Saturday, September 11, 2021

Fuzzy language can’t change Afghanistan reality - Prof. Donna Robinson Divine

 

by Prof. Donna Robinson Divine

Efforts to divert attention from what is actually happening have thus far not succeeded.

 

Antony Blinken
Antony Blinken                                                                                                                    Reuters

(JNS) Of all the crises confronting President Joe Biden and his national security team, nothing is more surprising than the one unfolding in the media depicting Afghanistan’s descent into chaos. The administration may have anticipated losses in Afghanistan but never expected to lose control over the narrative of how people would understand the decision to draw down troops, remove weapons, and close American and NATO military operations.

This administration has enjoyed enthusiastic and uncritical praise in print, on air and across social media for its policies even if their enactment belied official descriptions. Their language created our reality curating accounts in newspapers, splicing together scenes on television and posting catchy phrases on Facebook and Twitter. But this time, the statements issued by the White House were overpowered by screenshots of panic and turmoil turning a poorly planned American withdrawal into a catastrophe and a display of ineptitude that could not be hidden or denied.

Failure was evident and incompetence was everywhere in a strategy that left soldiers and civilians exposed to deadly attacks and assaults. Interestingly, the administration sought to ramp up support for its insistence that a total withdrawal halted an inevitable continuous escalation by citing the emotional toll on the members of the administration. To Chris Wallace’s question on Fox News on Sunday about whether the president actually knew what was going on, U.S Secretary of State Anthony Blinken answered with these words: “This was an incredibly emotional time for many of us.”

Or consider the recent Washington Post’s column by David Ignatius, informed by well-established contacts with White House officials and adorned by a headline reading, “A badly shaken White House: sadness and horror.” It is almost as if the terror attacks “trigged” depths of feeling that ought to exempt the leadership from scrutiny [and not incidentally, from self-examination]—evoking the kind of campus cultural rhetoric that allows no clash of ideas and silences any statement causing distress.

Such efforts to divert attention from what is actually happening have thus far not succeeded. Rather than push a narrative and matching reality to it, the media seems willing to persist in examining events and interrogating the decisions that helped produce them. When it publishes an accurate account of what is happening, it matters—particularly in a democracy where people need facts to be able to hold officials accountable for their actions. But however laudable the media efforts, they are blunted primarily because too many are still filtered through a vocabulary beholden more to metaphors aligned with an acceptable set of social norms than to opening up a meticulous investigation of policies and decisions.

One obvious example strikingly illustrates the challenges: The hasty retreat has been explained and justified as the only way to stop the so-called era of endless wars, a fantasy woven around magical thinking about the international landscape in which an America must operate no matter the president or the objectives. The American pullout from Afghanistan that left stockpiles of weapons in the country and tens of thousands of people to suffer the consequences of having worked with the United States is likely to intensify violence in the country and more than likely transport it beyond its borders.

What accounts for the tendency to give life to words so at odds with deeds? Reality is complex and calls for hard work to understand, but a narrative can instantly produce clear meaning particularly if it contains familiar verbal echoes. Talking about the American military fighting in a country called the “graveyard of empires” links the U.S. mission to empire-building imperialism. Thus, ending what is now linguistically connected to this evil lends credence to the notion that the retreat—hasty or not—advances the right values and the right cause.

Never mind that the terms elide over the fact that the military offensive was set in motion by attacks on the U.S. homeland and supported by the NATO alliance. Or, alternatively, think of how American objectives are said aimed solely at Al-Qaeda without mentioning the interactions between terrorist movements and the governments of one or another country that funds them and allows them to set up headquarters and training camps on their soil, to say nothing of launching operations from within their borders.

Leaving Afghanistan doesn’t destroy the dangers posed by terrorism, just as it does nothing to diminish its hostility to Americans and, most urgently, to the people we abandoned, including the women forced back into their homes to stay alive.

Language shapes the very assumptions we often take for facts. Terms deployed to advance a cause give a simplistic and false picture of the issues even if they are claimed, as so often the case, to be expressed in service for the voiceless and powerless. A narrative should serve as a framework for empirical analysis and not as a signal of moral virtue.

Make no mistake—these linguistic inversions are not intellectually harmless. George Orwell put it well: “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

 

Prof. Donna Robinson Divinee is Morningstar Family Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of Government at Emerita Smith College.

Source: https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/313297

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Accountability for Afghanistan - Pete Hoekstra and John Shadegg

 

by Pete Hoekstra and John Shadegg

Will anyone be held accountable in the end?

  • The disappointing fact is that there is a long and rich list of potential targets. It begins with President Joe "The Buck Stops Here" Biden as the obvious choice. The President bears ultimate responsibility for making the decisions that led to America's surrender and leaving our citizens behind. The President should be held accountable.

  • Also, near the top of the list of those who must be held accountable are those individuals who hold Senate-confirmed positions. They were the architects of this disaster: Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley. Together, these individuals either counseled the President that they would execute his direction effectively and safely, or they developed and implemented a strategy that they knew would not work. Either scenario would demand that they also be held accountable.

  • Some may legitimately ask, what about Jake Sullivan, Susan Rice and others? In other attempts to hold people accountable (think recent impeachment actions) the efforts were seen as overreach. The results, partisan bickering and nothing happening.

  • The alternative is the path we already seem to be heading down, no one being held accountable.

Near the top of the list of those who must be held accountable for America's debacle in Afghanistan are those individuals who hold Senate-confirmed positions. They were the architects of this disaster: Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left), Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (center), and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley (right). Together, these individuals either counseled the President that they would execute his direction effectively and safely, or they developed and implemented a strategy that they knew would not work. (Blinken photo by Jonathan Ernst/Pool/AFP via Getty Images); Austin & Milley photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

America has just experienced perhaps its greatest foreign policy debacle in modern history by surrendering to the Taliban in Afghanistan. The enemy that the U.S. held accountable for harboring the al-Qaeda terrorist group that attacked us on 9/11 once again governs Afghanistan. The Taliban now holds the keys to whether, how, and when Americans left behind will be returned home safely. The question today is who will be held accountable for this debacle, a debacle in both strategy and execution.

There is really no debate about whether the exit plan from Afghanistan failed miserably. Americans left behind, our military equipment left behind, and the Taliban are victorious and now in power while our wartime allies were left blindsided and furious. We lost 13 U.S. service members along with nearly 200 Afghans killed. Who will be held accountable?

The disappointing fact is that there is a long and rich list of potential targets. It begins with President Joe "The Buck Stops Here" Biden as the obvious choice. The President bears ultimate responsibility for making the decisions that led to America's surrender and leaving our citizens behind. The President should be held accountable.

