Mueller’s investigation bears the hallmark of an organized crime case

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BUSINESS INSIDER)

 

Mueller’s investigation bears the hallmark of an organized crime case

Robert Mueller
Robert Mueller has extensive experience prosecuting organized crime and white collar cases from his time as FBI director.
 Alex Wong/Getty Images

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  • Paul Manafort’s recent plea deal and cooperation agreement with the special counsel Robert Mueller is the latest indication of how the Russia investigation mirrors an organized crime case.
  • The hallmark of any prosecutor’s approach to an organized crime case is the use of cooperating witnesses to move up the chain.
  • “You start low and you ask people: who did you answer to? Who gave you orders? Who did you report to?” said one Justice Department veteran. “That’s the only way to get to the top of a criminal organization, and that’s exactly what Mueller’s doing.”
  • But there are also a few crucial differences that make the Russia probe similar to a complex white-collar investigation.

As the special counsel Robert Mueller works his way through the myriad of threads in the Russia investigation, his approach bears more and more similarities to what prosecutors do when they’re tackling complex organized crime cases.

Mueller’s recent plea deal and cooperation agreement with Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, is just the latest indication of that.

The hallmark of any prosecutor’s approach to an organized crime case, experts say, is the use of cooperating witnesses.

Going up the ladder is critical in these types of cases because the organization typically has a hierarchical structure and a clear chain of command. It also usually involves wide-ranging, multi-party criminal activity.

“The higher you go, the more insulated those people are,” said Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor from the Southern District of New York who successfully prosecuted more than 100 members and associates of the Sicilian Mafia. “So the best way to penetrate that closed inner circle is by flipping people, and flipping them up.”

After investigators get a sense of which players are part of a criminal enterprise, they start by targeting those at the lowest levels.

“If they don’t voluntarily cooperate, you get honest leverage on them to compel their cooperation,” said Patrick Cotter, a former federal prosecutor who was part of the team that convicted the Gambino crime family boss John Gotti in the 1990s. “You find their criminal conduct and use that to force them to do what they should have done originally, which is to tell the truth.”

Paul Manafort
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded guilty this week.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Honig said he once nailed a case by flipping someone who was the driver for a more powerful person in the organization.

“That led us right up the chain,” he said. “And you can see that happening in the Russia investigation.”

The first plea deal Mueller’s office announced was that of George Papadopoulos, who served as an early foreign policy aide to the Trump campaign. Next, he looped in Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who admitted to lying to the FBI.

In February, Rick Gates, the former deputy chairman of the Trump campaign, announced that he would be pleading guilty and cooperating with the special counsel. Gates’ cooperation led prosecutors upstream, and his courtroom testimony against Manafort helped them successfully convict his former boss on eight counts of financial fraud last month.

Likewise, legal scholars say, Manafort’s cooperation, as well as that of Trump’s former longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, will likely help Mueller and New York federal prosecutors get information on an even bigger fish.

“It’s a classic strategy used in organized crime,” Cotter said. “You start low and you ask people: who did you answer to? Who gave you orders? Who did you report to? That’s the only way to get to the top of a criminal organization, and that’s exactly what Mueller’s doing.”

‘When you pull at a thread, you never know what you’re going to unravel’

michael cohen paul manafort
Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort are the two highest ranking people who have flipped.
Associated Press/Craig Ruttle; Associated Press/Alex Brandon; Business Insider

That said, there are two critical differences between Mueller’s approach to the Russia probe and prosecutors’ approach to organized crime cases.

The first is that most criminal enterprises don’t have a clear paper trail.

“Organized crime is particularly dependent on insider witnesses, because everything is kind of hidden and done in the shadows,” said Alex Whiting, a former Justice Department lawyer who prosecuted organized crime and corruption cases when he worked at the US attorney’s office in Boston.

“These cases usually aren’t paper heavy because there’s no email trail or documentation,” he added.

The Russia investigation, by contrast, has often been document-heavy. Prosecutors introduced 400 pieces of evidence at Manafort’s first trial in Virginia last month, and they planned to put forward almost three times that amount at his second trial had he not struck a last-minute plea deal.

