ANNE BAYEFSKY: BENGHAZI, BERGDAHL AND HAMAS

Originally published by FoxNews.

It is about time that pundits stop describing President Obama’s foreign policy as weak. There is a straight line between emboldening Syria’s Assad by calling him a reformer, Egypt’s Morsi a democrat, Turkey’s Erdogan a friend, Iran’s Rouhani a moderate, and now a Palestinian government that includes Hamas, a peace partner.

Monday’s speedy announcement that the United States will work with and pay for a PLO-Hamas coalition government is a strong and predictable step in an alarming pattern.

Every one of these moves has deliberately driven a wedge between Obama and Israel. President Obama’s priority is, and always has been, the Muslim world. It has made no difference to this partiality that in the latter world American hostages are languishing in prison cells, the killers of Americans are government insiders, official anti-Semitism is flourishing, and the locals are brutalized.

At the same time, President Obama has a recurring problem with his choice of best friends. There is an inconvenient discord between the terrorism and violence emanating from his BFF’s and his putative job as commander-in-chief.

The difficulty presents itself, for example, in the context of Benghazi. The anger over Benghazi is more than justified, but not because it is still a mystery why the president sent no one to bomb Libya in order to save Americans under attack. He may have hurt somebody on the ground who was not American, or he may have stirred up local resentment.

President Obama has never made a secret of his “counter-terrorism” policy. In May 2013 he said quite clearly that even in the face of “terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people,” “before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured.”

Speaking at West Point on May 28, 2014 he reiterated that in taking direct action “against terrorism,” we may strike “only where there is near certainty of no civilian casualties.”

MATTHEW VADUM: THE LAWLESS BERGDAHL SWAP

Virtually no one in the nation’s capital now doubts that President Obama violated the law when he approved an unconscionable prisoner swap that repatriates an American deserter while freeing five Islamofascist terrorist field commanders.

Just throw it on the growing pile of impeachable offenses committed almost daily now by President Obama.

In yet another new historical first that paints a bulls-eye on the backs of U.S. citizens and military service members around the globe, Americans learned this week not only that Obama negotiates with Islamofascist terrorists — but that he does so with all the skill an 18-year-old boy who just won the lottery employs when dealing with a Porsche salesman.

Perhaps Obama thought that the release of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl who was held for five years by the Taliban in Afghanistan would be a sure-fire good news story to distract from the Veterans Affairs hospital waiting list scandal. If so, he guessed wrong.

Bergdahl, it turns out, expressed dismay about the war and walked off his base overseas in search of terrorists to whom he could surrender. There are conflicting reports, but it appears Bergdahl became an active collaborator with America’s enemies and fed them valuable information that helped them strike U.S. military targets in Afghanistan with enhanced efficiency.

Bergdahl, whom one of his former military colleagues described on TV as at best a deserter, and at worst, a traitor, was traded for five high-value Guantanamo Bay inmates in a clandestine transaction that might be the modern-day equivalent of swapping the high command of Nazi Germany’s armed forces for a wartime saboteur like Ernest Peter Burger or Herbert Hans Haupt.

Thanks to Obama and the same people who brought you HealthCare.gov and a growing list of governmental monstrosities, bearded unlawful combatants are now at liberty in Qatar where supposedly somebody is keeping an eye on them. They will, no doubt, return to plotting against the United States and orchestrating plans to kill Americans.

The Accelerating Spread of Terrorism: Seth Jones

Since 2010, there has been a 58% increase in the number of jihadist groups world-wide.

Mr. Jones is associate director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corp., and the author of the RAND report, “A Persistent Threat: The Evolution of al Qa’ida and Other Salafi-Jihadists,” released on Wednesday.

President Obama’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by 2016 is a risky step and may embolden Islamic extremists. So could the release of five high-level prisoners from Guantanamo Bay in a swap with the Taliban to win the freedom of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

The number of al Qaeda and other jihadist groups and fighters are growing, not shrinking. U.S. disengagement—or even risking the return of terrorists to the field by freeing them from detention—is not the answer to the threat they pose. Instead, U.S. strategy should be revamped, prioritizing American interests and developing a more effective, light-footprint campaign.