Also, near the top of the list of those who must be held accountable are those individuals who hold Senate-confirmed positions. They were the architects of this disaster: Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley. Together, these individuals either counseled the President that they would execute his direction effectively and safely, or they developed and implemented a strategy that they knew would not work. Either scenario would demand that they also be held accountable.

There is broad bipartisan consensus that these four individuals bear much of the responsibility for recent events. Now is the opportunity for rational and cooler heads in Washington to demonstrate that Congress can respond appropriately to the tragic recent events. Here are our recommendations -- a simple but effective and achievable proposal.

Holding the President accountable will be difficult. Congress has the tools — impeachment and censure — to hold a President accountable. The impeachments of Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump were an overreach by those in Congress hell bent on attacking a sitting President. It was always clear that in those cases impeachment would fail, and to many that the actions of Clinton and Trump did not meet the test of treason, high crimes or misdemeanors. As in those cases, the most appropriate action at this time is use the censure process. Congress can and should send a definitive statement that President Biden's actions in regard to Afghanistan have been unacceptable. A censure would be a vote of disapproval of the President's actions in Afghanistan. As awful as Afghanistan has been, poor decision making does not legitimize the overturning of an election.

Blinken, Austin, and Milley should be held accountable and forced to resign from office. These three individuals do not carry an election mandate with them into their positions. Congress has the tools to formally remove them from office through impeachment, and they have other tools to achieve the same result. Simply by strongly stating that they have lost the confidence of the Congress, it would be obvious that they would have to leave their positions. Congress's real or threatened public shaming of Blinken, Austin, and Milley would be powerful leverage for getting them to do the right thing — resign.

Some may legitimately ask, what about Jake Sullivan, Susan Rice and others? In other attempts to hold people accountable (think recent impeachment actions) the efforts were seen as overreach. The results, partisan bickering and nothing happening. This is a responsible proposal, holding accountable those with an electoral mandate or Senate confirmation for their gross negligence and performance in this national disgrace. This makes a strong statement. The alternative is the path we already seem to be heading down, no one being held accountable.

The censure of the President, and three Cabinet members removed from office would send a clear message to the American people, our allies, and our enemies that we have recognized the serious errors that were made in Afghanistan. It would make clear that the decisions that were made are not the launch of a new Biden doctrine, but were serious miscalculations in American foreign policy. It also will send a clear message that Congress intends to exert its power as an independent branch of government to influence policy and exercise its War Powers. At this moment of weakness and vulnerability, this is the kind of signal of strength and resilience we need to send to our allies and enemies alike.

Pete Hoekstra is a former Representative in Congress from Michigan. He served as the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. More recently he was U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

John Shadegg is a former Representative in Congress, representing Arizona's 3rd Congressional District from 1995 until 2011.

 

Pete Hoekstra and John Shadegg
Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17736/accountability-for-afghanistan
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Cyberwar, Part Two: "Flipping Switches" - Peter Schweizer

 

by Peter Schweizer

"Russia has an obligation to monitor and prevent trans-boundary cybercrime under the standard of due diligence." But Russia will not, because the cyber-hackers advance Vladimir Putin's goal of creating havoc and depressing the morale of the countries he targets.

  • President Thomas Jefferson's decision to fight the Barbary pirates was not without its detractors. Many Americans, including John Adams, believed it was better policy to pay the tribute. It was cheaper than the loss of trade.

  • Sanctions and other punitive measures should address Russia's refusal to sign onto the so-called Budapest Convention, a pact that obliges signatories to prevent cyber-crimes that are conducted within their borders. European Union nations and the United States are all signatories. Russia has resisted doing so, even as cyber-crime traced to the Russian mafia and other "advanced persistent threat" actors is repeatedly traced to its soil.

  • An article from the February 2015 issue of Brigham Young University Law Review argues persuasively that "Russia has an obligation to monitor and prevent trans-boundary cybercrime under the standard of due diligence." But Russia will not, because the cyber-hackers advance Vladimir Putin's goal of creating havoc and depressing the morale of the countries he targets.

  • The cat-and-mouse games played every day between cyber-crooks and cyber-cops cannot be ended by one daring raid. But as the stakes of the crimes rise with the world's reliance on connected systems to operate more and more physical infrastructure, the urgent need to shove the pirates off the deck before they can burn the ship grows more pressing.

A historical reference well describes the situation where state-sponsored or state-condoned thieves prey on innocent businesses through cyber-crime, cyber-espionage and the financial threats caused by cyber-extortion: the Barbary pirates. President Thomas Jefferson's decision to fight the Barbary pirates was not without its detractors. Many Americans, including John Adams, believed it was better policy to pay the tribute. It was cheaper than the loss of trade. (Image source: iStock)

Discussing Russian hacking capabilities in a video discussion for the Heritage Foundation recently, Prof. Scott Jasper of the Naval Postgraduate School recalled a hack in 2018 in which the attackers succeeded in penetrating electrical power companies in the U.S., as they did in Ukraine

"We had evidence from CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) that Russian actors had penetrated up to 20 to 24 utilities by compromising vendors that had trusted relationships," Jasper said. "They had taken control to the point where they could have thrown switches. They did this in Ukraine and flipped the switches of substations. So, this is a real threat."

Those are sobering words from an authority on Russian cyber-crime, cyber-espionage, and the financial threats caused by cyber-extortion. And the most recent large-scale ransomware hack shows the stakes of that problem.

It was a ransomware gang called REvil that recently targeted a Miami-based IT services provider called Kaseya. REvil demanded $70 million in ransom, the highest ever, but later reduced it to $50 million. This malicious Russia-based outfit also sought ransom payments from thousands of affected customer organizations and managed service providers. Like the SolarWinds attack mentioned in the Part One of this series, it was a classic "supply chain" attack, in which a trusted IT service provider for other companies instead becomes the unwitting source of an attack upon its own customers by cyber-predators that compromise their software maintenance updates.

While the term "Trojan Horse" is certainly appropriate to describe the malicious "Cobalt Strike" software that did the actual damage, another historical reference may better describe the situation where state-sponsored or state-condoned thieves prey on innocent businesses -- the Barbary pirates.

