08/27/14

Unaccompanied alien children “crisis” exposed as fraud

By: James Simpson
DC Independent Examiner

The Conservative Treehouse has done yeoman’s work exposing the Obama administration’s many machinations over the manufactured border crisis. In a report published at Accuracy in Media earlier this month, I described how the Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) program of the Department of Health and Human Services has exploded, spending almost $700 million so far this year, more than double that of 2013. Much of the information described in that report was initially dug up by the Treehouse.

As we described in the report, many of these “children” were not in fact children, but young men and women, many of whom were gang members or being actively recruited by gangs. Largely unreported were the 200,000 plus illegal alien families accompanying these youths. The Treehouse has now uncovered evidence of deliberate manipulation of the UAC numbers conducted by the Obama administration.

The U.S. Border Patrol has reported apprehension of 57,525 UACs in 2014, almost double the 2013 number. However another agency, the Executive Office for Immigration Review is tasked with actually confirming these numbers. It counts a total of 20,814, only slightly more than 2013, (20,778), and once again, most of these are not the young children the media has been showing heart-rending photos of. The fact is that there is no crisis of young, unaccompanied children flooding the border. There are entire families flooding the border.

Read more here…

08/27/14

A Second Look

Arlene from Israel

I’m sure that – after today’s assessment – I will take a third and a fourth and fifth look at the ceasefire declared last night in Gaza.  In many ways this is an evolving situation,  more complex than it might have seemed at first blush.

I begin by noting that impressions do matter – especially where deterrence is concerned.  If Hamas appears to be the victor, that impression reverberates internationally in a way that is detrimental to our concerns.  And in any event the sight of celebrating Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, which we have been shown in news video clips over the past several hours, is extraordinarily galling.

Palestinians celebrate what they said was a victory over Israel following a ceasefire in Gaza City August 26, 2014 (Reuters / Mohammed Salem)

Credit: Reuters

However, there are a couple of points that must be made with regard to this “victory” celebration.

The first is a reminder that the Arabs always win.  Even when they have been very soundly defeated, they will let you know that they have won.  This approach stems from their honor-shame culture, which simply does not allow for anything that might be considered shameful.

Bassam Tawil, writing now in Gatestone, refers to “the pathetic way Arabs boast to convince themselves that they won every war the Israelis defeated them in.”

http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4653/hamas-victory

~~~~~~~~~~

The second is that they may be celebrating the end of the fighting more than a victory: because of Hamas’s “martyr” policy, the people of Gaza have had a very hard time.  It was Mahmoud Abbas (please note this) who made the announcement in Arabic to the people of Gaza.  I saw a sub-title translation, and if it is correct, he said there was now a permanent ceasefire.  Permanent? Then they’re done with running from Israeli bombs? Or standing still in order to get hit? A good time to celebrate.

~~~~~~~~~~

We did not succeed in bringing Hamas to its knees, in order to get them to simply stop firing rockets at us – which would have been the best outcome.  Perhaps, had we not agreed now to the ceasefire, we might have.  That, I would say, is the major frustration here – and certainly it constitutes a good part of what deprives us of a solid sense of victory.

But what must be clarified is that we certainly did a huge amount of damage to them.  On the face of things, this is obvious, but it needs to be said.

According to some analysts, even though Hamas did not stop launching rockets – they defiantly launched them even into the beginning of the ceasefire – they agreed to that ceasefire because they were beaten down.

Wrote Steve Emerson, citing a report from Israel security officials (emphasis added):

“…amid the report’s assessment that Hamas had lost much of its will to fight, the terrorist group agreed to the latest Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.

“There is growing discontent among the Hamas ranks, as the group suffered significant terrorist casualties, destruction of vital military infrastructure, rocket construction capabilities, and major destruction of its sophisticated underground tunnel network, the Post report said. Israel’s successful targeted assassination of senior Hamas leaders severely disrupted the terrorist organization’s command and control structure, and even resulted in the desertion of rank and file terrorists from battle.

“In light of the assassinations, growing suspicion of Israeli intelligence infiltration also forced Hamas to halt the use sophisticated technologies in the battlefield, significantly reducing its ability to fight. The growing mistrust and panic led Hamas to summarily execute over 20 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel.

