Thursday, August 16, 2018

Officials fume as International Criminal Court ‎seeks 'Palestinian victims of Israeli ‎crimes'‎ - Ariel Kahana, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

by Ariel Kahana, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

Three ICC judges urge "victims of the situation in Palestine" to come forward, facilitate investigation against Israel

Israeli officials voiced outrage Tuesday over ‎a recent decision by the International Criminal ‎Court in The Hague to actively seek alleged victims of Israeli crimes against Palestinians, arguing that this action indicates "strong anti-‎Israel policy."‎

Jerusalem has reportedly filed a formal protest with ‎the ICC for launching a campaign that actively urges the "victims of the situation in Palestine" to ‎seek legal action against the Jewish state. ‎

This highly unusual step casts doubt on the court's ‎ability to be impartial when dealing with issues ‎pertaining to Israel, Jerusalem officials said.‎

In a press release issued in July, three ICC judges ‎‎– Péter Kovács, Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, and ‎Reine Adélaïde Sophie Alapini-Gansou – urged alleged ‎victims to step forward by Dec. 14.‎

The three, members of the ‎pretrial chamber dealing with Palestinian allegations of Israeli war crimes, ordered the ICC's ‎Registry "to establish, as soon as practicable, a ‎system of public information and outreach activities ‎for the benefit of the victims and affected ‎communities in the situation in Palestine." ‎
The three said they sought to ‎establish "a continuous ‎system of interaction ‎between the court and victims, ‎residing within or ‎outside of Palestine.‎"

‎"Victims play an important role in the court's ‎work," they said. "Victims have the right to be heard and ‎considered, ‎at stages of the proceedings determined ‎to be ‎appropriate, and the court has the duty to ‎‎effectively enable them to exercise this right."

This move, which Israeli officials, including ‎Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, have deemed "very disturbing," came despite the fact that ICC ‎Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has yet to decide ‎whether the court has any jurisdiction over matters ‎related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.‎

Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute from ‎which the ICC derives its power. The ‎Palestinian Authority, which joined the ICC in April ‎‎2015, has not been recognized by the United Nations as a state, meaning the ICC cannot ‎exercise its jurisdiction over the regional conflict.

In a stern message, Israel noted that the move was unacceptable and that the court did not have the authority to implement it since Bensouda has yet to rule on whether ‎there is a basis to investigate Palestinian claims ‎of war crimes.

Israel also warned that the move ‎severely undermined the international judicial ‎institution's ability to maintain neutrality.‎

‎"The judges are completely ignoring the fact ‎that ‎the court lacks the jurisdiction to rule on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Their eagerness to launch such an unusual appeal casts serious doubts over the court's ability to fairly confront any matter relating to Israel," a senior Israeli ‎legal ‎official told the Hadashot ‎news edition on Tuesday.‎

Channel 10 News quoted a senior Israeli diplomat as ‎saying the government was "shocked" to learn of the move.‎

He said that in private conversations in July, top ‎Jerusalem officials described the move as "unprecedented," ‎saying it was practically unheard of for the ‎pretrial chamber to actively reach out to victims in ‎a case that has not yet advanced to the stage of an ‎investigation.‏

The move has led Israeli officials to lambaste the ‎ICC for being as biased against Israel as the U.N. ‎Human Rights Council.‎

Ariel Kahana, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff


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Lawfare in the service of terrorism - Amnon Lord

by Amnon Lord

The aim of some left-wing organizations in Israel is to create a friendly environment for terrorism, to deter the IDF and provide the terrorists with as much freedom of operation as possible.

Chicago experienced one of the most violent weekends in the city's history two weeks ago. It is impossible to escape the context for these killings; one can only try to avoid the problem altogether. But those who are forced to admit the truth say the politically charged policies put in place by the city's progressives are keeping police from dealing with the violence in both the city's South Side and West Side neighborhoods. The spike in the number of shooting deaths in Chicago is directly related to these progressive policies.

A similar approach has been adopted toward terrorism. The aim of some left-wing organizations in Israel and around the world is to create a friendly environment for terrorism, to deter the Israel Defense Forces and provide the terrorists with as much freedom of operation as possible. This system, which has been in development for nearly 20 years, is one of legal warfare. The courts, and in particular the International Criminal Court at The Hague, are turning into political tribunals. "Values" and "rights" take the place of the law.

Instead of the rule of law helping enforce anti-terrorist operations, the rule of law has been eroded by the "human rights" warriors, who have in their sights those same people who defend peace and democracy. Take Peter Beinart, an American Jewish journalist who has become an anti-Israel political activist, and who recently completed a disinformation campaign that could serve to deter Israeli security officials from doing their job in the future.

