Saturday, September 14, 2019

Israel’s Netanyahu: Iran destroyed secret nuclear weapons site after its existence was uncovered - Greg Norman

by Greg Norman

“In this site, Iran conducted experiments to develop nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said according to Reuters.

Iran allegedly destroyed secret nuclear weapons site: What that means

James Carafano, vice president of The Heritage Fund, spoke with Fox News about the destroyed Iranian nuclear facility that has recently been discovered, as well as the recent firing of former National Security Adviser John Bolton.

A remote site that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says was used by Iran to conduct “experiments to develop nuclear weapons” has now been wiped off the map, satellite images show.

The group of buildings hidden in the hills outside of the city of Abadeh was discovered using information gathered in a trove of documents Israeli agents stole from an Iranian warehouse and made public early last year, Netanyahu announced Monday during a televised speech. He also claimed Iran recently destroyed the site after learning that Israel became aware of its existence.

“In this site, Iran conducted experiments to develop nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said according to Reuters.

A March 27 satellite image of the Iranian site provided by Maxar Technologies shows a compound with a series of buildings surrounding a courtyard, with other smaller structures away from it.
A March 27 satellite image of the Iranian site provided by Maxar Technologies shows a compound with a series of buildings surrounding a courtyard, with other smaller structures away from it. (AP/Maxar Tec)
He provided no details or evidence of what those experiments were, but he showed off two satellite photos. The first, taken in June, showed the facility intact. The second, taken in July, showed parts of a building there that had been destroyed, in what he said was an Iranian cover-up.

"This is what I have to say to the tyrants of Tehran," Netanyahu continued. "Israel knows what you're doing, Israel knows when you're doing it, and Israel knows where you're doing it."

Satellite images of the site obtained by The Associated Press from Maxar Technologies showed a compound with a series of buildings surrounding a courtyard, with other smaller structures away from it. A dirt road appeared to be the only access to the site in a March 27 image – and the next closest structure to the site appears to be about 5 miles away.

An Aug. 12 satellite image of the same site shows many of its buildings destroyed.
An Aug. 12 satellite image of the same site shows many of its buildings destroyed. (AP/Maxar Tec)

Another image from Aug. 12 showed all the structures at the site destroyed, with a few walls still standing. Neither satellite photo showed any visible activity at the time the photographs were taken.

In response to Netanyahu's announcement, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif posted on Twitter a 2002 video of Netanyahu speaking about what he saw as the "positive reverberations" that would come with the overthrow of the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

 "The possessor of REAL nukes cries wolf - on an ALLEGED 'demolished' site in Iran," Zarif said, referring to Israel's never-acknowledged nuclear weapons program.

But Zarif did not address what the Iranian site was, nor why it appeared to be demolished in Netanyahu's presentation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Greg Norman


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Pompeo: 'Tehran responsible for attacks on Saudi Arabia' - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

US calls on international community to condemn Iranian attacks, says 'no evidence' Houthis responsible for attacks on Saudi oil facilities.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for a Saturday attack on Saudi oil facilities.
"Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy," Pompeo tweeted Saturday. "Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen."

"We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks. The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression."

Earlier on Saturday, reports claimed Yemenite Houthis had perpetrated the drone attacks, which harmed two Saudi oil facilities, one of which is the world's largest.

CNN quoted the Houthi-run Al-Masirah news agency, which said the Houthis had claimed responsibility for the attacks, which used 10 drones to target state-owned Saudi Aramco facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais.

The attacks impacted five million barrels of crude oil per day, effectively forcing Saudi Arabia to cut its crude oil production by half.

The kingdom has said it hopes to have production back to normal within ten days.

Meanwhile, Iran on Saturday signed a $440 million contract to open an oil field in the Gulf, under which Petropars, a local company, will work with Iran to develop the Belal gas field to develop 500 million cubic feet of gas per day, Reuters reported.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said: "This contract and other upcoming contracts show that we are working under the sanctions. The sanctions have not stopped us and we are active."

Arutz Sheva Staff


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Israel and John Bolton’s departure - Caroline Glick

by Caroline Glick

Bolton’s departure had more to do with the stress of working in the toxic environment in Washington than with a change in Trump’s basic predisposition regarding foreign policy.

Bibi Bolton

US National Security Advisor John Bolton’s departure from the White House has been the source of considerable concern in Israel. For decades, the veteran diplomat and former UN ambassador has been among the most powerful supporters of a strong US-Israel alliance in Washington. During his tenure as President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, Bolton worked steadily on expanding US-Israel strategic ties across a wide spectrum of critical issues from Iran, to the Palestinians and beyond.

