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May 28, 2016 / 20 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Iran deal’

WJS: NSA Taps Guided Obama’s Win over Netanyahu on Iran

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

See also: US not Only Spying on Israel, but on U.S. Pro-Israel Legislators and Groups

(JNi.media) In 2011 and 2012, according to a Wall Street Journal revelation Wednesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama were in sharp conflict over what to do about Iran’s emerging nuclear program. Netanyahu was preparing to take a page out of his predecessor, Menachem Begin’s play book on the Iraqi nuclear plant–although striking in Iran would have been far more formidable–while Obama was engaged in secret talks with the Iranians, and by secret we mean without letting Israel know.

According to the WSJ report, the White House was petrified that Netanyahu would blitz Iran without alerting the Americans, thus bringing down the house on the negotiations that were still at their most tender phase. And so US spy agencies enhanced their surveillance of Israeli political targets, for which they had approval from congressional intelligence committees.

After a few years of this, the NSA was fairly certain there was not going to be a repeat of the 1981 Operation Opera, that took out the Osirak reactor in Iraq. Except that by then the American Administration had a new reason to keep tapping Bibi: they wanted to make sure Israel was not aware of the secret talks with the Iranians, because if those became known to the Israelis, they would have sounded the alarm and the fragile negotiations could go bust. So they kept on tapping.

According to the WSJ report, after the Edward Snowden scandal had erupted and it turned out the NSA was tapping all of America’s friends, including heads of state, when President Obama promised to behave better and stop tapping everyone, that’s not what he really meant. The NSA hadn’t spent decades bugging phone and Internet networks around the world to just cut them off all of a sudden. How would they spy on everyone in the future if they needed to? So, instead, they just stopped eavesdropping. The taps stayed in place, but silent.

Except for one particular trouble spot, right around wherever Bibi happened to be at the moment. Apparently, not tapping our friendliest nation, Israel, didn’t enter anyone’s mind over at the NSA. “Going dark on Bibi? Of course we wouldn’t do that,” a senior US official told the WSJ.

And so, the NSA was certain last year that Israel was spying on the Iran negotiations in Europe, and by late 2014 they knew Mr. Netanyahu wanted to block the nuclear deal but didn’t have a strategy yet. On January 8 this year, the strategy was hatched by then Republican House Speaker John Boehner and the new Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: they invited Netanyahu to deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress. They contacted Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, who told Bibi, who grabbed the offer.

At which point, the NSA started yet another one of their famous walks on legal thin ice, because, according to US law, there’s a huge difference between tapping foreigners, even very friendly ones, like Netanyahu, and tapping US elected officials without their knowledge. If you’re going to tap Speaker Boehner chatting with PM Netanyahu, you must disclose this to the appropriate Congressional committees. Also, an NSA directive dating back to 2011 says that direct communications between foreign intelligence targets and members of Congress should be destroyed when they are intercepted, and only the NSA director can decide otherwise regarding “significant foreign intelligence.”

The NSA is allowed to tap communications between US lawmakers after, as an example, an ambassador tells his government back home about a meeting with said lawmakers. So this is how the NSA, working for the Democrat in the White House, could spy on the conversations of the Congressional leadership, that happened to be Republican.

JNi.Media

Kerry Winked at Oman’s Human Rights Record for Backing Iran Deal

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

John Kerry’s top advisers were so anxious to pacify Oman for backing the Iran nuclear deal that they blocked a report that would have put Oman dangerously close to being sanctioned for human rights violations, Reuters reported.

The news agency’s exclusive report stated that the unusual intervention by the Secretary of State’s top echelon “suggests the Obama administration placed diplomatic priorities over human rights to pacify an important Middle East partner.”

U.S. diplomats in its Middle East bureau and in a department whose objective is to fight human trafficking advised that Oman’s ranking on forced labor and trafficking in humans should be lowered by one level, which would have left it one notch above the category that would have placed the oil-rich ally on the list of countries that can be sanctioned.

Kerry’s staff simply delayed publishing the scheduled June date for publishing the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report in order to soothe Oman’s anger over the planned demotion, Reuters said.

