Archive for April 3, 2017

Palestinians: The Diploma for Terror

April 3, 2017

Palestinians: The Diploma for Terror, Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, April 3, 2017

The unashamed glorification of murderers; terrorists paraded as role models and paragons of virtue to yet another generation of Palestinians. Under these conditions of unremitting incitement, no Palestinian can talk about peace with Israel.

When President Abbas visits the White House, it will be interesting to see if his “peace” stance includes a discussion of the Diploma for Terror.

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A glance at their leaders and senior officials tells them that Palestinian Authority jobs go to “graduates” of Israeli prisons.

Besides sending a message to Palestinians about who is valued in Palestinian society, the Fatah leader is also making it clear that the path to leadership and employment passes through Israeli prisons. Abbas’s senior representative is telling Palestinians that there is no need for them to pursue actual education: Israeli prisons are the best “universities.”

The longer the time spent in prison, the higher the military rank. Ten years will earn them the rank of Colonel. More than that will earn them General. The path to winning a job with a PA ministry also passes through Israeli prisons. These are the leaders touted as role models to young Palestinians.

Palestinians who are being held in Israeli prisons are “a model for sensibility and national culture and constitute a pillar for the establishment of a Palestinian state.” This glorification of Palestinian prisoners, many of whom are behind bars for murdering Jews, was issued last week by Fayez Abu Aitah, a senior representative of President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction.

Abu Aitah’s words of appreciation for murderers of Jews came during a visit he paid to Hatem al-Maghari, a Palestinian Authority (PA) policeman who was released last week after serving 17 years in prison for his role in the lynching of two Israeli reserve soldiers who mistakenly entered Ramallah. Upon his arrival at his home in the town of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Al-Maghari received a hero’s welcome. Hundreds of Palestinians have since converged on his home to congratulate him on his release from prison and heap praise him on for his “contribution” to the Palestinian cause.

Abbas’s Fatah was quick to embrace al-Maghari as “one of our sons” in order to send a message to Palestinians that the Fatah faction is also involved in terror attacks against Israel. For years, Fatah’s opponents have been accusing it of abandoning the “armed struggle” in favor of a peace process with Israel. Groups such as Hamas, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Palestinian Islamic Jihad continue to criticize Fatah for not being sufficiently active in the terror campaign against Israel.

The release of al-Maghari provided an opportunity for Fatah to remind its Palestinian enemies of its “contribution” to the war against Israel. The lynching of the two soldiers inside a Palestinian Authority police station in Ramallah was one of the most brutal crimes perpetrated by Palestinians. The PA leadership has never accepted responsibility for the lynching of the two soldiers, who were being held by PA policemen inside the station after taking a wrong turn into the city as they were on their way to their base.

The hero’s welcome that al-Maghari received and the words of praise from Fatah leaders serve as a reminder of how murderers of Jews continue to be hailed as role models for Palestinians. President Abbas and his PA and Fatah representatives have long lauded Palestinian prisoners held by Israel as “heroes” and future leaders of a Palestinian state.

As Abu Aitah explained during his well-wishing visit to the released terrorist:

“The prisoners are the pillar of our national movement. They have sacrificed the best of our committed and responsible national cadres that are leading the struggle of our people. Our prisoners have turned (Israeli) prisons into universities from where the future leaders graduate.”

Besides sending a message to Palestinians about who is valued in Palestinian society, the Fatah leader is also making it clear that the path to leadership and employment passes through Israeli prisons. In no uncertain terms, he is saying to young Palestinians: “If you want to become a leader, you need to prove your qualifications by following the example of those Palestinians who carried out terror attacks against Israel and spent time in Israeli prison.” Again: Abbas’s senior representative is telling Palestinians that there is no need for them to pursue actual education: Israeli prisons are the best “universities.”

Palestinians have every reason to believe Abu Aitah; he is the top Fatah official. Just a glance at their leaders and senior officials tells them that Palestinian Authority jobs go to “graduates” of Israeli prisons. There is no shortage of such leaders who rose to power thanks to their involvement in terror attacks against Israel.

In the world of the Palestinians, terror is indeed the diploma of currency. Serving time in Israeli prison can even earn one a military rank without having to go to any military or security academy.

