Just a small comment on the Iranian protests. The people are protesting for many reasons, but some of them are economic–the price of food has skyrocketed, and people are hungry. They are also protesting the amount of money going to Hezbollah, Syria, Lebanon, etc. that the mullahs are sending in the hope of eventually setting up their Islamic caliphate. The money we gave Iran after the Iranian nuclear deal did not go to the people of the country–it went for military and terrorism purposes. That really isn’t a surprise, but we need to learn from that experience. It is time to use wisdom in our foreign aid–giving people money does not make people like us. If they hate us to begin with, why are we paying them to hate us? We need to remember that much of the hatred that is directed toward America is the result of dictators and tyrants using America as a scapegoat to blame for the problems in their countries. Some of the hatred is simply jealousy. America has been blessed as a nation. We need to appreciate what we have and share it where appropriate. A friend of mine from another country once told me that he was amazed at the generosity of Americans–we are among the first there to help after a disaster. We need to continue to help where help is needed, but we need to be more careful about how we distribute our foreign aid. Let’s help the people who align with us–not give money to countries that will use it against us.
The article reports:
Security Council members are divided on the matter with several powers calling for non-interference with what they see as an internal Iranian issue.
U.S. policymakers have shown rare unity on the matter with hawks among both the Democrats and mainstream Republicans embracing the Iranian protest movement.
However, while the Washington establishment is favoring the regime change strategy, it has shown little concern with the loss of human lives in Iran.
Experts don’t expect Friday’s U.N. Security Council meeting to produce major results as its permanent members are concerned with either supporting the Islamic revolution or changing the regime, rather than the well-being of the Iranian people.
One of the problems with asking the United Nations for help for the Iranian people is the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a 57-member group with 56 members also being voting members of the United Nations. The organisation states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.” The OIC supports Sharia Law and would very much be in agreement with the mullahs rather than the people of Iran.
It would be very surprising to see anything come out of the United Nations in support of the Iranian people demonstrating for freedom.
Baltimore, Maryland, has had a rough year. After riots followed the death of Freddie Gray in April 2015, the Black Lives Matter movement insisted that the police be withdrawn from predominately black neighborhoods. It turns out that was not the solution. Yesterday Breitbart reported on the results.
The article reports:
Since the riots, police morale has collapsed, and city officials began planning a lighter police footprint in response to complaints of residents and protest leaders.
But now, black leaders are blaming cops for the spiraling murder rate, saying that the police pullback has put them in danger.
“We wanted the police there,” Scott insisted. “We wanted them engaged in the community. We didn’t want them beating the hell out of us, we didn’t want that.”
Scott and others are now pressuring the city to bring police back in as a deterrent to the soaring crime rate.
Despite the loud proclamations from BLM activists that the police are the problem, Scott and his fellow activists are now claiming that they never wanted police to go away.
This is an example of trying to have it both ways. During the protests in Baltimore, protestors wore t-shirts saying, “Disarm the police.” The police were a convenient scapegoat to blame for the problems in black neighborhoods. People much wiser than I have stated that one of the first things than can be done to reduce the crime rates in black neighborhoods is to bring fathers back into families. Children of all races who are raised in families with their two biological parents are much less likely to get involved in gangs and illegal activity. We need to fix the family and then improve the education in black neighborhoods. That is a goal all of us can work toward.
The article concludes:
The reverend’s claims also seem to fly in the face of a list of 19 demands issued by protesters in 2015, one of which demanded that police be barred from entering certain buildings or parts of neighborhoods they had designated as “safe” from police. Clearly, the protesters wanted police removed from Baltimore’s neighborhoods. But now that they’ve gotten their wish, community leaders have suddenly realized what a bad idea such a pullback is.
The police are a force for good. There are occasional exceptions, but they are rare. Generally speaking, where there is a police presence, there is less crime. The recent events in Baltimore illustrate that.
This article this post is based on is from April, but I suspect we may hear more about it in the future. The article appeared at Yahoo News on April 10, 2017.
The article reports:
Reza Pahlavi, the son of the last shah to rule before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, has seen his profile rise in recent months following the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, who promises a harder line against the Shiite power.
Pahlavi’s calls for replacing clerical rule with a parliamentary monarchy, enshrining human rights and modernizing its state-run economy could prove palatable to both the West and Iran’s Sunni Gulf neighbors, who remain suspicious of Iran’s intentions amid its involvement in the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
But the Mideast is replete with cautionary tales about Western governments putting their faith in exiles long estranged from their homelands. Whether Pahlavi can galvanize nostalgia for the age of the Peacock Throne remains unseen.
“This regime is simply irreformable because the nature of it, its DNA, is such that it cannot,” Pahlavi told The Associated Press. “People have given up with the idea of reform and they think there has to be fundamental change. Now, how this change can occur is the big question.”
This is another example of the ways that the foreign policy of the Trump Administration has impacted countries in the Middle East. President Obama was willing to do almost anything to form an alliance with Iran–he saw Iran as a country that could unify the Middle East and bring peace to the region. I think that is something of a naive hope, but based on his actions, that was the plan of President Obama. President Trump understands that the only truly free country in the Middle East is Israel, and as President, Trump has aligned himself with Israel. The son of the shah may feel that this is the time to bring Iran into a free society–somewhat like what it was before the 1979 revolution. Stay tuned.
