Archive for February 2018

Satellite image said to show new Iranian military base in Syria

February 28, 2018

A picture of the alleged Iranian base in Syria. The white hangars can be seen at the bottom center. (Google Maps) {Google? – LS}

Source Link: Satellite image said to show new Iranian military base in Syria

By Times of Israel Staff February 28, 2018

{This won’t end well. – LS}

Hangars seen in picture, reportedly housing missiles, similar to building at site identified as Revolutionary Guards base and allegedly struck by Israel last year.

Satellite images of an area near Damascus appear to show an Iranian military base which could house missiles capable of hitting Israel, according to a report early Wednesday.

A picture of the reported base, in an area known as Jabal al-Sharqi some eight kilometers (5 miles) northwest of the Syrian capital, shows two recently constructed buildings which are similar to those seen at another base in Syria thought to have been used as a base for Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps troops, according to Fox News, citing information from Israel-based geospatial analysis outfit ImageSat.

On Wednesday morning, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman downplayed the report, telling Israel Radio there was “nothing new here.”

“Don’t take every report in the media, even from a respected outlet like Fox, as an absolute thing,” the defense minister said.

“We have the full picture of what’s going,” he added.

The buildings were identified in the report as possible hangars housing short- and medium-range missiles.

Their shape and size, 30 meters by 20 meters, is identical to a building at a site also identified as an Iranian base, reportedly targeted by an Israeli strike in December.

However, an ImageSat report on that site, at al-Kiswah some 13 kilometers (8 miles) south of the Syrian capital of Damascus, identified that building in November, before it was struck, not as a missile silo but rather as a probable mosque or dining room.

A BBC report on the same base also indicated analysts did not believe it was designed for storing missiles or other large arms, but rather for housing soldiers and vehicles.

On Wednesday, though, ImageSat revised its understanding of the al-Kiswah building targeted in December, identifying it too as a possible missile silo. No reason was provided for the altered assessment.

An earthen berm is also visible around the Jabal al-Sharqi site, indicating a likely military use.

Israel has been warning for years that Iran is seeking to entrench itself militarily in Syria, including establishing missile bases. According to Israeli political and military assessments, Tehran, which has shored up Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Syrian civil war, has been working to create air and naval bases in Syria, from which it can arm the Lebanon-based terror organization Hezbollah and other Shiite groups, as well as carry out attacks of its own against the Jewish state.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on February 18 that Israel could strike the Islamic Republic directly and cautioned Tehran not to “test Israel’s resolve.”

“Israel will not allow Iran’s regime to put a noose of terror around our neck,” he added. “We will act without hesitation to defend ourselves. And we will act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies that are attacking us, but against Iran itself.”

A report earlier this month alleged that Iran is operating 10 military bases in Syria and is training militias loyal to Assad’s regime for a possible battle with Israel, with two key facilities located near the Golan Heights border.

On Tuesday, the head of US Central Command Joseph Votel warned Iran was increasing the quality and quantity of missiles it was supplying to groups in Syria and Lebanon.

“Iran is generating instability across the region, and the Iranian Threat Network continues to increase in strength, enhancing its capacity to threaten US and partner nation interests,” he said.

Returning from a trip to Israel Tuesday, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters that Iran was “testing” US President Donald Trump in Syria and in Lebanon, where Israeli officials fear Iran is helping the terror group Hezbollah build precision-guided rockets for us against the Jewish State.

“They are testing Trump,” Graham said, according to Bloomberg News. “They are testing the international community.”

Graham also predicted there would soon be war in southern Lebanon, over the missiles.

“They’ve told us in no uncertain terms that if this threat continues — they keep making rockets that can hit the airport and do a lot of damage to the state of Israel — they are going to have to go in,” Graham said.

The Tragedy of Syria: All Red Lines Have Been Crossed

February 28, 2018

by Julie Lenarz | 02.27.18 12:23 pm via The Tower

Source Link:
The Tragedy of Syria: All Red Lines Have Been Crossed

{The butcher is still hard at work. – LS}

What’s happening in Ghouta is a war crime. A blood orgy orchestrated by Bashar al-Assad, a modern-day Caligula figure, and his criminal patrons in Iran and Russia.

