Friday, November 12, 2021

US changes its UN vote from 'no' to 'abstention' on UNRWA affirmation - Tovah Lazaroff


​ by Tovah Lazaroff

The Biden administration did not reject a UN General Assembly Resolution granting Palestinian refugees the right to return to Israel.


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech remotely to the UN General Assembly on September 24, 2021. (photo credit: JOHN ANGELILLO/POOL/REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech remotely to the UN General Assembly on September 24, 2021.

The Biden administration abstained – but did not reject – a General Assembly resolution affirming the right of return for Palestinian refugees to sovereign Israel as part of a broad text in support of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
In doing so, it broke with the voting pattern on Israel set by former US president Donald Trump in which all such texts received an automatic no vote.
The Obama administration, however, had traditionally abstained from this particular text, which comes annually before the General Assembly.
“This year, the United States returns to a position of abstention on the text ‘Assistance to Palestine Refugees,’” American Deputy Ambassador Richard Mills told the assembly’s Fourth Committee late Tuesday afternoon.
He spoke as the committee gave initial approval to six anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian draft resolutions that will come up later this year at the General Assembly plenum for a final vote.
A screenshot of the results of the UN General Assembly vote on funding UNRWA. (credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)A screenshot of the results of the UN General Assembly vote on funding UNRWA. (credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Three of those texts affirmed the work of the UNRWA, which services 5.7 million Palestinian refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
That 1948 text was written for the then "situation in Palestine."
It "resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date. 
"And compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity."
It is invoked by the Palestinian Authority and Arab countries, such as those who wrote the 2021 resolution on "Assistance to Palestinian Refugees" to support a call for the right of return.
Of the three UNRWA texts, the resolution titled "Assistance to Palestinian Refugees" is considered to be the most benign.
Canada similarly abstained on the text called Assistance to the Palestinian People, while Australia supported it. The US and Canada joined Israel in rejecting the other two resolutions on UNRWA. Australia abstained on one of those and rejected the other.
The European Union supported all three UNRWA texts. Only Israel totally opposed the text Assistance to Palestinian Refugees, which passed 160-1, with nine abstentions.
The other countries that abstained on the Assistance to Palestinian Refugees resolution were Cameroon, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papa New Guinea and Uruguay.
The Trump administration had opposed UNRWA and cut US funding to the organization. Both the Trump administration and Israel have charged that textbooks used in the agency’s schools are antisemitic and incite against Israel.
They opposed the UNRWA policy of applying refugee status to the descendants of Palestinians who fled their homes in 1948, a move that they explain creates an ever-increasing population of refugees.
Prior to Tuesday’s vote, an Israeli representative spoke out against UNRWA at the Fourth Committee meeting.
“We cannot stand idly by when a UN humanitarian agency promotes a political agenda under the guise of true assistance,” the Israel representative said.
“UNRWA must be accountable for the hateful indoctrination of children in its classrooms. It must put an end to the spreading of antisemitic lies by its employees, and it must show a genuine commitment to transparency and accountability,” the Israeli representative said.
She added that UNRWA resources and infrastructure must not be hijacked by Hamas in conducting acts of terror.
Israel has also opposed the right of return for Palestinians to sovereign Israel, a move that it argues would destroy the country’s identity as the ethnic-national homeland for the Jewish people. It has explained that in a two-state resolution to the conflict, Palestinians would have a right of return solely to a Palestinian state, much like Jews would have a right of return solely to Israel.
The Biden administration, however, has restored US funding and support for UNRWA.
“As many members know, under President Biden, the United States announced it would restore its financial support to UNRWA, which we do believe is a vital lifeline to millions of Palestinians across the region,” Mills told the General Assembly.
“Since April, the US government has provided more than $318 million to UNRWA in fiscal year 2021, including critical support for education, health and social services benefiting millions of Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA,” he said.
The US, he said, has noted that some changes were made to the text of the resolutions on the agency “that reflect our priorities in line with strengthening UNRWA,” adding that “the United States will continue to work with UNRWA, work to strengthen the agency’s accountability, its transparency, and its consistency with UN principles.”
Mills called on UN member states to support the agency financially, noting that many of those who voted in favor of the three UNRWA resolutions were not willing to spend money on the organization.
“I would also like to take a moment to point out the overwhelming support from member states for these resolutions voted here today, compared with the relatively few member states that financially support UNRWA,” he said.
“In light of the agency’s urgent shortfall, the United States urges member states to support UNRWA’s services for Palestinian refugees not only in word but in action – and to do so on an expedited basis,” Mills said.
The resolutions were voted on in advance of a donor pledging conference for UNRWA scheduled to take place in Belgium on November 16.
The Fourth Committee also approved three other resolutions on Israel, including one that called for it to relinquish its sovereignty over the Golan Heights it captured from Syria in 1967 and annexed in 1981. To date, only the US has recognized Israeli sovereignty on the Golan.
The Golan resolution passed 144-2, with 22 abstentions. Israel and the United States opposed the resolution, and the European Union supported it. Canada and Australia were among those that abstained.
A fifth resolution that condemned Israeli settlement activity and Israeli sovereignty over east Jerusalem passed 142-7, with 16 abstentions. Those countries that opposed it were Israel, the United States, Canada, Hungary, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Nauru. The text also took Israel to task for settler violence and IDF demolition of Palestinian homes.
The final resolution was on the work of the special committee to investigate Israeli practices affecting human rights of the Palestinian people. It lacked majority support, but was still approved, 77-17, with 74 abstentions. Those who opposed it were Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Czech Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Philippines, Slovenia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
None of the EU member nations supported the text.
The resolutions are part of a package of close to 20 annual resolutions against Israel the General Assembly is set to approve before the end of the year.
The Israeli representative told the General Assembly that these texts were “disproportionate, one-sided and rooted in bias against” her country.
“Israel is the only country – the only country – that is subject to such systematic discrimination in the UN,” she added.
Mills, whose country opposed five of the texts, also charged that the UN is biased against Israel.
“We are disappointed that member states continue to disproportionately single out Israel” he said.
The Palestinian representative, in contrast, thanked the Fourth Committee for its support.
“Adoption of these resolutions again by overwhelming majority reaffirms the international community’s abiding positions on these core issues and renews a significant message of solidarity to the Palestinian people,” she said.
“Such broad support is also the clearest answer to the false and libelous statement made in this committee by the Israeli representative against UNRWA and the hostility directed against the special committee.”

Tovah Lazaroff


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In Area C, the time has come to get off the fence - Sara Ha'etzni-Cohen


​ by Sara Ha'etzni-Cohen

Every minute of every hour, the Palestinian Authority is working to establish a de facto Palestinian state on the ground. Israeli leaders must act to defend our land before it is too late.

It may not be the best look, and it's Sysephian and bleak, but it's the truth: Every day in Judea and Samaria, the noose around Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria tightens.

