The John Batchelor Show

Monday 8 July 2013

Air Date: 
July 08, 2013


Photo, above: Dozens killed in Cairo after gunmen open fire on pro-Morsi protesters At least 50 reported dead as military fires on group outside the military building where the ousted president is held.


Hour One

Monday 8 July  2013  / Hour 1, Block A:  Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, in re: Zawahiri, head of al Qaeda: his brother is in Egypt, surveying events.  Egyptian military has just overthrown the elected president, Morsi, and now slaughtered Morsi supporters.  Egypt goes dark.  Watch old Muslim Brotherhood supporters, let out of jail at end of Mubarak, moved into positions all over, including in Sinai. Now 300 wounded and 50 dead.  Ramadan did not start last night as the Moon could not be seen.  Hyderabad:  mil grabbed bags, data, everything, a huge trove of al Qaeda info; had to leave behind a vast amt for Pakistan.  Two critical archives; US shd be acquiring what t he Pakistanis have. NYT in the last hours: Washington dissatisfied with Karzai, is speeding up US withdrawal.  Spectacular raids in Kabul and elsewhere; Kunar and Nuristan, esp.  Obama Administration is floating these notions in the New York Times, with the idea that we can project force out of Afghanistan. Al Qaeda prospers in Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan. [Pres Obama still holds fondness for Morsi]

Ansar al Sharia Egypt in the Sinai   A representative of al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya in Sinai has announced the formation of a new front in the wake of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's ouster, according to the SITE Intelligence Group. The front is called, "Ansar al Sharia in Egypt."

The group is getting ready for a fight, saying it will "make preparations and acquire means of power such as weapons and training."  The group says "all the sects and tendencies have for a long time been gathering weapons and storing them, until churches became fortresses and weapons depots, and all declare their preparations to end any features in Egypt, and with the force of weapons," according to SITE's translation. "Here are signs of this criminality that are apparent in attacking Muslims everywhere, so shall we leave ourselves that weak to let massacres happen to Muslims in Egypt and let it turn to another Andalusia???" Al Salafiyya al Jihadiyya in Sinai portrays recent events as part of a conspiracy against Islam, saying the Egyptian Army has implemented "unprecedented procedures against the Islamic current with all its factions." These procedures started with [more]

Mohammed al Zawahiri weighs in on Egyptian political crisis  The younger brother of al Qaeda's emir issued a statement on July 2 saying that a confrontation inside Egypt would favor the country's jihadists. How Salafi jhadists respond to the ongoing crisis remains to be seen.

Letter from Nasr City cell member posted by Ansar al Sharia Egypt  Ansar al Sharia Egypt posted a letter in June from Tariq Abu-al-Azm, a former major in the Egyptian air force who is accused of being part of the Nasr City cell. The cell has multiple ties to al Qaeda.  [more]

Ansar al Sharia Egypt in the Sinai

July 6   A group calling itself Ansar al Sharia Egypt has announced its formation in the Sinai and has threatened violence in the wake of recent events. It is not clear if the organization is truly a new front, or simply a covert part of an already established group with the same name.   [more]

US adds Sudanese al Qaeda operative involved in murder of diplomat to list of terrorists  Abd Al-Ra'Ouf Abu Zaid Mohamed Hamza was involved in the murder of a USAID employee and his driver in 2008. Hamza's father is a senior cleric in Ansar al-Tawhid, which, along with al Qaeda, claimed credit for the assassinations.

US drones kill 17 in first strike in Pakistan in nearly a month  The strike took place in a village where two senior Haqqani Network leaders have been killed by the US over the past several years. [more]

Monday 8 July  2013  / Hour 1, Block B: Reza Kahlili, author, A Time to Betray, in re: When is a cyber attack an act of war?Iran acknowledge a ltd number of Stuxnet effects; problems in Bushehr: regime denies any attack or effects.  Teheran preparing for legal action vs. the US, take it to intl community to prove that the US was behind it.  Generally understood that he US was the author of Stuxnet, possibly in conjunction with Israel.  In Teheran. the foreign ministry has prepared documents; some acknowledgment by US officials, said to include Israel and Germany. Rohani accede to the presidency next month and prioritize this case.   Cd file in intl courts or in US courts; wait and see. What's certain is that the sources stated that they will file.  Obama Administration has caused itself this problem by leaking responsibility for Stuxnet.  Iran has a very strong case.  If Rohani takes this to the intl community, Obama Adm will not have expected it.    Can Iran claim damages against the US for the attack?

