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Bernie trounced Hillary in NH Primary despite his Israel Hating Advisers

Bernie Sanders may have trounced Hillary Clinton in yesterday’s New Hampshire primary by a significant double digit margin with his Wall Street bashing and Swedish-style entitlement giveaways trolling for millennials and the economically disaffected.  However little known are his foreign policy advisers who are notoriously anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. Among them are Jim Zogby of the Arab American Institute, former Defense official Larry Korb and, of course, the Soros-funded operatives of J Street.

Adam Credo’s article in yesterday’s Washington Free Beacon article noted the views of these ‘foreign policy’ advisers, “Meet Bernie Sanders’ Israel Hating Advisers.”   You thought his stint in a left Socialist Hashomer Hatzair Israeli kibbutz in his 20’s would make him a lifelong Zionist defender of the Jewish State. As my mythic cousin Vinny from Brooklyn would say, FERGEDABOTIT. Just look at his brother who lives in the UK, a supporter of the anti-Israel pro-Palestinian Labor Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn.  Bernie congratulations Corbyn on his victory winning the Labor Party leadership. The UK Daily Mail article  noted his email to Corbyn saying:

The Democrat presidential hopeful said he is ‘delighted’ to support a leader who ‘tells the billionaire class that they cannot have it all’.

‘At a time of mass income and wealth inequality throughout the world, I am delighted to see that the British Labor Party has elected Jeremy Corbyn as its new leader,’ he said in an email to Daily Mail Online.

‘We need economies that work for working families, not just the people on top.’

His words come after then Argentina’s President  Cristina Kirchner, since ousted by conservative successor Mauricio Macri, gushed that ‘hope has triumphed’ and that Corbyn ‘stands with Argentina’ in their anti-American stance.

Bernie also has a close friendship with notorious left wing anti-Israel advocate Noam Chomsky who endorsed him for President. They both share an Israeli kibbutz experience that in Chomsky’s case bolstered his Israel hating obsessions.

Watch this You Tube video of Chomsky’s endorsement of Bernie for President:

Note these comments from Noah Pollak, executive director of the Emergency Committee for Israel, Michael Rubin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and Yehudit Barsky, fellow at Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy in Kredo’s Washington Free Beacon article:

Sanders, who is Jewish and had family members slaughtered during the Holocaust, recently disclosed that his top foreign policy advisers include J Street, a dovish Middle East advocacy group that backs some of Congress’ most vocal critics of Israel, former assistant Secretary of Defense Larry Korb, and James Zogby, an Israel detractor who heads the Arab American Institute.

The inclusion of these advisers in the Sanders’ campaign, which has already come under fire for ignoring prominent Jewish-American political organizations, has prompted speculation from some that the presidential hopeful will pursue anti-Israel foreign policy priorities.

“Bernie seems to care very little about foreign policy, and so his views are shaped inordinately by advisers,” said Noah Pollak, executive director of the Emergency Committee for Israel, an advocacy organization. “And now we know who those advisers are. Two of them—Zogby and J Street—are leading anti-Israel apologists for terrorism. By his association with these extremist groups, Bernie fails the commander-in-chief test.”

“If advisers are a crystal ball to the future of foreign policy, then Sanders seeks a policy which doubles down on many of the failed assumptions that have undercut Obama’s policies,” said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser and terrorism analyst. “America’s adversaries are real and are motivated by ideology rather than grievance. To rest American national security on the good will of anti-American despots and Islamists is never a good gamble.”

Zogby has accused the Jewish state of committing a “Holocaust” against the Palestinians and has referred to Israelis as “Nazis.” He has also described sitting members of Congress as “Israel firsters,” an anti-Semitic trope that implies dual loyalty to the Jewish state.
Zogby also has come under fire for exploiting the memory of the Holocaust for political purposes.

Zogby claimed in a 2010 blog post for the Huffington Post that “the plight of Palestinians is to the Arabs, what the Holocaust is to Jews world-wide.”
His comparison immediately drew outrage, with researchers from the UK Media Watch organization describing it as “grievously insulting.”
“Nothing that I could say to highlight his words would make them any more insulting or horrid than they are on their own,” a representative of that group wrote at the time.

“Zogby has two goals: to make Arab Americans more powerful than Jewish Americans and to be their preeminent leader,” Yehudit Barsky, a fellow at the Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy, wrote in a profile about Zogby’s anti-Israel attitudes.

J Street has faced similar criticism for its efforts to pressure Israel into making security concessions to the Palestinians that could endanger its survival.

J Street accused the Jewish state of “fanning growing flames of anti-Semitism” due to its efforts to stop daily attacks on civilians during Israel’s 2014 battle against Hamas terrorists.

The group’s leaders also have accused leading Israeli politicians of being racists.

We’ll see how Bernie Sanders fares in the upcoming Democratic primaries.  Given his radical background there was a reason why the media took to calling the city he was elected to serve the People’s Republic of Burlington.  With the FBI released a letter yesterday that Hillary is under investigation because of alleged confidential intelligence abuses using her private email server, you never know what can happen next in the 2016 Democrat Presidential nomination race.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Why are Jews Against Israel?

Jews Against Themselves coverWe have been an admirer of David Isaac’s commendable documentary series, “Zionism 101”.  It is a beautiful constructed graphic Baedeker  and comprehensive guide to the origins and evolution of religious and political Zionism.  We  count him among the leading defenders of Israel, the Jewish nation and the Diaspora,  the ‘galut’.  Thus, I found it in character for him to publish  a review of a new book of withering essays by University of Washington  scholar, Edward Alexander, “Jews Against Themselves”.  Isaac’s review of Alexander‘s collection of jeremiads, “The Enemy Within”   published in today’s  Washington Free Beacon excoriates these diverse ‘shadtlanim’  beyond the usual suspects.  Isaac pays tribute to Alexander withering and acerbic wit in these essays.  He writes:

Alexander describes “the new forms taken by Jewish apostasy in an age when Jewish existence is threatened more starkly and immediately than at any time since the Nazi war against the Jews.” He notes that there are always readers astonished to learn that Israel-bashing Jews exist. But precisely these home-grown haters are the ones who “play a disproportionate role in basic

Isaac notes Alexander’s  theme threading his  oeuvre  defending Israel against the usual and not so usual  suspects::

Alexander is a staunch defender of Israel, the foundation of which he calls one of the “few redeeming events in a century of blood and shame, one of the greatest affirmations of the will to live ever made by a martyred people, and a uniquely hopeful sign for humanity itself.” As an English professor at the University of Washington, he wrote books on moral exemplars of the Victorian period like Matthew Arnold. He could have remained in his ivory tower, but instead he has delved into the muck. With pen in hand—happily Alexander is a superb writer and wields a very sharp pen—he has taken apart Israel’s enemies in books ranging from The Jewish Idea and Its Enemiesto The Jewish Wars to The State of the Jews and The Jewish Divide Against Israel.

Alexander is not out to create a “systemic taxonomy” of the many species of anti-Israel Jews but he does give the reader a brief, dizzying list of them: “Jewish progressives against Israel; Jewish queers against Israel; Haredim against Israel; Holocaust survivors against Israel; children of Holocaust survivors against Israel; Jewish Voice for Peace; grandchildren of Holocaust survivors against Israel … and so on and on, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.”

Anti-semitic cartoon posted by Richard Falk on his blog.

One of the worst  Isaac cites  in his review of Alexander’s book for particular scorn  is Princeton Professor Richard Falk, a former special rapporteur on Palestine for the oxymoronic UN Human Rights Commission:

Unfortunately, Jewish defamers of Israel often occupy positions of influence. Take Richard Falk, a Princeton professor for 40 years, who served for six years as the UN’s special rapporteur “on human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” In 2008 Falk issued a statement condemning Israel (which had finally reacted to years of missiles lobbed into its territory) for “war crimes” in Gaza. Alexander writes of him: “From his UN post Falk has relentlessly described Israel as Satan’s lair, called for ‘a legitimacy war against Israel,’ blamed the Boston Marathon bombings on ‘Tel Aviv,’ and then—in the summer of 2011—having exhausted his own store of verbal eloquence on the topic, posted on his ‘blog’ site a cartoon of a dog wearing a yarmulke urinating on a blindfolded female figure of Justice. If any single figure ever embodied the image of the UN as the center of the world’s evil, it is Richard Falk.”

Then there is J Street that we have conducted our own withering campaign against:

J Street is another example of the real-world impact of these internal enemies. The group boasts a “Rabbinic Cabinet,” Alexander writes, “whose members include supporters of Hamas’s relentless bombing of Sderot.” In lobbying to oppose Israeli policies, J Street has proven a useful tool in the hands of the Obama administration, which sends its highest officials to attend its conferences, presumably because it sees in the group a kindred spirit and hopes that the group will provide cover, as a self-styled “Zionist” organization, against charges of being anti-Israel.

Isaac  condemns the obscenity of Jewish  descendents of Holocaust survivors  misappropriating their memories in squabbling debates within the same family, as in the case of the Petos:

Such a one is Jennifer Peto, whose anti-Israel master’s thesis (briefly the focus of a 2010 media controversy in Canada) was dedicated to her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor: “If she were alive today, she would be right there with me protesting against Israeli apartheid.” Fortunately, her brother, David Peto, a Houston physician, sent an open letter to the press describing their real grandmother, a teacher at a Jewish orphanage in Budapest “who saved countless children from death at the hands of the Nazis.” She was “an ardent supporter of the state of Israel … [and] I cannot in good conscience allow my sister to misappropriate our grandmother’s memory to suit her political ideology.”

