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Iran’s continuous string of lies about tanker attacks reveals their intentions

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To understand why the events surrounding the two tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman yesterday happened, we must understand the mentality of the Iranian regime. Their way of thinking is very different from most western perspectives. It’s not just religious and cultural differences. They have a deep-seated desire to be seen by the world as they see themselves.

I am neither a psychologist nor a Middle East scholar, but my coverage of and research into Iranian military and geopolitical activities over the last two decades is why nothing about the attacks and subsequent reactions by Iran took me by surprise. This was all part of standard operating procedure for a regime that has attempted to build two narratives since before the 9/11 attacks: “We are strong” and “the Middle East is our region.”

And the most important part of “their” region is the Strait of Hormuz.

Strait of Hormuz

This narrow stretch of sea, a mere 21 nautical miles wide at one point, connecting the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman has nearly 1/5th of oil exports travel through it. Whoever controls the Strait of Hormuz has the power to dramatically change oil imports and exports for much of the world.

Yesterday’s and last month’s attacks on oil tankers in the region were orchestrated to build the narrative that terrorists are afoot and someone needs to protect the ships that travel in the region. Every aspect of Iran’s reaction points to them being the ones who orchestrated them.

  • Their boats were ready to be first on the scene, and not just because of standard proximity. They were close enough to be the first responders but far enough away to not be seen as the perpetrators.
  • Their forced rescue, in which they illegal apprehended many sailors in international waters who were already safely aboard rescue boats, jibed with what appears to be a prepared statement about rescuing all who were aboard the vessels.
  • The “smoking gun” removal of an unexploded limpet mine and their subsequent clumsy attack on the video demonstrated a poor reaction to events not going as planned.
  • As events unfolded, they continuously reported that one of the ships had “completely sunk” even though they were right there seeing that neither ship was sinking.
  • Their choice of a Japanese ship while Prime Minister Shinzō Abe was in Tehran to discuss deescalation was intentional.

The questions that some in the international media are asking are being met with further lies by the Iranian regime. Here are some of the questions from the Jerusalem Post:

What was Iran’s plan behind tankers attack?

A key piece of evidence for what Iran may have thought would happen when this attack was planned come from the fake video of the attack, and the claims of sinking and rescue. Iran’s Al-Alam TV first reported the incident. Why would IRIB show a video of the attack that was clearly false? Why report that 44 people were rescued if they weren’t? Why did Iran’s boats interdict the Hyundai and forcibly rescue the sailors from the Altair in international waters? What was the point? And why remove a mine if Iran didn’t put it there in the first place?

It seems that those who planned the attack believed that at least one ship would sink and that they could valiantly rescue the sailors. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said after the incident that “we are responsible for ensuring the security of the Strait of Hormuz, and we have rescued the crew of those attacked tankers in the shortest possible time.” Did Iran already have a prepared statement claiming to have rescued all the crew, resulting in this false information?

As one would expect, these aren’t the questions being asked by most American mainstream media news outlets. Instead, they seem to be focused on President Trump’s reactions while blaming him for any aggression Iran is displaying following the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal and sanctions placed on the nation. It would seem like Iran’s state-run media and many progressive activists in American mainstream media are reading from the same script.

Iran’s goals are very clear. They want to be the protectors of the Strait of Hormuz. Their initial press release before the smoking gun video was made public reveals their goals for using terrorism in the region.

“We are responsible for ensuring the security of the strait and we have rescued the crew of those attacked tankers in the shortest possible time,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said.

Once the video was released, Iran’s press and their proxies in other friendly news outlets started doing triage. Some started throwing out the “false flag” conspiracy theory, as if speculating the video was produced by others to frame Iran. Then, the narrative started spreading that the ship was rescuing sailors, but that’s clearly not what happened in the video. With nothing else sticking, the state-run media simply shared the video itself, reiterated the regime’s talking point, but finished the Tweet by asking what people thought.

As mentioned above, we have to understand the Iranian regime’s mentality to understand how any of this could make sense to them. They want respect, but more importantly they need to get their economy turned around. To do this, they need the international community to balk at President Trump’s sanctions and threats.

If they could create fear that tankers in the region were being targeted by someone else, they could stake claim, as they initially attempted to do, as being the defenders of ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz. In exchange for their benevolence, they wouldn’t ask for much. Just let them export their oil and everyone traveling n the region would be safely protected under their watchful hand. That was their play. It’s like a protection racket; give us a cut and we won’t smash up your store.

Iran clearly manufactured an event they hoped would allow them to come out looking like heroes so they could press for sanctions relief and control the Strait of Hormuz. But they were incompetent. Now they look like fools.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Foreign Affairs

Where in the world is Palau?

