Thursday, July 18, 2024

Israel's Response to Terror - Nils A. Haug

 

by Nils A. Haug

What accommodation, however, can there possibly be between two conflicting core narratives, in which one party seeks the ideal of martyrdom -- "We love death as our enemies love life" -- while the other desires to live in peace, without constant threats to its existence?

 

  • Hamas, designated a terror group by Western nations, is an Islamist fundamentalist group whose 1988 Covenant openly supports a Sharia law-based paradisical Caliphate free of non-believers and a world free of Jews (end of Article 7).

  • Despite Israel's compliance with humanitarian concerns, rules of war, and attempts to avoid Palestinian civilian deaths, the perception remains that Israel should be the one to make concessions for a ceasefire, not Hamas, which should immediately release the hostages it took.

  • Hamas, like other Islamic groups from a different culture, does not accede to the West's laws of war – this much is clear from their treatment of hostages. Freed hostages tell of "cages, beatings and death threats." Hamas, in violation of the truce agreement, has not permitted the Red Cross to see the hostages. One can imagine how come.

  • The conflict therefore becomes one between a Western state, ultimately seeking peaceful coexistence and adhering to the ethics of a just war, assaulted by terrorist groups pursuing total conquest and seeming to be driven by an ideology of unquenchable animosity toward "unbelievers."

  • Most Western leaders apparently desire to divide Israel, even further than it already has been divided, into two sectors: one for the Jews and one for the Palestinians -- all in the name of human rights, social justice, and supposed fair play.

  • At its core, these proposals are anti-Zionist and in practical effect, anti-Semitic. For a start, more than half the land promised to Jews by the 1917 Balfour Declaration was reallocated by the British authorities to what is now the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordon. Jewish rights to what remains of their historic land is continually denied, along with stupefying proposals that the Jews should be forced to be ruled by the very people desiring their extinction.

  • What accommodation, however, can there possibly be between two conflicting core narratives, in which one party seeks the ideal of martyrdom -- "We love death as our enemies love life" -- while the other desires to live in peace, without constant threats to its existence?

  • Israel is not only fighting to prevent long-term future attacks from Gaza, but also to defeat terrorists from overwhelming the Judeo-Christian values that have been achieved over centuries with much sacrifice.

  • Israel has actually been singled out for implementing "More measures to prevent civilian casualties than any other nation in history."

  • Israel is the "only country in world," the British journalist Douglas Murray pointed out, "who are never allowed to win a war, which is a reason why wars keep occurring."

  • US President Joe Biden and his ministers of state try their utmost to impose unacceptable cease-fire agreements upon Israel. Fortunately, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "the Churchill of the Middle East," will have none of it. Israel stands firm against prematurely ceasing military action: their ultimate aim is not only to destroy Hamas's military capability and to rescue remaining hostages, but to defeat terror for the future of the Free World.

  • "It is left to little Israel to make the first stand against radical evil and the new axis of nations dedicated to the demise of the West. With resolve, courage, and dedication, but, alas, with much more sacrifice, Israel will show the way." — Professor Leon R. Kass, aei.org, November 3, 2023.

Despite Israel's compliance with humanitarian concerns, rules of war, and attempts to avoid Palestinian civilian deaths, the perception remains that Israel should be the one to make concessions for a ceasefire, not Hamas, which should immediately release the hostages it took. Hamas, like other Islamic groups from a different culture, does not accede to the West's laws of war – this much is clear from their treatment of hostages. Pictured: A Palestinian man shows a leaflet, with instructions on humanitarian corridors and safe zones, dropped by the Israeli military over Gaza City on November 5, 2023. (Photo by Bashar Taleb/AFP via Getty Images)

Hamas, a so-called liberation movement, was voted into power as the governing party by the Palestinian people of Gaza in 2006. The group immediately engaged in armed conflict with Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority and his Fatah faction, and forcibly removed them from Gaza, including by throwing at least one official off the 15th floor of a building. Hamas also undertook a jihad (holy war) against the neighbouring country of Israel by attempting to kill Israelis or drive them away to take control of the land.

Hamas, designated a terror group by Western nations, is an Islamist fundamentalist group whose 1988 Covenant openly supports a Sharia law-based paradisical Caliphate free of non-believers and a world free of Jews (end of Article 7). Captured non-believers, including Christians, are offered the choice of converting to Islam; being murdered or living among their captors as "dhimmis" – literally, "protected" third-class residents who have to pay protection tax, the jizya, and live under humiliating laws.

"Following the path of Allah means, in the narrowest sense, propagating Islam through holy war," said the renowned philosopher Franz Rosenzweig as early as 1921. His observation highlights the crux of the problem: there are two sets of rules. Jihadists fight according to their holy-war rules while Israelis are restricted to Western rules of a "just war," including, for instance, the Geneva Conventions.

Israel, however, does not act indiscriminately but employs all possible safeguards to prevent or minimize casualties which, under international law, it is obliged to do. "Israel Has Created a New Standard for Urban Warfare. Why Will No One Admit It?" wrote John Spencer, urban warfare specialist and chair of urban warfare studies at the Modern War Institute (MWI) at West Point.

Jihadists during a war follow a different code of conduct; Israel, as a democratic nation, is committed to broad principles of just war theory and a restricted use of force wherein every military move is carefully, even obsessively, monitored by Western powers.

