Thursday 26 July 2018
Photo: Pastor Andrew Brunson. The Trump administration is threatening sanctions against Turkey if the U.S. ally does not release an American pastor being held there on accusations of terror and espionage. At a State Department event on religious freedom Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence called for Brunson's immediate release.
"If Turkey does not take immediate action to free this innocent man of faith and send him home to America, the United States will impose significant sanctions on Turkey until Pastor Andrew Brunson is free," Pence said. In a tweet, President Trump echoed that threat, calling Brunson "a great Christian, family man and wonderful human being." . . . Brunson was released from prison on Wednesday and placed on house arrest, and forbidden to leave Turkey. Pence called that move a "welcome first step" but "not good enough," and called on "believers" to pray for Brunson's release.
A U.S. citizen who pastored churches in Turkey for more than two decades, Brunson was arrested by Turkish authorities in October 2016 and held without charges for months. The North Carolina native was then kept in prison after being accused, without compelling evidence, of being a member of a terrorist group. A few months ago, an official indictment was filed by Turkish prosecutors, who are seeking a 35-year sentence for the American pastor. . . .
JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
Co-hosts: Mary Kissel, Wall Street Journal, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents
Thursday 26 July 2018 / Hour 1, Block A: John Fund, NRO, in re:
Thursday 26 July 2018 / Hour 1, Block B: Mary Kissel, Wall Street Journal editorial page; in re: Jean-Claude Junker & trade wars with the EU, Mexico, China, etc. Larry Kudlow encouraged the EU delegation to think things might go well. At the mtg w the president, all actually went very well: zero tariff EU-US; EU has zero tariff with Japan? . . . Need interoperability within all trade items, as it's more efficient to manufacture according to consistent standards. Canada: Chrystia Freeland asks for a trilateral deal (Canada-US-Mexico). Re-up the TPP? Umm . . . Harley, Alcoa, dairy industry, farm belt: all asked the president to back down on trade war, but the TPP . . .
All this leaves China out there by itself. To show his rage, Xi can kill deals with the US or help DPRK evade US sanctions.
Thursday 26 July 2018 / Hour 1, Block C: Josh Rogin, Washington Post, in re: . . . China demanded of all major airlines to name Taiwan as a part of China, which the White House called “Orwellian nonsense”; in the event, they capitulated and removed the word “Taiwan.” Which simply encouraged the unelected regime in Beijing.
Hundreds of thousands of Chinese people have been poisoned by Chinese-made pharmaceuticals. . . . Mary Kissel: The C suite in the US never stands up to China – it’s pathetic. Josh Rogin: This problem s getting worse, not better, and it’s the tip of the iceberg. Ever seen an anti-China or pro-Tibet film in the last decade? Nope . . . Beijing’s anti-Taiwan program is a Chinese BDS movement. In China, it's forbidden to refer to Winnie the Pooh – because Chinese people mock Xi as looking like Winnie the Pooh.
Thursday 26 July 2018 / Hour 1, Block D: Francis Rose, Government Matters, NationalDefenseWeek.com and francisrose.com, in re: The Veterans’ Administration. Suspicion that Peter O’Rourke deceived a Congressional committee. Does this touch Willkie, apparently about to be head of the VA: Yes yes and no. The Secy of a federal agy is supposed to direct docs to the IGs of agencies. Did O’Rourke send docs on the Ofc of Accountability and Whistle-Blower Protection? . . . The AG needs to investigate if Mr O’Rourke committed perjury.
Thursday 26 July 2018 / Hour 2, Block A: Michael Doran, in re: In the Hadith, the Prophet predicted end times with a blood-red Moon; in the next 24 hours, there’ll be a blood-red Moon. A drought over the Middle East, including the two great rivers. Desperately bad in Iran. “The mullahs know that if they go the Gorbachev route and give in a little, they’ll die,” so they’ll fight brutally. Rial: 95,000 to the dollar. Will bare their teeth, show aggression not in a crude way to evince retaliation but to add to the fissures between the EU and the US; then try to make a deal.