“Mid-range commanders allegedly fled with their families from conflict zones to avoid having their houses destroyed, producing a sense of mistrust and abandonment among remaining fighters. In one case, 14 Hamas fighters were reportedly trapped in a tunnel for 20 days with no supplies while their commanders failed to even attempt a rescue effort. Some are believed to have starved to death.”

http://www.investigativeproject.org/4547/decimated-hamas-accepts-ceasefire-claims-victory

This is a picture of Hamas as the loser with claims of victory that are very hollow.

~~~~~~~~~~

And we are being provided with a picture of Hamas that has now agreed to terms it could have had previously.

Writes Ron Ben-Yishai in YNet:

“In Jerusalem and the Defense Ministry’s Kirya compound in Tel Aviv they are rubbing their hands in satisfaction – and quite rightly so. After a short-lived war of attrition of just one week, even without a fresh ground incursion, Hamas blinked first and agreed to the outline of the initial ceasefire proposed the Egyptians – the outline of which it had received before Israel sent its ground troops in weeks ago.

“Hamas has not even received the ‘minor agreement’ it could have secured eight days ago, before it violated the ceasefire the last time. Israel, however, has not ceded on anything, rather simply agreed to the ceasefire approved by the Cabinet back in mid-July, a few days after the start of Operation Protective Edge.”

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4564522,00.html

~~~~~~~~~~

Does this mean, then, that I have re-thought the situation and now believe the ceasefire was a good thing, and that Israel is the uncontested winner?

No, my friends, it does not.  While I have provided balance in the above, there are still some very serious considerations, some very serious problems.  I am not sure we know yet how much we have won, or have failed to win.  Many of us wanted a clear win, and that it is not.

~~~~~~~~~~

Ben-Yishai, cited above, also says this (emphasis added):

”Granted, the organization is badly wounded, has had all of its military capabilities taken away and more than a thousand of its fighters lost their lives…And yet, there is no satisfactory answer that will ensure the safety of the border communities against mortars, short-range rockets and even anti-tank missiles that could be fired on a bus carrying children to school in the Eshkol Regional Council or the Negev.

“The indefinite ceasefire that took effect Tuesday evening is a tactical win that, for the moment, does not guarantee long-term, stable calm for the Western Negev communities or the whole of Israel. It was indeed Hamas who sought the ceasefire, even pleaded for it, but the organization is known to be a serial violator of ceasefires, and the need to hurt and shed the blood of the Israelis has often overcome its survival instinct and concern for the Palestinians under its control.”

So, Hamas is down, but not out – and this does not qualify as a clear win for us.

~~~~~~~~~~

This, certainly, is how the residents of the communities near Gaza are feeling.

Itamar Shimoni, Mayor of Ashkelon, believes any compromise with Hamas is a surrender to terror. (Emphasis added)

The residents of Israel and the south wanted to see a decision in this campaign, but this will apparently not happen.

We wanted to see Hamas defeated and begging for its life; instead we see Israel running to the negotiating table at every opportunity.”

The head of the Eshkol Council, Haim Yelin, said that he will not ask the residents of his region to return to their homes.He told Channel 10 news, “In Jerusalem there appears to be a ceasefire. I don’t know what they are talking about. In Jerusalem they feel safe…but not us.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/184469#.U_32lJvlrIV

Quite frankly, this is shameful: the people of the south deserve better.  They were told, by Netanyahu himself and the military leaders, “be patient, be strong…it will be OK.”  But it is not OK.

~~~~~~~~~~

On his Facebook page, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (head of Yisrael Beitenu) has written:

“It is forbidden to make peace with Hamas, and as long as Hamas exists it’s impossible to make peace. As long as Hamas rules in Gaza, it is impossible to ensure the security of Israeli citizens, and impossible to reach a peace agreement.

“…we opposed a ceasefire under whose cover Hamas will be able to continue and grow, and manage additional campaigns against Israel at a time convenient to it.

As long as the Hamas regime is not overthrown – the threat of rockets and tunnels remains. We must stand firm on Hamas not receiving any diplomatic achievement thanks to this ceasefire.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/184481#.U_39P5vlrIU

~~~~~~~~~~

And Times of Israel editor David Horovitz has written a thoughtful piece that I suggest you read in its entirety. He says (emphasis added):

“Support for Netanyahu’s handling of the conflict will rise again if time, and the long-term ceasefire terms, prove that Hamas has been marginalized and de-fanged.  Many Israelis, indeed, will come to hail him for not having ordered a far more extensive ground offensive into the treacherous heart of Gaza where Hamas lay in wait, with the consequent likely loss of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of soldiers’ lives.

But if Hamas is not marginalized, if it proves capable of rebuilding its tunnels, restocking its rocket arsenals, and plotting new strategies toward its goal of Israel’s annihilation, the Israeli strategy for handling this conflict will have been a failure, and the popularity of the prime minister will be far from the most central of Israel’s concerns.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/those-hamas-victory-celebrations-should-not-be-easily-dismissed/

~~~~~~~~~~

There are those who declare that because we didn’t do the full job, the entire war was “for nothing.” I vehemently disagree.  If for no other reason than that we took out the tunnels which led into Israel and which were going to be used by Hamas to massacre large numbers of Israelis, it was for something.  In addition to which, we have weakened Hamas considerably.

Anyone who calls this “for nothing,” in my opinion desecrates the memories of those soldiers who gave their lives – so that innocent people in the south would not be massacred, and so that Hamas would be weakened.

