Saturday, November 9, 2019

Israeli intelligence: Iran can have nuclear bomb within a year - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

IAEA works slowly due to bureaucracy, the sources say.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Israeli intelligence sources expressed support for US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, warning that "Iran can achieve a nuclear bomb within less than a year, if they decide to act quickly in that direction," Kan 11 reported Thursday evening.

The sources said that Israel continues to pass materials to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but that due to bureaucracy, the agency checks the materials very slowly.

On Wednesday, Iran arrested an IAEA inspector and seized his travel documents. The inspector was released shortly afterwards.

On Thursday, IAEA's top inspector, Massimo Aparo, had told diplomats in a closed-door meeting in Vienna on Wednesday that Iran is evading attempts to discover the source of man-made and natural uranium particles detected at the warehouse earlier this year.

The site in question is the one that was identified by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his address before the UN General Assembly last year.

Reports in April indicated that the IAEA had inspected the secret atomic warehouse. Subsequent reports said the facility was found to contain traces of uranium.

Arutz Sheva Staff


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Prager U Video: Kanye West Declares the Republican Party Freed the Slaves - Prager University

by Prager University

Debunking progressive lies.

In this new Prager U video, Kanye West wows a crowd of thousands at a Sunday Service in Salt Lake City, Utah. He talks about his support for Trump, the Republican Party of Lincoln freeing the slaves, and much more. Don’t miss it!

Prager University


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The reasons the IG report has been delayed will delight Trump supporters - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

The calm before the storm

The continuing delays in releasing the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on the FISA warrant have discouraged a lot of conservatives. But according to Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing, whose sources on the ongoing scandal have been excellent, the reasons behind the delay are entirely positive. Yesterday they appeared on Lou Dobbs’s show on Fox Business Network, and laid it out. The video is embedded below, but AT contributor Mark Wauck laid out the substance and transcribed key portions in his blog, Meaning in History:

Dobbs starts it off by asking if we'll ever see the OIG FISA report, and there's a bit of kidding about dueling anonymous sources. The WaPo source says "by Thanksgiving," but another source says that's "not likely." Then they get into the substance. Two major takeaways:
1) The delay on the OIG FISA report is "partially" due to John Durham's new Grand Jury activity--which can only mean that Durham is already taking testimony from persons named in IG Horowitz's report, and
2) Durham is actively investigating the leak of the Flynn/Kislyak phone call to David Ignatius of the WaPo, which diGenova describes as "a 20 year felony." Ouch! Maybe that person--or persons--will want to go for a deal? But they'll have to have something truly major to offer. Something that Durham can't get without their cooperation. And count on it

So, the transcript in relevant part--which means, virtually all of it:
Victoria Toensing: I can tell you this, and we have darn good sources for this, it [the OIG FISA report] is going to be very bad for the people in the Obama administration. My source said to me, "It's going to be worse than you can imagine."
Joe diGenova: I would say explosive and I would say, for people at the highest levels of the FBI and at the highest levels of the Justice Department--more important at the Justice Department--it’s going to be devastating. It’s going to ruin careers, it’s going to make people have bar problems ...
Victoria Toensing: Bill Barr problems! [laughs]
Joe diGenova: No, no, bar association problems. What’s clear, now we know is that the senior levels of the Obama Justice Department were complicit in knowingly submitting materially false applications to the FISA Court for an illegitimate counterintelligence purpose. Not for a legitimate purpose, but to spy on Americans for political purposes. And it really will end up being the beginning of the greatest political scandal in history. And it [the OIG FISA report] is being held up partially because of John Durham’s new Grand Jury, which by the way exists for one reason and one reason only – because people are going to be indicted.
Lou Dobbs: Now, he [Durham] is in charge of both FISA abuse and the origins of Spygate, whatever you want to call it--the worst political scandal in this country's history. Is anything being held up because of simply the vast scope of his investigation?
Victoria Toensing: It's been expanded, Lou. He's now going into whole other areas. He's going back into the origins of the investigation. For those of us who know this business, if you're in counterintelligence and you get word that George Papadopoulos has said he's heard something, that the Russians have something, you know what you do? You go knock on his door within a week and ask him about it, and have him give you the information, where did he get it ... They didn't do that. They didn't do that at all. They disobeyed all the rules of a counterintelligence investigation.

Toensing is absolutely right about that.
Joe diGenova: And it's expanded because, originally, Barr wanted Durham to just look at the beginnings of Crossfire Hurricane. How did it start, how did it happen? But then what they discovered, they found out from the Devin Nunes experience at the White House, in March of 2017, that there had been massive, massive, unmaskings of Americans for political purposes and that the information was given and leaked to the press. And, by the way, the Michael Flynn - Ambassador Kislyak call, the Russian Ambassador, which was leaked to David Ignatius of the WaPo, is in fact the subject of one of the criminal investigations because that leak is a 20 year felony.

And count on it, if Durham is looking at the leak, he's looking at everything to do with the Flynn case. And that means not just Comey and his gang of jokers, but Team Mueller, too.
Victoria Toensing: And I've got another idea for Durham. That is, he oughta bring in Mark Zaid before the Grand Jury and ask him how he knew CNN was gonna be a part of it. Was he talking to James Clapper? Did he know that Clapper was gonna leak the dossier?
Here is the video clip:

Graphic credit: YouTube screen grab

Thomas Lifson


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Saudi Slavery - Hugh Fitzgerald

by Hugh Fitzgerald

An Islamically-sanctioned barbarity continues.

