While Still a Senator, Kerry Communicated Obama’s Capitulation Policy to the Iranian Regime

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Center for Security Policy, by Andrew McCarthy, Aug. 12, 2015:

In a column on Tuesday and follow-up post on the Corner, I relate that beginning in 2011, President Obama secretly enticed the Iranian regime to the bargaining table by communicating that he was open to abandoning longstanding American opposition to Iran’s claimed “right” to enrich uranium. This news comes to us from a new MEMRI report, which elaborates that Obama relied on then-senator John Kerry to grease the wheels for his entreaty to Iran’s leader.

Why Kerry?

Though he was surely a key Obama ally on Capitol Hill, Kerry was not in the administration. The president already had a compliant secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, who was dutifully implementing his appeasement policies. He also had any number of subordinate administration officials capable of passing messages. So why would Obama choose Kerry as his emissary to alert Iran to a dramatic shift in American policy?

Clearly, there are two reasons: Obama needed someone outside the administration, and Kerry’s status and track record made him a natural.

Remember, Obama was running for reelection in 2011–12. Public opposition to Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons and, therefore, to Iran’s enrichment of uranium was very strong — and, indeed, remains so. Consequently, Obama pretended on the campaign trail that he would vigorously oppose Iran’s uranium-enrichment efforts . . . even as he was covertly signaling to the jihadist regime that he was open to recognizing Iran as a nuclear power.

As my friend Fred Fleitz of the Center for Security Policy has noted, Obama asserted in the lead-up to the 2008 election that “the world must work to stop Iran’s uranium-enrichment program.” So too, in the run-up to the 2012 election, did Obama continue assuring voters that Iran “needs to give up its nuclear program and abide by the U.N. resolutions that have been in place.” Those U.N. resolutions prohibit Iran’s enrichment activities. Thus did the president proclaim, in seeking reelection, that the only deal he would accept would be one in which the Iranians “end their nuclear program. It’s very straightforward.”

With Obama out feigning opposition to Iran’s enrichment activities, it would not do to have a conflicting message communicated to Iran by his own administration. What if Iran, to embarrass Obama, were to go public about an administration entreaty that directly addressed enrichment? It would have been hugely problematic for the president’s campaign. Obama thus needed an alternative: someone outside the administration whom Obama could trust but disavow if anything went wrong; someone the Iranian regime would regard as authoritative.

John Kerry was the perfect choice.

Besides being the Democrats’ 2004 presidential nominee, Kerry was then chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a reliable Obama ally on foreign-policy issues. Kerry frequently spoke out on U.S. relations with Iran and would be seen by the regime in Tehran as a credible barometer for reading Obama. It was no secret, moreover, that Kerry had designs on replacing Mrs. Clinton as secretary of state in a second Obama term.

Just as significantly, Kerry’s belief that the United States should capitulate to Iran on the “right to enrichment” was well known to the Iranians.

It has been American policy under administrations of both parties that the right to peaceful nuclear power does not imply a right to enrich uranium.

Some background: As I outlined in my column on Tuesday, the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NNP) holds that every nation has an “inalienable right” to use nuclear power peacefully. Yet the treaty does not confer an explicit right to obtain nuclear power through any particular route, let alone a route like uranium enrichment — a process that can easily be diverted to the weaponization of nuclear power, the thing the NNP treaty is designed to prevent. For this reason, it has been American policy under administrations of both parties that the right to peaceful nuclear power does not imply a right to enrich uranium.

But Kerry was known to scoff at this policy.

Fred Fleitz has usefully directed my attention to an enlightening 2009 Financial Times interview during which Senator Kerry opined that it was “ridiculous” to argue against Iran’s right to enrich uranium. The interview occurred in June, during the first round of the infamous Iranian presidential election that the Khamenei regime eventually stole for Ahmadinejad, igniting a popular revolt that the regime violently put down while Obama looked the other way.

The Financial Times reported:

One of the most senior Democrats in Washington has dismissed a key element in the west’s long standing strategy on Iran’s nuclear programme as “ridiculous.” His comments throw open the debate about how far the US and its partners should go in seeking a compromise with Tehran after on [sic] Friday’s presidential election.

John Kerry, chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee and the Democrats’ 2004 presidential nominee, told the Financial Times in an interview that Iran had a right to enrich uranium — a process that can produce both nuclear fuel and weapons grade material. . . .

“The Bush administration [argument of] no enrichment was ridiculous . . . because it seemed so unreasonable to people,” said Mr. Kerry, citing Iran’s rights as a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. “It was bombastic diplomacy. It wasted energy. It sort of hardened the lines, if you will,” he added. “They have a right to peaceful nuclear power and to enrichment in that purpose.”

And now we learn that two years later, when Obama wanted to assure Khamenei that he would be flexible on Iran’s demands (even as the president was telling Americans the opposite in his reelection campaign), Kerry relayed a letter to the Iranian regime in Tehran. The letter was transmitted through the same intermediary, the government of Oman, that Obama would later use to transmit his message to Iran’s supreme leader. According to a key adviser to the speaker of Iran’s parliament, Kerry’s letter stated that the United States recognized “Iran’s rights regarding the enrichment cycle.” MEMRI says that Kerry’s letter triggered two meetings in Oman between American and Iranian diplomats and, finally, Obama’s letter to Khamenei.

