China: Amid COVID-19 outbreak, Iran urges int’l help

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Amid COVID-19 outbreak, Iran urges int’l help, Palestine enters state of emergency

Xinhua

Coronavirus Disease Outbreak
Amid COVID-19 outbreak, Iran urges int'l help, Palestine enters state of emergency

AFP

An Iranian medic treats a patient infected with the COVID-19 virus at a hospital in Tehran on March 1, 2020.

Iran on Friday called for international help for its fight against the raging epidemic caused by COVID-19. Meanwhile, a state of emergency took effect in Palestine where nine new cases of infection were reported.

The international community “has a duty” to help Iran fight the novel coronavirus outbreak, said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, noting that Iran’s efforts would only succeed if the countries in the region and around the world “shoulder their share of responsibilities and cooperate with Tehran.”

“We either win together or lose together,” Zarif was quoted by Press TV as saying.

Zarif issued the call for help as the novel coronavirus has claimed 17 more lives in Iran on Friday, bringing the death toll in the country to 124. A total of 4,747 people were confirmed with the viral infection by Friday, 1,234 more than a day ago.

The World Health Organization said on Friday that it does not endorse international flight restrictions on Iran amid the outbreak of COVID-19.

Richard Brennan, regional emergency director for WHO, was quoted by Iran’s official IRNA news agency as saying that although WHO recommends all countries to adopt restrictions in emergency situations, “it currently does not agree with such (flight) restrictions to be imposed on Iran.”

He made the remarks on Thursday on the sidelines of a meeting on the epidemic in Iran, which was attended by foreign diplomats and Iranian officials.

Brennan stressed that the WHO makes no recommendations about imposing restrictions on flights to and from Iran, adding that the decision by the airliners in this regard should be evaluated and endorsed by the WHO.

In Lebanon, the Rafic Hariri Hospital announced that six more people were tested positive for COVID-19 infection, bringing to 22 the total number of confirmed cases in the country.

Meanwhile, the ministerial committee appointed by the Lebanese Council of Ministers for the fight against coronavirus issued emergency measures to stop the virus’ spread.

The committee urged public and private schools to be kept closed, in addition to the closure of night clubs, sports clubs, exhibitions and theaters. It urged people to avoid crowded places and gatherings, and religious authorities to reduce the number of people visiting mosques and churches.

In Israel, the Ministry of Health announced on Friday that four more Israelis were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, as the total number of confirmed cases rose to 21.

The ministry said that all the four patients recently returned home from overseas, two from Madrid of Spain, one from Switzerland, and one from Austria.

Also on Friday, Egypt’s Health Ministry and WHO announced in a joint statement that 12 Egyptians were tested positive for COVID-19.

The 12 Egyptians were infected on a Nile cruise from Aswan to Luxor, said the statement on the ministry’s Facebook page.

The cases have been taken to hospital and are currently receiving necessary medical care, the statement added.

In Palestine, a 30-day state of emergency against the COVID-19 spread took effect on Friday, as nine new cases of infection were reported, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 16, only one day after the first seven cases were detected.

Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Keileh said that all the new cases were also detected in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, where the first seven cases were announced on Thursday.

The first seven cases were the workers in a hotel in Bethlehem, who were believed to be infected during contacts with one of the Greek tourists who stayed in the hotel later last month.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday declared a state of emergency imposed in the West Bank for 30 days as part of the precautionary measures to contain the virus’ spread.

The Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities banned the entry of tourists into the West Bank where all hotels were required to stop receiving tourists for two weeks.

For Palestine, tourism is the main artery of its economy. The holy cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem are estimated to attract about 3.5 million tourists and pilgrims from across the world each year.

Many are worried that the anti-coronavirus measures, including a ban on tourists, will cost the Palestinian tourism sector dearly and deal a huge blow to the struggling economy.

“If the crisis goes on for too long, the economic consequences in the city and entire Palestine will be disastrous,” said Elias el-Arja, director of the Hotels Association in the Palestinian Territories and owner of one of the hotels in Bethlehem.

Adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei Dies of Coronavirus

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME MAGAZINE)

 

A woman wears a medical mask as a precaution against coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 01, 2020 in Tehran, Iran.