~~~~~~~~~~

It is, however, also a given that Netanyahu was not as strong as he should have been in this war.  I have written innumerable times that he makes decisions while watching over his shoulder, and indeed, it was true here as much as it has ever been.  He is forever watching world opinion.  The question is whether this is ever a valid way to proceed – there are a lot of hazards to Israel out there. But what this means is that sometimes he fails to pay attention to the needs of Israel’s citizens.

A horrendous example of this has come to light, and I shudder even as I share it here – but share it I will:

According to a Channel 10 report on Monday, five mortar barrels were aimed at Kibbutz Nachal Oz, and mortars were shot at the kibbutz repeatedly.  Residents of the kibbutz “claim the IDF told them that three of the barrels are embedded adjacent to schools where displaced Gaza residents are taking shelter, and therefore the IDF did not strike them to eliminate the threat.

“They add that the IDF said the two other barrels are located adjacent to the houses of residents that the IDF was unable to contact during the course o the 50 day operation so as to ask them to leave and avoid harming them.  As a result, the IDF likewise decided not to strike.”

The fear of course was being accused of “war crimes.” But this is ludicrous.

If this report is true, a mortar from one of those guns, which could have been silenced by the IDF, is what killed little Daniel Tragerman.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/184482#.U_4DfZvlrIU

~~~~~~~~~~

What remains to be seen now is how strong Netanyahu will be in the follow-up to the war, as he deals with the international community.  Herein lies the key.

In my next posting, I want to take a look at the role of the international community – Obama, Kerry, the UN, the EU, et al – and of Mahmoud Abbas.

And I will close today by citing one more commentator who segues into this issue. Avi Issacharoff writes (emphasis added):

“…unless there is a 180 degree turn in Israeli policy relating to Abbas, the ceasefire will change nothing and the next escalation is only a matter of time.”
http://www.timesofisrael.com/hamass-humiliation-and-israels-looming-defeat/

I will return to this critical issue.  We all have a great deal of work to do.

08/27/14

Worse and Worser

Arlene from Israel

The truth: There is no entirely satisfactory resolution to our war with Hamas (the war that is not called a war).

Aside, of course, from that “ultimate” resolution in which we would fully retake Gaza and banish all terrorists and jihadis – thereby creating a peaceful situation in Gaza and a situation of deterrence with regard to terrorists in other locales – and then rebuild Gush Katif, helping the former residents to return.

Certainly I am among those who dream of such a thing.   And I do believe in the importance of dreams.  I know that there would be no Israel without dreams and the courage to act upon them.

But I also know that this vision is not about to be realized. There are a variety of factors that are arrayed against us and render this scenario severely problematic. I’ve covered them before:

[] The fact of the network of tunnels means we would pay a large price in the lives of our young soldiers – a price that would be difficult for the nation to bear.  That is not to say our dedicated young soldiers would not go with willingness, for they would – bless them for their dedication and for long life.  But many deaths would have a corrosive effective upon the morale of the nation and would cause serious doubts to be raised about the operation.

[] The expense of this war, which would be prolonged, and of then assuming responsibility for the Arabs in Gaza who would remain would create a tremendous fiscal drain on the nation that many would consider unacceptable.

[] As soon as Hamas and related jihadi groups were banished, there would be an incredible international push for Abbas and his “moderate” cohorts to control Gaza as a step towards a Palestinian state.  (More on this below.)  There are a host of international problems associated with this.

[]  Perhaps most significantly, the drain on our military resources might render us ill-equipped to do battle with Hezbollah in Lebanon and radicals in Syria who are at our border in the Golan, should this become necessary.  Yes, I just wrote, above, that were we to banish radicals from Gaza, we would have great deterrence power.  But what if, while we were in the course of fighting that extended war in Gaza, Hezbollah decided that it would be a great time to attack us from the northern front?  It could be that we need a certain portion of our forces and equipment kept at the ready for other attacks and that IDF planners are reluctant to become too enmeshed in Gaza right now. And here I didn’t even mention Iran.

And so we must resign ourselves to something less.

~~~~~~~~~~

Some of my readers have written to me to tell me what the Israeli government “must” or “should” do.  They learned that I was sometimes less than receptive to this.  For I believe there are many extenuating factors that make it difficult if not impossible for someone from the outside to judge precisely what “must” or “should” be done.  In responding to critics, I have tried to give the government reasonable latitude – understanding that there is always much that is going on under the surface.

What I had wanted to consider today were possible resolutions in real terms that took into account a variety of different and often painful factors – part-way or not totally satisfactory resolutions, but resolutions that might be considered a gain nonetheless.

HOWEVER… we seem to be caught now in a situation that is very far from satisfactory resolution.  Too far.

