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November 29, 2015 / 17 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Lori Lowenthal Marcus’

Israel and Russia Create Joint Military Working Group on Syria

Friday, September 25th, 2015

The Russians have arrived in Syria. Because the United States has taken a pass on the unraveling of the world as we used to know it, Israel is making the best of it. Sometimes it is better to join them (to some extent) than to fight them, as the saying goes.

Over the past few weeks Russia has begun moving personnel and weaponry into Syria in an effort to prop up its ally, besieged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Russia is amassing a military presence, including deploying aircraft to a base in Latakia province. It has also sent fighter-bombers and ground attack aircraft, and is erecting a building large enough to house as many as 2,000 advisers in Syria.

The presence of Russians and the buildup of Russian weaponry has added to the complex and easily combustible situation on Israel’s border with Syria. Something Israel does not want to add into the mix is accidentally starting a conflict with Russia should Russian equipment or personnel become collateral damage from a mission to prevent the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to Moscow on Monday, Sept. 21 to talk about Syria. Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he wanted to “clarify our policies” and to make sure there were “no misunderstandings between our forces.”

Netanyahu said that “Iran and Syria have been arming the extremist Islamic terrorist organization Hezbollah with advanced weapons, aimed at us, and over the years thousands of rockets and missiles have been fired against our cities. At the same time, Iran, under the auspices of the Syrian army, is attempting to build a second terrorist front against us from the Golan Heights.”

The result of that diplomatic effort by Netanyahu was the establishment of a joint military working group to ensure there were “no misunderstandings between [Russian and Israeli] forces.”

The effort will coordinate information regarding military activity in Syria, including aerial, naval and electromagnetic activity.

A U.S. official told Reuters that U.S.-Israeli coordination allowed the allies to share classified technologies for identifying Russian aircraft over Syria: “We know how to spot them clearly and quickly,” the official said.

Iran is in the region in order to assist Syria, which is no friend to Israel, and Syria is the main supplier of deadly weapons to Hezbollah, Israel’s enemy from the north. Also friend to Syria is Iran, which is Israel’s greatest threat.

This dangerous region continues to grow more volatile by the day. Everyone is improvising to fill the gap created by the absentee player – the United States.

House Passes Resolution Obliging Obama to Follow the Law

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced, and the House passed, a Resolution intending to require President Barack Obama to follow his obligations under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (Corker-Cardin).

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), both of whom served in the U.S. military, sponsored House Resolution 411. The Resolution was introduced and then approved by a vote of 243-186 on Thursday, Sept. 10, the same date on which the U.S. Senate filibustered the Iran Deal to prevent the House from pushing forward a disapproval vote and requiring members to publicly vote on the deal.

The Resolution points out that despite the President’s obligation under Corker-Cardin “to transmit the agreement, including any side agreements” to “the appropriate congressional committees and leadership,” and the term “agreement” is exhaustively defined as including any

agreement related to the nuclear pro- gram of Iran that includes the United States, commits the United States to take action, or pursuant to which the United States commits or otherwise agrees to take action, regardless of the form it takes, whether a political commitment or otherwise, and regardless of whether it is legally binding or not, including any joint comprehensive plan of action entered into or made between Iran and any other parties, and any additional materials related there- to, including annexes, appendices, codicils, side agreements, implementing materials, documents, and guidance, technical or other understandings, and any related agreements, whether entered into or implemented prior to the agreement or to be entered into or implemented in the future.

Because the President has not provided Congress with the documentation regarding the secret side deals between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the President has failed to comply with Corker-Cardin.

And because Corker-Cardin has been breached by the President, the 60 day Congressional review period, the Resolution states, has not yet begun to run.

“Despite the reckless efforts by President Obama and Senate Democrats to force the implementation of the terribly flawed Iran nuclear agreement, I am proud of my colleagues in the House for getting it right and passing this important resolution today,” said Pompeo.

