Archive for March 28, 2017

Devin Nunes Has Absolutely No Reason To Recuse Himself

March 28, 2017

Devin Nunes Has Absolutely No Reason To Recuse Himself, The Federalist, March 28, 2017

The day after Republican House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes held a press conference saying he’d seen reports that show the government may have collected information on Donald Trump’s transition team or family and then inappropriately shared it, journalists jumped into action. Not to dig into the accusation of NSA unmasking or a failure to minimize incidentally collected information — as they most surely would have had any Democrat been president — but to figure out where the congressman had been the past few days.

Most of the subsequent stories skipped over (or brushed past) the issue of abuse altogether to focus on the “incidental” nature of the accusation, which sounds innocent enough and is completely legal and not the issue. As Andrew McCarthy, certainly no squish when it comes to FISA, explains at the NRO:

Of course, any legitimate government power can be abused. If the government’s real objective was to intercept the communications not of the foreigners but of the Trump associates, such that the agencies’ “targeting” of the foreigners was merely a pretext (i.e., they were monitored only because they were in contact with Trump associates, who were the real targets), it could hardly be said that the associates’ communications were intercepted “incidentally.”

This seemed to escape the attention of erstwhile civil libertarians who once breathlessly warned us about the potential abuses of intelligence services, and specifically about the dangers of politicians getting entangled in the exploitation of sensitive information. They wanted to know what Nunes had for dinner last Tuesday night.

Certainly, as part of the larger story, it’s legitimate and useful to cover Nunes’ actions. When it turned out that he had been on White House grounds  — probably to use a sensitive compartmented information facility — it gave Democrats the space they needed to start demanding recusal.

“Calls Grow for Nunes to Step Aside in Inquiry on Surveillance,” says The New York Times. “The remarkable calls,” it goes on to say, “by Representatives Adam B. Schiff of California, the committee’s top Democrat,” came after revelations that Nunes had met a source at the White House. Democrats claimed that a “bipartisan investigation” could no longer be achieved.

For starters, the idea that Schiff isn’t a full-blown partisan is preposterous. He’s already made a number of wild and irresponsible claims about Russia “hacking our election.” (The California representative contends to have conclusive evidence of collusion, though he’s yet to share the specifics with the group.) There is no reason to treat him like the guardian of a chaste investigation. Others who went on the record to demand recusal were nonpartisan public servants like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

The Times’ headline, by the way, could just as easily have read “Calls Grow for Nunes to Stay on in Inquiry on Surveillance.” Last night, Rep. Trey Gowdy said that “Jesus would not be a satisfactory chairperson to some of my Democratic colleagues.” Rep. Peter King, just as much (or little) a partisan as Pelosi, came out in defense of Nunes. As did others. These “calls” are just as real. (It’s also important to remember that GOP hawks who have been critical of Nunes — although none have asked for recusal — are also defenders of the NSA’s wide authority under Section 702.)

Ostensibly, demanding recusal is framed as an effort to save the impartiality and integrity of the committee. In reality, it’s meant to create the impression that Nunes has done something unethical or illegal to defend Trump. It meant to proactively poison any investigation. Schiff offers two reasons for his position: 1 – Nunes shared information with the White House. 2 – Nunes got his information from someone in the White House.

Nunes has said this isn’t an inquiry into charges of Russian collusion, so why is it inappropriate for the House Intelligence Committee Chair to share intelligence about the president with the president — and then let the world know he’s done so? Furthermore, why is it wrong for the House Intelligence Committee Chair to see classified information from a source at the White House? “If that’s where the information is, and the information is relevant, and it’s authentic, and it’s reliable, wouldn’t you go where the information was?” Gowdy asked The Weekly Standard.

Even if we concede, for the sake of argument, that Nunes had been ethically compromised, does the information attained in the effort become less valid? Were the leaks that cost Mike Flynn his job any less persuasive because they were illegally obtained? Haven’t many Democrats been defending the need for whistleblowers to speak up in the name of democracy?

Schiff has no reason to give up the name of his source. If the NSA abused its power, and the evidence is legitimate, we should welcome the information. If not, Nunes’ credibility will be blown forever. Considering Nunes’ history, the media had no reason to assume the latter, which mirrors the concerns and goals of Democrats.

Of course, Nunes might have nothing. If that’s the case, he’ll no doubt pay a steep political price. We’ll know soon enough.

Georgetown University and Radical Islamists: It’s a Family Affair

March 28, 2017

Georgetown University and Radical Islamists: It’s a Family Affair, Investigative Project on Terrorism, March 28, 2017

Georgetown University’s Qatar campus is set to host Sami Al-Arian for a lecture tonight in Doha. According to a news release from the school’s Middle Eastern Studies Student Association, Al-Arian is a “civil rights activist” who hopes to challenge students to “make it a better, and more equitable and peaceful world.”

