A Survivor of COVID – 19 Chronicles the Pandemic in Paris – an Israel News Talk Radio – Beyond the Matrix interview with Nidra Poller.
By Jerry Gordon and Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant
To understand what is happening in Europe during the coronavirus Pandemic, Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant and Jerry Gordon reached out to long term American ex-pat in Paris, writer, translator, journalist and author, Nidra Poller. Poller and Gordon have known each other for over 17 years when they first met in Boston when Poller was involved in the Mohammed al Dura affair investigations and reporting on jihadist murders of fellow Jews in France. We last interviewed Poller about the disruptive Gillet Jaunes “Yellow Vests” protests of workers in France with demonstrable anti-Semitic attacks. To our surprise, we found out that Poller had suffered symptoms of a COVID-19 attack – dry cough, lack of taste, fever, fatigue that took her 10 days to gradually recover. This prompted her to begin a daily journal of what it was like under total confinement in Paris then in its third week on April 6, 2020. The interview occurred just before Passover, that disrupted Poller’s plans including the delayed visit of a new great grandchild from Los Angeles.
According to World Coronavirus reports compiled by Johns Hopkins University on the date of our interview with Poller, April 6th, France ranked sixth in the world with over 98,839 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 8,078 deaths. The world had over 1, 274,265 cases and over 69, 971 deaths; the US had 336,830 cases and 9,618 deaths, most of the latter were reported in the New York ‘hotspot’. Israel had 8,403 cases of COVID-19 and 49 fatalities. But those numbers have changed dramatically with significant indications of spreading and possible plateauing given the increasing extent of confinement. Poller is skeptical about the figures, as they may not be reflective of testing, or cases like her’s who experienced the symptoms of COVID-19 but recovered without hospitalization.
She said colleagues who wrote from the US at the end of February and early March saying, “What is all this fuss about a thing that is causing a common cold or a little bit of the flu?” But she was getting information from Japan through her husband Jiro and others in Asia to take it more seriously. Then on March 8th she started to have a dry cough like she never had. A strange dry cough twisting her chest muscles and she could not taste food, then she noted when she took her temperature it began to rise.
As Poller told us, Paris was the hotspot in France, and that confinement was having a demonstrable effect in that the death toll was decreasing. The French according to her were doing an effective job of shutting things down as their hospitals had not been overwhelmed. Unlike the US, polls in France she noted posted a 98% approval for confinement which she noted was extremely strict. Each person must carry a form with their name, address, date and place of birth, the date and time they go out. They are allowed out for only one hour each day to buy necessities and for a bit of exercise and fresh air but must remain within one kilometer of their designated residence. She noted that in her neighborhood few shops are open where you can buy food. You do not walk into the shop; you stand in front. People have masks or plastic screens. You do not pay in cash, but with a card.
In many places they are checked and if found in violation are fined. If they rebel, they can be sentenced to jail with no right of appeal. The drug dealers she noted are really put out about confinement. You cannot jump into your car, take a plane, except for emergencies, as the Schengen borders are closed across the EU. Orly Airport is closed. The strictness, she noted had a benefit, the hospitals are not overwhelmed. She says, “This means that people who could recover are getting everything possible to recover”. While she and others are confined, they are still in contact with the outside world.
The pandemic is not without its instances of Anti-Semitism and Islamic terrorism. Poller noted that the French Health Minister and his wife are Jewish and have been attacked for not relenting to calls for permitting the use of the controversial immune suppressive and anti-malarial drug, hydroxychloroquine developed during World War II. She noted the limited ‘anecdotal’ trials by a respected French medical researcher at the University of Marseilles have triggered the controversy in France – paralleling calls for its use in the US by the President and others. Poller contends that what is required are controlled clinical trials to establish credible efficacy and safety, without triggering adverse side effects, of hydroxychloroquine. The interim and ultimate solutions may lie with development of credible antibodies therapies and vaccines several of which are under development in the US, UK and in Israel. On April 23, 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration issued an advisory cautioning the use of hydroxychloroquine for treatment of COVID-19 based on safety issues – risk of heart rhythm problems from trials in the US. This followed earlier actions reported in France and Sweden that evidenced cardiac risks in COVID-19 case treatment using hydroxychloroquine. The uses of the anti-malarial drug for treatment of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis continue.
Poller drew our attention to the attack during national confinement by a Sudanese refugee in southeastern France with several killed and injured. Reviews by police investigators of his writings revealed hatred of Kuffars, meaning infidels – evidence of Islamic Jihad ideology.
In the meantime, Poller endeavors to compile a chronicle of her views for the French publication Causeur of what is occurring during the COVID-19 Pandemic in France, the UK, the US and Israel.
What follows is the Israel News Talk Radio -Beyond the Matrix interview with Nidra Poller.
Rod Bryant: This is Rod Bryant with Jerry Gordon and you are listening to Beyond the Matrix here on Israel News Talk Radio. We are happy to have our guest Nidra Poller with us to do another show. So, thank you for coming on the show.
Nidra Poller: It is always a pleasure.
Rod Bryant: What is the impact of the toll of COVID-19 on Paris, the deaths, recoveries? What are the latest statistics in that part of Europe?
Nidra Poller: The deaths in France, are something like 5,000 and that is including from the old people's homes [in fact, the figure is higher, see below]. I am terrible at figures. But what I can tell you is that the daily death toll is decreasing. We are in the third week of confinement and this is the result. Paris was a hotspot this week. Every single effort was made so that the hospitals would not be overwhelmed. Some patients were transferred by train, some by plane, some went to the Czech Republic, some went to Germany, some went to other parts of France. Unless I am mistaken, I do not think I am, our hospitals have not been overwhelmed. Our medical workers are not dying or getting infected in huge numbers. Of course, France is a small country, but this has been very strictly organized from the beginning.
Rod Bryant: There is an indication that you were saying the French did an exceptionally good job in their process of shutting things down. However, it is not just that, it must have to with the citizens. How are they performing in this whole task?
Nidra Poller: I think there is an approval rating of 98% for confinement. Our confinement is extremely strict. I sent you the paper that we must carry with us when we go out. We must note our name, address, date and place of birth and the time that we go out, and the date. We can go out for one hour every day to buy necessities or to have some little bit of exercise, fresh air. In many places, people have been checked, and if they do not respect it, they are fined. In some instances where people have been rebellious, they have been sentenced with no appeal and immediately sent to jail. I know that there are some troublesome neighborhoods that are always troublesome and there is much more difficulty there. However, it is with a minority in those neighborhoods. For instance, the drug dealers, they are very put out because their dealing is not allowed. One thing I think Americans do not understand is in France, you cannot jump into your car and go someplace. I did not mention that we can only go one kilometer from our home. That is, it. The borders all over Europe have been closed. When the weekend came, there were extremely strict controls in the train station. You cannot go and jump on a train. There is virtually no airplane traffic, only for emergencies. The Orly airport is closed. It has been an extremely strict confinement, and this is important. When the confinement is strict, you can keep the hospitals from being overwhelmed. That means that people who could recover are getting everything possible. It does not stop the virus. This virus is so contagious. Another aspect in our neighborhood is there are a few shops open where you can buy food, and every shop is carefully equipped to deal with the new situation. You do not walk into the shop; you stand in front. The people have either a plastic screen or Plexiglas before them. You do not pay in cash, you pay with a card, they have masks. Everything is being done just to reduce the spread and we are starting to see results. I know that the latest death rate in 24 hours was something like 230. They are seeing some results in Spain and in Italy. Confinement is what works. Confinement is very primitive, if you will, but that is what works more than anything else.
Rod Bryant: Right. That is something that we have noticed that was exactly the cure for the 1918 flu epidemic. Everybody was told to get inside, stay inside and not come out. It is an old cure, which works, right?
Nidra Poller: Yes. However, very few places did that in 1918, so many people died. This time, we have every modern technique at our disposal. When we are confined, we are in touch with the outside world. Marvelous.
Rod Bryant: To think about it, we are having a conversation now, and you are in France and we are over here. This is an amazing time too, if you are going to endure something like this, this is when to do it. Jerry, you had something you wanted to ask Nidra?
Jerry Gordon: A couple of stats and then a question. Apparently, France is ranked number six in total COVID-19 cases in the world. It had 92,839 cases and 8,078 deaths as of this interview.
Nidra Poller: The thing about the statistics is that there is such variability in testing in both France and the US. There are vast parts of the United States that are just in the first phase, so the total number of infected people depends on what phase you are in and the amount of testing. Extremely hard to judge. You’re sure it is 8,000 dead in France?
Jerry Gordon: That is what the John Hopkins University COVID-19 records showed
Nidra Poller: Johns Hopkins, okay. Now then, the question is… because I do not want to be fighting with other countries about the figures, as they are so hard to judge. Do you know that in some countries, for instance in Germany, until recently, they said, "Oh no, we don't count every person that came in with COVID-19, we only count the people who died from COVID-19.” You do not know how much is due to the virus, how much to pneumonia, how much to inflammation. In France, I know every patient suffering from COVID-19 is counted as a COVID-19 fatality. Now the question is, after another few months, we may be able to see the relative results in different countries, but until then it is extremely hard to judge.
What I judge by is, are the hospitals overwhelmed, are the doctors dying in great numbers, are the medical or healthcare people getting sick in great numbers? If the hospitals are not overwhelmed, then they are doing the best they can. Of course, France is a crossroads in Europe. The United States is isolated, so it took longer for it to come, and longer for it to spread, and we have no idea how far it is going to go.
Jerry Gordon: Nidra, did you have any symptoms of COVID-19?