The article reports:
There also is significant and growing opposition to the country’s theocratic system, especially by young people. Incredibly, protesters reportedly have been chanting “We don’t want an Islamic Republic” and “Death to Rouhani.”
It is no accident that the Iranian government announced today that it will no longer arrest women who go outside without wearing head scarves. So far these protests seem much smaller and not as serious as the massive Green Revolution protests that broke out in Iran after the fraudulent 2009 presidential election, which returned Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power. However, Amir Taheri, a well-known Iran expert, said in the below tweet that Iranian security reportedly is reluctant to fire on protesters:
When viewing the unrest in Iran, it is wise to consider the population demographics of the country. Because of the extended war with Iraq, a large group of the population is missing. Wikipedia posted a chart of the population demographic:
As you can see from the chart (although it is a few years old, the numbers are basically accurate), the largest percentage of the Iranian population is between the ages of ten and thirty-five. This group of people has no relationship with the Islamic revolution that took place in Iran in 1979–most of them were not even born then. The younger Iranians look with envy at the western world–they do not appreciate the rules of the mullahs. It is only a matter of time before the mullahs die out and the young people take over. I am not sure that democracy is possible in Iran after all they have been through, but there will come a time when a revolt leads to a more free society and hopefully one without nuclear ambitions.
It is telling that Iranian security is reluctant to fire on the protesters. That might be the result of the mullahs not wanting to create martyrs or it might be a reaction to the fact that the mullahs no longer have a friend in the White House. There are some positive aspects of the fact that many countries consider President Trump a loose cannon.
Politico is not a right-wing website. Generally, it leans left. So why are they throwing President Obama under the bus? I don’t know, but Politico posted an article yesterday detailing how the Obama Administration blocked an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States. This is part of the price President Obama was willing to pay to get the Iranian nuclear treaty.
The article at Politico is long, but it is worth reading. I will try to summarize the main points, but I strongly suggest that you follow the link above to read the entire story.
The article reports:
…Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed evidence that Hezbollah had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.
Over the next eight years, agents working out of a top-secret DEA facility in Chantilly, Virginia, used wiretaps, undercover operations and informants to map Hezbollah’s illicit networks, with the help of 30 U.S. and foreign security agencies.
They followed cocaine shipments, some from Latin America to West Africa and on to Europe and the Middle East, and others through Venezuela and Mexico to the United States. They tracked the river of dirty cash as it was laundered by, among other tactics, buying American used cars and shipping them to Africa. And with the help of some key cooperating witnesses, the agents traced the conspiracy, they believed, to the innermost circle of Hezbollah and its state sponsors in Iran.
But as Project Cassandra reached higher into the hierarchy of the conspiracy, Obama administration officials threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way, according to interviews with dozens of participants who in many cases spoke for the first time about events shrouded in secrecy, and a review of government documents and court records. When Project Cassandra leaders sought approval for some significant investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions, officials at the Justice and Treasury departments delayed, hindered or rejected their requests.
The article quotes someone involved in the investigation as saying that the program was blocked from the top.
The article further reports:
Obama had entered office in 2009 promising to improve relations with Iran as part of a broader rapprochement with the Muslim world. On the campaign trail, he had asserted repeatedly that the Bush administration’s policy of pressuring Iran to stop its illicit nuclear program wasn’t working, and that he would reach out to Tehran to reduce tensions.
The man who would become Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser and then CIA director, John BrennanJohn BrennanObama’s White House counterterrorism adviser, who became CIA director in 2013., went further. He recommended in a policy paper that “the next president has the opportunity to set a new course for relations between the two countries” through not only a direct dialogue, but “greater assimilation of Hezbollah into Lebanon’s political system.”
Anyone who knows the history of Lebanon understands that Hezbollah is not a force for peace, freedom, or stability.
The article goes on to detail money laundering by Hezbollah and the fact that Hezbollah has operatives in America planning terrorist attacks. It is very obvious in reading the article that the activities of the Obama Administration put Americans at risk. The efforts at ending the drug trafficking and money laundering will resume under the Trump Administration. At a time when America has major drug problems, it would be a really good idea to shut down any traffickers we can.
This is a map showing the geographical relationship between Saudi Arabia and Yemen:
Saudi Arabia said its forces intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Iran-backed rebels in Yemen toward one of the kingdom’s major international airports on the outskirts of Riyadh.
A Saudi-led coalition launched a war against the Houthi rebels and their allies in March 2015 that grinds on today, a campaign overseeing by Crown Prince Mohammed.
The conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia is an expression of the Sunni vs. Shiite conflict. Both the Sunnis and the Shiites want a caliphate reminiscent of the Ottoman Empire covering the Middle East. The dispute is over who will lead it–the Sunnis or the Shiites.
The article further reports:
Only hours before the missile was shout out of the sky, Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri resigned from his post in a televised address from Riyadh, offering a vicious tirade against Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah group for what he said was their meddling in Arab affairs.
‘Iran’s arms in the region will be cut off,’ Hariri said.
Iran-backed Yemeni Huthi rebels claimed responsibility for firing missile, which was targeting the airport, the Huthis’ Al-Masirah television said.
Yemen, Saudi Arabia’s southern neighbour, has been ripped apart by a war between the Saudi-backed government of president Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and Huthi rebels backed by Iran.
A Saudi-led coalition became involved in 2015 to help prop up Hadi’s government after Shiite Huthis seized the capital Sanaa.
The missile was knocked down by the Patriot missile system that the Saudis bought from America.
