Friday, August 19, 2016

From Ian:

Charles Krauthammer: The price of powerlessness
This week Russian bombers flew out of Iranian air bases to attack rebel positions in Syria. The State Department pretended not to be surprised. It should be. It should be alarmed. Iran’s intensely nationalistic revolutionary regime had never permitted foreign forces to operate from its soil. Until now.
The reordering of the Middle East is proceeding apace. Where for 40 years the U.S.-Egypt alliance anchored the region, a Russia-Iran condominium is now dictating events. That’s what you get after eight years of U.S. retrenchment and withdrawal. That’s what results from the nuclear deal with Iran, the evacuation of Iraq and utter U.S. immobility on Syria. Consider:
● Iran
The nuclear deal was supposed to begin a rapprochement between Washington and Tehran. Instead, it has solidified a strategic-military alliance between Moscow and Tehran. With the lifting of sanctions and the normalizing of Iran’s international relations, Russia rushed in with major deals, including the shipment of S-300 ground-to-air missiles. Russian use of Iranian bases now marks a new level of cooperation and joint power projection.
● Iraq
These bombing runs cross Iraqi airspace. Before President Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq, that could not have happened. The resulting vacuum has not only created a corridor for Russian bombing, it has gradually allowed a hard-won post-Saddam Iraq to slip into Iran’s orbit. According to a Baghdad-based U.S. military spokesman, there are 100,000 Shiite militia fighters operating inside Iraq, 80 percent of them Iranian-backed.
● Syria
When Russia dramatically intervened last year, establishing air bases and launching a savage bombing campaign, Obama did nothing. Indeed, he smugly predicted that Vladimir Putin had entered a quagmire. Some quagmire. Bashar al-Assad’s regime is not only saved. It encircled Aleppo and has seized the upper hand in the civil war. Meanwhile, our hapless secretary of state is running around trying to sue for peace, offering to share intelligence and legitimize Russian intervention if only Putin will promise to conquer gently.

The Temple Mount and UNESCO
Is this really what it boils down to? The Islamic State rules the international community? Including UNESCO?
On April 15 this year, the Executive Board of UNESCO's Programme and External Relations Commission convened for its 199th session. The earlier Temple Mount resolution was moved by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan -- all members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. That vote then passed to the 21 members of the World Heritage Committee during its 40th session in Istanbul, which had been scheduled to run from July 10 to July 20.
By mere chance, July's military coup attempt in Turkey disrupted the event, and the vote has now been scheduled for an autumn meeting. That may be based on a draft resolution created by the European Union, which is, in fact, just another denial of the historical Jewish connection to the Temple Mount. But, considering the one-sidedness of this resolution, just where is UNESCO's above-stated commitment to bring about "a dialogue between all stakeholders"?
Turning the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, Rachel's Tomb, the Cave of the Patriarchs, and other sites into exclusively Muslim holy places is directly linked to the growth of Islamisation in the modern era. By destroying churches, shrines, tombs, whole sites of antiquity deemed idolatrous, and even mosques deemed heretical, the Islamic State seeks to wipe out all traces of what is termed the era of Jahiliyya, the "Age of Ignorance" that held the world in its grip before the advent of Islam.
The world is outraged when it sees the stones of Palmyra tumble, or other great monuments of human civilization turn to dust. But that same world is silent when the Palestinian Arabs and their supporters Islamise everything by calling into question the very presence of the Jewish people in the Holy Land.
PA: There's no proof of Jewish existence in Jerusalem
Adnan al-Husayni, the Minister of Jerusalem Affairs in the Palestinian Authority (PA) government, on Thursday accused Jewish organizations of preparing plans to demolish the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and to establish an "imaginary" Holy Temple in its place.
Speaking with the Hamas-affiliated Palestine newspaper, Husayni claimed that Israel is aware that the demolition of the Al-Aqsa Mosque will result in a firestorm that would spread to all parts of the country.
But despite the fact that Israel is aware of this, he continued, Israel’s policy is meant to deliberately expel the “original” inhabitants of Jerusalem from their homes, including by demolishing their houses and imposing taxes on them.