From my perspective there had to be certain parameters to any resolution: Hamas should not be rewarded for its attack on Israel.  It should not receive something as enticement to get it to stop firing upon us.  It should be sufficiently vanquished so that it would petition us for a respite.  (“Sufficiently vanquished” does not mean finally defeated.)

Most importantly, Israel must (now I use that word) convey strength.  And Hamas must be prevented from re-arming (leave aside the question of whether it would have to  surrender the rockets it currently has).

~~~~~~~~~~

Just hours ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu accepted a ceasefire as proposed by Egypt, which went into effect at 7 PM Israel time.  All of its parameters are not yet known, and so I will have to return to this. But I have searched my sources of information and have yet to discover anything about this that conveys Israel’s strength.

Thus – while I am prepared to learn more – I find this very disturbing.

~~~~~~~~~~

In a nutshell now: The ceasefire, accepted also by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, is for a month.  At the end of the month, negotiations would begin on the demands of each side: from our side, demilitarization of Hamas; from the Hamas side, lifting of the blockade of Gaza, building of a seaport and airport, release of prisoners, etc.

This ceasefire, then, is another temporary one, albeit for a longer period of time.  It is not permanent, and in point of fact is likely to fall apart once the difficult issues are approached.  What would happen then is that Hamas – which would have had a month to regroup and manufacture more rockets – would begin to launch rockets again.  And where does a month leave us? Right at the time of our High Holidays.

Oh great.

~~~~~~~~~~

At this time, the restrictions for Gaza fishermen will be relaxed, with the limit being extended to six nautical miles. And apparently two crossings will be opened under Israeli supervision to allow in humanitarian supplies and building supplies for reconstruction.  (What kind of materials?)  It is entirely unclear what sort of supervision there would be inside of Gaza to make certain that the materials were used appropriately or who would oversee the reconstruction.  What would UNRWA’s role be?

I am not finding anything definitive in terms of the PA role, which might include oversight of reconstruction.  Certainly there had been much made previously of anticipated PA supervision at crossings, and I do believe that Egypt has already consented to PA supervision at the Rafah crossing into Egypt.

A statement was made recently by a representative of the EU, who said that the EU wanted to be involved.  How? They would supervise the PA to be sure it was doing the job it was supposed to do at the crossings. That’s reassuring, is it not?

~~~~~~~~~~

It should be noted here that Netanyahu approved the ceasefire without allowing a vote in the Security Cabinet, even though Naftali Bennett had requested one. Clearly, the prime minister had unease about whether the Cabinet would approve this move.  This action, while unpalatable, was legal.

Netanyahu had been doing very well in polls of the Israeli electorate until this week, when his approval rating dropped some 17%, to 38%.  I anticipate considerable distress within the government, the Knesset and the electorate in the wake of Netanyahu’s current decision.

~~~~~~~~~~

One source I encountered now said that in a month Israel would resume negotiations with the PA. That this was going to be pushed on us is no surprise, but I believe this is still a projection for down the road – not a statement of Israel’s commitment at present.

I think of everything I find this prospect most offensive.  Abbas is the good buddy of Hamas’s Mashaal.  Representatives of Fatah sat at the negotiations during ceasefires with Hamas, and spoke for Hamas.  Abbas has never renounced the “unity government.”  Yet we are supposed to consider the PA “moderate,” a partner for peace.  This is the sort of stuff that drives me to consider running my head into the wall.

Retired US general John Allen came to town last night to meet with Israeli officials regarding the renewal of peace talks after there is a ceasefire.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/top-us-general-in-israel-for-post-ceasefire-talks/

Who knows what message Allen conveyed from Obama to Netanyahu and how this played into Netanyahu’s decision to accept the ceasefire proposal.

Gen. Allen was the one who came here to design a “security plan” for the Jordan Valley that was supposed to advance our negotiations with the PA some months ago; Israel rejected his ideas.

~~~~~~~~~~

Israeli officials are pointing out how badly damaged Hamas is as a result of the fighting. This is certainly the case, but what happened is that Hamas, with its back to the wall, adamantly refused to stop launching those rockets.  The entire scenario continued far longer than Israeli military had anticipated it would – we were entering a war of attrition, which is something Israel wanted to avoid – especially as residents of the south had left their homes and were demanding quiet.

08/27/14

Kosovo Albanian Beheader: I did nothing more than what the KLA did

By: Julia Gorin
Republican Riot

******UPDATE******

The vermin below is indeed the same ISIS man seen on video in June burning his U.S./UN/EU-issued Kosovo passport in, it seemed, Iraq, while exhorting others to jihad. (I’d compared faces before blogging about his apt ISIS-KLA comparison below, but they looked different, so I left out the possible connection.) In any case, he is now reported dead, and further, reported to have worked with our Serb-battering KFOR troops at Camp Bondsteel (like this Kosovo-Albanian suicide bomber in Iraq):

K. Albanian who committed gruesome crimes “is dead” (B92, Tanjug, Aug. 19)

Kurdish television KNNC has reported that Kosovo Albanian Lavdrim Muhaxheri, who joined the Islamic State fighters, has been killed.

