Saturday, April 4, 2020

China caught lying again? - Mario Alexis Portella

by Mario Alexis Portella

So long as China continues to get just a slap on the wrist, if that, it will not be the last time.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that a large group of prominent American foreign policy experts, including former high-ranking White House officials from both parties, is petitioning the Trump administration to work more closely with China to stem the coronavirus epidemic. Among the signees were Susan Rice and Stephen Hadley, national security advisers under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, respectively.

Friday's statement read: "No effort against the coronavirus — whether to save American lives at home or combat the disease abroad — will be successful without some degree of cooperation between the United States and China." While on the surface level, this is true, not only do these so-called experts seem to have forgotten that the U.S. aided the Chinese in containing the spread of the coronavirus, but they are refusing to admit that China has lied about the spread of the virus and apparently continues to cover up its animalistic actions.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), determined to recast the country as a global leader that has conquered the COVD-19 pandemic, has been claiming that the nation's death rates are decreasing in the city of Wuhan. The problem, residents say, is that the numbers do not add up.

The New York Post reported last week that massive deliveries of urns in Wuhan have raised fresh skepticism of China's coronavirus reporting. As families in Wuhan began picking up the cremated ashes of those who have died from the virus this week, photos began circulating on social media, with local media outlets showing vast numbers of urns at Wuhan funeral homes. China has thus far reported 3,326 coronavirus-related deaths, with most taking place in Wuhan, the epicenter of the global pandemic. But one funeral home received two shipments of 5,000 urns over the course of two days. 

Another "funeral hall" in Wuchang (another Wuhan neighborhood) had announced that from March 23, it would distribute 500 per day, up to Qingming. This means around 6,500 urns throughout this period. Wuhan has seven funeral parlors. If it is calculated that each of them will distribute urns at the same rate as the one in Wuchang, it adds up to an estimated 45,500 urns for the city of Wuhan alone.

Despite China's exclusion of people without symptoms from its official count of confirmed coronavirus cases, which continues to raise eyebrows over whether its outbreak has truly come under control, local authorities in Wuhan — the city where the virus first emerged — defended their practice of not counting such cases after local magazine Caixin reported that the city was still finding asymptomatic cases daily.

According to China's data, and also the Johns Hopkins interactive global spread tracker, China currently has 82,490 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Some British scientists, however, said the Chinese communist government is downplaying numbers of those infected and that the outbreak in their country is likely "15 to 40 times" higher than the released statistics.

We know how the CCP lied over its claim in December 2019 that the coronavirus was under control, simultaneously silencing doctors such as the late Li Wenliang — the whistleblower who tried to raise the alarm about the coronavirus outbreak. Apparently, General Secretary Xi Jinping is continuing to suppress and have whistleblowers eliminated.

According to 60 Minutes, Australia, Chinese whistleblowing Wuhan doctor Ai Fen, who claimed that Beijing had prevented her from warning the world about COVID-19, has mysteriously disappeared. Wuhan hospital officials punished Fen after she posted test results of a patient who was suffering from a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)–like coronavirus on WeChat before COVID-19 was declared. That image went viral in China.

She began speaking out against the CCP, beginning with an interview that Chinese censors relentlessly suppressed. Ai's interview in early March was a courageous indictment of Communist Party leadership for concealing the epidemic, and especially for denying that the Wuhan virus could be transmitted between humans — the World Health Organization had initially assented to the CCP conclusion, despite the suspicions of other outside health experts. She said physicians in Wuhan knew the virus could pass between humans weeks before the CCP admitted it to the world, and she blamed herself for failing to speak out despite orders to keep quiet.

This is not the first time that the Chinese government has come under criticism for withholding coronavirus information from the international community. Not to be pessimistic, but so long as China continues to get just a slap on the wrist, if that, it will not be the last. On April 1, Bloomberg reported that U.S. intelligence found evidence that China underreported the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths. The report followed months of reports from anti-communist and human rights publications like the Epoch Times and Radio Free Asia.

Perhaps it would serve Susan Rice and Stephen Hadley, in addition to their associates who come off as if China is now transparent and insist that the Trump administration should cooperate with the Xi regime, to heed the recent words of Cardinal Charles Bo, archbishop of Yangon (Burma), who stated: "Through its inhumane and irresponsible handling of the coronavirus, the CCP has proven what many previously thought: that it is a threat to the world. China as a country is a great and ancient civilization that has contributed so much to the world throughout history, but this regime is responsible, through its criminal negligence and repression, for the pandemic sweeping through our streets today."

Mario Alexis Portella


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Coronavirus: China Floods Europe With Defective Medical Equipment - Soeren Kern

by Soeren Kern

What are the Chinese up to?

Translations of this item:

  • In Spain, the Ministry of Health revealed that 640,000 coronavirus tests that it had purchased from a Chinese supplier were defective. In addition, a further million coronavirus tests delivered to Spain on March 30 by another Chinese manufacturer were also defective.
  • The Czech news site iRozhlas reported that 300,000 coronavirus test kits delivered by China had an error rate of 80%. The Czech Ministry of Interior had paid $2.1 million for the kits.
  • A spokesperson for a hospital in Dutch city of Eindhoven said that Chinese suppliers were selling "a lot of junk... at high prices."
  • "No. 10 [the residence of the British prime minister] believes China is seeking to build its economic power during the pandemic with 'predatory offers of help' to countries around the world." — The Daily Mail, March 28, 2020.
  • "The brutal truth is that China seems to flout the normal rules of behavior in every area of life — from healthcare to trade and from currency manipulation to internal repression. For too long, nations have lamely kowtowed to China in the desperate hope of winning trade deals. But once we get clear of this terrible pandemic, it is imperative that we all rethink that relationship and put it on a much more balanced and honest basis." — Former UK Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith.

