Hillary’s Dangerous Negligence over Benghazi — Again

hillary-email-threatens-benghazi-prosecution-bThe attempt to convict Khatallah for the attack that killed four Americans could falter over Clinton’s deleted e-mails.

National Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, August 15, 2015:

Who cares if Hillary Clinton is convicted of a crime? What we ought to care about is if Ahmed Abu Khatallah is convicted of a crime.

Khatallah is the only person charged thus far in the attack on a shadowy U.S. government compound in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Dozens of jihadists participated in the attack, during which four Americans, including U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens, were slain. Yet Khatallah has been singled out for prosecution. As I’ve previously detailed (here and here), the Obama Justice Department has filed an indictment that infuses evidence with politics: Trying to prove the terrorist conspiracy that actually occurred without refuting the Obama/Clinton fiction that the attack was a spontaneous protest ignited by an anti-Muslim Internet video.

That’s why there are worse jobs to have right now than defense counsel for a murderous jihadist.

Mrs. Clinton has spent the last few weeks learning that federal court is not the mainstream media. Because of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits brought by Judicial Watch, she and her top aides are finally being asked tough questions about conducting government business over a private communications system — a system that Clinton designed in order to hide her communications from public inspections, congressional inquiries, and judicial proceedings. We’ve thus learned that Team Clinton may have concealed government records, stored and transmitted classified information on private e-mail systems, and erased tens of thousands of government files.

If Mrs. Clinton thinks FOIA is a headache, wait until she sees what happens when a top government official’s reckless mass deletion of e-mails takes center stage in a terrorism prosecution of intense national interest. Federal criminal court is not the nightly news. There, mass deletion of files is not gently described as “emails a government official chose not to retain”; it is described as “destruction of evidence” and “obstruction of justice.”

RELATED: Contrary to Media Spin, It’s Hillary Who’s Being Investigated, Not Her Server

In criminal cases, the government is required to disclose to the defense any information in its possession that may tend to prove the defendant not guilty of the charges. That includes information that calls into question the prosecution’s version of events, theory of guilt, and credibility.

In the indictment against Khatallah, the Justice Department alleges that nothing of consequence happened until the day of the Benghazi attack, when he is said to have complained aloud that “something” had to be done about “an American facility in Benghazi” that he believed was an illegal intelligence operation masquerading as a diplomatic post. Suddenly, at 9:45 that night, “twenty armed men,” including “close associates of Khatallah” (not identified by prosecutors), “violently breached” the facility. In the ensuing violence, the Americans were killed. Khatallah is alleged to have participated in the mayhem and to have prevented “emergency responders” from stopping it.

Of course, there is far more to the story than the Justice Department has elected to tell.

RELATED: Why Hillary’s Wiping Her E-mail Server Clean Matters More than It Might Seem

In the months preceding September 11, the “diplomatic facility” and other Western compounds in Benghazi had been targeted in terrorist bombings and threats. September 11 would be the eleventh anniversary of the killing of nearly 3,000 Americans by al-Qaeda, which had every incentive to mark that occasion with a significant attack. American forces, moreover, had recently killed Abu Yahya al-Libi, al-Qaeda’s top Libyan operative; that prompted Ayman al-Zawahiri, the terror network’s leader, to call on fellow jihadists to avenge al-Libi — an incitement issued just a day before the Benghazi attack.

So al-Qaeda was very much on the offensive. Obama, however, was on the campaign trail falsely assuring Americans that the terror network had been “decimated.” Obama’s decision to back Libyan “rebels” against Moammar Qaddafi had resulted in the arming of anti-American jihadists and the teetering of Libya on the brink of collapse. Obama, however, was on the campaign trail pronouncing his Libya policy a boon for regional stability.

As Obama next called for the ouster of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and reports surfaced of covert American support for the Syrian “rebels,”arms used by jihadists in Libya were shipped to jihadists in Syria by way of Turkey. Was that why we needed a “diplomatic facility” with a CIA annex in Benghazi, which was a transit point for some of these weapons? Was that why Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi meeting with Turkey’s ambassador on September 11 despite the obvious peril? The Obama administration refuses to say.

Throughout 2012, American personnel in Benghazi were under heightened terrorist threat. Despite their pleas for more protection, however, the State Department under Secretary Clinton actually reduced security.

Finally, when the September 11 siege occurred, the Obama administration knew from the first moments that it was a terrorist attack of the sort that any competent assessment of the red-blinking intelligence would have predicted. Obama and Hillary Clinton, however, colluded in an elaborate scheme to convince the public that the atrocity was not an al-Qaeda-connected terrorist attack but a spontaneous protest run amok, provoked by an anti-Muslim video.

EDITORIAL: As the FBI Seizes Clinton’s Server, Her E-Mail Scandal Enters a More Serious Phase 

Like all indicted defendants, Khatallah has the right to defend himself by putting the government’s story on trial. Specifically, he could contend that he is being scapegoated for an al-Qaeda plot that was longer in the making. I’d expect him to elaborate that the government singled him out — even though many others were involved — because he was a known critic of American policy who had the misfortune of being in the vicinity of the “diplomatic facility” that night. His prosecution for an allegedly spontaneous attack, he will claim, is an effort to deflect attention from the State Department’s failure to upgrade security, from Obama’s complicity in arming jihadists long before the Benghazi attack, and from the administration’s decision to downplay the role of al-Qaeda (which is not even mentioned in the indictment) while pretending the attack was caused by a video.

Mind you, a defense theory does not have to be true. The defendant has no burden to prove his innocence. To be admissible, it is enough for a defense theory simply to have the potential to cast doubt on the government’s version of events.

RELATED: State Department to Judge: Not Our Job to Search Clinton’s Server

To press such a theory, Khatallah’s lawyer can be expected to argue that the government is hiding evidence that (a) the State Department knew of the continuing al-Qaeda threat but recklessly reduced security before September 11; (b) administration policies had empowered jihadists in Benghazi, who later carried out the attack for which Khatallah is being blamed; and (c) high administration officials, including Secretary Clinton and President Obama, concocted the video story during a tight presidential-election race to divert public attention from questions about who really carried out the Benghazi attack and what was really going on at the “diplomatic facility.”

Her criminal liability is quite beside the point. This is about judgment, credibility, and character.

Laying out this scenario, you can almost hear Khatallah’s lawyer saying, “Your Honor, we believe we are entitled to communications by the secretary of state with other officials. They would demonstrate the government’s knowledge of security lapses, the rising al-Qaeda threat, the fact that the September 11 operation was a terrorist attack, and the identities of attack participants whom the government has chosen not to charge while singling out my client. They would also show the connivance of top government officials in a scheme to convince the public this was a spontaneous attack caused by the video — a scheme that made it easy to frame my client because he happened to be on the scene that night, rather than the terrorist organization that planned it long before.”

A judge gets reversed if he fails to ensure that a defendant gets a fair trial — he cannot ignore defense lawyers the way the press ignores administration critics. On such a showing, then, a judge would be expected to order the prosecutors to search all of the government’s files, including communications by the State Department, and report back to the court about whether there is anything that tends to support the defense claims.

RELATED: Hillary’s E-mail Server Contained Classified Information — Hold Her Accountable

In this instance, the prosecutors would have to reply, “Your Honor, we wish we could but it seems the former secretary of state ran her own e-mail system outside government servers. It also turns out that she destroyed over 30,000 e-mails that she says were about yoga and her daughter’s wedding.”

As the judge’s head seemed to explode, the prosecutor would stammer on: “We’re afraid we can’t verify exactly how many e-mails she destroyed and exactly what they were about. You see, she hit ‘DELETE’ before reviewing them with State Department records custodians, as government guidelines require. And I know this may sound a bit, well, convenient, but it seems there are remarkably few existing e-mails that have anything to do with Benghazi. . . . And, no, we can’t explain why the secretary of state would have had more yoga e-mails than Benghazi e-mails.”

At that point, thanks to Hillary Clinton, the case of a terrorist allegedly responsible for the murder of Americans becomes a trial of whether the government is covering up embarrassing missteps, derelictions of duty, and efforts to deceive the public.

Prior to trial, judges almost never dismiss indictments based on allegations of government misconduct. Such motions are better addressed after the trial is over, when a non-speculative record of the misconduct and its effect on the truth-seeking process has been fully developed.

But there is no need to grapple with such a motion unless the defendant is first convicted. Khatallah’s trial — if the Obama administration goes through with it — will not be an easy one. Expect his lawyers to be given considerable leeway to claim egregious governmental derelictions of duty.

Good defense lawyers can go far on a little leeway. And most of them would tell you they’ve never had a windfall quite like 30,000 e-mails destroyed by the government official at the center of the case.

The Clinton camp is desperate to narrow the latest Hillary scandal to the question of whether she committed indictable classified-information offenses. Her criminal liability is quite beside the point. This is about judgment, credibility, and character.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

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Also see:

Modern Middle East Studies vs. Scholarship

(Majid Saeedi/Getty)

(Majid Saeedi/Getty)

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, Aug. 10, 2015:

It would be a mistake to say Middle East Studies have been corrupted. For the program’s very purpose has been to serve as a corrupting agent. Specifically, it puts the essence of study — the objective pursuit of knowledge — in disrepute.

Here, of course, I am referring to the modern incarnation of Middle East Studies: an amalgam of leftist and Islamist political dogma that masquerades as an academic discipline. By contrast, the actual study of Middle Eastern history, like the intimately related study of Islamic civilization, is a venerable and vital pursuit — and is still pursued as such by, to take the best example, ASMEA, the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa. Alas, in our hyper-politicized society, the traditional notion of study seems quaint: a vestige of a bygone time when the designations “Orientalist” and “Islamist” referred to subject-matter expertise, not political activism, much less radicalism.

