Posts Tagged ‘ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL’

Captain Rick: As the sun sets on my Arizona Oasis, it lights up with amazement. Red and blue rope lights surround the pool along with white pathway lights. Spot lights illuminate the fountain and numerous shrubs. Some of them reflect in the pool. At front is a desert spoon with yellow lantana to its right. Beyond it are mirrors on the block wall that reflect a glimpse into my house, which is also lit with vibrancy. There is no place in the world that is more serene to me.

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Click the photo to view full screen in 4K via Captain Rick’s Flickr site. Enjoy!

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held more than two hours of frank conversation Wednesday in the Kremlin amid tensions over a U.S. airstrike against a Syria air base blamed for last week’s deadly chemical attack. The unscheduled talks between Putin and the secretary came as Moscow warned against the U.S. repeating its missile strike on a Syrian air base.

Putin   Tillerson

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at left … Russian President Vladimir Putin right

In an interview broadcast Wednesday before the meeting with Tillerson, Putin said relations with the U.S. have worsened in the first few months of Trump’s presidency.

“It can be said that the level of trust at the working level, especially at the military level, has not become better but most likely has degraded,” he told state broadcaster Mir TV.

Putin also charged that the U.S. broke international law by striking the air base without providing evidence that the Syrian government used chemical weapons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met

The meeting lasted for almost two hours to see if they could rescue relations between the world’s mightiest military powers. Russia’s alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election also hovered over the first face-to-face encounter between Putin and a Trump administration Cabinet member.

It was not the first meeting between the two men. Tillerson, as CEO of ExxonMobil, forged a close relationship with the Russian leader over business dealings in the past. In 2013, Putin personally awarded Tillerson the Russian Order of Friendship when the two met to negotiate ExxonMobil’s $50 billion deal for Russian oil and gas rights.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov  and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met and spoke to the press after the Putin-Tillerson meeting

Tillerson and Lavrov spoke to the press after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in an extended display of US-Russian disagreements over the chemical attack that left more than 80 dead; the role of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s future; US actions in the Middle East; and Russian involvement in the US election.

Still, the two diplomats hinted that they could find common ground on this issue. Tillerson said that the US wouldn’t dictate how Assad’s departure takes place, saying, "We leave that to the process going forward," and added that it’s important his departure "is done in an orderly way" and that it will "take a pace of its own."

Lavrov, meanwhile, said that Russia is "not staking everything on a personality … we are simply insisting that everybody sits around the table and talks about it."

Lavrov also announced that Putin has agreed to reinstate a military "deconfliction" channel to ensure there are no unintended clashes in the skies above Syria. And Tillerson said that the two sides had agreed to establish a working group that would address smaller frictions and aim to make progress on larger differences.

The news conference came after Lavrov issued a warning to Tillerson Wednesday against any further US strikes on the Syrian regime. Russia is Syria’s most powerful ally.

Russia has rejected the US conclusion that Damascus was responsible for last week’s chemical attack, which killed 89 people and prompted the US to carry out its first strike against the Syrian regime in the six-year conflict, taking out aircraft and infrastructure at a Syrian military air base.

"The facts we have are conclusive" that the attack was planned and carried by Syrian government forces, Tillerson said, adding that the US was "quite confident of that" and describing it as "just the latest in a series of uses of chemical weapons by the Assad regime."

Lavrov countered, "It is perfectly obvious the subject is one we diverge on." He floated an alternate theory that "some of these stockpiles are being controlled by extremists," and added, "Russia is insisting on an objective investigation" and will protest if it does not take place.

Tillerson said he told the Russian leader that current relations between the two countries are at a "low point" … "There is a low level of trust between our two countries" … "The world’s two foremost nuclear owners cannot have this kind of relationship."

Lavrov said that the U.S. and Russia have agreed on the need for a United Nations probe of the Syrian chemical attack … an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the chemical attack and the U.S. response to "try and identify the culprits" … a step that could dial down the rhetoric between the two nations for now.

