Archive for August 14, 2017

All About the Facts

August 14, 2017

All About the FactsLegal Grounds via YouTube, August 13, 2017

(A new LATMATV video — DM)

 

Iran Sending Warships to Atlantic Ocean Amid Massive New Military Buildup

August 14, 2017

Iran Sending Warships to Atlantic Ocean Amid Massive New Military Buildup, Washington Free Beacon, August 14, 2017

Iranian military ship and light replenishment ship are seen docked for refueling / Getty Images)

Iran is preparing to send a flotilla of warships to the Atlantic Ocean following the announcement of a massive $500 million investment in war spending, according to Iranian leaders, who say the military moves are in response to recent efforts by the United States to impose a package of new economic sanctions on Tehran.

The military investment and buildup comes following weeks of tense interactions between Iran and the United States in regional waters, where Iranian military ships have carried out a series of dangerous maneuvers near U.S. vessels. The interactions have roiled U.S. military leaders and prompted tough talk from the Trump administration, which is currently examining potential ways to leave the landmark nuclear deal.

Iran’s increasingly hostile behavior also follows a little-noticed United Nations report disclosing that Iran has repeatedly violated international accords banning ballistic missile work. Lawmakers in the U.S. Congress and some policy experts also believe that Iran has been violating some provisions in the nuclear agreement governing nuclear-related materials.

With tensions over sanctions and Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement growing, Iranian parliamentary members voted to increase war spending by more than $500 million. This is at least the second recent cash influx to Iran’s military since the landmark nuclear deal that unfroze billions in Iranian assets and saw the United States awarding Tehran millions in cash.

Iranian lawmakers reportedly shouted “death to America” as they passed the measure, which boosts spending to Iran’s contested missile programs by around $260 million.

The bill also imposes sanctions on U.S. military officials in the region. Additionally, Iranian officials are moving to set up courts to prosecute the United States for the recent sanctions, which Iran claims are in violation of the nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, following several aggressive encounters with U.S. military vessels in the Persian Gulf, Iranian military leaders announced that they would be leading a flotilla of warships into the Atlantic Ocean.

“No military official in the world thought that we can go round Africa to the Atlantic Ocean through the Suez Canal but we did it as we had declared that we would go to the Atlantic and its Western waters,” Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari was quoted as saying over the weekend.

“We moved into the Atlantic and will go to its Western waters in the near future,” Sayyari said.

U.S. military officials reported Monday yet another “unsafe” encounter with an Iranian drone that was shadowing a U.S. carrier in the Persian Gulf region and reportedly came close enough to an American F-18 jet to risk the pilot’s life.

As with other similar encounters during the past months, the Iranian craft did not respond to repeated radio calls by the United States. While the drone is said to have been unarmed, it is capable of carrying missiles.

Iranian leaders have been adamant that the country will not halt its work on ballistic missile technology, which could be used to carry nuclear weapons.

The United States has issued several new packages of sanctions as a result of this behavior, but U.N. members have yet to address the issue, despite recent reporting that found Iran is violating international accords barring such behavior.

“Little-noticed biannual reporting by the UN Secretary General alleges that Iran is repeatedly violating these non-nuclear provisions,” Iran Watch, a nuclear watchdog group, reported on Monday.

“Thus far, the United States has responded to such violations with sanctions and designations of Iranian and foreign entities supporting Tehran’s ballistic missile development,” the organization found. “However, the U.N. and its member states have not responded. More must be done to investigate allegations of noncompliance and to punish violations of the resolution.”

Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser and expert on rogue regimes, said that Iran’s recent behavior shows the regime has not moderated since the nuclear deal was implemented. The Obama administration sold the deal in part on promises that it could help bring Tehran into the community of nations.

“Every time the Islamic Republic has cash, it chooses guns over butter,” Rubin told the Washington Free Beacon. “What the [nuclear deal] and subsequent hostage ransom did was fill Iran’s coffers, and now we see the result of that.”