In the early 19th Century, US President Thomas Jefferson was confronted by the Barbary pirates of North Africa, who were known for capturing and ransoming sailors and vessels they attacked under the protection of the local pashas and the Ottoman Empire. In 1804, after "corsairs" seized the new U.S. frigate Philadelphia, which ran aground off Tripoli, U.S. Navy officers Edward Preble and Stephen Decatur led a daring raid on Tripoli's harbor and blew up the captured warship, while inflicting heavy damage on the city's defenses. Britain's Admiral Lord Nelson himself called the raid "the most bold and daring act of the age." Jefferson's decision to fight the Barbary pirates was not without its detractors. Many Americans, including John Adams, believed it was better policy to pay the tribute. It was cheaper than the loss of trade. As Adams put it, "We ought not to fight them at all unless we determine to fight them forever."

The internet is not the south coast of the Mediterranean, and today's digital corsairs can essentially operate from anywhere. But they are still the responsibility and, in many cases, the paid agents of Russian aggression against the U.S. and other sovereign nations. Sanctions and other punitive measures should address Russia's refusal to sign onto the so-called Budapest Convention, a pact that obliges signatories to prevent cyber-crimes that are conducted within their borders. European Union nations and the United States are all signatories. Russia has resisted doing so, even as cyber-crime traced to the Russian mafia and other "advanced persistent threat" actors is repeatedly traced to its soil. An article from the February 2015 issue of Brigham Young University Law Review argues persuasively that "Russia has an obligation to monitor and prevent trans-boundary cybercrime under the standard of due diligence." But Russia will not, because the cyber-hackers advance Vladimir Putin's goal of creating havoc and depressing the morale of the countries he targets.

Something encouraging did happen after REvil's attack: its website went off the air. By itself, this is not uncommon, since cybercriminals often "go dark" after a large-scale exploit like this one. In this case, though, an anonymous victim who paid a ransom demanded by REvil for the decryptor was unable to get a working code from REvil's "customer service" address. Days later, however, Kaseya announced to its customers that it had received a universal decryptor from a third party and offered it to its customers directly for free. Asked by a Reuters correspondent recently whether it would make sense to attack the Russian servers used in such intrusions, president Joe Biden paused, smiled, and said: "Yes."

Even two months later, no one in the security community will say for sure who might have taken the site down. In fact, the group's dark web site partially came back online as of September 8, two months after disappearing. This leaves unanswered whether REvil was really punished or disabled, and who actually provided Kaseya with the decryption tool. Was it a chastened Russia? American intelligence operatives? Or was REvil paid by someone to go dark? No one is likely to say, for a variety of reasons. We can hope that a corner has been turned, but it's much too early to say. Unfortunately, there are plenty of other hacking groups capable of duplicating the feat.

Cyber-security experts continue to stress resilience and recovery from attacks, rather than pinning hopes on offensive strikes at hacker groups, regardless of whether they are acting on behalf of a government. The world of cyber-crime is more complicated and fast-moving today than in the days of 18th and 19th Century "Musselman" privateers. The cat-and-mouse games played every day between cyber-crooks and cyber-cops cannot be ended by one daring raid. But as the stakes of the crimes rise with the world's reliance on connected systems to operate more and more of its physical infrastructure, the urgent need to shove the pirates off the deck before they can burn the ship grows more pressing.

 

Peter Schweizer, President of the Governmental Accountability Institute, is a Gatestone Institute Distinguished Senior Fellow and author of the best-selling books Profiles in Corruption, Secret Empires and Clinton Cash, among others.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17737/cyberwar-flipping-switches

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Afghanistan: Protestors chant anti-Pakistan slogans and call for freedom - Christine Douglass-Williams

 

by Christine Douglass-Williams

“We were asking for our rights. A political system that respects all Afghans. And an end to Pakistan’s constant interference in Afghanistan, that’s it”

Freedom advocates do not have a bright future in Afghanistan, given the ruthlessness of the Taliban. Nonetheless, “hundreds of protesters took to the streets of the capital Kabul chanting anti-Pakistan slogans and calling for ‘freedom’, a day after resistance leader Ahmad Massoud called for an ‘uprising’ against the Taliban rule.”

Anything reported out of Afghanistan will increasingly become shrouded by propaganda, given Taliban control over media and its strong-arming of the population to keep it in a stranglehold under strict Islamic rule.

The protesters tried to avoid anti-Taliban rhetoric as they focused on demands for freedom, women’s rights and an end to Pakistani interference. But the Taliban fired shots to disperse the demonstrators and injured some, causing at least two to be hospitalized.

Unfortunately all of the protester demands in the Taliban’s view translate to rebellion against Taliban rule, as Pakistan supports the Taliban, the Taliban is extremely oppressive to women as per the Sharia, and freedom is incompatible with the Islamic law to which the Taliban strictly adheres.

“Hundreds of Afghans take to Kabul’s streets calling for ‘freedom,’” by Ali M. Latifi, Al Jazeera, September 7, 2021:

Kabul, Afghanistan – Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of the capital Kabul chanting anti-Pakistan slogans and calling for “freedom”, a day after resistance leader Ahmad Massoud called for an “uprising” against the Taliban rule.

The demonstrations – which ranged in size from several hundred to a few dozen – began on Tuesday morning and continued into the afternoon before they were dispersed by the Taliban fighters firing into the air, protesters told Al Jazeera.

Journalists also said that they were prohibited from filming, with TOLONews, a private broadcaster based in Kabul, saying at least one of their cameramen was detained for filming the protests.

A source in the traffic police from the previous administration speaking to Al Jazeera from near the entrance to the Presidential Palace, said they saw the Taliban destroy several cameras and arrest journalists as they followed protesters towards the palace.

Shakib Ghori, one of the protesters who marched towards the Presidential Palace, said that the crowd of hundreds were only calling for “freedom” and criticising the “intrusion” of neighbouring Pakistan into Afghanistan’s domestic affairs.

Ghori said though the protesters were demanding an inclusive government and that the rights of women be respected, none of their gatherings was meant to be explicitly anti-Taliban.

“We were asking for our rights. A political system that respects all Afghans. And an end to Pakistan’s constant interference in Afghanistan, that’s it,” Ghori said adding that he saw no reason for the Taliban to try and break up the protest.

“We didn’t say anything about the Taliban, so why would they fire?”

Ghori said the Taliban also began to hit people, and he was also hit by the butt of a gun. He also said that he transferred at least two injured protesters to nearby hospitals….

 

Christine Douglass-Williams

Source: https://www.jihadwatch.org/2021/09/afghanistan-protestors-chant-anti-pakistan-slogans-and-call-for-freedom

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NASA satellite image shows impact of 9/11 attacks - Julia Musto

 

by Julia Musto

The agency remembered its efforts on the day

9/11 survivor recalls escape from World Trade Center

Mike Curley tells 'Your World' how he exited the 17th floor of the South Tower

20 years after the September 11 terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 men, women and children, NASA is remembering the day, sharing images and memories. 