Then there are Israel-bashing Israelis that Alexander takes particular exception to:

One of the biggest surprises in Alexander’s book—at least to the uninitiated—is that there are Israelis who join in the defamation. One would think terrorist bombs and missiles would act as a reality check, but this is far from the case. Alexander quotes the Israeli writer Aharon Megged saying in 1993 that “Since the Six Day War, and at an increasing pace, we have witnessed a phenomenon which probably has no parallel in history: an emotional and moral identification by the majority of Israel’s intelligentsia with people openly committed to our annihilation.” Alexander observes that when the Labor Party took back the reins of government in 1992, they had absorbed the ideas of this intelligentsia. The result was the Oslo Accords, which gave the PLO’s Yasser Arafat a launching pad for attacks on Israel.

Along these lines,  Isaac asks  why the  Israel government  mindlessly  awards  the Israel Prize to Israeli Jewish self  haters:

While Alexander does not talk about this, the Israeli government itself is guilty of precisely such “honors, flattery and oily sycophancy.” The Israel Prize, the highest bestowed by the Israel government, has gone to some of Israel’s worst defamers: men like Yeshayahu Leibowitz who repeatedly referred to Israel’s government and soldiers as “Judeo-Nazis”; Natan Zach, a supporter of boycotts against Jewish communities outside the armistice borders of 1949; Ze’ev Sternhell, “only he who is willing to storm Ofra [a Jewish community between Jerusalem and Nablus] with tanks will be able to block the fascist danger”; Arik Shapira, who said his musical composition was dedicated to the destruction of Ofra , and a number of others of that ilk. What happens when the state gives its highest honor to those who call Israelis Nazis, justify Arab terrorism and advocate civil war among Jews? The prizes say that these people are the most cultivated; the highest achievers Israel has to offer. In giving these prizes to those who despise the state, Israel becomes an enabler and megaphone for its defamers.

Isaac ends his review of Alexander’s collection of 18 essays by reaching back into ancient history to show that  despite massive repeated   existential threats, Israel and the Jewish people have survived :

Israel is ringed by enemies, excoriated by “the world community,” and has to endure so many enemies within the Jewish world, it is helpful to end on a positive note. Alexander reminds us that “the first elegist to crow over the demise of Zion was a fellow named Merneptah, a ruler of Egypt who announced that ‘Israel is desolated; its seed is no more.’ That was in the year 1215 BCE.”

ABOUT DAVID ISSAC:

David Isaac is an editor at NewsMax.com and  the founder of a Zionist history site, Zionism101.org.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Obama Denying Restitution for Victims of Iranian Terrorism

Thursday, October 1, 2015, Congress is scheduled to vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2016. However, President Obama has threatened to veto the NDAA because one of the provisions would bar him from lifting Iranian sanctions under the JCPOA.  Among several amendments incorporated in the NDAA that the President objects to  is the Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism  H.R.3457  sponsored by Rep. Pat Meeham (R-PA) as HR  and in the Senate by Senators Pat Toomey  (R-PA) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill) , S 2086.  As Ken Timmerman noted in his Threat Blog, the Act would:

Require the Islamic Republic of Iran to pay an estimated $43 billion to victims of terrorism before the U.S. government would unfreeze Iranian government assets under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal.”

Adam Kredo in a Washington Free Beacon article on the legislation noted the background and comments of Senator Kirk:

The $43 billion in damages to American terror victims were assessed as a result of some 50 U.S. court cases in recent years, according to official government estimates.

[…]

Iranian-backed terrorist groups, for example, have killed more than 700 Americans, including at least 290 in Lebanon over the past several decades. This accounts for the 241 U.S. service members murdered during the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, which Iran sponsored.

Kirk said in the statement on the legislation:

Iran-sponsored terrorists have killed more Americans than the Islamic State. Families of Americans killed by Iranian-backed terrorism have used U.S. laws to take Iran to court and lawfully win approximately $43.5 billion in unsatisfied damages, so if the United States fails to ensure Iran fully pays these judgments before Iranian terror financiers get over $100 billion in sanctions relief, we risk emboldening Iran and other state sponsors of terror to continue targeting and killing more Americans.

One of those Americans was US Navy diver Chief Petty Officer Robert Stethem, was murdered by Hezbollah terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyah during the 1985 hijacking of Trans World Airlines Flight 847. Another was  teenager Danny Wultz of Weston, Florida  who was mortally wounded in a suicide bombing  by an operative of Iranian – sponsored  terror group, Palestine Islamic Jihad at  a Tel Aviv outdoor café in 2006 while vacationing with his father,Tuly,  who survived the blast.

Stethem’s brother Kenneth, a former Navy SEAL joined Rep. Meeham and other Members of Congress Wednesday to draw attention to tomorrow’s vote on the NDAA incorporating the Iran Victims Terror Act.  The Washington Free Beacon cited  Kenneth Stethem’s comments:

Terrorism has become something more and more frequent because we haven’t developed an effective policy against it and we need to do that. I really believe this bill is the first step in doing that. He added that the passage of the legislation would offer “closure” for families of terror victims. My brother can never be brought back, but the people who perpetrated these acts on my brother and hundreds of other victims can and should be held accountable.

Watch this You Tube video that Rep. Meehan used to introduce the Justice for Iran Victims Act in the House:

Note what Meehan said:

We’re putting our victims to the side if we enable these dollars to be returned to Iran without any attachment to them.

Look, these are Marines who died protecting our barracks, these are American citizens who were sitting in cafes in Israel, and these are people who were hijacked in planes and murdered in cold blood after being tortured. It’s some small measure of accountability that [Iran] should be required to pay [these families] before the very money we now have some influence over is returned.

Rep. Meeham is running a Twitter campaign in support of the legislation using the hashtag, #NotOneCent.

Timmerman drew attention to the statement issued by the President’s Office of Management and Budget threatening a veto:

The Office of Management and Budget today issued a statement that it “strongly opposes” making Iran pay the terrorism claims, arguing that “obstructing implementation of the JCPOA would greatly undermine our national security interests.

President Obama will veto the bill if it makes it through to his desk, the OMB promised.

In the midst of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s Pentagon press conference over the controversial Russian bombing of Syrian targets, a thoughtful reporter, why the Administration would veto the NDAA incorporating the Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism ActWatch this C-Span video excerpt of Secretary Carter’s response:

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of American victims of Iranian terrorism. Screenshot, U.S. Rep. Meeham Facebook, September 29, 2015.

Obama ally General Barry McCaffrey states ‘Iran deal deeply flawed’

Yesterday, when we posted on the September 9th Washington March to Save America opposing the Iran Nuclear deal, we drew attention to a letter  approving  the deal  signed by 33 former senior military officers, “The Time Has Come for a March in D.C. to Stop the Iran Nuclear Pact.” Alana Goodman has an expose in today’s Washington Free Beacon (WFB) about the White House manipulations behind the scene by a retired Navy rear admiral, now a lawyer with the Venable law firm  in Washington, who authored the letter,  White House Played Role in Iran Deal Letter Signed by Former Flag Officers.” The Obama operative got his comeuppance when he solicited retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey. who opposes the pact. He made the wrong pick.

McCaffrey retired as a four star general who served 32 years in the US Army following graduation from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. At his retirement McCaffrey  “was the most highly decorated serving General, having been awarded three Purple Heart medals for wounds received in his four combat tours – as well as twice awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest award for valor. He also twice was awarded the Silver Star for valor.”  Before establishing his consulting firm, BR McCaffrey Associates LLC, McCaffrey was the Cabinet Officer in charge of U.S. Drug Policy.  After leaving government service, McCaffrey was “the Bradley Distinguished Professor of International Security Studies from January 2001 to May 2005; and then as an Adjunct Professor of International Security Studies from May 2005 to December 2010” at West Point. McCaffrey has also been a frequent media commentator on national security issues. Watch this NBC Meet the Press segment in January 2015 and McCaffrey’s comments on the Obama war strategy in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Goodman of WFB wrote:

James “Jamie” Barnett, a retired rear admiral who now works at the law firm Venable, drafted the letter. Barnett reached out to retired senior officers earlier this month, asking them to sign on and touting the White House’s involvement.

“I am working with the White House on a letter for retired General Officers and Flag Officers to sign, supporting the U.S.-Iran accord on nuclear armament,” Barnett wrote in an Aug. 4 email to one potential signatory. “Are you in a position, and of such a mind, to consider such a letter?”

Barnett indicated that those who signed on could attend a meeting or conference call with White House officials, and said organizers wanted to finalize the list of signatures by last Friday.

Barnett told the Free Beacon on Thursday that the letter was his idea and that he did not write it due to a request from the White House. He said he did ask for a meeting with the National Security Council staff for retired admirals and generals who wanted to attend.

He also said Venable, whose roster of past clients includes Russia’s state gas company Gazprom, had no involvement with the letter.

“I thought of it on my own and started talking to my retired flag officer friends, who in turn brought others in,” said Barnett.

General McCaffrey replied:

Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey was one of the officers who declined to participate when asked to sign the letter.

“In my view the Iran nuke deal is a deeply flawed agreement,” McCaffrey replied to Barnett in an email last week. “Cannot sign your letter of support by retired senior officers to support the White House position.”

McCaffrey blasted the nuclear agreement, saying it was opposed by America’s Middle Eastern allies, did not provide for adequate inspections, legitimizes Iran, and would encourage a nuclear arms race in the region.

“The option was not war. The option was walling Iran off for another decade—and threatening nuclear retaliation if they attacked their Sunni neighbors [with] nuclear weapons,” wrote McCaffrey.

“This agreement will likely accelerate nuclear proliferation in the region,” he added. “The Sunni Arab states will want a nuclear deterrence to the Persian Shia capability.”

We salute Gen. McCaffrey for his clear-eyed rejection of the Iran nuclear pact. We hope that those wavering Democrats in the Senate and House get McCaffrey’s message from their constituents who oppose the Iran deal in recent polls by 2 to 1. Perhaps they may if a multitude shows up on the back lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building in The March to Save America on Wednesday, September 9, 2015.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Iranian Court Fines the U.S. $50 Billion!

