Saturday, June 1, 2024

The view from 30,000 feet above the bogus Trump trial and conviction *UPDATED* - Andrea Widburg

 

by Andrea Widburg

[L]et’s pull back from the minutiae of the trial to explain why any sentient being understands that this was not about justice but was, instead, about destroying a political opponent.

 

(Watch this post for updates, both within and at the end of the post.)

In the light of day, I’ve got a few comments regarding the Trump trial, the verdict, the future, and what We The People can do. Preliminarily, it’s fitting in a macabre way that the verdict came on May 30, the original Memorial Day, because yesterday marked the death of the American justice system, and we should all mourn that.

First, let’s pull back from the minutiae of the trial to explain why any sentient being understands that this was not about justice but was, instead, about destroying a political opponent. The proof lies in the fact that this was a cobbled-together case that revolved around a prostitu...er, porn actress.

The porn actress was the important fact. Alvin Bragg, aided by the White House in the form of Michael Colangelo, a former senior official in the Biden Department of Justice, followed the Levrentiy Beria approach to “justice.” Beria was Stalin’s enforcer and famously said, “Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.”

In other words, in an intentionally complicated and corrupt legal system, everyone has done something wrong. Here, the point was to get five words in the same sentence: “Trump,” “Porn Star,” and “Convicted Felon.” That was the man, and that was the crime.

In a legitimate system, if you’re going after a popular politician for criminal acts, you go after him for big, clear offenses: Murder, assault, robbery—you know, the classics of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence, stretching back 1,500 years. You don’t say that, in 2016, when a porn actress Trump allegedly slept with blackmailed him, he paid his lawyer to make her go away, and that payment elevated a New York campaign/business records misdemeanor into a felony because it either (a) violated federal campaign law, even though the feds did not believe there was a crime, or (b) state campaign laws, or (c) constituted some sort of tax evasion. A lot of the claims were time-barred, but I’ve lost track.

An indictment that is so delayed, complicated, vague, and petty isn’t about justice; it’s about politics. This is the government in attack mode, and everyone knows it.

Second, we all know the charge is bogus because Trump was never embarrassed about his playboy lifestyle. It was his brand.

We didn’t vote for Trump because of his morals. We knew JFK was a horrible human being about women, and we saw Clinton’s parade of women, from the ones he assaulted to the affairs to the payoffs to the interns under the desk. Americans were inured to sleazy dalliances.

What was important was that we saw that the apparently sexually abstemious Obama hated America and that Hillary intended to follow in his footsteps. Trump, the playboy, loved America and Americans, and that was good enough for us. The payoff was to hide the allegations from Melania; that was his business, not ours.

Third, people are already starting to attack Trump’s lawyers and Trump himself for having a lousy defense. What they don’t understand is that the defense was irrelevant.

Yes, Trump probably didn’t have the best attorneys available. That’s because, in the years since the election, the Biden administration has imprisoned and disbarred any lawyer who got near Trump. When Shakespeare wrote, “The first thing we do is, let’s kill all the lawyers” in Henry VI, Part II, that wasn’t animus towards lawyers. The person speaking was planning a revolution, and the rule of law stood in the way. Biden figuratively killed Trump’s lawyers, making it hard for him to find good ones.

But even the best lawyers couldn’t have won because this was not a winnable case. The judge saw to that.

I worked as a litigator in the San Francisco Bay Area for over thirty years. That experience transformed me from being a Democrat to being a conservative. The reason is that 90% of the judges in the Bay Area are leftists, and I learned how leftist judges approach the law: It’s a tool to achieve “social justice.”

I saw both trial and appellate judges blatantly lie about the facts and the law. I heard them say things such as, “I know that the law requires, but I feel...” or, when faced with an implacable law, “Just remember that there’s more than one way to skin a cat,” and then ignoring the law anyway.

The way Ive always seen it is that leftist judges think they’re akin to priests. When priests are ordained, they become a conduit to a higher power. Leftist judges think their robes mean that they can bypass facts and law because they are conduits to a “greater social justice.” That’s exactly how Merchan approached this case. We can also anticipate that the appellate process in New York will see the same kind of judges.

Fourth, the Democrats, formerly associated with being the soft-on-crime party, will now become the most righteous people in the world when it comes to the criminal justice system. Forget the Democrat revolving door that sees people guilty of violent crimes arrested and even convicted dozens of times before ending up back on the street. Forget the Boston mayor who wants to stop prosecuting the crimes that, when committed, destroy people's quality of life, making a city unlivable for the productive class. Forget the left’s de-incarceration movement. And, of course, forget their endless sympathy for convicted criminals.

Moving forward, the words “convicted felon” will be attached to Trump with every breath the Democrats take. This means, too, that Biden finally has an excuse to avoid a debate. “I won’t debate a convicted felon,” he’ll self-righteously declare.

However, do not expect the sudden reverence for the rule of law to extend to the illegal aliens pouring into the country, the pedophiles the left protects, or the robbers, murderers, rapists, and other violent, dangerous people who are the Democrat party’s foot soldiers in the war against civilization.

Of course, this branding may backfire. On X, Democrats have labeled Trump as “Trump the Outlaw.” With that phrase, they’ve just turned him into Robin Hood, fighting an utterly corrupt government. That should bring in votes from all the people who have been victimized by the criminal justice system and regulatory state.

UPDATE: I ran with the “Trump the Outlaw” concept:

 

Fifth, this case is eminently winnable on review. It should have been void ab initio, a legal term meaning that it had no validity from its inception and that everything thereafter was invalid.

The Sixth Amendment is very clear that “the accused shall...be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation.” As every legal commentator has pointed out, the indictment and arraignment against Trump never named the felony/felonies that allegedly elevated a garden-variety, time-barred misdemeanor into an actionable crime. At that moment, the case was dead.

Having allowed an invalid case, Merchan then gagged Trump’s First Amendment rights; silenced and abused his witnesses; allowed days of irrelevant testimony from a prostitute; refused to allow a witness who could have explained the federal campaign charges, even while allowing the prosecutor to argue that charge in closing; and, of course, said that the jury could pick from a potpourri of underlying felonies to find Trump guilty.

