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Muslim Group Offers $15,000 for Beheading of ‘Moderate’ Islamic Scholar

February 28, 2017

A Muslim group in India is offering $15,000 to anyone who beheads an Islamic scholar deemed too moderate.

By – on February 28, 2017

Source: Muslim Group Offers $15,000 for Beheading of ‘Moderate’ Islamic Scholar – Geller Report

A Muslim organization has placed a $15,000 bounty on the head of an Islamic scholar deemed guilty of spreading false teachings about the faith.

Specifically, the All-India Faisan-e-Madina Council has called for the beheading of scholar Tarek Fatah, seen as too “moderate,” and will pay $15,000 to anyone who can do it.

Moeen Siddique, the head of the All-India Faisan-e-Madina Council, which has announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh to behead Islamic scholar Tarek Fatah.

His crime?

From the Hindustan Times:

“‘Tarek Fatah is conspiring to disrupt harmony between Hindus and Muslims. He is as an agent of our enemies. He must be stopped at any cost and our organisation will pay Rs 10,00,786 to any person who will decapitate him,” said Moeen Siddique, head of the council.

“‘He and his programme are being funded by foreign enemies of our country and the government must initiate an inquiry against him,’ Siddique said.”

Fatah is a Canadian national who hails from Pakistan. He holds secular views of many principles of Islam. For instance, Fatah doesn’t believe the burka is required wear for women, the Hindustan Times reported.

“‘In his programme, he claims that it is not required to wear a burqa and terms triple talaq as haram. Muslims must not listen to his advice and come forward against him,’ said Siddique.”

Still, as Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch notes, just because a Muslim group finds Fatah moderate doesn’t make it so.

Spencer writes:

“Tarek Fatah is a paradoxical figure; indeed, he personifies the paradoxes of most moderate Muslims. He speaks out strongly against Muslim Brotherhood organizations and Sharia encroachment in the West, but is extraordinarily concerned at the same to absolve Islam of all responsibility for the crimes done in its name and in accord with its teachings. Around ten years ago I spent a day with him and others in New York, where among other meetings, we met with Roger Ailes and other Fox News officials. Fatah was an amiable fellow, but I began to grow disenchanted when he replied exasperatedly to Nonie Darwish’s pointing out that the Qur’an was full of violent passages with the now-common dodge that the Bible contains violent passages as well — as if the world were as full of Christians screaming “Jesus is Lord” and opening fire on crowds of non-Christians as it is of Muslims screaming “Allahu akbar” as they take out Infidels.

“By the end of that long and eventful day I was extremely skeptical of Fatah’s sincerity. My suspicions were compounded when he attacked the courageous ex-Muslim truth-teller Wafa Sultan, in much the same terms that Leftists and Islamic supremacists use to smear and destroy those whom they fear and hate. He also engaged in sly apologetics to exonerate Islamic texts and teachings of any responsibility for jihad terror, rather than calling for and working for genuine reform. … Fatah soon thereafter began to denounce me as a racist and bigot, which I expect coming from Leftist Alinskyites and Islamic jihad enablers, but was sheer opportunism and jockeying for market share coming from him. …

“And now there is a bounty on his head from the All-India Faisan-e-Madina Council, which only shows that the All-India Faisan-e-Madina Council, in its hatred, bloodlust, and savagery, doesn’t realize who its true friends are. In any case, however, this just illustrates yet again the uphill battle that Islamic reformers, and even pseudo-reformers such as Tarek Fatah, face: when they speak out against Islamic practices that have a foundation in the Qur’an and Sunnah, they’re threatened with death as heretics or apostates. That’s why we don’t see more Islamic reformers, even insincere and opportunistic ones.”

EU Lawmakers Urge “Federal Union” For European States… Or Else

February 27, 2017

The leaders of the lower chambers of parliament of Germany, Italy, France, and Luxembourg have called for a European “Federal Union” in an open letter published in Italian newspaper La Stampa on Sunday.

