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January 21, 2017 / 23 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘John Kirby’

Jerusalem Bracing for Obama’s Other Shoe

Monday, December 26th, 2016

The severe retaliation employed by Prime Minster Netanyahu against UN Security Council temporary members Senegal, Ukraine and New Zealand were not an expression of blind rage by a smarting leader, as some on the left have explained it, but a last-ditch effort to warn these smaller countries against repeating their mistake should the Obama Administration drop the other shoe on Israel just before the January 20 inauguration of President Donald Trump, a political source said Sunday night, according to NRG.

Oleh Lyashko, leader of the Radical Party of Ukrainian, bewailed the great damage inflicted on his country with the cancellation of a state visit of Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman in Israel as a result of the Ukraine’s vote in the UN Security Council.

The Israeli PM also cancelled a meeting with the new Prime Minister of the UK and summoned US Ambassador Dan Shapiro for “clarification.”

One of the clues to the PM’s anxiety about the damage a vengeful retiring president can still inflict on the Jewish State is the un-delivered speech by Secretary of State John Kerry. In his Dec. 22 press briefing, Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby, referring to the Egyptian delegation last Thursday pulling its proposed anti-settlements resolution, said that “the Secretary was preparing to deliver some remarks today about a vision for the Middle East and certainly the Middle East peace process itself. And he decided that, in light of the postponement of the vote, that it would be prudent for him to postpone his remarks as well. I’m not going to preview the remarks with any specificity, beyond just saying that it certainly was going to be about the Middle East and the process.”

Kirby explained that the Kerry “vision speech” was timed “in concert with what we expected to be a vote today, […] and in light of the fact that the vote has been postponed, he’s decided to postpone his remarks.”

He then stressed that “it doesn’t mean that it has to be done on the same particular day, but that’s the timing that we chose to pursue. And if and when the Secretary delivers those remarks, we’ll certainly keep you apprised and let you know.”

Netanyahu knows that Kerry is eager to give his vision speech, because of all the failures of his four years in office, which have inflicted hundreds of thousands of deaths on the region, his failure to bestow peace on Israel and the PA wounded him the worst. The outgoing secretary invested so much time, effort, and personal prestige in forcing that peace deal down the Israeli rightwingers’ throats – his ticket to a Nobel peace prize – he hates to walk away without any permanent achievement.

President Obama, too, is smarting, as he prepares to see much of his signature achievements being reversed by the next Congress and the Republican Administration. He can’t give it to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has outplayed him everywhere, most notably in influencing the US election, establishing his control over eastern Ukraine, and ramming through Syria in support of its homicidal President Assad. But he, Obama, can punish Prime Minister Netanyahu for eight years of bad blood.

This is why Netanyahu has been lashing at those temporary UNSC members, literally cutting them off from every bit of technological advantage with which Israel has endowed them. But it isn’t just Israel –Netanyahu’s message is also a hint that by voting against Israel, should the opportunity come up again, they could raise the ire of Obama’s replacement.

That was, most likely, the message President-Elect Trump delivered last Thursday to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi: Don’t get stuck being messenger boy for a departing president, do business with me, the new guy. And el-Sisi blinked and withdrew.

Netanyahu’s spokesman David Keys told CNN Israel has “ironclad information, frankly, that the Obama administration really helped this resolution and helped craft it, from sources internationally and sources in the Arab world.” Keys added that the UNSC resolution was not just “deeply anti-Israel,” but represented a “last-minute jab” at Israel by the Obama administration. This means the gloves are off in the fight between Obama and the Israeli PM. No more niceties, no more pretense. The Obama White House is the enemy and it must be stopped, or at least slowed down.

JNi.Media

State Dept. Condemns Jerusalem Housing Construction Amid Hints of Obama ‘November Surprise’

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Israeli diplomats are expecting President Barack Obama to force a diplomatic resolution for Israel and the Palestinians at the UN (Obama’s Israel Surprise?). “The White House has been unusually tight-lipped about what, if anything, it might have in mind,” the WSJ noted, “but our sources say the White House has asked the State Department to develop an options menu for the President’s final weeks.”

The Netanyahu cabinet has been extra careful not to provoke the ire of the retiring emperor on the eve of that portion of his term when he no longer needs to worry about the Jewish vote and will be free to follow his heart’s desire on the future of Jewish life in the Middle East. But it’s hard not to provoke Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry when their threshold for irritation seems to be so low. Such as the building permits for 181 new homes in Gilo, in the 1967 liberated territories, approved by the Jerusalem municipality back in 2012 (the permit was merely updated on Wednesday this week).