Nidra Poller: Yes, and it is quite comical, if you will, because my first intention was to write about it. This was at the end of February, beginning of March. I was getting so many articles from friends and colleagues in the United States. They were saying, "What is all this fuss about a thing that's causing a common cold or a little bit of flu?" I wanted to make a judgment on my own and decide whether I thought it was something serious or not. I was also getting information from Japan, Jiro was in Japan, and I am always in touch with Asia. So I decided that, yes, it is something profoundly serious. Then, on the eighth of March, I started to have a dry cough like I have never had, I have had very few respiratory illnesses. It was a strange dry cough, and it twisted the muscles in my chest. It was not coughing fits, but cough, cough, cough. Then another symptom that had not been made public at that time as a symptom of the virus: food had no taste. I had no appetite; I could not digest. I kept saying, "Well, maybe I could eat this or that." No matter what I tried to eat, I could not taste it. I thought, “Well, this is ridiculous. I am writing about COVID-19… here I am… as always very deeply involved in my writing… and now I think I have it? This is impossible." Then I did get a thermometer and started to take my temperature, but I didn’t know what a fever is. As it turns out, my normal temperature is between 35.6°-35.0 C. And I was up to 37.9°C.
Rod Bryant: Nidra you were saying about your symptoms that you really did not know if you had a fever, but when you checked it was considerably higher?
Nidra Bryant: In fact, it was a fever. One day for a few hours, I sneezed as if I had a cold and that went away. Then I got very tired. I slept all day, all night, two days in a row. The whole time… for about 10 days, I was so tired. The other aspect of it is I did not feel like myself, I did not recognize myself. I would get up in the morning and I did not feel like I was awake. It is a very strange illness. Then the cough went away, but the way I handled it, I said to myself, "I'm not going to let this touch my lungs." Did that have any effect or is it just that I had a mild case? But in my mind, it was, "No, it's not going to go beyond here, it's not going to touch my lungs." I had this extraordinarily strong in my mind, "Cough but don't have a coughing fit." I felt that if I had a coughing fit, I would suffocate. Maybe the fact that I am a very calm person helped me to fight it.
Rod Bryant: Let me just say this Nidra, you must have strong genes.
Nidra Poller: Immune system. Yes, it is true. There is a young man, 37, that died today. He was a top Judoka, and a security guard for the transportation system. That happens often. A lot of extraordinarily strong, healthy, young people either suffer enormously or die from it. The idea that it is just old people that die…that's one of the things that misleads people into thinking, "Oh well, they were going to die anyway. So, what." But it is not. There is so much that we don't know about this… we can only go by what we do know: it is utterly, highly, contagious and the death rate, the mortality t is 10 times that of the flu. If we use confinement to keep the level down, and let it go more slowly, of course it is not going to kill millions. Thank you, wonderful. But then it is no reason to turn around and say we did more than what is necessary. Isn't that the line… The roof only leaks when it is raining… that line about why we didn’t fix the roof. This is probably the most enormous, worldwide defense against a killer virus.
Rod Bryant: I was just thinking about this, that if we practice the same level of sanitation and safety just in our regular life, do you realize how much we could just shut down so many small diseases, what you call the influenza period. How much the death rate will drop if we just practice that on a regular basis.
Nidra Poller: Yes, and healthy living, which we of course do in Europe. For something that happens once in a century, the question is, "Do people learn the lessons?” I do not think so. When I had it, it took me 12 days before I could start writing again. I wrote the second episode of my Journal, in French, published by Causeur, where I explained that I did in fact have it. Because it became clear. I did call the doctor after five days. He said they would not test me because they were only testing people with severe symptoms. The best thing I did was to stay home and rest. It is especially important.
Rod Bryant: That was what I was going to say is most people who do not realize how essential rest is for recovery from influenza. You know, when you get something like this, the best thing to do is park yourself in a chair or bed and rest, just sleep it off and not fight the fatigue, fight the virus.
Nidra Poller: I am concerned about everyone in my family, all my friends because people are terrified of getting it. It just happened to me and I came through it very well, but it could have gone another way. It is terrifying. It is very wrong to compare it to the flu. People who have it can tell you it is nothing like the flu.
Rod Bryant: It is a hybrid of something. They said it sort of mimics pneumonia as well. In several places in the US, people are working on special acts of kindness and benevolence to help store owners that own businesses, to purchase things from them and go there and bring them out to the curbs. There is a stimulus package in the United States that would have been granted to help people that have laid off to keep them on employment rolls. What is the situation in France? I realize that we have a different system set up. When it comes to your sort of a social safety net there. What do you have and what does it look like?
Nidra Poller: We have an extraordinarily strong safety net. An extraordinarily strong public health system. We have one of the best public health systems. It is just naturally adapted to the situation, in that ordinary unemployment compensation is already very consistent, and it is just extended. Everything that is normally done to protect workers that lose their jobs is just extended and increased. Like all governments, the French government is dipping into reserves, finding some money and handing it out. The job loss is incredible, but the shock is less than the United States, and people do not lose their health care. There is an extraordinarily strong public spirit. However, our confinement is so strict that the kind of gestures you might make in the US are extremely limited in France. However, people here help their neighbors. The spirit is particularly good. At 8 o'clock every evening people go to the windows and the balconies, they applaud the healthcare providers, the church bells ring. It is very sincere. There is a feeling that it is a time to take advantage of the shock to rethink things. Now, the question is, when people rethink are, they going to rethink the same way they thought before or will they adopt new things? We will see. We will see.
Rod Bryant: I have said this for many years, the crazier things have gotten in politics and the world of terrorism that we need a reset button. When people ask me, "What do you mean a reset button?" I told them, "I'm not really sure what that would be, but it would be nice to be able to hit a pause button and everybody just rethink where they are at right now. What they are doing. This is probably the best reset button I can think of, to give people a chance to really think about what this is and what it really means. 9/11 though it happened in United States had a major impact all over the world. Now this virus is a worldwide event. I think one of the things our responsibility would be is to encourage people to really look at themselves to see "How can we make our society better, from this. Not worse."
Nidra Poller: That is why I am writing this journal. It is called L'homme est dangereuse pour l'homme. It is a play on "The man is a wolf for man." It started when I recovered from COVID-19 and it is going to go on as the pandemic exists. It is being published regularly in French. I will propose articles in English soon. This is a natural thing for me to use writing as a way of not feeling helpless and of telling the world what it was like when it was happening. Of course, Europeans are more likely to be philosophic about something, and to be intellectual about it. I am very troubled of what is happening in the United States. There are so many things that are so negative. I do not even know how bad it is going to be. I am very troubled. For instance, you hear about people all buying guns. So, if they cannot get food and supplies that they want are they going to start shooting each other? There is an issue about price gouging for the medical equipment that they need. Fighting between the president and the governors and insulting the hospital workers and saying, "What do they need all these masks for?" These things are shocking to me.
Rod Bryant: Well, it is unfortunate that is what you are seeing that side of the world. It is regrettable to say the least.
Nidra Poller: Could I add something? Because when I was telling you about how strict confinement is in France, perhaps I should mention this. When they announced, in a few days we will have confinement, you chose where you want to be and with whom, and you cannot change that until the confinement is over. No going here and there. No going back to different members of the family or anything like that. It is extremely strict.
Jerry Gordon: Nidra, there is rising incidence in France and in Europe connected with this pandemic of anti-Semitism and terrorism, and then there is a peculiar problem with French studies on this unproven drug, hydroxychloroquine.
Nidra Poller: I will begin with anti-Semitism. It is good in all seasons, in all areas of the world and it is certainly going now. I do not ever go on the social networks to see what they are saying, but I know that it is happening. We had a health minister who… both she and her husband are Jewish. The anti-Semites are accusing them of manipulating and, precisely, of preventing people from getting hydroxychloroquine. It was complicated, but they managed to find a way to accuse them. And whenever they do not like President Macron, they also accuse him of being a Crypto-Jewish, rich man’s president. Because of confinement, they cannot go and beat up on Jews, with exception of our Sudanese refugee…two days ago in a small beautiful town in France. He went on a rampage. He killed two people, wounded five, two of them are between life and death. He is what I call an Allahu Akbar. He did not hide his motivation. When they went to his home and found his writings. Ramblings. He said that he was horrified at living in this country of Kuffar (unbelievers in Islam)." He was granted refugee status with a 10-year residence permit in 2017! He told the police that he was nervous because of the confinement. Some people get nervous because of the confinement and maybe they would try to listen to music or Zoom with a friend or family. He got nervous so went out on a killing rampage. We do not even know, did he stab them or slit their throats? So that is something that always pops up.
Rod Bryant: Were there Jewish victims or just French victims?
Nidra Poller: These days a lot of our Allahu Akbars just go after anybody, or they go after the police. Some are precisely after Jews. But as we were telling everyone, we are all kuffars; whether they are Christians, atheists, Jews, for them we are kuffar. Now this hydroxychloroquine. A very highly esteemed specialist in Marseille came out with a study based on something like 24 patients saying that this, plus an antibiotic, the name of which I cannot remember …
Jerry Gordon: It is called azithromycin.
Nidra Poller: …that this is a fantastic treatment for COVID-19. Then he followed up with another study of about 70 patients. These are not clinical trials, they are not double-blind, they are not peer group approved, because they do not respect the rules for any kind of study of the effectiveness of a given drug. It is turned into a big controversy in France, I will be writing about that soon, where some people say, "He's right, and why are they trying to stop him." And other people say, "Wait a minute, we don't even know if it works." You cannot know if it works if you do not have a clinical trial. One thing about COVID-19 is that the virus is in the nose and the throat, just the first few days, and then it goes deeper into the lungs. After a few days, most people, even if you swab them will not find the virus. The protesters say, "I would give it to people right at the beginning." It is extremely hard to know if these are people that would have been cured anyway. There was tremendous pressure…petitions and impassioned op-eds, articles and posts going around on the internet by people that believe so strongly that it works and other people that say, "Well, wait minute, science is science and you don't just give something because one person said it works”. That is where it stands now. The clinical trials are underway, but there is nothing that prevents a French doctor from giving it if he wants to. You cannot get it without a prescription. They made sure that every pharmacy keeps a stock for the people that are using this treatment for other illnesses like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Regardless, the pharmacy must always have enough for those who have those ailments. Now, what I have seen happening in the United States is that it has become even more ideological. I fear that President Trump has grabbed onto this straw and decided that this is the way he is going to get out. He does not like confinement. You know how he talks: “This country was not made to be shut down. I want things up and running.” He is turning it into a miracle drug when it is not tried and tested. Now he is saying that the Federal stockpile is for Federal use, whatever that means, and not for the states. These pills he wants to distribute everywhere and indiscriminately used as a magical solution. When you are not an expert, all you can do is look at every bit of testimony from all kinds of specialists. The only thing that can settle this are clinical trials. There have been cases like AIDS, where some were sure that a certain drug was the thing, and then they found that it made people worse. The anecdotal study of hydroxychloroquine in France was picked up in the United States and blown up into something way beyond what they could prove. There is no proof yet. That is where we stand. In a few weeks, they may have the results of the first clinical trials.