Major European co’s are out of Iran; what remains is self-pride. They still favor the JCPOA.
In the dissolution of the old USSR, the crumbling started not at the base but at the top. Look for possible similar symptoms in Iran. We’re some distance away from calculations on the end of the regime.
Michael Doran is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC. He specializes in Middle East security issues. In the administration of President George W. Bush, Doran served in the White House as a senior director in the National Security Council, where he was responsible for helping to devise and coordinate United States strategies on a variety of Middle East issues, including Arab-Israeli relations and U.S. efforts to contain Iran and Syria. He also served in the Bush administration as a senior advisor in the State Department and a deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Pentagon.
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Time to Make Up after Fighting over Iran Michael Doran & Peter Rough
When President Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, he began the process of reimposing sanctions—including drastic penalties for European companies doing business in Iran. That enraged America’s European allies. “With friends like Trump, who needs enemies?” said Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, at a press conference after the announcement.
Mr. Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions was based on a sound reading of vital American and Western security interests. But something basic has been absent from his approach—namely, old-fashioned diplomacy based on a sustained campaign of persuasion. After the president further rankled his European counterparts this month discussing trade at the Group of 7 summit, the need for such a campaign is greater than ever. The administration ought to switch tacks to soothe European anger and keep the trans-Atlantic alliance from fracturing further.
The new Iran policy is, bluntly, one of coercion. Mr. Trump presents companies a harsh choice: You can do business with the U.S., or you can do business with Iran. Coercion works. Within days, major companies like Boeing , Siemens , Total and Lukoil announced they were abandoning the Iranian market. But coercion also generates resentment. European businesses may be dancing to the American tune, but they and their political representatives feel that Mr. Trump is shooting at their feet.
Europe is deluded to interpret the withdrawal as a fit of Trumpian caprice. There were good arguments for mending rather than ending the deal, but the Europeans failed to consider seriously the strengthened terms the Trump administration proposed, including more-thorough nuclear-site inspections and an end to the sunset clauses.
Still, the U.S. hasn’t done enough to convince Europe of the deal’s flaws. It has been more than a decade since senior American officials traveled to Europe with the explicit purpose of explaining the threat Iran poses and the necessity of extraordinary Western actions to counter it. Whereas America had a vigorous debate around the Iran deal, European elites sanctified it, and the Obama administration praised them for it. Over the past year, the . . .
Thursday 26 July 2018 / Hour 2, Block B: Norman T. Roule, in re: Yemen. Bab al Mandaab controls about 15 million [?] Bbl of oil a day, at a ten-mile-wide strait. Ethiopia and Eritrea. Saudis said they’d hold oil while reassessing security. Houthis using Iranian missiles to shoot at Saudi assets. Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Ethiopia Eritrea, UAE, even Qatar, all about to benefit vastly from the Saudi upgrading of the Red Sea Basin. He who controls that waterway also controls food shipments to Europe. Critical piece of geography.
Houthis are 3% of Yemen’s population; the imam kept them under control with hostages. In 2014, they surprised themselves by pushing out the Yemeni govt. The Saudis began a military operation that went nowhere. Very difficult terrain. Iranian missiles could hit all major Saudi cities – Hezbollah nearby??!! Similar situation to Israel’s .
Martin Griffith. The good news is that food continues through Hudeida port ($30 mil/mo), and a cholera epidemic has been pressed back. Iran hasn't been in Yemen since the Seventh Century but is now deeply involved.
Norman T. Roule was the national intelligence manager for Iran and served for 34 years in the Central Intelligence Agency, managing numerous programs relating to the Middle East. His service in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations included roles as division chief, deputy division chief and chief of station. Mr. Roule currently serves as senior advisor to United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and the Counter Extremism Project (CEP).
