Friday, October 19, 2018

Winds of War Brewing In Gaza - Ari Lieberman

by Ari Lieberman

Hamas tests the limits of Israel’s patience.

On Wednesday, at approximately 3:40 a.m. Israeli time, sirens blared throughout the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva (Beersheba) shattering the stillness of the night. In what is considered to be a major escalation, Gazan-based terrorists fired a single rocket at the city, which is located approximately 25 miles from Gaza Strip. Miraculously, the projectile, which landed in a courtyard, caused no casualties but five people were treated for shock. Israel responded by hitting 20 military targets throughout Gaza. The Israeli Air Force also launched a precision strike against a group of terrorists in the midst of setting up a rocket launch from the northern Gaza Strip. The IDF later released video footage of the strike, which appears to have liquidated the rocket squad. The brazen and indiscriminate terrorist attack comes amid talk by Israel’s political echelon of the need to take decisive military action against Hamas, the entity that controls the Strip.

This past Friday, Palestinian terrorists, using violent demonstrations as cover, placed an explosive charge on the security fence marking the border between Gaza Strip and Israel and blew a hole through it. They then charged through the newly created opening toward the direction of a nearby Israeli outpost. An alert female Israel Defense Force soldier of the “Nesher” battalion quickly detected the infiltration and guided a response team to the area. All three infiltrators were liquidated. An additional four Palestinians were killed that day while engaged in violent Hamas-inspired, anti-Israel border rioting, rioting which has been occurring on a regular basis with no letup since May.

That same day, Israeli firefighters were forced to battle and extinguish 10 blazes sparked by incendiary balloons sent by Palestinians in Gaza and carried by wind patterns into Israel. Thus far, this form of eco-terror has devoured some 7,000 acres of forest and agricultural land. Large swaths of what were previously productive agricultural lands and lush greenery have been transformed into charred and blackened acreage. Israeli farmers on the Gaza periphery have lost millions of dollars as a result of what has been dubbed “kite terror.”

Just a day earlier, Israeli combat engineers detected and destroyed a Hamas terror tunnel that penetrated 200 meters into Israeli territory. It was the 15th such tunnel that Israel had destroyed since October 2017.  Israel estimates that the cost of constructing the tunnel was $3 million, money that could have been spent on improving the lives of ordinary Gazans.

Meanwhile, over half of Gaza’s Palestinian labor force is unemployed. The Strip is plagued by chronic fuel and water shortages. Electricity is sporadic and raw sewage flows in the streets. The Hamas government in an effort to deflect attention away from its own venality and corruption is stoking the flames of violence. Violent rioting, damage to border infrastructure, sporadic rocket and mortar fire, terror tunnels, kite terror, IEDs and sniper fire are recurring themes that Israel must contend with on a daily basis from its genocidal Islamist neighbor.

Gaza is an open festering boil for Israel and there’s evidence suggesting that Israel’s exasperated leaders are quickly running out of patience with Hamas. At the government’s behest, the IDF is readying itself for a major military undertaking against the terror group. The goal would be to degrade Hamas until the terror group comes to its senses thereby purchasing four to five years of relative quite. This doctrine is known as “cutting the grass” or “mowing the lawn,” a reference to the fact that periodic military action is necessary to reestablish deterrence and compel Hamas to cry uncle.

Since December 2008, the IDF has undertaken three major counter insurgency campaigns – Operation Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Defense and Operation Protective Edge – against Hamas. All three campaigns were militarily successful and temporarily put a halt to Hamas aggression but did not represent a permanent solution to the Hamas problem.

Some within the Israeli government, led by Education and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett, are advocating a more robust military approach that goes well beyond lawn mowing. They argue that Israel must completely topple Hamas. This strategy, while tempting, overlooks the fact that it would require Israeli forces to operate in dense, hostile urban environments, environments in which Hamas thrives. Hamas has no regard for the laws of war and excels at the practice of shielding, the process by which it uses the civilian population as cover. An urban war with liberal use of human shields and an extensive network of interconnected tunnels is precisely the type of war that the terror group wants to draw Israel into.

The age of asymmetrical warfare has made it exceedingly difficult but not impossible for a conventional army to completely root out an elusive and immoral enemy that has no regard for basic standards of decency. Israel certainly has the capability to topple Hamas but the cost, it terms of casualties, negative press coverage and political fallout might outweigh whatever benefits are accrued by ousting the terror group from Gaza.

Secondly, Israel must have an exit strategy. Hamas’s ouster requires the presence of another entity to rule the Strip. There would be little popular support in Israel for a re-occupation of Gaza, with its million or so hostile Arabs.

The best solution for Israel in taming Hamas is an approach that lies somewhere between mowing the lawn and toppling the junta. Israel’s 2014 Protective Edge campaign inflicted massive harm on Hamas and was regarded as a military success; yet partly in an effort to placate Obama, Israel operated with extreme restraint. In the next war, Israel should substantially relax the self-imposed limitations it places on its military. Israel’s desire to curtail collateral damage is viewed upon as a weakness by its amoral enemies, who cynically exploit the civilian population by routinely utilizing them as human shields. Moreover, such self-imposed restraints substantially hamper the IDF’s freedom of action and undermine its effectiveness while potentially exposing its personnel to greater danger. Additionally, the IDF should not limit its targeted liquidations to military commanders. Hamas’s political chiefs like Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud al-Zahar, who are keen on sending young Palestinians to their deaths, should be placed on notice that they are now fair game.

Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region.


