Monday, February 27, 2017

The Peacock Party. Which Israel Intelligence Agency decides When It Is Time? The Two Headed Democrat Party.

In Israel, which intelligence agency will decide when and if Iran is to be attacked should they go beyond their nuclear capability?
The Democrats decided their direction Saturday or did they?

Has the party found its soul?  Does it have one?  Can a two headed horse run and win? (See 2, 2a and 2b below.)
Something is radically wrong when Republicans cannot coalesce and agree on at least four things voters desperately and clearly signaled they want: a sustainable health care program which replaces and incorporates parts of Obamacare, tax relief and simplification, rebuilding our military and protecting our borders.

There are other important secondary issues they also need to address and agree upon and they must get their act together. Inability to agree on and draft legislation addressing these demands is beyond sanity and if they continue down the path of ego and disorder they will pay mightily at the polls as they should.

Trump won because he was not an ideologue, ran a energized campaign that was based on common sense and in your face bravado and if the Republican Party cannot fathom why he was elected then they all need to be fired and replaced.

Peacocks are nice to look at but who wants to go to bed with them?
Sweden and Trump according to Breitbart. (See 2 below.)
Last night's Hollywoodgate proved that God is alive and well.
Would it be the Mossad or IDF Intelligence? Trying to find the answer through conversations with former top-ranking officials on one of the most sensitive topics (that is still) on the table.

Perhaps the most important task over the next decade when it comes to Israel’s survival will be evaluating intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program.

Will Iran keep observing the nuclear deal – as most say it essentially has since signing it a year-and-a-half ago – or will it eventually cheat and try to break out toward a nuclear capability?
Before we can answer those questions, one issue needs to be resolved: which Israeli intelligence agency is responsible for providing the government with intelligence on Iran? Both are responsible for giving intel on Iran – the question is who is the lead intelligence agency? Who gives the decisive word? 

Former IDF Military Intelligence chief retired general Amos Yadlin told The Jerusalem Post Magazine that he thinks that when it comes to Iran, the IDF should be the central intelligence authority.

Nevertheless,Yadlin, who now heads the Institute for National Security Studies, acknowledged that Iran is a complex case for determining authority between intelligence agencies.

“On one hand, Iran has no border with Israel so [the central intelligence body] could be the Mossad, but if anyone needs to attack Iran, who does it? The IDF,” he said.

Indeed, the Mossad is usually charged with collecting intelligence on threats and actions that take place far beyond the country’s borders.

Until 1967, he explained, the situation was simple and well defined. The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) handled internal security like the FBI in the US.

“They would go after spies, traitors and sometimes criminals. MI was the primary intelligence source, as it gathered information on nearby countries like Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, as well as on the USSR and general power trends,” said the former MI chief.

“The Mossad also worked (in other ways) in these non-bordering countries and had quiet contacts with countries that had no diplomatic relations with Israel.”

But the head of MI, explained Yadlin, was the senior intelligence authority in the country.

“The logic was that the IDF has to be ready to fight with these other countries and the Mossad doesn’t."

“After 1967, the threats changed. The Shin Bet dealt with the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and with Lebanon after the 1982 Lebanon War. Peace with Egypt and Jordan also changed things.”

However, regarding threats from countries with no borders with Israel, like Iran and Iraq, “the lines of authority became blurred,” he said.

The Yom Kippur War of 1973 was another watershed moment. MI was accused of missing the signs of Egypt’s surprise attack, and it was decided that the prime minister and security cabinet needed a wider array of intelligence opinions, including strengthening the position of the Mossad in the hierarchy.

“After 1973, the principle of intelligence pluralism reigned. There was not one intelligence authority to decide – there were multiple authorities,” Yadlin recounted. “For a long time, this was not set in law. Many commissions tried to standardize the lines of authority, and the state comptroller criticized the fact that the lines of authority were not set."

“They were not set until 2010. [Former national security adviser] Yaakov Amidror and [former intelligence minister] Dan Meridor did eventually fix that,” he said.

“But the one organization with the most responsibility is still MI.” He added that it was always important to be clear about who had ultimate intelligence responsibility, as “when three agencies are responsible, no one is.”

Yadlin explained, “The reforms separated the other intelligence agencies from MI, which reports to the IDF chief of staff, the defense minister and the prime minister, whereas the Shin Bet and the Mossad were closer to the prime minister.”

After explaining both sides, Yadlin said he remained convinced that the IDF’s MI chief was the key figure, since, if an attack is ever launched, the IDF would be the one carrying it out.

SHABTAI SHAVIT, former Mossad chief and current head of the International Institute for Counterterrorism at IDC, disagrees. He believes the Mossad should be the lead intelligence agency on Iran.

