Archive for March 5, 2017

Yes, There Could Be Serious Legal Problems if Obama Admin Involved in Illegal Surveillance

March 5, 2017

Opinion | Yes, There Could Be Serious Legal Problems if Obama Admin Involved in Illegal Surveillance, Law Newz, March 4, 2017

(Speculative, because fewer than all pertinent facts are now available. However, it’s an interesting legal analysis.– DM)

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President Trump recently tweeted claiming that former President Obama wiretapped him during his campaign. One can only imagine how nuts the media would have gone if the roles had been reversed: President Trump wiretapping either Obama or the Clintons, though his DOJ could have authority to do just that given the expansive leaks of intelligence information by Obama and Clinton supporters the last few months. Heck, he could wiretap the media at this point, legally and legitimately, as the sources of these unlawful leaks, for which Obama himself set precedent. Do liberals understand what Pandora’s Box Obama opened up by Obama using the powers of the NSA, CIA and FBI to spy on his political opponents? Even Nixon never did that.

If the stories are correct, Obama or his officials might even face prosecution. But, we are still early in all of this and there are a lot of rumors flying around so the key is if the reports are accurate. We just don’t know at this time. The stories currently are three-fold: first, that Obama’s team tried to get a warrant from a regular, Article III federal court on Trump, and was told no by someone along the way (maybe the FBI), as the evidence was that weak or non-existent; second, Obama’s team then tried to circumvent the federal judiciary’s independent role by trying to mislabel the issue one of “foreign agents,” and tried to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act “courts”, and were again turned down, when the court saw Trump named (an extremely rare act of FISA court refusal of the government, suggesting the evidence was truly non-existent against Trump); and so, third, Obama circumvented both the regular command of the FBI and the regularly appointed federal courts, by placing the entire case as a FISA case (and apparently under Sally Yates at DOJ) as a “foreign” case, and then omitted Trump’s name from a surveillance warrant submitted to the FISA court, which the FISA court unwittingly granted, which Obama then misused to spy on Trump and many connected to Trump. Are these allegations true? We don’t know yet, but if any part of them are than Obama and/or his officials could face serious trouble.

Can a President be charged with a crime? Only once out of office. While in office, impeachment remains the exclusive remedy in order to avoid a single judicial branch trying to overturn an election, such as a grand jury in any part of the country could. Once out of office, a President remains immune from civil liability for his duties while President, under a 1982 decision of the United States Supreme Court. However, as the Nixon pardon attests, nothing forecloses a criminal prosecution of the President after his presidency is complete for crimes against the country. Obama, the Constitutional lawyer, should know that.

What crimes could have been committed? Ironically, for Democrats falsely accusing Attorney General Sessions, perjury and conspiracy to commit perjury, as well as intentional violations of FISA. Rather shockingly, no law currently forbids misusing the power of the presidency to spy on one’s adversaries. What the law does forbid is lying to any judicial officer to obtain any means of surveillance. What the law does forbid, under criminal penalty, is the misuse of FISA. Both derive from the protections of the Fourth Amendment itself. Under section 1809, FISA makes it a crime for anyone to either “engage in” electronic surveillance under “color of law” under FISA without following the law’s restrictions, or “disclose” or “use” information gathered from it in contravention of the statute’s sharp constrictions.

FISA, 50 USC 1801, et seq., is a very limited method of obtaining surveillance authority. The reason for its strict limits is that FISA evades the regular federal court process, by not allowing regularly, Constitutionally appointed federal judges and their magistrates to authorize surveillance the Fourth Amendment would otherwise forbid. Instead, the Chief Justice handpicks the FISA court members, who have shown an exceptional deference to the executive branch. This is because FISA court members trust the government is only bringing them surveillance about pending terror attacks or “grave hostile” war-like attacks, as the FISA statute limits itself to. Thus, a FISA application can only be used in very limited circumstances.

One important reminder about electronic surveillance. Occasionally, a law enforcement officer will hear or see or record information not allowed by the warrant, but incidental or accidental to otherwise lawful surveillance. Their job is to immediately stop listening, stop recording, and to delete such information. This is what you occasionally see in films where the agent in the van hears the conversation turn away from something criminal to a personal discussion, and the agent then turns off the listening device and stops the recording. Such films simply recognize long-standing legal practice.

FISA can only be used for “foreign intelligence information.” Now that sounds broad, but is in fact very limited under the law. The only “foreign intelligence information” allowed as a basis for surveillance is information necessary to protect the United States against actual or potential “grave” “hostile” attack, war-like sabotage or international terror. Second, it can only be used to eavesdrop on conversations where the parties to the conversation are a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. An agent of a foreign power cannot be a United States person unless they are knowingly involved in criminal espionage. No warrant is allowed on that person unless a FISA court finds probable cause the United States person is knowingly engaged in criminal espionage. Even then, if it involves a United States person, special steps must be taken to “minimize the acquisition and retention, and prohibit the dissemination, of non publicly available information concerning un-consenting United States persons.”