Those are charitable descriptions for Al-Arian, a documented member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Majlis Shura, or board of directors. According to the Islamic Jihad’s bylaws, which law enforcement agents found during searches of Al-Arian’s home and offices, there can be “No Peace without Islam.” The group’s objective is to create “a state of terror, instability and panic in the souls of Zionists and especially the groups of settlers, and force them to leave their houses.”

It’s an agenda Al-Arian took to heart. Following a double suicide bombing in 1995 that killed 19 Israelis, Al-Arian solicited money from a Kuwaiti legislator. “The latest operation, carried out by the two mujahideen who were martyred for the sake of God, is the best guide and witness to what they believing few can do in the face of Arab and Islamic collapse at the heels of the Zionist enemy…” he wrote.

“I call upon you to try to extend true support of the jihad effort in Palestine so that operations such as these can continue, so that the people do not lose faith in Islam and its representatives…” he wrote. Four years earlier, he spoke at a fundraiser in Cleveland, introduced as the head of the “active arm of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine.”

Why, then, is a Jesuit university, albeit at a campus in Qatar, hosting a leader of a designated terrorist group’s “active arm”?

There’s a family bond between Georgetown University and the Al-Arians. Son Abdullah is an assistant professor at Georgetown’s Qatar campus, teaching history in its School of Foreign Service. He earned his Ph.D. at Georgetown, writing his dissertation about the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood during the 1970s, a time his father acknowledges being part of the global Islamist movement.

Jonathan Brown, Al-Arian’s son-in-law, also works at Georgetown, as the [Saudi] Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization. Brown recently drew criticism for a lecture in which he argued that slavery isn’t inherently “morally evil” if the slave is treated well. He also minimized sexual consent as a recent social more, arguing no one is really free enough to grant consent anyway.

Property records show Brown and his wife Laila Al-Arian bought a modest house just outside Tampa in 2015. Brown also owns a $1.1 million house in Mclean, Va.

Brown’s boss, Georgetown University Professor John Esposito, has been a staunch Al-Arian defender. Al-Arian is “an extraordinarily bright, articulate scholar and intellectual-activist, a man of conscience with a strong commitment to peace and social justice,” Esposito wrote in a letter to a federal judge.

Brown’s slavery and sexual consent lecture was hosted by the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) in Herndon, Va. The IIIT was a prime financial supporter of a think tank Al-Arian founded in Tampa called the World and Islam Studies Enterprise (WISE). It provided cover for at least three other members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Shura Council, including his brother-in-law Mazen Al-Najjar, an academic named Basheer Nafi and Ramadan Abdullah Shallah – the Islamic Jihad’s secretary general since late 1995.

Federal prosecutors wanted Al-Arian to tell a grand jury what he knew about the IIIT’s financial support for terrorists. He refused. Al-Arian was charged with criminal contempt after maintaining that stance even after a judge granted him immunity for his truthful testimony.

The case never went to trial. Al-Arian was deported to Turkey in 2015, pursuant to terms in his 2006 guilty plea connected to his Palestinian Islamic Jihad support. He now works as “director of the Center for Regional Politics at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University,” the Georgetown Middle East students group’s news release said.

Al-Arian is a computer scientist.

Sabahattin Zaim opened in 2010 and claims to have about 1,100 undergraduate students.

While the Georgetown University program is organized by a student group, promotional material lists Mehran Kamrava as moderator. Kamrava directs the Georgetown School of Foreign Service’s Center for International and Regional Studies.

His presence adds the university’s imprimatur to the Al-Arian event. In addition, the School of Foreign Service posted the news release promoting Al-Arian’s lecture.

Qatar has supported Hamas, the Islamic Jihad’s rival Palestinian terrorist group, providing money and refuge for Hamas leaders. In that light, Al-Arian’s invitation doesn’t seem out of place. But it is still an event hosted by a Georgetown University campus, moderated by one of its prominent faculty.

While Al-Arian has tried to deny his Islamic Jihad activities, or at least minimize them, his work to advance the group’s bloody ambitions is undeniable. He self-identified as the Shura Council’s secretary. In his plea agreement, he admits lying about Shallah’s prominent role in the Islamic Jihad.

During his 1991 remarks in Cleveland after his “active arm” introduction, Al-Arian urged donations for jihad. “Your brothers in Palestine are struggling with their beings,” he said, “so let us struggle here with our money.”

