By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media
Donald J. Trump has received the endorsements of conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Something doesn’t make sense here.
Schlafly has always been a realist on the matter of the aggressive foreign policy of the old Soviet Union and now Russia. On the other hand, as noted by Josh Rogin at Bloomberg View, Trump has a “pro-Russian foreign policy” that could have something to do with the businessman’s history of trying to do business in Russia.
Trump is threatening riots if he doesn’t get the Republican nomination. But rank-and-file conservatives who make up the Republican Party could themselves protest if Trump walks out of the Cleveland convention with the nomination. Indeed, they could walk out on Trump and back a third party conservative candidate. It’s not just Trump’s pro-Russian views. It’s how his support for Russia and Putin threatens Israel.
The Forward has run an article claiming that Trump has the strongest Jewish ties of all the GOP candidates. He has raised money for Jewish causes and members of his family are Jewish. But none of this can justify his support for Putin’s Russia. It is Russia that is backing Israel’s enemies in the region, most notably Iran.
Trump can’t have it both ways by supporting Russia while attacking Iran. The two regimes are engaged in a military alliance.
By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
Too often members of the mainstream media are content to marginalize those with whom they disagree, and mock experts as dark conspiracy theorists rather than rebutting their points. When the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi (CCB) held its first conference exposing the Benghazi scandal, The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank followed this derogatory playbook to the letter.
Now, it seems, The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein is also content to emulate Milbank’s distortions, and to simply mock that which he knows little about. His August 18 column, “AIPAC Chose A Peculiar Admiral For Its Memo Against The Iran Deal,” calls esteemed CCB member Admiral James “Ace” Lyons a figure who “hasn’t operated at the heights of political power,” and casts it as “peculiar” that Admiral Lyons’ name would be listed among other national heavyweights.
Lyons is a retired four-star admiral who was Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, which at that time was the largest single military command in the world. “As the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations from 1983 to 1985, he was principal advisor on all Joint Chiefs of Staff matters.” He also served as the senior military representative to the United Nations, and is far from a babe in the woods when it comes to navigating the politics of power. Following the Marine Barracks bombing in Lebanon in 1983, the first military person that then-CIA Director William Casey sent for was Ace Lyons. Admiral Lyons was clearly a major player at the highest levels of government.
But facts don’t matter to Stein—he has a phony narrative to sell. “Instead, he [Admiral Lyons] has spent his time peddling dark conspiracy theories that probably explain why he doesn’t support the deal with Iran,” writes Stein.
“In particular, Lyons is of the firm belief that the Obama administration has been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood,” he argues. “Elsewhere, he said the Muslim Brotherhood has ‘carte blanche entry into the White House’ and in effect has ‘become an effective cabinet member.’”
The Investigative Project on Terrorism has provided a detailed analysis of several members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) who are official advisors to the White House or various agencies within the Executive branch. The question for Stein, and for the public in general, is whether or not we should care about the influence of the MB on this and other administrations.
Stein must not be aware that earlier this year President Barack Obama invited a number of radical Muslim leaders to the White House to discuss “‘anti-Muslim bigotry’ and banning Muslim terrorist profiling by federal law enforcement,”according to Investor’s Business Daily. The IBD editorial board wrote about several of those visitors:
- “Imam Mohamed Magid, who preaches at a fundamentalist Northern Virginia mosque that has listed a number of trustees and major donors whose offices and homes were raided after 9/11 by federal agents on suspicion of funding terrorists.”
- “Azhar Azeez, president of the Islamic Society of North America, a known radical Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas front group that remains on the Justice Department’s list of unindicted terrorist co-conspirators.”
- “Hoda Hawa, national policy adviser of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, which was founded by known members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a worldwide jihadist movement.”
MPAC’s “leadership praised Hezbollah and Islamist leaders like [Hassan] al-Banna in the 1990s, opposed the designations of Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups in 2003, and promoted the [Muslim] Brotherhood as a moderate force and potential U.S. ally in 2010,” wrote Ryan Mauro for The Clarion Project in 2013.
