Friday, September 7, 2018

'Israel considered intervening in Syrian civil war before Russia stepped in' - Ariel Kahana


by Ariel Kahana

"We missed our chance to impact the situation and ‎now we lack the necessary leverage," senior ‎Israeli minister says.

Israel considered military intervention in the ‎Syrian civil war before Russia stepped in to aid ‎President Bashar Assad, senior officials admitted Wednesday.‎

The possibility was considered about three years ‎ago, at the height of the conflict ravaging ‎Israel's neighbor to the north. ‎

The Russian military intervention in the Syrian ‎civil war began in September 2015, after an official ‎request by Assad for ‎military aid in his war against the rebels trying to ‎unseat him and various jihadist groups, including al-Qaida and ‎Islamic State. ‎

At the time, Israel considered potential military ‎intervention in the fighting taking place on the Syrian Golan, ‎over the battles' proximity to the Israeli border. ‎

At stake was the question of what would serve ‎Israel's interest best – a weakened Assad regime or ‎contending with Islamic State and al-Qaida's ‎presence on the border.‎

According to senior officials, there were several ‎instances during that period of the civil war when ‎Israeli intervention could have toppled Assad, ‎especially after it became clear that the Syrian ‎army was using chemical weapons against its own ‎people. ‎

Israel Hayom learned that decision-makers swayed on ‎the matter. A more assertive policy of intervening ‎in the fighting taking place on the Syrian Golan ‎could have altered Israel's regional leverage and influence ‎over Syria in the post-war era, but on the other ‎hand, stepping into the war spelled friction with ‎the warring parties and the potential high cost in ‎human lives.‎

Israel eventually opted to maintain its policy of ‎nonintervention, as defense officials concluded that ‎regardless of how the Syrian civil war ends, the ‎war-torn country will never be the same again. ‎

Sources privy to this decision said the possibility ‎of an Israeli intervention in the civil war ‎was shelved once Russia decided to send its troops to ‎Syria. ‎

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President ‎Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip ‎Erdogan are scheduled to hold a summit in Tehran on ‎Friday to discuss Syria's political future, now that Assad has ‎regained control of much of the country. ‎

Iran has vowed to help Syria rebuild its ‎military, which has been significantly debilitated ‎by the seven-year conflict.‎

‎"We missed our chance to impact the situation and ‎now we lack the necessary leverage," a senior ‎Israeli minister told Israel Hayom Wednesday.‎

He noted that while Israel can present demands to ‎curb Syria's post-war offensive capabilities, the ‎international players involved have no reason to ‎consider any Israeli demand on this matter.‎


Ariel Kahana

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/2018/09/06/israel-considered-intervening-in-syrian-civil-war-before-russia-stepped-in/

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Iran and Turkey Divert Iraq’s River Waters, Leaving Iraq on the Brink of Catastrophe - Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah


by Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah

The two countries have constructed dams on the Euphrates and the Tigris to reroute the tributaries to internal lakes and rivers, preventing the waters from entering Iraq and reducing the flow of water into Iraq by more than 40 percent of the annual flow to the Euphrates-Tigris River basin.



Institute for Contemporary Affairs
Founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation
Vol. 18, No. 25
  • The failing water infrastructure in Basra, Iraq, is causing plague-like conditions in the local population. Some 500 to 600 individuals are admitted to emergency rooms daily because of water poisoning accompanied by skin diseases. 
  • The Tigris River, which crosses the city and used to be the main source of drinking water and agriculture, is almost dry and one can cross the river on foot. A few years ago, one needed to cross on bridges or take a boat because of the depth.
  • The main factors which contributed to this humanitarian catastrophe are the six-year-long ongoing drought and, more importantly, the fact that both Turkey and Iran are diverting water away from Iraq’s rivers.
  • The two countries have constructed dams on the Euphrates and the Tigris, reducing the flow of water into Iraq by more than 40 percent. At least 42 rivers and springs from Iran have been diverted by the Iranians. The Turks have built five big dams on the Tigris and several minor ones (part of a grand design to build 14 on the Euphrates and eight on the Tigris).
  • Nearly 30 percent of the Tigris’ waters originate in Iran, where the Daryan Dam was completed and opened in 2018, leaving central and southern Iraq without adequate water. Two additional Iranian dams have reduced the flow in the Karoun and Kerkhe rivers, two main tributaries of the Tigris north of Basra.
  • Moreover, before the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iraq used to generate power from 12 hydroelectric stations. Reduced water flow has left major Iraqi cities with only an intermittent supply of electricity.
The dangerously low water level of the Tigris River
The dangerously low water level of the Tigris River 
(Screenshot, The Independent)

Global attention has been focused on the strained Ethiopian-Egyptian relations due to the construction of the Renaissance Dam by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile, whose reservoir – once filled – will probably lower the level of the Nile by one to two meters, delivering a severe blow to Egyptian life along the Nile river. But little attention has been given to the brewing conflict over the Tigris (Dajla in Arabic) and Euphrates (Furat in Arabic) waters, both iconic rivers on which Iraq’s existence in both ancient and modern times has always depended.

