Morning Report: June 28, 2006

Striking back. Israel raids Gaza with the double purpose of finding two hostages and breaking the terrorist machine; while Americans deal with a security threat on their own soil.

Israel: "Summer Rain" comes to Gaza. Debka: 'The rescue of Israeli hostage Gilead Shalit is the overriding mission of the Israeli ground thrust into Gaza, but the Qassam threat to southern Israel is also targeted for root treatment. Fourteen hours after the “Summer Rain” offensive was launched Tuesday night, OC Southern Command Maj-Gen Yoav Galant told reporters Wednesday that “many more unseen operations are in progress in addition to the overt push." He affirmed that the 19-year-old corporal kidnapped by Hamas on Sunday is in the Gaza Strip. Regarding negotiations for Shalit’s release, Galant stressed: “We don’t negotiate with terrorist groups,” adding that foreign elements are still trying their luck at getting him out. The general said the next stages of the Israeli offensive would be affected by Palestinian responses. As he spoke, a Qassam missile was fired at Mefalsim in the Negev, hurting no one. It followed an air bombardment of empty land in the North.' Also: 'Popular Resistance Committees hold press conference in Gaza, display identity card to prove they are holding Israeli civilian Eliahu Asheri, 18, from Itamar on the West Bank. PRC spokesman Muhammad al-Al displayed the ID against the background of his group’s emblems and flags, but posed no terms for any further information or the hostage’s release. DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources add that the display of the Israeli boy’s ID does not prove the PRC is holding him, any more than Corp. Gilead Shalit in Gaza. The kidnappers may be subcontracting the PRC as their front. Earlier, the Palestinian umbrella group threatened to execute Eliahu Asheri if Israel does not halt its Gaza air-and-ground offensive launched Tuesday night. Asheri, a student at the Neveh Tsuf pre-military academy was last seen Sunday at the French Hill intersection in northern Jerusalem after visiting a friend in Beitar Illit. Israeli special forces are on standby to rescue him as soon as leads are found to his whereabouts.' Current bulletin: 'Wednesday, June 28, Palestinian anti-tank rocket fire was directed at the IDF force seizing the disused airport of Dahaniya NW of Rafah where a forward command post was set up. Palestinian security forces pulled out of Dahaniya as the Israeli force entered. It is in this area that Israel believes Corp. Gilead Shalit is held by Hamas. Israeli troops have also recaptured the Philadelphi border strip.' IRIS has a news roundup, and photographs. The Intelligence Summit has a report:
ISN SECURITY WATCH (Wednesday, 28 June 2006: 13.43 CET) – Israeli forces entered the southern Gaza Strip before dawn on Wednesday morning in an operation designed to pressure the Palestinian government to work for the release of an Israeli soldier captured in a militant raid on Sunday.

Israel has deployed tanks and armored personnel carriers in open areas east of the border town of Rafah in the raid, dubbed "Summer Rain," penetrating one kilometer into the Gaza Strip in the first phase of a staged operation.

A second Israeli force is poised to enter the Gaza Strip from the north in response to Qassam rocket fire from militant groups.

CNN reports that there have been no clashes as yet between Palestinian gunmen, who patrolled the streets in cities and towns across the West Bank on Wednesday night, and the Israeli force.

The Israeli Air Force launched missile strikes against three bridges and a power station in central Gaza ahead of the ground force incursion in what military officials said was an effort to prevent militants from moving the kidnapped soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit.

According to Ha'aretz, Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert approved the ground force incursion on Tuesday night, after consultations with defense officials, in order to strike at the "terrorist infrastructure." ...

