Friday, April 23, 2021

IDF investigating failed interception after Syrian missile hits south - Lilach Shoval , Shahar Klaiman , Neta Bar , AP and Reuters

 

by Lilach Shoval , Shahar Klaiman , Neta Bar , AP and Reuters

IDF strikes Syrian missile launcher, air-defense systems following incident, the most serious violence between Israel and Syria in years. Incident points to likely Iranian involvement.

A missile launched from Syria was fired into southern Israel early Thursday, setting off air raid sirens near the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center in the southern town of Dimona, the Israeli military said, adding that there was no damage despite an attempt to intercept the projectile. In response, it said it attacked the missile launcher and air-defense systems in neighboring Syria.

The incident, marking the most serious violence between Israel and Syria in years, pointed to likely Iranian involvement. Iran, which maintains troops and proxies in Syria, has accused Israel of a series of attacks on its nuclear facilities, including sabotage at its Natanz nuclear facility on April 11, and vowed revenge. It also threatened to complicate US-led attempts to revive the international nuclear deal with Iran.

The Israeli military said it had deployed a missile-defense system and Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that "the attempted interception of the missile by Israeli air defense was unsuccessful, but in most cases we see success."

The IDF confirmed that there had been no damage. The air raid sirens were sounded in Abu Krinat, a village just a few kilometers from Dimona, the desert town which, according to foreign reports, houses the country's undeclared atomic weapons program. Explosions heard as far away as Jerusalem and the Shfela District area might have been the air-defense systems.

 

The Israel Defense Forces initially described the weapon fired as a surface-to-air missile, which is usually used for air defense against warplanes or other missiles, that it said had been fired at Israeli aircraft during an earlier strike and had overflown its target and reached the Dimona area.

A SAM SA-5 missile is seen in Libya on Sept. 2, 2011 (AFP / Carl de Souza)

The errant Syrian missile was an SA-5, one of several fired at Israeli Air Force planes, according to the spokesman.

However, Dimona is some 300 kilometers (185 miles) south of Damascus, a long range for an errantly fired surface-to-air missile.

The IDF said that in response to the launch, it attacked several missile batteries in Syria, including the one that fired the projectile that struck its territory.

Syria's state-run SANA news agency said four soldiers had been wounded in an Israeli strike near Damascus, which also caused some damage. The agency did not elaborate other than to claim its air defense intercepted "most of the enemy missiles," which it said were fired from the Israeli Golan Heights.

A Syrian military defector said the Israeli strikes targeted locations near the town of Dumair, some 40 km northeast of Damascus, where Iranian-backed militias have a presence. It is an area that Israel has hit repeatedly in past attacks

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the missile strike or comment from Iran. But on Saturday, Iran's hardline Kayhan newspaper published an opinion piece by Iranian analyst Sadollah Zarei suggesting Israel's Dimona facility be targeted after the attack on Natanz. Zarei cited the idea of "an eye for an eye" in his remarks.

Action should be taken "against the nuclear facility in Dimona," he wrote. "This is because no other action is at the same level as the Natanz incident."

Israeli media have said for weeks that air defenses around the Dimona facility and the Red Sea port Eilat were being beefed up in anticipation of a possible long-range missile or drone attack by Iranian-backed forces - perhaps from as far away as Yemen.

While Kayhan is a small circulation newspaper, its editor-in-chief, Hossein Shariatmadari, was appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and has been described as an adviser to him in the past.

Zarei has demanded retaliatory strikes on Israel in the past. In November, he suggested Iran strike the Israeli port city of Haifa over Israel's suspected involvement in the killing of a scientist who founded Iran's military nuclear program decades earlier. However, Iran did not retaliate then.

In an interview with Army Radio, Thursday, the former head of Israel's Military Intelligence Directorate Amos Yadlin sought to reassure Israelis the Syrian missile was not an Iranian attempt to exact revenge for the April 11 explosion at its Natanz nuclear facility.

Noting "the arena is very tense," Yadlin said both Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and the Iranians were looking to retaliate against Israel.

"Nevertheless, I suggest we take a deep breath. This wasn't an Iranian missile targeting Dimona, although there is a desire to connect this to the incident at Natanz," he said.

"The missile that was fired is an old missile for use against transport aircraft," Yadlin explained. "When I was a major, in [19]83, they had already planned how to attack it. When it doesn't hit a plane, it flies to the edge of its range."

 

Lilach Shoval , Shahar Klaiman , Neta Bar , AP and Reuters

Source:https://www.israelhayom.com/2021/04/22/israel-retaliates-after-syrian-missile-lands-near-negev-nuclear-research-center/

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China's Fishing Fleet Is Vacuuming the Oceans - Judith Bergman

 

by Judith Bergman

The Chinese fishing fleet --  is about much more than fishing.

  • "China's leaders see distant water fleets as a way to project presence around the world. The aim is to be present all over the world's oceans so that they can direct the outcomes of international agreements that cover maritime resources." — Tabitha Mallory, CEO of China Ocean Institute and affiliate professor at the University of Washington, Axios, March 23, 2021.

  • In the past five years, more than 500 abandoned wooden fishing boats, often with skeletons of starved North Korean fishermen aboard, have washed up on the shores of Japan. For years the cause was unknown, until it was found out that the likely reason was that "an armada" of Chinese industrial boats fish illegally in North Korean waters.... It is estimated that China's fishing vessels have depleted squid stocks in North Korean waters by 70%.

  • Most of the fishing vessels in China's fleet are trawlers. "Fishing by trawling method sweeps out the seafloor in the south, and annihilates its resources," a representative of the fishermen said.

  • In a number of West African countries -- Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and others -- Chinese trawlers have for years "taken advantage of poor governance, corruption and the inability of these governments to enforce fishing regulations" according to the China-Africa project. "Today, the Chinese vessels largely operate beyond government control, prompting an increasingly serious environmental crisis brought on from over-fishing that also endangers local coastal communities who depend on these waters for their livelihoods". In July 2020, six Chinese super-trawlers arrived in Liberia, capable of capturing 12,000 tons of fish -- nearly twice the nation's sustainable catch.

  • In South America, Chinese predatory fishing is now so critical that in March, Argentina announced the creation of a Maritime Joint Command to combat the predatory fishing practices of foreign vessels.

  • The Chinese fishing fleet, however, is about much more than fishing. "Against the backdrop of China's larger geo-political aspirations, the country's commercial fishermen often serve as de-facto paramilitary personnel whose activities the Chinese government can frame as private actions", stated an August 2020 report by Ian Urbina, published by the Yale School of the Environment. "Under a civilian guise, this ostensibly private armada helps assert territorial domination, especially pushing back fishermen or governments that challenge China's sovereignty claims that encompass nearly all of the South China Sea".

