Archive for July 9, 2017

Oh No! Trump Jr., Jared Kushner Met With Russian Lawyer!

July 9, 2017

Oh No! Trump Jr., Jared Kushner Met With Russian Lawyer!, PJ MediaMichael Van Der Galien, July 9, 2017

(It appears that the meeting may have been set up by Democrat operatives to create an impression of improper collusion.

The president’s legal team said Saturday they believe the entire meeting may have been part of a larger election-year opposition effort aimed at creating the appearance of improper connections between Trump family members and Russia that also included a now-discredited intelligence dossier produced by a former British intelligence agent named Christopher Steele who worked for a U.S. political firm known as Fusion GPS.

Oh well.  — DM)

Donald Trump Jr., executive vice president of The Trump Organization, discusses the expansion of Trump hotels, Monday, June 5, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of US President Donald Trump, along with Paul Manafort, Trump’s presidential campaign manager, and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, met with a Russian lawyer to discuss the suspended program of adoption of children from Russia by US citizens during 2016 election campaign, local media reported Saturday.

Look at those danged traitors! Trying to revive an adoption program for poor Russian children! How dare they bring those future KGBFSB-officers to the grand U.S. of A?

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The left is convinced that they finally have their smoking gun.

Two weeks after Donald J. Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination last year, his eldest son arranged a meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan with a Russian lawyer who has connections to the Kremlin, according to confidential government records described to The New York Times.

The previously unreported meeting was also attended by Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman at the time, Paul J. Manafort, as well as the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, according to interviews and the documents, which were outlined by people familiar with them.

According to the New York Times, this is the first confirmed private meeting between members of Trump’s inner circle and the Russians. And, of course, the truly big news is that both his son Donald Trump Jr. and his son-in-law Jared Kushner were involved.

Oh, my. Lock them up! Lock them up!

Well, wait. Not so fast:

Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of US President Donald Trump, along with Paul Manafort, Trump’s presidential campaign manager, and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, met with a Russian lawyer to discuss the suspended program of adoption of children from Russia by US citizens during 2016 election campaign, local media reported Saturday.

Donald Trump Jr. explains:

It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow-up.

Look at those danged traitors! Trying to revive an adoption program for poor Russian children! How dare they bring those future KGBFSB-officers to the grand U.S. of A?

All kidding aside, though, this is yet another example of a nothing-burger in RussiaGate. The left continues to desperately search for smoking guns, for evidence that Team Trump and the Kremlin worked together, somehow, to beat Hillary Clinton. The only reason they do so is that they can’t accept what’s obvious to everybody else: that Hillary lost because she was a terrible candidate. Russia obviously interfered in the election in an attempt to sow chaos and mistrust, yes, but Hillary ended up losing because of who she is. Somehow, this fact — that’s rather obvious to any reasonable human being — is lost on the left. There must have been hacks. Trump must have worked with Russia. There has to be a smoking gun. And so they continue their obvious search for anything barely resembling evidence.

 

Brigitte Gabriel and Dave Rubin: Terrorism, The Muslim Brotherhood, and Linda Sarsour

July 9, 2017

Brigitte Gabriel and Dave Rubin: Terrorism, The Muslim Brotherhood, and Linda Sarsour via YouTube, May 19, 2017

(The transition of Lebanon from a vibrant homogeneous society into an Islamist state where Muslims, formerly friends of Christians and Jews, became violent enemies — about five minutes into the video — bodes ill for much of Europe. Although this video was posted on YouTube on May 19th, some of the content suggests that the interview occurred significantly earlier.  — DM

 

Turkey will not tolerate Kurdish state & ‘terror havens’ on its borders

July 9, 2017

Source: Turkey will not tolerate Kurdish state & ‘terror havens’ on its borders – Erdogan — RT News

FILE PHOTO: Turkish forces and members of the Free Syrian Army are seen at the al Baza’a village on the outskirts of al-Bab town in Syria © Khalil Ashawi / Reuters

Ankara will respond decisively to any threats on its borders, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared at the end of G20 summit in Hamburg, warning against any push by the Kurds to secure their own independent region.

