Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hareidim Enthusiastic About IDF Program

Arutz Sheva visited the headquarters of the Shachar Kachol (Blue Dawn) IDF program for hareidi soldiers.
Shachar Kachol, created about six years ago, is aimed at finding a solution for hareidi-religious men who want to join the army while acquiring some technical and mechanical skills.
Staff Officer Menachem Goldstein emphasized that the program has been designed to fit the way of life of a hareidi person.
“What’s very important about this program is that we’re always focused on balancing the army lifestyle and keeping the hareidi background,” he said, adding that Torah study and prayer time are a key part of the program.
“We make sure that the food is strictly kosher, and the soldiers know that there is a balance between the army and a hareidi lifestyle,” said Goldstein. “So far, it’s been working very well.”
According to Private Menachem Hershkowitz, who serves as part of the Shachar Kachol program, “As far as our lifestyle is concerned, there is nothing we do here that contradicts it.”
He added, “I think Shachar Kachol is a very good fit for the hareidi-religious public, and anyone who really wants to can later integrate into the job market. I’m studying a profession [while serving].”
Hershkowitz said his family was very happy to see him enlist in the army. “My father was very happy that I enlisted. He also served in the army and he had no problem with me enlisting. Same goes for my mother. I live in Bnei Brak and every day I go out into the street and onto the bus wearing my uniform and there’s no problem with it. I’m very happy about it.”
He added that he believes it would be impossible to force all hareidim to enlist, saying the desire to enlist must come from within the hareidi public.
“If they force them to enlist, nothing good will come out of it, because the hareidi public won’t go by force,” said Hershkowitz.
Lieutenant Haim Dikman, a hareidi soldier who serves in the Israeli Air Force’sComputer Unit, said that he believes “there is room for any hareidi” in the army.
“People enlist and it’s good for both sides,” he said. “The State benefits from it and so do those who enlist. We have a 90% success rate of integrating soldiers in the work force after their army service. The integration is amazing and I think that Shachar Kachol achieves the goals it is meant to achieve.”

MELANIE PHILLIPS: Zionism and bigotry

In the wake of the festival of Shavuot, when Jews have been celebrating the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai from where he presented them to the Jewish people camped at its foot, I have been brooding over the fact that Zionism has become a dirty word in Britain and the west.
For many in these societies, Zionism has now become equated with racism. This group libel, once regarded with revulsion by decent people when the Soviet-Arab axis got the UN to endorse it in 1975, has now become the prism through which the BBC, academia, the artistic and theatrical world and much of the rest of the cultural establishment now frame all references to Israel.
This helps explain the attempted boycott of the Israeli theatre company Habima, playing Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice at London’s Globe theatre this evening in conditions of the tightest security (apparently the expected interruptions by bigots have so far been relatively minor). The profound malice and ignorance behind such reflexive demonisation of Israel are rendered all the more hallucinatory by the sanctimonious and unchallenged assumption of the moral high ground which these idiots believe they occupy.
This is as grotesque as it is terrifying. Zionism is no more nor less than the self-determination of the Jewish people -- as a people, and not just as adherents of the Jewish religion. Jews are in fact the only people – aspeople -- for whom Israel (ancient Judea and Samaria) was ever their national homeland. Those who deny Zionism thus deny Jewish peoplehood and the fundamental right of Jews to live as a people in their own ancestral homeland, Israel.
Unique in the world, Jews are both a people and adherents of a religion. Intrinsic to and inseparable from the religion of Judaism is the land of Israel; more specifically, the centrality of and longing for Jerusalem and its Temple. Deny that centrality and you rip the heart and soul out of Judaism. Those who deny the right of the Jews to Israel and Jerusalem deny the right of the Jews to their own religion.
Judaism is like a stool supported on three legs – the nation, the religion and the land. Saw off any of these legs and the stool collapses. Does this mean that all Jews are Zionists? Of course not, no more than it means that all Jews are religious. But just as the hatred of Jews on theological grounds has always threatened the lives and safety of allJews including those who are not religious, so the anti-Zionist hatred of Jewish self-determination is a form of bigotry which threatens the lives and safety of all Jews, whether or not they are Zionists. And the fact that there are some anti-Zionist Jews who themselves hate the expression of Jewish self-determination in the form of the State of Israel is a manifestation of that same self-same bigotry no less for being such a tragically twisted example.
The anti-Zionist madness of our time is thus far more pernicious even than hatred of Israel, pathologically obsessive and malevolent as that is in itself. Bad enough that for so many people in Britain and the west, Israel has been successfully demonised as a pariah state on the basis of a unique systematic campaign of falsehoods, distortions and libels about its history and behaviour, untruths which have nevertheless become the unchallenged basis for public discussion.
But far worse even than this is the assumption underlying this lazy defamation, that Zionism is a creed that is itself a particularly aggressive kind of racism or colonialism. This vicious prejudice has turned truth, reason and decency inside out. The right of the Jews to their own historic national homeland has been recast, entirely falsely, as a usurpation of the ‘right’ to that land of ‘Palestinians’ – who never actually existed as a discrete people in the first place. Those Jews who are Zionists now find themselves as a result cast as racists and social pariahs – merely for asserting the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their own historic homeland.
Those who are driven by a vicious and bigoted hatred have thus been allowed to cast the victims of their hatred as themselves hateful people. Zionist Jews are thus defamed and victimised many times over – and by those who have the gall to claim the moral high ground in doing so, from luvvies Emma Thompson and Ken Loach to the boycotters and thugs who harass and bully Zionist Jews on campus.
This is a truly chilling situation, reminiscent of the mass brainwashing and hijacking of thought that took place in the Soviet Union – not surprising when you consider the Soviet-Arab axis that back in the seventies set out to destroy Israel by capturing and subverting the western mind. In practical terms, it means that by definition it is not possible to persuade people what has actually occurred and what the true facts are, since such propositions will be dismissed out of hand -- on the basis that everyone knows that the lies about Israel are actually the unchallengeable truth.
But just as in the former Soviet Union, there are plenty of decent, rational people who do understand very well what is happening here, and its broader and lethal implications for the safety of the entire western world. For those people and others who have yet to be persuaded -- not to mention the duty to record this infamy into the memory of the world -- the truth behind this terrible departure from reason and decency over Israel and Zionism must continue to be publicly told.