Similarly, their charging document against Gates extensively cited his financial records, emails, and communications with other witnesses.

In that sense, Whiting said, certain aspects of the Russia probe make it more like a white-collar case.

The other crucial difference is that organized crime cases cases involve activities that clearly cross legal boundaries.

But Mueller’s team is sifting through a mix of legal political activity and potentially illegal activity.

The prototypical example of that overlay, Whiting said, is Trump himself.

“The president has the legal authority to fire the FBI director, but is it obstruction if he fired him to hamper an investigation into him?” Whiting said. “Trump has the power to pardon anyone for any federal crime, but is he obstructing justice if he does it to prevent them from testifying? Is collusion a crime?”

“There’s a complexity here that you don’t often see with organized crime,” he added. “In that respect, it’s much more like investigating white-collar crime, because the main questions there are, what was the conduct, and did the conduct cross into illegal territory?”

The bottom line in a case like the Russia probe, Honig said, is that there’s no way to tell where it will ultimately lead.

“When you pull at a thread, you never know what you’re going to unravel.”

Trump: Dangerous Idiot—President Mike Pence: Dangerous Hypocrite? #2 Of 2

President Mike Pence: Dangerous Hypocrite?

(Part 2 Of 2)

 

On August 6th I wrote an article titled ” If Our President is Found Guilty Of Treason: Then What” That article is part one of this two-part letter to you. As a lot of you know, that by our Constitution the answer to that question is, the Vice President, Mike Pence becomes the President. Many folks that are hooked to this blog as well as people that I personally know have told me that in their opinion Mike Pence is more dangerous than Donald Trump. Personally I have though that these folks couldn’t be right, could they? So, I started digging for more information on our possible next President, for your knowledge, and for mine. The rest of this letter to you is information that I have gleamed off of various news agencies, I will document them for you as I go along.

 

Source: Market Watch

In 1998 when Mike Pence was a radio host in Indiana he argued that a President could be removed from office on “Moral grounds” when he was referring to President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Now that he is Donald Trump’s Vice President he has changed his opinion on this matter. There is no way that Mr. Pence can say that he was unaware of Mr. Trumps morals when he was asked to be Trumps running mate. Politics and big dollars make many folks change their religious ideologies, it looks like Mr. Pence is one of those folks.

During this time that he was a radio host Mr. Pence said that a President needed to be held to a higher moral standard than “our next door neighbor.” He argued that the ‘First Family’ must be role models for the rest of the country and the world.

 

Source: The New Republic

 

Their headline was “Is Mike Pence Really A Hypocrite?”

 

Mr. Pence detailed how President Clinton had broken the law by lying to the Grand Jury which is Perjury and Perjury is a Felony in the U.S. Legal System. He said that Presidents that commit perjury should resign or be impeached.

 

Source: The Business Insider 

 

10 Things we should know about Mike Pence’s political views and his religious beliefs. You may agree with some of his thoughts just as I did agree with a couple of his views from a Biblical view-point. Then again, you may agree with or disagree with all of them, I did not cherry pick the information given in an attempt to swing an opinion in either direction.

1.) Pence didn’t want women in the military. In 1999 a woman in the military fell in love with another soldier and he used this as his basis for his view-point.

2.) In 2000 Mr. Pence wrote an op-ed in which he said “smoking doesn’t kill”. He said this as he was taking money from big tobacco companies for his Congressional campaign. In 2016 during the Presidential Campaign he reworded his view-point to “smoking isn’t good for you.”

3.) While running for Congress in 2000 Mr. Pence wrote on his website that money funding research for HIV/AIDS should be moved to fund ‘Conversion Therapy” “Which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

4.) Mr. Pence told ‘The Hill Newspaper’ in 2002 that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he doesn’t attend events that serve alcohol without her. He has been blasted in some circles for being unfair to women, excluding them from important meetings saying that he is anti women because of this ‘moral’ policy. Personally I Agree with this policy from a religion stand point and from an ‘I love my wife’ stand point, but that is just me and my being old-fashioned.

