Friday, May 14, 2021


How Israel moves Gazan civilians out of the way of attacks on Hamas


Reuters and Israel Hayom 

May 14, 2021



A photo shows the rubble of a 13-story apartment building in the Al-Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City after it was bombed by Israeli forces on May 11, 2021. Israeli troops reportedly warned residents before the attack. (Photo: Mustafa Hassona/Andalou Agency via Getty Images) Israeli forces bombed a 13-story apartment building in the Al-Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City on May 11, 2021. Israeli troops reportedly warned residents before the attack.


The building watchman spoke on his mobile intently, pacing up and down a quiet street in the Gaza Strip. In video footage caught by an onlooker, Jamal Nasman showed no panic. Yet what he was hearing was deadly serious.

He later told Reuters an Israeli officer had been giving him advance warning that the 13-story block he looked after would be the target of an airstrike. Israel said Hamas terrorists used the building.

Amid the fiercest escalation in fighting between Israelis and Palestinians since 2014, this is what Nasman said in Tuesday's call:

"How much time do you want?" Nasman stops to listen. "Two or three hours? You said two or three hours, and then no one should be there?" Pause. "So I'll go to the block and say no one should come?"

Another man leans in, eager to hear the caller. "Ok, got it. The drone will hit it once and then two more times." Pause. "Then you'll strike the block." The 67-year-old father of eight stops again. "Yes, right, no problem, just a moment ... everyone has exited the building, even those from the buildings around are standing on the road - there is no one."

The building that had housed residential apartments and Hamas offices, which Israel said included intelligence and military operations, was evacuated. First, small missiles struck the block in Gaza City's Rimal district, then boom, the building crumbled, footage showed. Hours after it was destroyed, Israel confirmed it had given a prior warning for civilians to leave.

It says it makes every effort to preserve civilian life while Hamas uses civilian areas to mount operations, such as planning attacks or firing rockets at Israeli towns and cities.

While Gaza residents and other Palestinians say the vast majority of sites are hit without prior warning, the mobile exchange that preceded the strike on the Rimal block has become a more common feature of conflict since 2014's Operation Protective Edge: The Israel Defense Forces makes a call, tells residents to evacuate, tap-tap-tap go the small missiles as a final warning - and then a big one brings the building down.

Roof-knock munitions

"We select warheads with the necessary lethality to hit those who need to be hit, and to reduce the impact on others," said an Israeli official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, saying careful intelligence preceded the strikes.

"Roof-knock munitions have also been used as part of our warnings on residents to get out in advance," he said. Operations by Hamas turn the buildings into legitimate targets, he said.

Footage by residents using smartphones, or recorded by Israel's military or the media, have shown blasts that are contained to a single apartment or bring down a tower block while buildings next door stay standing.

In other cases, television footage has shown residential blocks and ordinary homes in Gaza shattered or destroyed by blasts, whether from direct hits or collateral damage, along with the dead and wounded being carried away.

"Even assuming, as the Israeli government claims, that a 13-story residential tower in Gaza housed 'an office that is used by the political leadership of Hamas, how is it proportionate for an Israeli airstrike to destroy the entire building?" Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, asked on Twitter.

Giora Eiland, a former IDF general and national security adviser, described Gaza high-rises targeted as crucial assets of Hamas, saying hitting them was "certainly legal and even compulsory for a country that wants to conclude a war."

Israeli commentator on Arab affairs Shimrit Meir said some of the apartment blocks where Hamas had operations were also homes for members of Gaza's wealthier Palestinian elite. When they were destroyed, she said, it added to pressure on the group.

"It spells an almost impossible duress for Hamas to deal with," Meir said, citing the Rimal district block as an example.


Israeli Army Lures Hamas Into Death Trap


Israel Today 

May 14, 2021

Israel lures Hamas into a death trap

Everyone was convinced that Israel’s ground invasion of the Gaza Strip was going to begin yesterday evening. None more so than Hamas.

At Israel Today we received a number of messages from both concerned readers and sources in the country who believed that full-scale war was imminent.

But that’s what the IDF wanted everyone to think.

Through a series of moves on the ground and messages through social media, the Israeli army laid the trap. And Hamas was quick to take the bait.