The two sides expressed their agreement over the need to defeat the Islamic State in the region. Lavrov said defeating the terrorist group is a more important priority than Assad remaining in power. Lavrov also that Putin could restore a military hotline with the U.S. if Washington focuses on fighting the Islamic State and other extremist groups.

Both officials addressed the question of allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. elections. Tillerson said there was no talk of additional sanctions in the wake of U.S. charges over the issue, but noted that it was an issue raised by Congress. "We are mindful of the seriousness of that particular interference in our elections and I am sure that Russia is mindful of it as well." Lavrov, echoing past denials of any Russian hacking or other interference in the electoral process, said Moscow hasn’t seen “a single fact, or even a hint at facts” proving the U.S. allegations of Russian interference.

The U.S. military dropped one of its most powerful non-nuclear bombs — a massive 21,000-pound conventional bomb nicknamed the "Mother of All Bombs" — on an ISIS tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan, the first time it has been used in combat.

The GBU-43B, a MOAB (Massive Ordinance Air Blast) weapon, was dropped from a U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo plane due to its massive size, where U.S.-backed Afghan forces are battling the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

MOAB Bomb 1MOAB Bomb 8

A GBU-43B weighs a massive 21,000 pounds and costs $16 million each. The bomb, dropped from a C-130 cargo plane, explodes in the air, creating air pressure that can collapse tunnels and buildings.
It will not only destroy a tunnel complex … its blast, which can be heard and felt for miles, also projects a psychological impact because of the awesome sensation of massive destructive power that it casts.
By comparison, each Tomahawk cruise missile launched at a Syrian military air base last week weighed 1,000 pounds each. Each MOAB is like 21 cruise missiles hitting the same point all at once.

MOAB Bomb

The decision to drop the bomb was made because it was the best fit for the target: tunnel complexes in a rural area far enough from innocent civilians, and lethal enough to kill ISIS fighters.
The White House was told about the bomb’s use but that the use of the bomb did not require the president’s approval. The military had the authority to use the bomb under President Barack Obama as well as President Trump.

Fighting between ISIS and Afghan forces in the region has intensified recently. A U.S. Special Forces Green Beret soldier advising the Afghans was killed in the area Saturday, the first U.S. combat death this year.
The Islamic State has emerged over the past year as a threat in Afghanistan, though the organization is not nearly as large as the Taliban, which ruled the country until the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

The U.S. estimates that between 600 to 800 ISIS fighters are present in Afghanistan, mostly in Nangarhar. The U.S. has concentrated heavily on combatting them while also supporting Afghan forces battling the Taliban.

President Trump launched 59 Tomahawk E Cruise Missiles on Syria causing severe damage to Shayrat air base in Syria, southeast of Homs. Russia also uses this base and has invested heavily in it. U.S. intelligence believes that a deadly gas attack on Syrian civilians was carried out by government aircraft from the Shayrat air base.

Cruise Missiles

Two U.S. destroyers, the USS Ross and USS Porter, launched the Tomahawk cruise missiles south of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and hit their targets at at 3:45 a.m. local time in Syria. Each destroyer carries about 35 Tomahawks. U.S. officials said there were up to 100 Russian military personnel present at the base when the missiles hit. The Russians were warned about an hour before the missiles hit the base, defense officials said.

The Tomahawk “E” or Echo version is the latest model and has two-way satellite communication allowing the missile to be reprogrammed in flight if needed. The missiles can carry 1,000-pound warheads.

The U.S. launched the cruise missiles in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians, the first direct assault on Syria since the beginning of that country’s bloody civil war in 2011.

The U.S. began launching airstrikes in Syria in September 2014 under President Barack Obama as part of its coalition campaign against ISIS, but has only targeted the terrorist group and not Syrian government forces … until today under President Trump.

Russia’s Response: Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the US airstrikes on Syria, describing it as "an act of aggression against a sovereign state" that "dealt a serious blow to Russia-US relations," according to a Kremlin statement. Russia said it believed Syria had destroyed all of its chemical weapons and the US strikes were based on a "trumped-up pretext." The risk of a direct collision between the US and Russia in Syria had "significantly increased" since the US missile strike, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Peskov added that it was "indisputable" that the US airstrike on Syria "was carried out for the benefit of ISIS and other terrorist organizations."

