United Airlines Offering Immigrants Special Flights That Circle U.S. Awaiting Gaps In Travel Ban   

CHICAGO—In response to the executive order restricting entry to the United States from six majority-Muslim nations, United Airlines announced Friday that the carrier will offer immigrants and refugees special flights that continuously circle the country until gaps in the travel ban allow them to land. “We’re excited to offer numerous daily flights from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan to a perpetual holding pattern above the Atlantic Ocean, where international travelers can enjoy a relaxing journey while waiting for a federal court to temporarily suspend the ban,” said United spokesman Karen Jennings, adding that customers attempting to flee their war-torn native countries or just visit their American relatives will be offered onboard meals and a wide array of in-flight entertainment options throughout the voyage up and down the eastern coastline, which may last anywhere from one week to several years depending on the specific terms of the ...


          Chìm thuyền ngoài khơi Libya, hàng chục người di cư mất tích   

Ngày 30/6, Tổ chức Di cư quốc tế (IOM) cho biết đã có ít nhất 60 người mất tích trong một vụ chìm thuyền chở người di cư ngoài khơi bờ biển Libya.

IOM dẫn lời những người còn sống sót trong vụ việc cho biết chiếc thuyền cao su chở khoảng 140-150 người trong đó có cả phụ nữ khi rời khỏi Bắc Phi trong ngày 26/6. Trong đó, có 80 người đã được cứu sống và đưa tới Italy an toàn.

Theo thỏa thuận giữa Italy và Libya về người di cư, những người di cư được phát hiện trong lãnh hải Libya sẽ được đưa trở lại nước này và sẽ ở tại các trại tị nạn tại đây, trong khi những người đã vào vùng biển quốc tế sẽ được đưa đến các trại tị nạn của Italy.

Hiện các nước Liên minh châu Âu hỗ trợ tài chính và đào tạo nhân lực cho các đơn vị tuần tra trên của Libya, tuy nhiên giới chức Libya cũng như giới phân tích đều cho rằng những hỗ trợ này còn quá nghèo nàn.



Trong thời gian qua, các tổ chức buôn người tại Libya thường vận chuyển những người di cư trên những chiếc thuyền cao su chật chội, cũ kĩ vượt Địa Trung Hải để tới Italy.

Theo số liệu của IOM, kể từ đầu năm tới nay, 77.000 người di cư đã tìm đường tới châu Âu và tính đến ngày 14/6, có khoảng 1.828 người đã thiệt mạng hoặc mất tích trên tuyến đường "tử thần" này.

Trong 4 năm qua đã có 13.000 người bỏ mạng trên biển trong số khoảng 500.000 người di cư./.


          Hội nghị thượng đỉnh AU chú trọng vấn đề thanh niên, hòa bình   

Hội nghị thượng đỉnh Liên minh châu Phi (AU) lần thứ 29 sẽ diễn ra trong hai ngày 3-4/7 ở thủ đô Addis-Ababa của Ethiopia, với chủ đề chính là “Vai trò của thanh niên trong tăng trưởng toàn diện và bền vững của châu lục."

Tại hội nghị lần này, ngoài chủ đề trọng tâm trên, các nguyên thủ và người đứng đầu chính phủ các nước thành viên AU cũng sẽ thảo luận về vấn đề “tự chủ tài chính”của AU trong thời gian tới.

Trước đó, các cuộc họp lần thứ 34 của Ủy ban đại diện thường trực AU (COREP) đã được tổ chức vào ngày 27-28/6 và cuộc họp Hội đồng chấp hành cấp Bộ trưởng Ngoại giao lần thứ 31 của AU cũng đã khai mạc ngày 30/6.

Ngoài mục đích phát huy những lợi thế to lớn trong việc đầu tư vào giới trẻ, Hội nghị thượng đỉnh AU lần thứ 29 cũng sẽ tập trung thảo luận và giải quyết những vấn đề liên quan hòa bình và an ninh ở châu lục. Đặc biệt là giải quyết khủng hoảng ở 2 quốc gia thành viên là Somalia và Libya, cũng như xem xét việc cải cách tổ chức lớn nhất châu lục này để phát huy hiệu quả hơn trong tương lai.


Hiện Tổng thống Rwanda Paul Kagame là Chủ tịch đương nhiệm của AU. Hội nghị thượng đỉnh AU lần thứ 29 diễn ra trong bối cảnh tỷ lệ thất nghiệp trong đội ngũ lao động trẻ ở châu Phi hiện rất cao, chiếm khoảng 30% tổng lực lượng lao động tại đây.

Đặc biệt, tình hình an ninh, trật tự tại châu lục này đang có chiều hướng phức tạp khi các tổ chức Hồi giáo cực đoan đang gia tăng các hoạt động khủng bố, nhất là Somalia, Niger, Mali, Nigeria …và nền hòa bình mong manh tại Libya, Nam Sudan.

Đặc biệt là cuộc khủng hoảng nhân đạo ở Nam Sudan được coi là tồi tệ nhất châu Phi và thế giới hiện nay với hàng trăm nghìn người có nguy cơ bị chết đói, trong đó có nhiều phụ nữ và trẻ em./.


          Ministers hold secret talks with DUP MPs about compensation for victims of Libyan-supplied IRA bombs    
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          Limited Travel Ban Becomes Effective This Evening   
As a result of Supreme Court ruling earlier this week, a limited version of the travel ban proposed by the Trump Administration goes into effect this evening (8 PM EDT, 5 PM PDT). The modified ban would impact individuals from six majority-Muslim nations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.  In order for individuals from those nations...
           African Champions League group B results and standings    
June 30 (Gracenote) - Results and standings from the African Champions League Group B matches on Friday Friday, June 30 Al Ahli Tripoli (Libya) 1...
           Dozens feared drowned after 'migrant boat sinks off Libya'    
Some 60 people are missing and believed drowned after the dinghy they were on sank off Libya, the International Organization for Migration said Friday,...
           OPEC oil output jumps to 2017 high as Nigeria, Libya pump more    
By Alex LawlerLONDON, June 30 (Reuters) - OPEC oil output has risen in June by 280,000 barrels per day (bpd) to a 2017 high, a Reuters survey found, as a...
          Travel ban takes effect but less chaos expected   
WASHINGTON – A scaled-back version of President Donald Trump's travel ban took effect Thursday evening, stripped of provisions that brought protests and chaos at airports worldwide in January yet still likely to generate a new round of court fights.

The new rules, the product of months of legal wrangling, aren't so much an outright ban as a tightening of already-tough visa policies affecting citizens from six Muslim-majority countries. Refugees are covered, too.

Administration officials promised that implementation this time, which started at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT), would be orderly. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Dan Hetlage said his agency expected "business as usual at our ports of entry," with all valid visa holders still being able to travel.

Still, immigration and refugee advocates are vowing challenge the new requirements and the administration has struggled to explain how they will make the United States safer.

Under the temporary rules, citizens of Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen who already have visas will be allowed into the United States. But people from those countries who want new visas will now have to prove a close family relationship or an existing relationship with an entity like a school or business in the U.S.

It's unclear how significantly the new rules will affect travel. In most of the countries singled out, few people have the means for leisure travel. Those that do already face intensive screenings before being issued visas.

Nevertheless, human rights groups on Thursday girded for new legal battles. The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the groups challenging the ban, called the new criteria "extremely restrictive," ''arbitrary" in their exclusions and designed to "disparage and condemn Muslims."

The state of Hawaii filed an emergency motion Thursday asking a federal judge to clarify that the administration cannot enforce the ban against relatives – such as grandparents, aunts or uncles – not included in the State Department's definition of "bona fide" personal relationships.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer met with customs officials and said he felt things would go smoothly.

"For tonight, I'm anticipating few issues because, I think, there's better preparation," he told reporters at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday night. "The federal government here, I think, has taken steps to avoid the havoc that occurred the last time."

Much of the confusion in January, when Trump's first ban took effect, resulted from travelers with previously approved visas being kept off flights or barred entry on arrival in the United States. Immigration officials were instructed Thursday not to block anyone with valid travel documents and otherwise eligible to visit the United States.

Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center, said the rules "would slam the door shut on so many who have waited for months or years to be reunited with their families.

Trump, who made a tough approach to immigration a cornerstone of his election campaign, issued a ban on travelers from the six countries, plus Iraq, shortly after taking office in January. His order also blocked refugees from any country.

Trump said these were temporary measures needed to prevent terrorism until vetting procedures could be reviewed. Opponents noted that visa and refugee vetting were already strict and said there was no evidence that refugees or citizens of those six countries posed a threat. They saw the ban as part of Trump's campaign promise to bar Muslims from entering the United States.

Lower courts blocked the initial ban and a second, revised Trump order intended to overcome legal hurdles. The Supreme Court on Monday partially reinstated the revised ban but exempted travelers who could prove a "bona fide relationship" with a U.S. person or entity. The court offered only broad guidelines.

In guidance issued late Wednesday, the State Department said the personal relationships would include a parent, spouse, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States. It does not include other relationships such as grandparents, grandchildren, aunts and uncles. On Thursday, the State and Homeland Security departments had both expanded the range of bona fide relationships to include fiancés.

Business or professional links must be "formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading" the ban. Journalists, students, workers or lecturers who have valid invitations or employment contracts in the U.S. would be exempt from the ban. The exemption does not apply to those who seek a relationship with an American business or educational institution purely for the purpose of avoiding the rules.

Refugees from any country will face similar requirements. But the U.S. has almost filled its quota of 50,000 refugees for the budget year ending in September and the new rules won't apply to the few remaining slots. With the Supreme Court set to consider the overall ban in October, the rules could change again.

The travel ban may have the largest impact on Iranians. In 2015, the most recently available data, nearly 26,000 Iranians were allowed into the United States on visitor or tourist visas. Iranians made up the lion's share of the roughly 65,000 foreigners from the six countries who visited with temporary, or non-immigrant visas that year.

American journalist Paul Gottinger, said he and his Iranian fiancee applied for a visa nearly a year ago but are still waiting on a decision. Gottinger says they were to wed at a Japanese garden in his parents' home state of Minnesota this month but postponed the ceremony until August because they had not yet received the visa.

Now, he expects they will have to delay again.

"Every twist and turn of the courts, we're holding our hearts and our stomachs are falling to the floor," he said by phone from Turkey.

The new regulations are also affecting the wedding plans of Rama Issa-Ibrahim, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York.

She is Syrian-American and had planned to get married this fall. While her father in Syria may be able to get a visa, her aunts and uncles may well be blocked.

"I would love for them to be at this wedding, and unfortunately, they aren't going to be able to be here," she said, adding that the ceremony would be postponed.

___

Associated Press writer Amy Taxin and Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles and Michael Noble in New York contributed to this report.


          Oil up for seventh day but first-half drop biggest since 1998   

By Julia Simon

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil climbed on Friday for a seventh straight session as a decrease in the U.S. rig count and stronger demand data from China lifted depressed prices that still finished the first half with the biggest decline for that period since 1998.

U.S. drillers decreased their number of rigs for the first time since January, according to energy services company Baker Hughes. [RIG/U] The rig count had risen for the previous 23 weeks.

Earlier, Chinese data showed factories grew at the quickest pace in three months. Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, said the Chinese data "certainly gives you hope that demand is growing globally."

U.S. crude futures settled up $1.11, or around 2.5 percent, to $46.04 a barrel. Benchmark Brent crude futures settled up 50 cents at $47.92 a barrel.

Both benchmarks ended the first half of 2017 with drops of more than 14 percent since Dec. 30, 2016, the largest drop since Brent and U.S. crude fell about 19 percent in the first half of 1998.

Oil prices have generally increased in first half of most years.

Trading volume was low ahead of the U.S. Independence Day holiday weekend. Last week, crude hit a 10-month low as rises in output revived concerns about global oversupply.

The U.S. dollar <.DXY> fell, making dollar-denominated crude oil less expensive for investors using other currencies.

The global crude glut has knocked 16 percent off Brent crude so far this year, even though the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major producers have agreed to cut production about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd).

"There’s a longer term question of where are prices going to be when the market rebalances," said Haworth.

Money managers cut their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions in the week to June 27 to the lowest since late September, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Friday.

The market has also seen traders building short positions to the highest levels since mid-August.

Reuters' monthly oil price poll showed analysts have reduced their price forecasts again, with 2017 average Brent and WTI prices lowered by more than $2 since last month. [OILPOLL]

Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts cut their forecast for average 2017 Brent crude prices to $50 a barrel from $54 and WTI to $47 from $52. They cited rising output from Libya, Nigeria and U.S. shale fields, coupled with weaker demand growth.

While U.S. drillers cut two oil rigs in the week to June 30, the total rig count of 756 is still more than double the count the same week a year ago, Baker Hughes said on Friday.

(Additional reporting by Karolin Schaps in London, Naveen Thukral in Singapore; editing by David Gregorio)


          As Trump's travel ban enforcement commences, Hawaii challenges exemption rule   
President Donald Trump's travel ban on six Muslim-majority nations has gone into limited effect, following the Supreme Court removing holds on enforcement. But already there are reported legal challenges to how certain travelers are exempted. The state of Hawaii is challenging the administration's definition of what constitutes a "bona fide" relationship for exempt travelers, according to the Associated Press. The Trump administration includes familial relationships such as a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, or sibling already in the US, as well as half and step-relationships, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told ABC News. Hawaii's emergency motion filed Thursday evening calls for US District Judge Derrick Watson to tell the administration that fiancés or other relatives not defined are also exempt. Travelers with valid visas as well as vetted refugees approved for entry through July 6 will also be exempt. The affected countries are Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The State Department announced that the temporary travel ban would go into effect at 8:00pm EST earlier Thursday, while that start time had also been widely reported Wednesday.
          Assia Djebar’s 81st Birthday   

Assia Djebar’s 81st Birthday

Date: June 30, 2017

Many women achieve greatness, but few become “Immortal.” Assia Djebar was the first woman from the Maghreb to be given the "Immortal" title, as a member of the Académie Française.

Born Fatima-Zohra Imalayene on this date in 1936, the Algerian novelist, translator, and filmmaker used the pen name Assia Djebar. She was the first Algerian woman to be admitted to the country’s top literary university, the Ecole Normale Superieure. Djebar published her first book at 21; by the time she was 30, she had written 4 novels in French. She quickly became one of North Africa's most influential writers.

A feminist, Djebar wrote about women's independence and encouraged Algerian women to forge their own paths and find their unique voices. She believed that education was the key to giving women a voice in society, and in 1962 began teaching history at the University of Algiers. Her work inspired many women to express themselves freely.

Today’s Doodle reflects a scene from the first chapter of Djebar’s novel Fantasia, in which she explores the history of Algeria through her experiences as a young girl.  

Location: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates

Tags: Birthday, writer, novelist, Literature


          Trump’s Modified Muslim Ban – What You Need to Know   
President Donald J. Trump's modified version of the travel ban, aka the Muslim ban, is set to go into affect tonight. The Supreme Court ruling on Monday partially lifted the stay on the Muslim ban, putting into place certain stipulations while allowing travelers from the six mostly-Muslim countries listed in the ban (Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Iran) to still enter the United States.
          Lawyers across Canada on stand-by to monitor Trump’s travel ban   

On Friday morning, hundreds of volunteer lawyers and advocates gathered in major airports across the country to assist travellers affected by a subset of U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban, which took effect on June 29.

The new travel restrictions tighten any entry to the United States of citizens from six Muslim-majority countries. Citizens of Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen who already have visas will be allowed into the U.S.; but, people from those countries who want new visas will have to prove a close family relationship or an existing relationship with a school or business in the U.S.

According to Corey Shefman, coordinator of the Pearson Airport team of lawyers, there was a lot of confusion the last time the travel ban was ordered.

“No one knew how to implement it,” said Shefman. “Airlines were making decisions about visas, when, really, it’s not up to Air Canada but customs.”

Shefman and his team of 400 volunteer lawyers have been at Toronto Pearson since 4 a.m, working shifts, “ready to respond if something happens.” They were there to provide support to travellers, provide information and make everyone aware of their presence.

“Airports and agents are pleased to see us,” said Shefman. Together, they have created a much more organized response and come up with a plan to deal with any issues that may become apparent.

Ottawa-based lawyer, Ronalee Carey, spent close to three hours at the airport briefing security and airline agents from Air Canada and United. They even left literature on the travel ban near custom forms.

“We really didn’t know what to expect. There was a lot of inconsistent information being released the night before,” said Carey. This was echoed by the team of lawyers in Toronto and Vancouver as well.

Homeland security’s website did provide clarification later on, which specified what constituted as a close family relationship. (Grandparents, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles don’t count.)

“What family means is different in different cultures,” said Shefman. “In the cultures where this ban is taking most effect, family is often more expansive than the government’s interpretation.”

Both Shefman and Carey clarified that even under the new restrictions no one travelling with a current visa and/or with a Canadian passport would be affected, regardless of their country of origin.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened. Last time Canadians were affected even though they weren’t meant to be,” said Shefman.

Being at the airport, equipped with information packages and connected to lawyers in the U.S who are fighting the ban, is a way to be prepared.

“I’d rather get there and have nothing to do then not go and there be someone who is stuck and is having difficulty and needs help,” said Carey. “We’re ready to go back if and when necessary.”


          Fifty Shades of Decadence, One Shade of ISIS   
The “Islamic State” has gone full Genghis Khan during the past week — beheading 21 Christians on a beach in Libya, incinerating 45 hapless souls in a northern Iraqi town, linking up with Boko Haram in Central Africa, establishing cordial ties with al-Qaeda, and watching contentedly as apostles of jihad inflicted death in Denmark. From its […]
          The Prophet Motive: Islamists on the Rampage   
The Islamic world is ablaze, and once again the target of the Islamists’ wrath is (guess who) the United States.  The protests started in Egypt and quickly spread to Libya, where popular American ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others died when a band of miltants torched the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Now the wildfires have spread to a dozen nations within […]
          Hans Wink   
Friday's Fabulous Flyer


Hans Wink

Han's Wink was born in East Germany in 1966, under the communist regime. He grew up in Magdeburg, East Germany, where life was anything but easy for him. His difficult childhood included the divorce of his parents, an abusive stepfather, and problems with school. Searching for a better life, he escaped through the Iron Curtain for freedom in the West, and found his way to America, where he now lives in Miami, Florida, and Mexico. 

While everyone faces life challenges, being born behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany, at the height of the cold war, was a challenge of another kind. Han's knew he wasn’t going anywhere fast when he was forced out of vocational school at 16 for his “behavior unbecoming of a young communist.” He thought his only hope in a successful life would be to one day take over his father’s tailor shop. The only thing that kept him going was "a series of cheap romances fueled by even cheaper liquor." Sadly, before his 18th birthday his father died and his step-mother slammed the door in his face. Sometime thereafter he escaped to America. 


As a young man living in Miami Han's said that he, "Ran the gamut of the American experience, from tumultuous relationships to drugs and vice." In the year 2000 he escaped once again, but this time  it was from "The love of my life after a devastating breakup. This was a tragic fall that would have shattered me to pieces if not for the door that opened to a new profession—aviation!"



Once that aviation bug hit, Hans was destined to succeed when he became a commercial pilot. His path in life was anything but traditional. He flew from one challenge to the next, but when he earned his wings something change. He not only saved his life, but began saving countless other lives as he flew worldwide in air-ambulance missions. In 2009 he accepted a three-year contract with the United Nations to fly officials to the hot spots of Africa and Asia. Observing UN operations in war zones such as Libya and Afghanistan compelled Hans to write about his encounters. But he said his main objective was always to, "Reconnect with my alienated children."



Captain Hans Wink holds airline certifications for both Europe and the US. In addition to the military operations under UN mandate, he has flown both VIP and medical emergency response teams on a worldwide scale. The cultural and social differences he has encountered, and the pain and suffering he's lived and observed is what has formed his personality, his philosophy, and his approach toward living. Which brings us to his book: IN MID-AIR.

Hans graciously mailed me a copy, and what a great read this is. I have been at the ocean all week, and have been busy playing with the kids, but two nights ago when the little ones were all in bed, and the big kids ended the games for the night, I climbed into a bathtub and began to read. I stayed so long in the tub that I turned my water cold, then continued reading well into the night that turned into the morning. Last night was no different. Hans chose autobiographical narrative nonfiction to combine the dramas of his personal life with his experience traveling the world. What a fascinating story this is. 




"IN MID-AIR is the unbelievably true story of a rebellious teenager locked in an authoritarian regime. A coming of age drama of what it took to overcome his childhood and family, the Berlin Wall, culture shock, language barriers and a love so passionate that it nearly destroyed him. It is the story of a fairy-tale marriage, a beautiful family and a horrific divorce. It it’s about accepting defeat, yet never giving up and never losing hope. It’s about setting your goals high, starting over as many times as you have to and working hard to achieve those goals. The sky is literally the limit."


"IN MID-AIR is for anyone facing a challenge in life, 
for anyone who needs a little inspiration 
to help them get up, brush themselves off 
and get going again."

Now that Captain Hans has flown air-ambulance and diplomatic missions around the world for over two decades, you can say he’s been around the block a few times. His autobiography also includes some of his observations, seen from air bases in Afghanistan and Africa, and from his two homelands – Germany and the US.

There is action police interrogations, border guards and jail cells, to car chases, fights, and jet landings in war zones. IN MID-AIR is absolutely an extraordinary autobiography that will lift you you up and won’t let you down.



You can Find Hans at: 

Twitter: @hans_wink


Now... it's time for me to continue reading! From what I've read so far, you will not be disappointed! 

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 




          Security Council renews steps against illicit Libyan oil exports; renews missions in Golan, Mali, Darfur   
Publisher: UN News Service - Document type: Country News
          Language Instructor - General Consideration (as-needed) - MultiLingual Solutions Inc - Continental, OH   
Arabic (MSA), Arabic (Algerian), Arabic (Saudi Gulf), Arabic (Levantine), Arabic (Libyan), Arabic (Moroccan), Arabic (Syrian), Arabic (Egyptian), Arabic (Iraqi)...
From MultiLingual Solutions Inc - Tue, 13 Jun 2017 11:01:17 GMT - View all Continental, OH jobs
          The "Crime of the Century" is Bad Journalism   

The latest propaganda piece from The Washington Post, "Obama's secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault," is based, as usual, mostly on anonymous sources determined to make former President Barack Obama look good. The gist is that Obama tried his best to punish Russia for alleged interference in the 2016 election, but he fell short and left the matter in the hands of President Donald Trump, who has done nothing.

So Trump is blamed for Obama's failure. How convenient.

The essence of the piece is that "intelligence" was "captured" that somehow proved that Russian President Vladimir Putin gave "specific instructions" that he wanted  to "defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump."

Pardon me, but I don't believe this for a moment. This "intelligence" may be what the Post seeks to expose-Russian "active measures" or disinformation.

As we reported back in January, "Looking at the election objectively, it is possible to say that Russian leader Vladimir Putin may have had a personal vendetta against the former U.S. secretary of state for some reason, stemming from allegations of U.S. meddling in Russian internal affairs. On the other hand, Putin may have preferred that Clinton become the U.S. president because her failed Russian ‘reset' had facilitated Russian military intervention in Ukraine and Syria, and he believed he could continue to take advantage of her."

This makes far more sense than the Post story.

Remember that Obama won the 2012 election after dismissing his Republican opponent Mitt Romney's claim that Russia was a geopolitical threat to the United States. Obama had also been caught on an open mic before the election promising to be "flexible" in changing his positions to benefit Russia.

"These comments provide more evidence that Obama was never the anti-Russian figure he postured as in the final days of his second term," we noted.

The Post story by Greg Miller and others is an obvious response to the observation that, if Obama thought the Russian interference was such a big deal, what did Obama try to do about it?

One can read the entire article if you are interested in how pro-Obama propaganda is manufactured by the Post. Some parts of the article are more ludicrous than others, such as this paragraph:

"Throughout his presidency, Obama's approach to national security challenges was deliberate and cautious. He came into office seeking to end wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was loath to act without support from allies overseas and firm political footing at home. He was drawn only reluctantly into foreign crises, such as the civil war in Syria, that presented no clear exit for the United States."

The paragraph is designed to mask Obama's indifference to Russian aggression in places like Crimea, Ukraine and Syria. In regard to the latter, Obama failed to save Syria from Russian aggression and facilitated a conflict-through secret arms shipments to the region-that now stands at 500,000 dead.

Obama's alleged "cautious" approach in the Middle East was to support jihadist groups in Syria and Libya, and back regimes such as the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, which was overthrown by the military backed by the people.

The hero in the Post account is Obama's CIA director John Brennan, who joined the agency after admitting to voting for Moscow's man in the 1976 presidential election, Gus Hall of the Communist Party USA. Suddenly, we are led to believe, as CIA director, he became anti-Russian after discovering a Moscow plot in 2016 to disrupt the presidential election.

"In political terms," the paper said, "Russia's interference was the crime of the century, an unprecedented and largely successful destabilizing attack on American democracy."

This is complete nonsense. There is no evidence any votes were changed as a result of this so-called "interference."

The crime of the century is bad journalism based on anonymous sources who hide behind papers like the Post to spread their self-serving and partisan propaganda.

"This account of the Obama administration's response to Russia's interference is based on interviews with more than three dozen current and former U.S. officials in senior positions in government, including at the White House, the State, Defense and Homeland Security departments, and U.S. intelligence services," the Post said. "Most agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the issue."

One paragraph in particular tells you everything you know about the anonymous sources behind this story. "Those closest to Obama defend the administration's response to Russia's meddling," the Post said. Yes, indeed, those "closest to Obama" would certainly do so.

Then we're told that that "They believe that a series of warnings-including one that Obama delivered to Putin in September-prompted Moscow to abandon any plans of further aggression, such as sabotage of U.S. voting systems."

There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever for this dramatic statement. It's completely made up.

Remember, this is the same Obama who once assured Putin that after he won his re-election campaign in 2012, he would have "more flexibility" with the Russian leader and be able to offer more concessions.

Now, all of a sudden, Obama is rough and tough and gets things done with the Russian leader. What a joke.

The paper reported that "Obama confronted Putin directly during a meeting of world leaders in Hangzhou, China. Accompanied only by interpreters, Obama told Putin that ‘we knew what he was doing and [he] better stop or else,' according to a senior aide who subsequently spoke with Obama. Putin responded by demanding proof and accusing the United States of interfering in Russia's internal affairs."

Or else?

It sounds like the red line in Syria that Obama had warned the Syrian regime not to cross. But they crossed it anyway.

Obama's so-called "secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault" exists in the minds of Post reporters who are waging a not-so-secret struggle to rehabilitate the former president's disastrous foreign policy toward Russia and most of the rest of the world.

Let's not forget one more debacle-Obama's deal with Russian client state Iran to facilitate the regime's nuclear weapons program and world-wide terrorism.

That may end up being another crime of the century, on par with President Bill Clinton's deal with North Korea that was supposed to prevent the communist regime from getting its hands on nuclear weapons.

Speaking of North Korea, whose nuclear weapons program accelerated under Obama, hear the words of Otto Warmbier's father about his son being released after Trump took office: "I think the results speak for themselves."

Obama's "cautious and deliberate" approach was to let the young man languish in a North Korean prison while being tortured to near death.

donate button pub dom ok


          A Libyan ambush, Central Asia's security wobbles and Mozambique's loan scandal: The cheat sheet   

It's been a rollercoaster few weeks for Libya. A spot of good news first: Libya is pumping oil at its highest rate in four years, an important boon for a country that relies heavily on the petroleum industry.


          Foreign medics give children life-saving surgery in Libya's Benghazi   

A team of foreign doctors has arrived the war-torn Libyan city of Benghazi to carry out heart surgery on at least 30 young children during a month-long flying visit to a country where healthcare is in tatters. The treatment is almost impossible for Libyan families to obtain due to the collapse of the health system and an economic crisis that makes sending patients abroad unaffordable.


          Militants release UN delegation in Libya   

Abdellafy added that the UN delegation members are now at the Libyan town of Sorman, a town near the Mediterranean coast, in the Zawyia District. Negotiations are now being held with the Presidential Council of Libya to transfer the delegation to Tripoli within two hours.


          Gunmen attack UN convoy in Libya, briefly hold staff   

Gunmen attacked a UN convoy near Libya's capital and abducted seven staff members today before releasing them unharmed, a top security official in the conflict-wracked country said. General Najmi al-Nakoua of the presidential guard service said the attack on the convoy took place near Zawiyah, about 50 kilometres west of the capital Tripoli.


          Globalists—Through UN—Force U.S. Into Libyan War   
News Item...
          LIBYA TARGETED   
News Item...
          Libya Oil Output On The Rise, Highest Since 2014   
After a series of setbacks and missteps, Libya is reportedly on track to continue its increased oil production in 2017, with output now sitting at the highest levels seen since 2014.
          Budget Delays Add To Libya's Oil Headache   
After years of struggling to regain production ground following the violent collapse of the Gaddafi government, Libya is now struggling to keep vital output going as budget delays continue to strain operations.
          Church origins and missions in Libya   
Abstracts from THE MALTESE MISSIONARY EXPERIENCE – 20 By Fr John Caruana Mgr Sylvester Magro OFM Bishop of Benghazi relates that the beginnings of the Church in Libya go back to the origins of Christianity itself. One recalls Simon of Cyrene who helped the Lord carry the Cross during his Passion (Mk 15:21). According to […]
          Comment on Syria: Russians alarmed, Washington Befuddled, by White House threats by Juan Cole   
After Libya went bad, the US position has been that Assad should go but that the Syrian government should not be overthrown. Under Trump it isn't even clear that the position is any longer that Assad must go. The idea that the US is trying to install al-Qaeda in Damascus is looney toons.
          Snarky tweets feature sweet pictures of grandparents to mock Trump's travel ban   
TwitterFacebook

The Trump administration's travel ban from earlier this year just won't go away. Now it's affecting grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other family members that don't make the cut as "bona fide" relations — at least, as the State Department sees it.

SEE ALSO: Hilarious photo series shows the alarmingly normal lives of immigrants

After winding its way through the Supreme Court, the watered-down temporary ban went into effect Thursday evening. It bans people coming from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from getting visas, unless they have a business or academic connection to the U.S. or qualify as certain family relationships. Read more...

More about Twitter, State Department, Hashtags, Travel Ban, and Muslim Majority

          RIHANNA, ISIS, ISLAMISTS by (Aangirfan Blog)   
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com


RIHANNA, ISIS, ISLAMISTS


Rihanna and Hassan Jameel.
Rihanna is part of a conspiracy?
Rihanna's new love is Saudi Toyota dealership heir and Naomi Campbell's ex-beau Hassan Jameel.

dailymail.

ISIS has large numbers of brand-new Toyota trucks.


Rihanna is a mind controlled sex slave?

The US State Department arranged for fleets of Toyota trucks to be sent to the 'Free Syrian Army', which works alongside ISIS.

The Mystery of ISIS' Toyota Army


In 1956, there was a big conspiracy involving the UK, France and Israel.
There was a joint plot to attack Egypt.

BRITAIN TRIED TO HELP ISRAEL STEAL TERRITORY

In 1956, Israel wanted an excuse to seize the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula.

Israel held secret talks with Britain and France.

The UK Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden, agreed to the illegal joint attack on Egypt.

Documents (Sir Anthony Eden's cabinet discussed concealing Suez 'collusion) released after more than 50 years show: the UK Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden's cabinet discussed how to lie to the public and the world about the secret pact with France and Israel to seize Egypt's Suez canal in 1956.

"At Gamil airport, a young Egyptian ... was seized by the British, who wanted to know the whereabouts of Egyptian arms stores. 

"He later claimed that one of his eyes was cut out by a British interrogation officer ... and the other eye taken out later when he refused to broadcast propaganda for the allies..."


independent.co.uk/world/politics/story

The Mad Muslims in Acheh are reportedly controlled by the CIA and its friends.

In the 1960s, MI6 supported Islamic guerrillas in Indonesia.

According to The Independent (UK): "Cabinet papers show that British spies, including MI6, supported Islamic guerrillas in order to destabilise Sukarno."

The Secret State: The Security Service


Website for this image

For more than fifty years, the CIA and its friends have been employing militant Moslems to do their dirty work.

1. Before World war II, British intelligence used the Moslem Brotherhood against Britain's German rivals in North Africa.


(The British, Muslim Terrorism and September 11)



2. Around 1955, the CIA began to co-operate with the Moslem Brotherhood. 

The CIA and MI6 used the Moslem Brotherhood to weaken both Egypt and Syria.




3. In the 1960s, MI6 supported Islamic guerrillas in Indonesia.

According to The Independent (UK): "Cabinet papers show that British spies, including MI6, supported Islamic guerrillas in order to destabilise Sukarno."

(The Secret State: MI5 (Home Office/MoD), The Security Service and ...)

4. Israel funded the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, in order to divide the Palestinians.
John Buchan, who worked for UK military intelligence, wrote Greenmantle, which is about a warlike Islamist, who is secretly working for the security services.

5. In 1979, the CIA and MI6 used the Moslem Brotherhood to topple the Shah of Iran and install the Ayatollahs.

(The British, Muslim Terrorism and September 11)

6. In 1979 the CIA was building up and arming the militant Moslem Mujahadeen in Afghanistan.

The idea was to lure Russia into Afghanistan.



Website for this image

7. In 1991, the CIA and NATO used Al Qaeda to break up Yugoslavia.

(Global Research, 8 September 2010, Andrew Gavin Marshall: "The Anglo-American Terror Network")

Yugoslavia was a friend of Russia and was next door to a lot of oil wealth.

Moslems arrived in Bosnia from Afghanistan and other Moslem countries.

Clinton gave the 'green light' to Iran to arm the Bosnian Muslims.

Israel armed the Bosnian Serbs.

The idea was to foment conflict.

The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which took control of the Balkan heroin trafficking routes, fought the Serbs.

The KLA, which had links to bin Laden, was trained and armed by the USA.




8. The CIA and its friends employed Moslem militants to create trouble for Russia in its province of Chechnya.

("The Anglo-American Terror Network")

US intelligence helped fund and transport al-Qaeda into Chechnya in the early 1990s.

In Chechnya, the two main rebel leaders who came to power had been trained by the CIA in Afghanistan.

A war in Chechnya was planned in a secret meeting in 1996 attended by Osama bin Laden and officials of the Pakistani ISI.

In other words, the CIA was directing the war through the ISI.

US intelligence helped fund and transport al-Qaeda into Chechnya in the early 1990s.



9. In 2002, it was revealed that, “British intelligence paid large sums of money to an al-Qaeda cell in Libya in a doomed attempt to assassinate Colonel Gadaffi in 1996 and thwarted early attempts to bring Osama bin Laden to justice.”

Anas al-Liby, a Libyan al-Qaeda leader, “was given political asylum in Britain and lived in Manchester until May of 2000 when he eluded a police raid on his house and fled abroad.”

("The Anglo-American Terror Network")



TRUMP, ISIS, PORN, SEXUAL ABUSE ...

10. In the 1990s, Osama bin Laden 'built a shadow air force to support his terrorist activities, using Afghanistan's national airline Ariana, a surplus U.S. Air Force jet and clandestine charters.'


(Global Research, on 8 September 2010, Andrew Gavin Marshall: 
"The Anglo-American Terror Network")


Bin Laden's US Air Force jet in 1992 “was used to ferry Al Qaeda commanders to East Africa, where they trained Somali tribesmen..."

And now, Algerians and Moroccans are said to be in Al Qaeda training camps in Israel.


Algerians and Moroccans in El Qaida training camps in Israel 

~



TRUMP, ISIS, PORN, SEXUAL ABUSE ...

CLASSIC AMERICAN JUSTICE.

CHARLESTON CHURCH - FALSE FLAG CONSPIRACY

JO COX FALSE FLAG CONSPIRACY

QUEBEC MOSQUE ATTACK - FALSE FLAG INSIDE JOB ...

TRUMP - GLOBAL CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY .
          Blog Post: June 28, 2017 DOS Cable on Travel Ban After Supreme Court Order   

From Reuters:

Date: June 28, 2017 at 7:57:39 PM EDT

Subject: (SBU) IMPLEMENTING EXECUTIVE ORDER 13780 FOLLOWING SUPREME COURT RULING -- GUIDANCE TO VISA-ADJUDICATING POSTS

From: SECSTATE WASHDC

Action: ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

1. (SBU) Summary: On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court partially lifted preliminary injunctions that barred the Department from enforcing section 2 of Executive Order (E.O.) 13780, which suspends the entry to the United States of, and the issuance of visas to, nationals of six designated countries, as well as section 6, which relates to the Refugee Admissions Program. A June 14, 2017 Presidential Memorandum announced each enjoined provision would become effective the date and time at which the referenced injunctions are lifted or stayed, with implementation of each relevant provision within 72 hours after all applicable injunctions are lifted or stayed with respect to that provision. As a result, implementation of those sections for which injunctions have been lifted will begin June 29, 2017, as detailed below.

2. (SBU) This cable provides guidance for implementing provisions of
section 2(c) of the E.O. impacting visa adjudication and issuance
procedures. The E.O.’s 90-day suspension of entry will be implemented
worldwide at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) June 29, 2017. All visa
adjudicating posts should carefully review and prepare to implement this
guidance at that time or at opening of the next business day if not open at 8:00 p.m. EDT June 29, 2017. Any
modifications to this guidance, due to litigation or other reasons, will be
sent in a subsequent cable. Public talking points and additional
operational resources will be updated and available on CA Webhttp://intranet.ca.state.sbu/content/caweb/visas/news/100011.html>.

End Summary.

3. (SBU) The Supreme Court’s partial lifting of the preliminary

injunctions allows the E.O.’s suspension to be enforced only against foreign
nationals who lack a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the
United States.” Therefore, applicants who are nationals of the affected
countries who are determined to be otherwise eligible for visas and to have a
credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the
United States are exempt from the suspension of entry in the United States as
described in section 2(c) of the E.O. Applicants who are nationals of the
affected countries and who are determined to be otherwise eligible for visas,
but who are determined not to have a qualifying relationship, must be eligible
for an exemption or waiver as described in section 3 of the E.O. in order to be
issued a visa. For adjudication purposes, the Supreme Court criteria have
been couched in this guidance as exemptions from the E.O.’s suspension of entry
in paragraph 10.

(SBU) Suspension of Entry into the United States for Aliens from Certain Countries

4. (SBU) The E.O. exercises the President’s authority under sections

212(f) and 215(a)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and suspends
for 90 days entry into the United States of, and issuance of visas to, certain
aliens from the following countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria,
and Yemen. Implementation of the suspension, for purposes of visa
issuance, will begin at 8:00 p.m. EDTJune
29, 2017, worldwide. The suspension of entry in the E.O.
does not apply to individuals who are inside the United States on June 29, 2017, who have a valid
visa on June 29, 2017,
or who had a valid visa at 8:00 p.m. EDT January 29, 2017, even after their
visas expire or they leave the United States. The suspension of entry
also does not apply to other categories of individuals, as detailed
below. No visas will be revoked based on the E.O., even if issued during
the period in which Section 2(c) was enjoined by court order or during the
72-hour implementation period. New applicants will be reviewed on a
case-by-case basis, with consular officers taking into account the scope and
exemption provisions in the E.O. and the applicant’s qualification for a
discretionary waiver. Direction and guidance to resume normal processing
of visas following the 90-day suspension will be sent septel.

(SBU) Nonimmigrant Visas

5. (SBU) GSS vendors and posts will continue scheduling NIV applicants of

the six indicated nationalities. The E.O. provides for a number of
exemptions from its scope and includes waiver provisions, and whether an
applicant is exempt or qualified for a waiver can only be determined on a
case-by-case basis during the course of a visa interview.

6. (SBU) Beginning 8:00 p.m. EDT June 29, 2017, NIV applicants

presenting passports from any of the six countries included in the E.O. should
be interviewed and adjudicated following these procedures:

a.) Officers should first determine whether the applicant is eligible for a

visa under the INA, without regard to the E.O. If the applicant is not
eligible, the appropriate refusal code should be entered into the Consular
Lookout and Support System (CLASS). See 9 FAM 303.3-4(A). Posts
must follow existing FAM guidance in 9 FAM 304.2 to determine whether an SAO
must be submitted. Applicants found ineligible for grounds unrelated to
the E.O. should be refused according to standard procedures.

b.) If an applicant is found otherwise eligible for the visa, the consular

officer will need to determine during the interview whether the applicant is
exempt from the E.O.’s suspension of entry provision (see paragraphs 10-13),
and if not, whether the individual qualifies for a waiver (see paragraphs 14
and 15).

c.) Applicants who are not exempt from the E.O.’s suspension of entry provision

and who do not qualify for a waiver should be refused by entering the code
“EO17” into the Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS). As
coordinated with DHS, this code represents a Section 212(f) denial under the
E.O.

(SBU) Immigrant Visas

7. (SBU) The National Visa Center (NVC) will continue to schedule

immigrant visa (IV) appointments for all categories and all
nationalities. Posts should continue to interview all other IV applicants
presenting passports from any of the six countries included in the E.O.,
following these procedures:

a.) Officers should first determine whether the applicant is eligible for the

visa, without regard to the E.O. If the applicant is not eligible, the
application should be refused according to standard procedures.

b.) If an applicant is found otherwise eligible for the visa, the consular

officer will need to determine during the interview whether the applicant is
exempt from the E.O.’s suspension of entry provision (see paragraphs 10-13),
and if not, whether the applicant qualifies for a waiver (paragraphs 14 and
15).

c.) Immigrant visa applicants who are not exempt from the E.O.’s suspension of

entry provision and who do not qualify for a waiver should be refused 221(g)
and the consular officer should request an advisory opinion from VO/L/A.

(SBU) Diversity Visas

8. (SBU) For Diversity Visa (DV) applicants already scheduled for

interviews falling after the E.O. implementation date of 8:00 p.m. EDTJune
29, 2017, post should interview the applicants. Posts
should interview applicants following these procedures:

a.) Officers should first determine whether the applicant is eligible for the

DV, without regard to the E.O. If the applicant is not eligible, the
application should be refused according to standard procedures.

b.) If an applicant is found otherwise eligible, the consular officer will need

to determine during the interview whether the applicant is exempt from the
E.O.’s suspension of entry provision (see paragraphs 10-13), and if not,
whether the applicant qualifies for a waiver (paragraphs 14 and 15).

c.) DV applicants who are not exempt from the E.O.’s suspension of entry

provision and who do not qualify for a waiver should be refused 221(g) and the
consular officer should request an advisory opinion from VO/L/A following
current guidance in 9 FAM 304.3-1.

Based on the Department’s experience with the DV program, we anticipate that

very few DV applicants are likely to be exempt from the E.O.’s suspension of
entry or to qualify for a waiver. CA will notify DV applicants from the
affected nationalities with scheduled interviews of the additional criteria to
allow the potential applicants to determine whether they wish to pursue their
application.

9. (SBU) The Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) will continue to schedule

additional DV-2017 appointments for cases in which the principal applicant is
from one of these six nationalities. While the Department is mindful of
the requirement to issue Diversity Visas prior to the end of the Fiscal
Year on September 30, direction and
guidance to resume normal processing of visas following the 90-day suspension
will be sent septel.

(SBU) Individuals Who Are Exempt from the E.O.’s Suspension of Entry

10. (SBU) The E.O.’s suspension of entry does not apply to the following:

a.) Any applicant who has a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a

person or entity in the United States. Any such relationship with a
“person” must be a close familial relationship, as defined below. Any
relationship with an entity must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary
course, rather than for the purpose of evading the E.O. Note: If
you determine an applicant has established eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa
in a classification other than a B, C-1, D, I, or K visa, then the applicant is
exempt from the E.O., as their bona fide relationship to a person or entity is
inherent in the visa classification. Eligible derivatives of these
classifications are also exempt. Likewise, if you determine an applicant
has established eligibility for an immigrant visa in the following classifications
-- immediate relatives, family-based, and employment-based (other than certain
self-petitioning employment-based first preference applicants with no job offer
in the United States and SIV applicants under INA 101a(27)) -- then the
applicant and any eligible derivatives are exempt from the E.O.

b.) Any applicant who was in the United States on June 26, 2017;

c.) Any applicant who had a valid visa at 5:00 p.m. EST on January 27, 2017, the day
E.O. 13769 was signed;

d.) Any applicant who had a valid visa on June 29, 2017;

e.) Any lawful permanent resident of the United States;

f.) Any applicant who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or
after June 26, 2017;

g.) Any applicant who has a document other than a visa, valid on June 29, 2017, or issued
on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States
and seek entry or admission, such as advance parole;

h.) Any dual national of a country designated under the order when traveling on
a passport issued by a non-designated country;

i.) Any applicant travelling on an A-1, A-2, NATO-1 through NATO-6 visa, C-2
for travel to the United Nations, C-3, G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa, or a
diplomatic-type visa of any classification;

j.) Any applicant who has been granted asylum; any refugee who has already been
admitted to the United States; or any individual who has been granted
withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention
Against Torture; and

k.) Any V92 or V93 applicant.

11. (SBU) “Close family” is defined as a parent (including
parent-in-law), spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law,
daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half. This includes step
relationships. “Close family” does not include grandparents,
grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-laws and
sisters-in-law, fiancés, and any other “extended” family members.

12. (SBU) A relationship with a “U.S. entity” must be formal, documented,

and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading the
E.O. A consular officer should not issue a visa unless the officer is
satisfied that the applicant’s relationship complies with these requirements
and was not formed for the purpose of evading the E.O. For example, an
eligible I visa applicant employed by foreign media that has a news office
based in the United States would be covered by this exemption. Students
from designated countries who have been admitted to U.S. educational
institutions have a required relationship with an entity in the United
States. Similarly, a worker who accepted an offer of employment from a
company in the United States or a lecturer invited to address an audience in
the United States would be exempt. In contrast, the exemption would not
apply to an applicant who enters into a relationship simply to avoid the
E.O.: for example, a nonprofit group devoted to immigration issues may
not contact foreign nationals from the designated countries, add them to client
lists, and then secure their entry by claiming injury from their inclusion in
the E.O. Also, a hotel reservation, whether or not paid, would not
constitute a bona fide relationship with an entity in the United States.

13. (SBU) When issuing an IV or an NIV to an individual who falls into

one of the categories listed in paragraph 10, the visa should be annotated to
state, “Exempt or Waived from E.O. 13780.” Interviewing officers must
also enter a clear case note stating the specific reason why the applicant is
exempt from the E.O.’s suspension of entry. If consular officers are
unclear if an applicant qualifies for an exemption, the cases should be refused
under INA 221(g) and the consular officer should request an advisory opinion
from VO/L/A following current guidance in 9 FAM 304.3-1.

(SBU) Qualification for a Waiver and Process

14. (SBU) The E.O. permits consular officers to grant waivers and

authorize the issuance of a visa on a case-by-case basis when the applicant
demonstrates to the officer’s satisfaction that the following three criteria
are all met:

a.) Denying entry during the 90-day suspension would cause undue hardship;

b.) His or her entry would not pose a threat to national security; and

c.) His or her entry would be in the national interest.

15. (SBU) The E.O. lists the following examples of circumstances in which

an applicant may be considered for a waiver, subject to meeting the three
requirements above. Note that some of the waiver examples listed in the
E.O. are now considered exemptions in light of the Supreme Court’s
ruling. Consular officers should determine whether individuals are exempt
from the E.O. under standards described above, before considering the
availability of a waiver under the standards described in this paragraph.
Unless the adjudicating consular officer has particular concerns about a case
that causes the officer to believe that that issuance may not be in the
national interest, a determination that a case falls under any circumstance
listed in this paragraph is a sufficient basis for concluding a waiver is in
the national interest. Determining that a case falls under some of these
circumstances may also be a sufficient basis for concluding that denying entry
during the 90-day suspension would cause undue hardship:

a.) The applicant has previously established significant contacts with the

United States but is outside the United States on the effective date of the
E.O. for work, study, or other lawful activity;

b.) The applicant seeks to enter the United States for significant business or

professional obligations and the denial of entry during the suspension period
would impair those obligations;

c.) The applicant is an infant, a young child, or adoptee, an individual

needing urgent medical care, or someone whose entry is otherwise justified by
the special circumstances of the case;

d.) The applicant is traveling for purposes related to an international

organization designated under the International Organizations Immunities Act,
traveling for purposes of conducting meetings or business with the United
States government, or traveling to conduct business on behalf of an
international organization not designated under the IOIA; or

e.) The applicant is a permanent resident of Canada who applies for a visa at a

location within Canada.

16. (SBU) Listed in this paragraph are other circumstances in which an

applicant may be considered for a waiver, subject to meeting the three
requirements in paragraph 14. Consular officers should determine whether
individuals are exempt from the E.O. under standards described above, before
considering the availability of a waiver under the standards in paragraph

15. Unless the adjudicating consular officer has particular concerns
about a case that suggest issuance may not be in the national interest, determining
that a case falls under any circumstance listed in this paragraph is a
sufficient basis for concluding a waiver is in the national interest.
Determining that a case falls under some of these circumstances may also be a
sufficient basis for concluding that denying entry during the 90-day suspension
would cause undue hardship:

a.) The applicant is a high-level government official traveling on official

business who is not eligible for the diplomatic visa normally accorded to
foreign officials of national governments (A or G visa). Examples include
governors and other appropriate members of sub-national (state/local/regional)
governments; and members of sub-national and regional security forces; and

b.) Cases where all three criteria in paragraph 14 are met and the Chief

of Mission or Assistant Secretary of a Bureau supports the waiver.

17. (SBU) If the applicant qualifies for a waiver based on criteria in

paragraphs 14 or 15, the consular officer may issue the visa with the
concurrence of the Visa Chief (IV or NIV) or the Consular Section Chief.
The visa should be annotated to read, “Exempt or Waived from E.O. 13780.”
Case notes must reflect the basis for the waiver; the undue hardship that would
be caused by denying entry during the suspension; the national interest; and
the position title of the manager concurring with the waiver. To document
national interest in case notes in circumstances falling under paragraph 14 or
paragraph 15(a), (b), or (c), the consular officer may write, “National
interest was established by the applicant demonstrating satisfaction of the
requirements for the waiver based on [insert brief description of category of
waiver].”

18. (SBU) If the applicant does not qualify under one of the listed

waiver categories in paragraphs 14 or 15, but the interviewing officer and
consular manager believe that the applicant meets the requirements in paragraph
14 above and therefore should qualify for a waiver, then the case should be
submitted to the Visa Office for consideration. These cases should be
submitted via email to countries-of-concern-inquiries@state.gov.
The Visa Office will review these requests and reply to posts within two
business days. Consular officers should be able to approve the majority
of waiver cases without review by the Visa Office due to the broad authority
granted in the E.O.

(SBU) Refugees

19. (SBU) The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) is suspended for

120 days, except for those cases where the Supreme Court has kept the temporary
injunction in place for any applicant who has a credible claim of a bona fide
relationship with a person or entity in the United States. Any such
relationship with a “person” must be a close familial relationship, as defined
above in paragraph 11. Any relationship with an entity must be formal,
documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of
evading the E.O as described in paragraph 12. We believe that by their
nature, almost all V93 cases will have a clear and credible close familial
relationship with the Form I-730 petitioner in the United States and qualify
for issuance under this exemption.

20. (SBU) Posts should not cancel any V93 appointments, and NVC will

continue to schedule new V93 appointment as normal. Beginning 8:00 p.m. EDT Thursday June 29, 2017, V93
applicants presenting passports from any of the six countries included in the
E.O. should be interviewed and adjudicated following these procedures:

a.) Officers should first determine whether the applicant is eligible for a V93

under the current policy, without regard to the E.O. If the applicant is
not eligible, the appropriate refusal code should be entered into the Consular
Lookout and Support System (CLASS). Applicants found ineligible for
grounds unrelated to the E.O. should be refused according to standard
procedures. See 9 FAM 203.6.

b.) If an applicant is found otherwise eligible for the V93 foil, the consular

officer will need to determine during the interview whether the applicant is
exempt from the E.O.’s suspension of entry provision based on a credible claim
of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States per
paragraph 19.

c.) Applicants who are not exempt from the E.O.’s suspension of entry provision

should be refused by entering the code “EO17” into the Consular Lookout and
Support System (CLASS). Please contact your VO/F liaison with any
questions about V93 processing or adjudication under the E.O.

(SBU) V92 Cases

21. (SBU) The E.O. does not affect V92 applicants, and post should

adjudicate these cases per standard guidance.

22. (SBU) Posts with questions regarding this guidance should contact

their post liaison officer in CA/VO/F."


          Chad   
Chad is a landlocked country in the Northern part of Africa. It is bordered by Sudan, Libya, Niger and Cameroon and the Central African Republic. The northern part of Chad is in the Sahara, the southern part is in the Sahel. Most of Chad is dry and arid. [...]
          Trump’s Travel Ban at the Supreme Court: What now?   

On Monday, June 26 the Supreme Court stayed lower court injunctions to President Trump’s travel ban Executive Order (EO)—meaning the EO can now be enforced by the Government, though narrowed from the Administration’s original blanket ban. The decision was delivered per curiam: unsigned and written on behalf of the full Court. Importantly, the Court did not decide on whether EO itself is constitutional, though it agreed to hear arguments for that case during the first session of the October 2017 term.

The EO implements, in part, a 90-day ban to ensure, as the Court describes, “that dangerous individuals do not enter the United States while the Executive is working to establish “adequate standards… to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists”…” The EO singles out Iran and five Arab countries (Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) as subject to the travel ban. This characterization may show how the Court will view the Government’s intent behind the EO when they review the case on the merits in the fall. 

While the original 90-day period expired on June 14, 2017, the Administration stated that the EO would go into effect for a full 90 day-period within 72 hours of a potential stay granted by the Court. In the decision, the Court states that it “fully expects” that the executive will be able to conclude its desired investigations and reports within that period of time. 

As such, the EO is allowed to take force for a full 90 days, only to those who “lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” The Court provides some guidance on this caveat. For individual connections, a “close familial relationship” is required. For organizational ties, the relationship must be formal and documented. The Court warns against fraud, stating that immigration nonprofits cannot contact foreign nationals to add as clients simply to avoid application of the EO. 

These requirements apply equally to refugees: bona fide connections to US persons or organizations allow for exception from the EO. The Court does not provide a test or basis for determining whether organizational connections are created pursuant to bona fide relationships or fraudulently. This ambiguity may prove to be the source of further litigation during the coming months. 

The Court’s reasoning in arriving at this decision is risk averse, attempting to find a middle road between allowing either party complete victory. Citing case law, the Court wrote that it is necessary “to explore the relative harms” to the parties and “the public at large”. Those with bona fide connections have legitimate interests which outweigh the Government’s claims; the Court agreed with previous decisions with respect to their specific cases litigated—students returning to their education in the US and a man seeking the entry of family members all are excepted for the EO.

However, the Court felt that the injunctions of the lower courts were overly broad. The Court states that there are no individual burdens on Americans if those with no connections to the country are barred entry, and thus will not out-weigh the interests of the Government. In short, the interests of those with bona fide connections to the US out-weigh the Government’s claims, but the Government’s claims out-weigh the interests of those with no bona fide connections to the US. 

Because the Court granted stay without ruling on the merits of the case—that is, whether the EO itself is constitutional—there is no discussion of the validity of the Government’s national security claims in this decision, nor a discussion as to whether the EO unconstitutionally targeted Muslim-majority countries. Regrettably, the Court does not consider the interests, safety, or historically bleak state of immigrants and refugees who may wish to enter the US, either, nor does the decision mention international legal obligations toward asylum seekers.

The implementation of the EO, now with the blessing of the US Supreme Court, will signal to Iranians and citizens of the five Arab countries, all predominantly Muslim, that they are specifically subject to increased scrutiny without a legal investigation into the justification for such discrimination. The chilling effect of requiring greater burdens for citizens of these six countries than other foreign nationals endangers both the lives of hopeful refugees and our moral stature in the Arab world and the international community more broadly. America should remain a country which welcomes tourists, refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants of all religions and nationalities who seek to find a better life on her shores.

What this means:

  • Nationals from Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Iran will not be admitted into the US through the end of September 2017 unless they can show a “bona fide relationship” with a US person or organization.
  • The Trump Administration will review internal and country-specific security and vetting processes regarding the above six countries.
  • The US Supreme Court will hear arguments as to whether the Executive Order is constitutional in early October 2017.

          Together We Came: Hisham Matar   

Hisham_Matar_2_.jpgBy Haley Arata

Ten hours writing, three coffees, and two hours on the Internet: the magic writing formula for award-winning Arab American writer Hisham Matar. 

Matar was born in New York, grew up in Tripoli and Cairo, and now lives in England. Hisham’s father, Jaballa Matar, opposed the Gaddafi regime and when Hisham was young his entire family fled to Cairo to avoid political persecution. It was during one of early days in Cairo that Matar remembers hearing the words of the one of the most influential books to his life and writing career. He was at his home in Cairo, which was filled with Libyan political dissidents as it often was, when someone read aloud passages from a book. The words relayed the thoughts of a man, and Matar recalls the writing as honest and the words as illustrating. He does not remember the name, nor the author, of the book, yet the memory of that afternoon remains strong. “Every word I have written has been propelled by an enthusiasm rooted in that afternoon so long ago, when I was a boy and didn’t yet know that I needed books at all,” Matar said. “Perhaps the book has been more useful to me lost than found.”

Matar’s first two novels, In the Country of Men and Anatomy of a Disappearance, were met with great acclaim.  Matar’s third and most recent novel, The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between, won a Pulitzer Prize and the Rathbones Folio prize this year. A narrative that tows the line between fiction and nonfiction, The Return tells the story of a man’s journey to Libya to find his father, mirroring Matar’s own journey to the country in search of his missing father, Jamalla, after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.  

5884487010_5e0727960d_z_2_.jpgIn 1990, when Matar was nineteen years old, his father was kidnapped from his home in Cairo. For two years, Egyptian secret service agents led the Matar family to believe he was being held in Egypt. But in 1992, the Matars received a smuggled letter from Jamalla with the truth: the Egyptian secret service had abducted him in Cairo and imprisoned him in Libya. Twenty years later, Matar found out that his father might still be alive. Someone had reported seeing Jamalla as a political prisoner in Tripoli. This discovery occurred around the same time that Matar had happened upon inspiration for a new novel.

Lounging by the poolside while on vacation, Matar glanced up to see a young boy and his father walking and holding hands. According to Matar, at this moment he was overcome with a sense of inspiration: “Inspiration…in the sense that an event happens, it’s very precise…but it seems mysterious, infinite…it contains within it so many other possibilities…it appears to be out of this world.” Encouraged by the mystery and possibility of this moment, Matar began writing the manuscript for what would later become The Return. And almost at the same time, Matar received word that someone in Libya reported having seen his father, Jamalla.

Was this fate? Maybe. Nonetheless, imagination and reality seemed to converge as Matar embarked, with pen in hand, on his journey back to Libya. Not only does the story reflect Matar’s search for his father, but it also delves into the complex history of Libya. The story tries to bring to the surface the reality of the Revolution, from the depravity, to the struggle, the violence, and the hope; but it also seeks to reveal the effects of politics on the intimate life by highlighting the small moments in life that are affected by political events such as a regime, a revolution, a coup. These moments are often overlooked and Matar felt that, as an artist, he was able to bring to light this narrative that further reflects what he believes is the authenticity of the revolution.

Matar grew up in a home filled with people engaged with political work. Although he claims he is not a man of action, he explores politics and identity, struggle and intimacy through his writing. He acts through the power of storytelling.

Read more stories about Arab immigrants and their descendants on the "Together We Came" main page.


Haley Arata is a 2017 intern at the Arab American Institute. 


          Eric Zuesse: What Happens When America’s Top Investigative Journalist Reports What Media Bosses Don’t Want the Public to Know?   
Eric Zuesse:

[Seymour] Hersh reported there that, «the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to chaos and, potentially, to Syria’s takeover by jihadi extremists, much as was then happening in Libya». «The CIA had been conspiring for more than a year with allies in the UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to ship guns and goods – to be used for the overthrow of Assad – from Libya, via Turkey, into Syria». «The assessment was bleak: there was no viable ‘moderate’ opposition to Assad, and the US was arming extremists. Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad». «The Joint Chiefs believed that Assad should not be replaced by fundamentalists». What resulted was almost a mutiny by the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

Strategic Cultures:

What Happens When America’s Top Investigative Journalist Reports What Media Bosses Don’t Want the Public to Know?

