The John Batchelor Show

Monday 23 September 2013

Air Date: 
September 23, 2013

Photo, above: al Shebaab in Somalia


Hour One

Monday  23 September  2013 / Hour 1, Block A:   Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, in re:  (1 of 2) al Shebaab (the youth) swore allegiance to al Q in 2012.   July 2013 UN report: it foreign fighters were seeking direction from East African fighters.  Westgate Mall event corresponds to UN report.   The London Boys, trained by Shebaab, looked as though they'd be going back to England to fight.    Kenya is outside the basic war zones.  Going after places where Christians and Jews are present; sorted out Muslims and non-Muslims at he inception of the attack.  "The White Widow" – "Samantha Lewthwaite, the wife of Germaine Lindsay, a man who blew himself up on July 7, 2005, at London's King’s Cross subway station killing 26 people. At the time, Lewthwaite denied having any prior knowledge of the attack. Shortly thereafter, she became a fugitive. The 29-year-old daughter of a soldier, she hails from Banbridge, County Down, Ireland; converted to Islam as a teenager, and according to British media reports, has three children with whom she has been on the run."  A Briton, three Somalis, a Syrian, in the mix?  In the US, dozens of young men have been recruited; always an effort to bring in persons with local passports and culture.   This war zone is active from the Atlantic to the Hindu Kush.

US drones kill 7 in North Waziristan strike  The strike is the first in nearly three weeks, and targeted a militant compound in Shawal, a known jumpoff point for jihadists heading to Afghanistan. Shabaab suicide teams target civilians in assault on Kenyan mall  At least 59 people have been killed and over 150 wounded in the largest terrorist attack in Kenya since al Qaeda's 1998 bombing of the US Embassy. The Shabaab assault teams singled out non-Muslims for execution. The attack is similar to Lashkar-e-Taiba's assault on Mumbai in 2008.  Authorities arrested "more than 10" suspects, including four at the airport, who are thought linked to the Shabaab assault on a Nairobi mall. The death toll was revised to at least 62; the military said all floors of the mall have been cleared, but there were also reports that some gunmen remained. A Shabaab commander said the assault was well organized. Kenyan authorities believe foreign fighters were part of the assault team. Wanted British terrorist Samantha Lewthwaite is suspected to be involved in the attack.  [more]

Photo, below: al Shebaab committing one of its many executions, June 2013.  Al-Shabaab oo xukun dil ah ku fulisay nin ‘sixiroole ahaa’

Monday  23 September  2013 / Hour 1, Block B: Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, in re: (2 of 2) Most attacks in Iraq are being run by Sunnis – against ambulances, civilians. What we don't see right now is the return of Shi'a militias conducting reprisal attacks as they were n 2008. When it comes to that, and absent and US mediation, it'll be [awful].  Today: killing Christians and boasting about it. Zawahiri ordered this the other day – in Kenya, in Pakistani churches, in northern Nigeria.  Badakhshan [Afghanistan] used to be peaceful, now 23 policemen killed by Taliban, probably with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. This is a preview; the big show is coming.  To have been approved on Lethal Weapons Arming List of Turkey: Syrian brigades that have just turned to al Qaeda and joined.  The Black Flag of al Q in Chechnya, the hardest-core fighters. Drone strike, north Waziristan: the US is trying to whack jihadists there while the jihadists are taking the fight global.  What?

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The Star:  A 33-year-old recent Muslim convert from Meru is being held following the Westgate mall attack. Identified as Ali Hassan Gitonga from Gikurumene village in Meru, police say Gitonga is part of sleeper terrorist cell based in Eastleigh's Majengo area. He is alleged to have travelled to Somalia for training with Al Shabaab sometime in 2011 and returned home late last year after the Kenya Defence Forces moved in to kick out the the militia group. He has been living in Eastleigh Section Three since then and was a frequent visitor to the Riyadha Mosque. Yesterday, Deputy Inspector General of Police Grace Kaindi confirmed that police had arrested Gitonga and are questioning him over the attack. Gitonga is admitted at a city hospital where he is receiving treatment after being shot in the right thigh and left ankle during Saturday's exchange of fire with the police who were rescuing those still being held hostage in the mall. Police recovered a national identity card.

      Television footage streamed most of Saturday showed the man being half carried from the mall with his head covered with a jacket. He is currently under tight security at the hospital. He has however refused to answer questions by the police and has also declined to record a statement.  The security agencies were yesterday reconstructing the attack. They have since Saturday afternoon been scrutinizing the CCTV footage which shows the attackers as they entered the mall and the panic that ensued. The CCTV was abruptly disconnected by the attackers many of whom are still holed up in the mall. Preliminary reports indicate that the attack was well planned and synchronized.