“This is the way of giving,” he said earlier. “This is the way of struggle. This is the way of battle. This is the way of jihad. This is the way of martyrdom. Thus is the way of blood, because this is the path to heaven.”

The student association’s news release failed to mention this background as a convicted felon, describing the former University of South Florida professor as a “civil rights advocate.” It fails to mention Al-Arian’s guilty plea, and whitewashes his resulting deportation to Turkey by saying “Al-Arian relocated.”

The federal judge who saw all the evidence against Al-Arian, who watched him lie about his true identity and violent ambitions, called him a “master manipulator.” Old habits die hard, apparently. The question in this case is whether Georgetown and its student groups are being duped or are witting accomplices in whitewashing a terrorist into a “human rights advocate.”

U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and Saul Alinsky: A Match Made in America

March 28, 2017

U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and Saul Alinsky: A Match Made in America, Center for Security Policy, March 28, 2017

(Please see also Trump backs off Muslim Brotherhood’s designation as terrorist organization. — DM)

In September 2015, the Center for Security Policy (CSP) published Star Spangled Shariah: The Rise of America’s First Muslim Brotherhood Party. Warnings issued then have since been confirmed, specifically, that the United States Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), while deceptively cloaked in red, white, and blue, is simply the leading edge of the Islamic Movement in this country. In pursuit of Civilization Jihad, the Muslim Brotherhood’s information operations – including many tactics learned directly from the KGB – have enabled this organization to insinuate itself gradually into a position from which it can assault the pillars of our society. These include: academia, the U.S. judicial system, faith groups, all levels of government, the media, intelligence and security agencies, and our refugee resettlement and other immigration processes. As will be shown here, a development not new but recently uncovered reveals that USCMO Secretary General Ousamma Jammal is directly connected to Saul Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a Marxist-Leninist organization dedicated to revolution in America.

In his Brotherhood/USCMO leadership role, Jammal has a well-established track record of political activism and success at developing strategic relationships for the benefit of the Muslim Brotherhood including with members of the U.S. government. In the ‘About Us’ section on the USCMO website, the third prong of the USCMO Mission Statement declares the necessity “to create and sustain an urgent, collective sense of direction that well-serves the American Muslim community toward the betterment and guidance of our nation.” What the USCMO fails to share with the American people is the USCMO’s commitment to the establishment of Islamic Law (shariah) in place of the U.S. Constitution.

It’s long been known that the USCMO is openly allied with far-left racist and revolutionary movements like Black Lives Matter. Recall that, in March 2016, the Center released a videowhich highlighted the statements of Muslim Brotherhood leaders that should be chilling to Americans who cherish the Constitution and oppose the expansion of shariah. That video showed top USCMO leadership figure, Nihad Awad (also the Executive Director of HAMAS USA dba the Council on American Islamic Relations or CAIR), explicitly aligning the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood with the Black Lives Matter movement. The Muslim Brotherhood alignment with the overall Red-Green Axis demonstrates the genuine aims of jihadis in suits: undermining the U.S. Constitution and national security through the global Islamic Movement.

In CSP’s Civilization Jihad Reader series publication, The Red-Green Axis: Refugees, Immigration, and the Agenda to Erase America, author James Simpson provides several crucial data points that hint at the Brotherhood’s other, Marxist-Leninist, affiliations.

  • The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is the grant making vehicle of the USCCB. It was founded in Chicago in 1969 with the help of radical organizer Saul Alinsky specifically to fund Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF).
  • CCHD has been a radical leftist funding vehicle ever since, giving millions to ACORN, the radical training school, Midwest Academy and others. IAF receives the largest percentage of CCHD grants of any CCHD grantee.

In a Metro Industrial Areas Foundation action memo dated 20 November 2016 and published by member organization ‘Dupage United’ on 9 December 2016, USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal is listed among the leadership. The …And Take Counsel section on the USCMO website states, “When we speak with one clear, communal voice, our advice can help true the direction of American society toward justice.” It must be understood, however that within Islam, the word ‘justice’ means ‘shariah’ and only shariah. Thus, the Muslim Brotherhood version of social justice is not intended as benevolence towards non-Muslims; quite to the contrary. Rather, in true Saul Alinsky form, the aim of the Red-Green Axis is anarchy intended to collapse the U.S. system of Constitutional law and order.

Jammal is fully cognizant that the Muslim Brotherhood’s manipulation of progressive leftist social justice entities aligned with the Red-Green Axis is strategic for the advancement of the settlement process. The Muslim Brotherhood has both co-opted the interfaith religious dialogue movement and mastered the operational mechanics of the political process in the U.S. to advance Islam’s shariah objectives. That Jammal works so closely with IAF leadership should be a red flag warning and belies what the USCMO shares with non-Muslims when it says: “Our well-deliberated and sincerely expressed words for the benefit of the nation can fortify attitudes that propagate harmony between people and institutionalize policies that spread prosperity to all.”

