Archive for October 2017

UN Launches $65M Legal Pogrom to Hunt Down Israelis and Smear Israel as Criminal State

October 31, 2017

UN Launches $65M Legal Pogrom to Hunt Down Israelis and Smear Israel as Criminal State, PJ Media,  Anne Bayefsky, October 31, 2017

(AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

The United Nations has made a deal with the Palestinians to fund a $65 million legal pogrom directed at Israel. The party on the Palestinian side was referred to as the “Government of the State of Palestine.”

More specifically, the “United Nations System in the occupied Palestinian territory” plans to pay eight UN bodies $64,838,510 between the years of 2018 and 2022 to hunt down individual Israelis and to smear Israel as a criminal state.

The eight UN bodies or agencies to receive the funds are:

  1. Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
  2. UNICEF (the children’s fund)
  3. The UN Development Program
  4. UN Women
  5. UNESCO
  6. UN Habitat
  7. The World Health Organization
  8. UNRWA (the Palestinian refugee agency).

Except for UNESCO, which the United States no longer supports, 22% of the money will come from American taxpayers.

The deal, first signed and disseminated in Arabic on June 15, 2017, is part of the “UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for the occupied Palestinian territory for 2018-2022.”

Lawfare at the UN in Israel’s case goes by the stage name of “accountability.” It includes accusing Israel of war crimes, apartheid, and crimes against humanity; sending spurious cases to the International Criminal Court; engaging in boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns to destroy the economic well-being of Israel; and making false accusations of violations of fabricated “international law” — in particular criminalizing Israel’s right of self-defense. The goal is unambiguous: the demonization and destruction of the Jewish state.

Lawfare is the converse of a negotiated, peaceful resolution of Israeli-Palestinian disputes, as required by existing agreements between the parties.

According to the report that details the deal, the outcome was a product of consultations that involved non-governmental organizations (NGOs) well-knownfor their extremist ideologies, including the promotion of terrorism and overt anti-Semitism.

An Annex lists some of the specific NGOs consulted — such as Al-Haq, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, and the Palestinian NGO Network — while keeping others confidential.

Here is some of the language from the UN Development Assistance Framework:

Strategic Priority 1: Supporting Palestine’s path to Independence

… the UNCT [the UN “country team”] will focus its interventions on providing support for Palestinian institutions, civil society and individuals to increase the effective use of international mechanisms to uphold accountability. This will be built on increasing knowledge of rights and mechanisms, strengthening capacities to document violations and their impact and on sharpening the ability to advocate effectively for rights to be respected …

Outcome 1:

Human rights mechanisms are increasingly engaged to hold Israel accountable for its obligations under international law. The UN will increase its support for Palestinian institutions (state and non-government) and Palestinian victims of violations to effectively monitor, advocate and seek legal recourse for violations by the occupying power.

This will include training, capacity-building and technical advice to ensure that Palestinian victims and institutions are equipped with the knowledge and tools to effectively access international accountability mechanisms in order to hold Israel accountable for its violations under international law. It will also aim to strengthen the capacity of Palestinian organizations to advocate effectively for the rights of Palestinians in the occupied territory …

Box 4: Summary of UNDAF Resources Required by Agency and Strategic Priority (US $)

 

Is The JCPOA Working?

October 31, 2017

Is The JCPOA Working? MEMRIYigal Carmon and A. Savyon*, October 30, 2017

Introduction

All JCPOA supporters rely on the claim that “the agreement is working” and on the eight confirmations granted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to Iran that it is in compliance with the agreement.

Reality, however, invalidates this claim, on four levels:

  1. Violations of the agreement in letter, not just “in spirit,” in issues that are critical, not marginal.
  2. Developments on the ground that contradict the aim of the agreement.
  3. The lack of real inspection, making the IAEA’s confirmation misleading.
  4. The IAEA’s role in this deliberate misrepresentation that real inspection is carried out and that Iran is abiding by the agreement.

This paper will present evidence that the agreement is not working.

Violations Of The JCPOA

  • Section T –Iran is refusing to allow IAEA inspectors to monitor activities under Section T of the agreement, which prohibits Iran from carrying out “activities which could contribute to the development of a nuclear explosive device.”

Section T of the JCPOA prohibits Iran from “designing, developing, fabricating, acquiring, or using multi-point explosive detonation systems suitable for a nuclear explosive device” and also from “designing, developing, fabricating, acquiring, or using explosive diagnostic systems (streak cameras, framing cameras and flash x-ray cameras)” – unless these activities are “approved by the Joint Commission for non-nuclear purposes” and “subject to monitoring.”