Monday 8 July  2013  / Hour 1, Block C: Mona Charen, NRO; Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review & Pirates fan, in re: what's good about America? We have the best constitution devised by the hand of Man; we have elections and peace until the next election.  Employer mandate delayed for a year; and no questions asked about eligibility – a red carpet rolled out by the White House to fraud. Max Baucus, one of the bill's architects, calls the bill "a train wreck." This administration feels unbound by the law- we're putting it off till 2015 at our will; this is lawless and alarming.  Richard Epstein [Chicago Law; Hoover] said it'd be delayed and delayed till it never occurred. Obamacare becomes a game; if you cheat, you'll never be caught. The scandals hit al at once; Obama's gun-control bill sputtered and went out.  Now, chickens coming home to roost. President has lost a huge head of steam since the inauguration. Wheels came ff this bus fastest of any second term; he may recover, but this is a tremendous rut he's in now. The intl situation: his philosophy is to diminish the influence of the US, but he's still blamed when things go wrong. 

Monday 8 July  2013  / Hour 1, Block D:  Mark Schroeder, Stratfor, in re: Nigeria. Boko Haram. Islamic militants attacked a boarding school in the middle of the night in a village near the northeast Nigerian city of Potiskum early on July 6, killing 29 students and a teacher, witnesses said, AP reported. The assailants were believed to belong to Islamist militant group Boko Haram. In the past, Boko Haram has mostly attacked official sites; mass-murder of children is a new effort and represent sheer terrorism. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in northeastern Nigeria on May 14 and deployed thousands of troops to stop Boko Haram, but previous such efforts by the Nigerian government have only temporarily disrupted the group's operations. The natl govt is powerful, but state-level and local govts are also critical.  Some of Boko Haram's members have travelled, and have embedded members in al Qaeda, but its only intl venture so far is kidnapping a French couple in Cameroons near the border.   Boko Haram brought accelerants in order to burn the children; has political cover, weapons, cash, from northern leaders. fierce campaign in northeast Nigeria. The pace and ferocity of attacks are increasing; restraints are self-imposed, not maintained by the govt.

Hour Two

Monday 8 July  2013  / Hour 2, Block A:  John Fund, National Review Online, and David M Drucker, Washington Examiner sr Congressional correspondent, in re: Pres Obama has long said that we shd look more like Europe. Now we do: young people can’t get full-time jobs; neither can many adults.  Individually, Congressmen say the economy is far from recovered; much too low an employment number; been at this so long we no longer have a sense of crisis collectively. However, ensemble, Congress doesn't address jobs.   States with or without exchanges will be on the honor system to say if one is working or not, and how much one is making..  Only 47% of adults in the US have a full-time job.   About 60% of  employers have cut back on hiring or frozen hiring in direct response to Obamacare. Eventually, unless we take major surgery to Obamacare, we'll just be pushing it down the road. Problem: nothing in the law gives the president the right to delay it. This is scary.  Does the delay help Democrats? People upset at premium increases going through the roof; younger people will have to pay benefits of the old. A lot will drop out.   Hiring delay till after 2015. You don’t delay the implementation of something that's wonderful.

       ". . . another less-discussed reason.  The instinctive dishonesty and contempt for the rule of law exhibited by the Obama administration is finally catching up with them.  Few Republicans in the House – even those who devoutly want immigration reform – trust the Obama administration to enforce anything that passes Congress with consistency and integrity.    Take the 2,700-page monstrosity of a law that’s been dubbed “Obamacare.”  When it passed back in 2010, the law was nonetheless clear on many points.  It decreed that beginning in 2014 any company with more than 50 full-time employees would be required to offer them health-care insurance or pay stiff fines."

Monday 8 July  2013  / Hour 2, Block B: John Fund, National Review Online, and David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent, in re: the White House's suspension of enforcing the Affordable Care Act makes the immigration bill also likely to be delayed/not implemented. It's filled with discretion for the president; 15 waivers, 223 "mays"s or "might"s. A 1200-page immigration bill will not be enthusiastically regarded by Congress. If the resident decides to waive the bill, Congress may not have authority to oblige. whatever law is passed ever , you can make the argument that the president doesn’t ant to follow it; what this administration just did – delay in part implementation of a law it loves. Imagine what a president might do with a law he doesn’t like. Today, this resident who won easily now seems timid.  Bloom came off the rose in May: word of eavesdropping on AP; then Fox, then Benghazi again.   Now this adm is in trench warfare. Cairo is a disaster; as people get killed and ire is directed at US ambassador, Americans will turn their attention thither.