Tommy Waller at the Center for Security Policy posted an article today about a recent media story that totally misinformed the public. The media story in question was a two-and-a-half-minute segment on an NPR show discussing the threat of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) strike from North Korea.
Exactly what is an EMP strike and how does it work? Our electrical grid, satellites, computers, etc. all depend on an even flow of electricity. If you disrupt that flow and burn out a significant amount of the equipment that distributes that electricity in the process, you can cause some serious problems to America. It could be months before food, water, gasoline, natural gas, electricity, etc., could be delivered to the people impacted by an EMP. Detonating a nuclear bomb in the atmosphere will disrupt the electronics for a large area. There is some discussion about how large that area would be, but think of the impact of wiping out the electrical power and the equipment that distributes it in a large section of America.
A website called future science details a brief history of the impact of an EMP:
On July 1962, a 1.44 megaton United States nuclear test in space, 400 kilometers (250 miles) above the mid-Pacific Ocean, called the Starfish Prime test, demonstrated to nuclear scientists that the magnitude and effects of a high altitude nuclear explosion were much larger than had been previously calculated. The detonation time was July 9, 1962 at 09:00:09 Coordinated Universal Time, (which was 8 July, Honolulu time, at nine seconds after 11 p.m.). The coordinates of the detonation were 16 degrees, 28 minutes North latitude, 169 degrees, 38 minutes West longitude.7 The actual weapon yield was very close to the design yield, which has been described by various sources at different values in the very narrow range of 1.4 to 1.45 megatons.
The Thor missile carrying the Starfish Prime warhead actually reached a maximum height of about 1100 kilometers (just over 680 miles), and the warhead was detonated on its downward trajectory when it had fallen to the programmed altitude of 400 kilometers. The nuclear warhead detonated at 13 minutes and 41 seconds after liftoff of the Thor missile from Johnston Island.9
Starfish Prime also made EMP effects known to the public by causing electrical damage in Hawaii, about 1,445 kilometers (898 miles) away from the detonation point, knocking out about 300 streetlights, setting off numerous burglar alarms and damaging a telephone company microwave link.7
Starfish Prime was the first successful test in the series of United States high-altitude nuclear tests in 1962 known as Operation Fishbowl. The subsequent Operation Fishbowl tests gathered more data on the high-altitude EMP phenomenon, especially the Bluegill Triple Prime and Kingfish test of October, 1962.8
The EMP damage of the Starfish Prime test was quickly repaired because of the ruggedness (compared to today) of the electrical and electronic infrastructure of Hawaii in 1962. Realization of the potential impacts of high-altitude nuclear EMP became more apparent to some scientists and engineers during the 1970s as more sensitive solid-state electronics began to come into widespread use.
The relatively small magnitude of the Starfish Prime EMP in Hawaii (about 5600 volts/meter) and the relatively small amount of damage done (for example, only 1 to 3 percent of streetlights extinguished)10 led some scientists to believe, in the early days of EMP research, that the problem might not be as significant as was later realized. Newer calculations7 showed that if the Starfish Prime warhead had been detonated over the northern continental United States, the magnitude of the EMP would have been much larger (22 to 30 kilovolts/meter) because of the greater strength of the Earth’s magnetic field over the United States, as well as the different orientation of the Earth’s magnetic field at high latitudes. These new calculations, combined with the accelerating reliance on EMP-sensitive microelectronics, heightened awareness that the EMP threat could be a very significant problem.
As late as the 1980s, some distinguished scientist published articles which cast doubt on the magnitude of the E1-EMP. Those scientists did not have access to some critical classified information that has subsequently been declassifed. This primary mistake that these scientists made was apparently a large underestimation of the coherence of the pulse. The initial electrons are knocked out of atmospheric molecules almost simultaneously over a large region. The electrons then spiral almost simultaneously around the Earth’s magnetic field lines. This results in a very narrow pulse of extremely high field strength, but one that last for less than a microsecond. Each high-energy electronic emits only a very weak pulse, however a typical nuclear weapon produces about 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ten septillion) of these high-energy electrons all spiraling around the geomagnetic field lines simultaneously.
We have the information showing the dangers of an EMP. Although much of that information is classified, enough of it is available to scientists for them to understand the risks.
However, not all scientists are paying attention.
The Center for Security Policy article reports:
At 5:10AM ET on 27 April 2017, the Morning Edition program at National Public Radio (NPR) broadcast a segment titled “The North Korean Electromagnetic Pulse Threat, Or Lack Thereof.” An audio recording of this segment can be found here: http://www.npr.org/2017/04/27/525833275/the-north-korean-electromagnetic-pulse-threat-or-lack-thereof
The 2 minute 26 second segment was in response to an interview of Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey from 26 April, where Ambassador Woolsey discussed the EMP threat posed by North Korea: http://www.npr.org/2017/04/26/525675203/former-cia-director-james-woolsey-on-trumps-first-100-days)
In the 27 April broadcast, NPR’s science editor – Geoff Brumfiel – gave prominent treatment to Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Mr. Lewis not only dismissed the North Korean EMP threat but ridiculed it by laughing out loud at the comments of a former Director of the CIA discussing a real, present, and existential threat to the nation.