Hence, in the most critical area of the nuclear agreement – developing options for detonating a nuclear explosive device – Iran is refusing to allow monitoring of its activity, as the agreement requires.

  1. Building advanced centrifuges –Iran is building (IR-8) and operating (IR-6) larger numbers of advanced centrifuges than is allowed by the agreement.[1]
  2. HeavyWater –Iran’s actual heavy water quota exceeds the quantity permitted it by the agreement, since according to standard IAEA verification practices, changes in heavy water inventory are registered not when the heavy water is removed from the territory of the country exporting it, but only when it arrives at the destination country that purchased it. For Iran, however, the calculation of the quantity of heavy water that it is allowed to possess does not include the quantity that is being stored for it in Oman and not being sold – while at the same time Iran is continuing to produce more heavy water.
  3. The core of the plutonium reactor at Arak –According to Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization Of Iran (AEOI) and a member of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team, Iran never dismantled the core of the plutonium reactor at Arak, but left it intact, saying that Iran neededit for research purposes. He also said that only the external pipelines of the reactor had been filled with cement, and that it would not take very long for Iran to reactivate it.[2] According to the Institute for Science and International Security (IISS), Iran has also tried to make changes to the fuel design for the modified Arak reactor, that differ from what the JCPOA requires.
  4. Production of uranium enriched to 5% –Iran is continuing to produce uranium enriched to 5% beyond the quantity permitted it. Two such violations have been recorded by the IAEA. Iran has exported the surplus for storage in Oman, in a procedure that does not exist in the agreement and is not allowed.
  5. Developments On The Ground That Contradict The Aim Of The JCPOA
  6. The8.5 tons of enriched uranium shipped out from Iran according to the JCPOA are not being monitored  by the IAEA,and in fact the shipment disappeared in Russia, as attested to by the Obama administration’s State Department lead coordinator on Iran, Stephen Mull, at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in February 2016. (Theoretically, however, since the uranium’s location is not known, the possibility that Russia, Iran’s ally, has returned it to Iran should not be discounted.)
  7. Oman, a political satellite of Iran that has nocapability for confronting Iran, has become the warehouse for Iran’s surplus heavy water and enriched uranium. The storage of this material in Oman is nothing more than a fiction aimed at covering up the fact that Iran is exceeding the amount of uranium and heavy water allowed it in the JCPOA.
  8. Lack Of Real Inspection, Making IAEA Confirmation Misleading

The IAEA cannot conduct real inspections in Iran, and therefore its confirmation that Iran is complying with the JCPOA is misleading, for the following reasons:

  1. The inspection that the IAEA is permitted to conduct, and through which Iran receives confirmation that it is meeting the terms of the agreement, is carried out solely in the limited areas where Iran allows inspection – that is, the sites that it itself has declared to be nuclear sites. No other site in Iran, including military sites, are included. Furthermore, with regard to the military sites, Iranian officials have stressed that the IAEA will never be allowed to enter them.
  2. The agreement has created a unique inspection framework for Iran that is less stringent than that for the other Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) member countries. For example, Iran has been allowed to accept the Additional Protocol voluntarily – that is, it was not mandatory as it was for the others – meaning that it can drop out of the Additional Protocol at any time (for instance, when it is required to allow inspection of military sites) without being considered in violation of the JCPOA. That is, Iran can prevent inspection of its military sites, both under the JCPOA and because it is not bound by the Additional Protocol.
  3. The agreement has created a supreme political forum – the Joint Committee of the JCPOA – in order to bypass the IAEA  and its decisions. The Joint Committee is authorized to overrule the IAEA’s statutory professional authority. 
  4. The IAEA’s Role In The Misrepresentation Of Iran’s Compliance And Of The Inspection Process
  5. 1. The IAEA does not declare Iran’s rejection of inspections, according to Section T, a violation of the JCPOA, but rather calls for handing the issue over for discussion to the political body – the Joint Committee.
  6. The IAEA carried out a scandalous inspection at the Parchin military site, that was aimed at closing Iran’s Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) file in accordance with a predetermined political decision. IAEA inspectors did not themselves visit Parchin, and the samples from these sites were taken by the Iranians themselves and handed over to the IAEA inspectors without any way of ascertaining that the samples taken were the ones handed over to the IAEA. Furthermore, IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano was allowed entrance to Parchin for only a few minutes, and he was not permitted to bring in any equipment, not even his cellphone.[3]Through this process, the IAEA even agreed not to question nuclear scientists, as it had demanded to do over the years.
  7. The IAEA is refusing to wield its authority by initiating inspections of military sites, as sanctioned by both the Additional Protocol and U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, and despite statements by IAEA secretary-general Amano that he has the authority to do this.
  8. The IAEA is acting vis-à-vis Iran in violation of its own export control system, to which exporters of heavy water such as Canada and India are subject.[4]

____________________________

*Yigal Carmon is President of MEMRI; A. Savyon is Director of the MEMRI Iran Media Project.