With generous European assistance, the Palestinian Authority is paving and planting. Everything is done out in the open. In fact, the PA is flaunting its actions. Every minute of every hour, it is working to implement former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's 2009 plan to establish a de facto Palestinian state on the ground. The Jewish residents in the settlements don't feel it. It's not terrorism, thank God. It is, however, silent strangulation.

If you stop at the outlook by Fatsa'el, a Jordan Valley moshav, you will see an incredible sight: huge expanses of land and then clusters of Arab construction. An aerial view offers a gloomy picture: The clusters are situated precisely on the border of Area C, registered state lands under the jurisdiction of the nearby Tomer moshav. And so, while Areas A and B – which are either under total or partial Palestinian jurisdiction – remain empty, Area C is being conquered. This is not the result of a shortage of available land for Arab construction but the intentional construction around settlements on state lands.

You will encounter a similar sight should you look out from the northern neighborhoods of Efrat: The Arabs' homes are built just dozens of meters from the community's streets. Efrat's dedicated residents have established their own war room. They track every brick and every bit of cement that is spilled and report it to the authorities. They know every demolition order that is issued but not enforced, and they do not give up. But the state quite simply does not exist. The Civil Administration is failing at its task and by choice.

There is no one to trust. It's not that the Civil Administration lacks the ability, manpower, or money to do what needs to be done. It simply isn't interested in protecting state lands in Judea and Samaria. A majority of the slots intended for the campaign for Area C have been allotted to other tasks. This was done because the Civil Administration is not interested in enforcing the law on illegal Arab construction around the settlements. A phone call to the body is met with indifference. Everything is slow, lazy, or in the worst case – intentional.

We've reached a stage where there is no state on which to rely on major issues. Real leadership from leaders who will get off the fence is needed. Local leadership in Judea and Samaria, whether elected or civilian organizations, must get off the fence and protect state lands, settlement lands, our homeland. It should be done intelligently, responsibly, and in a law-abiding manner. We should not resort to violence or vandalism against the Arab population, but rather go about this in a positive way, by planting trees and working the land, by showing our presence on the ground. If we will not be for ourselves, who will be for us? There simply isn't any choice.

We must get off the psychological and physical fence and defend our land.


Sara Ha'etzni-Cohen 


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What Is an America that Holds Prisoners Indefinitely without Charging Them? - E. Jeffrey Ludwig


​ by E. Jeffrey Ludwig

The Jan. 6 defendants must be given speedy and fair trials.

The U.S. is facing a serious constitutional crisis over the handling of the cases of defendants in the Jan. 6 so-called "insurrection" in Washington, D.C. to protest the presidential election modus operandi and the results.  Those being held for many months without a trial are being denied their habeas corpus rights under the U.S. Constitution and even dating back to English law hundreds of years before our Constitution was implemented.  Not only are they being incarcerated without having had a trial, but there is some evidence that they are being mistreated or are being held 23 hours a day in solitary confinement, which is a punishment accorded only the most dangerous criminals, such as serial killers and terrorists.

What are habeas corpus rights?  According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), "[h]abeas corpus is a fundamental right in the Constitution that protects against unlawful and indefinite imprisonment.  Translated from Latin it means 'show me the body.'  Habeas corpus has historically been an important instrument to safeguard individual freedom against arbitrary executive power."  A citizen must be charged and cannot be held indefinitely.  A charge requires a trial, and, if found guilty in a trial, there is a sentence for a specific amount of time.

Even PolitiFact — hardly an unbiased fact-checker — relates, "The vast majority of defendants have been released from custody while awaiting trial, but some [my italics] held in jail have been kept in solitary confinement."  The fact that exact numbers for how many are held in solitary confinement or for how long suggests to this writer evasion by the Washington, D.C. jail authorities.

Despite the attempt by outlets like PolitiFact to minimize the problem of solitary confinement, a number of GOP senators have voiced their concern about this problem, and even the ACLU — certainly not an outreach arm of the Republican Party — has become involved.  However, the Republican senators who are concerned do not have a specific number.  The lack of definitiveness in this area is alarming.

Even saying that "it's only a few bad dudes" being held without habeas corpus does not dilute the evil that suspension of habeas corpus is.  Only a couple of weeks after seven Southern states seceded from the Union in 1861, Pres. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and arrested an individual in Maryland — a state that had not seceded — for advocating secession.  The U.S. Circuit Court ruled that Lincoln's action violated the U.S. Constitution.  Although Lincoln did not rescind his setting aside of habeas corpus, John Merryman, the object of this action, was allowed to post bail three months later and was never brought to trial.  Charges of treason against him were eventually dropped.  This was only one case in the context of social turmoil much greater than that of Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C., yet the Circuit Court and many citizens who supported our fight against the secessionist states still deemed Lincoln's action an overreach.

A crucial law in respect of this right not to be imprisoned without being charged was the English Habeas Corpus Act of 1679, 110 years before our U.S. Constitution was written.  That law said no one could be held in prison except for treason indefinitely, and that failure to present the person to be charged to a court would result in officials being fined.  This law was followed by the Declaration of Right in 1689.  Among the many provisions of this 1689 foundational document, which became a formative model for our own Constitution and Bill of Rights, was the provision "promises of fines and forfeitures before conviction are illegal and void."  So the earlier law was updated to include injury financial injury to the prisoner as well as removal of his freedom.    

In today's context, that 1689 extension of the earlier 1679 law extends to the health of the incarcerated person.  This applies to the present Washington, D.C. prisoners from Jan. 6 like Christopher Worrell, who has non-Hodgkins lymphoma and who has not had necessary surgery on his right hand.  He is being made to suffer over and above the denial of his habeas corpus rights, which additional neglect and suffering have, since 1689, also been considered illegal in English law.  Thus, we can see that the Nov. 3, 2021 ruling by U.S. district judge Royce C. Lamberth, declaring that Warden Wanda Patten and director of the D.C. Dept. of Corrections Quincy Booth are in civil contempt for "potential civil rights violations," is a ruling based in English common law going back 332 years!  If that is not egregious conduct, what is?

On many MSM outlets, commentators are referring to the Jan. 6 protesters as "insurrectionists," but so far no one has been charged with insurrection.  Insurrectionist is possibly another word for "traitor," so — going back to the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679 — it would seem to justify holding someone without charging him.  However, this mindset is gripped by hyperbole.  Even if the protesters are guilty of violent actions during their protest, it would be an exaggeration to say they were traitors.  Benedict Arnold, a notable traitor during the American Revolution, sold us out to the British for 10,000 pounds, but he was not imprisoned.  Jefferson Davis, who was president of the Confederacy during the Civil War, was imprisoned for only two years and then lived as a free man.  Jane Fonda denounced the U.S.'s role in Vietnam to American soldiers serving in Vietnam but was never prosecuted, and John Kerry, another anti-American who lied repeatedly about the Vietnam War and about U.S. activities while prosecuting that war, became a candidate for president and is now our climate czar.