This includes procedures that require they never identify the person, or the conversation, being surveilled, to the public where that information is not evidence of a particular crime. Third, the kind of information sought concerns solely information about a pending or actual attack on the country. That is why the law limits itself to sabotage incidents involving war, not any form or kind of “sabotage,” explicitly limiting itself to those acts identified in section 105 of Title 18 of the United States Code.

This bring us to Watergate-on-Steroids, or #ObamaGate. Here are the problematic aspects of the Obama surveillance on Trump’s team, and on Trump himself. First, it is not apparent FISA could ever be invoked. Second, it is possible Obama’s team may have perjured themselves before the FISA court by withholding material information essential to the FISA court’s willingness to permit the government surveillance. Third, it could be that Obama’s team illegally disseminated and disclosed FISA information in direct violation of the statute precisely prohibiting such dissemination and disclosure. FISA prohibits, under criminal penalty, Obama’s team from doing any of the three.

At the outset, the NSA should have never been involved in a domestic US election. Investigating the election, or any hacking of the DNC or the phishing of Podesta’s emails, would not be a FISA matter. It does not fit the definition of war sabotage or a “grave” “hostile” war-like attack on the United States, as constrictively covered by FISA. It is your run-of-the-mill hacking case covered by existing United States laws that require use of the regular departments of the FBI, Department of Justice, and Constitutionally Senate-appointed federal district court judges, and their appointed magistrates, not secretive, deferential FISA courts.

Out of 35,000+ requests for surveillance, the FISA court has only ever rejected a whopping 12. Apparently, according to published reports, you can add one more to that — even the FISA court first rejected Obama’s request to spy on Trump’s team under the guise of an investigation into foreign agents of a pending war attack, intelligence agents apparently returned to the court, where, it is my assumption, that they did not disclose or divulge all material facts to the court when seeking the surveillance the second time around, some of which they would later wrongfully disseminate and distribute to the public. By itself, misuse of FISA procedures to obtain surveillance is itself, a crime.

This raises the second problem: Obama’s team submission of an affidavit to to the FISA court. An application for a warrant of any kind requires an affidavit, and that affidavit may not omit material factors. A fact is “material” if it could have the possible impact of impacting the judicial officer deciding whether to authorize the warrant. Such affidavits are the most carefully drawn up, reviewed, and approved affidavits of law enforcement in our system precisely because they must be fully-disclosing, forthcoming, and include any information a judge must know to decide whether to allow our government to spy on its own. My assumption would be that intelligence officials were trying to investigate hacking of DNC which is not even a FISA covered crime, so therefore serious questions arise about what Obama administration attorneys said to the FISA court to even consider the application. If the claim was “financial ties” to Russia, then Obama knew he had no basis to use FISA at all.

Since Trump was the obvious target, the alleged failure to disclose his name in the second application could be a serious and severe violation of the obligation to disclose all material facts. Lastly, given the later behavior, it is evident any promise in the affidavit to protect the surveilled information from ever being sourced or disseminated was a false promise, intended to induce the illicit surveillance. This is criminalized both by federal perjury statutes, conspiracy statutes, and the FISA criminal laws themselves.

That raises the third problem: it seems the FISA-compelled protocols for precluding the dissemination of the information were violated, and that Obama’s team issued orders to achieve precisely what the law forbids, if published reports are true about the administration sharing the surveilled information far-and-wide to promote unlawful leaks to the press. This, too, would be its own crime, as it brings back the ghost of Hillary’s emails — by definition, FISA information is strictly confidential or it’s information that never should have been gathered. FISA strictly segregates its surveilled information into two categories: highly confidential information of the most serious of crimes involving foreign acts of war; or, if not that, then information that should never have been gathered, should be immediately deleted, and never sourced nor disseminated. It cannot be both.

Recognizing this information did not fit FISA meant having to delete it and destroy it. According to published reports, Obama’s team did the opposite: order it preserved, ordered the NSA to search it, keep it, and share it; and then Obama’s Attorney General issued an order to allow broader sharing of information and, according to the New York Times, Obama aides acted to label the Trump information at a lower level of classification for massive-level sharing of the information. The problem for Obama is simple — if it could fit a lower level of classification, then it had to be deleted and destroyed, not disseminated and distributed, under crystal clear FISA law. Obama’s team’s admission it could be classified lower, yet taking actions to insure its broadest distribution, could even put Obama smack-middle of the biggest unlawful surveillance and political-opponent-smear campaign since Nixon. Except even Nixon didn’t use the FBI and NSA for his dirty tricks.

