I must start with the breaking news, all of it obscenely ugly, before I go to what I had intended to write today:
A young woman, as yet unidentified, has been killed near the entrance to Alon Shvut in Gush Etzion – just meters away from where the three students were kidnapped this summer. Two others with her were wounded.
The terrorist – Maher al-Hashlamun, of Hevron, a released prisoner with Hamas associations – tried to get his victims by hitting them with his car first, and when he failed, he got out of the car and came at them with a knife. He was been shot by the guard at the entrance to Alon Shvut. I believe he died on the way to the hospital.
This attack followed by only hours a terrorist attack on a soldier, also unidentified as yet, near a train station on Levinsky Street in Tel Aviv. The assailant tried to grab the soldier’s gun and failed. He then came at him with a knife, stabbing him so many times, according to a medic, that it was impossible to count the wounds. He is in critical condition and undergoing surgery in Tel Hashomer hospital.
I ask your forgiveness, that I am reproducing a graphic picture here, but I am moved by my anger to do this.
Credit: Barak Sharabi/Tazpit News
The terrorist in this instance, Nur al-Din, is a resident of the Askar refugee camp; reportedly he has Hamas associations, and was in Israel illegally. He tried to flee the scene but was apprehended by a bystander and is in police custody.
Much more will follow on these two stories, but now I want to try to pick up on the theme I had intended for today’s posting: looking at the Temple Mount issue from a somewhat different angle. I believe the connections will become apparent. Please! read through to the end.
I recently wrote about the fact that King Abdullah of Jordan has been threatening to break Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel because of changes on the Temple Mount. And on the surface this does seem to be what’s going on: the Jordanian ambassador to Israel was recalled for consultations last week, and now this week the king has given word to Jordanian officials that they are not to participate in what had been planned as a joint Jordan-Israel event honoring the 20th anniversary of the treaty.
But…as I previously indicated, there is more here than meets the eye – some solid ties with Jordan exist, ties that Jordan would prefer not be promoted broadly. See what Robert Satloff wrote about the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty – which he considers a “remarkable” document compared with the earlier Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty – shortly after it was signed:
“In the Jordan-Israel treaty, the concept of ‘partnership’ replaces the emphasis on ‘respect,’ while ‘cooperation’ replaces the focus on ‘security’…the peace treaty speaks only of an era of peace and joint efforts. Its contents are filled with mature, creative, and principled solutions to common problems; its detailed annexes focus not on security issues but on innovative ways to reconcile ‘Israeli private ownership rights within Jordanian sovereignty’ and to find compromise solutions to the problem of water resources.”
I wouldn’t say that the Israeli-Jordanian relationship has quite fulfilled the optimistic projections of Satloff that we would see a warm peace. But the point that Israel and Jordan have common concerns and a basis for genuine cooperation is very valid. There are other areas of cooperation, but key is cooperative agreements regarding water. A joint Israeli-Jordanian Water Committee was formed; Israel agreed to supply Jordan with 50 million cubic meters of water per year, and allocate to Jordan 75% of the water from the Yarmouk River.
This is a matter of great significance for Jordan: I have been advised that Jordan “cannot” break the treaty because of its dependence on the water.
And, indeed, Abdullah Ensour, Prime Minister of Jordan, yesterday let it be known that Jordan was committed to the peace treaty and was not currently considering withdrawing from it.
We need, then, to take a closer look at what is going on. And the first question to be asked is why – as there was cooperation between Israel and Jordan even before the peace treaty was drafted – it was deemed appropriate or necessary to advance the formal treaty in 1994. (See the picture below, which reflects a warm interaction between Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein of Jordan, at the signing on October 26, 1994.)
The answer is very enlightening. Israel had already signed the Oslo Accords with the Palestinian Arabs, and was, in theory, negotiating a final status agreement. The Wakf (Muslim Trust) on the Temple Mount had been Jordanian, but Jordan was afraid that, were there to be a peace treaty between Israel and the PA, it would be the PA that would be accorded priority on matters involving the Mount.
To preclude this eventuality, Jordan signed a peace treaty that acknowledged Jordan’s special status on the Mount.