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State Department provided 'clearly false' statements to derail requests for Clinton docs - Greg Re

by Greg Re

"I was actually dumbfounded when I found out ... that Cheryl Mills had been given immunity."- U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth

In a combative exchange at a hearing Friday in Washington, D.C., a federal judge unabashedly accused career State Department officials of lying and signing "clearly false" affidavits to derail a series of lawsuits seeking information about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email server and her handling of the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth said he was "shocked" and "dumbfounded" when he learned that the Department of Justice's Inspector General (IG) had granted immunity to former Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills during its investigation into the use of Clinton's server, according to a court transcript of his remarks.
"I had myself found that Cheryl Mills had committed perjury and lied under oath in a published opinion I had issued in a Judicial Watch case where I found her unworthy of belief, and I was quite shocked to find out she had been given immunity in — by the Justice Department in the Hillary Clinton email case," Lamberth said during Friday's hearing.

The DOJ IG, Michael Horowitz, noted in his report that it was "inconsistent with typical investigative strategy" for the FBI to allow Mills to sit in during the agency's interview of Clinton during the email probe, given that classified information traveled through Mills' personal email account. "[T]here are serious potential ramifications when one witness attends another witness’interview," the IG wrote.

On Friday, Lamberth, who was appointed to the bench by President Ronald Reagan, said he did not know Mills had been granted immunity until he "read the IG report and learned that and that she had accompanied [Clinton] to her interview."

The transparency group Judicial Watch initially sued the State Department in 2014, seeking information about the response to the Benghazi attack after its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was denied. Other parallel efforts by the group are probing issues like Clinton's server, which was revealed during the course of the litigation.

The State Department had moved to dismiss Judicial Watch's first lawsuit on a motion for summary judgment, saying in an affidavit that it had conducted a search of all potentially relevant emails in its possession, even though some more documents and emails could be forthcoming.

But Lamberth denied the request to dismiss the lawsuit -- and on Friday, he said he was happy he did, charging that State Department officials had intentionally misled him.

"It was clear to me that at the time that I ruled initially, that false statements were made to me by career State Department officials, and it became more clear through discovery that the information that I was provided was clearly false regarding the adequacy of the search and this – what we now know turned out to be the Secretary’s email system," Lamberth said Friday.

See the original article on Fox News for a video on this matter.

He continued:  "I don’t know the details of what kind of IG inquiry there was into why these career officials at the State Department would have filed false affidavits with me. I don’t know the details of why the Justice Department lawyers did not know false affidavits were being filed with me, but I was very relieved that I did not accept them and that I allowed limited discovery into what had happened."

During a tense exchange with Justice Department lawyer Robert Prince, Lamberth pressed the issue, accusing Prince of using "doublespeak" and "playing the same word games [Clinton] played."

That "was not true," Lamberth said, referring to the State Department's assurances that it had searched all relevant documents. "It was a lie."

But Prince pushed back sharply, saying he took the judge's accusations "extremely seriously."

"It might be that our search could be found to be inadequate, but that declaration was absolutely true," he said.

"Now, it's been made clear in rulings by various courts that, basically, the courts are going to expect us to search items that come in afterward in this instance, and that's understandable, but at the time, that was not at all clear, you know?" Prince  continued. "I understand if Your Honor thinks that the searches that were done up to the motion for summary judgment were inadequate, but being wrong about the search being adequate does not make it a false affidavit."

Lamberth ultimately conceded that he had "misremembered" some details on the issue.
 If above link does not work, see documentation here

In a statement, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, who was present at the hearing, pushed the White House for answers.

“President Trump should ask why his State Department is still refusing to answer basic questions about the Clinton email scandal,” Fitton said. “Hillary Clinton’s and the State Department’s email cover up abused the FOIA, the courts, and the American people’s right to know.”

Clinton has since blamed Republicans and groups like Judicial Watch for derailing her presidential bid in 2016.

“Take the Benghazi tragedy—you know, I have one of the top Republicans, Kevin McCarthy, admitting we’re going to take that tragedy—because, you know, we’ve lost people, unfortunately, going back to the Reagan administration, if you talk about recent times, in diplomatic attacks,” Clinton said on NBC’s “Today" in an interview last year. “But boy, it was turned into a political football. And it was aimed at undermining my credibility, my record, my accomplishments.”

Four Americans were killed in the attack on the Benghazi embassy, and the Clinton State Department was faulted for ignoring security concerns in the run-up to the attack, contributing to the poor defense posture at the post.

The independent government Accountability Review Board that examined the tragedy concluded there were “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels” at the department that “resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.”

Then-national security adviser Susan Rice claimed on several talk shows that the attack was caused by a YouTube video, even as e-mails uncovered after the fact revealed that administration officials knew the incident was the result of terrorism. Officials the State Department were stunned by Rice's appearances, according to the emails, with one State Department employee suggesting Rice had gone "off the reservation."

Rice has since openly suggested she is considering running against Maine moderate Republcian Sen. Susan Collins because of her vote to support Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation. Rice called Collins' speech announcing her vote a "paean to disingenuousness and incoherence."

But Collins has downplayed any potential challenge from Rice.

"As far as Susan Rice is concerned, her family has a home in Maine, but she doesn’t live in the state of Maine," Collins said earlier this month. "Everybody knows that."

Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Greg Re


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Illegal Caravans Encouraged by Honduras and Soros - Daniel John Sobieski

by Daniel John Sobieski

These migrations are not spontaneous, with both governments in question encouraging them as a political and economic safety valve and a source of foreign currency, financed in part by foreign leftists with connections to George Soros.

Just in time for the midterms, another "spontaneous" migration from Central America began with a bevy of allegedly oppressed and downtrodden Hondurans leading the way. Pressured by a threat from President Trump to cut aid to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador if the caravan is not stopped, some moves by these governments have been made. Yet evidence exists that these migrations are not spontaneous, with both of the governments in question encouraging them as a political and economic safety valve and a source of foreign currency, financed in part by foreign leftists with connections to George Soros.