In preparation for the soon-arriving Israeli troops, Hamas fighters scurried into their massive network of attack and operations tunnels that the IDF is calling the “Hamas Metro.”

And just then, a massive coordinated bombardment of the Hamas Metro by combined Israeli forces began.

Combined Israeli forces unleashed a withering assault.

It was the most powerful and significant Israeli attack since the start of Operation Guardians of the Walls. Throughout Thursday night, approximately 160 Israel Air Force (IAF) aircraft from 12 squadrons struck over 150 underground targets in the northern Gaza Strip.

Parallel to the Air Force strikes, artillery and armored troops deployed along the border and fired hundreds of artillery shells and dozens of tank shells against these targets.

The objective of the concentrated fire was to severely damage the strategically-important Hamas tunnels, and many kilometers of the underground network was destroyed.

The destruction in Gaza has been severe. Israel insists that Hamas bears all the blame.

An IDF spokesman said in a briefing Friday morning that the IAF dropped some 450 bombs on the tunnels.

“It should be understood that such an attack requires full synchronization, with a lot of forces, intelligence, land and air,” he said.

“Around the time of the attack on the Metro, the IAF also pounded weapons depots and launchers. In addition, launch pads that were opened to launch rockets into Israeli territory in response to the Metro attack were also attacked,” he added.

The spokesman further underscored that Israel was not seeking a ceasefire at this point and still had a long list of military objectives to achieve in its counterterrorism offense against the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations.

Gaza-based terrorists continued their attacks on Israeli cities and towns on Friday, and hundreds of thousands of Israelis were forced to run for a bomb shelter at some point over the past 24 hours..

Military officials noted that following the assault on the Hamas Metro, major rocket barrages on Tel Aviv and the center of the country deceased significantly. But, of course, things can change at any moment.

Thursday, May 13, 2021


3 Arrested After $500,000 Watch Is Stolen Off The Wrist Of Beverly Hills Restaurant Patron
LAPPL News Watch
May 13, 2021

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Three alleged gang members were arrested in the armed robbery of a man’s $500,000 watch while he was eating lunch outdoors at an Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills, authorities said Wednesday. 
A woman was shot in the leg during a struggle over the gun used in the March 4 holdup at Il Pastaio on Canon Drive. 
The three suspects, who were arrested Tuesday, were members of the Rollin’ 30s Crips, a South Los Angeles street gang, authorities said. 
Malik Lamont Powell, 20, Khai McGhee, 18, and Marquise Anthony Gardon, 30, each face up to 20 years in prison on a federal charge of conspiracy to commit robbery. Two other suspects remain at large. 
Police have not yet found the rare wristwatch the men are accused of stealing: a rose-gold Richard Mille RM 11-03 Flyback Chronograph, which is popular with celebrities. 
Surveillance video shows the suspects scouting the area around the restaurant before the robbery, according to a court statement by FBI agent Michael Fukuda. Three of the suspects were wearing hoods when they reached the crowded sidewalk terrace where jeweler Shay Belhassen was eating lunch just after 2 p.m. One of them, Fukuda, put a gun to Belhassen’s head and told him: “Give it to me.” Two others yanked Belhassen’s watch from his wrist.


A Rising Rapper, An Ill-Fated Instagram Post And A Killing In The Hollywood Hills


LAPPL News Watch

May 13, 2021


19 k mentions J’aime, 243 commentaires - POP SMOKE FAN PAGE πŸ€΄πŸΎπŸ’« (@rpopsmoke) sur Instagram : "Long Live Pop Smoke πŸ˜”πŸ’”πŸ™πŸΎ #popsmoke #rippopsmoke" Rapper Wallpaper Iphone, Rappers, Pop, Cute Rappers, Aesthetic Pictures, Photo, Music Artists, Aesthetic Images, Rap Wallpaper
At 2 a.m., a black BMW rolled past a house the rapper Pop Smoke was renting in the Hollywood Hills. The driver circled back and stopped. A security camera across the street captured a passenger getting out and sneaking toward the back of the house before returning a minute later. The car sped off. 
The budding rap star was a few miles away at a recording studio on Sunset Boulevard. He returned two hours later and again a car pulled up — an Infiniti sedan with its headlights off. 
This time, four people emerged and slipped into the shadows along the side of the house. Ten minutes later, three of them ran back into the camera’s frame. The footage showed the fourth walk out the front door holding a purse and a gun. 
Inside, the musician lay sprawled at the foot of a staircase, dying from a gunshot wound to the chest. 
The death of Pop Smoke, whose real name was Bashar Barakah Jackson, stunned the music world in February of last year. Now, details of the slaying and how detectives tracked his alleged killers have come to light. In court last week, 
LAPD detectives described a home invasion they allege spiraled quickly into murder. A heist conceived by teenagers, the crime was as brazen as it was pointless — a killing that robbed the rap world of one of its brightest young artists, while netting the alleged killers a watch they sold for just $2,000. 
Dead at 20, Jackson would not know the breadth of the critical acclaim and commercial success his music received after he was gone.