"Bank of Palestine" promotional materials

Arab business conference in Nazareth, and one of the promotional items being given away was this mug from the "Bank of Palestine:" Of course, the map includes all of Israel, without any fear of controversy. Making it really hard to argue that the goal of Palestinian Arabs is not to wipe out Israel. No doubt if you ask them about it (in English) they would say that they were merely invoking a romantic map of "historic Palestine." Yet the only time any entity called Palestine looked like this was between 1922 and 1948, which means that "historic Palestine" was a bizarre anomaly of a territory, whose boundaries were drawn by the West, which was under British rule, and  that lasted a mere 26 years. Isn't it weird that people who supposedly had been there for centuries define themselves this way?

The Happiest Day of His Life: Yassin: "The day in which I will die as a shahid [martyr] will be the happiest day of my life." So I guess it's win-win

We should be grateful to Harry Truman

On May 12, Truman held a meeting in the Oval Office to decide the issue. Marshall and his universally respected deputy, Robert Lovett, made the case for delaying recognition -- and "delay" really meant "deny." Truman asked his young aide, Clark Clifford, to present the case for immediate recognition. When Clifford finished, Marshall, uncharacteristically, exploded. "I don't even know why Clifford is here. He is a domestic adviser, and this is a foreign policy matter. The only reason Clifford is here is that he is pressing a political consideration."

Marshall then uttered what Clifford would later call "the most remarkable threat I ever heard anyone make directly to a President." In an unusual top-secret memorandum Marshall wrote for the historical files after the meeting, the great general recorded his own words: "I said bluntly that if the President were to follow Mr. Clifford's advice and if in the elections I were to vote, I would vote against the President."

After this stunning moment, the meeting adjourned in disarray. In the next two days, Clifford looked for ways to get Marshall to accept recognition. Lovett, although still opposed to recognition, finally talked a reluctant Marshall into remaining silent if Truman acted. With only a few hours left until midnight in Tel Aviv, Clifford told the Jewish Agency to request immediate recognition of the new state, which still lacked a name. Truman announced recognition at 6:11 p.m. on May 14 -- 11 minutes after Ben-Gurion's declaration of independence in Tel Aviv. So rapidly was this done that in the official announcement, the typed words "Jewish State" are crossed out, replaced in Clifford's handwriting with "State of Israel." Thus the United States became the first nation to recognize Israel, as Truman and Clifford wanted. The secret of the Oval Office confrontation held for years, and a crisis in both domestic politics and foreign policy was narrowly averted.

Clifford insisted to me and others in countless discussions over the next 40 years that politics was not at the root of his position -- moral conviction was. Noting sharp divisions within the American Jewish community -- the substantial anti-Zionist faction among leading Jews included the publishers of both The Post and the New York Times -- Clifford had told Truman in his famous 1947 blueprint for Truman's presidential campaign that "a continued commitment to liberal political and economic policies" was the key to Jewish support.


Israel was going to come into existence whether or not Washington recognized it. But without American support from the very beginning, Israel's survival would have been at even greater risk. Even if European Jewry had not just emerged from the horrors of World War II, it would have been an unthinkable act of abandonment by the United States. Truman's decision, although opposed by almost the entire foreign policy establishment, was the right one -- and despite complicated consequences that continue to this day, it is a decision all Americans should recognize and admire.
Read the whole thing.

And on that note, I thought this would be a good time to stick in a song that was one of my favorites as a teenager and that has lyrics that are still appropriate today, more than thirty years later. Enjoy!
This clip is from Chicago's New Year's Rockin' Eve 1975.

This song was written and sung by Robert Lamm and reached the American Top 20.

He wrote this song after reading a book named 'Plain Speaking' by Merle Miller who died in 1986. This was a much more light hearted approach at addressing American politics for Robert Lamm.

This song was kind of a novelty in 1975. It obviously rode on Chicago's previous and current hit ride.


You could say that this song truly peaked on the Summer 1975 "Beachago" tour. Chicago and the Beach Boys performed this song in Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium to a packed house of Truman adorers. KC was the home of President Harry Truman and the place where he died, just two years earlier. This song has not been performed since.

