Latest Analysis and Commentary

America Can Stop China from Dominating Artificial Intelligence--And Should

by Gordon G. Chang  •  August 17, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • The People's Republic of China, nonetheless, is already an AI powerhouse, and for America to maintain its edge—and to prevent U.S. tech from being used for exceedingly disturbing purposes —Washington should force U.S. companies to end cooperative AI projects in China.

  • The West should be seriously concerned: whoever wins at AI will both dominate the global economy and field the most destructive conventional military force.

  • Unfortunately, American companies are helping China's leaders in what many call—correctly—crimes against humanity. For instance, AI researchers from Microsoft, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Michigan State University gave keynote speeches at the Chinese Conference on Biometric Recognition in Xinjiang in August of last year on facial recognition, a social-control technology.

  • Some of Google's research is in China. The company has three AI operations there: the Google AI China Center in Beijing, established in 2017, and partnerships with China's two premier educational institutions, Peking University and Tsinghua University....If the labs remain open, the net flow of AI learning will be out of the U.S. into China.

  • Moreover, Chinese researchers, if they could not work for American companies in China, would not, as Vox suggests, necessarily find employment in their homeland. Some of those seeking research slots would follow other Chinese to the United States, and that would exacerbate one of Beijing's big AI vulnerabilities. "China's Path to AI Domination Has a Problem: Brain Drain," is the title of an August 7 article posted by the MIT Technology Review. The U.S. can make that crucial problem even more severe.

Chinese artificial intelligence. We need to ask what would happen if the world's most dangerous regime were to dominate the world's most powerful technology. Photo: Getty Images.

China, writes Amy Webb in Inc., has been "building a global artificial intelligence empire, and seeding the tech ecosystem of the future." It has been particularly successful, Webb, the founder of the Future Today Institute, believes. "China is poised to become its undisputed global leader, and that will affect every business," she notes.

Not everyone shares Webb's assessment that Chinese researchers are in the lead. America, after all, is home to most leading AI tech. The People's Republic of China, nonetheless, is already an AI powerhouse, and for America to maintain its edge—and to prevent U.S. tech from being used for exceedingly disturbing purposes, Washington should force U.S. companies to end cooperative AI projects in China.

Artificial intelligence permits machines to mimic human functions such as driving vehicles, recognizing spoken words, and playing games of skill like chess and Go.

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Is the Palestinian Authority Preparing for a New Intifada?

by Bassam Tawil  •  August 16, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • Needless to say, none of the Jews visiting the Temple Mount was involved in violence or any kind of "provocation." The only violence that took place at the holy site came from Palestinians, who attacked the policemen with stones and chairs and hurled insults at the Jewish visitors.

  • By calling the visits "incursions" and "raids," the Palestinians are trying to create the false impression that Jews are violently storming an Islamic holy site. The Arabic word Palestinians use to describe the visits: Iktiham (storm or break in). This rhetoric is meant to imply that the "extremist settlers" are carrying out a violent action against innocent Palestinians and their holy sites, thus signaling the Palestinians to rise to defend themselves and their mosque.

  • In the eyes of Palestinian leaders, Jews are always the "aggressors," while Palestinians are the perpetual "victims"... in the Palestinian lexicon, a Jew peacefully touring the Temple Mount is an "aggressor," while a Palestinian who throws stones and chairs at police officers and abuses the visitors is the real "victim." This is the image Abbas, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are seeking to create in the minds of their people and the rest of the world.

  • The total number of Palestinians killed in Syria since 2011 now stands at 3,989. Where is the outrage from Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip about that? It is reserved for a Jew peacefully visiting the Temple Mount. For them, such visits are far more important than 250 Palestinian children killed in any Arab country. This sums up the Palestinian leaders' attitude – ruinous disregard for the lives of their own children, and malign intentions for the Jews and their children.

An aerial view of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel. (Image source: Andrew Shiva/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Palestinian Authority (PA) spent the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha this week inciting against Israel because of Jewish visits to the Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif in Arabic, in Jerusalem. The site is also sacred to Jews and Christians: it is where the First and Second Temples had stood before being destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BCE and by the Romans in 70 CE. (The Western Wall, or so-called Wailing Wall, sacred to Jews, an ancient retaining wall of the Temple Mount, is all that remains of them.)

