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TBR News February 17, 2017

Feb 17 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. February 17, 2017: “The individuals and agencies that have been running the United States for years have run into a roadblock with President Trump.

Used to being able to totally dictate American domestic and foreign policies, these oligarchs, through their control of the media, do as they please and then inform the President of their actions.

Generally, the President, who knows little or nothing of the manipulations in progress, goes along with whatever scheme or deed is laid before him and the agencies and individuals prosper, mostly on tax-payers money.

And in the case of President Trump, the incessant, ludicrous and often pathetic articles about him the almost all of the major media will only serve to polarize the public and lead to serious domestic problems.

That eventually these will erupt and turn against the oligarchy has not occurred to them and they go on their way, assured that even though they lost the last election, they can destroy the winner and refresh themselves at the spring of the money pouring in from the unsuspecting and gulled.”


Table of Contents

  • As Leaks Multiply, Fears of a ‘Deep State’ in America
  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place
  • More About Russia and Less About Flynn?
  • George Soros’ Cunning Plan To Turn Trump Deregulatory Agenda Against Him
  • ‘Indivisible,’ With Ties to George Soros, Sows Division Against Trump, GOP Lawmakers
  • German Intel Clears Russia on Interference
  • Record number of Palestinian homes destroyed by Israel in 2016 – rights group
  • Sea ice at record low in Arctic and Antarctic
  • Robotic Ripoffs
  • German regulator tells parents to destroy ‘spy’ doll Cayla
  • Under police probe, Israel’s Netanyahu leaves helm of communications ministry

 As Leaks Multiply, Fears of a ‘Deep State’ in America

February 16, 2017

by Amanda Taub and Max Fisher

The New York Times

WASHINGTON — A wave of leaks from government officials has hobbled the Trump administration, leading some to draw comparisons to countries like Egypt, Turkey and Pakistan, where shadowy networks within government bureaucracies, often referred to as “deep states,” undermine and coerce elected governments.

So is the United States seeing the rise of its own deep state?

Not quite, experts say, but the echoes are real — and disturbing.

Though leaks can be a normal and healthy check on a president’s power, what’s happening now extends much further. The United States, those experts warn, risks developing an entrenched culture of conflict between the president and his own bureaucracy.

Issandr El Amrani, an analyst who has written on Egypt’s deep state, said he was concerned by the parallels, though the United States has not reached authoritarian extremes.

The growing discord between a president and his bureaucratic rank-and-file, he warned, “is dangerous, it encourages deep divisions within society, it creates these constant tensions.”

“As an American citizen I find it really quite disheartening to see all these similarities to Egypt,” Mr. El Amrani said.

What Makes a Deep State?

Though the deep state is sometimes discussed as a shadowy conspiracy, it helps to think of it instead as a political conflict between a nation’s leader and its governing institutions.

That can be deeply destabilizing, leading both sides to wield state powers like the security services or courts against one another, corrupting those institutions in the process.

In Egypt, for instance, the military and security services actively undermined Mohamed Morsi, the country’s democratically elected Islamist president, contributing to the upheaval that culminated in his ouster in a 2013 coup.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has battled the deep state by consolidating power for himself and, after a failed coup attempt last year, conducting vast purges.

Though American democracy is resilient enough to resist such clashes, early hints of a conflict can be tricky to spot because some push and pull between a president and his or her agencies is normal.

In 2009, for instance, military officials used leaks to pressure the White House over what it saw as the minimal number of troops necessary to send to Afghanistan.

Leaks can also be an emergency brake on policies that officials believe could be ill-advised or unlawful, such as George W. Bush-era programs on warrantless wiretapping and the Abu Ghraib detention facility in Iraq.

“You want these people to be fighting like cats and dogs over what the best policy is, airing their views, making their case and then, when it’s over, accepting the decision and implementing it,” said Elizabeth N. Saunders, a George Washington University political scientist. “That’s the way it’s supposed to work.”

“Leaking is not new,” she said, “but this level of leaking is pretty unprecedented.”

Institutional conflicts under Mr. Trump, she worried, had grown into something larger and more concerning.

Mr. Trump, apparently seeking to cut the intelligence community, State Department, and other agencies out of the policy-making process almost entirely, may have triggered a conflict whose escalation we are seeing in the rising number of leaks.

Culture of Conflict

Officials, deprived of the usual levers for shaping policies that are supposed to be their purview, are left with little other than leaking. And the frenetic pace of Mr. Trump’s executive orders, which the agencies would normally review internally over weeks or months, has them pulling that lever repeatedly.

They have leaked draft executive orders, inciting backlashes that led the orders to be shelved. And they have revealed administration efforts to circumvent usual policymaking channels, undermining Mr. Trump’s ability to enact his agenda.

Mr. Trump’s moves to consolidate power away from those agencies under his own authority also has them struggling to keep what they see as their crucial role in governance.

“We’re in a world now where the president is playing to the edge of his powers, and I think there are real concerns about the constitutional implications of some of the actions he’s taken,” said Amy Zegart, the co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.

That has forced officials in agencies to ask how far they will go themselves. As each side begins to perceive itself as under attack and the other as making dangerous power-grabs, it will justify more and more extreme behavior.

In President Trump, you have a president whose behavior shocks even more than the content of his policies,” Mr. El Amrani said.

“This was very much the case with Morsi,” he said, which led the civil service to “leak aggressively” to oppose Morsi’s disregard for bureaucratic norms and procedures. “You’re seeing the same thing now.”

Tit for Tat

Mr. Trump’s tendency to treat each leak as an attack rather than an attempt to influence policy has created an atmosphere in Washington of open institutional conflict.

Some leaks appear motivated by more than mere policy disagreements, such as the revelations concerning conversations between Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser, and Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Sergey I. Kislyak, which led on Monday to Mr. Flynn’s resignation.

This came after months of worsening relations between Mr. Trump and the intelligence agencies, which he frequently criticized during his campaign.

Mr. Trump, in rejecting intelligence assessments that Russia intervened in the election to help him win, has risked implying that he will only accept intelligence bent to his political interests.

Mr. Trump has said he might appoint Stephen A. Feinberg, a finance executive who was an early supporter of his campaign, to review the intelligence agencies.

