Project Veritas Captures CNN Producer Saying Russia Reporting Is ‘Mostly Bulls**t’

Posted June 27, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: CNN, Faked news, Great Trump - Russia conspiracy, Project Veritas

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Project Veritas Captures CNN Producer Saying Russia Reporting Is ‘Mostly Bulls**t’, Washington Free Beacon, , June 27, 2017

(Please see also, Some accountability at CNN at last? — DM)

 

Project Veritas released an undercover video Monday showing a CNN supervising producer saying that reporting on the Russia investigation is “mostly bullshit” but leads to high ratings.

Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe introduced the video as the first in a series called “American Pravda” seeking to expose mainstream media outlets’ slanted coverage. In the video, CNN producer John Bonifield said the network’s focus on potential ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia is based on ratings.

“I mean, it’s mostly bullshit right now. Like, we don’t have any big giant proof,” Bonifield said of the Russia story. It is unclear when he made the statement.

“And so I think the president is right to say, like, ‘Look, you are witch-hunting me. You have no smoking gun. You have no real proof,'” Bonifield said.

He explained that ratings motivate CNN’s focus on the Russia story. Asked why the network aired so much Russia coverage, Bonifield said, “It’s ratings.”

“Our ratings are incredible right now,” he added.

Bonifield said that the emphasis on Russia came from upper management. He detailed a meeting in which President Jeff Zucker advised staff to focus on the Paris climate accord for a day and a half before returning to Russia.

“The CEO of CNN said in our internal meeting, he said, ‘Good job everybody covering the climate accords, but we’re done with it. Let’s get back to Russia,'” Bonifield said.

Bonifield also described a jaded business culture at CNN and in cable news generally.

“All the nice cutesy little ethics that used to get talked about in journalism school, you’re just like, ‘That’s adorable, that’s adorable. This is a business,'” he said.

“They gotta do what they gotta do to make their money,” Bonifield added. “And so I love the news business, but I am very cynical about it. At the same time, so are most of my colleagues.”

Bonifield said that CNN would have turned off its liberal viewers if the network strongly scrutinized former President Barack Obama, but Trump is “good for business.”

O’Keefe said in the video that this exposes CNN’s “editorial bias and anti-Trump agenda.”

O’Keefe concluded the video by discussing CNN’s retraction of a recent story tying a Trump associate to a Russian financial group. He called the journalists who resigned as a result “victims of fake news.”

In February, O’Keefe released undercover audio from CNN employees discussing haphazard reporting of poll numbers, insulting Fox News, and claiming the “primary role of a journalist” is to “aid the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

Female Genital Mutilation: American Muslim Physician Says Stop Defending the Abuse of Girls and Women

Posted June 27, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: American Medial Association, Female genital mutilation., FGM "compromises"

Tags: , ,

Female Genital Mutilation: American Muslim Physician Says Stop Defending the Abuse of Girls and Women, Gatestone InstituteM. Zuhdi Jasser, June 27, 2017

Any cutting or prick upon a female’s genitalia that is not actually, absolutely medically necessary, but rather demanded by twisted interpretation of religion and misogynistic manifestations of culture, is abuse.

Even if, one were to submit that the medical part of the procedure could possibly be done with no physical trauma (and that is a big fictitious ‘if’), the whole intent of the procedure is ceremonially to desexualize women and place their bodies under patriarchal control. No physician or modern culture that respects the equality of men and women should agree to participate in a procedure based in hate or supremacy. There is no compromise for the free world with the misogyny, abuse, and torture of the familial, community and individual oppressive forces involved in the draconian Islamist behaviors around FGM. It was a false compromise and a false moral equivalency with male circumcision.

The AMA Board of Trustees six months later returned an opinion in our favor in June 2017, which basically stood by existing AMA policy that any and all forms of FGM including nicking were prohibited by the AMA and thus deemed to be entirely inappropriate and unethical. Some courtroom reports in the government’s case against Dr. Nagarwala in Detroit are that in fact some of the 7–year-old girls suffered significant physical harm and scarring despite the defendant’s claim of only a pin-prick.

Some of America’s most respected attorneys have been willing to earn the ire of their colleagues and critics for the sake of what is right and good defending the rights of Muslims. Many other Americans have also defended the rights of Muslims to pray and to have access to halal food. These positions, while not always popular in certain circles, are consistent with America’s commitment to religious liberty and the first amendment of the Constitution. Many of us Muslims have appreciated and applauded these outspoken heroes for their commitment to religious liberty and principled positions on matters pertaining to free speech and human rights. They have often taken stances representative of the best of America’s commitment to freedom.