Mr. Lewis, who claims to be a nuclear expert, has been denigrating EMP for the last 6 years. Aside from his brief time as an intern the Pentagon, he has never served in the DOD or intelligence community and his formal education is in policy studies and philosophy rather than engineering or nuclear weapons design. Yet NPR’s editors thought it appropriate to champion not only his “analysis” but his obtuse laughter at a sobering subject that is one of the most important of our time. It is clear by the way Geoff Brumfiel edited this broadcast that he sought to denigrate not only the topic of EMP, but also James Woolsey, the U.S. Military, and the U.S. Congress – since the Ambassador has warned for years about the EMP threat and the DOD and Congress have appropriated billions of dollars to protect America’s strategic forces against it.
This is an example of irresponsible journalism.
The article at the Center for Security Policy continues:
Evidently, National Public Radio, an organization whose operating expenses are paid in part by the U.S. taxpayer, considers it appropriate to promote ridicule of anyone concerned with the threat from Elecromagnetic Pulse, when the nation’s most informed authorities on EMP consider it to be a real, present, and existential threat to the country and it’s population.
In response to this abject failure in journalism, Center for Security Policy founder and president – Frank J. Gaffney Jr. – recently authored a formal letter to Senator Roy Blunt and Congressmen Tom Coles, who serve on their chambers’ respective Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittees. This letter calls on these men and these subcommittees to hold NPR accountable for dereliction of its public trust.
We encourage all Americans who are concerned about EMP to join Frank, The Center for Security Policy, and The Secure the Grid Coalition in holding to account National Public Radio. We encourage you to inform your own elected representatives of this journalistic malfeasance and to confront NPR directly through messages to its Ombudsman and Management by submitting your own comments at the following link:
The article at the Center for Security Policy reminds us that we need to beef up our missile defense programs to protect us from this threat. We also need to remember that when North Korea (or Iran) blows up a missile in mid-flight, it may not be an accident–it may be a practice run.
Even what we knew about the Iran deal at the time was questionable at best, but it keeps getting worse. Yesterday Politico posted an article about one aspect of the deal that somehow wasn’t covered by the press at the time.
The article reports:
When President Barack Obama announced the “one-time gesture” of releasing Iranian-born prisoners who “were not charged with terrorism or any violent offenses” last year, his administration presented the move as a modest trade-off for the greater good of the Iran nuclear agreement and Tehran’s pledge to free five Americans.
“Iran had a significantly higher number of individuals, of course, at the beginning of this negotiation that they would have liked to have seen released,” one senior Obama administration official told reporters in a background briefing arranged by the White House, adding that “we were able to winnow that down to these seven individuals, six of whom are Iranian-Americans.”
Sounds pretty innocent. But wait–there’s more to the story. Although President Obama described the seven as civilians, that is not actually true.
The article further reports:
But Obama, the senior official and other administration representatives weren’t telling the whole story on Jan. 17, 2016, in their highly choreographed rollout of the prisoner swap and simultaneous implementation of the six-party nuclear deal, according to a POLITICO investigation.
In his Sunday morning address to the American people, Obama portrayed the seven men he freed as “civilians.” The senior official described them as businessmen convicted of or awaiting trial for mere “sanctions-related offenses, violations of the trade embargo.”
In reality, some of them were accused by Obama’s own Justice Department of posing threats to national security. Three allegedly were part of an illegal procurement network supplying Iran with U.S.-made microelectronics with applications in surface-to-air and cruise missiles like the kind Tehran test-fired recently, prompting a still-escalating exchange of threats with the Trump administration. Another was serving an eight-year sentence for conspiring to supply Iran with satellite technology and hardware. As part of the deal, U.S. officials even dropped their demand for $10 million that a jury said the aerospace engineer illegally received from Tehran.
Why in the world was President Obama so desperate to make a deal with Iran?
Please follow the link above to the Politico article. It is a rather lengthy article, but has a lot of insight into the difficulties created by President Obama’s Iran treaty. The treaty not only will allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon in the near future (think North Korea). The treaty also creates immediate security and safety issues for American troops in the Middle East because of the large amounts of untraceable cash sent to Iran. That money can be used to support worldwide terrorism or to fund actions against American troops.
We need to scrap the treaty and put the sanctions back!
Katie Pavlich posted an article at Townhall today about an investigative report done by CNN. The report states that the Venezuelan government has been issuing official passports in Iraq to anyone who is willing to pay for them–even if they have ties to terrorism.
The article reports:
One confidential intelligence document obtained by CNN links Venezuela‘s new Vice President Tareck El Aissami to 173 Venezuelan passports and ID’s that were issued to individuals from the Middle East, including people connected to the terrorist group Hezbollah.
The article at Townhall reminds us that Venezuela is a close ally of Iran. Iran is the backer and money behind Hezbollah. Until 9/11, Hezbollah was the most prevalent terrorist organization in the work, and before 9/11, responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist organization. A dubious honor at best.
The article further reports:
ISIS, which has taken over large swaths of Iraq and Syria, has hundreds of millions of dollars at its disposal to purchase official passports. Additionally, the terror army has set up their own fraudulent passport system.
President Trump recently signed an executive order barring all refugees and visas holders from seven countries, including Iraq and Syria, without proper vetting procedures.
I think this report shows the wisdom of that ban.
Reuters is reporting today that President Trump and Saudi King Salman have agreed to support safe zones in Syria and Yemen.
The article reports:
Both countries share views about Iranian policies in the region, the Saudi source said, suggesting Trump agreed with Riyadh’s suspicion of what it sees as Tehran‘s growing influence in the Arab world. Iran denies it meddles in Arab countries.