          UN Resolution Targets Libyan Fuel Smugglers   
The U.N. Security Council has extended sanctions on illegal oil exports from Libya to cover refined petroleum products as well, in a bid to stem rampant smuggling of subsidised fuel by sea. Imported fuel that is priced lower for the domestic…
          More court challenges on travel ban   
A scaled-back version of President Donald Trump’s travel is now in force, stripped of provisions that brought protests and chaos at airports worldwide in January yet still likely to generate a new round of court fights. The new rules, the product of months of legal wrangling, aren’t so much an outright ban as a tightening of already-tough visa policies affecting citizens from six Muslim-majority countries. Refugees are covered, too. Administration officials promised that implementation this time, which started at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT), would be orderly. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Dan Hetlage said his agency expected “business as usual at our ports of entry,” with all valid visa holders still being able to travel. Still, immigration and refugee advocates are vowing to challenge the new requirements and the administration has struggled to explain how the rules will make the United States safer. Under the temporary rules, citizens of Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen who already have visas will be allowed into the United States. But people from those countries who want new visas will now have to prove a close family relationship or an existing relationship with an entity like a school or business in the U.S. It’s unclear how significantly the new rules will affect travel. In most of the countries singled out, few people have the means for leisure travel. Those that do already face intensive screenings before being issued visas. Nevertheless, human rights groups girded for new legal battles. The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the groups challenging the ban, called the new criteria “extremely restrictive,” ”arbitrary” in their exclusions and designed to “disparage and condemn Muslims.” The state of Hawaii filed an emergency motion Thursday asking a federal judge to clarify that the administration cannot enforce the ban against relatives — such as grandparents, aunts or uncles — not included in the State Department’s definition of “bona fide” personal relationships. Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer met with customs officials and said he felt things would go smoothly. “For tonight, I’m anticipating few issues because, I think, there’s better preparation,” he told reporters at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday night. “The federal government here, I think, has taken steps to avoid the havoc that occurred the last time.” Much of the confusion in January, when Trump’s first ban took effect, resulted from travelers with previously approved visas being kept off flights or barred entry on arrival in the United States. Immigration officials were instructed Thursday not to block anyone with valid travel documents and otherwise eligible to visit the United States. Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center, said the rules “would slam the door shut on so many who have waited for months or years to be reunited with their families.” Trump, who made a tough approach to immigration a cornerstone of his election campaign, issued a ban on travelers from the six countries, plus Iraq, shortly after taking office in January. His order also blocked refugees from any country. Trump said these were temporary measures needed to prevent terrorism until vetting procedures could be reviewed. Opponents noted that visa and refugee vetting were already strict and said there was no evidence that refugees or citizens of those six countries posed a threat. They saw the ban as part of Trump’s campaign promise to bar Muslims from entering the United States. Lower courts blocked the initial ban and a second, revised Trump order intended to overcome legal hurdles. The Supreme Court on Monday partially reinstated the revised ban but exempted travelers who could prove a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity. The court offered only broad guidelines. In guidance issued late Wednesday, the State Department said the personal relationships would include a parent, spouse, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States. It does not include other relationships such as grandparents, grandchildren, aunts and uncles. On Thursday, the State and Homeland Security departments had both expanded the range of bona fide relationships to include fiancés. Business or professional links must be “formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading” the ban. Journalists, students, workers or lecturers who have valid invitations or employment contracts in the U.S. would be exempt from the ban. The exemption does not apply to those who seek a relationship with an American business or educational institution purely for the purpose of avoiding the rules. Refugees from any country will face similar requirements. But the U.S. has almost filled its quota of 50,000 refugees for the budget year ending in September and the new rules won’t apply to the few remaining slots. With the Supreme Court set to consider the overall ban in October, the rules could change again. The travel ban may have the largest impact on Iranians. In 2015, the most recently available data, nearly 26,000 Iranians were allowed into the United States on visitor or tourist visas. Iranians made up the lion’s share of the roughly 65,000 foreigners from the six countries who visited with temporary, or non-immigrant visas that year. American journalist Paul Gottinger said he and his Iranian fiancee applied for a visa nearly a year ago but are still waiting on a decision. Gottinger says they were to wed at a Japanese garden in his parents’ home state of Minnesota this month but postponed the ceremony until August because they had not yet received the visa. Now, he expects they will have to delay again. “Every twist and turn of the courts, we’re holding our hearts and our stomachs are falling to the floor,” he said by phone from Turkey. The new regulations are also affecting the wedding plans of Rama Issa-Ibrahim, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York. She is Syrian-American and had planned to get married this fall. While her father in Syria may be able to get a visa, her aunts and uncles may well be blocked. “I
          Limited travel ban kicks in   
The Trump administration has set new criteria for visa applicants from six mainly Muslim nations and all refugees that require a “close” family or business tie to the United States. The move came after the Supreme Court partially restored President Donald Trump’s executive order that was widely criticized as a ban on Muslims. Visas that have already been approved will not be revoked, but instructions issued by the State Department Wednesday said that new applicants from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States to be eligible. The same requirement, with some exceptions, holds for would-be refugees from all nations that are still awaiting approval for admission to the U.S. Grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, fiancees or other extended family members are not considered to be close relationships, according to the guidelines that were issued in a cable sent to all U.S. embassies and consulates late on Wednesday. The new rules take effect at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday (0000GMT on Friday), according to the cable, which was obtained by The Associated Press. As far as business or professional links are concerned, the State Department said a legitimate relationship must be “formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading” the ban. Journalists, students, workers or lecturers who have valid invitations or employment contracts in the U.S. would be exempt from the ban. The exemption does not apply to those who seek a relationship with an American business or educational institution purely for the purpose of avoiding the rules, the cable said. A hotel reservation or car rental contract, even if it was pre-paid, would also not count, it said. Consular officers may grant other exemptions to applicants from the six nations if they have “previously established significant contacts with the United States;” ”significant business or professional obligations” in the U.S.; if they are an infant, adopted child or in need of urgent medical care; if they are traveling for business with a recognized international organization or the U.S. government or if they are a legal resident of Canada who applies for a visa in Canada, according to the cable. Meanwhile, the Middle East’s biggest airline says its flights to the United States are operating as normal as new travel guidelines come into effect for travelers for six mainly Muslim nations. Dubai-based Emirates said in response to questions on the travel ban Thursday that it “remains guided by the US Customs and Border Protection on this matter.” The carrier reminded passengers that they “must possess the appropriate travel documents, including a valid US entry visa, in order to travel.” On Monday, the Supreme Court partially lifted lower court injunctions against Trump’s executive order that had temporarily banned visas for citizens of the six countries. The justices’ ruling exempted applicants from the ban if they could prove a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity, but the court offered only broad guidelines — suggesting they would include a relative, job offer or invitation to lecture in the U.S. — as to how that should be defined. Senior officials from the departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security had labored since the decision to clarify the ruling and Wednesday’s instructions were the result. The new guidance will remain in place until the Supreme Court issues a final ruling on the matter. Arguments before the justices will not be held until at least October, so the interim rules will remain in place at least until the fall. Shortly after taking office, Trump ordered the refugee ban and a travel ban affecting the six countries, plus Iraq. He said it was needed to protect the U.S. from terrorists, but opponents said it was unfairly harsh and was intended to meet his campaign promise to keep Muslims out of the United States. After a federal judge struck down the bans, Trump signed a revised order intended to overcome legal hurdles. That was also struck down by lower courts, but the Supreme Court’s action Monday partially reinstated it. The initial travel ban led to chaos at airports around the world, but because the guidelines exempt previously issued visas, similar problems are not expected. After a judge blocked the original ban, Trump issued a scaled-down order and the court’s action Monday further reduced the number of people who would be covered by it. Also, while the initial order took effect immediately, adding to the confusion, this one was delayed 72 hours after the court’s ruling. Under the new rules, would-be immigrants from the six countries who won a coveted visa in the government’s diversity lottery — a program that randomly awards 50,000 green cards annually to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States — will also have to prove they have a “bona fide relationship” with in the U.S. or are eligible for another waiver or face being banned for at least 90 days. That hurdle may be a difficult one for those immigrants to overcome, as many visa lottery winners don’t have relatives in the U.S. or jobs in advance of arriving in the country. Generally, winners in the diversity lottery only need prove they were born in an eligible county and have completed high school or have at least two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two other years of training or experience. ___ Alicia A. Caldwell contributed to this report. _______________________________________________________ Copyright © 2017 Capitol Hill Blue Copyright © 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved  
          A Pan-African agenda for the 21st century   
Sub-Title: 
Notes on the opening session of the 2nd Kwame Nkrumah Cultural and Intellectual Festival

On Monday 26 June 2017, a most important event for the future of the Global African family took place on African soil at the University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana.  It was a gathering of Africans and pan-Africanists, academics, activists, political leaders, students and youth from all over the world at the opening ceremony of the 2nd Kwame Nkrumah Pan-African Intellectual and Cultural Festival. 

In a day characterised by seriousness of purpose, commonality of ideas and sense of mission, the foundation of the meeting was set by Kwame Nkrumah Chair of African Studies Professor Horace Campbell who, in welcoming the participants, provided what can only be described as a masterful “update” of the state of the black condition globally. Prof Campbell achieved the simultaneous goal of updating participants on the specific struggles in specific regions but also demonstrated to all and sundry how their struggles are interlinked.

In what was described, by Joseph Engwenyu, a historian from Uganda, as the most powerful opening ceremony to any global conference that he has ever attended, nowhere was left untouched and analysed in Campbell’s welcome: from the struggles against neo-liberalism in Latin America and the deliberate overthrow of the ordered states of Libya, Iraq and Syria and North Africa and the Middle East, significantly worsening the lives of black citizens in these countries, but more importantly, reversing the possibilities of the economic and material advancement of the pan-African project which was being led by Libya.

In his roll call, Campbell noted the physical absence of Haiti, but was moved to invoke their presence in spirit, since he affirmed that it is impossible to hold a gathering of this nature without acknowledging Haiti, for its sacrifices in igniting the flame of African liberation globally.

Significantly, too, Campbell highlighted the fact of the re-articulation of renewed imperialist aggression by the United States against people of colour, both within and outside its borders. Arising out of this assessment, Campbell emphasised that the ultimate aim of the conference was to establish modes of deepening African unity and to identify concrete practical steps for charting the way forward as an agenda for pan-Africanism in the twenty-first century.

This theme of the need for unity was sustained and reinforced by strong solidarity messages, the most symbolic being delivered by Samia Nkrumah, the daughter of Ghana’s founding president and eminent pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah, who insisted on the need to re-affirm Nkrumah’s message of continental unity: one economy, one currency, one army, one foreign policy and one government.  Given the convening of a conference called under the name of Kwame Nkrumah, it was a significant wake-up call, which placed the ultimate vision of Nkrumah squarely at the centre of the consciousness of the participants.

The opening ceremony was presided over by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana Professor Ebenezer Owusu. After the welcome statement by the Director of the Institute of African Studies Professor Dzodzi Tsikata, there were solidarity messages from Barbados, the former Prime Minister of Namibia, Nahas Nangula, representative of the Polisario liberation forces of Western Sahara, Mr M. M. Buyema and Samia Nkrumah, the daughter of Kwame Nkrumah. The President of Ghana was represented by Professor Kwesi Yankah, Deputy Minister of Education.

The highlight of the gathering of this opening ceremony of more than 400 persons in the Great Hall of the University of Ghana was the feature address, delivered by the Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Sir Hilary Beckles, whose contribution set the analytical and a programmatic guideline for the way forward for pan-Africanism to the mid-twenty-first century.

On reflecting upon the African condition in the context of the Western world’s claim to fighting a war on terror, Prof Beckles noted that no part of the world has had a more brutal experience of terrorism than the Caribbean under European slavery. Having established this fact, Beckles therefore set the stage for reflecting on a future pan-African project.

His proposed program was framed within a recounting of the stance taken by the major African states at the UN Durban World Conference Against Racism in which, according to his recounting, the formal leaders of Africa abandoned the Caribbean delegations in their call for reparations.  The powerful symbol left by Beckles was that of a mother (Africa) abandoning her scattered children (the Caribbean). He insisted that something had been broken and needed to be repaired. 

Beckles framed his argument on the basis that the Caribbean had “done its part” for Africa, from its intellectual, moral and organisational contribution to the struggles against colonialism and independence through the work of pan-Africanists like George Padmore, to the struggle against apartheid as seen in the work of reggae artistes like Bob Marley, to the military contribution of Cuba in Southern Africa. According to Beckles’s narrative, the children had never walked away from the mother, and that Africa, by turning her back on her children in their hour of need, had inflicted a deep wound in the relationship that needed to be healed.  Beckles therefore suggested that before any further forward movement could occur, the African mother would have to reach out to her children in global Africa, as part of the process of healing.

Symbolism aside, this call for the African mother to reach out to her children set the scene for the offering of practical and programmatic agenda which would emerge in the conference. This not only included the role of Africa in supporting the call to spearhead a reparations movement, but it forced upon the conference the need to think about the kind of agenda around which a program of reaching out between Africa and the Caribbean could be built.  This represents the first framework for a future pan-African agenda.

The second inference by Beckles, which created a framework for a future program of action for pan-Africanism, was his own recognition of a split between African states and African civil society, which was symbolised in Durban with the support for reparations from African civil society but a rejection of the call for reparations by the states. This recognition of the split over reparations was seen as symptomatic of a deeper crisis of the post-colonial independent state, in which elites have been cut off from the aspirations of the people.

This set the tone for a second major agenda issue of the conference: the need to re-examine the failures of an elite-led independence project and, relatedly, the failures of an elite-led pan-African project. Indeed, this has, at the time of writing, constituted a major aspect of the theoretical and practical aspects of the conference, with many of the papers focussing on re-examining the ideas of Walter Rodney, CLR James, George Padmore, WEB Dubois, Amilcar Cabral, Frantz Fanon, Kwame Nkrumah and others.

In addition, the question of overcoming many of the specific aspects of the failure and reversal of the independence and Pan-Africanism have been placed on the agenda. Thus, issues of education, land reform, an African currency, economic sovereignty, integration, indeed, a re-examining of every major aspect of the ongoing failures of post-colonial experience, was inspired by the recognition of the split between civil society and states.

Finally, above all else, the conference theme was “Global Africa 2063: Education for Reconstruction and Transformation”. The conference, and opening ceremony, created an excellent platform for future links between education institutions between Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and North America, and the rethinking of the substance of education into a future pan-African project, towards meeting the African Union’s goal of a unified Africa by the year 2063.

Given the energy of the conference, the crisis of global capitalism, the sense of mission, and the feeling of the urgency of moment, Professor Campbell was moved to warn that African unity will come before 2063.  We await the formal release of the Accra Declaration of Action, as a way forward towards pan-Africanism into the twenty-first Century.

* TENNYSON S.D. JOSEPH teaches in the Department of Government, Sociology & Social Work at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill. He is a prolific writer who pens a weekly column in the Nation. He is the author of Decolonization in St. Lucia: Politics and Global Neoliberalism, 1945–2010, University Press of Mississippi, 2011.

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          CARICOM deals a blow to US plans for regime change in Venezuela    

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Delcy Rodriguez, recently tweeted that the “US State Department deployed its ambassadors in the region to attack Venezuela. We come with renewed vigor to defeat them at the OAS.”

So said, so done. The US Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway, spewed the US false narrative regarding Venezuela in our local newspapers. US ambassadors in a number of other Caribbean countries did the same. It was a coordinated attempt to mislead the people of Guyana and the region about what is really happening in Venezuela, and to apply pressure on members of CARICOM (Caribbean Community) and the OAS (Organization of American States) to succumb to US calls for intervention, with the aim of overthrowing the democratically elected government of President Nicolas Maduro.

US diplomats in Guyana, and for that matter throughout the Global South, are not diplomats in the strict sense of the word, and can be better described as political activists. They are constantly meddling in the internal affairs of the country they are stationed in, giving directives to the compliant neo-colonial regimes and actively undermining and destabilizing independent and anti-imperialist governments, such as the government in Venezuela.

This latest US psych-ops came just after the May 31st meeting of the OAS in Washington DC and just prior to the June 19th OAS meeting in Cancun, Mexico, where CARICOM member states took a firm and united anti-interventionist position in relation to the current situation in Venezuela, delivering a resounding defeat to the interventionist approach advocated by the US, Mexico, Peru and Panama,

Following the June 19th OAS meeting, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Delcy Rodriguez, said: “Today we come with the strength of our people who took to the streets to denounce the interventionism of the Organization of American States, we come with the force of the rain of our commander Hugo Chavez. Independence and sovereignty triumphed today over the United States of America, with its brutal pressure, with its gross extortion, with its maneuvers…”

She added that the call for intervention encourages the “most violent, anti-democratic factions in our country,” and she thanked the Caribbean nations for their “deeply principled stand.”
In his letter and articles, US ambassador, Perry Holloway, had the temerity to lecture Guyana and other member-states of the OAS about their obligation to democracy and human rights. He stated that: “The diverse family of nations in the Americas recognizes democracy is a part of our collective DNA. Sixteen years ago in Peru, we underscored this principle with the adoption of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, affirming the right of the peoples of the Americas to democracy and obligating our governments to defend that right.”

I suggest that before US diplomats in the Caribbean and the Americas offer any criticism or advice to Venezuela or any member-state of the OAS on issues of democracy and human rights, they should first examine the behavior of their own government in relation to their undemocratic practices and policies, both internally and around the world, and their endless list of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Trump lays bare sham democracy

The only positive aspect of Trump’s presidency is that it is exposing, once and for all, the sham that parades as US democracy and concern for human rights. The entirely undemocratic nature of US internal and foreign policy is clear to all in 2017. Even that minority of citizens on this planet who still held out some hope that the US resembled anything close to a democracy, have now seen through the façade. American political philosopher, Sheldon S. Wolin, in his brilliant work, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, renders a devastating critique of US democracy and is a vital read for anyone who wishes to understand the latent fascism that underpins the politics of this Empire.

Former US Attorney-General, Ramsay Clark, had this to say: “We’re not a democracy. It’s a terrible misunderstanding and a slander to the idea of democracy to call us that. In reality, we’re a plutocracy, a government by the wealthy.” He compared President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler, and is on record as saying at the outset of the US invasion of Iraq, that it “will be genocide again,” adding that “the greatest crime since World War Two has been US foreign policy.”

As I watch the hue and cry over Trump’s actions, it reminds me of Adolph Hitler’s response to Europe’s criticism of his policies. He told them: “I am only doing out in the open what you have been doing behind closed doors for centuries.”

A meme that was circulated at the end of Obama’s presidency said it best: “Only in shallow, self-absorbed, privileged America could a leader drop 26,000 bombs on seven countries in a single year, and have citizens mourn the end of his term because he looked and sounded classy while doing it.”

The illusion highlighted in this meme picks up on the public relations stunt that has become a hallmark of the US establishment, and which Sheldon Wolin identifies as a major feature of the “inverted totalitarianism” that exists in the US today. He describes “inverted totalitarianism” as a state of affairs where a small ruling elite (the 1%) have established an authoritarian society which benefits them exclusively. In this society, corporations have corrupted and subverted democracy, and natural resources and labor are seen as mere commodities to be exploited for huge profits.

This status quo is maintained by a sophisticated propaganda machine that lulls the majority of people into apathy. Central to reinforcing this hegemon is a tightly controlled corporatized media, a mouthpiece for the establishment, that is constantly spinning fake news and false narratives, and emphasizing rabid consumerism, individualism and the politics of personality and sensationalism. Wolin, like Clark, compares modern day USA to Nazi Germany, pointing out that the form is different but the essence, that is, fascism, is the same.

Friendly fascism

Tirty-seven years ago, political scientist, Bertram Gross, coined the term “friendly fascism” and predicted the Orwellian reality we are witnessing today in the US. His thesis converges with the conclusions reached by Wolin, Clark and others.

In his farewell address at the end of his presidency in 1961, Republican Dwight Eisenhower, warned the American people about the dangers of the “Military Industrial Complex”, the control it exerted and its ability to, in his words, “weaken or destroy the very institutions and principles it was designed to protect.” This has surely come to pass.

So, before US diplomats such as Perry Holloway attempt to discredit the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, initiated by one of the most revered freedom fighters in the Americas, the late Hugo Chavez, and led today by President Nicolas Maduro and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela with the support of the majority of the people of Venezuela, they would do well to take a long and hard look at the crisis of democracy in their own country.

Let Mr. Holloway explain to Guyanese and the citizenry of all member-states of the OAS why, in 2017, Africans in the US continue to be gunned down in the streets on a regular basis.
Let him explain to us why the US has the largest number of persons imprisoned per capita in the world, and why the prisoners are disproportionately made up of Africans, Indigenous and other people of color, before he points the finger at a revolution that has lifted African and Indigenous Venezuelans out of debilitating discrimination and poverty.

Let Mr. Holloway address the situation of US political prisoners like Mumia Abu-Jamal, Jamil Al-Amin (formerly Rap Brown), Leonard Peltier and so many others who are languishing in US prisons before he speaks of Venezuela’s human rights record.

Let the US Ambassador focus on the shocking poverty and illiteracy statistics emerging from his own country, before he points the finger at the Bolivarian revolution which has made unprecedented gains in eradicating poverty and illiteracy amongst the masses of Venezuela’s poor. Anyone who visited oil rich Venezuela prior to the Bolivarian revolution can testify to the abhorrent conditions and the repressive measures used to subjugate the majority of Venezuelans, and in particular, African and Indigenous Venezuelans.

Does the Ambassador truly believe that his letters and articles, full of the usual delusional and empty rhetoric, would convince any of us that his government is concerned about democracy and human rights in Venezuela, or anywhere in the world for that matter, after we have witnessed the apocalyptic events in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and the list goes on?

Does Mr. Holloway think we have forgotten our own history in the Americas and the Caribbean, including the US orchestrated coups that overthrew the democratically elected governments of President Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, President Salvador Allende in Chile, Prime Minister Maurice Bishop in Grenada, President Manuel Zelaya in Honduras and the constitutional coup against President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil? What about the removal at gunpoint of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide by US military personnel in Haiti?

There is not the space in a single article to even list the US crimes in our region. Just to chronicle them warrants a book. If we were to list US crimes against the whole of humanity, we are looking at a library of books. The US Empire and the British, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch Empires that preceded it, have been without doubt the worst examples of terrorism in all of human history.

In his letter and article, Mr. Holloway advises that “when a government breaks with democracy, we must act in solidarity with its people, not through intervention or interference, but with diplomacy and mediation among all parties to help find a peaceful, democratic, and comprehensive solution.” Tell us Mr. Holloway: Are the examples listed above your idea of diplomacy and mediation?

These governments were not removed because of their lack of democracy or abuse of human rights. They were removed, like countless others throughout the Global South, because they were attempting to free their country from the clutches of the Empire, and liberate their wealth and resources so that they might benefit the masses of their people. Our own founding fathers in Guyana, Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham, were subjected to the same destabilization tactics at the hands of the US government and its CIA.

Empire loses its grip

The US and its diplomats need to understand that with the advent of the internet and the availability of information in this day and age, the Empire has lost all credibility. There is no one left on earth who can be misled by their hollow and hypocritical rhetoric. Do not be fooled by those who dare not speak openly -- they are afraid of losing their visas and even worse reprisals. Regardless of their cowardice and silence, everyone knows that the Emperor is naked. Behind closed doors, even those satraps who publicly profess their allegiance, such as the Saudis, snigger and jeer at the hideous state of affairs in the United States of America.

As the US Empire crumbles, its vampires, who have sucked the blood of the sufferers for so long, are in panic mode because, despite their descent into blatant authoritarianism and fascism, they continue to lose their grip on the terrifying world they have created, as it spins more and more out of control. The ugly death squads such as Al Qaeda and ISIS, the very Frankensteins of their own making, are turning right back on them. As Malcom X observed so long ago, the chickens must come home to roost. One cannot keep up with the number of attacks in the US and Europe.

One of the vampires, largely credited with creating Al Qaeda, a former US National Security Advisor, and founder of the Rockefeller-controlled Trilateral Commission, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in a speech to British elites at Chatham House in 2008, spoke volumes when he said:

“…new and old major powers face still yet another novel reality, in some respects unprecedented, and it is that while the lethality of their power is greater than ever, their capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at an historical low…I once put it rather pungently, and I was flattered that the British Foreign Secretary repeated this… namely, in earlier times, it was easier to control a million people than physically to kill a million people. Today, it is infinitely easier to kill a million people than to control a million people.”

The majority of CARICOM countries are governed by neo-colonial political outfits and even they voted against US plans for regime change in Venezuela.”
The current US administration, like its predecessors, whether Democrat or Republican, is involved in just that, killing millions of people all over the world in its bid to control, and trying desperately to convince us of the absurd notion that that they are doing this in the name of democracy and human rights. Trouble is, no one is buying it? The majority of CARICOM countries are governed by neo-colonial political outfits and even they voted against US plans for regime change in Venezuela. The playbook is old and tired. Donald Trump just tied up an arms deal worth 350 billion US dollars with the corrupt and entirely undemocratic regime of Saudi Arabia, a regime that is without doubt the main proliferator of the ideology of Wahhabism and the movements intent on imposing this ideology worldwide, such as Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Nusra Front and ISIS. All these weapons to a government that is funding terrorism worldwide and committing genocide in Yemen.

And, when the power struggle between the Saudis and the Qataris surfaced, Trump paid lip service to the manufactured war on terror by publicly condemning Qatar’s support for terrorism, and days later sold the Qataris US military hardware worth 12 billion dollars. In light of this hypocrisy and blatant disregard for the victims of these rogue states and their global terrorist network, can you really expect us to believe that your concern with Venezuela is about lack of democracy and human rights?

No shame
Finally, to Mr. Holloway and his cohorts throughout the region, your expressed shock and horror about the so-called spillover from Venezuela’s current predicament was perhaps the most shameful part of your missive: “The spillover effects from Venezuela’s crisis are serious and growing, whether it is irregular migrant flows to countries in our region or the increasing flow of arms and criminal activity that affect the Caribbean in particular.”

This is rich coming from the people who illegally invaded Libya, murdered the Libyan leader and freedom fighter, Muammar Qaddafi in the street, and in so doing, destroyed the most prosperous and democratic nation on the African continent, causing a migration crisis of a magnitude never seen before. Your government handed over the nation of Libya to a conglomerate of thugs, criminals, terrorists and reactionary warlords, and this spillover continues to wreak havoc throughout Africa and the Arab Region six years on. Before you concern yourself with any spillover in the Caribbean, please deal with the spillover from your criminal invasion of Libya, a spillover that only this month reached Manchester, England.

In Guyana, the Americas and throughout the Global South, the masses of people are sick and tired of the same old playbook -- the one that is in fact the cause of the current situation in Venezuela. But then, that is part of the devil’s own script, cause the problem and then come to us as savior, with a solution. It plays like this: the US, through its infamous web of security agencies, NGOs, Aid Agencies, think-tanks and other Trojan horses, destabilize, sow confusion and do everything in their power to overthrow any government and subjugate any people that refuse to obey Empire. Recently, more than 300,000 Venezuelans took to the streets in support of President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution.

The opposition held a demonstration that attracted 50,000. Of course, in your United States, the corporate media is reporting just the opposite. By the admission of your own president they are the purveyors of fake news and this is just another example of your country’s lack of democracy. The bottom line is this Mr. Holloway: your country and its government is no way fit to point the finger at anyone when it comes to infringement of democracy, democratic values and human rights.

In your letters and articles you ask: “If these things were happening in our own countries, would we not want the rest of our American family of nations to speak out, and reach out, to help restore fundamental democratic freedoms and respect for constitutional institutions?”

In your own words you proclaim that: “The Organization of American States has for decades provided a forum to discuss our greatest challenges and take action together to address them. The challenge before us today is the death spiral of democracy in Venezuela.”

What you say in the two quotes above is correct except for one thing, the challenge before us today is not the death spiral of democracy in Venezuela, it is the death spiral of democracy in the United States and an evil Empire spinning out of control.

You are right -- the OAS should take immediate action to prevent further terrorism and turmoil because the spillover worldwide from the crisis in the United States is serious and growing.

* GERALD A. PERREIRA is chairperson of the Guyanese organizations Black Consciousness Movement Guyana (BCMG) and Organization for the Victory of the People (OVP) and an executive member of the Caribbean Chapter of the Network in Defense of Humanity. He lived in Libya for many years, served in the Green March, an international battalion for the defense of the Al Fatah Revolution, and was an executive member of the World Mathaba based in Libya. This article previously appeared in Black Agenda Report.

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          Comment on Hillary Clinton Admits She Help Created ISIS by P.A.Semi   
War in Syria is personal deed of H.Clinton: >Qatar wanted to build Gas pipe-line to Europe. >Assad said no and negotiated Iranian pipe-line >Qatar paid Clinton Foundation $1M and asked for help >Clinton sent Robert Ford into Syria, who has been driving accross country instigating "opposition" into Rebelion --- Here she boasts, that it was she who sent Robert Ford into Syria: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/08/hillary-clinton-failure-to-help-syrian-rebels-led-to-the-rise-of-isis/375832/ Her own words in interview. Somewhere below Netty picture writes about Robert Ford. Article title shows she still cannot understand reality. He (Robert Ford) has been quite busy driving arround the country and waking militant "opposition" groups demonstrations to start the civil war. https://www.wikileaks.org/syria-files/docs/2091826_article-on-mr-ford-s-activities.html https://www.wikileaks.org/syria-files/docs/2097027_syrian-revolution-news-round-up-.html https://www.wikileaks.org/syria-files/docs/2097374_syrian-revolution-daily-news-round-up.html https://www.globalresearch.ca/you-wont-believe-what-former-us-ambassador-robert-s-ford-said-about-al-qaedas-syrian-allies/5504906 http://web-old.archive.org/web/20161111060515/http://www.globalresearch.ca/you-wont-believe-what-former-us-ambassador-robert-s-ford-said-about-al-qaedas-syrian-allies/5504906 »Robert Ford was US Ambassador to Syria when the revolt against Syrian president Assad was launched. He not only was a chief architect of regime change in Syria, but actively worked with rebels to aid their overthrow of the Syrian government. Ford assured us that those taking up arms to overthrow the Syrian government were simply moderates and democrats seeking to change Syria’s autocratic system. Anyone pointing out the obviously Islamist extremist nature of the rebellion and the foreign funding and backing for the jihadists was written off as an Assad apologist or worse.« ----- Clinton-Petraeus plan: She has been sending arms from Libya to Syria during summer 2012, using Benghazi embassy as a disguise, until the chief arms-dealer Stevens was killed by rebels, whom he stolen their weapons to send them via Turkey to Syria. Although president Obama vetoed the plan in May 2012, it easily continued... (some worthless puppet as a president is not an argument for CIA...) http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/weekly-updates/the-truth-about-benghazi/ (includes many links to DOD documents and other sources) http://www.globalresearch.ca/cia-ops-finally-revealed-what-the-us-ambassador-in-benghazi-was-really-doing/5483957 While well knowing the DIA report about Salafist principality (ISIL) starting there by al Qaida, which was "desired"... https://wikispooks.com/wiki/File:DIA-287.pdf http://www.google.com/search?q=DIA+287
          Benghazi Parents Blame Clinton In Lawsuit   
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          Clinton On Benghazi: “I’ve Lost More Sleep Than All Of You.”   
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton faced tough questions Thursday during a hearing on the deadly attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
          Opinion: Why Benghazi Matters   
As the politicians on the “left” and other persons on the political “left” insist that the election is over and that is why the rest of Americans should move on and drop the Benghazi, Libya controversy, those “leftists” need to understand exactly why the truth about the Benghazi terrorist attack needs to come out.
          Opinion: Petraeus Must Testify On Libya   
Petraeus must either volunteer to speak as a civilian or Congress must subpoena the former CIA Director to speak to complete the Benghazi puzzle.
          Opinion: Why Did The White House Take So Long To Admit Libya Attack Was Terrorism?   
With Americans watching the nearing of the date September 11, 2012 on the calendar for weeks – if not months – and dreading the stark reality that something disastrous may happen to innocent Americans again, the president and his political cronies refused to believe what happened.
          Opinion: Obama’s Security Breach In Libya Is Ignored By American Media   
As the liberal American press and ultra-liberal bloggers inundate the Internet and newsprints with criticisms of what Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential challenger to President Barack Obama, said about Obama during the Libyan attacks and murders, throngs of foreign press and few American outlets tell the real story involved with the White House’s role in the incidents that we now know could have been prevented.
          By 2100, Refugees Would Be the Most Populous Country on Earth   
Poverty and deadly wars are the major drivers of displacement.

The UN Refugee Agency has announced the new figures for the world’s displaced: 65.9 million. That means that 65.9 million human beings live as refugees, asylum seekers or as internally displaced people. If the refugees formed a country, it would be the 21st largest state in the world, just after Thailand (68.2 million) and just ahead of the United Kingdom (65.5 million). But unlike these other states, refugees have few political rights and no real representation in the institutions of the world.

The head of the UN Refugee Agency, Filippo Grandi, recently said that most of the displacement comes as a result of war. "The world seems to have become unable to make peace," Grandi said. "So you see old conflicts that continue to linger, and new conflicts erupting, and both produce displacement. Forced displacement is a symbol of wars that never end."

Few continents are immune from the harsh reality of war. But the epicenter of war and displacement is along the axis of the Western-driven global war on terror and resource wars. The line of displacement runs from Afghanistan to South Sudan with Syria in between. Eyes are on Syria, where the war remains hot and the tensions over escalation intensify daily. But there is as deadly a civil war in South Sudan, driven in large part by a ferocious desire to control the country’s oil. Last year, 340,000 people fled South Sudan for refugee camps in neighboring Uganda. This is a larger displacement than from Syria.

Poverty is a major driver of displacement. It is what moves hundreds of thousands of people to try and cross the Sahara Desert and then the Mediterranean Sea for European pastures. But most who try this journey meet a deadly fate. Both the Sahara and the Mediterranean are dangerous. This week, the UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Niger rescued 600 migrants from the Sahara, although 52 did not survive.

A 22-year-old woman from Nigeria was among those rescued. She was on a pick-up truck with 50 people. They left Agadez for Libya. ‘We were in the desert for ten days,’ she says. "After five days, the driver abandoned us. He left us with all of our belongings, saying he was going to pick us up in a couple of hours. But he never did." Forty-four of the migrants died. The six who remained struggled to safety. ‘We had to drink our own pee to survive,’ she said.

Getting to Libya is hard enough. But being in Libya is perilous. Violence against vulnerable migrants inside Libya continues to occur. The IOM reports the presence in Libya of ‘slave markets.’ Migrants who make it across the Sahara into Libya have told investigators that they find themselves in these slave markets where they are bought to be taken to private prisons and put to work or else sold back to their families if they can raise the high ransom payments. UNICEF reports incidents of rape and violence against women and children in these private prisons. One 15-year-old boy said of his time in a private prison, "Here they treat us like chickens. They beat us, they do not give us good water and good food. They harass us. So many people are dying here, dying from disease, freezing to death."

Danger lurks on the sea as well. This year already IOM reports least 2,108 deaths in the sea between Libya and Italy. This is the fourth year in a row that IOM has counted over 2,000 deaths by mid-year. Over the past five years, this averages out to about 10 deaths a day. Libya, broken by NATO’s war in 2011, remains a gateway for the vulnerable from various parts of Africa, countries damaged by IMF policies and by warfare. There is no expectation that the numbers of those on the march will decrease.

In a recent paper in The Lancet (June 2017), Paul Spiegel, formerly of the UN Refugee Agency suggests that the "humanitarian system was not designed to address the types of conflicts that are happening at present." With over 65 million people displaced, the various institutions of the UN and of the NGO world are simply not capable of managing the crisis.

"It is not simply overstretched," Spiegel wrote of the humanitarian system, "it is no longer fit for purpose."

These are shattering words. One problem Spiegel identifies is the assumption that refugee flows are temporary, since wars will end at some point. What happens when wars and occupations are permanent? People either have to live for generations in refugee camps or they will seek, through dangerous passages, flight to the West. He gives the example of Iran, which absorbed over a million Afghan refugees without using the camp strategy. They simply allowed the Afghans into Iranian society and absorbed them by putting money into their various social schemes (such as education and health). Spiegel also points out that refugees must be part of the designing the process for humanitarian aid. These are good suggestions, but they are not going to be possible with the limited funds available for refugees and with the crisis level of activity that detains the humanitarian agencies.

Spiegel does not deal with one of the great problems for humanitarianism: the persistence of war and the theory that more war—or the current euphemism, security—is the answer to humanitarian crises. This January, over 1,000 people tried to scale the large barrier that divides Morocco from the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. Looking at that barrier, one is reminded of the idea that walls will somehow prevent migration, a view driven by President Donald Trump. Violence met the migrants, a mirror of the violence that was visited among migrants along the spinal cord of Eastern Europe last year. Walls, police forces and military interventions are all seductive to an imagination that forgets why people migrate and that they are human beings on the run with few other options. There is a view that security barriers and security forces will raise the price of migrant and deter future migrants. This is a silly illusion. Migration is dangerous already. That has not stopped anyone. More humane thinking is necessary.

It is important therefore that the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told a meeting on the Sahel on June 28 that the world leaders need to "avoid a disproportionate emphasis on security" when dealing with the multiple crises in the Sahara region and north of it. "No purely military solution" can work against transnational organized crime, violent extremism and terrorism, nor against poverty and hopelessness. Underlying causes are not being addressed, and indeed the surface reactions—to bomb more—only create more problems, not less.

In the July issue of Land Use Policy, professors Charles Geisler and Ben Currens estimate that by 2100 there will be 2 billion refugees as a result of climate change. These numbers are staggering. They are an inevitable future. By then, refugees will be the largest country on earth—nomads, seeking shelter from destruction of climate and capitalism, from rising seas and wars of greed.

 

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          1-7-1942: Inggris Gempur Pasukan 'Rubah Gurun' Nazi Jerman    

Hari ini, pada 1942, pasukan Sekutu yang dipimpin Inggris menggempur manuver tentara Nazi Jerman yang berusaha merebut Afrika Utara.

Nazi berniat menganeksasi wilayah tersebut, menjadi bagian kekuasaan Reich Ketiga yang digagas Adolf Hitler.

Jelang pertempuran dimulai, beberapa bulan sebelumnya, pasukan Nazi Jerman telah berada dekat dengan El Alamein, sebuah kota berjarak 106 km dari Aleksandria, Mesir. Demikian seperti yang dikutip dari History.com, Jumat (30/6/2017).

Namun, sebelum mencapai El Alamein, pasukan yang dipimpin oleh Field Marshal Erwin Rommel --yang dijuluki sebagai 'Sang Rubah Gurun'-- menghadapi gempuran hebat dari pasukan Inggris.

Pada Juni 1942, Britania Raya mendesak pasukan Rommel hingga terpaksa harus bertahan di dekat Tripoli, Libya --lokasi terdekat pangkalan militer Jerman di kawasan Afrika Utara. Namun, dalam beberapa minggu, pasukan Sang Rubah Gurun berhasil membalikkan keadaan.

Dengan serangan udara dan tank, Rommel berhasil memukul mundur Inggris hingga ke pangkalan militer terdekat Britania Raya di Aleksandria. Dan memasuki penghujung Juni 1942, pasukan Sang Rubah Gurun telah berada 106 km dari El Alamein dan hendak merebut Aleksandria dari tangan Inggris.

Bagi Inggris, Aleksandria merupakan teritorial penting, karena menampung pangkalan militer Britania Raya yang menjaga Terusan Suez. Jika wilayah itu jatuh ke tangan Nazi, Sekutu khawatir bahwa pasukan Hitler akan mampu meluaskan kekuasaannya ke seluruh Afrika dan Asia.

Merasa di atas angin setelah Diktator Italia Benito Mussolini mengirim pasukan tambahan, Sang Rubah Gurun semakin memantapkan tekadnya untuk merebut bekas ibu kota Kerajaan Mesir Kuno itu dari tangan Inggris. Pasukan Mussolini pun menyerang terlebih dahulu.

Namun, di satu sisi, pasukan 'Sang Rubah Gurun' dan Italia meremehkan satu hal, yakni bahwa keduanya berada sangat jauh dari pangkalan militer mereka di Tripoli, Libya, yakni berkisar 1.788 km. Dan hal itu dimanfaatkan pasukan Inggris yang dipimpin oleh Jenderal Claude Auchinleck.

Sambil menunggu penyerangan Nazi-Jerman dan Italia, Britania Raya memperkuat kualitas serta kuantitas pangkalan militer mereka di Aleksandria. Inggris pun mendapat bantuan dari negara persemakmurannya, yakni India, Afrika Selatan, dan Selandia Baru.

Maka, tibalah tanggal 1 Juli 1942. Tepatnya pada pukul 03.00, Divisi Infanteri Ringan ke-90 Nazi-Jerman serta Divisi Panzer ke-15 dan ke-21, memulai manuver mendekat ke Aleksandria lewat El Alamien, menandai dimulainya Pertempuran El Alamein.

Tak dinyana, Sang Rubah Gurun luput akan strategi pasukan Inggris yang telah memperkuat barisan pertahanan mereka di Aleksandria hingga ke El Alamien.

Dan benar saja, pasukan Nazi-Jerman dihadang oleh Brigade Infanteri India ke-18 yang dilengkapi artileri dan meriam berat anti-kendaraan lapis baja. Panzer Sang Rubah Gurun berhasil diluluh-lantahkan oleh pasukan India.

Hingga Pertempuran El Alamein berakhir pada 27 Juli 1942, Nazi-Jerman dan Italia yang berkekuatan 96.000 pasukan --juga kelelahan sejak pertempuran Juni 1942-- harus kewalahan menghadapi pasukan Sekutu Inggris yang berjumlah 150.000 tentara, 179 tank, 1.000 artileri, dan 1.500 pesawat tempur.

Bukan itu saja momentum sejarah yang terjadi pada 1 Juli. Pada tanggal yang sama, tahun 1997, Hong Kong kembali ke pelukan China, setelah selama 150 tahun dikuasai oleh Inggris.

Upacara penyerahan kembali Hong Kong dilakukan di rumah Gubernur Hong Kong, Chris Patten. Secara simbolik, upacara ini dilakukan dengan cara menurunkan bendera Inggris.

Pada tanggal yang sama tahun 2013, negara pecahan Yugoslavia, Kroasia akhirnya bergabung dengan Uni Eropa.

Sementara pada 1961, mantan Istri pewaris pertama takhta Kerajaan Inggris Pangeran Charles, Putri Diana lahir di Norfolk Inggris.


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Libya'nın linç edilerek öldürülen devrik lideri Muammer Kaddafi'nin sarayından yağmalanan ve İstanbul Emniyeti tarafından ele geçirilen 'Mamut' dişinden hançere iki kurum ve iki bilirkişi tarafından değer...Devamı için tıklayınız
          Stephen Grand - Press Conference USA - June 30, 2017   
Stephen Grand, Executive Director of the Middle East Strategy Task Force at the Atlantic Council, presents a blueprint on how the Middle East can break the current cycle of conflict, whether in Syria, Iraq, Libya or Yemen. He tells host Carol Castiel and VOA Senior Middle East reporter Mohamed Elshinnawi, that a combination of grassroots efforts by civil society as well as diplomatic, economic and political leadership by Western and regional leaders can bring stability and unlock the region’s vast potential.
          NATO, a monstrous institution    
NATO, a monstrous institution 

By Karel van Wolferen (June 3 2017)

Their anxiety about the future of NATO, recently on full display again when the American president was in Europe, could not be bettered as a measure of the incapacity of Europe’s top politicians to guide their continent and represent its populations. Through its provocations of Moscow, NATO systematically helps increase the risk of a military confrontation. By thus sabotaging its declared purpose of serving collective security for the countries on either side of the Atlantic, it erases its fundamental reason for being and right to exist.

Grasping these facts ought be enough to fuel moves aimed at quickly doing away with NATO. But it is terrible for more and easily overlooked reasons.

NATO’s survival prevents the political entity that is the European Union from becoming a significant global presence for reasons other than its economic weight. If you cannot have a defence policy of your own you also deprive yourself of a foreign policy. Without a substantive foreign policy, Europe does not show anything that anyone might consider ‘a face’ to the world. Without such a face to the outside, the inside cannot come to terms about what it stands for, and substitutes meaningless platitudes for answers to the question as to why it should exist in the first place.

NATO is an example of an institution that has gotten completely out of hand through European complacency, intellectual laziness, and business opportunism. As a security alliance it requires a threat. When the one that was believed to exist during the Cold War disappeared, a new one had to be found. Forged for defence against what was once believed to be an existential threat, it only began actually deploying its military might after that threat had disappeared, for its illegal war against Serbia. Once it had jumped that hurdle, it was encouraged to continue jumping toward imagined global threats. Its history since the demise of its original adversary has been deplorable, as its European member states were made party to war crimes resulting from actions at Washington’s behest for objectives that have made a dead letter of international law. It has turned some European governments into liars when they told their populations that sending troops to Afghanistan was for the purpose of assorted humanitarian purposes like reconstructing that country, rather than fighting a war against Taleban forces intent on reclaiming their country from American occupation. Afghanistan did not, as was predicted at the time, turn into the graveyard for NATO to come to rest, next to the British Empire, the Soviet Union and – farther back – Alexander the Great. Having survived Afghanistan, NATO continued to play a significant role in the destruction of Gaddafi's Libya, and in the destruction of parts of Syria through covertly organising, financing, and arming Isis forces for the purpose of overthrowing the Assad government. And it continues to serve as a cover for the war making elements in Britain and France. America’s coup in the Ukraine in 2014, which resulted in a crisis in relations with Russia, gave NATO a new lease on life as it helped create entirely uncalled for hysterical fear of Russia in Poland and the Baltic states. NATO repudiates things that we are said to hold dear. It is an agent of corruption of thought and action in both the United States and Europe. Through propaganda that distorts the reality of the situation in the areas where it operates, and perennial deceit about its true objectives, NATO has substituted a now widely shared false picture of geopolitical events and developments for one that, even if haphazard, used to be pieced together by independent reporters for mainstream media whose own tradition and editors encouraged discovery of facts. This propaganda relies to a large extent on incessant repetition for its success. It can generally not be traced to NATO as a source of origin because it is being outsourced to a well-funded network of public relations professionals.

The Atlantic Council is NATO's primary PR organization. It is connected with a web of think tanks and NGO’s spread throughout Europe, and very generous to journalists who must cope with a shrinking and insecure job environment. This entity is well-versed in Orwellian language tricks, and for obvious reasons must mischaracterise NATO itself as an alliance instead of a system of vassalage. Alliance presupposes shared purposes, and it cannot be Europe's purpose to be controlled by the United States, unless we now accept that a treasonous European financial elite must determine the last word on Europe's future.

An influential policy deliberation NGO known as the International Crisis Group (ICG), is one of the organizations linked with the Atlantic Council. It operates as a serious and studious outfit, carrying an impressive list of relatively well-known names of associates, which studies areas of the world harbouring conflicts or about-to-be conflicts that could undermine world peace and stability. Sometimes this group does offer information that is germane to a situation, but its purpose has in effect become one of making the mainstream media audience view the situation on the ground in Syria, or the ins and outs of North Korea, or the alleged dictatorship in Venezuela, and so on, through the eyeballs of the consensus creators in American foreign policy.

NATO repudiates political civilisation. It is disastrous for European intellectual life as it condemns European politicians and the thinking segment of the populations in its member states to be locked up in what may be described as political kindergarten, where reality is taught in terms of the manichean division between bad guys and superheroes. While Europe’s scholars, columnists, TV programmers and sophisticated business commentators rarely pay attention to NATO as an organization, and are generally oblivious to its propaganda function, what it produces condemns them to pay lip service to the silliest geopolitical fantasies.

NATO is not only terrible for Europe, it is very bad for the United States and the world in general, for it has handed to America's elites important tools aiding its delusional aim of fully dominating the planet. This is because NATO provides the most solid external support for sets of assumptions that allegedly lend a crucial moral dimension to America's warmaking. NATO does not exist for the sake of indispensable European military prowess, which mildly described has not been impressive. It exists as legal justification for Washington to keep nuclear weapons and military bases in Europe. It obviously also exists as support for America’s military- industrial complex. But its moral support ought to be considered its most significant contribution. Without NATO, the conceptual structure of a 'West' with shared principles and aims would collapse. NATO was once the organisation believed to ensure the continued viability of the Western part what used to be known as the 'free world'. Such connotations linger, and lend themselves to political exploitation. The 'free world' has since the demise of the Soviet Union not been much invoked. But 'the West' is still going strong, along with the notion of Western values and shared principles, with ‘the good’ in the form of benevolent motives automatically assumed to be on its side. This gives the powers that be in Washington a terrific claim in the realm of widely imagined moral aspects of geopolitical reality. They have inherited the mantle of the leader of the 'free world' and 'the West', and since there has not been a peep of dissension about this from the other side of the Atlantic, the claim appears true and legitimate in the eyes of the world and the parties concerned.

In the meantime the earlier American claim to speak and act on behalf of the free world was broadened and seemingly depoliticised by a substitute claim of speaking and acting on behalf of the ‘international community’. There is of course no such thing, but that doesn't bother editors who keep invoking it when some countries or the bad guys running them do things that are not to Washington's liking. Doing away with NATO would pull the rug from under the ‘international community’. Such a development would then reveal the United States, with its current political system and priorities in international affairs, as a criminal power and the major threat to peace in the world. I can hear an objection that without this resonation of moral claims the activities serving the ‘full spectrum dominance’ aim would have been carried out anyway. If you think so, and if you can stand reading again what the neocons were producing between 9/11 and the invasion of Iraqi in 2003, subtract all references to moral clarity and the necessity for the United States to serve as moral beacon for the world from that literature, and you will see that preciously little argument remains for American warmaking that ensued.

The spinelessness of the average European politician has added up to huge encouragement of the United States in its post-Cold War military adventurism. With forceful reminders from Europe about what those much vaunted supposedly shared political principles actually stood for, American rhetoric could not have been the same. Strong European condemnation of the shredding of the UN Charter, and the jettisoning of the principles adopted at the Nuremberg trials, would have made it much more difficult for George W Bush, Dick Cheney, and the neocons to go where blind fanaticism and hubris, with imagined economic advantage, took them. Perhaps more importantly, it might have given a relatively weak American protest movement the necessary added energy to rise to the level of effectiveness once attained by the

anti-Vietnam activists as they imprinted themselves on the political culture of the 60s and 70s. European dissent might not have halted but could have slowed the transformation of much of the mainstream media into neocon propaganda assets.

As it is, NATO exists today in a realm of discourse in which revered post-World War II liberal conditions and practices are still believed to exist. It is an apolitical and ahistorical realm determined by hubris and misplaced self-confidence, in which powers that have utterly altered these practices and negated its positive aspects are not acknowledged. It is a realm in which America's pathological condition of requiring an enemy as a source of everlasting profit is not acknowledged. It is a realm in which America's fatuous designs for complete control over the world is not acknowledged. It is a realm of foreign policy illusions.

NATO is supposed to guard putative Western values that in punditry observations have something to do with what the Enlightenment has bestowed on Western culture. But it deludes staunch NATO supporters, who cannot bring themselves to contemplate the possibility that what they have long trusted to be an agent of protection, has in fact become a major force that destroys those very qualities and principles.

There is a further more tangible political/legal reason why NATO is monstrous. It is steered by nonelected powers in Washington, but is not answerable to identifiable entities within the American military system. It is not answerable to any of the governing institutions of the European Union. Its centre in Brussels exists effectively outside the law. Its relations with ‘intelligence agencies’ and their secret operations remain opaque. Who is doing what and where are all questions to which no clear, legally actionable, information is made available.

NATO has thereby become a tool of intimidation lacking any compatibility with democratic political organisation. An autocrat aspiring to unfettered rule with which to operate anywhere in the world would find in NATO the ideal institutional arrangements. All this should be of our utmost concern. Because all this means that NATO is now one of the world’s most horrible organizations that at the same time has become so politically elusive, apparently, that there is no European agent with enough of a grip on it to make it disappear. 



          Trump’s ‘No Fly Zone’ Escalates U.S. War    

Trump’s ‘No Fly Zone’ Escalates U.S. War Against Syria

Photo by Expert Infantry | CC BY 2.0
The lie that the U.S. is fighting Islamic State (ISIS) terrorism in Syria was publicly exploded on June 18 when a U.S. F/A-18 “Super Hornet” fighter jet launched from the George H. W. Bush aircraft carrier shot down a Syrian government aircraft that had attacked ISIS and the Al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front forces in Raqqa. The last major “rebel”-held stronghold in Northern Syria and Syria’s sixth largest city, Raqqa is the capital of ISIS’s proclaimed caliphate.
State Department officials asserted that the downing of the Syrian jet was in accord with U.S. policy to operate under its unilaterally established “rules of engagement” that include the “collective self-defense” of its “Syrian partners.” Translated, the quoted phrases amount to a declaration that the U.S. and its imperial allies in Syria will attack any and all forces that seek to interfere with U.S. imperialist objectives.
In addition to its virtual “no fly zone” over the Raqqa region, U.S. generals have set up a similarly “protected” garrison at al-Tanf in southeastern Syria, where its “Syrian partners” and U.S., British and Norwegian advisers are based. Here too, U.S. military tops have warned pro-Assad forces to stay out, having tagged this region with the newly coined euphemism, “zone of deconfliction.”
After the June 18 downing of the Syrian jet fighter, U.S. officials cynically asserted that “The coalition does not seek to fight the Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend coalition or partner forces from any threat.”
In the same mid-June timeframe and with the same rationale, U.S. warplanes shot down several Iranian midrange missiles that were targeting the ISIS-controlled oil-rich Deir Al-Zour province in Eastern Syria where ISIS forces surround some 200,000 civilians. These Syrians, according to U.S. policy, are not to be freed from ISIS’s grip by anyone working with the Syrian government. Effectively, ISIS in the area surrounding Deir Al-Zour is protected by the U.S. and its “partners.”
U.S. Contemplates “Stabilization Lite”
This is now the public policy of the U.S., presented in bold outline by several U.S. officials and top imperialist planners and reported in the June 23 NYT under the headline, “U.S. Sends Civilians to Stabilize Recaptured Syrian Areas.” The referenced “civilians” include representatives from the CIA-directed Agency for International Development and representatives from the array of countries that are supporting the U.S. war in Syria. Billions of dollars are to be expended in this effort, not to rebuild Syria, but to insure the stability of the occupying force in the regions the U.S. seeks to establish under its control. A minimum of 1,000 U.S. troops would remain in these “recaptured” regions, according to The Times report, undoubtedly qualitatively more if the U.S. warmakers believe they can further leverage their intervention.
In the same article, Linda Robinson, a senior international policy analyst at the RAND Corporation expressed a note of caution:
“Syria is not a country that we control. This is stabilization light. We do not have, nor do we intend to get, control of the place, which would enable us to move and do these state-building activities.” [My emphasis.]
She added, “What is also very important to understand is what is the tolerance of the Syrian government for the U.S. to go in and do these activities. There have been increasing tensions with the regime, with the Iranians and with the Russians and the possibility that we are backing into a war with the Assad government and its backers.” Needless to say, such a war has been underway for years despite the U.S lie that its illegal, uninvited presence in Syria is to fight ISIS.
On June 8, ten days before the attack on the Syrian jet, U.S. warplanes obliterated an Iranian, pro-Syrian government convoy headed for Raqqa to attack ISIS, Al Qaida and other U.S.-backed forces.
The June 18 attack on the Syrian aircraft was not the first such overt assault since 2011 when the short-lived Syrian Arab Spring was quickly hijacked by covert U.S.–backed terrorist forces aimed at the same “regime change” operation in Syria that the U.S. had previously orchestrated in Iraq, Libya, and Egypt. Since the April 7 U.S. Tomahawk missile attack on the Syrian Shayrat air base – under the pretext of retaliation for the unproven claim that the Assad government used sarin gas U.S. threats and overt attacks on Syrian government forces and its supporters have become routine. [Note: As we go to press a June 25 detailed article refuting President Trump’s accusation that the Syrian government used sarin gas in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in April 2017 has been published on the German online website Welt N24 Politik. Its author, Pulitzer Prize journalist Seymour Hersh, cites several top U.S. military advisers to President Trump as insisting that “This was not a chemical weapons strike.” With full knowledge of the facts that demonstrated that sarin gas was not used by the Assad government, or anyone else, the advisers, note that Trump proceeded to bomb Syria anyway. JM]
The longstanding covert U.S./NATO/Gulf State monarchy regime change war against Syria, wherein billions of dollars have been secretly extended to train and arm virtually all forces that aim to remove the Syrian government, has now become open. The notion that a civil war between competing Syrian factions prevails in Syria is a terrible fraud – one that is employed by both the U.S. government and its bi-partisan propagandists, but also, tragically, by sections of the U.S. left. Syria, as with all poor and oppressed nations is the undeniable victim of a U.S.-orchestrated imperialist attack, little different from the imperialist conflagrations that plague oppressed people and nations around the world – from the Middle East to Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Hillary Clinton’s election time advocacy of a “no fly zone” in Syria – aimed at preventing Syrian and allied forces, including Russia, Iran and the Lebanese-based Hezbollah, from ridding Syria of U.S.-backed forces – has now become President Donald Trump’s official policy.
“Deconfliction” is the new U.S.-invented term to designate the ever-expanding and always changing U.S. “No-Fly zones,” that is, portions of Syria that the U.S. hopes to occupy now to maximize its leverage in a contemplated postwar Syrian negotiated settlement wherein Syria’s future is to be determined not by the Syria people or government but rather by the U.S.-established military relationship of forces on the ground.
As U.S. air war Middle East chief Lt. General Jeffrey Harrington stated, “Every war must come to an end and when it does there will be a negotiated settlement.” In this context, Harrington bragged to the NYT that his success in Syria resided in his efforts to increase the “space” controlled by U.S.-backed forces.
Establishing U.S.  “No Fly Zones”
CBS News reported that on June 6 and again on June 8 when “27 [Syrian] regime vehicles drove within 18 miles of al-Tanf, which breached the [U.S.-declared] 34-mile radius of the army convoy’s operations, U.S. aircraft first attempted to buzz the regime, but when the convoy didn’t turn around, they [the U.S. forces] conducted a strike against some of the vehicles.”
“The rebels being trained at al-Tanf are from a number of Arab rebel groups, referred to by the U.S. as Vetted Syrian Opposition, or VSO, who oppose both the Assad regime and ISIS,” according to the liberal BuzzFeed News. They noted that, “U.S. Special Forces have been increasingly fighting alongside these rebel groups in Southern Syria.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Yaroslav Trofimov reported that, “The U.S. attack at al Tanf is significant not because the U.S. has once again struck Assad’s forces, but because it did so in defense of Syrian rebels.” The same report observed, “Once skeptical about U.S.-backed anti-Assad ‘rebels,’ Trump stated in a 2015 election debate that ‘we have no idea who they are.’” Trump had suggested that they may be ISIS and added that “We can’t be fighting ISIS and fighting Assad.” Today, the U.S. is indeed fighting Assad, directly and indirectly, but its focus on ISIS is more complicated.
A March 31, 2017 NYT article, for example, noted that U.S. forces in Raqqa were attacking ISIS from the North, East and West, but not the South – the implication being that ISIS forces driven in this direction might be useful in assisting the blockade of Syrian forces in the South, that is, in the Deir Al-Zour region. Indeed they were. ISIS forces were allowed to evacuate Raqqa, weapons and military gear in tow, heading south toward Deir Al Zour, near the Iraqi and Jordanian border.
Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis noted that “We should not take this U.S. strike [against Assad’s armed forces] as a sign that the U.S. is getting more involved in Syria,” an example of Orwellian doublespeak if ever there was one.
Syria’s Right to Self-Determination
With the Syrian government’s September 2015 request to the Russian and Iranian governments and Hezbollah forces in Lebanon to intervene on its behalf, Syria has retaken large parts of the country that were previously occupied by ISIS and other U.S.-backed forces. Some estimates put that previously occupied figure at two-thirds of the country. Syria, a sovereign nation, has every right to self-determination, that is, to defend itself from imperial attack and seek the support of allies to challenge U.S.-led war and regime change efforts.
Al Udeid is the U.S. Central Command headquarters in the Middle East – the nerve center of its air campaigns in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. It is from Al Udeid that the U.S. conducts its now 16-year war in Afghanistan and its current wars in Iraq and Syria. Al Udeid supplied the air and ground forces in the U.S./NATO “humanitarian war” that destroyed Libya’s infrastructure. U.S.-backed mercenaries from Qatar then proceeded to “liberate” Libya’s capital of Tripoli using the pretext that the Gadhafi government was about to exterminate 50,000 unarmed civilians in Benghazi. British authorities now admit that there was no such threat. Neither did the Sadaam Hussein government have the “weapons of mass destruction” that the U.S. war makers insisted were about to be unleashed on the world.
U.S. General Espouses Policy Objectives
“If the Syrians were going to make a run at our guys, we were going to be in a position to defend them ourselves,” said Lt. General Harrington in a May 23 NYT interview. “Our intent was to be in position to support our guys and get back into fighting ISIS.” The reference to “our guys,” of course, includes NATO and U.S.-financed and abetted terrorist forces aimed at Assad’s removal. There are no other forces in Syria today that operate independently of U.S. imperialism and its coalition partners.
This May 23 article entitled, “Inside the Air War Over Syria: A High Altitude ‘Poker Game,’” offers what The Times calls “a rare glimpse into how the [U.S.] military plans and orchestrates the complex ballet of strike, surveillance and refueling aircraft that keeps the war going around the clock.”
This seemingly endless war has taken a terrible toll on the Syrian people. A respected polling organization – ORB International, which does polling for western nations, including the U.S. government – nevertheless demonstrated that support for the Bashar Assad government and its Iranian allies far exceeds support for the U.S. and its “coalition partners,” including the Free Syrian Army, Al-Qaeda and similar groups. Support for ISIS was miniscule.
Regardless, recognition and defense of Syria’s right to self-determination – an inalienable right of all poor and oppressed nations under imperialist attack or threatened by colonial occupation – is the critical dividing line in the U.S. antiwar movement today. While not taking any position on the Assad government itself, U.S. antiwar organizations like the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) are staunch defenders of Syria’s right to self-determination. UNAC unanimously re-affirmed this stance at its recent June 16-18 national conference in Richmond, VA where over 300 activists from 31 states drew up plans for future coordinated, independent, mass mobilizations against U.S. imperialist wars. (See UNAC’s adopted Action Plan at UNACpeace.org.)
The principle of the right of self-determination of oppressed nations has its origins in the worldwide struggles of oppressed people to win their freedom from the world’s chief colonizing and imperialist great powers that had previously divided and re-divided the world and subjected poor and conquered peoples to their rule. The history of the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia is in great part a history of the just struggles of the conquered and occupied nations for freedom and self-determination. Socialists and other democratically minded organizations have traditionally supported all such struggles against imperialist intervention, whether their leadership was socialist, bourgeois nationalist or even downright reactionary. This was the case, for example, when fascist Italy invaded feudal Ethiopia at the beginning of WWII, or more recently when the U.S. invaded Iraq and deposed the Sadaam Hussein government.  (Hussein had previously been a U.S. ally and surrogate when he invaded Iran in 1980 in a six-year war that took the lives of one million Iranians and 800,000 Iraqis.) In all cases, the key criteria for opposition to imperialist war has been the understanding that, freed from direct colonial control, the working masses of these oppressed nations have the best opportunity to deal with their own indigenous oppressors. The resultant weakening and defeat of the imperialist occupier upon its forced withdrawal is an added bonus that factors into any world balance sheet that measures the relationship of forces between imperialist subjugators and their victims.
The right of self-determination includes Syria’s right to call for help from Russia, Iran and others as they see fit. Such support – however equivocal and for whatever opportunist reasons it may be given – can have a significant impact on thwarting U.S. imperialist objectives. As compared to late 2015, much of Syria today is free from the direct control of the forces let loose by U.S. imperialism. It is these forces that are overwhelmingly responsible for the estimated 500,000 Syrians killed, including 100,000 Syrian Army soldiers as well as the 1.5 million Syrian refugees that are today scattered across the Middle East and elsewhere.
This is not to say that the Russia’s or Iran’s primary objective is the liberation of Syria from imperialist control, and certainly not the establishment of a socialist or even democratic Syria. Vladimir Putin’s objectives are simply to use Russian influence in Syria as a bargaining chip to negotiate with the U.S./NATO cabal and win some concessions with regard to NATO’s threatening encirclement of Russia and its imposition of stinging sanctions arising out of Russia’s opposition to the neo-fascist, US/EU-backed coup in Ukraine.
The recent widely televised two-part “Putin Interviews” with filmmaker Oliver Stone revealed Russian perspectives and politics in bold relief when Stone felt compelled to correct Putin’s repeated assertions of friendship with his “U.S. partners.” Stone asked, “How can you repeatedly call the U.S. your partner when it is ever surrounding you with NATO troops and imposing hurtful sanctions?” Putin could only smile and repeat his solidarity and claimed “partnership” with the U.S. while holding out his hopes that peaceful negotiated solutions of their differences would be forthcoming.
Putin, a spokesperson par excellence for a weak and isolated Russian capitalism, basked with Stone in the splendor of his ornate state-owned Russian dacha home, while praising the Russian Orthodox Church, expressing his solidarity with U.S. imperialism’s “fight against terrorism,” and ridiculing the great 1917 Russian Revolution. Putin, who supported the U.S./NATO war that reduced Libya to rubble, lacked the good sense to hide his reactionary social views as he disparaged women and LGBTQI people. No liberating friend of the Syrian masses, Putin seeks a negotiated accommodation with U.S. imperialism. This is similar to other lesser capitalist nations that are increasingly compelled to bend to the dictates of the world’s sole superpower.
Yet Russia’s role in forcing the U.S.-backed armed forces in Syria to retreat cannot be dismissed, if for the sole reason that, absent an overt imperialist conquest, opportunities for future struggle of Syria’s working masses to advance their own interests will be that much greater. Tragically, history does not always offer a clear and straight path to liberation. Absent Russian and Iranian intervention in the Syrian conflict, the likelihood of US/NATO imperial victory would be virtually assured. The alternative to Russian and Iranian support for Syria can only be Syria’s return to imperialist-imposed great power domination or perhaps formal division or incorporation into neighboring states.
Today, Syria’s future rests less on the intentions of Russian or Iranian capitalists than it does on the future emergence of an independent anti-imperialist and socialist force inside Syria that champions the interests of the Syrian working masses and on capacity of antiwar forces in the U.S. and around the world to mobilize millions in the streets demanding “U.S. Out Now!,”  “Self-determination for Syria!” and “Money for Jobs, Not War!” These are the starting points for the mass antiwar movement that can best serve the interests of the Syrian people. In addition to marches, rallies and teach-ins, the economic might of the U.S. working class must be brought to bear. Indeed, the struggles against all U.S. wars abroad and the fight against the ever-intensifying wars against working people at home cannot be separated; in many ways it is the same fight. We must say no to the wars of the one percent both at home and abroad. Not one more dollar, not one more bullet for Washington’s wars! 
More articles by:
Jeff Mackler is a staffwriter for Socialist Action. He can be reached at jmackler@lmi.net  socialist action.org

