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Lois Lerner’s Missing Emails Are Now Subject of Criminal Probe

By Stephen Dinan     •     The Washington Post

Lois Lerner IRSThe IRS’s inspector general confirmed Thursday it is conducting a criminal investigation into how Lois G. Lerner’s emails disappeared, saying it took only two weeks for investigators to find hundreds of tapes the agency’s chief had told Congress were irretrievably destroyed.

Investigators have already scoured 744 backup tapes and gleaned 32,774 unique emails, but just two weeks ago they found an additional 424 tapes that could contain even more Lerner emails, Deputy Inspector General Timothy P. Camus told the House Oversight Committee in a rare late-night hearing meant to look into the status of the investigation.

“There is potential criminal activity,” Mr. Camus said. [Read more...]

The Impotence Machine: Don’t Bother Referring ISIS to the ICC

ICC2By Shawn Macomber

In response to the recent awful-yet-sadly predictable video of Islamic State fighters destroying irreplaceable ancient artifacts in Mosul, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has come up with a brilliant plan — refer members of the apocalyptic cult to the International Criminal Court!

“We are expecting some reaction from the International Criminal Court,” Irina Bokova told reporters in Paris. “It’s very important because it will mobilize a big part of the international community.”

To which one might reply, “Mobilize how?”

[Read more...]

Crusaders and Appeasers

By Charles Krauthammer     •     The Washington Post

Smug-ObamaHis secretary of defense says, “The world is exploding all over.” His attorney general says that the threat of terror “keeps me up at night.” The world bears them out. On Tuesday, American hostage Kayla Mueller is confirmed dead. On Wednesday, the U.S. evacuates its embassy in Yemen, a country cited by President Obama last September as an American success in fighting terrorism.

Yet Obama’s reaction to, shall we say, turmoil abroad has been one of alarming lassitude and passivity. [Read more...]

Amnesty International Should Rethink Its ICC Love

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By Shawn Macomber

The 2014/2015 Amnesty International Report declares “a roadmap towards silencing all guns in Africa must be embraced and driven forwards.”

This, Amnesty naturally and sincerely believes, will require “a far more robust, consistent and coherent approach” — all well and good so far as it goes…right up until the storied institution cites the persistently inconsistent, utterly incoherent International Criminal Court as one of its preferred primary arbiters of justice:

[Read more...]

The Georgraphy of Jihad: The Role of Missile Terrorism

by Peter Huessy

isis-militants-iraq terroristIn 2012, Robert Kaplan wrote in the “The Revenge of Geography” that countries of the “Heartland” and “Rimland”, stretching from North Korea southward through South Asia and into the Middle East were locked into a “deathly geographical embrace of overlapping missile ranges” as they seek to bolster their military capability by building long range rockets capable of coercing, terrorizing or blackmailing their neighbors. [ (1) “Kaplan Elevates the Place” by Alan Cate, in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, on September 18, 2012.]

Missiles Everywhere

In the past year, we have seen Hamas, an agent of Iran, try a new kind of diplomacy, if you will, while launching over 4500 rockets at Israel. [ (2) “The hidden intelligence agendas behind Hamas’ 1,000-rocket barrage”, July 14, 2014 DEBKAfile, Exclusive Report.] [Read more...]

Acute Flaccid Myelitis in Children

by Peter Bernad, MD, MPH, FACP

sick-child-vaccines-medicineRecently there have been reports of a “new” condition as reported in various journals and recent publications regarding an outbreak nationwide of acute flaccid myelitis in children.

In the past, this syndrome was invariably caused by an infection of 1 of the 3 types of polio virus. The mere mention of polio virus raises concerns among the American population, as well as physicians who are used to practicing in the 1950s into the 1960s. There are illnesses that clinically resemble polio virus infection that is polio, which may be caused by other Enteroviruses. These include Coxsackie viruses groups A and B, Japanese Encephalitis Virus, West Nile Virus, and now the cases of acute flaccid myelitis seen in children. There have been a number of deaths reported nationwide. This particular illness is thought to be related to an Enterovirus 68. That link is still being confirmed. [Read more...]