The PA, according to Palestinian sources, has one of the largest numbers of Generals and Colonels in the Arab world. Most of these high-ranking officers earned their titles thanks to the time they served in Israeli prison, not because they studied at any military academy.

Take, for example, Jibril Rajoub, the former commander of the Palestinian Authority’s notorious Preventive Security Force, who holds the rank of Major-General. Rajoub’s rank is largely the result of the 17 years he spent in Israeli prison for his role in terrorism. Rajoub is only one of dozens, if not hundreds, of former prisoners who hold such high-ranking titles but do not have any real military background.

Many high-ranking PA security officials, such as Major-General Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the PA security forces, wear medals and decorations on their military uniforms even though they have not participated in any war. Damiri spent 10 years in Israeli prison for security-related offenses.

Many high-ranking Palestinian Authority (PA) security officials, such as Major-General Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the PA security forces, wear medals and decorations on their military uniforms even though they have not participated in any war. (Image source: PA video screenshot)

These are the leaders touted as role models to young Palestinians. No small number of Palestinian senior “officers” failed even to complete their high school education. But that should not bother any Palestinian who is dreaming of assuming a senior job in a Palestinian state.

On April 17, the Palestinians will again mark “Palestinian Prisoners’ Day” by holding as series of rallies in solidarity with prisoners who carried out terror attacks against Israel. This event is marked every year by Palestinians to honor the “heroes” who made “huge sacrifices” on behalf of the Palestinians.

These “sacrifices” include the maiming and murder of Jews. The annual event in the West Bank is sponsored and funded by Abbas’s Fatah, in turn funded by Europe and the West, in the context of glorifying terrorists and encouraging Palestinian youths to follow their presumably heroic example.

A Palestinian teenager who wishes to become a “general” under Abbas need not apply to any sort of academy. The shortest route to achieve rank is by carrying out a terror attack against Israel and doing time in Israeli prison. The longer the time spent in prison, the higher the military rank. Ten years will earn them the rank of Colonel. More than that will earn them General. The path to winning a job with a Palestinian Authority ministry also passes through Israeli prisons. Former prisoners are treated as the “good boys of the revolution” and granted the plum jobs. Meanwhile, those Palestinians who actually choose to become educated once again lose out.

It would be no surprise, then, if al-Maghari finds himself awarded the rank of General in Abbas’s Fatah-controlled security forces.

And so it continues: the unashamed glorification of murderers; terrorists paraded as role models and paragons of virtue to yet another generation of Palestinians. Under these conditions of unremitting incitement, no Palestinian can talk about peace with Israel.

When President Abbas visits the White House, it will be interesting to see if his “peace” stance includes a discussion of the Diploma for Terror.

Lebanese Columnist Warns: Any Hizbullah Aggression Against Israel Will Be Disastrous For Lebanon More Than Anyone Else

April 3, 2017

Lebanese Columnist Warns: Any Hizbullah Aggression Against Israel Will Be Disastrous For Lebanon More Than Anyone Else, MEMRI, April 3, 2017

In an article titled “Does Hizbullah Threaten Israel or Us” in the  English-language Saudi daily Arab News, Lebanese columnist Diana Moukalled commented on the recent escalation in Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah’s threats against Israel, including his threat to target Israel’s nuclear reactor in Dimona.[1] She assessed that this escalation in Nasrallah’s rhetoric is an attempt to make up for Hizbullah’s military losses in Syria and to garner popular support in light of the decline in Hizbullah’s and Iran’s global standing. She also noted that his threat to target the reactor is irresponsible because thousands of Palestinian and Israeli civilians live near it. Noting that Iran often uses Lebanon as an arena for its “adventures,” she warned that the current political climate might prompt Iran and Hizbullah to renew their aggression against Israel – which would be catastrophic for Lebanon, even more so than in previous confrontations.

The following are excerpts from her article:[2]

Diana Moukalled (image: twitter.com/dianamoukalled)

“Israel has reacted to recent statements by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah with a mixture of mockery and cynicism, as he said Hezbollah was ready to bomb the Dimona nuclear reactor or ammonia tanks. Israeli websites reported military discussions indicating that Israel believes Hezbollah is facing a dilemma over aid and funds due to the fighting in Syria.

