Wednesday’s “News of The Week In Review “(September 4, 2019)

                             

Khalid Shaikh Mohamed, upon capture. (Source:Wikipedia)

         WEEKLY QUOTE

“I welcome the remarks by the foreign ministers of Bahrain and the UAE against Hezbollah’s aggression. They condemned the helplessness of Lebanon, which allows the Hezbollah terrorist organization to operate from its territory against Israel. This sounds like the Messianic times, but it shows the fundamental change taking place in the Middle East. The Arab world also understands that the Iranian aggression endangers not only Israel, but the entire region as well. I call on additional countries to come out against the aggression of Iran and its proxies.” – At a Cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praises the governments of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates for condemning Hezbollah following the missile attack Sunday. (Arutz Sheva, Sept. 3, 2019)

“However, if they fail to take any significant measure, we will definitely take the third step in the coming days. … We are discussing a period of several months, until the end of (2019). We have not reached a final agreement yet, but the negotiations are in progress.” — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said as regards negotiations taking place between Iran and the UK, France, and Germany.  Iran may consider its decision to further reduce commitments to the JCPOA, he said, If these three European parties to the JCPOA begin to honor their major commitments under the nuclear deal. (Tasmin News Agency, Sept. 3, 2019)

“We must choose the time that is best for us, evacuate the Israeli citizens who live in towns along the Gaza [border] to give us maximum flexibility, and we must uproot the terror from within Gaza. … Israel acts to make sure that Iran does not establish itself and a base for terror against Israel in Syria.  We act every time we see them beginning to take root in Syria,” and “must change the situation on the ground in Gaza so that we can do the same thing there as well.” — Yamina Party leader Ayelet Shaked said at an election event in Beit Shemesh.  (Algemeiner, Sept. 3, 2019)

“You may want a war over. You may declare it over. You may even try to walk away from it. But the bottom line is the enemy gets a vote, as we say in the military, and we simply have got to understand that terrorism is going to be an ambient threat.” — Jim Mattis, the former Marine Corps general and Pentagon chief, said in an NPR interview, in which he lashed out at 2020 Democratic front-runner Joe Biden for fueling the rise of ISIS by insisting on the total withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq. As vice president, Biden was tasked by President Barack Obama with overseeing Iraq policy. In his new book, Mattis, 68, argues that Biden, 76, was “indifferent” to the consequences of complete withdrawal – consequences that included “tens of thousands of casualties, plus untold misery for millions of innocents,” as well as the kidnapping and beheading of westerners, and horrific terrorist attacks across the world. (Washington Examiner, Sept. 2, 2019)

“Upon completing our investigation … the OIG provided a copy of its factual findings to the Department for a prosecutorial decision regarding Comey’s conduct… After reviewing the matter, the Department declined prosecution. Thereafter, we prepared this report to consider whether Comey’s actions violated Department or FBI policy, or the terms of Comey’s FBI Employment Agreement. As described in this report, we conclude that Comey’s retention, handling, and dissemination of certain Memos violated Department and FBI policies, and his FBI Employment Agreement. … Former Director Comey failed to live up to this responsibility. By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees—and the many thousands more former FBI employees—who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information… We have previously faulted Comey for acting unilaterally and inconsistent with Department policy…  What was not permitted was the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive investigative information, obtained during the course of FBI employment, in order to achieve a personally desired outcome.” — the conclusions of the report of the Office of the Inspector General U.S. Department of Justice on former FBI Director James Comey. (Office of the Inspector General, Aug. 2019)
 
“We will continue our fight against the Afghan government and seize power by force.” — said the Taliban commander on condition of anonymity. The US attempts to get the Taliban to agree to peace talks with the Kabul government and to a ceasefire, which the senior Taliban official said would not happen.  The U.S. and Taliban officials have been negotiating in Qatar since last year on an agreement centered on the withdrawal of U.S. forces, and an end to their longest-ever war, in exchange for a Taliban guarantee that international militant groups will not plot from Afghan soil. (Reuters, Aug. 26, 2019)
 

                                            SHORT TAKES
 

BREXIT VOTE GOES AGAINST BORIS JOHNSON, AND HE CALLS FOR AN ELECTION (London) — British lawmakers rose up against Prime Minister Boris Johnson, moving to prevent him from taking the country out of the European Union without a formal agreement. The epic showdown pushed Britain to the verge of a new election. After losing his first-ever vote as prime minister, Mr. Johnson stood up in Parliament and said he intended to present a formal request for a snap general election to lawmakers, who would have to approve it.(NYT, Sept. 3, 2019)

POMPEO: TRUMP MAY ALLOW ‘JERUSALEM, ISRAEL’ ON PASSPORTS (Washington) – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is considering allowing citizens born in Jerusalem to list the name “Israel” on their passports, he told The Jewish News Syndicate.  (WIN, Sept. 3, 2019)