Denouncing those in jail as insurrectionists and traitors completely lacks perspective and is an attempt to generate a climate of fear and hatred for those who repudiate the administration of President Joe Biden as unworthy of this great country.

Readers should contact their senators and representatives ASAP to promote the cause of justice.  They can link this article to provide the historical and legal context for holding the view that action must be taken to resolve the abuse of power we now see regarding defendants who have been arrested for their actions on Jan. 6.

Image via Pxhere.


E. Jeffrey Ludwig


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Obama ethics chief troubled by Biden WH staff 'revolving door from influence-peddling operations' - Houston Keene


​ by Houston Keene

Former Obama official Walt Shaub has been a stern critic of Biden administration's handling of ethical issues

Former President Obama’s ethics chief warned that President Biden's White House staff going through "the revolving door from influence-peddling operations" is not good for the country.

Former Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub unloaded on the Biden administration after it was announced that Michael Czin from the Biden-aligned consulting firm, SKDK, would be joining the White House in a "senior adviser" position.

Czin is the most recent hire from SKDK, which was co-founded by Anita Dunn. Dunn recently left the Biden administration after being able to skirt publicly disclosing her personal finances and business interests, unlike other presidential appointees, due to an ethics loophole. 


Senior adviser to the president Anita Dunn in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, on May 13, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Senior adviser to the president Anita Dunn in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, on May 13, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

"Personnel is policy, and it's problematic when that personnel is swinging through the revolving door from influence-peddling operations," Shaub told Fox News in a Wednesday email. "It's all the more troubling when they don't even quit their outside jobs with those outfits."

"I hope he won't follow the path that Anita Dunn chose of coming in as a special government employee and accepting a salary below the threshold that triggers the requirement to file a public financial disclosure report, but the fact that he's only taking a leave of absence is cause for concern that this could be the plan – and if so, the public will have no way to gauge the extent of his conflicts of interest," Shaub continued. "It's not optimal."

Shaub previously wrote on Twitter Wednesday that Czin’s "leave of absence" from SKDK "doesn’t get him out of filing a public disclosure" but noted that "coming on as a special government employee and setting his pay below the threshold at which public disclosure would apply may do it." 

The former White House ethics chief also wrote that "the leave of absence status may suggest that’s happening."

"Yuck," Shaub concluded.


This isn't the first time that Shaub has blasted the Biden administration over ethics. Earlier this year, Shaub said the Biden administration was sending a "f--- you" message to ethics experts by hiring so many relatives of senior White House officials, including Steve Ricchetti, Jake Sullivan and Jen Psaki.

Counselor to the president Steve Ricchetti gestures after a round of golf with President Biden at Wilmington Country Club in Delaware on April 17, 2021. 

Counselor to the president Steve Ricchetti gestures after a round of golf with President Biden at Wilmington Country Club in Delaware on April 17, 2021.  (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

"I'm sorry, I know some folks don't like hearing any criticism of him. But this royally sucks. I'm disgusted," Shaub wrote in a Twitter thread in June, reacting to an article about the family ties of Biden officials.

"A lot of us worked hard to tee him up to restore ethics to government and believed the promises," Shaub added, calling the string of family-related hires "a real ‘f*** you’ to us –and government ethics." 

Shaub has also criticized the White House over its handling of Hunter Biden's art sales, saying the deal that the White House brokered with his art dealer was "absolutely appalling."

World Food Program USA Board Chairman Hunter Biden speaks at the program's annual award ceremony on April 12, 2016, in Washington, D.C. 

World Food Program USA Board Chairman Hunter Biden speaks at the program's annual award ceremony on April 12, 2016, in Washington, D.C.  ( Paul Morigi/Getty Images for World Food Program)

"There is simply no way an artist who has never even juried into a community center art fair is going to suddenly show up in New York selling art for half a million a pop," Shaub said. "Let's talk about the magnitude of this... That’s $6.5 million going to the president’s son for being the president’s son, not for being an artist and I just think that’s absolutely appalling."

The White House did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

Fox News' Cameron Cawthorne contributed to this report.


Houston Keene is a reporter for Fox News Digital. You can find him on Twitter at @HoustonKeene.


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Survey finds most Brits unaware Nazis killed 6 million Jews in Holocaust - i24NEWS and ILH Staff


​ by i24NEWS and ILH Staff

Claims Conference president concerned by "profound gaps in knowledge of the Holocaust in this, previous studies, including about events connected to the UK."


Survey finds most Brits unaware Nazis killed 6 million Jews in Holocaust
Visitors are seen at the Hall of Names at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem, Jan. 21, 2020 | File photo: AFP/ Ludovic Marin

More than half of all people in the United Kingdom did not know that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis during World War II, according to the findings of a new survey published Wednesday.

A majority, 52%, of UK respondents were unaware of the most cited death toll from the Nazi German genocide of Europe's Jews, and 22% of Brits thought that 2 million or fewer Jews were killed, the survey found.

"We are very concerned to see the profound gaps in knowledge of the Holocaust in this and previous studies, including about events connected to the UK," said Claims Conference President Gideon Taylor said.

The vast majority of respondents - 88% - said that it was important to continue to teach people about the genocide of Europe's Jews, in part so that it never happens again. Seventy-one percent said the government should support Holocaust education.

Fifty-six percent of respondents said they thought something like the Holocaust could happen again.

This article was first published by i24NEWS.


i24NEWS and ILH Staff 


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France’s Trump? - Bruce Bawer


​ by Bruce Bawer

The rise of Éric Zemmour.


France’s next presidential election will take place in April, and the international media are already alarmed that the winner just might be a man named Éric Zemmour. He’s “shaking up France's presidential race before it's even begun,” warns the BBC. Among Zemmour’s unsettling views: he says “that France is being ‘submerged’ by migrants” and that the French media are "a propaganda machine that hates France.” In other words, he does that most unforgivable of things, in the eyes of the corporate media: he dares to tell the truth about certain uncomfortable subjects.

To the Financial Times, Zemmour is an “anti-immigration polemicist” whom “critics see” (yes, that cheap rhetorical dodge) “as a dangerous, Donald Trump-style provocateur” (because, after all, four years of Trump proved him to be a “dangerous...provocateur”) — “a TV talk-show star who rails against Muslims, immigration, feminism, crime and the supposed decline of France.” Like Trump, Zemmour “has focused on topics that attract intense interest from voters — especially immigration and crime — and packaged them in ways that favour the viral spread of his message.” Thus do the corporate media frame truth-telling as cynical vote-mongering.