Husayni called on UNESCO, the UN’s cultural organization, to act immediately against the excavations carried out by Israel in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Israel, he claimed, is digging tunnels in the area in an attempt to find historical evidence of Jewish existence in the region, "but they failed to do so despite all their attempts to falsify the history and the Palestinian historical sites."
PA officials often make unfounded and ridiculous claims with regards to Israel’s intentions on the Temple Mount. The false claim that Israel plans to demolish the Al-Aqsa Mosque and replace it with a Jewish temple is often repeated by these officials.

Senator: U.S. Taxpayer Funds Potentially Diverted to Hamas Terrorists
Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) is petitioning the State Department to investigate how much U.S. government and taxpayer money may have been given to charities recently discovered to have been secretly infiltrated by Hamas operatives, according to a letter sent by Rubio to Secretary of State John Kerry. He is also calling on the Obama administration to suspend all aid to Gaza until reviews can be undertaken to ensure funds are not disbursed to terror organizations.
U.S. donations to “numerous humanitarian organizations” have been funneled to Hamas “to support its terror and military organizations,” according to Rubio and information disclosed by the Israeli government.
Israeli authorities recently arrested employees working for the nonprofit organization World Vision and the United Nations Development Program. The employees were charged with providing material and financial support to Hamas. Both organizations have received funding from the United States.
Rubio is requesting that the State Department “investigate every allegation and use all resources to ensure American taxpayer dollars as well as individual private donations of Americans are not being used to fund terrorism,” according to the Thursday letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Free Beacon.
“Hamas officials have allegedly infiltrated numerous aid organizations as employees and used their access to redirect western aid to terrorist groups,” according to Rubio.
One individual, Mohammed El-Halabi, was employed as the Gaza director of World Vision. The Israeli government determined he was “a major figure in the terrorist/military arm of Hamas” and alleged that “El-Halabi has been taking advantage of his position to divert the humanitarian organization’s funds and resources from the needy to benefit Hamas’ terrorist and military activities.”
The United States is the world’s larger donor nation, meaning that funds allocated for humanitarian assistance may have been diverted to Hamas operations, according to Rubio.
Crown Heights Jews Remember: Prayers for Yankel Rosenbaum, z’l, Hope for Peace
Exactly 25 years after a young Australian Chabad-Lubavitch rabbinic student was stabbed to death on a Brooklyn street for the crime of being Jewish, his brother, Professor Norman Rosenbaum returns to the site to recite prayers marking the attack.
Rosenbaum is to attend private memorial prayers at the scene of the attack on his brother, Yankel Rosenbaum, at 10 am Friday (Aug. 19) at Brooklyn Avenue and President Street in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Earlier this week the professor reunited with Carmel Cato ahead of the event to denounce violence of all forms, and to discuss healing between the two communities.
Cato’s son Gavin, 7, was struck and killed in 1991 while fixing his bike, by a car driven by a Jewish man that careened on to the sidewalk after being hit by a bus. His cousin Angela, also 7, was injured but survived.
The accident sparked three days of rioting in Crown Heights, between August 19-21. In less than an hour, mobs roamed through the streets, egged on by screaming anti-Semites who coined the battle cry, ‘No Justice, No Peace.’
Yankel Rosenbaum was the first casualty; an Italian man who was mistaken because he “looked like a Jew” was hauled out of his car next and beaten within an inch of his life. A bearded family man was chased down the street and into his apartment building, up the stairs and trapped against a wall, where he too was beaten by a mob, because he was a Jew. Gangs roamed the streets of Crown Heights for three days, until finally police were allowed to rein in the chaos.
Jewish man stabbed in Strasbourg, France by attacker yelling 'Allahu Akbar'
A Jewish man was stabbed and moderately wounded on Friday in Strasbourg, France, in an attack for which authorities have yet to determine a motive.
According to reports, the attacker shouted "Allahu Akbar" as he stabbed the man, who was described as "belonging to the orthodox Hasidic sect."
