…Ohr’s wife Nellie worked for Fusion GPS, which hired Christopher Steele to produce the opposition research on Donald Trump. The Clinton Campaign and the Democrat National Committee paid for the Steele dossier through a law firm.
The FBI used Steele as a source for a while. And recently revealed documentsindicate that Bruce Ohr was funneling information from Christopher Steele to the FBI, even after the FBI fired Steele as a source. It appears that Ohr served as a go-between at a time when the FBI had ended its association with Steele.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) told Fox News Monday night that he used to work at the Justice Department “doing what Bruce Ohr does now.” Both men are or were prosecutors.
“It’s unbelievable that a prosecutor would insert himself into an ongoing investigation for which he had nothing to do,” Gowdy said.
According to Gowdy, “Bruce Ohr worked for the Department of Justice. He had nothing to do with the Russia investigation other than he inserted himself by having contact with Christopher Steele.”
Ohr “even had contact with Chris Steele after the FBI terminated its relationship with Chris Steele.” Gowdy noted that one branch of the Justice Department — the FBI — decided Steele was “not even fit to be an informant,” yet a high-ranking Justice Department official, Bruce Ohr, was continuing to funnel information from Steele to the FBI.
“We’re going to interview him on August 28th,” Gowdy said. “I am going to come back to Washington — I’m going to leave my beloved South Carolina and I’m going to go back, and I’m sure others will, too…we’re going to be back, and we’re going to interview Bruce Ohr — not in a public circus setting, but in a deposition with no time limits and we’re going to get to the bottom of what he did, why he did it, who he did it in concert with, whether he had the permission of the supervisors at the Department of Justice.
“I used to work doing what Bruce Ohr does now. It’s unbelievable that a prosecutor would insert himself into an on-going investigation for which he had nothing to do.”….
Jim Jordan was on Neil Cavuto’s show discussing the recent firing of Peter Strozk:
This is the main point Jim Jordan made, among the others:
Are Republicans ready to take this challenge from the far left seriously? Matt Gorman from the National Republican Congressional Committee weighs in on ‘Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream.’
In one of the funniest posts in a while, TWITCHY want to shorten Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s name:
We need a nickname for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It’s too long to type it all out. Post your suggestions here….
“Alex from the East Bloc”
Michael Medved discusses the growing popularity (popularity should be in quotes) of socialism. News organizations like the AP have headlines that say “Democratic socialism surging in the age of Trump,” but what does “surge” mean? While it is still worrisome that soo many young people do not know what socialism is, the membership rates are still nowhere near the NRA, of 5,000,000[+] persons.
House bans welfare recipients’ money from strip clubs, liquor stores
The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill that prohibits welfare recipients from using their government subsidy in strip clubs, liquor stores and casinos.
The measure easily received the necessary support of two-thirds of House members, with 395 voting in favor and only 27 opposing.
So this was a very bi-partisan vote. Funny how CBS doesn’t use the word. But we thought bi-partisanship was wonderful.
House Republicans introduced and promoted the proposal as a way to eliminate government wasteful spending. It has passed the House before, and they re-introduced it again hoping it will become part of a bill to extend the payroll tax credit, which both the House and Senate is expected to debate this month.
The Senate has not agreed to take up the measure….
An effort by Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga) to move California closer to making sure that those who receive welfare use those taxpayer funds as effectively and efficiently as possible was killed by Democrats during a hearing of the Senate Human Services Committee this week.
Senate Bill 417 would have prohibited those who receive welfare from using their Electronic Benefits Card (EBT) for the purchase of alcohol or tobacco products. Currently, those with EBT cards receive both their food stamps and welfare money, called CalWORKS benefits, on the ETB card. While current law does not allow recipients to use their food stamp portion of their benefits to purchase alcohol or tobacco, they can buy those items with the CalWORKS funds.
“You would think a simple common sense reform like trying to make sure taxpayer money is not used for the purchase of alcohol and tobacco would find bi-partisan support,” Senator Dutton said.
Abuses of the EBT card has received national attention over the last year, after the Los Angeles Times reported how millions of dollars of taxpayer money was being withdrawn with EBT cards from Indian Gaming Casinos, strip clubs, cruise ships, and Las Vegas. While the Governor issued an Executive Order to stop the use of EBT cards at these locations, it did not address stopping the purchase of alcohol or tobacco.
