Signs Point to Iran Behind Gulf Ship Attacks

By Jordan Schachtel. Assessment: Iran’s IRGC likely organized Gulf oil tanker attacks

Reuters reports that Iran is the likely culprit behind recent attacks on vessels belonging to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

According to the report:

“A confidential assessment issued this week by the Norwegian Shipowners’ Mutual War Risks Insurance Association (DNK) concluded that the attack was likely to have been carried out by a surface vessel operating close by that despatched underwater drones carrying 30-50 kg (65-110 lb) of high-grade explosives to detonate on impact.”

The U.S. has sent more military resources into the region to protect our interests and allies. Iran has repeatedly threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, through which one-fifth of the world’s oil is transported. (For more from the author of “Signs Point to Iran Behind Gulf Ship Attacks” please click HERE)

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Insurer Says Iran’s Guards Likely to Have Organized Tanker Attacks

By Reuters. Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) are “highly likely” to have facilitated attacks last Sunday on four tankers including two Saudi ships off Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, according to a Norwegian insurers’ report seen by Reuters.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Norway are investigating the attacks, which also hit a UAE- and a Norwegian-flagged vessel. . .

The attacks took place against a backdrop of U.S.-Iranian tension following Washington’s decision this month to try to cut Tehran’s oil exports to zero and beef up its military presence in the Gulf in response to what it called Iranian threats. (Read more from “Insurer Says Iran’s Guards Likely to Have Organized Tanker Attacks” HERE)

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Air Force Deploys New Weapon to Deal with North Korea

The United States Air Force has reportedly deployed 20 new missiles to deal with the escalating threats from North Korea and Iran that can “zap” their military electronics, thus rendering their militaries completely ineffective.

“Known as the Counter-Electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP), the missiles were built by Boeing’s Phantom Works for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and tested successfully in 2012,” The Daily Mail reported. “They have not been operation until now.” . . .

The missile, which reportedly has a range of 700 miles, is delivered from bombers and flies at a low altitude and delivers “sharp pulses of high power microwave (HPM) energy.” . . .

Tensions have risen sharply in recent weeks with North Korea, which has resumed missile testing, and Iran, which has reportedly been behind multiple provocations in the Middle East in recent weeks.

“In response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings, the United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force,” National Security Adviser John Bolton said earlier this month. “The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces.” (Read more from “Air Force Deploys New Weapon to Deal with North Korea” HERE)

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Three-Year-Old Girl Dies After Rabies Shot, Raising Fears of Another Vaccine Scandal

A three-year-old girl in China’s Jiangsu province died after receiving a rabies vaccination last month, an ominous development in light of persistent scandals over low-quality and improperly-handled vaccines. . .

According to the South China Morning Post’s summary, the girl’s pet dog scratched her on the finger and she received a rabies shot after her father took her to the hospital. Medical staff cautioned her father she might run a mild fever after the vaccination, but instead she developed an uncontrollable fever overnight and died the following afternoon.

The family agreed to an autopsy and also asked for the vaccine to be examined along with medical records and hospital surveillance camera footage. Guangzhou Promise Biological Products, a company with no previous record of vaccine problems, reportedly produced the vaccine. . . .

Parents alarmed by the case began investigating their children’s vaccination history and found the government gave them expired doses for diseases other than polio. Parents held rare public demonstrations as fears of a government cover-up grew, driven by a history of vaccine problems turning out to be much worse than Chinese officials originally admitted, combined with the government’s tendency to suppress popular discontent and suppress those who ask awkward questions. (Read more from “Three-Year-Old Girl Dies After Rabies Shot, Raising Fears of Another Vaccine Scandal” HERE)

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This Is the next Illegal Immigration Shoe to Drop – Along with Its Criminal Elements

What’s next after Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador empty their populations into this country? There is no end in sight. The next country to line up at our border is Cuba, and it’s bringing an entirely new dimension of criminality with it.

On Monday, the Associated Press published a comprehensive report on the growing trend of Cubans accepting the invitation from our government to come to our border along with the Central Americans. The article discusses the particular route the Cubans have taken through Juarez. As the AP observes, “10,910 Cubans came through official crossings between October and April, versus 7,079 in the previous 12 months.” Almost half of them came in at the El Paso field office, while the other half came in at points of entry near Laredo.