As is well known, slavery was formally abolished in Saudi Arabia as late as 1962, and then only after terrific pressure had been applied to the Saudis by Western governments. And today, when we speak of slavery in the Muslim world, we think of Mauritania (with 600,000 slaves), as the report in the past hour discussed, Niger (600,000 slaves), Mali (200,000 slaves), and Libya (where slave markets have opened in nine sites during the last two years). Most of us assume that in Saudi Arabia, slavery is no longer tolerated.

But most of us are wrong.

Slavery may have been formally abolished, but the cruel and savage treatment of foreign domestic workers, their inability to free themselves from arduous work conditions because their employers keep their passports and other documents, amount to slavery in all but name.

A report on one group of domestic slaves — Vietnamese women — by reporter Yen Duong, who interviewed former workers who had made it back to Vietnam, was published last year in Al Jazeera here:
Overworked, abused, hungry: Vietnamese domestic workers in Saudi Arabia.
Women say they are forced to work at least 18 hours a day, denied food, assaulted and refused the right to return home.
Pham Thi Dao, 46, says she worked more than 18 hours a day and was given the same one meal to live on – a slice of lamb and plain rice.
Dao, 46, was a domestic worker in Saudi Arabia for more than seven months until she returned to Vietnam in April.
“I worked from 5am until 1am in the morning, and was allowed to eat once at 1pm,” Dao told Al Jazeera of her experience in the port city of Yanbu. “It was the same every day – a slice of lamb and a plate of plain rice. After nearly two months, I was like a mad person.”
According to statistics from Vietnam’s labor ministry, there are currently 20,000 Vietnamese workers in the kingdom, with nearly 7,000 working as domestic staff for Saudi families…
The same harsh conditions which Vietnamese have endured have also been reported by the Filipino, Indonesian, and Sri Lankan workers, in Saudi Arabia. And they have also been endured by domestic workers in the  the Emirates and Kuwait. In addition to the harsh working conditions, there is the persistent threat of sexual assault by their Arab masters. Some domestic workers have been raped and murdered by their Arab employers. Yet it has been almost impossible to bring employers to justice for such crimes.

Some who escaped have recounted slave-like working and living conditions.
“I understand that as [domestic] workers we need to get used to difficult working conditions,” said Dao, who is vocal on social media about her experience. “We didn’t ask for much, just no starvation, no beatings, and three meals per day. If we had that, we would not have begged for rescue.”…
“As soon as I arrived at the airport in Riyadh, they (employees from a Saudi company providing domestic workers) pushed me into a room with more than a hundred of others,” she said. “When my employer picked me up later, he took my passport and employment contract. Most women I’ve talked to here experience the same thing.”
By seizing the workers’ passports, the Saudi employers have complete control over them. They cannot leave the country, nor move about inside Saudi Arabia, nor go to work for another employer. And if they don’t have their employment contract, which has been seized by their employer, they have no way of knowing if the onerous conditions they endure violate the contract’s provisions. They are captives of their employer in every sense.
Like Dao, she said she was given one meal a day and worked 18-hour shifts.
Another domestic worker, who requested anonymity, showed Al Jazeera her contract stipulating a nine-hour working day – a standard given the contracts are composed by Vietnam’s labour ministry.
Dao shows notes from the Arabic lesson she took before her trip. Vietnamese domestic workers are entitled to classes on language, skills and culture but the sessions are poorly executed, say the workers.
When Linh asked to be moved to another family – a workers’ right according to their contracts – staff at the Vietnamese broker company shouted at her and tried to intimidate her.
She went on a hunger strike for three days until her employer agreed to take her back to the Saudi company…
Leaving an employment contract carries a hefty fine, plus the price of a ticket back to Vietnam, if the worker is unable to prove abuse at the hands of their employers.
The cost of quitting is usually between $2,500 and $3,500.
If workers get, at best, $388 per month, that means that if they manage to persuade their employer to give them back their passports and to let them leave, they will still have to come up with between seven and nine months of salary that must be paid back. And that assumes that they will be paid the highest amount ($388/month) and will have all other expenses, during that period of seven-to-nine months, paid by their employer.
Tuyet told her partner in Vietnam by phone that she is being abused by the family she works for in Riyadh.
Bui Van Sang’s partner, Tuyet, works in Riyadh.
He said she is being beaten and starved.
The Vietnamese broker company asked him for $2,155 for her return, but refused to put anything in writing, he claimed.
Her phone has been taken away and Sang is only able to contact her every two to three weeks, “when her employer feels like [allowing her]”.
These domestic workers are totally at the mercy of their Arab employers. They cannot even contact anyone in the outside world unless the employer “feels like [allowing her].” They are, essentially, prisoners whose brutal living and working conditions are set by the employer, who answers to no one. That constitutes slavery, whether or not it is called by that name.
By the time he had raised the $2,155, the Vietnamese broker company demanded double the payment, he said.
He travelled 1,500km from his southern Vietnamese home province of Tay Ninh to the capital, Hanoi, to beg the broker, but was turned away….
The Vietnamese brokers are akin to slave traders. They round up the “slaves” (domestic workers), hold out the promise of decent work and pay which, once those they traffic in arrive in Saudi Arabia, is simply ignored. The slaves have been delivered, the brokers paid by the  Saudi employers, and the living conditions, of 18-hour days, with one meal a day, are now the norm. For beatings and sexual assaults, there is no recourse for these Vietnamese domestics. Meanwhile, Saudi employers hold onto those passports without which these workers cannot leave the country.
There are no independent organisations in either Saudi Arabia or Vietnam which ensure the safety of domestic workers.
In the past few years, reports of abuse have prompted Saudi authorities to suggest amendments to existing labor regulations, but rights groups say they fall short.
Whatever regulations are talked about, Saudi employers still do pretty much what they want in setting the conditions of work for domestic helpers.
Workers and their relatives have to rely entirely on the Vietnamese broker companies for support.
Linh, the domestic helper in Riyadh, said when she contacted the Vietnamese company that brought her there, they told her the employment contract is only valid in Vietnam, not in Saudi Arabia.
In other words, the Vietnamese brokers, having been paid by the Saudi employers, have washed their hands of the Vietnamese workers sent to Saudi Arabia. The employment contracts on which these domestic workers were relying are, they now admit, worthless in Saudi Arabia. These women have no guarantee of any rights; whatever their Saudi employer wishes to impose is what they must accept. Hence the 18-hour days, seven days a week, and the single meal each day. How is this not akin to slavery?
“They [the Vietnamese companies] are supposed to protect our rights, but all they do is yell at us,” Linh said by phone. “Now I just want to leave the country. If I go to the police, at least they’d bring me to the detention centre, and I’d be deported and allowed to leave.”
She recently livestreamed a video detailing the treatment that she and many fellow Vietnamese domestic helpers face while working in Saudi Arabia.
The video has been viewed 113,000 times.
“Many women I know here just want the same thing – they just want to leave,” she said. “But they are afraid, threatened, and don’t even dare to speak out.”
Their fear is palpable. If they complain of their working conditions, will they be beaten by their employers? Will they be given even more unpleasant or difficult tasks? Will the 18-hour day become a 20-hour day, as one Vietnamese man reported his wife had had to endure, that is with only four hours of sleep allowed? Will even the one slice of meat they are now given be reduced still further, or will they perhaps not be given meat at all? Will they no longer be allowed to call home even twice a month? Not all Saudi employers are simon-legrees, but a great many appear to be. The point is that domestic workers ought to have rights enshrined in the Saudi law, but they do not. And the conditions which they endure are scarcely distinguishable from slavery.

