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February 2018

Palestinians: Arbitrary Arrests, Administrative Detentions and World Silence by Khaled Abu Toameh

While Israel uses “administrative detention” as a tool to thwart terrorism, the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership holds people without trial as a means to silence them and prevent them from voicing any form of criticism against Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders.

While administrative detainees in Israel are entitled to see a lawyer, receive family visits and appeal against their incarceration, the Palestinians detained by the PA are denied basic rights. Yet, Israel-obsessed human rights organizations seem uninterested in this fact.

Particularly disturbing, however, is not that the PA leadership is acting as a tyrannical regime, but the abiding silence and indifference of the international community and human rights organizations. Those who scream bloody murder about Israel’s security measures against terrorism would do the Palestinians a better service by opening their mouths about how human rights are ravaged under the PA.

For many years, Palestinians and their supporters around the world have been condemning Israel for arresting suspected terrorists without trial.

It turns out, however, that the Palestinian Authority (PA) also has a similar policy that permits one of its senior officials to order the arrest of any Palestinian, regardless of the nature of the offense he or she commits.

Israel holds suspected terrorists in “administrative detention” on the basis of laws such as: Israeli Military Order regarding no. 1651 Security Provisions, Incarceration of Unlawful Combatants Law and Defense (Emergency) Regulations, a law that replaces the emergency laws from the period of the British Mandate of Palestine (1920-1948).

It is worth noting that Israeli citizens, and not only Palestinians, have also been held in “administrative detention” over the past few decades. This means that Israel does not distinguish between a Palestinian and an Israeli when it comes to combatting terrorism.

While the campaign against Israel’s “administrative detentions” has been going on, the Palestinian Authority has been, according to Palestinian human rights activists and lawyers, conducting unlawful and arbitrary arrests against its own constituents.

Once again, the double standards of the Palestinians and their international supporters have been exposed.

Polish Holocaust Bill Raises Concerns Over Free Speech, Anti-Semitism Senate backs bill that would impose jail sentences for accusing Polish population of collaborating during World War II By Drew Hinshaw and Rory Jones

Poland’s parliament passed a libel bill Thursday imposing jail sentences for accusing the Polish population of collaborating in the Holocaust or other war crimes, sparking concerns from Israel and the U.S. that a close ally was limiting free expression and flirting with anti-Semitism.

American and Israeli diplomats condemned the legislation, passed by the upper house of the country’s legislature, which would set up to three years’ imprisonment for blaming the wartime murder of roughly six million Jews on the Polish state or people.

The vote comes against a wider backdrop of rising nationalism and increasing state control over democratic institutions, including the media and the courts. Critics accused the government of turning a blind eye to a rising tide of xenophobia late last year after a march organized by a movement that seeks an ethnically pure Poland drew some 60,000 people.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called his Polish counterpart earlier this week to lobby against the law, according to Polish media, and Mr. Netanyahu’s government has likened the law to state denial of the Holocaust.

“Israel opposes categorically the Polish Senate decision,” Emmanuel Nahshon, spokesman for Israel’s foreign ministry said in a statement. “Israel views with utmost gravity any attempt to challenge historical truth. No law will change the facts.”

U.S. diplomats said it would impinge on free speech and called for Poland to reconsider the bill: “We all must be careful not to inhibit discussion and commentary on the Holocaust,” a statement from the U.S. State Department said.

The bill, which requires the signature of President Andrzej Duda to become law, touches on a bedrock emotional and historical subject for both Poland and Israel. It doesn’t mention the Holocaust, or World War II. But it criminalizes accusing the Polish state or population for responsibility or complicity in any crime against humanity, at any point in history.

The subtext was widely understood to be the Nazi-led genocide that took place largely on Polish soil in the 1940s. Nearly 90% of Poland’s three million Jews—along with about three million non-Polish Jews and another three million non-Jewish Poles—were killed after Germany’s 1939 invasion of its eastern neighbor.