What is going on in the Juarez-El Paso area? According to the Agencia EFE, the largest Spanish-language news wire agency, the phenomenon began with just 100 Cuban migrants arriving in Juarez last October. Once they saw they were allowed into the United States within 24 hours, “word began to spread about the quick and easy access to the United States via Ciudad Juarez-El Paso among the migrants’ relatives and friends.” Then, Cubans began to fly to Panama and make their way to Juarez, and now their numbers are overwhelming even the Central Americans in his key border city.

While most of the media reports on the Cuban migration focus on the veracity of asylum claims or even the cultural clashes with local Mexicans, there is another disturbing element to this that has bearings on our national security. The Cuban migration has brought with it an entirely new dimension of organized crime right at our border and likely coming through it. Juarez is infested with Mexican criminal cartels and gangs, and now, according to a top federal official, the caravans are bringing in criminal organizations from other countries.

“With the pressure placed on the system, now you have all these OTM (other than Mexicans) caravans flooding into Juarez,” warned Kyle Williamson, special agent in charge of the DEA in El Paso. “You’ve got Cubans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, and Guatemalans flooding into Juarez. The Cubans are pretty much occupying all of the motels in town and, together with the Hondurans, are working the street-level drug trafficking.”

“Sinaloa is still the dominant cartel in the region, but Cartel Jalisco New Generacion (CJNG) is coming on strong and pushing a lot of meth.” Williamson noted that while there is still a rigid structure of the individual cartels at the senior level, “the waters have gotten very muddy” at the mid-level and the gangs contracting with them, who often move loads for multiple cartel bosses. Plus, the three major cartels in the area – Sinaloa, CJNG, and La Linea – are sharing the plazas in Juarez. Williamson observed how traditionally the three gangs operating in the area served particular cartels, but that is all changing. “Now you throw in the mix something we’ve never seen before in this area with a lot of other criminal elements coming in from these other countries, and they are getting involved in the gangs. The cartels are giving the Cubans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, and Guatemalans the permission to run prostitution rings and street-level drug trafficking in Juarez.”

Therefore, the migration is now bringing entirely new dimensions of criminal activity and drug trafficking at the same time it is taking out Border Patrol resources to combat a more robust cartel and gang threat than ever before. Our enemies now know they can weaponize migration to kill two birds with one stone: They can flood us with migrants and criminal elements who take advantage of desperate migrants, plus the flow in itself ties down our agents so the cartels can strategically bring in their criminal organizers. And as I reported yesterday, with the secondary Border Patrol checkpoints all taken down in New Mexico, these criminal elements have a free lane into our country.

What’s particularly disturbing about the Cuban criminal elements, more than those from Central America, is that there are likely hostile anti-American intentions at the governmental level. Whereas the Guatemalan government under Jimmy Morales is friendly with the Trump administration, the Castro government remains an arch-enemy of the United States.

Colonel Dan Steiner, a retired Air Force veteran who coordinated Texas military operations at our border and also has significant experience in Latin America and the Middle East, believes it’s a no-brainer that Castro is sending much more than drug runners. “The Cubans have a relationship with the Venezuelans, Tehran, Moscow, and the Bolivarian revolution. Their instinct is to counter U.S. actions against them. Insertion of individuals or groups to conduct counter-operations is almost a given. Once we accept this premise, we can fully anticipate these groups will have motives beyond the drug business. Why would they not take advantage of something we seem not to have a handle on? Does anyone in D.C. really care about the potential ramifications of this?”

Steiner believes this is yet another reason why the cartels should be designated as terrorists and should be the focus of more robust military operations. “Again and again, this is why I argue there is a true nexus between the cartels the drug industry and the U.S. definition of a terrorist organization.”

Criminal elements or national security threats from Cuba or other countries of interest now know they can come up the highways without being stopped by the checkpoints where some of them would stand out to agents. We already know that people from nearly 50 countries have been caught at our border this year, according to Raul Ortiz, the deputy chief patrol agent of the Rio Grande Valley sector. “These are from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, you name it,” said Ortiz in an interview with the Epoch Times in March.

