The Telegraph – Brexit Bulletin

  Good afternoon.

The Article 50 bill’s passage into law may be on a recess break, but that doesn’t mean ministers have nothing to work on in preparing for Brexit. David Davis has been away in Stockholm today meeting his Swedish counterpart, Europe minister Ann Linde. The mood music was positive, as Linde said both nations had the “same vision” when it came to ensuring Brits living in the EU, and EU migrants living in Britain, “ don’t become a bargaining chip in the Brexit negotiations” and have the right to stay where they are. The Brexit Secretary in turn said that Britain wanted to have a broad trade agreement with Sweden.

But what will intrigue Brexit-watchers most is Mr Davis’ suggestion that the Government was ready to do battle with the House of Lords in order to get its Article 50 bill through. He noted that the bill to authorise Article 50 had made its way through the Commons “very straightforwardly” with “very solid majorities”, but that he expected the Lords to send it back with amendments. “We call it ping pong, you can imagine why, backwards and forwards of the Bill, but I expect that to be resolved in good time before the end of March.” The Government was conciliatory in how it spoke about the Lords last week, as senior Conservatives raged about the prospect, so Mr Davis’ new tone suggests it is gearing up for a fight.

It’s easy to see why ministers would worry about what the Lords might do to the Article 50 bill. Peers don’t have any pro-Brexit constituents to worry about enraging, and the Conservatives don’t have a majority in the upper chamber. The Government can force it through if the Lords play up, but the methods can be messy and require time. Tory peer, and former MEP, Martin Callanan warned last month that peers would “destroy our political credibility for a generation” if they tried to delay the bill.

How protracted could this stand-off get? Mr Davis has previously declared that it was their “patriotic duty” to pass the Bill, but pro-EU peers may feel just as strongly that it is their patriotic duty to nitpick. If they decide to fire it back to the Commons for some parliamentary ping-pong, the Brexit Secretary will be waiting with his bat.

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Document: With Flynn leaks, the White House shadow warriors draw first blood

The rogue weasels have struck. Terrified that Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn would tear them out root and branch, they connived and colluded, anonymously of course, to leak highly-sensitive intelligence information to destroy Flynn before he could destroy them.

This type of operation is not new. I wrote a whole book about it in 2007. I called them, the “shadow warriors.”

Then as now, the shadow warriors excelled at covert operations. After all, they lived in the darkness in a universe of lies.

Their technique “involved deep penetration of a hostile regime by planting a network of agents at key crossroads of power, where they could steal secrets and steer policy by planting disinformation, cooking intelligence, provocation, and outright lies.”

As I wrote at the time, this effort “involved sophisticated political sabotage operations, aimed at making regime leaders doubt their own judgment and question the support of their subordinates… It was war — but an intelligence war, played behind the scenes, aimed at confusing, misleading, and ultimately defeating the enemy. Its goal was nothing less than to topple the regime in power, by discrediting its rulers.”

These are powers and skills most Americans ascribe to our nation’s clandestine intelligence services, right? Don’t we want to have spies at the heart of the Iranian Supreme Leader’s entourage? Or planted next to whichever Kim is ruling his North Korean hermit kingdom? Isn’t that the type of capability we spending more than $80 billion a year to develop?

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Robert Spencer: Answering an Islamic apologist (Part V)

  1. According to Islamic law, what must a Muslim husband do to be divorced from his wife?
    The Quran says, “Such divorce may be pronounced twice; then, either retain them in a becoming manner or send them away with kindness.” (2:230) A husband must divorce his wife multiple times, with a required period of time in between each divorce where reconciliation is encouraged. “And when you divorce your wives and they approach the end of their appointed period, then either retain them in a becoming manner; or send them away in a becoming manner; but retain them not wrongfully so that you may transgress. And whoso does that, surely wrongs his own soul. And do not make a jest of the commandments of Allah” (2:232)
    A woman can seek divorce from her husband for any reason. Sahih Bukhari narrates: “The wife of Thabit bin Qais bin Shammas came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! I do not blame Thabit for any defects in his character or his religion, but I am afraid that I (being a Muslim) may become unthankful for Allah’s Blessings.” On that, Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said (to her), ‘Will you return his garden to him?” She said, “Yes.” So she returned his garden to him and the Prophet (ﷺ) told him to divorce her.” ( The wife did not have any objection to her husband, but Prophet Muhammad (sa) established her right to be granted divorce.
    Although divorce is a right, using this right carelessly is discouraged for both men and women. Ibn Majah narrates, “The Messenger of Allah said: “The most hated of permissible things to Allah is divorce.”” (

Khan leaves out the fact that all a man need do in order to divorce his wife is say to her, “Taaleq,” that is “(You are) divorced.” If he says it once or twice, he can take her back simply if he decides to do so. But if he says it three times, he cannot take her back until she marries another man, consummates that marriage, and is divorced in turn by her new husband.

This is all based on the Qur’an: “Divorce is twice. Then, either keep her in an acceptable manner or release her with good treatment….And if he has divorced her for the third time, then she is not lawful to him afterward until she marries a husband other than him. And if the latter husband divorces her, there is no blame upon the woman and her former husband for returning to each other if they think that they can keep the limits of Allah. These are the limits of Allah, which He makes clear to a people who know.” (2:229-230)

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Robert Spencer: Answering an Islamic apologist (Part IV)

  1. How did Muhammad react when he heard that a 120-year-old Jewish poet, Abu ‘Afak, had been killed?
    Where is the name Abu ‘Afak mentioned anywhere in the six authentic books of Hadith?
    As for blasphemy, the Quran rejects any worldly punishment against those who mock the signs of Allah, their account will be in the hereafter: [4:141] “And He has already revealed to you in the Book that, when you hear the Signs of Allah being denied and mocked at, sit not with them until they engage in a talk other than that; for in that case you would be like them. Surely, Allah will assemble the hypocrites and the disbelievers in Hell, all together;”(4:141), “And bear patiently all that they say; and part with them in a decent manner.” (73:11)
    As opposed to this, the Bible teaches: “Anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death.” (Leviticus 24:16)

Once again Rizwan Khan hopes that you don’t know that authoritative material is not found only in the Qur’an and six authentic books of Hadith. The killing of Abu Afak (which pleased Muhammad) is recounted in three of the earliest biographies of Muhammad: that of Ibn Ishaq, al-Waqidi, and Ibn Sa’d. And in reality, there is much support in the Qur’an and Sunnah for the death penalty for blasphemy. It can arguably be found in this verse: “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment.” (5:33)

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