“These funds are designed to help the neediest in California meet their basic requirements of providing food, clothing and shelter,” Senator Dutton said. “I doubt there’s not a taxpayer in this state who believes purchasing alcohol or tobacco with welfare money constitutes a basic need and should be allowed.”
I also wrote on this topic after the L.A. Times broke the story, which states:
The Capitol Casino, which occupies a pair of small rooms a few blocks from the legislative chambers in Sacramento, appears on the social services website showing where clients can get money. Each room has an ATM: one is so close to a poker table that a player with long arms could lean back and withdraw cash without leaving his chair; the other is a few steps from the blackjack table.
At the Casino Royale on the outskirts of Sacramento, the first thing patrons pass as they walk to the gaming floor is the ATM with a sign next to it saying, “Exceed your ATM daily limit here!!”….
(RIGHT SCOOP) …Clapper claims in his new book that “…Of course, the Russian effort affected the outcome. Surprising even themselves, they swung the election to a Trump win. To conclude otherwise stretches logic, common sense, and credulity to the breaking point.”
Hume says he “worries about a man who was once considered a serious intelligence analyst reaching that conclusion”. He goes on to point out that all of the deep analyses of the 2016 election reveal that while Russia tried to influence the election, there were too many other big factors at play that had far more influence than Russia’s attempts.
Furthermore, Hume says Clapper presents no evidence and that it’s just not plausible to come to this conclusion, as it’s impossible to know what’s in the minds of voters when they cast their ballots….
(Don’t forget the IRS scandal or lying to FISA Court judges, or the JournoLIST scandal or the ClimateGate issue [and the MANY others] in order to weaponize the government against conservatives or to push Leftist ideology by way of obfuscation of the truth.)
Bozell says, “This is the emerging of the greatest censorship of free speech worldwide in the history of man. Now, let me explain this, the left is on a jihad against conservative thought. It’s happening in academia, entertainment, business, religion, everywhere.” More from NEWSBUSTERS:
….The Media Research Center has undertaken an extensive study of the problem at major tech companies — Twitter, Facebook, Google and YouTube — and the results are far more troubling than most conservatives realize. Here are some of the key findings:
Twitter Leads in Censorship: Project Veritas recently had caught Twitter staffers admitting on hidden camera that they had been censoring conservatives through a technique known as shadow banning, where users think their content is getting seen widely, but it’s not. The staffers had justified it by claiming the accounts had been automated if they had words such as “America” and “God.” In 2016, Twitter had attempted to manipulate election-related tweets using the hashtags “#PodestaEmails” and “#DNCLeak.” The site also restricts pro-life ads from Live Action and even Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), but allows Planned Parenthood advertisements.
Facebook’s Trending Feed Has Been Hiding Conservative Topics: A 2016 Gizmodo story had warned of Facebook’s bias. It had detailed claims by former employees that Facebook’s news curators had been instructed to hide conservative content from the “trending” section, which supposedly only features news users find compelling. Topics that had been blacklisted included Mitt Romney, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and Rand Paul. On the other hand, the term “Black Lives Matter” had also been placed into the trending section even though it was not actually trending. Facebook had also banned at least one far right European organization but had not released information on any specific statements made by the group that warranted the ban.
Google Search Aids Democrats: Google and YouTube’s corporate chairman Eric Schmidt had assisted Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. The company’s search engine had deployed a similar bias in favor of Democrats. One study had found 2016 campaign searches were biased in favor of Hillary Clinton. Even the liberal website Slate had revealed the search engine’s results had favored both Clinton and Democratic candidates. Google also had fired engineer James Damore for criticizing the company’s “Ideological Echo Chamber.” The company had claimed he had been fired for “advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” Damore is suing Google, saying it mistreats whites, males and conservatives.
YouTube Is Shutting Down Conservative Videos: Google’s YouTube site had created its own problems with conservative content. YouTube moderators must take their cues from the rest of Google – from shutting down entire conservative channels “by mistake” to removing videos that promote right-wing political views. YouTube’s special Creators for Change section is devoted to people using their “voices for social change” and even highlights the work of a 9/11 truther. The site’s very own YouTube page and Twitter account celebrate progressive attitudes, including uploading videos about “inspiring” gay and trans people and sharing the platform’s support for DACA.