Israelis would have greeted the departure of their strong ally and friend with concern regardless of the circumstances. But, the fact that he was fired, (or by Bolton’s telling, felt compelled to resign), just days after Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s envoy for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians resigned from his position and as reports proliferate that Trump is seriously considering reducing economic sanctions on Iran in the hopes of scoring a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN General Assembly later this month, intensified the concern.

Although reasonable on their face, Bolton’s termination needs to be seen in two wider contexts. The first context is the environment in Washington that confronted Bolton in his position.

From the day he took up his duties a year and a half ago as Trump’s third national security advisor, Bolton was under assault. The campaign against Bolton was initiated by the Iranian regime. Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif blamed poor US-Iran relations on Bolton, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Zarif’s campaign was quickly joined by Obama administration officials who took to the US media parroting the same allegations. The Iranians, by their telling were guileless lambs. The big bad wolves were Bolton, Bibi and bin Salman.

In recent months, as Iran stepped up its aggression against international shipping in the Straits of Hormuz, the attacks against Bolton were joined by members of the isolationist wing of the Republican party led by Fox New host Tucker Carlson and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

It is true that Bolton is known as a prickly policymaker out of his element in the Trump world. But it is also true that Trump and Bolton agreed far more than they disagreed. Unfortunately, every time there was a dispute between the two men, Obama hangovers in government and their allies outside government from the Obama administration and the media were quick to report those disagreements and angrily slander Bolton as a warmonger and a mercenary who had neither America’s best interests, nor the president’s best interest at heart.

The allegations were entirely false. But their force and volume transformed every normal, and entirely legitimate disagreement between Bolton and Trump into a major, widely reported event.

Under the circumstances, it was probably a foregone conclusion that Bolton’s days would be numbered.

In other words, Bolton’s departure had more to do with the stress of working in the toxic environment in Washington than with a change in Trump’s basic predisposition regarding foreign policy.

The second context that needs to be considered when judging the implications of Bolton’s termination is the context of another event that happened almost at the same time that Trump was tweeting he had fired Bolton.

That event was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stunning announcement that he has secured US support for his plan to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea immediately after the elections, if he is reelected. His statement was a watershed event.

For fifty-two years, no US administration has agreed to acknowledge Israel’s rights to Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley. To the contrary, previous administrations have argued that even if Israel has rights, its right to assert those rights is contingent of Palestinian agreement. Since the PLO and Hamas will never accept Israel’s rights in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, (just as they will never accept Israel’s rights to Tel Aviv or Tiberius), the effective US position for the past 52 years has been to reject Israel’s rights in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley.

And yet, the same day that Bolton was fired, Netanyahu rose to the podium and said that the US supports his plan to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley.

Substantively, this means that the Trump administration accepts that the Palestinians cannot have veto power over Israel’s right to secure borders and to territories that were allocated to the Jewish people under international law under the League of Nations Mandate in 1922.

The White House’s response to Netanyahu’s statement was equally groundbreaking. Under the friendly Bush administration Israel had to argue for its right to enable Jewish communities to expand to keep up with “natural growth,” that is, the birth of children. Under the hostile Obama administration, Israel was pilloried for every new home built in united Jerusalem. Yet on Tuesday, the White House press briefer told reporters simply that Netanyahu’s plan does not contradict the president’s peace plan.

The White House responded to Netanyahu’s statement in the same press briefing where it discussed Bolton’s departure from the White House. Had Bolton been the sole source of the administration’s supportive positions on Israel, Netanyahu would likely have cancelled his news conference.

The fact that Netanyahu’s made his announcement as Bolton’s departure was being announced signaled that his support for Israel had nothing to do with his departure, and the administration’s positions on Israel are unlikely to change now that he is gone.

This then brings us to a person who does play a singular role in maintaining and growing Israel’s unprecedented cooperation with the Trump administration. That person is Netanyahu himself. Netanyahu and Trump have a relationship unlike any that any Israeli prime minister has ever enjoyed with any US president. There is a clear affinity between the two leaders that stems from more than the mere coincidence that they happen to be leading their countries at the same time.

The similarities in their relations with the political, media, legal and bureaucratic establishments in their respective nations, the incessant investigations to which both men have been subjected in office as well as similar trajectories of their personal biographies give the two leaders a natural affinity for one another. Add to that their similar political perspectives, including their idealistic nationalism and you have the basis for their unique bond.

This affinity has contributed significantly to Netanyahu’s success in achieving unparalleled breakthroughs in Israel’s relations with the US. While it seems like it comes naturally, the fact is that all the policy moves that Trump has made in Israel’s favor were won in hard-fought battles. For every advocate for moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, withdrawing from the nuclear deal with Iran, and now accepting Israel’s right to assert its rights in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, there have been one thousand opponents.

