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July 2017

Recycled Gore The former vice president resurfaces, with another round of familiar apocalyptic predictions. By Julie Kelly

At least one environmentalist is capitalizing on President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord: Al Gore.

The former vice president and Nobel Peace Prize winner is back in the public eye whether you like it or not. Since Trump’s announcement last month that the U.S. would pull out of the Paris climate pact, Gore has been on a media blitz to reprise his role as the prophet of planetary doom. The timing couldn’t be better for him. Next week, Gore’s new film, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, will debut. It’s the follow-up to An Inconvenient Truth, his 2006 documentary that won two Oscars and became the rallying cry for climate-change activists around the world.

Gore has mostly avoided politics and kept a relatively low public profile the past several years, heading up the Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit he founded on the heels of the movie’s success. (He also divorced his wife, Tipper, and sold his Current TV channel to Al Jazeera in 2013 for a reported $100 million.) But Trump’s presidency is now breathing new life into this aging climate crusader, and he is poised to play the Climate Good Cop to Trump’s Bad Climate Cop.

On June 4, Gore appeared on Fox News Sunday for the first time since he ran for president in 2000. He told Chris Wallace that Trump’s move to exit the Paris pact “undermines our nation’s standing in the world and isolates us and threatens to harm humanity’s ability to solve this crisis in time.” While Gore blasted Trump’s action as “reckless and indefensible” and compared the Paris agreement to the post–World War II Marshall Plan, he also acknowledged that the accord would not have solved climate change but was rather a “powerful signal to the world.”

For a fleeting moment while watching the interview, one could reminisce about the era when Democrats didn’t sound off-the-rails hysterical, as Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders often do. Gore still has his signature monotone, robotic cadence that can temporarily lull one into believing anything he says. But then he quickly pivots to the same apocalyptic rhetoric that made him a climate cult hero after his failed presidential bid. He said humans are putting “110 million tons of heat-trapping global-warming pollution up into the sky every day as if it’s an open sewer.” He urged viewers to listen not only to scientists but also to Mother Nature: “You don’t have to rely on the virtually unanimous opinion of the scientific community anymore. Mother Nature is telling us. Every night on the TV news is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation.” He rambled on about wildfires, droughts and downpours, and claimed he saw “fish from the ocean swimming in the streets” in Miami.

Trump Must Withdraw From Iran Nuclear Deal – Now by John R. Bolton

Tehran’s violations of the deal have become public, including: exceeding limits on uranium enrichment and production of heavy water; illicit efforts at international procurement of dual-use nuclear and missile technology; and obstructing international inspection efforts (which were insufficient to begin with).

There is ominous talk of America “not living up to its word.” This is nonsense. The president’s primary obligation is to keep American citizens safe from foreign threats. Should President George W. Bush have kept the United States in the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, rather than withdraw to allow the creation of a limited national missile-defense shield to protect against rogue-state nuclear attacks?

Care to bet how close Tehran — and North Korea — now are? Consider the costs of betting wrong.

For the second time during the Trump administration, the State Department has reportedly decided to certify that Iran is complying with its 2015 nuclear deal with the Security Council’s five permanent members and Germany, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

If true, it will be the administration’s second unforced error regarding the JCPOA. Over the past two years, considerable information detailing Tehran’s violations of the deal have become public, including: exceeding limits on uranium enrichment and production of heavy water; illicit efforts at international procurement of dual-use nuclear and missile technology; and obstructing international inspection efforts (which were insufficient to begin with).

Since international verification is fatally inadequate, and our own intelligence far from perfect, these violations undoubtedly only scratch the surface of the ayatollahs’ inexhaustible mendaciousness.

Certification is an unforced error because the applicable statute (the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, or INARA) requires neither certifying Iranian compliance nor certifying Iranian noncompliance. Paula DeSutter and I previously explained that INARA requires merely that the Secretary of State (to whom President Obama delegated the task) “determine…whether [he] is able to certify” compliance (emphasis added). The secretary can satisfy the statute simply by “determining” that he is not prepared for now to certify compliance and that U.S. policy is under review.

This is a policy of true neutrality while the review continues. Certifying compliance is far from neutral. Indeed, it risks damaging American credibility should a decision subsequently be made to abrogate the deal.

New report on global warming debunks government temp data By Rick Moran

A new paper analyzing government temperature data says the Global Average Surface Temperature (GAST) data published by NASA and NOAA are “not a valid representation of reality.” In fact, the three respected scientists who published the paper hint strongly that the data may have been fudged.

