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Stingray Catchers and Netanyahu Wrong Footed

by Oui Sat Sep 14th, 2019 at 02:29:15 AM EST

Netanyahu seeks to annex parts of West Bank 'in coordination' with U.S. | NBC News - 3 days ago |

White House Intercepts: Israel placed Stingray catchers for first hand intelligence on Trump moves ...

Israeli Intelligence Spied on Trump's Cell Phone Calls | Tikun Olam |

File this post under "well, of course they did!" Politico reports today that Israeli intelligence implanted Stingray devices near the White House and other sensitive U.S. government facilities in order to intercept the cell phone calls of Pres. Trump ...

The Israelis weren't subtle about what they did. They didn't care whether U.S. officials knew what they were doing. Politico says U.S. officials knew about the interception because Israeli officials in meetings with them, would use specific language from documents or conversations that were only known inside the White House.

Continued below the fold ...

When Shamai Leibowitz leaked top-secret transcripts to me of internal Israeli embassy discussions (based on a bug planted in the embassy by the FBI), I was extremely cautious about how I used the information in my published reporting. I sought to avoid precisely the sort of exposure that these Israeli officials could have cared less about concealing. And the Israelis discovered the spying despite my best efforts!


Trump too has denied the claim with a typically meandering, non sequitur response:

    "I don't believe that, no, I don't think the Israelis were spying on us, I really would find that hard to believe.  My relationship with Israel has been great: you look at Golan Heights, you look at Jerusalem with moving the embassy to Jerusalem, becoming the capital.  You look at the Iran deal, what's happened with Iran.  Iran is a much different than it was two and a half years ago. It's in a much different position.  I don't believe that, I wouldn't believe that.  It could-anything's possible. But I don't believe it."

... I consulted with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and asked how the FBI would have detected the use of the surveillance technology targeting the White House. Their staff specialist said that both the Stingray itself and any counter-measures used to detect it are closely guarded secrets. Presumably, since the FBI uses the device regularly, it would have developed measures to detect its use by others.

AG slams Netanyahu for pushing settlement approval ahead of elections | JPost |
US envoy Greenblatt resigns. There's still no Israel-Palestine deal  | Vox |

Netanyahu's dilemma over Trump's slap in the face | Ynet News Opinion |

Analysis: The apparent American shift in position on Iran and its nuclear aspirations, in the shape of a meeting between the two presidents and sanctions relief for Tehran has left the prime minister in an uncomfortable situation and unable to criticize his 'very good friend' as he did with Obama.

A meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and sanction relief for Iran weren't just blows to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plans, they were proof of the fickleness of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Now Netanyahu finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place, in no position to criticize his "very good friend."

Boarding a flight Thursday morning for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Netanyahu is facing a genuine diplomatic nightmare right before Israel goes to the polls - tighter ties between Trump and Rouhani.

Putin hopes elected PM will preserve Russian-Israeli relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday that he hopes whoever is elected in the upcoming elections will maintain the good relations between the two countries.

"I remember the September 17th elections and hope whoever gets in the Knesset will preserve the friendship between our countries and strengthens our relations in the future," said Putin.

Putin also mentioned Russia's commitment to the large Russian-speaking community in Israel, saying "over 1.5 million immigrants from the Soviet Union live in Israel. We always considered them our people, compatriots".

Netanyahu also commented on the good relations between the two countries, while mentioning Israel's Russian-speaking population.

"The relations between our countries were never stronger. On one hand, there are over a million Russian speakers in Israel that make a living bridge between the countries.

"Tightening our relations is also the result of an informed mutual policy and of our personal relationship.

"This relationship prevented unnecessary and dangerous frictions between our armies, this is a fundamental component in the stability of the region. I appreciate your statement, saying that Israeli security is important to you and this is reflected in our meetings."

Meeting Putin after 3-hour wait, Netanyahu vows to stop Iran's attacks on Israel | Times of Israel |
Russia denounces Netanyahu's West Bank annexation plan | The Guardian |

Related reading ...

Why I Published US Intelligence Secrets About Israel's Anti-Iran Campaign

Trump gives Golan Heights 'gift' to Israel's Netanyahu, who compares him to a Persian king | SCMP |

    The Kremlin said Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a phone call that the US decision was "a gross violation of international law" and "aggravates the situation" in the Middle East.

