Friday, July 2, 2021

The Chinese Communist Party at 100 - Don Feder

 

​ by Don Feder

An anniversary to mourn.

 


Today is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party on July 1, 1921. Hold the confetti and balloons, please.

That’s 100 years and an ocean of blood.

It’s been a century of carnage: The Chinese Civil War (2.2 million dead), the Great Leap Forward (15 million to 55 million dead), the Cultural Revolution (upwards of 20 million dead), the conquest of Tibet, Tiananmen Square, the One-Child Policy (including forced abortions and sterilizations), the subjugation of Hong Kong, the Uyghurs in concentration camps (more than 1 million imprisoned since 2017), the leaky lab in Wuhan (worldwide death toll, 3.94 million and climbing).

Regarding the Peoples Barbed Wire Enclosure of China, a few things to consider:

  • The cabal in Beijing does not constitute a legitimate government. It’s a criminal gang that rules the nation by force.
     
  • The Chi Coms are inveterate liars. They promised Hong Kong  semi -autonomy for 50 years. (“One country, two systems.”) The ink was hardly dry on the accords transferring sovereignty from Britain to China, before the Red Chinese began violating it.
     
  • How can the commies get away with calling their regime the People’s Republic of China, when the people have less to do with its governance than I do with running General Motors? Easy. The Party is the Vanguard of the Proletariat. The Party is omniscient. The Party knows what’s best for the people even when they don’t know themselves, because they’re too weak or stupid to understand where their interests lie. Hence, the Party has a right and a duty to speak in the people’s name.
     
  • The Thousand Year Reich lasted for a dozen years. Officially, the Soviet Union existed for 69 years. The People’s Republic of China has been in the tyranny business for 72 years and is still going strong.
     
  • That Beijing was able to graft free-market elements to a totalitarian system has resulted in a diabolically dangerous mutation.
     
  • In their relationship with the PRC, US corporations are accomplices to genocide.
     
  • Looking for Biden and company to rein-in China is like expecting Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail to take on the Golden Horde.
     
  • In May, Whispering Joe said China “believes it will own us in 15 years.” At about the same time, he said Putin was “a killer.” Now, the Russian oligarch is a “worthy adversary.”) Biden’s take on Xi will probably evolve to “honorable competitor.”
     
  • The Chi-coms see America with a vulture’s eye. They see the U.S. rife with dissension and division. They see a president who’s barely vertical and rarely coherent. Internationally, they see a nation retreating on every front. They see a government that isn’t even able to maintain order in its largest cities. They see a nation where racial paranoia is inculcated in schools and self-hatred is taught in the military. They view us the way the schoolyard bully looks at the skinny kid with glasses and a pocket-full of lunch money.
     
  • If there is another World War, the insane territorial ambitions of Communist China (including the annexation of Taiwan), will be the catalyst.

In the 1950s, Khrushchev said he’d bury us. Xi has the grave site picked out.

 

Don Feder

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/07/chinese-communist-party-100-don-feder/

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

China’s Xi warns Taiwan on independence, sends message to West - Edward Delmarche

 

by Edward Delmarche

Xi did not mention any country by name, but the message was clearly intended for the West

Holding China accountable for COVID-19 is not a partisan issue: David Asher

President Xi Jinping on Thursday marked his Communist Party’s 100th anniversary from Tiananmen Square and struck a bellicose tone, reconfirming China’s ‘historic mission’ to control Taiwan while warning other countries not to interfere.

Bloomberg reported that Xi said that no foreign forces will ever "coerce and enslave us."

"Whoever attempts to do that, will surely break their heads on the steel Great Wall built with the blood and flesh of 1.4 billion of Chinese people," he said.

In this photo provided by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President and party leader Xi Jinping delivers a speech at a ceremony marking the centenary of the ruling Communist Party in Beijing. (Ju Peng/Xinhua via AP)

In this photo provided by China's Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President and party leader Xi Jinping delivers a speech at a ceremony marking the centenary of the ruling Communist Party in Beijing. (Ju Peng/Xinhua via AP)

Xi did not mention any country by name, but the message was clearly intended for the West, in particular the U.S. 

President Biden has made it clear that China is the biggest geopolitical challenge for the U.S. In February, he announced the formation of a Defense Department China Task Force to assess the future challenge from China; earlier this month, G7 member states agreed to an initiative aimed at challenging China’s Belt and Road Initiative. 

 

 

Bilahari Kausikan, the former Singapore senior diplomat, told CNBC on Wednesday that the Taiwan issue is the "most dangerous" flashpoint between the U.S. and China. He said he believes "nuclear deterrence" will keep the peace.

Beijing officials consistently express skepticism that Washington would act against its own interest, risking, as one Chinese general put it, Los Angeles for Taipei

— Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute

Xi called China’s commitment to unify itself with Taiwan "unshakable" and said promised "resolute action to utterly defeat any attempt toward ‘Taiwan independence.’"

The crowd cheered Xi’s comments.

Taiwan and China separated amid civil war in 1949 and China says it is determined to bring the island under its control by force if necessary. The U.S. switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, but is legally required to ensure Taiwan can defend itself and the self-governing democratic island enjoys strong bipartisan support in Washington.

Washington maintains a policy of "strategic ambiguity" when it comes to Taiwan. Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, wrote in April that White House Spokeswoman Jen Psaki tried to describe what that means.

"Our position on Taiwan remains clear. We will stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values in the Indo‐​Pacific region," she said.

He responded, "Whatever that means."

He continued, "Taiwanese officials have told me that they expect American support even if their behavior, such as a declaration of independence, triggered Chinese action. And Beijing officials consistently express skepticism that Washington would act against its own interest, risking, as one Chinese general put it, Los Angeles for Taipei."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at his confirmation hearing there is "no doubt" China poses the greatest threat of any nation to the U.S. and the Trump administration was right to take a tougher stance against the Asian power. 

"President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," said Blinken, who served as then-Vice President Biden’s national security advisor before being elevated to deputy secretary of state under Barack Obama. "Not the way he went about it in a number of ways, but the basic principle was right."

The Associated Press contributed to this report

 

Edward Delmarche is a senior news editor for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @EDeMarche.

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/world/chinas-xi-warns-countries-about-breaking-their-heads-on-the-steel-great-wall

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Ohio Dems disgrace themselves trying to keep males competing in girls’ sports - Thomas Lifson

 

​ by Thomas Lifson

Attempt to disrupt the introduction of a bill protecting girls' sports from males reveals the party's surrender to the lunatic left.

Democrats have surrendered to their lunatic left faction on defunding the police and transgenderism.  It has begun to sink in that as crime explodes in big cities, weakening the police will cost them dearly in votes — so much so that Jen Psaki, with a straight face, claimed the other day that it is Republicans who are defunding the police by voting against the massive COVID bailout bill that contained not one word about policing, but which did hand cash to local governments.