The Obama administration would soon officially agree that Iran has a right to enrich uranium. The capitulation details were formally handled by Kerry once he became Obama’s second secretary of state. Obviously, his audition went well.

— 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:

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

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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.

Congress Must Hold Obama Accountable for His Deception Over Iran

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By lying and withholding information about the agreement, he gives aid and comfort to America’s enemy.

National Review, by Andrew McCarthy, July 25, 2015:

The president “must certainly be punishable for giving false information to the Senate.”

One can imagine hearing such counsel from a contemporary United States senator on the receiving end of President Obama’s “full disclosure” of the nuclear deal with Iran. But the admonition actually came from James Iredell, a champion of the Constitution’s ratification, who was later appointed to the Supreme Court by President George Washington.

Iredell was addressing the obligations the new Constitution imposed on the president in the arena of international affairs. Notwithstanding the chief executive’s broad powers to “regulate all intercourse with foreign powers,” it would be the president’s “duty to impart to the Senate every material intelligence he receives.” Indeed, among the most egregious offenses a president could commit would be fraudulently inducing senators “to enter into measures injurious to their country, and which they would not have consented to had the true state of things been disclosed to them.”

A little over a year ago, I recounted Iredell’s cautionary words in Faithless Execution. They echo an instructive illustration offered by James Madison, the Constitution’s principal author: If the president were “to commit any thing so atrocious” as to fraudulently rig Senate approval of an international agreement, he would “be impeached and convicted.”

RELATED: Is the Iran Deal the Worst Political Blunder of All Time?

Interestingly, the perfidy in Madison’s hypothetical involved summoning into session only senators favorably disposed toward a formal treaty that the president wanted approved. That was more plausible in the late 18th century: Under the Constitution, a treaty may be approved by “two thirds of the senators present” for the vote; and back then, senators coming from far and wide could not fly to the nation’s capital at the drop of a hat.

The hypothetical is telling as we consider Obama’s Iran deal. The Constitution makes treason a ground for impeachment, but it seems to have been outside Madison’s contemplation that a president would actually be so insidious as to use his foreign-affairs power to give aid and comfort to an enemy of the United States. On that score, note that as soon as Obama’s deal was announced, not only was Iran’s foreign minister vowing to continue funding jihadist terror; the regime’s “supreme leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was also extolling the continued Iranian call for “Death to America.”

RELATED: Obama’s Iran Deal Is the Opposite of What He Promised the American People

Madison could not fathom a president who undermines the Constitution’s treaty requirements by the ruse of labeling a treaty an “agreement” or a “joint plan of action.” Still less could he imagine a president who resorts to chicanery in communicating the terms of an international agreement to the Congress. Such duplicity must have seemed inconceivable.

Yet now, it is not just conceivable. It is happening:

Obama’s original stated commitment to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-weapons power has deteriorated into a deal that enables Iran to become a nuclear-weapons power by abiding by the deal’s terms. The mullahs’ inevitable cheating will merely speed up matters; the outcome is already certain.

Obama is willfully providing material support to the mullahs’ terrorism (a felony violation of federal law) — the deal will inject over $100 billion into Iran’s economy, and Iran brags that it will continue its open and notorious funding of Hezbollah and other anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-Israel “allies” (while the administration splutters that, gee whiz, curbing terrorism was not part of the negotiations).

Obama not only lifts restrictions on Iran’s traffic in ballistic missiles and conventional weapons (which were also not supposed to be part of the negotiations) but also looks the other way while Russia sells the mullahs hundreds of sophisticated surface-to-air missiles — missiles that will be used against American forces when, inevitably, a future president decides to deal differently with our enemies.

Obama’s deal, rationalized as necessary to delay (but no longer to forbid) Iran’s nuclearization, obliges the United States to protect Iranian nuclear facilities from sabotage — i.e., the deal makes America the scourge of erstwhile allies like Israel, with which we have colluded in impeding our actual enemy’s nuclear progress.

Yet, however shocking they may be, these acknowledged concessions do not fully convey the depth of the president’s betrayal. After a few days of misdirection, administration officials now admit that there are “side deals” that the administration has not revealed to Congress and does not intend to make public.

So far, we know of two “side deals” — who knows how many more there may actually be? As the Center for Security Policy’s Fred Fleitz writes in National Review, they involve (a) a full accounting of Iran’s prior nuclear activities (many of which are believed to have been in blatant violation of international law) and (b) access to the Parchin military base, where Iran has conducted explosive testing related to nuclear missiles.

Apropos of these subjects, recall that the administration repeatedly promised there would be no deal, that the president would walk away from the table, unless Iran agreed to a rigorous inspection regiment. Such a regiment minimally requires: (a) complete disclosure of the “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s past nuclear work, in order to establish a baseline for evaluating future conduct, and (b) the ability to conduct credible snap inspections of nuclear facilities.

RELATED: Obama: Witless or Willing?

Despite the administration’s chest-beating about these “red lines,” the Iranians remained alternatively coy and intransigent: When not lying about what cards they were willing to show, the mullahs insisted that Americans would not be permitted to snoop around their country and interfere in their military affairs.