by Bob Walsh

Jimmy Inn was a local boy.  He was a Stockton police officer.  He was 30 years when he was shot to death Tuesday.  The information available is a bit thin right now but apparently he arrived at the scene of a domestic disturbance and found an adult man strangling a young child.  The situation went downhill fast and both the man and the officer died of gunshot wounds.

Officer Inn is survived by his wife Tela, who is also a local girl and a Stockton P D officer, and a 7-month old child.

RIP brother.


But It Does Happen Too Often

by Bob Walsh

A two-year old child in Maine picked up a loaded handgun off a night stand and shot both of his parents, injuring himself slightly in the process when the gun recoiled and hit him in the face.  The weapon was a 9mm pistol.

Daddy was shot in the head.  Mom in the leg.  Neither are life-threatening wounds.

The cops are investigating.  I do not know if Maine has any firearms storage legal requirements.


AOC slams Biden for Israel support and taking ‘the side of occupation’ 


By Emily Jacobs


New York Post

May 13, 2021



      (L-R) Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, AOC and Ayanna Pressley


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is hitting President Biden over his comments supporting Israel and accusing him of taking “the side of occupation” — as tensions in the region reignite, with the Israel Defense Forces responding to Palestinian militants showering rockets over Israeli cities.

Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) made the remarks Wednesday on Twitter, responding to the 46th commander-in-chief saying earlier that day that Israel “has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory.”

Biden on Wednesday spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reaffirm US support for Israel.

“I had a conversation with Bibi Netanyahu not so long ago,” Biden told reporters at the White House.

“My expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner than later. But Israel has a right to defend itself against thousands of rockets flying into your territory.”

“Blanket statements like these w/ little context or acknowledgement of what precipitated this cycle of violence — namely, the expulsions of Palestinians and attacks on Al Aqsa — dehumanize Palestinians & imply the US will look the other way at human rights violations,” AOC wrote on the social media platform, adding, “It’s wrong.”

In a follow-up tweet, the progressive pol conceded that Hamas’ behavior was “condemnable.”

“By only stepping in to name Hamas’ actions — which are condemnable — & refusing to acknowledge the rights of Palestinians, Biden reinforces the false idea that Palestinians instigated this cycle of violence.

“This is not neutral language. It takes a side — the side of occupation.”

Tel Aviv came under a barrage of 130 rockets launched by Hamas from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, sending residents fleeing for shelter as air raid sirens blared across Israel’s second-largest city.

Israel’s Iron Dome defense system was activated Tuesday night, with the streaks of multiple interceptor missiles lighting up the skies over the area.

The heavy bombardment came after an Israeli strike earlier Tuesday evening that leveled a high-rise building in Gaza that housed the offices of several top Hamas officials. That strike had come in retaliation for earlier Hamas aggression.

Both sides had been firing at each other throughout the day, in some of the worst fighting between Israel and the terror group since their 2014 war.

As of Thursday, at least 83 people have been killed in Gaza since the hostilities erupted Monday. About 400 Palestinians have been injured.

On the Israeli side, seven people have been killed, including a 21-year-old soldier.

In total, more than 1,600 rockets have been fired at Israel since Monday, with 400 falling short, according to the latest figures from the Israel Defense Forces.

Members of AOC’s progressive “Squad” have come out in recent days to accuse Israel of “terrorism” and calling for a shift in US policy toward the Jewish state.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) blasted Israel for committing an “act of terrorism” by launching airstrikes into the Gaza Strip after Hamas and other Islamic militants bombarded multiple locations in Israel with rockets.

