Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Op/Ed on Iran: Mr Obama - Spin, rinse, repeat won't work this time

Recently, the P5+1 world powers  (permanent members of the United Nations Security Council  - the P5 -  namely China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States; plus Germany ) have agreed a deal with Iran that is supposed to imit Iran's access to nuclear weapons build up (but only for the next 10 years.)  An interesting chronology of the negotiations of the last few years here.

For the record, here is the US SECDEF official statement on this 'deal':

Release No: NR-273-15
July 14, 2015

Statement by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on the Iran Deal

I'm pleased that Secretary of State Kerry and Secretary of Energy Moniz, along with our P5+1 partners, were able to reach a comprehensive, verifiable deal to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. As we implement this historic agreement, deterrence remains a major component of America's national security.

The Department of Defense is today, and will always be ready, to defend the United States and our interests. Our military -- including tens of thousands of U.S. forces in the Middle East -- are full speed ahead maintaining a strong presence in the Gulf. We remain prepared and postured to bolster the security of our friends and allies in the region, including Israel; to defense against aggression; ensure freedom of navigation in the Gulf; and check Iranian malign influence. We will utilize the military option if

The men and women of the Defense Department comprise the finest fighting force the world has ever known and will continue to carry out these and all missions with excellence.

Iranian leaders claim a victory, while simultaneously maintaining their "Death to America.  Death to Israel" rhetoric.

However, Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry continue to insist   this 'deal' will be good for America,  and Obama holds a news conference to proclaim the historic event.

From Wall Street Journal:

‘That’s What Politicians Do’The president’s unsettling press conference

By James TarantoJuly 16, 2015

Perhaps the most telling moment in yesterday’s presidential press conference was this exchange with ABC’s Jonathan Karl:

Karl: Mr. President, does it give you any pause to see this deal praised by Syrian dictator Assad as a “great victory for Iran,” or praised by those in Tehran who still shout “death to America,” and yet our closest ally in the Middle East calls it “a mistake of historic proportions”? And here in Congress, it looks like a large majority will vote to reject this deal. I know you can veto that rejection, but do you have any concerns about seeing a majority of the people’s representatives in Congress saying that this is a bad deal? . . .

Obama: Let me answer the question that you asked. It does not give me pause that Mr. Assad or others in Tehran may be trying to spin the deal in a way that they think is favorable to what their constituencies want to hear. That’s what politicians do. [emphasis mine] I mean, you’ll recall that during the course of these negotiations over the last couple of months every time the Supreme Leader or somebody tweeted something out, for some reason we all bought into the notion, well, the Obama administration must be giving this or capitulating to that....
Much more here.

I admit I actually laughed at "that's what politicians do..."  I know Obama is touted as the smartest man in the room, but he seems to have missed the irony in his declaration.

The WSJ weren't the only media to take Obama to task about that news conference.  The Washington Post had this:

17 ridiculous things the president said at the Iran news conference

July 15 2015

 Jennifer Rubin
The president, for proponents of the Iran deal, gave a deeply disturbing news conference that suggested he does not know what is in the deal, does not have a grasp of the factual record and/or thinks he can get away with huge misrepresentations. And, to boot, he confirmed many of the serious criticisms of the deal. I imagine opponents of the deal will have a field day with these and other statements:

1. “With this deal, we cut off every single one of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear program, a nuclear weapons program.” Not true. After eight years, the precise restrictions end. Oops, he says it himself: “And Iran’s nuclear program will be under severe limits for many years [emphasis mine].”..

Yes, there is the rest of the 17 - and a video of the full news conference -  here.
 During his entire presidency Obama has weaved, bobbed and spun on just about every issue.  This latest would be funny if the consequences weren't so damn serious. But, I don't make the mistake of  under-estimating  Obama's  determination that this deal will stand.  He has said [he] 'will veto any Republican attempt to derail Iran nuclear deal'.  We have seen his disregard for the Constitutional process more than a few times during his tenure, and this Iran deal promises to be no different; this despite the fact that even a top Democrat is now expressing concern about this proposed 'deal.'  He is not alone.