The propagandist method is as follows: Direct the legal fire at Israel and allow the terrorists who carry out the real crimes against humanity to live comfortable lives. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was just recently caught making two very serious anti-Semitic statements. His interpretation of the Holocaust, which places the blame on the victims, is indicative of his worldview: Judaism is indecent and nefarious. Abbas and his friends are not so far removed from the world of Nazi and Stalinist values, or the progressive values of a whole generation of international jurists and a few journalists intent on waging a holy war against Israel.

In such a world, the International Criminal Court can reach out to "victims of the situation in Palestine." The move by the court apparently reflects a certain approach to the events on Israel's border with Gaza in recent months. It seems the threat of legal action deterred the IDF from fulfilling its duty as the force tasked with protecting the state and its citizens. The legal warfare strategy supported by transnational and irresponsible elites grants immunity to the band of criminals that control Gaza.

Amnon Lord


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New Mexico Child-Terrorist Training Camp Leaders go Free - Lloyd Billingsley

by Lloyd Billingsley

Democrat judge sends dangerous jihadists back into our midst.

New Mexico state judge Sarah Backus on Monday released five Islamic radicals on a $20,000 “signature bond,” which requires no payment.  The decision came as a shock, given what local law enforcement had discovered. 
At a ramshackle compound near the Colorado state line, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 39, Lucas Morton, 40, Jany Leveille, 35, Hujrah Wahhaj, 38, and Subhanah Wahhaj, 35, trained 11 children to use firearms and attack schools. The compound had been under surveillance but police only launched a raid when one of the children texted that they were all in need of food and water.
Police found rifles, handguns and ammunition and a shooting range. In a tunnel leading outside the compound they found the remains of a boy later identified as Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj. According to his mother, he took medicine for seizures but the Islamic radicals thought he was possessed by evil spirits. Prosecutor John Lovelace told reporters that the child died during one of the rituals. 
As Rod Steiger said in In the Heat of the Night, they had the body, which was dead. Yet prosecutors only charged the five Muslim militants with child abuse. Locals had to wonder, given the connections of the dead boy’s father. 
Siraj Ibn Wahhaj is the son of Imam Siraj Wajjai, an unindicted co-conspirator in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. The Imam, a former CAIR advisor, offered prayer at a Democratic National Convention event in 2012. The elder Wahhaj is also close to Linda Sarsour, who urges Muslims to wage jihad against the Trump administration. For New Mexico officials, activities at the compound were reason enough to suspect the Muslims of  training the children for terrorist attacks. 
“This was not a camping trip and this was not a simple homesteading,” prosecutor Timothy Hasson told reporters. “The evidence as a whole suggests that this family was on a mission. And it was a violent one, and it was a dangerous one.” Added retired law enforcement officer Bill Rehm, Albuquerque Republican:
“These suspects face serious charges that they intended to inflict mass violence, possibly through school shootings. This, combined with the discovery of the remains of a young child, is strong evidence that they pose a high risk of violence and should be behind bars. People who are suspected of killing children and orchestrating mass shootings should not be allowed to walk out of the courthouse and back into their communities with almost zero guarantee that they will ever show up to trial.” Despite similar pleas from local police, that is exactly what happened. 
Judge Sarah Backus is a graduate of the University of California Hastings College of the Law and served as a deputy public defender and deputy attorney general in San Francisco. New Mexico governor Susana Martinez appointed her in 2011 and the next year the
Democrat gained election to the judicial post. 
Backus cited “troubling facts about numerous children in far from ideal circumstances and individuals who are living in a very unconventional way,” but ruled that prosecutors had failed to show evidence of a plan to harm the community.  Gov. Martinez, a Republican, said the decision “highlights how extreme the New Mexico Supreme Court has been in dictating pretrial release for all kinds of dangerous criminals.”  
In similar style, Backus recently supported a motion to release Rafael Orozco, who attacked his girlfriend, her newborn baby and a hospital worker before fleeing to commit other crimes. Those baffled by the Democrat’s decision to release the five Muslims might contrast two other cases.
For deciding to live in rural Idaho, Randy Weaver was branded a “white separatist.” Weaver’s wife Vicky had committed no crime and was not under arrest but in 1992 FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi shot the woman through the head as she held her infant child. Democrats such as Herb Kohl and Patrick Leahy showed sympathy with the family but Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Weaver if he had made kids wear Nazi armbands and shout Nazi slogans
In 1993, Clinton Attorney General Janet Reno approved the deployment of military tanks in an attack on a compound at Waco, Texas, claiming the lives of 75 people, including 25 children. In neither case was anybody starving children, killing children in rituals, or training children to use firearms in attacks on schools. None of the adults held ties to terrorist supporters in the manner of Siraj Ibn Wahhaj.
Instead of mounting a raid on the compound, the FBI sent in a neighbor with a hidden camera. Police found guns, ammunition, and the dead body of Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, yet the adults were only charged with child abuse. If anybody thought that a travesty of justice it would be hard to blame them.
Meanwhile, as Fox News reports, on Tuesday Jany Leveille was transferred to the custody of ICE. Siraj Wahhaj is being held on a warrant from Georgia and the three other Muslims are “still incarcerated pending the fulfillment of their release conditions.”

