North Korean hackers stole U.S. and South Korean wartime plans, Seoul lawmaker says

North Korean North Korean hackers stole a huge trove of classified U.S. and South Korean military documents last year, including a plan to “decapitate” the leadership in Pyongyang in the event of war, a lawmaker in Seoul said Tuesday.

The revelations, if substantiated, come at a time of heightened tensions over North Korea, with President Trump most recently saying that “only one thing will work” when it comes to Pyongyang, hinting at military action.

The defense minister in Japan, a close military ally of the United States, said Tuesday that Trump might take such action against North Korea as soon as next month.

“I think President Trump will judge in the middle of November how effective pressure and other efforts have been,” Itsunori Onodera told reporters in Tokyo. “If there have been no changes from North Korea, it’s possible that the U.S. will take severe measures.”

Christian Pilgrims to Jerusalem Spread Economic Blessings During Sukkot

Christian Pilgrims to Jerusalem“ … For them it really represents something that was very holy, … This just shows how they feel their connection to the Jewish people very deeply, going back to the roots of their religion.”

Christian tourists are flooding Jerusalem during the holiday of Sukkot, bringing a blessing to the economy in a manner reminiscent of Jerusalem in the days of the Temple, when pilgrims filled the city’s markets. This faith-based tourism has its own special flavor, connecting Jews and Christians in unexpected ways.

In what is shaping up to be a record year for tourism, the Sukkot holiday was an especially blessed period. According to the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, 739,000 tourists visited Israel in the first quarter of the year, a 24 percent increase from the same period last year, giving an estimated $1.14 billion boost to the economy.

In addition to the holy sites and other tourist attractions that have always attracted people of all religions to Israel, the Sukkot holiday offers a special atmosphere created by the festive booths and many activities and events, both religious and secular. The Ministry of Tourism estimated that the week-long holiday attracted an astounding 47,000 Christians.

Undoubtedly the largest draw for Christians during Sukkot is the week-long Feast of Tabernacles hosted by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ). The event brings over 5,000 Christians from 85 nations to Jerusalem, and though their intention is to bless the nation of Abraham and to be blessed in return, hosting these well-minded pilgrims brings an economic blessing as well.

Most of the activities are centered around the Jerusalem Pais Arena, where spiritual leaders and teachers address the crowds. Like secular conferences, the Feast attracts …

Viewing Enemy Regimes as They Are, Not as We Wish They Were

trump-iran* Experience has shown that soft rhetoric and so-called “smart diplomacy” have served only to enable North Korea and Iran to produce more nuclear weapons and better ballistic missiles.

* Not only has the International Atomic Energy Agency (IEAE) been prevented from monitoring Iranian compliance, but it is not pushing the issue for fear that “Washington would use an Iranian refusal as an excuse to abandon the JCPOA.”

During his first press conference after taking office in January 1981, US President Ronald Reagan called détente a “one-way street that the Soviet Union has used to pursue its own aims.” Echoing this remark while addressing reporters later the same day, Secretary of State Alexander Haig said that the Soviets were the source of much support for international terrorism, especially in Latin and Central America.

The following day, both Reagan and Haig were criticized for their remarks, with members of the media describing the president's words as “reminiscent of the chilliest days of the Cold War,” and appalled that the administration's top diplomat was accusing the Russians of backing terrorist activities.

Nearly four decades later, in spite of the successful defeat of the Soviet empire, the White House is still frowned upon when it adopts a tough stance towards America's enemies. Today's outrage is directed at President Donald Trump's warnings about — and to — North Korea and Iran. Top Democrats' attack his remarks as being “reckless” and “irresponsible.”

Critics of Trump's attitude towards Tehran go equally far, describing his opposition to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — the nuclear deal with Iran — as “rushing headlong into war.”

Trump's detractors, however, are just as wrong as those who berated Reagan in 1981. Experience has shown that soft rhetoric and so-called “smart diplomacy” have served only to enable …

Adelson Shares Disappointment With Trump Over Stalled Embassy Move

(Above) Sheldon Adelson and Dr. Miriam Adelson

Jewish casino magnate and pro-Israel philanthropist Sheldon Adelson met with U.S. President Donald Trump Monday night, according to Israel’s Channel 2 television news.

The business mogul reportedly expressed disappointment that the U.S. Embassy has not yet been moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – one of Trump’s campaign promises to the Jewish community.

Adelson has been a major supporter of the Republican Party, and donated millions of dollars to Trump’s presidential campaign.

In May 2017, Trump signed the six-month waiver that officially postpones the necessity of complying the with American law that mandates the transfer of the embassy to Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem, for “reasons of national security.”