As Fox News's Laura Ingraham noticed in a tweet, this is not a walk in a national park, but an expensive and arduous journey:
Who is funding the migrant "caravan"? Each migrant's passage can cost as much as $7K each. Per capita income Honduras is $2.3 K.
It is doubtful that such sums came from the kiddies' college funds. Evidence of Soros funding of an earlier "spontaneous" migration have been found among the tentacles of support that flow from his Open Society group coffers:
Leftist billionaire George Soros is funding the well-organized anti-Trump migrant caravan invasion from Central America that has been hitting the United States-Mexico border in defiance of immigration enforcement.
Several major ultra-liberal foundations and corporations have supported the asylum-seeking migrant caravans, and Soros' funding has been tied to several groups that have spearheaded the "refugee" invasion coalition – also dubbed "the Soros Express."
"The caravan is organized by a group called Pueblo Sin Fronteras, [b]ut the effort is supported by the coalition CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, which includes Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLIN), the American Immigration Council (AIC), the Refugee and Immigration Center for Education and Legal Services (RICELS) and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) – thus the acronym CARA," WND reported. "At least three of the four groups are funded by George Soros' Open Society Foundation."
The hands of the Honduran government are not clean in these efforts. Among the alleged asylum-seekers parked on the U.S. border is a contingent of Hondurans, allegedly fleeing persecution, poverty, crime, and oppression. If that is the case, why is the Honduran government helping them, driving them northward under orders given to the Honduran ambassador, who is helping and escorting them?
Leaders of a caravan of Central American migrants traveling toward the United States through Mexico have repeatedly accused the Honduran government of corruption and with failing to address the poverty, crime and economic conditions forcing families to flee by the thousands.
So it shocked some observers when the Honduran ambassador joined the migrants protesting outside the Honduran embassy in Mexico City on Wednesday, and then accepted their invitation to walk 9 miles to a migrant shelter.
"I have been ordered by my government to support the Honduran migrants traveling with the caravan. There are about 200 Hondurans who we will help out with paperwork and whatever is necessary," Alden Rivera Montes, the Honduran ambassador to Mexico, told El Universal.
Ordered by my government? Why is the country whose oppression they are allegedly fleeing helping them leave? The answer is remittances, the money sent back home by so-called "migrants." Asylum is in large part a colossal scam designed to provide Latin American countries with a political and economic safety valve and a cash cow of foreign exchange. In 2017, remittances sent back to Honduras totaled $4.33 billion and make up a significant part of the Honduran economy:
Within the span of a few short decades, migrants have become an essential engine of economic support for Honduras. Remittances comprised 17 percent of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011, according to World Bank estimates, the second largest share of any country in Latin America or the Caribbean. As such, Honduran emigrants have tremendous significance for the country's economy and for the sustenance of many otherwise impoverished communities and families.
Talk about a trade imbalance. We import alleged asylum-seekers and other illegal aliens, and they send home billions sucked out of a benevolent U.S. government and economy. We have an economy that has some 7.3 million jobs going unfilled because of a shortage of skilled workers. Judging from photos of the latest caravan, one would suggest a paucity of welders, pipefitters, electricians, and long-haul truck-drivers.

Inner-city blacks have long asked which country they get to go to to escape violence and poverty. Although President Trump is succeeding in fighting crime and increasing job opportunities in our urban areas, much remains to be done. We do not need to be importing low-wage and low-skilled competitors to American citizens to drive down poor workers' wages. Inner-city residents have long asked, where's our sanctuary?
Unlike the children of Central America, arriving en masse, the children of Chicago, facing conditions every bit as horrible, have no border to cross to seek asylum or refuge[.] ...
"Do something for our children," said one of the protesters in a video posted at the blog Rebel Pundit. "Have the same love for these young people like you got for the ones across the border, and you want to save them." ...
A woman, identified only as Elaine, explained the plight of inner-city Baltimore residents on Laura Ingraham's radio show: "My children cannot play outside. I cannot take my trash out without locking the door – it's awful. Who is going to give us anything? Where can I get asylum? Where can I get refugee status?"
Where, indeed? Perhaps this side of a border wall Democrats oppose in favor of sanctuary cities and Medicare for illegal aliens. If any of the alleged asylum-seekers want to learn a trade – how about a crash course in border wall construction? Build it, and they won't come.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor's Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.


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Big Tech Snuffing Free Speech; Google's Poisonous 'Dragonfly' - Judith Bergman

by Judith Bergman

According to China's Global Times, as of the end of April 2018, authorities had blocked individuals from taking 11.14 million flights and 4.25 million high-speed rail trips.

  • If the big social media companies choose what to publish and what not to publish, they should be subject to the same licensing and requirements as media organizations.
  • Google has decided it will not renew a contract with the Pentagon for artificial intelligence work because Google employees were upset that the technology might be used for lethal military purposes. Yet Google is planning to launch a censored search engine in China that will empower a totalitarian "Big Brother is watching you" horror state.
  • Freedom Watch filed a $1 billion class-action lawsuit against Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter, claiming that they suppress conservative speech online.
  • A Media Research Center report found that Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube stifle conservative speech and that in some instances staffers have admitted that doing so was intentional.
  • Chinese officials prevented a journalist, Liu Hu, from taking a flight because he had a low "social credit" score. According to China's Global Times, as of the end of April 2018, authorities had blocked individuals from taking 11.14 million flights and 4.25 million high-speed rail trips.