The victim, described as a rabbi named Mr. Levy, was recovering at an area hospital in stable condition.
The attacker was arrested, but details of his identity have not yet been released.
The incident occurred less the half a mile from the main synagogue of the city in eastern France inside its Jewish quarter, René Gutman, the city’s chief rabbi, told AFP.
Gutman said that the same suspect was involved in an earlier assault in 2010 against a Jew in the center of Strasbourg.
The northeastern France city, home to some 10,000 Jews, is no stranger to anti-Semitism. In February 2015, several hundred Jewish graves were damaged at a nearby cemetery, garnering condemnation from high-ranking French officials.
The Right to Dissent
The irony is that these censors and would-be censors, such as the European Commission, the Dutch and Austrian courts, Facebook, Twitter are using their freedom of expression to suggest that someone else be robbed of his freedom of expression.
Recently, the BBC stripped the name Ali from Munich's mass-murderer so that he would not appear to be a Muslim.
Throughout history, it is the minorities or the lone voices that need from the majority to allow everyone to question, comment on and criticize opinions with which they disagree. Freedom to be wrong, heretical or "blasphemous" -- as we have seen with Giordano Bruno, Galileo, Darwin or Alan Turing -- is the only way that civilisation can grow.
Not to allow differing points of view only entrenches positions by depriving people of the opportunity to hear anything that contradicts them. For those doing the censoring, that is doubtless the point.
The hard truth - it don't take a genius
That age-old maxim that posits that one can tell much about someone by their choice of friends is invariably true, and yet, when applied to the political arena, it is even less telling than one’s choice of advisors. Witness the case of Hillary Clinton, a political chameleon who, despite every effort to be all things to all people, can be readily and transparently identified by those under whose cloak she hides: her advisors.
Political advisors, chosen carefully by aspiring presidential candidates, are often the window by which one can view the policies yet to follow. The very choice of these advisors allows one to understand that “it don’t take a genius” to know what’s coming next. President Obama, influenced by his Middle East mentor (and notorious PLO spokesman) Rashid Khalidi, subsequently filled his dance card with Valery Jarrett, Samantha Power, John Kerry, Ben Rhodes, and yes, Hillary Clinton. And today, we have a deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran that even its architects now shamelessly admit was passed through Congress, with a supportive blessing of the media, as a result of duplicitous power brokering.
No, it don’t take a genius.
Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state who is hard-pressed to list her own accomplishments, has chosen her own advisors as part of her inner circle. It begins and ends with Sidney Blumenthal. And, silently in the shadows, his son Max.
Top Trump adviser is fighting claims he questioned Holocaust history
One of five top foreign policy advisers to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is fighting allegations that he underplayed the extent of the Holocaust and sought to push Jewish employees out of the Pentagon during his tenure there.
Claims of anti-Semitic rhetoric and activity have been leveled against Joseph Schmitz, named to the Trump campaign in March, who when serving as Defense Department inspector general under the George W. Bush administration received formal complaints for counting his success in "firing the Jews" as a tenure achievement.
Schmitz also allegedly lectured an employee "on the details of concentration camps and how the ovens were too small to kill six million Jews," wrote a complainant, Daniel Meyer, who once oversaw whistleblower cases at the Pentagon. His complaint, originally obtained and published by the McClatchy Company, is before the executive branch's quasi-judicial agency called the Merit Systems Protection Board.
Schmitz has called the accusations defamatory, but reports of anti-Semitic tendencies at the top of the Trump team reinforce a narrative that has dogged the candidate for months: That his campaign has tolerated anti-Semitic and otherwise bigoted rhetoric from an "alternative Right" strain of the Republican Party.
McClatchy reports the original allegations leveled against Trump have now been cited in another case, in which an orthodox Jewish employee this week accused the department of fostering an anti-Semitic environment ever since Schmitz's time there.