“Israeli air strikes killing civilians in Gaza is an act of terrorism. Palestinians deserve protection. Unlike Israel, missile defense programs, such as Iron Dome, don’t exist to protect Palestinian civilians. It’s unconscionable to not condemn these attacks on the week of Eid,” she tweeted Monday, referring to Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that ends the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Omar’s tweet came shortly after the Gaza Ministry of Health announced the airstrikes led to 20 fatalities — with Israel announcing at least 16 were militants, according to ABC News.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who is of Palestinian descent, tweeted, “American taxpayer money is being used to commit human rights violations. Congress must condition the aid we send to Israel, and end it altogether if those conditions are not followed. Statements aren’t working @SecBlinken. Enough is enough.” 

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) chimed in, announcing her support for Palestinians and jabbing Israel amid the tension.

“I stand in solidarity with the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem who are being forcibly removed from their homes — in the middle of a pandemic, during Ramadan. This is unacceptable,” the Massachusetts pol wrote.

Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter as well to echo the sentiment, and blast “inhumane” Israel for “inflicting violence.”

“We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem. Israeli forces are forcing families from their homes during Ramadan and inflicting violence. It is inhumane and the US must show leadership in safeguarding the human rights of Palestinians,” AOC wrote.


‘A call for American renewal’: A manifesto from over 150 Republican Party reformers


Submitted to the Deseret News 

May 13, 2021

Editor’s note: In the wake of Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-WY) ouster from GOP House leadership, this statement of principles, organized by Evan McMullin and Miles Taylor and signed by more than 150 prominent conservatives, announces a new political movement dedicated “to our founding ideals” and “a rebirth of the American cause.” Among the signers are four former governors, including Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford; 27 former members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Barbara Comstock, Charlie Dent and Paul Mitchell; and one former Senator David Durenberger. Other prominent names include attorney George Conway, husband of senior Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway; White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci; former Department of Homeland Security official Elizabeth Neumann; and former DHS general counsel John Mitnick.

These United States, born of noble convictions and aspiring to high purpose, have been an exemplar of self-government to humankind. Thus, when in our democratic republic, forces of conspiracy, division, and despotism arise, it is the patriotic duty of citizens to act collectively in defense of liberty and justice. We, therefore, declare our intent to catalyze an American renewal, and to either reimagine a party dedicated to our founding ideals or else hasten the creation of such an alternative. We call for a rebirth of the American cause and do so in partnership and loyal competition with others committed to the preservation of our Union. With abiding belief in the value and potential of every soul and with goodwill for all, we hereby dedicate ourselves to these principles and make common cause in the flourishing of this great nation and its diverse states, communities, and citizens.

Founding Ideals. We reaffirm the self-evident truth that all persons are created equal and free, having the same inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that it is the prerogative of all to make personal decisions in accordance with their free will. We, therefore, condemn all forms of bigotry such as racism, religious intolerance, sexism, and persecution based on sexual orientation.

Constitutional Order. We uphold the Constitution as the inviolable and collective contract protecting liberty and justice for all, and honor the essential separation and balance it establishes among coequal branches of the federal government and the states.

Truth. We recognize truth and reason as essential to a free and just society, and expect our leaders, citizens, and press to seek and promote them. We oppose the employment of fear-mongering, conspiracism, and falsehoods and instead support evidence-based policymaking and honest discourse.

Rule of Law. We maintain that the impartial rule of law is essential to a free and just society to protect the rights and property of all people. No one is above the law, and our criminal justice system must treat everyone equally without discrimination based on race, status or other unrelated factors.

Ethical Government. We demand that public officials and aspiring leaders — regardless of party — act with integrity and honor, the absence of which is a harbinger for abuses of power that threaten the republic.

Pluralism. We are committed to a pluralistic society defined by its ideals and welcoming to all peoples rightfully seeking safety, opportunity, and a better life by becoming contributing members of our diverse nation. We reject the notion that America should be characterized by the races, birthplaces, religious affiliations, or partisan identities of its citizens.

Civic Responsibility. We believe that all Americans share civic responsibility, which is essential for our self-government and national success. Thriving communities are built by faithfully engaged citizens working to overcome differences with mutual respect and the bonds of civil affection. The solutions to many of America’s greatest challenges can only be found in our diverse communities.