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


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Does Turkey Belong in the Future of NATO? - Nonie Darwish

by Nonie Darwish

Turkey's President Erdogan has been steadily abrogating NATO commitments

  • Loving one's native culture and feeling comfortable in it is normal. Western leaders have respected the rights of new immigrants to love the cultures from which they have come. But unfortunately, those same leaders are tearing apart their own cultures by turning love of one's own country into an unforgivable sin, when it is expressed by native citizens of Western countries. This trend needs to end.

  • Unless the leadership of Europe decides to stop the transformation of the continent with the same determination expressed by some extremist leaders that appear to want to transform it, its future is all too clear.

  • Turkey's President Erdogan has been steadily abrogating NATO commitments, such as, "uphold[ing] democracy, including tolerating diversity," and that members "must be good neighbors and respect sovereignty outside their borders."
US President Donald J. Trump tends to state what many in the world are saying but few are willing publicly to express:

"I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad," he recently said. Standing next to UK Prime Minister Teresa May, he stated his conviction that European immigration policies are changing the "fabric of Europe" and destroying European culture.

It is a warning. Europe, in fact, is being flooded with millions of migrants, often from cultures that are openly anti-democratic.

Moreover, some Muslim leaders are encouraging immigrants to resist assimilation into European cultures. Such deliberate non-assimilation has created cultural clashes across Europe.

The reality is that fundamentalist Islamic cultures are, in many ways, at odds with secular Western values.

Regarding NATO, today's flood of immigrants may well eventually try to transform the heart of values and goals – "to safeguard the Allies' freedom and security by political and military means" -- that brought the NATO nations together in the first place.

Such political and cultural transformation of Europe seems quickly to be forming a huge cultural, social and political collision course at odds with European values. Such a possibility should no longer be considered a forbidden subject of "polite" conversation.
The founding NATO members originally came together in 1949 not only because they shared a "common threat" from the Soviet Union after World War II. They also joined forces because they shared cultural, political and economic goals -- and Judeo-Christian, humanistic values, all uniting factors and consistent with the values of NATO.

Loving one's native culture and feeling comfortable in it is normal. Western leaders have respected the rights of new immigrants to love the cultures from which they have come. But unfortunately, those same leaders are tearing apart their own cultures by turning love of one's own country into an unforgivable sin, when it is expressed by native citizens of Western countries. This trend needs to end.

Unless the leadership of Europe decides to stop the transformation of the continent with the same determination expressed by some extremist leaders that appear to want to transform it, its future is all too clear.

If the current trend of Islamization continues, it will not be long before politically correct Europe elects Muslim heads of State who demand adherence to sharia law and tolerance of jihad.

Unlikely? Turkey, a NATO member since 1952, when it was a very different Turkey, has been increasingly radicalized for more than a decade by its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan has also been steadily abrogating NATO commitments, such as, "uphold[ing] democracy, including tolerating diversity," and that members "must be good neighbors and respect sovereignty outside their borders."

Turkey's democracy has been eroding and is now being called a "hollow democracy."
Tolerating diversity? Consider Turkey's genocide of Armenian Christians, and persecution and expulsions of Greek Christians. Currently, Turkey is holding an American pastor, Andrew Brunson (first in prison and now under house arrest), on charges of "dividing and separating [Turkey], by means of Christianization," as well as false charges of espionage.

In addition, in January 2018, Turkey invaded northwestern Syria and seized the Syrian city of Afrin, an act hardly commensurate with NATO's minimum requirements for membership, which say that member states "must be good neighbors and respect sovereignty outside their borders."

Western civilization is at a crossroads. President Trump's warning to Europe could not have come at a more appropriate time. Turkey's recent policies and actions reflect how fragile NATO relations have become, due to the breaking down of the cohesive culture that brought NATO members together in the first place.

If gaps continue to grow between some of NATO's members in matters of cultural identity, values and vision, the US may well have to prepare for an uncertain future with NATO.

Turkey's recent policies and actions reflect how fragile NATO relations have become, due to the breaking down of the cohesive culture that brought NATO members together in the first place. Pictured: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg meets with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mevlut Cavusoglu on April 16, 2018 in Turkey. (Image source: NATO/Flickr)

Nonie Darwish born and raised in Egypt, is the author of "
Wholly Different; Why I Chose Biblical Values Over Islamic Values".


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Sweden is Burning - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

Will Swedes finally wake up and deal with their immigration problem?