Monday 8 July  2013  / Hour 2, Block C: Jonathan Schanzer, FDD, in re: Egypt. Egyptian Soldiers Said to Kill at Least 43.  Muslim Brotherhood. Unrest across the country for months to comes.  Military plans to shut Rafah tunnels permanently. Morsi ran the economy into the ground and abused his privileges; MB/Ikhwan is in trouble. Bedouin, disenfranchised, have been attacking Egyptian forces. A blow to Erdogan – to the Muslim Brotherhood bloc: Hamas, Ikhwan, Qatar, and to the AKP Party of Erdogan.  Seventeen to 22 million Egyptians came into the streets to oppose Morsi; MB doesn’t look good anywhere. Crowds asked military to topple Morsi in order to bring in another democratically-elected leader.

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How Hamas Lost the Arab Spring, The Atlantic.      

The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas is feuding with its former patron, Iran. Along with Hezbollah and Russia, Iran has stood squarely behind the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria while it slaughtered tens of thousands of Syrians over the last two years. Despite its own rather gruesome history of violence, the carnage was too much for Hamas. The group's external leadership deserted their longtime headquarters in Damascus last year and abandoned the Iranian "Axis of Resistance" in the process. This apparently did not sit well with Iran's clerical regime. News reports indicate that Iran has drastically reduced its financial assistance to Hamas, which was said to be over $100 million a year, in recent months. While Hamas officials deny these reports, and Iran almost certainly continues to provide weaponry to the Palestinian faction, the relationship is unquestionably strained.

          The Arab Spring years have been surprisingly unkind to Hamas. The falling out with Iran is just one example. The Islamist group has failed to benefit from the rise of other Islamist governments across the region. Instead, the faction finds itself at a strange inflection point, with more ideological allies but few true alliances. That Hamas would be at this crossroads was unthinkable three years ago. The regional standing of the movement, born in the early days of the 1987 Palestinian intifada as a Muslim Brotherhood splinter group, was buoyed by the rise of the meteoric rise of various Brotherhood governments across the region. Hamas had already emerged victorious in the 2006 Palestinian elections, and in 2007 it subsequently became the government in the Gaza Strip after ousting the Palestinian Authority in a violent coup. So when the Brotherhood ascended regionally in the wake of unrest of the Arab Spring, it seemed only natural that the de facto government of Gaza would seamlessly integrate into the new Middle East.

        But Hamas' financial relationship with Iranian and Syrian patrons soon became a liability. The group found itself caught in a sectarian tug of war between its Shi'ite financiers (Iran is Shi'ite and Syria is a client state of Iran) and the new Sunni order (the Muslim Brotherhood is Sunni). Hamas's decision was soon made easier by Western sanctions against Iran for its illicit nuclear program, which ate into Iran's foreign exchange reserves and eroded the regime's ability to bankroll its proxies. Hamas then found itself in the decidedly awkward position of having an alliance with the Iranian-backed Alawite regime in Syria while Assad mowed down Sunnis and Palestinians, alike. Hamas pulled out of its Damascus headquarters in February of last year. Hoping to realign with the new Sunni regional order, the movement dispatched senior figures to manage relationships with three powers strongly tied to the Muslim Brotherhood: Egypt, Turkey, and Qatar. Over time, this triumvirate has filled the void left by Iran.  Qatar, which is flush with cash, has contributed the most generously, and also takes the lead on construction projects in Gaza. Turkey is believed to have [more]