“In the past, Israel dealt more seriously and carefully with Hezbollah threats and movements, but this has seemingly changed. I am in no way praising Israel, an occupying racist state, or minimizing its danger as an aggressor. Rather, this is an attempt to understand the whirlwind of rhetoric recently launched by Nasrallah, which affects Lebanese, Palestinians and others living mere kilometers from the Dimona reactor.

“Everyone, primarily Hezbollah, knows that the results of any war or military action against Israel will be catastrophic. Nasrallah may have learned this lesson, since the southern front with Israel has been calm since the end of the last war 11 years ago.

“As such, escalating rhetoric to target nuclear reactors — near to which thousands of Palestinian and Israeli civilians live, and would be harmed by substantial radioactive fallout — is at the very least irresponsible and no more than a popular mobilization attempt.

“But these empty slogans seem more necessary today than ever, as Nasrallah’s words seem to be an attempt to rebuild a combat position against Israel and make up for Hezbollah’s losses in Syria. This approach seems logical given the view that rapid political developments and the international consensus around Syria will lead to Hezbollah’s exit from the country. This would result in an Iranian response wherever it can do so.

“In a realistic characterization of current politics, now is not the time to make decisions, but to make a show of force and assemble cards to be presented while waiting for a clearer understanding of US regional policy. Continued escalation against Iran and its influence in Syria may lead to Tehran and Hezbollah reverting to a policy of confrontation, including against Israel. Where better than Lebanon as a gateway for new Iranian adventures?

“But the situation is not as it was during the 2006 war, as Israel says its response will be massive against Hezbollah and Lebanon if Hezbollah takes military action against it. This threat includes Israel’s preparedness to target all Lebanese territory. Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s comments that Hezbollah’s weapons complement the role of the army serve as a pretext for Israel to target the army as well.

“The appropriate conditions to target Hezbollah will come soon, but Israel is in no rush for military action as it is monitoring Hezbollah’s financial, moral and military depletion in Syria, amid Arab hostility toward Hezbollah, compared with support in 2006, due to its regional role at Iran’s behest. Any threat posed by Hezbollah will affect Lebanese before anyone else, and more severely than in previous wars and crises.”

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[1] In a February 16, 2017 address aired on Al-Mayadeen TV, Nasrallah called on Israel “not just to move the ammonia facility out of Haifa, but to dismantle the nuclear plant in Dimona,” saying: “They know what will become of them and of their [Zionist] entity if missiles hit that plant.” See MEMRI TV Clip No. 5896, “Hizbullah Secretary-General Nasrallah Threatens Missile Attack on Israeli Ammonia Facilities and Dimona Nuclear Plant,” February 16, 2017.

[2] Arab News (Saudi Arabia), February 26, 2017.

Border Patrol union urges Trump to cut Obama’s red tape holding back agents

April 3, 2017

Border Patrol union urges Trump to cut Obama’s red tape holding back agents, Washington Times

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine agent peers out of the open door of a helicopter during a patrol flight over McAllen, Texas, near the U.S.-Mexico border. (Associated Press)

The Homeland Security Department has been reluctant to send helicopters on nighttime missions to aid the Border Patrol, leaving agents to face drug smugglers and illegal immigrants without critical air cover, the chief of the agents’ labor union told Congress late last month.

Brandon Judd, an agent who is also president of the National Border Patrol Council, said that unless President Trump can solve that kind of bureaucratic bungling — and is willing to oust the Obama administration figures who botched the policies — he will struggle to secure the border.

The helicopters are one example of that, Mr. Judd said.

Mr. Judd said that when the Border Patrol controlled its own helicopters, it got the air support it needed. But after the Homeland Security Department was created more than a decade ago, the helicopters were turned over to the Office of Air and Marine, which has been reluctant to fly the nighttime hours the agents need.

“Right now the Office of Air and Marine, they fly very little at night,” he told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “In fact, in [the Rio Grande Valley sector], we had to use Coast Guard to fly sorties in certain areas. And when their apprehensions became so great, it’s my understanding the officer at Air and Marine asked them not to fly anymore at night in RGV because it was making them look bad.”

Officials at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency that oversees both the Border Patrol and the Air and Marine division, declined to comment.

But Mr. Judd said it’s just one example of a bureaucracy erecting hurdles — what he called “kingdom-building” — that he said could stymie Mr. Trump’s immigration goals.