The Saudis are not alone in such mistreatment of their domestic workers. The Kuwaitis and the Emiratis have been difficult masters, too, but the conditions of domestic workers appear to be especially harsh in Saudi Arabia. The mentality that lies behind this mistreatment rests on two things. First, there is the deep belief that slavery is legitimate, given that Muhammad himself owned slaves, and does not become illegitimate in Islamic societies just because Western pressure has led to its formal prohibition. The slave-owner mentality remains. Second, these domestic workers — Vietnamese, Filipino, Thai, Indonesian, Sri Lankan — are almost all non-Muslims, and the treatment they receive is commensurate with their description in the Qur’an, as  being “the most vile of creatures.” It would be interesting to compare the working conditions of the non-Muslim domestic workers in Saudi Arabia with those who, from Indonesia, are themselves Muslim. But that’s a subject for another occasion.

Hugh Fitzgerald


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Middle East: The Anti-Iran Revolution is Well Underway - Con Coughlin

by Con Coughlin

Local protesters are now making plain that their dislike for Iranian meddling in their affairs could soon spell the end for Tehran's ambition to become the region's dominant power.

  • The nationwide protests taking place in both Arab states [Lebanon and Iraq] are also driven by a burning desire to end Iran's blatant attempts to turn them into de facto fiefdoms of Tehran.
  • The protests, moreover, could not have come at a worse time for Iran, where the economy is in freefall as a result of the wide-ranging sanctions that have been introduced by Washington.
  • Local protesters are now making plain that their dislike for Iranian meddling in their affairs could soon spell the end for Tehran's ambition to become the region's dominant power.

The nationwide protests taking place in Lebanon and Iraq are driven by endemic government corruption and a burning desire to end Iran's blatant attempts to turn them into de facto fiefdoms of Tehran. Pictured: Anti-government demonstrators in Beirut, Lebanon, on November 3, 2019. (Photo by Sam Tarling/Getty Images)

Iran's attempts to expand its malign influence throughout the Middle East have suffered a severe setback as a result of the unprecedented anti-government protests that have erupted in Lebanon and Iraq in recent weeks.

The most obvious source of discontent in these two key Arab states has been the endemic corruption that has taken hold in both Beirut and Baghdad; in both countries, it has been the prime motivation in persuading tens of thousands of demonstrators to take to the streets.

The desire to end corrupt practices and force the governments in Beirut and Baghdad to undertake a radical overhaul of their respective countries' governments is, though, only part of the story.

The nationwide protests taking place in both Arab states are also driven by a burning desire to end Iran's blatant attempts to turn them into de facto fiefdoms of Tehran.

Iran's attempts to seize control of the political agenda in Lebanon dates back to the early 1980s, when Iran established its Hezbollah militia in the southern part of the country to launch a series of terrorist attacks against Israeli forces operating in the area. Since then, Hezbollah -- with Iran's backing -- has gradually extended its influence in the country to the point where Hezbollah is now widely recognised as Lebanon's most influential political organisation.

Iranian interference in Iraq's affairs, by contrast, is of more recent provenance, and can be traced back to the sectarian violence that erupted throughout the country following the overthrow of the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003. More recently, Iran has been able to expand its influence in Baghdad by taking advantage of the recent campaign to defeat ISIS, where Iranian-backed Shia militias -- the so-called Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) -- fought against the predominantly Sunni militants who supported ISIS.