Source: EU Lawmakers Urge “Federal Union” For European States… Or Else | Zero Hedge

The leaders of the lower chambers of parliament of Germany, Italy, France, and Luxembourg have called for a European “Federal Union” in an open letter published in Italian newspaper La Stampa on Sunday.

In the letter, four representatives of EU governments – Claude Bartolone of the French National Assembly, Laura Boldrini of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Norbert Lammert of the German Bundestag, and Mars Di Bartolomeo of the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies – say that closer cooperation is essential for dealing with problems that no one EU state can tackle on its own, such as immigration, terrorism, and climate change. As RT notes, the letter’s authors also warn that the European integration project is currently more at risk than ever before, with high unemployment and immigration problems driving populist and nationalist movements. The EU must also come to grips with the fact that, last June, the United Kingdom decided to leave the union after holding a national referendum, aka Brexit, becoming the first member nation to opt out of the bloc.

In less than a month, on March 17 next, we Presidents of the national parliaments of the EU we will meet in Rome, how will the representatives of governments, for the sixtieth anniversary of the Treaty from which it began: our Union.

But it is plain for all that recurrence requires much more than just a historical commemoration. Birthday comes the most critical stage ever crossed by the European project. 

In such a situation we should not be paralyzed by fear, or by concerns related to the upcoming elections in some of our countries. We must act now, before it’s too late. And take the opportunity of the anniversary to return to the vision and the spirit of the Founding Fathers and relaunch the construction of Europe on foundations refurbished.

We are convinced that in the face of crisis, we need more Europe, although we have to face headwinds. We can not ignore the social impact that the disastrous economic and financial measures have had on tens of millions of families. We need to focus on growth and jobs that Europe can have no charm for young people if they do not offer them credible job prospects. We must have the courage to share sovereignty in many sectors in which the action of individual States is now totally ineffective and doomed to fail: from global warming to energy policies, from financial markets to the rules for immigration, tax evasion to the fight against terrorism.

Now is the moment to move towards closer political integration: Federal Union of States with large skills. We know that the prospect stirs up strong resistance, but the inaction of some can not be the paralysis of all. Those who believe in the European ideal is to be able to revive rather helplessly to its slow decline. And the United States who do not want to join immediately in that closer integration should be able to do it later. 

On Sunday, a number of EU states, including Germany, France and Italy, called for the UK to pay a hefty price as a “divorce settlement.”

The letter was published in the run-up to a meeting of parliamentary leaders in Rome on March 17 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community (EEC). The treaty’s signing by six countries– Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, West Germany and the Netherlands – in 1957 eventually paved the way for the Maastricht Treaty and the European Union in 1991.

In September of 2015, Lammert, Bartolone, Boldrini and di Bartolomeo also signed a declaration calling for deeper and faster European integration. However, greater European integration is being increasingly challenged by a number of Eurosceptic parties around the continent, including the Alternative for Germany, the National Front in France, and the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands. Upcoming elections could bring these parties closer to power.

According to the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, the European Union must reform, or it risks disappearing under a barrage of internal and external attacks.

McMaster breaks with Trump on “radical Islamic terrorism,” claims terrorists are “un-Islamic”

February 26, 2017

The adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, told the staff of the National Security Council on Thursday, in his first “all hands” staff meeting, that the label “radical Islamic terrorism” was not helpful because terrorists are “un-Islamic.”

By – on February 25, 2017

Source: McMaster breaks with Trump on “radical Islamic terrorism,” claims terrorists are “un-Islamic” – Geller Report

 

This is a throwback to the politically correct lies and half-truths that deformed our response to the Islamic jihad threat during the Obama years. President Trump had vowed to correct this. Now he has appointed a national security adviser who is just as willfully ignorant as Obama and his team. This has to be sorted out, and quickly.

“H.R. McMaster Breaks With Administration on Views of Islam,” by Mark Landler and Eric Schmitt, New York Times, February 24, 2017:

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s newly appointed national security adviser has told his staff that Muslims who commit terrorist acts are perverting their religion, rejecting a key ideological view of other senior Trump advisers and signaling a potentially more moderate approach to the Islamic world.

The adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, told the staff of the National Security Council on Thursday, in his first “all hands” staff meeting, that the label “radical Islamic terrorism” was not helpful because terrorists are “un-Islamic,” according to people who were in the meeting.

That is a repudiation of the language regularly used by both the president and General McMaster’s predecessor, Michael T. Flynn, who resigned last week after admitting that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about a phone call with a Russian diplomat.

It is also a sign that General McMaster, a veteran of the Iraq war known for his sense of history and independent streak, might move the council away from the ideologically charged views of Mr. Flynn, who was also a three-star Army general before retiring.

Wearing his Army uniform, General McMaster spoke to a group that has been rattled and deeply demoralized after weeks of upheaval, following a haphazard transition from the Obama administration and amid the questions about links to Russia, which swiftly engulfed Mr. Flynn.

General McMaster, several officials said, has been vocal about his views on dealing with Islamic militancy, including with Mr. Trump, who on Monday described him as “a man of tremendous talent, tremendous experience.” General McMaster got the job after Mr. Trump’s first choice, Robert S. Harward, a retired Navy vice admiral, turned it down.

Within a day of his appointment on Monday, General McMaster was popping into offices to introduce himself to the council’s professional staff members. The staff members, many of them holdovers from the Obama administration, felt viewed with suspicion by Mr. Trump’s team and shut out of the policy-making process, according to current and former officials.

In his language, General McMaster is closer to the positions of former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Both took pains to separate acts of terrorism from Islamic teaching, in part because they argued that the United States needed the help of Muslim allies to hunt down terrorists.

“This is very much a repudiation of his new boss’s lexicon and worldview,” said William McCants, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of “The ISIS Apocalypse.”

“McMaster, like Obama, is someone who was in positions of leadership and thought the United States should not play into the jihadist propaganda that this is a religious war,” Mr. McCants said.

“There is a deep hunger for McMaster’s view in the interagency,” he added, referring to the process by which the State Department, Pentagon and other agencies funnel recommendations through the National Security Council. “The fact that he has made himself the champion of this view makes people realize they have an advocate to express dissenting opinions.”

But Mr. McCants and others cautioned that General McMaster’s views would not necessarily be the final word in a White House where Mr. Trump and several of his top advisers view Islam in deeply xenophobic terms. Some aides, including the president’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, have warned of a looming existential clash between Islam and the Judeo-Christian world….

Would You Want Your Vaccine Produced by Supporters of Jihad?

February 25, 2017

Would You Want Your Vaccine Produced by Supporters of Jihad?

by Judith Bergman

February 25, 2017 at 5:00 am

Source: Would You Want Your Vaccine Produced by Supporters of Jihad?

  • “Selling the crucial manufacture of vaccines to an ideologically hostile country, which might – for whatever reason – suddenly decide to shut down production, does not sound like a good idea… Those who say that the Saudis are merely interested in profit, just like everybody else, should know better”. — Rachel Ehrenfeld, expert on financing terrorism
  • Virtually all political parties supported the Danish government’s sale of its vaccine manufacturing facility to the Saudi conglomerate.
  • After the publication of the Danish Mohammad cartoons in 2006, Saudis boycotted Danish goods. Do Danish politicians really have such short memories?
  • Vaccines are not an easy commodity to come by. It takes minimum six months for an order of vaccines to be delivered, but, according to the World Health Organization, delivery can also easily take up to two years.
  • How much trust are Danish consumers supposed to have in a Saudi owned conglomerate, which employs jihadists such as Usmani and donates heavily to jihadist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, who want to bring about a caliphate? The potential for political exploitation is too evident to reject.

Would you want your vaccines produced by a Saudi company that supports jihad? Danes, it seems, may have no choice.

Denmark recently sold its state-owned vaccine manufacturing facility to a conglomerate owned by the Aljomaih Group, a Saudi family dynasty[1] led by Sheikh AbdulAziz Hamad Aljomaih. The sheikh is also the largest single stockholder and chairman of Arcapita Bank, (formerly First Islamic Investment Bank) headquartered in Bahrain. As an Islamic bank, it has a so-called Sharia Supervisory Board comprised of Islamic scholars, who ensure that the bank’s activities comply with sharia (Islamic law).