“We talk about securing the border, and the border — we can absolutely secure it, but it cannot be secure if our operations are not sound,” Mr. Judd told The Washington Times.

“What’s very concerning to Border Patrol agents is, to this point, we still have the same people who gave us all of the failed operations, who were the authors of the catch-and-release program. They’re still in charge — even under this current administration,” the union chief said. “That’s head-scratching, especially since the president said we’re going to drain the swamp.”

Mr. Trump’s early changes to enforcement policy, freeing agents to carry out the law enforcement duties they signed up for, has helped boost morale, said Mr. Judd and Chris Crane, the head of the union for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council.

But they said the agencies’ leadership needs attention.

Mr. Crane said “a good ol’ boy network” pervades ICE, which he said is too heavy on managers who get in the way of agents trying to enforce immigration laws in the interior. He said agents are eager to enforce laws against employers who hire illegal immigrants, but their hands are tied.

The complaints of bureaucratic bungling struck home with both Democrats and Republicans on the homeland security committee, who said they are eager to find bipartisan areas where they can help the agents get things going.

One challenge is the polygraph test, which all Border Patrol applicants must pass. The agency’s 75 percent failure rate is higher than that of any other law enforcement department, but the top brass say they are committed to it — even as they prepare to try to hire 5,000 more agents to comply with Mr. Trump’s executive orders.

Even police officers who have passed polygraphs for their current jobs but who are looking to transfer can end up failing, Mr. Judd said.

Both Democrats and Republicans said they are eager to clean up the immigration agencies within the Homeland Security Department and would like to find common ground with the agents and officers.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat, said the panelists want to know the names of bureaucrats who are standing in the way of smart enforcement — though she said the ICE and Border Patrol unions, which endorsed Mr. Trump in the election campaign, may have a greater claim to the president’s ear.

Still, one Democrat, Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California, said she worries that the agency is expanding too quickly, without training to protect illegal immigrants from overzealous enforcement. She wanted to make sure agents weren’t going after lesser-priority targets.

“When troops on the ground have not been trained, it leads to dysfunction because there is a lack of consistency and accountability and direction,” she told Mr. Crane, the chief of the union for ICE agents and officers.

Mr. Crane told her she misunderstood how agents in the field carried out their priority targeting.

Mr. Crane and Mr. Judd also said the government needs to be careful about salaries. Because ICE agents have higher pay and often have better living options away from remote border communities, Border Patrol agents may rush to join the other force.

Part of the problem is the complicated bureaucratic web.

ICE and the Border Patrol are separate law enforcement divisions within Homeland Security.

That bureaucratic mess also helps explain the problem with helicopter patrols along the border.

The Border Patrol used to have its own helicopters, but after CBP was created as part of Homeland Security, the Air and Marine division was created as a separate agency within CBP. Now, when agents want the assistance of eyes in the sky, they have to go outside their own chain of command.

Mr. Judd said the helicopters are a perfect illustration: Most illegal crossings are attempted at night, and air support is critical for maintaining visibility.

Just as important, when those attempting to sneak in hear a helicopter overhead, they are less likely to run — making the apprehension easier and less dangerous for agents.

Mr. Judd said the air division has dedicated most of its resources to the Border Patrol, but not at the right times, leaving the agents without night cover.

“We expected to see a huge change in the way CBP operates. There’s been no change to this point,” he said.

CBP has long faced questions about its use of air resources. The Homeland Security inspector general has been particularly withering in its evaluation of the drone program, saying CBP has a tough time keeping its aircraft aloft and in scheduling missions and can’t demonstrate the worth of the program.

CBP officials have said the inspector general is using suspect calculations.

Flights themselves can be dangerous.

In 2015, a helicopter was called in to assist local police who were trying to stop a drug smuggling attempt near Laredo, Texas. As the helicopter was making its second pass, it took fire from the Mexican side — perhaps as many as 15 rounds, two of which struck the aircraft.

CBP officials later said the man who fired on the helicopter was a specialized contractor whom the smugglers used to provide cover for their operations. Mexican authorities caught the man.

But in hopes of sending a message to the cartels, CBP sent to the region several Black Hawk helicopters, which can be armored to withstand enemy fire while continuing to fly.