The Supreme Court has said in Richardson v. United States that “this Court has indicated that the Constitution itself limits a State's power to define crimes in ways that would permit juries to convict while disagreeing about means, at least where that definition risks serious unfairness and lacks support in history or tradition.” It approvingly quoted Justice Scalia, who once wrote, “We would not permit...an indictment charging that the defendant assaulted either X on Tuesday or Y on Wednesday...” However, that is precisely what Merchan not only permitted but ordered.

Sixth, the Supreme Court should immediately take up this case because it’s not an ordinary criminal case. It is a patent attempt to interfere with the election process. In Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court didn’t wait for the vote count case to work its way up to the court, a process that can take years. Instead, it reached down and hauled the case before it because it affected a presidential election. 

UPDATE: Some believe that the case will be remanded. However, because it was void ab initio, the Court must dismiss it entirely.

And this is where you come in: The Supreme Court likes to stay on the sidelines. It will intervene only if it feels that most people want this.

There are three ways people can show their power: Through their votes, through violence, or through money. The first two are out. The whole issue right now is that we’re being denied our vote. When it comes to violence, that’s a leftist purview. We conservatives believe in the rule of law. But money...

The more people who donate to Trump, even if it’s just $5, the more the Supreme Court will understand the nation’s fury. Shaun Maguire has written a beautiful, on-point essay explaining his $300,000 donation. Not everyone had $300,000, but so many people tried to donate last night that Trump’s website promptly crashed. 

UPDATE: A lot of people did get through (I was one): Trump campaign says they raised $34.8 million in small dollar fundraising in the less than 24 hours post conviction.” 

Trump sent out an email containing this interesting nugget: “Not only was the amount historic, but 29.7% of yesterday's donors were brand new donors to the WinRed platform.”

If you couldn’t get onto the site last night, don’t lose that momentum. Go now and let the Supreme Court know that the Democrats should not be allowed to get away with this.

Image: Creator unknown.

UPDATES

I'll be updating this post throughout the day, so check back.

UPDATE: I think you need to know what kind of people are celebrating the verdict against Trump:

 


Andrea Widburg

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2024/05/the_view_from_30_000_feet_above_the_bogus_trump_trial_and_conviction.html

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Alvin Bragg finished the ‘Get Trump’ job that Hillary Clinton started, but voters get last word - John Solomon

 

by John Solomon

News Analysis: After a bogus FBI probe, two impeachments, one Mar-A-Lago raid, four indictments and multiple overturned ballot disqualifications, Democrats finally got what they wished. For now ...

 

In one of the darkest hours in American history, after an ex-president for the first time was convicted in criminal court, Alvin Bragg could only smile and banter with laughing reporters. “I did my job,” the Manhattan district attorney declared to a breezy, whimsical news conference that belied the gravity of having just secured 34 felony convictions that could send Donald Trump to prison for life.

That job was not begun by Bragg, though he campaigned successfully to be New York City’s chief prosecutor with a bold promise he could be the guy that finally held Donald Trump accountable.

That job actually began with Hillary Clinton back in the spring of 2016 when her team of lawyers, opposition research hitmen and one ex-British spy concocted a now-laughable narrative that Trump somehow was colluding with Vladimir Putin to steal the 2016 election. Clinton then sold it to an FBI agent, which overtly misled the FISA court to sustain an investigation of a sitting commander in chief.

That probe imploded spectacularly, but not before it marred two full years of the Trump presidency. The implosion, remarkably, did not stop the left’s pursuit.

The Democrat machinery persisted with a relentless investigative wave that Harvard law professor emeritus (and Joe Biden 2020 supporter) Alan Dershowitz aptly has dubbed the “Get Trump” campaign.

Over the last eight years, that relentless campaign has subjected Americans to one bogus FBI probe, two impeachments, four indictments, multiple overturned ballot disqualifications, and one viral mug shot. Bragg's conviction and news conference led some legal experts to declare that Thursday's culmination of an eight-year Democrat onslaught smacked of a banana republic.

"We really are now looking at like a Third World country, and New York might as well rename itself Venezuela," federal election law expert Hans Van Spakovsky told the "Just the News, No Noise" television show.

Republicans said Thursday's verdict cannot be viewed in a vacuum and must be viewed as part of a continuum that was born by Clinton's Russia collusion antics.

“It's not just this one case,” former New York Rep. Lee Zeldin told Just the News on Thursday night. “They (Democrats) have been abusing the criminal justice system, abusing lawsuits that have been brought, the pursuit of trying to incarcerate President Trump for the rest of his life, to bankrupt him and his family, and to remove his name from the ballot.

"I think a lot of independent minded Americans will see through it more than ever."

On Thursday evening in a dour Manhattan courtroom, Democrats finally got what they wished for: the title of convicted felon hung around Trump’s neck. In July, just four days before Trump accepts the GOP nomination in Milwaukee, they’ll get a chance to possibly send him to prison if Judge Juan Merchan obliges.

But whether the title and sentence will be sustained now moves to the appeals court system in New York and eventually the Supreme Court before it is over. But the final judgment will likely take months or years to be rendered.

Respected criminal defense attorney Harmeet Dhillon said Trump's team has strong ground for appeal and that the Supreme Court would probably vacate the conviction.

"I don't think this is something that's going to be necessarily expedited until of course, or unless, the New York appeals court wants to do that for its own political purposes," she cautioned. 

In the meantime, the American electorate will issue a quicker verdict on whether “getting Trump” matters to them or the election.

President Joe Biden and other Democrats argued Thursday's verdict affirmed their claims that Trump is harmful to America.

"The threat Trump poses to our democracy has never been greater," the Biden campaign said in a post-verdict statement.

But the early polling suggests Americans see Bragg’s case as part of a political pursuit, not necessarily a legal one, that stretches back to Clinton’s 2016 Russia collusion antics.

A poll by McLaughlin and Associates, a firm that does work with Trump, found a clear majority of voters believe Biden was trying to put his likely 2024 Republican opponent in prison before the election.