This revelation, that the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood works directly with the Marxist-Leninist Alinsky-founded IAF at the highest levels, lends yet additional substance to the overall Red-Green Axis, whose seemingly disparate elements nevertheless have been collaborating to bring down this Republic for some time. Forthcoming CSP publications will delve even further into the Brotherhood-IAF connection.

L.A. Mayor Garcetti’s Message to Smugglers: “The Coast is Clear”

March 28, 2017

L.A. Mayor Garcetti’s Message to Smugglers: “The Coast is Clear”, Front Page MagazineMichael Cutler, March 28, 2017

In addition to ordering that the LAPD will ignore violations of immigration laws, on March 21, 2017 the Los Angeles Times published a report, Port, airport police barred from enforcing immigration laws that must have been “music to the ears” of human traffickers, terrorists and transnational criminals seeking to violate the borders of the United States for malevolent purposes.

Smugglers will find additional encouragement to head for Los Angeles now that Mayor Garcetti has proclaimed that Los Angeles Port Police, who patrol the harbors of Los Angeles will not cooperate with Customs and Border Protection.

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For years mayors of cities across the United States have declared their cities to be “Sanctuary Cities” that would gladly shield illegal aliens from detection by immigration law enforcement officers.

On March 23, 2017 Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was quoted as stating:

In Los Angeles, we don’t separate children from their families because it’s inhumane. In Los Angeles, we don’t demonize our hard-working neighbors just because they speak a different language or come from a different country. That’s un-American.

Of course our immigration laws have absolutely nothing to do with deporting (removing) aliens who speak a foreign language.  The reasons that an alien becomes subject to deportation can be found in Title 8 U.S. Code § 1227 – (Deportable aliens).

Garcetti’s lies feed the outrageous false claim that proponents of effective immigration law enforcement are xenophobic racists.

If Garcetti wants to discuss “Un-American” conduct he should consider that our borders, including our nation’s coastline and our immigration laws, are our first and last line of defense.

If he wants to discuss how inhumane it is to “separate children from families” he should consider the plight of families that have lost loved ones, including children, toe crimes of illegal aliens.

On March 25, 2017 Fox News interviewed Don Rosenberg whose 25 year old law student son was killed by an illegal alien in San Francisco.

Garcetti has now promulgated a new set of restrictions on Los Angeles’ port police that exacerbate the immigration crisis for his city and for the entire country.

We will consider this new development shortly but let us first consider that the statements and policies promulgated by Mayor Garcetti and mayors of other “Sanctuary Cities” has served to entice aspiring illegal aliens from around the world to head for the United States, by whatever means are most convenient for them, to enter the United States.

This includes entering the United States without inspection by running our northern or southern borders, stowing away on ships or by surreptitiously gaining access, without detection to the United States along our nation’s 95,000 miles of coastline.

In point of fact, while there has been much attention paid to the lack of security to be found along the U.S./Mexican border, seaports and coastlines have been traditionally, indeed for millennia, vulnerable to smuggling activities.

In March 2016 it was reported that US agents nearly caught $194 million worth of cocaine in a narco submarine.   The drugs were lost when, despite the efforts of Customs and Border Protection personnel, the boat sank in the Pacific Ocean off the California Coast.  The news report claimed:

In 2012, 80% of the illegal drugs smuggled to the US came on maritime routes, and 30% of the illegal drugs delivered to US shores via the sea were carried on narco submarines, according to a 2014 study cited by Vice News.

Back on June 9, 1993 the New York Times reported, “SMUGGLED TO NEW YORK: The Overview — 7 Die as Crowded Immigrant Ship Grounds Off Queens; Chinese Aboard Are Seized for Illegal Entry.”

Often aliens seek the “services” of alien smugglers also known as “Human Traffickers” who may help guide illegal aliens to evade the inspections conducted at ports of entry and the Border Patrol along unprotected sections of our land borders.  They also may arrange for aliens to enter the United States without being inspected by concealing them on ships as stowaways.

Smugglers may work in conjunction with unscrupulous employers and hence coerce smuggled aliens into becoming indentured workers at various employment venues to pay their smuggling fees.

Sometimes this involves coercing young women into becoming prostitutes at brothels.

All too often these hapless aliens find that they can never earn enough money to fully pay off the smugglers.  They become virtual slaves in the United States.