To be sure, Netanyahu is not the only reason these gains were made. Trump’s evangelical constituents, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Amb. David Friedman, Jared Kushner, Greenblatt, Bolton and a handful of senators were all instrumental in convincing Trump to take on the establishments of Washington and Europe and stand with Israel. But Netanyahu’s contribution has been singular. Had a different politician stood at the helm of Israeli politics during this period, it is far from clear these goals would have been set, let alone achieved.

The Palestinians recognize this. PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas last month said that he is hoping that Netanyahu loses the elections on Tuesday. Last week, the head of the Arab Israeli Joint List Ayman Odeh gave an interview to Palestinian television where he said that no prime minister has ever had such a strong relationship with the US president and that unseating Netanyahu is a Palestinian “national goal.”

Bolton’s departure is a loss for Israel, because he truly is a great friend of the Jewish state. But he leaves an administration that was pro-Israel when he arrived and remains pro-Israel in his absence. Tuesday’s elections, on the other hand will be decisive in determining the future course of US-Israel ties under Trump and into the future.

Originally published in Israel Hayom. 

Caroline Glick


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Saudi Strategic Expert: Israel Has the Right to Defend Itself against Iranian Lackeys - MEMRI


He said that Iran's intervention has created anarchy in the region and he criticized Iraqi, Lebanese, and Yemeni leaders for "whining" about Israeli intervention in Arab countries even though it is they who have empowered Iran to destroy the region

Saudi strategic expert Muhammad Al-Qabiban said in an August 29, 2019 interview on Al-Sumaria TV (Iraq) that Israel has the right to defend itself and its borders from Iranian "lackeys" like Hizbullah. He said that Iran's intervention has created anarchy in the region and he criticized Iraqi, Lebanese, and Yemeni leaders for "whining" about Israeli intervention in Arab countries even though it is they who have empowered Iran to destroy the region under the pretext of the Islamic revolution. Al-Qabiban pointed out that none of the Shiite militias in the Arab countries have attacked Israel, and he said that they want to destroy Arab countries for sectarian and economic reasons. He referred to Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah as a joke, and he said that Iran is behind the spread of political Islam in the region. He said that Iran has turned Lebanon into a "garbage" country, a comment to which Lebanese political commentator Faysal Abdel Sater, who was also on the show, angrily responded by saying that Saudi Arabia is the garbage country because it does not know the meaning of honor.
Following are excerpts:

Muhammad Al-Qabiban: Has Israel picked up the phone and called the Arab League or the GCC and asked for their permission to strike [Hizbullah]? No! It encountered weak countries that are lackeys of Iran and that have flung themselves into the arms of Iran, and it wanted to protect its borders. In my opinion, [Israel] has the right to protect its borders. The flagrant Iranian intervention in the Arab regions has thrown the region into chaos, and this has enabled Israel to do what it likes in the region. In the meanwhile, the Arab leaders are whining: "Israel attacked us and interfered in our affairs." These Arab leaders in Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen have forgotten that it was they who allowed [Iran] to destroy the region under the pretext that it is an Islamic country that wants to export the revolution and under the pretext that it supports Muslims in [other] countries. I think that the region is in an unprecedented state of anarchy.


What do we see? We see that these [Shiite militias] strive to destroy the Arab countries from sectarian and economic perspectives. They have not sent a single plane against Israel. Look at that joke from Lebanon… [Nasrallah] said: "By Allah, we downed the [Israeli] drones by throwing gravel." What an insult to one's intelligence! And they call him "The Leader of the Resistance"…


Saudi Arabia wants stability for the region. There is an obvious proxy war in the region between Iran and Saudi Arabia. But who started all this? Which country interfered and supported groups that espouse political Islam? Which country supported [Shiite] groups in Qatif? Which country carried out bombings in Mecca? Which country tried to disrupt the hajj and called for it to be run internationally? Who are the ones who go on a hajj and do things there in order to distort the image of Saudi Arabia? Which country is doing this? Which country is trying to bomb ports? Which country is constantly making threats to close the Strait [of Hormuz]? Which country sends drones to a distance of 1,200 kilometers in order to attack the Shaybah oil field? Is it the Yemenis? Even if you explain to a Yemeni a million times how to make a Pepsi can, he wouldn't know how.


The "resistance" has turned Lebanon into a country of – excuse me for the word – garbage. Iran has brought Lebanon to a state in which it cannot even get rid of its trash. Lebanon has started taking [money] out of people's pensions. Was Lebanon ever in this state before the Iranian intervention? They should shut up, fix their country, and only then talk about other countries!


Faysal Abdel Sater: No one in the entire world – not even the Saudi king himself – is allowed to call Lebanon a "garbage" country. It is [Saudi Arabia] that is a garbage country because they have no honor. If they had any… Excuse me, let me finish! He insulted Lebanon!