Tech Firms Are Relying on Groups That Hate Conservatives: Top tech firms like Google, YouTube and Twitter partner with leftist groups attempting to censor conservatives. These include the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Both groups claim to combat “hate,” but treat standard conservative beliefs in faith and family as examples of that hatred. George Soros-funded ProPublica is using information from both radical leftist organizations to attack conservative groups such as Jihad Watch and ACT for America, bullying PayPal and other services to shut down their funding sources. The SPLC’s “anti-LGBT” list had also been used to prevent organizations from partnering with AmazonSmile to raise funds.
Liberal Twitter Advisors Outnumber Conservatives 12-to-1: Twelve of the 25 U.S. members of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council – which helps guide its policies – are liberal, and only one is conservative. Anti-conservative groups like GLAAD and the ADL are part of the board. There is no well-known conservative group represented.
Tech Companies Rely on Anti-Conservative Fact-Checkers: Facebook and Google both had partnered with fact-checking organizations in order to combat “fake news.” Facebook’s short-lived disputed flagger program had allowed Snopes, PolitiFact and ABC News to discern what is and is not real news. Google’s fact-checkers had accused conservative sources of making claims that did not appear in their articles and disproportionately “fact-checked” conservative sources. On Facebook, a satire site, the Babylon Bee, had been flagged by Snopes for its article clearly mocking CNN for its bias. YouTube also had announced a partnership with Wikipedia in order to debunk videos deemed to be conspiracy theories, even though Wikipedia has been criticized for its liberal bias.
Chris Wallace lays out some revealing info at 15:55 to 2:31… and Peter Strzok was the guy who started this. Ahhhh. ‘Fox News Sunday’ anchor Chris Wallace comments on release of GOP memo on alleged surveillance abuses.
Neil Cavuto, former FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker and former Justice Department official Robert Driscoll weigh in on Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) comments on the release of the FISA memo and how the memo impacts the FBI.
Tic-Toc — more coming!
Jay Sekulow, lawyer for President Trump reacts on ‘Hannity’ to information released in declassified FISA memo.
Laura Ingraham, from the moment he came down that shiny escalator in Trump Tower, Donald Trump represented an existential threat to the DC Swamp.
The Five, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence releases memo alleging bias in the investigation of the Trump campaign.
The ‘Special Report’ All-Star panel weighs in.
Tucker Carlson, controversial GOP memo states discredited Russia dossier was key to FBI’s FISA warrant to surveil members of Trump’s team.
Last night on Fox News at Night with Shannon Bream, there was an interesting segment with a relatively unfamiliar face. Policy Advisor and Author, Sidney Powell, appeared on the show to discuss the concluding DOJ Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, aspects to the current congressional investigations. (CONSERVATIVE TREE HOUSE )
House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told fellow Republicans he has witnessed evidence demonstrating a clear “abuse” of government surveillance programs by FBI and Justice Department officials, according to a new report. (WASHINGTON EXAMINER)….
…House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes told Republican colleagues in two closed-door meetings this week he has seen evidence that shows clear “abuse” of government surveillance programs by FBI and Justice Department officials, according to three sources familiar with the conversations, raising more questions about whether the controversial anti-Trump dossier was used by the Obama administration to authorize surveillance of advisers to President Trump.
The California Republican made his comments in private meetings with GOP colleagues as he tried to round up votes in favor of renewing a key section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as Section 702, which eventually passed in the House on Thursday.
That part of the law specifically gives the U.S. government the power to get access to communications, such as emails or phone calls, of foreigners outside the United States who may be plotting a terrorist attack but does not allow the government to target Americans.
Nunes privately told GOP lawmakers that he will be pushing as early next week to secure access for all 435 members of Congress to see the same documents to decide for themselves what happened, as some of his Republican colleagues have already said they believe the dossier was a significant factor in surveillance of Trump officials.
“But I think that there is a broader question here,” conservative North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows told Fox News this week. “Why would the FBI use a Democrat paid-for dossier to actually surveil another campaign?”…
When a Congressman want to show ALL of Congress something — you know it is serious.
By “enable” I mean legislate passivity in homeland security.
Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer and former NYPD counterterrorism detective Bill McGroarty weigh in on ‘Hannity.’