In a satellite image provided by the agency, billowing smoke over the Manhattan area can be seen from space after two of the hijacked planes crashed into the towers of New York City's World Trade Center.

ICONIC 9/11 PHOTOS AND THE PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO SHOT THEM: HERE ARE THEIR STORIES

"The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were a national tragedy that resulted in a staggering loss of life and a significant change in American culture. Each year, we pause and never forget. Beyond remembering and honoring the Americans who died that day, NASA also assisted FEMA in New York in the days afterward, and remembered the victims by providing flags flown aboard the Space Shuttle to their families," NASA wrote in a release

NASA also shared the words of astronaut Frank Culbertson, who was aboard the International Space Station (ISS) at the time of the attacks and the only American on the crew. 

Visible from space, a smoke plume rises from the Manhattan area after two planes crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center. This photo was taken of metropolitan New York City (and other parts of New York as well as New Jersey) the morning of September 11, 2001. "Our prayers and thoughts go out to all the people there, and everywhere else," said Station Commander Frank Culbertson of Expedition 3, after the terrorists' attacks.

Visible from space, a smoke plume rises from the Manhattan area after two planes crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center. This photo was taken of metropolitan New York City (and other parts of New York as well as New Jersey) the morning of September 11, 2001. "Our prayers and thoughts go out to all the people there, and everywhere else," said Station Commander Frank Culbertson of Expedition 3, after the terrorists' attacks. (Credits: NASA)

He began documenting the event in photographs as the station flew over the New York City area. 

"The smoke seemed to have an odd bloom to it at the base of the column that was streaming south of the city," Culbertson wrote in a post at the time of the attack. After reading one of the news articles we just received, I believe we were looking at [New York] around the time of, or shortly after, the collapse of the second tower. How horrible…"

"It's horrible to see smoke pouring from wounds in your own country from such a fantastic vantage point," he said. "The dichotomy of being on a spacecraft dedicated to improving life on the earth and watching life being destroyed by such willful, terrible acts is jolting to the psyche, no matter who you are."

FLIGHT 93 MEMORIAL CEREMONY MARKS 20 YEARS AFTER SEPTEMBER 11 ATTACKS

NASA noted that, after the attack, its science programs were "called into action" as the agency worked with FEMA to fly sensors over the affected areas on aircraft – looking for aerial contaminants – and used satellite resources to monitor from above.

To remember the day, NASA flew nearly 6,000 4-by-6 inch flags on Endeavour's December 2001 flight to honor the victims. The flags were later distributed to relatives in the summer of 2002. 

In addition, NASA used aluminum recovered from the destroyed World Trade Center towers – with the image of an American flag – on rock abrasion tools for the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity

The National 9/11 Flag was raised over the Rocket Garden at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex after Florida's contribution was added.

The National 9/11 Flag was raised over the Rocket Garden at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex after Florida's contribution was added. (Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

"One day, both rovers will be silent. In the cold, dry environments where they have worked on Mars, the onboard memorials to victims of the Sept. 11 attack could remain in good condition for millions of years," NASA wrote.

Lastly, in 2011, flags from Florida's Spaceport were sewn into an American Flag – known as "The National 9/11 Flag" –  that was recovered near ground zero following the attacks. 

 

Julia Musto is a reporter for Fox News Digital. You can find her on Twitter at @JuliaElenaMusto.

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/science/nasa-satellite-image-shows-impact-of-9-11-attacks

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Zubeidi, three other Gilboa fugitives caught - Anna Ahronheim

 

by Anna Ahronheim

Four of the six fugitives who escaped Gilboa Prison last week were found following a massive manhunt led by Israel Police’s Counterterrorism Unit.

Four of the fugitives who escaped from Gilboa Prison last week were recaptured in northern Israel over the weekend by the Israel Police Counterterrorism Unit.
 
Zakaria Zubeidi and Mahmoud Ardah were found in a parking lot in the village of Umm el-Ghanam early on Saturday, hours after Yakoub Mohammed Qadri and Mohammed Ardah were located in Nazareth on Friday night.
 
Munadil Nafayat and Iham Kahamji remain at large.
 
Police said that Zubeidi and Ardah were found hiding under the trailer of a truck.
Shortly after the arrest of Qadri and Mohammed Ardah, thousands of Palestinians violently protested across the West Bank and clashed with IDF troops. A rocket was also launched from the Gaza Strip and was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. The IDF responded with an airstrike against Hamas military infrastructure.

According to reports, Qadri and Mohammed Ardah were located after a Nazareth resident told police that he had seen two men digging through trash searching for food.
 
The family of the person who reportedly told police about the fugitives has received death threats and subsequently denied he gave the tip-off, according to Ynet.
 
“I saw them, they looked scared, hungry and humiliated,” an Umm el-Ghanam resident told Ynet. “A helicopter and a drone flew overhead all night long, we didn’t get any sleep because of the noise in the village.”
 
Another resident told Ynet that Zubeidi and Ardah “did not resist” when officers arrested them.
 
In addition to the help of citizens, the fugitives were captured through the efforts by the police’s Counterterrorism Unit, as well as IDF trackers from the Mirol Reserve Unit.
 
The unit, which was formed following the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers in 2014, managed to identify the footprints of the fugitives, and a packet of cigarettes and a can of soda at around 10:30 p.m. They then identified the route that Zubeidi and Ardah took to the truck parking lot in Umm el-Ghanam.
 
“We are doing everything to locate the escaped prisoners,” Sgt. First Class (res.) Roi Simon, the head of a tracking unit, was quoted as saying. “The unit has not ceased its work and is continuing in the effort until all the escaped terrorists are caught.”
 
Defense establishment sources speculated on Saturday that it is increasingly likely the two remaining escapees have split up, according to Israeli media. The sources also reportedly said that one of the two is still in Israel, while the other may have crossed into the West Bank.
 
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen.Aviv Kohavi took part in a situational assessment on Saturday night with other security officials regarding the continued manhunt. 
 
Defense sources said that one of the two is still in Israel, while the other has crossed into the West Bank.
 
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who is religious and observers the Jewish Shabbat, met with police and military officials for a situational assessment in northern Israel shortly after Zubeidi was caught.  Public Security Minister Omer Barlev praised the security forces for capturing the escaped prisoners and vowed the remaining fugitives would also be caught.
 