Watergate would have never happened if Nixon felt like he could just ask the FBI or NSA to tape the calls. This is Hoover-esque abuses of the kind Bob Woodward pal, former FBI Assistant Director Mark Felt (otherwise known as Deep Throat), routinely engaged in at the FBI until convicted and removed from office. (You didn’t know that Deep Throat was really a corrupt part of Deep State, did you? Guess who ran the famous COINTELPRO? That’s right — Deep Throat. How would the public have reacted if they knew the media had been in bed with the deep state all the way back then? Maybe that was the reason Woodward, Bernstein and Bradley kept Deep Throat’s identity secret all those years?)

Democrats may regret Sessions’ recusal, as his replacement is a mini-Sessions: a long-respected, a-political, highly ethical prosecutor, Dana Boente, whose reputation is well-warranted from his service at the Tax Division, and who won’t be limited by any perceived ties to Trump, given his prior appointment by Obama. Obama himself appeared scared of Boente, as he removed Boente from the successor-to-Sessions position during the lame-duck part of Obama’s presidency, but Trump restored Boente to that role earlier this month. Democrats may get the investigation they wanted, but it may be their own that end up named in the indictment.

Robert Barnes is a California-based trial attorney whose practice focuses on tax defense, civil rights and First Amendment law. You can follow him at @Barnes_Law

Oklahoma lawmaker gives questionnaire to Muslims, Hamas-linked CAIR enraged

March 5, 2017

Oklahoma lawmaker gives questionnaire to Muslims, Hamas-linked CAIR enraged, Jihad Watch

(Mr. Spencer seems to encourage CAIR, et al, to join the Muslim Reform Movement, which he generally disparages elsewhere as at best pointless. — DM)

If Soltani and Hamas-linked CAIR were operating in good faith, they would admit that the Qur’an sanctions wife-beating and that spousal abuse is not just rampant but taken for granted in many areas of the Islamic world, and would detail a genuine program for reform and a determination that women not be beaten. Instead, Soltani dismisses the questions as “Islamophobic” and claims victim status. This is typical, but it doesn’t make the questions go away. [Emphasis added.]

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Hamas-linked CAIR’s Adam Soltani asks: “The question that comes to mind is, does he do this to others? Does he ask question to his Christian constituents? His Jewish constituents? If the answer is no, that’s discrimination. There’s no other way to call it.”

All right. However, there have been 30,000 murderous jihad attacks worldwide since 9/11 carried out by Muslims who found impetus and justification for them in the Qur’an and Sunnah. Christians and Jews, meanwhile, are not committing acts of violence and pointing to their holy book to justify it and make recruits among peaceful Christians and Jews. Is John Bennett not allowed to notice that, and decry it?

Soltani also said: “Nobody should be vetted with stupid, Islamophobic, hateful, bigoted questions before they can meet with their representative.”

Well, in reality, if my representative asked me to fill out a questionnaire before he or she would meet with me, I would just fill it out. Soltani says that the questions are “stupid, Islamophobic, hateful, bigoted,” but he doesn’t explain why (and of course “journalist” Mary Ann Georgantopoulos of the establishment propaganda media organ BuzzFeed doesn’t ask him to). There is an important reason for this: Soltani knows full well that the Qur’an tells Muslim men to beat women from whom they fear disobedience (4:34), and that multiple hadiths record that Muhammad married a 6-year-old girl (Aisha) when he was 51 (or thereabouts), and that Bennett’s other questions also have a foundation in actual Islamic teaching and practice.

If Soltani and Hamas-linked CAIR were operating in good faith, they would admit that the Qur’an sanctions wife-beating and that spousal abuse is not just rampant but taken for granted in many areas of the Islamic world, and would detail a genuine program for reform and a determination that women not be beaten. Instead, Soltani dismisses the questions as “Islamophobic” and caims victim status. This is typical, but it doesn’t make the questions go away.

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“This Lawmaker Asked Muslims If They Beat Their Wives Before He Would Allow A Meeting,” by Mary Ann Georgantopoulos, BuzzFeed News, March 3, 2017:

Muslims hoping to meet with a Oklahoma lawmaker during a special event had to first fill out a controversial questionnaire about Islam that included inquiries such as “Do you beat your wife?”

Oklahoma Rep. John Bennett asked his constituents taking part in the state’s third annual Muslim Day on Thursday — in which Muslims have the opportunity to interact with state legislators at the capitol — to fill out the questionnaire.

Adam Soltani, executive director of Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) Oklahoma, told BuzzFeed News that high school students from Tulsa’s Peace Academy visited Bennett’s office to either meet with him or schedule a meeting.

