Friday, February 2, 2018

FBI’s War on the Memo - Matthew Vadum

by Matthew Vadum

The Bureau desperately tries to discredit the document -- before its release in the coming days.

The increasingly embattled Federal Bureau of Investigation launched a preemptive strike yesterday against the hotly anticipated foreign surveillance abuse memo in hopes of discrediting the document before it is released in coming days.

The public relations effort came as more evidence became available about the questionable behind-the-scenes conduct of fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who allegedly tried to use his authority to undermine President Trump’s campaign.

The classified four-page memo, compiled by House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), was based on classified information supplied by the FBI and its parent agency, the U.S. Department of Justice. The two organizations “fought tooth and nail” to avoid handing over the relevant records to Congress, according to Fox News, citing an inside source. They produced the documents only after Nunes “threatened to move forward with contempt of Congress citations."

The memo is said to provide evidence proving allegations that top officials in President Obama’s national security community abused their authority to obtain surveillance warrants against members of President Trump’s election campaign from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Its release could set in motion a process whereby bad actors in the government could go to prison. It may indicate that government officials relied on the tainted Fusion GPS dossier by former British spy Christopher Steele that is loaded with Kremlin-supplied misinformation to obtain the warrants. The dossier, as we now know, was paid for by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, and was part of her bag of dirty tricks.

“If you’re interested whether or not the dossier was used in court proceedings, whether or not it was funded by political opponents, you’ll want to see the memo,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said Tuesday. "My Democratic colleagues didn’t want us to find this information. They did everything they could to keep us from finding this information.”

But the FBI said the memo was problematic, days after Associate Attorney General Stephen Boyd called releasing the document "extraordinarily reckless." The agency released a vague, brief statement Wednesday attacking the document:
The FBI takes seriously its obligations to the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] Court and its compliance with procedures overseen by career professionals in the Department of Justice and the FBI. We are committed to working with the appropriate oversight entities to ensure the continuing integrity of the FISA process.
With regard to the House Intelligence Committee’s memorandum, the FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it. As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.
Or so FBI brass, who have been reportedly stonewalling congressional investigators and hiding behind dubious national security-related justifications for withholding pertinent information about the politically motivated surveillance, would have us believe.

Echoing the FBI, the serial liar and TV camera-hogging ranking member of the House committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), howled that the memo is "distorted and misleading," even though two FBI officials who have read the memo about surveillance abuses during the 2016 presidential election cycle were unable to find any factual inaccuracies in it, according to Catherine Herridge of Fox News. One of the FBI officials works in its counterintelligence division; the other, the legal division.

Late Wednesday evening, Schiff pushed the panic button, claiming on Twitter that Chairman Nunes tampered with the wording of the memo after it was taken to the White House Monday. At 10 p.m. Schiff tweeted:
BREAKING: Discovered late tonight that Chairman Nunes made material changes to the memo he sent to White House – changes not approved by the Committee. White House therefore reviewing a document the Committee has not approved for release.
That assertion "wasn't denied but rather tempered with an argument that the changes were merely cosmetic or were edits requested by Democrats and the FBI,” the Washington Examiner reports.

FBI Director Christopher Wray read the memo last weekend, which apparently led to the dismissal Monday of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Wray sent a message to all FBI employees late Monday stating McCabe left because of a damning upcoming report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz about the agency’s handing of the Hillary Clinton email probe, NBC News reports.

"It would be inappropriate for me to comment on specific aspects of the IG's review right now," Wray wrote. "But I can assure you that I remain staunchly committed to doing this job, in every respect, 'by the book.' I will not be swayed by political or other pressure in my decision making."

FBI sources also told NBC that claims that McCabe was pushed out as a result of pressure from President Trump were unfounded. The president has frequently criticized McCabe on Twitter.

And there was more bad news for McCabe.

Investigative journalist Sara Carter said on Fox News Channel Monday that McCabe may have engaged in obstruction of justice by urging FBI investigators to falsify reports. "I have been told tonight by a number of sources ... that McCabe may have asked FBI agents to actually change their 302s," she said. FBI agents use the 302 form to summarize interviews with witnesses.

There is also evidence McCabe may have delayed the investigation into classified information in emails longtime Clinton lieutenant Huma Abedin stored on the laptop computer of her now-imprisoned husband, the former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.).  The information came from sources said to be familiar with Inspector General Horowitz’s report.

McCabe’s objective may have been to put the probe off until after Election Day, presumably in order to help Clinton’s campaign.
Ironically, the FBI's announcement that it was reopening the Clinton investigation a few days before the election — which many Clinton supporters say cost her the election — may have come nearly three weeks later than it should have. McCabe may have intended to hold off until after the election, but ended up being unable to do so.
McCabe was acting director of the FBI from May 9 last year when Trump fired then-director James B. Comey through Aug. 2 when Wray took over.