Rod Bryant: We hope there is a silver bullet out there that can take care of this problem. I do know that they have had some success locally. However, those were anecdotal, that it worked for these individuals, but we do not know how it would affect others.
Nidra Poller: But they do not know because they do not know how the illness would have developed otherwise, without the treatment. And for some people it could make them worse. And they will not know either.
Rod Bryant: That is the concern if you are going to use this. Unless the drug itself is that safe that you can use it with no consequences, then I do not have an issue with it. But I am not a physician. If someone wanted to send you an email or communicate with you, how would they do that?
Rod Bryant: Okay, thank you so much, really appreciate you taking your time.
Nidra Poller: I would be happy to hear from people.
Rod Bryant: Yes, and look, we are incredibly grateful that you could join us in the middle of this pandemic.
Nidra Poller: That's right. You can find me.
Rod Bryant: Is your husband home safe?
Nidra Poller: Yes, he is here, luckily.
Rod Bryant: Fantastic.
Nidra Poller: He came back a few days before I got the COVID.
Rod Bryant: We are glad that you are well, and you are better.
Nidra Poller: He did not catch it from me, so I assume he is asymptomatic. We are going at the first opportunity to offer our antibodies.
Rod Bryant: Glad, you can do that. You have been listening to Beyond the Matrix here on Israel News Talk radio. We really appreciate all of you guys coming out and hanging out with us. And thank you for listening to us on Netiv online under BTM. So, until this time next week, we will say, "Shalom. Shalom."
Listen to the Israel News Talk Radio – Beyond the Matrix interview with Nidra Poller.
Jerome B Gordon is a Senior Vice President of the New English Review, author of The West Speaks, NER Press 2012, and co-author of Genocide in Sudan: Caliphate Threatens Africa and the World, JAD Publishing, 2017. Mr. Gordon is a former US Army intelligence officer who served during the Viet Nam era. He is producer and co-host of Israel News Talk Radio—Beyond the Matrix. He was the co-host and co-producer of weekly The Lisa Benson Show for National Security that aired out of KKNT960 in Phoenix Arizona from 2013 to 2016 and co-host and co-producer of the Middle East Round Table periodic series on 1330amWEBY, Northwest Florida Talk Radio, Pensacola, Florida from 2007 to 2017.
Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant is creator and host of Israel News Talk Radio—Beyond the Matrix.
Flowers, flowers, everywhere—and I have the photos to prove it. This group are all fluttering far outside my plague-afflicted city where I sit, happily reading and writing, all the livelong day. From time to time I ask friends to send me photos of Nature—and they most kindly oblige me. When Bob Brannon sent me these brilliantly yellow daffodils, of course, of course, William Wordsworth’s well known poem immediately came to mind: I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud. Here’s how it begins:
“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
I do not think of clouds as lonely. Do you? But see these other gifts that Nature has to console and uplift us. Donna Hughes sent me the sweetest, puffiest, and most colorful little bird on a wire; she also sent me a magical photograph of snow in the woods in the third week of April, reminding me that winter cannot be far behind. As one ages, one’s perception of time changes, the seasons speed up, perhaps because we have run out of it or because we are moving more slowly—time is now faster than we are, it is giving us quite a merry chase.
Today’s crop of journalists don’t bother to hide their partisanship.
by Conrad Black
Almost the entire country is relieved that the president has shortened his daily press briefings and reduced his own role in them. Those who support the president feel that he has made the point that he is completely unintimidated by media hostility and has no significant trouble fielding their questions, no matter how nasty, baiting, and repetitive, and that he need not submit himself or the dignity of his great office to any more of the outrageous discourtesy and distortions of his media enemies. Those who oppose the president will generally be relieved not have to watch any more of these sessions of lengthy bloviation by the president, where important news is revealed but where too much of the time is monopolized by the president with discursive and self-serving answers, frequently to questions that were not asked.
There is some merit in both views, and few people on either side will miss Mr. Trump’s wandering ruminations and his jousts with his media picadors. Given the right question and encouragement to answer thoughtfully, most people would agree that Trump is certainly not afraid of the press, as has been suspected of some presidents, and that he is reasonably on top of the subjects discussed. This president is more articulate and forthcoming with the press than were Presidents Eisenhower, Ford, Reagan, and the Bushes, though it seems that President Eisenhower, as his press secretary James Hagerty claimed, often deliberately replied to reporters in syntactically confusing terms.
The underlying fact in Trump–media relations has not changed: He detests most of them, and most of them detest him. Again, they are all within their rights to have these opinions, but this stand-off implies an inaccurate balance of propriety. There is only one president of the United States; there have only been 44 since the promulgation of the Constitution of the United States in 1789, and every occupant of that post has come to it by popular election to national office (president or vice president, except Gerald Ford, who was constitutionally chosen to fill a vacancy as vice president and acceded on the resignation of the incumbent president). There is no remote equality of status or exclusivity or right to the benefit of protocol between the chief of state and head of government of the United States of America and any number of accredited White House journalists. Mr. Trump is under no obligation to speak to the press, and presidents rarely did prior to Franklin D. Roosevelt. The entire free press and media bulk up to an aggregated level of legitimacy and importance that is considerable, but the people at a White House press briefing can scarcely claim to be the personification of the world’s right to newsworthy information opposite the person they are questioning.
It would have been inconceivable, prior to 2017, that any president of the United States would have been peppered with insolent and provoking “questions,” or interrupted so rudely, or debated with so aggressively, by the White House journalists, as this president has through many of these coronavirus briefings. Obviously, the circumstances of Donald Trump’s election are unique, as he had never held any public or military office, had no political background, and although a much-publicized celebrity, gained the Republican nomination and won the election with a campaign based on severe criticism of the governing political class, the national political media prominent within it. Those media had almost uniformly disparaged him as a candidate and continued to do so. Many in the media jumped at once onto the fiction that he owed his election to illegal collusion with Russia. Trump’s grievances with the media were real when he denounced them as a candidate for soft-pedaling the failures of the Obama regime and completely missing the equity bubble until it blew up, more than a decade after President Clinton first inflated it. He accused them of failing to criticize adequately the failure of policy in the Middle East and the disadvantageous trade arrangements, especially with China and Mexico, and for failing to note the shrinking American work force, the decline of American economic growth, and the increase in poverty, welfare dependence, and violent crime under Obama. He was right — the media had underreported all of this, which is one reason why they were so astonished when Trump was elected.
The media had a chance, in the aftermath of the election, to take up the lessons of the surprising result, and give the incoming president the customary media honeymoon. Instead, they sandbagged him from the start, attaching unwarranted credence to every negative report about him, claiming he hadn’t visited gravely wounded congressman Steve Scalise when he had; CNN even found a doctor who said Trump has heart disease when his check-up showed nothing of the kind, and most of the media treated the preposterous Steele dossier as a bona fide intelligence report down to its tawdriest details, until that claim became unfeasible. There was no retraction or even correction, just a shift to a new line of spurious attack. When the whole Russian collusion canard collapsed, there was scarcely a word of acknowledgement that 80 percent of the national political media had been pushing a defamatory fiction for the last three years. On November 10, 2016, Will Rahn of CBS Digital posted a piece entitled “The Unbearable Smugness of the Media,” in which he chastised his colleagues in the press for failing to notice the strength of the Trump movement and for selling the Clinton view that most of Trump’s supporters were louts and failures. He correctly predicted that their response to the election result would not be self-reflection at how badly they had miscalled the result and unprofessionally slagged off the Republican candidate, but dismay that there were more louts and failures in the country than they had realized.
This war continues, and illustrative of it is last week’s effort to ridicule the president for supposedly urging people to drink bleach to ward off the coronavirus. What he did was ask Bill Bryan, acting under secretary of homeland security for science and technology, in the presence of the press, if there was any way to internalize the combined force of light and disinfectant. It was a musing, and was indiscreet given the media’s penchant for using anything to discredit and ridicule the president, but the treatment of the subject was an outrage. One of the most irritating outbursts of self-praise from a prominent media figure in many years came on the weekend from Andy Lack, chairman of NBC News and the infamous MSNBC, roost of rabid Trump-haters such as Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Joe Scarborough. His opening gambit was that “President Trump came into office railing against many of the foundations of our democratic institutions, including a free press.” He continued with a sequence of similarly collectively self-serving assertions, such as: “He hasn’t laid a glove on serious journalism” and that the current pandemic has made “powerfully clear . . . that the heart of journalism has never been stronger.” He invoked Woodward and Bernstein, possibly the two most notorious myth-makers in American history, in promoting the media’s mission to “seek the best obtainable version of the truth.” He concluded with the gag-line (in the sense of preparing to throw up) about journalism as a “public trust."
Trump has his infelicities, but he never assailed any foundations of American democracy and he is the president. He is often untruthful, but he is genuine and has done more of what he promised to do when seeking the office than any president since Coolidge. The national political media are primarily a sewer, accorded about a third of the level of approval from the public that the president enjoys. Their chief purpose appears to be to misinform and to destroy the first president in living memory who has called them the unprofessional rag-tag band of hypocrites that many of them are. It is the media who have disgraced and are endangering the free press, not the president they have so grossly and lengthily defamed.