The White House statement said the two also discussed what it called an invitation from the king for Trump “to lead a Middle East effort to defeat terrorism and to help build a new future, economically and socially,” for Saudi Arabia and the region.
The two also discussed the Muslim Brotherhood, the senior Saudi source said, adding in a reference to the late al Qaeda leader, “it was mentioned that Osama bin Laden was recruited at an early stage” by the organization.
This is the right solution to the refugee problem, but it is not a perfect solution. There is no perfect solution. The Islamic culture in the Middle East is one of violence and cruelty. Western civilization does not condone pedophilia, the subjugation of women, or honor killing. These are things that have been happening in the Arab countries in the Middle East for a long time. I wonder what will be necessary to keep the safe zones safe. One of the ideas in setting up safe zones is that when the violence ends, people can go back to their home countries and rebuild. I am not convinced that the violence will end. Iran’s goal is to set up a world-wide caliphate with Shiite Muslims ruling. Saudi Arabia is Sunni Muslim and will never agree to that. Isis is largely composed of Saddam Hussein‘s old political allies, also Sunni Muslim–a group known for its violence and cruelty. The battle between the Sunnis and Shiites has waged for a long time, and I am not optimistic about it ever ending. I am also concerned that the dictators in control in the areas the refugees are fleeing have killed any potential leaders they saw as a threat to their power.
This is a better solution than sending the refugees to places where the culture is totally alien to what they are used to. Europe has experienced a wave of crimes against women because of the number of Middle Eastern migrants that have entered the continent. Germany, in particular, has had to change the rules for public swimming pools, music festivals, and other celebrations. Things that are acceptable in Muslim cultures are simply not acceptable in western culture. That is something we need to consider when we discuss how to help the refugees from the Middle East.
The article quotes a Reuters article:
The temporary ban on refugees will be one of several executive orders on immigration President Trump will sign on Wednesday, Reuters reports. “Another order will block visas being issued to anyone from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, said the aides and experts, who asked not to be identified.”
Two hundred and twenty-six of the 500 refugees resettled in the United States on Tuesday, or 44 percent, came from six of those seven countries, according to the State Department’s interactive website, as reported at 11:00 p.m. eastern on Tuesday: Syria (81), Iran (51), Iraq (46), Somalia (43), Sudan (4), and Yemen (1). No refugees from Libya were resettled in the United States on Tuesday.
From the beginning of FY 2016 on October 1, 2015 until January 24, 2017, a total of 115,879 refugees have been resettled in the United States, according to the State Department’s interactive website.
Fifty-two thousand and sixty-nine of those refugees, or 45 percent, came from those seven countries: Syria (17,341), Iraq (14,613), Somalia (12,914), Iran (5,278), Sudan (1,887), Yemen (32), and Libya (4).
I need to point out a few things about this temporary ban. It does not ban those religious minorities escaping persecution. They are an exception. The ban will be in place until more aggressive vetting is possible.
It is also noteworthy that the group most at risk in the Middle East and Africa right now is Christians. Unfortunately, a very small number of the refugees that have been brought to America are Christians. Christians would fit into the American culture much more easily than Muslims. It makes much more sense to set up a Muslim safe zone somewhere in the Middle East to encourage people to got back to their countries when the danger is past. If the danger does not pass, we need to ask ourselves what is wrong and how to fix it.
The city where I live had a very unfortunate experience with legal refugees a few years ago. In 2015, a Burmese refugee killed three children ages 1, 5, and 12, with a machete. We need to be very careful about who we let into the country. I don’t know if better vetting could have prevented this tragedy, but I do know that I would hate to see more incidents like this one.
Reuters is reporting today that an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard vessel pointed its weapon at a U.S. military helicopter in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday. Recently there have been a series of similar incidents, but this is the first such incident since the election of Donald Trump.
The article reports:
The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the incident took place when a Navy MH-60 helicopter flew within half a mile (0.8 km) of two Iranian vessels in international waters. One of the vessels pointed a weapon at the helicopter, the U.S. officials said.
“The behavior by our standards is provocative and could be seen as an escalation,” the officials said. At no point did the crew of the helicopter feel threatened, they added.
Years of mutual animosity eased when Washington lifted sanctions on Tehran in January after a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But serious differences still remain over Iran’s ballistic missile program, and over conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
President Obama has chosen to overlook bad behavior on the part of the Iranians–even thanking them for the return of sailors they took prisoner. President Obama has even loosened the economic sanctions on Iran, something I am hoping President Trump will undo.
Ronald Reagan got it right when he advocated for ‘peace through strength.’ Weakness invites war–it does not prevent it.
The article reports:
The House voted 243 to 174 to pass legislation sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., prohibiting the secretary of the Treasury from authorizing a transaction from a U.S. bank or financial institution related to the export of aircraft to Iran.
In September, the Treasury issued licenses to aviation giants Airbus and Boeing that permitted the sale of planes to Iran Air, the country’s state-owned airline. The agency also allowed U.S. banks to finance the sale of those aircraft to Tehran.
“This bill would keep Americans’ deposits away from a country that the president’s own State Department calls ‘the foremost state sponsor of terrorism,’ and which Treasury has designed as a ‘jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern,’” Huizenga said today on the House floor.
The legislation also prohibits the Export-Import Bank, or Ex-Im, from providing any assistance either directly or indirectly to Iran and associated entities, including its state-run airline.