Both America and Israel could use a Harry Truman today. He is sorely missed.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Top Saudi Cleric: Ban Christian Churches in Arabia Let Girls Marry at 10

"How could the grand mufti issue a fatwa of such importance behind the back of his king?"
In late April of this year, the Wahhabi grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdullah Aal Ash-Sheikh, who controls all Sunni Muslim clerics in the desert kingdom, announced that girls could be forced into marriage at age 10 or 12, without their consent, by contractual arrangement between families.
Aal Ash-Sheikh delivered this opinion in an address to faculty at the Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh – known to ordinary Saudis as "the terrorist factory." Aal Ash-Sheikh said, "Our mothers and grandmothers got married when they were barely 12. Good upbringing makes a girl ready to perform all marital duties at that age."
The Saudi chief cleric then proceeded to conflict with repeated promises of the Saudi King, Abdullah, to foster interfaith respect and dialogue, by calling, in mid-March, for the destruction of all Christian churches in the Arabian Peninsula. Responding to a query in Kuwait by Muslim clerics affiliated with the "Revival of Islamic Heritage Society," favorable to Wahhabism, Aal Ash-Sheikh based his argument on a weakly-transmitted hadith, or oral commentary on the life of Muhammad, in which the Prophet allegedly mandated that there should not be "two religions" in Arabia.
"How could the grand mufti issue a fatwa of such importance behind the back of his king? We see a contradiction between the dialogue being practiced, the efforts of the king and those of his top mufti," said leaders of the Catholic Bishops' Conference in Vienna, where, with the cooperation of Austria and Spain, Saudi foreign minister Saud al-Faisal had inaugurated the "King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue" in 2011.
Aal Ash-Sheikh owes his position to his lineal descent from the 18th century religious ideologue, Muhammad Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab, after whom the ultra-fundamentalist, ultra-exclusivist Wahhabi sect – the official and sole recognized Islamic interpretation in Saudi Arabia – is named. The family of Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab has, for generations, intermarried with the royal Al-Saud clan. Along with their claims to a "pure Islam" imitative of the Prophet Muhammad, Wahhabis are known for their violent hatred of spiritual Sufism, of Shia Muslims, and for their hostility to non-Muslims. It must be emphasized that Wahhabi shariah is new, representing a break with traditional Muslim jurisprudence and a radical innovation in Islamic law.
In Muslim lands and Muslim minority communities around the world, radical Islamist tendencies following, or imitating, Wahhabism have gained new energy in the aftermath of the faded "Arab Spring." As the pro-democracy mobilizations in Arab lands have resulted instead in victories for the radical Muslim Brotherhood in Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt, and with the increasing prominence of radical groups in Syria, Libya and Yemen, Islamist victories have coincided with a new offensive among South Asian Muslims by Deobandis, inspirers of the Taliban, and allied with the Saudi Wahhabis.
In Nigeria, a similarly extremist, Wahhabi-oriented group, the "Boko Haram" [literally, "Western Education is a Sin"] has spread terror, especially targeting Christians, across the Muslim north.
According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, "Boko Haram" has murdered 1,000 people since its appearance in the country in 2009; is crossing Nigeria's borders into the neighbouring state of Chad, and threatening Niger and Cameroon – as well as having links with Al-Qaida in the regional branch of the terror-force founded by the late Osama Bin Laden, which claims the entire Islamic Maghreb, or western North Africa,
Nigerian Islamist fanatics have demonstrated two features in common with Saudi Wahhabism: hatred of Christians and contempt for women. The contempt for women is exemplified by marriages to underage females by the former governor of Zamfara State in northwestern Nigeria, and now a federal senator, known as Sani: Alhaji Ahmad Sani Yariman Bakura.
Representatives of two other Sharia states, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, appeared with Sani when he announced the imposition of a new legal system of Wahhabi law in Zamfara in 2009 [Radical Islam's Rules: The Worldwide Spread of Extreme Shari'a Law, by Paul Marshall, Freedom House, Washington DC, 2005]. Following the Saudi paradigm in focusing on standards for public conduct, Sani created a religious morals militia, the "Joint Islamic Aid Group" or "yanagaji," similar to the Saudi "mutawiyin" or morals patrols. The adoption of Wahhabi Sharia law in Zamfara included a ban on trade in alcohol, movie houses and video sales, a prohibition on women riding motorcycles, and gender segregation in public conveyances – all strictures enforced by the "yanagaji," who "arrest" alleged violators and hand them over to the police.
Sani, it was disclosed in 2010 – in violation of the 2003 Nigerian Child Rights Act, which bans betrothal or marriage of girls under the age of 18 – had also apparently paid USD $100,000 to marry an unnamed 13-year old Egyptian girl, reported to be the daughter of Sani's Egyptian driver, in a wedding celebrated at the national mosque of Abuja, the Nigerian capital.
Local media noted that Sani had divorced one of his four wives to make room for the Egyptian girl in a wedding that would have been illegal in Egypt, where the "bride" would be considered a minor.
"What we are concerned with," the President of the Women's Medical Association and Nigerian women's advocate, Mma Wokocha, told the BBC, "is that our minors, the girl child, should be allowed to mature, before going into marriage…. This very evil act should not be seen to be perpetrated by one of our distinguished legislators."
Representatives of the United Nations condemned the marriage; the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) told its Nigerian office it would conduct an examination of the case, and the Nigerian Senate was charged with investigating Sani's wedding to the Egyptian 13-year old. Sani had earlier been accused, in 2006, of marrying a girl of 15, but Nigeria's National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Matters announced in 2010 that it lacked evidence to file a complaint against Sani, and shifted responsibility for the inquiry to the country's attorney general. No legal proceeding against the Nigerian senator has been sustained.
Although Saudi Arabia is, of course, different from Egypt or Nigeria – notwithstanding the signatures of all three to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) – the Saudi chief cleric, Aal Ash-Sheikh, has apparently has had no comment on an issue raised in the case: the physiological and psychological capacity of female children to fulfill the demands of marriage. Islamic radicals simply claim that in approving such relationships they emulate Muhammad's marriage to the allegedly-underaged Aisha, although Aisha's age at the time of her marriage to Muhammad cannot be confirmed in any contemporary records. More importantly, various practices of the Arabs at the time of Islam's emergence have since been abandoned. With the coming of Islam to Arabia, the terrible habit of female infanticide was abandoned and the right of women to divorce was introduced.
Aside from condemnation by Christian representatives, Aal Ash-Sheikh's "advice" calling for the destruction of all Christian churches was rejected by the Kuwait Minister of Religious Endowments, Jamal Al-Shahab. The Kuwaiti official affirmed that "the constitution of Kuwait guarantees its citizens [freedom of] religion and worship… Demolishing churches and forbidding the members of the Christian community from worshipping [according to their belief] contravenes the state's laws and regulations." Aal Ash-Sheikh's stance was also condemned by Al-Azhar, the Sunni University in Cairo, and by Mehmet Görmez, head of the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet).
Except for the closed Islamic cities of Mecca and Medina, the Arabian Peninsula has been shared with Christians and Jews throughout most of Islamic history. A shuttered Christian church and graveyard exist in Jedda, the Saudi commercial capital, near Mecca. Jews have a long history of residence in Yemen and Hadhramawt, in southern Arabia, as well as in Bahrain, where a synagogue still functions. Christian churches, Hindu temples and Buddhist shrines are found in Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, and Yemen. Some 3.5 million Christians live in the Gulf countries, including indigenous Arab Christians, Catholic migrant workers from the Philippines, India, and South Korea, and Western expatriate technicians and business representatives.
Despite widespread claims that King Abdullah and Aal Ash-Sheikh are close, the Wahhabi clerical caste has always resisted even the most limited reforms. Rumors that Aal Ash-Sheikh's announcement was meant to undermine the position of King Abdullah cannot be excluded; however, to this day Aal Ash-Sheikh's opinion on Christian churches in the Arabian Peninsula has never released or publicized anywhere inside Saudi Arabia.