Additionally, often aliens who are smuggled into the United States are forced to become “mules,” becoming human “beasts of burden” carrying large quantities of narcotics on their person as they illegally enter the United States.

Smuggled aliens face extreme violence at the hands of the smugglers.  In fact, because smugglers are so likely to rape young female aliens that many young women, who seek to be smuggled into the United States, take birth control pills beginning months before they make their attempts to run our borders to keep from getting pregnant.

In some instances, the services offered by alien smugglers enable terrorists and transnational criminals to enter the United States and other countries.

Aliens may also enter the United States through ports of entry via the inspections process and gaming the inspections process and/or the visa process and violate the terms of their admission as established by the specific visas they used to enter the United States.

In such instances alien smugglers / human traffickers may pay a critical role of providing documents or reaching out to corrupt government officials to procure documents and visas.

Page 61 of the official report, “9/11 and  Terrorist Travel” contains this excerpt:

Exploring the Link between Human Smugglers and Terrorists 

In July 2001, the CIA warned of a possible link between human smugglers and terrorist 

groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and Egyptian Islamic Jihad.149   Indeed, there is 

evidence to suggest that since 1999 human smugglers have facilitated the travel of 

terrorists associated with more than a dozen extremist groups.  With their global reach and connections to fraudulent document vendors and corrupt government officials, human smugglers clearly have the “credentials” necessary to aid terrorist travel.

My dad used to say that “Nothing is so good it could not be made better or so bad it could not be made worse.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has found a way to make things worse; far worse and, not just for the beleaguered residents of his city of Los Angeles, but for the security of the United States and for safety of everyone in the United States.

Once aliens enter the United States by any means whatsoever, they are able to easily travel across the United States.  Foreign criminals and terrorists can easily set up shop in any town or city they wish, with Sanctuary Cities being the most advantageous to them.

In addition to ordering that the LAPD will ignore violations of immigration laws, on March 21, 2017 the Los Angeles Times published a report, Port, airport police barred from enforcing immigration laws that must have been “music to the ears” of human traffickers, terrorists and transnational criminals” seeking to violate the borders of the United States for malevolent purposes.

Smugglers will find additional encouragement to head for Los Angeles now that Mayor Garcetti has proclaimed that Los Angeles Port Police, who patrol the harbors of Los Angeles will not cooperate with Customs and Border Protection.

Law enforcement officers who are encumbered by such restrictions prohibiting them from enforcing immigration laws, find themselves in a professional bind.  They are aware of their oaths of office for which they risk their lives every day that they go on duty.  They recognize that our Constitution and our laws are not to be treated as a menu at a restaurant where patrons may opt for the soup but not the salad.

The fact that a law enforcement officer may run afoul of outrageous and, in my judgement, illegal sanctuary policies may decide that the safest way to do their jobs is to minimize the possibilities that they may act in violation of the dictates promulgated by the mayors of Sanctuary Cities.  The best way to accomplish this goal of professional/personal survival is to take the fewest actions while on duty.

This is consistent with the principle of “Big cases- big problems, little cases- little problems:  No cases- No problems!”

As I noted in the conclusion of my testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 20, 2013 on the topic, “Building An Immigration System Worthy Of American Values,”

I want to make this clear: Law enforcement is at its best when it creates a climate of deterrence to convince those who might be contemplating violating the law that such an effort is likely to be discovered and that, if discovered, adverse consequences will result for the law violators. Current policies and statements by the administration, in my view, encourages aspiring illegal aliens from around the world to head for the United States. In effect, the starter’s pistol has been fired, and for these folks, the finish line to this race is the border of the United States.

Back when I was an INS special agent, I recall that Doris Meissner, who was at the time the Commissioner of the INS, said that the agency needed to be ‘‘customer oriented.’’ Unfortunately, while I agree about the need to be customer oriented, what Ms. Meissner and apparently too many politicians today seem to have forgotten is that the ‘‘customers’’ of the INS and of our Government in general are the citizens of the United States of America.

Clearly Mayor Garrett and mayors of other “Sanctuary Cities” need to be reminded who their constituents are and the true meaning of their oaths of office.

Garcetti and his “mayoral partners in crime” should read my previous article, “Opponents Of Border Security And Immigration Law Enforcement Aid Human Traffickers.”

Report: Hamas develops new ‘high-powered’ rocket akin to Hezbollah projectiles

March 28, 2017

Source: Report: Hamas develops new ‘high-powered’ rocket akin to Hezbollah projectiles – Arab-Israeli Conflict – Jerusalem Post

ByJPOST.COM STAFF,
March 28, 2017 12:44

While Hezbollah has similar rockets, this is the first time that Hamas has developed such a weapon, Army Radio reports.
gaza rocket

A rocket is launched from the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Hamas has recently developed a new high-powered rocket of which it has already produced several dozen, Army Radio reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, the rocket is short-range and can carry a relatively heavy explosive load. In the event of a future conflict between Israel and Hamas, the new rocket would have the most effect on the Israeli communities bordering the Gaza Strip.