Senior Figures Call for UK to Ban Muslim Brotherhood

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (Photo: Reuters)

There’s growing pressure on the British government to ban Muslim brotherhood activities in the UK.

Calls from a bipartisan group of MPs and a parliamentary committee urging engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood were also rejected by UK governmental officials.

Citing the group’s “high ambiguous relationship with violence extremism,” officials said that since the time of former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi (from the Brotherhood party) and up until the present, the Brotherhood had not done enough to demonstrate political moderation or a commitment to democratic values.

A previous report by former UK prime minister David Cameron’s government rejected the myth that the Brotherhood is “moderate” and the false notion that it is “non-violent.”

Russia says Tahrir al-Sham leader critically injured

The Russian Defense Ministry said Abu Mohammad al-Julani, the leader of Tahrir al-Sham and formerly the leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, was critically injured in an air strike in Syria.

Abu Mohammad al-Julani Photo credit: Wikipedia/Channel 2 News

Russia says it has critically injured Abu Mohammad al-Julani, one of the leaders of Tahrir al-Sham, in an air strike in Syria.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, 12 other senior commanders of the terrorist group were also injured in the strike. Al-Julani, though, is said to have been the main target of the operation.

“As a result of the strike, al-Julani took several hits from ricochets, lost an arm and he is now in critical condition,” said Igor Yevgenyevich Konashenkov, a spokesman for the ministry.

Al-Julani was formerly the leader of Jabhat al-Nusra until it merged with four other groups to form Tahrir al-Sham. It then said it had cut its ties with al-Qaeda, though the United States still considers it part of the al-Qaeda Syrian network.

Konashenkov added that the strike was part of a long-term operation targeted at those responsible for the encirclement of 29 Russian military police officers outside Idlib on September 18.

Saudi Women Behind the Wheel: Prince Mohammed's Litmus Test

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 604, October 4, 2017

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Saudi Arabia’s long-awaited lifting of a ban on women’s driving, widely viewed as a symbol of Saudi misogyny, will likely serve as a litmus test for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ability to introduce economic and social reforms despite conservative opposition. It also distracts attention from international criticism of the kingdom’s war in Yemen and charges by human rights groups, as well as some Muslim leaders, that the kingdom fosters sectarianism and prejudice against non-Muslims.

If last week’s national day celebrations, during which women were for the first time allowed to enter a stadium, is anything to go by, opposition to the lifting of Saudi Arabia’s ban on women’s driving is likely to be limited to protests on social media.

To be sure, thousands welcomed both moves. Moreover, Saudi media reported that senior Islamic scholars who have opposed expanding women’s rights for decades, some of whom have criticized Prince Mohammed’s effort to expand entertainment opportunities in the kingdom, said they saw no religious objection to women’s driving.

Conservatives couched their rejection of enhancing women’s rights as a response to the national day celebrations. “Patriotism does not mean sin,” said one critic on Twitter. “Of course, what is happening does not please God and his prophet. Patriotism is not dancing, free mixing, losing decency and playing music. What strange times.”

video of a man telling celebrating crowds that they have “no shame, no religion, no tribe” was widely shared on social media.

Hundreds of thousands used an Arabic hashtag demanding the restoration of powers to the kingdom’s religious police, whose ability to strictly enforce ultra-conservative Sunni Muslim moral codes was curbed last year.

Claiming Las Vegas Is an ISIS Win Whoever Did It

Islamic State claimed responsibility claimed responsibility for the worst mass shooting in American history, the atrocity in Las Vegas. They described gunman Stephen Paddock as a “soldier of the Islamic State” who had “converted to Islam several months ago.”

Click through to see the video
published on the Fox Business YouTube channel, May 26, 2017. Retired CIA Operations Officer Sam Faddis on Las Vegas police warning hotels and casinos about ISIS threat video.

Yet just because the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) claimed it as a terrorist attack, that does not mean they carried it out. Police have not yet released further information about the gunman and his motives. Clear evidence has not yet emerged linking the gunman to ISIS. The FBI claims the massacre has no connection to terrorism.

So did they do it? To a certain extent it doesn’t actually matter.

Amaq news agency, the semi-official Islamic State news agency, does not normally outright lie about terror incidents, notes Graeme Wood, an Islamic State expert, writing in The Atlantic. However it would not be the first time it has done so, Wood points out.


RUSSIAN OPERATIVES USED FACEBOOKThe batch of more than 3,000 Russian-bought ads that Facebook is preparing to turn over to Congress shows a deep understanding of social divides in American society, with some ads promoting African American rights groups, including Black Lives Matter, and others suggesting that these same groups pose a rising political threat, say people familiar with the covert influence campaign.