“It remains unclear why President Obama remains a stalwart believer that the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates should be treated as legitimate political entities, when history reveals the organization as one with radical goals,” reportedBreitbart last February. “Both Former Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and ISIS ‘caliph’ Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi were members of the Brotherhood. Its current spiritual leader, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, has a knack for bashing Jews and praising Nazis. The Muslim Brotherhood’s motto remains: ‘Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.’”
President Obama has been unduly influenced by this radical group during both terms in office. “And I remind you that as [President Obama] was giving that [2009 Cairo] speech, two very important things that people forget about it,” saidjournalist Ken Timmerman at our Benghazi conference last year. “First of all, he was in Cairo, Cairo University, and there was an important person who was not even invited—not just not there, but wasn’t even invited.”
That person was then-Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak. “And sitting behind the President of the United States as he’s giving this speech, so they’re pictured in all of the news footage of it, are top members of the Muslim Brotherhood—at that point still an outlawed group, although tolerated by the Mubarak regime,” continued Timmerman.
As the CCB Interim Report exposed, “The U.S. facilitated the delivery of weapons and military support to al Qa’eda-linked rebels in Libya.”
“With allegiances like these, Lyons seems to think, it’s no wonder Obama struck such a bad deal [with Iran]—indeed, it’s a shock he pursued any concessions at all,” writes Stein.
As we have reported, it was President Obama—not Iran—who made concession after concession as part of the flawed Iran deal. This disastrous arrangement will guarantee that Iran acquires nuclear weapons.
It is Admiral Lyons’ historical memory that shines a light on the danger of President Obama’s decision to give in to this totalitarian regime’s demands.
Lyons explained at last year’s conference how the U.S. had plans to take out the Islamic Amal, the “forerunner to Hezbollah,” immediately after the 1983 Beirut Barracks bombing.
“We had the photographs. We were going to make it look like a plowed cornfield in Kansas. We had the planes loaded,” said Admiral Lyons, then Deputy Chief for Naval Operations.
“And, at the meeting they go around the table, they brief [Ronald] Reagan, and it gets to [Caspar] Weinberger and he says, ‘I think there are Lebanese army troops in those barracks,’” said Admiral Lyons. “And okay, lo and behold, come back, and no, there are no Lebanese army troops in those barracks. But this time, and I get this direct from Bud McFarlane, who is the National Security Advisor, Weinberger starts waving his arms and so forth: ‘We’re going to lose all our Arab friends if we go ahead with this strike.’”
“We never got the orders to strike,” said Admiral Lyons. “And of course, what was the message? The message became Osama bin Laden’s rallying cry: ‘The Americans can’t suffer casualties. They will cut and run.’”
President Obama recently excused the concession to let Iran enrich uranium during an August 9 appearance on Fareed Zakaria’s CNN show. “And we did not have the support of that position among our global allies who have been so critical in maintaining sanctions and applying the pressure that was necessary to get Iran to the table,” Obama said. Apparently that was the same reason for all of the other concessions as well. Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute notedthat “Obama and Kerry crossed off every one of their own red lines” in pursuit of this deal..
Like Weinberger, Obama is clearly more concerned about his international legitimacy, and legacy, than standing up to Iran. His continuing support for the Muslim Brotherhood agenda also undermines our national security.
This could serve as a “teachable moment.” Should the Muslim Brotherhood be viewed as some benign, moderate organization? Or instead as the organization that spawned Al Qaeda and other significant terrorist organizations?
Each and every candidate from both parties should be asked whether he or she believes the United States government should receive counsel from the Muslim Brotherhood or entertain their influence. And that is especially true for Hillary Clinton, whose top aide and confidant, the controversial Huma Abedin, has strong family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
It would appear that the Obama back office is far more competent than its front office.
Lee Smith asks a logical question: “We’ve Known About Hillary’s Email for Years. Why the Hoopla This Week?“
…the public first became aware that Clinton was using her personal email two years ago, in March 2013, when a Romanian Internet activist using the nickname Guccifer hacked into Clinton ally Sidney Blumenthal’s AOL account and uncovered a trove of work emails between the two from and to her personal account…
So, why did it take the Obama Administration two years to admit to what was already known and to then suggest that Clinton’s behavior was reckless and may have even been criminal? And why did it take so long for a major news organization like the New York Times to come up with the big “scoop” it published earlier this week?