“What [former President Barack] Obama and [former Secretary of State John] Kerry essentially did was gamble that if they funded a mad scientist’s lab, the scientist would rather make unicorns rather than nukes,” Rubin said. “News flash for the echo chamber: Iranian reformist are just hardliners who smile more. Neither their basic philosophy nor their commitment to terrorism have changed.”

Muslims have the most to lose if we play dumb on Islamic terrorism

August 14, 2017

Muslims have the most to lose if we play dumb on Islamic terrorism, Washington Examiner, Clifford Smith, August 11, 2017

(Militant photo via AP, File)

Politically, it is difficult to have an honest discussion about the difference between Islam, a religion with many interpretations, and radical Islamism, a totalitarian political ideology. In previous years, Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., and (now former) Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., have been criticized for remarks they made discussing this distinction, due to fear such distinctions were somehow “Islamophobic.”

Unfortunately, it seems that little has changed. Last month, by a vote of 208-217, the U.S. House of Representatives voted down an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., that would require the Defense Department to conduct “strategic assessments of the use of violent or unorthodox Islamic religious doctrine to support extremist or terrorist messaging and justification.”

The rejection of this amendment is disappointing on its merits. A better understanding of radical Islam would enhance our national security, and the Pentagon in particular could put these insights to use.

Even more dispiriting are the floor statements by several members of Congress in opposition to the amendment, which highlight the immense moral and intellectual confusion that exists in America concerning Islam.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., complained that the amendment doesn’t “apply its arbitrary surveillance equally” by “includ[ing] assessments of White supremacist terrorism or terrorism committed against abortion clinics and doctors.”

While no one is defending anti-abortion related and race-related murders, they aren’t serious national security threats at the moment. There have been, at most, 11 murders in the history of the United States as the result of violent anti-abortion sentiments. Islamist Nidal Hasan killed more than that in just a few minutes in the Fort Hood Massacre, and that’s just one attack. White supremacist violence is a bigger problem, as demonstrated by the Charleston church shooting. But it is diffuse, unorganized, and lacking in foreign support and connections.

While few people in the U.S. military are likely to come face to face with an angry and armed racist or anti-abortion activist in the line of duty, radical Islamists make it their business to kill Americans in nearly every corner of the world.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., opined that “(T)errorist killers have used religious doctrines and concepts from every major religion on earth … Focusing on (Islam) exacerbates the problem by fomenting the myth that religious fanaticism and terrorism are unique to the charlatans and predators of Islam.”

But the question is whether religiously-inspired threats to U.S. national security emanate predominantly from Muslims at this particular moment in time. And they do.

It is certainly true that, historically, many sects of many religions have been exploited to justify murder and violence in pursuit of power. However, it is unsupportable to say that all religions are the same, or that all religions have equally threatening ideological trends at all points in history.

The West Betrays U.S. Heroes Who Prevented Another 9/11

August 14, 2017

The West Betrays U.S. Heroes Who Prevented Another 9/11, Gatestone InstituteGiulio Meotti, August 14, 2017

“Those who work as spies know the risks from America’s enemies, but they shouldn’t have to worry about politicized retribution from its friends” — The Wall Street Journal.

These officials should have never be prosecuted in a court; they should be protected from such actions. This prosecution is a betrayal of those who worked hard to prevent more massacres and to cripple the infrastructure of jihad.

That is the most important lesson: our spies and officials involved in the war against Islamic terrorism, like those who prevented another 9/11, now fear not only the wrath of the jihadists, but also the witch hunt of our media and judicial system.

One of the most important chapters in the war on terror is being rewritten — with a moral inversion. Islamic terrorists who were arrested and deported have become “liberal causes célèbres“, while agents of the CIA who questioned them are not only being condemned but also financially crushed by punishment and legal bills — for having tried, legally, to save American lives.