When asked during his daily briefing about the Israeli most recent 181 violations of mankind’s hope for peace, State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby said, “We’re deeply concerned by those reports that the local planning and construction committee in Jerusalem approved permits for … 181 housing units and five community center infrastructure projects in Gilo, which is in East Jerusalem. Our policy on settlements, as I said before, is very clear. We strongly oppose settlement activity, which we believe is corrosive to the cause of peace.”

See? On John Kirby’s planet, which he shares with Kerry and Obama, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his entourage were already on their way to the Knesset in Jerusalem to sign a peace treaty recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State and maintain good neighborly relations with the Palestinian State next door, when suddenly a text message appeared on his smart phone telling him the Jews had decided to force a mass invasion of 181 Jewish families into Gilo — so the entourage turned back and returned to Ramallah.

“These decisions by Israeli authorities are just the latest examples of what appear to be a steady and systemic acceleration of Israeli settlement activity,” Kirby announced, lamenting that “in just the past few weeks, we have seen reports of an entirely new settlement near Shiloh, a potentially new settlement outpost in the North Jordan Valley, and over 80 Palestinian structures demolished in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.”

To provide much-needed context to the spokesperson’s wailing: the new homes in Shiloh will house the anticipated evacuees from Amona, uprooted by decree of a Supreme Court gone insane. And those illegal structures were an attempt by the Arabs to build without a permit in Area C, governed exclusively by Israel — a clear and intentional attempt by the EU, the US and local Arabs to violate the Oslo agreements.

When Kirby suggested that the above moves “raise serious questions about Israel’s ultimate commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians,” he was asked if the Administration might be planning to “draw a line in the sand where it comes to actions that you say or you believe hurt the environment for negotiations for a two-state solution.” He answered: “I think [it] shouldn’t surprise anybody that, as an administration … we routinely talk about the situation in the Middle East and in Israel, and that, obviously, is something I think you know Secretary Kerry’s very focused on, so of course we have discussions about this. But I don’t want to get ahead of those discussions.”

There you have it: the most an Administration official has allowed himself to say regarding his bosses’ post-election plans for Israel.

The WSJ suggested on Monday that the Obama Administration might “sponsor, or at least allow, a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction, perhaps alongside new IRS regulations revoking the tax-exempt status of people or entities involved in settlement building.”

Back in 2011, the Administration vetoed precisely this kind of resolution.

A vindictive President Obama could initiate or at least not vote against the formal recognition of a Palestinian state at the Security Council. It would cause Congress to erupt in a storm of rage, especially if the president uses an executive order to do the wicked deed. Which means the next president could revoke such an order with the stroke of a pen.

Which must make one wonder if a President Hillary Clinton would dare to reverse an executive order recognizing the Palestinian State. What do you think?

JNi.Media

Obama Unites Congressional Democrats, Republicans, in Overriding Veto Damaging 9/11 Families

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

State Dept. Spokesperson John Kirby was in the middle of his daily press briefing Wednesday when a reporter informed him that the House had just joined the Senate in overriding the presidential veto on a law permitting the families of 9/11 attacks victims to sue Saudi Arabia should it turn out that the Kingdom was involved in carrying out those attacks. The reporter wanted to know if the Obama Administration, as it had warned would happen, had been approached by any foreign government threatening to “pass legislation that could affect the sovereign immunity of the United States and U.S. officials abroad?”

As expected, Kirby admitted he was not aware “that any government has expressed an intention to do so since the President’s veto. Before the President’s veto, though,” he noted, “some of our European friends — who are less likely to have been affected by the intent of the law itself — have expressed concerns about the issue of sovereign immunity surrounding the law. … France being one of them.” But no country like, say, Saudi Arabia, has so far stated its intent to seek anti-American retribution.

Possibly because Saudi Arabia is not interested in alienating the American public even more at this stage of the game, when the Iranians are running roughshod along its borders and the only reliable protection for the Saudis comes from the US.

However, as Kirby pointed out, the new law, now officially on the books, is forcing the US’ European allies “to rethink the whole issue of sovereign immunity. We didn’t make that up. That was communicated to us by other countries.”

Is the State Dept. expecting diplomatic difficulty with Saudi Arabia as a result of the veto? In Kirby’s view, “it goes beyond just Saudi Arabia. It goes to a larger concern that we have had about this idea of sovereign immunity — not just for diplomats but for our troops, for US companies that operate overseas.”