A woman wears a medical mask as a precaution against coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 01, 2020 in Tehran, Iran.
Fatemeh Bahrami–Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
MARCH 2, 2020 4:02 AM EST

(TEHRAN, Iran) — A member of a council that advises Iran’s supreme leader died Monday after falling sick from the new coronavirus, state radio reported, becoming the first top official to succumb to the illness that is affecting members of the Islamic Republic’s leadership.

Expediency Council member Mohammad Mirmohammadi died at a Tehran hospital of the virus, state radio said. He was 71.

The council advises Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as settles disputes between the supreme leader and parliament.

His death comes as other top officials have contracted the virus in Iran, which has the highest death toll in the world after China, the epicenter of the outbreak.

Those sick included include Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar, better known as “Sister Mary,” the English-speaking spokeswoman for the students who seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and sparked the 444-day hostage crisis, state media reported. Also sick is Iraj Harirchi, the head of an Iranian government task force on the coronavirus who tried to downplay the virus before falling ill.

Iran has reported 978 confirmed cases of the new virus with 54 deaths from the illness it causes, called COVID-19. Across the wider Mideast, there are over 1,150 cases of the new coronavirus, the majority of which are linked back to Iran.

Experts worry Iran’s percentage of deaths to infections, around 5.5%, is much higher than other countries, suggesting the number of infections in Iran may be much higher than current figures show.

Trying to stem the outbreak of the new coronavirus, Iran on Monday held an online-only briefing by its Foreign Ministry.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi opened the online news conference addressing the outbreak, dismissing an offer of help for Iran by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Iran and the U.S. have seen some of the worst tensions since its 1979 Islamic Revolution in recent months, culminating in the American drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad and a subsequent Iranian ballistic missile counterattack against U.S. forces.

“We neither count on such help nor are we ready to accept verbal help,” Mousavi said. He added Iran has always been “suspicious” about America’s intentions and accused the U.S. government of trying to weaken Iranians’ spirits over the outbreak.

The British Embassy meanwhile has begun evacuations over the virus.

“Essential staff needed to continue critical work will remain,” the British Foreign Office said. “In the event that the situation deteriorates further, the ability of the British Embassy to provide assistance to British nationals from within Iran may be limited.”

While Iran has closed schools and universities to stop the spread of the virus, major Shiite shrines have remained open despite civilian authorities calling for them to be closed. The holy cities of Mashhad and Qom in particular, both home to shrines, have been hard-hit by the virus. Shiites often touch and kiss shrines as a sign of their faith. Authorities have been cleaning the shrines with disinfectants.

Police have arrested one man who posted a video showing himself licking the metal enclosing the Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad, the most-important Shiite saint buried in the country, according to reports by semiofficial news agencies. In the video, the man said he licked the metal to “allow others to visit the shrine with peace of mind.”

Meanwhile Monday, the virus outbreak saw itself dragged into the yearslong boycott of Qatar by four Arab nations over a political dispute.

A prominent columnist at Dubai’s government-owned Al-Bayan newspaper on Twitter falsely described the virus as being a plot by Qatar to hurt the upcoming Expo 2020 world’s fair in Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Noura al-Moteari later described the tweet as “satire” to The Associated Press after it gained widespread attention.

The Dubai Media Office similarly described the tweet as being written in a “cynical style” while distancing the Arabic-language daily from al-Moteari.

“Noura is a freelance writer and is not an employee of Al-Bayan nor does she represent the publication’s views,” it told the AP. “That being said, this has no relevance to any social media policy being practiced by the publication nor the state.”

The tweet comes after Qatar expressed disappointment Sunday that nearly all of its Gulf neighbors snubbed invitations to attend the weekend peace signing ceremony between the U.S. and the Taliban.

___

Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

CONTACT US AT [email protected].