Map of Iraq

Deadly riots in Iraq’s southern city of Basra erupted following protests waged by the local population that have been going on since early July 2018. The turmoil worsened after the governor of Basra ordered troops to use live bullets against the protesters. Rioters stormed the provincial government building on September 4, 2018, and set it ablaze.

The cause of discontent is the crumbling and obsolete state of the local infrastructures. Today, the blame is directed mainly against the failing water infrastructure, which is causing plague-like conditions in the local population: according to the news from Basra between 500 to 600 individuals are admitted to emergency rooms daily because of water poisoning accompanied by skin diseases. Some 17,000 intestinal infection cases due to water contamination were recorded, according to Basra health authorities.1 Hospitals are unable to cope with the flow of the sick, nor do the authorities know how to deal with the spreading diseases and the threat of cholera.

Photos taken in Basra lately tell the whole story: the Tigris River, which crosses the city and used to be the main source of drinking water and agriculture, is almost dry, and one can cross the river on foot. A few years ago, one needed to cross on bridges over the river or take a boat because of the depth of the river.

Dry Iraqi river bed today.
Dry Iraqi river bed today. (Pakistani press)

Because of mismanagement, the local authorities did not meet the needs of the population living in the area, nor did they plan for developing alternative water sources. Instead, the Basra water authorities relied on the water pumped from the Shatt al-Arab marshes nearby.  The marshes are now going dry.

Beyond Basra’s Nonfeasance – Willful Diversion

However, the main factors which contributed to this humanitarian catastrophe are the six-year-long ongoing drought, characterized by erratic rainfall and, more importantly, by the fact that both Turkey and Iran are diverting water away from Iraq’s rivers.

The two countries have constructed dams on the Euphrates and the Tigris to reroute the tributaries to internal lakes and rivers, preventing the waters from entering Iraq and reducing the flow of water into Iraq by more than 40 percent of the annual flow to the Euphrates-Tigris River basin.

According to Iraqi sources, at least 42 rivers and springs of water from Iran have been diverted by the Iranians,2 causing a migration of Iraqis from the water-stricken areas. The Turks, for their part, have built five big dams on the Tigris and several minor ones (part of a grand design of building 22 dams – 14 on the Euphrates and eight on the Tigris) with the Ilisu Dam being the biggest with a reservoir of 300 square kilometers!

The water flow through the Ilisu dam in Turkey

The water flow through the Ilisu dam in Turkey 
(screen capture, YouTube)

Iraq has been particularly hit by Iranian water projects which have diverted the course of the Sirwan River, a tributary of the Tigris. Nearly 30 percent of the Tigris’ waters originate in Iran where the Daryan Dam was completed and opened in 2018. It is assessed that the water supply through the Sirwan would be reduced by as much as 60 percent, leaving central and southern Iraq without adequate water supplies.

The situation in Basra is more severe, since it is situated at the end of the course of the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers where the flow is almost nil and because of the two additional Iranian dams on the Karoun and the Kerkhe rivers, which used to be two main tributaries of the Tigris River north of Basra.  The Tigris, fed by the Karound and Kerkhe Rivers, once provided Basra with sufficient flow to provide fresh water for the local population and agriculture and to dilute pollutants poured into the river by chemical and industrial waste produced by the petroleum industry. The drop in the flow of the waters from the Tigris has led to the intrusion of saline water from the Persian Gulf up to 140 kilometers upstream of the Shatt al-Arab where the open sewage network of Basra also finds its spillway.

Salinity test in the waters of Shatt al-Arab, August 29, 20183 (Twitter)
As a result of the Turkish and Iranian water projects, Iraq has found itself with a loss of more than 50 percent of its water, which means that nearly 3 to 4 million square miles of agricultural land will turn to desert. Right now the government has ordered farmers to stop the cultivation of water-thirsty crops such as rice, corn, and cereals, forcing the government to purchase wheat from the United States and Canada.
Dry fields after the suspension of the cultivation of water-hungry crops.
Dry fields after the suspension of the cultivation of water-hungry crops.
(AFP Photo / Haidar Hamdani)

Moreover, before the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iraq used to generate power from 12 hydroelectric stations. Reduced water flow from Turkey and Iran coupled with the drought and the war with the Islamic State have left Iraq’s major cities with intermittent supply of electricity (two hours on and two hours off).

Iraq’s neighbors, both Iran and Turkey, initiated their dam projects at the peak of the Iraqi central government malfeasance. In 1990, when Turkey began filling the Ataturk Dam on the Euphrates, Iraq threatened to bomb the dam and the Turks reduced the process of filling the dam’s reservoir.