His body was shown during the broadcast.

According to the Kurdish outlet, Muhaxheri died of the wounds sustained in clashes with Kurdish defense forces, Albanian language media in Priština have said.

The 24-year-old from the town of Kačanik in Kosovo first “joined Jihad” in Syria and committed brutal crimes there. In late July he posted photos on Facebook showing him holding a Syrian teenager, preparing to decapitate him with a knife, and then holding the severed head in his hands, posing in front of the camera.

In an interview published by the Tirana daily Dita on August 2, he stated that he “did nothing more than what members of the KLA did during the war (in Kosovo).”

Previously, Muhaxheri, described as the best-known Albanian member of the Islamic State organization, was in the media in June when he published a photograph of himself “burning the Kosovo passport.”

According to the media in Kosovo, Muhaxheri called himself the leader of Albanian fighters who joined the extremist group. Before joining Islamic extremists in the Middle East, he worked for American KFOR forces in Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, and for NATO in Afghanistan.

During the Ramadan of 2013 he participated in the activities of the Islamic Community of Kosovo, which is “confirmed by several photos,” said the reports.

Last year he was allegedly elected commander of the Albanians belonging to “a breakaway wing of rebels against the regime of Bashar Al-Assad – but not the one that seeks democracy in Syria, but the one that sees Syria as a country to be ruled by the Sharia law and groups close to Al-Qaeda.”

However, a person who returned to Kosovo from the war in Syria told the Albanian language daily Express that Muhaxheri was not a commander, but “only provided guarantees for Albanians who joined the jihadists.”

The local media in Priština also said on August 15 that an international arrest warrant would be issued against him, and that Interpol “accepted the demand of Kosovo authorities to be involved in the search system.”

The Basic Court in the town of Uroševac in Kosovo had charged Muhaxheri on suspicion of that he committed terrorist activities and organized a group to wage war in Syria and Iraq.

According to the Priština media, in the last few years, more than 200 Kosovo Albanians “went to Jihad,” to fight on the side of radical Islamic groups.

******END UPDATE (BUT SEE APPENDIX AT BOTTOM)******

From the horse’s mouth. Just caught this August 2nd item from InSerbia.info, thanks to Danny:

Kosovo Albanian who beheaded a man says he is doing the same thing KLA did

Lavdrim Muhaxheri, a 25-year-old jihadist from Kosovo, who recently posted a photo on social networks where he is seen beheading a young Syrian, said that he did nothing more than what KLA did during the war, writes Pristina daily “Express”, Tanjug reports…

In an interview with the Albanian daily “Dita” … Muhaxheri, who fights on the side of the rebels in Syria, said the 19-year-old who was beheaded was “caught as a spy, and according to Quran, the one who betrays the Muslims” should be executed. “They accuse me of cutting the head of a man? I did not do anything less or more than what KLA soldiers did during the war. Photographs of these crimes committed by the KLA I posted on the Facebook, for the whole world to see,” he said, according to “Express”.

Meanwhile, no sooner did I post a year-in-review about Balkans jihadists in Syria than late Monday night the item below dropped into my inbox (and I found that Pamela Geller was already on the case):

Kosovo Police Arrest 40 Alleged Islamic Radicals (AP, Aug. 11)

Kosovo police on Monday arrested at least 40 people in a major operation targeting Islamic radicals suspected of fighting alongside extremists in Iraq and Syria.

Spokesman Baki Kelani said weapons, ammunition and explosives were seized as hundreds of police officers and special police units raided 60 locations across Kosovo, including makeshift mosques believed to have served as recruiting centers.

The police operation is the largest ever against suspected Islamic radicals in Kosovo. Authorities have been on alert [after our prodding and after years of trying to get them to police their own ‘country’] as a growing number of ethnic Albanians have joined militants in Syria and Iraq and appeared on social media in attempts to lure more followers.

The thorny issue of religion has often brought conservative Muslims at loggerheads with secular Kosovars as the two groups struggle to set up a functioning country in the aftermath of the 1998-99 separatist war against Serbia.

Police said the arrests Monday were the result of two years of surveillance and investigations and that some of the arrested are suspected of being involved in terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State group, or Jabhat Al-Nusra.

They estimated at least 200 Kosovars have joined the ranks of Islamic militants as volunteers and at least 16 have been killed in battles with Syrian and Iraqi authorities.

Kosovo’s government welcomed Monday’s operation and warned it will fight religious extremists in Kosovo.

