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Iran's Nukes

The Almighty Dollar Tightens Noose on Iranian Economy

July 3rd 2018

Iranian Rial Close-Up

Foreign banks that kept Iran trading oil through previous sanctions are pulling out under pressure from the latest round of U.S. restrictions, hitting a lifeline for the Iranian economy.

Even banks with no direct U.S. exposure are refusing to deal with Tehran, fearing that they will be cut out of the dollar-based global financial system.

With no international banks to fund trade and handle payments, Iranian businesses will struggle to buy and sell with the outside world, even as China, the European Union and India say they want that to continue.

In May, President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and vowed to reimpose economy-crippling sanctions on Tehran. Read more ..


Campus Hate

UCLA Students File Criminal Complaints Against anti-Israel Disruptors

June 13th 2018

Edwin Black

Criminal complaints are now being filed by students following the belligerent disruption of a May 17, 2018 Students Supporting Israel [SSI] event at University of California Los Angeles. At least a half-dozen students announced they would visit the UCLA police department to file formal complaints reporting criminal disruption of a meeting, as well as disturbing the peace and conspiracy.

 

The move follows media disclosures that the UCLA was reneging on the public pledge by two chancellors in the Daily Bruin —bolstered by a statement for the record by a university spokesman — to refer the belligerent May 17 incident to prosecutors.

 

The disruption and nose-to-nose intimidation of the students attending the May 17 SSI event at UCLA was documented in a video, beginning at minute 41. Read more ..


North Korea and America

Kim Commits to Denuclearization at Summit with Trump

June 12th 2018

Kim Jong-Un

Kim Jong-un affirmed an 'unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula' in a signed document on Tuesday, President Donald Trump says.

'We're prepared to start a new history, and we're ready to write a new chapter between our two nations,' Trump said at a news conference.

The president promised 'security guarantees' for North Korea, as the two leaders met for the first time during a high-stakes Singapore summit.

The U.S. president hailed a newly forged 'special bond' with Kim following a day of historic talks, praised the dictator as a 'skilled' negotiator and said he would 'absolutely' invite him to the White House in the future. Kim said it was time to 'leave the past behind' and embark on a new era of relations with America while promising that the world will see a 'major change.'

The two men signed a joint statement at the Capella resort. The U.S. did not immediately release the document, but news photographers caught sight of the text when Trump flashed a copy to the press. Read more ..


Campus Hate

Pro-Israel Groups Pursue Criminal Aspects of Disruptions

June 6th 2018

Edwin Black

Disruptions of pro-Israel events by anti-Israel groups continue to intensify into physical aggression and violence across campuses and even into the community. As a result, Jewish and pro-Israel groups have started to explore the criminal aspects of such incidents.

 

The invasion, disruption, and nose-to-nose intimidation of a May 17, 2018 Students Supporting Israel [SSI] event at the University of California, Los Angeles was one several red lines recently crossed for pro-Israel groups and many in the human rights community. The small UCLA gathering, dubbed “Indigenous Peoples Unite,” brought Kurdish, Armenian, and Israeli individuals to discuss their common bonds.

 

As shown in this video, beginning at minute 41, disruptors suddenly and loudly stormed into the room mid-session. One person grabbed a flag, demonstratively pulled away a desk placard, and threateningly cursed close to the face of a panelist. With bullhorns, whistles, staged dancing, and slogan shouting, intimidation brought the event to a halt. Read more ..


The Farhud

Why International Farhud Day Stymies Invented Palestinian History

May 31st 2018

Farhud book

When International Farhud Day was proclaimed at a conference convened at the United Nations headquarters on June 1, 2015, its proponents wanted to achieve more than merely establish a commemoration of the ghastly 1941 Arab-Nazi pogrom in Baghdad that killed and injured hundreds of Iraqi Jews. Farhud means violent dispossession. The Farhud was but the first bloody step along the tormented path to the ultimate expulsion of some 850,000 Jews from across the Arab world. That systematic expulsion ended centuries of Jewish existence and stature in those lands.

 

Jews had thrived in Iraq for 2,700 years, a thousand years before Mohammad. But all that came to end when the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, led the broad Arab-Nazi alliance in the Holocaust that produced a military, economic, political, and ideological common cause with Hitler. Although Husseini spearheaded an international pro-Nazi, anti-Jewish Islamic movement from India to Central Europe to the Middle East, it was in Baghdad—a 1,000-kilometer drive from Jerusalem— that he launched his robust coordination with the Third Reich. Read more ..


