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April 27, 2015 / 8 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘White House’

White House Confirms US Hostage Kayla Mueller Dead

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

The White House confirmed Tuesday that Islamic State (ISIS) hostage Kayla Mueller was killed, but it is not known if she died in an aerial attack on the ISIS, as the terrorists claim, or at the hands of one of its executioners.

“It is with profound sadness that we have learned of the death of Kayla Jean Mueller,” said President Barack Obama in a statement. “On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I convey our deepest condolences to Kayla’s family – her parents, Marsha and Carl, and her brother Eric and his family – and all of those who loved Kayla dearly.”

“Over the weekend, the family received a private message from Kayla’s ISIL captors containing additional information,” added Bernadette Meehan, a White House spokesman.

Mueller’s parents and brother said in a statement from the family:

We are heartbroken to share that we’ve received confirmation that Kayla Jean Mueller, has lost her life,” Mueller’s parents and brother Eric, said in a family statement. “Kayla was a compassionate and devoted humanitarian. She dedicated the whole of her young life to helping those in need of freedom, justice, and peace.

The Islamic State claimed last Friday that she was killed in a Jordanian air strike, but national security officials said they had no evidence to confirm the claim.

Following private messages sent by ISIS to Mueller’s family. American intelligence officials said there was enough evidence to conclude that she is dead.

The White House added, “ISIL is a hateful and abhorrent terrorist group whose actions stand in stark contrast to the spirit of people like Kayla.

“On this day, we take comfort in the fact that the future belongs not to those who destroy, but rather to the irrepressible force of human goodness that Kayla Mueller shall forever represent.”

ISIS last year reportedly posted a video of Mueller wearing a hijab and pleading for her life.

Mueller was a humanitarian aid worker and was captured in Syria in August 2013.

The Arizona native is the fourth American to have died while in the hands of the ISIS, which beheaded James Foley, Steven Sotloff and Abdul-Rahman Kassig.

Seven years ago, Mueller told her hometown newspaper, “I love cultures and language and learning about people’s cultures.”

 

 

 

Netanyahu Hedges Bets Over Speech to US Congress

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

It looks like Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is looking for a safety net to deal with the mounting controversy over his agreement to address the U.S. Congress on March 3.

“It appears that the Speaker of Congress made a move in which we trusted, but which it ultimately became clear was a one-sided move and not a move by both sides,” HaNegbi said. However, when asked whether Netanyahu should cancel or postpone his address, HaNegbi asked, “What would be the outcome then? The outcome would be that we forsake an arena in which there is going to be a very dramatic decision (meaning Iran).”

A Netanyahu spokesman declined to comment on HaNegbi’s comments on Friday. HaNegbi is a senior member of Netanyahu’s Likud party.

It is clear the Likud is doing what it can to diffuse any political fallout from the controversy. The White House is working very hard to prevent him from speaking to Congress or being re-elected; Netanyahu is apparently perceived as a threat to Pres. Barack Obama, though it is not clear how or why.

Israel Ambassador Ron Dermer arranged the date with GOP House Speaker John Boehner months ago, setting the address originally for Feb. 11, but changing it to March 3, the same week as the annual AIPAC conference.

The date was set without consulting the White House or anyone from the Democratic Party leadership, skipping the usual protocol – a move which infuriated both President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders.

But what’s upset the White House even more is the topic of the address: Netanyahu has been invited to address the Congress on the issue of the Iranian nuclear threat. The speech is to be delivered less than a month from the deadline for an agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear development activities being discussed with Tehran by world powers.

Obama and his supporters are deeply concerned that Netanyahu could sabotage those talks and derail that agreement, which he has worked hard to achieve.

Netanyahu, for his part, is indeed hoping he can do just that. The Israeli prime minister has underscored in every public address he has made for months the gravity of the situation with Iran, and the existential threat its nuclear development program presents to Israel. Netanyahu is determined to do everything in his power to dial back that agreement, which he insists allows the Iranians to retain the ability to create an atomic weapon of mass destruction with very little additional effort.

Obama Wins War on Terror By Saying It Doesn’t Exist [video]

Friday, January 30th, 2015

The White House said that Taliban is an “armed insurgency” and not a terrorist group, a handy semantic tactic to allow President Barack Obama to declare he was won the war on terror.

It is strange why no one thought of this solution before. You get rid of terror simply by re-defining it. Perhaps he has learned from the Palestinian Authority how to re-write the dictionary. Mahmoud Abbas has convinced the world that “ultimatum,” as in “Israel must agree to my terms or else,” actually mean “negotiations.”

So is Taliban a terrorist organization?