In the Guardian you can read that Zemmour “claims foreigners have taken over whole neighbourhoods in France.” As if the banlieues that are no-go zones for non-Muslims weren’t an established fact! The other day France’s Chief Rabbi, Haim Korsia, who is known for his “commitment to interfaith dialogue,” called Zemmour - a Jew who goes to shul with his Jewish wife - an anti-Semite. Thus do the members of the establishment conspire to draw a cordon sanitaire around those who refuse to parrot the elite orthodoxy. Then there’s Hans-Georg Betz, a professor at the University of Zurich who studies “right-wing populism.” He accuses Zemmour of being “obsessed with Islam.” Yes, just like German Jews in the 1930s were obsessed with Nazism. For Betz, Zemmour

regurgitates ad nauseam all the familiar anti-Islamic tropes that have made the political fortunes of radical right-wing entrepreneurs in recent memory....These tropes posit that Islam is not only a religion, but also a political ideology, and as such totalitarian; that the basic principles of Western culture and civilization, such as democracy, freedom of religion and opinion, the equality of men and women, or the separation of church and state, are fundamentally at odds with Islam; and that Islam is all about submission and therefore incompatible with liberal democracy.

Funny how even now, as the writing on the wall (scrawled in Arabic with the blood of infidels) becomes easier and easier to read, academics like Betz still smile on Islam and depict people like Zemmour as “regurgitat[ing]...tropes” to make their “political fortunes.” Yes, the same tropes that made the political fortunes of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh. Everything Betz says in his mocking representation of Zemmour’s opinions is objectively true: Islam is totalitarian; it is irreconcilable with Western principles; it is about submission. Most Frenchmen agree: as Robert Spencer reported here the other day, two-thirds of them believe that their nation will “definitely” or “probably” experience the process of total Islamization that Zemmour and others call “the Great Replacement” - a concept that academic elites dismiss as an extremist fantasy.    

Zemmour’s views may accord with those of the majority of his countrymen, but  they diverge dramatically from those of the incumbent. To be sure, in October of last year Emmanuel Macron made headlines with a speech in which he called “Islamist separatism” an existential threat to the French Republic and promised a sweeping new set of initiatives to address it. A couple of weeks later, the jihadist murder of a schoolteacher, Samuel Paty, in a Paris suburb caused national outrage, and led Macron to double down on his promises. Yet when the Financial Times described him as planning to fight “Islamic extremism,” Macron wrote a letter in reply, explaining that, no, he was concerned about Islamist extremism, which he characterized as a distortion of a religion of peace.

Then, earlier this year, came Macron’s much-touted “Law against Separatism,” which National Rally (formerly National Front) leader Marine Le Pen dismissed as “toothless,” and his preposterous “Charter of Principles for Islam in France.” The feebleness of Macron’s anti-“Islamist” efforts was underscored in April by an open letter, signed by over a thousand members of the French military, warning that Muslim banlieus were being governed in accordance with “dogmas contrary to our constitution.” No wonder that Zemmour, in the past few weeks, has risen in the polls from a 5.5% level of support to 17%, surpassing the leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon, center-right Xavier Bertrand, and even Le Pen, placing him not far behind Macron, at 23%.

Who is Éric Zemmour? Born in 1958 to Jewish parents from Algeria, he studied at Sciences Po, one of France’s “grandes écoles,” then became a reporter, columnist, TV commentator, and author of books with titles like Le livre noir de la droite (The Black Book of the Left), Une certaine idée de la France (A Certain Idea of France), Mélancolie française (French Melancholy), and Destin français (French Destiny). His 2014 jeremiad Le Suicide français was a massive bestseller. He’s also written novels, political biographies, and a polemic about the feminization of Western society. Along the way, he’s been sued a number of times for stating objective facts about black and Muslim crime and for various examples of alleged “defamation” or “incitement to hatred.”

Zemmour’s new book, La France n’a pas dit son dernier mot (France Has Not Yet Had the Last Word), is a collection of articles originally published between 2006 and 2020.  The first thing that’s clear when you plunge into it is that he’s no standard-issue French politician. One of his supporters told the Guardian that a big part of his appeal is that “he is not like a classic politician at all...he speaks clearly and he doesn’t have the politically correct language of the political class. French people have had enough of the current political class.” Sound familiar?

It’s wrong to describe Zemmour as hating Islam obsessively. He also hates the EU. He hates everything that’s contributed to the decline of France. It’s moving to read a Frenchman who loves his country so passionately. He describes himself as having grown up as an admirer of DeGaulle, a giant, but as having spent his adulthood in a France run by dwarves. And looking to the U.S. and U.K., he sees similar decline: “The people of Brexit are the same as the people of Trump. They have freed themselves from their old progressive allegiances for the same reasons: a country that they no longer recognize; a job that they can no longer find.” For a précis of Zemmour’s philosophy, here’s his savvy list of the Ten Commandments of “our new religion”:

  1. Race doesn’t exist, but racists do.
  2. Only whites are racists.
  3. Identity - whether ethnic or sexual - shouldn’t be fixed.
  4. The schools’ only mission is to fight inequality.
  5. Virility is toxic.
  6. Islam is a religion of love.
  7. Capitalism and the patriarchy tyrannize women as they destroy the planet.
  8. There is no French culture, only cultures in France.
  9. Immigration is an opportunity for Europe.
  10. France can do nothing without Europe.

Perusing Zemmour’s book, I sought out entries from some of France’s red-letter days of recent years. On January 7, 2015, two jihadists massacred 20 people at the Paris offices of the weekly satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, which had published cartoons of Muhammed. Zemmour opens his piece of that date with a phone call from the cops telling him that henceforth - whether he likes it or not - he’ll be under police protection. For once, he tells us wryly, he doesn’t care to play rebel. Also, although the Charlie Hebdo crowd are, or were, a bunch of lefty ‘68ers, and his book La suicide francaise established him as one of their liveliest detractors, he can appreciate the ‘68 spirit that gave birth to Charlie Hebdo as “a magnificent explosion of libertarian hedonism in a society that was still a bit stuffy, the last fires of a Rimbaudian and surrealist rebellion.”

Then, on April 15, 2019, Notre Dame goes up in flames. Zemmour, in shock and in tears, suggests that “France is rediscovering that she is a Christian country.” Also, “that she is the country of beauty.” In fact, he maintains, “France is a woman,” and “the demolition of French identity began with the pillaging” of her beauty. Hence, “defending and safeguarding traces of French beauty is defending and safeguarding French identity.” Some may be disquieted by such fanciful formulations. But it seems to me that a romantic patriot who sees rescuing his country as an act of chivalry is preferable to a gray technocrat who’s prepared to manage his country’s gradual Islamization.

And what about Trump? On December 6, 2016, a month after the U.S. election, Zemmour meets an elderly woman at a party. Married to a rich American, she’s played a role in helping Trump win women’s votes, and has a message for Zemmour: France, like the U.S., needs its stables cleaned. But where’s the Trump to do the job? She and her French friends, she says, worked on that one for months. They considered all the big French CEOs. “We couldn't find anybody." But finally the truth dawned on them. “You,” she tells Zemmour, “are the French Trump."

