Saturday, July 11, 2009
SafeSky and the Peace Patch
pick on some sucker and tell him to go to the
director and ask him for a left-handed sky
hook? Well, meet the cardiology patch and its sister, the peace patch.
The biggest domestic story in Israel in recent
days involves the growing evolving "SafeSky" scandal.
In a sense, the SafeSky story is the Oslo story in miniature.
The scandal hit the headlines when it was
announced that an esoteric Israeli company had
developed a remarkable medical diagnostic, a skin
patch capable of recording body signs and giving
a warning of an impending heart attack half an
hour before it took place. The company,
according to the hype, was being bought up by a
foreign biotech multinational at a market
capitalization valuation of a cool billion
dollars. While similar Israeli high-tech
startups have been sold for high amounts, this
seemed to be a tech and financial miracle.
Except that very quickly a bad smell starting
coming up. The company was the initiative of a
third-rate dentist, best known for having set up
a network of dental clinics staffed with cheap
immigrant dentists from eastern Europe. The
inventor of the gadget was a computer techie who
knew nothing about cardiology. The techie
inventor had twice done time in prison for scams
and fraud and claimed to have invented the device
during one of his episodes of being hosted by the
state. The duo then recruited as CEO a personal
buddy of Bibi Netanyahu, mainly for the media
hype, and also the fellow who is supposed to be
overseeing the negotiations with the savages to
get Gilad Shalit released. Neither had actually seen the device work.
Then it turns out that cardiologists are split
between those who say that no such patch could
possibly work and those who say it would be very
difficult to make one that works, and no
cardiologist works for the SafeSky company or has
seen the patch. Then the overseas multinational
supposedly buying out the company for the billion
buckaroos insists it has never heard of
them. And no one besides the company's dentist
and the criminal inventor claim to have seen the
gadget work. The only "evidence" that it works
is that the duo hired a Cyprus computer graphics
guy to design a "promo" ad that claims that the
gadget works, except the Cypriot has never seen it either.
The press is still trying to figure out what the
pair were REALLY up to, and the word on the
street is that it was all an elaborate scam to
launder money on behalf of some underworld
characters. The only money that has come into
the company coffers so far turns out to be from
some sketchy Africans, possibly the same people
who write you spam each morning about being a
prince who wants to send you some treasure in
exchange for your bank PIN numbers.
Everyone is comparing it with the similar
Chelm-like scam from almost 30 years ago where
Likud geezer and ex-Irgun fighter Yaakov Meridor
announced he had found a remarkable energy
breakthrough that would make petroleum obsolete
and would disprove the theories of
Einstein. That turned out to be about as
credible as the weekly conspiracy spam sent out
by UFO-nut Barry Chamish to his few remaining followers.
But what I find remarkable is how the inventors
of the scam had people going so long, just from
repeating over and over absurd claims, and
attacking and threatening to sue anyone who questioned their claims.
The claims of the Oslo architects were just as
idiotic and just as big a scam, and Oslo was
marketed in exactly the same way as SafeSky, at
least until the media started asking the right
questions. The problem with Oslo is that the
Israeli media, still largely the occupied
territories of the Left, are still mouthing the
"Two State for Two People" mantra about some
imaginary peace patch. Like SafeSky, it is all a
scam by con men, based on loud repetition of hype.
2. Speaking of near-uniform leftist solidarity
in Israel's media, the other amusing story this
past week was the scandal involving Yossi Sarid,
erstwhile commissar of far-leftist Meretz, an
early guru of national suicide via Oslo, and
currently head of a panel that decides to whom to
award the "Sapir Prize," paid for by Israel's
state lottery agency. The problem was that Sarid
wanted to grant the prize to a relative of himself.
When word got out, the media went into
near-unanimous indignity, insisting that Sarid is
such a decent honest bloke that any suggestion of
dubious ethical considerations in his nepotism
are intolerable abuses of his good name.
Well, almost the whole media. The valiant
Ben-Dror Yemini from Maariv breaks once again
with Israel's journalistic Kremlin. Sarid,
points out Yemini, has a rich track record of
being involved in sleaze. In Sarid's early
career, he worked as button man for the MAPAI
Party (later's renamed the Labor Party) bolshie
economic commissar Pinhas Sapir. As such, he
literally bribed a newspaperman on behalf of
Sapir to squash a story about a scandal involving
MAPAI mayor of Tel Aviv Mordecai Namir, and then
bribed other newspapermen who learned about the first bribe to dummy up.
3. Netanyahu has backed off from most of the
economic reforms he was touting and at this point
it looks like he will change just about
nothing. But one area in which he is still
talking change has to do with privatizing lands
owned by the Israel Lands
Authority. Interestingly, much of the Israeli
"Right" is up in arms against the idea of private
ownership of land, joining some of the worst
far-leftists in Israel in working themselves up
into a fit over the idea. Privately owned land
is the bulwark of democracy elsewhere, but only
bolshevik nationalization of land could work in Israel, they seem to believe.