According to new data in a RAND report I have written, from 2010 to 2013 the number of jihadist groups world-wide has grown by 58%, to 49 from 31; the number of jihadist fighters has doubled to a high estimate of 100,000; and the number of attacks by al Qaeda affiliates has increased to roughly 1,000 from 392. The most significant terrorism threat to the United States comes from groups operating in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria. Moner Mohammad Abusalha, an American who was a member of the al Qaeda affiliate organization al-Nusra, blew himself up in Syria on March 29.

Today the U.S. faces complex, significant threats beyond jihadi terrorism. Russia has invaded Ukraine and threatens America’s NATO allies. China is flexing its military, economic and cyber muscles in East Asia. Iran remains dedicated to developing a nuclear-weapons capability. North Korea, which already has nuclear weapons, is highly unstable.

Still, these nations are not to our knowledge actively plotting attacks against the American homeland. A handful of terrorist groups, however, remain dedicated to attacking the U.S. at home and overseas.

Some of these groups have an interest and ability to strike the U.S. homeland. They are a top priority, and include al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula based in Yemen, and the core al Qaeda along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. There are also individuals like the Tsarnaev brothers, the Boston Marathon bombers, who read al Qaeda propaganda and used sources, such as al Qaeda’s Inspire magazine, to build their bombs. The growing number of radicalized Americans fighting against the Assad regime has also raised the threat from Syria.

Some analysts and policy makers have played down the threat from al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which has been weakened because of persistent U.S. pressure. But its leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, remains committed to striking the U.S. He is flanked by a number of Americans, such as Abdullah al-Shami and Adam Gadahn, who support that goal.

Hillary Clinton in 2011: United States Should Negotiate with Taliban

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton advocated in 2011 for the United States to engage in negotiations with Afghanistan’s Taliban, according to reports at the time.

Clinton, who has supported the Obama administration’s controversial decision to release five imprisoned Taliban leaders, told Congress in 2011 that it is important for the United States to try and work with the Taliban.

“You don’t make peace with your friends,” Clinton told lawmakers during a congressional hearing at the time, according to CNN.

“We have been clear … about the necessary outcomes of any negotiation: Insurgents must renounce violence, abandon al Qaeda, and abide by the constitution of Afghanistan, including its protections for women and minorities,” she was quoted as saying. “If insurgents cannot meet those red-lines, they will face continued and unrelenting assault.”

Clinton also helped to orchestrate a meeting between U.S. officials and a Pakistani terror group, a move that she claimed set the stage for future negotiations with terror groups.

“Part of the reason for that is to test whether these organizations have any willingness to negotiate in good faith,” she said at the time. “There’s evidence going both ways, to be clear.”
This entry was posted in National Security and tagged Hillary Clinton, Taliban. Bookmark the permalink.

Vladimir Jabotinsky Revisited “Jabotinsky: A Life” by Hillel Halkin…A Review by David Isaac ****

“If I could raise any of the great figures of Zionist history from the dead for an hour’s conversation, I would choose Jabotinsky,” writes Hillel Halkin in his new book Jabotinsky: A Life.

The merit of this gracefully written and thoughtful book is that Halkin makes you understand why. Jabotinsky was easily the most talented, versatile, and farseeing of Zionist leaders. Add to this his gregarious, witty, and engaging personality, and it’s difficult not to like Jabotinsky as much as one admires him. As Jabotinsky’s friend and biographer Shmuel Katz once told this writer, “I simply couldn’t find fault in him, and, believe me, I tried.”

Born in 1880 in Odessa, Vladimir “Ze’ev” Jabotinsky rose to prominence through his gifts as a writer, speaker, and organizer of Jewish self-defense. His status in the Zionist movement leapt forward with the establishment of the Jewish Legion, which fought on the side of the British in Palestine during World War I. This remarkable accomplishment—remarkable in part because he worked for it alone while everyone opposed it—put him in the top tier of Zionist leaders.