Guantanamo Bay has supposedly become “the Gulag of our time“; the psychologists who interrogated the murderer who sawed off Daniel Pearl’s head have been charged with working “for money“; the “black sites” in the Polish and Lithuanian forests have been compared to Nazi concentration camps, and the U.S. jurists and officials who conducted the war on terror have been compared to the Germans hanged in Nuremberg.

“In just a few months, Obama had sent the CIA back to the September 10 culture of risk aversion and timidity that had contributed to the disaster of 9/11”, Bruce Thornton wrote in his book, The Wages of Appeasement. A few examples of Obama’s policy include a directive to release Justice Department memos on the process of vetting interrogation techniques for legality. The attorney general at the time, Eric Holder, appointed a special prosecutor to determine if the CIA officers involved in the interrogation program had been guilty of breaking the law.

A judicial condemnation, however, has begun only now. A federal judge in Spokane, Washington, has opened one of the most important trials in the recent U.S. history. For the first time after September 11, three American citizens involved in interrogating Islamic terrorists have been called to answer to a judge. The New York Times released the video of their testimony. The federal court in Spokane, Washington, heard Bruce Jessen, James Mitchell and Jose Rodriguez testifying on their role in the war on terror. They are among the heroes who prevented another 9/11; now they are on the bench.

“I’ll tell you a story,” Bruce Jessen testified.

“Two Christmases ago, I get a call from the CIA; my grandchildren and my daughter and son-in-law are living with us. You have 15 minutes to get out of your house because ISIS has found someone to come and kill you and your family… Now, those — that isn’t the only threat I’ve received over the years, I’ve received lots of them. And I’m not afraid, and I did my duty and I stood up and I went to war, and I’ll stand up to any of them again, but I don’t want them messing with my family… And when you stick your face in the public eye, you get people like the SSCI and [Senator Dianne] Feinstein and the ACLU and other people who accuse you of things you didn’t do, who out your name, who give them your address, who print articles that are full of crap about you, and it makes it difficult.”

Jose Rodriguez, the former head of the CIA clandestine service, told the court what was at stake:

“George Washington did not face an enemy like Al Qaeda. These are people who want to die as martyrs and see the killing of thousands of innocent men, women, and children as justifiable to promote their cause. Making a few of the worst terrorists on the planet uncomfortable for a few days during their first month of imprisonment is worth it in order to save thousands of lives”.

John Rizzo also testified. In 2002, when George W. Bush signed the executive order in which he argued that the Geneva Convention does not apply to terrorists, Rizzo was an interim legal advisor. “No, I can’t honestly sit here today and say I should have objected to that”, Rizzo said.

Now, Judge Justin L Quackenbush of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, cleared the way for the case to move to the trial phase, rejecting the psychologists’ lawyers request for summary judgement. “This is a historic day for our clients and all who seek accountability for torture,” ACLU attorney Dror Ladin said in a press release. “The court’s ruling means that for the first time, individuals responsible for the brutal and unlawful CIA torture program will face meaningful legal accountability for what they did”.

These officials should have never be prosecuted in a court; they should be protected from such actions. This prosecution is a betrayal of those who worked hard to prevent more massacres and to cripple the infrastructure of jihad.

Many former CIA directors explained that the program of enhanced interrogation techniques worked extremely well:

“It led to the capture of senior al Qaeda operatives, thereby removing them from the battlefield; it led to the disruption of terrorist plots and prevented mass casualty attacks, saving American and Allied lives; it added enormously to what we knew about al Qaeda as an organization and therefore informed our approaches on how best to attack, thwart and degrade it”.

The CIA claimed the demonstrable successes of the interrogation program: the raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed; the capture of José Padilla, accused of wanting to commit an attack in the United States with a dirty radiological bomb; preventing an attack on the US consulate in Karachi, Pakistan; a second wave of attacks after September 11 with a plan to hijack a plane and crash it into Library Tower in Los Angeles.