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) has introduced a resolution in Congress saluting the US Muslim community during Ramadan. She was joined by Andre Carson (D-IN), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and others. Naturally, it has the enthusiastic support of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an organization with connections to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
It is interesting to note that this has 24 signatures-all Democrats. The list includes Katie Porter (D-CA) who is my representative in Congress. (I didn't vote for her.)
I have a resolution: Since we have something called separation of church and state, how about our Congress refrains from these kinds of salutes or whatever you call them-for all religions? As a Christian, I would be perfectly happy if Congress took no note of Christmas or Easter, and I think most Jews would have no problem if Congress didn't send them any messages on Passover. We simply allow all religions to practice their faiths as long as they do not intrude upon the rights of others.
I am absolutely not advocating that Ramadan be banned. Unfortunately, due to world events, this kind of resolution will be perceived by many different people in different ways. Rightfully or wrongfully, some are going to take it as a sign of submission.
I concede this is a slippery and complex issue. Do we do away with the White House lighting up the big Christmas tree? Do we do away with the President pardoning the turkey on Thanksgiving? I say no because for one, they are innocuous, and secondly, if we start canceling our traditional practices that have religious overtones (Christian or Jewish), that would also be perceived by many-rightfully or wrongfully- as a form of submission (to you know what). We have already seen things like this around the world. Just this week, an historic old cathedral in Spain was taken over by a group, apparently without any authorization, who blasted the call to prayer over loudspeakers to celebrate Ramadan.
As always, I take care not to paint all Muslims with the brush of terrorism and intolerance. However, as long as churches are burning in places like Egypt, Pakistan, and Western Europe, as long as Jews are being subjected to insults and violence from Muslim immigrants in Europe, as long as religious minorities are being persecuted in just about every Muslim-majority land you can name, I am not interested in "celebrating" Ramadan. I would also prefer that our elected representatives not waste tax-payer money and time producing these kinds of salutes.
The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps unveiled a handheld device on Wednesday that he said could detect coronavirus almost instantly.
This new achievement is an emerging and unique technology that was fully developed by IRGC’s Basij forces after the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the country,” said the IRGC’s Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami as he presented the purported detection tool at a ceremony.
“A sample of the virus is placed within the device and as the device scans the perimeter it looks for a match, once it finds one it pinpoints it and tells us,” said Salami.
According to Salami, the device, which resembles a handheld electric drill with an antenna, can detect a contaminated person or area in five seconds within a radius of 100 meters thanks to a “magnetic system of resonance.”
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) unveiled Wednesday what it claimed was an Iranian-made smart system that can identify coronavirus in the environment instantly.
“The system can spot the coronavirus-contaminated area from 100 meters away in 5 seconds and it does not need to take blood from patients and has been tested in different hospitals and showed positive performance in 80 percent of cases,” said IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami.
He explained that the device, dubbed “Mosta’an,” can “detect every coronavirus infection case within a 100-meter radius by creating a magnetic field and using a bipolar virus inside the device,” Salami said, failing to provide further details.
Salami claimed the Mosta’an was being adapted to eventually detect any virus.
He said that the system, invented by scientists from the Basij paramilitary forces, could be used both for mass screening of people and spotting contaminated areas, noting that it could also minimize the amount of disinfectants being used in areas that aren’t contaminated.
A third article, in the Daily Mail, offers still other details:
The semi-official Tasnim news agency said the ‘homegrown’ detection device was a ‘state-of-the-art and unique instrument’ developed by ‘local scientists’.
Major-general Salami attended an ‘unveiling ceremony’ himself where he said the device could be used for ‘screening of people on a large scale’.
Salami said the device creates a ‘magnetic field’ which locates a virus infection ‘within a 100-metre radius’ (100 yards), the commander said.
When the device’s antenna is pointed at a specific location, it will detect the contaminated spot within around five seconds, he boasted.
The device has supposedly been tested in hospitals with ’80 per cent accuracy’ and Iran hopes to develop ‘upgraded versions’ to test for other diseases.
Salami later went further and claimed ‘dozens of countries’ had contacted Iran with a view to getting hold of the gadget.
However, the equipment ‘would not be shared with the Americans until all sanctions are removed’, he warned, according to the website Al-Monitor.
The device was proudly displayed at an unveiling ceremony on Wednesday where Iran showed off the invention of ‘local scientists’
The machine itself is a hand-held device with an antenna.
Dr. Anthony Fauci will not be losing any sleep over the Iranians refusing to share their magical-mystery-tour coronavirus detector with the Americans until they lift the sanctions.
For the Revolutionary Guard scientists, this long-distance coronavirus detector was quite a feat, and a feather in the cap of the Islamic Republic. The Supreme Leader must have been very proud. But neither they nor he could have been proud for very long. For there are dozens of stories in the Western – and Arab — media mocking the Iranian claim. Within Iran, the Association of Iranian Physicists dismissed the device as an absurdity. And Arab media, such as Arab News, have been having a field day making fun of the Iranian folly.
Israel, too, has come up with an advance of its own in response to the coronavirus outbreak: a new vaccine design to combat the coronavirus.
A professor at Tel Aviv University (TAU) has been granted a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for his innovative vaccine design for the novel coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2, TAU announced on Sunday.
Prof. Jonathan Gershoni of the School of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology at TAU’s George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences created a vaccine that “targets the novel coronavirus’s Achilles’ heel, its Receptor Binding Motif (RBM), a critical structure that enables the virus to bind to and infect a target cell,” according to TAU.
Gershoni explained that the vaccine would reconstruct the coronavirus’s RBM, a small feature of its “spike” protein. This specific protein is a major surface protein that the virus uses to bind to a receptor, which is another protein that provides a pathway to a human cell.
TAU said, “After the spike protein binds to the human cell receptor, the viral membrane fuses with the human cell membrane, allowing the genome of the virus to enter human cells and begin infection.”
Gershoni’s team is said to have completed the initial steps toward reconstituting the new SARS-CoV-2’s RBM. The reconstitution of the new RBM and its use as a basis for a new vaccine is covered by an additional pending patent application to the USPTO.
“Now that we have received serum samples we should be able to isolate RBM-based vaccine candidates in the next month or two,” Prof. Gershoni said. “The discovery and production of a functional RBM for the new coronavirus is fundamental and critical for the production of the vaccine we propose. Our successful isolation and reconstitution of such a functional RBM will allow the industry to incorporate it into a vaccine, which will be produced by a pharmaceutical company. Development of such an RBM-based vaccine should take months and then would need to be tested in Phase 1, 2 and 3 clinical trials which would then take up to a year.”
Gershoni and his team have been working on coronaviruses for the last 15 years and expect to have a reconstituted RBM soon that could be the basis for a new vaccine, which could be ready for use within a year to a year and a half.
The RBM, a highly-complex three dimensional structure, is 50 amino acids long and reconstructing its structure is very challenging but would be an extremely effective basis of a vaccine, he noted.
“The smaller the target and the focus of the attack, the greater the effectiveness of the vaccine,” Gershoni said. “The virus takes far-reaching measures to hide its RBM from the human immune system, but the best way to ‘win the war’ is to develop a vaccine that specifically targets the virus’s RBM.”
There’s a moral to this tale. One country, Iran, is run by the terminally credulous, discouraged by their faith from engaging in the free and skeptical inquiry that is essential to the enterprise of science. These Iranian officials were determined to show they are meeting the challenge of the pandemic, but they have only made fools of themselves in the process by presenting an obviously fraudulent “coronavirus detector,” likely the product of some Western scam artist. It appears they really believe in it.
The other country, Israel, is fully at home with modern science. Its educational system encourages the kind of questioning that is discouraged in schools in Islamic countries, where both mental submission to authority, and rote memorization, are privileged. Israeli scientists keep making astonishing advances in a dozen fields. This new design for a vaccine against the coronavirus by Professor Gersoni and his team at Tel Aviv University is one of them. As for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, their proud unveiling of their comical coronavirus detector has made Iran the laughing-stock of the whole world.
Thus we have presented on a platter one more exercise in Compare-and-Contrast, where the Islamic entry for combating the coronavirus is weighed and found wanting—found worthless, in fact, by all sensible people, including many in the Muslim world — while that from tiny Israel, of a new way to construct a vaccine, the product of scientific research relentlessly pursued over the past 15 years, shows real promise.
What have you done for us lately? It’s a common question, and a good one. We know about all the advances Israeli science has brought us. Israel ranks first in the world for medical device patents per capita, and second in Europe for bio-pharma. More than 1,000 Israeli companies are working in the healthcare or life-science fields, with 700 of them in medical devices. The list of Israeli achievements in medicine can easily be found on-line (just search the Internet for “Israel” and “medical advances” and be ready to read a very long list). But what about Iran, with ten times Israel’s population? Is there a single medical advance that the Islamic Republic has to its credit? No, not even one.
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany has banned all Iran-backed Hezbollah activity on its soil and designated it a terrorist organisation, the Interior Ministry said on Thursday. Police also conducted early morning raids on mosque associations in four cities across Germany. Security officials believe up to 1,050 people in Germany are part of Hezbollah’s extremist wing.
Police are currently conducting raids on four associations linked to the Islamist group.The police raids are focused on four mosque associations in Berlin, Dortmund, Bremen and Münster accused of belonging to Hezbollah.
The ministry spokesman of German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer confirmed that "police measures are underway in several federal states concurrently," and added that even in times of crisis, the "rule of law is able to act."
The EU classifies Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist group, but not its political wing. Which the Metropolitan Police used as an excuse not to ban the flag on London's streets during the al Quds march every year until recently
Caption: German special police enter the El-Irschad (Al-Iraschad e.V.) centre in Berlin
In a few months, everything will be largely back to what it was within the United States. The big changes will be geopolitical.
by Conrad Black
The Democrats are taking their stand on the coronavirus crisis in an untenable position. It is like building a defensive redoubt in a valley surrounded by hills in the hands of the enemy (like the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1955, as President Eisenhower warned them). Whether this is tactical stupidity by the president’s enemies or strategic genius by the president or—more likely—a bit of both, is not clear except to insiders.