China has by far the world's largest fishing fleet. However, the Chinese fishing fleet is about much more than fishing. According to investigative reporter Ian Urbina, "Against the backdrop of China's larger geo-political aspirations, the country's commercial fishermen often serve as de-facto paramilitary personnel whose activities the Chinese government can frame as private actions." Pictured: Filipinos protest China's incursion in the West Philippine Sea, on June 21, 2019, in Manila, Philippines. Filipino fishermen reported that on June 9, 2019, a Chinese fishing vessel rammed and sank their boat within the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone, leaving all 22 Filipino crew floating at sea before being rescued by a Vietnamese fishing vessel. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

Communist China seems increasingly to be depleting the world's oceans of marine life. The country has by far the world's largest fishing fleet of anywhere between 200,000 to 800,000 fishing boats -- accounting for nearly half of the world's fishing activity -- approximately 17,000 of which belong to its distant-water fishing fleet. The growth has been made possible by enormous state subsidies. In 2012, for instance, the Chinese state poured $3.2 billion in subsidies into its fishing sector, most of it for fuel. However, according to a report from 2012, "government support for the fishing and aquaculture sector could be as much as CNY 500 billion (USD 80.2 billion, EUR 61.7 billion) when regional and national subsidies for rural-based fish farmers are taken into account."

As noted by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), many industrialized countries, having depleted their domestic waters, go distant-water fishing in the territorial waters of low-income countries, but China's distant-water fleet is by far the largest in the world. The ODI also noted that ownership and operational control of China's fleet is both "complex and opaque".

"China's leaders see distant water fleets as a way to project presence around the world," Tabitha Mallory, CEO of the consulting firm China Ocean Institute and affiliate professor at the University of Washington told Axios. "The aim is to be present all over the world's oceans so that they can direct the outcomes of international agreements that cover maritime resources."

Chinese fishing vessels deplete the stocks of countries not only in Southeast Asia, but also as far away as the Persian Gulf, South America, West Africa and the South Pacific. Their predatory and unsustainable fishing methods are endangering not only marine life, but also the livelihoods of local fishermen. China is considered to be the largest perpetrator of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) in the world, as well as the largest subsidizer in the world of such practices.

Admiral Karl Schultz, the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, has warned:

"IUU fishing has replaced piracy as the leading global maritime security threat. If IUU fishing continues unchecked, we can expect a deterioration of fragile coastal States and increased tension among foreign-fishing Nations, threatening geo-political stability around the world,"

The consequences are sometimes grisly. One of the most shocking examples is that of North Korea: In the past five years, more than 500 abandoned wooden fishing boats, often with skeletons of starved North Korean fishermen aboard, have washed up on the shores of Japan. For years the cause was unknown, until it was found out that the likely reason was that "an armada" of Chinese industrial boats fish illegally in North Korean waters, forcing the locals to venture further from shore, where some of them die in a vain search for fish and eventually wash up in Japan. It is estimated that China's fishing vessels have depleted squid stocks in North Korean waters by 70%.

In Iran, pro-reform media reported in July that Chinese vessels were "illegally cleaning out fish resources in the Persian Gulf" while "Iranian fishermen are forced to pay ten thousand dollars in bribes to Somalian pirates to let them fish on the African shores". Most of the fishing vessels in China's fleet are trawlers. "Fishing by trawling method sweeps out the seafloor in the south, and annihilates its resources," one representative of the fishermen said. According to a July 2020 report from Iran News Update:

"In recent years, this horrible issue [activity of Chinese trawlers] has contributed to a two-third decrease in Iran's aquatic reserves and sounded alarms about the annihilation of the country's marine ecosystem. Moreover, this kind of fishing negatively affected Iranian fishers' businesses..."

Iran has reportedly been leasing out its territorial waters in the Persian Gulf to Chinese industrial ships for more than a decade. In 2018, the Deputy for Port Affairs of the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran, Mohammad Ali Hassanzadeh, admitted that Chinese ships were "operating under a 'long-term lease' for fishing at a depth of 200 meters (roughly 656 feet) in Iranian waters."

In a number of West African countries -- Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria and others -- Chinese trawlers have for years "taken advantage of poor governance, corruption and the inability of these governments to enforce fishing regulations" according to the China-Africa project.

"Today, the Chinese vessels largely operate beyond government control, prompting an increasingly serious environmental crisis brought on from over-fishing that also endangers local coastal communities who depend on these waters for their livelihoods".

In July 2020, six Chinese super-trawlers arrived in Liberia, capable of capturing 12,000 tons of fish -- nearly twice the nation's sustainable catch.

A March 24 report by the Environmental Justice Foundation said that Chinese state companies have been "fleecing" Ghana's ocean resources "by camouflaging as locally incorporated trawler owners that pay lower license fees and penalties for engaging in illegal fishing activities", denying the country millions of dollars in license revenues.

"The report details how the Chinese control up to 93 percent of the trawl vessels in Ghana, a country that is now losing between USD 14.4 million and USD 23.7 million (EUR 12.1 million and EUR 20 million) annually in fishing license fees and fines from trawlers."

In South America, Chinese predatory fishing is now so critical that in March, Argentina announced the creation of a Maritime Joint Command to combat the predatory fishing practices of foreign vessels. According to Diálogo, a military magazine published by the U.S. Southern Command:

"Each year, a fleet of foreign fishing vessels, mostly from China, sails along South American coasts, threatening the marine resources in the region. According to the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation, the involvement of Chinese vessels in squid fishing in the region has grown steadily over the last two decades."

In June, a huge Chinese fishing fleet of 300 vessels arrived in the area around Ecuador's environmentally protected Galapagos Marine Reserve. The Chinese vessels, which stayed in the area for a month, accounted for "99% of visible fishing just outside the [Galapagos] archipelago's waters between 13 July and 13 August," a report found. They were fishing for squid, which are essential to the unique Galapagos seals and sharks, and for commercial fish that otherwise contribute to the local economy. In 2017, Ecuador jailed 20 Chinese fishermen for capturing 6,600 sharks off the Galapagos Marine Reserve. The sharks are used in shark fin soup, a Chinese delicacy.

In the South Pacific, according to two former U.S. officials, "illegal, unregulated fishing by Chinese vessels has become common in American Samoa and Guam and as far east as Hawaii". The overfishing is so detrimental to the locals that a tuna cannery on American Samoa, one of the island's largest employers, had to suspend operations temporarily due to a lack of fish.