Here are the the money grafs from the paper:

In this research report, the most important surface data adjustment issues are identified and past changes in the previously reported historical data are quantified. It was found that each new version of GAST has nearly always exhibited a steeper warming linear trend over its entire history. And, it was nearly always accomplished by systematically removing the previously existing cyclical temperature pattern. This was true for all three entities providing GAST data measurement, NOAA, NASA and Hadley CRU.

As a result, this research sought to validate the current estimates of GAST using the best available relevant data. This included the best documented and understood data sets from the U.S. and elsewhere as well as global data from satellites that provide far more extensive global coverage and are not contaminated by bad siting and urbanization impacts. Satellite data integrity also benefits from having cross checks with Balloon data.

The conclusive findings of this research are that the three GAST data sets are not a valid representation of reality. In fact, the magnitude of their historical data adjustments, that removed their cyclical temperature patterns, are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data. Thus, it is impossible to conclude from the three published GAST data sets that recent years have been the warmest ever – despite current claims of record setting warming.

Finally, since GAST data set validity is a necessary condition for EPA’s GHG/CO2 Endangerment Finding, it too is invalidated by these research findings. (Full Abstract Report)

Using the government’s own data. the researchers showed that government agencies were able to “prove” that the Earth is warming simply by leaving out vital information.

Farhan Azad Islam and the Unspeakable Truth

As an ex-Muslim, one intimately versed in the Koran and the mindset of so many who take literally its arrogant and intolerant admonitions, few things distress me more than seeing every latest massacre followed by the warm and fuzzy pieties of those in the West who find it convenient not to understand.

The normalisation of the Western response to Islamic terrorism has arrived at such a state of cognitive dissonance and muddled morality that we expect and see automatic messages of solidarity after every latest terror attack — sympathy not for the victims but for Islam. Think #illridewithyou, for example. As an ex-Muslim who fiercely advocated for the Religion of Peace while trying to absolve my beloved Islam of all responsibility, let me admit that I also hid behind this veil of obfuscation.

Know that I have opposed bigotry and baseless hate towards the Muslims community my entire life, and that I will always do so. As a law student, protecting the rights of individuals is of paramount importance to me, and I cannot stress this enough. However, this does not equate to the automatic and mindless defence of Islamic doctrine.

The political correctness movement, which dominates and restricts “acceptable” Western public responses to terror, has produced a dangerous and delusional conflation: the belief that protecting Muslims and protecting Islam are inherently the same thing. The generic “not all Muslims are terrorists” is a staple of social media posts and mainstream media commentary after every latest replay of 9/11, 7/7, Nice, Paris, Manchester, London….

Asserting the obvious, that only a relative few Muslims are prepared to visit terror and death upon unbelievers, tells us nothing of value. A more useful response would be “only idiots think all Muslims are terrorists, but it requires a much bigger idiot to believe there is no link between Islam and terrorism.”

The distinction between protecting people (Muslims) and protecting Islam (an ideology) must be made and addressed by politicians and commentators if there is to be any resistance to Islamism. Instead we see the coddling of Islam which plagues all discussion and dominates the West’s public stage. Rather than protecting Muslims this attitude serves only to shield Islamist doctrine from the scrutiny and response it deserves.

The depiction of a terrorist is a peculiar thing. The media, Muslims, apologists and politicians alike approach terrorism as some offshoot ideology, as if terrorists are spawned in a vacuum. I say this not to tarnish the image of the general Muslim community but to illustrate how the West scrambles to divorce terrorism from a religious motivation, the considerate goal being to ensuring Muslim feelings aren’t hurt. Rather than venturing to uncover the truth about Islamic teachings, the regressive left instead treats Islam as a cultural construct in which extremist elements can be eradicated by cradling and coddling.

The unrecognised truth — a truth those comfortable nostrums will not permit to be recognised — is that Islam does not subscribe to the same moral principles which shaped and govern Western civilisation and, therefore, is non-responsive to such an approach. Vital to bear in mind is that Islam differs fundamentally from most religions in that it does not call for the peaceful interaction of diverse and tolerant humanity; rather, it is a political ideology whose advocacy of “peace” translates as global domination. When the world submits, then peace will reign and not before.