The Kurds have been the main fighting force battling jihadist on the ground in Iraq and Syria, playing an essential role in the US-led coalition’s campaign against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists in Mosul and Raqqa.

Read more

Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) stand near U.S military vehicles in the town of Darbasiya next to the Turkish border, Syria April 29, 2017. © Reuters

In May, the US Department of Defense confirmed the delivery of heavier weapons to US-allied Kurdish fighters which the US believes are needed to outmaneuver the Syrian government and retake the city of Raqqa from IS.

“We will definitely not remain silent and unresponsive to the support and arming of terror organizations next to our borders and the forming of terror havens in the region,” Erdogan warned Saturday at the conclusion of the G20 in Germany, Turkish Radio and Television Corporation quoted.

The Turkish government has urged the US to reverse its decision to broaden support for Syria’s Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (YPG), stating that it is unacceptable for a NATO ally to support “terrorist groups.”

Ankara perceives the YPG as terrorists allied with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a militant movement whichTurkey has been battling for three decades. And while Washington agrees with Ankara’s designation of the PKK as a terrorist organization, the US rejects the idea that Kurdish forces in Syria or Iraq should be equated with the PKK.

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Damaged vehicles that belonged to Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) are transported from their headquarters after it was hit by Turkish airstrikes in Mount Karachok near Malikiya, Syria April 25, 2017. © Rodi Said

Turkey also feels threatened by the Kurds in Iraq, especially after the US pumped millions of dollars into the Iraqi army which relies heavily on Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.

Last month Iraq’s Kurdish region announced that they will hold an independence referendum in September. Erdogan spoke out against the move, fearing that it might produce a domino effect leading to Kurdish-controlled autonomous areas (cantons) in northern Syria to declare independence as well.

“We do not support the idea of a divided Iraq, and a referendum would hurt the peace and stability in the country,” Erdogan said in Hamburg. “If division starts in the north, it would extend to Turkmens, Arabs and there can even be a sectarian-based division between Shias and Sunnis.”

Erdogan emphasized that Turkey will not allow a Kurdish state to be established in northern Syria. However, despite repeated reports that the Kurds in Syria want to create their own state, there’s been no official moves to suggest that an independence declaration is imminent.

Ceasefire deal brokered by Russia & US enters into force in southwest Syria

July 9, 2017

Source: Ceasefire deal brokered by Russia & US enters into force in southwest Syria — RT News

© Alaa Al-Faqir / Reuters

 

A major ceasefire deal agreed upon earlier by Russia, the United States, and Jordan has taken effect in the southwestern part of Syria. The truce to end hostilities and deliver aid to war-torn areas will be enforced by the three countries’ militaries.

The ceasefire and de-escalation agreement negotiated by Russia, the US, and Jordan on Friday took effect across southwest Syria on Sunday at noon Damascus time (09:00 GMT).

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FILE PHOTO A general view shows damaged buildings in a rebel-held part of the southern city of Deraa, Syria © laa Al-Faqir

The truce extends to Syrian government forces and rebel groups in the provinces of Daraa, Quneitra, and Suwayda.

Commenting on the issue, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russian, American, and Jordanian experts had worked out the details of the truce, which says the US and Russia bear shared responsibility in ensuring that the ceasefire is respected by all parties, the minister said.

Lavrov added that the ceasefire is aimed at getting aid deliveries through to war-ravaged areas and arranging contacts with opposition groups. A monitoring center in Amman, Jordan’s capital, will oversee the truce.

President Vladimir Putin, who discussed the issue with his US counterpart, Donald Trump, at the G20 summit in Hamburg, called the ceasefire agreement “a breakthrough, to a certain extent,” noting that the deal was made possible by Washington’s “more pragmatic stance” on working with Russia.