      The attackers, estimated to be between 10 and 15 people, accessed the mall from three places -- the basement, the main entrance and from the roof. The attackers sprayed automatic gunfire to kill the security personnel manning the entrances. They drove into the mall using a white Toyota registration number KBS 629Q and a metallic silver Mitsubishi Lancer registration number KAS 575X which were still at the mall where they had been abandoned.  By yesterday afternoon, the death toll stood at 59 and 175 injured. Some of those hurt were security personnel who got injured through 'friendly fire'. The number of attackers who are still holed up in the mall is unclear even though suspicion is growing that some them may have sneaked under the pretext they were hostages.  Yesterday, the Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku said the operation was "delicate" and had taken time as there were still hostages being held inside the mall. The first and second floors of the mall had been secured and sanitised by last evening as well as a section of the basement. However, there were fears that the attackers may have bobby-trapped a section of the basement which required a careful response.  Kenyans overwhelmingly responded to appeals for blood with hundreds queuing at various hospitals and emergency blood donor centres in Nairobi and Mombasa and other towns. An appeal for Westgate Mall victims launched by Safaricom on its pay bill number 848484 realized Sh6 million within six hours and more was expected. Political differences were set aside when President Uhuru flanked by former Prime Minister and leader of the opposition Cord Alliance Raila Odinga and UDF's Musalia Mudavadi appeared together at State House to condemn the attack.  "They shall not get away with their despicable, beastly acts. Like the cowardly perpetrators now cornered in the building, we will punish the masterminds swiftly and painfully," said President Uhuru in his address to the nation. Raila warned Kenyans against being divided along religious lines as a result of the attack and urged them to remain steadfast.

        The Israeli government despatched an elite Israeli unit to help the Kenyan police in bring the siege at Westgate Mall to an end. "The Israelis have just entered the shopping centre and they are rescuing the hostages and the injured," the source told AFP on condition of anonymity. Reuters confirmed the Israeli involvement, quoting security source saying Israeli advisers are helping with 'negotiating strategy' to end siege. Unconfirmed reports indicate that a unit of the US Special Forces were also despatched to assist the Kenya security agencies. Messages of condolence and solidarity continued to be received from different all over the world as well as the United Nations and various UN agencies.  These countries and agencies offered the government assistance to deal with the crisis. At the ICC, Deputy President William Ruto's lawyer Karim Khan asked the court to allow Ruto to return home to assist Uhuru in handling the crisis. The court was expected to make its decision on the basis of the written submissions yesterday or after oral arguments this morning before the start of the trial proceedings.

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Monday  23 September  2013 / Hour 1, Block C:  Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review & Pirates fan; Lara M Brown, political analyst and author; Francis Rose, Federal News Radio, in re:

The Affordable Care Act and Ted Cruz's Continuing Resolution thereon. House has sent to Senate a resolution that the Senate will not pass. Two fleets circling each other, scanning for engagement.

Eventually the Senate will bounce back to the House a resolution that'll include the funding.

"Politics is the plain-dressed and plain-spoken pursuit of money"

"The mother's milk of politics is money."

Lois Lerner. Danny Werfel was before Congress again, took heat as to why Ms Lerner was still on the payroll.  . . .   She'll need the benefits package considering the lawyers she's hired.  She may have the option of fed employees: liability insurance, which she does have.   . . .  You can’t rise to the top without [beating] someone, nor stay there without [staying in fights].  Always smart to fight up (as was done by a certain junior senator from Illinois once).  Mitch McConnell and  ________ abandoned Ted Cruz today.   [more]

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll finds 6 in 10 Georgians "have little understanding of how Obamacare will affect them or their families, but most of them still don't like it."  . . . .  "It's awfully hard to repeal Obamacare when a guy named Obama is president of the United States. We're in a position to stop a lot of what he wants to do. We're not in a position to undo." 

-- Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), quoted by the New York Times.

POTUS is back to being Candidate Obama on the trail for votes...   The CR fight is about raising the hysteria of the GOP so the money flows and the Tea Party rallies for next year cycle… Not about winning in DC...  Obama is helping Cruz and Lee by trash talking... he boosts them.  This is a first wave of assaults.  the heavy stuff starts when the healthcare exchange websites crash and burn, and there is no service come winter, …   [more]

Monday  23 September  2013 / Hour 1, Block D: Peter Coy, Bloomberg Businessweek, in re:  The Fed Wants More Protection Against Losses at Foreign Banks' US Units  Although the U.S. wasn't the first country to propose ring-fencing, the move stirred opposition because the U.S. is a vital . . .

Hour Two

Monday  23 September  2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  Patrick Chovanec, chief strategist at Silvercrest Asset Management; John Fund, National Review Online; David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent, in re: (1 of 2) Mitch McConnell will vote three times for the CR to defund ObamaCare; this is what the de-funders (e.g., Ted Cruz) don't want him to do – because of a first cloture bill coming on Wednesday; then the second, which the de-funders want to filibuster so that Harry Reid by Senate rules can proceed by vote to strike the de-funding language, for which he has 54 (enough) votes. [missing data here; go to podcast for exact description]  McConnell will vote yes twice and no once, will be able to say that each vote was in favor of de-funding.   Markets tend to conflate govt shutdown and debt ceiling; the former is less likely but more significant.