The report was eventually published in July, but Oman’s ranking magically was left unchanged, an apparent gift for its supporting President Barack Obama’s efforts to strike a deal with Iran on its nuclear development, regardless of a nasty human rights record.

The State Dept, did not directly respond to Reuters when the issue was raised.

Oman used its importance to the United States as a lever to protest the scheduled downgrade in its human rights record, Reuters quoted Mark Lagon, the TIP office’s ambassador-at-large from 2007 to 2009 and now president of Freedom House, as saying, “I’m not aware of a case where something like this has happened before.”

If Oman had been dropped one level to “Tier 3,” it would have shared the embarrassing distinction of being on par with North Korea when it comes to trafficking in humans.

The news agency added:

A Reuters investigation published on Aug. 3 revealed a high degree of ‘grade inflation’ in this year’s rankings.

An unprecedented number of diplomatically sensitive countries such as Malaysia, China, Cuba, Uzbekistan and Mexico wound up with ratings higher than recommended by the State Department’s own human rights experts.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

National Jewish Democratic Council Dries Up

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

In its annual search to shame Jewish organizational leaders by pointing out how much money they make, and calculating the percentage by which they do not deserve the salary, the Forward newspaper (formerly known as the Jewish Daily Forward) made an unexpected discovery: the Republican Jewish Coalition no longer has a partisan counterpart.

The National Jewish Democratic Council has apparently dumped its staff and “outsourced its activities to a Washington, D.C. public relations firm,” the Forward reports.

The NJDC’s counterpart, the Republican Jewish Coalition, has a staff of 18 and revenue in excess of $3 million. It is based in Washington, D.C. and chaired by Matt Brooks, who has been the RJC’s executive director since 1990. The RJC has become increasingly and aggressively engaged in persuading Jews to reconsider their long-held ties to the Democratic party. It has been an uphill struggle, but the tide may slowly be turning, at least for strongly affiliated Jews.

More than 70 percent of American Jews voted for the Democratic nominee for president in 2012, and by an even higher percentage when Obama ran the first time in 2008.

Jews who vote for Democratic candidates do so because they see their issues as the issues promoted by the Democratic party: reproductive rights, gun control and climate change, and the separation of church and state. Many of those voters seem to consider these issues to be synonymous with Jewish values.

The NJDC also claimed to count strong support for a “Jewish, democratic state of Israel,” but that was apparently not the same as focusing on the actual strength, safety or security of the actual Jewish State.  That, by contrast, falls quite a bit further down on the list of priorities when choosing candidates for the NJDC to back.

In other words, increasingly unaffiliated Jews and Democratic party Jews will vote for a Democrat no matter where that candidate’s positions on issues regarding halacha fall – not surprisingly –  but also no matter how little those candidates focus on ensuring the continued life and security of Israel.

This is so, despite the self-description on the NJDC website, which seems to suggest otherwise. The first statement about its mission acknowledges that the goal of the NJDC is to “maximize[] Jewish support for Democrats at the federal and state levels of government.” In other words, NJDC brings out the Jews for the Democratic candidates.

Next, the NJDC seeks to educate “Democratic elected officials and candidates to increase support for Jewish domestic and foreign policy priorities.” What those priorities are remains unsaid.

And finally, the NJDC does these things in order to “promote both social justice in American and a secure, democratic Jewish State of Israel.” How and whether there is any intrinsic connection between social justice in America and a secure, democratic Jewish State of Israel also remains unsaid.

Why the NJDC has shorn off all of its paid staff, jettisoned its office space and now exists only as a volunteer organization at this time is unclear.

Perhaps it had to do with the early and abrupt departure of a previous NJDC executive director, Rabbi Jack Moline, under circumstances no one was willing to discuss, or perhaps it was simply the inevitable continuation of a strategy begun in 2014 to “cut costs and to pay off old debts to vendors,” as the Forward suggests. Maybe someone was finally asking the question: who needs to fund anything that smacks of “Jewish” running after Jewish Democrats anyway?