ABC News’ Jon Karl asked White House Press Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz Wednesday how the government can explain if there is any difference between a Jordanian and Americans agreement to free terrorists in return for the release of hostages.

Jordan has agreed to trade a convicted terrorists for the release by the ISIS of one of their air force pilots. Karl asked if Jordan simply is not doing exactly what the United States did when it agreed to release five Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay in return for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Karl pointed out that Taliban ”is clearly a terrorist organization,” like ISIS.

No, no, no, said Schultz.

“We don’t make concessions to terrorist groups,” he said, assuring reporters that the Islamic State “is a terrorist group.”

But what about Taliban?

Wasn’t Taliban once the ruling government of Afghanistan that refused to hand over members of Al Qaeda who were allegedly involved in the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington?

Doesn’t Taliban maintain a powerful force in Afghanistan and Pakistan from where it attacks U.S. soldiers as well as children in a Pakistani school?

Isn’t Taliban included in the State Dept.’s Specially Designated Global Terrorist list?

Doesn’t the  National Counterterrorism Center list the “Taliban Presence in Afghanistan” on a map of global terrorism presences?

The answer to all of these questions is, “yes.”

So Taliban is a terrorist group,. right?

Schultz said:

     I don’t think that the Taliban, um — uh – the Taliban is an armed insurgency.

White House Press Secretary tried a bit of damage control on Thursday.

 “They [Taliban] do carry out tactics that are akin to terrorism. They do pursue terror attacks in an effort to try to advance their agenda,” he told reporters.

Nu?

Well, says Earnest, “it’s important to draw a distinction between the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The Taliban has resorted to terror tactics, but those terror tactics have principally been focused on Afghanistan” although many American personnel and soldiers in Afghanistan “are in harm’s way.

Got it? Taliban only uses “terror tactics.” If it quacks, it doesn’t mean it’s a duck. Maybe it’s a ventriloquist.

“The Taliban is a very dangerous organization,” Earnest admitted but it still is different from ISIS.

His twisted narrative goes like this:

         What the President has pursued is a clear strategy for building up the central government of Afghanistan and the Afghan security forces, so that they could be responsible for security in their own country and take the fight to the Taliban

That, however, is different than the strategy that we have pursued against Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization that has aspirations that extend beyond just the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan..

Al-Qaeda and their affiliates around the globe have sought to carry out terror attacks against Americans and American interests all around the globe….

There’s no doubt that the threat from the Taliban is different than the threat that is posed by al-Qaeda.

By that reasoning, Hamas is not a terrorist group because it is not a worldwide threat.

Maker of ‘White House Drone’ Adds Upgrade to Protect White House [video]

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

The Chinese manufacturer of the drone that crash landed on the White House lawn earlier this week is upgrading its product so that it automatically will be disabled within a 15.5 mile radius of Washington.

That is good news for the Secret Service, which won’t have to worry about pulling out sub-machine guns to shoot down drones over the White House.

The drone that crashed on the White House lawn in the pre-dawn hours was piloted by a government employee, who was drunk. He was not arrested

DJI, based in China, said it has developed a code to make a designated area off limits for drone pilots.

Drones have become popular as toys for children who do not want to do something more constructive, such as building a drone out of Lego, and they also are great for drug dealers.

One of DJI’s drones was found last week near the U.S.-Mexican border with an illegal drug taped to its body.

Super Bowl fans have been warned not take drones to the big game this Sunday.

“With the unmanned aerial systems community growing on a daily basis, we feel it is important to provide pilots with additional tools to help them fly safely and responsibly,” said DJI spokesman Michael Perry. “We will continue co-operating with regulators and lawmakers to ensure the skies stay safe and open for innovation.”

President Barack Obama now does not have to worry about drones interfering with his sleep at night, but maybe he should buy one of those drones to improve his golf game.

All he is to do is place a golf ball on the drone’s delivery system and aim it for the 17th tee.

The video warning against drones at the Super Bowl can be seen below.

Drone Found on White House Lawn

Monday, January 26th, 2015

The U.S. Secret Service found a small “device” that actually was a drone on the White House lawn in the pre-dawn hours Monday morning.

White House Press Secretary said that the “device” did not appear to pose any threat. President Barack Obama and his wife were far away — in India.

Official waited until daybreak to remove the drone.

White House Press Secretary did not reveal any details about the “device,” leaving its size and type up to the imagination.

It could have been a toy, but what child was flying his little drone at 3 a.m.?

Or perhaps Amazon was trying out its prototype drone delivery system and got the wrong address, unless President Obama ordered a new golf ball and forget to tell anyone it was on the way.

Amazon asked the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration last summer for permission to tests its drone that can fly up to 50 miles an hour for half an hour to deliver a small package.