Numerous other polls also predict a conviction would have no bearing on the outcome in November, where Trump is leading in most battleground states.

For instance, two-thirds of voters surveyed in a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Thursday declared a guilty verdict would make no difference to their choice in the presidential election. Of those who said a guilty verdict would matter, they were nearly evenly divided between being less or more likely to vote for the presumptive nominee.

Veteran pollster Scott Rasmussen said he believes the Democrats have kept the race close with their allegation and prosecution machine but it likely won’t be a deciding factor in the November election in which Trump continues to lead.

“If you didn't have all these courtroom trials and these allegations, he might be further ahead,” Rasmussen told the "John Solomon Reports" podcast earlier this month. "But I think what, again, the elites are missing in this, they keep thinking, 'Well, if we get an indictment, people will finally wake up and realize all this baggage is there.' I think that baggage is already baked in. I think that baggage is the reason the race is close.”

Rasmussen suggested that Democrats need to be careful that what they wished for doesn’t boomerang. He predicted Democrats would be making a mistake to focus on the probes when Trump has been focusing on policy solutions for the economy, inflation, crime and the border that rank atop Americans’ biggest concerns.

“What does Donald Trump need to do?"  Rasmussen mused aloud. "He needs to do the same thing he did in 2016. Let the Democrats talk about him. Let them talk about what a jerk he is or what they don't like about him. And he needs to talk about issues."

Michael Whatley, Trump’s handpicked chairman of the Republican National Committee, said the GOP doesn’t plan to get distracted by the conviction or indictments and will instead focus on Biden’s failure to deliver in promises and Trump’s vision for a second term.

In other words, Republicans plan to focus on one question: Are you better off than you were four years ago? Right now, a supermajority believes Biden has made things worse.

“Look, the return to normal that he (Biden) promised has absolutely not happened. I think that America is now seeing through that in a very big way,” Whatley told the "Just the News, No Noise" television show. “You know, we tend to see this election coming down to a choice between weakness and strength.

“Joe Biden, and the weakness of our economy, the weakness of where we are internationally, the open southern border, these are all things that he has triggered in the US economy and our national security apparatus, versus the strength that President Trump had. You know, the fact that we had a record strong economy, the fact that we were a very solid place around the world, the fact that the border was the most secure that has ever been, these are the types of issues that voters are going to come out with.”

Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress hope they can deliver more evidence this summer to the American public that the Biden White House was directly behind the various prosecutions of the last two years and trace the tactics back to a “weaponization” script that began with Clinton’s Russia collision narrative that gave the FBI permission to spy on the Trump campaign during the 2016 campaign.

“I think the American people, as I said before, have common sense. They're smart. They see the escalation from the left and from the Democrats,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan told Just the News. ”You know, in 2016 ... they spied on President Trump's campaign. Then it was the Muller investigation. Then it was impeachment. Then it was raiding President Trump's home, then it was naming Jack Smith as special counsel. Then it was Jack Smith in Miami and in D.C., Alvin Bragg in New York, Fani Willis in Atlanta. Then it was the 14th Amendment. They tried all over the country in various states."

But Americans have “seen it for what it is. And so I think they they understand the facts. And that's one of the reasons why it's not impacting President Trump's numbers, and why I think he's going to be our next president," Jordan also said.

 
John Solomon

Source: https://justthenews.com/politics-policy/all-things-trump/alvin-bragg-finished-get-trump-job-hillary-clinton-started-voters

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Calling It: America Just Suffered the First Terror Attack by a Border-Crossing Illegal Alien - Todd Bensman

 

by Todd Bensman

A Jordanian immigrant who illegally crossed the Southwest Border from Mexico finally staged the first known terrorism attack on U.S. soil on May 3 after having accessed the target from the Mexican border.

 

Todd Bensman is a Milstein Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a senior national security fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies. He previously led counterterrorism-related intelligence efforts for the Texas Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division.

Source: https://www.meforum.org/65927/calling-it-america-just-suffered-the-first-terror

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China Weaponizing 90%-Fatal Ebola - Gordon G. Chang

 

by Gordon G. Chang

China can make the disease highly contagious. The Wuhan Institute of Virology is, after all, the gain-of-function capital of the world.

 

  • China's regime is trying to weaponize Ebola. The disease can have a 90% mortality rate.

  • [China's secret biological weapons lab in California] also contained thousands of samples of labeled, unlabeled, and encoded potential pathogens and a freezer labeled "Ebola." The freezer held unlabeled sealed bags used to store high-risk biological materials.

  • China can make the disease highly contagious. The Wuhan Institute of Virology is, after all, the gain-of-function capital of the world.

  • In March of last year, a document posted by a Chinese pharmaceutical company revealed that Dr. Qiu was working on Ebola.

  • Ebola and Nipah, with some in-lab modifications, can therefore be China's tools to exterminate the American people.

  • General Chi Haotian, China's defense minister and vice chairman of the Party's Central Military Commission, reportedly gave a secret speech advocating the extermination of Americans. He talked about using disease to clear out the vast spaces of North America so that the Chinese people could settle in the areas left uninhabited: "It is indeed brutal to kill one or two hundred million Americans," he said. "But that is the only path that will secure a Chinese century, a century in which the Communist Party leads the world."

  • China's National Defense University, in the 2017 edition of the authoritative Science of Military Strategy, mentioned a new kind of biological warfare of "specific ethnic genetic attacks."

(Image source: iStock/Getty Images)

China's regime is trying to weaponize Ebola. The disease can have a 90% mortality rate.

Code Enforcement Officer Jesalyn Harper in December 2022 noticed a garden hose connected to a supposedly abandoned building in Reedley, California, near Fresno in the Central Valley. She entered the structure and found what appears to have been a secret biological weapons laboratory.

The facility was run by Jiabei Zhu, a Chinese citizen who was a fugitive from Canadian justice. He was also a top official at one of China's state-controlled companies that had links to the Chinese military.

Inside, Harper found Chinese nationals working in white coats.

The lab stored nearly a thousand transgenic mice, "genetically engineered to catch and carry the COVID-19 virus."

