters has fizzled, leaving 24 percent of the population without access to shelters, and funding for gas masks is short by nearly $300 million, Bielski said. Itay Baron, deputy director general of one of the nation’s two gas mask factories, said the plant is operating at 7 percent capacity and has laid off one-third of its workers in the past three months.

Amid furious speculation about the imminence of an Israeli strike, some view those data points as evidence that Netanyahu’s crescendoing war talk is largely bluster. Other officials and analysts reject that but grant that they might be a barometer of Israeli confidence that Iranian retaliation would be minimal. Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently asserted that there could be fewer than 500 Israeli civilian casualties “if people stay in their homes.”

Against that backdrop, some Israelis are moving to protect themselves. After the Lebanon war, the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv — not far from a presumed missile target, Israel’s military headquarters — decided to build an underground parking lot that can be converted to a 700-bed hospital in case of war. It has an air filtration system to protect patients from chemical attack. Hospital staffers have been assigned roles as “commanders,” to control chaos, said hospital director Gabriel I. Barbash.

The $45 million cost was mostly privately funded, Barbash said.

“The Israeli government’s long-term planning is deficient,” he said. “We had to take the initiative.”

At the Ace store, people lined up to collect cardboard boxes containing gas masks available in three sizes: adult, child and infant. In a video screening on a nearby television, demonstrators buckled a baby into what looked like a tiny plastic space suit.

Dror Bahar, a jovial 40-year-old video editor who said he had recently moved to a house with a safe room, was there to get one for his 8-month-old daughter. Netanyahu and Barak are “reasonable,” he said, and would not rush into war. Yet he spoke as if the prospect were inevitable.

No matter who carries out a strike on Iran, he said, “Israel is going to be hit anyway.”

Special correspondent Samuel Sockol contributed to this report.

Inside Idlib: Assad crackdown grows in ferocity

March 11, 2012

by Anita McNaught

Al Jazeera

            Winter still clings to the ancient cultivated hillsides of the northern Syrian province of Idlib. Nights are chillingly cold; mornings alternate between mist and feeble sun. Under the gnarled olive trees, the soil is naked and neatly raked.

Tens of thousands of trees in rows follow the contours of the hills to the horizon and beyond. Around here, the olives are usually harvested in November, but some local families have only just begun to try to take their crop. It’s anyone’s guess what will happen to the harvest this year.

All the old rhythms and routines have been disrupted. People don’t venture out, most shops are shuttered. Petrol for transport and heating is running short. Cell phones no longer work, there is no internet and locals warn the old landlines are monitored. Families listen carefully to traffic on the roads, alert to anything unusual, to anything that sounds “military”.

The anxiety, and the fear, is palpable.  Grainy YouTube videos on the television show Syrian army tanks heading for the provincial capital of Idlib City.  The government has dug trenches around some of the towns. Military bases are being reinforced.  The people of this area are all too aware of what is coming.

This, they say, is going to be the “next Homs”. 

For months now, Idlib has breathed a thin air of defiance and bravado.  The hope was that a “Syrian Benghazi” was in the making here – an area that had succeeded in keeping President Bashar al-Assad’s forces at bay.  But the fragility of that hope is clear now to everyone.

“We cannot go back, because going back is more dangerous”, one activist explains to me, as we hide together in a safe house in a border village close to Turkey.  “I know I will be killed”, says another, “I just don’t know when. Many Syrians feel the same way.”

We know, but cannot publish these activists’ names, for their safety. 

After an initial military operation on the border town of Jisr al Shughour in June last year sent more than 10,000 refugees running for their lives into Turkey, the nascent Free Syrian Army waged enough of a guerilla campaign to stretch Assad’s forces. A decision appeared to have been taken to leave Idlib alone while the government crushed rebellions in Deraa, in the provinces around Damascus and Hama…and dealt with the outspoken and well-documented resistance in Homs.

But, as the Assad crackdown has grown in ferocity – its actions, unrestrained by international condemnation – the attention of Damascus has returned to the Northern region.  Locals in Idlib cannot believe that the tragedy of Homs has failed to mobilise the international community. Now they are bracing for something as bad, if not worse.


Off the record

The most senior commander of the Free Syrian Army in the province sits sweating in front of an olive wood-fired stove. He’s come to meet us, but verifies our identities forensically before revealing his own.  He’s young, smart, and close to despair.

“We have no weapons – we have nothing to fight the Syrian army,” he says. 

The black market price for a Kalashnikov is now $1,300, a single bullet is $3. He tells us that most of their rifles have come from Iraq, but even there Damascus has staged an intervention – he believes Assad has an “under the table agreement” with the Iraqi government to allow only old weapons through the smuggling network. When they unwrap their consignments, the weapons are worn out, the ammunition past its expiry date.    

We had heard that the Free Syrian Army was “strong and organised” in this provincial town but these terms are relative. The commander won’t give us an interview on-camera – let alone tell us his real name – because he’s a fugitive from the regular army and fears for the fate of his wider family if identified as a resistance leader. He’s relying on his former commanders believing he’s been killed as cover for the new role he has taken on.  

In the town itself (which we also cannot name), anti-Assad graffiti decorates the walls and most shops are shut .”It’s been like this for weeks,” a local tells us.  

Middle-aged men keep watch on the streets, behind a few token sandbags.

People from the area like to boast that they “drove out Assad’s army” on December 19 and that they have a “truce” with the military.  In reality, the town feels terribly vulnerable.  The Free Syrian Army (FSA) leaders are torn between wanting to tell the world about their brave stance, and wanting to avoid provoking the regime into an early punitive strike.


‘We are alone’

“We know it is coming,” the FSA commander tells me. “But,” he says, “we don’t want to make it come more quickly.”

Coded threats of military retaliation on the Assad regime-sponsored Dounia TV have rattled everyone.

And hanging above it all, incredulity that the world stood back and watched the destruction of the Sunni districts of Homs. “We are alone. We face this alone,” says the FSA leader from Idlib province “No-one is helping us”.

Every single person we meet – from the roughest-handed farmers in the smallest villages, to the softest-handed young activists back home from their suspended universities – tell us the resistance in Syria needs weapons. “We can do this revolution on our own – we don’t need the West to fight it for us – one young man explains to me “but we can’t do it without weapons”.

They want modern rifles, RPGs and shoulder-launched missiles. They want to destroy Assad’s tanks and bring down his attack helicopters. No-one talks about non-violent resistance any more.