Shavit was careful to delineate that even as the Mossad should be the leading agency, MI still had a role and the two agencies had equal opportunities to present their views before the prime minister and the security cabinet, the true decision makers on the issue.

Responding to what Yadlin said about how the MI should be the leading agency because of the IDF’s expected role in a theoretical aerial-specific strike, Shavit said that in the years he served in the Mossad – he was director from 1989 until 1996 – the Mossad was the lead foreign espionage agency because of its seniority in carrying out covert operations overseas.

In contrast to Yadlin and Shavit and others who argued for their institutions, Danny Yatom, a retired IDF general and former Mossad director, took a third approach.

“This [the debate] just shows that the areas and lines of authority are still unresolved,” he said.

“We need to better define the overlaps, otherwise some things can fall between the cracks and then no one does them. But the lead agency could be either one, as defined by the prime minister.”

In the cyber era, he noted, a Mossad hypothetical operation appears to potentially have a smaller footprint, possibly fewer casualties and more plausible deniability. However, he did add that “if the operation is carried out by the air force,” IDF’s MI should take the lead.

In any event, Yatom thought it was crucial, even at great economic cost, to maintain a ready military option to take out Iranian nuclear facilities, saying “Israel cannot live with a nuclear Iran.”

He added that Israel should try to get bunker buster bombs from US President Donald Trump or make its own if the Mossad cannot stop Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold by covert means.

ACCORDING TO Uzi Arad, a Mossad veteran, it is actually the National Security Council’s role to coordinate and execute decisions by the Security Cabinet. Arad, head of the NSC from 2009 to 2011, said it was important to put the limitations of intelligence agencies into perspective.

“One should not be affected too much by the mystique of the omniscience of the intelligence agencies,” he said.

Instead of defining either the Mossad or MI as the leading agency or focusing on the character of individual players, the key, according to Arad, is defining each intelligence agency’s missions and making sure that each organization accomplishes its defined tasks.

He said that the “intelligence agencies should stick to presenting factual information and its implications. The intelligence agencies would do well to avoid long-term speculative analysis, since most of that cannot be grounded in collected information and should not necessarily be the domain of the intelligence community.” In other words, the agencies should confine their analyses to sifting through the intelligence data.

As far as the cabinet is concerned, Arad also argued that sometimes ministers in the security cabinet may have superior prior experience to that of the intelligence and military chiefs. For example, when retired Lt.-Gen. Shaul Mofaz was IDF chief of staff, he used to defer to then-security cabinet minister and former general Ariel Sharon.

Further, recent security cabinets have included former IDF chiefs of staff like Ehud Barak and Moshe Ya’alon, as well as seasoned ministers such as Meridor, Avigdor Liberman and Bennie Begin.

Much of the debate in recent years relates specifically to the larger-than-life role played by Meir Dagan, who served as head of the Mossad from 2002 to 2011. During Dagan’s tenure, Iranian scientists mysteriously disappeared or were assassinated, Syria’s nuclear reactor was secretly destroyed and Stuxnet was launched against Iran’s main uranium enrichment facility, Natanz, setting back that country’s nuclear program.

Former intelligence analysts and officers prefer not to speak publicly about Dagan, who died last March. One notable exception is Yadlin, who told Ari Shavit in his book My Promised Land that under Dagan, at a time when much of Israel was not taking the Iranian threat seriously enough, “it was convenient to say to the Mossad, ‘Take some money and solve this one for us.’ The Mossad took the money but it didn’t solve the problem,” he said.

Overall, Dagan’s legacy showed the powerful impact an individual with a close relationship to the prime minister can have on the political echelon’s decision- making process. While this issue is of an existential nature, the diversity of opinions on the matter can be seen as a strength and affirmation that major threats will not be unaddressed.

It also demonstrates the strength of Israel’s intelligence agencies, whose directors in 2011 and 2012 opposed plans by Netanyahu to attack Iran and succeeded in taking possible military action off the agenda.

At the end of the day though, while the intelligence these agencies provide is critical for the government when it makes its decisions, it is only a tool. It does not substitute for the tough decisions that still need to be made. When defining moments come, the cabinet, led by the prime minister, will hold the ultimate authority in Israel and will need to calculate what they decide based on the assessments and information that support any fateful choice.
2) The Perez Democrats

The Obama wing wins, but Republicans are foolish to gloat.

By Ruth King

Meet the Donald Trump-era Democrats, same as the Barack Obama Democrats. That’s the essential meaning of the election Saturday of Tom Perez, the Obama Labor secretary and man of the left, as the new head of the Democratic National Committee.