Abdullah, king of Jordan, sits on his throne these days with great unease. The Hashemites have always been a minority in the kingdom: until recently, Palestinian Arabs constituted the majority. Now this situation has shifted because of huge numbers of refugees from Syria and Iraq. But in Amman, there is still a Palestinian Arab majority that makes Abdullah very uncomfortable indeed. Thus said, it is clear that he cannot risk the ire of the Palestinian Arabs in his country. To support Israel, to agree to changes on the Mount, would do precisely that. He must at all points seem to be taking a strong and critical stance with Israel.
This then is how I see the situation.
The prevailing wisdom here says that Netanyahu has agreed to maintain the status quo on the Mount so as to not risk the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty. But I would frame it differently. I would say that he has insisted on maintaining the status quo so to avoid creating a situation that might cause Jordan’s monarch to fall, and allow Palestinian Arabs, Syrians, and Iraqis – many of whom are radical, jihadi – to come to the fore. To act in a way that foments this would not be in Israel’s best interest.
I fervently believe in the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount and I believe the day will come when we will. But I also believe that to push it at this moment in time would be counterproductive.
It is worth considering a couple of very different attitudes between the Jordanians and the Palestinian Arabs with regard to the Mount:
Jordan claims the right to manage the Mount, but is not calling for Jordanian sovereignty there. The Palestinian Arabs indeed do call for sovereignty there: They say Israel must move back behind the ‘67 armistice line, which would leave the Mount totally in their hands.
Jordan says that while Jews cannot pray on the Mount, they can be there. Abbas has come out saying that Jews have no place there at all.
There must be different policies, then, with regard to how Israel responds to Jordan and to the Palestinian Authority. The enemy is the PA, and this must be said unequivocally and boldly. I have written about how we must stand strong for who we are, and I believe it is against the Palestinian Authority – against Abbas and his cohort – that we must focus.
What is needed is a very pointed exposure of the horrendous incitement of the PA – an incitement that has caused Jewish deaths.
Fatah, the party of Mahmoud Abbas, blatantly promotes terrorism on its Facebook page. This cartoon is from Fatah’s official page:
The main Fatah page of FB just days ago had the post: “Run over, friend, run over the foreign settler!”
Another said: “The Jews are defiling Al-Aqsa – will you not rage??”
Abbas himself wrote a condolence letter to the family of the terrorist who attempted to kill Yehuda Glick. In it he described the terrorist as a “Shahid” – a Martyr who “rose to Heaven while defending our people’s rights and holy places.”
The PA National Security Forces posted a cartoon depicting Israel as about to rape the Al Aksa Mosque, represented by a woman.
You can see all of this and more on the Palestinian Media Watch site: http://www.palwatch.org/
Perhaps worst is this song, which has become a big hit on Palestinian Arab social media, and is fueled by the charges of Abbas:
“Run [them] over, destroy, annihilate, blow them up; don’t let the Zionist live long.
“O Al-Aqsa, we’re your defenders O son of Jerusalem, cry ‘Allah is great!’
“Wait for them at the intersection. Let the settler drown in red blood. Terrorize them.”
We have a huge task in front of us, here in Israel, in order to eliminate the murderous scourge that confronts us. We are very angry, and I believe we will. I will follow with reports on the situation over time.
Today, Netanyahu said:
“We will fight incitement led by the Palestinian Authority…To all the demonstrators who have rallied against the state and for the Palestinian Authority, I want to say one thing: you are welcome to move out…for those who remain – we will make life difficult for the rioters and terrorists.
“I have instructed that the full severity of the law be enforced, including the demolitions of terrorists’ homes and other measures…”
This is a mere beginning.
But each of you can act on behalf of Israel now, as well.
First, please! publicize the incitement of the PA. The world does not know, or choses not to know.
Put out calls in a variety of venues for the Palestinian delegation to be kicked out of the UN until the incitement to kill Jews ceases. Demand that the US stop providing funds to the PA until the calls to kill Jews stop. (With thanks to Ruth Lieberman here.)
You know the drill: Write letters to the editors of your papers, submit op-eds, post this information on your Facebook pages.