Someone had to cave in, and — you could set your watch on it — that someone is Obama (if, that is, you are one of those who believed he was being honest in the first place). Thus the problem: how to cover up this decisive surrender within the surrender?

So, in his signature “if you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan” style, the president has come up with a fraudulent scheme: use the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency) as a smokescreen. His administration now cynically claims that these critical agreement components — the rationale for lifting American sanctions on and making American commitments to the “Death to America” regime — actually have nothing to do with America . . . they are strictly between Tehran and the IAEA. Translation: Blame the IAEA, not Obama, for the abandonment of Obama’s core commitments.

RELATED: Obama’s Jihadist Stimulus Package

This would be laughable if it were not so offensive — and so perilous. Put aside that the Constitution does not permit the U.S. government to delegate American national security to anyone. The IAEA is not an independent actor. It is an international bureaucracy forged by the United States in the 1950s. Not only is the U.S. is a staple of its governing board; the American people underwrite over 25 percent of its budget. Furthermore, the IAEA reports to the United Nations (to which the American taxpayers’ contribution also far exceeds that of other countries) and, specifically, to the U.N. Security Council (of which the United States remains the dominant permanent member).

Now consider this: Under cover of this IAEA ruse, Obama ran to the Security Council and rammed through a resolution commencing implementation of his Iran deal before Congress or the American people could consider it. He thus undermined American sovereignty and the Constitution by scheming to impose an international-law fait accompli. And he thus undermined American national security by transferring his inspection commitments to an international agency that he knows is not close to being capable of executing them — an agency that will be further hampered by notice restrictions that, as Charles Krauthammer concludes, render the inspections “farcical” in any event.

The Constitution forbids providing aid and comfort to America’s enemies. And the Framers’ notion that a president would be punishable for deceiving Congress regarding the conduct of foreign affairs meant that lawmakers would be obliged to use their constitutional powers to protect the United States — not merely shriek on cable television as if they were powerless spectators.

Well?

— 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:

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.

***

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

Under Sharia Speech Law that Europe Has and Obama Wants, Truth Is No Defense

Obama-muslim2National Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, Feb. 16, 2015:

Roger Kimball highlights a Gatestone Institute report by the editors of Dispatch International about the explosion of rape in Sweden. As the country’s make-up has dramatically changed due to mass immigration, particularly from Muslim countries in the Middle East and northern and eastern Africa, the number of rapes reported to police has increased by an astonishing 1,472 percent — from 421 in 1975 to 6,620 last year.

Roger observes:

Note that conspicuous by its absence is any mention of who it is who is committing the rapes. Gatestone quotes Michael Hess, a local politician from the Sweden Democrat Party: “When will you journalists realize that it is deeply rooted in Islam’s culture to rape and brutalize women who refuse to comply with Islamic teachings. There is a strong connection between rapes in Sweden and the number of immigrants from MENA-countries [Middle East and North Africa].”

For that bit of plain speaking, Hess was handed a fine and a suspended jail sentence by a Swedish court.  Was what he said untrue?  Truth was not something the court cared about: “The Court [Tingsrätten] notes that the question of whether or not Michael Hess’s pronouncement is true, or appeared to be true to Michael Hess, has no bearing on the case. Michael Hess’s statement must be judged based on its timing and context.”

Now, as I’ve related here a number of times, President Obama, with energetic assistance from Hillary Clinton, has been trying to saddle the United States withsharia blasphemy standards since taking office in 2009. Strategically, the administration pushes for these speech restrictions, which violate the First Amendment, in the context of violence committed after the publication of words, exhibitions or artistic representations that are unquestionably insulting toward Islam. In actuality, there is more insult to Islam in the administration’s intimation that barbaric Muslim reactions to merely obnoxious speech are to be expected. But I want to focus, once again, on free expression.

We need to understand that, contrary to Obama administration suggestions, what is at stake is not just speech that almost all of us would agree is in bad taste and that would not be missed if it were barred. What is at stake is the ability to tell the truth. What is at stake is the ability of a free society to engage in robust discussion in order to develop public policy, particularly security and crime-prevention.

As I wrote here after jihadists carried out the Charlie Hebdo massacre:

The Islamist–progressive alliance I explored in The Grand Jihad would have you believe that accommodating sharia blasphemy rules would result in only a narrow limitation on free expression crudely obnoxious toward Islam, the sort of thing few of us would lament — e.g., expression analogous to the nauseating Piss Christ. This, however, is simply false.

Sharia forbids any speech — whether true or not — that casts Islam in an unfavorable light, dissents from settled Muslim doctrine, has the potential to sow discord within the ummah, or entices Muslims to renounce Islam or convert to other faiths. The idea is not merely to ban gratuitous ridicule — which, by the way, sensible people realize government should not do (and, under our Constitution, may not do) even if they themselves are repulsed by gratuitous ridicule. The objective is to ban all critical examination of Islam, period – even though Islamic supremacism, a mainstream interpretation of Islam, happens to be a top national-security threat that we sorely need to examine if we want to understand and defeat our enemies.