 

 

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Sharp rise in brain injuries from Iran raid on US base

(TRUMP DENIED ANY INJURIES TO US TROOPS, THEN ADMITTED THAT 17 HAD MINOR HEADACHES. NOW THE NEWEST INFORMATION WE ARE BEING GIVEN IS 109 U.S TROOPS WITH TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES. THIS HABITUAL LYING COWARD OF A PRESIDENT CARES NOTHING ABOUT ANYONE ON EARTH BUT HIMSELF AND THAT DOES INCLUDE OUR TROOPS.)
Iran attacked a US base in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Iran General Qasem SuleimaniImage copyright GETTY IMAGES
Image caption Iran attacked a US base in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Iran General Qasem Suleimani

The number of US troops suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) after an Iranian attack on a US base in Iraq in January has risen to 109, according to US officials.

The figure is a significant increase from the 64 injured service members previously reported by the Pentagon.

President Donald Trump initially said no Americans were injured in the raid.

The attack on 8 January came amid tensions over the US killing of an Iranian general.

Nearly 70% of the injured service members have returned to their duties, the Pentagon added in its statement.

The rising number of reported cases results from the mild form of injury which means symptoms take time to manifest, the Pentagon said in a press conference in January.

US Republican lawmaker Joni Ernst called for more answers on Monday.

Media caption Inside the US base attacked by Iranian missiles

“It’s vital we have a plan to treat these injured service members.

“I’ve called on the Pentagon to ensure the safety and care of our deployed forces who may be exposed to blast injuries in Iraq,” he tweeted.

Last month President Trump downplayed the significance of traumatic brain injuries when asked about the impact of the attack.

“I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, it’s not very serious,” he said.

When asked about possible TBIs he said: “I don’t consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries I have seen.”

Satellite images showing damage and destroyed structures at Al Asad base, Iraq
Presentational white space

What are traumatic brain injuries?

TBIs are common in warzones, according to the US military.

The most common cause of a TBI for deployed soldiers is an explosive blast, writes the US Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center.

They are classified as mild, moderate, severe or penetrating. A mild TBI is also known as a concussion, and can be caused by a blast’s “atmospheric over-pressure followed by under-pressure or vacuum”.

The air vacuum is capable of penetrating solid objects, making it possible for soldiers to avoid blunt force trauma but still receive an invisible brain injury.

More than 400,000 troops have been diagnosed with TBI’s since 2000, according to the US government.

(Philosophy Poem) Lies, Spies And Cover Thy Ass Again

(Philosophy Poem) Lies, Spies And Cover Thy Ass Again

 

Our great Nations and Corporations to them we cower

They now have annualized every single thing about us

They know us, o yes, they do know us all so very well

But our own Government wouldn’t sell out all our people

Yet is it the truth when they speak to us, or just more lies

 

Our very own government, is it filled with half truth tellers

They had shot down a passenger jet, would our own government

Would our own government be as honest about this ‘mistake’

I pray that they would stand-up with the truth in their hands

Let us all know of their horrible mistake, be open about it

 

Rage is something easy to carry on and on from generations

Yet this one thing I do salute Iran’s government on honesty

There I said it, now Hell has frozen over in Iran and D.C.

Advantageous to tell the truth, better than a myth or a lie

No wonder most trust no-one to ever just tell them the truth

 

Life for a few is always a life about covering their own behinds first

Yet is everything we see or hear first filtered before it even gets to us

Would we know it if Good or Evil walked right past us this very day

Have we sold ourselves to the Madness of un-guaranteed tomorrows

Send Hate back in time, pray that we let God’s love and respect guide us

Did God Shoot Down The Ukrainian Passenger Jet In Iraq?

Did God Shoot Down The Ukrainian Passenger Jet In Iraq?

 

Do you think that God ‘directed’ an Iranian missile into the Ukrainian passenger jet at the Baghdad Iraqi airport a couple of days ago? Even though I was hoping that the missiles the Iranian leadership had fired at military bases in Iraq would be the end of the tit for tat with the U.S. (President Trump) over his killing of their mass murdering General it appears that this was only wishful thinking. I read in this mornings news feeds that Iran fired 8 more missiles at another Iraqi Air Base where some American soldiers are based at. This attack was said to have been telegraphed to the Americans and they were able to get all of their soldiers underground before the missiles struck. It has been written that 4 Iraqi soldiers were injured though, how badly was not part of the news information though.