Readers will recall that the Democrats charged out of the gate on the issue of taking science seriously and reacting comprehensively; the president picked up the gauntlet, brought prominent scientists forward, and “flattened the curve.” The Democrats wallowed in glee at the almost instant increase (in a month in fact) of unemployment by almost 30 million.
The president and the Republican leaders in Congress brought forth very generous and relatively simple financial assistance packages and the Democrats jumped aboard, trying to lard the payments with concessions to organized labor and the green terrorists, which the Republicans generally resisted.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was confined to his basement in Delaware and all he had to do was put on a shirt and Skype into members of the Trump-hating media. The fact that even this proved a syntactical challenge to him indicates the level of embarrassment self-distancing spared him.
The national Democratic leadership locked arms and deployed their media acolytes in support of a prolonged shutdown where virtually everyone in the country would be tested and those who test positively identify everyone they have been in contact with in the last two weeks and those people are chased down and the hunt for the last bacillus of coronavirus is pursued throughout the country to every attic, basement, homeless shelter, and rustic cabin. The president, under this scenario, would, in the greater national and human interest, commit political suicide like a kamikaze in a good cause, and patiently explain to the next scores of millions of Americans thrown out of work by the Pelosi-Biden-Schumer counter-virus strategy, that their sacrifice is noble and inevitable.
What a godsend the coronavirus crisis was supposed to be to a political party that struck out corrupting the upper ranks of the Justice Department and the intelligence services with a fraudulent narrative about illegal election-rigging with Russia, and struck out again with a fatuous presidential impeachment for unimpeachable acts with no serious evidence that the president committed the accused acts anyway.
On the heels of the total failure of their own skulduggery, the force majeure of nature, with the assistance of China’s duplicitous and irresponsible government, rushed to the rescue of Trump’s enemies. The celebratory pleasure of Speaker Pelosi as she shows the nation her well-stocked freezer, and of presumptive presidential candidate Biden as he shambled through banal softball sessions with the likes of Joy Behar (a woman lumbered with America’s most unsuitable first name), was palpable.
The NeverTrumpers have fallen in with this nonsense, more subtly, by calling for putting “safe ahead of soon.” This is all piffle and the Democrats have turned the heat on under the frying pan and then jumped into it.
Despite all the unctuous asseverations that nothing will be the same again and that this is a human crisis that must unite the country, it is mainly political and rather tawdry politics at that. The anti-Trump media whipped up a state of frenzy and panic with no real evidence of the medical danger, initially to set the president up for responding inadequately. When he instead responded very effectively, they shifted course and without commending him on the lockdown, said that because he hadn’t developed testing capabilities quickly enough, the lockdown must be long enough to give the Democrats a chance of winning the election. (An economic depression on the scale of some plague from the Old Testament is all that could put Joe Biden into the White House.)
In fact, testing only establishes whether a person has, or has had, the coronavirus up to the time of testing. It is no magic bullet, but it has enabled extensive research that permits us to estimate the scale of this problem. Extensive recent testing indicates that in the “hot spot” of New York, more than 20 percent of New Yorkers have had the coronavirus, but fewer than half of those realized it.
Since testing has been so uneven among the 40 or so Northern Hemisphere countries that provide reliable statistics, the ultimate relevant issue is deaths per million (or another unit) of population.
Sweden, which has not had a shutdown but has taken some measures of protection for vulnerable groups, has had 211 deaths from this cause per million people in the country. That is one for every 4,900 Swedes. The United States, with all its precautions and protections, has 156 per million, or 1 in 6,400 people.
For various reasons of circumstance and swiftness and thoroughness of response, Japan, Germany, Canada, and some smaller states have better results, but the British (1 in 3,300 people), French (1 in 3,000), Italians (1 in 2,450 people), and Spanish (1 in 2,100 people), have fared worse than Sweden. Since about 80 percent of fatalities in all these countries are people over 60 with additionally compromised immune systems, much depends on the effectiveness of protection of vulnerable categories of people, and not on shutting down everything.
The agreed facts deduced to date entitle policymakers to come to a number of reasonable conclusions. Even more elaborate measures should be taken for people with reduced immunity. (The Canadian measure this past weekend of dispatching the armed forces to some homes for the elderly is better public relations than epidemiology.) The rest of the shutdowns should be ended fairly quickly.
Here again, President Trump has acted wisely in leaving these decisions with the governors and creating conditions where Democratic governors like Gavin Newsom in California and even Andrew Cuomo in New York will have to break ranks with the national Democratic leaders. They are working now on their last plausible scenario for salvaging the presidential election, while the governors have their own voters’ welfare to serve. Trump has got his eminent scientific cohort on his side, and lined up scores of eminent people in every conceivable activity to support his normalization plans, and respected the requirements of federalism in leaving precise decisions to local authorities.
There is no reason whatever to imagine the result of reopening the United States (with some precautions) would raise American fatality rates above Swedish levels, and there is every reason to believe, given the steps taken, that American fatalities will not be as high as 1 in 5,000 people when the crisis has subsided.
Every death is a sadness, but this is not a demographic threat or a public health assault that justifies pushing up to 1 million people a day into unemployment and the loss of trillions of dollars of value on the stock exchanges. It has been a severe crisis, but most of its severity has been the consequence of the panic generated by the irresponsible media, who thought they might destroy the Trump presidency at last.
They have failed again, and this is not such a watershed moment. In a few months, everything will be largely back to what it was within the United States. The big changes will be geopolitical: the mystique of the inexorable rise of China will be very faded, and the remaining credibility of the concept of the European Union will be in tatters.
Trump wins the political chess game at home in a clean sweep: the medical crisis, the financial rescue, the rebound of the economy, and at the voting places of the nation. And he will be the winner in the world. China and Europe have long been billed as rivals to the United States as the world’s most powerful government and population. We will hear less of that.
Secretary of State Pompeo: West Bank Annexation is Israel’s Decision (Part 2)
by Hugh Fitzgerald
The Mandate for Palestine unambiguously assigns the entire West Bank to the future Jewish State.
And there is a second, independent basis for Israel to lay claim to some, and even to all, of the West Bank. That is U.N. Resolution 242. According to that Resolution, Israel was required only to withdraw “from territories” it acquired “in the recent conflict.” The Arabs tried at the time the Resolution was being discussed to have the wording changed so that it now read “from all the territories.” But they failed. That has not kept them from insisting ever since that the Resolution meant what they wanted it to mean – withdrawal “from all the territories.”
The chief drafter of Resolution 242 was Lord Caradon (Hugh M. Foot), the permanent representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations from 1964-1970. At the time of the Resolution’s discussion and subsequent unanimous passage, and on many occasions since, Lord Caradon always insisted that the phrase “from the territories” quite deliberately did not mean “all the territories,” but merely some of the territories:
Much play has been made of the fact that we didn’t say “the” territories or “all the” territories. But that was deliberate. I myself knew very well the 1967 boundaries and if we had put in the “the” or “all the” that could only have meant that we wished to see the 1967 boundaries perpetuated in the form of a permanent frontier. This I was certainly not prepared to recommend.
On another occasion, to an interviewer from the Journal of Palestine Studies (Spring-Summer 1976), Lord Caradon again insisted on the deliberateness of the wording. He was asked:
The basis for any settlement will be United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, of which you were the architect. Would you say there is a contradiction between the part of the resolution that stresses the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and that which calls for Israeli withdrawal from “occupied territories,” but not from “the occupied territories”?
Nota bene: “from territories occupied” is not the same thing as “from occupied territories” – the first is neutral, the second a loaded description. Lord Caradon answered:
I defend the resolution as it stands. What it states, as you know, is first the general principle of inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war. That means that you can’t justify holding onto territory merely because you conquered it. We could have said: well, you go back to the 1967 line. But I know the 1967 line, and it’s a rotten line. You couldn’t have a worse line for a permanent international boundary. It’s where the troops happened to be on a certain night in 1948. It’s got no relation to the needs of the situation.
Had we said that you must go back to the 1967 line, which would have resulted if we had specified a retreat from all the occupied territories, we would have been wrong.”
Note how Lord Caradon says that “you can’t justify holding onto territory merely because you conquered it,” with that “merely” applying to Jordan, but not to Israel, because of the Mandate’s explicit provisions allocating the territory known now as the “West Bank” to the Jewish state. Note, too, the firmness of his dismissal of the 1967 lines as nothing more than “where the troops happened to be on a certain night in 1948,” that is, nothing more than armistice lines and not internationally recognized borders. In fact, Israel had offered the Arabs back in 1949 to make those armistice lines into permanent borders, but the Arabs all refused. They were sure that in another round of hostilities they would be
The key words of U.N. Resolution 242, according to Lord Caradon, were those which spoke of Israel’s need for “secure and recognized boundaries.” Caradon said that “secure” meant the borders (boundaries) had to be defensible. Israel alone can decide what borders are defensible, given the perceived threat, including the amount and kind of weaponry possessed by likely enemies, the effect of topographical features on the ability to defend territory, and the necessity of strategic depth. In the pre-1967 lines, which were merely the Armistice Lines of 1949, Israel was only eight miles wide from Qalqilya to the sea, and the country could be cut in two with ease by an invading army from the east.
President Johnson asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1967 to send a delegation of military experts to Israel to report on what territories Israel needed to retain if it was to have “secure and recognized boundaries.” They reported back that, in addition to other territories, in the West Bank Israel would have to retain, at a minimum, all of the Jordan Valley. Israel’s control of the Jordan Valley (and the Judean hills) would help slow down an attack from the East, giving Israel time to call up its civilian reservists, who supplement the regular army.