Google is reportedly planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China, code-named "Dragonfly," which will aid and abet a totalitarian "Big Brother is watching you" horror state. (Image source: [Photo of woman] iStock)

The internet, especially social media, has become one of the primary places for people to exchange viewpoints and ideas. Social media is where a considerable part of the current national conversation takes place.

Arguably, big tech companies, such as Google, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, therefore carry a responsibility to ensure that their platforms are equally accessible to all voices in that national conversation. As private commercial entities, the social media giants are not prima facie legally bound by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, and are free to set their own standards and conditions for the use of their platforms. Ideally, those standards should be applied equally to all users, regardless of political or other persuasion. If, however, these companies choose what to publish and what not to publish, they should be subject to the same licensing and requirements as media organizations.

The current media giants' favoring one kind of political speech over another -- progressive over conservative -- and even shutting down political speech that does not conform to the views of the directors, certainly skews the national political conversation in a lopsided way that conflicts with basic principles of democratic freedom of speech and what presumably should be the obligations of virtual monopolies.

The question of whether such discrimination against conservative viewpoints constitutes a breach of law is currently the subject of a number of lawsuits. In October 2017, PragerU, a conservative educational website, filed a lawsuit against YouTube and its parent company, Google, for "intentional" censorship of conservative speakers, saying that they were "engaging in an arbitrary and capricious use of their 'restricted mode' and 'demonetization' to restrict non-left political thought."

PragerU claimed that "Google and YouTube's use of restricted mode filtering to silence PragerU violates its fundamental First Amendment rights under both the California and United States Constitutions," YouTube, for instance, restricted a video by a pro-Israel Muslim activist, discussing how best to resist hatred and anti-Semitism, as "hate speech". The US District Court Judge in the case, Lucy Koh, however, dismissed PragerU's claims because Google, as a private company, is not subject to the First Amendment. "Defendants are private entities who created their own video-sharing social media website and make decisions about whether and how to regulate content that has been uploaded on that website," Koh wrote. PragerU has appealed the decision.

In August, Freedom Watch filed a $1 billion class-action lawsuit against Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter, claiming that they act in concert to suppress conservative speech online. Freedom Watch claims, among other things, that the four media giants have violated the First Amendment to the Constitution and that they have engaged "in a conspiracy to intentionally and willfully suppress politically conservative content."

PragerU and Freedom Watch are not the only conservatives to have experienced suppression of their voices on social media. In April, the conservative Media Research Center released a report detailing the suppression of conservative opinions on social media platforms.

The 50-page report, "Censored! How Online Media Companies Are Suppressing Conservative Speech," which looked at how conservative political speech fared on Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, found that the tech companies stifle conservative speech and that in some instances, staffers have admitted that doing so was intentional. The report found that Google showed a "tendency toward left-wing bias in its search results", and that Twitter (by admission of its own employees) had "shadow-banned" some conservative users. ("Shadow banning" means that their content did not appear to other users, but the account owners themselves had not been notified of this "banning" of their content).

The apparent leftist bias, however, not only shows itself in the suppression of conservative speech on social media giants' websites. Censorship and selective presentation of speech has also led to unfortunate policy decisions by some of the big tech companies. Google, for example, has decided it will not renew a contract with the Pentagon for artificial intelligence work when it expires next year, because Google employees were upset that the technology they were working on might be used for lethal military purposes.

Yet, according to leaked documents, Google is planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China, code-named "Dragonfly," which will aid and abet a totalitarian "Big Brother is watching you" horror state. China, according to the Economist, is planning to become "the world's first digital totalitarian state." The Chinese government is in the process of introducing a "social credit" system by which to score its citizens, based on their behavior. Behavior sanctioned by the government increases the score; behavior of which the government disapproves decreases the score. Jaywalking, for example, would decrease the score. China is reportedly installing 626 million surveillance cameras throughout the country for the purpose of feeding the social credit system with information.

According to Gordon G. Chang, Chinese officials are using the social credit system for determining everything from being able to take a plane or a train, to buying property or sending your children to a private school. Officials prevented a journalist, Liu Hu, from taking a flight because he had a low score. According to China's state-owned Global Times, as of the end of April 2018, authorities had blocked individuals from taking 11.14 million flights and 4.25 million high-speed rail trips. "If we don't increase the cost of being discredited, we are encouraging discredited people to keep at it," said the former deputy director of the development research center of the State Council, Hou Yunchun. He added that an improved social credit system was needed so that "discredited people become bankrupt".

According to a legal expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, Zhi Zhenfeng:
"How the person is restricted in terms of public services or business opportunities should be in accordance with how and to what extent he or she lost his credibility.... Discredited people deserve legal consequences. This is definitely a step in the right direction to building a society with credibility."
The goal, straightforwardly, is to control citizen behavior by aggregating data from various sources such as cameras, identification checks, and "Wi-Fi sniffers" so that Chinese citizens will end up being controlled completely. As Chinese officials have reportedly put it, the purpose of the score card system is to "allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step."

It is, in other words, an excellent deliberate tool to suppress the human rights of the Chinese people.

Although Google has refused to comment on the concerns about Dragonfly, the leaked documents indicate that this censored version of Google's search engine will help the Chinese government do just that by blacklisting websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest. It will also, reportedly, link users' searches to their personal phone numbers, thereby making it possible for the Chinese government to detain or arrest people who search for information that the Chinese government wishes to censor.

"Linking searches to a phone number would make it much harder for people to avoid the kind of overreaching government surveillance that is pervasive in China," said Cynthia Wong, senior internet researcher with Human Rights Watch. Fourteen organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, Access Now, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology, PEN International, and Human Rights in China, have demanded that Google stop its plans for a censored search engine. They say that such cooperation would represent "an alarming capitulation by Google on human rights" and could result in the company "directly contributing to, or [becoming] complicit in, human rights violations."