Former Islamic judge and leading Islamic scholar Taqi Usmani, who sits on the bank’s Sharia Board, in his book, “Islam and Modernism”, writes ruminations such as: “Aggressive Jihad is lawful even today… Its justification cannot be veiled…”

Usami had also, after Danish newspapers reprinted the Mohammad cartoons in 2008, co-signed an appeal to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), urging it to boycott Denmark:

“If the Danish government does not declare the [publication of] shameful and blasphemous cartoons as a criminal act, the OIC [should] appeal to all Islamic nations for a trade boycott of that bigoted country”.

Equally noteworthy is that the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yussuf al-Qaradawi, used to sit on Arcapita’s sharia board, until he eventually resigned. Qaradawi, already in 1995, told a Muslim Arab Youth Association convention in Toledo, Ohio, “We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America!” According to Qaradawi, sharia law should be introduced gradually, over a five-year period in a new country. Presumably, this gradually-introduced sharia legal system would include the end of free speech under “blasphemy laws”, the denigration and oppression of women, such as women worth half as much as men in court, polygamy, the persecution of Jews (Qaradawi advocates killing all of them), beating wives as a way of “disciplining” them and so on. Only after this transition phase, sharia laws such as killing apostates and homosexuals, as well as chopping off hands for theft, would be introduced.

Given Qaradawi’s former prominence in Arcapita, it hardly comes as a surprise that the bank has given financial support to the Muslim Brotherhood in Bahrain, known there as the Al Islah Society. According to a leaked report by former US Ambassador to Bahrain, Ambassador William T. Monroe:

“Arcapita reported giving a total $591,000 in 2003 and $583,000 in 2002 to a variety of charitable organizations… the Islamic Education Society (Al Tarbiya Al Islamiya – Sunni Salafi) and the Al Islah Society (Sunni Muslim Brotherhood) are the largest beneficiaries of Arcapita’s charitable giving… We are aware of concerns linking Arcapita advisors and staff to questionable organizations.”

In August 2016, the Danish government announced that it “…rejects any organization representing antidemocratic and radicalized environments” and considers the Muslim Brotherhood to be “deeply problematic” and something they “strongly reject”.

Clearly not strongly enough.

“Selling the crucial manufacture of vaccines to an ideologically hostile country, which might — for whatever reason — suddenly decide to shut down production, does not sound like a good idea. Those who say that the Saudis are merely interested in profit, just like everybody else, should know better”, Rachel Ehrenfeld, an expert on the financing of terrorism, told Ekstra Bladet.

Denmark’s Statens Serum Institut (State Serum Institute). Image source: Wikimedia Commons/Froztbyte.

Virtually all political parties supported the Danish government’s sale of its vaccine manufacturing facility to the Saudi conglomerate. This is strange, given the recent history of Danish-Saudi relations.

After the publication of the Danish Mohammad cartoons in 2006, Saudis boycotted Danish goods. Saudi Arabia’s religious leader, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheik, demanded that the Danish government hold Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper that printed the Mohammad cartoons, to account and force the newspaper to give an apology: “The government should give [the newspaper] a fine as a deterrence. This is the least that Muslims should demand”, he said.

Do Danish politicians really have such short memories?

Vaccines are not an easy commodity to come by. It takes minimum of six months for an order of vaccines to be delivered, but, according to the World Health Organization, delivery can also easily take up to two years. Astonishingly, the Danish state has given the Aljomaih group an incredible start by promising to buy all its children’s vaccines from the sheikh for the first 30 months. Only after that will Danish authorities be able to buy their children’s vaccines elsewhere. The Danish government has also promised the Aljomaih group not to create new Danish state vaccine production for the first three years.