These constraints can only compromise Israel's freedom to respond as necessary in a fluid, real-time, permanently hostile environment. As the terrorists are given a pass, it has become increasingly difficult for Israel to hold the high moral ground they actually merit. Despite unprecedented efforts to protect the lives of Gaza's civilians, such as dropping thousands of leaflets and making thousands of telephone calls to warn them to evacuate danger zones while Hamas operatives shot at them to prevent them from leaving, Israel -- which Hamas, with the backing of Iran, savagely attacked on October 7, 2023 -- is still often wrongly seen as the aggressor.

Israel has also been forced to contend with false claims of civilian casualties by Gaza's Ministry of Health – which is run, of course, by Hamas. Despite Israel's compliance with humanitarian concerns, rules of war, and attempts to avoid Palestinian civilian deaths, the perception remains that Israel should be the one to make concessions for a ceasefire, not Hamas, which should immediately release the hostages it took.

Hamas, like other Islamic groups from a different culture, does not accede to the West's laws of war – this much is clear from their treatment of hostages. Freed hostages tell of "cages, beatings and death threats." Hamas, in violation of the truce agreement, has not permitted the Red Cross to see the hostages. One can imagine how come.

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of another of Iran's proxies, Hezbollah, has warned Israel of a war conducted "without rules or ceilings." The conflict therefore becomes one between a Western state, ultimately seeking peaceful coexistence and adhering to the ethics of a just war, assaulted by terrorist groups pursuing total conquest and seeming to be driven by an ideology of unquenchable animosity toward "unbelievers." The same intolerance toward people who might prefer a different faith can also be seen in Pakistan, for instance, Indonesia, Iran, Afghanistan, India and throughout much of Africa (here, here and here).

The legitimate home of the Jewish people is Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel). For nearly 4,000 years, love of this land has cemented the Jews' sense of identity, social order and security. In November 2023, Rabbi Leon Weiner Dow declared, "It is we who will define ourselves and our relationship to the land. We do not need to fit your binary categories of ownership." In this way, Dow rejected those who demand that Israel weaken its objective of a sovereign nation, in its own land and earning a complete victory over jihadist fanatics, while refusing to relinquish parts of Israel to Palestinians or anyone else.

In criticising the two-State idea, Rabbi Dow perceived the international community's difficulty in comprehending the deep spiritual ties of the Jewish nation to their ancestral land. Most Western leaders apparently desire to divide Israel, even further than it already has been divided, into two sectors: one for the Jews and one for the Palestinians -- all in the name of human rights, social justice, and supposed fair play.

At its core, these proposals are anti-Zionist and in practical effect, anti-Semitic. For a start, more than half the land promised to Jews by the 1917 Balfour Declaration was reallocated by the British authorities to what is now the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordon. Jewish rights to what remains of their historic land is continually denied, along with stupefying proposals that the Jews should be forced to be ruled by the very people desiring their extinction.

What accommodation, however, can there possibly be between two conflicting core narratives, in which one party seeks the ideal of martyrdom -- "We love death as our enemies love life" -- while the other desires to live in peace, without constant threats to its existence?

Hamas's control of Gaza is a case in point. Led by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2005, Israel acquiesced to US and international pressure to expel all Jewish inhabitants from Gaza: the territory was to be handed over to full Palestinian control. This short-sighted compromise of Israel's rights created a security vacuum which gave Hamas and other like-minded jihadists an even greater opportunity to prepare for the total annihilation of their Jewish neighbours. This objective was partially implemented on October 7, 2023, with horrific consequences.

The question also then arose as to what constituted a fitting response by Israel to Hamas's terror attacks on Israel's innocent civilians of all ages, ethnicities, and faiths -- from babies to grandparents with disabilities, Asians and even Muslims on that day. This issue, one of "proportionality," has led to significant complications for Israel in its response to terror.

At the International Court of Justice, for instance – the jurisdiction of which Israel has never recognised – Israel was wrongly found guilty of failing to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza. Genocide clearly has never been Israel's agenda -- which, to the contrary, cannot be said of Hamas, Iran and other allied jihadists. The latter groups force innocent Palestinian citizens into situations in which they could be killed, presumably in the hope that Israel would be blamed, as it usually -- falsely -- is.

Hamas, by contrast, goes out of its way to embed itself within the civilian population, such as dressing like them, to make it impossible to distinguish terrorists from civilians. If civilian deaths occur, Hamas creates local "heroes" – "martyrs" -- and blames Israel -- therefore, the more deaths the better. Civilian deaths, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar explains in a letter dated April 11, 2024, are "necessary sacrifices" to "infuse life into the veins of this nation (Gaza), promoting it to rise to its glory and honor."

Israel is not only fighting to prevent long-term future attacks from Gaza, but also to defeat terrorists from overwhelming the Judeo-Christian values that have been achieved over centuries with much sacrifice. Collateral damage, which invariably leads to the question of proportionality -- how much firepower is needed to achieve a specific military result -- is judged on anticipated outcomes. It is not proportionate, for example, to use a bomb to kill a butterfly. Whenever possible, the possibility of civilian loss is assessed beforehand with the best available intelligence.

Israel has actually been singled out for implementing "More measures to prevent civilian casualties than any other nation in history." If civilian lives might be endangered, Israel will abort an operation. In the congested environment of Gaza, and Hamas resolutely endangering Gazan citizens, collateral damage will inevitably occur. Between intention and outcome concerning lives lost, an important distinction must be made, one that defeats allegations of genocide.