Ex-Im provides taxpayer-backed loans and loan guarantees to foreign countries and companies for the purchase of U.S. products.
“We need to make sure that the American financial system is not complicit in this [Iran nuclear] deal,” Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., said on the House floor Thursday. “We need to make sure American taxpayers are not subsidizing this deal.”
The article explains why selling aircraft to Iran is not a good idea:
The company’s deal marked the first time since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 that American aircraft were sold to Tehran.
The Obama administration previously sanctioned Iran Air after the airline used passenger and cargo planes to fly rockets and missiles to Syria and other nations. The weapons were sometimes disguised as medicine or spare parts, according to past reports.
Under the Iran nuclear deal, the Obama administration dropped economic sanctions against Tehran.
I believe that the Iran treaty will be one of the first things to go under a Trump Administration. The treaty is not a good deal for anyone–it simply allows Iran to develop nuclear weapons a few years later than the Iranian government originally had in mind. It is also obvious by the behavior of Iran since the treaty that their hostility toward America has not decreased. I suspect that one of the reasons the House of Representative allowed the treaty to stand was that the airline manufacturers made large campaign contributions to key Representatives. That is the kind of behavior that needs to go away as soon as possible.
The Washington Free Beacon posted a story today about a recent statement by an Iranian military leader. When dealing with Iran, we need to remember a lesson many people in the west learned when dealing with Yasser Arafat when he was alive. Mr. Arafat would say one thing in English when talking to an audience of western countries and another thing in Arabic when dealing with Arabs. Generally speaking, the speeches totally contradicted each other.
The article reports:
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, the country’s elite military force, is sending assets to infiltrate the United States and Europe at the direction of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, according to recent Farsi-language comments from an Iranian military leader.
The IRGC “will be in the U.S. and Europe very soon,” according to the Iranian military commander, who said that these forces would operate with the goal of bolstering Iran’s hardline regime and thwarting potential plots against the Islamic Republic.
Notice that the comments were in the Farsi language. I would also like to know why the leader believes that there are plots against the Islamic Republic.
The article concludes:
Another source who advises congressional leaders on Iran sanctions issues told the Free Beacon that the Obama administration is blocking Congress from taking action to stop this type of infiltration by Iranian forces.
“Iran is ideologically, politically, and militarily committed to exporting the Islamic revolution through terrorism, which is why even the Obama administration says they’re the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism,” the source said. “Congress wants to act, but Obama officials keep saying that new laws are unnecessary because the U.S. has enough tools to block Iranian terror expansion. Instead of using those tools, though, they’re sending Iran billions of dollars in cash while Iran plants terror cells in Europe and here at home.”
As I have said, I think it’s time to clean house in Washington.
The article reports:
Iranian-Americans Baquer Namazi and his son Siamak have been sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $4.8 million, according to Iran’s official news channel IRINN.
Iran officials say five people were convicted and sentenced for “cooperating with Iran’s enemies,” a government euphemism that usually implies cooperating with the United States.
Siamak Namazi was arrested nearly a year ago and became the first US citizen reported to have been detained in the country since the announcement of the Iranian nuclear program deal.
We paid the Iranians billions of dollars in cash to get the last four hostages back. Will there be another secret deal to get these men back?
The article reports:
Before the start of the Columbus Day holiday weekend, the Treasury Department made it easier for offshore banking institutions to make transactions with Iran, as long as the money doesn’t actually enter the U.S. financial system. Although many sanctions were lifted as a part of the Iran deal, certain “specially designated nationals,” or SDNs, are still subject to the sanctions for reasons which include their human rights record or support for terror groups.
Now, even these SDNs are no longer completely banned from transacting with U.S. businesses.
The article concludes:
Just another bad postscript to a bad deal, and we can expect plenty more of the same if people keep paying attention to the puppet shows instead of the man, or woman, behind the curtain.
The Iran deal was a really bad deal. We are financing terrorism and the development of an atomic bomb by Iran. We can expect more of the same from a President Hillary Clinton.
Sometimes you just have to shake your head in amazement. I have lost track of how many millions of dollars America has poured into Iran to help them fund terrorism, but it seems even our generosity has limits.
Fox Business posted a story yesterday that simply amazes me. The article reports:
“I was just telling people that imagine leader of ISIS come to the United States after 30 years of all the executions that they did and leaders of the world shaking his hand. It’s unbelievable,” Abedini said.
Abedini said he and other hostages were left to fend for themselves after flying from Iran to Germany when they were released after the Obama Administration’s $400 million payment to Iran.
After spending a few days in a hospital in Germany, Adedini was surprised to hear that he needed to buy his own plane ticket home.
“We were actually all shocked because I came out; I just had prison clothes and [they] just told us you need to buy your own ticket.”
Abedini said he was physically and psychologically tortured in the Iranian prison to the point where his stomach was bleeding for months from all the beatings.
We can send millions to Iran, but we can’t even buy plane tickets to bring former hostages home? That is a disgrace.
Meanwhile, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani got a warm reception at the United Nations yesterday. Iran is one of the worst human rights violators on the planet, and the United Nations says nothing–they are too busy condemning Israel for imaginary violations. It’s time to remove the United Nations from New York, collect on all the unpaid parking tickets of the delegates, and send them elsewhere. America is the main support of this organization that no longer stands for democracy and freedom. The United Nations has become enamored of the idea of one world government with the UN in charge. We need to make them go away.