Or to put the question another way, why did Hillary Clinton become the Obama Administration’s bête noire this very week, the same one during which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled all of the world’s focus onto the issue of the administration’s negotiations with Iran?
The answer is that the two are related: This week’s tarring of Hillary Clinton is part of the White House’s political campaign to shut off debate about its hoped-for deal. It’s not hard to see why they’re anxious. With Netanyahu’s speech forcing lawmakers and editorial writers to face up to the proposed agreement’s manifest problems, the administration fears the prospect of Democrats jumping ship and signing on to Kirk-Menendez sanctions legislation that also would give Congress oversight on the deal. So far, the White House has managed to keep Democratic lawmakers in line, no matter how much they seem to question the wisdom of the proposed deal. Hillary Clinton, gearing up for a 2016 run in which she is likely to put some distance between herself and Obama’s dubious Middle East policies, is the one major national Democratic figure who can give Democrats in Congress cover.
Did someone say “Menendez“?
The Justice Department is preparing to bring criminal corruption charges against New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, alleging he used his Senate office to push the business interests of a Democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts.
People briefed on the case say Attorney General Eric Holder has signed off on prosecutors’ request to proceed with charges, CNN has learned exclusively.
Back in January, Sen. Menendez made headlines for blasting the Obama administration’s handling of the Middle East, saying that the White House sounds as if their talking points “come straight out of Tehran.”
The “timing” was noticed:
Let’s see. The DOJ has ignored a series of egregious felonies committed by Lois Lerner, Eric Holder, Steven Miller, Lisa Jackson, and a host of others.
Why then, would it now attack Robert Menendez, Democrat Senator from New Jersey?
Well, just four days ago, the National Journal reported that “At AIPAC, Sen. Menendez Goes Head-to-Head With the Obama Administration on Iran”</strong>.
March 2, 2015 Sen. Bob Menendez takes joy in being on the wrong side of Tehran, and he’s not afraid of being at odds with his own party’s White House.
“When it comes to defending the U.S.-Israel relationship, I am not intimidated by anyone—not Israel’s political enemies and not by my political friends when I believe they’re wrong,” Menendez declared to an energized crowd at the AIPAC policy conference Monday evening… A call to action for his fellow members of Congress, Menendez vowed never to back down from a brawl to defend the U.S. and Israel’s “sacrosanct” and “untouchable” relationship.
Menendez’s speech marked a crescendo in a long and—at times—tense relationship with the Obama administration. As the White House seeks to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran, Menendez has been the leading Democrat questioning the process. While President Obama has demanded cooperation from Congress, the Foreign Relations Committee’s top Democrat sponsored legislation in December that aimed to bog Iran down with more economic sanctions. His intent was to put more pressure on the country to cooperate with the United States, but the White House claimed it undermined its months-long discussions.
Gee, but I’m sure all of these revelations and criminal charges are just a coincidence.
Hat tip: BadBlue News.
Before I get to the ugly stuff, let me begin with a lovely scene: Jerusalem in the snow.
The snow fell this past Thursday night, accumulating to the better part of a foot and enfolding our beautiful city in a mantle of white. It is gone now because of heavy rains over Shabbat.
The windmill you see in this picture is a Jerusalem landmark. Built in the Mishkenot Sha’ananim neighborhood – the first Jewish neighborhood outside the walls of the Old City – in 1857, it was restored to working order a couple of years ago.
From the sublime – the beauty of Jerusalem in the snow – to the ridiculous. Because ridiculous is how I see the current political hoopla, which, yes, is also very, very ugly.
The issue is the scheduled talk by Prime Minister Netanyahu on March 3 in the Congress, on the subject of the negotiations with Iran. Should he go? Is he damaging Israel’s relationship with the US by doing this? Has the focus on Iran been lost because of the politics? Is this a partisan issue in the US, pitting Democrats against Republicans? And on and on and on…
Now it has been announced that Obama and Biden and Kerry may boycott the AIPAC conference, which is being held at the time Netanyahu will be in Washington.