It therefore came as a shock and a serious disappointment to learn that the great attorney, Mr. Alan M. Dershowitz, America’s most vigorous defender of religious liberty, has chosen to participate as a consultant in the defense of a Michigan doctor, Jumana Nagarwala, who has been arrested for mutilating the genitals of girls in her Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. Our American Islamic Forum for Democracy made this statement in April at the time of her arrest. We also then sent an open letter to Mr. Janel Amil Saheb, the head of her Detroit Dawoodi Bohra community, which very likely created an environment that was complicit in the crimes. Rather than enable them by consulting in their defense as Mr. Dershowitz seems want to do, it is incumbent upon all genuine defenders of women’s rights to demand immediate reform.

It has been revealed that Nagarwala and others in the community have essentially been trafficking young girls from out of state to her “practice” so that she can cut and maim their bodies, all the while claiming to uphold the Hippocratic oath – one I also took and hold sacred as a physician – to “do no harm.”

Responding to criticism, according to Breitbart, Mr. Dershowitz now says of his consulting agreement with the Dawat-e-Hadiyah:

“This group rejects female genital mutilation. I agreed to consult with them and to work toward an acceptance of merely a symbolic pin prick, not even of the clitoris, but just of the clitoral hood, which is the equivalent of the foreskin… The idea really is the functional equivalent of what Jews do. If a non-Jewish kid were circumcised at birth, as many are but didn’t have a bris, didn’t have a religious circumcision and he wants to convert to Judaism or his parents want to convert him to Judaism, he has a little symbolic pin prick, it draws one tiny bit of blood and that takes the place of a circumcision and that’s what I propose.”

Mr. Dershowitz is apparently seeking to divert criticism and justify his choice to defend this doctor and her accomplices – who, from various courtroom testimony accounts – was doing more than “pin pricking” with objective reports of severe scarring and disfigurement upon the victims of this familial and community conspiracy against these 6-8 year old girls.

Despite whatever Mr. Dershowitz may claim, or twisted tales he wishes to weave about adults choosing to press blades to the genitals of little girls, any cutting or prick upon a female’s genitalia that is not actually, absolutely medically necessary, but rather demanded by twisted interpretation of religion and misogynistic manifestations of culture, is abuse.

A campaign against female genital mutilation – a road sign near Kapchorwa, Uganda. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

First, as a physician it is important to alert Mr. Dershowitz and anyone potentially sympathetic to his views, that a “nick or cut” to the clitoral hood is not as benign as apologists who falsely wrap themselves in religious freedom would have you believe. The clitoral hood protects the glans of the clitoris, covers its shaft, and forms part of the structure of the labia minora. Basic information as to the clerical, familial and societal intent of the procedure, the structure of the female anatomy, the practice’s dangerous link to extremist ideology, and the horrific psychological impact of it all no matter how small the ‘prick’ seem to be lost by those who wish to placate those communities who wish to control, mutilate, and usurp the bodily autonomy of these girls.

Second, as the attorney, Mr. Dershowitz surely knows, the morality and legality of the procedure follows directly from the familial, societal, and clerical intent of the procedure. Even if, one were to submit the medical part of the procedure could possibly be done with no physical trauma (and that’s a big fictitious ‘if’), the whole intent of the procedure is ceremonially to desexualize women and place their bodies under patriarchal control. No physician or modern culture that respects the equality of men and women should agree to participate in a procedure based in hate or supremacy. To compare the established non-sexual, non-oppressive intent of male circumcision done in Jewish and Muslim communities to the medieval intent of any procedure done by misogynistic Islamists upon the genitals of young girls is dangerously ignorant.

Rather than taking blindly the deceptive explanations of Islamist religious leaders using the cloak of religious freedom to conceal their subjugation of women, Mr. Dershowitz would do well to research the real theological underpinnings of female genital mutilation and any associated so called “compromise” procedure or “nicking”. In any form, whether mutilation or ‘cutting’ the procedure is inflicted upon women due to a draconian belief that girls need to be physically ‘cleansed of their innate hypersexuality,’ which will persist if the clitoral organ is left without alteration from birth. This is not only inhumanly ignorant but complicit with a patriarchal culture that seeks from birth to keep girls and women under the psychological subjugation of the men in their family and community. Watch and listen, thanks to MEMRI, to the obvious words of Imam Shaker El Sayed, one of America’s leading Sunni imams, only a few weeks ago at Dar Al-Hijra mosque in Northern Virginia who explained the exact reasoning behind this culture of abuse against women:

“On the contrary, you see in societies where circumcision of girls is completely prohibited, hypersexuality takes over the entire society, and a woman is not satisfied with one person, or two, or three. This, God forbid, is now happening even in Muslim societies where they prohibit circumcision. They use a mistake in practice to prohibit the tradition, and they end up causing a lot of damage on the extreme side of the sexual life of the woman.”