The fact that our military is not being placed at the border in places like New Mexico to counter the criminal elements and national security threats rather than simply changing tires on trucks and serving as drivers and cooks for the illegal immigrants remains a mystery.

So long as we refuse to close our border to processing of any immigration requests, there simply is no end to the number of people throughout the world who will eventually come. So long as we open our doors and our welfare system, they will come, especially if we’ve already let in so many from those countries that they are motivated by family unification along with economic considerations. A quick glance at the U.N.’s data on GDP per capita by country shows that there are 88 nations where the per capita GDP is lower than that of Guatemala, which stands at $4,471 as of 2017. That is likely well over one billion people living in similar or worse conditions than the ones coming to our border today.

What is most tragic is that as these economic migrants pour through Mexico to our border, they serve as a physical and political conduit for all the criminal elements of these countries from which America is supposed to be an asylum. (For more from the author of “This Is the next Illegal Immigration Shoe to Drop – Along with Its Criminal Elements” please click HERE)

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Men Burn Church, Kill 6 During Sunday Mass

By BBC. Gunmen have killed six people including a priest as Mass was being celebrated in a church in Dablo in northern Burkina Faso, officials say.

The attackers, said to number between 20 and 30, then burned down the church.

The town’s mayor, Ousmane Zongo, said that there was panic as other buildings were burned down and a health centre looted.

Jihadist violence has flared in Burkina Faso since 2016, and this is the third attack on a church in five weeks. (Read more from “Men Burn Church, Kill 6 During Sunday Mass” HERE)

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Burkina Faso Christians Killed in Attack on Church

By BBC. Gunmen have opened fire on a church in northern Burkina Faso, killing at least six people, officials say.

The attackers reportedly arrived on seven motorbikes at the end of Sunday’s service and killed the pastor, two of his sons and three other worshippers.

It is the second reported church attack this month and since jihadist violence erupted in the country in 2016.

Fighters affiliated to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group as well as the local Ansarul Islam have been active.

Sunday’s attack on the Protestant church happened in the small town of Silgadji near Djibo, the capital of Soum province, at around 12:00 local time (12:00 GMT). (Read more from “Burkina Faso Christians Killed in Attack on Church” HERE)

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Islamists Attack Relief Centers for Violating Ramadan Fast

Armed Islamists stormed a heatstroke center in Pakistan on Thursday and forced them to shut down for allegedly violating fasting hours during the ongoing month of Ramadan, the holiest period for Muslims.

The Islamist assault in the city of Sukkur on Thursday forced a total of five water outlets in the Pakistani province of Sindh to close amid a heatwave, Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reveals. Citing the social welfare organization known as the Edhi Foundation, Reuters reports that the heat has already killed at least 65 people in Sindh.

The armed Islamists reportedly fired in the air at one of the water outlets in the city of Sukkur in Sindh, prompting operators to flee.

In response, local authorities appear to have capitulated to the armed activists’ demands, advising the facility operators to shut down a total of five heat stroke centers in Sukkur despite the ongoing heatwave. . .

According to Dawn, the Ayub Gate center is one of many facilities set up by the Sukkur Municipal Corporation (SMC) “to provide immediate relief to victims of heatstroke as the maximum temperatures in certain upper Sindh areas in recent days remained between 40 [104 Fahrenheit] and 47 [117 Fahrenheit] degrees Celsius.” (Read more from “Islamists Attack Relief Centers for Violating Ramadan Fast” HERE)

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Trump Fires First Shot in U.S.-China Trade War

The trade war begins: Trump hikes tariffs on China

The Trump administration has officially imposed tariffs on roughly $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Tariffs on the select Chinese exports were raised from 10 percent to 25 percent overnight, resulting in a plummeting stock market and a promise from Beijing to impose retaliatory tariffs of its own.

“China deeply regrets that the US has decided to increase the tariffs from 10 per cent to 25 per cent on US$200 billion worth of China goods exported to the United States,” China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement following the tariff hike.