 

Sources: The Hill Newspaper and the Washington Post

 

5.) During his 12 years as a Congressman Mr. Pence co-sponsored multiple pieces of legislation for a “Federal Shield Law” which would have allowed reporters to keep confidential sources secret, even if the government requested those sources. Now, as Donald Trumps VP he is against this legislation.

Source: The Washington Post

 

6.) Mr. Pence in 2006 cited a Harvard researcher in remarks where he declared that same-sex marriages would bring about a “social collapse” in America.

Source: Mic and the New York Times

 

7.) In 2011 Congressman Pence authored a bill to completely defund Planned Parenthood and he signaled that he was willing to prompt a government shut down in order to pass this bill.

8.) In a bid to limit abortions, Mr. Pence in 2011 sought to change when Federal funds for abortions could be used. The current stature was applied in cases of rape or incest. Mr. Pence wanted to change the term “rape” to “force-able rape.” Folks, I have a question for you, when is “rape” not force-able? If rape is not forced upon a person then isn’t it considered to be consensual sex?

Source: Mic and the Huffington Post

 

9.) While Governor of Indiana Mr. Pence signed the “2015 Religious Freedom Restoration Act” which was meant to allow businesses in the state of Indiana to cite religious beliefs as a reason to refuse services to members of the LGBTQ community.

Source: the Huffington Post

 

10.) While Governor of Indiana Mr. Pence was blamed for a HIV crisis in his State after he moved to slash funding for Planned Parent-hood in 2011. A local Planed Parent-hood facility had to close in 2013 because of the spending cut. That facility was the only HIV testing center in Scott County which faced a deepening drug use problem that was believed to have hastened HIV out breaks.

Source: The New Yorker and former top adviser to President Trump, Stephen Bannon

 

“The danger of having a President Pence, Trumps critics yearn for his exit, but, Mike Pence is the ultimate Corporate Inside Man who poses his own risks.”

Bannon: “Pence is the outreach guy, the connective tissue between the Trump Administration and the most conservative wing of the Republican establishment.” Mr. Bannon also says that “Mr. Pence would be a President that the Koch brothers would own.” “Pence’s political career through-out has been sponsored at almost every turn by the same donors whom Trump has assailed. Pence is the inside man of the conservative money machine.”

 

“On Election Night of 2016 at the Hilton Hotel in Mid-town Manhattan in an upstairs Suite above the Ball-room there was an even more VIP that existed. Doug Deacon, a Texas businessman and a political donor told me that ‘it was amazing.’ In the VIP reception area alone I counted at least 8 or 9 billionaires.” Deacon said “he’s (Pence) really the contact to the big donors. Deacon said, that since the election I have attended two dinners for the wealthy backers at the Vice-Presidential residence. If Pence were to become President, the Government would be run by the Koch brothers-period. Pence has been their tool for years.”

 

Source: Doug Deacon

I had a meeting with Mikes mother (Nancy Pence Fritsch) and she said to me “the family identifies as Catholic, and Mike was an Alter-boy. Religion is the most important thing in our lives, she said.” “But we don’t take it seriously.”

Source: Gregory Pence, Mike’s brother

 

In Mikes Congressional Campaign he used personal donations toward personal expenses such as his mortgage and groceries. This wasn’t illegal, but it violated the trust of his supporters and sullied his “Pious” image. He upset a lot of his backers. It was partly because of immaturity, but he really was kind of full of shit. He comes across as Mid-western nice, but he is mean and shallow.”

 

In 1999 Mr. Pence took a job offer as President of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, a tiny new ‘think tank’ that promoted free-market policies. They were known for being anti-union. They also opposed health, safety and environmental regulations. Also, because he was taking campaign contributions from big tobacco companies Mr. Pence said in 2000 that smoking doesn’t kill people. He said that a greater scourge than cigarettes was “big government disguised as do-gooder, healthcare rhetoric.”

Mr. Pence served in the Congress for 12 years yet he never, not once, authored a single successful bill. He was against George W. Bush’s expansion of Medicaid coverage for prescription drugs and the “no child left behind” program. Once Barack Obama was elected President Pence he became the early voice of the ‘Tea Party.”

Pence sponsored an unsuccessful amendment to the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) that would have made it legal for government-funded hospitals to turn away a dying woman who needed an abortion to stay alive.