For hundreds if not a few thousand years, any and all of the physical acts of mutilation, nicking, cutting or any procedure done to the genitals of young girls has been done in order to appease this Neanderthal mentality. There is no other established alternative intent or rational explanation. In this case, the arrested physicians and cases in Detroit which Mr. Dershowitz is seeking to aid and abet, are part of a network of the Dawat-e-Hadiyah, an organization that oversees a small heterodox Shiite Muslim sect called the Dawoodi Bohras. But make no mistake. From Sunni to Shia, the victimization of women and girls through FGM practices is not peculiar to that one sect. Its misogynistic origins are both tribal and also bolstered with a deeply Salafist and Islamist interpretation of Islam across Sunni and Shia sects, and includes leading theologians.

Mr. Dershowitz’s position that he now claims to propose is actually not new. The American Islamic Forum for Democracy and I spoke out very publicly in February 2016 condemning a similar proposal of a new so-called “compromise” which the Journal of Medical Ethics bizarrely dubbed “Female genital alteration: A new compromise procedure” by Drs. Kavita Shah Arora and Allan J. Jacobs as if they were speaking about a pair of pants or a dress. AIFD then spoke out nationally in response to all of the mainstream media attention given to Dr. Arora and Jacobs, who were for the most part, sadly lauded by a politically correct media as courageous for posing a utilitarian solution to the trafficking of girls abroad to countries where FGM is permitted. We pleaded that there is no compromise for the free world with the misogyny, abuse, and torture of the familial, community and individual oppressive forces involved in the draconian Islamist behaviors around FGM. It was a false compromise and a false moral equivalency with male circumcision.

We took our protest to the AMA House of Delegates in November 2016 against protests from representatives of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) to the AMA, which also happened to include Dr. Arora, the author. The AMA Board of Trustees six months later returned an opinion in our favor in June 2017, which basically stood by existing AMA policy that any and all forms of FGM including nicking were prohibited by the AMA and thus deemed to be entirely inappropriate and unethical.

It is critical that all people familiarize themselves with the opinion of the AMA and other leading medical professionals and ethicists before carrying the water for the inhuman medical criminals arrested in Detroit or physicians like Dr. Arora and Jacobs who are apologists for this unethical procedure.

As we stated in a statement on this issue last year, the clitoral hood serves protective, immunological, and erogenous purposes. The structure of this hood varies from woman to woman; some women have clitoral hoods that do not retract fully, thus leaving these women vulnerable to even more severe cutting should a practitioner be trying to remove the hood. Cutting of the clitoral hood on infants, children, and many women would necessarily lead to the cutting and damaging of the clitoral shaft and the clitoris itself, as well as the labia. Of course, there is also the risk of infection and excessive bleeding and the certainty of trauma. If such “procedures” were ever permitted, there would be no ability actually to review whether the microscopic area of the clitoral hood of an infant or small girl were not actually scarred, setting aside the lifetime of associated psychological oppression carried with the ritual. Scar tissue from “nicking,” particularly on women prone to keloid scarring (as many women of color are) and difficult healing, can inhibit erogenous response and cause discomfort. In fact, some courtroom reports in the government’s case against Dr. Nagarwala in Detroit is that in fact some of the 7-year-old girls suffered significant physical harm and scarring despite the defendant’s claim of only a pin-prick.

In addition to sacrificing girls and women to physical torture by defending the alleged “compromise” of a “pin prick,” supporters of this unenforceable and therefore fake “compromise” are disappointingly and alarmingly ceding to extremist interpretations of Islam and radical tribal culture. As I wrote last year:

“Female genital mutilation is advocated by misogynists, many of whom are radical Islamists; and is carried out in families who seek to forcibly deny girls and women their bodily autonomy and normal healthy sexuality. This procedure serves no purpose other than to diminish the sexuality of women in the name of religion and/or culture.