The Swedish prosecution of Michael Hess that Roger and the Gatestone report discuss usefully highlights this problem. Hess did not gratuitously insult Islam or Muslims. He addressed the cause of a surge in rape, a phenomenon that profoundly affects public safety in Sweden and that (as noted by those of us who have discussed the nexus between rape and jihad) is promoted by a scripturally-based interpretation of Islam. Yet the court silenced him, not because what he said was false or slanderous, but because saying it might promote hostility toward Islam.

This is exactly what President Obama and Mrs. Clinton have tried to do, particularly in their collusion with Islamist governments in U.N. Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, which aims to prohibit any speech that casts Islam in an unfavorable light (under the guise of “inciting hostility” to religion).

As we saw again this weekend, this time in Copenhagen, Europe is now living with the consequences of welcoming massive immigration from sharia cultures, tolerating the demands of Islamic leaders that Muslims resist assimilation, passively watching the inexorable rise of radical Islam, and cracking down only on Europeans and others who dare to raise questions about the wisdom of it all.

Don’t think it can’t happen here.

Defeat Jihad Summit panel debates the use of ‘qualifiers’ when referring to Islam

moderate_radical-islam

CJR: The perennial debate over use of qualifiers such as radical, extremist or even fundamentalist to describe Islam is brought up by the intrepid Diana West at the Center for Security Policy’s Defeat Jihad Summit. Diana West believes that we are in fact abiding by Islamic blasphemy laws when we say “radical” Islam rather then just Islam.

Stephen Coughlin comes at this from a military intelligence perspective which seeks to define just what the Islamic threat doctrine is so that we can “orient on the enemy”.  He explains that he chooses to refer to The Reliance of the Traveller shariah manual because it represents the sanctioned views of A Azhar, the OIC and the American Muslim Brotherhood. Therefore it represents the prevailing view of Sunni Islam and can be said to be Islam…not radical Islam. Coughlin then says something very interesting that needs to be highlighted. He refers to the tactic of using qualifiers in order to “bring people along”. In other words, some counter jihadists, especially those who are working in the political arena, choose to use qualifiers in order to soften the message for politically correct ears, including moderate Muslims.

Following Coughlin, David Yerushalmi speaks to the legal issues of trying to reform shariah law with an explanation of Fiqh and what it would take to overturn articles of Islamic jurisprudence developed over thousands of years as Islamic reformers such as Zuhdi Jasser and Egyptian President Al Sissi are advocating.

Debra Burlingame then speaks to the quandry of Moderate Muslims who have no safe place to express their views. Andrew McCarthy and Fred Fleitz believe it is important to reach out to Moderate Muslims and enlist their help.

I think a general consensus was reached that it is not necessary to address what the true Islam is if you can identify as the enemy those Muslims who subscribe to the Islamic Threat Doctrine of Shariah. John Guandolo gets down to law enforcement brass tacks and asserts that we need to start prosecuting those in high positions who are aiding and abetting terrorists. While John Guandolo did not agree that moderate Muslim outreach is producing results, he asserted that counter jihadists do not have to agree on everything in order to work together. I heartily agree.

Watch the debate which goes from 5:03 to about 5:38 in the video.  I’ve set the video to begin with Diana West  but if for some reason that changes just move the progress bar with your cursor:

 

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Here are some clips of the Summit now available at securefreedom:

Michael Mukasey at Defeat Jihad Summit

 

Gen. Jerry Boykin at Defeat Jihad Summit

 

Gov. Bobby JIndal at Defeat Jihad Summit

 

Rep. Scott Perry at Defeat Jihad Summit

 

Rep. Mike Pompeo at Defeat Jihad Summit

 

Rep. Steve King at Defeat Jihad Summit

 

Andrew McCarthy at Defeat Jihad Summit

 

Pete Hoekstra at Defeat Jihad Summit

 

Newt Gingrich at Defeat Jihad Summit

 

Nonie Darwish

 

 

‘Defeat Jihad Summit’ Challenges Islamic Supremacism – And The Obama ‘Strategy’and A.U.M.F. That Disregard It

33480681301Center for Security Policy, Feb. 11, 2015:

(Washington, D.C.): Today, an extraordinary gathering of freedom-fighters in what might best be described as the War for the Free World convened in Washington, D.C. Their purpose was to anticipate and rebut the thesis of President Obama’s “Countering Violent Extremism Summit” next week – namely, that the United States faces hostile forces whose identity, motivations and capabilities are defined by an opaque euphemism: violent extremism.