The Budget Caps and America’s Security Needs

by Peter Huessy

Income inequality cash moneyThe President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget makes a defense spending request that exceeds the Budget Control Act (BCA) spending cap for FY16 by $35 billion with a “base” defense spending request of $534 billion, while also asking Congress for an additional $51 billion for what is known as Overseas Contingency Operations(OCO) that are, under law, not subject to the spending caps.

Of the amount requested by the President, for what is known as the “base” defense budget, $209.8 billion is for operations and maintenance (O&M), $107.7 billion is for procurement, and $69.8 billion for research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E).The remaining costs (largely personnel) are exempt from any cuts.

For the OCO accounts, $40.2 billion is for O&M, and $7.3 billion is requested for procurement with half of that for the US Army. [Read more...]

Coalition Letter Opposing Blocking Parental Access to Critical Vaccinations

Coalition

To: Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CC: CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices

Dear Dr. Frieden and CDC Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices Members,

We write to you today in support of a family’s right to access to safe, effective vaccines for their children. Vaccines have saved millions of lives since their invention and near universal vaccination rates have eradicated a number of horrible diseases from small pox to polio. Unfortunately certain diseases like Meningitis B, the cause of 40% of all meningitis cases in 2012, could persist because the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) may opt to block access to life-­‐saving vaccinations.

In late February, your Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will meet to determine the accessibility of two vaccines the Food and Drug administration recently approved to prevent Meningitis B. ACIP, and therefore CDC, appears poised to recommend its usage only for “high-­‐risk group/outbreaks,” meaning private health insurance will cover the cost of vaccination only after an outbreak of this deadly disease has occurred. [Read more...]

The Administration’s Defense Budget

by Peter Huessy

patriot missile defenseThe President’s defense budget has been submitted to Congress and at $585 billion is getting a lot of attention.

One area of controversy is the nuclear modernization accounts which will receive at least an additional $1.2 billion in funding, from a $23.5 billion level for the current fiscal year. They account for 4% of the defense accounts and 0.6% of the Federal budget.

Included is more modernization funding for warhead activities, the Ohio class submarine replacement program, a new long range bomber and a follow-on air launched cruise missiles, as well as the land based Minuteman missiles or ground based strategic deterrent. [Read more...]

China’s Secret Strategy Exposed

Beijing Plots to Surpass U.S. in Coming Decades

by Bill Gertz     •     The Washington Free Beacon

ChinaChina launched a secret 100-year modernization program that deceived successive U.S. administrations into unknowingly promoting Beijing’s strategy of replacing the U.S.-led world order with a Chinese communist-dominated economic and political system, according to a new book by a longtime Pentagon China specialist.

For more than four decades, Chinese leaders lulled presidents, cabinet secretaries, and other government analysts and policymakers into falsely assessing China as a benign power deserving of U.S. support, says Michael Pillsbury, the Mandarin-speaking analyst who has worked on China policy and intelligence issues for every U.S. administration since Richard Nixon.

The secret strategy, based on ancient Chinese statecraft, produced a large-scale transfer of cash, technology, and expertise that bolstered military and Communist Party “superhawks” in China who are now taking steps to catch up to and ultimately surpass the United States, Pillsbury concludes in a book published this week. [Read more...]

Nuclear Talks with Iran to Fail

by Lawrence A. Franklin

Obama IranThe Obama Administration’s efforts to negotiate a verifiable agreement with Iran which would limit the Islamic Republic’s capability to develop a nuclear weapon — will fail—because of Iran’s domestic political dynamics.

A decade of efforts by European and American diplomats, combined with effective sanctions as well as Iran’s disingenuous public diplomacy strategy, did succeed in bringing Tehran to the negotiating table. However, despite some support for an agreement within President Rouhani’s circles, regime hardliners have begun to signal that they will not tolerate an agreement with the West. [Read more...]