But on transgenderism, the party of science™ remains wedded to the fantasy the merely wishing it to be so can alter one's sex, so teen males should be allowed into girls' bathrooms and locker rooms, or to compete in school sports all the way to the Olympics.  (Interestingly, I have seen no signs of forcing males into the WNBA or onto the U.S. Soccer Team, where Megan Rapinoe grumbles about lower pay.)

Such polling as exists shows that strong majorities of Americans disagree with transgender sports participation.  Gallup reports that 62% of Americans want people to play on the teams of their sex, with 34% supporting "gender identity" as the factor in choosing which competition an athlete should join.  That's not quite two to one, but it is close.  And this is after several years' worth of pervasive media and activist propaganda pushing transgenderism.

That political reality means nothing to fanatics who are driven by hate.  And that's how to understand what unfolded on the floor of the Ohio state House of Representatives' legislative chamber Tuesday, when Rep. Jena Powell introduced legislation banning males from competing in girls' sports.  A number of Dems pounded on their desks and yelled in an attempt to disrupt the bill's introduction.

Two tweets show different views of the state Senate as the bill was introduced:

 
Rep. Michael Skindell attempts to disrupt the proceedings. 

 Twitter video screen grab (cropped).

It didn't work:

An amendment to protect women's sports in the Ohio House succeeded with a 54-40 vote.

Joshua Arnold of the Family Research Council describes the disgrace at the state capitol:

As State Rep. Powell began, "across our country, female athletes are currently losing scholarships, opportunities, medals, and training opportunities," Democrats began banging on desks. One man repeatedly screamed, "point of order." Powell courageously pushed through to offer the amendment despite Democrats' rude interjections. The amendment succeeded in a 54-40 vote, and the Ohio House voted 57-36 to pass Senate Bill 187 through to the Senate.

"In the two and a half years that I've been in the legislature, that was probably one of the worst outcries that we've seen. It's very rare to have something like that on the Ohio House floor," Powell said. "I can't speak for the Democrats, but I know many of the Republicans thought it was completely out of turn."

Since pre-colonial times, deliberative bodies like the Ohio House have followed basic procedures that ensure everyone gets a turn to speak. "When the Democrats speak and we disagree with them, we allow them to speak, and then you have the ability to do rebuttal on the floor. Instead, he had a childish outburst and continued doing so until the speaker cut him off," said Powell.

Powell surmised "the Left gets frustrated" and so they "speak out in ways that are very inappropriate." Even where they are dominant, it seems the Left gets frustrated by the mere fact that their opponents have freedom of speech. That's why, through controlling definitions, censoring speech platforms, and cancelling individuals, the Left is trying to vigorously curtail conservatives' freedom of speech.

I think bullying and trying to force people to accept their sisters, daughters, and female friends competing with males will backfire.  It's an ugly tactic in support of insanity.  Feminist female athletes see their own status threatened, and they are for the most part creatures of the left.  The whole transgenderism craze has been a top-down phenomenon, with institutions dominated by the left — corporations, schools and universities, and the media — pushing it.  They may bully many people into silence, but so long as voting is private, and if the vote-counters are honest (I know, I know), this commitment to madness will hurt Democrats.  Blinded by the lack of critical feedback due to their institutional dominance, they will persist in their folly.

 

 https://twitter.com/TPostMillennial/status/1409965159674638338?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1409965159674638338%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_c10&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.americanthinker.com%2Fblog%2F2021%2F07%2Fohio_dems_disgrace_themselves_trying_to_keep_biological_males_competing_in_girls_sports.html

Thomas Lifson

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2021/07/ohio_dems_disgrace_themselves_trying_to_keep_biological_males_competing_in_girls_sports.html

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Are We Nazi Germany? - Ronald E. Yates

 

by Ronald E. Yates

"It's unbelievable that Adolf Hitler was able to manipulate and control the entire German population. It just seems impossible."

I've noticed that whenever the subject of Nazi Germany is raised, someone always says something like this: "It's unbelievable that Adolf Hitler was able to manipulate and control the entire German population.  It just seems impossible."

Yet that's exactly what he did.  Yes, there were some dissenters and political foes, but they were subdued and quashed as the boundless power of the Nazi regime shut down all dissent with the use of the brown-shirted Sturmabteilung or SA, the Schutzstaffel or SS, and the dreaded Gestapo or Geheime Staatspolizei.

Perhaps a bit of context is in order here.  I spent three years in Germany with the Army Security Agency involved in SIGINT (intelligence derived from electronic signals and systems used by foreign targets).  I am fluent in German, my wife is German, I have studied German history, and I keep up with current events in the country.

Like a lot of Americans, I always assumed that America was safe from the kind of tyranny the German people experienced under the heavy hand of the Third Reich.  There is no way our federal, state, and local governments could restrain and control the American people the way Hitler and his Nazis dominated the German population, I thought.

Yet, for the past eighteen months, that's exactly what has happened in America.

A nation that always prided itself on its independence and individuality was suddenly locked down.  Travel was restricted, schools and businesses were shuttered, we were commanded to wear face masks, voting laws were altered, isolation and quarantines were mandated, and speech was censored by social and mainstream media if Big Tech oligarchs judged what was said or written as "misinformation."

It didn't stop there.  A public health emergency was declared, borders were closed, and large gatherings were forbidden — including church attendance, funerals, and weddings.

In short, civil liberties that Americans had always taken for granted were suspended by those in power, just as the Nazis rescinded the rights of the German people, including a free press guaranteed by Germany's Weimar Republic (1918 to 1933).  The German press quickly complied with its new masters.

Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany's Minister of Propaganda, had no use for a free press and once said, "Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play."

Alter that quote a little, and you have a passage more relevant to American social media today: "Think of social and mainstream media as a great keyboard on which Big Tech oligarchs can play."

Big Tech in the United States is following another Goebbels maxim: "Not every item of news should be published.  Rather, those who control news policies should endeavor to make every item of news serve a certain purpose."

We know what that "certain purpose" is.

During Biden's socialist regime, the legacy media's goal is to promote socialist policies and protect our feckless president from all criticism — the same objective that Goebbels was tasked with during Adolf Hitler's reign.

No doubt Goebbels would be proud of America's Big Tech oligarchs.  They are performing the same tasks in 2021 America that Goebbels performed during the 12 years of the Third Reich.

Instead of opposing restrictions on our First Amendment rights, which guarantees five basic freedoms (religion, speech, the press, the right to assemble, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances), millions of panicked Americans were quick to acknowledge and tolerate these new restrictions of their civil rights.  The media declined to investigate the pandemic, its source, its causes, and its severe impact — especially on young children and the elderly.  Instead, our media spent most of the pandemic refusing to look at China as the cause and source of the COVID-19 virus, choosing to pillory President Trump for daring even to suggest that China might be culpable.  Today, we are learning (much to the chagrin of the media) that Trump was probably right.  The virus came from a Wuhan, China lab and not from a flying rodent.