After defeating ISIS, the PMF militias have remained active in Iraq, thereby enabling Tehran to expand its influence in Baghdad.

Now, thanks to the determination and bravery of anti-government protesters, Iran's designs of regional domination in the Middle East are rapidly unravelling.

The most obvious sign that Iran is coming under intense pressure to protect its Middle East assets has been the appearance in Baghdad of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). As the man who is personally responsible for exporting Iran's Islamic revolution throughout the Arab world, Mr Soleimani travelled to Iraq in a desperate bid to prevent the country's pro-Iran prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, from resigning.

Since anti-government protesters took to the streets last month, Mr Soleimani has been a frequent visitor to Baghdad. The day after the protests began, Mr Soleimani is reported to have chaired a meeting with top Iraqi security officials in Baghdad, a role that is normally fulfilled by the country's prime minister. The following day, more than 100 people were killed at the hands of unidentified snipers and members of Iran-backed militias such as the PMF.

Unfortunately for Iran, its strong-arm tactics have made little impression on the protesters, despite the fact that the death toll from the protests in Iraq now stands at around 250. Last Friday saw the biggest protests in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein, with thousands gathering in central Baghdad. Elsewhere, protesters attacked the Iranian consulate in the Shi'ite holy city of Karbala, where they scaled the concrete barriers surrounding the building before removing the Iranian flag and replacing it with an Iraqi one.

There have also been attacks on PMF militia bases in Nasiriyah and Diwaniyah, where 12 demonstrators were killed when the headquarters of the Iranian-backed Badr Organisation was set alight.

In Lebanon, meanwhile, there have been reports of Hezbollah fighters attacking peaceful protesters as Iran tries desperately to prevent its most important proxy in the Middle East from falling out of its orbit.

The protests, moreover, could not have come at a worse time for Iran, where the economy is in freefall as a result of the wide-ranging sanctions that have been introduced by Washington.

The sanctions mean that the ayatollahs have already had to cut back on their funding of proxy militias around the Arab world. Local protesters are now making plain that their dislike for Iranian meddling in their affairs could soon spell the end for Tehran's ambition to become the region's dominant power.

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


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Testimony of House Democrats’ Star Witness Pokes Holes in Their Narrative - Joseph Klein

by Joseph Klein

Amb. Taylor confirms key portions of President Trump’s defense.

House Democrats are now rolling out the transcripts of various witnesses they had interrogated in the House Intelligence Committee’s secret subterranean chamber. They intend to conduct televised public hearings with these witnesses, starting next week. William B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine, will be front and center as a leading witness for the House Democrats’ impeachment proceedings. The transcript of his deposition was released on Wednesday. Mr. Taylor offered his understanding of what other people told him about their negative interpretations of President Trump’s alleged intent to improperly leverage the release of U.S. military aid and a White House meeting to bully the Ukrainian leader President Zelensky into opening investigations for President Trump’s political benefit. These had to do with alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 presidential election and the involvement of the Bidens with a Ukrainian energy company.  However, Mr. Taylor had no first hand knowledge to substantiate his sources’ negative interpretations and admitted in his testimony that “Ambassador Sondland told me many times that President Trump said it was not a quid pro quo.” (p. 152).

If the House Democrats are relying on Mr. Taylor to advance their narrative, they are in real trouble. An exchange on p. 120 of the transcript between Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe and Mr. Taylor blows a big hole in the Democrats’ narrative. The Democrats have trumpeted President Trump’s July 25, 2019 call with Ukrainian President Zelensky as evidence that President Trump improperly leveraged the release of U.S. military aid and a White House meeting for political purposes.  But, as Ambassador Taylor admitted, the Ukrainians did not know that any aid was on hold at the time of the call.
MR. RATCLIFFE: I just want to be real clear that, again, as of July 25th, you have no knowledge of a quid pro quo involving military aid.
AMBASSADOR TAYLOR: July 25th is a week after the hold was put on the security assistance. And July 25th, they had a conversation between the two Presidents, where it was not discussed.
 MR. RATCLIFFE: And to your knowledge, nobody in the Ukrainian Government was aware of the hold?
AMBASSADOR TAYLOR: That is correct.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff tried to undo the damage that the answers to Rep. Radcliffe’s spot-on questioning inflicted on the narrative Rep. Schiff and his colleagues have been peddling. Schiff emphasized that Mr. Taylor was not a lawyer who would be expected to understand the legal technicalities of what constitutes “quid pro quo.” The Intelligence Committee chairman declared that whether the allegation against President Trump “meets a legal definition of ‘quid pro quo’ or it doesn't is reaIly irrelevant to what we're focused on here.” (p. 130) That’s odd since it was Mr. Taylor who had repeatedly alleged there was a “quid pro quo,” which he said he based on what other people had told him.

