Friday, January 25, 2019

France: EU-Iran trade system to be launched in coming days - Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff


by Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

European Union preparing "special purpose vehicle" that will facilitate non-dollar trade with Iran, thus circumventing U.S. sanctions on Iran

France's foreign minister said on Wednesday that he expected a European-backed system to facilitate non-dollar trade with Iran and circumvent U.S. sanctions would be established in the coming days.

Diplomats have told Reuters the European Union is set to officially launch the mechanism this month, but the so-called special purpose vehicle (SPV) will not operate for several months because technical details still need to be worked out.

The vehicle, designed to bypass fresh U.S. curbs imposed after Washington quit a landmark nuclear deal, will be registered in France, run by Germany and likely to include France, Germany and Britain as shareholders.

The SPV "should be implemented in the coming days," Jean-Yves Le Drian told the French parliament's foreign affairs committee.

"It will work as a sort of clearinghouse that will allow in euros for Iran to benefit from some of its oil resources and at the same time buy essential products from the main three main [European] partners," Le Drian said.

Under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Iran restricted its nuclear power program, widely seen in the West as a front for developing the means to make atomic bombs, in exchange for an end to international sanctions against it.

To circumvent renewed U.S. sanctions imposed after Washington pulled out of the deal, the SPV was conceived as a possible way to help match Iranian oil and gas exports against purchases of EU goods – effectively a barter arrangement.

However, those ambitions appear to have been toned down with diplomats saying the SPV could realistically only be used to facilitate smaller trade that might be tolerated by the Trump administration, for example humanitarian or farming products.


Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/2019/01/24/france-eu-iran-trade-system-to-be-launched-in-coming-days/

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter



'Western imams who praise Islamic Caliphate are terrorists' - Mordechai Sones


by Mordechai Sones

Hat tip: Dr. Carolyn Tal

Egyptian-Canadian writer: 'The main plan of Islamists is to destroy Western civilization - they've said it themselves.'


Imam

Egyptian-Canadian writer Said Shoaib said imams in the West embrace colonialist Islam and deceive Westerners by talking about the “greatness of the Islamic caliphate,” the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported.

During an interview with German-Egyptian political scientist and author Hamed Abdel-Samad which was uploaded to Abdel-Samad's Youtube account last week, Shoaib said such words constitute a form of terrorism that might become armed terrorism should the opportunity present itself, and the West has failed to realize this.



Shoaib explained this form of Islamism is being taught in mosques and in Islamic schools throughout the West, and the natural course of such education is terrorism.

Hamed Abdel-Samad added that the same Muslims who show enmity to other religions in their home countries come to the West and criticize Christians, Jews, the West, and secularism while demanding that nobody criticizes Islam.

He also called the Canadian government naïve, criticizing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “romantic” fantasy that everybody should “hold hands and hug and kiss one another.” Abdel-Samad said Trudeau doesn’t know what is really being taught in Canadian mosques; Shohaib added that Western politicians don’t know anything about Islam.

Shohaib said “a lot of blood will be shed here in the West”, and if Western politicians fail to stop the terrorist “wave” in the West, ordinary citizens will become more inclined to elect increasingly “extreme” leaders. He added: “The main plan of the Islamists is to destroy Western civilization. They have said it themselves!”


Mordechai Sones

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/258089

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter



France builds “Trump-style” wall to keep illegal Muslim migrants from breaking into Britain from Calais - Christine Douglass-Williams


by Christine Douglass-Williams

The barrier is being erected at a petrol station in the Marcel-Doret area where lorries stop to fill up with fuel before heading to the port and onwards to the United Kingdom.

France has speedily “built a ten-foot wall at a Total station in Calais used by migrants who attempt to storm lorries and break into Britain.”

The wall is being compared by detractors to the “Trump wall,” and it is just as needed: “there are an estimated 600 mostly male migrants hailing from Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria squatting in makeshift camps around the port town waiting to break into Britain— down from an estimated 10,000 during the heyday of the infamous ‘Calais Jungle.'”

Reminder: the Calais jungle was a violent no-go war zone.


“France Builds Trump-Style Wall to Stop Illegals Getting to Britain,” by Victoria Friedman, Breitbart, January 21, 2019:
French authorities have built a ten-foot wall at a Total station in Calais used by migrants who attempt to storm lorries and break into Britain.
The barrier is being erected at a petrol station in the Marcel-Doret area where lorries stop to fill up with fuel before heading to the port and onwards to the United Kingdom. It is set to be finished by mid-February.
Local prefect Fabien Sudry told Nord Littoral that “smuggling networks meet there and take advantage of stations near the port to get migrants in trucks.”
“The situation was rather tense at this station. The police regularly had stones thrown at them,” Mr Sudry said.
A Total spokesman confirmed the barrier was built at the request of the Calais prefecture to “protect customers, staff, and migrants,” the Daily Mail reports, with locals comparing it to the wall that U.S. President Donald Trump wants to build along the southern border of the United States to stop mass illegal migration from Central and South America.

Pro-migration aid workers object to the wall, as the barrier between the two spaces is “divisive.”
One Calais-based charity worker who wished to withhold their identity complained: “The wall is ugly and of course divisive.”

“This is very political — it aims to show desperate people that they are not welcome here, and that more and more walls and police will be used to keep them out.
“If you oppose such policies, you can get into a lot of trouble.”
There are an estimated 600 mostly male migrants hailing from Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria squatting in makeshift camps around the port town waiting to break into Britain — down from an estimated 10,000 during the heyday of the infamous “Calais Jungle”.
It is believed to be the first time that a wall has been so quickly erected in a hotspot area for trafficking with the intention of stopping migrants attempting to make the journey to the United Kingdom…..