“It looks, sounds and feels like a political witch hunt,” said Ms. Zegart. “It’s like pouring gasoline on the fire.”

“What’s happening here is that the president doesn’t even want to hear intelligence that he doesn’t agree with, and jumps to the conclusion that it must be politicized, and must be the result of people conspiring against him,” Ms. Zegart said.

By creating the perception of conflict, Mr. Trump may have made it more likely.

Crossing the Line

Mr. Flynn, in his short tenure, exemplified the breakdown between the president’s inner circle and career civil servants. He kept the National Security Council largely shut out of policy-making and sought sweeping changes in foreign policy.

For concerned government officials, leaks may have become one of the few remaining means by which to influence not just Mr. Flynn’s policy initiatives but the threat he seemed to pose to their place in democracy. That has fueled speculation that details of Mr. Flynn’s contact with the Russian ambassador could have been leaked as much to undermine Mr. Flynn as out of concern for impropriety.

Even if that was not the case, such practices are a hazard of officials’ growing reliance on leaks and other tools of bureaucratic resistance. This risks entrenching a culture of bureaucratic warfare that is adversarial and dysfunctional by default — not quite a Turkish-style deep state, but not a healthy democracy either.

Officials are stuck in a difficult position: Even if each individual leak is justifiable, as insubordination becomes more sustained and overt, it inches deeper into the gray zone of counter-democratic activities.

The distinction between deep-state meddling and acceptable protest is difficult to draw in the United States, Ms. Zegart said, because this degree of opposition is so unusual.

“I don’t think you can say in advance what inappropriate deep-state activity would look like, because we haven’t seen this before,” she said.

In countries like Egypt, Mr. El Amrani said, the line is much clearer.

There, “the deep state is not official institutions rebelling,” he said, but rather “shadowy networks within those institutions, and within business, who are conspiring together and forming parallel state institutions.”

Mr. Trump, by treating these institutions as if they are already his political enemies, makes that harder to avoid.

Bad for Everyone

As that gulf widens, it becomes more likely that mutual mistrust will lead the president and government bureaucracy to actively undermine one another.

A lesson of deep states: Even minor decisions become the subject of political infighting, making basic governance difficult. “We saw in Egypt in 2013 that the result is complete decision-making paralysis,” Mr. El Amrani said.

That is one of the milder outcomes. But when institutions with vast power to eavesdrop, fine, harass and detain see themselves as locked in a zero-sum struggle for survival, it is often basic civil liberties and democratic rights that end up in the crossfire.

Mr. El Amrani does not believe those worst-case scenarios are likely to come to pass in the United States. But there is still a risk that bureaucratic resistance against the president could become an enduring feature of American politics. Once trust is broken, it is difficult to rebuild.

Ms. Zegart agreed. “There are no good long-term consequences here,” she said. “This war between the intelligence community and the White House is bad for the intelligence community, bad for the White House, and bad for the nation’s security.”

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

A choice of “enemies”

February 17, 2017

by Justin Raimondo,


The foreign policy issue in American politics has undergone some remarkable shifts over the years. We are in the midst of just such a shift, but before we can properly understand what is happening today we must consult Clio, the muse of history, and see what patterns we can discern.

As witnesses to the birth of the American empire at the turn of the last century, the two major parties staked out roughly opposite positions. As William McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt presided over the acquisition of Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Cuba, it was the Republicans – the party of big business, crony capitalism, and “preparedness” – who waved the banner of expansionism, and the populist Bryanite Democrats who stood for anti-imperialism. This changed with the usurpation of the old Democratic populism by the “progressivism” represented by The New Republic and Woodrow Wilson, whose policies would christen an entire school of foreign policy thought under the rubric of “Wilsonian” internationalism.

It was the backlash against Wilson’s war to “make the world safe for democracy” that the “isolationist” (i.e. anti-interventionist) sentiments of the American people – and both parties – were solidified, at least for a while. “Isolationist” sentiment in Congress was centered in the Republican party, exemplified by the “Irreconcilables,” who opposed US entry into the League of Nations, but anti-interventionism was the default position of both parties in the wake of the Great War.

This bipartisan devotion to the foreign policy of the Founders didn’t last, however: as war clouds gathered once again on the European horizon, the left-wing of the Democratic party in alliance with the Anglophile Establishment on the east coast openly agitated for war with the Axis powers. Arrayed against them were Midwestern progressives and conservative businessmen, with a few libertarian intellectuals thrown in to spice up the pot, known today as the “Old Right.”

As per usual, these disparate stances had less to do with objectively observable national security considerations than with the woof and warp of domestic politics. The Old Right, consisting of conservative Republicans and a constitutionalist remnant of the Democratic party, feared that war would give Franklin Roosevelt and his New Dealers the weapons they needed to consolidate their control of the economy and the country. As libertarian Rose Wilder Lane put it, we’ll “beat national socialism in the trenches and get it on the home front.”

The Democrats, heavily influenced by their far left-wing, were also – ironically – subject to considerable pressure by banking interests, whose holdings of British and other European government bonds were at risk as the Nazis steamrollered across the continent. When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, and the Communist Party turned on a dime and became the loudest interventionists of them all, the die was cast: the “Great Debate” became a battle between pro-Soviet/pro-British elements versus the nationalist-“isolationist” America First movement.

Pearl Harbor doomed the latter, but the anti-interventionists didn’t immediately fade away. Sen. Robert A. Taft, known as “Mr. Republican,” who led the America First wing of the party until 1953, opposed the formation of NATO. But the cold war was rapidly reversing the polarities of American politics, and the McCarthyite rampage led ineluctably to a turnaround among conservatives on the foreign policy question: they became militant interventionists, with National Review under editor William F. Buckley, Jr., leading the call to “roll back” communism. Meanwhile, the liberal-left abandoned its former militance and advocated – for the most part – détente with the Soviet Union.

With the implosion of international communism and the fall of the Soviet Union, it looked likely for a while that the old “isolationism” of the right would rise again, with Republicans skeptical of Bill Clinton’s Balkan war – but several factors intervened to block this development.

First, our symbiotic relationship with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states motivated George Herbert Walker Bush to intervene when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait: the first Gulf War was the result. The Democrats, for the most part, retained their mildly anti-interventionist position, out of habit, although there were significant defections.