Sean Hannity interviews (RADIO SHOW) retired NYPD Lieutenant, Bill McGroarty, as well as Patrick Poole about the recent terror attack
BILL MCGROARTY: Retired Lieutenant with NYPD, worked 10 years in the Counter Terrorism Unit. Bill McGroarty and his unit had done surveillance on the mosque that the terror suspect attended…unfortunately, Chris Christie outed the NYPD’s surveillance efforts and forced them to end the program
PATRICK POOLE: National Security Correspondent for PJ Media, give us an intel perspective on the terror attack in NYC yesterday (October 31st).
The Uzbekistan native accused of killing eight people in New York City had been planning his attack for weeks and did prior reconnaissance before he plowed a rented truck into pedestrians along a popular Manhattan bike path, officials revealed Wednesday.
Sayfullo Saipov, 29, was interviewed by investigators at the hospital after his surgery Wednesday, John Miller, NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism, said in a news conference. Miller did not reveal what was said, though reports indicated Saipov bragged about the assault and said he was “proud” of the attack. NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill would not confirm the statement.
Days before Tuesday’s assault, ISIS had been encouraging its followers to carry out Halloween attacks with propaganda from the terror group showing a graphic with a blood-splattered machete and Tuesday’s date. SITE intelligence group, which monitors terror activity online, also highlighted a recent photo taken by an ISIS supporter near the scene of Tuesday’s attack; but it remained unclear if there was a connection between that photo and the rampage.
(I am changing some of my “Pages” to “Posts,” so some of this info is older to my site)
I was in a conversation with a younger person when they said that Fox News was biased. I mentioned that when you remove the “opinion pages” from Fox, they are slightly biased to the right… as much as CNN (once their “opinion pages” are removed) is biased to the left.
No kidding, twice they mentioned Sean Hannity, and I pointed out these were the opinion pages… then they f-i-n-a-l-l-y started tracking with me. I then mentioned that what they said is like someone coming up to me and telling me “the New York Times opinion pages lean left.” Or, “the Wall Street journal opinion pages lean right.” …
Fox News: Enraging Liberals for 10 Years(L.A. Times):
….What explains all this hysteria? Success, of course.
The propaganda charge is unfair, at least when it comes to the network’s presentation of news. In the 2004 presidential race, Fox pollsters consistently underestimated President Bush’s support. In its final preelection poll, Fox had Kerry winning by a couple of points, one of the only polls to show the Democrat on top. I’m not sure a right-wing fifth column would do that.
A recent comprehensive study by UCLA political scientist Tim Groseclose and University of Missouri-Columbia economics professor Jeffrey Milyo found Brit Hume’s “Special Report” — Fox’s most straightforward news show — more centrist than any of the three major networks’ evening newscasts, all of which leaned left.
The program is a model of smart news television….
Book: Liberal Media Distorts News Bias: Drudge, Fox look more conservative against mainstream’s liberal bent (US News and World Report):
…In a crushing body blow to the pushers of the so-called “Fox Effect,” which claims the conservative media is dragging the left into the center, UCLA political science professor Tim Groseclose in Left Turn claims that “all” mainstream news outlets have a liberal bias in their reporting that makes even moderate organizations appear out of the mainstream and decidedly right-wing to news consumers who are influenced by the slant. [Read Fox’s Huckabee slams MSNBC’s Matthews, Scarborough over bias.]
“Fox News is clearly more conservative than ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and National Public Radio. Some will conclude that ‘therefore, this means that Fox News has a conservative bias,'” he writes in an advance copy provided to Washington Whispers. “Instead, maybe it is centrist, and possibly even left-leaning, while all the others are far left. It’s like concluding that six-three is short just because it is short compared to professional basketball players.”
What’s more, he says, “this point illustrates a common misconception about the Drudge Report. According to my analysis, the Drudge Report is approximately the most fair, balanced, and centrist news outlet in the United States. Yet, the overwhelming majority of media commentators claim that it has a conservative bias. The problem, I believe, is that such commentators mistake relative bias for absolute bias. Yes, the Drudge Report is more conservative than the average U.S. news outlet. But it is a logical mistake to use that to infer that it is based on an absolute scale.”
And in further analysis sure to enrage critics of conservative media, Groseclose determines that Drudge, on a conservative to liberal scale of 0-100, with 50 being centrist, actually leans a bit left of center with a score of 60.4. The reason: Drudge mostly links to the sites of the mainstream media, with just a few written by Matt Drudge himself. “Since these links come from a broad mix of media outlets, and since the news in general is left-leaning, it should not be surprising that the slant quotient of the Drudge Report leans left,” he writes. [Read Poll: Fox, O’Reilly most trusted news sources.]…
UCLA Professor Tim Grosclose has a new book out Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind. In his book, he outlines what conservatives have known for years, that the mainstream media has turned more and more leftist which in turn promulgates, influences, rewords, redefines, and imposes leftist doctrine.