The problem with McCabe being involved in a politically sensitive investigation tied into an election is that he is a partisan Democrat who should never have been allowed anywhere near the email probe. Even if McCabe’s actions had been completely above board, he should have passed on the case because his involvement in it created the appearance of impropriety. The thinking goes that Americans won’t trust the system if they believe it is corrupt.

McCabe’s wife was a Democrat candidate in 2015 for the Virginia State Senate. Her campaign received nearly $675,000 in funding from the state’s Democratic Party and a political action committee of then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D). McAuliffe is a longtime Clinton crony. Was the payment a kind of veiled bribe to McCabe? We may never know.

McCabe failed to recuse himself from the Clinton email probe until Nov. 1, 2016, which was four days after Comey, then the FBI director, announced the agency had reopened the investigation into the emails after finding new data on Weiner’s computer.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence voted Monday along partisan lines to make the Nunes memo public, a move that has generated panic among Democrats and their allies in Deep State Washington, D.C., who don’t want the truth about the vast left-wing cabal against President Trump, the discredited Trump-Russia dossier, and the fanciful electoral collusion conspiracy theory, to emerge.

It was a “very sad day,” Schiff said Monday.

President Trump favors releasing the memo which is now being reviewed by White House counsel during a mandated five-day waiting period. “It will be released here pretty quick, I think, and then the whole world can see it,” White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said Wednesday.

There may be many more “very sad” days ahead for Schiff and his Democrat colleagues.

Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."


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Above the Fold: Mike Pence: Mission accomplished - Michah Halpern

by Micah Halpern

Hat tip: Dr. Jean-Charles Bensoussan

This trip was a successful one. President Donald Trump was able to express unwavering support for Israel. Vice President Pence was his willing messenger.

US Vice President Mike Pence prays at the Western Wall
US Vice President Mike Pence prays at the Western Wall. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) 

Mike Pence, vice president of the United States of America, came to the Middle East and to Jerusalem to firm up friendships and to galvanize relationships.

That was his agenda. That is what he accomplished. The vice president did not come to patronize. He did not come to moralize about the virtues of peace.

The ridicule and invective that many in the mainstream press have heaped upon Pence in evaluating his trip and the speech he delivered before the Knesset is at best, misguided.

At worst, it is pure hyperbole.

An editorial in The New York Times, the undisputed paper of record, insisted that the “trip did not go as planned.” That is as if to say that the goals and objectives of the trip were not fulfilled. That would be correct if they had understood the goals and objectives of the trip, but surely, they did not. That point was made when the editorial went on to write that one of the trip’s goals was “to nudge the Israelis and Palestinians toward peace.”

The speech Vice President Pence delivered at the Knesset was written with one specific goal in mind. The vice president, in conjunction with his boss in Washington, wanted to make it perfectly clear that the United States is committed to Israel as more than an ally, that the US is a true friend of Israel.

That goal was simple to articulate, but hard to achieve. The language of the speech needed to steer clear of preaching and moralizing. Pence needed to convey his country’s commitment and love as more than a political stance to placate a single party or leader. He wanted to touch the average Israeli and he did that by reaching deep into their souls and touching on that which makes Israel special. He articulated what Israelis know themselves but sometimes have difficulty putting into words.

And then, in response, a column in Haaretz derisively proclaimed that the vice president was “more Zionist than the Zionists.” And pundits and talking heads across America bemoaned that it will be just about impossible to roll back such a pro-Israel speech and still convince the Palestinians that the US can still be counted on to build the bridges leading to peace.

On this issue these usually smart analysts totally missed the point.

The purpose of Pence’s visit was not to push for a peace plan between the Israelis and the Palestinians. How could it be? The Palestinians were boycotting him. They made it publicly clear that they were not even going to meet with the vice president of the United States on his first official trip to the region. Egypt and Jordan met with him. They understood Pence’s mission. They know that Pence sought them out to affirm the bond the US has created with these two Middle Eastern states that have peace treaties with Israel.

During those visits Vice President Pence emphasized that whatever differences do exist are marginal. He was there to make it clear that the important strategic link connecting Egypt, Jordan and the US is what matters.

Part of that link is the fight against Islamic extremism, another part is their treaties with Israel.

The Palestinians understand the reason for this trip by the vice president.

Months ago they realized that the Trump administration was actively patching up the damage the Obama administration had done to Israel. But rather than manning up, Palestinian leadership chose the adolescent response. Shunning the US was the equivalent of thinking you can punish your parents by closing your bedroom door. Boycotting the US vice president was an immature reaction.

It was also self-defeating. The Palestinians have nowhere else to go to achieve their goals. The European Union cannot help them. China, Russia and the Arab world aren’t helping them. The Palestinians made yet another in a series of tactical mistakes.