          The Folly of the Next Afghan "Surge"   

Tread Carefully: The Folly of the Next Afghan "Surge"

Thursday, June 29, 2017 By Danny SjursenTomDispatch | News Analysis 
A US Army soldier fires at Taliban fighters near the village of Allah Say, Afghanistan, on August 21, 2007. (Photo: The US Army)A US Army soldier fires at Taliban fighters near the village of Allah Say, Afghanistan, on August 21, 2007. (Photo: The US Army)
We walked in a single file. Not because it was tactically sound. It wasn't -- at least according to standard infantry doctrine. Patrolling southern Afghanistan in column formation limited maneuverability, made it difficult to mass fire, and exposed us to enfilading machine-gun bursts. Still, in 2011, in the Pashmul District of Kandahar Province, single file was our best bet.
The reason was simple enough: improvised bombs not just along roads but seemingly everywhere.  Hundreds of them, maybe thousands. Who knew?
That's right, the local "Taliban" -- a term so nebulous it's basically lost all meaning -- had managed to drastically alter U.S. Army tactics with crude, homemade explosives stored in plastic jugs. And believe me, this was a huge problem. Cheap, ubiquitous, and easy to bury, those anti-personnel Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs, soon littered the "roads," footpaths, and farmland surrounding our isolated outpost. To a greater extent than a number of commanders willingly admitted, the enemy had managed to nullify our many technological advantages for a few pennies on the dollar (or maybe, since we're talking about the Pentagon, it was pennies on the millions of dollars).
Truth be told, it was never really about our high-tech gear.  Instead, American units came to rely on superior training and discipline, as well as initiative and maneuverability, to best their opponents.  And yet those deadly IEDs often seemed to even the score, being both difficult to detect and brutally effective. So there we were, after too many bloody lessons, meandering along in carnival-like, Pied Piper-style columns. Bomb-sniffing dogs often led the way, followed by a couple of soldiers carrying mine detectors, followed by a few explosives experts. Only then came the first foot soldiers, rifles at the ready. Anything else was, if not suicide, then at least grotesquely ill-advised.
And mind you, our improvised approach didn't always work either. To those of us out there, each patrol felt like an ad hoc round of Russian roulette.  In that way, those IEDs completely changed how we operated, slowing movement, discouraging extra patrols, and distancing us from what was then considered the ultimate "prize": the local villagers, or what was left of them anyway.  In a counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign, which is what the U.S. military was running in Afghanistan in those years, that was the definition of defeat.
Strategic Problems in Microcosm
My own unit faced a dilemma common to dozens -- maybe hundreds -- of other American units in Afghanistan. Every patrol was slow, cumbersome, and risky. The natural inclination, if you cared about your boys, was to do less. But effective COIN operations require securing territory and gaining the trust of the civilians living there. You simply can't do that from inside a well-protected American base. One obvious option was to live in the villages -- which we eventually did -- but that required dividing up the company into smaller groups and securing a second, third, maybe fourth location, which quickly became problematic, at least for my 82-man cavalry troop (when at full strength). And, of course, there were no less than fivevillages in my area of responsibility.
I realize, writing this now, that there's no way I can make the situation sound quite as dicey as it actually was.  How, for instance, were we to "secure and empower" a village population that was, by then, all but nonexistent?  Years, even decades, of hard fighting, air strikes, and damaged crops had left many of those villages in that part of Kandahar Province little more than ghost towns, while cities elsewhere in the country teemed with uprooted and dissatisfied peasant refugees from the countryside.
Sometimes, it felt as if we were fighting over nothing more than a few dozen deserted mud huts.  And like it or not, such absurdity exemplified America's war in Afghanistan.  It still does.  That was the view from the bottom.  Matters weren't -- and aren't -- measurably better at the top.  As easily as one reconnaissance troop could be derailed, so the entire enterprise, which rested on similarly shaky foundations, could be unsettled.
At a moment when the generals to whom President Trump recently delegateddecision-making powers on U.S. troop strength in that country consider a new Afghan "surge," it might be worth looking backward and zooming out just a bit. Remember, the very idea of "winning" the Afghan War, which left my unit in that collection of mud huts, rested (and still rests) on a few rather grandiose assumptions. 
The first of these surely is that the Afghans actually want (or ever wanted) us there; the second, that the country was and still is vital to our national security; and the third, that 10,000, 50,000, or even 100,000 foreign troops ever were or now could be capable of "pacifying" an insurgency, or rather a growing set of insurgencies, or securing 33 million souls, or facilitating a stable, representative government in a heterogeneous, mountainous, landlocked country with little history of democracy.
The first of these points is at least debatable. As you might imagine, any kind of accurate polling is quite difficult, if not impossible, outside the few major population centers in that isolated country.  Though many Afghans, particularly urban ones, may favor a continued U.S. military presence, others clearly wonder what good a new influx of foreigners will do in their endlessly war-torn nation.  As one high-ranking Afghan official recently lamented, thinking undoubtedly of the first use in his land of the largest non-nuclear bomb on the planet, "Is the plan just to use our country as a testing ground for bombs?" And keep in mind that the striking rise in territory the Taliban now controls, the most since they were driven from power in 2001, suggests that the U.S. presence is hardly welcomed everywhere.
The second assumption is far more difficult to argue or justify.  To say the least, classifying a war in far-away Afghanistan as "vital" relies on a rather pliable definition of the term.  If that passes muster -- if bolstering the Afghan military to the tune of (at least) tens of billions of dollars annually and thousands of new boots-on-the-ground in order to deny safe haven to "terrorists" is truly "vital" -- then logically the current U.S. presences in Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen are critical as well and should be similarly fortified.  And what about the growing terror groups in Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Tunisia, and so on?  We're talking about a truly expensive proposition here -- in blood and treasure.  But is it true?  Rational analysis suggests it is not.  After all, on average about seven Americans were killed by Islamist terrorists on U.S. soil annually from 2005 to 2015.  That puts terrorism deaths right up there with shark attacks and lightning strikes.  The fear is real, the actual danger... less so.
As for the third point, it's simply preposterous. One look at U.S. military attempts at "nation-building" or post-conflict stabilization and pacification in Iraq, Libya, or -- dare I say -- Syria should settle the issue. It's often said that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Yet here we are, 14 years after the folly of invading Iraq and many of the same voices -- inside and outside the administration -- are clamoring for one more "surge" in Afghanistan (and, of course, will be clamoring for the predictable surges to follow across the Greater Middle East).
The very idea that the U.S. military had the ability to usher in a secure Afghanistan is grounded in a number of preconditions that proved to be little more than fantasies.  First, there would have to be a capable, reasonably corruption-free local governing partner and military.  That's a nonstarter.  Afghanistan's corrupt, unpopular national unity government is little better than the regime of Ngo Dinh Diem in South Vietnam in the 1960s and that American war didn't turn out so well, did it?  Then there's the question of longevity.  When it comes to the U.S. military presence there, soon to head into its 16th year, how long is long enough?  Several mainstream voices, including former Afghan commander General David Petraeus, are now talking about at least a "generation" more to successfully pacify Afghanistan.  Is that really feasible given America's growing resource constraints and the ever expanding set of dangerous "ungoverned spaces" worldwide?
And what could a new surge actually do?  The U.S. presence in Afghanistan is essentially a fragmented series of self-contained bases, each of which needs to be supplied and secured.  In a country of its size, with a limited transportation infrastructure, even the 4,000-5,000 extra troops the Pentagon is reportedly considering sending right now won't go very far. 
Now, zoom out again.  Apply the same calculus to the U.S. position across the Greater Middle East and you face what we might start calling the Afghan paradox, or my own quandary safeguarding five villages with only 82 men writ large.  Do the math.  The U.S. military is already struggling to keep up with its commitments.  At what point is Washington simply spinning its proverbial wheels?  I'll tell you when -- yesterday.
Now, think about those three questionable Afghan assumptions and one uncomfortable actuality leaps forth. The only guiding force left in the American strategic arsenal is inertia.
What Surge 4.0 Won't Do -- I Promise ...
Remember something: this won't be America's first Afghan "surge."  Or its second, or even its third.  No, this will be the U.S. military's fourth crack at it.  Who feels lucky?  First came President George W. Bush's "quiet" surge back in 2008.  Next, just one month into his first term, newly minted President Barack Obama sent 17,000 more troops to fight his so-called good war (unlike the bad one in Iraq) in southern Afghanistan.  After a testy strategic review, he then committed 30,000 additional soldiers to the "real" surge a year later.  That's what brought me (and the rest of B Troop, 4-4 Cavalry) to Pashmul district in 2011.  We left -- most of us -- more than five years ago, but of course about 8,800 American military personnel remain today and they are the basis for the surge to come.
To be fair, Surge 4.0 might initially deliver certain modest gains (just as each of the other three did in their day).  Realistically, more trainers, air support, and logistics personnel could indeed stabilize some Afghan military units for some limited amount of time.  Sixteen years into the conflict, with 10% as many American troops on the ground as at the war's peak, and after a decade-plus of training, Afghan security forces are still being battered by the insurgents.  In the last years, they've been experiencing record casualties, along with the usual massive stream of desertions and the legions of "ghost soldiers" who can neither die nor desert because they don't exist, although their salaries do (in the pockets of their commanders or other lucky Afghans).  And that's earned them a "stalemate," which has left the Taliban and other insurgent groups in control of a significant part of the country.  And if all goes well (which isn't exactly a surefire thing), that's likely to be the best that Surge 4.0 can produce: a long, painful tie.
Peel back the onion's layers just a bit more and the ostensible reasons for America's Afghan War vanish along with all the explanatory smoke and mirrors. After all, there are two things the upcoming "mini-surge" will emphatically not do:
*It won't change a failing strategic formula.
Imagine that formula this way: American trainers + Afghan soldiers + loads of cash + (unspecified) time = a stable Afghan government and lessening Taliban influence.
It hasn't worked yet, of course, but -- so the surge-believers assure us -- that's because we need more: more troops, more money, more time.  Like so many loyal Reaganites, their answers are always supply-side ones and none of them ever seems to wonder whether, almost 16 years later, the formula itself might not be fatally flawed.
According to news reports, no solution being considered by the current administration will even deal with the following interlocking set of problems: Afghanistan is a large, mountainous, landlocked, ethno-religiously heterogeneous, poor country led by a deeply corrupt government with a deeply corrupt military.  In a place long known as a "graveyard of empires," the United States military and the Afghan Security Forces continue to wage what one eminent historian has termed "fortified compound warfare."  Essentially, Washington and its local allies continue to grapple with relatively conventional threats from exceedingly mobile Taliban fighters across a porous border with Pakistan, a country that has offered not-so-furtive support and a safe haven for those adversaries.  And the Washington response to this has largely been to lock its soldiers inside those fortified compounds (and focus on protecting them against "insider attacks" by those Afghans it works with and trains).  It hasn't worked.  It can't.  It won't. 
Consider an analogous example.  In Vietnam, the United States never solved the double conundrum of enemy safe havens and a futile search for legitimacy.  The Vietcong guerillas and North Vietnamese Army used nearby Cambodia, Laos, and North Vietnam to rest, refit, and replenish.  U.S. troops meanwhile lacked legitimacy because their corrupt South Vietnamese partners lacked it.
Sound familiar?  We face the same two problems in Afghanistan: a Pakistani safe haven and a corrupt, unpopular central government in Kabul.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, in any future troop surge will effectively change that.
*It won't pass the logical fallacy test.
The minute you really think about it, the whole argument for a surge or mini-surge instantly slides down a philosophical slippery slope.
If the war is really about denying terrorists safe havens in ungoverned or poorly governed territory, then why not surge more troops into Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, Libya, Pakistan (where al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden's son Hamza bin-Laden are believed to be safely ensconced), Iraq, Syria, Chechnya, Dagestan (where one of the Boston Marathon bombers was radicalized), or for that matter Paris or London.  Every one of those places has harbored and/or is harboring terrorists.  Maybe instead of surging yet again in Afghanistan or elsewhere, the real answer is to begin to realize that all the U.S. military in its present mode of operation can do to change that reality is make it worse.  After all, the last 15 years offer a vision of how it continually surges and in the process only creates yet more ungovernable lands and territories. 
So much of the effort, now as in previous years, rests on an evident desire among military and political types in Washington to wage the war they know, the one their army is built for: battles for terrain, fights that can be tracked and measured on maps, the sort of stuff that staff officers (like me) can display on ever more-complicated PowerPoint slides.  Military men and traditional policymakers are far less comfortable with ideological warfare, the sort of contest where their instinctual proclivity to "do something" is often counterproductive.
As U.S. Army Field Manual 3-24 -- General David Petraeus' highly touted counterinsurgency "bible" -- wisely opined: "Sometimes doing nothing is the best reaction."  It's high time to follow such advice (even if it's not the advice that Petraeus himself is offering anymore).
A little foreign policy humility goes a long way toward not heading down that slippery slope.  Why, then, do Americans continue to deceive themselves?  Why do they continue to believe that even 100,000 boys from Indiana and Alabama could alter Afghan society in a way Washington would like?  Or any other foreign land for that matter?
I suppose some generals and policymakers are just plain gamblers.  But before putting your money on the next Afghan surge, it might be worth flashing back to the limitations, struggles, and sacrifices of just one small unit in one tiny, contested district of southern Afghanistan in 2011...
Lonely Pashmul
So, on we walked -- single file, step by treacherous step -- for nearly a year.  Most days things worked out.  Until they didn't.  Unfortunately, some soldiers found bombs the hard way: three dead, dozens wounded, one triple amputee.  So it went and so we kept on going.  Always onward. Ever forward. For America? Afghanistan? Each other? No matter.  And so it seems other Americans will keep on going in 2017, 2018, 2019...
Lift foot. Hold breath. Step. Exhale.
Keep walking... to defeat... but together.
[Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.]
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DANNY SJURSEN

Major Danny Sjursen is a US Army strategist and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. He lives with his wife and four sons near Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. 

          Who's Allowed Into The US Under The Revised Travel Ban   
Earlier this week, the US Supreme Court ruled that parts of Donald Trump's travel ban were acceptable, leading the State Department to create a set of new guidelines on the ban, which applies to nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, with a few exceptions. To travel to the US from those six Muslim-majority countries, travellers must prove they have a "bona fide relationship" with "a person or entity in the United States" that was "formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading" the ban. The guidelines are now being enforced as of this morning. More »
   
 
 

          Travel Ban Update: U.S. State Department Issues New Guidelines Involving Close, Existing Relationships Within U.S.   
by Raj Rathour, Esq. and Jennifer Grady, Esq. On June 29, 2017, the U.S. State Department began implementing President Trump’s new visa criteria based in Executive Order 13780. The revised criteria bars U.S. entry for 90 days, for citizens without prior connections to the United States from six Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, … Continue reading
          Everything You Need to Know About the Travel Ban   

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration reversed a decision late on Thursday and said fiancés would be considered close family members and therefore allowed to travel to the United States as its revised travel ban took effect.

The U.S. State Department concluded "upon further review, fiancés would now be included as close family members," said a State Department official who requested anonymity.

The Trump administration had previously decided, on the basis of its interpretation of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, that grandparents, grandchildren and fiancés traveling from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen would be barred from obtaining visas while the ban was in place.

The 90-day ban took effect at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT Friday), along with a 120-day ban on all refugees.

On Monday, the Supreme Court revived parts of Trump's travel ban on people from the six Muslim-majority countries, narrowing the scope of lower court rulings that had blocked parts of a March 6 executive order and allowing his temporary ban to go into effect for people with no strong ties to the United States.

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, who also requested anonymity, said it would be updating its guidance to state that fiancés would not be barred from obtaining visas while the ban was in place.

The Supreme Court exempted from the ban travelers and refugees with a "bona fide relationship" with a person or entity in the United States. As an example, the court said those with a "close familial relationship" with someone in the United States would be covered.

The state of Hawaii asked a federal judge in Honolulu on Thursday evening to determine whether the Trump administration had interpreted the court's decision too narrowly.

Hawaii said in a court filing that the U.S. government intended to violate the Supreme Court's instructions by improperly excluding from the United States people who actually have a close family relationship to U.S. persons, echoing criticism from immigrant and refugee groups.

Hawaii called the refusal to recognize grandparents and other relatives as an acceptable family relationship "a plain violation of the Supreme Court's command."

Hawaii's Attorney General Doug Chin asked U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu, who blocked Trump's travel ban in March, to issue an order "as soon as possible" clarifying how the Supreme Court's ruling should be interpreted.

Watson ordered the Justice Department to respond to Hawaii's request by Monday, and said he would allow Hawaii to reply by July 6.

'Keep Fighting'

A senior U.S. official did not answer directly when asked how barring grandparents or grandchildren would make the United States safer, but instead pointed to Trump's guidance to pause "certain travel while we review our security posture."

The U.S. government expected "things to run smoothly" and "business as usual" at U.S. ports of entry, another senior U.S. official told reporters.

A handful of immigration lawyers gathered at Dulles International Airport outside Washington on Thursday in case of any problems.

"We're going to keep fighting this ban, even if it applies very narrowly," said Sirine Shebaya, a senior staff attorney at Muslim Advocates. "It's still a Muslim ban, and it's still trying to send a message to a whole community that they're not welcome here."

The administration said refugees who have agreements with resettlement agencies but not close family in the United States would not be exempted from the ban, likely sharply limiting the number of refugees allowed entry in coming months.

Hawaii said in its court filing it was "preposterous" not to consider a formal link with a resettlement agency a qualifying relationship. Refugee resettlement agencies had expected that their formal links with would-be refugees would qualify as "bona fide."

The administration's decision likely means that few refugees beyond a 50,000-cap set by Trump would be allowed into the country this year. A U.S. official said that, as of Wednesday evening, 49,009 refugees had been allowed into the country this fiscal year. The State Department said refugees scheduled to arrive through July 6 could still enter.

Trump first announced a temporary travel ban on Jan. 27, calling it a counterterrorism measure to allow time to develop better security vetting. The order caused chaos at airports, as officials scrambled to enforce it before it was blocked by courts. Opponents argued that the measure discriminated against Muslims and that there was no security rationale for it.

A revised version of the ban was also halted by courts.

The State Department guidance, distributed to all U.S. diplomatic posts on Wednesday evening and seen by Reuters, fleshed out the Supreme Court's ruling about people who have a "bona fide" relationship with an individual or entity in the United States.

It defined a close familial relationship as being a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling, including step-siblings and other step-family relations.

A department cable said grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, fiancés, "and any other 'extended' family members" were not considered close family.

The guidelines also said workers with offers of employment from a company in the United States or a lecturer addressing U.S. audiences would be exempt from the ban, but that arrangements such as a hotel reservation would not be considered bona fide relationships. {eoa}

© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.


          Akdeniz'de 140 mültecinin bulunduğu bot battı   
Libya açıklarında içinde 140 kişi bulunan bot battı. En az 60 kişinin kayıp olduğu belirtiliyor.
          Congress is as close as it’s been in a while to reconsidering U.S. war policy   

With little fanfare and even less warning, Congress on Thursday took a step forward in tackling something it has failed to touch over the last 16 years: the legal basis for ongoing U.S. military action abroad.

The House of Representatives’ Defense Appropriations committee, which oversees funding for the U.S. military, surprised Capitol Hill by advancing language in its spending bill that would end the current authorization of military force, or AUMF, which has been used to justify U.S. military actions in several countries in the wake of the September 11th attacks.

That move would force Congress to debate and consider a new legal foundation for U.S. military efforts, from drone strikes on terrorist compounds in Yemen to missile strikes against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria — whether that’s a new authorization of military force, or even a declaration of war.

Dissatisfaction has long simmered on both sides of the aisle over using the post-9/11 AUMF to justify ongoing U.S. military activity — especially without any open congressional debate on it.

The fate of the provision is uncertain, and there’s more than one way that GOP leadership could strike it. Whatever happens, it represents a new frontier in Congress’ debates about presidential authority to wage war, and Minnesota members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are broadly supportive of the measure.

A long-standing justification for war

The language in the amendment, introduced by California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, is straightforward. It repeals the current AUMF, and the authorization would be void 240 days after the amendment is enacted into law.

That would give Congress the better part of a year to debate, consider, and adopt a new legal framework for U.S. military action overseas.

For most of its history, when it wanted to take military action, Congress would pass a declaration of war, which it has done 11 times against nine countries in U.S. history. Since World War II, Congress has not passed a full declaration of war; instead, it has enacted AUMFs, which provided the basis for the Vietnam War and the First Gulf War.

In Korea, Bosnia, and Panama, U.S. presidents used legislation giving them authority to intervene militarily on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The most recent AUMF was passed in the aftermath of September 11, and it has justified all U.S. military activity overseas ever since, with the exception of the Iraq War, which Congress authorized with a separate resolution.

The text of the document is simple: it authorizes the president to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determined planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred in September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”

The text states that this authority is granted in order to prevent future acts of terrorism in the U.S. by these entities, and the document specifies out no expiration date for this justification for military action.

Most immediately, the AUMF authorized the beginning of the War on Terror, as the U.S. took military action against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in several countries. (Lee, the sponsor of the amendment, is famous as being the House’s lone vote against that AUMF, which passed three days after 9/11.)

But the 9/11 AUMF’s flexibility continued to be of use to commanders-in-chief: it has been used to justify strikes against targets in a group of countries, including Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. It has also been used as a justification for action against the Islamic State, a current rival and former ally of al Qaeda, though ISIS itself came into existence long after 9/11.

In 2013, Barack Obama did make some effort to seek authorization for military action against Syria for its use of chemical weapons. A resolution advanced out of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, but it failed to gain broader support in Congress, and Obama declined to take action against Syria without it.

Bipartisan support for a new basis for war

When Lee’s amendment was approved by voice vote in the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee on Thursday, some members were so happy that they reportedly clapped and cheered. It represents the first time since the 9/11 AUMF passage that this kind of language has advanced in a meaningful way in the legislative process.

Democratic and Republican members of Congress have gradually grown dissatisfied with the past three presidential administrations, from George W. Bush to Obama and now Donald Trump, using the 9/11 AUMF as justification for new military action.

Historically, the enthusiasm for a new AUMF or a declaration of war has been with anti-war progressives and constitutional conservatives, both wary of executive overreach. But recently, as U.S. targets have shifted to include ISIS and now the Syrian military, more voices on both sides have expressed a desire for at least a debate on a new set of parameters for U.S. military action.

Lee has been a tough and persistent advocate for this position for years; Politico reports that this work ultimately won over some of her colleagues, including the Appropriations Chair, New Jersey GOP Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, to her side in the unexpected vote to advance the measure. Democratic and Republican aides alike expressed real surprise that Thursday’s news happened at all.

Fourth District Rep. Betty McCollum, who sits on this committee, said in a statement that she supported it “because it is long past time for Congress to have a debate on this critical issue. After 16 years, we owe it to the men and women serving in the military, and to all Americans, to have a full and complete discussion and a floor vote on a new authorization.”

First District Rep. Tim Walz, the top Democrat on the House Veterans’ panel, agreed, saying in a statement he fully supports the amendment to “force congressional debate on our most solemn constitutional duty,” adding that a debate and vote on a new AUMF should occur “as soon as possible.”

Minnesota’s Republicans all joined Democrats in hailing Thursday’s developments. Second District Rep. Jason Lewis praised it most strongly. “It’s the role of Congress to give the executive authorization to use military force,” he said, arguing the current AUMF “should not be considered a perpetual grant of war powers.”

“America’s sons and daughters should not be sent into harm’s way without serious debate by those chosen to represent them,” Lewis said.

Third District Rep. Erik Paulsen said the AUMF discussion is “definitely warranted” and that he looks forward to the debate.

Sixth District Rep. Tom Emmer has taken action on this topic before: in 2015, after ISIS terror attacks in Paris, he introduced legislation to declare war on the terrorist state. Generally, he believes that a war declaration, not an AUMF, is the proper way to pursue military action.

Emmer told MinnPost that he hadn’t studied the amendment in full yet, but welcomed the discussion. “There shouldn’t be a carte blanche… there’s a reason why we have Congress,” he said.

Plenty of obstacles ahead

Though the bipartisan progress on the AUMF amendment is clear, there are still plenty of ways that it could fail.

There are important holdouts who could exercise their power to kill the amendment. Rep. Kay Granger, a Texas Republican, chairs the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, and she opposes it on the grounds that it would cripple U.S. efforts to combat terrorism.

The House Rules Committee could strike the amendment before the defense spending bill gets to the floor for a vote by deeming it “out of order,” if the GOP majority, which wields the rules panel’s power, decides to.

If the language does make it to the House floor, a lawmaker could file an amendment to strike Lee’s amendment, and members could vote in favor of that, or against the entire spending bill if there was enough support to maintain the current AUMF without any debate.

If the bill does pass with the AUMF language, the Senate would need to agree to it, too — another potential way it could fail, though bipartisan support exists in the upper chamber for a new AUMF. President Donald Trump could also veto the bill on those grounds, though the stakes would be high, since the amendment is attached to legislation that funds the entire U.S. military and Department of Defense.

According to Emmer, the will to have the AUMF debate is growing within the GOP. “It’s a discussion that has actually started within the general conference about what is the right way to do this,” he said. “It’s time to have the discussion.”

Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison was more cynical. In a statement, he ventured that Republicans might be allowing the debate now because “they’re finally coming to terms with the fact that their president is an immature, disinterested, petulant child… even the most ideological among the GOP realize that giving a man like that the authority to make war when and where he pleases without congressional oversight is a bad idea.”

At any rate, with Lee’s amendment part of must-pass defense spending legislation, someone will have to take action to strip it. Even if that happens, it’ll be further than the proponents for a new basis for U.S. war have gotten in over a decade.


          In Libya: Dozens feared drowned after migrant boat sinks   
Some 60 people are missing and believed drowned after the dinghy they were on sank off Libya, the International Organization for Migration said Friday, citing survivor testimony.
          IDF REOPENS RESITIVE BORDER AREA IN GOLAN HEIGHTS TO CIVILIANS.   
JEWISH KING JESUS IS COMING AT THE RAPTURE FOR US IN THE CLOUDS-DON'T MISS IT FOR THE WORLD.THE BIBLE TAKEN LITERALLY- WHEN THE PLAIN SENSE MAKES GOOD SENSE-SEEK NO OTHER SENSE-LEST YOU END UP IN NONSENSE.GET SAVED NOW- CALL ON JESUS TODAY.THE ONLY SAVIOR OF THE WHOLE EARTH - NO OTHER. 1 COR 15:23-JESUS THE FIRST FRUITS-CHRISTIANS RAPTURED TO JESUS-FIRST FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT-23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.ROMANS 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.(THE PRE-TRIB RAPTURE)

LUKE 21:28-29
28 And when these things begin to come to pass,(ALL THE PROPHECY SIGNS FROM THE BIBLE) then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption (RAPTURE) draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree,(ISRAEL) and all the trees;(ALL INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES)
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.(ISRAEL LITERALLY BECAME AND INDEPENDENT COUNTRY JUST BEFORE SUMMER IN MAY 14,1948.)

JOEL 2:3,30
3 A fire devoureth (ATOMIC BOMB) before them;(RUSSIAN-ARAB-MUSLIM ARMIES AGAINST ISRAEL) and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.(ATOMIC BOMB AFFECT)

ZECHARIAH 14:12-13
12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their eyes shall consume away in their holes,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB)(BECAUSE NUKES HAVE BEEN USED ON ISRAELS ENEMIES)(GOD PROTECTS ISRAEL AND ALWAYS WILL)
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.(1/2-3 BILLION DIE IN WW3)(THIS IS AN ATOMIC BOMB EFFECT)

EZEKIEL 20:47
47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.

ZEPHANIAH 1:18
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.

MALACHI 4:1
1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven;(FROM ATOMIC BOMBS) and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

And here are the bounderies of the land that Israel will inherit either through war or peace or God in the future. God says its Israels land and only Israels land. They will have every inch God promised them of this land in the future.
Egypt east of the Nile River, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, The southern part of Turkey and the Western Half of Iraq west of the Euphrates. Gen 13:14-15, Psm 105:9,11, Gen 15:18, Exe 23:31, Num 34:1-12, Josh 1:4.ALL THIS LAND ISRAEL WILL DEFINATELY OWN IN THE FUTURE, ITS ISRAELS NOT ISHMAELS LAND.12 TRIBES INHERIT LAND IN THE FUTURE

IDF reopens restive border area on Golan Heights to civilians-Region around Quneitra had been declared off-limits as stray fire incidents stoked tensions with Syria-By Times of Israel staff June 28, 2017, 9:06 am

The Israeli military on Wednesday reopened a border-adjacent area in the Golan Heights to civilian access, two days after it was declared off-limits amid a series of incidents of errant Syrian fire hitting Israeli territory.The IDF had declared several “crowd gathering points” in the area of Quneitra as closed military zones on Monday. Farmers were allowed in to work in their fields, though they were barred from coming near the border fence itself.In the three days prior to the ban there were three incidents of errant fire hitting Israel. The IDF responded with force, targeting Syrian army installations, which Israel holds responsible for all incidents originating from the civil-war-torn country.Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman said Monday that Israel has “no intention of launching a military operation” against Syria or rebel groups operating within it even as tensions spiraled.Speaking at the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs committee, Liberman rejected predictions made by some in Israel’s political echelon that the next conflict with either Hezbollah in the north or Hamas in the south is just around the corner.Around 10 mortar shells from Syria struck the Golan Heights on Saturday, prompting an Israeli response that reportedly killed two Syrian soldiers.On Sunday, several more projectiles hit Israel in what the army said was spillover fire from fighting between regime forces and rebels. The IDF again responded, confirming it targeted a Syrian military vehicle. Arabic media reports said five people were injured in the Israeli raid.Earlier Monday the IDF said that stray fire from Syria reportedly hit a United Nations peacekeeping position in the Golan Heights. No injuries were reported. The army launched searches following reports that two mortars had landed on the Israeli side of the frontier, but no signs of shelling were found. Instead, “heavy machine gun bullet holes were identified in a UNDOF post near Zivanit, adjacent to the border,” the army said.The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force monitors a 1974 ceasefire between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights.Syria responded Sunday to Israel’s strikes with its own warnings-“The General Command warned against the risks posed by such hostile acts and holds the Israeli enemy responsible for the serious repercussions if such acts reoccur under any pretext, affirming determination to crush terrorist groups which are the Israeli enemy’s proxy in the area,” Syria’s military said in a statement.

Assad said to visit Iranian-run chemical weapons center-Syrian opposition reports US administration learned Assad planning another sarin attack-By Sue Surkes June 28, 2017, 12:05 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

A Syrian opposition news site reported Wednesday that the country’s embattled president, Bashar Assad, recently visited a missile and chemical weapons research station run by Iran on Syrian soil.The report followed an announcement by the Pentagon on Tuesday that it had detected “active preparations” by Syria for a chemical weapons attack, and a White House statement that the Syrian government would “pay a heavy price” if it carried out such an assault.Quoting a non-government source with close ties to the White House, Zaman al-Wasl reported that the US administration had been tipped off that Syrian authorities were planning a possible sarin gas attack in either the east or south of Syria, where Assad’s forces and its backers have suffered recent setbacks against rebels in the sixth year of the civil war.Assad is believed to have used sarin gas in an weapons attack that killed dozens of people in Idlib province on April 4, as well as in early attacks on civilians since the war began.The station, to be inaugurated by the end of this year, works on developing long-range missiles and is located in a valley between the Hama and Tartus provinces, close to the Syrian border with Lebanon, the report said.The report said Assad’s visit to the station followed a rare stop in the historically anti-Assad city of Hama, some 213 kilometers (132 miles) north of Damascus, where he delivered prayers for Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the Ramadan fast.The visit to Hama indicated that the Syrian leader was feeling more confident about his position.Responding to the Pentagon’s assessment, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday that “such threats to Syria’s legitimate leaders are unacceptable.”Russia is Assad’s key backer and sided with him when he denied responsibility for the April chemical attack in Idlib province.That attack was followed by a US cruise missile strike on a Syrian government air base.

Iran says US travel ban is ‘racist’ and ‘unfair’-Foreign Ministry spokesman complains Washington is ‘closing its eyes to main perpetrators of terrorist acts’-By AP June 28, 2017, 12:05 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran said the US Supreme Court’s decision to reinstate parts of a travel ban applied to six Muslim-majority countries is “racist” and “unfair.”Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi was quoted by state TV Wednesday as saying it is “regrettable” that Washington “closes its eyes to the main perpetrators of terrorist acts in the US,” without elaborating.The Supreme Court on Monday allowed US President Donald Trump to forge ahead with a limited version of his ban on travelers from Iran, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia. The justices will hear full arguments in October in the case.Critics say the ban is intended to meet Trump’s campaign promise of keeping Muslims out of the country. The administration says the restrictions are needed to keep out terrorists while it tightens vetting procedures.

Palestinian with knife arrested at West Bank checkpoint-Russia said negotiating Golan safe zones with Israel, US and Jordan; 6 suspected Islamic State jihadists arrested in Europe-By Tamar Pileggi June 28, 2017, 2:17 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

14:55-AIPAC delegation coming to Israel to discuss Western Wall reversal with PM-A delegation of senior members from the American pro-Israel lobby AIPAC are reportedly traveling to Israel to discuss with Netanyahu his government’s decision to freeze the implementation of a hard-won agreement to create an official pluralistic worship area at the Western Wall.According to the Walla news site, the delegation includes AIPAC President Lillian Pinkus and Vice CEO Richard Fishman. They are expected to meet with the prime minister tomorrow.The government’s decision to suspend the pluralistic pavilion, along with advancing a bill granting the ultra-Orthodox a de facto monopoly over conversions to Judaism in Israel, was met with outrage by many US Jews.14:46-Hamas to create buffer zone with Egypt to improve ties-Hamas says bulldozers in Gaza are creating a 100-meter-wide (330-foot) buffer zone along the Egyptian border as part of the Palestinian terrorist group’s efforts to combat extremists and improve ties with Cairo.The Hamas-run Interior Ministry says the creation of a 12-kilometer-long (7.5-mile) corridor was agreed upon in recent face-to-face negotiations with Egyptian officials. It expressed hope that Egypt would reopen the Rafah border crossing with Gaza on a regular basis once the buffer zone is complete.Egypt has long accused Gaza’s Hamas rulers of aiding an insurgency in the northern Sinai Peninsula, allegations denied by Hamas. Egypt and Israel have imposed a blockade on Gaza since Hamas seized power in 2007.— with AP-14:27-6 suspected IS jihadists arrested across Europe-Six suspected members of the Islamic State group are arrested in Spain, Britain and Germany in an operation led by Spanish authorities investigating a jihadist recruiting network, the Spanish interior ministry says.The raids are targeting a group based on the island of Majorca and led by an Islamist imam, who was arrested in Britain, the ministry says in a statement.The imam, 44, was the target of a European arrest warrant and seized by the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit on behalf of the Spanish authorities.“The investigation focuses on terrorism material created for use online,” the West Midlands police says, adding that prosecutors would seek his extradition to Spain later today.— AFP-14:26-Russia said negotiating Golan safe zones with Israel, US and Jordan-Russia is negotiating safe zones in southern Syria with Israel, Jordan and the US, Army Radio reports.The talks are focused on establishing areas of operations for the respective militaries in the Syrian side of the Golan Heights near Israel’s northern border.Citing Russian media reports, the negotiations were called following four recent US-led coalition airstrikes on regime targets in the area.14:17-Palestinian with knife arrested at West Bank checkpoint-A Palestinian woman is caught with a knife at a checkpoint near the West Bank city of Bethlehem.According to reports, the 36-year-old tells security forces that she planned to carry out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem.The suspect is taken in for questioning.

REBUILT 3RD TEMPLE

REVELATION 11:1-2
1 And there was given me a(MEASURING) reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
2 But the court which is without the temple leave out,(TO THE WORLD NATIONS) and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.(JERUSALEM DIVIDED BUT THE 3RD TEMPLE ALLOWED TO BE REBUILT)

DANIEL 9:27
27 And he( THE ROMAN,EU PRESIDENT) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week:(1X7=7 YEARS) and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,(3 1/2 yrs in TEMPLE SACRIFICES STOPPED) and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

MICAH 4:1-5
1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
2  And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
3  And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
4  But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.
5  For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.

DANIEL 11:31
31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.(3RD TEMPLE REBUILT)

DANIEL 12:11
11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away,(AT THE MIDPOINT OF THE TRIBULATION PERIOD)(3RD TEMPLE SACRIFICES STOPPED BY DICTATOR) and the abomination that maketh desolate set up,(TO WORSHIP THE DICTATOR OR DIE) there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.(1,290 DAYS)(AN EXTRA 30 DAYS AT THE END OF THE 7 YEAR TRIBULATION PERIOD FOR JESUS TO DESTROY THE ARMIES AGAINST JERUSALEM.AND TO JUDGE THE SHEEP AND GOAT NATIONS OF MATTHEW 25:31-46-HOW THEY TREATED ISRAEL DURING THE 7 YEAR TRIBULATION PERIOD.AND THEN I BELIEVE JESUS WILL REBUILD THE 4TH TEMPLE 25 MILES FROM THE CURRENT TEMPLE MOUNT.AND THEN JESUS RULES FOR THE 1,000 YEARS-THEN FOREVER FROM THAT 4TH TEMPLE.)

MATTHEW 24:15-16
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)(THE DICTATOR SITS IN THE REBUILT 3RD TEMPLE CALLING HIMSELF GOD AT THE MIDPOINT OR 3 1/2 YEAR PERIOD OF THE 7 YEAR TRIBULATION PERIOD.OR 7 YEAR PEACE TREATY BETWEEN ISRAEL-ARABS AND MANY OF DANIEL 9:27)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

Israel’s consulates in the US gird for protests over Western Wall-Memo lays out strategy for explaining decision to suspend deal on prayer pavilion; some federations said to reevaluate contributions to Israel-By Sue Surkes June 28, 2017, 10:04 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

The Foreign Ministry has reportedly instructed staff at its nine US consulates to prepare for mass Jewish protests following government decisions to suspend plans for a pluralistic prayer pavilion at Jerusalem’s Western Wall and to advance a bill granting the ultra-Orthodox a de facto monopoly over conversions to Judaism in Israel.A memo sent to the consulates on Monday, published by the Haaretz daily, called on staff to clarify what it said was “a great deal of misinformation” by stressing that a previous government decision to create the prayer pavilion “was not nullified but suspended,” that the suspension gave the government “the time and space needed to find a genuinely workable solution,” and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — “compelled” to reach a decision because of an approaching High Court deadline — had actually refused the demand of ultra-Orthodox ministers to cancel rather than suspend the construction of the pavilion.The memo also laid part of the blame for the crisis on non-Orthodox Jews, saying that “for reasons, related to both sides, the current plan has proven unfeasible.” It also asserted that the prime minister remained committed to the principle that “all Jews should feel at home in Israel and at the Western Wall in particular.”The Foreign Ministry has been receiving reports of protests against the Western Wall decision from Jewish communities across America. One report from Chicago’s Israel consulate described “harsh messages of disappointment and pain,” according to Haaretz.Some people were implying that the decision could impact donations and political campaigns, the Haaretz report said.Another report, from the New York consulate, said that Gordon Hecker, CEO of the Columbus, Ohio, Jewish Federation, told Israel’s consul general in New York, Dani Dayan, that he planned to stop all donations to Israel from his federation.The same report said the CEO of the Northern New Jersey Jewish Federation, Jason Shames, said that the decision was likely to impact his federation’s relationships with the State of Israel.In an interview with The Times of Israel, Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky said there was no difference between “freezing” and scrapping the agreement, and that the prime minister was “just playing with words.” He said Netanyahu had broken a painstakingly constructed relationship of trust with US Jewish leaders, and had put narrow coalition interests above the wider needs of the Jewish people.

There's 'unbelievable ignorance' in Israel, including in the government, about non-Orthodox Judaism-Sharansky: We may solve Western Wall and conversion crises. I’m not sure we can rebuild trust-Jewish Agency chairman, at forefront of incendiary dispute between Israel and Diaspora, decries PM’s actions, laments collapse of a painstakingly constructed relationship with Reform and Conservative leaders By David Horovitz June 28, 2017, 7:34 am-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

Natan Sharansky, the chairman of the Jewish Agency, said he believes the two profound crises that have erupted in ties between Israel and much of the US Jewish community — over prayer at the Western Wall and conversion — can and will be resolved.In an interview with The Times of Israel, he said the legislation on conversion approved by ministers on Sunday — which would cement an ultra-Orthodox monopoly over conversions to Judaism in Israel — would likely not go through in its current format. From his contacts with ministers and Knesset members, he said, he does not believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can muster a majority to pass the legislation in its current form.As for Netanyahu’s shock decision to freeze implementation of a painstakingly negotiated agreement to give non-Orthodox streams of Judaism a recognized, formal role in the oversight of a permanent, pluralistic prayer area slightly to the south of the main Western Wall prayer area, Sharansky said he believed a “formula” would be found to enable the agreement to go ahead.“You don’t have to call it ‘recognition,'” he posited. “But you do have to allow representatives of the Reform and Conservative to run the place where they pray. That’s the minimum condition from which all the negotiations started.” Sharansky said he couldn’t say what precise “formula” would be found, but “I believe that very quickly” it can be resolved.At the same time, he expressed deep disappointment in Netanyahu’s handling of the affair — saying the prime minister had put narrow coalition interests above the wider needs of the Jewish people. He noted, incidentally, that he did not believe the government would have fallen if Netanyahu had resisted ultra-Orthodox pressure on the issues.And he said that the precious trust that had been established between Israeli and Diaspora leaders, as the Western Wall compromise took shape in recent years, may have been damaged irrevocably.He also highlighted staggering ignorance among Israeli government ministers about Reform and Conservative Judaism — streams of Judaism with which the majority of American Jews are affiliated. “When I said to the government a year or two ago, Do you know that 85% of AIPAC supporters are Reform and Conservative Jews, half of the government were shocked. They really thought they were supporters of boycotts of Israel, all these crazies from J Street, Breaking the Silence. That’s all.”-I’m sure his coalition wouldn’t have fallen-Lots of Israelis are similarly ignorant, he added. “There are many Israelis, good Israelis, good Zionists, loving Jews, who believe that Reform is a kind of sect which destroyed Judaism from the inside in America and now they are looking for more places to destroy, because that is how they live, by destroying. That now they are trying to come here.Added Sharansky: “I say to them, You know, that’s exactly what anti-Semites were saying about Jews in Russia.”The Times of Israel spoke to Sharansky at his Jewish Agency office late on Tuesday afternoon. The following is an edited transcript:The Times of Israel: Do you think this crisis can be solved? And if so, how? Natan Sharansky: Look, this crisis has to be solved, because it’s too important for the future of our unity.On the one hand, it was very upsetting, it seemed awful, that just when our (Jewish Agency) Board of Governors started their meetings here, and were coming for a short visit with the government, these two decisions were taken, one after another — maybe the most painful decisions you could imagine for the American Jewish community.On the other hand, the timing could not be better, when you think about it: Imagine if it had happened two weeks later, or five weeks later. You wouldn’t have had angry representatives here of all the main communities, who immediately mobilized to work.We have a lot of big challenges — budget challenges, organizational challenges. These were all put aside. Everybody was mobilized. And we delivered a message.All of these (US Jewish leaders) were receiving a lot of emails from people in their communities who are angry, and were saying, Enough is enough. They had to make those messages heard. They were speaking to the ministers and members of Knesset, and explaining.What’s the solution — on the conversion law, and on the Western Wall? As regards the law, it has to be stopped. And yesterday, we had meetings with (Ministers) Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked. I was speaking to all of them 15 minutes before the vote on the bill (in the cabinet on Sunday), and they didn’t understand (what the implications were). Now they understand and they’ve started looking for ways to change something (in the planned legislation).They say it is important to stop foreign workers coming here (and converting). But there are much simpler ways to deal with that.So it will be amended? We were in the Knesset today. Half of the people who were speaking to us about this were from the coalition. I don’t really understand how the prime minister is going to have a majority for this law. So I think it can be stopped.As to the Kotel, it’s more difficult, because it’s not Knesset legislation.But Tzachi Hanegbi (the minister charged by Netanyahu with resolving the crisis) who came today to speak to us, he changed tone. He said, the physical part (of the pavilion for pluralistic prayer) we will start implementing immediately. He said the other part (regarding its formal oversight), which is the problematic part, we’ll have to negotiate on how to implement it.That’s already different from ‘We’ll freeze it, we’ll stop it, we cannot do it.’(The difficult part) is the question of recognition (for non-Orthodox Judaism in the oversight of the pluralistic prayer area). The prime minister says, I recognize (the non-Orthodox streams of Judaism), but as a government, I cannot do it.He said, ‘My government can’t’? Bibi was very frank. He didn’t try to… (Sharansky wiggles his hands.) He said: I do believe that all the Jews are pulling for us, and I recognize all of them. But what to do? We have a coalition. Some of our (coalition) partners can’t recognize them. And they demand from us to cancel all the agreements (about the Western Wall). I’m not ready to cancel. I’m ready to freeze.Well, cancel or freeze, that’s just playing with words. I can’t explain that to a Reform rabbi in St Louis.So how do you solve it? I’ve already heard from the ministers, never mind members of Knesset, that we have to go back and talk about it. You don’t have to call it “recognition.” But you do have to allow representatives of the Reform and Conservatives to run the place where they pray. That’s the minimum condition from which all the negotiations started.I believe that with public opinion understanding this better and better, the pressure will grow, and it can be implemented.Whether it will be this or that (precise) formula, the thing is that it will be a respected place of prayer, where they don’t have to hide from anybody, and where they will be able to run their own prayer, and not have to depend on this government minister or that bureaucrat who today changes his opinions. That’s the minimum which is demanded.At this moment, the government decided not to implement it. I believe that very quickly, it can be changed.What is clear is that, despite the fact that this topic was so widely discussed in recent years, the majority of Israelis don’t understand it, and some people in the West don’t understand what we are talking about. We have now to accelerate our campaign of explaining.In the last couple of years, I was speaking a lot in Israel. I discovered unbelievable ignorance (when it comes to non-Orthodox Judaism). The prejudices…What do Israelis not know about non-Orthodox Judaism? There are many Israelis, good Israelis, good Zionists, loving Jews, who believe that Reform is a kind of sect which destroyed Judaism from the inside in America and now they are looking for more places to destroy, because that is how they live, by destroying. That now they are trying to come here.I say to them, You know, that’s exactly what anti-Semites were saying about Jews in Russia.When I said to the government a year or two ago, Do you know that 85% of AIPAC supporters are Reform and Conservative Jews, half of the government were shocked. They really thought they were supporters of boycotts of Israel, all these crazies from J Street, Breaking the Silence. That’s all.And what do you say? The truth is…The truth is that in the conditions of the Diaspora, to survive and not be assimilated is a big challenge. From the beginning, 200 years ago, when Jews started living among gentiles, and those of them who wanted to continue living actively among gentiles but to feel themselves Jewish at home, some of them went for different forms of Judaism.It’s not the place where I pray, the place where I talk to God. But it is the place where a lot of Jews, who want to stay being Jewish, are gathering.So the State of Israel, if it continues to say that it is home for all the Jews, definitely has to say to them: We want you. But we also want your communities, we want your rabbis, your grandchildren.So many Jews in the Diaspora say (to Israel), Be democratic like us. But they don’t understand that we’re doing something much (more challenging) than them: We are trying to be democratic in the Middle East.Equally, many Jews in Israel say (to the Diaspora), Be not assimilated like us. We’re religious or secular. But they don’t understand that (Diaspora Jews) are doing something much more difficult. How to not be assimilated in America is not the same as how to not be assimilated in Israel.They are using these tools (of different streams of Judaism). If we could invent tools now, at a time of the existence of the State of Israel, maybe we would invent different tools. But these are the tools that exist.Our prime minister, however, does understand the Diaspora. He does understand the non-Orthodox streams of Judaism. He does understand how much of a commitment there is to Israel. He must have known how this would play out. And I’m not sure his coalition would have fallen over this. He could have told the ultra-Orthodox parties: This is the deal.I’m sure his coalition wouldn’t have fallen.His advisers really failed, by not even telling him the timing was so bad. Which (paradoxically) is good. God forbid they had told him, and he’d done it two weeks later.But still…Still. I told him at this government meeting (on Sunday), which is what I say all over the world: Mr. Prime Minister, you know better than any other prime minister in Israel what is American Jewry. And that’s why you worked harder than any other (on this). Don’t undermine your own work.And he answered: I believe it. I feel it. I want it. But at this moment part of my coalition demands to do this. I’m doing something to save my coalition.That’s not exactly what he said, but that was his message. Very open.So he behaved like a politician who has to respond to the immediate need of the coalition.That contradicts with him as a Jewish leader who really knows, who understands the historical process and the importance of keeping the deep contact (with the Diaspora).I’m particularly sorry, because he had succeeded — and we did our best to help him — to build relations with the leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements during these negotiations which never before existed. There was a lot of trust. Direct telephone calls. Meetings. Cooperation. Coordination. And I felt great pride in this.I do believe that we can overcome these (current) crises. I’m not sure we will be able to restore this type of relationship and trust. And that’s a big loss.

          O CANADA AVOIDS GENDER NEUTRAL LIBERAL POLITICALLY CORRECT REDICULAS NONESENSE UNTILL NEXT YEAR AT LEAST.   
JEWISH KING JESUS IS COMING AT THE RAPTURE FOR US IN THE CLOUDS-DON'T MISS IT FOR THE WORLD.THE BIBLE TAKEN LITERALLY- WHEN THE PLAIN SENSE MAKES GOOD SENSE-SEEK NO OTHER SENSE-LEST YOU END UP IN NONSENSE.GET SAVED NOW- CALL ON JESUS TODAY.THE ONLY SAVIOR OF THE WHOLE EARTH - NO OTHER. 1 COR 15:23-JESUS THE FIRST FRUITS-CHRISTIANS RAPTURED TO JESUS-FIRST FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT-23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.ROMANS 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.(THE PRE-TRIB RAPTURE)

Dreams of a gender-neutral O Canada are over — for now-[CBC]-YAHOONEWS-June 28, 2017

Canadians will not be singing a gender-neutral national anthem on Canada Day after a bill before Parliament to officially change the lyrics has stalled.The House of Commons overwhelmingly passed a private member's bill last summer that would alter the national anthem by replacing "in all thy sons command" with "in all of us command" as part of a push to strike gendered language from O Canada.Although the bill sailed through the House with government approval, Conservative senators opposed to the changes have scored a victory in the Red Chamber. A yearlong campaign successfully punted a vote on the bill until the fall, at the earliest, and even then the legislation faces an uncertain future."I'm trying to protect the tradition rather than, you know, water it down with a politically correct version that is historically inaccurate," Conservative Senator David Wells said in an interview with CBC News on Tuesday."I don't misrepresent why I'm [using parliamentary stall tactics] … I don't like this bill, and I will do what I can to ensure it doesn't pass."Wells and a number of other senators have said they oppose efforts to tinker with the lyrics written by a man long dead.(The lyrics have been changed since they were first penned by Robert Stanley Weir in 1908, but not since O Canada officially became the country's national anthem in 1980.) The late Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger introduced the bill, and many MPs backed the legislation as a salute to a colleague on his death bed."The bill was passed in the House compassionately and out of sadness for a dying colleague. While that is touching, it is not the way we make public policy in this country and it is not the way we do our legislation," Ontario Conservative Senator Lynn Beyak said.A flurry of amendments were introduced to the bill in the last few weeks of the parliamentary sitting — all failed to pass in the face of opposition from most Liberal and Independent senators — which dragged out debate considerably. Parliament rose for summer break before a final vote at third reading could be held.Ramona Lumpkin, the chancellor of Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, and a strong proponent of the bill, said she was deeply disappointed by the developments."We're so close and I really regret that there are a few senators who seem to have dug in and decided to delay. I hope it's not a permanent block," said Lumpkin, in an interview with CBC News."It's not as if the words were brought down from Mount Sinai on stone tablets like the Ten Commandments, they are words created by humans and subject to change as our social and cultural conditions change, and thank goodness they do," she said.Wells said national symbols cannot be altered to simply adhere to the "flavour of the day." He said Canadians were not consulted by the government and that there hasn't been an adequate conversation about a fairly significant change."I'll be working my hardest to delay this bill until there's a full debate," he said. "I get a lot of emails, and many comments to me personally, from people who don't want to see the anthem change, who see it as a part of our tradition and who see this attempt to change it as political correctness run amok. It is a slippery slope. Calls for inclusion will always be there, but my belief is all Canadians are already included in the national anthem."He said pictures adorning the walls of the Senate depict men in combat during the First World War. "Would we now airbrush females into those pictures to accurately reflect what it might be today with those pieces of Canadians' history? My answer is no, that would be an abomination, and I think that's what it is with the anthem as well."If the bill is amended in the Senate it would be sent back to the House for another vote. As per parliamentary rules, because Bélanger is dead, MPs will have to unanimously agree to replace him as sponsor or the bill drops from the order paper; that is unlikely given entrenched opposition from some corners of the chamber."That worries me," Lumpkin said. "I know language matters and I talk to students and young women regularly who still feel their voice doesn't carry as strong as the voice of their male friends. I think the gesture, even though it's symbolic, would say a lot to those young women."The Liberal government could also choose to introduce legislation of its own — with the same wording — to avoid some of the problems that often befall private member's bills; namely, the government could invoke time allocation to prevent procedural time delays.

DANIEL 7:23-24
23 Thus he said, The fourth beast (EU,REVIVED ROME) shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth,(7TH WORLD EMPIRE) which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.(TRADING BLOCKS-10 WORLD REGIONS/TRADE BLOCS)
24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings(10 NATIONS-10 WORLD DIVISION WORLD GOVERNMENT) that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.(EITHER THE EUROPEAN UNION DICTATOR BOOTS 3 COUNTRIES FROM THE EU OR THE DICTATOR TAKES OVER THE WORLD ECONOMY BY CONTROLLING 3 WORLD TRADE BLOCS)

REVELATION 17:9-13
9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.(THE VATICAN IS BUILT ON 7 HILLS OR MOUNTAINS)
10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen,(1-ASSYRIA,2-EGYPT,3-BABYLON,4-MEDO-PERSIA,5-GREECE) and one is,(IN POWER IN JOHNS AND JESUS DAY-6-ROME) and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.(7TH-REVIVED ROMAN EMPIRE OR THE EUROPEAN UNION TODAY AND THE SHORT SPACE IS-7 YEARS.THE EUROPEAN UNION WILL HAVE WORLD CONTROL FOR THE LAST 3 1/2 YEARS.BUT WILL HAVE ITS MIGHTY WORLD POWER FOR THE FULL 7 YEARS OF THE 7 YEAR TRIBULATION PERIOD.AND THE WORLD DICTATOR WILL BE THE BEAST FROM THE EU.AND THE VATICAN POPE WILL BE THE WHORE THAT RIDES THE EUROPEAN UNION TO POWER.AND THE 2 EUROPEAN UNION POWER FREAKS WILL CONTROL AND DECIEVE THE WHOLE EARTH INTO THEIR DESTRUCTION.IF YOU ARE NOT SAVED BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS.YOU WILL BE DECIEVED BY THESE TWO.THE WORLD POLITICIAN-THE EUROPEAN UNION DICTATOR.AND THE FALSE PROPHET THAT DEFECTS CHRISTIANITY-THE FALSE VATICAN POPE.
11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

Heres the scripture 1 week = 7 yrs Genesis 29:27-29
27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week:(7 YEARS) and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also.
29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid.

DANIEL 9:26-27
26 And after threescore and two weeks(62X7=434 YEARS+7X7=49 YEARS=TOTAL OF 69 WEEKS OR 483 YRS) shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;(ROMAN LEADERS DESTROYED THE 2ND TEMPLE) and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.(THERE HAS TO BE 70 WEEKS OR 490 YRS TO FUFILL THE VISION AND PROPHECY OF DAN 9:24).(THE NEXT VERSE IS THAT 7 YR WEEK OR (70TH FINAL WEEK).
27 And he ( THE ROMAN,EU PRESIDENT) shall confirm the covenant (PEACE TREATY) with many for one week:(1X7=7 YEARS) and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,(3 1/2 yrs in TEMPLE ANIMAL SACRIFICES STOPPED) and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Opinion-G20 is 'test run' for Trump-era climate governance By Simon Schunz-euobserver

BRUSSELS, 27. Jun, 09:06-Weeks after US president Donald Trump announced the US' withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, the debate is still raging on in regard to the possible implications of his decision.Some fear a global domino effect, with more countries renouncing climate protection pledges and ceasing domestic emission reduction efforts.Others argue that the Paris accord's architecture is sufficiently resilient, and that efforts to keep global temperature increases to "well below 2°C" – as stipulated by the agreement – will endure.Activities at the sub-national level in the US also seem to support the argument that the agreement will prevail and domestic opponents of Trump’s decision have mobilised remarkably quickly.Cities and states with progressive climate policies joined forces across the US, committing themselves to honouring the Paris agreement.For instance, support came via the bipartisan "US Climate Alliance" of states – including heavyweights such as California and New York – and the "We Are Still In" initiative, which involves hundreds of businesses, investors, and institutes of higher education.Moreover, these sub-national players are linking up with leading nations to create innovative climate diplomacy networks: California and China have held talks to collaborate on emission reduction efforts, while several US states have intensified climate cooperation with Canada.Though these developments enhance the Paris agreement’s chances of survival, they will not be enough.Fight for survival-The resilience of the agreement hinges on how other major emitters will react to Trump’s break.To pursue effective global climate governance, these countries must repeat the steps taken in the run-up to the 2015 Paris climate meeting, where a strategy of "multiple bilateralism" between US-China, China-India and China-EU (among others) served to build trust and resolve crunch issues.The emerging consensus among key emitters was translated into cooperation in the world’s club governance fora (G7, G20) and fed into the multilateral negotiations, leading to the Paris agreement’s ultimate entry into force.True to this spirit, six members (plus the EU) were already pressuring the US to remain committed to the Paris agreement at the recent G7 summit in Sicily. Not that it seemed to do much good, as Trump withdrew from the climate pact a few days later.The next litmus test for effective global climate governance comes in July, when leaders from countries accounting for 80% of global emissions meet for the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on 7-8 July.With the US thrusting itself into isolation, the German G20 presidency will seek to gather the broadest possible support for the Paris agreement.But a question remains: is a G20 entente possible? It might be, if others show the way.Climate leaders-From the G7, the EU and Canada display the clearest leadership ambitions.EU heavyweights have signalled their "strongest commitment" to uphold their pledges to combat climate change.In his reaction to Trump’s Paris exit, Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau, confirmed his country's "unwavering commitment to fight climate change".The Canadian government has also vehemently denied recent reports that Trudeau wished to scrap references to climate from the draft G20 declaration, in order to appease the US government.But leaders need followers. And whether followers can be mobilised depends on how G20 members define their interests – economically and politically.Economically, many G20 countries appear to believe the energy transition – accelerated by the Paris Agreement – must continue.Investing in low-carbon development is no longer seen as a burden on growth prospects. If anything, there is a growing consensus that Trump’s decision will put the US at risk of lagging behind technologically.Politically, the relationship between G20 countries and the US (particularly the Trump administration) is tricky.Are countries like Australia, Japan, Turkey and the UK willing to risk relations with the president of a key ally by adopting a confrontational attitude over climate change? The answer depends heavily on whether the German G20 presidency can dispel their concerns by convincingly demonstrating that the world is changing – because it is.-Changing world-At an EU-China summit the day after Trump’s announcement, a draft joint declaration on climate change characterised the Paris Agreement as “an historic achievement further accelerating the irreversible global low greenhouse gas emission and climate resilient development” and outlined numerous joint actions.Although it was ultimately withheld due to trade-related differences, this declaration contains the blueprint for a shifting centre of gravity in global climate governance to Eurasia.If supported by India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, who has reiterated support for the Paris Agreement, a solid pro-climate coalition including three of the world’s top four emitters would emerge.Cooperation with Canada, and with the sub-national forces in the US, could then provide additional momentum to convince other G20 members.As a major guiding forum, the G20 represents a test run for the future of global climate governance during the Trump era.The direction this governance will take, depends heavily on the strength of emerging partnerships, and their ability to convince others to join them regardless of US policies.If the will is robust enough, this "multiple bilateralism" could bring about the dawn of a new era, and the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement.If it fails, however, global climate politics faces a complicated, daunting future.Dr Simon Schunz is a Research Fellow at the United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS), and a professor of EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies at the College of Europe in Bruges. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Leuven.