The Russian campaign — taking advantage of Facebook’s ability to send contrary messages to different groups of users based on their political and demographic characteristics — also sought to sow discord among religious groups. Other ads highlighted support for Democrat Hillary Clinton among Muslim women.

These targeted messages, along with others that have surfaced in recent days, highlight the sophistication of an influence campaign slickly crafted to mimic and infiltrate U.S. political discourse while also seeking to heighten tensions between groups already wary of one another.

The nature and detail of these ads have troubled investigators at Facebook, on Capitol Hill and at the Justice Department, say people familiar with the advertisements, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share matters still under investigation.

The House and Senate intelligence committees plan to begin reviewing the Facebook ads in coming weeks as they attempt to untangle the operation and other matters related to Russia’s bid to help elect Donald Trump president in 2016.

“Their aim was to sow chaos,” said Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “In many ­cases, it was more about voter suppression rather than increasing turnout.”

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, said he hoped the public would be able to review the ad campaign.

“I think the American people should see a representative sample of these ads to see how cynical the Russians were using these ads to sow division within our society,” he said. Schiff had not yet seen the ads but was briefed on them, he said, including the ones mentioning “things like Black Lives Matter.”

The ads that Facebook found raise troubling questions for a social networking and advertising platform that reaches 2 billion people each month, and they offer a rare window into how Russian operatives carried out their information operations during an especially tumultuous period in U.S. politics.

Investigators at Facebook discovered the Russian ads in recent weeks, the company has said, after months of trying in vain to trace disinformation efforts to Russia. The company said it has identified at least $100,000 in ads purchased through 470 phony Facebook pages and accounts. Facebook said this spending represented a tiny fraction of the political advertising …


President Donald TrumpPresident Donald Trump’s address to the UN last week received considerable attention for what he actually said. No less interesting, however, is what he didn’t say. The speech contained zero mention of the Palestinians, zero mention of their conflict with Israel, and zero mention of the peace process Trump has been trying to revive.

This omission isn’t unprecedented, but it is unusual; most U.S. presidents have included the Israeli-Palestinian issue in their annual UN addresses. And it seems especially surprising for a president who has repeatedly declared Israeli-Palestinian peace to be one of his major foreign policy goals.Yet the omission is perfectly consistent with Trump’s approach to the peace process to date, which has differed markedly from that of all his predecessors in one crucial regard: He appears to be trying to apply serious pressure to the Palestinians rather than only to Israel.

Take, for instance, his administration’s consistent refusal to say that the goal of the peace process is a two-state solution. Since efforts to achieve a two-state solution have repeatedly failed for almost 25 years now, it makes obvious sense for anyone who’s serious about trying to solve the conflict to at least consider whether this is really the most workable option. But even if, as seems likely, the administration actually does believe in the two-state solution, refusing to publicly commit to it serves an important purpose.

That’s because insisting that the end goal be a Palestinian state is a major concession to the Palestinians—something that has unfortunately been forgotten over the last quarter century. After all, throughout Israel’s first 45 years of existence, there was almost wall-to-wall consensus among Israelis that a Palestinian state would endanger their country. Even the 1993 Oslo Accord included no mention of Palestinian statehood, and the man who signed it, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, asserted in his final address to the Knesset in 1995 that he envisioned a “Palestinian entity . . . which is less than a state.”

Yet to date, this significant concession to the Palestinians has never been accompanied by a corresponding Palestinian concession to Israel. Though the Palestinians insist on a Palestinian nation-state, they still refuse to accept a Jewish nation-state alongside it. Instead, they demand that millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees be allowed to relocate to Israel, turning it into a binational state.

Nor has this major concession to the Palestinians been accompanied by a corresponding international concession to Israel. The European Union, for instance, repeatedly makes very specific demands of Israel, insisting that it accept a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines and Jerusalem as the capital of two states. But the EU has never demanded that the Palestinians accept a Jewish state or give up their idea of relocating millions of Palestinians to Israel. Instead, it merely calls for an unspecified “just, fair, agreed and realistic solution” to the Palestinian refugee problem, which the Palestinians–who view flooding Israel with millions of Palestinians as the only “just” solution–can easily interpret as support for their position.

In short, until Trump came along, the Palestinians won this major concession for free. Now, by refusing to declare a two-state solution as his goal, he has essentially told the Palestinians, for the first time in the history of the peace process, that every concession they previously pocketed is reversible unless and until they actually sign a deal. In other words, for the first time in the history of the peace process, he has told the Palestinians they have something to lose by intransigence. And if they want to reinstate America’s commitment to a Palestinian state, they will have to give something in exchange.

The same goes for Trump’s refusal even to mention the Palestinians in his UN speech. When former Secretary of State John Kerry repeatedly insisted that

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