If they had thought it through they would have realized that the US, through Vice President Pence, could have helped them. Had he been invited to deliver a speech in Ramallah it would have been as forthright and compelling as the speech he delivered in the Knesset. The vice president would have articulated the US commitment to finding a solution to the problem plaguing Palestinians and Israelis.

Pence’s message was unlike that of president Barack Obama who, at a Reform temple in Manhattan, explained his decision to chastise, humiliate and endanger Israel by not vetoing UN Security Council Resolution 2334 condemning Israel by explaining that friends need to criticize friends.

The Pence speech was a stark departure from the last administration. Of course there will be disagreements between the US and Israel, but those disagreements will be handled discreetly and behind closed doors. Israel will not be marginalized, manipulated or endangered by the US in the Security Council or anywhere else.

This trip was a successful one. President Donald Trump was able to express unwavering support for Israel. Vice President Pence was his willing messenger.

Micah Halpern is a political commentator. He hosts the TV show Thinking Out Loud on JBS TV. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern.


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Paul Joseph Watson Video: Idiots React to Trump's State of the Union -


The triggering was immense.

In this new video, Paul Joseph Watson exposes Idiots React to Trump's State of the Union. Don't miss it!


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Trump's SOTU Hit the Right Foreign Policy Notes - Now Comes the Hard Part - John R. Bolton

by John R. Bolton

Increasing our defense capabilities is not just important: It is urgent.

President Trump's first State of the Union address was not heavy on national security issues. It did, however, make one critical point: In reviewing the international achievements of his first year in office, Trump was abundantly clear that the Obama era is over. Primarily retrospective assessments like Trump's are perfectly legitimate for a president finishing his initial year, especially given what his policies are replacing.

Gone was President Obama's self-congratulatory moral posturing, replaced by a concrete list of accomplishments that will inevitably increase the power of America's presence in the world. Trump's policy is not only not isolationist — as many of his opponents (and a few misguided supporters) contend — his pursuit of Ronald Reagan's "peace through strength" approach actually demonstrates that Obama's detached, ethereal retreat from American assertiveness internationally amounted to the real isolationism.

Donald Trump's 2018 State of the Union address. (Image source: The White House)

Most importantly, Trump again committed to palpably more robust military budgets and an end to the budget-sequester mechanism, the worst political mistake made by Republicans in Congress in living memory. Sequestration procedures were liberal dreams come true, forcing wasteful increases in domestic programs in order to obtain critical military funding. The sooner this whole embarrassing exercise is behind us, the better.

As Secretary of Defense James Mattis frequently points out, harking back to Jeane Kirkpatrick's famous comment, there cannot be an adequate American foreign policy without an adequate defense policy.

Trump chose to single out the need "to modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal," the bedrock of America's deterrence capabilities. Indeed, Trump went on, quite rightly, to cast doubt on the "Global Zero" notion of actively working to eliminate all nuclear weapons. For many of those who pursue "Global Zero," the real target is not rogue states like Iran or North Korea, or strategic threats like Russia or China, but the United States itself. Trump basically said in response, "When the lions lie down with the lambs, call me." Just so.

I wish the president had also stressed the profound need to rapidly scale up our national missile defense capabilities, a program that was all but eviscerated during the Obama administration. Indeed, we must devote far more attention to capabilities beyond the original Bush program, which focused on addressing the relatively limited threats of the rogue states, which might have the capability to launch handfuls rather than hundreds of ballistic missiles at American targets. It is past time to return to Reagan's original vision of "strategic defense," so that the United States can have adequate defenses against Russia's large, newly upgraded and modernized missile arsenals, and also against China's rapidly increasing capabilities.

Increasing our defense capabilities is not just important: It is urgent. The global bills accrued because of failures by prior administrations are coming due on Trump's watch, underlining the gravity of the international threats facing the United States. With immediate, continuing threats from international terrorism and nuclear proliferators like North Korea and Iran, plus strategic threats from Russia and China, America's agenda is full to overflowing.

On radical Islamic terrorism, Trump could point to the military success against the ISIS caliphate and new rules of engagement for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, while recognizing that we remain at risk as long as this dangerous political ideology persists. There was no better manifestation of the president's commitment to winning the "long war" than his unequivocal statement that our terrorist prison at Guantánamo Bay would remain open. Trump thereby emphatically rejected the Clinton and Obama administrations' "law enforcement" paradigm for handling terrorism, and embraced the "war paradigm," which brings into play a different mind set, different national powers and different legal authorities and constraints.