I have not yet addressed the vile and immoral silence of the world on this, and will come back to it.
Asshat. What a disgrace.
Depot Park, Kalispell, Montana
MG Paul E. Vallely. US Army Ret
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations came into effect. On November 11, 1919, Armistice Day was commemorated for the first time. In 1919, President Wilson proclaimed the day should be “filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory”. There were plans for parades, public meetings and a brief suspension of business activities at 11am.
Today, our Nation and Montana comes together to honor our veterans and commemorate the legacy of profound service and sacrifice they have upheld in pursuit of a more perfect Union. Through their steadfast defense of America’s ideals, our service members have ensured our country still stands strong, our founding principles are fading but still shine throughout most of America. Nations around the world seek freedom as we know the blessings of freedom. As we offer our sincere appreciation and respect to our veterans, to their families, to those who are still in harm’s way, and to those we have laid to rest, let us rededicate ourselves and Restore America to serving them as well as they have served the United States of America.
Our men and women in uniform are bearers of a proud military tradition that has been dutifully passed forward—from generation to generation—for more than two centuries. In times of war and peace alike, our veterans have served with courage and distinction in the face of tremendous adversity, demonstrating an unfaltering commitment to America and our people. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the country they loved. The selflessness of our service members is unmatched, and they remind us that there are few things more fundamentally American than doing our utmost to make a difference in the lives of others and secure our great Country.
Just as our veterans stood watch and stand watch today on freedom’s frontier, so have they safeguarded the prosperity of our Nation in our neighborhoods, our businesses, and our homes. It is our moral obligation to ensure they receive our support, despite the current gutting and weakening of our Armed Forces, for as long as they live as proud veterans of the United States Armed Forces. On Veterans Day, we pay tribute to the veterans, to the fallen, and to their families. To honor their contributions to our Nation, let us strive with renewed determination to keep the promises we have made to all who have answered our country’s call. As we fulfill our obligations to them, we keep faith with the patriots who have risked their lives to preserve our Union, and with the ideals of service and sacrifice upon which our Republic was founded.
On this day in 2014, we formally announce here in the Flathead Valley of Montana in the United States of America, a formal announcement to restore the Constitutional Republic of the United States and a Declaration by all Veterans and Patriots to restore and stand by our beloved Constitution and renew our oath.
We CALL upon every member of federal, state and local government, legislative, judicial, law enforcement and military, who have taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitutional Republic from all enemies, foreign and domestic, to act upon those oaths for the stated purpose of restoring the Constitutional Republic.
We CALL upon ALL veterans and veteran organizations in America, who still believe in their oath to protect and defend, to unite with us at once – in this Declaration to Restore the Constitutional Republic.
We CALL for ALL citizens who still desire freedom and liberty, to stand with us and carry our demands to right the wrongs against our nation in the preservation of freedom, liberty, justice and the rule of law.
“We are facing a Battle That Will Decide our Fate as a Nation!”
God Bless all of you and God Bless our Nation.
Every week on Monday morning, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture or daily living. This week’s question: What Is Your Take On The Election? What Do You See In The Future?
The Independent Sentinel: Mr. Obama said the election was a referendum on his policies and 70% of Americans believe we are headed in the wrong direction. Therefore, the election was a vote against his policies and the American people want to change direction.
Over the next two years, Mr. Obama will put out memorandums, executive orders and rule changes, but he will not work with Republicans. We have no history of him trying to work with anyone but Iran and other enemies of the United States.
He met with Republican leaders today and told them again he was going to legalize millions.
The first thing Mr. Obama did the day after the election was invite Al Sharpton up to the White House for advice. That says it all.
He’s dangerous and nothing will stop him.
The Noisy Room: I see the election as the last chance for the Republicans to get their act together and remember who put them in power – the voters. They have a mandate to stop Obama, period. The Republicans know that the American people want Obamacare gone… they want the IRS gone… they want the borders secured and Amnesty nixed. We, the voters, want smaller government, less regulations and intrusions and a return to Constitutional principles. Will we get it this time around? Not likely. The only sure thing here is that McConnell will become Senate leader, which is a disastrous turn of events. But the mafia of leadership in the Senate is not just on one side of the aisle.