A five-minute reading of the Koran should suffice to illustrate the Islam’s supremacist philosophy and ambitions, yet we are told to dismiss those violent, sexist, homophobic and anti-Semitic sentiments as misinterpretations. This stifling of dialogue and any proper critique of the doctrines results in a viciously self-enforcing cycle of denial and the subverting of any productive approach to tackling the issue. The pronounced and deeply disturbing depiction of non-believers in the Quran — the kuffar — is freighted with supremacist connotations, not least in the repeated emphasis on non-Muslims’ perversion of the truth and their distance from the “true” morality as outlined by Muhammad. This dangerous concoction of ideas is reinforced by the precept that all humans are in fact born Muslims (even if they don’t know it), and non-believers are simply those who have strayed from Allah’s word, never been exposed to it or mulishly reject it. Can there be any surprise in noting how these dangerous undertones facilitate extremist interpretations that animate so many terrorists?

Mike Pence and Trent Franks Lead Thousands at CUFI’s Pro-Israel Event A powerful display in support of the Jewish State in Washington. Edwin Black

While the Jewish community in some quarters has lately been divided on Israel issues, some 5,000 evangelical Christians will gather in Washington, DC July 17-18 as a granite-like block of support to defend the Jewish State. They will be attending the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) policy conference held each year. Boasting more than 3 million members, CUFI is America’s largest pro-Israel group. A host of political luminaries, led by Vice President Mike Pence and Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), will appear at this year’s conference, sited in the Washington Convention Center. Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu will appear via live satellite feed.

The domestic political importance of CUFI’s zealous members is not lost on anyone in Washington. In response to a question, CUFI founding Executive Director David Brog stated, “CUFI represents a base of voters that helped deliver the White House and both houses of Congress to Republicans. Now our members are coming to town to remind these leaders that Israel is and always has been a top priority for them. We’re expecting a warmer welcome — and greater impact — than ever before.”

It is no wonder that the line-up of legislators, led by Rep. Trent Franks, who acts of co-chair of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus, also includes Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-KS).

Rep. Franks is a pivotal factor in supporting Israel’s defense systems, especially its tri-level missile shields. He sits on two key subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee, vice-chairing the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, and as a majority member of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. Franks also leads the Missile Defense Caucus. The Arizona representative is at the pinnacle of support for the Jewish State and its military and defense superiority. Likewise, Rep. Lamborn joins Franks on two of those key subcommittees, Strategic Forces as well as Emerging Threats and Capabilities. On the Senate side, Sen. Ernst chairs the analogous Emerging Threats Subcommittee under the Armed Forces Committee.

In response to a question about his CUFI appearance, Franks asserted, “Israel is on the front lines in a battle to protect all humanity from an evil ideology that has no respect for innocent life anywhere on earth. Adherents of this ideology hate Israel’s existence – more than that, they hate Western Civilization. Israel deserves our support and respect. As co-chair of the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus, I am happy to stand with Israel at the upcoming Christians United For Israel Summit.”

How Cuba Runs Venezuela Havana’s security apparatus is deeply embedded in the armed forces. By Mary Anastasia O’Grady

The civilized world wants to end the carnage in Venezuela, but Cuba is the author of the barbarism. Restoring Venezuelan peace will require taking a hard line with Havana.

Step one is a full-throated international denunciation of the Castro regime. Any attempt to avoid that with an “engagement” strategy, like the one Barack Obama introduced, will fail. The result will be more Venezuelas rippling through the hemisphere.

The Venezuelan opposition held its own nationwide referendum on Sunday in an effort to document support for regularly scheduled elections that have been canceled and widespread disapproval of strongman Nicolás Maduro’s plan to rewrite the constitution.

The regime was not worried. It said it was using the day as a trial run to prepare for the July 30 elections to choose the assembly that will draft the new constitution.

The referendum was an act of national bravery. Yet like the rest of the opposition’s strategy—which aims at dislodging the dictatorship with peaceful acts of civil disobedience—it’s not likely to work. That’s because Cubans, not Venezuelans, control the levers of power.

Havana doesn’t care about Venezuelan poverty or famine or whether the regime is unpopular. It has spent a half-century sowing its ideological “revolution” in South America. It needs Venezuela as a corridor to run Colombian cocaine to the U.S. and to Africa to supply Europe. It also relies heavily on cut-rate Venezuelan petroleum.

To keep its hold on Venezuela, Cuba has embedded a Soviet-style security apparatus. In a July 13 column, titled “Cubazuela” for the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba website, Roberto Álvarez Quiñones reported that in Venezuela today there are almost 50 high-ranking Cuban military officers, 4,500 Cuban soldiers in nine battalions, and “34,000 doctors and health professionals with orders to defend the tyranny with arms.” Cuba’s interior ministry provides Mr. Maduro’s personal security. “Thousands of other Cubans hold key positions of the State, Government, military and repressive Venezuelan forces, in particular intelligence and counterintelligence services.”

