Archive for April, 2018

Netanyahu Says Secret Files Prove Iran Lied About Nuclear Program

April 30, 2018

Israeli leader makes case against 2015 deal as Trump faces May 12 deadline

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented what he said was an archive of documents showing that Iran had a plan to develop nuclear weapons, in Tel Aviv on Monday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented what he said was an archive of documents showing that Iran had a plan to develop nuclear weapons, in Tel Aviv on Monday. PHOTO: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS

TEL AVIV—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented what he called new evidence that Iran maintained a secret and comprehensive plan to build nuclear weapons but lied repeatedly about it, building a case against the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

The broadside by Mr. Netanyahu on Monday, broadcast in Israel and the U.S., came as President Donald Trump nears a May 12 deadline to decide whether to withdraw from the deal, which halted Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for economic benefits. Mr. Netanyahu said the agreement was a mistake and urged Mr. Trump to do “the right thing.”

Mr. Netanyahu said the documents obtained by Israel, which he said included 100,000 files on paper and discs, show that “Iran is brazenly lying when it says it never had a nuclear weapons program.”

Mr. Trump said later that he agreed the 2015 nuclear agreement was a mistake, adding it would allow Iran to resume nuclear activities in seven years.

Mr. Netanyahu, in Tel Aviv on Monday, said the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran was a mistake and urged President Donald Trump to do “the right thing.”
Mr. Netanyahu, in Tel Aviv on Monday, said the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran was a mistake and urged President Donald Trump to do “the right thing.” PHOTO: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS

“That is just not an acceptable situation,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference with Nigeria’s president, after he was asked about Mr. Netanyahu’s presentation.

“I’m not telling you what I’m doing” with regard to the May 12 deadline, he said.

Iran’s lead negotiator in the talks leading to the 2015 nuclear deal told Iranian state television that Mr. Netanyahu’s presentation was “a childish, ridiculous show.”

The documents he presented were counterfeits, said the official, Abbas Araghchi, describing claims about a hidden stash of documents as laughable.

“How would Iran keep such important documents in a deserted industrial warehouse?” he said. “The fact that Netanyahu performs this show 10 days before Trump’s decision on the JCPOA makes it clear that it is an orchestrated play to influence Trump’s decision,” he said.

Iran has denied it was seeking to build nuclear weapons, although many U.S. and international officials have long believed the country’s Islamic government was attempting to do so at one time.

As part of the 2015 nuclear deal, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog conducted a probe of Iran’s previous nuclear work. That investigation was finished in December 2015 and found no credible evidence that Tehran had engaged in recent atomic-weapons activity. But the agency reported that the country had pursued a program in secret until 2009.

Mr. Netanyahu in his comments claimed to have new evidence of Iran’s prior weapons program, displaying replicas of binders and CDs that he said were part of secret files from a bunker in Tehran. He said that Iran’s false denials represented a violation of the 2015 agreement.

The Israeli leader’s comments came a day after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Tel Aviv.

Messrs. Netanyahu and Trump spoke by telephone on Saturday, the White House said.

Mr. Netanyahu said the U.S. has vouched for the authenticity of the materials uncovered by Israel and has shared the documents with the U.S.

“We have not seen everything, but they have been very eager to share it with us,” a White House official said. “We have no reason to think that anything is inauthentic.”

Israeli officials have been discussing the files with American officials in recent days, the official said, suggesting the release was a coordinated effort. “We were not unhappy about it,” the White House official said of the presentation.

The Trump administration was impressed by the “volume and completeness of the picture” of Iran’s work that the materials presented, the official said.

However, U.S. intelligence officials and Mr. Pompeo have said that Iran is in compliance with the 2015 agreement, concurring with a view advanced by European officials and nuclear inspectors.

Write to Felicia Schwartz at


Netanyahu: Iran had secret ‘Project Amad’ to design, produce and test warheads

April 30, 2018

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday revealed a cache of files he claims were obtained from Iran and prove Tehran ran a secret program to build nuclear weapons.

Iranian leaders have long said their nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes. But Netanyahu on Monday revealed tens of thousands of pages of documents, which he said were copied from a “highly secret location” in Iran.

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Netanyahu shows 55,000 pages of documents and 183 CDs apparently stolen from Iran’s nuclear storage facility

Those files detail Project Amad, which Netanyahu described as “a comprehensive program to design, build and test nuclear weapons.” He said the files provided “new and conclusive proof of the secret nuclear weapons program that Iran has been hiding for years from the international community in its secret atomic archive.”