The lab also contained thousands of samples of labeled, unlabeled, and encoded potential pathogens and a freezer labeled "Ebola." The freezer held unlabeled sealed bags used to store high-risk biological materials.

The Communist Party of China appears to have great interest in Ebola. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service, in a declassified report, revealed that Dr. Qiu Xiangguo, while working at Canada's only P-4 laboratory in Winnipeg, without authorization sent to China the Ebola genetic sequence.

She was also working for the Wuhan Institute of Virology and sent with authorization samples of different strains of Ebola virus to that facility. She also sent to the lab samples of Nipah virus, another animal-borne, deadly pathogen.

Dr. Qiu, who had worked on a cure for Ebola, was also collaborating with China's Academy of Military Medical Sciences, the highest-level medical research institution of the People's Liberation Army.

Qiu and her husband were escorted out of the Winnipeg lab in July 2019, fired in January 2021, and moved to China where they work under pseudonyms. In March of last year, a document posted by a Chinese pharmaceutical company revealed that Dr. Qiu was working on Ebola.

Ebola has a high kill rate but is not highly transmissible human to human. "In general, Ebola does not survive well outside hosts and does not support aerosol transmission," Dr. Sean Lin, a former lab director of the viral disease branch of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, told Gatestone. "It is not easy to turn Ebola into a functional bioweapon." Yet as he noted, China can make the disease highly contagious. The Wuhan Institute of Virology is, after all, the gain-of-function capital of the world.

Nipah, Lin points out, is "highly pathogenic." "It is," he says, "alarming that Chinese virology laboratories have collaborated with EcoHealth Alliance to collect Nipah infection samples in Malaysia and India."

As well as in Canada. "Canada allowed Chinese scientists to handle and transfer to China some of the most deadly pathogens known to humankind," Charles Burton, senior fellow of Sinopsis and former Canadian diplomat stationed in Beijing, told this author.

"China's military has spoken openly about weaponizing the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 and conducting gain-of-function research on illnesses as a backdoor to turning them into weapons," Brandon Weichert, author of Biohacked: China's Race to Control Life, told this publication. "The Wuhan Institute of Virology weaponized COVID-19, but that was merely a proof of concept. There are nastier diseases, such as Ebola and Nipah, that, through gain-of-function experiments can be made into truly virulent plagues."

Ebola and Nipah, with some in-lab modifications, can therefore be China's tools to exterminate the American people.

Exterminate? A quarter century ago, General Chi Haotian, China's defense minister and vice chairman of the Party's Central Military Commission, reportedly gave a secret speech advocating the extermination of Americans. He talked about using disease to clear out the vast spaces of North America so that the Chinese people could settle in the areas left uninhabited. "It is indeed brutal to kill one or two hundred million Americans," he said. "But that is the only path that will secure a Chinese century, a century in which the Communist Party leads the world."

"The problem with the report of the Chi Haotian speech is that it cannot be verified," Richard Fisher of the International Assessment and Strategy Center said to Gatestone. "When it was revealed in 2005, it seemed fantastical that China would unleash biological warfare against the United States to massacre its population and pave the way for a Communist Party invasion, occupation, and exploitation."

Since that time, developments have given the report credibility. Among other things, SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen causing COVID-19, was almost certainly engineered in the Wuhan Institute, and Xi Jinping then deliberately spread this disease outside China once it had escaped from that lab. Therefore, "the Chi Haotian speech reads more like a real warning." As Fisher points out, the Communist Party is apparently capable of unfathomable malevolence.

The items seized in the Reedley lab strongly suggest China's regime is preparing to spread disease in America. "This kamikaze lab—unsecured, poorly contained, makeshift, containing a couple dozen pathogens near a population center—cannot be a one-off," Weichert, also national security analyst for The National Interest, said. "It is, I believe, a part of a large Chinese military operation to spread disease throughout the American population."

The problem with COVID-19 is that it also infected and killed Chinese people. China's military, however, is almost certainly working on pathogens that target particular groups. China's National Defense University, in the 2017 edition of the authoritative Science of Military Strategy, mentioned a new kind of biological warfare of "specific ethnic genetic attacks."

Think of this as Ebola for Americans only.


Gordon G. Chang is the author of The Coming Collapse of China and China Is Going to War, a Gatestone Institute distinguished senior fellow, and a member of its Advisory Board.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/20671/china-weaponizing-ebola

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Taking over the Philadelphi Corridor is a knockout for Hamas, but also problematic - opinion - Lt. Col. (Res.) Amit Yagor

 

by Lt. Col. (Res.) Amit Yagor

For Hamas - as long as the Corridor was active, it and the area adjacent to it would function as the organization's "strategic depth" - a sort of city of refuge.

 

Philadelphi Corridor (photo credit: YOSSI ZAMIR/FLASH90)
Philadelphi Corridor
(photo credit: YOSSI ZAMIR/FLASH90)

Good news - the IDF announced it has gained operational control of the Philadelphi Corridor. During the takeover, 20 tunnels crossing from Egypt to the Gaza Strip were located, as well as 82 underground shafts situated near the Corridor, which will be explored in the coming days.

It was also discovered that Hamas placed dozens of rockets, some of them long-range, at ranges of only 10-40 meters from the Corridor, intending to prevent Israel from attacking so close to the Egyptian border.

Some will disagree with me, but in my opinion, this is Israel's first significant strategic achievement in this war, a shame that our operational planners did not take care to achieve it at the beginning of the ground maneuver.

This is also the strategic turning point in the campaign in Gaza. It can be said, without exaggeration, that the Philadelphi Corridor was Hamas's "strategic depth," "city of refuge," and "granary," all at the same time, and the central anchor for everything we call the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip.

The occupation of the entire Corridor, with the exception of a small supplement still required in the area near the Mediterranean coast, is a physical but also a mental move that has far-reaching implications for Hamas's survival, the conduct of the war, and Egypt's role.