Today, however, the feeble Iraqi government is facing multi-faceted challenges: it is recovering from a four-year war with ISIS; it is undermined by an internal Shiite dispute between two opposing camps (one is pro-Iran and the other pro-Iraq);  Iran tries by all means at its disposal to pull Iraq into its sphere of influence; the Turkish military has a presence inside Iraqi sovereign territory; and Iraq faces a perennial Kurdish problem. Iraq is in no position to negotiate from a firm stance with its neighbors to solve its water problem.

While the Turks seem inclined to sympathize with the Iraqis and slow the pace of filling the reservoir of the Ilisu Dam on the Tigris, the Iranians have shown no compassion at all. Iran may even have an interest in creating a crisis in Iraq to put pressure on the Iraqi politicians to align themselves with Tehran’s political agenda. Only with Iraq ensnared in the Iranian sphere, might Iran be amenable to compromise on the water distribution between the two countries.

The irony of the matter is the fact that the once the occupying power in Iraq, the United States, probably the only regional factor that could have brokered a deal for Iraq, finds itself in open conflict with Iran and with problematic relations with Turkey’s Erdogan.

* * *
Notes

1 3.5 Million Basra Residents Are Threatened with Lethal Diseases,  https://en.shafaqna.com/3-5-million-basra-residents-are-threatened-with-lethal-diseases/
2 Iraqi FM: Iran cuts flow of 42 rivers to Iraq without warning, https://defence.pk/pdf/threads/iraqi-fm-iran-cuts-flow-of-42-river-tributaries-to-iraq-without-warning.566854/
3 https://twitter.com/MahaalGhareeb/status/1034825337492914183


Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah

Source: http://jcpa.org/article/iran-and-turkey-divert-iraqs-river-waters-leaving-iraq-on-the-brink-of-catastrophe/

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US ambassador believes Golan will be 'part of Israel forever' - Ariel Kahana


by Ariel Kahana

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman tells Israel Hayom there is "certainly" a possibility that the U.S. will officially recognize Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights



U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman
Photo: Ziv Koren 



U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman believes that the Golan Heights will remain under Israeli sovereignty, and certainly won't be placed back in the hands of Syria's current leader, President Bashar Assad.

In an exclusive interview with Israel Hayom, which will be published in full on Friday, Friedman says that "I can't imagine a circumstance where the Golan Heights will be returned to Syria. I cannot imagine, frankly, a circumstance where the Golan Heights is not a part of Israel forever. There's not even an indigenous population in the Golan Heights seeking autonomy."

"So I think you'd put Israel at a great security disadvantage by giving up the high ground of the Golan Heights," he continued. "Needless to say, I can't think of a less deserving person to receive this kind of reward than Bashar Assad. So there are a whole host of reasons why I would expect the status quo to remain."

Friedman stressed that the Trump administration may consider official recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory in the future.

Two weeks ago, during a visit to Israel, National Security Adviser John Bolton remarked that the Trump administration is not discussing possible U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Responding to this remark, Friedman said that "it is certainly possible" that the U.S. would recognize Israeli sovereignty, explaining that Bolton's remark "was simply a statement of fact. It's simply not on the list of things that are happening right now."

Friedman also dismissed any possibility that any future U.S. administrations would reverse President Donald Trump's official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital late last year.

"I really can't see that happening, no matter what party is in control," he said. "In order for an administration to reverse this, they would have to conclude that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel and Tel Aviv is. I think that would be a far more controversial thing to do than what the president did. It would be completely at odds with reality and I don't believe that there is any American politician of any party – of no party – who would take a position that is completely contrary to reality. So I don't think that's going to happen."

Attempting to explain Trump's deep affection for Israel, Friedman revealed that Israeli intelligence had helped prevent terrorist attacks on American soil, and spoke about Trump's appreciation for Israel's success.

"He likes to win," Friedman said of Trump. "He's very good at winning, he likes people who win, he thinks that success breeds more success and he knows how difficult it is to succeed, so I think he has greater admiration for what Israel has accomplished, maybe even more than some Israelis."

In the interview, Friedman also addressed the recent U.S. administration decision to defund UNRWA, the U.N. agency that supports Palestinian refugees.

"UNRWA is a critically flawed organization. It doesn't advance regional peace and actually perpetuates the conditions that make peace even harder to achieve. As such, the U.S. doesn't see how any additional investment in the agency will yield a worthy return for the American taxpayers," Friedman said.


Ariel Kahana

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/2018/09/06/us-ambassador-believes-golan-will-be-part-of-israel-forever/

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Cutting UNRWA's Support Is a Necessary Step - Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen


by Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen

The American decision to cut funding to UNRWA is a correction of a false reality that was established with the aim of perpetuating, rather than solving, the Palestinian refugee problem.


UNRWA elementary school in Gaza, photo by Muhammad Sabah via Btselem


BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 941, September 6, 2018

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:  With the sole exception of Palestinians, international law does not grant refugee status to generation after generation of any group until the end of time. The American decision to cut funding to UNRWA is therefore a correction of a false reality that was established with the aim of perpetuating, rather than solving, the Palestinian refugee problem.

