Archive for February 16, 2018

BIG BROTHER Iran may be spying on Brits using ‘weaponised’ phone apps downloaded from Apple and Google’s app stores, report claims

February 16, 2018

By Mark Hodge 15th February 2018 4:59 pm The Sun

Source Link: BIG BROTHER Iran may be spying on Brits using weaponised phone apps downloaded from Apple and Google’s app stores, report claims

{Invading Iran one app at a time. – LS}

An explosive new report claims the spyware-enabled messaging apps, used by the evil regime, are being used by Iranian expats in the West to communicate with their relatives in the troubled country

IRAN could be spying on Brits and Americans using “weaponised” apps which are available on Apple and Google’s online stores, an explosive new report has claimed.

The Iranian regime has created their own messaging apps which are spyware-enabled to help them hunt down anti-government protesters in the country, according to the report obtained by The Sun Online.

The most popular of these applications is called Mobogram, which is used by millions of Iranians and is available to download by westerners on Apple’s App Store.

The report by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a political group which opposes the Iranian regime, shows that Iranian expats are using Mobogram to communicate with their relatives in the troubled dictatorship.

Deputy Director of the council Alireza Jafarzadeh told The Sun Online that the Iranian regime has “weaponised smartphones” in its bid to thwart demonstrators in the country.

He said: “When you download these apps and start using them, they have the ability to gain access to your contacts, track your location and they can see the content of your communications.

“They can find out who you are, your phone number, your address, because they gain access to information on your SIM card.

“Some of the apps have found their way into global marketplaces such as Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

“This means the Iranian regime could target the millions of Iranian expats living abroad who communicate with their relatives.”

Mr Jafarzadeh’s says that the council’s research has shown that the regime has used the spyware to “threaten, arrest, torture and kill people.”

In December and January, the Iranian regime was rocked by anti-government protests which erupted in over 100 town and cities across the Islamic Republic.

The Council’s research shows that the government has developed around 100 spyware enabled apps allegedly using tech companies which are a front for the evil regime.

Apps such as Mobogram are “forked”, or copied, from popular messaging app Telegram and “were promoted heavily” by the state-sponsored firms, claims Mr Jafarzadeh.

Last year, the founder and CEO of Telegram Pavel Durov branded Mobogram “potentially insecure” and warned against using it.

He tweeted: “Mobogram is an outdated and potentially insecure fork of Telegram from Iran. I don’t advise to use it.”

The Iranian government executes more people, including women and children, per capita than any other country on Earth.

And Mr Jafarzadeh says the regime is “experimenting” with cyber warfare on its own people but could “apply these tactics” against  western countries.

He said: “The regime has turned these applications into a spying weapon.

“They have weaponised these applications and as a result have actually weaponised smartphones in their favour.

“The Iranian regime is experimenting with cyberwar fare on its own population first – and once they have perfected that they could apply these tactics on countries outside of Iran.

“The regime feels very, very vulnerable to the uprising which is happening. They feel that the whole population is turning against them.”

The Sun Online has approached Apple and Google for comment.

Mobogram web developer Hanista has also been approached for comment.

The new rules of the game 

February 16, 2018

Source: The new rules of the game – Israel Hayom

Iranian general calls to uproot ‘baby-killing Zionist regime’ 

February 16, 2018

Source: Iranian general calls to uproot ‘baby-killing Zionist regime’ – Israel Hayom

Caroline Glick: It’s All Politics: Why Netanyahu Is Likely to Beat the Rap and Keep Leading Israel

February 16, 2018

by Caroline Glick

15 Feb 2018

AP/Giannis Papanikos

Foreign observers may have a hard time squaring Benjamin Netanyahu’s international stature as a statesman with his suddenly vulnerable position at home.

Abroad, both those that hate the Israeli prime minister and those that admire him view him as a successful leader. His diplomatic skills have transformed Israel from an international pariah, at the mercy of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the international left, to a rising star on the international scene.

Economically, Netanyahu is credited worldwide with shepherding Israel from a sclerotic socialist backwater in the early 1990s into a first world economy and a global leader in innovation and technological advancement.