Beauty and Joy of Israel's Heart - Jerusalem

YNET: Palestinian woman: I'll be killed if deported to territories West Bank woman tells Tel Aviv court she will be murdered for 'disgracing' her family after refusing to marry her cousin at young age

A 23-year-old Palestinian woman who was arrested more than a week ago for residing in Israel illegally said she would be killed if sent back to the Palestinian Authority for "disgracing" her family.

"I'm originally from the West Bank, but I've been living in Israel for the past three years," she told the Tel Aviv Magistrates' Court on Tuesday. "I refused to wed, and I tarnished the family's honor by running away. They’ve been trying to track me down ever since.

"I moved from place to place, slept in cemeteries. I've been through some tough times," she told the court. "All I ask is for is an opportunity to turn a new page and be allowed to live here in Israel and work."

The court ruled that the woman must remain under house arrest for an additional eight days. She will be staying with friends in Tel Aviv.

The woman told the court she had refused to marry her cousin at a very young age because she wanted to study and "get ahead in life." She claimed that in light of her decision, her father and cousin began to physically abuse her and denied her of basic living conditions.

The Palestinian woman said that after another attempt to get her married at an early age, she fled to Israel with the help of a police officer. Shortly after entering Israel she was deported and was once again subjected to abuse in her family home. The woman claimed that her father had even turned to assassins and The woman's attorney, Kfir Daniel, said "it was made clear to me that if she is expelled to the territories - it would mean a death sentence for her."

Following the court hearing, the attorney filed an urgent petition with the High Court asking that it issue an injunction that would prevent the woman's expulsion and allow her to reside in Israel legally.

Illegal residents are routinely returned to the Palestinian territories.asked that they bring her body back to him.