The US administration’s decision to cut funding for UNRWA is a bold decision that should have been made in the last century. The Palestinian refugee phenomenon is not unique in human history, but the international approach to it – especially in its treatment by the UN and its institutions – deviates from any universally accepted measure.

Nevertheless, Israeli security experts warn against the consequences of this decision, which they believe may undermine stability. This is a classic response of experts who cling to a familiar reality rather than take necessary steps that venture into an unknown.

This response reflects natural human anxiety about changing reality. Consider workers who inform management that they need a raise. The management is faced with a dilemma. To cover the cost of a wage increase, there would have to be a corresponding increase in the price of the products, which could drive buyers towards the competition. If no corresponding increase in the price of the products is made, production will cease to be profitable. Either way, the factory will face difficulties and might close down. In view of these concerns, the management might refuse to raise the workers’ wages, warning: “You are marching towards an abyss.”

This is a classic, rational dynamic that causes people to avoid taking a step that, while desirable, could have risky consequences. Karl Marx presented this behavior as a surrender to what he called “false consciousness.” The workers continue to be exploited through the argument that they are better off preserving the existing situation.

A change in an undesirable reality begins, therefore, when people are willing to shake off their familiar understanding of reality in anticipation of a new and potentially better one. Such daring requires the willingness to pay the possible price of disrupting an existing system. Moses faced such a difficulty when he went to Pharaoh with the demand “Let my People go.” Pharaoh’s immediate response created an even more difficult situation for the Israelites, leading Moses to complain to God: “Why did you send me to Pharaoh?”

This dynamic is familiar to every leader who would introduce change. Experts will always be on hand to supply convincing reasons why the status quo should be preserved, with all its problems. Because it is familiar, it is labeled the lesser evil.

Here lies the substantive difference between the vantage point of experts – such as intelligence officers who are responsible for warning about what could happen if a familiar, stable pattern is disrupted – and that of leaders. While a leader must pay close attention to the warnings of experts, he must have the boldness to act when necessary to change realities that require correction. As David Ben-Gurion said, experts specialize in what has already happened – not what is going to happen.


This article appeared in Hebrew in Israel Hayom on September 2, 2018.

BESA Center Perspectives Papers are published through the generosity of the Greg Rosshandler Family


Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen is a senior research fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. He served in the IDF for forty-two years. He commanded troops in battles with Egypt and Syria. He was formerly a corps commander and commander of the IDF Military Colleges.

Source: https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/unrwa-support-cut/

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Ex-Spy Slams Brennan's 'Freedom of Speech' Hypocrisy - John Rossomando


by John Rossomando

  "Across the board, he's an abject failure as a CIA director.

Former CIA Director John Brennan wants Americans to view him as a victim of President Trump's alleged effort to "suppress freedom of speech & punish critics." President Trump ordered Brennan's clearance stripped in July, a decision announced on Aug. 15.

"It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent," Brennan wrote.

Brennan's protest is a case of "do as I say, not as I do," former CIA official Sam Faddis told the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT). He pointed to the case of his former CIA colleague Sabrina de Sousa as a case in point. Faddis has known de Sousa for 30 years and is a 20-year CIA veteran.

An Italian court convicted de Sousa in absentia in 2009 in connection with in the rendition of Osama Mustapha Hassan Nasr, better known as Abu Omar. CIA operatives and an Italian military police officer kidnapped Abu Omar off a Milan street in February 2003. Prosecutors claimed was sent from Rome to Milan to plan the rendition.

De Sousa told the IPT last year that she had nothing to do with it and that the case against her is unfounded.

Abu Omar, the victim in this scenario, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) via Twitter earlier this year that he believes in de Sousa's innocence. She had to sue the Department of Justice to get Italian legal representation, which arrived too late to affect the outcome. U.S. and Italian state secrets prevented de Sousa from submitting evidence.

While the de Sousa case is unrelated to the president's actions, people familiar with its details are pleased with the move. Brennan's CIA left de Sousa hanging, a spokesman for the House Intelligence Committee said under condition of anonymity. This, Faddis said, typifies Brennan's values.

"You ask people to go down range and do difficult and dangerous things. They agree out of patriotism. Whatever word you want to use, and they don't make a lot of money. That obligation is not supposed to run one way," Faddis said. "There is supposed to be just as solid of an oath back, that we will never forget you. That we will never cut you away.

"I think we have gotten to the point where those like Brennan have forgotten that entirely."

Documents related to de Sousa's case were over-classified to preserve the cover-up of the rendition, she told the IPT. Documents in the Abu Omar case, as well as de Sousa's CIA employment, are subject to the "Glomar response" in which the CIA will "neither confirm nor deny" the existence of the Abu Omar rendition or de Souza herself. CIA operating procedure calls for disavowing knowledge of those involved in compromised operations. Even House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., ran into a "brick wall" trying to find out what happened in her case, a knowledgeable U.S. government source said.