FLE - In this file photo taken Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani briefs media prior to departing Mehrabad airport to attend the United Nations General Assembly, in Tehran, Iran. Rouhani said Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, that ongoing nuclear negotiations with world powers are a matter of "heart," not just centrifuges ahead of talks next week in Geneva. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Iranian President Rouhani.

Just prior to the announcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in Vienna on July 14th, an Iranian court announced a fine of $50 billion against the U.S. It was ostensibly for the U.S. complicity in fostering the deaths and damages inflicted on Iran during the nearly decade long war between the Ba’athist regime of the late Saddam Hussein of Iraq and the Islamic Regime and its revolutionary Supreme leader, founding Ayatollah Khomenei. That was the cover story. It was only following the unanimous endorsement by the UN Security Council of the JCPOA on July 22nd and the attention brought by the series of Congressional hearings in both the Senate and House, that the real purpose was revealed: the denial of nearly equivalent claims awarded in U.S. courts to the victims of Iranian sponsored terrorism committed by proxies.

There are more than 100 cases with awards made in U.S. federal courts. They involved the bombings in Beirut of the U.S. embassy and destruction of the Marine Barracks resulted in over 304 American dead, the Khobar Towers bombing in 1995 in Saudi Arabia where 23 USAF personnel were killed and others were maimed and injured and the deaths of 12 Americans in the 1998 East African bombings in 1998 in Kenya and Tanzania, and the victims in the Iran 9/11 links case. These were acts of state sponsored terrorism by the Iranian Islamic Republic that killed hundreds if not thousands of Americans adjudicated in U.S. courts under the provisions of the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act.

Adam Kredo in a July 13, Washington Free Beacon, wrote about the coincidental Iranian Fars news agency announcement of the ‘fine’ issued by the Iranian court:

An Iranian court on Monday issued a ruling fining the United States $50 billion for purported damages against the Islamic Republic and its citizens, according to an announcement by Iran’s Judiciary.

Iran claims that the United States is guilty of inflicting “heavy loss and damage” on the country, as well as “killing the Iranian nationals by assisting their enemies,” such as former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, according to Iran’s state-controlled Fars News Agency.

The ruling charges “the U.S. administration with the payment of a total 50-billion-dollar fine for the losses it has incurred on real and legal entities,” according to Fars.

A spokesman for Iran’s Judiciary was quoted as saying during a press conference in Tehran that “those who had filed a lawsuit against the U.S., their complaints have been processed.”

Specific names of those leveling these charges were not released.

Following a supposed court hearing and judicial review, “the Iranian courts have issued verdicts against the U.S. administration that charge Washington to pay a total $50bln to compensate for a part of the losses it has inflicted on Iranian legal entities and real persons,” Fars reported.

The report goes on to accuse the United States of aiding “different terrorist groups against Tehran.”

Yesterday, the answer as to why Iran chose the occasion of the JCPOA announcement to announce this claim against the US was  revealed in a Wall Street Journal  article on the languishing status of claims of the families of US victims of Iranian sponsored terrorism adjudicated in New York federal courts, “Terror Victims Eye Thawing with Iran”:

Over the past two decades, terrorism victims have filed about 100 lawsuits against Iran in U.S. courts, accusing the government of sponsoring attacks around the world, including the Sept. 11, 2001, attack. Federal judges have awarded victims a total of approximately $45 billion, including $21.6 billion in compensatory damages, according to calculations by Crowell & Moring LLP. Iran has refused to pay.

A State Department official said there were no discussions of terrorism victims during the nuclear talks, but the U.S. remains committed to looking for ways for victims to seek compensation. Victims’ lawyers are hoping that a thawing of relations with Iran could pave the way for an eventual resolution of the terrorism claims.

“To really have a rapprochement with Iran, the terrorism sanctions and judgments have to be dealt with one way or another,” said Stuart Newberger, a partner at Crowell & Moring who represents terrorism victims, including the Americans who were killed in U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Lebanon.

Terror victims and their families have limited options to seek compensation through the legal system. New laws passed in recent decades, such as the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, have allowed victims to sue countries like Iran in U.S. courts for monetary damages. Enforcing the judgments is an entirely separate challenge.

Victims’ lawyers have scoured the globe for Iranian assets and sought out creative solutions to get paid. They have gone after Iranian central bank funds deposited at Citibank, a case that is awaiting potential review by the U.S. Supreme Court. They are among the parties trying to win the proceeds generated by the potential forfeiture and sale of a 36-story office building in New York City, which a federal court found to be owned by the Iranian government. That case is currently on appeal with the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Victims are also trying to win a portion of the approximate $9 billion penalty paid by French bank BNP Paribas SA to the U.S. government last year for facilitating illegal transactions for Iran and other sanctioned countries.

The agreement reached three weeks ago pertains strictly to nuclear sanctions, leaving the sanctions related to terrorism and human rights intact for now. However, even lifting just the nuclear sanctions could free up billions of Iranian assets in Europe and elsewhere that victims may attempt to seize as part of their judgments, victims’ lawyers say.

“If [the nuclear deal] goes through, resolving terror cases inevitably comes up next,” said James Kreindler, who specializes in terrorism litigation at Kreindler & Kreindler LLP and represents the 9/11 victims, among others. “Iran doesn’t want to see sanctions lifted and lawyers for hundreds of plaintiffs attaching their bank funds all around the world.”

[…]

Among the dozens of plaintiffs’ groups with judgments against Iran, the biggest judgments have been the $6.1 billion awarded to victims of 9/11 and the $9 billion awarded to victims of the 1983 bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut. Lynn Smith Derbyshire, whose brother was killed in the Beirut attack, says many victims are closely following the Iran deal to see if it will help their cause. “It’s a constantly open wound,” said Ms. Derbyshire, who is the national spokeswoman for the Beirut families. “You don’t really get to close the book and move on because you’re constantly being reminded of it.”

These unsatisfied federal court awards against Iran for state sponsored terrorism that resulted in the deaths and injuries to hundreds if not thousands of Americans would block the release of frozen assets and sanctions penalties against Iran. To obviate paying these claims  the Islamic regime came up with a Court ruling with an equivalent amount that would be used to deny  paying damage awards.

Outrageous, you bet. But then the tawdry spectacle of our government succumbing to concessions  in the Iran nuclear pact by the Iranian negotiating  team set the stage for this calumny.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Teheran Formula

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

UN IAEA: Iran Violated Nuclear Deal Before it is Even Inked

Amidst frenetic Administration efforts to spin a possible Iran deal comes evidence that it has already been violated given an IAEA Report and analysis by Washington, DC –nuclear watchdog, the Institute for Science and International Security.   Adam Kredo in today’s Washington Free Beacon  reported these last minute developments, Iran Violates Past Nuclear Promises on Eve of Deal”:

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) disclosed yesterday that Iran has failed to meet its commitments under the interim Joint Plan of Action to convert recently enriched uranium gas to powder.

While Iran has reduced the amount of enriched uranium gas in its stockpiles, it has failed to dispose of these materials in a way that satisfies the requirements of the nuclear accord struck with the United States and other powers in 2013.

Wednesday’s disclosure by the IAEA sent the State Department rushing to downplay the Iranian violation.

Obama administration officials insisted that despite Iran’s failure to meet its obligations, negotiations were still on track and that Tehran would face no repercussions.

One U.S. official who spoke with the Associated Press on Wednesday said that instead of converting its uranium gas into uranium dioxide powder as required, Iran had transformed it into another substance. The IAEA found that Iran had converted just 9 percent of the relevant stockpile into uranium dioxide.

The official went on to downplay concerns about Iran’s violation, claiming that Tehran was only having some “technical problems.”

The “technical problems by Iran had slowed the process but the United States was satisfied that Iran had met its commitments,” the AP reported the official as saying.

“Violations by Iran would complicate the Obama administration’s battle to persuade congressional opponents and other skeptics,” the AP continued.

David Albright, a nuclear expert and founder of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), warned that the United States is weakening its requirements on Tehran as a final deal gets closer.

“The choosing of a weaker condition that must be met is not a good precedent for interpreting more important provisions in a final deal,” Albright wrote in an analysis published late Wednesday.

While Iran was not in compliance with the oxidation requirement, the IAEA found that it did get rid of uranium gas that surpassed a self-imposed benchmark of 7,650 kg.

The IAEA’s disclosures are in contrast to comments made by Kerry last summer when he assured observers that Iran would live up to the interim agreement.

“Iran has committed to take further nuclear-related steps in the next four months” and “these include a continued cap on the amount of 5 percent enriched uranium hexafluoride and a commitment to convert any material over that amount into oxide,” Kerry said.

The Israel Project (TIP), which has sent officials to Vienna to track the deal, wrote in an email to reporters that the administration looked like it was “playing Tehran’s lawyer” in a bid to defuse potential fallout from the IAEA’s report.

This is not the first time that Iran has been caught by the IAEA cheating on past nuclear arrangements.

As negotiations between the sides slip past their June 30 deadline and stretch into July, Iranian officials have become more insistent that the United States consent to demands on a range of sticking points.

President Hassan Rouhani also threatened to fully restart Iran’s nuclear program if negotiators fail to live up to any final agreement.

One Western source present in Vienna said the administration is scrambling to ensure that nothing interferes with a final deal.

“Once again, the White House will go to any length needed to preserve the Obama-Iran deal, even if it means covering up Iran’s failure to convert all of the nuclear material as promised,” said the source.