 

I had been hoping that with the Iranian government’s announcement that they were at fault for blowing that Boeing Jet out of the sky that just maybe that would be enough damage (176 dead) that Iran and Mr. Trump would grow up and decide to act like adults, but it appears that this was asking for to much of both. I have seen one live feed of the jet being shot down and it appears to me that Iran fired a bunch of missiles at 3 different Iraqi military fields and about 50 miles short of their target one of the missiles struck the jet very shortly after it took off from the Baghdad Airport. That was poor execution by Iran’s Military, not realizing that for their missiles to reach their target that the missiles would be whizzing right by a major airport, or they simply didn’t give a damn if a jet liner of two or three got hit in the process. Personally via their governments past actions I would go with option number two of those two lines of thought. I was honestly thinking that the unintentional death of 176 civilians just might be enough of an event that both sides would decide to become ‘gun shy’ and maybe the loss of their lives would stop a hot war between Iran and the U.S. from happening. It appears that this was just a flaw of decency hoping for there to be no war.

Did God Cause That Jet To Crash?

 

Personally to this question I say, no. There is Biblical precedent where God has taken (killed) a person or persons because He knew that they were young and innocent now but that as time passed He also knew that they would become lost so He took them before age corrupted their Soul getting them condemned later on in their life. But, God has only done this when talking about ‘A’ person, not a whole group of people. One of the reasons that we humans do not have any God given right to kill another person is because if we do kill we are in essence condemning others to Hell by not giving them their full time here on this rock and if they were not in a “saved’ condition and we killed them, we condemned them and our own selves. Even if there were a person or two or even a hundred on that plane that God had decided to ‘bring home’ early He would not have done so at the expense of 176 lives. No, evil, ignorance and ego killed those 176 people, God didn’t do this.

176 killed after Ukraine International Airlines plane crashes in Tehran shortly after takeoff

176 killed after Ukraine International Airlines plane crashes in Tehran shortly after takeoff

(CNN)All 176 people on board a Ukraine International Airlines flight were killed when it crashed shortly after takeoff from Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran, the country’s state-run Press TV reported.

The Boeing 737 jet took off early Wednesday morning with 167 passengers and nine crew on board, Press TV reported, citing Ali Khashani, a senior public relations official at the airport.
Earlier reports from Iranian state media had said 180 people were on board.
Emergency crews were dispatched to the crash site but could not assist because the area is currently ablaze, said Pirhossein Koulivand, the head of Iran’s Emergency Medical Services. Koulivand told state-run media outlet IRINN that the crash site is between the cities of Parand and Shahriar.
Flight-tracking service FlightRadar 24 said in a tweet that the jet had been in service for about three and a half years.
Iran’s semi-official news agency ISNA reported the crash was due to technical difficulties.
A Boeing spokesperson told CNN they are “aware of the media reports out of Iran and we are gathering more information.”
First responders are seen after the crash.

The crash takes place just days before the company’s new CEO David Calhoun will formally take the job. Calhoun replaces Dennis Muilenburg, who was ousted in December after Boeing’s disastrous year.
The American aviation giant is still reeling from the aftermath of two 737 Max crashes, which killed 346 people. The Max has been grounded worldwide since March, and the company has struggled with delays and other issues in its bid to get the planes back in the air.
This is a developing story and will be updated.

Do Not Be Ignorant Enough To Take-Out Iranian National Monuments

Do Not Be Ignorant Enough To Take-Out Iranian National Monuments

 

The General that President Trump ordered the hit on a couple days ago surprised me, I didn’t expect it. This General was a founding block of the hatred from within parts of Shiite Islam. To many now, this mass murderer is now a martyr for millions. But if President Trump did this with any thoughts turned towards to create a crisis, to get peoples minds off of his impeachment, then what?