Christine Douglass-Williams

Source: https://www.jihadwatch.org/2019/01/france-builds-trump-style-wall-to-keep-illegal-muslim-migrants-from-breaking-into-britain-from-calais

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter



Inside the Black Hebrew Israelites' World of Hate - Joseph Klein


by Joseph Klein

Who, exactly, are the black supremacists who ignited the recent D.C. confrontation?




Members of a black supremacist group known as The House of Israel set off the confrontation in Washington, D.C. last week that created a national media firestorm. Many in the media, however, were all too anxious to blame the clash on white Catholic high school students from Kentucky who were in the nation’s capital to participate peacefully in the annual March for Life. The media vultures pounced on an out-of-context video clip that appeared to show the students disrespecting a Native American elder very nearby who had approached them while chanting and beating on a drum. Once a longer video emerged, however, it was clear that the black supremacists who were in the same vicinity, not the Catholic students, were the culprits. The members of The House of Israel, part of a broader movement of Black Israelites, were captured on the video insulting Native Americans as “savages” as long as they continued worshipping idols, and then insulting women who dared to argue with these self-described “real men.” After observing students from the Covington Catholic high school standing nearby, the Black Hebrew Israelites hurled vicious homophobic, racist and anti-Catholic insults at them.

The House of Israel members who precipitated the Washington, D.C. confrontation are an offshoot of a broader black religious movement that is sometimes referred to as Black Israelism or Hebrew Israelites. As described in Forward, “Hebrew Israelites are people of color, mostly African Americans, who view the biblical Israelites as their historic ancestors. For Hebrew Israelites, the transatlantic slave trade was foretold in scripture and they understand those Africans who were enslaved in the Americas as Israelites, severed from their heritage.” The movement is more than a century old.

Within the movement, there are a variety of black groups claiming Jewish roots and an historic connection to Israel. As Daniel Greenfield noted in his FrontPage column, “Some Black Hebrew groups just have their beliefs, but are friendly and pose no threat to anyone.” At the same time, however, “there are racist and hateful Black Israelite groups,” Mr. Greenfield added.

Even the leftwing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) took note of “black supremacist groups on the extremist fringe of the Hebrew Israelite movement.” These black supremacists believe, in SPLC’s words, that they “are God's true chosen people because they, not the people known to the world today as Jews, are the real descendants of the Hebrews of the Bible.” SPLC described their belief system as “basically the reversed-color mirror image of the Christian Identity theology embraced by many white supremacists.” This belief system gives its adherents license in their minds to hurl racist, anti-Semitic and other hateful invective.

The House of Israel is one of these black supremacist groups. It is headquartered in New York City but has branches in various cities. One of The House of Israel members who precipitated the Washington, D.C. confrontation calls himself “Chief Ephraim Israel.” He claimed that his group’s insults, which he admitted “sparked it all,” were the “words of God.” He added: “It was piercing. Their souls was (sic) getting ripped. They were catching darts and ninja stars all into their soul.” Chief Israel's self-proclaimed “words of God” included, among other racist and homophobic profanities aimed at the Catholic students and teachers, “a bunch of child-molesting faggots,” “dirty ass crackers," and “bunch of babies made out of incest.”

Even after the more complete picture of the confrontation became known, many in the media, who had been so quick to condemn the Catholic students, did not apologize for their rush to judgment. Some even doubled down. The students should still be held responsible for provoking the situation because they chose to wear MAGA hats, CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon opined. “The MAGA hat carries a certain connotation that provokes a conditioned reaction from many people, especially from marginalized people,” Lemon said. Never mind the death threats against the students and their families, for which the out-of-control media were partly responsible through their reckless misreporting. Cuomo excused the media’s misreporting, claiming that it can be “corrected” and that the media scrutiny “has been balanced.”

Issac Bailey, in an opinion article for CNN, claimed the “students should share in the blame.” While Bailey did not try to defend The House of Israel race-baiters and homophobes who started the confrontation, he said they were only “literal street preachers shouting into the wind.” The Hebrew Israelites, he declared, did not have the relative power of “the students from that mostly-white Catholic high school” who had aligned themselves with President Trump by wearing the MAGA hats.

Ann Peterson, a correspondent for the discredited Buzzfeed, tweeted: “One theme of the conversations over the past 24 hours = how deeply familiar this look is. It's the look of white patriarchy, of course, but that familiarity — that banality — is part of what prompts the visceral reaction. This isn't spectacular. It's life in America.” She was comparing the smiling face of Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann, who has figured prominently in the controversy surrounding the confrontation, with a younger version of the face of the left’s archenemy, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Freshman Representative Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, went beyond criticizing the MAGA hats and so-called “white privilege.” She tweeted an unsubstantiated allegation that the Covington students were taunting the Black Israelite protesters “and led racist chants.” The tweet was removed after receiving much backlash. Omar is no stranger to engaging in hate speech herself, as when she accused the Jewish state of Israel of “evil doings.”

Here’s the bottom line. The Black Hebrew Israelite members of the House of Israel who started the confrontation last week in Washington, D.C. are the real preachers of hate worthy of condemnation. They are the ones who spewed racist, sexist, and homophobic vitriol as well as their anti-Catholic insults. Yet the left, which claims to stand up for certain allegedly victimized groups attacked by the House of Israel militants, such as Native Americans, women and gays, have largely given these hate-mongers a pass. They have done so to keep the spotlight on the Covington Catholic High School students as poster boys for the left’s white privilege, toxic masculinity, anti-Trump and anti-Catholic narratives. The left is willing to excuse the House of Israel black supremacists for their hateful rhetoric as supposedly justifiable payback for the horrible "oppression" their distant ancestors were said to have experienced. Once again, we see a vivid demonstration of what I have called the Progressives’ Republic of Virtue.


Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/272658/inside-black-hebrew-israelites-world-hate-joseph-klein

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter



Finally Signs of Hope for Venezuela? - Shoshana Bryen


by Shoshana Bryen

President Trump is leading the countries of the Western Hemisphere – with a few disgraceful exceptions – in denouncing Maduro's socialist paradise.