 Military personnel stand guard on the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, October 31, 2023 (credit: REUTERS/MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY)Enlrage image
Military personnel stand guard on the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, October 31, 2023 (credit: REUTERS/MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY)

For Hamas - as long as the Corridor was active, it and the area adjacent to it would function as the organization's "strategic depth" - a sort of city of refuge.

It was clear to Hamas that the war would end with it bruised and geographically reduced but surviving in an area where the IDF would not enter. If Hamas' efforts to stop the war were successful, then the supply of weapons and ammunition to continue the war and restore its military power would definitely be possible.

This, while at the same time, many of the civilian goods that entered through this corridor arrive via the highway via humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, thus freeing up time and space in the tunnels for managing the supply of the supplies in Hamas' possession - and we have already seen that money was not a factor.

Now, "the faucet is turned off." It will take some more time, but it will be possible to see the pressure of Hamas increasing. At first gradually, and then exponentially.

An aggressive "weapons economy" will be activated, and this will come very close, perhaps more than any military move from which it can be recovered, to the dismantling of Hamas as a government-ruling system, and perhaps even paves the way for a new hostage deal under improved conditions.

The relationship with Egypt

For many years, but even more so during the war, Egypt had to wear three hats.

The first hat, officially - is as a border state with official levers of pressure on Hamas (Rafah crossing), an ally of Israel and the US and a partner of Israel in the regional strategic vision and policy towards Gaza.

The second hat, officially - is as an "objective" mediator in the negotiation efforts with Hamas and a "natural" partner in trying to define "the day after."

The third hat, unofficially - under Israel's nose, it enables an entire industry of smuggling tunnels from its territory to the territory of the Gaza Strip and, in practice, constitutes the organization's "oxygen pipe" and a main source of illegal weapons, ammunition, and prohibited materials that enabled the establishment of "Deep Gaza."

The highlight was the existence of an overpass between Egypt and Gaza - the Salah al-Din crossing that was used for the movement of goods from Egypt to the Gaza Strip without any Israeli or international supervision. It was not widely publicized and operated in addition to the famous Rafah crossing.

Apparently, the economy of the tunnels/goods/crossings and the industry that developed on Egyptian soil contributed quite a bit to the quiet that Egypt asked to preserve in the Sinai Peninsula, and hence the Egyptian interest in not eliminating it, as Egypt knew how to do in many other cases.

Now, the IDF has violated that quiet in the Philadelphi Corridor, and has returned to control the Gaza side, while beginning to publicly expose the conduct in the Corridor for years and the responsibility that Egypt has on the other side of the border, and its actual contribution to the power and status of Hamas - even if it is a passive contribution that has zero interest to act.

This is probably also the reason for the very loud Egyptian opposition in recent weeks to the Israeli operation in Rafah.

What now?

As for the "day after," Israeli control over the Corridor is the first step in the ability to separate the Gaza Strip from the IDF and in the ability to establish Israeli security control in the Strip.

This is a first-rate strategic lever that places Israel in a different place, significantly improved, in the discussions that will take place on "the day after" and on the role of civilian and international bodies, including Egypt's role as an essential ally of Israel and the demands from it as a neighboring country within the framework of written agreements backed by the US and the international community, which for some reason have so far refrained from mentioning Egypt in the context of Gaza and refrained from exerting pressure on it to close the "oxygen pipeline" to Hamas passing through its territory.

At the same time, the military effort and the IDF's takeover of the Philadelphi Corridor do not stand alone, and now it is necessary to act in parallel and combined efforts.

First of all, to photograph and show the world, with an emphasis on the US, what the Philadelphi Corridor is. To show the tunnels passing from Egypt to the Gaza Strip and the "quiet" Salah al-Din crossing as an essential part, like no other, for continued Israeli security control of the route, from the other side also for Gaza.

There is no doubt that the closure of the Corridor will sentence Hamas to an "arms economy" and, as time goes by, will limit its ability to respond with fire.

Precisely at this point, it is very essential to start pushing his ruling foot, to activate the civil effort in the north of the Gaza Strip and to take responsibility for the distribution of humanitarian aid and for the creation of humanitarian bubbles in which Hamas is no longer relevant.

This strategic turning point in the war in the Gaza Strip is significant and will allow Israel, for the first time, to begin directing time, attention, and resources to other arenas.


Lt. Col. (Res.) Amit Yegur is the former deputy head of the Palestinian arena in the planning division of the IDF and a former senior officer in Naval Intelligence.

Source: https://www.jpost.com/opinion/article-804558

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NATO, Palestine, and Looking for a Silver Lining - Daniel Oliver

 

by Daniel Oliver

America needs to change its course—and quickly—and get serious about its security.

 

NATO has problems—or rather, we have (or perhaps should have) problems with NATO countries. And those problems are not only about financing but also about identifying the main threat to civilized democracies.

While he was president, Trump made a big fuss about those NATO countries that weren’t paying their dues—2 percent of their GDPs. He was widely criticized by the usual suspects. But as a result of his criticism, many of the European laggards decided to pay up. And recently, the Secretary-General of NATO said, or implied, that, in fact, Trump had done a service by encouraging the Europeans to shape up.

“We have to listen and take note of the following,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. “The criticism that we hear is not primarily about NATO. It’s about NATO Allies not spending enough on NATO. And that’s a valid point.”

But that’s not the only valid point, and possibly not the most important point, at least for the U.S. The real issue now is the extent to which the politics and goals of Americans and Europeans are aligned. In the end, even if all NATO countries pay their 2 percent dues, if they disagree with the U.S. (and among themselves) on what enemy should be fought and when, the whole NATO structure may prove to be outdated.

In the last few days, Norway, Spain, and Ireland have announced that they will formally recognize Palestine as a state, joining 143 of the 193 members of the United Nations (the U.S., England, and France do not recognize Palestine as a state). Immediately after the three countries did so, Israel recalled its ambassadors to the three nations. One immediate question is: what does the U.S. plan to do now?

Another question, and perhaps the other question, is: what should the U.S. do? Because no one really expects the Biden administration to do anything—or at least anything useful. Left on their own, the Biden crew would probably celebrate the three European countries’ recognition of Palestine, at least some of them thinking, perhaps, that “from the river to the sea, Palestine should be free.”