Pence calls “Global Warming” a myth. He may well feel this way because the Koch Brothers own several coal-fired power plants and oil refineries which release some 24 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. He voted against putting a tax on company’s carbon emissions. Carbon dioxide is said by most scientist to be the biggest reason for global warming. This tax would have cost the Koch brothers millions of dollars each year. It was after this bill failed to pass in the Senate that Mr. Pence became the “Koch’s guy” and they have been showering him with money ever since.

Source: Matthew Tully, a Columnist at the Indianapolis Star said 

“that Pence has a fatal flaw, he is to political and ideological, his focus is always on the next step up, not on his job at hand.

Pence brags about how good the state of Indiana was doing for the people financially yet when he left office Indiana ranked 38th in individual income.

Source: Michael Maurer, the owner of the Indianapolis Business Journal who is a Republican said in reference to Pence 

“It, his hypocrisy, just exploded in his face. His poll numbers were terrible. I bet he’d never get elected in Indiana again. But he went from being a likely loser as an incumbent governor to the V.P. of the U.S. but Indiana is still reeling from having him as our governor.”

Well folks, I think I now know a good bit more about why people from Indiana have been telling me how dangerous Mike Pence would be as our next President. I now see why so many people call him a hypocrite, a fraud, and dangerous. Most of the time I have associated the word hypocrite with something to religion yet in reality I associate it with a person who says one thing and does another. To me, a person who claims to be a Christian who worships money and human power over others, which also means they are also lying, is the worse kind of hypocrite and it appears to me that this definition fits Mike Pence quite well. Think back to the statement of his Mother about religion and I quote “religion is the most important thing in our lives, but we don’t take it seriously!” Just think about that statement, the most important thing in your life, but you don’t take that most important thing seriously, whew, what a ringing endorsement for the quality of a person, and by his Mother no less.

 

 

 

UN: North Korea Still Building Nuclear Missiles

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BUSINESS INSIDER)

 

A confidential UN report throws cold water on North Korea’s claim that it is committed to denuclearization

The launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile
The launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile
Uncredited/AP
  • North Korean officials insist that the country is committed to the Singapore agreement, which expressed a need for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
  • A confidential United Nations report argues that North Korea “has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs” and continues to engage in illicit activities in violation of UN sanctions resolutions.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remains optimistic but notes that North Korea’s behavior is “inconsistent” with the pledge North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made to US President Donald Trump at their summit in Singapore.

North Korean officials insist the country is committed to upholding the provisions of the Singapore agreement signed by US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June, but a confidential United Nations report reveals that North Korea “has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs.”

“The [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] stands firm in its determination and commitment for implementing the DPRK-US Joint Statement in a responsible and good-faith manner,” North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho said Saturday, arguing that North Korea has demonstrated its goodwill through the moratorium on weapons testing and the dismantling of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site.

North Korea has also released American hostages and began dismantling parts of the Sohae Satellite Launch Station, a facility believed to have played a prominent role in the engine development for one of the new intercontinental ballistic missiles tested for the first time last year. But while Pyongyang has taken certain presumably positive steps, it remains a good distance from reaching the Trump administration’s desired outcome — denuclearization and disarmament. In fact, evidence suggests that North Korea may be moving in the other direction.

A 149-page report analyzing the implementation of United Nations sanctions over a six-month period was submitted to the United Nations Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee late Friday. North Korea “has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs and continues to defy Security Council resolutions through a massive increase in illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, as well as through transfers of coal at sea during 2018,” the document put together by a team of independent experts stated, according to Reuters.

In recent weeks, North Korea has been spotted engaging in activities that cast doubt on its commitment to denuclearize. They include producing possible liquid-fueled ICBMs at a location in Sanum-dong,increasing nuclear fuel production at secret enrichment sites like Kangson, making key infrastructure improvements at the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, and expanding an important facility in Hamhung dedicated to the development of solid-fueled ballistic missiles.

It is not just the weapons programs that are troubling, though. The United Nations report notes that not only has North Korea been collaborating with Syria’s military and attempting to sell weapons to the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, but illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum have “increased in scope, scale and sophistication.”