In the context of these extraordinary achievements, and as Israel faces mounting security challenges from Iran in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza — challenges amplified last Saturday with the violent clashes between Iran and the Syrian military and Israel — the police’s sudden announcement that they recommend indicting Netanyahu for bribery seems incongruous.

But as Tip O’Neill, the late, long-serving Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, famously said, “all politics is local.”

This truth was borne out in spades on Tuesday night in Israel, when the Israeli police announced that they are recommending that Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit indict Netanyahu on two counts of bribery and two counts of breach of trust in two separate investigations.

The reason these events are happening is because Netanyahu is hated by Israel’s entrenched elites, who benefited most from the way things used to be. And they would like very much to unseat him and replace him with someone who would change the direction of Israel’s foreign, defense and economic policies.

To be sure, there would be nothing untoward or inappropriate about a police investigation of a sitting prime minister if the suspicions were of significant seriousness to warrant endangering the stability of Israel’s political leadership.

But the cases for which Netanyahu has been investigated, and for which the police now recommend his indictment, are not serious. Indeed, officials at the Israeli justice ministry blasted the police Wednesday in conversations with reporters. According to Hadashot news, justice ministry attorneys say the police “inflated the balloon” of suspicions against Netanyahu to its bursting point, and that the investigation reports the police submitted do not support their conclusions.

So why did the police rush to announce their conclusions? Why did they time the release of their recommendations to the start of the primetime news broadcasts on Tuesday night?


Likud lawmakers Wednesday accused investigators of trying to carry out a coup. Specifically, the lawmakers accused the police of abusing their power to carry out criminal investigations to conduct a spurious investigation of Netanyahu for the sole purpose of overthrowing him and replacing him with a leader who is more to their liking.

For their part, the police are doing nothing to dispel the notion that they are behaving not as dispassionate crime-stoppers but as adjuncts of political forces. The police’s star witness in one of the probes is Netanyahu’s chief political challenger for the premiership, Yair Lapid. Lapid, Netanyahu’s former finance minister, is the leader of the center-left Yesh Atid party, which has been polling in second place behind the Likud for more than a year.

Lapid’s conflicts of interests with Netanyahu, with the police, and with the other principle suspects in the case — businessman Arnon Milchan and newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes — are legion.

Furthermore, Lapid recently brought Yoav Segalovich — the retired police superintendent and the head of the police’s investigations and intelligence department — into his party.

In addition, police spokeswoman Deputy Superintendent Merav Lapidot served as Lapid’s spokeswoman when he was finance minister, and has publically supported him politically and disparaged Netanyahu.

Moreover, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich exposed his personal hatred and betrayed his desire to see Netanyahu thrown from office in a scandalous interview last Wednesday on Israel’s top rated television news magazine, Uvda.

Lapid is the central witness in what the police have dubbed Case 1000, which involves allegations that Netanyahu and his wife Sara received exorbitant gifts from Hollywood movie producer and Israeli businessman Arnon Milchan, and in exchange intervened on his behalf in multiple instances. For example, Netanyahu asked then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to renew Milchan’s residency visa to the US.

In his testimony to police, Lapid alleged that in 2013, during his tenure as finance minister in Netanyahu’s government, Netanyahu had two conversations with him where he told Lapid that he supported an amendment to Israel’s income tax law that Milchan was trying to advance.

In 2008, the government of then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert government passed a law through the Knesset that gave tax exemption on global income and an exemption on reporting on global income for a period of ten years for new immigrants and returning Israeli expatriates.

In 2013, in two separate meetings, Milchan lobbied Lapid, a close friend, to back an amendment to the law that would extend the tax and reporting exemptions for another ten years.

Lapid told investigators that he told Milchan that he opposed his proposal. Notably, according to media reports, no one at the finance ministry remembers the meetings.

Lapid told police that after both meetings, Netanyahu called him up and told him that he thought Milchan’s proposal was a good idea and that it would increase immigration of high net worth individuals to Israel.

On the basis of these conversations, the police recommended that Attorney General indict Netanyahu for bribery.