Every Venezuelan armed-forces commander has at least one Cuban minder, if not more, a source close to the military told me. Soldiers complain that if they so much as mention regime shortcomings over a beer at a bar, their superiors know about it the next day. On July 6 Reuters reported that since the beginning of April “nearly 30 members of the military have been detained for deserting or abandoning their post and almost 40 for rebellion, treason, or insubordination.”

The idea of using civilian thugs to beat up Venezuelan protesters comes from Havana, as Cuban-born author Carlos Alberto Montaner explained in a recent El Nuevo Herald column, “Venezuela at the Edge of the Abyss.” Castro used them in the 1950s, when he was opposing Batista, to intimidate his allies who didn’t agree with his strategy. Today in Cuba they remain standard fare to carry out “acts of repudiation” against dissidents.

The July 8 decision to move political prisoner Leopoldo López from the Ramo Verde military prison to house arrest was classic Castro. Far from being a sign of regime weakness, it demonstrates Havana’s mastery of misdirection to defuse criticism. CONTINUE AT SITE

A Terrorist’s Big Payday, Courtesy of Trudeau Canada’s prime minister hands millions to Omar Khadr, whose victims may not be able to collect.By Peter Kent

OttawaMr. Kent is a member of the Canadian Parliament and official opposition critic for foreign affairs.

Omar Khadr pulled the pin from a grenade and tossed it at Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer, a U.S. Army Delta Force medic, on July 27, 2002. Those are the facts to which Mr. Khadr, a Canadian citizen, confessed when he pleaded guilty before a Guantanamo Bay war-crimes commission.

For several years Mr. Khadr had been living and training with al Qaeda in Afghanistan under the tutelage of his father, Ahmed. The Khadrs reportedly lived in Osama bin Laden’s Kandahar-area compound.

Speer died of his wounds 1½ weeks after the attack, which left another soldier, Sgt. First Class Layne Morris, partly blind. Mr. Khadr, badly wounded, was treated and transferred to the Cuba base. In 2012 the U.S. returned him to Canada to serve the remainder of his eight-year sentence.

Mr. Khadr was just shy of his 16th birthday at the time of the attack. In 2010 Canada’s Supreme Court held that the interrogation of Mr. Khadr at Guantanamo Bay by Canadians in 2003-04 violated Canadian standards for the treatment of detained youths. These violations occurred during the mandates of Liberal Prime Ministers Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin. The Supreme Court left it to the government, then headed by Conservative Stephen Harper, to determine an appropriate remedy, and to the civil courts to rule on any damages.

A few months later Mr. Khadr entered his guilty plea on five war-crimes charges. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison, reduced by pretrial agreement to eight years. The Harper government determined that returning Mr. Khadr to Canada would be the appropriate remedy. In 2012 he was repatriated to serve the remaining years of his sentence. He was released on bail in 2015.

Mr. Khadr wasn’t satisfied. He sued the Canadian government for 20 million Canadian dollars (about US$16 million at current exchange rates).

Meanwhile in Utah, Sgt. Speer’s widow, Tabitha, his two young children and Mr. Morris sued Mr. Khadr and received a judgment for $134.1 million in damages. Their goal was to preserve possible future action against Mr. Khadr’s assets—at the time a remote possibility.

But last week Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a formal apology to Mr. Khadr and a massive cash settlement, though no court had ordered him to do so. Mr. Trudeau refuses to disclose the amount of the settlement, but leaked reports peg it at C$10.5 million. That’s an extravagant sum in the Canadian justice system, which is much more restrained in awarding damages than U.S. courts.

Byron York: What campaign wouldn’t seek motherlode of Clinton emails? by Byron York

The public learned on March 10, 2015 that Hillary Clinton had more than 60,000 emails on her private email system, and that she had turned over “about half” of them to the State Department and destroyed the rest, which she said were “personal” and “not in any way related” to her work as Secretary of State.

The public learned later the lengths to which Clinton went to make sure the “personal” emails were completely and permanently deleted. Her team used a commercial-strength program called BleachBit to erase all traces of the emails, and they used hammers to physically destroy mobile devices that might have had the emails on them. The person who did the actual deleting later cited legal privileges and the Fifth Amendment to avoid talking to the FBI and Congress.

Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, told Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Benghazi Committee, that investigators could forget about finding any of those emails, whether on a device or a server or anywhere. Sorry, Trey, he said; they’re all gone.

It was, as the New York Times’ Mark Landler said in August 2016, the “original sin” of the Clinton email affair — that Clinton herself, and no independent body, unilaterally decided which emails she would hand over to the State Department and which she would delete.

Still, there were people who did not believe that Clinton’s deleted emails, all 30,000-plus of them, were truly gone. What is ever truly gone on the Internet? And what if Clinton were not telling the truth? What if she deleted emails covering more than just personal matters? In that event, recovering the emails would have rocked the 2016 presidential campaign.

So, if there were an enormous trove of information potentially harmful to a presidential candidate just sitting out there — what opposing campaign wouldn’t want to find it?

There have been recent reports that last summer a Republican named Peter W. Smith made some sort of effort to find the missing Clinton emails, apparently getting in touch with hackers, some of whom may have been Russian. But nothing came of it, and no evidence has emerged that Smith was connected to the Trump campaign. (The 81-year-old Smith later committed suicide, apparently distraught over failing health.)

In a phone conversation Friday, Corey Lewandowski, the Trump campaign manager who was fired on June 20, 2016, said he never heard of or communicated with Smith, and wasn’t aware of any effort to find the missing Clinton emails. “I never solicited, or asked anybody to solicit or find a way to get these potential emails,” Lewandowski said. “And to the best of my knowledge, nobody [in the campaign] did either.”

Still, Lewandowski added that, “In the world of cybersecurity, it’s fairly well known that when you delete emails, they’re not gone.”

Another former top Trump aide said that was a common view in the campaign. “The feeling was that they [the emails] must exist somewhere,” the former aide said, “because once something is digital, it’s never truly gone.”

The Korean War 1950–53: Still Settling the Score By Ron Huisken

The three countries that started the Korean War in June 1950—Russia (USSR), China and North Korea—are still manoeuvring to secure a better outcome. When World War II ended in August 1945, American and Soviet troops had met more or less amicably at about the 38th parallel on the Korean peninsula. In 1949, both those powers withdrew their forces, leaving behind feeble local administrations in the north and the south that each aspired to lead the first government of the whole of Korea following the decades of Japanese colonial rule.

Kim Il-sung, a northerner who had fought in the resistance against Japanese rule and was accepted by the occupying Soviet forces as the leader of the north, lobbied the Soviet leader to support using force to take over the south and bring the whole of the peninsula into the socialist camp. Stalin eventually agreed that that was an attractive and feasible objective. On the condition that Kim Il-sung also secure China’s support for the venture, Stalin undertook to provide equipment, training and planning but ruled out any direct involvement by Soviet forces.

China’s Mao Tse-tung approved the plan and North Korean forces launched the attack on 25 June 1950. The north overran the southern forces, who retreated to a small enclave around the southern port of Pusan before the American-led UN forces reversed those gains and routed the north’s forces only to encounter, in October 1950, a large force of Chinese ‘volunteers’.

This US–China phase of the conflict lasted for two more years before a truce was negotiated that recognised the original informal dividing line—the 38th parallel—as the de facto border between the Republic of Korea in the south, allied to the US, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the north, a socialist state closely tied to the USSR and China.

That truce is still in place, which means that all the belligerents are still, in formal terms, at war with one another. And the peninsula did indeed evolve quickly into an arena of essentially permanent tension, provocation and imminent conflict. The USSR and China took care to ensure that Pyongyang lacked the capacity to contemplate renewed unilateral military adventurism. That remained the case even as the DPRK veered off towards becoming the most highly militarised and uniquely repressive authoritarian regime in the world.

The narrative that underpinned the DPRK’s political trajectory has been founded on the contention that the country had narrowly escaped naked American aggression in June 1950 and that the enemy, a superpower bristling with nuclear weapons, had since embedded itself in the south while it searched for another opportunity to invade.

Russia and China have never had the courage to contest this narrative or, indeed, to seriously encourage the DPRK to take a different path. The US has for some 70 years borne the lion’s share of the burden of deterrence and alliance management emanating from the machinations of the DPRK. Even when Pyongyang began, in the late 1980s, to explore the possibility of a nuclear option, Russia and China kept their distance. China, in particular, openly informed Washington at subsequent points of nuclear crisis—notably 1993–94 and 2002—that responsibility for the issue lay with the US and the DPRK.