[1] See IISS report “Update on Iran’s Compliance with the JCPOA Nuclear Limits – Iran’s Centrifuge Breakage Problem: Accidental Compliance,” Isis-online.org, September 21, 2017.

[2] See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1341, Head Of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization: Only External Pipelines Of Arak Reactor Were Filled With Cement, Its Core Was Not; Within Five Days, We Can Begin Enriching Uranium To 20%, September 1, 2017.

[3] ISNA (Iran), Sept 21, 2015.

[4] See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1348, The JCPOA’s Critical Flaw Is Its Lack Of Real Inspection By The IAEA; Those Focusing On Iran’s Ballistic Missiles And The JCPOA’s Sunset Clause Are Evading The Urgent Issue – The Need For Real Inspection Now, October 3, 2017.

 

Surprise! Study Shows Islamic Terrorism is Islamic

October 31, 2017

Surprise! Study Shows Islamic Terrorism is Islamic, Gatestone InstituteJudith Bergman, October 31, 2017

Although the internet evidently did play a role in the radicalization process, the study showed that face-to-face encounters were more important, and that dawa, the proselytizing of Islam, played a central role in this process, as the men themselves became missionaries for Islam.

The third factor was the establishment of a “them and us” distinction between the radicalized men and the rest of the world, especially the belief that the West is an enemy of the Muslim world. The distinction also involved a rejection of democracy and a commitment to the establishment of a caliphate governed by sharia law, which the men want to bring about either through dawa(proselytizing) or violence (jihad).

“The Islamic State is a byproduct of Al Azhar’s programs. So can Al Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic? Al Azhar says there must be a caliphate and that it is an obligation for the Muslim world. Al Azhar teaches the law of apostasy and killing the apostate. Al Azhar is hostile towards religious minorities, and teaches things like not building churches, etc. Al Azhar upholds the institution of jizya [extracting tribute from non-Muslims]. Al Azhar teaches stoning people. So can Al Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic?” — Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah Nasr, scholar of Islamic law, graduate of Egypt’s Al Azhar University, explaining why it refused to denounce ISIS as un-Islamic, 2015.

Western leaders insist that Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. Evidence to the contrary appeared again this week from Mohamad Jamal Khweis, an ISIS recruit from the United States who said in a 2016 interview with Kurdistan24, “Our daily life was basically prayer, eating and learning about the religion for about eight hours.” Khweis was sentenced to 20 years in prison on October 27 for providing material support to ISIS, according to CBS News.

As early as 2001, immediately after 9/11, then-President George W. Bush gave a speech in which he claimed that in the United States, the terrorist acts in which over 3,000 people were killed “violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith” and that “Islam is peace”.

Twelve years and many spectacular terrorist attacks later, in 2013, when two jihadists murdered Lee Rigby in broad daylight in London, the prime minister at the time, David Cameron, declaredthat the attack was “a betrayal of Islam… there is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act”.

In January 2015, jihadists in Paris shouting “Allahu Akbar” attacked Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, murdering 15 people. French President François Hollande said that the jihadists had “nothing to do with the Muslim faith”.

Two years later, when a jihadist targeted the very heart of European democratic civilization, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Bridge, British PM Theresa May said: “It is wrong to describe this as Islamic terrorism. It is Islamist terrorism and the perversion of a great faith”.

In the face of hundreds of Muslim terrorists yelling “Allahu Akbar” while bombing, shooting, stabbing, and car-ramming thousands of innocent civilians to death and wounding thousands of others, it would be reasonable to assume that elected representatives might feel obliged to put their denial of reality on hold long enough to read at least bits of the Quran. They might start by reading the commands in “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them…” (9:5), or, “So fight them until there is no more fitna [strife] and all submit to the religion of Allah” (8:39).