North Korean vessels were involved in at least 89 illegal ship-to-ship transfers between January 1 and May 30, which resulted in the country importing as much as three times the amount permitted by the United Nations, NK News reported , citing US data.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Friday that North Korea’s behavior is inconsistent with Kim Jong Un’s promise to the president.

“Chairman Kim made a commitment to denuclearize,” Pompeo said , “The world demanded that they do so in the UN Security Council resolutions. To the extent they are behaving in a manner inconsistent with that, they are a) in violation of one or both the United Nations Security Council resolutions, and

b) we can see we still have a ways to go to achieve the ultimate outcome we’re looking for.”

Speaking at the Asian Regional Forum Retreat Session in Singapore Saturday, Pompeo urged Southeast Asian nations to maintain the pressure on North Korea by fully implementing sanctions. At the same event, the North Korean foreign minister said Pyongyang is alarmed by US attitudes.

North Korean Know Kim Jong Un Is A Liar, They Just Don’t Know How Much

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BUSINESS INSIDER)

 

North Koreans understand their government lies, but there’s one thing they don’t know, according to a defector

North Korea
Servicepersons of the Ministry of People’s Security met on August 10, 2017 to express full support for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) government statement.
Reuters/KCNA
  • North Korean defector Kim Young-il is the 39-year-old founder of People for Successful Corean Reunification (PSCORE). He escaped North Korea at 19 years old.
  • Kim said that it is obvious to North Koreans that the government of Kim Jong Un is lying to the people about the country’s situation and its reality.
  • The one thing it is impossible for North Koreans to understand, however, is how big the difference in prosperity is between their country and developed nations like the US and South Korea.

North Koreans understand that their government regularly lies to them and feeds them propaganda that contradicts their current situation, but few understand the true discrepancy between their country and the outside world, according to North Korean defector Kim Young-il.

Kim, the 39-year-old founder of People for Successful Korean Reunification (PSCORE), escaped North Korea when he was 19 years old. PSCORE is a nonprofit that promotes reunification, raises awareness about human rights issues in North Korea, and helps defectors adjust to life in South Korea.

In 1997, Kim and his father left the country in the midst of a four-year-long famine and economic crisis that some estimates suggest claimed the lives of between 240,000 and 3.5 million North Koreans, out of a population of 22 million.

The dire situation made it obvious to North Koreans at the time that the government was not telling the truth about country, Kim told Business Insider in a recent interview. Kim, whose organization helps defectors escape North Korea and China and assists them once they reach South Korea, said that, even now, the situation is much the same; North Koreans know their government is lying.

“The people know these are all lies because it’s obvious. When the government says, there is prosperity in terms of food and rice, we see it ourselves and see that there is a drought and there is no food for us,” Kim said.

“When they see that what they say doesn’t match with what is actually happening, they understand the government is lying.”

The one thing that North Koreans can’t know, according to Kim, is the actual disparity between the country and other nations like the US, South Korea, or China.

“They know [those countries are more prosperous and developed], but they don’t know at what level and how different the countries are. They have no frame of reference. All the government says are lies, Kim said. “They have no way to obtain information about what South Korea or the United States look like.”

As Kim told the International Business Times last year, he and his family thought it was normal to “have our freedoms restricted.” It was only upon arriving in South Korea that Kim said he realized “how unhappy we were.”

The US may sail a warship around Taiwan in an attempt to back up China

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BUSINESS INSIDER)

 

The US may sail a warship around Taiwan in an attempt to back up China

US Navy uss lassen
The USS Lassen (DDG 82) patrolling the eastern Pacific Ocean.
US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Huey D. Younger Jr.
  • The United States is considering sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait, US officials say.
  • A US warship passage, should it happen, could be seen in Taiwan as a fresh sign of support by President Donald Trump after a series of Chinese military exercises around the self-ruled island.
  • China has alarmed Taiwan by ramping up military exercises this year, including flying bombers and other military aircraft around the island and sending its carrier through the narrow Taiwan Strait.