Opportunity. We recognize open, market-based economies as consistent with our natural liberty and the optimal means of ensuring economic mobility and the allocation of scarce resources. We support sensible and limited regulation, including to ensure equal opportunity, and affirm government’s vital role in assisting vulnerable citizens, while encouraging self-reliance and ingenuity without the impediments of cronyism and corruption.

Free Speech. We reaffirm the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech and freedom of the press as essential to accountable government and the American way of life. We sustain the rights of individuals and private entities to exercise this freedom, even to express unpopular views, and condemn efforts to erode press freedom and public support for its vital role.

Conservation. We consider vital our shared stewardship of America’s resources — natural, environmental, and financial. We accept responsibility to conserve for ourselves and future generations these public assets, and to protect them from both natural and man-made harms.

Common Defense & Welfare. We uphold that government is instituted by the people to secure those essential, collective goods that individuals cannot attain for themselves, particularly providing for the common defense and promoting the general welfare. We, therefore, support policies that further public safety, health, and defense as required for enduring national sovereignty and prosperity.

Leadership. Having thrived in the abundance of a choice land, we believe that these United States must work in conjunction with friends and allies to advance worthy interests abroad and to promote freedom by example and with the judicious application of power.

Andrew Sagor; Anthony Scaramucci; Arne Carlson; Barbara Comstock; Bill Weld; Bob Inglis; Bob Worsley; Bob Yudin; Bobbie G. Kilberg; Bruce Maloch; Bryan Jones; C.J. Diegel; Chad Mayes; Charles Djou; Charles R. Jeter; Charles R. Work; Charlie Dent; Chip Felkel; Christine Todd Whitman; Christopher T. Bayley; Christopher J. Gagin; Chris Vance; Claudine Schneider; Cole Wist; Connie Morella; Daniel Barkhuff; David Almacy; David Billings; David Durenberger; David Meeks; Davy Carter; Denver Riggleman; Dick Zimmer; Dov S. Zakheim; Edward T. Tobin III; Eileen Padberg; Eli Lehrer; Eliot A. Cohen; Elizabeth Neumann; Emil Frankel; Evan McMullin; Gabriel Schoenfeld; Gene Kussart; George Conway; Glenn J. Schatz; Gregory Wilson; H. Bryan Cunningham; Hannah Kummer; Heath Mayo; Jack Weinstein; Jacob Perry; James Kunder; James Leach; James W. Peppe; Jeff Timmer; Jeffrey N. Shane; Jennifer Horn; Jerid J. Miller; Jim Glassman; Jim Greenwood; Jim Hendren; Jim Kolbe; Joe Hunter; Joe Walsh; Joel F. Brenner; Joel Searby; John Bellinger; John Fluharty; John Kingston; John LeBoutillier; John M. Mitnick; John Negroponte; Jonathan C. Rose; Josh Venable; Julie Meier Wright; Justin L. Kurth; Karen A. Johnson; Karen Kirksey; Kathy Varga; Kristopher Purcell; Laura Holmes Jost; Lucy M. Caldwell; Lynn A. Schmidt; Marilee Cunningham; Mark Sanford; Mark Weatherford; Marty Linsky; Mary E. Peters; Matthew S. Sarelson; Matt Walton; Max Boot; Michael L. Belitzky; Michael Burchstead; Michael Chertoff; Michael Hayden; Michael Steele; Michelle Udall; Mickey Edwards; Mike Bober; Mike Madrid; Mike Murphy; Miles Taylor; Mindy Finn; Molly McKew; Mona Charen; Murray Dickman; Nate Bell; Neal J. Simon; Olivia Troye; Paul Rosenzweig; Paul C. Jost; Paul Mitchell; Peter McCloskey; Peter Smith; R.J. Lyman; Rachel Hoff; Randy Brockway; Reed Howard; Reid Ribble; Richard W. Painter; Rick Lazio; Rina Shah; Robert F. Orr; Robert Patricelli; Robert Shanks; Rod Chandler; Sam Reid; Scott Rigell; Shellie Bressler; Shermichael Singleton; Sophia Nelson; Soren Dayton; Stanley A. Twardy Jr.; Steve Bartlett; Steve Carey; Stuart Gerson; Susan Del Percio; T. Greg Doucette; Tara Setmayer; Tatyana V. Bolton; Ted Roosevelt; Thomas Hill; Thomas E. Petri; Tim Boyle; Tom Campbell; Tom Coleman; Tom Ridge; Trevor Potter; Valerie Smith Boyd; Wayne Gilchrest; William J. Kilberg; William F.B. O’Reilly.