Never mind that. the administration may want to appear to be respecting the process, Obama has declared - on the record - the threat of  veto in his determination to make the deal with Iran a done deal.  Indeed, he even sent the deal as written to the UN for their approval, BEFORE the US Congress had even been given the chance to debate the deal.

Many critics have pointed to some of the major flaws in this deal, and perhaps one of my favourite critiques comes from retired Lt. Col  and former Congressman Allen West.  West was at the protest against the Iran deal in New York Time Square last week.  Take a look:

He later followed that appearance up with a column on a 'Few points I left out of that Times Square speech.'  Go read that.

Israel's Prime Minister has been a loud and vociferous opponent of the Iran deal, and justifiably so.  He knows what any thinking person can see - even those of us without access to the full details.  (most of us!)  He rightly calls this deal 'a historic mistake',  Check out the more details in the Jerusalem Post report on Bibi's response. 

Even as Israel has continuously maintained that this is a bad deal, and that a better deal could/should  have been made, Kerry hits back with the claim that Netanyahu's 'Better Deal' is a 'Fantasy' , and keeps claiming that no alternative deal has been offered up by the nay-sayers.  The Times of Israel  disputes this: Countering Obama, Israel says it offered alternative to Iran deal

An Israel official had this to say, according to Israel National News:  Iran was on the verge of giving up Nuke Program but that Obama conceded too quickly.  There's a surprise - NOT!!!

As usual, Obama et al are playing their cards very close to their vests, as they spin, rinse, repeat,  but again as usual, as time goes by more details are dribbling out, from this most transparent administration ever.  What a surprise, apparently there are secret side deals that we - thus far - hadn't been told.  Washington Post has this:
Obama’s secret Iran deals exposed
By Marc A. Thiessen
July 27, 2015
President Obama promised that his nuclear deal with Iran would not be “based on trust” but rather “unprecedented verification.” Now it turns out Obama’s verification regime is based on trust after all — trust in two secret side agreements negotiated exclusively between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that apparently no one (including the Obama administration) has seen.
Worse, Obama didn’t even reveal the existence of these secret side deals to Congress when he transmitted the nuclear accord to Capitol Hill. The agreements were uncovered, completely by chance, by two members of Congress — Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) — who were in Vienna meeting with the U.N.-releated agency....
Pompeo says they asked whether they could see those agreements. He says IAEA officials replied, “ ‘Oh no, of course not, no, you’re not going to get to see those.’ And so everybody on our side of the table asked, ‘Has Secretary Kerry seen these?’ ‘No, Secretary Kerry hasn’t seen them. No American is ever going to get to see them.’ ”
It turns out that only the two parties — the IAEA and Iran — get to see the actual agreements ...
Read the rest here, and try and control your surprise.  
Of course, Dick Cheney has a few words to share on this dangerous folly. WATCH this:

(If the link doesn't work, go here. It's a good one!)

 Doesn't give ME warm and fuzzies! "...Can be a few years down the road..." says Cheney...... He is not the only one to comment on that.  Check this out: With Iran deal, the U.S. just kicked the nukes can down the road: Yaron Sideman

As Obama continues to trumpet the good news of it all, it seems some Iranian generals are also not so enamoured as this administration would have us all believe.  Go read this: Iranian General:  We hate US 100 times more for the Nuclear Deal...

The vast concessions to Iran made in the nuclear deal last Tuesday, which ultimately allow the leading state sponsor of terror to be able to obtain a nuclear arsenal in ten years, are apparently not enough for a top Iranian general..

Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, Commander of Iran's paramilitary Basij Force, said on Tuesday that the Iran deal will only make Iranians hate the US more, as quoted by the semi-official Fars News Agency.

"Any Iranian who reads the Vienna documents will hate the US 100 times more," Naqdi said.

The opposition is surprising given that the deal ignores Iran's key nuclear installations where its nuclear weapons testing is said to be being held, and likewise stipulates that the West will train Iran to block sabotage on its nuclear program. The deal also lifts the UN arms embargo on Iran and lifts sanctions against its top terror commander.