Yes, he does indeed seem to be the closest thing the French have to Trump.  He also reminds me a lot of Pim Fortuyn, who was murdered days before a 2002 election that would likely have made him prime minister of the Netherlands. But Zemmour is even more reminiscent of another Dutch patriot, Theo van Gogh - the writer, filmmaker, and raconteur who was slaughtered in 2004 on a crowded Amsterdam street. Like van Gogh, Zemmour is a man of many parts, a happy warrior, a poet, a rough-and-tumble street fighter, who has limitless drive and can’t not tell the truth. Even their writing styles are very similar - they ram their points home bluntly, wittily, irreverently, without euphemism or circumlocution but, yes, sometimes with hyperbole. (Which, as in the case of Trump, is categorically different from the brazen lies of the establishment politicians.)

Like van Gogh, Zemmour is patently in love with his country and its history and culture, proud of its role in the advance of civilization and human liberty, and possessed of an old-fashioned conviction that it’s his patriotic duty - his duty to his country’s past as well as to its future - to stand up to an obvious existential threat to its freedom. In short, he certainly seems to be the real thing. Yes, it may already be too late to save France. But better to go down in gloire than in déshonneur.


Bruce Bawer is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.


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Biden Seeks To Prove That Crime Pays - Michael Cutler


​ by Michael Cutler

Compensating illegal aliens supposedly separated at the border.


In Joe Biden’s America U.S. citizens face increasing scrutiny while illegal aliens are encouraged, aided, abetted and induced to enter the United States why whatever means possible.  Furthermore, once in the United States, illegal aliens have nothing to fear.  Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of DHS the Department of Homeland Security, (Department of Homeland Surrender?) has ordered that agents of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) will no longer arrest aliens who are working illegally or punish employers who intentionally hire illegal aliens.  This was the focus of my recent article, Biden Admin Powers Up Magnet to Attract Even More Illegal Aliens.

This is all in direct contradiction to the provisions of a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S. Code § 1324.

Even though immigration fraud was identified by the 9/11 Commission as being the key method of entry and embedding of international terrorists, DHS Secretary Mayorkas Plans to Shield Immigration Fraudsters – After DHS Officer Arrested for Naturalization Fraud.

While we consider terrorists, Biden and his Attorney General Garner are now Targeting American Parents who may question the curriculum that their own children are being indoctrinated with in American schools while blatantly ignoring how Biden’s Afghanistan Catastrophe Increases Terror Threat in US especially as our borders are now wide open and immigration law enforcement from within the interior of the United States has been all but terminated.

My dad sagely told me that nothing is so good it could not be made better or be so bad that it could not get worse.

How much worse could things get under Mr. Biden and his wrecking crew?

Consider that while Biden has proposed hiring an army of thousands of IRS agents to scrutinize the tax returns filed by Americans and drilling down into bank accounts with balances as low as $600 to make certain that the federal government captures every cent Americans taxpayers owe on November 6, 2021 the Washington Times reported, Biden: Migrant families separated at border deserve compensation.

President Donald Trump and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions came up with the “Zero Tolerance” policy to attempt to discourage the human tsunami of illegal aliens who were pouring through the highly porous and dangerous U.S./Mexican border.  The clear goal was to deter what could only be described as an invasion of the United States.

Under a the provisions of the Flores Decision, minor aliens cannot be held for more than 20 days.  Human trafficking organizations quickly realized that they could use young aliens to compel immigration authorities to release aliens who were accompanied by what they claimed were their children even when they weren’t actually related.

I wrote about this in my article, Alien Smugglers Exploit Infants.  My article included the link to an ICE press release issued on May 16, 2019 that addressed the discovery that a previously deported illegal alien was found wading across the Rio Grande with a 6 month old infant in his arms.  Although he initially claimed it was his child, it was subsequently determined that he was not related to the infant. 

The press release, Fraudulent family case involving 6-month-old represents 'new level of child endangerment' according to ICE officials began with this excerpt:

WASHINGTON – A Honduran man attempting to cross the border with an unrelated 6-month-old infant last week underscores what U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents have described as an increasing trend of fraudulent families presenting at the border in order to take advantage of loopholes in immigration laws and avoid being detained by immigration authorities.

Cases like this demonstrate the real danger that exists to children in this disturbing new trend,” said HSI Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa Erichs. And while we have seen egregious cases of smugglers renting and recycling children, this case involving a six-month-old infant is a new low – and an unprecedented level of child endangerment.”

Amilcar Guiza-Reyes, a 51-year old citizen and national of Honduras, who was previously deported in 2013, made an initial appearance in federal court in the Southern District of Texas May 10, charged with 8 USC 1324 alien smuggling for allegedly smuggling a 6-month-old infant across the U.S.-Mexico border.

It is beyond outrageous for Mr. Biden to support the payment of hundreds of thousands of dollars to illegal aliens who intentionally violated our borders and our immigration laws that are essential to national security, public safety, public health and the jobs and wages of Americans is more than outrageous.  The message will be clear- for illegal aliens, the streets are indeed, paved with gold, the gold taken from the U.S. taxpayers to reward illegal aliens for violations of our laws.

Contrary to Mr. Biden’s claims- many children were separated from their parents long before they came to the U.S. / Mexican border.  They were separated from their families back in their countries of origin- either because their parents were willing to “rent them out” or because they were kidnapped.  Trump’s efforts to use DNA testing to determine if those claiming to be the parents of these children was rebuffed by the courts.

To this point, on July 10, 2018 Politico reported, Judge demands Trump administration meet deadline to reunify dozens of migrant children.

There are other factors to consider beginning with the Profiteers of Biden Administration’s Open Borders Policy.

First of all, do not forget that lawyers from the ACLU are seeking this settlement.  They would undoubtedly get a significant share from this abominable “settlement.”  This simply adds yet another dimension to the immigration delivery system that provides an unlimited supply of foreign workers to compete with and displace American workers.  An unlimited supply of foreign tourists, foreign students and, for the immigration lawyers- an unlimited supply of clients!

The ACLU is apparently looking for a huge payday!

Here are other factors to consider.

When people are arrested they are invariably separated from their children.  As an INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) Special Agent I participated in many arrests.  Often I worked in close coordination with law enforcement officers of other agencies. I spent roughy half of my 30 year career working with the DEA, FBI, ATF and local and state police departments.  (I was assigned to the Unified Intelligence Division of the DEA in New York City for four years and then promoted to the position of INS Senior Special Agent and assigned to the Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force.)

When we knew in advance that children were likely to be found at the location where we were making going to make arrests, if both parents were named in arrest warrants, we arranged to have appropriate authorities from Child Welfare accompany us to take care of the children.  We always felt terrible about the situations these children were placed as a consequence of their parents’ criminal activities.

Actions have consequences.

Mr. Biden claims to be concerned that children were separated from their parents because of President Trump’s policies.  Today how many children’s lives are being endangered by his open-borders and other immigration policies driving unprecedented numbers of people including children to use pernicious sociopathic alien smugglers and human traffickers to head for the United States through incredibly dangerous terrain and conditions?