The students were met by a legislative assistant, Soltani said, who gave the students a questionnaire, telling them it must be filled out in writing.

The nine-part questionnaire includes questions such as, “The Koran, the sunna of Mohammed and Sharia Law of all schools says that the husband can beat his wife. Do you beat your wife?”

Another question is, “I have heard that, according to accepted Islamic sources, Mohammed, at age of 49, married a 6-year-old girl, and that he had sex with her when he was 52 and she was only 9 years old. Is that really true?”

“I was distraught when [the students] showed me the questionnaire,” Soltani told BuzzFeed News. “I wasn’t completely surprised by it because obviously we have been challenging Bennett’s hate rhetoric for many years.”…

Soltani said he does not know how many people got the questionnaire because more than 200 people attended Muslim Day at the Capitol, adding that all the other legislators were very supportive and welcoming.The questionnaire was written up by anti-Islam group ACT for America — the group’s logo and email address are on the sheet of paper.

“The question that comes to mind is, does he do this to others?” Soltani said. “Does he ask question [sic] to his Christian constituents? His Jewish constituents? If the answer is no, that’s discrimination. There’s no other way to call it.”

Soltani said there shouldn’t be somebody working for the state of Oklahoma who doesn’t represent all citizens.

“Nobody should be vetted with stupid, Islamophobic, hateful, bigoted questions before they can meet with their representative,” Soltani said in a video posted to Facebook Thursday.

Putin ramps up Syria pact with Iran in US absence

March 5, 2017

Putin ramps up Syria pact with Iran in US absence, DEBKAfile, March 5, 2017

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Constantly bombarded by allegations that his campaign associated with Russian intelligence, US President Donald Trump has held back from going through with his original plan for teaming up with Moscow in Syria for the important campaigns of wiping out the Islamic State and relieving Syria of Iran’s iron grip.

His entire Middle East policy is up in the air, while he grapples with domestic foes. The much talked-of US coalition with its regional allies, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Israel, is also in abeyance.

Amid the uncertainty about the Trump administration’s future steps, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is unlikely to make much headway in his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday, March 9,

DEBKAfile’s intelligence and military sources report that, even if does persuade Putin to stick to his promise to prevent Iran and Hizballah from deploying troops on the Syrian-Israeli border opposite the Golan, he won’t get far in his bid to prevent Iran from establishing a permanent military and naval presence in Syria.

This is the situation stacking up against Netanyahu:

1. The Trump administration has decided not to decide on Middle East policy – and Syria, in particular – while engaged in dodging his domestic enemies’ Russian arrows.

2. Some of the president’s advisers maintain that the state of indecision in Washington may turn out into an advantage. It might not be a bad thing for Moscow to carry the heavy lifting of tackling ISIS, Iran and Hizballah, rather than putting US troops in harm’s way.

3. Putin is not waiting for Trump and is already on the move, DEBKAfile’s sources report.

Friday, March 3, Russian special operations units recovered the Syrian town of Palmyra from the Islamic State.

That day too, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), composed predominantly of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and Arab tribesmen from the north, agreed to hand over their positions in the strategic town of Manjib to the Russians and the Syrian army,

The SDF was created, trained, armed and funded by the United States as the potential spearhead force for the offensive against the Islamic State. This force was able to last year to capture the small (pop: 50,000) northern town of Manjib, 30km west of the Euphrates, thanks only to US aerial bombardments of ISIS positions and American advisers.

How come that this important US ally suddenly surrendered its positions to the Russians and Assad’s army?

There is more than one reason. Firstly, the SDF’s Kurdish and Arab commanders apparently decided to give up on waiting for Washington to come round, especially since the only weapons they had received from the Obama administration for fighting ISIS were Kalashnikov AK-74 rifles.

Moreover, the Kurds’ most implacable arch enemy is breathing down their necks. On March 1, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan threatened to order his army, which has occupied northern Syria since last year, to seize Manjib. He said: “Manjib is a city that belongs to the Arabs and the SDF must not be in Raqqa either.”

The Kurdish-Arab force decided to take the Turkish leader at his word. Believing him to be close to Trump, its leaders decided their services were being dispensed with. They saw no point therefore in wasting and risking their troops in battles in the US interest.  In this situation, Moscow looked like a better bet.

DEBKAfile’s military sources stress that, when the Russians say they are working with the Syrian army, they really mean the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the pro-Iranian Shiite militias and Hizballah, because most Syrian army’s units were decimated by nearly six years of civil war, or exist only on paper.

That being so, even if Putin does promise Netanyahu to distance Iranian and pro-Iranian troops from the Syrian-Israeli border, he may not be in a position to honor his pledge. With the Americans far away, they are Russia’s main partners on the ground for achieving his future goals in Syria.