Thursday 26 July 2018 / Hour 2, Block C: Ambassador Dennis Ross, in re: Palestinians, Gaza. Berm at the Gaza perimeter. A flotilla travelling around the Med for weeks. Does Hamas have a plan anent this lengthy provocation? Mmm – trying to create leverage, a siege of Gaza. Recall that Israel withdrew 100% for Gaza. Only after Hamas tried to create a coup in 2007 did Israel decide to seal the border more than ever . Gaza has 70% unemployment, 3 hours of electricity daily, water not potable; not much sewage treatment. An effort to improve electricity and do something about employment. Requires Europeans to be involved.
Abbas changed: demos against him in Ramallah because of his squeezing electricity; cut back salaries. Israelis formerly allowed 1,000 trucks a day into Gaza; today, 150 because there’s no money. Mladinov of the UN is completely straight, the first such in his role. From the World Bank, $90mil. . . . No electricity: defines a failed state. Gazans would like to have amore normal life. Earlier this year, Hamas was ready to acknowledge failure in governance and have Abbas come in and run Gaza. Abu Mazen wisely said, If and only if you turn over all your guns.
Israel could go in any time and defeat Hamas – but who’d replace it? and the Israelis sure don't want to stay in there indefinitely. Hamas fires rockets into Israel very close to the border to avoid having a real Israeli invitation.
Thursday 26 July 2018 / Hour 2, Block D: Behnam Ben Taleblu, in re: Iran sanctions. Focus on Europe. “Iran is pre-positioning assets” to target the US & Europe with a massive cyberattack in retaliation for the new sanctions regime. Automotive and precious metals targetted in August; then insurance and other major industries in November. Economically, the horse has left the barn; Iran is trying to find a face-saving device. Russians and Chinese; workaround? Yes, Chinese will buy oil. Will the US offer waivers? Escrow account in place? Will China cheat? [Of course!] Germany gave $300 mil in cash! Merkel has animus against the US president and is trying to carve out a special role for Germany in the JCPOA. Combustible.
Is there a German Plan B?
Behnam Ben Taleblu is a Research Fellow where he focuses on Iranian security and political issues. Mr. Taleblu previously served as a Senior Iran Analyst at FDD. Prior to his time at FDD, Mr. Taleblu worked on non-proliferation issues at an arms control think-tank in Washington. Leveraging his subject-matter expertise and native Farsi skills, Mr. Taleblu has closely tracked a wide range of Iran-related topics including: nuclear non-proliferation, ballistic missiles, sanctions, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the foreign and security policy of the Islamic Republic, and internal Iranian politics.
Thursday 26 July 2018 / Hour 3, Block A: Malcolm Hoenlein, in re: A large stone fell from the Western Wall, surprising the daylights out of a woman who was standing there. Crane brought in last night; maintaining proper sanctity.
Romans threw stones over the wall and cracked everything, crushed the street. UNESCO, by a vote of 18 to 5, with 23 abstentions, refused to call on Hamas to release the bodies of civilians and soldiers being held by Hamas. Canada, Uruguay, Mexico, and ____ and _____ only, had the courage to favor this completely humanitarian move.
G77, supposedly nonaligned: 130 countries, usu act as a bloc at the UN. . . . Sukhoi bomber left T4, an Iranian base in Syria; it was shot down by ground-to-air fire from Israel when it flew far into Israeli airspace. Russia said it wasn’t their plane. Pilot died.
Pres Trump declared Turkey an outlaw for having imprisoned Pastor Brunson. Tweet: “The US will impose heavy sanctions on Turkey for [having imprisoned Pastor Brunson].”
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Andrew C. Brunson is an American prisoner in Turkey, arrested in the purges occurring after the aftermath of the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt, imprisoning tens of thousands of Turkish military personnel, civil servants, educators, academics, dissidents, and journalists. Brunson is an evangelical pastor of the Izmir Resurrection Church, a small Protestant church with about 25 congregants
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Thursday 26 July 2018 / Hour 3, Block B: Ambassador Gil Haskel, @GilHaskel, head of MASHAV, Israeli Agency for International Development Cooperation. Goal: to improve the world (“Tikkun”), and relations with other states, and ______. Focussed on training – agriculture, tech, education —to have nations emerge from third-world status. MASHAV was begun five years before USAID. . . . Works with many African nations; so far, 140 countries, incl all sub-Saharan countries, Have directly trained 300,000 professionals, then through them milli0ns other. We’re gender-blind, religion-blind; we work with anyone who wants to work with us.