(Lapid, for his part, was never the subject of a criminal probe for his friendship with Milchan.)

As for Mozes, the police allege that he offered Netanyahu a bribe whereby Netanyahu would help his newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, by working to curtail circulation and government advertising in Israel Hayom, a free daily owned by U.S. billionaire and Netanyahu supporter Sheldon Adelson. In exchange, Mozes allegedly offered to scale back his newspaper’s implacably hostile editorial line against Netanyahu.

Although Netanyahu never agreed to Mozes’s terms, and instead disbanded his government and went to early elections partly to protect Israel Hayom (see below), Lapid did everything he could to advance Mozes’s goal of expanding his paper’s market share by wiping out his chief competitor.

Lapid had a long history with Mozes. He worked for him as a columnist at Yediot Ahronot for decades. Lapid also launched his political career at a party Mozes threw for him.

In 2014, Lapid’s lawmakers were co-sponsors of a draft law referred to as the Israel Hayom law. The purpose of the law, which Yediot Ahronot’s lawyers helped to draft, was to shut down Israel Hayom. Half of his Knesset faction voted in favor of the law in a preliminary reading. It was in response to that preliminary reading, where the bill passed through the first of three formal readings with with 43 “yea” votes, that Netanyahu fired Lapid and two other faction heads in his government, disbanded the Knesset, and called for new elections barely a year after the 2013 elections.

And yet, neither Lapid – who enjoys overwhelmingly positive coverage in Yediot Ahronot – nor any of the members of his Knesset faction were ever investigated for their role in advancing Mozes’s agenda.

Watching this drama unfold, Israelis and foreigners alike are wondering how Netanyahu’s legal troubles will affect his ability to lead the country.

Given the political nature of the police’s actions, the answer is that Netanyahu will be able to continue to carry out his duties so long as he retains the support of his base of voters. So far, he is maintaining his voters’ support.

A poll conducted for Hadashot news Wednesday showed that the Likud gained a seat in a hypothetical Knesset election. Lapid’s Yesh Atid lost two seats.

But the police recommendations do hurt him. They hurt him by casting a shadow over his legitimacy. Over the coming months, that shadow can erode his support base.

And they hurt him because they place enormous pressure on the attorney general to indict him. Justice ministry officials reportedly believe that the police put them in an impossible situation. On the one hand, investigators exaggerated Netanyahu’s alleged misdeeds — and on the other hand, they didn’t provide the prosecutors with the evidence needed to sustain an indictment, let alone a conviction.

Netanyahu recently told associates that he can handle the criminal probes while leading the country because he is a multitasker. “When I went through the tests to serve in [my commando unit] in the IDF,” he said, “they were amazed at my score for multitasking. They had never seen a score that high,” he said.

Netanyahu’s multitasking skills – and mainly his political skills — are going to be tested as never before in the coming months, as he is called upon to satisfy his voters in a brutal political environment.

But what is clear enough is that so long as he is able to keep their support, there is no reason to expect a change in the general direction of Israel’s foreign, defense, or economic policies.

India: Close to 100K at “Largest Pro-Israel Rally in History” in Calcutta

February 16, 2018

By – on

Bravo, India! Not everyone is terrified of invoking anger and hatred from the Muslim world. Lovers of freedom are starting to stand up and speak, tired of Islamic bullying and violence. The Trump effect.

Note to readers regarding the article below: The Times of Israel is a hard-left publication. Anyone or any group pro-Israel or anti- jihad is “far-right.” Anyone who opposes jihad or sharia is “anti-Muslim,” you know the drill. Smear, defame, libel.

TOI is rather notorious and loathsome.

In Calcutta, tens of thousands at pro-Israel rally by far-right Hindu movement

Marking 10 years of the Hindu Samhati movement, demonstration includes violent dust-up with media, arrests of protesters, and mass conversion of 14-member Muslim family

By Amanda Borschel-Dan, Times of Israel, February 15, 2018 (thanks to mark):

Holding pro-Israel banners aloft, some 70,000 people assembled in the center of Calcutta on Wednesday to mark the tenth anniversary of the founding of the far-right, anti-Muslim Hindu Samhati nationalist movement.

