DOJ Drops Probe Into Rep. Matt Gaetz After Leaked Texts Implicate Israeli Govt in $25M Extortion Plot

The Department of Justice officially declined to charge Florida Rep Matt Gaetz in a sex trafficking investigation on Wednesday after leaked texts revealed the Israeli government appeared to be implicated in a $25 million extortion plot targeting Gaetz’s family.

From The Palm Beach Post, “Justice Department drops sex trafficking probe of Rep. Matt Gaetz without charges, lawyers say”:

The Justice Department has formally decided not to charge firebrand Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz in a sex trafficking investigation, the lawmaker’s lawyers said Wednesday.

“We have just spoken with the DOJ and have been informed that they have concluded their investigation into Congressman Gaetz and allegations related to sex trafficking and obstruction of justice, and they have determined not to bring any charges against him,” attorneys Marc Mukasey and Isabelle Kirshner said.

Gaetz’s office also issued a brief statement acknowledging the Justice Department’s contact with the lawmaker’s attorneys.

The department did not immediately comment. The decision was first reported by CNN.

[…] The Gaetz inquiry was launched following the arrest of Joel Greenberg, formerly a Gaetz family friend and Florida tax collector. As part of a plea agreement, Greenberg was sentenced to 11 years in prison for sex trafficking of a minor and other offenses. He pleaded guilty to six federal crimes, including identity theft, stalking, wire fraud and conspiracy to bribe a public official. Prosecutors said he paid at least one girl to have sex with him and other men.

Joel Greenberg, a potential Jeffrey Epstein-esque figure who had worked as a tax collector for Seminole County, Florida, appears to have tried to entrap Gaetz into having sex with a 17-year-old girl for blackmail purposes.

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Recipient of $200M Federal Grant to Help Build Electric Vehicle Batteries in U.S. Must Pay $33.5M Fine for Pollution Overseas

Fires associated with EVs – including bikes and trucks – continue to be reported in the U.S. as well as worldwide.  Of course, there are numerous other issues associated with EVs – some of them environmental.  Nevertheless, the Biden Administration continues to promote EVs as environmentally friendly as well as fund their manufacturing, maintenance, and operation in the U.S.  We can only hope that some of the federal funding provided for a future EV battery plant in St. Louis, MO will be spent to prevent a situation like what already happened in Israel.

From St. Louis Today:

Company planning St. Louis expansion hit with $33 million fine for pollution overseas

The Israeli company planning an expansion to help build electric vehicle batteries in St. Louis reached an agreement last month to pay a $33.5 million fine for pollution in Israel — the largest such penalty in the country’s history, according to some reports.

ICL Group — which makes a range of chemicals, fertilizers, and industrial products — announced that the Dec. 14 settlement agreement between one of its subsidiaries and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority resolves issues sparked in 2017, when an evaporation pond wall collapsed at one of its fertilizer plants in southern Israel.

The incident spilled over 26 million gallons of highly acidic water across more than 12 miles of the surrounding desert and watershed, causing contamination and, according to Israeli news reports, killing a third of a local herd of rare ibex — a kind of wild goat known for long, curved horns.

In the aftermath, Israel’s Ministry of Environment launched a criminal investigation into the plant’s owner and ICL, its parent company.

“All the plants and animals in the valley during the tsunami of acid were probably highly damaged, probably dead,” said Oded Netzer, an ecologist for the ministry, Reuters reported in 2017. “In the long term, there will be soil damage and large functional ecological problems.”

Through the new settlement, ICL’s subsidiary agreed to pay for restoration of the contaminated area and other things, such as legal expenses. The financial impact on ICL “is not expected to be material,” the company said in a recent summary posted to its website.

ICL did not respond to requests for an interview.

Israeli Ministry of Health claimed in court they were unable to locate a signed agreement with Pfizer

The Israeli Ministry of Health (“MoH”) stated before the court that it was unable to locate the agreement signed with Pfizer regarding the sharing of epidemiological information on coronavirus vaccines.  He also said that he did not know if the agreement had even been signed.

In 2020, Israel struck a deal with Pfizer, promising to share vast troves of medical data with Pfizer in exchange for the continued flow of its “hard-to-get vaccine.”  The agreement document was made public in January 2021 with large parts of it redacted. The MoH claimed last week that this agreement could not be found.

As part of an application to the Jerusalem District Court, the Ministry of Health admitted that, although an extensive search had been carried out, the agreement signed with Pfizer concerning vaccines could not be found. “We did not find a signed agreement,” said lawyer Ahava Berman of the prosecutor’s office, on behalf of MoH. “We searched all places, including the CEO’s office and the legal department”.