A growing number of European countries are reporting that millions of pieces of medical equipment donated by, or purchased from, China to defeat the coronavirus pandemic are defective and unusable. Pictures: Workers sort out personal protective equipment received from China at a warehouse in Valencia, Spain, on March 25, 2020. (Photo by Juan Carlos Cardenas/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

As the coronavirus rages across Europe, a growing number of countries are reporting that millions of pieces of medical equipment donated by, or purchased from, China to defeat the pandemic are defective and unusable.

The revelations are fueling distrust of a public relations effort by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Communist Party to portray China as the world's new humanitarian superpower.

On March 28, the Netherlands was forced to recall 1.3 million face masks produced in China because they did not meet the minimum safety standards for medical personnel. The so-called KN95 masks are a less expensive Chinese alternative to the American-standard N95 mask, which currently is in short supply around the world. The KN95 does not fit on the face as tightly as the N95, thus potentially exposing medical personnel to the coronavirus.

More than 500,000 of the KN95 masks had already been distributed to Dutch hospitals before the recall was enacted. "When the masks were delivered to our hospital, I immediately rejected them," a hospital worker told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS. "If those masks do not seal properly, the virus particles can simply pass through. We cannot use them. They are unsafe for our people."

In a written statement, the Dutch Ministry of Health explained:
"A first shipment from a Chinese manufacturer was partly delivered last Saturday. These are masks with a KN95 quality certificate. During an inspection this shipment was found not to meet our quality standard. Part of this shipment had already been delivered to healthcare providers; the rest of the cargo was immediately withheld and not further distributed.
"A second test also showed that the masks did not meet our quality standard. It has now been decided that this entire shipment will not be used. New shipments will undergo additional tests."
The Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad reported on March 17 that the Netherlands had only a few days' supply of masks: "All hope is now for that one cargo plane from China on Wednesday." The substandard quality of the masks delivered by China has left the Netherlands shattered. A spokesperson for a hospital in Dutch city of Eindhoven said that Chinese suppliers were selling "a lot of high prices."

In Spain, meanwhile, the Ministry of Health on March 26 revealed that 640,000 coronavirus tests that it had purchased from a Chinese vendor were defective. The tests, manufactured by Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology Company in Guangdong province, had an accurate detection rate of less than 30%.

On April 2, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported that it had been presented with leaked documents which showed that Bioeasy had lied to the Spanish government about the accuracy of the tests. Bioeasy had claimed, in writing, that its tests had an accurate detection rate of 92%.

Also on April 2, the Spanish government revealed that a further million coronavirus tests delivered to Spain on March 30 by another Chinese manufacturer were also defective. The tests apparently required between five and six days to detect whether a patient is infected with coronavirus and were therefore useless to diagnose the disease in a timely manner.

On March 25, the Spanish government announced that it had purchased medical supplies from China in the amount of €432 million ($470 million), and that Chinese vendors demanded that they be paid up front before the deliveries were made. Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa explained:
"We have bought and paid for 550 million masks, which will start arriving now and will continue to arrive for the next eight weeks. 11 million gloves will arrive in the next five weeks. As for rapid tests, we have acquired 5.5 million for the months of March and April. In addition, we will receive 950 respirators during the months of April to June. We are managing the purchase of more equipment."
It is not at all clear how the Spanish government will be able to guarantee the quality of these new mass purchases, or how it would obtain compensation if the products from China were again substandard.

On March 28, the French government, which apparently has only a few weeks' worth of supplies, announced that it had ordered more than one billion face masks from China. It is unclear whether the quality control problems experienced by other European countries would affect France's purchasing plans.

Other countries — in Europe and beyond — have also criticized the quality of Chinese medical supplies:
  • Slovakia. On April 1, Prime Minister Igor Matovič said that more than a million coronavirus tests supplied by China for a cash payment of €15 million ($16 million) were inaccurate and unable to detect COVID-19. "We have a ton of tests and no use for them," he said. "They should just be thrown straight into the Danube." China accused Slovakian medical personnel of using the tests incorrectly.
  • Malaysia. On March 28, Malaysia received a consignment of medical equipment donated by China, consisting of test kits, medical face masks, surgical masks and other personal protective equipment. A senior official in the Ministry of Health, Noor Hisham Abdullah, said that the test kits would be evaluated for accuracy after previous test kits from China were found to be defective: "This is a different brand from the one we tested earlier. We will assess the new test kit which is FDA-approved. I was assured by the Chinese ambassador that this is more accurate than the other one we tested." Abdullah previously stated that the accuracy of the Chinese tests was "not very good."
  • Turkey. On March 27, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that Turkey had tried some Chinese-made coronavirus tests but authorities "weren't happy about them." Professor Ateş Kara, a member of the Turkish Health Ministry's coronavirus task force, added that the batch of testing kits were only 30 to 35% accurate: "We have tried them. They don't work. Spain has made a huge mistake by using them."
  • Czech Republic. On March 23, the Czech news site iRozhlas reported that 300,000 coronavirus test kits delivered by China had an error rate of 80%. The Czech Ministry of Interior had paid $2.1 million for the kits. On March 15, Czech media revealed that Chinese suppliers had swindled the Czech government after it paid upfront for the supply of five million face masks, which were supposed to have been delivered on March 16.
On March 30, China urged European countries not to "politicize" concerns about the quality of medical supplies from China. "Problems should be properly solved based on facts, not political interpretations," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

On April 1, the Chinese government reversed course and announced that it was increasing its oversight of exports of coronavirus test kits made in China. Chinese exporters of coronavirus tests must now obtain a certificate from the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) in order to be cleared by China's customs agency.