Meet ‘Flame,’ The Massive Spy Malware Infiltrating Iranian Computers

A massive, highly sophisticated piece of malware has been newly found infecting systems in Iran and elsewhere and is believed to be part of a well-coordinated, ongoing, state-run cyberespionage operation.
The malware, discovered by Russia-based antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab, is an espionage toolkit that has been infecting targeted systems in Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Sudan, the Israeli Occupied Territories and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa for at least two years.
Dubbed “Flame” by Kaspersky, the malicious code dwarfs Stuxnet in size — the groundbreaking infrastructure-sabotaging malware that is believed to have wreaked havoc on Iran’s nuclear program in 2009 and 2010. Although Flame has both a different purpose and composition than Stuxnet, and appears to have been written by different programmers, its complexity, the geographic scope of its infections and its behavior indicate strongly that a nation-state is behind Flame, rather than common cyber-criminals — marking it as yet another tool in the growing arsenal of cyberweaponry.
The researchers say that Flame may be part of a parallel project created by contractors who were hired by the same nation-state team that was behind Stuxnet and its sister malware, DuQu.
“Stuxnet and Duqu belonged to a single chain of attacks, which raised cyberwar-related concerns worldwide,” said Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and co-founder of Kaspersky Lab, in a statement. “The Flame malware looks to be another phase in this war, and it’s important to understand that such cyber weapons can easily be used against any country.”
Early analysis of Flame by the Lab indicates that it’s designed primarily to spy on the users of infected computers and steal data from them, including documents, recorded conversations and keystrokes. It also opens a backdoor to infected systems to allow the attackers to tweak the toolkit and add new functionality.
The malware, which is 20 megabytes when all of its modules are installed, contains multiple libraries,SQLite3 databases, various levels of encryption — some strong, some weak — and 20 plug-ins that can be swapped in and out to provide various functionality for the attackers. It even contains some code that is written in the LUA programming language — an uncommon choice for malware.
Kaspersky Lab is calling it “one of the most complex threats ever discovered.”
“It’s pretty fantastic and incredible in complexity,” said Alexander Gostev, chief security expert at Kaspersky Lab.
Flame appears to have been operating in the wild as early as March 2010, though it remained undetected by antivirus companies.
“It’s a very big chunk of code. Because of that, it’s quite interesting that it stayed undetected for at least two years,” Gostev said. He noted that there are clues that the malware may actually date back to as early as 2007, around the same time period when Stuxnet and DuQu are believed to have been created.
Gostev says that because of its size and complexity, complete analysis of the code may take years.
“It took us half a year to analyze Stuxnet,” he said. “This is 20 times more complicated. It will take us 10 years to fully understand everything.”
Kaspersky discovered the malware about two weeks ago after the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union asked the Lab to look into reports in April that computers belonging to the Iranian Oil Ministry and the Iranian National Oil Company had been hit with malware that was stealing and deleting information from the systems. The malware was named alternatively in news articles as “Wiper”and “Viper,” a discrepancy that may be due to a translation mixup.
Kaspersky researchers searched through their reporting archive, which contains suspicious filenames sent automatically from customer machines so the names can be checked against whitelists of known malware, and found an MD5 hash and filename that appeared to have been deployed only on machines in Iran and other Middle East countries. As the researchers dug further, they found other components infecting machines in the region, which they pieced together as parts of Flame.
Kaspersky, however, is currently treating Flame as if it is not connected to Wiper/Viper, and believes it is a separate infection entirely. The researchers dubbed the toolkit “Flame” after the name of a module inside it.
Flame is named after one of the main modules inside the toolkit. Courtesy of Kaspersky
Among Flame’s many modules is one that turns on the internal microphone of an infected machine to secretly record conversations that occur either overSkype or in the computer’s near vicinity; a module that turns Bluetooth-enabled computers into a Bluetooth beacon, which scans for other Bluetooth-enabled devices in the vicinity to siphon names and phone numbers from their contacts folder; and a module that grabs and stores frequent screenshots of activity on the machine, such as instant-messaging and e-mail communications, and sends them via a covert SSL channel to the attackers’ command-and-control servers.
The malware also has a sniffer component that can scan all of the traffic on an infected machine’s local network and collect usernames and password hashes that are transmitted across the network. The attackers appear to use this component to hijack administrative accounts and gain high-level privileges to other machines and parts of the network.
Flame does contain a module named Viper, adding more confusion to the Wiper/Viper issue, but this component is used to transfer stolen data from infected machines to command-and-control servers. News reports out of Iran indicated the Wiper/Viper program that infected the oil ministry was designed to delete large swaths of data from infected systems.
Kaspersky’s researchers examined a system that was destroyed by Wiper/Viper and found no traces of that malware on it, preventing them from comparing it to the Flame files. The disk destroyed by Wiper/Viper was filled primarily with random trash, and almost nothing could be recovered from it, Gostev said. “We did not see any sign of Flame on that disk.”
Because Flame is so big, it gets loaded to a system in pieces. The machine first gets hit with a 6-megabyte component, which contains about half a dozen other compressed modules inside. The main component extracts, decompresses and decrypts these modules and writes them to various locations on disk. The number of modules in an infection depends on what the attackers want to do on a particular machine.
Once the modules are unpacked and loaded, the malware connects to one of about 80 command-and-control domains to deliver information about the infected machine to the attackers and await further instruction from them. The malware contains a hardcoded list of about five domains, but also has an updatable list, to which the attackers can add new domains if these others have been taken down or abandoned.
While the malware awaits further instruction, the various modules in it might take screenshots and sniff the network. The screenshot module grabs desktop images every 15 seconds when a high-value communication application is being used, such as instant messaging or Outlook, and once every 60 seconds when other applications are being used.
Although the Flame toolkit does not appear to have been written by the same programmers who wrote Stuxnet and DuQu, it does share a few interesting things with Stuxnet.
Stuxnet is believed to have been written through a partnership between Israel and the United States, and was first launched in June 2009. It is widely believed to have been designed to sabotage centrifuges used in Iran’s uranium enrichment program. DuQu was an espionage tool discovered on machines in Iran, Sudan, and elsewhere in 2011 that was designed to steal documents and other data from machines. Stuxnet and DuQu appeared to have been built on the same framework, using identical parts and using similar techniques.
But Flame doesn’t resemble either of these in framework, design or functionality.
Researchers aren't certain how Flame infects its initial target before spreading to other machines, but this graph suggests possible infection vectors.Courtesy of Kaspersky
Stuxnet and DuQu were made of compact and efficient code that was pared down to its essentials. Flame is 20 megabytes in size, compared to Stuxnet’s 500 kilobytes, and contains a lot of components that are not used by the code by default, but appear to be there to provide the attackers with options to turn on post-installation.
“It was obvious DuQu was from the same source as Stuxnet. But no matter how much we looked for similarities [in Flame], there are zero similarities,” Gostev said. “Everything is completely different, with the exception of two specific things.”
One of these is an interesting export function in both Stuxnet and Flame, which may turn out to link the two pieces of malware upon further analysis, Gostev said. The export function allows the malware to be executed on the system.
Also, like Stuxnet, Flame has the ability to spread by infecting USB sticks using the autorun and .lnk vulnerabilities that Stuxnet used. It also uses the same print spooler vulnerability that Stuxnet used to spread to computers on a local network. This suggests that the authors of Flame may have had access to the same menu of exploits that the creators of Stuxnet used.
Unlike Stuxnet, however, Flame does not replicate automatically. The spreading mechanisms are turned off by default and must be switched on by the attackers before the malware will spread. Once it infects a USB stick inserted into an infected machine, the USB exploit is disabled immediately.
This is likely intended to control the spread of the malware and lessen the likelihood that it will be detected. This may be the attackers’ response to the out-of-control spreading that occurred with Stuxnet and accelerated the discovery of that malware.
It’s possible the exploits were enabled in early versions of the malware to allow the malware to spread automatically, but were then disabled after Stuxnet went public in July 2010 and after the .lnk and print spooler vulnerabilities were patched. Flame was launched prior to Stuxnet’s discovery, and Microsoft patched the .lnk and print spooler vulnerabilities in August and September 2010. Any malware attempting to use the vulnerabilities now would be detected if the infected machines were running updated versions of antivirus programs. Flame, in fact, checks for the presence of updated versions of these programs on a machine and, based on what it finds, determines if the environment is conducive for using the exploits to spread.
The researchers say they don’t know yet how an initial infection of Flame occurs on a machine before it starts spreading. The malware has the ability to infect a fully patched Windows 7 computer, which suggests that there may be a zero-day exploit in the code that the researchers have not yet found.
The earliest sign of Flame that Kaspersky found on customer systems is a filename belonging to Flame that popped up on a customer’s machine in Lebanon on Aug. 23, 2010. An internet search on the file’s name showed that security firm Webroot had reported the same filename appearing on a computer in Iran on Mar. 1, 2010. But online searches for the names of other unique files found in Flame show that it may have been in the wild even earlier than this. At least one component of Flame appears to have popped up on machines in Europe on Dec. 5, 2007 and in Dubai on Apr. 28, 2008.
Kaspersky estimates that Flame has infected about 1,000 machines. The researchers arrived at this figure by calculating the number of its own customers who have been infected and extrapolating that to estimate the number of infected machines belonging to customers of other antivirus firms.
All of the infections of Kaspersky customers appear to have been targeted and show no indication that a specific industry, such as the energy industry, or specific systems, such as industrial control systems, were singled out. Instead, the researchers believe Flame was designed to be an all-purpose tool that so far has infected a wide variety of victims. Among those hit have been individuals, private companies, educational institutions and government-run organizations.
Symantec, which has also begun analyzing Flame (which it calls “Flamer”), says the majority of its customers who have been hit by the malware reside in the Palestinian West Bank, Hungary, Iran and Lebanon. They have received additional reports from customer machines in Austria, Russia, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates.
Researchers say the compilation date of modules in Flame appear to have been manipulated by the attackers, perhaps in an attempt to thwart researchers from determining when they were created.
“Whoever created it was careful to mess up the compilation dates in every single module,” Gostev said. “The modules appear to have been compiled in 1994 and 1995, but they’re using code that was only released in 2010.”
The malware has no kill date, though the operators have the ability to send a kill module to it if needed. The kill module, named browse32, searches for every trace of the malware on the system, including stored files full of screenshots and data stolen by the malware, and eliminates them, picking up any breadcrumbs that might be left behind.
“When the kill module is activated, there’s nothing left whatsoever,” Gostev said.
UPDATE 9 a.m. PDT: Iran’s Computer Emergency Response Team announced on Monday that it had developed a detector to uncover what it calls the “Flamer” malware on infected machines and delivered it to select organizations at the beginning of May. It has also developed a removal tool for the malware. Kaspersky believes the “Flamer” malware is the same as the Flame malware its researchers analyzed.