9/11 PLOTTER KHALID SHEIKH MOHAMMED WILL FACE TRIAL IN 2021 (Cuba) — Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks, will finally go on trial on Jan. 11, 2021 at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — nearly two decades after the al Qaeda attacks that killed 2,976 people on U.S. soil. The judge in the case, Air Force Col. Shane Cohen, set the date — just months shy of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attack to start selection of a jury comprised of military officers at the war court compound called Camp Justice. Mohammed and four other jihadis — Walid bin Attash, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Ammar al-Baluchi, and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi — face the death penalty in the case. (NY Post, Aug. 30, 2019)

FAR-RIGHT PARTY DEEPENS ITS HOLD IN EASTERN GERMANY(Werder) — The far-right Alternative for Germany party surged in that country’s eastern state elections, falling short of first-place finishes in Brandenburg and Saxony but deepening the struggles of the country’s historical political establishment. The party, known as AfD, earned 23.5 per cent of first-choice votes in Brandenburg, according to exit polls by broadcaster ZDF, although the incumbent centre-left Social Democratic Party came out ahead with 26.2 per cent of first-choice votes. In neighbouring Saxony, the centre-right Christian Democrats – the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel – came in first place with most polls reporting. The party earned 32.1 per cent of votes, shedding 4.9 percentage points from 2014, ahead of the AfD’s 27.5 per cent. (Globe and Mail, Sept. 1, 2019)

TRUMP DENIES AMERICAN ROLE IN BLAST IN IRAN (Washington) — A mysterious explosion on Thursday at an Iranian space center prompted speculation that it was American sabotage, rather than an accident, that was responsible for the third successive failure of Tehran’s efforts to show it could loft satellites into orbit. As pictures from commercial satellites of a rocket’s smoking remains began to circulate, President Trump denied on Twitter that the United States was involved. It was an unusual message because the Iranian government had neither acknowledged the accident nor blamed the United States. His tweet ended with an apparent taunt: “I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened” in the fiery accident. (NYT, Aug. 30, 2019)

LATEST NY TIMES AD – CANADIAN FEDERAL COURT STRIKES WINES FROM THE HEART OF ISRAEL WHILE ABSOLVING CANADA’S OCCUPATION & EXPLOITATION OF TIBET (NYC). – Rabbi Shmuley Boteach of the World Values Network took out a full-page ad in the NYTimes opposing the Canadian Federal Court’s recent ruling that wines made in Judea and Samaria could not be labeled as “Products of Israel.” The ad pointed out that the Canadian courts allow products – including metals – produced or mined in Tibet to carry a “products of China” label, even though China has been brutally occupying Tibet since 1954. (Facebook, Aug. 26, 2019)

UNIVERSITIES FACE FEDERAL CRACKDOWN OVER FOREIGN FINANCIAL INFLUENCE (Washington) — The Department of Education announced this summer that it was investigating whether Georgetown, Texas A&M, Cornell and Rutgers universities were fully complying with a federal law that requires colleges to report all gifts and contracts from foreign sources that exceed $250,000. In letters sent to the universities in July, department officials wrote that they were seeking records dating as far back as nine years, outlining agreements, communication and financial transactions with entities and governments in countries such as China, Qatar, Russia and Saudi Arabia. (NYT,Aug. 30, 2019)

MONTREAL LIBERAL CANDIDATE TURFED FOLLOWING ANTI-SEMITISM ALLEGATIONS (Ottawa) — The Liberals removed Hassan Guillet as the candidate for a Montreal riding after some of his past remarks were called anti-Semitic by a Jewish human rights group. Guillet, who was running in Saint-Leonard-Saint-Michel, is a former imam who spoke at the funeral for several of the victims of the Quebec City mosque attack in 2017. (Global News, Aug. 30, 2019)

THE OBSCURE CANADIAN LAW THAT KEEPS SCREWING UP HIGH-PROFILE CRIMINAL TRIALS (Ottawa) — In a decision released Tuesday, the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned the convictions of Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier on charges of conspiracy to commit murder for the benefit of a terrorist group and two counts of participating in terrorist activity. The appeal court ruled that the trial judge had erred in the way he selected a panel of jurors to judge the potential bias of the rest of the jury. Because of that mistake, the panel ruled, the jury was improperly selected and the entire trial fatally flawed. The only remedy, they ruled, was a new trial.  (County Weekly News, Aug. 30, 2019)

KENTUCKY BECOMES 22ND STATE TO ENACT ANTI-BDS LAW(Kentucky) — Kentucky recently became the 22nd state to enact legislation prohibiting state contractors from boycotting Israel. “Kentucky condemns the #BDS movement and refuses to tolerate boycott-related tactics used to threaten the sovereignty and security of @Israel or other allies of the United States,” tweeted Gov. Matt Bevin (R). (United With Israel, Sept. 3, 2019)