As was the case in Nazi Germany, American K–12 schoolchildren and students in universities are being indoctrinated with political dogma from socialist organizations like Black Lives Matter.  Curricula are filled with the bogus and deceptive Critical Race Theory and the debunked and fallacious 1619 Project.  Those who don't adhere to the dogma are ostracized, canceled, and even fired from teaching positions.

In 1930s socialist Germany (Yes, folks, the Nazis were socialists.  Nazi stands for "Nationalsozialist" or National Socialism), the Nazis went even farther.  They sent educators, religious leaders, and political opponents to concentration camps like Dachau.  They encouraged supporters to take to the streets to harass and assault Nazi opposition.  It was a winning tactic because few Germans dared oppose armed mobs of brownshirts who were never arrested or prosecuted for their assaults on people or property.

Sound familiar?  Remember Black Lives Matter and Antifa in places like Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, and New York City?  They are still burning and looting.

"Whoever can conquer the street will one day conquer the state, for every form of power politics and any dictatorship-run state has its roots in the street," Goebbels once said.  "Total dominance is the goal."

In Germany, it was one-party dominance that put the state at the summit of the political and social lives of the German people.  History was rewritten, free speech was suppressed, books were banned, people's lives were monitored, and religion was ridiculed and stifled in favor of the secular nation.

Today, Democrats in Congress talk about banning or outlawing the Republican Party — or at least those Republicans and independents who supported and voted for Donald Trump or who refused to follow government decrees and diktats during the pandemic.

Others are quick to support the lockdowns and suspension of civil rights.

"This pandemic is a 'black swan event,' one without modern precedent," opined Harvard Law professor Charles Fried.  "Most people are worried about restrictions on meetings — that's freedom of association.  And about being made to stay in one place, which I suppose is a restriction on liberty.  But none of these liberties is absolute; they can all be abrogated for compelling grounds.  And in this case, the compelling ground is the public health emergency."

I'm not buying it.

What we have experienced in the United States since January 2020 has been a gross overreach of state and national power — the domination of individual freedoms never before seen in this country.

Where were the resisters, the "anti-Nazis"?

In Nazi Germany, Jews were portrayed as a public health menace, vermin to be exterminated.  The monthly magazine Neues Volk, published by Germany's "Office of Racial Policy," argued that all Jews suffered from "hereditary illness" and that each Jew cost German taxpayers and the community 60,000 Reich Marks over the course of a single lifetime.  Lists of Jews were compiled in every German town and city, and today we know that millions were rounded up and murdered.

There are troubling parallels to that kind of thinking in America today as examples of anti-Semitism escalate day after day, mostly from a left that supports Palestinian causes and terrorist tactics but maintains a visceral hatred toward Israel.

Democrat members of Congress have taken that kind of political and social "cleansing" even farther, insisting that Republicans, conservatives, and anybody who supported or supports Donald Trump should be sent to "re-education camps" and "deprogrammed."

Democrat Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other leftist Democrats insist that "lists" should be made of all Trump supporters so they can be "ostracized and otherwise punished."  Keeping "enemies" lists was a favorite tactic of the Gestapo.  Thank you, AOC, for reintroducing this insidious tool to Congress.

But Democrats didn't stop there.  Michael Beller, principal counsel for the tax-supported Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), said in a video that the children of supporters of President Donald Trump should be seized and placed in "re-education camps."

"We should go for all the Republican voters, and Homeland Security will take their children away, and we'll put [Trump-supporters' children] into re-education camps," Beller said in the video.

Beller must have been listening to Adolf Hitler, who, in 1933 said this about children: "If the older generation cannot get accustomed to us, we shall take their children away from them and rear them as needful to the Fatherland."

Is this the state of our nation today?

We are a country divided politically and socially into warring tribes: Democrats vs. Republicans, liberals vs. conservatives, minorities (brown, black, and yellow people) vs. whites, victims vs. oppressors, communities "of color" vs. police, the "haves" vs. the "have nots," socialists vs. capitalists.

All that's left is for Americans on opposing sides to arm themselves and commence slaughtering one another because of conflicting political and social opinions or skin color.  Wouldn't China, Russia, and America's other enemies just love that?

In 1920s Germany, it was Hitler's brownshirts attacking the feeble Weimar Republic — Germany's first experiment with democracy.  It was a growing Communist Party vs. a nascent Nazi Party.  But after 1932, when Hitler and the Nazis gained power, Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, and political opponents were rounded up and sent to concentration camps.

Is this the "Endlösung" (final solution) that some socialists, radical leftists, and Democrats are proposing for America's Republican Party, conservatives, and Trump supporters?

Are we headed for a one-party socialist political system in which we allow our rights to be suspended indefinitely, the way we did for the past 18 months?

After millions of courageous Americans went to war in World War II and more than 500,000 made the ultimate sacrifice fighting fascism, are we going to roll over and accept domination by a few elite socialists and leftist Democrats who are convinced they should remain in power ad infinitum?  Are the American people going to submit to the Big Tech oligarchs, the corrupt and compliant media, and the socialist elites in Washington and allow their rights to be trampled and obliterated?

Are we becoming Nazi Germany?

 

Ronald E. Yates is a U.S. Army veteran, author, former Chicago Tribune foreign correspondent, and professor and dean emeritus of journalism at the University of Illinois.  His website: http://www.ronaldyatesbooks.com.

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2021/07/are_we_nazi_germany.html

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Biden Administration: Rewarding the Murderous Regime of Iran? - Majid Rafizadeh

 

by Majid Rafizadeh

The Biden administration truly needs to halt talks with the Iranian regime, stop appeasing the ruling mullahs, impose sanctions and hold the Iranian regime accountable for handpicking a mass murderer to be the next president, and most likely, the next Supreme Leader of Iran.

  • "I told judges not to write death sentences for girls. This is what I said. But they perverted my words and quoted me as saying: Don't execute girls. First marry them for one night and then execute them." — Grand Ayatollah Hussain-Ali Montazeri, theologian and human rights activist, in his diaries.

  • The Biden administration should understand that Ebrahim Raisi is an extremely dangerous man partially because, from his perspective, anyone who criticizes the Islamic Republic or protests against it is rising against God and his representatives on earth. Whatever his regime does is presumed to be fully justified and rewarded by God because the Islamic Republic is a divine political establishment and all its actions are enforcing God's will on earth.

  • The Biden administration truly needs to halt talks with the Iranian regime, stop appeasing the ruling mullahs, impose sanctions and hold the Iranian regime accountable for handpicking a mass murderer to be the next president, and most likely, the next Supreme Leader of Iran.