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Where in the world is Palau

I’ll take GEOGRAPHY for $1,000, Alex.

Answer:

Westernmost part of the former U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

Question:

What is Palau?

I have not researched to see if Palau has ever actually been a brain stumper on Jeopardy. But to the average American, it is esoteric knowledge that not many other than Jeopardy geniuses would know.

WHAT ISLANDS WERE PART OF TTPI?

United States administered the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands from 1947 until 1994. Today there are three independent nations and one United States territory.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands [CNMI] opted to remain a U.S. Territory and for U.S. citizenship.

Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau chose independence.

All four of these entities are within the Micronesian region in the Northwest Pacific. Hawaii and American Samoa and most of the Eastern Pacific are part of Polynesia. Melanesia consists of the islands in the Southwestern Pacific near Australia.

PALAU IS NOW A SOVEREIGN NATION

Though it is now independent and a member of the United Nations, Palau still depends very heavily upon the United States for its supporting infrastructure.

The United States military provides security.

The U.S. Postal Service still delivers mail as domestic to and from Palau with Zip Code 96940.

United States dollars are still used as the currency of Palau.

The economy of Palau depends upon agriculture, fishing, government, tourism and American assistance.

COMPACT OF FREE ASSOCIATION

Palau, as did Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of the Marshall Islands, entered into a Compact of Free Association with the United States. Under the provisions of the CFA, Palau citizens are able to travel to the United States and even to reside and work without a visa. If they have a criminal record either back in Palau or here in the USA, then they would not be admissible.

You may also see the term Freely Associated States [FAS] in reference to Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of the Marshall Islands.

SO WHERE IS PALAU?

Palau is 1,043 miles southeast of Manila, Philippines at about 7.5° N. Lat., just slightly farther north of the equator than the city of Davao on the Southern Philippine Island of Mindanao which is 625 miles west. Palau is just 619 miles north of the Indonesian province of West Papua which lies just slightly south of the equator in the southern hemisphere.

Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia lies just 281 miles to the northeast of Palau. FSM includes the states of Yap, Chuuk (Truk), Pohnpei and Kosrae. Though it is part of the Micronesian region, Palau is separate and independent from FSM.

TOURISM AND HISTORY

Palau, along with FSM, provides many opportunities for divers and aquatic enthusiasts from the United States who make the long journey to the tropics.

World War II buffs are attracted by battlefields such as Peleliu Island.

There isn’t much else for subsistence for the 22,000 residents of Palau.

MEETING WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP

In late May 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump met with Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuelo, and Palau President Tommy Remengesau in Washington DC to discuss the Blue Pacific strategy.

While this is an historic occasion, and a very positive sign, it still was more of a photo op than a substantive negotiation. There is much more the United States needs to do to assist the good people of Palau and the other FAS countries.

The United States Coast Guard and FEMA provide services to Palau. U.S. Indo-Pacific Command based in Honolulu and the component military services are increasingly visiting Palau due to its strategic location.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular and International Affairs also focuses on former and current territories all the way from Palau to the U.S. Virgin Islands somewhat over 10,000 miles away. That’s a big job and a big area to cover.

MORE PACIFIC BASIN INITIATIVES NEEDED

For about 15 years after 1989, there were multinational programs throughout the Pacific Basin and Pacific Rim in which the United States and allied nations cooperated to assist one another ~ along with small island nations and territories ~ in law enforcement and Customs matters.

The primary large countries overseeing this communication were the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. All have a presence and a vested interest in this volatile part of the world.

Palau was an active participant in these programs and benefited greatly.

PROJECT COOK

Named for the British Seafarer and Explorer Captain James Cook of the 18th century, this was a small vessel tracking system which monitored both yachts and commercial fishing vessels that circumnavigate the Pacific Ocean, with more of an emphasis on the private craft. Customs Inspectors in each respective country boarded yachts and filled out the same form which was put into an online database. Thus, information on vessels and bio-data on crew members were shared among the participating countries and territories.

The main thrust of this was drug interdiction. Some small Islands also used it for revenue collection so that they would anticipate boats which were coming their direction.

This program continued till the mid- to late-1990s.

CAPERS

Not a seafood dish, but rather an acronym for Customs Asia-Pacific Enforcement Reporting System.

Computers were provided to small islands at a time beginning in 1999 when they were not already present in all locations.

The United States along with partners Australia and New Zealand provided national support centers to assist in their respective AORs.

CAPERS went beyond what Project Cook had done. Training material was posted for the benefit of Customs Officers from small islands who had no formal Academy. A forum and email were provided to assist coordination efforts. Much open source information was also provided about smuggling threats in the Pacific.