Jill Stein’s Big Lies
On the CNN debate, Stein spoke in favor of an arms embargo on the entire Middle East. Though she didn’t say so explicitly, the main focus here is upon Israel, and European Green parties have long been enthusiastic supporters of preventing the Jewish state from defending itself. But her proposal would also impact our Muslim allies in the region, like the Kurds and the secular and nationalist elements of the Syrian opposition.
This icy indifference to the suffering of millions of Arabs oppressed by an Arab dictator, along with the dogmatic insistence that outrages, perpetuated by Islamist terrorists like Al Qaeda and ISIS are solely a reaction to rampant western colonialism, tells us only that the Green Party stands with the dictators, the fanatics and the bullies. Even the call for economic justice is laughable; Stein herself had no problem with paying homage to Putin in Moscow, even though he surrounds himself with oligarchs and gangsters. And neither she nor Baraka had anything to say about Iran, where economic justice is about as meaningful a concept as the rights of women or the right to form an independent labor union.
I haven’t even mentioned Baraka’s shady collaborations with 9/11 conspiracy theorists or Holocaust deniers, though, which serves merely to confirm the extremist foundations of Green Party politics. The overriding point is this: in the politically turbulent years that indubitably lie ahead of this election, the Green Party will position itself as an alternative for Americans who care about democracy, the environment, access to higher education and a reformed criminal justice system. Those are decent goals, and they are irreconcilable with the monumental violence and injustice that come with supporting dictatorships that have bombed an entire nation back into the stone age. For that reason, and many others, the Green Party is a fraud.
Obama's behavior is not Netanyahu's fault
At a conference on Wednesday held by Darkenu -- a self-described "grass-roots movement of the ‎Israeli moderate majority" -- former Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak ‎blasted incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for endangering the country's security. As someone ‎who turned imperiling the Jewish state into an art form, Barak ought to know better.‎
It was Barak, after all, who made grandiose offers of territory and other concessions to Palestine Liberation Organization chief ‎Yasser Arafat which, had they been accepted, would have done Israel in. It was he who exposed ‎the truth -- the one the rest of us knew already -- that the Palestinian terror master and Nobel Peace prize ‎laureate was ever-bent on annihilating the Jews in his vicinity. ‎
Indeed, when Barak made his final appeasement offer at Camp David in 2000, Arafat returned the ‎favor by launching a suicide-bombing war against innocent Israelis. Yet Barak proceeded to blame ‎his successors for a lack of a two-state solution.‎
And let's not forget Barak's hightail-it-out-of-there retreat from southern Lebanon that left a ‎vacuum for Iran to fill. Barak's response since then is to spew more vitriol at Netanyahu than at ‎Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.‎
But, hey, such is the manner of washed-up has-beens. To stay relevant on the think tank and ‎lecture circuit, they need something to say, and it isn't "I'm sorry."‎
Debunking the "Occupied Territories"
And, for the purpose of this article, I will focus on the preference for this designation in the government and presidential administration of the United States. I do so motivated primarily by the fact that I can make this argument without additional research (which I’d love to make but sadly I don’t have the time to) but I am also motivated by my belief that the US’s use of this designation provides the main drive for this designation to be used by others (who may not have the same motivations as the US but wish to be in line with it)
But I am not original in this: the basic idea comes from a line in a relatively recent film. The film is a serial and the line comes from season three launched on March the 3rd, 2014. The fact, that, in preparation to write this piece, in August 2016, my internet search related to this issue did not give any result, is bewildering to me.
So, in season three of the TV serial House of Cards, Claire Underwood, the first lady of the United States, in a conversation with a Russian diplomat makes the following statement between minute 40:51 and 41:22:
« [The Jordan Valley] is « occupied territory »; [the US] is not deploying on sovereign land, so, as commander in chief, [the president] doesn’t need Congressional approval. »
Upon research, the statement seems to be true. Indeed, the president of the United States, commender in chief of the US Armed Forces, does not need Congressional approval for a range of military actions, including deploying troops on « occupied land ». The president does need approval for a range of others while yet other military actions are reserved exclusively to the Congress.