And in breaking news, Jerusalem Post reports a disturbing development that may be related to Eliyahu Asheri. (various)

Moroccan hackers strike Israeli sites. Lior Haner in Ha'Aretz: 'A group of Moroccan hackers attacked hundreds of Israeli websites on Wednesday. Some reports say that as many as 750 websites with the suffix co.il have come under attack. The website attacks started after Israel Defense Forces began preparing for the retaliatory "Summer Rain" operation in Gaza, in response to the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit on Sunday. The hacker group, which calls itself 'Team Evil', replaces the home page of the target websites with the following text: "Hacked By Team-Evil Arab hackers u KIll palestin people we Kill Israel servers" (sic).' (Ha'Aretz)

Russians hunt killers in Iraq. AP via Jerusalem Post: 'President Valdimir Putin has ordered Russian special services to hunt down the killers of four Russian hostages in Iraq, news agencies reported Wednesday.' (JPost)

Samarra bombers arrested. Iraq the Model: 'In a news conference currently being broadcast on TV, Iraq's national security advisor Muwaffak al-Rubaie says Iraqi security forces arrested Abu Qudama al-Tunisi in a raid in the suburb of al-Dhuloiya north of Baghdad. 15 other foreign terrorists were killed in the raid according to al-Rubaie. The terrorist of Tunisian origin confessed that he was responsible for the attack that destroyed the Askari Shrine in Samarra back in February 22 of this year. Muwaffak al-Rubaie said the security forces are still searching for Haitham al-Badri who is believed to be the field commander under whom Abu Qudama was operating.' The Belmont Club: 'If Rubaie has got the right perps then this is a tremendous intelligence victory for the Coalition. Whatever cell was in charge of investigating the Golden Mosque incident never let this trail go until it finally led to this Baghdadi safehouse. Again it shows that the primary weapon of the Coalition isn't what is visible to the eye but rather that which goes unremarked. Intelligence operations followed by targeted raids. For that reason the war against intel unremittingly waged by institutions like the New York Times has its price.' (ITM, Belmont Club)

Making the Times pay. Tammy Bruce: 'Certain Republican House members are moving to revoke the Congressional press credentials of the New York Times. This after the "newspaper" has revealed several secret government War on Terror programs, arguably compromising national security.' Tammy says this is a good start, but not nearly enough; she argues that the NYT's crimes against America may have even outstripped the Rosenbergs' betrayal in terms of the concrete damage done to America's security. Thomas Holsinger at Winds of Change suggests civil liability: 'ongress can deter news organizations, and others, from publishing classified documents by making them strictly liable for civil tort damages caused by foreign terrorists, i.e., the New York Times should pay for the next 9/11 because its repeated publications of classified information have aided terrorists and put all Americans at risk. This would put the Times out of business, and that is a good thing. Such legislation would pass Constitutional scrutiny because civil liability would not be subject to the strict protections applicable to criminal liability.' Read it all at the links. (Tammy Bruce, WoC)

Iran: State vs. White House. Or is it, "State vs. America"? Richard Perle writing in the Washington Post says that 'Condoleezza Rice has moved from the White House to Foggy Bottom, a mere mile or so away' but worlds apart ideologically. Yet 'Rice's influence on the president is undiminished', and that's the problem: rather than bringing bold White House reforms to the State Department, she has instead transmitted State's pernicious influence to the White House. None of this is good news for America or for the Iranian people. (WP)

Commentary. Today's entry is long - it's been a busy 24 hours - but one or two things do stand out. Wretchard's comment "the war against intel unremittingly waged by institutions like the New York Times has its price" seems a good place to begin. I'll put forth the following proposition: When citizens feel their government "belongs to them", they will see a common interest between themselves and their government. That is, while they may be wary of "big government" meddling in their lives, they nevertheless see their nation's government as fundamentally a friend and not an enemy because they have a personal stake in it.

The Times may have believed it could rally massive public support with its latest stunt; if so, it miscalculated. Even Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post admits that 'What we're seeing is a there-they-go-again reaction on the right that is the culmination of building frustrations against the MSM in general and the Times in particular over the disclosure of classified information' while he's seen 'very few liberal bloggers defending the Times'. (This Oregon blogger notes that even Murtha opposed the Times' move.) Instead, citizens are calling on their Government to punish the paper - one way or another.

Meanwhile, Israelis await the fate of two young men. Judith Apter Klinghoffer writes: 'The Israeli MSM, like the US one, is busy in self criticism. The Israeli MSM is to the left of the American one. So, they report that the Israeli right is praising the Gaza operation. In a democracy, politics is ever present. But the people, the people ignore the background noise and focus on the father who asked his son to try to survive.'

Citizens are beginning to realize they do not have to put up with the MSM's "background noise." There are more important things to be done. Like surviving.