Additionally- if Mr Biden’s is truly concerned that children were supposedly separated from their parents because of policies of the government, that those who were made to suffer should be paid, then I have an additional proposal.

The separation of children from their families is indeed terrible.  But there is another situation that has also results in the separation of children from their parents.  But in this case their parents did nothing wrong but to be in the proverbial “wrong place at the wrong time.”

Their parents were killed by aliens who should not have been permitted to enter the United States nor to remain in the United States.  In many instances these criminal aliens had been deported and illegally reentered the United States.  Policies of Sanctuary Cities and Sanctuary States resulted in detainers that were lodged by ICE to be ignored.  These aliens who were in custody were turned loose and subsequently went on to kill and/or seriously injure innocent victims-thereby separating these victims - all too often permanently from their children.

Biden’s policies that have facilitated the entry of criminal aliens has also resulted in more innocent victims being permanently separated from their families and their children. 

Record quantities of narcotics have also flooded into the United States.  How many lives have been ruined or even lost to drug overdoses or to deaths that are directly or indirectly linked to drug use and the drug trade- causing more children to be permanently separated from their parents and other family members?

The question to which all American must demand an answer is simple- how much money should be paid by the jurisdictions that are responsible for their permanent separations of children from their parents because of Biden open borders/immigration anarchy policies that are exacerbated by the policies of “sanctuary jurisdictions’?

How much money should be paid to families who suffered the loss of their loved ones because of insane “no cash bail” policies that result in the release of sociopathic violent criminals who subsequently killed still more innocent victims?


Michael Cutler


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European Union Will Still Not Ban Hezbollah In Its Entirety - Hugh Fitzgerald


​ by Hugh Fitzgerald

Are Hezbollah's “military wing” and “political wing” really separate?



Just when you begin to think that the EU has stiffened its spine vis-à-vis the Palestinians by, for example, withholding aid funds this year because of the antisemitism in the PA’s schoolbooks, it once again disappoints. The latest example is the EU’s refusal to ban the Shiite terror group Hezbollah in its entirety. A report on the EU’s continuing pusillanimity is here: “European Union Will Not Outlaw All of Hezbollah,” i24 News, November 1, 2021:

The European Union will not ban the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah in its entirety.

When asked about a full ban of Hezbollah, Katharina von Schnurbein, the European Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life, eschewed [sic] the question and passed it onto her superiors, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Peter Stano, EU Spokesperson for Foreign Policy, told the Post, “The military wing of Hezbollah is already on the EU terror list.

“Any changes in the nature and scope of the existing listing are for EU Member States to discuss and decide by unanimity.”…

There are 27 members of the EU, and It only takes one country’s insistence on protecting Hezbollah’s “political wing” — by preventing it from being recognized as inseparable from its military wing — to keep the EU from doing what common sense, and a moral sense, both dictate.

It took a long time for the EU to designate just the “military wing” as a terrorist group that ought to be sanctioned; it was Israel itself that presented to member countries of the EU the conclusive evidence supporting such a designation. In 2020, with the EU countries having banned the “military wing” of Hezbollah, Israel then presented to the German government evidence of the role of Hezbollah’s “political wing” in supporting the terrorist activities of the “military wing” – for it is the “political wing” that raises money for terrorists’ upkeep and weapons, helps pay for the recruitment of new members to the terror group and their salaries, and underwrites the propaganda campaigns that Hezbollah conducts to justify its acts of terror against the Jewish state. And the evidence of those links between the military and political wings, brought by Israel to German attention, led Germany to outlaw the “political wing” of Hezbollah; country’s new ban, in force since April 2020, does not differentiate between the group’s military and political wings. Hezbollah “political” activities “violate criminal law and the organization opposes the concept of international understanding,” said German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer when the new policy was announced.

He continued: “The group, headed by Hassan Nasrallah, denies Israel’s right to exist and “supports the armed terrorist fight” against the Jewish state, his ministry said in a statement. “It is to be expected that Hezbollah will continue to plot terrorist acts against Israel and Israeli interests also outside the Middle East.

Germany joins several other European countries, most notably the U.K.(which came after Germany) and the Netherlands (which came before), in banning Hezbollah in its entirety. But France is a notable holdout, still clinging to the fiction of two entirely separate wings of Hezbollah when, in fact, the “military wing” could not exist without the “political wing” that provides funds and recruits.

In fact, Hezbollah itself is the best witness for its own prosecution – it has declared itself to be a single and unified organization:

Hezbollah, as an organization, considers itself to be a unified movement that cannot be divided into political and military sectors. Hezbollah spokesman Ibrahim Mousawi stated in 2013, “Hezbollah is a single, large organization. We have no wings that are separate from one another.”

Hezbollah is a part of the Lebanese government, but it operates independently and does not assume responsibility for what happens in the country….

Hezbollah may “operate independently” from the Lebanese government” but, alas, the Lebanese government is unable to operate independently from Hezbollah. Hezbollah is a state within a state. It controls the government not only  through its own members in the cabinet and in Parliament, but also through others, non-Shi’a, who have become willing collaborators of the terror group. These include the Maronite President Michel Aoun and the Sunni Prime Minister Najib Mikati, both of whom do Hezbollah’s bidding. Hezbollah is much more powerful than the Lebanese Army, that does not dare to confront the terror group, which possesses more weaponry than do 95% of the world’s conventional army. Hezbollah has brought every kind of woe to Lebanon. It dragged the unwilling country into a war with Israel in 2006 that led to the destruction of much of its infrastructure. It haphazardly stored 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrates in Hangar 12 at the Port of Beirut, leading to the gigantic blast on Aug. 4, 2020, which caused 215 dead, 6,500 wounded, and $15 billion in property damage. Hezbollah has denied any responsibility for the catastrophe, and has tried to force Tarek Bitar, the honest investigator of the blast, off the case, even going so far as to threaten him physically. Finally, it is Hezbollah goons who have suppressed peaceful demonstrations by Lebanese against the mismanagement and corruption of their own government.

Prime Minister Bennett’s attempt, on the sidelines of the Glasgow Climate Summit, to convince Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison to designate all of Hezbollah as a terror organization makes sense. Though Australia currently recognizes only the Hezbollah External Security Organization as a terrorist group, and not the entire organization, this past June Australia’s Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) recommended blacklisting all of Hezbollah. Their both being in attendance at Glasgow has offered the first time, since that parliamentary recommendation in June, for Bennett to have a chance to make his case to Morrison – widely recognized as pro-Israel — in person. Within a very short time, we should see whether Bennett’s powers of persuasion have worked.

Hezbollah’s “military wing” could not exist without its “political wing.” It would not have the hundreds of millions of dollars to pay its recruits and to buy weapons and to build a network of terror tunnels; without that “political wing” it could not pay for and distribute its anti-Israel propaganda worldwide; without its “political wing” Hezbollah would not be able to bribe officials to look the other way when the terror group conducts its lucrative drug trade from South America to Europe and the Middle East.