The existence of Iran’s nuclear weapons program is widely accepted fact. Revelations about that program marshaled international support for a tough series of sanctions against Iran, which ultimately led to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Netanyahu’s remarks come less than two weeks before U.S. President Donald Trump must decide whether to continue suspending sanctions against Iran under that deal, or restore the penalties on one of the world’s biggest oil producers.

Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 30, 2018.

Amir Cohen | Reuters
Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 30, 2018.

The announcement also followed a meeting between Netanyahu and newly sworn-in secretary of State Mike Pompeo this weekend.

“We’ve shared this material with the United States and the United States can vouch for its authenticity,” Netanyahu said.

The Obama administration negotiated the Iran nuclear deal in 2015 along with China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.K. The accord lifted a series of sanctions against Iran in exchange for Tehran accepting limits on its nuclear program and allowing international investigators access to its facilities.

The International Atomic Energy Agency and the signatories to the agreement have repeatedly confirmed that Iran is complying with the deal as it is written.

But the Trump administration and foreign policy hawks have long argued that the accord itself is flawed. Last year, the White House announced a major policy shift aimed at working with U.S. lawmakers and European partners to toughen the nuclear deal.

In January, Trump waived sanctions against Iran, but said he would not suspend them when the next deadline arrived on May 12 unless the United States and Europe had agreed on a path forward.


Netanyahu: Iran Nuclear Deal Is Based on Lies – Here’s the Proof

April 30, 2018

‘Iran did not come clean on its nuclear program,’ Netanyahu says, saying more than 100,000 Iranian documents Israel obtained prove nuclear ‘deal is based on lies’ ■ Speech comes on heels of strike against two bases in Syria and ahead of Trump’s decision on nuclear deal

.Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, Israel April 30, 2018. REUTERS
Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv, Israel April 30, 2018. \ AMIR COHEN/ REUTERS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed a cache of documents he says proves Iran lied to the world about its nuclear program, even after the nuclear deal with the world. “Iran did not come clean about its nuclear program,” Netanyahu said in a prime time address in English.

Presenting 55,000 pages of documents and 183 CDs, Netanyahu said Iran hid an “atomic archive” of documents that on its nuclear program.

Iran is “blatantly lying” when it says it doesn’t have a nuclear program, Netanyahu claimed, laying out what he claimed was proof Iran had developed and continued to develop its nuclear program.

Netanyahu concluded by saying “Iran lied about never having a secret nuclear program. Secondly, even after the deal, it continued to expand its nuclear program for future use. Thirdly, Iran lied by not coming clean to the IAEA,” he said, adding that, “the nuclear deal is based on lies based on Iranian deception.”

'Iran lied': Presenting 55,000 pages and 183 CDs, Netanyahu says Iran hid an 'atomic archive'
‘Iran lied’: Presenting 55,000 pages and 183 CDs, Netanyahu says Iran hid an ‘atomic archive’Noa Landua

Trump spoke with Netanyahu over the phone on Sunday to discuss the current situation in the Middle East, the White House said. The readout of their phone conversation stated that they “discussed the continuing threats and challenges facing the Middle East region, especially the problems posed by the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities.”

In a rare move, Netanyahu called the heads of Israel’s two news broadcasts and updated them with the content of his planned statement.

Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, said before Netanyahu’s speech that the prime minister is just “the boy who can’t stop crying wolf at it again.”

Netanyahu’s speech comes after an airstrike in Syria Sunday night in which 200 missiles were destroyed and 11 Iranians were killed, according to pro-Assad sources. Various reports attribute the strike to Israel, but the origin of the attack remains unconfirmed.

According to several Syrian media outlets, the strikes targeted the 47th Brigade base in the southern Hama district, a military facility in northwestern Hama, and a facility north of the Aleppo International Airport. The strike reportedly targeted an arms depot of missiles.

The strikes came as tensions increase between Israel and Iran in Syria and the U.S. deadline on Iranian sanctions regarding the nuclear deal, May 12, draws near.

>> What happens if Trump pulls out of the Iran nuclear deal?

Israeli defense and political sources told Russia and the United States on Sunday that if Iran attacks Israel from Syria, either itself or through its proxy, Hezbollah, Jerusalem will respond forcefully and target Iranian soil.

Later, Iran’s deputy foreign minister said that the current terms of the Iran deal are no longer sustainable for them- regardless of whether or not the U.S. ends the deal.

“The status quo of the deal is simply not sustainable for us, whether or not the Americans get out of the deal,” Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said, according to Iranian news agency Isna.

