Friday, July 26, 2019

Mueller and a Democrat Disaster - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

The former Special Counsel's humiliating day on Capitol Hill.

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his long-awaited testimony on Wednesday to both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee in back-to-back sessions. Democrats wanted to take the dry words of the special counsel’s 448-page report, which most Americans have not bothered to read, and turn it into a  movie that people will watch. The Democrats were desperately hoping for a riveting summer blockbuster, perhaps replacing the summer supervillain Thanos of the “Avengers: Endgame” in the public’s mind with President Trump. Instead what Americans watching the hearings got was a time-waster worthy of the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture. Mr. Mueller shed no new light in his testimony. At times he appeared confused and halting during his exchanges with the members of both committees, leaving the distinct impression that he was not familiar with the details of what appears to have been a staff directed report. The special counsel reverted repeatedly to what was written in the report. He even declined to read from the report himself, often leaving it to the Democrats to do their own “dramatic” readings as they declared over and over again that the president was not above the law.

The former special counsel became his most animated when he defended the “integrity” of the investigation and his hopelessly biased legal team. He also warned that the Russians are still interfering in the U.S. electoral process “as we sit here" and that they can be expected to continue doing so next year. But that was not why the Democrat-controlled House asked Mr. Mueller to testify. They barely touched on what the Mueller report had called Russia’s “sweeping and systematic” interference into the 2016 presidential election or its implications for future elections. They wanted ammunition from Mr. Mueller’s live testimony to lay out a compelling case for impeachment. They failed miserably.

Mr. Mueller set out some ground rules for his testimony in his opening statements to the two committees. He said that he would stick to the text of his report.  He would not give his views on matters outside of his “purview.” He also declared, “I am unable to address questions about the opening of the FBI’s Russia investigation, which occurred months before my appointment, or matters related to the so-called ‘Steele Dossier.’” That is curious considering that Mr. Steele was referred to in the Mueller report itself.

The House Judiciary Committee heard first from Mr. Mueller, focusing for more than 3 hours on his report’s findings regarding possible obstruction of justice by the president. The Mueller report described a series of episodes involving the president’s statements and actions regarding the FBI and special counsel investigations. The report then analyzed the elements required to prove an obstruction of justice charge against the facts described, including whether there was substantial credible evidence of corrupt intent.

The Democrats cited specific episodes described in the report they felt provided the strongest evidence of the president’s obstruction of justice. These included President Trump’s reported directive to then-White House Counsel Don McGahn to remove Mr. Mueller, which was not carried out. Democrat questioners inquired into the president’s reported order to Mr. McGahn to deny he told him to try to get rid of Mr. Mueller and create a record to that effect, which also was not carried out. Democrat questioners also asked about the evidence described in the report that the president told former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to instruct then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had recused himself from the Russia investigation, to restrict the scope of the Mueller probe. This never led anywhere either. Mr. Mueller admitted that his investigation was not stopped or impeded, although at one point he agreed with a questioner that lack of cooperation by some Trump aides and their alleged lies did hinder the investigation’s progress. There were also questions regarding evidence of alleged witness tampering, including dangling of pardons and attempts to urge witnesses to remain loyal to the president by Trump aides. It is worth noting that those aides themselves were not charged with conspiring to obstruct justice.

Mr. Mueller confirmed his belief in the report’s findings of specific facts relating to the president’s questionable conduct. However, he pointedly rejected Democrat Rep. Hakeem Jeffries’ attempt to recast the investigation’s conclusion with respect to the McGahn episodes. “The investigation found substantial evidence that when the president ordered Don McGahn to fire the special counsel and then lie about it, Donald Trump one, committed an obstructive act, two, connected to an official proceeding, three, did so with corrupt intent," Rep. Jeffries declared as he tried to apply each of the three elements of an obstruction of justice charge to the facts laid out in the report. “I’m not supportive of that analytical charge,” Mr. Mueller replied.

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee sought to exploit the Mueller report’s refusal to exonerate the president. In his questioning, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler harped on this point. Chairman Nadler quoted from the report’s statement that “if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.” Rep. Nadler then asked, “Now does that say there was no obstruction?” Mr. Mueller replied, “No.”

Chairman Nadler further inquired, using a double negative, “So the report did not conclude that he did not commit obstruction of justice, is that correct?” Mr. Mueller replied, “That is correct.” Rep. Nadler then asked, “Did you actually totally exonerate the president?” Mr. Mueller replied, “No” and agreed that, in Rep. Nadler’s words, his “report expressly states that it does not exonerate the president.”

Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe put the so-called non-exoneration issue into proper perspective. He pointedly asked Mr. Mueller which Justice Department policy “set forth a legal standard that an investigated person is not exonerated if their innocence from criminal conduct is not conclusively determined.” Mr. Mueller provided no reference to such a policy. “Can you give an example other than Donald Trump where the Justice Department determined an investigated person was not exonerated because their innocence was not conclusively determined?” Rep. Ratcliffe continued. Mr. Mueller responded, “I cannot, but this is a unique situation.”

Rep. Ratcliffe declared what should be obvious to every reasonable American with even a cursory familiarity with the constitutional principle of due process. He said “the bedrock principle of our justice system is a presumption of innocence. It exists for everyone. Everyone is entitled to it, including sitting presidents. And because there is a presumption of innocence, prosecutors never, ever need to conclusively determine it.”