A Russian warship, likely loaded with the newest Russian Cruise Missiles, has entered the eastern Mediterranean. Its destination and target is unclear. 

Captain Rick: I wonder if this is the beginning of World War 3?  I think President Trump made a poor choice, buckling in to FAKE NEWS and the US Intelligence Machine, all of which I think are very corrupt. In the process President Trump is blowing a big chance to gain a friendship with a very intelligent person … President Vladimir Putin of Russia … a person I consider to be one of the most intelligent leaders of our world. As a huge supporter of President Trump, I am saddened by his actions, which cast him into the same war monger group that contains both U.S. Presidents Bush.  I hope that President Trump will recapture his own mind, like he presented during campaign season and stop bowing into FAKE NEWS and question the info he is receiving from the very corrupt U.S. Intelligence Machine.  

ANJ Breaking News … At least 70 people, including many children, died Tuesday after suffering symptoms of chemical poisoning, including foaming at the mouth and suffocation.

Russia’s defense ministry is blaming a Syrian airstrike on a "terrorist" ammunition depot for the deaths of dozens of people in what has been described as a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Idlib province.
According to a statement posted Wednesday on the Russian ministry’s Facebook page, the strike hit "workshops, which produced chemical warfare munitions" in the eastern outskirts of the Khan Sheikhun town.

President Aashar al-Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military denied using chemical weapons and blamed rebels for the carnage.

President Donald Trump, speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, said the suspected chemical attack against Syrian civilians "crossed a lot of lines for me" and changed the way he views Syria and its leader Bashar al-Assad.
He blamed the attack in part on what he described as "a great opportunity missed" on the part of former President Obama.

Captain Rick: I urge all, including President Trump, to exercise caution on drawing judgment. FAKE NEWS is blaming Russia. That is a travesty. FAKE NEWS is also blaming Assad and seems to want Assad out of power.
I caution that thought might cause another ‘rush to judgment’ similar to Saddam Hussein being removed from power in Iraq, which proved to be a monumental mistake … one of the biggest of modern history. It left a quagmire from which ISIS grew from within. 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the expansion and modernization of the Department’s Institutional Hearing Program (IHP).

The IHP identifies removable criminal aliens who are inmates in federal correctional facilities, provides in-person and video teleconference (VTC) immigration removal proceedings, and removes the alien upon completion of sentence, rather than releasing the alien to an ICE detention facility or into the community for adjudication of status.  Bringing an Immigration Judge to the inmate for a determination of removability, rather than vice versa, saves time and resources and speeds hearings.

The program is coordinated by the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

US Department of Justice

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions
“We owe it to the American people to ensure that illegal aliens who have been convicted of crimes and are serving time in our federal prisons are expeditiously removed from our country as the law requires,” said Attorney General Sessions.  “This expansion and modernization of the Institutional Hearing Program gives us the tools to continue making Americans safe again in their communities.”  

The expansion and modernization of the IHP program will occur in the following three ways:

          1. ICE, BOP, and EOIR will expand the number of active facilities with the program to a total of 14 BOP and 6 BOP contract facilities;

          2. EOIR and BOP will increase each facility’s VTC capabilities and update existing infrastructure to aid in the ability to conduct removal proceedings; and

          3. EOIR and ICE will finalize a new and uniform intake policy. EOIR and ICE expect to have reached agreement on this new intake process by April 6, 2017. 

These improvements will speed the process of deporting incarcerated criminal aliens and will reduce costs to taxpayers.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Office of the Attorney General

March 30, 2017 Department of Justice News Release

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered remarks March 27, 2017 announcing that sanctuary cities and other jurisdictions that do not turn over illegal immigrant criminals to ICE will loose Federal Grant Awards.

US Department of Justice

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Good afternoon.  The Department of Justice has a duty to enforce our nation’s laws, including our immigration laws. Those laws require us to promptly remove aliens when they are convicted of certain crimes.