The next president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, is known in his country as "The Butcher." He was a member of the "Death Commission" which, according to Amnesty International, "forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed in secret thousands of political dissidents" and sent thousands to their deaths, often "without a shred of due process." Raisi is extraordinarily unpopular among the Iranian people. (Photo by Mohsen Esmaeilzadeh/ISNA News Agency/AFP via Getty Images)

The Biden administration's attempts to appease the ruling mullahs of Iran do not seem to have an end. A few days after the Iranian regime handpicked a mass murderer to be its next president -- in a blow to the Iranian people and advocates of democracy and human rights -- the Biden administration is rewarding the regime. The US announced that it is now considering lifting sanctions against Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The Biden administration should instead halt negotiations with the Iranian regime and open an investigation into the next president of Iran -- Ebrahim Raisi who, in addition, is likely to be the next Supreme Leader of Iran. This mullah, known in Iran as "The Butcher," was a member of the "Death Commission" which, according to Amnesty International, "forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed in secret thousands of political dissidents" and sent thousands to their deaths, often "without a shred of due process." Raisi is extraordinarily unpopular among the Iranian people, who, apparently amid calls to boycott the elections, largely refused to vote.

The Biden administration should not disregard Raisi's crimes against humanity and his role in the massacre of tens of thousands of political prisoners. In a matter of approximately two months, reportedly 30,000 political prisoners, some of whom participated in the 1979 revolution that subsequently led to the rise of the mullahs to power, were executed in a hasty manner.

In one of the largest mass purges of dissidents in the world, some political prisoners were lined up before a firing squad while others were executed through hanging. There were no trials and many even did not know that they were going to be killed until a few minutes before their executions.

Those who were executed were buried in mass graves without informing their families about their fate or whereabouts. The mass massacre shocked the nation of Iran; many families still do not know where their loved ones are buried.

Girls, pregnant women and children were among those executed. Women were reportedly raped in front of their husbands or brothers. Virgin girls were also reportedly raped to prevent them from going to heaven. The late Hussain-Ali Montazeri -- one of the founding fathers of the Islamic Republic, as well as a human rights activist, an Islamic theologian and the designated successor to the Islamic revolution's first Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, until the very last moments of Khomeini's life -- wrote:

"I told judges not to write death sentences for girls. This is what I said. But they perverted my words and quoted me as saying: Don't execute girls. First marry them for one night and then execute them".

What is also shocking is that Raisi is proud of his role in the mass executions. When asked about the massacre, he pointed out that he should actually be applauded for his actions:

"Everything I've done in my time of holding office has been to defend human rights. If a legal expert, a judge or a prosecutor has defended the rights of people and the security of the society, he must be lauded and encouraged for preserving the security of people against assaults and threats."

Another member of the "Death Commission," Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, echoed the same message when he boasted that he was proud to "carry out God's will and he has not lost sleep over what he did [in the mass execution of political prisoners]."

The Biden administration should understand that Ebrahim Raisi is an extremely dangerous man partially because, from his perspective, anyone who criticizes the Islamic Republic or protests against it is rising against God and his representatives on earth. Whatever his regime does is presumed to be fully justified and rewarded by God because the Islamic Republic is a divine political establishment and all its actions are enforcing God's will on earth.

It is also worth noting that Ebrahim Raisi was also the head of the judiciary of Iran when about 1,500 people, including teenagers and hundreds of women, were killed and many were arrested, imprisoned and tortured during widespread protests in 2019.

The Biden administration truly needs to halt talks with the Iranian regime, stop appeasing the ruling mullahs, impose sanctions and hold the Iranian regime accountable for handpicking a mass murderer to be the next president, and most likely, the next Supreme Leader of Iran.

 

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US foreign policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17510/biden-administration-rewarding-iran

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Is the Supreme Court gaslighting us? - John Green

 

by John Green

The Supreme Court justices find themselves in this fix because they’ve forgotten the first rule of holes: "When you find yourself in a hole — stop digging."

George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley has posited that recent unanimous Supreme Court rulings may be the Court sending a message to politicians.  Facing threats to pack the Supreme Court and calls for Justice Stephen Breyer to resign, Turley believes that the Court is making a rare show of unity.  Apparently, the logic is that if they show they're not ideological (I know, don't laugh), the Democrats will understand that packing the Court won't make any difference.  They're trying to validate Chief Justice John Roberts's claim that there are no "Obama judges" or "Trump judges."

There's just one problem: the Supreme Court is both political and ideological, and everyone knows it.  Trying to gaslight everyone now is asking us to ignore fifty years of bad behavior.  Good luck with that.

The reality is that the Court is in trouble.  It is no longer trusted to be unbiased.  The justices are belatedly learning that a referee who isn't faithful to the rules also lacks the authority to control the game — as that authority is granted by the players.  The justices find themselves in a predicament that was created by themselves and their predecessors.

Literal interpretation of the Constitution would have been easy and noncontroversial.  It's the philosophy that originalist justices subscribe to.  Had we stayed out of the world of penumbras and emanations, most rulings would have been unanimous.  After all, the document says what it says. 

The Court's caseload would be substantially lighter.  Everybody can read the Constitution and would know in advance how the Court would be likely to rule on any given subject.  Their rulings would be predictable, and hence noncontroversial.  It wouldn't matter if a justice's leanings are conservative or liberal.  The Constitution says what it says.  If it needs to change, it's someone else's job to change it.

Instead, the Court decided to go down the creative interpretation road.  Either through hubris or shortsightedness, the justices granted themselves the power to find things in the Constitution that aren't actually written in it.  Their logic became mysterious and their rulings unpredictable.  Creative interpretation inevitably allowed personal biases to creep into the court's rulings.

And just like that, the justices became political players.  Suddenly, the personal ideology of a Supreme Court justice became critical, and appointments became contentious.  That put us on the proverbial "slippery slope."

After fifty years of creativity, the Court has discovered all kinds of things hidden in the Constitution.

  • A right to privacy
  • A right to abortion
  • A right to dignity (whatever that means)
  • A right to same-sex "marriage"
  • The federal government can regulate commerce within a state (not just between states)
  • Municipalities can seize private property to give to another private party
  • The federal government can order us to buy products from private companies

Because of what they can "discover" in the Constitution, the ideology of individual justices has become so important that managing the makeup of the bench has become a primary political objective.  The Democrats even want to add more justices to the Court (pack it) to affect its ideological leanings in their favor.  Put bluntly, the players aren't abiding by the referee anymore.  They're seeking ways to manage the referee's biases.

The politicians want to control the Supreme Court, and the population has lost respect for it.  There's even an amendment movement afoot to impose term limits on Supreme Court justices.  The reality is that if justices are going to be political players, the citizenry needs a way to remove them.  Yup — the Supreme Court is in trouble, and it brought it upon itself.

If unanimous rulings are the Court's attempt to defend itself, it's a mighty impotent way to do it.  If the current nine justices demonstrate that they'll stick together, the Democrats will just add ten more justices to the bench.  I'm sure President Asterisk can find ten leftists who will creatively find everything the Democrats think should be included in the Constitution — think Justice Sanders or Justice Ocasio-Cortez.

Their attempt to defend the court with this strategy will fail because they are continuing to do precisely what landed them in this predicament.  They took an oath to defend the Constitution.  But instead, they're trying to defend the Court.  They've forgotten that the court's legitimacy comes from the Constitution.  Once the Constitution is rendered meaningless, so is the Court, and so are they.