There were other exchanges during Mr. Taylor’s testimony that were seriously damaging to the Democrats’ narrative. Mr. Taylor was worried that the pressure being placed on the Ukrainians, which he learned about mostly second-hand, would interfere with his idea of what direction U.S. policy toward Ukraine should take. Nevertheless, Mr. Taylor acknowledged that President Zelensky did not give an interview to CNN or make some other public statement committing to conduct the investigations that President Trump wanted before the military aid was released to Ukraine. When he was asked to confirm that no announcement was ever made and the aid was still released, Mr. Taylor replied, “That' s correct.” (p. 185)

The draft statement that President Zelensky had reportedly been asked to issue but never did reads as follows:
"Special attention should be paid to the problem of interference in the political processes of the United States, especially with the alleged involvement of some Ukrainian politicians. I want to declare that this is unacceptable. We intend to initiate and complete a transparent and unbiased investigation of all available facts and episodes, including those involving Burisma and the 2016 elections, which in turn will prevent the recurrence of this problem in the future." (p.202)

If President Zelensky had issued that statement, which he did not, so what? It was a commitment to investigate Ukrainian corruption affecting a U.S. election and involving, in the case of Burisma, U.S. citizen Hunter Biden, who worked for the allegedly corrupt Ukrainian energy company being investigated by a Ukrainian prosecutor who lost his job as a result of pressure exerted by then Vice President Joe Biden. Are Joe and Hunter Biden above the law because Joe Biden is running for president? Apparently, the House Democrats think so.

Ambassador Taylor conceded that Vice President Pence’s message he delivered to Ukraine, that the Europeans should do more to support Ukraine and that the Ukrainians should do more to fight corruption, was entirely consistent with U.S. law and policy. (p. 183) These were the same two points that President Trump himself discussed in his call with President Zelensky.

It also turns out that the foreign policy and national security establishment’s obsession with the importance of providing military aid to Ukraine, which President Trump was supposedly undermining, may have been overdone. Mr. Taylor noted concerns that had been raised about Chinese investments in Ukraine. (p. 235) Tim Morrison, the National Security Council's former Russia and Europe director with whom Mr. Taylor spoke frequently, had expressed concern about “the Chinese attempts to buy a Ukrainian [redacted] manufacturer.” (p. 282) Others also had expressed concern “about the Chinese interest in buying up some of Ukrainian technology and a company called [redacted].”

We cannot be sure of the specific Ukrainian company whose name was redacted in Mr. Taylor’s testimony. However, the RFE/RL Ukrainian Service had reported that the Chinese were eyeing the purchase of Motor Sich, a Ukrainian defense manufacturer of engines for missiles, helicopters and jets that is said to be one of the largest of its kind in the world. “Ukrainian media reported on August 19 that two Chinese firms had reached an agreement with state-owned military concern Ukroboronprom to jointly purchase the engine maker,” according to RFE/RL.

The prospective sale of Motor Sich to Chinese interests raised hackles in Washington, leading then-national security adviser John Bolton to warn Ukrainian officials during his late-August visit to Ukraine of the Trump administration’s very serious concerns. RFE/RL quoted Bolton as saying in Kiev, "This is an issue that I think is significant for Ukraine, but [also] significant for the U.S., for Europe, for Japan, for Australia, Canada, other countries.” China, he added, is using its "trade surpluses to gain economic leverage in countries around the world, to profit from defense technologies that others have developed."

Not only would China be able to transfer Motor Sich’s technology to aid in its domestic production of engines for defense purposes. The acquisition of Motor Sich could help China advance its missile program. “The Chinese view Motor Sich primarily as an engine manufacturer for cruise missiles,” according to a Warsaw Institute report.

Again, whether Motor Sich was the company that Mr. Taylor had alluded to in his testimony remains to be seen. But there is substantial reason to question a key underlying assumption of the House Democratic narrative that Ukraine is a such a reliable friend of the United States, deserving of our unquestioned support to combat Russian aggression, that President Trump’s hesitancy in immediately releasing the military aid jeopardized vital U.S. national security interests. Combating Chinese military ambitions is certainly vital to U.S. national security.

Joseph Klein


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Entrance to Naharayim closed - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

As 25-year lease ends, Jordan closes enclave on Israel's side of the Jordan River to Israelis.

Kobi Richter/ TPS

Beginning on Sunday, Israeli tourists will no longer be able to freely enter Naharayim, the Jordanian enclave leased by Israel since the 1994 peace agreement between Jordan and Israel.

On Saturday at 4:00p.m., the gates to the enclave closed for the last time.

Naharayim, which has been under Israel's control for over 70 years, was technically under Jordanian sovereignty and it will be returned to Jordan on Sunday. In addition, Israelis will no longer be able to access the "Island of Peace" and work the land there.

Jordan Valley Regional Council Head Idan Greenbaum said: "This is not a happy day for anyone, it's a very sad and painful day, and I'm sorry we reached it."

"We have no complaints against the Jordanians, but against our own government. We are Israeli citizens, not Jordanian citizens. We expected the government to say something, that someone should come and tell the farmers here thank you after they stood here 70 years and worked the land, during times of war and times of peace, they protected the State's lands. No one came, it doesn't interest anyone, it's as if they don't even notice us."

Arutz Sheva Staff


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Do Not Support China's Huawei, Cripple It Instead - Gordon G. Chang

by Gordon G. Chang

Huawei is a dagger aimed at the heart of America

  • China, with control of 5G, will be in a position to remotely manipulate the world's devices. In peacetime, Beijing could have the ability to drive cars off cliffs, unlock front doors, and turn off pacemakers. In war, Beijing could paralyze critical infrastructure.
  • There is no mystery to how Beijing thinks it will grab control.... The Chinese will use Huawei Technologies.... Huawei is a dagger aimed at the heart of America, and as the unnamed adviser... suggests, the threat is a mortal one.
  • There are various strategies for meeting China's 5G challenge, but the most direct one is crippling Huawei. The Trump administration has taken steps to do so, but now that effort is on the verge of collapse.
  • The Commerce Department looks set to support that dangerous Chinese firm. US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross is thinking too small. The United States, instead of trying to make sales, should be stopping everyone from selling to Huawei.
  • The Trump administration should be forcing others — Japan, South Korea, Taiwan — to make a choice: sell to Huawei or sell to the world's largest market, America's.... If they should not be buying Huawei, then Americans should not be supplying that Chinese company either.
  • Let us put Huawei out of business, not support its efforts to harm us.