Monday  23 September  2013 / Hour 2, Block B: Patrick Chovanec, chief strategist at Silvercrest Asset Management; John Fund, National Review Online; David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent, in re: (2 of 2) We're not on the brink of the debt ceiling till November 5 . . . In a perverse way, even though the consequences of breaching the debt ceiling are potentially worse, it’s a better place for Republicans, as the president's categorical refusal to negotiate makes him look rigid and unwilling to do this consummately American deed, compromise.   JF: He's been even more dyspeptic and belligerent of late – picked up bad habits from Pelosi and Reid, who’ve become shriekers, almost.  PC: I don’t think the GOP will go to the mat on this, that the president is calling their bluff.   DMD: Everybody's poll numbers suffered from the 2011 fight. It’s about not blowing the sequester spending cuts. JF:  If the debt ceiling is hit, all the govt's bond and debt obligations need to be paid first.   PC: I think the GOP strongest position is . . 

Monday  23 September  2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  Bud Weinstein, Bush Institute, in re: The Energy Logjam - Removing Regulatory Obstacles to Fuel the Economy: Vital Statistics on America’s Most Promising Sector.   [more]

Monday  23 September  2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Gordon Chang,, in re: China's companies are beginning to default.  And there is no mystery why this is happening: they are carrying extraordinarily high debt loads. [more]

Hour Three

Monday  23 September  2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Iran to Meet Major Powers at U.N.

Monday  23 September  2013 / Hour 3, Block B: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Hamas caught in Sinai; also, Hamas fighters in large numbers are fighting with al Nusrah in Syria.  Iran is giving more aid to Hamas – to offset the Egyptian army's move into Sinai closing the smuggling tunnels [smuggling goods for cash plus large volumes of materiel].    Egyptian courts today ruled Muslim Brotherhood's operations to be illegal and that its assets may be seized by the govt. The Israeli border isn’t as affected – were Hamas to move against Israel, Israel could respond in force.

Monday  23 September  2013 / Hour 3, Block C: Nicholas Kalish, NYT, in re: Siege at Kenyan Mall Continues as Death Toll Reaches 59

Monday  23 September  2013 / Hour 3, Block D: Gretchen Morgenson, NYT, in re: EPA CREDITS BANKS / THE HOUSE EDGE   Wall St. Exploits Ethanol Credits, and Prices Spike

Hour Four

Monday  23 September  2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  Michael Ledeen, FDD, in re: Hasan Rouhani, Iran’s new president, is going to be in New York this week, and the dips and pundits are very excited.  They think there’s a chance for a breakthrough, maybe even two or three breakthroughs:  Adeal on the Iranian nuclear weapons program; progress on the Syrian deal; a great leap forward in American-Iranian “relations.”  The last would produce some sort of “normalization,” involving an exchange of diplomatic representations, at a maximum the restoration of full relations for the first time since the seizure of American hostages in Tehran in the early months of the Islamic Revolution.  Even a “chance encounter” between Rouhani and Obama will be treated as a major event, and you can expect to read language like “for the first time in decades, American and Iranian leaders met face to face.”

Monday  23 September  2013 / Hour 4, Block B: Paul R. Gregory,, in re:  Why Putin Cannot Afford Runoffs: Navalny and the Moscow Election

Monday  23 September  2013 / Hour 4, Block C: Yochi Dreazen, Foreign Policy magazine, in re: There's a chemical weapons gold rush in the Middle East. If things work out, and plans to secure and ultimately destroy Syria's chemical weapons stockpile go forward, Damascus could see a flood of contractors trying to get a piece of the chemical pie.  "The actual work of eliminating Syria's armaments won't be done by the U.S. or Russia... It will be done by companies like Giulano Porcari's firm, Sipsa, which could make enormous amounts of money for their efforts. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in an interview with Fox News, said that destroying his stockpiles will take at least one year and cost roughly $1 billion . . .  The size of that potential windfall could spark a global gold rush as companies from around the world flood into Damascus hoping to get some of the work." But the risks are huge, too. Maybe even bigger than the potential profits. Pocari: "Of course I would love to get a contract in Syria -- it's the same work we did in Libya, just a lot more of it...But at the present time it's too dangerous. Do you think I want to be shot at? No thank you."  [more].

Monday  23 September  2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   Peter Berkowitz, Hoover & Real Clear Politics, in re: "The Intransigence of Progressivism,"  As we head into autumn’s debt ceiling showdown and with both sides braced for more bruising battles over the budget, progressive pundits and politicians have resumed their condemnation of conservatives as the anti-compromise camp. Among the benefits that accrue to progressives for hurling this accusation is that it deflects attention from the intransigence woven into the very fabric of contemporary progressivism.  In the liberals’ telling, the Republican Party has been overrun by extremists who reject compromise on principle, preferring to lose politically than yield an inch on taxes, spending, or Obamacare. This is a caricature, but it doesn’t come from whole cloth: Many conservatives -- both on the national stage and among the grassroots -- do speak as if compromise is an inherently corrupt practice that runs contrary to the American constitutional tradition.  Such uncompromising aversion to compromise is bad politics, bad constitutionalism, and bad conservatism. It confuses standing tough with standing inflexibly in place. It overlooks the multiplicity of mechanisms the framers incorporated into the Constitution to induce political moderation. And it collapses the difference between principles and policy, a distinction that . . .  [more]

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