If the justices want to defend the Supreme Court, they need to defend the Constitution first — and they've made that a most difficult task.  They need to apply the Constitution as written and defer changes to the amendment process.  They need to welcome opportunities to defend the Constitution — rather than finding creative ways to avoid getting involved (hello, election 2020).

The Supreme Court justices find themselves in this fix because they've forgotten the first rule of holes: "When you find yourself in a hole — stop digging."  Unfortunately, they're still digging — unanimously.

Image: Collection of the Supreme Court.

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

 

John Green is a political refugee from Minnesota, now residing in Star, Idaho.  He is a retired engineer with forty years of experience in the areas of product development, quality assurance, organizational development, and corporate strategic planning.  He currently writes at the American Free News Network (americanfreenewsnetwork.org).  He can be followed on Facebook or reached at greenjeg@gmail.com.

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2021/07/is_the_supreme_court_gaslighting_us.html

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Giuliani's Suspension: Questionable Statements, But Not by Him - John O'Connor

 

by John O'Connor

A travesty of justice here.

On motion by an Attorney Grievance Committee, a New York Appellate Court suspended Rudy Giuliani, a member of President Donald Trump's personal legal team, from the practice of law for making supposedly false claims about the 2020 U.S. presidential election.  Most of the public will read headlines and short articles about the foregoing and assume that Giuliani was proven to a court's satisfaction to have knowingly lied.  But upon closer examination of the ruling by the New York appellate court, we see clearly questionable statements — not by Giuliani, but about him.

What was bizarre about this ruling, especially to any experienced lawyer, is that Giuliani was suspended before it was even determined preliminarily that an investigation of him should be opened.  The court disqualified Giuliani on an emergency ad hoc basis, implicating Trump's Sixth Amendment right to counsel and Giuliani's First Amendment right to free speech.  The court's ruling also does not find problematic the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, requiring a due process hearing before any deprivation of a right, privilege, or property interest.

So what justified this pre-hearing, pre-investigation suspension, based on conduct not even remotely involving the State of New York?  The court was concerned that Giuliani might cast doubt on the legitimacy of the duly elected president, Joseph R. Biden, a claimed legitimacy the court repeated to distraction.  The ruling claims that Giuliani's "false statements intended to foment a loss of confidence in our elections and resulting loss of confidence in government generally."  Moreover, Giuliani "tarnishes the reputation of the entire legal profession" besides "the falsehoods themselves caus[ing] harm."  After all, we would not want the trusting public to think some lawyers are sleazy; that our government would lie; or, horrors, that a local urban government would be incompetent.

What is so shockingly dangerous to the public about Giuliani's words?  Hold on to your hats. 

To set up one of Giuliani's main outrages, we offer preface regarding the slight nuances between a fraud claim and an allegation of fraudulent conduct.  Often a legal complaint pleads a fraud claim, which must be pleaded with "particularity."  But many other claims have allegations of fraudulent conduct as part of the underlying basis.  For example, claims of real estate broker malpractice may be based upon fraudulent statements, whether a separate claim of fraud is made or not.  Same with trade secret, patent, unfair competition, and even breach of contract claims.  So an allegation of fraudulent conduct is not the same as a claim of fraud.  Easily understood, right?  Apparently not by a court that may not have wished to understand it.

In the Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Boockvar (Boockvar) case in Pennsylvania on behalf of President Trump, Giuliani had filed a complaint with two claims: 1) poll-watching or "canvasser" fraud and 2) lack of equal protection as between "red" and "blue" polling places.  The Equal Protection claim was based in part on the allegations about fraudulent conduct by the poll-watchers and canvassers.

Shortly before a court hearing in Boockvar, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the "canvasser" fraud claim was not legally cognizable.  So Giuliani's team quickly filed an amended complaint removing the canvasser fraud claim but keeping in all the allegations of fraudulent conduct in support of the equal protection claim.  So the equal protection claim with allegations of fraudulent conduct all stayed exactly as it had been in the original complaint.  If you easily understand this, you are likely a step ahead of the New York appellate court.

The order quotes Giuliani's forthright, and correct, response to the court that the Equal Protection claim incorporated the fraudulent "canvasser" conduct:

THE COURT: So, it's correct to say then that you're not alleging fraud in the amended complaint?

RESPONDENT: No, Your Honor, it is not, because we incorporate by reference in 150 all of the allegations that precede it, which include a long explanation of a fraudulent, fraudulent process, a planned fraudulent process.

THE COURT: So, you are alleging fraud?

RESPONDENT: Yes, Your Honor.

Per the above explanation, Giuliani truthfully noted through the incorporation by reference that the amended complaint was alleging a "fraudulent process."  Then the court asked Giuliani if he was making a claim of fraud, which must be pleaded with particularity:

THE COURT: So, the amended complaint — does the amended complaint plead fraud with particularity?

RESPONDENT: No, Your Honor.  And it doesn't plead fraud.  It pleads the — it pleads the plan or scheme that we lay out in 132 to 149 without characterizing it.

So Giuliani truthfully said he was not pleading a claim of fraud.  It was clear, in any case, from the amended complaint, which did not have in it a fraud claim (but did incorporate allegations of a fraudulent process).  Anyone could read that the fraud claim had been dropped from the original complaint to the amended complaint.  But not according to the New York appellate court:

Respondent repeatedly represented to the court that his client, the Plaintiff, was pursuing a fraud claim when indisputably it was not.  Respondent's client had filed an amended complaint before the November 17, 2020 appearance in which the only remaining claim asserted was a equal protection claim not based on fraud at all[.]

There are two problems with this finding by the court.  First, Giuliani never said he was "pursuing a fraud claim."  That is a misstatement by the court.  Secondly, the court said the Equal Protection claim was "not based on fraud at all."  That was also untrue because Giuliani made clear that the long process of fraudulent conduct was incorporated by reference in the Equal Protection claim.  So these statements by the court, not the statements by Giuliani, are untrue and confuse the public.

What is doubly disingenuous about this finding by the court is that both sets of counsel made it abundantly clear that the plaintiff was asserting no claim of fraud,  which the court duly notes:

After opposing counsel pointed out, and Respondents (Trump's) own co-counsel agreed, that the  Plaintiff had asserted no claims of fraud[.]

Clearly, the Court in Boockvar was not misled.

To buttress the ferocious defense of Biden's legitimacy, the court characterized former attorney general William Barr's election investigation, saying he found "there was nothing showing that the outcome of the election would be different."

But in making that statement, this court, which criticized Giuliani for not including all facts pertinent to his claims, omitted the following position of Barr, as ably presented by the Washington Post:

In an interview with the Associated Press, Barr endeavored to make clear that whatever disputes Trump might have with the election, the Justice Department is not the appropriate institution to resolve them.  The department, he said, examines crimes, while state and local officials audit voting results.  "There's a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a fix-all and people don't like something they want the Department of Justice to come in and investigate," he said.  

Even more surprisingly, the court also sanctioned Giuliani for opining that with approximately five million illegal aliens in Arizona, some percentage of them likely voted.  This is a commonsense inference, especially since it is likely that many illegal aliens do not understand that they cannot vote, and language difficulties may lead them to be registered, even if they do not intend to break the law.