Many Western leaders who have significant Islamic populations in their midst might believe it in their political self-interest to criticize Israel's response despite any validity. Among these leaders constantly and unjustly attacking Israel are those representing various United Nations agencies, the European Union, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo臒an , Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Norway's Labour Prime Minister Jonas Gahr St酶re and Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide, France's President Emmanuel Macron and seemingly anyone in Ireland. Others that come to mind, unfortunately, are US Presidents Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

The UK is not much different. In November 2023, Conservative Party Home Secretary Suella Braverman was summarily sacked after expressing the "heretical" opinion that "Britain is at a turning point in our history and faces a threat of radicalisation and extremism in a way not seen for 20 years." In an ethically compromised era, speaking the truth can be a risk, as noted by the American author and former politician Dr. Ron Paul, who concluded that "Truth is treason in an empire of lies."

Despite world leaders proclaiming that the Jewish nation would "Never Again" be subjected to ethnic cleansing, the same leaders compromise Israel's attempts at securing their homeland by calling for a premature ceasefire or cessation in military action, or by imposing restraints purportedly to curtail civilian casualties. They ignore the murderous revelation by Hamas spokesman, Ghazi Hamad, who, on October 24, 2023, vowed, "We must teach Israel a lesson and we will do this again and again. The Al Aqsa Flood attack is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth."

It is this environment of Jew-hate and death threats that confront Israel daily. Meanwhile, the international community "fiddles" while the Middle East "burns," and imposes sanctimonious restraints on Israel's to prevent it from being able to defend itself.

Israel is the "only country in world," the British journalist Douglas Murray pointed out, "who are never allowed to win a war, which is a reason why wars keep occurring."

Biden and his ministers of state try their utmost to impose unacceptable cease-fire agreements upon Israel. Fortunately, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "the Churchill of the Middle East," will have none of it. Israel stands firm against prematurely ceasing military action: their ultimate aim is not only to destroy Hamas's military capability and to rescue remaining hostages, but to defeat terror for the future of the Free World.

"It doesn't matter what the gentiles say," David Ben-Gurion remarked. "It only matters what the Jews do."

Israel's survival impacts the survival of Western civilization -- the principles, ethics, and Judeo-Christian values upon which the culture and societies are founded. If these are lost or given away, the alternatives will be devastating for everyone.

As Professor Leon R. Kass put it in November 2023:

"It is left to little Israel to make the first stand against radical evil and the new axis of nations dedicated to the demise of the West. With resolve, courage, and dedication, but, alas, with much more sacrifice, Israel will show the way."


Nils A. Haug is an author and columnist. A Lawyer by profession, he is member of the International Bar Association, the National Association of Scholars, a faculty member at Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the Academy of Philosophy and Letters. Retired from law, his particular field of interest is political theory interconnected with current events. He holds a Ph.D. in Apologetical Theology. Dr. Haug is author of 'Politics, Law, and Disorder in the Garden of Eden – the Quest for Identity'; and 'Enemies of the Innocent – Life, Truth, and Meaning in a Dark Age.' His work has been published by First Things Journal, The American Mind, Quadrant, Gatestone Institute, National Association of Scholars, Anglican Mainstream, Document Danmark, Jewish News Syndicate, and others.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/20790/israel-response-to-terror

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At least six major security failures at Trump rally leave more questions for investigators - Steven Richards

 

by Steven Richards

Early sightings, warnings of insufficient resources, and a failure to preemptively evacuate Trump make up just a portion of the security failures identified so far.

 

Less than five days after the failed assassination attempt on GOP nominee and former President Donald Trump, several questions still remain about how and why the shooter – Thomas Matthew Crooks – was able to gain access to the rooftop with an unobstructed view over the rally and the crowd. Six of the biggest security failures that reportedly occurred at the event raise even more questions for investigators.

The investigation into the assassination attempt that left one attendee dead, and three injured including Trump, is being led by the FBI. However, the bureau has remained relatively quiet on its probe, publishing only one update so far on Monday, July 15.

On Wednesday, the Secret Service and the FBI briefed Congress on the investigation, though some officials called it inadequate. Congress itself has also sprung into action to get answers about the security failures. The House Oversight Committee Tuesday ordered Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle to appear for a hearing to address the incident.

This afternoon, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., posted on X that "I just got off a briefing with the Secret Service and FBI. I am appalled to learn that the Secret Service knew about a threat prior to President Trump walking on stage."

Here are the six biggest revelations about the security failures that led to a nearly successful assassination attempt against former President Trump that will likely be a focus of any investigation:

Onlookers warned police about suspicious individual

Shortly after the attempted assassination, a video emerged from the event that appears to show that rally attendees who were watching the speech from outside the fence warned the police that there was a suspicious individual climbing on the roof of the building from where Thomas Matthew Crooks ultimately opened fire. The video shows one man shouting, “Officer! Officer!” and a woman saying, “He’s on the roof!”

According to the Washington Post report, this video was recorded about a minute and a half before Crooks opened fire on the president, striking him in the ear, and killing Corey Comperatore. 

This video, which was disseminated widely on social media after the assassination attempt, was one of the first pieces of evidence that showed law enforcement became aware of Crooks before he started firing on the rally. It is far from the only evidence of a massive security failure.

A local officer sees Crooks with rifle

It was later reported that not only had audience members noticed the shooter climbing on the roof just minutes before the attempted assassination, but one local police officer attempted to find him and came face-to-face with him.

USA Today reported that a local police officer was hoisted by a partner to the roof the building in a search for Crooks when the shooter turned his weapon on the officer, who dropped from the ledge to protect himself. This incident occurred shortly before Crooks opened fire on Trump and the crowd.

The Secret Service had made the decision to secure that building from the inside because of the "safety factor" of the sloped roof, Direct Cheatle said in an interview after the incident, explaining why there were no security officers stationed there to stop the shooter.