Unfortunately, what I see transpiring is that the Republicans will betray us once again. The very first day after the election, McConnell gave the power of the purse back to Obama — declaring that there would be no government shutdowns, etc. That was your first clue as to how this will go. I hear lots of proclamations that the Republicans won’t stand for Amnesty – that Obama is playing with fire and could be impeached. But that is a total switch up for the RINOs in charge. Not a month ago, almost all of them were for Amnesty and actively pushing it in league with the National Chamber of Commerce. So, let me translate bullcrap here. The Republican leadership will strike a grand bargain with Obama over Amnesty, if he doesn’t do Executive Orders first, which he could very well do. If the RINOs strike a deal, it will be at the last moment and they will claim they had no choice. They will give the Dems most or all they want on the Amnesty issue, while claiming victory for the Conservatives which will be non-existent. The Republicans will most likely pound the final nail into the American coffin. Hope I’m wrong on that. I really do. If I’m wrong, it will be due to somebody’s extraordinary efforts – probably Tea Party. The Tea Party that the Republicans will do all they can to shut out, no matter the cost.
Republicans have already been in negotiations on the budget and will tout what they claim is another victory, but it won’t be. It will still increase spending and the debt. Very little will be done on taxation either, except possibly that the corporate tax rate will be rectified and the pharmaceutical equipment tax will be done away with. There will be no job growth and inflation will keep rising as will the national debt. The unemployment numbers are total fiction and will continue to be such, as more and more propaganda is spewed from Obama’s minions. In reality, the unemployment rate will continue to skyrocket and unrest will grow among the people. I would not be surprised to see a false flag event or the Bubba Effect come into play that causes even more widespread chaos.
Terrorism will increase as I predict the Republicans will not actively address Obama’s executive orders as they pertain to the military or to the Jihadist threat. Our enemies will not be brought in line and Iran will go nuclear. Israel will stand alone in the end as foretold.
Ebola and the Polio-like virus hitting children will spread. The media has agreed to keep mum on both and if something is not done, we could see more and more deaths across the US. I do not see the media becoming more friendly or transparent any time soon — look to the bloggers, Drudge and foreign sources for reliable news.
I guess what I am saying is that there is the serious potential of things getting much worse over the next two years. And if the Republicans try to elect a moderate, they will lose to the Dems. We need a Constitutional Conservative to run and not be afraid to say what he or she believes in and stand against the powers-that-be. We need a miracle. I’m not holding my breath.
JoshuaPundit: A few things I noticed about the last election… first, the historic nature of it, much more of a game changer than 2010. The GOP gained major ground in every category and at every level of government. Races that were supposed to be close turned out to be blowouts. According to the polls, Mitch McConnell was supposed to be barely hanging on – he won by fifteen points. Pat Roberts in Kansas was supposed to be dead and gone – he won easily by almost 10 points, and that was with a fake Democrat-funded ‘Libertarian’ third party candidate taking over 4% of the vote. Joni Ernst, who was supposedly in a race too close to call romped to victory by 9.5 points. The Republicans increased their margin in the House and gained so many seats in the state legislatures that there are only five states that still have totally Democrat controlled state legislatures… and those states no longer include California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania or even Massachusetts.
This was a total rejection of President Obama and his policies, rather than a love affair with the GOP. Despite the media happy talk, people are desperate, we only have a two party system and one party has obviously failed in all areas. Even much of the the president’s core constituencies ‘voted’ by staying home, regardless of gender baiting and race baiting attempts to scare them into going to vote. And in case no one’s noticed, the media sponsored polls were part of it.
Most of these polls stopped releasing their mechanics back in 2012, after they were busted for cooking the results to vastly oversample Democrats. The normal tactic they use is to pump up Democrat numbers but tighten things up just before the election to retain a semblance of credibility. This time, in order to help the Democrats scare certain groups like blacks into hitting the voting booth, the numbers were deliberately kept very close, coupled with mailers likening the GOP to the KKK and claiming that if the Republicans took the Senate they’d impeach the president. Keeping the senate to avoid a reckoning on this president’s policies was deemed important enough to risk that credibility, and I hope it’s a lesson people remember in the future.