De Sousa blames Brennan for her spending 10 days in a Portuguese prison last year. Brennan twice visited Portugal in 2016, Portuguese intelligence sources said. Her case allegedly was discussed during Brennan's second trip in November 2016, but Brennan did nothing to push back against the European arrest warrant against her.

"Certainly, the smell of it is that Brennan gave the go ahead on behalf of the Obama administration for her to be [cut loose] ... I can only imagine from my experience with the Portuguese, they were probably hoping we would provide them with some sort of a mechanism to handover somebody who's an American intelligence officer to Italian authorities," Faddis said. "It sure smells like we're not lifting a finger."

In 2014, U.S. officials drew up a list of names of those convicted in the Abu Omar rendition to be presented to the Italian government for full pardons. De Sousa's name was not included. Italian President Sergio Mattarella granted full pardons to one other CIA officer and one U.S. military officer. Faddis blamed Brennan, based on his knowledge of how the CIA operates. Why de Sousa was hung out to dry while others were spared is not publicly known.

"One of the things that also baffles me about John Brennan standing up as a talking head – name a show – is what is your record of accomplishment that establishes a foundation for why I should listen to anything you have to say?" Faddis asked. "Across the board, he's an abject failure as a CIA director.

"Now, we're supposed to give into his judgement. I have no idea why."

Brennan's ideas about Iran and Hizballah were consistently discredited.

He promoted an appeasement strategy toward Iran and Hizballah before joining the Obama administration in 2009.

"His view, along with others that Iran deserved a 'place at the table' certainly gave the Islamic Republic the space to operate and extend its reach across the region," Phillip Smyth, an expert on Iranian-backed Shiite militias at the University of Maryland, told the IPT. "There are a number of ongoing regional wars and potentially future ones which will be a consequence of this thinking."

Brennan argued in 2008 that the United States should help "advance rather than thwart Iranian interests" because he thought it would be a "carrot" that could incentivize Iran to moderate its policies. He claimed that the "brash labeling" of Iran's "suspected" nuclear weapons program was responsible for Iran's support for groups like the Taliban.

Brennan argued in a 2009 speech that Hizballah's participation in Lebanese politics made the terrorist group "legitimate." He claimed that many Hizballah members were renouncing terrorism. Brennan again argued in a 2010 speech that building ties with "moderate" elements in Hizballah could help de-radicalize the terrorist group.

Appeasing the mullahs failed to moderate Iran. This became clear after the Obama administration signed the Iran deal. It used the $150 billion of formerly impounded funds received as a result of the deal to support Shiite militias in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in May.

Brennan incorrectly predicted in March 2015 that Iran wouldn't continue to dominate Iraq in congressional testimony prior to the passage of the Iran deal. He made his prediction despite outside warnings. Iran emerged from the deal in a dominant position in Iraq just as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu predicted. Iran also emerged as the dominant power in Syria following the Iran deal.

Brennan wasn't only wrong about Iran. He repeatedly argued against using the term "jihadist," saying that using the term gave terrorists undeserved religious legitimacy. Jihad was a "holy struggle" that aimed to "purify for a legitimate purpose," Brennan said.

Brennan made this point in a Feb. 13, 2010 speech sponsored by the Islamic Society of North America at New York University Law School (NYU). He repeated these same talking points in a May 26, 2010 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), adding that America wasn't at war with terrorism "because terrorism is but a tactic."

The emergence of the Islamic State (ISIS) didn't alter Brennan's thinking. He argued in 2015 that it had nothing to do with religion. Calling it "Islamic," he said, helped ISIS's recruitment effort by giving it undeserved legitimacy.

"I do think it does injustice to the tenets of religion when we attach a religious moniker to them," Brennan said.

Jihad denialism became policy under Brennan.

This was true when American Islamists, led by the legal group Muslim Advocates, turned to Brennan for help expunging training materials connecting Islamic texts with terrorism. The administration shared "your sense of concern," Brennan replied, "... and we are moving forward to ensure problems are addressed with a keen sense of urgency."

An interagency working group was formed and an FBI purge of training materials followed in 2012.

Jihadist recruitment exploded during Brennan's time in the Obama administration despite the conscious effort to not use terms like "Islamic" or "jihadist" to describe Muslim terrorists. This policy didn't deter ISIS recruitment. ISIS was "larger than al-Qaida ever was," Brennan said in a 2016 NPR interview.

His track record shows that he lets narratives and wishful thinking trump facts and that he doesn't practice what he preaches. Consequently, Brennan's commentary on national security matters should be taken with a grain of salt.


John Rossomando

Source: https://www.investigativeproject.org/7601/ex-spy-slams-brennan-freedom-of-speech-hypocrisy

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Is the Queer Reckoning upon Us? - Robert Oscar Lopez


by Robert Oscar Lopez

LGBT oppression against the American majority may finally have hit its peak. Hopefully, we will soon see sanity restored.