Possibly. What was most poignant about this vote was the fact that Congressional Democrats clamored to support the veto override, signaling to their voters that they are not captives of an irrational White House on this and other issues. Congressman Jerry Nadler, a Manhattan Democrat whose 10th Congressional District actually includes Ground Zero, was adamant in attacking the president’s arguments.

“Despite the overblown rhetoric of some critics of this bill, JASTA (Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act) will not pose a threat to American military personnel or diplomats,” Nadler told the house. Debunking Kirby’s fretting, he added, “They would be absolutely protected if another country passed legislation mirroring this bill because JASTA applies only to governments. To the extent that a foreign government might pass broader legislation that would make American personnel subject to liability, that country would not be reciprocating. It would be engaging in a transparent and unjustifiable act of aggression.”

Nadler also noted that, despite Obama’s exaggerated fears, “the economic, diplomatic, and military strength of the United States makes such action unlikely, and any rogue state inclined to target US interests can already do so. We must not hold justice for the 9/11 families hostage to imagined fears.”

Over at the Senate, Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) cast the only vote in favor of Obama’s veto. No Democrat argued in favor of Obama’s version of reality before the vote. The Senate voted 97-1 Wednesday to override the veto.

The White House was irate, obviously, and spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One following the Senate override, “I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done, possibly, since 1983.”

For speculations as to what act of the Senate Earnest was referring to, check out this website, which tried to figure it out (White House Is Profoundly Wrong About the Most Embarrassing Thing Senate Has Done). We went to Wikipedia (so you won’t have to) and dug up possible embarrassing things Joe may have been thinking about, although, to be fair, most of them were attributed to the president, not the Senate:

On February 24, 1983, a special Congressional commission released a report critical of the practice of Japanese internment during World War II. That sure was embarrassing, but the shameful stuff didn’t happen in 1983, obviously.

On April 18, 1983, the US Embassy was bombed in Beirut, resulting in 63 dead. Then, on October 23, 1983, simultaneous suicide truck-bombings destroyed both the French and the US Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, killing 241 US servicemen, 58 French paratroopers and 6 Lebanese civilians. That was horrifying and embarrassing, especially since at that point President Ronald Reagan decided to cut and run — a point not mentioned often enough in those stories glorifying him as a brave commander-in-chief.

Finally, on October 25, 1983, American troops invaded Grenada, possibly to show the US could still defeat somebody. Yes, that was pretty embarrassing.

Of course, Earnest was not referring to any of the above. He was merely responding to a reporter who had told him that Wednesday’s veto was the most overwhelming since a 1983 95-0 veto override. President Reagan vetoed a land bill that gave a few acres to six retired couples who had paid good money for it only to find out later that, due to a surveying error, it was still government property.

No Saudis were harmed in the commission of that other veto.

JNi.Media

Report: Obama Granted Iran Nuclear Program Secret Exemptions

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

David Albright, president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, and his co-author, senior policy analyst Andrea Stricker, issued a report on Thursday saying the US and other world powers have secretly allowed Iran to exceed the nuclear deal’s limits on stockpiles of enriched uranium and other dangerous materials. Albright cited key secret exemptions which were made in secret meetings of the Joint Commission that was composed of Iran, the US, the UK, France, China, Russia, and the European Union.

Albright is a physicist who took part in UN weapons inspections in Iraq, and has been a self-appointed watchdog over the Iran nuclear deal. He has repeatedly raised doubts that the deal is being implemented honestly.

Albright’s report claims Iran would not have been able to meet its compliance requirements by January 16, 2016—the deal’s Implementation Day: “The exemptions and in one case, a loophole, involved the low enriched uranium (LEU) cap of 300 kilograms, some of the near 20 percent LEU, the heavy water cap, and the number of large hot cells allowed to remain in Iran,” the report reveals, citing a senior knowledgeable official who stated that “if the Joint Commission had not acted to create these exemptions, some of Iran’s nuclear facilities would not have been in compliance with the JCPOA by Implementation Day.”

The report also suggests “the Joint Commission allowed Iran to store large amounts of heavy water in Oman that remained under Iran’s control, effectively allowing Iran to exceed its cap of 130 tons of heavy water as it continues to produce heavy water at its Arak facility.”

“Any rationale for keeping these exemptions secret appears unjustified,” the report said, noting that “these decisions, which are written down, amount to additional secret or confidential documents linked to the JCPOA.” The report also claims that “the Joint Commission’s secretive decision-making process risks advantaging Iran by allowing it to try to systematically weaken the JCPOA. It appears to be succeeding in several key areas.”