Depicting the peaceful visits as "incursions by Jewish settlers and extremists," PA officials and media outlets accused the Israeli government of repeatedly carrying out "provocations and assaults against holy sites in Jerusalem, particularly Al-Aqsa Mosque."

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The Longest-Lasting Conspiracy Theory

by Denis MacEoin  •  August 15, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • "To try to defeat an irrational supposition – especially when it is firmly held by its proponents – with a rational explanation is virtually impossible. Any information that does not correspond with the conspiracy theorists' preferred social, political, or ethnic narrative is ipso facto false. Social scientists have described such theories as having a "self-sealing quality" that makes them "particularly immune to challenge." — Deborah Lipstadt, Antisemitism Here and Now, 2019 pp 7-8.

  • The lies about the State of Israel are amplified in the West through the "mainstream media", such as: The New York Times, The New Yorker, the BBC, The Guardian, MSNBC, and CNN. Churches join in, and of course the United Nations, as well as so-called human rights organizations where pretty well anything goes: The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch.

  • This bias is well monitored by a number of websites that work to identify their inaccuracies and deliberate distortions about Israel, the IDF, or Palestinian terrorism. CAMERA, Honest Reporting, UK Media Watch, and BBC Watch all dissect bad reportage, and contact editors to request corrections.

How often have we seen commentaries concerning the situation in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel, made with intensity, even passion, which purport to tell readers the "facts" about Israel? They often narrate falsehoods that might put to shame a string of fraudsters, conmen and conspiracy theorists.

It seems, at times, that there is no limit to anti-Semitic modern fantasies about the Jewish state of Israel that overwhelm the even older libels about Jews controlling world affairs, as in the totally fraudulent forgery of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Today, we are given to believe that it is Muslim Palestinian children who are slain by sneering Zionists and that the government of Israel works hand in hand with a global network of Christians and Jewish bankers, politicians, and media bosses.

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Iran: Using Torture, Execution to Defy Human Rights

by Uzay Bulut  •  August 15, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • "[T]orture is widely used against suspects after their arrest and in the pre-trial phase in order to extract a confession," in spite of the fact that "Article 38 of the Iranian Constitution bans all forms of torture and forced confessions." — Latest Annual Report on the Death Penalty in Iran, Iran Human Rights.

  • "In 2014, a man who had confessed to the crime but was absolved of all charges 48 hours before his execution was to be carried out was asked as to why he had confessed to a murder he had not committed. He answered: 'They beat me up so much that I thought if I don't provide a false confession I would die during the interrogation.'" — Latest Annual Report on the Death Penalty in Iran, Iran Human Rights.

  • "So far in 2019 [just the last six months] at least 140 people have been executed and 80% of them were charged with murder. At least two of them were juveniles, under the age of 18." — Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, a neuroscientist who fled to Norway from Iran, to Gatestone Institute.

  • "The escalation of military tension is something that the Iranian authorities are seeking, as a way of diverting all the world's attention to the Persian Gulf, thus enabling them to get away with abusing their own people. Leaders of the Islamic Republic consider the freedom-seeking Iranian people as their main threat." — Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam to Gatestone Institute.

As a result of torture during interrogation and a lack of a fair trial, many Iranians have been put to death unjustly. "So far in 2019 at least 140 people have been executed," according to the spokesperson for the NGO, Iran Human Rights. (Image source: iStock)

More than a dozen political prisoners in Iran recently launched a hunger strike to protest the unspeakable conditions under which they have been living since their incarceration for civil-rights activities, according to Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, spokesperson for the NGO, Iran Human Rights (IHR).

Amiry-Moghaddam, a neuroscientist who fled to Norway from the Islamic Republic in the early 1980s, told Gatestone:

"Aside from being placed with often dangerous common criminals, many are in poor health. There is no hygiene in jail. They suffer from abuse at the hands of prison guards."