Not Satire | Toronto pro Islam protest opposes the war on the Islamic State (ISIS)

March 5, 2017

Toronto pro Islam protest opposes the war on the Islamic State (ISIS), CIJ NewsJonathan D. Halevi, March 5, 2017

(Once upon a time,

Now, not even Trudeau is sufficiently left-wing. Please read the list of protest supporters in the last paragraph of the article.  — DM)

syed-hussan-3-photo-cijnewsSyed Hussan. Photo: CIJnews

The anti-Islamophobia, anti “white”-supremacy and anti Justin Trudeau protest at Toronto’s Nathan Philips Square on Saturday, March 4, 2017 highlighted also a message of opposition to the wars against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (aka ISIS, Daesh, Caliphate) and Yemen’s pro-Iranian militias.

A sign on the central stage read the following:

  • Refugees welcome
  • (Fascists not)
  • Yes to refugees
  • No to Islamophobia
  • No to war in Syria and Iraq
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The first speaker on behalf the Organizing Committee Against Islamophobia (OCAI) accused Justin Trudeau Liberal government among other things of espousing white supremacist policy, committing ongoing “genocide” against the Indigenous people, arming the Islamic regime of Saudi Arabia that bombed Yemeni children and exploiting refugees and immigrants. She called the federal government to repeal the Barbaric Cultural Practices Act that criminalizes forced marriage and tackles ‘honour killings’. To read the transcript of her speech and watch the video click HERE.

The Canadian flag was not displayed and the National Anthem was not played at the protest. For a photo gallery from the event click HERE.

One of the speakers at the rally was Syed Hussan, who is affiliated with the organizations No One Is Illegal-Toronto, Toronto Community Mobilization Network and Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.

In his speech, Syed Hussan portrayed Canada as a rogue state accusing Justin Trudeau Liberal government of implementing a colonial policy, taking part in wars and criminally neglecting indigenous people. Hussan said that anti-islamophobia motion is not enough calling for an orchestrated popular struggle to make sure that “racists” cannot gather and to “cut off the head of racism.”

The following are excerpts from Syed Hussan’s speech:

Colonialism… continues on these lands…

We need to come to terms with the fact that we live in a country, we live in a society, we live in a community, that is racist (crowd: shame).

We live in a country, in a community in a society that goes to war (crowd: shame).

We live in a country, in a community in a society where indigenous women are disappeared and murdered (crowd: shame).

We live in a country, in a community in a society where indigenous children are stolen from their families (crowd: shame).

We live in a country, in a community in a society where just if you don’t have a citizen status you can die, you can be denied health care (crowd: shame).

This is our reality. We have been for too long completely comfortable, completely confident in this idea that this place is somehow better, that we somehow achieved something…

What was achieved here has been achieved as a result of a collective, social struggle… if you talk about anything that is good in this country it was not given to us. We took it… and we get it in opposition to government, in opposition to elected parties…

We are not going to simply be ok with this motion to study the possible effects of Islamophobia and racism in this country. Are we? (crowd: no). We are not here to just defend a motion in Parliament by the same government that is breaking, that is breaking its promise to indigenous people, that sends more weapons to Yemen (sic. meant to Saudi Arabia)… that is not the government that we are supporting. This is not the policy that we can support…

[We gathered in a] symbolic protest to show that these racists cannot gather, will not gather. We need to commit to something more important, something more critical… if there is any work that you do, in your neighbourhood, in your community racism raises its ugly head and your job, our job is to find it and cut its head off.

Change will not come from laws, will not come from policies. It will not come from symbolic protests. It will come when we gather in the tens of hundreds of thousands we wage these battles. We find where they are the weakest and we attack together in solidarity, connecting all our struggles, gender justice, racial justice, economic justice, indigenous sovereignty. We will come together to fight, to win.

On February 4, 2017 Syed Hussan took part at a rally in front of the American Consulate in Toronto to protest the policy of US President Donald Trump. The demonstration was organized by Black Lives Matter – Toronto (BLM TO) – the self proclaimed “coalition of Black Torontonians resisting anti-Black racism, state-sponsored violence and police brutality” – that launched a nation-wide campaign entitled “National Days of Action Against Islamophobia & Deportations.”

In his speech at this event, Syed Hussan portrayed white supremacy, capitalism and liberalism as the enemy describing Donald Trump and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the two sides of the same coin.

He called on the masses to organize and united under the common goal of dismantling the current governing system in the West, including by breaking down borders, prisons and detention centers, seizing farms and factories and becoming the enemies of the authorities.

We must celebrate our way of life, what they called barbaric cultural practices on our streets and in our homes until their way of life dissipates under our feet,” Syed Hussan said.