The tasks for which the NJDC were previously responsible are now being performed by Bluelight Strategies, a public relations firm owned by a former NJDC vice president.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Kerry Welcomes End of Investigation into Iran’s Past Nuclear Efforts (Including Lies)

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is thrilled that the world’s nuclear watchdog agency has decided, despite the continued lying by Iran about its nuclear weapons program and its violations of UN ballistic missile bans, to close its investigation into whether there had been any possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Kerry’s statement, released on Tuesday, Dec. 15, noted that a Dec. 2 assessment by Yukiya Amano, Director General of the IAEA, revealed Iran had engaged in activities consistent with a nuclear weapons program as recently as a mere six years ago.

For some reason, Kerry seemed to find that reassuring.

The Secretary of State said that with the consensus adoption by the IAEA Board of Governors, it will now be able to “turn its focus now to the full implementation and verification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).”

In other words, everyone can now move towards lifting sanctions against Iran which not only continued to lie about its past nuclear activity, but which has already twice violated United Nations missile bans on it since the time the JCPOA was agreed to in July.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power acknowledged Iran’s October violation of the missile ban.

Iran’s latest violation of the missile ban was made public by a United Nations Panel in a report dated Dec. 11, Reuters reported on Tuesday. That report was forwarded to the UNSC’s sanctions committee.

Iran has consistently said it will defy any limitations on its ballistic missile program, whether enshrined in UN resolutions or otherwise.

Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) was outraged by the IAEA’s decision, and the green light it gives to the administration’s willingness to move towards implementation of its nearly toothless Nuclear Iran Deal.

“The vote today is a total capitulation to the Iranian regime’s aggressively dishonest behavior with respect to its commitment under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Sadly, though not surprisingly, the IAEA Board of Governors closed the investigation into Iran’s nuclear program, despite proof of Iran’s dishonesty and in the absence of thorough, truthful answers to many outstanding issues. The president will now use this decision to lift sanctions on Iran without having the complete truth regarding its nuclear weapons related activity. This is a grave and historic error that sends the wrong message,” wrote Pompeo.

The Kansas member of Congress pointed out that the Iran deal, which lasts for more than a decade, means many more years of the U.S. and its partner nations look the other way while the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism continues “cheating, lying, and breaking the rules.”

“This is wholly unacceptable and will most assuredly lead to more of the same from Ayatollah Khamenei. Other rogue nations now know too that America will accept deceit and fraud in dealings with respect to nuclear proliferation.”

Kerry said on Tuesday that the watchdog agency can still investigate Iran if “there is reason to believe” that country is “pursuing any covert nuclear activities in the future, as it had in the past. In fact, the JCPOA – by providing for implementation of the Additional Protocol as well as other enhanced transparency measures – puts the IAEA in a far better position to pursue any future concerns that may arise.”

The IAEA may be able to continue to investigate, but given that past violations have been met with no consequences, it’s a cold assurance that such investigations can continue.

Incredibly, Kerry’s statement concludes:

Today’s resolution makes clear that the IAEA’s Board of Governors will be watching closely to verify that Iran fully implements its commitments under the JCPOA. We will remain intensely focused going forward on the full implementation of the JCPOA in order to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

Isn’t that comforting?

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

The Report Reveals Iran Lied and is Still Lying, but the US Remains Eager to Lift Sanctions

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Despite Iran’s repeated claims to the contrary, a report just issued by the nuclear watchdog agency concluded that Iran had pursued a nuclear weapons program.

The Obama administration welcomed the report issued Wednesday, Dec. 2, by the International Atomic Energy Agency, saying it would likely pave the way for the removal of economic sanctions on Tehran as early as January. The report is titled “Final Assessment of Past and Present Outstanding Issues Regarding Iran’s Nuclear Programme.”

What did the Administration find reassuring in the report? That the IAEA was unable to find evidence that Tehran’s efforts to pursue a nuclear bomb extended beyond 2009. What is the administration prepared to ignore? That Iran has been lying all along when its leaders said its nation had never pursued creating nuclear weapons.

According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. officials are satisfied by Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA over the past five months. That apparent cooperation “likely will be seen as sufficient to allow the deal to move ahead.”

“Iran has provided what [the IAEA] says was sufficient,” said a senior U.S. official working on the implementation of the Iran deal.

The administration’s reliance on recent apparent cooperation is even less reassuring given that Iranian officials on Wednesday continued to deny they ever had a weapons program.