The Chinese fishing fleet, however, is about much more than fishing. In an August 2020 report published by the Yale School of the Environment, investigative reporter Ian Urbina wrote:

"Against the backdrop of China's larger geo-political aspirations, the country's commercial fishermen often serve as de-facto paramilitary personnel whose activities the Chinese government can frame as private actions. Under a civilian guise, this ostensibly private armada helps assert territorial domination, especially pushing back fishermen or governments that challenge China's sovereignty claims that encompass nearly all of the South China Sea."

China's use of fishing boats to assert its power and territorial claims was on full display in March, when a fleet of more than 200 Chinese fishing vessels swarmed and anchored at the Whitsun Reef in the South China Sea. The reef lies within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.[1] In 2018, more than 90 Chinese fishing vessels anchored within miles of the Philippine Thitu Island, after the Philippine government began work on the island's infrastructure.

In September, the US Coast Guard released a report, "Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing Strategic Outlook," which announced "the U.S. Coast Guard's commitment to leading a global effort to combat illegal exploitation of the ocean's fish stocks and protect our national interests". The report stressed the need to "(1) Promote targeted, effective, intelligence-driven enforcement operations, (2) Counter predatory and irresponsible State behavior, and (3) Expand multilateral fisheries enforcement cooperation" and urged that a coalition of intergovernmental and international partners would be necessary. In April, the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy launched a joint mission in the Western and Central Pacific to combat illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing (IUU fishing) and boost regional security. In February, the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, recommended that the US "consider leading a multilateral coalition with South American nations to push back against China's illegal fishing and trade practices."


[1] According to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, nations control marine resources within a 200-mile "exclusive economic zone."

 

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

 
Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17297/china-fishing-fleet

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Maxine's Mob Justice - Joseph Klein

 

by Joseph Klein

Throwing fuel on the Marxist fire.

 


The trial of Derek Chauvin, the white ex-police officer charged with killing black suspect George Floyd in the process of restraining Floyd during an arrest, has made Minnesota once again the epicenter of intense nationwide attention, nearly a year after Floyd’s death. Add to this the riots that erupted over the accidental police shooting in Brooklyn Center on April 11th of a young black man, Daunte Wright. The last thing Minnesota needed at this time was an outside provocateur to throw more fuel on the fire. However, that is exactly what happened when radical California Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters dropped into Minnesota last Saturday to join a protest in Brooklyn Center demanding justice for Daunte Wright’s killing. In advance of jury deliberations over Chauvin’s fate, Waters used her response to a reporter’s question to call on protesters to "stay on the street" and "get more confrontational" if they don't like the jury’s verdict.

Waters’ reckless rhetoric came after nights of rioting and looting in Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis. She stoked the flames of mob rule. Not long after Waters delivered her remarks, some rioters engaged in a drive-by shooting at a security detail including National Guardsmen who were present to maintain the peace. Waters’ subsequent so-called “clarification” that she was only “talking about speaking up” and “about legislation” is laughable. So is her attempt to link her inflammatory rhetoric to the civil rights movement's nonviolent history. Waters’ claim that Republicans criticizing her remarks are delivering “a message to white supremacists” is contemptible.

Waters made it clear that nothing less than a verdict of “guilty of murder” would be acceptable. Waters got her wish for a murder conviction from the jury within 72 hours of her Brooklyn Center appearance (even if not for first-degree murder, which was not specifically charged).

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three counts for which he was charged in the death of George Floyd, including second and third-degree murder. The jury decided its triple guilty verdict in under 11 hours. The jurors asked no questions of the presiding trial judge, Peter Cahill, nor did they request to view any of the evidence again while they were deliberating as far as we know. The jurors were not sequestered until they began their deliberations, which means that they were exposed to reports of protests breaking out for several days over the police killing of Daunte Wright in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center. At least one of the jurors lives in Brooklyn Center where Waters exploited the Wright tragedy to demand a murder conviction in the Chauvin case.   

The specific counts on which Chauvin was convicted were (1) second-degree unintentional murder while committing the felony of knowingly inflicting substantial bodily harm in an assault, (2) third-degree murder in which Chauvin caused Floyd's death by "perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life," and (3) second-degree manslaughter where Chauvin caused Floyd's death by "culpable negligence,” creating “an unreasonable risk” and consciously taking chances of “causing death or great bodily harm." 

Sentencing will occur in approximately eight weeks, to be decided by the trial judge. Chauvin could receive up to 40 years of jail time on the first count of second-degree murder alone. The maximum sentence for third-degree murder is 25 years. The maximum sentence for second-degree manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. The actual sentence could be less than the statutory maximum, however, based on sentencing guidelines that take into account the defendant’s prior criminal history (Chauvin has none). Nevertheless, if the trial judge determines that there are aggravating factors, such as Chauvin’s abuse of police power or “particular cruelty” in the way that he handled Floyd, he could still throw the book at Chauvin. It is unclear whether Chauvin will receive concurrent or consecutive sentences on the three charges.

After the verdict, Maxine Waters told reporters, “You know, someone said it better than me: I’m not celebrating, I’m relieved.” But Waters’ “relief” may be premature. Her reckless antics in Brooklyn Center may have inadvertently helped Chauvin’s case on appeal. His attorneys can be expected to ask that the verdict be overturned because Chauvin did not receive a fair trial. Cahill, the trial judge, acknowledged that Waters’ remarks may have provided the defense grounds for “appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned.” 

Chauvin’s appellate counsel will undoubtedly claim that Judge Cahill should have sequestered the jury, at least beginning after the Brooklyn Center shooting occurred, to insulate the jury members from being unduly influenced by outside events. Judge Cahill denied a defense motion for such sequestration. “I realize there’s civil unrest and some of the jurors did hear about that,” said Judge Cahill, but “this is a totally different case.”    

The jury members were not only exposed to reports of the Brooklyn Center shooting and the mass protests that followed. It was just a couple of days before the jury members were finally sequestered to begin their deliberations that Waters uttered her inflammatory remarks in Brooklyn Center. These remarks received widespread publicity. One or more members of the jury may well have heard about what Waters said and felt intimidated by a senior congresswoman exhorting a mob to become more confrontational if the jury does not reach the verdict that she and the mob demand. 

Judge Cahill denied the defense’s motion for an immediate mistrial but spared no words in condemning Waters’ “disrespectful” and “abhorrent” comments on the case. “I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that’s disrespectful to the rule of law, and to the judicial branch and our function,” Cahill said. “I think if they want to give their opinions, they should do so in a respectful — and in a manner that is consistent with their oath to the Constitution, to respect a co-equal branch of government.”