From the book:
Using objective, social-scientific methods, the filtering prevents us from seeing the world as it actually is. Instead, we see only a distorted version of it. It is as if we see the world through a glass—a glass that magnifies the facts that liberals want us to see and shrinks the facts that conservatives want us to see….
That bias makes us more liberal, which makes us less able to detect the bias, which allows the media to get away with more bias, which makes us even more liberal.
At the 2:37 mark of the above video, there is a distinction made between news versus opinion shows on Fox. When I defend the “fair-and-balanced” aspect of Fox News it is the equal number of left/right guests on shows dealing more with raw news.
Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS’ “Evening News,” The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.
Only Fox News’ “Special Report With Brit Hume” and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter.
The most centrist outlet proved to be the “NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.” CNN’s “NewsNight With Aaron Brown” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” were a close second and third.
“Our estimates for these outlets, we feel, give particular credibility to our efforts, as three of the four moderators for the 2004 presidential and vice-presidential debates came from these three news outlets — Jim Lehrer, Charlie Gibson and Gwen Ifill,” Groseclose said. “If these newscasters weren’t centrist, staffers for one of the campaign teams would have objected and insisted on other moderators.”
The fourth most centrist outlet was “Special Report With Brit Hume” on Fox News, which often is cited by liberals as an egregious example of a right-wing outlet. While this news program proved to be right of center, the study found ABC’s “World News Tonight” and NBC’s “Nightly News” to be left of center. All three outlets were approximately equidistant from the center, the report found….
The programming studied on Fox News offered a somewhat more positive picture… of Republicans and more negative one of Democrats compared with other media outlets. Fox News stories about a Republican candidate were most likely to be neutral (47%), with the remainder more positive than negative (32% vs. 21% negative). The bulk of that positive coverage went to Giuliani (44% positive), while McCain still suffered from unflattering coverage (20% positive vs. 35% negative).
When it came to Democratic candidates, the picture was more negative. Again, neutral stories had a slight edge (39%), followed by 37% negative and 24% positive. And, in marked contrast from the rest of the media, coverage of Obama was twice as negative as positive: 32% negative vs. 16% positive and 52% neutral.
But any sense here that the news channel was uniformly positive about Republicans or negative about Democrats is not manifest in the data.”….
Much more can be found at Wintery Knight’s post on the matter. ESPECIALLY the end that includes this:
Let’s document how the viewers of “Hannity & Colmes” were better informed than Stewart’s “Daily Show” gigglers on basic political facts… [must read]
A full 85% of the Comcast-owned network’s coverage can be classified as opinion or commentary rather than straight news, according to the authors of the Pew Research Center’s annual State of the News Media report.
CNN and Fox News Channel, meanwhile, fall much closer to a 50/50 distribution, with Fox News skewing somewhat more heavily toward opinion. Here are the breakdowns
When professor Groseclose and other people rate and discuss the left/right bias… they are looking at the news reporting — NOT shows like Sean Hannity. And this fairness is why more Democrats trust Fox News than other cable networks.
Democrats and Independents Agree!
Most Americans perceive partiality in the news media and more believe Fox News is the most trusted for accurate reporting among the major television news organizations, according to a recent poll by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute.
The poll surveyed 1,004 people nationwide with proportional contributions from each state via an online survey held May 6-13. Of those surveyed, 31.8 percent identified themselves as Democrats and 25.7 percent as Republicans.
When asked which television news stations they considered biased, 37.1 percent said MSNBC and 36.6 percent said CNN. Fox News was first with 47.8 percent.
However, Fox News was also considered the most honest network: 18.4 percent of respondents said it was the most trustworthy. MSNBC was the least-trusted network, clocking in at 4.4 percent, and CNN was declared trustworthy by 14.1 percent of respondents….
Robert Morris University Polling Institute Powered by Trib Total Media (2014)
According to a recent poll, likely voters get their political news primarily from cable television. Among cable channels, 42 percent, a plurality, watch Fox News for its political coverage. Only 12 percent said they watched MSNBC. What’s more, most likely voters don’t like or have never heard of MSNBC’s prime time talent.