Multiple Swedish localities were subjected to what appears to be coordinated arson attacks on Monday, as youths set fire to at least 100 cars in and around the city of Gothenburg, the city of Trollhättan further north, Falkenberg and in the capital city of Stockholm. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven described the attacks as "very organized, almost like a military operation." He said he was "really getting mad" and that "society must react in a tough manner." No kidding! This is nothing new. Five years ago, for example, Sweden experienced days of rioting, with cars and buildings set ablaze. In early 2016, “Swedish police had to run for safety after being surrounded by an angry mob of migrants,” Express reported, “when they went to rescue a 10-year-old boy, who had allegedly been raped and 22-year-old Alexandra Mezher was stabbed to death by a Somali boy aged 15.” Riots broke out in a predominantly immigrant neighborhood of Stockholm in 2017, CNN reported, with vehicles set on fire. Also last year, a frustrated asylum-seeker embarked on a deadly rampage with a truck, killing or injuring several people.  
There were 306 confirmed shooting incidents across Sweden last year, resulting in 41 deaths. These may seem like small numbers compared to the total number of shootings and homicides from gun violence in Chicago alone last year. However, it is not a small number for a Western European country.  Indeed, Sweden is now reported to be the second most violent country in Europe. Its homicide rates are “significantly above the Western European average,” Politico reported. “Social unrest, with car torchings, attacks on first responders and even riots, is a recurring phenomenon.”
At the same time, Sweden has become a haven for migrants because of Sweden’s past open border policies. More than 600,000 immigrants have flooded into Sweden over the past five years, ZeroHedge has reported. Sweden is at the top of the list in Europe for admitting the most asylum seekers per capita, many of whom have come from the Middle East. The correlation between the increase of the immigration population and the rise of violent crime in Sweden is striking. While correlation does not necessarily prove causation in all cases, disturbing patterns have appeared that point to Sweden’s past open borders policies as having contributed substantially to its rising crime problem. Swedish authorities have been reluctant to release crime statistics based on national origin in recent years out of concern for political correctness. However, the evidence we do have points to the outsized impact that the influx of immigrants, many from terrorist-prone areas in the Middle East and elsewhere, have had on the rising crime rate. The same Politico report cited above, for example, noted that gang-related gun murders in Sweden, which have increased in number, are “now mainly a phenomenon among men with immigrant backgrounds in the country’s parallel societies.” According to the Swedish publication Dagens Nyheter in 2017, cited in a Wikipedia article on immigration to Sweden, “at least 90% of all murders and attempted murders through gun violence in Sweden are performed by either immigrants or those with at least one immigrant parent.” The Wikipedia article also cited a 2017 police report on organized crime in Sweden, which stated that “in most areas of Sweden with the highest crime rates (sv: särskilt utsatta områden) population share of immigrants is around 50-60%.”
Bojan Pancevski, a journalist who is the Wall Street Journal’s Germany correspondent and has also written for the Times, tweeted a dispatch from Sweden last January in which he noted that Sweden “is experiencing an unprecedented surge in shootings, bombings and sexual crime,” which “is mainly restricted to areas predominantly populated by immigrants.” 
While Swedish authorities have been mum so far on who was responsible for the latest spate of arson attacks in and around Gothenburg and other cities on Monday, we do know that migrant youth groups have been responsible for mayhem in the past. For example, last year, as reported in the Express, migrant youth gangs turned Sweden’s largest shopping center, located in Gothenburg, “into a ‘no-go zone’ as they intimidate police, harass girls and deal drugs openly.” Some of the gang members were from Afghanistan and Syria. It does not take a genius to figure out that such migrant youth gangs are most likely responsible for Monday’sarson attacks. 
Sweden has tightened its immigration laws recently to some degree, but it may be too little too late. Thus, immigration, including its impact on violent crime in Sweden, is likely to be a central issue in this September’s Swedish election. Support for the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats has been surging, which will likely make them important players in dealing with the immigration issue going forward.
Photo: Telefonkiosk

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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Qatar: France's Generous Financer of Mosques - Giulio Meotti

by Giulio Meotti

Qatari activism in France should greatly worry those who care about the stability of European democracies. 

  • The Great Mosque of Poitiers, for instance, sits in the vicinity of the site of the Battle of Tours, where Charles Martel, ruler of the Franks, stopped the advancing Muslim army of Abdul al-Rahman in the year 732.

  • "We have funds from abroad... it comes from the faithful of Saudi Arabia and Qatar," says Ahmed Jamaleddine, treasurer of the Amal association, which is behind the construction of "the Great Mosque of Saint-Denis." Saint-Denis also happens to be home to a famous Cathedral, the Basilica of Saint-Denis -- which contains the royal necropolis where many of France's kings are buried.

  • The Emir of Qatar appears to have a far greater grasp of French history than many French do.

Qatari activism in France should greatly worry those who care about the stability of European democracies. For years, Qatar has been the focus of many claims about its Islamic fundamentalism and its alleged support for the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran, ISIS, elements of al-Qaeda, Hamas, the Taliban and other Islamic extremists.