Is it too soon to cheer for the Venezuelan people, who have taken their future into their own hands – at grave risk? Is it too soon to cheer the Trump administration for offering the interim government of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó support and recognition? Is it too soon to cheer the solidarity of the Western Hemisphere (minus Cuba and, sadly, Mexico)?

No. It is not.

Regardless of what happens tomorrow, this is a moment to hope, pray, hold our breath, and cheer. Video is available showing tens of thousands of Venezuelans marching through Caracas in support of Guaidó; other clips show security forces using live ammunition on people running through the streets. Thus far, the Venezuelan military has appeared loyal to Maduro, and at least eight people were reported killed in the streets.

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo said, "We call on the Venezuelan military and security forces to continue protecting the welfare and well-being of all Venezuelan citizens, as well as U.S. and other foreign citizens in Venezuela." It can be taken as a warning.

The Russians are there. Perhaps sensing trouble, in December, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that "two Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers, an Antonov An-124 heavy military transport aircraft and an Ilyushin Il-62 long-haul plane arrived at in Caracas." Venezuela's defense minister said up to 100 Russian personnel would arrive as part of a joint exercise. Not to be left out, Iranian naval deputy commander Rear Admiral Touraj Hassani Mogaddam announced, "Among our plans in the near future is to send two or three vessels with special helicopters to Venezuela in South America on a mission that could last five months."

Will they fight for their guy? Probably not, although Venezuela is heavily in debt to both Russia and China. Who rules matters.

The American response, in the hemispheric sense, is a wonder. The United States, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Argentina, and Chile rose together to recognize the interim government. Maduro blames the United States, but we didn't have to. The understanding from the top of Canada to the bottom of Chile is that the people have a right to express their views in a free and fair election – and Maduro did not give them that. Mexico and Cuba stand alone in supporting Mr. Maduro. Cuba isn't surprising, but Mexico should be ashamed. The remaining countries have taken no position.

It is worth a detour here, a short recap. Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro, and Hugo Chávez before him, took a wealthy, democratic country with oil reserves enough to help the poorer segments of the country and, by imposing on the people an extreme form of socialism with draconian limits on civil and political rights, wrecked it. Professor Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins University calculated the inflation rate at 80,000 percent for 2018. Human Rights Watch castigated the Maduro government for ignoring the crisis in food and medicine. "Authorities deny the existence of a crisis. They have not articulated or implemented effective policies to alleviate it on their own, and have made only limited efforts to obtain international humanitarian assistance that could significantly bolster their own limited efforts." Looting and "dumpster diving" are common occurrences, and 3 million people are said to have left the country. As long as two years ago, it was reported that Venezuela's poorest population had lost an average of 19 pounds, and many, even in higher income brackets, were skipping meals. Nothing has gotten better since then.

There is a message here for American socialists.

Another short recap: Venezuela and Iran have worked together to finance terrorism through the drug trade and to promote virulent anti-Americanism across South America. Hezb'allah is the third leg of the triad. Iran's Quds Force – established in 1980 and responsible for external Iranian military operations, including in Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Central Asia – was said to be operating in Venezuela as early as 2015.

That gives the United States and our South American allies in fighting the monster of the drug trade, coupled with terrorist weapons and ideology, a legitimate reason to be concerned about who governs Venezuela.

The Trump administration has played it well in the first hours.

Maduro tried to expel diplomats from the United States and other countries that have sided with the interim government. Secretary Pompeo replied, "The United States does not recognize the Maduro regime as the government of Venezuela. Accordingly, the United States does not consider former president Nicolas Maduro to have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations with the United States or to declare our diplomats persona non grata."

Tomorrow is another day. But if the people of Venezuela win their battle for freedom and an economic system that allows them to prosper as they have in the past, there is hope as well for other people under the boot of repressive governments.

Iran comes to mind.

Shoshana Bryen

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/01/finally_signs_of_hope_for_venezuela.html

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter



How California’s Environmentalism Increased Carbon Emissions - Daniel Greenfield


by Daniel Greenfield

Environmentalists are the biggest threat to the environment.




Jerry Brown, California’s outgoing governor, wants environmentalism to be his legacy. It’s certainly a better legacy than the 3 people murdered in his final month in office by illegal alien criminals whom his sanctuary state law protected from ICE detainers. But Brown’s environmental legacy is equally terrible.

Governor Brown earned the nickname ‘Governor Moonbeam’ for his soliloquies about Spaceship Earth.

"My own belief is that California has a unique place on the planet. It's been a place of dreams. We can pursue a path of benign energy," he rhapsodized, early in his political career.

Brown’s environmental fanaticism has wrecked California’s agriculture and helped cause a drought by diverting water supplies and failing to make any serious provisions for water preservation and reclamation. As a pseudoscientific notion about carbon causing global warming took hold, he vowed a carbon crackdown. California, he ordered last year, would go “carbon neutral” by 2045.

Doing so would require eliminating California’s oil and gas, outlawing cars, plastic cups and what’s left of its manufacturing and agriculture. Electricity would become unaffordable to all except the very wealthy.

And it wouldn’t matter because Brown’s forest fires and droughts would raise carbon numbers more than all the cars on all the freeways or the air conditioning in the homes of the people he had targeted.

The Department of the Interior estimated that the 2018 wildfire season produced 68 million tons of carbon dioxide. “This number equates to about 15 percent of all California emissions, and it is on par with the annual emissions produced by generating enough electricity to power the entire state for a year,” the press release noted.

The environment, as usual, ‘pollutes’ itself far more than the entire human race ever could. But the fires that devastated California had a little help from environmentalists and their tree-hugging cult.

"There's too much dead and dying timber in the forest, which fuels these catastrophic fires. Proper management of our forests, to include small prescribed burns, mechanical thinning, and other techniques, will improve forest health and reduce the risk of wildfires, while also helping curb the carbon emissions," Secretary Zinke had warned.