The sources also reportedly said that one of the two is still in Israel, while the other may have crossed into the West Bank.
 
Five of the escapees – Munadil Nafayat, Iham Kahamji, Yakoub Mohammed Qadri and brothers Mahmoud and Mohammed Ardah – were identified as members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad and from the Jenin area.
 
The sixth, Zakaria Zubeidi, was a prominent leader in Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades during the Second Intifada. He was later granted an amnesty but was arrested again in 2019.
 
They escaped from Gilboa Prison, some 30 km. away, on Monday. Though security forces initially thought that they were being helped following their escape, it is now believed that the fugitives did not have any outside assistance.
 
Following their arrest, they were transferred to the Shin Bet internal security agency for additional questioning. The Palestinian Prisoners Association said that the men will be taken to Nazareth District Court to have their detention extended on Saturday night. The Association said that they were not allowed to meet with their lawyers.
 
Shortly after the arrest of Qadri and Mohammed Ardah, thousands of Palestinians violently protested across the West Bank and clashed with IDF troops throughout the day. A rocket was also launched from the Gaza Strip and was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. The IDF responded with an airstrike against a Hamas military infrastructure.
 
Hamas Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that "the arrest of the heroic prisoners is another round in the open and ongoing battle with the occupation. What happened strengthens the Palestinian people to continue the struggle against the occupation and support of prisoners." 
 
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Friday that Israel had information on the locations of the six men and that there was “intelligence and operational leads” that would help their recapture.
 
“Ultimately, we will get our hands on the people who escaped,” Gantz said during a visit to the Salem military base in the northern West Bank’s Jezreel Valley. “Determined work is being carried out with proper collaboration between the different security branches and we will continue this activity and ensure security for this area.”
 
“I hope the day ends quietly, but in any case, the IDF is prepared for any development,” he said, adding that Israel is working alongside the Palestinian Authority to find the escapees.
 
“We must understand we’re talking about six people out of millions living here,” Gantz added. “We have to be able to handle these six and those who assisted them without disturbing the balance.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz at the Salem IDF base in the Jezreel Valley, September 10, 2021.  (credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY) Defense Minister Benny Gantz at the Salem IDF base in the Jezreel Valley, September 10, 2021. (credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)

Israeli security forces were placed on high alert ahead of a planned “day of rage” in solidarity with the six fugitives. Hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli security forces overnight on Friday in some 10 locations in the West Bank.
 
Earlier on Friday Palestinian media reported that IDF troops arrested five family members of the escaped Gilboa prisoners, including Raafat Gawadra and Youssef Qadri, the brother of escaped prisoner Yaquob Qadiri.
 
On Wednesday, soldiers arrested the father of escaped prisoner Munadel Enfayat after searching his home.
 
Soldiers also raided the town of Arrabe and searched several houses. Two of the fugitives, brothers Mahmoud and Mohammed Ardah hail from the town. The soldiers arrested three members of the Ardah family, the sources said.
 
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

 

Anna Ahronheim

Source: https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/two-prisoners-that-escaped-from-gilboa-prison-caught-in-nazareth-679158

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The Taliban’s Sharia Police Are Back, and They’re Mad - Robert Spencer

 

by Robert Spencer

"The Taliban have dropped the Ministry for Women’s Affairs altogether, and replaced it with a feature of their first regime: the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice."

 

My latest in PJ Media:

When the Taliban distributed their list of members of their new government, Biden’s terminally na├»ve and deluded State Department handlers were not happy. State wonks issued a strongly-worded statement Tuesday scolding the jihadis: “We have made clear our expectation that the Afghan people deserve an inclusive government.” On what basis State’s “experts” have decided that what the Afghan people really deserve is a government that looks like Georgetown was not explained, but the statement went on to complain that the Taliban’s new government “consists exclusively of individuals who are members of the Taliban or their close associates and no women.” And not only that: the Taliban have dropped the Ministry for Women’s Affairs altogether, and replaced it with a feature of their first regime: the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

A Kabul resident explained what is likely coming: “People have stopped listening to loud music in public … fearing the past experiences from when the Taliban last ruled. I personally didn’t see any forced prayers. But there is fear in everyone’s minds.” According to the Washington Post, the last time the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, there were “forces patrolling the streets, shutting down shops and markets at prayer time. They beat people caught listening to music and frowned upon dancing, kite-flying, and American-style haircuts. Squads of the ministry’s morality police punished those who disobeyed modesty codes, with beards too thin or ankles that showed. They banished girls from school and women from the workplace and the public eye. A woman could not venture outside without a male guardian.”

They call it the propagation of virtue and prevention of vice, but what the Taliban are actually doing is reestablishing an empire of fear. This police force (which apparently entered the headquarters of an all-female orchestra and destroyed the instruments, because music is un-Islamic) doesn’t really have anything to do with authentic virtue at all. Virtue involves choosing to do what is good because it is good, out of love for God and/or a conviction that it is right, no matter what the cost may be involved in choosing it.

Recommended: Biden Purges Apolitical Military Advisory Panels, Demands ‘Values Align’ With His Administration

By contrast, in an empire of fear such as what the Taliban are setting up today, people don’t choose the good because it is good. They obey the dictates of those with the guns and the whips. They do so because they don’t dare step out of line, not out of an authentic understanding that the path of moral and ethical uprightness is preferable to the alternative, much less out of love for God, but because they are afraid of what would happen to them if they did depart from Islam’s vision of morality.

When people are unable to choose to do evil, their choosing of the good is merely a manifestation of fear and the power of coercion. Those who have no choice but to be good demonstrate nothing about whether their beliefs enable or inspire them to choose the good when they could just as easily not do so.

There is more. Read the rest here.

 

Robert Spencer

Source: https://www.jihadwatch.org/2021/09/the-talibans-sharia-police-are-back-and-theyre-mad

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Is It Puppeteers or Puppets in Control in Washington? - Lawrence Kadish

 

by Lawrence Kadish

[W]e appear to be trapped by a Washington power elite intent on consigning our future to oblivion. In the end, it will be up to the American electorate to halt this slide as they consider who to send to Congress in the next election cycle.

  • Under Biden, America now has a national debt that rivals a Black Hole..... Our southern border remains more a suggestion than a checkpoint. And our allies see a nation that has casually condemned to death untold numbers of Afghans who fervently believed in America until they saw our last C-17 depart Kabul.

  • What all of this might suggest is that there are individuals in Washington who are wielding enormous power without worrying about what Joe Biden might think or do because whatever they decide, it is Biden who will take the fall. If true, it has the makings of a nightmare situation.