But recognizing Palestine as a state has, at least, a definitional problem. There are internationally agreed-upon criteria for statehood. At a minimum:

  • The entity must have a stable, permanent population;
  • It should control a specific territory;
  • The entity must have an organized government.
Palestine simply doesn’t meet those requirements. The countries recognizing Palestine are stealing a base, bending over backwards to award Palestine (Palestine!) a status to which it is not entitled. Why? And why now?

But wholly apart from the issues of funding NATO and preserving European security is the issue of maintaining the security of the United States. That, pace Trump haters and Biden lovers, is the country’s most important foreign policy consideration.

A key question is: can the United States fight a two-front war? Alas, a more distressing question may be: can the United States fight a one-front war—and win?

Pondering those questions helps put questions concerning the NATO alliance, which is focused primarily on Russia, in perspective and raises the essential question: Which country is the greater threat to the U.S.: Russia or China?

Answering that question ought to be easy—unless, perhaps, you have a lot of family business in China.

Yes, Russia is a pain. Yes, Russia could probably gobble up Estonia before lunch and Latvia and some additional small countries before tea. But Russia is not the Soviet Union. Russia’s GDP is less than $3 trillion. The combined GDP of the NATO countries (not including the U.S.) is about $20.5 trillion. They really should be able to deal with Russia without the help of the U.S., which has a GDP of about $28 trillion.

And Russia’s $3 trillion economy is dwarfed by China, which has a GDP of about $18 trillion.

China—Xi Jinping—has its eyes on Taiwan, which, not at all incidentally, currently spends only 2.5 percent of its GDP on defense. It is widely thought Xi would like to take Taiwan before he goes to his reward (which we can hope will be hot and uncomfortable). Although Xi is aging, he’s not as old or dysfunctional as America’s pathetic Joe Biden.

E.g.: Biden’s floating pier in the Mediterranean Sea designed to provide aid to Gaza, announced to great applause by Democrats in his State of the Union Speech, has proved to be a disaster (are you surprised?). Part of it peeled off in a storm, two US ships went aground trying to rescue it, two other ships also became disabled trying to rescue the first two ships; the cost has been huge, and when the trucks finally get on land to deliver aid, they get attacked and ransacked. According to CNN, “Pentagon says none of the aid unloaded from U.S. pier off coast of Gaza has been delivered to broader Palestinian population.” The whole sorry Biden mess makes Jimmy Carter look like the great Prussian military strategist Clausewitz.

But we digress. Or do we? The point is, the Biden administration is wholly incompetent. It knows neither which wars to fight nor how to win them.

America must change its focus and prioritize the threat from China—and especially China’s threat to Taiwan—over lesser threats. Losing Taiwan, given its strategic position, would be a disaster for the U.S. and the rest of the free world. A quick glance at a map shows that Taiwan is vital to the defense of Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. And as Elbridge Colby has written, “The United States should defend Taiwan because it is important to deny China hegemony over Asia, by far the world’s largest market area. If China could dominate Asia, as it has made increasingly clear it seeks to do, Beijing would determine the terms, tempo, and distribution of global economic power.”

Taming China’s ambition will take military muscle and willpower—both currently in short supply in the U.S. In March 2023, the Department of Defense requested $842.0 billion for 2024, around 3-plus percent of GDP. In 1953, U.S. defense spending was 11.3 percent of GDP.

The U.S. should be spending several times as much on defense as it is now. It should not be spending gazillions of dollars on forgiving student loans (current estimate: $167 billion). And it should not be infecting the military with absurd and insulting DEI requirements. Last year, the army, air force, and navy all failed to meet their recruiting goals. Who wants to join a woke military?

And the U.S. should not be spending gazillions of dollars trying to alleviate an illusory global warming threat. According to a 2022 estimate of the Rocky Mountain Institute (now “RMI”), the U.S. government will spend more than $500 billion on climate technology and clean energy over the next decade. Citizens who’ve mastered tenth-grade reading will know that all of that money will be wholly wasted.

America needs to change its course—and quickly—and get serious about its security.

If the three European countries’ recognition of Palestine as a state prods the U.S. into paying attention to its own security and to the real dangers threatening it in this dangerous new world, the European fecklessness may turn out to have had a silver lining after all.

Email Daniel Oliver at Daniel.Oliver@TheCandidAmerican.com.


Daniel Oliver is Chairman of the Board of the Education and Research Institute and a Director of Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy in San Francisco. In addition to serving as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Reagan, he was Executive Editor and subsequently Chairman of the Board of William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review.

Source: https://amgreatness.com/2024/05/31/nato-palestine-and-looking-for-a-silver-lining/

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How Hamas built smuggling tunnels under the nose of the Egyptian army - analysis - Amir Bohbot

by Amir Bohbot

Military officials have estimated that most of the tunnels cross into Egyptian territory and were used to smuggle ammunition and materials for the production of weapons.

 

A view of a cross-border attack tunnel dug from Gaza to Israel.  (photo credit: Jack Guez/Pool/REUTERS)
A view of a cross-border attack tunnel dug from Gaza to Israel.
(photo credit: Jack Guez/Pool/REUTERS)

The IDF confirmed that at the end of three weeks of ground maneuvers by the 162nd Division, some 20 tunnels were discovered adjacent to the Philadelphi corridor that separates the Egyptian side from the Palestinian.

Military officials have estimated that most of the tunnels cross into Egyptian territory and were used to smuggle ammunition and materials for the production of weapons. 

About 82 shafts were located near them, and it is estimated that they were connected to smuggling tunnels that could be controlled from afar. Forces of the 162nd Division reported last week on huge Hamas weapons stockpiles in the Rafah area.

The IDF also confirmed that information about the handling of the cross-border tunnels was passed on to Egypt, thus provoking criticism within the security establishment. 