Trump was very clear that he regards the regimes controlling Iran and North Korea to be the basic problems, and that nuclear weapons in their hands were unacceptable, a formulation very close to George W. Bush's admonition that we could not allow "the world's most dangerous weapons" to fall into the hands of "the world's most dangerous leaders." Trump did not explicitly call for regime change in Tehran and Pyongyang, but he came close enough that fire bells should be ringing in the night in both Iran and North Korea. U.S. actions, and those of other like-minded countries, should now follow, to make it clear that the way to minimize the chances for the use of force against the rogue states' nuclear programs is to get new regimes that renounce the existing programs, and quickly dismantle them.

Trump cited both Russia and China as "rivals... that challenge our interests, our economy and our values," thereby giving the lie (yet again) to those who say he is somehow blind to the Russian threat. While the president's comments on China focused primarily on economic and trade issues, there is no doubt he understands the strategic nature of the Chinese challenge as well.

In the days following this well-received State of the Union, Trump must now develop a comprehensive series of policies for dealing with the due bills now cascading across his desk. Most immediately, the administration must decide on what it is prepared to do to ensure that, as Trump said to the United Nations General Assembly in September, denuclearization is the only way forward for North Korea and Iran. Preventing nuclear-capable rogue states (not accepting them, as Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, said she was prepared to do) is clearly the right outcome.

What Trump must reject, immediately, is what we have been doing for years, and which has manifestly failed. In the military context, Gian Gentile has described what he calls "a strategy of tactics," which purports to be a strategy but is not one in fact. Under a nonproliferation "strategy of tactics," we have aimlessly tried a little of this, then a little of that, hoping that something would work out. It hasn't. And there is not time for persisting in this failed approach.

Understandably, Trump may not have wanted to address these complex and dangerous issues in what was already a longer-than-average State of the Union. Fair enough, but the hard analysis and planning, and the even harder decisions, are coming very soon.
This article first appeared in The Hill

John R. Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is Chairman of Gatestone Institute, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad".


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The "Fake News" Crusade to "Protect" You from Free Speech - Robbie Travers

by Robbie Travers

"If a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm, then that person is living in a fear society, not a free society." — Natan Sharansky, The Case for Democracy.

  • Even if judgements against some of these websites might be overturned in courts, doing so is clearly an enormous financial burden, as the would-be censors doubtless know. But what a handy way not to have one's policies questioned -- especially, one assumes, during elections.
  • Attempts to censor "competing narratives" is probably just a tip-off that certain individuals are afraid their political ideas will be unable to withstand the questions asked or the test of time.
  • "If a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm, then that person is living in a fear society, not a free society." — Natan Sharansky, The Case for Democracy.
"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear," George Orwell wrote in his ant-totalitarian novel, 1984. He would probably have frowned upon the latest UK Government blueprint to create a regulatory agency that will ultimately strangle freedom of expression.

Scrutiny against "Fake News," is undoubtedly a positive development. It means that at least people are questioning the news they are consuming. Yes, it is a problem that so much disinformation and misinformation exists. It is, however, a far bigger problem if they do not. The public's resolve should be that disinformation is not combated by a regulatory body controlled by Government. Individual arguments, with evidence, is what belongs in a democracy, which can only survive if it is a marketplace of ideas.

If having a Government body decide what can and cannot be published – thereby creating a culture of both official censorship and self-censorship -- is not enough to concern you, the briefest glance at what this newly created British body would consider "Fake News" should send you running into the street.

This new UK Government body would deem worthy of censorship "Satire or parody which means no harm but can fool people". According to these geniuses, satire and parody are "Fake News."

Satire often relies on mixing believability and absurdity -- not necessarily to fool people but to point out serious problems in a more approachable way. This can be done to draw people's attention to take a harder look at what they are consuming, or to make a wider political point humourously. The idea that satirical publications would be possibly removed and censored because people might believe them sounds disingenuous at best, and at worst autocratic.

It is easy to see how Governments might be tempted to censor criticism by satire or any other way. Someone might end up exposing truths that the government would rather were not made public. Someone high up might, God forbid, even be the butt of a joke. All jokes, then, will be required to conform to the Government's opinions, while jokes that mock the opposition will be left untouched? Who regulates the regulators? Criminalising jokes is the first step toward the end of freedom. Look at Turkey, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has filed over 1,800 cases against cartoonists, and others who dared to make a joke at his expense.

This new British body, according to a UK Government Spokesperson, will reportedly be "tasked with combating disinformation" -- but what counts as "disinformation"?

If "disinformation" is determined by Government, the Government is free to censor anyone who challenges its opinion, or what it might like its subjects to believe. Who would you trust to run the bureau that decides which political opinions are malicious and dangerous. and which should be censored because they are "fake"?

Even if you agree with the UK Government, that, say, Russia poses a dangerous geopolitical threat by spreading disinformation, it is the job of the government to let you hear it, and then tell you why it is not correct. The danger remains that while the current government might not abuse its powers of censorship, the next one might. Giving power to a Government you trust only means that, later on, you may well find out that you have given that power to a Government you may not trust.