Crowds who gathered outside the courthouse cheered after they learned that Chauvin was found guilty on all counts. The mob got the "justice" they demanded in this case, but they are far from satisfied. Black Lives Matter and Antifa fascists want nothing less than the overthrow of America’s constitutional republic, including its judicial system. The social justice warriors marched in Minneapolis and other cities after the triple guilty verdict was announced, renewing their calls for revolution and defunding the police. Far left rioters in Portland wasted no time continuing to engage in what they know best -- acts of violence, including arson and assaulting a police officer.

President Biden and Vice President Harris fed into the social justice warriors’ demands during the remarks they delivered to the nation following the announcement of the Chauvin verdict.  

Harris’s and Biden’s remarks embraced critical race theory. “America has a long history of systemic racism,” Harris said. “Black Americans — and Black men, in particular — have been treated, throughout the course of our history, as less than human.” Biden repeated this distortion of history in his own remarks. He also said that America is guilty of “systemic racism that is a stain [on] our nation’s soul.”

It’s as if America had accomplished nothing during its history to right the wrongs of slavery, eradicated after a bloody civil war over 155 years ago. It’s as if the court orders and federal civil rights legislation guaranteeing the right to vote and non-discrimination in housing, public accommodations and employment never happened. It’s as if Barack Obama, an African American, was never elected president in 2008 and re-elected in 2012 with millions of white votes.

Biden also praised the protests last summer that he claimed “unified people of every race and generation in peace and with purpose to say, 'Enough. Enough. Enough of the senseless killings.’” Biden either spent too much time hiding in his basement last summer or decided to just turn a blind eye to what actually happened. The physical violence and looting in cities across the country last summer divided the country. There were multiple casualties. People also lost their livelihoods as their businesses went up in smoke. 

On April 20th, before the Chauvin verdict was announced, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked for comment on Maxine Waters’ call for protesters to get more confrontational on the streets if the jury did not reach an acceptable verdict. Psaki ducked the question, referring to Waters’ ludicrous “clarification.” 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was more direct the day before in rushing to her comrade’s defense. “Maxine talked about ‘confrontation’ in the manner of the Civil Rights movement,” Pelosi said. “No, I don’t think she should apologize.” 

When Republican Rep. Lisa McClain spoke on the floor of the House to condemn Waters’ remarks and to note the drive-by shooting which occurred later that very same night, Pelosi shamelessly took aim at the messenger. “That woman on the floor should be apologizing for what she said,” Pelosi declared, referring to Rep. McClain.

Pelosi and her fellow Democrats rallying around Waters are hypocrites. They impeached former President Donald Trump for allegedly inciting an insurrection at the Capitol because of a speech he delivered over two miles away in which he said, "I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard." (Emphasis added) But these same Democrats see nothing wrong with a senior congresswoman inflaming mob emotions that were already raw and creating the real possibility of a declared mistrial in the Chauvin case on appeal. 

Rather than even acknowledge Judge Cahill’s condemnation of Maxine Waters’ “abhorrent” remarks that failed to respect “a co-equal branch of government,” Democrats circled the wagons around her. They shot down a resolution introduced by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to censure Waters, by a partisan vote of 216-210. Her committee assignments, including her position as chair of the powerful House Financial Services Committee, are safe so long as the Democrats remain in power. Expect even more inflammatory rhetoric from Waters and other leftwing progressive politicians in the weeks to come as another summer of potential riots and mob justice approaches.

 

Joseph Klein

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/04/quick-guilty-verdict-chauvin-case-after-maxine-joseph-klein/

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Democrats Comply with the ChiComintern - Lloyd Billingsley

 

by Lloyd Billingsley

While Romania rejects entanglements with China’s Communist regime.

 


Back in February, the government of Romania adopted a memorandum that would exclude Chinese firms from public contracts for highway or rail projects. This comes at a time when Romania “desperately needs to start infrastructure works,” according to deputy prime minister Dan Barna, concerned about companies that “do not live up to European standards.”

As Barna and leaders around the world should know, Chinese infrastructure also falls short of American standards. Should that be doubted, consider the new span of the Bay Bridge from San Francisco to Oakland, California.

California Democrats could have tapped federal money for the infrastructure project, but that would have required the use of American steel. California Democrats preferred Chinese steel and Chinese labor, and both fell short of American standards.

California selected the state-owned Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Company, which at the time had no experience building bridges. Zhenhua’s 3,000 employees on the project included steel-cutters, welders, polishers and engineers. The bridge decks and materials were to be constructed in China, which left American workers with only assembly, concrete pouring and such.

In 2007, fissures began appearing in bars of Chinese steel. In 2009, the company shipped from China the main bridge tower and 28 bridge decks. Engineers found hundreds of cracks in the welds, and every one of the 750 panels had to be repaired. In 2013, dozens of the long metal rods on the project snapped, and during storms critical parts of the bridge filled with water.

The bridge came in ten years late, $5 billion over budget, and riddled with safety issues. Then-governor Jerry Brown, a three-time Democrat presidential contender, shrugged it off with “shit happens,” and when whistleblowers called for a criminal investigation, attorney general Kamala Harris ignored them. UC Berkeley engineering professor Abolhasaan Astaneh-Asi, a critic of the design, declines to use the bridge, warning that, “If a single component fails, the whole thing comes down.”

Romanian leaders were doubtless aware of the project, but they had other reasons to be wary of China. Like millions of other Europeans, the Romanians lived under the yoke of Communism from 1947 to 1989. By then it was time for a change and the Romanians knew what to do. The tyrant Nikolae Ceaucescu and his loathsome wife Elena attempted to flee, but the army, now on the people’s side, captured the pair and charged them with crimes against humanity. 

On December 25, 1989, a Romanian firing squad executed Ceaucescu and Elena. Five years later, Romanians believed the summary execution was fully justified. More than 30 years later, Romanians seem aware that China’s “belt and road” initiative leads to substandard infrastructure and dangerous entanglements with a totalitarian regime.

China now functions as the Communist International (Comintern), which the Soviets set up to control the national Communist parties. With the ChiComintern, Democrats are particularly compliant.

For 20 years, California Democrat Diane Feinstein employed a Chinese spy who functioned as her office manager. When Missouri takes China to court over the pandemic, Feinstein takes China’s side, and like other Democrats she parrots Chinese propaganda.

California Democrat Eric Swalwell fell for Chinese spy Fang Fang, also known as PoonFang. She helped Swalwell with his campaign and placed an intern in his office. The FBI announced no investigation and House Democrats keep Swalwell on the intelligence committee.

For Joe Biden, the Chinese Communists are “not bad folks,” and not competition for us. “Big Guy” Joe is on China’s gravy train through son Hunter, but for the U.S. intelligence community and compliant media, that is Russian disinformation.

