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August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘State Department’

Kerry, in Memory Lapse, Backs New Egyptian Elections

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday urged that the Egyptian military regime, which it blessed for getting rid of Mohammed Morsi, hold elections like those of last year, when Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi won and was blessed by the Obama administration.

The elections followed the revolution against Hosni Mubarak, whom Washington had blessed for years as its closest ally in the Middle East except for Israel.

“The United States strongly supports the Egyptian people’s hope for a prompt and sustainable transition to an inclusive, tolerant, civilian-led democracy,” Kerry told reporters in Washington.

The State Dept. has a short memory, which apparently is part of its curriculum for learning the Middle East.

Every American administration for years had known that Mubarak was a ruthless autocrat. But as he long as maintained stability, profited from U.S. arms sales and limited his anti-Israel positions to speeches for the masses, everyone was happy – except the Egyptians.

After Mubarak’s goon squads murdered nearly 1,000 people opposing his regime, President Barack Obama turned his back on Mubarak and hastened his departure, as would any country that favors human rights.

Then the United States misread the Arab street for a change. Just as the State Dept. under the Bush administration failed to realize that the Hamas terrorist organization would win the Palestinian Authority’s first and last democratic elections eight years ago, the Obama administration did not realize that after Mubarak comes the radical Muslim Brotherhood.

Instead of standing up for human rights and condemning the fiercely anti-Israeli and anti-Christian group, Washington embraced it, figuring it’s best to make friends with those in power in order to tell them what to do. But it seems that the world does not always act as the United States wants.

Those warm embraces and blessings lasted for less than year. While the State Dept. spent months of pretending that Morsi was instituting reforms while it ignored his actions in the opposite direction, the Egyptians had enough and launched  the country’s second Arab Spring rebellion in two years.

The State Dept. backed the ouster of Morsi, despite his having been democratically elected, and gave its blessings to the army, which it was sure would serve only as an interim government.

Here is a statement that could have been made during the rebellion against the Mubarak regime: “We and others have urged the government to respect the rights of free assembly and of free expression, and we have also urged all parties to resolve this impasse peacefully and underscored that demonstrators should avoid violence and incitement.”

That actually was said on Wednesday by Kerry, who condemned the same army he backed a month ago.

“The United States strongly condemns today’s violence and bloodshed across Egypt,” he said. “It’s a serious blow to reconciliation and the Egyptian’s people’s hopes for a transition towards democracy and inclusion.”

More accurately, it is a blow to the United States, which just can’t get it right in the Middle East, let alone Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Violence is simply not a solution in Egypt or anywhere else,” he said, ignoring the fact the violence is a way of life in most Arab countries, where “might is right.” The  Arab Spring revolutions have shown that there is a choice.

One option is a ruthless autocratic regime that suppress freedom, beats up anyone who says “boo” and also maintains stability, especially for the rich ruling class.

The other option is mass violence and instability.

According to Kerry, “Violence only impedes the transition to an inclusive civilian government, a government chosen in free and fair elections that governs democratically, consistent with the goals of the Egyptian revolution.”

That brings him to the logical conclusion that elections are needed. The sooner they come, the more violent they will be.

Kerry concluded his remarks with what should be viewed as a worrisome statement: “The United States remains at the ready to work with all of the parties and with our partners and with others around the world in order to help achieve a peaceful, democratic way forward.”

The video below  shows some of Wednesday’s violence. It is more or less a replay of Mubarak’s violence in 2011. In between, there were elections, which were both the outcome and precursor of violence.

AP Reporter: Is Construction Deal Killer Despite Murderers’ Release

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

For days the discussion throughout Israel and most of the pro-Israel world has been focused on the Jewish State’s decision to release more than 100 Arab Palestinian terrorists from prison, nearly all of whom are murderers who had been given life sentences.

Even those who approved of the release of more than 1000 Arab prisoners from jail in exchange for the freedom of Gilad Shalit several years ago had difficulty understanding this round of convicted murderer releases.

Why would the Israeli government agree to release prisoners guilty of heinous murders in exchange for…the privilege of sitting down with the Palestinian Arab negotiators? Particularly when it is clear to everyone who has been watching this peace process parade for years that the talks will only be about what else Israel will have to give up.

