Displaying posts published in

June 2017

Unveiling clock showing 8,411 days left for Israel, Iranians rage against Jewish state Parliament speaker calls Israel ‘mother of terrorism’ as Islamic Republic parades missiles, rallies in support of Palestinians and against raft of enemies

Marchers says destroying Israel is Muslim world’s top priority, but also denounce US, UK, Saudis.

TEHRAN — Iran held major anti-Israel rallies across the country Friday, with protesters chanting “Death to Israel” and declaring that destroying the Jewish state is “the Muslim world’s top priority.”

Iranians participating in Quds Day rallies also called for unity among pro-Palestinian groups against the “child-murdering” Israeli government, according to Iran’s Tasnim News Agency.

Marchers in Tehran headed from various points of the city to the Friday prayer ceremony at Tehran University. Similar demonstrations were held in other cities and towns in Iran.

Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard used the demonstration in the capital’s Valiasr Square to showcase three surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, including the Zolfaghar — the type that Iran used this week to target the Islamic State group in Syria. The Guard said it fired six such missiles on Sunday at IS targets in the city of Deir el-Zour, more than 600 kilometers (370 miles) away. The Guard said the airstrike was in retaliation for an IS attack earlier in June on Iran’s parliament and a shrine in Tehran that killed 18 people and wounded more than 50.

Another missile on display at the Tehran rally was the Ghadr, with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) that can reach both Israel and US bases in the region.

Iran’s ballistic missile program has been the subject of persistent concern in Washington and the target of repeated US sanctions.

Iran claimed its missile strike on Sunday killed 360 Islamic State fighters. Israeli sources, by contrast, said the strike was a “flop,” that most of the six or seven missiles missed their targets, and that three of them fell to earth in Iraq and didn’t even reach Syria.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in remarks carried by the official IRNA news agency, said Israel supports “terrorists in the region.”

Parliament speaker Ali Larijani, in a speech to Tehran demonstrators, called Israel the “mother of terrorism” and said that in the “20th century, there was no event more ominous than establishing the Zionist regime.”

The rally also inaugurated a huge digital countdown display at Tehran Palestine Square, showing that Israel will allegedly cease to exist in 8,411 days.

In 2015, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei predicted that after 25 years — by 2040 — there will no longer be a State of Israel.

“Death to the House of Saud and Daesh,” demonstrators chanted, using another name for the Islamic State. “Death to America”, “Death to Israel”, “Death to the UK.”

This year’s commemoration comes amid an intensifying battle for influence in the region between Shiite Iran and its Sunni arch rival Saudi Arabia who have had no diplomatic relations since January last year.

State media put the number of participants at over 1 million.


Once again, it was a Ramadan to Remember!As religions go, Islam smoked the competition yet again. Innocent people were beheaded for not knowing the Quran… children
machine-gunned for being Christian… yet not a single attack (that we could find) in the name of another religion during the ‘holy’ month.

Against the 174 attacks, 1595 bodies, and 1960 injured in 29 countries across the globe, there was just two Muslims killed in anti-Muslim attacks – one by an intoxicated loner with mental
health issues in London, and the other in India (suspected).

Palestinians: Why Abbas Cannot Stop Funding Terrorists by Bassam Tawil

This is their way of expressing their gratitude to those who have chosen to “sacrifice” their lives by trying to murder Jews. It is also their way of encouraging young people to join the war of terrorism against Israel. The financial aid sends a specific message: Palestinians who are prepared to die in the service of murdering Jews need not worry about the welfare of their families.

The more years a Fatah terrorist serves in Israeli prison, the higher the salary he or she receives. Some Fatah terrorists held in Israeli prison are said to receive monthly stipends of up to $4,000. Many of them are also rewarded with top jobs in both Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Why should any Palestinian go to university and search for a job when he can make a “decent living” murdering Jews?

Such a plan to dry up the funds that support terrorists and their families, is doomed from the start unless these leaders reverse their behavior and embark on a process of de-radicalizing their people.