If Israel were to be pushed back within the pre-1967 armistice lines, with an 8-mile wide waist from Qalqilya in the West Bank to the sea, and lose control of the Jordan Valley and the Judean Hills that provide a minimum of strategic depth, this sliver of a country would have great difficulty defending itself, and would have to remain in a permanent state of high alert, of a degree and kind that no other country has ever been asked to endure.
No wonder that Secretary Pompeo has reiterated – he can’t do it often enough – that Israel will make its own decisions as to what in the West Bank it must retain. It has both the moral and historic justification, recognized in the Mandate for Palestine, and the military justification, based on the territorial adjustments needed for secure borders, as recognized by U.N. Resolution 242, to make that decision alone.
Pompeo also said he was “happy” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and centrist rival Benny Gantz signed a deal on Monday to form a national emergency government, saying he did not think a fourth Israeli election was in Israel’s interest.
The coalition agreement says that while the new government will strive for peace and regional stability, plans to extend Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank – land the Palestinians seek for a state – could advance.
The move would mean a de-facto annexation of territory that Israel seized in a 1967 war and that is presently under Israeli military control.
This sentence, from the report by Reuters, needs to be both modified and expanded. To wit: “The move would mean the annexation of territory that was included in Mandatory Palestine, but was seized by Jordan in 1949, and only re-captured from Jordan, the military occupier of the West Bank, in the 1967 Six-Day War. In the more than half-a-century since, it has remained under Israeli control.”
Secretary of State Pompeo has forcefully reiterated the Administration’s position — that it recognizes that Israel has a perfect right to make its own decision as to the annexation of territory in the West Bank. One more time (it can’t be quoted often enough): “As for the annexation of the West Bank, the Israelis will ultimately make those decisions. That’s an Israeli decision. And we will work closely with them to share with them our views of this in (a) private setting.”
Note that he said “annexation of the West Bank,” and not “annexation of part of the West Bank.” He’s clearly signaled a willingness to accept an Israeli decision to hold onto all of it.
The only thing one wishes Secretary of Pompeo would add, when next the topic of annexation is brought up, perhaps by a hostile reporter at a press conference, is reference to the the Mandate for Palestine, and the territories included in it, and to U.N. Resolution 242, which gave Israel the right to determine for itself what territories it needed to retain in order to have “secure and recognizable boundaries.” The media, and the American public, badly need this history lesson. Secretary Pompeo is just the man to give it.
Tommy Robinson banned from Tik tok at instigation of Muslim MP.
Tommy Robinson set up a Tik Tok account at the end of March. “Banned from all western social media, let’s give the Chinese a go" Tommy roughly gained 22,000 followers on TikTok, he had over one million views in the first week alone. His online following was growing in number every single day.
The MP is Afzal Khan, member for Gorton in Manchester (remember Tommy's hustings on the white estates of Manchester violently attacked by Islamic groups brought in from elsewhere in the north during the European elections last year?) and is Labour's shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons.
He told Al Jazeera it was worrying that far-right figures have been able to sign up to TikTok "when they have been banned on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook".
However Scram News the left-wing agit prop and anti democracy website are claiming most of the credit.
Tell Mama is highly delighted. Well, they would be, wouldn't they?
Tommy Robinson used his account to post videos falsely claiming Muslims were breaking coronavirus lockdown rules.
Before TikTok intervened, hateful videos posted by these accounts had accumulated over 840,000 views, despite TikTok having a hate speech policy clearly banning these types of videos.
But after pressure from Scram News – including Scram community members reporting the accounts in question, and tweeting and emailing TikTok – last week the company announced the accounts were under a “live investigation” and now the accounts have been permanently banned.
After Scram News broke the story, it was picked up by Al Jazeera and prompted complaints from Labour MP Afzal Khan and Harun Khan, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain.
This community pressure has proved to be successful.
In their statement, TikTok added:
“We’re continuously enhancing our efforts to ensure that individuals and organisations seeking to promote any form of hateful ideology cannot establish a sustainable presence on TikTok.”
I like this comment from a writer at Blitz - it's her opinion, and I think she has a point.
Azfal Khan, upon learning of Tommy Robinson’s meteoric rise in popularity on Chinese social media platform TikTok, wasted no time in petitioning the UK government to use their influence with the Chinese government to get Tommy Robinson banned from TikTok. . .
Yes, dear readers, the Chinese government. That is the government to which Allah has sent the coronavirus, his “little soldiers,” to punish those infidels for treating Muslims so badly in Xinjiang, as so many Muslims who know about such things assured us. So bad is the Chinese government towards Muslims that Allah had to take time out from his busy schedule to mobilise an army against them. That atheist, pig-eating, Muslim-slaying government is what Muslim brother Azfal Khan appealed to deal with the counter-jihad upstart Tommy Robinson.
I believe that Tommy is now trying a platform hosted in Russia. I know nothing else about it yet.
It is said that the first crime novel to sell half a million copies in the English-speaking world was The Mystery of a Hansom Cab by Fergus Hume. It outsold by far the first efforts in the genre by Conan Doyle who, however (or is it therefore?), had but little regard for it.
Its story is set in Melbourne, where it was first published in 1886. There it did quite well, and Hume then sold the rights to an Anglo-American publisher for £50. This was a commercial mistake on his part, for it went on to sell prodigiously on both sides of the Atlantic. Hume was not the first author, nor probably the last, to have made a fortune—for others. He wrote dozens of novels afterwards, but none with anything like the same success.
The Mystery of a Hansom Cab is interesting for what it tells us about early Australia, or at any rate early Melbourne. It is informative precisely because it is trying to entertain rather than to inform: for very few people try to inform without distortion, or without having an axe to grind, a point to make. We seldom give ourselves away more completely than when we are trying not to do so.
The Melbourne of the book was only half a century old. What struck me most about Hume’s depiction of it was how solidly founded it already seemed to be. Its institutions were strong. The law, for example, was as firmly established as in the then mother, now stepmother, country. The story could have been set in England, except for a landscape or two.
Many of the characters could have come out of Dickens, whom it seems to me likely, indeed, that Hume was consciously imitating. They had mostly been born in England, as had Hume himself, though in his case he had spent only the early years of his childhood in the old country. His knowledge of England was largely indirect.
The Melbourne he describes was certainly not classless. Indeed, the intrigue depends upon it not having been so, for it involves the scandal of an unacknowledged marital union between a man of the upper, and a woman of the lower, class, followed by a bigamous union on the part of the upper-class man. Each union results in a daughter, the legitimate offspring being abandoned to poverty, while the illegitimate was brought up in luxury as a lady. At the end of the story, in the course of which a murder is committed, the latter has to be protected from the terrible knowledge that she is illegitimate, which if it had become general, would have turned her into a social pariah.
Perhaps nothing divides us more profoundly from the Victorians than our attitude towards the illegitimate child (even the word illegitimate has almost disappeared from use in this context, as being unfairly stigmatising). That the sins of the parents should be visited upon children, by regarding those children themselves as tainted, seems morally monstrous to us, self-evidently cruel and unjust. We cannot even imagine—and I include myself—how anyone could be so morally primitive as to disdain a child merely because its parents were unmarried: and this is so however much we may believe in the virtues of marriage as an institution. The idea of fallen women also seems to us now to be horribly censorious, and hypocritical into the bargain: for no one ever spoke of fallen men, though they were essential to, the sine qua non of, the existence of fallen women.
I am still shocked by the recollection that, as late as the early 1990s, there were still a few women in psychiatric hospitals in Britain who were there principally because they had been admitted seventy years earlier after having given birth to an illegitimate child. No doubt they had quickly become institutionalised and could scarcely have coped with life outside; but to think of a long human life passed in this impoverished way (the wards for “chronics” had beds so close together that they allowed for no privacy whatever) as a kind of punishment for what is now no longer regarded even as an indiscretion, reminds one of La Rochefoucauld’s dictum that neither the sun nor death can be stared at for long. One cannot fix one’s mind on such a horrible injustice for long.
Of course, it was stigma like this that gave stigma itself a bad name—stigmatised so to speak, in fact, to such a degree or effect that the very name of stigma has a completely negative valency. No one has a good word to say for it, though whether there ever was, or could be, a society completely without it, I am unsure.
Anthropologists used to divide societies into shame and guilt categories. The former depended on people’s public face to keep them in order, the latter on people’s internal sense of right and wrong. No doubt no pure forms of either exist in reality, though in my darker moments I sometimes wonder whether we have succeeded in creating a new type of society, one in which neither shame nor guilt are very much in evidence.
But in fact there is almost a law of conservation of stigma that operates in human societies, such that if it does not attach to one thing, it will attach to another. No doubt there is more stigma in shame societies than in guilt societies, but even in the latter everyone, except perhaps the most psychopathic of psychopaths, is afraid of being shown up in some respect or another.
Stigma begins early in life and children are much guided or influenced in their conduct by the fear of it. A teacher told me the following story. A child of about seven or eight came crying to her one day because another child had called him names.
“What did he say?” she asked.
“He called me a virgin.”
“What is a virgin?” asked the teacher,
“I don’t know,” said the boy. “But I know it’s something horrible.”
Stigma is a kind of shorthand to indicate what we detest. Anyone who pretends that he never stigmatises is probably lying, or perhaps I should say not telling the truth, since not every untruth that emerges from the human mouth is a lie. There are people who can contradict themselves without disbelieving in the law of non-contradiction, and therefore people who can genuinely despise people who pass moral judgment on others.
What would living completely without stigma and stigmatisation mean? Surely that there was nothing that we or anyone else could do to make people think badly of us. One of the reasons—I don’t say the only one—that I don’t steal is that I don’t want to be stigmatised as a thief. One sin doesn’t define a person’s character, however, so that when we stigmatise we must be careful to be just and proportionate. If we called everyone a liar who had told a lie, then we should all be liars (quite apart from the fact that it is sometimes virtuous to tell a lie). We call a liar someone who habitually lies, so that untruthfulness is a central part of his character.