Amiry-Moghaddam went on:

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Killing Free Speech in Canada

by Judith Bergman  •  August 14, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • As has become standard in such cases, the charter contains no definition of what constitutes "hate", making it a catchall for whatever the Canadian government deems politically inopportune. This is all exhaustingly familiar by now: Germany already has legislation that requires social media platforms to censor their users. France is working on it.

  • The Conservative members of the committee... recommended instead that sanctions regarding hate crimes online or elsewhere should be dealt with under the appropriate sections of the Criminal Code. They also recommended that "The definition of 'hate' under the Criminal Code be limited to where a threat of violence, or incitement to violence, is directed against an identifiable group" and that "rather than attempting to control speech and ideas, the Government explore appropriate security measures to address all three elements of a threat: intent, capability and opportunity".

  • "Sickening ideologies which encourage individuals to take the lives of their fellow human beings have faced a concerning proliferation both at home and around the world. Yet sadly, Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Members of this Committee have tried to use these troubling events as a way to bolster their political fortunes. They have tried to paint anyone who doesn't subscribe to their narrow value set as an extremist." – Conservative Party dissenting opinion in "Taking Action to End Online Hate".

If Canada's government proves sympathetic to the new recommendations of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, the prospects for free speech in Canada look increasingly bleak. Pictured: The Parliament of Canada, in Ottawa. (Image source: Saffron Blaze/Wikimedia Commons)

In May, Canada launched a so-called Digital Charter, meant to promote "trust in a digital world". The charter contains ten principles, three of which deal with "hate speech and disinformation".

The charter, said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, will target fake news and hate speech online. "The platforms are failing their users, and they're failing our citizens," he said. "They have to step up in a major way to counter disinformation. And if they don't, we will hold them to account and there will be meaningful financial consequences."

"The Government of Canada," the charter says, "will defend freedom of expression and protect against online threats and disinformation designed to undermine the integrity of elections and democratic institutions. Canadians can expect that digital platforms will not foster or disseminate hate, violent extremism or criminal content."

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UK and US: Toxic Politics

by Andrew Ash  •  August 14, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • What neither side of this transatlantic tag-team seems to realise is that by putting into words their apparent hatred of the West and its allies, they are exposing themselves as antagonists of the very freedoms that enable them to speak or have economic opportunity without fear of reprisal -- freedoms they would never have in Somalia, the Palestinian territories, or many of the tyrannies entrenched on the planet.

  • What voters can see is that those are the very freedoms that these politicians might try to take away from them, too, if their policies were adopted.

  • By refusing to rein in his support for a variety of dubious ideas and bedfellows, Corbyn has seen his popularity dwindle to almost nothing, and turn the Labour Party into a brand that even formerly like-minded outlets now call toxic.

The rise and continuing slide of UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (left) is a good example of what happens when the vote-hungry-courting of a certain demographic backfires, something that his far-left US counterparts -- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (right) and her "Squad" -- might do well to take on board. (Photos by Getty Images)

In the often staid world of politics, the allure of the outsider appeals to a desire for change. Sometimes all it takes to impress the public in today's political climate is to look and sound the part.

The rise and continuing slide of UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, however, is a good example of what happens when the vote-hungry-courting of a certain demographic backfires, something that his far-left US counterparts -- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley & Rashida Tlaib -- the newly minted "Squad" -- might do well to take on board.

Propelled to into the limelight by the same anti-economic-freedom wave, Ocasio-Cortez & Co, despite the age gap, share more in common with Jeremy Corbyn than the other white-haired Socialist, Bernie Sanders, ever did.

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Can Palestinians in Gaza Revolt Against Hamas?

by Khaled Abu Toameh  •  August 13, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • "Fifteen years ago, Hamas raised the slogan of 'Islam is the solution'.... Now, there is rampant corruption [under Hamas]. The corruption is in all institutions, including the judiciary and the police. Today, the corruption is organized and managed by Hamas. The corruption is at the top of the pyramid. It is the corruption of politics, the corruption in the administration, the corruption in employment, the corruption in relief aid." — Abu Safiyeh, a representative of the PLO's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in the Gaza Strip, in a Facebook post that caused his arrest.