In short, Mr. Mueller and his team created out of whole cloth an inversion of the presumption of innocence by applying their made-up no-exoneration standard. And, as several Republican representatives pointed out, Mr. Mueller’s office also indulged in the double standard. It went after various Trump associates for lying, for example. However, Mr. Mueller failed to explain why no action was taken against Joseph Mifsud, who, according to the Mueller report, had fed information to George Papadopoulos that “the Russian government had ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of e-mails.”  Mr. Mifsud was named multiple times in the Mueller report, including repeated references to his lying to investigators.

Some Democrats tried to use Mr. Mueller’s claim of reliance on the Department of Justice’s  policy of not indicting a sitting president, which was based on a longstanding opinion of the department’s Office of Legal Counsel.  “Based on Justice Department policy and principles of fairness, we decided we would not make a decision as to whether the president committed a crime,” Mr. Mueller said in his opening statement. “That was our decision then and it remains our decision today.” There was some confusion regarding a response Mr. Mueller gave to a Democrat’s question during the morning session, in which he appeared to agree with the questioner that his office decided not to charge the president with obstruction of justice because of the Department of Justice policy. During the opening of the afternoon session, Mr. Mueller sought to correct the record. He said, “That is not the correct way to say it. As we say in the report and as I said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.”

Mr. Mueller answered “true” to Chairman Nadler’s hypothetical question whether “under Department of Justice policy, the president could be prosecuted for obstruction of justice crimes after he leaves office.” (Emphasis added) Yet when Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell asked Mr. Mueller whether he agreed with a May letter signed by about 1,000 former federal prosecutors of both parties, who opined that Mr. Trump would be charged with obstruction if he weren't president, Mr. Mueller replied, "They have a different case."

After the conclusion of the Judiciary Committee hearing, Mr. Mueller faced questioning for nearly three hours by the House Intelligence Committee, which focused on the so-called Russian “collusion” charge. After clarifying that, for criminal law purposes, the term “collusion” has no legal meaning, the Mueller report had definitively concluded that despite evidence of “numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges. Further, the evidence was not sufficient to charge that any member of the Trump Campaign conspired with representatives of the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.”

In a summer of TV re-runs, the Democrats craved for a re-run of the Mueller investigation’s conclusion of no conspiracy but with a different ending more to their liking. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff started things off by saying that it did not really matter whether there was sufficient evidence to charge President Trump with a provable crime of conspiracy. Rep. Schiff said the president and members of his team did something worse. They displayed “disloyalty to country.”  That is a reckless charge coming from a man who seemed very interested in the specifics when Russians, who turned out to be pranksters, told Rep. Schiff in a telephone call that they had compromising information regarding Donald Trump.

Rep. Schiff and his Democrat colleagues did their best to paint a picture of Mr. Trump and his campaign aides as very eager to receive help from the Russians to get dirt on Hillary Clinton and to make money off their Russian connections. The Democrats cherrypicked the report’s descriptions of contacts between Trump campaign aides and Russians, both in and out of the Russian government. Several Democrats dwelled on the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between the Trump campaign aides and Russian individuals, including a Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who supposedly had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump himself was not at the meeting, which was attended by Donald Trump Jr. and the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Nothing came of the 20-minute meeting and no attendees at the Trump Tower meeting were charged with conspiracy. Mr. Mueller could not explain the failure of his team to inquire into meetings that the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya had, both the day before and the day after the Trump Tower meeting, with the founder of the firm Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson. Fusion GPS was the firm aiding the Hillary Clinton campaign in digging up “dirt” on Donald Trump through Russian-sourced allegations contained in the unverified Steel dossier.

One of the few consolations the Democrats can take away from their hearings was Mr. Mueller’s characterization of WikiLeaks as "a hostile intelligence service" and his statement that the Trump campaign's praise of WikiLeaks was "problematic." He added, "Problematic is an understatement" and that it “calls for an investigation."

Mr. Mueller came into his job as special counsel with the proverbial bang. History will record his post-investigation congressional testimony as not a bang but a whimper.

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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Mueller’s serial senior moments revealed he was a front-man for Trump-haters - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

That he could in no way have been the actual leader of a large team of high-powered lawyers is now obvious to everyone in cringe-worthy detail.

The most important thing Robert Mueller revealed Wednesday in his testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees was that he didn’t really know that much about the work of the investigation that bears his name -- and that he is prone to senior moments with alarming frequency. That he could in no way have been the actual leader of a large team of high-powered lawyers is now obvious to everyone in cringe-worthy detail (a veteran prosecutor unable to come up with the word “conspiracy” as the legal term for collusion). He was a BINO, a Boss In Name Only, or, colloquially, a front-man.

Under the Mueller brand, dodgy prosecutor Andrew Weissmann could work with his Trump-hating cabal of Hillary supporters, Mueller’s right-hand man Aaron Zebly there to keep an eye on things for him. Wrapped in a Mueller’s cloak of prestige and legitimacy, the cabal could take down a president, they thought.

But now that the public can see with their own eyes that Mueller was at best “Mr. Outside,” and the story arc turns toward investigating the investigators. Now we know that we were misled. That creates more interest in getting to the turth of who was really running this project. Before boarding Marine One today on his way to a rally in West Virginia, President Trump said that investigating the investigators is what is next, as see the fruits of the Horowitz IG report, and prosecutors Huber and Durham work in secrecy with grand juries. With 14 months until the election, the most successful reality TV producer in the history of the medium knows that narratives can flip, with the good guys exposed as less worthy than was first apparent, and the underdog comes to the fore, and it makes compelling viewing. 

