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Biden admin considering resuming aid to Palestinian Authority, despite terrorist payments

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This story was first published by The Dark Wire Investigation Foundation

The Biden administration is considering resuming aid to the Palestinian Authority (P.A.), despite acknowledging its continued funding of terrorism. The Washington Free Beacon first reported Monday that the State Department had “privately confirmed” to Congress that the P.A. continues to fund its “pay-to-slay” program to terrorists and their families.

Under the Taylor Force Act of 2018, however, a move to restart funding on the part of the Biden administration would likely be illegal, according to the House sponsor of the law Congressman Doug Lamborn, R-CO, who spoke to this reporter on Zoom Tuesday.

The law conditions U.S. aid to the P.A. on its ending of terrorist payments. According to Israeli watchdog organization Palestinian Media Watch, the P.A. spent $155 million on its “pay-to-slay” program in 2020 and there’s been no indication that the payments will stop.

A State Department spokesperson told this reporter Wednesday that the information disclosed to Congress was part of a normal procedure. Moreover, the spokesperson assured that the Biden administration hopes to ‘reform’ the P.A.’s “pay-to-slay” program and that aid will be compliant with the Taylor Force Act.

“This is a routine report submitted to Congress as required by the annual appropriations act and the Taylor Force Act,” the spokesperson said. “ The information provided in the report mirrors last year’s reports and is consistent with earlier reports under the previous administration, regardless of the previous decision to discontinue U.S. assistance to the Palestinians.”

They added, “This Administration is committed to working to reform the prisoner and martyr payment system.   In administering assistance for the West Bank and Gaza, the Biden-Harris Administration has made clear it will comply with applicable requirements under U.S. law, including the Taylor Force Act.”

During Tuesday’s conversation, Lamborn called the possible move to restore U.S. aid to the P.A. “reprehensible,” adding “This is illegal on the part of the Biden administration if this is actually what they intend to do and it’s immoral.”

Further, Lamborn emphasized that the Taylor Force Act “says that no money can go to the P.A. while they are turning around and using money to pay stipends to those who are in prison for having committed acts of terrorism, including killing Jews or in the case of Taylor Force, an American, or they’re surviving families if they get killed during a terrorist attack. It is illegal for them to do that.”

Lamborn did point out a loophole in the law, which allows for the funding of “limited humanitarian” aid for hospitals, water infrastructure, and vaccinations for children. “But the amount of money the Biden administration is talking about would go way beyond that,” he added.

When asked by this reporter if the Biden administration would need proof that “pay-to-slay” has ended before aid is resumed, the State Department spokesperson declined to comment and couldn’t offer any further information on the matter.

“The reason it’s immoral is, and I can’t understand how in the world the Biden administration, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and the others are even thinking about this, is because the Palestinians are taking money from U.S. taxpayers, should this materialize, and turning around and paying rewards to terrorists who have killed innocent people,” Lamborn explained.

“Taylor Force was an American student,” he told this reporter. “He had served in Afghanistan as a U.S. Army soldier and he was in Israel as part of his studies for his business degree and he was killed in a senseless terrorist attack as an innocent bystander. But whether it’s Israelis or Americans, we can’t reward terrorist attacks by paying money to them after they are imprisoned or to their families if they’re killed, frankly.”

“What’s the worst of all about this whole setup is that they will pay more money to those who kill more people. It’s a reward for acts of terrorism and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris should be ashamed of themselves,” he said.

Ultimately, if the Biden administration were to restore payments to the P.A., Lamborn said it would be ‘rewarding bad behavior.’ He also says it would be a show of U.S. weakness in the Middle East.

“When someone is flouting your laws, and the P.A. is doing that, they’ve basically said ‘we don’t care what you said,'” Lamborn said. “They brazenly are making these payments despite the U.S. law… so rewarding them I would think would not be good diplomacy. You’re rewarding people for bad behavior and I don’t see how that furthers any interest of the United States, I don’t see how that furthers peace in the Middle East, I don’t see how that furthers an impression of U.S. strength in the region, it does none of those things.”