So then, while on any other territory - irrespective of how much havoc may there reign or what abuses of human rights may there be perpetrated - if they are not designated as « occupied » and are recognised as sovereign, US - and anyone else, for that matter - cannot deploy its own troops without the country’s in question requesting military assistance, on « occupied territories » anyone can deploy troops, even if there is no real need and not even so much as to have to justify it (although probably it would run along the lines of some self-ascribed moral higher ground of responsibility to protect human rights or ensure security). Tellingly, in the film, Claire, follows up saying « Jerusalem has been informed ». Let us note: informed, not consulted or having requested assistance.
MEMRI: Jordanian Journalist In Three Antisemitic Articles: The Jews Want To Destroy Other Religions And Peoples And Endanger Europe; Depicting Them In A Positive Light Constitutes Brainwashing
In three antisemitic pieces in the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood (MB) publication Al-Sabil, Jordanian journalist Jamal Al-Shawaheen presented a number of accusations. In one article, he argued that Jews, who he says see themselves as the chosen people, are attempting to eliminate members of other faiths and peoples and to convert the entire world; in another, he claimed that the French, who recently hosted the UEFA Euro soccer championship, had only increased their surveillance of Muslims but should be monitoring the Jews and Israelis, who, he said, are behind all the terror attacks in Europe. His third article criticized Ramadan TV shows depicting Jews in a positive light, calling them an attempt to impose an image of "the Israeli enemy state" as a natural element in the region. It should be noted that these are not the first antisemitic pieces Al-Shawaheen has published.
Following are excerpts from his three recent articles:
The Jews Are Trying To Destroy All Religions And Peoples, Using The Most Depraved Methods
In his June 14, 2016 article, Al-Shawaheen wrote: "The Jews believe that there is no room in the world for more than one religion – their own – and that if they can eliminate Islam, they [will do so] and will then turn to ending Christianity. [This campaign of] oppression will then bring them to East Asia, to eliminate Buddhism, Hinduism, and all non-Jewish faiths. Furthermore, if they are able to decisively end the matter in Palestine, then they will spread eastwards, and in all directions, to conquer additional [territory] and destroy peoples. They believe in the ultimate motto that the entire world belongs to the Jews alone, and that others should leave it, either willingly or by force – it doesn't matter where they go, so long as they leave the world.
In Dire Straits — Lacking Food, Medicine — Venezuelan Jews Receive Clandestine Aid From Relatives in Israel
Venezuela’s Jews are suffering greatly from the country’s dire economic straits, relying on the black market and Israeli relatives for food and medicine, members of the community told The Algemeiner.
Sammy Eppel, director of B’nai B’rith Venezuela, said the lack of basic necessities “is especially difficult for the elderly.”
Eppel was referring to the state of emergency declared by the Venezuelan government, as a result of economic mismanagement, food shortages and low oil prices. To make matters worse, in June, the country’s Supreme Court ruled the receipt of foreign humanitarian aid unconstitutional.
According to Eppel, the once vibrant Venezuelan Jewish community, which boasted 25,000 members 20 years ago, has dwindled to below 7,000. “Jews were specifically targeted by the regime-controlled media for what can only be called ‘subliminal persecution,’” he told The Algemeiner. “The situation got so bad that the community was forced to employ a group of professionals to monitor government-sponsored antisemitism and produce a yearly report.”
A Venezuelan-Jewish social-media activist — who spoke to The Algemeiner on condition of anonymity, due to previous threats by the government for his work — described what it’s been like to try to buy groceries.
Watch: Fox News and Pete Hegseth tour Oz Vega'on memorial park
As part of their ongoing boots-on-the-ground discovery of Israel, Pete Hegseth and other Fox News members took a tour of nature reserve Oz Vega'on today.
Oz Vega'on was established in 2014, in memory of three Israeli teens who were murdered by terrorists at the time: Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrah.
Oz Vega'on is run and maintained by activist organization Women in Green.

IDF Unveils Missile-Warning System for Private Homes in Israel
Israel’s Homefront Command is unveiling a new type of private home system warning of incoming missiles and artillery fire, Globes reported on Thursday.