  • The voices emerging from the Gaza Strip are anguished and reflect the Palestinians' growing sense of disillusionment with Hamas. These voices, however, are still small in numbers. Hamas's brutal methods of suppression and torture have deterred a large number of Palestinians from speaking out. These voices will grow only if the international community heeds them and calls out Hamas for its brutal crackdown on Palestinians.

  • Hamas is carrying out its current crackdown against Palestinian activists because it knows full well that the world will probably not utter a word. Why would it? Bashing Israel is much more rewarding than identifying Palestinian leaders as the champion violators of human rights that they are.

Hamas's brutal methods of suppression and torture have deterred a large number of Palestinians from speaking out. Recently, a Palestinian activist detained by Hamas in Gaza apparently tried to commit suicide while in Hamas detention. Palestinians who have spent time in Hamas detention say they were subjected to various types of physical and psychological torture. (Image source: iStock. Image is illustrative)

Hamas leaders are scared. Of what? That Palestinians will return to the streets of the Gaza Strip to demand that their leaders govern rather than tyrannize. The living conditions of Palestinians in Gaza have gone from abysmal to worse.

That is why the leaders of Hamas recently ordered their security forces to detain several Palestinian activists for allegedly planning another wave of protests similar to those that swept the Gaza Strip earlier this year.

Last March, Hamas security forces used excessive force to break up demonstrations held in various parts of the Gaza Strip under the banner "We Want to Live!"

The demonstrations were organized by Palestinians to protest the longstanding economic crisis, including soaring unemployment and increased taxes imposed by Hamas on the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Dozens of Palestinians were injured and arrested during the demonstrations, including human rights activists and journalists.

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Russia Moves in on Sudan

by Debalina Ghoshal  •  August 13, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • Moscow has reportedly signed a "draft military agreement" with Sudan, "to facilitate entry of Russian and Sudanese warships to the ports of the two nations." According to Maj. Gen. Al-Hadi Adam Musa, head of Sudan's parliamentary subcommittee on Defense, Security and Public Order, "This deal will pave the way for more agreements and greater cooperation... possibly a Russian base on the Red Sea."

  • Russia also "is looking at establishing a logistics base in Eritrea" and has reached a "draft agreement with Egypt for Russian warplanes to use Egyptian military bases."

  • It is crucial for the West not only to keep a close watch on Moscow's moves in Sudan, but to prevent Russia from increasing its influence in the region.

Given Russia's increasing diplomatic and military efforts to upgrade its presence in Africa, it came as no surprise when Russia backed Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir during the popular protests that sparked Bashir's removal him from power on April 11. Pictured: Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Bashir in Sochi, Russia on November 23, 2017.

In January, three months before the April 11 military coup in Sudan that ousted dictator Omar al-Bashir after 30 years of iron-fisted rule, Moscow reportedly signed a "draft military agreement" with Sudan, "to facilitate entry of Russian and Sudanese warships to the ports of the two nations." According to Maj. Gen. Al-Hadi Adam Musa, head of Sudan's parliamentary subcommittee on Defense, Security and Public Order, "This deal will pave the way for more agreements and greater cooperation... possibly a Russian base on the Red Sea."

This draft agreement followed other defense discussions between Russian President Vladimir Putin and al-Bashir. According to a recent report in The Arab Weekly:

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UK: Going Easy on ISIS Terrorists, Hard on Those Who Fought Them?

by Judith Bergman  •  August 12, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • While the UK government is seemingly intent on prosecuting those who have fought against ISIS, what has it been doing about the at least 425 returned ISIS terrorists themselves?

  • Prosecuting around 400 ISIS terrorists means Britain would "lose a generation"? What about the loss of security that these terrorists pose to the rest of British society?

  • Killing, torturing, raping and abusing Yazidis, Christians and others for sport was something that looked "bright and attractive"?

  • The law does not appear to apply to ISIS terrorists the same way it applies to those young Britons who went to fight against them. The United Kingdom's moral compass seems to be entirely broken.

Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, has stated that the security services do not know how many of ISIS's surviving British recruits intend to return, and that evidence of a criminal or terrorist offence was needed to prosecute. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

The West has mercilessly let down persecuted minorities in the Middle East, while showing great concern for the well-being of returning ISIS terrorists, their children and their spouses. There seems to have been no such concern for the victims of ISIS terrorists, particularly the Christians and Yazidis.