This revelation is huge problem for the media that has portrayed Mueller as a legend in his own time, a man of unquestionable integrity, brilliance, and devotion. Their puffery has exploded in their faces like an Acme cigar in a Warner Brothers cartoon. The entire narrative that the media and other Democrats have peddled since shortly after Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 is busted on multiple levels. The last gasp for Nadler, Schiff and the unofficial House impeachment caucus was the hope that Mueller would use that persona that doesn’t seem to exist anymore, if it ever did, to sell the public on the notion that Donald Trump is a criminal. Unfortunately, he was clearly not up to the job.

All but the fanatics – a not insignificant portion of the – House Democratic Caucus –realize that the game is over.


graphic credit: YouTube screen grab

Thomas Lifson


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The Left’s Immigration Con Job - Michael Cutler

by Michael Cutler

Exploiting hate and fear to undermine America.

Frequently Americans who understand the true significance of our immigration laws and need for secure borders lament that the Left appeals to the emotions of Americans.  The emotion that is most often cited is that of compassion.

Americans are among the most kind-hearted and generous people on earth.  Therefore appeals to compassion can be very effective.

Frequently we make decisions either based on emotions or reason.  Generally emotional decisions ignore cold, hard facts.

Consequently the Radical Left, the media and globalist immigration anarchists have weaponized compassion using our best intentions against us, always portraying illegal aliens in the most sympathetic ways possible.  While many illegal aliens are simply desperate people who want to flee the grinding poverty of their home countries to come to the United States for a better life.  However the United States does not have infinite resources.

We need to compare the United States to an overcrowded lifeboat that is tossed in a storm with many other people thrashing about in the cold water.  The problem is that if we permit those in the water onto the lifeboat, it will capsize.

Simply stated, uncontrolled immigration is an invasion that will quickly overwhelm our nation’s economy and infrastructure.  Overcrowding our schools has a deleterious impact on the education our children receive.  Flooding America with millions of additional aliens impacts the price and available of housing, driving up prices while the massive influx of competing foreign workers frequently displaces Americans and drives down wages.  This causes massive increases in homelessness across the United States.

Additionally, it is often all but impossible to know the true identities of aliens who enter the United States without inspection or establish when, where or how they actually entered.  There is no easy way to know if they are fugitives from justice in other countries or are determined to establish and/or participate in transnational criminal organizations and gangs or international terrorist organizations.

The term “Undocumented Immigrant” as I noted in my recent article, Fake News Begins With Fake Language, was created by the Carter administration to obfuscate the truth about illegal immigration.  The term “Undocumented Immigrant” should actually give everyone a serious case of “cause for pause.”  It has been said that you cannot tell a good guy from a bad guy without a “scorecard.”  Undocumented Aliens have no scorecards, or are unwilling to show you their scorecards.

But in playing the emotion game, the Radical Left and mainstream media that accuses the Trump administration and immigration law enforcement officers of creating a “Climate of Fear” within the immigrant communities, are actually the ones who have created that “climate of fear.”

As strong an emotion as compassion might be, fear is an even more powerful emotion.
Furthermore, people tend to hate those they fear.

Shortly after President Trump was elected President, newspaper headlines across our nation announced that the administration was planning to “deport the immigrants.”

That broad statement bogus created serious fear and apprehension among millions of lawful immigrants who had been admitted permanently as resident aliens.

This was not dissimilar to the panic created by the broadcast of the October 30 1938 War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast.

Of course in reality, lawful immigrants had nothing to fear, only aliens who were illegally present in the United States would be subject to arrest and deportation (removal) from the United States.

However, the mainstream media and globalist politicians fail to make a clear distinction between aliens who are illegally present and subject to arrest and deportation from aliens who were admitted as temporary, nonimmigrant visitors and aliens who have been permanently admitted as lawful immigrants.

On a personal note, shortly after the last election, my wife returned home from her job in the office of a nearby synagogue and told me that one of co-workers had come to work that morning extremely upset because the had heard a news report that Trump was going to have ICE agents arrest immigrants, and she was terrified.  She was a resident alien who had lawfully immigrated to the U.S. decades ago from her native England and was living wither her American husband and their young children.  She was worried that she might be sent back to England.  She said that her husband told her she had nothing to fear, but she was, nevertheless deeply troubled.

My wife explained to her that lawful immigrants would not be arrested and deported and offered to have me speak with her to ease her worries.

Not content to just scare the hell out of lawful immigrants, the Radical Left has taken to comparing immigration detention centers with concentration camps of Nazi Germany.  I addressed this despicable tactic in my recent article, Dems Determined To Leave America Borderless.

For decades the growing lunacy of “Sanctuary Cities” has spread across the United States, hobbling efforts to enforce our immigration laws in apparent violation of Title 8, U.S.C. § 1324, which deems it a felony to aid, abet, encourage or induce aliens to enter our country illegally or to conceal, harbor or shield illegal aliens.

The mayors and governors of these corrupt jurisdictions falsely insist that advocates for secure border and effective but fair enforcement of our immigration laws are racists, bigots and xenophobes.