The FSA tells me all that has reached them so far is some small cash donations – but you can’t fight with cash if no-one will sell you the weapons, and so far none of Syria’s neighbours have allowed any significant rise in cross-border smuggling, let alone a legitimate weapons trade.  It has bred a weary cynicism.

“Turkey talks, but does nothing to help,” he says.

“Qatar, Saudi Arabia? More talking, only,” he says.

            Safe area

They desperately want a “Safe Area” enforced by the United Nations, reminiscent of the protected enclaves of the former Yugoslavian war.

If they had that, activists and FSA alike tell us, defections from the regime and the military would increase exponentially. All that is preventing many senior leaders from walking away from the Assad regime, is the fate of their families if they do. Give them a sanctuary, they say, and the balance of power will shift dramatically.

But, it seems too late for that. Idlib province is now cross-hatched by Assad’s army lines.

Checkpoints are on every major route, and appear without warning on many minor ones. Travelling any distance without careful preparation and a route scout is impossible. Communication is hard, personal appearances hazardous. We hunker down in safe houses for days, waiting for the next short ride to another location. We are asked not to go outside. Curtains are drawn. 

Seemingly every day, another town or village in the province is cut off by Assad’s security forces.  The mountain area of Jabel Al-Zawiyah is the only place where some freedom of movement remains and the Free Syrian Army does not have to lurk in the shadows. But, getting there is almost impossible. 

Turkey – once considered a supporter and ally of the revolution – is now merely regarded as a refuge of last resort. If the military crackdown on the province reaches the severity of Homs, then tens of thousands more refugees will flood across, say villagers we talk to.  Perhaps the arrival of more than 100,000 families fleeing Assad will prompt Turkey to do more, but the people of Idlib have given up on their dream of Turkey leading a peacekeeping force into Syria to rescue them. 

An eerie quiet has descended on many of Idlib’s towns.  Field hospitals are being set up in secret locations. Nervous rebel fighters are gathering. There is no talk of capitulation.

“We prefer death to more humiliation”, an activist tells me. “We don’t want bread and fuel, although we need them. This is a revolution of ideals and principles. It’s a revolution of human beings who have been deprived of their humanity. We have tasted freedom and we can’t go back again.” 


TX Analysis: Seeds of War in Asia

March 15, 2012

by Muhammad Masood Saleem |

Terminal X

Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the former chief of one of the most powerful spy agency ISI, is finally retiring on March 18 2012. Analysts claimed it is a big relief for the US.
            One of the most notable work which the former ISI chief did during his tenure was crack down on scores of CIA agents and their handlers who were assigned tasks for the target killing of several high-profile anti-American individuals to initiate a clash among Pakistanis. The operation was successfully conducted and subsequently, the Raymond Davis case back in January 2011 put up the right nudge for the ISI to initiate the crack down. 
            There is no doubt that his tenure in the ISI’s service was one of the most unique and sensitive one which could only be served by a patient and professional person like him.
            It is noticed that other intelligence activities in South Asia and Iran conclude upon a unique objective that it is in someone’s interest to provoke or reinstate an ending American ‘War on Terror’, with a much different war pattern and propaganda. It is of course not the US whose interests are being served here but the ones who structured this War at first place by projecting “false Intelligence” and leading the US to South Asia. After a decade, even after dozens of timely statements to retreat from Afghanistan, it looks like someone is continuing to provide the US with a usual threatening concern or rather excuse, to stay: An undeclared party of this inhumane war.
            This is where we all need to concentrate in order to alter the Great War which is about to be fought in South Asia. We need to carefully analyze who is planting the seeds of war in South Asia. Contextually, the Asian-Arabian project of resource integration, the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline, ‘Greater Israel‘ and ‘Akhand Bharat‘ (‘Greater India‘) doctrines cannot be neglected. Please note that a similar pattern of planting war seeds include burning copies of the Holy Quran in Afghanistan and most recently, the horrendous massacre of 16 innocent Afghan civilians. All the while, the Taliban have signaled initiation of organized multi-target attacks in retaliation.
            In this backdrop, the corporate mainstream media is visibly involved in misleading the general public. In an interview with ABC News on Monday, an unnamed source claimed that the sergeant who massacred 16 Afghan civilians allegedly suffered a TBI sometime in a past deployment, concluding that brain injury during an earlier posting might have been a contributing factor in his act of terror. However, if one carefully studies the pattern of attack which certainly involved more than three soldiers (according to the witnesses present there), the massacre was completely coordinated and carefully organized.
            Subsequently, news has started to come out that the US is reconsidering withdrawal in this situation. American President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that the United States must “responsibly wind down” the war in Afghanistan but did not rule out stepping up the pace of the withdrawal as anti-American sentiment in the country keeps flaring.
            A clear pattern of planting the seeds of war is now emerging as the top American diplomat in the region said he understands public fatigue with the war after more than a decade, but also stressed the need to stay the course:
            “I understand that people are tired,” US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker told Fox News in an exclusive interview Monday.
            “I’m tired too,” he said. “I’ve been deployed to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq going on seven years now since 9/11. So, believe me, I understand what feeling tired means.”
            But Ambassador Crocker says leaving now would be disastrous.
            “These are the stakes if we decide that we are tired of it, don’t want to do it anymore,” Crocker said. “Well, the Taliban isn’t that tired and Al Qaeda, badly damaged, would be able to regenerate if the Taliban took the country over again.”
            The respected Ambassador completely neglected that it weren’t the Taliban who provoked innocent Muslims by burning copies of the Holy Quran, neither were they the ones who massacred innocent Afghan people.
            Crocker called that scenario another “pre-9/11 situation.”
            And why not? 
            As stated above, “A new war with much different war pattern and propaganda”
            To alter it, we need to concentrate on the undeclared party of this War.









United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit.

Decided February 9, 2012.

ROBERT W. HOLDSWORTH, JR., of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, pro se.

DEVIN A. WOLAK, Trial Attorney, Commercial Litigation Branch, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice, of Washington, DC, for respondent. With him on the brief were TONY WEST, Assistant Attorney General, JEANNE E. DAVIDSON, Director, and FRANKLIN E. WHITE, JR., Assistant Director.

Before RADER, Chief Judge, LINN and DYK, Circuit Judges.