Most of the suspects come from central Kosovo’s Ferizaj municipality, which is also home to the U.S. military installation Camp Bondsteel, where some 700 American peacekeepers are stationed.

Maj. Mike Wallace, a spokesman for the U.S. peacekeepers, declined to give details about security arrangements in the U.S.-led command, but said troops remain alert.

In an attempt to distance itself from extremists, the country’s largest Muslim group, Kosovo’s Islamic Community, praised the arrests and urged young faithful to steer clear of “groups calling themselves upon a so-called jihad.”


Kosovo police officers guard the entrance of a makeshift mosque after raid in Kosovo capital Pristina on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014…hundreds of police officers and special police units raided 60 locations across Kosovo, including makeshift mosques believed to have served as recruiting centres. Sign in background “Xhamia” in Albanian is for mosque. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)


Police tape seal [incidentally in the language of their chief sponsor] is seen at the entrance of a makeshift mosque after raid in Kosovo capital Pristina on Monday, Aug. 11…

AFP also carried the item, complete with all the requisite disclaimers:

Kosovo police arrest 40 in action against Islamic militants

…The raid followed a months-long investigation and efforts by the authorities to root out suspected Islamist networks in Kosovo.

Kosovo is a Muslim-majority country, although religion plays only a minor part in public life and tends to take a very moderate form.

In June, three ethnic Albanians — who make up more than 90 percent of Kosovo’s 1.7 million population — were arrested on suspicion of setting up a “terrorist organization” as media alleged they were recruited by ISIS, which has since renamed itself Islamic State, while fighting in Syria.

The three were arrested upon their return to Kosovo where intelligence agents intercepted their communications and plans to carry out suicide attacks in public places…Police say at least 16 have been killed in Iraq and Syria so far.

And from Reuters:

40 Kosovans Arrested on Suspicion of Joining Insurgencies in Syria and Iraq (Reuters, Aug. 11)

…Kosovo is an overwhelmingly ethnic Albanian country where the main religion is Islam, although lifestyles are largely secular.

The 40 men were being questioned on suspicion of engaging in acts against Kosovo’s constitutional order and endangering the safety and security of the state, a police statement said.

Local media said an 18-year-old man from eastern Kosovo was killed in fighting in Syria last week, raising the total number of Kosovo Albanians killed in fighting in Iraq and Syria to 16.

“Those arrested are being questioned, and we are looking to arrest others not found at their homes,” Kosovo police spokesman Baki Kelani said. He could not say many were still at large.

Many in Kosovo were shocked [shocked!] when pictures circulated on social media last month of Lavdrim Muhaxheri, a self-styled leader of Kosovo Albanians fighting with Islamic State militants, apparently decapitating a teenager in Iraq. [Syria, I think.]

A Kosovo government statement on the arrests said: “(Our) state … will firmly defend civilized Euro-Atlantic values, individual freedom, secularism, constitutional and legal rights of all communities in Kosovo.” [After doing everything in contradiction to those when creating Kosovo in the first place, showing the more radical among this society of patchwork radicals how it’s done.]

President Atifete Jahjaga, who has helped coordinate security agencies in moves against militants heading to Iraq and Syria, said Kosovo would never be a “shelter for extremism”. […]

She should get to know her ‘country’ a little better. A related update came on Thursday:

Kosovo police arrest 2 suspected Islamic radicals (AP, Aug. 14)

Kosovo police say they have arrested two suspected Islamic radicals including a cleric considered by the authorities to be the main recruiter for Kosovo’s jihadi fighters in Iraq and Syria.

Police said the cleric is believed to be “one of the main sources of inspiration for jihad” among Kosovo’s faithful. He was identified by Kosovo media as Imam Zekerija Qerimi, the leader of prayers in city of Gnjilane, eastern Kosovo.

Both of those arrested are suspected of recruiting followers for terrorist activity and participating in terrorist organizations.

Gnjilane? You don’t say! First we had an Albanian saying the ISISniks are doing no different from the “secular/moderate/reasonable” U.S. partners, the KLA. Now, we have the main recruiter — a religious Muslim Albanian — having led prayers in Gnjilane, a 1990s KLA stronghold, hotbed of violent separatism, and Serb-torture Central.

******APPENDIX******


KLA, 1999. So what’s different between ISIS and KLA other than their designated enemies?

KLA Cut Off People’s Heads (Vecernje Novosti, Nov. 2, 2003)

Members of the notorious so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), who waged a campaign of terror in Kosovo and Metohija for many years, especially against the Serbian population (in 1999 the KLA had approximately 20,000 armed men) continue to roam the southern province today wearing different badges and under different names, doing everything possible to achieve their grand dream – an independent, Albanian Kosovo.