Moreover, does this new body mean that individuals could be challenged for presenting alternative opinions, or for challenging facts released by a Government? What if such challenges could be deeply important? How, then, is one to expose, for instance, wrongdoing by the Government? Sadly, this kind of policy seems poised not only to become a reality in Britain; it seems to be setting up shop throughout Europe.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron is leading a crusade against whatever some judicial official decides is "Fake News." Macron says websites that carry fake news will be "banned" "in order to protect democracy," supposedly because they present false narratives. Macron notes that France "needs" "emergency bans," to silence websites regarded by the French Government as sharing "fake news" -- especially, one assumes, during elections.

Even if judgements against some of these websites could be overturned in court, doing so would clearly be an enormous financial burden, as the would-be censors doubtless know. But what a handy way not to have one's policies questioned! Opposition could be silenced, even if temporarily, while you run your citizens through a legal gauntlet worthy of Galileo; meanwhile the Government can have the run of the corral to shape a discourse that favours -- itself. Governments also usually fight with endless time and endless resources.

Macron claims that he is attempting to "protect democracy." No, one does not protect democracy by restricting the freedom of speech by the members of that democracy. Democracy means letting the people (demos) have open access to information and coming to their own conclusions.

Germany has already passed laws which demand that any "hate speech" or "fake news," be removed from social networking. Immediately, the political opposition paid the price. Beatrix von Storch, a prominent member of parliament of the advancing AfD party, was suspended on January 2, the day after the law went into effect, for her twitter posts. What a nifty way to silence her and others -- and their ability to challenge the Government.

Even more dangerous, Ireland's Government is proposing legislation that would mean individuals could spend up to five years in prison for disseminating supposedly "Fake News" on internet accounts. How could a threat of imprisonment not have a chilling effect on open discourse? In a free society, Government should not be able to jail an individual for sharing opinions with which it disagrees. As the Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky wrote in his book, "The Case for Democracy," it is precisely the "The Town Square Test" that determines whether or not a society can even be considered free:
"If a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm, then that person is living in a fear society, not a free society."

The UK Prime Minister's Spokesperson noted that , "We are living in an era of fake news and competing narratives." All right, time to compete. Explain to the public why your narrative is better. Where is it written that narratives should not compete? Political discourse depends on having differing ideas clashing, enabling different individuals to test their ideas through talk rather than through jail. A society with a single narrative is inherently a totalitarian one -- "Big Brother" -- that does not tolerate anyone questioning its essential orthodoxies. Attempts to censor "competing narratives" is probably just a tip-off that certain individuals are afraid their political ideas will be unable to withstand the questions asked or the test of time.

If Macron, and other European leaders truly want to "defend democracy" -- a premise that seems open to question -- it is time they made the case for defending it by supporting freedom of speech, unassisted by the "bear hug" of a "protective" government. If the values of human rights, democracy and freedom are as great as many know them to be, then "Fake News" will quickly be exposed as merely that, and not pose a threat to "True News" for very long.

Robbie Travers, a political commentator and consultant, is Executive Director of Agora, former media manager at the Human Security Centre, and a law student at the University of Edinburgh.


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French PM: We're facing a new form of anti-Semitism - Elad Benari

by Elad Benari

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe warns France is facing new form of anti-Semitism marked by violence.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe warned on Wednesday his country is facing a “new form of anti-Semitism” marked by violence, The Associated Press reported.

His comments came following an assault this week in a Paris suburb on an eight-year-old boy wearing a kippah.

The boy was walking to a tutor on Tuesday afternoon in the Sarcelles suburb of Paris when two assailants, about 15 years old, knocked him to the ground and beat him.

It is the second attack on a Jewish child in the same area this month. On January 10, a 15-year-old Jewish girl was slashed in the face while walking home from school, wearing the uniform of her Jewish private school.

Speaking Wednesday before lawmakers, Philippe noted the emergence of a new kind of anti-Semitism in France, which has the largest Jewish population in western Europe.

To fight something, one must have “the courage to put a name on it ... to acknowledge that, yes, there is a new form of anti-Semitism, violent and brutal, emerging more and more openly in our land,” Philippe said, according to AP.

French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the incident Tuesday night on Twitter.

“An 8-year-old boy was attacked today in Sarcelles. Because he was wearing a kippah. Every time a citizen is attacked because of his age, his appearance or his religion, the whole country is being attacked,” Macron tweeted.

“And it is the whole country that stands, especially today, alongside the French Jews to fight each of these despicable acts, with them and for them,” he added.

France's Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said in a statement late Tuesday that investigators suspect the incident was motivated by anti-Semitism.