But Giuliani had more than logical inferences backing up his statements.  Arizona state senator Kelly Townsend had collected evidence, as the appellate court noted, and Giuliani's team also knew of numerous Arizona witnesses and anecdotes.  So wouldn't this establish a "good faith" defense that Giuliani had a basis for his free speech claim?  Not according to the New York appellate court, which based its suspension in part on Giuliani's not producing, prior to any open investigation, the full Arizona case, not merely a sworn statement that the evidence exists in the possession of a reputable Arizona state senator.    

Thus, an ex-president has lost his chief lawyer mainly for the sin of casting doubt on the legitimacy of Joseph R. Biden as a duly elected president,  an issue of great public importance.

Ironically, a close examination of this extremely unfair opinion reveals it to be very much like a court ruling to be expected from a less developed, authoritarian country, and it lends strength, not weakness, to questions about our last election. 

 

John D. O'Connor is a former federal prosecutor and the San Francisco attorney who represented W. Mark Felt during his revelation as Deep Throat in 2005.  O'Connor is the author of the book Postgate: How the Washington Post Betrayed Deep Throat, Covered Up Watergate, and Began Today's Partisan Advocacy Journalism and the host of the new podcast series The Mysteries of Watergate.

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2021/07/giulianis_suspension_questionable_statements_but_not_by_him.html

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Germany's Ban of the Hamas Flag: "A Superficial Measure" - Soeren Kern

 

by Soeren Kern

"Wherever anti-Semites appear, politicians and the media try to place them in the right-wing camp, although time and again it is declared leftists who incite against Israel and urge others not to 'buy from the Jews.'

  • German lawmakers said that banning the Hamas flag was aimed at sending "a clear signal" of support "to our Jewish citizens." Others, however, dismissed the ban as an empty gesture aimed at silencing critics of the German government's pro-Islamist foreign policy ahead of upcoming federal elections this September.

  • "A ban on flags remains a superficial measure if the structures of the associations and parties concerned are not or only insufficiently affected." — Alex Feuerherdt, Mena Watch

  • "What we have been experiencing in Germany for some time testifies to deep-seated Muslim anti-Semitism. One would have therefore wished that politics would have been active as early as 2015." — Ramin Peymani, German-Iranian author

  • "Wherever anti-Semites appear, politicians and the media try to place them in the right-wing camp, although time and again it is declared leftists who incite against Israel and urge others not to 'buy from the Jews.' The political lie of mostly right-wing extremist anti-Semitism was told so often that at some point no one raised an objection." — Ramin Peymani, German-Iranian author

  • "Political leaders in Europe are only gradually waking up from their multicultural daydreams. However, this is less based on the mature realization that one's own policy has failed, rather than due to the pressure of voters who fear for their prosperity and security." — Ramin Peymani, German-Iranian author

  • Germany's ban of Hamas flags follows a well-established pattern of announcing half-hearted measures to tackle radical Islam in Germany. In particular, the German government has a long track record of hypocrisy on Israel and the Jewish people.

The German Parliament has amended Germany's Criminal Code to ban the flag of Hamas, the terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip. Pictured: The German Parliament in session on June 24, 2021 in Berlin . (Photo by Tobias Schwarz/AFP via Getty Images)

The German Parliament has amended Germany's Criminal Code to ban the flag of Hamas, the terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip.

The move comes after the green and white flags of Hamas, which seeks the destruction of Israel, featured prominently at pro-Palestinian rallies across Germany during the Gaza conflict in May. Some of those rallies ended in anti-Semitic violence in German cities and towns.

German lawmakers said that banning the Hamas flag was aimed at sending "a clear signal" of support "to our Jewish citizens." Others, however, dismissed the ban as an empty gesture aimed at silencing critics of the German government's pro-Islamist foreign policy ahead of upcoming federal elections this September.

Some opposition lawmakers said that if the German government was truly serious about tackling Muslim anti-Semitism in Germany, it would completely ban not only Hamas, but all the anti-Jewish Islamist groups freely operating in the country.

On June 24-25, the Bundesrat, the upper house of the German Parliament, ratified changes to Section 86 of the Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch) that were approved by the Bundestag, the lower house of Parliament, on June 22. The amended law bans the display of symbols (Kennzeichen, defined as flags, badges, uniforms, slogans and forms of greeting) of groups designated as terrorist organizations by the European Union. Previously, only symbols of organizations proscribed by Germany had been banned.

The new law does not specifically mention Hamas by name, and effectively bans the symbols of all 21 entities currently on the EU's terrorism list, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Hezbollah, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) — and the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The flag ban, a brainchild of Chancellor Angela Merkel's chosen successor, Armin Laschet, was initially opposed by the Social Democratic Party (SPD) on the grounds that it would be unconstitutional, but with federal elections scheduled for September 26, the members of Germany's governing coalition — which includes Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the SPD — eventually reached an agreement.

In an interview with Die Welt, CDU lawmaker Thorsten Frei said:

"We do not want the flags of terrorist organizations to be waved on German soil. I am very pleased that the SPD has joined our initiative. In doing so, we are sending a clear signal to our Jewish citizens."

Flag Ban Does Not Go Far Enough

The Free Democrats (FDP), a classical liberal opposition party, countered that a flag ban was woefully insufficient; it called for a complete ban of Hamas in Germany. In an interview with Augsburger Allgemeine, FDP lawmaker Benjamin Strasser explained:

"The statutory standardization in criminal law of a flag ban by the CDU/CSU and the SPD only distracts from their own failures in the fight against terrorist organizations. After the government for years refused to ban Hezbollah from operating on German soil, the Federal Minister of the Interior apparently does not see himself, even with a crystal-clear terrorist organization like Hamas, in a position to ban its activities in Germany."

Writing for the Vienna-based Mena Watch, analyst Alex Feuerherdt warned that the Hamas flag ban would remain a "superficial measure" if the terrorist group's capacity to raise money in Germany was not affected:

"As much as it is to be welcomed if the anti-Jewish Hamas flag is no longer allowed to be displayed, the question also arises as to whether this would not primarily be a matter of literal symbolism politics (Symbolpolitik)....

"There can be no question that it is unbearable when the symbols of organizations are displayed at rallies that want nothing but death to Jews in general, and to the Jewish state in particular. However, a ban on flags remains a superficial measure if the structures of the associations and parties concerned are not or only insufficiently affected.

"In early May, Interior Minister Seehofer banned the Islamist organization Ansaar International, whose fundraising also benefited Hamas. In fact, the network of associations and initiatives that collect, unhindered, millions of euros in Germany for Hamas, is far larger, as reported by Der Spiegel....

"Meanwhile, it is telling how quite a few leftists from the anti-racist and supposedly pro-Palestinian camp complain when it comes to the Hamas flag and its ban.