Poland’s government was in exile or hiding throughout the war. Unlike France, Belgium, or Norway, there was no organized state effort by Polish people to deport Jews. As many as 400,000 Poles fought the Nazi soldiers occupying their country. CONTINUE AT SITE

Joshua Wong, a Young Democracy Icon, Is Nominated for Nobel Prize The move risks triggering a reproach from China By Natasha Khan

HONG KONG— Joshua Wong, the university student who became the face of Hong Kong’s democracy movement, has been nominated along with other local activists for the Nobel Peace Prize by a group of U.S. lawmakers, a move that risks a rebuke from China.

The 12 politicians, led by Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Rep. Christopher Smith (R., N.J.), wrote in a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee that the entire pro-democracy movement should receive the honor “in recognition of their peaceful efforts to bring political reform” to Hong Kong, where many have decried Beijing’s increasing control.

The nomination threatens to anger the Chinese government, which has insisted that Hong Kong’s affairs are a domestic matter because the former British colony is a special administrative region of China. The House of Representatives passed a resolution on Nov. 1 urging Beijing to stick to the “one country, two systems” agreement, made before Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule in 1997, that affords the city a high degree of autonomy and its residents greater liberties than those on the mainland.

Sen. Rubio and Rep. Smith are the chair and cochair, respectively, of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

Mr. Wong and fellow activists Nathan Law and Alex Chow led pro-democracy protests in 2014 that became known as the Umbrella Movement. Tens of thousands of demonstrators, seeking freer elections without Beijing’s interference, blocked highways for three months — but ultimately failed to extract democratic concessions from the Chinese government.

The movement is credited with birthing a new political class in the Asian financial hub, including the political party Demosisto, which Messrs. Wong and Law founded with others.

Their efforts have faced setbacks in recent months.​ Mr. Wong, who is 21 years old, was jailed for his role in the protests—and in a separate case for contempt of court—with the sentence length rendering him ineligible for office for five years. He is appealing both sentences. CONTINUE AT SITE

Drilled, Baby, Drilled A decade ago Barack Obama mocked Sarah Palin. Who was right?

Readers of pre-millennial vintage may recall the 2008 presidential campaign when Republicans and especially Sarah Palin picked up the chant “drill, baby, drill” as a response to soaring oil prices. The theme was much derided, not least by Barack Obama, who as late as 2012 called it “a slogan, a gimmick, and a bumper sticker” but “not a strategy.” Ten years later, who was right?

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday that U.S. crude oil production exceeded 10 million barrels a day for the first time since 1970. That’s double the five million barrels produced in 2008, thanks to the boom in, well, drilling, baby.

The EIA summary puts it this way: “U.S. crude oil production has increased significantly over the past 10 years, driven mainly by production from tighter rock formations including shale and other fine-grained rock using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to improve efficiency.” This is the “fracking” boom our readers know well that has been driven by innovation in the private oil and gas industry.

The magnitude of the boom is remarkable. The gusher has pushed the U.S. close to overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s leading oil producer. In 2006 the U.S. imported 12.9 million barrels a day of crude and petroleum products. By last October that was down to 2.5 million a day. Some gimmick.
American Oil BoomU.S. monthly crude oil production, in millionsof barrels per day, January 1950-November2017Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration,Petroleum Supply Monthly

This translates into greater energy security as the U.S. is less dependent on foreign oil sources. Donald Trump calls it “energy dominance,” which implies that the U.S. wants to husband its supplies like gold at Fort Knox. The reality is we want to produce and sell what the market will bear, including exports to willing buyers around the world.

Memo Reading for Nonpartisans Ignore the spin. When the document goes public, here’s what to look for. By Kimberley A. Strassel

The White House looks set to release the House Intelligence Committee memo on 2016 government surveillance abuses, which means the attacks on the document by Democrats, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the media are going to get wilder. To help navigate through the spin, here’s a handy guide for what to look for, and what to ignore:

• Rationale. Did the FBI have cause to open a full-blown counterintelligence probe into an active presidential campaign? That’s a breathtakingly consequential and unprecedented action and surely could not be justified without much more than an overheard drunken conversation or an unsourced dossier. What hard evidence did the FBI have?

