Harry Rosen, 103, with a photo of himself from his early 20s shortly after fleeing pogroms in the Ukraine
* Vladimir Putin, the “butcher” of Chechnya, nominated for Nobel Peace Prize. Not as bad as Arafat, but almost...
* Driving will affect your ovaries and pelvis, Saudi sheikh warns women ahead of calls to defy the despotic kingdom’s female driving ban with a mass female drive-in on October 26.
* In a rare move, The Guardian today a pro-Israel letter.
* Syria enters race for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.
While most of the items below are new, I posted items 3, 5 and 10 on my Facebook page several days ago. You can see these and other items that are not in these dispatches if you “like” that page, here: www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia
1. Iranian cyber warfare commander shot dead in suspected assassination
2. Israeli intelligence: German convert to Islam helped plan Kenya attack
3. Iran elected as reporter of UN disarmament commission
4. Rouhani boasts of turning down five U.S. attempts to arrange a meeting with Obama
5. Driving affects ovaries and pelvis, Saudi sheikh warns women
6. Vladimir Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
7. Female human rights activist gunned down by husband in honor killing
8. Palestinian Authority legalizes online dating
9. Letter published in today’s Guardian (London)
10. “A nightly dinner out that’s like therapy” (By Corey Kilgannon, New York Times)
[Notes below by Tom Gross]
IRANIAN CYBER WARFARE COMMANDER SHOT DEAD IN SUSPECTED ASSASSINATION
The head of Iran’s cyber warfare program, Mojtaba Ahmadi, has been shot dead. Ahmadi was last seen leaving his home for work on Saturday. On Tuesday, his body was found in a wooded area near the town of Karaj, northwest of the capital, Tehran, according to Alborz, a website run by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Alborz reported that Ahmadi was killed at close range with a pistol by two people on a motorbike. The Imam Hassan Mojtaba division of the Revolutionary Guard Corps yesterday also confirmed Ahmadi had been killed.
At least five Iranian nuclear scientists and the head of Iran’s ballistic missile program have been killed since 2007, some of them in broad daylight in central Tehran.
No one has claimed responsibility or been caught for the killings, but there is speculation that the intelligence agency of a Western country, possibly that of Israel, may be behind the assassinations of key figures in Iran’s security apparatus.
The assassinations, together with various forms of computer virus, and other measures said to have taken place, which have not yet been made public, have slowed down Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. But they have not stopped the Iranian regime’s determination to acquire a nuclear arsenal. The regime continues to enrich uranium 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
Iran has carried out a number of cyber attacks on Israel and other countries, and also helped the Assad regime in Syria carry out a number of cyber attacks.
(Among related dispatches, please see: Israel's alleged underwater attack on Syria should serve as a warning to Iran.)
ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE: GERMAN CONVERT TO ISLAM HELPED PLAN KENYA ATTACK
One of the masterminds behind the terrorist assault on the Kenya shopping center last month – an attack which was planned and executed with an almost Teutonic degree of efficiency – was Andreas Muller, according to the Israeli intelligence service, the Mossad.
Muller is a German convert to Islam who now goes by the name of ‘Ahmed Khaled’. The Mossad says that Muller has for some time had connections with the Somali Al-Shabab group behind the Westgate siege.
At least 72 people were murdered in the Nairobi mall attack. For more details on that, please see An uplifting video (& ‘Kenya calls in Israeli special forces to help end mall siege’).
IRAN ELECTED AS REPORTER OF UN DISARMAMENT COMMISSION
The United Nations Disarmament and International Security Commission on Tuesday elected Iran as reporter for its 68th annual meeting. The panel deals with all matters regarding disarmament – including nuclear and chemical weapons.
The election took place at site of the General Assembly just one hour after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had vigorously criticized the attitude of the Iranian government.
Here is now Iran’s official news agency reported the news.
In addition to appointing Iran as reporter, the committee gave the position of chair to Libya.
Syria is still in the race for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. (!)
ROUHANI BOASTS OF TURNING DOWN FIVE U.S. ATTEMPTS TO ARRANGE A MEETING WITH OBAMA
Iran’s Fars news agency reports that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani revealed yesterday that he rejected five attempts by the Americans to arrange a meeting between him and President Obama, but he turned them all down.
DRIVING AFFECTS OVARIES AND PELVIS, SAUDI SHEIKH WARNS WOMEN
Saudi Sheikh Saleh al-Luhaydan said driving “could have a reverse physiological impact” on women, Al Arabiya reports.
Saudi women seeking to challenge a de facto ban on driving should realize that this could affect their ovaries and pelvises, Sheikh al-Luhaydan, a judicial and psychological consultant to the Gulf Psychological Association, told the Saudi news website sabq.org.
“Women who continuously drive cars have children born with clinical disorders of varying degrees,” Sheikh al-Luhaydan said.
Saudi female activists have launched an online petition urging women to drive on October 26. More than 11,000 women have signed the oct26driving.com declaration.
VLADIMIR PUTIN NOMINATED FOR NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
Despite Russia’s role as the main supplier of weapons to Bashar Assad’s regime, an advocacy group has nominated Russian President Vladimir Putin for next year’s Nobel Peace Prize because the former KGB agent “actively promotes settlement of all conflicts arising on the planet.”
The International Academy of Spiritual Unity and Cooperation of Peoples of the World made no mention of Putin’s genocidal campaign against the Chechen people, or the war he waged on Georgia, or his assistance in standing by President Assad after Assad repeatedly used chemical weapons to murder his own people.
The Nobel committee confirmed on Tuesday that they received the nomination. The deadline for 2014 Nobel Peace Prize nominations is in February. The winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize will be announced next week, on October 11.
Russian MP Iosif Kobzon said that if Barack Obama, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, deserved it, then Vladimir Putin certainly did too.