This new flexibility follows the statement by Secretary of State John Kerry in April of this year that if there’s going to be a deal, Iran will have to come clean on its past nuclear work. Oh, never mind.

But there is more that some might – and most should – find worrisome about the report.

Iran has consistently maintained that its Parchin military facility was simply used to store chemicals and explosives. Tehran had long refused IAEA access to Parchin. But samples taken from that site, according to this IAEA report, did not support Iran’s claims about what took place there.

Instead, the IAEA report said its analysis of samples taken from Parchin supports the view that the building was used to house a chamber where nuclear-related explosives tests likely took place.

But lying was not one of the forbidden items on the U.S. list of requirements for Iran. As far as this administration is concerned, all Iran had to do trigger sanctions relief was follow the formal obligations outlined in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action drawn up in July.

And one final concern: the IAEA report also reveals that Iran has not been forthcoming on several points of its investigation. No new information on those points has been provided since 2011.

NETANYAHU CLAIMS THE IAEA REPORT CONFIRMS IRAN CANNOT BE TRUSTED

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seized upon the findings in the IAEA report as proof that his mistrust of Iran was entirely justified.

The Israeli leader issued a statement on Wednesday that the report “proves beyond any doubt that Iran’s secret program for the development of nuclear weapons continued even after 2003, as Israel has maintained.”

Netanyahu said the most glaring example of Iran’s concealment of and deception about its nuclear program was its treatment of the Parchin facility “where the Iranians tried to hide and tamper with evidence of their illicit activities.”

The Israeli Prime Minister called on the international community to use all means at its disposal to continue and expand the IAEA investigation to make sure Iran is not able to secretly build a nuclear weapon.

“Unless and until the investigation is completed, the world will not know the full extent of Iran’s covert nuclear weapons program and where it stands today,” Netanyahu said.

The full IAEA board is scheduled to meet on Dec. 15. That board includes the U.S. and its P5+1 partners, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany. They will decide whether to end the investigation into Iran’s nuclear activity and lift the sanctions.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Netanyahu Hits Home Run in US as MVP (Most Valuable Politician)

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pitched a perfect game in his visit to the White House and speeches to Jews during his trip to the United States.

President Barack Obama and the Prime Minister had a mutual interest in their “letting bygones be bygones” meeting. Neither had anything to gain by trying to upstage the other.

The President could only have damaged the next Democratic presidential nominee if he had done so, and the Prime Minister is more interested in American military aid and preventing a jihadist Syria than he is in showing off to the White House that he is more popular in Israel than his host is with Americans.

Regardless of their disagreements over the nuclear deal with Iran, both leaders know very well that the “unbreakable bond” between the United States and Israel is not just an expression. Without Israeli intelligence on the Middle East, America would be up the creek.

Without a certain degree of American support, Israel would be dogpaddling in the creek.

The fact that President Obama publicly stated that the “two-state” mantra will remain so until the distant future was a direct statement to  Palestinian Authority chairman that Washington finally understands, without saying so, that the Arab world does not want a true peace between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

Jordan, for example, wants a Palestinian Authority country on its border as much as the Ayatollah of Iran wants to play golf with Obama.

Obama’s statement in effect sent the dead and buried “peace process” into the mausoleum of illusions for historians to laugh at.

It gave Prime Minister Netanyahu a great send-off to address approximately 2,000 guests of the American Enterprise Institute Monday night, where he was honored with the Irving Kristol Award.

Bill Kristol introduced Netanyahu as the “preeminent leader of the free world,” and the honoree quipped, “I’m not used to receiving such awards in Israel.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu preached to the chorus, which wildly applauded his understanding that the Arab-Israeli conflict is not based on religion, the “occupation” or politics. He hit the nail on the head and said:

The core of the conflicts in the Middle East is the battle between modernity and early premeditative medievalism.

In his speech to the Federations’ General Assembly on Tuesday, the Prime Minister scored a hit with the bulk of American Jews by embracing all streams of Judaism, especially when he promised:

l invest directly in the development and fostering of Conservative and Reform communities in Israel.