More than 500 men, women and children have been killed since last week in the eastern enclave, where activists over the weekend reported a suspected poison gas attack.

According to 60 Minutes this past Sunday night, the Assad regime has used internationally banned chemical agents nearly 200 times throughout the civil war. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the world’s leading chemical weapons watchdog, opened an investigation on Sunday into attacks in Ghouta to determine whether banned munitions had been used.

The unspeakable suffering we are witnessing in Ghouta is the result of a conscious strategy of besiegement, systematic blocking of humanitarian aid, and the illegal destruction of civilian infrastructure – hospitals, schools and kindergartens have all been bombed into the ground.

If this story sounds familiar, that is because we have heard it all before. We have seen it in the ruins of Aleppo, on the killing fields of Cambodia, the poisoned ghost towns in Iraqi Kurdistan, the sieges of Sarajevo and Srebrenica, and the desert death camps of Darfur.

“Never again,” the shell-shocked international community pledged — again, and again – and again — in the wake of these atrocities. And yet the same horrors are now being inflicted on the people of Ghouta and we are reacting with much the same impotence.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC), corrupted by the malign agendas of Russia and China with no regard for human suffering, has long been reduced to issuing empty mantras ranging from being “concerned” to “very concerned” and, lately, “gravely concerned.”

But their condemnation of crimes committed against innocent civilians does not feed the children on the streets of Ghouta. It does not keep warm the families that must now sleep in the rubble of their homes, or help pull the injured from under the ruins of the city.

Look closely, if you spent the last decade pontificating about US imperialism in the Middle East, sharing uncritically the absurd spectacle of conspiracy theories brought to you by Russia Today, Iranian Press TV and other state controlled outlets with hostile agendas.

Syria is a place where more people died than in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya combined – it’s a lawless Wild Wild West of international affairs where the Assads, Khameneins, Putins and Erdogans of this world kill at their pleasure.

The UNSC called for the 30-day truce in all of Syria on Saturday to allow aid deliveries and medical evacuations in the war-torn regions. But Iran and the Syrian regime continued attacks on Damascus suburbs held by “terrorists” the Iranian military chief of staff said on Sunday.

Everyone is now a terrorist. Every hospital bombed a secret weapons storage. Every school destroyed a recruitment center. Every use of poisonous gas a false flag operation by the rebels.

The industrial-scale killing machinery in Syria is the unhappy consequence of American isolationism and non-intervention, with the result that, eight years down the line, the murderous dictator is neither dead nor imprisoned, but still gassing his own people.

The Assad regime has recaptured large swathes of Syrian territory. The mullahs have turned the country into a permanent Iranian military base. And Russia is dictating the way things are going.

America isn’t perfect. Far from it. But it’s still an unrivaled beacon of light in the darkness of international relations that do not offer a more just and moral superpower to fill its place.

Eight years into the civil war, Syria has turned into the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of our time. It is too late for the people of Ghouta. They will follow the restless souls of Rwanda, Bosnia, and Kurdistan in a long line of victims abandoned by the international community. All red lines have been crossed. 


Iran Is Trying to Avoid a Clash but May Surprise Israel

February 27, 2018

Iran’s military chief Mohammad Bagheri, right, on a visit to Turkey. Reuters / Stringer

Ephraim Kam Feb 27, 2018 2:46 PM Haaretz

Source Link: Iran Is Trying to Avoid a Clash but May Surprise Israel

{Running out of proxies? – LS}

Tehran will find it hard to remain silent for long if Israel strikes Iranian targets; at some stage it might shock us with the timing, weapons or method

The latest confrontation between Israel and Iran on the northern front was predictable. We can assume that neither side wanted the clash, but with Tehran having sent substantial Iranian and Shi’ite combat forces to Syria  while arming Hezbollah with advanced weapons, and with Israel determined to check the danger, a clash was almost inevitable.

On top of that is the consensus among Israel’s leaders that Iran presents the most serious threat to Israel. This perception is based on a number of elements: Hezbollah and its huge missile system, Iran’s large and improved missile system, and Tehran’s policy of encircling Israel with radical Shi’ites, marked by the anti-Israel front in Syria and Lebanon.