Should consumers not be able to trust a producer of something as critical as vaccines? How much trust are Danish consumers supposed to have in a Saudi owned conglomerate, which employs jihadists such as Usmani, which donates heavily to jihadist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, which in turn wants to bring about a caliphate? The potential for political exploitation is too evident to reject. Ekstra Bladet ran a poll on its website asking whether Danes were in favor or against the sale: 95% were against it.

Even more remarkable is that the government claims not to have known about the connection between the Muslim Brotherhood and Aljomaih; all the information is easily accessible on the internet.

Health Minister Ellen Trane Nørby has defended the sale: “We did not have several buyers to choose from. We have the buyer we have and it has saved 600 Danish jobs, which would otherwise have been lost”.

Is she saying that the safety of Danish citizens is worth 600 jobs?

The sale of the Danish vaccine production facility to the Saudi conglomerate captures perfectly everything that is wrong with European politicians today: their apparent gullibility, their carelessness and their desire to sell out to places such as Saudi Arabia, seemingly without giving much thought to the long-term consequences.

Judith Bergman is a writer, columnist, lawyer and political analyst.


[1] The Group has been active in healthcare through its investment arm AJ Pharma Holding, and it is its Malaysian subsidiary, AJ Biologics, which will take over the vaccine production in the Danish facility in Copenhagen with its 100-year-old history and approximately 500 Danish employees. The deal was a steal for the Aljomaih group, which acquired the vaccine production company for what is believed to be a tenth of its actual value, a mere 15 million DKK.

Jay Sekulow: Obama Should Be “Held Accountable” For The “Soft Coup” Against Trump

February 19, 2017

Jay Sekulow: Obama Should Be “Held Accountable” For The “Soft Coup” Against Trump

Source: Jay Sekulow: Obama Should Be “Held Accountable” For The “Soft Coup” Against Trump | Zero Hedge

In light of the recent flurry of leaks by the so-called “deep state”, which includes such agencies as the NSA and FBI and which last week lead to the resignation of Mike Flynn after a phone recording of his  phone conversation with the Russian ambassador was leaked to the WaPo and other anti-Trump publications, an article published on January 12 by the NYT has generated renewed interest. One month ago, the NYT reported that “In its final days, the Obama administration expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.”

The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches. The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data. Essentially, the government is reducing the risk that the N.S.A. will fail to recognize that a piece of information would be valuable to another agency, but increasing the risk that officials will see private information about innocent people.

While previously the N.S.A. filtered information before sharing intercepted communications with another agency, like the C.I.A. or the intelligence branches of the F.B.I. and the Drug Enforcement Administration, and furthermore N.S.A.’s analysts passed on only information they deemed pertinent, screening out the identities of innocent people and irrelevant personal information, following passage of Obama’s 11th hour rule, “other intelligence agencies will be able to search directly through raw repositories of communications intercepted by the N.S.A. and then apply such rules for “minimizing” privacy intrusions.

In other words, what until recently was a trickle of private data captured about US individuals by the NSA with only a handful of people having full, immersive access, suddenly became a firehose with thousands of potential witnesses across 16 other agencies, each of whom suddenly became a potential source of leaks about ideological political opponents. And with the universe of potential “leaking” culprits suddenly exploding exponentially, good luck finding the responsible party.

However, the implications are far more serious than just loss of privacy rights.

According to civil right expert and prominent First Amendement Supreme Court lawyer, Jay Sekulow, what the agencies did by leaking the Trump Administration information was not only illegal but “almost becomes a soft coup”, one which was spurred by the last minute rule-change by Obama, who intentionally made it far easier for leaks to propagate, and next to impossible to catch those responsible for the leaks.

This is his explanation:

There was a sea-change here at the NSA with an order that came from president Obama 17 days before he left office where he allowed the NSA who used to control the data, it now goes to 16 other agencies and that just festered this whole leaking situation, and that happened on the way out, as the president was leaving the office.

 

Why did the Obama administration wait until it had 17 days left in their administration to put this order in place if they thought it was so important. They had 8 years, they didn’t do it, number one. Number two, it changed the exiting rule which was an executive order dating back to Ronald Reagan, that has been in place until 17 days before the Obama administration was going to end, that said the NSA gets the raw data, and they determine dissemination.

 

Instead, this change that the president put in place, signed off by the way by James Clapper on December 15, 2016, signed off by Loretta Lynch the Attorney General January 3, 2017, they decide that now 16 agencies can get the raw data and what that does is almost creates a shadow government. You have all these people who are not agreeing with President Trump’s position, so it just festers more leaks.

 

If they had a justification for this, wonderful, why didn’t they do it 8 years ago, 4 years ago, 3 years ago. Yet they wait until 17 days left.

One potential answer: they knew they had a “smoking gun”, and were working to make it easier to enable the information to be “leaked” despite the clearly criminal consequences of such dissemination.

As this point Hannity correctly points out, “it makes it that much more difficult by spreading out the information among 16 other agencies, if they want to target or take away the privacy rights, and illegally tap the phones, in this case General Flynn, it’s going to be much harder to find the perpetrator.”

Sekulow confirms, noting that back when only the NSA had access to this kind of raw data, there would be a very small amount of people who have access to this kind of data. “But this change in the Obama Administration was so significant that they allowed dissemination to 16 other agencies, and we wonder why there’s leaks.”

The lawyer’s conclusion: “President Obama, James Clapper, Loretta Lynch should be held accountable for this.”

Full clip below:

NYTimes Reports Trump Aides’ “Repeated Contact” With Russian Intel Officials, Admits No Collusion Discovered

February 15, 2017

NYTimes Reports Trump Aides’ “Repeated Contact” With Russian Intel Officials, Admits No Collusion Discovered

Source: NYTimes Reports Trump Aides’ “Repeated Contact” With Russian Intel Officials, Admits No Collusion Discovered | Zero Hedge

As The White House tries to put the Flynn disappointment behind them, The New York Times appears to be resurrecting an old story with a new angle to keep the ‘blame the Russians’ narrative alive. Following FISA court approval (to spy on Trump’s campaign), intercepted calls reportedly show “repeated contact” between Trump advisor Paul Manafort and senior Russian intelligence officials… but reveal no collusion.

Intercepted phone calls and phone records show that several aides and allies to President Trump’s campaign were in repeated contact with senior Russian intelligence officials, according to the New York Times. As The Hill explains,

Current and former officials that spoke with the Times would not give many details, and it’s not clear exactly who, both from the U.S. and Russia, were part of the conversations or what they talked about, including if discussions centered on Trump himself.

 

Officials told the publication that they have seen no evidence of collusion in regards to hacking or the election.

 

Three of the four current and former officials who spoke with the Times said the contacts were discovered during the same time that U.S. intelligence agencies were investigating Russia’s extensive hacking campaign, later determined to be aimed at helping Trump win the White House.

 

The Times’ sources said Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, was picked up on the calls. Manafort left the campaign after several months as reports swirled about his business ties in Russia and the Ukraine.

The officials would not name any other Trump aides or supporters captured in the conversations.

As a reminder, it was not just Paul Manafort that was involved in FBI probes, but Tony Podesta – the brother of Hillary Clinton’s campaign director John Podesta – who had set up secret meetinsg woth Ukraine officials.

Manafort, who has not been charged with any crimes, exclaims To Britain’s Telegraph that “this is absurb,”

“I have no idea what this is referring to. I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today.”

 

Mr. Manafort added, “It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer.’”

Several of Mr. Trump’s associates, like Mr. Manafort, have done business in Russia, and it is not unusual for American businessmen to come in contact with foreign intelligence officials, sometimes unwittingly, in countries like Russia and Ukraine, where the spy services are deeply embedded in society. Law enforcement officials did not say to what extent the contacts may have been about business.

Finally, buried deep in The New York Times’ story – which is sure to run the narrative during tomorrow’s media cycle (and already is a hot topic of conjecture on CNN) – the author admits, rather sheepishly that…

The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.

 

The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.

Which confirms what The FBI said back in November.