Secondly, and more profoundly, the 9/11 attack intervened, and arrested the development of any anti-interventionist sentiment in both parties for a good while. As was the case in the run up to World War I, war hysteria united both parties, with anti-interventionist dissent consigned to the fringes. The invasion and occupation of Iraq was supported by the leadership of both parties.

When war weariness became a general malaise this led to the election of Barack Obama. While Obama campaigned – and won – on the basis of his antiwar credentials, his presidency was anything but anti-interventionist. His reign was marked by the ascendancy of the “responsibility to protect” faction of Wilsonian internationalists, and he intervened in Libya and Syria on this basis, as well as continuing – and even ratcheting up – the endless “war on terrorism” initiated by his predecessor.

So where are the patterns in this historical pageant? If we go all the way back to the earliest days of the republic, we can see that the foreign policy position of the parties has been determined by their designation of the chief danger to our national security. It is an answer to the question: Who is the “the enemy?”

In the days of Washington and Jefferson, the choices were either the British, or the French: the former represented a domestic danger, as imagined by the Jeffersonians, in the form of the restoration of royalism in America, while the latter, in the Federalist mindset, was the source of an alleged Jacobin menace, which was said to inspire Jefferson and his followers. And so we can see that, from the very beginning, these alleged foreign enemies were merely representations – stand-ins, if you will – of domestic political actors.

The same pattern has persisted throughout our history. In the two world wars, the German “threat” was represented at home by our numerous German-American population, who generally resisted the “progressive” domestic politics of the war-making Wilson and Roosevelt administrations, as well as being solidly “isolationist.” During the cold war communism was The Enemy, and this was merely a projection onto foreign soil of the anti-Communist hysteria whipped up by the McCarthy crusade and the general fear of radicalism and communist “subversion” in the United States.

Now we arrive at the present, where we encounter what may be a unique moment in the history of the politics of US foreign policy.

The projection of domestic bogeymen onto a foreign landscape has persisted to the present day, with one important modification, and it is this: in the past, while one of the parties held up an “enemy” as a dire threat to our national security, the other party defined itself largely in opposition to this. For example, during the cold war era, conservative Republicans wanted to spend billions on the military in the name of meeting the Soviet “threat,” while liberal Democrats responded that the money was better spent at home taking care of our own people. They did not pose an alternative threat. That has now changed.

On the Democratic side of the aisle, The Enemy is Russia. In a curious upending of their mindset in years past, liberal Democrats have become rabid Russophobes who see a Putin “agent” under every bed and bush. The reasons for this are entirely domestic, i.e. political: having fielded a presidential candidate who inspired nothing but either ennui or revulsion, they are intent on finding a reason other than their own incompetence and ideological bankruptcy for Hillary Clinton’s unexpected defeat. They’ve settled on “Russian interference,” i.e. the WikiLeaks revelations of Democratic corruption, and are now embarked on a campaign – in tandem with their many friends in the mainstream media – to target President Donald Trump as an outright agent of the Kremlin.

This is what motivates their demands that the President “do something” about the alleged ‘”threat” posed by Putin to our European allies, and their insistence that we must strengthen and expand NATO, and unconditionally support one of the most corrupt and illiberal regimes in Europe, namely Ukraine. Their response to Trump’s desire to improve relations with Russia is to denounce him as “Putin’s puppet.”

As for the Republicans, the aftereffects of 9/11 are still quite strong: the result is that they define The Enemy as “radical Islamic terrorism.” Again, this is a representation, in large part, of an alleged threat that is said to exist domestically. This threat is then projected onto an overseas screen, either ISIS (in Syria) or al-Qaeda (in, say, Yemen). Never mind that, aside from the 9/11 attackers and a few others, most of the worst terrorist incidents that have occurred have been carried out by US citizens who are second generation immigrants. In this sense, Republican foreign policy has become a form of “security theater.”

Furthermore, “radical Islamic terrorism” is a very broad term that, as used by President Trump, encompasses the Shi’ite version of Islam, the adherents of which have never carried out a single attack in the United States. Indeed, Iran – the seat of Shi’ite power – is engaged in a vicious war with the Sunni Islamists, in Syria and elsewhere. Yet the Trump administration persists in labeling Iran “the single biggest exporter of terrorism” in the world – a designation that blanks out the substantial role played by the Sunni rulers of Saudi Arabia in exporting the radical Islamist ideology that motivates both ISIS and al-Qaeda.

And while Trump has given voice to more than a few anti-interventionist sentiments – he’s against “regime change,” he’s skeptical of NATO, he wants to “get along with Russia,” and he claims to represent a foreign policy that puts “America first” – under his administration the historical pattern persists. The only difference is his choice of enemies.

This puts us anti-interventionists is a perilous position: both parties are pushing a war agenda, with the only difference being the target of American bombs.

Now one could argue – as I have in these pages – that Trump’s ostensible reluctance to repeat the mistakes of the past gives us some degree of leverage. And it is true that, in trying to repair relations with Russia, and avoid the terrible consequences of conflict with that nuclear-armed power, the President has stuck his neck out and taken a very big political risk. Yet the fact remains that the targeting of Iran – exhibited, so far, in terms of pure bombast – represents a clear and present danger to the peace of the world.

And so we are between a rock and a hard place. If the Democrats win, we get World War III with Russia: if the Republicans win, we get a reiteration of our endless “war on terrorism.”

That’s why Antiwar.com is more essential than ever – because the danger of war has never been greater. With both parties pushing a war agenda, the political space for anti-interventionists is considerably narrowed.

But that doesn’t mean that the politics of foreign policy is tilted against us: that’s because we have the support of the war-weary public, which is sick and tired of foreign wars and cares not one whit about either alleged Russian “aggression” in some faraway country or whether ISIS is in Mosul or Mauritania. The natural “isolationism” of the average American is our greatest asset and ally, and we here at Antiwar.com are intent on taking full advantage of it. But we can’t do that without your support – your financial support.

The War Party has a bottomless treasury: they not only have the enormous resources of the US government, they also can count on the boundless generosity of the war profiteers, what President Eisenhower dubbed the military-industrial complex. They also have the media in their pocket, which is always eager to broadcast “fake news” designed to lure us onto foreign battlefields.