“That building in particular has a sloped roof, at its highest point,” Cheatle said in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” Tuesday. “And so, there’s a safety factor that would be considered there that we wouldn’t want to put somebody up on a sloped roof. And so, the decision was made to secure the building, from inside.”

Multiple security officers spotted the suspicious individual before shooting

In the hours leading up to the assassination attempt, several security officers – whether local police or Secret Service – received reports of a suspicious individual and even took photo of Crooks.

In the lead up to the rally, several attendees reported to local police officers that Crooks was suspicious while he was pacing near the metal detectors, according to the Associated Press. Crooks reportedly attempted to bring a rangefinder commonly used by shooting enthusiasts through the metal detectors, raising the suspicion of law enforcement.

Other reports also indicate that a law enforcement officer member of a tactical sniper team took a photo of Crooks during a 5:30 PM sighting, more than 40 minutes before he fired on the former president, the Daily Mail reported. The photo taken by law enforcement has been circulated social and news media. CBS News reported that the tactical team saw Crooks at least twice looking at the building and using his rangefinder.

Congress briefed about early timeline

According to a report, the Secret Service and the FBI confirmed to Congress on Wednesday that Crooks was identified by law enforcement much earlier than originally expected.

According to PunchBowl News, the FBI told senators that the shooter was photographed as a suspicious person 62 minutes before he began firing on Trump. Additionally, Secret Service snipers spotted Crooks twenty minutes before he began his attack. PunchBowl also reported that Crooks visited the rally site days before to scope out the event.

FBI Director Christopher Wray, told senators that no foreign connections have been identified and the shooter maintained almost no social media presence. Just The News confirmed that online investigative search services have deleted any files they may have had on Crooks' social media presence.

Local police warned USSS that they didn’t have enough resources

Questions still remain about how Crook was able to gain access to the building which provided him a perfect vantage point of the rally stage without interference by law enforcement. The reported warnings of local law enforcement show that security personnel knew there were not enough resources to fully cover the building.

According to the Washington Post, the local police assisting the Secret Service with security warned the agency that they did not have enough resources to station a patrol car outside the key building used in Crook’s assassination attempt.

The Butler County District Attorney said the agency “was informed that the local police department did not have manpower to assist with securing that building.” This account was also confirmed by an Secret Service official, according to the Post.

Donald Trump remained on stage despite threat

Ultimately one of the most startling security lapses is that the former president remained on the rally stage delivering his speech and was not evacuated by the Secret Service even though it was monitoring an active threat.

The videos of the event show no attempts by any of the officers to get Trump out of harm’s way on the stage before Crooks fired on him. Even after the would-be assassin shot multiple rounds at Trump and the crowd, the Secret Service seemed confused in its response.

USSS agents could be heard asking “What are we doing?” and “Where are we going from here?” on the microphone as they attempted to evacuate Trump, according to The Hill. For his part, Trump insisted that the agents let him find his shoes, and paused briefly to raise his fist and shout "fight!" to the crowd.

Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle says she has no plans to resign, even after the revelation that the agency decided not to guard the roof from which Thomas Crooks opened fire on former President Donald Trump because it was "too slanted" and represented a safety concern, although the counter-snipers who shot Crooks were located on a much steeper incline.


Steven Richards

Source: https://justthenews.com/government/security/six-biggest-security-failures-trump-rally-leave-more-questions-investigators

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Senators confront Secret Service director at GOP convention, she declines to answer questions - Nicholas Ballasy

 

by Nicholas Ballasy

Senators followed Cheatle as she left an arena suite and continued to ask her to explain why the Secret Service would allow Trump to go on stage knowing there was a person of interest at the rally that was a potential threat.

 

A group of Republican senators confronted Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle about the agency's handling of security at former President Trump's rally in Butler, Pa. where he was shot on Saturday.

Cheatle, who was in a suite at the convention arena when the senators caught up with her on Wednesday night, declined to answer questions about the assassination attempt on Trump, telling the lawmakers it wasn't the proper forum.

In a video posted by Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Cheatle can be seen leaving the suite and the senators followed her continuing to ask her why the Secret Service would allow Trump to go on stage knowing there was a suspicious person at the rally that was a potential threat. 

Cheatle keeps walking and refuses to answer. 

"No shame. No concern. You're supposed to protect the president of the United States," Barrasso told Cheatle as she walked away from the group of lawmakers. 

"You answer to us," added Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.

"You owe President Trump answers," Blackburn said.

"You cannot run away," Barrasso said as the senators tried catching up with Cheatle, who was surrounded by security guards.

"The president should have had this good of protection for crying out loud," said an unidentified voice off camera.

Earlier in the day, the Secret Service briefed senators on the investigation into the assassination attempt. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wy., said the question queue was cut off early so many senators were unable to ask anything.


Nicholas Ballasy

Source: https://justthenews.com/politics-policy/elections/gop-senators-confront-secret-service-director-gop-convention-she-declines

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Pelosi privately told Biden polls show he won't win in November: Report - Nicholas Ballasy

 

by Nicholas Ballasy

Pelosi joins a growing list of Democrats who are encouraging Biden to step aside

 

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly told President Joe Biden in a private conversation this week that polling shows that if he continues his reelection bid, he would lose to GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and damage the Democratic Party's chances of retaking the House and keeping the Senate in November.

The conversation came within days of other top Washington Democrats reportedly making similar private statements to Biden about ending his bid, amid signs the 81-year-old president is showing signs of being too old for a second term.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, of New York, reportedly went further than Pelosi, a California Democrat by telling Biden in a private conversation that he should leave the presidential race.

The long-standing issue came to sharp focus during Biden's June 27 debate with Trump where he struggled. 