Huawei, built on stolen U.S. technology, is the world's leading telecom-equipment manufacturer and is fast becoming the world's 5G provider. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

"A prominent Republican who advises President Donald Trump called America's 5G strategy 'the biggest strategic disaster in U.S. history,'" wrote China-watcher David Goldman recently.

Many people will regard that as an exaggeration, but America's failure to have a 5G strategy will almost certainly prove to have historic consequences.

"5G" is shorthand for the fifth generation of wireless communication.

"In the very near future, dominating the wireless world will be tantamount to dominating the world," wrote Newt Gingrich in Newsweek in February. That is not an exaggeration.

Why not? With speeds 2,000 times faster than existing 4G networks, 5G will permit near-universal connectivity to homes, vehicles, machines, robots, and everything plugged into the Internet of Things (IoT).

Moreover, with just about everything connected to everything else China will filch the world's information. That is not a theoretical concern. For instance, nightly from 2012 to 2017, China surreptitiously downloaded data from the Chinese-built-and-donated headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa.

Chinese parties have already been criminally taking American information, intellectual property and data for decades, worth hundreds of billions of dollars a year. This continuing crime is essential to China's implementation of numerous industrial policies, especially the controversial "Made in China 2025" initiative, a decade-long program to achieve dominance in technology sectors, including 5G.

Theft is by no means the full extent of the harm. China, with control of 5G, will be in a position to remotely manipulate the world's devices. In peacetime, Beijing could have the ability to drive cars off cliffs, unlock front doors, and turn off pacemakers. In war, Beijing could paralyze critical infrastructure.

"China's game," Goldman wrote in an e-mail, "is to control the broadband, and then the e-commerce, and then the e-finance, and then all the tech startups servicing the 'ecosystem,' and then the logistics." As he told me this year, "The world will become a Chinese company store."

There is no mystery to how Beijing thinks it will grab control of the store. The Chinese will use Huawei Technologies.

Huawei, built on stolen U.S. technology, is the world's leading telecom-equipment manufacturer and is fast becoming the world's 5G provider. As Goldman writes, "Huawei has signed equipment agreements with every telecom provider on the Eurasian continent."

Beijing, since Huawei's founding in 1987, has been subsidizing sales of the company's equipment and otherwise promoting its wares. No prizes for guessing why. As Senator Marsha Blackburn told Fox News in July, Huawei is Beijing's "mechanism for spying." For instance, Beijing pilfered data from the African Union through Huawei servers located in the building the Chinese donated.

So, Huawei is a dagger aimed at the heart of America, and as the unnamed adviser quoted by Goldman suggests, the threat is a mortal one.

There are various strategies for meeting China's 5G challenge, but the most direct one is crippling Huawei. The Trump administration has taken steps to do so, but now that effort is on the verge of collapse.

In fact, the Commerce Department looks set to support that dangerous Chinese firm. On Sunday, in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Bangkok, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said his department will "very shortly" grant exemptions from its Entity List designation to allow sales to Huawei.

"We're in good shape, we're making good progress, and there's no natural reason why it couldn't be," Ross told the business channel.

In May, Ross's Commerce Department added the Chinese telecom-equipment provider to its Entity List, so that American businesses needed prior approval to sell or license to Huawei the products and technology covered by U.S. export regulations. Since then, Commerce has granted two 90-day waivers from these prohibitions. The second waiver will expire November 19.

Commerce, it appears, will not issue another across-the-board waiver but will instead grant exemptions to specific companies. Ross said he has received 260 waiver requests.

Granting waivers would be a grave mistake. "The United States," Brandon Weichert of The Weichert Report told me, "is letting China off the hook."

Ross and others argue that the individual exemptions are justified because Huawei can obtain items either from China itself — Huawei has developed its Kirin chipset, said to be comparable to Qualcomm products — or from other countries. He argues that U.S. companies might as well be the ones making the sales. At issue are semiconductors from principally Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.

Ross is thinking too small. The United States, instead of trying to make sales, should be stopping everyone from selling to Huawei.

America has the power to cut off all sales. Japan and South Korea are formal military allies of the United States, and Taiwan, although no longer a treaty partner, is even more dependent on Washington for its security. Because Huawei poses a critical threat to everyone, it is not clear why Washington should not pull out all the stops to get Japanese, South Korean, and Taiwanese suppliers to cut off the Chinese company.

Taipei says Washington has not asked Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the giant chip supplier, to end sales to Huawei. The issue, therefore, is why has the United States not even made a request.

Up to now, the Trump administration has been trying to persuade, sometimes nudging friends and partners. American officials have, for instance, said they might reduce intelligence sharing with countries maintaining Huawei gear in their 5G networks.

That is too mild. Given the importance of the issue, the Trump administration should be forcing others — Japan, South Korea, Taiwan — to make a choice: sell to Huawei or sell to the world's largest market, America's. Last year, America's merchandise trade deficit with Japan was $67.2 billion. The comparable figures were $17.8 billion for South Korea, and $15.2 billion for Taiwan.