'Disturbing and reckless': Retired brass spread election lie in attack on Biden, Democrats


By Bryan Bender


May 11, 2021

A day after 124 retired generals and admirals released a letter spreading the lie that President Joe Biden stole the election, current and former military officers are speaking out, calling the missive a dangerous new sign of the military being dragged into the trenches of partisan warfare.

The open letter on Monday from a group calling itself Flag Officers 4 America advanced the false conspiracy theory that the presidential vote was rigged in Biden's favor and warned that the nation is "in deep peril" from "a full-blown assault on our Constitutional rights."

“Under a Democrat Congress and the Current Administration,” they wrote, “our Country has taken a hard left turn toward Socialism and a Marxist form of tyrannical government which must be countered now by electing congressional and presidential candidates who will always act to defend our Constitutional Republic.”

The broadside also raises questions about “the mental and physical condition of the Commander in Chief" and sounds the alarm about a host of hot-button issues, such as the border wall. It goes on to accuse congressional leaders of "using the U.S. military as political pawns with thousands of troops deployed around the U.S. Capitol Building."

The group's website claims that "we are in a fight for our survival as a Constitutional Republic like no other time since our founding in 1776."

As news of the letter spread, it set off a round of recriminations among current and former military members. One serving Navy officer, who did not want to be identified publicly, called it "disturbing and reckless."

Jim Golby, an expert in civil-military relations, called it a "shameful effort to use their rank and the military's reputation for such a gross and blatant partisan attack," while a retired Air Force colonel who teaches cadets at the Air Force Academy, Marybeth Ulrich, labeled it "anti-democratic."

"I think it hurts the military and by extension it hurts the country," said retired Adm. Mike Mullen, a former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, describing it as replete with "right-wing Republican talking points."

The talking points in the letter fall generally in line with die-hard loyalists in Trump's orbit, who question the results of the election despite the fact that the courts and Trump's own Justice Department said there was no reason to declare him the winner.

Several experts said it reminded them of the current crisis in civil-military relations in France, where dozens of retired generals were recently sanctioned after warning in an open letter in a right-wing magazine of civil war for the "protection of our civilisational values."

That letter was followed up by an anonymous one from current officers calling French politicians cowards for not dealing with the Muslim population, sparking calls for a purge of the ranks. The controversy has undermined public confidence in the French military and recalled the bitter feuds between the brass and elected officials during the early years of the Cold War.

The American letter was striking for several reasons. It is not unusual for retired officers to take sides in electoral politics and endorse candidates. But its fiery, even angry, language and conspiracy-mongering struck multiple long-time observers as particularly out of bounds and dangerous. Coming outside the campaign season was also seen as rare if not unprecedented.

Notable signatories included retired Army Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc, who is running for the U.S. Senate in New Hampshire; retired Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin, who stirred controversy for some of his anti-Muslim views and is now executive vice president of the Family Research Council; and retired Vice Adm. John Poindexter, who was the deputy national security adviser for President Ronald Reagan and was convicted in the Iran-Contra Affair.

The letter, mostly signed by ex-military leaders who have been out of uniform for decades, was organized by retired Army Maj. Gen. Joe Arbuckle, a Vietnam veteran who retired in 2000.

Arbuckle, in response to questions from POLITICO, acknowledged in an email that the partisan nature of the effort is not normal but defended it as necessary, given what's at stake.

”Retired generals and admirals normally do not engage in political actions," he said, "but the situation facing our nation today is dire and we must speak out in order to be faithful to our oath to support and defend the Constitution of the U.S. against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

"We are facing threats greater than at any other time since our country was founded," Arbuckle added. "Aside from China, many of these threats flow directly from policy positions and actions of our own government. It is critical that the threats to our national security be brought to the attention of the American people and that is the main purpose of the letter. To remain silent would be a dereliction of duty.”

But the missive alarmed fellow officers in the halls of the Pentagon and far-flung bases due to its strident tone and for using the stature of the nation's generals and admirals to spread misinformation.