The article reports:
Earlier in 2016, Russia delivered several divisions of S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran and now Tehran is deploying those same systems to the Fordo nuclear facility according to state television.
“Protecting nuclear facilities is paramount in all circumstances,” said General Farzad Esmaili, commander of Iran’s air defenses. “Today, Iran’s sky is one of the most secure in the region.”
He added that “continued opposition and hype on the S-300 or the Fordo site are examples of the viciousness of the enemy.”
The Fordo site, hidden into a mountain near the city of Qom, is one of Iran’s numerous nuclear enrichment plants.
Within 24 hours after transferring the missiles, Iran’s military detected a U.S. drone entering Iranian airspace on Monday and issued a warning for it to leave. The drone immediately retreated from its course according to Iran’s Tasnim news agency.
It seems to me that if you intended to follow the requirements of the nuclear treaty you just signed, you wouldn’t arm your nuclear facilities with air defense missiles. Unfortunately, the installation of these missiles means that western countries will now not be able to stop Iran’s further development of nuclear weapons. Make no mistake–this is about Iran developing nuclear weapons for the purpose of destroying Israel and eventually the United States. This is not good news.
There have been a lot of stories told about the $400 million that was paid to Iran (coincidentally just as some American hostages were being released). Yesterday Claudia Rosett posted an article in the New York Sun that offers an interesting explanation as to where the $400 million came from.
The article reports:
Congressional investigators trying to uncover the trail of $1.3 billion in payments to Iran might want to focus on 13 large, identical sums that Treasury paid to the State Department under the generic heading of settling “Foreign Claims.”
The 13 payments when added to the $400 million that the administration now concedes it shipped to the Iranian regime in foreign cash would bring the payout to the $1.7 billion that President Obama and Secretary Kerry announced on January 17. That total was to settle a dispute pending for decades before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in at The Hague.
…The Judgment Fund has long been a controversial vehicle for federal agencies to detour past one of the most pointed prohibitions in the Constitution: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”
The Judgment Fund, according to a Treasury Department Web site, is “a permanent, indefinite appropriation” used to pay monetary awards against U.S. government agencies in cases “where funds are not legally available to pay the award from the agency’s own appropriations.”
In March, in letters responding to questions about the Iran settlement sent weeks earlier by Representatives Edward Royce and Mike Pompeo, the State Department confirmed that the $1.3 billion “interest” portion of the Iran settlement had been paid out of the Judgment Fund. But State gave no information on the logistics.
Aside from the fact that we are funding a regime that is using the money to fund attacks against American civilians and servicemen, I would like to note that the Tribunal at the Hague decided that America owned money to a known sponsor of terrorism. Based on that decision, I don’t think the Tribunal at The Hague is force for global peace. Giving money to a known sponsor of terrorism is not a good idea under any circumstances.
Yesterday the BBC posted an article about the ongoing war in the Middle East. I generally don’t trust the BBC as a source on the Middle East because I feel that they are biased against Israel, but in this case, the article provides a lot of good information.
The article included a map showing where things currently stand:
The article states:
Russia’s defence ministry says it has used a base in western Iran to carry out air strikes in Syria.
Tupolev-22M3 long-range bombers and Sukhoi-34 strike fighters took off from Hamedan on Tuesday, a statement said.
Targets were hit in Aleppo, Idlib and Deir al-Zour provinces, it added. Local groups said 27 civilians had died.
It is reportedly the first time Russia has struck targets inside Syria from a third country since it began a campaign to prop up Syria’s president last year.
Iran is Bashar al-Assad’s main regional ally and has provided significant military and financial support since an uprising against him erupted in 2011.
…Russia has been operating jets and helicopters from bases in Syria for the past year, but this is the first time that Moscow has deployed aircraft to a third country in the region.
Reports indicate that up to six Tupolev Tu-22M3 bombers – known by the Nato codename of “Backfire” – are now operating from an air base in western Iran.
These planes – originally designed as a long-range strategic bomber – have already been engaged in the Syrian air campaign but operating from bases in southern Russia. Placing them in Iran dramatically reduces the duration of their missions. The Russian defence ministry says that an unspecified number of Sukhoi-34 strike aircraft have also been sent to Iran.
Their deployment marks an intensification of the Russian air campaign – perhaps a reflection of the scale of the fighting in and around Aleppo – and it is a demonstration of the growing warmth in ties between Moscow and Tehran, the Syrian government’s two closest allies.
This is not good news.
The article concludes:
Also on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch alleged that Russian and Syrian government aircraft had been using incendiary weapons in civilian areas in violation of international law – something Moscow has denied.
A review of photographs and videos indicated there were at least 18 incendiary weapon attacks on rebel-held areas in Aleppo and Idlib between 5 June and 10 August, the US-based group said. Witnesses and emergency workers reported at least 12 civilians wounded in five of the attacks.
President Obama is in the process of forming an alliance with Russia to fight ISIS. That is a serious mistake. The only reason Russia is involved in this is to prop up Bashar al-Assad, to cement its relationship with Iran, and to regain the status it had as a world power before the Soviet Union dissolved. Vladimir Putin is not our friend and should be handled as carefully as a scorpion.
We have all listened to the media report on the $400 million dollars paid to Iran. Iran claims it was a ransom payment; President Obama claims it was not. One of the hostages has stated that they were detained at the Iranian airport until the plane with the payment landed. That sounds like ransom, but ransom is not the real issue.