During the 2020 campaign, Joe Biden told reporters he would bar Chinese companies from building critical infrastructure in the United States. The Delaware Democrat seemed unaware that Chinese companies were already doing just that.

Joe Biden is now touting California as an example for the nation. As Californians already know, compliance with the ChiComintern has consequences.

 

Lloyd Billingsley

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/04/democrats-comply-chicomintern-lloyd-billingsley/

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Black retired officer slams leftist 'lies' about police: 'It's hurting Black people' - Fox News Staff

 

by Fox News Staff

Ex-lawman calls out comments by Floyd attorney Ben Crump, basketball player LeBron James and others

Former Police Officer Brandon Tatum slams Black leaders for anti-cop incitement

Retired Tucson, Arizona police officer Brandon Tatum joined "The Ingraham Angle" Wednesday and slammed Benjamin Crump, LeBron James and liberal politicians who he said are pushing a dangerous and false narrative that law enforcement is racist.

TATUM: "They should be ashamed of themselves coming out lying on this police officer and lying on that girl (Ma'Khia Bryant). That girl had a knife in her hand and she was getting ready to stab another young Black girl in the face. She wasn't just swinging a knife. She was going to stab the girl in the face and she was fatally shot. Officers have every right to use deadly force against another person to protect the life of another individual. 

LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST: These people want there to be hatred and evilness in our country and they want police officers to be demonized. They want police officers and the public to have conflicts [so] they can continue to get better ratings. They can continue to get reelected, keep promising the public [policies] they can never deliver on.

TATUM: They seem almost disappointed, do they not, when the facts don't exactly match up with an easier narrative to perhaps vilify the police, whether it's skin color of the people involved or whether there was a weapon involved. 

They usually have a meltdown or they completely lie about it because it makes them look like hypocrites.

...

I really am sick and tired of listening to these people get on TV with no accountability. They are flat-out lying and stoking violence in our communities.

...

This is not hurting White people. It's making other Black people become more violent [and] feel like their life is endangered by police. They're going to end up getting hurt and end up dying and not having patrols in their communities, which makes their communities more violent. It's not hurting White people. It's hurting Black people and is perpetuated by a lot of Black leaders.

LeBron James is living on a high horse in a multimillion dollar house, living near nothing but White people. At the drop of a dime, he will have White officers at his house doing investigations on false claims, if there are some. LeBron James and the people like the BLM cofounder living in million-dollar houses, they don't care ... I really wish they would be held accountable and at least be ashamed of what they're doing to our country.

CLICK TO WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW

 

Fox News Staff

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/us/brandon-tatum-leftist-lies-about-police-hurting-black-people

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Biden to announce formal recognition of Armenian Genocide - Dan Verbin

 

by Dan Verbin

Officials say that it is likely Biden will make historic announcement recognizing that massacre of Armenians by the Ottomans was a genocide.

US President Joe Biden is set to announce the formal recognition of the murder of between 1 and 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during WW1.

The declaration that the massacre was a genocide risks angering ally Turkey but makes good on a campaign pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide, a term previous presidents always avoided, ostensibly for reasons of geopolitics.

CNN reported that officials said the President was expected to declare that the mass killings were a genocide this Saturday, Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. They added that it was possible Biden might change his mind and instead allude to the tragic event without going as far as to label it a genocide.

The Turkish government sends official complaints to governments that describe the Armenian Genocide as a genocide. Turkey claims that the killings were the result of wartime hostilities on both sides and greatly downplays the number of Armenians who were murdered.

Both former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump chose not to use the word genocide in order to not harm relations with Turkey.

The Armenian Genocide is considered by scholars to have been an influence on the Nazi's Final Solution for the Jews. At the end of a 1939 speech, Hitler may have said, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” though there has been debate in the years since the Nuremberg trials on the veracity of the quote.

 

Dan Verbin

Source: https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/304852

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Top Ten Most Racist Colleges and Universities: #6 University of Central Florida - TopTenRacistUniversities.org

 

by TopTenRacistUniversities.org

Professor fired after questioning “systemic racism” and “white privilege.”

The David Horowitz Freedom Center is exposing prestigious American campuses as the “Top Ten Most Racist Colleges and Universities” for enacting policies and programs that are allegedly “anti-racist” but which in reality promote racial discrimination and a return to Jim Crow. 

A report and video on the University of Central Florida, #6 on our list, follows below.

The full report on the Top Ten Most Racist Colleges and Universities may be read at https://toptenracistuniversities.org/

#6: University of Central Florida

Academic freedom has been officially “cancelled” at the University of Central Florida after a tenured professor of psychology was ignominiously fired in February 2020 after making tweets questioning the existence of “systemic racism” and mocking the concept of “white privilege.”

That professor, Charles Negy, tweeted: “Black privilege is real: Besides affirm. action, special scholarships and other set asides, being shielded from legitimate criticism is a privilege.”

He also tweeted: “Sincere question: If Afr. Americans as a group, had the same behavioral profile as Asian Americans (on average, performing the best academically, having the highest income, committing the lowest crime, etc.), would we still be proclaiming ‘systematic racism’ exists?”

Not only were Negy’s tweets not racist, they raise legitimate and concerning facts regarding the Black Lives Matter movement and its push to condemn America and its institutions as steeped in “systemic racism” and to denounce white Americans for their “white privilege” and promotion of “white supremacy.” Negy’s point about “black privilege” is supported by the recent spate of white academics passing as African-American or Hispanic in order to promote their academic careers. Asian Americans meanwhile face actual racial discrimination in admissions at top universities including Harvard.

Negy’s legitimate commentary on the current state of race relations in America so incensed and infuriated UCF students and faculty that they sparked a Change.org petition signed by 30,000 individuals calling for his firing as well as a full-out witch-hunt to dig up dirt on the professor by any means necessary.

Because academic freedom still exists—on paper, at least—UCF could not officially fire Negy for his comments on twitter. Instead, the university launched a 7-month investigation and compiled a 244-page report which alleges that Negy “failed to report and appropriately respond to a student’s disclosure of having been sexually assaulted by one of his teaching assistants,” and that he tried to stop “students from filing complaints related to his classroom conduct.” It also claims that he “mocked students, repeatedly used profanity, and made inappropriate comments related to sexual assault during class such as telling students that there were many false rape accusations that plagued college campuses.”

Negy called the report and subsequent firing a “complete assault on free speech, the free exchange of ideas, and the principle of tenure,” stating that “UCF terminated me based on their bogus, 244-page investigative report that lists highly dubious charges that none, alone, would warrant termination, but they believe together justifies de-tenuring me and firing me.” 

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an organization which defends the First Amendment on campus, also came to Negy’s defense.