The report described the rocket as “completely different than any weaponry we know from the direction of the Strip – as concerns the weight of the explosive carried in the head of the rocket.”

While Hezbollah has similar rockets, this is the first time that Hamas has developed such a weapon, the report added.

Weapons smuggling into the Hamas-run enclave from the Sinai Peninsula has decreased due to the group’s efforts to improve ties with Egypt, leading Hamas to invest in producing their own locally-made rockets. Hamas has boasted of its growing arsenal, testing its stockpile on an almost regular basis since the conclusion of 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.

During the war, a total of 4,594 rockets were fired from the Strip toward Israel and near the end of the conflict, Hamas focused on short-range mortar fire, with deadly results, killing both soldiers and civilians who had little or no warning of incoming projectiles.

While smuggling through the Egyptian border has gone down, Israeli authorities continue to intercept illicit goods heading for Hamas on a regular basis at crossings from Israel into the Strip.

Last year, the Defense Ministry’s Crossings Authority and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) discovered a shipment of hundreds of metal pipes with a diameter of four inches, special screw holes  used to manufacture mortars and rockets, and dozens of electric engines for tunnel digging at the Tarkumiya checkpoint near Hebron.

The IDF has warned that the terror group has restored its military capabilities to its pre-2014 strength, expecting that in the next war the southern communities bordering the Stip would be incessantly pounded with rockets and mortar attacks.

In the event of a future war in the area, the IDF’s Home Front Command has a contingency plan to evacuate residents who live in those border communities,  in response to the report, Ashkelon Coast Regional Council head Yair Farjoun told Army Radio

“We are prepared for every scenario and if we need to evacuate, we will evacuate. Civilians do not need to be on the front lines.”

While during Operation Protective Edge Israel relied on the Iron Dome system to intercept rockets, the addition of the David’s Sling missile defense system will see Israel have a comprehensive protective umbrella able to counter threats posed by both short and mid-range missiles used by terror groups in Gaza.

Tuesday’s report came as tensions have been high on the Gaza border in recent days after Hamas accused Israel of being behind the assassination of one of its senior operatives, Mazen Fuqaha, in Gaza on Friday.

Addressing the assassination in a speech in Qatar on Monday, Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal warned that following Fuqaha’s assassination the group was in “an open war against the criminal enemy.”

“By killing Faqha, the enemy told us: ‘I’ve scored a point against you and I can take away one of your heroes even in the heart of Gaza,” Mashaal said via video link, adding that “it’s a new blood debt that adds itself to all those before.”

Mashaal warned that “the conflict with the occupier is still ongoing and we, the leaders of the organization, accept the challenge. If the enemy changes the equation, we accept it and bear the responsibility to protect our sons and daughters. We adhere to the struggle to free our prisoners, to liberate Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa. Our willpower is stronger than their weapons, and in the end, we will triumph.”

Israeli Scientists Find Mechanism That Causes Cancer Cells to Self-Destruct

March 28, 2017

Source: Israeli Scientists Find Mechanism That Causes Cancer Cells to Self-DestructThe Jewish Press | Hana Levi Julian | 1 Nisan 5777 – March 27, 2017 | JewishPress.com

Israeli scientists have made an enormous discovery that can help lead to a new treatment for at least two of the most resistant cancers that exist: pancreatic and triple negative breast cancer.

Many cancer patients struggle with the adverse effects of chemotherapy, still the most prescribed cancer treatment. For patients with pancreatic cancer and other aggressive cancers, the forecast is more grim: there is no known effective therapy.

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A new Tel Aviv University study published last month in Oncotarget discloses the role of three proteins in killing fast-duplicating cancer cells while they’re dividing. The research, led by Prof. Malka Cohen-Armon of TAU’s Sackler School of Medicine, finds that these proteins can be specifically modified during the division process — mitosis — to unleash an inherent “death mechanism” that self-eradicates duplicating cancer cells.

“The discovery of an exclusive mechanism that kills cancer cells without impairing healthy cells, and the fact that this mechanism works on a variety of rapidly proliferating human cancer cells, is very exciting,” Prof. Cohen-Armon said. “According to the mechanism we discovered, the faster cancer cells proliferate, the faster and more efficiently they will be eradicated. The mechanism unleashed during mitosis may be suitable for treating aggressive cancers that are unaffected by traditional chemotherapy.