If that is asking too much, perhaps they might be willing to consider a recent study by Islamic theologian and professor of Islamic religious education at the University of Vienna, Ednan Aslan, which was commissioned by the Austrian ministry of Foreign Affairs. The purpose of the 310-page study, which was conducted over 18 months and involved interviews with 29 Muslims who were all jailed or in juvenile detention (over half for having committed terrorist offenses) was reportedly to investigate the role that Islam plays in the radicalization of young Muslims in Austria. The study showed that jihadists are not, as Western leaders claim, ignorant of Islam and therefore “perverting” it. On the contrary, the jihadists apparently have a deep understanding of Islamic theology. Aslan explicitly warns against reducing the issue of Islamic terrorism to questions of “frustrated individuals, who have no perspective, are illiterate and have misunderstood Islam”.

The study found that three factors were particularly relevant to the radicalization process of the interviewees. The first factor was Islam itself: The interviewees had actively participated in their own radicalization, by engaging with the content, norms and standards of Islamic doctrine, and had apparently found this engagement to be a positive turning point in their lives. The study describes the approach to Islam of these men as “Salafism”, which it defines as the view that Islam comprises all aspects of life, religious, personal and societal. Moreover, the majority of the men evidently came from religious Muslim homes and were therefore already familiar with the foundations of Islam. The study explicitly states that the prevailing assumption that the majority of radicalized Muslims know very little about Islam could not be confirmed by the interviewers’ findings.

The second factor was the environment: the specific mosques and imams to which the men went and on which they relied. Although the internet evidently did play a role in the radicalization process, the study showed that face-to-face encounters were more important, and that dawa, proselytizing Islam, played a central role in this process, as the men themselves became missionaries for Islam. Notably, the study showed that the level of theological knowledge determined the individual’s role in the hierarchy — the more knowledge they had of Islam, the more authority they had.

The third factor was the establishment of a “them and us” distinction between the radicalized men and the rest of the world, especially the belief that the West is an enemy of the Muslim world. The distinction also involved a rejection of democracy and a commitment to the establishment of a caliphate governed by sharia law, which the men want to bring about either through dawa(proselytizing) or violence (jihad).

Critics might argue that a qualitative study of 29 radical Muslims is not representative of most Islamic terrorists, but that is hardly true. In 2015, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah Nasr, a scholar of Islamic law and graduate of Egypt’s Al Azhar University, explained why the prestigious institution, which educates mainstream Islamic scholars, refused to denounce ISIS as un-Islamic:

“The Islamic State is a byproduct of Al Azhar’s programs. So can Al Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic? Al Azhar says there must be a caliphate and that it is an obligation for the Muslim world. Al Azhar teaches the law of apostasy and killing the apostate. Al Azhar is hostile towards religious minorities, and teaches things like not building churches, etc. Al Azhar upholds the institution of jizya [extracting tribute from non-Muslims]. Al Azhar teaches stoning people. So can Al Azhar denounce itself as un-Islamic?”

In 2015, Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt — a prestigious institution that educates mainstream Islamic scholars — refused to denounce ISIS as un-Islamic. (Image source: Sailko/Wikimedia Commons)

Western leaders did not listen.

They also did not listen when, in 2015, The Atlantic published a study by Graeme Wood, who researched the Islamic State and its ideology in depth. He spoke to members of the Islamic State and Islamic State recruiters and concluded:

“The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam”.

How much longer can the West afford to ignore reality?

Judith Bergman is a columnist, lawyer and political analyst.

Nothing Burger With Wheeze

October 31, 2017

Nothing Burger With Wheeze, Amerian Greatness, October 31, 2017

 

It’s a carnival of corruption, a carnival of collusion, but the one name missing from the roster of malefactors is that of President Donald Trump. I believe this whole misbegotten investigation, in the end, will garner a lot of scalps. But the scalps will not, I suspect, be those of Trump or his supporters. Rather, the whole focus of the investigation is likely to shift to the real “colluders with Russia,” the Clintons and their enablers.

This is not a result, I surmise, that Robert Mueller will relish. But if he does not recuse himself (and there are good reasons that he should), I suspect that evidence of the real collusion—to deprive the United States of its lawfully elected president—will point in only one direction. It will be irresistible. And it won’t be directed against Donald Trump.

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

Given the ocean of blaring red type with which the Drudge Report greeted the news of the indictment of Paul Manafort and Richard Gates on Monday morning, you might have thought that here, at last, was the smoking gun in the Trump-colludes-with-Ruskies-to-snatch-the-election-from-Hillary narrative. I have no doubt the collective hearts of Max Boot, Gabe Schoenfeld, and Bill Kristol skipped a joyous beat when they heard tell of the indictments this weekend. “At last!” I could almost hear them exclaim, “It’s make-way-for-ducklings time! Trump will soon be gone and the power brokers will once again pay attention to us. Order in the universe will be restored.”