And the future? The president has already showed he’s not only arrogant and narcissistic, but frankly stupid. Anyone who saw his presser after the election saw that. Both Mitch McConnell and John Boehner threw him what amounted to an olive branch and his response was to be combative, telling them he is going to impose amnesty for illegal aliens by executive order and nominating a new radical attorney general candidate who is in the same mold as Eric Holder and trying to shove her through during the lame duck session.
Rather than waste time trying to work with him, the Republicans, if they’re smart (a big if, perhaps) will block any new appointments this president wants to make in committee, use the nuclear option to appoint their own nominees especially on judges, dismantle ObamaCare the way McConnell suggested by outlawing the individual mandate and starving the exchanges of funding, and pass a steady stream of legislation starting with the bill Harry Reid tabled and kept from coming to a vote in order to do what they were elected to do – destroy and roll back this president’s agenda. Yes, the president will veto these bills, but the perception, no matter how the media tries to spin it will be that it is this president and those of his party that vote in lockstep with him that are the obstructionists keeping the people’s business from being done.
At the same time, Congress should also turn the heat up on him by a appointing their own special prosecutor to begin gathering evidence for an impeachment trial. Amnesty by executive order, a clear Article 2 violation would be a good place to start, but by no means the only area.
Many of the Democrats whom survived last weeks’ purge and have future political ambitions are already angry with this president for endangering them. Although few openly express it, he has become toxic for them, which is why few of them wanted him campaigning for them and many were upset because he kept referring to 2014 as a referendum on him and his policies. If the Republican majority passes common sense bills this president refuses to sign and compelling evidence is put before the House on impeachment, don’t be at all surprised if a Democrat delegation has a chat with the president some time in 2015 similar to the one the GOP senators had with Nixon at the height of Watergate. In that case, we could definitely see Barack Obama’s resignation, followed by a pre-arranged full pardon for ‘any offenses he may have committed’ by interim president Joe Biden.
GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: GOP should rapidly move to kick off the Keystone pipeline and begin the process of dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency – after all, we are so high tech and green now – we could certainly handle any incidents that Fracking Unlimited may pose.
Control the border. As in sealing the border. Way back in the last millennium – East Germany (with Soviet resources) sealed off a tiny, tiny border maybe 40% the size of Texas. True – the Wall was a death trap of mines, guards, dogs and nasty general purpose device made to kill. America could certainly seal the border in a fun to be with friendly way that is non-lethal – yet pretty much produce the same results, i.e., controlling the border.
Roll back Sequestration mainly for the Defense Department.
Aside from the EPA, real Departments need to be placed on the chopping block. Department of Energy, Department of Education and Homeland Security (as Maureen Dowd once LOL’d – “We have a Homeland Security Department – it’s called the D.O.D.”)
Depart of Ed simply rewards a state’s bad fiscal decisions by transferring wealth from states with decent fiscal policies to finance their educational systems. Let education sink or swim in it’s own state.
Defunding. There are tons of stuff on the Federal Teat that need to be weened off. Planned Parenthood for one. If people want to abort, why should anyone else pay for it? Finance it yourself.
And—maybe, just maybe — letting a Supreme Court seat sit vacant until after the next presidential election.
George Will has a wonky list of smaller things that would certainly help.
Laura Lee Rambeau, Right Reason: After six years of the Obama administration, the American people who came out to vote expressed their complete and utter disgust with the stagnant economy, countless scandals, the rising costs of energy, food and health care, and demanded a change. The Republicans should introduce bills promoting economic growth which will provide tangible improvements in all of our lives.
- They should approve and pass the Keystone XL Pipeline.
- They should heighten security on our borders to keep out illegal aliens. There should be no discussion of comprehensive amnesty until we are convinced our borders have been secured. The President does not have the constitutional authority to issue an executive order granting blanket amnesty. If he attempts such an action Congress should engage Americans and show them how devastating such a move would be to our safety, security and economy.
- They should ease tax burdens and regulations on individuals and businesses to allow all of us to keep more of our hard earned money.