Meanwhile, world leaders such as France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel have visited U.S. President Trump in an attempt to convince him to maintain the terms of the nuclear deal, termed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Trump spoke with Netanyahu, who vocally opposes the deal, over the phone on Sunday to discuss the current situation in the Middle East, the White House said. The readout of their phone conversation stated that they “discussed the continuing threats and challenges facing the Middle East region, especially the problems posed by the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities.”

Visiting in Israel Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States will cancel the Iran nuclear deal if it is not fixed. Pompeo made the statement following a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, which took place at the Israeli military headquarters in Tel Aviv, Pompeo said the U.S. stands with Israel against Iran. “We remain deeply concerned about Iran’s dangerous escalation of threats toward Israel and the region,” Pompeo said, adding that the U.S. supports Israel’s right to defend itself.

After Hard Ball With North Korea and Iran, Trump Administration Peace Plan for the Middle East: Something For Both Israelis and Palestinians

April 30, 2018
Israeli official says Israel should welcome Trump peace plan

Aron Heller (Associated Press) – May 1, 2018 – 2:27am

JERUSALEM — A top Israel official said yesterday that his government has never had a more favorable ally in the White House than Donald Trump and therefore it should welcome his administration’s forthcoming peace plan regardless of its content.

Michael Oren, the deputy minister for diplomacy in the prime minister’s office, said the US president’s much-anticipated plan will undoubtedly require Israeli concessions, but that Israel would be foolish to reject it.

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Michael Oren

“I have never known a team to be more favorably disposed to us,” Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington, told foreign journalists. “My own feeling is to strongly recommend that the Israeli government accept this plan with an open mind, if not open arms, that we engage with it energetically and that we certainly don’t reject it out of hand.”

Trump has promised to pursue the “ultimate deal” between Israelis and Palestinians and both sides are eager to see what his plan entails.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has developed a close relationship with and lavished praise on Trump, who has broken with decades of tradition by appearing to openly side with Israel in the Middle East conflict.

The Palestinians have essentially boycotted contacts with Washington since Trump announced in December that the United States was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem — captured by Israel in 1967 and then annexed — as the capital of a future state.

The new US Embassy in Jerusalem is to be opened on May 14 with a huge American delegation expected to attend, perhaps including Trump himself.

Oren said he did not know what the Trump plan would include, but he expects it to come out soon, perhaps after the embassy move. Netanyahu’s current coalition is made up primarily of hardliners who are opposed to the establishment of a Palestinian state and reject any Israeli territorial concessions.

Oren, who belongs to the Kulanu party, the most moderate faction in the coalition, said Trump’s business-minded team was the best mediator Israel could ever hope for.

“The current president, unlike the previous president, views Israel as the solution and Iran as the problem,” he said. “In the world of business, if you leave the table you pay a price, you don’t get rewarded. In the world of business negotiations. the first offer on the table is the best offer, the second offer is a less good offer, the third offer is less than that — just the opposite than in the world of diplomacy.”



Chinese companies are monitoring employees’ brains

April 30, 2018

Artificial Intelligence is allowing Chinese bosses to read the minds of their workers now….

Image result for brain-surveillance devices, china, photos
Chinese companies are picking their employees’ brains — literally — with mind-reading devices designed to improve efficiency and performance, according to a new report.

Workers are being outfitted with safety helmet-like caps that monitor brain waves and send the information to computers that use artificial intelligence algorithms to detect emotional spikes, like depression, anxiety and rage, South China Morning Post reported.

The Orwellian technology has been used on factory employees, train conductors and workers at State Grid Zhejian Electric Power.

State Grid, which has 40,000 employees who manage the power supply to homes and businesses across Hangzhou province, said the company’s profits have increased by about $315 million since it implemented the surveillance caps in 2014.

“There is no doubt about its effect,” said Cheng Jingzhou, who oversees the company’s surveillance program.

The government-funded brain-monitoring project, called Neuro Cap, has been implemented in more than a dozen factories and businesses.

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Jin Jia, an associate professor of brain science and cognitive psychology at Ningbo University, which is hosting the project, said the brain caps allow workers to be better managed.

They could help prevent an emotional production-line worker from having a total meltdown.

“When the system issues a warning, the manager asks the worker to take a day off or move to a less critical post. Some jobs require high concentration. There is no room for a mistake,” she said.

Jin acknowledged that at first, workers were skeptical about their bosses tapping into their heads.

“They thought we could read their mind. This caused some discomfort and resistance in the beginning,” she said. “After a while they got used to the device. It looked and felt just like a safety helmet. They wore it all day at work.”

The brain-surveillance devices are also being worn by train conductors along the busy high-speed Beijing-Shanghai line, according to Shanghai technology company Deayea.