For the record, this is not a defense of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas or of funding terrorists. It is simply an explanation of what is taking place. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that the idea of ending payments to Palestinian terrorists and their families is a challenging one, to say the least. Old habits, especially of hate, are hard to break.

The practice of paying salaries to terrorists and the families of “martyrs” is as old as the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which was founded in 1964. It did not start after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 1994. Nor did this practice start after Abbas was elected as president of the PA in January 2005.

Prior to the establishment of the PA, the PLO relied solely on Arab and Islamic financial aid to pay salaries to imprisoned terrorists and the families of those killed in terror attacks against Israel.

But after most of the Arab countries turned their backs on the PLO, following its support for Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent establishment of the PA, the Europeans and Americans became the major donors to the Palestinians — including payments to the terrorists and their families.

The PLO is not the only organization that rewards terrorists and their families. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian groups have also been paying monthly stipends to terrorists and their kin. This is their way of expressing their gratitude to those who have chosen to “sacrifice” their lives by trying to murder Jews. It is also their way of encouraging young people to join the war of terrorism against Israel. The financial aid sends a specific message: Palestinians who are prepared to die in the service of murdering Jews need not worry about the welfare of their families.

In the past few decades, various Palestinian groups have used the payments to buy loyalty and recruit new members. Because Fatah — the dominant party of the PA — has always reaped the largest share of Arab, Islamic and Western donations, it was able to recruit the largest number of loyalists and members. Headed by Abbas, Fatah terrorists receive the highest salaries for their “contribution” to the Palestinian cause.

The more years a Fatah terrorist serves in Israeli prison, the higher the salary he or she receives. Some Fatah terrorists held in Israeli prison are said to receive monthly stipends of up to $4,000. Many of them are also rewarded with top jobs in both Fatah and the PA.

Take, for example, the case of Karim Younes, a Fatah terrorist who has been in prison for over three decades for kidnapping and murdering an Israeli soldier. Recently, Younes was appointed as member of the Fatah Central Committee, one of a number of key decision-making bodies dominated by Abbas loyalists. As a member of the Fatah Central Committee, Younes will now be entitled to thousands of dollars each month.

In his recent meeting with US presidential envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt in Ramallah, an enraged Mahmoud Abbas rejected their demand that he halt payments to terrorists and their families.

Some of Abbas’s aides have gone as far as describing the demand as “crazy,” arguing that it will instigate instability and turn many Palestinians against their leaders. One of Abbas’s advisors was quoted as accusing Kushner and Greenblatt of serving as “advisors” to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Abbas is also well aware that his life would be in danger if he stops the payments, because he will be killed by the same terrorists he and other Palestinian leaders have been praising and promoting for many years.

Greece: A Drug-Smuggling Case with Global Implications by Maria Polizoidou

If even the partial information that Efthimios (Makis) Yiannousakis revealed during the interviews is true, the upper echelons of Greek society have good reason to want to silence him.

The true culprit, however, is the “deep state” and its links to Iran, through the drug trade. It is an open secret by now that heroin revenues are used by Middle East regimes to fund terrorist and other questionable organizations, such as ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. The case of the Noor 1 illustrates one of the ways that both the drugs themselves and terrorist operations are exported to Europe.

The possible direct and indirect involvement of figures at the highest levels of Greek society makes it nearly impossible for the government alone to get to the bottom of the case, and protect key witnesses from bodily harm. It needs help now, preferably from the U.S. Justice Department and security agencies. The complete dismantling of the drug-terrorism circuit is not only a pressing issue for Greece. It is an international security imperative.

New details surrounding a three-year-old drug-smuggling case in Greece are causing a political storm that could have global implications.

In June 2014, the Greek Coast Guard uncovered and seized 986 kilograms of heroin stashed in a warehouse in a suburb of Athens, and another 1,133 kilograms in two other locations, claiming that the more than two tons of drugs — valued at $30 million — had been smuggled on a tanker, the “Noor 1,” from the “territorial waters between Oman and Pakistan.”