Yet, for Edward Said, the seminal figure in modern Middle East Studies, the object of the game was to slander knowledge itself. Joshua Muravchik nailed it in a 2013 profile of the renowned academic. Said’s animating theory held that “knowledge” was the key that enabled the West to dominate Orientals: The point of pursuing knowledge about “the languages, culture, history, and sociology of societies of the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent,” Said elaborated, was to gain more control over the “subject races” by making “their management easy and profitable.” With real study caricatured as the engine of colonial exploitation, the way was paved for a competing construction of “study” — political agitation to empower the have-nots in the struggle against the haves.

Said was a fitting pioneer for such a fraud. To begin with, he was a professor not of Middle East Studies but of comparative literature. Moreover, the personal history he touted to paper over his want of credentials was sheer fiction: Far from what he purported to be (a Palestinian victim exiled by Jews from his Jerusalem home at age twelve), Said was actually a child of privilege, raised in Cairo and educated in top British and American schools. His Palestinian tie of note was membership in the PLO’s governing council. Like Rashid Khalidi — his protégé, who was later awarded the chair in Modern Arab Studies that Columbia University named in Said’s honor — Said was a reliable apologist of Yassir Arafat, the indefatigable terrorist who infused Palestinian identity with a Soviet-backed Arab nationalism.

To thrive in an Islamic culture, it was not only useful but necessary for Palestinian militancy to accommodate the Islamist sense of divine injunction to wage jihad. From its roots, then, modern Middle East Studies is a political movement aligning leftism and Islamism under the guise of an academic discipline. It is not an objective quest for learning guided by a rich corpus of history and culture; it is a project to impose its pieties as incontestable truth — and to discredit dispassionate analysis in order to achieve that end.

The embrace of Islamism usefully advances this project because Islamist ideology similarly stigmatizes the pursuit of knowledge. Where the leftist frames the West’s reverence for reason as imperialism, the Islamist attacks it on theological grounds.

Sharia, they maintain, is the complete and perfect societal framework and legal code, the path to human life lived in conformity with Allah’s design. Thus, what the West calls “reason” or “the objective pursuit of knowledge” is merely a rationalization for supplanting Allah’s design with the corrupting preferences of Western civilization.

We see how this teaching plays out in practice. Muslim countries that supplement sharia with other legislation add the caveat that no man-made law may contradict Islamic principles. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation — a group of Islamic governments that form a large bloc in the United Nations — even found it necessary in 1990 to promulgate a Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, because Islamists could not accept the Universal Declaration of Human Rights spearheaded by non-Muslim governments after World War II.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s most influential Islamist organization, refers to this enterprise as “the Islamicization of knowledge,” the weaving of historical events and cultural developments into Islamist narratives that confirm sharia-supremacist tenets. The “Islamicization of knowledge” is the express and unapologetic mandate of the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), the Virginia-based think tank established by the Brotherhood in 1981.

There are two pertinent observations to be made about the IIIT. First, it has provided an enthusiastic endorsement of Reliance of the Traveller, the English translation of Umdat al-Salik, a classic Arabic sharia manual. The publisher found this seal of approval sufficiently significant to be included in the manual’s preface, along with an endorsement from scholars at the ancient al-Azhar University in Cairo.

The manual is an eye-opener. In addition to detailing sharia’s gruesome hudud penalties (e.g., scourging and death for such offenses as extramarital or homosexual relations), it provides instruction on Islam’s brutally enforced proscriptions against blasphemy and apostasy. These are salient to our consideration: They include prohibitions not only against renunciation and ridicule of Islam but even against objectively true statements that contradict sharia, promote other belief systems, or might otherwise sow discord in the Islamic community.

Obviously, the animating purpose of these principles is to discourage severely the robust exchange of ideas, and even more the scholarly examination of Islamic doctrine and culture. The Islamicization of knowledge is possible only if the objective pursuit of knowledge is not permitted to compete.

That brings us to the second noteworthy observation about the IIIT: It has longstanding ties to the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). Several of these were traced by Cinnamon Stillwell in a 2014 American Thinker essay.

This alliance, the sponsorship by the IIIT of Middle East Studies programs throughout North America, the collaborations between the IIIT and MESA scholars — these are easy to understand. Modern Middle East Studies is a counter-scholarship enterprise that subverts truth to the ends of leftist and Islamist politics. To be clear, it is not an alternative interpretation of reality competing in the marketplace of ideas; it is an anti-Western program that is oblivious to reality and seeks to shut down the marketplace.

We do ourselves and the search for truth great harm by indulging the fiction that anti-American power politics is credible American scholarship.

— Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, thanks the Middle East Forum for its sponsorship of this column.

No Trust, No Verification, No Sanctions: Obama’s Humiliating Capitulation to the Mullahs

john-kerry-iran-deal-gets-worse

National Review, by Andrew McCarthy, Aug. 8, 2015:

The sanctions regime President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry vowed to step up has already collapsed. The mullahs are already scooping up billions in unfrozen assets and new commerce, and they haven’t even gotten the big payday yet.

Obama’s promises of “anytime, anywhere” inspections have melted away as Tehran denies access and the president accepts their comical offer to provide their own nuclear-site samples for examination. Senator John Barasso (R., Wyo.), a medical doctor, drew the apt analogy: It’s like letting a suspect NFL player provide what he says is his own urine sample and then pronouncing him PED-free.#

And now even the Potemkin verification system has become an embarrassing sham, with Iran first refusing to allow physical investigations, then declining perusal of documentation describing past nuclear work, and now rejecting interviews of relevant witnesses.

Recall that administration officials indignantly assured skeptics that there would be no agreement in the absence of Iran’s coming clean on the “past military dimensions” of its nuclear work. As Kerry put it, “They have to do it. It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal; it will be done.”

The reason it had to be done is obvious. According to Obama, his Iran deal is built on verification, not trust — at least when the president is not trusting Ayatollah Khamenei’s phantom anti-nuke fatwa. Plainly, it would be impossible to verify whether Iran was advancing toward the weaponization of nuclear energy — whether it had shortened the “breakout time” the elongation of which, Obama claims, is the principal objective of his deal — unless one knew how far the mullahs had advanced in the first place.

RELATED: The Bipartisan Coalition against Obama’s Iran Deal

But now, in open mockery of an American president they know is so desperate to close this deal he will never call their bluff, the mullahs have told the International Atomic Energy Agency to pound sand — although not sand in Iran, where the IAEA is not permitted to snoop around. Tehran is steadfastly refusing to open its books, and the IAEA sheepishly admits that it cannot answer basic questions about Iran’s programs and progress.

There is no inspection, no disclosure, and no verification. And did I mention no sanctions?

So what does Team Obama do? Do they, as they promised, walk away from an unverifiable and thus utterly indefensible deal that lends aid and comfort to our enemies? Of course not. Now they’re out there telling Americans, “We don’t need this IAEA program to discover whether or not Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapon — they were,” as Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Obamabot, told the Wall Street Journal.

Well good for you, Sherlock; Obama, Kerry, and Hillary Clinton may still be hanging on that fatwa, but you hit the bull’s-eye.

Here’s the thing, though, Senator Murphy: Yes, all of us know the Iranians, as you cheerily put it, “were” pursuing a nuclear weapon — especially all of us who oppose Obama’s Iran deal and who recognize that the jihadist regime has waged war against us since 1979, killing thousands of Americans. But you “let’s make a deal” guys told us your objective was to uncover how far along they “were” and to roll back their progress. (Actually, you used to tell us your objective was to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons, period — as in “if you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan, period.”)

RELATED: Who Is the One Actually Making Common Cause with Iran’s Hard-Liners, Mr. President?

If you don’t have a baseline from which to begin verification, you can’t verify the time of day, much less the progress of nuclear research, development, procurement, and experimentation. Iran is saying we don’t get the baseline without which the Obama administration guaranteed there would be no agreement.

So in the grand deal our president describes as subjecting the mullahs to historically rigorous inspection, disclosure, and verification requirements, there is no inspection, no disclosure, and no verification.

And did I mention no sanctions?

On July 29, Kerry assured lawmakers that Iranian Quds Force commander “Qassem Soleimani will never be relieved of any sanctions.” Soleimani orchestrates the regime’s terrorist operations and, according to the Pentagon, is responsible for killing at least 500 American soldiers in Iraq.

Yet, only five days before Kerry gave that testimony, Soleimani traveled to Russia for meetings with Putin’s government — notwithstanding the vaunted sanctions that, Kerry would have us believe, confine him to Iran.

RELATED: Appeasing Iran Ignores the Lessons of History

Russia, of course, is a member of the U.N. Security Council, from which Obama sought and obtained endorsement of his Iran deal before seeking congressional review. Not only has Russia rendered the current sanctions a joke; it has made Obama’s implausible promise of future “snapback” sanctions against Iran even more laughable. Russia, by the way, has also agreed to build yet another nuclear reactor for the mullahs in Busheir — which Obama’s deal obligates the United States to protect against sabotage. And Putin has also just agreed to supply the terrorist regime in Tehran with $800 million worth of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles that can be used against the U.S. Air Force and have enough range to strike planes in northern Israel.

What a deal, Mr. President!

We really don’t know quite what a deal it is because key provisions remain secret.

Actually, we really don’t know quite what a deal it is because key provisions remain secret. After its bold verification promises, the Obama administration was too embarrassed to reveal exactly how pathetic the agreement’s inspections provisions are. So, as I outlined in a recent column, Obama and Kerry tucked them into a secret side deal between Iran and the IAEA. It then twaddled that the details — i.e., the heart of the deal from the American perspective — are, conveniently, between Iran and the IAEA. None of our business, you see.