Earlier in January, two kosher shops in Creteil, another suburb of Paris, were torched. That incident occurred two weeks after the same shops were attacked by individuals who painted swastikas on their facades.

Elad Benari


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NGOM Impact: UN Again Postpones Publication of BDS Blacklist - NGO Monitor

by NGO Monitor

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) – including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Al-Haq – have been advocating for this discriminatory blacklist for many years to advance a BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) agenda.

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) released a report on the discriminatory “BDS blacklist” of companies doing business with Israel. As it did last year, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights announced a further delay, stating that the list of companies will be published in a “future update.”

Throughout the past two years, NGO Monitor has been playing a leading role in exposing the biased process behind the blacklist. We repeatedly warned that there were significant due process concerns with the creation of this blacklist. In his report and in announcing previous delays, the High Commissioner acknowledged the centrality of these issues.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) – including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Al-Haq – have been advocating for this discriminatory blacklist for many years to advance a BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) agenda. This discriminatory advocacy does nothing to further human rights, and the UNHRC should not devote further resources to the blacklist.

NGO Monitor’s efforts have played a central role in delaying the publication of the blacklist for a year, when in February 2017 the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights sent a letter to the UNHRC requesting a delay.

Click here for NGO Monitor’s position paper (December 2016) on the lack of due process and legal safeguards in the original formulation of the UNHRC initiative. Both the 2017 and 2018 UNHRC reports echo NGO Monitor’s calls for due process.

See NGO Monitor research cited in Fox News and the Times of Israel.

NGO Monitor


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The 'Goodness' of Migrants: When Feelings Trump Facts - Douglas Murray

by Douglas Murray

The question fails to get asked: "What exactly did we gain from their presence in our country? And what exactly was the 'goodness' that you think they brought?"

  • No one asked what in the hearts of the migrants of Calais is so very "good", and what "goodness" is so lacking in the hearts of the British people that it needs topping-up from the camps of Calais.
  • It is worth reflecting on just two recent terrorist plots, by people who did not bring only "goodness" when they came from Calais.
  • The question fails to get asked: "What exactly did we gain from their presence in our country? And what exactly was the 'goodness' that you think they brought?"
In Western Europe, there is still only an overwhelming political and social price a price to pay for appearing to be against mass immigration. Public opinion polls may consistently show the public to be opposed to mass migration. But in public, it remains most acceptable, and indeed commonplace, to continue to utter bromides about the benefits that migration brings, including the advantages from any and all illegal immigration.

Recently on the BBC's main political discussion programme, Question Time, the panel were asked about immigration and, as so often in the British immigration debate, the subject of the situation in Calais, France came up. Over recent years Calais has repeatedly become the place for illegal camps of illegal migrants to congregate, in the hope of moving from France to the UK. Some of these migrants attack lorries and disable vehicles to try to climb aboard them. Others attempt other ways to get through the Channel Tunnel, either on a vehicle or on foot.

A group of migrants gather near a truck depot in Calais, France, on January 19, 2018. Calais is a central hub for illegal migrants to congregate, in the hope of moving from France to the UK. Some of the migrants attack UK-bound lorries and disable vehicles, to try to climb aboard them. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Of course, if these people were genuine asylum seekers with genuine asylum claims, they have already passed through several countries in which they could and should have claimed asylum. That they are congregating around the entrance to the Channel Tunnel in Calais is a demonstration not that they are legitimate asylum seekers in search of safety, but illegal migrants seeking to get into Britain.

Like everything else in the immigration debate, and often life, feelings most of the time trump facts. The discussion on the BBC's Question Time was, in that sense, utterly typical. One of the guests on the panel was the Hollywood scriptwriter Dustin Lance Black. A social and political liberal, Black used his time there to make one extraordinary claim in particular:
"Understand that some of these people who are in Calais trying to get here. They're not coming to try and steal from you or to ruin your culture. They're coming here because you're a giant, beautiful beacon of hope for them. And I hope that the government finds it in their heart to spend some of that money to make sure that their conditions are liveable there and to let some of them in, to share their goodness with your greatness."
This speech was greeted with a roar of applause from the audience and audible approval from other members of the panel including the Conservative cabinet minister, Margot James. No one asked what there is in the hearts of the migrants of Calais that is so very "good", and what "goodness" is so lacking in the hearts of the British people that it needs topping-up from the camps of Calais.

So even in a society as self-delusional and self-forgetting as modern Britain, it is worth reflecting on just two recent cases of people who did not bring only "goodness" when they came from Calais.

At the beginning of January, Munir Mohammed of Derby was convicted of an attempted terrorist attack. It is believed that Mohammed and two collaborators were planning a Christmas terrorism spectacular involving a bomb attack. Mohammed was apparently only days away from achieving his aims when he was arrested by the British police. And where was Mohammed from? Born in Eritrea, he grew up in neighbouring Sudan. In June 2013, he and his pregnant wife left for Europe and took the now traditional route into Turkey and from there into Europe via the Greek island of Samos. Somewhere on the route from Athens through the Balkans, his wife lost her baby and he promptly dumped her.