The United States is a big fan of using drones in its war on terror in foreign countries, but let’s assume it was not a terrorist gang that was trying to test its capabilities Monday morning of continuing to make the Secret Service look inept.

Last September, a man with a knife managed to scale the fence around the White House and spring on the lawn into the main floor of the White House, and a gunman shot at the building in 2011.

Below is a video of Amazon’s futuristic drone delivery system”

 

‘No Opportunity’ in Obama’s Schedule for Hosting President Rivlin

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

President Barack Obama’s aides have turned down a request by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to meet him next week, when Rivlin addressed the United Nations during its commemoration of the Holocaust next Tuesday .

“Over the past few days, there has been contact between the relevant parties in Israel and the US, discussing the possibility of a meeting between President Obama and President Rivlin during his visit to New York,” President Rivlin’s spokesman Jason Pearlman said Sunday night.

He added:

At this stage, it has been agreed not to hold a meeting during his visit, due to the schedule constraints of both leaders, and that a meeting would be scheduled at a later date.

When asked if the White House’s rejection of a visit was linked to its refusal to meet with visiting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu next month because of the upcoming Knesset elections, Pearlman asked The Jewish Press, “Have you ever had to organize a presidential visit?” He noted the complexities in adjusting schedules and making time for a meeting on short notice.

A cynic could say that President Obama does not want to give Israel any attention before the elections, even though the office of the Israeli president officially is not a political position.

Rivlin was a senior Likud Knesset leader and Knesset Speaker until he was elected last year to succeed Shimon Peres, who turned the office into a platform for his political views.

Rivlin  is known to be far from a close friend of Netanyahu but he also has no taste for the increasingly leftist Labor-Livni party, the Likud’s main challenger.

A more positive view of the White House rejection would take Pearlman’s explanation as the truth, which it very well could be.

It will pay to look at Obama’s public schedule next week and see how many times he is on the golf course during Rivlin’s five-day visit.

Time-Honored White House Diplomatic Traditions on Israel

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

For those readers who have become avid fans of the soap opera unfolding in the White House around the drama between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, a tidbit just for you.

On Friday, as the White House press corps was engaged in its usual back-and-forth with spokesperson Josh Earnest, they finally managed to force a truth from his lips: The President and the Prime Minister, he said, have a “fundamental disagreement” about diplomatic talks with Iran.

Netanyahu “doesn’t share [Obama’s] view,” Earnest admitted. But still, he claimed, those “differences of opinion” don’t undermine the “unshakable” American commitment to Israel’s security.

On America’s terms, of course. And if it happens to prove mistaken and an existential threat to the Jewish State, which is about the size of New Jersey, well. . .

<menacing music>

As it happens, most members of Congress also have a “fundamental disagreement” with the President about the diplomatic talks with Iran, it seems. Not just the Republicans, who comprise the majority in both houses, but there are a fair number of Democrats who also believe Iran is using the talks simply to gain more time for its covert nuclear development activities.

And Iranians have long made it clear both in the street and in their mosques that their targets will not be limited to Israel; America is in the cross-hairs as well. Members of the intelligence community are well aware of it, as are members of Congress and the Israeli government.

So as early as last October, U.S. Rep. John Boehner was talking to Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer about inviting Netanyahu to address the Congress on the Iranian nuclear threat. The formal invitation was made public last week – and accepted as well – to the apparent “surprise” of the White House.

It’s a bit hard to believe that any of The President’s Men – or Women – could be caught off guard. But let’s leave that bit for quiet contemplation.

It turns out the annual AIPAC conference is being held in March this year – a “must” for every Israeli head of state, and Netanyahu is no exception. The address to Congress made much more sense scheduled around AIPAC, and was penciled in for the same week.

Utter fury at the White House. Sarcastic remarks from press secretary Josh Earnest, with a reference to the Speaker of the House making a “departure from protocol.” On the Prime Minister’s visit, Earnest was altogether tight-lipped, saying his boss was “reserving judgment.”

Later reporters were told that neither Obama nor Secretary of State John Kerry would meet with Israel’s head of state while he is in Washington for both events.

Imagine. One of America’s “closest allies” comes to the capital and neither the President nor the Secretary of State makes time to meet with him, when the United States shares military, intelligence, economy, academic and who knows how many other priorities with Israel.

Not to mention their “differences of opinion” that are so important to work out – something that one would believe an administration so committed to the process of “diplomacy” would consider a priority.

The White House spokesperson tried to put a good face on it.

“As a matter of long-standing practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country,” he explained Thursday.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/time-honored-white-house-diplomatic-traditions-on-israel/2015/01/24/

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