  • [W]e appear to be trapped by a Washington power elite intent on consigning our future to oblivion. In the end, it will be up to the American electorate to halt this slide as they consider who to send to Congress in the next election cycle.

Our allies see a nation that has casually condemned to death untold numbers of Afghans who fervently believed in America until they saw our last C-17 depart Kabul. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

It must be the best of times and the worst of times for our nation's enemies.

On one hand they have a President in the White House whose actions are reducing America into some befuddled and diminished world power. On the other hand our foes are trying to figure out, as are all Americans, who is actually in charge in Washington?

Is it a shadow government of consultants, lobbyists, and Obama retreads? Or is it really a president who counts success as getting to the presidential helicopter unassisted? One can envision the intelligence chiefs of our sworn enemies being sternly lectured by their supreme leaders to get to the bottom of it because they can't believe their good fortune that American leadership has fallen so far so fast. It must be a devious trap.

If only that were true.

It is understandable our foes sense a unique moment in history. Under Biden, America now has a national debt that rivals a Black Hole. Our unemployment numbers refuse to go down, suggesting deep fissures in our economy. Our southern border remains more a suggestion than a checkpoint. And our allies see a nation that has casually condemned to death untold numbers of Afghans who fervently believed in America until they saw our last C-17 depart Kabul.

What all of this might suggest is that there are individuals in Washington who are wielding enormous power without worrying about what Joe Biden might think or do because whatever they decide, it is Biden who will take the fall. If true, it has the makings of a nightmare situation.

And yet there is another scenario that is equally chilling. What if Biden is not the tool of those behind the throne? What if he has cut the cord of puppet strings and is "dancing" freely? What if he is pursuing policies and initiatives far removed from those who thought they could direct the actions of a President whose cognitive behavior has been seriously questioned?

So pity our poor enemies. They do not know who to bribe, intimidate, or co-opt. And then pity America -- for whether we tell Joe "it's time to go" or "straighten up and fly right," we appear to be trapped by a Washington power elite intent on consigning our future to oblivion. In the end, it will be up to the American electorate to halt this slide as they consider who to send to Congress in the next election cycle.

 

Lawrence Kadish serves on the Board of Governors of Gatestone Institute.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17748/is-it-puppeteers-or-puppets-in-control-in

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IDF intercepts Gaza missile - Arutz Sheva Staff

 

by Arutz Sheva Staff

Siren sends residents of Sderot, Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, running to bomb shelters. IDF: Missile launched from Gaza was intercepted.

 

Intercept over Sderot
Intercept over Sderot
Kobi Richter/ TPS

An air raid sire sounded Saturday night in the city of Sderot in southern Israel, as well as in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, an IDF statement said.

The IDF also said that one missile was identified as having been launched into Israel from Gaza. The missile was intercepted by air defense soldiers, the statement added.

Details are under investigation.

Earlier on Saturday, the Israeli Air Force targeted a Hamas storage site, in retaliation for a rocket launched Friday night from Gaza towards the Eshkol Regional Council, located near the border with Gaza.

In a Friday statement, the IDF said one rocket had been fired from Gaza towards Israeli territory and was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system.

 

Arutz Sheva Staff

Source: https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/313293

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Are the Taliban descendants of Israel? - Michael Freund

 

by Michael Freund

Pashtun practices include circumcision on the eighth day and refraining from mixing meat and milk — Is there a connection to ancient Hebrews?

 

TALIBAN FORCES patrol in front of  Hamid Karzai International Airport  in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 2 (photo credit: STRINGER/ REUTERS)

TALIBAN FORCES patrol in front of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 2 
(photo credit: STRINGER/ REUTERS)
 
With the fall of Kabul into the hands of the Taliban just shy of the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the world’s attention has once again turned to Afghanistan.
 
Tucked away in south-central Asia, with unsavory neighbors such as Iran to the west and Pakistan to the east, the landlocked country, which once served as a base of operations for al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, is as beguiling as it is complex.
 
And yet amid its turbulent past, in which it has served as a flashpoint for the British Empire, the Soviet Union and now the United States, Afghanistan has long been home to one of the more intriguing unsolved mysteries of Jewish history: the fate of some of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.
 
Periodically over the past two decades, newspaper headlines have raised the tantalizing question of whether the Pashtun tribes who make up most of the Taliban are in fact our long-lost relatives, descendants of the Israelites who were cast into exile by the Assyrian emp
ire more than 2,700 years ago.
 
While the possibility of such a connection may strike some as fanciful, a cursory look at the evidence suggests that it cannot and should not be dismissed out of hand.
 
A  TALIBAN member stands guard as Afghan men take pictures of a vehicle from which rockets were fired, in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 30. (credit: STRINGER/ REUTERS) A TALIBAN member stands guard as Afghan men take pictures of a vehicle from which rockets were fired, in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 30. (credit: STRINGER/ REUTERS)
 
The Pashtuns, or Pathans, are said to number in the tens of millions, with the bulk living in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. They consist of several hundred clans and tribes that have fiercely preserved their heritage amid waves of foreign conquest and occupation.
 
Prior to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the region, many of the Pashtuns declared themselves to be what they referred to as Bani Israel (Sons of Israel), an oral tradition that their ancestors passed down through the generations.
 
This was noted by various Islamic travelers and historians, stretching as far back as the 13th century, when there was hardly any advantage to be gained by asserting an ancient Israelite identity in Central Asia. Over the next 400 years, other Islamic scholars and writers noted the persistence of the tradition.
 
In the 19th century, a number of Westerners who visited the region became convinced that the Pashtuns were in fact descendants of the Israelites.
 
In his 1858 work, History of the Afghans, Joseph-Pierre Ferrier wrote that the chief of one of the main Pashtun tribes, the Yusefzai (Sons of Joseph), presented the Persian shah Nader Shah Afshar “with a Bible written in Hebrew and several other articles that had been used in their ancient worship and which they had preserved.”
 
Similarly, Major Henry W. Bellew, who served in the British colonial Indian army, in his 1861 work The Lost Tribes, wrote regarding the Pashtuns that, “The nomenclature of their tribes and districts, both in ancient geography, and at the present day, confirms this universal natural tradition. Lastly, we have the route of the Israelites from Media to Afghanistan and India marked by a series of intermediate stations bearing the names of several of the tribes and clearly indicating the stages of their long and arduous journey.”
 