It also sent shock waves through the community of experts who train military officers on the long tradition of the U.S. military staying above the political fray.

That includes while in uniform, when they are prohibited from engaging in partisan politicking, and after they retire, when they have commonly kept their political views private in deference to that tradition and to safeguard the democratic principle of civilian control of the military.

The Pentagon declined through a spokesperson to comment on the letter. But others clearly took notice.

“That was way worse than I was expecting,” said Ulrich, a retired Air Force colonel who teaches civil-military relations at the Army War College and Air Force Academy. “They are perpetuating the big lie about the election. I think it is outrageous. Some of it is very anti-democratic behavior.”

She said she plans to use the letter in her classes to demonstrate to young military officers the extent to which the military's apolitical tradition has eroded in recent years and why that is dangerous.

“They are absolutely violating the norm to be apolitical,” she added. “They are being used for partisan purposes. They are going against their constitutional oath.”

Both parties have increasingly relied on the endorsements of retired military leaders to lend credibility to their campaigns and support for their national security views. Both Biden and Trump boasted of a long list of former military brass who were supporting their presidential bids, including some who served as official campaign advisers.

In some specific cases, highly regarded retired officers have staked out singular political positions, such as when retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal mounted a campaign against assault weapons or when retired Navy Adm. William McRaven accused Trump in 2019 of endangering the republic with his leadership.

The growing practice has raised concerns about blurring the civil-military divide and injecting politics into the armed forces.

The politicization of the military is also seen by some experts as a possible contributing factor to an erosion of the military's standing among the public, as found in a recent survey by the Ronald Reagan Institute.

But the new attack on Biden and the Democrats is seen as in a class of its own.

"I've seen a lot of these letters, but this one really is something," said Golby, a senior fellow at the Clements Center for National Security at The University of Texas at Austin and an expert on civil-military relations. "We've seen isolated statements from retired generals and admirals like McChrystal or McRaven, but this statement is the first full-blown partisan attack from a large group of retired officers that is not explicitly tied to an election or specific issue."

"The tone is shocking," he added, "especially because it targets the entire Democratic party, implies the election was illegitimate and contains a number of verifiable lies."

Mullen also said the timing was unusual. "Normally those kinds of things occur in an election," he said. "It's out of cycle."

"The only positive sign," added Golby, "is that most of the retired officers who signed this letter have been out of the military for almost two decades, and that no recent retirees joined this shameful effort to use their rank and the military's reputation for such a gross and blatant partisan attack."

Mullen also pointed out that no retired four-stars signed it and only a handful of three-stars. "It's not very senior," he said. "In our world it's not very significant in terms of people."

But others were less sanguine. Peter Feaver, a scholar in civil-military relations at Duke University who served on the National Security Council under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, called the letter "an appalling breach of military professionalism and the norms on which democratic civil-military relations depends.”

"For the first few decades after World War II, the French military had some of the worst civil-military relations of any of the advanced industrial democracies," added Feaver, a retired naval officer. "They had a genuine coup attempt in 1961. Every military that coups or threatens to coup constructs a narrative in which the military is acting to save the country from something worse than military rule. Clearly the authors are attempting to write that narrative.”


President warns of civil war as violence rages in Israeli cities


By  Avi Cohen , Adi Hashmonai and Yaron Doron


Israel Hayom

May 13, 2021



Police seen on the streets of the central Israeli city of Lod, where violence erupted this week between Jews and Arabs. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)Police seen on the streets of the central Israeli city of Lod, where violence erupted this week between Jews and Arabs


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday condemned the "anarchy" of Jewish-Arab violence in cities across the country after a day of tumultuous unrest, while President Reuven Rivlin warned of a civil war between the country's Arabs and Jews.

Violent confrontations erupted in Lod, Acre, Jerusalem, Haifa, Bat Yam, Tiberias and many other locations, with multiple people injured, some of them seriously, leading Netanyahu to announce he was considering deploying the IDF inside towns to restore order.

More than 400 people were arrested.



A truck burns at the entrance of the Jewish-Arab city of Lod, where a state of emergency has been declared following civil unrest, on May 12, 2021


Perhaps the most shocking scene of the night, and one that elicited expressions of disbelief and horror from Israeli leaders, was footage of hundreds of Jewish extremists in Bat Yam vandalizing Arab property and then assaulting an Arab driver in his car, dragging him out of the vehicle and beating him savagely.