The following is the transcription of Syed Hussan’s speech:

I want you to repeat these names with me Mamadou [Tanou Barry], Abdelkrim [Hassane], Khaled [Belkacemi], Aboubaker [Thabti], Azzeddine [Soufiane], Ibrahima [Barry] shot, killed, murdered, executed, massacred while praying, for praying, never forget. Lives extinguished, families torn apart, children made fatherless, a river of tears. A river of tears by the gun shots of a single man [Alexandre Bissonnette] or so we are told. An act of hate someone has to believe.But this act, this attack, this shooting was no act of hate. It is a strategic act, and intentional act, a thoughtful act. Mamadou [Tanou Barry], Abdelkrim Hassane] and Khaled [Belkacemi] were killed because they were seen as enemies. Aboubaker [Thabti], Azzeddine [Soufiane], Ibrahima [Barry] were killed not by a lone wolf, but because they were threats. You see, we, you and I, pushed out by borders, beaten down by police and impoverished in our communities. We are threats. We are fundamental challenge to our system of oppressiveness, this destructive way of life that cherishes the few over the many.

This way for life is what killed them. It gauges on oil to spread its evil wings. And to steal this oil it must declare us, it must declare the places we come from with oil, anti of humanity. It must turn us into enemies. This way of life is Islamophobia. It’s Capitalism. This way of life brings perpetual war, enraging war from Mosul (Iraq) to Mogadishu (Somalia), from the Chiapas (Mexico) to Chernobyl (Ukraine), from Aleppo (Syria) to Algeria. For as long as there has been history, black, brown, we’re the others. It is on our deaths that this system, this way of life, dances. And this way of life is what killed those six men. This way of life needs borders. It needs to divide some of us into citizens and the rest of us into undocumented, migraines, others.It needs to steal Indigenous children, destroy language, disappear women. We are made into enemies, disposable, locked up in prisons, forced to do endangered labour, in forms of factories. Pushed of our lands, recorded, weighed and measured for our skin.

This murderous way of life is white supremacy. This way pf life needs to be taken care off, its children fed, its food cooked, its homes kept warm and for that it must have gender, women. Women that are made to serve but watch closely. This way life is patriarchy. And this way of life, the one that killed our six loved ones, needs armed forces whose work is death. And it needs bureaucrats, it needs administrators to sustain it. It needs courthouses like this one [The Toronto Courthouse]. And it needs a public, a public that is you and I to uphold these laws, enforcing them in the smallest of ways as teachers that check ID cards, as nurses that check health cards.

This kind way of life is liberalism. And this way of life comes in all colours. It comes in the red, the blue and the orange of your political parties. It comes in many flavors. It comes in a caustic bile of [US President Donald] Trump and it comes in the saturated sweetness of [Justin] Trudeau, who defends Muslims, but will arm the [Saudi] bombing of Yemen, who defends Muslims, but will scrap to the likes of Barrick Gold [mining company] and will not clean the five decade long of mercury poisoning in Grassy [Narrows Reserve in Ontario].

So listen, why did drop bombs on us like [former US President Barack] Obama. What did they ban us like Trump? Or why did hug a few of us like Trudeau? To them we are enemies. On one side is the border wall. On the other side is the enemy. On one side is the prison and inside the prison the enemy. On one side the police and underneath the police the enemy. On one side is the deportation judge and in front of him the enemy. On one side the slave ship and inside it the enemy. On one side the drone pilot and on its screen the enemy. On one side that murderer [Alexandre Bissonnette] and in front of him six men in prayer the enemy.

So today I say to you: become the enemy. Become the enemies that they have nightmares about. Let’s gather in the tens, the thousands, the hundreds thousands to form organizations and movements, movements that will exert power and reshape our society. In millions we need to rewrite history. We cannot respond to Trudeau’s symbolic tweet with a symbolic protest. We must rest out the guns on front those that wishes that. We must break down the borders that keep out migrants and refugees. We must tear down the prisons and the detention centers.

We will seize the farms and the factories. We must become the enemies, so that in this city everyone can live with food, shelter, dignity. We must become the enemies that sow terror in their hearts so that laws like C-51 shredded away. We must celebrate our way of life, what they called barbaric cultural practices on our streets and in our homes until their way of life dissipates under our feet. Let us become enemies. Let us organize. Let us win. We cannot wait. Freedom is calling. This is what these demands, that demand of us, let us be enemies.