“If they had admitted Iran failed to live up to the letter of the JPOA—as is the case—this one-week extension period of the JPOA would be totally invalidated and the talks would be over,” the source added. “Like they have for months, the administration continues to hide violations and is acting more like Iran’s advocate than the honest broker the American people deserve. “

Will these IAEA/ISIS revelations upend the P5+1 Iran deliberations in Vienna?  We bet the Obama State Department and White House spokespersons will continue the charade of “don’t believe your lying eyes”. All while Iran ‘s Supreme Ruler stiff arms the talks in Vienna with new ‘red lines” trusting that greed by the P5+1 over billions of trade and development deals  will  lift $150 billion in sanctions relief upon inking a deal.  Both Israel and the US Congress are increasing wary of this deal that will provide a nuclear breakthrough by Iran. If achieved the deal  will vault Iran’s  state sponsorship of terrorism.  Iran could develop one bomb to wipe Israel off the map of the world and an ICBM to detonate an EMP over the US fulfilling their Mahdist apocalyptic dream and both Israel’s and our nightmares.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of U.S. Energy Secertary Moniz, Secretary of State Kerry and Undersecretary Wendy Sherman taken in Vienna, July 1, 2015. Source: Reuters.

Is the U.S. State Department Taking Reports of North Korea-Iranian Nuclear Cooperation Seriously?

At today’s State Department Daily Press Briefing, spokesperson Jeff Rathke was asked by Matt Lee, AP White House correspondent about reports by the Paris-based Iranian dissident group, the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI) about alleged North Korean meetings in Iran alleging discussions over nuclear program cooperation an ICBM developments.  Reuters reported the NCRI group allegation that:

Citing information from sources inside Iran, including within Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Paris-based NCRI said a seven-person North Korean Defense Ministry team was in Iran during the last week of April. This was the third time in 2015 that North Koreans had been to Iran and a nine-person delegation was due to return in June, it said.

“The delegates included nuclear experts, nuclear warhead experts and experts in various elements of ballistic missiles including guidance systems,” the NCRI said.

In response to AP’s Lee question Rathke said, “We are taking these allegations very seriously” citing various UN Security Council Resolutions sanctioning the proliferation behavior of the DPRK. That led Lee and other correspondents to inquire whether this would impact the current P5+1 negotiations in Vienna seeking to conclude a comprehensive Joint Plan of Action by June 30th.  We posted  yesterday that France’s Foreign Minister demanding that Iran agree to  UN IAEA inspectors be  given  full access to military facilities for verification of prior developments.

Watch this C-SPAN video clip on the exchanges between State Department Jeff Rathke and AP’s Lee and other reporters at today’s Press Briefing:

Satellite Image of the Sohae Launch Facility, North Korea

North Korean Sohae Missile Launch site, November 2012. Source: Space.com

The Reuters report gave indications of previous unverified reports about such cooperation between the DPRK and Iran:

The NCRI said the North Korean delegation was taken secretly to the Imam Khomenei complex, a site east of Tehran controlled by the Defense Ministry. It gave detailed accounts of locations and who the officials met.

It said the delegation dealt with the Center for Research and Design of New Aerospace Technology, a unit of nuclear weaponization research, and a planning center called the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, which is under U.S. sanctions.

Reuters could not independently verify the allegations.

“Tehran has shown no interest in giving up its drive to nuclear weapons. The weaponization program is continuing and they have not slowed down the process,” NCRI spokesman Shahin Gobadi said.

U.N. watchdog the IAEA, which for years has investigated alleged nuclear arms research by Tehran, declined to comment. North Korean officials were not available for comment.

Several Western officials said they were not aware of a North Korean delegation traveling to Iran recently.

A Western diplomat said there had been proven military cooperation between Iran and North Korea in the past.

North Korean and Iranian officials meet in the course of general diplomacy. On April 23, Kim Yong Nam, North Korea’s ceremonial head of state and Iran’s president held a rare meeting on the sidelines of the Asian-African summit in Jakarta.

My colleague Ilana Freedman and this writer have reported on Iranian and DPRK on both nuclear and ICBM developments and nuclear tests in NER and Iconoclast posts.  In a March 2014, NER, article, “Has Iran Developed Nuclear Weapons in North Korea”, we cited Freedman reporting:

According to my sources, Iran began moving its bomb manufacturing operations from Iran to North Korea in December 2012. Two facilities near Nyongbyon in North Pyongan province, some 50 miles north of Pyongyang, have become a new center for Iran’s nuclear arms program.

Over the last year, Iran has been secretly supplying raw materials to the reactor at Nyongbyon for the production of plutonium. At a second facility, located about fifteen miles north and with a code name that translates to ‘Thunder God Mountain’, nuclear warheads are being assembled and integrated with MIRV platforms. MIRVs are offensive ballistic missile systems that can support multiple warheads, each of which can be aimed at an independent target, but are all launched by a single booster rocket. Approximately 250-300 Iranian scientists are now reported to be in North Korea, along with a small cadre of IRGC personnel to provide for their security.

According to the reports, the Iranian-North Korean collaboration has already produced the first batch of fourteen nuclear warheads. A dedicated fleet of Iranian cargo aircraft, a combination of 747′s and Antonov heavy-lifters, which has been ferrying personnel and materials back and forth between Iran and North Korea, is in place to bring the assembled warheads back to Iran.

In a June 2014, Iconoclast post, “Does Iran/ North Korean Nuclear & ICBM Development Preclude A P5+1 Agreement?” we cited a Wall Street Journal report by  Claudia Rosett, journalist in residence at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Iran Could Outsource Its Nuclear –Weapons Program to North Korea. Rosett commented:

The pieces have long been in place for nuclear collaboration between the two countries. North Korea and Iran are close allies, drawn together by decades of weapons deals and mutual hatred of America and its freedoms. Weapons-hungry Iran has oil; oil-hungry North Korea makes weapons. North Korea has been supplying increasingly sophisticated missiles and missile technology to Iran since the 1980s, when North Korea hosted visits by Hasan Rouhani (now Iran’s president) and Ali Khamenei (Iran’s supreme leader since the death of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989).

Rosett in the WSJ oped lays out the case for what the NER article demonstrated was a plausible means of evading sanctions. The evidence for that we noted was North Korean/ Iranian cooperation with Assad’s Syria creating a plutonium reactor on the Euphrates at Al Kibar destroyed by Israel’s Air Force in September 2007. We drew attention to Iranian/ North Korean joint development of large rocket boosters sufficient to loft nuclear MIRV warheads and the likelihood that Iran might have that capability within a few years. In June 2014, The Algemeiner reported an Iranian official announcing that it possessed a 5,000 kilometer (approximately 3,125 miles) range missile that could hit the strategic base of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean:

“In the event of a mistake on the part of the United States, their bases in Bahrain and (Diego) Garcia will not be safe from Iranian missiles,” said an Iranian Revolutionary Guard adviser to Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Majatba Dhualnuri.

In an April 15, 2015, Iconoclast post, “Obama Administration Knew of Illegal North Korea Missile Technology Transfers to Iran During Talks” we reported:

Bill Gertz has a blockbuster expose in today’s Washington Free Beacon of something we have been hammering away for years: the technology transfer of missile and nuclear technology between North Korea and the Iran, “North Korea Transfers Missile Goods to Iran During Nuclear Talks.”  The stunning disclosure was that U.S. intelligence has known about the illegal transfer in violation of UN arms sanctions, as apparently did the Obama Administration. You recall the statement that Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman made before a Senate hearing in early 2014. Sherman said, “that if Iran can’t get the bomb then its ballistic missiles would be irrelevant.”

Gertz went on to report:

Since September more than two shipments of missile parts have been monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies as they transited from North Korea to Iran, said officials familiar with intelligence reports who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Details of the arms shipments were included in President Obama’s daily intelligence briefings and officials suggested information about the transfers was kept secret from the United Nations, which is in charge of monitoring sanctions violations.

While the CIA declined to comment on these allegations claiming classified information, others, Gertz queried said that “such transfers were covered by the Missile Technology Control Regime, a voluntary agreement among 34 nations that limits transfers of missiles and components of systems with ranges of greater than 186 miles.”

One official said the transfers between North Korea and Iran included large diameter engines, which could be used for a future Iranian long-range missile system.

The compilation of these reports and today’s exchange at the State Department Press Briefing clearly raises the ante as to why in one reporter’s query, ‘our negotiators” haven’t simply asked  Foreign Minister Zarif in Vienna  is there such cooperation going on, backed up by the intelligence reports cited by Gertz and others?  Our suspicion is that French Foreign Minister Fabius has better feed on Iranian nuclear and ICBM developments than our CIA.  Or more likely is the Obama West Wing suggesting not to believe those lying reports in the President’s  Daily Intelligence Briefing? After all, President Obama, Secretary Kerry and Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman want nothing to stand in the way of an agreement with Iran, even it means evading the truth. Stay tuned for developments.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is from the official site of the President of The Islamic Republic of Iran.

Obama Administration Knew of Illegal North Korea Missile Technology Transfers to Iran During Talks

Bill Gertz has a blockbuster expose in today’s Washington Free Beacon  of something we have been hammering away for years: the technology transfer of  missile  and nuclear technology  between  North Korea and the Iran, “North Korea Transfers Missile Goods to Iran During Nuclear Talks.”  The stunning disclosure was that US intelligence has known about the illegal transfer in violation of UN arms sanctions, as apparently did the Obama Administration.   You recall the statement that Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman made before a Senate hearing in early 2014. Sherman said, “that if Iran can’t get the bomb then its ballistic missiles would be irrelevant.”

Satellite Image of the Sohae Launch Facility, North Korea

North Korean Sohae Launch Station November 2012. Source Space.com

In a March 2014 NER article “Has Iran Developed Nuclear Weapons in North Korea In March 2014, we wrote a New English Review article, we interviewed my colleague Ilana Freedman about her sources on Iran North Korean nuclear cooperation. She noted:

According to my sources, Iran began moving its bomb manufacturing operations from Iran to North Korea in December 2012. Two facilities near Nyongbyon in North Pyongan province, some 50 miles north of Pyongyang, have become a new center for Iran’s nuclear arms program.