Host: But it's a political problem…

Faysal Abdel Sater: No, he insulted Lebanon. He said that Lebanon is a garbage country. Saudi Arabia is a garbage country, and they do not know the meaning of honor.



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Israel and US to sign mutual defense treaty? - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

US Pres. Trump, PM Netanyahu, discuss mutual defense treaty.

Pres. Trump and PM Netanyahu
Pres. Trump and PM Netanyahu
US President Donald Trump spoke Saturday with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the possibility of moving forward with a mutual defense treaty between the United States and Israel.

Trump tweeted that the treaty "would further anchor the tremendous alliance" between the two countries.

"I look forward to continuing those discussions after the Israeli elections when we meet at the United Nations later this month!" Trump tweeted.

"Thank you my dear friend President Trump," Netanyahu tweeted. "The Jewish State has never had a greater friend in the White House. I look forward to our meeting at the UN to advance a historic Defense Treaty between the United States and Israel.

"Together, we will continue full steam ahead with our common battle against terrorism. 
Congratulations on your latest success against Bin Laden’s son. God bless America. God bless Israel."

Israel's Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) praised the announcement.

"As I have said in the past, I am in favor of a clear and signed defense treaty between the US and Israel against Iran and dealing with the issue of nuclear weapons and the threat of ballistic missiles, which does not limit Israel's actions in other areas," he said.

"A treaty such as this with the strongest power in the world will be an unprecendented historical achievement which will contribute much to the State of Israel's security and economic strength."

Arutz Sheva Staff


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War Isn't Over Just Because You Want It To Be Over - A.J. Caschetta

by A.J. Caschetta

War doesn't end when only one side wants it to end.


Last week's announcement that U.S.-led peace talks with the Taliban had been called off relieved many, but distressed others who were hoping for an end to our longest war. After a suicide bombing killed 12 people on Thursday, September 5th, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged that the Taliban failed to live up to its commitments. Trump tweeted: "What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?" Welcome to the Art of the Deal, Taliban-style.
Perhaps Trump is learning from his experiences with Israel's longest war with the Palestinians and the difficulty he has experienced with his "Deal of the Century" proposal. While each situation differs in some significant ways, both serve as illustrations that wars don't end when only one side wants it to end. Until one side wins and the other acknowledges defeat, a war will continue.

War doesn't end when only one side wants it to end.
The Trump administration's desire to "finally get the hell out of Afghanistan" might be an admirable one, but our departure before the Taliban has acknowledged its defeat will be interpreted as victory and embolden the group to return to its old ways. Though the Taliban and the Afghan ISIS groups are currently at least in part rivals, no one should preclude the possibility of a union between the two.

After the first Gulf War, enough Israelis believed that their war with the Palestinians could finally come to an end. But their generosity to the dispersed PLO, exiled to Tunisia, was interpreted as weakness. The PLO exploited it to recruit a new generation of fighters — a generation they educated with their newfound autonomy. Palestinian terrorism escalated dramatically, both in the number and severity of attacks.

Soon after the talks with the Taliban were scuttled, word came out that there was a plan for members of the Taliban to join members of the Afghan government and U.S. representatives at Camp David. Some believed that having Taliban negotiators on U.S. soil on September 11th, 2019 would be worse than "bad optics" — their presence would defile the venerable retreat in Maryland. But here too, the PLO's Yasser Arafat had already accomplished that feat, soiling the grounds with his presence in 2000. During the Clinton presidency, Arafat spent more time in the White House than any other foreign "leader."

Inviting bad actors, even those with American blood on their hands, is acceptable only after they have been defeated and have acknowledged their defeat. Until both the Taliban and whomever the Palestinians choose as their leaders acknowledge their defeat, their presence should not be tolerated on U.S. or Israeli soil, respectively.

Perhaps neither our war against the Taliban nor Israel's war against the PLO/PA/Hamas is actually winnable. But both are certainly lose-able.

A complete pullout of all U.S. troops and advisors from Afghanistan will be celebrated from Kandahar to Quetta as a Taliban victory. Recall how Taliban propagandists compared Obama to Gorbachev when the new U.S. president simultaneously announced both a troop surge and a subsequent date for their departure from Afghanistan.

The time to talk peace comes when the Taliban and the Palestinians acknowledge their defeat.
Likewise, any Israeli offer of more accommodations, cash, and autonomy to the PLO/PA/Hamas will be seen as weakness and will be exploited. Recall Arafat's not so-secret messages to the Palestinian critics of Oslo that the "peace process" would buy them time to gain strength and continue the fight.

For American and Israeli lawmakers, the time to talk about peace will only come when the Taliban and the Palestinians feel their defeat and believe that they have better options than continuing to fight. Until then, the best we can hope for is a managed conflict, limiting our own casualties, and inflicting more severe casualties on our enemies.