Exposing themselves to the possible risks that investigations of this sort entail, the journalists of “Novosti”, after some days of searching and cross-referencing facts from multiple sources, arrived at information that enabled them to “revisit” this case with relative reliability and “revive” this photograph of a horrible scene.

THE PLAYERS: The Albanian in the middle of the victory celebration is Sadik Cuflaj, KLA member from the Decani area.

The young man to his left is his son Valon Cuflaj, born in April 1981 in the village of Prilep, municipality of Decani. He has an UNMIK identity card and is now a member of the Kosovo Protection Corps with the rank of lieutenant. He works in the inspector’s office in Pec. UNMIK has taken disciplinary measures against him on two occasions.

It is assumed that these murderers belonged to one of the units commanded by Ramush and Daut Haradinaj, which operated in the zone of Decani – Pec.

With great caution and piety, after cross-checking, our reporters were led to the assumption that the visible human head on the right is the head of Bojan Cvetkovic, born in Nis in 1972. A comparison with a photograph published in the book “Junaci otadzbine” [Heroes of the Fatherland] also leads us to the same assumption.

His days as a soldier were few. On April 11 [1999] he was abducted by members of the vicious KLA on the Prizren – Pristina road near Suva Reka.

Four other soldiers were captured at the same time: Zarko Filipovic, Dragoljub Tanaskovic, Dragan Vucetic and Zivota Topalovic.

Another photograph reveals a horrific spectacle: Sadik Cuflaj is placing one of the severed heads in a large bag!

Is the bag full of the heads of young Serbian men?

This story and these photographs are just a small part of the crimes by ethnic Albanians committed by members of the so-called Liberation Army.

Today these same men wear the uniforms of the Protection Corps (approximately 5,000 members of the former KLA are in the Corps), establishing “multiethnic order” in devastated Kosovo.

Thus, they are protected by the international community. Thus, all their crimes have been forgiven. Thus, their wartime leaders and their commanders, now dressed in elegant uniforms, can travel to the capitals of the world and participate in roundtable discussions where they supposedly discuss peace. […]

08/27/14

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Accountablity Edition

The Watcher’s Council

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

Council News:

This week, The MidKnight Review, The Political Commentator, Seraphic Secret and The Pirate’s Cove earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (mandatory, but of course it won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out on Wednesday morning.

Simple, no?

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let’s see what we have for you this week…

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that! And don’t forget to tune in Friday for the results!

08/26/14

Do Property Rights Exist in Our Day?

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

A curious question, “Do property rights exist in our day”?  The reason I asked had to do with recent observations on the social medium Facebook.  Most of the articles that I commented on recently had to do with property rights in one way or another; but the issues associated with each comment came across as if the property rights mentioned by the Founders were considerably different than those in our day.

There must be some kind of common footing, an agreement on the use of language upon which to start this off; what better foundation than one supplied by Ezra Taft Benson in his talk, The Proper Role of Government.

“It is generally agreed that the most important single function of government is to secure the rights and freedoms of individual citizens.”

But what is government?

“The important thing to keep in mind is that the people who have created their government can give to that government only such powers as they, themselves, have in the first place. Obviously, they cannot give that which they do not possess. So, the question boils down to this. What powers properly belong to each and every person in the absence of and prior to the establishment of any organized governmental form?”

And what powers/rights belong to each individual?  Elder Taft included a simple explanation as written by Bastiat:

“Each of us has a natural right – from God – to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but and extension of our faculties?” (The Law, p.6)

Our Founders understood these basic principles and placed them in front of the world in our Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creatorwith certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Some reading this are already mumbling, “Yea, yea, yea…so what’s point?”

There’s a fellow up in Oregon, Gary Harrington, who went to jail because he was collecting rain water on his own property.

“For years, Gary Harrington has battled with the Oregon Water Resources Department over reservoirs on his land that collected rainwater. The water officials claim that Harrington is violating a 1925 law by diverting water from the Big Butte River.”

The presumption made by the Oregon Water Resources Department must be that rain water belongs to the State and would have been redistributed among the masses if not for Harrington’s collection methods which restricted the rain from running off his property.   It must also presume that the State created that rain, omitting the existence of God or, for those without faith, omitting natural forces beyond the control of the State.

Time to back up and explain to the Oregon Water Resources Department something they have neglected or ignored, “The important thing to keep in mind is that the people who have created their government can give to that government only such powers as they, themselves, have in the first place. Obviously, they cannot give that which they do not possess.”

Do I have, within my God given or natural rights as an individual, do I have the ‘right’ to tell anyone else how to conduct their use of natural resources which occur on that individual’s private property?   Clearly the answer is, No.   Then can I give to a government agency power to do that which I do not possess to begin with?  Again, No.  Lastly, can a group of my neighbors gather together and deny anyone the use of their inalienable God given or natural rights?  You see where this is going?