The “Defeat Jihad Summit” was sponsored by the Center for Security Policy and brought together present and former, domestic and foreign political leaders, senior military officers, national security professionals and other experts on Islamic supremacism and its guiding doctrine, shariah. Among the noteworthy participants in this roundtable discussion were:

  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
  • former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey
  • former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
  • S. Senator Ted Cruz
  • Representative Steven King
  • Representative Mike Pompeo
  • Representative Scott Perry
  • Admiral James “Ace” Lyons (U.S. Navy, Ret.)
  • Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin (U.S. Army, Ret.)
  • Leading 9/11 family member Deborah Burlingame
  • Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders
  • Danish free speech advocate Lars Hedegaard
  • Britain’s Lord Malcolm Pearson
  • Israeli Amb. Yoram Ettinger
  • former Muslim Nonie Darwish
  • Muslim reformer Dr. Zuhdi Jasser
  • Australian pastor Mark Durie

Highlights of the Summit included:

  • A discussion of the nature of our jihadist enemies and the mainstream – not extremist –character of their inspiration: the politico-military-legal shariah doctrine derived from the sacred texts, institutions and authorities of Islam. There was widespread agreement that we mustunderstand and be able to name our foes, not pretend that they and their motivations are unknowable.
  • The global jihad takes various forms including: the violent kind; civilization (or cultural, stealthy and subversive) jihad; institutional jihad (employing entities like the multinational Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the United Nations under the OIC’s influence); individual jihad (its perpetrators are mistakenly being described as “lone wolves”); and material support (which, under shariah, is prized as highly as the service of those who take up the sword).
  • America urgently needs a strategy for countering all such jihadist endeavors – one that brings to bear all instruments of national power to achieve a decisive correlation of forces and our victory. We face a truly existential threat from the global jihad movement, as do other nations of the Free World now under assault for sharing our values and love of liberty.
  • The  unveiled last Friday by President Obama’s National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, and the draft Authorization for the Use of Military Force being proposed by the administration are wholly inadequate. The former compounds the inadequacies of the President’s “lead-from-behind” approach with an even more passive one: “strategic patience”; the latter appears calculated to fail and to embolden, rather than defeat, the Islamic State or any other foe.

The Center for Security Policy’s President, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., moderated the nearly six-hour summit. Afterwards, he commented:

The participants in the Defeat Jihad Summit have rendered a real public service. Their insights, analyses and recommendations concerning the threat from shariah-adherent Muslims and the need to empower and join forces with others in the Muslim community who eschew that brutally repressive ideology create the basis for a far more sound, effective and durable national security strategy.

We at the Center for Security Policy look forward to working with them and all those benefitting from the livestreaming and other products that will disseminate the fruits of this summit, far and wide.

To view videos of the summit’s presentations, go to www.SecureFreedom.org. For more information about the Summit, contact Samantha Nevore at sam@anelisgroup.com or 703.504.8856.

The event was live streamed from 9:00am to 3:00pm. The event in its entirety is embedded below. Video highlights to follow shortly:

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.

Obama’s Moral Equivalence Ignores Islamic Doctrine

isis-obama-shhhhhhPJ Media, By Andrew C. McCarthy On February 6, 2015

The insipid moral equivalence in President Obama’s apologia for Islam at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning has already been deconstructed by such commentators as Roger Simon, Victor David Hanson and Jonah Goldberg. I am bothered, though, by the president’s presumption of equivalence between doctrinal apples and oranges. If, as he maintains, we must engage in comparative religion with a focus on what believers do in the name of their varying faiths, then we should also analyze what their varying faiths tell them to do.

Sounding more like the executive director of CAIR, the president of the United States warned Christians and other non-Muslims to stay off “our high horse” regarding the sadistic murder of a Jordanian pilot, Lieutenant Mouath al-Kasaebeh, by Islamic State terrorists. We must have some humility, explained famously humble Mr. Obama. After all, over the last millennium, “people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”

In Islamic doctrine, Jesus (Isa) is considered not God but a prophet. He is deemed to anticipate the final prophet, Mohammed, and to preach a Gospel subsequently perfected by the revelations of the Koran.

From that perspective, then, an analogous answer to Obama’s assertion could be made y recounting the terrible things Muslims have done in the name of Mohammed — an answer that wouldn’t require mining a millennium since it has been just three weeks since Lt. al-Kasaebeh’s immolation and the scene of mass-murdering jihadists braying, “Allahu Akbar! The prophet has been avenged!” as they fled the offices of Charlie Hebdo.

I’m more interested, though, in the deeds of Mohammed himself. When Christians resort to the wrongs cataloged by Obama, they are blatantly deviating from the example of Christ. Can the same be said for Muslims and the example of Mohammed?

In 627 AD, the prophet orchestrated the mass-murder of the Jewish Banu Qurayza tribe after they had surrendered to the Muslims. He presided over the beheadings of somewhere between 600 and 900 members of the tribe – including all young boys who had reached puberty. The women and the remaining children were taken as concubines and slaves (with some of the women sold for horses and armor). All the tribe’s wealth was confiscated.

This is not speculation. The incident is explicitly recorded in Koran. (By the way, I use the Koran approved and published in various languages, side-by-side with the original Arabic, by the Saudi government’s Ministry of Hajj and Endowments. The Kingdom has widely disseminated this version throughout the world, particularly Islamic schools.)

As recounted in Sura 33:25-27:

Allah turned back the unbelievers for (all) their fury: No advantage did they gain; and enough is Allah for the believers in their fight. And Allah is full of strength, exalted in might.

And those of the people of the book [the Banu Qurayza] who aided them – Allah did take them down from their strongholds and cast terror into their hearts, (so that) some ye slew, and some ye made captives.

And He made you heirs of their lands, their houses, and their goods, and of a land which ye had not frequented (before). And Allah has power over all things.