Title 8, United States Code, Section 1182 enumerates the categories of aliens who are to be excluded from the United States.  Among these classes are aliens who suffer from dangerous communicable, diseases or extreme mental illness, are convicted felons, human rights violators, war criminals, terrorists and spies as well as aliens who would seek unlawful employment thus displacing American workers or driving down the wages of American workers who are similarly employed and aliens who would likely become public charges.

Race, religion, ethnicity or other such superficial factors have no relevance to our immigration laws.

Not content to obstruct immigration law enforcement by creating “sanctuary” jurisdictions, the Democrats have amped up their efforts exponentially, calling for the dismantling of ICE altogether and leave the United States utterly defenseless at a time when Americans face existential threats from international terrorist organization such as Hezbollah, a client of Iran, as well as transnationanl gangs.

On April 17, 2018 the House Committee on Homeland Security, Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee conducted a hearing on the topic, “State Sponsors Of Terrorism: An Examination Of Iran’s Global Terrorism Network.”  The Daily Bacon published a report about that hearing with the disconcerting headline, “Iranian-Backed ‘Sleeper Cell’ Militants Hibernating in U.S., Positioned for Attack.”

On July 16, 2019 CNN reported: MS-13 members hacked up one victim and cut out his heart, federal indictment says.

On July 17, 2019 the Department of Justice issued a press release:  Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Sinaloa Cartel Leader, Sentenced to Life in Prison Plus 30 Years.

Democrat presidential candidates have called for an end to immigration law enforcement by abolishing ICE and decriminalizing violations of our immigration laws.

The malicious lies that are spread by Radical Democrats, comparing ICE agents and Border Patrol agents to Nazis have conned many decent Americans into believing that it is noble and courageous to fight against immigration law enforcement who have been so maligned.

Physical assaults on immigration law enforcement personnel have increased dramatically and encouraged a human tsunami if illegal aliens from around the world.

Rather than rallying behind valiant immigration law enforcement officers who secure our nation’s borders and enforce our immigration laws to protect national security, public safety, public health and the jobs and wages of Americans these immigration anarchists vilify these agents and act to obstruct their vital work.

In so doing, they are running interference for human traffickers, transnational gangs and drug trafficking organizations and international terrorist organizations.

Antifa has attempted to intimidate Americans on college campuses and elsewhere from having honest discussions.  This very same tactic was employed by the “Brown Shirts” at the beginning of the Nazis rampage that led to World War II.

We must seek to have fact-based objective discussions with our neighbors who disagree with us.  They are not our adversaries but our allies in our battle to save our nation, if only we can win them over.  As John Adams noted, “Facts are stubborn things!”

* * *
Photo by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

Michael Cutler


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Things Haven't Always Been This Way - Walter Williams

by Walter Williams

The days when people were responsible for their behavior.

Here's a suggestion. How about setting up some high school rifle clubs? Students would bring their own rifles to school, store them with the team coach and, after classes, collect them for practice. You say: "Williams, you must be crazy! To prevent gun violence, we must do all we can to keep guns out of the hands of kids."

There's a problem with this reasoning. Prior to the 1960s, many public high schools had shooting clubs. In New York City, shooting clubs were started at Boys, Curtis, Commercial, Manual Training and Stuyvesant high schools. Students carried their rifles to school on the subway and turned them over to their homeroom or gym teacher. Rifles were retrieved after school for target practice. In some rural areas across the nation, there was a long tradition of high school students hunting before classes and storing their rifles in the trunks of their cars, parked on school grounds, during the school day.

Today, any school principal permitting rifles clubs or allowing rifles on school grounds would be fired, possibly imprisoned. Here's my question: Have .30-30 caliber Winchesters and .22 caliber rifles changed to become more violent? If indeed rifles have become more violent, what can be done to pacify them? Will rifle psychiatric counseling help to stop these weapons from committing gun violence? You say: "Williams, that's lunacy! Guns are inanimate objects and as such cannot act." You're right. Only people can act. That means that we ought to abandon the phrase "gun violence" because guns cannot act and hence cannot be violent.

If guns haven't changed, it must be that people, and what's considered acceptable behavior, have changed. Violence with guns is just a tiny example. What explains a lot of what we see today is growing cultural deviancy. Twenty-nine percent of white children, 53% of Hispanic children and 73% of black children are born to unmarried women. The absence of a husband and father in the home is a strong contributing factor to poverty, school failure, crime, drug abuse, emotional disturbance and a host of other social problems. By the way, the low marriage rate among blacks is relatively new. Census data shows that a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults from 1890 to 1940. According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year only 11% of black children and 3% of white children were born to unwed mothers.

In 1954, I graduated from Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin High School, the city's poorest school. During those days, there were no school policemen. Today, close to 400 police patrol Philadelphia schools. According to federal education data, in the 2015-16 school year, 5.8% of the nation's 3.8 million teachers were physically attacked by a student. Almost 10% were threatened with injury.

Other forms of cultural deviancy are found in the music accepted today that advocates murder, rape and other vile acts. In previous generations, people were held responsible for their behavior. Today, society at large pays for irresponsible behavior. Years ago, there was little tolerance for the crude behavior and language that are accepted today. To see men sitting while a woman was standing on a public conveyance was once unthinkable. Children addressing adults by their first name, and their use of foul language in the presence of, and often to, teachers and other adults was unacceptable.