After playing music to the ears of President Obama, the right wing and the pluralistic Federations, he turned his attention to the liberal CAP, which took a lot of flak from left-wing groups for even inviting the Prime Minister to speak.

Obama’ dumping of the “peace process” and Abbas suicide strategy for creating a Palestinian Authority country opened the gates at CAP for Netanyahu.

Abbas has made Netanyahu look good even to liberal Jews. He has exposed himself as a fake, a con man, a liar and just another Arab leader who is failing to reach his objective on the diplomatic front as every Arab general has failed to do on the military front – destroy Israel.

Netanyahu now can reach out to the bulk of American Jewry who love the idea of “two states.” They previously rejected the Prime Minister but now accept the fact that it is not Israel’s fault it won’t happen.

The liberals who love any president so long as he (or she) is a Democrat and now they can be happy that Obama and Netanyahu have nothing left to fight about. They want Israel to be a nice doggie so their non-Jewish friends won’t look at them awkwardly when Israel flexes its muscles, but they no longer can blame the “occupation” for stabbing attacks in Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu said:

Just about any Israeli in his right mind agrees with what I’m about to tell you: Any deal or any arrangement, unilateral or negotiated, must have Israel maintain the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat, including from territories that are ceded. That’s the most important provision. That’s something I don’t see Palestinians accepting now.

American  Jews, from all political and religious streams, and President Obama finally realize, even if they won’t admit it, that Israel is the only normal country in the Middle East and that Netanyahu is a lot smarter than they figured.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Official Obama-Netanyahu Statements at White House Meeting

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Monday morning, Nov. 9.

The following are their official statements released by their spokespeople. President Obama:

“Welcome once again Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu to the Oval Office. There’s no foreign leader who I’ve met with more frequently and I think that’s a testimony to the extraordinary bond between the United States and Israel.

Before I get started, I just want to say a brief word about the Jordanian attack that we discovered earlier, the fact that someone dressed in a military uniform carried out an attack at a training facility in which it appears that there may have been two or three U.S. citizens killed and a number of other individuals injured.

Obviously, a full investigation is taking place. We take this very seriously and we’ll be working closely with the Jordanians to determine exactly what happened. But at this stage, I want to just let everyone know that this is something we’re paying close attention to and at the point where the families have been notified, obviously, our deepest condolences will be going out to them.

I also want to extend my condolences to the Israeli people on the passing of former President Navon. Obviously, he’s an important figure in Israeli politics and we extend heartfelt condolences to his family.

This is going to be an opportunity for the Prime Minister and myself to engage in a wide-ranging discussion on some of the most pressing security issues that both our countries face. It’s no secret that the security environment in the Middle East has deteriorated in many areas. And as I’ve said repeatedly, the security of Israel is one of my top foreign policy priorities, and that has expressed itself not only in words, but in deeds. We have closer military and intelligence cooperation than any two administrations in history.

The military assistance that we provide, we consider not only an important part of our obligation to the security of the state of Israel, but also an important part of US security infrastructure in the region, as we make sure that one of our closest allies can not only protect itself, but can also work with us in deterring terrorism and other security threats. In light of what continues to be a chaotic situation in Syria, this will give us an opportunity to discuss what’s happening there.

We’ll have an opportunity to discuss how we can blunt the activities of ISIL, Hezbollah, other organizations in the region that carry out terrorist attacks. A lot of our time will be spent on a memorandum of understanding that we can potentially negotiate. It will be expiring in a couple of years, but we want to get a head start on that to make sure that both the United States and Israel can plan effectively for our defense needs going forward.

We’ll also have a chance to talk about how implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement is going. It’s no secret that the Prime Minister and I have had a strong disagreement on this narrow issue, but we don’t have a disagreement on the need to making sure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon, and we don’t have a disagreement about the importance of us blunting destabilizing activities that Iran may be taking place.

And so, we’re going to be looking to make sure that we find common ground there.

And we will also have an opportunity to discuss some of the concerns that both of us have around violence in the Palestinian territories. I want to be very clear that we condemn in the strongest terms Palestinian violence against innocent Israeli citizens.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/official-obama-netanyahu-statements-at-white-house-meeting/2015/11/09/

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