No such luck, friends. As Ted Cruz observed many months ago, the whole Russian collusion delusion is a “nothing burger.” Robert Mueller’s heavy-handed “let’s-squeeze-’em” pursuit of these two former players in Donald Trump’s campaign may make for dramatic headlines. And doubtless, it is a nuisance (and potentially more) for Messrs. Manafort and Gates, who, if they have incompetent lawyers, may face jail time and extensive fines. But really, at the end of the day, their alleged malfeasance, despite the “Conspiracy against the United States” heading in the indictment, amounts to concealing from Uncle Sam some $75 million they hoovered up as unregistered foreign agents for Ukraine and sending the proceeds through the rinse, suds, spin, and dry cycle back home in the United States. Naughty, yes; prosecutable, to be sure; but it has nothing to do with the assigned subject of Robert Mueller’s terrier-like activities as special counsel.

As my friend Andrew C. McCarthy put it in a characteristically incisive summary of the episode, Mueller’s case “seems shaky and overcharged” and will likely be a “boon to Trump,” who is not mentioned in the indictment, which focuses on activities that took place five and even 10 years ago, long before Donald Trump began disturbing the sleep of the NeverTrumpers.

“Even from Paul Manafort’s perspective,” McCarthy notes,

there may be less to this indictment than meets the eye — it’s not so much a serious allegation of “conspiracy against the United States” as a dubious case of disclosure violations and money movement that would never have been brought had he not drawn attention to himself by temporarily joining the Trump campaign.

Moreover, McCarthy continues, “From President Trump’s perspective, the indictment is a boon from which he can claim that the special counsel has no actionable collusion case.”

It appears to reaffirm former FBI director James Comey’s multiple assurances that Trump is not a suspect. And, to the extent it looks like an attempt to play prosecutorial hardball with Manafort, the president can continue to portray himself as the victim of a witch hunt.

A few days ago, the world was stunned by the news that 1) the original funder of the Fusion GPS anti-Trump research was the conservative website Washington Free Beacon, edited by Matthew Continetti, the son-in-law of energetic NeverTrumper Bill Kristol, and 2) when the Beacon ended its contract with Fusion GPS, its services were picked up by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC. It was at that point, in May-June 2016, that Fusion GPS employed the former British Spy Christopher Steele to look for dirt on Trump in Russia. That was the origin of the infamous “Trump Dossier,” with its (in the words of former FBI director James Comey) “salacious and unverified” claims about Donald Trump’s behavior in Russia.

This whole story has been exhaustively and exhaustingly picked over. Who knew that Tony Podesta, older brother of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, was in bed (and in today’s climate, we must stipulate, not literally) with Paul Manafort? Yep, it’s true. And this just in—the elder Podesta has just announced that he is stepping down from his lobbying firm, the Podesta Group, after, nota bene, it was announced that Mueller was turning his jaundiced eye on him.

Who knew that the FBI, too, engaged the services of Spook Steele to continue gathering dirt on Trump? Did that work provide the rationale for the Obama Administration’s going to the FISA Court to get authorization to bug Trump’s associates? What about Robert Mueller? He was head of the FBI when that storied agency was prevailed upon not to announce it was investigating the Russian company that acquired Uranium One, and thereby some 20 percent of U.S. Uranium assets, back when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and Barack Obama was still pursuing his “reset” with Russia. What’s going on there? And the $140 million (give or take) that found its way into the coffers of the Clinton Foundation around the time of that transfer? Or the $500,000 speaking fee for a short speech by Bill Clinton, paid by a Russian bank working for the Russian company acquiring Uranium One? What about that?

It’s a carnival of corruption, a carnival of collusion, but the one name missing from the roster of malefactors is that of President Donald Trump. I believe this whole misbegotten investigation, in the end, will garner a lot of scalps. But the scalps will not, I suspect, be those of Trump or his supporters. Rather, the whole focus of the investigation is likely to shift to the real “colluders with Russia,” the Clintons and their enablers.

This is not a result, I surmise, that Robert Mueller will relish. But if he does not recuse himself (and there are good reasons that he should), I suspect that evidence of the real collusion—to deprive the United States of its lawfully elected president—will point in only one direction. It will be irresistible. And it won’t be directed against Donald Trump.

Iran Threatens Ballistic Missile Strikes on American Forces, Can Hit ‘All U.S. Bases’

October 31, 2017

Iran beefs up missile program as U.S. targets rocket research

BY:

Source: Iran Threatens Ballistic Missile Strikes on American Forces, Can Hit ‘All U.S. Bases’

A top Iranian military commander has threatened to launch ballistic missile attacks on U.S. forces in the region amid a public effort by the Islamic Republic to show off its advanced missile capabilities, according to U.S. officials and regional reports.