This disposition is nonprecential


Robert W. Holdsworth (“Holdsworth”) appeals from a final decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board (“Board”), affirming a decision of the United States Postal Service (“USPS” or “Agency”) to remove Holdsworth from his position as a letter carrier. Because substantial evidence supports the Board’s decision, because the Administrative Judge (“AJ”) did not abuse his discretion in not admitting certain evidence, and because the AJ also did not abuse his discretion in assessing the Douglas factors in determining the penalty of removal, this court affirms.


Holdsworth served as a letter carrier for the USPS for twenty-two years. In August or September 2008, Inspector Teresa Ryan (“Inspector Ryan”) from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”) advised Holdsworth that USPIS would be conducting a “mail cover” in connection with a criminal mail fraud investigation. A “mail cover” is “the process by which a nonconsensual record is made of any data appearing on the outside cover of any sealed or unsealed class of mail matter . . . to obtain information for [inter alia]: . . . [o]btaining evidence of commission or attempted commission of a crime.” USPS Intranet, Administrative Support Manual, 213 Mail Covers. On December 17, 2008, the USPIS, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Health and Human Services (“the inspectors”) executed search warrants on the targets of the mail cover. Contrary to the inspectors’ expectations, the targets were not surprised by the inspection, but rather were already on notice of the investigation because, they said, their letter carrier had informed them that the authorities were watching their mail. After conducting an investigation, on October 1, 2009, the Agency issued a notice of Holdsworth’s proposed removal based on the stated charge of “improper conduct/providing confidential information to a postal customer of a government matter/interference in a criminal investigation.”

Four days following notice of his proposed removal, on October 5, 2009, Holdsworth engaged in activity forming the basis for a second charge against him in an amended removal notice: “charge #2 — improper conduct — inappropriate conduct towards a postal customer.” This charge stems from Holdsworth’s alleged use of profanity to several members of a family on his route, following what Holdsworth believed was one of the family member’s improper handling of mail addressed to others. In a notice dated October 8, 2009, the Agency informed Holdsworth that he was being placed on emergency offduty status. On October 13, 2009, the Agency issued the amended removal notice, adding the second charge described above.

On December 3, 2009, the Agency’s deciding official, Steven Ulrich (“Ulrich”), issued a letter of decision concluding—based on the factors listed in Douglas v. Veterans Administration, 5 M.S.P.R. 280 (1981) (“Douglas factors”)—that the penalty of removal was warranted. On February 5, 2010, an arbitrator conducted a hearing in accordance with the National Association of Letter Carriers’ (“Union”) agreement, to investigate whether there was just cause for the Agency’s notices of October 1, 8, and 13. The Arbitrator considered the Union’s arguments and concluded that the Agency’s emergency off-duty placement and removal of Holdsworth were justified. U.S. Postal Serv. v. Nat’l Assoc. of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO, No. C06N-4C-D 10008189 157-128-1000-20009 at 12 (Mar. 7, 2010) (Brown, Arb.) (“Arbitration Decision“).

On March 18, 2010, Holdsworth appealed the Agency’s removal decision to the Board. The AJ affirmed the Agency’s decision. Holdsworth v. U.S. Postal Serv., PH-0752-10-02950I-1 (Nov. 16, 2010) (“Initial Decision“). On June 28, 2010, the full Board denied Holdworth’s petition for review and adopted the AJ’s initial decision as final. Holdsworth appealed, and this court has jurisdiction pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 7703(b)(1) and 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(9).


A. Standard of Review

This court’s review of a Board decision is limited by 5 U.S.C. § 7703(c). See, e.g., Briggs v. Merit Sys. Prot. Bd., 331 F.3d 1307, 1311 (Fed. Cir. 2003). Accordingly, this court affirms a decision of the Board unless it is “(1) arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law; (2) obtained without procedures required by law, rule, or regulation having been followed; or (3) unsupported by substantial evidence.” 5 U.S.C. § 7703(c).

B. Analysis


Holdsworth argues that the AJ committed prejudicial error by (1) not permitting him to call allegedly relevant witnesses, specifically the targets of the mail cover and his supervisor Lashonda Colter (“Colter”); and (2) concluding that he “knowingly violated any policy of the postal service.” The Agency counters that (1) the Board properly disapproved Holdsworth’s witnesses because Holdsworth presented no explanation of the substance of their expected testimony and the AJ has the authority “to exclude witnesses whose testimony is considered irrelevant, immaterial, or repetitious,” Tiffany v. Dep’t of Navy, 795 F.2d 67, 70 (Fed. Cir. 1986); and (2) “the [AJ] acted well within his discretion in discrediting [] Holdsworth’s technical excuse and finding that [] Holdsworth did, in fact, know that he was not to disclose the USPIS investigation to the subjects of that investigation.”

Holdsworth’s argument with respect to the disapproved witnesses lacks merit. Holdsworth never listed the targets as witnesses, and he failed to explain to the AJ the substance of Colter’s testimony. In his witness statement, Holdsworth wrote, “Coulter [sic] — floor sup. at Rox station.” The AJ explained that “[a]fter extensive discussion, [Holdsworth] was unable to verbally explain how any of the witnesses [other than the four he approved] would be able to provide relevant testimony.” Summary of Telephonic Prehearing Conference, PH-0752-10-0295-I-1, at 3 (Oct. 13, 2010). Accordingly, this court has no reason to conclude that the AJ abused his discretion in disapproving Colter as a witness. Moreover, Holdsworth failed to object to the AJ’s disapproval of any of his witnesses within the ten-day period that the AJ gave him to do so, and thus did not preserve this issue for appeal. Bosley v. Merit Sys. Prot. Bd., 162 F.3d 665, 668 (Fed. Cir. 1998) (“A party in an MSPB proceeding must raise an issue before the [AJ] if the issue is to be preserved for review in this court.”)

This court further agrees with the Agency that substantial evidence supports the conclusion that Holdsworth knew that it was improper to disclose a mail cover to the subjects of the investigation. The AJ’s credibility-based fact finding is “virtually unreviewable on appeal.” Bieber v. Dep’t of Army, 187 F.3d 1358, 1364 (Fed. Cir. 2002). Here, the AJ found that Holdworth’s testimony lacked credibility, specifically in light of Holdsworth’s admission “that he figured the inspectors must have been interested in the [targets] because they were engaged in wrongdoing,” yet nevertheless informed the targets of the USPIS’s investigation. Initial Decision at 6. The AJ concluded that “[Holdsworth] knew or should have known that he was required to refrain from informing customers of an investigation into matters involving their mail by the [USPIS], which is an investigatory arm of his employer.” The AJ’s conclusion is consistent with the arbitrator’s finding that Holdsworth “may not hide behind blanket statements of ignorance of basic matters he should have learned in the ordinary course of performing his job.” Arbitration Decision at 11. Specific knowledge is not a requirement of a charge of improper conduct. See Rogers v. Dep’t of Justice, 60 M.S.P.R. 377, 388-89 (1994) (holding that an employee’s lack of notice that his conduct was wrong does not disprove a charge and should only “be considered in assessing the reasonableness of the penalty imposed”). The AJ’s conclusion that Holdsworth knew not to disclose the mail cover to the subjects of his employer’s investigation is supported by substantial evidence.