A.J. Caschetta is a Ginsberg-Ingerman fellow at the Middle East Forum and a principal lecturer in the English Department of the Rochester Institute of Technology.


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Iranian Tanker Fiasco Exposes Britain's Muddled Thinking - Con Coughlin

by Con Coughlin

Now it appears that Iran has deliberately misled the British government about its intentions

  • The ensuing diplomatic stand-off between London and Tehran eventually resulted in Britain agreeing to release the Grace One, but only after the British authorities received written assurances from Iran that the oil would not be delivered to Syria.
  • Now it appears that Iran has deliberately misled the British government about its intentions after satellite photographs revealed the ship, which has now been renamed the Adrian Darya 1, is in Syria, where its $130 million oil cargo has been handed over to the Assad regime.
  • "Anyone who said the Adrian Darya-1 wasn't headed to #Syria is in denial. Tehran thinks it's more important to fund the murderous Assad regime than provide for its own people. We can talk, but #Iran's not getting any sanctions relief until it stops lying and spreading terror!" — Ambassador John Bolton, then US National Security Advisor, September 7, 2019.

When Iran seized the British-registered tanker Stena Impero on July 19 as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz, it caused deep embarrassment for the government of then British Prime Minister Theresa May, which had failed to put adequate measures in place to protect British shipping from any act of Iranian retaliation. Pictured: The Stena Impero and one of the Iranian gunboats that seized it. (Image source: Fars News/CC BY 4.0 [cropped])

The sorry saga of the Iranian oil tanker that was originally seized by Britain before making its way to Syria to unload its cargo in breach of EU sanctions highlights the confusion that lies at the heart of the British government's policy towards Tehran.

The Iranian-registered tanker, which at the time sailed under the name Grace One, was seized by British Royal Marines in early July off the coast of Gibraltar on suspicion that it was delivering its cargo of 2.1 million barrels of oil to Syria, a clear violation of EU sanctions that are in place against the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

Iran responded two weeks later by seizing the British-registered tanker Stena Impero as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz, thereby causing deep embarrassment for the government of then British Prime Minister Theresa May, which had failed to put adequate measures in place to protect British shipping from any act of Iranian retaliation.

The ensuing diplomatic stand-off between London and Tehran eventually resulted in Britain agreeing to release the Grace One, but only after the British authorities received written assurances from Iran that the oil would not be delivered to Syria.

Now it appears that Iran has deliberately misled the British government about its intentions after satellite photographs revealed the ship, which has now been renamed the Adrian Darya 1, is in Syria, where its $130 million oil cargo has been handed over to the Assad regime.

The ship's arrival in Syria has certainly caused deep embarrassment in London, where this week the Foreign Office issued a statement saying that Iran's actions represented an "unacceptable violation of international norms" and added that it would raise the issue at the UN General Assembly in New York later this month. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab warned that, "We want Iran to come in from the cold, but the only way to do that is to keep its word and comply with the rules-based international system."

Iran, meanwhile, has refused to confirm that the oil was delivered to Syria, with a spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry saying only that the ship had delivered its cargo after docking "on the Mediterranean coast".

Iran's duplicity is nevertheless deeply humiliating for Britain, which has sought to maintain relations with Iran and continue to support the controversial nuclear deal with Tehran despite the Trump administration's decision to withdraw from the agreement last year and impose fresh sanctions on Iran.

Washington was particularly keen that the Iranian tanker should not be allowed to deliver its cargo to Syria and, following the British government's decision to let it leave Gibraltar, threatened to impose sanctions against any European country that provided assistance to the tanker.

The news that the vessel had arrived in Syria provoked a strong reaction from then National Security Advisor John Bolton who, in one of his last acts before leaving the Trump administration earlier this week, directly criticised Britain's handling of the issue in a tweet:
"Anyone who said the Adrian Darya-1 wasn't headed to #Syria is in denial. Tehran thinks it's more important to fund the murderous Assad regime than provide for its own people. We can talk, but #Iran's not getting any sanctions relief until it stops lying and spreading terror!"
The affair certainly highlights the underlying tensions between Washington and London over the Iran issue, with Britain still refusing to support Washington's more robust approach despite being on the receiving end of numerous acts of provocation on behalf of Tehran.

Apart from the seizure in the Strait of Hormuz of the British-registered tanker -- which is still being held in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas despite the release of the Iranian vessel -- Iran has detained a number of British nationals on a trumped-up charge of spying.

British officials have also spent the past three years attempting to secure the release from Tehran of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman who is being held, apparently for a time chained to a bed in a psychiatric ward in Evin prison, after being convicted of spying, charges which she denies.