Mohammed’s first authoritative biographer, Mohammed ibn Ishaq (d. 768), elaborates with this account (reproduced at wikiislam.net):

Then [the Banu Qurayza] surrendered, and the apostle confined them in Medina[.]… Then the apostle went out to the market of Medina (which is still its market today) and dug trenches in it. Then he sent for them and struck off their heads in those trenches as they were brought out to him in batches. Among them was the enemy of Allah Huyayy b. Akhtab and Ka`b b. Asad their chief. There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900.

As they were being taken out in batches to the apostle they asked Ka`b what he thought would be done with them. He replied, “Will you never understand? Don’t you see that the summoner never stops and those who are taken away do not return? By Allah it is death!” This went on until the apostle made an end of them. Huyayy was brought out wearing a flowered robe in which he had made holes about the size of the finger-tips in every part so that it should not be taken from him as spoil, with his hands bound to his neck by a rope. When he saw the apostle he said, “By God, I do not blame myself for opposing you, but he who forsakes God will be forsaken.” Then he went to the men and said, “God’s command is right. A book and a decree, and massacre have been written against the Sons of Israel.” Then he sat down and his head was struck off.

Ibn Kathir, a revered fourteenth century scholar of sharia jurisprudence and biographer of Mohammed, adds:

Then the Messenger of Allah commanded that ditches should be dug, so they were dug in the earth, and they were brought tied by their shoulders, and were beheaded. There were between seven hundred and eight hundred of them. The children who had not yet reached adolescence and the women were taken prisoner, and their wealth was seized.

This was six centuries after the Gospel of the New Testament. Even if he did not turn the other cheek, the prophet could have shown compassion to his enemies. They had surrendered. Even if he had been determined to seize their territory and wealth, he could have allowed them to evacuate. Instead, he killed, enslaved, and sold them off.

Some background is necessary before we get to a second incident in the life of the prophet. Earlier this week, the Islamic State released a slick video showing Lt. al-Kasaebeh being burnt alive in a cage. The Obama administration spun into action … fresh off offending both the Egyptian government and most Americans by hosting some of its friends from the outlawed and virulently anti-American Muslim Brotherhood at the State Department. Echoing Islamists, administration officials assured us that, while this sort of barbarity was a staple of fifteenth century Christianity — it was against everything Islam stands for, and thus utterly slanderous for ISIS to rationalize it as Islamic warfare.

Inconveniently, the Koran proclaims that immolation is a punishment favored by Allah, so much so that the skin is constantly replaced to prolong the agony. It is imposed, moreover, not for anything particularly treacherous — just for refusing to accept Islam. Sura 4:56 explains:

Those who reject Our signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire. As often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the chastisement: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.

Now, according to “Muslim clerics” far and wide, as reported by Reuters, immolation is “considered despicable by Islam, no matter what the context.” How can that be when the Koran tells us Allah Himself has prescribed immolation as a suitable punishment? Because, Islam’s defenders rationalize, the immolation promised in the Koran is for Allah alone to impose in the afterlife, not for men to presume to impose in this life. “Only God tortures by fire,” tweeted Salman al-Odah, a Saudi sheikh.

That’s not very persuasive. There are, after all, numerous cruel penalties that Islamic scripture has Allah directing Muslims to impose — scourging, stoning, beheading and so on. Indeed, while in one breath condemning the torching of the pilot as a “lowly terrorist act” by a “Satanic, terrorist” group, Reuters quoted Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, Grand Sheikh of al-Azhar (the ancient seat of Sunni scholarship), as pronouncing in the next breath that the ISIS killers should be “killed, crucified of have their limbs amputated.”

As Robert Spencer points out, the grand sheikh clearly drew that sharia sentence straight out of the Koran. Specifically, according to Sura 5:33:

The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, crucifixion, or the cutting of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land[.]

The verse goes on to say that, for those condemned, these punishments are to be “their disgrace in this world”; then, after death, another “heavy punishment” awaits them — presumably, the eternal barbecue foretold by Sura 4:56.

So at best, fire is frowned upon, but death by crucifixion and amputation is recommended. Not terribly comforting.

But it gets worse. There is also an eye-for-an-eye dimension of Islamic jurisprudence. Back to Sura 5, this time verse 45: “We ordained therein for them, ‘Life for life, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal.” This is why, for example, in Saudi Arabia, where sharia is the law of the land, the government had a prisoner’s eye surgically removed after he was found guilty of an assault that damaged his victim’s eye.

Lt. al-Kasaebeh was captured while on a mission to firebomb Islamic State targets. The jihadists thus contend that setting him on fire was the reciprocal, scripturally prescribed punishment. That rationale is disturbing to us in the West, where — unless you’re frozen, Obama-like, in the fifteenth century — we do not criminalize honorable combatants who conduct legitimate attacks on enemy forces (and we don’t, in any event, do immolation).

Nevertheless, ISIS’s argument carries considerable weight in Islam. Even in the Reuters report that tries hard to depict universal Muslim condemnation of ISIS, a Jordanian cleric known as Abu Sayaf (a/k/a “Mohamed al-Shalabi) is quoted as grudgingly saying, “Even if the Islamic State says [the Jordanian pilot] had bombed and burnt and killed us and we punished him they way he did to us, we say, ‘OK, but why film the video in this shocking way?’” In other words, burning the pilot alive is justifiable; it’s the bad PR from recording it that is unacceptable.