WASHINGTON — The United States is considering sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait, US officials say, in a move that could provoke a sharp reaction from Beijing at a time when Sino-US ties are under pressure from trade disputes and the North Korean nuclear crisis.

A US warship passage, should it happen, could be seen in Taiwan as a fresh sign of support by President Donald Trump after a series of Chinese military exercises around the self-ruled island. China claims Taiwan as part of its territory.

US officials told Reuters that the United States had already examined plans for an aircraft carrier passage once this year but ultimately did not pursue them, perhaps because of concerns about upsetting China.

The last time a US aircraft carrier transited the Taiwan Strait was in 2007, during the George W. Bush administration, and some US military officials believe a carrier transit is overdue.

Another less provocative option would be resuming the periodic, but still infrequent, passages by other US Navy ships through the strait, the latest of which was in July.

The Pentagon declined to comment on any potential future operations, and it was unclear how soon a passage might take place.

Speaking in Beijing, Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, urged the United States to prudently handle the Taiwan issue so as to avoid harming bilateral ties and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait region.

“We have repeatedly emphasized that the Taiwan issue is the most important and sensitive core issue in the China-US relationship,” she said at a daily news briefing on Tuesday.

Trump, who in 2016 broke protocol as president-elect by taking a phone call from Taiwan’s president, has toned down his rhetoric about Taiwan in recent months as he seeks China’s aid in the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

The United States and China are also trying to find their way out of a major trade dispute that has seen the world’s two economic heavyweights threaten tit-for-tat tariffs on goods worth up to $150 billion.

China has alarmed Taiwan by ramping up military exercises this year, including flying bombers and other military aircraft around the island and sending its carrier through the narrow Taiwan Strait separating it from Taiwan.

“They’re turning up the heat,” a fourth US official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to describe the US’s view of Chinese activities around Taiwan.

Separately, it now appears unlikely the United States will send top officials to a June 12 dedication ceremony for the new American Institute in Taiwan, America’s de facto embassy in Taiwan. Washington does not have formal ties with Taipei.

US officials told Reuters that the date clashed with the planned June 12 summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un but added that there would be another opportunity to commemorate the institute’s unveiling in September.

Case-by-case arms sales

Since taking office, Trump has approved a $1.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan and angered Beijing by signing legislation encouraging visits by senior US officials to Taiwan. Trump also named John Bolton, known as a strong Taiwan supporter, as his national security adviser.

The fourth US official told Reuters that Washington aimed to change the way it approaches arms sales requests from Taiwan to address them on a case-by-case basis, as opposed to bundling them together.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers at the US-Taiwan Business Council trade association said that moving away from bundling — a practice in place for a decade — would be better for Taipei’s defense needs, treating it more like a regular security partner.

“We get into difficulty when we treat Taiwan differently, which opens the door for the politicization of the [arms sales] process,” Hammond-Chambers said.

Military experts say that the balance of power between Taiwan and China has shifted decisively in China’s favor in recent years and that China could easily overwhelm the island unless US forces came quickly to Taiwan’s aid.

The United States is bound by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, but it is unclear whether Washington would want to be dragged into war with China over the island.

Asked about US obligations to Taiwan, Lt. Col. Christopher Logan, a Pentagon spokesman, noted that Washington had sold Taiwan more than $15 billion worth of weaponry since 2010.

“We have a vital interest in upholding the current rules-based international order, which features a strong, prosperous, and democratic Taiwan,” Logan said.

SEE ALSO: US disregards Beijing’s nonsense, says it can take down South China Sea islands

Iran Attacks Israel And Then Israel Kicks Iran’s Butt

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘THE BUSINESS INSIDER’)

 

Iran launched an attack on Israel — and it got badly beaten and internationally abandoned

israel iran missile battle syria
Missile fire from Damascus, Syria, May 10, 2018.
REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
  • Iran launched a missile strike on northern Israel late Wednesday night, with 20 Grad and Fajr rockets taking off from Syria in what was widely seen as retaliation after months of Israeli airstrikes punishing their forces.
  • Israel’s response reportedly crushed Iranian forces in Syria.
  • After the attack, not even Iran’s allies came to its defense, with even Bahraincondemning Iran’s attack, though Iran was badly punished for it.
  • Now, Iran’s only recourse may be to silently take the beating or unleash Hezbollah for all-out war on Israel.