“Allowing a girl or woman to be forcibly mutilated in any way sets the stage for male-dominant psychological torture, control, and dehumanization of that woman in her family forever. Whether it’s a so-called “nick” or a more extensive cut, the [inability to] forcefully reject this practice in its entirety is an act of complacency, and a medically unethical act of criminally negligent proportions.”

Survivors of, and advocates against, FGM also reject these “compromises” on genital mutilation. Survivors such as Khadija Gbla, Hibo Wardere, Leyla Hussein (who is also a psychotherapist), and others warn that those who propose or defend “nicking,” or in this instance “pin-pricking,” are glorifying mutilation and harm against girls and women. One should speak to any survivors or leading women’s rights activists who have dedicated their lives to fighting any and all forms of cutting. Sahiyo, for instance, is an entire organization dedicated specifically to countering the ignorance in the Dawoodi Bohra community of those who try to endorse female genital cutting, nicking or any procedure as justifiable alternatives or any different from horrific mutilation.

It is stunning, and frightening, to see champions of liberty and ethics bend on this issue. While freedom of religion is an essential and foundational American value, it cannot mean the “freedom” to deny universal human rights via the mutilation of another human being’s body – especially one who cannot consent, such as a 7-year-old girl or a woman doing so under compulsion, or extreme societal pressure. Mr. Dershowitz and others who hold his view have to know this. While they may think they are making the right decision and protecting freedom of religion as a whole by participating in this “torture theater,” we hope they realize that Muslim women, and Muslim reformers as a whole, are betrayed by his actions, and can only see that they are no allies or friends to those who seek to end the barbarism of FGM and of radical Islam.

If supposed liberals can defend FGM in the name of freedom of religion, what is next on the list of Islamist requests for religious freedom? Beating your wife “just a little bit” without lifting your elbow from your hip? Marital rape? After all, religious texts have been widely used to justify both. What about breast ironing? Acid attacks – with just a little acid — as punishment for sin?

You see, women always pay when freedom is sacrificed to “cultural sensitivity.” Deep down, liberals are good people, who know better, but sadly many have proceeded anyway – a chilling and tragic fact.

No! It is not just a “prick” or a “cut”. At the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, we call it what it is — mutilation.

There is no compromise against the immorality and barbarism of FGM. To offer any compromise, even a so-called, easily abused, “pin prick,” sacrifices girls and women to barbarism and sets back the movement for women’s rights in Muslim communities hundreds of years.

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser is the President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement and a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander. He is an internal medicine physician in private practice in Phoenix with an expertise in bioethics serving as an ethics consultant for a large healthcare corporation. He can be found online atwww.takebackIslam.com

The PLO’s IDF Lobbyists

Posted June 27, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Commanders for Israel’s Security, IDF, Israeli settlements, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian heroes in Israeli jails, Palestinian incitement, Palestinian settlements, Retired IDF generals, Taylor Force Act

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The PLO’s IDF Lobbyists, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, June 27, 2017

(The Israeli deep state? — DM)

CIS is a consortium of 260 left-wing retired security brass. It formed just before the 2015 elections. CIS refuses to reveal its funding sources. Several of its most visible members worked with the Obama administration through the George Soros-funded Center for a New American Security.

Since its inception, CIS has effectively served as a PLO lobby. It supports Israeli land giveaways and insists that Israel can do without a defensible eastern border.

Last Wednesday CIS released a common-sense defying statement opposing the Taylor Force Act.

The generals mind-numbingly insisted the US must continue paying the terrorism-financing PA because Israel needs the help of the terrorism-incentivizing PA to fight the terrorists the PA incentivizes. If the US cuts off funding to the PA because it incentivizes terrorism, then the PA will refuse to cooperate with Israel in fighting the terrorism it incentivizes.

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How radicalized Israeli generals are furthering the cause of Palestinian terrorists.

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

Should the United States pay Palestinian terrorists? For the overwhelming majority of Americans and Israelis this is a rhetorical question.

The position of the American people was made clear – yet again – last week when US President Donald Trump’s senior envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt met with Palestinian Authority chairman and PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas and repeated Trump’s demand that the PA cut off the payments.

Not only did Abbas reject their demand, he reportedly accused the presidential envoys of working as Israeli agents.

Abbas’s treatment of Kushner and Greenblatt was in line with his refusal to even meet with US Ambassador David Friedman, reportedly because he doesn’t like Friedman’s views.