Our Founders made sure to put down in writing that individuals have inalienable rights to protect them from the collective.  In modern terms, all of you progressive communist leaning pricks don’t have and never had the power to impose social justice mandates on any individual regardless of how many conspire to erase that individual’s inalienable rights.

I won’t bring up Federal mandates on how much water a toilet can use to flush away a pile of progressives at the bottom of the bowl or what kind of light bulb can be used to illuminate the shadows wherein communists hide and carry out their works of darkness.   (Oops; too late, I just inserted that idea)

What about the couple in Texas who were asked to take care of their neighbor’s vacant house, the couple who responded to an audible burglary alarm, caught a felon in the commission of his crime while inside the vacant residence, a felon who then assaulted the caretakers of the vacant property?   Did these folks violate the law when they shot the burglar; did they go too far?

I ask only because there are many who believe it was none of their business, that they had no ‘right’ to confront anyone who wasn’t on ‘their’ property.  They also brought up an interesting twist, that while they might have been given stewardship to watch over their neighbor’s property, they shouldn’t have placed themselves in confrontation with a burglary suspect (that’s for the police), a confrontation which eventually led to shooting and killing that burglary suspect.

While unspoken, these good neighbors were compared to vigilantes;… judge, jury and executioners all wrapped up in a concealed handgun permit.

“As a general rule, the law tends to view human life as being more valuable than material things.  The law also tends to take a dim view of people who escalate a non-life threatening situation into a deadly force encounter.”

{…}

“The couple could be charged with man slaughter or even murder for the killing of the burglar.”

It’s time to hit the “stop right there” buzzer.  I’m not going to let that journalistic BS pass without hanging a red flag on it, and by the way, that’s a pure communist red flag which marginalizes inalienable God given property rights as if they were not inalienable,… even to the point of taking the life of a thief.

Getting back to Ezra Taft Benson’s explanation of The Proper Role of Government…

“Since God created man with certain unalienable rights, and man, in turn, created government to help secure and safeguard those rights, it follows that man is superior to the creature which he created. Man is superior to government and should remain master over it, not the other way around. Even the non-believer can appreciate the logic of this relationship.”

The protection of property, whether it is your own or your neighbor’s includes the individual’s right to use any and all means available, and yes, that includes the use of deadly force.   The problem with communists/socialists, call them what you will, these folks don’t believe our founding ideas regarding inalienable God given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Progressives would rather impose their idea that the State is the source of ‘rights’, all the while renaming any and all rights as entitlements or permitted activities under control of the State.   In this way individuals no longer need be concerned with defending life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness; these don’t really exist in our day and have been consigned to the scrap heap of antiquated language no longer valid or even understood.   Common Core students would be hard pressed to recognize these archaic thoughts.

Using deadly force for any reason bothers some folks.  We’ve been told to run and hide, retreat to avoid confrontation and avoid stopping criminals at all cost; that’s a job for the police.  These generalities on human interaction have been imposed because nobody wants to be responsible for their own actions;… but to take a life simply because a thief or burglar wants to take something that doesn’t belong to him/her…   Oh the humanity!   (sarcasm button in use)

So who decides what belongs under the umbrella of protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (property rights)?  In our day it has fallen on the court of mass media, trial by television coverage.   The public’s perception of nearly any event can be shaped to fit the desired outcome of those running the media; and the large media outlets all just happen to be run by progressives (communists).

So, back to my original question, “Do property rights exist in our day”?  Yes; but you’ll still have to prove it in court and the odds are now stacked against you.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

08/26/14

Lerner emails not destroyed – not even missing

By: James Simpson
DC Independent Examiner

UPDATED at DC Independent Examiner

The Obama administration is now admitting that IRS Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner’s emails, and all other “lost” IRS records for that matter, have not been destroyed. They are backed up, as are all other government records. To claim as the Obama administration originally did, that the emails were destroyed, is a bald-faced lie. We all always knew that of course. But there is nothing this administration won’t do to change the subject when its shenanigans are uncovered. Now that they have been backed into a corner, they say it is too much trouble to recover the information. Another lie. To suggest that these backup systems are incapable of finding records is ludicrous. If records can’t be recovered, why preserve them?

Judicial Watch is the organization that forced the Obama administration’s hand. This group has been successfully fighting Obama administration obstruction on many fronts. JW President Tom Fitton stated:

This is a jaw-dropping revelation. The Obama administration had been lying to the American people about Lois Lerner’s missing emails. There are no “missing” Lois Lerner emails – nor missing emails of any of the other top IRS or other government officials whose emails seem to be disappearing at increasingly alarming rate. All the focus on missing hard drives has been a diversion. The Obama administration has known all along where the email records could be – but dishonestly withheld this information. You can bet we are going to ask the court for immediate assistance in cutting through this massive obstruction of justice.

Read more…