“Nobody interviews 300 people over seven months about incidents covering 15 years unless they’re desperate to find something, anything, to use against their target,” stated FIRE’s Adam Goldstein. “…UCF implemented a process calculated to find reasons to fire an employee who had offended people with this speech.” Negy is currently planning to sue UCF for defamation and for retaliation against his constitutionally protected speech.

 For its unconstitutional and ideological decision to fire a professor who exposed the blatant hypocrisy and racism fueling critical race theory, the University of Central Florida belongs on the list of America’s most racist universities.

Watch the video HERE.

 

TopTenRacistUniversities.org

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/04/top-ten-most-racist-colleges-and-universities-6-toptenracistuniversitiesorg/

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Words That Confound the Lies of the Left - David Sage

 

by David Sage

Wisdom goes beyond clever, smart, or effective. It refers to decisions that consider the full-range of outcomes to decide what will yield the greatest good for the greatest number without trampling on fundamental human rights.

There are words that both convey intelligence and likely will increase the actual intelligence of your statements because they require the nuance that is a hallmark of a thoughtful person.

Such words include, for example, probabilistic, opportunity cost, and wise. I describe them here in a contemporary context: the expanded definition of “infrastructure,” which is being used by the Biden Administration to include increased climate-change expenditures and restrictions on the public.

Probabilistic

A probabilistic analysis of the wisdom of Paris-accord-level efforts to control planetary climate requires assessing the joint probability of all of the following occurring:

  • Climate change is significantly man-made.
  • The net impact if climate change is a significant net negative, for example, that severe flooding and species degradation outweigh the benefits of colder areas becoming more arable and livable for humans, animals, and plants.
  • Sufficient global compliance with carbon restrictions, for example, that China, India, and other developing nations will stop such activities as building coal-fired power plants.
  • That naturally occurring events such as volcano eruptions don’t reduce the effect of human efforts to cut carbon emissions.
  • That the aforementioned efforts will in fact, significantly control the earth's climate.
  • That the benefits to be derived will outweigh the costs to humankind: direct dollar cost plus the indirect costs of higher prices for energy and other products, and the restrictions on human freedom. For example, government policies to not build more freeways despite population increase is turning already stressful commutes that eat time from people’s overpacked days into gridlock that restricts people from getting to work, seeing family, and discretionary travel. For example, my best friend is in his last months of life and although he lives just 15 miles from me, before COVID lightened the traffic, it was so bad that it would take me over an hour each way to see him, so we spoke only by phone.
  • That technological solutions such as safer, more portable nuclear energy won’t have ameliorated the problem before climate disaster and with less fiscal and human cost.

 

This refers to how the fiscal and human costs could otherwise be spent. Here are ways that the attempts to control the earth’s climate could otherwise be used.

  • Medical research on such scourges as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression, AIDS, and yes, COVID.
  • Reinvention of education. The U.S. spends 50 percent more per student than the average among the 35 most developed nations, yet in international comparisons is middle-of-the-pack, below, for example, my parents' home of Poland. And regarding education’s emotionally appealing claim that education is a staircase up from poverty, despite $22 trillion in 50 years of spending on compensatory education and social programs, the achievement gap remains as wide as ever. That reallocation, for example, dismantling ability grouping and programs for the gifted, has decimated efforts to serve our best and brightest, thereby reducing our society to a lower common denominator.
  • Innovation in job-creation. Heretofore, efforts have consisted mainly of job retraining programs, which have been ineffective and certainly cost-ineffective. The Biden Administration plans to create more job retraining, government jobs and other taxpayer-subsidized jobs, robbing Peter to pay Paul---The taxpayers, disproportionately people and companies with the ability to hire, will be less so. The centrality of work to a person’s ability to live decently as well as to provide meaning, demands fresh, bold attempts to increase jobs without eating our seed corn. Areas to investigate:

Create an Entrepreneurship Army: K-20 programs in ethical entrepreneurship. Jobs are sustainably created only with entrepreneurs with good ideas and the ability to execute them well. Could creating an Entrepreneurship Army be a game-changer?

Create an Assistance Army. Wealthy people know the value of hiring to free them up for activities that are more lucrative or otherwise beneficial or pleasurable. A campaign to educate the middle class about this could spur demand for, for example, personal assistants: errand doers, homework helpers for their kids, tech tutors, and elder caretakers. Those likely part-time jobs won’t pay a lot, but having two or three could yield a sustainable new living for people who otherwise are on the dole and provide meaning to their lives, while providing a valuable, ethical service to millions.

Supporters of the Biden Administration’s plan to raise taxes could argue that the increased revenue could pay for all of the following as well as to fund climate-control expenditures. A counter is that raising taxes imposes other significant costs: reduced ability of companies to invest in research and development, and of individuals’ ability to buy things. The latter would further reduce companies’ ability to hire and develop new products, from life-saving drugs to a better/cheaper smartphone. Increasing taxes also replaces people’s ability to voluntarily donate to non-profit causes they deem more beneficial than the forced donation (taxation) to attempts to control the climate.

Wise

Wisdom goes beyond clever, smart, or effective. It refers to decisions that consider the full-range of outcomes to decide what will yield the greatest good for the greatest number without trampling on fundamental human rights.

Regarding our climate-change example, considering all the preceding factors and impacts on all stakeholders would lead to a wise decision. That could be a liberal position or a conservative one. Alas, the latter is given short shrift in today’s censorious media and by the Cancel Culture. It’s the new and more virulent McCarthyism—the opposite of intelligence.

Graphic credit: Picserver  CC BYDA 3.0  license

 

To comment, you can find the MeWe post for this article here.

David Sage is a pen name

 
Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2021/04/words_that_confound_the_lies_of_the_left.html

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Israel's Fourth Election: The Longer View - Michel Gurfinkiel

 

by Michel Gurfinkiel

It is misleading to describe the Israeli parliamentary deadlock as a duel between two political blocs of equal strength.

Originally published under the title "Israel: The Longer View."

On the face of it, the latest Israeli general election, which took place on March 23, was just further confirmation of systemic political deadlock. For the fourth time in less than two years, the Knesset seems evenly divided between supporters and adversaries of Benjamin Netanyahu, and the prospects for a viable parliamentary coalition or a stable national unity administration look dim. As usual, many are blaming the country's electoral system, a system of near absolute (and nationwide) list proportional representation.

I'd like to express some dissenting views in this regard, and point to some counter-intuitive facts that should be taken into account as well.

The Knesset seems evenly divided between supporters and adversaries of Netanyahu.