Now the Iranians have seized Jolie King, a British-Australian blogger, and her boyfriend after they were found camping close to an Iranian military base. The Iranians have informed Miss King that they will free her as part of a prisoner swap for an Iranian mother currently being held in the U.S., prompting British campaigners to accuse Tehran of pursuing "state-sponsored kidnap".

Despite these constant acts of provocation by Iran, however, the British government mystifyingly remains committed to upholding the 2015 nuclear deal, insisting that it is the best means of maintaining a dialogue with Tehran.

Con Coughlin is the Telegraph's Defence and Foreign Affairs Editor and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.


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Blame academia for the insanity at Thursday's Dem debate - Fletch Daniels

by Fletch Daniels

It is in the American university where the battle for our country is being lost.

In watching Thursday night's Democrat debate, I first felt as though I was watching a conservative spoof on a Saturday Night Live skit. 

There was Bernie Sanders, playing the crazy and deranged college professor, quite literally spitting insanity. Kamala Harris was dancing, laughing, and spouting gibberish, leaving the distinct impression she was hiding an empty rectangular bottle under her podium. Julián Castro was screaming maniacally at Joe Biden about something he didn't say. 

Andrew Yang proudly informed the audience that he is Asian, so he knows a lot of doctors, while Spartacus was promising to release 17,000 criminals back into American communities as a good start. I'd likely vote for any of those criminals over Cory Booker. Joe Biden made the profoundly stupid point that only violent criminals should be in prison, forgetting to add Republicans to that list.

The longer I watched the debate, the more it started to sound like a stage full of radicalized college professors trying to impress their radicalized students. From Beto O'Rourke's claim that America's founding can be traced to the first slave brought here in 1619 to the "white supremacy" sweepstakes in which O'Rourke, Julián Castro, and Cory Booker pushed their poker chips to the center of the table to see who could most obnoxiously condemn America, it gave off the nauseating ideological odor of a college classroom.

Sarah Sanders made one of the best observations in recent weeks when, reflecting on the Democrats running for president, she observed, "I'm pretty sure they don't even like America." She's right. They don't. 

For those who are wondering how the Democrats could have produced such a distinguished slate of the sanity-challenged, it is because of radical liberal control of America's colleges and universities. The Marxist radicals of yesterday became college professors of today, seizing ideological control of much of America.

Just as Saudi-funded Salafist religious schools have radicalized large swaths of the Islamic world, American universities are radicalizing an increasingly large share of America. This is aided by the fact that nearly 70% of kids now go to college, where most of them are taught not to think.

Every candidate on stage is convinced that the lion's share of Democrat primary voters are radical Marxists. Sadly, they're all largely right, which is why any candidate who sounds remotely reasonable is running about the same percentage of voter support as you. These candidates should know their voters, since every one of them is likely a product of America's universities. It is hard to overstate the damage this institution is inflicting on America but that outcome was on fully display during the Democrat debate.

A favorite Andrew Breitbart observation explains exactly what is going on. He said, "You send your kids off to college. They love you. You walk away with a Cornell mom T-shirt. You are walking away going, 'This is great,' and come Thanksgiving, your kid tells you that you are an imperialist and a racist and a homophobe."

He could have added that your child will inform you that he is feeling the Bern, and you should, too. All that for the bargain basement price of $250,000 or so. This is a tragedy that is regularly playing out in American households as parents receive back kids they barely recognize. 

My first experience with the radicalization of academia happened about twenty years ago, when I was working on a Master of Arts in Literature degree at a mainstream public Virginia university. I had never actually met a Marxist, but my first professor informed us that he was one. I was bewildered that such an anachronistic creature still existed in the United States and looked at him with the same morbid curiosity I might have reserved for a two-headed snake. 

But I soon realized that I was the anachronism in that environment. Every professor was some form of Marxist thinker. They couched it in various terms such as post-colonialism, feminism, deconstructionism, queer theory, or some other "ism," but they all believed that the U.S. is hopelessly corrupted by white patriarchy and that the institutions needed to be overthrown, replaced by some form of socialist power structure. The literature we studied was just a backdrop for these professors to project their various theories on their students.

They were extremely effective at it. Propaganda works, especially when couched in academic terms that appeal to the students' intellectual vanity. Out of all my classes, only one other student offered even a peep of protest, an Army officer who was equally bemused by what he was hearing. 

Fast-forward several years, and I was working on a Master's degree in international relations at a graduate school that largely services military students. One would think the professors would be a bit more conservative, considering the student population. Wrong. They were actually worse. They added anti-Semitism to the Marxist and post-colonialist stew. What was most depressing was just how much the students were carried along on the waves of the professors' radicalism. It was the Breitbart observation playing out in a military context. 