By January 2014, Mohammed had reached France and from there he managed to pay a smuggling gang to get him through the Channel Tunnel. He successfully hid in a lorry in order to reach the UK, and got out of the lorry on the motorway service station on the M1. After applying for asylum, he got caught in the long backlog of cases, met a new girlfriend, and with her and another accomplice plotted to carry out a mass casualty terrorist attack that was only very narrowly averted.

Also this January, the British courts saw 18-year-old Ahmed Hassan Mohammed Ali. Born in Iraq, he came to the UK illegally via Calais in 2015. He now stands charged with leaving a bomb on a London Underground train at Parsons Green tube station last September during the morning rush hour. The detonating part of the device went off, causing minor burns to some of the passengers and leading to a stampede in which a number of schoolchildren on the train were hurt. Fortunately, however, the device itself failed to go off, so a bomb that would have led to dozens of body bags being needed again in London resulted instead only in minor injuries and a lot of terrified children.

Ahmed Hassan Mohammed Ali and Munir Mohammed are both migrants from Calais. Both were in Britain illegally. Still, the question fails to get asked of people such as Dustin Lance Black: "What exactly did we gain from their presence in our country? And what exactly was the 'goodness' that you think they brought?" That such people would probably have no answer to this question is one thing. That so few people would even bother to ask such questions publicly is another. But one day they will ask, and with increasing -- and justifiable -- anger.

Douglas Murray, British author, commentator and public affairs analyst, is based in London, England. His latest book, an international best-seller, is "The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam."


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Fact-Challenged Anti-Trump Author Smears Nikki Haley - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

Feminists are AWOL when a conservative woman is a victim of sexist rumor-mongering.

Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, has served her country with high distinction. Indeed, her strong leadership at the UN, preceded by her tenure as governor of South Carolina, serves as a shining example of women’s empowerment.  In recognition of her accomplishments, Ambassador Haley has been selected for inclusion on Forbes Power Women list for 2017, which, in Forbes’ words, “identifies a new generation of icons, game-changers and gate crashers who are boldly scaling new heights and transforming the world.” Feminists should be embracing a role model such as Nikki Haley. Instead, these hypocrites have remained silent in the face of sexist smears against Nikki Haley intimating that she may have been having an affair with President Trump. 

The smear originated in a suggestive reference to Ambassador Haley in Michael Wolff’s discredited book Fire and Fury, and his comments afterwards in an interview with Bill Maher calling attention to the smear. Wolff wrote in his book, “The president had been spending a notable amount of private time with Haley on Air Force One and was seen to be grooming her for a national political future.” Perhaps to bolster sales, Wolff told Maher that he was “absolutely sure” President Trump was having an affair and referred readers to the passage quoted above for a lead as to who the president’s lover may be. “Now that I’ve told you, when you hit that paragraph, you’re gonna say, ‘Bingo,’” Wolff shamelessly exclaimed. 

“It is absolutely not true,” Ambassador Haley shot back. She was understandably disgusted by Wolff’s innuendoes. “I have literally been on Air Force One once and there were several people in the room when I was there,” she said in an interview for POLITICO’s Women Rule podcast, referring to a flight from Washington to Long Island in late July. “He says that I’ve been talking a lot with the president in the Oval about my political future. I’ve never talked once to the president about my future and I am never alone with him.”

“So the idea that these things come out, that’s a problem,” Ambassador Haley added. “But it goes to a bigger issue that we need to always be conscious of: At every point in my life, I’ve noticed that if you speak your mind and you’re strong about it and you say what you believe, there is a small percentage of people that resent that and the way they deal with it is to try and throw arrows, lies or not.”

Wolff is not the first purveyor of unfounded salacious rumors aimed at besmirching Nikki Haley’s reputation. She was accused of an extramarital relationship while running for the governorship of South Carolina and during the early part of her term in office. However, this daughter of Indian immigrants, who worked her way up the ladder of success by sheer merit and grit, is no shrinking violet.

“I saw this as a legislator. I saw this when I was governor. I see it now. I see them do it to other women,” Nikki Haley said during her 40-minute POLITICO’s Women Rule podcast conversation at the U.S. Mission to the UN. “And the thing is, when women work, they prioritize, they focus, and they believe if you’re gonna to [do] something, do it right. Others see that as either too ambitious or stepping out of line. And the truth is, we need to continue to do our job and if that means they consider it stepping out of line, fine. And if that means they’re gonna throw stones, people see lies for what it is. Do I like it? No. Is it right? No. Is it gonna slow me down? Not at all. Every time this has happened, it only makes me fight harder. And I do it for the sake of other women that are behind me because they should never think that they have to put their head down and cower out of fear that somebody’s gonna do something to you.”