Israel is not going to obtain any reliable guarantees that terrorism will cease or decrease. What is a more likely guarantee is that terrorism may well increase, with potential terrorists emboldened by the realization that no matter what crimes they commit, no matter how young or how old their Israeli victims, no matter if they use bomb belts or firebombs or axes or pitchforks to murder Israelis, they will eventually be released from prison.

Anyone who thought that it was worth it for Israel to take such a painful step because it will convince those countries/journalists/diplomats who are not simply inveterate Israel haters that Israel really is committed to peace, need only watch the videos of the State Department’s Daily briefings from the last two days to understand that it simply does not matter what Israel does, it will be vilified and treated as if it – the party making concessions – is the wrongful actor, and the Arab Palestinians are the ones who are forced to suffer the grievous harm inflicted on them by Israel’s actions.

For example, the state department briefing on Tuesday, August 13, started out with outrage from Associated Press reporter Matt Lee, who repeatedly sought to provoke Marie Harf, the state department spokesperson, into condemning Israel’s approval of housing construction in the eastern part of Jerusalem. And Matt Lee is one of the more even-handed of the White House press corps reporters.

To her credit, Harf repeatedly refused to be baited and would not take a specific position on the housing approvals, other than to say – repeatedly – that the U.S. government has “serious concerns” which they have “made known” to the Israeli government.

What seemed to particularly irk Lee and some of his colleagues is that while the U.S. keeps referring to the two parties being “at the table in good faith,” they saw Israel as being totally in the wrong for daring to build housing for its citizens in areas that many people and many countries – but not Israel – think is not rightfully theirs.

Here’s an example of what went on:

The Palestinians meanwhile don’t seem to have done anything except kind of sucked it up on this, and I’m just wondering if you view – is this evidence of Israel’s good faith – what you talked about yesterday when you said both sides were at the table in good faith?

and then, Lee said: “does it bother you that the Israelis are doing exactly the opposite of what you would like them to do?

Another topic that came up several times – and has been the topic of many news stories over the past several days – has been the secretary of state Kerry’s description of Israeli communities beyond the 1949 Armistice Line as “illegitimate.”

Harf  was pressed on this point several times, and was asked to find out from her boss whether it is the view of the U.S. government that only “continued settlement activity is illegitimate,” or is prior “settlement activity” also illegitimate?

Again, it was Lee who articulated this.  Here are his questions, with the single word interruptions by Harf deleted:

And I just want to make sure that my question is clear. I want to know if the U.S. regards any existing settlement –or housing construction in the West Bank — I mean, in East Jerusalem — to be illegitimate or if it’s –all in the future.

Of course, this is the “facts on the ground” argument against Jewish homes being built anywhere over the Green Line.  Watch this be the new buzz phrase adopted by people like Jodi Rudoren from the New York Times.  Somehow the idea that no Jews would ever be permitted to live in any potential Palestinian state is never one that troubles reporters.

Not nearly so trepidatious as the Americans, the European Union took little time in denouncing Israel for the housing construction approvals, describing Israel’s decision “to approve the building of nearly 1,200 new settlement apartments in occupied territories” to be “illegal under international law and threatens to make a two-state solution impossible.”

No word from the EU on the impact of continued terrorism, or whether the description by the Palestinian Authority of the Arab murderers who will be released from prison as “freedom fighters” is an obstacle to peace or might threaten the “two state” concept.

AP reporter Lee asked the state department spokesperson whether the U.S. has a position on the Arab Palestinians referring to the prisoners as “freedom fighters”:

most of these people have been convicted of murder, of killing people, and the Israelis are very clear on the fact that they think that these people are terrorists, even though they’re releasing them. The Palestinians say that they are political prisoners, and I – and they have instructed their ambassadors, all their representatives around the world, to refer to them as freedom fighters, political prisoners. And I want to know, if you don’t have a position –

About the only thing less pleasant than having to be state department spokesperson with people like Matt Lee in the press corps would be having root canal surgery if the dentist was using a buzzsaw.

The next round of talks between the negotiators for the Israelis and the negotiators for the Arab Palestinians is scheduled for Wednesday, August 14.

State Dept. Now Fighting ‘Enemies Of Islam’

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

This is one step beyond The Twilight Zone …. it’s the O’Zone, just as poisonous and deadly. (Thanks to Armaros)

Obama’s state department is now calling devout Muslims “enemies of Islam.” This is madness. Are counter jihadists considered enemies of Islam?