Over the last ten years, the LGBT movement created a brotherhood out of its victims.  I have gotten to know countless people who lost their jobs, families, public reputation, homes, or incomes because they chose to defend God's design for sexuality rather than submit to the LGBT movement's demands. 

Our travails pale beside the martyrs in the Middle East and Africa who have lost their lives to stand up for Christ.  We have nonetheless paid a painful price.  The words of Revelation 6:10 felt, for many of us, like words out of our own hearts:
They cried out with a loud voice: "Lord, the One who is holy and true, how long until You judge and avenge our blood from those who love on the earth?"  So a white robe was given to each of them, and they were told to rest a little while longer until the number would be completed of their fellow slaves and their brothers who were going to be killed just as they had been.
Each victim of the LGBT lobby has a unique story.  In a current project, I have had extensive interviews with some.  One, a doctor, faced the ultimate choice when gays in his hospital filed charges against him for warning patients about the dangers of anal sodomy.  He lost all his medical appointments rather than betray the calling God gave him as a physician.

A nurse found herself hauled before a disciplinary board for distributing pamphlets from the American College of Pediatricians.  As a pediatric nurse in urology, she knew firsthand the cost to young girls of "holding it" all day for fear of going to the bathroom.  She knew some little girls would fear the lavatory and would end up with bladder infections.  She had to leave her position.

An English professor in Ohio received notification one day that a professor, an adviser to the gay students' group, would visit her class to investigate reports against her from off campus.  She had filed a court brief about the abuses she encountered in a lesbian-headed household.  Certainly not by coincidence, suddenly, she faced an onslaught of bizarre complaints and calls for surveillance until the university released her from teaching.  The academy has essentially expelled her.

One woman who ran a daycare center in a mostly black neighborhood saw block grants requiring that she teach toddlers about homosexuality and transgenderism.  A Latina with a long career in teaching blew the whistle on her district's adoption of a pro-trans and pro-gay "Welcoming Schools" curriculum for pre-K students.  These women represented the diversity the left claimed to celebrate.  But they walked away from their livelihoods and careers because they could not violate God's word.

One man, "Jacob," honored the memory of a famous Christian artist, his personal friend.  The famed artist had died and left behind a property full of his works.  Gays in the local arts commission took over the property.  The gays immediately sought to erase the artist's Christian faith, choosing to overwhelm the property with exhibits by radical homosexual artists.  Jacob fought valiantly until the bitter end, running afoul of various Republican politicians who feigned conservative values to the public while privately cutting deals with rich homosexuals.  The pro-gay "conservatives" could tolerate nothing less than a shrine to sodomy.

One man, a counselor, had to leave California and move hundreds of miles away.  He had a journey somewhat like mine.  After years of fighting a lesbian dean, I vacated a tenured position and moved to Texas.  When I finally stopped trying to compromise my way out of persecution, I lost decades of academic research, all the friends I once had, and about 85% of my relatives to the recriminations and calumny of the gay lobby.

So many stories, each day, grow in number and tragic intensity.  The Lord is faithful, we know.  We have sought to remain, at all times, forgiving and hopeful.  But the years crawled by.  So many in their own denominations abandoned them as even their own churches, at times, deemed them an embarrassment and shunned or silenced them.  We watched as the conservative movement fell in love with free-market libertarianism and vaunted one right-wing gay after another.

But the Lord is faithful.  What seemed a hopeless situation may show signs of turning around.  At least these developments give us occasion to feel less depressed.

California Still Not Ready to Imprison People in Sodomy

California's "Stay Gay" Bill, A.B. 2943, would have banned conversion therapy so broadly that virtually any ex-gay such as myself would have been purposefully isolated and cut off from social support.  The bill looked unstoppable because it won approval in the various committees, got passed in the Assembly and Senate, and was due to be signed by the governor.  It spelled disaster for church ministries.

At the last minute, the bill's author, Evan Low, withdrew the bill.  As is often the case, the press will spin this event to make it seem positive for the LGBT movement.  The papers try to say that Low went on a "listening tour" with various faith leaders and chose to pull the bill back so it could be reintroduced to protect religious liberty.

Some useless conservative groups, who abandoned lots of us when the LGBT lobby crushed us, now rush in on cue to claim credit for stopping A.B. 2943.  Everyone wants to raise money off what happened.

Even if Low is certain to bring this bill back, and even if people will try many tricks to misrepresent how it was defeated, I know enough about the failed bill's history to take certain comfort from what transpired.

Christians across America in the grassroots – not the well funded leaders or famous spokespeople – prayed and mobilized.  Unsung heroes like my colleagues in Voices of the Voiceless and Mass Resistance California, and others, fought relentlessly even when it seemed impossible to stop this from becoming law.  God stopped the bill through his humblest servants.  Four or five years ago, there is no way a bill with this much bipartisan support could have been halted.  But the Lord is faithful.  We may be turning things around.