Qatar's emir, Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, recently provided solid proof that France is a privileged field of projection for his country, which, for more than a year, has had a severe boycott imposed on it by its Gulf neighbors. A July meeting in Paris between the Emir of Qatar and French President Emmanuel Macron was the third held in just a few months. Contracts worth more than 12 billion euros have already been signed, making Qatar the third largest French customer in the Gulf after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Qatar, however, casts its shadow not only over the French economy.

Money from Qatar finances many of the "mega-mosques" in France. These are large structures with minarets -- not the improvised mosques that have sprung up in garages, storefronts and cultural centers. The Great Mosque of Poitiers, for instance, sits in the vicinity of the site of the Battle of Tours (also known as the Battle of Poitiers), where Charles Martel, ruler of the Franks, stopped the advancing Muslim army of Abdul al-Rahman in the year 732.

The imam of Poitiers today, Boubaker El-Hadj Amor, announced that the mosque, with a prayer hall for 700 faithful and a minaret of 22 meters, was made possible thanks to money from the organization "Qatar Charity." In a video, the imam of Poitiers admits to having benefited from Qatari funds to continue the mosque's construction, interrupted for several years due to lack of funding from local believers. "What we have built is thanks to Allah and with the help of the 'Qatar Charity' organization", the imam said.

According to the newspaper Libération:
"[W]e are currently witnessing a relative muzzling of the historical partners of Islam in France, Morocco and Algeria. Although they remain opulent donors, maintain close links with the first generations of immigrants and have locked up key positions within the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), these two countries see their influence diminishing among the youngest [generation]."
"... Qatar operates an insidious, but consensual, entryism, within the Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF), France's representative of the [Muslim] Brotherhood."
"Through the UOIF, Qatar's idea was to take control of Islam in France", says Georges Malbrounot, a reporter at Le Figaro and co-author of the book "Nos très chers émirs" ("Our dear Emirs") about the relations between France and Qatar.

One mosque largely financed by Qatari money is the Assalam Mosque in Nantes.
With its 17-meter-high minaret, large dome rising 14 meters and exterior illumination at night, the Assalam mosque "illuminates the city of Nantes." The mosque apparently answers a real need for the Muslims of the city. The faithful used to pray in the Arrahma Mosque and the El Forqane Mosque (formerly the Saint-Christophe Christian chapel, before it was transformed into an Islamic prayer hall), but Muslim community leaders say they were too small for the community's needs.

The Assalam Mosque in Nantes. (Image source: Belgacem Ben Said/Wikimedia Commons)

Qatari money is also flowing into Mulhouse, an Alsatian city, where Qatar Charity helped to build the An Nour Center, which includes a large mosque -- "one of the most impressive in Europe". The Qatari media described the project:
"The centre is strategically located in the border region of France, Germany and Switzerland, where Muslims constitute more than 20 percent of the total population of the city of 256,000 people. More than 150,000 people from the three countries will benefit from the project".
In Marseille, Qatari money is also financing the future Great Mosque of Marseille that will accommodate between 10,000 and 14,000 worshipers -- in a city that already hosts "about 70 mosques and official prayer rooms," according to the Regional Council of the Muslim Faith. The government of Qatar, in addition, has given millions of euros to the Grand Mosque in Paris.

Among the Persian Gulf states, Qatar now seems to be preeminent in creating Islamic history in France. Bernard Godard, who for years served as a consultant on Islam for the Ministry of the Interior, said: "It cannot be said that Islam in France is financed mainly by Saudi Arabia. It contributes a little but much less than countries such as Qatar or Kuwait". The French scholar, Bérengère Bonte, last year wrote a book entitled, The French Republic of Qatar ("La République française du Qatar").

Qatar has also reportedly helped finance the Saint-Denis campus of the European Institute of Human Sciences (IESH). This private "Muslim University" offers Arabic language and theology courses to post-graduate Muslim students. In fifteen years, its enrollment has grown from 180 students to almost 1,500.

Qatar is, as well, behind France's first state-funded Muslim faith school, the Lycée-Collège Averroès. The school was at the center of a dust-up a few years ago when one of its teachers resigned after writing that the school was "a hotbed of anti-Semitism and was 'promoting Islamism' to pupils". The school is financed by government funding, tuition fees, and donations from the Muslim community. But when it became necessary to buy a new building and renovate it, for 2.5 million euros, the Saudi Arabia Development Bank agreed to pay 250,000 euros, and the NGO Qatar Charity 800,000. According to the newspaper Libération:
"But when it became necessary to buy a new building and renovate it, for 2.5 million euros, the Saudi Arabia Development Bank agreed to pay 250,000 euros, and the NGO Qatar Charity 800,000."
Then there is what is known as "the Great Mosque of Saint-Denis," located in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, which has a high concentration of Muslim immigrants. Ahmed Jamaleddine, treasurer of the Amal association, which is behind the construction of the mosque, says: "We have funds from abroad... Everything is transparent: it comes from the faithful of Saudi Arabia and Qatar."