More About Russia and Less About Flynn?

The leak has narrowed Trump’s options for dealing with Putin.

February 16, 2017

by Philip Giraldi

The American Conservative

The story on the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn is somewhat like peeling an onion, with each layer revealing something new. To be sure, I am delighted to see Flynn gone, both because of his clearly expressed desire to confront Iran and his inaccurate characterization of Islam. But Flynn’s departure will no doubt be exploited by many to justify increased hostility toward Russia, which is neither justified by circumstances nor in America’s long-term interests.

Ironically, I am not even sure if Flynn was ever really on the same page as his boss regarding relations with Moscow. The former advisor considered Russia one of a number of states that would be useful allies in the global war against “radical Islamic terrorism.” But at the same time, Flynn has been focused on a post-ISIS situation in which a transnational alignment of Iran, Russia, China, and other states all join a grand conspiracy to challenge American military supremacy and ultimately destroy the United States.

To be sure, there are parts of the Flynn tale that just do not make sense. How is it that an experienced intelligence officer would not instinctively know that a long-distance telephone call between a man relaxing at a beach resort in the Dominican Republic and the Russian ambassador in Washington would be intercepted by the National Security Agency? And knowing that, why would anyone lie about it, even if it did include some kind of discussion relating to the current round of sanctions on Russia, which is pretty unsensational material when all is said and done? Flynn certainly had a number of other discussions with foreign-intelligence officers before the Trump inaugural, including those of Israel and most likely Britain, without any scandal being imputed even though the talks must surely have included discussion of substantive issues. The difference is clearly the involvement of Russia.

The motivation for the leak of the apparent transcript of the phone call (or a summary of it) to the media must be considered. There are (more or less) four theories currently floating around regarding what happened and why. First, that it was vindictive members of the intelligence community (IC) getting even for Trump’s rude comments about them. Second, that it was a victory for the neoconservatives who want a national-security advisor who will be more openly willing to employ U.S. military power worldwide. Third, that it was honorable members of the IC acting as whistleblowers to expose the illegality and blackmail potential of Flynn discussing policy with a foreign diplomat before he was actually in office. Fourth, that it was carried out by Obama holdovers getting revenge.

I don’t buy any of those explanations. In this case, the leak came out of the National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, or possibly the Central Intelligence Agency (or all three) with the intent of bringing down a key political figure—thereby damaging a new White House and influencing policy formulation. It also appears to have involved multiple leakers, according to The Intercept. That goes beyond vindictive, vengeful, exposing illegality, worrying about blackmail, or wanting to change horses. This was a leak that had specific policy implications.

Which leads to the possibility that the story about Flynn actually has little or nothing to do with either him personally or his having been indiscreet. How it developed and where it is leading might actually be much more about America’s Russian policy. Taking down Flynn, whose actual views on foreign policy vis-à-vis Iran and Russia are pretty closely aligned with those of the neoconservatives and many in Congress and the media, would hardly appear to be a suitable objective but for the fact that his irascible demeanor made him an easy mark for discrediting the entire Trump project. Now that he has been dismissed over contact with a Russian, Flynn is the stick that will be used to beat Vladimir Putin.

Everyone who matters in the United States is now rushing to demonize Russia, even though Moscow was pretty much a passive player in what happened and has subsequently developed. The narrative that Moscow somehow influenced the outcome of the recent U.S. election has not completely gone away, largely fueled by Democratic Party rage over the final result even though no hard evidence has ever been produced to support the allegations regarding Putin’s interference. Some senators, including John McCain and Lindsey Graham, have always been prepared to respond dramatically to Russian initiatives. And the media has been on an anti-Putin binge ever since the fighting over Georgia in 2008.

Quite a lot of what is now taking place is feeding off of a shift in perception in Washington. Russia is no longer seen as an adversary or competitor but as an enemy. This was clear in the Hillary Clinton campaign’s insistence on punishing Moscow, and it resonates in most mainstream-media coverage of any and all developments in Russia.

Some suggest that the intelligence community is also on board with this sentiment, though that is often dismissively attributed to a desire for larger budgets and increased turf in Washington. But my own recent encounters with intelligence officers of the current generation has led me to believe something quite different—that many people in the IC really have come to believe that Russia is a major and very active threat against the United States, just like in the old days with the Soviet Union. I assume they have come to that conclusion through their understanding of developments in Syria and Ukraine, but I nevertheless fail to understand how they have adopted that point of view given the real limitations on Russian power. Whatever the reason, they believe in their Russophobia passionately, and I have discovered that arguing with those who are fixated on Moscow as the fons et origo of global chaos is futile.

To my mind, this makes the officials who shared the phone transcripts much more dangerous than conventional leakers motivated by some personal grievance or desire to right a wrong. I fear that the current crop of Russia skeptics are true believers of the worst kind and will do whatever it takes to disrupt any moves toward rapprochement between Washington and Moscow. Exposing a highly classified sigint-derived phone call of a soon-to-be high U.S. official might reasonably be described as an extreme initiative.

So it seems that the destruction of Flynn, involving as it may have a number of leakers coming from all across the intelligence community, might be part of a coordinated effort to narrow the Trump White House’s options for dealing with Russia. Many in Washington do not want a comfortable working relationship with Putin in spite of the fact that a reset with Moscow should be the No. 1 national-security objective. There are already multiple investigations of Russia underway in Congress with calls for more, but exploiting the vulnerable Flynn might have been seen as providing the best opportunity to do something really disruptive before any change in the direction of foreign policy can take place.

George Soros’ Cunning Plan To Turn Trump Deregulatory Agenda Against Him

February 15, 2017

by Jon Shazar


George Soros may not like President Trump’s plan to remove any and all shackles from the international financiers he assailed during the presidential campaign, but that doesn’t mean he’s above profiting from it. And presumably taking those profits and using them to cut invisible checks to all of the protestors and agitators making the lives of Jason Chaffetz and his fellow Congressional Republicans miserable.

The New York-based firm disclosed a $14.9 million position in Goldman Sachs and made a new bet on Bank of America worth $3.9 million. One of its biggest buys during the last three months of 2016 was a call option on the S&P Select Sector SPDR Fund – Financial Sector worth $72.6 million.