Holdsworth also argues that the Board erred in affirming the Agency’s determination of the penalty of removal under the Douglas factors because the AJ “refused to acknowledge that the Postal Service refused to assess relevant mitigating circumstances.” Holdsworth asserts that the deciding official, Ulrich, was familiar with his personnel file, yet “[Ulrich] did not consider relevant, material and substantial mitigating factors in [his] personnel file” and thus “failed to properly assess the disciplinary action for the alleged wrongdoings.” The Agency counters that Ulrich was not required to consider these mitigating factors because Holdsworth never informed the Agency of these circumstances.

Holdsworth’s argument that the deciding official should have recognized mitigating factors not raised by Holdsworth at that time lacks merit. See Yeschick v. Dep’t of Transp., 801 F.2d 383, 385 (Fed. Cir. 1986). “The agency is not prescient, and neither is the board—and while both have a statutory duty to respond to significant mitigating circumstances raised for consideration, neither can be held to account for failing to consider factors initially deemed so insignificant by petitioner as to warrant his silence about them.” Id. (citation omitted). Thus, the failure to consider alleged mitigating circumstances not raised by Holdsworth is not an abuse of discretion. See Nagel v. Dep’t of Health & Human Servs., 707 F.2d 1384, 1386 (Fed. Cir. 1983) (“[N]either statute nor regulation requires an agency to demonstrate that it considered all mitigating factors.” (emphasis in original)). Here, the penalty of removal is fully supported by substantial evidence based upon the relevant Douglas factors brought up for consideration by the Agency.

This court has thoroughly considered Holdsworth’s remaining arguments and concludes that they lack merit.


For the foregoing reasons, this court affirms the Board’s final decision.



Each party shall bear its own costs.

Rutgers Verdict Repudiates Notion of Youth as a Defense

March 17, 2012

by William Glaberson

New York Times


He was just a jerky kid.

            That was the defense his lawyer made for Dharun Ravi, who used a webcam to spy on his gay freshman roommate before the roommate killed himself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

But the jerky-kid defense failed miserably on Friday with the conviction of Mr. Ravi in a New Jersey court on bias intimidation, invasion of privacy and other charges. Lawyers said the conviction gave new potential to hate-crimes prosecutions for cyber bullying and digital spying largely because it seemed to repudiate the notion that youth was a defense.

“The debate in this case was, Was this a stupid college prank or criminal intimidation? And the jury gave a clear answer,” said Suzanne B. Goldberg, a gender law expert at Columbia Law School.

Lawyers said the verdict would encourage other hate-crime prosecutions involving young defendants. Reluctance by some prosecutors in the past had suggested that there were few legal consequences to online prying or to social-media irreverence that became abusive.

The failure of the jerky-kid defense is likely to change the legal landscape by showing that jurors can conclude that young people who are sophisticated enough to spy on, trash-talk and embarrass one another electronically are sophisticated enough to be held accountable.

The verdict showed that the notion of innocent youth as a shield to culpability might not hold as much sway as it once did in court, Marcellus A. McRae, a former federal prosecutor, said. “Jurors will say their kid or kids they know are more sophisticated than that,” Mr. McRae said. “For jurors, it doesn’t pass the common-sense test.”

Mr. Ravi had seemed so confident that his defense would work that he turned down a plea offer that would have required community service. He now faces a possible prison term and could be deported to India, where he was born.

Lawyers said the trial in New Brunswick had drawn such intense attention that it would shape future cases because youthful indiscretion had always been an appealing defense. “It had a shot of having enough jurors say, ‘This is a jerky kid, and, look, they’ve thrown the book at him.’ It was a roll of the dice, and it didn’t work,” said Marc R. Poirier, a professor at Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark.

The facts of the case, which began in a Rutgers University dorm room in 2010, were never in much dispute. It was just the interpretation that each side saw differently.

Mr. Ravi spied by computer on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, and gossiped about him on Twitter, the jury heard. Mr. Clementi, an awkward violinist, had been “making out with a dude,” Mr. Ravi wrote on Twitter. Later, Mr. Ravi, an ultimate Frisbee player who seemed to thrive on attention, invited people to watch when Mr. Clementi again had a male visitor.

The prosecutor, Julia McClure, saw Mr. Ravi’s actions as far more than mischievous. She said they were “mean-spirited, they were malicious, they were criminal.”

But Steven Altman, Mr. Ravi’s lawyer, called him “an 18-year-old boy, a kid,” a college freshman who was not biased against his gay roommate but “didn’t know how to deal with it.”

Ms. Goldberg, the Columbia law professor, said the prosecution had posed an important challenge to the sense in many schools and colleges that youthfulness provided a kind of immunity for activities and speech in the online world. She said many students seemed to believe the ideas put forth by Mr. Ravi’s defense, that being a kid meant there were few limits to how offensive they might be when using digital devices.

“This reinforces that social media can cause great harm and that its misuse can be criminal,” Ms. Goldberg said. She said she expected that the lessons of the courtroom conviction would probably be studied broadly, including in discussions at college orientations across the country in the fall.

Defense lawyers said that once Mr. Ravi had decided to take his chances at a trial rather than pleading guilty, there were few options for the defense. The 15-count indictment and Mr. Ravi’s own videotaped acknowledgment of many of the facts gave the prosecutors a powerful arsenal.

The charges took note of the damaging fact that Mr. Ravi had tried to change electronic messages he had sent and seemed to encourage a witness to change her account.

A live witness in the courtroom, Mr. Clementi’s sexual partner, a 30-year-old man identified only as M.B., described the eerie feeling of being watched by the camera on Mr. Ravi’s computer.

And though Mr. Ravi was not charged with the death, there was the ever-present fact of Mr. Clementi’s suicide. The jury heard that a day before Mr. Clementi killed himself, Mr. Ravi sent a message to a friend: “Keep the gays away.”