Significant Lives

Bernard Lewis: 100 Years in the Making

May 22nd 2018

Books

As three commercial airliners crashed into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon on the orders of Osama bin Laden, Lewis’s What Went Wrong? The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East was in galleys, almost ready for press. It became a major best seller.

With the publication the next year of The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror, Lewis had two number-one best sellers on the New York Times nonfiction list — one in hardcover and one in paperback.

“My historical studies suddenly became relevant,” he writes in his 2012 memoir, Notes on a Century. He was interviewed endlessly, and was invited to Washington, D.C., to educate politicians and to lecture at think tanks.

Even more than his vast erudition and capacious memory, it is his unparalleled ability to fit things together that has made Lewis one of the best-known public intellectuals of our time. It is not the historian’s task to predict the future, according to Lewis. “He can discern trends. He can look at what has been happening and what is happening and see change developing. From this he can formulate, I will not say predictions, but possibilities, alternative possibilities.” Long before 9/11, Bernard Lewis had been doing that as well as anyone in the world.

In 1976, he published an article in Commentary, “The Return of Islam,” that broke with the prevailing orthodoxy that the Middle East was rapidly headed toward a future of secular revolutionary movements. Read more ..


The Hillary Investigation

Long-awaited OIG Report Recommends Criminal Prosecution of FBI and DOJ

May 18th 2018

Supreme Court Lady Justice

The long-expected report by the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice has moved into its final phase. DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz has found, according to the Wall Street Journal, "reasonable grounds" to believe that federal laws were broken by the FBI and DOJ it their probes of Hillary Clinton. Horowitz has referred findings of possible criminal misconduct to John Huber - Utah's top federal prosecutor who was paired with Horowitz by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. 

Horowitz has also forwarded copies of the draft report to the FBI and DOJ for their review by the end of this week. The OIG report will then go from the Office of the Inspector General to both investigative committees of Congress and  Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and is expected within weeks. According to the Wall Street Journal, Horowitz will then respond within a “few days.” 

Read more ..

Israel and Jerusalem

Trump's Jerusalem Embassy Move Validates 3,500 Years of Jewish History

May 15th 2018

Jerusalem flags

I was grateful for the White House invitation to witness the historic opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem. Truth be told, I believe that every Jew in attendance was thinking of a father, a grandmother, a sibling wiped out in the Nazi Holocaust or any of the millions of Jews, who over two millennia were scattered to the four winds of exile—and on whose shoulders we stand today. For it was they, from Baghdad to Moscow, from New Delhi to New York, from Warsaw to Waukegan who down through the centuries--against all odds-- dared to dream that someday, somehow, their offspring would return home to Zion, to Jerusalem. Read more ..


Inside Books

Why New Book, Judaism, Zionism and the Land of Israel, Fills a Void

May 5th 2018

Judaism Zionism and the Land of Israel

For decades, Rabbi Yotav Eliach, esteemed principal of Rambam Mesivta High School in Long Island, has accumulated his teachings, writings, and those of many other scholars and rabbinical authorities, tracking the history of Israel. His mission was not just to chronicle the dispossession and repossession of a people, as Walter Laqueur did in A History of Zionism, but to go beyond. Rabbi Eliach completes the circle and ties in the religious component— spiritual Judaism itself. The result is a massive and incisive tome, Judaism, Zionism and the Land of Israel. It is designed to bridge the intellectual space between Israel’s cultural, political, intellectual, diplomatic, juridical, and historical pillars. Skillfully and doggedly, Rabbi Eliach weaves in the Biblical and Talmudic quintessence that laces it all together.

Buy
Judaism, Zionism and the Land of Israel

The work spans the millennia between Abraham’s covenant with God right through the fiery twentieth century and into the modern, post-Oslo Accords era. In this compilation, God is an acknowledged factor as much as turning-point wars, crumbling international agreements, and fractious diplomacy. On an early page, Rabbi Eliach writes, “The Israelites’ relationship to Hashem was based on a covenant binding God and Israel through a series of obligations.” God is written about as a real and all permeating force, an ipso facto that functions as the alpha and omega of the story—dwelling above all events.
The Divine is a part of the Israel equation that many modern commentators do not emphasize. But Rabbi Eliach magnifies the role of the Lord, intertwined with those of skillful diplomats and brave warriors, from the perspective of a believer, as one who walks in the aura of understanding that too many analysts in the secular world circumvent. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

Israel Presents Iran Nuclear Files

April 30th 2018

Iran centrifuges

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped up pressure on the United States to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, holding a primetime address on Israeli TV to present what he called evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program.

Intelligence experts and diplomats said he did not seem to have presented a “smoking gun” showing that Iran had violated the agreement, although he may have helped make a case on behalf of hawks in the U.S. administration who want to scrap it.