The most amazing aspect of Abbas’s contemptuous treatment of the Trump administration is that he abuses Trump and his senior advisers while demanding that Trump continue funding him in excess of half a billion dollars a year, and do so in contravention of the will of the Republican-controlled Congress.

Abbas’s meeting last week took place as the Taylor Force Act makes its way through Congress.

Named for Taylor Force, the West Point graduate and US army veteran who was murdered in March 2016 in Tel Aviv by a Palestinian terrorist, the Taylor Force Act will end US funding of the PA until it ends its payments to terrorists and their families – including the family of Force’s murderer Bashar Masalha.

The Taylor Force Act enjoys bipartisan majority support in both the House and the Senate. It is also supported by the Israeli government.

Given the stakes, what could possibly have possessed Abbas to believe he can get away with mistreating Trump and his envoys? Who does he think will save him from Congress and the White House? Enter Commanders for Israel’s Security (CIS), stage left.

CIS is a consortium of 260 left-wing retired security brass. It formed just before the 2015 elections. CIS refuses to reveal its funding sources. Several of its most visible members worked with the Obama administration through the George Soros-funded Center for a New American Security.

Since its inception, CIS has effectively served as a PLO lobby. It supports Israeli land giveaways and insists that Israel can do without a defensible eastern border.

Last Wednesday CIS released a common-sense defying statement opposing the Taylor Force Act.

The generals mind-numbingly insisted the US must continue paying the terrorism-financing PA because Israel needs the help of the terrorism-incentivizing PA to fight the terrorists the PA incentivizes. If the US cuts off funding to the PA because it incentivizes terrorism, then the PA will refuse to cooperate with Israel in fighting the terrorism it incentivizes.

If you fail to follow this logic, well, you don’t have what it takes to be an Israeli general.

Moreover, if you fail to follow this logic, and you defy the position of Israel’s retired generals, then you may well endanger Israel.

After all, they know what’s best even better than the Israeli government because they are retired Israeli generals.

The CIS group would be bad enough for Israel on its own. But unfortunately, the radical politics of its members – and their anonymous funders – are all too resonant inside of the IDF itself.

And just as CIS members use the ranks they received in the past to undermine the powers of the government today, so the current crop of serving generals use their positions to advance policies that are contrary to the expressed position of the government.

This is nowhere more evident than in the behavior of the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria.

Until Israel formed the PLO-controlled PA in 1994, the Civil Administration was responsible for governing Judea and Samaria as the governing arm of the military government that Israel set up in the area after the Six Day War.

In 1996, Israel transferred all Palestinian population centers in Judea and Samaria to the PA. Since then, the Civil Administration has been responsible only for Area C where all Israeli communities are located and where between 100,000 and 200,000 Palestinians also live.

The question of what the ultimate disposition of Area C will be is the top issue on the national agenda today. The majority of government ministers and the majority of the public support applying Israeli law to all or parts of the area.

Yet while the government debates the issue and formulates policies to advance whatever policies it adopts on this issue, the Civil Administration has for the past several years been acting independently to undermine and constrain the government’s ability to make strategic decisions relating to Area C.

Among other things, the Civil Administration has been independently initiating Palestinian settlement projects in Area C that undermine Israel’s ability to govern the areas. By the same token, the Civil Administration has used its powers to scupper, delay and prevent Israeli construction projects in the area.

The story of the Civil Administration’s rogue policymaking was catapulted to the headlines last week when Channel 2 reported that it was advancing a plan to massively expand the Palestinian city of Kalkilya into Area C. Among other things, the plan endangers Israeli communities whose territory abuts the expanded boundaries of Kalkilya advanced by the plan.

Channel 2 reported that the Netanyahu government’s security cabinet had given the Civil Administration a green light to begin construction.

The story caused a political outcry not only from Likud voters but from the security cabinet members themselves. Led by Minister Ze’ev Elkin, the Likud ministers insisted that they had been misled by the Civil Administration which deliberately hid the nature of the plan from them when it brought it to the cabinet for approval.

The ministers’ protests ring true because the Civil Administration has a history of acting in this manner.

In 2008 for instance, the Civil Administration initiated a building scheme in the Jordan Valley that would have taken land from Moshav Tomer to build Palestinian settlements.

The head of the local council complained to the government only to discover that the ministers had no idea what he was talking about. The Civil Administration had undertaken the plan, which undermined Israel’s control over a strategically vital area, without government knowledge or approval.