Jessen and Mitchell are not the only psychologists now in trouble for their involvement in this program. There are also the military psychologist Morgan BanksStephen Behnke, a former director of the American Psychological Association’s ethics office; Joseph Matarazzo, a former chairperson of the Psychologist Association, who allegedly wrote an opinion for the CIA in which the deprivation of sleep would not constitute “torture”.

One of the most important cases of rendition took place in the Italian city of Milan against Abu Omar; the verdict ended by condemning CIA agents. Robert Seldon Lady, the former head of the CIA in Milan, and involved in the Abu Omar case, was arrested and released in Panama. In a rare interview, the Wall Street Journal wrote:

“Mr. Lady, who had planned to retire and become a security consultant from a farm house he bought with his life savings in Italy’s Piedmont region, received the stiffest sentence — eight years in prison, increased to nine on appeal. Before the case went to trial, Magistrate Armando Spataro sued to seize Mr. Lady’s house and use the proceeds to pay damages to Abu Omar. Mr. Lady fled Italy in 2005 but lost his property. His 30-year marriage, he says, was another casualty”.

Sabrina De Sousa, another CIA agent involved in the Milan rendition, avoided the jail only thanks to being pardoned by the Italian authorities.

The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Macedonia for the rendition of a German citizen. The European judges also condemned Poland for hosting one of the CIA’s secret sites. Spanish judges opened a criminal file against some senior Bush administration officials, including John Yoo and Jay S. Bybee of the Justice Department, and William Haynes, a former senior Pentagon jurist. John Yoo, now a professor at University of California, Berkeley, wrote the 2003 memorandum authorizing the CIA’s interrogation techniques. The German attorney Wolfgang Kaleck filed a criminal complaint against Yoo; Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the Law School at the California University, asked to prosecute Yoo, who was also sued by José Padilla, a convicted American terrorist.

In 2009, Spanish judges opened a criminal file against some senior Bush administration officials, including John Yoo (pictured) of the Justice Department. Yoo, now a professor at University of California, Berkeley, wrote the 2003 memorandum authorizing the CIA’s interrogation techniques. (Image source: Commonwealth Club/Wikimedia Commons)

Recently, attorneys of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in Berlin, filed a criminal complaint against Gina Haspel, now the CIA’s number-two person under Director Mike Pompeo, and charged her with being involved in directing a secret CIA detention facility near Bangkok, Thailand. Will U.S. officials fear that traveling in Europe might expose them to arrest?

The Wall Street Journal wrote last year, regarding the De Sousa case:

“The threat from terrorism is worse than at any time since 9/11, even as the West has limited its capacity for self-defense… Those who work as spies know the risks from America’s enemies, but they shouldn’t have to worry about politicized retribution from its friends. Sabrina De Sousa’s abandonment by the U.S. government sends a demoralizing message to all who serve in the shadows, even as the war on terror enters a dangerous new phase.”

That is the most important lesson: our brave spies and officials involved in the war against Islamic terrorism, like those who prevented another 9/11, now fear not only the wrath of the jihadists, but also the witch hunt of a Western media and judicial system.

As James E. Mitchell said, by prosecuting what the U.S. and the West have done in the war on terror, “we will be standing on the moral high ground, looking down into a smoking hole that used to be several city blocks”.

Riot in Charlottesville

August 14, 2017

Riot in Charlottesville, Front Page MagazineMatthew Vadum, August 14, 2017

(Please see also, What I saw yesterday in Charlottesville and Left-Wing Extremism Feeds an Extremist Reaction.– DM)

The mayor, who appears regularly in national media to denounce President Trump, had previously tried to deny the permit for the rally but the ACLU backed organizers in a lawsuit and a federal judge reinstated the permit.

No one appeared more delighted by the violence than Mayor Signer who promptly used the opportunity to smear President Trump, who obviously had nothing to do with it.

“Well look at the campaign he ran,” Signer told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “Look at the intentional courting, both on the one hand of all these white supremacist, white nationalist groups, anti-Semitic groups; and then look on the other hand, the repeated failure to step up, condemn, denounce, silence, put to bed all those different efforts, just like we saw yesterday.”