Iran has shown an increasingly open belligerent tone, with an aide to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei saying Tuesday that Iranwon't let international inspectors visit its covert military sites such as Parchin, where Iran's illicit nuclear weapons testing is thought to be occurring....

 Oh and of course, John Kerry NOW finds the Iranian vows to 'defy the US 'very disturbing' "...
 Sheesh, you think?  Doesn't sound as if they really like us, does it?

Amir Basiri seems to agree that despite Obama's rose coloured glasses - you know. the ones he would have us all wear - that this historic deal won't change much between Iran and the US.  Writing in Forbes back in March, this Iranian human rights activist says (in part):

A Nuclear Deal Will Not End Iran's Hostility
U.S. President Barack Obama has long perceived a deal—perhaps any deal—with the Iranian regime over its illicit nuclear program as a “silver bullet” that, once inked, will magically solve the multitude of problems that the U.S. is dealing with in regards with the rulers of Tehran.

In this respect, the continuation of the nuclear talks has taken priority over all other matters in Obama’s Iran and Middle-East policy, to the extent that he is willingly ignoring the damage that Iran is dealing across the region and the host of threats that it is posing to U.S. interests and national security.

By all accounts, Tehran’s deadliest weapons are the ruling mullahs themselves (along with their outdated ideology of Islamic fundamentalism) and while they remain in power, the region—and by consequence the U.S.—will never be safe. Add to that the capability to produce nuclear bombs and a hegemonic role in the region (both of which Obama is willing to recognize), and the only outcome can be inevitable disaster, a time bomb that will go off sooner or later and plunge the region and the world into further chaos and turmoil.

Among Obama’s miscalculations is the misplaced belief that the Iranian regime has common interests with the U.S. and can eventually become an ally of the West in establishing peace and stability in the region....
He seems to be suggesting that Obama is delusional, but with nicer words.  GO read and decide for yourself.

Quite apart from the billions of dollars Iran stands to gain from this deal, and the lifting of sanctions, and pretty much control over when and how the most flaunted 'inspections' will occur, there is a critical issue that negotiators seem to have overlooked.

Today, at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Jeff Duncan had this:

Americans still being held in Iranian prisons are on my mind as Secretaries Kerry, Lew, and Moniz testify about the Iran nuclear deal in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Wanted to remind them of who they left behind.
Tom Cotton also was asked his response on the US hostages who were not even included as part of this Obama legacy-making deal.  Go watch and listen to him here.

Regarding John Kerry testifying  here he is.  These were his introductory remarks, and other clips of him I have seen,  show that he did get quite (ahem) 'testy' !  Where's James Taylor when you need a friend?

Be all that as it may, now, more than ever, we all need to educate ourselves and then make our voices heard..

FACT:  No matter how much Obama - the great orator (???) - or something -  spins, rinses repeats, this deal doesn't, and will not,  wash.  Not now, not ever.


Related:(Yes, we did read every one of these, and all very interesting - Honest!!! )

The nuclear deal with Iran: Highlights  (with links to the 'complete' text - or not!!))

 Deal Leaves Behind 3 Americans Cruelly Imprisoned in Iran

Inspection regime in Iran informed by lessons from Iraq experience

  Iran nuclear deal: Is it statecraft or surrender?

Kerry: Iranian Access to Billions Won't Affect World Terror

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

UK answer to Islamic Terrorism?

It is not news that Islamic terrorism has taken deep root within British society.  As it is reported that they are arresting on average one jihadist wanna-be a DAY, and of a man being arrested for trying to buy enough ricin to kill 1400 people - for peaceful purposes, you understand - UK Prime Minister Davis Cameron set out his latest proposed strategy to address on the rapidly growing problem within UK borders.

In a speech he gave in Birmingham earlier this week:


From the Guardian (UK):

The four pillars of David Cameron's counter-extremism strategy 

PM outlines his five-year strategy to tackle subversive doctrine and defeat extremism

 20 July 2015

 Jamie Grierson

An ideology that at its furthest end seeks to destroy nation states to invent its own barbaric realm. That – in the words of the prime minister, David Cameron – is what defines Islamist extremism.