In a recent speech, US Vice President Mike Pence also asked Google to end Dragonfly: it "will strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers," he said.

So, while Google claims it has moral qualms about cooperating with the US government, the company evidently has no moral issues when it comes to cooperating with Communist China in censoring and spying on its billion citizens with a view to rewarding or punishing them via opportunities in real life. Google employees, according to the Intercept, have circulated a letter stating that the censored search engine raises "urgent moral and ethical issues," and saying that Google executives need to "disclose more about the company's work in China, which they say is shrouded in too much secrecy, according to three sources with knowledge of the matter".

Google is apparently all too eager to work with China on micromanaging its citizens, and there is plenty to work on, according to a recent Amnesty International report :
"China has intensified its campaign of mass internment, intrusive surveillance, political indoctrination and forced cultural assimilation against the region's Uighurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups."
Up to 1 million people have been detained in "China's mass re-education drive," many of them tortured, according to the report.

Eight years ago, Google co-founder Sergey Brin -- who was born in the highly repressive Soviet Union -- at least had the decency to hesitate on (if not turn down) doing business in China if it involved censorship. "[W]e have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results," Google had announced two days before "company spokesman Scott Rubin started singing a different tune."

Perhaps totalitarian Communist repression is of no consequence to Google, so long as it gets still more market share?

Judith Bergman, a columnist, lawyer and political analyst, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.


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Egypt outraged by Gaza rocket launch amid truce mediation efforts - Daniel Siryoti

by Daniel Siryoti

Rocket attacks on Israel during Egyptian mediators' visit to Gaza was a "personal affront, and worse, put their lives in danger," Palestinian official says

Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel has called off a planned visit to the Gaza Strip, Ramallah and Israel, officially citing a scheduling conflict, but commentators surmised that the cancellation may be a response to rocket attacks launched from Gaza into Israel on Wednesday.

Kamel's visit was meant to advance Egyptian efforts to mediate a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas, whose clashes along the Israel-Gaza border have intensified in recent weeks, culminating with Wednesday's Grad rocket strike on a Beersheba home.

An Egyptian intelligence and diplomatic delegation that had arrived in Gaza to prepare the groundwork for Kamel's intended visit, initially planned for Thursday, left the Strip on Wednesday before setting a new date for Kamel's shuttle diplomacy mission.

A member of the Egyptian delegation told Israel Hayom that the official reason for postponing Kamel's mission was the fact that he was accompanying Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on his trip to Russia, which was taking longer than planned.

But a senior Palestinian official told Israel Hayom that the Egyptians were surprised by the rocket fire and didn't mince words in admonishing the leaders of Hamas and other armed Palestinian factions in Gaza, with whom they met Wednesday morning, shortly after the rockets were launched at Israel.

No Palestinian group has claimed responsibility for the rocket fire and several hours after it occurred, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees issued a joint statement saying: "We appreciate the Egyptian efforts to secure the demands of our people, and oppose any attempts to sabotage these efforts – including the rocket fire at Israel."

According to another Palestinian official, the statement was issued at Egypt's demand. "They viewed the rocket launch at Israel during their visit in Gaza as a personal affront, and worse, as putting their lives in danger," the official said.

After the rocket fire, Israel carried out airstrikes across Gaza, and members of the Egyptian delegation in Gaza City at the time heard and also felt the shockwaves caused by the Israeli bombs.

Palestinian media outlets reported that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was expected to depart for Jordan this weekend, where he will meet Jordanian King Abdullah and other senior Jordanian officials.

A senior Jordanian official told Israel Hayom this week that Abbas would likely hear a message similar to the one he heard from the Egyptians, namely that he should lift the economic sanctions he is imposing on the population in Gaza.

"Abbas needs to understand he cannot use the population in Gaza as a bargaining chip against Hamas, Israel or Egypt. He has to allow all the proceedings to be exhausted, to facilitate an arrangement and improve the lives in Gaza, which is collapsing under a dire humanitarian crisis," he said.

Daniel Siryoti


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K-12: Why So Little for the Mind? - Bruce Deitrick Price

by Bruce Deitrick Price

The commies (can we still call them that?) are running the education asylum.

Many critics say our public schools are a train wreck. In Charlotte Iserbyt's memorable phrase, we are all victims of "the deliberate dumbing down of America." Is there any escape? Perhaps, but only if we're candid about what has been done to us throughout the past century. 

Here's how bad things are now. Camille Paglia, popular professor and author, declares: "What has happened is these young people now getting to college have no sense of history – of any kind! No sense of history. No world geography. No sense of the violence and the barbarities of history. So, they think that the whole world has always been like this, a kind of nice, comfortable world where you can go to the store and get orange juice and milk, and you can turn on the water and the hot water comes out. ... They know nothing!"

Professor Patrick Deneen at Notre Dame says, "My students are know-nothings. ... Their brains are largely empty. ... They are the culmination of western civilization, a civilization that has forgotten nearly everything about itself, and as a result, has achieved near-perfect indifference to its own culture."

Let's jump farther back to 1983 and the famous "Nation at Risk" report produced by a congressional investigation, which concluded: "The educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people." Then came the wonderful deadpan crescendo: "If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war." Please savor this. Our schools are so bad that the Russians are probably in charge – that is, the communists.

This shocking statement merely reveals the obvious. A decade earlier, celebrated communist author Herbert Marcuse, in Counterrevolution and Revolt, applauded "the strategy of the long march through the institutions: working against the established institutions while working within them ... by 'doing the job', learning how to program and read computers, how to teach at all levels of education, how to use the mass media[.]"