ISRAELI APP BECOMES WORLD’S LARGEST CANCER SOCIAL NETWORK (Jerusalem) — Like Waze, the app called Belong.life uses artificial intelligence to cut through the data clutter. Users only see the most relevant information for their individual cancer journey. Eliran Malki, CEO of Belong.life, compares that with the popular Facebook support groups for cancer and other illnesses, where you have to wade through every member’s post, whether it’s of interest or not. In the three years since Belong launched, the app has become the world’s largest social network for cancer patients. Another app, Patients Like Me, has 600,000 total users, but covers some 2,800 conditions, and its cancer-specific component is much smaller than Belong’s. (United With Israel, Sept. 3, 2019)

ISRAEL SAYS HEZBOLLAH PLANS ADVANCED MISSILE PLANT IN LEBANON’S BEKAA VALLEY (Jerusalem) — Israel accused Hezbollah of setting up a factory for precision-guided missiles in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, in a veiled warning of further possible Israeli counter-strikes after a drone attack near Beirut set off brief cross-border fighting. Sunday’s shelling exchange was the fiercest between Israel and Hezbollah since the 2006 Lebanon war. While neither is keen to escalate, Israel has said it could act against any upgrades of Hezbollah’s missile arsenal, while Hezbollah has said it would retaliate for attacks on Lebanese soil. (Algemeiner, Sept. 3, 2019)

US STATE AND TREASURY DEPARTMENTS SLAP FIRST-EVER SANCTIONS ON IRAN’S SPACE PROGRAM (Washington) — Both the US State and Treasury Departments announced the slapping of sanctions on Iran’s space agency for the first time, accusing it of developing weapons of mass destruction and other weapon capabilities, such as space-launch vehicle technologies, which the State Department alleged were “virtually identical and interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles.” (Algemeiner, Sept. 3, 2019)

TORONTO MAN CHARGED AFTER THREATENING WALK WITH ISRAEL PARTICIPANTS (Toronto) — On May 20, 2019, Ali Amirsalam was filmed shouting, “Hitler, please come back and kill all the Jews – not 100%, but 90% of them” outside the 2019 Toronto Walk with Israel hosted by the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) in North York, Ont. B’nai Brith Canada filed a complaint with the Toronto Police Service shortly afterward. Amirsalam also made his own recording of his outburst and uploaded a video of it to Twitter, adding an antisemitic screed demanding that money be taken away from Jews and “be given to the poorer children of G-d.” He also posted a video of an Israeli flag being burned, and called for “No more Israel on the planet earth.” (Bnai Brith Canada, Sept. 3, 2019)

NEO-NAZI WEBSITE PUBLISHES PHOTOS OF THOUSANDS OF YESHIVA UNIVERSITY STUDENTS (NY) — In a bid to intimidate Jewish students, a US neo-Nazi website with the tagline, “No Jews, Just Right,” has published the photos of thousands of students and faculty at Yeshiva University (YU) in New York City. The photos were posted on the Vanguard News Network (VNN) forum, a white supremacist platform that identifies as an “uncensored forum for whites.” Yeshiva University’s newspaper, The YU Commentator, reported that campus security called the content “appalling and offensive” and informed students that they had found “no direct threat to the individuals appearing in the photos or to Yeshiva University.” (Algemeiner, Sept. 2, 2019)

FRENCH PRESIDENT MACRON OFFERS $15 BILLION BAILOUT TO IRAN TO STICK WITH NUCLEAR DEAL (Paris) — French President Emmanuel Macron is offering a $15 billion bailout to top Iranian negotiators who arrived in Paris in exchange for Tehran’s commitment to returning to its landmark 2015 nuclear accord, The New York Times  reported. The financial incentive is intended to compensate Iran for oil sales lost because of sanctions imposed by the U.S. since President Trump withdrew from the agreement last year. The $15 billion letter of credit would give Iran the ability to receive hard currency while most of the income from its oil sales is frozen in banks. The money roughly equals half of the revenue Iran would get from oil sales in a year. Trump administration officials say the bailout would undermine Trump’s effort to put “maximum pressure” on Iran, the Times said. (PJ Media, Sept. 3, 2019)

                   FOR FURTHER REFERENCE:

 

Unseen War: What Message Does Exposure of Alleged EU Involvement in 2007 US-Israeli Cyber Op Send to Iran?:  Sputnick News.com, Sept. 4, 2019 — Citing intelligence sources, a Yahoo News report has shed light on the still unacknowledged “Olympic Games Operation” carried out by Israeli and American secret services along with the Netherlands, Germany and, presumably, France and the UK. The purported joint intelligence operation was aimed at thwarting the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme.

Hezbollah’s Demographic Problem Explains Its Restraint:  Hillel Frisch, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 4, 2019 — Israel’s alleged three-pronged attacks in the last two weeks in Syria, Iraq and above all, in Dahiye, the vast Beirut Shi’ite neighborhood where the Hezbollah is headquartered above and below ground, was met with a very limited Hezbollah response.