Most of the purported evidence Netanyahu unveiled dated to the period before the 2015 accord was signed, although he said Iran had also kept important files on nuclear technology since then, and continued adding to its “nuclear weapons knowledge”. Tehran dismissed Netanyahu as “the boy who cried wolf”, and called his presentation propaganda. Read more ..


After the Holocaust

The Challenge of Legacy

April 16th 2018

Edwin Black

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a transcript of Edwin Black’s April 11, 2018 keynote address in the Michigan Capitol Rotunda for that state’s official Holocaust Commemoration.

Today, I come not just to mourn nor to scorn but rather to warn our world, that is, the world of today whose memories are still whistling and bristling with the torments and tribulations of a generation now passing before our eyes. But also, for the world of tomorrow — and the day after — pulsed by a generation whose torments and tribulations may yet be in store. The outrages are audible just over the horizon. But in many cases the horizon is speeding toward us like an unstoppable tsunami preparing to crash.

Many of us dwell in the dark past hoping to immunize our future from the maniacal and ideological fires that immolated six million Jews and so many others— and left a world’s hands and souls smoke-singed in the process. The Holocaust was unique among history’s great cruelties for it was a 12-year international persecution and murder machine perpetrated in the glare of broad daylight as well as the dim of night… emboldened by its own German Ministry of Propaganda advertising it and amid incessant media coverage that bled across the front pages of newspapers, crackled into regular radio reports, flickered in newsreels, and even saddened the whispers and diaries of children hiding in an Amsterdam attic. The world knew.

With study, revelation, and investigation, many now understand how we got here. Make no mistake. The Germans did it. Their allies and accomplices did it. Hitler did it.

But Hitler had help. Read more ..


The Trump Era

Coalition Launched 105 Weapons against Syria, None Intercepted

April 16th 2018

Standard Missile 3

As American, British and French ordnance rained down on a trio of Syrian regime targets, Russian air defense systems made no attempt to intercept the weapons, the Pentagon said Saturday.

The attacks may have set the Syrian chemical weapons programs back for “years,” said Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the director of the Joint Staff, while acknowledging that the three sites were not the totality of the Syrian chemical weapons program.

The strikes involved ordnance from all three of the western allied nations, from both air and naval assets. Overall, 105 weapons were launched by the three nations. The three targeted areas were:

1) The Barzah Research and Development Center, which McKenzie called the “heart” of the chemical weapons program for the Assad regime and is located in “one of the most heavily defended” areas in the world, very close to the capitol of Damascus. This site was targeted by American forces only, with 57 Tomahawk missiles launched by sea and 19 JASSM-ER weapons launched from a pair of B-1 bombers, accompanied by protective fighter coverage. The U.S. assesses this facility was destroyed. 

Read more ..

The Battle for Syria

Russia blames Israel for Attack on Syrian Air Base Likely Over Gas Atrocity

April 9th 2018

Syria fighting injured baby

ussia blamed Israel for a missile attack on a Syria air base on Monday morning, which came after President Bashar al-Assad triggered international outrage by carrying out a suspected chemical attack in a besieged suburb of Damascus.

The US and France both denied attacking the T-4 airfield near Homs, which is close to the ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria.

Russia said Israel launched eight missiles, five of which were shot down, from outside of Syrian airspace.

At least 14 fighters, including Iranians, were killed in the early morning strike, according to the monitoring organisation the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Syria also accused Israel of carrying out the strike.

Read more ..

Financing the Flames

Palestinian Authority to Pay $355 Million in 2018 to Terrorists and their Families

March 29th 2018

International Currency 3

The Palestinian Authority has authorized payments of $355 million to convicted terrorists and the families of terrorists as part of their 2018, according to a report.

Get Financing the Flames and read the original Edwin Black investigation on the topic

According to Palestinian Media Watch, the P.A. budget for the Commission of Prisoner Affairs, which pays the salaries of terrorist prisoners and released prisoners, is set at $166 million, of which $158 million will go to terrorists.

Additionally, the budget for the Families of the Martyrs and Wounded Institution is set at $200 million, of which $197 million will go to the families of terrorists.

As such, the total payment by the P.A. for 2018 is set at $355 million, which is 7.47 percent of its operation budget of $4.76 billion in 2018 and some 44 percent of the funding the P.A. hopes to receive in foreign aid this year. Read more ..


After the Election

Andrew McCabe Fired Just Hours Before Retirement

March 17th 2018

FBI dudes

Attorney General Jeff Sessions late Friday night fired former FBI deputy director Andrew Mc­Cabe, a little more than 24 hours before McCabe was set to retire — a move that McCabe alleged was an attempt to slander him and undermine the ongoing special counsel investigation into the Trump campaign.