Such strategies have long been commonplace. After the Russian Revolution was consolidated in 1920, the Communist International proposed that the same methods be pursued around the world. The Long March, the Deliberate Dumbing Down – all proceeded simultaneously in every part of our society. The communists wanted to influence print media, broadcast networks, magazines, publishing businesses, universities, the foundations – and they pretty much expropriated control of everything. That's why they could do to education whatever they wanted and reduce public schools to ignorance factories.

The central fact of this whole story is that the USSR was a police state (and probably better described as a slave state). Khrushchev announced to the world circa 1956 that he intended to bury us – i.e., make us part of his evil empire. The communists assumed this outcome until after 1990 and probably do so today. So throughout the 20th century, these subversives was merely preparing us for our proper place in the world: enslaved. Slaves don't need to read or think.

Decades earlier, John Dewey and his Fabian socialists proposed the strategy that would be endlessly replicated: infiltrate and conquer. And never tell the truth. The New Republic tied together the main threads:
Finally, Dewey arguably did more than any other reformer to repackage progressive social theory in a way that obscured just how radically its principles departed from those of the American founding[.] ... Dewey initially embraced the term "socialism" to describe his social theory. Only after realizing how damaging the name was to the socialist cause did he, like other progressives, begin to avoid it. In the early 1930s, accordingly, Dewey begged the Socialist party, of which he was a longtime member, to change its name. "The greatest handicap from which special measures favored by the Socialists suffer," Dewey declared, "is that they are advanced by the Socialist party as Socialism. The prejudice against the name may be a regrettable prejudice but its influence is so powerful that it is much more reasonable to imagine all but the most dogmatic Socialists joining a new party than to imagine any considerable part of the American people going over to them."
Our secret socialists faced endless packaging and marketing problems. The education commissars had to provide a clever cover story for every excrescence. If professors of education could justify claiming that non-reading is reading, then they could use Whole Word to make children into functional illiterates. If they could claim that garbled, nearly useless arithmetic is as good as real arithmetic, they could make kids learn Common Core Math. If they could create bogus research to prove that Constructivism is a superior way to teach content, they could make sure everyone knew almost nothing, exactly as professors Paglia and Deneen described.

America became a large beetle with a nasty parasite consuming it from the inside. Nineteen fifty-three is roughly the midpoint of our long march to defeat. That year, Hilda Neatby, a world-class professor, published her book So Little for the Mind. Neatby was the first female president of the Canadian Historical Association. Her book provides a shrewd exposition of what happens to a civilization when a parasite is inside. It's easy to fall in love with Neatby's beautiful mind:
It is well, however, to skirt Dewey's philosophy lightly, not through irreverence, but rather through godly fear. He has been looked upon as the fountain at which every novice must drink; in truth he is no fountain, he is rather a marsh, a bog where armies of school teachers have sunk, and, one might add, many of them have never risen, but speak with muffled accents from the depths.
Although [the expert] says he wants children to think, when driven into a corner he betrays an uneasy conviction that most children cannot think and he therefore accuses his critics of planning an 'academic' education suited to the few.
The faith of our experts is not faith in the ability of all to solve problems but the reverse. The material which would enable the individual to work out his own salvation is practically withheld in order that he may be more receptive to the ready-made solutions that are handed out. Few experts in education show any appreciation of the rewards of disinterested scholarship. And this is not surprising; few indeed have experienced them.
Neatby tells us what happens when communists are loose in the world. Hardly 40 years into the war against these subversives, we were largely pacified. We had 100% literacy in 1915, but it declined steadily thereafter.

This historical review points to an unexpected and unpleasant conclusion. Many of our most important institutions lied to us continually. I suspect that nothing preached by our Education Establishment was ever true, was ever intended to work, was ever intended to help children, was ever intended to be genuinely educational. We're looking back at a century of lies and subterfuge. The commies, if we may call them that, out-schemed us and out-plotted us. These indefatigable enemies, these expert assassins, knew our kill spots. Education was the biggest and softest.

Education, which should elevate a society, was used to devastate ours.

Everybody should acknowledge this shameful acquiescence. Look in a mirror and grin sheepishly: yeah, we were easy, so, so, so easy.

Basically, our socialists and Education Establishment did all the things we accused King George of doing: "He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance. ... He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation." 

We stopped King George. Now we need to stop King Ed or, if you prefer, Red Ed.

Bruce Deitrick Price's new book is "Saving K-12 – What happened to our public schools? How do we fix them?" He deconstructs educational theories and methods at


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Turkey: Enabling Mass Illegal Migration into Greece - Uzay Bulut

by Uzay Bulut

Arrivals have roughly doubled since 2017, and Athens is holding Ankara responsible.

  • Turkish authorities repeatedly have threatened Europe with an influx of migrants. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's threats should not be ignored.
  • Ever since the migrant crisis started to escalate in 2011 -- with the onset of civil war in Syria -- those who were critical of mass, unchecked immigration have been called "racists," "bigots" or "Islamophobes."
  • Today, however, the continued chaos in many European countries caused by immigration, and accompanying increase in crime -- including murder and rape committed by Islamist extremists -- appear to have proven the critics right.

A recent surge of illegal migrant arrivals has put the Greek city of Thessaloniki in crisis. "Dozens of migrants have turned Aristotelous square in the center of Thessaloniki to a makeshift camp," with many "sleeping in the open." Pictured: The Idomeni migrant relocation camp, near Thessaloniki. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Greece is currently facing a serious surge in undocumented migrant arrivals in the Evros region, an entry point for migrants illegally trying to enter the country from Turkey. Arrivals have roughly doubled since 2017, and Athens is holding Ankara responsible.