The prize is awarded to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.
FEMALE HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST GUNNED DOWN BY HUSBAND IN HONOR KILLING
Sahib Khatoon, 24, a leading Pakistani human rights activist who has tried to raise the issue of honor killings, has been shot dead by her husband for doing so. He has “proudly” confessed that he murdered his wife, who was also his first cousin.
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY LEGALIZES ONLINE DATING
The Palestinian Authority’s Supreme Fatwa Council ruled on Tuesday that men and women are allowed to date online -- but only for the purpose of marriage.
In its ruling, the council admitted that internet dating has become “unavoidable and impossible to prohibit completely.”
This new ruling contradicts fatwas by other Islamic scholars threatening death for Palestinians who engage in online dating.
However, the new ruling prohibited a woman from displaying her photo to her male interlocutor or meeting him without the presence of her family.
The man and woman are also required to refrain from speaking in a soft or submissive tone. The fatwa said: “The conversation should take place with the full knowledge of the family and not in a closed room or in secrecy”.
LETTER PUBLISHED IN TODAY’S GUARDIAN
The reason that you receive letters exclusively from people (including Jews) who are hostile to Israel is that no one who supports Israel bothers to read the Guardian any more. That is why your circulation is dwindling to zero, by the way. The support of your correspondents for Iran – a theocracy ruled by tyrants – is pathetic. Israel is quite right to be very wary of Iran, since what its leaders say and what they do are at odds, especially their support of Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon and Gaza. The letter-writers are the same people whose heroes were Hafez al-Assad, after his accession to the Syrian dictatorship, and Muammar Gaddafi, before his downfall. Incidentally, the whole of the Sunni Arab world is fearful of Shia Iran. What do the Birnbergs and Kaufmans say to that?
I attach one light-hearted article below.
-- Tom Gross
GOOD OLD HARRY. HE HAS COME A LONG WAY SINCE FLEEING POGROMS IN UKRAINE AS A BOY...
A nightly dinner out that’s like therapy
By Corey Kilgannon
The New York Times
September 27, 2013
It never fails, Harry Rosen said on Wednesday evening as he enjoyed another fine meal by himself in another top-rated Manhattan restaurant.
“Maybe because I’m eating alone at my age, people at other tables start conversations,” he said.
Yes, he tells them, he lives alone, in a modest studio apartment on West 57th Street in Manhattan, and he always eats dinner out, always orders the fish.
“They always ask my age, and I often lie and tell them I’m 90,” he said. “If I tell them my real age, it becomes the whole subject of conversation and makes it look like I’m looking for attention, which I’m not.”
Mr. Rosen is 103 but he doesn’t look a day over 90. His mother died at 53 and his father at 70, but he says he feels fine and has had no major operations or health problems.
“I read in a newspaper column a long time ago that the key to a long life is sleeping on your back, so I always did that,” said Mr. Rosen, who often finds that his bill has been paid by those friendly diners. Not that he needs it. He made a bundle with his office supply company and is spending it — $100 a night, on average — on dinners out.
Much of his work involved wooing clients over lunch and dinner, so after retiring a few years back because of hearing loss, he continued to put on a fine work suit every afternoon, grab his satchel, and head out to hail a yellow cab to one of his favorite restaurants. Café Boulud perhaps, on East 76th Street, or Boulud Sud near Lincoln Center, or Avra Estiatorio on East 48th Street.
“I haven’t eaten dinner home in many years,” said Mr. Rosen, who tried singles groups and other activities after his wife of 70 years, Lillian, died five years ago, when she was 95.
But nothing brought him the comfort of a fine restaurant.
“It’s my therapy, it lifts my spirits,” he said Wednesday evening while examining the menu with a magnifying glass at David Burke Townhouse on East 61st Street.
Twice a week, a server there greets him, walks him to his usual corner table and brings his regular glass of chardonnay, his appetizer of raw salmon and tuna, and then the swordfish, skin removed, with vegetables specially puréed for his dentures to handle.
“The food and the ambience, it’s my therapy — it gives me energy,” he said.
Mr. Rosen has lived long enough to see New York City fill with fine restaurants. In a city of foodies, he may be the oldest.
Call it payback for the meager meals he ate growing up in Berdychiv, Russia, now a part of Ukraine, where as a boy, he recalled, he marched with protesters during the Russian Revolution. He and his family fled the pogroms, came through Ellis Island and moved into a railroad apartment on Pitt Street on the Lower East Side. By the time he was 11, young Harry’s meals improved to pickled herring sold from barrels on the street, and he worked as a delivery boy for pennies before taking a job at an office supply company.
“I knew it was the business for me, the same way you know you’re in love with a woman,” Mr. Rosen said. He started Radio Center Stationery in Midtown — back then, “you could look down Sixth Avenue and not see a single office building” — whose staff of 50 included his sons, Stan and Jerry. They regularly join him for dinner.
The deals to land clients like Walt Disney, ABC and the Hearst Corporation were made in top restaurants, Mr. Rosen said. You don’t win over the likes of Jack Linsky, the founder of Swingline staplers, by dining at dumps.
But as much as any fine meal, Mr. Rosen savors the memories of his deal making, including landing J. C. Penney with a great price on notepads, and fighting back from bankruptcy as computers encroached upon the industry.
On Wednesday, he backed up these recollections with photos and documents stored meticulously in folder boxes in his apartment.
“They’re called Pendaflex folders,” he said. “I was the first one in the industry to recognize they’d be a big seller.”
Mr. Rosen said he would like to find a regular dining companion. A recent six-month fling with a 90-year-old woman he met at synagogue did not work out.
“I’m still open to meeting someone,” he said, his eyes twinkling as he prepared to order coffee and dessert. “I still have the desire. That’s what counts.”