Opinion-EU parliament should befriend transparency By Sylvie GUILLAUME and Danuta HUEBNER-euobserver

BRUSSELS, 27. Jun, 17:24-A few days ago, an NGO representative expressed her concerns about the way the European Parliament was dealing with the European Commission’s proposal for a revised inter-institutional agreement on a “mandatory transparency register”.The proposal was submitted by the EU commission on 28 September 2016 and aimed at including the Council of the EU, where representatives of member states sit, as a new partner within the framework.Following the commission's proposal, the EU parliament’s Conference of Presidents entrusted us, as the responsible lead negotiators - supported by a contact group composed of one MEP from each political group - with developing a draft negotiating mandate.We organised five contact group meetings, where detailed discussions provided the opportunity for all political groups to give their input and ideas. It led to the endorsement of a balanced text on 11 April this year.We enriched our deliberations by means of a half-day meeting between the contact group and the involved NGO representatives - including Nina Katzemich from the website LobbyControl, and others from organisations such as Transparency International, Civil Society Europe and Corporate Europe Observatory.We listened carefully to their concerns, many of which we had already incorporated into our work, such as the necessity to enlarge the definition of lobbying and to include an independent observer in the management structure of the transparency register.We also discussed how we to pursue the negotiations with the EU commission and the council in order to get those concerns taken on board.Instead of the expected swift adoption of the mandate, which would signal the parliament’s readiness to enter into negotiations, we were deeply troubled to find that the item had been taken off the agenda of the Conference of Presidents on successive occasions.-Horse-trading-It appeared that some MEPs used procedural manoeuvres and political horse-trading to achieve repeated postponements of the adoption of the mandate, even though a large majority in parliament supported its content.It seems that it is sometimes those who believe themselves to be on the path of righteousness, who are most willing to misuse our system of procedures to score cheap political points.We found it disturbing that some wilfully ignored parliament’s power to determine its own internal organisation.It has also saddened us to see that some of those who claim to be at the forefront of stemming the tide of populism, do not seem to mind riding on that very same tide when it serves their own political ends.However, we were glad to see that the Conference of Presidents finally adopted the mandate two weeks ago on 15 June, in the very same form that had been proposed by the contact group.Following its adoption, the mandate was immediately published on the EU parliament’s website.Regarding the free and independent mandate of MEPs - enshrined in EU primary law - it is noteworthy that the independence of elected representatives is a cornerstone of a representative democracy and a principle this is not easily dismissed.Therefore, any limitation on MEPs in the exercise of their free mandate must be proportionate and cannot, for example, unduly restrict his or her right to seek information.Moreover, a principle enshrined in primary law cannot be altered by secondary law, let alone by an inter-institutional agreement.The mandate adopted on 15 June is based on a long line of parliament’s decisions regarding its relations with interest representatives.It reflects the position of a broad majority of MEPs and it constitutes a solid base for negotiations on a significant improvement to the current transparency register and a widening of its scope.-Negotiating framework-The mandate should be understood as a framework for the negotiations.Parliament’s position will continue to be adapted as the negotiations progress. Once the negotiations are concluded, parliament will adopt follow-up decisions with respect to its internal organisation, in order to implement the new inter‑institutional agreement.But the European Parliament still remains committed to pushing for a transparency regulation that would go beyond an inter-institutional agreement and lay down the relevant provisions on transparency and the register in secondary law.One should not forget the progress that parliament has achieved so far in this field. It initiated the Transparency Register as early as 1996, as well as a Code of Conduct with a commitment for registered lobbyists to act in accordance with high ethical standards.Parliament is, and remains, the most open EU institution, which can be seen with the web-streaming of its meetings and the ability for citizens to visit all of its buildings.Furthermore, parliament decided that registration on the transparency register was to be made a requirement to be invited as a speaker at committee hearings and to receive a long-term access badge for its premises.It also put in place a voluntary legislative footprint last year, and it encourages its MEPs to meet only with registered organisations.Katzemich considers the EU commission to have made a big step in 2015 by publishing meetings of commissioners, heads of cabinets and directors‑general.Certainly, this is true. However, this measure was decided by the commission with a view to its own internal organisation and cannot be easily translated to other institutions such as EU parliament or the council, both of which have a different set-up.Furthermore, the commission’s system is not without its flaws and has room for improvement, as Transparency International and other organisations regularly report.As the EU parliament's lead negotiators, we are particularly committed to getting the council on board and to adding significant value compared to the current framework.Three principles-A new register should encompass the following three principles.First, the widest possible scope of application for EU institutions and other bodies, including meaningful participation of the council.Next, a comprehensive and clear framework, without weakening the current system, for the regulation of interest representation activities.Finally, structures and resources that guarantee effective implementation.One of the main issues is that the new inter-institutional agreement provides a framework for coordination among the EU institutions, while at the same time fully respecting their different competences and prerogatives.-The mandate-The approach we have developed in our mandate would allow for:- The full respect of MEPs' independent mandate.- An inclusive transparency policy for all types of interest representative, as with the current register that features over 11200 registered interest groups from all over the world.- The possibility to maintain the wider definition of lobbying, covering both direct and indirect interest representation (as with the current system).- The full respect for each institutions’ needs, e.g. in the case of parliament as an open house but also with the need to know, for security reasons, who is coming in and why.- More flexibility in respect to the EU institutions’ roles and structures (parliament cannot simply duplicate rules that were designed for the commission).- Better quality information on the database – making the register more reliable as a source of information for the institutions themselves and for the general public.The quality of the new system will depend on how far the council can be convinced to match the parliament’s and commission’s commitment to transparency.We would therefore advise to look at the whole picture and analyse the situation comprehensively, especially with a view to scrutinising the council’s approach.It takes time to change long-standing practices, but we are fully committed to forge ahead, knowing that a pragmatic and constructive approach will yield the best results.Transparency certainly is one important aspect of ensuring citizens’ trust in the EU institutions. But it is not the only one. Keeping true to the facts is another.Sylvie Guillaume is a vice-president of the European Parliament, and Danuta Huebner is the chair of the constitutional affairs committee-Correction: The article's footnote originally said that Danuta Huebner is the chair of the foreign affairs committee, when in fact, she is the chair of the constitutional affairs committee

EU Commission could get say on Russia gas pipeline By Andrew Rettman-euobserver

BRUSSELS, 27. Jun, 09:29-EU states have given initial backing for the European Commission to negotiate the legal model of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia.Pablo Micallef, a spokesman for the Maltese EU presidency, told EUobserver that “some 13” member states spoke out on the plan when EU energy ministers met for informal talks in Brussels on Monday.The incoming Estonian EU presidency is now expected to convene a working group to take things forward.The Danish energy minister, Lars Christian Lilleholt, who was among the 13 EU backers, said: “I’m very satisfied. It was the best thing that could have come out of the meeting”.The mandate will have to be formally approved later down the line in a “reinforced qualified majority” vote by member states, a higher than usual threshold of 72 percent of EU countries representing 65 percent of its population.Maros Sefcovic, the EU energy commissioner who drafted the proposal, told the Reuters news agency: “I’m definitely optimistic about getting the [formal] mandate, but I know this is just the beginning of the debate."Nord Stream 2 is to concentrate 70 percent of Russian gas supplies to Europe in one route to Germany under the Baltic Sea.But its critics, which include the Nordic states, the Baltic countries, Poland, and the US, say it would harm EU energy security and undermine Ukraine, a Western ally, by making Ukraine’s transit pipes obsolete.-EU laws-Anna-Kaisa Itkonen, the Commission’s energy spokeswoman, told EUobserver on Tuesday that the Commission wanted to talk to Russia on whether the offshore part of Nord Stream 2 should be covered by the EU’s so-called third energy package.That EU law would oblige Russian state firm Gazprom to open up its Nord Stream 2 monopoly to EU competitors - a demand which led Russia to stop a previous project, the South Stream pipeline under the Black Sea to Bulgaria.But Itkonen said the talks would “not [be] about a [Commission] veto, it is not about the future of the pipeline, not about the Commission approving it or not”.She said the Commission-Russia talks would be designed to give “legal certainty” on Nord Stream 2 and that they would be “nothing spectacular or extraordinary” because EU officials had held similar discussions with “third countries” on other projects.The Nord Stream 2 regulatory framework is currently being negotiated between Germany and Russia.German, Austrian, French, and Anglo-Dutch firms - Uniper, Wintershall, OMV, Engie, and Shell - are to take part in the project, with Germany and Austria keen to press ahead.Neither the German nor the Austrian minister spoke out on Monday, EU sources told Reuters, but Germany and Austria recently attacked the US over its threat to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2 investors.“We decide who supplies us with energy and how they do it”, the German and Austrian foreign ministers said in a joint statement on 15 June.-Ukraine unhappy-Pavlo Klimkin, the Ukrainian foreign minister, told Reuters in Paris on Monday that Nord Stream 2 "would have disastrous consequences for the energy security of the European Union and would make the EU dependent on one source.""Maybe some companies will benefit for the time being, but in the long-run it will lead nowhere”, he said.He added that there was no progress on Russia ending hostilities in east Ukraine."How can you trust Russia in setting up a unique source of gas supply?”, he said, referring to broader EU and US concerns over Russia’s aggressive behaviour toward neighbouring states.

Focus-Nordics consider alternative to EU emissions trading system By Lisbeth Kirk-june 28,17-euobserver

Copenhagen, Today, 07:44-If the European emissions trading system is not reformed to work efficiently, a Nordic carbon price floor could be introduced to secure future green investments in the region, according to a new strategic review of energy co-operation by the Nordic Council.The plan, which has been in preparation for over a year, is penned by Finnish businessman Jorma Ollila, who had formerly chaired Royal Dutch Shell for almost ten years and was the chairman and CEO of Nokia.It comes at a crucial time, just as the final talks on reforming the EU's carbon trading scheme are due to take place in Brussels.On Tuesday (27 June), representatives of the EU member states, the European Parliament and the European Commission met for one of the final meetings on how the EU’s flagship climate instrument – the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) – should look in the 2021-2030 period.But before the real talks have even started, hopes of reforming the EU system to work efficiently are fading.”I think everyone realises that this is not enough. The [EU] proposal will not deliver a carbon price that we need to decarbonise the industry sectors,” said Femke de Jong, EU policy director for Carbon Market Watch.Her organisation brings together more than 800 NGOs and academics from 70 different countries, working to make the carbon market “an effective climate mitigation tool.””I think it is only logical to have a debate on how we can complement the system. A carbon floor price – at least at the regional level – seems a realistic option,” de Jong said.-Nordic energy union-Norway and Sweden are strong on hydropower, Norway produces oil and gas, Denmark has wind, while Finland and Sweden have built nuclear plants and are pushing for more bio-fuels as a future energy resource.Some 20 years ago, these countries decided to connect their national electricity grids with water reservoirs, allowing hydropower to serve as a kind of Nordic battery to compensate for periods without wind, for example.”There were significant benefits, welfare benefits, lower electricity prices and easier management of the generation of electricity in tough times or during high peak demand in winter times,” Ollila pointed out.This Nordic solution, Ollila said, has been "managed historically very well". He added that since the EU is looking into different prospects for the energy union, there is an opportunity to learn from "what has been done in Nordic countries over the past 20 years."In addition to Nordic carbon trade, Ollila also suggested a Nordic export strategy for green energy solutions, alignment of research and using the whole Nordic area as a testbed.Nuuk in Greenland has been suggested to become a testbed for the full deployment of electric vehicles, and Reykjavik in Iceland may become a testing ground for infrastructure and systems that can support electrification of visiting cruise and fishing ships.The Faroe Islands may become the place for the development of battery technology and energy storage.-Green transition and growth-Put together, the Nordic region today is one of the 12 largest economies in the world and it is already living proof that the green transition is not incompatible with economic growth.However, the Nordics must become even greener to complete their transition into renewable energy, the Nordic Council report said."The energy transition is already underway – but if the Nordic countries do not participate to the fullest, the jobs will be created elsewhere," warned Jorma Ollila."The renewables will take off faster than what was thought only five years ago. So, the role of the renewables will grow quite significantly," he added."The focus should be on securing the most efficient green transition. If the ETS does not provide this, it may be relevant and timely to discuss a joint Nordic approach to support the schemes for renewable energy," Ollila's report concluded.”Another approach could be to discuss the introduction of a Nordic carbon price, based on the United Kingdom’s carbon price floor, in order to secure stronger incentives for the green transition,” it said.-UK leads the way-The prospect of a regionalised European carbon trading system in the future is not limited to the Nordic area. For instance, the UK already introduced a carbon price floor in 2013.”So far, the only country in Europe that has a carbon floor price is the UK. There it was very effective. They introduced a carbon floor price in 2013 and it has resulted in UK coal emissions falling by almost 60% last year," Femke de Jong said, adding: "So it is really significant."She goes on to say that: "It can be a very effective instrument to – at least in the intermediate time – to make sure that the carbon price reflects the damage cost of the pollution to the society.”Under the UK carbon floor price system, carbon emission prices rise automatically – currently at 18 pounds sterling (€20) from 2016 to 2020.Currently the carbon price in Europe stands at €5, but it should rise to €40 to meet the objectives of the Paris climate agreement and rise further to €100 in 2030.-Regional carbon trade-”Ideally, this should be solved at the EU level, but if this is not possible in the short-term, it makes sense to go for a regional solution,” de Jong said.”France has been pushing for it very much in the past and we think that now, with Macron [as president of France], he will also push for that," she added."Let's see," she said, "maybe after the German elections, there can also be a regional carbon price in Western Europe – with Germany, maybe Belgium, the Netherlands and France."Linking the Nordic carbon trade to the British system might be made complicated by the Brexit process, however.”I think it might be tricky for the Nordic countries to join the UK system,” said de Jong.”It is still an open question if the UK will withdraw from the ETS or not. Maybe it is also an idea to team up more with other countries that are contemplating this,” she suggested.

Luxembourg not a tax haven, claims PM By Nikolaj Nielsen-june 28,17-euobserver

Luxembourg, Today, 08:42-Luxembourg continues to refute any notion that it is a tax haven, despite widespread evidence of dubious schemes that it cuts global tax bills for big firms."We were never a tax haven," Luxembourg's prime minister, Xavier Bettel, told EUobserver on Tuesday (27 June).Bettel's comments follow a grilling of Luxembourg's former prime minister and current European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker. Juncker in late May told the European Parliament that he was unable to explain why the Grand Duchy "didn't want to remove tax secrecy."But Bettel, who was fielding a wide range of questions from reporters at an event hosted by the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg, defended the country's tax policies by saying it was one of the first places to push transparency and the exchange of tax rulings with other member states."It is important for me that we have common rules and Luxembourg was one of the first one for transparency," he said.Luxembourg was rocked by scandal following media revelations in late 2014 that exposed how nearly 340 companies secured secret deals that shaved billions of euros from taxes, which were due to be paid elsewhere.The revelations ushered in a raft of new EU and national legislation to increase tax transparency and weed out abuse.The scandal also triggered a probe by the European Parliament, which slammed Luxembourg for allowing corporations to dodge "tax that could have been used to build schools, hospitals or pay down national debt."A report by the Brussels-based NGO, Eurodad, had also revealed last December that Luxembourg had in fact increased the number of so-called tax rulings in the wake of the 2014 media revelations by some 50 percent.The issue saw former PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) employee Antoine Deltour face prison time for leaking the secret rules to the media, posing larger questions on whistleblower protection laws.But Bettel maintained that his country was fully compliant with tax standards and had not committed a crime."There are over 20 countries in Europe doing [tax] rulings," he noted, echoing a similar refrain to his predecessor, Juncker.Luxembourg, under Juncker's decade-long leadership of the country, had also repeatedly blocked the rolling back of aggressive tax planning schemes throughout the EU, according to a cache of German cables leaked earlier this year.Bettel also opposes any pan-EU taxation system and refuses to impose any sort of tax on financial transactions.The financial transaction tax, also known as the FTT, aims to raise money for the public good by imposing a 0.1 percent tax on shares and bonds, and 0.01 percent on derivative products."I am fully against and I will block that," said Bettel. But he noted that other member states are free to move ahead on the file as part of a two-speed Europe.He also added that people in Luxembourg should not have to pay more tax only "because other countries were not responsible with public finances."

New cyberattack wallops Europe; spreads more slowly in US-[The Canadian Press]-YAHOONEWS-June 27, 2017

PARIS — A new and highly virulent outbreak of data-scrambling software — apparently sown in Ukraine — caused disruption across the world Tuesday. Following a similar attack in May , the fresh cyber-assault paralyzed some hospitals, government offices and major multinational corporations in a dramatic demonstration of how easily malicious programs can bring daily life to a halt.Ukraine and Russia appeared hardest hit by the new strain of ransomware — malicious software that locks up computer files with all-but-unbreakable encryption and then demands a ransom for its release. In the United States, the malware affected companies such as the drugmaker Merck and Mondelez International, the owner of food brands such as Oreo and Nabisco.Its pace appeared to slow as the day wore on, in part because the malware appeared to require direct contact between computer networks, a factor that may have limited its spread in regions with fewer connections to Ukraine.The malware's origins remain unclear. Researchers picking the program apart found evidence its creators had borrowed from leaked National Security Agency code, raising the possibility that the digital havoc had spread using U.S. taxpayer-funded tools."The virus is spreading all over Europe and I'm afraid it can harm the whole world," said Victor Zhora, the chief executive of Infosafe IT in Kyiv , where reports of the malicious software first emerged early afternoon local time Tuesday.In Ukraine, victims included top-level government offices, where officials posted photos of darkened computer screens, as well as energy companies, banks, cash machines, gas stations, and supermarkets. Ukrainian Railways and the communications company Ukrtelecom were among major enterprises hit, Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan said in a Facebook post .The virus hit the radiation-monitoring at Ukraine's shuttered Chornobyl power plant, site of the world's worst nuclear accident, forcing it into manual operation.Multinational companies, including the global law firm DLA Piper and Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk were also affected, although the firms didn't specify the extent of the damage.Ukraine bore the brunt with more than 60 per cent of the attacks, followed by Russia with more than 30 per cent , according to initial findings by researchers at the cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab. It listed Poland, Italy and Germany, in that order, as the next-worst affected.In the U.S, two hospitals in western Pennsylvania were hit; patients reported on social media that some surgeries had to be rescheduled. A spokeswoman for Heritage Valley Health System would say only that operational changes had to be made. A Wellsville, Ohio, woman at one of its hospitals to have her gallbladder removed said she noticed computer monitors off and nurses scurrying around with stacks of paperwork.Security experts said Tuesday's global cyberattack shares something in common with last month's outbreak of ransomware, dubbed WannaCry . Both spread using digital lock picks originally created by the NSA and later published to the web by a still-mysterious group known as the Shadowbrokers.Security vendors including Bitdefender and Kaspersky said the NSA exploit, known as EternalBlue, lets malware spread rapidly across internal networks at companies and other large organizations. Microsoft issued a security fix in March, but Chris Wysopal, chief technology officer at the security firm Veracode, said it would only be effective if every single computer on a network were patched — otherwise, a single infected machine could infect all others."Once activated, the virus can automatically and freely distribute itself on your network," Ukraine's cyberpolice tweeted.Bogdan Botezatu, an analyst with Bitdefender, compared such self-spreading software to a contagious disease. "It's like somebody sneezing into a train full of people," he said.Ryan Kalember, a security expert at Proofpoint, said one reason the attacks appeared to be slowing down was that the ransomware appears to spread only when a direct contact exists between two networks — such as when a global company's Ukraine office interacts with headquarters.But once it hits a computer on a network, it spreads quickly, even among computers that have applied the fix for the NSA exploit."It's more harmful to the organization that it affects, but because it's not randomly spreading over the internet like WannaCry, it's somewhat contained to the organizations that were connected to each other," Kalember said.Botezatu said the new program appeared nearly identical to GoldenEye, a variant of a known family of hostage-taking programs known as "Petya." It demanded $300 in Bitcoin.Unlike typical ransomware, which merely scrambles personal data files, the program wreaking havoc Tuesday overwrites a computer's master boot record, making it tougher to restore even a machine that has been backed up, said Kalember.It may have first spread through a rogue update to a piece of Ukrainian accounting software called MEDoc, according to tweets by the country's cyberpolice unit. It said a rogue update seeded the infection across Ukraine. In a lengthy statement posted to Facebook, MEDoc acknowledged having been hacked.The motives of those behind the malware remain unknown. Ukraine has been a persistent target of pro-Russian hackers, who are blamed for twice shutting down large swaths of its power grid in the dead of winter and sabotaging its elections system in a bid to disrupt May 2014 national elections.Emails sent Tuesday to an address posted to the bottom of ransom demands went unreturned. That might be because the email provider hosting that address, Berlin-based Posteo, pulled the plug on the account before the infection became widely known.In an email, a Posteo representative said it had blocked the email address "immediately" after learning that it was associated with ransomware. The company added that it was in contact with German authorities "to make sure that we react properly."___Bajak reported from Houston. Associated Press writers Anick Jesdanun in New York, Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow, Larry Rosenthal in Beaver, Pennsylvania and Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.Raphael Satter And Frank Bajak, The Associated Press.

Trudeau appoints his first climate change ambassador with revamped mandate-[The Canadian Press]-YAHOONEWS-June 27, 2017

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tapped a long-time Canadian diplomat to step into a revamped role of Canada's ambassador for climate change.Canada hasn't had such an ambassador since January 2015.Jennifer MacIntyre fills the role as of Tuesday, with a mandate to push Canada's international relationships on the climate change file, including promoting Canadian clean technology businesses abroad.She is the fifth person to hold the title of ambassador for climate change — but the first where the role is not the equivalent of Canada's chief negotiator for climate change treaties.As such she will not be on hand next week when Trudeau sits down with other G20 leaders in Germany where the Paris climate change agreement will be front and centre.Instead her role is to find ways for Canada to take advantage of any international opportunities for trade and investment that climate change policies bring.MacIntyre spent most of the last four years as the ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.The Canadian Press.

NATO chief: US allies to spend $12 billion more this year-[The Canadian Press]-YAHOONEWS-June 28, 2017

BRUSSELS — NATO's chief says U.S. allies are projected to spend around $12 billion more on defence this year, after President Donald Trump berated them for failing to boost military budgets.NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that "we have really shifted gears. The (spending) trend is up and we intend to keep it up."Unveiling new figures, Stoltenberg said European allies and Canada have increased spending by almost $46 billion over the last three years.He said 25 of NATO's 29 allies aim to raise defence spending in 2017.Only the United States, Britain, Estonia, debt-burden Greece and Poland met NATO's spending targets last year. Romania says it will meet the 2 per cent of GDP guideline this year, while Latvia and Lithuania plan to in 2018.The Associated Press.

STORMS HURRICANES-TORNADOES

LUKE 21:25-26
25 And there shall be signs in the sun,(HEATING UP-SOLAR ECLIPSES) and in the moon,(MAN ON MOON-LUNAR ECLIPSES) and in the stars;(ASTEROIDS ETC) and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity;(MASS CONFUSION) the sea and the waves roaring;(FIERCE WINDS)
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear,(TORNADOES,HURRICANES,STORMS) and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth:(DESTRUCTION) for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.(FROM QUAKES,NUKES ETC)

Wind fans the flames of Utah fire that has burned 13 homes-[The Canadian Press]-YAHOONEWS-June 28, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY — Firefighters are bracing for more high winds Wednesday as they try to slow a southern Utah wildfire that has burned 13 homes and forced the evacuation of 1,500 people.Firefighters are hoping to be able to put out hot spots on the southern end of the fire to allow residents to return to the ski town of Brian Head. Homes there have been evacuated since June 17 when authorities say it was started by someone using a torch tool to burn weeds on private land.The fire is the largest in the nation at 78 square miles (201 square kilometres ).The blaze is one of several in the West. Crews in California were making gains against two new fires that spread quickly, and firefighters in Idaho battled five lightning-sparked wildfires burning in grass and brush.

The Associated Press
WORLD POWERS IN THE LAST DAYS (END OF AGE OF GRACE NOT THE WORLD)

EUROPEAN UNION-KING OF WEST-DAN 9:26-27,DAN 7:23-24,DAN 11:40,REV 13:1-10
EGYPT-KING OF THE SOUTH-DAN 11:40
RUSSIA-KING OF THE NORTH-EZEK 38:1-2,EZEK 39:1-3
CHINA-KING OF THE EAST-DAN 11:44,REV 9:16,18
VATICAN-RELIGIOUS LEADER-REV 13:11-18,REV 17:4-5,9,18

WORLD TERRORISM

OH BY THE WAY WHEN THE MEDIA SAYS ALLU-AK-BAR MEANS GOD IS GREAT LIE. IN ISLAM ALLU-AK-BAR MEANS OUR GOD IS GREATER OR GREATEST. THIS IS HOW THE MEDIA SUCK HOLES UP TO ISLAMIC-QURANIC-MUSLIMS. BY WATERING DOWN THE REAL MEANING OF THE SEX FOR MURDER DEATH CULT ISLAM. TO MAKE IT SOUND LIKE A PEACEFUL RELIGION (CULT OF DEATH AND WORLD DOMINATION).

GENESIS 6:11-13
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.(WORLD TERRORISM,MURDERS)(HAMAS IN HEBREW IS VIOLENCE)
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence (TERRORISM)(HAMAS) through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

GENESIS 16:11-12
11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her,(HAGAR) Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael;(FATHER OF THE ARAB/MUSLIMS) because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
12 And he (ISHMAEL-FATHER OF THE ARAB-MUSLIMS) will be a wild (DONKEY-JACKASS) man;(ISLAM IS A FAKE AND DANGEROUS SEX FOR MURDER CULT) his hand will be against every man,(ISLAM HATES EVERYONE) and every man's hand against him;(PROTECTING THEMSELVES FROM BEING BEHEADED) and he (ISHMAEL ARAB/MUSLIM) shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.(LITERAL-THE ARABS LIVE WITH THEIR BRETHERN JEWS)

ISAIAH 14:12-14
12  How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer,(SATAN) son of the morning!(HEBREW-CRECENT MOON-ISLAM) how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14  I (SATAN HAS EYE TROUBLES) will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.(AND 1/3RD OF THE ANGELS OF HEAVEN FELL WITH SATAN AND BECAME DEMONS)

JOHN 16:2
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.(ISLAM MURDERS IN THE NAME OF MOON GOD ALLAH OF ISLAM)

Trudeau touts open Canadian immigration system in face of Trump travel ban-[CBC]-YAHOONEWS-June 27, 2017

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he will continue to promote Canada's open immigration policy on the world stage as controversy rages over U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban.Trudeau said Tuesday during a news conference in Ottawa to wrap up the parliamentary sitting that government officials have had "multiple conversations" with the U.S. administration about protecting Canadian rights in the face of immigration decisions south of the border."But at the same time, Canadians have been very clear that we see immigration as a net positive, that we know we don't have to compromise security to build stronger, more resilient communities," he said. "I will continue to stand for Canadian values and Canadian success in our immigration system as I always have, whether it's in Washington or in Hamburg next week or elsewhere around the world."On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a limited version of Trump's ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries to take effect.The justices will hear full arguments in October, but in the meantime, the court said Trump's ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen could be enforced if those visitors lack a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."-Trudeau defends sniper role-In the wide-ranging news conference in the National Press Theatre, Trudeau was asked about topics ranging from trade concerns with the U.S. to recent news that a Canadian special forces member had shot and killed an ISIS fighter at a record distance for a sniper.Trudeau called the sniper actions "entirely consistent" with the role of troops in northern Iraq. The "advise and assist" mission has always had an element of defending Canadian forces as well as our coalition partners, he said."That is something that is integral to this mission, and that is something that has always been followed," he said.NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has said the incident suggests Canadian forces are actually involved in direct combat in Iraq, and has called on Trudeau to provide the public with more details on the role of the mission.Trudeau said the incident should be "celebrated" for demonstrating the excellence in training and performance of duties by the Canadian Forces.National Defence said the sniper, part of the Joint Task Force 2 special forces unit, was supporting Iraqi forces when he shot an enemy fighter from 3,540 metres away.That is more than a kilometre farther than the previous record, held by a British sniper who shot a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan in 2009.Trudeau also said he broke his key electoral promise to reform Canada's electoral system because there was no compromise from other parties, and he didn't want to use his Liberal majority to ram through fundamental change."There was no path to do that."-'No path' on electoral reform-Trudeau said Liberals preferred a ranked ballot system, while the NDP wanted a proportional voting system that would have led to "fragmented" parties.Conservatives wanted to keep the status quo, he said."It was a very difficult decision for me," Trudeau said in describing his decision to break the promise.Asked about when the government will eliminate the deficit, Trudeau said his government is targeting billions in new spending on infrastructure and other services Canadians need and will not put a timeframe on when it will "arbitrarily" balance the books.Trudeau also touted what he sees as the government's key accomplishments so far, namely helping improve the quality of life for the middle class and taking steps to tackle the opioid crisis before taking questions.The prime minister also reacted to a new round of anti-dumping tariffs imposed on Canada's softwood lumber industry by the U.S. Department of Commerce. He said he is focused on being "constructive" and working toward a deal that will help protect thousands of jobs in Canada.Earlier Tuesday, the prime minister issued a statement to mark Multiculturalism Day.'Differences make us strong'"Canadians come from every corner of the world, speak two official languages and hundreds more, practise many faiths, and represent many cultures," he said. "Multiculturalism is at the heart of Canada's heritage and identity, and as Canadians, we recognize that our differences make us strong."Canada's tradition of multiculturalism has meant fresh perspectives and new answers to old problems, Trudeau said.Noting that Canada is celebrating both the 150th anniversary of Confederation and the 35th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Trudeau said the milestones are a reminder of the values that unite Canadians: Openness, inclusion and deep respect for our differences."Whoever we are, wherever we come from, these values bring us together as equal members of this great country," he said.

U.S.-led coalition envoy visits Syria to discuss Raqqa aftermath-YAHOONEWS-[Reuters]-June 28, 2017

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Brett McGurk, the U.S. special envoy to the coalition against Islamic State visited north Syria on Wednesday and met the council planning to run Raqqa after its capture from the jihadists to assure it of support, one of its members said.The U.S.-led coalition is supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias that began fighting inside Raqqa three weeks ago.The SDF announced the creation of the Raqqa Civil Council in April to replace militant rule in a city that has for three years been Islamic State's de facto capital in Syria.McGurk has met the council in Ain Issa in north Syria twice before in meetings that were not publicized, a member of the Raqqa Civil Council, Omar Alloush, said.Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the coalition, said coalition members are routinely in northern Syria working with the SDF and other local entities including the council. He could not confirm McGurk's visit on Wednesday and referred queries to the special envoy's office.Alloush said McGurk and other coalition officials, including its deputy commander Major General Rupert Jones, promised infrastructure help but did not discuss how much money was available."They did not specify any sum, but they decided we will support first removing mines, lifting rubble, maintenance of schools, then electricity stations and water," Alloush said.This month, volunteers at the council told Reuters they had informed the coalition it would take about $10 million a year to restore power and water supplies, roads and schools.(Reporting by Tom Perry; Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Cluster bombs kill at least 15 in eastern Syria-[The Canadian Press]-YAHOONEWS-June 28, 2017

BEIRUT — A cluster bomb attack on an Islamic State-held village in eastern Syria killed at least 15 people on Wednesday, activists said, the latest in a series of devastating airstrikes along the Euphrates River ValleyTwo Syrian monitoring groups, Deir Ezzor 24 and Justice For Life, said the weapons were dropped on the village of Doblan by an unidentified jet. Russian, Syrian, and U.S.-led coalition aircraft are all known to operate in the area.Cluster bombs are designed to spread small bomblets across a wide area, but many fail to explode, endangering civilians long after the fighting has ended.Omar Abou Layla, the head of Deir Ezzor 24, said 15 bodies, including of women and children, were recovered in the village. He said residents expect to find many more killed.Ali Rahbe, of Justice For Life, said local informants counted at least 35 dead in the village, which is between the IS strongholds of al-Mayadeen and Boukamal.The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the initial toll at 30 dead.At least 57 people were killed in an airstrike on an IS-run jail in the Euphrates River Valley on Monday. Activists said that airstrike was carried out by the U.S.-led coalition. The coalition said it was looking into the reports.Turkey's military meanwhile said it returned fire after an attack by Syrian Kurdish forces.A statement Wednesday said the People's Protection Units, or YPG, fired on Turkish territory overnight with anti-aircraft weapons from Syria's Afrin region. Turkish artillery units returned fire, destroying the "detected targets."The YPG is the main component of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a U.S.-backed militia that is battling the Islamic State group in the extremists' de facto capital, Raqqa. Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdish insurgency raging in its southeast.Turkey was angered by a U.S. decision last month to arm the Syrian Kurds, fearing the weapons will end up in the hands of Kurdish rebels in Turkey.The Associated Press.

Philippines says beheaded civilians found in rebel-held town-[Reuters]-By Kanupriya Kapoor-YAHOONEWS-June 28, 2017

MARAWI CITY, Philippines (Reuters) - Five decapitated civilians were found in a Philippine city occupied by Islamist rebels on Wednesday, the military said, warning the number of residents killed by rebel "atrocities" could rise sharply as troops retake more ground.The discovery of the five victims among 17 bodies retrieved would be the first evidence that civilians trapped in besieged Marawi City have been decapitated during the five-week stand by militants loyal to the Islamic State group, as some who escaped the city have previously reported.Some 71 security forces and 299 militants have been killed and 246,000 people displaced in the conflict, which erupted after a failed attempt on May 23 to arrest a Filipino militant commander backed by Islamic State's leadership.President Rodrigo Duterte promised to destroy the militants in Marawi and said the Philippines was now dealing with "a very dangerous situation" due to young Muslims inspired by the "mass insanity" of Islamic State."All they do is just to kill and destroy, and killing in a most brutal way," he said at an event where he received hundreds of sniper and assault rifles donated by China to help the military campaign in Marawi."They enjoy decapitating people in front of cameras. They have to be dealt with, with the same ferocity but not the brutality," he said.The information about the beheadings came via a text message to reporters from Lieutenant Colonel Emmanuel Garcia of the Western Mindanao Command. Garcia did not respond to repeated requests for details.A civilian rescue worker, Abdul Azis Lomondot, told Reuters body parts were found, but with "no proof of beheading".Military spokesman Jo-Ar Herrera said bodies were found separately in two groups, of 12 and five, but he was unable to confirm if the five were beheaded.The battle entered its 36th day on Wednesday, with intense gunfights and bombing in the heart of the town and black-clad fighters seen from afar running between buildings as explosions rang out.The rebels' hold on Marawi, while incurring the full force of a military for years trained by its U.S. counterparts, has much of the region on edge, concerned that Islamic State's influence may run deeper than thought.Those fears are also being felt in Malaysia and Indonesia, whose nationals are among the Maute group of rebels fighting in Marawi, suggesting the group may have built a cross-border network that has gone largely undetected.-RISING TOLL-Military spokesman Restituto Padilla earlier said it was likely that many civilians had been killed and the death toll - at 27 before the latest 17 were announced - was only what the authorities could confirm independently and escapees had reported many in the area of fighting."(It) may increase significantly," Padilla told reporters. "There have been a significant number that have been seen."Padilla said the cause of all of those deaths would be "atrocities committed by the terrorists".Among those atrocities, the army says, have been residents being forced to loot homes, take up arms or become sex slaves.Videos have appeared this month on the website of Islamic State's Amaq news agency and its social media channels of hostages in Marawi pleading for their lives, saying they would be beheaded if air strikes were not stopped. Clips have also appeared of kneeling captives, shot in the head from behind.Reuters was unable to confirm the authenticity of the footage.The military has so far been reluctant to discuss the possibility that the real impact of the fighting on civilians could be far more severe than has been reported.It has played down the impact of daily air strikes and mortar assaults aimed at rebel sniper positions, which have reduced areas of the lakeside town to rubble and alarmed people stuck there, some of whom have said the shelling was a bigger threat than the militants.Military spokesman Padilla said troops needed more time to finish what was a tricky mission, complicated by trapped civilians, hostages and booby traps.(For a graphic on battle for Marawi, click http://tmsnrt.rs/2sqmHDf)(Additional reporting by Neil Jerome Morales in MANILA; Writing by Martin Petty)

CHINA AND KINGS OF THE EAST MARCH TO ISRAEL 2ND WAVE OF WW3 (200 MILLION MAN ARMY)

REVELATION 16:12-16
12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates;(WERE WW3 STARTS IN IRAQ OR SYRIA OR TURKEY) and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.(THE TURKEY ATATURK DAM ON THE EUPHRATES CAN BE SHUT AND DRIED UP ALREADY BY TURKEY)
13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon,(SATAN) and out of the mouth of the beast,(WORLD DICTATOR) and out of the mouth of the false prophet.(FALSE POPE)
14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.(WERE 2 BILLION DIE FROM NUKE WAR)
15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.(ITS AT THIS TIME I BELIEVE WHEN AMERICA GETS NUKED BY RUSSIA ON THE WAY TO THE MIDEAST)

DANIEL 11:44 (2ND WAVE OF WW3)
44 But tidings out of the east(CHINA) and out of the north(RUSSIA, MUSLIMS WHATS LEFT FROM WAVE 1) shall trouble him:(EU DICTATOR IN ISRAEL) therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.( 1/3RD OF EARTHS POPULATION)

REVELATION 9:12-18
12 One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,
14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four(DEMONIC WAR) angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.(WORLDWIDE WAR)(TURKEY-IRAQ-SYRIA)(EUPHRATES RIVER CONSISTS OF 760 MILES IN TURKEY,440 MILES IN SYRIA AND 660 MILES IN IRAQ)
15 And the four(DEMONIC WAR) angels were loosed,(WORLDWIDE WAR) which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.(1/3 Earths Population die in WW 3 2ND WAVE-2 billion)
16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand:(200 MILLION MAN ARMY FROM CHINA AND THE KINGS OF THE EAST) and I heard the number of them.
17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.(NUCLEAR BOMBS)
18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.(NUCLEAR BOMBS)

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          A Libyan ambush, Central Asia’s security wobbles and Mozambique’s loan scandal: The cheat sheet   

All eyes on Libya

It’s been a rollercoaster few weeks for Libya. A spot of good news first: Libya is pumping oil at its highest rate in four years, an important boon for a country that relies heavily on the petroleum industry. Now for a bunch of bad: This week, a convoy from the UN Support Mission in Libya was ambushed and, according to reports, their staff taken at gunpoint. The UN now says its staff are all safely in Tripoli, but the incident is yet another a sign of the chaos in Libya, where multiple forces claim authority and there is heavy fighting in some parts of the country, including Benghazi. The UN has just appointed a new envoy to the country – a former Lebanese minister of culture – a process that took four months, after the US rejected a Palestinian appointee because of his nationality, followed by retaliatory objections to other candidates from Russia and other countries. UNISMIL and various UN agencies have been gradually increasing their presence on the ground in the dangerous country, but this week’s ambush is likely to be a major setback. And with Italy threatening to deny entry to foreign ships docking on its shores – an effort to force its European partners to do more about the massive influx of migrants, mostly coming from Libya – the internal divisions and external debate over Libya make it one to watch. 

Au revoir UNOCI

While it’s something to celebrate, the closure today of the UN’s peacekeeping mission in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) has also generated some concerns. Although Cote d’Ivoire is one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, two mutinies this year by disgruntled soldiers suggests it has not fully healed from the 2002-2003 civil war and the post-election violence of 2010-2011. Human Rights Watch has called on the Ivorian government to address the rights issues at the root of past political violence, including the problem of impunity and the need to professionalise its security forces. It also pointed to the incomplete national reconciliation process and continued competition over land as potential flashpoints. With the peacekeepers’ withdrawal, a UN Security Council briefing noted the need for the international community to stay engaged. In a statement to the council, Sweden said the closure of UNOCI meant the “UN presence in the country is facing a ‘financial cliff’. This risks undermining the sustainability of the gains achieved.”

Is Afghanistan pulling Central Asia into chaos?

That’s the question at the heart of this new report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. While Afghanistan’s downward spiral has been plotted meticulously by journalists and analysts, Central Asian states are often overlooked – to our potential peril, according to CSIS. The report notes that security has taken a nosedive throughout in Afghanistan in the past couple years, but asserts: “In the provinces of Afghanistan adjacent to Central Asia, the security situation has deteriorated even further than in Afghanistan as a whole on average.” That situation presents huge challenges to Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, which could become destabilized by smuggling, Taliban attacks and infiltration by extremists, among other threats. The report suggests some measures Afghanistan and its neighbours can take to mitigate those risks – including sealing borders and negotiating with the Taliban – but of none of them would be easy.

Seven more years

Few African leaders divide international public opinion as much as Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who will run for a third term in office in August, having overwhelmingly won a referendum to change the constitution in 2015. Kagame’s champions see him as the architect of stability and growth in a country where some 20 percent of the population was slaughtered in the 1994 genocide. They point to free basic education for all, the halving of infant and maternal mortality, and the emergence of a vibrant economy as achievements which merit his re-election. Detractors say Kagame’s authoritarian style and intolerance of opposition – some of whose leaders have been killed or disappeared, others accused of the cardinal sin of “genocidal ideology” – is a threat to democracy itself. Further evidence of this came in May, when politicians were told that all social media or online campaign content had to vetted by the National Electoral Commission 48 hours before publication. This rule was shelved a month later in the wake of domestic and international pressure, but the attempt to control the messaging will not be forgotten. Still, Kagame’s re-election is pretty much a foregone conclusion: he won with more than 95 percent in 2003 and 93 percent in 2010. Rwanda’s is one of four key African elections being held this year: the people of Kenya and Angola will also go to the polls in August, while Liberians will follow suit in October.

Did you miss it?

Lifting the lid on a Mozambique’s loan scandal

As scandals go, Mozambique’s $2.2 billion secret loan deal that crashed its economy was pretty bad (See IRIN’s report). But now we’re getting a handle on just how corrupt it all was. The recently-released executive summary of the Kroll audit report suggests that the Privinest Group – which was supposed to supply Mozambique with a tuna fishing fleet and maritime security vessels – overcharged by at least $700 million. For example, fishing boats were invoiced at $22 million each, but Kroll estimates the real price should have been just $2 million. And there’s more. Kroll says that $500 million “remains unaudited and unexplained”, on top of the $700 million overcharge. That’s partly because Privinest as well as the state security service, SISE, local banks and the Ministry of Finance all refused to provide the auditors with information requested. For more on the scandal, for which Mozambicans are being forced to pay the price as the economy totters and social services are scaled back, check out Mozambique News reports & clippings.

The unpromised land

Few places these days can be described as hospitable towards asylum seekers, but in recent years Israel has outdone most other states with its policies of deterrence and detention. Not content with keeping asylum seekers confined to so-called “open” detention facilities like Holot, starting in 2014, the authorities began offering one-way tickets to “safe” third countries in Africa. By the time IRIN reported on these “voluntary” deportations in April 2015, it was already clear that those who accepted the offer to go to Uganda or Rwanda, the two countries that had quietly stepped up to receive Israel’s unwanted asylum seekers, did not fare much better than those who opted to remain at Holot. This week, a year-long investigation into Israel’s “relocation process” by Andrew Green for Foreign Policy revealed that the vast majority of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers who are sent to Uganda and Rwanda from Israel are quickly smuggled into neighbouring countries where they have even less protection and live in undocumented limbo. Meanwhile, Ugandan and Rwandan officials continue to deny having made any agreement with Israel to receive asylum seekers.

Watch out for an upcoming IRIN film – Unwelcome Stranger - about the life of a Sudanese asylum seeker in Israel.

(TOP PHOTO: Two soldiers from forces operating under Libya's Tripoli-based government walking through the deserted streets of Bin Jawad. Tim Wescott/IRIN)

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201501270911460310.jpg News Conflict Politics and Economics This week’s humanitarian outlook IRIN GENEVA Global
          My feminism extends beyond US borders, and it informs my first-ever vote as a new American citizen   

Police in Honduras repress women protesting violence against women. Photo via Telesur.

In the days and years before January 22, 2016, when I became a US citizen, the question of whom to vote for was always a hypothetical one for me.

Oh, that doesn't mean I didn't think about, write about, and discuss endlessly at our dinner table all the good, bad, and ugly features of every candidate vying for the votes of my husband and two of my three sons, US citizens by birth. The Huz is our main breadwinner, without a doubt, and we live where his business lives--as opposed to where I would prefer to live--making him the de facto head of the family. But as the saying goes (certainly as it goes in the so-called traditionally "patriarchal" countries I've lived in), the man may be the head, but the woman is the neck that turns the head.

So it would be dishonest of me to say that my interest in presidential politics was just academic. It would be disingenuous of me to say that in researching, analyzing, and discussing the candidates' records and policy proposals; their personal histories and present-day characters; and their values (insofar as it is ever possible to assess those with 100% accuracy when the person one is evaluating only exists in the electronic boxes in one's home), that I was merely indulging a hobby. A rather masochistic hobby.

I was amassing the data, evaluating it, and applying it to the progressive values we've taught our kids, the values that my family and I strive to uphold in all areas of life, not just politics. I was doing my job as "the neck".

In 2008, I was genuinely torn. To my mind, there was not that much difference between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. All things being equal, I told myself, my feminist self, I would have to support the woman candidate because she would bring to the nation's highest office a range of experiential qualities that a man never could. In the same way that, prior to giving birth to my first child, I always thought I knew what agonizing physical pain was (I had, after all, broken long bones while riding horses, and I'd suffered through a few tropical viruses) but in reality could not possibly know what it was really like until I'd gone through it myself. Likewise, then, a man--even a man who was the most empathetic creature on the planet--could nonetheless never truly understand what it was like to go through life as a woman in our culture.

That mattered a great deal to me. (It still does.) I connected with Hillary Clinton on a number of levels, just as the data tells us that women in my demographic tend to. We've experienced sexism and harassment; we've been underestimated and underpaid; we've seen our perceived worth reduced to our fuckability and outward appearance, even as we are simultaneously told to cover up those attributes lest we cause a helpless male superior at work (or else some rando dude in the parking lot) to accidentally rape us. (Ah yes, rape. That vile and violent power-display thing.)

Only a woman could truly know, at the experiential level, what all that shit feels like. How it talks to us, deep inside our brains, telling us we are not as good, not as smart, not pretty enough, not thin enough, too thin, too pretty, too loud, too quiet, and now, for me anyway, too old. Even as we manage to do well in the face of all of that because (if we were lucky) we had a role model or two in our family or circle of friends who insisted that we could, or else, we found in the literature or art or cinema some small gem of wisdom and affirmation that made us realize we could--indeed, look at what we've been through, we already have.

At the same time, though, and despite the powerful impetus to link arms with Hillary Clinton and support her in her quest to become the country's first woman president, I could not ignore her Iraq vote. The two candidates were so similar, in so many ways, but that one difference meant a lot to me. I believed 2008 Barack Obama when he said he would end the wars and bring everyone home. More than that, I believed him when he said he did not go along with the herd--he did not cave to pressure from war hawks, and this, in turn, indicated that even as a young senator, he had his own mind and he had the right ethics--the kind of ethics that had him standing up to the murderous George W. Bush and his colleagues.

Our dinner conversations began to center around Barack Obama. We read his book, Dreams From My Father. (Well, I did--I can't say for sure if the boys did.) I still longed for a really left-leaning candidate, one who broke free from the neoliberals in the Democratic party, the way that terrific, outspoken Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders did in the Senate. "If BERNIE ever runs for president," I declared, "I'm becoming a citizen so I can go with you guys to the poll and vote for him myself."

Fast-forward to last year. Bernie announced his run and I filed for citizenship, something I know well I should have done years ago--I've been eligible since 1979!--but didn't, because a big part of my heart still lived in England, where other Socialists like me were living (and living in the sunlight, unashamed and unassailed), and I felt it would be unethical to become an American when that English part of me still had blood flowing through it. Bernie, a Democratic Socialist, possibly becoming president? Well, then!

And here we are. We're looking at the increasing inevitability that, despite a heroic run by Senator Sanders, Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. But I can't vote for her, even though I am now a citizen as well as a feminist.

It's the war/foreign policy thing again. The foreign policy history that Secretary Clinton forged between 2008 and now. It's about Libya. And, especially for me, Honduras. The latter received such scant coverage in this country, it broke (and continues to break) my heart. But it matters a great deal. You see, I lived in Honduras as a young teen--lived through the 1974 Coup--and another part of my heart is with the people of that country, too. Last week, an activist for the indigenous people and campesinos (small farmers) and women of Honduras, a brave and beloved woman activist named Berta Cáceres, was shot dead in her home. What does this have to do with Hillary Clinton? In 2009, as Secretary of State, Clinton shepherded in the new, hard-right, School-of-the-Americas trained military junta who ousted a democratically-elected president, Manuel Zelaya. "Ousted" is not quite the right word: after a contentious back-and-forth between Zelaya and the (far) more rightwing factions of the government, soldiers broke into the president's house, beat him up, held him at gunpoint, and dragged him onto a plane--still in his pajamas--and flew him out of the country.

A bit of background: Mel Zelaya was himself a member of oligarchic society in Honduras. As you are probably aware, Honduras is practically a case study in what goes wrong when income equality gets too out-of-hand. You have a tiny few owning everything, and you have multinational corporations joining forces with them to seize every resource there is, and you have a vast many who have virtually nothing. "Nothing" often means: no electricity, no running water, no shelter, no food. You have fifteen-year-olds with AKs strapped to them stopping you in the street at gunpoint to ask for your ID, and when you hand them your passport, they look at it upside down because they don't know how to read. (True story.) You have indigenous people being abused at every turn, having their waterways seized for dam projects, their land and mountains destroyed by mining interests, their fields taken over by corporate fruit industries. You have a population kept in line by all the traditional fascistic means: sexism, hard-line religion (in the case of Honduras, the Catholic church), and militarized police forces who beat and kill. Who make people disappear.

But Zelaya, despite his upbringing, had the heart of a leftist. Once elected, he set about making birth control available to poor women. Even Plan B. He stood up and apologized for the country's history of persecuting LGBT individuals, and told them they were okay, they would be safe now. He constantly advocated for the poor, for the indigenous communities, for the campesinos. He worked alongside Berta Cáceres, and other activists like her. He was in the process of pushing for a significant raise in the country's minimum wage when he was "ousted".

When the coup happened, in 2009, President Obama at first condemned it. As did the UN, as did the OAS. Many Latin American leaders were calling for the US to do something--to demand that Zelaya be allowed to return to his country, where tens of thousands of people were marching in the street, peacefully protesting and calling for their president's safe return (and getting beaten and shot for their trouble). In a few days, the press moved on. Suddenly, our US president was saying nothing. 

Hillary Clinton's emails, released last summer, tell us why. She was very actively involved in supporting the installation of the new, right-wing government. This has been covered by Democracy Now, TeleSur, and other "alternative" media. This piece in The Nation, written by noted Latin American scholar Greg Grandin, is a good one to start with.

Why is this important to me, and why should it be important to every feminist who is voting in the presidential election? Because of what happened in the aftermath of Zelaya's violent removal from office in 2009--in the years between then, and 2016.

Draconian abortion laws were put into place. Birth control became unaffordable once again and Plan B was banned.

LGBT individuals were beaten and killed, after they had just begun to feel as though this was their country too, they were free. Now it was, Oh, sorry, you're actually NOT safe. You will be beaten if you're lucky; murdered and mutilated if you're not.

Multinationals got their footholds strengthened as militarized police forces beat and killed protestors.

And, well-documented at this point, the ensuing chaos and mind-bending levels of violence that beset the largest cities, particularly San Pedro Sula, led families who feared for their children's lives (many families had already lost loved ones to drug gang violence) to send them on a long and frightening journey to the US border, where they hoped their kids would somehow find asylum and safety.  Meaning these children would have to travel through Honduras, through Guatemala and the entirety of Mexico (parents reading this, please imagine how desperate you would have to be, how dire your circumstances would have to be, for you to kiss your small kids goodbye and put them on a rickety bus and hope against hope they would make it to safety).

Secretary Clinton said they should be sent back, these kids. Said this would "send a message". I actually watched the debate during which she said this, and shouted at my television: Send a message to WHOM?

I know I've rambled on (to put it mildly), but I was finally moved to speak, and I had a lot to say. I have been reading the discussions, everywhere, about people's support for Secretary Clinton based on feminist principles, and always the discussion turns to the same questions: Why are you denying my experience as a woman? Why can't you see how important it is to me, as a woman, to have a woman be able to rise above all the things we have all faced and be elected to the country's highest office? Why aren't you listening to me?

Meanwhile, I--a feminist, a mother, a target of sexual harassment and sexism--am asking, Why aren't you listening to ME?

The world does not begin and end at the US borders. Back-channeling deals to install rightwing military juntas that impose and enforce draconian reproductive laws is NOT FEMINIST. Back-channeling deals to install rightwing military juntas that silence--by bullet--more than a few women activists, is NOT FEMINIST. When LGBT people are beaten and killed; when women who are raped can't get abortions; when women who live in a highly patriarchal culture cannot even access ways to plan their families, which in turn seals their fate as permanent members of the underclass so favored among multinationals who need cheap, motivated labor...these results are NOT FEMINIST GOALS.

Thanks for reading. Now you know why, when I say I "feel the Bern", I really mean it.

This post also appears at: RadioOrNot

          Africa group seeks to get Chad rebel to OK pact    

The Organization of African Unity, which failed to end Chad's civil war, will send delegates to the capital to try to get rebel Defense Minister Hissein Habre to sign a proposed peace pact. An end to the eight-month conflict had seemed in sight, with Chad President Goukhouni Woddei and four other West African heads of state expecting Mr. Habre to subscribe to a Dec. 15 cease-fire. But the defense minister said he would not sign unless his rival, President Goukhouni, renounced military aid from Libya.

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          Who's Allowed Into the US Under the Revised Travel Ban   

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that parts of Donald Trump’s travel ban were acceptable, leading the State Department to create a set of new guidelines on the ban, which applies to nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, with a few exceptions. To travel to the US from those six Muslim-majority…

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          Comment on Central Bank Intervention Slams Paper Gold by MarkMcd   
how long would it take to sell all of libya's and ukraines gold... without flooring the markets?
          THE FRASERCOT PELTS – A VERITABLE CHINESE PUZZLE SOLVED AT LAST   

The Frasercot pelt originally owned (see Epilogue) by Mark Fraser (© Dr Karl Shuker)

In a short Tetrapod Zoology online blog post of 13 August 2007 (click here), English palaeontologist Dr Darren Naish, who also has a longstanding interest in mystery animals, discussed a very eyecatching, enigmatic pelt owned by Big Cats in Britain (BCIB) founder Mark Fraser. As revealed by a colour photograph of it in his post, this most distinctive long-furred pelt sported a beautiful pattern of dark scallop-shaped markings resembling overlapping fish-scales, but which bore no resemblance to the pelage of any known mammal.

This interesting post swiftly attracted numerous responses from readers, most of whom favoured various feline identities, including king cheetah, aberrant leopard, and woolly cheetah (a freak cheetah form reported from South Africa during the late 1800s and represented by a living specimen exhibited at London Zoo during that same period), although viverrid and hyaena identities were also mooted. Alternatively, could it be a fake – but, if so, how was it done? After all, surely it would take great skill to paint a pelt so meticulously with such a detailed pattern...wouldn't it?

A chromolithograph from 1877 of the woolly cheetah briefly exhibited at LondonZoo at that time (public domain)

In his blog post, Darren dubbed this mystifying pelt a Frasercot, in honour of its owner. He also noted that another pelt of this same type had been doing the rounds of antique fairs in Britain.

Moreover, in October 2009 Darren was in Libya, conducting some palaeontological fieldwork, and while visiting a market in Tripoli he was surprised to see a Frasercot pelt for sale there, hanging down on one of the stalls. It was too expensive for him to purchase, and in any case he was naturally concerned as to whether he would be permitted to bring such an item through customs, so he had to content himself with photographing it (a photo of it duly appeared in a Tetrapod Zoology blog article by Darren uploaded on 16 November 2009 – click here to see the photo).

Greatly intrigued by these pelts, in February 2012 I conducted some internet research concerning them. While doing so, I discovered a couple of photos of a smaller but otherwise identical pelt (alongside what looked like a second, larger one, but which was partly concealed from view by other furs) among the wares on the hand-cart of a fur vendor in Xiamen (aka Amoy), which is a major city in Fujian, southeastern China (these photos are viewable online here). The photos had been snapped on 31 October 2006 by a professional writer (name unknown to me) hailing from Mendocino in California, USA, but based in Xiamen during that time. Under her Flickr username 'Room With A View', she had later uploaded them into one of her online Flickr albums.

Further investigations revealed that such pelts were actually from domestic dogs but had been skilfully imbued in some way with the distinctive Frasercot-style scalloping in order for the traders to pass them off as exotic big cat pelts and sell them for lucrative amounts to unsuspecting Western tourists. When I contacted Darren concerning my findings, he confirmed that he had made the same discovery in relation to the Libyan pelt. Indeed, on 15 December 2010, one of his blog's readers, with the username NaturePunk, had provided the following highly illuminating response to Darren's post regarding the Tripoli pelt, verifying my own independent findings:

This is a dog skin that has been dyed to look like a cat skin. Common thing for vendors to do in Asian countries where dogs are killed for fur. I used to see this a lot when I lived there, and they would sell the dyed pelts along with pelts which were left un-altered. They see this sort of thing all the time at the Wildlife Forensics Center in Ashland [Oregon] where I live now.

Here are some links to photos of vendors selling dog pelts on the streets, trying to convince people that they're either wolf or big cat skins, a few of which are dyed with the EXACT same patterns as the pelt pictured above [i.e. the Tripoli pelt].

One of the links provided was the same as the one that I'd also discovered (and which I've given earlier here), to the photo of the Xiamen fur vendor with the pelts. A second one was to a photo that had been snapped and uploaded onto Flickr by Tennessee-born teacher Bill Benson, now living in Tianjin, northern China. It depicted another Chinese fur vendor, this time in Dalian (a big city and seaport in northeastern China's Liaoning Province), whose hand-cart bore a fully laid-out Frasercot pelt. Unfortunately, that particular photo is no longer accessible online (but I have a copy of it on file). Apparently, the vendor had tried to pass it off to Benson as a leopard skin (which it certainly wasn't – no leopard possesses the Frasercot scalloping pattern), but Benson affirmed that it was a dyed dog skin.

Close-up of Mark's Frasercot pelt, showing its distinctive scalloping pattern (© Dr Karl Shuker)

Even so, I was still unclear as to the manner in which such an intricate pattern was applied to the pelts, although I wondered whether it may involve a stencil or something similar in order to produce such a precise effect.

At much the same time, I learnt from British naturalist and taxidermist Jonathan McGowan that he had included on his website (www.thenaturalstuff.co.uk) a photo of the Frasercot pelt that had been doing the rounds of the antique fairs - he saw it at one in Lincolnshire. Of particular interest, however, was that Jonathan was convinced that this particular pelt on which the scalloping had been applied was not from a dog but from a large cat, probably a unicoloured species such as a puma. Memorably, the stall-holder claimed that it was from a rare species that she called a fishscale leopard! On 5 March 2012, Jonathan kindly provided me with the following additional details:

The pelt I found was at the RAF Swinderby antique fair in Lincolnshire about three years ago. I at first thought it was a painted dog pelt and asked the lady if I could have a look. On doing so I noticed the short legs with typical cat like short bristly fur on the ankles. The feet were cut off unfortunately but the head was on and it had typical cat shape with leopard like ears and big long whiskers, although few in number but not like small dog whiskers. The woman said that it came from South Africa and mentioned that even the dark scales have the skin underneath also black which proves that it is real! I replied that this does indeed suggest that it is a fake as dark pigmented skin does not correspond with dark hairs. It had nothing to do with it, but looking closely at it, only a few of the scallops had dark pigment under them anyway! And when I held the fur up to the light, I could see that each individual hair was black tipped correctly with lighter underneath. If it were a fake, I wondered just why some very skilled person went to the trouble of painting every individual hair just to produce this! However I am well aware of the Chinese ingenuity in regards to faking all kinds of things. Just maybe a mutant leopard did have such scalloping fish scale spots! I don't know but it is unlikely and I would rather see it as a hoax as a genuine thing. She wanted £200 for it and I had already spent my quota for the day.

Messaging Mark Fraser online via Facebook also on 5 March concerning his Frasercot specimen, I learnt that its head was distinctly dog-like in appearance rather than cat-like, and that he had purchased it from Coventry-based taxidermy enthusiast Martin Cotterill, who in turn informed me that he had bought it several years ago from a dealer at Swinderby Antiques Fair! In other words, exactly the same fair where Jonathan subsequently saw the one that he photographed.

As Mark's pelt is dog-headed whereas the one seen by Jonathan was cat-headed, they are evidently not the same specimen, but it seems reasonable to assume that they were from the same dealer – otherwise it is a truly formidable coincidence that two such similar yet extremely unusual pelts should come up for sale at the very same antique fair. If so, does this mean that the dealer had a regular supply of them, or had merely bought the two together as a one-off purchase? Whatever the answer, the very fact that a dog-headed pelt and a cat-headed pelt exhibited precisely the same highly-unusual scalloping pattern provided, I felt, conclusive evidence that the pattern was indeed applied artificially rather than being natural.