Sensors that are located in the brim of the drivers’ hats can monitor fatigue and attention loss with more than 90 percent accuracy — as well as trigger an alert in the cabin if the driver dozes off.

Qiao Zhian, professor of management psychology at Beijing Normal University, said the devices could give companies a competitive boost — but warned they could also violate privacy in the worst way.

“There is no law or regulation to limit the use of this kind of equipment in China. The employer may have a strong incentive to use the technology for higher profit, and the employees are usually in too weak a position to say no,” he said. “The selling of Facebook data is bad enough. Brain surveillance can take privacy abuse to a whole new level.


Armenian opposition leader becomes sole candidate for interim PM job

April 30, 2018

Armenian opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan became the sole candidate for the post of interim prime minister on Monday after a key deadline passed without other candidates registering.

Image result for Nikol Pashinyan, armenia, photos

Nikol Pashinyan (Center)


Whether or not he gets the job, left open by the resignation of long-time leader Serzh Sarksyan after two weeks of anti-government protests, depends on a parliamentary vote to be held on Tuesday.

Pashinyan has received the support of all opposition parties in parliament, who hold 47 seats in the 105-seat legislature, but he will require a majority to win.

Anti-government demonstrations, driven by public anger over perceived political cronyism and corruption in the South Caucasian former Soviet republic, led to Sarksyan’s resignation a week ago.

At a meeting with the governing Republican party on Monday, as well as with the opposition bloc Way Out, Pashinyan said that a vote for him on Tuesday would be a vote for an end to the crisis.

“I think this is a unique and great opportunity to resolve the domestic political crisis and to register the victory of the people, the kind of victory in which there are no losers,” Pashinyan, a former journalist turned lawmaker, said.

After a break during the day, protests restarted in Yerevan towards the evening, with a column of demonstrators marching to the capital city’s main square.

Speaking with journalists on Monday, Pashinyan said his main project as interim prime minister would be to organize new free and fair parliamentary elections for the post of prime minister.

Although demonstrations have been peaceful, the upheaval has threatened to destabilize Armenia, an ally of Russia, in a volatile region riven by Armenia’s decades-long, low-level conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan.

Writing by Polina Ivanova; Editing by Richard Balmforth

Netanyahu To Address Israel With News About Iran

April 30, 2018

Israeli media reports indicate Netanyahu will address the Iran nuclear deal and not the overnight strike in Syria. Israel is worried that Iran may launch a strike into Israel in response to Israel’s military strikes on Iranian bases in Syria….

 APRIL 30, 2018 16:57


Jerusalem Post

 U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo: We’ll nix Iran deal if it’s not fixed

 Iran: We could produce higher enriched uranium if U.S. exits nuclear deal

netanyahu iran

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, April 3, 2015. (photo credit: KOBY GIDEON/GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will make a televised announcement Monday evening in what his office said would disclose “dramatic news” regarding the nuclear agreement with Iran.

In a corresponding move, Netanyahu cancelled a scheduled speech at the Knesset in honor of Theodore Herzl day. Channel 10 reports Meir Ben Shabbat, head of the National Security Council, will hold phone calls with colleagues in the UK and France to update them about developments with the Iranian nuclear program.

The announcement will be made from Israel’s military headquarters in Tel Aviv, according to a brief statement from Netanyahu’s office.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will make a statement on a significant development regarding the nuclear agreement with Iran,” the statement said, offering no further details. Israeli media reports indicate Netanyahu will address the Iran nuclear deal and not the overnight strike in Syria.

Netanyahu met on Sunday with new US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the two had spoken about Iran.

Speaking alongside the Israeli leader, Pompeo said: “We remain deeply concerned about Iran’s dangerous escalation of threats towards Israel and the region.”

Netanyahu had said: “I think the greatest threat to the world and to our two countries, and to all countries, is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons, and specifically the attempt of Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.”

US President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw from the 2015 agreement reached between Iran and global powers, which granted Tehran relief from economic sanctions in return for curbs to its nuclear program.

Israel has long opposed the agreement. Washington’s major European allies have urged the Trump administration not to abandon it and argue that Iran is abiding by its terms.

Minister of Energy Yuval Steineitz said the announcement would be “interesting and impactful.” staff contributed to this report.