Iranian leaders disclosed that their advanced ballistic missile technology, which could be used as part of a nuclear weapons program, is sophisticated enough to strike U.S. forces up to nearly 1,300 miles, or 2,000 kilometers, away, which encompasses all U.S. bases in the region.

The head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, announced on Tuesday that Iranian missiles can already “cover all U.S. bases in the region” and that Tehran has the capability to increase its missile power even further.

“Based on the policies specified by the Leader [Ayatollah Khamenei], the range of our missiles is limited to 2,000km, but we have the capability to increase the range,” IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said following an announcement by the country’s supreme leader that Iranian ballistic missile technology would be capped at this distance for the short term.

While pro-Iran activists cheered the announcement as a sign of moderation on Iran’s part, U.S officials and experts told the Washington Free Beacon that the distance cap on these missiles is effectively meaningless since the country’s current military technology is capable of striking U.S. forces, a position emphasized by Iranian military leaders.

“At present it [this distance] is sufficient because the Americans are in a 2,000 km radius from our country and their attacks will be responded,” Jafari was quoted as saying in Iran’s state-controlled press outlets.

U.S. military and administration officials told the Free Beacon the United States is cementing multiple plans to counter Iran’s ballistic missile threat and will continue to pursue these efforts despite Iranian threats of military violence.

“We have consistently maintained that we will work with our allies to change Iran’s malign and destabilizing activities,” one senior military official told the Free Beacon.

This includes the development and proliferation of ballistic missile technology, as well as Iran’s support for terrorism and Islamic extremism, according to Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Defense Department spokesperson.

The U.S. defense apparatus also is working to counter Iran’s support for the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, as well as the Islamic Republic’s “unrelenting hostility to Israel,” according to Rankine-Galloway.

U.S. defense officials remain concerned about Iran’s harassment of U.S. naval vessels in the region, “especially in the strategically vital Arabian Gulf,” according to the military official.

“In support of this strategy, DoD is reviewing the entire breadth of our security cooperation activities, force posture, and plans,” Rankine-Galloway said. “We are identifying new areas where we will work with allies to put pressure on the Iranian regime, neutralize its destabilizing influences, and constrain its aggressive power projection, particularly its support for terrorist groups and militants.”

A State Department official told the Free Beacon that Iran’s continued pursuit of ballistic missile technology violates United Nations Resolution 2231, which codifies the nuclear agreement and includes bans on Tehran’s development of such equipment.

“As we have said before, the Iranian regime’s program to develop ballistic missiles continues to be in defiance of UNSCR 2231 and has a destabilizing impact in the region,” the official said. “We call on the Iranian regime not to conduct any further ballistic missile launches and related activities.”

Congressional critics of the Iran deal continue to maintain the Obama administration misled lawmakers about the nature of restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program, guaranteeing during negotiations over the landmark agreement that such activity would be fully halted.

“While we were told by Obama administration officials that the nuclear deal would lead to improved Iranian behavior, Iran’s behavior since reaping the massive amount of front-loaded financial benefits has only seemed to get worse,” Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and chair of its National Security Subcommittee, told the Free Beacon.

“Recent threats about missile attacks demonstrate the need for Congress to proceed with additional secondary sanctions,” DeSantis said. “The present course is untenable and Iran’s threatening behavior is likely to increase in frequency.”

Iranian leaders continue to maintain the United States is in violation of the nuclear accord and have emphasized repeatedly that the deal is not open to renegotiation on any front.

“Iran doesn’t want, under any conditions, to negotiate with anyone on any paragraphs of the nuclear deal,” Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

New congressional efforts to sanction Iran for a range of activities, including its ballistic missile buildup, have been met with threats.

IRGC Commander Jafari vowed last month that any new effort to sanction Tehran would be viewed as a “U.S. unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal.”

“If the U.S. new sanctions act comes into action, the country [the U.S.] should transfer its regional bases to 2,000 km away, that is as far as the range of Iranian missiles,” Jafari said, emphasizing the threat to strike U.S. assets.

In Tuesday remarks, Jafari warned that new sanctions “will increase the Iranian nation’s determination to increase its defense and missile power and they [America] will see an increase in the range and precision-striking power of missiles.”

Saeed Ghasseminejad, an Iran expert and research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Free Beacon that those cheering Iran’s announcement that it is capping the distance its missiles can travel are being disingenuous, given that Iran can still hit any U.S. base in the region.