This message was reiterated on Capitol Hill this week by the IAEA. Understand: The IAEA could not function (to the limited extend it does function) without the United States Congress’s underwriting of 25 percent of its budget — the American taxpayer contribution dwarfs that of every other country, including Iran’s, which is tiny. Yet, the IAEA chief told lawmakers that he could not reveal the agreement between his agency and Tehran because that is “confidential” information, disclosure of which would compromise the IAEA’s “independence.” The only things the IAEA would confirm are that (a) there are verification provisions and (b) Iran is not cooperating with them.

Feel better?

Well, to further improve your mood, let’s talk the Corker bill. Remember, that’s the legislation by which the GOP-controlled Congress reversed the constitutional presumption against international agreements and virtually assured that Obama’s Iran deal — no matter how appalling it may be, no matter how much aid and comfort if provides to the enemy — will become law.

Why on earth would Beltway Republicans agree to anything so catastrophic for the national security that the Constitution’s Treaty Clause is designed to protect? Because, they proclaimed, by making this devil’s bargain, they would ensure that Congress and the American people got full disclosure of the Iran deal that Obama would otherwise shroud in secrecy.

But as I asked at the time, what possessed them to think Obama would not shroud the agreement in secrecy just because there would now be a law forbidding that?

Supporters are telling themselves that the Corker bill’s benefits [include that] the president will have to produce the agreement. . . . But this is a mirage. . . . The president is notoriously lawless, and thus Republicans can have no confidence that the agreement he produces to Congress will, in fact, be the final deal he signs off on with Iran and, significantly, submits to the U.N. Security Council for an endorsing resolution.

And so it has come to pass: Republicans forfeited their constitutional power for an unenforceable promise of transparency from an infamously duplicitous backroom dealer. Now they have no power and no idea what they’ve enabled.

The president had it backwards Wednesday when, in his repulsively demagogic speech on the Iran deal, he said that Republicans are aligned with the Iranian “hardliners chanting ‘Death to America.’” It is Obama who is aiding and abetting the hardliners. Republicans have merely aided and abetted Obama.

Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

Also see:

While the Administration and media tries to portray this latest episode as evidence of hard liners in Iran trying to upend the JCPOA, we are not buying any of these explanations.  It illustrates how incompetent the Administration has been in conducting its diplomatic initiatives with two geo-political autocrats, Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei and Russia’s President Putin.  The import of the Russian commitment to deliver the S300 air defense system is not lost on Israeli PM Netanyahu and Sunni US allies in the Middle East as it calls into question the credibility of any conventional military option for dealing with Iran’s nuclear weapons program.  This episode should be another clear  demonstration  to wavering Democrat  US Senators and Representatives that Iran will cheat on its agreements under the JCPOA to further its ambitions become a nuclear threshold and state supporter of  global terrorism.  The Iran nuclear pact announced in Vienna on July 14th was virtually shredded ten days later on July 24th with Gen. Soleimani’s arrival in Moscow. His visit to finalize arrangements for Russian weapons deliveries was in defiance of not only his travel bans but also UNSC Resolution 1929 banning purchase of conventional weapons and missile technology five years ahead of its sunset under the Iran nuclear pact.

THE MIDDLE EAST PROSPECT

unholyalliancePowerline, by Scott Johnson, July 12, 2012:

The David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Texas retreat took place last month in Dallas. I have posted videos of the presentations by Stanley Kurtz and Bret Stephens at the retreat. Other videos from the retreat are posted here.

In the video below, Daniel Pipes presents a survey of the Middle East in the Age of Obama. It works as an excellent companion to Stephens’s presentation; Pipes provides a regional close-up following Stephens’s global view (to borrow the title of Stephens’s weekly Wall Street Journal column). As with the the other two videos, I commend this one to your attention with the thought that it is worth your time. Even if you follow the news closely I think you are likely to learn something from this presentation.

The son of Richard Pipes, the prominent historian of Russia, Daniel Pipes is a brilliant student of the Middle East. He is the author of notable books including The Rushdie Affair and, most recently, Nothing Abides.

One of the ladies at PolitiChicks caught up with Pipes after his presentation in Dallas last month. She asked him to identify the greatest threat to the United States (video below). Let’s just say that we’re on the same wavelength.

I have been a reader and fan of Pipes for a long time. I saw him speak about Islamic terrorism before a campus audience at Yale in 2005 or so. He struck me as a scholar with the soul of a warrior. I caught up with Pipes in Minneapolis in 2012 when he was in town for a family wedding and posted a brief video in which I inarticulately asked him about the current relevance of the Rushdie affair here.

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Politichicks also interviewed Andrew McCarthy. They discussed threats to U.S. & justice for Benghazi

AUDIO: How does a free society that values religious liberty handle Islamic supremacism that seeks to destroy it?

41OveQ31pwLThe Blaze, by Benjamin Weingarten, May 29, 2015:

Former federal prosecutor and current National Review contributor Andrew McCarthy has published a slender but substantive new book coincidentally released eerily close to the recent Garland jihadist attack titled “Islam and Free Speech.”

We had the chance to sit down with McCarthy to discuss a variety of topics relating to his new book including a broader question that America has been grappling with for over a decade since Sept. 11, 2001: How can a free and pluralistic society built on protecting liberty including specifically religious liberty adequately counter a theopolitical Islamic supremacist ideology that seeks to use our freedoms and tolerance to undermine us.

Here is how McCarthy responded to the question:

 

The doctrine of Soviet Communism was … ultimately not just the complete and extensive undermining of [the U.S.], but when and if or if and when finally necessary, the violent overthrow of the United States, or the United States government.

So it’s not like this is the first time that we’ve dealt with a conquest ideology that seeks … to supplant the West with its own vision of what society should be. We’ve had this kind of a problem before.

The difference is, Soviet ideology never traveled under the banner of religious liberty, and there was never the kind of squeamishness about examining it that we have now. And … the best way to combat it is to get over that squeamishness.

What we have to understand is that there is a difference between what we ought to regard as Islam the religion … which is something that is adhered to by, you know, many many many patriotic American Muslims, who have no desire whatsoever to have a United States that’s structured like the totalitarian societies that a lot of them either left or reject for their own reasons.

So we have to distinguish that from this political Islamist ideology that is rooted in Islamic doctrine, and a very literal interpretation of it, and that rejects a division between church and state, or between mosque and state.

That ideology is — it has a religious component — but it’s a political ideology overwhelmingly. And it ought to be dealt with as one. And we should stop — you know our public officials should stop trying to label it as something it isn’t. It’s a political, totalitarian conquest ideology that has certain religious elements to it.

But the important thing from our perspective is it’s like every other political ideology that competes and has animus towards the west. And we have to see ourselves as in competition with it and needing to defeat it, rather than trying to figure out how we can accommodate it under the auspices of our commitment to religious liberty, because overwhelmingly it’s not a religious doctrine. The political element of it is overwhelmingly a totalitarian political doctrine. And we shouldn’t, just because it has a few religious elements to it, lose sight of the bigger picture.

You can listen to our interview in full below, or keep scrolling to listen to select clips on topics ranging from the ignored totalitarian nature of Shariah speech prohibitions to McCarthy’s defense of Section 215 of the Patriot Act and why McCarthy believes that conservative Americans frightened of a government that has targeted them through the IRS should be trusted with such powers.

Full Interview

 

The Clash of Civilizations Between Islam and the West

 

The Ignored Totalitarian Nature of Shariah Speech Prohibitions

McCarthy’s Defense of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, and Why We Should Trust Our Government With Such Power

 

What is In America’s National Interest in the Middle East, and How Should We Pursue It?

 

Islam and Free Speech: Missing the Point in Garland

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The purpose of the free-speech event was to highlight the threat posed by Islamic supremacists.

National Review, by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY May 4, 2015:

‘Even free-speech enthusiasts are repulsed by obnoxious expression.” That acknowledgment prefaces the main argument I’ve made in Islam and Free Speech, a just-released pamphlet in the Broadside series from Encounter Books. Alas, in view of last night’s deadly events at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, the argument is more timely than I’d hoped.

In Garland, two jihadists opened fire on a free-speech event that was certain to be offensive to many Muslims. The gunmen wounded a security guard before being killed when police returned fire. The jihadists are reported to be roommates who resided in Phoenix. As this is written, only one of them has been identified: Elton Simpson. The wounded security guard, Bruce Joiner, was treated and released. Joiner works for the Garland Independent School District, which owns the Culwell Center.

Simpson was apparently what my friend, terrorism analyst Patrick Poole, describes as a “known wolf.” That’s a radical Muslim whom the Obama administration and the media are wont to dismiss as an anonymous, unconnected loner but who, in fact, has previously drawn the attention of national-security agents over suspected jihadist ties.

Simpson previously attempted to travel to Africa, apparently to join al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda franchise. He was reportedly convicted of lying to FBI agents, though a judge found the evidence insufficient to prove he was trying to join the terror group. The al-Shabaab connection seems salient now: Police are investigating tweets about the Garland event prior to the violence, allegedly posted by a young al-Shabaab jihadist who is said to be an American citizen.

The Garland free-speech event was a contest, sponsored by Pamela Geller’s New York–based American Freedom Defense Initiative. Participants were invited to draw cartoons of Islam’s prophet, in homage to the Charlie Hebdo artists killed by jihadists in France. Besides Ms. Geller, the featured speaker at the event was Geert Wilders, the Dutch parliamentarian whose life has been threatened for years for speaking openly about the scriptural moorings of Islamic terrorism. Al-Qaeda has publicly called for Wilders to be killed, and a notorious Australian imam called on Muslims to behead him because anyone who “mocks, laughs [at], or degrades Islam” must be killed by “chopping off his head.”

In Garland, activists opposed to the violence endorsed by Islamic doctrine and to the repression inherent in sharia law were invited to draw caricatures of Mohammed, with a $10,000 prize awarded to the “best” one. The contest was sure to yield images offensive to Muslims just as transgressive artist Andres Serrano had to know the public exhibition of his Piss Christ photograph would offend Christians.