Good news for Trump and his reelection campaign 2020 ...

U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu recommends bringing charges against Andrew McCabe: report  

See my previous diary

Peace At Hand ... Bolton Is OUT!

Talk about a Mutual Defense Pact ... perhaps just accept admission as 51st State of the Union? Get it over with ...

Trump discussed 'Mutual Defense Treaty' between Israel, U.S. with Netanyahu | JPost |

Israel and the United States are discussing a mutual defense pact, US President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday.

Trump's tweet comes three days ahead of Israel's election on Tuesday. Haaretz reported last week that Netanyahu is looking for a dramatic gesture from the US president that would return him to office following the September 17 poll.

Netanyahu responded using the official Prime Minister of Israel twitter account, saying, "Thank you my dear friend President @realDonaldTrump. The Jewish State has never had a greater friend in the White House.

I look forward to our meeting at the UN to advance a historic Defense Treaty between the United States and Israel," he concluded.

While the idea of a US-Israel defense pact has been discussed on and off for several decades, it has re-emerged in recent months.  Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) broached the proposal in June at a dinner hosted by the Endowment for Middle East Truth, saying he wanted Israel to be added to the list of countries with which the US has treaty obligations.

by Oui on Sat Sep 14th, 2019 at 06:46:47 PM EST
Trump floats possible defense treaty days ahead of Israeli elections  

Israel goes to the polls on Tuesday. Trump's tweet appeared aimed at buttressing Netanyahu's effort to remain in power by showcasing his close ties to the White House.

Opinion polls predict a close race, five months after an election in which Netanyahu declared himself the winner but failed to put together a coalition government.

Netanyahu's Likud party is neck-and-neck with the centrist Blue and White party led by former armed forces chief Benny Gantz, who has focused heavily on corruption charges against Netanyahu.

Trump bolstered Netanyahu's candidacy when he recognized Israel's claim of sovereignty over the Golan Heights ahead of the elections earlier this year.

Some Israeli officials have promoted the idea of building on Netanyahu's strong ties to the Trump administration by forging a new defense treaty with the US, focused especially on guarantees of assistance in any conflict with Iran.

Some of Netanyahu's critics have argued that such an agreement could tie Israel's hands and deny it military autonomy.  

Related reading ...

The threat posed to Israel by another Benjamin Netanyahu victory | The Observer OpEd |
EU leaders must get tough with Israel

Pretty much a 180 degree shift to his predecessor Barack Obama ...

Linked to One Voice Movement:

Inside V15's ground game to unseat Netanyahu | JTA - Feb. 2015 |

by Oui on Sun Sep 15th, 2019 at 07:28:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This election campaign has reached a new low | Ynet News Opinion |

Elections were never for those with refined tastes, but the feeling of disgust surrounding the upcoming vote is record breaking; there's no red lines left to cross, every conceivable demographic is a target for someone, and nothing is too petty for the candidates.

Like a beaten society, we've grown accustomed, accustomed to the idiotic idea of going to the polling stations yet again, because the stars didn't align for Benjamin Netanyahu and Avidgor Liberman in April.

    We've grown accustomed to everyone telling lies, for example:

    Netanyahu warned us about a left-wing government and Netanyahu also tried to broker a deal with the Labor party.

    Moshe Kahlon's party Kulanu is the sane moderate right-wing, until it gets swallowed up by the Likud, from whence it came.

    Liberman swore to form a right-wing government, and recommend Netanyahu for prime minister, just as he swore to take out the head of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh.


But all these obscene habits, the ennui, the indifference, the eye rolls - that's the easy part.

The hard part to stomach is the feeling of nausea.

The elections were never for those with refined tastes, but we still had the spiritual willingness to go and do our civil duty.

Voting for those who reflect our beliefs in the least twisted way is a hell of a task, but still the feeling of civic duty sustained us as we stepped into the voting booth.

After voting, we'd make plans for a BBQ with friends and wait for the aerial demonstration, even though it wasn't Independence Day, because despite it all, the feeling of civic duty created a feeling of accountability.

Then we watched the election results come in and either cursed or cheered.

Related reading ...

Xenophobia, Israel, Alt-right and the Jewish Question
New Fascist Pariah States America and Israel Lashing Out
Stalemate: Occupation of Palestinian Land Continues

by Oui on Sat Sep 14th, 2019 at 07:09:43 PM EST

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