Since joining the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1992, Ambassador Haskel has represented Israel in a variety of capacities, including, among others, Political Counselor & Spokesman, Embassy of Israel, Tokyo, Japan; Counselor, Head of the North East Asia Desk; Head of the NGO Liaison Unit; and Director of the Economic Affairs Department. In his last capacity, Ambassador Haskel served as Ambassador of the State of Israel to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Seychelles & Permanent Representative to UNON, UNEP & UNHABITAT
Thursday 26 July 2018 / Hour 3, Block C: Tate Watkins, PERC Montana, in re: If a Frog Had Wings, Would It Fly to Louisiana?
Thursday 26 July 2018 / Hour 3, Block D: Tate Watkins, PERC Montana, in re: If a Frog Had Wings, Would It Fly to Louisiana?
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If a Frog Had Wings, Would It Fly to Louisiana? The Supreme Court prepares to weigh whether habitat must be habitable. Whatever it decides, the Endangered Species Act has to do better—by wildlife and landowners alike. By Tate Watkins
“The Endangered Species Act is the pit bull of environmental laws,” Edward Poitevent tells me over shrimp po’boys in a cafe not far from his family’s land in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. “Once it gets ahold of you, it doesn’t let go.”
Poitevent should know. The law first nipped at him in 2011, when he got a phone call from two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists one Friday afternoon. They informed him that roughly 1,500 acres of his family’s property had been designated as critical habitat for the endangered dusky gopher frog, a species that hasn’t been documented in his state for half a century. The agency designated the area despite the fact that the land cannot support the frog without significant changes to it—changes that the landowners say they have no intention of making.
Over the course of seven years, the statute has managed to drag Poitevent all the way to the Supreme Court, which will hear his case in the fall. It will answer the question that has dogged him since he received that phone call: Can land that is uninhabitable by an endangered species be designated as critical habitat for that species?
Long Lost Pines
Longleaf pine savannas once covered 90 million acres across the American South. Fires caused by lightning or set by Native Americans constantly rejuvenated these landscapes, spawning a grassy layer that provided lush habitat for countless species. Today, only about 2 million of those longleaf acres remain. Development and construction are partially responsible, but commercial timber production is the main reason. As long-standing longleaf forests were harvested, timber companies and landowners replaced them with dense plantations of faster growing species like loblolly and slash pine.
Poitevent’s land in St. Tammany Parish is a typical example of this long-term forest transition. The parcel designated as critical habitat is part of a 45,000-acre tract owned by the family and leased by timber giant Weyerhaeuser. The loss of southern longleaf forests has been a boon to generations of Americans from New Orleans to Norfolk who have benefited from the subsequent development. But it’s been mostly bust for the dusky gopher frog, which relies on longleaf savannas for survival.
The amphibian’s historical range stretched along a coastal plain from the Mobile River delta in Alabama, across southern Mississippi, and into southeastern Louisiana. That area contained longleaf ecosystems with the three elements the species requires: so-called “ephemeral” wetlands where the frogs breed, upland forests with open canopies where the frogs live, and habitat that connects the two. The frog spends most of its time in stump holes and tortoise burrows, but shallow ponds that dry up seasonally—and can’t support fish that would prey on its larvae—are crucial. Periodic fire is also necessary to maintain all three elements. Burning rejuvenates the grasses that . . .
Thursday 26 July 2018 / Hour 4, Block A: Restless Creatures: The Story of Life in Ten Movements, by Matt Wilkinson
Thursday 26 July 2018 / Hour 4, Block B: Restless Creatures: The Story of Life in Ten Movements, by Matt Wilkinson
Thursday 26 July 2018 / Hour 4, Block C: The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World, by Andrea Wulf
Thursday 26 July 2018 / Hour 4, Block D: The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World, by Andrea Wulf
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