Jonathan Schanzer, a former intelligence analyst at the U.S. Treasury, is vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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Monday 8 July  2013  / Hour 2, Block D:  Gordon Chang,, in re: State media warn of the dangers of copying Western democracy in the wake of Egypt's military coup. Using state apparatus- news papers – to try to scare the citizenry against "democracy." Meaning: representative governance is bad for China, will lead to chaos, so China musn't have democracy. What we mean by democracy is one person, one vote; Chinese Communist Party has several definitions - may also speak of Leninist centralism, and a few others.   China currently has one-party state where power comes out of the barrel of a gun.  Mao and Deng at least could move tens of millions with their words; these bland characters can rely only on violence.  Party has run out of options; can only coerce, intimidate; applying failed policies across the land. Can't reform because if they did, Chinese people wd see it as a sign of weakness and revolt – and the Party would lose its power.  China banned the words "liquidity crisis " on  TV?? From 2.1 to 2.7 increase ____; the deal has been, We give you a rising economy and you give us obedience. Now, Plan B is nationalism, where govt tries to steal land from Philippines, Burma, India, Bhutan, others.  Collision with its neighbors and the US. Chinese govt censorship prevents much discussion of Egypt; but people can speak of democracy in Taiwan, which works.  Young people can’t compare what the Egyptian army did today – murdered civilians is similar to what Beijing did in Tien An Men. But older people do.

Commentaries in the People's Daily Overseas Edition, the Beijing Daily, the Oriental Morning Post and many other state-run media reiterate that "Western-style democracy" is not a one-size-fits-all solution for developing and non-Western countries with different cultural traditions.

The official Xinhua news agency says the unrest in Egypt shows that the West's "export of democracy" is a "faulty diagnosis" rather than a panacea for the problems of developing countries.

"Certain Western countries should take the situation in Egypt as an example, engage in serious reflection, wake up their brains and not readily find fault with other countries. This will leave some face for them," it adds.  A bilingual editorial in the Global Times believes that developing countries that have copied Western-style democracy have often come to "grief".  The People's Daily domestic edition reiterates the Communist Party's view that political reform and democratisation can lead to chaos if there is no stability.  The Wen Wei Po, a Beijing-backed Hong Kong newspaper, says Hong Kong must learn a lesson from the chaos in Egypt and not let "unrealistic radicalism" and haste over political reform undermine social stability and economic livelihood.  Hong Kong's South China Morning Post says the coup in Egypt has also ignited a heated debate among mainland internet users on whether democracy is suitable for China. [more]

   POLITICS  Kim Wall and Teddy Ng   Party leaders view the latest upheaval in the Middle East as a vindication of their policy of gradual reform and opening up to maintain stability. As demonstrations and street clashes again rock Egypt, many in China are watching closely to see what that will mean for the prospects of political reform at home. Many on both sides of the democracy debate have hoped - and feared - that the Arab spring could inspire a similar popular movement in China. Beijing went so far as to curb the sale of jasmine blossoms in 2011 after the flower became a symbol of the Middle East uprisings. Similarly, those in the Communist Party establishment seem to view the latest upheaval in Egypt - the Arab world's most populous country - as a vindication of its gradual path of reform and opening up which has kept democracy out of reach. A commentary in the party-run Global Times says that the crisis facing Egypt has proved once again that a balance must be struck between reform, development and stability. Another published by the party's chief mouthpiece, the People's Daily, argued that democracy was no cure-all. It should be the final step, established only after economic development and social equality has been achieved.  "For developing countries, the mission of economic prosperity, social stability and national security is far more than adopting the Western-style 'one man, one vote' democracy," the commentary said. "If we reverse the order, and mistakenly believe that democracy is the perfect cure for problems, it would only make the situations more complicated." 

Hour Three

Monday 8 July  2013  / Hour 3, Block A:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Egyptian army shot at civilians, killed 50 or 51 persons, including children; wounded 300.  Last Tuesday afternoon, Cairo time, after a meeting between Messrs Morsi and al Sisi, an accommodation was available; Kerry, Rice and Hegel all called al Sisi yelling at him: do not have a coup. Al Sisi did, anyway.  Morsi tried to emulate Erdogan in emasculating the army, but Morsi has a bottomed-out economy , skyrocketing unemployment, opposition among the youth, and much weakness. Military took advantage of these and moved; 82% of people in a poll had said they'd like to see the military take over to stabilize. Military owns 30% of the economy, seniors are filthy rich but juniors treated like trash.  Crowd control mustn't be by military but by trained police.  As the situation began to get out of hand over weeks, Morsi didn't reorganize.  Egyptians want religion "to have a voice, not a veto."  Erdogan is spooked by this.  Assad gloats because Morsi cut relations with Assad. Pres Mansour has set elections for 2014. Iran, Jordan, Israel – how will they respond to this dark turn?