Over the last year, Iran has been secretly supplying raw materials to the reactor at Nyongbyon for the production of plutonium. At a second facility, located about fifteen miles north and with a code name that translates to ‘Thunder God Mountain’, nuclear warheads are being assembled and integrated with MIRV platforms. MIRVs are offensive ballistic missile systems that can support multiple warheads, each of which can be aimed at an independent target, but are all launched by a single booster rocket. Approximately 250-300 Iranian scientists are now reported to be in North Korea, along with a small cadre of IRGC personnel to provide for their security.

According to the reports, the Iranian-North Korean collaboration has already produced the first batch of fourteen nuclear warheads. A dedicated fleet of Iranian cargo aircraft, a combination of 747′s and Antonov heavy-lifters, which has been ferrying personnel and materials back and forth between Iran and North Korea, is in place to bring the assembled warheads back to Iran.

Gertz’s WFB reported:

Since September more than two shipments of missile parts have been monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies as they transited from North Korea to Iran, said officials familiar with intelligence reports who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Details of the arms shipments were included in President Obama’s daily intelligence briefings and officials suggested information about the transfers was kept secret from the United Nations, which is in charge of monitoring sanctions violations.

While the  CIA declined to comment on these allegations claiming classified information, others, Gertz queried  said that “such transfers  were covered by the Missile Technology Control Regime, a voluntary agreement among 34 nations that limits transfers of missiles and components of systems with ranges of greater than 186 miles.”

One official said the transfers between North Korea and Iran included large diameter engines, which could be used for a future Iranian long-range missile system.

The United Nations Security Council in June 2010 imposed sanctions on Iran for its illegal uranium enrichment program. The sanctions prohibit Iran from purchasing ballistic missile goods and are aimed at blocking Iran from acquiring “technology related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”

U.S. officials said the transfers carried out since September appears to be covered by the sanctions.

In a June 2014 Iconoclast post  we drew attention to Iranian/ North Korean joint development of large rocket boosters sufficient to loft nuclear MIRV warheads and the likelihood that Iran might have that capability within a few years. In June 2014, The Algemeiner reported an Iranian official announcing that it possessed a 5,000 kilometer (approximately 3,125 miles) range missile that could hit the strategic base of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean:

“In the event of a mistake on the part of the United States, their bases in Bahrain and (Diego) Garcia will not be safe from Iranian missiles,” said an Iranian Revolutionary Guard adviser to Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Majatba Dhualnuri.

Gertz cites 2009 State Department Classified cables revealed by Wikileaks  confirming the Freedman analysis:

North Korea also supplied Iran with a medium-range missile called the BM-25 that is a variant of the North Korean Musudan missile.

“This technology would provide Iran with more advanced missile technology than currently used in its Shahab-series of ballistic missiles and could form the basis for future Iranian missile and [space launch vehicle] designs.”

“Pyongyang’s assistance to Iran’s [space launch vehicle] program suggests that North Korea and Iran may also be cooperating on the development of long-range ballistic missiles.”

A second cable from September 2009 states that Iran’s Safir rocket uses missile steering engines likely provided by North Korea that are based on Soviet-era SS-N-6 submarine launched ballistic missiles.

That technology transfer was significant because it has allowed Iran to develop a self-igniting missile propellant that the cable said “could significantly enhance Tehran’s ability to develop a new generation of more-advanced ballistic missiles.”

“All of these technologies, demonstrated in the Safir [space launch vehicle] are critical to the development of long-range ballistic missiles and highlight the possibility of Iran using the Safir as a platform to further its ballistic missile development.”

Gertz quotes former U.S. UN Ambassador John Bolton,  former CIA analyst Fred Fleitz and former Senate Foreign Relations Committee arms control expert Thomas Moor raising concerns about  Administration suppression of  missile technology transfers between North Korea and Iran.

Ambassador Bolton said:

“And if the violation was suppressed within the U.S. government, it would be only too typical of decades of practice,” Bolton said. “Sadly, it would also foreshadow how hard it would be to get honest reports made public once Iran starts violating any deal.”

Fleitz said:

“While it may seem outrageous that the Obama administration would look the other way on missile shipments from North Korea to Iran during the Iran nuclear talks, it doesn’t surprise me at all,” Fleitz said.

“The Obama administration has excluded all non-nuclear Iranian belligerent and illegal activities from its nuclear diplomacy with Iran,” he said. “Iran’s ballistic missile program has been deliberately left out of the talks even though these missiles are being developed as nuclear weapon delivery systems.”

“Since the administration has overlooked this long list of belligerent and illegal Iranian behavior during the   Iran talks, it’s no surprise it ignored missile shipments to Iran from North Korea,” he added.

Moore said:

“If true, allowing proliferation with no response other than to lead from behind or reward it, let alone bury information about it, is to defeat the object and purpose of the global nonproliferation regime—the only regime Obama may end up changing in favor of those in Tehran, Havana and Pyongyang,” Moore said.

These stunning disclosures about missile component transfers between North Korea and Iran with the knowledge of the Administration and intelligence echelon confirms  the conclusion of our several NER and Iconoclast posts. To wit:

“Who will be able to stop that dangerous development taking place in North Korea’s hermit Kingdom? Who is best able to counter these threats in both Iran and North Korea?”   That appears to be foremost from the minds of Secretary Kerry, Undersecretary Sherman and the President intent on perfecting a new paradigm of relations in the Middle East by pivoting to Iran.  They appear not bothered by the facts and the national security implications of Iran with nuclear tipped ICBMs courtesy of North Korea.

Add this latest Gertz, WFB reports to the stack of  increasing evidence to quote Israeli PM Netanyahu that the nuclear deal with Iran “ is a very bad deal”.  Now we have to wait the delivery of a final agreement with Iran may or may not eventuate. Thus  raising the question of whether yesterday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimous approval of the Iran Nuclear Review agreement legislation, if passed by both chambers and signed into law by President Obama, will ever be triggered.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Whistling to Armageddon: Obama’s Pact With Iran

Q&A: How Congress’ Iran Bill, If Passed, Would Give Obama What He Wants

White House Policy: Iranian Oil Good–Keystone XL Bad

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

U.S. Senator Cotton’s Letter to Iran’s Leaders Clarified

When Arkansas junior Senator Tom Cotton sent his open letter on Monday, March 9th to “The Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran” signed by 46 other Republican colleagues, 7 declined, it caused a ruckus.

Cotton’s letter endeavored to  remind Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei, President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif of the Constitutional authorities.  The Executive Branch’s power in Article II, Sec.2 gives  it the right to negotiate foreign agreements. The Legislative Branch, in this case the Senate, must provide its “advise and consent” to treaties on a two-thirds vote and a three-fifths vote in the instances of Congressional-executive agreements. Anything not approved by Congress, such as the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei is deemed an executive agreement which could end with current term of the President in January 2017. Thus “the next President could revoke the executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”

From the President to leading Democratic Senators, the short missive was rebuked as an unwelcome ‘stunt’ interfering with the Executive Branch of government prerogative of engaging in foreign relations.  President Obama considered it “ironic” considering  the signatories of the Cotton letter in league with those notorious hard liners in Tehran.  He alleged they were seeking to upend the MOU. The New York Daily News published a front page  picture of the Cotton letter accusing the signatories of being ‘traitors’.  For the first 48 hours that continued to be the criticism of Sen. Cotton and the GOP leadership in the Senate, with the exception of the 7 who agreed with the White House for different reasons. Senator Corker (R-TN) thought it was unhelpful as he was endeavoring to line up Democratic votes for his Senate Bill 615, The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) of 2015 co-sponsored by embattled Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif while calling the Cotton letter, “a propaganda ploy” argued:

“I wish to enlighten the authors that if the next administration revokes any agreement with the stroke of a pen, as they boast, it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law,” according to Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The executive agreement was not bilateral but rather multi-lateral with the rest of the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany, subject to a resolution of the Security Council.

That majority of US international agreements in recent decades are in fact what the signatories describe as “mere executive agreements” and not treaties ratified by the Senate.

That “their letter in fact undermines the credibility of thousands of such mere executive agreements that have been or will be entered into by the US with various other governments.”

Ayatollah Khamenei considered the Cotton letter reflective of the “US disintegration”. According to the Mehr news agency, the Supreme Ruler said:

Of course I am worried. Every time we reach a stage where the end of the negotiations is in sight, the tone of the other side, specifically the Americans, becomes harsher, coarser and tougher. This is the nature of their tricks and deceptions.

Further, he said the letter was ‘a sign of the decay of political ethics in the American system”, and he described as “laughable long-standing U.S. accusations of Iranian involvement in terrorism.”

Jen Psaki 3-11-15  Legal Insurrrection

Source: Legal Insurrection

Notwithstanding the roiling criticism of the Cotton letter, comments by Secretary Kerry at a Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Wednesday, echoed those of State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki on Tuesday who said, “historically, the United States has pursued important national security through non-binding arrangements.” Kerry said in his testimony that the Obama Administration was “not negotiating a legally binding plan” but one from “executive to executive,” Politico reported. Kerry insisted such a deal would still “have a capacity of enforcement.” Thus, he confirmed that the proposed Memorandum of Understanding  between the P5+1  and Iran was non-binding on the parties hinging on verification of conditions.  Something hitherto unachievable with the Mullahs who have a tendency to hide developments. This despite representations by President Obama that the negotiations in Geneva were making good progress towards that goal. Kerry said it was non-binding because we currently don’t recognize the Islamic Republic of Iran, passed embargoes arising from the 444 day Tehran US Embassy seizure and hostage taking in 1979 and adopted Congressional sanctions against its nuclear program. Further, the State Department considers the Republic a state sponsor of terrorism, something Ayatollah Khamenei categorically disagrees with as witnessed by his comments on the Cotton letter.  But seeing is believing when it comes to the Shia autocrats in Tehran proficient practitioners of taqiyya, otherwise known as lying for Allah. Iran ‘reformist’ President Hassan Rouhani suggested that diplomacy with the Administration was an active form of “jihad” equivalent to the 2,500 mile range cruise missile Iran unveiled this week.

