Links for 8-16-2018

Links for 6-8-2018

Links for 5-17-2018

  • The U.S. Senate confirmed Gina Haspel as CIA director on a 54–45 vote.

  • The New York Times published an article describing how the Obama administration’s intelligence agencies spied on Donald Trump’s campaign. Mollie Hemingway offers ten takeaways from the article, including this:

    This is a stunning admission for those Americans worried that federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies might use their powers to surveil, leak against, and target Americans simply for their political views or affiliations. As Sean Davis wrote, “The most amazing aspect about this article is how blasé it is about the fact that the Obama admin was actively spying on four affiliates of a rival political campaign weeks before an election.”

    Andrew McCarthy further emphasizes this:

    But that’s not even the most important of the buried ledes. What the Times story makes explicit, with studious understatement, is that the Obama administration used its counterintelligence powers to investigate the opposition party’s presidential campaign.

    That is, there was no criminal predicate to justify an investigation of any Trump-campaign official. So, the FBI did not open a criminal investigation. Instead, the bureau opened a counterintelligence investigation and hoped that evidence of crimes committed by Trump officials would emerge. But it is an abuse of power to use counterintelligence powers, including spying and electronic surveillance, to conduct what is actually a criminal investigation.

    The timing of the Times article is more interesting — it’s designed to inoculate the public against a forthcoming DOJ Inspector General report.

  • The Associated Press documented mass internment camps in China’s Xinjiang province:

    The internment program aims to rewire the political thinking of detainees, erase their Islamic beliefs and reshape their very identities. The camps have expanded rapidly over the past year, with almost no judicial process or legal paperwork. Detainees who most vigorously criticize the people and things they love are rewarded, and those who refuse to do so are punished with solitary confinement, beatings and food deprivation.

    There are also details of the panopticon that China has constructed in Xinjiang.

Links for 5-9-2018

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is bringing three American prisoners home from North Korea. Donald Trump will reportedly meet Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

  • Ben Shapiro writes on the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal:

    In hearing all of these honeyed voices speak, one might think that Iran has been acting responsibly for the last three years, that it hasn’t been pursuing a campaign of horrific terrorism in Yemen and Syria, that it hasn’t been sponsoring the takeover of Lebanon by the terrorist group Hezbollah, that it hasn’t been funding the Palestinian terror group Hamas, that it hasn’t been developing long-range ballistic missiles while leading chants saying “Death to America.” One might think that Obama left the Middle East a bright a beautiful place, not a hellhole filled with human carnage bought with dollars spent by Iran but funneled through the United States.

    None of that is true, of course. Obama left the Middle East a smoking wreckage heap — a situation so grim that even Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan have been forced to ally with Israel to allay fears of an Iranian regional takeover. Obama and his staff lied repeatedly to the American people about the Iran deal — and they continue to lie. When Kerry says that the deal will “empower Iran’s hardliners,” he is repeating an outright fabrication: The hardliners are in charge of the government, and the deal strengthened them. When Power speaks as though Obama alleviated the possibility of Iran’s nuclear program, she’s lying, too: The deal explicitly paved the way for an Iranian nuclear program free and clear of consequences from the international order. When Obama speaks as though our Middle East allies were pleased by the deal, he’s lying: They all opposed it, and they’re all celebrating its end.

  • The Treasury Department is revoking the licenses it issued to Boeing and Airbus to sell passenger jets to Iran.

  • Iranian forces in southern Syria fired rockets at Israeli military bases. There were no Israeli casualties.

  • Houthi rebels (backed by Iran) fired another salvo of ballistic missiles at Riyadh from Yemen.

  • A former CIA case officer, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, was indicted on charges of spying for China:

    In August 2012, Lee and his family left Hong Kong to return to the United States to live in northern Virginia. While traveling back to the United States, Lee and his family had hotel stays in Hawaii and Virginia. During each of the hotel stays, FBI agents conducted court-authorized searches of Lee’s room and luggage, and found that Lee was in unauthorized possession of materials relating to the national defense. Specifically, agents found two books containing handwritten notes that contained classified information, including but not limited to, true names and phone numbers of assets and covert CIA employees, operational notes from asset meetings, operational meeting locations and locations of covert facilities. Agents also found a thumb drive on which was stored a document later determined to contain information classified at the Secret level. During voluntary interviews with the FBI, Lee admitted preparing the document in response to taskings from the IO [intelligence officer].