 Entrance of the 200 meter-long tunnel shaft in an agricultural area in the Gaza Strip, March 15, 2024. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)Enlrage image
Entrance of the 200 meter-long tunnel shaft in an agricultural area in the Gaza Strip, March 15, 2024. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

In practice, for years, security officials have been warning that Hamas operated cross-border tunnels to smuggle weapons, which were allegedly smuggled under the noses of the Egyptian army and police in Sinai directly from weapons warehouses in Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon to the weapons warehouses of Hamas in Gaza.

A few years ago, the Egyptians, under US pressure, launched an extensive engineering operation in which they removed all the residents of Egyptian Rafah from the area of ​​the Philadelphi corridor to a distance of several kilometers, destroyed all the buildings adjacent to the border, dug dozens of meters, and located tunnels.

The IDF praised the engineering activity with the assistance of the Egyptian army. Still, now it is clear that under the nose of the IDF and perhaps with the backing, knowledge, or turning a blind eye, Hamas built a web of smuggling tunnels and continued to strengthen its capabilities despite Egypt's commitment to fight terrorism in the Sinai area.

Cooperation between the IDF and Egyptian army

Military officials recently said that the IDF and the Egyptian army cooperate closely, including on the tunnels issue. However, officials claimed that Egypt owes explanations for what the 162nd Division discovered on the ground. Therefore, closer action and a mechanism to prevent the digging of tunnels in the future are needed.

It should be noted that the operation of uncovering the tunnels in the Philadelphi corridor has only just begun. There is still a narrow section near the sea that the IDF has decided not to deal with at this stage, and in the near future, the tunnel mapping and destruction phase will begin.


Amir Bohbot

Source: https://www.jpost.com/israel-hamas-war/article-804496

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Shin Bet reveals the Hamas unit masterminding terror attacks in West Bank - Jerusalem Post Staff

 

by Jerusalem Post Staff

Intelligence gathered by the Shin Bet highlights that Gaza-based operatives were involved in executing at least 20 additional shooting terror attacks in the West Bank in 2023.

 

IDF forces night operation in the West Bank, April 9, 2024. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IDF forces night operation in the West Bank, April 9, 2024.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

The Shin Bet (ISA), in cooperation with the IDF, have killed or arrested 27 Hamas terrorists behind the organization and implementation of terror attacks in the West Bank since the beginning of the war, the Shin Bet confirmed on Friday.

These activities, orchestrated by Hamas's "West Bank Headquarters," were part of an extensive network comprising former prisoners released in the Shalit Deal who originate from the West Bank. These operatives, along with Gaza-based collaborators, have been recruiting West Bank residents to carry out attacks in the region and within Israel.

A significant breakthrough occurred in November 2023, when Mahmoud Bashir Tanira, an operative from the "Activities Department"—a unit within the "West Bank Headquarters" tasked with directing terrorist activities in the West Bank—was apprehended during the IDF's ground operation in Gaza.

His subsequent interrogation revealed the extent of the department's operations, including numerous attacks between 2022 and 2023. These attacks resulted in the deaths of 8 Israelis and several injuries. Notable incidents include two shooting attacks towards Beit El in October 2022, which injured an Israeli civilian, and a shooting outside a restaurant in Eli in June 2023, which resulted in the deaths of four individuals and injuries to two others.

Additionally, In July 2023, a shooting outside Kedumim led to the death of St.-Sgt. Shilo Amir. August 2023 saw a tragic attack at a car wash in Huwara, where Shai Nigerker and his son Aviad Nir were killed. Further attacks in the same month included a shooting at Hamra Junction, injuring an Israeli civilian, and another near Hebron, which killed Batsheva Nigri.

 Israeli soldiers operate in Tulkarm, the West Bank, May 6, 2024 (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)Enlrage image
Israeli soldiers operate in Tulkarm, the West Bank, May 6, 2024 (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Since the beginning of the war, the Shin Bet and IDF have arrested 9 terrorists and killed 18 others linked to the "West Bank Headquarters," including its leader Khaled Najjar and senior member Yasin Rabi, who were killed in Rafah earlier this week.

All roads lead to Gaza

The intelligence gathered highlights that Gaza-based operatives were involved in executing at least 20 additional shooting terror attacks in the West Bank in 2023.

"The Shin Bet and IDF will continue to work tirelessly to prevent any attempts by Hamas to carry out terrorist activities and will relentlessly pursue justice against those involved," stated the Shin Bet.


Jerusalem Post Staff

Source: https://www.jpost.com/israel-hamas-war/article-804530

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It Seems That No One Wants to End the Ukraine War … Except for Trump - Fred Fleitz

 

by Fred Fleitz

If Trump returns to the presidency next January, he would be the only world leader determined to end the Ukraine War, and has said he will use his influence as president to do so within 24 hours.

 

Next month, on June 15 and 16, a high-level peace conference will be held in B├╝rgenstock, Switzerland, at the request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on achieving peace in Ukraine. 70 to 90 countries reportedly will be represented. Some heads of state will attend, including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

However, there will be some notable absences—Russia and China. President Biden does not plan to attend and will send junior officials to the conference.

These absences and the conference’s agenda indicate not that just this peace conference will be a farce, but that there is no serious interest by the international community in finding a way to end the war in Ukraine.

Obviously, it is impossible to hold a peace conference to end a conflict unless all parties are represented. However, Zelenskyy refuses to agree to Russia’s participation. China is refusing to attend unless Russia attends.

According to press reports, China and Brazil may attempt to hold a rival peace conference and invite Ukraine and Russia. However, because of President Xi’s close ties to President Putin and increased Chinese support for Russia in the war, it is unlikely that Ukraine, the U.S., and European states would attend a Ukraine peace conference convened by China.

Not only was Russia not invited to the peace conference in Switzerland, but it will focus on Zelenskyy’s 10-point peace plan, which Russia has rejected and is widely considered dead. This unrealistic plan, which Zelenskyy introduced at a G-20 summit in November 2022, calls for restoring all of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the withdrawal of Russian troops, and a special tribunal to prosecute Russian war crimes.

Making this peace conference even more absurd, President Biden has declined to attend, even though he will be in neighboring Italy on June 15 for a G-7 conference that will conclude hours before the peace conference begins. Instead of attending the peace conference, Biden has decided to fly to California for a fundraiser in Hollywood.