A society's first line of defense is not the law or the criminal justice system but customs, traditions and moral values. These behavioral norms, mostly imparted by example, word-of-mouth and religious teachings, represent a body of wisdom distilled over the ages through experience and trial and error. Police and laws can never replace these restraints on personal conduct. At best, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society. Today's true tragedy is that most people think what we see today has always been so. As such, today's Americans accept behavior that our parents and grandparents never would have accepted.

Walter Williams


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Royal Navy to protect UK vessels passing through Strait of Hormuz - Reuters , Israel Hayom Staff

by Reuters , Israel Hayom Staff

Amidst increasing Iranian provocations and ongoing detention of British vessel in Iran, UK changes approach. HMS Montrose, a British frigate now in the area, to accompany the vessels, a government spokesman said.

Royal Navy to protect UK vessels passing through Strait of Hormuz
Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose performs a series of tight turns during exercise Marstrike 05 | Photo: Mick Storey/Royal Navy/Handout via Reuters

A British warship will accompany British-flagged vessels through the Strait of Hormuz to defend freedom of navigation, a change in policy after the government previously said it did not have the military resources to do so.

Tensions have spiked between Iran and Britain since the Islamic Republic seized a British-flagged tanker in the Strait last Friday. Its move came after British forces captured an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar which Britain said was heading for Syria in defiance of EU sanctions.

The British government has previously advised British-flagged vessels to avoid the Strait of Hormuz where possible and to notify the navy if they must cross it.

HMS Montrose, a British frigate now in the area, will accompany the vessels, a government spokesman said.

"The Royal Navy has been tasked to accompany British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz, either individually or in groups, should sufficient notice be given of their passage," the spokesman said.

"Freedom of navigation is crucial for the global trading system and world economy, and we will do all we can to defend it," he added in a statement.

Britain has been seeking to put together a European-led maritime protection mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz after Iran's seizure of the tanker in what London said was an act of "state piracy".

Jeremy Hunt, who was foreign secretary until a cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday, said on Monday it was "not possible for the Royal Navy to provide escorts for every single ship".

The change of policy was not the result of a change of under new Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The government had been working on the plan for a few days, according to an official, who asked not to be named.

The Department for Transport is advising shipping companies to give sufficient notice of their travel plans so they can be protected.

On any given day, about 15 to 30 large British-flagged ships travel through the Gulf, with up to three passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

The United States, Britain and other nations will be meeting in Florida on Thursday to discuss how to protect shipping in the Gulf from Iran.

Washington, which has by far the strongest Western naval contingent in the Gulf, has been calling for its allies to join it in an operation to guard shipping there. But European countries, which disagree with a US decision to impose sanctions on Iran, have been reluctant to sign up to a US-led mission for fear of adding to tension in the region.

France, Italy and Denmark support the idea of an EU-led flotilla in the Gulf, three EU diplomats said on Tuesday. Germany has said it is too early to discuss how Berlin might take part.

Iran says it is the guarantor of security in the strait. It will not allow any disturbance in shipping there, state news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi as saying on Tuesday.

Reuters , Israel Hayom Staff


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'Kill the Jews' says Hamas. In Paris you are free to do so - Giulio Meotti

by Giulio Meotti

If you go out to find a Jew to kill, make sure to smoke cannabis first, so the French courts will let you off.

"Kill all Jews”, said a Hamas chief, Fathi Hammad. These terrible words resonate now also in Europe.

Why do the progressives continue to support the Palestinian Arabs, not recognizing who really are the enemies of Israel, the Jews and the West?

The explanation lies in Paris, where Arabs rallied and fought hard for the Palestinian Intifada (in July 2014, during the war in Gaza, Jews got attacked even inside the French synagogues). Kabili Traore killed a neighboring French Jew, Sarah Halimi, shouting "Allahu Akbar". But to the (in)justice system of Paris, the barbarian is not responsible as he smoked cannabis. 

If you throw someone down with your car after drinking, they condemn you to a more severe sentence. If you throw a Jew from the window after smoking cannabis, they send you free. The French justice jsystem ust ruled that the 27-year old man from Mali could not be held criminally responsible for the murder of Halimi. 

As Traore beat Halimi, he was heard screaming “Shaitan” (Arabic for “Satan”) and a few weeks beforehand Traore had called Halimi’s daughter a “dirty Jewess” in their building elevator in the 11th arrondissement of Paris.

Francis Kalifat, president of the official representative body of French Jews, called the view of the French court “shocking”. Because France - where several Jews have been  killed and maimed, where thousands fled abroad and changed their city to avoid being attacked on the street - has officially betrayed the Jewish people again after Vichy. 

The French cesspit is flooded. The Jews will leave the country or become invisible, France will be Islamized and it will deserve it. They are rotten inside.

Giulio Meotti, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter and of "J'Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel" published by Mantua Books.. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary.


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The Syrian Sideshow - Jonathan Spyer

by Jonathan Spyer

Far from entering a phase of post-conflict reconstruction and renewed centralized governance, Syria today is a patchwork of different areas of control.

The international news focus has long moved on from the Syrian conflict. Behind the oft-stated clichés of the conflict "winding down" and of regime survival or victory, however, a complex and often deadly reality remains.

The most violent part of Syria today is the northwest, where regime and Russian forces are clashing with Turkish-supported Sunni jihadis. But the regime-controlled and Kurdish/US-controlled areas are periodically also rocked by internecine violence, most of it committed by Sunni Arab elements, including the Islamic State group.