In terms of his political outlook, Jabotinsky today would most resemble a conservative, in favor of free markets, an advocate of individual freedom, a believer in religion in the public square (although not a religious man himself), and convinced that a strong military was essential—in this case, essential for the creation and preservation of a Jewish state.

Halkin gives Jabotinsky credit for being right when others were wrong. Jabotinsky warned the Jews to “Get iron,” meaning to build up their military strength, foreseeing that the struggle for Palestine would be decided by an Arab-Jewish war. This seems obvious now. But at the time Labor Zionists saw Arab workers as natural partners in the class struggle. Jabotinsky spoke out against socialism, understanding that a modern economy could not be based on socialist fantasies. Above all, he was prescient in warning eastern European Jews to evacuate Europe before it consumed them. He traveled from town to town exhorting Jews to flee. Unfortunately, few heeded Jabotinsky. He was even vilified, called a “fascist” and an “anti-Semite.”

It was not that Jabotinsky lacked persuasive skills. Halkin provides an excellent section on Jabotinsky’s legendary oratory, quoting V.D. Nabokov, the father of the famous novelist, who called Jabotinsky “the finest orator in all of Russia.” Yet, Halkin notes, there were no theatrics in his speaking. His style was calm, his body language almost stiff. To unlock Jabotinsky’s secret, he quotes distinguished writer Arthur Koestler, writing of his impression after hearing Jabotinsky: “It was an extraordinary event. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to listen to many political speakers. None of them had [Jabotinsky’s] ability to mesmerize an audience for three hours without once resorting to the orator’s bag of tricks. There was nothing trite in anything he said. … Its power lay in its transparent clarity and the beauty of its logic.”

RUTHIE BLUM: ISRAELIS DEVELOP THE FIRST BLOOD TEST FOR BREAST CANCER

Octava Pink, a groundbreaking achievement in cancer detection, follows eight years of research at EventusDx in Jerusalem.

After eight years of painstaking research, Israeli life-sciences company Eventus Diagnostics (EventusDx) has produced a blood test for the early detection of breast cancer.

The Octava Pink test is now available in Israel and Italy, and is undergoing clinical trials to receive US Food and Drug Administration approval.

This is the first blood test ever that can reveal cancer, not merely markers that might indicate cancer or something else. Its innovation also lies in its examination of antibodies in the blood to pinpoint this specific cancer.

Molecular biologist Galit Yahalom — who heads the research team at the EventusDx offices and lab, located in Moshav Ora outside of Jerusalem – explains the breakthrough to ISRAEL21c.

“For the last decade, we have known that there is a connection between cancer and the immune system,” says Yahalom, a 43-year-old mother of two from Modi’in who has been working on this project since its inception.

“We know that it recognizes cancer as an external enemy that must be destroyed. It is possible that each of us has had instances of cancer we were unaware of, because our immune systems killed it when it was still very small. For whatever reason, the immune system of people with cancer is not functioning properly.”

ANDREW McCARTHY: PRESIDENTIAL DERELICTION

My new book, Faithless Execution, is principally about presidential lawlessness. In addressing that topic, I make the point that it is not lawless for a president to refuse to execute a law as to which he has a good faith constitutional objection.

The Framers, after all, were not just worried about executive overreach; they were at least equally concerned about what Hamilton referred to as “The propensity of the legislative department to intrude upon the rights, and to absorb the powers, of the other departments.” This is relevant to the ongoing controversy about whether, in carrying out his unconscionable swap of five senior Taliban and Haqqani network terrorists, the president acted lawlessly.

A congressional statute—the National Defense Authorization Act—presumes to impose a requirement of 30-days’ notice to lawmakers before the president may transfer enemy combatant detainees out of Guantanamo Bay. There is no question that President Obama willfully ignored this statute—the administration admits as much. But was he obliged to comply with it?