Narcotics smuggling by yachts is still a very serious ongoing situation in the Pacific. That is another topic to which a complete article will be devoted later. There is also the potential for terrorists and weapons of mass destruction to evade detection in border clearances that do not scrutinize yachts the way they do large commercial vessels and aircraft.

PACIFIC BASIN CONFERENCE

For nearly 20 years, the U.S. Customs Service Office of Enforcement sponsored a Pacific Basin Conference in Honolulu every year. Support and participation was also provided by Customs Inspectors. Counterparts from all over the Pacific were hosted and provided very informative speakers as well as opportunities for group discussions. Most activities were held at the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii Manoa campus.

SO WHAT HAPPENED?

9/11/2001 happened! The late great U.S. Customs Service under U.S. Department of the Treasury, founded the same year the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1789, ceased to exist on March 1, 2003. Members of President George W. Bush’s Administration who had little knowledge of agency missions set about to merge agencies to create the new U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Customs inspections were merged with immigration inspections and agriculture inspections into U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The old Immigration and Naturalization Service under Department of Justice also became a thing of the past.

Customs investigations were merged with immigration investigations into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The third component created under DHS is U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

RELEVANCE TO PALAU

Small Pacific islands are very vulnerable to penetration and infiltration from outside. Palau doesn’t even have its own military. Its Customs and Immigration personnel could benefit greatly from increased or reestablished direct ties with the United States.

Palau citizens who travel to the United States would most often pass through their first Port of Entry in Guam where they would be admitted by a U.S. CBP Officer. Guam and CNMI are anomalies because they are part of the United States for immigration purposes but outside the Customs Territory of the United States. Therefore U.S. CBP officers in Guam perform immigration duties whereas customs is provided by the Commonwealth of Guam. Air passengers must clear Customs when they go beyond to Hawaii or the U.S. mainland.

So, you can see that CBP officers in Guam and CNMI which are closest to Palau only do immigration duties but not customs. The nearest U.S. Customs inspection locale is Honolulu. Palau is 805 miles from Guam, which in turn is 3,799 miles from Honolulu. So if you thought these Far West Pacific territories are right next door to Hawaii, think again.

DRUGS AND CORRUPTION ON PALAU

Unfortunately, there is no true tropical paradise in this world. Palau certainly qualifies in terms of climate and weather. But life is not idyllic for the people of Palau.

That’s why the United States needs once again to work hand-in-hand with other large nations that can assist small island countries like Palau.

All of this, of course, is being done with a backdrop of precluding Chinese hegemony in Palau, other former and current U.S. territories and throughout the entire Pacific Basin.

Palau is 1,995 miles south of Tokyo. Japan is America’s strongest ally in the Western Pacific. For well over a half century, Japan has focused on its own economic and cultural stability. It has also become a beneficiary nation to smaller neighbors.

Palau is not only significantly closer, but also much better known to many Japanese citizens than it is to the average American. It makes perfect sense then for the United States and Japan to talk to one another about how to provide mutual assistance to Palau.

This also is in America’s interest as it provides a further hedge against Chinese expansionism in the region. China is exploiting small nations with its Belt and Road Initiative and debt trap diplomacy.

A strong American-Japanese cooperative program to assist Palau with infrastructure development is in everybody’s best interests.

Some of the contraband flooding into Palau may be coming via maritime smuggling. It also may be coming on commercial aircraft and via U.S. mail. That is another entire topic for another day about outbound inspections of U.S. mail that could be enhanced from Honolulu to the U.S. territories. It sometimes pits U.S. Postal Inspectors against CBP and ICE. Keep that in the back of your mind for another essay.

PRIVATE CITIZENS IN USA AND JAPAN ~ WHAT CAN WE DO?

Following is a thoughtful discussion between concerned parties in Hawaii and Japan about how to elevate this situation in Palau to our respective national leadership.

RELATED ARTICLES

America’s good friends in the Philippines

Why America is re-engaging with the Pacific

A Japanese F-35 is missing and that’s a very big deal!

Eyes on the Pacific

China is taking over the world

Countering China

Nuclear threat in the Pacific: It’s not what you think

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Remain circumspect. When you see an article about Palau and the Pacific Basin, take time to read it and educate yourself on the issues.

“The most populous island is Koror. The capital Ngerulmud is located on the nearby island of Babeldaob, in Melekeok State. Palau shares maritime boundaries with the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Federated States of Micronesia.”

Hopefully you might actually find yourself in the position someday to share information if world events ever put Palau in the spotlight. I didn’t even go into the Chinese Uyghurs from Guantanamo Bay that Obama released there during his presidency. Who knows when something like that might lead to breaking news again?