Meanwhile, the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei announced that it would stop donating masks to European countries as a result of allegedly derogatory comments by the EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell.

On March 24, Borrell had written in a blog post that China was engaging in a "politics of generosity" as well as a "global battle of narratives."

On March 26, a Huawei official told the Brussels-based news service Euractiv that due to Borrell's comments, the company would be ending its donation program because it did not want to become involved in a geopolitical power play between the U.S. and China.

On March 28, Huawei paid for sponsored content in the publication Politico Europe. Huawei's Chief Representative to the EU, Abraham Liu, wrote:
"Let me be clear — we have never sought to gain any publicity or favor in any country by what we are doing. We made a conscious decision not to publicize things. Our help is not conditional and not a part of any business or geopolitical strategy as some have suggested. We are a private company. We are trying to help people to the best of our abilities. That's all. There is no hidden agenda. We don't want anything in return."
On March 30, the BBC reported that Huawei was acting as if nothing had really changed since the coronavirus crisis began:
"That may be naive on the company's part. While nothing has really changed when it comes to the technical and security issues around Huawei's equipment, the political climate for the company has certainly worsened.
"A story in the Mail on Sunday at the weekend had Downing Street warning China 'faced a reckoning' over its handling of the coronavirus.
"And that is likely to embolden those MPs who have been telling the government no Chinese company should be allowed a role in the UK's vital infrastructure."
On March 29, the British newspaper Daily Mail reported that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his allies in parliament had "turned" on China because of the coronavirus crisis:
"Ministers and senior Downing Street officials said the Communist state now faces a 'reckoning' over its handling of the outbreak and risks becoming a 'pariah state.'
"They are furious over China's campaign of misinformation, attempts to exploit the pandemic for economic gain and atrocious animal rights abuses blamed by experts for the outbreak."
On January 28, Johnson had granted Huawei a role in Britain's 5G mobile network, frustrating efforts by the United States to exclude the company from the West's next-generation communications, which, it seems, can also be used for spying. The London-based Financial Times reported that U.S President Donald J. Trump vented "apoplectic fury" at Johnson in a tense phone call. Johnson is now facing pressure from his Cabinet as well as from Members of Parliament to reverse his decision.

After Chinese officials blamed the United States and Italy for starting the coronavirus pandemic, the Daily Mail quoted a British government source as saying:
"There is a disgusting disinformation campaign going on and it is unacceptable. They [the Chinese government] know they have got this badly wrong and rather than owning it they are spreading lies."
The newspaper continued:
"Mr. Johnson has been warned by scientific advisers that China's officially declared statistics on the number of cases of coronavirus could be 'downplayed by a factor of 15 to 40 times.' And No. 10 believes China is seeking to build its economic power during the pandemic with 'predatory offers of help' to countries around the world.
"A major review of British foreign policy has been shelved due to the Covid-19 outbreak and will not report until the impact of the virus can be assessed. A government source close to the review said: 'It is going to be back to the diplomatic drawing board after this. Rethink is an understatement.'
"Another source said: 'There has to be a reckoning when this is over.' Yet another added: 'The anger goes right to the top.'
"A senior Cabinet Minister said: 'We can't stand by and allow the Chinese state's desire for secrecy to ruin the world's economy and then come back like nothing has happened. We're allowing companies like Huawei not just into our economy, but to be a crucial part of our infrastructure."
In an article published by The Mail on Sunday on March 29, former Tory Party leader Iain Duncan Smith wrote:
"All issues can and will be discussed, except for one, it seems — our future relationship with China.
"The moment anyone mentions China, people shift uncomfortably in their seats and shake their heads. Yet I believe it is vital that we start to discuss how dependent we have become on this totalitarian state.
"For this is a country which ignores human rights in the pursuit of its ruthless internal and external strategic objectives. However, such facts seem to have been swept aside in our rush to do business with China.
"Remember how George Osborne [Chancellor of the Exchequer under Prime Minister David Cameron from 2010 to 2016] made our relationship with China a major plank of UK Government policy? So determined were Ministers to increase trade that they were prepared to do whatever was necessary.
"Indeed, I am told that privately this was referred to as Project Kow-Tow — a word defined by the Collins dictionary as 'to be servile or obsequious.'
"We were not alone. Countless national leaders over recent years have brushed aside China's appalling human rights behavior in the blind pursuit of trade deals with Beijing....
"Thanks to Project Kow-Tow, the UK's annual trade deficit with China is £22.1 billion ($27.4 billion). But we are not alone in being in hock to Beijing.
"For China has racked up a global trade surplus of £339 billion ($420 billion). Distressingly, the West has watched as many key areas of production have moved to China....
"The brutal truth is that China seems to flout the normal rules of behavior in every area of life — from healthcare to trade and from currency manipulation to internal repression.
"For too long, nations have lamely kowtowed to China in the desperate hope of winning trade deals.
"But once we get clear of this terrible pandemic, it is imperative that we all rethink that relationship and put it on a much more balanced and honest basis."

Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute.


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Watson Video: Social Distancing and Leftist Double Standards - Paul Joseph Watson

by Paul Joseph Watson

Welcome to 'social distancing' progressive style.

In this new video, Paul Watson discusses 'Social Distancing and Leftist Double Standards,' unveiling progressives' surreal and suicidal stance on 'social distancing'. Don't miss it!

Paul Joseph Watson


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How 'Triggerism' Replaced Factualism on Islam - Raymond Ibrahim

by Raymond Ibrahim

The one side that is wrong about virtually everything, the liberal left, has forgone argumentation because it cannot contend with facts.

Once upon a time, whenever two or more parties disagreed, the logical thing for them to do was resort to argumentation. It was not enough to say, "I'm right and you're wrong" (unless they were children). The winner of the debate was the one who could better substantiate his position — that is, the one whose position better accorded with reality.

Today, the one side that is wrong about virtually everything, the liberal left, has forgone argumentation, and even sophistry, precisely because it cannot contend with those armed with facts. It has, instead, relied on conditioning its adherents to react to so-called "trigger" words and concepts — never mind if those words and concepts accord with reality or not.

This was impressed upon me during the Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) and Linda Sarsour's, and their leftist dupes', failed attempts to cancel my recent talk at the U.S. Army War College. In their protests, they didn't quote me saying something and then, even in a few words, intimating how it was wrong; the ideas I conveyed were wrong per se. For example, the following is a lengthy excerpt from CAIR's last press release against me. Note how it doesn't bother — even with the usual two-bit sophistry — to prove how my positions are wrong. Just having them is the proof:
When Ibrahim was asked, "Is there any chance of an accommodation between Islam and Western societies or this is just wishful thinking?," he replied, "Can water and oil mix?"
He also stated: "[Islam] is entirely built on the purported teachings of a seventh century Arab — who for all accounts acted like a seventh century Arab, meaning tribal and uncivilized. Obviously, if this man was a false prophet — a liar — which is the default, non-Muslim position, then it should be unsurprising that the entire worldview his followers follow, which is tribal and uncivilized, is creating a constant clash with other civilizations."
Also: "[T]he hate for Christians and other non-Muslims, including secularists/atheists in the West, did not begin with ISIS, al-Qaeda, Ansar al-Sharia, Boko Haram, or Al Shabaab. It began with Muhammad and his companions, 1,400 years ago."
While I'm under no illusions that such quotes instantly "trigger" the typical leftist automaton, they also just so happen to be demonstrably true.

How is the assertion that Islamic and Western culture mix as well as water and oil open to debate? On the one hand, you have a civilization that believes in religious freedom and plurality, sex equality, and rational laws; on the other hand, you have a civilization that believes in sharia, persecutes apostates and non-Muslims in general, and treats women as chattel. One can give countless more examples; either way, the point stands — water and oil.

As for the idea that the persecution of Christians is not limited to "terrorists," but rather is normative in Islam, copious documentation validating this claim can be found in my 2013 book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians, or take a look at my monthly "Muslim Persecution of Christians" reports — nearly 100 now, stretching back to 2011 — where the persecutors, who more often than not are "regular" Muslims and Muslim governments (not a few of which are America's "friends and allies"), often justify their actions by citing their prophet, the Koran, etc.

As for my statement that "[Islam] is entirely built on the purported teachings of a seventh-century Arab — who for all accounts acted like a seventh-century Arab, meaning tribal and uncivilized," the only sort of person who can have problems with this is someone who doesn't believe that the words civilized and its converse, uncivilized, have any meaning (that is, a postmodern relativistic-thinking leftist). The fact is, and by any stretch of the imagination, seventh-century Arabia was without question uncivilized. Here is how philosopher Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406) — a Muslim from North Africa whose ancestry traces to Arabia — described the Arabs of his time (let alone those from Muhammad's more primitive era eight centuries earlier): they are "the most savage human beings that exist. Compared with sedentary people they are on a level with wild, untamable animals and dumb beasts of prey. Such people are the Arabs."

As for my trigger-point par excellence, that "if this man [Muhammad] was a false prophet — a liar — which is the default, non-Muslim position, then it should be unsurprising that the entire worldview his followers follow, which is tribal and uncivilized, is creating a constant clash with other civilizations," consider: if you reject Muhammad's claims that he was God's prophet — which all non-Muslims explicitly or implicitly do — then what was he? Either a liar or a lunatic (the trilemma argument regarding Christ popularized by C.S. Lewis is equally applicable to Muhammad). Accordingly, are you surprised that a man who was either a liar or a lunatic ended up creating a creed, based on the mores of his extremely uncivilized society, that is in conflict with the modern world — that is like water mixed with oil? (For a much more comprehensive and refined discussion of this argument, see this 2009 article of mine.)