As I’ve been contending, there is a very colorable argument—I would say, a convincing argument—that the statute is unconstitutional. The commander-in-chief in wartime has near-plenary power over the disposition of enemy combatants, and supremacy in the conduct of foreign affairs. Congress may properly use its power of the purse to deny the president funds to transfer prisoners—particularly to transfer them into the United States. But it may not act as super-executive by micromanaging how the president carries out his prerogatives. We may find the president’s decisions in this regard to be reprehensible—I certainly do. But that does not make them unconstitutional … what is unconstitutional is a statute that purports to trim the president’s constitutional powers.

Is that the end of the matter? Not by a long shot. As I’ve also contended, the president’s failure to comply with a dubious statute is a mere footnote to his truly egregious offense: replenishing enemy forces at a time when the enemy is still conducting offensive terrorist operations against our armed forces. It would be difficult to fathom a more outrageous dereliction of duty by the commander-in-chief.

The Taliban Swap and “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” By Andrew C. McCarthy

The Wall Street Journal had a fine editorial Monday on President Obama’s reckless decision to negotiate with the Taliban and release from Guantanamo Bay five of its most senior, most capable, most implacably anti-American jihadists for an American army sergeant who, according to accounts from his fellow soldiers, went AWOL in 2009. I addressed the swap in a Corner post over the weekend and in a column yesterday.

Faithless Execution, my book on presidential lawlessness and the Constitution’s ultimate response to it, impeachment, has just been released. I’ve thus been repeatedly asked about the president’s violation of a federal statute in carrying out the exchange and whether this rises to the level of a “high crime and misdemeanor,” the constitutional standard for impeachable offenses that is prominently discussed in my book. This line of inquiry misses the point. There surely is an impeachable offense in this irresponsible deal, but it involves the commander-in-chief’s dereliction of duty, not his failure to comply with dubious statutory terms.

The National Defense Authorization Act states that the president must give Congress 30 days’ notice before transferring war prisoners out of Gitmo, along with an explanation of steps taken to mitigate any potential threat the release poses to the United States. The administration concedes that the president did not comply with this law in releasing the Taliban commanders. The Journal’s editors pooh-pooh the allegation of some Republican lawmakers that this makes the exchange illegal; they argue, to the contrary, that the law is an “unconstitutional” constraint on the president’s “wartime decision-making.” The editors have a point, though one that is undercut by the president himself.

Article II of the Constitution gives the president significant unilateral authority over the conduct of foreign affairs. As commander-in-chief, moreover, the president has traditionally had near plenary authority over the capture and disposition of enemy combatants in wartime. Congress has salient constitutional powers, too. As the Journal points out, Congress could properly have used “its comparably strong power of the purse” to deny the president funding for objectionable prisoner transfers. Instead, with the 30-day notice prescription, it purported to legislate direct limitations on the president’s prerogatives. The president’s commander-in-chief prerogatives may be frustrated by Congress’s exercise of its competing spending power, but Congress may not legislate away the president’s Article II powers—i.e., the Constitution may not be amended by a mere statute. The Journal is right on that score.

The problem in this instance, however, is two-fold. First, there is the now-familiar hypocrisy point. Throughout the Bush administration, when the president relied on his constitutional authority to override congressional restrictions on his wartime surveillance authority and control over enemy combatants, the Left, including then-Senator Obama and many of the lawyers now working in his administration, screamed bloody murder. Some even suggested that he should be impeached for violating the FISA statute. President Obama, of course, is now doing the same thing he and his allies previously condemned. As I contend in Faithless Execution, he is doing it far more sweepingly and systematically than Bush, whose statutory violations occurred in the context of his incontestable war powers and were strongly supported by judicial precedents.

RICHARD BAEHR: IS EUROPEAN JEW-HATRED SPREADING TO AMERICA?

Is European Jew-hatred spreading to America?
The ugly events in Europe over the past two weeks — themurders at the Jewish Museum in Brussels by a French jihadist and alumnus of the Syrian carnage, and the assaulton several French Jews in Paris — have served to confirm what is increasingly obvious: Europe is not a place where Jews are safe or welcome, and it is becomingly increasingly problematic to live visibly as Jews in various countries on the continent.