The sanctity of the tree is a fundamental tenet of the environmentalist creed. Saving the planet, they believed, required fighting loggers who wanted to chop down the trees and harm the environment. But trees, like every other lifeform, will either have their numbers managed naturally or by humanity. When people don’t harvest trees, forest fires naturally burn through and stimulate new forest growth.

California’s efforts to protect trees led to massive forest fires that claimed the lives of men, women and children, that destroyed thousands of homes, and also burned countless numbers of trees.

While natural wildfires regenerate forests, the lack of forestry management caused a rebound effect leading to severe fires that not only destroyed massive numbers of trees, but limited tree regrowth.

Environmentalism has its roots in a romanticist cult that arose in opposition to industrialization which refuses to understand that the environment operates in cycles, rather than existing in a fixed utopian state until human industry disrupts its natural functioning. Political influence has vested the cult with the trappings of pseudoscience fed by researchers willing to say anything for government grants.

Placing ideology ahead of science proved as debilitating to California’s environment as it did in the USSR.

California’s Air Resources Board however remains committed to ignoring the impact of its policies in much the same way that Soviet officials ignored their impact of their environmental catastrophes. 

The ARB has chosen to score only carbon emissions produced by industry and direct human activities, not those produced by environmental policies. That allows the ARB to claim victory over carbon while ignoring the actual amounts of carbon emissions in California.

ARB’s spokesman insisted that it “can only regulate what can be controlled.”


The wildfires turned so historically devastating as a result of California’s environmental regulations. Brown and his environmental allies however blamed the wildfires on “climate change”. But if global warming really caused the wildfires, then why not count the carbon emissions from the fires?

The answer is that the environmentalist policies are a political hoax. And imaginary carbon targets have to be met through fake numbers for fighting a fake problem by ignoring environmental catastrophes.

California won’t actually reduce its carbon emissions. Instead it will go on raising electricity rates, gas prices and outlawing basic necessities, such as plastic bags, while declaring victory over carbon. The actual emission numbers will be buried in a wave of carbon trading scams, in which African countries will be paid to reduce their industrial output to atone for California’s industrial sins.

Carbon trading, when legitimate, impoverishes the Third World, eliminating jobs and industry, causing famines and crushing social mobility, putting money in the bank accounts of governments and not in the hands of the people, but mostly it’s a scam that can’t be meaningfully verified or confirmed. There will be more carbon than ever and Californians will be taxed more than ever, while the profits will go to, the green tycoons handling the carbon transactions while donating to Democrats, and to African warlords.

And when environmentalists admit the existence of the carbon spike, they falsely blame it on industry.

The Peoples Climate Movement claimed that a national 3.4% carbon rise proved "we can’t trust unregulated market forces to save us from climate change". Its solution is "federal, state, and local level" government intervention and a "Green New Deal".

But it’s federal, state and local level government intervention that caused rising carbon numbers. Market forces would have prevented the wildfires and lowered those dreaded carbon emissions.

And not just in California.

National Geographic reported that climate researchers found that the western drought had led to an extra 100 megatons in carbon emissions or the equivalent of adding 1.4 million cars every year.

California had become more dependent on hydroelectric power, which is far more reliable than the trendy, but erratic solar and wind, and is loathed by environmentalists. As the artificial drought worsened, California had to revert back to fossil fuels, raising carbon numbers.

The artificial droughts, caused by the diversion of water for environmental purposes and a failure to construct dams and harvest water resources, had reduced the use of hydroelectric power. Instead of building dams and reservoirs, Brown, Obama and other Democrats, had exploited the crisis to impose drastic rationing and increase environmentalist spending. But water mismanagement for environmental reasons led to higher fossil fuel use and higher rates of carbon emissions.

And there’s no sign that this cycle of environmental catastrophes caused by environmental regulations is about to change. California wildfires are projected to increase as the environmental cult continues obstructing realistic forestry management and viable timber industries. And the failure to maintain and expand water resources will go on causing droughts. These will increase carbon emission rates.

Environmentalists have made fossil fuels into carbon villains, but the latest national numbers show that even as coal plants closed, carbon rose anyway because of a cold winter, leading people in New England to heat their homes. Even as the war on coal was working, “emissions from residential and commercial buildings… for heating and cooking) increased by 10% in 2018 to their highest level since 2004.”

Once again, the environment had defeated the environmentalists.

Environmentalists spend a great deal of time claiming to study the human impact on the environment, but have a very poor grasp of how the environment works on its own terms, and how it impacts people.

Obama and Brown’s carbon cutting goals are impossible, not just because they would destroy the income and quality of life of ordinary Americans, but because their tactics obstruct their goals.

Environmentalists can’t fix the environment because they don’t understand how it works. Environmental policies cause environmental catastrophes making environmentalists the biggest threat to the environment.


Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/272495/how-californias-environmentalism-increased-carbon-daniel-greenfield

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter



Microsoft Using Spurious Leftist “Fact-Checking” Site to Place Warning Label on Jihad Watch - Robert Spencer


by Robert Spencer

But who checks the fact-checkers?





Microsoft has now placed a warning label on Jihad Watch for those who use its Edge browser.
This once again raises the question I keep asking again and again: quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches the watchmen?

According to the BBC, NewsGuard warnings have also appeared on the Daily Mail and Sputnik. But what about NewsGuard itself? Is it fair? Unbiased? Trustworthy? No to all three; it is just another “fact-checking” organization with entrenched Leftist biases that is flagging sites that don’t hold firmly to the Leftist line as inaccurate, without acknowledging their own biases, gaps in knowledge, or inconsistency.