CAIR is not alone in relying on "trigger" words and concepts without actual rebuttal. Back in June 2019, Chris Rodda of the Daily Kos gloated in his (prematurely titled) "Army War College Pulls Plug on Islamophobic Speaker" that I "proved CAIR's and the other protesters' point" by again reiterating that "history makes abundantly clear that Islamic terrorism and 'extremism' are intrinsic to Islam, and have been from its first contact with Western civilization in the seventh century[.]"

Once again, that's it. Not even a few words to show how history does not make "abundantly clear that Islamic terrorism and 'extremism' are intrinsic to Islam, and have been from its first contact with Western civilization in the seventh century." Just saying that is all the proof needed that I'm wrong (at least for the soft minds that take CAIR, Linda Sarsour, and the Daily Kos seriously).

The lesson is clear. The lying liberal left has gone from dissembling over its positions — the truth can be suppressed only for so long in a (currently) free society — to relying almost exclusively on emotionalism and trigger words, because that's all their bankrupt ideology has to stand on. 

Raymond Ibrahim, author of Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, Judith Friedman Rosen Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and distinguished senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute.


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Pakistan: Court overturns conviction in Daniel Pearl's murder - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

Pakistani court commutes death sentence of main person accused in 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter.

Daniel Pearl after his kidnapping by terrorists
Daniel Pearl after his kidnapping by terrorists                                                               Reuters
A Pakistani court on Thursday commuted the death sentence of the main person accused in the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and acquitted three other co-accused in the matter, Reuters repors.

All four had been convicted in connection with Pearl‘s kidnapping and murder, including British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was sentenced to death in 2002 for masterminding the murder. He has been in jail for 18 years awaiting the outcome of an appeal.

“No evidence has been brought on record by the prosecution to link any of the appellants to the murder of Pearl and as such all the appellants are acquitted of murder,” said a two-member bench of the Sindh High Court, in a ruling seen by Reuters.

The court also acquitted all four of charges of kidnapping the American for ransom too, and found Sheikh guilty only on the charge of abduction.

Sheik was sentenced to seven years on the abduction charge, but he is expected to be freed soon given time already served.

Pearl, 38, was investigating Islamist jihadists in Karachi after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States when he was kidnapped in January 2002. His case made headlines globally, after a video of his beheading emerged weeks after Pearl was abducted.

A senior Pakistani government law officer told Reuters via phone that the state would appeal against the Sindh High Court’s verdict.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office said the issue pertains to the Ministry of Interior “who will be looking at the judgment in detail.” The Ministry of Interior did not respond to a request for comment.

Acting US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Alice Wells, said, "We welcome Pakistan's decision to appeal the verdict. Those responsible for Daniel's heinous kidnapping and murder must face the full measure of justice."

Meanwhile, Arthur Stark, Chairman, William Daroff, CEO, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said they were appalled by the Pakistani court’s decision.

"We are outraged by the decision of the Sindh High Court in Karachi​, Pakistan to acquit Ahmed Omar Sheikh​ and three others involved in the barbaric murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl z"l in 2002. It is unconscionable for these barbaric killers to go free,” they said.

“There must be a global outcry in response to this grievous injustice. All who believe in the dignity of human life must forcefully condemn this repugnant decision, and urge the prosecutors to appeal the case to the Supreme Court of Pakistan​.”

“We urge the US government to press the government in Pakistan to reverse this injustice and hold the murderers of an American citizen to account," concluded the Jewish leaders.

Arutz Sheva Staff


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Our Enemies May be Falling Apart - Michael Ledeen

by Michael Ledeen

Meanwhile they are killing their own people.

Joel Gehrke at the Washington Examiner dusts off his crystal ball, and tells us that:
Iran’s theocratic regime could crumble under the pressure of the coronavirus outbreak that has spread through elite ranks and the broader population alike, according to the European Union’s top diplomat.
“…countries like Venezuela or Iran may well collapse without our support,” EU High Representative Josep Borrell wrote in a recent bulletin to European colleagues. “This means we should ensure they have access to IMF assistance. And with Iran, we need to make sure that legitimate humanitarian trade can proceed despite US sanctions."
It's hard to conceive of the mechanism by which Venezuela and/or Iran would “crumble,” but we get Borrell’s point. Both countries are in terrible shape, and the whole situation could well get out of control.

Some commentators read this as a warning. They see Borrell warning of the collapse of countries like Iran and Venezuela unless his European colleagues provide emergency aid. So the Borrells of Europe and the United States are calling for their compatriots in the West to rescue Khamenei and Maduro.

It’s a very dangerous game. The Iranian regime doesn’t give a hoot about starving citizens; whatever money it gets its hands on goes for waging war against us and our friends and allies, notably Israel.

But the regime does seem to care about prisoners. In recent days there have been several prison breakouts — five of them, according to dissident reports -- in widely separate locations. Why all of a sudden are Iranian jails so flimsy?  Most theories reject the fanciful hypothesis that the regime has gone soft on those incarcerated; most of the explanations have to do with the virus epidemic. The conditions for the prisoners are atrocious, and they know that at any moment their execution may be ordered. Indeed, that would be the “normal” method of dealing with unrest in the prisons. Instead, the disgruntled prisoners are being permitted to “escape” from bondage. And the regime explains it as a response to the virus pandemic, according to the Saudis:
DUBAI -- Over 80 prisoners escaped from a prison in Iran’s Kurdistan province on Friday following riots amid growing concerns about the spread of coronavirus in the prison, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.
Prisoners rioted in a prison in the city of Saqqez Friday evening and more than 80 of them were able to escape, Fars reported.