• Tools and evidence. Government possesses few counterintelligence tools more powerful or frightening than the ability to spy on American citizens. If the FBI obtained permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor Trump aide Carter Page based on information from the Christopher Steele dossier, that in itself is a monumental scandal. It means the FBI used a document commissioned by one presidential campaign as a justification to spy on another. Ignore any arguments that the dossier was not a “basis” for the warrant or only used “in part.” If the FBI had to use it in its application, it means it didn’t have enough other evidence to justify surveillance.

Look to see what else the FBI presented to the court as a justification for monitoring, and whether it was manufactured. Mr. Steele and his client, Fusion GPS, ginned up breathless news stories about the dossier’s unverified accusations in September 2016 in order to influence the election. The FBI sometimes presents news articles to the court, but primarily for corroboration of other facts. If the FBI used the conspiracy stories Mr. Steele was spinning as actual justification—evidence—to the court, that’s out of bounds.

• Omissions and misdirection. What else did the FBI tell the court? One would presume the bureau did its due diligence and knew Mr. Steele ultimately worked for the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The FISA court puts considerable emphasis on the credibility of sources. Did the FBI inform the court of the Clinton connection? Or did it lean on the claim that the Fusion project was originally funded by Republicans? Such a claim might diminish the partisan stench. But it would also be a falsehood, since the dossier portion of the project was purely funded by Clinton allies. And if the FBI didn’t bother to ask who hired Mr. Steele or Fusion, that’s a scandal all its own.

Also, look to see whether the FBI informed the court that Mr. Steele was blabbing to the press. When he first approached the bureau in July, he hadn’t yet briefed the media. But by September he and Fusion were publicly spinning the dossier for their Democratic client, and the FBI would have known who was generating the stories. Did the FBI continue to attest something that clearly was no longer true?

• Duration of surveillance. The FBI may argue it had good cause to look into Mr. Page. But if months of wiretaps didn’t turn up anything (and surely we’d have heard if they did), the FBI also had a duty to cease such a liberty-busting intrusion. Ask how long this probe went on and whether it was justified, or if the FBI was simply giving itself an open-ended license to spy on a campaign.

Expect Trump critics to renew their effort to turn Mr. Page into a Manchurian aide, seizing on his every action or word while ignoring the small role he played in the campaign, not to mention his obvious oddness. This will be designed to make people forget that for all the focus on Mr. Page, he was and remains a private citizen, who apparently was subject to months of government monitoring based on what may prove nothing more than the gossip of a rival campaign. CONTINUE AT SITE

Malice Aforethought, an Exercise in Impotence : Edward Cline

It was educational to watch the audience during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in Congress the night of January 30th. The Democratic side of the House played dead.

The #Resistance is a hate group. It refuses to acknowledge the election of Donald Trump, even to the point of questioning his physical and mental fitness to be President, and includes in that mantra the implied accusation that Dr. Ronny Jackson, who examined Trump, is lying. It is willing to say anything to damage Trump, no matter how irrational outrageous and unproven. The “Resistance” goes further by attacking anyone associated by Trump, such as Nikki Haley, whom they suggested, was having an affair with him. It was prime meat for the Dems but the rumor went nowhere. You can’t grow rain forest trees in the Gobi Desert.

Overall, the Dems during the SOTUS behaved so predictably anti-Trump that it was a foregone conclusion that they would put on anguished or sour faces when he listed his achievements over the last year:

Reduced black and Hispanic unemployment figures

Two-point-four million new jobs

The Border wall

Merit –based immigration (and doing away with chain and visa immigration policies)

The ubiquity of bonuses for American employees (“crumbs” said Nancy Pelosi)

The decision to make Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

Ridding bureaucracies of unnecessary employees (an indirect assault on the Deep State)

Standing for the National Anthem (an assault on football’s “knee” stunts)

The IRS Campaign Against Israel—and Us It took seven years for Z Street to learn the truth about why our tax-exempt status was delayed. Lori Lowenthal Marcus

The first IRS viewpoint discrimination case to be filed, Z Street v. IRS, has been settled, with disturbing revelations about how the Internal Revenue Service treated pro-Israel organizations applying for tax-exempt status.