The claim that an agreement could not be found was made in response to a court petition after the MoH failed to respond to a request made by the Human Rights Association under the Freedom of Information Act.  The Association was attempting to establish the authenticity of the document published in January 2021 and whether or not it was signed by MoH CEO Hazi Levy and another Pfizer official whose name had been redacted.  Their signatures did not appear in the document previously released.

In a written response to the court, an MoH representative claimed that “a comprehensive inquiry has been made with many officials at the Ministry of Health to clarify whether the agreement was signed or not. Because of the government exchange and the relevant bodies in the office, the Ministry did not find out whether the agreement was signed or not.”

The petition documents were sent to Kan News and Kan News requested the information from the MoH.  Within less than a day the MoH found the signed agreement and submitted it to the court.

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Israel to introduce sweeping online censorship law

The Israeli government has announced that it will adopt recommendations to regulate social media platforms to create a “safer” online environment. The recommendations are similar to the social media rules in the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), which will take effect next year.

Outgoing Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel announced that Israel would adopt recommendations made by the committee for examining legislation on online social media platforms, which was formed in October 2021. The committee, which was led by the Communications Ministry director-general Liran Avisar Ben-Horin, was created to find solutions to tackle the regulatory and ethical questions related to social media.

“This is an unregulated space where negative and harmful social phenomena have emerged,” said Hendel, as reported by the Times of Israel. “Legal responsibility needs to be applied to digital platforms in relation to the distribution of illegal sexual content, incitement to violence and terrorism, and more.”

“The step we are taking today brings us closer to a more protected and safer online space while preserving freedom of expression.”

The committee recommended that social media companies should be obligated to immediately remove illegal and offensive content, create an online hotline for reporting offensive and illegal content, create a system where users can appeal censorship and suspension decisions, and be more transparent.

Courts will be given the power to issue content removal orders, and a social media regulator will be created. Platforms operating in Israel will be required to set up offices in Israel.

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Killing By Drone: Hunting Enemies In Urban Combat

A new drone from Israel’s Elbit Systems called Lanius combines a number of technologies that put it at the forefront of how drones are transforming war.

At the same time, reports about the drone may raise questions about how this technology may make war more controversial as “robots” play a larger role in it.

The more armies and defense companies invest in new technology that enables combat to take place remotely — without soldiers interacting with civilians, for instance — the more it seems like “robot wars.”

Elbit Systems has said that Lanius is “part of the Legion-X robotic and autonomous combat solution.” Elbit is one of Israel’s three largest defense companies and is at the forefront of defense technology.

Its website says the drone “is a highly maneuverable and versatile drone-based loitering munition designed for short-range operation in the urban environment.”

The drone can scout and map buildings, flying around small corridors and through doorways. This means it can help a user find “points of interest for possible threats, detecting, classifying and syncing to Elbit Systems’ Legion-X solutions. Lanius can carry lethal or non-lethal payloads, capable of performing a broad spectrum of mission profiles for special forces, military, law enforcement, and HLS.”

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Why the US & Israel are preventing aid from reaching one of the poorest countries in the Middle East

Despite the recent signing of a historic maritime border agreement, tensions continue to remain high, with both Israel and the United States attempting to force Lebanon into compliance with their regional agenda.

Although Israeli and Lebanese leaders signed letters of intent earlier this month ending their long-standing maritime border dispute and averting a major escalation in their ongoing conflict, the two sides still remain technically at war. Beirut refuses to recognise the Israeli state, maintaining the stance that first the Palestine issue must be resolved, as Israel maintains control over the Shebaa Farms area which Lebanon claims to be its territory.

Last week, drone strikes were reported to have killed up to 25 people after targeting a fuel aid convoy that had just passed the Al-Qaim crossing into Syria from Iraq. There are conflicting reports on who actually carried out the attack, with both Israel and the United States accused of having been behind it. The US military instantly distanced themselves from the incident, by denying they had carried out any strikes, whilst the Israeli government refused to comment and is now widely assumed to be culpable. According to Iraqi authorities, the fuel trucks, numbering 22 according to Iranian state-media, were approved for heading out of the country and seemed to be part of Iran’s new agreement with Lebanon to provide free fuel.

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Cannabis found in ancient Israeli temple called ‘revolutionary’ discovery

Holy smokes!

Archaeologists have discovered cannabis residue on artifacts in a temple in southern Israel, marking the first known use of hallucinogenic drugs in the Jewish religion, reports the Associated Press.

The study, which was published Friday in the Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, notes that the “revolutionary” findings from an eighth-century BC shrine at Tel Arad suggest “the use of mind-altering substances as part of cultic rituals in Judah.”