Defeating extremism is the “struggle of our generation”, Cameron said on Monday, as he outlined four pillars of a five-year strategy in tackling the “subversive” doctrine.

Here is a breakdown of the counter-extremism strategy:
Confronting the ideology
Cameron trumpeted Britain’s liberal values as the “strongest weapon” for combating Islamist extremism but also said more must be done to deglamorise the cause, especially Islamic State.

The prime minister said the government would work with people who understand what life is like under Isis to explain to young and vulnerable people the brutal reality of its ideology.

Syrian, Iraqi and Kurdish communities will be given platforms from which to speak out against the carnage Isis is conducting in their countries, he said.

Cameron said specific deradicalisation programmes would be set up – although he did not specify how this would differ from Channel, the government’s deradicalisation project under its Prevent strategy.

The prime minister also set his sights on internet companies, hitting out at firms for doing too little to tackle extremism online.

When it comes to doing what’s right in the fight against terrorism, we too often hear that it’s all too difficult.

Tackle the violent and non-violent

The prime minister said the new strategy would take steps to confront groups and organisations that might not advocate violence but do promote extremism.

Cameron pledged to introduce “narrowly targeted powers” to tackle hate preachers and cult leaders who promote extremist views and material.

The media watchdog, Ofcom, would also be strengthened to give it powers to take action against foreign channels that broadcast hate preachers, he said.

The prime minister said he would bring forward further measures to guard against the radicalisation of children in some so-called supplementary schools or tuition centres....

There is much more on the points he laid out, and a video, here.
No coincidence I am sure, but two days after that speech, Clarion Project has this:

Islamism in Britain: June 2015

'We simply can't have a situation where different rules apply to families from different family backgrounds.' MP Philip Hollobone.
Wed, July 22, 2015

What follows is a summary of Islam and Islam-related issues in Britain during June 2015, categorized into four broad themes: 1) Islamic extremism; 2) British multiculturalism; 3) Islamic Sharia law; and 4) Muslim integration.

1. Islamic Extremism and Syria-Related Threats
A new report on surveillance warned that Britain is facing an "unprecedented" threat from hundreds of battle-hardened jihadists who have been trained in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The report said there are now more Britons trained in terrorism than at any point in recent memory.

More than 700 Britons are believed to have travelled to Syria and Iraq, over half of whom are thought to have since returned home, where they pose a significant threat to national security.

Addressing a security conference in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, on June 19, Prime Minister David Cameron called on Muslims to speak out against the "poisonous ideology" of Islamism that is radicalizing young British Muslims.

Prominent Muslims quickly pounced on Cameron's remarks. Former Conservative Party co-chair Sayeeda Warsi, writing in the Guardianargued that Cameron's "misguided emphasis" on "Muslim community complicity" would "at best fall on deaf ears, at worst further alienate" British Muslims.

Labour MP Yasmin Querishi said that British Muslims should not have to apologize for the radicalization of British Muslims. "It feels absolutely awful," she said. "I'm getting really tired of having to apologise."...
Long time readers don't need me to share what my reply to that MP would be, but go read much more here.  
All well and good,  of course,  but speeches aren't going to solve the deeply entrenched scourge of Islamic terrorism in the world.  Only time will tell if these speeches actually lead to real action...even though I fear that it is already just about too late for Britain.
Pay attention.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Canada: New Chief of Defence Staff sworn in

General John Vance

From DND:
July 17, 2015 – Ottawa – Department of National Defence / Chief of the Defence Staff

General Jonathan Vance Appointed Canada's New Chief of Defence Staff

General Jonathan Vance was appointed Canada’s new Chief of the Defence Staff during a change of command ceremony held today in Ottawa. The event was presided over by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, and marked the official transfer of command of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) from General Tom Lawson to General Jonathan Vance. The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence and the Honourable Julian Fantino, Associate Minister of National Defence were also in attendance.
Quick Facts

Per the National Defence Act, the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) has direct responsibility for the command, control, and administration of the Canadian Armed Forces, and is appointed by the Governor-in-Council, by recommendation of the Prime Minister.....