“Given the technical complexity and public importance of the various JCPOA exemptions and loopholes, the administration’s policy to maintain secrecy interferes in the process of establishing adequate Congressional and public oversight of the JCPOA,” the report said, stressing that “this is particularly true concerning potentially agreement-weakening decisions by the Joint Commission. As a matter of policy, the United States should agree to any exemptions or loopholes in the JCPOA only if the decisions are simultaneously made public.”

State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday that “the Joint Commission has not and will not loosen any of the commitments and has not provided any exceptions that would allow Iran to retain or process material In excess of its (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) limits that it could use in a breakout scenario,” adding his assurance that “there’s been no cutting of slack.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest expressed the administration’s “significant objections” to the Albright report, assuring reporters that “Iran is in compliance with the agreement. That’s not my opinion. That’s not rhetoric. That is not a conjecture. That is a fact that is verified by independent international experts who, because of the agreement, now have the kind of access that is required to verify it.”

The Trump campaigned quickly took advantage of the report, with a statement by retired Army General Michael Flynn, a top Trump adviser, who said, “The deeply flawed nuclear deal Hillary Clinton secretly spearheaded with Iran looks worse and worse by the day. It’s now clear President Obama gave away the store to secure a weak agreement that is full of loopholes.”

Matt Brooks, Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition released a statement saying,
“This latest report further confirms that the Obama Administration has consistently misled the American people on the Iran nuclear deal. First we learned about a secret side deal that allows Iran to upgrade its centrifuges, then it was the secret $400 million ransom payment, and now these secret exemptions that allow Iran to evade restrictions on their nuclear capabilities. Simply put, President Obama and his fellow Democrats have never been straightforward with the American people about Iran. It’s clear this is a dangerous and reckless deal with the largest state sponsor of terrorism, and no one who is serious about our national security could support it.”

JNi.Media

US Denies Conditioning $400 Million Payment on Prisoner Release Was Ransom

Friday, August 19th, 2016

The U.S. State Department continues to insist that a $400 million cash payment airlifted to Iran earlier this year was not a ransom payment for the release of four American hostages but new details initially revealed by The Wall Street Journal beg the point.

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, Christian Pastor Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, were released January 17. A Jewish prisoner also held hostage — Bob Levinson — somehow was not included in the released. Oddly, the Iranians claim they have no knowledge of his whereabouts. As that was taking place, a separate aircraft had landed in Tehran with the cash. State Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Thursday the money was held back until the prisoners were freed.

“In basic English you are saying you wouldn’t give [them] the 400 million in cash until the prisoners were released, correct?” asked a reporter during the briefing on Thursday.

“That’s correct,” Kirby replied.

Kirby said negotiations for the return of the money to Iran, which was related to a failed 1979 military equipment deal between the two countries, were separate from the talks about the prisoners. Another $1.3 billion is expected to be paid to Iran in interest on the failed deal.

But Abedini told reporters that he and the other hostages were kept waiting at the airport in Iran for more than 20 hours, and that he was told by a senior Iranian intelligence agent that their departure would depend on the arrival of a second plane.

The State Department has denied these claims.

Earlier this month, U.S. President Barack Obama likewise insisted the money was not a quid pro quo. “This wasn’t some nefarious deal,” he told journalists during a news conference Aug. 4. “We do not pay ransom for hostages.”

Hana Levi Julian

Analysis: Pro-Terrorist PA Senior Compares IDF Actions to ISIS Terrorism

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Shortly after Israeli forces last week eliminated Muhammad al-Faqih, who had murdered Rabbi Miki Mark ZL in a drive by shooting, top Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat issued an announcement condemning the killing of the terrorist, calling it a crime. Hamas has also praised the same terrorist as “Hero of the attack in Otniel.” It should be noted that locals from al-Faqih’s hiding place, Surif village, have blamed the PA security service of informing on the murderer to their Israeli counterparts. Perhaps this explains the PA high official’s protesting too much those actions by Israel.

It also means that come January 17, 2017, the pro-PA Obama Administration will make room for a new tenant in the White House, and at least in case said tenant sports an orange pompadour and employs the word “huge” as both adjective and verb—the PA’s path to Washington would be all but blocked. And so the boys from Ramallah will be using the coming few months to squeeze as much as they can in anti-Israeli gestures from the Obama team. That, too, will necessarily be limited to the period after November 8, up until which Democratic criticism of Israel could cost candidate Clinton the election.