Two legal experts on the matter of executive agreements disagreed with the position of Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif and Secretary Kerry in the context of the Cotton letter. Daniel Wiser writing in the Washington Free Beacon asserted  that Cotton was correct and Zarif wrong. They concurred that future US Presidents could revoke the agreement over a bad deal, meaning, violation of provisions by Iran:

Jeremy Rabkin, a law professor at George Mason University and an expert in international law and Constitutional history, said in an email that “nonbinding” by definition means that the United States “will not violate international law if we don’t adhere to its terms”—contrary to Zarif’s assertion.

“In other words we’re saying it is NOT an international obligation, just a statement of intent,” he said.

“What Kerry seemed to say was not that his Iran deal would be in the same category but that it would not be legally binding in any sense, just a kind of memorandum of understanding,” Rabkin said. “I wonder whether he understood what he was saying. It was more or less conceding that what Cotton’s letter said was the administration’s own view—that the ‘agreement’ with Iran would not be legally binding, so (presumably) not something that could bind Obama’s successor.”

Cotton responded with a Tweet, saying:

Important question: if deal with Iran isn’t legally binding, then what’s to keep Iran from breaking said deal and developing a bomb?

Wiser then cites a National Review article by a second legal expert, John Yoo, a law professor at University of California, Berkeley and a former Justice Department official in the George W. Bush Administration:

The Cotton letter is right, because if President Obama strikes a nuclear deal with Iran using only [an executive agreement], he is only committing to refrain from exercising his executive power—i.e., by not attacking Iran or by lifting sanctions under power delegated by Congress. Not only could the next president terminate the agreement; Obama himself could terminate the deal.  Obama’s executive agreement cannot prevent Congress from imposing mandatory, severe sanctions on Iran without the possibility of presidential waiver (my preferred solution for handling the Iranian nuclear crisis right now). Obama can agree to allow Iran to keep a nuclear-processing capability; Congress can cut Iran out of the world trading and financial system.

But the fracas over Cotton’s letter continued unabated. An unidentified resident of Bogota, N.J.  “C.H.” shot off a petition to the Obama White House website, “We the People,” expressing the view that the 47 signers were in violation of the 1799 Logan Act and may have jeopardized achievement of a nuclear agreement with Iran.  Further “C.H.” contended that the Republican Senators might be subject to possible criminal actions brought under provisions of the hoary law that private individuals are barred from engaging in foreign relations. The petition took off like a rocket with upwards of 165,000 signatures heading for over 200,000 in less than 48 hours. That will allegedly require a response by the President, as witnessed by an earlier petition on support for medical marijuana.

But “C.H.” is wrong. Members of Congress in either chamber are exempt from that restriction. Moreover, there have been a number of instances where the many of the Democratic Congressional and Administration critics of Cotton and his Republican colleagues have engaged in private foreign relations episodes.  Among those who undertook such actions were Vice President Biden, Secretary Kerry when they were Senators and current House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, and the late Teddy Kennedy.  In Pelosi’s case, following her assumption of the House Speakership in 2006, she went off to Damascus in 2007 to sit with President Bashar Assad, despite the protestations of the Bush Administration who were trying to isolate the Syrian dictator.  However,  Republicans have done the same thing when it also suited their political purposes.

Finally, there was another groundswell campaign seeking to gain passage of Sen. Corker’s INARA.  Christians United for Israel (CUFI) flooded Capitol Hill with more than 57,000 emails from members across the US in support of passage of INARA because they were worried about Iran’s possession of nuclear capabilities.  The CUFI initiative was triggered by the March 3rd address by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu before a Joint Meeting of Congress  who made it abundantly clear that he believed the Administration’s 10 year phased deal was a “very bad deal.”

 writing in the Legal Insurrection blog about the Cotton letter controversy concluded:

And to think, all of that wailing and gnashing of teeth from Democrats wasted over a non-binding agreement, one that would have absolutely no legal sway over Iran.

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What You Need to Know About the White House’s Talks With Iran

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EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) poses for photographers in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Source: Carolyn Kaster— AP.

Israel Braces for Surprise Attack on Eilat from Islamic State

Site of Suicide Atack by Magda al Sharia in Sinai source AFP

Site of suicide attack by Islamic State affiliate Ansar Beit al Magdis in Egyptian Sinai. Source: AP

The Washington Free Beacon has a report on Israeli Army prepared for possible cross border attacks on resort area of Eilat by Islamic State affiliate Ansar Beit al Maqdis that has undertaken murderous attacks on Egyptian security forces.

Their tactics could include simultaneous penetration of the border fence at a number of points by large numbers of terrorists, cross border rockets, and the use of hang gliders and speedboats, according to Israel Radio.

“The scenario we are preparing for,” said IDF Col. Hen, in a blunt briefing, “is a terror threat directed against our forces and civilians in the Eilat area. The scenario is a multi-pronged attack, not just at one site, and we will likely have to deal with this challenge without prior warning.”  Its members have inflicted heavy casualties on Egyptian troops who have been unable to track down the group’s leaders, whose lairs are believed to be in the mountainous central part of Sinai. In the past year alone, some 350 Egyptian soldiers, police officers, and intelligence personnel have been killed in the fight against the organization.

Col. Hen said that the IDF has taken steps to meet the threat and called for residents in the area to continue with their lives as normal.

Israel has cooperated with Egypt in its fight against Ansar Beit al Maqdis, waiving restrictions in the peace treaty with Egypt that prohibit the presence of troops, armored vehicles, and helicopters in the areas close to Israel’s borders. The Egyptian army has beefed up its forces on its side of the border.

Read More.

The other threat that Israel could face would be an attack by Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State supporters in the southern Jordanian trading hub of Maan, Perhaps this warning may be another reason for Israelis to vote for Likud and PM Netanyahu next Tuesday, March 17th.

An attack on Eilat and surrounding vicinity would produce significant economic losses from the tourist trade from Europe.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Obama Administration supports Radical Islam: State Department Hosts Pro-Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian Contingent

Waleed Sharaby, is a secretary-general of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council   State Department  1-1-27-15

Waleed Sharaby, Secretary  General of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council, who flashes the Rabia Muslim Brotherhood resistance sign. U.S. State Department 1-27-15, Source: screenshot.

Tuesday evening in Washington, D.C., we had more evidence of the Administration’s policy of appeasing Muslim Brotherhood opponents of the Al-Sisi government in Cairo, the latter seeking to reform radical Islamic doctrine espousing Salafist Jihad.  Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon reported this latest example of outreach to Radical Islamist groups in the Ummah, “Muslim Brotherhood-Aligned Leaders Hosted at State Department:”

One member of the delegation, a Brotherhood-aligned judge in Egypt, posed for a picture while at Foggy Bottom in which he held up the Islamic group’s notorious four-finger Rabia symbol, according to his Facebook page.

That delegation member, Waleed Sharaby, is a secretary-general of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council and a spokesman for Judges for Egypt, a group reported to have close ties to the Brotherhood.

The delegation also includes Gamal Heshmat, a leading member of the Brotherhood, and Abdel Mawgoud al-Dardery, a Brotherhood member who served as a parliamentarian from Luxor.

Sharaby, the Brotherhood-aligned judge, flashed the Islamist group’s popular symbol in his picture at the State Department and wrote in a caption: “Now in the U.S. State Department. Your steadfastness impresses everyone,” according to an independent translation of the Arabic.

Another member of the delegation, Maha Azzam, confirmed during an event hosted Tuesday by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID)—another group accused of having close ties to the Brotherhood—that the delegation had “fruitful” talks with the State Department.

Note this comment of Eric Trager of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy:

Maha Azzam confirms that ‘anti-coup’ delegation, which includes 2 top [Muslim Brothers], had ‘fruitful’ conversations at State Dept,” Egypt expert Eric Trager tweeted.

“The State Department continues to speak with Muslim Brothers on the assumption that Egyptian politics are unpredictable, and the Brotherhood still has some support in Egypt,” he said. “But when pro-Brotherhood delegations then post photos of themselves making pro-Brotherhood gestures in front of the State Department logo, it creates an embarrassment for the State Department.”

Sam Tadros, Egypt expert at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom in Washington, DC commented:

“I think the Muslim Brotherhood visit serves two goals,” Tadros said. “First, organizing the pro Muslim Brotherhood movement in the U.S. among the Egyptian and other Arab and Muslim communities.”

“Secondly, reaching out to administration and the policy community in D.C.,” Tadros said. “The delegation’s composition includes several non-official Muslim Brotherhood members to portray an image of a united Islamist and non-Islamist revolutionary camp against the regime.”

Counter terrorism expert, Patrick Poole said:

What this shows is that the widespread rejection of the Muslim Brotherhood across the Middle East, particularly the largest protests in recorded human history in Egypt on June 30, 2013, that led to Morsi’s ouster, is not recognized by the State Department and the Obama administration,” Poole said.

“This is a direct insult to our Egyptian allies, who are in an existential struggle against the Muslim Brotherhood, all in the pursuit of the mythical ‘moderate Islamists’ who the D.C. foreign policy elite still believe will bring democracy to the Middle East,” Poole said.