- Since we know Congress does not have enough votes to repeal Obamacare, they should chip away at whatever they can to ease the burdens to individuals and corporations, such as eliminate the medical device tax, eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) and restore the 40 hour work week by repealing the employer mandate.
- They should act to stop the EPA regulations that are closing coal plants across the country and causing energy prices to skyrocket.
- It is also imperative that Congress eliminate the Common Core State Standards mandate and return public education decisions to the states and local school boards.
President Obama said he is looking for common ground with Republicans. I don’t believe there is any common ground between Republicans and the president. It is up to Republicans to find common ground with Americans. It is important that what the Republicans do noticeably improves the lives of all Americans over the next two years to assure a Republican president is elected in 2016. Of utmost importance, if the Republicans do not want to see a replay of 2012 in 2016, they must engage conservatives and conservative members in Congress over the next two years and not marginalize them.
Robert Avrech, Seraphic Secret:
In a speech at Northwestern University last month, Barack Obama said: “I am not on the ballot this fall… But make no mistake: These policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.”
Obama’s bottomless vanity, his clinical narcissism, compelled him to tell the truth.
Of course, when the polls saw the coming bloodbath the Democrats would suffer in the 2014 midterm elections, Obama quickly and characteristically played the victim, shifting the blame to an electoral map that was stacked against him.
But everyone realized that Obama and his radical policies were on the ballot: first among them Obamacare, unfolding in terrible slow motion, a destructive Rube Goldberg monstrosity that is raising health care costs while degrading the quality of care for most Americans.
And of course, there are the scandals: Fast & Furious, Benghazi, the IRS, the VA, the JV Islamic State, the nonexistent red line in Syria, the surrenders in Iraq and Afghanistan, amnesty for illegals, the refusal to secure the southern border, Obama’s disgraceful appeasement of Iran’s Islamic fascists as he throws Israel into the snake pit, high taxes, lack of jobs, an ever-expanding welfare state, the suicidal budget cuts to America’s military even as Russia and China are on the march — and, most recently, Ebola. How’s that Ebola czar working out, folks?
And the lies… the litany of appalling lies that spills from Obama’s lips with such pathological ease.
All of the above speaks to the corrupting and corrosive effects of bloated government, the refusal to recognize constitutional restrictions on presidential power, the incompetence of big government and the naivety, if not the downright stupidity, of smart power.
And, of course, Americans are sick and tired of the shameless race-hustling that is the centerpiece of Obama’s world view.
For the American people, the thrill is gone.
As to the future: Obama will double down on executive action regarding illegal immigrants. It remains to be seen if the Republicans will be able to stand up to this postmodern totalitarian.
And Obama will continue to demonize Bibi Netanyahu and the Jewish state, simultaneously aiding the Jew-hating, genocidal-yearning Iranians achieve their nuclear ambitions.
In short, Obama’s ghastly work is not yet done.
Well, there you have it!
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!
And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.
It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it… or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.
By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
The new Edward Snowden movie, “Citizenfour,” was seen by about four people during the Saturday morning showing at the E Street Cinema in Washington, D.C. The film shows the former National Security Agency (NSA) analyst in Hong Kong, China, after arranging through encrypted messages to meet his collaborators and spill his stolen NSA documents. What the film describes is an espionage operation to damage America and our allies.
But our media don’t call it espionage.
For obvious reasons, Snowden’s most important collaborator and current sponsor, Russian President Vladimir Putin, doesn‘t make an appearance in the film.
Meanwhile, back in Russia—Snowden’s new home—another Putin critic, the Russian actor Alexei Devotchenko, has been found dead in a pool of blood. Authorities will probably blame the death on natural causes.
You won’t find Snowden demanding justice in that case. But Snowden may suffer the same fate one day, when Putin is done using him for anti-American propaganda purposes.
Another NSA defector, Victor Norris Hamilton, who defected to the Soviet Union in 1963, was found in a psychiatric prison near Moscow in 1992. Perhaps he realized, too late, that he had made a drastic mistake. It is too late for Snowden, unless the Obama administration makes a deal to get him back. That is possible.