Faced with that kind of case, it was logical to argue that there was a thin line between a bias crime and an immature college prank, Joseph Tacopina, a New York defense lawyer, said. “What other defense could it have been?” he said.

But after Friday’s conviction, some lawyers said, the risks of rejecting a plea bargain and arguing the jerky-kid defense were obvious. In a similar case in the future, said Ronald L. Kuby, a New York defense lawyer, he would remember what happened to Mr. Ravi.

His advice to a client, he said, would be: “ ‘Remember what happened to Ravi. Take the plea.’ ”

Goldman person leaked Apple, Intel secrets: lawyer

March 17, 2012

by Grant McCool


            NEW YORK – A person at Goldman Sachs Group Inc, who has not been identified or charged in a broad U.S. insider-trading probe, was caught on a wiretap leaking secrets about Intel Corp and Apple Inc, a lawyer for former Goldman board member Rajat Gupta said in court on Friday.

Lawyer Gary Naftalis, in a heated exchange with U.S. prosecutor Reed Brodsky during a pre-trial hearing, said the Goldman person leaked confidential information about the two companies to Raj Rajaratnam, the Galleon Group hedge fund founder convicted of insider-trading charges last year.

Gupta, the best-known corporate executive accused in a sweeping prosecution of insider-trading at hedge funds in recent years, denies criminal charges that he tipped Rajaratnam with Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble Co secrets between 2007 and 2009. His trial is scheduled to begin in May.

“In a letter he (Brodsky) said the government had a person who provided confidential information to Raj Rajaratnam about Apple and Intel,” Naftalis said. “There is also wiretap evidence, substantial evidence of another source at Goldman Sachs.”

Naftalis told U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff that the defense believed “there is a much more circumstantial case that person should be sitting in the box rather than us” and “the wrong man is on trial here.”

A theme of Gupta’s defense is that the charges brought by U.S. prosecutors last October are circumstantial and that Rajaratnam had a host of sources tipping him with information. A jury convicted Rajaratnam largely on wiretaps, which traditionally have been used in organized crime and narcotics cases, not white-collar investigations.

Rajaratnam, once a friend of Gupta’s, is serving an 11-year prison sentence. Gupta was onetime global head of McKinsey & Co and sat on the boards of several companies.

The judge ended the late afternoon hearing in Manhattan federal court, but Brodsky and Naftalis continued to argue. Brodsky declined to comment.

A Goldman Sachs spokesman, Michael DuVally, declined to comment.

Goldman has been in the spotlight this week with the public resignation of employee Greg Smith, who said in a New York Times op-ed that Goldman had become “as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it” and was a place he no longer wished to work.

A person familiar with the Gupta case said in early March that prosecutors are investigating David Loeb, a managing director of Goldman Sachs. Loeb works with technology hedge-fund employees, including an Asia-based analyst, Henry King, who is also under investigation, according to another source briefed on the case.

The sources declined to be identified because the matter is not public. Neither Loeb nor King has been accused of any wrongdoing and neither responded to emails asking for comment.

The insider-trading case has drawn in Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein, who was interviewed under oath on February 24 as a witness, according to court documents.

Blankfein testified for the government at Rajaratnam’s trial. He is also expected to be called as a witness by the government at Gupta’s trial.

The cases are USA v Gupta in the U.S. District court for the Southern District of New York No. 11-907

(Editing by Andre Grenon, Gary Hill)

WikiLeaks founder planning Australian Senate run

March. 17 2012

CTVNews. Staff

He’s spilled scores of top-level government secrets, much to the chagrin of lawmakers around the world. Now, Julian Assange wants to try his hand at being a politician.

WikiLeaks says its embattled founder plans to run for a seat in the Australian Senate in next year’s elections, despite being under house arrest in England and facing sex crime accusations in Sweden.

“We have discovered that it is possible for Julian Assange to run for the Australian Senate while detained. Julian has decided to run,” read a message posted to WikiLeaks’ Twitter account Friday.

The whistle-blowing organization says it also plans to field a candidate to run against Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard for her home seat in Lalor (Vic). It’s unclear who the second candidate is and in which electoral division Assange plans to compete.

Assange is still embroiled in a long-running legal battle to fight extradition to Sweden. His announcement comes as Britain’s Supreme Court prepares to rule on his case.

In the past, the 40-year-old Australian citizen has aimed sharp criticism at Gillard for not protecting him against the potential threat of extradition to the United States, where officials hope to punish him for the release of thousands of confidential documents.

Though Australian police have concluded that Assange hasn’t broken any state laws by publishing the cables — which touch on topics ranging from military interrogation tactics to genetically modified crops — Gillard has called the action irresponsible.

WikiLeaks has already started to corral support for Assange’s Senate bid, using the Twitter hashtag #Assange4Senate to round up messages about the announcement.

Messages are trickling in from as far away as South America, where one Twitter user has declared “I wish he was Guatemalan!”

Political scientist John Wanna told The Associated Press that, despite his legal troubles, it is possible for Assange to run for Senate if he remains on the country’s electoral roll.

Under Australian law, being convicted of a crime punishable by 12 months or more in prison can quash a person’s presidential hopes for the duration of the sentence. Lawyers, however, have said that the law likely wouldn’t apply if a candidate was convicted of a criminal offense in a foreign country.

Any adult Australian citizen is eligible to run for Parliament. However, it’s rare for a candidate to find much success without the backing of a major party.

Australia’s next Senate election can’t be called before July 2013 and is due around August. Regulations indicate Assange can’t officially register as a candidate until the election is called at least a month before the poll date.