The influx from places such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Bangladesh and African countries into Turkey reportedly has been on the rise in recent months, with 1.5 million people from Muslim countries waiting on the Iranian border to enter Turkey. This has sparked fears in Athens that they could be heading for Greece.

According to a fact sheet released last month by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), "Sea arrivals [in Greece] peaked this month with 4,000 people. Land arrivals through Evros also increased to 1,400."

As a result, the Greek city of Thessaloniki is in crisis. According to a recent article in The Greek Reporter, "Dozens of migrants have turned Aristotelous square in the center of Thessaloniki to a makeshift camp," with many "sleeping in the open."

This situation is likely to deteriorate even further, not only in Greece, but in the rest of Europe, with the massive number of new arrivals, particularly from Afghanistan, via Iran, into Turkey.

An investigative report in the Turkish daily Hurriyet, published in April, describes the way this is accomplished:
"Smugglers leave the Afghans and people from other countries, including children, on mountains. The illegals walk for kilometers through the border area... They all aim to go to Istanbul. But they first go to Erzurum, a city determined as the transit place.... Some then escape to Europe through Greece and Bulgaria, while others get involved in crimes, such as theft and prostitution, in Istanbul and are made to work as undocumented workers...
"According to the data of Turkey's Immigration Authority, from the beginning of this year until March 29, 17,847 illegal Afghans have been caught. 9,426 Syrians, 5,311 Pakistanis, and 4,270 Iraqis have also been caught. The total number of illegals caught by police including those from other countries is 47,198."
In an interview in April with the Turkish daily Milliyet, Erdal Güzel, head of the Erzurum Development Foundation, said:
"It has reached the point at which the people entering Turkey illegally from and returning to Afghanistan has become as easy as [a Turkish citizen's] going from one Turkish city to another. They have learned the paths.
"...According to their own testimonies, they take buses to Iran at night... They are kept waiting there... until the time is right. Some families are kept waiting with no food or water for 15 or 20 days.
"They say they walk through the mountains. They all have the same story. Some say they walk through mountains for 4 or 5 days. They are told that 'even if one of you falls off a cliff, you will not make a sound.' ... Among them are pregnant women and blind people. In recent years, the migration traffic has escalated incredibly... Thousands of people are coming here... Human smugglers stuff these people in three-story trucks in which sheep are carried... What is strange is they come here at the cost of their lives. They enter Turkey and then want to go to Germany through Greece, Serbia and Hungary. They hit the road so zealously as if to say, 'Those who will die will die, and those who will stay alive will be here with us.'"
Human trafficking and people-smuggling are serious crimes and grave violations of human rights. According to a report by the US State Department:
"People who are smuggled can be extremely vulnerable to human trafficking, abuse, and other crimes, as they are illegally present in the country of destination and often owe large debts to their smugglers."
Nevertheless, it appears that a highly organized international network of various actors -- including smuggling and trafficking groups, international organizations and even governments, such as that of Turkey -- are involved or complicit in the mass illegal movement and abuse of a large number of people.

Turkish authorities repeatedly have threatened Europe with an influx of migrants. In November 2016, for instance, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan openly stated:
"When 50,000 refugees headed to Kapıkule [at the Turkey-Bulgaria border], you shrieked: 'What will we do if Turkey opens it border gates?' Look at me! If you go too far, we will open those border gates. Just know this."
Erdogan's threats should not be ignored. Among the smuggled migrants and refugees are ISIS supporters and other Islamist radicals. Also, many of the jihadi terrorists who participated in the deadly attacks in Manchester, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Stockholm and St. Petersburg in recent years had connections to Turkey. Some were apprehended in Turkey; others either traveled there to cross into Syria to join ISIS or had lived there for a while. Turkey has been used routinely by Islamists as a route into areas of Syria and Iraq to join ISIS.

Ever since the migrant crisis started to escalate in 2011 -- with the onset of civil war in Syria -- those who were critical of mass, unchecked immigration have been called "racists," "bigots" or "Islamophobes."

Today, however, the continued chaos in many European countries caused by mass immigration, and accompanying increase in crime -- including murder and rape committed by Islamist extremists -- appear to have proven the critics right. It is urgent for European governments to find effective solutions to unfettered immigration. It is equally imperative for those governments to hold Turkey accountable for its part in the crisis.

Uzay Bulut, a Turkish journalist born and raised in Turkey, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute. She is currently based in Washington D.C.


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The PLO-Hamas divorce is final - Dr. Mordechai Kedar

by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Gaza's culture is Bedouin, while that of Arabs in Judea and Samaria is that of farmers and city dwellers. That is only one of the reasons the two areas don't mesh.

This week the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot informed us that Jason Greenblatt, President Trump's special representative for international negotiations, said that the Americans intend to reconnect the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority. If Greenblatt actually did say that, it reveals an important component of the American Peace Plan whose preparation has been going on for over a year

Whoever included reconnecting Gaza to Judea and Samaria in the as-yet-unannounced plan must have been really impressed by the pronouncements of various Palestinian spokesmen, because all of them – to the very last one, whether PA or Hamas – keep harping on the need to  reunite the two "parts of the homeland." Israel prefers having the two continue as separate entities hostile to one another. Polls taken in the PA show unequivocally that the Arab street, whether in Gaza or Judea and Samaria, wants the unification which fell apart when Hamas took over Gaza in June 2007. 

The Americans hearkened to the Palestinian consensus they observed on this issue and concluded that both the Palestinian leadership and public are all for it, leading them to make it part of their plan, in the hope that the Palestinians would then accept the plan which all – the PLO, Hamas, Fronts and organizations – have refused pointblank even to consider. Greenblatt also said that "Netanyahu will have to make difficult decisions," meaning that Israel will have to accept the reuniting of Gaza with Judea and Samaria.