Stigma is one of those many things that is neither good nor bad in itself, and depends for its social beneficence or maleficence on what it attaches to and how strongly. In the company of rogues or scoundrels, one can be stigmatised for honesty. Many a cruel act has been performed to avoid the stigma of being too cowardly to be cruel.
Fergus Hume wants his readers to rejoice that his heroine escapes the stigma of illegitimacy, without suggesting that any stigma attached to somebody for illegitimate birth alone is wrong in itself. Like many a Victorian fictional heroine, Madge Frettleby (for such is her name) suffers at a crisis from something called brain fever that very nearly kills her.
I happened to read a book by Conan Doyle called Round the Red Lamp: Being Facts and Fancies of Medical Life, published in 1894, immediately after I finished reading The Mystery of a Hansom Cab. In a story called “A Medical Document”, Conan Doyle writes the following: “there is the mysterious malady called brain fever, which always attacks the heroine after a crisis, but which is unknown under that name to the textbooks”.
Too strong an interest in coincidence is the sign of a weak mind, and therefore I make nothing of this coincidence. I don’t want to be stigmatised as superstitious.
I have not that alacrity of spirit nor cheer of mind that I was wont to have.
Anyone watching a Hollywood film involving a criminal act will be familiar with the judge’s admonition to the jury that to find the accused person guilty they must use a standard of proof that is “beyond all reasonable doubt.” This phrase, used in British courts of law for over 200 years in criminal cases, indicates that the highest standard of proof is necessary to find the accused person guilty and to reduce the possibility of convicting an innocent individual. The formula of making the decision depend on “clear and convincing evidence” is a less rigorous standard.
Yet recent British court cases have led to a change. The British Judicial College that oversees training of judges has suggested the phrase “reasonable doubt” should be dropped because many jurors do not understand it. Many assume it means very likely. Also, it is difficult to define. Lord Justice Moses in the Court of Appeal has said that any question from the jury dealing with the standard of proof is one that most judges dread. Some suggestion is that reasonable doubt be replaced by the jury being “satisfied they are sure” the defendant is guilty. If an advocate refers to “beyond reasonable doubt,” the jury should be told this means the same thing as being sure. Yet judges are advised not to define “sure,” even if jurors have an inkling of doubt.
The issue of reasonable doubt is pertinent to analysis of and responsibility for the current pandemic Covid-19 as well as to decisions concerning some notorious incidents of recent history. Scientists and medical personnel are less than absolutely sure about their models of numbers infected and projected deaths, and methods of treatment. However, there is little question that China can be criticized for lack of transparency and delay in informing the world of the arrival of the virus, its intentional misrepresentations, suppression of information, and false assurances that there was no human to human transmission of the virus. Yet some still argue there is reasonable doubt about the responsibility of China in allowing the virus to spread across the world.
The concept of reasonable doubt has been applied--though not all will agree--for political and racial reasons, to the life and behavior of two well-known personalities of 20th century U.S. history, O.J. Simpson and Marilyn Monroe.
O.J. Simpson, the nationally renowned running back football star, All American, winner of Heisman Trophy, then film and TV actor, was the main suspect and was accused of murdering, stabbing to death, his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman at her condominium in Brentwood. The lengthy criminal trial in Los Angeles began on November 9, 1994, and, because of the celebrities involved, racial issues, and daily presentation on TV, was termed the trial of the century. After only four hours deliberation by the jury, Simpson was found not guilty on October 2, 1995.
The case was a major sensational story, in which extraneous factors like the evidence, really comic turn, of actor Kato Kaelin occupied pubic attention, as well as the rivalries and histrionics of the lawyers for the defense. Most of the white population, had assumed Simpson’s guilt, while most of the black population maintained at first he was innocent though views changed. The defense was successful in instilling “reasonable doubt” in the jury with allegations of mismanaged crime scenes, faulty evidence, bloody glove that did not fit, blood samples that had been mishandled by technicians, use of disreputable authorities, conspiracy theories based on racial themes, members of the LA Police Department were racist, especially LA Detective Mark Fuhrman.
A short time later, Simpson was sued in civil court by families of the victims. The result in 1997 was that he was found responsible for the two murders, and the families were awarded the sum of $33 million in damages.
Nicole Simpson had lived in and been murdered in a condominium in Brentwood, LA. By coincidence, Marilyn Monroe, voluptuous blonde bombshell and American icon, also lived and died in the same area of Brentwood. Monroe’s life, gifted movie star and tragic figure, has been recorded in many books, articles, and films. The question of reasonable doubt about her death has been inadvertently raised by the publication in April 28, 2020 of another book Norma Jean: the Life of Marilyn Monroe by Fred Lawrence Guiles. The life, career, and image of Monroe Is a fixture in the American drama. That life was full, with three husbands: the first married when she was 16 and he was a worker in an aircraft factory, and then two important figures, Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, and without putting too fine a point on it, her innumerable love affairs, and her triumphs and failures in her short life.
But the end of her life, sad and depressed, is still a matter of conjecture if not exactly a mystery. On August 4, 1962 she was found dead, presumably of a barbiturate overdose, in her home in Brentwood where she was nude in her bed and empty bottles of pills were scattered in her locked room. Her death was ruled by the LA police and then by the LA County Coroner’s office as caused by a self-administered overdose of sedative drugs and that the mode of death was probable suicide. There was no evidence of foul play.
Two factors link Monroe and another tragic figure Judy Garland. At Monroe’s funeral a recording was played of Judy Garland singing the song she made famous, and which made her an icon, Over the Rainbow. It was also a poignant coincidence that Judy, a person as troubled by substance abuse and personal struggles as was Monroe, should have died in London on June 22, 1969, aged 47, of what was said by the London Coroner to be an “incautious self-overdose” of barbiturates.
Is there any reasonable doubt of the cause of Monroe’s death? It is generally agreed she was difficult, especially as she got older, to work with in her films, and often forgot or muffed her lines. Yet she remains something of a mystery, with less agreement on her character and her identity, including sexual identity, on whether she was a true sex goddess and symbol or really a mocker of her sexuality and manipulation as a dumb blonde. Was she created, as Laurence Olivier remarked, by ballyhoo and sensation, or was she a talented comedian?
There have long been suspicions of her end and allegations of foul play. Allegations have been made of union leader Jimmy Hoffa and Chicago Mafia boss Sam Giancana. The new book by Guiles add to these conjectures, and its main interest will be the speculation about her connection to Jack and Robert Kennedy, both of whom were said to have had an affair with Monroe. JFK had been introduced to Marilyn, probably by Peter Lawford, brother in law of the Kennedys, in 1954, but there was no close relations between them at first. When Jack ended the affair, Monroe became involved with Robert F. Kennedy. Perhaps the most revealing indication of a close relationship was Monroe’s appearance in a flesh colored sheer dress, which later sold for $4.8 million, in which she sang, breathlessly, Happy Birthday in Madison Square Gardens on May 19, 1962, JFK’s 45th birthday.
On July 20, 1962 Monroe, who had been profoundly depressed and was seeing a psychiatrist, Dr Ralph Greenson on a daily basis, secretly entered Cedars of Lebanon hospital in LA, perhaps concerning an abortion, for which one of the Kennedy brothers was rumored to be responsible. Reportedly, Monroe was depressed because RFK, the US Attorney General, would not leave his wife Ethel to marry her. Another conspiracy theory is that he had planned to kill Monroe to prevent knowledge of the affairs with the Kennedy brothers from becoming public. Joe Di Maggio, second husband of Monroe, added to the confusion by insisting that RFK had planned her death. Some conspiracy theorists back their argument by the fact that Monroe’s publicist Pat Newcomb who knew her well and was one of the few people to see MM on the day of her death. was given a job after Monroe’s death in the Kennedy Hyannis Port compound and then in the U.S. Information Agency.
One can conclude that reasonable doubt is appropriate on the issue of MM’s sad death, but less so in the case of O.J.
Secretary of State Pompeo: West Bank Annexation is Israel’s Decision (Part 1)
by Hugh Fitzgerald
It is a great relief to realize that Israel no longer has to endure being bullied on matters of life and death by its American ally, as has happened in the past, especially during the administrations of distinctly unfriendly presidents, including Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama. At last we have an administration that recognizes Israel’s need for strategic depth in the West Bank, and also understands that Israel has the historic, legal, and moral right, should it wish, to annex the entire West Bank.
Here, as reported by Reuters, is Secretary Pompeo’s most recent restatement of this recognition:
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday it was up to Israel whether to annex parts of the West Bank and said that Washington would offer its views privately to Israel’s new government, drawing a warning from Palestinians who vowed not to “stand handcuffed” if Israel formally took their land.
“As for the annexation of the West Bank, the Israelis will ultimately make those decisions,” Pompeo told reporters. “That’s an Israeli decision. And we will work closely with them to share with them our views of this in (a) private setting.”
Secretary Pompeo knows that there are two independent bases for Israel’s claim to Judea and Samaria (which the Jordanians renamed the “West Bank” in order to efface, toponymically, the Jewish connection to the land). The first is the Mandate for Palestine itself. That Mandate was created by the League of Nations for the sole purpose of establishing the Jewish National Home. A review of the system of mandates should prove useful, given how many now overlook the Mandate for Palestine’s intent. When the League of Nations established the Mandates system, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, several mandates were created exclusively for the Arabs. France held the Mandate for Syria and Lebanon, Great Britain held the Mandate for Iraq. Those European powers were responsible for guiding the local populations to achieve independence. In the end, as we all know, the Arabs have managed to acquire 22 separate states, far more than any other people, states where they treat non-Arab Muslims – Kurds, Berbers, black Africans – with contumely or worse. And in many of those Arab states, non-Muslims are often humiliated, persecuted, and sometimes killed.