As was reported by Gatestone last December, the heroin, which was to be distributed throughout Europe — in addition to 18 tons of oil also smuggled on the Noor 1 — originated in Iran. Two years later, in August 2016, a criminal court in Piraeus sentenced five of the defendants, two Greeks and three foreign nationals, to life imprisonment. Among these was the (now former) owner of the Noor 1, Efthimios (Makis) Yiannousakis.

The Noor 1 case, and particularly Yiannousakis’s role in it, has hit the headlines again, due to a leaked recording of a telephone conversation he had with Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos. In the conversation, Kammenos allegedly asked Yiannousakis to turn state witness against a certain businessman connected to the heroin smuggling, in exchange for amnesty.

After coming under fire from members of the opposition, Kammenos claimed that it was Yiannousakis who had requested — through journalist Makis Triantafyllopoulos — judicial protection in exchange for testimony. “As it was my duty to do, I immediately informed the prosecutor and the responsible minister,” Kammenos said.

With North Korea Threatening, the U.S. Advances on Missile Defense We need to move faster than existing plans call for. By Richard Weitz —

North Korea’s murder of Otto Warmbier is yet another reminder that the United States needs a new approach to deal with the Pyongyang problem. Unfortunately, sanctions, threats, and diplomacy have failed to steer North Korea away from making America its primary nuclear target.

In his testimony to the House Armed Services Committee last week, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis accurately called North Korea a “most urgent and dangerous threat” to global security. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, speaking at the hearing, noted that “North Korea has been on a relentless path to field a nuclear-armed ICBM that can reach the United States.”

The sheer number and diversity of these recent tests have forced U.S. and South Korean planners to raise expectations of Pyongyang’s destructive capabilities. Keeping ahead of the North Korean threat requires addressing near-term gaps by building on recent achievements while investing in emerging technologies.

Though warning of the costs of having to fight “a war like nothing we have seen since 1953” if conflict broke out again on the Korean Peninsula, Mattis told the committee that the ground-based interceptors (GBIs) stationed in Alaska and California provide adequate protection despite North Korean and other missile threats: “It’s a worsening situation. . . . But we can buy the time right now.” These systems consist, first, of a multistage solid-fuel booster. It propels a “kill vehicle” that collides with a target in outer space, obliterating any warhead before it can even return to the atmosphere.

Matching the growing threat, the Pentagon has recently made ground-based mid-course defense exercises more demanding and operationally relevant. Last month, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) conducted its first comprehensive live-fire test to simulate shielding the United States against a higher, longer, and faster flying target akin to a North Korean (or Iranian) ICBM.

Following the successful interception, the Pentagon’s test oversight body reversed an earlier assessment that the system had low reliability. The new appraisal concludes that the GBIs have a “demonstrated capability to defend the U.S. homeland from a small number of intermediate-range or intercontinental missile threats” — precisely the kind of threat Pyongyang presents — “with simple countermeasures.”

Even so, the potential of the existing interceptors is limited. They were hurriedly deployed as advanced prototypes more than a dozen years ago to hedge against potential rogue missile threats. Despite modest upgrades, such as redesigned thruster engines, these systems are still based on decades-old technology. Each kill vehicle has thousands of components produced and refurbished at various times and places. They beg for comprehensive modernization.

To overcome these limitations, the MDA is researching revolutionary technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicle-borne lasers, but near-term breakthroughs are improbable. Even the new 2025 (rather than 2030) date for the proposed multi-object kill vehicle, which seeks to shoot down multiple targets in one flight, seems dangerously optimistic given all the problems with the rushed GBI deployments.

With North Korea likely to acquire nuclear-armed missiles capable of reaching American soil, developing more-reliable protection much sooner is imperative. My Hudson colleague Arthur Herman has thoughtfully laid out how a boost-phase intercept system employing unmanned aerial vehicles armed with conventional interceptor missiles could provide one near-term solution. Another important layer will be the redesigned kill vehicle (RKV), with improved homeland-defense interceptors, that the Pentagon aims to begin deploying and testing in the next few years.