 

Lets get to the main topic, President Trump has been threatening Iran that he/we will hit at least 52 of their monuments, personally I believe this to be a horrible idea. You do this, take them out and you will unite all of the population of the Shiite believers against us. You do this foolish thing then retaliation against our own, is a certain. Iran and the believers of hard line Shiite believe that they are now in a Holy War against the West, especially against the U.S.. When President George W. Bush invaded Iraq I believe it was just to one-up his Dad. A lot of people have died because of his tunnel vision. Then we bomb to bits Iraq’s infrastructure and at that time commit another huge miscalculation. W. and Mr. Dick rewarded a lot of great government contracts to American firms who hired Americans and Westerners which kept the people of Iraq unemployed and without basic fundamental services like electricity, running clean water, and food. Folks, we can’t go back into (military actions) in Iraq by doing the very thing that will unite those who hate us, against us in Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Iraq. The Government’s beliefs are the problems one may think, so do not take out our anger on their people, leave them alone. There is a difference in a mental state of war and a religion based mental state of war, the hate and the resolve are much deeper. We are going to now have to fight this Tiger with many Kittens as a part of our Nations new DNA. Taking out their National Monuments, is not a good idea folks.

Canada/U.S. Border stops for people of Iranian descent spark outrage

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF POLITICO)

 

Border stops for people of Iranian descent spark outrage

The reaction to the detentions at a Canadian crossing and a New York airport came after the U.S. killing of an Iranian military commander.

CBP agents

Reports of Iranians and Iranian-Americans being detained for questioning upon entering the U.S. kicked off a furor on Sunday from Washington state to Washington, D.C., marking a new domestic blow back to the Trump administration’s targeted killing of a key Iranian leader.

The Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a prominent Muslim civil liberties group, said on Sunday that more than 60 people of Iranian descent, including American citizens, were held for hours long periods of questioning over the weekend at the Peace Arch checkpoint in Blaine, Wash., along the border with Canada. CAIR noted that many Iranian-Americans would continue to approach the port of entry over the weekend as some return to the U.S. after attending an Iranian pop concert Saturday in Vancouver.

The initial reports and the backlash they triggered — with references to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II — highlighted the potential risks inside the U.S. even before the fierce retaliation promised by the Iranian government for the killing of Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite paramilitary forces, by a U.S. military drone on Thursday.

CAIR said in its statement that a source at U.S. Customs and Border Protection had reported that the agency received a national directive from the Department of Homeland Security to “‘report’ and detain anyone with Iranian heritage entering the country who is deemed potentially suspicious or ‘adversarial,’ regardless of citizenship status.”

“We are working to verify reports of a broad nationwide directive to detain Iranian-Americans at ports of entry so that we can provide community members with accurate travel guidance,” Masih Fouladi, executive director of CAIR’s Washington chapter, said in a statement.

Len Saunders, an immigration attorney in Blaine, said his contacts through CBP indicated that headquarters in Washington had ordered new vetting procedures, which appear to be directed toward people born in Iran, that require port directors to sign off on admitting anyone held for questioning.

A CBP spokesperson denied that DHS or the agency had issued any such directive.

“Social media posts that CBP is detaining Iranian-Americans and refusing their entry into the U.S. because of their country of origin are false,” the spokesperson said.

The agency says it often adjusts operations and staffing to balance security needs with lawful travel and trade. Processing times at the Blaine port of entry reached an average of two hours Saturday evening, though CBP said some travelers waited up to four hours to cross.

Sam Sadr, who lives in North Vancouver, said he was held for nearly nine hours at the Peace Arch border crossing on Saturday after the birthplace printed on his Canadian passport caught the attention of the U.S. customs officer.

Sadr, who was born in Tehran, told POLITICO he was on his way to Seattle for the day with his family. The officer, he said, asked him to pull over and go into the border office to provide more information.

Sadr recalled arriving at the border at 11:07 a.m. Pacific time. He and his family were finally allowed to enter the U.S. around 7:45 p.m.

In between those times, the officers took their passports and asked lots of questions, he said. After a couple of hours, the officers asked the same questions again.

They wanted to know where they were coming from, where they went to school, whether they had military backgrounds and whether they had firearms licences, Sadr said.

“Why me? Why my parents? Why my sisters, brothers? I don’t know,” said Sadr, a professional photographer who received his Canadian citizenship two years ago.

“We are innocent. … This completely discriminates.”

While he was waiting, he said, he saw many other people of Iranian descent also held up at the border crossing. He said some people, including officers, appeared to be frustrated with the situation.