This is just another way to shut down sites that don’t parrot the Leftist agenda, which includes embracing of mass Muslim migration and staunch opposition to any opposition to jihad terror and Sharia oppression. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which NewsGuard relies on extensively in its hit piece on Jihad Watch, has long designated Jihad Watch as a “hate group.” The idea that it’s “hate” to oppose jihad mass murder and Sharia oppression of women, gays and others is defamatory and absurd, but nonetheless it has resulted in donations to Jihad Watch not being accepted by MasterCard and Visa, and in my being dropped from Patreon and GoFundMe. It has also resulted in my being shadowbanned on Twitter and Facebook, and routinely vilified in the establishment media.

And now, if all that doesn’t work, and you still come to Jihad Watch via Microsoft Edge (and other browsers will almost certainly follow), you’ll get a warning label falsely claiming that our work is inaccurate.

They’re desperate to silence me and shut down Jihad Watch, and while they may well succeed, they will not thereby turn truth into falsehood and falsehood into truth. The truths we expose here will remain, and they will be dealing with them sooner or later, no matter how much they deny and ignore them.

Last summer, when John Gregory of NewsGuard contacted me, I wrote an article at FrontPage about the spurious “fact-checking” procedures of Gregory and his cohorts. It’s worth reprinting in full here now:

Steven Brill’s NewsGuard and the “Fact-Checking” Scam
  Who watches the watchmen?

In their ongoing efforts to discredit, marginalize, and silence all those who dissent from their agenda, Leftists are increasingly trying to fool the public by establishing ostensibly neutral “fact-checking” organizations that purport to identify “fake news,” but which actually apply that label only to those who don’t parrot their nonsense. One of the most notorious examples of this is Snopes, which claims to be an objective arbiter of the accuracy of news reports, but which I have shown to be a deeply biased and misleading site: see here and here.

Recently I was contacted by John Gregory, an underling from a new entry in this field, NewsGuard, an initiative of the hard-Left self-appointed news arbiter Steven Brill. It was obvious that Gregory’s pen was sweating blood, and in my answers, I asked him about his own biases and those of NewsGuard. Gregory, as you’ll see below, ducked my questions, but his biases (and NewsGuard’s) are nonetheless obvious from his invocation of the Southern Poverty Law Center, his claim that it is inaccurate to say that the UN supports jihad, and more. He claims that his opinions are not relevant, but of course they couldn’t be more relevant, because they inform how he regards and evaluates Jihad Watch and other news sites. His refusal to acknowledge that, and to explain how he claims to overcome his own biases and produce an objective evaluation, is evidence of either astonishing naivete or craven dishonesty.

Here is my back-and-forth with Gregory:

1. John Gregory to Robert Spencer
My name is John Gregory, an analyst for NewsGuard, a new company researching and evaluating news sites to separate those which are performing real journalism.

In reviewing Jihad Watch, I had several questions about your editorial policies:

1) Does the site have a policy of correcting mistakes in its initial reporting? If so, could you point me to a recent example where a mistake was corrected and the original error was disclosed to readers?

2) Why is no biographical or contact information provided for writers other than Mr. Spencer?

3) How does the site disclose when articles are presenting the opinions of Mr. Spencer and other writers? Are those opinions presented as fact?

4) How does the site disclose its ownership by the Horowitz Freedom Center? The only mention I could find is the mailing address at the bottom of the homepage.
Thank you in advance for taking some time to answer these questions.

2. Robert Spencer to John Gregory
Some questions for you:

1. What is the political bias of NewsGuard?

2. Are you asking these questions of sites that minimize and/or deny the problem of jihad terror and Sharia oppression of women, gays, and other groups, or only of sites that call attention to it?

3. How do you distinguish what is “real journalism” as opposed to putative fake news?

4. Have you found any error of fact regarding Islam or jihad, or any demonstrably false news story, on Jihad Watch? Or do you simply object to the sources being cited? If so, on what grounds?

5. If you render a negative judgment on Jihad Watch, does Jihad Watch have any recourse and appeal? If so, how?

6. Who funds NewsGuard?

Thanks in advance for your answers.
Your answers:

1. Yes. https://www.jihadwatch.org/2018/04/active-shooter-at-youtube-headquarters-in-california-is-woman-wearing-headscarf

2. I am the primary writer and editor for the site. I operated it alone for several years, and so this is not some conscious decision, it just happened that no one thought to add this info. You have a good idea, however, and I’ll add info for Hugh Fitzgerald, Christine Douglass-Williams, and Andrew Harrod asap.

3. Opinions are never presented as fact. The commentary that goes above every article is clearly the analysis of the author, and is generally backed up with references from authoritative Islamic sources and/or other relevant material.

4. The affiliation between Jihad Watch and the Freedom Center is no secret. The mailing address listing at the bottom of page is an obvious recognition of that fact. Jihad Watch is listed as a program of the Freedom Center in my bio page on Jihad Watch, and at the bottom of every article I write, as well as in Freedom Center publications.

3. John Gregory to Robert Spencer
Thank you for clearing that up. I’ll keep checking to see if the new writer bios are added.
In response to your questions:

Some questions for you:

1. What is the political bias of NewsGuard?

We aspire to have none.

2. Are you asking these questions of sites that minimize and/or deny the problem of jihad terror and Sharia oppression of women, gays, and other groups, or only of sites that call attention to it?
We are asking these types of questions to all types of news sites, from those run by major newspapers to small market local TV stations as well as blogs, specialty publications, everybody.

3. How do you distinguish what is “real journalism” as opposed to putative fake news?

We adhere to the same standards in dealing with all sites and our criteria are found on our site, Newsguardtechnologies.com.

4. Have you found any error of fact regarding Islam or jihad, or any demonstrably false news story, on Jihad Watch? Or do you simply object to the sources being cited? If so, on what grounds?
I can’t speak to this yet as we haven’t finished our research. In cases where we cite fact checks done by other sites to which you have responded in the past, like in the case of Snopes, your response would be included.

5. If you render a negative judgment on Jihad Watch, does Jihad Watch have any recourse and appeal? If so, how?

Yes, you can make your case that our assessment is wrong
6. Who funds NewsGuard?