Far from entering a phase of post-conflict reconstruction and renewed centralized governance, Syria today is a patchwork of different areas of control. It is also thoroughly penetrated by a variety of regional and global players. Indeed, Syria today forms a fascinating microcosm of the larger regional cold war under way. It is a space in which all the main players in this contest – the Iran-led bloc, Russia, the US and its allies, and the Turkey-Qatar Sunni Islamist axis – have a stake.

But while violence continues, the main competition today is political. The enclaves appear set to continue in existence for the foreseeable future, with their lines fairly stable. The most important flash points in the regional cold war have moved elsewhere.

Assad regime apologists have sought for a long period to present a view of the war in which the status quo antebellum was in the process of being restored. This image does not entirely correspond to reality. Assad, with Iran and Russia, controls around 60% of the territory of Syria. The area east of the Euphrates controlled by the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces constitutes roughly 30% of Syria. The Turkish-guaranteed Sunni Islamist area in the northwest covers the remaining 10%.

Population figures are harder to come by, but approximately 17 million people remain in Syria (from a prewar population of 23 million). Of these, around 11-12 million live in the regime-controlled area, 3-3.5 million in the Turkish-backed enclave and around 2 million in the SDF area east of the Euphrates.

Within these enclaves, the violence continues. This week, two particularly notable and unprecedented incidents took place in the regime area. An attack on the gas pipeline linking the Shaer gas fields to the Ebla processing plant took place on July 14. The pipeline, according to the regime's SANA news agency, carries around 2.5 million cubic meters of gas to the processing plant. Intermittent electricity supplies are an ongoing complaint in regime-controlled areas. The Shaer fields and Ebla factory are a vital source of electricity for the regime.

The July 14 attack on a gas pipeline in Homs province underscores that insurgent activity continues even in regime-held areas of Syria.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the gas fields and the Ebla factory are located in the area of the Badia desert, which has witnessed an uptick in activities by Islamic State fighters in recent weeks.

The second significant incident was an attack on a Russian military police patrol in Deraa province, using an improvised explosive device. No one was killed in the attack, which took place between Busra al-Sham and al-Sahwa village, in eastern rural Deraa. Again, no group has claimed responsibility.

Both these incidents reflect an increase in recent weeks in violence in supposedly pacified regime-controlled areas. The attack on the Russian patrol was unprecedented and is particularly significant. Deraa remains restive, in part because of the brutal repression imposed by the regime following the reconquest of the area in the summer of 2018. But the Russian ground forces have hitherto been regarded as outside of the circle of the smoldering conflict between the regime and the population of Deraa. No longer.

Elsewhere, the SDF scored a success this week in its ongoing efforts against ISIS networks in Deir al-Zor province. Thabit Sobhi Fahd al-Ahmad, a high-ranking ISIS member and the former "oil minister" of the ISIS caliphate, was trapped and killed by the Kurdish-dominated, US-aligned force.

And in the northwest, the regime's bloody campaign to reduce the Sunni-jihadi-controlled, Turkish-guaranteed Idlib province continued to claim lives, while failing to facilitate progress for Assad's forces on the ground. The offensive remains stalled; meanwhile 2,443 people have been killed since it was launched on April 30. These include 869 pro-regime fighters and 945 jihadis.

Further east, there is US and Kurdish concern at a buildup of Turkish forces close to the border, in the area of Tel Abyad. No large-scale Turkish intervention appears imminent, however.

Thus, the general picture in Syria at present consists of fairly stable lines between the areas of control, and ongoing internecine violence and instability within each of them (with the northwest at present the only area in which conventional combat is taking place).

The bigger picture is one in which the international backers of the various enclaves have a greater say in the direction of events than do their Syrian clients.

It is interesting to note that each of the alliances in the current strategic contest taking place in the region today dominate a part of Syria. The Iranians and their allies are the key force in the regime-controlled area, in partial alliance with Russia. The Americans, along with a limited European presence and the tacit support of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, underwrite the Kurdish enclave in the east. The Turks (with Qatar alongside them) are the guarantors of the northwest. Israel, meanwhile, prosecutes its ongoing air war to disrupt Iran's efforts to construct a military infrastructure for use against the Jewish state on Syrian soil.

Syria is a sideshow in the rising tensions between the US and Iran.
Direct tensions are now rising between the US and Iran. The center of attention is the Gulf waterways. Iraq is a secondary point of friction.

Syria, where a kind of proxy conflict between the US, Iran and other forces has played out in recent years, is for the moment no longer the main focus of attention. Its ruined landscape is divided up between the competing regional blocs, each in turn making use of local players. Long the central arena, it is now a sideshow.

Jonathan Spyer is director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis, and is a research fellow at the Middle East Forum and at the Jerusalem Institute for Security and Strategy.


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Findings from tabernacle period discovered in ancient Shiloh - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

3,000-year-old seal recently discovered at excavations in ancient Shiloh in Binyamin. 'Proof our our ties to the land of the Bible.'

The scarab
The scarab                                                                                                                                                     a.b.r delegation

A 3,000-year-old Egyptian scarab used as an ancient seal was recently discovered at the excavation sites in ancient Shiloh in the Binyamin region.