Sadr, who left Iran more than 12 years ago, said he and his family stayed in the U.S. for only about an hour since it was so late and the stores had closed.

Asked for comment on Sadr’s story and to explain the discrepancy between the “four hours” figure in CBP’s statement and Sadr’s nearly nine hour ordeal, a CBP spokesperson said the agency stood by their earlier statement.

Attorneys monitoring the situation at the border in Washington state said they had not seen any evidence that American citizens with Iranian ties were denied entry to the U.S. Those being held for questioning are now being processed more quickly — within 30 to 60 minutes, rather than upwards of 10 hours as some experienced on Saturday, said Matt Adams, legal director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project’s Seattle office.

“It doesn’t make any sense, because these are individuals who are U.S. citizens and don’t have any individualized suspicion associated with them, other than the fact that they’re Iranian or of Iranian heritage,” he said. “What’s clear is that they are being targeted for the secondary inspection because of their Iranian background, and there must be some kind of directive” to CBP officers to pull them over, he added.

Attorneys in Washington state said CBP officers’ questions focused on travelers’ family members and where they went to school or worked, as well as whether they or a relative had any ties to the Iranian military.

The questioning of Iranians and Iranian-Americans wasn’t unique to Washington state.

John Ghazvinian, an Iranian-American historian and U.S. citizen, said he was subject to additional questioning on Sunday when he flew back on Air France from a trip to Egypt.

“Well, just landed at JFK and — no surprise — got taken to the special side room and got asked (among other things) how I feel about the situation with Iran,” he wrote in a tweet that went viral. “I wanted to be like: my book comes out in September, preorder now on amazon.”

In an interview, he said that the first CBP officer flipped through his passport and asked him, “When was the last time you were in Libya?”, to which he replied, “I’ve never been to Libya.” The officer quickly corrected himself to say “Iran,” to which Ghazvinian told him that he had last been there in 2009. He then was asked more questions in a private secondary screening, he said, the first time he’s ever been held up when returning to the U.S.

Asked whether he felt he was pulled aside because he was Iranian-American, he said he didn’t “want to speculate on another person’s private thoughts or motivations, but [the officer’s] first question was about the last time I had been to Iran.”

Ghazvinian, the interim director of the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania, said that the officers told him they had flagged him for extra scrutiny because it looked as though he had bought a one-way ticket to the U.S., when in fact he hadn’t. The female CBP officer, whom he described as “very friendly,” also asked him in the secondary screening whether he had family members in Iran and what they thought of what is going on. He told them he hadn’t talked to them about the situation.

Then she asked him what he thought of the tensions between the U.S. and Iran, to which he responded by saying he didn’t think the question was relevant. “She said, ‘We are just curious about what people think about these things,’ and I said, ‘It feels a little political,’ and then she dropped it,” he recalled.

The events, which he called “inherently a stressful experience” and “nerve-wracking,” involved a five- to 10-minute wait and around three minutes of questioning, he said.

Soon after he cleared immigration and customs, he sent out the tweet and said he was “surprised by the attention it got. … It was not my intention to paint myself as some type of victim here. I don’t feel that way.”

“To be honest, I thought it was just funny and so I just sent out what I thought was a lighthearted tweet,” he said.

Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project, said the accounts made public thus far were “very disturbing” and were stoking fear among a population already sensitive to border issues, given the Trump administration’s travel restrictions on Iranian nationals.

“The government has a legitimate interest in verifying identity, citizenship or legal status at the border, but it has no business infringing on the constitutional rights of citizens and legal permanent residents by detaining and invasively questioning them about their associations, religious or political beliefs or practices,” Shamsi said.

Reps. Adam Smith and Pramila Jayapal, both Seattle-area Democrats, tweeted Sunday that they were trying to gather more information on the detentions at the border with British Columbia.

“Let me be clear: Instituting xenophobic, shameful and unconstitutional policies that discriminate against innocent people, trample over basic civil rights, and put fear in the hearts of millions do not make us safer,” Jayapal said in a statement.

Rep. Suzan DelBene, a Democrat whose district includes Blaine, said she was also investigating the reports.

Parmida Esmaeilpour, a director with the Civic Association of Iranian Canadians in Vancouver, said concerns related to crossing the U.S. border had been building in her community for several days.