The Limerick “pogrom”: Creating Jewish victimhood

March 17, 2012

by Andrew Joyce


A very curious article has appeared in the March 14th edition of the UK Daily Mail (“Goldman Sachs’ touch of darkness“), a comment on the recent exposé of the Goldman culture of greed by Greg Smith in the NYTimes. The article in question was written by one Alex Brummer, a journalist who writes for both the Daily Mail and the London-based Jewish Chronicle. Brummer’s specialty, it seems, is economic matters and he has a number of strange points to make in relation to the recent revelations that Goldman Sachs has been referring to its clients as “muppets” for some time. The article begins by stating that the bank has been “sapped of its confidence” following a series of scandals “during and after the great financial panic,” under the chairmanship of Lloyd Blankfein.
                If that doesn’t pull at your heartstrings, Brummer goes on to state that “the most enduring image of Blankfein era is that of the great, vampire squid drawn in an excoriating article in Rolling Stone magazine in 2010. What Rolling Stone does not seem to have realised is that this was a rerun of a notoriously anti-Semitic campaign by the late 19th-century polemicist ‘Coin’ Harvey against the Rothschild family. Whatever mistakes Blankfein and Goldman may have made, it does not deserve that.” (Matt Taibbi’s actual words, from his article “The Great American Bubble Machine: From tech stocks to high gas prices, Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression—and they’re about to do it again“: ”The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”
                The crimes of Goldman Sachs include promoting mortgage-backed security investments created by people whom Goldman knew were betting against them, “seeking to assist the Greek government in masking its levels of borrowing in an effort to circumvent euroland deficit rules,” and dumping “billions of dollars of toxic sub-prime mortgage debt on the markets when it knew it to be worthless.” But Brummer frames these crimes as “mistakes”—more like adolescent indiscretions than real crimes, and is horrified that someone like Taibbi would link Goldman Sachs’ behavior to classic anti-Jewish imagery. (The JTA reminds us how to think about Jews and financial crimes by citing Michael Kinsley’s exculpatory “How to think about: Jewish Bankers “; Kevin MacDonald replies: ”Does Jewish financial misbehavior have anything to do with being Jewish?“).
                The overriding opinion expressed in Brummer’s article is that Goldman Sachs did a few naughty things, but is now “looking in on itself and for a new, more ethical model,” and has since become the victim of anti-Semitic propaganda. The article is a classic example of Jewish strategies which employ the adoption of Jewish victimhood in order to mask Jewish crime or misbehavior. It recalls to my memory an obscure and little known incident – the so-called “Limerick Pogrom.”
                Although Jewish settlements had developed in the provinces of Britain and Ireland since the readmission of the Jews in 1656, by the middle of the nineteenth century most of these communities remained small, tightly organised, and inconspicuous. They were rarely, if ever, troubled by their non-Jewish neighbours. The membership of these communities outside London tended to consist of moderately wealthy traders in items such as furs, jewelry, and other imported luxury goods. However, at the dawn of the twentieth-century, many of these communities were transformed by the immigration of large numbers of Jews from Eastern Europe who in varying degrees claimed to be fleeing persecution in Russia, or seeking new economic opportunities. While the majority of these new immigrants settled in London or migrated onwards to the United States, a significant number also fanned out across Britain, or made their way to Ireland.
                The draw of new economic opportunities led to the establishment of small communities of Jews in areas that had never previously had Jewish inhabitants. The scale of Jewish immigration, and the entirely alien appearance, language and culture of the newcomers led to calls from some non-Jewish quarters to limit the number of those permitted entry to the country, and the agitation of these ‘restrictionists’ for an ‘Aliens Act’ was a major source of political tension, and strained inter-communal relations throughout the first decade of the twentieth century.1 Curiously, despite the heavy concentration of Jewish settlement in London, and the focus of restrictionist propagandists on that city, the only incidents of populist action in the British Isles directed against Jews during the peak immigration period (1880–1911) occurred outside England, in precisely those areas which had hitherto been free of Jews — Limerick, Ireland (1904), and South Wales (1911). Both have gone down in ‘history’ as unprovoked atrocities committed against small communities of blameless and defenceless Jews. This essay seeks to examine the first of these events, in an effort to better understand its true origins and the process by which it was transformed and then utilized to suit Jewish communal interests. The context of anti-Jewish action in Limerick, and the absence of any form of ‘irrational’ religious and racial anti-Semitism in fostering these incidents will also be examined, in an effort to challenge the received wisdom that Jews have historically played little or no role in provoking anti-Semitism.
                We should begin with a careful and dispassionate analysis of the incidents which comprised what became known as the “Limerick Pogrom.’ On January 11 1904 Father John Creagh, a Redemptorist priest and Director of the Arch-Confraternity of Limerick, addressed his congregation on what he viewed as a new and pressing problem. The new Jewish merchants who had come to inhabit the city, argued Creagh, had by their business dealings shown themselves to be “leeches,” who were sucking the blood of the Irish by overcharging the poor. His attention to the matter, stated Creagh, had been drawn by a large number of his parishioners, and the problem had reached disastrous proportions. Shortly thereafter, a large crowd had gathered in the Jewish Quarter of the city, known popularly as ‘Little Jerusalem,’ before being quickly dispersed by the Royal Irish Constabulary. No damage or violence was reported.
                During his sermon the following week, on January 18, Creagh reasserted his belief that the Jews of Limerick were proving to be a destructive and alien force in the life of the community. He told those present that “the Jews have proven themselves to be the enemies of every country in Europe, and every country has to defend themselves against them.” Following this second sermon, Creagh resolved to organize an economic boycott of Limerick’s Jews. The boycott would last four months, and would result in the departure from the city of the vast majority of its Jews, including its Rabbi. The only incidence of violence during these four months occurred on the morning of April 4th. Three Jews were walking down a side street when a fifteen-year-old youth named John Raleigh threw a small stone, hitting one of them, Elias Bere Levin, the city’s Rabbi. Levin pressed charges against the boy, resulting in Raleigh serving one month in Mountjoy Jail. One may consider these facts: a sermon, a non-violent demonstration, an economic boycott against traders considered to be immoral, and a small stone thrown by a youth, and query their significance. Yet these incidents were embellished then, and have continued to be embellished, to such an extent that the incident has become known as the ‘Limerick Pogrom.’ This essay will now consider how and why.