Yet, as I argue in Islam and Free Speech, it will not do to blame the messenger for the violence. The shooting last night was not caused by the free-speech event any more than the Charlie Hebdo murders were caused by derogatory caricatures, or the rioting after a Danish newspaper’s publication of anti-Islam cartoons was caused by the newspaper. The violence is caused by Islamic supremacist ideology and its law that incites Muslims to kill those they judge to have disparaged Islam.

It will not do to blame the messenger for the violence. The shooting last night was not caused by the free-speech event any more than the Charlie Hebdo murders were caused by derogatory caricatures.

Christians were offended by Piss Christ, but they did not respond by killing the “artist” or blowing up the exhibiting museum. If any had, they would have been universally condemned for both violating society’s laws and betraying Christian tenets. In such a case, we would have blamed the killers, not the provocative art. There can be no right against being provoked in a free society; we rely on the vigorous exchange of ideas to arrive at sensible policy. And the greater the threat to liberty, the more necessary it is to provoke. 

The threat to liberty in this instance is sharia blasphemy law. A bloc of Muslim-majority countries, with the assistance of the Obama administration (led by the U.S. State Department, particularly under Hillary Clinton), is trying to use international law to impose Islam’s repressive law to make it illegal to subject Islam to negative criticism. No sensible person favors obnoxious expression or gratuitous insult. But as I contend in the pamphlet, there is a big difference between saying “I object to this illustration of insensitivity and bad taste” and saying “I believe that what repulses me should be against the law.”

Ms. Geller’s detractors are predictably out in droves today, prattling about how the violence would not have happened were it not for the offensive display. No one would feel deprived by the lack of sheer insult, they say, so wouldn’t it be better to compromise free-expression principles in exchange for achieving peaceful social harmony? But that line of thinking puts violent extortionists in charge of what we get to speak about — an arrangement no free society can tolerate.

It is very unfortunate that this debate is so often triggered by forms of expression that non-jihadists will find insulting and therefore that even anti-jihadists will find uncomfortable to defend. This grossly understates the stakes involved. This is about much more than cartoons. As I outline in Islam and Free Speech, classical sharia forbids most artistic representations of animate life, not just expressions that are obviously sacrilegious. More significantly, it deems as blasphemous not just expressions that insult the prophet and Islam itself but also

critical examinations of Islam . . . especially if they reach negative conclusions or encourage unbelief[;] proselytism of religions other than Islam, particularly if it involves encouraging Muslims to abandon Islam[; and any] speech or expression [that] could sow discord among Muslims or within an Islamic community. And truth is not a defense.

It is not the purpose of Pam Geller, Geert Wilders, the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, and other activists to insult Muslims. Their mission is to awaken us to the challenge of Islamic supremacists — not just the violent jihadists but also the powerful Islamist forces behind the jihad. Islamists are attempting to coerce us into abandoning our commitment to free expression. They are pressuring us to accommodate their totalitarian system rather than accepting assimilation into our liberty culture.

You may not like the provocateurs’ methods. Personally, I am not a fan of gratuitous insult, which can antagonize pro-Western Muslims we want on our side. But let’s not make too much of that. Muslims who really are pro-Western already know, as Americans overwhelmingly know, that being offended is a small price to pay to live in a free society. We can bristle at an offense and still grasp that we do not want the offense criminalized.

It would be easy, in our preening gentility, to look down our noses at a Mohammed cartoon contest. But we’d better understand the scope of the threat the contest was meant to raise our attention to — a threat triggered by ideology, not cartoons. There is in our midst an Islamist movement that wants to suppress not only insults to Islam but all critical examination of Islam. That movement is delighted to leverage the atmosphere of intimidation created by violent jihadists, and it counts the current United States government among its allies.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

Hillary Clinton Is Still Violating the Law and the Justice Department Should Take Custody of the Server

clinton3National Review, by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY March 12, 2015:

Shannen Coffin had an important NR column Wednesday, exploring for a second time the question whether Hillary Clinton committed a crime by failing to turn over government records – the thousands of work-related emails on her private server – when she left the State Department two years ago. On Fox News’s The Kelly File last night, he and Megyn Kelly followed up: outlining how, contrary to suggestions from Camp Clinton, there is a serious process involved when a high-level official stops working for a federal department – a process designed to ensure that all work-related information has been turned over for retention in government files.

While it is true, as Mrs. Clinton has said, that the departing official must decide what information belongs to the government and what is private, that is just the start of the process. What the official claims is private must be inventoried and reviewed by the department’s records retention staff; if there is any doubt about whether a record is related to official business, the default position is that the government retains the record.

More importantly for present purposes, there is a form involved – this is the government after all. The departing official must complete Form OF-109. As Shannen explains:

It is a formal separation statement, in which the departing official certifies the return of any classified materials, and, more relevant for present purposes, that the departing official has “surrendered to responsible officials all unclassified documents, and papers relating to the official business of the Government acquired by me while in the employ of the Department.” The form makes very clear that a false statement in the certification is punishable as a crime, including under 18 U.S.C. § 1001, which makes it a crime to knowingly and willfully falsify or conceal facts in statements made to federal agencies concerning a matter within its jurisdiction.

As Megyn reported last night, Fox News has asked the State Department to produce Mrs. Clinton’s Form OF-109. The public should be able to learn whether she signed it, thus representing, falsely as it turns out, that she had turned over to the State Department all files and documents relating to official government business.

I would further point out that Mrs. Clinton, even by her own account, even with respect to the copies of e-mails she has deigned to produce, is still in defiance of federal law.

Not only did she conceal and apparently delete files without completing an inventory and enabling State Department record retention officers to review her claim of privacy. Even with respect to the thousands emails she has finally revealed, she is still withholding information. What Mrs. Clinton hoarded on her server are (or were until deleted) electronic communications; what she has reportedly turned over, by contrast, are paper copies of those e-mails –reportedly, 30,490 e-mails comprising 55,000 printed pages. The paper copies may or may not have some information deleted from them.

The government record is the e-mail, the electronic communication itself. A paper copy is just a picture – and perhaps an incomplete one – of an actual electronic mail. When I left the Justice Department, I had to surrender my files and my credentials, not photocopies of them. The photocopies are depictions of the records, they are not the records. The public is entitled to maintain the actual records in the government’s filing system. It is Mrs. Clinton who must content herself with photocopies (and only of files that contain whatever categories of non-classified information she is permitted to retain as a private citizen).

It is not just that what Mrs. Clinton produced are not the actual electronic records she continues to hoard. The paper production is also not searchable in the way the actual electronic government records are. If Mrs. Clinton is permitted with impunity to continue denying the public the actual records that, by law, must be retained in the government’s files, it will cost the public additional, unnecessary millions of dollars. After all, the insufficient paper copies will have to be reviewed, organized, converted into a searchable format, and analyzed to determine if they are responsive to pending or past congressional, judicial and public disclosure demands on which the State Department is now derelict because of Mrs. Clinton’s obstruction.

This is no longer a mere political issue, much less a partisan issue. It is now a black-and-white law-enforcement issue: Mrs. Clinton is withholding records that belong to the public and there is probable cause to believe she made a prosecutable false statement to the government in claiming to have surrendered all records of official business to the State Department.

If she does not voluntarily surrender her server, forthwith, to the State Department, the Justice Department should be taking prompt action – probably through the United States attorney’s in the Southern District of New York (where the Clintons reside and where their servers are believed to be stored), or in Washington (where the State Department’s records are retained and where Mrs. Clinton probably signed her departure form – assuming she did so).

Whether voluntarily or by judicial warrant, the Justice Department should take custody of the server(s). At an appropriate time, counsel for Mrs. Clinton could then meet with prosecutors and State Department record-keepers to sort out what electronic records should be transferred to the State Department, what records the Justice Department should retain in the event there are any criminal proceedings, and what records are private and should be returned to Mrs. Clinton.

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Listen to Secure Freedom Radio:

Digging Deeper on the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal

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Find the ‘Countering Violent Extremism Summit’ at the Intersection of Islamists and Leftists

Salam al-Marayati (MPAC)

Salam al-Marayati (MPAC)

National Review, by ANDREW C. MCCARTHY February 19, 2015:

You may understandably think of it as an ISIS jobs fair, but the ongoing confab in Washington is officially known as President Obama’s “summit” on “Countering Violent Extremism.” That being the case, many Americans seem surprised at the appearance of Salam al-Marayati, leader of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). After all, the White House is having a public hissy fit over the upcoming speech to Congress by Obama’s bête noire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. An odd time, one might think, for the POTUS to be so chummy with a Muslim activist best know for theorizing, right after the 9/11 attacks, that “we should put the State of Israel on the suspect list.”

But National Review readers will not be surprised. Marayati and MPAC figured in my 2010 book on the Muslim Brotherhood’s U.S. operations – The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America (“grand jihad” and “sabotage” are lifted verbatim from an internal Brotherhood memo that describes the Islamists’ objective to infiltrate and destroy our country). And three years ago, I profiled Marayati and MPAC in this NRO column.

There is a reason why Obama’s summit is striking all the wrong chords with the public: strangely sympathetic to Islamist sensibilities and grievances at the very time when rampaging jihadists, while quoting Islamic scripture, are barbarically slaughtering their enemies and conducting a pogrom against Christians (there being no Jews left to mass-murder in Syria, Iraq and Libya).

The reason is that the summit serves exactly the same purpose as is served by MPAC and Marayati: It is the nexus between Islamists and Leftists.

For the Left, radical Islamic terrorism cannot be called “radical Islamic terrorism”; it must be called “violent extremism,” to avoid offending the Left’s Islamist allies. Still, while the labeling of terrorism may be problematic, the fact of terrorism is an opportunity – a crisis that, like all crises, can be used to advance the “social justice” agenda.