‘Indivisible,’ With Ties to George Soros, Sows Division Against Trump, GOP Lawmakers

February 10, 2017

by Fred Lucas

The Daily Signal

Democrats who used to work on Capitol Hill are helping to disrupt Republican lawmakers’ town hall meetings across the country through a nationwide effort to oppose and “resist” President Donald Trump’s agenda.

They call their group Indivisible Guide, a name that came from an actual guide posted online telling activists how to pressure members of Congress. Among topics: what to say when going to town halls and calling or visiting a member’s office.

Leaders of the organization have loose ties to George Soros, the billionaire hedge fund manager who bankrolls liberal causes, according to the Capital Research Center, a conservative think tank that investigates nonprofits.

The Capital Research Center argues that Indivisible Guide’s board has indirect ties with left-leaning groups funded by Soros, as well as with other liberal organizations.

“Indivisible is ultraslick leftist astroturf activism at its finest,” Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the Capital Research Center, told The Daily Signal in an email. “At least three of the group’s five principals—Ezra Levin, Leah Greenberg, and Angel Padilla—have ties to organizations funded by George Soros. Indivisible is apparently not yet a nonprofit, but plans are in the works to register it as a nonprofit.”

According to Vadum’s research:

Ezra Levin, a former staffer for Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, and his wife, Leah Greenberg, are the president and vice president of the Indivisible Guide’s board, respectively.

Levin is also associate director of the Corporation for Enterprise Development, an anti-poverty nonprofit. Melissa Bradley, who sits on that group’s board, previously worked for Green for All, a group founded by liberal commentator and former Obama administration official Van Jones. She was appointed as a Soros Justice Fellow through the Open Society Foundations, which Soros founded.

Greenberg previously worked for Humanity United, which is funded by Soros’ Open Society Institute.

The secretary of Indivisible Guide, Angel Padilla, works for the National Immigration Law Center, which is funded by Soros through his Open Society Foundations. And treasurer Matt Traidi is the research team director for the Service Employees International Union, a major donor to and endorser of Democrat politicians, Capital Research Center notes.

Indivisible Guide boasts that it has disrupted town halls held by Republican lawmakers in Utah, California, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, and Nebraska. And the group, which amplifies its message over Twitter and other social media, promises it isn’t finished.

Politico reported that local activists shouted down Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich. Police had to escort Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., at a town hall meeting because of protesters.

One CNN report presented the disruption of a town hall meeting held Thursday night by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, as a sign of a “grassroots” reaction to Trump such as the taxpayer-based tea party movement was against the Washington establishment:

ActBlue, a political action committee that raises millions of dollars for Democrat candidates, also raises money for Indivisible Guide. Its appeal says, in part:

As former congressional staffers and advocates, we want to help provide local activists with information, tools, and support to take action. Most of all we want you to be part of this nationwide movement.

Let us be clear: donating is the last thing we want you to do. If it’s a choice between going to your local group’s meeting or donating to us, please go to the meeting. Really.

The website of Indivisible Guide, also known simply as Indivisible, provides scripts for what activists should say when calling the office of their House or Senate members on various issues—among them opposing senior Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s role in the White House, Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, his refugee policy, and most other policy positions.

The website says:

More than 4,500 local groups have signed up to resist the Trump agenda in nearly every congressional district in the country. What’s more, you all are putting the guide into action—showing up en masse to congressional district offices and events, and flooding the congressional phone lines. You’re resisting—and it’s working. … we want to demystify the heck out of Congress and build a vibrant community of angelic troublemakers.

Longstanding liberal groups MoveOn, the Working Families Party, and the American Civil Liberties Union have joined Indivisible Guide’s effort.

Just two days after Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration, Indivisible Guide, MoveOn.org, and the Working Families Party organized a teleconference for activists that attracted 60,000 listeners, Politico reported.

Indivisible did another call with the ACLU focusing on Trump’s executive order aimed at increasing the vetting of immigrants from seven terrorism-prone Middle Eastern countries; it drew about 35,000 listeners.

MoveOn.org is conducting “Resist Trump” rallies across the country. The ACLU issued pamphlets about how to demonstrate, including for protesters who attempted to disrupt Washington during Trump’s inauguration.

In running for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called the Working Families Party “the closest thing there is to a political party that believes in my vision of democratic socialism.”

German Intel Clears Russia on Interference

Mainstream U.S. media only wants stories of Russian perfidy, so when German intelligence cleared Moscow of suspected subversion of German democracy, the silence was deafening

February 17, 2017

by Ray McGovern


After a multi-month, politically charged investigation, German intelligence agencies could find no good evidence of Moscow-directed cyber-attacks or a disinformation campaign aimed at subverting the democratic process in Germany. Undaunted, Chancellor Angela Merkel has commissioned a new investigation.

Last year, Berlin’s two main intelligence agencies, the BND and BfV (counterparts of the CIA and FBI) launched a joint investigation to substantiate allegations that Russia was meddling in German political affairs and attempting to shape the outcome of Germany’s elections next September.

Like the vast majority of Americans malnourished on “mainstream media,” most Germans have been led to believe that, by hacking and “propaganda,” the Kremlin interfered in the recent US election and helped Donald Trump become president.

German intelligence agencies rarely bite the hand that feeds them and realize that the most bountiful part of the trough is at the CIA station in Berlin with ultimate guidance coming from CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. But this time, in an unusual departure from past practice, analysts at the BND and BfV decided to act like responsible adults.

Whereas former CIA Director John Brennan prevailed on his analysts to resort to anemic, evidence-light reasoning “assessing” that Russia tried to tip the US election to Donald Trump, Berlin’s intelligence agencies found the evidence lacking and have now completed their investigation.

Better still, the conclusions have been reported in a mainstream German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, apparently because a patriotic insider thought the German people should also know.

Lemmings No Longer?

If BND President Bruno Kahl thought that his own analysts could be depended upon to follow their American counterparts lemming-like and find evidence – Curveball-style – to support the US allegations, he now has had a rude awakening.