According to the report, the new system — which was developed by the IDF in conjunction with Beeper Communications — is a “private home siren that will provide real-time warnings and call on tenants to quickly take cover or enter their protected area.”
The development of the system comes two years after Operation Protective Edge — Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza — during which the Jewish state was under continual rocket-bombardment. Though some 3,000 air raid sirens are positioned across the country, the report stated, Israel’s defense establishment came to realize during the conflict that not every citizen is able to hear them when they go off.
Homefront Command Planning Department Commander Col. Itzik Gai said the system is not meant to replace existing technologies, such as cellphone apps that warn in real time of incoming rockets.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Balad MKs: Security Measures Discriminate Against Suicide Bombers (satire)
Legislators from the Arab-Israeli political party Balad voiced objections today to various security methods employed by the armed forces and police, among others, saying that singling out those who aim to inflict mass casualties in terrorist attacks smacks of discrimination.
Basel Ghattas, Haneen Zoabi, and Jamal Zakhalka, the three members of the party currently holding Knesset seats, blasted the IDF, the Border Guards, the Israel Police, and myriad private security contractors for taking steps to interdict would-be suicide bombers, mass shooters, stabbers, and other attackers, because those steps manifest blatant prejudice against the target group.
“The violations that this country’s institutions permit themselves to commit in the name of ‘security’ and ‘defense’ must end,” declared Zakhalka, the party chairman. “A society that boasts of its liberal ethos and values in a sea of illiberal regimes engages in hypocrisy when it then turns around and treats only one group differently from everyone else.”
“It’s an outrage,” added Zoabi. “I can’t tell you how many of my friends have been stopped on the way to kill Jews and whoever else might be in the vicinity – stopped by police, soldiers, or security guards specifically trained to focus on this one group of people to the exclusion of everyone else. If that’s not discrimination, I don’t know what is. It has to stop.”
3 days after ending 14 years jail for poison plot, Palestinian rearrested for incitement
Jerusalem Police officers arrested a Palestinian man on Thursday night just three days after he was released from prison where he served 14 years for planning to poison diners at a Jerusalem cafe in 2002, the police said.
Sufyan Bakri Abdu, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, is suspected of “incitement and supporting a terrorist organization,” a police spokesperson said, after Hamas flags were reportedly flown and calls for violence were allegedly voiced at his welcome home party earlier this week.
On Monday, Abdu completed his prison sentence. He had been convicted for leading a three-man terror cell that plotted to put a tasteless and odorless poison that would induce a heart attack in the drinks of patrons at Cafe Rimon in Jerusalem during the Second Intifada.
Upon his release, police said they would not interfere with Abdu’s friends and family celebrating his return, so long as there were no remarks made at the party that encouraged violence.
Four dead as Palestinian police battle gunmen in Nablus
Palestinian police searching for weapons clashed with gunmen in the West Bank city of Nablus into Friday morning, leaving four people dead, Palestinian officials said.
The firefight erupted on Thursday evening after officers entered Nablus’s Old City, a densely populated warren of alleyways that was one of the flashpoints of the second Palestinian uprising between 2000 and 2005.
The shooting was still continuing on Friday morning, security forces spokesman Adnan al-Damiri said.
Nablus governor Akram Rajoub said that two police had been killed in the operation as well as two gunmen, both of whom he said were on a police wanted list.
Watch: Hamas outlines 'Deadly Ambush' on IDF in 2014
The Al-Qassam Brigade, Hamas' military wing, has published a documentary detailing the planning and execution of a road-side ambush of IDF forces in the Al-Zana eastern region of Khan Younis on July 7, 2014, during Operation Protective Edge.
In the video clip, titled "Deadly Ambush," claims that one of the Hamas fighters managed to set and explode a bomb next to an IDF bulldozer.
According to Hamas, Hamas fighters exploded three roadside bombs and shot 4 RPG bombs at the Israelis, damaging the bulldozer, two tanks, and an APC.
The fighters were able to close in on IDF positions thank to tunnels dug by Hamas. The terrorists were in the tunnels for days, where they received supplies and the necessary weapons, and where they escaped upon the completion of their mission.