More recently, the late president of Israel, Yitzchak Ben-Zvi, in his 1957 study about far-flung Jewish communities The Exiled and the Redeemed, devoted an entire chapter to “Afghan tribes and the traditions of their origin.”
 
Basing himself on scholarly research, as well as on interviews he conducted with numerous Afghani Jews who made aliyah in the 1950s, Ben-Zvi wrote, “The Afghan tribes, among whom the Jews have lived for generations, are Moslems who retain to this day their amazing tradition about their descent from the Ten Tribes.” While he cautiously notes that, “the evidence in our possession is, of course, insufficient for practical conclusions to be drawn therefrom,” he nonetheless correctly asserts, “The fact that this tradition, and no other, has persisted among these tribes is itself a weighty consideration.”
 
MODERN-DAY scholars have added greatly to our stock of knowledge on this subject. Dr. Navraz Aafreedi, an Indian academic in Kolkata who hails from a Pashtun background, has written extensively and persuasively about the evidence of an Israelite connection, and Dr. Eyal Be’eri, the leading Israeli scholar on the Pashtuns, has recorded a series of their customs and traditions that are identical to those of Jews.
 
These include practices such as circumcision on the eighth day after birth, refraining from mixing meat and milk, lighting candles on the eve of the Sabbath and even levirate marriage.
Other scholars have noted similarities between the Pashtun’s ancient tribal code, the Pashtunwali, and Jewish traditions.
 
While DNA studies have provided limited evidence to back up these assertions, a 2017 article in the journal Mitochondrial DNA did find there to be “a genetic connection of Jewish conglomeration in Khattak tribe,” one of the Pashtun clans.
 
And although the Taliban have done a great deal to erase any trace of their pre-Islamic history, the tradition refuses to die.
 
As Hebrew University anthropologist Dr. Shalva Weil has noted regarding the Pashtuns’ link with the lost tribes of Israel, “There is more convincing evidence” about them than anybody else.
 
This fascinating historical curiosity, however, should not blind us to the fact that the Taliban are viciously anti-Israel and no Pashtuns are known to have shown any public interest in returning to their Jewish roots.
 
Indeed, as Dr. Be’eri has argued, even if the Pashtuns are biologically and historically connected with the people of Israel, it still does not mean that “tomorrow they will convert to Judaism and come to live in the Land of Israel.”
 
Merely talking about “mass conversion and migration of millions of Pashtuns from Afghanistan and India into the State of Israel,” he has written, could damage prospects for building greater regional cooperation and understanding.
 
There are, of course, other theories regarding the origins of the Pashtuns as well as scholars who discount or reject the contention of an ancient Israelite connection. But given the Pashtuns’ ancient civilization and far-flung diaspora, and their key political and demographic role in various parts of the Asian subcontinent, it would seem prudent for the Jewish people to seek out avenues of dialogue with them if and wherever feasible.
 
The mere possibility of a shared historical identity could serve as a basis for discussion between Jews and Pashtuns, one that could lead to a dampening of hostility and suspicion and perhaps lay the groundwork for a stronger relationship in the future.
 
In light of their fanatical theology, the Taliban are of course not an address for such efforts. But there are plenty of other Pashtuns worldwide with whom we should seek to build bridges, whether or not one believes them to be our long-lost cousins.
 
 

Michael Freund is founder and chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists the Lost Tribes of Israel and other hidden Jewish communities.

Source: https://www.jpost.com/opinion/are-the-taliban-descendants-of-israel-678995

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Thursday, September 9, 2021

Iran's Nuclear Weapons Weeks Away - Majid Rafizadeh

 

by Majid Rafizadeh

By now, Raisi has been president of Iran for more than a month but there has not been the slightest effort by the Islamic Republic to restart any talks; in fact, all the while, the regime appears to have accelerated its enrichment of uranium to weapons-grade.

  • Apparently desperate to revive the nuclear pact, the Biden administration at once began appeasing the ruling clerics of Iran.

  • From the perspective of Iran's mullahs, Biden's desperate efforts to resurrect the nuclear deal manifested his weak leadership and therefore a delectable opportunity for Tehran to buy time, get more concessions, advance its nuclear program and become a nuclear state.

  • Notwithstanding all these policies of incentives and appeasements, Iran's mullahs continued to make excuses seemingly to drag out the nuclear talks. One of the latest overtures was that the world powers ought to wait until Iran's newly elected president, Ebrahim Raisi, took office before resuming the nuclear talks.

  • By now, Raisi has been president of Iran for more than a month but there has not been the slightest effort by the Islamic Republic to restart any talks; in fact, all the while, the regime appears to have accelerated its enrichment of uranium to weapons-grade.

  • At the moment, the Iranian regime is reportedly 8-10 weeks away from obtaining the weapons-grade materials necessary for a nuclear weapon.

From the perspective of Iran's mullahs, US President Joe Biden's desperate efforts to resurrect the nuclear deal manifested his weak leadership and therefore a delectable opportunity for Tehran to buy time, get more concessions, advance its nuclear program and become a nuclear state. (Image source: iStock)

Since the Biden administration assumed office, the nuclear talks with Iran have gone nowhere. Six rounds of negotiations have been concluded with no results. In contrast, two other issues have gone too far: the Biden administration's appeasement policies towards the Iranian regime, and the advancement of the mullahs' nuclear program.

When the Biden administration took office, it announced that it would curb Iran's nuclear program by returning to the 2015 nuclear deal -- known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which by the way Iran never signed -- and by subsequently lifting sanctions against the Iranian government.

Apparently desperate to revive the nuclear pact, the Biden administration at once began appeasing the ruling clerics of Iran. The first concession was delivered when the administration changed the previous administration's policy of maximum pressure toward Iran's proxy militia group, the Houthis. Even as the evidence -- including a report by the United Nations -- showed that the Iranian regime was delivering sophisticated weapons to the Houthis in Yemen, the Biden administration suspended some of the sanctions against terrorism that the previous administration had imposed on the Houthis.

Soon after, the Biden administration revoked the designation of Yemen's Houthis as a terrorist group. In addition, in June 2021, the Biden administration lifted sanctions on three former Iranian officials and several energy companies. Then, in a blow to the Iranian people and advocates of democracy and human rights -- a few days after the Iranian regime handpicked a mass murderer to be its next president -- the Biden administration announced that it was also considering lifting sanctions against Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

From the perspective of Iran's mullahs, Biden's desperate efforts to resurrect the nuclear deal manifested his weak leadership and therefore a delectable opportunity for Tehran to buy time, get more concessions, advance its nuclear program and become a nuclear state.