Just have a look at President Obama’s op-ed in the Los Angeles Times this week. ISIS and al-Qaeda are on the march, so what does the president suppose this is the occasion for? “Our focus [in the “summit on countering violent extremism”] will be on empowering local communities.”

The public is worried about our national security because, after six years of Obama, jihadists have more safe-haven than ever to plot and train for attacks against America, Israel and Western Europe. Obama, however, sees the situation as grist for a large-scale exercise in community-organizing: A summit that gathers “governments, civil society groups, and community leaders from more than 60 nations” to address “the anger that festers when people feel that injustice and corruption leave them no chance of improving their lives.” By the president’s lights, what causes terrorism is not sharia supremacist ideology, something that is not to be discussed. Instead, “anger” over “legitimate grievances” — that always turn out to be the same grievances the Left grieves over – makes young Muslims vulnerable to “exploitation” by al Qaeda and ISIS.

For their part, Islamists share the Left’s affinity for muscular government that suffocates individual liberty. They are also anxious to gull Westerners into seeing their grievances as driven by wayward American policies rather than sharia principles. That makes an alliance with the Left a good fit – notwithstanding important differences on such matters as abortion and the rights of women and homosexuals (differences that allies can set aside when defeating a common opponent is the higher objective).

Read more

What Is the Islamic State Trying to Accomplish?

(Image: ISIS video)

(Image: ISIS video)

National Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, Feb. 7, 2015:

The Islamic State’s barbaric murder of Lieutenant Mouath al-Kasaebeh, the Jordanian air-force pilot the jihadists captured late last year, has naturally given rise to questions about the group’s objectives. Charles Krauthammer argues (here and here) that the Islamic State is trying to draw Jordan into a land war in Syria. It is no doubt correct that the terrorist group would like to destabilize Jordan — indeed, it is destabilizing Jordan. Its immediate aim, however, is more modest and attainable. The Islamic State wants to break up President Obama’s much trumpeted Islamic-American coalition.

As the administration proudly announced back in September, Jordan joined the U.S. coalition, along with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar. The only potential value of the coalition is symbolic: It has enabled the president to claim that Muslim countries were lining up with us against the Islamic State. Militarily, the coalition is of little use. These countries cannot defeat the Islamic State.

Moreover, even the symbolism is insignificant. Symbolism, after all, cuts both ways. As I pointed out when the administration breathlessly announced the coalition, our five Islamic partners have only been willing to conduct (extremely limited) aerial operations against the Islamic State. They would not attack al-Qaeda targets — i.e., the strongholds of al-Nusra (the local al-Qaeda franchise) and “Khorasan” (an al-Qaeda advisory council that operates within al-Nusra in Syria).

Obviously, if the relevance of the five Islamic countries’ willingness to fight the Islamic State is the implication that the Islamic State is not really Islamic, then their unwillingness to fight al-Qaeda equally implies their assessment that al-Qaeda is representative of Islam. The latter implication no doubt explains why the Saudis, Qatar, and the UAE have given so much funding over the years to al-Qaeda . . . the terror network from which the Islamic State originates and with which the Islamic State shares its sharia-supremacist ideology.

I’ll give the Saudis this: They don’t burn their prisoners alive in a cage. As previously recounted here, though, they routinely behead their prisoners. In fact, here’s another report from the British press just three weeks ago:

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have publicly beheaded a woman in Islam’s holy city of Mecca. . . . Laila Bint Abdul Muttalib Basim, a Burmese woman who resided in Saudi Arabia, was executed by sword on Monday after being dragged through the street and held down by four police officers.

She was convicted of the sexual abuse and murder of her seven-year-old step-daughter.

A video showed how it took three blows to complete the execution, while the woman screamed “I did not kill. I did not kill.” It has now been removed by YouTube as part of its policy on “shocking and disgusting content”.

There are two ways to behead people according to Mohammed al-Saeedi, a human rights activist: “One way is to inject the prisoner with painkillers to numb the pain and the other is without the painkiller. . . . This woman was beheaded without painkillers — they wanted to make the pain more powerful for her.”

The Saudi Ministry of the Interior said in a statement that it believed the sentence was warranted due to the severity of the crime.

The beheading is part of an alarming trend, which has seen the kingdom execute seven people in the first two weeks of this year. In 2014 the number of executions rose to 87, from 78 in 2013.

Would that the president of the United States were more worried about the security of the United States than about how people in such repulsive countries perceive the United States.

In any event, the Islamic State is simply trying to blow up the coalition, which would be a useful propaganda victory. And the strategy is working. It appears at this point that only Jordan is participating in the airstrikes. While all eyes were on Jordan this week for a reaction to Lieutenant al-Kasaebeh’s immolation, the administration has quietly conceded that the UAE suspended its participation in bombing missions when the pilot was captured in December.

The explanation for this is obvious: The Islamic countries in the coalition know they can’t stop the Islamic State unless the United States joins the fight in earnest, and they know this president is not serious. The White House says the coalition has carried out a total of about 1,000 airstrikes in the last five months. In Desert Storm, we did 1,100 a day.

Seven strikes a day is not going to accomplish anything, especially with no troops on the ground, and thus no search-and-rescue capability in the event planes go down, as Lieutenant al-Kasaebeh’s did. With no prospect of winning, and with a high potential of losing pilots and agitating the rambunctious Islamists in their own populations, why would these countries continue to participate?

The Islamic State knows there is intense opposition to King Abdullah’s decision to join in the coalition. While the Islamic State’s sadistic method of killing the pilot has the king and his supporters talking tough about retaliation, millions of Jordanians are Islamist in orientation and thousands have crossed into Syria and Iraq to fight for the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. There will continue to be pressure on Jordan to withdraw. Without a real American commitment to the fight, this pressure will get harder for Abdullah to resist.

Jordan has no intention of getting into a land war the king knows he cannot win without U.S. forces leading the way. But the Islamic State does not need to lure Jordan into a land war in order to destabilize the country — it is already doing plenty of that by intensifying the Syrian refugee crisis, sending Jordanians back home from Syria as trained jihadists, and trying to assassinate Abdullah.

I will close by repeating the larger point I’ve argued several times before. We know from experience that when jihadists have safe havens, they attack the United States. They now have more safe havens than they’ve ever had before — not just because of what the Islamic State has accomplished in what used to be Syria and Iraq (the map of the Middle East needs updating) but because of what al-Qaeda has done there and in North Africa, what the Taliban and al-Qaeda are doing in Afghanistan, and so on.

If we understand, as we by now should, what these safe havens portend, then we must grasp that the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and the global jihad constitute a threat to American national security. That they also (and more immediately) threaten Arab Islamic countries is true, but it is not close to being our top concern. Ensuring our security is a concern that could not be responsibly delegated to other countries even if they had formidable armed forces — which the “coalition” countries do not.

The Islamic State and al-Qaeda are our problem.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

Why Obama Needs to Pretend the Taliban Aren’t Terrorists

pic_giant_013115_SM_TalibanNational Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, Jan. 31, 2015:

No doubt because of my background investigating, prosecuting, and studying terrorism, the cynical claim by White House spokesmen that the Taliban is not a terrorist organization has annoyed me even more than the Obama administration’s nonstop lying usually does. No surprise then that I could be found railing about it on The Kelly File Thursday night.

In that spirit, ten thoughts for the weekend:

1. Under federal law, there are only three requirements for a group to qualify as a “foreign terrorist organization”: It has to be (a) foreign, (b) engaged in “terrorist activity” (bombings, assassinations, etc., carried out to intimidate people and change policy), and (c) a national-security threat to the United States. The law that covers this is Sec. 1189(a) of Title 8, U.S. Code, from the federal Immigration and Nationality Act. It’s here, and it’s just the first few lines — even a president who routinely ignores the laws he is sworn to execute faithfully should be able to make some time for it, maybe on the plane ride between the golf course and the Saudi palace.

2. Obviously, even if it were true, as posited by Messrs. Schultz and Earnest (speaking for President Obama), that the Taliban is concerned only with Afghanistan, not with the global jihad, that would be irrelevant. They easily fit the definition of a foreign terrorist organization.

3. Of course, it is not true that the Taliban is concerned only with Afghanistan. The administration’s risible claim to the contrary is part of its campaign to bleach the Islam out of radical Islam. Islamic supremacism, the ideology that fuels jihadist terror, is a global conquest ideology. Obama wants you to believe that there is just a dizzying array of small, disconnected, strange-sounding, indigenous “insurgent” groups that are not joined by any unifying ideology — the Afghan Taliban (not to be confused with the Pakistani Taliban), Hamas, Hezbollah, the Haqqani Network, Boko Haram, al-Nusra, Ansar al-Sharia, the sundry jihadist franchises that invoke al-Qaeda’s name (in the Arabian Peninsula, in the Islamic Maghreb, in the Indian subcontinent . . . ), and so on. You are not to see them as a united front against the West, but instead as animated by strictly parochial political and territorial disputes. The strategy, a disingenuous elevation of semantics over substance, is designed to minimize the global jihadist threat to the West that has intensified on Obama’s watch and has undeniable roots in a supremacist interpretation of Islam.

4. You need not take my word for it when it comes to the Taliban’s ideological connection to the global jihad. Instead, just look at what they do. What did the Taliban do when they ruled Afghanistan? They willfully allowed their territory to be used as a launch pad for attacks against the United States (the 1998 embassy bombings in eastern Africa, the 2000 bombing of the Cole, and the 9/11 atrocities). And after 9/11, when, by simply handing bin Laden & Co. over to the United States, they could have stayed in power and avoided an invasion of the Afghanistan they are said to be preoccupied with, what did they do? At enormous cost to themselves, they tried to shelter al-Qaeda. In the 14 years since, they have continued to abet the global jihadist campaign, and have reveled in making war against the United States — a war they now understandably think they will win.