  • ZTE ceased “major operating activities” after the Trump administration banned the Chinese company from using parts sourced from the U.S.

  • Conservative Senators are trying to pressure Mitch McConnell to get moving on Donald Trump’s nominees and on budget and appropriations bills. Delaying the latter benefits the D.C. swamp, since it encourages wasteful omnibus spending bills passed at the last minute to avoid a federal government shutdown.

  • Lt. j.g. Sarah Coppock pleaded guilty to “dereliction in the performance of duties through neglect contributing to the deaths” of seven sailors on board the USS Fitzgerald. Coppock was serving as Officer of the Deck when the Fitzgerald collided with a container ship.

Links for 3-13-2018

Links for 1-16-2018

Links for 11-1-2017

  • The suspect in the New York City terrorist attack, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, is from Uzbekistan, and he came to the U.S. via the “Diversity Visa Program.” The Department of Homeland Security questioned Saipov in 2015, but didn’t formally investigate him. And there’s this: “Saipov’s social media activity showed that he actively sought and engaged with radical Islamic propaganda and sympathized with ISIS.” Saipov used America’s chain migration policy to bring another 23 people into the country.

  • Mark Steyn wrote a tremendous column on the New York City terrorist attack that ends with this:

    So now eight grieving families and dozens more who’ll be living with horrific injuries for the rest of their lives are told by Cuomo and De Blasio and the rest of the gutless political class behind their security details that there’s nothing to do except to get used to it.

    I don’t want to get used to it – and I reiterate my minimum demand of western politicians that I last made after the London Bridge attacks: How many more corpses need to pile up on our streets before you guys decide to stop importing more of it?

    If your congressman or senator says that’s not on his agenda, what he means is he’s willing to sacrifice you and your loved ones in the suicide lottery of diversity.

  • A U.S. Navy report detailed a long list of mistakes made by the crews of the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain prior to their collisions with other ships. This part is interesting:

    In the early morning hours of June 17, the Fitzgerald was traveling at a speed of 20 knots about 50 miles south of Tokyo Bay when it began to sail past commercial vessels. Contrary to his standing order, [Cmdr. Bryce] Benson was not notified on multiple occasions when the Fitzgerald came within three nautical miles of several of those ships.

    At one point the Fitzgerald crossed the bow of one of those ships at a distance of 650 yards.

  • The CIA released some of the material they obtained when U.S. Navy SEALs raided Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan:

    The Abbottabad repository confirms that bin Laden was anything but retired when US forces knocked down his door. He was not a mere figurehead. During the final months of his life, Osama bin Laden was communicating with subordinates around the globe. Recovered memos discuss the various committees and lieutenants who helped bin Laden manage his sprawling empire of terror.

    In fact, al Qaeda’s network was a great deal more cohesive than was widely suspected in May 2011. Groups such as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and Shabaab (in Somalia) regularly sought and received the al Qaeda master’s direction. Other organizations, such as the Pakistani Taliban, are featured throughout the documents as well. And al Qaeda continued to maintain a significant footprint inside Afghanistan, relocating personnel to the country in 2010 and fighting alongside the Taliban.

  • A group of lawmakers accused the Trump administration of illegally arming and funding the Iranian-backed militias that are fighting alongside the Iraqi army. There are photos circulating of militia members driving American M1A1 tanks.

  • U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Eric Schultz died in a crash at a Nevada testing range back in September. The Air Force refused to specify what plane he was flying, which led to speculation that he was testing something new. It now appears he was flying a Russian Su–27 as part of an aggressor squadron that helps American pilots train against foreign aircraft. The Air Force is now considering whether to contract out these aggressor planes and their pilots to a private company; the contract could be worth billions of dollars.

  • The Salt Lake City nurse who was arrested for refusing to draw blood from an unconscious patient settled her lawsuit against the city for $500,000.

  • A Chechen woman who fought for Ukraine in its battle with Russia, Amina Okueva, was assassinated in an ambush on the outskirts of Kyiv. Okueva’s husband was injured in the attack. Back in June there was another assassination attempt against the two of them, that time by a Russian citizen posing as a journalist for Le Monde who came to interview them.

  • U.K. Defense Minister Michael Fallon resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment.

  • The Iraqi government threatened to restart military operations against the Kurds.