It is beyond time for the GOP-controlled Congress to investigate why the Administration deigns to provide auspices to invite Egyptian and other foreign Muslim Brotherhood leaders to meet publicly with White House National Security and State Department officials in Washington. This latest example continues the impression that the Obama Administration supports Radical Islamic doctrine.  It is a further example of how far the Administration has gone in fostering infiltration of Muslim Brotherhood domestic and foreign groups in the U.S. enabling their  “messaging”.  All while this Administration persists in deracinating the vestiges of Jihad threat doctrine training for our military, homeland security and national law enforcement agencies.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

U.S. Veterans and Families Sue Six Banks Accused of Financing Iran Terror Groups

Just prior to Veterans Day, November 10, 2014, a lawsuit was filed in the Eastern Federal District Court in Brooklyn, New York against six major international banks allegedly engaged in transfers of funds with a leading Iranian bank. The defendants in the action include HSBC Bank USA, Barclays, London’s Standard Chartered Bank, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Credit Suisse, and London-based Iranian Bank Saderat.  The suit is on behalf of more than 200 plaintiffs Veterans and families of US service personnel and a journalist killed or maimed in Iraq. Attacks that occurred over the period from 2004 to 2008 by terrorist groups affiliated with Iran’s Quds Force and its proxy Hezbollah.  Over 80 wounded veterans are among the plaintiffs, many victims of Improvised Explosive Devices (I.E.D.).  The suit by the plaintiffs is requesting a jury trial.

The New York Times in its account of the lawsuit drew from the complaint compelling examples of the victims of Iran’s Quds Force and Hezbollah attacks in Iraq:

The sneak attack on the compound outside Baghdad in January 2007, the lawsuit said, was the work of a terrorist group “trained and armed by Iran’s Quds Force with Hezbollah’s assistance.” Once inside the compound, the group sprayed bullets and lobbed grenades, killing several American soldiers, including 20-year-old Jonathon M. Millican, who jumped on one of the grenades. Mr. Millican’s widow and father joined the lawsuit, along with the families of three other soldiers killed in that attack and a surviving soldier who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The journalist, Steven Vincent, was kidnapped and shot in August 2005. His widow, mother and father are plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Christopher M. Hake was on his second tour of duty in Iraq in March 2008 when an Iranian-manufactured explosive device went off near his vehicle and killed him.

The NYT noted this example of flagrant disregard by one of the six banks accused in the complaint caught evading financial sanctions against dealings with Iranian financial institutions:

The lawsuit cites a series of emails and conversations taken  from the banks’ settlements with federal prosecutors, offering a lens inside the banks’ flagrant disregard for sanctions against Iran. A Standard Chartered executive, in response to concerns raised by an employee in New York, reportedly replied: “You f–ing Americans. Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we’re not going to deal with Iranians?”

The Eastern District Brooklyn federal court figured prominently in a jury verdict in the case of Almog v. Arab Bank  rendered in September 2014. The plaintiffs were 6,000 terrorist victims of more than 24 Hamas attacks involving Americans and families in Israel. The jury found the Jordan- based Arab Bank liable for transfers to the terrorist group Hamas.  The Arab Bank suit presiding federal Judge is now determining how best to handle the damages assessment phase.   Both lawsuits were filed under the 1990 U.S. Antiterrorism Act that provided a civil cause of actions for international acts of terrorism and an extraterritorial jurisdiction in federal courts.  Some of the lawyers in this current suit were also counsel in the Arab Bank matter.

There are similar cases pending against the Bank of China, NatWest and Crédit Lyonnais.  One example is the $338 million damages award against the Bank of China in 2012 in a verdict by a DC federal court in a case brought by Shurat HaDin Israel law Center of Tel Aviv headed by Nitsana Darshan Leitner and US co-counsel New York attorney Robert Tolchin.  The Center and US counsel brought the suit on behalf of the family of the late Danny Wultz of Weston, Florida who was mortally wounded in a Palestinian terrorist attack in Tel Aviv in 2006. The terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad involved in perpetrating the attack used funds provided by Iran through transfers via the Bank of China.

Washington Free Beacon report on the suit noted the arguments contained in the plaintiffs compliant:

The veterans argue that the banks helped Iran illegally move “billions of dollars” to terrorist entities that later targeted U.S. troops in attacks.

The suit alleges these banks are knowingly acting as key cogs in Iran’s efforts to evade U.S. sanctions and provide “material support” to Hezbollah and other terror groups, which, at Tehran’s behest, have carried out attacks against U.S. interests in Iraq.

“Defendants’ unlawful conduct was purposefully directed at the United States, and the conspiracy was specifically designed to effectuate the flow of billions of U.S. dollars through the United States in violation of U.S. laws, and in fact resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars illegally passing through the United States,” plaintiffs argue in the complaint filed by New Jersey-based Osen & Associates.

The veterans and their families are seeking an unspecified amount of damages from the banks as a result of their alleged support for Iranian terrorism.

The suit alleges that the international banks in question were “knowingly” part of a “conspiracy” by Iran to skirt international sanctions.

The lawsuit explains in great detail how Iran has funneled money to Hezbollah and other terror entities in Iraq. Iranian money, the suit alleges, was spent to train terrorists and arm them with IEDs and other weapons typically used to kill and wound U.S. soldiers.

The context of this latest US antiterrorism suit-Iran’s Quds Force involved with proxy Hezbollah fighting US forces in the Iraq War-comes at a time when the Administration has reached out to Iran’s Supreme Ruler, Ayatollah Khamenei seeking the Islamic  Regime’s  assistance in fighting the Islamic State, ISIS.  Already heavily engaged in Iraq advising the Iraqi national security forces on how to combat ISIS is none other than the head of the Quds Force, Qassem Suleymani, along with Hezbollah operatives.

We hope that this federal lawsuit at least finds these major banks dealing with Iranian financial institutions complicit in the terror financing of Al Quds and Hezbollah who killed Americans and maimed US vets for life.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

U.S. State Department Promotes Extremist Cleric

Sheik Abdullah bin Bayyah of the International Union of Muslim Scholars.

Adam Kredo in a Washington Free Beacon article this weekend, reported on the State Department  Counter Terrorism  (CT) Bureau promotion  of Sheik Abdullah Bin Bayyah  head of International Union of Muslim Scholars  (IUMS) and  the deputy to anti-Semitic, anti-American Muslim Brotherhood preacher, Yusuf al Qaradawi.,“State Dept Promotes Muslim Cleric Who Backed Fatwa on ‘Killing of U.S. Soldiers’”.

As noted by Kredo, the CT Bureau tweeted last Friday  a press release by Bin Bayyah’s group condemning the kidnapping of the 276 largely Christian Nigerian girls  by  extremist Jihadist  fighters Boko Haram.  We wonder why the State Department didn’t pick up on the other news release, “IUMS condemns assault on Al-Aqsa by Israeli army and Zionist settlers, reminds nation of its duties”.

Just prior to the coup ousting Muslim Brotherhood leader and Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi, Bin Bayyah had been invited by former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon to discuss supposed new messages to combat al Qaeda.  We wrote  at the time:

The Obama Administration had reached out to Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Egypt and on June 13, 2013 had invited Sheik Abdullah Bin Bayyah, the deputy to Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the banned anti-Semitic, Anti-American Muslim Brotherhood preacher. He met with outgoing National Security Council Advisor, Tom Donilon and others on President Obama’s staff. Posters in English in Tahrir Square accused President Obama and Amb. Anne Patterson of fostering Muslim Brotherhood terrorism. Meanwhile the Obama White House issued statements following the Egyptian military on July 3, 2013 expressing “deep concern” of the decision to remove Morsi and urged the military to avoid “any arbitrary arrests” of the president and his supporters. The President “directed relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to the government of Egypt.”
Fox News noted.

Later in a November 2013 review of Erick Stakelbeck’s book, The Brotherhood: America’s Next Great Enemy, we spotlighted the Obama Administration’s outreach to Muslim Brotherhood leaders:

Members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood have been invited to the Obama White House. Hani Nour Eldin, a former terrorist member of the Egyptian Ikhwan was part of a delegation that met with White House staff. Eldin lobbied for the release of the blind Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman who organized the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing. In mid June 2013, just weeks before the ouster of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, Obama National Security staffers met with Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah of the International Union of Muslim Scholars. He is a colleague of Egyptian Ikhwan preacher Yusuf al Qaradawi. According to a Fox News report, Sheik Ben Bayyah “has urged the U.N. to criminalize blasphemy.” His group has spoken out in favor of Hamas and in 2009 issued a fatwa barring “all forms of normalization with Israel.”

Ironically, the title of review of Stakelbeck’s book tells the story in a tweet headline, “Willful Blindness to the global Muslim Brotherhood Threat”.

Kredo backs up these comments with further evidence:

Bin Bayyah is reported to have been one of several clerics who endorsed a 2004 fatwa that endorsed resistance against Americans fighting in Iraq, PJ Media reported in 2013, when Bin Bayyah met with Obama’s National Security Council staff at the White House.

Bin Bayyah has “urged the U.N. to criminalize blasphemy,” according to reports, and spoke “out in favor of Hamas,” the terror group that rules over the West Bank.

The cleric also issued a fatwa in 2009 “barring ‘all forms of normalization’ with Israel,” according to Fox.

The 2004 fatwa on Iraq stated that “resisting occupation troops” is a “duty” for all Muslims, according to reports.

Yusuf Qaradawi, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader who founded the IUMS—where Bin Bayyah served as vice president—has been called a “theologian of terror” by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Bin Bayyah himself has advocated for the criminalization of “the denigration of religious symbols,” which critics call an infringement on free speech.

He cites counter terrorism expert Patrick Poole’s concerns about this latest State Department episode:

“This administration is continuing to push extremist clerics like Bin Bayyah as part of a fantasy foreign policy that somehow they are somehow a counter to al Qaeda,” Poole said. “But in Bin Bayyah’s case, it was his organization that issued the fatwa allowing for the killing of U.S. soldiers in Iraq and said it was a duty for Muslims all over the world to support the Iraqi ‘resistance’ against the United States that gave religious justification for al Qaeda’s terrorism.