"It is objected, for example, that the Shahada (the Islamic creed that appears on the Hamas flag) can also be found on other, similar flags — such as that of Saudi Arabia — which for this reason can hardly be distinguished from that of Hamas. According to them, it is simply a creed and thus a religious message that is not only claimed by Hamas. A ban sends the wrong signal and also hits Muslims who do not agree with Hamas.

"The question of which organizations and associations, like fundamentalist Saudi Arabia, literally write an Islamic creed on the flag and use it as a political symbol, on the other hand, is rarely asked by such leftists.

"The answer is illuminating: In addition to Hamas, it also includes Hezbollah, the Taliban, Al-Qaida, Boko Haram, Hezb-ut-Tahrir, Al-Shabab and Al-Nusra — all of them terrorist organizations. The 'Islamic State' should also be mentioned, so this is by no means just about a religious message.

"Flags with the Shahada were often seen at the anti-Israel demonstrations in May. Given that so many anti-Semitic and Islamist organizations have made this creed a central part of their symbolism, shouldn't leftists feel the need to distance themselves?

"And even if it were only about a religious statement: Wasn't criticism of religion one of the most distinguished tasks of the left? Why does one ignore it when it comes to Islamist manifestations directed against Israel? Because you secretly agree with it?

"A ban on the Hamas flag would, if rigorously enforced, make the symbol of an anti-Semitic terrorist organization disappear from the streets. The problem, however, is clearly wider. Hamas' infrastructure in Germany would also have to be touched, otherwise a ban on flags is of limited use. After all, Hamas will not simply disband just because you can no longer see its symbols."

In another essay titled, "Symbolism Politics Against a Symbol," Feuerherdt noted that the flag of Hezbollah, the Iran-backed, Lebanese-based terrorist group, is also banned in Germany, but that German police are often reluctant to enforce the ban, either due to fear or because of political correctness:

"A ban on the Hamas flag would, above all, be symbolism politics (Symbolpolitik). After all, during the marches on the anti-Semitic al-Quds day in Berlin, the police were ordered to prevent the flying of flags of the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah. However, the police did not consistently enforce this — either due to unwillingness or inability."

The German-Iranian author Ramin Peymani, in an essay — "Muslim Anti-Semitism: What's the Point of Banning the Hamas Flag?" — wrote that the ban on the Hamas flag is a reluctant recognition by Germany's political class that the anti-Semitism problem in modern Germany is an self-inflicted problem:

"The Bundestag acts. Finally, the use of symbols of terrorist organizations is also being banned in Germany. The trigger was Palestinian marches in the spring, during which anti-Semitic hatred was openly revealed. In order not to be misunderstood: The right to demonstrate is a valuable asset and one can of course criticize Israel's settlement policy. What we have been experiencing in Germany for some time, however, testifies to deep-seated Muslim anti-Semitism. One would have therefore wished that politics would have been active as early as 2015.

"For far too long, German politics has watched the Muslim hatred of Israel and the Jews spread more and more aggressively. Now the federal government can no longer turn a blind eye to reality. There is no thriving coexistence with hatred if you ignore it. With all sorts of diversionary maneuvers, those responsible had tried for years to define hatred and agitation unilaterally. But since the spring, as tens of thousands of Muslims have been shouting their hatred of Jews on Germany's streets and burned Israeli flags, the pressure had steadily grown to act.

"Wherever anti-Semites appear, politicians and the media try to place them in the right-wing camp, although time and again it is declared leftists who incite against Israel and urge others not to 'buy from the Jews.' The political lie of mostly right-wing extremist anti-Semitism was told so often that at some point no one raised an objection. It was followed by the next anti-Semitism lie after 2015 [when Chancellor Merkel allowed into the country more than a million mostly Muslim migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East]. The hatred of Jews was rekindled, sharper than ever before in the history of the Federal Republic. And again, the political-media cartel did not want to name the reasons.... In the end, politics failed because of the facts. It could no longer deny reality....

"The green and white flag of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas...is the most visible symbol of anti-Israel marches. In future, not only the use of symbols of unconstitutional organizations but also the use of symbols of terrorist organizations will be prohibited. The move will not be without consequences for the police crime statistics: "While anti-Semitism has so far been attributed almost exclusively to right-wing extremists...the criminal acts of radical Muslims are now more clearly visible — provided they are recorded as meticulously as was previously the case for right-wing extremism.

"However, it will probably continue to be the case that anyone who writes 'Kill all Jews' on the wall is generally listed as a right-wing extremist.... The extension of Section 86a of the Criminal Code can only be a first step on the way to not only adequately recording the hatred of radical Muslims against those of different faiths, but also to punish them accordingly. Islam experts like Constantin Schreiber have been documenting for years that — tolerated by politicians — parallel societies have established themselves that will not be satisfied with the extermination of Israel....

"One should be curious about the voting behavior of the left-wing camp, which sometimes lacks the willingness to demarcate itself from radical Islam. There is not only a lack of critical distance to Islam. Political leaders in Europe are only gradually waking up from their multicultural daydreams. However, this is less based on the mature realization that one's own policy has failed, rather than due to the pressure of voters who fear for their prosperity and security....

"The fact that they will soon no longer be able to live out their hatred of Israel and the Jews in Germany, which has been handed down over generations, as unabashedly as before, will be an enormous powder keg. How politics reacts to this foreseeable conflict will define which way our society is going. The litmus test of the new political approach to radical Islam is yet to come."

Merkel's Hypocrisy

Germany's ban of Hamas flags follows a well-established pattern of announcing half-hearted measures to tackle radical Islam in Germany. In particular, the German government has a long track record of hypocrisy regarding Israel and the Jewish people.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly stated that Israel's security is an essential part of Germany's Staatsräson (reason of state), and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas frequently reiterated that, "I entered politics because of Auschwitz," a reference to the largest German Nazi concentration camp.

At the same time, Merkel's government has consistently pursued one of the most staunchly pro-Iran foreign policies in the European Union. Iran is, of course, committed to the destruction of Israel.

Moreover, Germany's long-time ambassador to the UN, Christoph Heusgen, has repeatedly singled out Israel for condemnation at the United Nations.

In December 2019, Merkel's government proudly announced (here and here) that it had "banned" Hezbollah, the Iran-backed, Lebanon-based Shiite terrorist group, from operating in Germany. Eighteen months later, however, the group's presence in Germany has emerged stronger than ever.

Merkel has also refused to ban the Turkish Grey Wolves, Germany's largest right-wing extremist group, apparently out of a fear of angering Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

In a recent editorial, the veteran German commentator on EU affairs, Wolfgang Münchau, wrote that Angela Merkel is the "most over-rated politician of our time." He explained:

"Angela Merkel is a political operator of the highest caliber. But she has never been a strategic actor, except in respect of her own position. This is why the most absurd thing that has ever been said about her was the accolade of leader of the western world. Last week, she was not even a leader of the EU when she failed in an attempt to get other heads of government to agree to the resumption of high-level diplomacy with Vladimir Putin.