Sessions announced the decision in a statement just before 10 p.m., noting that both the Justice Department inspector general and the FBI office that handles discipline had found “that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions.”

He said based on those findings and the recommendation of the department’s senior career official, “I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately.” Read more ..


America and Israel

Netanyahu Said America and Israel are Painting the World Blue

March 6th 2018

Binyamin Netanyahu and flag

Addressing the annual meeting of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke warmly of President Donald Trump, who he has known for decades. Regarding his country’s role, "Israel drives the world." Speaking at the conference in Washington DC, Netanyahu told the bipartisan group, “You know, in the last few years Israel’s incredible intelligence services have foiled dozens, dozens of major terrorist attacks across the world in dozens of countries." 

Netanyahu said, "That plane could have been blown out of the sky if it weren’t for Israeli intelligence. You’re boarding planes when you leave this place. You are safer because of Israeli intelligence. It not only protects Israeli lives, it protects innocent lives around the world."

Pointing to a map revealing Israel’s diplomatic initiatives that gave the U.S. primacy of place, Netanyahu said, "Here’s how the dots connect. Because we have this tremendous capacity for security and intelligence... many countries are coming to Israel because they want to share with us these benefits. And that creates the third great change, which is a flourishing of Israel’s diplomatic relations around the world."

Read more ..

Vote 2018

Planned Parenthood's Biggest Mid-term Push Ever for Democrats--$20 Million

March 2nd 2018

Money Bands=Happiness

The political wing of Planned Parenthood has gubernatorial, House, and Senate races in eight states in its sights in what it is its biggest mid-term push ever. The campaign by Planned Parenthood will cost at least $20 million, a cost that its officials say will almost certainly be exceeded in helping Democrats win seats.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes make the abortion provider one of the largest entities funding Democratic candidates from outside the Democratic Party. They are seeking to capitalize on momentum that stems from the Women's March on Washington, which came on the day after President Donald Trump was sworn into office last year. Besides Planned Parenthood, various feminist, leftist, and progressives joined in the widely-reported March.

Read more ..

Iran on Edge

Iran May Withdraw from Nuclear Deal if Banks Continue to Stay Away

February 23rd 2018

Iranian Rial Close-Up

Iran will withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal if there is no economic benefit and major banks continue to shun the Islamic Republic, its deputy foreign minister said on Thursday.

Under the deal with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, Iran agreed to restrict its nuclear program in return for the removal of sanctions that have crippled its economy.

Despite that, big banks have continued to stay away for fear of falling foul of remaining U.S. sanctions - something that has hampered Iran’s efforts to rebuild foreign trade and lure investment.

Adding to those concerns, U.S. President Donald Trump told the Europeans on Jan. 12 they must agree to “fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal” or he would re-impose the sanctions Washington lifted as part of that pact. Read more ..


UNRWA

The Palestinian Refugees: Facts, Figures, and Significance

February 20th 2018

UNRWA Protest

The Palestinian refugee issue has been seen for some seventy years as a principal obstacle to a resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. However, the expanding numbers of refugees from the Middle East and Africa today challenge the uniqueness of the Palestinian situation. In fact, the issue of Palestinian refugees is perceived more as the reflection of an ongoing lapse by Arab countries, Israel, and the international community, which have been unable to separate the solution to this problem from the greater political arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Despite the ongoing distress of the refugees, the subject is still seen as the Palestinians’ main bargaining chip in peace negotiations with Israel. However, the value of this historical card appears to be ebbing with the growing numbers of refugees worldwide and the absence of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After seven decades and many changes in the Middle East, perhaps this complex issue should be disconnected from the greater political settlement.

Read more ..

America on Edge

Inside the Florida Mass Murder

February 15th 2018

Police Running

Near the close of the school day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, north of Miami, Florida, at least 14 people were wounded in a mass shooting on Wednesday. Authorities did not confirm immediately how many persons were killed by the lone gunman who opened fire at approximately 3:00 p.m. local time. However, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel confirmed during an evening press conference that 17 people perished in the attack. Twelve died within the school, two just outside the building, one victim was killed on a street near the school, while two more died in hospital. An AR-15 style rifle was recovered at the scene, as well as several magazines.

At least one school official suggested that mental issues may be at the root of such mass murders.

The gunman, who managed to evade capture at first, was eventually arrested without incident and is now in custody.  Read more ..


The Edge of Space

Something Violent Happened to Our Solar System's First Interstellar Visitor

February 14th 2018

Solar System Birth

An interstellar object called 'Oumuamua has confounded astronomers ever since it passed through our solar system in October of last year.

Scientists initially thought that the object — the first-ever visitor from another solar system spotted by Earth-based telescopes — was a comet. Later, they considered it an asteroid and even later described it as a possibly comet-like icy body with a rocky crust.

Now, scientists have found that in addition to its confusing appearance, 'Oumuamua — an up to 1,300-foot-long (400 meters), cucumber-shaped object — likely has a rather dramatic history.

When astronomers from Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland observed the changes in the object's brightness, they found that it is not spinning regularly, like the majority of known asteroids and small bodies in the solar system do. Rather, it is chaotically tumbling. Read more ..


Amazon on Edge

Whole Foods Employees Reveal Why Stores Are Facing A Crisis Of Food Shortages

January 21st 2018

Amazon box

Whole Foods is facing a crush of food shortages in stores that's leading to empty shelves, furious customers, and frustrated employees.

Many customers are blaming Amazon, which bought Whole Foods in August for $13.7 billion. Analysts have speculated that the shortages could be due to a spike in shopper traffic in the wake of the acquisition.

But Whole Foods employees say the problems began before the acquisition. They blame the shortages on a buying system called order-to-shelf that Whole Foods implemented across its stores early last year.

Business Insider spoke with seven Whole Foods employees, from cashiers to department managers, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.

Order-to-shelf, or OTS, is a tightly controlled system designed to streamline and track product purchases, displays, storage, and sales. Under OTS, employees largely bypass stock rooms and carry products directly from delivery trucks to store shelves. It is meant to help Whole Foods cut costs, better manage inventory, reduce waste, and clear out storage. Read more ..


Palestinians on Edge

US Slashes UNRWA Funding in Half

January 17th 2018

Jerusalem Dome close up

The United States will give United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, $60 million in aid but will withhold a further $65 million "for future consideration," a US official said on Tuesday. In keeping back some of the aid, Washington appeared to carry out a threat made by President Donald Trump in a Twitter post on January 2 in which he said, "It's not only Pakistan that we pay billions of dollars to for nothing, but also many other countries, and others.

"As an example, we pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue peace treaty with Israel. We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more. But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?" Read more ..


The Digital Age

Social Media Giant Twitter Imposes Secret Political 'Shadow-Bans'

January 12th 2018

computer keyboard woman hands

 
According to a Project Veritas investigation, Pranay Singh of social-media platform Twitter admitted to banning mass numbers of Twitter accounts that show an interest in guns, God, and America. Singh, who serves as a direct-messaging engineer for Twitter, said on video: “Just go to a random [Trump] tweet and just look at the followers. They’ll all be like, guns, God, ‘Merica, and with the American flag and the cross,” declared Singh, who was secretly recorded by Project Veritas reporters. “Like, who says that? Who talks like that? It’s for sure a bot.”

When the Project Veritas investigator asked Singh whether it is possible to eliminate accounts, Singh answered, “Yeah. You just delete them, but, like, the problem is there are hundreds of thousands of them, so you’ve got to, like, write algorithms that do it for you.”

Read more ..

Hillarygate

Clinton Foundation Investigation Re-opens as Statute Clock Advances

January 6th 2018

Hillary Clinton

According to several media reports, FBI agents have renewed an investigation of the Clinton Foundation following calls from President Donald Trump and leading Congressional Republicans to get to the bottom of allegations that have dogged the political sphere since 2016. FBI agents are interviewing persons connected to the philanthropy, which is tied to former President Bill Clinton and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Questions are being raised to whether donations to the foundation were made in exchange for favors on the part of Hillary Clinton while she served former President Barack Obama as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013.

The Clinton Foundation is denying any complicity. In 2016, the FBI shut down an investigation into the foundation for supposed lack of evidence. President Trump has repeatedly called for a renewed investigation, in a break with tradition that has placed Attorney General Jeff Sessions -- who has recused himself from related probes -- in an uncomfortable position of receiving gibes from the president. 

Read more ..

Iran on Edge

Iran Protests and Death Toll Grow as Tension Rises

January 2nd 2018

Iran's Revolutionary Guard

Anti-government protests in Iran flared on more fronts Tuesday amid clashes that left at least nine people dead, state media reported, as leaders in Tehran struggled to respond to the most serious internal crisis in nearly a decade.

Six days of demonstrations — which have left at least 20 people dead — showed no signs of easing as the anger from the streets found new targets. What began as frustration over Iran’s sluggish economy has broadened to include open defiance of Iran’s Islamic leadership itself.

There was no apparent evidence of cracks in Iran’s ruling network of clerics and security networks, including the powerful Revolutionary Guard whose influence extends deep into Iran’s economy and policymaking. For the moment, at least, the lack of any key defections at the top suggested Iran’s regime was relatively secure. Read more ..


The Election on Edge

Bush/McCain Associate Subpoenaed to Reveal Key Role in "Dirty Dossier"

December 28th 2017

File Folders

On Wednesday, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, issued a subpoena to an associate of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who allegedly traveled to the United Kingdom to receive a copy and a briefing on a salacious, uncorroborated dossier from a former British spy, Christopher Steele. David J. Kramer, a former State Department official who is now a senior fellow at the McCain Institute for International Leadership, traveled to London in November 2016 and met with Steele. He then returned to the U.S. and gave the dossier to Sen. McCain.

McCain gave a copy of the document that made unsubstantiated accusations about Donald Trump to James Comey, who was then the director of the FBI. However, the FBI already had a copy of the dossier because Steele had himself given it to the bureau, reportedly by installments beginning in July 2016. The dossier was formulated at the behest of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential operation.

Read more ..

Jerusalem on Edge

Guatemala Moving Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

December 25th 2017

Sunset in Jerusalem

Guatemala's president announced on Sunday that the Central American country will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, becoming the first nation to follow the lead of President Donald Trump in ordering the change.

Guatemala was one of nine nations that voted with the United States and Israel on Thursday when the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a non-binding resolution denouncing Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Trump didn't set any timetable for moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and neither did Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales.

In a post on his official Facebook account Sunday, Morales said that after talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he decided to instruct Guatemala's foreign ministry to move the embassy. Read more ..


Israel on Edge

U.N. Votes 128-9 to Criticize U.S. Decision on Jerusalem

December 22nd 2017

Western Wall - Wailing Wall Jerusalem

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday adopted a resolution criticizing the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and begin the process of moving its embassy there, a vote that followed warnings from the Trump administration that the U.S. would take personally any votes cast against it.

Thursday’s nonbinding resolution was adopted with 128 nations in favor, nine against and 35 abstaining. Joining the U.S. and Israel in voting against the resolution were Togo, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Micronesia, Palau, Honduras and Guatemala. Among those that abstained were Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Poland and the Philippines.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley tweeted after the vote a list of the nations that voted against the resolution or abstained, writing that "we appreciate these countries for not falling to the irresponsible ways of the @UN."

Before votes were cast, Haley admonished the world body for its historical criticism of Israel. She said it was the expectation of the U.S., which she noted is the greatest contributor to the U.N., that its “goodwill” toward the body be met with respect, not with the condemnation wrapped into the resolution adopted Thursday.

“The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation,” Haley said. “We will remember it when we are once again called upon to make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations, and we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.” Read more ..


Debbigate

Terrorists, Obama, and Democrats linked to International Hizbollah Money Laundering

December 19th 2017

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

On Monday, the Justice Department warned that Imran Awan -- a former Capitol Hill IT aide who was associated with the Democratic National Committee and congressional Democrats -- is a “flight risk” who could flee to his native Pakistan if a judge approves his request to lift “all of the conditions of his release.” This comes after revelations that during the Obama administration, the Hezbollah terrorist organization, backed by Iran, trafficked cocaine and laundered money through used cars to finance the expansion of its global threat. Awan had a used car business among his various enterprises. 

Beginning in 2008, the Drug Enforcement Administration launched Project Cassandra and amassed substantial evidence that Hezbollah had expanded from its military and political activities focused on the Middle East to a global criminal enterprise. It funneled cocaine into the U.S., collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering, and other criminal activities. Federal agents tracked cocaine shipments from Latin America to Africa, Europe and the Middle East, while others went through socialist Venezuela to Mexico and thence to the U.S. To launder the money from the cocaine sales, Hezbollah bought American used cars and shipped them to Africa.

Read more ..

The Race to AI

Self-taught Google AI Achieves 'superhuman' Chess Proficiency in Hours

December 14th 2017

Terminator Robot

Google's (Mountain View, CA) AlphaZero artificial intelligence (AI) program has achieved within 24 hours a "superhuman level" of play in the game of chess within hours of teaching itself the game from scratch, knowing only the game rules.

The algorithm was tested against Stockfish 8 , an open source computer chess engine considered to be among the strongest available. In a paper on the research, Google's DeepMind division reported that in 100 games played against Stockfish 8, AlphaZero won or drew all of them.