Why should any EU country continue to pretend that the “military” and the “political” wings of Hezbollah are distinct entities, when everything we know about them shows them joined at the hip? When we have all known for years that the “military” wing relies on the “political wing” to raise money to buy weapons, to pay seasoned fighters and new recruits, to underwrite the creation and dissemination of anti-Israel propaganda? And if Hezbollah’s own spokesman, Ibrahim Mousawi, has insisted that “Hezbollah is a single, large organization. We have no wings that are separate from one another,” then who are we to disagree?

Originally published at Jihad Watch


Hugh Fitzgerald


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Senior Libyan officials: Libya wants normalization with Israel - Daniel Siryoti


​ by Daniel Siryoti

Gen. Khalifa Haftar, the leading presidential candidate, has recently voiced his desire to normalize ties with Israel on several occasions, and declared he would work to that end if he is elected president on Dec. 24.


Senior Libyan officials: Libya wants normalization with Israel
Gen. Khalifa Haftar gestures as he speaks during Independence Day celebrations in Benghazi, Libya December 24, 2020 | Photo: Reuters/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

Following the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan – is Libya the next in line to make peace with Israel and join the Abraham Accords? The political camps in the North African country, which has suffered two brutal civil wars over the past decade, are preparing for a highly charged election campaign that will determine Libya's future.

According to senior Libyan officials with close ties to the leading presidential candidate, Gen. Khalifa Haftar, it appears the large Arab country is moving toward normalization with Israel. Haftar has recently voiced his desire on several occasions to normalize ties with Israel, and declared he would work to that end if he is elected president on December 24.

Israel Hayom reported in late October that an Israeli consulting firm was advising both Haftar and his main rival, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the former tyrant Muammar Gaddafi, who was deposed and killed in a violent uprising 10 years ago.

Haftar, who has also earmarked a senior role in the next government for his son, Saddam, if he wins the election, has the support of the US, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Western actors, but he has apparently pinned a great deal of hope on relations with Israel.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and his father, former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi (Reuters/Chris Helgren and Jamal Saidi)

"Only a normalization agreement with Israel, which will bring Libya into the Abraham Accords, can catalyze Libya's rehabilitation plan, which stands at hundreds of billions of dollars," Haftar has reportedly told his confidantes.

Libya's goal, he has said, is to receive financial aid from the international community, which requires a change of direction from the next president-elect and his government. Joining the Abraham Accords, according to Haftar, could pave the path for Libya to return to the family of nations, secure the necessary aid from the International Monetary Fund, and diplomatic support from the US and European Union.

A senior official in the UAE, who is close to both the leading candidates in Libya, told Israel Hayom: "On the matter of Libya's desire and need to normalize its relations with Israel and join the Abraham Accords, there is consensus among the two candidates. Both have said in the past that normalization with Israel is on the table, and on many occasions both have told their close advisers in private that they would work in earnest to make that happen."

The senior UAE official added, however, that even if either of the candidates eventually does normalize ties with Israel, it would be a vastly different type of relationship than with the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco.

"If the initiative is implemented," the official said, "it will happen at a very slow pace, very cautiously, somewhat similar to the normalization process between Israel and Sudan."

Meanwhile, an official in Haftar's campaign headquarters told Israel Hayom that "it's still too early to discuss a normalization agreement with Israel and how that would look. First of all, Gen. Haftar has to actually win, and we are certain he will. As of now, though, we have no interest in bringing the issue of future relations with Israel to the agenda, because the Libyan public harbors traditional and structured hostility toward it. At this juncture, such conversations can only harm Haftar's chances of winning the election."


Daniel Siryoti


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Report: Assad expels Quds Force commander from Syria - Neta Bar , JNS and ILH Staff


​ by Neta Bar , JNS and ILH Staff

Syrian source tells Saudi media outlets the Iranian general had authorized a series of military strikes on US and Israeli forces without Damascus' consent.

Report: Assad expels Quds Force commander from Syria
Syria's President Bashar Assad chairs a Baath party meeting in Damascus, Oct. 7, 2018 | File photo: Syrian Arab News Agency / AFP

Syrian President Bashar Assad was involved in the ejection of Iranian Quds Force Commander Jawad Ghafari, Saudi media outlets Al Arabiya and Al Hadath reported on Wednesday.

According to the reports, Assad asked the Iranian regime to withdraw Ghafari due to the "overactivity" of the Quds Force in Syria, which the Syrian dictator considered to be a breach of sovereignty in multiple sectors.

The Saudi media outlets said Ghafari's exit from Syria was part of a negative trend that Iran has faced regarding its entrenchment efforts there.

Al Arabiya quoted a "knowledgeable source" as saying Assad and other senior Syrian officials stood behind Ghafari's return to Iran following months of disagreements between Damascus and Tehran.

A source inside the Syrian regime told the Al Hadath daily the general had admitted ordering weapons and men to be stationed in places that were explicitly designated as off-limits by the regime.

The report is of particular significance, according to the source, given Israeli strikes on the state.

The source further said the general had authorized a series of military strikes on US and Israeli forces without Damascus' approval.

The publications claimed that Ghafari circumvented Syrian mechanisms while smuggling goods for black-market production, forming competition to the legal Syrian market. It added that Iranian forces in Syria exploited the country's natural resources and its economic crisis for their personal gain and evaded tax payments to the Syrian state.

On Tuesday, Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth published an analysis arguing Assad was dissatisfied with Iranian forces operating in his area and that Israel was taking advantage of that fact to step up attacks on Iranian targets.

Foreign media outlets have identified no less than seven airstrikes on Syrian territory. According to Syrian reports, the strikes targeted armories belonging to pro-Iranian forces inside Syria as well as elements of Hezbollah's precision missile system. contributed to this report.


Neta Bar , JNS and ILH Staff 


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Thursday, November 11, 2021

John Durham Is Getting Close To The Jugular - Charles Lipson


​ by Charles Lipson

Hat tip: Dr. Jean-Charles Bensoussan 

What Durham and a few intrepid reporters are uncovering may well be the most ambitious dirty trick pulled in an American election and its aftermath.

Last week, John Durham’s grand jury issued its third criminal indictment in the Trump-Russia collusion hoax. The person who was arrested may be obscure; the news may have been buried after Virginia’s bombshell election results; but Durham’s move is a big deal. It shows that the special counsel’s probe is methodically unraveling a huge conspiracy, seemingly engineered by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and implicating James Comey’s FBI, either as a willing participant or as utterly incompetent boobs.

[Editor: When I posted this article, there was a picture here juxtaposing John Durham and Hillary Clinton. Now, the image is not shown, EVEN IN THE ORIGINAL POST AT     Too incriminating for the powers-that be??]

The latest indictment also damages the mainstream media, which is why so many news outlets have ignored or underplayed it. After all, they broadcast a false story for years and are none too eager to revisit it. Other losers are the prosecutors assembled by Robert Mueller, most of them Democrats, who had reams of this damaging information and ignored it.