Sisi as key to Arab anti-ISIS pact with Israel

April 3, 2017

Sisi as key to Arab anti-ISIS pact with Israel, DEBKAfile, April 3, 2017

(Please see also, Restore the U.S.-Egyptian Strategic Alliance, Designate the Muslim Brothers as Terrorists. — DM)

Our Washington sources report that President Trump aims to complete his plan for bringing together Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel on a new footing by September.

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US President Donald Trump’s first face to face with Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi at the White House Monday, April 3, focuses on four main topics, DEBKAfile reports: The fight against Islamist State terror rampant in Egyptian Sinai and neighboring Libya; topping up US military assistance to Cairo, aid for easing Egypt’s dire economic straits and, finally, the effort to bolster normal relations between the Arab world (including the Palestinians) and Israel.

From the moment he assumed the Egyptian presidency in June 2014, El-Sisi has waged a never-ending war on Islamist terror against Ansar Beit-al Maqdis, which later pledged alliance to the Islamic State’s leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. The Egyptian army has so far been worsted.  The Egyptian president is not deaf to the criticism of the Second and Third Armies’ failure to overcome a few thousand armed men, even though they can at a moment’s notice raise several thousand more fighters from the Bedouin tribes of Sinai. US intelligence has rated the Egyptian forces as slow-moving and unwieldy; but for limited forays, its contingents preferring to sit safely in their barracks rather than risk going out and pursuing the enemy across the Peninsula.

Shortly before President El-Sisi’s trip to Washington, the Egyptian air force conducted intense bombardments of ISIS concentrations around the northern town of El Arish, killing at least 14 terrorists, nabbing 22 and seizing large caches of roadside bombs. But they too long delayed bearding the Islamists in their main stronghold atop Mount Jabal Hala in central Sinai. ISIS is therefore free to move around the territory and strike at will, the while expanding its operations into Egypt proper.

The weekend air strikes came after months in which ISIS overran sections of El Arish, Sinai’s biggest town (pop: 100,000). Their grip is such that Egyptian forces no longer dared venture into those lawless neighborhoods, especially at night. Earlier this year, terrible persecution including executions forced the few thousand indigenous Christians, most of them Copts, to flee their homes in El Arish. Egyptian forces proved unequal to safeguarding the US-led international observer force (MFO) monitoring the 1972 Egyptian-Israel peace treaty at a nearby station.

American military aid to Egypt stands today at $1.3bn a year. Even though the US president means to slash foreign aid programs, he may make an exception in this case and expand military assistance -, possibly in the coin of advanced military hardware, given the country’s unending frontline battle against Islamist terror.

Its presence in El Arish, 130km from the Egyptian-Israeli border, plants the peril on the doorsteps of Egypt’s neighbors as well: Northern Sinai borders on Israel, its northwestern district shares a border with the Gaza Strip, abutting in the east on Jordan and in the southwest on Libya. The cities of western Sinai sit on the banks of the Suez Canal.

The Islamic State’s Sinai affiliate is closely allied with Salafi organizations in the Gaza Strip and works hand in glove with its Palestinian Hamas rulers, especially in the lucrative arms-smuggling business.

Al-Baghdadi last year posted a group of Iraqi officers in his service to the Sinai contingent. They travelled through southern Jordan to reach the peninsula. The Islamist cells in Libya have moreover made ISIS-held turf in Sinai their safe highway for traveling undetected to their other strongholds across the Middle East.

To stamp out this sprawling, multi-branched menace, the Trump administration needs to bring Egypt, Jordan and Israel into a coalition for a sustained, common campaign.

The Obama administration, which boycotted President El-Sisi for persecuting Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, tried unsuccessfully to build Turkey, Egypt and Israel into a counterterrorism pact. The Trump administration, for which the Brotherhood is anathema, has a better chance. But first, relations between the Arab world and Israel need to be placed on a regular footing. Some groundwork already exists in the informal bilateral military ties Egypt and Jordan maintain with Israel. DEBKAfile’s military sources have revealed in past reports the limited give-and-take relations for fighting terror Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi maintain with Israel.

The US President’s advisers recognize that before a broad, effective front against ISIS and Al Qaeda can be put together from these partial, often covert ties, progress is necessary towards normalizing relations between the Arab governments and the Jewish state, including the Israeli-Palestinian track.