Clearly if Iran goes nuclear some day this threat will increase to an unprecedented level. But the balance of powers is more complex. The main tool used by the Israel Defense Forces in Syria is the air force, and Iran has no answer to it; its own air force is based on planes 30 to 40 years old and clearly can’t cope with its Israeli rival.

In addition, Iran has to operate forces hundreds of kilometers from its borders without any real defense when they’re subject to Israeli attacks and provocations by Sunni groups in Syria. Weapons convoys to Hezbollah and arms plants in Syria are exposed to attacks.

The United States also poses a threat to Iran. The Trump administration has defined Iran as a threat of the highest order to the United States and its allies due to its use of terror, intervention in other countries, construction of a large missile system, and above all its attempt to produce nuclear weapons.

Although Russia – currently the most influential player in Syria – stands alongside Iran and recognizes Iran’s right to maintain forces in Syria, there are differences of opinion, conflicts of interest and suspicions between Tehran and Moscow. As a result, Iran fears that if an overall agreement in Syria is achieved, Russia won’t insist on leaving Bashar Assad’s regime in place if it receives a promise that it can continue to use its air base and naval base there.

If the Assad regime is ousted in the context of an agreement, Iran’s influence in Syria will suffer a serious blow. Iran thus hasn’t yet responded with fire to attacks against weapons convoys and factories in Syria.

Even when Iran challenged Israel in the most recent clash, it did so with a drone, not by opening fire. Since early 2015, Hezbollah has also refrained from responding to what could be perceived as Israeli provocations. This reluctance to respond apparently stems from a recognition of Israel’s significant military advantage in the north.

The Iranians are also likely to fear that a confrontation with Israel would give Israel a chance to attack the nuclear weapons sites in Iran. Moreover, Iran apparently doesn’t seek a confrontation because its top priority is to stabilize the Assad regime and exploit its standing in Syria to strengthen its influence in Iraq and Lebanon. An entanglement with Israel could block these goals.

Iran’s supreme regional goal is to entrench itself in Syria and its neighbors for the long term. It has already paid a high price for this in blood and money, and there’s no reason to assume that it will give this up. Israel, meanwhile, must prevent Iran from leaving its forces and the Shi’ite militias in Syria – including Hezbollah – for the long term. This basic conflict could lead to a confrontation again – and there’s no evidence yet of a responsible adult among the great powers to ease the conflict of interests.

The bottom line is that Iran is trying to avoid a confrontation with Israel, but will find it hard to remain silent for long if Israel strikes Iranian targets. Thus we must take into account that at some stage Iran will take a military action to deter Israel. Iran will want to surprise Israel – with the timing, weapons or method. For that purpose it will prefer to activate Hezbollah and other Shi’ite militias so as not to get involved itself.

Iran may instruct Hezbollah to use its missile system, despite the risks involved both to it and its emissaries. Iran would probably try to exploit an opportunity when Israel is preoccupied with another crisis – the main candidate is a conflict with Hamas in Gaza. And of course there’s also the possibility of a mistake in judgment that would get Iran embroiled in a conflict with Israel.


Palestinians accidentally burn down own factory in protest against IDF soldiers

February 27, 2018

By TOI STAFF 26 February 2018, 12:22 pm The Times of Israel 

Source Link: Palestinians accidentally burn down own factory in protest against IDF soldiers

{You just can’t make this stuff up, folks. – LS}

Israeli firefighters assist PA authorities in putting out blaze in village of Beita after rogue burning tire changes course

Palestinian protesters in the West Bank inadvertently burned down a local factory this week while confronting IDF soldiers near the West Bank city of Nablus.

According to Hadashot news, protesters in the Nablus-area village of Beita on Sunday were clashing with IDF soldiers, and rolled burning tires in their direction.

But one flaming tire had other plans and changed direction, rolling directly into a nearby plastics factory.

The building went up in flames and the factory was completely destroyed.

The report said Israeli firefighters arrived at the scene to help Palestinian Authority responders put out the fire.

The Nablus area has seen low-level clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters after an illegally built Jewish settlement outpost in the area sparked tensions.

The makeshift homes in the outpost called Evyatar were dismantled by the army last week.