It continues to get worse as academia further devolves. While in high school, one of my kids went to a selective program hosted by an elite university focused on creative writing. She was the only non-liberal in the program, teacher and student alike. She heard the usual bromides that conservatives in these situations hear, which went something to the effect of "We actually like you. You're not like all those other horrible people." It was a real eye-opening experience for her. Most of her fellow attendees at that program are now in Ivy League schools. Based upon her experience at that program, my daughter chose Hillsdale College and hasn't looked back.

It is in the American university where the battle is being lost. Parents sacrifice for and encourage their sons and daughters to attend these universities with the best of intentions, thinking they are the gateway to a better life. The university returns them as Bernie Sanders acolytes who think Beto O'Rourke whispers words of wisdom. 

This also explains the increasing media radicalization. These propagandists are the product of these same universities. Conservatives who think media bias is the biggest threat in the country aren't quite right. These media representatives are a product of academia. They were propagandized first before becoming mouthpieces themselves. Just about every candidate on stage was radicalized at an American university. Every K–12 teacher in America also has a liberal arts university degree, which again explains how so many schools have morphed from educational institutions into propaganda factories. 

These universities are doing all in their power to ensure they reach all the students with their propaganda and social engineering. Even engineering and science majors are forced to take classes from these propagandists in the interest of producing "well rounded students," a euphemism for indoctrinated liberals. There are only a handful of colleges left that aren't infected with this disease.

This is why every Democrat on a debate stage sounds like he or she despises America. These candidates, many of them shifting left with the political winds, are chasing increasingly propagandized voters who are a product of colleges and universities. They are radicals chasing a growing number of radicalized votes.

Fletch Daniels blogs at and can be found on Twitter at @fletchdaniels.


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The Surveillance State: Have Americans Unwittingly Opted In? - Julio Rivera

by Julio Rivera

It's imperative that we truly understand the depth of access we are allowing into our lives for the devices and applications that are supposedly designed to simplify things.

Let’s be honest. When was the last time you sat down and read through the entirety of an app or hardware devices terms of use? The usually thousands of words long legalese omelet is easily bypassed by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking on the “I agree” box and unfortunately, that’s what most Americans in the modern world of instant gratification tend to do.

I mean, all of these apps that we use on a regular basis to order food, listen to music, and even find a mate, require that we “opt in,” and whether we have a conscious understanding or what that truly means or not, doing so has allowed for everything from the contents of your inbox and contact list to control of your phones camera and microphone to be manipulated by the application.

A society once so afraid of first the possibility and later the reality of NSA spying has seemingly allowed it’s guard down to the point that most Americans are running around with apps on their phones that are designed by foreign companies, many of whom work under governments which can legally force the app maker to turn over the personal information of their user base.

Americans aren’t walking around with an attorney on their shoulders to help guide then through the ever-expanding app stores and the growing market of new “smart speaker” or “smart home” devices, so here are four important points to consider when choosing what apps or devices are right for you:
  1. Assume your “Smart Speaker” is always listening.
According to a report published by Consumer Watchdog, patents filed by makers of the leading smart speaker devices reveal the devices' potential use as surveillance equipment for massive information collection that can be leveraged for the purpose of intrusive digital advertising. The study also found that although the digital assistants are supposed to react only when they hear a so-called “wakeword,” the devices can be 'awake' even when users think they aren't listening.
  1. Windows 10 is spying on you.
Microsoft’s popular operating system’s Privacy Statement contains some pretty scary language regarding the scope of its data collection and the rationale behind its potential dissemination. If you had the patience to first read though the 12,000-word service agreement, you will find that the Privacy Statement clearly says, ‘we will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary,’
It goes on the explain that the information can be used to ensure compliance with the law, or to prevent the loss of life or serious physical injury to Microsoft customers, among other things, but the arbitrary nature of what can be considered Microsoft’s interpretation of what “Good Faith” is should be enough to concern any “woke” consumer.
  1. “Smart Surveillance/Smart Home” systems are now partnering with police departments.
Residential surveillance camera company Ring, which is owned by Amazon, has partnered with an app called Neighbors, to create a “neighborhood watch” social network. It’s intended to do things like identify package thieves and to help find lost pets. At this point, over 50 police departments have partnered with Ring to offer free or discounted smart-camera systems to residents, raising concerns surrounding their partnerships with local law enforcement and the potential sharing of customer information without the consumer’s knowledge. Police want access to the security footage, but police who partner with Ring or other systems are supposed to only have access to footage if residents cooperate. Despite that, some police departments have attempted to circumvent the 4th Amendment in order to force the turnover of footage or requiring it be mandatory in some of the giveaway promotions. Ring is also a major contributor to the issue of increased false alarms faced by emergency response centers or public safety answering points (PSAPs) across the country. Whereas ADT alarm events are based on numerous datapoints and is a “smarter” alarm event, Ring’s DIY security systems have far higher rates of false alarms that make it to PSAPs.