Three photos of Mark's Frasercot pelt, showing its pelt, head, and a paw (© Mark Fraser)

Mark uploaded some photos of his pelt's head and feet onto Facebook, and these were certainly canine rather than feline in shape. On 10 March 2012, moreover, I was able to confirm this directly, as well as ascertaining its total length (55 in from nose-tip to tail-tip) when Mark very kindly sent the pelt to me on loan in order for me to examine it. I was also able to see for myself that the artistic workmanship of the applied scalloping pattern was of an extremely high standard – but the biggest surprise, and revelation, was still to come.

I showed it to my mother, Mary Shuker, who had always been very knowledgeable regarding clothes and fashion in general, and she told me straight away that she'd seen real and artificial (faux) fur coats with this same pattern in the past, and also with other exotic-looking patterns. She then took out of one of her wardrobes a faux fur jacket with an extraordinary pattern on it, totally unlike that of any real species but which, when I examined it, could be seen to have been applied in precisely the same way as the pattern on Mark's Frasercot pelt – i.e. with the pattern visible on the upper surface of the hairs but not on the undersurface.

Mom's faux fur jacket exhibiting artificial patterning (© Dr Karl Shuker)

Moreover, when I asked her how such a pattern could have been applied, she told me that she knew how – because the person from whom she'd bought this jacket had told her, informing her that it was applied by a machine that physically stamps the pattern onto the faux pelt using a form of heated inked plate bearing the pattern. And so, with that all-important disclosure, my mother duly solved the mystery of the Frasercot pelts!

My mother, Mary Shuker (© Dr Karl Shuker)

Meanwhile, for absolute confirmation of its taxonomic identity, Mark had kindly given me permission to snip some sample hairs from his pelt and submit them for formal trichological examination and identification. This I did, sending them to Danish zoologist Lars Thomas, based at the Zoological Museum of the University of Copenhagen, who has considerable experience in hair analysis. And to ensure absolute objectivity during their examination, I did not provide him with any information whatsoever as to the source of the hair samples.

However, when Lars provided me with his findings, and which here on ShukerNature are now revealed for the very first time online, I was extremely surprised. This was because his initial, provisional examination of them had indicated to him that they were definitely not felid, but likely not canid either, seeming instead to be most probably of mustelid origin, and, more specifically, from the genus Mustela (containing weasels, stoats, ferrets, and polecats). Yet he was far from happy about this, because the hairs had also presented him with various anomalous features that he had not anticipated finding.

In particular, their pigment granules looked very strange, and Lars wondered if they had received chemical treatment, because a lot of the colour in outlying regions of the hairs seemed unnatural, and therefore had possibly been dyed. Moreover, he mentioned to me that chemical treatment can make pigment granules split, thus making canid or felid hairs look like mustelid hairs, because pigment granules in the latter are clearly separate, whereas they are not in canid and felid hairs.

I then provided Lars with full details of the hair samples' origin, knowing that he had heard of (but never examined) the Frasercot pelts, and I also sent him some photographs of Mark's specimen. After receiving my news and pictures, Lars then conducted a more detailed examination of the hair samples, which included sectioning one of the hairs – whereupon he discovered that it was round in cross-section. Crucially, this eliminated mustelids, because their hairs are oval or elliptical in cross-section. He also discovered that some of the hairs showed signs of heat damage and of being compressed, some of them being completely flat in very specific areas, as if they had been under pressure.

Needless to say, this would be the case if the edge of a heated stamping device had been applied to them – which in turn is exactly what my mother had described concerning the artificial application of the Frasercot patterning on fur coats that she had seen. In addition, when Lars rubbed some of the darkest hairs with ethanol and various other solvents on a Q-tip, he was actually able to rub off some of the colouring. Consequently, he informed me that he now had no doubt that the hairs had indeed been somehow artificially treated and dyed.

The scalloped markings of Mark's Frasercot pelt (© Dr Karl Shuker)

An independent confirmation of his findings came unexpectedly when, while subsequently browsing online in the hope of finding further photos of Frasercot pelts, I revisited Bill Benson's Flickr albums and discovered that although his earlier-mentioned missing Frasercot pelt photo had not reappeared there, a second one was present in a different album by him. He had snapped it on 26 September 2006, and it shows an extremely large Frasercot pelt being held up by its street vendor, somewhere in eastern China (it is viewable here). However, whereas all previous Frasercot pelts seen by me have exhibited a pristine pattern, in this one the pattern is very patchy in appearance, with certain portions faded or even entirely worn off, clearly demonstrating that it had been artificially applied. Benson affirmed again that these pelts are indeed dyed dog furs, and he also noted that poor vendors from western China come to eastern China in the hope of selling their wares.

Just as the riddle of the Frasercot pelts finally seemed solved, however, a further mystery arose concerning them. Prior to receiving the results of Lars's examination of the hair samples from Mark's specimen, I had discovered online a photograph of yet another Frasercot-patterned pelt – but crucially, unlike all previous ones encountered by me, this was not a detached pelt. Instead, it was a livedog, yet whose fur bore the characteristic fish-scale scalloping of the Frasercot pattern!

The only information accompanying this remarkable, currently unique example was that the photograph had allegedly been snapped by a Mr Richard Brooks on the Indonesian island of Bali. I have spent considerable time trying to trace Mr Brooks, but all to no avail. And so, due to its great significance to the subject in hand, I'm including a small, low-resolution version of his photo here on a strictly Fair Use, educational, non-commercial basis only, acknowledging fully that Mr Brooks is its copyright holder.

Live dog allegedly on Bali exhibiting Frasercot fur pattern (© Richard Brooks – reproduced here in low-resolution format on a strictly non-commercial, educational, Fair Use basis only; despite considerable attempts, I have so far been unable to trace Mr Brooks)

Of course, in this age of readily-available photo-manipulation techniques, it needs to be stressed here that the worrying possibility of this photograph actually being the result of one such process cannot be ruled out, especially as its supposed originator has so far resisted all attempts to be traced and his name may therefore be fictitious, just a pseudonym.

What makes this living Frasercot-patterned canine specimen so fascinating if indeed genuine, however, is that clearly its pattern could not have been applied to it by a mechanical, heat-stamping device. So as the Frasercot pattern is of artificial, man-made design, it must have been applied to the dog's fur by being painstakingly painted upon it, and surely with the dog fully anaesthetised while this very delicate process was being performed (having said that, the spots on this live dog are rather bigger than those on all Frasercot pelts currently recorded, so it would have been less difficult to apply them to it).

The obvious question to be asked here is why anyone should wish to perform such an elaborate form of decoration upon a live dog anyway. But perhaps its Frasercot-adorned coat made it valuable or much sought-after as a pet, or even for sale as an exotic 'rare breed' to some unsuspecting tourist, and it is certainly not the first time that I have seen domestic animals with intricately-embellished coats.

Dog with fake spots in Kalimpong, West Bengal, India (© Sukanto Debnath/Wikipedia – CC BY 2.0 licence)

For instance, there are photos of many different examples online involving dogs, including tiger-striped, leopard-spotted, and even black-and-white giant-panda-rendered versions (utilising chows - click here for photos). Also, while visiting Tijuana, Mexico, in 2004 I saw one of the famous 'Tijuana zebras' – in reality, donkeys that have been painted with stripes in order to look like zebras – being used for photo sessions with tourists.

One of Tijuana's famous 'zebras' – in reality a donkey with painted-on stripes (public domain)

So it would seem that after perplexing cryptozoologists and mainstream zoologists alike for many years, the mystifying Frasercot pelts are finally a (Chinese) puzzle no longer.

My sincere thanks to Mark Fraser, Lars Thomas, Dr Darren Naish, Jonathan McGowan, Martin Cotterill, and above all my late mother Mary Shuker for their greatly valued contributions to my Frasercot investigations; and additionally to Mark for so kindly loaning to me his Frasercot pelt for examination.


EPILOGUE – 19 April 2017

Today I discovered herethat Mark's Frasercot pelt was sold on the internet auction site Ebay UK on 28 June 2014, but at present I have no further details concerning this transaction or its new owner/whereabouts.

Photographed alongside me for scale purposes (I stand 5'10" tall) while on loan to me during March 2012, the Frasercot pelt then-owned by Mark Fraser (© Dr Karl Shuker)






             
Egypt Foreign Minister Meets With African Counterparts on Sidelines of AU Preparatory Meetings
Ahram Online
Friday 30 Jun 2017

Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry met on Friday with his counterparts from Morocco, Nigeria, and Algeriaon the sidelines of the preparatory meetings for the annual African Union summit set to be held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on 3-4 July.

Shoukry congratulated Moroccan FM Nasser Bourita for his country's renewed membership in the African Union, stressing that Egypt is keen on coordinating with Morocco on regional issues of common interest, according to Egyptian foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abo Zeid.

Bourita expressed his country's interest in consolidating bilateral relations with Egypt on all levels, as well as arranging a visit by the Moroccan king to Egypt to discuss cooperation in fields including agriculture and renewable energy, as well as cooperation in accordance with the Aghadir agreement.

The Aghadir agreement, a free trade deal between Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia, was signed in the Moroccan city of Rabat in 2004 andwent into force in 2007.

Shoukry and Bourita also discussed the Libyan civil conflict as well as ways to develop multilateral African relations.

Shoukry also met with Algerian foreign minister Adel-Kader Mesahel, where they discussed the outcomes of the latest Nile Basin summit held earlier this month in Uganda.

The Algerian and the Egyptian ministers also discussed cooperation within the framework of the African Union, such as the initiative for the structural reform of the AU, as well as the Libyan civil conflict and the cutting of ties between Qatar and several Arab countries.

Shoukry also met with Nigerian foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama, saying he looks forward to his visit to Nigeria in August to develop bilateral relations, especially in combating terrorism.

The Egyptian and Nigerian ministers also discussed the topics on the African Union's meeting agenda, such as supporting peacekeeping forces on the African continent, with Oneama stressing the importance of having mechanisms of consultation among African countries.

The 29th African Union Heads of State Summit will be held under the slogan “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth,” with member nations sharing their experiences in empowering young people and preparing them for the future, according to the Egyptian foreign ministry.

The headquarters of the African Union is located in Addis Ababa.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/271803.aspx

             
DRC, Migration, Jihadis - Flashpoints at African Union Addis Summit
By Matthew Kay
30-06-2017 to 11:41

Photo: Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairman of the African Union Commission

Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and mass migration are likely to dominate discussions as foreign ministers from the 55 African nations gather in Addis Ababa on Friday for two days of talks, ahead of the 29th summit of African leaders next week.

The official theme of this African Union (AU) summit is ‘investment in youth’, but other pressing matters on the continent from the DRC to mass migration are also likely to dominate discussions.

When commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahmat from Chad opens discussions on Friday morning, he was expected to congratulate members of the Union who are sticking to commitments of Agenda 2063, a continental development plan set out by the AU four years ago.

On paper the trends are encouraging – more children in full time education, fewer deaths from preventable diseases and accelerating economic growth.

Conflict in several countries

But flashpoints that often dog discussions at AU summits are likely to do so once again.

They include the ongoing fight against the jihadist group Boko Haram in the lake Chad region, an uptick in violence in South Sudan, Libya, Mali and Darfur.

The alarming numbers of Africans making the perilous trip across the Mediterranean is also of immediate concern.

On top of that, major reforms of the Union itself are on the table – including changes to how the AU is funded that are being pushed by several leaders, including current chairman and Guinean president Alpha Condé.

He wants all nations to implement a 0.2 percent levy on imports to fund the club that has for years been overly reliant on Western handouts.

          Comment on Salafism Vs. Wahhabism: Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s Proxy War Rages In Syria Thanks To US Militarism by tapatio   
<b>It doesn't really matter whether they are Wahhabi or Salafist - these animals are NOT Muslims. Mainstream Islam rejects them and they need to be eliminated, their states abolished. These mercenaries exist to further the ends of the Rothschild-Bilderberg predatory capitalist empire. Destroy that empire and the terrorists cease to have a function.</b><b> </b><b>SOLID EVIDENCE THAT THE TERRORIST ATTACKS ON SYRIA AND OTHER COUNTRIES IS THE WORK OF WASHINGTON AND ITS JEWISH MASTERS...........................</b><b> </b><b>Global Warfare: “We’re going to take out 7 countries in 5 years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran” http://www.globalresearch.ca/we-re-going-to-take-out-7-countries-in-5-years-iraq-syria-lebanon-libya-somalia-sudan-iran/5166 A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm (1996) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1438.htm "Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right" AND Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century (September-2000) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/pdf/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf (REMEMBER THAT 9/11 - THE "NEW PEARL HARBOR" - OCCURRED LESS THAN A YEAR AFTER THIS REPORT WAS COMPLETED) "Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a NEW PEARL HARBOR (9/11 was perfect for that purpose). Domestic politics and industrial policy will shape the pace and content of transformation as much as the requirements of current missions." (p 63) AMERICA'S "RASPUTINS" RESPONSIBLE FOR PLANNING THE LAST 15 YEARS OF DEATH - JEWISH ZIONISTS ALL............... CLEAN BREAK Richard perle REBUILDING AMERICA'S DEFENSES Paul Wolfowitz William Kristol Alvin Bernstein Eliot Cohen David Epstein Donald Kagan Fred Kagan Robert Kagan Robert Killebrew Steve Rosen Gary Schmitt Abram Shulsky Dov Zakheim </b><b>EVERY ONE OF THE TRAITORS LISTED ABOVE (except Robert Killebrew) IS A JEWISH DUAL ISRAELI/US CITIZEN – YET NEITHER THEY OR ANY OF THEIR ANCESTORS CAME FROM PALESTINE..</b><b></b>
          9/11/2001 – We Remember…How Could We Ever Forget?!   
[Read below for a tribute to the Benghazi Four]   On September 11, 2012, we added four more names to those who died on American sovereign territory at the hands of Islamic Jihadists. The American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked by a heavily armed group of men shouting “Allahu Akbar.” Three Americans and seven Libyan guards were injured, and the following four Americans were killed: In the years since the attack on the US Consulate and the deaths of these Americans, no prosecutions have been made of any of the attackers. (On August 6, 2013, The United […]
          Italy Closing Ports? Country Threatens as Rescued Migrants Flood In   

Two men talk look out at Italy as they arrive in port on the Migrant Offshore Aid Station Phoenix vessel on June 12, 2017 in Reggio Calabria, Italy. An estimated 230,000 refugees and migrants will arrive in Italy this year as numbers of refugees and migrants attempting the dangerous central Mediterranean crossing from Libya to Italy continues to rise Italy is reportedly considering closing its ports to foreign ships carrying migrants rescued from the Mediterranean Sea, a source close to the government said Wednesday.


          Kelebihan Bulan Bulan Islam   
PERISTIWA BULAN JAMADIL AWAL

Peperangan-peperangan Besar Islam

1. Pada 2 Jamadiul Awal 3 H (21 Oktober 624 M) Rasulullah s.a.w. mengutuskan Zaid bin Harithah mengetuai satu sariyah (gerila) untuk menahan rombongan dagang Quraisy. Mereka berjaya melakukan misi tersebut di satu tempat bernama al-Qirdah. Ini adalah peristiwa pertama umat Islam berjaya mendapat ghanimah (harta rampasan perang).

2. Pada 27 Jamadiul Awal 13 H (3 Julai 634 M) berlaku peperangan Ajnadain. Peperangan ini berlaku di antara tentera Islam di bawah pimpinan Khalid bin al-Walid dan tentera Rom di bawah pimpinan Cobcular. Kemenangan tentera Islam di dalam peperangan ini membuka jalan untuk menyempurnakan pembukaan Islam di seluruh bumi Syam.

3. Pada 10 Jamadiul Awal 36 H (4 November 656 M) berlaku ‘Peristiwa Unta’ di al-Kharib berhampiran bandar Basrah.

4. Pada 2 Jamadiul Awal 666 H (19 Januari 1268 M) umat Islam diketuai oleh Zahir Bibris berjaya membebaskan bandar Yafa dari penjajahan tentera Salib setelah bertempur selama hanya 12 jam.

5. Pada 20 Jamadiul Awal 857 H (29 Mei 1453 M) Sultan Muhammad al-Fateh berjaya membuka kota Costantinople. Cubaan untuk membuka kota ini telah pun bermula sejak zaman Muawiyyah bin Abi Sufyan di era pemerintahan Bani Umayyah lagi. Kota Costantinople berjaya dibuka setelah menjadi ibu kota Empayar Baizantyne selama 2125 tahun.


Kelahiran Tokoh-tokoh Besar Islam


1. Pada 4 Jamadiul Awal 555 H (13 Mei 1160 M) lahir Ali bin Abi al-Karam Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Abdul Karim yang lebih dikenali sebagai Ibnu al-Athir. Beliau adalah seorang ulama’ besar Islam di dalam bidang sejarah. Di antara karya beliau adalah al-Kamil dan Asad al-Ghabah fi Makrifah as-Sohabah.

2. 27 Jamadiul Awal 1282 H (18 Oktober 1865 M) lahir Muhammad Rasyid Redha, murid kepada al-Imam Muhammad Abduh. Dilahirkan di Lubnan dan kemudian berpindah ke Kaherah. Menerbitkan majalah al-Manar yang memberikan sumbangan di dalam menyebarkan idea-idea Islam. Di antara karangannya yang masyhur adalah Tafsir al-Manar.

3. Pada 3 Jamadiul Awal 1299 H (Mac 1882 M) lahir seorang ulama’ hebat Muhammad Fuad Abdul Baqi. Beliau adalah seorang ulama’ yang mempunyai jasa besar di dalam mentahqiq (membuat analisa semula) kitab-kitab turath (tradisional) Islam. Di antara karangannya yang masyhur adalah Mu’jam Lafaz al-Quran, Musnad Sahih Bukhari dan Mu’jam Lafaz Hadis Nabawi.

4. Pada 2 Jamadiul Awal 1328 H (12 Mei 1910 M) lahir al-Imam al-Akbar Abdul Halim Mahmud, Syeikh al-Azhar yang ke 40. Beliau adalah seorang ulama’ agung, menguasai ilmu yang bersumberkan dari ilmu-ilmu Islam dan karya-karya ilmu Perancis. Mempunyai karangan yang banyak terutamanya di dalam bidang Falsasah dan Tasawwuf.


Kewafatan Tokoh-tokoh Besar Islam

1. Pada 14 Jamadiul Awal 73 H (1 Oktober 692 M) kembali ke rahmatullah Abdullah bin az-Zubair bin al-Awwam. Beliau adalah bayi pertama yang lahir ketika umat Islam berada di era daulah. Beliau dilahirkan di Madinah al-Munawarah. Seorang yang berani dan menyertai peperangan sejak mudanya. Terlibat di dalam pembukaan Afrika Utara di zaman Osman bin Affan. Beliau mati dibunuh oleh al-Hajjaj bin al-Thaqafi di zaman pemerintahan Abdul Malik bin Marwan.

2. Pada 11 Jamadiul Awal 150 H (14 Jun 767 M) kembali ke rahmatullah an-Nukman bin Thabit bin an-Nukman yang lebih dikenali sebagai Abu Hanifah. Beliau adalah pengasas mazhab Hanafi. Dilahirkan di Kufah dan menjadi ketua ulama’ Kufah sesudah kematian gurunya.

3. Pada 2 Jamadiul Awal 413 H (3 Ogos 1022 M) kembali ke rahmatullah Abul Hasan Ali bin Hilal yang lebih dikenali sebagai Ibn al-Bawwab. Beliau adalah seorang penulis khat yang hebat sepanjang sejarah Islam. Pernah menulis mushaf al-Quran tulisan tangan sebanyak 64 mushaf.

4. Pada 10 Jamadiul Awal 458 H (9 April 1066 M) kembali ke rahmatullah al-Imam Abu Bakar Ahmad bin al-Husain bin Ali bin Abdullah yang lebih dikenali sebagai al-Imam al-Baihaqi. Beliau adalah salah seorang ulama’ hadis yang terkemuka pada kurun kelima hijrah. Di antara karangan beliau adalah as-Sunan al-Kubra (Sunan al-Baihaqi), Dalail an-Nubuwwah dan al-Asma’ wa as-Sifat.

5. Pada 10 Jamadiul Awal 660 H (2 April 1262 M) kembali ke rahmatullah Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Salam bin Abi al-Qasim yang dikenali sebagai Izzudin bin Abdul Salam. Beliau adalah seorang ulama’ terkemuka di dalam bidang Fiqh, Hadis dan perundangan. Terkenal kerana beberapa pendiriannya yang tegas terhadap pemerintah sehingga dikenali sebagai ‘Sultan kepada para ulama’ dan ‘Penjual Raja-raja’

6. Pada 19 Jamadiul Awal 911 H (20 Oktober 1505 M) kembali ke rahmatullah Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman bin Abu Bakar yang dikenali sebagai Jalaluddin as-Sayuti. Seorang ulama’ fiqh dan hadis yang terkenal dengan karyanya di dalam ilmu yang pelbagai. Di antara hasil karyanya adalah Jam’ul Jawami’, Husnu al-Muhadharah, Baghiyah al-Wu’ah dan al-Isybah wa an-Nazoir.

7. Pada 8 Jamadiul Awal 1323 H (11 Julai 1905 M) kembali ke rahmatullah al-Imam Muhammad Abduh, perintis gerakan islah di Mesir. Dilahirkan di negeri al-Buhairah, Mesir. Mendapat pendidikan di Universiti al-Azhar dan pernah menjadi anak murid kepada Jamaludin Afghani. Melibatkan diri di dalam Revolusi Arab dan dibuang daerah ke Beirut. Kembali semula ke Mesir lalu dilantik sebagai Mufti Mesir.

8. Pada 4 Jamadiul Awal 1350 H (September 1931 M) pemimpin harakah jihad Islami di Libya, Omar Mukhtar menemui syahid. Beliau dijatuhkan hukuman gantung setelah mengepalai gerakan jihad menentang penjajahan Itali selama 20 tahun bermula sejak tahun pertama penjajahan lagi iaitu 1911 M.

9. Pada 23 Jamadiul Awal 1354 H (22 Ogos 1935 M) kembali ke rahmatullah Muhammad Rasyid Redha, murid kepada al-Imam Muhammad Abduh. Dilahirkan di Lubnan dan kemudian berpindah ke Kaherah. Menerbitkan majalah al-Manar yang memberikan sumbangan di dalam menyebarkan idea-idea Islam. Di antara karangannya yang masyhur adalah Tafsir al-Manar.

10. Pada 8 Jamadiul Awal 1378 H (19 November 1958 M) kembali ke rahmatullah Ahmad Abdul Rahman al-Banna, seorang ulama’ hadis di Mesir. Beliau adalah ayah kepada al-Imam as-Syahid Hasan al-Banna. Di antara buku karangan beliau adalah al-Fathu al-Rabbani li tartib musnad al-Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal as-Syaibani.


Peristiwa-peristiwa Bersejarah

1. Pada 4 Jamadiul Awal 646 H (25 Ogos 1248 M) tentera Salib ketujuh dari Perancis di bawah pimpinan Louis IX mula bergerak ke sebelah timur. Mereka telah menemui kegagalan dalam peperangan al-Mansurah dan Louis IX telah dijadikan tawanan tentera Islam.

2. Pada 10 Jamadiul 1373 H (15 Januari 1954 M) gerakan Ikhwan Muslimin telah diharamkan oleh Jamal Abdul Nasir dengan menggunakan resolusi dari Parlimen Mesir. Pengharaman ini berlaku setelah gerakan Ikhwan Muslimin dianggap oleh kerajaan sebagai parti politik yang berusaha untuk menumbangkan kerajaan sedia ada.

3. Pada 12 Jamadiul Awal 1386 H (29 Ogos 1966 M) Mahkamah Tinggi Mesir mengeluarkan arahan menjatuhkan hukuman gantung ke atas tujuh orang anggota gerakan Ikhwan Muslimin. Tuduhan yang dikenakan ke atas mereka adalah membentuk gerakan bersenjata untuk menumbangkan kerajaan sedia ada. Empat daripada mereka diringankan hukuman kepada penjara seumur hidup. Manakala tiga yang lain dijatuhkan hukuman gantung. Mereka adalah Sayyid Qutb, Muhammad Yusof Hawwash dan Abdul Fattah Ismail.

4. Pada 13 Jamadiul Awal 1402 H (17 mac 1982 M) al-Imam al-Syeikh Jad al-Haqqu Ali Jad al-Haqqu dilantik menjadi al-Imam al-Akbar Syeikh Azhar ke 42. Beliau dilahirkan di Daqahliyah, Mesir. Belajar di al-Azhar dan bekerja di bidang perundangan sesudah itu. Pernah menjadi Mufti dan Menteri Hal Ehwal Agama Mesir sebelum menjawat jawatan terakhirnya sebagai Syeikh al-Azhar.

5. Pada 17 Jamadiul Awal 1411 H (6 Disember 1990 M) Mahfuz Nahnah menubuhkan harakah Mujtama’ Muslim di Algeria.

6. Pada 24 Jamadiul Awal 1425 H (11 Julai 2004 M) ditubuhkan Persatuan Ulama’ Antarabangsa di London. Persatuan ini dianggotai oleh ulama’-ulama’ dan pemikir-pemikir Islam dari seluruh dunia. Ditubuhkan untuk menjadi sumber rujukan umat Islam di dalam masalah fiqh, ilmu dan pengetahuan. Diketuai oleh Dr Yusof al-Qardhawi

          Many Evangelicals Want Muslims Banned from U.S.   
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily ruled in favor of President Donald Trump’s revised executive order banning Muslims traveling from six predominantly Muslim, Arab states to the U.S. These states are Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen. Muslims from these countries who have a relationship with a U.S. citizen will be allowed into [Read More...]
          Picturing An 'America First' Korea Policy   

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

“The North Korean regime is causing tremendous problems and is something that has to be dealt with, and probably dealt with rapidly.”

So President Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden this week.

But how this is to be done “rapidly” is not so easy to see.

North Korea has just returned to us Otto Warmbier, a student sentenced to 15 years hard labor for stealing a propaganda poster. Otto came home comatose, and died within days.

Trump’s conundrum: How to keep such a regime from acquiring an ICBM with a nuclear warhead, which Kim Jong Un is determined to do.

Having seen us attack Iraq and Libya, which had no nukes, Kim believes that only nuclear weapons that can hit America can deter America. He appears willing to risk war to achieve his goal.

Trump’s options as he meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in?

First, the decapitation of the Kim dynasty. But the U.S. has been unable to accomplish regime change for the 64 years following the Korean War. And killing Kim could ignite a war.

Then there is a U.S. pre-emptive strike on North Korea’s nuclear sites and missile arsenals. But this would surely mean a war in which Americans on the DMZ would be among the first to die, as thousands of North Korean artillery and mortar tubes fired into the suburbs and city of Seoul, which is as close as Dulles Airport is to the White House.

Asked by Congressman Tim Ryan why we don’t launch a war to end this threat, Defense Secretary James Mattis replied that, while we might “win … at great cost,” such a war would “involve the massive shelling of an ally’s capital … one of the most densely packed cities on earth.”

Seoul has a metro-area population of 25 million.

We are thus approaching a point where we accept North Korea having a nuclear weapon that can reach Seattle, or we attack its strategic arsenal and bring on a war in which millions could die.

What about sanctions?

The only nation that could impose sufficient hardships on North Korea to imperil the regime is China. But China refuses to impose the Draconian sanctions that might destabilize the regime, and might bring Korean refugees flooding into China. And Beijing has no desire to see Kim fall and Korea united under a regime aligned with the United States.

What FDR said of one Caribbean dictator, the Chinese are probably saying of Kim Jong Un, “He may be an SOB, but he’s our SOB.”

Early in his presidency, Trump gave the franchise for dealing with the North Korean threat to Beijing. But his friend Xi Jinping has either failed Trump or declined to deliver.

As for President Moon, he wants to negotiate, to engage the North economically, to invite its athletes to join South Koreans on joint teams for the Winter Olympics in 2018. Moreover, Moon is said to be willing to cut back on joint military exercises with the U.S. and regards the THAAD missile defense we introduced into South Korea as a negotiable item.

China, whose missile launches can be detected by THAAD radar, wants it removed and has so informed South Korea.

Where does this leave us?

We are committed to go to war to defend the South and have 28,000 troops there. But South Korea wants to negotiate with North Korea and is prepared to make concessions to buy peace.

As the nation that would suffer most in any second Korean War, South Korea has the sovereign right to play the hand. But what Seoul considers best for South Korea is not necessarily best for us.

What would be an America First Korean policy?

The U.S. would give Seoul notice that we will, by a date certain, be dissolving our mutual security treaty and restoring our full freedom to decide whether or not to fight in a new Korean War. Given the present risk of war, possibly involving nuclear weapons, it is absurd that we should be obligated to fight what Mattis says would be a “catastrophic” war, because of a treaty negotiated six decades ago by Eisenhower and Dulles.

“The commonest error in politics,” Lord Salisbury reminded us, “is sticking to the carcass of dead policies.”

But we should also tell South Korea that if she desires a nuclear deterrent against an attack by the North, she should build it. Americans should not risk a nuclear war, 8,000 miles away, to defend a South Korea that has 40 times the economy of the North and twice the population.

No vital U.S. interest requires us, in perpetuity, to be willing to go to war to defend South Korea, especially if that war entails the risk of a nuclear attack on U.S. troops or the American homeland.

If the United States did not have a mutual security pact that obligates us to defend South Korea against a nuclear-armed North, would President Trump be seeking to negotiate such a treaty?

The question answers itself.


          Picturing An 'America First' Korea Policy   
Picturing An 'America First' Korea Policy Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,



*“The North Korean regime is causing tremendous problems and is something that has to be dealt with, and probably dealt with rapidly.”*



So President Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden this week.

But how this is to be done “rapidly” is not so easy to see.

North Korea has just returned to us Otto Warmbier, a student sentenced to 15 years hard labor for stealing a propaganda poster. *Otto came home comatose, and died within days.*

Trump’s conundrum: *How to keep such a regime from acquiring an ICBM with a nuclear warhead, which Kim Jong Un is determined to do.*

Having seen us attack Iraq and Libya, which had no nukes, Kim believes that only nuclear weapons that can hit America can deter America. He appears willing to risk war to achieve his goal.

*Trump’s options as he meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in?*

First, the* decapitation of the Kim dynasty.* But the U.S. has been unable to accomplish regime change for the 64 years following the Korean War. And killing Kim could ignite a war.

Then there is a U.S. *pre-emptive strike* on North Korea’s nuclear sites and missile arsenals. But this would surely mean a war in which Americans on the DMZ would be among the first to die, as thousands of North Korean artillery and mortar tubes fired into the suburbs and city of Seoul, which is as close as Dulles Airport is to the White House.

Asked by Congressman Tim Ryan why we don’t launch a war to end this threat, Defense Secretary James Mattis replied that, while we might “win … at great cost,” such a war would “involve the massive shelling of an ally’s capital … one of the most densely packed cities on earth.”

Seoul has a metro-area population of 25 million.

*We are thus approaching a point where we accept North Korea having a nuclear weapon that can reach Seattle, or we attack its strategic arsenal and bring on a war in which millions could die.*

*What about sanctions?*

The only nation that could impose sufficient hardships on North Korea to imperil the regime is China. But China refuses to impose the Draconian sanctions that might destabilize the regime, and might bring Korean refugees flooding into China. And Beijing has no desire to see Kim fall and Korea united under a regime aligned with the United States.

What FDR said of one Caribbean dictator, the Chinese are probably saying of Kim Jong Un, *“He may be an SOB, but he’s our SOB.”*

Early in his presidency, Trump gave the franchise for dealing with the North Korean threat to Beijing. But his friend Xi Jinping has either failed Trump or declined to deliver.

As for President Moon, he wants to negotiate, to engage the North economically, to invite its athletes to join South Koreans on joint teams for the Winter Olympics in 2018. Moreover, Moon is said to be willing to cut back on joint military exercises with the U.S. and regards the THAAD missile defense we introduced into South Korea as a negotiable item.

China, whose missile launches can be detected by THAAD radar, wants it removed and has so informed South Korea.

*Where does this leave us?*

We are committed to go to war to defend the South and have 28,000 troops there. But South Korea wants to negotiate with North Korea and is prepared to make concessions to buy peace.

As the nation that would suffer most in any second Korean War, South Korea has the sovereign right to play the hand. But what Seoul considers best for South Korea is not necessarily best for us.

*What would be an America First Korean policy?*

The U.S. would give Seoul notice that we will, by a date certain, be dissolving our mutual security treaty and restoring our full freedom to decide whether or not to fight in a new Korean War. Given the present risk of war, possibly involving nuclear weapons, it is absurd that we should be obligated to fight what Mattis says would be a “catastrophic” war, because of a treaty negotiated six decades ago by Eisenhower and Dulles.

*“The commonest error in politics,” Lord Salisbury reminded us, “is sticking to the carcass of dead policies.”*

But we should also tell South Korea that if she desires a nuclear deterrent against an attack by the North, she should build it. Americans should not risk a nuclear war, 8,000 miles away, to defend a South Korea that has 40 times the economy of the North and twice the population.

*No vital U.S. interest requires us, in perpetuity, to be willing to go to war to defend South Korea, especially if that war entails the risk of a nuclear attack on U.S. troops or the American homeland.*

*If the United States did not have a mutual security pact that obligates us to defend South Korea against a nuclear-armed North, would President Trump be seeking to negotiate such a treaty?*

The question answers itself. Reported by Zero Hedge 1 hour ago.
          US sets new visa rules for six muslim nations   
Refugees looking to enter the United States will have to adhere to new visa guidelines set forth by the Trump administration. Visas already approved will not be revoked, however, new applicants from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States to be eligible. Grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, fiancees or other extended family members are not considered to be close relationships. The new rules take effect at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday, according to the cable, which was obtained by AP. The new rules come after the Supreme Court's decision to reinstate parts of President Trump's oft-criticized travel ban.
          Travel ban goes into effect despite courts saying security issues unfounded   
  • Hawaii questions Trump interpretation of standard for granting visas
  • Border officials told to respect visas for citizens from countries in question

The United States implemented a modified version of Donald Trump’s travel ban Thursday evening on some people from six Muslim-majority countries and certain refugees, citing security concerns that federal courts have declared to be unfounded.

Travel through major US airports appeared to be proceeding as usual, with border officials under orders to respect previously issued visas for citizens from the countries in question: Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Yemen, Syria and Libya.

Continue reading...
          In Trump's America, immigrant families would be kept apart. He doesn't care | Sohaila Abdulali   

The travel ban ruling doesn’t consider being a grandparent a ‘bona fide’ enough relationship to warrant them entering the country. That’s absurd

For the next 90 days, if you’re coming to the US from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen, unless you’ve already got a visa you must be a close relative in order to enter the land of the free and the home of the brave. Grandparents don’t count. Neither do fiance(e)s. These relationships, apparently, are not “bona fide”.

By the tortuous logic of this administration, the fiance part actually makes a malignant kind of sense – anyone can fake an engagement. I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. But these are the lyin’, cheatin’ times we live in, people. We now operate on the assumption that everyone is a crook. Grandparents, though? Why do they rank behind in-laws?

Continue reading...
          Trump Travel Ban: US Sets Out Visa Criteria   

Media captionImmigration activist Steven Choi: ‘An unjust and discriminatory Muslim ban’ The White House has set new criteria for visa applicants from six mainly Muslim countries and all refugees, requiring them to have a “close” family or business tie to the US. The rules, affecting people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, are […]

The post Trump Travel Ban: US Sets Out Visa Criteria appeared first on How Trend News.


          Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine   
Haven't done a foreign policy post in a while, so here's three in one:

1. The list above shows messed-countries and messed-up outcomes, so that part's consistent, but what's inconsistent is the level of effort by the US to change the outcome. Whether the US did relatively little like in Syria or a lot like in Libya, things didn't go well.

For Egypt in particular, the US has done everything right AFAICT since the beginning of the Arab Spring and it made no difference to the final outcome. It might have helped save Egyptian students from a massacre in 2011, and that's not nothing, but it's not permanent change either.

Overall I think the lack of results counsels in favor of less interference. I'd also say it might support defensive support over aggressive support. Stopping Qaddaffi from massacring people in Benghazi is good, as is stopping ISIS aggression in Syria. OTOH, helping what appears to be Shiite militias in Iraq with little government control attempt to take over a major Sunni city sounds like a situation to stay away from, at least until government control and Sunni support become real and not fig leafs.


2. One thing Obama did that has turned out fantastically well is in making his Syria red line comment. Before the comment, Syria had lots of chemical weapons, and now they're gone. I'm still incredulous that people call it a loss for the US, including in the current issue of The Economist.

A good thought experiment is to imagine what an honest answer from Assad would be, as to whether the hundreds of millions of dollars Syria spent over the decades on chemical weapons turned out to be money well spent. Or imagine whether some tinpot dictator in some other country thinking about establishing a chemical weapons program to be deployed on his own or neighboring people would be encouraged or discouraged by what happened with chemical weapons in Syria. Yet many people who think they're qualified to discuss foreign policy would prefer that Obama had ignored any chance to consult Congress and blow up a few air bases in Syria, and count that a better outcome.

I could see an argument that the US was lucky in how it turned out, but there's no question that the world's in a much better shape with how it happened.


3. An accountability moment for myself - in early 2012, when things were going really well in Libya, I offered a bet over Libya's long-term future:
So, Freedom House gave Libya the worst possible ratings in 2010 on a scale of 1 to 7, with a 7 for political rights and 7 for civil rights.  I predict at the end of 2013 there will be at least three grades of improvement, e.g. political rights could improve to at least 5 and civil to at least 6, but it could be in other combinations.  My guess is that it'll be more like four or five (and one has already happened), but I think three grades clearly represent a benefit to the country.
No one took the offer. Somewhat strangely, I would've won. Things weren't that bad in 2013 but got much worse starting in 2014 - although Freedom House still gives Libya slightly better ratings than under Qadaffi. I don't think a technical victory from my perspective is much of a vindication. 

FWIW, I think Libya still has a shot at a much better future than the past it had under Qadaffi or the pretty-rotten present.
          Zionism’s Quest for a Purely Jewish State is why Zionism is Inherently Racist   

According to Netanyahu Non-Jewish Refugees threaten the 'National Identity' of Israel i.e. they aren't Jews


Most Jews are in Britain and the United States today because, from 1882 to the first

world war, Jews fled from the Czarist pogroms and sought refuge from anti-semitism.  Because there were no immigration controls until 1905 and even later in the United States, some 2.5 million Jews emigrated.  Less than 2% went to the alleged historical homeland of Jews, Palestine.

It is one of the quaint aspects of Zionism's achievements that Jews too can now be pogromists.  As David Sheen reported on May 29 2013: 
'Last Thursday, May 23, 2013, marked exactly one year to the day when a thousand Jewish Israelis ran rampant through the streets of Tel Aviv, smashing and looting African-operated businesses and physically assaulting any dark-skinned person they came across. Sadly, the Israeli economic, political and religious establishment – who were in large measure responsible for the pogrom – did not respond by working to quash the racism, but rather ramped up their efforts to expel all non-Jewish African people from the country.' 
Miri Regev, who is now Israel's 'Culture Minister' told the crowd that:  "the Sudanese are a cancer in our body". 
In 1905 the Aliens Act was introduced under Prime Minister Arthur James Balfour.  Balfour was quite explicit.  He didn't much like the East European Jews.  He was however a good Zionist because he believed that they should go to Palestine.  Thus it ever was that anti-Semites and Zionists got on like a house on fire.  As you will no doubt know, in 1917 Balfour, now Foreign Secretary, penned a famous letter to Walter Rothschild promising the land of a 3rd party to the Zionists.

What Netanyahu says aloud, Isaac Herzog of the Israeli Labour Party mutters in coded language.  Netanyahu’s reasons as to why the 60,000 African refugees – from Sudan, Eritrea and other hotspots – had to be deported, demonstrate why Zionism is and always will remain a racist movement.
Netanyahu explainedwhy the refugees had to be deported thus:

"If we don't stop their entry, the problem that currently stands at 60,000 could grow to 600,000, and that threatens our existence as a Jewish and democratic state," Binyamin Netanyahu said at Sunday's cabinet meeting. "This phenomenon is very grave and threatens the social fabric of society, our national security and our national identity."

The reason wasn’t that they weren’t genuine refugees, the problem was that they weren't Jewish. David Sheen has drawn up the top 9 Israeli racist politicians who have demonised asylum seekers.  Herzog is at number 5 on the list.  (see below)

Thus Israel refuses to admit any non-Jewish refugee.  Not because their home country is safe or they are not genuine, the excuses of Western opponents of asylum seekers, but because they ‘threaten our national security and our national identity’.  And what is this national identity?  Why being Jewish of course.  Therefore one cannot accept Arabs or non-Jews within the confines of the holy tent.  Racist?  How could it be otherwise?

Tony Greenstein
Another one of the ways that Israeli society becomes increasingly racist is when centrist parties like Labor adopt right-wing rhetoric in order to chase after right-wing votes.

In recent years, Labor has not played the foil to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but instead acceded to almost all of his hawkish proposals. Instead of standing firm against Israel’s lurch to the right, Labor has attempted to ply votes away from Likud with right-wing proposals.

That tendency has increased ever since Isaac Herzogwas elected to lead the party in November 2013. It has been especially evident in Herzog’s solid support for Netanyahu’s military campaigns in Gaza and the West Bank, but also in his support for expelling Africans from Israel.

It was not always so. When the Knesset first voted to amend the country’s “anti-infiltration” law in January 2012 to sanction the roundup, detention and expulsion of African refugees, Herzog opposed the measure.

When the Knesset voted to amend the law a second time in December 2013, Herzog didn’t show up for the vote. And by the time the Knesset voted to toughen it a third time in December 2014, he voted in favor of the amendment, along with several other Labor lawmakers.

In May 2012, Herzog wrote an opinion piece, challengingarguments by human rights groups that Eritreans in Israel deserved protection as refugees.

In March 2015, Herzog repeatedthis refrainin an attempt to peel anti-African votes away from Netanyahu on the eve of the Israeli national elections, saying, “We need to negotiate with Eritrea on the return of the Eritreans back to Eritrea.”

This year, Labor led a successful effort to abolish the Knesset’s committee on foreign workers, one of the few forums in which the concerns of refugees could receive a hearing in parliament.
In September 2015, Labor publicly complained that Netanyahu’s government has not done nearly enough to expel Africans from the country. In a public statement, Herzog’s Labor Party wholeheartedly adopted the far-right’s propaganda points, insistingwithout any basis that most refugees in Israel have no valid claim to refugee status.

“The crisis of the refugees from Syria is not similar to the issue of the infiltrators from Africa who are mostly migrant workers,” the statement read. “If only Bibi’s government had created immigration laws, it would be possible to send back to their country those who are in Israel for their welfare and for work. But the Likud government is only good at talking, and it is responsible for the troubles of the residents of south Tel Aviv.”

They were promised asylum somewhere closer to home. Then they were discarded — often in a war zone.
Andrew Green
Foreign Policy
June 27, 2017

KIGALI, Rwanda — The man picked Afie Semene and the 11 other Eritreans on the flight from Tel Aviv out of the stream of disembarking passengers as if he already had their faces memorized. He welcomed them to the Rwandan capital, Kigali, and introduced himself as John. He was a Rwandan immigration officer, he explained, there to help smooth their arrival. He collected the travel documents each of them had been issued in Israel and led them past the immigration counter where the rest of the passengers from their flight queued. Nobody stopped them. Nothing was stamped.
They paused briefly at the luggage carousel to scoop up their bags. In the nearly seven years Semene had lived in Israel, he filled an apartment with furniture and kitchen supplies. But when officials there summoned him to a detention facility for asylum-seekers, he had distributed much of what he owned among his friends, unsure if he would ever return. Now his suitcase contained little besides clothes.
The group exited the airport into the humid Rwandan night and crowded into a waiting pickup. The luggage followed in a second truck. The small convoy wound its way through lush, hilly Kigali, past the fenced campus of the regional polytechnic, and into a quiet neighborhood several miles south of the airport. They came to a stop in front of a house the color of a pistachio nut, its second story ringed with white-trimmed porches. Dawn was already breaking as the new arrivals were shown to bedrooms inside. As he fell asleep, Semene still remembers the feeling of relief wash over him. John would return the next day to help them begin their asylum applications, he thought. Maybe he would arrive with the papers granting them refugee status already in hand.

There would be no visas. No work permits. No asylum. None of the things Israeli authorities had promised the 12 Eritreans when they had agreed to relocate to Rwanda a few weeks prior.

Instead, the next day brought new despair: There would be no visas. No work permits. No asylum. None of the things Israeli authorities had promised the 12 Eritreans when they had agreed to relocate to Rwanda a few weeks prior. Instead, John offered to smuggle them into neighboring Uganda, which he told them was a “free nation.” “If you live here, you can’t leave,” Semene recalled John saying of Rwanda. “It’s a tight country. Let me advise you, as your brother, you need to go to Uganda.”

They would need to sneak across the border, since they had no proof of legal entry into Rwanda. (The Israeli laissez-passers had gone unstamped at the Kigali airport the night before, an oversight that now felt suspicious.) But John told them not to worry; he could easily get them into Uganda for a fee of $250. “I have everything,” he said. “Contacts with the government over there. Contacts with the Israeli government. If something happens, I call the Israeli government and they do something for you.”

The alternative, John said, was to remain in the Kigali house, where they would be under constant surveillance. They would have to pay rent, but without documentation, they would not be allowed to work. Semene and the others understood that John was not really giving them a choice. Everyone agreed to the plan.

A few hours later, a van pulled up outside the house and the Eritreans piled in. Several miles from the border with Uganda, the vehicle came to a stop and John urged them out onto the side of the road. It was the last they would see of him.

Semene had made an even more treacherous crossing once before, paying smugglers to ferry him across the Sinai Desert from Egypt into Israel. Under fire from Egyptian border guards, he sprinted the final yards to safety. He had hoped it would be the last time he would ever have to cross a border illegally. But seven years later, feeling betrayed by an Israeli government he had once turned to for safety, he slipped quietly and unofficially into Uganda.
AdHundreds of African asylum-seekers stage a protest along the sea front in Tel Aviv on Jan. 15, 2014. (Photo credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)d caption
For decades after its founding in 1948, Israel welcomed refugees from outside the Jewish faith. The country was an early signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention. In his first official act as prime minister in 1977, Menachem Begin granted refuge to 66 Vietnamese who had been rescued at sea by an Israeli ship. During a visit to the United States later that year, he recalled the St. Louis — a ship loaded with more than 900 European Jews who attempted to flee Germany in 1939 — to explain his decision. The St. Louis’s passengers were denied permission to disembark in Cuba, the United States, and Canada and ultimately returned to Europe. A quarter of the passengers are thought to have died in the Holocaust.

“They were nine months at sea, traveling from harbor to harbor, from country to country, crying out for refuge. They were refused,” Begin said. “We have never forgotten the lot of our people … And therefore it was natural that my first act as prime minister was to give those people a haven in the land of Israel.”

In 2007, then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert echoed Begin’s act when he granted temporary residency permits to nearly 500 Sudanese asylum-seekers. But as the number of African migrants swelled in subsequent years, Israel’s receptiveness began to flag. The vast majority of the new arrivals were fleeing long-standing authoritarian regimes in Eritrea and Sudan. They chose Israel for many reasons: because it was a democracy, because it was easier to reach than Europe or — for many Sudanese — because it was an adversary of their own government. They hoped that the enemy of their enemy would look kindly on them.

But Israeli authorities soon became overwhelmed. According to the Ministry of Interior, nearly 65,000 foreign nationals — the vast majority from Africa — reached Israel between 2006 and 2013. As the government struggled to accommodate the newcomers, many languished in poor and overcrowded neighborhoods in southern Tel Aviv. Dozens squatted in a park across the street from the city’s main bus station for weeks on end. A handful of high-profile incidents — including the alleged rape of an 83-year-old woman by an Eritrean asylum-seeker in 2012 — dominated media coverage and fueled unease among Israelis, many of whom already fretted that refugees were taking their jobs.

African asylum-seekers sleep in Tel Aviv's Levinski Park during a protest against Israel's immigration policies on Feb. 5, 2014. (Photo credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
By the time Benjamin Netanyahu secured a third term as prime minister in 2013, the tensions had hardened into outright hostility. That year, Israel sealed off its border with Egypt and implemented a raft of policies aimed at making life more difficult for asylum-seekers already in Israel. Then it began secretly pressuring Eritreans and Sudanese to leave for unnamed third countries, a shadowy relocation effort in which Semene and thousands like him are now ensnared.

Israeli officials have kept nearly everything else about this effort secret, even deflecting requests for more information from UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency. But a year-long investigation by Foreign Policy that included interviews with multiple Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers as well as people involved at various stages of the relocation process — including one person who admitted to helping coordinate illegal border crossings — reveals an opaque system of shuffling asylum-seekers from Israel, via Rwanda or Uganda, into third countries, where they are no longer anyone’s responsibility.
It begins with furtive promises by Israeli authorities of asylum and work opportunities in Rwanda and Uganda. Once the Sudanese and Eritrean asylum-seekers reach Kigali or Entebbe, where Uganda’s international airport is located, they describe a remarkably similar ordeal: They meet someone who presents himself as a government agent at the airport, bypass immigration, move to a house or hotel that quickly feels like a prison, and are eventually pressured to leave the country. For the Eritreans, it is from Rwanda to Uganda. For Sudanese, it is from Uganda to South Sudan or Sudan. The process appears designed not just to discard unwanted refugees, but to shield the Israeli, Rwandan, and Ugandan governments from any political or legal accountability.

While a handful of the Eritreans and Sudanese have managed to maneuver or mislead their way into asylum in Rwanda or Uganda, and dozens more live in a stateless limbo in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, most have given in to the pressure to leave those countries, making dangerous illegal border crossings that leave them vulnerable to blackmail and physical abuse at the hands of smugglers and security forces. Some have continued north to Sudan or Libya in an effort to reach Europe. A few have been captured and killed by Islamic State fighters or drowned on the treacherous Mediterranean crossing.

Officials across several relevant ministries in Israel, Rwanda, and Uganda all issued denials or refused repeated requests for comment. But the nearly identical experiences of asylum-seekers arriving in Rwanda and Uganda, as well as their ability to bypass standard immigration channels and occasionally procure official documents from their handlers, suggests a level of government knowledge, if not direct involvement, in all three capitals.

Semene fled Eritrea in 2007, after four years in the country’s military. Service there is compulsory and it can stretch on indefinitely. Instead of training, conscripts are often forced to work on their commanders’ private farms or for state-owned businesses. The conditions are so restrictive and the compensation so negligible that in 2016 a U.N. Human Rights Council report on the country determined that “Eritrean officials have committed the crime of enslavement … in a persistent, widespread and systematic manner.” During his four years of service, Semene, a small, slight man with an easy smile, was allowed to visit his family only once.

Semene is a pseudonym. Life under military dictatorship instilled in him a deep sense of caution, and he is hesitant to share too many details about his past in case security forces target his family members who still live in Eritrea. Risking imprisonment and possible execution there, he ran — first to a refugee camp in Sudan, where he faced constant shortages of food and water, and then to Egypt. Finding the environment for refugees there only marginally better, he paid smugglers $2,800 to take him across Sinai into Israel. He knew little about the country, except that it was a democracy. “Simply, I try my luck,” he said.

And finally, luck seemed to be on his side. In 2008, Israeli authorities issued him a visa that was renewable every six months. He found a job stocking groceries at a Tel Aviv shop, and applied for official refugee status. “I adopt the place,” he told me, including learning Hebrew. “I adopt their food. I know the language. I see Israel as my country.”

Thousands more asylum-seekers like Semene continued to arrive — mostly from Eritrea, but also from Sudan, including hundreds fleeing a government-perpetrated genocide in the country’s Darfur region. By 2012, a leading Israeli politician was denouncing the asylum-seekers as “a cancer in our body” and residents of south Tel Aviv were organizing protests against them. That same year, the minister of interior suggested making “their lives miserable” in order to dissuade even more from coming.

One way the Israeli government did just that was by erecting a sprawling detention center for asylum-seekers in the middle of the Negev Desert. Operated by the Israel Prison Service (IPS), Holot — which means “sand” in Hebrew — now holds more than 3,000 male asylum-seekers, who had previously been allowed to live and (unofficially) work while they awaited a decision on their refugee applications. Most detainees said they learned they had been randomly chosen to relocate to Holot only when they attempted to renew their visas. They were given days to report to the facility, where they can legally be held for up to a year. Some politicians are pushing to make the sentence indefinite.
Asylum-seekers take part in a day of protest at the Holot detention center in the southern Negev desert on Feb. 17, 2014. (Photo credit: ILIA YEFIMOVICH /Getty Images)
Semene was summoned to Holot in early 2014. “It’s really a prison,” is how he described what appears on the outside to be a beleaguered tent city. I made two visits to the facility, though I was not allowed to enter. Instead, I sat with detainees outside the chain-link fence topped with razor wire, as they described conditions inside. They live 10 to a room and though they can come and go from the facility, they are required to check in with authorities once per day. Failure to do so earns a short stint in a nearby maximum-security prison. Residents are not allowed to work or even to bring food brought by friends or family members into Holot. With the nearest town hours away, they spend most of their time sitting at the makeshift restaurants they have constructed near the entrance to the camp. IPS authorities regularly tear them down, but the detainees keep rebuilding them.

To Semene, the restrictions of Holot, combined with the monotony of life there, seemed designed to break the occupants — men who had previously survived murderous raids, the deprivations of refugee camps, and, in some cases, torture. There is limited assistance for people managing chronic health conditions or in obvious need of mental healthcare. Instead, they are left to wander the desert, overseen only by their fellow inmates. (IPS did not respond to multiple requests for comment.) Semene remembers becoming so distressed by the treatment one day that he began pleading with a guard: “We are human. Treat us as a human,” he said.

Then, after he had been locked away for seven months, the authorities seemed to offer him a lifeline: Leaflets from the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority started to appear within the facility, saying that Israel had secured an arrangement with other countries willing to accept asylum-seekers. Anyone who agreed to a transfer would receive travel documents, a free one-way plane ticket to a yet-unnamed country, and $3,500. “On the first day of arrival in the country, you will be placed in a hotel. Everything that you need — work and living permit — will be given to you,” the flyer read, according to a translation provided by the UNHCR office in Tel Aviv.

Soon, the guards at Holot began whispering to the asylum-seekers that the third countries were Rwanda for Eritreans and Uganda for the Sudanese. There was no explanation for the division. The Israeli government has never officially confirmed the two countries involved, explaining in various legal settings that the agreements prevent them from doing so. “We do not comment in the media on those issues or on our relations with third countries,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in an email.

Semene was among those who jumped at the opportunity. “You close your eyes and choose,” was how he explained it to me. In the weeks leading up to his departure in late 2014, he was summoned to meet with an Israeli immigration officer, who presented him with an Israeli travel document filled out with his name, date of birth, and — though he had no passport — a passport number. The laissez-passer was valid for two weeks, from Dec. 14 to Dec. 28, 2014. The official also showed him a letter, allegedly from the Rwandan government, guaranteeing that he would be granted a one-month tourist visa when he arrived in the country. The official handed over the promised $3,500 in U.S. dollars.
Semene wondered why he was getting a one-month tourist visa when he had been told he would be receiving asylum. He also wondered why the laissez-passer was valid for only two weeks. He said he quizzed the official about both apparent discrepancies, but was assured any issues would be sorted out when he arrived in Kigali. Not quite convinced, he took photos of the documents with his cell phone, which he later showed me. A few days later, he received a call telling him to get ready. He would be leaving on Dec. 22. Despite his growing skepticism of everything the Israeli authorities were telling him, he decided to approach the trip with guarded optimism. It had been more than seven years since he fled a life of endless military service in Eritrea and more than half a year since he’d been incarcerated in Israel. He wanted desperately to believe that Rwanda would be the place where he would finally be free.

A group of Eritrean asylum-seekers inside Israel's Holot detention facility on Feb. 17, 2014. (Photo credit: ILIA YEFIMOVICH /Getty Images) 
The pistachio-colored house where Semene and dozens of other Eritreans were held in Kigali sits at the end of a deeply gashed dirt road. About 50 yards away, down a steep embankment, there is a small kiosk painted Coca-Cola red, where men from the neighborhood often gather to drink sodas and chat. One day last spring, I stopped by to see if they had ever noticed any unusual activity at the house atop the hill. Through a translator, they explained that groups of “foreigners” regularly stayed there. Sometimes they could be spotted pacing on the white-trimmed balconies. None ever seemed to venture outside the house’s heavy black gate and they were always gone after a few days.

Later, I trudged up the hill and knocked on that gate. It swung open to reveal two young Rwandan men lazily sweeping the driveway. I asked if I could speak to the owner. They indicated that he wasn’t home, but passed along a phone number. When I dialed it, a man who identified himself only as Robert acknowledged that the house was indeed his. Yes, he intermittently hosted visitors from Eritrea. In fact, a group had just left a few days earlier.

He explained that he had begun renting out the house to unknown groups of foreigners more than a year earlier after a friend of his — a driver who works at the airport — called to see if he could host some people who would be spending a few days in the country. Robert agreed, he said, because the house was vacant at the time. Since then he has accommodated a handful of groups, he told me. The process is always the same: The driver friend calls him a few days before a new party is set to arrive and Robert sends workers to prepare the house for them. The foreigners stay for a few days — never more than three — and then leave. He didn’t know to where. He had never met any of them.
When I started to press Robert for more details — How much was he paid? Did the driver work for the government? — he grew cagey and insisted we meet in person. We set a time for the following day. When I called back to confirm the location, he hung up on me and declined each of my subsequent calls.

It is unclear whether the driver friend is John, the man who picked Semene and the other Eritreans up from the airport, or someone working for him. It is also unclear whether John is actually an immigration official or just posing as one. But in a country as notoriously repressive as Rwanda it is almost inconceivable that anyone regularly bypassing immigration isn’t operating with the blessing of senior government officials. (My calls from different lines to a number allegedly belonging to John have gone unanswered for months.)

What happens to those asylum-seekers who refuse John’s offer to be smuggled into Uganda is yet another mystery. Kabtom Bereket, an Eritrean who arrived separately from Semene in July 2014, told me that several members of his six-person group asked to visit the UNHCR offices in Kigali immediately after they arrived at the house from the airport. John refused their request, Bereket said, telling them, “We are immigration. There is the security on the gate. You stay here.” No one in the group was allowed out of the house, according to Bereket, which is also a pseudonym, until they all left to cross illegally into Uganda.

Of the at least 1,400 other asylum-seekers who have arrived in Kigali from Tel Aviv over the last three years — the figure Israeli officials provided in court — Semene is certain that the vast majority have been smuggled out of the country.

Some Eritreans have managed to escape the house. According to documents from the UNHCR office in Tel Aviv, Rwandan authorities have arrested at least four of the asylum-seekers who attempted to stay in Kigali on charges of lacking documentation. Others, though UNHCR won’t say how many, have approached UNHCR staff in Kigali for support, claiming to have relocated from Israel. Of the at least 1,400 other asylum-seekers who have arrived in Kigali from Tel Aviv over the last three years — the figure Israeli officials provided in court — Semene is certain that the vast majority have been smuggled out of the country.

Across the border in Uganda, UNHCR officials haven’t heard of even a single successful asylum applicant among the Sudanese arriving directly from Tel Aviv or the Eritreans arriving from Rwanda, though they are aware of multiple rejections from among this pool. This is strange because Uganda has one of the most progressive refugee policies in the region. Nearly 3,300 Sudanese are currently registered as refugees in Uganda, according to the UNCHR office in Kampala. The problem seems to be exclusive to those being resettled from Israel. Sudanese I spoke to in Kampala said they have now learned not to mention Israel anywhere in their asylum applications.

Officials in the office of Uganda’s prime minister, which oversees the country’s immigration procedures, offered no explanation for the rejected asylum claims of migrants arriving via Israel. Rwandan officials do admit having discussed a deal with Israel to accept asylum-seekers, but say that no agreement was ever reached. It may be that the Ugandan and Rwandan governments do not want to answer questions about what they are receiving in exchange for accepting refugees. (Speculation among Israeli activists centers on weapons and cash.)

Unable to get asylum in Uganda, many Eritreans and Sudanese live in constant fear of the authorities. Within hours of his illegal scramble across the Rwandan border, in fact, Semene nearly landed behind bars. He and the other Eritreans in his group emerged from the borderlands thicket to find a van waiting on the Ugandan side that carried them the remaining 10 hours to Kampala. They arrived at a cheap hotel in the crowded, dusty area of downtown known as Old Kampala at 4 a.m. Five hours later, Ugandan security officials raided the hotel and arrested several of the asylum-seekers. By that point, however, Semene had already split off from the group and melted into the neighborhood, his doubts having turned into outright distrust over the course of the journey.

More than a year later, he spends most of his evenings in a local bar watching football matches or playing pool. It is a short walk from the apartment he shares with a rotating group of Eritrean refugees. Sometimes up to a dozen people cram into the one-room space. His world is now just a few blocks of Old Kampala, but he figures limiting his movement is the best way to avoid running into police officers or other security officials who might ask for his papers and then arrest him or demand a bribe when he is unable to produce them.

He is depressed, and also eaten up with resentment toward the Israeli government. This was not the life they promised him. “I am not safe here,” he said. “I am not safe anywhere.”
Ugandan police officers cordon off a crime scene in Kampala on March 17, 2017. (Photo credit: ISAAC KASAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)
The linchpins of this system of human smuggling — and key to establishing whether the Israeli, Ugandan, and Rwandan governments are officially involved in it — are the men who pressure new arrivals from Tel Aviv to forget the promise of asylum and to cross illegally into third countries. Hassan Ali is one such man. He agreed to meet me on the condition that I not reveal his real identity. A squat 32-year-old Darfuri refugee, he steered me off a crowded Kampala street into a fried chicken restaurant with low ceilings and a greasy, tiled floor. He chose a side table and spoke in a quiet, quivering voice lost easily in the lunchtime bustle. He was among the very first asylum-seekers in Israel to accept the proposed transfer to Uganda, he said. He had been in Israel since 2008 and sensed the mood toward asylum-seekers was growing increasingly hostile. He happened to have friends and family in Uganda, so when the offer came to relocate to Kampala in early 2014, he eagerly accepted.
But within weeks of his arrival, just as he was beginning to feel settled in his new life in the city, he started getting phone calls from a man he would identify only as Ismail. Ismail was also Sudanese and he needed Ali’s help. Would he be willing to meet with groups of new arrivals — mostly people Ali knew from his own time in Israel — and talk to them about resettling elsewhere? Ali is not sure how Ismail got his number or why he wanted Ali to be involved, but — for reasons he chose to keep vague — he decided he was willing to try. The requests from Ismail are relatively sporadic, but they have become more frequent. Ali estimates that he has now met with at least a dozen groups of asylum-seekers.