State Dept Offers $10 Million Reward For Kill or Capture Of ‘Enemies Of Islam’ IJ Review, August 12, 2013

As with most things his administration does, I’m sure Obama will be shocked when he reads in the newspapers about the State Dept. declaring a $10 million bounty on the head of what it calls an “enemy of Islam.”

From a State Department Press release:

The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the cowardly attacks today in Baghdad. These attacks were aimed at families celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The terrorists who committed these acts are enemies of Islam and a shared enemy of the United States, Iraq, and the international community.

Obama’s representatives tell us we don’t take sides in religious wars, but somehow it’s okay to issue a State Department “fatwa” against the enemies of Islam?

Visit Atlas Shrugs.

al Qaeda Terrorism Threat Spurs US WorldWide Travel Alert

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

The U.S. Department of State issued a Worldwide Travel Alert on Friday, August 2, on the heels of a surprise and shocking announcement on Thursday during the daily State Department press conference, regarding embassy and consulate closings on Sunday, August 4.

The shuttering of diplomatic outposts in the Muslim world – whose embassies and consulates are typically open on Sunday, where it is a regular workday – and the travel alert are all based on current information suggesting that al-Qaeda and its affiliates are planning terrorist attacks on American citizens or interests in the Middle East and North Africa.

“Current information suggests that al-Qa’ida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August,” reads the alert on the State Department’s website.

The alert suggested, in particular, that transportation and other tourist infrastructure may be at risk.

Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests. U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure.  Terrorists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services.

In addition, the State Department recommends that U.S. citizens traveling abroad register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) – which provides the latest security updates and facilitates U.S. embassy or consulate personnel to contact U.S. citizens when and if the need arises.

In addition to the standard hurricane season alert, which is in force in the Atlantic, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico between June 1 and  November 30, there are five State Department Travel Alerts currently in place.

The WorldWide Travel Alert which was just issued Friday, August 1, is the latest of the alerts.  There is also an Alert for Americans traveling to the African Muslim country of Mali where presidential elections were just held.  This Travel Alert expires on August 20, 2013.

On May 31 a three month Travel Alert was issued for Cameroon, where the radical Islamist group Boko Haram is increasingly active. There is also a three month Travel Alert in place for Iran, where the Shia government as well as many citizens hold strong anti-American sentiments.  The U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with Iran.

The U.S. State Department Travel Alert for Egypt is set to expire on August 15. The current unrest and political upheaval suggests the Alert will be renewed upon its expiration.

During Thursday’s press conference during which the embassy and consulate closings were discussed, a member of the press asked whether it might not be prudent to warn and protect American citizens, as well as the U.S. diplomatic corps, if there were credible threats of terrorist attacks.

 

Al-Qaeda Threat to Shutter US MidEast Embassies Sunday

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

The U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf gave an initial heads up at the State Department press conference on Thursday afternoon, August 1, that “certain U.S. embassies and consulates to remain closed or to suspend operations on Sunday, August 4.”

It was later disclosed that all U.S. embassies and consulates across the Middle East and in parts of Asia will be closed on Sunday.

The reason for the unprecedented closure is a possible al-Qaeda-related threat to diplomatic posts.

As NBSNews.com noted, Sunday is President Barack Obama’s 52nd birthday, and it’s also the day Iran inaugurates Hassan Rowhani as its new president. But U.S. officials told NBC News they had heard nothing to indicate that the date was chosen for either of those reasons.

ABC news had even more specific information.  Reporters there claimed that a U.S. official had said the closings were due to a credible and serious security threat of the targeting of an “embassy or consulate in a Muslim country.”

“We just don’t know which one,” the official told ABC News.

According to CBSNews.com, as of 7:35 PM ET Thursday, at least 14 embassies had announced that they will close on Sunday in accordance with the State Department’s guidance.  These include the U.S. embassies in Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

“There could be other targets, not just embassies,” another U.S. official said. The threat is considered to be throughout the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.

U.S. Ambassadors, and not the State Department, usually determine when an embassy will close.  This is an unusual step.

It is possible the diplomatic posts will remain closed past Sunday.

Winning the war on terrorism?  Defeated al-Qaeda?  Doesn’t sound like it.

The Jewish Press will continue to update this story as details become available.

Saudi Blogger Faces Jail and 600 Lashes For Insulting Islam

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Only 600 lashes? The libs will say that is progress. The question is, how many lashes can any human being withstand? I think beheadng is more …. humane.