“We’ll have no choice but to take the necessary countermeasures,” the statement added.

President Trump took to Twitter Friday to signal that he may leave the tariffs in place for quite some time.

“Talks with China continue in a very congenial manner – there is absolutely no need to rush,” the president said in one of his tweets.

North Korea again commences missile tests following long hiatus

The regime that rules North Korea has started to test-fire short-range missiles, following relative calm through the course of the Trump administration.

On Thursday, the South Korean military reported seeing Pyongyang test-firing projectiles into the sea, marking a significant escalation from a regime that was once in discussions about denuclearization.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has pledged to keep his military in “full-combat posture,” according to North Korean state media, which released photos of Kim watching the military exercises that occurred this week.

President Trump was not particularly amused with the North Korean saber-rattling, but remained open to further negotiations.

“They were smaller missiles, they’re short range missiles,” President Trump told reporters. “Nobody’s happy about it, but we’re taking a good look and we’ll see, we’ll see. The relationship continues, but we’ll see what happens.”

Guaido says he would ‘probably accept’ US military intervention in Venezuela

Venezuela opposition leader or interim president, depending upon your politics and views on the situation unfolding in Caracas, Juan Guaido continues to consider the possibility of American military intervention in his country.

In an interview with the Italian publication La Stampa, Guaido said he would “probably accept” U.S. military intervention intended to topple socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro.

“If the Americans were to propose a military intervention I would probably accept it,” Guaido said, according to a translation by The Telegraph.

Iranian regime offers cold response to POTUS’ ‘call me’ outreach

The regime that rules Iran is thoroughly rejecting any notion of diplomacy with the United States, following President Trump’s offer to negotiate with the mullahs this week.

“There will be no negotiations with America,” a top Iranian general raged, according to one of its state-run media outfits, Fox News reported Friday.

Trump said Thursday at the White House, commenting on the newly imposed sanctions against the Tehran regime: “What I would like to see with Iran, I would like to see them call me.”

The Trump administration has sent some serious firepower to maintain a presence off of Iran’s coast, following reported U.S. intelligence picking up information on a terrorist threat originating from Iran and its terrorist proxies.

Sec. Pompeo to meet with Putin in Russia next week

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet face to face with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week in Sochi, Russia, the State Department said in a press release Friday.

While in Sochi, he will also meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The parties will discuss “the full range of bilateral and multilateral challenges,” the State Department said.

Secretary Pompeo will also lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Russia. The landmark commemorates the Soviet soldiers who perished during World War II, when the U.S. and Soviet Union struck an alliance to defeat Nazi Germany. (For more from the author of “Trump Fires First Shot in U.S.-China Trade War” please click HERE)

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Couple Dies of Bubonic Plague After Eating Raw Marmot

By Breitbart. Nine tourists were left stranded in a remote region of Mongolia after an unidentified local couple died from the bubonic plague.

The ethnically Kazakh couple died on May 1 after ingesting raw marmot kidney — traditionally believed to have health benefits, according to Ulaanbaatar’s World Health Organization spokesperson Ariuntuya Ochirpurev. . .

Unfortunately, marmots are known carriers of Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that culled Europe as the “Black Death” in the middle ages. Once contracted by humans, it is extremely contagious and can be spread by coughing.

After their deaths, a six-day quarantine locked down the area, preventing nine tourists from Germany, Russia, and Switzerland from leaving. They, as well as 24-year-old American Peace Corps volunteer Sebastian Pique, were invited to the governor’s office on Friday to have the situation explained.

“After the quarantine [was announced], not many people — even locals — were in the streets for fear of catching the disease,” Pique said. Fortunately, as no other cases have been reported, the quarantine is expected to lift on Monday. (Read more from “Couple Dies of Bubonic Plague After Eating Raw Marmot” HERE)

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Mongolian Couple Die of Bubonic Plague After Eating Marmot

By The Guardian. Each year in Mongolia at least one person dies of the plague, mostly due to consuming such meat, according to the US National Center for Zoonotic Disease.