“Our experiments in cell cultures tested a variety of incurable human cancer types — breast, lung, ovary, colon, pancreas, blood, brain,” Prof. Cohen-Armon continued. “This discovery impacts existing cancer research by identifying a new specific target mechanism that exclusively and rapidly eradicates cancer cells without damaging normally proliferating human cells.”

The research was conducted in collaboration with Prof. Shai Izraeli and Dr. Talia Golan of the Cancer Research Center at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, and Prof. Tamar Peretz, head of the Sharett Institute of Oncology at Hadassah Medical Center, Ein Kerem.

A new target for cancer research

The newly-discovered mechanism involves the modification of specific proteins that affect the construction and stability of the spindle, the microtubular structure that prepares duplicated chromosomes for segregation into “daughter” cells during cell division.

The researchers found that certain compounds called Phenanthridine derivatives were able to impair the activity of these proteins, which can distort the spindle structure and prevent the segregation of chromosomes. Once the proteins were modified, the cell was prevented from splitting, and this induced the cell’s rapid self-destruction.

“The mechanism we identified during the mitosis of cancer cells is specifically targeted by the Phenanthridine derivatives we tested,” Prof. Cohen-Armon said. “However, a variety of additional drugs that also modify these specific proteins may now be developed for cancer cell self-destruction during cell division. The faster the cancer cells proliferate, the more quickly they are expected to die.”

Research was conducted using both cancer cell cultures and mice transplanted with human cancer cells. The scientists harnessed biochemical, molecular biology and imaging technologies to observe the mechanism in real time. In addition, mice transplanted with triple negative breast cancer cells, currently resistant to available therapies, revealed the arrest of tumor growth.

“Identifying the mechanism and showing its relevance in treating developed tumors opens new avenues for the eradication of rapidly developing aggressive cancers without damaging healthy tissues,” said Prof. Cohen-Armon.

The researchers are currently investigating the potential of one of the Phenanthridine derivatives to treat two aggressive cancers known to be unresponsive to current chemotherapy: pancreatic cancer and triple negative breast cancer.

 

Trump backs off Muslim Brotherhood’s designation as terrorist organization

March 28, 2017

Trump backs off Muslim Brotherhood’s designation as terrorist organization, Washington TimesGuy Taylor, March 27, 2017

(Please see also, Five Reasons The Muslim Brotherhood Is a Terror Group. Who at the State Department are advising against designation as a terrorist organization? Holdovers from the Obama administration?– DM)

In 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood briefly was elected democratically to power in Egypt before its leader, Mohammed Morsi, was ousted from power.

President Trump has — for the time being — put on the back burner an executive order designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, according to U.S. officials close to a heated debate inside the administration over the status of the global Islamist movement.

While the White House has declined to comment publicly, officials speaking on condition of anonymity say the administration backed down from a plan to designate the Brotherhood last month after an internal State Department memo advised against it because of the movement’s loose-knit structure and far-flung political ties across the Middle East.

The memo “explained that there’s not one monolithic Muslim Brotherhood,” according to one of the officials, who told The Washington Times that while the movement may well be tied to such bona fide terrorist groups as Hamas, its more legitimate political activities would complicate the terrorist designation process.

The Brotherhood has prominent political factions engaged — at least perfunctorily — in democracy in Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and several other Muslim-majority nations, and the State Department memo coincided with high-level pressure placed on the Trump administration from at least one of them.

Senior diplomats from Jordan — a close U.S. ally — are believed to have weighed in heavily against the idea of adding the Brotherhood to the State Department’s foreign terrorist organizations list, said the official, because the movement’s political arm in Amman currently holds 16 Jordanian parliament seats.

But debate over the Brotherhood’s status remains biting in Washington, where hard-liners in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism say former President Barack Obama erred for years by failing to target the organization’s promotion of extremist ideology, and that President Trump is now badly fumbling a chance to rectify the situation.

Links to terror

A small but vocal group of Republicans on Capitol Hill is pushing legislation that would direct the State Department to either designate the Brotherhood, as well as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, as terrorist organizations or justify why they are being kept off the list.

Sen. Ted Cruz, who reintroduced the Muslim Brotherhood portion of the legislation last month with a House version backed by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, says listing the movement would “codify needed reforms in America’s war against radical Islamic terrorism.”

“This potent threat to our civilization has intensified under the Obama administration due to the willful blindness of politically-correct policies that hamper our safety and security,” the Texas Republican said in a statement at the time.

“This bill would impose tough sanctions on a hateful group that has spread violence and spawned extremist movements throughout the Middle East,” added Mr. Diaz-Balart, Florida Republican.