Mr. Perez, who supported Hillary Clinton for President, won a close race on the second ballot, 235-200, against Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, who was supported by progressive activists and Bernie Sanders. Mr. Perez won because more DNC regulars think he will be better able to rebuild the party for the midterm elections in 2018, and they may be right. Mr. Ellison, with his anti-Israel record, might have alienated some major donors. Mr. Perez also had support, including personal lobbying, from Mr. Obama and Joe Biden.
Messrs. Perez and Ellison agree on most policies, and party mainstays aren’t doing any ideological soul-searching. They don’t think their defeat in 2016 had much to do with Mr. Obama’s policies or record. They view it as an accident of FBI Director James Comey’s intervention, Russian hacks, and at worst Mrs. Clinton’s campaign mistakes. Mr. Perez, whom Mr. Obama describes as “wicked smart,” will make no concessions to the GOP on taxes, health care or military spending.

Mr. Perez quickly made Mr. Ellison his deputy, but some progressive activists who supported Mr. Ellison are grousing that the party establishment shut them out. No less than President Trump piled on by tweeting that “The race for DNC Chairman was, of course, totally ‘rigged.’ Bernie’s guy, like Bernie himself, never had a chance.” He added that “I could not be happier for [Mr. Perez], or for the Republican Party!”

He might want to hold the triumphalism. Mr. Trump has failed to enjoy a new President’s typical honeymoon, as his low 44% approval rating in the WSJ/NBC News poll suggests. Democratic opposition to Mr. Trump and the polarizing politics of aide Steve Bannon is likely to overwhelm any hard feelings from the DNC fight.
The message for Republicans is that the Democratic strategy going into 2018 will be remobilizing the Obama coalition in total opposition to the Trump Presidency. Democrats are betting that Mr. Trump will fail to govern successfully, fail to repeal ObamaCare or improve the economy, and so they can prosper without a political rethink.

The test for the Perez Democrats will be whether they can revive the 50 state parties and nominate candidates for Congress who fit their districts. The party’s leftward shift and its losses in the Obama years have shrunk the Democratic talent pool. Newcomers inevitably emerge, but to win in swing states and districts they’ll need broader appeal than the Democratic candidates in 2014 and 2016. The models are the candidates recruited by Rahm Emanuel in 2006 when Democrats regained the House after a dozen years.

If Mr. Trump can’t govern, and Mr. Perez can mediate the party’s divisions, Democrats will have a better chance than the President reckons to retake Congress in 2018.

Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez’s weekend victory over Keith Ellison in the race to become DNC chairman shows Democrats learned nothing from their historic shellacking in November and that Barack Obama remains firmly in control of the party.
The win by community organizer and Obama loyalist Perez effectively constitutes a merger of sorts between the Democratic National Committee and Obama’s well-funded Trump-resisting pressure group, Organizing for Action. Perez replaces interim DNC chairman Donna Brazile who herself replaced Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. The congresswoman was forced out last summer after her role in rigging the nomination process in favor of Hillary Clinton was exposed.
The Perez victory is also a sign that it’s business as usual for the deeply divided party that voters reduced to a regional rump in November and whose leaders think they lost because of bad messaging instead of bad ideas. The DNC, after all, is on record as endorsing the violent, racist Black Lives Matter movement and of accusing American police officers of systematically committing genocide against blacks. These people have learned nothing and are anxious to do the bidding of their unruly radical base that is already determined to impeach President Trump after a little over a month in office.
At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) outside Washington, D.C., the consensus before the vote among conservatives this writer spoke to seemed to be that Ellison would be the better choice to lead Democrats because he is less palatable to Americans in the heartland who are turned off by his pro-Islamist, racist rhetoric. “Ellison would scare the sh** out of Americans in what the Left calls ‘flyover country,’” one participant said.
Alas, it was not to be.
The election of a new chair of the Democratic National Committee on Saturday was clearly an inside-baseball affair. Only 17 percent of Democratic voters had even heard it was happening, according to a new Morning Consult poll.
Media analysts breathlessly touted the race as one between Representative Keith Ellison, pushed by the forces behind Bernie Sanders’s insurgent challenge last year, and Tom Perez, a former secretary of labor who was supported by Joe Biden and effusively praised by Barack Obama and other establishment voices.
In reality, both candidates are hard-core progressives committed to the party’s scorched-earth opposition to the Trump administration. As Jeff Stein of Vox noted:
The purpose of this fight can appear somewhat mystifying. Perez was one of the most left-leaning members of Obama’s Cabinet, muting the contest’s ideological stakes by making it hard to understand what precise ideological division the party’s two factions are fighting over.
The more salient difference was in the candidates’ varying degrees of professionalism. Ellison, a former community organizer in Minneapolis, simply didn’t convince enough DNC members that he could raise enough money or manage the infrastructure that the party needs to rebuild if it is going to climb out of its electoral hole.
Even though Perez has won only one election in his life (for a Maryland county council), he convinced party insiders that he could rebuild the party’s cadre.
Conservatives need to pay attention, now that the “whip-smart” Perez (Obama’s words) is running the DNC.