The demonstration on March 5, 2017 was supported by Communist Party of Canada, Revolutionary Communist Party, PAJU- Palestinian & Jewish Unity, Independent Jewish Voices Canada – Toronto, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network – Canada, Actions4Palestine, CFS Ontario // FCÉÉ Ontario, Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians, Common Frontiers, Christian Peacemaker Teams – Ontario, CUPE 3903, Educators for Peace and Justice, Fight for $15 & Fairness, Frente Para La Defensa Hugo Chávez, Hugo Chavez Peoples’ Defense Front, LAEN Latin American Education Network, Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network (LACSN), MISN: Mining Injustice Solidarity Network, McMaster Womanists, OCAP Toronto,Pegida Watch Canada, Salaam Canada, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights – McMaster, Stop the JNF Campaign – Canada, SURJ Toronto, Toronto Against Fascism, The Anglican church of St. John’s West Toronto, Toronto Anarchist Reading Group, Toronto Socialist Alternative, Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance – Ontario, UNITE HERE Local 75, Westdale Social Action Committee, Women in Solidarity With Palestine, Women’s Coordinating Committee for a Free Wallmapu [Toronto], Young Communist League – Hamilton, Young Communist League – Toronto and York University Graduate Students’ Association (YUGSA). For more information click HERE.

Should the U.S. shift to a merit-based immigration system?

March 5, 2017

Should the U.S. shift to a merit-based immigration system? Fox News via YouTube, March 3, 2017

(Yep. — DM)

 

Iran in Crisis

March 5, 2017

Iran in Crisis, American ThinkerHeshmat Alavi, March 5, 2017

(Please see also, Mullahs’ Nightmare: Huge Demonstration Breaks Out In Tehran. — DM)

Forecasting what lies ahead is truly impossible, making Khamenei and his entire regime extremely concerned, trekking this path very carefully and with a low profile. As we witnessed with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan, Iran immediately released the 52 hostages held for 444 days.

This regime understands the language of force very carefully. And yet, there is no need to use military force to inflict a significant blow and make Tehran understand the international community means business. Blacklisting Iran’s IRGC as a terrorist organization by the U.S. at this timing would be the nail in the coffin for the mullahs.

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The recent dust storms that wreaked havoc in southwest Iran signaled only one of the many crises the mullahs are facing less than three months before critical elections. Tehran has been hit with severe blows during the Munich Security Conference, contrasting interests with Russia, the recent escalating row with Turkey, and most importantly, a new U.S. administration in Washington.

These crises have crippling effects on the mullahs’ apparatus, especially at a time when Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sees his regime facing a changing balance of power in the international community, and is faced with a major decision of selecting the regime’s so-called president.

Iran and Ahvaz

The dust storms crisis in Ahwaz, resulting from the mullahs’ own destructive desertification policies, caused severe disruptions in water and power services and people pouring into the streets in major protests.

The regime, and especially the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), has for decades pursued a desertification policy of constructing dams, drying lagoons, digging deep oil wells beneath underground water sources with resulting catastrophic environmental disasters. Various estimates indicate the continuation of such a trend will literally transform two-thirds of Iran into desert lands in the next decade. This will place 14 to 15 million people at the mercy not only dust storms but also salt storms.

Iran and the Munich Security Conference

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attended this conference with a series of objectives in mind, only to face a completely unexpected scene. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence described Iran as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the mullahs are the source of threats and instability throughout the Middle East. Turkey went one step further and said Tehran is the heart of sectarianism and spreads such plots across the region, and all traces in Syria lead to Iran’s terrorism and sectarian measures.

This resembles a vast international coalition against Tehran, inflicting yet another blow to the mullahs following a new administration taking control of the White House. These developments are very costly for Khamenei and the entire regime.

In comparison to the early 2000s when the U.S. launched wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran was the main benefactor. The current balance of power now is quite different, as seen in Munich. While there is talk of an Arab NATO, any coalition formed now in the Middle East will be completely against Iran’s interests.

Iran and Russia

Following a disastrous joint campaign in Syria, for the first time Russia is reportedly supporting a safe zone in Syria. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said contacts have been made with the Syrian regime to establish safe zones in Syria. These are the first remarks made by any Russian official on the issue of safe zones in Syria.

Moscow’s increasing contrast in interest with Iran over Syria has the potential of playing a major role in regional relations. Russia certainly doesn’t consider Bashar Assad remaining in power as a red line, a viewpoint far different from that of Iran. Moscow is also ready to sacrifice its interests in Syria in a larger and more suitable bargain with the Trump administration over far more important global interests.

Iran and Turkey

Yes, Ankara and Tehran enjoy a vast economic partnership. However, recent shifts in geopolitical realities have led to significant tensions. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the mullahs of resorting to “Persian nationalism” in an effort to split Iraq and Syria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused Iran of seeking to undermine Bahrain and Saudi Arabia as part of Tehran’s “sectarian policy.” Cavusoglu used his speech in Munich to say, “Iran is trying to create two Shia states in Syria and Iraq. This is very dangerous. It must be stopped.”