“The IRGC commander says at this time the current range is enough,” Ghasseminejad said. “He clarifies it by saying that there are enough Americans to target inside the 2000 km range that Iran does not need to go beyond it at this point.”

Any edict by Iran’s Supreme Leader “can easily change,” Ghasseminejad noted.

“Iran is working on its satellite program which is a cover to develop its ICBM program,” he added. “So at the same time that Iran is developing its intercontinental ballistic missile, the head of the terrorist organization, the IRGC, assures the world that Iran has no plan to go beyond 2000 km range even though it has the technical capability.”

“How gullible should one be to buy such assurance?” Ghasseminejad asked, noting that the amplified rhetoric from Iran is a sign the threat of new sanctions is a concern for Tehran.

Terror Tunnel: The Media’s Selective Omission 

October 31, 2017

Source: Terror Tunnel: The Media’s Selective Omission | HonestReporting

A view of a tunnel reportedly dug by Palestinians beneath the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel and uncovered by Israeli troops, on October 13, 2013. Photo by David Buimovitch/Flash

Following our complaint, the BBC has added a correction to its story, which now includes the sentence: “The army said the destruction took place on the Israeli side of the border with Gaza.” The story also includes the following footnote:

 

 


On Monday, a terror tunnel leading from Gaza under the border into Israel was destroyed by the IDF. As a result seven Palestinians – Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists – were killed and another twelve wounded. The Times of Israel reports:

The tunnel, which the IDF described as a “grave and unacceptable violation of Israeli sovereignty,” started in the Gazan city of Khan Younis, crossing under the border and approaching the Israeli community of Kibbutz Kissufim, the army said.

 

The tunnel was detonated from within Israel, adjacent to the security fence,” the military said in a statement.

TOI also reports:

The explosion took place inside Israeli territory. The majority of the dead were activists that entered the tunnel after it was exploded and died in the Gaza Strip, and not as a result of the explosion,” said an IDF spokesperson Avichay Adraee.

Reuters also reports:

Israel was at pains to point out that its action against the tunnel was carried out on its own side of the border.

Why is this information concerning the exact location of the detonation important?

  • Israel is regularly and falsely portrayed as an aggressor, particularly when responding to Gazan terrorist threats. In this case, Israel did not mount any actions within Gazan territory.
  • Palestinian terrorist organizations may feel compelled to respond militarily and will portray such action as a legitimate response to IDF “aggression” even though this is a false narrative.

 

Source: IDF

Yet, some media failed to include the relevant information.

The Washington PostBBC and The Guardian all fail to mention that the tunnel had been destroyed from the Israeli side of the border. Instead, references to the 2014 Gaza conflict, which took place, in the main, within the Gaza Strip itself, do nothing to dispel the impression that that the IDF has once again taken action against Palestinian territory.

The BBC’s headline (note the use of the word “militants”), with the stress on Gaza, also implies that this incident took place there rather than on Israeli territory.

 

 

Ultimately, this incident clearly shows that Palestinian terrorists are still working towards carrying out acts of violence and terror against Israelis. It is clear who the aggressors are. The media should also make it clear.

We’ve contacted the media outlets above asking for clarifications.

U.S. Pursuing Rigorous New Nuclear Inspection Regime in Iran

October 31, 2017

U.S. Pursuing Rigorous New Nuclear Inspection Regime in Iran, Washington Free Beacon, October 30, 2017

International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors and Iranian technicians at a nuclear power plant of Natanz / Getty Images

The United States is pursuing a rigorous new regime for international inspections of Iran’s nuclear program that includes access to off-limits military sites as well as increased transparency on the Islamic Republic’s often obfuscated enrichment of uranium, the key component in a nuclear bomb, according to U.S. officials and congressional leaders spearheading the new inspection effort.

A delegation of 13 leading senators petitioned the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, led by Ambassador Nikki Haley, to implement a series of stricter inspection methods that would give Western countries a deeper look into Iran’s suspected use of military sites to continue contested nuclear work prohibited under the landmark nuclear agreement, according to U.S. officials who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

The Trump administration is said to be fully on board with these tougher inspection measures, which could address lingering questions about Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal, U.S. officials said. Iran has been found in breach several times since the accord was implemented.

The letter, spearheaded by Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.) and a delegation of top GOP senators, urges the United States to force the United Nations into accepting a tough new nuclear inspection regime in Iran that could shed sunlight on the country’s hidden nuclear efforts.