While I do not always see eye to eye with
Moshe Feiglin, the perpetual gadfly challenging
Netanyahu within the Likud in a series of
quixotic efforts, to Moshe's credit he parts with
the Bolshevik Right in this weekend's Makor
Rishon newspaper and comes out squarely in favor of land privatization.
3. The Iconoclast New English Review
Saturday, 11 July 2009
French Justice Goes Easy on the Gang of Barbarians
Nidra Poller writes from Paris:
The verdict in the trial of the Gang of Barbarians, accused of the
atrocious anti-Semitic murder of 23 year-old Ilan Halimi, held hostage
and tortured for 24 days, was pronounced after 10 PM on Friday, at the
start of the July 14th holiday weekend. Youssouf Fofana, self-named
"Brain of the Barbarians," sentenced to what the French call life in
prison, will be eligible for parole in 22 years. Sentences for his
accomplices ranged from 6 months suspended to 18 years. Emma, the young
lady who lured Ilan Halimi into the well-prepared death trap, received a
lenient nine years; she could be released for good behavior two years
The victim's mother and sisters, who are observant Jews, were not
present to hear the verdict pronounced after the beginning of the
Sabbath. Their counsel, Maître Francis Szpiner, adamantly urged the
Ministry of Justice to appeal the sentences, which fell short of the
already modest recommendations of the Avocat Général.
Was the timing accidental? Three
years of investigation, two months of
hearings, and a verdict that falls when the media are glued to the Tour
de France and holiday goers stuck in traffic jams? State-owned France 3
TV unashamedly admitted that the verdict was announced during Shabbat in
order to avoid incidents.
Meanwhile, in the small town of
Firminy, enraged Muslims rioted for
three nights, torching cars and buildings after a 22 year-old arrested
for extortion hung himself while in police custody.
The press began to gather in the Palais de Justice late Friday
afternoon. The buzz was that the verdict would be pronounced before
nightfall. By 8:15 most of the Jewish people who had hoped to attend
gave up. Around 9:15, journalists were herded through several
checkpoints and crowded into the cramped courtroom. Another long wait.
The defendants are barely visible inside a rectangular glassed
enclosure, with a row of policemen at their backs. Their lawyers,
pressed up against the opening, seem to be whispering sweet nothings to
their nonchalant defendants. The atmosphere is more cocktail party than
courtroom. Around 10 PM the jury and judges enter.
Absolutely nothing in that courtroom
corresponded to the crime that had
been judged. Nothing audible, nothing visible, nothing in the procedure
conveyed the meaning of the crime and the reason for the punishment. The
particular pain of the Jewish community, target of endless attacks by
the likes of these barbarians, was deliberately muzzled.
The presiding judge reads off the verdict like a railroad official
announcing the stops on a New York to Los Angeles train.but with less
emotion. From where we are seated we can hardly see the defendants,
hardly hear the judge, and barely understand the verdict. She intones:
"To questions 1 to 137 the answer is yes except for questions 98 and 99
considered non applicable." She goes down the list of stair-step
sentences from life in prison to acquittal (18, 15, 13, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7,
6, 5, 3, 2.). It sounds more like grades for the baccalauréat than
punishment for a heinous crime.
Ideally blind justice is held to
distinguish truth from falsehood and
right from wrong. In this case, justice was apparently moved by the
accomplices' human interest stories. Responsibility for the horrible
ordeal inflicted on Ilan Halimi was diluted in their consternation and
sideswiped by their hopes and plans for the future. They said they never
thought it would end this way, they aren't anti-Semitic and didn't even
know he was Jewish, they tried to alleviate the punishments meted out by
Fofana. The truth is, they worked as a team. None of that would have
been possible without their loyal cooperation.
We are pushed out of the courtroom
as family members move toward the
enclosure. Downstairs in the main hall cameramen rush from lawyer to
lawyer. Most of their footage will sleep forever in the archives. All is
calm outside the courtroom. The riot policemen have left. Revelers come
and go from Left Bank to Right Bank unaware of the ominous decision that
has been made in the Palais de Justice.
Choosing a Jew because he is Jewish,
torturing a Jew day and night for
24 days while purportedly negotiating for ransom, seeing a young man
reduced to nothing, beating him, starving him, tormenting him--or
knowing about it and not tipping off the police--letting the whole mess
degenerate, preparing the creature to be finished off by Fofana.well, in
the eyes of the court, it's no big thing.
The accomplices were at home in
their banlieue, at home as the verdict
was pronounced, and it looks like they will be at home in jail. Youssouf
Fofana, who shouted Allahu Akhbar at the first hearing, repeatedly
insulted the victim's family, and proudly admitted he stabbed Ilan five
times, poured flammable liquid over him, and set him on fire, will have
endless opportunities in prison to exercise his charismatic charm and
train new barbarians.
Various Jewish organizations have
called for a gathering in front of the
Ministry of Justice on Monday evening. The plaintiffs cannot appeal.
Their last hope lies in the new Justice Minister, Michèle Alliot-Marie.
Two men who played a decisive role in the kidnapping are still on the
loose. In three years of investigation, the police have not been able to
get their names from Fofana or his accomplices. Alliot-Marie was their
boss, as Minister of the Interior, until the recent cabinet shuffle.