Malaysia Wields Law Against ‘Fake News’ for First Time

April 30, 2018

Foreign visitor sentenced to jail after criticizing the police response to the slaying of a Palestinian engineer in Kuala Lumpur

Danish national Salah Salem Saleh Sulaiman, center, a Danish national of Yemeni origins, pleaded guilty.
Danish national Salah Salem Saleh Sulaiman, center, a Danish national of Yemeni origins, pleaded guilty. PHOTO: /ASSOCIATED PRESS

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—A foreign visitor became the first person convicted and sentenced to jail under a new law to punish those deemed to have published “fake news”after he criticized the police response to the slaying of a Palestinian engineer in Kuala Lumpur.

Salah Salem Saleh Sulaiman, 46 years old, a Danish national of Yemeni origins, pleaded guilty Monday at a court hearing. He was sentenced to a week in jail but opted to serve a  month behind bars in lieu of paying a fine of about $2,600. He wasn’t represented by a lawyer.

The case marked unexpected circumstances for the first use of the law since Parliament passed it April 3 amid criticism by rights groups that it would be wielded to inhibit criticism of the government ahead of elections on May 9. The government has denied that that is its intent, and Mr. Salah is the only person to have been charged under it.

The law allows for a punishment of up to six years in prison and a fine of up to about $128,000 for creating or disseminating fake news.

Mr. Salah appeared in a video posted to YouTube—and since removed—from the scene of the assassination of Palestinian Fadi al-Batsh, an electrical engineer and university lecturer who had lived in Malaysia for a decade. He was gunned down by two men on a motorcycle as he walked to dawn prayers at a mosque. No one has been arrested.

Mr. Salah accused medical services and police of being slow to respond to the shooting. Authorities vehemently rejected the allegations and arrested him. On Monday, he apologized and said he had recently arrived in Malaysia to visit friends and didn’t know the law existed.

Malaysia is still hunting for Mr. Batsh’s killers and says the suspects are believed to be of European or Middle Eastern origin. In Gaza, where Mr. Batsh was from, the militant group Hamas has blamed Israel’s spy agency, Mossad. Israel says the shooting resulted from a dispute between terrorist groups.

Mr. Batsh did research on power management in a variety of areas from batteries and solar systems to electrical grids. He was the co-author of a paper published in 2014 on the Institute of Physics’ online platform IOPscience that focused on the challenges of providing a stable power supply for  drones to make them more reliable.

The use of drones by Israel’s adversaries, for surveillance and as weapons, has become an increasing concern for Israel’s armed forces. Last year, an Israeli warplane shot down a drone the government said was launched by Hamas in Gaza and was nearing Israeli airspace.

Write to Yantoultra Ngui at

Stalemate in government talks pushes Italy’s Five-Star to call for snap election

April 30, 2018

Luigi Di Maio, head of Italy’s Five-Star movement, called for a snap election to break the deadlock in forming a government

© Alberto PIZZOLI , AFP | Anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) leader Luigi Di Maio leaves after a meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella on the second day of consultations of political parties, on April 5, 2018, in Rome

AFP and Reuters

The leader of Italy’s anti-establishment Five-Star Movement on Monday called for early elections in June, saying efforts to form a coalition after last month’s inconclusive vote had got nowhere.

“At this point for me there is no other solution, we have to go back to the polls as soon as possible,” Luigi Di Maio said in a statement on Facebook in which he blamed other parties for refusing to negotiate with 5-Star.

Di Maio appealed to Matteo Salvini, the leader of the far-right League, to join his call to hold a snap vote in June.

The March 4 election produced a hung parliament. A centre-right alliance led by Salvini’s League won the most seats, while 5-Star emerged as easily the biggest single party.


U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday suggests meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Peace House

April 30, 2018

In a possible effort to jump over any possible log-jam on the location for their meeting, Donald Trump has suggested meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Peace House in Panmunjom

emAP File Photo/em

AP File Photo

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday suggested his planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un take place at the Peace House on the border between North and South Korea, the same site as Kim’s historic meeting last week with South Korea’s president.

“Numerous countries are being considered for the MEETING, but would Peace House/Freedom House, on the Border of North & South Korea, be a more Representative, Important and Lasting site than a third party country? Just asking!” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.

The Peace House in Panmunjom, the truce village in the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas, was where Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met Friday for a historic summit.

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Peace House in Panmunjom

Kim, the first North Korean leader to set foot in the South since the 1953 armistice that halted the Korean War, walked with Moon to the Peace House on the southern side of the border.

Preparations for a Trump-Kim summit have gathered momentum with North Korea’s promise to pursue the complete denuclearization of the peninsula.

Seoul says North Korea has promised to shut down its nuclear test site within weeks and invite American weapons experts to verify its closure.

Kim also told Moon the North would have no need for nuclear weapons if the United States promised not to invade it, South Korean officials said.

Compiled from wire serve reports