A full list of our investors can be found here: https://newsguardtechnologies.com/our-investors/

4. Robert Spencer to John Gregory
The new writer bios were added several days ago. You should have seen them by now.
Steven Brill, eh? Yes, sure, you’re not biased. You’re as even-handed as the day is long. Steven Brill.

5. John Gregory to Robert Spencer
Ah, I was looking in the wrong place. Our evaluation will be updated with info about the new writer bios.
Circling back on your previous question, we have found several instances where Jihad Watch has published misleading claims, failed to correct errors in its headlines and presented opinion as fact for which I’d like to offer you a chance to respond.
1. An April 2018 story entitled “Muslima nurse practitioner beheads her 7-year-old son near Rochester, New York” seems to dismiss the quote from the county sheriff about this attack having “zero indicators of anything religious, zero indicators in anything cultural,” and presents a Qur’an verse as proof of the religious nature of the attack. Your story also says this alleged perpetrator is a Muslim, but I can’t find mention of her religion from any of the local news outlets covering the story. Did Jihad Watch independently confirm her religion? Was there some other source pointing to a religious motive?
2. A July 2015 story based on Pamela Geller’s tweet about an ISIS-linked account tweeting minutes before a shooting in Chattanooga was later found to have occurred hours after the attack. Your story was updated to acknowledge this, but the original headline and story based on the false information remain unchanged. Does your corrections policy not include changing headlines later found to be incorrect?
3. A Dec. 2015 story entitled “House Democrats Move to Criminalize Criticism of Islam.” That headline ignores how the resolution as proposed was non-binding, meaning no new criminal statutes would have been enacted as your headline said. Was this story ever corrected or retracted?
4. Among the instances where stories on Jihad Watch have presented opinion as fact is a June 23 story by Christine Douglass-Williams calling the United Nations “jihad-supporting.” What factual basis was there for attaching that description to the U.N.?
5. We will be including the Southern Poverty Law Center’s labeling of Jihad Watch as a hate group in our evaluation. I know you’ve written about this assessment before, but do you have any statement now as to why you think the SPLC’s judgment on your site is unfair or unjust?
Again, thanks in advance for taking the time to answer these inquiries.

6. Robert Spencer to John Gregory
None of these are misleading or false — except, of course, to someone who opposes efforts to oppose jihad terror and who considers such efforts to be “Islamophobia.”
Also, why were the staff bios important to you? I don’t mind having them there, but fail to see how they comport with your stated mission. The number of sites that don’t include bios of all the staff writers must be in the thousands or more. Are you making similar demands of Leftist sites? Or is this question simply designed to demonize sites that oppose jihad terror and Sharia oppression of women, gays, and others?
1. The story does not present a Qur’an verse as “proof of the religious nature of the attack.” It presents a Qur’an verse as an indication that a religious background was a possible element. There are many, many instances in which authorities have dissembled in cases involving jihad terror; see, for example, here: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/262826/global-outbreak-mental-illness-robert-spencer. It was on this basis that the sheriff’s statement was regarded with suspicion. It is unlikely that he had the background or competence to determine such a question in any case. Your misrepresentation of our reporting on this is a predictable indication of the inherent unfairness of self-appointed “news guards” that are in reality only attempts to smear and defame those who do not accept the establishment Leftist perspective on important current issues.
2. Your link doesn’t work, so I cannot evaluate your claim here. I doubt it is true or accurate; we have corrected plenty of headlines that have been found to be inaccurate. If one remained uncorrected, it was an oversight. If you’re trying to make something out of an article that carries a correction, your case is exceedingly weak indeed.
3. The article notes that the resolution only “condemns” what it calls “hateful rhetoric.” It discusses no criminal penalties, as there were none. What your inquiry fails to note is that the headline says that the “House Democrats Move to Criminalize,” not that they “Criminalized,” criticism of Islam. Issuing non-binding resolutions of this kind is a step toward issuing binding ones, and outlawing categories of speech. Your enterprise itself is a step down the same road, attempting to defame honest news reporting when it disagrees with your perspective.
4. You would think that a supposed news watchdog organization would be better informed. What Christine Douglass-Williams wrote was 100% accurate. See, for example, these articles: https://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Minister-Erdan-The-UN-serves-as-the-Hamas-Foreign-Office-547688 and https://www.timesofisrael.com/un-agency-no-longer-employing-gaza-staffer-accused-of-hamas-ties/ and https://www.jta.org/2017/10/29/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/hamas-terror-tunnel-discovered-under-un-school-in-gaza and https://www.unwatch.org/130-page-report-unrwa-teachers-incite-terrorism-antisemitism/
There are plenty of other stories similar to these. You’re a news watchdog organization, you say?
5. NewsGuard is clearly engaged in the same defamation and demonization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has engaged in for years in attempting to destroy foes of jihad mass murder and Sharia oppression of women, gays, and others. The SPLC includes few Leftist and jihad groups among its “hate group” listings, while defaming Jihad Watch and other groups that stand for the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and the equality of rights of all people before the law because we dissent from its hard-Left agenda. NewsGuard is a new and marginally more sophisticated attempt to defame pro-freedom groups by claiming on spurious grounds that what we report is inaccurate. We have published over 50,000 posts since 2003, and NewGuard took issue with exactly five of them, none of them on any factual grounds. We can only hope that discerning readers will be able to see through NewGuard’s false claims to be an objective evaluator of the accuracy of news reported, and not fall for this latest Leftist attempt at defamation and, ultimately, censorship.

7. John Gregory to Robert Spencer
Your responses will be noted. My apologies about the non-working link in #2, this was the story I was referencing: https://www.jihadwatch.org/2015/07/isis-tweets-chattanooga-as-gunman-begins-shooting-there-4-murdered
As for the staff bios, we are asking that question of every site we review. We have come across quite a few where stories don’t have bylines or don’t provide information about who’s creating the content beyond a name. Your site meets that standard.