U.S. officials have been telling other countries not to buy Huawei 5G gear, but if they should not be buying Huawei, then Americans should not be supplying that Chinese company either.

Let's put Huawei out of business, not support its efforts to harm us.

  • Follow Gordon G. Chang on Twitter

Gordon G. Chang is the author of The Coming Collapse of China and a Gatestone Institute Distinguished Senior Fellow.


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Schiff Goes Full Stalin - Daniel John Sobieski

by Daniel John Sobieski

Now it seems that impeachment doesn't require real crimes defined by statute. You can invent them.

As Rep. Adam Schiff’s “sentence first, trial later” show trial of President Donald J. Trump reaches a so-called public hearing phase, we find the weaver of fables dictating what witnesses the GOP will be permitted to call based on a set of three qualifying question they must answer in advance. These questions ask, essentially, if the witnesses believe President Trump is guilty of pressuring Ukraine to dig up dirt on the Bidens in exchange for military aid. The GOP, it seems, will not be allowed to call witnesses who have testimony or evidence to the contrary, that there was no pressure and no quid pro quo. Nor will the GOP be allowed to present witnesses or evidence that confirms that the “dirt” is accurate, that the crime of threatening to withhold aid for a personal and political favor, a crime Biden has already confessed to, was committed by Biden, not Trump, on behalf of Biden’s son Hunter. Nor will the GOP be allowed to make the case that any Trump inquiry of the Ukrainians was mandated by a treaty signed by President Bill Clinton. This is, dare I use the term Democrats used during the impeachment of Bill Clinton for a real crime, a phrase used by Joe Biden himself, a political lynching. As reported by the New York Post:
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff on Thursday released a tightened set of guidelines over what potential witnesses can be called in the impeachment hearings, saying Republicans must justify their relevance according to a three-point criteria…
The narrowed-scope of the questions, first obtained by Politico, are:
• Did the president request that a foreign leader and government initiate investigations to benefit the president’s personal political interests in the United States, including an investigation related to the president’s political rival and potential opponent in the 2020 US presidential election?
• Did the president -- directly or through agents -- seek to use the power of the Office of the President and other instruments of the federal government in other ways to apply pressure on the head of state and government of Ukraine to advance the president’s personal political interests, including by leveraging an Oval Office meeting desired by the president of Ukraine or by withholding US military assistance to Ukraine?
• Did the president and his administration seek to obstruct, suppress or cover up information to conceal from the Congress and the American people evidence about the president’s actions and conduct?
Republicans must justify the relevance of their witnesses in an impeachment hearing triggered by a so-called whistleblower with no firsthand knowledge of the phone call. The whistleblower’s relevance was never justified. This is a whistleblower coached by Adam Schiff and who colluded with Schiff, a deep-state CIA agent whom we are told might wet his pants out of fear if his identity was publicly acknowledged. The statute says a whistleblower’s job, if they are a genuine whistleblower, must be protected but there’s no requirement for anonymity. Ironically, in a major goof-up, Schiff forget to redact the name of the whistleblower -- Eric Ciaramella -- as noted by Gateway Pundit -- in a posted PDF of the transcript of Amb. Bill Taylor’s testimony. Duh. 

Does Schiff intend to allow testimony concerning the fact that when President Trump inquired of Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky about Ukraine’s investigations into the Bidens, Burisma, and possible corruption he was actually required to do so by treaty:

Yes, there is an actual treaty between the U.S. and Ukraine which obligates the leaders of both countries to cooperate fully and together on investigations of corruption, particularly criminal matters and corruption that involves both the United States and the Ukraine. The phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelenskiy, and it’s[sic] content, were not only legal, but the discussion and requests are actually mandated.
So now it is grounds for impeachment by Congress to enforce a treaty ratified by Congress? The signpost up ahead says we have entered the Schiff Zone, a parallel universe where you are guilty until judge, jury, and executioner Schiff says you are innocent. As BPR Business and Politics notes:

A 1999 treaty with Ukraine, signed by Bill Clinton, provides a rock-solid basis for President Trump’s request for Ukrainian President Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden for alleged corruption.
The Bidens are in up to their armpits with regard to a potential renewed Burisma Holdings natural gas probe… an overdue investigation that was in fact initially stopped by VP Biden while he was in office… a fact that he subsequently bragged about.
So, there is a firm legal underpinning to the request, the commander-in-chief to a country, an ally who we have a treaty with about criminal procedure to say, ‘Hey, can you look into some potential corruption allegations involving a U.S. Citizen?'” he added.
It is not obstruction of Congress, justice, or anything else for a President to exercise his legal and constitutional authority. The facts and the lack of an actual crime will not stop Schiff, just as it did not stop former Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Schiff, like Mueller, is following in the proud tradition of Stalin’s chief of the secret police, Lavrentiy Beria. Just show him the man, and he will show you the crime.

We may be thankful to Alan Dershowitz for reminding us of the delicious irony of Schiff and his investigations and so-called impeachment inquiries, one which began with a whistleblower who is not a whistleblower and another which started with fake “reports” of collusion with the Russians by Team Trump and charges of Russian hacking of our elections, now reverting to the tactics of Russia’s most murderous tyrant, Josef Stalin. As Dershowitz writes in the Washington Examiner:

Federal prosecutors generally begin by identifying specific crimes that may have been committed -- in this case, violation of federal statutes. But no one has yet identified the specific statute or statutes that constrain Mueller's investigation of the Russian matter. It is not a violation of any federal law for a campaign to have collaborated with a foreign government to help elect their candidate…
From McCarthyism to the failed prosecutions of Sen. Ted Stevens, Rep. Thomas DeLay, Gov. Rick Perry and others, we have seen vague criminal statutes stretched in an effort to criminalize political differences.
Now it seems you don’t even need real crimes defined by statute. You can invent them, as Dershowitz charged Democrats with doing in an appearance with former U.S. Atty Guy Lewis on the November 7 edition of “The Ingraham Angle” on Fox News.

