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Wednesday, November 1, 2006

The true story doesn't star Annette Bening

One of the bargain movies (less than $10- per DVD) I bought during my last visit to New York was The Siege starring Annette Bening, Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis. The story is frightening, and according to David Frankfurter it's based on something that is really happening, just taking it further.

Read all about it:

Training tomorrows terrorists

It's now out that the American security coordinator in the territories, General Keith Dayton, has been giving secret training to the Palestinian Presidential Guard. It's part of his program to provide "support" to the Palestinian Fatah faction in its internal struggle with Hamas.

The initial training was conducted by American military instructors in a military camp near Jericho, for some 400 men. And now Dayton has asked the Quartet to put in place a program that will have Egyptian, British and perhaps even Jordanian instructors to train the force loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, helping it to grow to some 6,000 men.

Dayton seems to have managed to help his masters to forget the history of the Presidential Guard and its elite Force 17 unit, and is probably hoping that the Quartet will also have a spot of amnesia.

He has also sidestepped the conclusions of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank that, before the addition of more than 35,000 troops in the last 3 years, the Palestinian Security Services were overstaffed, out of control, and an insurmountable burden on the Palestinian economy. Of greater concern, though, is that Force 17 is well known for its involvement in terror activities.

In this context, the experience of previous US training efforts is of interest. Journalist Mathew Kalman revealed in the San Francisco Chronicle in early 2005 that as far back as 1998, the CIA spent tens of millions of dollars, contracting secret training for hundreds of Palestinian Security Service personnel, including members of Force 17. Kalman managed to get hold of this "graduation picture" of one of those courses. Look at the fellow kneeling fourth from the left in the front row. Kalman identified him as Raafat Bajali – a member of the terrorist Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, who was killed in a "work accident", while making a bomb. Fortunately, he took fellow Al-Aksa terrorist Nedal Zedok with him

And standing in the back row, second from the left, is Khaled Abu Nijmeh. He was one of Bethlehem's most-wanted Palestinian militants in the city, suspected of involvement in a string of suicide bombings and shooting attacks against Israelis. In May 2002, he was one of 13 gunmen escorted from the Church of the Nativity siege in Bethlehem, flown to Cyprus and then to exile in Europe. Several of his fellow deportees received their salaries from the Palestinian Security Service payroll. Nijmeh proudly told Kalman of his membership in Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades alongside his job as first sergeant in Palestinian General Intelligence. He was very pleased with the CIA training that helped him learn the trade. "I was not alone. Many Palestinian security people were trained by the Americans. We hope they will continue helping us."

Well, now that our memories have faded a little, it seems that Nijmeh's prayers are being answered. The Americans are once again training tomorrow's terrorists.

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