“And [Bin Bayyah] said nothing as his pal Qaradawi issued fatwas authorizing the use of suicide bombings and publicly defended terrorist groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” Poole added. “If anything, clerics like Bin Bayyah and [Yusuf] Qaradawi have actively aided al Qaeda.”

This State Department CT Bureau tweet about Sheik Bin Bayyah is evidence of the delusion fostered by the Obama White House that has lost all credibility with a policy directed at engaging Muslim Brotherhood theocrats and Shiite Ayatollah fostering Global Islamic terrorism.  Professor Richard L. Rubenstein commented in a June 2009 NER  You Tube video interview that Obama was “the most radical US President ever”.  This latest State Department action shows how prescient was Rubenstein’s observation.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/CNlaQEYw0q4[/youtube]

 

UPDATE: State Department Apologizes for its Tweet Promoting MB Sheik Bin Bayyah

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

Al Qaeda Looted Syria’s Bio-Warfare Laboratories?

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Dr. Jill Bellamy van Allst , NATO Bio-warfare Expert.

There is a  troubling briefing  by the UK-based Henry Jackson Society (HJS), co-authored by  Dr. Jill Bellamy van Allst, NATO Bio-warfare Expert and Oliver Guitta , Director of Research , reported by Adam Kredo  in the Washington Free Beacon ,  “Al Qaeda-Aligned Groups in Syria May Have Access to Biological Pathogens”.  Our New English Review interview  with Dr. Bellamy Van Aalst on Syria’s  Bio-warfare program  in 2007 was reprised to heightened interest in 2013, “The Dangers of Syria’s Bio-Warfare Complex Should Assad Fall”.  More recent concerns have emerged  about the possible use of drones  by terrorist group Hezbollah as a delivery platform for possible BW attacks against Israel.

The Washington Free Beacon cited  this warning by HJS authors Dr. Bellamy Van Aaalst and Guitta:

 The problem with bio-weapons, unlike chemical or nuclear, is the quality and weaponization for dispersal that counts, not the quantity. You do not need a stockpile and you do not need sophisticated delivery methods, in fact, that is no longer optimal. Bio-weapons are silent, and determining that an attack has occurred can be challenging.

The HJS authors found:

  • Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, Al Nusrah, may have acquired access to biological pathogens or weaponized agents, either of which would pose a threat to the international community.
  • The Syrian civil war has left sections of the bio-pharmaceutical infrastructure destroyed, and looting of labs has been observed, which could indicate that Assad is losing command and control over one of the most dangerous classes of weapons remaining in his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) arsenal.
  • Should al Qaeda acquire sections of Assad’s BW program, it has the competence and expertise to weaponize and deploy agents.
  • Documents found in Afghanistan, in 2001, ostensibly revealed that al-Qaeda was doing research on using botulinum toxin to kill 2,000 people.
  • On January 6, 2009 a number of terrorists died of plague in an  al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) training camps in Tizi Ouzou. Reportedly, 50 terrorists had been diagnosed with the plague, 40 of whom  died.
  • Intelligence sources suggest that in several countries, notably Morocco, Algeria, Sudan and Mauritania, AQ is training operatives in biological and chemical weapons and has successfully inserted terrorists into Europe through application processes for refugee status.

The Washington Free Beacon noted:

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is believed to have ample biological weapons stores in addition to the chemical weapons currently being confiscated by Western nations. These caches likely include various neurotoxins and deadly viruses, according to U.S. intelligence estimates and other experts.

“A very credible source has confirmed he saw, near Aleppo, a looted pharmaceutical laboratory, which was probably a cover for a biological weapons production site,” Guitta and van Aalst revealed in a research brief published by the Henry Jackson Society.

“Syria’s biological warfare programs are latent, highly compartmentalized, and dual use, run under both legitimate and clandestine programs, laboratories, institutes, and facilities,” the report states. “The fact that this looting took place in the Aleppo area where the rebellion—and in particular Al Nusrah—is very strong tends to confirm that AQ may potentially be in possession of biological agents.”

Al Qaeda’s interest in acquiring biological weapons is cited by the HJS authors:

Recent reports from Syria suggest that al Qaeda’s top leaders have taken an interest in Assad’s bio-weapons research facilities.

Al Qaeda’s primary biological weapon expert, Yazid Sufaat, was arrested in Malaysia. “His arrest is all the more concerning given that the [United Nations] has allowed the Assad regime to maintain its [bio-weapons] program,” according to the report.

Suffaat is a graduate of California State University, Sacramento, where he received a degree in biology, according to Guitta and van Aalst.

“In 1993, Sufaat established Green Laboratory Medicine, a pathology lab where he tried to weaponize anthrax on behalf of al Qaeda,” according to the report. “Sufaat had direct ties to Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Al Mihdhar, both of whom were on Flight AA 77, which crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11.”

Note these comments from Texas Senator John Cornyn and National Intelligence Director Clapper:

Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) warned last month that Syria’s unsecured bio-weapons pose a great threat to the region.

U.S. intelligence agencies have reported that Assad possesses various biological weapons and has an active research program underway.

“Based on the duration of Syria’s longstanding biological warfare (BW) program, we judge that some elements of the program may have advanced beyond the research and development stage and may be capable of limited agent production,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wrote in an unclassified April 2013 report.

“Syria is not known to have successfully weaponized biological agents in an effective delivery system, but it possesses conventional and chemical weapon systems that could be modified for biological agent delivery,” Clapper concluded.

Question is will the  Obama National Security Council brief the President on this compelling threat? Given the array of problems in Eastern Europe and the Middle East would this credible threat get the attention it deserves? Perhaps, it is the Israelis who have been keeping a watch on Syrian terror weapons. They may already be on the case regarding bio-weapons filtering into the hands of  Terrorist groups, whether al Qaeda, Hezbollah or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

RELATED STORY: Al Qaeda Magazine Calls For Car Bombings In U.S., New York – CBS New York

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

Senate Democrats Back off New Iran Sanctions Legislation

As if on cue, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani trumpets how the Islamic Regime won big time with the announced Joint Plan of Action (JPA) implementation last Sunday in Geneva.  As The Guardian noted in a report, “Iran nuclear deal means ‘surrender’ for Western Powers, says Rouhani”:

Speaking on Tuesday in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan, Rouhani said the “Geneva deal means the surrender of big powers before the great nation of Iran”.

Perhaps one of those victories is the ability of the Islamic regime to pursue what we would call the “nth” development of new, more efficient centrifuges to enrich uranium. Enrichment for only one purpose, to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.  The Obama White House  confirmed that Iran has been allowed to pursue ‘centrifuge research’.     The Washington Free Beacon noted this White House news conference call exchange in an article,” Iran permitted to continue advanced nuclear research”:

Asked by a reporter on a conference call if the deal stops “Iran from designing new types of centrifuges,” a senior administration official admitted that the deal does not prohibit this activity.

[…]

“So what’s the practical effect of this R&D [research and development] clarification that you labored over so hard? What does it preclude them from doing?” the reporter asked.

It—I mean, their commitment is to continue their current enrichment R&D practices, and those are the practices that are laid out in the November [IAEA} Director General’s report,” said one of two senior administration officials on the press briefing. “This—that’s been documented, and that’s what they were—that’s what they will continue to do.”

As we had reported  in an Iconoclast post on possible veto-proof  bipartisan Iran sanctions  legislation in the US Senate (S1881) that  the centrifuge research issue had allegedly hit a snag.

Now in the wake of Rouhani’s speech yesterday in Iran comes word that the White House is soft peddling the Iranian President’s trumpeting of this alleged “victory”.    An AFP article, “White House plays down Rouhani crowing on Nuclear Deal” notes these comments by White House spokesperson Jay Carney at yesterday’s press conference:

It is not surprising to us and nor should it be surprising to you that the Iranians are describing the agreement in a certain way towards their domestic audience. It does not matter what they say, it matters what they do.

Problem is it could  thwart the Obama Administration’s campaign to stifle new bi-partisan sanctions legislation , the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act (NWFIA), S1881.

However, under White House threat to veto  NWFIA, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid ,according to a report from  The Weekly Standard, has blocked bringing the measure up for a floor vote.  Note these comments from  Reid, Democrat  Senators and Minority Leader McConnell in The Hill report,  “Dems back away from Iran sanctions legislation”:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday he wanted to “wait and see how this plays out” before moving forward with a vote on the sanctions. Reid declined to say when he might bring the bill, which has 59 co-sponsors, including 16 Democrats, to a vote.

The majority leader noted 10 of his committee chairmen are opposed to the bill.

“We believe we ought to have that vote,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday. “We’re going to continue to press the majority leader to allow a vote on an issue that obviously enjoys the support of a very large bipartisan majority here in the Senate.”

“I think the Iran sanctions bill is meant to strengthen the president, not in any way impede the ongoing negotiations, which should and hopefully will be successful,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a Menendez-Kirk co-sponsor, told reporters Tuesday. “So as long as there’s progress, and as long as the progress is meaningful and visible, there may not need to be a vote.”

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), another co-sponsor, said both the administration and Congress wanted to reach a diplomatic solution through negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, if that was possible.

“As far as trying to work out with the administration a strategy so we have more harmony, let’s talk about it,” Cardin said. “So I think that’s what’s going on right now.”

Prior to the November 24th announcement in Geneva of the P5+1 interim agreement with Iran,  Reid had backed new sanctions legislation according to  a report in the Los Angeles Times on November 21, 2013.

Yesterday, an Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) conference call on Iran’s intentions over its nuclear program   featured former Israeli Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger and Dr. Michael Ledeen of the Washington, DC-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.  Dr. Ledeen is an impassioned advocate for both sanctions and support for regime change via what he argues could be a significant Iranian opposition.  Amb. Ettinger suggested that perhaps something more is required, when he commented:

Only one option to avoid facing an Iran which could become an uncontrollable strategic apocalyptic threat. That option is surgical, devastating, disproportional military preemption against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.