No BDSers in the Israel Day Parade

Just a reminder that there are pro-BDS groups participating in Sunday's Salute to Israel Day parade on Sunday, and those of you in the New York area should get out there and give the New Israel Fund, Meretz and the others a real Bronx cheer.

Mission to Murder Hitler

Beri Weber and Mezamrim Choir - Nishmas

Friday, May 25, 2012

WWII hero Karski to receive U.S. Medal of Freedom

In a White House ceremony next Tuesday, President Obama will bestow the Medal of Freedom posthumously on the late Dr. Jan Karski, Ph.D. America’s highest civilian honor will go to this Polish-born World War II hero whose daring deserves universal acclaim.
Speaking April 23 at Washington, D.C.’s Holocaust Memorial Museum, Obama praised Jan Karski, as Obama explained, “a young Polish Catholic who witnessed Jews being put on cattle cars, who saw the killings, and who told the truth, all the way to President Roosevelt himself.”
I am fortunate enough to have been among Dr. Karski’s students at Georgetown University. As our second-to-last lecture began in Theory of Communism class, we begged him to tell us about his actions. He was coy, but we insisted.
Dr. Karski then kept us spellbound for 90 minutes detailing how he saw the Nazis attack his horse-drawn artillery unit on the morning of September 1, 1939. He fled as the Nazi Blitzkrieg overran the Polish Army. He was captured by the Red Army as the Soviet Union implemented the Hitler-Stalin pact and invaded Poland from the east. 