On Thursday morning, a Jewish man was stabbed near a mosque in Lod.
The man, in his 20s, was evacuated by Magen David Adom paramedics to the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya in serious condition and suffering from a head injury.

Senior MDA medic Firas Reis said: "We were near the area when we saw the wounded man lying unconscious and suffering from a bleeding head injury. We immediately began life-saving medical treatment that included bandaging and breath support and evacuated him in stable condition for further treatment at the hospital."


A police patrol car on fire in the city of Lod, May 12, 2021


In Acre, a three-story hotel was set ablaze. Firefighters refused to deploy to the scene, citing safety concerns.
In the Arab town of Kfar Qasim, two police cars were torched as well.

In Jerusalem, an Arab was stabbed by Jews and seriously injured at the Mahane Yehuda market on Wednesday.

"Death to Arabs" was chanted in many locations of Jewish rallies.

Meanwhile, in Acre, a Jewish man was also assaulted by Arab rioters and hit with rocks and iron bars, and was hospitalized in critical condition.

In Tamra, a Jewish man was stabbed and assaulted by an Arab mob, with an Arab paramedic saying the attackers almost burned the man inside his car before he helped evacuate him to safety.

In an incident in Haifa, an Arab driver found himself in the midst of a mob chanting "Death to Arabs." As he was pelted with stones, the driver turned the vehicle around to escape but hit one of the rioters, 26, causing him moderate injuries. The driver, 20, sped away but was later detained by police.

The broadcast on Channel 12 News on Wednesday night cut to a phoned-in appeal by Rivlin to "please stop this madness."

"We are endangered by rockets that are being launched at our citizens and streets, and we are busying ourselves with a senseless civil war among ourselves," said the president.

The president also launched a scathing attack on Arab leaders within the country for their inaction.

"The silence of the Arab leadership about these disturbances is shameful, giving support to terrorism and rioting and encouraging the rupture of the society in which we live and in which we will continue to live once all this has passed," he said in a statement.

Netanyahu visited Lod and Acre and said that "nothing justifies" Jews attacking Arabs or Arabs attacking Jews. 

"It doesn't matter to me that your blood is boiling. You can't take the law into your own hands," he said.

Netanyahu also decried the "anarchy" of Arabs rioters "setting synagogues alight, setting cars alight, assaulting police, attacking peaceful innocent civilians. We can't accept it."

Despite large police mobilization under a state of emergency and a nighttime curfew, Lod was again the scene of street battles between Jewish and Arab mobs Wednesday night. Shortly after Netanyahu spoke, the police reported two people injured in a shooting there. A synagogue and cars were torched in the city.

According to Channel 12 News, the Border Police will deploy 10 companies – some 1,000 officers – to keep the peace in the cities affected.

Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett called the scenes in Bat Yam "un-Jewish, immoral, inhuman." His number two, Ayelet Shaked, decried the "moral bankruptcy" of such an attack.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz called the Jewish-Arab violence "no less dangerous than the Hamas rockets."

Gantz, who signed off on the order to deploy Border Police troops to cities, stressed that IDF soldiers will not be involved in civilian policing operations.

"We must not win the Gaza battle and lose at home," he said.

Joint Arab List chairman Ayman Odeh and Ra'am leader Mansour Abbas both condemned the violence on Arabic-language radio, while asking Arabs not to leave their homes so as not to be attacked by Jewish mobs.

The two Arab Israeli political leaders also stressed the need for Arab youth not to respond with violence against people or property.

"The madness must be stopped," Odeh said.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021


Biden condemns Hamas rocket attacks in call to Netanyahu and expresses his 'unwavering support' for Israel's right to defend itself as the Gaza conflict spirals towards full-scale war


Daily Mail 

May 12, 2021

Another multi-storey building was destroyed in Gaza on Wednesday evening by an Israeli air strike, prompting Hamas to retaliate with 130 rockets of its own, as the deadly fighting in the middle east continued on Wednesday. Pictured: Smoke rises from Al-Sharouk tower hit by an Israeli air strikes, in Gaza City on May 12, 2021