More facts from the DND here.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

TN: Prayers for the Fallen

No politics (for now.)

Prayers for our Fallen and their loved ones..

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

US: SECDEF Carter on transgender policy

It's all about priorities!


The DoD yesterday released Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter's statement on transgenders in the US Military.   Read on:


Release No: NR-272-15
July 13, 2015

Statement by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on DOD Transgender Policy
Over the last fourteen years of conflict, the Department of Defense has proven itself to be a learning organization. This is true in war, where we have adapted to counterinsurgency, unmanned systems, and new battlefield requirements such as MRAPs. It is also true with respect to institutional activities, where we have learned from how we repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," from our efforts to eliminate sexual assault in the military, and from our work to open up ground combat positions to women. Throughout this time, transgender men and women in uniform have been there with us, even as they often had to serve in silence alongside their fellow comrades in arms.

The Defense Department's current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions. At a time when our troops have learned from experience that the most important qualification for service members should be whether they're able and willing to do their job, our officers and enlisted personnel are faced with certain rules that tell them the opposite. Moreover, we have transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines - real, patriotic Americans - who I know are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that's contrary to our value of service and individual merit.

Today, I am issuing two directives to deal with this matter. First, DoD will create a working group to study over the next six months the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly. Led by (Acting) Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad Carson, and composed of military and civilian personnel representing all the military services and the Joint Staff, this working group will report to Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work. At my direction, the working group will start with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness, unless and except where objective, practical impediments are identified. Second, I am directing that decision authority in all administrative discharges for those diagnosed with gender dysphoria or who identify themselves as transgender be elevated to Under Secretary Carson, who will make determinations on all potential separations.

As I've said before, we must ensure that everyone who's able and willing to serve has the full and equal opportunity to do so, and we must treat all our people with the dignity and respect they deserve. Going forward, the Department of Defense must and will continue to improve how we do both. Our military's future strength depends on it.
This Ain't Hell, as always, nails it.  Read the comments there..

Monday, July 13, 2015

Brit jihadist rapper on the run in Turkey?

From the UK Telegraph:

Notorious jihadi rapper on the run in Turkey
Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, 25, is one of up to 50 former British IS fighters believed to have left Syria and are on the run in Turkey
By One of Britiain's most notorious jihadists, a rapper who once posed with a severed head in Syria and promised death to all Westerners, has left the so called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and is on the run in Turkey, according to security sources.

Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, 25, is one of up to 50 former British IS fighters thought to be in limbo - facing execution as traitors if they return to Syria and prison if they try to go home to the UK.

It is unclear why Bary has fallen out with Isil, which he joined two years ago, but he is among a growing number of disillusioned Westerners to have left the terror group in the face of sustained coalition bombing.

It is understood that Bary disguised himself as a refugee and made his escape during the chaos of the Isil retreat from Tal Abyad near the Turkey Syria border last month....

Kosovo: "Don't drink the water!" amid fears of ISIS plot

(wiki picture)

From Homeland Security NewsWire:

Kosovo’s capital cuts water supplies for fear of ISIS plot to poison reservoir

July 13, 2015

Kosovo security and health authorities have cut off water supplies to tens of thousands of residents in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital, following a suspicion that ISIS followers had poisoned the city’s water supplies.

The city’s water board said supply was cut early on Saturday “because of security issues” and that supplies had been tested for suspicious substances.

The Independent reports that the tests carried out by the Kosovo Institute for National Health had not detected any toxic content in the water.

The worries about the city’s water system emerged after five people linked to ISIS were arrested on Friday. Police sources say that security officers patrolling the Badovac reservoir saw three of the men, whose identities have not yet been disclosed, behaving suspiciously near the reservoir. The reservoir supplies water to about half of Pristina, a city of more than 200,000 people. Two additional suspects were later arrested in a small town a few miles from Pristina....