Iran launched a missile strike on northern Israel late Wednesday night, with 20 Grad and Fajr rockets taking off from Syria in what was widely seen as retaliation after months of Israeli airstrikes punishing their forces — but it looks like it got crushed.

Not only does Israel say it intercepted a number of the Iranian missiles, it says the other missiles failed to reach their target and sputtered out while still in Syria.

The response from Israel included many more missiles, and, according to Israel, did serious damage that will take a long time to rebuild.

How we got here

F 16 Israel Crash
Israeli security forces examine the remains of an F-16 Israeli warplane near Harduf, Israel, February 10, 2018.
REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

For years, Iran’s clerical regime has chanted “Death to Israel” and supported Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas on Israel’s borders in Gaza and the West Bank, which the US designates as terror organizations.

Since Iran became involved in Syria’s civil war, Israel assesses it has attempted to move in forces and military assets to the Jewish state’s borders in an attempt to arm its allies and attack Israel within its borders. Israel rarely admits to specific strikes, but owns that it has struck Iranians in Syria more than 100 times since 2012.

In February, Israel reported that an armed Iranian drone flew into its airspace, which it shot down. Israel then launched massive air raids on Iranian-linked targets in Syria, and claimed to have wiped out half of Syria’s air defenses in the process.

Scattered strikes in April escalated tensions by targeting not just Iranian proxies but actual uniformed Iranian soldiers, and some high-up ones at that. Israel started warning of prospective Iranian retaliation around this point.

The strike

israel strike syria missile daraa
Missile fire over Daraa, Syria, May 10, 2018.
REUTERS/Alaa al-Faqir

Israel released maps and even a simulated video of the strikes it carried out on Iranian targets in Syria. Russia claimed Syrian defenses downed more than half of the Israeli missiles, but they have consistently made dubious, unverified claims about Syrian missile defenses in the past.

Here are the Israeli media posts:

Overnight, IDF fighter jets struck dozens of military targets belonging to the Iranian Quds forces in Syrian territory pic.twitter.com/LwBJTMkxYR

— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) May 10, 2018 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js ” data-e2e-name=”embed-container” data-media-container=”embed” style=”box-sizing: border-box; margin: 20px 0px;”>

Israeli strike thumb
A map posted online by the Israel Defense Forces showing what they say are Iranian positions they struck. Embedded is footage from one of the strikes.
Israel Defense Forces

The aftermath

israel lebanon missile
Lebanese soldiers inspect the remnants of a missile in Haberiyeh, Lebanon, May 10, 2018.
REUTERS/Karamallah Daher

Iran’s long-awaited retaliation finally came. Former Israeli deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh told Business Insider that Israel targeted “the intelligence and the infrastructure” of Iran’s forces in Syria, doing “heavy damage” which “will take time to repair.” Israel’s current defense minister said it took out most of Iran’s infrastructure in Syria.

In the end, the US, UK, and France all condemned Iran for its missile attack on Israel without mentioning Israeli incursions into Syria to strike Iranians. France went as far as saying that Iran’s actions toward Israel merit revisiting and expanding the Iran nuclear deal to rein in Tehran’s regional activity.

Bahrain, a Gulf Arab country that rarely speaks to Israel, even condemned Iran’s attack and asserted Israel’s right to defend itself. Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told Business Insider that while they might not say it, other Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt, probably support Israel pushing back Iran’s influence.

Russia urged mutual calm after the massive air war in which its ally, Iran, suffered badly.

What was missing was a total lack of international outrage. Israel carried out the strike with impunity after entering Syrian airspace uninvited. It lost no soldiers or civilians. Iran has been badly beaten by its great enemy and condemned on the world stage days after the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.

Now, Iran’s only recourse may be to silently take the beating or unleash Hezbollah for all-out war on Israel.

But Israel may be ready for that as well, as Israeli reporter Barak Ravid quoted Israel’s defense minister as saying, “If it rains in Israel, it will pour in Iran.”

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