He usually joins them on their second day at an upscale hotel called Forest Cottages, where the Sudanese flown from Tel Aviv are brought from the airport. Unlike their Eritrean counterparts in Rwanda, they are offered a brief respite before the pressure to relocate begins. But when the time comes, Ali is the one who applies that pressure.

He starts by talking about how much the men must be missing their families after years — and in some cases decades — away from Sudan. Except now, in Uganda, they are so much closer to home than they were in Israel. Using Ismail’s connections, Ali says he can get them the rest of the way. For $200, he will arrange the paperwork and logistics to transport them safely to South Sudan, the buffer between Uganda and Sudan. For $100 more, he can get them to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
The reasons other refugees chose to return to Sudan, despite the risk of arrest and torture, are much more straightforward: They believe their options are exhausted. They miss their homes. They want to see their families.

Both countries harbor significant dangers. Sudan remains a police state, and killing continues in Darfur, though at a lower level than before. South Sudan is mired in a bloody civil war that has killed tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people and forced 1.7 million to flee the country. But the new arrivals in Kampala are discombobulated and often poorly informed. Ali fuels their confusion by telling them that Ugandan officials will hound them, blackmail them, and potentially deport them. South Sudan, because of the chaos there, actually seems to some refugees like a much easier place to disappear or to begin another journey toward a country that might actually grant them asylum. The reasons other refugees chose to return to Sudan, despite the risk of arrest and torture, are much more straightforward: They believe their options are exhausted. They miss their homes. They want to see their families.

Ali has learned to manipulate these fears and emotions. “I say, ‘Welcome to Africa. If you tell me you’re going to pass to Sudan, you come here, you will pass.’ They’re very happy,” he said. Dozens of people have taken Ali up on his offer, he says, at which point Ismail collects their information and money and hands it over to a man named George, the Ugandan minder who picked the new arrivals up at the airport — essentially the Ugandan version of John. Within hours of securing their agreement, George returns with individualized Ugandan travel documents stamped with South Sudanese entry visas.

I asked Ali about the level of government involvement in this scheme. After some prevarication, he conceded that Ugandan officials are not only aware of what is happening, but actively involved in pushing asylum-seekers from Israel into South Sudan. “This is the secret they don’t want to tell,” he said. But aside from the Ugandan travel documents he claims to have seen handed over to the asylum-seekers, he had little evidence to support his claims. That is, except for one additional piece of paper: a permit granting him temporary residence in Uganda.

At the beginning of our conversation, he had showed me a photo of the one-year legal residency permit George had secured for him from Uganda’s Ministry of Internal Affairs. None of the other Sudanese asylum-seekers I met had received anything similar from George, although several said they had asked for one. Ali only received the document, he acknowledged, in exchange for helping Ismail.

Before we parted ways, Ali offered to take me with him when the next group of Sudanese transfers arrived at Forest Cottages. But less than 10 minutes after we left the restaurant, he called to tell me the deal was off. Apparently, he had phoned Ismail immediately after our meeting and had been lamba
          More court challenges expected for Trump’s new travel ban   
An international passenger arrives at Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia after the Supreme Court granted parts of the Trump administration's emergency request to put its travel ban into effect later in the week pending further judicial review. Photo by James Lawler Duggan/Reuters

An international passenger arrives at Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia after the Supreme Court granted parts of the Trump administration’s emergency request to put its travel ban into effect later in the week pending further judicial review. Photo by James Lawler Duggan/Reuters

WASHINGTON — A scaled-back version of President Donald Trump’s travel ban is now in force, stripped of provisions that brought protests and chaos at airports worldwide in January yet still likely to generate a new round of court fights.

The new rules, the product of months of legal wrangling, aren’t so much an outright ban as a tightening of already-tough visa policies affecting citizens from six Muslim-majority countries. Refugees are covered, too.

Administration officials promised that implementation this time, which started at 8 p.m. EDT, would be orderly. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Dan Hetlage said his agency expected “business as usual at our ports of entry,” with all valid visa holders still being able to travel.

Still, immigration and refugee advocates are vowing to challenge the new requirements and the administration has struggled to explain how the rules will make the United States safer.

And in Iran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounced the partial reinstatement of the travel ban as a “truly shameful exhibition of blind hostility to all Iranians” — and argued that the measure will prevent Iranian grandmothers from seeing their grandchildren in America.

Zarif, who has persistently assailed the travel ban, wrote on his Twitter account that the “U.S. now bans Iranian grandmothers from seeing their grandchildren, in a truly shameful exhibition of blind hostility to all Iranians.”

Under the temporary rules, citizens of Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen who already have visas will be allowed into the United States. But people from those countries who want new visas will now have to prove a close family relationship or an existing relationship with an entity like a school or business in the U.S.

[READ MORE: Supreme Court partly reinstates Trump’s travel ban]

It’s unclear how significantly the new rules will affect travel. In most of the countries singled out, few people have the means for leisure travel. Those that do already face intensive screenings before being issued visas.

Nevertheless, human rights groups girded for new legal battles. The American Civil Liberties Union, one of the groups challenging the ban, called the new criteria “extremely restrictive,” ”arbitrary” in their exclusions and designed to “disparage and condemn Muslims.”

The state of Hawaii filed an emergency motion Thursday asking a federal judge to clarify that the administration cannot enforce the ban against relatives — such as grandparents, aunts or uncles — not included in the State Department’s definition of “bona fide” personal relationships.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer met with customs officials and said he felt things would go smoothly.

“For tonight, I’m anticipating few issues because, I think, there’s better preparation,” he told reporters at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday night. “The federal government here, I think, has taken steps to avoid the havoc that occurred the last time.”

Much of the confusion in January, when Trump’s first ban took effect, resulted from travelers with previously approved visas being kept off flights or barred entry on arrival in the United States. Immigration officials were instructed Thursday not to block anyone with valid travel documents and otherwise eligible to visit the United States.

Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center, said the rules “would slam the door shut on so many who have waited for months or years to be reunited with their families.”

Trump, who made a tough approach to immigration a cornerstone of his election campaign, issued a ban on travelers from the six countries, plus Iraq, shortly after taking office in January. His order also blocked refugees from any country.

Trump said these were temporary measures needed to prevent terrorism until vetting procedures could be reviewed. Opponents noted that visa and refugee vetting were already strict and said there was no evidence that refugees or citizens of those six countries posed a threat. They saw the ban as part of Trump’s campaign promise to bar Muslims from entering the United States.

Lower courts blocked the initial ban and a second, revised Trump order intended to overcome legal hurdles. The Supreme Court on Monday partially reinstated the revised ban but exempted travelers who could prove a “bona fide relationship” with a U.S. person or entity. The court offered only broad guidelines.

[READ MORE: Who’s in and who’s left out as Trump’s travel ban takes effect]

In guidance issued late Wednesday, the State Department said the personal relationships would include a parent, spouse, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the United States. It does not include other relationships such as grandparents, grandchildren, aunts and uncles. On Thursday, the State and Homeland Security departments had both expanded the range of bona fide relationships to include fiancés.

Business or professional links must be “formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course rather than for the purpose of evading” the ban. Journalists, students, workers or lecturers who have valid invitations or employment contracts in the U.S. would be exempt from the ban. The exemption does not apply to those who seek a relationship with an American business or educational institution purely for the purpose of avoiding the rules.

Refugees from any country will face similar requirements. But the U.S. has almost filled its quota of 50,000 refugees for the budget year ending in September and the new rules won’t apply to the few remaining slots. With the Supreme Court set to consider the overall ban in October, the rules could change again.

The travel ban may have the biggest impact on Iranians. In 2015, the most recently available data, nearly 26,000 Iranians were allowed into the United States on visitor or tourist visas. Iranians made up the lion’s share of the roughly 65,000 foreigners from the six countries who visited with temporary, or non-immigrant visas that year.

American journalist Paul Gottinger said he and his Iranian fiancee applied for a visa nearly a year ago but are still waiting on a decision. Gottinger says they were to wed at a Japanese garden in his parents’ home state of Minnesota this month but postponed the ceremony until August because they had not yet received the visa.

Now, he expects they will have to delay again.

“Every twist and turn of the courts, we’re holding our hearts and our stomachs are falling to the floor,” he said by phone from Turkey.

The new regulations are also affecting the wedding plans of Rama Issa-Ibrahim, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York.

She is Syrian-American and had planned to get married this fall. While her father in Syria may be able to get a visa, her aunts and uncles may well be blocked.

“I would love for them to be at this wedding, and unfortunately, they aren’t going to be able to be here,” she said, adding that the ceremony would be postponed.

___

Associated Press writers Amy Taxin and Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles and Michael Noble in New York contributed to this report.

The post More court challenges expected for Trump’s new travel ban appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


          Paul Craig Roberts Asks "Why Has Washington Been At War For 16 Years?"   

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

For sixteen years the US has been at war in the Middle East and North Africa, running up trillions of dollars in expenses, committing untold war crimes, and sending millions of war refugees to burden Europe, while simultaneously claiming that Washington cannot afford its Social Security and Medicare obligations or to fund a national health service like every civilized country has.

Considering the enormous social needs that cannot be met because of the massive cost of these orchestrated wars, one would think that the American people would be asking questions about the purpose of these wars. What is being achieved at such enormous costs? Domestic needs are neglected so that the military/security complex can grow fat on war profits.

The lack of curiousity on the part of the American people, the media, and Congress about the purpose of these wars, which have been proven to be based entirely on lies, is extraordinary. What explains this conspiracy of silence, this amazing disinterest in the squandering of money and lives?

Most Americans seem to vaguely accept these orchestrated wars as the government’s response to 9/11. This adds to the mystery as it is a fact that Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Iran (Iran not yet attacked except with threats and sanctions) had nothing to do with 9/11. But these countries have Muslim populations, and the Bush regime and presstitute media succeeded in associating 9/11 with Muslims in general.

Perhaps if Americans and their “representatives” in Congress understood what the wars are about, they would rouse themselves to make objections. So, I will tell you what Washington’s war on Syria and Washington’s intended war on Iran are about. Ready?

There are three reasons for Washington’s war, not America’s war as Washington is not America, on Syria.

The first reason has to do with the profits of the military/security complex. The military/security complex is a combination of powerful private and governmental interests that need a threat to justify an annual budget that exceeds the GDP of many countries. War gives this combination of private and governmental interests a justification for its massive budget, a budget whose burden falls on American taxpayers whose real median family income has not risen for a couple of decades while their debt burden to support their living standard has risen.

 

The second reason has to do with the Neoconservative ideology of American world hegemony. According to the Neoconservatives, who most certainly are not conservative of any description, the collapse of communism and socialism means that History has chosen “Democratic Capitalism,” which is neither democratic nor capitalist, as the World’s Socio-Economic-Political system and it is Washington’s responsibility to impose Americanism on the entire world. Countries such as Russia, China, Syria, and Iran, who reject American hegemony must be destabilized and desroyed as they stand in the way of American unilateralism.

 

The Third reason has to do with Israel’s need for the water resources of Southern Lebanon. Twice Israel has sent the vaunted Israeli Army to occupy Southern Lebanon, and twice the vaunted Israeli Army was driven out by Hezbollah, a militia supported by Syria and Iran. To be frank, Israel is using America to eliminate the Syrian and Iranian governments that provide military and economic support to Hezbollah. If Hezbollah’s suppliers can be eliminated by the Americans, Israel’s army can steal Southern Lebanon, just as it has stolen Palestine and parts of Syria.

Here are the facts: For 16 years the insouciant American population has permitted a corrupt government in Washington to squander trillions of dollars needed domestically but instead allocated to the profits of the military/security complex, to the service of the Neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony, and to the service of Israel.

Clearly, Amerian democracy is a fraud. It serves everyone but Americans.

What is the likely consequence of the US government serving non-American interests?

The best positive outcome is poverty for the 99 percent. The worst outcome is nuclear armageddon.

Washington’s service to the military/security complex, to the Neoconservative ideology, and to Israel completely neglects over-powering facts.

Israel’s interest to overthrow Syria and Iran is totally inconsistant with Russia’s interest to prevent the import of jihadism into the Russian Federation and Central Asia. Therefore, Israel has put the US into direct military conflict with Russia.

The US military/security complex’s financial interests to surround Russia with missile sites is inconsistent with Russian sovereignty as is the Neoconservatives’ emphasis on US world hegemony.

President Trump does not control Washington. Washington is controlled by the military/security complex (watch on youtube President Eisenhower’s description of the military/security complex as a threat to American democracy), by the Israel Lobby, and by the Neoconservatives. These three organized interest groups have pre-empted the Amercan people, who are powerless and are uninvolved in the decisions about their future.

Every US Representative and US Senator who stood up to Israel was defeated by Israel in their re-election campaign. This is the reason that when Israel wants something it passes both houses of Congress unanimously. As Admiral Tom Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations and Chariman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said publicly, “No American President can stand up to Israel.” Israel gets what it wants no matter what the consequences are for America.

Adm. Moorer was right. The US gives Israel every year enough money to purchase our government. And Israel does purchase our government. The US government is far more accountable to Israel than to the American people. The votes of the House and Senate prove this.

Unable to stand up to tiny Israel, Washington thinks it can buffalo Russia and China. For Washington to continue to provoke Russia and China is a sign of insantity. In the place of intelligence we see hubris and arrogance, the hallmarks of fools.

What Planet Earth, and the creatures thereon, need more than anything is leaders in the West who are intelligent, who have a moral conscience, who respect truth, and who are are capable of understanding the limits to their power.

But the Western World has no such people.


          Trumpin maahantulokielto astui voimaan – vastustajat arvostelevat lähisukulaisuuden ahdasta määritelmää   
Syyrialaiset, sudanilaiset, somalialaiset, jemeniläiset, iranilaiset ja libyalaiset eivät voi enää saada viisumia Yhdysvaltoihin ilman läheistä suhdetta Yhdysvaltoihin.
          

10 things you need to know today: June 30, 2017

   

1.

Parts of President Trump's travel ban took effect Thursday evening, tightening already strict visa policies toward travelers from six Muslim-majority nations. The restrictions, slated to last three months, started at 8 p.m. The administration promised an orderly transition, unlike the chaos that erupted at airports when the full policy briefly took effect earlier this year before court challenges blocked it. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Daniel Hetlage predicted "business as usual at our ports of entry." People with valid visas can still travel from the targeted countries — Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran, and Yemen. Those seeking new visas will have to be able to document that they have a close relative or an existing relationship with a school, business, or other entity in the U.S. Hawaii immediately filed a challenge, asking a court to clarify that relatives not specifically listed by the administration could not be denied entry.

2.

Leading Republican lawmakers denounced President Trump on Thursday for unleashing a harsh personal attack against Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski, tweeting that she had been "bleeding badly from a face-lift" in a recent visit to his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach. "Obviously, I don't see that as an appropriate comment," House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said. "What we're trying to do around here is improve the tone and the civility of the debate, and this obviously doesn't help do that." Trump also slammed Brzezinski's co-host and fiance Joe Scarborough, referring to the former Republican congressman as "Psycho Joe" and Brzezinski as "low I.Q. Crazy Mika." White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump's remarks, noting that when someone criticizes Trump he "fights fire with fire." Brzezinski and Scarborough responded in a Friday Washington Post op-ed, saying that Trump is "not well."

3.

Senate Republicans' proposal to replace ObamaCare would slash Medicaid spending by 35 percent over the next two decades, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Thursday. The report, requested by Democrats, provided a longer-term forecast of the effects of the bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is working on a revised proposal, hoping to win over some of the at least nine Republicans who opposed the original plan — the GOP can't pass the bill if it loses more than two of the party's 52 senators. The current proposal caps per-person Medicaid spending and phases out ObamaCare's expansion of the program, which provides health coverage for low-income people. As a result, the CBO said, the plan would reduce Medicaid spending from 2 percent of gross domestic product to 1.6 percent in 2036.

4.

Officials in several states on Thursday refused to turn over voter rolls requested in a letter from the vice chairman of President Trump's commission on election integrity, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. In the letter, which was sent to all 50 states Wednesday, Kobach requested information on voters including names, birthdays, and a decade of their voting history. The letter asked for data "publicly available under the laws of your state." Officials from Virginia, California, and Kentucky said they would not comply. "At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump's alternative election facts, and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression," Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said.

5.

Iraq declared the end of the Islamic State's self-declared caliphate on Thursday, after government forces captured the remains of the historic Al-nuri Mosque in the heart of Mosul, ISIS's de facto capital. The capture of the destroyed 850-year-old mosque and its iconic minaret marked a significant symbolic victory, because that is where the ISIS (also known by its Arabic acronym Daesh) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared himself ruler of all Muslims. "The return of al-Nuri Mosque and al-Hadba minaret to the fold of the nation marks the end of the Daesh state of falsehood," Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement. Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman of the U.S.-led coalition supporting Iraqi forces, said Mosul's liberation was days away, although the remaining fight would be difficult.

6.

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed two bills that would support President Trump's crackdown on undocumented immigrants. One of the measures, the "No Sanctuary for Criminals Act," seeks to punish so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to help federal authorities deport undocumented immigrants. The other, dubbed "Kate's Law," aims to penalize people who commit crimes after entering the country illegally. The legislation was named for Kathryn Steinle, who was fatally shot in San Francisco two years ago by a repeated felon and undocumented immigrant who had been deported several times. The GOP majority passed the bills largely along party lines. Many Democrats criticized the bills as anti-immigrant. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) called the second bill "callous and irrational."

7.

The Trump administration on Thursday announced that it was selling $1.42 billion worth of arms to Taiwan. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the sale shows "support for Taiwan's ability to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability," but does not mean there will be any change in the "one China" policy. The U.S. supports Taiwan, which China still claims as a province, but only officially recognizes China. The package includes technical support for early warning radar, as well as anti-radiation missiles, torpedoes, and missile components. China reacted angrily on Friday, demanding that the U.S. cancel the sale, which it said would pose a threat to China's security and harm Sino-U.S. relations.

8.

German lawmakers voted Friday to legalize gay marriage, bringing the country in line with other leading Western nations. "It's a joyous turning-point," said Volker Beck, who served as a spokesman for the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany before entering parliament as a member of the Green Party. "Equality and civil rights have been achieved." Chancellor Angela Merkel paved the way for the snap vote, telling lawmakers in her conservative coalition on Monday that they could vote their conscience. She herself voted no on Friday. The measure, which also allows same-sex couples to adopt, passed 393 to 226 with 4 abstentions. It is expected to face legal challenges. Germany has allowed same-sex civil unions since 2001.

9.

A Republican opposition researcher, Peter W. Smith, told The Wall Street Journal last year that he tried to get copies of emails from Hillary Clinton's server from hackers, including Russians, and he made associates believe he was working with Michael Flynn, who would later briefly serve as President Trump's national security adviser. "He said, 'I'm talking to Michael Flynn about this — if you find anything, can you let me know?'" Eric York, an Atlanta computer-security expert, told the paper. Smith, who was 81, died shortly after talking to the paper. The Journal said it was unclear whether Flynn played any role in the search, and Smith told the paper that he knew Flynn, but did not say Flynn was involved in his work.

10.

Greta Van Susteren is leaving MSNBC just six months after joining the network. "We're kind of in shock," said Van Susteren's agent and husband, John Coale. In a statement, MSNBC said it was "grateful" to have had Van Susteren on air "and we wish her the best." Van Susteren left Fox News, where she'd been for 14 years, last September amid the turbulence that followed the ousting of CEO Roger Ailes; she made her debut on MSNBC in January. Vanity Fair reports Van Susteren's 6 p.m. show, For the Record, "struggled to gain traction." She will be replaced by Ari Melber. Megyn Kelly, who also departed Fox to join MSNBC, has likewise charted rocky ratings since making the switch.


          Gunmen attack UN convoy in Libya, briefly hold staff   

Gunmen attacked a UN convoy near Libya's capital and abducted seven staff members today before releasing them unharmed, a top security official in the conflict-wracked country said. General Najmi al-Nakoua of the presidential guard service said the attack on the convoy took place near Zawiyah, about 50 kilometres west of the capital Tripoli.


          Spook Law for the Invisibile Government   
Here’s a tidbit with plenty of room for cynical spin to share with all those out there with a skeptical eye towards law school. I just found out that McGeorge Law School in Sacramento is run by a powerful woman with one leg firmly planted into the world of spooks.

McGeorge’s Dean Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker used to be “the General Counsel” of the NSA under the Reagan Administration, and “the General Counsel" of the CIA under the George Herbert Walker Bush Administration. These are powerful positions that are nominated directly by the President and must get approval from the Senate. Finding this out sure made me wonder how these conservative Presidents would have had enough knowledge and wherewithal to nominate such a lawyer. During the Reagan/Bush Sr. Era, the U.S. Intelligence community was challenging the status quo of legality for paramilitary operations around the world, from bombing Libya to occupying Panama to arrest Manuel Noriega.

Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker probably first entered the U.S. intelligence community in the first half of the 1980s, working for the powerful Washington law firm Surrey & Morse (this law firm was absorbed into Jones Day). One of its co-founders, Walter Sterling Surrey (1915-1989), has been described by at least one U.S. intelligence community researcher, John Cummings, as “a charter member of the old boy network of U.S. intelligence.” (see Pete Brewton, The Mafia, CIA and Bush (1992)). In 1971, Surrey was one of the original founders of the infamous World Finance Corporation (WFC), which under the dubious leadership of its founder, Cuban Guillermo Hernández-Cartaya (b. 1932?), ran amuck into illegal activities, including money laundering for Colombian cocaine and international arms dealers. There were even connections to the banking scandals of Italy’s Propaganda Due (“P2”) and the Vatican Bank, as depicted in the movie Godfather Part III. Surrey resigned shortly before the collapse of the WFC, denying any knowledge of wrongdoing or criminality.

Although perhaps an obscure fact, it was by no means a State secret that Surrey apparently used his law firm to vet lawyers for future positions in the U.S. Intelligence community. Apparently he did this for at least Rindskopf Parker for the NSA General Counsel, as well as her successor (apparently his own son, Richard Sterling Surrey, although I can’t verify exactly who this and many others on these lists are). Here’s as complete a list of past NSA General Counsels as I can muster for this blog:

Sidney Smith 1953-1959
Roy R. Banner 1959-1978
Daniel B. Silver 1978-1979
Daniel C. Schwartz 1979-1981 Bryan Cave LLP
Jon T. Anderson 1981-1984
Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker 1984-1989 Dean, McGeorge Law School
Richard Sterling Surrey 1990-1992
Stewart A. Baker 1992-1994
Ronald D. Lee 1994-1998 Arnold & Porter LLP
Robert L. Deitz 1998-2006 currently George Mason University
Vito T. Potenza (acting general counsel)

These general counsels were supposed to know about and completely analyze every NSA operation to determine the legality of it. Rindskopf Parker took over at the NSA less than a month after the La Penca bombing in May 1984, and the Iran-Contra Affair was in full gear. Much of Lt. Col. Oliver North’s operations (including the infamous diversion of funds to the “Contras” in Nicaragua) ought to have come across her desk, but she never emerged as a prominent figure in this scandal or any other scandals for that matter.

She then was nominated to be the General Counsel of the CIA (head of the Office of General Counsel or OGC) and took over that post in 1990. The following is an incomplete list of people holding this position (please help me complete it):

Lawrence R. Houston 1947-1973 (died 1995)
John Warner 1975?
Anthony A. Lapham 1976-1979 (died 2006)
Daniel B. Silver 1981-1982 (see above)
Stanley Sporkin ????-1986 Gavel Consulting Group
David P. Doherty 1988 retired, NYSE Euronext, Inc.
Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker 1990-1992 (see above)
Jeffrey H. Smith 1995-1996 Arnold & Porter LLP
Robert M. McNamara, Jr. 1997-2000 OmniTrust Security Systems(?)
Scott W. Muller 2002-2004 Davis, Polk & Wardwell LLP
John A. Rizzo (acting) 2002-2005 currently in the news about destroying tapes
Stephen Preston 2009-

This would have been an interesting transitional period for the CIA, since the major reason for the Agency’s existence, the Soviet Union, had just collapsed. Still, her extracurricular activities in the U.S. Intelligence community include being a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and being a member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security. When she makes public appearances as a pundit, her views strangely lean towards the liberal side.

I think Rindskopf Parker and other lawyers on these lists demonstrate that there is a deep connection to be drawn between the American Bar Association and the U.S. Intelligence Community. It’s no secret that the legal world has become one of the most important forces in the world of politics, but this means that setting public policy is not always a matter for the Courts or any other official procedure within the confines of our visible Government.

Talk of the “Shadow Government” reveals its implements in the U.S. Intelligence community. I lived through the 1980s watching Reagan and Papa Bush break one law after the other, using spin and control over the media to make it all seem like they were doing nothing wrong. In the 1990s, we then watched the exact opposite: every scandal possible stuck to the Clintons, including one of the most farcical sex scandals in political history, leading to only the second impeachment of a President in U.S. history. Then came Baby Bush, and pure lawlessness returned.

Make it through law school and into your cushy job and you’ll get to be one of the brats. For the rest of us, we need to stand up to the spooks, the ABA, and whatever other shadow entity tells us that we have been “eliminated,” for little other reason than “the tribe has spoken.”

Learn the law. Keep Government visible.
          How the U.S. of America Armed the Terrorist Gangs in Syria   
The policy of arming military groups committed to overthrowing the government of President Bashar al-Assad began in September 2011, when President Barack Obama was pressed by his Sunni allies—Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar—to supply heavy weapons to a military opposition to Assad they were determined to establish. Turkey and the Gulf regimes wanted the United States to provide anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels, according to a former Obama Administration official involved in Middle East issues. Obama refused to provide arms to the opposition, but he agreed to provide covert U.S. logistical help in carrying out a campaign of military assistance to arm opposition groups. CIA involvement in the arming of anti-Assad forces began with arranging for the shipment of weapons from the stocks of the Gaddafi regime that had been stored in Benghazi. CIA-controlled firms shipped the weapons from the military port of Benghazi to two small ports in Syria using former U.S. military personnel to manage the logistics, as investigative reporter Sy Hersh detailed in 2014. The funding for the program came mainly from the Saudis. A declassified October 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report revealed that the shipment in late August 2012 had included 500 sniper rifles, 100 RPG (rocket propelled grenade launchers) along with 300 RPG rounds and 400 howitzers. Each arms shipment encompassed as many as ten shipping containers, it reported, each of which held about 48,000 pounds of cargo. That suggests a total payload of up to 250 tons of weapons per shipment. Even if the CIA had organized only one shipment per month, the arms shipments would have totaled 2,750 tons of arms bound ultimately for Syria from October 2011 through August 2012. More likely it was a multiple of that figure.   The CIA’s covert arms shipments from Libya came to an abrupt halt in September 2012 when Libyan militants attacked and burned the embassy annex in Benghazi that had been used to support the operation. By then, however, a much larger channel for arming anti-government forces was opening up. The CIA put the Saudis in touch with a senior Croatian official who had offered to sell large quantities of arms left over from the Balkan Wars of the 1990s. And the CIA helped them shop for weapons from arms dealers and governments in several other former Soviet bloc countries. Flush with weapons acquired from both the CIA Libya program and from the Croatians, the Saudis and Qataris dramatically increased the number of flights by military cargo planes to Turkey in December 2012 and continued that intensive pace for the next two and a half months. The New York Times reported a total 160 such flights through mid-March 2013. The most common cargo plane in use in the Gulf, the Ilyushin IL-76, can carry roughly 50 tons of cargo on a flight, which would indicate that as much as 8,000 tons of weapons poured across the Turkish border into Syria just in late 2012 and in 2013... ... ... ... ... ...

Continue reading


          Daily One Liner Current Affairs Update - 28-29 June, 2017   

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Firstly, we loved how you guys appreciated current affairs at a glance(formerly) since its inception. Way back in 1st January, 2016, we launched this and it was highly appreciated. 


Earlier we used to update the daily one liner current affairs along with the Daily Current Affairs Updates. However, due to its popularity & quality, we have decided to post One Liner Current Affairs Update separately on a regular basis. We are starting off with the updates of 28 and 29 June, 2017 just to give you a demo.


Banking & Financial Updates
  • The Maharashtra government issued the Government Resolution (GR) on 28 June 2017 for the farm loan waiver of Rs 34022 crore announced by Chief Minister Devendra  Fadnavis last week.
  • India on 27 June 2017 made voluntary contribution of USD 100000 to the United Nations Trust Fund for International Cooperation in Tax Matters (UN Tax Fund).
  • The Union Government on 28 June 2017 simultaneously launched two key interventions: a revamped oil and gas bidding mechanism named Open Acreage Licensing Process (OALP) and the National Data Repository (NDR) for the first major oil field auctions to be held from 1 July 2017.
  • India on 27 June 2017 signed a loan agreement of USD 35 million with the World Bank for Assam State Public Financial Institutional Reforms Project.


India & States Updates
  • The Union Cabinet, presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 28 June 2017 approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Israel on National Campaign for Water Conservation in India.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 29 June 2017 inaugurated the centenary celebrations of Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. In addition, PM Modi also released the coin and postal stamp in the honour of Jain saint and philosopher Shrimad Rajchandra on his 150th birth anniversary at Abhay Ghat.
  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) on 28 June 2017 announced that it will launch a special drive to enrol left out electors, with a special focus on first time electors. The step is taken in the direction of Commission’s motto that 'No Voter to be Left Behind’. It is the first time that Facebook'svoter registration reminder has been rolled out across India.
  • India's latest communication satellite GSAT-17 was successfully launched from Kourou in French Guiana on 29 June 2017. The satellite was launched by French rocket Ariane-5.
  • India and the Netherlandson 27 June 2017 released a Joint Communiqué at The Hague. The Joint Communique was released after bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Dutch counterpart, Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
  • The Indian Army reportedly received its first batch of bullet-proof helmets from Kanpur-based MKU Industries.
  • Operations at one of three terminals at India's largest container port Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Mumbai were disrupted by the global ransomware attack. The attack was confirmed by the port authorities on 28 June 2017.





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Appointments
  • Rajiv Kumar was on 29 June 2017 appointed as the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Dr. Manoj Soni, former Vice Chancellor of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University, took the Oath of Office and Secrecy as Member of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on 28 June 2017 at Delhi.
  • Indian-American Krishna R Urs was on 28 June 2017 appointed as the United States (US) Ambassador to Peru by the President Donald Trump administration.
  • Jammu and Kashmir Governor Narinder Nath Vohra in the last week of June 2017 was appointed the President of the India International Centre (IIC).
  • Loknath Behra was on 28 June 2017 appointed as the Director General of Police (DGP) of Kerala as incumbent TP Senkumar will retire as the state DGP on 30 June 2017.
  • Former Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu on 27 June 2017 took over as the President of the International Economic Association (IEA) with effect from 23 June 2017.


Days & Observances
  • The International Day of the Tropics 2017 was observed across the world on 29 June 2017.
  • Sharjah, a city in the United Arab Emirates has been named as 'the World Book Capital' for 2019 by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova for the quality of its literary and cultural activities and for its efforts to make books accessible to the entire population of the nation. The programme runs with a slogan ‘Read - you are in Sharjah’.


World News Updates
  • The Trump administration has set new criteria for visa applicants from six Muslim nations and all refugees that require a close family or business tie to the United States. According to the new guidelines sent to all the US embassies and consulates on 28 June 2017, visa applicants from six countries- Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen-must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling in the United States in order to get a go ahead.
  • The Automated Teller Machine (ATM) marked its 50th anniversary on 27 June 2017. The first ATM was opened on 27 June 1967 at a branch of Barclays bank in Enfield, north London, the first of six cash dispensers commissioned by the bank.
  • The words Chana and Chana Dal were on 27 June 2017 added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). 'Chana' means Chickpeas and 'Chana Dal' stands for split chickpea lentils.


Sports Updates
  • Indian badminton player Kidambi Srikanth has re-entered the top ten of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) men's singles rankings for the first time in ten months.
  • Sri Lankan fast bowler, Lasith Malinga has been handed over a suspension ban of six months after a disciplinary inquiry found him guilty of breaching his contract by speaking to the media without permission.
  • Swiss legend Roger Federer on 25 June 2017 defeated Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-3 in the final to clinch the 2017 Halle Open Men’s Singles title.


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          Current Affairs Update – 28-29 June, 2017   

Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the Important Current Affairs of 28 & 29 June, 2017. These are important for the upcoming IBPS RRB OS-I, Office Assistant, IBPS PO, Dena Bank PGDBF, NABARD Grade A Recruitment Exam 2017.


Banking & Financial News

Maharashtra Government issued government resolution on loan waiver


  • The Maharashtra government issued the Government Resolution (GR) on 28 June 2017 for the farm loan waiver of Rs 34022 crore announced by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis last week.
  • The resolution said, loans of all indebted farmers whose accounts went into default until 30 June 2016, will be waived off with a cap of Rs 1.5 lakh per farmer.
  • It said, the farmers who have paid off their outstanding loans after 30 June 2016, will get a blanket help of Rs 25000 from the state government. The GR said, the farmers are entitled to get the benefit only once.
  • Persons with an annual turnover of over Rs 10 lakh and those who are registered under VAT or Service Tax will be ineligible for loan waiver. Retired persons excluding ex-servicemen whose monthly pension is Rs 15000 or more are also not eligible.
  • The GR says that the farmers, who have more than Rs 1.5 lakh debt, will get the benefit of loan waiver after they pay their remaining amount of debt along with interest. It also says that woman farmer would be given priority in this scheme.

India makes voluntary contribution of USD 100000 to United Nations Tax Fund


  • India on 27 June 2017 made voluntary contribution of USD 100000 to the United Nations Trust Fund for International Cooperation in Tax Matters (UN Tax Fund).
  • This voluntary contribution will be dedicated towards ensuring greater support for developing country participation in the subcommittee meetings of the UN Tax Committee which are currently unfunded.
  • By handing over the cheque to the UN Tax Trust Fund, Indian Government is hopeful that more developing countries will contribute towards the fund. This move is also expected to ensure that global tax cooperation norms and rules will work more effectively and efficiently for all countries and all stakeholders.
  • Voluntary contributions for the Trust Fund have been called for by the UN Tax Committee since its establishment in 2006. The call for contributions was also emphasized in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda adopted at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in 2015.

Union Government launched new bidding mechanism for mega oil and gas auctions


  • The Union Government on 28 June 2017 simultaneously launched two key interventions: a revamped oil and gas bidding mechanism named Open Acreage Licensing Process (OALP) and the National Data Repository (NDR) for the first major oil field auctions to be held from 1 July 2017.
  • The auctions will be held under a new Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP).
  • Arun Jaitely, Union Finance Minister, and Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Petroleum Minister, launched both the initiatives in a mega event in New Delhi.
  • The new bidding mechanism will allow interested firms to bid for blocks of their choice at any time of the year with the help of National Data Repository.
  • The NDR is a comprehensive database of India’s key sedimentary basins that will provide the bidders data on contract areas that will be available for auctioning.
  • Under the mechanism, an investor will be allowed to put forth an Expression of Interest for undertaking contracts under Petroleum Operations Contract (POC) or Reconnaissance Contract (RC).
  • The investor will have the liberty to apply for such contracts bi-annually. They may also participate in rounds of auctions conducted by the regulator DGH over and above the applications made under OALP.

India, World Bank sign USD 35 million agreement to enhance efficiency in tax administration in Assam


  • India on 27 June 2017 signed a loan agreement of USD 35 million with the World Bank for Assam State Public Financial Institutional Reforms Project.
  • The loan will be provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), an international financial institution under World Bank that offers loans to middle-income developing countries.
  • The agreement was signed by Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary under Department of Economic Affairs and John Blomquist, Acting Country Director of World Bank (India). The Implementing Entity Agreement was signed by Additional Chief Secretary (Finance) of Assam's Department of Finance and John Blomquist.
  • The objective of the project is to improve predictability and transparency in budget execution and efficiency in tax administration in Assam.
  • The project will benefit the citizens of Assam through efficient processes, enhanced transparency and better service delivery such as electronic payments and collections for services.
  • It will also lead to better public procurement and enhanced taxpayer services provided by public institutions.
  • The total project cost is USD 44 million, out of which USD 35 million will be financed by the World Bank. The remaining amount will be funded out of the State Budget.
  • The project duration is of 5 years.

6th Joint Trade Committee was convened between India and Myanmar


  • The 6th India-Myanmar Joint Trade Committee (JTC) Meeting was held on 27 June 2017 at New Delhi. The meeting was co-chaired by Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Commerce & Industry from India and Dr. Than Myint, Union Commerce Minister from Myanmar. The Joint Trade Committee plays a key role in facilitating issues related to the enhancement of the bilateral economic partnership between the two countries.
Speaking on the occasion, Sitharaman stated that both the countries have a long history of shared religious, linguistic and ethnic ties:
  • - Myanmar is India’s gateway to South East Asia and ASEAN with which India is seeking greater economic integration through ‘Act East’ Policy.
  • - Myanmar shares a long land border of over 1600 Kms with India as well as a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal.
  • - The bilateral relationship between the two countries has been further strengthened by the high-level exchanges.
  • - Prime Minister of India visited Myanmar in November 2014 for the Twelfth India-ASEAN Summit while the state counsellor of Myanmar visited India in October 2016.



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India's policy panel proposes to break up of Coal India into 7 firms


  • A new draft of a New Energy Policy (NEP) prepared by Union Government's policy think-tank, NITI Aayog, says that India should split the seven units of state-controlled Coal India Limited (CIL) into independent companies. This action will help the firm to be more competitive.
  • About 70 percent of India's power generation is fired by coal. The country is the world's third-largest producer and third-biggest importer of coal, which the government wants to change by boosting local coal production.
  • Fresh coal production should come from private sector mines, the government think-tank NITI Aayog said, adding that the move called for reforms in allocating coal blocks to independent companies specialised in coal mining.
  • The previous report of December 2016 by Reuters said that senior Indian government officials, tasked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with reviewing energy security, were recommending the breakup of the world's largest coal miner within a year.
  • Attempts to break up the world's biggest coal miner could expect resistance from powerful unions representing the firm's more than 350000 employees. The government backed down from a similar proposal in the face of union protests in 2014.
  • One of the unions, which is close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party, is against the move and says it, has the support of about half of Coal India's workers.
  • According to reports, Baij Nath Rai, president of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh in its conversation with Reuters said, “We are opposing the recommendations made by NITI Aayog".

News related to India and states

Union Cabinet approves MoU between India and Israel on National Campaign for Water Conservation


  • The Union Cabinet, presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 28 June 2017 approved signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Israel on National Campaign for Water Conservation in India.
  • The MoU will help India in conserving water for future generations.
  • As per the agreement, the two nations will work to enhance cooperation at the national, regional and international level to design, implement and monitor a professionally-designed National Water Conservation campaign in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates Centenary Celebrations of Sabarmati Ashram


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 29 June 2017 inaugurated the centenary celebrations of Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
  • In addition, PM Modi also released the coin and postal stamp in the honour of Jain saint and philosopher Shrimad Rajchandra on his 150th birth anniversary at Abhay Ghat.
  • Shrimad Rajchandra was a Jain poet, philosopher, scholar and reformer.

Election Commission to launch nationwide Voter Registration Reminder on Facebook


  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) on 28 June 2017 announced that it will launch a special drive to enrol left out electors, with a special focus on first time electors.
  • The step is taken in the direction of Commission’s motto that 'No Voter to be Left Behind’.
  • It is the first time that Facebook's voter registration reminder has been rolled out across India. The drive will be launched on 1 July 2017.
  •  In order to reach out to maximum eligible voters, the ECI is collaborating with Facebook to launch first nationwide Voter Registration Reminder. 
  • With over 180 million people in India on Facebook, the Register Now button is designed to encourage Indian citizens to register themselves with the Election Commission of India.
  • On 1 July 2017, a notification of the Voter Registration Reminder will be sent to people on Facebook in India who are eligible to vote.

India's communication satellite GSAT-17 successfully launched


  • India's latest communication satellite GSAT-17 was successfully launched from Kourou in French Guiana on 29 June 2017. The satellite was launched by French rocket Ariane-5. The European launcher Arianespace Flight VA238 blasted off from Ariane Launch Complex No 3 (ELA 3) at Kourou, a French territory located in the northeastern coast of South America, a couple of minutes delayed than the scheduled time of 2:29 hrs India time.
  • After its lift-off at 2:45 am (IST) and a flight lasting about 39 minutes, GSAT-17 separated from the Ariane 5 upper stage in an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 249 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 35920 km, inclined at an angle of 3 degrees to the equator.
  • GSAT-17 with a lift-off mass of about 3477 kg carries payloads in Normal C-band, Extended C-band and S-band to provide various communication services. GSAT-17 has a life expectancy of 15 years.
  • The Satellite also carries equipment for meteorological data relay and satellite-based search and rescue services being provided by earlier INSAT satellites.

India-Netherlands Joint Communique issued during PM Modi’s visit


  • India and the Netherlands on 27 June 2017 released a Joint Communiqué at The Hague. The Joint Communique was released after bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Dutch counterpart, Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
  • The communiqué was released during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s working visit to the Netherlands on 27 June 2017. Modi was on a visit to the Netherlands at the invitation of his Dutch counterpart. His visit to the nation also marked 70 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and the Netherlands.
  • During this visit, Modi met with his counterpart Mark Rutte, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Maxima. In addition, Prime Minister Modi also met with representatives of Dutch companies operating in the Indian market and those who are keen to invest there.
  • Earlier on his arrival, the Prime Minister was welcomed at Schiphol Airport by Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders.

Indian Army gets first batch of modern bullet-proof helmets


  • The Indian Army reportedly received its first batch of bullet-proof helmets from Kanpur-based MKU Industries.
  • The MKU Industries, which supplies military equipment to the United Nations and NATO, was awarded a contract to manufacture 1.58 lakh helmets at the cost of Rs 180 crore.
  • Indian Army has ordered the bolted version of bolt-free ballistic helmets. Bolt-free is a higher and expensive version of bullet-proof helmets, which gives all-round protection from head injuries.
  • The MKU Industries claims that the bullet-proof helmets go through rigorous quality tests and ballistic lab test conducted at its testing facilities in India as well as in Germany.
  • The helmets are reportedly designed to bear the impact of 9 mm ammunition fired from a short range.
  • They match global standards of equipment for armed forces.
  • The bullet-proof helmet has the main protective layer of Kevlar, which has high tensile strength-to-weight ratio; by this measure it is 5 times stronger than steel.

JNPT, India's largest container port, hit by cyber attack


  • Operations at one of three terminals at India's largest container port Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Mumbai were disrupted by the global ransomware attack. The attack was confirmed by the port authorities on 28 June 2017.
  • The impacted terminal is operated by Danish shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk. The Maersk group confirmed individually on 27 June that its operations were hit by a cyber attack named Petya that affected its multiple sites and select business units.
  • The group’s statement read, “We are responding to the situation to contain and limit the impact and uphold operations."
  • Anil Diggikar, JNPT chairman also stated that the port has been trying to clear containers manually but its operating capacity has dropped to a third at the terminal.
  • “This is a fallout of global cyber attack. Containers are piling up outside the port due to delay in loading and unloading at Gateway Terminals India,” Diggikar said and added that they are hopeful that the operations would normalise in a day.
  • AP Moller-Maersk operates the Gateway Terminals India (GTI) at JNPT, which has a capacity to handle 1.8 million standard container units.


Appointments

Rajiv Kumar appointed as Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh


  • Rajiv Kumar was on 29 June 2017 appointed as the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh. His appointment was approved by the Uttar Pradesh Government.
  • Prior to this appointment, Kumar was a Secretary in the Union Shipping ministry. He is a 1981 batch IAS Officer of the Uttar Pradesh cadre.
  • Kumar succeeds Rahul Prasad Bhatnagar, who was appointed by the previous Samajwadi Party (SP) government and continued to serve in the office for three months under the Yogi Adityanath government.
  • Rahul Prasad Bhatnagar, the outgoing Chief Secretary, will now serve as the Chairman of the Greater Noida Authority and also as the Investment Commissioner of Uttar Pradesh in New Delhi.

Former Vice Chancellor of Ambedkar University takes oath as UPSC Member


  • Dr. Manoj Soni, former Vice Chancellor of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University, took the Oath of Office and Secrecy as Member of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on 28 June 2017 at Delhi.
  • The Oath was administered by the UPSC Chairman David R Syiemlieh. UPSC conducts recruitment exams to select country’s top bureaucrats.

Indian-American Krishna R Urs appointed as US Ambassador to Peru


  • Indian-American Krishna R Urs was on 28 June 2017 appointed as the United States (US) Ambassador to Peru by the President Donald Trump administration.
  • Krishna is currently serving as the Charge d' Affaires of the US Embassy in Madrid, Spain, where he was also the Deputy Chief of Mission. He has been a career service American diplomat since 1986.
  • During three decades of State Department service, Urs has specialised in economic issues and developed extensive policy experience in the Andean region of South America.

Narinder Nath Vohra appointed as President of India International Centre


  • Jammu and Kashmir Governor Narinder Nath Vohra in the last week of June 2017 was appointed the President of the India International Centre (IIC).
  • Vohra was appointed as the president at the Annual General Meeting, which was held on 23 June 2017.
  • The appointment was made after eminent jurist Soli Sorabjee quit the presidential post.
He is the first civilian Governor of Jammu and Kashmir in 18 years after Jagmohan.

Loknath Behra appointed as DGP of Kerala


  • Loknath Behra was on 28 June 2017 appointed as the Director General of Police (DGP) of Kerala as incumbent TP Senkumar will retire as the state DGP on 30 June 2017.
  • Behra's appointment as state police chief was confirmed by the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government after the cabinet meeting.
  • Behra is currently serving as the Director of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau. He is a 1985 batch Kerala cadre IPS officer.

Kaushik Basu takes over as President of International Economic Association


  • Former Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu on 27 June 2017 took over as the President of the International Economic Association (IEA) with effect from 23 June 2017. He will serve the office for three years.
  • The IEA is a leading organisation for professional economists that seeks to shape global economic policy and research. Among IEA's past presidents are Nobel laureates Kenneth Arrow, Robert Solow, Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz.

Days

International Day of the Tropics 2017 observed globally


  • The International Day of the Tropics 2017 was observed across the world on 29 June 2017 with an aim to raise awareness to the specific challenges faced by tropical areas and the far-reaching implications of the issues affecting the world’s tropical zone.
  • The International Day of the Tropics celebrates the diversity of the tropics and provides an opportunity to share tropical stories and expertise and to acknowledge the diversity and potential of the region.
  • The day was proclaimed on 14 June 2016 by the resolution of United Nations General Assembly to mark the anniversary of the 'State of the Tropics Report' that was launched by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi on 29 June 2014.

Sharjah named World Book Capital 2019 by UNESCO


  • Sharjah, a city in the United Arab Emirates has been named as 'the World Book Capital' for 2019 by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova for the quality of its literary and cultural activities and for its efforts to make books accessible to the entire population of the nation.
  • Bokova took the decision on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee that met at the Headquarters of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) at La Haye.
  • The programme runs with a slogan ‘Read - you are in Sharjah’.
  • It focuses on six themes: inclusivity, reading, heritage, outreach, publishing and children.
  • It would include a conference on freedom of speech, a contest for young poets, workshops for creating Braille books and tactile books as well as many other events for Sharjah's multi-ethnic population.

World News

Trump’s travel ban: Visa applicants from these 6 Muslim nations require close family ties in US


  • The Trump administration has set new criteria for visa applicants from six Muslim nations and all refugees that require a close family or business tie to the United States.
  • According to the new guidelines sent to all the US embassies and consulates on 28 June 2017, visa applicants from six countries- Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen-must prove a relationship with a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling in the United States in order to get a go ahead.
  • The new guideless have been set by the State Department, according to which extended family members including grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law and fiancées are not considered to be close relationships.
  • These new measures are expected to be implemented from 29 June 2017.
  • The court’s opinion exempts applicants from the ban if they can prove a “bona fide relationship” with a US person or entity. However, it is up to the government lawyers to determine how to define such a relationship. The court offered only broad guidelines suggesting it would include a relative, job offer or invitation to lecture in the US.
  • The move comes after the Supreme Court partially restored President Donald Trump's executive order that was widely criticised as a ban on Muslims.

World's first ATM celebrates its 50th birthday


  • The Automated Teller Machine (ATM) marked its 50th anniversary on 27 June 2017.
  • The first ATM was opened on 27 June 1967 at a branch of Barclays bank in Enfield, north London, the first of six cash dispensers commissioned by the bank.
  • To celebrate the occasion, the British bank decorated the site of the world's first cashpoint in gold. A black-and-white picture of Varney using the ATM hangs above it, while a commemorative gold plaque has been placed on the bank wall.
  • The original cash machine was the brainchild of Scottish inventor John Shepherd-Barron, who was commissioned by the bank to create six cash dispensers, which based on vending machines.
  • The first person to use the inaugural ATM was actor Reg Varney, the star of a popular British TV comedy called "On The Buses."
  • Transactions were initiated by inserting paper cheques issued by a teller or cashier, marked with carbon-14 for machine readability and security.


Chinese Navy launches biggest new generation destroyer


  • China’s Navy on 28 June 2017 launched its biggest new generation destroyer that weighs around 10,000 tonnes at the Jiangnan Shipyard (Group) in Shanghai. The launch is a part of the country’s massive expansion effort to become a global naval power.
  • The new destroyer, which is a domestically designed and produced vessel, is the first of China’s new generation of destroyers.
  • The destroyer is equipped with new air defence, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons.
  • The ship is believed to be the first Type 055 destroyer, which is considered to be a successor class to the country’s smaller Type 052D guided missile destroyers.
  • The vessel will have to undergo planned testing including equipment operation, berthing and sailing before it is commissioned into use.

Chana and Chana Dal words added to Oxford English Dictionary


  • The words Chana and Chana Dal were on 27 June 2017 added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). 'Chana' means Chickpeas and 'Chana Dal' stands for split chickpea lentils.
  • With this, these Indian food essentials Chickpeas (chana) and the split chickpea lentils (chana dal) join the vast list of more than 600 other words and phrases that have been included in its quarterly update of the Oxford English Dictionary.
  • The other prominent new entries in the OED include a batch of tennis-related words like "Forced Error".
  • A slang 'Bagel' has also been added which refers to a score in a set of six games to love, as there is similarity of the numeral zero to the shape of a bagel.
  • A new sense of 'woke', which was shortlisted for 'Word of the Year', has also been added. It means alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice.

US adds China to the list of Worst Human Trafficking Offenders


  • The United States State Department in the last week of June 2017 issued highly public criticism of China in its latest annual report on the global state of human trafficking.
  • As per the Trafficking in Persons report, China is among the worst offenders of human trafficking.
  • China is now grouped with Tier 3 offenders such as Syria, Iran, Russia and North Korea.
  • China was downgraded to Tier 3 status in 2017 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) in part because it has not taken serious steps to end its own complicity in trafficking, including forced labours from North Korea that are located in China.
  • Several other countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea and Mali were downgraded to Tier 3 status.

Sports News

Kidambi Srikanth re-enters top 10 of BWF men’s rankings


  • Indian badminton player Kidambi Srikanth has re-entered the top ten of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) men's singles rankings for the first time in ten months.
  • The rankings, which were released on 29 June 2017, saw Srikanth placed at the 8th position with 58,583 points. The development comes less than a week after the ace shuttler beat Olympic champion Chen Long in straight games 22-20, 21-6 to claim the Australian Open Super Series and before that Japan's Kazumasa Sakai to clinch the Indonesian Open.
  • Srikanth is the lone Indian shuttler to figure in the top-10 of men's singles ranking after climbing up three places.
  • The 24-year-old had last reached the top ten in October 2016, few months after he reached the quarter-finals at the Rio Olympics 2016.

Lasith Malinga gets one-year ban, fined for media remarks


  • Sri Lankan fast bowler, Lasith Malinga has been handed over a suspension ban of six months after a disciplinary inquiry found him guilty of breaching his contract by speaking to the media without permission.
  • Malinga will also be fined 50 percent of the match fee from his next one-day international. He will be facing a disciplinary inquiry over his comments about Sri Lanka's Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara. 

Roger Federer defeats Alexander Zverev to lift ninth Halle Open title

  • Swiss legend Roger Federer on 25 June 2017 defeated Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-3 in the final to clinch the 2017 Halle Open Men’s Singles title.
  • The final took place at the Gerry Weber Stadion in Halle, Germany.
  • He also won the Olympic gold medal in doubles with his compatriot Stan Wawrinka at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games and the Olympic silver medal in singles at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
  • He is currently ranked world No. 5 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).












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          Obama to emphasize executive action in State of the Union   

President Obama works on a draft of his State of the Union address in the Oval Office Monday at the White House. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Fresh off his 2012 re-election victory and second inaugural, with approval ratings above 50 percent, President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address last year to call for bold action on issues such as tax reform, climate change, gun control legislation and immigration reform.

Now, a week into the sixth year of his presidency, with polls revealing an intense pessimism about the direction of the country and dwindling faith in its leaders, Mr. Obama is expected to steer clear of far-reaching goals and focus instead on what can be achieved — through the legislative process, or, if need be, unilateral action.

The president signaled that change in approach during a Cabinet meeting two weeks ago, saying he did not intend to wait for Congress to act in order to move forward with his agenda of economic mobility and income inequality. “I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone,” the president said at the time.

The Morning Line

It’s a message his aides have hammered home in the days leading up to Tuesday’s speech. “You can be sure that the president fully intends to use his executive authority to use the unique powers of the office to make progress on economic opportunity,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Monday.

The administration gave an early sign of what to expect Tuesday night, feeding reports the president plans to take executive action requiring that some federal contract workers, such as janitors and construction workers, be paid at least $10.10 an hour. The New York Times’ Peter Baker has the details:

The order, which Mr. Obama will highlight in his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday night, is meant to underscore an increasing willingness by the president to bypass Congress if lawmakers continue to resist his agenda, aides said. After a year in which most of his legislative priorities went nowhere, Mr. Obama is seeking ways to make progress without cooperation on Capitol Hill.

The minimum wage provides an example of what he has in mind. Mr. Obama called on Congress during last year’s State of the Union address to raise the minimum wage for workers across the board, only to watch the idea languish on Capitol Hill, where opponents argued it would hurt business and stifle job creation. With prospects for congressional action still slim, Mr. Obama is using the executive order covering federal contractors to go as far as he can go on his own.

The president’s executive action game plan does carry the risk of inflaming tensions with congressional Republicans already frustrated by the administration’s handling of relations with lawmakers.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the vice chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, blasted the strategy on Monday’s NewsHour. “That’s giving up on the Congress, but more importantly, it’s giving up on the Constitution,” Blunt said. “The president needs to lead us out of this, rather than to be the person who says, nothing can be done about this, so I’m just going to do what I can do by myself.”

[Watch Video]

The president will also have to overcome the challenge of a public that has become increasingly worried about the direction of the country.

According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.pdf), 63 percent of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track.

NBC’s Mark Murray highlights another finding from the survey:

In more tough numbers for the president, only a combined 40 percent say they are “optimistic and confident” or “satisfied and hopeful” about the president’s remaining time in office. By contrast, a combined 59 percent say they are “uncertain and wondering” or “pessimistic and worried.”

If there is a silver lining for the president, it is that Congress is held in even lower regard, with just a 13 percent approval rating. A majority of respondents (51 percent) also said they believed Republicans are too inflexible in their negotiations with the president.

The poll also found solid support for Mr. Obama’s priorities, including access to preschool education, closing corporate tax loopholes and raising the minimum wage, giving him a base on which to build support for his agenda. The president will begin that push Tuesday night, and take his message on the road for a two-day swing through Maryland, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Pennsylvania starting Wednesday.

LINE ITEMS

  • House Speaker John Boehner is expected to issue a list of extensive immigration principles Wednesday at a three-day GOP retreat in Maryland. Despite pushback from some conservatives, the House Republican leadership’s plan will include a path to legal status for illegal immigrants in the country, the New York Times reports.
  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that her biggest regret during the four years she served as the nation’s top diplomat was the death of four Americans in the terror attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya.
  • The lawmakers negotiating the long-awaited farm bill have reached a deal. It preserves most food stamp programs and farm subsidies and could come to a vote on Wednesday.
  • GOP Senators released new legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act to bring health care under state control.
  • Politico rounds up more of the president and first lady’s guests for the State of the Union. They include the CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra, an immigrant who is eligible for deferred action from deportation, and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear.
  • Roll Call’s Meredith Shiner profiled Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Il., who is seeking re-election in 2016.
  • Florida could be the next state to legalize medical marijuana. On Monday the Florida Supreme Court allowed an initiative legalizing medical marijuana to appear on the ballot in November.
  • Clay Pell, grandson of the late Sen. Claiborne Pell, is expected to formally announce his campaign for governor of Rhode Island on Tuesday. The 32-year-old Democrat is married to former Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan.
  • Former Virginia GOP Sen. John Warner endorsed Democratic Sen. Mark Warner’s re-election bid Monday, dealing a blow to Republican candidate Ed Gillespie, who recently launched his campaign.
  • Fixing the economy is at the top of Americans’ to-do list for Congress, a Pew Research Center survey showed Monday. NewsHour Desk Assistant Zachary Treu rounded up the survey’s highlights.
  • Mr. Obama is relatively unpopular in states that will be key for Democratic Senate candidates in 2014, such as Montana, Arkansas and Alaska, a Gallup poll found. While the president is most popular in Hawaii, D.C. and Maryland, he is least popular in Wyoming, West Virginia and Utah.
  • N.J. Gov. Chris Christie’s support from political moderates has suffered a serious blow since recent revelations about his administration’s involvement in closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge. The 44 percent favorability from moderates he enjoyed in October has been cut in half, according to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll.
  • Reid Wilson of the Washington Post writes how Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has quietly pushed for the state’s top female leaders to become Iowa’s first woman sent to Congress.
  • New York Times Gotham columnist Michael Powell hears from the artist whom New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno accused of contract fraud.
  • Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., is bringing Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich to the State of the Union, although Pascrell said the invitation has nothing to do with the bridge scandal that has made Sokolich famous. Sokolich actually endorsed Pascrell’s opponent, Steve Rothman, in his 2012 primary.
  • Politico’s John Aloysius Farrell looks at the ill-fated responses to the president’s annual address, known as “The State of the Union Curse.”
  • The Senate Majority PAC has purchased $225,000 in television ads to maintain retiring Democrat Sen. Tom Harkin’s seat in Iowa. Congressman Bruce Braley, who is running to replace Harkin, has been the subject of many negative ads run by the teams of six GOP candidates.