8. Robert Spencer to John Gregory
There is nothing inaccurate about that headline. They did tweet Chattanooga soon after the attack. I expect you are unaware that this was a jihad attack inspired by foreign jihadis — see this AP story: https://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/12/16/navy-concludes-chattanooga-shooting-was-inspired-by-foreign-terrorists/
It’s noteworthy that you have nothing to say in response to my pointing out your own obvious biases. I’ll be publishing these exchanges when your hit piece on Jihad Watch appears.
Also: re your claim that “we are asking that question of every site we review,” I happen to know that that is false, as I know of at least one site that you have not asked that of.

9. Robert Spencer to John Gregory
I’m writing an article about the “fake news vetting” scam, and have the following questions for you. Thank you in advance for your answers:
1. How does NewsGuard plan to disclose its own biases and the perspectives of those who are claiming to be objective assessors of the accuracy of various news sites?
2. In vetting the accuracy of Jihad Watch’s reporting, did you take into account your own biases and perspectives on the subject matter treated at the site? If so, how? If not, why not?
3. Have you ever read the Qur’an in whole or part? The Hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim? The tafasir of Ibn Kathir and the Jalalayn? If not, how can you judge the accuracy of Jihad Watch’s analysis of how jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and oppression of women, gays, and others?
4. Which do you think is the larger problem: jihad terror or “Islamophobia”?
5. Which do you think are more severely threatened: women who wear the hijab in the U.S. or women who do not wear the hijab, chador, or other coverings in Iran and Saudi Arabia?
6. Does NewsGuard plan to assess the reliability of sites that reflect the Leftist agenda, or only sites that oppose that agenda?
7. Are you familiar with the Latin phrase “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes”? If so, what is your answer to it?
8. Your questions to me appeared to show that you consider the Southern Poverty Law Center a reliable guide to what constitutes a “hate group” and what does not. Are you aware of the widespread challenges to the SPLC’s credibility in this regard? Are you familiar with Maajid Nawaz? What do you think are the implications of the SPLC’s removal of Nawaz from its list of “anti-Muslim extremists” for those who remain on the list?

10. Robert Spencer to John Gregory
Just in case you missed these questions over the weekend, I am re-sending.
One more also: How does NewsGuard respond to charges that it is simply an attempt to defame and marginalize sites that dissent from a hard-Left agenda?
Thanks again in advance for your answers.

11. John Gregory to Robert Spencer
My apologies for getting these to you late.
Dear Mr. Gregory:
I’m writing an article about the “fake news vetting” scam, and have the following questions for you. Thank you in advance for your answers:
  1. How does NewsGuard plan to disclose its own biases and the perspectives of those who are claiming to be objective assessors of the accuracy of various news sites?
We will be running full professional bios of all staff and contributors on our website.
  1. In vetting the accuracy of Jihad Watch’s reporting, did you take into account your own biases and perspectives on the subject matter treated at the site? If so, how? If not, why not?
We aspire to be as fair and objective as possible, and multiple people are involved in every review. As soon as we learn we made a mistake, we will correct it publicly and transparently.
  1. Have you ever read the Qur’an in whole or part? The Hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim? The tafasir of Ibn Kathir and the Jalalayn? If not, how can you judge the accuracy of Jihad Watch’s analysis of how jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and oppression of women, gays, and others?
We endeavor to be fair about every site we evaluate.
  1. Which do you think is the larger problem: jihad terror or “Islamophobia”?
My opinion is not relevant here.
  1. Which do you think are more severely threatened: women who wear the hijab in the U.S. or women who do not wear the hijab, chador, or other coverings in Iran and Saudi Arabia?
Again, my opinion is not relevant here.
  1. Does NewsGuard plan to assess the reliability of sites that reflect the Leftist agenda, or only sites that oppose that agenda?
We are rating sites across the political spectrum under the same criteria.
  1. Are you familiar with the Latin phrase “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes”? If so, what is your answer to it?
Our mission is to review news and information sites to give readers some guidance in assessing the sites’ credibility. Anyone is free to “guard” or review us, of course.
  1. Your questions to me appeared to show that you consider the Southern Poverty Law Center a reliable guide to what constitutes a “hate group” and what does not. Are you aware of the widespread challenges to the SPLC’s credibility in this regard? Are you familiar with Maajid Nawaz? What do you think are the implications of the SPLC’s removal of Nawaz from its list of “anti-Muslim extremists” for those who remain on the list?
We are aware of criticisms on the SPLC’s ratings and designations. Your own responses to SPLC’s claims about Jihad Watch would be mentioned in our final evaluation.

In any case, despite the paltriness of his case against Jihad Watch (over 60,000 posts and he is quibbling over four of them, and author bios), it is certain that John Gregory and NewsGuard will claim that this site is not accurate or trustworthy. In reality, however, the inaccurate and untrustworthy one is NewsGuard itself, in its claim to be an objective arbiter of the accuracy of news reports. It is no more objective or reliable than its guide, the Southern Poverty Law Center.

And while it may fool the credulous and uninformed, those who know better will recognize it for what it is: yet another attempt to blacken the reputation of, and thereby silence, news outlets that don’t regurgitate the Left’s fantasies about how Islam is a religion of peace, Muslims are victims of widespread discrimination in the U.S., and the like. There’s another sucker who will buy this nonsense born every minute.


Robert Spencer

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/272652/microsoft-using-spurious-leftist-fact-checking-robert-spencer

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter



Why is Fake News Accepted by so Many? - Michael Curtis


by Michael Curtis

The Buzzfeed scandal underlines the problem of bias in the news media.

If there is a model of integrity in reporting the news and analyzing troubles ahead it is C.P. Scott, longtime editor (1872-1929) and later owner of the Manchester Guardian. His counsel in his May 1921 centenary essay was priceless: “Comment is free, but facts are sacred… It is well to be frank, it is even better to be fair.” While pursuing a progressive liberal agenda, his emphasis was always accurate news reporting. 