Biden pushed back and told Pelosi some polls have shown that he can still win, according to CNN, which is reporting on the conversation.

In addition, House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries, also of New York, apparently also told Biden he could hurt Democrats' chances in congressional races if he stays on the ballot.

On Wednesday, Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff who is running for Senate in California, publicly called for Biden to withdraw from the race, saying it is time for him to "pass the torch."

Biden, who on Wednesday tested positive of COVID, has said he is the Democratic Party voters' nominee and will stay in the race.


Nicholas Ballasy

Source: https://justthenews.com/politics-policy/elections/pelosi-privately-told-biden-polls-show-he-wont-win-november-report

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Can We Let the Voters Decide—Not the FBI, CIA, DOJ, Lawyers, Prosecutors, and Judges? - Victor Davis Hanson

 

by Victor Davis Hanson

Why not, at last, just let the people choose their own president?

 

 

When Donald Trump seemed to have a lock on the 2016 Republican primary, the Democratic Party concluded that the people could not be counted on to do the “right thing” of electing the Democratic candidate in waiting Hillary Clinton.

What followed were eight long years of extralegal efforts to neuter candidate, then President, then ex-President, and then candidate again, Donald Trump.

The nonstop efforts were all justified as “saving democracy”—albeit by nearly destroying it.

In 2015-2016, the Hillary Clinton campaign fueled the lie that discredited ex-British spy Christopher Steele had discovered Donald Trump to be a veritable Russian agent.

Hillary did not disclose that she had paid Steele—with checks hidden through three paywalls. The FBI, under Director James Comey, also hired the fraudster.

Yet almost nothing in his “Steele dossier” was true.

The FBI doctored evidence submitted to a FISA court. Comey leaked to the press confidential documents about his private conversations with President Trump.

Comey’s successor, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, lied on numerous occasions to federal investigators.

Both former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper repeatedly lied to the nation, saying that Trump was de facto working with the Russians.

The result? Trump lost the 2016 popular vote but still won the Electoral College.

Next, celebrities and well-funded liberals waged a media campaign to convince the electors to become “faithless.” Left-wing elites begged them to renounce their constitutional duties and instead throw the election to Hillary Clinton.

Once Trump was elected, “Russian collusion” was fired up again in hysterical fashion.

A special counsel, Robert Mueller, consumed 22 months of the Trump presidency. His investigation team constantly leaked falsehoods about the “walls closing in on” Trump.

After nearly two years, Mueller announced there was no evidence of a Trump effort to collude with Russia.

Next was the first impeachment of Trump—nearly the moment he lost the House in 2018.

Supposedly, Trump had leveraged Ukraine to investigate a corrupt Hunter Biden by delaying foreign aid.

Trump was impeached on a strictly partisan vote.

But later, no one denied that the drug-addled Hunter Biden had indeed gotten rich from Ukraine, or that Joe Biden had fired a Ukrainian prosecutor looking into his son’s misadventures while still vice president, or that Trump released all the military assistance designated by Congress, or that he included offensive weapons formerly denied Ukraine by the Obama-Biden administration.

Next, in 2020, when Hunter’s laptop turned up abandoned at a repair shop and full of incriminating evidence of more Biden family skullduggery, the left struck again.

It rounded up “51 former intelligence authorities” to mislead the American people on the eve of the vote that the laptop was likely a fake—once again cooked up by Russian disinformation experts to aid Trump.

And once more, that was another complete falsehood. But the lie proved useful to Joe Biden in the debates and campaign. And he won the election.

Next, the learn-nothing, forget-nothing left turned to the 2023-2024 campaign.

This time, their next extra-legal efforts were twofold.

One, they unsuccessfully sought to remove Trump from some 15 state ballots.

Two, local, state, and federal courts began to wage lawfare to convict and jail candidate Trump, or at least bankrupt him and keep him off the campaign trail.

Three county and state prosecutors campaigned on getting Trump on charges never filed before against a presidential candidate—and rarely against anyone else as well.

The Fani Willis Georgia lead prosecutor met secretly with the Biden White House counsel.

Alvin Bragg’s Manhattan team hired the third-ranking federal prosecutor in the Biden Justice Department.

Special counsel Jack Smith was found by a court to have been illegally appointed and much of his case was dismissed.

On July 14, a shooter nearly killed candidate Trump, nicking his ear after somehow firing a rifle from a rooftop a mere 140 yards away—while undetected by law enforcement inside the very same building below.

Prior to the shooting, Joe Biden had boasted to donors that “it’s time to put Trump in a bullseye.”

Biden had railed nearly nonstop that a Trump victory would spell the end of democracy—a theme the left had fueled by comparing ad nauseam Trump to Adolf Hitler.

Yet here we are in mid-July 2024 and Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, is alive and leads incumbent Biden—either because of, or despite, the crude efforts to destroy him.

After nearly a decade of utter madness, can we finally order the FBI, DOJ, and CIA to butt out of our elections?

Can a bankrupt media cease whipping up hysterias about a supposed Nazi-like takeover?

Can the left stop relying on washed-up British spies, corrupt ex-spooks, and teams of clownish partisan prosecutors?

Instead, why not, at last, just let the people choose their own president?


Victor Davis Hanson

Source: https://amgreatness.com/2024/07/18/can-we-let-the-voters-decide-not-the-fbi-cia-doj-lawyers-prosecutors-and-judges/

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DOJ wants to hide why it spied on congressional staff, whistleblower groups fight back - John Solomon

 

by John Solomon

New court filing says that continued secrecy jeopardizes the Constitution’s separation of powers and protections of whistleblowers.