5. The Taliban’s continued alliance with al-Qaeda’s global jihad is of a piece with Hamas’s self-proclaimed incorporation in the Muslim Brotherhood’s global ambitions, and with the forward-militia role Hezbollah plays for Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s revolutionary state that exports its Shiite version of jihad. All of these actors perceive themselves as enmeshed in a civilizational struggle against the West. We can’t erase that by pretending there is no animating ideology, pretending that they can be pacified if we satisfy their local grievances.

6. This business of distinguishing “insurgents” from “terrorists” is nonsense. An insurgency is just a domestic uprising (in the sense that the insurgent is from the country in which he is rebelling). When insurgents use terrorist tactics they are domestic terrorists. It may make Obama feel better to say that his pal Bill Ayers was an “insurgent,” but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a terrorist.

7. The most disturbing facet of the “insurgent” canard is that Obama is buying the logic of such Islamic supremacists as the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. They claim that Hamas and Hezbollah are not terrorist organizations (as American law designates them to be) but domestic political organizations that engage not in terrorism but in “resistance” — a righteous fight against “injustice” and “occupation” in their homelands.

8. Obama, of course, is not approving of the Taliban’s tactics and goals. But he wants you to see them as domestic insurgents because progressives believe insurgents should be negotiated with and brought into a political settlement — and to the extent insurgents go overboard in their aggression, progressives believe they should be prosecuted in the civilian justice system, not fought militarily like wartime enemies.

9. In the United States, Obama is operating in a political environment where the public — based on longstanding prudential American policy — believes we should not negotiate with terrorists because that encourages and legitimizes their savage methods. Similarly, the public strongly believes international terrorists are enemies who must be defeated, not defendants who must be indicted. Obama knows he is negotiating with, intends to settle with, and eventually will leave Afghanistan to the tender mercies of, the Taliban. Therefore, the administration is desperate that you not look at the Taliban as terrorists.

10. But they are terrorists.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

Don’t Blame the Charlie Hebdo Mass Murder on ‘Extremism’

pic_giant_010715_SM_Hebdo-Attack-MainNational Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy:

There are now at least twelve confirmed dead in the terrorist attack carried out by at least three jihadist gunmen against the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo. While it practices equal-opportunity satire, lampooning Islam has proved lethal for the magazine, just as it has for so many others who dare to exercise the bedrock Western liberty of free expression. Charlie Hebdo’s offices were firebombed in 2011 over a caricature of Mohammed that depicted him saying, “100 lashes if you don’t die from laughter.”

The cartoon was obviously referring to sharia, Islam’s legal code and totalitarian framework. Don’t take my word for it. Just flip through Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, the authoritative sharia manual. You will find a number of offenses for which flagellation is the prescribed penalty.

To take just a couple of examples, “the penalty for drinking is to be scourged forty stripes,” although the caliph (the Islamic ruler) is authorized to increase this to 80 stripes — although he must pay an indemnity if death results. . . . Pretty moderate, right? (Reliance, p. 617, sec. o16.3.) For adultery “the penalty consists of being scourged one hundred stripes” — and that’s if the adulterer “is not considered to have the capacity to remain chaste” (e.g., if she “is prepubescent at the time of marital intercourse.” “If the offender is someone with the capacity to remain chaste, then he or she is stoned to death.” (Reliance, p. 610, sec. o12.2.)

What Charlie Hebdo has satirized is a savage reality. That reality was visited on the magazine again today. As night follows day, progressive governments in Europe and the United States are already straining to pretend that this latest atrocity is the wanton work of “violent extremists,” utterly unrelated to Islam. You are to believe, then, that François Hollande, Barack Obama, David Cameron, and their cohort of non-Muslim Islamophiles are better versed in sharia than the Muslim scholars who’ve dedicated their lives to its study and have endorsed such scholarly works as Reliance.

Let me repeat what I have detailed here before: Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State did not make up sharia law. Islam did. We can keep our heads tucked snug in the sand, or we can recognize the source of the problem.

As I detailed in Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy, the literalist construction of sharia that Islamic supremacists seek to enforce is “literal” precisely because it comes from Islamic scripture, not from some purportedly “extremist” fabrication of Islam. Moreover, this “classical sharia” is enthusiastically endorsedin principle by several of the most influential institutions in the Islamic Middle East, which explains why it is routinely put into practice when Islamists are given — or seize — the opportunity to rule over a territory.

Reliance is not some al-Qaeda or Islamic State pamphlet. It is a renowned explication of sharia’s provisions and their undeniable roots in Muslim scripture. In the English translation, before you get to chapter and verse, there are formal endorsements, including one from the International Institute of Islamic Thought — a U.S.-based Muslim Brotherhood think tank begun in the early Eighties (and to which American administrations of both parties have resorted as an exemplar of “moderation”). Perhaps more significantly, there is also an endorsement from the Islamic Research Academy at al Azhar University, the ancient seat of Sunni learning to which President Obama famously turned to co-sponsor his cloyingly deceptive 2009 speech on relations between Islam and the West.

In their endorsement, the al-Azhar scholars wrote:

We certify that the . . . translation corresponds to the Arabic original and conforms to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni Community. . . . There is no objection to printing it and circulating it. . . . May Allah give you success in serving Sacred Knowledge and the religion.

There could be no more coveted stamp of scholarly approval in Islam.

Charlie Hebdo, of course, is in the business of cartoon caricature for satirical purposes. That is a time-honored method of expression, political and otherwise, in the West. That is in stark contrast to how such expression is viewed by Islam. Here, as I summarized in my book Spring Fever – quoted verbatim and supported by citations — is what Reliance has to say about such visual art forms:

It is forbidden to make pictures of “animate life,” for doing so “imitates the creative act of Allah Most High”; “Whoever makes a picture, Allah shall torture him with it on the Day of Judgment until he can breathe life into it, and he will never be able to.” (Reliance w50.0 & ff.)

Nor is visual depiction alone in drawing sharia’s wrath. “Musical instruments of all types are unlawful.” As Reliance elaborates, singing is generally prohibited (for “song makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water does herbage”), and “on the Day of Resurrection Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress.” There is an exception, though: If unaccompanied by musical instruments, song and poetry drawn from Islamic scripture and encouraging obedience to Allah are permissible. Ironically, although music is generally forbidden, dancing is permissible “unless it is languid, like the movements of the effeminate.” (Reliance r40.0 &ff.)

Understand, the prohibitions just described apply to artistic expression in general; Islam need not be lampooned for caricatures to run afoul of sharia. With that hostile predisposition in mind, let’s now consider Islam’s draconian treatment of expression that renounces Islam, belittles it or, in the slightest way, casts it in an unfavorable light:

Apostasy from Islam is “the ugliest form of unbelief” for which the penalty is death (“When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed”). (Reliance o8.0 & ff.)

Apostasy occurs not only when a Muslim renounces Islam but also, among other things, when a Muslim appears to worship an idol, when he is heard “to speak words that imply unbelief,” when he makes statements that appear to deny or revile Allah or the prophet Mohammed, when he is heard “to deny the obligatory character of something which by consensus of Muslims is part of Islam,” and when he is heard “to be sarcastic about any ruling of the Sacred Law.” (Reliance o8.7; see also p9.0 & ff.)

It is worth pausing to mull these latter prohibitions against denying or reviling any aspect of Islam, Allah, or the prophet. The call to kill apostates for such offensesobviously applies with equal or greater force to non-Muslims, who are pervasively treated far worse than Muslims are by sharia. See, for example, the infamous verse 29 from Sura 9, the Koran’s most bellicose chapter:

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold forbidden which had been forbidden by Allah and his Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the people of the book [i.e., Christians and Jews], until they pay the jizya [the poll tax imposed on non-believers for the privilege of living in the Islamic state] and feel themselves subdued.

While insipid Western leaders cannot admonish us often enough that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” the French satirical magazine has offered a different take — one rooted in the cherished Western belief that examination in the light of day, rather than willful blindness, is the path to real understanding. In that tradition, a few other choice aspects of sharia, detailed by Muslim scholars in Reliance, are worth reviewing:

“Jihad means to war against non-Muslims.” (Reliance o9.0.)

It is an annual requirement to donate a portion of one’s income to the betterment of the ummah (an obligation called zakat, which is usually, and inaccurately, translated as “charity”); of this annual donation, one-eighth must be given to “those fighting for Allah, meaning people engaged in Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army roster. . . . They are given enough to suffice them for the operation even if they are affluent; of weapons, mounts, clothing and expenses.” (Reliance, h8.1–17.)

As commanded in the aforementioned Sura 9:29, non-Muslims are permitted to live in an Islamic state only if they follow the rules of Islam, pay the non-Muslim poll tax, and comply with various conditions designed to remind them that they have been subdued, such as wearing distinctive clothing, keeping to one side of the street, not being greeted with “Peace be with you” (“as-Salamu alaykum”), not being permitted to build as high as or higher than Muslims, and being forbidden to build new churches, recite prayers aloud, “or make public displays of their funerals or feast-days.” (Reliance o11.0 & ff.)

Offenses committed against Muslims, including murder, are more serious than offenses committed against non-Muslims. (Reliance o1.0 & ff; p2.0-1.)

The penalty for spying against Muslims is death. (Reliance p50.0 & ff; p74.0 & ff.)

The penalty for homosexual activity (“sodomy and lesbianism”) is death. (Reliance p17.0 & ff.)

A Muslim woman may marry only a Muslim man; a Muslim man may marry up to four women, who may be Muslim, Christian, or Jewish (but no apostates from Islam). (Reliance m6.0 & ff. — Marriage.)

A woman is required to be obedient to her husband and is prohibited from leaving the marital home without permission; if permitted to go out, she must conceal her figure or alter it “to a form unlikely to draw looks from men or attract them.” (Reliance p42.0 & ff.)