I founded Z Street in 2009 to educate Americans about the Middle East and Israel’s defense against terror. We applied for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code in December 2009—a process that usually takes three to six months.

Instead, the application languished. In late July 2010, an IRS agent truthfully responded to our lawyer’s query about why processing was taking so long: Z Street’s application was getting special scrutiny, the agent said, because it was related to Israel. Some applications for tax-exempt status were being sent to a special office in Washington for review of whether the applicants’ policy positions conflicted with those of the Obama administration.

So in August 2010 we sued the IRS for violating Z Street’s constitutional rights, including the First Amendment right to be free from viewpoint discrimination—government treatment that differs depending on one’s political position.

Now we know the truth, and it’s exactly as bad as we thought. IRS documents—those they didn’t “lose” or otherwise fail to produce—reveal the following:

• Our application was flagged because Z Street’s mission related to Israel, a country with terrorism. Therefore, an IRS manager in our case said in sworn testimony, the IRS needed to investigate whether Z Street was funding terror.

• Some applications for tax-exempt status were indeed being sent to IRS headquarters in Washington for more intense scrutiny. They were selected because of the applicants’ viewpoint.

In Trump, the Churlish Left Finally Meets Its Match By Michael Walsh

One year into the unlikely presidency of Donald J. Trump and how the political landscape has changed. This Scottish immigrant’s son turned billionaire Manhattan builder, reality-television star, staple of the New York City tabloid press, and bête-noire of his former friends on the institutional Left, who view him, as the Republicans once viewed Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as a “traitor to his class.” To judge from the surly, sorrowful expressions on the Democrats’ faces on Tuesday night during the State of the Union, you might have thought the president had just shot their dog and was taunting them about it on national television.

During most of his pro-America applause lines, including Trump’s announcement of record low black unemployment, the Democrats sat on their hands. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) ostentatiously paraded out of the House chamber near the end of the speech, while Trump was praising the sacrifices of America’s war dead. Afterward, the American Civil Liberties Union complained the president had used the word “American” too many times for its taste.

Could their churlish animosity be any clearer?

But wait! It gets worse. As Trump’s approval ratings have risen in the wake of the stock-market rally, strong overall employment numbers, and the much-vilified tax cut, the Democrats’ pipe dream about a coming “blue wave” this fall looks increasingly like a California marijuana-induced notion. Just prior to delivering the speech, Trump had reversed Obama’s grandstanding, never-implemented executive order to close the American military prison at Guantanamo Bay. By the end of the day, the Democratic National Committee had ‘fessed up some disastrous fundraising numbers, revealing they have only $6.3 million cash on hand and are $6.1 million in debt.

Tony Thomas At the ABC, Hypocrisy on Stilts

Suppose Quadrant Online were to suggest a certain TV presenter secured her prime-time slot by sleeping with the editor-in-chief. Scandal! Outrage! Misogyny! But when a sleazebag author levels the same groundless smear at a female US diplomat and Donald Trump … silence.

On January 23 the ABC 7.30’s star Leigh Sales conducted a reverential interview of American sleaze artist Michael Wolff. He is author of Fire and Fury (see Geoffrey Luck’s Quadrant Online review), a salacious insider account of alleged goings-on at the White House under Donald Trump. Not once did Sales ask any question pertaining to Wolff’s admitted disregard for truth and authorial integrity. Her only interest was in allowing Wolff to vent his anti-Trump bile on her taxpayer-funded platform, for which she is paid some $400,000 a year.