If nothing else, this knowledge might actually win you a million dollars on Jeopardy someday. If not, don’t blame me because I tried.

Palau

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Conservatism

Quick note to #NeverTrump conservatives: Check the policy proposals

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Quick note to NeverTrump conservatives Check the policy proposals

I was a #NeverTrump conservative. I’ve come to terms with the reality that President Trump, with all his flaws, is promoting a mostly conservative agenda. I also acknowledge that any damage done by carrying over the divisiveness that began in the Obama administration has already been done. I still believe I was right to oppose the President’s nomination, and I’m still extremely happy Hillary Clinton isn’t President.

News today that Mark Sanford is considering joining Bill Weld to run against President Trump in the GOP primaries has drawn some praise from many that I follow on Twitter. I understand their emotional response; many of them are still condemning the President and even wishing Clinton had beaten him in 2016. But there comes a time when we have to take the best that we can get, and today that’s President Trump.

And guess what, folks… it isn’t even close. The country under President Trump is better than it would have been under Hillary Clinton and the future of the country is exponentially better off with him than any of the Democrats running for office.

Look at Joe Biden’s proposal for healthcare. It takes the worst parts of Obamacare, elements that couldn’t be included in the original legislation because it was just too radical, and inserts them to form the Affordable Care Act 2.0. This is a disastrous proposal, one that would insert a cost-driving public option into the mix. If you want to make health insurance companies happy, have the government “compete” against them. They’ll be able to raise costs based on the government’s inefficiency and won’t have to deal with the higher-risk, lower-paying patients who will be forced on the government solution.

Or, consider the push towards open borders. Elizabeth Warren’s plan is de facto open borders, and all of the Democratic candidates will embrace it, just as they embraced her plans for free education, reparations, and anything else they’re calling “free.”

I often hear NeverTrumpers say the President’s foreign policy actions are embarrassing. They chide him for stepping into North Korea. They laugh when a British ambassador calls him an imbecile. But the alternative is a return to the Iran nuclear deal, failures over China policy, and the infamous “flexibility” President Obama had with Russia.

You’re angry because Trump is President. You’re angry because things haven’t imploded as you predicted. But you’re siding with socialists who truly want to destroy America. It’s time to grow up and pick the right side again.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Democrats

Trump was right: Omar and Tlaib should learn from the Jews

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Trump was right Omar and Tlaib should learn from the Jews

President Trump has been taking a beating in the media after his comments that “the group of four” progressive freshman congresswomen should leave the country, but isn’t there a bigger lesson to be learned here? Immigration has been a great blessing for America. American Jews, for example, have raised up and inspired the country with their values of hard work, perseverance in the face of persecution, and appreciation for the country that shared its blessings with them.

As a Jewish history expert and author of “Trump and the Jews,” I believe that Omar, Tlaib, and company can learn a lot by studying the remarkable American Jewish immigrant experience in the twentieth century.

Q & A for Mayor David Rubin:

Was Trump’s statement correct, implying that the four Democrat congresswomen should go back to where they came from?

MAYOR RUBIN: It was factually incorrect because three out of the four were born in the United States, but given that they all come from immigrant families, the president is raising some poignant questions about different kinds of immigrants.


What was the president trying to say, or was it all about politics?

MAYOR RUBIN: In a presidential campaign, everything becomes political, but his message was that any person or family that comes to America should be humble and loyal and show appreciation for the goodness that they receive from living in a free country in which the sky is the limit.


Doesn’t President Trump believe that these women appreciate America?

MAYOR RUBIN: Apparently not. Based on their statements, it’s clear that they see the US as a country that is racist at its core. They also seem to have no respect for the Judeo-Christian heritage on which the country was founded.


What can be learned from the American Jewish experience that is relevant to this situation?

MAYOR RUBIN: American Jews arrived in the US mostly in the early part of the 20th century. They were poor, they were discriminated against, but their response was not to complain about America nor to organize days of rage. The Jewish response was to work hard, long hours in whatever jobs they could find and to exhort their children to do the same in school.


You wrote the book, “Trump and the Jews,” in which you answered many questions about Jewish-Americans and why they vote the way they do. Where can we get a copy?

MAYOR RUBIN: Go to Amazon.com and just type in the words, “Trump and the Jews”.


Bio: David Rubin, former Mayor of Shiloh Israel, is the author of the book, “Trump and the Jews”. Rubin is the founder and president of Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund, established after he and his then three-year-old son were wounded in a terror attack. He can be found at www.DavidRubinIsrael.com or at www.ShilohIsraelChildren.org

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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