The Black Death wiped out millions of people in the Middle Ages but cases are now very rare. Its most common form is bubonic, which is spread by fleas and causes swelling of the lymph node. The more virulent form is pneumonic plague, which can be transmitted between humans through coughing. (Read more from “Mongolian Couple Die of Bubonic Plague After Eating Marmot” HERE)

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Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi Flees, Reunites With Family

After a decade of uncertainty about her life, her safety, and her future, Pakistani Christian mother Asia Bibi can now breath a sigh of relief that she has safely fled to Canada a free woman, according to reports.

On Wednesday morning, a U.K. diplomat told the British Pakistani Christian Organization (BPCO) that Bibi has finally safely left Pakistan following her release from her eight-year stay on the country’s death row last year. Bibi faced possible execution under Pakistan’s notoriously harsh blasphemy law but was acquitted by the country’s supreme court in October.

“It is a big day,” Bibi’s attorney Saiful Malook told The Guardian newspaper. “Asia Bibi has left Pakistan and reached Canada. She has reunited with her family. Justice has been dispensed.”

The mother of 5 was convicted of blasphemy in 2010 following a 2009 incident at her berry-picking job. When she went to fetch water from a nearby well, her Muslim coworkers said that they didn’t want to drink from something that had been touched by a Christian. After the incident, two Muslim women said that she had insulted Mohammed, though that claim has never been verified.

“The United States welcomes the news that Asia Bibi has safely reunited with her family,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a prepared statement. “Asia Bibi is now free, and we wish her and her family all the best following their reunification. The United States uniformly opposes blasphemy laws anywhere in the world, as they jeopardize the exercise of fundamental freedoms.”

After being released from death row, Bibi made plans to flee Pakistan, which has a “high” rating for government restriction on religion and for social hostility involving religion, according to Pew Research.

Now in Canada, Bibi is safe from both further persecution by the Pakistani government and retributive violence from those angered by her acquittal.

“Although no one has yet been executed by the state under the blasphemy laws, some persons have been sentenced to death. Several accused under the blasphemy laws have been attacked, even killed, by vigilantes, including while in police custody; those who escape official punishment or vigilante attack are forced to flee the country,” explains the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. “Others have died in police custody under allegedly suspicious circumstances.”

But while supporters around the world rejoice at the news of Bibi’s newfound safety, the last leg of her road to freedom and safety didn’t come without difficulties. Last month, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Kahn told the BBC that there had been a “little bit of a complication” in her departure.

“It is very good that Asia Bibi is finally safe outside Pakistan,” Farahnaz Ispahani told Blaze Media. Ispahani is a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center, senior fellow for South and South East Asia at the Religious Freedom Institute, and a former member of the Pakistani parliament. “It is bad news that it was such a struggle to free her and that thousands of Christians and other religious minority populations still live under threat.” (For more from the author of “Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi Flees, Reunites With Family” please click HERE)

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Media Claimed Israel Was Responsible for Death of Mother and Baby – Here’s the Truth

Several establishment media outlets have yet to update articles that claimed a pregnant Palestinian mother and her baby were killed by an Israeli rocket over the weekend, even though the story has since proved false.

The deaths were a part of recent tensions that have seen hundreds of rockets being fired from Gaza and an Israeli retaliation, in which 27 people were killed and hundreds injured. . .

“The death toll has risen in the latest wave of cross border Israel-Gaza violence. The Palestinian Health Ministry reported Sunday that nine Palestinians, including a pregnant mother and her baby, were killed in retaliatory airstrikes, according to NBC News,” The Daily Beast wrote, which is linked to a now-deleted story on their website.

More information about their death has been released by the Israeli Defense Force and a local news organization and it has shown that these deaths were caused by a Hamas rocket that didn’t reach Israel.

“A leak from the heroes of the [Islamic Jihad’s] Sarayat al-Quds (Jerusalem Brigades) on the circumstances of the death of the baby Saba Abu ‘Arar indicates that a rocket of the resistance exploded inside the family’s home due to a technical failure, and prematurely exploded,” Hamas’ al-Risala News reported, according to The Jerusalem Post. (Read more from “Media Claimed Israel Was Responsible for Death of Mother and Baby – Here’s the Truth” HERE)

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