The AlphaZero algorithm is a generalized version of Google's AlphaGo Zero, which itself was an evolution of AlphaGo - the first computer program to defeat a world champion at the ancient Chinese game of Go. The original AlphaGo trained on thousands of human amateur and professional games to learn how to play Go, while AlphaGo Zero was able to teach itself to play Go from scratch, starting from completely random play.

Read more ..

Israel on Edge

Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's Capital

December 7th 2017

Israeli flag and clouds

Speaking at the White House on Wednesday, President Donald Trump said that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the modern state of Israel. He said that he is directing the State Department to begin preparations to build a new embassy in Jerusalem. Trump said that he came to office with open eyes with regard to the perennial peace process in the Middle East. “We cannot come into office making the same failed assumptions as in the past,” he said. Trump added, “My announcement marks a new approach.”

Referring to the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which was reaffirmed by a vote in the Senate this year, Trump said that his predecessors used waivers to prevent the move of the U.S. diplomatic mission from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Saying that previous presidents may have lacked sufficient courage, Trump said, “After two decades of waivers, we are no closer” to a peace deal and called it “folly to assume” doing the same thing will improve matters. Read more ..


The Caliphate

ISIS's Fall Means Fewer Terror Deaths As Jihadis Adjust, IPT Analysis Shows

December 3rd 2017

ISIS Group

The fall of ISIS's physical caliphate is likely to create a shift in radical Islamic terrorism, an Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) analysis of data from the University of Maryland's National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and the Responses to Terrorism (START)'s Global Terrorism Database (GTD) finds.

Fewer people may be killed in radical Islamic terror attacks, but the terrorists will seek new safe havens and adapt their online strategies to maintain a virtual caliphate.

From the data, five phases were identified. The first phase from 2001-2006 saw on average 2,500 fatalities globally. Phase two from 2007-2011 saw an average of 3,200 global fatalities. In phase three, 2012-2013, there was an annual average of 9,500 global fatalities, and in phase four, 2014-2016, an exponential spike in fatalities showed an average annual of around 27,500 global fatalities. Now that the caliphate is finally collapsing, the fifth phase, according to the IPT, will start to see a decline in annual fatalities globally. Read more ..


Jew Hatred

Mennonites and BDS: A Lawsuit Amid a Legacy

November 27th 2017

Edwin Black

Ellen Koontz, a Kansas contract schoolteacher, is asking a federal judge to re-affirm the anti-Jewish boycott campaign begun by Adolf Hitler on April 1, 1933, openly adopted shortly thereafter by the Mufti of Jerusalem as part of the Arab-Nazi alliance during the Holocaust, internationalized against the Jewish State after WWII by the Arab League in December 1945, made illegal in America by a 1976 amendment to the Tax Reform Act and a 1977 amendment to the US Export Administration Act, which governs commercial activity impacting foreign policy, reaffirmed by continuous Presidential Executive Orders, and re-labelled in recent years with glitter and violent disruption as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, otherwise known as BDS.

Read more ..

Oil Addiction

Don't Blame Just the Gas Tax for California's Pump Prices — Refineries $3 Billion more Annually Than They Should

November 23rd 2017

Oil Refinery

On Feb. 18, 2015, an explosion ripped through Exxon Mobil’s vast refinery in Torrance, forcing a shutdown that took 10% of the state’s overall gasoline production capacity offline.

Prices immediately spiked at the pump, rising by about 70 cents per gallon relative to the rest of the country. That wasn’t unexpected, given the resulting constraints in statewide gasoline supplies. What sets the Torrance outage apart from the effect of other outages, however, is what happened afterward.

Estimates of the mysterious premium being collected by the state’s refineries range from at least 20 cents per gallon — as calculated by UC Berkeley energy economist Severin Borenstein — to more than 30 cents, as reckoned by the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog. (Neither figure includes the Nov. 1 tax increase.) The lower estimate would take about $3 billion a year out of California drivers’ pockets, or about $300 a year for an average family of four; the higher estimate, $4.5 billion. Where is the money going? To refineries, whose margins increased after the explosion and have stayed high. Read more ..


Israel and Saudi Arabia

Signs of Saudi - Israel Rapprochement Against Iran

November 17th 2017

Saudi princes

King Salman of Saudi Arabia plans to step down and announce his son as his successor next week, a source close to the country’s royal family told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview.

The transfer of power to Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, is expected already next week, DailyMail.com said in the report published Thursday, adding that the king will continue only as a ceremonial figurehead.