Now, with all that as context, let’s consider another episode from the prophet’s life, which, as Mr. Spencer points out, is conveniently omitted by al-Azhar’s grand sheikh, his fellow sharia jurists, and Islam’s Western apologists in the White House and beyond. The incident is recorded in Ibn Ashaq’s biography of the prophet (italics mine):

Kinana b. al-Rabi`, who had the custody of the treasure of B. al-Nadir, was brought to the apostle who asked him about it. He denied that he knew where it was. A Jew came … to the apostle and said that he had seen Kinana going round a certain ruin every morning early. When the apostle said to Kinana, “Do you know that if we find you have it I shall kill you?” he said Yes. The apostle gave orders that the ruin was to be excavated and some of the treasure was found. When he asked him about the rest he refused to produce it, so the apostle gave orders to al-Zubayr b. al-Awwam, ‘Torture him until you extract what he has,’ so he kindled a fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was nearly dead. Then the apostle delivered him to Muhammad b. Maslama and he struck off his head, in revenge for his brother Mahmud.

So at Mohammed’s direction, a man’s chest was set on fire to extract information from him before he was beheaded. Well, at least he wasn’t waterboarded.

Robert adds a hadith from the authoritative Sahi Bukari collection (No. 626 in Book 1, Volume 11) (again, my italics):

Certainly I decided to order the Mu’adh-dhin (call-maker) to pronounce Iqama [the call to prayer] and order a man to lead the prayer and then take a fire flame to burn all those who had not left their houses so far for the prayer along with their houses.

Relatedly, Raymond Ibrahim directs our attention to an incident involving the prophet, recorded in another Bukari hadith (No. 261 in Book 4, Volume 52). The story involves eight starving tribesmen who sought the prophet’s help. Mohammed directed them to a shepherd, who fed them until they recovered their health. But they turned on the shepherd, killing him, and renouncing Islam. When he was informed, Mohammed ordered that they be captured and – besides having their hands and feet cut off – that iron be heated by fire and passed over their eyes, blinding them.

President Obama says we need to approach comparisons of religion with humility. I’m all for that. In a 2011 NRO column, I traced the evolution of Christianity in America from the often harshly theocratic origins of the original colonial settlements to the tolerant pluralism of modern times. The president, however, misses the point of humility. It is to refrain from dismissing out of hand the hope that Islam, too, will eventually evolve. It is not license to remain willfully blind to the dangers posed to us by its doctrine, as widely understood and practiced by a mainstream faction of Islam for centuries, right up to the present day.

Courageous Muslim reformers are laboring to advance an evolution — and they risk death at the hands of radical Muslims who regard them as apostates, an offense Islam punishes by death. We can humbly encourage the reformers while rationally acknowledging that their labors are very uphill. To repeat what I wrote in the 2011 column:

Cultures are dynamic. They change drastically over time. [But] there are grounds for concern that Islam’s will have a harder time evolving — the blights on our history are rooted in human failure to apply Judeo-Christian doctrine, not in the doctrine itself. [By contrast,] Islam’s problems are more about Islam than about Muslims.

That remains true, Obama’s wayward moral equivalence notwithstanding. Islam regards the Koran as the immutable word of Allah. In Sura 33:21, Allah gives Muslims the following admonition regarding Mohammed, “Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the Final Day.” Muslims are commanded to imitate their prophet. It is undeniable that their prophet was, to put it mildly, an aggressive warrior.

With regard to that aspect of Mohammed’s legacy, there is nothing equivalent to it in Christianity.

It is not humility but delusion to pretend that modern Islam is just fine as is. It is not humility but cowardice to indulge the suicidal notion that our own past sins render us unfit to condemn today’s atrocities.

Why the West is Losing to Islamic Supremacists

Muslim one world blinded coveredThe Blaze, by Benjamin Weingarten, Feb. 6, 2015:

During a recent lecture on the nature of and threat posed by Iran, with whom President Barack Obama’s Chamberlainian negotiations continue apace, an existential question arose: Why does the West remain asleep regarding Islamic Supremacism and the doctrine on which it is based?

I posit that there are three main reasons, which also go a long way towards explaining why we are currently losing to the global jihad: (i) Progressive multiculturalism, moral relativism and materialism; (ii) Profound willful ignorance; and (iii) An inability to cope with the staggering implications of the threat we face.

Since the days of George W. Bush, we have heard the oft-repeated trope that Islam is a religion of peace, and moreover one of the world’s great religions, with the same ethics, values and principles as Judaism and Christianity.

Originally, the Western elite argued that those who killed in the name of Islam were merely misinterpreting and perverting the religion. These, one should note, were the relatively more clear-eyed ones. Others attributed genocidal jihadism to poverty, lack of education or global warming.

Now we have completely severed the jihadist head from the Islamic body (theo)politic, arguing that the barbarians who comprise Islamic State, or as the Obama administration obediently likes to say, Daesh, in spite of the first “I” standing for “Islamic,” are nihilists.