On Friday, January 26, three days after the Sales interview, Wolff was publicly accusing Trump and his UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, of having an extramarital affair. Wolff, who didn’t name Haley outright, dropped such blatant hints about the identity of Trump’s alleged lover that her identity could not be in doubt. The “facts” that he cited in the book in an allusion to Trump and Haley’s meetings were wrong. In a word, Wolff is disgusting. So is the ABC and 7.30, for giving this Wolff creature prime-time and unchallenged exposure. Then again, given the ABC’s relentless anti-Trump narrative, what more could viewers expect?

The sisterhood’s commentariat at the ABC has shown no interest in Wolff sliming the UN ambassador as a woman who supposedly owes her job to Trump’s casting couch. My search of the ABC today turned up no reference to Wolff’s Trump/Haley sexual fantasy. It is another example of the ABC’s most effective propaganda device of all: news that doesn’t fit the narrative is ignored.

Here’s how the Wolff smear evolved. He was interviewed by HBO’s Bill Maher, a leftist with a gleeful leftist audience :

Maher: I want you to tell me something that people have not noticed in this book. Is there something (there), ‘Why don’t they ask me something about this that I put in there, that they are not talking about?’

Wolff: There is. But I can’t tell you what it is. (Audience laughter)

Maher: F—k you Mike, teasing us like that (laughter)

Wolff: There is something in the book I was absolutely sure of but it was so incendiary that I just didn’t have the ultimate proof that…

Maher: Considering what he (Trump) has done, was it a woman thing?

Wolff: Well yeah, I didn’t have the blue dress. [Wolff was referring to Bill Clinton’s ejaculate stain on Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress]. (Laughter).

Maher: Was it about a woman?

Wolff: Yes it is, it is someone he is f—king now. (Laughter). You just have to read between the lines.

Maher: What lines? Tell us the lines. You say it is in the book.

Wolff: It is at the end of the book. You just have to…you will know it, now that I have told you, when you hit that paragraph you are going to say, ‘Bingo!’[i]

The paragraph referred to is necessarily this one:

“By October, however, many on the president’s staff took particular notice of one of the few remaining Trump opportunists: Nikki Haley, the UN ambassador. Haley – ‘as ambitious as Lucifer’ in the characterization of one member of the senior staff – had concluded that Trump’s tenure would last, at best , a single term, and that she, with requisite submission, could be his heir apparent. Haley had courted and befriended Ivanka (Trump’s daughter), and Ivanka had brought her into the family circle, where she had become a particular focus of Trump’s attention, and he of hers.”

Wolff adds that Trump “had been spending a notable amount of private time with Haley (below) on Air Force One and was seen to be grooming her for a political future.”

Politicizing science threatens science By Robert Arvay

In the old Soviet Union, science was subverted to promote failed socialist policies. The results were disastrous to both Russian society and to Russian science itself. Everything scientists did was for the advancement of the state, meaning the dictators. Individual scientists were imprisoned under torturous conditions, even murdered, if their science did not comport with official propaganda. Of course, in the end, the USSR collapsed.

Incredibly, the same failed trend toward politicizing science has resurfaced right here in the United States. A trio of articles in Scientific American reveal the danger, not as a warning, but in two cases, as actual advocacy.

In a commentary titled, “Universities Should Encourage Scientists to Speak Out about Public Issues,” the authors say this:

“Opioids. Fracking. Zika. GMOs. Scientists should be speaking up about all sorts of science-based issues that affect our lives. Especially now, when Trump administration officials tell us that climate change is debatable and that killing African elephants can benefit the herd, scientists should be constantly exposing misinformation, bogus alternative facts and fake science.”

While it is true that scientists should express their views, it must be true for all sides of a controversial issue, not only for the radical left, which dominates the universities where scientists are taught. It must also be the case that the science aspect of the issue be separated from the personal opinion aspect. Conflating the two is not only increasingly the practice, it is being encouraged by the left.

A second commentary concerned the decision by a noted science personality to attend President Trump’s first State of the Union Address. Bill Nye, the star of the PBS television series, “The Science Guy,” was invited to attend the event with Representative Bridenstine (R-OK), who is the nominee for NASA administrator. The commentary states that, “We anticipated this [attendance] would be a controversial decision, and we were right.”