Friends In High Places: Why North Korea Does Not Fear the ICC

icc 3

By Shawn Macomber

Ever wonder why the official International Criminal Court logo has a set of scales but no equivalent of the blindfolded “Lady Justice”? Kim Jong-un doesn’t — he and the rest of the fanatical gangsters running the nationwide gulag that is now the hermit kingdom understand they will get a free pass from rent-seeking internationalists who are more interested in the power and prestige of the Court than any unbiased pursuit of justice.

Via Reuters:

[Read more...]

Mission Creep: Is the ICC Circling American Troops?

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By Shawn Macomber

In a troubling report over at the Heritage Foundation entitled “U.S. Refusal to Ratify Rome Statute Vindicated by ICC Afghanistan Report,” Brett D. Schaefer and Steven Groves take a deep dive into the Office of the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court’s annual Report on Preliminary Examination Activities, which, the scholars note, “indicates more clearly than ever before that the ICC is contemplating opening a criminal investigation that could include charges against U.S. persons.”

[Read more...]

Has the ICC Failed Africans?

icc 3 By Ibtihal Khidir

“The Chamber noted factors including the Prosecution’s admission that the evidentiary basis remains insufficient to support a conviction and the Prosecution’s concession that it remains speculative whether the information sought in the cooperation request would, even if obtained, be sufficient to support the charges…”

So reads a statement issued by the International Criminal Court Trial Chamber shortly after the Court’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda backed away from its pursuit of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The term “Lawfare,” as defined by the Lawfare Project, “denotes the use of the law as a weapon of war, or more specifically, the abuse of the law and legal systems for strategic political or military ends.”

Could there be a better description of the International Criminal Court’s ambiguous and selective prosecutions, particularly in Africa?

Does anyone seriously doubt there are open-and-shut cases that could be more effectively brought against nations outside Africa if those nations lacked powerful friends and benefactors? Is Kenya seriously on par with, oh, North Korea?

“I supported the court at first because I like discipline,” Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni said. “I don’t want people to err without accountability…but they have turned it into a vessel for oppressing Africa again so I’m done with that court. I won’t work with them again.”

The hands of all African leaders are not free of blood, of course, yet many Africans are beginning to see the ICC less as a fair and lawful entity than a club of cynics arbitrarily imposing its operational and political agenda.

By failing to establish itself as an institution of credibility, and using its own yardstick and political motives to promote a so-called justice, the ICC fails Africans as well.

British Lawyers: Failed ICC Prosecution of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta “Very, Very Amateur”

ICC 1By Shawn Macomber

It’s not as if one would expect the defense attorneys who secured the dismissal of various crimes against humanity charges against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the International Criminal Court last year to be sending metaphorical roses to Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda through the media, but the comments recently recorded by The Independent go a long way to elucidating the structural issues within the way the Court does business — and how a mission to achieve justice can quickly morph into the sort of campaign of self-congratulations that irrevocably undermine it.

Kenyatta’s team claimed that prosecution witnesses had made up their accounts for personal gain, and they fell apart under the scrutiny of the £1m-plus investigation on behalf of one of the continent’s wealthiest men. “It needs a new director of investigations [for the ICC] to subject their procedures to the microscope from top to bottom and put it in a 21st-century context,” said Gary Summers, part of the legal team for Kenyatta. “[It was] just very, very amateur with a lack of professionalism and a lack of rigour”…

“Everybody wanted to have prosecuted and convicted a senior African politician to justify their institution,” said Kenyatta’s lawyer, Steven Kay QC. “Because it was an African leader, as far as they were concerned, they didn’t have to provide the same standards as they would do in other cases.”

Bensouda, naturally, interprets the state of play quite differently, blaming Kenyan government’s lack of cooperation for the debacle.

[Read more...]