While Fars did not say what instigated the riots, they are believed to have been due to growing concerns among inmates about the spread of coronavirus in the prison.

Several other prisons in Iran have witnessed riots in the past few days due to fears of the spread of the virus in prisons.

Iran temporarily freed about 85,000 prisoners in response to the coronavirus epidemic.
“Temporarily freed” indeed. The security forces could have shot the escaping inmates, but didn’t. So they wanted escaping prisoners — highly likely to be infected with the virus — to spread the disease. Not that the regime was prepared to combat it. So it was more convenient to have sick prisoners make things worse for the people. That way, the regime saves the expense of formal executions and kills off even more citizens.

Iran’s behavior was part of a pattern from our enemies. Both China and Russia accused the United States of launching the global pandemic, and each sold anti-viral devices to would-be friends in the west. The devices had a high proportion of failures. Some 80% of coronavirus rapid tests China donated to the Czech Republic, for example, as part of the communist country’s global goodwill effort are faulty, according to the Czech government.
The Trump Administration is unusually outspoken against the disinformation campaign from China, Russia and Iran. Reporting on the international battle of words, Radio Farda concentrated on Chinese lies, knowing that Iran was following the same model:
U.S. government officials and spokespersons are becoming more vocal in addressing an aggressive disinformation push by the Chinese communist regime—in some cases responding directly to Beijing officials and debunking their propaganda in real time.
Social media platforms such as Twitter are major tools being utilized by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as part of its global campaign to manipulate the narrative surrounding the pandemic. A considerable number of Chinese diplomats are actively pushing state-sanctioned narratives on these platforms and U.S. officials are ramping up their response.
Morgan Ortagus, a State Department spokesperson, has called out Beijing’s disinformation and responded directly to CCP officials. Federal agencies in the United States, meanwhile, are also ramping up efforts on this front by setting up new websites that separate fact from fiction.
It really is a new world war. Let’s hope the enemy regimes fall apart.

Michael Ledeen


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Israel and the Demise of the Global Village - Caroline Glick

by Caroline Glick

Can Israel survive and prosper in the world now taking shape?

In the face of the steeply rising number of coronavirus patients and the breakneck speed of political changes in Israel, few people have stopped to notice that the world we have grown accustomed to living in for the past generation is falling apart. The global village is collapsing under the weight of the pandemic.

How Israel deals with this dramatic turn of events today, and in the coming weeks, months and years will determine both how we emerge from the present crisis and how we manage in the new world now taking form.

Israel's food supply system is a perfect example of the global changes to being wrought by the virus. In Israel, five basic foodstuffs are produced locally: fruits, vegetables, eggs, poultry, and milk. Most grains, sugar, rice, salt, meat, and other foodstuffs are imported.

Out of a total agricultural workforce of 70,000, 25,000 are migrant workers from Thailand and another 25,000 are from the Palestinian Authority. According to Agriculture Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, concerns over the coronavirus prevented 1,500 workers from Thailand scheduled to arrive at the beginning of the month from entering the country. The Palestinian workforce is down to 18,000 and dropping due to the quarantine the PA has placed on its population.

The labor shortages couldn't come at a worse time. Currently, there are a half billion shekels worth of fruit and vegetables ready for harvest. If they aren't picked in the next three weeks, they will rot on the trees and in the fields.

Three weeks ago, the HaShomer HaHadash organization began getting flooded with calls from farmers for help. HaShomer HaHadash is a volunteer agricultural support organization founded in 2007 to protect Israeli farmers from Arab and Bedouin criminal gangs who extort farmers and ranchers and carry out agricultural theft and sabotage on a massive level.

"These calls were different," explains HaShomer HaHadash's leader Yoel Zilberman. "We are used to receiving calls about sabotage, and extortion and sending our volunteers to guard and herd. These calls were about the harvest, the national food supply."

Zilberman and his colleagues realized the implications of the loss of a harvest for Israel's food supply and began drawing up a plan to help the distressed farmers. Two weeks ago, Zilberman approached Hanegbi and offered to organize a corps of volunteers to save the harvest. Comprised of the organization's roster of volunteers, cadets at pre-military leadership academies, youth movement alumni and from twelfth graders, Zilberman's volunteers would work in shifts in the fields. With government finance, Hashomer Hahadash would provide for all their needs. Hanegbi agreed.

Last week, the government approved an emergency order to organize the corps of volunteers. The first hundred young people arrived in the fields on Tuesday. Operating in compliance with Health Ministry guidelines, HaShomer HaHadash launched a smartphone application called "Sundo" where prospective volunteers can join the operation. Zilberman plans to expand his roll of volunteers to include foreign students stranded in Israel with nothing to do after the coronavirus caused their programs to be canceled. He assesses there are up to twenty thousand foreign youth in Israel who could potentially join in the effort.

To be sure, this initiative, which will hopefully enable Israel to surmount the coronavirus-induced international labor shortage, is intended to be a short-term fix. All parties to the initiative assume that once the crisis abates, labor flows will return to their pre-coronavirus levels. But there is no way to know whether this assessment is correct. The coronavirus-induced shortage in migrant, agricultural laborers points to a much wider phenomenon that is unlikely to disappear when the quarantines are over.

