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Pentagon puts 8,500 American Troops on ‘Heightened Alert’ over Russia Threats

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During a news briefing Monday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 troops on “heightened alert.” Kirby stated, “I want to reinforce that as of now, the decision has been made to put these units on higher alert and higher alert only. No decisions have been made to deploy forces form the United States at this time.”

Kirby is referring to a possible deployment of American military forces to Eastern Europe in order to aid our NATO allies as potential options against Russia’s threats to invade Ukraine. Conversations are underway with NATO countries that could receive American support, he added.

NBC News reports “NATO said Monday that it was sending sh9ps and fighter jets to Eastern Europe and that Washington ‘has also made clear that it is considering increasing its military presence in the eastern part of the Alliance.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday that President Biden plans to speak to European leaders including NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Polish President Andrzej Duda, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi by video conference.

Psaki said “we expect they will discuss diplomacy, deterrence and defense efforts” and there will “certainly” be discussion about sanctions. “We have been consulting with allies and deployments and refining plans for all scenarios” she added.

“We have always said we would reinforce our allies on the eastern flank and those conversations and discussions have certainly been part of what our national security officials have been discussing with their counterparts now for several weeks.”

NBC News reports that “among the options presented for the U.S. military in advance of an invasion were bomber fights over the region, ship visits into the Black Sea and the moving of troops and some equipment from other parts of Europe into Poland, Romania and other countries neighboring Ukraine.”

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education

Columbia alumni are also anti-Israel, threaten to withhold $77 million in donations

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2,000 people claiming to be Columbia University alumni have signed a letter pledging to “withhold all financial, programmatic, and academic support” from the institution until it meets the demands of anti-Israel protesters. The result is $77 million in donations is at risk.

National Review reports that the letter, addressed to Columbia president Minouche Shafik and the school’s trustees, expresses support for the protesters who oppose the university’s “continued collaboration with the Israeli government’s ongoing genocidal violence against Palestinians.”

“The movement for Palestinian liberation, on campus and globally, is often led by Jewish people of many nations,” the letter says. “Weaponizing claims about antisemitism to silence student speech is based on faulty logic, harms Jewish students, and distracts from true antisemitism, including the attempts by a craven American right to tokenize, exploit, and appropriate Jewish trauma and resilience.”

There does not appear to be a process to verify that people who sign the letters are, in fact, Columbia alumni. It allows people to sign anonymously.

The letter condemns the “administration’s brutal repression of student speech and assembly,” specifically president Shafik’s decision to call in the New York Police Department Strategic Response Group on protesters. Hundreds of anti-Israel protesters were arrested at Columbia and at the City College of New York on April 30, including some who barricaded themselves inside a campus admissions building.

Signatories of the letter are pledging to withhold donations until the university meets 13 demands, including: that it divests from companies that “fund or profit from Israeli apartheid, genocide, and occupation of Palestine”; calls for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war; removes Shafik as president; bans the NYPD from campus; and drops charges against student activists, reverses disciplinary measures against them, and finances the healthcare for students who were “brutalized” by the police.

The website where the letter is shared claims that the signatories have previously provided over $67 million in financial contributions to Columbia, and that over $77 million in donations are now at risk.

The letter also claims that the university “failed to hold accountable the former Israeli soldiers who carried out a chemical attack on protesting students in January 2024.” That seems to be a reference to an incident involving anti-Israel protesters who told the student-run Columbia Spectator that during a demonstration earlier this year they were sprayed with “skunk,” a chemical developed by the Israeli Defense Forces.

While this letter is from supporters of the anti-Israel protesters, Columbia has also received pushback from opponents who say the school is allowing protesters to break the law, disrupt the educational environment, and harass Jewish students, adds National Review.

On Monday, 13 federal judges sent a letter to Columbia leaders saying they will no longer hire the school’s students as clerks due to their behavior and the school’s mismanagement of anti-Israel protests, writing that “Columbia has disqualified itself from educating the future leaders of our country.”

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a Columbia alumnus, said in April that he would withhold donations from the university due to the anti-Israel protests.

“I am deeply saddened at the virulent hate that continues to grow on campus and throughout our country,” Kraft said in a statement. “I am no longer confident that Columbia can protect its students and staff and I am not comfortable supporting the university until corrective action is taken.”

 

 

 

 

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