The poll, conducted by Politico and George Washington University, used a sample split evenly between political parties – even slightly favoring Democrats in some areas: 41 percent of respondents identified as Republicans, while 42 percent said they were Democrats. Forty-four percent said they usually vote for Republicans, while 46 percent answered Democrats. Forty-eight percent voted for Obama, while only 45 percent voted for McCain.
Even among this group, Fox News is by far the most popular cable outlet. CNN comes in at second, with 30 percent. A sorry MSNBC brings up the rear…
Politico and George Washington University (2010) (via NewsBusters)
(The graphic is from Pew Poll )
So, Democrats and Independents trust and watch Fox more — or at more of an even split — than they do most other networks (not all) . I only post this here to make a point that I am challenged with often about… so to reference this one post. (The above and below graphics come from some Fox having the best election coverage, HERE.)
I am not a huge fan of ZERO HEDGE, but this was some good commentary on the actions:
Israeli strikes have hit an arms depot operated by the Lebanese Hezbollah group near Damascus airport, Syrian opposition sources told Al Jazeera. Witnesses said a total of five strikes occurred near the Damascus airport road, about 25km from the capital, early on Thursday. Syrian state TV quoted a military source saying rockets fired from Israeli territory targeted a military area in the southwestern part of the airport which caused explosions.
Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from the Turkish city of Gaziantep near Syria’s border, said opposition activists posted pictures online showing a huge fire near the area.
“We do understand that the Israelis have been carrying out strikes in the past. The last one was in January targeting the Mezze military base.
“In 2015 they also launched attacks near the capital Damascus and in the Golan Heights, killing two prominent Hezbollah commanders, including Jihad Mughniya who is the son of the top military commander of Hezbollah Imad Mughniya who was also killed in Damascus in 2008,” Ahelbarra said.
“The prime minister has said that whenever we receive intelligence that indicated an intention to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah, we will act.” Katz added. An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment.
This is the second Israeli attack on Syria in the past week: on Sunday, Israeli forces bombed a camp for pro-government forces killed three fighters near the Golan Heights on Sunday according to AFP. Two fighters were also wounded in the attack on the Al-Fawwar camp near Quneitra in southwestern Syria, adding that it was unclear whether the damage was inflicted by an air strike or shelling.
Israel’s army declined to comment Sunday on the attack. On Friday the army said it targeted positions inside Syria in retaliation for mortar fire that hit the northern part of the Golan Heights….
Some news about troop positions that I was not tracking with via DEBKA FILE:
Early Thursday, April 26, a mixed Syrian-Iranian-Hizballah force embarked on a general offensive in southern Syria ready for a leap on Israel’s Golan border. They moved forward in the face of Israeli warnings that were relayed from Moscow to Tehran and Hizballah.
Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman arrived in Moscow Tuesday for a two-day international conference on Security. After meeting Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Lieberman said that Israel would not stand for Iranian or Hizballah concentrating military forces on the Syrian-Israeli border. He praised the coordination mechanism between the IDF and the Russian Syrian command as working effectively and preventing unnecessary friction. Officers of the two militaries had so far met nine times. Lieberman will also meet Russian Defense Minister Gen. Sergey Shogun during the visit.
This latest warning was issued by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is visiting the Russian capital this week to attend an international security conference. After meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Gen. Sergey Shogun, the Israeli minister stated clearly on Wednesday: “Israel will not allow the concentration of Iranian and Hizballah forces on its Golan border.”
By Thursday morning, it was evident that a decision had been taken in Moscow, Tehran, Damascus and Beirut to ignore Lieberman’s warning.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that early Thursday, Shiite militias under the command of Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers, alongside Hizballah troops, organized as the Southern Shield Brigade, launched their offensive at Mt. Hermon southwest of Damascus, on their way to the Syrian-Israeli Golan border in the region of Quneitra. The Syrian contingents taking part in this push are the Syrian army’s elite 42nd Brigade and elements of the 4th Mechanized Division.
Their first objective is to capture a string of villages held by Syrian rebel groups in the region of Hadar on the Hermon slopes. They are advancing towards the Golan along the Beit Jinn route.
There is no word yet on whether the warning issued by the defense minister from Moscow has produced a direct Israeli response to the provocation. Very possibly the five explosions and ball of fire they set off at Damascus international airport Thursday morning may prove to be connected to that response.