In contrast, and again against the wishes of the government, the Civil Administration has repeatedly acted to block Israeli construction in Area C. For instance, the IDF insists that no land deal between Israel and Palestinians is final until the IDF approves it. The policy harms Israeli construction in two ways.

First, it gives the Civil Administration the power – which it uses – to delay Israeli construction indefinitely.

Second, by forcing parties to land deals to come forward publicly, the Civil Administration intimidates Palestinian land sellers. They know that if their land deals with Israelis become public they will face execution by the PA.

Returning to Abbas for a moment, the PLO chief may have overplayed his hand by insulting Trump and his senior envoys. All the politicized retired and currently serving Israeli generals together cannot convince Trump to send US tax dollars to a terrorism supporting leader who trashes him and his senior officials. Consequently, there is every reason to believe that the Taylor Force Act will soon be signed into law and the US will end its financing of Palestinian terrorism.

But even if Washington cuts off funding to the PA, Israel is still left to deal with its radicalized generals who exploit their rank to undermine the government.

The best way to end this situation is for the government to shut down the Civil Administration and get the IDF out of the governing business in Judea and Samaria. So long as the government continues to empower unaccountable generals to administer civilian areas instead of its accountable, civilian bureaucracy, we will continue to be confronted with the surreal spectacle of Israeli generals lobbying for Palestinian terrorists.

If the government applies Israeli law to Area C, it can still negotiate with the PLO, just as it has negotiated about the Golan Heights and Jerusalem. But in the meantime, it will remove one of the most corrupting and corrosive forces preying on our generals and our democracy for the benefit of the Israeli and Palestinian residents of Area C alike and indeed for Israel as a whole.

Some accountability at CNN at last?

Posted June 27, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Faked news, Media and Democrats, Media and Trump

Tags: , ,

Some accountability at CNN at last? American ThinkerMonica Showalter, June 27, 2017

(Confession may be good for the soul, but does it mean that the confessor will sin no more? — DM)

It’s good to see accountability showing up, whatever the reason.  News agencies seem to know that their credibility is on the line and are taking steps to preserve it.  After years of playing lapdog media to President Obama, this could not be more welcome as a development.

***********************

Thumbing their noses at standard practices from Reporting 101, three CNN journalists are out on their ears, with CNN saying they handed in their resignations.  Willingly, we bet.

Three CNN journalists, including the executive editor in charge of a new investigative unit, have resigned after the publication of a Russia-related article that was retracted.

Thomas Frank, who wrote the story in question; Eric Lichtblau, an editor in the unit; and Lex Haris, who oversaw the unit, have all left CNN.

“In the aftermath of the retraction of a story published on CNN.com, CNN has accepted the resignations of the employees involved in the story’s publication,” a spokesman said Monday evening.

That didn’t take long.  The case reminds me of the firing last week of The Wall Street Journal’s chief foreign correspondent, Jay Solomon, who was canned after getting overly involved with a source in a case that involved arms deals.  Solomon, Lichtblau, and probably Frank were all much decorated mostly print journalists, so it must be a hard blow.  Lichtblau had actually won a Pulitzer Prize.  But they all had this propensity to break basic rules of journalism, using their positions at their news agencies for competitive advantage and to advance other aims – in Solomon’s case, a quest for money and probably bigger scoops.  In Lichtblau’s, Frank’s, and Haris’s case, it was likely leftwing activism and television ratings.

So, Lichtblau and company ran a story with one miserable anonymous source as straight news, violating a usual practice that a good story have at least a corroborating source, even if anonymous.  Solomon was busy playing 007 in exchange for money or scoops.  In both cases, readers were not told of these conflicts of interest.

It might be telling that at all the players were print journalists.  In many newsrooms, there’s one teacher’s pet who gets coddled by the editors for being “a star” and then runs roughshod over the editorial process – all the non-glamorous editors who are there to edit, fact-check, copyedit, and put the story out – and gets away with it.

But this time, the transgressors were called to account for such behavior.  It rather signals a turning point, and perhaps that turning point is the Trump era.  Under President Trump, people get fired for not being straight (Michael Flynn), not performing optimally (such was the claim with K.T. McFarland), or not following rules (James Comey).  Under President Obama, no one was ever called to account, no matter how insane his transgressions – from targeting dissidents at the IRS (Lois Lerner) to running a homebrew private server that endangered national security (Hillary Clinton).  It might be spillover from the new tone in Washington.