This past week has seen a general increase in the energy and zeal of the PA in pursuing a sharply anti-Israeli line of attack under the guise of participating in the peace efforts, the French peace efforts to be precise. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has absolutely rejected the French initiative last April, insisting that the “best way to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is through direct, bilateral negotiations.” And so, naturally, the PA brass migrated to Paris for the Vacance months, seeking peace on the banks of the Seine with French and US diplomats.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Paris on Saturday to meet with Secretary of State John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, to devise new ways to push the French-invented (imagined?) peace process forward.

Last Thursday, State Department Spokesman John Kirby said Kerry’s meeting with Abbas would be devoted to discussing the “prospects towards helping us create conditions for a two-state solution,” because, as he put it, “there is a possibility there could be additional bilateral meetings while we’re in Paris.” The fact that all these multi-lateral gymnastics are being planned and conducted without the only truly decisive power in the saga was not mentioned.

In fact, in the same spirit of talking strictly to themselves, the French Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying Abbas and Ayrault will meet by the end of the year to work on implementing the multilateral French peace initiative, which is going to feature yet another international summit on the Isralil-Palestinian conflict — so at least 50% of the sides in the conflict would be there.

Meanwhile, Erekat has raised the flame under his attacks on Israel for its audacious killing of Arab terrorists, possibly looking to link in the Europeans’ minds the horror Arab terrorists are inflicting on their civilian population with the IDF and Israel police efforts to enforce law and order in Israel’s cities and on the highways.

“Those who murder children in Europe in the name of religion are no different from those who murder children on Palestinian land,” Erekat told the press on Saturday. Because, as we all know, the slaughtered children in Europe have all taken up knives and Molotov cocktails to attack lone wolf ISIS terrorists.

Both Erekat and Abbas have been demanding that Secretary Kerry furnish them with a timetable for the re-launching of the peace talks, as well as a timetable for the implementation of the one-sided, pro-Palestinian agreements they view as the only legitimate outcome of such talks. “We need a timetable for restarting negotiations, a timetable for implementing agreements, and an international framework to oversee any future agreements,” Erekat insisted.

JNi.Media

Turkey Escalates Media Crackdown in Wake of Failed Coup

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Two advocacy groups, NY based Committee to Protect Journalists, and DC based Freedom House, on Wednesday sounded an alarm about the arrests of more than a dozen Turkish journalists since the weekend, and the shutting down of dozens of media outlets by the Turkish government. The move was given a single, unified reasoning: all these individuals and outlets are accused of being affiliated with dissident Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen who is living in exile in Philadelphia but, according to the Edrogan government was behind the recent military coup attempt.

CPJ Europe and Central Asia program coordinator Nina Ognianova told the Voice of America: “We’re obviously extremely concerned about the developments, particularly against journalists, but this sort of behavior from the government is nothing new. For months, the Turkish authorities have gone after journalists who were critical of their policies. It’s escalated now and in the post-coup period.”

News outlets in Turkey reported on Wednesday that the Turkish government had ordered the closing of 45 newspapers, 23 radio stations, 16 TV channels and three news agencies. An Istanbul prosecutor issued detention warrants for 47 former employees and executives of Zaman, a media group accused of links to Gulen.

Journalist and former parliamentarian Nazlı Ilıcak, who was on the Zaman detention warrant, was arrested in the Bodrum district of the Aegean province of Mugla early on July 26. She was pulled out of her car and taken to the Bodrum Police Station, and then sent to Istanbul for legal actions.

Five other journalists: Yakup Sağlam, İbrahim Balta, Seyit Kılıç, Bayram Kaya and Cihan Acar, have also been detained so far, according to Hurriyet Daily News.

Freedom House official Nate Schenkkan told VOA that unofficial lists circulating on pro-government social media sites suggest at least 150 other journalists could be targeted, many of whom may have no ties to Gulen.

State Department spokesman John Kirby voiced the US concern about press freedom in Turkey: “I think we’d see this as a continuation of … a troubling trend in Turkey where official bodies, law enforcement and judicial, are being used to discourage legitimate political discourse.”

The crackdown on Turkish media dates back to December 2013, when Turkish prosecutors launched a massive corruption investigation of associates of then-Prime Minister Erdogan, which resulted in a government backlash and mass arrests of journalist. Since 2013, Freedom House has set Turkey’s press freedom status a at 71 out of 100, with 100 being the worst. This shameful score is certainly going to be increased soon.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/turkey-escalates-media-crackdown-in-wake-of-failed-coup/2016/07/28/

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