“This resolution is crucial to reining in the president and forcing him to live up to his obligation under Corker-Cardin, which he himself signed into law just a few months ago. The lack of access to the roadmap makes it impossible for a member of Congress to support this agreement; therefore, the president must show Congress the agreement in its entirety. A bad deal with Iran is not worth risking the safety of Kansans and the American people. I will continue to work hard and do everything in my power to stop this agreement.”

Following the passage of the Resolution, another opponent of the Nuclear Iran Deal, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), said “President Obama broke the very law he signed by failing to provide Congress with the Iran-IAEA side agreements. Withholding these documents from the American people and their elected representatives completely discredits the transparent review process the Administration was legally obligated to provide. In light of this vote, I believe the House should pursue legal action against the Administration for its blatant disregard for the law.”

Legal Bombshell Could Block Nuclear Iran Deal, if Congress Has the Nerve

Friday, September 11th, 2015

After the Senate’s filibuster of the Nuclear Iran Deal on Thursday, Sept. 10, perhaps the only remaining way for Congressional opponents of the Nuclear Iran Deal to block the measure is if Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) authorizes the House of Representatives to sue President Obama for failing to comply with the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (Corker-Cardin).

That avenue is wide open, at the moment, thanks to a decision by a Federal District Court in Washington, D.C. issued on Wednesday, Sept. 8.

The court in House of Representatives v. Burwell found that the House has standing, that is, the right, to bring a lawsuit against the executive branch of the U.S. government. The issue in the Burwell case is the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

The legal basis for the potential lawsuit would be the failure of the White House to comply with the requirements laid out in Corker-Cardin. Under that legislation passed earlier this year, the White House had to provide Congress with all documents relating to the Nuclear Iran Deal, whether codicils, side agreements, or any other agreements bearing on the issue, with or between the parties.

As was discovered this summer, there are two secret side agreements dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, the only parties to which are Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The administration has never provided Congress with any documents relating to those side agreements. As was revealed yesterday in the JewishPress.com, the administration claimed, with a straight face, that it has provided Congress with all the documentation it has. The administration was able to make that claim because not one member of the U.S. government has a single piece of paper or digital notation regarding those side deals – those were all left with the Iranian negotiators and the members of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Iranians physically threatened to harm IAEA members if information about the secret side deals were shared with Americans, the Washington Free Beacon noted, quoting the Iranian Fars news service.

Of course the administration knew that Corker-Cardin required it to produce documentation regarding the side deals. Perhaps for this reason, first the administration tried to hide the fact that those side deals existed.

But the existence of those side agreements was discovered anyway, by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), two U.S. legislators trying to represent the interests of America, who traveled to Vienna to meet with IAEA officials in July, and who were told about the side agreements then.

Once the existence of those side deals became known, the administration officials still hid critical information about them – even to themselves, if they can be believed – although those officials had to know they were violating Corker-Cardin all along by allowing every jot of documentation to remain beyond U.S. borders.

Think about the growing mound of lies and obstructions surrounding Messr.s Obama and Kerry’s Nuclear Iran Deal. What is in it that they are so convinced Americans would revolt if the truth about it were known?

Which brings Congress, finally, at this very late date, to the possibility of litigation.

This only works if the House of Representatives, as an institution, brings the case, and that requires Boehner’s approval. Although Boehner has been late to the party, he has now become alive to the need for a vigorous legal attack on the flawed legislation itself and on the administration’s abrogation of its obligations under Corker-Cardin.

Perhaps this newfound interest stems from very serious challenges to his leadership. Those challenges are coming from Republicans on his right who have been the strongest opponents to the treaty as a threat both to the United States, as well as to Israel and the rest of the civilized world.

If Boehner has finally awakened and is prepared to use all the tools at his disposal as leader of the Republican majority in the House – which has strongly and consistently opposed this capitulatory deal – something historic may happen.

No American Has Seen the Entirety of the Side Deals and Not One Note Exists in US

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

In an exclusive interview with the JewishPress.com, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) disclosed that not only has every member of Congress who voted for the Nuclear Iran Deal never seen any of the documents containing key elements of the deal, but also that not a single document from or about those side deals is anywhere in the possession of any Americans.