*  *  *

The bottom line here is that the only incremental news is that Manafort knowingly or unknowingly came into contact with Russian intelligence officials during his business dealings but no election-collusion was discovered. We leave it to Ari Fleischer to sum it all up perfectly…

PM threatens ministers with polygraph over pre-Trump leaks

February 14, 2017

Top aide says ‘impossible to work’ when reports on security cabinet meetings hit the press, including Netanyahu’s comments on president’s personality

February 14, 2017, 9:00 am

Source: PM threatens ministers with polygraph over pre-Trump leaks | The Times of Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem on January 29, 2017. (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief of staff condemned harshly a series of leaks to come out of top-level meetings ahead of Netanyahu’s summit with US President Donald Trump, threatening to submit ministers to lie detector tests.

The government will “consider using polygraphs” to ensure that internal debates are not leaked from the security cabinet, one of Israel’s most sensitive security decision-making bodies, Yoav Horowitz told reporters accompanying the prime minister to Washington early on Tuesday.

 On Sunday, Netanyahu convened the security cabinet, a forum of the most senior ministers, for a four-hour discussion in a bid to formulate policy on Iran, Syria and the Palestinians.

Several news outlets published leaked comments from the meeting minutes after it concluded, including reports that Netanyahu said he would seek to avoid a confrontation with the US president when they meet on Wednesday, especially given Trump’s personality.

“It’s impossible to work like this,” Horowitz said, arguing that any leaks — even if on the face of it some might look harmless — are detrimental to Israeli security interests.

From left to right: Acting Security Advisor Nagel, Military Attache to the Prime Minister Toledano, PM Netanyahu's chief of staff Horowitz, Israeli Ambassador to the US Dermer and PM Netanyahu, at the Blair House in Washington, February 13 (Avi Ohayun/GPO)

From left to right: Acting Security Advisor Nagel, Military Attache to the Prime Minister Toledano, PM Netanyahu’s chief of staff Horowitz, Israeli Ambassador to the US Dermer and PM Netanyahu, at the Blair House in Washington, February 13 (Avi Ohayun/GPO)

Leaks from ministers and others are a regular part of the Israeli media landscape, as politicians jockey to steer the narrative on various issues.

According to Channel 2, the prime minister told ministers that the Trump administration, while friendlier than the Obama administration, would not tolerate unlimited construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

He cautioned ministers that Israel must tread lightly and take Trump’s “personality into account,” the TV report said.

The meeting was one of three he had with ministers on Sunday ahead of the trip, as he attempted to tamp down right-wing pressure to use the visit with Trump to push for increased settlement building, annexation of West Bank settlement blocs and a retreat from support for the two-state solution.

According to a separate report on the security cabinet meeting Sunday, Netanyahu also revealed details of his telephone conversation with Trump on January 22, in which the US president insisted the Palestinians could be pushed to make concessions for peace over Netanyahu’s protestations.

Citing an official familiar with events at the meeting, the Haaretz daily said Trump asked Netanyahu to explain how the Israeli leader intends to act to achieve a final peace agreement.

Netanyahu told him that although he backs a two-state solution, he doesn’t believe that the Palestinians will make the required concessions. Trump responded by reassuring Netanyahu that the Palestinians will be flexible.

“They will want, they will make concessions,” Trump told Netanyahu, according to the official, who requested anonymity.

The prime minister shared details of the phone call with the security cabinet after Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked urged him to convince Trump to withdraw US backing for the two-state solution, according to the report.

“Trump believes in a deal and in running peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians,” the prime minister was quoted as saying in response. “We should be careful and not do things that will cause everything to break down. We mustn’t get into a confrontation with him.”

Contrary to Channel 2’s description of the meeting as “stormy,” the Prime Ministers Office took care to note in a laconic message to the press afterward that it was “relaxed and professional.”

In 2012, Netanyahu threatened to submit Israeli ministers and others to lie detector tests after details of a security cabinet meeting on Iran leaked.

While widely seen by experts as unreliable, polygraphs are still used by law enforcement and others in Israel as part of investigations, including in the workplace.