The rally, which organizers are claiming is the “largest pro-Israel rally in history,” eclipses a similar demonstration held in 2014, which saw a reported crowd of 20,000.

Wednesday’s rally included speeches by nationalist figures such as Maj. Gen. Gagandeep Bakshi, a decorated career soldier expert in counter-terrorism, from a stage in the heart of one of the poorest areas of India. The event culminated in a celebratory presentation to the crowd of a family of 14 former Muslims who converted to Hinduism.

Banner slogans included, “Jerusalem: Eternal Capital of Israel,” “India-Israel: Ancient Cultures, Modern Miracles,” and the inclusive “India-Israel Represents Honoring Women’s rights, Freedom of Speech, Respect for Human Rights, Liberty and Equality for All, Democracy.”

According to a press release, Hindu Samhati founder Tapan Ghosh passed a resolution “by voice vote” urging the Indian government to move its embassy to Jerusalem. Ghosh told the large Hindu nationalist crowd, “Moving our embassy to Jerusalem will honor Israel’s long-standing commitment to peace and strengthen the bond between our two ancient peoples.”

70,000 Hindus in India rally for Israel under Hindu Samhati Banner in Kolkata, February 14, 2018 (Vijeta Uniyal)

Ghosh compared the millennia-long struggle of the Jewish people for a homeland in Israel to the battle Hindus now wage in India, according to the press release. “In West Bengal… Hindus are being attacked by hostile neighbors just as Jews are fighting for their existence in little Israel. This struggle for survival unites Hindus and Jews, apart from the 2,500 years of glorious history that unites both the communities,” according to the release.

The rally ended as violence broke out among Hindu Samhati members and journalists after the on-stage presentation of the family of converts.

70,000 Hindus in India rally for Israel under Hindu Samhati Banner in Kolkata, February 14, 2018 (Vijeta Uniyal)

According to The Indian Express, Hindu Samhati leader Ghosh told the crowd, “Hussain Ali and his wife Moyna Bibi, as well as 12 family members, have been reconverted. Their ancestors were converted, and now we welcome them as Hindus on stage. Earlier we used to do this (conversion) secretly, but now we will do this in public.”

According to The Hindu, when journalists attempted to interview the family, Hindu Samhati supporters attacked and pushed them.

Among the detained or arrested Hindu Samhati members was Ghosh, who was taken for questioning, according to online news site The Hindu.

70,000 Hindus in India rally for Israel under Hindu Samhati Banner in Kolkata, February 14, 2018 (Vijeta Uniyal)

Joint commissioner of Kolkata police Praveen Kumar Tripathi told The Hindustan Times that “Hindu Samhati chief Tapan Ghosh and three other activists have been arrested in the case of assault on media persons in Kolkata on Wednesday evening.”

What is Hindu Samhati and what does it stand for?

Ghosh founded Hindu Samhati in West Bengal after leaving the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) Hindu nationalist movement in 2008. The RSS supported the establishment of Israel in 1948. West Bengal has seen increased Hindu-Muslim tensions in recent years.

According to news source NDTV, “Till recently, the Hindu Samhati was viewed as a fringe group and, politically, largely ignored. But over the last couple of years, it has grown a public profile by being vocal and active during the communal tensions at Bashirhat and earlier at Dhulagarh.”

70,000 Hindus in India rally for Israel under Hindu Samhati Banner in Kolkata, February 14, 2018. Pictured: Sri Tapan Ghosh, head of the Hindu Samhati. (Vijeta Uniyal)

Ghosh describes himself on Twitter as an “Uncompromising Hindu activist of Bengal. Determined to fight against Islamic aggression & expansion.” In its media material following Wednesday’s rally, the movement states it was founded “to serve the poorest of poor Hindus in rural heartland of Eastern Bharat, which is plagued by Islamist violence, insecurity and thereby poverty.”