The New York Times, to its credit, published an opinion piece by Bari Weiss entitled “The Slut-Shaming of Nikki Haley.” Bari Weiss pointed out the hypocrisy of so-called feminists on the left and their supporters in essentially ignoring sexist attacks when the victim is a conservative woman. “For years, the fundamental complaint of the right in the culture wars has been that the left is hypocritical,” Ms. Weiss wrote, “and the Nikki Haley episode perfectly confirms the point: A prominent Republican woman is smeared. The author who does the smearing is celebrated by all the A-listers, including the most prominent Democratic woman in the country, who herself has a history of giving a pass (or worse) to men accused of sexual assault and harassment.”

The woman Ms. Weiss was referring to was none other than Hillary Clinton, who sought to elevate the status of Wolff’s book by reading an excerpt during the Grammy awards.

“When Matt Lauer subjected Hillary Clinton to a harsh interview, within 24 hours it was common knowledge that it was evidence of misogyny,” Ms. Weiss wrote in conclusion. “But when Nikki Haley is smeared with the most base, sexist lie, it’s met with little more than a collective shrug.”

Hillary Clinton had time to read from Wolff’s smear-filled book during the Grammy awards, to the delight of her liberal Trump-hating audience, but no time to denounce the sexist smear aimed at Nikki Haley. Ambassador Haley’s predecessors at the UN, Susan Rice and Samantha Power, talked a good game about women’s rights and empowerment while representing the U.S. at the UN. However, when they had the chance to defend the current U.S. ambassador to the UN against the vilest innuendo that could be thrown at a woman, this twosome has remained silent.

Left-wing feminists only support their ideological clones. They despise conservative women. Therefore, it should be no surprise that such feminists are perfectly happy to see an accomplished woman like Nikki Haley, who does not adhere to the left’s orthodoxy, be destroyed by scurrilous slut-shaming. Shame on them!

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.


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The Middle East is Going Backwards – Part 2 (Egyptian Democracy)- Dr. Mordechai Kedar

by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

In the life of a nation, there are difficult periods and times of crisis that call for certain extraordinary steps, and it may be that the reelection of Sisi, while not an ideal solution, is better than any other.

The end of March will mark four years since Abed al-Fatah al-Sisi was elected to the presidency in Egypt, and elections will be held to determine the next president. Sisi has declared his candidacy, and and a few other people have declared their candidacy against him: former Chief of Staff Sami Anan; Atty. Khaled Ali; academician from Suez Canal University Muna al-Baranes; businessman  Mahmoud Ramadan; scientist Essam Heggy and others.

The problem is that everyone who has declared his candidacy finds himself harassed by the police, arrested or the victim of slander, to the extent that at this point there is no serious contender against Sisi. There are many Egyptians who are calling for boycotting the elections because there will not really be a choice, since the result will be known beforehand.

Commentators claim – apparently correctly – that the state of political freedom and individual rights in Egypt today is worse than when Mubarak was president, and that the police and military have become more powerful during the four years of Sisi’s rule. There is an obvious reason for this, which is the war on terror, which is a real war. It is difficult and Sisyphean, and its end is nowhere in sight.
Egypt also faces a threat that is much greater than terror, which is the danger that the flow of the Nile waters from Sudan might be significantly reduced as a result of the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam in  Ethiopia,  hugging the border with South Sudan. Egypt depends on the Nile for drinking water, irrigation and industry and will have increased need for water with the growth of the population, which now stands at ninety million. Until this point, Sisi’s efforts to convince Ethiopia to stop the construction of the dam have failed, and this remains an unsolved problem.

Terror is onerous for the Egyptians for another reason as well, because in addition to the direct harm in fatalities, wounded and damage, the tourism industry has been suffering, since foreign tourists come to relax, to tour and enjoy themselves, not to become victims of a terror attack.

There is a great deal of administrative and governmental corruption in Egypt and many people feel discouraged because they see no way out of their problems. 

Under the present circumstances, where it is almost certain that Sisi will be reelected, continuing the present regime might, ironically, be the preferable outcome. I do not support dictatorship nor the denial of human rights or political freedoms, but the alternative to Sisi, apparently, would be Egypt’s accelerated sinking into the maze of problems in which she is already caught.  

In the life of a nation, there are difficult periods and times of crisis that call for certain extraordinary steps, and it may be that the reelection of Sisi, while not an ideal solution, is better than any other.

From this stage, I wish the Egyptians and Sisi great success in the attempt to emerge from the maze of problems in which they are ensnared.

 Translated from Hebrew by Sally Zahav

Dr. Mordechai Kedar


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