TOP TWEETS

Ruth Tam, Bridget Bowman and Simone Pathe contributed to this report. For more political coverage, visit our politics page. Sign up here to receive the Morning Line in your inbox every morning. Questions or comments? Email Terence Burlij at tburlij-at-newshour-dot-org. Follow the politics team on Twitter:

 

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          Re: Blaming Obama   
1.Oh, my, 'tis only a literary crush. I have my own hero.
2, A psychotic obsession would be if I lost an election, then blabbed on and on and on about it was not my fault but everyone else's fault that I lost. A psychotic obsession with forever evading responsibility, including Libya.THAT I would seek treatment for.
3. I wrote humor and when I did, every word mattered and editing was crucial - from both my editor and myself. This is not a column, ninny.
4. Must write a speech now - what "this" is is me procrastinating writing what I am supposed to - this is fun. By, bye, cuties.
Posted by Investigator of both sides
          Weekly catch-up   
Supreme Court agrees to review “travel ban” cases and partially stays injunctions on the ban pending a final decision. The Trump Administration won a partial victory this week when the U.S. Supreme Court decided that portions of the preliminary injunctions against the “travel ban” issued in March should be stayed. What that means is that the travel ban is now in effect for foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen who do not have bona fide close family relationships with persons in the United States or bona fide pre-existing, documented relationships with entities (such as schools or employers) in the United States. The decision is only preliminary. The case will be heard by the Supreme Court during the first session of its October term. Will Krasnow of our Immigration Practice Group tells us what this means for employers. The May-June Executive Labor Summary is out! Once again, David Phippen has outdone…
          Clinton On Benghazi Report: Time to ‘Move On’   
Hillary Clinton said Tuesday the nation should move on after Republicans on the House Benghazi Committee released a report critical of the slow response to the deadly 2012 attacks at the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Libya.
          Opinion: Why Benghazi Matters   
As the politicians on the “left” and other persons on the political “left” insist that the election is over and that is why the rest of Americans should move on and drop the Benghazi, Libya controversy, those “leftists” need to understand exactly why the truth about the Benghazi terrorist attack needs to come out.
          Ruppersberger: Petraeus’ Testimony Will Focus On Benghazi, Not Sex Scandal   
Former CIA Director David Petraeus will appear on Capitol Hill on Friday to testify about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya. His testimony comes as we learn more about the scandal that forced him to resign.
          Opinion: Petraeus Must Testify On Libya   
Petraeus must either volunteer to speak as a civilian or Congress must subpoena the former CIA Director to speak to complete the Benghazi puzzle.
          Opinion: Obama’s Security Breach In Libya Is Ignored By American Media   
As the liberal American press and ultra-liberal bloggers inundate the Internet and newsprints with criticisms of what Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential challenger to President Barack Obama, said about Obama during the Libyan attacks and murders, throngs of foreign press and few American outlets tell the real story involved with the White House’s role in the incidents that we now know could have been prevented.
          Ruppersberger: Fatal Attacks Against Americans In Middle East ‘Very Disheartening’   
In Washington, members of the gang of eight, the House and Senate intelligence committees, are getting regular briefings as investigators gather details of the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.
          Scores feared dead after boat sinks off Libya coast   
More than 10,000 people were rescued last week from rickety boats that had set off from Libya.
          Unusual Berber trouble in Moroocco. Al Qaeda suspected. Jacques Neriah, @JerusalemCenter @ELALUSA Report w/Malcolm Hoenlein @Conf_of_pres.   
06-29-2017 (Photo: ) http://JohnBatchelorShow.com/contact http://JohnBatchelorShow.com/schedules Twitter: @BatchelorShow Unusual Berber trouble in Moroocco. Al Qaeda suspected. Jacques Neriah, @JerusalemCenter @ELALUSA Report w/Malcolm Hoenlein @Conf_of_pres. Domestic tensions in Morocco are brewing; unrest and protests have been noted in the northern part of the Kingdom, and the regime is unable to control the situation and calm the passions. In many ways, events in Morocco since late October are a reminder of those that preceded the ousting of the Tunisian President Zein El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 and launched the “Arab Spring.” The surface calm in Morocco was broken by a harrowing incident on October 28, 2016, in the northern town of Al-Hoceima on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast. The police threw Mouhcine Fikri’s whole fish catch into the bin of a waste truck. The fishmonger tried to save his catch and jumped into the waste bin. He was crushed to death by the grinder. Protests began in the coastal town of Al-Hoceima but very quickly spread to other northern cities such as Nador and even in Morocco’s main cities – Rabat, Casablanca, and Tangier. According to Moroccan authorities, more than 1,600 Moroccans have joined the ranks of the jihadists in Syria, Libya, and Iraq, and 200 to 240 out of that number have returned either to Morocco or European countries. The Kingdom has embarked on a special religious education program aimed at neutralizing all extremist interpretations of the Koran. King Mohammad VI instructed the ministry of education to remove from schoolbooks all references to jihad. The Moroccan press reported that King Mohammed VI decided not to attend the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) meeting in Monrovia on June 4, 2017, because he was reluctant to meet Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu who had been invited by the President of Liberia to address the forum. King Mohammed, it was reported, thought he would be the only speaker at the gathering. However, that is a very dubious explanation for the king’s absence especially since Morocco has been very active during the past year lobbying to regain its position in the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and never missed a forum to recruit African members to support its candidacy. The fact is that the domestic tensions in Morocco are brewing; unrest and protests have been noted in the northern part of the Kingdom, and the regime is unable to control the situation and calm down the passions. In many ways, events in Morocco since late October are a reminder of those that preceded the ousting of the Tunisian President Zein El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. On December 17, 2010, the police of a small, forgotten, and deprived town called Sidi Bouzid in southern Tunisia confiscated the scales of a 26 years-old street vendor, Mohammad Bouazizi, under the false claim he had infringed upon the law by illegally selling vegetables at a mobile stand. In truth, Bouazizi had refused to pay a bribe to the police. Adding insult to injury, it was reported that a policewoman hit him in the face and insulted his deceased father. In the aftermath, Bouazizi was banned from the provincial government building to file a complaint. Outraged by his public humiliation, Bouazizi poured kerosene on himself and set himself ablaze in front of the governor’s house.1 This was the beginning of what was then named “the Arab Spring.” The wave of popular protest ultimately led to the demise of the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia and his escape to Saudi Arabia. The protest wave did not spare other regimes such as Libya, Egypt, Syria, and others. In some countries, the wave transformed into a tsunami and brought down well-established regimes such as Egypt’s Mubarak, Libya’s Qaddafi while in others it became a prelude to civil wars in Syria and Iraq. The shockwave was felt in all Arab countries. Still, most of them survived at the price of ceding power to the opposition and i...
          Una medina antigua “refrigerada” en el desierto (Gadamés, Libia)   

Aunque el calor sea abrumador en Gadamés, en las calles de su medina antigua y la Ciudad Vieja, hasta podríamos descreer que nos encontramos en pleno desierto. Gadamés (o Gadamis) es la ciudad de Libia situada en un oasis casi en la frontera de Túnez y Argelia. En su parte antigua, hoy parcialmente deshabitada, se […]

The post Una medina antigua “refrigerada” en el desierto (Gadamés, Libia) appeared first on Viajes - 101lugaresincreibles -.


          President's Constitutional Authorities . . . Temecula Constitution Class   
Temecula Constitution Class, Thursday Night at 6:30 pm at Faith Armory, 41669 Winchester Road 
Constitution Class Handout
Instructor: Douglas V. Gibbs

 
 

 
 
Lesson 6: Powers of the Executive Branch
 
Article II, Section 2
 
Commander in Chief
 
Section 2 of Article II establishes the President as the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.
 
This allows for the President to wage war, if necessary, without Congressional approval. However, if Congress does not agree with the President's actions, they can pull the funding, which would force a discontinuation of the use of the military for whatever operations the President chose them to operate.  In the Articles of Confederation, the powers to wage war, and to declare war, were listed as separate authorities, although in the Articles of Confederation both powers were granted to the Congress.
 
There were extensive debates over war powers. In fact, when the founders were debating over war powers in regards to Article I during their assembly on August 17, 1787, they considered giving to Congress the power to "make war."  A number of reasons brought up during that debate convinced the delegates to give Congress the power to declare war, instead.  This decision left the power to make war with the President, as Commander in Chief.
 
When the Framers of the Constitution were creating the executive branch, the President they had in mind was George Washington.  He was, in their eyes, the perfect President.   The executive branch was fashioned around Washington's personality, and abilities.  The expectations were that the presidents to follow Washington would be similar to Mr. Washington in their level of sacred honor, humility, and ability to properly apply the war powers as necessary, while refraining from becoming involved in foreign entanglements that did not directly affect the United States of America.
 
Among Washington's strengths was that he was a great general.  It became apparent that the President would need to be a strong military leader.  However, the consideration that an executive may take that power and abuse it was in play.  Therefore, a number of checks and balances against the power of the executive branch were put into place.
 
Part of the reason the power to make war was given to the President, and not Congress, has much to do with the time period.  One must consider that when the members of Congress were at home in their districts, it could be as far as the southernmost State of Georgia.  Considering the lack of technology, members of Congress could not just get on a plane, or take a drive, to get to Washington, D.C., quickly.  Even the time it may take to get the messages out to the members of Congress could take longer than the time needed to begin necessary war maneuvers.
 
When it came to war powers, the need was for the Commander in Chief to be quick, decisive, and take care of business as needed.  However, if we have a President acting in a tyrannical manner, launching military operations when it is not necessary, aside from the ability to electorally vote the President out of office, the Congress has two ways to check his behavior.
 
First, Congress can pull funding.  If there is no money, the troops must be brought home.  Second, the Congress has the power to impeach the President if he is becoming tyrannical, or is doing things that he shouldn't (maladministration).
 
One concern that has arisen in today's political environment, largely as a result of the change in the dynamics of our political system by the 17th Amendment in 1913 that changed the Senate from being the voice of the States, to an assembly directly voted into office by public vote, is if both Houses of Congress are in collusion with the President.  A White House administration with both Houses of Congress working with the President could be a recipe for disaster in regards to the rule of law, creating an opportunity for those three parts of the federal government to collude against the people, which would inevitably lead to the rise of an unchecked oligarchy.
 
In the cases of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Libya, the President had every right to launch those operations.  That is not to say the decisions were correct, or in the best interest of our country, but that the President had the constitutional authority to wage war in those theaters without his actions being accompanied by a congressional declaration of war.
 
When it came to foreign entanglements, the Founders preferred America to stay out of such conflicts unless American interests were directly influenced.  George Washington in his farewell address is actually quite clear on the subject.
 
Congress holding the power to declare war does not mean that the President must ask Congress for permission before waging war.  In today's world it would seem to be the reasonable thing to do, and I believe it would be the proper thing to do, but as far as the Constitution is concerned, congressional approval for a military action is not necessary.
 
A reference used to support the concept of "no war without a declaration" is The War Powers Act of 1973.  The War Powers Act was simply a piece of legislation, and did not change the authorities of the President when it came to his war powers.  The War Powers Act is unconstitutional.  Only amendments can change the authorities granted to the President of the United States.
 
The two Barbary Wars, the first two international wars the United States found herself engaged in, were waged by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.  Jefferson's engagement against the Muslim States of the Barbary Coast was fought from 1802 to 1805, after Jefferson refused to continue paying a tribute to the Barbary Pirates for safe passage through the Mediterranean Sea.  Hostilities were reignited in 1815, during Madison's presidency.  Both wars were undeclared, waged by Jefferson and Madison without a declaration of war from the Congress, but Congress did appropriate funding for both campaigns.
 
            Calling forth the Militia
 
The President of the United States is not supposed to be all powerful, or the final decision maker in the federal government.  The American System of government is full of checks and balances.  Even as the Commander in Chief, if he is abusing his power as the head of military operations, Congress can defund war efforts, or impeach the President.
 
In Article II the Constitution states that the President is the "Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the United States."  Some have argued that means he is only Commander in Chief when "he" is called into service to do so, which is accomplished by a declaration of war.  That is an erroneous opinion.
 
As Commander in Chief, the President may engage the Army and Navy in war operations as necessary.  This power of Commander in Chief does not extend to the militias at the President's whim.  The President is only the Commander in Chief of the Militia of the several States, when the militia is called into actual service of the United States.
 
The distinction was established so that the President could use military forces against foreign enemies if a quick and decisive decision was necessary, but not against the States, or the American people.  The standing army is not for domestic use to suppress insurrections, or repel invasions.  That is what the militias are for, and the militia can only be put into action by Congress, or State leadership.  The President does not control the militias, nor does he determine when they go into action.  His only relationship with the militias only emerges when they are called into actual service of the United States by the United States Congress.  Then, and only then, the President serves as Commander in Chief over the militias.
 
Article I, Section 8 states that "Congress shall have power to provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel invasions."
 
States cannot call their militia into action "unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay." (Article I, Section 10)
 
Though the President is tasked with "faithfully executing the laws of the United States" as stated in Article II, Section 3, and he can do so with executive departments such as I.C.E., and the Border Patrol, the actual call for the militia (National Guard, State Militias, unorganized militia) to protect the border is the responsibility of Congress, and State leadership.
 
            Executive Departments and Agencies
 
Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 indicates the President may "require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective offices."  This part of this clause is a good indication that the Founding Fathers felt the President should consult others when making decisions, especially those familiar with the departments in question.
 
The existence of the different executive departments is constitutional, as long as they are established to handle constitutional duties of the federal government, and their powers are limited within constitutional allowances.  Originally, there were only four executive departments (and five if you separate the War Department and Department of the Navy); the War Department, the State Department, the Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Justice.  The Department of the Navy served as a separate department until 1947, but worked closely with the Department of War.
 
There are many departments in the executive branch that are unconstitutional, and should not have even been established.  The Education Department, for example, is unconstitutional in its current form because there is no place in the Constitution that gives the federal government the authority to regulate, or be involved in, education.  Therefore, as per the 10th Amendment, education is a State issue. 
 
The Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency are also unconstitutional.  The federal government has no authority to regulate those issues.  However, if those departments did not regulate, but only kept studies and records of those issues, then the existence of those agencies may be acceptable.
 
The executive branch can have departments and agencies that study issues not authorized by the Constitution to fall under the federal government, but they cannot have any regulatory power because any federal laws regarding those issues are not constitutionally authorized to the United States Government.  Regulations are directly connected to laws, and laws must be constitutional in the first place in order to be considered the supreme law of the land.
 
Despite these agencies not being legally allowed to regulate unconstitutional law, agencies like the EPA are doing just that.  In fact, the EPA is regulating independently, literally legislating through regulations.  In other words, the EPA, as well as other agencies, have been enacting their own regulations without the benefit of a law being on the books, revealing the danger of having unconstitutional departments and agencies.
 
This is not to say we should not have the various departments and agencies of the executive branch.  Some of them are constitutional, and absolutely necessary.
 
Correction of federal unconstitutionality can be sought through concepts known as Republic Review, and nullification.  By using a convention of delegates from the several States to determine the unconstitutionality of particular laws, actions, or departments of the federal government, the States can be encouraged to work together to nullify the unconstitutional regulations set forth by the various federal agencies.  The States have the authority to take care of their own business, and if a federal agency tries to regulate an issue that falls under the State's powers, the States have the right to ignore that regulation.
 
A common belief is that if we do not have these various federal agencies regulating things like food, energy, and actions against the environment, people will just act in ways that are unacceptable and dangerous.  The opposition to the Constitution will tell you that we need the federal government to make sure that our food is safe, energy is used properly, and corporations are not polluting our fragile environment.
 
Local issues are supposed to be handled at the local level, and the people, through their States, are more than capable of properly regulating these issues as necessary, but in a manner that is consistent with the local opinion of the electorate.
 
The Founding Fathers did not trust a large, centralized, national government, hence, the reason the Framers only granted to the federal government authorities regarding external issues, and the power to act as a mediator between the States in the case of disagreement. 
 
            Reprieves and Pardons
 
The President is also given the power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.  This was one of the first functions President Gerald Ford took advantage of when he took office after President Richard Nixon resigned, pardoning Nixon so that no criminal cases could be brought against him.  No impeachment procedure had ensued, so Ford was constitutionally allowed to grant the pardon.  It has been suggested that is why Nixon resigned.  If he had not resigned, and was impeached, the next President would not have had the authority to pardon him.
 
The President is granted the ability to make treaties and to nominate members to the executive branch, Supreme Court, and other offices not expressly provided for in the Constitution.  Agreement and consent of two thirds of the Senate is necessary for any treaty, or nomination for that matter, to become effective.  The advise and consent powers granted to the United States Senate was a way of disallowing the executive branch from mirroring the centralized British Model of unilateral control under the king.  The authority also gave the States the allowance to approve or disapprove any action by the President by requiring that the Senate concur with two-thirds vote.
 
The purpose of giving advise and consent powers to the U.S. Senate refers us back to the original dynamics of the United States government.  The Senators in the U.S. Senate were appointed by the State Legislatures before the appearance of the 17th Amendment in 1913.  The Senate was the States' representation in the federal government.  The Senators were the voice of the States.  Treaties, appointments, and other executive functions, though executed by the President, requires approval by the Senate.  The States, as with the granting of powers to the federal government in the first place through the articles of the Constitution, had the power to approve or disapprove the President's actions through the U.S. Senate in a manner much like parents grant permission to their children before a child can perform a particular action.  After all, the Senate was the voice of the States, and it was the States that created the federal government in the first place.
 
This was an important check upon the executive branch by the States.
 
The executive branch requiring the consent of the U.S. Senate for some of its actions reminds us of the amendment process.  As with treaties and appointments by the executive branch, amendments must be approved, or ratified, by the States.  In the case of amendments, however, the vote is three-quarters of the States in order to ratify.
 
The federal government, be it through amendments, or executive actions, needs the permission of the States.
 
Remember, the States once held all powers.  It was the States that provided the authorities to the federal government so that it may exist, and function.  The States had original authority over all powers, and decided to grant a few authorities to the federal government so that it may operate in a necessary manner - specifically for the purpose of protecting, preserving, and promoting the union.
 
The States gave permission to the federal government to function in a manner prescribed by the Constitution.
 
An opponent to the originalist viewpoint of the Constitution once said to me, "You have it all wrong.  The federal government tells the States what to do."
 
If that was the case, then why would the President need to get the consent of the U.S. Senate to make treaties, and two-thirds of the Senators present have to concur?  Why would the President's nominations need to be interviewed and approved by the Senate?  And with that in mind, remember that before the 17th Amendment in 1913, the Senate was the voice of the States.
 
The executive can do very little without the Senate's approval.
 
War Powers seems like an exception on the surface, but even the authority to make war has its checks by Congress.
 
For the most part, it is up to the people and the States through Congress to ensure the President does not act in a manner unbecoming of the office.
 
This check is designed to protect us from tyranny.
 
Imagine how different the appointment hearings of Supreme Court justices have become, now that the Senate is no longer the representation of the States, anymore.  The questions are probably very different than they otherwise would be.  Now, the House and the Senate are really not a whole lot different.  They are both voted in by the popular vote.  Before 1913, the Senate was the voice of the States.
 
I wonder how the questions posed to the Supreme Court nominees would be different if the Senate still belonged to the States.  Perhaps the questions would be more in line with protecting State sovereignty.  Surely the concerns of the States would be behind much of the questioning.
 
The 17th Amendment changed the dynamics of our government.  One of the reasons our federal government is constantly acting unconstitutionally is because it is now structured unconstitutionally.  The people voting for the Senators, rather than the Senators being appointed by the State legislatures, is not in line with what was originally intended.  With the voice of the States removed, the government cannot function as intended because the proper checks and balances are not in place.  The 17th Amendment introduced ideology into the Senate, and removed one of the checks necessary to protect us against a federal government constantly seeking to become more expansive.
 
            Recess Appointments
 
The final clause of Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states: The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
 
This clause refers to what is called a recess appointment.  A recess appointment is the appointment of a senior federal official (department head, judge, etc.) by the President while the U.S. Senate is in recess.  As the voice of the States in the federal government, the Senate must confirm all appointments of senior federal officers before they assume office.  However, while the U.S. Senate is in recess, and during the early years of this nation that meant they could be a few days ride away, the President can make a recess appointment without Senate confirmation.  However, the appointment only remains in effect until the next session.  A recess appointment must be approved by the Senate by the end of the next session of Congress, or the position becomes vacant again.
 
Remember, the House of Representatives and the Senate were originally made up very differently from each other.  The Representatives go to Washington to serve their district, and to act in accordance with the will of the people in their district, making the House of Representatives literally the voice of the people in the federal government.
 
The Senate was made up of Senators appointed by the State legislatures.  The Senators represented the States, and they made up the State coalition of the federal government.  It was through the Senate that the States had representation in the federal government, and could ensure, along with the House of Representatives, to provide a series of checks against the executive branch.
 
Part of the way to control power is to divide it.  Then, after you divide the power, divide it again.  Then, make the powers of the separate branches different from each other, that way they do not collude together against the people, or other branches of government.
 
One of the fears of the Founders was that the branches would collude together in an effort to take away individual freedoms.
 
By requiring the Senate to confirm appointments by the Executive, it kept a leash on the Executive.  Even in a recess appointment, when the President could appoint without confirmation by the Senate, confirmation would still eventually be needed or else the seat became vacant again.  This kept the Executive from surrounding himself with a group of cronies the States did not approve of.
 
 
Terms:
 
Advise and Consent Powers - Treaties, appointments, and other executive functions, though executed by the President, requires the advise by, and the approval of, the Senate.
 
Collusion - Conspire together.
 
Foreign Entanglements - Unnecessary involvement with other nations.
 
Ideology - A set of political or economic ideas that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.
 
Impeachment - To charge with misconduct.  Formal process that may lead to removal of an official accused of unlawful activity; impeachment does not mean the removal from office, though removal from office is often the result of impeachment proceedings.
 
Militia - An army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers; a military force that is not part of a regular army and is subject to call for service in an emergency; the whole body of physically fit civilians eligible by law for military service.
 
National Government - Any political organization that is put in place to maintain control of a nation; a strong central government that does not recognize the individualism or local authorities of the smaller parts, such as states, of the nation.
 
Nullification - State power to ignore unconstitutional federal law.
 
Nullify - See Nullification.
 
Oligarchy - Government by a few powerful persons, over the many.  A state governed by a few persons.
 
Recess Appointment - The appointment of a senior federal official (department head, judge, etc.) by the President while the U.S. Senate is in recess.
 
Republic Review - A convention of delegates representing the several States in order to audit the laws, actions, and composure of the United States federal government; a review of unconstitutional characteristics of the federal government based on the amendment ratification concept that if it takes three-quarters of the States to ratify an amendment, a quarter (plus one) of the States determining a law, action or department of the federal government to be unconstitutional allows the States to nullify the item.
 
United States Senate - The House of Congress in which each State enjoys equal suffrage of representation, with two Senators per State.  The appointment of Senators was originally by their State legislatures, creating a natural check and balance between the House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate.  The appointment of Senators was changed to the popular vote of the people by the 17th Amendment in 1913.
 
War Power - Power exercised in the prosecution of war.
 
Questions for Discussion:
 
1.  What is the difference between the power to Wage War, and the power to Declare War?
 
2.  What is meant by "Commander in Chief?"
 
3.  Why should, or shouldn't, the United States engage in foreign entanglements?
 
4.  Why is the War Powers Act of 1973 unconstitutional?
 
5.  How can the States protect against a President abusing his war powers?
 
6.  When are State Militias under State authority, and when are they under federal authority?
 
7.  When is the President the Commander in Chief over the State Militias?
 
8.  Regulatory Agencies are constitutional, but their regulations must conform to what authorities granted?
 
9.  What is the difference between impeachment, and being removed from office?
 
10.  When are recess appointments allowed?
 
11.  What is a pro-forma session?
 
 
 
Resources:
 
Joseph Andrews, A Guide for Learning and Teaching The Declaration of Independence and The U.S. Constitution - Learning from the Original Texts Using Classical Learning Methods of the Founders; San Marcos: The Center for Teaching the Constitution (2010).
 
Madison's Notes Constitutional Convention, Avalon Project, Yale University: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/debcont.asp
 
 
 
Copyright Douglas V. Gibbs 2015
 
 
 

 

          Man suffers serious facial injuries in Paceville brawl    

A Libyan man suffered facial injuries following a brawl in Paceville early this morning. The police said his injuries were grievous.  Several persons are believed to have been involved in the argument. The police are investigating.  
          Obama’s Foreign-Policy Mess   
Glenn Reynolds has a roundup of links and thoughts: Yes, I keep repeating this stuff. Because it bears repeating. In Iraq, Obama took a war that we had won at a considerable expense in lives and treasure, and threw it away for the callowest of political reasons. In Syria and Libya, he involved us in … Continue reading Obama’s Foreign-Policy Mess
          Hawaii Files Federal Court Challenge to Trump’s Latest Travel Ban   

As the newest, scaled-back version of the Trump administration’s Muslim ban went into effect Thursday evening, the state of Hawaii filed an emergency motion over its implementation and the White House’s interpretation of a Supreme Court ruling earlier this week. The Supreme Court stipulated that individuals from the six banned Muslim-majority countries that have “bona fide” relationships in the U.S. cannot be prohibited from entering the country. The State Department, however, very narrowly defined what relationships would be sufficient for individuals from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran, and Yemen to be granted visas—namely, a spouse, sibling, parent or child (including daughters and sons-in-law and stepchildren). Excluded from consideration, however, are other close relatives: grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, cousins and fiancés.

The state of Hawaii on Thursday asked a federal judge to again halt the enforcement of the ban because, lawyers for the state argue, the government’s ban too narrowly interpreted what constituted a “bona fide” relationship in Supreme Court’s ruling. “A few hours ago, after days of stonewalling plaintiffs’ repeated requests for information, the government announced that it intended to violate the Supreme Court’s instruction,” Hawaii said in a filing Thursday in Honolulu federal court. “It will apply the executive order to exclude a host of aliens with a ‘close familial relationship” to U.S. persons, including grandparents and grandchildren, brothers- and sisters-in-law, fiancés, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.”


          Donald Trump’s State Department Is Acknowledging the Virtual Impotence of His Muslim Ban   

In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this week, Donald Trump’s State Department sent a cable to the United States’ diplomatic posts explaining how officials should implement the president’s Muslim travel ban. The administration’s new guidance pushes the court-sanctioned implementation to be as restrictive as possible. It was also issued in secret, which means the administration is doing its damnedest to prevent the legal challenges that will surely follow. The guidance makes clear, though, that this version of the travel ban will not affect nearly as many of people as the original ban did, nor will it be as severe as the second version of the ban would have been had the court allowed it to go into full effect.

On Monday, the Supreme Court limited the ban to individuals who do not have a connection to a U.S. entity or a “close familial relationship” with a person in the United States. That vague description—the court cited only the example of a relationship with a mother-in-law and spouse—allowed the State Department to craft its own rules. What they came up with is the most limited plausible definition that falls within those boundaries. From the State Department’s guidance:

“Close family” is defined as a parent (including parent-in-law), spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sibling, whether whole or half. This includes step relationships. “Close family” does not include grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-laws and sisters-in-law, fiancés, and any other “extended” family members.

The agency acknowledges at another point in the guidance that most non-immigrant visas are exempt from review under the travel ban because “their bona fide relationship to a person or entity is inherent in the visa classification.” Familial relationships are also often required for immigrant visas; there are special visa categories for spouses, parents, and siblings that will also be exempted from the travel ban based on this new guidance.

Who isn’t exempt from the travel ban?

What’s left, it seems are a small number of visas that visitors from the six countries in question—Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—don’t even use that often: independent media visas for those without a U.S. business connection (I visas), crewmen visas for air and sea companies that don’t have some U.S. connection (C-1 and D visas), tourist visas (B visas), fiancée visas (K visas), and refugee travel documents.

It’s these last three categories that will affect the most people and face the most significant legal challenge. Say an Iranian woman wants to visit her American granddaughter in California on a tourist visa. Under this guidance she would be blocked. It seems possible that a court could decide a grandmother does in fact have a “close” familial relationship with her granddaughter. It’s also possible, though, that a judge could decide that the government drew within the lines. “I could see courts providing a lot of leeway to the agency to make that [familial] determination through the doctrines of deference to agency decisionmaking,” Pratheepan Gulasekaram, a professor of immigration and constitutional law at Santa Clara University School of Law, told me via email.

Gulasekaram does think the government might run into trouble with its decision to exclude fiancées. An entire visa category, K-1, already exists for people who are engaged to be married. There’s no sound rationale for excluding them while including in-laws, who don’t have their own such visa category. “I'm not sure why that makes sense, and certainly is something I would predict could and would be litigated,” Gulasekaram wrote. “It may not affect a huge number of people, but it’s an odd way to draw a line.”

One final point: I wrote earlier this week that the administration might attempt to hide behind the doctrine of consular nonreviewability in order to obscure its decisionmaking around the issuance of individual visas. This State Department guidance—although it was not issued publicly—is a tacit acknowledgement that there are now official guidelines in place regarding what does and doesn’t qualify as a close family relationship. Gulasekaram said this guidance could allow the courts to review decisions that might otherwise have been hidden—a district judge might issue a ruling on whether the State Department’s interpretation of “close” family relationship is in fact the correct one. If courts decide a grandmother should get the same treatment as a mother-in-law, then Trump’s feeble travel ban could become completely impotent.


          To Mark Ruffalo And Shannon Watts-Hands Off My Guns   

 

 

To Mark Ruffalo, Shannon Watts, And Other Gun Grabbing Sociopaths: 


I am never surprised when a person of liberal leaning wants to take my guns away. It stopped surprising me a long time ago. But, I'm always a little surprised with the level of ignorance of folks like Ruffalo, Watts, and others who think that gun control is the answer to idiots leaving guns out where their kids can get them, or to gangbangers killing themselves, or to lunatics like this wuss in Santa Barbara who had everything given him by his parents, but it still wasn't enough.  At the end of the day, we have a mighty military, and those guns on the streets are the only thing between us and tyranny. Oh, I know, the lefties will cry foul over that statement. But, those folks who disagree should take a look at The United Kingdom, who disarmed their people a decade ago, and now regularly jail them for speech the government deems “indecent.” They should also look at countries around the world who routinely execute sorcerers, witches, and those who speak out against their governments ( China, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Syria, many African nations and Russia). Those are just a few places where there is strict gun control. Add to that, the fact that in the nations where guns have been outlawed in the West, like Australia, UK, and others, violent crime did not fall. Murders by gun may have, but overall violent crime stayed steady. One can also look at statistics for home invasion, and other personal attack types and see that there has been an increase-why? Because people have been disarmed.

 

I know it is easy for someone with $400 million in the bank to demand that there be total gun control and disarmament of civilians, because they have highly secured homes, homes in neighborhoods away from where the real violent crime takes place, and they have the ability on short notice, say when the government decides to put soldiers on the street, to jump in a Gulfstream 550 (which they own) and fly to safe haven-probably the same safe-haven where they keep their money! In fact, I’d venture a guess that Ruffalo and other Hollywood liberals who share the same view on guns, have enough dough stashed in various jurisdictions around the world, to avoid our ridiculous tax structure here in the States, and for just that crazy day when the doo doo hits the fan here at home-and a gun-grabber in the White House declares Martial Law.

 

In the end, it’s easy to demand guns go away. It’s easy to see a shooting on the nightly news and say guns should be outlawed. But, for every violent crime where a gun is used, a violent crime is stopped with a gun-often times in the hands of a CCW holder, or a homeowner who stops a guy from killing his/her family who has broken in with the intent to do harm to them (70%+ of home invasions are done for the sake of committing violence, not burglary). In the end, people like Ruffalo and Watts have bevies of bodyguards who use firearms in the discharge of their personal protection duties, covering Ruffalo and Watts, wherever they go, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Furthermore, they (the Ruffalo & Watts) live in communities that generally have their own private armed security forces, security gates, and don’t have to rely on the police to respond at a moment’s notice when their families are in jeopardy (which cops don’t do anyway-try 30 minute response time on average nationwide).  One can do a google search on Watts and see the armed thugs who shadow her whenever she is in public.  She's in league with Mike Bloomberg now, and we've all read about his thug security force, and their physical attacks on reporters attempting to ask the former Mayor questions.  Watts' security guys roughed up The Blaze's Dana Loesch recently in Indianapolis.   We unwashed masses in flyover country (as Katie Couric called us) don't have a few hundred grand in discretionary income to cover personal security yearly, so we must arm ourselves.

 

I would ask Mark Ruffalo and any other fabulously wealthy rock star, movie star, or limousine liberal politician, to go take a drive through some rough neighborhoods near their gated communities of castles most people don’t even dream about living in. When they get there, go walk around, without body guards. First, they won’t. That would be incredibly stupid and very dangerous. Then ask themselves if they would like to live there, without bodyguards, without gates and private armed security contractors, and lastly, with gangs threatening their wives, children, and neighbors, without being armed in any way shape or form, all the while knowing the bad guys all have guns. Additionally I would ask Mark and others, what they think the government would be afraid of, were the 200+ million guns Americans now possess,  suddenly gone. I would like to hear their answer as to whether or not lunatics like Harry Reid and John McCain could be trusted not to take more of our civil rights than they already have? Right now, the government can take you in the night, never to be heard from again. They need no warrant. They need no real reason, other than claiming you are dangerous to America. Right now, they can, with Obamacare in full swing, decide if you get the surgery you need to repair your heart, and if they want to bar you from traveling to another country. What’s to stop them? GUNS! That’s what. The American public has guns for a reason. To even the playing field. They are the great equalizer.  They are the only thing standing between us and tyrants taking the rest of the Rights enumerated in the Bill Of Rights. 

 

Mark, if you think the government wouldn’t become an immediate danger to you and me if guns were gone, then you haven’t studied much of the history of this crazy world we live in. Ask a Jew who’s family was wiped out by Hitler. Ask an Armenian who’s family was decimated by the Ottoman Empire if they would have had a chance if they weren’t disarmed. You can’t throw a dart at a world atlas and not hit a country where the citizens at one time were disarmed and destroyed. The United Kingdom easily invaded and stole India from its citizens with 10,000 men and long rifles Mark. It doesn’t take more than an hour of reading history to know that gun control is maniacal ceding of all of your civil rights to the Government. I promise you, when your Second Amendment rights go away, so go your First Amendment rights. And while you have already made a fortune exercising your First Amendment rights, I don’t think you want to take that opportunity away from the young men and women with posters of you on their walls, and who have spent their allowance, their grocery bagging money, and their beer money to go see your films. As for the morons who leave their guns out for their kids to find and play with-they should be jailed. There needn’t be more gun control to accomplish that goal. And while firearms accidents will always be a part of a society who have guns, we have accidents in the military with them all the time, on police forces (very, very often in fact), and in the process of hunting. That doesn’t mean we take guns away from Marines and Cops. It just means that human beings make mistakes-and while it is tragic they do so with firearms, I see stories of dead kids on the news all the time, who fell out of windows that weren’t child proofed, who get run over by siblings who found their parents’ keys, and other terribly tragic stories that make me as a parent very angry. I don’t immediately demand cars, windows, snow mobiles, and kitchen knives get banned! I demand that my fellow Americans pull their heads out of their asses and take the job of parenting seriously. Demanding those things be banned would make me crazy Mark-see my point? demagogueing gun control makes you look less than intellectual, and more like a hysterical leftist who is in on the con to turn this country socialist. And, given your vast wealth, I doubt you want that right?

 

So, when you demand my rights be decimated, because a family and a police force did not do their jobs where this Santa Barbara lunatic are concerned, you are basically saying that every American should not be protected, because some folks allowed a sociopath to buy guns and ammo.  If that's the case, then you will be without protection, because when citizens lose their guns, your personal security force will too.  It will be cops and military with guns-and you and me fighting for our lives against the bad guys with our baseball bats and 9 irons.  Those don't work well in gunfights.  Lastly, the guy you helped put in office, Barack Obama, has multiple directives whereby the Military is cleared to be used domestically, against American Citizens.  If you think that is normal, then you are yourself, crazy.  Posse Comitatus has been thrown to the wind, and you and I can be arrested for subversion at any moment, by Republican or Democrat, for speaking out against our government, if we and our neighbors are unarmed.  At that moment, any movie you act going forward will be a propaganda film for the G.  Is that how you want to make your living?  I didn't think so.

 

 


          Rest In Peace Otis McDonald   

 

 

Rest In Peace Otis McDonald

Otis McDonald, the man solely responsible for the SCOTUS ruling that forced the City of Chicago to end its 28 year ban on handguns died last Friday.  First, we want to extend our condolences to Otis’ family and close friends.  While I never met the guy, I revered and respected him, and you should too.  It wasn’t just handguns in Chicago Otis helped with.  His case was the watershed moment when Illinoisans went after their CCW rights as well.

Seeing the landmark case: McDonald v. Chicago, the gun rights community saw an opportunity to go a step further and end Illinois’ reign as the last hold out in concealed carry rights.  Yes, my friends, Mr. Otis McDonald is a hero, and should be so, to every person in our country who values his/her god given rights as denoted in our Bill of Rights.  For decades Illinois trampled those rights through ideologically driven hysteria about mass killings, and violent crime-most of which is committed by criminals who illegally possess firearms. 

Today, we have a CCW law in Illinois that is acceptable, as it finally allows us to carry our firearms, after two days of intensive training, and the City of Chicago can no longer force its residents to be sitting ducks for home invaders and gang bangers.  But its more important than that.  The Second Amendment is not for self defense.  It is for the defense of all of our other God Given Rights.  And with the Second becoming more talked about, it is becoming more solidly engrained in the minds of those who didn’t give it much thought before.  And that is the best outcome of Mr. McDonald’s tireless work on behalf of his fellow Chicagoans and Illinoisans.  Where the Second Amendment is not honored, no other civil rights are safe.  That my friends makes Otis McDonald my personal hero.  So, I say to Otis McDonald, rest in peace.  And thank you for giving me the ability to rest comfortably at night, knowing my family are safe from illegal gun owners, because I am a legal gun owner/carrier.

 Many of the gun-grabbers have attacked the Second Amendment for various reasons.  They show up each time there is a mass shooting, or gang shooting, or when Piers Morgan opens his mouth.   Often it is the entertainment industry, and usually the ones therein who have body guards 24/7.   Otis inspired me to write about this issue a long time ago.  Here is my retort to Eddie Vedder, the singer of “Pearl Jam” who believes we should all be disarmed.  I pull no punches with these folks, as they are the most ignorant of our laws, our Constitution, and ironically will lose everything  if the Second Amendment is gone, as the first thing that goes when a people are disarmed, is their free speech. 

 

 

From The Daily Pamphlet:

by: Matthew S. Harrison

 

First, I would like to thank Eddie. On the day my divorce from my first wife was final, I bumped into he and Dennis Rodman, at a place where a guy who just got divorced, a Rock Star, and a Basketball Star might all be found…a strip club! My friend John took me to “Crazy Horse Too” in Chicago. It was a strange and fun day. While getting into the “VIP section, after John gave a pile of dough to the monstrous bouncer, we sat with the only other two people in the VIP section at 2:00 PM on a Monday afternoon-Rodman and Vedder. It was surreal. Furthermore, they bought us Champagne and wished me well on my new journey of bachelorhood. They sent us dancers for a couple hours. We got drunk. We went home. So, thank you Eddie, for making a difficult day a little easier, and a lot drunker!

 

Now, on to the reason for this piece: I am never surprised when a person of liberal leaning wants to take my guns away. It stopped surprising me a long time ago. But, I always am a little surprised with the level of ignorance of folks like Eddie, like Jim Carrey, and others who think that gun control is the answer to idiots leaving guns out where their kids can get them, or to gangbangers killing themselves. At the end of the day, we have a mighty military, and those guns on the streets are the only thing between us and tyranny. Oh, I know, the lefties will cry foul over that statement. But, those folks who disagree should take a look at The United Kingdom, who disarmed their people a decade ago, and now regularly jail them for speech the government deems “indecent.” They should also look at countries around the world who routinely execute sorcerers, witches, and those who speak out against their governments ( China, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Syria, many African nations and Russia). Those are just a few places where there is strict gun control. Add to that, the fact that in the nations where guns have been outlawed in the West, like Australia, UK, and others, violent crime did not fall. Murders by gun may have, but overall violent crime stayed steady. One can also look at statistics for home invasion, and other personal attack types and see that there has been an increase-why? Because people have been disarmed.

I know it is easy for someone with $400 million in the bank to demand that there be total gun control and disarmament of civilians, because they have highly secured homes, homes in neighborhoods away from where the real violent crime takes place, and they have the ability on short notice, say when the government decides to put soldiers on the street, to jump in a Gulfstream 550 (which they own) and fly to safe haven-probably the same safe-haven where they keep their money! In fact, I’d venture a guess that Eddie and the band have dough stashed in various jurisdictions around the world, to avoid our ridiculous tax structure here in the states, and for just that crazy day when the feces hits the oscillating device here at home.

In the end, it’s easy to demand guns go away. It’s easy to see a shooting on the nightly news and say guns should be outlawed. But, for every violent crime where a gun is used, a violent crime is stopped with a gun-often times in the hands of a CCW holder, or a homeowner who stops a guy from killing his/her family who has broken in with the intent to do harm to them (70%+ of home invasions are done for the sake of committing violence, not burglary). In the end, guys like Eddie Vedder and Jim Carey have bevies of bodyguards who use firearms in the discharge of their personal protection duties, covering The Carey and Vedder families, wherever they go, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year. Furthermore, they (the Vedders and Careys) live in communities which have their own private armed security forces, security gates, and don’t have to rely on the police to respond at a moment’s notice when their families are in jeopardy (which cops don’t do anyway-try 30 minute response time on average nationwide).

I would ask Eddie and any other fabulously wealthy rock star, movie star, or limousine liberal politician, to go take a drive through some rough neighborhoods near their gated communities of castles most people don’t even dream about living in. When they get there, go walk around, without body guards. First, they won’t. That would be incredibly stupid and very dangerous. Then ask themselves if they would like to live there, without bodyguards, without gates and private armed security contractors, and lastly, with gangs threatening their wives, children, and neighbors, without being armed in any way shape or form, all the while knowing the bad guys all have guns. Additionally I would ask Eddie and others, what they think the government would be afraid of, were the 200+ million guns Americans now possess,  suddenly gone. I would like to hear their answer as to whether or not lunatics like Harry Reid and John McCain could be trusted not to take more of our civil rights than they already have? Right now, the government can take you in the night, never to be heard from again. They need no warrant. They need no real reason, other than claiming you are dangerous to America. Right now, they can, with Obamacare in full swing, decide if you get the surgery you need to repair your heart, and if they want to bar you from traveling to another country. What’s to stop them? GUNS! That’s what. The American public has guns for a reason. To even the playing field. It’s only fair.

Eddie, if you think the government wouldn’t become an immediate danger to you and me, if guns were gone, then you haven’t studied much of the history of this crazy world we live in. Ask a Jew whose family was wiped out by Hitler. Ask an Armenian whose family was decimated by the Ottoman Empire if they would have had a chance if they weren’t disarmed. You can’t throw a dart at a world atlas and not hit a country where the citizens at one time were disarmed and destroyed. The United Kingdom easily invaded and stole India from its citizens with 10,000 men and long rifles Eddie. It doesn’t take more than an hour of reading history to know that gun control is maniacal ceding of all of your civil rights to the Government. I promise you, when your Second Amendment rights go away, so go your First Amendment rights. And while you have already made a fortune exercising your First Amendment rights, I don’t think you want to take that opportunity away from the young men and women with posters of you on their walls, and who have spent their allowance, their grocery bagging money, and their beer money to buy your records. As for the morons who leave their guns out for their kids to find and play with-they should be jailed. There needn’t be more gun control to accomplish that goal. And while firearms accidents will always be a part of a society who have guns, we have accidents in the military with them all the time, on police forces (very, very often in fact), and in the process of hunting. That doesn’t mean we take guns away from Marines and Cops. It just means that human beings make mistakes-and while it is tragic they do so with firearms, I see stories of dead kids on the news all the time, who fell out of windows that weren’t child proofed, who get run over by siblings who found their parents’ keys, and other terribly tragic stories that make me as a parent very angry. I don’t immediately demand cars, windows, snow mobiles, and kitchen knives get banned! I demand that my fellow Americans pull their heads out of their asses and take the job of parenting seriously. Demanding those things be banned would make me crazy Eddie-see my point? demagogueing gun control makes you look less than intellectual, and more like a hysterical leftist who is in on the con to turn this country socialist. And, given your vast wealth, I doubt you want that right? Right?


          Commodities tomorrow: Crude down on reports of increased Libyan production   
CNBC's Jackie DeAngelis discusses the day's activity in the commodities markets.
          Commodities tomorrow: Added Libyan supply adds to oil concerns   
CNBC's Jackie DeAngelis discusses the day's activity in the commodities markets.
          Trump's Qatar Crisis   
Tiny Qatar, the mouse that roared, has now managed to enrage the larger part of the Arab world and defy the newly-minted Mideast expert, Donald Trump. This month, an angry alliance of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, with some background support from the puppet regimes of war-torn Libya and Yemen, declared...
          Editorial: $100 Oil Is Devil’s Due For Drilling Bans   
Energy: President Obama talks much of moving to sustainable energy. But as he blocks domestic drilling, the reality is he’s outsourced U.S. oil needs to mad-dog dictators like Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi. That’s even less sustainable. Oil prices hit $100 a barrel Wednesday as thousands of Libyans marched in Tripoli. The crazed Gadhafi vowed to fight to "the last bullet," denouncing his own countrymen as "greasy rats" and turning his weapons of war on 1,000 of them. He also threatened to incinerate his nation's oil wells as he goes down, an unsubtle suggestion to Big Oil companies operating in his country...
          Demand-Side Slavery, Libyan Instability and European Crime Networks   
Neil Thompson | (Informed Comment) | – – After several years in which refugees and migration have featured heavily in the Western media narrative, a disturbing correlation between human trafficking and conflict…
          The Racist Contempt of the Wise   
Sergio Rodriguez Lascano One of the most base characteristics in the theoretical thinking of the left locates the proposals, concepts, analysis, tendencies, and theories that come from below as folklore—produced by those who haven’t been formed in academia. With a stroke of the pen or the keyboard, not only does this impoverish emancipatory theory but...
          Venezuela: US Occupation Has Already Begun and Is Being Conducted by ExxonMobil   
Misión Verdad Exxon wants to topple Venezuela for geopolitical and geo-economic reasons. ExxonMobil awarded contracts to Guyana for infrastructure, drilling and storage with a view to extracting the huge oil and gas reserves from the so-called “Liza Project” located in maritime territory claimed by Venezuela as stipulated by the Geneva Agreement of 1966. In 2015...
          Countries Around the World Condemn Terrorist Attack in Venezuela   
Widespread support resounded from 17 African countries, as well as Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Cuba, Palestine, and Turkey after the attacks. In the aftermath of the helicopter attack against the Venezuelan Supreme Court, countries around the world have expressed their solidarity with Venezuela by condemning the acts that the Bolivarian government has described as “terrorist.”...
          Venezuelan Authorities Coordinate Actions to Ensure Full Voting Rights July 30   
Representatives of Venezuelan public authorities coordinate actions so that nothing interferes with the normal development of the electoral process, scheduled for July 30, to elect 537 members of the National Constituent Assembly, said the president of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena. “We are taking all measures so that the people of Venezuela, on...
          06/30 Links Pt1: Abbas's Lies and Palestinian Child Victims; UN hosts hatefest comparing Israelis to ISIS   
From Ian:

Major (res.) Eyal Harel, don’t blame the system
[This was NOT translated from the Hebrew edition to the English one at Haaretz (Which is fake news by omission) - Guess why. (h/t Yenta Press)]
An IDF officer answers claims by a fellow (Breaking The Silence) officer: My name is Eran Ben Yaakov, and I am a major in reserve duty. Eyal Harel has served under my command in most of the incidents he describes ("What Really Happens in the World's Most Moral Army", Haaretz,June 19). He was a platoon commander in the engineering company in which I served as deputy commander. In the absence of the company’s commander, I was also the de facto commander of Girit outpost during a large part of the period in question. Later I was appointed commander of the company, and Harel was my deputy during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Overall, we served together in reserve duty for nearly a decade. I read Harel’s words with sorrow, not only because he distorts the truth, but also because he does so in order to portray himself as a victim, full of regret and yet not responsible for his own actions. But this is not the case. I know him to be a good, virtuous and disciplined person.
But, in my opinion, his decisions as a commander weren’t always the best, and it angers me that he blames the system.
Regarding the incident in which a body appeared at Gaza’s shore near Rafah (an Egyptian soldier murdered [in Egypt] drifted to the shore), I was next to Harel when he fired into the air in order to drive the crowd away. I didn’t give him the order. He
did it of his own volition, and I scolded him for it was unnecessary. I wasn’t present at the second incident, but according to soldiers who were there, that was an unneeded shooting as well. No one pushed him into this. (h/t Yenta Press)
Abbas's Lies and Palestinian Child Victims
Hamas and human rights groups hold Abbas personally responsible for the deaths of the children and the possible deaths of other patients in need of urgent medical treatment not available in Gaza Strip hospitals. One human rights group went so far as to call for the International Criminal Court in The Hague to launch an investigation against Abbas.
In a move of mind-bending irony, we are witnessing a Palestinian president waging war not only against Hamas, but also against the two million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip -- while Israel continues to provide the Palestinians living under Hamas with humanitarian aid.
That is the standard operating procedure of the man who lied straight to the face of President Donald Trump, by claiming that he had stopped incitement against Israel and was promoting a "culture of peace" among his people. Will the last sick Palestinian child please stand up?
PA to again allow Gazan patients to be treated in Israeli hospitals
The Palestinian Authority will reportedly once again allow patients from the Gaza Strip to be treated in Israel after three babies died on Tuesday in the enclave controlled by the Hamas terror group.
Following an international outcry over the deaths, the Palestinian Health Ministry will on Sunday increase the number of permits it issues for Gaza residents to receive medical care in Israel, the Haaretz newspaper reported on Friday.
The Palestinian Authority has severely cut back on medical aid to the Gaza Strip as part of a series of tough measures aimed at forcing Hamas to cede control of the coastal enclave, including reducing the amount of electricity it provides the Strip and slashing PA salaries to Gaza residents.
The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry blamed the Palestinian Authority for the deaths of the three babies, all less than a year old, saying Ramallah has refused to grant permits for them to be treated in Israel.
To leave Gaza and travel to Israel for medical treatment, or to receive treatment in the West Bank or abroad, Gazans must first get confirmation from the PA that it will pay for the treatments.



The UNRWA Problem
UNRWA, created in the aftermath of Israel's existential victory in the 1948 war, was formed with modest and sensible goals - to provide emergency aid to all needy refugees of that war with an eye to gradually decreasing the need for aid through job creation, resettlement and regional cooperation. In the early days of UNRWA, it operated inside Israel, and aid recipients included Jewish refugees of the war who had previously lived in areas conquered by Jordan and Egypt. Israel quickly absorbed its internally displaced Arab and Jewish refugees, taking them off UNRWA's rolls.
Then UNRWA became an advocacy organization for the political goals of Palestinian Arabs and expanded its definition of Palestinian refugee identity to include all the descendants of the original refugees. UNRWA's mandate to resettle these refugees was removed in 1965, formalizing a perpetual state of Palestinian dependency on the organization.
UNRWA's institutionalized perpetuation of Palestinian refugee camps and culture makes peacemaking more difficult and deprives generations of Palestinians who were not refugees themselves the right to choose their own destiny. It does so at an unsustainable level for the mostly Western countries that financially support the organization.
JCPA: Lessons from Israel's Response to Terrorism
Amb. Dore Gold: Is the Terror against Europe Different from the Terror against Israel?
Effective solidarity among states has become a prerequisite for ultimately succeeding in the war of the West against jihadist terrorism. Yet, in the aftermath of the Islamic State’s brutal attacks in Paris during 2015 that left 129 dead, there began a discussion in the international media of whether the terrorist attacks against Israelis could be compared with the newest jihadist assault on European capitals. Recent events have challenged this European distinction. A cohesive military strategy is needed for the West, the Arab states that are threatened, and Israel. It stands to reason that, just as all three face similar threats, the models developed in Israel for dealing with terror merit attention in Europe and beyond.
Fiamma Nirenstein: Resilience, the Israeli People’s Weapon against Terror
An important component of Israel’s struggle against terrorism is its population’s psychology, resilience, and capacity to counter what has unfortunately been one of the characteristics of this state from its very origins: the constant attacks against civilians in the streets, public structures, cafes, and buses. How do the Israeli people overcome being on the front line against terror? The answer lies in Israel’s history, sociology, education, and social values, from which today’s vulnerable Europe can learn much.
Brig-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser: The National Security Aspect of Fighting Terror – The Israeli Experience
Israel’s overall strategy of fighting terror is a comprehensive approach that was developed out of ongoing learning efforts. Understanding the goals and strategy of the enemy and the context in which it operates, and being agile enough to rapidly adopt adequate responses that build on former solutions, enabled Israel to become a world leader in the fight against terror.
Lessons from Israel's Response to Terrorism



Democratic lawmakers urge Tillerson to stop Israeli trial
Thirty-two Democratic members of Congress have urged the secretary of state to help an Arab activist who is going on trial in Israel.
In a letter sent Wednesday, the lawmakers asked Rex Tillerson to utilize his influence in the case of Issa Amro, who is facing charges connected to protests he organized in Hevron.
US Reps. Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum, both of Minnesota, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin circulated the letter organized by the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, CODEPINK, Jewish Voice for Peace and American Muslims for Palestine.
Amro will appear July 9 in a military court to face 18 charges, most dating back to 2013, that include “spitting at a settler, obstructing soldiers and insulting them, and entering closed military zones,” Haaretz reported. An Israeli military spokesman described his actions as “disturbances,” but did not claim his protests are violent.
“After evidence of these offenses was collected, the indictment was served,” the spokesman said.
According to the congressional letter, Amro has been recognized by the United Nations and the European Union as a human rights defender for his organization, Youth Against Settlements. The UN and Amnesty International have condemned the case against him.
The letter questioned whether Amro would be judged fairly in the Israeli judicial system. (h/t Jewess)
UN trumpets Palestinian revisionist fraud: all of Israel is Palestinian, no to a Jewish state.
His remarks were made at a forum organized by the U.N.'s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which was created to implement the 1975 General Assembly "Zionism is racism" resolution.
Said Palestinian representative Erekat: "I'm the son of Jericho. I'm 10,000 years a son of the Natufians. We were there 5,500 years before Isho ben Nun came to my home town, Jericho. That's the truth. This is my narrative....So when Mr. Netanyahu says you must recognize Israel as a Jewish state, he is telling me hey, change your narrative. That's what he's doing. He's turning this conflict into a religious conflict...Call it Islamic state, Jewish state, that should be a forbidden zone..."
Erekat's hate-filled UN-sponsored diatribe also included classic antisemitism, blaming money-grubbing Jews for the regions' ills.
In his words: "So I think a question that I would like to see answered or a general opinion is, is the Jewish religion being exploited for economic gains by a key elite segment within Israeli society? And are they the ones that are driving this conflict..."
All of the proceedings were webcast around the world - courtesy of taxpayers everywhere, including Americans.
Man blinded in terror attack to speak at UN against PA terrorist stipends
Oren Almog, who lost five members of his family along with his eyesight in a terrorist attack at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa in 2003, where 21 died and 51 were wounded, will speak at the UN Security Council next month as part of the Israeli government's struggle against the Palestinian Authority's payments to convicted terrorists.
Almog will travel to the UN Security Council at the initiative of Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, and in cooperation with the pro-Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs.
"Those responsible for the murder of my family receive a monthly payment from the PA," Almog told Yedioth Ahronoth. "The Palestinian leadership speaks to the world about peace, but pays the terrorists and their families. This is explicit support for the murder of innocents. I will come to the UN and call upon the international community to act to stop this funding and to prevent future terror attacks."
The Maxim restaurant suicide bombing was perpetrated by Hanadi Jaradat, who blew herself up in as an act of revenge after Israel Defense Forces undercover operatives in Jenin killed her cousin and her younger brother, both of whom were members of Islamic Jihad, with her cousin being a senior member of the Al-Quds Brigades group.
Report: Palestinian Authority has ceased paying 500 terrorists
Researcher Bushara al-Tawil, who specializes in the subject of Palestinian Arab prisoners, told Hamas newspaper Palestin that the Palestinian Authority had ceased paying salaries to 500 prisoners.
"We need a real intifada, of all the freed prisoners. They need their salaries," al-Tawil said.
According to her, the Palestinian Authority has a large budget intended for its prisoners, but decided to slash the budget in accordance with its new and changing guidelines.
According to Abdullah Abu Shalbak, spokesman for the demonstrating ex-prisoners who claims to have spent 21 years in Israeli jails,, the Palestinian Authority ceased paying monthly salaries to 277 prisoners, including 23 who are currently in Judea, Samaria, or abroad, and 48 who were released in the "Shalit deal" and later recaptured by Israel.
Freed terrorists who no longer receive their monthly salaries protested this week in the center of Ramallah, setting up a protest tent in the city's "Hasha'on Square." One of the claims is that Fatah convicts continued to receive payments, with only Hamas and Islamic Jihad members losing their stipends.
UN hosts hatefest comparing Israelis to ISIS
At an anti-Israel U.N. "Forum to Mark 50 Years of Occupation" on June 29, 2017, an invited Palestinian official equated the "Jewish State", with ISIS, the "Islamic State." Saeb Erekat, a Palestinian representative and top negotiator, made the remarks during the opening of an extraordinary two-day UN-sponsored Israel-bashing event.
In Erekat's words:
"There are two ways combined to defeat ISIS. One is ending the Israeli occupation that began in 1967...Ending the Israeli occupation is a must, is a responsibility for the international community. And the logic of some of those who argue that why should Israel make peace, it has 5,000 tanks, it has 3,000 fighting planes and nuclear weapons, Congress, Senate, and Nikki Haley to defend them justly or unjustly. And then these people stand to speak about defeating ISIS. Enough. Enough."
Hamas and PFLP Are ‘Not Terrorist Organizations,’ Top Palestinian Official Claims at UN Anti-Israel Forum
A senior PLO official and former negotiator with Israel went before a UN forum on Thursday to emphatically deny that Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) were terror groups.
“Hamas and the PFLP are not terrorist organizations,” Saeb Erekat — the PLO’s secretary-general and a principal negotiator of the 1993 Oslo Accords with Israel — declared.
“We are a people who strive to achieve our independence — and our choice in the PLO, the Palestine Liberation Organization, is to achieve peace peacefully,” Erekat went on to say in a speech given on the opening day of a two-day UN conference “to mark 50 years of occupation.”
Indicating that Palestinian enthusiasm for US President Donald Trump’s bid to revive direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) was quickly diminishing, Erekat — who spoke to the forum as a representative of the “State of Palestine” — asserted, “We do not have a partner in Israel today. ”
“The Israeli government, headed by Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, is trying to replace the two-state solution with ‘one state, two systems’ apartheid,” Erekat said, invoking one of the most persistent themes of anti-Israel propaganda: that the Jewish state legally discriminates against Palestinians in the same manner as the former white supremacist regime in South Africa.
Other speakers at the first day of the conference — titled “Ending the Occupation: The Path to Independence, Justice and Peace for Palestine” — included Nabil Elaraby, a former secretary-general of the Arab League, Aida Touma-Sliman, a member of the Knesset from the anti-Zionist “Joint List,” and Nasser al-Kidwa, a former PLO foreign minister.
Israel’s Opposition Aids Delegitimizers
The very fact that the left-wing opposition can continuously castigate the current coalition with impunity without any real fear of retribution arguably most resoundingly repudiates the repeated accusations of “fascism.”
What self-respecting fascist regime would tolerate such recalcitrant behavior? The perpetrators would have long been dispatched, post haste, to either prison or the hereafter.
Surely the time has come for the left-wing opposition to realize that their reckless rhetoric inflicts tremendous and unwarranted harm on their country; surely the time has come for them to desist from this egregious tactic for electoral advantage, especially as it has proven so hopelessly ineffectual.
In this regard, perhaps the Left would do well to recall that is has always prided itself on its acceptance of the “The Other.”
So, in its quest for greater success in the democratic process, perhaps it’s time for the representatives of the Israeli Left to come to terms with the existence of “The Other” and reconcile itself with the idea that people who think differently to them are just as legitimate as those who look different to them.
Indian prime minister to meet massacre survivor Moshe Holtzberg
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Israel next week for an historical visit, during which he will meet Moshe Holtzberg, the young boy who miraculously survived a terror attack and massacre in 2008.
Modi's 3-day trip will mark the first time an Indian prime minister visits Israel.
Moshe's parents were killed in the attack, and his nanny Sandra miraculously managed to escape the besieged building holding Moshe in her arms. After the attack, Sandra brought Moshe to Israel and was granted Israeli citizenship.
Four other Jews were killed in the attack.
According to Yediot Aharonot, Modi is expected to meet Holtzberg, his grandparents, and Sandra in the Tel Aviv Convention Center.
Israel awarded highest ranking for combating human trafficking
For the sixth year in a row, the U.S. State Department has named Israel a Tier 1 country in combatting human trafficking for its efforts to identify and rescue trafficking victims and punish traffickers.
Since 2001, the State Department has assigned countries to one of four tiers in its annual report, based on their government efforts to put a stop to trafficking in persons. Until 2012, the State Department ranked Israel a Tier 2 nation in its annual report on the fight against human trafficking. A Tier 2 ranking indicates a country that does not meet the minimum standards of combating human trafficking but is making efforts to do so. Israel became a Tier 1 country in June 2012.
In a statement, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said that "the Justice Ministry is leading the government's activity on the issue. We will continue to act so that the phenomenon of modern-day slavery disappears from our region."
In a step that could aggravate tensions between Washington and Beijing, which have eased under U.S. President Donald Trump, China was downgraded to the State Department's global list of the worst offenders in human trafficking and forced labor.
State Dept. Sanctions 4 of 6 Nations in Trump Travel Ban for Child Soldiers, Child Sex Slaves
The U.S. Department of State’s 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report singles out eight nations for specifically trafficking children for purposes ranging from training and arming them as soldiers to servants and sex slaves. This designation brings sanctions to those countries on certain security assistance and commercial licensing of military equipment.
The list and sanctions, congressionally mandated by the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008, apply on Oct. 1, 2016, and for fiscal year 2018 for the following countries: Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
Four of these nations – Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen – are on the list of nations in President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration seeking to limit and closely screen individuals coming into the United States from these countries. Their governments are either unwilling or unable to properly vet individuals for ties to terrorism before leaving the country. The other two countries on Trump’s travel list are Libya and Iran.
“The term ‘child soldier’ includes any person… who is serving in any capacity, including in a support role, such as a ‘cook, porter, messenger, medic, guard, or sex slave,’” the trafficking report states.
This applies to individuals under 18 for all trafficking of children and children under 15 used as child soldiers.
GOOD TRUMP: Administration Cuts Funds For U.N. Peacekeeping
The Trump administration is making good on a promise to hold the increasingly corrupt United Nations accountable. Early Thursday, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley put to rest any suggestions that the White House was bluffing when it said it would cut funds to the international body.
“Just 5 months into our time here, we've cut over half a billion [dollars] from the UN peacekeeping budget and we’re only getting started,” she tweeted.
The post “left many on social media bewildered,” according to The Hill.
As The Daily Wire reported, Trump has long promised a day of reckoning for the despots, theocrats, and charlatans at the U.N.
After the Obama administration’s shameful encouragement of the international body’s staunchly anti-Israel agenda, Trump called for a more serious review of the U.N.’s so-called “peacekeeping” work.
In his first month in office, Trump signed an executive order asking for “at least a 40% overall decrease” in U.S. funding for the U.N. organizations that violate certain criteria. One such criterion was whether a given U.N. body recognizes full membership to the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, Islamist-inspired political projects accused of promoting terrorism and violence against Jews.
JPost Editorial: Keep your promise
According to NGO Monitor, Al-Haq is not the only Palestinian nonprofit that has ties to the PFLP. Others include Addameer, the Alternative Information Center, Defense for Children International – Palestine, the Health Work Committee, Stop the Wall, the Palestine Center for Human Rights, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.
Jewish Voice for Peace, another group that took part together with Al-Haq in the UN forum, organized a 2017 National Member Meeting in April that featured Rasmea Odeh, a PFLP operative convicted of US immigration fraud after concealing her role in two terrorist bombings in Israel.
Slightly more surprising was the participation of former foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, Joint List MK Aida Touma- Sliman and executive director of B’Tselem Hagai El-Ad.
How can we take these individuals’ calls for justice seriously when their ideological bedfellows are members of an organization that is willing to use suicide bombings and coldblooded attacks on civilians – including stabbing to death babies and little children as they sleep – to further their goals? The same question must be asked of NGOs that collaborate with Hamas, which like PFLP is considered a terrorist organization by the US, Canada, the EU and Israel.
In April, during a speech to delegates at the World Jewish Congress’s plenary assembly while Israel marked Holocaust Remembrance Day, the UN secretary-general said that he would be “on the front lines in the fight against antisemitism,” and promised to “make sure the UN is able to conduct all possible actions for antisemitism to be... eradicated from the face of the earth.” Guterres added that “a modern form of antisemitism is the denial of the right of the State of Israel to exist.”
It is time for Guterres to keep his promise.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to Visit Israel in August
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will visit Israel in August for his first trip to the Jewish state since assuming the leadership of the world body at the start of this year.
Guterres will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, receive briefings from senior security officials, and visit Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust remembrance center.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, who will accompany Guterres during the visit, said he was “looking forward to showing [Guterres] the true Israel, which is an island of prosperity and stability in the tumultuous Middle East.”
“Particularly because of the UN’s discriminating treatment of Israel, it’s important for the secretary-general to see the complex challenges Israel is dealing with up close, along with its great contribution to the world as an innovative and groundbreaking country in many fields,” Danon added, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
U.S. Aircraft Carrier to Visit Israel for First Time in 17 Years
A United States aircraft carrier is slated to dock in an Israeli port for the first time in 17 years on Saturday.
The USS George H. W. Bush, named for the World War II naval aviator and 41st U.S. president, is scheduled to arrive in Haifa for a four day stopover with a crew of about 5,700 sailors and pilots and some 90 planes, Haaretz reported. The crew will spend the Fourth of July in Israel.
Because of its massive size, the George H. W. Bush will be unable to dock at Haifa’s port, but will remain offshore. Ferries will transport the crew to land.
The carrier, a Nimitz class nuclear-powered vessel, was deployed to the Persian Gulf to serve as a base for air strikes against the Islamic State in Syria.
On a visit to Israel in April, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said that Washington “maintains absolute and unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.”
Israeli plane hits Syrian army after shell lands in Golan
An Israeli warplane struck a Syrian army post on Friday, hours after stray fire from Syria’s civil war hit the Israeli Golan Heights, in the 16th such spillover just this week, the IDF said.
“In response to the projectile launched earlier today at Israel from Syria, an Israel Air Force aircraft targeted the Syrian army position that fired the mortar,” the English-language Israeli statement said.
“The errant projectile was a result of internal fighting in Syria.”
No one was hurt and no damage was reported in the incident. IDF forces located the shell casing near the border fence not far from Quneitra.
Rebels recently launched an offensive against government forces in Quneitra on the Syrian side of the armistice line.
Syrian rebels near Golan ask world for support against 'Assad’s terrorist regime'
Syrian rebels who have been fighting against the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad near Quneitra on the Golan claim to have killed 108 Syrian army soldiers in recent clashes, including high ranking officers.
In an exclusive interview with The Jerusalem Post, the spokesman Abo Omar Algolany said Syrian rebel factions were still trying to liberate Quneitra province.
Over the weekend of June 24th fighting between Syrian rebels and Assad’s forces led to projectiles falling on the Israeli side of the border and Israel struck Syrian regime tanks in response. According to Algolany a number of “revolutionary factions” that are active near the Golan border formed a unified “operations room” under the name “Operations of the Army of Muhammed” and launched an attack dubbed “there is no God but you, O God” to push Assad’s forces out of the Quneitra area. “The regime forces shell civilian homes, villages and towns adjacent to the Golan heights,” said Algolany. His statements correspond with other information online that says five different rebel groups cooperated in the attacks last week against an area called “Ba’ath city” which is around one kilometer from the Israeli border and near the ruins of the old town of Quneitra. This area can be easily seen from the Israeli side.
The Syrian rebels are facing reinforcements from Hezbollah as well as “Iranian Shi’ite militias” that prop-up Assad’s forces in the area, according to the source. “The rebels managed to control the first defensive lines of the Assad militia in Ba’ath City and eastern Samadaniyah, which is located near the city. They killed 108 members of the Assad regime, including high ranking officers. They destroyed three tanks.” Video posted on twitter claims to show the successes of the battle.
UN tells Syrian forces to leave buffer zone on border with Israel
The UN Security Council on Thursday strongly condemned fighting in the buffer zone between Syria and Israel and urged the Syrian government and opposition groups to withdraw from the area which is patrolled by UN peacekeepers.
A resolution sponsored by Russia and the United States and adopted unanimously Thursday by the UN Security Council extends the mandate of the peacekeeping mission known as UNDOF until Dececember 31.
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war and later extended civil law over the strategic plateau overlooking northern Israel, in a move that is not internationally recognized.
The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force has patrolled the buffer zone between Syria and Israel since 1974, a year after the 1973 Yom Kippur War. For nearly four decades UNDOF helped enforce a stable truce between the two countries but the Syrian war spilled into the zone.
The six-year conflict has not only seen some intense fighting in the buffer zone but the abduction of peacekeepers by al-Qaeda-linked anti-Syrian government militants, and other attacks that prompted several countries to withdraw their soldiers.
Sarin nerve gas used in deadly Syria attack, says chemical weapons watchdog
An investigation by the international chemical weapons watchdog confirmed Friday that sarin nerve gas was used in a deadly April 4 attack on a Syrian town, the latest confirmation of chemical weapons use in Syria’s civil war.
The attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s Idlib province left more than 90 people dead, including women and children, and sparked outrage around the world as photos and video of the aftermath, including quivering children dying on camera, were widely broadcast.
“I strongly condemn this atrocity, which wholly contradicts the norms enshrined in the Chemical Weapons Convention,” Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said in a statement. “The perpetrators of this horrific attack must be held accountable for their crimes.”
The investigation did not apportion blame. Its findings will be used by a joint United Nations-OPCW investigation team to assess who was responsible.
The OPCW scheduled a meeting of its Executive Council July 5 to discuss the findings.
The US State Department said in a statement issued Thursday night after the report was circulated to OPCW member states that “The facts reflect a despicable and highly dangerous record of chemical weapons use by the Assad regime.”
Hamas Official: Trump Administration Seeking to Establish ‘Palestinian Entity,’ Not an ‘Independent State’
The US is seeking to establish a “Palestinian entity,” not an “independent state,” a top Hamas official claimed this week, the Hebrew news site nrg reported.
Furthermore, Moussa Abu Marzouk — the deputy chairman of the Hamas political bureau — asserted that the Trump administration’s nascent Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative was meant to “serve Jewish interests.”
“American policy is pushing for the implementation of a confederation plan with Jordan and Egypt,” Marzouk tweeted.
Marzouk’s statements came a week after top Trump administration officials Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt met with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
That meeting, nrg said, left PA officials pessimistic, feeling that the Trump administration was biased in favor of Israel.
Abbas — according to PA officials quoted by nrg — tried to raise issues such as borders and refugees, while the American officials were focused on the PA’s payments to terrorists and their families and its incitement against Israel.
No understandings were reached and the discussion reached a dead end, nrg reported.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Palestinian Teachers Fear Students’ Murderous Hate For Jews Will Atrophy Over Summer (satire)
Educators in the Palestinian Authority school system and in the parallel institutions run by the United nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees voiced concern this week over the impending two-month summer break from formal studies, during which the hard work they invested inculcating in the children vengeful animosity toward Jews might dissipate.
With the school year reaching its formal completion this Friday, teachers and other staff members at schools across the Palestinian Territories expressed anxiety over how successful they had been at instilling lasting Jew-hate in their students during the last ten months. Summer camps will provide some of the same treatment to the children during July and August in informal settings, but the educators can only hope the hard work they have put into growing the next generation of stabbers, bombers, vehicular homicide perpetrators, hijackers, and inciters to murder does not go to waste once their young charges leave behind the school walls for the summer.
“I know summer camp can provide some of that content, but I still worry,” admitted Jenin sixth-grade teacher Sobbi Bor. “When the kids move up to seventh grade in September, will they retain the same level of murderous ill will, or will their new teachers have to go over some of the ground I was supposed to cover, just to get them up to speed? It’s a real worry of mine – basically, was I good enough? Am I good enough?”
For veteran Palestinian educators, the feelings are all too familiar. “Man, not a year goes by that I don’t dread the summer for this reason,” concurred Mustafa Massikr, who teaches fourth grade in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. “It doesn’t get any easier. My mind fills up with visions of the children losing what I’ve tried to teach them, and actually starting to see Jews as human, or at least deserving of compassion or respect. Only through mindfulness training have I managed to overcome those nightmares and push forward.”
Five suicide bombers attack Lebanese army during raids
Five suicide bombers attacked Lebanese soldiers as they raided two Syrian refugee camps in the Arsal area at the border with Syria on Friday and a sixth militant threw a hand grenade at a patrol, the army said.
The army said seven soldiers were wounded and a girl was killed after one of the suicide bombers blew himself up in the midst of a family of refugees. It did not elaborate.
The raids were part of a major security sweep by the army in an area that has been a flashpoint for violent spillover from the Syria crisis, and several Islamic State officials were among some 350 people detained, a security source said.
The defense minister was quoted as saying the incident showed the importance of tackling the refugee crisis - Lebanon is hosting over 1 million refugees - and vindicated a policy of "pre-emptive strikes" against militant sleeper cells.
US accuses UN of failing to address Iran’s ‘repeated’ flouting of nuclear deal
The United States on Thursday accused Iran of “repeatedly and deliberately” violating a UN resolution that endorsed the landmark 2015 nuclear deal and said the Security Council had failed to respond.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley pointed to “repeated ballistic missile launches, proven arms smuggling,” purchases of missile technology and a violations of a travel ban on Iranian military officials as proof that Iran was not upholding its international obligations.
“The Security Council has failed to take even minimal steps to respond to these violations,” Haley told a council meeting called to discuss Iran.
“These measures are here for a reason. This council should be here to enforce them,” she said.
The Security Council adopted resolution 2231 two years ago to endorse the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, lifting economic sanctions in exchange for curbs to Tehran’s nuclear program.
The resolution called on Iran not to test ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and an arms embargo remained in place.
US set to seize NYC skyscraper whose owner violated Iran sanctions
The US government said it’s ready to seize a Manhattan skyscraper from an Iranian-American charity after a jury found Thursday that the charity’s majority ownership was derived from financial dealings that violated sanctions against Iran.
Acting US Attorney Joon H. Kim said the owners of the office tower near Rockefeller Center “gave the Iranian government a critical foothold in the very heart of Manhattan through which Iran successfully circumvented US economic sanctions.”
“For over a decade, hiding in plain sight, this 36-story Manhattan office tower secretly served as a front for the Iranian government and as a gateway for millions of dollars to be funneled to Iran in clear violation of US sanctions laws,” Kim said in a statement. “In this trial, 650 Fifth Avenue’s secret was laid bare for all to see, and today’s jury verdict affirms what we have been alleging since 2008.”