“It has emerged as a powerful voice for human rights. Today’s turnout is testimony of the fact that Hindus believe in the India-Israel alliance. The Hindu Samhati leadership promise to work towards closer India-Israel relations in times to come, as these two ancient cultures become modern miracles which together can make the world a better place.”

70,000 Hindus in India rally for Israel under Hindu Samhati Banner in Kolkata, February 14, 2018 (Vijeta Uniyal)

In October, Ghosh made headlines in London when he was invited to speak in the House of Commons complex by Conservative party MP Bob Blackman, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Hindus.

According to The Hindu, Ghosh is accused of making anti-Muslim statements during a session called “Tolerating the intolerant: The abuse of Hindu human rights in Europe and India.” During his London trip, Ghosh was photographed on a social call with British far-right nationalist Tommy Robinson.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Cabinet Minister Damian Green, who attended a Diwali celebration with Ghosh in October, distanced themselves from the event. The Home Office issued a statement that was quoted in The Middle East Eye, saying Rudd “fundamentally disagrees with Mr Ghosh’s views on Islam… The Home Secretary accepted an invitation from the Hindu Forum of Britain to attend an event in Parliament last week to celebrate Diwali. She did not speak to Mr. Ghosh and was not present when he spoke.”

70,000 Hindus in India rally for Israel under Hindu Samhati Banner in Kolkata, February 14, 2018 (Vijeta Uniyal)

At Wednesday’s rally, Ghosh appeared unaffected by the London rebuke.

Addressing the crowd, he is quoted in The Indian Express as calling on all Muslim Indians who had converted or reconverted to Hinduism, “When you return, initiate this movement in your districts and blocks — let us welcome all Muslims to Hinduism.”

Syrian air defenses spread out to target US as well as Israeli overflights 

February 16, 2018

Source: Syrian air defenses spread out to target US as well as Israeli overflights – DEBKAfile

That’s in the east. In the south, the Syrian, pro-Iranian, Russian-backed coalition is preparing to grab Daraa. In both operations, they are determined to come off best after major defeats in the last few days. On the night of Feb. 7, massive US air and artillery strikes thwarted a Russian-assisted Syrian, Hizballah attempt to cross the Euphrates; and on Feb. 10, after an Israeli F-16 jet was downed by a Syrian SA-17 air defense missile, Israeli warplanes bombed a dozen military positions in Syria. They included air defense emplacements, but also  struck the secret Iranian Revolutionary Guards command posts that were preparing the combined assault on Daraa. Those preparations were resumed in the interim, with boosted protection against attacks from the air.

Haley Tells UN: Iran’s attack on Israel is ‘wake-up call’ to the world

February 16, 2018

February 15, 2018

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley (UN/Rick Bajornas)

Haley told the UN Security Council that Iran’s attack on Israel from Syria last weekend was a “wake-up call” to the world.


US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Nikki Haley told the Security Council on Wednesday that Iran’s drone incursion into Israel last weekend was a “wake-up call” to the world over the Islamic Republic’s belligerence in the Middle East.

An Iranian drone breached Israeli territory from Syria last weekend and was shot down by an IAF attack helicopter. As a result of the incursion, Israeli jets attacked a Iranian mobile command center near Damascus, where the drone originated from. However, Syrian forces responded with anti-aircraft fire at the Israeli jets, damaging one jet and forcing the pilots to eject after they crossed back into Israeli airspace.

Haley told the UNSC that the incident was an “egregious and unprompted escalation” by Iran.

“Iran was once again doing what it does—risking conflict and testing the will of its neighbors and opponents to resist its aggression,” said Haley. “Israel rightly took action to defend itself. The United States will always stand by our ally when confronted with provocations from Iran, Hezbollah or the Assad regime.”

Haley further asserted that “this incident shines a spotlight on the reality in Syria today. We are seeing actors engage in a dangerous game of pushing boundaries, instead of behaving responsibly and committing to peace.”

She added that “the Assad regime has become a front for Iran, Hezbollah and their allies to advance the irresponsible and dangerous agenda for the Middle East.”

The drone flight, she said, serves as “a wake-up call for all of us. Iran and Hezbollah are making plans to stay in Syria.”