‘A Total F***-up’: Russian Mercenaries in Syria Lament U.S. Strike That Killed Dozens

February 26, 2018

Russian forces have been sent to Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The Kremlin has denied that any of those killed on February 7-8 were Russian service members DOMINIQUE DERDA/AFP/Getty Images  

Source Link: ‘A Total F***-up’: Russian Mercenaries in Syria Lament U.S. Strike That Killed Dozens

{Always use overwhelming force. – LS} transcribed and translated the conversations recorded.

In the first audio clip, a man says “one squadron fucking lost 200 people …right away, another one lost 10 people… and I don’t know about the third squadron but it got torn up pretty badly, too… So three squadrons took a beating.”

The man explains that American forces used artillery and helicopter gunships to repel the assault. “They were all shelling the holy fuck out of it and our guys didn’t have anything besides the assault rifles… nothing at all, I’m not even talking about shoulder-fired SAMs or anything like that… they tore us to pieces, put us through hell,” he says.

The speaker is also critical of the Russian government’s response to the incident, saying, “They beat our asses like we were little pieces of shit… but our fucking government will go in reverse now and nobody will respond or anything and nobody will punish anyone for this.”

“My guys just called me, they are sitting there drinking, many are MIA, it’s a total fuck-up, another humiliation… nobody gives a fuck about us.”

In a second clip, a man explains that the battle quickly descended into a massacre as the Russians lost all armored support. “Out of all vehicles only one tank survived and one BRDM (Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle) after the attack, all other BRDMs and tanks were destroyed in the first minutes of the fight, right away.”

In the third clip, a man can be heard explaining the Russian convoy was a few hundred meters away from target when the American forces raised their flag and hit the Russians with a heavy artillery barrage, wiping out the first column instantly. “We got our fucking asses beat rough, the Yankees made their point,” he said. “What were they hoping for, that the Yankees are just going to fuck off?… It’s bullshit, some people can’t even be fucking ID’ed , too many people there.”

In another of the clips, a man claims “there are about 215 fucking killed” on the Russian side.

It has been reported that up to 300 Russians may have died in the strikes. The Kremlin initially denied all reports of Russians being involved in the incident. However, in recent days, Russia’s foreign ministry has acknowledged that “several dozen” Russians were killed or wounded.

A foreign ministry report said, “Russian service members did not take part in any capacity and Russian military equipment was not used.” It said those involved were “Russian citizens” who were in Syria “of their own free will and for different reasons.”


February 26, 2018

Fla. Governor orders investigation of terror-tied CAIR Sheriff Scott Israel whose deputies did nothing during school shootout yet he provided weapons training to radical mosque

By – on

CAIR: Terror in the USA 2018

“The Sheriff was or should have been aware of the threat Cruz presented to his community and chose to ignore it,” Hager wrote, referring to a long history of warnings and tips to the sheriff’s office over the past decade, including ones suggesting Cruz had fire arms and was planning a school shooting.

In his letter, Hager, a Republican, cited Florida statute 112.52, which he says gives Scott “removal authority for neglect of duty and incompetence.”

Contact Governor Rick Scott (850) 488-7146 and politely insist that this incompetent tool be removed for the safety of all Floridians.

Email Governor Scott – do it. Emails are made public so write carefully and unemotionally (if possible).

More Broward County deputies are under investigation for their response to the high school shooting in South Florida that left 17 dead, and it’s leaving the department on the defensive as more accusations are made public.

The department is investigating a claim that several deputies stayed outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., during the response to the mass shooting instead of immediately going inside. Already, Sheriff Scott Israel has said the first deputy there, the school’s resource officer, did not go inside even though the gunman was actively shooting.

The investigation became public after several media reports, citing unnamed officials in the nearby Coral Springs Police Department, said officers who responded to the Feb. 14 shooting were concerned because Broward deputies did not immediately enter the building to help those who had been injured inside.

Long time Geller Report readers were warned about Sheriff Israel and his terror-tied department for years.

Back in 2015 I reported on the terror-tied CAIR Leader Nezar Hamze being appointed deputy s heriff by Sheriff Scott Israel . The same Sheriff Israel whose department stood down and hid while children were being shot up in school by a psychopath. Instead, Israel sanctioned CAIR sheriff Hamze teaching radical mosque how to use guns.