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          06/29 Links Pt1: The UN is colluding with terror supporters; Sexism and Disorder at Al Quds Day rally    
From Ian:

PMW: PA libel: Israel uses drugs in war against Palestinians
Discussing the war on drugs in Jerusalem, a Palestinian Authority TV host stated that Israel is deliberately targeting young Palestinians with drugs. The Palestinian coordinator of a UNDP-sponsored campaign against drugs, Isaam Jweihan, endorsed this PA libel, stating that Israel uses drugs as "an unconventional weapon" to "empty Jerusalem of Arabs:"
PA TV host: “Jerusalem is probably the Palestinian district that suffers the most from drugs, [because] the occupation mainly targets young age groups in Jerusalem...”
Coordinator of the Project of the War on Drugs in Jerusalem, Issam Jweihan: “A war is being waged [by Israel] against Jerusalem. This is an unconventional war in which unconventional weapons are being used. The goal of the war is clear - to Judaize the city and empty it of its [Arab] residents. They are using unconventional weapons. The weapon that brings the best results for the Israelis is drugs.”
[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, June 21, 2017]
Palestinian Media Watch has documented this drug libel numerous times, and it is even being voiced by close associates of PA Chairman Abbas. Imad Hamato, who Abbas recently appointed to head a system of Islamic schools and who is also the host of a weekly PA TV program teaching Islam, has similarly taught that “Israel’s... war against the Arabs and Muslims is through sex mania... drugs... to destroy... our children’s values”:
PA TV spreads libel accusing Israel of spreading drugs among young Palestinians


IsraellyCool: WATCH: Arab-Palestinian Leader Anwar Nusseibeh: Palestine Was Really Just Part of Syria
Arab-Palestinian Leader Anwar Nusseibeh was no friend of Israel, but in the documentary Pillar of Fire (which I posted about yesterday here), he admitted that right after World War I, there was no separate “palestinian” identity – they were just part of Syria.
Arab-Palestinian Leader Anwar Nusseibeh: Palestine Was Really Just Part of Syria





UK Government Coalition Partner Urges Parliamentary Vote to Congratulate Israel on 1967 War Victory
The parliamentary partner of Britain’s ruling Conservative Party has submitted a resolution to the House of Commons congratulating Israel on the 50th anniversary of its victory in the 1967 war.
Members of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) submitted an “Early Day Motion” — a device which rarely leads to a parliamentary debate, but allows members of parliament to highlight their support for a particular cause — encouraging British legislators to celebrate Israel’s victory.
“This House commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the Six Day War when Israel stood against unprovoked attacks and won a stunning victory in just six days; congratulates the Israeli Defence Force and its ability to defeat its enemies and to safeguard peace; and urges all to keep the peace in the Middle East,” the motion reads.
A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Britain: May 2017
"The whole system failed and that is what has been happening for the last 30 years. And it is PC. People are just too, too afraid to, you know, just too, too afraid to speak the truth." — Mohan Singh, founder of the Sikh Awareness Society.
MI5, Britain's domestic security agency, revealed that it has identified 23,000 jihadist extremists living in the country.
Manchester bomber Salman Abedi used taxpayer-funded student loans and benefits to bankroll the terror plot, according to the Telegraph. Abedi is believed to have received thousands of pounds in state funding in the run-up to the attack even while he was overseas receiving bomb-making training. It also emerged that the chief imam of Abedi's mosque fought with militants in Libya. The mosque was also reported to have hosted hate preachers who called for British soldiers to be killed and non-believers to be stoned to death.
"It is no secret that Saudi Arabia in particular provides funding to hundreds of mosques in the UK, espousing a very hardline Wahhabist interpretation of Islam. It is often in these institutions that British extremism takes root." — Tom Brake, Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman.
What Might be Missing in the Muslim World?
Recently, Chinese, Japanese and other educators have found that rote learning and endless drills produce high achievers without creativity, originality, or the ability to think for themselves. Western academic standards of rationality and objectivity have been behind most of the West's achievements.
"The campus has three mosques with a fourth one planned, but no bookstore. No Pakistani university, including QAU, allowed Abdus Salam to set foot on its campus, although he had received the Nobel Prize in 1979 for his role in formulating the standard model of particle physics." — Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy, commenting on Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, Pakistan, the second-best university among the 57 Muslim states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
The very thought that "Islamic science" has to be different from "Western science" suggests the need for a radically different way of thinking. Scientific method is scientific method and rationality is rationality, regardless of the religion practiced by individual scientists.
Sexism and Disorder at Al Quds Day rally
Last weekend, the anti-Israel Al Quds Day rallies were held across the world. I attended one in Toronto so I could learn more about the terrorist sympathizers who attend these anti-semitic demonstrations.
What I saw wasn't surprising at all:
Women and girls were segregated from the rest of the protesters, while ignorant white leftists promoting terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah.


‘Israel has legal right to freeze Palestinian taxes that go to terrorists’
Israel can legally withhold tax fees from the Palestinian Authority to offset the money that it pays to Palestinian terrorists and their families, legal experts from the Justice and Defense Ministry told the Knesset.
“We don’t see any legal impediment,” Justice Ministry attorney Anat Assif told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee which on Wednesday debated a bill that would prohibit the passage of such fees.
The legislation authored by MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) is in the preparatory stage for its second and third reading, after which it would be passed into law.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken about the importance of halting such funding and the security cabinet last summer agreed to halt such payments, but in practice, Stern’s office said, the money is still being transferred.
It’s official: Israelis love Trump
Israelis have never hidden their love and admiration for President Trump, but now it's official — or at least proved scientifically.
An international survey carried out over the past few months by the Pew Research Center found that regard for the United States, its new leader and its policies has tumbled drastically around the world since Barack Obama left the presidency five months ago, except in two countries: Russia and Israel.
In Israel, there was little surprise at the poll’s results.
Trump, his family and his senior advisers visited here a month ago as part of his first international trip. During his 28-hour stay, he received a five-star welcome from Israeli leaders. And images of him; his wife, Melania; daughter Ivanka; and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, at the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s holiest sites, warmed Israeli and Jewish hearts.
There are other areas, too, where the Israelis seemed to view Trump favorably, according to Pew’s research.
When it comes to world affairs and some of his more prominent policy proposals, such as building a wall between the United States and Mexico and withdrawing from trade and climate agreements, more than half of Israelis (56 percent) said they had confidence in Trump to do the right thing.
His suggestion that the United States could withdraw from the Iranian nuclear agreement reached under Obama was welcomed by a majority of the public (67 percent) in Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other government officials consistently opposed the deal Obama signed with Iran, seeing it as a betrayal of the Jewish state.
Under Trump, Israeli Victims of Terror at Least Get Genuine Condolences
Although US President Donald Trump made a host of widely-publicized pledges to strengthen the US-Israeli relationship during his presidential campaign, his five-month old administration has shown few tangible signs of movement on any of them. It has passed on opportunities to move the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv and to scrap the Iran nuclear deal. And it certainly doesn’t appear to be undertaking a major rethink about how to bring about Israeli-Palestinian peace.
But credit the White House with making one critically important, lower-profile change, evident in the reaction of Trump’s peace envoy to the June 16 killing of Border Police officer Hadas Malka by Palestinian terrorists outside of Jerusalem’s Old City.
“The United States stands with our ally Israel and condemns the savage terrorist attack in Jerusalem,” tweeted Trump’s lead international negotiator Jason Greenblatt as he was leaving on a trip to Israel. After visiting the family of the deceased on June 19, he released a prepared statement saying “[St.-] Sgt. Major [Hadas] Malka was murdered by terrorists,” with a bit at the end about Trump’s vision for a Middle East free from “threats of terrorism and extremism.”
If all that seems pretty typical of how an American envoy would react to a deadly terrorist attack against a longstanding US ally, that’s precisely the point. Under previous administrations, it had become standard practice in reacting to terrorist attacks against Israelis to urge Israel (or both sides) to “exercise restraint,” “not escalate tensions any further,” “avoid any kind of innocent civilian casualties,” “avoid... making provocative statements that can further inflame tensions,” and various other equivalents.
Haley on Trump’s Warning to Syria: It Saved Many Innocent Lives
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Wednesday that she believes President Donald Trump's warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad two days earlier not to use chemical weapons saved many innocent lives.
Haley was testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee when Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.), the committee's chairman, asked if there has been any reaction to Trump's warning. Haley told Royce that the Trump administration has not observed an incident yet but said the president's statement was still necessary because the U.S. had seen similar preparations to what occurred before the Assad regime used chemical weapons on civilians on April 4.
After the April 4 chemical weapons attack, which killed dozens of people including children, the U.S. military launched cruise missiles at a Syrian government airfield.
Haley said Trump's message was also a warning to Iran and Russia, both of which support Assad in the Syrian conflcit, "that this was something we were not going to put up with."
"So I would like to think that the president saved many innocent men, women, and children," Haley said.
UN HEADQUARTERS TO HOLD 2-DAY CONFERENCE TO JUSTIFY KILLING ISRAELIS
On June 29 and 30, 2017, a U.N. committee will hold a "Forum to Mark Fifty Years of Occupation" aimed at demonizing Israel, encouraging violence and the hatred of Jews, and rewriting history. The forum has been organized by the U.N. "Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People" (CEIRPP), which was created on the same day as the infamous "Zionism is racism" resolution in 1975. Although the resolution was ultimately rescinded in 1991, the committee created to implement its antisemitic message was left in place and continues to operate.
Among the invited speakers are a host individuals hand-picked by the U.N. Committee because of their known support for Palestinian terrorism, involvement in incitement to violence, and promotion of antisemitism. They include:
Saeb Erekat (Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization): "We are protecting ourselves with the bodies of our sons and daughters, because Israel does not protect itself, but rather its crimes, occupation and settlement... Whoever wants to fight ISIS and terror in the region, must understand that this can't be done without drying up the quagmire of Israeli occupation in the region.'"
Mouin Rabbani (Institute for Palestine Studies): "...Netanyahu is the heir to that faction of the pre-state Zionist movement eventually known as revisionism, which was in fact inspired by fascism, albeit an Italian variant led by Mussolini. Um, and during World War II, in 1941, one faction of that movement, which was eventually led by Yitzhak Shamir, made an approach to Nazi Germany, during the Holocaust I should add, proposing an alliance with Berlin against the British, who then ruled Palestine. So, there's a long history here. Netanyahu today is the heir and the leader of that wing of the Zionist movement."
'The UN is colluding with terror supporters'
An anti-Israel event scheduled to be held at the United Nations this week will feature organizations allied with the Hamas and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror groups.
The United Nations Forum to Mark Fifty Years of Occupation, which is set to be held at the UN’s headquarters in New York this Thursday and Friday, is being organized by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and is unapologetic in its anti-Israel bent, with the first day being dedicated to talks under the headline of “Ending the Occupation: The Path to Independence, Justice, and Peace for Palestine”.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that a representative of the radical left-wing NGO B’Tselem was invited to address the event. The group’s participation in the event drew criticism from Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon.
“It's a complete disgrace that an Israeli group is helping the Palestinians harm Israel at the podium of the UN,” said Danon.
“B’Tselem is continuing its obsessive attempts to defame Israel in front of the world, and are taking advantage of their status as an Israeli organization in order to legitimize incitement against us.”
UN chief distances himself from Palestinian summit on 50 years of occupation
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres indicated that a summit organized by a pro-Palestinian UN group to mark five decades of Israeli control of the West Bank did not have the blessing of his office.
Israel’s envoy to the UN Danny Danon had earlier protested to Guterres against the “United Nations Forum to Mark Fifty Years of Occupation” because, he said, some of the billed participants were from organizations with ties to Palestinian terror groups Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The two-day meeting, beginning Thursday at UN headquarters in New York, was organized by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
Answering questions about the forum, Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for Guterres, said Wednesday that his office was “aware of the position of the Israeli Government.”
“They’ve communicated with the Secretary‑General’s Office,” he said. “This is a meeting that is being organized by a committee of the membership. It is not something that is being sponsored by the Secretariat. I think any questions as to the invitees and the way the meeting is organized should be directed to the members of the committee.”
Israel seeks secret ballot on Hebron inscription on World Heritage List
Israel hopes to sway the World Heritage Committee to vote by secret ballot when it decides on July 7 whether to inscribe Hebron’s Old City and the Tomb of the Patriarchs on the List of World Heritage in Danger under the “State of Palestine.”
“There is no doubt that if there is a public ballot, we will lose,” Ambassador to UNESCO in Paris Carmel Shama-Hacohen told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
With only 10 days left until the committee’s 21 member states cast their votes, Israel is seeking every edge possible to ensure that the necessary twothirds majority of those present oppose the move.
It’s so close, Shama-Hacohen said, that one vote could make the difference.
Israel and India: A new strategic partnership
It seems as though not a single week goes by without some head of state visiting us. The past several years have seen a sharp increase in the number of visits made by high-ranking foreign dignitaries to Israel, to the point that they are no longer considered special.
Having said that, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit next week is special, because it underscores the 180-degree turn the bilateral ties have undergone. For many decades, India was led by a staunchly anti-Israel socialist party that supported every diplomatic effort to attack the Jewish state. This was based on an ideological platform dating back to the founders of independent India, who saw the Zionist movement as an organ of Western colonialism. This twisted worldview had India stand by the Arabs as the victims of colonialism who experienced an ordeal similar to that of Indians.
India also thought it could reap benefits from its alliance with the Arabs and be able to tap the economic potential of Islamic states. India further hoped this affinity would give it prestige on the world stage and prevent unrest among its large Muslim minority. But these years of hostility are over. The old guard in India is no longer in power, and the ideological blindness is gone too. Modi and his party don't consider Zionism an imperialist power but as a positive national movement representing a people living in their homeland.
Terror-Tied Qatari Think Tank Has Anti-Israel, Pro-BDS Stance
Earlier this month, major Arab nations — led by Saudi Arabia — severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing the country of financing and sheltering terrorists and maintaining cordial relations with Iran. Yet Doha’s pro-terror policies have not just made the Middle East more unstable; they also directly threaten Israel’s security.
For the past decade, Qatar has provided financial and diplomatic support to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, by hosting its leaders and pledging millions of dollars to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Qatar has also sponsored the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, which is aimed at economically isolating Israel to end its alleged “oppression” of the Palestinians.
A new Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) investigation has found that senior academics tied to a Doha-based think tank believed to be financed by the Qatari government — and its Washington, DC, affiliate — routinely engage in anti-Israel rhetoric and are strong BDS supporters.
Osama Abu-Irshaid, a non-resident scholar at the Doha-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) was a featured speaker at a three-day international conference in Tunis in August, which was hosted by ACRPS to discuss using boycotts to combat “Israeli occupation.”
Shin Bet Chief: Israel Has Thwarted 2,000 Terror Attacks Since 2016 Due to Cyber Efforts
The head of Israel’s Shin Bet security agency revealed on Tuesday the Jewish state has prevented about 2,000 terror attacks since the beginning of 2016 due to cybersecurity efforts.
“The Shin Bet is dealing with considerable threats, from terrorist organizations to individual hackers,” Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman said at the 2017 Cyber Week conference in Tel Aviv. “In order to foil these threats, we have carried out dozens of sophisticated and successful operations. With the help of high-quality intelligence received through our cyber network, many terrorist attacks have been thwarted.”
“The Shin Bet, alongside its partners, has succeeded — through technological, intelligence and operational adjustments — in locating more than 2,000 potential lone terrorists since the beginning of 2016,” he continued.
According to Argaman, Israel has prevented these attacks thanks to coordination among the country’s top agencies, in what he described as a “cyber coalition.”
“In cyber, the name of the game is ‘jointness’ and it is the only way to go,” he said. “We counter our adversaries through a ‘cyber coalition’ that includes cooperation with the IDF, the Mossad, the Cyber Bureau, the Defense Ministry…as well as with intelligence organizations around the world.”
Palestinian gunman opens fire on Israeli troops in Hebron, is shot dead
A Palestinian gunman opened fired on Israeli troops during a raid to uncover an arms cache in the West Bank town of Hebron on Wednesday night, the Israeli military said.
In response to the immediate threat, the forces fired towards the suspect resulting in his death, the military stated.
The IDF released a photo of a makeshift automatic weapon lying on the ground that it said belonged to the gunman.
The Palestinian health ministry confirmed the death of the man but did not immediately release details of his identity.
There were no casualties to the IDF soldiers.
Errant shell from Syria lands in Golan Heights as Netanyahu tours area
A shell from fighting in Syria landed in the Golan Heights on Wednesday as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was touring the strategic plateau. There were no injuries or damage caused and the PM was not in any danger.
The IDF immediately struck a Syrian military position from which the mortar shell was fired, fulfilling Netanyahu’s vow that Israel “will not accept stray fire” from the Syrian civil war landing in its territory.
The incident came as Netanyahu spoke at an event marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the city of Katzrin, some 17 kilometers (10 miles) from the Quneitra area where the mortar struck.
“We are here celebrating the fortieth anniversary of Katzrin, the capital of the Golan Heights,” Netanyahu said. “I said that we will not tolerate spillover and that we will respond to every firing. During my speech shells from the Syrian side landed in our territory and the IDF has already struck back. Whoever attacks us – we will attack him. This is our policy and we will continue with it.”
Earlier, in the speech, Netanyahu referred to the uptick in incidents over the past week of stray fire from fighting in Syria landing in Israel, saying that Israel would “respond with decisiveness and strength” to any spillover from the civil war.
UN PEACEKEEPERS ARE COVERING UP HEZBOLLAH ACTIVITY NEAR ISRAELI BORDER
"More and more voices in Israel are saying that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has become a burden and its mission is no longer needed.
'UNIFIL was supposed to be the enforcement apparatus for Security Council Resolution 1701,' a high-placed Israeli military source said on condition of anonymity. 'But in actual fact, it has become only a fig leaf for that resolution. UNIFIL whitewashes Hezbollah activity on the 'Blue Line' [border], and serves as an excuse for Hezbollah and the Lebanese government to violate the UN resolution and ratchet up tensions along the border. We no longer need this force here any longer. Better to remain with only the coordination and liaison units, and that's all,' he added...
The confrontation between Israel and UNIFIL erupted at the beginning of the month, in the course of the June 7-9 visit of US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley to Israel. Haley, who enjoys tremendous popularity in Israel, was taken for a patrol of the northern border line between Israel and Lebanon...
Security Council Resolution 1701 ... states that Hezbollah militants are not to be south of the Litani River. Then Haley was given intelligence information that Israel had collected in the recent year. In addition, via the special observation instruments brought there, Haley was able to discern observation points erected by Hezbollah along the length of the Lebanese border, camouflaged as a green environmental organization for nature protection. At exactly this stage, the UNIFIL commander, Irish Maj. Gen. Michael Beary, arrived. Haley asked the general for his response to the information she received, and explained to him that she saw with her own eyes how Hezbollah militants are clearly present south of the Litani - areas where the Security Council resolution forbids them to have a presence. And UNIFIL is the body that is supposed to enforce this resolution. The general denied the information...
Israel freezes visits to Hamas prisoners amid talks over troops’ remains
Hamas on Thursday said that Israel had stopped allowing Gazan members of the terror group serving time in Israeli prisons to receive visits from family members, in a move intended to ramp up pressure amid negotiations for the return of three Israeli civilians and the bodies of two soldiers being held in the Strip.
Hamas leaders condemned the move as “the beginning of a war against the prisoners.”
“We will not allow this decision to stand, whatever the price may be,” they said in a statement.
An Israeli prison official refused to confirm the policy change.
Israel is holding some 150 Hamas security prisoners from Gaza. In the past, families of Palestinian inmates have been granted permits to cross from the Gaza Strip into Israel to visit them.
The families of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, two soldiers killed in Gaza during fighting in 2014, have urged Israel to disallow the visits as a means of pressuring Hamas to return the troops’ bodies and praised the reported move.
Hamas' Catch-22
The voices rising from Gaza are not of war and certainly not of triumph, but of distress. It has been 10 years since its people took Gaza by force, and Hamas is not only looking at a dead end, but a Catch-22. Even as Qatar, its primary benefactor, is under a diplomatic barrage from its neighbors; the cries of despair are still emanating from Gaza, where residents are paying the price for Hamas' isolation in the Arab world.
These are no longer the days of Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt, when Turkey and Qatar did as they pleased across the Arab world, and when Hamas leaders freely globe-trotted from capital to capital. Now, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is caged in; forced to wait until his Egyptian guard feels like letting him out.
Cairo has its own grudge against Hamas. It wants to see action first and foremost, such as the buffer zone being built along Gaza's border with Egypt, intended to prevent terrorists from Islamic State's Sinai branch from finding shelter inside Gaza under Hamas' blind eye.
Thus, bereft of outside support and facing boiling distress at home, the Strip is convulsing from one crisis to the next. With so many people struggling to keep their heads barely above water (in the dark no less), Hamas is now even willing to consider waiving a white flag and handing over the keys to Mohammed Dahlan -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' detested political rival -- who could very well be the only one capable of turning things around in Gaza.
Hamas leader stuck in Gaza after Qatar slams doors shut
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who in early May was elected to replace Khaled Mashaal as the terrorist organization's political chief, is stuck in Gaza. Israel Hayom has learned that officials from Hamas' political bureau, and mainly Haniyeh himself, cannot find a single Arab country to host them.
The role of political chief requires a great deal of travel. In the past, Hamas' political bureau was based in Syria. However, with the outbreak of the civil war there in 2011, Hamas sided with the rebels, and Syrian President Bashar Assad banished Mashaal from the country.
After being expelled from Syria, the Hamas political bureau relocated to Qatar, with Mashaal operating from Doha.
When Haniyeh was chosen to succeed Mashaal and head the political bureau, Hamas began making preparations for his transfer from Gaza to Qatar, where he would have enjoyed an exclusive lifestyle and the ability to travel freely, as his position requires. But in a stroke of bad luck for Haniyeh, a few days before his relocation, the Qatari government told senior Hamas officials to leave the country immediately.
The Qatari decision came on the heels of an emerging diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia, other Persian Gulf states, and Egypt over Qatar's support of Islamic terrorist groups and its warm relations with Iran. Now, the Hamas leadership is worried that Haniyeh will be targeted for assassination.
Hamas begins work on buffer zone with Egypt to improve ties
Hamas on Wednesday said they had begun constructing a security buffer zone between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, as it attempts to improve ties with Cairo.
The new area will be a closed-off military zone, and will stretch 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) along the southern border of the coastal Strip with the Sinai Peninsula, and will reach 100 meters (330 feet) into Gaza, the Hamas-run interior ministry said. It will include observation towers, cameras and lighting.
Tawfiq Abu Naim, a security chief of the Gaza-based terror group, said the new security zone was being constructed as part of a recent agreement between Cairo and Hamas.
“These continuing measures are for the sake of achieving control of the southern border and to completely prevent infiltration and smuggling,” Abu Naim said in the statement.
He added that the construction of the buffer zone “is a reassuring message directed at the Egyptian side that the national security of Egypt is the national security of Gaza.”
How Trita Parsi and NIAC Used the White House to Advance Iran’s Agenda
Yet contrary to NIAC’s claims, the Iranian regime has intensified its holocaust-denying and anti-Jewish hatred. In January 2016, as the world marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Khamenei published a video titled “Are the Dark Ages Over” on his official website which included one of his speeches from two years ago in which he questions the reality of the Holocaust. In May 2016, Iran held another Holocaust cartoon festival inviting the usual despicable cast of characters from Europe and around the world with the supreme leader sending a message to the organizers of the event thanking and congratulating them.
Regarding NIAC’s claim that the nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions would moderate Iranian foreign policy, there is some consensus that Iran feels emboldened to pursue its radical and hegemonic policies in the region. As CENTCOM Commander General Joseph L. Votel testified before the House Armed Service Committee in March 2017, “We have not seen any improvement in Iran’s behavior since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), addressing Iran’s nuclear program, was finalized in July 2015. Iran aspires to be a regional hegemon and its forces and proxies oppose U.S. interests in Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, Gaza, and Syria, and seek to hinder achievement of U.S. objectives in Afghanistan and some Central Asian States.”
What is unquestionable here is that NIAC’s activities since 2002 and particularly during the Obama administration eased pressure on the Iranian regime and helped Tehran to advance its strategic goals.
One woman fights Iran's modesty police with a hashtag
Before she begins her Wednesday morning, Iranian activist Masih Alinejad spends hours sifting through scores of videos and photos sent to her of women in Iran wearing white headscarves or white clothing as part of a growing online protest.
To campaign against the Iran's obligatory headscarf (hijab) policy for women, Alinejad last month encouraged women to take videos or photos of themselves wearing white and upload them on social media with the hashtag #whitewednesdays.
"My goal is just empowering women and giving them a voice. If the government and the rest of the world hear the voice of these brave women then they have to recognize them," Alinejad told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.
Under Iran's Islamic law, imposed after the 1979 revolution, women are obliged to cover their hair and wear long, loose-fitting clothes for the sake of modesty. Violators are publicly admonished, fined or arrested.
Although no official records have been collected, a report by campaign group Justice for Iran in 2014 found over 10 years nearly half a million women were cautioned and more than 30,000 women arrested in cities across Iran over the hijab law.
MEMRI: Syrian Opposition Website: Assad Visited New Long-Range Missile Facility Near Baniyas
The Syrian opposition website zamanalwsl.net reported on June 28, 2017 that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad recently visited a new facility for developing and manufacturing long-range missiles that is under direct Iranian supervision, and met there with Iranian and Syrian experts. According to the report, the construction of the facility, which is located in Wadi Jahannam near the coastal city of Baniyas, began about a year ago, and it will begin operating at the end of this year. The report was accompanied by an aerial photograph of the area (see below).
It should be mentioned that, since the report appeared in an opposition website, its authenticity is uncertain.
The following are excerpts from it:
"Reliable sources knowledgeable about the regime's 'scientific research' activities reveal that Assad's open and documented visit to the homes of some of his supporters in the Hama area was merely a cover for a secret visit to one of the most sensitive military facilities of the regime and its ally Iran. According to the sources [he] visited a new secret research facility whose construction began last year in a fortified area east of Baniyas, in a rugged valley called Wadi Jahannam. This deep valley is in the Tartous governorate, close to several villages belonging to the Baniyas administrative district: Al-Annaza, Nahl, Al-Alayqa and Al-Ghansala.
Video Games ‘Resident Evil’ and ‘Call of Duty’ Spread Islamophobia, Says Turkey’s Government
Video games like Call of Duty and Guitar Hero provide entertainment to millions around the world.
But Turkey’s Youth and Sports Ministry says that many popular foreign-made games are responsible for intentionally spreading fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims—or Islamophobia—and desecrating Islamic symbols.
The head of the ministry’s Education, Culture and Research Commission, Huzeyfe Yilmaz, told the Turkish parliament that some 25 million people play videogames for a total of 39 million hours per day in the country, Turkish paper Hurriyet Daily News reported on Monday.
But Yilmaz said that many games included “harmful material”—such as explicit sexual content or violence—as well as Islamophobic themes and suggested there should be tougher restrictions on selling them in Turkey.
“The goal [of many games] is to give people a negative perception about Islam. Digital games are used as a tool to spread Islamophobia,” said Yilmaz, according to Hurriyet. “Often the player is put in the role of a soldier and they gain points by killing Muslims, who are shown to them as terrorists. The main goal is creating enmity towards Islam.”
On the government-run website, 19 games are already listed as containing content that is potentially Islamophobic. Several games in the Call of Duty franchise—which have sold over 250 million copies in total, making it one of the most popular franchises of all time—are blacklisted by the ministry.



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          Beyond the Conventional Wisdom of Development   


Beyond the Conventional Wisdom of Development

Simon Weldemichael
Adi Keih College of Arts and Social Sciences

Developing countries across the world are struggling to create a supporting environment for development. Policies and strategies were designed, steps to implement were initiated, promises were made and hopes were raised. The people of developing countries were on ground prostrated while the global wheel of wealth was licked by the few “special people”. Good intentions failed to materialize for two reasons: government inability to govern and international structures. For many reasons, industrialized nations didn’t allow developing nations to do what they did during their catch-up period. Here are some substantive facts that the developed countries employed to get rich but did not allow to be emulated by developing countries.

Western civilization was the result of prolonged and pervasive military competition. The military spearheaded all of the technological and scientific innovations in the catch-up period of development of the now industrialized countries. In the past, the existence of a formidable and robust military laid conducive ground for industrialization and militarization. But as time heals wounds so time does thwart historical facts. When the new world order was inaugurated, military was conceived as destructive to national wealth. Countries were instructed and some times prescribed to demilitarize and countries with a strong military were viewed as “rogue states”. Rogue state was a term used to describe states that do not regard themselves as bound by international norms (Chomsky 2000: 1). According to this definition, most if not all powerful states fall into this category. Therefore developing countries, especially in the turbulent regions such as Horn of Africa and elsewhere, cannot modernize without having a strong military providing security, protecting national interest and gaining confidence to formulate and experiment proactive policy.

Military force dictates other means of power. The state with superior military force will prevail and develop. If the security of a state falls in jeopardy there is no room to think about development. Therefore, force is ultimately necessary to guarantee survival and to create a favorable environment for development. In Africa, particularly in the Horn of Africa, military power is central in the national power of a state.

For the last 200 years every superpower has tried to create a world in its image, forcing the world community to repeat what has been said by the ‘special’ and above all worked hard to kill the ability to think and destroy originality. Currently, there is great pressure on developing countries from the developed countries, to adopt a set of “good policies” which are incompatible with their local conditions. Developing countries were ill advised to open up their doors and to liberalize their market. Free trade and development were presented as two sides of the same coin. President Donald Trump has said unusual statement in his inaugural speech:
“Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.”

Despite the fact that developed countries reached the top by formulating policies mirroring their particular conditions and levels of development, they now downplayed the importance of domestic policies and resources in fostering development. Instead of helping developing countries reach their development aspirations, they fool them by suggesting and forcing irrelevant policies, threatening, setting unfavorable trade terms, promoting aid that cultivates dependency and debt. Ha - Joon Chang described the inconsistency between historical facts and today’s conventional wisdom by the phrase “kicking away the ladder”. In his article and book “Kicking Away the Ladder: Infant Industry Promotion in Historic Perspective” he cites Friedrich List,

“It is a very common clever device that when anyone has attained the summit of greatness, he kicks away the ladder by which he has climbed up, in order to deprive others of the means of climbing up after him” (Chang 2003: 24).

The historical portrait is clear. There is no medicine that cures all diseases and there is no size that fits all. The medical knowledge of a doctor alone cannot cure a patient, unless he pays credit to the patient’s information and hears all they have to say. The industrialized world’s prescription, instead of bringing solutions, has actually worsened the existing condition. Instead of allowing developing countries to make informed choices and to adopt the policies that are more suitable to their stages of development, they were pressured to receive instructions from above. The obvious solution to this paradox is developing countries must develop independent political line and pursue policies that are good for them.

Another concept that corrupts with the passage of time is human rights. The present developed countries in their way to reach the stage where they are now, have committed untold human rights violation. Slavery, child labour, non-stop working hours, forced labour, colonization and more were institutionalized until recently in all of the industrialized nations. Women were not considered as full citizens in Europe and America until only very recently. This is not to say history has to repeat itself (and of course no one wishes to adopt all the abusive and immoral actions), but to pinpoint the historical facts that all of the democratic and industrialized nations used the opposite strategy to become rich and to develop democracy. We have to understand that all of the countries that now act as if they were born rich and democratic were, at times, poor and aggressive. History confirms that no democracy arrived before industrialization or modernization of a state. The theater of electoral democracy played by all third world governments was like what Francis Fukuyama described as ‘isomorphic mimicry’ - copying the outward forms of developed countries (Digest 85, 2016: 27).

The inherent aggressive behavior of developed countries was manifested during the two great world wars and wars of aggression after the cold war. Illegal military actions were disguised under the cloak of humanitarian intervention, a war on terror, self-defense, and anticipatory self-defense. Anticipatory self-defense for instance, refers to the right of USA to attack a country that it thinks could attack it first. Among the amazing incidents of the 21st century falling into this category are USA military aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

The USA, as a global leader, appeared as a prophet of transparency and democracy before the international community. It is true that knowledge is power, and transparency is the remedy to the darkness under which abuse thrives. Democracy depends on a knowledgeable citizenry whose access to a broad range of information enables them to participate fully in public life (Neuman 2002: 5). America is however, a nation engaged in hunting Edward Snowden and Julian Assange in day light for acts of informing the general public. So where has been the access that is necessary for the realization of the basic rights to freedom of opinion and expression that are guaranteed? The world is lectured frequently by the USA about how to behave. Brian Cloughley in his article titled “Wars, Killings and Lectures by the Greatest Nation Ever Created” came up with a fact that the prison population rate of the US is 716 per 100,000 people. He further includes the testimonial statement of the defeated presidential candidate Hilary Clinton, “It’s a stark fact that the United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, yet we have almost 25 percent of the world’s total prison population”. The barefaced USA, however, continues to wage war, kill and lecture other nations on how to behave.

Another slandered concept is self-reliance. The "elite" of the international system are engaged in teaching the world that self-reliance is dead and useless. Governments pursuing self-reliant projects and independent political lines are conceived as a threat to global peace and security. Self-reliance is not to disregard collaboration and assistance but to prioritize and mobilize internal resources to advance development. The reason that Eritrea, a small, young, low-income country was always observed by the eyes of world powers was its policy of self-reliance, and little else. Eritrea was stoned by accusations merely for its confidence and responsive attitude to internal demands. Quite unique from the broader African context, regardless of its form and procedure, Eritrea seeks to focus on representing public interests and has worked to satisfy popular expectations. Eritrean is guided and ordered by the rhythm of the country’s objective reality. Eritrean seeks to be able to deliver basic social services, enforce laws and maintain peace and security.

In all western industrialized countries national identity formation, state building, industrialization, institutionalization and democratization were done separately in different periods. Developing countries however, are ordered to answer all those assignments at once which perplexed them.

At last, it is paramount to understand the discrepancy between historical reality and the conventional wisdom of development, between the practice and rhetoric. In order for good ideas to produce good results, a good and enabling environment must be created in advance. We also have to understand that although emulation is important, evolution of ideas is more important.




          Lawyers Set Up Shop At Major Airports Over Trump Travel Ban   
Lawyers Set Up Shop At Major Airports Over Trump Travel Ban
President Donald Trump’s revised temporary travel ban went into effect Thursday. It impacts travelers from Libya, Syria, Iran, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan. Visa applicants in those six Muslim-majority countries will have to prove a relationship with family already in the... Read More
          Paul Craig Roberts Asks "Why Has Washington Been At War For 16 Years?"   

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

For sixteen years the US has been at war in the Middle East and North Africa, running up trillions of dollars in expenses, committing untold war crimes, and sending millions of war refugees to burden Europe, while simultaneously claiming that Washington cannot afford its Social Security and Medicare obligations or to fund a national health service like every civilized country has.

Considering the enormous social needs that cannot be met because of the massive cost of these orchestrated wars, one would think that the American people would be asking questions about the purpose of these wars. What is being achieved at such enormous costs? Domestic needs are neglected so that the military/security complex can grow fat on war profits.

The lack of curiousity on the part of the American people, the media, and Congress about the purpose of these wars, which have been proven to be based entirely on lies, is extraordinary. What explains this conspiracy of silence, this amazing disinterest in the squandering of money and lives?

Most Americans seem to vaguely accept these orchestrated wars as the government’s response to 9/11. This adds to the mystery as it is a fact that Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Iran (Iran not yet attacked except with threats and sanctions) had nothing to do with 9/11. But these countries have Muslim populations, and the Bush regime and presstitute media succeeded in associating 9/11 with Muslims in general.

Perhaps if Americans and their “representatives” in Congress understood what the wars are about, they would rouse themselves to make objections. So, I will tell you what Washington’s war on Syria and Washington’s intended war on Iran are about. Ready?

There are three reasons for Washington’s war, not America’s war as Washington is not America, on Syria.

The first reason has to do with the profits of the military/security complex. The military/security complex is a combination of powerful private and governmental interests that need a threat to justify an annual budget that exceeds the GDP of many countries. War gives this combination of private and governmental interests a justification for its massive budget, a budget whose burden falls on American taxpayers whose real median family income has not risen for a couple of decades while their debt burden to support their living standard has risen.

 

The second reason has to do with the Neoconservative ideology of American world hegemony. According to the Neoconservatives, who most certainly are not conservative of any description, the collapse of communism and socialism means that History has chosen “Democratic Capitalism,” which is neither democratic nor capitalist, as the World’s Socio-Economic-Political system and it is Washington’s responsibility to impose Americanism on the entire world. Countries such as Russia, China, Syria, and Iran, who reject American hegemony must be destabilized and desroyed as they stand in the way of American unilateralism.

 

The Third reason has to do with Israel’s need for the water resources of Southern Lebanon. Twice Israel has sent the vaunted Israeli Army to occupy Southern Lebanon, and twice the vaunted Israeli Army was driven out by Hezbollah, a militia supported by Syria and Iran. To be frank, Israel is using America to eliminate the Syrian and Iranian governments that provide military and economic support to Hezbollah. If Hezbollah’s suppliers can be eliminated by the Americans, Israel’s army can steal Southern Lebanon, just as it has stolen Palestine and parts of Syria.

Here are the facts: For 16 years the insouciant American population has permitted a corrupt government in Washington to squander trillions of dollars needed domestically but instead allocated to the profits of the military/security complex, to the service of the Neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony, and to the service of Israel.

Clearly, Amerian democracy is a fraud. It serves everyone but Americans.

What is the likely consequence of the US government serving non-American interests?

The best positive outcome is poverty for the 99 percent. The worst outcome is nuclear armageddon.

Washington’s service to the military/security complex, to the Neoconservative ideology, and to Israel completely neglects over-powering facts.

Israel’s interest to overthrow Syria and Iran is totally inconsistant with Russia’s interest to prevent the import of jihadism into the Russian Federation and Central Asia. Therefore, Israel has put the US into direct military conflict with Russia.

The US military/security complex’s financial interests to surround Russia with missile sites is inconsistent with Russian sovereignty as is the Neoconservatives’ emphasis on US world hegemony.

President Trump does not control Washington. Washington is controlled by the military/security complex (watch on youtube President Eisenhower’s description of the military/security complex as a threat to American democracy), by the Israel Lobby, and by the Neoconservatives. These three organized interest groups have pre-empted the Amercan people, who are powerless and are uninvolved in the decisions about their future.

Every US Representative and US Senator who stood up to Israel was defeated by Israel in their re-election campaign. This is the reason that when Israel wants something it passes both houses of Congress unanimously. As Admiral Tom Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations and Chariman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said publicly, “No American President can stand up to Israel.” Israel gets what it wants no matter what the consequences are for America.

Adm. Moorer was right. The US gives Israel every year enough money to purchase our government. And Israel does purchase our government. The US government is far more accountable to Israel than to the American people. The votes of the House and Senate prove this.

Unable to stand up to tiny Israel, Washington thinks it can buffalo Russia and China. For Washington to continue to provoke Russia and China is a sign of insantity. In the place of intelligence we see hubris and arrogance, the hallmarks of fools.

What Planet Earth, and the creatures thereon, need more than anything is leaders in the West who are intelligent, who have a moral conscience, who respect truth, and who are are capable of understanding the limits to their power.

But the Western World has no such people.


          U.S. Defines Who Can Enter Under Travel Ban   
NBC News | Visa applicants from Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen must prove a relationship with family already in the U.S.
          الائتلاف والمجلس الإسلامي يدينان الاعتداء على نازحين سوريين بلبنان - اخبارليبيا   

اخبارليبيا

الائتلاف والمجلس الإسلامي يدينان الاعتداء على نازحين سوريين بلبنان
اخبارليبيا
وحمّل الائتلاف الوطني السلطات اللبنانية "مسؤولية سلامة اللاجئين السوريين في لبنان"، مؤكداً على "ضرورة محاسبة ومعاقبة المسؤولين عن الجرائم والانتهاكات التي تقع بحقهم، ومنها محاولات تهجيرهم عنوة إلى مناطق أخرى، أو دفعهم للعودة إلى مناطق سيطرة النظام والمليشيات الإرهابية التابعة له". كذلك طالب، في بيان، السلطات اللبنانية بـ"توفير الحماية اللازمة للاجئين السوريين، وفقاً للقانون الدولي الإنساني، إلى حين عودتهم إلى وطنهم، والتوقف عن استخدام الإرهاب المُدان ذريعة لإلحاق الأذى بالمدنيين العزل، ووقف عمليات الاعتقال ...

والمزيد »

          real nudes (1984 / 2560)   
.
Untitled | by Md. Imam Hasan
 
[Dhaka]: photo by Muhammad Imam Hasan, 22 August 2016 

On the sixth day of Hate Week, after the processions, the speeches, the shouting, the singing, the banners, the posters, the films, the waxworks, the rolling of drums and squealing of trumpets, the tramp of marching feet, the grinding of the caterpillars of tanks, the roar of massed planes, the booming of guns -- after six days of this, when the great orgasm was quivering to its climax and the general hatred of Eurasia had boiled up into such delirium that if the crowd could have got their hands on the 2,000 Eurasian war-criminals who were to be publicly hanged on the last day of the proceedings, they would unquestionably have torn them to pieces -- at just this moment it had been announced that Oceania was not after all at war with Eurasia. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Eurasia was an ally. 




#Venezuela Members of the National Guard arrest an activist during a protest against the government of President Maduro in Caracas. Photo @jbarreto1974: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 27 June 2017

There was, of course, no admission that any change had taken place. Merely it became known, with extreme suddenness and everywhere at once, that Eastasia and not Eurasia was the enemy. Winston was taking part in a demonstration in one of the central London squares at the moment when it happened. It was night, and the white faces and the scarlet banners were luridly floodlit. The square was packed with several thousand people, including a block of about a thousand schoolchildren in the uniform of the Spies. On a scarlet-draped platform an orator of the Inner Party, a small lean man with disproportionately long arms and a large bald skull over which a few lank locks straggled, was haranguing the crowd. A little Rumpelstiltskin figure, contorted with hatred, he gripped the neck of the microphone with one hand while the other, enormous at the end of a bony arm, clawed the air menacingly above his head. His voice, made metallic by the amplifiers, boomed forth an endless catalogue of atrocities, massacres, deportations, lootings, rapings, torture of prisoners, bombing of civilians, lying propaganda, unjust aggressions, broken treaties. It was almost impossible to listen to him without being first convinced and then maddened. At every few moments the fury of the crowd boiled over and the voice of the speaker was drowned by a wild beast-like roaring that rose uncontrollably from thousands of throats. The most savage yells of all came from the schoolchildren. The speech had been proceeding for perhaps twenty minutes when a messenger hurried on to the platform and a scrap of paper was slipped into the speaker's hand. He unrolled and read it without pausing in his speech. Nothing altered in his voice or manner, or in the content of what he was saying, but suddenly the names were different. Without words said, a wave of understanding rippled through the crowd. Oceania was at war with Eastasia! The next moment there was a tremendous commotion. The banners and posters with which the square was decorated were all wrong! Quite half of them had the wrong faces on them. It was sabotage! The agents of Goldstein had been at work! There was a riotous interlude while posters were ripped from the walls, banners torn to shreds and trampled underfoot. The Spies performed prodigies of activity in clambering over the rooftops and cutting the streamers that fluttered from the chimneys. But within two or three minutes it was all over. The orator, still gripping the neck of the microphone, his shoulders hunched forward, his free hand clawing at the air, had gone straight on with his speech. One minute more, and the feral roars of rage were again bursting from the crowd. The Hate continued exactly as before, except that the target had been changed. 



The thing that impressed Winston in looking back was that the speaker had switched from one line to the other actually in midsentence, not only without a pause, but without even breaking the syntax. But at the moment he had other things to preoccupy him. It was during the moment of disorder while the posters were being torn down that a man whose face he did not see had tapped him on the shoulder and said, 'Excuse me, I think you've dropped your brief-case.' He took the brief-case abstractedly, without speaking. He knew that it would be days before he had an opportunity to look inside it. The instant that the demonstration was over he went straight to the Ministry of Truth, though the time was now nearly twenty-three hours. The entire staff of the Ministry had done likewise. The orders already issuing from the telescreen, recalling them to their posts, were hardly necessary.




#China Restaurant staff eat noodle soup (L) and drink a beer (R) during a break in the back street of an eatery in Beijing Photo @NAsfouri #AFP: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 28 June 2017

Oceania was at war with Eastasia: Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia. A large part of the political literature of five years was now completely obsolete. Reports and records of all kinds, newspapers, books, pamphlets, films, sound-tracks, photographs -- all had to be rectified at lightning speed. Although no directive was ever issued, it was known that the chiefs of the Department intended that within one week no reference to the war with Eurasia, or the alliance with Eastasia, should remain in existence anywhere. The work was overwhelming, all the more so because the processes that it involved could not be called by their true names. Everyone in the Records Department worked eighteen hours in the twenty-four, with two three-hour snatches of sleep. Mattresses were brought up from the cellars and pitched all over the corridors: meals consisted of sandwiches and Victory Coffee wheeled round on trolleys by attendants from the canteen. Each time that Winston broke off for one of his spells of sleep he tried to leave his desk clear of work, and each time that he crawled back sticky-eyed and aching, it was to find that another shower of paper cylinders had covered the desk like a snowdrift, half burying the speakwrite and overflowing on to the floor, so that the first job was always to stack them into a neat enough pile to give him room to work. What was worst of all was that the work was by no means purely mechanical. Often it was enough merely to substitute one name for another, but any detailed report of events demanded care and imagination. Even the geographical knowledge that one needed in transferring the war from one part of the world to another was considerable.

George Orwell (b. Eric Arthur Blair, Motihan, Bengal Presidency, British India, 1903; d. London, 1950): from 1984 (1949)

Iraq Mosul

The destroyed al-Nuri mosque is seen through a hole in the wall of a house retaken by Iraqi Special Forces during fighting against Islamic State militants in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday, June 27, 2017. An Iraqi officer says counterattacks by Islamic State militants on the western edge of Mosul have stalled Iraqi forces' push in the Old City, the last IS stronghold in the city.: photo by Felipe Dana/AP, 27 June 2017


GAZA STRIP - Palestinian bulldozers clear an area as Hamas begins creating a buffer zone on the border with Egypt in Rafah. photo @saidkhatib: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 28 June 2017
  
#India Indians wade through a waterlogged street after heavy rains in Mumbai. Photo @thisisindra. #AFP: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 28 June 2017 



 #India People gather by the Marine Drive seafront to be hit by breaking waves at high tide in Mumbai Photo @punitpix: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 28 June 2017



People get drenched as pigeons fly during monsoon season high tide at the Arabian Sea coast in Mumbai, India today. #APTOPIX @KakadeRajanish: image via AP Images @AP_Images, 28 June 2017


#Iraq Iraqi children play in a junkyard in an improvished area in the holy city of Najaf. Photo @HaidarAfp: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 28 June 2017
 

#Iraq A member of the Iraqi federal police stands through the doorway leading into the damaged Ziwani mosque in Mosul. Photo Ahmad Al-Rubaye #AFP: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 28 June 2017
 

#Iraq Members of the Iraqi federal police hold position during an armed exchange while advancing through Mosul. Photo Ahmad Al-Rubaye #AFP: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 28 June 2017



Syrian Democratic Forces fighters are treated for injuries from mortars and sniper fire at a Raqqa field hospital: image via Reuters Pictures @reuterspictures, 28 June 2017


Nearly 250,000 Marawi residents have fled fighting between Philippine forces and rebels allied with Islamic State: image via Reuters Pictures @reuterspictures, 28 June 2017


Nearly 250,000 Marawi residents have fled fighting between Philippine forces and rebels allied with Islamic State: image via Reuters Pictures @reuterspictures, 28 June 2017


Nearly 250,000 Marawi residents have fled fighting between Philippine forces and rebels allied with Islamic State: image via Reuters Pictures @reuterspictures, 28 June 2017
 

#India Employees of a medicine shop work in Kolkata Photo @Dibyangshus: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 28 June 2017
 

#China A pro-democracy demonstrator gestures on the Golden Bauhinia statue, given to Hong Kong by China to mark the 1997 handover. Photo @AntAFP: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 28 June 2017



Pro-democracy protesters arrested after scrambling up monument symbolizing Hong Kong's handover 20 years ago: image via Reuters Pictures @reuterspictures, 28 June 2017

  

Pro-democracy protesters arrested after scrambling up monument symbolizing Hong Kong's handover 20 years ago: image via Reuters Pictures @reuterspictures, 28 June 2017

 
#Côte d'Ivoire Children walk next to people spraying insecticide during a mosquito-control operation in Bingerville, near Abidjan. Photo Issouf Sanogo #AFP: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 28 June 2017


YRIA - A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces walks in Dariya near Raqa after the area was seized by SDF from IS group. Photo @Delilsouleman: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 28 June 2017


#India A coal scavenger carries a basket of coal collected at a mine in the district of Dhanbad. Photo Sanjib Dutta #AFP: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 28 June 2017


#Libya More than 8,000 migrants have been rescued in waters off Libya during the past 48 hours #Migrants Photo Taha Jawashi: image via Aurelia BAILLY @AureliaBAILLY,  27 June 2017

 
#Libya Illegal immigrants are transported to a detention centre in Zawiyah after their rescue while attempting to reach Europe. @tahajawashi: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 28 June 2017


Rising violence takes huge psychological toll in Rio favelas - photo @Leo_Correa: image via AP Images @AP_Images, 28 June 2017


JERUSALEM - Jewish men pray at the men's section of the Western Wall, the most holy site where Jews can pray. Photo @TomCoex #AFP
: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 27 June 2017


GAZA CITY - A Palestinian man peeks from behind his house door. Photo @mohmdabed #AFP: image via Frédérique Geffard @fgeffardAFP, 27 June 2017


After a Century, Syrian Refugees Return to Armenia Photo @anushbabajanyan: image via Photojournalism @photojournalink, 27 June 2017


 After a century, Syrian refugees return to Armenia: image  via NYT Photo @nytimesphoto, 28 June 2017


Przewalski’s horses, driven to extinction in the wild in the 1960s, return to their ancestral steppes of Mongolia: image via Reuters Pictures @reuterspictures, 27 June 2017


Colin Jones Newcastle, 1963: image via aucharbon @alcarbon68, 27 June 2017


Reporters swarmed lawmakers at US Capitol for comment after Senate ML McConnell announced he would delay vote on legislation repealing ACA: image via Stephen Crowley @Stcrow, 27 June 2017

by Jimmie Moglia
According to the great Dr. Johnson, “Men can be estimated by those who know them not, only as they are represented by those who know them.” An unavoidable universal contingency – for, indeed, we don’t know most of the people we judge. And the same, but for a few much-travelled individuals, applies to nations.
We also know that “on the tongue of Rumor, continual slanders rise, stuffing the ears of men with false reports.”


That rumor and falsehood are trademarked products of the oligarchical news-mill needs no elaborate demonstration. Truth, by atrophy of misuse, has lost the sense of its own meaning.
Nevertheless, at least on national matters, most of us can often track or trace related and reliable evidence proving the falsehood. Besides, experience and history have shown that truth is scarcely to be heard but by those from whom it can serve no interest to conceal it.
But on international matters, and where the ruling oligarchy’s interests are at stake, to test the truth of rumors and news is more challenging. Consequently, we are more prone to half-believe the rumors, even though domestic experience should have induced an instinctive propensity to disbelief, when not an unfathomable depth of incredulity.


In limited cases, the democracy of the oligarchs(1), feeling reassured that their crimes will remain unpunished, actually claim them as virtuous acts. Ukraine is an example, when the woman “whose sole name blisters my tongue,” had no compunction to say publicly that, “We spent 5 billions to take down the (democratically elected) local government.”
So far, it has not been easy to duplicate Ukraine in Venezuela. The spirit of Hugo Chavez survived his death. Alternatively, to make a Libya out of Venezuela may lead to counterproductive consequences, even for the oligarchic democrats of the exceptional nation.

Furthermore, in the collective mind, Venezuela lives in a geographical limbo. It lies somewhere in South America, maybe to the left or to the right of Colombia – sharing borders with Brazil and with those three rarely heard-of countries, the Guyanas, of which one used to be British, one is still French and one Dutch, though, after its independence Dutch Guyana is called Surinam.
The relative noiselessness of the Guyanas extended, and would have continued its extension to neighboring Venezuela, but for the irruption of Hugo Chavez on the world stage.

As we know, Hugo Chavez was a socialist – a qualification requiring no explanation, though I will beg my 25 readers to allow a lexical comment.
We are, of course, both masters and slaves of words. Some of which mean more than they sound, and, when hearing them, they spontaneously produce deep-seated mental images that we think are ours, though they are no