My Visit to Sweden Confirms Trump Was Right

by Raheem Kassam
When I got off the train at Malmo's Central station last week and dragged my suitcase noisily over the cobbled pavements I thought to myself, "There's no way this place has 'No Go Zones'."

The author in Sweden earlier this month.When I got off the train at Malmo's Central station last week and dragged my suitcase noisily over the cobbled pavements I thought to myself, "There's no way this place has 'No Go Zones'."

Downtown Malmo is a gorgeous though freezing cold place to visit in February. I checked into my hotel — passing between a "Burger King" and a "Schwarma King" along the way, the latter of which recently took the spot of the "Stortogets Gatukok" in Malmo's Great Square — and set off for my destination: Rosengard.
Much has been written about Sweden's "No Go Zones" in recent years. We've watched them burn over the years with a combination of disbelief and shock. When the Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson told me — as we walked through Molenbeek in Brussels just days after the Paris terror attacks in 2015 — "we have these places in Sweden too," I was skeptical.
Sweden is supposed to be paradise-like, I thought. Isn't it all leggy blondes and Ikea and Abba and lingonberries? Well if you stay downtown in Malmo or Stockholm, perhaps it is. Even the elevator muzak had a whiff of "Fernando" about it.
But the stereotypes and clichés, kept alive for the tourists no doubt, end when you leave the city centres and head out to some of the suburbs.
My first stop was Rosengard, where my colleague Oliver Lane first reported from in September 2015.
Sweden's liberal migration policies have led to ghettoised communities dependent on state welfare.
As we drove around the housing estates at night, it became clear the problems in these areas: drugs, rape, police assaults and more, were created in large part by state-sponsored "multiculturalism."
Sweden's liberal migration policies, that is to say a failure to maintain any sort of border control at all over the past few decades, have led to ghettoised communities that the state props up with generous welfare payments and socialist lecturing.
Sign posts on noticeboards advertised for left wing political parties, and as we passed by a mural of a mosque and parked up at the Herregarden housing estate, a couple of girls we asked for directions signed off, "Good luck there!"
"Fantastic," I thought.
It being below freezing with a bitter wind, there were few people out of the streets. A few hijab-clad women scurried between buildings, sometimes with children in tow. Not one would speak to us, or look at us, at all.
"Maybe they don't know what I'm saying in Swedish," my guide remarked.
And it would make sense that they didn't. Some estimates put the population of Herregarden's housing estates at 96 per cent foreign born or of foreign background.
A few men shuffled out of a basement, again unwilling or unable to speak. I later came to find out from a former police officer in the city that they were likely attending what is referred to as a "cellar mosque" — an underground, basement place of prayer and preaching often unknown to authorities.
Sweden's 'new normal' should be roundly rejected, as President Trump intimated.
More on Rosengard in my upcoming book — which I can't talk about at length right now — but safe to say I believe none of this is "normal," and if it is the "new normal" it should be roundly rejected as President Trump intimated earlier this week, much to the chagrin of Sweden's censorious, liberal-left government.
This is the same in Stockholm's suburbs of Rinkeby and Husby, where filmmaker Ami Horowitz was recently beaten up for attempting to film.
Within minutes of exiting a cab outside central Husby, I was surrounded by drug dealers pushing "hashish" and "marijuana." Within a few seconds more we witness two van loads of Swedish police appearing to negotiate one man's arrest from a building guarded by burly men.
"Why are there so many satellite dishes?" I asked one of my guides.
"They don't watch Swedish television. They don't speak Swedish. They want to receive television from their home countries in their native languages."
This, apparently, is the well-integrated paradise that CNN wants you to believe in.
A poster on a notice board encourages women who are being beaten or abused by their partners to call a number and speak out. A man laughs to himself hysterically as I take pictures of his "street market stall" which consisted of a few clothes draped over a wall, and a clearly broken, old computer. Men — and only men — gather inside the central square's cafes, keeping a beady eye on us as they sip their mint tea in the middle of the work day.
Just a few days before my visit, police officers in the area were punched, kicked, and attacked with glass bottles while on a routine patrol.
President Trump is right to communicate his disbelief about what is happening in Sweden.
Perhaps these areas aren't truly "No Go Zones" for someone like me, broadly minding my own business and chatting with local shop owners.
But for young women, for police and other emergency services, you take your life into your hands when you enter these areas. And it's not just in Sweden either.
You'll be able to read more about my travels in my book. But from Molenbeek to Beziers to Malmo to Paris to Dewsbury — Europe is being fundamentally altered by uncontrolled migration. And that's why President Trump is right to communicate his disbelief about what is happening in Sweden.
Raheem Kassam is a Shillman-Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum and editor-in-chief of Breitbart London.


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