This means that neither the President of the United States, nor the Secretary of State, nor any member of the U.S. negotiating team has the capacity to read any of these documents and know what they say.

It means that the United States is relying on someone else’s account of what the agreements say in order to determine whether a sufficient degree of protection is afforded the United States and its allies by this agreement.

And if the description U.S. officials have been given is wrong, the United States will not know until Iranian bombs fall.

This government is entrusting – yes, entrusting because there can be no verification of an unknown – the most murderous and voracious regime on the globe with following rules governing its nuclear activity and not even the highest levels of this administration can say exactly what those rules say.

It is staggering.

Pompeo, a Harvard Law School graduate who graduated first in his class from West Point and served in the U.S. military, along with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) discovered the existence of those secret side deals when they traveled to Vienna and met with members of the International Atomic Energy Agency in July.

Since learning about those side deals, one of which deals with Iran’s Parchin military complex and inspections of such sites and the other deals with the possible military dimensions of Iran’s previous nuclear weapons program, Pompeo has been “obsessed” with finding out the details of those deals.

When asked whether he or other members of Congress planned to subpoena the administration for the documentation surrounding those side deals, Pompeo responded: “they don’t have anything.”

“No notes? No lists? No summaries?” Pompeo was asked.

“Nothing,” he answered.


Pompeo told this reporter that the briefings provided by the administration to members of Congress about the side deals were provided based on recollections of what American officials were told.

Given this bizarre turn of events, opponents of the Joint Nuclear Plan of Action (which includes those invisible side deals) plan to do three things, Pompeo said.

First, they intend to vote to block the deal from going forward, as the administration is already in violation of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (Corker-Cardin), the first Article of which explicitly required the administration to provide all documentation of every part of the deal. Because the administration has failed to fulfill its obligation, the 60 day clock on the Congressional review period has not yet begun.

Second, the Congressional opponents of the JCPOA will introduce a new motion, one of approval for the JCPOA. This will require members of Congress to affirmatively vote in favor of the deal, if that is their position, despite their ignorance of key aspects of the deal.

And third, opponents of the JCPOA in Congress will move to ensure that the current sanctions on Iran are not lifted.

The revelation provided by Pompeo also brings into focus another profound problem with the Iran agreement: by its terms – that is, according to the terms we have – the agreement is inconsistent with, and purports to overrule, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement. The NNPA is a treaty, and as such, part of the Supreme Law of the Land ordained by the Constitution.

Therefore, the NNPA cannot be overruled by a mere executive agreement, which the administration has insisted is the status of the Iran deal. But if we do not actually know all of the relevant terms to which the United States has acceded, and which will govern the parts of the agreement we can see, it is even more clearly impossible for anyone to determine the extent to which this set of agreements contravenes the NNPA.

Did the Administration Out-Maneuver Itself on Iran Deal, Spelling its Defeat?

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

There are ways for Congress to block the current Nuclear Iran Deal, despite the numbers game everyone is engaged in. There are ways, but is there the will? The answer seems to be “yes” for opponents, all except the current members of Congress, none of whom seems to be ready to lead the fight where it’s needed: in Congress.

Ever since U.S. President Barack Obama’s Nuclear Iran Deal racked up the 34 Senators who will ward off efforts at a veto override, many people folded the deck and moved on to the next issue.

Even people adamantly opposed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action hammered out by Iran and acquiesed to by Secretary of State John Kerry and his negotiating team are acting as if, literally, it’s a done Deal.

But it isn’t.

There are currently circulating several proposals to send the negotiators back to the negotiating table. All of them rely on straight readings of the law. In fact, it is the administration that already voided the deal by failing to follow the procedures laid out in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.

As former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy first pointed out on Sept. 5  in the National Review, and as Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS-4) and attorney David Rivkin pointed out in a Washington Post op-ed published on Sept. 6, the very first section of the INARA requires the president to provide Congress with the JCPOA, “including all related materials and annexes.’