When the joint investigation was under way with his analysts doing their best to come up with reliable evidence of Russian perfidy, Kahl had behaved like his BND predecessors, parroting the charges made by his CIA counterpart, that the Russians were fomenting uncertainty and instability in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

In a rare interview with the mainstream newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, on Nov. 28, 2016, Kahl went out on what he probably thought was a safe limb, denouncing subversive “interference” by the Russians (“as they did in the US”). He was just a few months into his job and may have been naïve enough to consider what John Brennan said as gospel truth. (If he really is that gullible, Kahl is in the wrong profession.)

In the interview, Kahl played the puppet-doll Charlie McCarthy with Brennan in the role of Charlie’s ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. Kahl told the Sueddeutsche that he agreed with the US intelligence “assessment” that the Kremlin was behind the cyber attacks aimed at influencing the US election.

He added: “We know that cyber attacks are taking place and that they have no purpose other than to produce political instability. … Not only that. The perpetrators are interested in delegitimizing the democratic process itself. … I have the impression that the outcome of the American election has evoked no sadness in Russia so far. …

“Europe is [now] the focus of these disruption experiments, and Germany especially. … The pressure on the public discourse and on democracy is unacceptable.” Sound familiar?

Still, one might excuse the novice BND president for assuming his analysts would remember which side their bread is buttered on and follow past precedent in coming up with conclusions known to be desired by their masters in Berlin and the CIA.

So it must have come as an unwelcome surprise to Kahl when he found out that, this time, BND analysts would stand on principle and refuse to be as malleable as their Washington counterparts. His analysts could find no proof that the Kremlin was working hard to undermine the democratic process in Germany, and said so.

Worse still from the US point of view, the two German intelligence agencies resisted the usual pressure from some senior leaders in Berlin (perhaps including Kahl himself) to jam whatever innocuous information they could find into the anti-Russian mosaic that Washington was constructing, a kind of Cubist version of distorted reality.

And So, a Do-Over

So, what do powerful officials do when the bureaucracy comes up with “incorrect” conclusions? They send the analysts and investigators back to work until they come up with “correct” answers. This turned out to be no exception. Absent evidence of hacking directed by the Kremlin, the Germans now have opted for an approach by which information can be fudged more easily.

According to the Sueddeutsche, “Chancellor Merkel’s office has now ordered a new inquiry. Notably, a ‘psychological operations group’ jointly run by the BND and BfV will specifically look at Russian news agencies’ coverage in Germany.” We can expect that any articles that don’t portray Vladimir Putin in a devil’s costume will be judged “Russian propaganda.”

For guidance, Merkel may well give the new “investigators” a copy of the evidence-free CIA/FBI/NSA “Assessment: Russia’s Influence Campaign Targeting the 2016 US Presidential Election.” Released on Jan. 6, the report was an eyesore and embarrassment to serious intelligence professionals. The lame “evidence” presented, together with all the “assessing” indulged in by US analysts, was unable to fill five pages; filler was needed – preferably filler that could be made to look like analysis.

And so, seven more pages were tacked onto the CIA/FBI/NSA Assessment, even though the information presented in them had nothing to do with the cause celebre of Russian hacking. No problem: The additional seven pages bore the ominous title: “Annex A: Russia – Kremlin’s TV Seeks To Influence Politics, Fuel Discontent in US.”

The extra pages, in turn, were then used to support the following indictment: “Russia’s state-run propaganda machine contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences.”

Did an Insider Leak?

It is not clear how the German daily Sueddeutsche acquired the conclusions of the joint investigation or even whether it has the full 50-page copy of the final report. The newspaper did make it clear, though, that it now realizes it was played by Kahl with his unsupported accusations last November.

From what the newspaper was told, the analysts seemed willing to give the boss what he had already declared to be his desired conclusion, but the evidence simply wasn’t there. The article quotes one security expert saying, “We would have been happy to give Russia a yellow card,” a soccer metaphor referring to improper conduct. A cabinet source lamented, “We found no smoking gun.”

Initially, the BND and BfV planned to release excerpts of their still classified inquiry, the Sueddeutsche reported, but it’s now not clear when, if ever, the full report will be released.

The day after the Sueddeutsche story appeared, some other media outlets reported on it – briefly. Newsweek and Politico gave the scoop all of three sentences each. Not fitting with the preferred “Russia-is-guilty-of-everything” narrative, it then died a quick death. I have been unable to find the story mentioned at all in major US“mainstream media” outlets.

If Americans became aware of the story, it was probably via RT – the bête noire of the abovementioned CIA/FBI/NSA report condemning Russian “propaganda.” Can it become any clearer why RT America and RT International are despised by the US government and the “mainstream media?” Many Americans are slowly realizing they cannot count on American network and cable TV for accurate news and are tuning in to RT at least for the other side of these important stories.

It was from a early morning call from RT International that I first learned of the Feb. 7 Sueddeutsche Zeitung report on Germany’s failed hunt for evidence of Russian electoral interference.

Record number of Palestinian homes destroyed by Israel in 2016 – rights group

February 17, 2017


In 2016, Israeli authorities had sped up demolishing homes of Palestinians in the occupied territories, rights group B’Tselem reported. The number was the highest in 12 years, during which the group kept systematic statistics of the demolitions.

B’Tselem says the demolitions campaign intensified in August 2015 and unofficially halted later in the year, only to be resumed in 2016. Last year Israel demolished 274 homes in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem), thereby rendering homeless 1,134 individuals, including 591 minors.

In East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities demolished 73 Palestinian homes in 2016, while 15 others were demolished by their owners on orders from the municipality. Violation of the orders would have carried hefty fines and would not likely prevent the demolitions or being charged the cost of carrying them out. Together those actions rendered 295 people homeless, including 160 minors, B’Tselem said. The authorities also demolished 48 non-residential buildings.

“Despite the differences between Area C and East Jerusalem in terms of which authorities operate in each area and the laws applied by Israel, the policy Israel pursues in the two areas is similar, and designed to minimize the number of Palestinians in as much land as possible,” the group said. “Authorities cynically cite illegal construction as a pretext for the demolitions, while at the same time authorities are the ones that prohibit legal construction by Palestinians.”

The rights advocates accuse the Israeli authorities of failing to authorize enough construction permits to meet the demand of the growing Palestinian population, leaving Palestinians with no choice but to build homes illegally. B’Tselem believes it to be part of a policy aimed at making living conditions for Palestinians unbearable and forcing them to leave.