 

Several major whistleblower groups are fighting the Justice Department’s efforts in federal court to permanently hide why it spied on congressional investigators by obtaining their phone records during a leaks investigation years ago.

The whistleblower group, Empower Oversight, whose founder Jason Foster was one of the investigators whose phone records were taken when he was still in a top Senate staffer, had asked a federal judge to unseal the underlying documents that allowed DOJ to acquire the records in 2017. 

But the government responded recently by saying the records should be permanently sealed and kept from public disclosure, according to a new filing from Empower Oversight.

“Rather than cooperate with Empower Oversight to find a way that these records may be released with appropriate redactions, DOJ’s response to Empower Oversight’s motion was to insist on continued (and permanent) secrecy—nearly seven years after the underlying events,” the new filing said.

“The only conceivable purpose of this secrecy is to obscure key facts from Congress and the public, thereby undermining the typical presumption of good faith to which DOJ would otherwise be entitled,” it added. “Indeed, DOJ’s demand for total secrecy raises serious suspicions that DOJ opposed Empower Oversight’s request merely to continue concealing its previous disregard for the separation of powers and for the whistleblower protection policy implications of its subpoenas.”

Just the News first reported last year that multiple congressional investigators, Democrat and Republican, were notified years after the fact that their phone records were seized by subpoena in 2017.

The investigators included Kash Patel, lead investigator for the House Intelligence Committee, and Foster, a top investigator for the Senate Judiciary Committee, both of whom were investigating Justice Department and FBI abuses during the discredited Russia collusion investigation. 

The revelation outraged numerous members of Congress, who argued that the subpoenas had violated the Constitution‘s separation of powers between Congress and the executive branch. Several lawmakers demanded answers from DOJ, including Sen. Ted Cruz and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, Republicans.

To date, the Justice Department has not publicly offered its rationale for why it’s subpoenaed the phone records either to Congress or the courts.

In a rare move, several other whistleblower groups, including the Government Accountability Project, joined Empower Oversight, filing an amicus brief demanding that the court unseal the documents showing why prosecutors intruded on congressional investigators privacy.

“For many whistleblowers, whether they can communicate confidentially is the key whether to challenge abuses of power,”  GAP legal director Tom Devine said. “Secret subpoenas of congressional offices are a clear and present danger both to whistleblowers and Congress as a constitutional check and balance.

“If this decision stands, no congressional office can honestly reassure confidential whistleblowers that they have not become part of a Justice Department dossier."

Joining GAP in the amicus was Whistleblowers of America (WOA) and FBI Whistleblower Michael German – who since leaving the FBI has worked with, “members of Congress and their staffs, to assist other FBI employees seeking to report abuse, and to craft stronger protections for all national security whistleblowers.”  

You can read Empower Oversight’s original May 2 motion to unseal here.

Empower Oversight’s July 15 reply motion is here

The amicus brief from the other whistleblower groups is  here.  


John Solomon

Source: https://justthenews.com/accountability/whistleblowers/doj-wants-hide-why-it-spied-congressional-staff-whistleblower-groups

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Hezbollah is afraid of starting a war and not for the reason we thought - analysis - Maariv

 

by Maariv

Each round of regional instability and conflict provided Hezbollah with new opportunities to expand its range of activity.

 

HOISTING A photo of Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah at a rally in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. (photo credit: Francesca Volpi/Getty Images)
HOISTING A photo of Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah at a rally in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon.
(photo credit: Francesca Volpi/Getty Images)

One of the reasons why the US is working so hard to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza is to prevent the exchange of fire between Israel and Hezbollah from expanding into a full-scale war.

Arman Mahmoudian, a researcher of Russia and the Middle East at the University of South Florida and the "Global National Security Institute" (GNSI) explained that at the beginning in 1982, Hezbollah's main mission was in southern Lebanon, populated mostly by Shiites, against the IDF and the Free Lebanese Army.

However, over time, Hezbollah became the strongest player in Lebanon in particular, and in the region in general.

Hezbollah grew as a result of the United States' war on terror, specifically the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The American presence in Iraq, strategically located between Iran and Syria, increased the sense of vulnerability of both countries, leading them to increase their ability to attack the US. 

 Kataib Hezbollah Iraqi militia gather ahead of the funeral of the Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was killed in an air strike at Baghdad airport, in Baghdad, Iraq, January 4, 2020.  (credit: REUTERS/THAIER AL-SUDANI/FILE PHOTO)Enlrage image
Kataib Hezbollah Iraqi militia gather ahead of the funeral of the Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was killed in an air strike at Baghdad airport, in Baghdad, Iraq, January 4, 2020. (credit: REUTERS/THAIER AL-SUDANI/FILE PHOTO)

Syria has allowed Ba'athists and former al-Qaeda operatives to carry out operations against the US from its territory, while Iran has increased its network of regional proxies with Hezbollah at the forefront.

He further explained that immediately after the US invasion of Iraq, Hezbollah created a new force known as Unit 3800 to oversee operations against the US military.

A small number of elite forces trained Iraqi fighters to carry out kidnappings and tactical operations. They also learned to use sophisticated improvised explosive devices (IEDs), incorporating lessons learned from operations in southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah provided funds and weapons to these fighters. He also quickly expanded ties with Iraqi militias, including the Badr Brigade, Saraya Al-Khorsani, and al-Mahdi.

In addition to military aid, Hezbollah supported Iraqi Shiite militias and political parties through a large media presence.

The second phase of Hezbollah's expansion came during the Arab Spring, starting at the end of 2010. The chaos and instability allowed Hezbollah not only to increase its presence in Iraq and Syria but also to expand into Yemen and Bahrain.

 Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (credit: Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS)Enlrage image
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (credit: Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS)

As the civil war raged in Syria, Hezbollah deployed thousands of fighters to support Bashar al-Assad. Hezbollah fighters played a decisive role in major battles, such as the Battle of Qusayr in 2013, which recaptured territory from rebel forces.

Hezbollah also provided training and strategic advice to Syrian government forces, leveraging expertise in urban warfare and guerrilla tactics. According to regional sources, at least until 2021, Hezbollah was operating in 116 sites, from the deep south of Syria in Daraa to the north in Aleppo.

In Yemen, Hezbollah smuggled dismantled weapons and trained Houthi fighters in guerrilla warfare, logistics, and the use of advanced weapons, including missile technology. Hezbollah's Radwan force also directed attacks on Saudis.

The leadership of Hezbollah, including Hassan Nasrallah, participated in propaganda campaigns to strengthen the cause of the Houthis and against the Saudi narratives.

In Bahrain, Hezbollah's activities were more covert and focused on supporting Shiite opposition groups. According to sources, Hezbollah collaborated with Iran to establish a Shiite militia known as the al-Ashtar Brigades, which, since its establishment in 2013, has carried out more than 20 attacks against the security forces and police of Bahrain.

In Iraq, Hezbollah's role expanded significantly even during the Arab Spring. In 2014, Hezbollah established a command center to oversee and plan all operations in Iraq. Hezbollah also expedited the supply of weapons and provided extensive training and support to Iraqi Shiite militias, including Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Hezbollah Brigades, and the Badr Brigade. Hezbollah operatives participated in combat operations alongside Iraqi militias against ISIS.

Three major game-changers

According to Mahmoudian, the 21st century was another transformative period for Hezbollah marked by three major events: the killing of the head of the Quds Force Qassem Soleimani, the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in 2022, and October 7. Soleimani's death had profound consequences for Hezbollah's operations in Iraq. Soleimani was a key figure coordinating Iran's courier network. Fearing to lose its grip on Iraq after his death, Iran tasked Hezbollah with filling this gap.

Hezbollah has increased its training of Iraqi militias, focusing on advanced military tactics, urban warfare, and the use of sophisticated weapons. Hezbollah has also taken on the role of providing strategic guidance for operations against US and coalition forces, including planning and executing attacks on bases and military convoys. At the same time, Hezbollah increased its influence on pro-Iranian factions in the Iraqi government, which called for the expulsion of the 2,500 remaining US troops in the country.

The war in Ukraine also gave Hezbollah a boost by undermining Russia's role in Syria. Moscow withdrew troops from Syria, leaving a power vacuum that was filled by both the IRGC and Hezbollah. This not only gave Hezbollah an opportunity to expand its presence but also allowed the militia to present itself as a valuable player capable of protecting Russian interests.

While the chaos abroad allowed Hezbollah to expand its regional influence, the internal chaos serves the same purpose. Over 80% of Lebanese live in poverty due to the financial turmoil in the country and the devaluation of the Lebanese pound. These difficult circumstances helped Hezbollah.

Its financial backbone, the Al-Qard Al-Hasan Association (AQAH), offered personal loans to Lebanon in exchange for gold and foreign currency, making Hezbollah the holder of the country's largest gold reserves.

In addition, Hezbollah, through its global financial network, including gold mines in Venezuela, transferred foreign currency and gold to Lebanon. Given the weak value of the Lebanese currency, this gave Hezbollah enormous purchasing power and allowed the militia to expand its economic presence by purchasing many construction and solar energy projects.

The funds gathered by Hezbollah may make it wary of escalating the current exchange of fire with Israel. Over the past four decades, Hezbollah has demonstrated a remarkable ability to exploit regional instability and conflict.

Whether during the US war on terror, the Arab Spring, or the tumultuous events of 2020, each round provided Hezbollah with new opportunities to expand its range of activity.


Maariv

Source: https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/article-810988

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Knesset votes 68-9 for resolution against Palestinian state - Joshua Marks, Amelie Botbol

 

by Joshua Marks, Amelie Botbol

The motion opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state "on any piece of land west of the Jordan River."

 

A plenum session and a vote on reviving the ultra-Orthodox enlistment bill at the assembly hall of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on June 11, 2024. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
A plenum session and a vote on reviving the ultra-Orthodox enlistment bill at the assembly hall of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on June 11, 2024. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

The Knesset plenum voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday in favor of a resolution rejecting the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The resolution, put forward by MK Ze’ev Elkin of the New Hope-National Right party with support from the Yisrael Beiteinu Party and the Land of Israel Caucus, passed by 68 to 9.

The Land of Israel Caucus, the mission of which is to strengthen Israeli control of Judea and Samaria, includes members from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition as well as Benny Gantz‘s centrist National Unity Party.

The caucus is co-chaired by MKs Simcha Rothman, Yuli Edelstein and Limor Son Har Melech.

Other co-sponsors of the resolution included Likud, Shas, Religious Zionism, Otzma Yehudit and United Torah Judaism.

“The Israeli Knesset opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state on any piece of land west of the Jordan River. The existence of a Palestinian state in the heart of Israel will pose an existential threat to the State of Israel and its citizens, will further extend the Israel-Palestinian Arab conflict and be a source of destabilization for the entire region,” the resolution states.

“It will be only a matter of time before Hamas takes over such a Palestinian state and turns it into a base for radical Islamic terrorism in full alignment with the Iranian regime that aims to eradicate the State of Israel,” it continues.