Congress should have been given all information about the agreement, including that information which we now know is contained in the secret side deals, neither of which the President nor his negotiating team informed Congress existed. It was only by chance that Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) and Rep. Pompeo learned of the existence of those side deals from International Atomic Energy Agency employees in July, while meeting with them in Vienna

And providing the information now is too late, according to the INARA, as McCarthy points out: the act dictates that it was to have been done “not later than five days after reaching the agreement” — meaning July 19, since the agreement was finalized on July 14.

McCarthy’s article is a must-read. He provides additional ways in which the administration has mishandled its obligations under the INARA, which is the very legislation it relies on to claim victory once it attained 34 Senators. Ordinarily an international agreement like this one would require 67 Senators to support it for passage, but the INARA flipped that on its head, and required 67 Senators to oppose it in order to defeat the bill.

Pompeo and Rivkin’s formulation of how the administration has defaulted on its obligation under INARA is slightly different, although it also builds on their failure to provide the necessary information in a timely fashion to Congress.

According to this view, because the administration has failed to provide Congress with the secret side deal addressing the possible military dimensions of Iran’s former nuclear weapons program, the 60 day review period provided Congress under the INARA has not yet begun, and because that information had to be provided “to Congress between July 10 and September 7,” the window has closed.

There is yet another move to have the JCPOA be reclassified through litigation as a treaty, which the vast majority of legal and congressional scholars agree it clearly is.

There are still more legal maneuvers under consideration, all of which reveal an administration and its supporters so punch drunk on victory they failed to notice that a key element (or elements) they thought put the deal in the bag for them is actually the key to its unraveling.

But someone in Congress has to step forward and make the arguments. All the haranguing against the deal is meaningless unless it is actually defeated.


IRS Pummeled by Court for Suggesting OK to Discriminate Against Pro-Israel Group

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

In a highly unusual public thrashing of a government lawyer for the Internal Revenue Service by the second highest U.S. court, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, asked: “You don’t really mean that the IRS is free to discriminate against its citizens, do you?”

The judges asked this question several times in several different ways of the Department of Justice lawyer Teresa McLaughlin who had the misfortune of representing the IRS in a case filed against it by Z STREET*, a staunchly pro-Israel non-profit organization in a hearing on Monday morning, May 4.

Since August of 2010, the Z STREET case has been languishing in the U.S. court system. Z STREET sued the IRS because it learned from the IRS agent to whom its tax exempt application had been assigned, that its application would take some time to process because “the IRS had to give “special scrutiny to organizations connected to Israel,” and that the applications of such organizations “were sent to a special unit in Washington, D.C. to determine whether its activities contradicted the policies of this Administration,” according to its Complaint.

Z STREET sued the IRS for “viewpoint discrimination,” a violation of the U.S. Constitution. The claim is that the IRS did not provide Z STREET with a fair process, which is what it is now seeking, through this lawsuit.

Z STREET has made clear from the first document filed in this case and in every document filed over the past nearly five years of litigation that it was not seeking that the courts grant it a tax exemption (501(c)(3)), only that its application be afforded a Constitutionally fair process.

The IRS, in turn, has insisted in every one of its legal documents that Z STREET’s case should be dismissed because there is a statute, Sec. 7428 of the Internal Revenue Code, that allows it to bring a lawsuit seeking the tax exemption, which can be pursued 270 days after an application is filed if the IRS has not yet acted.

Last May the D.C. federal district court denied the IRS’s efforts to throw out Z STREET’s lawsuit, clearing the path for the critical phase of the lawsuit to begin: discovery, the portion of a lawsuit in which the parties have to truthfully answer questions under oath and must provide requested critical documents. At the 11th hour, the IRS filed a special kind of appeal, which the D.C. Circuit Appellate Court granted.

This Monday morning, the IRS’s lawyer had not gotten two sentences out of her mouth when Judges David Sentelle and David Tatel cut off the effort to once again mischaracterize the Z STREET claim and suggest that it should have pursued the Sec. 7428 option.

“That is an over broad characterization” of the claim, Judge Sentelle shot out, forcing the government lawyer to narrow the scope of the aperture, so that the goal of seeking a Constitutionally fair process was briefly acknowledged by McLaughlin. “Bingo!” Judge Sentelle exclaimed.