Ignorance is Bliss: But not always so! Victor Sharpe

“Nations seek to gain time through appeasement before the Islamic tide washes over them: But that is folly.”

We have witnessed over and over again Arab and Muslim war crimes on a never ending spiral of horror inflicted upon non-Muslims worldwide and particularly upon Israel’s civilian population. No doubt, future salvos of missiles will rein down upon Israeli villages, towns and cities, fired by Iran’s proxy Hamas, the brutal occupiers of Gaza, and by Iran’s other proxy, Hezbollah, which infests Lebanon. As before, the world will yawn.

And daily crimes committed by the Arabs, calling themselves Palestinians, who stab, bomb and mow down Israeli civilians will invariably go unmentioned in the world’s media. A most egregious example of the media’s double standard was the recent terror attack in Jerusalem, Israel, by three Palestinians, which resulted in the grisly stabbing to death of a young 23 year old Israeli policewoman and the wounding of three civilians.

The BBC’s grotesque headline ran, “Three Palestinians killed after deadly stabbing in Jerusalem.” The BBC report only mentioned the deaths of the three Palestinian murderers and failed to note that they were terrorists who murdered a young border policewoman.

But then, remarkably, the same media will doubtless awaken when the Jews have the unmitigated gall, temerity and chutzpah to defend themselves against unbearable Muslim violence and provocation, as they were forced to do during the last Gaza War.

It will be then, as always, that an outpouring of brutish and irrational hatred towards the Jewish state will explode in much of the morally bankrupt mainstream media, and among the thousands of hate filled Muslims who will take to the streets of European capitals with their duped young European followers in violent displays of mindless enmity.

The world had also yawned before and during the dark years of World War 2 when Jews were disappearing all over Europe. It was a time of towering intolerance and we have now retreated to those terrible years yet again.

New York Parades By Marilyn Penn

The Irish have St. Patrick’s Day, Columbus Day holds special meaning for Italians as does the Israel Day for Jews and the Steuben Day for Germans. Why then did the LGBTQ community drop the Gay from their parade? And why is that the only one singled out for all New Yorkers? New York Pride implies that all residents of this city feel a special respect for the gay minority above all other minorities who live here and have their parades without our city’s name attached to them.

If we are marching in solidarity for the legislative changes that now provide equal rights for gay marriage, adoption, custody, housing and employment, why not call it Gay Rights Parade? To march in celebration of homosexuality seems as shallow as marching for heterosexuality whereas gay rights is a tribute to the effort and achievement of those who organized, campaigned and fought for the legislation that allowed gay people to be mainstreamed into every aspect of our culture.

Part of our culture has indeed elevated the gay movement by giving it preferential attention and acclaim. You can’t read the NYT in any given week without seeing several articles devoted to transgenders or gays. How many similar articles are devoted to Asian New Yorkers – a minority that has made astounding strides in education, business, research and music, to name just a few fields of endeavor. How many about Russian and other east-European minorities in our city? And how many weekly columns protesting the inordinate discrimination in access to bathrooms and transportation for disabled people throughout all our boroughs?

If we have a parade called New York Pride and gays are anxious to drop their special category, why not be properly inclusive and have representatives of all minorities participate equally? We should re-enforce the unique polyglot character of our city, the most cosmopolitan in the world, the only one to welcome people of all colors, creeds and sexual preferences where you can hear more than 800 spoken languages. That is the astounding accomplishment that accurately merits the banner of New York Pride.

Walker Battles Climate Change Believers to Reshape Department of Natural Resources By Rod Kackley

Wisconsin Democrats have demanded Gov. Scott Walker (R) join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a newly formed coalition of states that intends to move forward with the terms of the Paris climate accord after President Trump’s decision to pull out of the agreement.

“President Trump’s rejection of fact, science and of the Paris Climate Agreement is an act that endangers every American. Gov. Walker’s silence on this issue echoes this shared anti-environment, anti-middle class agenda,” read the letter to Walker signed by 35 state representatives and 11 senators.