US won't cut off aid to Egypt - for now   By law, a "coup" label would force halt in $1.55 billion in aid.    Congress delaying military aid to Syrian rebels  US fears arms could end up in hands of Islamists.

U.S. Struggles for Leverage   Seib: A Familiar False Choice    Quiet of Prayer Shattered

Live: Latest Updates

Monday 8 July  2013  / Hour 3, Block B:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re:  Regional tour.   . . .  the fall of Morsi helps the king of Jordan.  Hamas greatly weakened by the defeat. Egyptians flooded 40 tunnels with sewer water to prevent Hamas from running guns under the Gaza-Egyptian border.  Gaza; fuel shortages, prices going up,  (smuggling much decreased); further breakdown in Sinai. Cahoots between Hamas and Egypt to turn Sinai into a no-man's land?  Maybe fictional.  Attacks from Sinai vs Egptian army and police; feeds back to tensions in Egypt. Mansour, the judge leading Egypt:  suddenly accused of being a Jew!  Claim that he's a Seventh Day Adventist and therefore descended from Jews.  "Israel regrets Morsi's ouster" say the papers. 

Monday 8 July  2013  / Hour 3, Block C: Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Wall Street Journal, in re: Snowden and Maduro. THE AMERICAS Why Venezuela Offers Asylum to Snowden

Monday 8 July  2013  / Hour 3, Block D: Eric Trager, Washington Institute, in re: "Witnessing a Coup in Egypt" argues that the undemocratic nature of the military's intervention is somewhat irrelevant, because Morsi's total loss of control in recent months made his presidency unsustainable.

Hour Four

Monday 8 July  2013  / Hour 4, Block A: Jeremy Van Loon, Bloomberg, in re: Canadian train crash. QUEBEC OIL-TRAIN DISASTER. Railroad-Versus-Pipeline Debate Spurred by Train Disaster Killing Five. “People think rail is costless until something like this happens,” said John Stephenson, fund manager with First Asset Investment Management Inc.“This is another data point that shows how much costlier and riskier rail is compared to pipelines and will probably move Canada closer to having an energy strategy.” [more]

Monday 8 July  2013  / Hour 4, Block B: Kori Schake, Hoover, in re: Egypt American Freedom and Egypt's Coup    Dempsey, on military-to-military contacts with Egypt: "Well, to your question about the nature of the relationship with the Egyptian armed forces, it was actually trending very - even more strongly than it had been for maybe the last 10 years, because we committed to that to try to help them find their way in a new system. They went from being - the armed forces ran the country for several decades. And they were transitioning themselves into their role in a democracy. I'm not in the know about exactly what they're going to do. My conversations with them have been principally about - I wanted to hear, get their assurance that they would protect our U.S. citizens and they will. I wanted to encourage them to protect all the Egyptian people, not to take sides in any particular issue, and to ensure that they were a part of the resolution of this, but in their proper role as a military which is to ensure stability, but not try to influence the outcome."

Monday 8 July  2013  / Hour 4, Block C: Fouad Ajami, Hoover, in re: Egypt.  A Coup by Any Other Name Bloomberg View

Monday 8 July  2013  / Hour 4, Block D: Ken Croswell, Science, in re: Pluto’s Moons Pluto currently has five known moons; one was discovered a month after this article appeared.

A few months ago, when William Shatner, the actor who played Star Trek's Captain Kirk, heard that scientists were asking people to vote on names for Pluto's fourth and fifth moons, he lobbied that one satellite be called Vulcan, the home planet of Mr. Spock—and the name came out on top, far surpassing all others in the voting. Today, however, scientists announced that the moons will instead bear names that better reflect Pluto's role in mythology as the god of the underworld. One satellite will be christened Kerberos, for Pluto's three-headed dog, and the other Styx, for the river dividing the world of the living from the underworld. Kerberos is the Greek name for Cerberus, which placed number two in the voting, while Styx came in third. Why not Vulcan? Astronomers once used that name for what turned out to be a nonexistent planet inside Mercury's orbit, and its connection to the mythological Pluto was tenuous; so rejecting the name was—as Mr. Spock might say—the logical thing to do.

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Hour 1: The Recruit

Hour 2: Troy; Tomorrow Never Dies.

Hour 3: Workingman's Death.

Hour 4: