Stories From The Battlefield: Hamas Tunnels Used To Target Israel’s Kindergartens

Gaza21-e1406466928121By Mordechai Ben-Menachem

Multiple media outlets report that Hamas’s offensive tunnel network – now known to have been composed of over forty attack tunnels dug underneath Israel’s border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip – was set to be activated during the Jewish High Holidays (September 24th) as a mass terror attack.

The attack was meant to generate as many as ten thousand casualties, men, women and particularly children and hundreds of captives.  Explosives were particularly placed underneath kindergartens to make certain that these “institutions” would be the first struck, even before any thing else.

The IDF recently published the below map showing that tunnels were created in pairs, to empty out on both sides of nearby communities.  The known cost of the infrastructure – each tunnel costs upward of some $1 million – clearly shows that Hamas was planning a coordinated mega-attack.  It must be understood that use of even one tunnel would inevitably trigger Israeli retaliation against the entire network.

A map of a small portion of the tunnels meant to be used 9 weeks from now.

A map of a small portion of the tunnels meant to be used 9 weeks from now.

Revelations regarding the planned tunnel attack magnitude played a decisive role in the Israeli government’s rejection of a ceasefire proposed late Friday by Secretary of State John Kerry.

Unbelievably, Kerry actually proposed in his latest “cease-fire proposal” – none of which have been honored by Hamas so far – that Israel refrains from degrading remaining attack tunnels.  This mind-boggling concept would necessarily be rejected by any sane government, of any country.

Israeli security sources, citing information acquired in interrogations of captured brigands, described a scenario under which hundreds of heavily armed Hamas fighters would have spilled out into Israel in the dead of night and within 10 minutes been positioned to infiltrate essentially all Israeli communities surrounding the Gaza Strip.  Waiting then in hiding until schools and kindergartens were occupied, the terrorists would then attempt to kill the children first, and then kill and kidnap as many Israelis as possible.  The plot was set to take place during Jewish New Year, on September 24.

“It’s like the Underground, the Metro or the Subway,” Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said. “These tunnels are all connected. I would describe it as Lower Gaza.”

Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said, “A whole city of terror tunnels has been found.  Without the ground operation, we would have woken up one day to an Israeli 9/11.”

Except, the actual objective was to be five times 9/11.

Read more at Daily Caller

Also see:

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America’s Electrical Grid Vulnerability to Sabotage/Terrorism Revealed in Federal Study

US Regional electrical gridsBy Jerry Gordon:

On February 9, 2014 we reported on the Wall Street Journal’s investigation into an apparent terrorist attack on the Metcalf Substation  of Pacific Gas and Electric  (PG&E) in Silicon Valley, “The Metcalf Incident: California Power Station Terrorist Attack Reveals Highly Vulnerable National Grid”.   We noted:

In the early morning of April 16, 2013, the Metcalf, California transmission substation in Silicon Valley was attacked by what federal investigators believe was a highly professional terrorist team.  That sniper assault caused 17 transformers to crash severing power to Internet Service Providers and other power users in Silicon Valley.  Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) was forced to increase and reroute power to the area served by the disabled transmission station.  Power outages were avoided.  It took 27 days for PG&E to repair and bring the transmission substation back on line.

The question of the vulnerability of the national grid surfaced because of the relentless investigations conducted by the former Federal Electrical Regulatory Commission(FERC) head, Jon Wellinghoff, whose term ended November 2013.

Today’s Wall Street Journal had a follow up report on FERC simulation studies conducted  under  the sponsorship of  Wellinghoff that revealed how vulnerable the national grid could be to sabotage of less than 9 critical transformers,  “U.S. Risks National Blackout From Small-Scale Attack.”  Among the concerning revelations in theWSJ investigative report were:

The U.S. could suffer a coast-to-coast blackout if saboteurs knocked out just nine of the country’s 55,000 electric-transmission substations on a scorching summer day, according to a previously unreported federal analysis.