The article explains:
At a press conference Thursday, Obama remarkably explained, “The reason that we had to give them cash is precisely because we are so strict in maintaining sanctions and we do not have a banking relationship with Iran.” Really Mr. President? The whole point of sanctions is to prohibit and punish certain behavior. If you — especially you, Mr. President — do the precise thing that the sanctions prohibit, that is a strange way of being “so strict in maintaining” them.
…As noted above, the sanctions prohibit transactions with Iran that touch the U.S. financial system, whether they are carried out in dollars or foreign currencies. The claim by administration officials, widely repeated in the press, that Iran had to be paid in euros and francs because dollar-transactions are forbidden is nonsense; Americans are also forbidden to engage in foreign currency transactions with Iran.
The article reports:
Veteran Associated Press IAEA reporter George Jahn made news yesterday by revealing a secret agreement to the July 2015 nuclear deal with Iran(the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA). This agreement says that in January 2027, Tehran will be allowed to replace the primitive 5,060 uranium centrifuges it is allowed to operate while the nuclear agreement is in effect with more-advanced designs, even though other restrictions on Iranian uranium enrichment remain in place for 15 years.
This agreement means that in only eleven years, Iran will be permitted to substantially increase its capability to produce nuclear fuel faster and in larger amounts. Since Iran is permitted to conduct R&D on advanced centrifuges while the JCPOA is in place — and can expand this effort after eight and a half years — it probably will be able to quickly construct and install these advanced centrifuges.
Jahn reported that although this undisclosed, confidential agreement is “an integral part” of the JCPOA, Iran will not be permitted to accumulate more than 300 kilograms of low-enriched uranium for 15 years. In light of recent reports that the Iranians are already cheating on the nuclear agreement, it is hard to believe that they will continue to abide by this restriction after they install more-advanced centrifuges .
The article explains the significance of this news:
As with the previous secret agreements, withholding this deal from Congress probably violated the Corker-Cardin Act, which required the administration to provide all JCPOA documents — including side deals — to Congress before it voted on the deal last September.
…Jahn did not reveal a previously unknown flaw of the JCPOA. He revealed something more disturbing: another instance of the Obama administration’s deceiving Congress and the American people as part of its effort to ram through Obama’s deeply unpopular nuclear agreement with Iran — an agreement that is a dangerous and growing fraud.
Jahn’s report is more evidence of this and another reason the next president must tear up this agreement on his or her first day in office.
Another reason Hillary Clinton should not ever be President–she won’t tear up the agreement.
The Daily Signal posted an article yesterday about one of the consequences of the nuclear treaty with Iran. The treaty paved the way for a transaction that was very profitable for Boeing Aircraft. The treaty got through Congress because both the Republicans and Democrats got something out of it. The American people and the American military, however, did not. The Democrats showed solidarity with their President. The Republicans rewarded Boeing, a major campaign donor, with the lucrative contract to sell airplanes to Iran.
The article reports:
The $17.6 billion deal between the aviation giant and the Islamic Republic of Iran was made possible by the lifting of economic sanctions against Tehran in January. It is a reckless piece of business that Congress must address.
Under terms of the memorandum of agreement, Boeing reportedly will supply 80 planes—including intercontinental jumbo jets—to state-owned Iran Air.
The carrier, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury, has been routinely commandeered by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics to transport rockets, missiles, and other military equipment, including materials and technologies with ballistic missile applications.
There is little doubt that the weapons transported by these planes will be used against American soldiers. We are funding our enemy.
The article concludes:
Boeing executives say the proposed sale is necessary to remain competitive against Airbus, the European aviation manufacturer that has struck a $27 billion deal with Iran for 118 planes. But that’s the same lame argument Boeing made in lobbying for reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank—from which Boeing was the top beneficiary of export subsidies.
The fact is, projected demand for commercial planes is forecast to rise for years to come, and both manufacturers are carrying huge backlogs that will take years to fulfill.
Rather than tweak the tax code, Congress should, at the very least, explicitly prohibit financing from the Export-Import Bank for the sale of Boeing planes (or any other product) to Iran.
Additional actions are needed as well. The administration has already increased the risk of yet more death and destruction by the terrorist state. Lawmakers should ensure that Boeing and other U.S. companies don’t become tools of Tehran.
It is time to clean house in Washington.
On Thursday, The Clarion Project posted a list of three other incidents involving terrorism last week that somehow didn’t make the news.
The article reports:
A man from Kosovo pled guilty to providing material support to the Islamic State in a Virginia court on Wednesday. Ardit Ferizi, 20, hacked into a U.S. online retailer and stole the personal information of 1,351 U.S. military personnel and federal officials. He passed the information on to British Islamic State hacker Junaid Hussain with the understanding ISIS would carry out attacks against those individuals.
…A Turkish businessman in New York pleaded guilty to selling restricted missile supplies to the Iranian regime in violation of sanctions placed on Iran. Erdal Kuyumcu, 44, the chief executive of Global Metallurgy LLC smuggled 450 kilograms of cobalt-nickel metallic powder to Iran via Turkey. The powder is used in missiles and nuclear technology.
…A man in Texas has been jailed after threatening to kill people who refused to take a copy of the Quran he was handing out. He was found ranting about Allah and wandering around in the town of Denton. He was asked to leave the University of North Texas and reportedly went into a women’s Presbyterian clinic and told the staff to take a copy of the Quran to the chaplain or “die.”
When is our government (and our media) going to admit that we have a terrorism problem?