"Merkel and Emmanuel Macron were irked because [U.S. President Joe] Biden talked to Putin first. Like children in a playground, they did not want to be left out. And they didn't think for a minute what impact this would have, on the Baltic states in particular....

"A lot of the things that are wrong with German foreign policy right now are the result of decisions taken by Merkel a long time ago. In 2011 she reacted to the Fukushima nuclear accident by pulling the plug on German nuclear energy. That fateful decision was a disaster on so many levels: Germany ended up over-reliant on Russian gas and oil and on Nord Stream 2; this, in turn, gave rise to a sense of betrayal in the Baltic states, Poland, and Ukraine. In the process she managed to do damage to transatlantic relations....

"Merkel's decision to open the border for refugees was not a strategic choice, but a spontaneous executive act. She did not consult with the coalition partners, nor with other EU member states. In her entire 16 years as chancellor, she never chose a strategic battle, never tried to seek majorities where none existed before. The sole purpose of Merkel was Merkel."

 

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

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17516/germany-hamas

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Report: Iranian agents infiltrated anti-Netanyahu protests - Neta Bar

 

by Neta Bar

Disinformation watchdog group finds Iranian agents were able to stay under tech giants' radar for weeks and sometimes months by focusing efforts on encrypted messaging apps such as Telegram and WhatsApp, according to New York Times report.

Over a span of several months, Iranian agents infiltrated Israeli activists' encrypted messaging apps, sending controversial content and directly messaging members in an apparent effort to stir up trouble and make community members wary of one another, according to a report by Israeli disinformation watchdog group FakeReporter.

Director Achiya Schatz told The New York Times: "What was so smart and unprecedented about this was the way they moved through small group chats where no one would expect to find an Iranian agent. They really gained people's trust and slipped under the radar of Facebook, Twitter, and all the other tech companies."

It took anywhere from weeks to months before the Iranians' poor grammar and reluctance to meeting in person or speaking via telephone led the Israeli activists to report the Iranian accounts to FakeReporter.

A Shin Bet officer told The New York Times the intelligence agency had opened its own investigation into the disinformation campaign upon learning of it from FakeReporter.

Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, removed several WhatsApp accounts tied to Iran after The New York Times contacted it about the evidence collected by FakeReporter. Confirming the accounts were tied to Iranian content the company removed earlier this year, a spokeswoman for the tech giant said: "Iranian-based threat actors are some of the more persistent and well-resourced groups attempting to operate online, including on our platform."

While many countries are believed to engage in such campaigns, FakeReporter was the first to demonstrate just how regimes penetrate small online communities as well as how disinformation campaigns operate on encrypted apps.

Similar campaigns could be underway in the United States, American intelligence agencies have warned. Last week, the US Justice Department announced it was blocking access to dozens of websites linked to Iranian disinformation campaigns. A US intelligence official told The New York Times authorities were keeping an eye on private messaging apps for such efforts.

 

Neta Bar

Source: https://www.israelhayom.com/2021/07/01/report-iranian-agents-infiltrated-anti-netanyahu-protests/

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter

Israel’s High-Powered Laser System a ‘Breakthrough' - Hugh Fitzgerald

 

​ by Hugh Fitzgerald

Israel's enemies should be very afraid.

 


Israel has once again reminded us that we should thank our lucky stars that the Jewish state is on our side. In the “What Have You Done For Us Lately” Department, Israel has just completed tests of its new high-power laser system that, installed on a civilian aircraft, can shoot down drones. It promises to be what is called a game-changer. The story of this remarkable advance is here: “Israel successfully downs targets using airborne laser system,” by Anna Ahronheim, Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2021:

The Defense Ministry has successfully carried out a series of interceptions to shoot down drones with a powerful airborne laser system installed on a civilian light aircraft….

During the trials that were carried out over the sea, the high-powered laser fired from a civilian Cessna plane destroyed the unmanned targets at differing ranges and altitudes.

According to the Defense Ministry, Israel is perhaps the first country in the world to have been able to use such laser technology on an aircraft to intercept targets in an operational simulation….

The fully automated energy system uses the laser to destroy a target while flying above the clouds, he said, adding that the “powerful and precise system” can intercept the target “regardless of weather conditions.

Once a target passes through the area of interest, the system can be directed at any part of it with very high accuracy. It locks on and remains locked on until the target is downed….

The ground system will also be able to destroy targets at a range of eight to 10 km. with a 100 kW laser, Rotem said. The ministry is aiming for an operational system by 2024 to be deployed at the Gaza border area for shooting down rockets, he said.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz congratulated MAFAT, Elbit and the IAF on the technological breakthrough.

“Today, you have brought us closer to yet another important milestone in the development of the multitiered defense array of the State of Israel, and it is significant both in terms of cost effectiveness and defense capabilities,” he said.

“The laser system will add a new layer of protection at greater ranges and in facing a variety of threats: securing the State of Israel while saving costs of interception,” Gantz said. “I am confident that Israel’s defense industry will succeed in this important development program, and I will work personally together with the entire defense establishment to ensure its success.”

The Defense Ministry hopes that the airborne system will further increase the effectiveness of Israel’s air defenses against existing and future threats. It is expected to complement Israel’s multitiered air-defense array, which includes the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow missile interceptors….

The lasers can cover a much wider area and lock onto, and then destroy, unmanned vehicles passing through that area. The cost of firing a laser beam for an interception will cost around $2000. Meanwhile, the price of launching an Iron Dome interception missile is between $40,000 and $60,000. Consider how may tens of millions of dollars the IDF spent on Iron Dome missiles in the recent war against Hamas; Hamas aimed 4300 not-very-expensive rockets at Israel; about 600 fell short, leaving 3700 that entered Israeli airspace; Iron Dome missiles managed to intercept 90%. The cost of such a defense is becoming an increasingly urgent issue as large-scale attacks become more frequent and the expense of interception skyrockets.

The laser system will potentially save the IDF hundreds of millions of dollars; it is also more precise in its targeting, and can lock onto a target much closer to its launch, as compared to the Iron Dome.

Israel keeps providing evidence of how creatively it responds to every military challenge its enemies present. In three years, it will have ready an anti-missile and anti-drone system that will cost 1/20th of what such a defense does at present. And Israel will share this laser beam technology – as it always has done with its every military advance in the past – with the U.S.

Be afraid, Ismail Haniyeh and Yahyah Sinwar. Be afraid, Hassan Nasrallah, Ebrahim Raisi and Ayatollah Khamenei, be very afraid. Once those Israeli weapons scientists focus their attention on building new weapons systems, there seems to be no obstacle they cannot in time overcome. Now they’ve reached the “breakthrough” of laser-beam weapons, capable of being fired both from the ground and from civilian light planes flying above the clouds. What’s next to come, from the creative geniuses at Israel Aerospace Industries, Elbit Systems, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems? We’re on the edge of our seats.

 

Hugh Fitzgerald

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/07/israels-high-powered-laser-system-breakthrough-hugh-fitzgerald/

Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter