What will Rex Tillerson as Sec. of State do on refugees? (No idea!)

What will Donald Trump and Rex Tillerson do about the Refugee Program? We will start a daily watch on January 21, 2017

What will Donald Trump and Rex Tillerson do about the Refugee Program? We will start a daily watch on January 21, 2017

Refugee Resettlement Watch, by Ann Corcoran on January 16, 2017:

That is the question Daniel Horowitz asks at Conservative Review yesterday.  He suggests that silence on the subject doesn’t bode well for those of us who know that the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program must be scrapped as written.

My reading of the Refugee Act of 1980 is that the program is almost completely under the power of the President and Congress “consults,” but definitely does not set the numbers and the regions of the world from which we take refugees.

Here is what Horowitz says:

Given that Rex Tillerson is the first secretary of State nominee with absolutely no political or military experience, we have no clue where he stands on many critical geopolitical issues. After this week’s hearing, which was almost completely consumed with Russia and random Democrat priorities, he is still very much a blank slate, including on the all-important issue of refugees.

One of the most important issues within the purview of the secretary of State is refugee resettlement in general and the UN’s Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in particular. Although the secretary of DHS is widely viewed as the point-man on the issue of immigration, the secretary of State is the gatekeeper. The State Department works with the UN to identify the pool of refugees and bring them to our shores.

A secretary of State who has his priorities straight would serve as a positive influence on Trump and urge him to shut down or curtail the program in the face of pressure from the global elites. On the other hand, a secretary of State who subscribes to the views of James Baker, Condi Rice, Bob Corker, and Robert Gates — all strong backers of Tillerson — could serve as a major negative influence on the president-elect.

With all the negative energy that will inevitably swarm Trump on behalf of Islamic refugee resettlement, a secretary of State with anything short of a full-throated opposition to this program will become a problem in the long run.

[….]

The point is we can’t merely hope for change on immigration; we have to ensure and demand it. While repeal of Obamacare has unfortunately turned out to be needlessly complex and uncertain, the repeal of refugee resettlement is very straightforward and does not require any complicated legislation. It would be nice if we had a sense of where this administration is headed. Radio silence on these issues seldom portends a strong change in a conservative direction. [I am not a lawyer, but I think “repeal” of the Act would require Congress, but halting the program is in Trump’s power. After ‘pausing’ the program, Trump should make Congress repeal or reform it. The pause itself would be the hammer. Otherwise, when Trump leaves office in 4-8 years they could all just go back to the same old program.—ed]

Continue reading here.

Here are my thoughts in no particular order:

~I tell everyone who will listen that we can fix things like Obamacare in due time, but we can never fix the demographic changes we make every day through uncontrolled illegal and LEGAL immigration.  And, Trump voters recognized that and thus immigration must be the first priority of this new administration.

~Trump can and should ‘pause’ the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program on day one. Congress can not stop him! In 1980, Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden and Jimmy Carter put the power in the hands of the President to set the numbers and the nationalities.

~Some are suggesting he only pause refugees from terror-exporting regions of the world, but I believe it is politically easier to pause the whole thing. Also, I don’t have enough confidence in new Trump people to understand that although Burma (for instance) isn’t considered a terror-exporting center, we do bring unable-to-be-vetted Rohingya Muslims from that region.  We also pick up some Somalis in Europe, and so I believe it will be too hard to define those terror-exporting areas of the world. And, certainly he shouldn’t admit those in the Obama Australia deal.

Bob Carey is the Director of ORR (in HHS) and should be on the way out. Anne Richard, his counterpart at the US State Department should be packing up too. If the Trump team keeps them on for awhile, it will be a signal that not much is going to change. Both Richard and Carey came to their jobs from a resettlement contractor (revolving door!),the International Rescue Committee.

Bob Carey is the Director of ORR (in HHS) and should be on the way out. Anne Richard, his counterpart at the US State Department should be packing up too. If the Trump team keeps them on for awhile, it will be a signal that not much is going to change. Both Richard and Carey came to their jobs from a resettlement contractor (revolving door!),the International Rescue Committee.

~That said, I’m giving him a few weeks to get it done, but know that we are adding 285 refugees to your towns and cities every day that he delays. See here. ***Update*** Daily average has dropped to 257, here.

~Congress did give the Administration more funding for the higher number of refugees coming, but a big chunk of it does not become available until February 17th, so it is important to stop the flow before that date.

~We have had no word on it, but Asst. Sec. of State Anne Richard and Director of ORR Bob Carey should be packing up their offices this week, if they haven’t already.  Who the Trump team places in those two positions will tell us where Tillerson and Rep. Tom Price (HHS nominee) are on refugees.

~If Trump pauses now we will already have over 30,000 refugees admitted in the first three months of the 2017 fiscal year. Obama set the level for this year at 110,000, but Trump has no obligation to honor that HUGE number.

~The resettlement contractors will moan and wail because their federal funding depends on numbers they place. Certain members of Congress, including many Republican ‘leaders,’ will scream bloody murder as well (they want cheap immigrant labor!).  But, frankly, if Congress thinks it is in our interests to continue taking refugees the UN is pushing on us, let them work on a reform of the program!

Because they are so fearful of being called names, they will never do it unless Donald Trump forces them to!

By the way, when the Bush Administration dramatically reduced the number of refugees coming in 2002 and 2003 (9/11 scared them), they conspired with the resettlement contractors to give them funding to keep their doors open even when they had so many fewer refugees to place. This writer has no sympathy for them, let them raise private money from private ‘humanitarians’ to pay their rent!

Or, heck, maybe the big globalist meatpackers and food processing companies like Chobani Yogurt can pay them to keep their doors open!

Obama Quietly Transfers 10 Guantánamo Prisoners to Oman

AFP

AFP

Breitbart, by Edwin Mora, January 16, 2017:

Outgoing President Barack Obama has transferred 10 prisoners from the U.S. military detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba to Oman on his way out of the White House.

As of 10:30 AM Monday, the Pentagon had not announced the transfers as it has consistently done in the past. The identities and nationalities of the prisoners remained unknown at the time.

Nevertheless, the government of Oman announced it has received the 10 jihadists, saying in a statement it responded to a request from the Obama administration and acted “out of consideration for the men’s humanitarian situation.”

“At the request of Sultan Qaboos and the US government for a solution to the question of Guantánamo detainees, 10 of these detainees arrived today in the sultanate to reside here temporarily,” the state-controlled Oman News Agency (ONA) quotes the ministry as saying.

Oman, which sits on the eastern edge of the Arabian peninsula and is bordered by Saudi Arabia and war-ravaged Yemen, has been ruled ruled by Sultan Qaboos bin Said since 1970.

Obama’s recent move reduced the Gitmo prison population down to 45, compared to 242 who were still held at the facility at the start of his presidency.

Read more

The Muslim Brotherhood Isn’t The Only Gang In Town

MA Senator Liz Warren and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh greet Al Qaeda terrorist supporter Imam Abdullah Faaruuq at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center on December 11, 2016.

MA Senator Liz Warren and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh greet Al Qaeda terrorist supporter Imam Abdullah Faaruuq at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center on December 11, 2016.

Daily Caller, by Sam Westrop and Charles Jacobs, January 16, 2017:

Americans for Peace and Tolerance, like so many other counter-extremist and moderate Muslim groups, has focused almost exclusively on the Muslim Brotherhood and the threat posed by its influence inside American civic institutions, media and the Muslim community.

But as we have found now in Massachusetts, this singular focus risks overlooking equally-dangerous threats posed by preachers and operatives from other Islamist networks and ultra-conservative Islamic groups.

Tomorrow, for example, after a series of events in Connecticut, the Indian Islamist cleric, Yusuf Islahi will be addressing crowds at the Islamic Society of Great Worcester, at an event organized by Helping Hand for Relief and Development – a prominent Islamic charity feted by U.S. government officials and media alike.

Yusuf Islahi is a prominent Islamist, not part of the Brotherhood but rather a leading member of Jamaat-e-Islami  (JeI), a South Asian Islamist organization that promotes terrorism and incite hatred against Jews, women, homosexuals and other minorities. Today, the Bangladeshi war crimes tribunal holds JeI responsible for mass-murder, abduction and torture during the 1971 War of Independence, and has convicted several Western JeI leaders for their complicity. The good people of Worcester surely don’t know this.

Read more

Dishonest CIA Director Rips Trump; Trump Should Rip him Back [Updated]

fox-news-sunday-john-brennanPowerline Blog, by John Hinderaker, January  15, 2017:

John Brennan’s career in the Obama administration, first as counterterrorism adviser, then as Director of the CIA, has been a disaster. We have written about him many times; just search “John Brennan” on this site. Along with being an inept CIA Director, Brennan is a political hack. Today he went on Fox News Sunday and attacked Donald Trump. But the real news was Brennan’s inability to respond to questions about his agency’s use of the fake “Russian dossier” to smear Trump. That was the topic that Chris Wallace began with:

WALLACE: President-elect Trump has made it clear, as we just discussed, that he believes the intelligence community released, put out information about this unverified dossier in order to undercut him. Here’s what he said at his press conference.

TRUMP VIDEO: I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful, that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out be so false and fake out. I think it’s a disgrace, and I say that and I say that, and that something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do.

WALLACE: Mr. Brennan, your response.

JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: Well, I think as the Director of National Intelligence said in his statement, this information has been out there circulating for many months. So, it’s not a question of the intelligence community leaking or releasing this information, it was already out there.

WALLACE: But it hadn’t been reported, though. And one of the reasons it hadn’t is because it hadn’t been verified. And when you briefed the president on it, you collectively briefed the president on it, the president-elect, that made it news.

That is exactly correct. Not a single news organization had reported on the fake “Russian dossier” because it was obviously bogus. The CIA, or someone in the intelligence community, deliberately turned fake news into a “legitimate” news story by purporting to brief Donald Trump on the smears against him, and then leaking the fact that they had done so. Brennan’s defense is pathetic.

BRENNAN: Well, nothing has been verified. It is unsubstantiated reporting that is out there, that has been circulating in the private sector and with the media as well by a firm that pulled this information together.

But what I do find outrageous is equating the intelligence community with Nazi Germany. I do take great umbrage at that, and there is no basis for Mr. Trump to point fingers at the intelligence community for leaking information that was already available publicly.

WALLACE: But it wasn’t available publicly. Various news organizations, if I may, various news organization had it, but they weren’t reporting it because it hadn’t been verified. And this brings me to the real question, Director Brennan, why on earth [would our] nation’s intelligence spy chiefs brief President-elect Trump, in your first meeting collectively with him, on this unverified information? First of all, it wasn’t intelligence, it was rumors. And secondly, by briefing him on it, you made it a news event and, therefore, gave news organizations an excuse to report it.

That is indeed the question, and Brennan has no answer.

Read more

Also see:

All Hands On Deck: Supporting Trump Through Inauguration Day

handsNew Zeal blog, By: Lloyd Marcus, January 16, 2017:

Trump’s Inauguration is less than a week away. While president elect Trump appears to be extraordinarily strong dealing with the tsunami of 24/7 vitriol launched at him from the Left and Washington establishment, he is still a human being.

The Bible says when Moses grew tired, “Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side, one on the other–so that his hands remained steady till sunset.”

Folks, it is extremely crucial that we hold Trump’s hands up through Inauguration day. The Left is incensed over the prospect of Trump emancipating us from their 8 years of dictatorial slavery. As delusional as this sounds, the Left hopes to block Trump from being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.

Numerous left-wing wacko groups including paid protesters vow to”shut down” the Inauguration. http://bit.ly/2iUyzpH

Nut case, Rosie O’Donnell wants to impose martial law to delay Trump’s Inauguration. http://bit.ly/2isJAgF

Joseph Goebbels said, “If you tell a big lie enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” The Left is relentlessly repeating their huge lie that the Russians hacked the election. They want Americans to believe Russia tampered with the vote count, stealing the election from Hillary. The Left’s lie is absurd. http://bit.ly/2jc9O9r

Concluding that no gutter tactic is too low to stop Trump, CNN and BuzzFeed partnered in promoting an unverified bogus claim that Trump hired prostitutes to urinate on a hotel bed slept in by Michelle and Obama. http://bit.ly/2jw9LF2 Yes folks, this is how disgusting and evil the Left’s insanity to block Trump has become.

As I said, at the heart of the Left’s panic, fear and rage is the prospect of Americans liberated from 8 years of Leftists forcing their far-left radical, anti-God, anti-America and anti-traditional values agenda down our throats.

Pray for our president folks. Let’s all join together and hold his hands up high.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American
http://www.lloydmarcus.com/
mr_lloydmarcus@hotmail.com

***

In case you missed it Here is Jeannine Pirro’s smack down of the “illegitimate”narrative:

And as always, Andrew McCarthy gives us his penetrating analysis on the truth of what the Dems are up to:

Bill Warner Moment: The Self-Taught Revolution Against Sharia

sharia

The Glazov Gang, January 2015:

This special edition of the Glazov Gang presents the Bill Warner Moment with Dr. Bill Warner, the president of politicalislam.com.

Dr. Warner discusses The Self-Taught Revolution against Sharia, unveiling how intellectual guerilla fighters are breaking through the elite’s Party Line on Islam — and making the truth available for the common man.

***

Evidently someone in DC thinks Bill Warner is qualified to give briefings to security and intelligence officials there 🙂 He made this announcement at a talk with ACT Cleveland in early December. ( see video at about 55 min. mark)

On a more disappointing note, John Guandolo gave this news alert on facebook last Saturday:

UTT FLASH ALERT:
Trump Administration’s National Security candidates are being vetted by our enemy.

It has come to the attention of UTT that Bill Hagerty – whom UTT warned the administration about because he is a jihadi sympathizer and supporter- and John Gallagher, a leader inside the Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas support organization the Institute for Global Engagement, are the two men vetting candidates for national security positions for the incoming administration.

This explains while all of the candidates which actually understand the threat have been rejected.

Standby for eight more years of the federal government supporting the jihadis.

The strategic incoherence continues.

America’s 2nd colonization: This time by Islamists

jihadivideo‘Refugees’ being moved into politically important states

WND, January 15, 2016:

As Barack Obama’s administration nears its end, the outgoing president is frantically admitting as many ‘refugees” as possible, with the overwhelming majority from Muslim countries such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

At the current rate, about 110,580 will be admitted this fiscal year, surpassing Obama’s stated goal of 110,000. The refugees are also being concentrated in politically important states, suggesting there is an ideological agenda behind the population transfers.

Some might even say America is being “colonized.”

Again.

“That term applies to what’s happening to us,” said Leo Hohmann, author of the explosive book “Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest Through Immigration And Resettlement.” The veteran investigative reporter says the left is quite open about how it seeks to demographically deconstruct the United States, one city at a time.

Refugees are being planted in more than 300 cities and towns, often secretly, he said, with elected officials learning about the details of the refugee placements only after the fact.

“The term preferred by the left is ‘seeding’ communities with diversity,” said Hohmann. “Basically, they are talking about creating a nation within a nation, a parallel society, that will be nurtured and taken care of until it matures and is able to overtake the host community. This sounds seditious, but we have it straight from their own mouths from people on the left such as David Lubell of the organization Welcoming America, as I exhaustively documented in ‘Stealth Invasion.’ Their idea is to change America by changing its people.”

Hohmann notes these overwhelmingly Muslim refugees tend to be settled in swing states where their votes will be important in future elections.

Read more

***

Listen to Brigitte Gabriel give the FACTS you need to know:

The ‘Trump Report’ Is a Russian Provocation

putin920x537It is part of Russia’s strategy to disrupt U.S. politics and institutions for years to come.

National Review, By David Satter, January 12, 2017:

Pro-Hezbollah Mullahs at San Jose’s Saba Islamic Center Promote Burning and Beheading Gays

‘Moulana’ Nabi Raza Abidi of Saba Islamic Center, San Jose, California. Nabi Raza is a staunch supporter of the grand Khomeinist mullahs Ruhollah Khomeini and Ali Khamenei. Nabi Raza also audaciously promotes Hezbollah in the United States, in the very heart of Silicon Valley! (via http://hezbollahwatch.tumblr.com/)

‘Moulana’ Nabi Raza Abidi of Saba Islamic Center, San Jose, California. Nabi Raza is a staunch supporter of the grand Khomeinist mullahs Ruhollah Khomeini and Ali Khamenei. Nabi Raza also audaciously promotes Hezbollah in the United States, in the very heart of Silicon Valley! (via http://hezbollahwatch.tumblr.com/)

By Lee Kaplan

Last December, the following announcement appeared on one of the Facebook pages of the Shia Association of the Bay Area (Saba Islamic Center), an extremist Khomeinist organization based in San Jose, California:

“Community Event of Support and Friendship Between Catholics and Muslims, Moulana Abidi and the Saba boards will be hosting Bishop McGrath from the Catholic Church, Imams from bay-area Mosques and Civic Leaders who will gather to offer joint prayers and start mutual dialog for solidarity of the two communities in serving humanity and support justice for all. Bishop McGrath leads over forty Catholic churches in Santa Clara County. This event will mark the first of many events expressing mutual understanding, support and friendship between Muslims and Catholics.

‘When: Monday Jan 16th 2016 (Martin Luther King Day)
Where: Saba Center, 4415 Fortran Court, San Jose CA 95134”

Bishop Patrick Joseph McGrath will no doubt unknowingly be used to put a good face on a bad association by urging his Catholic followers to recognize an Islamist organization that is the antithesis of what his Church seeks to promote when it comes to tolerance and peace. The Bishop will be declaring “solidarity” in the name of his 40 churches with the leaders and educators at Saba’s mosque and madrassa (school).

Saba recently inaugurated its new high school, Saba Academy, right in the heart of the Silicon Valley. Many observers of Saba view this development with alarm, as the Association’s activities have been persistently linked to extremism. Indeed, Saba and its imams, including Rafic Labboun (a.k.a. Wilhelm Dyck) and Nabi Raza Mir (a.k.a. Nabi Raza Abidi), have been shown to support Hezbollah. Labboun was jailed for a time for credit card fraud in a scheme the FBI thought was related to funding the terrorist group. He later was caught trying to flee the U.S. by the FBI with a fake Belizean passport using the identity taken from a dead baby. Homeland Security, Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton tried to keep Nabi Raza Mir from reentering the U.S. after he visited Iran due to suspicions of terrorist links but he was finally readmitted after multiple lawsuits filed by the National Lawyers Guild.

Hamza Sodagar and Farrokh Sekaleshfar, two Khomeinist “superstar mullahs” on the Islamist lecture circuit, are frequent speakers at Saba Islamic Center where Saba Academy’s curriculum is taught. Alarmingly, both mullahs justify the execution of gays under Sharia law.

Both men have lived, lectured and studied in Qom back in Iran. Qom is considered a holy city among Shiite Muslims. Sodagar, while in Qom, filmed a biography in which Sodagar calls Ali Khamenei, the present Supreme Leader of Iran and follower of the late Ruhollah Khomeini, the man who started the Iranian revolution against the West, a role model. He also has lectured on a letter from Khamenei where he discusses the obligations of youth in the West and how they should not be corrupted by the “Zionist controlled media [the Jews].”

Sekaleshfar has been seen lecturing repeatedly at a mosque in Cardiff, Wales next to a portrait of Ayatollah Khomeini, something always displayed at Shiite events back in the Middle East, but not inside the U.S. due to the hostage crisis and animus between the U.S. that followed with sanctions and Khomeini’s dubbing the U.S. “the Great Satan.” His Facebook is packed with praises of the late Supreme Leader of Iran, and Sekaleshfar is his best promoter. In a newsletter sent from Qom, Sekaleshfar admonishes Muslim youth outside Iran to follow Khomeini’s edicts and advice if they are to be good Muslims:

“These people have undergone and tolerated a vast array of sanctions during the last 30 years. What have you done for them? How have you contributed in the solidification of the masses in Iran? There are many Muslims struggling worldwide today, but strengthening the people of Iran has an extra significant bonus, i.e. strengthening Islamic Rule and Propagation worldwide.” This is a call to promote jihad and the Absolute Velayat-e-Faqih regime of Ruhollah Khomeini and is posted under a picture of the late Ayatollah in the newsletter (page7).

Sodagar has spoken at schools as far away as Canada’s York University, and even in the UK, but he appeared on a regular basis at Saba where he lectured about Sharia-compliant methods of executing homosexuals:

“For homosexual men, the punishment is one of five things. One, the easiest one maybe, is chop their head off, stop their heart. Two, burn them to death. Three, throw them off a cliff. Four, tear down a wall upon them. Five, a combination of these things.”

Public outcry over killing gays elicited a response from Sodagar. He explained he does not advocate executing gays in places where it is illegal, but rather in places where Islam is the law of the land. While such an explanation might mollify fears in non-Muslim communities, it nevertheless does not alter what Sodagar is preaching; Sodagar, a U.S. citizen, was born in Washington, D.C., but spent 14 years studying Shiite Islam in Iran, a country that routinely executes gays in public. Fluent in English, Sodagar lectures throughout the English speaking world – advocating the execution of gays as being part of God’s will.
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Farrokh Sekaleshfar also tours the world spreading the word of Islam and has spoken at St. Louis University and the University of Michigan about how to deal with homosexuals. Sekaleshfar also denies that he advocates genocide against gays where it is illegal, yet he has lectured at the University of Michigan in 2013 that “death is the sentence” for homosexuals and that executing them is an act of “compassion,” since “earthly punishment will gain them leniency in the afterlife.”

Sekaleshfar offered the same religious rulings at the Husseini Islamic Center near Orlando, Florida. A few weeks later, Orlando suffered a terrorist attack on a gay nightclub, carried out by Omar Mateen, which left 49 people dead and is listed as the greatest mass shooting in U.S. history. It isn’t clear if Mateen, a confused fan of Hezbollah, Al Qaeda and ISIS, who was previously investigated by the FBI, attended Sekaleshfar’s lecture in Orlando. Like Sodagar, Sekaleshfar was not born in Iran or another Islamic country, but in England and he holds a medical degree from Imperial College in London and has studied Islam extensively in the Middle East.

Sekaleshfar was deported from Australia while on a speaking tour there after he said in an interview with ABC that he had made his comments in an academic setting, and he regretted that they had been made public. He said he advocated the death penalty only for homosexuals who have anal sex in public in a country that abides by Islamic law.

Both these mullahs live and link back to the Khomeinist regime in Iran and promote the Iranian revolution against the West here in America. At SABA they are an inspiration. The facts that a mullah advocated genocide against gays in Orlando not long before the massacre at a gay nightclub while another preaches the same ideas illustrate the threat posed by such imams when speaking to the Islamic community, something Bishop McGrath may not know before he goes there with all his parishes to show “solidarity.”

Lee Kaplan is an undercover investigative journalist who has been published and on radio and television internationally. He has appeared as a contributing editor or regular columnist at FrontPage Magazine, Israel National News, Canada Free Press and IsraCampus. He is also a senior intelligence analyst and communications director for the Northeast Intelligence Network. He is a fellow at Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld’s American Center for Democracy and a member of the advisory council at the Intelligence Summit.

Shootout at U.S. Consulate in Nuevo Laredo Part of Cartel-Terrorist Attack Plan for Trump Inauguration

arton112949Judicial Watch, January 12, 2017:

A deadly shootout at the construction site of the new American Consulate occurred this week in a Mexican border town where Islamic terrorists and drug cartels plan to launch attacks against the U.S. during the period surrounding the presidential inauguration, high-level government sources tell Judicial Watch. An unknown number of gunmen fired multiple rounds adjacent to the new U.S. Consulate compound in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, a crime-infested city in the state of Tamaulipas that lies directly across from Laredo, Texas.

The Mexican military responded to the attack, law enforcement sources on both sides of the border confirm insisting that their identities be kept confidential for security reasons, and at least three soldiers were either killed or critically wounded in the ambush. A local newspaper in Tamaulipas reported that 13 people died during a shootout in Nuevo Laredo, referring to the deceased as heavily armed “delinquents” with an arsenal that includes 12 automatic weapons, a rocket launcher, grenade, loads of ammunition and drugs in three vehicles, one of them armored. The deceased have not been identified and Mexican authorities will continue to investigate, the article states, attributing the information to a press release issued by Mexico’s Defense Secretary.

Judicial Watch’s law enforcement and intelligence sources say the barrage outside what’s soon to be the new U.S. Consulate is connected to a broad operation between Islamic terrorists and Mexican drug cartels to send President-elect Donald Trump a message by engaging in attacks at border ports. “Cartels usually don’t work with jihadists for fear of having the border shut down,” a veteran federal law enforcement official told Judicial Watch. “But Trump is causing so much disruption in Mexico that they are partnering to send a message as to who is in control. This is as outrageous as a small group of guys crashing planes into U.S. buildings.” Another official who has worked in the region for years said “Trump is causing a huge amount of fear in Mexico throughout all sectors; private, government, business, criminal, police….”

Nuevo Laredo is among the border towns that the terrorists and narcotraffickers plan to launch attacks in, according to intelligence gathered by law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Mexico. Others include Matamoros, Reynosa and Ciudad Juárez. In 2015 Judicial Watch reported that ISIS is operating a camp just west of Ciudad Juárez, around eight miles from El Paso. Sources that include a Mexican Army field grade officer and Mexican Federal Police inspector revealed that, during a joint operation, they discovered documents in Arabic and Urdu, as well as “plans” of Fort Bliss – the sprawling military installation in El Paso that houses the US Army’s 1st Armored Division. Muslim prayer rugs were recovered with the documents during the operation.

Just last week Judicial Watch reported that a Jihadi-cartel alliance in the Mexican state of Nuevo León is collaborating to carry out attacks in American cities and ports of entry along the southern border. Confidential U.S. and Mexican law enforcement sources said that, as part of the plan, militant Islamists have arrived recently at the Monterrey International Airport situated in Apodaca, Nuevo León, about 130 miles south of the Texas border. An internal Mexican law enforcement report obtained by Judicial Watch confirms that Islamic terrorists have “people along the border, principally in Tijuana, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.” Cartel informants tell law enforcement contacts that “they are only waiting for the order and the times to carry out a simultaneous attack in the different ports of entry or cities of the United States of America.”

The area where this week’s shootout originated is a 5.6-acre parcel just south of downtown Nuevo Laredo on Paseo Colon. The State Department predicts that by September the new U.S. Consulate compound, which broke ground in mid-2015 and will cost $155 million, should be completed. It will have multiple buildings, including an office structure, U.S. Marine Security Guard residence, support annex and other facilities for the consulate community. The primary function of consulates is helping and protecting Americans abroad.

How American Charities Fund Terrorism

terrorist-groups-american-charities-fund-ufa-hamas-dawah-social-services

They need to recognize that money sent to terror groups for social services is fungible.

Natonal Review, by Sam Westrop, January 12, 2017:

As the president-elect has repeatedly made clear, his first full day in office will be a busy one. He has promised to effect a wide array of changes. But what about his second day? If he has some free time, we have some suggestions.

As the threat from international terror groups and homegrown radicalization increases, clamping down on domestic Islamist networks should be a priority. In particular: terror financing.

Under the Obama administration, the federal government appeared to ease up on prosecutions of American Islamist charities linked to terror. This was a marked change from the years after 9/11, when scores of charities were shut down after prosecutors found financial and logistical links to terrorist groups across the globe. This effort culminated in 2008, when the Holy Land Foundation was tried in court on charges of financing terrorism. Federal prosecutors listed a considerable number of prominent American Muslim organizations as “unindicted co-conspirators.”

Eight years of a more permissive attitude has afforded Islamist groups the chance for a resurgence. Islamist charities do not just provide a means to move money; they also offer legitimacy to American Islamist organizations struggling to free themselves from decades of allegations of extremism. Islamist charitable endeavors abroad serves to sanitize the Islamist agenda at home.

The most common terrorism link for American Islamist charities involves, unsurprisingly, the Palestinian territories. Where do charitable donations for the Palestinian territories end up? In the Gaza Strip, Hamas, which is designated a foreign terrorist organization, oversees every facet of society, especially the social services in which Western charities work. From the distribution of medicine to the running of schools, orphanages, and kids’ summer camps, Hamas rules the roost.

One example worth investigating is the Gaza-based Unlimited Friends Association for Social Development (UFA). At least eight prominent U.S. charities and, apparently, the taxpayer-funded United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are supporting this Palestinian group. A close examination of UFA shows that it is closely aligned with senior Hamas leaders, provides cash to the families of so-called martyrs in the Gaza strip, and promotes virulent anti-Semitic rhetoric.

UFA claims to “provide relief, emergency and developmental services to marginalized areas and people in need.” And it probably does. Its social-media pages show happy children playing in the sun, buildings constructed, and food packs distributed. But UFA operates with the political support of senior Hamas figures. And the support of Hamas means the support of a genocidal terror group that has pledged to eradicate Jews across the globe, that throws its political opponents off rooftops, oppresses women and homosexuals, fires rockets at Israeli schools and homes, and uses Palestinian children as human shields to advance its murderous cause.

UFA regularly collaborates with Hamas officials. In 2014, envisioning the “right of return” for Palestinians, it organized a ceremony at which the guest of honor was Mustafa Sawwaf, a prominent Hamas minister. Sawwaf had argued in the Hamas newspaper Al-Risala that “Israel’s disappearance is a necessity [according to] the Koran — that is a truth that we have learned and that we have been teaching since the first intifada, which was the Palestinian people’s first step toward ending the usurpation of Palestine by the Jewish gangs.”

In 2015, UFA hosted a public meeting with Mohamed Abu-Shkian, a senior Hamas official and the mayor of Nuseirat. They discussed “joint cooperation to implement projects that serve the various categories of the Palestinian community.” Abu-Shkian, whom Hamas media has nicknamed “Mohammed the Conqueror,” is a vocal supporter of the “mujahedeen” against Israel, has spoken at the graduation ceremony of a Hamas terror-training program, and has addressed crowds at a ceremony commemorating Hamas terrorists.

Not especially shy about its Hamas connections, UFA openly advertises projects funded by U.S. charities in prominent Hamas literature. And on its website, UFA boasts a certificate of support from Ummah University, an institution in Gaza directly controlled by Hamas’s interior ministry. UFA appears to be a cog in the Hamas martyrdom machine — the charity regularly hosts events financially benefiting “the families of martyrs and prisoners.”

Like Hamas, UFA is not shy about its hatred of Jews either. In a post published on one of the charity’s social-media pages, UFA officials wrote: “We ask God to drive away the anguish of the heroic prisoners in the Nazi Zionist jails and to free Al-Aqsa Al-Sharif [the Noble Al-Aqsa] from the filth of the most dirty Jews.”

UFA’s most important U.S. supporter is Baitulmaal, another charity. Saying they help Baitulmaal distribute cash to the “families of martyrs of the Palestinian people,” UFA officials have published photos to corroborate the claim.

These cash handouts are part of an “Orphan Sponsorship Program.” In videos published by the UFA, it defines orphans as those who have lost their fathers (not their mother), some of whom, it claims, were killed resisting “the ongoing slaughter against the Palestinian people.”

It would appear that American money is being given to the families of Hamas terrorists.

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UFA published these photos showing an official of U.S. charity Baitumaal handing out checks, at UFA’s offices, to “the families of martyrs of the Palestinian people.”

UFA and the U.S. charity Baitulmaal have such a close relationship that they even share the same staff. UFA officials Jomaa Khadoura and Amgad Mansor identify themselves as Baitulmaal employees. Mansor has promoted the views of Nabil Awadi, an Islamic cleric whom the Daily Mail has described as the “key financier” of the Islamic State.

Several other U.S. registered charities support UFA by funding UFA projects or hosting joint events. These include Islamic Relief USA, a branch of a charity established in Britain by Muslim Brotherhood operatives. Islamic Relief USA receives millions of dollars from Western governments, the European Union, and the United Nations. The U.S. government has given $370,000 to Islamic Relief Worldwide, the parent organization of its American affiliate. As with Baitulmaal, UFA and the Palestinian branch of Islamic Relief have shared the same employees.

UFA boasts of financial and logistical support from another six U.S. charities: Helping Hands for Relief and Development, Life for Relief and Development, the Zakat Foundation of America, Syria Relief & Development, United Muslims Relief, and American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA). These are just a few American charities at which a Trump administration should take a closer look.

On social media, UFA refers to American taxpayer funding. In 2013, it announced a project funded by the USAID and implemented by the U.S. charity Mercy Corps. Are taxpayer dollars funding a Gazan charity that works with Hamas, funds the families of “martyrs and prisoners,” and incites hatred against Jews? UFA, as with many Western-funded Palestinian groups, gets away with much of this perhaps because of the appearance of its work.

By providing social services, Islamist terror groups gain political and moral legitimacy among the people under their control as well as among their supporters abroad.

UFA appears to function as a “da’wah group that inherently benefits Hamas. Da’wah is a form of social outreach generally employed by terrorist organizations to reinforce their rule. By providing social services, Islamist terror groups gain political and moral legitimacy among the people under their control as well as among their supporters abroad. But da’wah is also “crucial to terrorist activity,” counterterrorism expert Matthew Levitt writes. “They provide cover for raising, laundering, and transferring funds, facilitate the group’s propaganda and recruitment efforts, provide employment to its operatives, and serve as a logistical support network for its terrorist operations.”

American taxpayer funding of UFA is not the first instance of its funding of the Hamas da’wah system. In 2007, ANERA (with which UFA jointly organizes projects) provided the Islamic University of Gaza with $140,000 of USAID money. The university was founded by the “spiritual leader” of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. In 2007, according to Palestinian media, 16 of the university’s lecturers and teachers were elected Hamas members of the Palestinian legislature. And in 2008, rockets and explosives fired by Hamas at Israeli civilians were reportedly produced at the university.

But da’wah efforts can be more basic. In areas targeted or controlled by terrorists, groups such as Hamas coordinate with charities to provide social services and welfare. Some counter-terrorism experts believe that this facilitates an influx of unchecked foreign funds, frees up money for violent operations, and whitewashes the work of terrorist organizations.

Aid money is fungible, as is already recognized under official understanding of material support for terrorism. In 2010, the solicitor general, Elena Kagan, now on the Supreme Court, explained that “Hezbollah builds bombs. Hezbollah also builds homes. . . . When you help Hezbollah build homes, you are also helping Hezbollah build bombs.”

Da’wah is not confined to the Palestinian territories; it also threatens American lives. Other terror groups have learned from the Hamas and Hezbollah. In 2012, the Times of London reported that al-Qaeda terrorists in Mali “have subsidized state utilities, capped food prices and made welfare payments to the needy.” And in 2014, I discovered that British “charity workers” were building schools in Syria that bore the Islamic State flag, all paid for through fundraising efforts in Britain.

Islamist charities linked to terrorism do provide charitable services, including welfare, children’s summer camps, and educational programs. This allows them to acquire Western funding without raising too much suspicion. But the da’wah system ensures that such charitable services serve to prop up Hamas’s grip over the Gaza strip.

The da’wah problem is not new, but it demands the attention of the new administration. Hundreds of charities operate in the Palestinian territories. Certainly some Palestinian charities do not host high-profile visits with senior Hamas leaders, financially reward the families of “martyrs and prisoners,” and incite hatred against Jews. The U.S. taxpayer and American charities should not be funding one that does.

— Sam Westrop is a writer for Islamist Watch. He is the research director at Americans for Peace and Tolerance and a senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute.

Republicans Propose Bills Designating Iranian Guard And Muslim Brotherhood As Terror Groups

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Daily Caller, by Kerry Picket, January 12, 2017:

Two bills reintroduced in the Congress late Wednesday designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist organizations.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz re-proposed the two bills in the upper chamber while Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul and Florida Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart dropped companion bills in the House.

The bills, according to a press release, will direct the State Department to hold accountable both the IRGC and the Muslim Brotherhood “two foreign entities that espouse a violent Islamist ideology with a mission of destroying the West. Both bills require a report on whether these organizations meet the criteria to be designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, and if so, will enable the U.S. to take action that could stifle the funding they receive to promote their terrorist activities.”

McCaul introduced the IRGC Terrorist Designation Act in the House, which asks the State Department to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization and Diaz-Balart filed legislation for the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act, which urges State to classify the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

The passage and adoption of such legislation would be very different from the Obama administration’s relationship to the Muslim Brotherhood, particularly in Egypt, where the administration supported the previous Muslim Brotherhood Islamist government headed up by Mohamed Morsi.

“I am proud to reintroduce these bills that would codify needed reforms in America’s war against radical Islamic terrorism,” Sen. Cruz said of the legislation. “This potent threat to our civilization has intensified under the Obama administration due to the willful blindness of politically-correct policies that hamper our safety and security.

Rep. Diaz-Balart agreed saying a statement, “I am proud to once again work with Senator Cruz to introduce this legislation in the 115th Congress. The Muslim Brotherhood continues to support terrorist organizations that are responsible for acts of violence around the world.” He added, “This bill would impose tough sanctions on a hateful group that has spread violence and spawned extremist movements throughout the Middle East. This designation is long overdue, and I look forward to working with the incoming administration and the appropriate committees to ensure that this bill becomes law. We have an incoming president who appreciates the threat of terrorism and has vowed to defeat it. Designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization is an important step in defeating violent extremists.”

The IRGC terrorist designation bill comes on the heels of reports that the U.S. and five other world powers that negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran announced delivery of 116 metric tons of natural uranium to the Iranian regime on Monday.

Rep. McCaul said of the IRGC legislation that “If a foreign organization looks like a terror group, operates like a terror group, and supports terrorism, then it should be called for what it is – a foreign terrorist organization.” He added, “As obvious as that seems, for years the IRGC has been allowed to operate clandestinely using front companies and illicit networks to evade formal designation. The Obama Administration has chosen to turn a blind eye to these activities for the sake of a flawed nuclear agreement which Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei stated publicly would not alter Iran’s behavior.”

Politicized Mishandling of Russian Cyberattacks Undermines Long-Term Security

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Daily Caller, by William J. Murphy, January 12, 2017:

The Obama Administration’s politicized mishandling of the Russian-orchestrated email hack of U.S. political organizations has distracted from even larger Kremlin cyber threats to American interests. Mr. Obama’s partisan clumsiness has fomented mistrust and confusion among Americans, undermining the ability of the U.S. to formulate an effective response to these dangers.

It is regrettable that the President and his associates have demonstrated more interest in using Moscow’s electoral cyber-activities to undermine the legitimacy of President-elect Trump, than in laying the foundation for an effective, long-term response to this significant, national security threat.

Mr. Obama couldn’t be bothered with involving the President-elect and Congress in a reasonable conversation about how to address Russian cyber-attacks. Instead, the Administration leaked the disputed CIA report asserting Moscow tried to help Mr. Trump win, which nicely set up the stunts to disrupt the Electoral College. In place of what would have been more statesmanlike courtesy and consultation with the incoming president, Mr. Obama displayed his customary petulant unilateralism.

Furthermore, the administration botched the delivery to Congress of the flawed CIA report, releasing it before sufficient evidence had been marshalled to support its proposition that Moscow desired to assist Trump’s election. FBI and ODNI officials contradicted the CIA estimate as soon as it was delivered, transforming the report into a public relations fiasco that raised more questions than it answered.

The peculiar timing of the President’s order for a “full review” of the Kremlin’s cyber-meddling as well as his decision to retaliate before completion of this intelligence review — particularly after neglecting for so long to take any action — likewise suggests greater interest in partisan, anti-Trump initiatives than in shutting down the Russian cyber threat.

But, the President’s focus on the claim that Moscow intended to help Trump win the election is not just unfortunate, it’s dangerous. This rhetoric trivializes the true scope and intensity of the Russian cyber threat, and has compromised the ability of the U.S. to respond effectively.

The fundamental goal of the Kremlin’s cyber-intervention in U.S. politics is to subvert national unity — to impair the U.S.’ ability to promote its interests in world affairs or interfere with the Kremlin’s strategic designs.  Americans should recognize these Russian tactics as contemporary cyber manifestations of KGB Cold War operations to support and manipulate U.S. political interest groups.

An even more important lesson Americans should take from the Kremlin’s 2016 electoral mischief is that Moscow’s cyber-political operations are but one weapon in a formidable arsenal of cyber-attack capabilities Russia has developed to cripple U.S. power. Moscow possesses, and in some cases, has already used, potent cyber-attack capabilities against critical national infrastructure including the electric grid, water utilities, financial system, transportation sector, government agencies, and corporations.

Americans should take careful note that Vladimir Putin and his government view the U.S as a rival foreign power capable of thwarting Moscow’s ability to realize its national interests and have already proven themselves willing and able to wield their cyber-power.

The U.S. has badly underinvested in its cyber-defenses and has failed to develop an appropriate response to the magnitude of the threat. An effective response must prioritize vastly improved cyber-defenses, integrate diverse cyber and conventional retaliatory options to deter future attacks, and strengthen government capacities to promote cyber security.

The partisan pettiness that has characterized President Obama’s approach to the Kremlin’s cyber-electioneering has squandered a valuable opportunity to inform the American people about the gravity of the Russian cyber-threat as well as to build public support for effective countermeasures.

Now that he has been given the appropriate courtesy of a formal intelligence briefing, President-elect Trump has acknowledged the danger and indicated he will bring forward a plan to address cyber threats. Americans would do well to hope Mr. Trump’s proposal is comprehensive, bold, and unifying. Nothing could bode better for the future than reversal of the partisan rancor and dysfunction observed to date.

Dr. William J. Murphy is an Associate Professor of Social Science at the New England Institute of Technology where he teaches courses on Terrorism and National Security, American Government, and Economics.  He is also a Policy Advisor with the Center for Constitutional Reform at the Heartland Institute.  He can be reached at @wjmurphy2.

Also see this: Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire via David Shideler on Facebook where he comments:

An interesting little story on election influence that hasn’t received as much attention as some others.

The reality is that foreign actors of all stripes are seeking to manipulate U.S. policy every day through all available means. Many of them are aided and abetted by politicians who see only the next political target, and by law firms and lobby groups whose business is selling influence, no matter who the client is.

We have a responsibility as citizens to be wary, skeptical consumers of information, and to demand better from our politicians.

Also of note:

Mike Pompeo: Attempts to Invalidate Trump’s Presidency Plays into Putin’s Hands

Getty / Joe Raedle

Getty / Joe Raedle

Breitbart, by Warner Todd Huston, January 12, 2016:

During his confirmation hearing, Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) said he would observe the proper laws forbidding enhanced interrogation of terror suspects and affirmed that he believes Russia is a threat to the United States. He also noted, however, that attempts to undermine President-elect Donald Trump plays right into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate held its first hearing for the confirmation of Rep. Pompeo, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to become CIA chief. While the hearing kicked off with a temporary power outage in the room, the congressman fielded a range of questions from metadata, to CIA-sponsored torture, to privacy concerns. One senator, California’s Kamala Harris, even went off on a tangent asking Pompeo about NASA global warming data and Pompeo’s views on gay marriage.

When it came time to talk about Russia, though, Pompeo had a dual warning.

The Kansan said that Russia is not an ally of the United States, but also insisted that attempts to invalidate Donald Trump’s presidency is serving the anti-American policies of Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Agreeing with the U.S. intelligence community’s latest assessment of Russia, Pompeo also said it is “pretty clear” that the Russians tried to influence the U.S. elections.

“It’s pretty clear about what took place here, about Russian involvement in efforts to hack information and to have impact on American democracy,” Pompeo said during the Senate Intelligence Committee meeting. “I’m very clear-eyed about what that intelligence report says. This was an aggressive action taken by the senior leadership inside of Russia.”

Pompeo also said he would support an extensive investigation into just what forms that “aggressive action” took during the 2016 campaign saying, “I will continue to pursue foreign intelligence with vigor no matter where the facts lead.”

“The internet,” Pompeo said, “is a borderless, global environment, easily and frequently exploited by sophisticated adversaries like China and Russia, as well as by less sophisticated adversaries like Iran and North Korea, non-state actors, terrorist groups, criminal organizations, and hackers.”