While little is known about how the truce will play out on the ground, it is understood that Russian, American, and Jordanian forces will be deployed to the area to stabilize the situation.

“In the first stage, Russian military police, as well as the Americans and the Jordanians, will ensure security around this de-escalation zone covered by the ceasefire,” Lavrov explained.

Russia’s foreign minister stressed that the ceasefire agreement clearly states that “Russia, Jordan, and the United States are committed to Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as UN Security Council resolutions that pave the way to political reconciliation.”

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© Stanislav Filippov

The United Nations, in turn, has stated that it appreciates the international effort being made to bring lasting peace to this part of Syria.

“This is a step in the right direction,” UN Deputy Special Envoy for Syria Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy told reporters in Damascus, as cited by Reuters.

“All of this leads to supporting the political process,” he added.

Moscow has also engaged neighboring Turkey and Iran to push for the creation of safe zones in other Syrian provinces. The three countries adopted a memorandum on the creation of four security zones in Syria during peace talks in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, in early May.

Extremist groups, including Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Nusra Front), will be separated from the ‘moderate’ opposition in security zones set up in the cities of Idlib, Latakia, and Homs, as well as parts of Aleppo. Under the memorandum, all hostilities between government forces and the armed opposition should cease within the safe zones.

Checkpoints and observation posts will be installed along the de-escalation lines within the safe zones, which should provide free movement for unarmed civilians and humanitarian access to areas under the control of the guarantor states.

“The fact that the United States and the Russians have agreed on the ceasefire will make it more possible to be implemented,” Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran told RT.

“The Iranians, the Syrians and the Russians believe that the more peace there is in Syria, the more pressure will be on the extremists to end the war, because ordinary people will see their lives back to some sort of normality,” he said.

It’s True: Liberals Hate Western Civilization

July 9, 2017

It’s True: Liberals Hate Western Civilization, Power LineJohn Hinderaker, July 8, 2017

(Stop calling them “Liberals.” They are leftists and probably proud of it. — DM)

President Trump’s superb speech in Poland has been praised by most observers, including Paul. On the Left, however, Trump’s speech has been criticized for its principal virtue, the president’s spirited defense of Western civilization. Here are some of the many such instances.

Amanda Marcotte writes at Salon: “Trump’s alt-right Poland speech: Time to call his white nationalist rhetoric what it is.”

Trump argued that Western (read: white) nations are “the fastest and the greatest community” and the “world has never known anything like our community of nations.” He crowed about how Westerners (read: white people) “write symphonies,” “pursue innovation” and “always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers,” as if these were unique qualities to white-dominated nations, instead of universal truths of the human race across all cultures.

Why, exactly, should we “read white people”? Trump said not a word about race in his speech. While the peoples that developed Western culture were of course predominantly white, Western civilization is not limited to one race. Just ask, say, Thomas Sowell or Yo-Yo Ma. The obsession with race is the Left’s, not Trump’s.

He also portrayed this Western civilization as under assault from forces “from the South or the East” that “threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are.”
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And yet, even though Trump was fairly begging to be labeled a fascist with his speech painting the purity of white civilization as under threat from racialized foreigners….

But wait! Doesn’t the threat from the East come from Russia? And aren’t Russians white? On the Left, facts are always secondary, at best, to the Narrative. Finally, this howler:

Breitbart gushed about how Trump was calling for “protecting our borders” and “preserving Western civilization,” and bizarrely compared the speech to Ronald Reagan’s “tear down this wall” speech, even though the Berlin Wall is the gold standard in the kind of border security and cultural “preservation” that Trump has made his political career calling for.

Great point, Amanda! Just like Trump’s wall on the southern border, the East Germans built the Berlin Wall to keep out the throngs of West Berliners that were trying to get in illegally.

Next, Sarah Wildman at Vox: “Trump’s speech in Poland sounded like an alt-right manifesto.”