Trump will certainly want to hear what role his Egyptian guest is willing to take for bringing this process forward. He will ask his next Middle East visitor, Jordan’s Abdullah II, the same question, when he arrives in Washington Tuesday. As for the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, he was promised an invitation to the White House this month, but not yet been given a date. He is clearly being left to wait until the senior players in the region have had their say. Our Washington sources report that President Trump aims to complete his plan for bringing together Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel on a new footing by September.

Unmasking Susan Rice and her NSC dead-enders

April 3, 2017

Unmasking Susan Rice and her NSC dead-enders, American ThinkerMonica Showalter, April 3, 2017

It’s time to start investigating this arrogant abuse of power now. Comey has not stated whether he is investigating these people or not, and this is proper. But with these dead-enders clearly threatening the Trump presidency, it’s time to see a hard hand come out against these deep-staters who don’t know when to leave office, and who subscribe to the leftist situational ethics of ‘by any means necessary.’ They are poison for our republic and if they are not removed, they will destroy the Trump presidency

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Journalist/activist Mike Cernovich reports that former White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice obtained intelligence reports showing the identities of innocent Americans who incidentally spoke to foreign officials under security sweeps for spying or intelligence activities. Under U.S. law, U.S. persons are protected from such disclosure, which could be dry-cleaners asking envoys to pick up their laundry or wrong number phone messages spilling their guts about their mothers-in-law. If such U.S. persons get swept up in surveillance, they are protected. But only if they remain ‘masked,’ which is the law of the land.

Cernovich says the White House Counsel’s office has confirmed that Rice was one of the few officials with the authority to make the requests to unmask the innocent Americans caught up in surveillance dragnets. There was no national security reason to do so, but she did. It makes a lot of sense if the aim is political, however, and White House spokesman Sean Spicer has pointed out that their goal was ‘to leak stuff.’ Based on White House logs, she did, during the transition back when angry miserable Obama White House officials frowned in a group photo for the cameras.

The White House counsel’s office disclosed these logs to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, who has been as responsible a steward of America’s secrets as anyone (and said nothing). But it would mean that Rice had to have been responsible for the illegal leaking to the press of the legitimate activities of people like her NSC successor Mike Flynn, for political rather than national security purposes. This would be true whether she did it herself or dispatched a flunky like fellow NSC official Ben Rhodes or Joe Biden’s NSC man Colin Kahl to execute the dirty-tricks skullduggery.

It’s par for the course. Rice was the speaker of the infamous phony White House talking points on why four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were slaughtered in Benghazi on 9/11/12, repeatedly stating for the press that the attack on the U.S. compound was the act of a spontaneous crowd that got out of control over a video, and not the pre-planned, lethally executed al-Qaida terrorist attack it was. After that, she went onto support the admittedly phony narratives about the Iran Deal, which her buddy Ben Rhodes, a creative writing major, cooked up out of thin air, just as he did the Benghazi talking points.

Cernovich reports that New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman (caught on Wikileaks for being in the tank with Obama) had the information, and chose to sit on it to protect the former president.

But based on the White House counsel act, the news nevertheless got out. The story meshes well with what FBI Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee, in response to Nunes’ request for information on leaks last March 20. Comey told the committee that only 20 people would have had access to the names of innocent Americans caught up in the spy dragnet during the transition. Rice was one of them.

Rice, like Rhodes, has the farthest of far-left backgrounds, and the highest of malice against the incoming president. Rhodes never was able to pass a background check to obtain a security clearance and continues to mock and berate Trump & Co, as if he thinks he owned the job and now they took it. Another coeval at NSC, Colin Kahl, who was attached to Joe Biden, seems to have laid out the diabolical plans for picking off Trump’s lieutenants one by one. The tweets he issues are unbelievable, here is one:

Colin Kahl‏ @ColinKahl

The 2nd essential step is purging or marginalizing the “Axis of Ideologues” in the West Wing: Bannon, Miller, Anton, Gorka, KT McFarland.14/

6:21 AM – 11 Mar 2017

With a pattern of malice and mishandled security information centered around NSC dead-enders, the one thing we can see is that there is a coterie of illegal leakers who will compromise national security to enact their political aims.

Devin Nunes pointedly asked Comey whether he knew that illegally leaking national security secrets was a jailtime offense. The FBI director said yes.

It’s time to start investigating this arrogant abuse of power now. Comey has not stated whether he is investigating these people or not, and this is proper. But with these dead-enders clearly threatening the Trump presidency, it’s time to see a hard hand come out against these deep-staters who don’t know when to leave office, and who subscribe to the leftist situational ethics of ‘by any means necessary.’ They are poison for our republic and if they are not removed, they will destroy the Trump presidency.

 

Explosion in St. Petersburg Metro, fatalities confirmed (GRAPHIC IMAGES)

April 3, 2017

A suspected bomb blast inside a car of the St. Petersburg Metro system has resulted in casualties among passengers. The entire transit system is shut down as bomb squads and rescuers respond to the emergency.

Source: Explosion in St. Petersburg Metro, fatalities confirmed (GRAPHIC IMAGES) — RT News

A suspected bomb blast inside a car of the St. Petersburg Metro system has resulted in casualties among passengers. The entire transit system is shut down as bomb squads and rescuers respond to the emergency.

The explosion happened as the train was travelling between the stations Tekhnologichesky Institut and Sennaya Ploshchad of the St. Petersburg Metro, the National Antiterrorism Committee (NAC) confirmed.

Images posted on social media show bodies lying next to the damaged car, with blood apparently spilt on a bench.

The St. Petersburg governor’s office said there were as many as 50 victims in the incident, including 10 fatalities. Two of the injured have been taken for surgery while two others are being prepared for operation.

The city healthcare committee said 25 people have been brought to hospital in the wake of the blast, including one child.

Russian President Vladimir Putin commented that “The causes of this event have not been determined yet, so it’s too early to talk about [possible causes]. The investigation will show. Certainly, we will consider all possibilities: common, criminal, but first of all of a terrorist nature.

All Metro stations are closed to passengers. Commuters were evacuated from the subway within about an hour of the first reports of the blast coming in.

Security has been increased in St. Petersburg over concerns of a potential follow-up attack, the NAC said. It also rejected media reports, which claimed that more than one explosion occurred, saying no evidence supporting this was found.

Facebook has activated its Safety Check feature for users in St Petersburg. It allows people to let friends and family know that they are OK during a disaster or dangerous situation.

Off Topic ? | Attkisson v. Eric Holder, Department of Justice, et al

April 3, 2017

Attkisson v. Eric Holder, Department of Justice, et al, sharylattkisson.com, April 2, 2017

(Spying on Ms. Attkisson, an investigative journalist, by the Obama administration. This seems relevant to more recent efforts to spy on Trump, et al. — DM)

As an investigative reporter for CBS News, Ms. Attkisson was responsible for investigating and reporting on national news stories. Between 2011 and 2013, she investigated and prepared various high-profile news reports, including ones related to the “Fast and Furious” “gunwalking” operation and the attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

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Many of you have asked for the status of my computer intrusion lawsuit against the federal government.

On March 19, 2017, a federal judge denied the government’s motion to dismiss my computer intrusion lawsuit, and transferred the case from Washington D.C. to the Eastern District of Virginia.

Below are excerpts from the judge’s opinion, which provides a good summary.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

MEMORANDUM OPINION, by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan

As an investigative reporter for CBS News, Ms. Attkisson was responsible for investigating and reporting on national news stories. Between 2011 and 2013, she investigated and prepared various high-profile news reports, including ones related to the “Fast and Furious” “gunwalking” operation and the attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya…

In 2011——at the same time that Ms. Attkisson was conducting investigations and issuing certain of her high-profile news reports——the Attkissons “began to notice anomalies in numerous electronic devices at their home in Virginia.” These anomalies included Ms. Attkisson’s work-issued laptop computer and a family desktop computer “turning on and off at night without input from anyone in the household,” “the house alarm chirping daily at different times,” and “television problems, including interference.” All of these electronic devices used “the Verizon FiOS line installed in [the Attkissons’] home,” but Verizon was unable to stanch the anomalous activity despite multiple attempts. In January 2012, the Attkissons’ residential internet service “began constantly dropping off.”