Indeed, the March 23 ballot did not solve the Knesset's immediate arithmetical problems. The pro-Netanyahu bloc controls 52 seats out of 120 in the 24th Knesset—exactly as in the 23rd Knesset. And what passes for an anti-Netanyahu bloc, led by Yair Lapid, controls 39 seats. Netanyahu is likely to win the additional support of the national-conservative party, Yamina, led by Neftali Bennet, who got 7 seats, and thus to reach a 59-seat plurality. Lapid may rally the left and the far left, which grew from 7 seats to 13: He would then achieve a counter-plurality of 52. Still, one needs a majority of 61 to rule the country. The next step would be for either bloc to poach the required number of Knesset members from the opposite side; or rely on the Arab parties, which dropped from 15 seats to 10 but still hold the balance; or envision again some national unity government, along with byzantine "parity" or "rotation" arrangements.

As the president of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, suggested on March 31, "unconventional alliances" might eventually be considered. In the meantime, on April 6, he asked Netanyahu to form the new cabinet. The outgoing prime minister (still encumbered by trials for corruption) was given a statutory 28-day delay to this effect.

Now let's take the longer view.

The Netanyahu-led right clearly won the popular vote.

First fact: Whereas the election was inconclusive in terms of seats, the Netanyahu-led right clearly won in terms of the popular vote. The potential Netanyahu/Yamina alliance won 53.96 percent of the vote, while an alternative anti-Netanyahu, four-party coalition led by Lapid got only 30.9 percent. The combined left and far left won 10.68 percent, and the Arab parties 8.54 percent. The 3.25 percent threshold in votes that a list must pass to actually sit in parliament, and the corollary that "wasted votes" cast for parties who didn't make it are divided between the parties who did, explain the discrepancies between popular returns and actual Knesset seats. Technically, only the latter count. Politically, however, one cannot ignore the former entirely. All the more so when proportionality is seen as the ultimate warrant for legitimacy, as is the case in Israel. This is why some conservative leaders have been floating a bold proposal to solve the political conundrum: on an exceptional basis, a direct, quasi-presidential election of the prime minister.

Second fact: If conservatism is defined as the politics of national identity and national interest, Israel is now emerging as the most conservative nation in the democratic world. The openly conservative right (the Netanyahu bloc and Yamina) amounts to roughly one-half of the Knesset. Gideon Saar's New Hope is a splinter conservative group, whose only difference with Likud is a personal animosity toward Netanyahu. The same can be said, to a lesser degree, of Avigdor Liberman's Israel Beiteinu. One may speak, in ideological terms at least, of a potential 72-seat conservative majority. As for Lapid's Yesh Atid party and Gantz's Blue and White party, they are more liberal on social issues, but not quite so on economic or national security issues. Under certain circumstances, a conservative-centrist majority of about 100 seats in the Knesset would thus be feasible, against a 20-seat social-democratic, leftist, and Arab opposition.

Israel is now emerging as the most conservative nation in the democratic world.

Whatever the differences between the various conservative sub-groups in Israel, or the quarreling and in-fighting among conservative politicians, the present situation is a complete reversal of the left-wing domination that characterized the state's early years—say, from David Ben-Gurion to Shimon Peres—and is bound to have consequences in those sectors where the left is still entrenched, such as the media, academia, and the courts. Moreover, it may prove an inspiration for conservatives in other democratic countries, including the United States.

Third fact: It is misleading to describe the Israeli parliamentary deadlock as a duel between two political blocs of equal strength. Clearly, there is a Netanyahu bloc, since its components, Likud and the religious parties, have been running together, and have stayed loyal to each other, for twelve years. However, there is no equally consistent anti-Netanyahu bloc, but rather a succession of volatile alliances involving ephemeral, ad hoc lists. There was a Yesh Atid/left alliance in 2013 and 2015, followed by a more conservative Blue and White/Yesh Atid alliance in 2019-2020, and now by an even more conservative Yesh Atid-dominated coalition. None of the previous alliances was strong enough to lead a government majority, even with the support of the far left or the Arabs. The current alliance is not likely to do better, and may even be more remote from such an outcome since many of its members oppose any involvement with the far left or the Arab parties as a matter of principle.

The anti-Netanyahu bloc consists of volatile alliances involving ephemeral, ad hoc lists.

Why does the Netanyahu bloc hold better than any alternative bloc? Its best asset is Netanyahu himself. No Israeli politician—except Ariel Sharon—has been more intensely hated, either for rational or irrational reasons. On the other hand, no Israeli politician has achieved so much. Even die-hard opponents recognize that he has transformed Israel beyond recognition, turning it into a science and technology superpower with a booming economy (the nation's GDP grew 206 percent in the Netanyahu years), presiding over a top-notch military build-up, ensuring such strategic and diplomatic breakthroughs as the Abraham Accords, and engineering a nationwide Pfizer vaccination against COVID-19.

Netanyahu perceived at an early stage that Israeli society as a whole was moving to the right, and he was willing to capitalize on such a trend while most other politicians stuck to more static approaches. This is why the Likud's popular base remained loyal to him, in spite of the desertion of many Likud leaders. This is how he succeeded in building a lasting alliance with the ultra-Orthodox, in spite of his secular way of life, and winning the loyalty of most religious Zionists.

Fourth fact: The 2021 election signals drastic political change among Israeli Arabs. As of 2019, 21 percent of all Israeli citizens (1.9 million souls) are of Arab descent and Arabic-speaking. Under the proportional electoral regime, ethnic Arab parties might thus be able to control 20 to 25 seats in the Knesset. However, their actual returns have always been much smaller: from 11 seats in 2013 to 15 seats in 2020 to 10 seats in 2021. One reason for this underachievement is that religious and clannish loyalties often interfere with political affiliation. A second, more compelling reason is that Arab parties have been sticking until now to extreme Arab nationalist views and vowing to terminate the State of Israel as it is, thus preventing any kind of trustful interaction with the Israeli Jewish majority—and any kind of political leverage. In turn, such a stand prevents a full mobilization of the Arab vote. (The so-called "Ramadan riots" that erupted this week in Jaffa's Arab neighborhoods and other places reflect a similar miscalculation.)

The 2021 election signals drastic political change among Israeli Arabs.

In a bid to strengthen both the Arab vote and Arab representation in the Knesset, the ethnic Arab parties ran together as a Joint List from 2015 to 2020, with some arithmetic results, as noted. However, a new situation has arisen in the context of the Abraham Accords. When growing numbers of Arab states—including such flagships of modernity as the United Arab Emirates, or such paragons of Islamic piety as Saudi Arabia—claim Israel as a friend and a model, does it still make sense for Israeli Arabs to disclaim her? Ra'am, a Muslim party, drew the proper conclusion: It left the Joint List and ran alone on a platform of Jewish-Arab cooperation. For the time being, this has led to a decrease in Arab representation: The Joint List fell from 15 seats to 6, and Ra'am won 4 seats. But what if Ra'am joins a Netanyahu-led coalition, or, alternatively, supports a centrist-led coalition? (It caused a stir on April 19 when, along with the Joint List, it helped the anti-Netanyahu parties to secure control of crucial Knesset committees.) Chances are, under the new paradigm, that the Arab vote will rebound, and become a sizable factor in Israeli politics—on Israeli terms.