In his address, Trump cast the West, including the United States and Europe, on the side of “civilization.” With an undercurrent of bellicosity, he spoke of protecting borders, casting himself as a defender not just of territory but of Western “values.” And, using the phrase he had avoided on his trip to Saudi Arabia, he insisted that in the fight against “radical Islamic terrorism,” the West “will prevail.”

Is this what is meant by “alt-right”? I am so old, I can remember when 95% of Americans would have thought that such propositions verged on the self-evident.

Common Dreams (“Breaking News & Views For the Progressive Community”): “‘Disturbing’ Undertones Detected in Trump’s Bizarre Poland Speech.”

Honing in on Trump’s repeated emphasis on “the will” and his declaration that “our civilization will triumph,” many made connections between the speech and an infamous 1935 Nazi propaganda film titled “Triumph of the Will,” which was directed by Leni Riefenstahl and based on the 1934 Nuremberg Rally.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Peter Beinart in The Atlantic:

In his speech in Poland on Thursday, Donald Trump referred 10 times to “the West” and five times to “our civilization.” His white nationalist supporters will understand exactly what he means. It’s important that other Americans do, too.
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The West is a racial and religious term. To be considered Western, a country must be largely Christian (preferably Protestant or Catholic) and largely white.

But Israel is pretty universally regarded as Western, and Western values derive largely from Jewish history and culture.

The most shocking sentence in Trump’s speech—perhaps the most shocking sentence in any presidential speech delivered on foreign soil in my lifetime—was his claim that “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.” … Trump’s sentence only makes sense as a statement of racial and religious paranoia. … A direct line connects Trump’s assault on Barack Obama’s citizenship to his speech in Poland. In Trump and Bannon’s view, America is at its core Western: meaning white and Christian (or at least Judeo-Christian). The implication is that anyone in the United States who is not white and Christian may not truly be American but rather than an imposter and a threat.

Like Trump’s daughter and son-in-law? Beinart’s rant verges on the insane.

Jonathan Capehart in the Washington Post: “Trump’s white-nationalist dog whistles in Warsaw.”

This is the same crowd that brays about the superiority of “Western civilization” and its contributions in the history of the world conveniently ignores (or perhaps is just plain ignorant about) what we’ve adopted from Muslims and the Middle East. Those symphonies Trump says “We write” (ahem) would be real lame without the influence of the Middle East and Muslims. According to Salim al-Hassani, chairman of the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilization and editor of “1001 Inventions,” which chronicles “the enduring legacy of Muslim civilization,” told CNN years ago that the lute, musical scales and the ancestor of the violin are all part of that legacy.

Carlyn Reichel, former speechwriter for Joe Biden, in Foreign Policy: “Trump Has Reshaped Presidential Rhetoric Into an Unrecognizable Grotesque.”

Like staring into a fun-house mirror, the trappings of an American president delivering a landmark speech abroad were there — certainly there were deliberate echoes of President John F. Kennedy’s historic speech in Berlin — but it was all reshaped into an unrecognizable grotesque.

With each paragraph, strong statements about defending freedom and standing against the forces of oppression were replaced by a narrow vision of the world rooted in an even narrower ideology. For Trump, the boundaries of “civilization” only extend to those who share his definition of “God” and “family” — that is, a Judeo-Christian worldview and power structures that continue to be dominated by white men.

So you can’t celebrate or defend Western civilization without being denounced by liberals as a white nationalist, a fascist, and so on. It is good to know where they stand.

Cartoons and Video of the Day

July 9, 2017

Andrew Klavan via YouTube

 

H/t Power Line — CNN edition

 

 

 

 

 

 

H/t Vermont Loon Watch

 

 

 

Iran seeking nuclear weapons technology, German intel says

July 9, 2017

Source: Iran seeking nuclear weapons technology, German intel says – Arab-Israeli Conflict – Jerusalem Post

ByBenjamin Weinthal
July 8, 2017 16:32
Tehran spies on ‘declared enemies’ Israel and Jewish institutions in Federal Republic.
Iran missile

 A ballistic missile is launched and tested in an undisclosed location, Iran, March 9, 2016. . (photo credit:REUTERS)

Damning German intelligence reports emerged in June and July revealing the Iranian regime’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons and missile technology in defiance of international sanctions and UN resolutions.