The study by FERC concluded that coordinated attacks in each of the nation’s three separate electric systems could cause the entire power network to collapse.

A small number of the country’s substations play an outsize role in keeping power flowing across large regions. The FERC analysis indicates that knocking out nine of those key substations could plunge the country into darkness for weeks, if not months.

With over 160,000 miles of transmission lines, the U.S. power grid is designed to handle natural and man-made disasters, as well as fluctuations in demand. How does the system work?

“This would be an event of unprecedented proportions,” said Ross Baldick, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

Note these  comments of former FERC Chairman Wellinghoff:

The study’s results have been known for months by people at federal agencies, Congress and the White House, who were briefed by then-FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff and others at the commission. As reported by the Journal last month, Mr. Wellinghoff was concerned about a shooting attack on a California substation last April, which he said could be a dress rehearsal for additional assaults.

“There are probably less than 100 critical high voltage substations on our grid in this country that need to be protected from a physical attack,” he said by email this week. “It is neither a monumental task, nor is it an inordinate sum of money that would be required to do so.” Mr. Wellinghoff left FERC in November and is a partner at law firm Stoel Rives LLP in San Francisco.

FERC has given the industry until early June to propose new standards for the security of critical facilities, such as substations.

This latest WSJ report on the vulnerability of the national electrical grid noted in conclusion:

While the prospect of a nationwide blackout because of sabotage might seem remote, small equipment failures have led to widespread power outages. In September 2011, for example, a failed transmission line in Arizona set off a chain reaction that created an outage affecting millions of people in the state and Southern California.

Sabotage could wreak worse havoc, experts said.

“The power grid, built over many decades in a benign environment, now faces a range of threats it was never designed to survive,” said Paul Stockton, a former assistant secretary of defense and president of risk-assessment firm Cloud Peak Analytics. “That’s got to be the focus going forward.”

Read more at New English Review with video

If you are concerned about this lack of security of the national  grid, you should consider signing  the Protect The US Grid  petition requesting Congressional consideration of the Shield Act , here.

North Korea Doing Iran’s Nuclear Dirty Work

Iran-Surface-to-Surface-Missile-IPBY RYAN MAURO:

The West is expecting North Korea to soon conduct its fourth nuclear test and to launch a long-range ballistic missile in retaliation for joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises.

How does Iran fit into this equation?

The two rogue states share their technology and Iranian scientists have been reported at every single North Korean nuclear test. The Iranian Shahab-3 ballistic missile is modelled after North Korea’s No-Dong missile. It is not a coincidence that, according to Director of National Intelligence Clapper, North Korea is increasing its nuclear program at the exact same time as Iran is slowing its nuclear program down.

As Iran limits its uranium enrichment, North Korea is adding to its uranium enrichment site at Nyongbyon. As Iran halts work on its Arak plutonium-producing plant, North Korea is restarting its own plutonium-producing plant that it closed in 2007.

Intelligence analyst Ilana Freedman reports that her sources say that Iran began moving its nuclear bomb production capabilities to North Korea at the end of 2012. This was around the same time that Iran was cleansing its Parchin base after U.N. inspectors found strong evidence that they had carried out tests for developing nuclear missiles there. Iran still refuses to grant inspectors access to the site.

Freedman’s sources say that Iran has outsourced its nuclear weapons research to two sites in North Korea near Nyongbyon, which is where U.S. intelligence confirms a uranium enrichment facility is being expanded. They say that Iran has been providing the raw uranium for the site. A second site about 15 miles north is where work on nuclear warheads is progressing. According to her sources, there are 250-300 Iranian scientists in North Korea protected by a group of Revolutionary Guards personnel and 14 warheads have already been produced there.

We shouldn’t be confident that the U.S. government would detect secret work like this, because the U.S. government itself isn’t confident: A three-year study by the Defense Department concludedearlier this year that U.S. intelligence capabilities against secret nuclear activities is “either inadequate, or, more often, do not exist.”

If Iran has outsourced its work to North Korea, it wouldn’t be an anomaly. In fact, the dual nature of North Korea and Iran’s programs has long been reported on. A former senior official in Germany’s Defense Ministry says that some intelligence officials believe that at least one North Korean nuclear test was done on behalf of Iran.

Iranian scientists were reportedly on the scene for North Korea’s most recent nuclear test last year. There is evidence that Iran sponsored the test with millions of dollars in Chinese currency. Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was present. He is believed to be the manager of Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear triggers and warheads.

In 2012, Iran’s company that produces ballistic missiles and satellitessent a delegation of a dozen representatives to North Korea to watch its long-range ballistic missile test. The test failed.

If Iran is willing to pay, North Korea is willing to sell. It has no moral qualms about selling deadly technology to a radical Islamic regime, and the cash-strapped regime wouldn’t have much of a choice if it did.

Read more at Clarion Project

Also see:

8 Americans to Remember This Christmas

download (47)The Heritage Foundation,  By :

Christmas is a time for celebration and family. It should also be a time for reflection, appreciation for all we have, and remembrance of those who are in need.

While most of us are gathering with loved ones, there are Americans being held prisoner in repressive countries around the world—often for doing nothing more than practicing their faith, aiding the poor, giving voice to the voiceless, or serving their country. Here are some of their heart-wrenching stories:

  • Saeed Abedini, an American pastor, was arrested in 2012 by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard while visiting his family. He had worked for years to set up churches in Iran. He is serving an eight-year prison sentence on charges related to practicing his Christian faith.
  • Kenneth Bae was arrested in North Korea in November 2012. Bae was conducting visiting tours of North Korea and working quietly as a missionary to spread Christianity, which is prohibited in North Korea. He was convicted of committing hostile acts against North Korea and sentenced to 15 years hard labor.
  • Bowe Bergdahl, a Sergeant in the U.S. Army, is a POW in Afghanistan. Sergeant Bergdahl was captured by militants belonging to the Haqqani terrorist network in June 2009. His captors have released several videos of Bergdahl since his capture to demonstrate that he was alive and healthy. The Pentagon believes that he is being held in Pakistan.
  • James Foley is a U.S. journalist who disappeared in northeast Syria in November 2012. Foley was in Syria to cover the civil war for Agence France-Presse. His family has had no contact with him since his disappearance, but he is believed to a prisoner of the Syrian government.
  • Alan Gross, a 64-year old U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) contractor, has been imprisoned in Cuba since 2009. Gross was arrested by the Cuban government for fulfilling a USAID contract to distribute communications equipment to the Cuban Jewish community. He was convicted of crimes against the Cuban state and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He recently sent a letter to President Obama pleading for the Administration to take stronger steps to obtain his release.
  • Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine and decorated war veteran, was arrested, interrogated, and imprisoned in Iran while visiting his grandmother in 2011. He wassentenced to death by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard for allegedly spying for the CIA—a charge overturned by Iran’s Supreme Court and ordered for retrial.
  • Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent, has been missing since 2007. Levinson is believed to have been kidnapped and detained by the Iranian government. He is currently the longest-held hostage in U.S. history. Recent news reports indicate that Levinson may have been working with the CIA.
  • Austin Tice, former Captain in the United States Marine Corps and recipient of the 2012 George Polk Award for War Reporting, disappeared in Syria in August 2012. Tice was in Syria as a freelance journalist to report on the civil war. The Czech ambassador to Syria stated that his sources indicate that Tice is alive and in the custody of the Syrian government. Tice’s parents recently traveled to Syria to try and raise awareness about Austin.

At Christmas, it is appropriate for Americans to remember their fellow citizens in distress abroad.

We should also take a moment to appreciate how fortunate we are to live in a country that respects our rights and freedoms. Totalitarian governments around the world torture and imprison thousands of people for opposing the government, practicing their religion, or simply expressing their thoughts and opinions. The U.S. State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012 details arrest and arbitrary detention of political prisoners, disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and torture in many countries, including CubaIran,North Korea, and Zimbabwe.

It is a good time to remember these victims in our prayers, urge our government to try and help them, and support organizations that raise awareness of their plights.

Obama and Kerry Have a Chamberlain Moment

Rouhani twitterACT! For America, By Brigitte Gabriel:

It is often said that bad things happen in the dark of night and this past Saturday night in America seems to have confirmed that adage.

Late Saturday night, it was announced that, largely led by US Secretary of State John Kerry working at the behest of President Obama, world powers had inked an “interim deal” of sorts on Iran’s nuclear program. (The Washington Post has the story here. )

While John Kerry has hailed this as a great triumph for peace, more sober minds are calling it what it is: capitulation.

In the Islamic world, the only time you come to the negotiation table, is to negotiate the terms of your surrender. America is failing time and time again in dealing with its enemies.

John Kerry coming home from Geneva to celebrate a deal with the genocidal Ayatollahs who rule Iran can only be compared to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain coming back to Britain from Munich in the fall of 1938 waving a piece of paper with Adolf Hitler’s signature on it declaring “peace in our time.”

Israel has perhaps the greatest reason to be concerned and Prime Minister Netanyahu didn’t mince any words when he released a statement about what amounts to a betrayal of America’s long-time ally in the Middle East, calling the deal a “historical mistake”.

We can’t help but wonder about the timing of this announcement. Seldom, if ever, are major announcements made in the middle of the night on a Saturday. Could the Obama administration be hoping that other news stories will emerge to distract the American people from their latest bad idea?

Obamacare has become a fiasco to be sure, but, when it comes to Iran and nuclear weapons, the stakes could be even higher for the future of America. When and if Iran becomes armed with nuclear weapons, future generations will look on us today much the way generations looked on those who had the opportunities to stop Hitler but failed and say,”How did they ever let it happen?”

This deal was doomed to be bad right from the start. Two of the parties to the talks, Russia and China, both have sold weapons and nuclear technology to Iran over the years. Another party to the talks, France, has been resisting Obama/Kerry’s desperation to ink a deal, any deal, only to be bullied by Obama’s gang.

Now, other allies are breaking ranks with Obama. Canada has expressed concerns about the Obama/Kerry/Ayatollahs agreement and will NOT reduce its sanctions against Iran, despite the new deal.

By far the best analysis of just how terrible the deal with Iran truly is comes from Ambassador John Bolton writing in The Weekly Standard

We can summarize Mr. Bolton’s analysis with 4 points:

  • Iran retains its full capacity to enrich uranium—which it is doing in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions and the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which Iran is a party.
  • Iran will be allowed to continue enriching uranium.
  • There are aspects of Iran’s nuclear program that the deal does not even address. Moreover, there are secret aspects of their nuclear program that the Iranians are not disclosing at all.
  • Iran has gained legitimacy and psychological momentum in the world arena thanks to Obama/Kerry’s capitulation.
  • All of this and, in return, Iran gets relief from economic sanctions that Republican and Democratic administrations and Congressional leaders have agreed for decades were necessary to pressure Iran.

Of course, it is highly likely that NO good deal is possible with the Ayatollahs, but, by any sane measure, this deal is just horrible. Here are a few other things that are being completely overlooked with this race to get the Ayatollahs to sign a piece of paper for John Kerry to wave around:

  • Iran has never been held to account for its long-time sponsorship of Jihadist terrorist organizations, such as Hezbollah and HAMAS.
  • Iran has never been held to account for its active support for the insurgents who were fighting US GIs in Iraq, including supplying them with sophisticated, deadly weapons.
  • Iran has never been held to account for its support for the Taliban forces fighting US GIs in Afghanistan, again, including supplying them with sophisticated, deadly weapons.
  • There are myriad reasons never to trust the Ayatollahs in Iran, yet Obama and Kerry want us to trust them with the most potentially deadly technology in the world.

As if to remind us that the Ayatollahs who rule Iran are the last people who should be trusted, before the ink has even dried on the document, the Iranians are claiming it acknowledges their inherent right to enrich uranium, which directly contradicts the bill of goods John Kerry has been selling to Americans here at home.

We’ve seen this script before—in North Korea. World powers—including Russia and China who were supplying the North Koreans with weaponry and technology—inked a deal with that country, only to have North Korea go ahead and build nuclear weapons anyway. But make no mistake, even more than the isolated regime in Pyongyang, a nuclear armed Iran, with its oil wealth and terrorist network, poses a huge threat to world peace and US national security

This latest development reinforces the vital need here in the United States for grassroots activism on issues involving national security. ACT for America will continue to strive to educate and inform Americans and our elected officials on the state and federal levels about the threats posed by Iran and develop legislative and other initiatives to empower them to make wise policy decisions.

 

 

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The Clarion Project’s National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro appeared on Fox News to explain the agreement that the world powers signed with Iran. Far from stopping the threatening and authoritarian regime’s quest for nuclear weapons, the current agreement will allow Iran to continue developing parts of their nuclear program outside the country, especially on-going development in North Korea.

Mauro explains how recently elected Iranian President Rouhani has bragged in the past that he knows how to deceive the West in order to buy time so that his government can continue its nuclear weapons program, and there is every reason to believe that that is still his current strategy.

 

 

What if They Mean What They Say?

wordsby Shoshana Bryen:

Many people thought Hitler’s words were just words. They were wrong. If he’d had nuclear weapons, he would have used them. How is it possible to believe they do not mean what they say?

The U.S. generally makes allowance for verbal excesses from foreign governments, but if expressions of hatred and incitement to violence are actually harbingers of behavior, destruction and murderousness cannot be far behind.

At the UN Alliance of Civilizations [sic], Turkey’s Prime Minister equated Zionism with crimes against humanity. The American response was swift; speaking for himself and the administration, Kerry called the remark “objectionable.” But after expressing dismay, he called for nicer play. “That said,” he commented, “Turkey and Israel are both vital allies. We want to see them work together to go beyond rhetoric and take concrete steps to change their relationship.” A State Department official concurred, saying the comment was “particularly offensive” and “complicates our ability to do all the things we want to do together.”

But what if Ergodan doesn’t want what the U.S. wants him to want — that is to say, he doesn’t want a changed relationship with Israel? What if harsh rhetoric and open political and financial support for Hamas — a U.S. designated terrorist organization — are part of Turkey’s regional Sunni Islamic ambition, which does not include Israel? What if Turkey’s prior cooperation was a phase to allow it to acquire political and military benefits?

In a similar vein, a few weeks ago, a North Korean diplomat told the UN Conference on Disarmament, “As the saying goes, a new-born puppy knows no fear of a tiger. South Korea’s erratic behavior would only herald its final destruction.” He added, “If the U.S. takes a hostile approach toward North Korea to the last, rendering the situation complicated, [we] will be left with no option but to take the second and third stronger steps in succession.” A North Korean general warned of the “miserable destruction” of the United States.

The U.S. Ambassador to the UN Conference on Disarmament called the comments “profoundly disturbing,” and the Spanish ambassador said he was “stupefied.” Why?

Beginning with President Carter, American administrations have treated North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear capability as defensive: designed to keep South Korea and the U.S. from overthrowing the cultish regime of the North. The U.S. tells itself that since it harbors no plans for any such invasion, it can reassure North Korea on that point and thus lessen its determination to have nuclear capability – hence the U.S. offers food, fuel and a light water reactor, thinking those “gifts” will reassure North Korea of America’s benign intentions. But what if North Korea is not defensive, but rather Kim Jong Un, like his predecessors, believes that the unification of the peninsula should happen under governance of the North? How then should we understand the diplomat and the general? And how should we understand North Korea’s latest nuclear test?

The British ambassador said of the North Korean diplomat’s remarks, “It cannot be allowed that we have expressions which refer to the possible destruction of UN member states.” That is, of course, patently untrue. The UN tolerates and sometimes applauds Iranian representatives who have called not for the “possible” destruction of a UN member state, Israel, but for its outright annihilation.

“The Zionist regime and the Zionists are a cancerous tumor,” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said. “The nations of the region will soon finish off the usurper Zionists in the Palestinian land… In the new Middle East there will be no trace of the Americans and Zionists… Cancer must be eliminated from a body (the region).” For Qods Day last year Ahmadinejad told the Iranians, “Any freedom lover and justice seeker in the world must do its best for the annihilation of the Zionist regime in order to pave the path for the establishment of justice and freedom in the world.”

Read more at Gatestone Institute

Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of The Jewish Policy Center

See also:

“To Our Great Detriment”: Ignoring What Extremists Say About Jihad by Stephen Coughlin

Iran Now Possesses 8 Chemically Altered Microbial Agents

DigitalGlobe Image, May 2012 - Shahid Bahonar Microbial Plant in Marzanabad

DigitalGlobe Image, May 2012 – Shahid Bahonar Microbial Plant in Marzanabad

by: Reza Kahlili

Iranian scientists, working under orders from the radicals running the Islamic regime, have genetically altered microbial agents in a nightmarish scheme to bring the West to its knees.

According to a source in the Revolutionary Guards intelligence unit with knowledge of Iran’s microbial research and development, the scientists, with Russian and North Korean help, currently possess eight extremely dangerous microbial agents that, if unleashed, could kill millions of people.

As reported on RadicalIslam.org, the source revealed the existence of a plant in Marzanabad, Iran, where 12 Russian and 28 Iranian scientists are working on microbial agents for bombs. At that time, the source disclosed that Iran was working on 18 agents, with four completed. He has now provided information that with work at two other plants, Iran has created a total of eight microbial agents, with research on insects to be used as the vector to infect the societies of its enemies.

The eight agents are anthrax, encephalitis (the blueprint of this virus, Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis, was provided by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in an agreement two years ago with the Islamic regime), yellow grain (developed with the help of North Korea), SARS, Ebola, cholera, smallpox and plague.

Iran, with North Korea’s help, has genetically altered the smallpox virus that makes current vaccinations useless against it. And research at two facilities that act as drug companies but are fronts for the deadly research shows insects can be used as the vector to carry plague, infamous as the “Black Death,” according to the source.

The outbreak of plague in the Middle Ages killed one-third of Europe’s population, and it resurfaced in the 19th century in Asia, killing millions in China and India.

The radicals ruling Iran believe their planned microbial attacks cannot be traced to them, the source said. Through various commerce channels and trade with Europe and even through Mexico into the U.S., the regime could release the infected insects and small rodents into populated cities, causing an epidemic that could possibly kill tens of millions of people, he said.

“The most dangerous biological weapons agents today are genetically modified or even synthetically created in a laboratory in ways that not only make them more contagious, infectious and lethal, but also are intended to defy existing vaccine countermeasures,” said Clare M. Lopez, a senior fellow at RadicalIslam.org and the Center for Security Policy, a non-profit, non-partisan think tank based in Washington, D.C. “Among such (biological weapons) agents are (genetically-modified) strains of anthrax, plague and smallpox.

Read more at Radical Islam

Also see:

RadicalIslam.org’s recent webinar with featured guest Reza Kahlili is now available on YouTube. Kahlili, a pseudonym, is a former member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard turned CIA spy. Khalili worked for the CIA inside Iran in the 1980s and ’90s and is the author the award-winning book, A Time to Betray.  He currently serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran.

Kahlili has contacts inside Iran and the Revolutionary guards to this day. In the webinar, Kahlili presents an overview of the Iranian Islamic regime’s ideology as well as the latest information on the status on Iran’s program to develop nuclear weapons.

 

 

International Religious Freedom Report: Time to Back Up Tough Talk with Tough Actions

By John G. Malcolm:

Yesterday, the State Department issued its 2011 International Religious Freedom Report, which represents the culmination of an annual review the State Department must undertake pursuant to the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA). However, other than exhorting countries that are egregious violators of religious liberties (as defined in IRFA) to stop doing bad things, the report appears to be short on specific recommendations designed to improve the situations in those countries.

IRFA affirmed America’s commitment to religious freedom as enshrined in our Constitution and in various international instruments, such as Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which provides:

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

At the release of the report, Suzan Johnson Cook, the U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, stated:

Freedom of religion is not just an American right but the right of all people. It goes hand in hand with freedom of expression, freedom of speech and assembly, and when religious freedom is restricted, all these rights are at risk. And for this reason, religious freedom is often the bellwether for other human rights. It’s the canary in the coal mine.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a serious and sobering speech later in the day at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in which she noted that “[m]ore than a billion people live under governments that systematically suppress religious freedom.” She stated that the report “sends a signal to the worst offenders that the world is watching.” Unfortunately, if “what’s past is prologue,” to quote Shakespeare, there is reason to believe that insufficient action will be taken by President Obama to undergird the Secretary’s inspiring words.

IRFA requires the President, who has delegated this authority to the Secretary of State, to designate as “countries of particular concern” (CPCs) those countries whose governments have engaged in or tolerated “particularly severe violations of religious freedom,” which are defined in Section 3(11) of the Act as ones that are systematic, ongoing, and egregious, including acts such as torture, prolonged detention without charges, disappearances, or other flagrant denials of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons. After a country is designated a CPC, the President is required by law to conduct an annual review, no later than September 1 of each year, and to take one or more of the actions specified in the IRFA.

Section 405 of the IRFA provides the President with an array of options to consider including demarches; private or public condemnation; the denial, delay or cancellation of scientific or cultural exchanges; the cancellation of a state visit; the withdrawal or limitation of humanitarian or security assistance; the restriction of credit or loans from United States and multilateral organizations; the denial of licenses to export goods or technologies; a prohibition against the U.S. government entering into any agreement to procure goods or services from that country; or “any other action authorized by law” so long as it “is commensurate in effect to the action substituted.”

Although IRFA provides that the “President shall seek to take all appropriate and feasible actions authorized by law to obtain the cessation of violations,” the President retains the authority to invoke a waiver of sanctions against a CPC if, in his judgment, circumstances warrant it.

Unfortunately, although IRFA envisions an annual review by the President of the State Department’s CPC recommendations, yesterday’s report did not contain any, citing instead CPC recommendations that were made by the State Department in August 2011. The eight countries that were designated as CPCs by the State Department in August 2011 were Burma, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Eritrea, Iran, the People’s Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan. These are the same eight countries that have been designated as CPCs since January 2009, and many have been on the list for far longer than that.

Although the IRFA is ambiguous as to whether a new designation is required, it is seems strange that, as part of an annual review, the State Department did not proffer an updated list. Equally strange is that the State Department did not offer any explanations as to why it rejected many of the recommendations of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent, bipartisan federal government commission, that recommended CPC designation for several other countries in its 2012 Annual Report.

Specifically, USCIRF, where I used to serve as General Counsel, recommended that Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam be designated as CPCs and provided detailed information to support those recommendations, along with specific policy recommendations to remediate the problems in those and other countries. IRFA provides that the Secretary of State must take “into consideration the recommendations of the Commission.” While this does not mean, of course, that the Secretary must or even should adopt all of the Commission’s recommendations, it is somewhat surprising that the International Religious Freedom Report doesn’t address—even in passing—these seeming discrepancies in views toward the appropriate designation of these additional eight countries.