In the Netherlands, the Dutch immigration service has been sending Yazidi asylum seekers back to refugee camps in northern Iraq, and arguing that they have sufficient access to food and other facilities, Dutch media outlet Trouw recently reported. By contrast, in February, Dutch Minister of Justice Ferdinand Grapperhaus said that the Netherlands is "looking into" the option of trying to move Dutch women and children living in refugee camps in Syria to safe areas where they can return to the Netherlands.

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China's New Naval Base: Cambodia

by Debalina Ghoshal  •  August 12, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • "[Scepticism] has grown louder recently, with the release of satellite images from the European Space Agency showing that the runway for the site's airport is far longer than is required for civilian aircraft" — Andrew Nachemson, Cambodia-based journalist, South China Morning Post, March 5, 2019.

  • "Over the past two years [Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen] has accepted more than $600m (£480m) in loans as part of China's controversial Belt and Road initiative." — Hannah Ellis-Petersen, South-east Asia correspondent, The Guardian, July 22, 2019.

  • "It appears that there are massive strings attached to these loans. If Cambodia had said no, do you think China would continue its massive investment in Cambodia?" — Sophal Ear, Cambodian political scientist, to The Guardian, July 22, 2019.

  • Without a change of government in Phnom Penh, brought about by an election that truly reflects public sentiment, China could be given virtually free rein in Cambodia to further its political and military designs on Asia.

A recent Wall Street Journal report claims that China has signed a secret deal with Cambodia that gives the Chinese military access to Cambodia's Ream Naval Base. Washington has expressed worry over Cambodia's move away from democracy and American influence, and its descent into autocratic rule and towards China's orbit. Pictured: U.S. Marines and Royal Cambodian Navy sailors participate in the multinational "CARAT Cambodia 2016" exercise near Ream Naval Base, November 2, 2016. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Chief Petty Officer Lowell Whitman)

China's efforts to establish regional hegemony were highlighted recently by a Wall Street Journal report claiming that Beijing signed a secret deal in the spring with Phnom Penh, giving the Chinese armed forces access to Cambodia's Ream Naval Base on the Gulf of Thailand, "not far from a large airport now being constructed by a Chinese company."

Although the report was vehemently denied by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who called it "the worst-ever made up news against Cambodia," Washington has cause to take it seriously. The United States is aware of China's attempts to strengthen its strategic foothold in Southeast Asia in general and the South China Sea in particular. Washington also has expressed worry over Cambodia's move away from democracy and American influence, on the one hand, and its descent into autocratic rule and towards China's orbit on the other.

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Germany's Pro-Iran, Anti-Israel Foreign Policy

by Soeren Kern  •  August 11, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • Germany has, in fact, been decidedly hostile to Israel in recent years... Germany continues to provide millions of euros annually to organizations that promote anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) and "lawfare" campaigns, anti-Zionism, antisemitism, and violence, according to NGO Monitor.

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in 2008 that Israel's security is "non-negotiable" and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in 2018 that he went into politics "because of Auschwitz." In practice, however, Germany consistently appears to prioritize its relations with Israel's enemies.

  • Instex, an initiative of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, would enable European trade with Iran despite U.S. sanctions. It would facilitate barter-based trade with Iran in products such as pharmaceuticals and foods, but Tehran has repeatedly insisted that Instex must include trade in oil for the mechanism to make economic sense.

  • Seven months after its formation, Instex remains non-operational, in part because Iran still does not comply with international legal standards to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.

Germany has been decidedly hostile to Israel in recent years. In May 2016, Germany approved an especially disgraceful UN resolution that singled out Israel at the annual assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) as the world's only violator of "mental, physical and environmental health." German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has cozied up to the Iranian regime and other enemies of Israel. Pictured: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meets with Steinmeier (Germany's foreign minister at the time) in Tehran, on February 3, 2016. (Image source: Tasnim/Wikimedia Commons)

A senior German diplomat appointed to head an EU barter system that would enable European companies to sidestep U.S. sanctions on Iran stepped down after giving an interview in which he criticized the existence of Israel and praised Tehran's ballistic missile program.