It is sad that the mainstream U.S. media and many of those involved in intellectual endeavors do not abide by Scott’s maxim. A recent event comprising a publication by BuzzFeed and responses to it indicates a continuing problem. BuzzFeed, citing two anonymous federal law enforcement officials reported on January 17, 2019 that Robert Mueller had evidence that President Trump told Michael Cohen to lie about discussions of a potential proposed Trump Tower to be built in Moscow. 

On the next day, January 18, 2019, a spokesperson for Mueller repudiated the story: “BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate.” 

Several aspects are interesting. One is the refusal of BuzzFeed (and CNN and MSNBC) to accept Mueller’s denial. BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith stood by its reporting despite the fact that no texts or other documents corroborated the story. His refusal reflects the reality that in general the mainstream media are more to the left in presenting news or opinions than is the median opinion of U.S. voters.
Criticism of the left media does not mean that one is adopting the argument frequently voiced by Trump about the assault on him by “Fake News,” or accepting his view of critics as “Enemies of the People”. The C.P. Scott formula should be espoused by news media of the left as well as the right because of concern about bias, the frequent use of misleading information, the fact that headlines of stories don’t always reflect their content or import, and the willingness of journalists to publish and of readers to consume or not challenge Fake News. Furthermore, the eagerness to condemn Trump results in the presumption of guilt rather than innocence; in this case the focus is to blame Trump for obstruction of justice, and implicitly call for impeachment of the President. 

There are wider implications: the question of bias in reporting and the lack of diversity in teaching as well as reporting the news. A number of objective studies and surveys have illustrated the bias on the left. One, published in Politico in October 2016, showed that about 91% of news coverage of candidate Trump was hostile. 

Another factor is realization that technology has changed the nature of journalism. Patience is not one of the outstanding characteristics of the media. The initial, inaccurate, BuzzFeed story immediately caught fire and went “viral”. Its accuracy was not immediately challenged by much of the media. This is surprising because BuzzFeed, a site founded in 2006 which became a global media company, is regarded by many as an unreliable source. Indeed, its editorial stated “we firmly believe that for a number of issues there are not two sides.” A Pew Research Center report concludes that Buzzfeed is one of the most distrusted news sources in the U.S. On January 10, 2017 it published the Christopher Steele dossier alleging that the Russian government had been cultivating, supporting, and assisting Trump for years. 

Allegations of this kind are mixed with past activity by Trump, who bought the Miss Universe pageant in 1996, later sold it, but brought it to Moscow in 2013, and was involved in negotiations to build in Moscow a Trump Tower. Trump associates carried on conversations with Russian officials on the issue. Nevertheless, this does not lead to proof of Trump’s guilt in the issue of “collusion” between Trump and Moscow.

The rapid, unthinking acceptance of the BuzzFeed story evokes the memory of the impact of the 23-year-old Orson Welles’ narrative and production of the War of The Worlds, on October 30, 1938, the evening before Halloween. The program, a modernized version of the story by H. G. Wells, was a fictional report on the Martian invasion of the U.S at Grovers Mills, N.J., a few miles from Princeton. The fake news broadcast of the invasion, interrupted by piano solos of Debussy and Chopin and other orchestral music, was mistaken by many as a genuine news broadcast and caused panic among listeners. Welles never clearly explained whether his intention was to create panic in the audience, but he did acknowledge that his Fake News was mistaken for a genuine news broadcast. His success helped lead to a contract in Hollywood where in 1941 he cowrote and directed Citizen Kane.

The troubling question is why Fake News is accepted by so many. It can be the sheer repetition of inaccurate information by the media, leading most people to be reluctant to challenge what they have heard or read. But an underlying problem, not often discussed, remains, the lack of diversity among reporters, and to take the matter further, the lack of diversity in the teaching of public affairs in universities.

Lack of diversity, and consequent bias, in the media is clearly shown by a study of news coverage of the first 100 days of the Trump administration released by the Shorenstein Center at Harvard. Coverage was overwhelmingly negative: CNN, 93%, CBS and NBC 91%, the New York Times 87%, the Washington Post 83%, the Wall Street Journal 70%, and even Fox News 52%.

Account should also be taken of the lack of diversity of political opinion in universities, since they have a responsibility to educate those who will become reporters. Education should emphasize the necessity to be free of bias in scholarship, and the dangers of curtailment of free speech on university campuses, ideological conformity, and outright discrimination. But studies show that political correctness pervades the campus, and that political leaning of faculty is overwhelmingly leftist and friendly to the Democratic party. An article by Mitchell Langbert titled “Homogenous: The Political Affiliations of Elite Liberal Arts College Faculty” in the June 2018 Academic Questions published by the National Association of Scholars analyzed a sample of 8,688 tenure track professors from liberal arts colleges and showed that the ratio of liberal to conservative faculty is 12.7-1 if military colleges are excluded, and 10.4-1 if they are included. 

Figures for some colleges such as Wellesley, Swarthmore, Williams, indicate the ratio of the faculty is 120-1 liberal. There are sharp differences in fields; engineering has 1.6-1 liberal and chemistry 5.2-1, and physics 6.2-.1; science is 6.3-1; social science 12.3-1 and humanities 31.9-1. Not a single Republican was found in gender studies, Africana, or peace studies, or in the faculty at Bryn Mawr. At the extreme were liberal bastions such as anthropology, 56-0, and communications, 18-0.

Universities should be reminded that a monologue is just a form of continuous fiction. It is time to focus on the bias, oversimplification, the inaccurate tonality, of issues presented in the media and the items chosen or neglected on an inherently ideological basis in the media and on the campus.

Michael Curtis

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/01/why_is_fake_news_accepted_by_so_many.html

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter