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June 28, 2016 / 22 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Washington DC’

Erdogan Security Team Clashes With Reporters, Protesters in Washington DC

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had an eventful visit in the United States in advance of his address to the Brookings Institute.

Erdogan had arrived earlier in the week to attend a nuclear security summit at the White House, and is slated to participate in the opening of a new mosque and Turkish Islamic cultural center in Maryland, a scant 10 miles from Washington.

But the Turkish leader faced vociferous protests Thursday from Kurdish Americans outside the Brookings Institute ahead of his speech on challenges in the region. And that triggered his advance team, which behaved like a bunch of green mafia goons.

The demonstrators were waving the typical American protester picket signs calling the Turkish president a “facist murderer,” demanding he “End Turkish denial” and “Stop Turkish aggression.”

And as usual, Washington DC police moved to contain the protesters. Media was there, of course, complete with cameras, film and audio crews, some already entering the building and others still outside covering the protests in advance of the event. That’s when the firestorm broke out.

News outlets in Washington reported that Erdogan’s security personnel tried to remove some journalists from the Brookings Institute but were not allowed to throw them out.

The security detail was photographed clashing with protesters and confronting city police after law enforcement declined to remove demonstrators from the area.

Erdogan’s security detail “became physical with reporters, removing one journalist from Brookings, kicking an NPR reporter and throwing a female reporter to the sidewalk,” according to Foreign Policy magazine.

Turkish bodyguards told a cameraman he was not allowed to film outside the think tank’s building. Security personnel chased another cameraman across the street.

Another Turkish security guard called a veteran female journalist Amberin Zaman “a PKK whore” as she stood in the driveway of the Brookings building, preparing to enter. Other epithets they used cannot be printed here.

In the United States, it is legal to demonstrate in the public arena and to carry picket signs even when they display outrageous messages. But in Turkey, such actions could earn a protester a jail sentence, at the minimum. Clearly, Erdogan’s advance team had received little or no briefing — or had chosen to ignore the information provided to them.

The Turkish leader has made a concerted effort to suppress media freedom in Turkey. Several weeks ago his administration seized control of Zaman / Today’s Zaman, the daily newspaper with the largest circulation in the country, and shut it down. Other news outlets have been closed down over the past year as well. Numerous journalists have been jailed for expressing opinions contrary to those of the president, questioning his actions or writing investigative reports. It’s very unpredictable.

Brookings Institute staff eventually came out of the building to physically escort some of the journalists into the forum and shield them from the harassment.

One DC police officer was heard to remark after a heated discussion with an Erdogan security guard, “He just cursed at me in Turkish.” Some of the Turkish personnel had to be physically blocked from assaulting the protesters, by a combined force of DC police and Brookings staff.

A total free-for-all.

National Press Club President Thomas Burr said in a statement later in the day the Erdogan security team “have no right to lay their hands on reporters or protesters or anyone else for that matter, when the people they were apparently roughing up seemed to be merely doing their jobs or exercising the rights they have in this country.”

A relatively mild response to the thuggery that took place with the excuse of “misunderstanding” and cultural dissonance.

Nevertheless, not every demonstrator was protesting the Turkish president’s presence: there was also those at Brookings who waved Turkish flags and pro-Erdogan banners. Some of the picket signs thanked the Turkish president for “protecting Syrian refugees.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

North Korea Blows Up Capitol Hill in New Video [video]

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Pyongyang is again obsessed with blowing up the American capital in a cloud of nuclear haze, on the video screen.

North Korea released its latest propaganda mini-film over the weekend, showing an ‘exciting’ nuclear attack on Washington DC.

Entitled “Last Chance,” the four-minute video released Saturday shows a submarine-launched nuclear missile that lays waste to Washington. The footage shoots through the history of U.S.-Korean relations, including images from the Korean War, the capture of U.S. surveillance ship Pueblo in 1968, and the first international nuclear crisis with Korea in the early 1990s.

The video reaches a sequence that shows a missile flying through the clouds, then swerving back to Earth and piercing the ground in front of the Lincoln Memorial in the American capital.

In the ensuing explosion, the U.S. Capitol building is dramatically destroyed, with a message then flashing on the screen in Korean: “If U.S. imperialists budge an inch toward us, we will immediately strike them with nukes.”

The video, posted to the DPRK Today website, concludes with the American flag in flames.

This is not the first such video released by North Korea, a nation apparently unable to resolve its issues other than with digital violence, arms sales to terrorists and video threats to world powers.

Pyongyang has been working hard to develop intercontinental ballistic missile (IBM) capability, particularly a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) that can carry a nuclear warhead.

A similar video was uploaded to the Internet in 2013, with the White House targeted in the crosshairs and once again, the U.S. Capitol going up in the flames of an explosion.

The country then threatened South Korea with a “merciless military strike.”

For weeks, leader Kim Jong-un’s military leaders have been escalating the belligerent public rhetoric following the annual joint military drills by South Korea and the United States.

This year’s war games were even bigger, in response to North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket in February, and its nuclear test at the start of the year.

In particular, this year’s games included special drills that honed the skills needed for an operation to neutralize North Korea’s top leadership if need be.

Kim Jong-un has taken those drills personally. Last Thursday he presided over a long-range artillery drill simulating an attack on the Seoul office and residence of South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

On Saturday the KCNA published a statement by the “Reconciliation Council” calling the South Korean president “dog like,” a “dirty old woman” and “chicken-like” among other epithets that are not printable on this website.

The North Korean leader demanded hours later she apologize via the artillery section of the Korean People’s Army (KPA), and “punish” those who formulated the new operation simulation. Pyongyang is unhappy with the international sanctions imposed on North Korea that followed its rocket and nuclear tests earlier in the year, though it was warned they would come in response.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu at AIPAC: ‘US-Israel Alliance is Sound’

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned a packed room Monday in Washington DC that a deal between Iran and world leaders could “threaten the survival” of Israel, saying “I have a moral obligation to speak up… while there is still time.”

Netanyahu explained in his speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), that just as leaders of the United States worry about the security of America, so too “Israeli leaders worry about the survival of their country.”

Israel’s top leader repeatedly emphasized that he did not intend to jeopardize the relationship between the Jewish State and the United States. That was never the issue, he said, nor does he believe it is an issue today. “Our alliance is sound,” he assured those gathered.

In fact, the prime minister opened his speech with the point, to make it clear to anyone who might have doubts, that his only goal is to make sure that Israel’s citizens are kept safe.

The prime minister said plainly, “I deeply appreciate all that President [Barack] Obama has done for Israel. I am deeply grateful … and so should you be… My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the esteemed office that he holds. I have great respect for both.”

The prime minister said the news of the “demise of the U.S.-Israel relationship is not just premature – they’re just wrong.”

“The last thing that I would want is for Israel to become a partisan issue,” Netanyahu said. “Israel has always been a bipartisan issue, Israel should always remain a bipartisan issue.”

But the prime minister made it crystal clear that Israel would defend itself in any way necessary to ensure the survival of its people. “No one makes alliances with the weak,” Netanyahu said. “We defend ourselves … today we have a voice … I plan to use that voice.”

Meanwhile, a weary-looking U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry responded in a somewhat exasperated tone: “We will not accept a bad deal. We have said no deal is better than a bad deal. Any deal we would agree to, would make … especially Israel, safer than it is today,” he told CNN in response to Netanyahu’s speech via video hookup.

The problem, of course, is the definition of what a “bad deal” is, and how that might affect Israel’s national security.

Israel and the U.S. do indeed agree on the goal, said Netanyahu: both wish to avoid empowering Iran with the capability to build and use atomic weapons. “But we disagree about the best way” to achieve that goal, Netanyahu said.

Hana Levi Julian

Jordan’s King Abdullah II Cuts Short Visit to US

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Jordanian King Abdullah II has cut short a state visit to the United States and flown back to Amman in response to the release of a video showing the execution by ISIS of a captive Jordanian pilot by burning him to death.

“His Majesty the King, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, has cut short his visit to the United States after the news of the martyrdom of the hero pilot,” state-run television announced Tuesday evening.

The video by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) ran for 20 minutes and was an elaborate production that culminated in 26-year-old Muath al-Kasaesbeh being placed in a metal cage.

Gasoline was poured in a trail leading up to and into the cage, and set alight. In moments, Kasaesbeh’s body became a living torch.

Hana Levi Julian

Former DC Mayor Marion Barry, Dead at 78

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

 

Former Washington DC mayor Marion Barry, age 78, is dead.

The former mayor of the American capital city collapsed outside his home shortly after midnight Saturday night and was rushed to United Medical Center. He had been at Howard University Hospital earlier in the day.

The former mayor was in his third term after years of being investigated by federal agents when he was finally caught in 1990 by the FBI in the act of lighting a crack pipe one night in a downtown Washington hotel room.

He was subsequently arrested but a deadlocked jury found him guilty on only a single count of drug possession, and sentenced to six months in federal prison.

Barry returned to serve on the DC city council in 1992 and two years later again became mayor for a fourth and final term, after which he returned for repeated terms on the city council.

 

 

 

Jewish Press News Briefs

Netanyahu, Obama Focus on Different Priorities in White House Talk

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama met for about 75 minutes Wednesday evening began shortly after the Israeli leader’s arrival at the White House, and following a brief news conference with the press corps.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice were also present in the Oval Office during the meeting.

On the agenda for discussion were the American-led air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Iran’s nuclear development program and the ongoing question of how to resolve the dilemma of what to do about the Palestinian Authority. It was not known whether the American president planned to discuss security concessions over Gaza as well.

The meeting began at 11 am, and several commentators noted on the Twitter social networking site that Obama didn’t offer any lunch to the Israeli prime minister. “Perhaps Bibi, unlike (India’s Prime Minister) Modi, insisted on food for himself and wasn’t happy to just watch Obama eat,” tweeted one individual.

In a clearly determined bid to maintain a cordial tone, Netanyahu said that he appreciates Obama’s efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon of mass destruction, according to the Reuters news agency.
Obama told Netanyahu that efforts are needed to change the status quo between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, according to LBCI News.

Israel is committed to a “two-state solution” with the Palestinian Authority, Netanyahu told reporters during their pre-meeting briefing. But any agreement, he said, will require “thinking outside the box” and must include “rock solid” security arrangements. Obama and Netanyahu reportedly discussed during their meeting the current status of the relationship between Israel and the terrorist factions in Gaza, including the region’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization.

The two men are clearly focused on different priorities, with Obama keeping his eyes on the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and against whom the U.S. is leading coalition air strikes in Syria and Iraq. Netanyahu, meanwhile, has remained concerned about the overriding progress of Iran’s nuclear development program and putting a full stop to the centrifuges that are working overtime to enrich uranium at progressively higher levels.

The Israeli prime minister also noted while speaking to a group of Jewish leaders yesterday in New York that it is important for the U.S. to realize there isn’t much difference between Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization and ISIS, against whom Obama has declared war.

Both share a “fanatic ideology,” he pointed out, and both use “savage” methods. He warned, “The more they have the capability to realize their ambitions the more they will unleash their pent-up aggression against our common civilizations.”

To emphasize the similarities, Netanyahu shared a photo of an impending public execution of a man whose head was covered with a sack, shot in Gaza.

“This isn’t ISIS,” he pointed out. “This is Hamas.” During Israel’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge this summer, Hamas executed dozens of Gaza residents “just to impose fear and force the population… into submission.” The only difference, Netanyahu said, is that ISIS “beheads its victims,” and Hamas “puts a bullet in the back of their heads.”

To the families of those murdered, the horror is the same, he asserted.

Hana Levi Julian

Former US enoy Laments Israel-US Tensions, Blames Gaza War

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Former U.S. ambassador and special Middle East envoy Martin Indyk warned this week that Israel’s defensive counter terror Operation Protective Edge in Gaza has — again — increased tensions between the White House and Israel.

In an interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Indyk said “There is currently much tension between [the US and Israel.]”

Indyk, who is Vice President and Director for Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., admitted the counter terror operation was not the only factor adversely affecting relations between the two countries, however, particularly at the executive level.

“The personal relationship between the President [Barack Obama] and the Prime Minister [Binyamin Netanyahu] has been tense for some time,” he acknowledged. But he added, “[It] has been made even more complicated due to recent events.”

Indyk lamented the self-confidence and independence displayed by Israelis, expressed via the Netanyahu government.

“I don’t remember a situation before, where right-wing Israeli politicians could disparage the United States’ leadership and yet gain popularity, and maybe it’s because they don’t seem to pay any price for it.

“But I suspect that it’s something deeper,” Indyk said. “There’s a sense that Israel has become a power in its own right, and it doesn’t need the United States as much. It’s a kind of hubris.”

Indyk is not neutral in his views on Israel. He was overheard in an upscale Washington DC bar in May ranting about Economic Minister Naftali Bennett and other Israeli leaders for “sabotaging negotiations” with the Palestinian Authority.

In a 30-minute conversation reported by the Washington Free Beacon, Indyk reportedly held Israel completely responsible for the breakdown of the nine-month talks between the PA and Israel.

He followed his rant in the bar with an accusation against Israel during an address at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP).

Indyk again blamed the failure of negotiations with the PA on Israel’s ongoing construction within municipal boundaries in existing communities in its capital, Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria. There were no preconditions at the start of those talks; no freeze on construction was ever required, nor approved by any of the parties, even though it has ever been the mantra of the Palestinian Authority which claims that if only the Jews would leave those territories, there would be peace forever.

That still does not explain why the Arabs refused the partition plan offering those same regions, Jew-free, in 1947. Nor does it explain why Arabs continued to attack Israel prior to 1967, or why Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem never demanded independence as a “Palestinian State” when their lands were occupied and administered by Jordan, between 1948 and 1967.

None of which is ever raised in public discussions by US officials or Arabs about the negotiations, nor mentioned by Martin Indyk.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/former-us-enoy-laments-israel-us-tensions-blames-gaza-war/2014/08/27/

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