“This policy, which all authorities work to uphold, severely and directly violates the most fundamental human rights of tens of thousands of Palestinians, and indirectly those of hundreds of thousands more. At the same time, the policy also offers decisive evidence that Israel has long-term plans to continue controlling the area, while oppressing and dispossessing its residents,” it said.

The Israeli authorities deny the accusations.

“The Civil Administration conducts enforcement operations against illegal construction in Judea and Samaria in accordance with the political echelon’s instructions,” the coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit told Ynet, the online branch of the newspaper Yedioth Ahronot.

“In the past year, the Civil Administration approved zoning plans for the villages of Taanakh and Izbeit at-Tabib, and these days it is advancing the zoning plans of the city of Qalqilya, Nabi Ilyas, Hableh and Dahar al-Malakh. In addition, the Civil Administration is looking into and advancing several plans to legalize infrastructure and housing for the Bedouin population in Judea and Samaria, in the Ma’ale Adumim area and the Jordan Valley, as part of which the families will be allotted plots of land including proper housing infrastructures such as water, electricity and sewage, while maintaining the population’s lifestyle.”

Sea ice at record low in Arctic and Antarctic

Experts across the world are alarmed at how small the area covered by sea ice has become. They are saying the change is unprecedented – and they’re calling for action.

February 17, 2017

by Carla Bleiker


Experts across the world are alarmed at how small the area covered by sea ice has become. They are saying the change is unprecedented – and they’re calling for action.

Eisbär auf kleinen Eisscholle (picture-alliance/H. Bäsemann)

There is less sea ice today in the Arctic and in the Antarctic than there has ever been before.

The area covered by sea ice in the Arctic was at just 13.19 million square kilometers in January 2017. While this may sound big, it’s the smallest this area has been since the start of satellite recordings, according to the online “Meereisportal” or sea ice portal, an initiative run by several German research institutions.

It’s also roughly 1.2 million square kilometers smaller than the long-term average measured from 1981 to 2010.

The situation isn’t any better in the south, either. There is less sea ice surrounding Antarctica today than there was since reliable records began in 1979.

“As of Tuesday, it looks like we hit a new record low in the satellite era,” Mark Serreze, the director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, told US broadcaster CNN on Thursday.

The extent to which the ice at the poles is melting is considered an indicator as well as a consequence of global temperature rises.

“The annual freeze and thaw of sea ice in the polar regions is like the beating heart of our planet, driving ocean circulation and regulating our climate,” Rod Downie, Polar Program Manager at the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), wrote in an email to DW.

Air temperatures are climbing and so are water temperatures. The ice is melting faster because of that – and it does so later into winter as well. So the period of winter where the water is actually cold enough to freeze is getting shorter, which means the ice floes  are getting smaller.

But the amount of ice also regulates global temperatures, since water in the seas absorbs heat, whereas ice would reflect it back into space. So with less ice, temperatures are rising even more – it’s a vicious circle.

The amount of Arctic sea ice was alarmingly low in January, the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported. 2016 was the warmest year on record around the North Pole, with a heat wave hitting in December, and that trend does not appear to be letting up in 2017.

“After studying the Arctic and its climate for three and a half decades, I have concluded that what has happened over the last year goes beyond even the extreme,” Serreze wrote in an essay for Earth magazine.

In Antarctica, long regarded as immune to climate warming, scientists have also monitored changes.

Experts across the world are shocked by how much smaller the area covered by sea ice in the Antarctic is today than it was just a few years ago.

There is less sea ice today in the Arctic and in the Antarctic than there has ever been before.

The area covered by sea ice in the Arctic was at just 13.19 million square kilometers in January 2017. While this may sound big, it’s the smallest this area has been since the start of satellite recordings, according to the online “Meereisportal” or sea ice portal, an initiative run by several German research institutions.

It’s also roughly 1.2 million square kilometers smaller than the long-term average measured from 1981 to 2010.The situation isn’t any better in the south, either. There is less sea ice surrounding Antarctica today than there was since reliable records began in 1979.

“As of Tuesday, it looks like we hit a new record low in the satellite era,” Mark Serreze, the director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, told US broadcaster CNN on Thursday.

The extent to which the ice at the poles is melting is considered an indicator as well as a consequence of global temperature rises.

“The annual freeze and thaw of sea ice in the polar regions is like the beating heart of our planet, driving ocean circulation and regulating our climate,” Rod Downie, Polar Program Manager at the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), wrote in an email to DW.

Air temperatures are climbing and so are water temperatures. The ice is melting faster because of that – and it does so later into winter as well. So the period of winter where the water is actually cold enough to freeze is getting shorter, which means the ice floes are getting smaller.

But the amount of ice also regulates global temperatures, since water in the seas absorbs heat, whereas ice would reflect it back into space. So with less ice, temperatures are rising even more – it’s a vicious circle.

The amount of Arctic sea ice was alarmingly low in January, the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported. 2016 was the warmest year on record around the North Pole, with a heat wave hitting in December, and that trend does not appear to be letting up in 2017.

“After studying the Arctic and its climate for three and a half decades, I have concluded that what has happened over the last year goes beyond even the extreme,” Serreze wrote in an essay for Earth magazine.

In Antarctica, long regarded as immune to climate warming, scientists have also monitored changes.

Experts across the world are shocked by how much smaller the area covered by sea ice in the Antarctic is today than it was just a few years ago.

They are calling for swift action.

“The Paris Agreement [which aims to keep the global temperature increase lower than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-Industrial times] has to be implemented as fast as possible,” Sybille Klenzendorf, a WWF expert, told DW. “We can still manage to make our goals, but the clock is ticking.”

WWF’s Polar Program Manager Downie stressed that the decline of sea ice in both Arctic and Antarctic will have dire consequences for humans and many other species.

“That is bad news for wildlife from blue whales, polar bears and penguins to krill and the many thousands of other species that have evolved to live, on, under or around sea ice,” he stated. “And it’s bad news for the people of the Arctic and across the world.  We need to urgently reduce our carbon emissions and tackle climate change head-on.”