The Taylor Force Act was passed into law with strong bipartisan support in 2018 and Lamborn hopes a bipartisan group of lawmakers will hold the Biden administration accountable if they move forward with plans to restore funding to the P.A.

“It’s bipartisan in the U.S. Congress that there is support for Israel. Now, some are more sincere about that than others and there’s a few that don’t give any acknowledgment at all to the need of having a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. But I would say the great majority of the Republicans and many of the Democrats do give that verbal support. Now this will test how sincere and how serious they are if it comes to light that the Biden administration is breaking the law,” Lamborn concluded.

WATCH THE INTERVIEW HERE & CLICK HERE TO READ THE REPORT ON THEDARKWIRE.COM

Follow Jennie S. Taer on Twitter @JennieSTaer

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Trusted Mexican official on trial for working with Narcos

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As reporters clambered for a spot in Brooklyn federal court house, federal prosecutors laid out their opening arguments Monday against a top Mexican official, Genaro Garcia Luna, who was once a trusted ally of the United States in its continuing fight against Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels.

Luna, 54, who headed the Mexican Federal Police, was considered one of the few state officials brought into the circle of trust by U.S. intelligence and narcotics officials targeting the Sinaloa and Beltran Levy cartels.

What U.S. officials didn’t know at the time is that their ally was believed to be making millions of dollars aiding and abetting the cartels.  He led Mexico’s Federal Investigative Agency from 2001 to 2005. It wasn’t until 2006, that he was named the secretary of public security, putting him in charge of the Mexican Federal Police.

Luna, is being accused by prosectors for providing direct aide to  Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman – former head of the Sinaloa Cartel – and the leaders of the Beltran Levy cartel, which is responsible for moving hundreds of millions of dollars in cocaine and other illicit narcotics into the United States. He is also suspected to  of being behind the killing of a top DEA informant that worked closely with U.S. officials.

Charging these officials in the United States sends a clear message to the cartels but it also exposes how vulnerable our nation is to the growing power of the narco-terrorist organizations, said Derek Maltz, who headed DEA’s Special Operations.

“There is wide spread systemic corruption in Mexico and Central America that enables the cartels to operate with impunity,” said Maltz. “Unfortunately, American families and communities are suffering and historic numbers of young citizens are dying from the deadly drugs. I look forward to hearing the dramatic testimony that will expose the “triple agent” to the world. Maybe then will the American citizens recognize the level of the threat to our citizens.”

Maltz pointed out that the Eastern District of New York Prosecutors “had the courage to expose this nightmare to the world just like they did with El Chapo. These ruthless Narco terrorists need to be held accountable and gave Justice.”

Maltz also warned that it is  “corrupt officials like Luna help the Mexican Terror Cartels daily by providing sensitive information and creating safe routes for the deadly drugs to be imported into the US. They get huge rewards and live the rock star high lives are our families suffer. I applaud the law enforcement officials and US Attorney and Assistants who recognized the importance of exposing the truth to the public. ”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip Pilmar said, according to reports that Luna “kept taking dirty money and cocaine kept flowing into the United States…Because he controlled the country’s entire police force, the defendant thought he was above the law … No one is above the law.”

Luna’s connection to the death of a DEA informant is described in detail in a report on The Intercept:

García Luna’s alleged role in the DEA informant’s death came to light during the sentencing of another Mexican security official accused of crimes in the U.S.: Ivan Reyes Arzate, also known as “La Reina.”

According to over 200 pages of court records, La Reina was a Federal Police officer from 2003 to 2016. He rose through the ranks and in 2008, was promoted to commander of the Federal Police’s Sensitive Investigative Unit, also known as the SIU. La Reina’s top boss, as with all Federal Police officials, was the secretary of public security, García Luna.

The SIU was the premier Federal Police unit working with the DEA in Mexico — or it was supposed to be, having been specially created for that purpose. All SIU members, including La Reina, received special training from the DEA in Quantico, Virginia. The DEA relied on the SIU for operations, surveillance, and high-profile arrests.

“We have very special or specific people that we work with who we have tried to vet and make sure that we can trust them,” one DEA agent said in court, “because of the corruption that we know sometimes exists in those other countries and around the world.”

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