Jan Karski talked his way out of a troop movement that cost a large contingent of Polish officers their lives at the hands of Russian soldiers in the notorious Katyn Forest Massacre. Having escaped certain execution there, Karski soon jumped from a Nazi train as it sped through the Polish countryside.
He fled into the woods, and then nestled into the Polish Underground, which he served as a courier. He carried coded messages from Warsaw across Europe to the Polish exile government, then in still-free France.
On one of his missions, the Gestapo captured Jan Karski. German agents tortured him, and Karski feared he would crack. So, he reached into the sole of his shoe, withdrew a small razor blade, and slashed his wrists.
The Nazis found him before he bled to death, then took him to a hospital so he could get well enough to be tortured some more.
Jan Karski consulted a visiting priest who told a member of the Underground that Witold — Karski’s code name — was in the hospital. Disguised as a nun, another agent came to Karski’s bedside and told him that the guards had been bribed to fall asleep as he leapt from an open window that evening.
So, Jan Karski slipped from Nazi custody and returned to the Polish Underground.
On his last mission, Karski posed as a Jew. Wearing a yellow Star of David, he witnessed the Warsaw Ghetto’s horrid conditions. Days later, in autumn 1942, he penetrated Izbica, a gateway to the Belzec extermination camp.
After witnessing Nazi genocide, Jan Karski prepared to alert the free world.
Using a migrant French worker’s papers, he boarded a German passenger train and traversed Nazi-occupied Europe. Jan Karski passed through France, Spain, and on to Gibraltar, where a Royal Air Force plane whisked him to London.
That’s when Jan Karski became among the first to reveal the Final Solution.
He briefed members of the British War Cabinet. Then, in America, he shared his experiences with Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter — then America’s most powerful Jewish official — and finally, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Unfortunately, these leaders back then found it difficult to believe that Hitler’s hatred was so severe that he was murdering Jews and others by the millions.
So, Jan Karski went public with his story.
He delivered some 200 lectures, and wrote a best-seller, The Story of a Secret State, in 1944.  He did this not for personal grandeur, but to inform the civilized world about the unbridled barbarism then devouring Europe.
Long after Nazi Germany was crushed, Dr. Karski spoke little about his wartime experiences. He quietly studied and taught at Georgetown for the rest of his career.
As Americans search for people after whom to pattern our lives, few examples surpass that of Jan Karski.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Egypt launching "veiled-women only" TV channel

From Al Arabiya:
An Egyptian satellite television channel currently on test transmission and managed by a staff of women in niqaab (fully veiled) has stirred controversy in the country and revived the debate over the limits of individual freedom.

Marya channel’s general manager Sheikha Safaa was quoted by various Egyptian media sources as saying that the television will be “exclusively female” and that men would not be allowed to interfere in its editorial policies or program content.

Sheikha Safaa noted that the channel’s owner, ultraconservative Salafi Sheikh Abu Islam Ahmad Abd Allah, will have a “consultative” role to play because of his “media and scholastic expertise.”

“The work in operations of the channel will be handled by the sisters in charge of management, especially as women are the best one to talk about their needs,” she said, adding that the channel “aims at lifting injustice” on veiled women who suffer from marginalization.

The channel’s owner was quoted as saying he chose the name Marya for his television in reference to Mariyah al-Qibtiyyah, a woman who was gifted to the Prophet Mohammed and gave birth to his son Ibrahim.
(Marya was a Copt; Mohammed is said to have freed her.)

Journomania adds:
No men or non-veiled women will be employed says Sheikha Safaa , the manager of the channel.

Even though these employment plans might be considered sexist, Sheikha Safaa seems to think otherwise. She has made it quite clear that the objectives of launching this channel is to offer veiled women the chance to appear on the screens and to empower other veiled women by activating their roles. She claims veiled women suffer marginalization.

Sheikha Safaa explained that the staff of the satellite channel will be all women, and men are not going to interfere in its general policies or programs quality. Even the owner of the channel will have only a consultative role based on his experience and skills in the field of media, she said.

“The affairs of the channel will be handled by the sisters who will be running the television channel, since women are more qualified to address and talk about their own needs”, she added.

Sheikh Abu Islam Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah, the owner of the "Al Ummah" channel and the new “Maria” Channel, said in a statement that "God willing, the channel will employ Muslim women graduates of various departments of media collages and institutions. This project aims at protecting women from temptations by finding them suitable work opportunities ."

Sheikh Abdullah explained: “We plan on hiring all our staff of veiled women and finish that within three months. We have already hired women, filming professionals from other television channels to train our all women team on production, filming, and other skills. But for the technical skills we have to rely on men because we were not able to find skilled women in this field yet”.

Here's an apparent screen shot from a test broadcast:

Feminism, Salafi-style!

Jordanian bank fires woman for refusing to wear hijab

From Al Arabiya/AFP:
The Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank on Wednesday fired a Christian employee because she refused to wear a scarf to cover her hair as part of uniform for female staff, its spokeswoman said.

“The bank warned Vivian Salameh to cover her hair as part of women’s uniform approved earlier this year, but she refused,” Iman Afaneh told AFP.

“Five other Christian women are working at the bank, and they are committed to wearing full uniform, including the headscarf.”

But Salameh said she “refused to wear the partial head cover because it is against my principles.”

“The bank uniform registered at the trade and industry ministry does not include wearing anything to cover my hair,” she said.

The Jordan-based Islamic bank is a public shareholding company which launched operations in 2010.
From its webpage, it seems that the bank is pretty upfront about its principles:
Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank is a fully integrated Islamic bank combining solid Islamic values with modern technology and innovation that characterize the best of modern banking. Our focus at Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank is on the needs of each of our customers. We are a customer-centric organization with close personal service and understanding forming the base of each of our client relationships.

To achieve these goals we have set solid foundations and standards for our Vision and Mission represented in the following:

Our Vision 
Leading Islamic banking to serve all spectrums of the society.