“Given the recent reports on Wisconsin’s dismal slump in job creation, we cannot afford to reject both the economic opportunity that green jobs would bring to Wisconsin and the moral obligation of taking a stand to address climate change,” the Democrats concluded.

Will Walker bend and join the Climate Alliance? Not likely, since the Republican has proposed transferring 15 scientists, who had been studying climate change and global warming, to new jobs within the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Two years ago, 18 DNR science bureau researchers lost their jobs as the result of a Walker administration budget cut.

Democrats said it’s no coincidence that all of those DNR employees were working on climate change research and the impact climate change could have on Wisconsin.

“This is just part of the continued effort to discourage the use of science or evidence in this administration’s decision-making,” Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D) told the Wisconsin State Journal. “Gov. Walker and Legislative Republicans don’t want science to get in the way of their politics.”

Sen. Tom Tiffany (R), who said the idea that climate change was caused by human activity was “theoretical,” told the Wisconsin State Journal it is true the Walker administration is trying to alter the structure of the DNR.

“I think it’s a more disciplined approach where the leadership of the Department of Natural Resources really directs that research,” said Sen. Tiffany, who does not believe that the climate is changing as rapidly as many scientists claim.

This is not a new political fight in Wisconsin. The DNR’s website was scrubbed of its climate change section late last year. Instead of saying the Earth’s climate was changing and humans were the cause, the Wisconsin DNR site now notes the Earth is going through a change with the causes of said change still being debated.

“As it has done throughout the centuries, the earth is going through a change. The reasons for this change at this particular time in the earth’s long history are being debated and researched by academic entities outside the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources,” the DNR website read. CONTINUE AT SITE

Hackers Display Pro-Islamic State Message on Ohio Government Websites Town of Brookhaven, N.Y., also has its public website hacked with same message By Kris Maher

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s website was among several government sites in the state and elsewhere that were hacked Sunday by a group displaying a pro-Islamic State message.

At one point Sunday, the Republican governor’s official website and other Ohio sites showed a message that said, “You will be held accountable Trump, you and all your people for every drop of blood flowing in Muslim countries.”

The message, on an all-black background, also said, “I Love Islamic State,” and above it said “Hacked by Team System Dz.”

Tom Hoyt, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, said a total of 10 sites were hacked. He couldn’t confirm which group was responsible for the hacking but said the state is working with law enforcement to understand what happened.

“State of Ohio IT staff are working to restore computer systems that were impacted today,” Mr. Hoyt said. “All affected servers have been taken offline and we are investigating how these hackers were able deface these websites.”

The messages supporting the terrorist group were removed from the websites Sunday and replaced with a notice saying the sites were down for maintenance.

Brookhaven, N.Y., a town on Long Island with about half a million residents, also had its public website hacked Sunday. And the website for Howard County, Md., also appeared be targeted by the same attack, before officials took it down Sunday, said Andy Barth, a spokesman for the county.

Ed Romaine, town supervisor in Brookhaven, said no records were touched and that hackers had effectively added a page to the town’s website with the same message used on Ohio’s sites.

Mr. Romaine said the hack was concerning and he was puzzled as to why Brookhaven would be targeted.

He said the town will be cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security. But he said he hesitated to refer to the hacking as terrorism-related. While officials are taking the hacking seriously, he said, “I would tell you it seemed like a prank.”

Other sites in Ohio that were also hacked Sunday included those of Ohio’s first lady, Karen Kasich, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Office of Workforce Transformation and the Casino Control Commission. CONTINUE AT SITE

Michael Galak St Petersburg Diary: an Exile’s Return

Russia has changed since the days when I fled the old Soviet Union, but a recent visit to my former homeland suggests not as much nor in the ways I might have hoped. When the best and brightest feel their futures lie elsewhere and queue up to leave, prospects are grim and unlikely to improve.

Like Bilbo Baggins and his unexpected journey, my wife and I did not specifically plan to visit Russia, the country of our unhappy lives until we migrated to Australia. In my travel diary of years ago, I finished the Russian chapter by saying we were departing “with the heavy heart, knowing full well that we will not return.” At the time I wrote those words we were grieving the sudden loss of life-long friends who shunned us at best, abused us just as often. It was a shock to discover when we announced that we had been approved to leave the barely suppressed hostility and poisonous envy where friendship and laughter once prevailed.