The motion concludes: “Supporting Palestinian statehood at this time would reward terrorism and serve to encourage Hamas and its supporters. Israel’s enemies will interpret it as the victorious outcome of the massacre perpetrated on Oct. 7 and a precursor to the conquest by jihadist Islamism of the entire Middle East.”

National Unity issued a statement after the resolution passed explaining why they supported it.

“After Oct. 7, the appalling day that terrorists kidnapped, murdered and raped our citizens, any recognition of a Palestinian state would be a reward for terrorism and Hamas,” the party said.

Lawmakers also rejected a proposal by the United Arab List-Ra’am to recognize a Palestinian state, and Hadash-Ta’al’s proposal to recognize a Palestinian state with eastern Jerusalem as its capital. The resolution failed to pass, with 62 against and nine in favor.

The Knesset plenum in February voted 99-11 to back the government’s decision to reject any unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood.

All coalition lawmakers and most members of the opposition Yesh Atid, National Unity and Yisrael Beiteinu parties voted in favor of supporting the Cabinet statement against “international diktats regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians.”

The Labor Party boycotted the vote and its members were not in attendance. The Arab parties voted against the measure.

Vote comes ahead of Netanyahu’s address to Congress

The Knesset vote comes a week before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress.

Netanyahu’s speech will mark the fourth time the Israeli premier has addressed the U.S. governing bodies, a record for a foreign leader. His last address was on March 3, 2015.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress in the House chamber on March 3, 2015. Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Jerusalem’s stance against Palestinian statehood could further complicate relations with the Democratic Party, which on Tuesday advanced a platform that includes support for a Palestinan state, saying that a ceasefire proposal backed by President Joe Biden “would create the conditions for a better future for the Palestinian people, one of self-determination, dignity, security, and freedom, and ultimately a state of their own—a contrast to [former president Donald] Trump, who refuses to endorse the political aspirations of the Palestinian people.”

In contrast, the Republican Party platform published at the start of this week’s nominating convention in Milwaukee simply states that “We will stand with Israel, and seek peace in the Middle East.”

Rothman: Resolution represents Israeli consensus

In an interview with JNS the day after the vote, Rothman, from the Religious Zionism Party, said that the resolution represents the Israeli consensus and gives national backing to Netanyahu as he prepares to travel to Washington to make Israel’s case regarding its war against Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

“The reason for this vote and declaration is that we know that there is a tremendous amount of pressure applied on Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, especially with him traveling to the United States next week,” said Rothman.

Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Chairman Simcha Rothman, March 19, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

“This resolution will help Netanyahu say outside of Israel the truth, which is that first, a Palestinian state is a danger to the core existence of the State of Israel,” he added. 

“A Palestinian state is also dangerous for the rest of the world as well as it is a foothold for Iran and regional terror groups in the entire world,” he said. 

“Having a Palestinian state on the land of Israel is immoral and finally, those views are not personal views of Netanyahu, they are not fringe views of a small group. These views, those simple truths, are shared by a consensus in Israeli society,” Rothman continued.

On Feb. 1, Biden issued Executive Order 14115, sanctioning “persons undermining peace, security and stability in the West Bank.” The order cited “high levels of extremist settler violence, forced displacement of people and villages and property destruction.”

Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned five Israeli entities and three people for what it said was support of acts of “violent extremism” in Judea and Samaria.

Israeli Settlements
Residents of the Samaria community of Ramat Migron, Sept. 8, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.

“This resolution means that when the Biden administration pushes forward sanctioning people against a Palestinian state or against the two-state solution, they are basically sanctioning the State of Israel,” said Rothman. 

“They may be picking on some individual or entity, but in reality they are sanctioning the state of Israel because the objection to a two-state solution is a consensus in Israel,” he added. 

“These sanctions besides being immoral are not a way to treat an ally,” he added. “Israel opposes the two-state solution. Sanctioning Israelis for views that their elected representatives and the vast majority and consensus of Israelis hold is not a way to treat an ally,” he concluded.

Ramallah criticizes the Knesset vote

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesperson for Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas, on Thursday slammed the resolution rejecting Palestinian statehood.

“There is no peace or security for anyone without the establishment of a Palestinian state in accordance with international legitimacy,” he said, adding that “terrorism is Israel, that launches a continuous aggression to kill children, women and the elderly,” according to the P.A.’s official Wafa news agency.

Pro-Palestinian Protester in Washington, D.C.
An anti-Israel protester holds a Palestinian flag two weeks after the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in southern Israel in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 21, 2023. Credit: Volodymyr Tverdokhlib/Shutterstock.

Abu Rudeineh noted that 149 United Nations member states recognize the “State of Palestine” and that it had observer status at the international body, where its flag flies.

He claimed that Israel’s ruling coalition is pushing “the entire region into the abyss,” and accused the United States of “bias and unlimited support” for the Jewish state.

The P.A. official said that peace will only be achieved with the establishment of a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

Hussein al-Sheikh, secretary general of the executive committee of the P.L.O. and a top aide to Abbas, tweeted that the vote “confirms the racism of the occupying state and its disregard for international law and international legitimacy, and its insistence on the approach and policy of perpetuating the occupation forever and the absence of a partner for achieving peace on the Israeli side and undermining all signed agreements.”

Al-Sheikh called on more countries to recognize Palestine as a state in response to the Knesset decision “to protect the two-state solution,” and for “Arab brothers to respond appropriately to this dangerous decision.”

“We affirm that the Palestinian state is what remains, and that the occupation is going to disappear and will leave sooner or later,” he concluded.


Joshua Marks, Amelie Botbol

Source: https://www.jns.org/knesset-votes-68-9-for-resolution-against-a-palestinian-state/

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