Signer’s statement was a lie from start to finish. Trump has not courted any white-supremacist, white-nationalist, or anti-Semitic groups. He has condemned such groups over and over again. How many times must he condemn people with whom he has nothing to do?

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

Political extremists clashed Saturday before a “Unite the Right” rally planned around a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, and as usual the police sat back and did virtually nothing as left-wingers rioted.

Described as a “white nationalist” event, radical rightist and racist Richard Spencer was on the list of speakers scheduled to address the audience. Although not every right-winger attending the “Unite the Right” rally (which might have been more aptly named “Hijack the Right”) was a fascist and not every counter-protester was an authoritarian extremist, the fighting appears to have been largely between the extremists from both ends of the political spectrum.

In a rare instance of what appears to be terrorism emanating from the so-called extreme Right, police say alleged neo-Nazi James Alex Fields, 20, used his car to plow into a crowd of counter-protesters not far from the scheduled rally at Emancipation Park.

About 20 people were injured, one of them fatally. Paralegal Heather D. Heyer, 32, was killed. Fields was arrested and is being held on suspicion of second-degree murder.

Fields was captured quickly by the police but witnesses suggested that was about the only thing the police did well. Tragically, two Virginia State Police officials were killed in a helicopter crash on the way to Charlottesville to provide assistance. Foul play is not suspected.

As things got out of hand in the streets, by late morning Saturday, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) had declared a state of emergency and the crowd was ordered to disperse. The noontime “Unite the Right” rally had never officially gotten underway.

Riot eyewitness Levi Smith told online commentator Brittany Pettibone the police didn’t do much to prevent the violence. “I got there and the police were incredibly hands-off.”

Bottles of urine were thrown and some in the crowd wielded pepper spray. And people began to hit each other with clubs.

A young “antifa” thug beat up a female reporter from a mainstream media outlet who was covering the first-responders dealing with the aftermath of the car crash.

A tattooed, shirtless Jacob L. Smith, 21, of Louisa, Virginia, was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery for striking Taylor Lorenz, a reporter for The Hill, a Washington, D.C.-based newspaper focusing on politics. An outstanding warrant was pending against Smith when he was arrested.

Lorenz waded into a crowd of counter-protesters to take video footage. About 15 minutes after the car attack, Smith asked her to stop filming without offering an explanation why. He shouted, “Stop the f–king recording!” She continued filming and he punched her in the face, knocking the recording device out of her hand and onto the ground.

Rally organizer and blogger Jason Kessler tried to hold a press conference after the various melees but was reportedly shouted down by an angry mob of leftists and punched by a man identified as Jeff Winder. It was unclear at time of writing if Winder had been arrested for the assault.

“What happened yesterday was the result of the Charlottesville police officers refusing to do their job,” he said. “They stood down and did not follow through with the agreed-upon security arrangements.” The police “exacerbated” the violence by failing to separate the two sides, he added.

As Kessler walked away from the media scrum, a Virginia State Police officer witnessed a man spitting on Kessler. Charlottesville resident Robert K. Litzenberger, 47, was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery.

In a separate interview online, Kessler told “The Red Elephants” that local police “stood down” and refused to protect the rally attendees.

State troopers were out in force to provide security for the rally but for the first hour and a half, Charlottesville police were nowhere to be found, he said.

“Blood is on the hands of the Charlottesville City Council and possibly on [Governor] Terry McAuliffe,” Kessler said.

Brittany Caine-Conley, a minister in training at a local church, faulted the police.

“There was no police presence,” she said. “We were watching people punch each other; people were bleeding all the while police were inside of barricades at the park, watching. It was essentially just brawling on the street and community members trying to protect each other.”

Caine-Conley and many other witnesses interviewed by the New York Times said police waited too long to intervene. Caine-Conley called it “fascinating and appalling.”