Saint-Denis also happens to be home to a famous Cathedral, the Basilica of Saint-Denis -- which contains the royal necropolis where many of France's kings are buried, including Charles Martel, noted earlier, who stopped the advance of the Muslim army in 732.
The Emir of Qatar appears to have a far greater grasp of French history than many French do. Qatar is a country of which democracies would do well to be wary.

Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.

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Corbyn in hot water again - Ben Ariel

by Ben Ariel

British Labour leader criticized over picture of him apparently making a salute linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Jeremy Corbyn

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is in hot water again, after a picture emerged of him apparently making a salute linked to the Muslim Brotherhood organization.

The photograph, published by the Daily Telegraph, shows Corbyn making the four-fingered Rabbi’ah sign, which is used by the Muslim Brotherhood as a symbol of support for the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

The photo reportedly was taken during a visit by Corbyn to the Finsbury Park mosque in 2016.

A spokesman for the Labour leader explained he had been “standing up for democracy” when he used the Rabbi’ah symbol, reported the British Jewish News.

Counter-extremist activist and Jewish News columnist Maajid Nawaz said the Muslim Brotherhood was “to Muslims what the BNP are to the English: bigoted, identitarian and dangerous”.

“It should be as taboo for a left-wing politician to be associated with that group, as it is with the BNP,” added Nawaz.

A spokesman for Corbyn told the Telegraph in response, “The four fingered gesture is a well-known symbol of solidarity with the victims of the 2013 Rabaa massacre in Cairo.”

The photo is the latest in a series of controversies that have engulfed Corbyn and the Labour party in recent years.

Just this week, the Daily Mail published photos of Corbyn at a cemetery in Tunisia holding a wreath near the graves of some of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorists who were responsible for the massacre of the 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

The Labour leader said he would not apologize for attending the event at the cemetery because he was trying to “promote peace in the Middle East”.

On Monday, he and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu clashed on Twitter when Netanyahu wrote, “The laying of a wreath by Jeremy Corbyn on the graves of the terrorist who perpetrated the Munich massacre and his comparison of Israel to the Nazis deserves unequivocal condemnation from everyone – left, right and everything in between.”

Corbyn later fired back and said Netanyahu’s accusations were false before adding, “What deserves unequivocal condemnation is the killing of over 160 Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza by Israeli forces since March - and a discriminatory nation state law sponsored by his government that formalizes the second class status of Arab citizens.”

Over the last several years, dozens of Labour members have been suspended over their anti-Semitic statements.

Corbyn himself has been accused of holding anti-Semitic views by senior UK Jewish leaders. Corbyn has also been criticized for calling Hamas and Hezbollah his "friends" and for outright refusing to condemn those two terrorist organizations despite being urged to do so by local Jewish groups.

Most recently, the party was criticized over its refusal to adopt in full the definition of anti-Semitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Following the criticism, Corbyn published an op-ed in The Guardian, in which he acknowledged that the party has “a real problem” when it comes to anti-Semitism, but strongly rejected the idea that it poses any threat to the British Jewish community.

He subsequently published a video in which he acknowledged that anti-Semitism has surfaced in the party and apologized for “the hurt that has been caused to many Jewish people.”

Ben Ariel


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Brennan, the Spooks, and Russian Collusion - Ishmael Jones

by Ishmael Jones

John Brennan's CIA should be held accountable for its role in spy operations against the Trump campaign.

The FBI is being held accountable for its role in spy operations against the Trump campaign. John Brennan’s CIA should be held accountable as well.

An editorial by Holman Jenkins in the Wall Street Journal on June 29, 2018 recommends an investigation of the CIA’s involvement in the 2016 election, and I agree. The WSJ’s Kimberley Strassel has commented on CIA involvement as well, as did Rudy Giuliani on August 13th. 

If press reports are accurate, American spy operations targeted the Trump campaign by luring Trump associates such as George Papadopoulos to meetings in Britain. There are two key factors at work here.

The first factor is the location.  The CIA is in charge of American government spy ops that occur in foreign countries, not the FBI. While an American tourist can fly to Britain to see the changing of the guard and be in front of Buckingham Palace within 24 hours, an American FBI agent can do nothing in Britain without intricate CIA approvals and supervision. If the CIA were not involved, they’d be raising hell with the FBI for doing business on their turf. Turf is everything in bureaucracy. CIA involvement is certain.

The second factor -- I do not know the people named and am basing this on press reports -- is that these ops bear the distinctive signature of being run by bureaucrats at CIA Headquarters, not by professionals in CIA field stations.