The Catholic Church Changes the Game

Because of the Catholic sex abuse crisis, gays must finally acknowledge that their community engages in monstrous forms of abuse.  After MeToo, the scandals about shadowbanning, anti-bullying hysteria, and furor over "fake news," the public has come to understand "abuse" as a far broader issue than literal rape.  Many tools the gay community used to smear whistleblowers and misrepresent themselves to the public have now come under severe judgment by the public.

The gay community's obsession with exposing children to images of homosexuality looks less educational and more perverted by the day, even to people who generally sympathized with the movement for the redefinition of marriage.  Moreover, in a world vomiting up anything that looks like sexual harassment, it gets harder for gay activists to glorify their takeover of children's libraries, hyper-sexualized media culture, and public discussion of their sex lives complete with all the gory details.  "Gaslighting," blackmail, whisper campaigns, fake blacklists, intimidation, suppression of research, bribery, demagoguery, threats of suicide, and perverted exhibitionism – these went from the approved weapons of a sympathetic minority ten years ago to now looking rightfully like the hallmarks of massive abuse and cover-up.

With all these seismic reversals in popular culture, revelations of epidemic homosexual abuse in the Catholic Church and a network of criminal cover-ups would seem the last thing the gay movement needs.  But the Lord is faithful.  This is, perhaps, what we need to get the public to see how evil the gay movement has always been.

I have noted in past posts that during midterm election years, there is almost always some kind of emotional gay scandal.  The cases of Matt Shepard, Mark Foley, Tyler Clementi, and others all played out just before people went to vote in midterms.  In 2002, the midterm election scandal of the day was the Catholic sex abuse scandal.  But earlier activists succeeded in spinning the abuse as a critique of the supposedly anti-gay Catholic Church.  Now, sixteen years later, their spin machine has lost control of the narrative.

Now people do not fear naming the scandal rocking Catholicism as a homosexual problem and a problem of homosexual networks engaging in wide-ranging abuses to cover up their crimes: blackmail, bribery, silencing of victims, appeals to guilt, and calls to protect the reputation of the group.  After five years of Pope Francis and his overtures to befriend gays – along with the rise of pro-gay provocateurs like Fr. James Martin – the gays find it impossible to cast the Catholic Church's abuses as apart from, or anathema to, the entrenched gay lobby.

LGBT activists paid handsomely to infiltrate the Catholic Church's highest echelons.  Now they have to pay for the influence they purchased.  The Church leadership and gay political leadership have bound themselves to one another; they will rise and fall on the same tides now.  It is no small detail that Patrick Buchanan names the Church scandal as a homosexual problem.  The Lord is faithful; he reveals all things that must be revealed at the proper time.  We have reason to hope that the Church's scandal will lead the public to ask similar tough questions about the tactics that the gay lobby has used in the past to silence those victimized by homosexuals and homosexual culture.  Perhaps this will bring justice to those of us who paid such a painful price for years and suffered in quiet desperation for too long.

The Evangelicals Get Gay Evil All of a Sudden

The evangelicals have awoken.

A few years ago, the "ReVoice" conference would have gone forward without anybody batting an eye.  The conference, which took place amid massive controversy in July 2018, reveled shamelessly in evil.  It gathered a rogue's gallery of faux theologians claiming to uphold biblical sexual ethics while really plotting ways to infiltrate the most conservative churches in America with a stealth pro-gay identity politics.

The organizers seem to have thought they would be able to proceed with this confab of wickedness in a Presbyterian church with no pushback.  Certainly, the gay lobby had spent years taking over academic bodies like the American Academy of Religion and installing collaborators across all the major denominations.  Gays had reason to believe they could flip thousands of churches to pro-gay heresy without seeing any backlash.

Yet the Lord is faithful.  As in the case with California's "stay gay" bill, the humble Christians in the grassroots finally informed themselves about the massive corruption of Christian churches.  ReVoice provoked such hot retaliation across the evangelical world that even major denominational leaders who had sought an accommodating "third way" with LGBT changed course and condemned what the infiltrators were doing.  The spotlight is on the dark money and backchannels that led to ReVoice.  I suspect that the LGBT movement will never return to the carefree ease its members enjoyed in earlier years as they took over seminaries, congregations, and Christian media outlets without anyone noticing.

The Lord's Schedule Is Not Ours

I pray that justice will come for the many unsung heroes who paid awesome costs in order to stand firm on biblical sexuality.  I pray that we will not all die with our names still sullied on slanderous blacklists, our careers and reputations wrecked by the LGBT lobby's Obama-era viciousness.  But most of all, I pray that the Lord's will be done.  "Justice is mine," says the Lord.  He will even the score when he is ready.  Until then, I will follow the advice of Paul the Apostle and be anxious for nothing.


Follow Robert Oscar Lopez at English Manif.  Also keep an eye out for new episodes of the series he hosts for Mass Resistance, called "Save our Churches."