And what actions have been taken against the eight countries that the State Department did designate as CPCs? Well, in the case of Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan, the answer is none, since the President has waived the imposition of sanctions supposedly to further the purposes of the IRFA, although it is hard to see how. With respect to the other countries, sanctions have been imposed, some of them quite severe. However, unfortunately, even with respect to these countries, the sanctions that have been imposed have been under other statutes for other violations of law. While this practice of “double-hatting” is permissible under the IRFA, it sends the wrong signal that our government cares more about other violations of law than it does about egregious violations of religious liberty, and it also provides little incentive for CPCs to ameliorate those violations and improve the human rights of people living within their borders.

Religious freedom has often been given short shrift at Foggy Bottom. Indeed, the U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom is one of the few Ambassadors who does not report directly to the Secretary of State, reporting instead to the Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Let us hope that the President will take sufficient action under the IRFA to attempt to address the suffering that many people of faith endure at the hands of egregious violators of religious liberties abroad.

Read more at Heritage

View Hillary Clinton’s 57 minute speech to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on C-Span and here is the Transcript

Clinton praises GOPers for denouncing Islamophobic attacks on top aide

The Muslim Brotherhood, Clinton State Department, John McCain and Today’s Lax Security Mindset

By Christopher Holton

There was a time when it was considered necessary and proper to be concerned  about possible foreign influences in US government and military service. Way  back in 1981 when I first filled out forms as part of the process for joining  the US military (it was a DOD form, I don’t remember the number) I had to answer  a specific question regarding travel. The question asked if I had traveled to  any of a list of nations after certain dates (all communist bloc countries) with  a date listed by each nation (the date that each country had turned  communist).

Anyone who joined the military in the Cold War era probably  remembers this form and this question. If the answer to the question for any of  the nations involved was “yes” you had to provide a complete explanation for the  reason for the trip, when it took place, etc. Having never visited countries  like Cuba, North Korea, East Germany, the Soviet Union, etc., I can’t say that I  know what the process would have been had I answered yes.

But the point  is, if you wanted to join the US military and you had even visited any communist  countries, the Department of Defense wanted to know about it.

Fast  forward to today. We are locked in a mortal struggle against a force not unlike  communism. In fact, it has been called “communism with a god.” That force is  Islam as defined by the Shariah doctrine which forms the basis for it. There are  certain countries and organizations that are prominent in the enemy threat  doctrine. Yet, to my knowledge, today we have no similar safeguards in place to  what the DOD had during the Cold War years to check on the influence of foreign  powers on American institutions.

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This all stems from a complete failure of our leadership to put America on a war  footing in the wake of 9/11. Our leaders have failed to identify the enemy. They  have failed to even try to understand the enemy threat doctrine. In fact they  have even denied that an enemy threat doctrine even exists. As a result of this  culture, an imperialist, nefarious organization with long-standing ties to  terrorism and with goals identical to those of Al Qaeda itself, namely the  Muslim Brotherhood, is treated as a friend, rather than as a foe. If you even  suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood might be an enemy of America, Hillary  Clinton, John McCain and Anderson Cooper will attack you as if you are a  wild-eyed bomb-thrower. We are indeed through the looking glass.

Read more: Family Security Matters

Stakelbeck on Terror Show: Biological Terrorism the Next Big Threat?

Erick Stakelbeck:

On this must-see week’s edition of the Stakelbeck on Terror show, CBN News examines the growing threat of biological terrorism on U.S. soil. From Al-Qaeda to Iran to Syria and North Korea, some of America’s greatest enemies have acquired or are working to acquire biological weapons.

Leading national security experts Chet Nagle and Clare Lopez join us to break down what a bioterror attack would look like, how it would affect America, and why our leaders are unprepared to deal with this very real threat.