A federal intelligence report also said that the Islamic Republic targets Jewish and Israeli institutions with espionage.

According to the German state of Hamburg’s intelligence agency: “there is no evidence of an complete about-face in Iran’s atomic polices in 2016” [after the Islamic Republic signed the JCPOA accord with world powers in 2015, designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief]. Iran sought missile carrier technology necessary for its rocket program.”

Germany’s federal domestic intelligence agency – the rough equivalent of Shin Bet – said in its report on Tuesday: “The State of Israel, its representatives and supporters as well as members of the Jewish religious community are among the declared enemies of Iran. Even the agreement made between Iran and the Western world to settle the nuclear conflict has not changed this attitude. Therefore, Iranian intelligence-related organizations continue to spy on (pro-)Jewish and Israeli targets in Germany.”

The Hamburg intelligence report cited a case involving federal prosecution of three German citizens for violations of the Federal Republic’s export economic law because the suspects furnished 51 special valves to an Iranian company that can be used for Iran’s sanctioned Arak heavy water reactor. The valves, the report noted, “can be used to develop plutonium for nuclear weapons.” Iran pledged, under the JCPOA deal, to “dismantle the [Arak] facility,” the intelligence officials wrote.

An intelligence report from the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg stated, “Regardless of the number of national and international sanctions and embargoes, countries like Iran, Pakistan and North Korea are making efforts to optimize corresponding technology.”

According to the Baden-Württemberg report, Iran sought “products and scientific knowhow for the field of developing weapons of mass destruction as well missile technology.” The 181-page document cites Iran’s illicit cyberware, espionage, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction procurement activities 49 times.

A telling example of Iran’s evasion sanctions strategy involved the assistance of a Chinese front company. The intelligence agency wrote that a Chinese import-export company contacted a company in the southern German state that sells “complex metal producing machines.” The Baden-Württemberg report outlined that the technology would aid Iran’s development of ballistic missiles.

Germany’s Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control issued an end-use receipt for the Chinese purchase. Intelligence officials notified the manufacturer that the merchandise was slated to be illegally diverted to Iran. “This case shows that so-called indirect-deliveries across third countries is still Iran’s procurement strategy,” wrote the intelligence officials. Sophisticated engineering and technological companies are situated in Baden-Württemberg and it has long been a target for illicit Iranian procurement efforts.

A third state intelligence report from June said that in the 2016, “German companies located in Rhineland-Palatinate were contacted for illegal procurement attempts by [Pakistan, North Korea and Iran]. The procurement attempts involved goods that were subject to authorization and approval on account of legal export restrictions and UN embargoes. These goods, for example, could be used for a state’s nuclear and missile programs.”

Germany’s national intelligence agency (the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution or BfV) did not include Iran’s activities in Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hamburg in its report.

It is unclear why Germany’s federal intelligence document omitted significant data and information on Iran’s continued drive to obtain nuclear weapons technology in the states. German remains Iran’s most important trade partner.

The 339-page federal document wrote that Iran has not stopped its missile and rocket programs: “The amount of evidence found for attempts to acquire proliferation-sensitive material for missile technology/ the missile program, which is not covered by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, remained about the same.”

The report said, however, that there was “significantly less evidence of Iranian attempts to acquire proliferation-sensitive material for its nuclear program. As far as the BfV was able to verify such evidence, it did not reveal any violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.”

According to the federal document, “The Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran are the major players behind espionage activities that are directed against Germany. Cyberattacks can now also be attributed to presumed government agencies in Iran.”

The second anniversary of the JCPOA will be marked on Friday.