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/09/is_the_queer_reckoning_upon_us.html

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Washington All A-Twitter About Trump - Lloyd Billingsley


by Lloyd Billingsley

“We believe strongly in being impartial,” Twitter boss Jack Dorsey testifies, but will he “keep all voices on the platform”?




On Tuesday, Twitter’s legal and policy boss Vijaya Gadde told POLITICO that the company’s leeway for vitriolic tweets from world leaders, “is not a blanket exception for the president or anyone else.”  So as the piece by Nancy Scola and Ashley Gold said, “not even President Donald Trump is immune from being kicked off the platform if his tweets cross a line with abusive behavior.” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sounded a somewhat different note in his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.

We believe strongly in being impartial, and we strive to enforce our rules impartially,” Dorsey said in prepared testimony. “In fact, from a simple business perspective and to serve the public conversation, Twitter is incentivized to keep all voices on the platform.” That has not always been the case with the social media company that launched in 2006.

As POLITICO reported last November, a Twitter employee “deliberately took down President Donald Trump’s Twitter account,” which for 11 minutes told users, “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!”  Twitter first explained the president’s account was “inadvertedly deactivated due to human error,” but later tweeted that reviews “pointed to a deliberate act of online sabotage.” Twitter did not name the saboteur, but as TechCruch learned his name was Bahtiyar Duysak, “a twenty-something with Turkish roots who was born and raised in Germany.”

Duysak came to the United States under a work and study visa. He had worked at Google and YouTube with the contractor Vaco and at Twitter with Pro Unlimited. On his last day with Twitter, “someone reported Trump’s account” and Duysak “put the wheels in motion to deactivate it.” He later said the action was a “mistake” but told reporters, “I didn’t do anything that I was not authorized to do. I didn’t go to any site I was not supposed to go to. I didn’t break any rules.”

Back in Germany, Duysak agreed to an interview, “because he had a connection to a Muslim-focused community center in the Bay Area,” where a relative of TechCrunch reporter Khaled “Tito” Hamze volunteers.

Bahtiyar Duysak told CNN he was “an ordinary guy,” who enjoys cars and going to the gym. In his free time he volunteers at a “Muslim community center,” that CNN did not identify. Twitter and Pro Unlimited wouldn’t talk about Duysak who “declined to give details of exactly how he took down the account but insisted he didn’t do anything illegal.”

As the Muslim community center volunteer explained, “Even if it was on purpose, it still shouldn't have taken place.” On the other hand, he said, “I’m not a rogue person” and “everyone will agree I’m reliable and trustworthy.” And as he told TechCrunch, “I love Twitter and I love America.”

As CNN noted, some of the president’s critics said whoever took down his account “should be considered a hero.” Rep. David Jolly, Florida Republican, tweeted, “the employee at Twitter who shut off Trump’s account for 11 mins could become a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.” Others wondered about the double standards.

Twitter shut down the account of Republican strategist Roger Stone after he was critical of CNN. As the informal Trump adviser said, “people on twitter threaten to kill me, my wife , my children and even my dogs but they are not banned.” 

Dorsey denies any “shadow banning” of conservatives but told lawmakers Twitter was ill-equipped for “the immensity of problems” such as “abuse, harassment, troll armies, propaganda through bots and human coordination, disinformation campaigns and divisive filter bubbles.”  The “required changes” would not be easy, Dorsey testified, but “today we’re committing to the people and this committee to do it openly.”

Similar issues emerged in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before congress last April. Sen. Cory Gardner asked Zuckerberg if the government had ever demanded that Facebook remove a page from the site. “Yes, I believe so,” Zuckerberg said, but he did not indicate the content of the page Facebook took down and did not identify which government official made the demand.

Senator Ted Cruz brought up Facebook’s bias and political censorship, suppression of stories on the IRS scandal, and a Trump support page that had been blocked. Zuckerberg said Silicon Valley was “an extremely left-leaning place,” so this was a “fair concern.” Facebook would allow “civil rights organizations” to edit content and the social media giant was also cooperating with Robert Mueller’s probe. “We are working with them,” Zuckerberg said.

The day before Dorsey’s testimony, POLITICO reporters asked Vijaya Gadde if Twitter had been in contact with special counsel Robert Mueller and his Russia probe. “Yes,” said Gadde but Twitter’s legal and policy boss “declined to discuss any details.”

Meanwhile, back in Germany, Muslim community center volunteer Bahtiyar Duysak wants a break from work and plans to get into banking. As he told TechCrunch, Donald Trump is “a very successful person and I admire his hard work and how he made it to get the highest position. But I think he needs to learn a little as a politician.”

When Bahtiyar sabotaged the account, the president tweeted “My Twitter account was taken down for 11 minutes by a rogue employee. I guess the word must finally be getting out – and having an impact.” So maybe the president has already learned a few things.


Lloyd Billingsley is the author of the new crime book, Lethal Injections: Elizabeth Tracy Mae Wettlaufer, Canada’s Serial Killer Nurse, and the recently updated Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/271253/washington-all-twitter-about-trump-lloyd-billingsley

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