Our Mission 
To provide distinctive and innovative services emanating from the divine principles of Islam to build lasting and solid partnerships and to maximize benefits to all stakeholders.

Our Values 
Innovation: At Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank, we adhere to the principles of innovation and distinguish ourselves as a pioneering financial institution by combining traditional Islamic values with the latest technology and innovative products and services; thus delivering the best of modern Islamic banking.

Knowledge: At Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank, our guiding principle of banking is inspired by the knowledge and doctrines embodied within the Holy Quran. Built from these strong foundations, we are proud to introduce the new standard of modern Islamic banking in Jordan.
This couldn't have been too big a surprise to her. 

The bank also has, besides the (all male) board of directors, a Sharia Supervisory Board.

Choose Which Will Be The Last Song of the IDF Chief Cantor's Next Album!

PA TV to kids: Christians and Jews are inferior, cowardly and despised

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Blueprint - 2012 Prophecy in Motion

Are the events unfolding in the world today somehow mirrored by prophetic stories recorded thousands of years ago? We are in the balance between world war and global peace. Is there a way to unlock the ancient tales of prophets to guide our lives today? The answers can be found in this video. 

We would like to thank our friend Sondra Baras and the CFOIC Heartland team whose support has helped make this video possible. Learn more about the people of Biblical Israel and we hope you will consider supporting their important work. Click here for more information - 

Support The Land of and help bring this message to the world!

Tenoyim For The ''Yoresh'' -Grandson Of The Belzer Rebbe Shlit''a -Clear Footage

Cantor Chaim Adler singing Sefiras Haomer. Recorded Monday night, Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan 5772 החזן חיים אדלר - ספירת העומר

Avraham Fried Sings with Special-Ed Kids, Prepares for Tribute Concert

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner

Darshan-Leitner Wins Prize for Fighting Terror in Court

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of the Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center, received an award Tuesday night for her role in fighting terrorism through international courts and defending the civil rights of Israeli terror victims.
Darshan-Leitner accepted the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism’s Lion of Zion Award at Jerusalem’s City of David, along with Dr. Yitzhak Glick, Chairman of the Efrat Emergency Medical Center, and Zvi Slonim, a founder of Gush Emunim and the Ariel University Center of Samaria.
Nitzana Darshan-Leitner accepting the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism
Shurat HaDin, established in 2003, says its goal is “to bankrupt terror groups and grind their criminal activities to a halt – one lawsuit at a time.”   The legal powerhouse works with western intelligence agencies and volunteer attorneys around the world who file legal actions on behalf of victims of terror.
But they just don’t file – they win.  To date, Shurat HaDin has succeeded in winning more than $1 billion in judgments, freezing more than $600 million in terrorist assets, and collecting $120 million in payments to victims and their families.
Darshan-Leitner, who has been leading the struggle against Palestinian and Islamic terrorist organizations in the courtroom since 1997, represents hundreds of terror victims in lawsuits and actions not just against terror organizations such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PLO, and Hizbullah, but against governments such as the Iran, Syria, Egypt, North Korea, and the quasi-government Palestinian Authority.
On May 14, the US district court for Washington, DC handed down a decision in the amount of $332 million against the government of Syria for its role in an April 2006 Passover-time suicide bombing which killed 11 civilians near the Old Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv, including Floridian student Daniel Wultz, who succumbed to wounds after a 27-day battle for his life.  Darshan-Leitner helped his family file suit in US civil court against the Syrian Arab Republic and other parties alleging that Damascus had allowed the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), which carried out the attack, to be headquartered in Syria, as well as providing them with material support.  The Wultz family was represented by Darshan-Leitner, as well as NY attorney Robert Tolchin.
On May 14, 2012, the 6th anniversary of Daniel’s death, the district court awarded the Wultzes $332 million in compensatory and punitive damages against the Syrian defendants, finding that the defendants acted intentionally in a nature and to an extent “among the most heinous the Court can fathom,” and that they did so without “any semblance of remorse”.
The judgment represented the first time the Syrian government had ever been found liable in US court for supporting Islamic terror organizations targeting civilians in Israel.
Most recently, she has taken on some of the world’s largest banks, who have knowingly done business with organizations associated with Islamic terror, including UBS, The Arab Bank, Bank of China, and LCB.
A lawsuit has been filed in New York against the Bank of China for providing financial services to the PIJ prior to the 2006 bombing which killed Daniel Wultz.
According to Darshan-Leitner, who spoke with the Jewish Press’ Yishai Fleisher, thanks to the efforts of Shurat HaDin, banks have, for the most part, been scared away from dealing with terror organizations and terrorists, for fear of being sued in civil court.   This has become significant for Islamic jihadists, who rely on the ability to transfer large amounts of funds in order to maintain their terror networks.
“Terror organizations need a lot of money to operate,” Darshan-Leitner told Fleisher.  “We may think they need it for the bullets or for the gun or for the missile, that’s wrong – they need it to support the population, they need to provide the population with free food, free education, free medical services, in order to gain their loyalty, in order to continue firing missiles towards Israel from their backyards.”
“Terror organizations have a military, they have soldiers – not wearing uniforms – but they are soldiers that get paid month after month after month until they are called to carry out terror attacks inside Israel.  And to maintain this army, the Hamas or Hizbullah need a lot of money,” Darshan-Leitner said.  “So by obstructing them from getting so much money, you are obstructing them from carrying out terror attacks.  I regularly meet with intelligence agents in Israel, and they all tell me the same thing – if you stop the money, you can stop the terrorism.  If you stop the flow of the money, you can stop the flow of the terrorism.”