Notwithstanding all these policies of incentives and appeasements, Iran's mullahs continued to make excuses seemingly to drag out the nuclear talks. One of the latest overtures was that the world powers ought to wait until Iran's newly elected president, Ebrahim Raisi, took office before resuming the nuclear talks.

By now, Raisi has been president of Iran for more than a month but there has not been the slightest effort by the Islamic Republic to restart any talks; in fact, all the while, the regime appears to have accelerated its enrichment of uranium to weapons-grade. This escalation has even caused concerns among some European leaders and has, surprisingly, led the EU to pressure Tehran immediately to return to the negotiating table. "We vehemently ask Iran to return to the negotiating table constructively and as soon as possible. We are ready to do so, but the time window won't be open indefinitely" a ministry spokesperson from Germany warned.

After stating that they would resume talks when Raisi assumed office, Iran's leaders are now saying that they are not likely to restart the nuclear negotiations for another 2-3 months. "the... government considers a real negotiation is a negotiation that produces palpable results allowing the rights of the Iranian nation to be guaranteed," Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said during an interview broadcast by Iran's state television. He added that the nuclear talks are "one of the questions on the foreign policy and government agenda... the other party knows full well that a process of two to three months is required for the new government to establish itself and to start taking decisions."

As Iran's nuclear policy, however, is not set by the president or its foreign minister, this declaration sounded like just another excuse by the regime to buy time and advance enrichment. It is, of course, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who enjoys the final say in Iran's nuclear and foreign policy issues.

At the moment, the Iranian regime is reportedly 8-10 weeks away from obtaining the weapons-grade materials necessary for a nuclear weapon. "Iran has violated all of the guidelines set in the JCPOA and is only around 10 weeks away from acquiring weapons-grade materials necessary for a nuclear weapon," Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told ambassadors from countries on the United Nations Security Council during a briefing at the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on August 4, 2021. "Now is the time for deeds – words are not enough. It is time for diplomatic, economic and even military deeds, otherwise the attacks will continue."

Once again it seems that the mullahs of Iran are masterfully playing the Biden administration and the EU by stalling the nuclear talks, buying time to get more concessions, and accelerating their enrichment of uranium and nuclear program to reach a weapons-grade nuclear breakout.

 

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/17732/iran-nuclear-weapons-weeks-away

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Biden violating his campaign pledge, 'politicizing' DOJ to do his bidding, legal experts warn - Kelly Laco

 

by Kelly Laco 

 

Biden directed DOJ to file lawsuits against GOP-led Georgia and Texas over voting and anti-abortion laws

 

President Biden is facing harsh criticism from legal experts and elected officials for violating his campaign promise to keep the Department of Justice (DOJ) non-political, after he directed the department to pursue politically charged lawsuits against Republican-led states. 

In recent weeks, Biden – supported by other Democrats and liberal groups – has green-lighted DOJ to file lawsuits against Georgia, over its state election statute, and Texas, over its controversial anti-abortion law. These political directives by the president come after he promised on the campaign trail that he would keep politics out of the department and it would be "totally independent" of him.

Biden said multiple times in 2020 that he would "not direct [DOJ] who to prosecute, what to prosecute, how to prosecute." 

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT PREPARING TO SUE TEXAS OVER ABORTION LAW

Now, legal experts are saying that although Biden campaigned as a moderate, his decision to direct Attorney General Merrick Garland to pursue multiple political lawsuits shows that he is weaponizing the department to pursue a left-wing agenda.

Judicial Crisis Network President Carrie Severino told Fox News, "President Biden campaigned as a moderate but since taking office he and his Department of Justice have just carried water for the left-wing dark money groups who elected him – at the expense of the rule of law."

Stephen Miller, founder of America First Legal and former senior adviser to President Trump, said Biden has "horrendously and hopelessly politicized" DOJ, which is a violation of legal ethics.

"Joe Biden has horrendously and hopelessly politicized the DOJ by using them as an arm of the Democratic Party, filing frivolous litigation solely for political – not legal – reasons. This is a clear violation of legal ethics and it warrants a full investigation into who directed these deeply offensive and utterly meritless lawsuits against the states which clearly have no legal basis whatsoever," said Miller in a statement to Fox News.

BIDEN DOJ VOWS TO DEFEND ABORTION ACCESS IN WAKE OF TEXAS HEARTBEAT BILL

Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action for America, accused Biden of lying on the campaign trail and claimed that his DOJ is actually "the most political and weaponized DOJ," in a tweet.

Elected officials in GOP-led states are also weighing in, saying that Biden's political lawsuits, and other crises his administration is managing, are damaging to the country.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told Fox News that it is "shameful" that Biden broke his campaign promise to keep DOJ non-political.

"It is shameful that Biden has broken countless campaign promises, however I’m not surprised. He is a danger to our country and is responsible for crises after crises – the border, Afghanistan, the economy and more to come. This won’t deter me from fighting for our freedoms and the law," said Paxton.

The attorney general for Montana, Austin Knudsen, said Biden's "weaponization" of federal agencies is wrong and will make Americans more skeptical of government.

"President Biden’s weaponization of federal agencies against the interests of states is wrong and will only serve to sow more skepticism of the federal government. Whether it’s trying to force masks on kids in schools or trying to overturn state laws enacted by duly elected state legislatures, it’s wrong," said Knudsen in a statement to Fox News.

"As Montanans' attorney general, I will continue to fight alongside other attorneys general to fight the Biden administration’s meddling in our states’ affairs," said Knudsen, who is leading multiple lawsuits against the president ranging from energy to immigration.

In June, Garland directed DOJ to sue Georgia, alleging Republican state lawmakers rushed through a sweeping overhaul with an intent to deny Black voters equal access to the ballot. Georgia officials, including Gov. Brian Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr, fired back, saying the lawsuit is "blatantly political" and that Georgia's law actually strengthens security, expands access and improves transparency in elections.

Biden slammed the Supreme Court's ruling last week that Texas' restrictive abortion law could remain in effect in a 5-4 decision, calling it an "unprecedented assault on a woman’s constitutional rights." He also vowed that the his administration would take action through a "whole-of-government effort," and it was confirmed by Fox News Thursday that DOJ is preparing to sue imminently.

Garland officially announced the lawsuit against Texas during a press conference at DOJ headquarters on Thursday afternoon.

The White House didn't immediately return a request for comment.

 

Kelly Laco  is a news and politics editor for Fox News.

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/biden-violating-campaign-pledge-politicizing-doj-legal-experts-warn

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