I am just back from several weeks in Europe. A family member to whom I spoke, who travels regularly to many countries in Europe, admitted sadly that anti-Semitic discourse has become acceptable again all over the continent. For several decades, it was OK to be hostile to Israel, but ill treatment or speaking badly of Jews was verboten. Now, with the multicultural imperative in full swing, and millions of recently arrived Muslims in Europe, the climate for Jews has worsened. But it is not only the recent arrivals who are open about their hatred of Jews.

Public figures in Great Britain and France, ambassadors and legislators among them, have scathingly denounced Jews. Countries are lining up to ban kosher slaughter and circumcision. Denmark, one of the few European countries whose record during the Holocaust is worth remembering for good deeds, apparently is on board with its principal zoo slaughtering a giraffe and then feeding it to lions in front of children, and killing off a few baby lions, but thinks kosher slaughter is inhumane, and that “animal rights come before religion.” The “intactivist” movement is trying to bancircumcision, claiming it is a form of child abuse. Several European communities are on board, including a few in Germany.

Some analysts believe the assault on Jewish ritual practices, including kosher slaughter and circumcision, are in reality aimed at making Europe less friendly to Muslims, who share some of these practices, than one more blast aimed at the shrinking, pretty much negligible Jewish population in most European countries. Muslims already make up 5 percent or more of the population of some European countries (France, Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, the U.K., Sweden, Macedonia, Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo), and will soon in several more. Jews are but 0.2 percent of Europe’s population, with numbers barely a 10th of the pre-World War II level.

The multicultural commitment of the Left in Europe makes frontal assaults on Islamic practices suspect, so animal rights, and rights of infants, are trotted out as protective cover for the attempt to make these countries less protective of religious rituals.

MY SAY: NOW THAT THE HILLARYSTAS ARE GEARING UP

Democrats are going to face some really hard choices in 2016. Burnishing the image of a mediocre Secretary of State, despite the efforts of the highly mediocre Senator Clare McCaskill, Senator from Missouri, can’t be easy. When it becomes difficult to airbrush the lies, deceptions, and violations of election law, they think Bill Clinton with his charm will ride to her rescue. Well, here is what hubby dearest had to say on Iran in 2005. It’s on the record. And, incidentally Lyndon LaRouche loved it and called his statement “useful truths.”

“Clinton: … Iran’s a whole different kettle of fish—but it’s a sad story that really began in the 1950s when the United States deposed Mr. Mossadegh, who was an elected parliamentary democrat, and brought the Shah back in—[comments in background—Rose says “CIA”] and then he was overturned by the Ayatollah Khomeini, driving us into the arms of one Saddam Hussein. Most of the terrible things Saddam Hussein did in the 1980s he did with the full, knowing support of the United States government, because he was in Iran, and Iran was what it was because we got rid of the parliamentary democracy back in the ’50s; at least, that is my belief.

I know it is not popular for an American ever to say anything like this, but I think it’s true [applause], and I apologized when President Khatami was elected. I publicly acknowledged that the United States had actively overthrown Mossadegh and I apologized for it, and I hope that we could have some rapprochement with Iran. I think basically the Europeans’ initiative to Iran to try to figure out a way to defuse the nuclear crisis is a good one.

I think President Bush has done, so far, the right thing by not taking the military option off the table, but not pushing it too much. I didn’t like the story that looked like the military option had been elevated above a diplomatic option. But Iran is the most perplexing problem … we face, for the following reasons: It is the only country in the world with two governments, and the only country in the world that has now had six elections since the first election of President Khatami. [It is] the only one with elections, including the United States, including Israel, including you name it, where the liberals, or the progressives, have won two-thirds to 70 percent of the vote in six elections: two for President; two for the parliament, the Majlis; two for the mayoralities.

In every single election, the guys I identify with got two-thirds to 70% of the vote. There is no other country in the world I can say that about, certainly not my own.”