“It’s my understanding that [authorities] said that they would be detaining or questioning people who may have some sort of suspicious ties to the [Iranian] government,” said Esmaeilpour, whose association works to encourage Iranian-Canadians to engage more in Canada’s political process. “But in practice we’re seeing that it’s actually being applied much more indiscriminately to anyone of Iranian background who’s trying to cross the border.”

A Canada Border Services Agency spokesperson directed inquiries to DHS.

One former DHS official said he was worried that in the future, as part of a tit-for-tat with Iran, CBP could tighten its screening of potential visitors to the U.S. even more “to take a harder look and a longer view of somebody‘s travel history,” which would lead CBP port-of-entry directors and officers to “err on the side of caution absent any formal guidance.“

Saunders, the immigration lawyer, said two of his clients, both Persian-Canadians and one of whom is an American citizen, encountered hours of questioning at two different ports of entry in Washington state on Saturday.

“Why were 50 to 100 Persians sitting inside the Peace Arch port of entry yesterday for hours upon hours?” he said Sunday. “They were being singled out. I saw it myself.”

Andy Blatchford reported from Ottawa. Nahal Toosi and Connor O’Brien contributed reporting from Washington.

Good riddance to Qassim Soleimani, Iran’s terrorist in chief

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER) 

 

Good riddance to Qassim Soleimani, Iran’s terrorist in chief

Qassim Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s terrorist Quds force, has been killed in an airstrike in Baghdad, a monumental event and great news for the United States and the countless victims of his strategy that has unleashed death and chaos throughout the Middle East.

Soleimani has been described as the architect of Iran’s malignant strategy to exert its influence from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea, bolstering enemies of the U.S. and its allies. Under his leadership, in Iraq, the Iranian regime supplied roadside bombs to Sunni terrorists and used Shiite militias to carry out attacks on U.S. troops and, most recently, against the U.S. Embassy; in Syria, it has provided support for the brutal regime of Bashar Assad; in Lebanon, it has supported and advised the terrorist group Hezbollah; in Yemen, it has stirred civil war by supporting the radical Houthi movement.

In 2008, Soleimani wrote in a letter to David Petraeus, “Dear General Petraeus: You should be aware that I, Qassem Soleimani, control Iran’s policy for Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and Afghanistan.”

Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, writing for Foreign Policy, recently explained:

“Suleimani has grown from a military commander into a ghostly puppet master, relying on quiet cleverness and grit to bolster Iran’s international influence. Suleimani has grown from a military commander into a ghostly puppet master.His brilliance, effectiveness, and commitment to his country have been revered by his allies and denounced by his critics in equal measure. What all seem to agree on, however, is that the humble leader’s steady hand has helped guide Iranian foreign policy for decades—and there is no denying his successes on the battlefield. Suleimani is arguably the most powerful and unconstrained actor in the Middle East today. U.S. defense officials have reported that Suleimani is running the Syrian civil war (via Iran’s local proxies) all on his own.”

The loss of Soleimani is a devastating blow to the Iranian regime, which is already suffering from President Trump’s ratcheting up of sanctions. And it’s great news for the U.S.

America just took out the world’s no. 1 bad guy

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY ON CNBC NEWS)

 

America just took out the world’s no. 1 bad guy

KEY POINTS
  • The killing of Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani doesn’t have the emotional power of the take down of Osama bin Laden, but taking him out means much more in terms of saving current lives, writes Jake Novak.
GP: Qassem Suleimani Soleimani Iran Quds Force IRGC 180517
Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani (C) attends Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s (not seen) meeting with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in Tehran, Iran on September 18, 2016.
Pool | Press Office of Iranian Supreme Leader | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

So, just who is this top Iranian general the U.S. just eliminated?

For many of us who watch and analyze news out of the Middle East daily, he was the world’s number one bad guy.

Qassim Soleimani has been in control of Iran’s Quds Force for more than 20 years. His current greatest hits include helping Bashar al Assad slaughter hundreds of thousands of his own people in the Syrian civil war, stoking the Houthis in Yemen’s civil war, and overseeing the killing of hundreds of Iraqi protesters recently demonstrating against Iranian influence in their country.