Russia has made major gains in the war this year, seizing significant territory in northern Ukraine and northeast of Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine. Russia has also made minor advances in eastern Ukraine. In addition, Russia has significantly improved its ability to evade Ukraine’s air defenses, which has increased the deadly effectiveness of its missile and drone attacks.

Russia is also taking advantage of Ukraine’s growing troop shortage and arms shortage while it waits for new U.S. arms to arrive. Meanwhile, Russia has significantly stepped up its weapons production and is producing nearly three times more artillery munitions than the U.S. and Europe. This may give Russian forces a significant advantage in a possible offensive this summer.

Due to these factors, most experts believe Ukraine has no chance of recovering its territory from Russia and assess that this conflict has become a long-term war of attrition that Ukraine will eventually lose.

This has led to calls from the right and the left to end the war.

This includes former President Donald Trump, who said at a CNN town hall in 2023, “I want everybody to stop dying. They’re dying. Russians and Ukrainians. I want them to stop dying.”

In addition, former Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass said on MSNBC in November 2023 that the war is unwinnable and called for Ukraine to change its strategy to protect and save the 80 percent of territory it still controls and pursue a cease-fire with Russia.

Given the perilous state of the war for Ukraine, if next month’s Ukraine peace conference was intended to be a credible effort to end the war, it would include negotiations with Ukrainian and Russian representatives on how to implement a cease-fire as soon as possible as well as a diplomatic process for a peace agreement or armistice.

This will not happen because Zelenskyy refuses to agree to negotiations with Russia and will not consider a cease-fire or peace agreement before Ukraine regains all of its territory seized by Russia, including Crimea. Although the UK and France have reportedly offered Zelenskyy mild criticism of this position, most European states agree with him. The Biden Administration strongly supports Zelenskyy’s position and continues to say that the U.S. will provide arms to Ukraine “for as long as it takes” to defeat Russia.

President Biden also continues to frame the war in Ukraine as a threat to democracy and claims Putin will invade NATO members if Russia conquers Ukraine. Biden said in his State of the Union speech last March, “Ukraine can stop Putin if we stand with Ukraine and provide the weapons it needs to defend itself.” Biden officials still refer to congressional opponents of military aid to Ukraine as anti-democracy and pro-Putin.

In light of Biden’s comments and his repeated pledges to stand with Ukraine against Russia’s aggression, it was odd to learn that he plans to skip the Switzerland peace conference that is being held at Zelenskyy’s request.

Obviously, the wild card in getting a cease-fire in the Ukraine War or a peace process is Putin, who may not negotiate in good faith or comply with an agreement to end or freeze this conflict. But the main obstacle right now to ending the conflict is that there is no serious interest by anyone in the international community in finding a way to do so. There is no credible world leader pressing Russia and Ukraine to agree to a cease-fire or participate in peace talks.

That may change if Donald Trump returns to the presidency next January. He would be the only world leader determined to end the Ukraine War and has said he will use his influence as president to do so within 24 hours. And even if this proves to be a tougher task that takes longer, Trump’s principled position would create hope that a way can be found to peacefully end this conflict.

Trump’s position on ending the Ukraine War is also considerably better than Biden’s, who plans to blow off a Ukraine peace conference so he can hang out with Hollywood movie stars to raise money for his presidential campaign.


Fred Fleitz is vice-chair of the America First Policy Institute Center for American Security and editor of “An America First Approach to U.S. National Security,” available from Amazon.com. He previously served as National Security Council chief of staff, CIA analyst, and a House Intelligence Committee staff member.

Source: https://amgreatness.com/2024/05/31/it-seems-that-no-one-wants-to-end-the-ukraine-war-except-for-trump/

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Jim Jordan requests Bragg testimony after Trump verdict - Misti Severi

 

by Misti Severi

Jordan requested that the testimony from Colangelo and Bragg take place on June 13, according to a letter Jordan shared on X. The testimony will be part of a hearing on the "weaponization of the federal government," which will focus on the “unprecedented political prosecution of President Trump.”

 

House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan on Friday requested testimony from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and prosecutor Matthew Colangelo for a hearing related to former President Donald Trump's hush money trial.

Trump was convicted on all 34 counts of falsifying his business records on Thursday, to hide a hush money payment to former porn star Stormy Daniels. Trump has maintained his innocence since the guilty verdict, and vowed to appeal the ruling, which experts have predicted will be overturned. He will be sentenced on July 11.

Jordan requested that the testimony from Colangelo and Bragg take place on June 13, according to a letter Jordan shared on X. The testimony will be part of a hearing titled "Hearing on the Weaponization of the Federal Government." The hearing will focus on the “unprecedented political prosecution of President Trump.”

Bragg has repeatedly denied invitations to testify in front of the committee, suggesting last year that Jordan was interfering with the Justice system.

“We will not be intimidated by attempts to undermine the justice process, nor will we let baseless accusations deter us from fairly applying the law,” a spokesperson for Bragg’s office said at the time, according to The Hill.

Bragg has also defended his pursuit of Trump in comments since the guilty verdict, claiming that the trial came to its conclusion in the same manner that all other trials do.

"While this defendant may be unlike any other in American history, we arrived at this trial, and ultimately today at this verdict, in the same manner as every other case that comes through the courtroom doors," Bragg said on Thursday, per Axios.

Jordan has also previously had an interest in Colangelo and his hiring in the Manhattan DA's office. Colangelo has a notable background in working on cases related to the former president, and gave the opening statement in the New York trial. He previously worked at the Justice Department.

He previously helped with a 2018 case where his firm sued Trump's charity organization, claiming it improperly used funds. He was also on the New York Attorney General's probe into the Trump Organization, which laid the groundwork for the current New York Attorney General Letitia James's fraud suit against the organization. 

Jordan has given both Bragg and Colangelo until end of day on June 7 to respond to his requests.


Misti Severi

Source: https://justthenews.com/government/congress/jim-jordan-requests-bragg-testimony-after-trump-verdict

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