It also might be the shifting nature of media and the competition media work brings.  Each of these newsroom exits was facilitated through the courtesy of other agents – in Solomon’s case, the rival Associated Press exposed his dealings, and in Lichtblau and company’s case, what looked like a lawsuit threat from wealthy Trump transition team Anthony Scaramucci seems to have shut the joint down.  A news agency may correct errors, but it does not apologize for errors unless it really, really has to – which CNN did.

With another CNN supervising producer, John Bonifield, now probably in the hot seat for pointing out that the Russia narrative has been fake, it’s worth noting that he too may be done in by Project Veritas, an activist journalism group.  It goes to show that competition tends to make news agencies honest, and the advance of the internet has created lots of new news outlets and rivals.

It’s good to see accountability showing up, whatever the reason.  News agencies seem to know that their credibility is on the line and are taking steps to preserve it.  After years of playing lapdog media to President Obama, this could not be more welcome as a development.

Northern border heating up

Posted June 27, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Assad, Golan, IDF, Iranian proxies, Israel and Syria, Israel borders, Israeli security, Syria war, Syrian rebels

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Northern border heating up, Israel Hayom, Ofek Ish Maas, June 27, 2017

(Please see also, After IDF retaliates for spillover, Syrian army warns Israel.– DM)

In the past few days, the Syrian civil war has been knocking on Israel’s door. On Saturday, 10 errant mortars and tank shells landed in the northern Golan Heights, and at the beginning of the week the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit reported a few more ordnance hits in open areas.

In accordance with policy, the IDF responded by firing at Syrian army targets. But although tenuous quiet has been restored, we cannot discount the possibility that errant fire from Syria will continue and increase.

The army of Syrian President Bashar Assad, which was responsible for the errant fire, is trying to block an attack by rebels, who want to break through and reach the highway that leads from Damascus to the southwestern city of Daraa, which has been the site of heavy fighting for control of southern Syria over the past month.

Since the beginning of June, Daraaa has been subjected to massive bombing by the Syrian regime and its allies. Hundreds of barrel bombs and rockets and dozens of bombs from Syrian and Russian planes have rained down on the city. According to rebel reports, some of the bombs even included phosphorus. Among other things, in an attempt to deter the rebels, the regime intentionally attacked a school in a nearby village, killing more than 20 women and children who had sought shelter there. The worsening situation led the local government to declare Daraa and its surroundings a disaster area.

Daraa, which lies about 30 kilometers (18.5 miles) east of Israel and 13 kilometers (8 miles) north of Syria’s border with Jordan, is a strategic target for the Syrian regime. First, control over border crossings in a symbol of sovereignty and the implementation of Assad’s desire to once again control all of Syria. Second, the regime and its Shiite allies want to reduce the chance of a sustainable security buffer zone under Western, Jordanian, and Israeli influence being established in southern Syria. Assad’s forces reaching the Jordanian border would stop the supply of logistic, military, and humanitarian aid Western and Persian Gulf nations are sending the rebels and would create a divide between the two rebel-controlled areas in southern Syria.

With a goal so important to the regime, and with the increasingly serious stand-off between the U.S., Russia, and Iran in eastern Syria threatening any chances of a peace deal in the south, it appears that nothing is stopping Assad from proceeding full force.

The ramifications for Israel’s security could be heavy. In the short term, if we see a repeat of the images out of Aleppo at the end of 2016 — women and children slaughtered, buildings collapsing with people inside, the use of unconventional weapons against civilians — there will be waves of displaced persons, some of whom might seek shelter along the border, in Israel’s shadow, and even ask for asylum. In the long term, Israel’s northeastern front could become a stronghold of Iran, Hezbollah, and other Shiite militias that would comprise a threat to security and safety in northern Israel.

Israel must decide how it will prepare to prevent these dangerous scenarios. It must choose between increasing support for the Sunni rebels as a buffer against Iran and its satellites, or assenting through silence to Assad returning to power. If Israel wants to stick to the idea of a buffer zone, it will have to increase support for the rebels and provide them with defense coverage, both diplomatic, against Russia, and military, in hope that the U.S. will agree. But diverting American attention to southwestern Syria will hamper its efforts to defeat the Islamic State in the east and prevent Iran from filling the ensuing vacuum. Israel, therefore, would have to roll up its sleeves and plunge its hands into the Syrian mess. On the other hand, if Israel is unwilling to do so, it will have to set clear rules of engagement for the Assad regime, which is regaining ground, by demanding that Iranian satellites not gain a foothold in the region and backing that demand up with military action.