Terror-tied Broward Sheriff is railing about gun control but provided weapons training to radical mosque linked to terrorist faction.

Anther highlight of Sheriff Scott Israel’s career:

Sheriff, Israel has made it a point to reach out to diverse crowds, including those who could be considered enemies of the U.S. and her allies.

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel’s 2015 radical Muslim tour began in 2015, when he posed for photos with Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout and a member of Zakkout’s Miami-based AMANA group at a local mosque. Zakkout is a big supporter of Hamas. On his Facebook page, one can find Hamas logos and photos of Hamas militants and leaders, including Hamas founders Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi and deceased Hamas bomb maker Yehiya Ayyash.

In July 2014, Zakkout organized a pro-Hamas rally held in Downtown Miami, where the crowd chanted loudly a number of anti-Jewish and pro-Hamas slogans. Zakkout is shown on video with a huge grin on his face, as his mob repeatedly screams, “We are Hamas.” Following the rally, Zakkout wrote in Arabic on his Facebook page, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!”

CAIR-tied law enforcement officials are dirty. Who can forget Los Angeles Sheriff Baca, another CAIR plant. He plead guilty to corruption charges and is currently serving three years.

The UAE has designated CAIR a terrorist organization. The United States government named CAIR an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorist funding trial in our nation’s history. And recently, another Florida CAIR leader was jailed in a major child sex trafficking ring.

The Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is routinely presented in the mainstream media as a civil rights organization. Its consistent pattern of encouraging Muslims not to cooperate with law enforcement is never mentioned. Reporters citing CAIR as a source or authority almost always fail to mention that CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case — so named by the Justice Department. During that case, a captured internal document of the Muslim Brotherhood was released, naming CAIR’s parent organization, the Islamic Association for Palestine, as one of its allied groups, and explaining that the mission of Brotherhood groups in the U.S. was “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

CAIR operatives have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. Several former CAIR officials have been convicted of various crimes related to jihad terror. CAIR’s cofounder and longtime Board chairman (Omar Ahmad), as well as its chief spokesman (Ibrahim Hooper), have made Islamic supremacist statements. CAIR has opposed every anti-terror measure that has ever been proposed or implemented. Its California chapter distributed the poster above telling Muslims not to talk to the FBI, and its officials have told Muslims not to cooperate with law enforcement.

Governor orders investigation of response to Florida shooting

CNN, By Kelly McCleary, CNN:

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Sunday ordered an investigation into the response to the deadly shooting two weeks ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School “for there to be full accountability.”

Scott directed the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to “immediately investigate the law enforcement response,” according to a statement, amid growing criticism of how the Broward County Sheriff’s Office handled the shooting in Parkland on February 14.

In a statement, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said his department “will fully cooperate” with the probe, “as we believe in full transparency and accountability.

Florida Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran and dozens of lawmakers have called on Scott to suspend Israel for “incompetence and dereliction of duty.” Scott didn’t say in his statement that he would suspend Israel, but said he will continue to review the matter. The governor said he has spoken to Corcoran regularly since the shooting, “and like me he wants the families to have answers and for there to be full accountability.”

“That’s what the victims and their families deserve,” the governor said in the statement.

Earlier Sunday, Israel said he will not step down. Florida state representative Bill Hager wrote a letter to Scott the day before, asking the governor to remove Israel from his post for his deputies’ “incomprehensible inaction” during the massacre,according to Hager’s office.

An investigation “by Sheriff Israel will do nothing to bring back the 17 victims,” that confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz killed, Hager wrote.

“The Sheriff was or should have been aware of the threat Cruz presented to his community and chose to ignore it,” Hager wrote, referring to a long history of warnings and tips to the sheriff’s office over the past decade, including ones suggesting Cruz had fire arms and was planning a school shooting.

In his letter, Hager, a Republican, cited Florida statute 112.52, which he says gives Scott “removal authority for neglect of duty and incompetence.”

Israel dismissed Hager’s accusations, telling CNN’s Jake Tapper, “Of course I won’t resign.”

“It was a shameful letter. It was politically-motivated. I never met that man. He doesn’t know anything about me. And the letter was full of misinformation,” Israel said Sundayon CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Hager’s call for Israel’s removal came after the armed school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Deputy Scot Peterson, resigned Thursday following his suspension amid accusations he did nothing to stop the massacre.