So if all the Palestinians want reunification and the Americans agree, where does the problem lie? Why don't the Palestinians agree to this part of the peace plan, at the very least? The answer is found in a very important aspect of Middle Eastern culture, one which has no counterpart in Western culture – the varied nuances of speech.

Western culture takes what is said at face value, for example: If I say that I agree with the person I am talking to, it means that I have listened to what he says, thought about it and have decided to accept his opinion. The West has faith in the sincerity of the person talking, believes what he says and accepts it as is. After all, there is free speech and anyone can say what is on their mind, so that when someone says something, it is what he really thinks and feels.

In the Middle East, however, everything anyone say has three layers: The upper and visible layer is the content of what has been said, the middle one is what the person speaking really means and the lowest is what he is hiding. While hearing someone's words, a listener in the Middle East tries to penetrate to the hidden layers, understand the real intention of the speaker and reveal what is being hidden from him.

That is why when any Palestinian Arab politician, PLO or Hamas, declares: "We must reunite Gaza and the West Bank" he means " I understand that this is what the man in the street wants and I am saying what he wants to hear," hiding the fact that he is certain that it will never happen and that he intends to blame the other side for the continued split. 

Why won't the reunification happen? Because the two areas differ totally in their culture, language, behavior and thought patterns. Gaza Arabic is a Bedouin dialect, a derivative of Saudi spoken Arabic, while that of the Arabs of Judea and Samaria is a Palestinian dialect similar to the Arabic spoken in Syria.  The language gap is not just a technical factor in communication, it is the expression of cultural differences: Gaza's culture is Bedouin, while that of Arabs in Judea and Samaria is that of farmers and city dwellers.

Gaza's leadership is Hamas, an organization with a religious character that reflects its population's makeup, while the PLO rules the PA with a secular agenda that suits the Arab population of Judea and Samaria, except for the Hevron Hills whose residents are more traditional. The split between Gaza and Judea/Samaria is not only political, but based on cultural differences, with a cultural abyss separating two different populations who have never lived together except for the short period from the establishment of the PLO in 1994 to the split in 2007, fourteen years later, during which time there was no cultural blending between the two regions.

Even more significant is the bad blood flowing between the two ruling organizations, the PLO and Hamas. The expressions they use against one another are the worst in Arabic political language:  "Traitors", "Collaborators with Israel", "corrupt", "bloodsuckers", "Israeli border police" and many other much more malevolent accusations.

The mutual anger and fury factor plays an important part as well: Hamas terrorists remember the unspeakable tortures they suffered in PA Security Force interrogation dungeons, while those in the PLO  remember well how in 2007 Hamas terrorists executed PLO Security Force members as their families looked on, and hurled those who escaped to the roofs of high rise buildings in Gaza to the ground. In the Middle East, moreover, there is no forgetting and no forgiving. Instead, there is watchful waiting until the right moment comes for  taking revenge and recovering the lost  honor of the victims' family. 

The Hamas organization was established in late 1987 and since that date, has challenged the PLO leadership and PLO recognition in the Arab world and on the international front as being the sole organization representing the "Palestinian People." 

Israel supported the concept of the PLO being the best alternative for Israel and for a long time, Israel's leaders – Peres, Beilin, and an unwilling Rabin – were of the opinion that the PLO, despite its being far from Zionist, is the answer to Hamas.  If only we give the PLO the power to govern the Palestinians, they dreamed, it will be transformed into a peace-loving organization and soon "take care of Hamas without the interference of courts and human rights groups." 

The world was strongly impressed by the Israeli leadership's opinion and also adopted it, although the Hamas leaders opposed it vehemently claiming that the PLO had lost its direction when it signed the Oslo Accords that gave Israel an "insurance policy." After all, in Hamas' view, Israel should be wiped off the face of the holy land of Falestin, a region consecrated to Muslims alone.

Mahmous Abbas was almost assassinated when he visited Gaza the first time after becoming PA chairman. The bullet brushed past his face and killed one of his bodyguards. Several months ago he sent his prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, and PA Security Forces head, Magd Faraj, to Gaza, and as they drove a few hundred meters past the Erez Checkpost into Gaza a bomb went off next to their cavalcade and missed them by a hairsbreadth.

I have been saying for over 11 years – since the day Hamas took over Gaza – that due to these deep differences, conflicts and disputes, the divorce between Gaza and Judea/Samaria is final, without any chance whatsoever of bridging the abyss that separates the two organizations.  Their representatives have met hundreds of times in attempts to end the split between the two and despite the signing of papers hundreds of times by both of them, nothing has happened. Perhaps the future will bring a reconciliation agreement, but it will signal only an agreement, not reconciliation, because the organizations have long gone past the point of no return.

All that remains is to discover what made Jason Greenblatt announce the reunification of Gaza and Judea/Samaria as part of America's "deal of the century." He obviously thinks it stands a chance because that is what they are all asking for and he – like other Americans – believes that what they say is what they mean. Americans do not believe that in the Middle East someone can say one thing, mean the exact opposite and hide his plans to eliminate the person he is showering with love, affection, hugs and kisses.

This may be the real reason for the failure of all the American and Israeli peace plans. Americans and Israelis think like Westerners and the Palestinians and their fellow Arabs think like Middle Eastern people. Until the Americans and Israelis realize Eastern culture in depth with all its layers, they will continue to create peace plans. 

We will have plans aplenty, but no peace.

Translated by Rochel Sylvetsky

Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. Thoroughly familiar with Arab media in real time, he is frequently interviewed on the various news programs in Israel.


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