“Unless something dramatic happens, King Salman will announce the appointment of MBS as King of Saudi Arabia next week,” said the unnamed source. There was no official comment from Riyadh. Quoting the unnamed “high level source,” the report says the prince will shift his focus to its longtime rival Iran and enlist the help of the Israeli military to crush its proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Tensions between the Kingdom and the Islamic Republic have increased dramatically in recent weeks. “MBS is convinced that he has to hit Iran and Hezbollah,” according to the source. “Contrary to the advice of the royal family elders, that’s MBS’s next target.”

Read more ..

Financing the Flames

Foundations Gave Millions To Groups Accused Of Terror Ties

November 13th 2017

Money Bands=Happiness

Major American foundations have given millions of dollars in funding to Islamic organizations accused of having ties to radical Islamist movements or designated terrorist organizations and a group of activists are trying to convince them to stop. 

Groups like Islamic Relief Worldwide, which some countries have banned for allegedly funding Hamas and other terrorist organizations, have received millions of dollars from corporate charities like the GE Foundation, community foundations like the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and independent foundations like George Soros’ Open Society.

Researchers with the Middle East Forum, an activist group devoted to promoting American interests abroad, identified the financial stream from American foundations to seven Islamic groups with radical ties: Islamic Relief Worldwide and its sister organization in the United States — Islamic Relief USA, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and, despite rebounding from highly damaging terrorist allegations in 2008, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Read more ..

The Iranian Threat

U.S. calls for U.N. Action Against Iran Over Yemen Missile

November 9th 2017

King Abdullah

The United States accused Iran on Tuesday of supplying Yemen’s Houthi rebels with a missile that was fired into Saudi Arabia in July and called for the United Nations to hold Tehran accountable for violating two U.N. Security Council resolutions.

A still image taken from a video distributed by Yemen's pro-Houthi Al Masirah television station on November 5, 2017, shows what it says was the launch by Houthi forces of a ballistic missile aimed at Riyadh's King Khaled Airport on Saturday, Houthi Military Media Unit via REUTERS TV

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said information released by Saudi Arabia showed the missile fired in July was an Iranian Qiam, which she described as “a type of weapon that had not been present in Yemen before the conflict.”

Saudi-led forces, which back the government in neighboring Yemen, have been targeting the Iran-allied Houthis in a more than two-year war. Saudi Arabia’s crown prince on Tuesday described Iran’s supply of rockets to the Houthis as “direct military aggression” that could be an act of war.

Haley said that by providing weapons to the Houthis, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp‎s had violated two U.N. resolutions on Yemen and Iran. She said a missile shot down over Saudi Arabia on Saturday “may also be of Iranian origin.”

“We encourage the United Nations and international partners to take necessary action to hold the Iranian regime accountable for these violations,” Haley said. It was not immediately clear what action the United States was calling for.

Saudi U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi echoed Haley’s call for U.N. action against Iran in a letter to the U.N. Security Council and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres later on Tuesday, seen by Reuters.

He said the missile fired on Saturday “may amount to a war crime” and that Saudi Arabia was “taking appropriate measures to respond to these terrorist acts.”

Read more ..

The Russia Scandal

Hollywood's Oliver Stone Questions Involvement of Sen. McCain and Media in Uncorroborated Steele Dossier

October 28th 2017

College math papers

Oscar-winning movie director Oliver Stone reminded his followers on Twitter that Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona was among those in government who propagated the uncorroborated allegations against Donald Trump that have recently been put into question by startling revelations. Stone tweeted on Friday, “Those who prompted the corrupt dossier’s findings,” included not only McCain but also former CIA Director John Brennan and others.

Stone was referring a dossier allegedly paid for by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and prepared by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele for the GPS Fusion opposition research firm and the behest of a law firm affiliated with the Democratic Party. Earlier media reports indicated that an initial report on Trump, to which the Steele report was eventually added, was paid for by a Republican. The Washington Free Beacon -- a conservative media outlet associated with publisher William Kristol and billionaire Peter Singer -- revealed to the House Intelligence Committee on Friday that it had contracted with the Fusion GPS opposition research firm to produce the original report. Both Kristol and Singer were initially opposed to Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy and have been dubbed Never-Trumpers. Read more ..


North Korea's Nukes

US Putting Nuclear Bombers on High Alert

October 23rd 2017

A Bomber

B-52 bombers rigged with nuclear weapons are being prepared for 24-hour alert for the first time since the Cold War, a senior U.S. Air Force official has reportedly said.

In a report by security news website Defense One General David Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff, said U.S. military leaders are reacting to new threat levels.

"The world is a dangerous place and we've got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons," he said, according to the report. Goldfein said no official order had been given to put nuclear bombers on alert, but said preparations are underway. The U.S. Department of Defense was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC. Read more ..



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