A non-Muslim may not be awarded custody of a Muslim child. (Reliance m13.2–3.)

A woman has no right of custody of her child from a previous marriage when she remarries “because married life will occupy her with fulfilling the rights of her husband and prevent her from tending to the child.” (Reliance m13.4.)

The penalty for theft is amputation of the right hand. (Reliance o14.0.)

The penalty for accepting interest (“usurious gain”) is death (i.e., to be considered in a state of war against Allah). (Reliance p7.0 & ff.)

The testimony of a woman is worth half that of a man. (Reliance o24.7.)

If a case involves an allegation of fornication (including rape), “then it requires four male witnesses.” (Reliance o24.9.)

The establishment of a caliphate is obligatory, and the caliph must be Muslim and male. “The Prophet . . . said, ‘Men are already destroyed when they obey women.’” (Reliance o25.0 & ff; see also p28.0, on Mohammed’s condemnation of “masculine women and effeminate men.”)

This is not “violent extremist” doctrine. This is Islamic doctrine — sharia, authoritatively explained and endorsed. Millions of Muslims, particularly in the West, do not abide by it and are working heroically — and at great risk to themselves — to marginalize or supersede it. Of course we should admire and help them. That, however, is not a reason to pretend that this doctrine does not exist. It is, furthermore, suicidal to ignore the fact that, because this doctrine is rooted in scripture and endorsed by influential scholars, some Muslims are going to act on it, and many millions more will support them.

This anti-liberty, supremacist, repulsively discriminatory, and sadly mainstream interpretation of Islam must be acknowledged and confronted. In its way, that is what Charlie Hebdo had been attempting to do — while, to their lasting shame, governments in the United States and Europe have been working with Islamist statesto promote sharia blasphemy standards. That needs to end. The future must not belong to those who brutalize free expression in the name of Islam.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

The Feinstein Report Is Going to Cost Us

pic_giant_121314_SM_Dianne_FeinsteinNational Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, DECEMBER 13, 2014:

Jihadists are still waging their war against the civilized world. Check that: Jihadists are currently winning their war against the civilized world. Thank Barack Obama, who fails to grasp the difference between being “the president who ends wars” and the president who retreats from wars, and thus surrenders while the enemy is on the rise.

What is the response of Senate sages to this predicament? Dianne Feinstein and her fellow Democrats saw it as the perfect time to savage the CIA, further burn America’s bridges with anti-terrorism allies, and hand jihadists a huge propaganda victory.

The Islamic State had a response, too: They beheaded four Christian children for refusing to renounce Jesus Christ.

You see where this is going, no?

The Democrats’ “torture” report is a gratuitous hit job — brought to you by the same party that, out of political calculation, aggressively undermined the American war effort in Iraq — only after voting to send our men and women into grave danger there, also out of political calculation.

To be sure, the report is a highly disturbing document. It graphically illustrates the severity of enhanced interrogation tactics used against a small group of top-tier terrorists — terrorists who were responsible for brutally murdering thousands of Americans and who, at the time of their capture, were actively plotting to kill thousands more.

Still, notwithstanding the revelation of a few new gory details, this is old news and its disclosure serves no useful purpose — it is just a settling of scores.

“Old news” is not used here in the familiar Clinton/Obama sense of acknowledging a few embarrassing scandal details on Friday night to pave the way for dismissing scandal coverage as stale by Monday morning. The CIA’s interrogation program happened over a decade ago. It was investigated by Justice Department prosecutors for years — and not once but twice. The second time, even Eric Holder, the hyper-politicized, hard-Left attorney general who had promised Obama’s base a “reckoning,” could not help but concede that the case against our intelligence agents should be dropped because the evidence was insufficient to warrant torture prosecutions.

As I have frequently argued here over the years, there is a world of difference between what is couched in political rhetoric as “torture,” a conversation stopper that the Left cavalierly applies to every instance of prisoner abuse, and the federal crime of torture, which has a strict legal definition and is a difficult offense to prove, precisely to ensure that torture is not trivialized. Not surprisingly, then, the fact that the interrogations investigation was terminated has never been regarded as a clean bill of health.

To the contrary, disclosure was made to the public, through congressional investigations as well as through the criminal probe, that the tactics used were troubling. The treatment of a bare fraction of the tens of thousands of detainees held for a time raised concerns about abuse — far less than the norm in previous wars. The abuses that did occur, however, became notorious. And they were not trivial. Indeed, two detainees died: one under suspicious circumstances in Iraq, another of hypothermia in Afghanistan.

But we’ve known this for years. In conjunction with the Left’s shameful “Bush lied, people died” Iraq war meme — along with the Bush administration’s peculiar decision not to defend itself from scurrilous allegations — the “torture” narrative helped propel Democrats to decisive victories in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

Feinstein’s report similarly serves no useful purpose when it comes to the ostensible rationale for its release, namely: the quest to corroborate the strictly ideological — and demonstrably false — claim that coercive interrogation does not yield vital intelligence.

On this score, it is almost not worth pointing to the averments of current and former CIA directors and operatives that the techniques employed produced essential wartime intelligence. It is even tempting to omit mention of the fact that the 9/11 Commission Report — lauded by members of both parties as the definitive account of the 9/11 attacks and the foundation of American counterterrorism policy — is largely the product of intelligence culled from top terrorists subjected to waterboarding and other indignities.

These are time-wasting exercises because the Feinstein report, as a piece of government investigative work, is laughably incompetent — at least as much as a taxpayer can laugh at a $50 million political stunt. An investigation that, as Rich Lowry notes, neglects to interview a single participant in the relevant events is a fraud. There is no other word for it.

This one will cost us dearly — and I’m not just talking about the $50 mil. The allies we need to prosecute a global anti-terror campaign — the ones from whom Obama’s election was supposed to win us renewed respect and affection — despise us for what Senate Democrats have done. As someone who has been around the block as many times as Feinstein must be aware, the report embarrasses governments that cooperate with the United States and raises their vulnerability as terror targets.

And just as our allies are reminded that America is an unfaithful friend, so, too, have American national-security officials, intelligence agents, and warriors been given a cautionary lesson: If you take actions to protect the American people — in wartime, in the heat of the moment amid a palpably justified fear of mass-murder attacks after nearly 3,000 of your fellow citizens have been slaughtered — better prepare to be hounded as a war criminal for the succeeding decade or more.

Jihadists, meanwhile, will go on beheading teenagers and planning massive attacks.

It has been one thing to tell our ascendant enemies — in actions and omissions that speak louder than words — that we have no stomach to fight them where they must be fought: on the ground where, we know, given time and space, they plot to kill Americans. It is quite another thing to buoy them with the assurance that a major party in this country has a bottomless appetite to fight Americans whose major allegiance is to America.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

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The Ideology Problem in Timbuktu Is Not al-Qaeda’s Making — It Is Classical Islam

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy:

Andrew’s post describing the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Mali is essential, if excruciating, reading. Beyond the monstrously cruel but all too usual punishments being imposed, I’m struck by two things, which really show how willful blindness leads inexorably to spring fever: The Guardian attributes the atrocious penalties to the “menace of al-Qaida”; it also notes, however, that the “ban [on music] comes in the context of a horrifically literal and gratuitous application of Sharia law in all aspects of daily life.”

Much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, al Qaeda did not make up sharia law. Islam did. And in the West, it is a key tenet of due process that law is imposed literally — ambiguous laws violate the principle that people of ordinary intelligence must be on fair notice of what is prohibited. There’s nothing “gratuitous” about applying as it is written.

16044762We can keep our heads tucked snug in the sand, or we can recognize the source of the problem. As I detail in Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy, the literalist construction of sharia that al Qaeda’s local franchise is enforcing in Mali is “literal” because it comes from Islamic scripture, not from some purportedly “extremist” fabrication of Islam. Moreover, while it seems only militant jihadists proudly urge this construction in practice, it is enthusiastically endorsed in principle by two of the most influential institutions in the Islamic Middle East: al Azhar University and the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

Don’t just take my word for it. Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law is not some al Qaeda pamphlet. It is a renowned explication of sharia’s reliance (1)provisions and their undeniable roots in Muslim scripture. In the English translation, before you get to chapter and verse, there are formal endorsements from the International Institute of Islamic Thought — a U.S.-based Muslim Brotherhood think-tank begun in the early eighties (and to which American administrations of both parties have resorted as an exemplar of “moderation”) — and from the Islamic Research Academy at al Azhar University, the ancient seat of Sunni learning to which President Obama famously turned to co-sponsor his cloyingly deceptive 2009 speech on relations between Islam and the West (“We certify,” the famed scholars wrote, that the “translation corresponds to the Arabic original and conforms to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni Community…. There is no objection to printing it and circulating it…. May Allah give you success in serving Sacred Knowledge and the religion.” There could be no more coveted stamp of scholarly approval in Islam.).

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Reliance is also endorsed by Islamic authorities in Jordan (leading influences on a largely Palestinian population that may well overthrow the pro-Western monarchy) and Syria (leading influences on the “rebels” on whose side interventionists — including both presidential candidates — would have us jump to abet the Muslim Brotherhood’s ongoing campaign to oust the minority Alawite Assad regime).

Here, as I summarize in Spring Fever – quoted verbatim and supported by citations — is what Reliance has to say about the arts:

It is forbidden to make pictures of “animate life,” for doing so “imitates the creative act of Allah Most High”; “Whoever makes a picture, Allah shall torture him with it on the Day of Judgment until he can breathe life into it, and he will never be able to.” (Reliance w50.0 & ff.)