The coronavirus pandemic won't destroy global markets. But it will change them radically and reduce their size and scope. In the case of agriculture, the coronavirus has exposed large-scale vulnerabilities in both agricultural import models and domestic production. At the outset of the crisis, cargo ships laden with foodstuffs from China and Italy were laid up in the ports for weeks until port workers and the Health Ministry could develop protocols for safely offloading them. Dozens of shipments were diverted to Cyprus, at great cost to importers.

Who is to say that food supplies in China or other countries won't be compromised again in the future? And what happens in the event of war? Naval warfare can easily endanger food imports to Israel over a prolonged period. The model of dependence on foreign suppliers needs to be adapted in the face of what we are learning.

As to domestic production, according to Hanegbi, over the past decade, the number of Israelis engaged in agriculture has decreased by 60 percent as the children of farmers are choosing other professions. Obviously, this is a major vulnerability. Israel needs food security and food security means expanding our domestic agricultural capacity. The incoming government needs to develop a national plan to support domestic agriculture and inspire young people to choose agriculture as a profession and way of life. In Israel, the next crisis is always just around the corner. And the next war or pandemic may make our current endangered harvest look like child's play.

What is true in relation to agriculture is doubly true in relation to manufacturing. As we are finding in our race to purchase more respirators, it is ill-advised in the extreme to depend on foreign suppliers for food, medical equipment, and medicines in times of crisis. Until January 2020, it seemed perfectly rational to outsource manufacturing to China. Now, as we face global shortages in respirators and other medical equipment, it is obvious that China is not a trustworthy supplier.

This week Jim Geraghty published a timeline of China's deception of the world regarding the nature of the coronavirus in the National Review. Geraghty showed that Chinese authorities in Wuhan realized the virus was spread between humans in the first week of December. But it wasn't until January 20 that the Chinese admitted that this was the case.

In the intervening six weeks, the Chinese lied repeatedly about the infectiousness of the virus and jailed doctors and citizen journalists who tried to warn the Chinese people and the world of the danger. Also during those six weeks, five million people left Wuhan. Scores of thousands of them got on airplanes and flew to Europe and the US bringing the virus with them.

Still today, the Chinese are apparently hiding critical information about the virus from the world. While the Western media heralds the Chinese success in bringing the infection rate down to zero inside China, Japan's Kyodo News Agency reported this week that the Chinese data are phony. Physicians in Wuhan told the agency's reporters that the reason the rate of infection has dropped to zero is because the Chinese authorities have banned testing.

The coronavirus exposed a truth that global village fans have spent the past generation denying: Borders are important.

From 1997 until the coronavirus, Europe's internal national borders were all open. Over the past few weeks, 15 EU member states have shut their doors and thrown away the key. Germany – the birthplace of the vision of the European common market and nation – initially banned the export of protective medical equipment to its European "brethren."

When the Italians begged for help, no EU member state sent in medical teams to save their fellow Europeans.

If just last month, the heads of the European Commission had the last word in all discussions among EU member states, today no one cares what they have to say. As Professor Thomas Jaeger from the University of Cologne told the Los Angeles Times, "We're seeing an enormous delegitimation of the authority of the EU government in this crisis. The longer the crisis lasts, the more nationalism will return."

In many ways, regardless of how long it lasts, the pandemic has already taken a permanent toll on the European Union. EU members have taken one another's measure and realized that when push comes to shove, they have only their own peoples and governments to rely on. The Italians and Spaniards aren't likely to care what the feckless bureaucrats in Brussels or the selfish Germans have to say about their national policies after this is over.

The same goes for the UN and other major international governing institutions.

UN Ambassador Danny Danon wrote Wednesday in Israel Hayom that this is the UN's finest hour. In his words, "UN institutions, particularly the World Health Organization, are proving that the organization remains the main body that the world needs in its struggle with Corona."

Danon is mistaken, however. The WHO has played an unhelpful, indeed destructive role in this crisis. As Geraghty and others have shown, the WHO was a full partner in China's dissimulation efforts. The WHO waited until January 21, after the first coronavirus patient was diagnosed in the US, to admit that it is transferred between people despite the fact that WHO officials knew that humans infected one another in early January. This week an Oxford-based research group announced it will no longer base its coronavirus assessments on WHO data, which it considers not credible.

This week Walter Russell Mead noted in the Wall Street Journal that international organizations like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization are playing no significant role in the global fight against the coronavirus.  National leaders and agencies, who are directly responsible for protecting their people are calling the shots irrespective of WHO rules and IMF spending guidelines.

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the critical failings of the global village model for international integration. International labor markets, global trade and international governing institutions have proven vulnerable to shocks, unreliable and of limited use. It has also reminded us of foundational truths that have been shunted aside since the end of the Cold War. National borders protect nations. National authorities and fellow citizens are far more reliable and helpful in times of crisis than transnational, and international organizations.

To survive and protect themselves from global shocks, nations must have autarkic agricultural and manufacturing capabilities. China is not a reliable industrial base.

Israel's ability to protect itself today, and adapt its economy to the new post-global village reality will in large part determine how it survives and prospers in the post-global village world now taking shape.

Photo by David Shankbone at Wikimedia Commons

Caroline Glick is an award-winning columnist and author of The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East.


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Education Ministry admits: No information on New Israel Fund activities in schools - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

Watchdog petitions Education Ministry to divulge information on NIF-backed high school programs.