The territory reserved for the Mandate for Palestine originally extended from the Golan in the north to the Gulf of Aqaba in the south, and from an area east of the Jordan River “out into the desert” to the Mediterranean. The British then unilaterally decided that all the territory east of the Jordan — 78% of the original territory of the Mandate – would be closed to Jewish immigration, so that it would become part of the newly-created Emirate of Transjordan (later the Kingdom of Jordan). What was left in the Palestine Mandate for the Jews was 22% of the territory that was originally to have been included. This was the sliver of land that went from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, and from the Golan to the Gulf of Aqaba. That Mandatory territory, that was to have formed part of the future Jewish state, included all of what became known as the West Bank.
What did the Mandate itself say about its purpose? Look at the Preamble to the Mandate:
Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
The declaration of November 2, 1917, which is referred to in the preamble, is the Balfour Declaration, which declared British support for the establishment of the Jewish National Home.
Note the phrase, too, about how “nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.” The drafters quite deliberately left out any mention of “political rights” because, of course, a Jewish National Home, leading to the establishment of a Jewish state, would necessarily impinge on the political rights of local Arabs.
Article 4 of the Mandate makes clear that it is to lead to the creation of a single Jewish National Home, and not to the creation of two states, Jewish and Arab, in the territory west of the Jordan that was ultimately assigned to the Mandate:
An appropriate Jewish agency shall be recognised as a public body for the purpose of advising and co-operating with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish national home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine, and, subject always to the control of the Administration to assist and take part in the development of the country.
The Zionist organization, so long as its organization and constitution are in the opinion of the Mandatory appropriate, shall be recognised as such agency. It shall take steps in consultation with His Britannic Majesty’s Government to secure the co-operation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish national home.
Article 6 of the Mandate calls on the mandatory authority to “facilitate Jewish immigration” and “encourage…close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands”:
The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.
So to repeat yet again – and it deserves this constant repetition — the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) was always supposed to constitute part of the Jewish National Home. Thus it was intended by the Mandates Commission, headed by the Swiss law professor William Rappard, who was greatly distressed when the British unilaterally ended Jewish immigration east of the Jordan. Had the Jews managed to hold onto the West Bank in the 1948-49 war, it would have become, as the Mandate always intended it to be, part of Israel, every bit as much as Tel Aviv or Haifa or Ashdod. When the Jordanian army seized and held territory west of the Jordan in the 1948-49 war, Jordan emulated the Romans, who had renamed “Judea” as “Syria Palaestina” or “Palestine” to efface the Jewish connection to the land. The Jordanians renamed the parts of Judea and Samaria it now controlled as “the West Bank.”
Jordan was the illegal “occupier” of the West Bank from 1948 to 1967; its only claim was that of military possession. The juridical situation was quite different for Israel, its claim was based on the Mandate for Palestine itself. But, someone might object, hadn’t the Mandates system expired when the League of Nations, which had created the system of mandates, ceased to operate in 1946 and was soon replaced by the United Nations?
No, because by its own charter, the United Nations recognized the continued relevance of the Mandates system. The UN Charter, and specifically Article 80 of that Charter, implicitly recognize the “Mandate for Palestine” of the League of Nations. This Mandate granted Jews the irrevocable right to settle in the area of Palestine, anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
Professor Eugene Rostow, then the Dean of Yale Law School, explained the significance of Article 80:
This right [of settlement by the Jews] is protected by Article 80 of the United Nations Charter. The Mandates of the League of Nations have a special status in international law, considered to be trusts, indeed ‘sacred trusts.’
Under international law, neither Jordan nor the Palestinian Arab ‘people’ of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have a substantial claim to the sovereign possession of the occupied territories.
To sum up: the Jewish claim to the “West Bank” is based clearly on the Palestine Mandate of the League of Nations, which gave Jews the right to settle anywhere between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. That right was not extinguished when the League of Nations came to an end. Article 80 of the U.N. Charter recognized the continuing relevance of the Mandate’s provisions. The West Bank always formed part of the territory assigned to the Jewish National Home, where the British were to “facilitate Jewish immigration” and to “encourage close settlement by Jews on the land.” Jordan was an “illegal occupier” of the West Bank from 1948 to 1967. In 1967, through its military victory, Israel at last became able to enforce the claim it had never relinquished. Even though the British had closed off the territory immediately to the east of the Jordan to Jewish settlement, effectively taking it out of the Mandate, the territory from the Jordan River westward to the Mediterranean (and from the Golan in the north to the Gulf of Aqaba in the south) remained, without further alteration, as the territory which was assigned to become the Jewish National Home. That is why Pompeo knows that it is up to Israel alone to decide how much of the West Bank it will annex.
The investigation found that Nurhussein and Mohammed communicated with one another and a third individual – believed to be based in Iraq – to send money to support Daesh fighters in Iraq and Syria. Detectives found that they sent the money via contacts in Denmark on three separate occasions in April, June and July 2019.
Nurhussein and Mohammed were sentenced as follows – all to run concurrently:
For section 58 TACT, 2000 he (Nurhussein) was sentenced to a total of nine years’ and six months’ imprisonment (with an extended licence period of three years’ and six months’)
For section 2 TACT 2006 he was sentenced to four years’ and six months’ imprisonment
For section 17 he was sentenced to seven years’ and three months’ imprisonment
Mohammed was given a determinate sentence of five years’ and three months’ imprisonment taking into account his early plea.
Nurhussein and Mohammed appeared together via video-link from HMP Wandsworth on (fri) and giggled throughout the hearing, guffawing loudly as they were described as ‘deeply radical.’ The court heard Mohammed was a refugee who had entered the UK through Calais. He grew up in wartorn Eritrea where his home was burnt down with him inside after his father expressed political dissent, the court heard.
Police Minister Bheki Cele has performed an about u-turn on his apology to the Muslim community for his South African Police Service (SAPS) member’s alleged blasphemy during the arrest of 24 worshippers over the weekend.
Having initially issued an apology for the callous use of the word “Mohammed” by several officers during the raid on Saturday 25 April, he has now said that his apology was misrepresented, and that he intended to reiterate his position that no one is above the law.
“The Minister has noted with concern the misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the statement issued in relation to the religious gathering, and has subsequently emphasised that no one is above the law and that the Muslim community is not receiving preferential treatment as opposed to other religions,” said acting national police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters.
Worshippers gathered at a mosque in Masibekela in the Mbuzini area in Mpumalanga, breaking lockdown regulations in the process. Police stormed the place of worship and booked 24 of the people who had gathered for prayer.
It was then noted that in a video of the raid, shared widely across social media, that officers could be heard using a religious term in a derogatory manner. The alleged discrimination has angered the Muslim community,
He (Cele) said that their actions must be condemned at all costs, as they had flagrantly broken the lockdown rules. The statement continued to underpin the seriousness of the crime committed by the worshippers, saying that they will never apologise for imposing the rule of law.
“If they, or any other religious group, host another gathering, police will arrest them again but without being blasphemous in executing their duties. This cuts across all gatherings be they religious, cultural or otherwise.”
Minister Bheki Cele warned on Sunday that police had “no choice but to enforce the law” if the lockdown regulations were flouted for religious gatherings. He was speaking after the arrest of congregants during Muslim prayer gatherings.
Since the start of the long weekend, police have arrested 41 congregants at two separate religious gatherings in Pretoria and Mpumalanga, national police spokesperson Brig Vishnu Naidoo said on Sunday. One of the incidents, in Mpumalanga on Saturday, was captured on video and has since gone viral on social media.
The clip showed police walking into what appeared to be a mosque at Masibekela in the Mbuzini policing jurisdiction of Mpumalanga where shoes had been left outside.
“What’s going on here,” one officer asked?” All of you down,” another officer ordered.
“You think your president is crazy, nê,” says one of the police officers.
“You are all under arrest,” the officers shout.
“Are you bigger than the president? Or is Muhammad bigger than the president,” ask officers.
Cele said the incident was preceded by another video that went viral, depicting a man encouraging “all Muslims ... to engage in worship in congregation”.
The Council of Muslim Theologians said in a statement that “apart from the verbal abuse which is demeaning of the name of the Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him], the SAPS officers are also seen entering the prayer room in their heavy boots. . . Such images are distressing to Muslims who consider prayer places as sacred and entered upon only without shoes.”
The council felt the police had been heavy-handed in their approach but accepted their right to enforce the law which did not allow religious gatherings.
Dewsbury man has jail time increased after Huddersfield child sexual exploitation investigation
Quarantine hasn't stopped every process in our Court Service. Good news from the Dewsbury Reporter Photographs from Metro
On April 22 Shaqeel Hussain of Spen Valley Road was jailed for 12 months in a separate criminal case, also investigated as part of the wider Operation Tendersea enquiry.
The 36-year-old pleaded guilty to an indecent assault committed in Huddersfield between 2004 and 2005 on a 16-year-old girl.
In a previous Operation Tendersea trial in February 2020, relating to the sexual abuse of two girls in the Huddersfield area between 1995 and 2011, Hussain was jailed for eight years for the rape of a 14 year old girl. He was told he must serve the 12 months consecutive to the eight year term he is currently serving. Consecutive is good; longer would have been even better.
Manzoor Akhtar (31) from Crosland Moor in Huddersfield was sentenced to four years, six months at Leeds Crown Court on April 22 after being found guilty of raping a young girl between 2005-2006.
Akhtar became the latest man to be convicted as part of West Yorkshire Police’s multi part Operation Tendersea investigation into the sexual abuse of young girls in Huddersfield between 1995 and 2011.
Commenting on the conviction of Manzoor Akhtar, Detective Chief Inspector Richard McNamara of the Kirklees District CID, said: “Akhtar richly deserves the prison sentence he has been given after being found guilty and convicted for the dreadful sexual abuse of this young victim. . .
DCI McNamara said he was also pleased that the force was now able to name Shaqeel Hussain.
He said: “Hussain was convicted for rape in an Operation Tendersea trial in February 2020 but at the time we were not able to release his identity. He has now been sentenced after pleading guilty to an indecent assault on a 16 year old victim, and can be named as reporting restrictions have been lifted. He will face a total of nine years in prison in total for both of these depraved offences in which he showed no regard whatsoever for his victims."