And I doubt we’ve seen the end of this yet.
I am not going to belabor every step of this on-going maneuvering. It would be a waste of my time and yours.
For all who have eyes to see, the situation that underlies this is quite clear: Obama is seeking to throw up a political smokescreen. He wants to make things difficult for Netanyahu – to make him look small and less competent, to seem to be a trouble maker – because he desperately does not want the Congress or the American people to give credence to what our prime minister is going to say. For what Bibi intends to say stands a reasonable chance of undercutting the negotiations.
This is not about personal animosity between Obama and Netanyahu, it is about an existential issue.
It is not really a partisan issue, dividing Democrats and Republicans, either. A piece written in Algemeiner last week estimated that 98% of the Senate and 95% of the House of Representatives will attend. “Despite two weeks of intense anti-Netanyahu leaks, insults, and pressure, the White House has so far succeeded in persuading only a handful of Democratic members of Congress to stay away from the speech.”
I would say it is more an issue that divides the Congress from the White House. Which is why Congress should be given the courtesy of having Netanyahu share directly the information he has.
As to damaging our relationship with the US… In the end, what is being damaged is our relationship with one particular president, not our relationship with the US. Both Congress and the American people are with us. Note that just today Israel announced the purchase of 14 additional next-generation US-made F-35 fighter jets, to be delivered in 2016.
Were Israel to adhere to whatever Obama wanted of us now, it would be suicidal. In Hebrew we say, ein breira – no choice. Obama has to be challenged. Netanyahu has made the point repeatedly now that we have displeased American presidents several times over the years, and yet have sustained a solid relationship with the US. It started, our prime minister reminds us, with Ben Gurion, who flouted President Truman’s wish that he not announce Israeli independence when he did.
I am one of those who believes Netanyahu absolutely must not back down now – rescheduling his talk or changing the venue. There can be no backing down at this point. There has been so much talk about how politicized this issue has become. But for Bibi to decline to speak to Congress as scheduled would also be a political act, because of how the situation has been framed. He would be seen as weak, and Obama as the winner. And he would be letting down those who have spoken out for him to come.
Senator Marc Rubio (R-FL) makes yet another point: it is exceedingly important for Israel’s enemies to see that the Congress stands with Israel, for if they believe Congress is not with Israel as strongly as was once the case, they will be emboldened. He implores all members of Congress to be present, to provide the support that Israel deserves. They must not be distracted, he says, by the minor issues such as the way Boehner extended the invitation. Israel has been the most loyal of allies, and is in trouble now – and the members of Congress must provide public backing with their presence.
Please, see and then widely share Senator Rubio’s extraordinary speech:
The public figure who most recently voiced support for what Netanyahu is doing is former NY City mayor, Rudy Guiliani. In an interview with Israel Hayom, he said (emphasis added):
“Netanyahu’s speech is absolutely essential. If I had been in his position, and the third most important person in the U.S. [the speaker of the House of Representatives] invited me to speak before Congress to explain the danger of a nuclear Iran — of course I’d accept the invitation and come. You have to understand that I, as an American, fear a nuclear Iran no less than the prime minister of Israel and no less than the people of Israel. Think for a moment — a bad agreement with Iran would give a group of irrational and insane people nuclear capability. If I were Netanyahu, I would go to the ends of the earth to discuss Iran’s nuclear program — on any stage I was given and in every situation. In our case, it’s the Congress….
“I met with Bibi privately on two occasions two weeks ago. I told him I would be doing the exact same thing if I were him. I told him that the American people respect him and agree with him, even if Obama and his administration are trying to paint a different picture. Netanyahu is doing exactly what he needs to do: to come and speak out against a bad agreement, even if the government doesn’t like it. Most Americans agree with Netanyahu on the Iranian issue.”
In the course of this on-going political melodrama, we have just learned that Netanyahu has been accused of “leaking” information about the negotiations. In fact, Obama has now admitted that he has been withholding information about the negotiations from Israel.