Robotic Ripoffs

February 17, 2017

by Harry von Johnston PhD

Here is an email that I have received for over six months. I get about twenty a day and fortunately, my system spots it as spam and puts in in the spam section.

“Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization. On-Page SEO means more now than ever since the new Google update: Panda. No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO. So what is good On-Page SEO? First your keyword must appear in the title.Then it must appear in the URL.You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page. You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword….wait there’s even more Now what if i told you there was a simple WordPress plugin that does all the On-Page SEO, and automatically for you? That’s right AUTOMATICALLY, just watch this 4minute video for more information at. Seo Plugin

What is Safe Guard Trader?

Our software uses cutting edge methods to LEGALLY and ETHICALLY beat the markets to CONSISTENTLY make at least $1375 per hour.

How does it work?

Automatically seeks out winning trades using super-fast Global Positioning technology.

Highly automated software places the trade at the exact required time.

Safe Guard Protocol makes it mathematically impossible to lose even a single trade.”

Safeguard Trader Review

Safeguard Trader is an automated trading software for binary options that opened on June 19th, 2016. Sometimes we see a new software and get excited, in the case of Safeguard Trader there is nothing to get excited about.

We have seen this software sold under different names, as recently as last month. Investors can see the Navstar Trader software, which does the same thing as Safeguard Trader.

Lucky for you, you decided to do a little research before plunking down $250 with a useless trading robot, who deals with sketchy brokers.

If you made a mistake and deposited money already then you should read about brokers complaints.

Safeguard Trader Scam

The two big problems we have with Safeguard Trader is:

They make false promises about your potential profits. Here is what they wrote…

“On a daily average and since we’ve offered Safeguard Trader publicly, our members generate an average of $33,000 a day!”

The signals and results are fake.

Safeguard Trader Software Review

The robot that Safeguard gives you is very limited in its abilities.

You have 3 options for programming the software, which is bad. A real binary options robot will offer you over 25 options for controlling the robot.

If you have no control of the robot, then the robot will just keep trading until you lose all your money.

German regulator tells parents to destroy ‘spy’ doll Cayla

A German regulator has warned parents of the dangers of a children’s toy called My Friend Cayla. The doll, capable of revealing personal data, is a de facto “espionage device,” a federal agency said.

February 17.2017

by Brandon Conradis


Depending on who you ask, there will either be one less doll to play with or one less spy device in kids’ rooms.

Germany’s Federal Network Agency, or Bundesnetzagentur, said on Friday it was prohibiting retailers from selling My Friend Cayla, which garnered controversy last year over built-in technology that experts said allowed it to effectively spy on children. The government forbids illicit radio transmission equipment in toys.

“Objects that conceal transmittable cameras or microphones and thus pass on data unintentionally endanger the privacy of the people. This also applies to children’s toys,” Jochen Homann, Bundesnetzagentur president, said in a statement. “The doll Cayla is forbidden in Germany. This is at the same time about the protection of society’s most vulnerable.”

The regulator also said that people who have already bought one of the dolls should destroy it. Authorities added that they would review other interactive toys in the same vein as Cayla to determine their legality.

“Toys as espionage devices are dangerous,” the regulator said. “Without the knowledge of their parents, the conversations of children can be received and relayed.”

Toy draws legal complaints

The talking doll comes equipped with a bluetooth device that allows it to “listen” and “talk” with children. It is also capable of accessing the internet. However, authorities warned that the doll is vulnerable to hackers who can reveal owners’ personal data.

A flaw in Cayla’s software was first revealed in January 2015, and experts say the bug has yet to be fixed by the toy’s manufacturer, Genesis Toys. The company has not yet commented on the German government’s announcement.

Both EU and US consumer watchdogs had already filed complaints about the toy, which they said was capable of subjecting children to ongoing surveillance.

The statement from the German government comes after a student at the University of Saarland raised concerns over the legality of the toy. According to the student, someone with the toy could be easily spied on by someone with a listening device.

The agency said it was not planning any legal actions against the parents who bought the toy.

Under police probe, Israel’s Netanyahu leaves helm of communications ministry

February 17, 2017

by Maayan Lubell


JERUSALEM-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday he would shelve his additional role as communication minister after police questioned him over allegations he negotiated a deal for good press coverage with a newspaper owner.

Police have questioned Netanyahu three times in two criminal cases in which he is suspected of abuse of office. If charges are brought, political upheaval would likely ensue with pressure on Netanyahu, who denies any wrongdoing, to step down.

The first case involves gifts given to Netanyahu and his family by businessmen and the second is related to conversations he held with the publisher of Israel’s largest selling newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth.

Netanyahu said he would appoint Tzachi Hanegbi, a confidant from his right-wing Likud party, as a stand-in running the communications ministry for three months, “and then we’ll see,” he said in a statement issued to reporters.

Netanyahu did not specify the reason for the move.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, head of the Zionist Union party, had appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court last month to order Netanyahu to step down as communications minister over the police investigation.

The liberal daily Haaretz and Channel 2 television reported in January that Netanyahu discussed with Yedioth Ahronoth’s owner a deal for better coverage in return for curbs on competition from a free paper owned by U.S. casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, a staunch supporter of the veteran prime minister.

Haaretz said the conversations were recorded in the run-up to the March 2015 election at Netanyahu’s request by a then-staff member, and the tapes were seized by police in a separate investigation.

According to excerpts leaked to Channel Two from a transcript of the conversations, the prime minister told the newspaper publisher: “We’re talking about moderation, about reasonable reporting, to lower the level of hostility toward me from 9.5 to 7.5.”

It quoted the publisher, Arnon Mozes, as replying: “We have to make sure that you’re prime minister.”

Netanyahu is not the first Israeli leader to have faced criminal investigation. Former prime minister Ehud Olmert was convicted of breach of trust and bribery in 2014 and Ariel Sharon, premier from 2001-2006, was questioned while in office over allegations of bribery and campaign-financing illegalities.

In the past, Israeli prime ministers have stayed in office long after being put under investigation, and officials who support Netanyahu, now in his fourth term, believe the prospect of charges remains remote.

Netanyahu has often accused Israeli media of being biased against him and in recent weeks accused it of being part of a left-wing plot to overthrow his right-wing government.

(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; editing by Mark Heinrich)








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