One of the proposed Schiff articles of impeachment is something called “Obstruction of Congress.” As Dershowitz asks, just where is the statute defining this? Congress and the President are co-equal branches of government. If a Trump administration official refuses to comply with a subpoena based on executive privilege of other grounds, you take them to court. You don’t impeach the President and charge him with an invented crime.

Somewhere Josef Stalin and Lavrentiy Beria are smiling.

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


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Is Pelosi finally sick of the terrible damage Schiff is doing to her party? - Patricia McCarthy

by Patricia McCarthy

There is a fascinating tidbit that suggests a cooperating witness may be helping build the case against the coup plotters

This week, Rep. Jim Jordan was officially moved to the House Intelligence Committee, from Oversight, in order to be part of the coming public interrogations of witnesses summoned by committee Chairman Adam Schiff.

Jordan is a pit bull, exactly what the committee needs among its Republicans. It was in Pelosi's purview to refuse Jordan's appointment, and she did not.

Hmmm. Is it possible that even she is sick and tired of Schiff's mendacity, his secrecy, his shutout of Republican questions, his witness tampering? He even advised "witnesses" not to answer questions from Republicans. 

Most of these people being called to testify are not witnesses to anything relevant; they are just vague anti-Trumpers willing to prostitute themselves in one way or another before Schiff's cloak-and-dagger, repressive little show trial that, as many have commented, is reminiscent of the tactics of the former Soviet Union.

His campaign to impeach the president, in this shoddy manner, denying Trump any due process, is so transparently unconstitutional that it boggles the mind. Whom does he think he is fooling? The question is, why? Why are the rest of the Democrats not standing up and shouting: "Emperor Schiff has no clothes"? Why on Earth are they allowing this dishonorable, deceitful man to drag them all into the gutter of vicious anti-American politics? His tactics are sullying them all.

Most likely, it is all part of the cover-up. We know now that the entirety of the Mueller "investigation" was not an investigation at all, but a massive undertaking to conceal the zealous plan by a group of Hillary Clinton and Obama administration insiders to destroy Donald Trump.

Their complex scheme began even before Trump became the candidate of his party and has extended into his presidency and is ongoing. This is what Schiff's pathetic impeachment inquiry is all about: a shameless attempt to smear President Trump before any of the damning truth is revealed by Inspector General Michael Horowitz, Attorney General Bill Barr, and U.S. attorney John Durham. As the facts seep out, it is now known that the so-called whistleblower, the arrogant little pajama boy Eric Ciaramella, is no whistleblower at all, but an anti-Trump activist from day one. He was right there at the beginning, cozy with Joe Biden, John Brennan, Susan Rice, Victoria Nuland, et al., all the people from the Clinton/Obama syndicate who dedicated themselves to seeing Trump impeached once he was elected. Add to that list Schiff's fake witnesses like Alexander Vindman, a Ukrainian by birth whose allegiance was to Ukraine, not America. This is all the stuff of third-world totalitarian failed states. This is the deeply corrupt Deep State. These are people who believe that only they, not the voters, are qualified to run the country and conduct foreign policy. They have nothing but contempt for the American people who elected Donald Trump. What they fail to acknowledge is our well deserved contempt for them. 

By now, everyone knows that Ciaramella's lawyer, Mark Zaid, began tweeting about staging a coup against Trump as early as a few days after he was inaugurated. Like the FBI lovebirds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, he and his partners in crime were extravagantly confident in their own power to take out a U.S. president. This is how corrupted the American Deep State has become. Trump's huge mistake was in not dispensing with every single Obama employee at State, DOJ, FBI, CIA, and NSC the day he took office. He made the mistake in thinking they were honest brokers in service to the country, but he was wrong. They, like former U.S. ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, were all about continuing their nefarious practices, and to do that, they had to be rid of Trump. CrowdStrike, the cyber-security company that is involved in all this over and over again, is a an American company founded by a Ukrainian, Dmitri Alperovitch, who is extremely anti-Russia and who delights in implicating Russia in the DNC hacking event that probably did not happen.

Ukraine, as Mark Wauck suggests in his column on Impeachment Theater, may be the starting point of the Russia hoax, which would explain Ciaramella's role in it at the outset. He was a CIA Ukraine analyst dispatched to the National Security Council; higher-ups in Ukraine are likely culpable in early anti-Trump, pro-Hillary election interference. Ukraine has admitted as much. Chances are that Barr and Durham will soon be spilling all the beans and that the crimes and the identities of all those involved in the attempted coup will be revealed, and many will be indicted. Let us hope Trump was correct when he said: "I caught the swamp."

Perhaps Pelosi already knows what is coming and may just want the counterblast to fall on Schiff. But she cannot escape her role in the most consequential political scandal in U.S. history. She, and the rest of the impeach crowd, would have been wise to remember Robert Kennedy's observation that "what is objectionable, what is dangerous, about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause but what they say about their opponents." 

Patricia McCarthy


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