                It is perhaps worth beginning by stressing the minimal role played by religious anti-Semitism in fostering any of the incidents under examination. Admittedly, the Limerick action was precipitated by the sermons of Father Creagh. However, while Creagh occasionally made allusions to the Blood Libel, religious motifs are absent from his arguments. In fact, economic and social grievances were consistently at the core of his addresses. In his first sermon on the issue Creagh stated that
                The Jews came to Limerick apparently the most miserable tribe imaginable…but now they had enriched themselves, and could boast of considerable property in the city. Their rags have been exchanged for silk. They have wormed themselves into every form of business. They are in the furniture trade, the mineral water trade, the milk trade, the drapery trade… and traded even under Irish names.2
                When Michael Davitt, a leading Irish Nationalist and labor leader, publicly expressed his opposition to events in Limerick, Creagh responded with an economic defence of actions against Jews in the city. Creagh argued that if Davitt were here to see the curse brought upon the poor by the Jewish trade, if he were to see the robbery that is going on by the weekly installment system of the Jews, and the exorbitant prices demanded for wretched goods, if he were here to see the misery and strife caused in the households by the dealings of the woman of the home with the Jews…he might think that they were as bad an evil to Ireland as English landlordism and over-taxation.3
                Prominent Irish economist Cormac Ó Gráda argues in his Princeton-published socio-economic history of Irish Jewry that the Limerick outbreak was “heavily economic in content,” and did not involve “the destruction of Jewish religious or communal property.”4 Other contemporary supporters of the boycott stressed that their actions were not driven by religious antipathy, and invoked a range of other motives for supporting measures against Limerick’s Jews. The Nationalist organ The United Irishman, placed Jewish immigration in the context of Irish emigration, asking: “Has Ireland gained or lost by the exchange?”5 Alarm at the level of difference between Irishman and Jew, devoid of specific prejudice is in evidence in the United Irishman’s assertion that, in the place of the “stalwart men and bright-eyed women of our race…we are getting strange people, alien to us in thought, alien to us in sympathy, from Russia, Poland, Germany and Austria — people who came to live amongst us, but who never became of us.”6
                By far the most prominent explanation employed by supporters of the boycott was the assertion that it was retaliation against harmful, usurious trading methods which were alleged to be widespread among the Jewish merchants of Limerick. In particular, Jewish traders were accused of preying on housewives, abandoned by husbands who had left to take part in the Boer War — a conflict in which Jewish interests played a prominent role. These women were offered the immediate necessities of life — quick cash, clothing for children etc., but at appalling rates of interest. The hardship of the community and the rapid rise of the town’s Jews, which was built on this hardship, was the central cause of friction. Citizens recalled feeling jealous as they looked on at increasingly ostentatious Jewish weddings (The Spectator, Oct. 11th 1997).
                Tensions reached boiling point in late January 1904, when Father Creagh urged his parishioners to cease making payments to Jewish traders. Unable to make a living without these payments, and reluctant to take on other means of employment, the Jewish Chronicle reported that Limerick’s Jews were “waiting, terrified in their homes, almost starving.”8 Reference was made to the fact that these Jews had not long “escaped the Cossacks.”9 There was little reference to the Jewish financial abuse of the local Irish, that the Irish too were starving, or that they had often sat terrified in their homes, awaiting the court notice which would enforce the payment of crippling levels of interest.
                The story quickly became a piece of fiction, with Jews in the victim role and the citizens of Limerick in the role of rampaging beasts. Unsubstantiated claims were made that the mob was “drunken”, and that “if they walked down the streets they were beaten.” Organised Jewry in Britain ensured that the boycott issue was raised in Parliament. The Board of Deputies of British Jews even put pressure on the lay leader of British Catholics, the Duke of Norfolk to intervene to prevent a “massacre.”
                Irish journalists who could see with their own eyes the situation as it truly existed were quick to jump to Creagh’s defense. Dublin journalist and leading Irish Nationalist, Arthur Griffith was blunt in his assertions that the boycott was only directed against the trading methods of the Jews, that the reference to ritual murder was taken out of context and that Creagh’s object was noble.10 The financial motivation for the boycott and its non-violent nature was such that even the London Times lent its support to the movement by publishing a letter supporting the anti-Jewish drive on April 4th. A number of English people sent moral support to the activists through the correspondence columns of the Limerick Leader.
                The Jewish campaign to be acknowledged as the “real” victims carried on unashamedly, irrespective of the fact that no synagogue was destroyed, that there was no destruction of Jewish religious or communal property, or that there were no fatalities.
                The boycott quickly took its toll on the Jews. One by one they began to leave Limerick, heading mostly for England. Max Bland, a grocer, one of their leaders, and the rabbi Elias Levin put out feelers to re-establish harmonious relations but were impolitely rebuffed. The boycott continued until October, by which time only half a dozen Jewish families remained in Limerick.
                The incident quickly became known as the “Limerick Pogrom,” and false accusations about the nature of the incident were perpetuated in subsequent years by Jewish journalists and historians, who repeated the unsubstantiated accounts of the Jewish Chronicle, smearing Limerick’s citizens with an unwarranted label, and ignoring the circumstances which led to the boycott. It therefore came to be remembered as an example of Jewish victimhood. Only with the recent scholarship of highly respected non-Jewish economic historians and journalists such as Cormac Ó Gráda has some revision of the incident taken place, and some balance been restored to representations of the actions of the folk of Limerick. This process reached something of a climax when the Israeli ambassador to Ireland, Boaz Modai, admitted to an Irish audience in 2010 that “I think it is a bit over-portrayed, meaning that, usually if you look up the word pogrom it is used in relation to slaughter and being killed. This is what happened in many other places in Europe, but this is not what happened here. There was a kind of a boycott against Jewish merchandise for a while, but that’s not a pogrom.”
                Bear this tale in mind the next time you are urged to feel sorry for Goldman Sachs, now “sapped of its confidence,” and the victim of anti-Semitic propaganda, and God help any young boys caught throwing stones at a Goldman Sachs office.