What Durham and a few intrepid reporters are uncovering may well be the most ambitious dirty trick pulled in an American election and its aftermath. The question now is whether Durham can expose the full extent of this malfeasance and charge those who planned and executed it.

Durham’s latest indictment charges Igor Danchenko (pictured) with lying multiple times to the FBI. Danchenko, who worked at the Brookings Institution as a Russian expert, may not be a household name, but he was a crucial player in concocting the false story that Donald Trump was collaborating with the Kremlin to win the White House. The real conspiracy, it turns out, was aimed at Trump and was conducted by the Clinton campaign and her longtime associates. It was financed jointly by Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Some leaked emails suggested it was approved by the candidate herself. The FBI continued running with it long after it had ample evidence to know it was a concoction. House Democrats ran with it even longer, basking in fulsome, uncritical media coverage. All of it was false.

The Danchenko indictment matters because his bogus information was the heart of the “Steele dossier,” which, in turn, was the heart of the anti-Trump investigation. The dossier was compiled by a former British spy, Christopher Steele, who had been hired by people working for Clinton. Steele claimed his information about Trump, including salacious sexual allegations, came from Russian sources. It didn’t. It came from Danchenko, who was working at a Washington think tank. As Danchenko admitted to the FBI, much of what he told Steele was old rumors or exaggerations. Some of it appears to have  been simply fabricated. Steele incorporated it, and the Democrats deployed it.

The FBI interviewed Danchenko multiple times in January 2017, around the time Trump was taking office. Comey’s FBI had already received the dossier and his agents were trying to verify its allegations. They couldn’t do so, and Danchenko’s admissions told them why. His interrogation should have immediately stopped the FBI from using the dossier to investigate Trump. So should a warning from Bruce Ohr, the highest-ranking career official in the Department of Justice, that Steele was strongly biased. The FBI blew right through these red lights.

The bureau continued to use the bogus information in applying for secret warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to spy on Carter Page and, through him, on others connected with Trump. Officials told the court, falsely, that the warrant information was reliable and verified when they knew it was neither.

What the warrants say, in essence, is, “We need to spy on Carter Page because we think he’s an enemy agent.” But the FBI already knew he wasn’t. That means they were trolling for other information. How did the FBI know Page was on our side? Because they asked the CIA and were told, quite explicitly, that Page was helping them, not the Kremlin. The CIA gave that exculpatory information to FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, who altered the message to say Page was not working for the CIA. His alternation was criminal, and he plead guilty after Durham charged him.

The story gets worse. Although Clinesmith altered the CIA message for FBI use, he also gave his superiors the CIA’s true communication. So, his bosses knew the real story. They weren’t interested in the truth, which they kept secret from the FISA court to continuing spying on Page. If there is any justice left in Washington, those responsible for this travesty will be held criminally liable. Page may well have a civil case against them, too.

As the FBI blundered forward on its political mission, it made other revealing missteps. The most important was Director Comey’s meeting with the incoming president in early January 2017. Comey told Trump the FBI had acquired some damning materials about him but emphasized they were still unverified. As Comey’s own aides warned him, that communication could be seen as a kind of blackmail threat, the kind that marked J. Edgar Hoover’s tenure.

Comey’s meeting with the president had another major consequence. Until then, even anti-Trump news outlets had been wary about mentioning the dossier (which the Clinton team had been shopping to them) because they couldn’t actually verify any of the vital details. That reticence changed with Comey’s briefing, which was news in its own right. The story now became, “FBI chief briefs president-elect Trump about salacious dossier, revealing damning info Kremlin could use to blackmail Trump.” One online outlet, BuzzFeed, went further. It published the full Steele dossier, and the media frenzy began.

Remember, this whole story was concocted and paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and fed to the FBI and the media by her attorneys and associates. The FBI, which should have been able to quickly prove the story was false, plodded on with its investigation and fed the frenzy.

Although the dossier was commissioned to sink Trump in November, it was still useful after he won the election. Trump’s adversaries could exploit it to hamstring his embryonic administration, and that’s exactly what they did. With the whole-hearted backing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff spent three years beating the drum of the “Russia collusion” hoax. Schiff’s constant media appearances claiming he had conclusive evidence of Trump-Russia collaboration continued long after he had received classified briefings that demolished his story. The briefer was former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, and he has confirmed those meetings with Schiff and his Senate counterpart, Mark Warner. No matter to Schiff, who kept repeating his claims and pursuing his full-scale investigation. First the verdict; then the inquiry. It was all part of a four-year-long battle, first to prevent Trump’s election, then to undermine his presidency, and finally to damage his chances for reelection.

The Clinton team launched this operation with professional expertise. The goal was to produce a powerful anti-Trump story, using whatever materials they could, then share it with the media (to smear Trump) and the FBI (to launch a major investigation and ensnare Trump). Ideally, the campaign’s involvement would be hidden, removed from the damning report by several layers of lawyers, opposition researchers, camp followers, and flacks.

To provide that insulation, the campaign used attorney Marc Elias, then at Perkins Coie law firm in Washington (where the recently indicted Michael Sussmann was a colleague), to hire an opposition-research firm, Fusion GPS. That firm, headed by former reporters Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, in turn hired Steele, a Brit who had formerly worked for his country’s intelligence services, to produce the damning dossier. To translate some Russian materials, Fusion GPS hired Nellie Ohr, whose husband, Bruce, learned how biased Steele was and told the FBI to treat Steele and his information warily.

Bureau agents ignored that early warning and all the others. They quickly learned Steele’s material was a mirage, thanks to their interviews with Danchenko. They also confirmed that Steele’s dossier depended on Danchenko, so its claims of “Russian sourcing” were false. By interviewing Danchenko’s own sources, they learned that their third-hand statements, which were used in the dossier, were mainly rumors and “bar talk.”

The prosecutorial team assembled by Robert Mueller should have known all this, too. They had complete access to this exculpatory FBI material on day one and ignored it. A year and a half later, when Mueller himself finally testified before Congress, he didn’t even know what Fusion GPS was. By that point, Mueller seemed to have genuine difficulty remembering the details of his own investigation. His team of attorneys had no such excuse. Hired by Mueller’s top deputy, Andrew Weissmann, they were among the country’s sharpest and toughest prosecutors — and the most partisan. The more Durham uncovers, the worse the Mueller team will look.

Reviewing this evidence, Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal has concluded the Steele dossier is misnamed. It should be called the “Clinton dossier,” she says, since Hillary commissioned it, paid for it, and had her aides feed it to the media, the State Department, and the FBI. It was a full-scale disinformation campaign — coherent, well-organized, and well-funded. It was rotten to the core.

The question now is whether John Durham can find enough evidence to charge the ones who planned and executed it. The charging documents he filed for Danchenko and Sussmann are far more extensive than the necessary minimum. They suggest that Durham has compiled extensive evidence about a broader conspiracy. Will he settle for the capillaries now that he has the jugular in view?


Charles Lipson


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