The vast majority of the American people support this common-sense requirement.  According to one recent poll, 80 percent of Americans believe that cities that arrest illegal immigrants for crimes should be required to turn them over to immigration authorities.

Unfortunately, some states and cities have adopted policies designed to frustrate the enforcement of our immigration laws.  This includes refusing to detain known felons under federal detainer requests, or otherwise failing to comply with these laws.  For example, the Department of Homeland Security recently issued a report showing that in a single week, there were more than 200 instances of jurisdictions refusing to honor Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests with respect to individuals charged or convicted of a serious crime.  The charges and convictions against these aliens include drug trafficking, hit and run, rape, sex offenses against a child and even murder.

Such policies cannot continue.  They make our nation less safe by putting dangerous criminals back on our streets.

We all remember the tragic case of Kate Steinle, the 32-year-old woman who was shot and killed two years ago in San Francisco as she walked along a pier with her father.  The shooter, Francisco Sanchez, was an illegal immigrant who had already been deported five times and had seven felony convictions.

Just eleven weeks before the shooting, San Francisco had released Sanchez from its custody, even though ICE had filed a detainer requesting that he be kept in custody until immigration authorities could pick him up for removal.
Even worse, Sanchez admitted that the only reason he came to San Francisco was because of its sanctuary policies.

A similar story unfolded just last week, when Ever Valles, an illegal immigrant and Mexican national, was charged with murder and robbery of a man at a light rail station.  Valles was released from a Denver jail in late December, despite the fact that ICE had lodged a detainer for his removal.

The American people are justifiably angry.  They know that when cities and states refuse to help enforce immigration laws, our nation is less safe.  Failure to deport aliens who are convicted for criminal offenses puts whole communities at risk – especially immigrant communities in the very sanctuary jurisdictions that seek to protect the perpetrators.

DUIs, assaults, burglaries, drug crimes, gang crimes, rapes, crimes against children and murders.  Countless Americans would be alive today – and countless loved ones would not be grieving today – if the policies of these sanctuary jurisdictions were ended.

Not only do these policies endanger the lives of every American; just last May, the Department of Justice Inspector General found that these policies also violate federal law.

The President has rightly said that this disregard for the law must end.  In his executive order, he stated that it is the policy of the executive branch to ensure that states and cities comply with all federal laws, including our immigration laws.

The order also states that “the Attorney General and the Secretary [of Homeland Security] . . . shall ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply” with the law “are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary.”

Today I am urging all states and local jurisdictions to comply with all federal laws, including 8 U.S.C. Section 1373.  Moreover, the Department of Justice will require jurisdictions seeking or applying for Department grants to certify compliance with Section 1373 as a condition for receiving these awards.

This policy is entirely consistent with the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) guidance issued last July under the previous administration.  This guidance requires state and local jurisdictions to comply and certify compliance with Section 1373 in order to be eligible for OJP grants.  It also made clear that failure to remedy violations could result in withholding of grants, termination of grants, and disbarment or ineligibility for future grants.

The Department of Justice will also take all lawful steps to claw-back any funds awarded to a jurisdiction that willfully violates Section 1373.

In the current fiscal year, department’s OJP and Community Oriented Policing Services anticipate awarding more than $4.1 billion dollars in grants.

I urge our nation’s states and cities to consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to enforce our immigration laws, and to re-think these policies.  Such policies make their cities and states less safe, and put them at risk of losing valuable federal dollars.

The American people want and deserve a lawful immigration system that keeps us safe and serves our national interest.  This expectation is reasonable, and our government has a duty to meet it. And we will meet it.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Office of the Attorney General

March 27, 2017 Speech: Attorney General Jeff Sessions Delivers Remarks Announcing Sanctuary Jurisdictions

Watch Attorney General Jeff Sessions deliver his remarks at the 3/27/17 White House Press Briefing via Captain Rick’s Making America Great Again YouTube Playlist

March 20, 2017 Press Release: Statement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Declined Detainer Outcome Report