This is a momentous development indeed, and one that Western countries should follow closely. Liberal policies have largely failed in regard to Muslim immigration, either in Europe or in North America. Conservative policies, as long as they are genuinely conservative, may work much better.

Michel Gurfinkiel is the Founder and President of the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute, a Ginsburg-Milstein Fellow at Middle East Forum, and editor emeritus of Valeurs Actuelles.

 

Michel Gurfinkiel

Source: https://www.meforum.org/62237/israel-the-longer-view

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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Supreme Court Might Reverse Chauvin Convictions because of Maxine Waters - Alan M. Dershowitz

 

by Alan M. Dershowitz

In seeking to put her thumb on the scales of justice, Rep. Maxine Waters perhaps unwittingly borrowed a tactic right out of the Deep South of the early 20th century

  • The Minnesota appellate courts might not reverse the conviction but the United States Supreme Court well might, as they have done in other cases involving jury intimidation.

  • In seeking to put her thumb on the scales of justice, Rep. Maxine Waters perhaps unwittingly borrowed a tactic right out of the Deep South of the early 20th century.

  • In the Deep South during the 1920s and '30s, elected politicians would organize demonstrations by white voters in front of courthouses in which racially charged trials were being conducted. The politicians then threatened, explicitly or implicitly, that violence would follow the acquittal of a black defendant or the conviction of a white defendant. The U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts reversed several convictions based on these tactics of intimidation.

  • The judge in the Chauvin trial made a serious error in not sequestering the jury during the entire trial.

  • Already, we have seen blood sprayed over the former home of a witness who testified for Chauvin; the defendant's lawyers have received threats. An aura of violence is in the air. Jurors breathe that same air....

  • This is not the Deep South in the 1920s. It is the "Identity Politics" of the 21st century. But the motives of the protesters are not relevant to whether jurors in the Chauvin case could be expected to consider the evidence objectively without fear of the kind of intimidation threatened by Waters.

  • The evidence, in my view, supports a verdict of manslaughter, but not of murder. Any verdict that did not include a conviction for murder was likely to be unacceptable to Waters and her followers, however, even if the facts and the law mandate that result. Waters is not interested in neutral justice. She wants vengeance for what she and her followers justifiably see as the unjustified killing of George Floyd.... That is not the rule of law. That is the passion of the crowd.

  • We must be certain that threats of intimidation do not influence jury verdicts. That certainty does not exist now in the Chauvin case, thanks largely to the ill-advised threats and demands of Maxine Waters and others.

Pictured: National Guardsmen and other law enforcement officers stand guard outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where former police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd, on April 20, 2021. (Photo by Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

The convictions of Derek Chauvin might not mark the end of this racially divisive case. The US Supreme Court might ultimately decide whether to uphold the convictions.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) made a statement — while jurors in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin were not yet sequestered — which demanded street confrontations unless Chauvin were found guilty of murder. The trial judge correctly suggested that any conviction in the case might ultimately be thrown out on appeal, based on what Waters said. He condemned Waters' remarks in the strongest terms, but he did not have the courage to grant a defense motion for a mistrial. Had he done so, that almost certainly would have led to riots — which would have been blamed on the judge, not on Rep. Waters. So he left it to the court of appeals, months in the future, to grant a new trial -- which he should have granted.

The Minnesota appellate courts might not reverse the conviction but the United States Supreme Court well might, as they have done in other cases involving jury intimidation.

In seeking to put her thumb on the scales of justice, Rep. Waters perhaps unwittingly borrowed a tactic right out of the Deep South of the early 20th century. Though her motives and intentions were far better than those of the white southerners, the tactic is essentially the same. In the Deep South during the 1920s and '30s, elected politicians would organize demonstrations by white voters in front of courthouses in which racially charged trials were being conducted. The politicians then threatened, explicitly or implicitly, that violence would follow the acquittal of a black defendant or the conviction of a white defendant. The U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts reversed several convictions based on these tactics of intimidation.

The judge in the Chauvin trial made a serious error in not sequestering the jury during the entire trial. Instead, he merely told them not to read or watch the news. That is not nearly enough; even if the jurors scrupulously followed the judge's narrow instruction, it is inconceivable that some of them did not learn what was going on outside the courtroom from friends, family, media and TV shows that were not "the news." It is safe to assume that many if not all of the jurors were fearful — either consciously or unconsciously —that a verdict other than the one desired by Waters and her followers would result in violence that threatens them, their homes, their businesses and their families.

Already, we have seen blood sprayed over the former home of a witness who testified for Chauvin; the defendant's lawyers have received threats. An aura of violence is in the air. Jurors breathe that same air, and the guilty verdict in this case — whether deserved or undeserved — should be scrutinized carefully by the appellate courts.

This is not the Deep South in the 1920s. It is the "Identity Politics" of the 21st century. But the motives of the protesters are not relevant to whether jurors in the Chauvin case could be expected to consider the evidence objectively without fear of the kind of intimidation threatened by Waters.

Both the prosecution and the defense put on effective cases. The evidence, in my view, supports a verdict of manslaughter, but not of murder. Any verdict that did not include a conviction for murder was likely to be unacceptable to Waters and her followers, however, even if the facts and the law mandate that result. Waters is not interested in neutral justice. She wants vengeance for what she and her followers justifiably see as the unjustified killing of George Floyd.

Yet, justice is not black and white. It requires calibration, common-sense nuance and a careful evaluation of all the evidence presented by both sides. There can be no assurance that this jury was capable of rendering justice without the threatening sword of Damocles — unsheathed by Waters — hanging over their heads. That is not the rule of law. That is the passion of the crowd.

We must do a better job of insulating jurors from outside influences in racially charged cases. We must be certain that threats of intimidation do not influence jury verdicts. That certainty does not exist now in the Chauvin case, thanks largely to the ill-advised threats and demands of Maxine Waters and others.

 

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus at Harvard Law School and author of the book, Guilt by Accusation: The Challenge of Proving Innocence in the Age of #MeToo, Skyhorse Publishing, 2019. His new podcast, "The Dershow," can be seen on Spotify, Apple and YouTube. He is the Jack Roth Charitable Foundation Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17302/derek-chauvin-conviction-supreme-court

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