Read the transcript of the interview with Sheriff Israel

Israel says Peterson never went into building where the shooter was firing at students, instead taking a position outside.

In a letter of response to the governor, Israel said he was proud of the work that many of his deputies and other agencies did the day of the shooting and that he was appalled by Hager’s “need to engage in disingenuous political grandstanding, perhaps in the hope he will garner some headlines, at the expense of the truth.”

He also said that Hager’s letter “was riddled with factual errors, unsupported gossip, and falsehoods.”

Hager was among 73 Republican lawmakers who, along with Corcoran, asked the governor to suspend Israel.

“The failures of Sheriff Israel and his deputies during and after the horrific shooting … and their failures to intervene regarding Nikolas Jacob Cruz in the years, months, and days leading up to that shooting, are unacceptable and unforgivable,” Corcoran wrote.

“Sheriff Israel failed to maintain a culture of alertness, vigilance, and thoroughness amongst his deputies. … As a result of Sheriff Israel’s failures. students and teachers died.” the letter said.

Deputy suspended

Israel made the decision to suspend Peterson — who was armed and in uniform at the time of the shooting — after interviewing the deputy and reviewing footage and witness statements, he said.

“What I saw was a deputy arrive at the west side of building 12, take up a position,” Israel said of the video. “And he never went in.”

Israel told reporters Peterson should have “[w]ent in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer.” Instead, the deputy waited outside for about four minutes.

During that time, Israel said, Peterson got on his radio and took a position where he could see the western entry of the building.

Other deputies may have also been outside school

Israel says his department is also looking into reports that at least three other Broward Sheriff’s deputies didn’t enter the school building during shooting.

Sources tell CNN the Coral Springs officers arrived at the scene and were surprised to find the three deputies behind their vehicles with their pistols drawn. None of them had gone into the school.

Israel says his department will investigate the Coral Springs officers’ claims, but insists that “during this horrific attack, while this killer was inside the school, there was only one law enforcement person, period. And that was our former deputy Scot Peterson.”

Israel says his department’s investigation so far indicates the Coral Springs officers didn’t arrive until about four minutes after Cruz had left the campus.

“At this point, we have no reason to believe anyone acted incorrectly or correctly. That’s what an investigation is. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but nobody is entitled to their own set of facts,” Israel says. “At this point, one deputy was remiss…and he’s now no longer with this agency.”

A report on what Coral Springs officers observed is expected next week. Sources caution that surveillance video is currently being reviewed and official accounts could ultimately differ from recollections of officers on the scene.

Sgt. Carla Kmiotek, public information officer for the Coral Springs Police Department, would not comment on the reports. “The Coral Springs Police Department will speak on behalf of our officers and their response in that incident,” she said. ” We will not speak on behalf of Broward Sheriff’s deputies and their response to the incident.”

“Our police department has continued to work alongside the Broward Sheriff’s Office to assist in any investigation pertaining to this incident,” the department said later in a statement. “The Coral Springs Police Department has a tremendous working relationship with the men and women of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, and while we are being transparent through this investigation, everyone should respect the process.”

‘School shooter in the making’: Missed opportunities

Israel is also under fire for what appear to be several missed opportunities to intervene before Cruz opened fire.

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office says it received 23 calls related to Cruz or his brother in the past decade.

Two deputies have been placed on restricted duty pending an internal investigation on how they addressed the warnings, Israel says. Two calls in particular are under review: one from February 5, 2016, and another from November 30 of last year.

In the 2016 call, officers received information from a neighbor’s son that Cruz planned to “shoot up” an unknown school. There was a picture of a “juvenile with guns” on Instagram, according to police records.

In that case, a deputy responded and determined Cruz had knives and a BB gun. The information was forwarded to a school resource officer, police records show.

In the report three months before the shooting, a caller warned that Cruz was collecting guns and knives and wanted to join the Army. The person who called in that November 2017 tip said Cruz was suicidal and could be a “school shooter in the making,” according to police records.