Tehran considers Ankara’s soldiers in Iraq and Syria as a major obstacle in its effort to expand its regional influence.

U.S. president Donald Trump’s strong approach vis-à-vis Iran and the possibility of him supporting the establishment of a Turkish-administered northern Syria safe zone may have also played a major part in fuming bilateral tensions between these two Middle East powers.

Erdogan has obviously realized completely the new White House in Washington intends to adopt a much more aggressive stance against Tehran. This is another sign of changing tides brewing troubles for Iran’s mullahs.

Iran and Presidential Elections

With new reports about his ailing health, Khamenei is extremely concerned about his predecessor. One such signal is the candidacy of Ibrahim Reisi, current head of the colossal Astan Quds Razavi political empire and a staunch loyalist to Khamenei’s faction, for the presidency. With former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani out of the picture, Khamenei may seek to seal his legacy by placing Reisi against Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in the upcoming May elections.

This is literally Khamenei playing with fire, as Reisi is considered a hardline figure and such an appointment may spark 2009-like protests across the country, as the country has become a scene of massive social challenges. Rouhani himself doesn’t enjoy any social base support, especially after four years of lies and nearly 3,000 executions.

Final Thoughts

This places the entire regime in a very fragile situation. From the internal crises of Ahwaz, the upcoming elections and the formation of a significant international front threatening the Iranian regime’s strategic interests.

Forecasting what lies ahead is truly impossible, making Khamenei and his entire regime extremely concerned, trekking this path very carefully and with a low profile. As we witnessed with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan, Iran immediately released the 52 hostages held for 444 days.

This regime understands the language of force very carefully. And yet, there is no need to use military force to inflict a significant blow and make Tehran understand the international community means business. Blacklisting Iran’s IRGC as a terrorist organization by the U.S. at this timing would be the nail in the coffin for the mullahs.

 

Blog: Wiretapping Donald Trump

March 5, 2017

Source: Blog: Wiretapping Donald Trump

On March 4 President Trump tweeted that former President Obama had tapped his phone during the election campaign: 

“How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process.  This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

The New York Times’ skeptical headline reads, “Trump, Offering No Evidence, Says Obama Tapped His Phones.”  A spokesman for the former president stated, “Neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”

Could this be another example of Trump “fake news?

It seems unlikely. Former President Obama did not need to micromanage his minions.  It is unlikely that he had to give a direct order to wiretap Donald Trump’s phone.  So it is probably true that he did not order the surveillance.

However, was Trump wiretapped under the Obama administration?  The answer appears to be yes.  

Even the New York Times has reported this: “One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House.”  The apparent justification for this conclusion is based on reports of a FISA warrant that was first requested in June 2016.  FISA stands for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  The warrant request is based on the belief that the target of the surveillance has acted as an agent of a foreign power.

This original warrant was denied by the court, so it was reissued in October.  The October warrant was approved.  According to Andrew McCarthy, “The Obama Justice Department and the FBI spent at least eight months searching for Trump–Russia ties. They found nothing criminal, and clearly nothing connecting Trump to Russian hacking.”

However, the government did not need a FISA warrant to wiretap Donald Trump.  The National Security Agency more than likely possesses all of that information.  NSA Director James Clapper testified before Congress in 2013 that the agency did not collect “any type of data at all” on millions of Americans.  Three months later, documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that Clapper had lied.

It would be reasonable to believe that after this revelation, Congress would have increased its oversight of NSA.  It would also be reasonable to believe that James Clapped would have been indicted for perjury.  One of the major problems with press coverage of these events is that much of the information provided is provided by criminals.  These reliable anonymous sources are by definition criminals.

This wiretap incident is all part of a larger unconstitutional government intrusion into the lives of its citizens.  There is a long history of illegal government surveillance.  It goes back before the J. Edgar Hoover sex tapes of Martin Luther King, Jr., for one. Congresswoman Maxine Waters commented on this database in 2013.  She claimed,

“The president has put in place an organization that contains a kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life.  That’s going to be very, very powerful.”

This is not simply a database developed by a political party to keep track of its donors.  As Waters says,

“that database will have information about everything on every individual in ways that it’s never been done before.”

The federal government conducts millions of background investigations.  Most of these are fairly routine.  However, in certain cases, a more thorough investigation may be required.  Some of these investigations may even require creating compromising situations.  Highly respected politicians may be subject to pressure because of their past behavior.  Dennis Hastert and Larry Craig  have demonstrated that prominent politicians are vulnerable.  When President Obama left the White House he took this database with him.  This will be a “very, very powerful” tool.

John Dietrich is a freelance writer and the author of The Morgenthau Plan: Soviet Influence on American Postwar Policy, Algora Publishing, 2013.