Obama’s claim is that Netanyahu would “cherry pick” the information he wished to leak without placing it “in context.” He claims that Israel does not know the full context of negotiations, and thus is in no position to critique what’s going on. But truth lies elsewhere: Obama does not want anyone to know how bad the deal is.
As to not having full context, there are certain elements of what is going on that have been made public and are clear: that the infrastructure for enriching uranium would be left in place, that there are no restrictions on building of the missiles that would deliver a nuclear warhead, etc.
Key here is the matter of a confidential report from the IAEA, which has been obtained by AP and Reuters. Any deal with Iran that lifted all sanctions is supposed to be predicated on the ability of the IAEA to monitor its program. But, says, the IAEA, Iran is being “evasive and ambiguous” as it tries to do a full assessment of the Iranian nuclear program.
In the face of this evidence of the unreliability of Iran, world powers should not be wooing Iran for a deal, declared Netanyahu.
Not exactly “cherry picking,” is it?
I note with more than passing interest that Sunni Arab states have been voicing concern to the US about the impending deal with Iran.
What I wonder is whether these states would be speaking out if Netanyahu had not done so first.
Of course, they are not saying explicitly that they agree with the Israeli prime minister. Perish the thought. But this is implicit in what’s happening. And as I see it, it shifts the dynamic. While Obama is prepared to come out swinging when the critic is Netanyahu, his tone is more deferential with the Arabs.
In fact, we’re hearing something now that we haven’t heard in a while. For some time Obama has been saying that a deal is close, is possible. But yesterday, Kerry declared that there were “significant gaps” and that the US was prepared to walk away if terms were not satisfactory. Doesn’t mean they don’t still intend to push ahead (they do), but this is a different tone.
That the US is pushing ahead was made evident as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Secretary of State John Kerry were meeting today for “intensive talks.”
I end with this piece, “Divided over that speech, not over a lousy deal with Iran,” by David Horovitz, editor of The Times of Israel (emphasis added):
“It is time to reframe the dispute. We are not witnessing what is being widely depicted as a battle between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government over the timing, content and ostensible partisan implications of the prime minister’s scheduled March 3 address to Congress over Iran. We are, rather, watching the collapse of trust between the two leaderships over the critical issue of thwarting Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions.
“The looming deal is similarly inexplicable to the political rivals of Netanyahu who are campaigning to oust him in general elections on March 17…
”Where [Zionist camp head Bujie] Herzog and other Israeli party leaders differ with Netanyahu is over his handling of the crisis. Like Herzog, centrist Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid does not underestimate the Iranian threat. They just both think that Netanyahu is acting counterproductively and for domestic political reasons by preparing to lobby publicly against Obama in Congress, when they say he ought to be working to shift the administration more discreetly, behind the scenes.
“Of course, party leaders like Herzog and Lapid have to publicly criticize and castigate the prime minister; we’re less than a month from elections, and their entire domestic political goal is to undermine Israeli public confidence in his leadership so as to unseat him…”
No, no. There is no “of course” here! Horovitz elaborates on this point:
”In truth, it can hardly be doubted that Netanyahu has tried to impact the president’s stance in years of one-on-one conversations and in the endless top-level contacts between his officials and the Obama administration. The nature of the imminent deal — whose terms cannot be independently verified, but are profoundly troubling to such diplomatic veterans as Henry Kissinger and George Shultz — would indicate that private argument and entreaty have failed…
”In these final weeks of the election campaign, the face-off with Obama has become one more issue for the challengers to use against Netanyahu…
”Three years ago at a graveside in Jerusalem, the prime minister eulogized his father, historian Benzion Netanyahu, for having ‘taught me, Father, to look at reality head-on, to understand what it holds and to come to the necessary conclusions.’
“The prime minister says it would have been unthinkable to turn down the invitation to set out his concerns in the world’s most resonant parliamentary forum.
“Israel and those who care for Israel should not be blindsided by the battling between Netanyahu and Obama, or between Netanyahu and his domestic rivals, over the Congressional speech.
“They should be sounding the alarm to prevent a deal that would allow Iran to maintain an enrichment capability and other core aspects of its nuclear program.
“Those who care for Israel, in short, should look at reality head-on, understand what it holds, and come to the necessary conclusions…”