The discovery caused great excitement among the excavators - the Archaeological Staff Officer at the Civil Administration, along with the Associates for Biblical Research in Texas, led by Dr. Scott Stripling, since this rare finding relates to the biblical story about the Israelites who came from Egypt to Shiloh during this period.

In addition, an altar beam dating to the Iron Age was found. This finding reinforces the belief that the area served as a place of worship for Jews during this period.

The findings are now being presented at the 8th Shiloh Conference, to be held on Thursday in the ancient Shiloh area, where many panels will be held in the fields of Bible and archaeology.

The head of the Binyamin Council, Yisrael Gantz, summed up the new revelations ahead of the conference, "The rare findings in Shiloh are very exciting, powerful and forcefully prove our historical truth and ties to the land of the Bible - to Binyamin. We invite everyone to be exposed to more amazing revelations at the 8th Shiloh Conference, and during the entire year.”

Arutz Sheva Staff


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Radicalization of Kids: A Global Threat - Raheel Raza

by Raheel Raza

Creating awareness is of utmost importance

  • The issue of child radicalization has become a global horror-show....very few people are willing to speak about the dangers of the radicalization of youths.
  • Radicalization is now easy for the extremists, thanks to technology, the new weapon being brandished by Islamist terrorists....
  • As people who care deeply about human rights, we are extremely concerned about the way these children are being subverted and abused, as well as about the future of our next generation, and creating awareness is of utmost importance.

On July 12, a 13-year-old boy blew himself up in a suicide bombing at a wedding in eastern Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, killing five people and injuring 40, local officials said.
The issue of child radicalization has become a global horror-show.

Radicalization is now easy for the extremists, thanks to technology, the new weapon being brandished by Islamist terrorists in accordance with the mandate of the Muslim Brotherhood to "weaken the West from within".

Kids today, as early as three years old, are on YouTube watching videos. Unfortunately, it has never been easier for extremists -- from white supremacists to radical Islamists -- to target vulnerable children and penetrate a child's consciousness.

According to the UN, there are more than 250,000 child soldiers fighting around the world in more than 20 different conflicts. The Combating Terrorism Center reports that ISIS had more than 1,500 kids on the front lines and trained 1,000 kids to become suicide bombers in the first six months of 2015.

This problem has spilled over into North America. CNN reported last year that about 1,000 investigations of connections with ISIS were open in all 50 states.
  • In August 2018, 11 children were found in a compound in New Mexico being trained by an American radical Islamist to commit school shootings
  • In Minneapolis, 45 boys and young men have left the local Somali community to join al-Shabab or ISIS. Dozens more were stopped in 2018 from traveling.
  • In June 2019, a 22-year-old Bangladeshi living in New York was arrested for plotting an attack on Times Square
These are only a part of the statistics that tell us we are facing a huge crisis; very few people are willing to speak about the dangers of the radicalization of youths.

On July 18, leaders and experts with the Clarion Project gathered in Washington DC to hold an exclusive pre-release Congressional screening of the new documentary, "Kids Chasing Paradise" (currently in post-production). The organization flew in key experts and other leaders fighting against radical extremism and who are affiliated with the film to educate Congress, hold media briefings and present its program to Prevent Violent Extremism at the National Press Club.

Kids Chasing Paradise tells the incredible story of ordinary people that have been directly affected by this radicalization and are now trying to prevent it from happening to others.

Apart from some in-depth coverage of youths being taught hate, violence and radicalization, the film features:
  • Christianne Boudreau, a Canadian mother who was personally affected by the impact of the violent radicalization process; her son, Damian, was killed while fighting for ISIS. She now coordinates the Mothers for Life Network, which brings together mothers of radicalized jihadis to support one another and combat radicalization.
  • Tania Joya, a former extremist who is now working out of Texas on deradicalization. Tania Joya's ex-husband was radicalized in Texas as a teenager and became ISIS' main propagandist in Syria. Originally British, Tania Joya and her four children now live in Texas. Tania used to want her children to grow up to be jihadists. Now she embraces human rights and Western values.
  • Nicola Benyahia is a British woman who founded Families for Life, a nonprofit organization focused on deradicalization and support for families of young extremists. When Nicola's son, Rasheed, unexpectedly joined ISIS, she found Christianne and they started both a professional collaboration and personal friendship
The movie is accompanied by a workshop called Preventing Violent Extremism, based on the concept that no one is born a terrorist or extremist. Individuals are manipulated into being radicalized. Therefore, we feel that prevention is possible. The workshop is a way of understanding the path to youth radicalization and suggestions on how to prevent it before it happens.

As people who care deeply about human rights, we are extremely concerned about the way these children are being subverted and abused, as well as about the future of our next generation, and creating awareness is of utmost importance.

Raheel Raza is President of The Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, and co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement. She is a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Gatestone Institute.


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Luke O’Brien’s Search and Destroy Missions - Robert Spencer

by Robert Spencer

For Leftist “journalists,” trying to destroy lives is an increasingly common tactic.

Last Saturday, hard-Left “journalist” Luke O’Brien once again revealed the identity of a prominent conservative, dropping the real name of meme-maker Carpe Donktum in a couple of tweets. Carpe Donktum himself said that O’Brien’s doxing of him was a “despicable act that will surely cause my family undue worry and potentially harm.” Nor is this the first time that O’Brien has done this. Revealing the identities of those who oppose the Leftist agenda from behind pseudonyms (which they have often adopted precisely in order to protect themselves and their families from Leftist thugs), and thereby exposing them to danger from increasingly violent Antifa fascists, is becoming standard procedure for the Left.