“We believe that when public speech is deemed offensive, be it via social media or any other means, the issue is best addressed through open-dialogue and honest debate,” said US State Department spokeswoman

As for the State department’s hollow remarks, I submit that the State Department should cease meeting with the OIC in Washington in order to impose restrictions on speech in accordance with the blasphemy laws under the sharia. I submit that the State Department should withdraw the Secretary of State’s remarks. I submit that the Department of Justice should withdraw its vow to criminalize postings on social media that offend Muslims. I submit that Obama should cease blaming youtube and freedom of expression for murderous attacks on Americans in Benghazi and beyond. I submit that Obama should stop championing the adoption of anti-free speech resolution by the UN.

“Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi Faces Jail and 600 Lashes For Insulting Islam” IBTimes, July 31, 2013

An international outcry was triggered by a Saudi Arabian court that handed a seven-year jail and 600 lashes sentence to the editor of a liberal website for violating Islamic values.

Raif Badawi has been in detention since 2012, after being arrested on cyber-crime charges related to Free Saudi, the website he founded which hosted discussions on religion in the ultraconservative Islamic kingdom.

The US and France expressed deep concerns at the punishment also slammed by human rights groups.

“We believe that when public speech is deemed offensive, be it via social media or any other means, the issue is best addressed through open-dialogue and honest debate,” said US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.logger makes a mockery of Saudi Arabia’s claims that it supports reform and religious dialogue,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

“A man who wanted to discuss religion has already been locked up for a year and now faces 600 lashes and seven years in prison.”

Judges at Jeddah criminal court reportedly dropped the heaviest charge of apostasy - which carries an automatic death sentence – after Badawi, gave assurances he was a Muslim.

“The judge asked Raif, ‘Are you a Muslim?’ and he said ‘Yes, and I don’t accept anyone to cast doubt on (my belief)’,” Badawi’s wife, who moved abroad in 2012 with her children, tweeted.

However, the court found Badawi guilty of insulting Islam and ordered the closure of the website, Al-Watan newspaper reported.

Judges also gave Badawi an additional three months in jail for disobeying his father, a crime in Saudi Arabia. The two allegedly had numerous public confrontations over the years.

Part of prosecutors’ evidence consisted in postings by Badawi and anonymous members of his site critical of senior Saudi religious figures, HRW reported.

Badawi’s troubles with the authorities started shortly after he started Free Saudi in 2008.

He was forced to leave the country in May that year, after authorities charged him with “setting up an electronic site that insults Islam”.

As the charges were dropped he returned to his homeland but continued his online activity, HRW said.

In March 2012 he was designated as an “unbeliever and apostate” by a well-known cleric Sheikh Abdulrahman al-Barrak.

Al-Barrak reportedly claimed Badawi was guilty of saying “that Muslims, Jews, Christians, and atheists are all equal”.

In accordance with a strict interpretation of Islamic law, Saudi courts implement a series of corporal punishments, of which flogging is considered the most lenient. 

Visit Atlas Shrugs.

Political Financial Interference: The IRS Scrutiny of Charities in Judea and Samaria

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

If you are an American, there is nothing illegal about contributing money, as a donation to a charitable cause, to a project abroad.

But in the eyes of an American administration, funding educational, social welfare, recreational sports or other such projects in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria is a pain, a political pain and not an illegal pain.

So what do they do?

From the Wall Street Journal:

Why the special scrutiny for pro-Israel groups? A New York Times article in July 2010 provided a clue: Tax-exempt groups were donating to West Bank settlers, and State Department officials wanted the settlers out. “As the American government seeks to end the four-decade Jewish settlement enterprise and foster a Palestinian state in the West Bank,” the Times wrote, “the American Treasury helps sustain the settlements through tax breaks on donations to support them.”

Did the T-men take their political cues from such stories, or did Administration officials give them orders? Either explanation would be a violation of public trust.

This would also suggest a pattern: Washington officials sent a message for tougher scrutiny of certain 501(c) groups, and the IRS coincidentally adjusted its enforcement regime…There’s still much we don’t know about the scandal of politicized tax enforcement.

Will someone sue the government?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/my-right-word/political-financial-interference-the-irs-scrutiny-of-charities-in-judea-and-samaria/2013/05/29/

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