In any case, neither option is certain and each has its risks. But the reality in Syria, especially in the south of the country, is changing fast, and the comparative security that Israel has been enjoying is in danger and requires immediate planning and responses.

Ofek Ish Maas (Riemer) is a research assistant at the Institute for National Security Studies.

US threats to Syria’s legitimate government unacceptable

Posted June 27, 2017 by joopklepzeiker
Categories: Uncategorized

Source: US threats to Syria’s legitimate government unacceptable – Kremlin — RT News

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer © Nicholas Kamm / AFP

Russia has slammed Washington’s threats against the Syrian government following a recent White House statement alleging that President Bashar Assad’s forces are preparing to use chemical weapons.

“I am not aware of any information or threat of using chemical weapons,” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Tuesday.

Earlier, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer issued a statement claiming the US “has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians.”

“We heard about this statement. We don’t know what it’s based on. And, of course, we strongly disagree with the wording ‘another attack,’ because, as you know, despite all the demands of the Russian side, there was no independent international investigation of the previous tragedy with the use of chemical weapons. We do not believe it is possible to rest the responsibility on the Syrian armed forces,” Peskov said.

Washington blames the April attack, which killed dozens of civilians in Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib Governorate, on the Assad government. Moscow and Damascus both slammed the lack of definitive evidence to prove the accusations.

The Kremlin spokesman also warned of potential provocations by terrorists.

“You know that cases of the use of toxic chemical agents by militants of Islamic state [IS, formerly ISIS/SIL] and other criminal groups have been established on multiple occasions. There certainly is the potential danger of such provocations recurring,” Peskov stated.

Any threats against the Syrian government are “unacceptable,” according to Peskov, who reiterated the call for an investigation into the attack in Idlib.

“Without carrying out an investigation it is impossible, illegitimate and absolutely wrong, in regards to achieving the final goals on Syrian reconcilement, to put the blame on Assad. Of course, we consider unacceptable any such threats to the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic,” the spokesman said, adding that Moscow considers any use of toxic chemical agents inappropriate.

Syria has denied White House allegations of preparing to use chemical weapons, saying they “foreshadowed a ‘diplomatic battle’” in the UN, according to AP, citing the minister for national reconciliation, Ali Haidar.

US may preempt an Assad chemical strike in Syria

Posted June 27, 2017 by joopklepzeiker
Categories: Uncategorized

DEBKAfile Special Report June 27, 2017, 9:35 AM (IDT)

Source: US may preempt an Assad chemical strike in Syria

Signs were gathering in Washington and the Middle East Tuesday, June 26 that the Trump administration was preparing a substantial military operation against the Syrian army and Bashar Assad’s allies, such as the foreign pro-Iranian Shiite militias and Hizballah. Some US military sources suggested that an American preemptive strike was in store in the coming hours to prevent Assad’s army from again resorting to chemical warfare against his people.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday night that the US “has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.” He said the activities were similar to preparations taken before an April 2017 attack that killed dozens of men, women and children, and warned that if “Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”

On April 4, the Syrians launched a chemical weapons attack, which killed 87 people, including 30 children, following which the Trump administration fired scores of Tomahawk missiles against a Syrian air base.
The US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley then futher stoked the tensions by declaring on Twitter that any chemical weapons attack by Bashar-Assad’s Syrian government “will be blamed on Assad but also on Russia and Iran who support him killing his own people.”

Haley’s tweet ended with the cliffhanger: “Stay tuned for more tomorrow.”

debkafile’s military sources add: An American attack on Syria, whether preemptive or punitive, may be launched from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the eastern Mediterranean.
It was from the decks of this vessel that US Navy fighter jets took off on June 18 to down a Syrian SU-22 fighter bomber over eastern Syrian. A repetition of a US carrier-based attack on Syria would challenge the warning Moscow issued to Washington on June 24 after the Syrian warplane was shot down:

“From now on, in areas where Russian aviation performs combat missions in the skies of Syria, any airborne objects found west of the Euphrates River, including aircraft and unmanned vehicles belonging to the international coalition, tracked by means of Russian land and air anti-aircraft defense, will be considered air targets.”
That warning was intended to mark a red line against US flights crossing through central and western Syria. Posted at Latakia, on Syrian’s Mediterranean coast in the west are advanced Russian anti-air S-400 and S-300 missiles.