Headquarters’ spy recruitments are weak. Our full-time government employees, such as CIA officers and FBI agents, are expected to recruit part-time spies called agents, assets, sources, informants, and access agents. (Some folks don’t like the use of the word “spy,” but in fact everyone involved is a spy. I was a spy.)  With 17 redundant spy agencies and tens of thousands of idle employees in the Washington D.C. area, there’s a natural tendency to recruit American citizens to help spy on Americans. Such operations provide employees with opportunities to look busy and get promoted while living in the comfort of Washington. 

Recruitments of sources are important to the CIA, but if you try to recruit a terrorist in Syria, you might get a bullet in the head. North Korea and Iran are far away, out of sight and out of mind. Why not recruit an American college professor instead? Assign him a secret code name and he comes to look like a real spy. Most Americans are happy to help out, so there’s no fear of embarrassing rejection. 

There’s only one thing easier for Headquarters employees than recruiting an American college professor, and that is recruiting an American college professor who has already been recruited by other U.S. spy agencies. This appears to have been the case in these operations.

“Hey, this isn’t a secret source, this is just old Bill Jones!” is the kind of statement heard at CIA Headquarters when someone realizes that a secret asset is not a brave source deep within a rogue state, but is instead an American college professor, an old colleague, or the family member of a CIA employee. 

In espionage, you’ve got to recruit directly. If you need intelligence on Iran, you’ve got to go out and find an Iranian. It’s like courtship. You’ve got to get out and find your potential spouse and you must do it yourself. When I first saw the woman who would become my wife, I approached her immediately and directly. A simpering Headquarters bureaucrat would have thought, “I must find someone who can sidle up to her and assess her and then provide me with information that I can use to develop a relationship.”

We’ve spent billions training our officers and then they live in Washington and recruit American college professors to do their work.

The question is:  If these Headquarters-run operations are so lightweight, why did John Brennan’s CIA choose this kind of operation to target Trump? 

The answer is that they already knew there was no collusion, so they didn’t need a surgical, focused, silent CIA field operation.  

They wanted the noise and the hum of activity, the smoke, rumors, leaks, and innuendo of a Headquarters-run operation.  And they were right. Their plan worked. All this noise, combined with the fraudulent Steele Dossier, led to relentless media attacks on Trump, an unlimited budget for Mueller and his team, and even to ongoing demands that Trump kowtow to the intel agencies. 

The deep state left a sloppy trail behind. They must have figured Hillary would win and so it wouldn’t matter. There’s much more going on here than CIA spies merely sidling up to Trump associates for brief conversations and handing them some money. Big meetings about these operations meant people like Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe from the FBI piled into cars to head over to the CIA. Once there, they sat around the Nirvana of bureaucracy, a big conference room table. (McCabe spent $70,000 of your money to buy his own table.) Each agency and office would have been at the table. Each senior person brings along a herd of minions. The senior people talk while the minions sit there like potted plants. These potted plants will be willing to talk to investigators. 
CIA employees document their activity exhaustively in records that are sent to lots of other offices to keep everyone informed. These documents are cross-referenced, so if a deep stater tries to delete them, it will be obvious. A Horowitz-style investigation will find a treasure trove of information plus a trail of accountings that will show wasteful spending and possibly fraud. Headquarters-run ops are expensive extravaganzas. 

Democrats seem to understand that these ops are easy to unravel. Their only defense is to scream that details must be kept secret to protect national security. Yet they are the ones who did the leaking of identities of people involved, which is a felony.

Mueller and his 13 angry Democrats are missing out on all the fun. Their investigation of the President has been frustrating. Had Mueller focused instead on threats from our own intelligence agencies, he’d have been able to indict and jail his prey at will. 

We must hold John Brennan and his bureaucrats accountable.  At the same time, we must strengthen our intelligence capabilities by cancelling phony operations and redirecting our officers to service overseas.    

Ishmael Jones is the pen name of a former CIA case officer. He is the author of The Human Factor: Inside the CIA's Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture

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Social Security and Fiscal Doomsday - William Sullivan

by William Sullivan

There's an interesting thing that happens when people think about Social Security. The same interesting thing happens when people imagine the impending doom of municipal and state pension liabilities.

2035.  That’s the optimistic date for Social Security’s impending doom, after which Social Security is expected to provide only 75-80% of expected benefits to retirees.  For the record, I turn 67 (full retirement age, for me) in 2047, so I, like many Americans, have been skeptical about the program for some time.

But perhaps it’s pertinent to note that when I began following this looming doomsday in earnest, it was projected at 2038.  It’s been creeping forward, with some estimates placing it as early as 2034.

But there’s an interesting thing that happens when people think about Social Security, just as that same interesting thing happens when people imagine the impending doom of municipal and state pension liabilities that are now crippling governments across the country with a roughly $5 trillion hole nationally.  Somehow, Americans think, the money is there if governments are capable of properly managing the inflows from workers, capitalizing upon the underlying investments, and just delivering the outflows to beneficiaries.

Each and every of those assumptions are wrong.