Incredibly, Snowden could be returned, in exchange for the Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is serving a 25-year sentence in U.S. federal prison. In a dramatic new development, Bout has reportedly hired the law firm of former Bush Attorney General John Ashcroft and a Russian lawyer named Alexey Tarasov to try to get him a new trial.
The idea of a Bout-Snowden trade first surfaced in 2013.
Attorney General Eric Holder has already written to the Russians promising that Snowden wouldn’t be given the death penalty if he returned home. Obama’s new Attorney General-nominee, Loretta Lynch, should be questioned about whether a swap is currently being negotiated and if she would approve it. Since Putin may be done with Snowden, such a deal makes sense from his perspective. Then the Obama administration could go through the motions of pretending to have Snowden punished for espionage.
The evil genius of Snowden’s collaborators was to frame his defection in terms of alleging that he was a “whistleblower” who was informing the American people that they were being spied upon illegally. Obama called him a mere “hacker,” which sounds bad but not treasonous.
“Citizenfour” shows the fawning media coverage on networks like CNN, that greeted Snowden’s disclosures. But the truth is beginning to catch up to the lies. Speaking on CNN recently, former CIA officer Robert Baer said, “…ISIS has been reading Snowden…they know to stay off phones, stay off e-mail and the rest of it. They’re communicating with mobile Wi-Fi. They can beat the National Security Agency…”
When the terrorists beat the NSA, that means it is more likely they will be able to kill Americans.
Directed by Laura Poitras, who says she is on a U.S. “watch” list, the film helps demonstrate how our media have changed from opposing treason to celebrating it.
In 1960, when NSA analysts Bernon F. Mitchell and William H. Martin defected to the Soviet Union, they held a news conference with Soviet officials in Moscow to spill their secrets. They knew they wouldn’t be able to find a journalist willing to publicize their stolen secrets and make them into heroes.
Snowden worked mostly through intermediaries like Poitras; Glenn Greenwald, the former gay-pornography executive and columnist; and Barton Gellman of The Washington Post. They became the recipients of the Pulitzer Prizes for espionage, as we called them. It was another new low for the journalism business.
The Pulitzers were announced in New York City at the Columbia Journalism Building, in front of a reproduction of the World Building Stained Glass Window that carries the title of “Liberty Lighting the World.” But liberty didn’t benefit from Snowden; Putin did.
I had asked Sig Gissler, administrator of the prizes: “You said Joseph Pulitzer would approve of these NSA stories because he wanted the press to be a watchdog. He also said he wanted the press to be a moral force that would promote public virtue. What about the argument that these NSA stories are based on espionage activity by somebody who stole documents who is in the custody of a foreign government committing aggression abroad? Do you think Joseph Pulitzer would approve of that?”
Gissler replied: “I don’t know whether he would or not. But the focus of these stories was really on the information that was made available to the public. It really wasn’t focused on Mr. Snowden.”
The “information that was made available to the public” was stolen by Snowden and has enabled Russia to invade Ukraine, and ISIS to rise in the Middle East. The next development, courtesy of Snowden, could be another 9/11 attack on America.
Equally significant, the Edward Snowden affair demonstrates the complete failure of the U.S. government to defend the American people against internal and external threats.
President Eisenhower labeled Mitchell and Martin traitors, and former President Harry Truman said they should be shot. The Obama administration could label Snowden as an enemy combatant, but that’s clearly not in the cards.
The new Congress has a unique opportunity to define the term “treason” and those who engage in it by holding public hearings into the damage being done by Snowden and his Russian protectors and collaborators. Such hearings would demonstrate the Obama administration’s nonchalance toward the ongoing damage to U.S. national security and perhaps stop a deal, which may now be in the works, for Snowden to return to the U.S. in exchange for the Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
Congress can reconstitute the internal security committees or subcommittees in both Houses that were dismantled by liberals. These committees could examine how a libertarian ideologue like Snowden, a financial contributor to Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign for president, got security clearances in the first place.
Ron Paul’s son, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), could explain why he compared Snowden’s thievery and betrayal to the civil disobedience of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Congress could also give consideration to a new loyalty program to make sure our high-level federal officials and those in the intelligence community understand what it means to pledge allegiance to the United States of America.