Education Minister Rafi Peretz
Education Minister Rafi Peretz                                                                      Kobi Richter, TPS

The Zionist watchdog organization Im Tirtzu on Thursday submitted a legal petition against the Education Ministry for not divulging information concerning high school academic programs run by NGOs connected to the controversial New Israel Fund (NIF).

The watchdog revealed that there are currently 14 external academic programs being operated by NIF-funded NGOs in some 350 Israeli high schools, and submitted a request to the Education Ministry for more information via the Freedom of Information Law.

After the Education Ministry responded that it did not possess the requested information on the programs, including the number of meetings, which schools and what sectors, Im Tirtzu filed the petition.

Among the NIF-backed programs listed on the Education Ministry's website are "Dialogue Meetings" run by The Parents Circle, a NGO comprised of bereaved Israeli parents and parents of Palestinian terrorists, and "Human Rights Education" run by Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the flagship grantee of the NIF that defends terrorists in court and petitions the courts against the IDF.

The US-based New Israel Fund is one of the largest financiers of Israel's left-wing civil society and funds highly controversial NGOs including "Breaking the Silence," "B'Tselem" and "Adalah."

According to Im Tirtzu, the NIF-backed organizations that operate the high school programs have received nearly $6,000,000 in funding from the NIF over the past decade.

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg stated: "It is absurd that instead of thanking Im Tirtzu for bringing the issue to their attention, the Education Ministry is in denial and is trying to sweep the problem under the carpet."

"This is a serious issue," continued Peleg, "but one that can be remedied by the Education Ministry."

Peleg added: "The only way that Israel can ensure its future survival is by teaching our youth the justness of our cause – not by inculcating them with extreme content from radical NGOS."

Arutz Sheva Staff


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From an illegal Jewish movement to a Seder in the Gulag - Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich

by Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich

Joining an illegal Jewish movement in Russia and the attempted hijacking of a plane in an attempt to reach Israel resulted in the writer spending the Passover Seder in the Gulag. Read about the Seder and watch the video of his story.

…I received several pieces of Matzo which would be my food during the whole of the Passover festival.

I see me crawling under the beds in my cell holding a lit match in my hand- doing the traditional Search for Chametz – Bedikat Chametz

Other prisoners ask: “What are you looking for under the beds?” and I answer- “I am looking for bread.” They laugh. “We already ate all the bread in the morning and none remains, and we are still hungry.”

I am sitting near the table. Lifting a piece of Matza and saying “Holochmo Aniyo..” “This is the bread of affliction..” (it is a very small room in which 5 other prisoners are sitting on bunk beds.)

The prisoners ask, “what are you saying there?” And I translate. They laugh – “is this the bread of affliction? If only we had such bread.”

The Pesach Seder Plate in Prison

… It was while I was in the Chistopol Prison. This was a very harsh prison. I was sent there for having kept the Shabbat in the hard labor camp. This was considered to be an offence. It was the tenth year of my incarceration. I was for some time in the same cell with another Prisoner of Zion, Hillel Butman

A month before the Passover festival I suggested that we hold a Pesach Seder.

He only laughed: “A Pesach Seder in the prison? It’s impossible.” I knew that he was an obstinate person and that if he said no- there was nothing one could do about it.

Therefore, I decided to make all the preparations alone.

In the Jewish underground in Russia one of the activities of Jewish education was to teach young people about the Pesach Seder.

I was lucky. Among my personal belongings I kept a postcard from Israel on which there was a photograph of a Pesach Seder Plate from the Israel Museum- a Pesach Seder Plate from Germany, from the 18th century.

Therefore, from this postcard I learned what I would need for the Seder Plate. And there was a further small miracle: in the margins of the postcard there was all the order of the Pesach Seder: Kadesh Urechatz.. I began at once to write my own Pesach Haggada according to the order written in the postcard.

I would need four cups of wine. How to obtain wine in the closely guarded security prison? – Very simple.

My father, Moshe Ben Aaron of Blessed Memory, had sent me 10 years previously a kilo of raisins. This was during the interrogation period and it was permitted to receive raisins. After the trial it was no longer permitted to receive anything like this.

I had saved the raisins during these years, I only used them for Kiddush. Although one needed the fruit of the vine –wine, but out of ignorance I decided that raisins were also fruit of the vine. Every Shabbat we would gather in another hut and I would make Kiddush over two raisins. By the tenth year there only remained to me a few handfuls of the raisins, but this was enough to make wine. And there was more. Every day a prisoner would receive a spoonful of sugar. People at once ate the sugar. But I decided to collect it. Every day I added another spoonful and another. After a month I had enough sugar.

I poured the sugar, raisins and hot water into the water-bottle and hid it underneath the bed. Although I was afraid that there might be a sudden search and they would discover my wine, but I had no choice.

Writer's note: How did I get into this situation? The distance from joining an illegal Jewish movement for aliyah in the USSR to the Gulag was a short one. The story is told below in the documentary of my life in Russia.

Article excerpted with permission from the writer's book "Unbroken spirit."

Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich, former Soviet refusenik and Prisoner of Zion, a leader of Soviet Jewry, was imprisoned for 11 years in the Gulag for attempting to hijack a plane to reach Israel. His autobiography, Operation Wedding, describes the story and his release in 1981.


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