Let’s begin with municipal pensions. 

The inflows from workers in a city, for example, have a direct correlation to tax revenue raised by the populace.  This can vary wildly from decade to decade, city to city, as populations move for new opportunities due to business or governmental policy changes over time, but the municipal pension obligations do not typically change from the baseline optimistic assumptions employed by politicians and union representatives in setting them long ago.

For example, Detroit, once an American city gleaming upon the hill of unionized employment, has, since the 1960s, seen its “population decline by 60%.”

“Rather than reduce the size of government as its population shrank,” Alison Acosta Fraser and Rachel Grezler observe at Heritage, “Detroit sought higher levels of government spending. City leaders, following in the footsteps of automakers, acquiesced to the unions by increasing employee benefits, especially future pensions and retiree health care.”

Now apply this at a larger scale, to a state like California.  “By 2024,” writes Adam Ashton at the Sacramento Bee in an article, the likes of which are becoming increasingly commonplace, “cities anticipate that they will spend an average of 15.8% of their general funds on pensions, up from an average of 8.3% today.” 

This near-doubling of expected expenditures is exacerbated by reductions in returns in the investment forecast of the underlying pension funds.  In the past, you see, pension funds have enjoyed actuarial assumptions based upon more optimistic returns on the funds’ fixed positions, i.e., bond holdings.  Rates of return on those investments have fallen sharply over the past decades, and there is little to suggest a return to “normalcy” in the bond market, so actuaries have rightfully downgraded expected returns.

All of this is to say that, on top of lower interest returns on fixed investments, local and state pension funds are exposed to what retirement planners call the risk of a “sequence-of-returns” risk

If there is a market downturn, and particularly, a long-standing market downturn like we saw in the tech crash of 2000, being forced to liquidate investments to pay obligations will deplete the funds faster than if the funds were able to hold those investments as a typical investor would. 

The average American investor might understand this, in principle.  For example, if you had an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) in 2008, it may have lost 30% or more due to the market crash of the Great Recession.  The government requires that, if you are over the age of 70-and-a-half, that you must begin liquidating money from your tax-sheltered accounts in order for the government to collect the revenue from your doing so.  Congress declared, uniquely in the scope of United States’ tax history, that in 2009 those Americans were not required to take their “required minimum distribution” in that year, thereby not forcing retirees to sell their investments at a dramatic loss, because doing so might be detrimental to the longevity of their retirement accounts.

Pension funds do not have that luxury.  They must liquidate the investments to pay ongoing obligations.

That alone causes myriad problems.  Social Security, however, is a horse of a different color.

Social Security has no underlying investments, as local and state pension funds do.  The “trust fund” for the Social Security Administration simply does not exist. 

The misunderstanding of this principle has led to the fallacies which you’ve undoubtedly heard, or may even believe.  Perhaps you believe, for example, that the Social Security trust fund has been “raided” by politicians over the years.  In truth, Social Security has run at a surplus until 2010, and the Social Security Administration has taken more in revenue than has been necessary to pay its obligations year-to-year until that time.  Excess revenue had, up to that point, only one place to go, by law -- to the federal government, and with that money, the federal government issued bonds back to the Social Security Administration with the promise of the repayment of the principal and interest.

What did the federal government do with that excess capital over the years?  They spent it.  It’s now part of the $20+ trillion debt that the federal government owns.

Now, here’s the really important part.

When you hear about the “reserves” of the Social Security trust funds that are meant to keep Social Security afloat until 2035, they’re talking about the repayment of this money by the federal government, and the interest involved.  But the money was never “invested.”  It was given to the government to spend.  And spend that money, the government did.

So, the “reserves” for Social Security now represent nothing more than red on the ledger for the federal government.  To pay for the growing deficit in Social Security revenues versus obligations, the government must take on more debt.

Heritage provides a chart showing the level of these new expenditures relative to government spending:

This is a key component of increasing government spending.  Demographics have hammered the Social Security Administration the same way that they’ve hammered pensions across the country.  The back end of the Baby-Boomer generation is massive.  They will be retiring in even greater numbers in the coming years, further straining these shortsighted redistributive systems to an extent not seen before.

I do not claim to have the political answers to solve the problems that socialistic policies set in place long before I was born.  But I would suggest that addressing the question of entitlement spending, this massive Damocles’ blade hanging above our collective heads, would, at least, be prudent.

Yet no one is clamoring to do so, you’ll notice.

It’s not easy for politicians to encroach the touchstones of socialism which have been embedded in our nation.  I get that.  But if we cannot make practical changes to modestly maintain those foolhardy programs’ sustainability, with working and collecting voters in consideration, we run the risk of running headlong into a million-mile-thick brick wall which may make the American experiment little more than a memory.

William Sullivan can be followed at Political Palaver and can be followed on Twitter.

Image courtesy the Heritage Foundation.


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