The unforeseen visit to St. Petersburg I am about to describe was a stop on the Baltic cruise we took. The limited time we spent there cannot be regarded as the only source and foundation for this article, as the thoughts contained in it were forming for some time. My recent visit served to crystallise them. The identities of the people with whom we spoke will not be revealed for obvious reasons.

Avoiding foreign ‘contamination’.

All foreign cruise ships are docked in the farthest corner of the port, at a considerable distance from the city. This separation from the ‘corrupting’ Western influence is augmented by elaborate checkpoints for visa and passport control, unique among other states in the region.

Traditionally, Russian governments have been determined to stop Western influence contaminating the purity of the Russian mind without sacrificing the very much needed tourist dollar. It is a fine balancing act, which the Russian elite has maintained in order to isolate, or at least to distance, the masses from the rest of the world. Abominable standards in the teaching of foreign languages also help.

The days spent in the Russian Federation were, to put it mildly, instructive. We were able to speak to local people, much to the displeasure of our tour guides, who warned each other that some Russian speakers were in the group and they should therefore be extraordinarily careful in their off the cuff comments.


The overall impression of St Petersburg was one of shabbiness, with crumbling facades, a general grubbiness and an oversupply of police. Except for the very center of the city, with its famous monuments and palaces, the rest of the metropolis left an impression of neglected maintenance and a general lack of care.

People were dressed better than I recalled from memories of Soviet days, especially the young. Equally, there were all kinds of uniforms, including a granny in semi-military garb who occupied a glassed-in booth at the bottom of the Metro escalator. She appeared to do bugger all but keep a sharp eye on those going up and down — a sensible job, perhaps, in light of the Metro system’s recent terror bombings. Elsewhere and everywhere there are so many uniforms to be seen the town seemed like a heavily armed convention of boy scouts and girl guides.

There were many attractive young faces on the streets of St Petersburg and the so-called ‘Landau Index’ was somewhere between six and seven. Never heard of the landau Index? Let me explain this unit of measurement, which seeks to calibrate female attractiveness. It was invented by the legendary Soviet nuclear physicist Lev Landau, who was an equally legendary connoisseur of a female beauty. Upon arrival in a strange town he would take up station on a main thoroughfare and appraise the first ten women of reproductive age. The number of pretty faces was his eponymous index. Three fetching faces would be a low rating, five medium and seven considered to be high. This measure was jokingly accepted by the USSR’s male populace and, by my entirely subjective reckoning, St Petersburg rates very high on the scale.

Religion’s resurgence

In a city church we visited the publicly demonstrated piety of worshippers astonished me — a man raised in the atheist USSR, where religion, any religion, was not only frowned upon but actively discouraged and adherents persecuted.

Inside the church, women wearing hijab-like headscarves caressed the little rails in front of icons, kissing those barriers, crying over them, muttering endearments and heartfelt pleas to Heaven. They surrendered their positions only when the crush of the insistently prayerful behind forced them from their supplications. I found it difficult to watch such unrestrained emotional outpourings. I felt too much like a voyeur observing another’s passionate yearning.

Men were not that far behind in their devotion. Young men, somewhere within the 30 to 40 years’ age bracket, were crossing themselves ostentatiously, bowing in front of icons, whispering prayers, endlessly crossing and bowing, immersed in their very personal conversations with the Divine, demonstratively lost in their devotions and oblivious to the world at that moment, yet acutely aware of its presence. It was a weekday, the middle of the working week. Instead of earning the daily bread by the sweat of their brows, these young men of productive age were whiling their day in prayer. An atmosphere of exalted expectation, of investing all hope in the expectation of imminent miracles, was a near-tangible presence. The candle-scented atmosphere of unhappiness was palpable and contagious, so I left. Stepping outside under the grey St. Petersburg sky I felt better.