With data breaches occurring on what seems to be a daily basis, the potential for hacking of camera feeds may compromise the safety of the owners of surveillance equipment as hackers can learn the habits and routines of homeowners, including their work schedules and any potential gaps where children may be left alone in the home. It was also revealed that Ring has had numerous privacy breaches -- most notably earlier this year its employees were found to be spying on customers through the Ring cameras!
  1. Phones, Smart Watches and other devices can be enabled to spy on you.
Your phone has a mic. Your smartwatch has a mic. With all this advancing technology, the potential for being spied on has never been higher in human history. At a cybersecurity conference this past March in Germany, security researcher Christopher Bleckmann-Dreher exposed in detail, the vulnerabilities in GPS enabled smartwatches. Dreher's started his research after Germany banned the sale of a brand of smartwatches that allowed parents to listen in on their children, due to a vulnerability that easily allowed hackers to snoop on children and families.

It’s 2019, people. We aren’t going back to the Stone Age, nor should we. But, in consideration of all the potential intrusions of privacy hiding in plain sight, it’s imperative that we truly understand the depth of access we are allowing into our lives the devices and applications that are supposedly designed to simplify it.

Julio Rivera


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Hillary Clinton's Surreal Journey Into Irrelevance - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

A bizarre post-career image

American politics, for all its flaws, offers the opportunity to see a former president or presidential candidate go from dominating the scene to being irrelevant in a matter of years. Hillary Clinton's journey to irrelevance though has been more surreal than most.

Her post-career image consists of bizarre things like Hillary and Clinton, a failed Broadway play about people who weren't the Clintons, and becoming modern art

The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee looked through printed copies of her emails and sat at a replica of the Oval Office's Resolute Desk during a visit Tuesday to an art exhibit in Venice, Italy, titled "HILLARY: The Hillary Clinton Emails," according to the exhibit's creator and curators.
"Hillary Clinton spent an hour yesterday reading her emails at my exhibition of all 62,000 pages of them in Venice," American poet and artist Kenneth Goldsmith tweeted Wednesday. "She is pictured here at a replica of the Oval Office Resolute Desk, stacked with her emails."
Whatever Hillary Clinton expected her career to be in 2016, it wasn't this Andy Warhol wormhole.

Perversely, her post-political career is starting to take on overtones of Monica Lewinsky. Like Monica, Hillary has become a punchline and a name associated with the surreal implosion of politics, completely destroying the brand she had worked so hard to build.

And now all she can do is awkwardly play along with it.

Why sit at the gallery for an hour reading her own emails? Who even does that? What's the point.

I'm not sure Hillary knows either. That bird has flown the coop.

There's really nothing for her to do. Today's Dems don't want her near them. With the possible exception of Elizabeth Warren, who's trying to play all the angles, they don't want the toxic image or the familiar Clinton habit of grabbing a piece of the action.

So instead Hillary is doing her own version of The Artist is Present. What else is there for her to do? 

Daniel Greenfield


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Thursday, September 12, 2019

The NY Times blames airplanes for 9/11 instead of Muslim terrorists - Leah Rosenberg

by Leah Rosenberg

The NY Times blames airplanes for the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil. They felt airplanes were responsible and not Al-Qaeda. There are no words.

The NY Times Blames Airplanes??

The New York Times keeps on reaching new lows. Every time some article or tweet is written, it seems bad. And then it just keeps getting worse. And this time, they did something to degrade and dishonor every single 9/11 victim and their families. That is thousands and thousands of people that The New York Times disrespected. That is thousands of victims that The New York Times decided were not valuable enough to remember properly. 

The NY Times actually blames airplanes for the tragic terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 instead of blaming Islamic terrorists. Apparently, the airplanes were responsible for murdering thousands of innocent Americans, leaving husbands without wives, wives without husbands, children without parents, parents without children and more. Apparently, terrorists had nothing to do with it. The New York Times should be completely ashamed of themselves.

And Then it Continues…

To remember 9/11, The New York Times did not have victims share their thoughts. They did not have people talk about the horrors. Instead, they had a Muslim talk about how America became Islamophobic after, and how that is the biggest issue facing the United States. Wow. If The NY Times had not disgraced all the victims of 9/11 enough, they also have an article to go along with their already shameful tweet. This is actually horrifying and humiliating. Just 18 years after the shocking and traumatizing attack, this newspaper made it clear who they side with. And no, sadly, it is not America. It is not the victims. It is not the victims’ families. 

If the lack of compassion, awareness, and morality of The New York Times does not bring you to tears, what will? 

Leah Rosenberg


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