Many of Iran’s most contested military sites and uranium enrichment plants have been off-limits to international inspectors or subject to a delayed timeline that gives Iran at least a month to prepare for inspections, a part of the nuclear agreement that has come under particular criticism from those who say it gives the Islamic Republic time to cleanup and hide possible nuclear work falling outside of the accord.

The senators highlight a series of “shortcomings in the inspection and verification regime” led by the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, which has itself admitted in recent months that it does not have a full picture of Iran’s current nuclear program.

A major “deterioration in the amount and quality of the information provided by IAEA inspections [has] prevented the inspection and verification regime of the JCPOA from being as thorough and transparent as possible,” the senators write, referring to the nuclear deal by its official acronym.

The U.S. Mission to the U.N. is said to fully back these tougher inspection requests and is already pushing for a change at Turtle Bay.

“The senators’ letter is completely in sync with Ambassador Haley’s concerns about Iranian nuclear inspections,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Mission told the Free Beacon Monday, several days after the senators first sent their letter.

Haley “will continue to press for the most aggressive implementation of the nuclear deal, while also working to move the U.N. toward stronger measures against dangerous Iranian actions that fall outside of the deal, including their missile testing, arms smuggling, and support for terrorism,” the official said.

A spokesperson for Perdue’s office described the letter as part of a larger bid to crackdown on flaws in the nuclear deal that were originally obfuscated by the Obama administration when it first sold the deal to Congress and the American public.

“It’s very clear President Obama’s dangerous Iran Nuclear Deal doesn’t have the teeth he claimed it would,” the congressional official told the Free Beacon. “President Trump was right to decertify this deal, and now we have to turn up the pressure on the IAEA to get more detailed reporting and ensure all potential nuclear sites—including military installations—are inspected thoroughly.”

“Senator Perdue is encouraged Ambassador Haley has brought these issues to the U.N. and supports her effort to get better information about Iran’s nuclear activities,” the source said.

U.S. officials and those in Congress are seeking to close a series of gaps that have allowed Tehran to receive a month’s notice before inspections and also keep secret its most contested military sites.

The letter highlights flaws in a portion of the nuclear deal known as Section T, which is supposed to provide assurances that Iran is not engaging in any activities that would contribute to the design or development of a nuclear explosive device.

The IAEA has admitted in recent weeks that it is unclear exactly how to interpret this portion of the accord and has been unable to fully verify efforts undertaken by Iran on this front.

Without this information, the United States cannot fully determine “if Iran makes any effort to leave the JCPOA abruptly or gradually,” according to the letter, which was also signed by Sens.Ted Cruz (R., Texas), Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), Mike Lee (R., Utah), John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.), and several others.

Access to Iran’s military sites remains a key outstanding issue for the Trump administration and Congress, according to these officials, who say there is no credibly way to determine Iranian compliance with the nuclear accord without such access.

“We believe that without visits to military sites, the IAEA cannot make a credible conclusion that Iran is meeting its section T obligations,” the senators wrote.

The group is also pushing greater transparency on Iran’s uranium enrichment efforts, including its mining of uranium ore and yellow cake.

Inspection regimes “should include the number of visits to mines and ore concentration plants,” according to the senators, who say that Iran should be forced to inform the West about the amount of yellow cake it produces.

Additional new measures would include disclosures of “the type and amount of uranium fed into [nuclear] cascades at” each of Iran’s facilities. Such information would provide a clearer picture of how much enriched uranium Iran has on hand.

Iran must also provide more information about the number of nuclear centrifuges it is operating in its Natanz plant, as well as other areas, according to the senators, who are pushing for greater inspection of Iran’s storage of advanced nuclear centrifuges.

This would include “an assessment on if the IAEA surveillance measures are conclusive” on this front, or if further inspections are needed.

“With these improvements to inspection and reporting practices, we can better deny Iran’s access to a nuclear weapons capability,” the senators wrote.

A spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council declined to comment on the letter, saying it does not discuss “correspondence between Congress and government officials,” but the issues highlighted in the missive appear to jibe with the Trump administration’s public criticism of the accord.

One veteran foreign policy insider for works closely with Congress on the Iran portfolio told the Free Beacon that the new U.S. inspection efforts highlight important ways in which the IAEA’s current regime has failed to provide critical information about Tehran’s nuclear progress.

“This letter does a couple of things,” the source said. “It highlights how the IAEA has been spinning its wheels in Iran, and hasn’t visited the sites where Iran is likely to be developing nuclear weapons technology.”

“It also serves notice that Congress knows the IAEA is full of shit when its top officials say they’ve confirmed Iran is complying with the deal,” the source added.