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said that apart from failing to prevent the mass casualties that occurred, the state troopers did “great work.”

Observing the various melees from the safety of a sixth-floor command post, Brian Moran, Virginia’s secretary of public safety and homeland security, seemed amused by the violence. “I compare it to hockey,” he told the New York Times. “Often in hockey there are sporadic fights, and then they separate.”

Moran rationalized the inaction by the police. “But from our plan to ensure the safety of our citizens and property, it went extremely well.”

It is a common complaint by right-of-center activists that the police refuse to halt leftist violence. We see it time and time again. When Milo Yiannopoulos tried to speak at UC Berkeley this year, the police stood down and allowed left-wingers to run wild, damaging property, assaulting people, and setting fires.

So who’s in charge of the local government in Charlottesville? You guessed it: a far-left Democrat ideologically similar to Barack Obama who supports the goals of antifa (short for anti-fascists) and the DNC-endorsed Black Lives Matter movement.

Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer is, of course, a leftist who has been involved in Democrat politics for years going back at least to the John Edwards presidential campaign. He received a Ph.D. in political science from — of all places — UC Berkeley and teaches a course at the University of Virginia titled “Race, Policy and the Past.”

The mayor, who appears regularly in national media to denounce President Trump, had previously tried to deny the permit for the rally but the ACLU backed organizers in a lawsuit and a federal judge reinstated the permit.

No one appeared more delighted by the violence than Mayor Signer who promptly used the opportunity to smear President Trump, who obviously had nothing to do with it.

“Well look at the campaign he ran,” Signer told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “Look at the intentional courting, both on the one hand of all these white supremacist, white nationalist groups, anti-Semitic groups; and then look on the other hand, the repeated failure to step up, condemn, denounce, silence, put to bed all those different efforts, just like we saw yesterday.”

Signer’s statement was a lie from start to finish. Trump has not courted any white-supremacist, white-nationalist, or anti-Semitic groups. He has condemned such groups over and over again. How many times must he condemn people with whom he has nothing to do?

On Saturday, Trump condemned the “many sides” for violence in Charlottesville. Left-wingers and a few Republicans including NeverTrumper Bill Kristol sharply criticized Trump for being insufficiently specific. The next day the White House offered a clarification, saying Trump condemns violence, bigotry, and hatred, and “of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazis and all extremist groups.”

Trump critics reject Trump’s blanket condemnation because they say it “equates the actions of the white supremacists with those of the counterprotesters,” according to Politico.

If the president meant to say both sides were bad, he’s 100 percent correct because both sides are fascist. White-supremacists, Klansmen, and neo-Nazis are openly fascistic while left-wing antifa are covert fascists who falsely claim to oppose fascism in order to occupy the moral high ground. Both sides believe in a massive, authoritarian state and in using violence to accomplish their political goals. The extreme Right hates blacks and Jews and some other groups; the extreme Left hates whites, Jews, rich and middle-class people, cops, and Americans in general.

There is a reason why the Left tries so hard to force public figures like President Trump to denounce people they hate. If he won’t, they can condemn him and control a few news cycles’ worth of media coverage and accuse him of moral cowardice and complicity for not speaking out. If he obliges them, they still win, because the denunciation receives media coverage. The more it gets repeated, the more the idea can be cemented in the public mind that, hey, maybe this guy really does have a connection to these bad people. Getting the target to repeat the lie that he is associated with right-wing extremists, if only to smack it down right away, serves over time to make the repeated lie seem like a “Freudian slip” by the speaker, thus reinforcing the lie in the minds of the public.

Community organizing communist Saul Alinsky took it further, urging his followers to dress in Ku Klux Klan uniforms and show up at Republican rallies with signs endorsing the Republican speaker. Left-wingers tried to do this sort of thing to Ronald Reagan many times and he almost never took the bait. It is simply not the job of the president of the United States to denounce every single evil person or act that takes place in the nation.

Mayor Signer doesn’t get that. To the Left everything is political – even silence.