                1 Bernard Gainer, The Alien Invasion: The Origins of the Aliens Act 1905 (London: Heinemann, 1972.)
                2 Quoted in, Dermot Keogh, Jews in 20th Century Ireland (Cork: Cork University Press, 1998.), p.28.
                3 Ibid, p.36.
                4 Cormac Ó Gráda, Jewish Ireland in the Age of Joyce (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006.), p.193.
                5 Quoted in, Dermot Keogh, Jews in 20th Century Ireland (Cork: Cork University Press, 1998.), p.42,
                6 Ibid.
                7 The Spectator, Oct. 11th 1997. (http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-18333540.html)
                8 Ibid.
                9 Ibid.
                10 Ibid.

h ttp://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2012/03/the-limerick-pogrom-creating-jewish-victimhood/#more-13101  

Toulouse shooting: four killed outside Jewish school

Sarkozy calls killings at Ozar Hatorah secondary college a ‘frightening tragedy’ as police hunt suspect on a motorbike

March 19, 2012

by Angelique Chrisafis in Paris, and agencies


A gunman has opened fire in front of a Jewish school in the south-west French city of Toulouse, killing four people including a father and his two sons and another child.

The adult victim was thought to be a rabbi who taught at the school, who died with his three-year-old and six-year-old sons. The fourth victim, aged between eight and 10 years old, was the school principal’s daughter, according to Rahamim Sabag, a rabbi who works at the school and spoke to Israeli television.

The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, said there were “similarities” between Monday’s attack and the shootings of four soldiers in Toulouse and nearby Montauban last week.

Speaking in Toulouse, Sarkozy said: “We are struck by the similarities between the modus operandi of today’s drama and those last week even if we have to wait to have more elements from the police to confirm this hypothesis.”

The soldiers who were shot were of north African and Caribbean origin. Two of them were Muslims.

Witnesses described how the gunman entered the Ozar Hatorah school, a private Jewish secondary, at around 8.15am and opened fire on “everything that moved”. He pursued some children, including a girl who he reportedly pulled by the hair. He then fled through the quiet residential neighbourhood on a motorbike.

“I saw two people dead in front of the school, an adult and a child … Inside, it was a vision of horror, the bodies of two small children,” a distraught father whose child attends the school told RTL radio.

“I did not find my son, apparently he fled when he saw what happened. How can they attack something as sacred as a school?”

One pupil described to the local paper Sud Ouest how she had arrived for morning prayer and heard shots ringing out. “We were really afraid,” she said.

She said police were called and children were told to sit down, given water and then prayed together.

“Just because we are different doesn’t mean we should be killed,” said one father in tears outside the school.

Sarkozy, who is currently on the election trail, cancelled all appointments and visited the site of the shootings on Monday. He called them an “abominable drama” and a “frightening tragedy”.

He said everything would be done to hunt the killer and bring him to account.

“Barbary, savagery, cruelty cannot win. Hate cannot win. The Republic is stronger than that,” Sarkozy said.

François Hollande, the Socialist candidate favourite to win the presidential election, was also en route to the city.

The French state prosecutor said there “were elements that justify us very seriously asking whether there was a link” between the school shooting and the shootings of four paratroopers in the region last week.

Luc Escodat, of the police union Alliance, told iTele TV that one of the two weapons used in the school shooting was similar to that used in last week’s attacks on soldiers.

Three members of a parachute regiment were shot in broad daylight as they stood by a cashpoint in Montauban, 28 miles (46km) north of Toulouse, on Thursday afternoon. Abel Chennouf, 26, and Mohamed Legouard, 24, died on the spot. A third soldier is in a critical condition in hospital.

The previous Sunday in a suburb of Toulouse, an off-duty member of another regiment was shot at point-blank range by a gunman on a scooter. Imad Ibn-Ziaten, 30, a marshal in the 1st Parachute Regiment, was standing next to his Suzuki 650cc motorbike outside a gym and had been wearing his helmet at the time. He was not in uniform.

The perpetrator of those “ride-by” shootings is still at large despite a wide police search and a mood of panic in south-west France.

Media reports said the suspect in the two attacks had a tattoo or scar on his left cheek.

The French government said security was being tightened at all religious sites in France, particularly around Jewish schools.

Danièle Hoffman-Rispal, Socialist MP and vice-president of the France-Israel friendship group in the French parliament, said she was “profoundly shocked” by the attack. “Whatever the motives, the perpetrator of this hateful crime can never justify, nor make anyone forget, that he is the murderer of children.”


Regicide: The Official Assassination of JFK


by Gregory Douglas


Lee Harvey Oswald


The Warren Commission Report[1]

Lee Harvey Oswald was openly committed to Marxist ideology; he defected to the Soviet Union in 1959, and resided there until June of 1962, eventually returning to the United States with a Russian wife. [WCR, p. 254]

According to Oswald’s diary he attempted suicide when he learned his application for citizenship had been denied. [WCR, p. 260]

While in Atsugi, Japan, Oswald studied the Russian language, perhaps with some help from an officer in his unit who was interested in Russian and used to “talk about it” with Oswald occasionally. [WCR, p. 257]

He may have begun to study the Russian language when he was stationed in Japan, which was intermittently from August 1957 to November 1958. [WCR, p. 256]

According to Oswald’s “Historic Diary” and the documents furnished to the Commission by the Soviet Government, Oswald was not told that he had been accepted as a resident of the Soviet Union until about January 4, 1960. Although November 13 and 16 Oswald informed Aline Mosby and Priscilla Johnson that he had been granted permission to remain in the country indefinitely, the diary indicates that at that time he had been told only that he could remain “until some solution is found with what to do with me.” [WCR, p. 265]

Once he was accepted as a resident alien in the Soviet Union, Oswald was given considerable benefits which ordinary Soviet citizens in his position in society did not have. The “Historic Diary” recites that after Oswald was informed that he could remain in the Soviet Union and he was being sent to Minsk he was given 5,000 rubles by the “Red Cross*** for expenses.” He used 2,200 rubles to pay his hotel bill and another 150 rubles for a train ticket. [WCR, p. 269]

[…] about 6 weeks after his arrival he did receive an apartment, very pleasant by Soviet standards, for which he was required to pay only 60 rubles ($6.00) a month. Oswald considered the apartment “almost rent free.” Oswald was given a job in the “Byelorussian Radio and Television Factory,” where his pay on a per piece basis ranged from 700 to 900 rubles ($70-$90) a month. [WCR, p. 269]

The Commission has also assumed that it is customary for Soviet intelligence agencies to keep defectors under surveillance during their residence in the Soviet Union, through periodic interviews of neighbors and associates of the defector. Oswald once mentioned that the Soviet police questioned his neighbors occasionally.

Moreover, it is from Oswald’s personal writings alone that the Commission has learned that he received supplementary funds from the Soviet “Red Cross.” In the notes he made during the return trip to the United States Oswald recognized that the “Red Cross” subsidy had nothing to do with the well-known International Red Cross. He frankly stated that the money had come from the “MVD.” [WCR, p. 272]

Marina Oswald said that by the time she met him in March 1961 he spoke the language well enough so that at first she thought he was from one of the Baltic areas of her country, because of his accent. She stated that his only defects were that his grammar was sometimes incorrect and that his writing was never good. [WCR, p. 257]

Oswald’s marriage to Marina Prusakova on April 30, 1961, is itself a fact meriting consideration. A foreigner living in Russia cannot marry without the permission of the Soviet Government. [WCR, p. 274]

[1]    The excerpts from the Warren Commission Report are designed to reflect the paragraphs in the Soviet Intelligence Study, hence are out of sequence on a number of occasions, but not out of context.

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