Hamas continues to dig tunnels in the areas along the Gaza Strip as part of its "defense and security," some of which enter Israeli territory and are used for terror attacks.
Making Room for Coup Plotters: Turkey May Release up to 93K Convicts
The government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has issued a decree to initially release an estimated 38,000 in an apparent effort to make space for thousands of accused plotters detained in connection with last month’s failed military coup attempt.
Reuters reports:
In an interview with A Haber television, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said 38,000 people would initially be released, but as many as 93,000 could benefit from the program.
Only inmates who committed crimes before July 1 would be eligible for conditional release, excluding anyone convicted of involvement in the failed July 15 coup.
As part of countrywide purge of the army, police, and the courts that also expanded to universities and schools, the Erdogan government either suspended or detained nearly 50,000 people in the wake of the insurrection.
US says $400m cash delivery to Iran was ‘leverage’ for release of prisoners
The US State Department on Thursday said that a $400 million cash payment to Iran was used as “leverage” to secure the release in January of four American prisoners held by Tehran, as negotiations for the implementation of last year’s nuclear deal were being settled.
“The payment of the $400 million was not done until after the prisoners were released,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters Thursday.
“We took advantage of that to make sure we had the maximum leverage possible to get our people out and get them out safely,” Kirby added.
This is the first time the US has admitted to a connection between the release of the prisoners, including the Washington Post’s Jason Rezaian, and the funds.
Earlier this month, US Secretary of State John Kerry flatly denied any connection between the cash — and an additional $1.3 billion interest payment — and the implementation of the nuclear deal and the prisoner swap that all occurred in rapid succession. The payment was part of a decades-old dispute over a failed military equipment deal dating to the 1970s, before the Islamic revolution in 1979.
State Dept. Has No Idea Who Edited 8 Minutes from Iran Nuclear Talks Press Briefing
Rosen's question was referring to the State Department's denial that there were direct talks taking place between the U.S. and Iran. (There were talks.) Rosen later discovered the exchange was removed from the State Department website video and its You Tube channel.
Initially the State Department claimed the missing footage was a "glitch" but later confessed the footage was removed because someone explicitly requested it be removed.
On Thursday, the State Department said it has no idea who made the request to remove the video.
ABC News reports: "State Department spokesman John Kirby said today that the investigation included a search of emails and documents as well as interviews with more than 30 current and former employees, none of whom could recall who asked for the edit to be made."
Krauthammer: Obama Admin ‘Lied Shamelessly’ About Entire Iran Deal
Krauthammer said that he was amused by how obvious it was that the Obama administration was sending $400 million to Iran as part of a hostage negotiation back in January.
“I think I remember saying these guys are not paid enough, the spokesmen, who have to look in the camera, and this time he couldn’t. He had to look down because it was so embarrassing. Of course it’s ransom,” Krauthammer said.
Krauthammer continued his criticism of the Obama administration by saying that they lied all the way through the Iran deal.
It’s that they lied and they lie shamelessly, and they lie when the lie is uncovered. That’s what’s so scary. And they lie about the entire Iran deal. This is the tip of the iceberg that’s associated with the Iran deal. Every item on the Iran deal that we were promised we would hold the line on x, y, and z, or we did this or we’re getting inspections. They lied all the way through and that deal is shot through with denials, with all kinds of statements, and we are going to suffer that.”
Krauthammer said that these denials will hurt the U.S. more than anything that comes out of the ransom payments.
State Department spokesman John Kirby was asked Thursday whether the administration would have given $400 million to Iran if the American hostages were not released. He admitted that they would have sent the money, which appears to contradict what President Obama said on August 4, when he publicly said his administration does not pay ransom for hostages.
“[Families] know we have a policy that we don’t pay ransom. And the notion that we would somehow start now, in this high-profile way, and announce it to the world, even as we’re looking in the faces of other hostage families whose loved ones are being held hostage, and saying to them we don’t pay ransom, defies logic” Obama said.

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