The episode — the latest of a series of occurrences that have laid bare the anti-Israel foundation of Germany's foreign policy — is an embarrassing setback for the German government and will complicate its efforts to salvage the Iran nuclear deal.

Bernd Erbel, a 71-year-old former German ambassador to Iraq and Iran, said that he would not assume leadership of Instex, a payment mechanism to facilitate European business with Iran, after the newspaper Bild, on August 8, published the contents of an extensive interview Erbel gave to Ken Jebsen, a German-Iranian radio host who has been described as a "conspiracy theorist" and an "anti-Semite."

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Putin and the Mullahs

by Amir Taheri  •  August 11, 2019 at 4:00 am

  • For several reasons, the "nuke deal" did not provoke the popular explosion in Iran that some analysts expected. To start with, no one had signed that deal, which meant it was neither a treaty nor a binding international agreement but a wish list.

  • Because this is a Russian text, in the preparation of which other littoral states played no part, the implication may be that Russia is the sole sovereign power, and thus ultimate arbiter of disputes in the Caspian Sea. If that assumption is correct, we may conclude that Russia has acquired a colonial advantage that it could not obtain even when Iran was weak, famine-stricken and war-broken under the Qajar Dynasty.

  • With this text, Russia secures two other advantages.

  • First, it gains control of pipelines transiting the Caspian Basin's immense oil and gas reserves to world markets, notably Europe. That would push Iran, which is the economic route for those pipelines, out of competition. Russia will retain its principal card in facing Western powers.

  • Russia, already the only significant military force in the Caspian, will retain its monopoly by forbidding other littoral states to build a military presence with the help of non-littoral allies.

Pictured: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meet at the Fifth Caspian Summit in Aktau, Kazakhstan, on August 12, 2018. (Image source: kremlin.ru)

In 2015 when President Hassan Rouhani advertised his "nuke deal" with the Obama administration as "the greatest diplomatic victory in the history of Islam," few people realized that he had, in fact, endorsed a neo-colonial document that put key aspects of Iran's economic, industrial, scientific and security policies under the tutelage of six foreign powers led by the United States.

For several reasons, the "nuke deal" did not provoke the popular explosion in Iran that some analysts expected. To start with, no one had signed that deal, which meant it was neither a treaty nor a binding international agreement but a wish list. Nor was it put through the legislative process to give it legal authority. More importantly, perhaps, the text did not offer a readily recognizable and concrete image of the humiliation the "Islamic Republic" had accepted in the name of Iran.

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Khamenei's Nuclear Fatwa is a Deception, a Ploy and a Lie

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  August 10, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • If history is anything to go by, the Supreme Leader's statement is barely worth a pinch of salt. It is notable that that the first time Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons took place right after his government was caught red-handed pursuing secret nuclear activities and enriching uranium in two clandestine nuclear sites in Natanz and Arak in 2002 in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

  • Having been found out for their deception, the Iranian authorities subsequently adopted deception as a national policy by promoting the narrative of aversion to nuclear weapons to the world while embracing and furthering their nuclear activities privately.

  • First of all, no one, it seems, has ever laid eyes on this proclaimed fatwa.

  • Khamenei's nuclear fatwa is nothing but a phony decree aimed at deflecting attention from Iran's nuclear ambitions and activities. It is designed solely to serve the interests of his umma (Islamic community) and the Islamic Republic.

Iranian authorities adopted deception as a national policy by promoting the narrative of aversion to nuclear weapons to the world while embracing and furthering their nuclear activities privately. Some world leaders bought Iran's lie and began pressing others to follow suit. Pictured: Then US Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna, Austria, on July 14, 2014. (Image source: US State Department)

In the world we live in where many things are certain, one of them is the Iranian regime's recent efforts to invoke a fatwa in an attempt to deceive the West. The declaration of a fatwa by Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to serve as "proof" that Tehran is not pursuing nuclear weapons is a move both mischievous and clever.