One of O’Brien’s first targets was Twitter star Amy Mek, a firm and outspoken opponent of jihad terror and Sharia oppression who, when O’Brien revealed her identity a year ago, had 229,000 followers on Twitter (she now has 243,500). President Trump had retweeted her, just as Trump invited Carpe Donktum to the recent social media summit at the White House: O’Brien apparently likes to target for personal destruction those who have caught the President’s attention.

O’Brien not only smeared and doxed Amy Mek; he also targeted her family, doxing her parents, brother, sister-in-law and husband. He repeatedly contacted Amy Mek’s husband’s employer and ultimately caused him to be fired, solely for his association with Amy. O’Brien even targeted her brother’s restaurants and her father’s business. The attacks resulted in great damage to the careers of each of her family members, as well as threats (including swastikas mailed to their businesses) so serious as to require the hiring of security.

In the final analysis, however, despite all the damage he caused, O’Brien is just a drone, one of the many neo-Brownshirts who think that they’re fighting fascism by employing the tactics of the fascists of old (the original Nazi Brownshirts used to conduct energetic smear campaigns against those who dared to oppose them). He is one of the growing legion of Leftist lemmings who think it good and noble to expose people to the prospects of professional ruin and genuine physical danger because they hold what he considers to be the wrong political opinions.

Amy Mek noted just how widespread this tactic has become in an interview with me this week. “Up until now, I have not done any interviews or spoken to any media,” she said, “since Luke O’Brien’s article about me was published in June 2018. People continue to talk about my situation to this day and have asked me to publicly speak out as we all continue to see the Huffington Post and other liberal media outlets destroy good people, their families and livelihoods.”

O’Brien’s article, she said, “used out of context tweets and materials and fabricated allegations. His only named source was a woman struggling with substance abuse issues, who tried to break into my family’s home. He used an intruder to attribute completely false and vile statements to me. His article clearly indicated a premeditated intent to attack, not a journalistic article on me, or the issues that inspire me. I believe I was targeted because I am an influential Jewish supporter of President Trump, and because I speak out against Sharia, Islamic terrorism and the human rights violations taking place in the Islamic world, by virtue of Islamic doctrine. And there is also an all-out assault on anyone associated with me that continues to this day.”

Now she is determined to limit the damage that thuggish pseudo-journalists such as Luke O’Brien can do:
Emboldened pro-Antifa journalists have doxed and endangered private citizens and their families simply for having different viewpoints. The common person speaking out against evil is left standing alone. I want to bring attention to this issue and do everything I can to help others either going through this harassment. I am working to form grassroots coalitions to stop this. Over the past year, I have spoken to many people in both the US and Europe whose lives have been adversely affected by the media and Leftist organizations such as CAIR, the SPLC and Antifa working to destroy private citizens. I am trying to give them a voice. I hope to put pressure on the Republican Party to start helping so many of us affected who have so little support and recourse.
This initiative is urgently needed, because most mainstream conservatives remain silent in the face of this journalistic terrorism. The hard Left – notably the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and those “journalists” who present it as an unimpeachable, objective source about “hate groups” -- is busy calling everyone who disagrees with them “white supremacists,” “Nazis,” “fascists” and the like. Instead of standing up to this and pushing back, pointing out that the real fascist behavior is wholly on the Left, establishment Republicans have cowered and tried to distance themselves from those who have been tarred with these labels, no matter how unjust the accusation.

“The doxing of my family,” Amy states, “was hailed as ‘journalism’ in the establishment media. Importantly, this tactic was generally not called out by conservative media, which has undoubtedly emboldened hard-left organizations such as the Huffington Post to double down on unethical and even what one might call, weaponized reporting against private citizens.”

The average American is left abandoned in the midst of all this. It’s no wonder that so many people are afraid to speak out against the Left: the supposed conservative vanguard and leadership has lacked the spine to protect them. “This silence,” says Amy Mek, “has only emboldened the radical Left to more extreme attacks, as we have seen with Andy Ngo, who was physically assaulted by Antifa resulting in a traumatic brain injury.”

Carpe Donktum, Amy Mek and Andy Ngo are not singular cases. “In the last few weeks alone,” Amy notes, “I have learned of three new and disturbing attacks. Meanwhile, many mainstream media publications have rushed to defend Antifa and its tactics – including even Teen Vogue, as well as the Guardian, which actually justifies Antifa’s recent move to take up arms.”

Despite the cost, Amy still speaks out. At a recent European Union Parliamentary conference on “Free Speech in the Age of Censorship,” Amy Mek spoke publicly for the first time about what she and her family endured because of O’Brien’s attack (see video here). She also highlighted the historical parallels between the assaults on conservatives and the freedom of speech in Europe, and those that are currently being waged in the United States.

Amy Mek has also created an organization called RAIR Foundation USA (Rise, Align, Ignite, Reclaim, uniting grassroots activists and them to stand together for the freedom of speech and individual rights, which are now so under such vicious attack from the slavering Leftist mob for which Luke O’Brien does his doxing.

“My goal,” Amy says, “is to never allow this horror to happen to another family. All freedom-loving people need to be warned that the mainstream media has become radicalized and has devolved into doxing private citizens to push their narrative and agenda.” Indeed.

Robert Spencer


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