For a people steeped in progressivism for decades, this can be the only reasonable conclusion.

Islamic supremacism does not comport with the belief system of our elites, who assert that all peoples are the same, all religions consist of the same values and beliefs, and that material concerns trump all others, including spiritual or idealist ones.

For those who honestly believe such things — as opposed to the ones who spout platitudes out of political expediency and to gloss over threats they dishonestly claim to have already defeated – throwing up one’s arms and claiming that jihadism stems from an ideology of nothingness is the most coherent of an entirely incoherent set of answers. Even better is to declare that violent extremism is the enemy, so as to smear conservatives while they’re at it.

This pervasive misunderstanding of Islam reflects a profound ignorance, in that it neglects the fact that the Koran and hadith comprise a unique belief system fundamentally different from, and in fact antithetical to the historically Judeo-Christian West.

For those interested, there is a mass of literature from authors such as Dr. Andrew BostomAndrew McCarthy, Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq and Bat Ye’or who lay this out in concrete and copiously sourced terms.

Better yet, look to the texts and words of leading Islamic scholars such as Hassan Al Banna and Sayyid Qutb, prominent modern-day figures like Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Ayatollah Khameini,Hassan Nasrallah, and the content being taught at mosques right here in America.

If you would like to ignore the compendium of Islamic doctrine that calls for and compels Muslims to bring about a totalitarian world under which all submit to Allah’s rule, all one has to do is look at states whose governments are based in Shariah law to see Islam in practice.

(Image Source: PEW Research – The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society, Q79a, Q92a-c, dated April 30, 2013 and Spring 2014 Global Attitudes Survey, Q100.)

(Image Source: PEW Research – The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society, Q79a, Q92a-c, dated April 30, 2013 and Spring 2014 Global Attitudes Survey, Q100.)

Theory and practice aside, I am willing to wager that the vast majority of those commenting on Islam in the media and political establishment have never opened up a Koran, let alone heard the word hadith. Of the small percentage who have, invariably you will hear the argument that while parts of the Koran are violent, others are peaceful. Such a view evinces further ignorance however, as it fails to address two essential Islamic concepts: (a) Abrogation and (b) taqiyya.

Abrogation refers to the fact that as the Koran reflects Allah’s divine revealed word, where there are textual contradictions, those passages revealed later must supplant those that preceded it. These later passages are frequently more violent than the earlier peaceful ones.

Taqiyya refers to strategic lying and deception – covering up one’s true intentions so as to defeat one’s enemies. This manifests itself in acts of sabotage, subversion and the propagation of strategic disinformation, not unlike what the Communists did during and after the Cold War.

Others will argue that just as the Koran has violent verses, so too do the Old and New Testaments. But Jews and Christians do not go out and slaughter in the name of their G-d in a modern-day global Crusade like the jihadists are waging. Moreover, the values and principles that flow from these two religious systems have led to the miracle that is Western civilization. The Muslim world on the other hand, especially where Islamic doctrine is followed in its purest form, resembles the seventh century one that preceded it.

Lest you think those who have studied Islam in schools are better off, in America’s universities taqiyya has become an art form. Many of the Middle Eastern departments at our country’s most prestigious academic institutions have been found to put on a “moderate” public face while serving as Trojan horses for anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and anti-Westernism — all consistent with Islamic doctrine.

This should come as no surprise, as these departments – and even K-12 schools — are often funded by Islamic nations who are the primary backers of Islamic supremacism themselves.

For those able to see past multiculturalism, moral relativism, materialism and actually study Islam in theory and practice, recognizing that the religion at the very least as understood by millions of Muslims is not only incompatible with, but hostile to our very existence, this is a staggering realization. It offends our pluralistic, tolerant sensitivities to think that such a massive, religiously-justified threat could exist. For while similarly savage enemies marched throughout the 20th century, none were tinged with theology, and Communism for its part was explicitly anti-religious.

Moreover, there are uncomfortable practical questions that such a threat raises. Who exactly are we fighting if there are millions of jihadists, aiders, abettors and enablers all over the world? How are we to fight them? What measures can we take to secure the homeland that are both sufficient and consonant with a free society?

Today, the West is clearly not even at the point of asking these questions, which reflects a lack of education on behalf of some, and denial on the part of others. That it is considered a bold act to utter phrases like “Radical Islam,” or “Islamic extremism” or “Islamism,” in the face of now over 25,000 jihadist attacks since Sept. 11, 2001 indicates as much. Imagine what kind of stones it would take to repeat after Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdoğan, that in effect there is no such thing as “moderate Islam” or “Islamism,” and such “descriptions are very ugly…offensive and an insult to our religion…Islam is Islam and that’s it.”

Rather than deal with reality, we figuratively bury our heads in the sand. Meanwhile, savage jihadists lop off and literally bury infidel heads in the sand.

If we are going to turn the tide in a war that we are currently not fighting, it is imperative that a sizable number of Americans wake up. It behooves all men and women of good conscience to educate their fellow citizens, and spark this awakening.

The future of Western civilization depends upon it.

Follow Ben Weingarten (@bhweingarten) and TheBlazeBooks on Twitter and Facebook.

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