As the judges drew out McLaughlin’s grilling to more than twice the normally allotted time, the judges began to lose patience. Judge Tatel had to reassert the proper focus of the lawsuit: “Their [Z STREET’s] argument is this ‘Israel Special Process’ subjected them to a different standard, based on their viewpoint, subjecting them to a delay in the process. If they sue [later] for a [tax] refund that cannot remedy the delay.” In fact, he pointed out, “neither a refund nor a 7428 action could address that” discriminatory delay.

There was lots more pummeling of the government lawyer, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out repeatedly in its May 7 editorial, “The IRS Goes to Court” and subheadlined, “The Agency suggests it can discriminate for 270 days. Judges Gasp.”

Brandeis Commencement Speaker Leads Iran Cheerleader Squad

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

All those concerned about the dangers of Iran obtaining the ability to produce nuclear weapons have been closely watching the negotiations between Iran and the U.S. and its partners in the P5+1.

Perhaps no country has been more concerned about that danger than Israel, the nation which the Iranian leaders continue to brazenly threaten with annihilation.

It is reasonable to conclude that those who are urging the negotiators to proceed apace, to succumb to Iranian threats and demands without integrating ironclad precautionary methods are not overly concerned about the safety of Israel.

Given the university’s past “sister” relationship with Al Quds University, perhaps that explains Brandeis’s willingness to offer Ambassador Thomas Pickering – the Iran cheerleader and harsh critic of Israel – an honorary degree as this year’s Commencement featured speaker.

But what about Iran’s human rights record?

Don’t Brandeis students think hanging gays and summary executions are sufficiently objectionable to protest a pro-Iran commencement speaker?

And yet, Brandeis University is having as its 2015 commencement speaker an ardent supporter of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ambassador Thomas Pickering.

A few weeks ago JewishPress.com exposed Pickering’s disdain for Israel and his demands that the U.S. stop coddling the Jewish State and only making demands on the Palestinian Arabs (we’re not kidding).

The lack of a response from the university shows that Justice Brandeis’s namesake university doesn’t care so much about Pickering’s lack of support for Israel’s current leadership. But Israel’s existence? Or how about human rights?


It is now clear that Pickering is at the forefront of those advocating for the rights of Iran to continue with its nuclear program, without ensuring every possible cautionary step be taken, and for the as-soon-as-possible rapprochement between the U.S. and Iran, human rights failings be damned.

This year’s planned commencement speaker at Brandeis is anxious to improve U.S.-Iran relations. And “improve” means increasing recognition of and hospitality towards the Islamic Republic by the U.S., without any necessary concomitant improvement in, oh, say, antagonism voiced by Iranian leadership towards the U.S. or any of its allies. Or even any improvement in its treatment of its own citizens.

Pickering has a leadership role in the big three pro-Iran diplomatic organizations: the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), the American-Iranian Council and the Iran Project. All three of these entities are focused on normalizing relations between the U.S. and Iran without demanding Iran first improve its appalling human rights record.

Pickering and his colleagues were delighted when the administration announced the P5+1 pre-Agreement Agreement, back on April 2; they immediately lauded the deal.

And then, when there was so much pushback, not only from the Israeli leadership, or from the Republican leadership, but from the leadership of the Democrats in Congress, Pickering and his pals began playing defense for the deal.

Pickering and his pals at the American-Iranian Council feared that the Congressional proposal might “hamper a speedy resolution to the nuclear deal as well as the AIC’s broader goal of rapprochement between the United States and Iran.”

They did not want to lose the momentum that had seemed to have been gained at Lausanne (momentum that began sputtering as soon as the fact sheets put out by the U.S. and Iran differed dramatically on significant points).

The AIC was horrified that Congress might “undermine all the progress and goodwill” that the negotiators had achieved in Switzerland.

“We remain steadfast in our support for a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear issue that would remove a major issue that has bottlenecked a broader rapprochement between the US and Iran,” AIC advised on its website.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/brandeis-commencement-speaker-leads-iran-cheerleader-squad/2015/04/21/

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