While hard-line groups have rallied behind such assertions for years, the legislation also has a number of more moderate backers, including Qanta A. Ahmed, a Muslim British physician and author, who argues that the Brotherhood “birthed modern-day Islamism” as a “supremacist totalitarian ideology that seeks to undermine pluralist societies and impose hardline theocratic regimes.”

“Founded in Egypt in 1928 and with branches or affiliates in over 70 nations, the Muslim Brotherhood today masquerades as a legitimate Islamic institution and a benign democratic actor,” Ms. Ahmed argued in an article published this month by the National Review.

“It is neither,” she wrote, adding that the movement has “well-documented links to the financing of terrorism” and that “the United States should designate [it] as a foreign terrorist organization.”

Missing the nuances

Current and former State Department officials say those calling for the designation of a movement as broadly based as the Muslim Brotherhood are ignoring a host of complex factors that could undermine the designation’s legitimacy.

The Brotherhood, analysts say, exists as a vast and loosely knit political and social organization, with millions of followers and dozens of factions spread across the Muslim world.

Few question its promotion of Shariah or Islamic law, or that some of its followers have embraced terrorism — the most notable example being the Palestinian group Hamas, whose official charter calls for the destruction of Israel. Hamas was put on the terror list in 1997 and has stayed there since.

But away from Hamas, many Brotherhood leaders were known during the 1970s to renounce violence in favor of politics. And recent decades saw factions of the movement embrace democracy to gain legitimacy in various Middle East nations, as well as to try to topple dictatorships.

Following the 2011 overthrow of Egypt’s authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak, the Brotherhood was — albeit briefly — democratically elected to power in Cairo before the nation’s military ousted the movement’s national leader, Mohammed Morsi.

While several Gulf Arab monarchies view the Brotherhood as an internal political threat, the movement’s factions are seen as part of the democratic landscape in other places, including Turkey, where many see the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as a distant Brotherhood affiliate.

Creating problems

“If you’re talking about just broadly listing the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, you’re going to run quickly into a serious definitional problem,” says P.J. Crowley, who served as an assistant secretary of state for public affairs under President Obama.

“Certainly, if you look at Hamas, it’s part of the Muslim Brotherhood family,” Mr. Crowley told The Times. “But the Brotherhood is also a distant cousin of the AKP in Turkey, so once you start down that road, you get into an immediate problem that could create significant diplomatic issues. And what about Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia?

“The one thing that distinguishes the Muslim Brotherhood from groups like al Qaeda is that al Qaeda wants to blow up any democratic process, while the Brotherhood is theoretically prepared to participate in the democratic process,” he said.

A report by NPR recently maintained that the Brotherhood became popular among Middle East university activists in the 1960s and 1970s — and when some immigrated to the United States with student visas, they brought the movement’s ideology with them.

“They were helped even by our State Department,” Hossein Goal, who emigrated from Iran during the period, told NPR. “They gave them sanctuary to come here.”

It follows that members of the movement had significant roles in establishing mosques, Islamic schools and other U.S.-based Muslim organizations. NPR suggested that, over the years, the situation fueled debate over the whether the movement’s true aim was to participate in American life or to advance an Islamist political agenda in the U.S.

Seeking truth

One prominent U.S. Muslim organization says the push to get the Brotherhood listed as a terrorist organization today is a ruse. “We believe it is just a smokescreen for a witch hunt targeting the civil rights and civic participation of American Muslims,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“Sponsors and supporters of the designation have for many years falsely linked the majority of mainstream American Muslim organizations and leaders to the Muslim Brotherhood,” Mr. Hooper told The Times. “[This] will inevitably be used in a political campaign to attack those same groups and individuals, to marginalize the American Muslim community and to demonize Islam.”

One of the strongest advocates for designating the Brotherhood says that’s nonsense.

“It is a terrorist organization,” says Frank Gaffney, who heads the Center for Security Policy think tank in Washington. “It’s the leading edge in this country and elsewhere in the West for Shariah supremacism.”

Mr. Gaffney, who drew liberal ire during the Obama years for claiming the former president was secretly a Muslim, told The Times that U.S. policy has long been afflicted by thinking the “Brotherhood is part of the solution, not part of the problem.”

“We are in the fix we’re in today, 16 years since 9/11 and having basically lost two wars, not due to military inadequacies but due to this incoherent understanding, or nonunderstanding, of the nature of the enemy,” Mr. Gaffney said.

“One of the things that was most important about Donald Trump’s claim that he understood the nature of the enemy was that he seemed to recognize that it involves the Muslim Brotherhood — and, for that reason, he should designate it a terrorist organization.”