The report said that officers at the time did not write a report on the tip. Cruz was no longer living at the listed Parkland address and lived in Lake Worth, Florida, according to police records. The deputy referred the caller to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

Israel acknowledges there “needed to be a report” on the call, “And that’s what we’re looking into. That a report needed to be completed, it needed to be forwarded to our Homeland Security or violent crimes unit and they would’ve followed up on it.”

When asked about the 23 calls regarding Cruz, Israel tells CNN, “On sixteen of those cases, our deputies did everything right.”

“I can only take responsibility for what I knew about. I exercised my due diligence. I’ve given amazing leadership to this agency,” Israel says.


How Moving US Embassy to Jerusalem Enhances American Interests

February 26, 2018

While Trump recognizes Israel as a unique ally, his determination to move the embassy aims at advancing US interests, rather than taking a pro-Israel stand.

By: Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

The US decision to comply with the law of the land – the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act – recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocating the US Embassy there, enhances the US posture of deterrence, in defiance of threats and pressure, while walking against the grain.

This reasserts the independence of US unilateral diplomatic action, rather than subordinate US interests to multilateral diplomacy, which tends to undermine US interests. Moreover, it challenges the political correctness of the UN, the Department of State and the “elite” media, which have been serial blunderers on Middle East issues.

While President Donald Trump recognizes Israel as a unique ally, strategically and morally – in an explosive region and during an unpredictably violent era – his determination to remedy this 70-year-old faulty policy aims at advancing US interests, rather than demonstrate pro-Israel sentiments.

The relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem reflects the realization that retreat in the face of threats and pressure intensifies anti-US policies, aggression and terrorism, while defiance of pressure is a prerequisite for the rehabilitation of deterrence, a precondition to peace and security.

US procrastination on the implementation of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act did not advance the cause of peace.  Rather, intensified Palestinian expectations forced them to outflank the US from the radical side and therefore, added another obstacle on the road to peace.

The relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem should not undermine the peace process, since the Embassy will be located in an area which was controlled by Israel before the eruption of the 1967 Six Day War.

The relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem represents the American ethos – from the Early Pilgrims through the Founding Fathers – which has considered Greater Jerusalem the undivided capital of the Jewish Commonwealth.  Hence, the 18 US towns names Jerusalem and the 32 named Salem (the original Biblical name of Jerusalem).

The relocation of the US Embassy will implement the 1995 legislation, which has enjoyed much support on, and off, Capitol Hill, but was sacrificed – until January 2017 – by the US Administration on the altar of false/faulty national security considerations. A waiver was introduced into the language of the law, as a result of pressure by then President Clinton, which was seconded by the late Prime Minister Rabin.

In July, 1999, a veto-override majority of 84 Senators supported proposed legislation, which would force implementation of the legislation by eliminating the presidential waiver.  But, a coalition of President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Ehud Barak convinced the Senators to shelve it, contending that the cause of peace must not be sacrificed on the altar of Jerusalem.

However, reality has documented that they sacrificed reality and Jerusalem on the altar of wishful-thinking and a failed peace process, which collapsed during Prime Minister Barak’s tenure, accompanied by an unprecedented wave of Palestinian terrorism.

Appeasement of Rogue Elements Intensifies Violence

Apparently, President Trump is determined to avoid – rather than repeat – the mistakes of his predecessors, fending off pressure and threats by rogue regimes, and therefore advancing US interests, law and heritage.

In December, 1949, David Ben Gurion, Israel’s Founding Father, annexed Western Jerusalem, declared it the capital of the newly-born Jewish State, relocated the Knesset (legislature) and Cabinet headquarters to Jerusalem and built Jewish neighborhoods on the ceasefire line in Jerusalem.  Ben Gurion acted in stark defiance of brutal pressure by the US State Department and most of the global community, which considered the whole of JerUSAlem Corpus Separatum, an international city.

Ben Gurion’s steadfastness, under horrific odds, undermined his short-term popularity, but greatly enhanced Israel’s long-term posture of deterrence, national security and respect, and earned him eternal acclaim.

Will Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu follow in the footsteps of Prime Minister Ben Gurion in the pursuit of Israel’s long-term national security – walking against the grain and defying conventional “wisdom” – rather than fishing for short-term popularity through land concessions, which would expose Israel to lethal threats?

Source: The Ettinger Report