“Musical instruments of all types are unlawful.” Singing is generally prohibited (for “song makes hypocrisy grow in the heart as water does herbage), and “[o]n the Day of Resurrection Allah will pour molten lead into the ears of whoever sits listening to a songstress.” However, if unaccompanied by musical instruments, song and poetry drawn from Islamic scripture and encouraging obedience to Allah are permissible. Ironically, although music is generally forbidden, dancing is permissible “unless it is languid, like the movements of the effeminate.” (Reliance r40.0 &ff.)

Those sharia provisions are complemented by these — again, endorsed by al-Azhar, the Muslim Brotherhood, and our “moderate” “allies” in the region:

Apostasy from Islam is “the ugliest form of unbelief” for which the penalty is death (“When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed”). (Reliance o8.0 & ff.)

Apostasy occurs not only when a Muslim renounces Islam but also, among other things, when a Muslim appears to worship an idol, when he is heard “to speak words that imply unbelief,” when he makes statements that appear to deny or revile Allah or the prophet Mohammed, when he is heard “to deny the obligatory character of something which by consensus of Muslims is part of Islam,” and when he is heard “to be sarcastic about any ruling of the Sacred Law.” (Reliance o8.7; see also p9.0 & ff.)

[Note: These latter prohibitions against denying or reviling any aspect of Islam, Allah or the prophet are the basis for imposing death for blasphemy. The call to kill apostates for such offenses obviously applies with equal or greater force to non-Muslims, who are pervasively treated worse than Muslims by sharia (see, e.g., Sura 9:29: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold forbidden which had been forbidden by Allah and his Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the people of the book [i.e., Christians and Jews], until they pay the jizya [the poll tax imposed on non-believers for the privilege of living in the Islamic state] and feel themselves subdued.”)]

“Jihad means to war against non-Muslims.” (Reliance o9.0.)

It is an annual requirement to donate a portion of one’s income to the betterment of the ummah (an obligation called zakat, which is usually, and inaccurately, translated as “charity” –zakat can only be given to Muslims and is designed strictly to fortify the Muslim community, not benefit the less fortunate generally); of this annual donation, one-eighth must be given to “those fighting for Allah, meaning people engaged in Islamic military operations for whom no salary has been allotted in the army roster…. They are given enough to suffice them for the operation even if they are affluent; of weapons, mounts, clothing and expenses.” (Reliance, h8.1-17.)

Non-Muslims are permitted to live in an Islamic state only if they follow the rules of Islam, pay the non-Muslim poll tax, and comply with various adhesive conditions designed to remind them that they have been subdued, such as wearing distinctive clothing, keeping to one side of the street, not being greeted with “Peace be with you” (“as-Salamu alaykum”), not being permitted to build as high as or higher than Muslims, and being forbidden to build new churches, recite prayers aloud, “or make public displays of their funerals or feast-days.” (Reliance o11.0 & ff.)

Offenses committed against Muslims, including murder, are more serious than offenses committed against non-Muslims. (Reliance o1.0 & ff; p2.0-1.)

The penalty for spying against Muslims is death. (Reliancep50.0 & ff; p.74.0& ff.)

The penalty for fornication is to be stoned to death, unless one is without the “capacity to remain chaste,” in which case the penalty is “being scourged one hundred stripes and banished to a distance of at least 81 km./50mi. for one year.” (Relianceo12.0 & ff.)

The penalty for homosexual activity (“sodomy and lesbianism”) is death. (Reliance p17.0 & ff.)

A Muslim woman may only marry a Muslim man; a Muslim man may marry up to four women, who may be Muslim, Christian, or Jewish (but no apostates from Islam). (Reliance m6.0 & ff. – Marriage.)

A woman is required to be obedient to her husband and is prohibited from leaving the marital home without permission; if permitted to go out, she must conceal her figure or alter it “to a form unlikely to draw looks from men or attract them.” (Reliancep42.0 & ff.)

A non-Muslim may not be awarded custody of a Muslim child. (Reliance m13.2-3.)

A woman has no right of custody of her child from a previous marriage when she remarries “because married life will occupy her with fulfilling the rights of her husband and prevent her from tending to the child.” (Reliance m13.4.)

The penalty for theft is amputation of the right hand. (Relianceo14.0.)

The penalty for drinking alcohol is “to be scourged forty stripes.” (Reliance o16.3; p.14.2.)

The penalty for accepting interest (“usurious gain”) is death (i.e., to be considered in a state of war against Allah). (Reliancep7.0 & ff.)

The testimony of a woman is worth half that of a man. (Relianceo24.7.)

If a case involves an allegation of fornication (including rape), “then it requires four male witnesses.” (Reliance o24.9.)

The establishment of a caliphate is obligatory, and the caliph must be Muslim and male. “The Prophet … said, “Men are already destroyed when they obey women.” (Reliance o25.0 & ff; see also p28.0, on Mohammed’s condemnation of “masculine women and effeminate men.”)

This is not al Qaeda doctrine. This is sharia, authoritatively explained and endorsed. It is not the construction of Islam that many Muslims in the West wish to live under. But it is the mainstream supremacist Islam of the Middle East, which Islamic leaders — including those who come to the West to preach it — would not dream of discrediting, even if they are not as enthusiastic as al Qaeda where imposing it is concerned.

The State Department and the leading foreign policy voices of both major American political parties say sharia is perfectly compatible with “democracy” and the Western conception of human rights — of liberty and equality. Sure it is. And then you wonder why the Obama administration opens a consulate in Benghazi, one of the most perilous places in the world for Americans, refuses to safeguard it despite multiple pleas for beefed up security, and then fraudulently claims a pluperfectly predictable atrocity was caused by a video no one ever saw. If you’re going to live in a dreamworld, better get used to nightmare consequences.

As War Heats Up, Obama Dismantles War Approach to Counterterrorism

abc_obama_words_090331_mnPJ Media, By Andrew C. McCarthy:

Last week, while Republicans popped open the champagne over the electorate’s emphatic rejection of the Obama left’s policies, Mr. Obama significantly advanced one he’s been pushing – against public opinion and with haltingly incremental success – since the first hours of his presidency. Lost amid Shellacking 2.0 – and between the sudden dump of over 60,000 previously withheld Fast & Furious documents and the president’s reaffirmation of his executive illegal-alien amnesty vow – was the administration’s further dismantling of the post-9/11 counterterrorism paradigm.

With nearly no one noticing, the administration transferred a long-held terrorist detainee out of Guantanamo Bay. Fawzi al-Odah was returned to his native Kuwait, another Gulf halfway house between Gitmo and return to the jihad. He had been detained under the laws of war for over a dozen years because he was assessed as posing a continuing danger. Naturally, his release was instantly heralded by an al Qaeda leader in Syria – indeed, by a top figure in what the administration refers to as the Khorasan group, the al Qaeda component plotting attacks against the U.S. and the West. And astoundingly, it appears that al Qaeda knew Odah’s release was coming before the American people were informed.

Odah’s transfer comes just as the president, forced to confront the increased jihadist threat from al Qaeda and ISIS, has escalated the number of American troops (as “advisers” only, of course) and continues conducting an aerial bombing campaign. It fulfills a prediction made this past summer by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and other commentators (including your humble correspondent): The release in July of five Taliban commanders in exchange for the deserter Bowe Bergdahl was intended to help Obama achieve the vow to close Guantanamo Bay, made on his first day in office. (Actually, Obama promised to close Gitmo within a year. He is five years behind schedule because Americans hate the idea, igniting strong congressional opposition.)

The laws of war, the foundation of Bush-Cheney post-9/11 counterterrorism, provide for detention without trial of enemy combatants until the conclusion of hostilities. Hostilities are not close to being over – as Obama quite obviously recognizes since our forces continue to conduct lethal attacks. We know, moreover, that a very high percentage of former detainees return to the jihad. The CIA has conceded that it could be 20 percent, but the truth is it’s no doubt higher – our intelligence community has no idea who goes back to the jihad unless they encounter the terrorist on the battlefield or are in the unusual position of having good intelligence about about what he’s up to. We do know that former Gitmo detainees regularly resurface as al Qaeda leaders in places like in Yemen, Iraq and Libya.

Yet, by releasing the Taliban commanders – the “worst of the worst” … and at a time when the Taliban was (just as it is) still conducting terrorist operations against our troops – Obama established a very high ceiling. By acceding to the release of high-ranking Taliban operatives despite the heightening threat, the administration makes it far more difficult to rationalize the continued detention without trial of virtually any other Gitmo detainee. By comparison, the Taliban commanders were bound to be worse.

Bear in mind, moreover, that the Obama administration is threaded with lawyers who used to represent terrorist detainees (voluntarily … for free!). These lawyers well know that many of the detainees are still bringing the same kinds of lawsuits these lawyers used to help them bring: challenges to their detention without trial. By springing the most dangerous terrorists, the administration plainly strengthens the litigation position of lesser players still held at Gitmo. While courts are reluctant to issue outright release orders – there being debate about the extent of their authority to do so – they certainly can and do ratchet up pressure on the government to get the terrorists out of Gitmo (i.e., to find countries willing to take them and effect transfer). Indeed, in al-Odah’s own case, while declining to invalidate the terrorist’s law-of-war detention, a federal judge in Virginia admonished that the time was coming that the executive branch would be obliged to release the detainees. Less than three months later, al-Odah was sent home.

Expect a quickening of the pace. Obama is patently pushing to reduce the number of detainees at Gitmo, now estimated at 148, to one low enough to justify, at least in his own mind, transferring the remainder into the United States. Gitmo would then be shuttered.

Knowing how ballistic this would make voters, congressional Republicans have succeeded in enacting laws that prohibit the executive branch from moving the detainees into U.S. prisons. But our imperious president is notorious for riding roughshod over federal laws not to his liking. He has never been stopped by mere law; he has been brushed back only by concern about political damage that might hurt him and Democrats in elections.

Except … now he doesn’t have anymore elections to worry about. All that is left for the next two years-plus is the imperative to implement as much of his agenda as his enormous raw power allows.

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