“Here, the official state religion of the kingdom of Judah was using this substance,” study author Eran Arie said of the psychotropic samples, which were found on two limestone altars. The synagogue was first unearthed in the 1960s at the Tel Arad excavation site near Jerusalem, however, archaeologists hadn’t identified the ancient marijuana until now.

Chemical analysis also revealed that the hashish was likely burned atop dried animal droppings.

However, it’s unlikely that the ancient Hebrews were smoking pot to get stoned. Yossi Garfinkel, an archaeology professor from Hebrew University, postulated that they took various mind-altering substances, including opium and wine “to get into ecstasy and connect with God.”

The marijuana milestone marks the “first time we see psychoactive substances in Judahite religion,” according to Arie, who hopes the discovery will shed more light on how ancient Israelites conducted worship.

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Ukrainian Army Spotted Using Israeli-Made Armored Vehicles

The Ukrainian Army was spotted using several Israeli-made armored vehicles for the first time in the newly-liberated city of Kherson.

A Twitter account that tracks weapons and equipment supplied to Ukraine showed photos of the Gaia Amir Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles used in the invasion.

They were parked along residential buildings in an unspecified village in the Kherson region and are believed to have taken a large part in Ukraine’s retaking of the city.

While there is no information on how these vehicles appeared in the war-torn nation, Israel has made it clear that it would not supply military aid to Kyiv.

The Middle Eastern country only agreed to send humanitarian aid and early warning systems due to “operational restrictions.”

Meanwhile, a video released by a Russian Telegram channel showed a Gaia Amir MRAP vehicle targeted and destroyed by a Lancet suicide missile.

This fueled speculation that the unreported delivery of Israeli-made armored vehicles to Ukraine has been going on for a while.

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Court Orders Israeli Ministry of Health to Disclose Vaccination Status of Deceased People During Pandemic

In September, an Israeli health researcher and health journalist Dr. Yaffa Shir-Raz released shocking new information about her findings and exposed Israel’s cover-ups in reporting the adverse events related to Covid-19 vaccinations.

The Israeli Ministry of Health (MoH) discovered major safety issues with the COVID vaccines and hid the information from the public intentionally. MoH distorted the findings of the expert.

Dr. Yaffa took to Twitter to expose a leaked video where Prof. Mati Berkowitz, head of the research team appointed by the Israeli Ministry of Health (MoH) to examine the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine, was caught lying and manipulating an expert report on adverse events.

“Here we will have to really think medical-legal. Why medical-legal? Because for quite a few adverse events we said: ‘OK, it exists, and there is a report, but still get vaccinated’. I mean, we have to think about how to write it and how to present it correctly. So this will not yield lawsuits later: ‘Wait, wait, wait, you said everything will pass and you can get vaccinated. And now look what happened to me. The phenomenon continues’”.

A recent study in Israel revealed more than a 25% increase in calls in Israel’s National Emergency Medical Services (IEMS) concerning emergency cardiovascular events in the 16 to 39 age group during the Covid-19 vaccination rollout.

The study analyzed all calls related to cardiac arrest (CA) and acute coronary syndrome (ACS) events from January 1st, 2019 to June 20th, 2021.

The researchers stated in their abstract, “while not establishing causal relationships, the findings raise concerns regarding vaccine-induced undetected severe cardiovascular side-effects and underscore the already established causal relationship between vaccines and myocarditis, a frequent cause of unexpected cardiac arrest in young individuals.”

Now, the Jerusalem District Court has ordered the Israeli Ministry of Health to disclose the vaccination status of the people who died during the pandemic, in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from a citizen.

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Rate of sexual abuse of kids is highest among religious Zionist sector

Students in religious public schools in Israel are at a higher risk of sexual harassment and assault than any other of the Jewish education streams, a new study examining cases of sexual abuse from the religious Zionist sector by the Ne’emanei Torah Va’avodah movement has found.

“[These results] are a first step in the necessary in-depth discussions that oblige us to fight this phenomenon, recognize it, and to wake up from the illusion that a separated society [of men and women] is a guarantee of preventing harm.” Ne’emanei Torah Va’avodah’s Shmuel Shatach

Researcher Ariel Finkelstein analyzed the scope and profile of sexual abuse victims in Israeli local authorities’ social services departments in 2020, by sector or stream.

In Israel, there are a number of educational streams: Secular public school (Mamlachti), religious public school (Mamlachti Dati) and ultra-Orthodox schools, which are either private or semi-private.

The distribution of the data on sexual abuse was filtered by sector, according to the type of educational stream where the victims are currently or were educated in their childhood.

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