He also warned though that constant speculation that the election was hacked plays into Putin’s hands. During his response on the matter he said he has “no doubt that the discourse that’s been taking place is something Putin would look at and say, ‘That was among the objectives that I have.’”

As for another topic, many liberals have worried about Pompeo’s thoughts on the CIA using enhanced interrogation. The question seemed fairly answered when Senators Feinstein and Heinrich both quizzed him on the topic. Pompeo told Feinstein he would not re-start the enhanced interrogation policy if he were to become head of the CIA and assured Senator Heinrich that he would stick to the Army field manual for interrogation that currently forbids such techniques.

As to Iran, Pompeo said that despite his personal opinions and his past claims that he would work to repeal Obama’s “disastrous deal” with Iran, he would abide by whatever his President told him to do on the issue.

The congressman also fielded questions about his past comments on gathering metadata. While noting that intelligence is the “lifeblood” of national security, he added that such intel “is more in demand than ever.”

The Supreme Court has ruled that metadata is not private personal information, but nonetheless Pompeo said he would certainly toe the line of the law — whatever that may be — on the collection of data.

He was also asked for his thoughts on demanding that tech companies give the U.S. government keys to their encryption of data. Pompeo replied that personal privacy would be an important concern for him and added, “I think we need to acknowledge that encryption is out there, and not all encryption takes place in the United States,” Pompeo replied.

But even as Pompeo said he’d toe the law on these matters, Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn asked Pompeo if he will “play to the edge” of the law as CIA director so as not to play too cautious with national security. The Congressman said he would be sure to be mindful of the needs of his operatives and added, “It’s my role to make sure those lines are clear and bright.”

Pompeo also faced questioning from California Democrat Kamala Harris who seemed to feel his stance against gay marriage would hamper his work to secure the nation. She also quizzed him on global warming, asking if he would accept climate change claims made by NASA.

Seemingly bemused by the quixotic line of questioning, Pompeo assured Harris that as a small businessman he’s never let anyone’s sexuality interfere in what he expected of them as an employee and that, as an engineer by training, facts and data drive his life – so if he found believable data on climate change it would certainly be an important consideration in his thought process.

The hearing was not without humor, either, as Arizona Republican John McCain, a graduate of the Naval Academy, joked that Pompeo’s education was “very poor” because he was a graduate of West Point.

Rex Tillerson Refuses to Label Saudi Arabia a Human Rights Violator

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

Breitbart, by Frances Martel, January 11, 2017:

During his confirmation hearing for the Secretary of State post in the U.S. Senate Wednesday, former Exxon Mobil head Rex Tillerson refused to label the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia a “human rights violator,” expressing fears that such a label would trigger a regression to more oppressive policies on the part of the Saudi ruling family.

Senator Marco Rubio asked Tillerson whether, in light of rampant human rights abuses against women and non-existent religious freedom in the nation, Tillerson would use the phrase “human rights violator” to describe Saudi Arabia.

“Saudi Arabia certainly does not share the same values of America,” Tillerson replied. “However, American interests have been advocating in Saudi Arabia for some time and I think the question is, what is the pace of progress that should be expected for the KSA to advance rights to women and others in the country?”

Sen. Rubio asked Tillerson to evaluate Saudi Arabia’s current human rights status, to which Tillerson replied that he would “need to have greater information.” In response, Sen. Rubio noted that women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia and the government imposes Islamic Sharia law on its citizens.
In light of his context, Sen. Rubio then asked Tillerson what more information would make him comfortable on coming to a conclusion regarding the appropriateness of the label.
“In terms of when you designate someone or label someone, the question is, is that the most effective way to have progress continue to be made in Saudi Arabia or in any other country?” Tillerson repeated.
Tillerson’s response echoed his similar refusal to label Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” upon Sen. Rubio’s questioning, as well as his remark that he would need more information to assess the ongoing war on drugs in the Philippines. Tillerson repeatedly asserted that those holding high-ranking foreign policy offices in the United States are privy to pivotal information without which he would not assert a definitive opinion, and left breathing room for nuance in his approaches to global issues.
Saudi Arabia remains one of the world’s most egregious human rights violators, a liberal user of state force against Sharia violators, including those accused of adultery, apostasy (leaving Islam), “witchcraft,” as well as political targets such as human rights activists. Saudi officials have also implemented the death penalty against those with disabilities and minors. Those not sentenced to death can be arrested, beaten, and detained for extended periods of time for such crimes as dancing, “cursing the morality police,” or showing undue affection for dogs, which are considered haram.
Saudi Arabia is also a hotbed of radical Islamic thought, particularly the Sunni extremist ideology of Wahhabism, whose global spread the Kingdom is in part responsible for. “The Saudi Wahhabis regularly subsidize the organizations and individuals adhering to the militant ideology espoused by the Muslim Brotherhood and its murderous offshoots Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda, all three of which are designated terrorist 2 organizations,” according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism’s Matthew Epstein.
Tillerson later addressed Rubio directly, perhaps not only in response to the Saudi Arabia question but to tensions arising Wednesday morning regarding Tillerson’s views on Russia. “My interest is the same as yours, our interests are not different,” he told the senator. “There seems to be some misunderstanding that somehow I see the world through a different lens, and I do not, I share all the same values that you share.”
Tillerson concluded the questioning by calling Saudi Arabia’s a culture that is centuries old and noting that, while “the pace [of progress] has been slower than any of us wish, there is a chance underway” to improve the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia. Tillerson expressed concerns of accidentally committing “some kind of precipitous action that would cause the leadership of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to change that” pace.
While Tillerson did not give concrete examples of the progress he claimed that begun in Saudi Arabia, some recent news articles do seem to indicate that some changes have occurred in the Gulf nation. In July 2016, for example, Saudi Arabia announced it would open a “women-only mobile phone shopping center,” allowing women to buy and sell cellular phones in an “appropriate” environment: one in which men would not see it happen. Saudi Arabia’s morality police no longer have the power to arrest people. At least one Saudi cleric has suggested women should be allowed to work in some medical fields in December, and a Saudi newspaper even challenged the nation’s ban on female drivers.
In his opening statement, Tillerson promised to put the right against radical Islam at the forefront of his work in the State Departmeent. “We need to be honest about radical Islam. It is with good reason that our fellow citizens have a growing concern about radical Islam and murderous acts committed in its name against Americans and our friends,” he told the Senate.
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