Recently, the junior Senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, met with Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif, who in his deliberations with Senator Paul told him about Iran's unwillingness to seek nuclear weapons because of Khamenei's fatwa.

Iran's Supreme Leaders had been previously quoted as saying:

"We consider the use of such weapons as haraam [religiously forbidden] and believe that it is everyone's duty to make efforts to secure humanity against this great disaster".

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Palestinians: In Need of a Mirror?

by Bassam Tawil  •  August 9, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • The Palestinian Authority's silence over the murder of the Jewish teenager sends one clear message to the Palestinian public: It is fine to kill a Jew.

  • Abbas's silence, in fact, encouraged many Palestinians to express joy over the terrorist attack.

  • It was hard to find even one Palestinian who was willing to express his or her revulsion over the terrorist attack. But this makes sense. Why should any Palestinian come out against terrorism when their leaders are either silent or joyously celebrating the murder of a Jewish teenager?

  • This is the hate that has been embedded in the hearts and minds of Palestinians toward Israel and Jews. When Palestinians run to link the Palestinian slaughter of a Jewish teen to a Muslim feast and the tradition of sacrificing sheep, it is clear that the time has come for Palestinians to take a hard look at themselves – and if they are nonetheless unwilling to do so, perhaps the international community might finally bring a mirror to them.

The Palestinian Authority's silence over the murder of Dvir Sorek, a Jewish teenager, sends one clear message to the Palestinian public: It is fine to kill a Jew.
Why should any Palestinian come out against terrorism when their leaders are silent about the murder of a Jewish teenager? Pictured: Bir Zeit University, in the West Bank. (Image source: Oromiya321/Wikimedia Commons)

Palestinians are again celebrating the murder of a Jew – this time 18-year-old Dvir Sorek, an unarmed off-duty soldier who was fatally stabbed and whose body was discovered August 8 on rocky ground in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc near Bethlehem.

Not even a single Palestinian has condemned the ruthless killing of the teenager. The Palestinian Authority (PA), whose leader, Mahmoud Abbas, has previously said that he is opposed to terrorism, apparently does not see a need to denounce the killing of Sorek.

Instead, the Palestinian Authority continued to issue multiple statements condemning Israel for "violating international law" for building new housing units for Jewish families in the West Bank. The statements, issued hours after the terrorist attack in Gush Etzion, made no reference to the murder of the Jewish teen.

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Killing Free Speech in France, Germany and on the Internet

by Judith Bergman  •  August 8, 2019 at 5:00 am

  • In early July, France's National Assembly adopted a draft bill designed to curtail online hate speech. The draft bill gives social media platforms 24 hours to remove "hateful content" or risk fines of up to 4% percent of their global revenue. The bill has gone to the French Senate and could become law after parliament's summer recess. If it does, France will be the second country in Europe after Germany to pass a law that directly makes a social media company censor its users on behalf of the state.

  • Knowing that a mere Facebook post could end you up in front of a judge in court is very likely to put a decisive damper on anyone's desire to speak freely.

  • If Facebook's agreement with France is replicated by other European countries, whatever is left of free speech in Europe, especially on the internet, is likely to dry up fast.

  • While Facebook eagerly claims to be fighting hate speech online, including claiming to have removed millions of pieces of terrorist content from its platform, according to a recent report from the Daily Beast, 105 posts of some of Al Qaeda's most notorious terrorists are still up on Facebook, as well as YouTube.

  • When will Facebook -- and YouTube -- make it a priority to remove material featuring the terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, whose incitement has inspired actual terrorists to kill people?

In May, France called for increasing government oversight over Facebook. Now Facebook has agreed to hand over to French judges the identification data of French users suspected of hate speech on its platform, according to France's Secretary of State for the Digital Sector, Cédric O.

Previously, according to a Reuters report, "Facebook had refrained from handing over identification data of people suspected of hate speech because it was not compelled to do so under U.S.-French legal conventions and because it was worried countries without an independent judiciary could abuse it". Until now, Reuters noted, Facebook had only cooperated with the French judiciary on matters related to terrorist attacks and violent acts by transferring the IP addresses and other identification data of suspected individuals to French judges who formally demanded it.

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