But most importantly for Americans, Soleimani was behind the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers during the Iraq War. Last year, the U.S. State Department put the number of Americans killed by Iranian proxies in Iraq at 608 since 2003.

The killing of Soleimani doesn’t have the emotional power of the takedown of Osama bin Laden, and he wasn’t even as well-known to Americans as ISIS founder Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. But in many ways, taking him out means much more in terms of saving current lives. Remember that bin Laden and al Baghdadi were mostly out of business and in hiding at the time of their deaths. Solemani was busier than ever, directing mayhem all over the Middle East and beyond.

For example, these last few days have made it clear to the whole world just how much Iran controlled just about all of Iraq and Iraq’s Shia population. It appears Solemeini not only felt justified in being the likely mastermind behind Tuesday’s attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, he also was comfortable enough to travel to Iraq personally to oversee it. But this time, he got too comfortable.

We’re already hearing from a number of critics that this move will likely backfire against the U.S. and will provoke Iran to retaliate even more forcibly against American and its allies. To those people making those warnings, there’s really only one thing to say: “Welcome to the party, pal!”

That’s because Iran has really been at war with the U.S. since 1979. The killing of hundreds of our troops in Iraq, the constant terrorism it sponsors and supplies against Israel, and even the recent provocations against oil traffic in the Persian Gulf are all acts of war from which there really is no retreat without severe consequences. For the Trump administration, it would appear the embassy attack was the last straw. It was also one that provided the ultimate opportunity to eliminate Soleimani as he foolishly left his home country and made himself more physically and legally vulnerable.

Another thing to remember is that Soleimani and his foreign escapades may have been the delight of the ruling mullahs in Tehran. But the people in the streets abandoned him long ago, if they ever really supported him in the first place.

Soleimani clearly came to personify the increasingly unpopular spending on proxy wars and terrorism. With Iran’s economy faltering, the chanting in the streets during that nation’s recent protests included: “no money, no gas, screw Palestine.” That was probably the best proof that the Iranian people are keenly aware of the resources being sent abroad that could be used to improve the domestic economy and not pay for rockets in Gaza or wars in Syria and Yemen.

In fact, Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad tweeted almost immediately after Soleimani’s death was reported that the Quds commander was also hated by ordinary Iranians for his long history of brutality against his own people. That includes a bloody crackdown on university students in Iran in the 1990s:

Masih Alinejad 🏳️

@AlinejadMasih

IMPORTANT: For many Iranians Qassem Soleimani was a warmonger who caused massive casualties in Syria. He was no hero to average Iranians who chanted against the country’s support for Hezbollah and Hamas 1/

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In the coming hours and days the debate over the decision to kill Soleimani will unfortunately be dominated by partisan politicians looking to score points for or against President Trump. Perhaps Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut has taken the top partisanship buffoonery prize already by scolding President Trump for the action just two days after publicly decrying America’s lack of action against the Baghdad embassy attack:

Chris Murphy

@ChrisMurphyCT

The attack on our embassy in Baghdad is horrifying but predictable.

Trump has rendered America impotent in the Middle East. No one fears us, no one listens to us.

America has been reduced to huddling in safe rooms, hoping the bad guys will go away.

What a disgrace.

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Chris Murphy

@ChrisMurphyCT

Soleimani was an enemy of the United States. That’s not a question.

The question is this – as reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?

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But that’s just politics. It will also just be politics when President Trump takes a victory lap on Twitter or at a future rally over this killing.

What isn’t just politics is the fact that Soleimani was a very effective and deadly leader of the world’s most active and pervasive terrorist army. The knee-jerk assumptions we will hear from those who say that someone else will simply take his place and be just as effective and deadly probably come from people who truly don’t know how powerful and effective Soleimani was. He’s going to be a very hard act to follow.

For now, Soleimani’s death is justice for the thousands of deaths he caused all over the world and to his own people. It may have seemed like swift justice Friday morning, but it was actually a long time coming.

Jake Novak is a political and economic analyst at Jake Novak News and former CNBC TV producer. You can follow him on Twitter @jakejakeny.