In February 2012, “sophisticated surveillance spyware” was installed on Ms. Attkisson’s work-issued laptop computer. A later forensic computer analysis revealed that Ms. Attkisson’s laptop and the family’s desktop computer had been the “targets of unauthorized surveillance efforts.” That same forensic analysis revealed that Ms. Attkisson’s mobile phone was also targeted for surveillance when it was connected to the family’s desktop computer. The infiltration of that computer and the extraction of information from it was “executed via an IP address owned, controlled, and operated by the United States Postal service.” Additionally, based on the sophisticated nature of the software used to carry out the infiltration and software fingerprints indicating the use of the federal government’s proprietary software, the infiltration and surveillance appeared to be perpetrated by persons in the federal government.

An independent forensic computer analyst hired by CBS subsequently reported finding evidence on both Ms. Attkisson’s work-issued laptop computer and her family’s desktop computer of “a coordinated, highly-skilled series of actions and attacks directed at the operation of the computers.” Computer forensic analysis also indicated that remote actions were taken in December 2012 to remove the evidence of the electronic infiltration and surveillance from Ms. Attkisson’s computers and other home electronic equipment.

As Ms. Attkisson’s investigations and reporting continued, in October 2012 the Attkissons noticed “an escalation of electronic problems at their personal residence, including interference in home and mobile phone lines, computer interference, and television interference.” In November of that year, Ms. Attkisson’s mobile phones “experienced regular interruptions and interference, making telephone communications unreliable, and, at times, virtually impossible.”

Additionally, in December 2012, a person with government intelligence experience conducted an inspection of the exterior of the Attkissons’ Virginia home. That investigator discovered an extra Verizon FiOS fiber optics line. Soon thereafter, after a Verizon technician was instructed by Ms. Attkisson to leave the extra cable at the home, the cable disappeared, and the Attkissons were unable to determine what happened to it. In March 2013, the Attkissons’ desktop computer malfunctioned, and in September of that year, while Ms. Attkisson was working on a story at her home, she observed that her personal laptop computer was remotely accessed and controlled, resulting in data being deleted from it. On April 3, 2013, Ms. Attkisson filed a complaint with the Inspector General of the Department of Justice. The Inspector General’s investigation was limited to an analysis of the compromised desktop computer, and the partially-released report that emerged from that investigation reported “no evidence of intrusion,” although it did note “a great deal of advanced mode computer activity not attributable to Ms. Attkisson or anybody in her household.”

The Attkissons allege that the “cyber-attacks” they “suffered in [their] home” were perpetrated by “personnel working on behalf of the United States.” Accordingly, they have asserted various claims against the United States and against former Attorney General Eric Holder, former Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, and unknown agents of the Department of Justice, the United States Postal Service, and the United States, all in their individual capacities. Those claims include claims against the United States under the FTCA and claims against the individual federal officers for violations of constitutional rights under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971)…

Having determined that venue is improper as to the Attkissons’ FTCA claims and that the pendent venue doctrine is inapplicable, the Court may either “dismiss, or if it be in the interest of justice, transfer [this] case to any district or division in which it could have been brought.” “The decision whether a transfer or a dismissal is in the interest of justice . . . rests within the sound discretion of the district court,” Naartex Consulting Corp. v. Watt, 722 F.2d 779, 789 (D.C. Cir. 1983), but the “standard remedy for improper venue is to transfer the case to the proper court rather than dismissing it——thus preserving a [plaintiff’s] ability to obtain review.” Nat’l Wildlife Fed’n v. Browner, 237 F.3d 670, 674 (D.C. Cir. 2001). The Court will use that standard remedy here and find that

the interest of justice warrants transfer rather than dismissal so that the Attkissons’ claims can be adjudicated on the merits.

Conclusion

For the reasons stated above, defendants’ amended motion to dismiss is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART WITHOUT PREJUDICE. As to their assertion that the Attkissons’ FTCA claims are improperly venued, defendants’ motion is granted. Accordingly, this consolidated case shall be transferred in its entirety to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The remainder of defendants’ amended motion to dismiss is denied without prejudice so that defendants may refile it, if appropriate, upon transfer to the Eastern District of Virginia. Likewise, the Attkissons’ motion for reconsideration of the Order denying various motions related to third-party discovery is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE so that it may be refiled in and more appropriately resolved by the transferee court. An appropriate Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.

SO ORDERED.

Signed: Emmet G. Sullivan
United States District Judge
March 19, 2017